Pharyngula

Those crazy rascals behind Expelled have some new games they want to play: they’ve put out a casting call for victims of persecution. It’s a pitiful plea, but it will probably net a nice collection of complaints — because it’s true. We do reject Intelligent Design from the academy, from science, and from science education, and there’s a very good reason for that: it’s the same reason we reject astrology, alchemy, creationism, haruspication, necromancy, ornithomancy, and witchcraft from our science courses. Because they aren’t science.

i-16987bdffa7cfff3aaddd6c5ba4104d4-expelled_flunked.jpg

Taylor Kessinger gets it. He’s a junior at the University of Arizona who wrote a nice, lucid opinion piece for the school paper.

What the movie, due in February, won’t tell you is the truth regarding intelligent design. The “theory” is so embarrassingly poorly argued and devoid of scientific merit that even the Rev. George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory — not exactly a bastion of anti-theistic vitriol the last time I checked — has denounced it as an unscientific idea that simply “pretends to be” science.

Exactly right, Taylor! The Intelligent Design hypothesis has been examined by the scientific community to a degree far in excess of what it deserves, and it has been summarily dismissed. There is the reason that ID is not taught in school and professors who study it are mocked — it’s not science, it’s unscientific.

Taylor hammers on another important point. These creationists often demand fairness, that they should be given some kind of equal time in the schools.

But freedom of speech doesn’t protect the rights of professors to make claims with no scientific backing without repercussions. Universities don’t stand for professors who waste funds and time researching astrology, parapsychology or other pseudoscientific ideas, and they never should.

Stein and his fellow design advocates don’t care about equality or fairness. They want intelligent design to be “special” in this regard, so that they can pretend their belief in God – a faith-based belief – somehow has scientific backing.

The creationist’s version of “fairness” is to be given special privileges and be allowed to cut ahead in line — to be granted the respect of a genuine scientific theory without having done the work. I think we all know that that is the opposite of fair. That’s cheating. That is wasting our time.

I think young Mr Kessinger struck a nerve, because now he’s the target of an unhappy tirade by the Discovery Institute. It must have hurt their feelings to discover that an undergraduate at a state university could so easily see through their strenuously wrought smokescreen of lies. So now they accuse him of being a “dogmatic Darwinist” when it seems to me that Kessinger instead is someone who applied basic critical thinking and a little knowledge to the claims of creationists.

Sadly, Kessinger is not the only student who has been taught that it’s good and entirely appropriate to discriminate against intelligent design supporters. I once told a good friend of mine in college about a professor I knew who lost his job over his support of intelligent design. Her response? “Silly ID people — that’s what you get.” Upon further examination, she admitted that she didn’t know much about intelligent design, just what her professors taught her — that it was merely a negative argument against Darwinism without any scientific research.

This second misapprehension is what students are being taught by many Darwinist professors about intelligent design, and this is why some actually support persecuting ID proponents. Much like my friend, the author of this editorial was told somewhere along the way that “[i]ntelligent design simply asserts that structures like the human eye and bacterial flagellum couldn’t possibly have formed by random chance, so an intelligent designer is needed.”

Oh, no, they complain — all these people have this horrible misapprehension that ID is only about negative arguments against evolution, or that a designer is needed to fill in the failures of evolution. I think the DI is trying to argue that this isn’t at all true, until you read down to the second paragraph after the above. Here, they try to clarify the situation by offering their official definition of Intelligent Design creationism:

intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

In other words, their own definition says that evolution is inadequate, that certain structures (like, for instance, the eye and flagellum) cannout be accounted for by the proceses of evolution, and that they will fill in those gaps by postulating a designer.

This refutes Taylor Kessinger’s argument how?

We know the definition they use, and it exactly fits our understanding of the ID guess.

We can also point you to the various books they peddle — Darwin’s Black Box, Icons of Evolution, Explore Evolution, The Edge of Evolution, etc. — and they all have the same tedious, unfounded, fallacious message: that modern biology is all wrong. They don’t propose any new ideas to replace the natural principles that have been identified, they can’t and they know it, because their “Designer” is a supernatural being, so they have to avoid discussing it with any detail or any testable mechanisms at all. They know that as soon as they mention anything about the nature of their proposed mechanism, the designer, the jig is up — it’s an admission that they are trying to push a religion into the schools.

They’re screwed. They fail. That’s why they’re so upset with Mr Kessinger, because he has clearly explained what everyone knows, but what they want to hide. It’s also why they’re pushing Expelled hard — their last hope is to play the martyr card and beg for public sympathy because they’re being so soundly crushed in the marketplace of scientific ideas. This is the Miami Dolphins begging the public to ignore their 0-7 record so far and give them a place in the Superbowl because their uniforms are pretty, and because those other big mean teams outscore them and keep on beating them badly; it’s simply unfair that the rules demand that they win some games.

How stupid do they think people are to fall for that?

Comments

  1. #1 melior
    October 27, 2007

    I like how the DIers condescendingly offer to educate Tyler by linking to explicit instructions on how to refute their IDiocy:

    Our argument presupposes that all complex life, at least in this universe, will almost certainly be based on carbon. Find a non-carbon based life form, and one of our presuppositions collapses. It’s clear that a number of discoveries would either directly or indirectly contradict our argument.

    So all Tyler has to do in their minds is to major in xenobiology and make a Nobel-winning discovery. Simple!

    Alternatively, he could do what he is already doing — disarm them with nothing more than simple logic and his wits.

  2. #2 melior
    October 27, 2007

    Oops, I meant “Taylor” of course, sorry.

  3. #3 Stanton
    October 27, 2007

    How stupid do they think people are to fall for that?

    Extremely stupid, of course.

  4. #4 Dan
    October 27, 2007

    I figure that since they lied to you and a whole host of others for their flick, I don’t see the harm in lying to them to tell them that science has persecuted me.

    Of course, I’d have to come up with a good shtick. Maybe I could just say, “science done persecuted me ’cause it’s too dang hard, and that’s when I found Intelligent Design.”

  5. #5 Sunbeam
    October 27, 2007

    Not stupid, PZ. Sectarian. They expect other creationists to back them up and plea persecution, and that’s exactly what’ll happen.

  6. #6 tacitus
    October 27, 2007

    Our argument presupposes that all complex life, at least in this universe, will almost certainly be based on carbon. Find a non-carbon based life form, and one of our presuppositions collapses. It’s clear that a number of discoveries would either directly or indirectly contradict our argument.

    This is utter twaddle. Why would this refute anything about ID (as are all the other presuppositions in that article). They claim over and over again that you can’t know anything about the nature of the designer, so why should the supposed designer(s) not create life in several, totally different ways? This is as bogus a supposition as their claim that for ID to be true, there should be little or no “junk DNA”.

  7. #7 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    October 27, 2007

    Anika apparently forgot to mention that their favorite neurosurgeon has also made a special pleading for evolution’s inability to account for “altruism” and other abstract thought. Looking back at his June article today, I realized that Egnor didn’t consider the implications of his claim and wrote an ahem article about it.

    Taylor Kessinger gives me hope, enough to diminish the fear that Anika Smith engenders about the future.

  8. #8 CalGeorge
    October 27, 2007

    I still don’t understand the whole point of ID.

    What do they hope to achieve?

    Do they want the universe to remain fundamentally mysterious?

    Do they think they can prove the existence of a god who has eluded discovery for thousands of years?

    Do they think they can shake the foundations of science based on a few lame, undemonstrable assertions about a designer?

    It all seems so pointless. So patently a waste of time.

    I don’t get it.

    My guess is that they enjoy the lifestyle. They enjoy the attention. They get paid to do very little other than complain about being oppressed. Not a very trying existence. There’s always going to be a classroom to infiltrate or a school board to dominate or some teeny-tiny victory to claim against the big bad Empire of Science.

    I find it sad that all the energy they expend on this stupidity isn’t going into a more worthy cause.

  9. #9 Sastra
    October 27, 2007

    Question:
    Is God alive?

    That’s an interesting question. Because if God is alive, then the requirements for “life” seem a bit looser than they have been assuming in this argument. Is God alive?

    Is it made of carbon? Does it require a “hospitable environment? Did the parameters of the universe need to be tweaked a special way in order for it to exist? And if it’s a life form, then clearly all life forms do not need to be made of carbon, or require exquisitely specific conditions. It could have designed and made living things even more “in His image” and all predictions are off.

    If God is not alive, then that’s even more interesting. Let them say it. Out loud. And explain.

  10. #10 Eamon Knight
    October 27, 2007

    Hopefully his youth will help him overcome his embarrassment and win out over any inclination to intellectual laziness in relying on, say, Wikipedia to do his research for him.

    Speaking of Wikipedia and Egnor, I note that Ms. Smith neglects to upbraid the latter for doing his research using the former.

    Can you say “double standard”? I knew you could!

  11. #11 April
    October 27, 2007

    Wow. Good to see the DI is doing so much research…I’m sure trolling school newspapers is giving them immense insight into the designer’s intentions. Now I’m tempted to write something so I can get a front-page mention on their site. Maybe I can get called a lazy Wiki-reader for not agreeing with them!

  12. #12 Duncan Buell
    October 27, 2007

    Kessinger’s column makes me feel good about my Arizona degree in math and physics. They are apparently *still* doing a good job in teaching science.

  13. #13 Alex
    October 27, 2007

    Very nice post.

  14. #14 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    This is my little pet bugaboo: but there is no such thing a pseudo science. There is proven theory, disproven theory, and undisproveable (non-falsifiable) (as opposed to non-undisprovable) theory.

    I worry that in the public imagination, scientists ARE open to charges of discrimination, because they’re all materialist pinheads who don’t believe in faeries and dismiss the evidence without really looking at it.

    The reality, of course, is that we’re pinheaded materialists because we HAVE looked at the evidence, and that’s where all the evidence leads. Ever “pseudoscientific” claim that I can think was thoroughly examined in the scientific heyday of the 19th century. None of it panned out. Astrology, mesmerism, homeopahty, chiropractic…

    I’m also getting miffed that evolutionist are called “Darwinist.” Can we call ID’ers “Paley’ists”? Nobody would get it. And, of course, Paley wasn’t responsible for genocide the way darwin was. Sigh.

    Also? Taylor? Majoring in math, philosophy and physics? That’s awesome. I want to read your thesis.

  15. #15 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    Our argument presupposes that all complex life, at least in this universe, will almost certainly be based on carbon. Find a non-carbon based life form, and one of our presuppositions collapses.

    I think these guys must moonlight as speech writers for Hillary’s campaign. Nice hedge.

    Anyways, I’m voting for Silicon in 2008. It’s the heavier of two evils.

  16. #16 craig
    October 27, 2007

    the unfunny thing is that I.D., under its older name, HAS oppressed people by the millions.

  17. #17 melior
    October 27, 2007

    Can we call ID’ers “Paley’ists”? Nobody would get it.

    That would apply to all creationists; for IDers a better choice would be “PhillipJohnsonists”, since he was the originator of their wedge strategy:

    Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy.

  18. #18 daenku32
    October 27, 2007

    Weren’t the Miami Dolphins like a superb team at some point or something?

  19. #19 Sunbeam
    October 27, 2007

    Melior (17): If your goal is to mirror the use of the “Darwinist” tag, accuracy should be the last thing on your mind.

  20. #20 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy

    Melior: In that case, we should call them “Genesists,” to emphasize their adherence to bible-based literalism. Sure, they could say that ID isn’t specific to God-Christianity, but we know they’re lying fucktards.

    Or, we can call them “Xenogenesists,” to say they believe that the origins of life were extra-planetary, and say they believe that it might have been aliens who made life on earth. Hey, according to theory, it might have been.

    And if they’re calling evolutionary theory “darwinism,” I see no reason to keep the gloves on.

  21. #21 N'Mom
    October 27, 2007

    When a 4-year degree at even a state university holds the potential of leaving graduates burdened with mortgage-sized debt loads, where do IDers get off thinking that intelligent students would see any advantage to swallowing their baloney? You can’t build a career out of their unfounded fantasies, unless you aspire to working for the Discovery Institute

  22. #22 Swiftsure
    October 27, 2007

    To summarise the bible: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and in the process made a complete pig’s ear of it. Ahh – men!!”

    To summarise ID: “We don’t know what caused it, therefore Goddidit.”

    To summarise science: Observation. Formulate hypothesis. Test hypothesis. (The results aren’t always what you want, but to be scientific, you have to go where the evidence leads you).

    I think young Kessinger is “One of us”. I look forward to hearing more about him.

  23. #23 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    BTW – Do Physics and Math majors pretty much go together as a standard combo-major these days, on account of needing to know so much math to do physics? I’m perplexed as how to how this dude can be doing a triple major and not be on suicide watch.

  24. #24 Troy
    October 27, 2007

    We really need to put these people in some kind of institution for their own good. Isn’t all life sharing a common base a strong case for common origin and not a creator who (assuming he wasn’t a total incompetent) would use whatever basis best fit the job? The presence of a functional silicon based chihuahua would be the greatest proof of the existence of god and the greatest disproof of evolution I could think of.

  25. #25 SWT
    October 27, 2007

    With trepidation, I disagree with one of PZ’s points:

    PZ wrote:
    The Intelligent Design hypothesis has been examined by the scientific community to a degree far in excess of what it deserves, and it has been summarily dismissed. There is the reason that ID is not taught in school and professors who study it are mocked — it’s not science, it’s unscientific.

    The Intelligent Design hypothesis was not summarily dismissed, it was dismissed after receiving far more attention than it deserved. I can’t think of any other non-starter “scientific” idea that has gotten nearly as much attention as ID.

  26. #26 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    The presence of a functional silicon based chihuahua would be the greatest proof of the existence of god and the greatest disproof of evolution I could think of.

    Not really, since Silicon has the same number of electrons on its outside shell as carbon (right?), it has a lot of the same chemical properties therefore could be a basis for life and maybe even chihuahuas.

    Now a life form that metabolised SIN would be convincing.

  27. #27 thalarctos
    October 27, 2007

    BTW – Do Physics and Math majors pretty much go together as a standard combo-major these days, on account of needing to know so much math to do physics?

    My friend’s oldest son started out as a physics major, then switched to mathematics because of what he perceived to be a very flat physics job market after grad school (now he’s a post-doc in topology). I tend to believe his assessment, because overall, he’s got very good judgment; I don’t know enough about the field to speak to it myself.

    However, n of 1, and all that, you know.

  28. #28 scote
    October 27, 2007

    Our argument presupposes that all complex life, at least in this universe, will almost certainly be based on carbon. Find a non-carbon based life form, and one of our presuppositions collapses. It’s clear that a number of discoveries would either directly or indirectly contradict our argument.

    Hmmm…this must mean that **god** (*cough* I mean “intelligent designer” *cough*) must be carbon based, otherwise his existence disproves intelligent design theory…

    (I know, I know, they’ll claim that the designer may exist outside this universe…but the IDers always just get themselves into the infinitely regressive problem of first cause if all complex things require a designer…)

  29. #29 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    (I know, I know, they’ll claim that the designer may exist outside this universe…but the IDers always just get themselves into the infinitely regressive problem of first cause if all complex things require a designer…)

    It’s a tough one to get around. Becuase it seems logical that everything needs to have a cause, right? And if something DOESN’T have a cause, it must be EXTRA-SPECIAL. And what could be more extra-special than God? If the first cause is God, then there’s no problem, because God is, by definition, above the rules.

    I’ve tried arguing it, but there’s that little box in the human brain for God, and it’s a comfortable and easy way out of the conundrum.

  30. #30 scote
    October 27, 2007

    This is my little pet bugaboo: but there is no such thing a pseudo science. There is proven theory, disproven theory, and undisproveable (non-falsifiable) (as opposed to non-undisprovable) theory.

    That’s like saying there is no such thing as fakes because there are only genuine things or things not yet proven to be genuine.

    Pseudo science is when people make scientific sounding claims without using actual scientific, evidence-based testing and thinking. There most certainly is such a thing as pseudo science.

  31. #31 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    Thalarctos —

    I wasn’t planning on majoring in physics or math. Maybe bioinformatics. But thanks for the heads up. 🙂

  32. #32 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    Pseudo science is when people make scientific sounding claims without using actual scientific, evidence-based testing and thinking. There most certainly is such a thing as pseudo science.

    You’re right. This is a minor rhetorical point, but there’s pseudoscientfic methods and pseudoscientific claims. Almost all pseudoscientific claims are, in fact, scientific claims that have been proven wrong. And, again, I think it’s important to make the differentiation to stress that science is open-minded.

  33. #33 has
    October 27, 2007

    I still don’t understand the whole point of ID.
    What do they hope to achieve?

    Why, the defeat materialistic science, of course!

    I think their latest strategy is to bleed on it to death.

    My guess is that they enjoy the lifestyle. They enjoy the attention. They get paid to do very little other than complain about being oppressed.

    Is there a collective noun for pathological narcissists? I mean, apart from the obvious one.

  34. #34 I am not a monkey
    October 27, 2007

    We do reject Intelligent Design from the academy, from science, and from science education, and there’s a very good reason for that: it’s the same reason we reject astrology, alchemy, creationism, haruspication, necromancy, ornithomancy, and witchcraft from our science courses. Because they aren’t science.

    I suppose that the scientists that practice them are not scientists at all, and the degrees they have are a sham. Of course, you can’t prove to the world because you will not debate any of them to save yourself the embarrasment, so I guess you only alternative is to keep repeating it until you grow blue hoping that someone will listen.

    Quite ironic that a scientist much rather choose to wish something away rather than disprove it.

    And that’s the way the cookie crumbles

  35. #35 Bert Chadick
    October 27, 2007

    Stupid ain’t the creationist/ID believer’s problem. Stupid people either don’t have the capacity to understand or haven’t taken the opportunity to understand science. Fear is their problem. Belief in the supernatural is the christmas tree on which they hang the fragile, comfortable orniments of local reliigous mythology. Fear that without the cultural fairy tales to restrain the beast within will allow perversion, depravity and “dogs and cats, living together!”.

  36. #36 Marcus Ranum
    October 27, 2007

    I am not a monkey writes:
    Quite ironic that a scientist much rather choose to wish something away rather than disprove it.

    It’s more parsimonious to leave the burden of proof on the people making claims.

    Mostly, because it’s impossible to prove a negative. And – by extension – it’s often very hard to disprove something really f*cking stupid.

  37. #37 scote
    October 27, 2007

    I suppose that the scientists that practice them are not scientists at all, and the degrees they have are a sham.

    It depends on your definition of “real.” It is possible to have a real degree and still be a really bad scientist just as it is possible to be a “real” MD and believe in all sorts of woo-woo nonsense, as Chopra and Weil do. And it is possible to be a fake scientist with a sham degree in science from a bible college.

  38. #38 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    I am not a monkey proves my point. Calling things “not science,” gives the impression that science has not looked at something, or refuses to. That is almost definitely not the case. It’s not “not science.” It’s just plain wrong. Demonstrably wrong.

    Debate, however, is a rhetorical arena, not a scientific one, monkey. Anyone can win a debate, or at least muddy an issue during a debate, regardless of the truth value of their claims. Coming up with a repeatable experiment to demonstrate the truth value of your claim is an entirely different matter.

  39. #39 inkadu
    October 27, 2007

    And it is possible to be a fake scientist with a sham degree in science from a bible college.

    I was thinking I should get a degree in biology to combat creationism. But maybe I should get a degree in theology instead.

    “God doesn’t exist. He can’t possibly. Want proof? Look: I have this degree that says I know what I’m talking about.”

  40. #40 Marcus Ranum
    October 27, 2007

    Actually, it’s not entirely fair to say that necromancy and astrology and whatever are not sciences. They could be practiced in accordance with the scientific method and evidence-based reasoning. It’d just be really really frustrating to be a “scientific necromancer” or a “scientific astrologer.”

    Patient: “I was born Nov 5, 1962, I’d like you to read my horoscope”
    Scientific Astrologer: “I don’t feel I should do that until I have some positive results that show without question that my horoscopy works. I’ve been gathering data for 20 years so far, and have tried 298,209 different ways of interpreting the stars to predict people’s future. Would you like to be one of our experimental subjects? Of course, in order to help control against placebo effects, I’ll do your reading but I won’t tell you the results or even if you’re in our control group or the group that gets the ‘reading’…”
    Patient: “never mind.”

  41. #41 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2007

    I was thinking I should get a degree in biology to combat creationism. But maybe I should get a degree in theology instead.

    seems to work well for Hector Avalos.

  42. #42 charley
    October 27, 2007

    “How stupid do they think people are to fall for that?”

    It’s not so much stupidity as a huge emotional stake in not accepting evolution. If evolution is true, the Bible is unreliable, along with all its stories and teachings. At stake is their personal all-powerful god, their soul, eternal life, their cherished superiority to non-believers and their life built around Christian family, friends and church. It dissolves the bedrock which gives meaning to their life. Of course there’s plenty of meaning to be found in reality, but they have been conditioned not to invest themselves in earthly concerns. ‘

    They really don’t want to know if evolution is true or not; they would rather not think about it. All this knowledge could do is open a gigantic, disruptive can of worms for them. As long as the DI supplies philosophical or sciency-sounding gobbldygook next to pictures of cells and planets, they can convince themselves that the issue of evolution is not settled. Same for creation museums, Expelled and the rest of it. The perception of controversy is all they need for now.

  43. #43 wnelson
    October 27, 2007

    FTA:

    “Every time a scientist studies a fossil or living creature, examines the biochemistry of an organism or sequences DNA from a cell, he “tests” the theory of evolution – and the theory has withstood every test thus far.”

    …that is _exactly_ the kind of cheerleaderesque statement I would expect from Answers in Genesis.

    Here’s the deal guys — and I would imagine the point of _Expelled_ — genuinely questioning Darwinism’s viability is a third rail. It just isn’t done.

    The cost of that fact to society is freedom of speech — a comically futile attempt to bind the conscience. When will you people learn?

  44. #44 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2007

    Actually, it’s not entirely fair to say that necromancy and astrology and whatever are not sciences.

    no, you’re wrong here.

    it IS fair (and correct) to say they are not sciences.

    what you are defending is the ability to MAKE them into sciences, albeit sciences with continually negative results.

    …which to date hasn’t been done for the reasons you touched on.

  45. #45 H. Humbert
    October 27, 2007

    I am not a monkey wrote:

    Quite ironic that a scientist much rather choose to wish something away rather than disprove it.

    But it has been disproved. Ad nauseum. Don’t tell us you haven’t been paying attention! Well, you had better go back and catch yourself up then. There’s nothing to be gained from flogging that dead horse.

  46. #46 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2007

    genuinely questioning Darwinism’s viability is a third rail. It just isn’t done.

    one, because there is really no such thing as “darwinism”

    two, because there is the issue of what you mean by “genuinely questioning” which is NOT something that has been forthcoming from the angle of religion or intelligent design.

    so, wtf exactly are you babbling about?

    a comically futile attempt to bind the conscience.

    oh, it’s comic alright, but you must be looking at it through a mirror.

  47. #47 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2007

    Upon further examination, she admitted that she didn’t know much about intelligent design, just what her professors taught her — that it was merely a negative argument against Darwinism without any scientific research.

    This second misapprehension…

    wait, backup there, what was the first misapprehension?

    I must have missed it, since the “friend’s” argument posted by Ms. Smith is essentially correct.

    ID IS a negative argument against the ToE with NO even remotely related scientific research to support it.

    nice how she calls that a “misapprehension” without bothering to even correct it.

    LOL

  48. #48 Sastra
    October 27, 2007

    The cost of that fact to society is freedom of speech — a comically futile attempt to bind the conscience. When will you people learn?

    People question evolution in churches all they want. And they do it out in public, all the time. It’s not forbidden. You’ve got your freedom of speech — in society.

    If you want to question the theory of evolution within the framework of science, though, you have to play by the rules. You have to come up with a better explanation for the evidence, and you have to do it among scientific experts in standard forums — not among kiddies in school. You have to have a testable theory with a mechanism, and make falsifiable predictions, just like other scientists of conscience.

    When will you people learn?

  49. #49 raven
    October 27, 2007

    genuinely questioning Darwinism’s viability is a third rail. It just isn’t done.

    More lies from a creo. Evolution has been attacked continually since the day Darwin wrote his book. 150 years. It is attacked daily in the USA by ruthless, amoral, religious fanatics more concerned with their cults than the truth.

    The result, after 150 years, evolution is a stunning success, well supported by mountains of evidence, and very important in fields like agriculture and medicine. We see it going on around us every day. Evolution only really matters to the average person if you eat and want to live a long, healthy life.

    ID is 200 years old, well preceding Darwin. In 200 years it has acomplished exactly nothing. Just recycling the same old lies and fallacies over and over. In 200 years there isn’t a shred of proof for ID.

  50. #50 Marcus Ranum
    October 27, 2007

    I’ve noticed that the “intelligent design” theory guys don’t do a very good of exploring all the hypotheses that an ID theory would open up. For example, why assume the christian creation myth is accurate? There’s just as much evidence that the universe was created by Olorun out of the swamp, in accordance with Yoruba mythology. And there’s just as much evidence supporting the notion that Odin used Ymir’s eyebrows to make the universe, in accordance with Norse mythology.

    Strangely, one never sees the theists arguing in favor of “teaching the controversy” surrounding Ymir’s eyebrows versus the Yoruba swamp, or P’an Ku, or, or…

    I have trouble with the eyebrows one, personally. How did Odin know what eyebrows were until eyebrows were created? Are eyebrows irreducibly complex?

    That’s the problem with all the religious “theories” of creation. If you accept that one of them (e.g.: the christian one) is a workable theory, what is the evidence that allows you to discard the hindoo mythology in favor of the christian version of creation? (hint: none). The bible was written by men and so were the hindoo vedas. Gosh! There’s actually no evidence at all except for peoples’ strongly held feelings. So an ID theory leaves us with the spectacular notion that:
    one of these religions is right; all the others wrong

    That’s almost scientific! I mean, the universe is going to expand forever or shrink (does anyone support steady state any more?) and scientists are kind of scratching their heads as they try to gather more data about which it is. Why aren’t the faithful trying to gather data to determine if the universe came from a swamp, or an eyebrow, or a plate of spaghetti?

  51. #51 James McGrath
    October 27, 2007

    I find it ironic that Behe and others, whose religious motivations are clearer than ever, object when their views are subjected to theological as well as scientific critique.

    I also found another thing to criticize in the Beauregard and O’Leary book. They don’t consider much outside the Christian tradition (they do include a very brief mention, perhaps for show simply to try to preempt this criticism), suggesting they hope the evidence will not simply challenge ‘materialistic science’, but will support the Christian tradition as they understand it.

  52. #52 NonyNony
    October 27, 2007


    I still don’t understand the whole point of ID.

    What do they hope to achieve?

    A mushy idea that sounds scientific enough to get past the Religious Establishment Clause of the Constitution so that their form of creationism can still be taught in public schools. That’s all – it’s just a political ploy to keep their religious beliefs in the US public school system.

    I’m not sure why they do it in countries that don’t have Establishment Clause like restrictions on government sponsored religions, but that’s what they hope to accomplish here in the US.

  53. #53 Ichthyic
    October 27, 2007

    A mushy idea that sounds not nearly scientific enough to get past the Religious Establishment Clause

    there, corrected that for you via Judge Jones.

    ID is dead, long live “teach the controversy”.

    though I doubt this stop-gap wedge measure will manage to even get its day in court.

  54. #54 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    Sastra:
    You have to have a testable theory with a mechanism, and make falsifiable predictions, just like other scientists of conscience< ./i>

    I don’t think a mechanism is necessary for a theory — just predictability. I don’t know if Newtown had a “mechanism” for gravity in mind. Whatever the underlying mechanism, though, he was able to describe its action, which implies an underlying mechanism. From my admittedly lame reading, I don’t think the “right” theory was touched upon until Einstein. If I say that the FSM is pushing everything down at 9.8 m/s^2 with his noodly appendages, is that more scientific than saying, “I don’t know why the apple does that”?

  55. #55 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    And, for a more relevant example, Darwin didn’t have a mechanism for heritability, either…

  56. #56 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    Technically correct, of course, inkadu, but I think what sastra was specifically getting at is that IDers have no definition for how their “designer” acts in the real world, thus cannot even begin to make a logical, testable prediction. Unlike an anthropologist, who has an observable exemplar to build predictions from, an IDer does not, the result of which is that design from the viewpoint of an unknown designer has to define itself in an endlessly circular argument based on a random assumption of what the “designer” MIGHT be like.

    I believe that was the level of “mechanism” she was wishing to express, but I could be wrong.

  57. #57 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    And, for a more relevant example, Darwin didn’t have a mechanism for heritability, either…

    but he was able to predict there was one, based on his observations. That’s a big difference between Darwin’s original hypotheses and IDers.

    Darwin had actual observations of patterns to make predictions from, including predicting a mechanism for the heritability of traits, though the description of the specifics were necessarily a bit nebulous at the time.

    IDers have nothing for observation but projections of their own imaginations.

    Darwin was only lacking in the specifics of the mechanism itself, not in that there WAS indeed a mechanism predicted by the observations themselves.

    similarly, we don’t know the specifics of how the mechanism of gravity works, but we do have enough observational evidence to indicate there IS one (and the math works, too 🙂 ).

    personally, my thinking is that gravity is still a Law (has essentially perfect predictive power), not yet a theory, specifically BECAUSE a proper mechanism hasn’t been elucidated yet.

    the modern ToE is a Theory, as it has both excellent explanatory and predictive power, as well as a tested and supported set of mechanisms.

    I know there is an definition of how the AAAS defines Law vs Theory vs Hypothesis somewhere, but I’m too lazy at the moment to dig up the link.

  58. #58 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    Icthyic — I understand what you mean… but it’s a little tricky to elucidate why “goddidit” isn’t a scientific theory. I think the biggest problem with the theory is that it’s unecessary, and, as you stated, it has no mechanism. But does it violate some sort of theoretical scientific principle to say that God did it? I don’t think it does. I just don’t think “goddidit” is a very satisfactory explanation. I mean, in this case, it’s wrong, because ID builds its case on complexity being IMPOSSIBLE. Since everyone has shown its THEORETICALLY possible, they have no leg, by their own premise, to stand on.

    And, I say, as Richard Dawkins does: bring it on. If God is a scientific theory, lets test it. Everything is science.

  59. #59 Passerby
    October 28, 2007

    Hi –
    Second time I log in today, second time I `m immediately redirected to malware/advertisement website – you may want to check scienceblog or if your website is not hacked ?

    Thank you for a tremendous website.

  60. #60 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    Hey, all you malware-getters, what are you running?

    I’m running Firefox 2.0.08 with no malware popping up.

  61. #61 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    October 28, 2007

    #34

    I am not a monkey is right.

    Well, about one thing. He(?) is not a monkey. As a member of Homo sapiens, he is a great ape, and thus not a monkey.

    H. sapiens are literally cousins of any and all extant species of monkeys, whether Old World or New. Somewhen, over 20 million years ago1, his many times great-grandparent had two particular offspring. He is descended from one of them, and the other is the ancestor of what evolved to be present day Old World monkeys. Were he to meet this ancestor of his, he would surely label it a monkey.

    What kind of ego cannot accept that its membership in a species does not make it the most important in the universe? Neither are we the centre of the universe or even the solar system.

    An invisible being created the universe just for us? Ha! What overweening vanity.

    1 Smithsonian Institute http://anthropology.si.edu/humanorigins/ha/primate.html

  62. #62 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    But does it violate some sort of theoretical scientific principle to say that God did it?

    no more than any other fictional entity one could propose.

    but, as i said, if there is no direct observation of any proposed designer, there really is nothing to be able to test. They are not proceeding from observable pattern, then making testable predictions, they are starting from their conclusion, that there IS a mechanism (designer), and then trying to look for data to support their conclusion. Without defining said mechanism, there simply is no way to proceed.

    it’s not that one can’t make a fictional hypothesis, it’s that any fictional hypothesis is untestable in a meaningful fashion.

    this relates back to the same debate about why “astrology” is not scientific.

    do you recall how that debate went in the Dover trial?

    same issues apply here.

    everything is NOT science. so gotta disagree with you there.

    I think the biggest problem with the theory is that it’s unecessary

    no, the biggest problem is that it doesn’t actually explain ANYTHING. It’s entirely vacuous, as would be expected from a concept with a fictional core.

    if it at least explained observational data even to a small percentage of how well the ToE does, the fact that it is duplicative wouldn’t be all that relevant.

    the NEXT step would be for it to show that not only does it explain observed data, but that it does so in such a way as to contradict specific predictions of the ToE, and that those predictions are in fact more accurate.

    the problem with IDers is that they are unable (unwilling) to see how the process actually works, even though they have a great example of how physics has expanded from newtonian mechanics towards quantum mechanics.

    believe me, plenty have asked that they go actually formulate a workable, testable hypothesis for years, with no luck. Nobody has rejected the concept out of hand, it’s just patently obvious that there simply IS no way to generate a testable hypothesis within the framework they themselves have constructed around the concept.

    with observational data, they could predict a mechanism.

    with an observed mechanism, they could predict what we should observe.

    they have neither.

    dead end.

  63. #63 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    …it would be like if Darwin never went on his voyage to collect observational data, but proposed there MUST be a mechanism of heritable variability anyway, based on nothing more than gut instinct.

    nobody would have considered that “science” back then, either.

  64. #64 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    October 28, 2007

    The malware is most likely coming from one of the rotating ads. You can go quite a while without seeing it. I’m not sure if the infected ad even displays before the redirect happens.

    Safari 1.3.2 on MacOS 10.3.9. It doesn’t succeed in installing anything, but it freezes the browser, requiring a forced quit.

  65. #65 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    The malware is most likely coming from one of the rotating ads.

    yes, I got a redirect a couple of times earlier this evening using the latest firefox, and it was obviously attached to one of the rotating ads. Hasn’t happened for a couple of hours since.

    I didn’t see any “malware”, just a redirect to a different site.

    either way, having been involved with ad rotation companies, I’m 100% sure an automatic redirect violates the term of agreement any ad company has with the banner rotation service, so if you catch which one is doing it, you should report the culprit to seed magazine.

  66. #66 DLC
    October 28, 2007

    Then, without evolution, we got methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, because ?
    (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3460.html)
    This is a mutated form of the staphylococcus bacteria.
    I guess the designer must have issued a new design . . .
    (cough).
    The above is only a sample of evolution in action.

  67. #67 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    I’ve refreshed the main page a few times– looks like the Dow ad owns Pharyngula tonight (or the refresh button just reloads the same ad — some sites seem to load different ads on a refresh). At any rate, I hope it all sorts itself out and the spamvertisers are sent to Gitmo.

    But, back to this God and science business… You’re all right, of course, that God is a vaccuous theory. But its even more vacuous than most pseudo-scientific theories, but it’s understood that we will never understood HOW God does anything. That’s why we say “God did it.” It’s different than saying, “It travelled through the ether,” or “The soul transmits memory,” because if God does it, there is no way to explain it, no way to test it. It’s just understood that GOd wills it, and it is done.

    I get what you’re saying. The rule it violates is, what, exactly: “You can’t posit a theory that doesn’t explain anything and, in fact, seems more like a rhetorical device to provide evidence for your completely content free theory.” For instance, if they said, “God makes gravity work,” that is a logical statement, but it’s vacuous because there’s no way to test it. I get it. It’s just a little hard to get across.

    I did enjoy reading the Dover transcripts, and I’m struggling to remember how astrology was ruled out. I do remember that they got the Behe (?) to admit that by his definition of science, astrology was science.

    Christ, it’s late. And I don’t think I had much of a point to begin with. Thanks for putting up with me.

  68. #68 Louis
    October 28, 2007

    Indaku @ post #26:

    There’s a problem with silicon or other element based life and that is the issue of “catenation”. Simply put, first period elements are “special” for their group (the over-simplified quick explanation is that this is due to their comparatively small size), carbon (as the first period element of group 14) behaves slightly differently to the rest of the group (silicon, germanium, tin and lead). Extrapolating the “special” properties of first peirod elements to the rest of the group can sometimes lead us awry.

    Catenation is the ability to form bonds to an atom of the same element, carbon does this very well and as far as I remember can do this (nearly?) infinitely. IIRC silicon can form silicon-silicon bonded chains of about 11 or 12 atoms (someone may have done more now with a few clever chemical tricks, so that number might need to be upped slightly). What makes carbon the ideal elemental “backbone” for life is this ability to catenate. Long complex molecules lend themselves to the sort of prcesses that a process like simple life requires. It allows for a greater variety of structures and therefore potential chemical reactions.

    Perhaps a better way to put this is “life as we know it” is dependant on carbon’s ability to catenate. Since we don’t yet have a minimum molecular system for life I suppose we cannot easily claim that silicon is completely out of the question (or perhaps some mix of silicon and carbon), but it looks very unlikely for this and other reasons. Some of those other reasons are the strength of the Si-F and Si-O bond (and the comparative weakness/unstability of Si-Si multiple bonds). Silicon is readily sequestered by oxygen into a very stable form (normally silica, although it’s a little more complex than that).

    HTH. Sorry to be boring and chemically pedantic! I suspect someone at the DI knows they are asking for a near impossibility by the way. They are relying on years of sci-fi silicon aliens to make the public think “yeah! Why don’t those evil Nazi loving baby murdering Darwinianistofacists pinko commie bastards show us some silion aliens? Evolution must be fake, long live God….I mean the disembodied telic entity!”.

    Louis

  69. #69 Stephen
    October 28, 2007

    Malware like that is the main reason I usually browse with Javascript off and only enable it if there is a good reason (like wanting to make a comment here). With the Opera browser it only takes two key-strokes to switch it on or off.

  70. #70 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    Thanks for the explanation, Louis. I read somewhere that Si may be a potential basis for life, but didn’t remember hearing why it hadn’t been.

    Still, I feel like my microship at least deserves a chance at life.

  71. #71 Azkyroth
    October 28, 2007

    I don’t think a mechanism is necessary for a theory — just predictability. I don’t know if Newtown had a “mechanism” for gravity in mind. Whatever the underlying mechanism, though, he was able to describe its action, which implies an underlying mechanism. From my admittedly lame reading, I don’t think the “right” theory was touched upon until Einstein. If I say that the FSM is pushing everything down at 9.8 m/s^2 with his noodly appendages, is that more scientific than saying, “I don’t know why the apple does that”?

    I think this is related to the difference between a theory and a law. A law just needs a consistent pattern; a theory, which purports to explain observations, doesn’t really work without a proposed mechanism, as I understand it. Newton formulated one or more laws of gravity; I think we’re still somewhat out on the theory.

  72. #72 Steven Carr
    October 28, 2007

    TAYLOR KESSINGER
    Stein’s movie hand-picks out-of-context quotes from evolutionary biologists to make the evolutionary position seem weaker…

    CARR
    Has Kessinger seen the film? It is not out yet surely?

  73. #73 Azkyroth
    October 28, 2007

    Hey, all you malware-getters, what are you running?

    I’m running Firefox 2.0.08 with no malware popping up.

    Opera v 9.something, and I’m getting it about one comment page load in 25 or so.

  74. #74 Louis
    October 28, 2007

    Indaku @ #69,

    That’s why I put in the cheeky caveat of “life as we know it”. There is research ongoing into not only the minimum genome (so life as we really know it) but what is the minimum system of any kind that has the properties of life. Obviously self-replication and some type of “metabolism” are two such requirements. AFAIK a series of silicon chips could be used to emulate life in some manner. Roger Penrose might disagree, but like I said, until we have a “minimum life form” worked out, very few options are 100% completely out of the picture. Although a huge number are 99.99999% out of the picture! 😉

    Louis

  75. #75 Andrew
    October 28, 2007

    re: Malware. I was about to say check your own PC and had just starting typing that when I was redirected to a fake “Your PC is not secure” type page. I’m running Firefox 2.0.0.8 (being the latest stable rev available). PC is otherwise clean…

  76. #76 Hank
    October 28, 2007

    Inkadu: Write a simulation program that answers questions, but only with “na-na-na-na-na can’t hear you” followed by praise for the Great Programmer.

    It might not be intelligent life, but hey, can’t have anything.

  77. #77 negentropyeater
    October 28, 2007

    Discussion with an IDist :

    ID : there are many things that science still cannot explain because they are the result of an Intelligent Designer’s intervention

    Scientist : fine, we’d like to know, who is the designer, where does he come from, how does he operate ?

    ID : you will never be able to answer these questions

    Scientist : do you mind if we continue trying, so far, it hasn’t worked bad for us

    ID : well, it’s a waste of time and of resources, because you won’t be able to. An intelligent Designer cause is a better explanation.

    Scientist : how is no explanation better than an explanation ?

    ID : no, we are providing an explanation, an intelligent designer did it.

    Scientist : ok, but how did he do it, who is he, how does he operate ?

    ID : you will never find out

    Scientist : do you mind if we try ?

    ID : you don’t have a monopoly on science, ID is also science, our explanation is a better one

    Scientist : but you are not providing any explanation at all

    ID : how do you know ?

    Scientist : well, you just said it, science will never find out

    ID : yes, but that is your kind of science. We are developing a new kind of science that will explain things.

    Scientist : ok, what new kind of science ?

    ID : well, we simply posit that an Intelligent Designer did it and we are done with the explaining.

    etc…etc…etc…

    The biggest problem with ID is that we are witnessing the power of a very old principle : a fool doesn’t realise that he is a fool…

    It’s not about God or no God, it’s about understanding what science is about, and what human endeavors seek to achieve.

  78. #78 John C. Randolph
    October 28, 2007

    PZ,

    There’s an ad coming up on your page occasionally (twice for me, so far), that’s doing a really skanky javascript hack that tried to install a virus on my machine. Fortunately, I’m on a Mac, so the only effect is that I have to dismiss a window that’s gone full-screen, and delete the “Install-MmNoYXB0ZXI-a2V5aW4-a2V5aW4.exe” file that it’s downloaded.

    -jcr

  79. #79 AV
    October 28, 2007

    Slightly OT: as some of you may be aware, there will be a general election held in Australia at the end of November.

    One of the ruling conservative party candidates, a Pastor Peter Curtis, had the following to say on ID:

    “I would be very much in favour of intelligent design being taught in public schools,” Mr Curtis said. “Just as the theory of evolution is taught as well — in my view regrettably taught in science classes, because I think it’s a theory and not a science.”

    Incidentally, on homosexuals, he says:

    “As a Christian, I do not agree with the idea of homosexuality. That’s the reality. I can’t put it any other way,” Mr Curtis told The Sunday Age yesterday. “I certainly could never change my views that homosexuality is a perversion, because it is a perversion.”
    Mr Curtis said his view that gay men were many more times likely to die from disease than heterosexuals was supported by several passages of scripture, and that he was simply stating the truth. “Homosexuality certainly does open up the door to things that are not helpful,” he said.

    Yep: we have fundies down here too.

  80. #80 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    Azkryoth:

    I think this is related to the difference between a theory and a law.

    Hm… so, in that case, ID is a theory, not a law, because it’s attempting to explain something by… as negentropyeater pointed out… not explaining it.

    Hank:

    Inkadu: Write a simulation program that answers questions, but only with “na-na-na-na-na can’t hear you” followed by praise for the Great Programmer.

    I’ll be sure to answer any, “How” questions wtih “The Great Programmer did it!” And I’ll be sure to also add, “If programs write themselves, who wrote the first program?” and “What if God decided to give a soul to the Cylons?”

    And I’m still not getting this redirect, and, frankly, I’m starting to feel left out.

  81. #81 blf
    October 28, 2007

    Probably more off than on topic, but whilst reading some of the entries and links at Skeptics’ Circle #72, I stumbled upon NeWiki (which appears to have existed for about a year and is perhaps old news to everyone but me?):

    Welcome to NeWiki
    If Copernicus or Galileo were alive today, this is where you would find their work.
    The purpose of NeWiki is to provide a place for new knowledge to be written and catalogued that is not allowed by other Wiki’s who do not publish outside of the mainstream. The advance of science even today most often operates without the support or permission of the establishment and often is chastized by it. … blah blah chicken chicken chicken blah chicken …

    It seems to be mostly the work of über-crank David de Hilster, who has a thing about neutrinos (he hates them) and Einstein’s theories (ditto). As you might expect, he has no understanding of either, and seems to compare himself to Galileo (see above).

    All(?) of the so-called “science” is either astronomy or physics. It’s the sort of stupid that burns so hot it melts through the Earth’s crust. Volcanos may suddenly erupt near you.

    Clicking on the “Random Page” link can be fun. Wear proper protective clothing.

  82. #82 raindogzilla
    October 28, 2007

    If we are to call them “Genesists”, who gets to be Phil Collins- assuming that they are post-Peter Gabriel Genesists?

    Seriously, it makes no sense to me. My admittedly lay grasp of science is that it answers the “what”, the “where”, the “when” and the “how”. The “why”(as it relates to the whole schmear) is best dealt with by philosophy and the “who”(if there be a “who” at all) by theology.

    Until such point as the (loosely)hypothesized actions of that “who”(the one the IDiots wait for in that pumpkin field like Linus) rise to the level of the quantifiable(to the level of “how”), they remain merely wishful thinking. Did any of that make sense?

  83. #83 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 28, 2007

    Taylor Kessinger made an excellent article, and the creationists thinks so too considering its splash in the creationist world.

    It is as clear eyed as any I’ve read and contains fresh or freshly stated arguments, no doubt in part as a result on a seemingly solid research. (I doubt I would have the stamina to read both Behe’s books as he claims in the comments, especially with all the tedious errors in biology and biochemistry that has been uncovered. Ouch! :-P)

    The comments from local readers before the creationist attack dogs descended are mostly a happy read as well.

    it has been summarily dismissed.

    I assume this should be read as ‘summarily dismissed because there is no theory or data there’. Because people have looked hard. 😛

    Btw, following the Evolution News & Views links to IDC purported “predictions” is humorous in the context.

    In principle they could make predictions if they describe their vacuous “designer”, but as a matter of faith a creationist must abstain.

    Therefore they have to drag up the erroneous and debunked IC argument, which is neither a unique prediction from “design” nor testable (ad hoc universal negative). And the likewise erroneous and debunked religious anthropic argument, which relies on confusing a posteriori conditional probabilities with a priori unconditional ones, and again is neither a unique prediction nor testable (what exactly is “favorable conditions”).

    Added to this the obvious problem with predicting an imperfect designer (non-robustness of IC) and a perfect designer (the universe made for humans) from the same “theory” isn’t discussed. One get the distinct impression that they don’t mean to be serious.

    To top off the humor they confuse a philosophical claim on testability with scientific usage to try to fuzzify their stumbling tracks.

  84. #84 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 28, 2007

    Taylor Kessinger made an excellent article, and the creationists thinks so too considering its splash in the creationist world.

    It is as clear eyed as any I’ve read and contains fresh or freshly stated arguments, no doubt in part as a result on a seemingly solid research. (I doubt I would have the stamina to read both Behe’s books as he claims in the comments, especially with all the tedious errors in biology and biochemistry that has been uncovered. Ouch! :-P)

    The comments from local readers before the creationist attack dogs descended are mostly a happy read as well.

    it has been summarily dismissed.

    I assume this should be read as ‘summarily dismissed because there is no theory or data there’. Because people have looked hard. 😛

    Btw, following the Evolution News & Views links to IDC purported “predictions” is humorous in the context.

    In principle they could make predictions if they describe their vacuous “designer”, but as a matter of faith a creationist must abstain.

    Therefore they have to drag up the erroneous and debunked IC argument, which is neither a unique prediction from “design” nor testable (ad hoc universal negative). And the likewise erroneous and debunked religious anthropic argument, which relies on confusing a posteriori conditional probabilities with a priori unconditional ones, and again is neither a unique prediction nor testable (what exactly is “favorable conditions”).

    Added to this the obvious problem with predicting an imperfect designer (non-robustness of IC) and a perfect designer (the universe made for humans) from the same “theory” isn’t discussed. One get the distinct impression that they don’t mean to be serious.

    To top off the humor they confuse a philosophical claim on testability with scientific usage to try to fuzzify their stumbling tracks.

  85. #85 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 28, 2007

    CalGeorge:

    I still don’t understand the whole point of ID. … They enjoy the attention. They get paid to do very little other than complain about being oppressed.

    I don’t think we can conflate the purpose of ID, the movement itself, and what the key handlers do.

    The purpose of ID is quite obvious IMO. It is made to deflect facts that bother religious fundamentalists and to empower their views. It is but a part of a series of such attempts that are increasingly more weakened in the hope to pass the social and legal filters that bar specific religions from attempting to subsume education and science under theological power.

    Then we could ask why individuals are so eager to support it. A common speculation is that facts are bothering them because they go against literal reading of religious texts. Or even worse, they expect facts to support them, i.e. they expect that their belief is not faith but Truth.

    wnelson:

    genuinely questioning Darwinism’s viability is a third rail. It just isn’t done.

    What part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism? Because all of these mechanisms constantly questions earlier research.

    As you are obviously a creationists you don’t want to hear this, but there is an obvious analogy between scientific methods, evolutionary mechanisms and markets. The results survive a selection process and have proved sufficient fitness. That the mechanism is so ubiquitous in successful processes speaks well for it.

    And not coincidentally, the peer testing of science is often called “the market of ideas”.

    Carr:

    Has Kessinger seen the film? It is not out yet surely?

    With “hand-picking” we can safely assume Kessinger is referring to the rest of the sentence in your quote-mine:

    Stein’s movie hand-picks out-of-context quotes from evolutionary biologists to make the evolutionary position seem weaker – a multitude of evolutionary scientists appear in the film, and many, including legendary Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins, have complained that they were misled regarding the film’s nature.

    IIRC PZ has noted that he would have criticized creationism and argued differently if he had known the nature of the real film instead of the Potemkin village facade shown to him. Picking out-of-context quotes is a form of handpicking.

    I must congratulate you to the effort to pick an out-of-context quote to discuss the nature of out-of-context quotes. No creationist can aspire to higher standards.

  86. #86 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 28, 2007

    CalGeorge:

    I still don’t understand the whole point of ID. … They enjoy the attention. They get paid to do very little other than complain about being oppressed.

    I don’t think we can conflate the purpose of ID, the movement itself, and what the key handlers do.

    The purpose of ID is quite obvious IMO. It is made to deflect facts that bother religious fundamentalists and to empower their views. It is but a part of a series of such attempts that are increasingly more weakened in the hope to pass the social and legal filters that bar specific religions from attempting to subsume education and science under theological power.

    Then we could ask why individuals are so eager to support it. A common speculation is that facts are bothering them because they go against literal reading of religious texts. Or even worse, they expect facts to support them, i.e. they expect that their belief is not faith but Truth.

    wnelson:

    genuinely questioning Darwinism’s viability is a third rail. It just isn’t done.

    What part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism? Because all of these mechanisms constantly questions earlier research.

    As you are obviously a creationists you don’t want to hear this, but there is an obvious analogy between scientific methods, evolutionary mechanisms and markets. The results survive a selection process and have proved sufficient fitness. That the mechanism is so ubiquitous in successful processes speaks well for it.

    And not coincidentally, the peer testing of science is often called “the market of ideas”.

    Carr:

    Has Kessinger seen the film? It is not out yet surely?

    With “hand-picking” we can safely assume Kessinger is referring to the rest of the sentence in your quote-mine:

    Stein’s movie hand-picks out-of-context quotes from evolutionary biologists to make the evolutionary position seem weaker – a multitude of evolutionary scientists appear in the film, and many, including legendary Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins, have complained that they were misled regarding the film’s nature.

    IIRC PZ has noted that he would have criticized creationism and argued differently if he had known the nature of the real film instead of the Potemkin village facade shown to him. Picking out-of-context quotes is a form of handpicking.

    I must congratulate you to the effort to pick an out-of-context quote to discuss the nature of out-of-context quotes. No creationist can aspire to higher standards.

  87. #87 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 28, 2007

    “theological power” – religious power.

    “What part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism?” – What part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism don’t you understand?

    wnelson:

    Besides the general discussion, I missed that you raised an excellent example. I guess I’m getting too used to creationists erroneous use of terms. My bad.

    [Note to self: Remember to always, always, check creationists texts for quote-mines, pubjacks, wrongly used terminology from other fields, not defined terminology from creationism fields, and logical fallacies.

    Hmm. Maybe one day we will have software support for some of the massive requirements? Searching for the originals on quote-mines, pubjacks and terminology would be feasibly implemented, I think. I for sure would like to have one or two such as Firefox plug-ins!]

    Darwinism, in its proper use as the original theory and/or its mechanism, has been embedded in later evolutionary theories due to the critical nature inherent in the scientific process. (And not all of it survived.)

    One can say that criticism is the defining mechanism of science. Before that we had only descriptive dogma, very much like the nature of religious ideas.

  88. #88 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 28, 2007

    “theological power” – religious power.

    “What part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism?” – What part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism don’t you understand?

    wnelson:

    Besides the general discussion, I missed that you raised an excellent example. I guess I’m getting too used to creationists erroneous use of terms. My bad.

    [Note to self: Remember to always, always, check creationists texts for quote-mines, pubjacks, wrongly used terminology from other fields, not defined terminology from creationism fields, and logical fallacies.

    Hmm. Maybe one day we will have software support for some of the massive requirements? Searching for the originals on quote-mines, pubjacks and terminology would be feasibly implemented, I think. I for sure would like to have one or two such as Firefox plug-ins!]

    Darwinism, in its proper use as the original theory and/or its mechanism, has been embedded in later evolutionary theories due to the critical nature inherent in the scientific process. (And not all of it survived.)

    One can say that criticism is the defining mechanism of science. Before that we had only descriptive dogma, very much like the nature of religious ideas.

  89. #89 Scott Hatfield, OM
    October 28, 2007

    An NFL reference! Who woulda thunk?

  90. #90 David Utidjian
    October 28, 2007

    #23,
    Most of our Physics majors also get, at least a minor in Mathematics because it only requires taking one extra math class beyond that required by the Physics major. Many also take a couple of extra math classes and end up with major in Mathematics in addition to their major in Physics.
    Some Computer Science majors are also either getting a minor in Mathematics and even a dual major with Mathematics.

    We are also seeing students adding Bioinformatics as a major. Some are even triple majoring in Physics, Mathematics and Bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is the trendy new major for the science oriented students. It is a relatively young field and undergrads can still do important original research and get it published. Much harder to do that in Physics and Math. Bioinformatics is also relatively cheap to do research in. You don’t need hardware costing tens of millions (or more) as in Physics.

    -DU-

  91. #91 Marko
    October 28, 2007

    OT: I know, many site owners hate to read things like that, but an Adblock add-on of any kind is always a good idea. I switched back from Firefox/Thunderbird to the SeaMonkey Suite, and Adblock works just fine with all of them on OSX and Linux.

  92. #92 wnelson
    October 28, 2007

    Torbjörn Larsson, et al:

    “What part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism? Because all of these mechanisms constantly questions earlier research.”

    I think this is what kinda bothers me about PZ’s approach, and the approach of this thread. None of you are addressing what the film presumably addresses — that ordinary students, and faculty, and researchers who question the TOE’s viability — get the metaphorical wooden shampoo. Never mind ID, panspermia, YHWE, or the FSM for the moment.

    The TOE has become dogma — regardless of what may or may not take its place — it is now something you may not fundamentally question. And that mantra is being held in place by threats of force. And every single one of you support the use of that force, and the implicit threat of that use, to maintain the status quo.

    That approach has always, always, always proved to be a huge tactical blunder, with repercussions that come back to haunt everyone involved. You should have been happy with “Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish” — but it would appear that academia has panicked for some reason.

    All you guys are going to accomplish is a further fracturing of the culture.

  93. #93 rrt
    October 28, 2007

    Just another quick report of the MalwareAlarm trojan/virus/whatever occurring. Has happened to me with two different computers while viewing Pharyngula comment pages. One PC, one Mac, both with Firefox.

  94. #94 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    If I say that the FSM is pushing everything down at 9.8 m/s^2 with his noodly appendages, is that more scientific than saying, “I don’t know why the apple does that”?

    It would be, if it were possible to test it. But as long as the FSM is ineffable…

    Icthyic — I understand what you mean… but it’s a little tricky to elucidate why “goddidit” isn’t a scientific theory.

    Not at all: it can explain everything and its opposite, means, nothing. It isn’t falsifiable: every conceivable observation and its opposite is consistent with it. It fails to answer the question “If I were wrong, how would I know?”.

  95. #95 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    If I say that the FSM is pushing everything down at 9.8 m/s^2 with his noodly appendages, is that more scientific than saying, “I don’t know why the apple does that”?

    It would be, if it were possible to test it. But as long as the FSM is ineffable…

    Icthyic — I understand what you mean… but it’s a little tricky to elucidate why “goddidit” isn’t a scientific theory.

    Not at all: it can explain everything and its opposite, means, nothing. It isn’t falsifiable: every conceivable observation and its opposite is consistent with it. It fails to answer the question “If I were wrong, how would I know?”.

  96. #96 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    The TOE has become dogma — regardless of what may or may not take its place — it is now something you may not fundamentally question.

    Sure you may. You just must, I repeat must, offer a testable hypothesis as an alternative. That has yet to happen.

    Science is “put up or shut up”, “publish or perish”.

  97. #97 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    The TOE has become dogma — regardless of what may or may not take its place — it is now something you may not fundamentally question.

    Sure you may. You just must, I repeat must, offer a testable hypothesis as an alternative. That has yet to happen.

    Science is “put up or shut up”, “publish or perish”.

  98. #98 raven
    October 28, 2007

    WNELSON Xian Troll lying:

    The TOE has become dogma — regardless of what may or may not take its place — it is now something you may not fundamentally question. And that mantra is being held in place by threats of force. And every single one of you support the use of that force, and the implicit threat of that use, to maintain the status quo.

    More lies from a creo. Evolution has been attacked continually since the day Darwin wrote his book. 150 years. It is attacked daily in the USA by ruthless, amoral, religious fanatics more concerned with their cults than the truth. There exists whole institutes such as the DI, Creation science institute, numerous bible colleges such as BJones, Liberty U., ORoberts etc. whose sole existence is to sit on the side lines and take potshots at science and scientists.

    The result, after 150 years, evolution is a stunning success, well supported by mountains of evidence, and very important in fields like agriculture and medicine. We see it going on around us every day. Evolution only really matters to the average person if you eat and want to live a long, healthy life.

    ID is 200 years old, existing well before Darwin. In 200 years it has acomplished exactly nothing. Just recycling the same old lies and fallacies over and over. In 200 years there isn’t a shred of proof for ID.

    What is this crap about evolution being defended by force? The only force users in the US are Xian terrorists like the army of god who murder MDs and Michael Korn who has threatened to kill an entire biology department in Boulder and even threatened PZ Myers, the owner of this blog.

    What is it about Death cults that makes them just lie continuously? That is the difference between destructive cults and science. Science is the search for truth and the cults are just abnormal, destructive behavior, among the worst that humans can do.

  99. #99 wnelson
    October 28, 2007

    Sure you may. You just must, I repeat must, offer a testable hypothesis as an alternative. That has yet to happen.
    Science is “put up or shut up”, “publish or perish”.
    Posted by: David Marjanovi?

    No, not at all — every schema/paradigm is open to a reexamination of it’s presuppositions. (Unless of course, it’s dogma.)

    At the moment that reexamination is being held at bay by force, and the treat of force.

  100. #100 negentropyeater
    October 28, 2007

    WNELSON,

    you say “The TOE has become dogma”.

    I have a great deal of difficulty to understand what this sentence actually means. If you please could phrase this in a more precise manner, I think we can have a discussion.

    Thanks

  101. #101 Dural
    October 28, 2007

    I know Taylor from the Facebook forums. He does a good job of defending science when he’s there.

  102. #102 raven
    October 28, 2007

    WNELSON lying some more:

    All you guys are going to accomplish is a further fracturing of the culture.

    All you Death cultists will do is destroy the US if you can and ultimately seriously damage the Xian religion. The cults want to overthrow the US government, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the dark ages. They say so often, read the Wedge document and anything by Falwell, Robertson, Rushdooney, Dobson,-the leadership.

    The Death cults with their reliance on murder and lies and their stated agenda of creating hell on earth while destroying the USA is a corrosive acid that I believe will ultimately do some serious damage to the religion. Who wants to associate with voluntarily ignorant, murderous, pathological liars?

    Already seeing a backlash. Rise of militant atheism. Bush the theocratic president is about the most unpopular one ever. Many theocratic politicians have retreated to their public bathrooms for a little R&R. A recent poll by a Xian polling organization, Barna, stated that 49% of the US population is sick of religious fanatics ramming their wacko beliefs down our throats.

    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  103. #103 Sony Worshiper
    October 28, 2007

    “Sony HD. It’s in the DNA”

    I guess the watchmaker hypothesis has just been proven.

    I now pray to the Sony engineers and factory personnel that have sequenced that silicon-based genome.

    Bring on the silicon puppies!

    Oh..and why is the MSM ignoring this incredible discovery?

  104. #104 inkadu
    October 28, 2007

    David:
    Not at all: it can explain everything and its opposite, means, nothing. It isn’t falsifiable: every conceivable observation and its opposite is consistent with it. It fails to answer the question “If I were wrong, how would I know?”.

    Thanks, David. That was very well stated. I might even be able to remember it.

  105. #105 Rey Fox
    October 28, 2007

    Hey Nelson, gimme your lunch money.

  106. #106 Taylor Kessinger
    October 28, 2007

    Wow!

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I’m glad to see my latest piece on the ID debate is well-received.

    To toss my two cents into the “what is science?” debate: My contention has always been that it’s a little faulty to call ID creationism. Why? Creationism makes specific, testable predictions, such as a young age of the earth, evidence for a global flood, a species distributing radiating outward from Mt. Ararat, etc. They just all happen to be wrong. ID doesn’t make any.

    Of course, creationism slips again into the realm of untestability when the creationist counters with things like “God made the earth look older” or “God guided all the marsupials to Australia”.

    CARR: “Has Kessinger seen the film? It is not out yet surely?”

    No, but I’ve read enough blogs from scientists who were misled regarding the subject (as I recall, Myers himself wrote one).

    Regarding the majors: It’s not as common as you think for physics majors to add a math major here. Physics only requires math classes up through vector calc and differential equations. We have specific classes which teach mathematical methods in physics: the emphasis for physics students is different than it is for math students. E.g., a physics student will probably need to know plenty of differential equations-solving methods, a thing or two about special kinds of functions and integral transforms, etc. just to get by.

    Math, on the other hand, has several different tracks one can follow. Some physics students do the “applied” track, some do the “theory” track (the one I’m on) and most don’t pick up a math major at all here.

    Even when the material from a math course and a physics course overlap, the emphasis is very different; e.g., group theory is usually covered both in an abstract algebra class (for math majors) and a math methods class (for physics majors), but in math one has to know a bevy of theorems regarding the order of groups and subgroups of finite groups, isomorphisms between groups, etc., whereas in physics one focuses on infinite groups, their generators, and their irreducible representations.

  107. #107 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    No, not at all — every schema/paradigm is open to a reexamination of it’s presuppositions. (Unless of course, it’s dogma.)

    That’s precisely what I said: put up a testable alternative hypothesis, or shut up.

    If evolution were a dogma, it would be “shut up” only.

    At the moment that reexamination is being held at bay by force, and the treat of force.

    Something tells me you’ve never seen a university from the inside.

    ————–

    Thanks, David. That was very well stated. I might even be able to remember it.

    It won’t surprise you to read that I didn’t invent “if I were wrong, how would I know”. Good ideas are usually stolen (…and that phrase is stolen, too).

  108. #108 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    No, not at all — every schema/paradigm is open to a reexamination of it’s presuppositions. (Unless of course, it’s dogma.)

    That’s precisely what I said: put up a testable alternative hypothesis, or shut up.

    If evolution were a dogma, it would be “shut up” only.

    At the moment that reexamination is being held at bay by force, and the treat of force.

    Something tells me you’ve never seen a university from the inside.

    ————–

    Thanks, David. That was very well stated. I might even be able to remember it.

    It won’t surprise you to read that I didn’t invent “if I were wrong, how would I know”. Good ideas are usually stolen (…and that phrase is stolen, too).

  109. #109 wnelson
    October 28, 2007

    That’s precisely what I said: put up a testable alternative hypothesis, or shut up.
    If evolution were a dogma, it would be “shut up” only.

    Something tells me you’ve never seen a university from the inside.

    Posted by: David Marjanovi?

    No, wrong on both counts.

    A counter argument is irrelevant when pointing out inconsistencies in another schema.

  110. #110 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    OK, then go ahead: point out an inconsistency.

  111. #111 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    OK, then go ahead: point out an inconsistency.

  112. #112 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    Is “W” Nelson related to Paul Nelson, I wonder?

  113. #113 Icthyic
    October 28, 2007

    At the moment that reexamination is being held at bay by force, and the treat of force.

    …says the torch holding mob.

  114. #114 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    None of you are addressing what the film presumably addresses —

    uh, so since you haven’t the slightest clue what the film ACTUALLY addresses, wtf are you going on about?

    did you have some independent evidence of discrimination you would like to share?

    no?

    shocker.

  115. #115 wnelson
    October 28, 2007

    OK, then go ahead: point out an inconsistency.

    I’ll have to demur on that — my point is that in academia, you guys are selling your credibility cheap with the sorts of bullying that _Expelled_ will demonstrate. Contrast that bullying with how the TOE _could_ be stress tested by allowing its problems to be fair game…

    unless, of course, that doesn’t constitute an existential threat for _certain_ people…

    is the only way the TOE is going to grow. No schema is immune from the infamous paradigm shift, however large or small. Root hog, or die.

    To the best of my knowledge I’m not related to Paul Nelson.

  116. #116 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    I’ll have to demur on that

    LOL

    uh huh.

    will demonstrate

    oh? how do you know?

    again, do you have some sort of independent evidence of discrimination you would like to share, or are you just having a ball pulling this out of your ass?

    To the best of my knowledge I’m not related to Paul Nelson.

    do you even know why I suggested it? Hint: it’s not because you share the same last name.

  117. #117 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2007

    is the only way the TOE is going to grow.

    got a clue for ya, pal:

    Astronomy doesn’t need astrology to “grow”.

    get it?

  118. #118 NelC
    October 28, 2007

    WNelson @89:

    The TOE has become dogma — regardless of what may or may not take its place — it is now something you may not fundamentally question. And that mantra is being held in place by threats of force. And every single one of you support the use of that force, and the implicit threat of that use, to maintain the status quo.

    Hold on, what nonsense is this? What threats of force? Who has threatened you, WNelson, and what with? What rampaging gang of evil evolutionists has strung up a IDer for questioning their beliefs? Where are the mobs burning Darwin fish on Christian lawns? Anywhere but your paranoid imagination?

    Never mind presenting proof of Intelligent Design, you lying git; you’ve said something that only escapes being libel by virtue of not naming anybody specific, and I want to see what proof you have for it.

  119. #119 gg
    October 28, 2007

    Ya know, I’m late to the thread, and not really paying attention to the current woo-discussion, but returning to PZ’s original post, my eye was caught by this:

    “I once told a good friend of mine in college about a professor I knew who lost his job over his support of intelligent design.”

    Apparently, the standard of proof of the DI is anecdotal friend-of-a-friend stories — a standard well known to those who believe in “urban legends”.

  120. #120 SteveG
    October 28, 2007

    According to the rhetoric generated by the religious dogma of IDists, it’s “dogma” for scientists to actually expect people who claim that their idea is scientific to engage in actual scientific research to substantiate their idea, to demonstrate that it is in fact scientific. They also consider it the response of “dogmatists” to be duly criticized for not producing the required scientific research. This is a good example of Orwellian newspeak, where IDists twist words to mean whatever they want them to mean.

  121. #121 mrsisk
    October 29, 2007

    Ever since first hearing about ID I’ve believed it should actually be taught at the High School level…taught as the perfect way to explain what the Scientific Method is.

    ID is not a theory, it’s a hypothesis. In order for the hypothesis to become theory and worthy of further scientific research, the predictions of the hypothesis need to be tested.

    So what are the predictions of ID? If all living things were created by an unknown, unknowable intelligence, what would we expect to see in nature? The answer is that ID makes no predictions because the agent of creation they postulate is unknown and unknowable. Therefore, the hypothesis cannot be tested and can never become theory.

    End of story. ID is unapproachable by the scientific study, and therefore has no place in science classes.

    Contrast that to the history of evolutionary theory–including problems that exist in the theory and what is being researched in regards to those problems–and you’ve got an excellent lesson on how the Scientific Method works.

    Now let’s talk about the problems in gravitational theory. There’s a lot that current theory doesn’t explain and I think it might be time to just chuck it in and agree that gravity is nothing more than the Invisible All-Encumpassing Space Otter pressing us all down with its magic Mits of Mass Induction.

  122. #122 DangerousDan
    October 29, 2007

    Posted by wnelson:

    The TOE has become dogma — regardless of what may or may not take its place — it is now something you may not fundamentally question. And that mantra is being held in place by threats of force. And every single one of you support the use of that force, and the implicit threat of that use, to maintain the status quo.

    What force? Machine gunning IDers and creationists in the streets? Never heard of it happening. Beating them with clubs? Same answer. Giving failing grades to ID believing students who hand in papers or tests in biology classes stating something on the lines of “Evolution can’t happen. Life is too complicated to have occurred randomly and therefor it had to be designed.”? Or perhaps using the sharp end of one’s wit to mock the ideas of the IDer? If you call that force, you’ve a different definition than I do. Giving an obstinate IDer a failing grade for failing to demonstrate any understanding of evolution in a class where it is the subject matter is perfectly appropriate, as would be giving failing grades to someone who did his chemistry homework in terms of alchemical philosophy or giving a student of cartography failing grades for insisting that the earth is flat.

    Why do biologists “Believe” in evolution? Why do physicists “Believe” in gravity?

    Because it is far harder to prove that it doesn’t exist than to prove that it does. No one has yet proved that gravity does not exist or that evolution does not occur.

    My short-short description of evolution: Living organisms reproduce, generating living organisms inheriting characteristics from them. Offspring do not always inherit exactly the same set of characteristics as their parent(s). Some organisms have more reproductive success than others, and pass on more of their inheritable characteristics than other individuals with different characteristics. Sexually reproducing organisms cannot or will not reproduce with organisms that have characteristics too different from their own. Repeat while organisms continue to live. Prove that any part of this does not occur and you may have a start at disproving evolution. Of course, as I am trained as an engineer, and not as a biologist, my understanding could be slightly faulty.

    To the evolutionary biologist, or even someone like me, the two principle thrusts of Intelligent Design appear to be 1) bible stories as science or 2) “Life appears too complex to have occurred through natural processes.”
    1) Reading the bible isn’t doing science.
    2) Snowflakes appear to be too complex to have occurred through natural processes, but there is plenty of evidence to support the conclusion that they aren’t too complex to have occurred through natural processes. Life, while far more complex than snowflakes, has had billions of years to develop and there is more than a sufficiency of evidence to support reasoned belief that natural processes are sufficient to explain all known life.

    An argument for Intelligent Design, no matter how beautifully crafted the rhetoric of it is, is useless unless it corresponds to the reality of fossils and living species.

    “I don’t believe it or understand it, and therefore it cannot be true” is not a valid basis for attacking a field of science as large as the Theory Of Evolution.

  123. #123 DAC
    October 29, 2007

    Why do you keep blogging about this movie, PZ? Can’t you see you’re playing right into their hands? Are you on their payroll or what?

  124. #124 secondclass
    October 29, 2007

    Oh, no, they complain — all these people have this horrible misapprehension that ID is only about negative arguments against evolution, or that a designer is needed to fill in the failures of evolution. I think the DI is trying to argue that this isn’t at all true…

    That´s what they argue, except when they´re arguing the opposite.

    Just last week, Rob Crowther was saying:

    To be sure there are shortcomings with Darwinism, the scientific literature of late is full of them. However, intelligent design also provides a robust positive case, and a serious scientific research approach.

    But BarryA, a contributor to UD, claims that a negative case for ¨Darwinisim¨ is a positive case for ID. Here´s Barry a few days ago:

    First, as a general matter, Darwinism and ID are the only two games in town. Evidence disconfirming one necessarily supports the other.

  125. #125 secondclass
    October 29, 2007

    Anika Smith:

    Anyone who cares to ask an actual design proponent will hear a clear definition along the lines of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

    I guess that Ben Stein and Bill O´Reilly aren´t ¨actual¨ design proponents, nor are they true Scotsmen.

    Anika Smith:

    Is that still too ambiguous?

    YES! We´ve been telling you that for years.

    Maybe you should check out some of the peer-reviewed ID research.

    If Anika thinks that this so-called ¨peer-reviewed ID research¨ disambiguates the definition of ID, or sheds any light at all on ID´s claims, then she hasn´t read it.

  126. #126 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 29, 2007

    wnelson:

    The TOE has become dogma

    I’ll ask again, what part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism don’t you understand? Dogma is when something is accepted without criticism. But science needs criticism to work.

    It is really easy to check out how testing and peer review works, so you can’t pretend ignorance as an excuse for not addressing the argument.

    Remember that it was you who made the claim of dogma. Now you need to back it up by explaining how well known and checkable criticism doesn’t count.

  127. #127 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 29, 2007

    wnelson:

    The TOE has become dogma

    I’ll ask again, what part of scientific testing, peer review, and criticism don’t you understand? Dogma is when something is accepted without criticism. But science needs criticism to work.

    It is really easy to check out how testing and peer review works, so you can’t pretend ignorance as an excuse for not addressing the argument.

    Remember that it was you who made the claim of dogma. Now you need to back it up by explaining how well known and checkable criticism doesn’t count.

  128. #128 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 29, 2007

    Taylor Kessinger:

    My contention has always been that it’s a little faulty to call ID creationism.

    I agree that is technically correct, as parts of it overlap with natural explanations. For example, when it is defined so that evolution or similar processes can be “the designer”, or when using the original definition of “irreducible complexity” which is exactly the same as the old evolutionary prediction of interlocking complexity.

    But as soon as they detract such testable formulations (“designer” as “chooser”, or “irreducible complexity”) it becomes IMO the usual untestable religious “design” concept that are used in some variants of creationism. And of course that is its underlying purpose.

    So in other words, it is a mostly correct call. 😛

  129. #129 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 29, 2007

    Taylor Kessinger:

    My contention has always been that it’s a little faulty to call ID creationism.

    I agree that is technically correct, as parts of it overlap with natural explanations. For example, when it is defined so that evolution or similar processes can be “the designer”, or when using the original definition of “irreducible complexity” which is exactly the same as the old evolutionary prediction of interlocking complexity.

    But as soon as they detract such testable formulations (“designer” as “chooser”, or “irreducible complexity”) it becomes IMO the usual untestable religious “design” concept that are used in some variants of creationism. And of course that is its underlying purpose.

    So in other words, it is a mostly correct call. 😛

  130. #130 Keith Douglas
    October 30, 2007

    CalGeorge: I think one has to relativize your question to each ID proponent. For Dembski, what you say seems accurate enough. For P. Johnson, however, I think theocracy is the ultimate goal.

    inkadu: Newton had no idea of the mechanism for gravity. Faraday should take some of the credit for that, because he introduced the notion of a field.

  131. #131 Jason
    November 5, 2007

    Taylor, you make a Wildcat alum (with a math and a philosophy degree to boot!) proud. Good luck in your future endeavours. Keep writing!

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.