Pharyngula

Melanie Phillips is irate. Why? Because Ken Miller says Intelligent Design is nothing but creationism relabeled. Miller is right, Phillips is once again raving in ignorance.

In an item on the growing popularity of Intelligent Design, John Humphrys interviewed Professor Ken Miller of Brown University in the US who spoke on the subject last evening at the Faraday Institute, Cambridge. Humphrys suggested that Intelligent Design might be considered a kind of middle ground between Darwinism and Creationism. Miller agreed but went further, saying that Intelligent Design was

nothing more than an attempt to repackage good old-fashioned Creationism and make it more palatable.

But this is totally untrue. Miller referred to a landmark US court case in 2005, Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District, which did indeed uphold the argument that Intelligent Design was a form of Creationism in its ruling that teaching Intelligent Design violated the constitutional ban against teaching religion in public schools. But the court was simply wrong, doubtless because it had heard muddled testimony from the likes of Prof Miller.

No, the court testimony was crystal clear, and it wasn’t just Miller who demonstrated the fact that Intelligent Design was a false front laid over old-school creationism. The lawyers demonstrated, among other things, that a) the textbook in question had been crudely revamped from a creationist text by simply substituting “design” for “creation” (with revealing errors — anyone remember “cdesign proponentsists“?); b) that the books were bought with money collected by a conservative church, and that the defendants lied about the source; c) that the people who tried to introduce ID into the Dover schools were motivated entirely by their religious goals (Bill Buckingham to the school board: “Nearly 2,000 years ago someone died on a cross for us; shouldn’t we have the courage to stand up for him?”); and d), that the instigators didn’t have the slightest clue what ID was. We can also go directly to the words of the big names in ID, like Bill Dembski (“Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory“) or Phillip Johnson:

I have built an intellectual movement in the universities and churches that we call The Wedge, which is devoted to scholarship and writing that furthers this program of questioning the materialistic basis of science…Now, the way that I see the logic of our movement going is like this. The first thing you understand is that the Darwinian theory isn’t true. It’s falsified by all of the evidence and the logic is terrible. When you realize that, the next question that occurs to you is, well, where might you get the truth?…I start with John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word. In the beginning was intelligence, purpose, and wisdom. The Bible had that right. And the materialist scientists are deluding themselves…

In summary, we have to educate our young people; we have to give them the armor they need. We have to think about how we’re going on the offensive rather than staying on the defensive. And above all, we have to come out to the culture with the view that we are the ones who really stand for freedom of thought. You see, we don’t have to fear freedom of thought because good thinking done in the right way will eventually lead back to the Church, to the truth-the truth that sets people free, even if it goes through a couple of detours on the way. And so we’re the ones that stand for good science, objective reasoning, assumptions on the table, a high level of education, and freedom of conscience to think as we are capable of thinking. That’s what America stands for, and that’s something we stand for, and that’s something the Christian Church and the Christian Gospel stand for-the truth that makes you free. Let’s recapture that, while we’re recapturing America.

Or how about this from Johnson?

My colleagues and I speak of “theistic realism” — or sometimes, “mere creation” –as the defining concept of our movement. This means that we affirm that God is objectively real as Creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology. We avoid the tangled arguments about how or whether to reconcile the Biblical account with the present state of scientific knowledge, because we think these issues can be much more constructively engaged when we have a scientific picture that is not distorted by naturalistic prejudice. If life is not simply matter evolving by natural selection, but is something that had to be designed by a creator who is real, then the nature of that creator, and the possibility of revelation, will become a matter of widespread interest among thoughtful people who are currently being taught that evolutionary science has show God to be a product of the human imagination.

Intelligent Design creationism is all about hiding Jesus under a blanket of pseudoscience and smuggling him into the public schools. Nothing more, nothing less.

Melanie Phillips clearly knows nothing about the case. So what possible reason could she have for claiming ID is distinct from creationism?

Whatever the ramifications of the specific school textbooks under scrutiny in the Kitzmiller/Dover case, the fact is that Intelligent Design not only does not come out of Creationism but stands against it. This is because Creationism comes out of religion while Intelligent Design comes out of science. Creationism, whose proponents are Bible literalists, is a specific doctrine which holds that the earth was literally created in six days. Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists, holds that the complexity of science suggests that there must have been a governing intelligence behind the origin of matter, which could not have developed spontaneously from nothing.

Intelligent Design creationism does not come out of science. The initial founders of the Discovery Institute were lawyers, philosophers, venture capitalists, businessmen, and theologians, with a scarce few recruits who were once scientists, like Michael Behe. Science emerges from evidence, not ideology, and these gomers had none, and still have none. They have a claim that there is a “governing intelligence”, but have shown no evidence for such a being, nor have they even speculated openly about the nature of that intelligence…because when they do, they have to admit that they believe it was the Christian god. Again, without supporting evidence.

This is why Miller is completely correct to say Intelligent Design creationism is “an attempt to repackage good old-fashioned Creationism and make it more palatable”. Overt admission that their ideas are based on religion means they are non-scientific, and gets them excluded from science classes. By lying and concealing their motives, they hope to sneak it in past people who are too stupid to recognize the obvious, or who share similar underhanded motives for denying the truth. I wonder which of those two alternatives best fit Melanie Phillips?

Comments

  1. #1 Gregory Gadow
    April 30, 2009

    Why, do you suppose, do these followers of the One True Way find it necessary to lie so damned much? It is getting to the point where they can’t be bothered to even disguise the lies anymore.

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 30, 2009

    Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists, holds that the complexity of science suggests that there must have been a governing intelligence behind the origin of matter, which could not have developed spontaneously from nothing.

    Sure it suggests it if you are looking for it.

    I wonder if they’ll ever attempt to actually try and back those suggestions with evidence.

    I’d even be happy with a working testable theory.

  3. #3 Notkwok
    April 30, 2009

    I was just wondering where Melanie Phillips went to high school…

  4. #4 Dr.Woody
    April 30, 2009

    “My colleagues and I speak of “theistic realism”…

    “Theistic Realism?”

    My candidate for oxymoron of the Century (so far)…

  5. #5 FastLane
    April 30, 2009

    So who is Melanie Philips and why should we care that she’s balthering about ID?

    I have a few ID YECers that I need to show those last few quotes of hers though.

    Sowing the seeds of love…..

  6. #6 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    Melanie Phillips is irate. Why?

    The sky is big. Why?

  7. #7 Glen Davidson
    April 30, 2009

    djmullen posted this over at UD:

    Phillip E. Johnson disagrees:
    ?Clearing up confusion requires a careful and consistent use of terms.

    In this book, ?creation science? refers to young-earth, six-day special creation.

    ?Creationism? means belief in creation in a more general sense.

    Persons who believe that the earth is billions of years old, and the simple forms of life evolved gradually to become more complex forms including humans, are ?creationists? if they believe that a supernatural Creator not only initiated this process but in some meaningful sense controls it in furtherance of a purpose.

    As we shall see, ?evolution? (in contemporary usage) excludes not just creation-science but creationism in the broad sense.

    By ?Darwinism? I mean fully naturalistic evolution, involving chance mechanisms guided by natural selection.?

    Source: Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial (2nd ed.), Intervarsity Press, p.4 (footnote

    The guy who really formalized ID as a substitute to it, understood “creationism” to definitionally encompass ID.

    More importantly, of course, it comes out of religions with a Creator, and it has no science–no theory, no meaningful hypotheses, not even any specific causes.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  8. #8 willbxtn
    April 30, 2009

    Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist. Everyone from the UK knows that she is, therefore, instantly irate, ill-informed and a bigot. Google “Daily Mail headline generator”, and have a few goes. You’ll get the idea of the intelligence of the average Mail Hack in no time at all.

  9. #9 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2009

    We’re still waiting for the DI to publish a myriad of papers in the peer reviewed literature. Failure to do so means they aren’t scientific. YAWN. Melanie Phillips is just another Liar For JebusTM.

  10. #10 Reginald Selkirk
    April 30, 2009

    Miller referred to a landmark US court case in 2005, Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District, which did indeed uphold the argument that Intelligent Design was a form of Creationism in its ruling that teaching Intelligent Design violated the constitutional ban against teaching religion in public schools. But the court was simply wrong, doubtless because it had heard muddled testimony from the likes of Prof Miller.

    If Phillips has any doubts about the testimony given at the Dover trial, Talk.Origins maintains an archive of all trial documents, including complete transcripts of all testimony. There is no excuse for making **** up when facts are readily available.

  11. #11 Matt H.
    April 30, 2009

    I’d like to second comment #8 by willbxtn.

    The Daily Mail is a far-right rag in the UK, a national embarrassment; and that goes for Melanie Phillips too. Christopher Hitchens’ less intelligent brother Peter Hitchens also writes for it.

  12. #12 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    I suggest that this Phillips person just keep her mouth shut about the subject entirely, as it appears she isn’t informed enough about it to discuss it with any authority*. She doesn’t even get creationism right:

    Creationism, whose proponents are Bible literalists, is a specific doctrine which holds that the earth was literally created in six days.

    Some types of creationists are Biblical literalists; others aren’t. Why should I listen to the opinion of someone who doesn’t appear to at all comprehend the complexity of the topic that she’s ranting about?

    *Someone go give Therion a hug; that one might sting a bit.

  13. #13 Adrian T
    April 30, 2009

    I happen to subscribe to the Spectator – sometimes it has some thoughtful articles. But I am so angry that the magazine has afforded this silly woman to write such ignorant nonsens, I shall be ending my subscription when it comes for renewal.

    Can she get any sillier? The mind boggles.

  14. #14 Glen Davidson
    April 30, 2009

    Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists

    Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly creationists, even under her definition.

    It has rather few scientists, and especially few biologists, with the egregiously mendacious Moonie Jonathan Wells being one of those few.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  15. #15 Holbach
    April 30, 2009

    Ken Miller is correct in stating that intelligent design is nothing but creationism relabled. But this does not erase or mitigate the fact that he believes a god is responsible for the imaginary miasma under what ever name it is called. I give no regard or excuse to his embracement of this nonsense under the guise of science.

  16. #16 Luke
    April 30, 2009

    Actually, biblical creationism is more scientific than intelligent design because it is evidence-based, it proposes testable models and it is falsifiable. None of this applies to ID.

  17. #17 Steven Jenkins
    April 30, 2009

    A minor nit, but Kitzmiller v. Dover was a civil proceeding. There is no “prosecution” in a civil case. “Plaintiffs” is the right word.

  18. #18 Sigmund
    April 30, 2009

    Melanie Phillips is certainly not a liar for Jebus. She’s a jewish right wing ‘journalist’ for the ‘Daily Mail’UK) where she specializes in writing articles about how nasty muslims are, how they breed like vermin, how they can’t be trusted and how they are just about to take over good old British society. She occasionally writes silly pieces about nasty atheists too but her speciality is the ad mohammeden attack.

  19. #19 HenryFord
    April 30, 2009

    Melanie Phillips, of that most esteemed paper of news – The Daily Fascist. Sorry, sorry … The Daily Xenophobe. Shit, wrong again … The Daily Bigot.

    The paper is so full of hatred of anything it finds even remotely uncomfortable that it is difficult to say its name without conjuring up any of its disgusting headlines.

  20. #20 Paul Browne
    April 30, 2009

    Melanie Phillips is one of the worst journalists/commentators currently to be found spewing bile over the British public. She’s been one of the loudest voices against the MMR vaccine, and her grasp of the science of vaccines seems to be every bit as weak as the grasp of evolutionary theory.

    As to Adrian T’s question “Can she get any sillier?”, it’s clear that no matter how difficult this task appears she will without doubt accomplish it. The pity is that her brand of sillyness has probably cost innocent lives.

  21. #21 JD
    April 30, 2009

    BioBogus.

  22. #22 JackC
    April 30, 2009

    That’s kind of dull (in the mental sense) – even for these people.

    JC

  23. #23 Anonymous
    April 30, 2009

    Just so you know PZ,Kitzmiller was a civil lawsuit and therefore there was no prosecutor, rather the party is the plaintiff.

  24. #24 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    Adrian T @13: I am shocked, shocked, to find ignorant wingnuttery in the Spectator. ;)

  25. #25 BlueIndependent
    April 30, 2009

    This post serves as a nice general summary of the case against ID that someone can use to send to others. That the creobots continue to peddle their crap when facts are so easily checkable these days should tell anyone on the fence over this issue who is lying and who is not. I will definitely forward a few people to this one, right before I forward them to the AITCC.

  26. #26 raven
    April 30, 2009

    (Bill Buckingham to the school board: “Nearly 2,000 years ago someone died on a cross for us; shouldn’t we have the courage to stand up for him?”);

    This defending god and jesus strategy has always seemed absurd.

    According to their stories, the last time god was mildly annoyed with humananity, he created ex nihilo miles deep of water, flooded the earth, and killed all but 8 people.

    He once created a whole universe is 6 days and made it look 13.7 billion years old.

    That omniscient, omnipotent theory.

    So why does god need humans to defend him? And not our best, at that. Is he senile, sick, or dying? If so, why call him god? If he has come down to that, Buckingham would be wiser to send him a care package and the name of a good doc.

  27. #27 waldteufel
    April 30, 2009

    A triumvirate of Stupidity: Denyse O’Leary, Melanie Phillips, and Anika Smith.

    The symmetry of it is most satisfying.

  28. #28 Dr.Woody
    April 30, 2009

    Posted by: Luke | April 30, 2009 12:34 PM
    Actually, biblical creationism is more scientific than intelligent design because it is evidence-based, it proposes testable models and it is falsifiable. None of this applies to ID.

    izzis one of the ones PZ lets hang around so we have somebody to pummel occasionally?

  29. #29 James F
    April 30, 2009

    #14

    Glen,

    Wells’ publication record post-Berkeley is a joke. As far as I can tell, the only person associated with ID who is currently publishing biology papers is Scott Minnich – he actually does useful work on Yersinia pestis. If you’re charitable and extend it to any paper from 2004 onward, you can add Lisanne D’Andrea-Winslow, David Keller, Douglas Axe, and (after a 22-year hiatus) Ralph Seelke. And none of them, of course, provided evidence for ID.

  30. #30 raven
    April 30, 2009

    Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists,

    This isn’t true at all, a lie. Intelligent Design proponents are almost universally not scientists but all of them are religious kooks.

  31. #31 Stu
    April 30, 2009

    [ Pre-emptive Libertarian de-railment ]

    Obama bad. Bailout bad. Government bad. Rich people good. Welfare bad. Ayn Rand good.

    Carry on.

  32. #32 Misogyny Police
    April 30, 2009

    A triumvirate of Stupidity: Denyse O’Leary, Melanie Phillips, and Anika Smith. The symmetry of it is most satisfying.

    yer busted

  33. #33 Qwerty
    April 30, 2009

    Melanie Phillips – A British version of Michael Medved. (Or as I call him, Michael Deadhead.)

  34. #34 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    Stu, you said the “L” word. If they do come now, you will be held responsible.

  35. #35 Luke
    April 30, 2009

    #28: I admit that I was laying a little bait there. Note that I didn’t say that biblical creationism was science, that the evidence (the bible) was reliable, that the models worked (flood geology?? lol) or that the theory hadn’t been falsified. I think my point still stands though.

  36. #36 GregB
    April 30, 2009

    Actually, biblical creationism is more scientific than intelligent design because it is evidence-based, it proposes testable models and it is falsifiable.

    If this isn’t just sarcasm then I would LOVE to hear what this testable and falsifiable evidence is. If it is truely testable and falsifiable then I suggest you apply for the JREF challange and win yourself a million dollars.

  37. #37 bybelknap, FCD
    April 30, 2009

    Can’t we call them all “Paleyists” in a denigrating sort of way – how they use “Darwinists” as a pejorative?
    ID is Paleyism in a sun frock and floppy hat.

  38. #38 fcaccin
    April 30, 2009

    Willbxtn (#8):

    ARE THE UNEMPLOYED BURGLING BRITAIN’S SWANS?

    Thanks.

  39. #39 Richard Harris
    April 30, 2009

    …the view that we are the ones who really stand for freedom of thought. You see, we don’t have to fear freedom of thought because good thinking done in the right way will eventually lead back to the Church…

    Well, I guess if you believe in a stupid* Bronze Age myth, then your grasp of logic would enable you to equate free-thinking with adherence to ancient texts of dubious provenance, mis-copied & edited to suit the agenda of the prevailing church hierarchy. What a feckin’ edjit!

    * Stupid applies to these myths now, but to ignorant, superstitious, semi-nomadic goat-herders, they may have had some merit, if only from the point of view of the ruling elite.

  40. #40 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    GregB@36: Literalist bibilical creationism is totally falsifiable; in fact it’s falsified. You can’t get more falsifiable than that. It predicts that there would be no old rocks (or light from distant stars). That can be tested. It has been tested. It isn’t true.

  41. #41 qbsmd
    April 30, 2009

    willbxtn
    Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist. Everyone from the UK knows that she is, therefore, instantly irate, ill-informed and a bigot. Google “Daily Mail headline generator”, and have a few goes. You’ll get the idea of the intelligence of the average Mail Hack in no time at all.

    So, you’re basically describing her writing and the Daily Mail in general as breathtakingly inane?

  42. #42 pdferguson
    April 30, 2009

    This is why I prefer the term creationism over intelligent design, and will not refer to it as ID in discussion. The Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board case clearly demonstrated this rebranding to be nothing but a feeble attempt to legitimize creationism, and to sidestep prior legal losses by the creationists.

    As George Lakoff has written about extensively, the choice of words is extremely important when framing an argument, a fact not lost on those otherwise blithering IDiots. It is incumbent on us not to fall into this trap. Whenever creationists attempt to use the term “intelligent design”, it is worth correcting them and refusing to acknowledge the term as legitimate. It’s creationism, they are creationists, and neither are worthy of the words intelligent or design.

  43. #43 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    bybelknap, FCD: “Paleyist” is way too flattering. Paley proposed studying nature to tell us about God. He was risking traditional Christianity being shown false, which shows he was honest in saying it was true. IDers are distorting nature to fit their existing idea of God. Nothing in their “research programme” can hurt their received assumptions.

  44. #44 RamblinDude
    April 30, 2009

    The surreal makes you a little dizzy, doesn’t it, when these clownish buttnuggets stand up and shout “The truth will set you free!”

  45. #45 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    If this isn’t just sarcasm then I would LOVE to hear what this testable and falsifiable evidence is.

    The Noachian flood story is a testable concept. There should be evidence of this flood in the rock record. It’s absolutely testable.

  46. #46 Gruesome Rob
    April 30, 2009

    If this isn’t just sarcasm then I would LOVE to hear what this testable and falsifiable evidence is.

    He might mean testable claims. There’s those a plenty. Earth was created in 6 days. There was a flood that wiped out most life. Pi is 3. A bat is a bird.

    Those are plenty testable. Nobody said anything about them testing as *valid*

  47. #47 tom
    April 30, 2009

    Sigh…
    In order for an idea to be scientific it must describe AND predict measurements. Any idea that doesn’t do these is not a scientific one (by definition).

    case freaking closed.

  48. #48 R Johnston
    April 30, 2009

    There’s nothing even “warmed-over” about intelligent design. ID is the cold, decaying corpse of creationism.

  49. #49 RM
    April 30, 2009

    Kwok will appreciate Miller being quoted in a nice way.

  50. #50 Qwerty
    April 30, 2009

    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that you look for evidence of a worldwide flood than to say it’s testable?

    Example: Creationist claims that there are fossilized clam shells covering mountaintops are their evidence of Noah’s flood covering the earth.

  51. #51 Celtic_Evolution
    April 30, 2009

    “…but the court was simply wrong.”.

    Ahh… well then… no arguing with that lock-tight argument.

    Surely if asked why, the obvious response would be an equally solid “because I said so”.

  52. #52 inkadu
    April 30, 2009

    Creationism: God created everything with His super powerful magical mightiness, forever leaving His divine stamp on His creation.

    ID: God created everything so subtly that we can’t even notice He’s there. But f you squint into the microscope just right, you will see Him waving.

  53. #53 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    …scientific it must describe AND predict measurements

    All scientific ideas must describe and predict measurements? What? What does this even mean? From where are you sourcing this?

  54. #54 Erin
    April 30, 2009

    I once had to read one of Melanie Phillips’ books for a class on British politics. It takes a fantastic amount of ignorance to make it clear you don’t know what you’re talking about to a reader who also has no real knowledge of the subject matter, but boy howdy, she managed it.

    I’ve still got my copy of Londinistan lying around somewhere, every page absolutely covered in commentary & criticisms pencilled into the margins by me. I actually considered turning that in instead of the paper I was assigned to write…

  55. #55 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that you look for evidence of a worldwide flood than to say it’s testable?

    Not really. The idea itself is testable. You could simply tell me one night, over a nice glass of single malt in a bar, that at some point in the past, you think there was this giant flood that covered the whole earth.

    My response to you could be “Huh…that’s interesting. Let’s go out tomorrow, look at the rocks, and see if we can find any suggestion that you might be right.”

    Bang. Testable.

    If we find rocks than can be explained by a flood, then your idea is supported.
    If we find rocks that a flood cannot explain, then your idea fails.

  56. #56 Anonymous
    April 30, 2009

    It predicts that there would be no old rocks (or light from distant stars). That can be tested. It has been tested. It isn’t true.

    It also predicts that fossils of mammals and dinosaurs should exist in the same rock strata, since all creatures existed together in time. That has been found time and time again to not be the case. Another huge failure.

  57. #57 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    The short story is that the known, testable facts we see in Nature do not point toward the existence of deities. As a matter of fact, they point away. And as we learn more facts, that away vector grows larger in magnitude.

  58. #58 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    It also predicts that fossils of mammals and dinosaurs should exist in the same rock strata

    *pedantic asshole hat on*

    Actually, there are fossil mammals known from Mesozoic-aged rocks, including from dinosaur-bearing sequences.

    *pedantic asshole hat off*

    But the spirit of your comment is right.

  59. #59 siflrock
    April 30, 2009

    Agreed, Holbach (#15)

    My reaction to the story is along the lines of: Whoopee. Miller is right. Now if only he’d abandon his own belief in both creationism and intelligent design.

  60. #60 James F
    April 30, 2009

    Don’t forget that creationism does not begin with observation, unlike any true scientific hypothesis. It begins with presuppositions based upon religion.

  61. #61 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    If we find rocks that a flood cannot explain, then your idea fails.

    Unless the claimant wants to engage in special pleading for a supernatural magical intervention by their god sky-cop to make things look that way as part of a design excuse from reality.

  62. #62 Rob H
    April 30, 2009

    “We can also go directly to the words of the big names in ID, like Bill Dembski”. Too right. Dembski has also drawn people’s attention to “Discovery Institute?s persistent stress on humans being made in the image of God”.

  63. #63 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    It begins with presuppositions based upon religion.

    Hold your horses there partner. Science also begins with presuppositions. Ones that say things like, reality is real, and reality exists outside human experience. I mean come on now let’s be fair.

  64. #64 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    Alex @61–absolutely. They can always go there. And we can thank them for playing.

  65. #65 Rob H
    April 30, 2009

    @inkadu (52).
    I think you got that wrong. It’s more like…

    Creationism: Life and the universe were created by an omnipotent God.

    ID: Life and the universe were designed by an intelligent supernatural entity who for legal reasons we don’t usually explicitly call God.

  66. #66 CGM3
    April 30, 2009

    “It’s falsified by all of the evidence…”

    That statement is breathtaking in its implication: if something is supported by evidence, then it is false. My mind has been thoroughly boggled.

  67. #67 Holbach
    April 30, 2009

    Rob H @ 65

    Your definition is much too verbose and redundant.
    How about this for the simple-minded religionist who wants a simple and yet definitive answer:

    “Everything: Guess who?”

  68. #68 Walton
    April 30, 2009

    Melanie Phillips is an embarrassing idiot. She’s like a female Peter Hitchens but with even less charm.

    Note to Americans: Rest assured, the Daily Mail and its two-bit hacks are not indicative of the average intellectual rigour of the UK political Right.

  69. #69 RBH
    April 30, 2009

    R Johnston wrote

    There’s nothing even “warmed-over” about intelligent design. ID is the cold, decaying corpse of creationism.

    Which is why Philip Kitcher refers to ID as “dead science” and to its proponents as “resurrection men” in Living with Darwin.

  70. #70 numero
    April 30, 2009

    Her previous blog post attacks Richard Dawkins at great length and to no effect. It’s interesting that she takes offence at the accusation of lying for Jesus, pointing out that a nice Jewish girl wouldn’t do such a thing – doesn’t seem to have a problem with being called a liar though.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3571996/the-truth-delusion-of-richard-dawkins.thtml

  71. #71 Quidam
    April 30, 2009

    By lying and concealing their motives, they hope to sneak it in past people who are too stupid to recognize the obvious, or who share similar underhanded motives for denying the truth. I wonder which of those two alternatives best fit Melanie Phillips

    She’s clearly #1. She has vehemently defended and promoted the teaching of Creationism in British Schools

    Emmanuel College in Gateshead is one of the most successful state schools in the country. Its examination results are excellent. Its orderliness is exemplary. Parents are desperate to send their children there, with three applicants for every place.
    Yet now this beacon school is at the centre of a storm. It is being accused of teaching that Darwin?s theory of evolution is only a theory, and that it can and should be challenged by the Biblical story of creation.

    The attack on Emmanuel reveals an alarming intolerance. For what exactly has the school done to attract such opprobrium? It merely teaches creationism, the Biblical story that the world was created in six days ? which some evangelicals interpret metaphorically — in its religious education classes.
    In science, teachers and pupils discuss the gaps that Darwin himself acknowledged in his theory of evolution. There are proposals from some science teachers that creationism might be included for discussion in science classes, but no decision has yet been taken.
    What is wrong with any of that? It is all well within the requirements of the National Curriculum. It is being said that taxpayers? money should not be spent on teaching creationism because this runs contrary to scientific fact.
    But evolution is not a fact. It is a theory with holes in it. What Emmanuel questions in its religion classes, and may question in its science classes, is scientism, the doctrine that says the only questions worth asking are the ones that science can answer.

    Classic Creationist. It quacks like a crocoduck, walks like a crocoduck and smells like a crocoduck.

  72. #72 'Tis Himself
    April 30, 2009

    Note to Americans: Rest assured, the Daily Mail and its two-bit hacks are not indicative of the average intellectual rigour of the UK political Right.

    For British conservative intellectualism we should look at the Daily Torygraph.

  73. #73 varlo
    April 30, 2009

    Come on. Biblical creationism IS testable, as is almost anything else. It HAS been tested, and found to be FALSE>

  74. #74 Qwerty
    April 30, 2009

    Josh @ #55

    Yea, but if you looking for rocks to “test” for a worldwide flood, aren’t you also examining “evidence” for said flood?

    The test you want to do is to examine the Genesis account and see if what it describes is doable. A giant wooden boat that can hold two of all the earth’s creatures. This is testable but creationists would still argue that the animals you think should be on the ark are not the same group he’d think would be on the ark in Noah’s time. (Go to a creation-science website to see what I am talking about. Be warned: You’ll want to gag from the irrational thinking.)

    Which brings up the point of why most evolutionists don’t waste their time arguing with creationists because they don’t accept any evidence that shows their Bible is incorrect regarding Noah’s flood.

  75. #75 Intelligent Designer
    April 30, 2009

    Intelligent Design creationism is all about hiding Jesus under a blanket of pseudoscience and smuggling him into the public schools. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Naturally, I strongly disagree.

  76. #76 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    Positive claims about reality are always testable, they just may not be falsifiable. Claiming that rain always falls up is testable, and falsifiable. Claiming leprechauns are real is only testable, not falsifiable. We can look everywhere, but just because we come up empty doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Positive claims that are falsifiable simply include other already known facts about reality as part of the claim. The reason the leprechaun claim is not falsifiable, is because a leprechaun has no parallel or exemplar in known reality.

    Children even realize this at an early age and will try to use their imaginary friends as a shield to take the blame for something bad the child has done.

  77. #77 Kingasaurus
    April 30, 2009

    I’m frankly baffled by the phenomenon of right-wing Jews who defend Christian fundamentalism.

    Conservative Jews like Phillips, Jeff Jacoby, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Don Feder extol the virtues of Christianity because they often share similar values and modes of thought with the Judaism they themselves follow. But they completely ignore the fact that they are theologically at odds and they both can’t be right. Acting as if the theological differences don’t matter at all (which is the usual pattern with these people), they instead trumpet the virtues of the utility and good consequences of Judeo-Christian “morality”.

    This makes little sense to me, as a deeply religious person’s ultimate concern should be worshipping a god that is really there instead of a god that is a fantasy. But Jews and Christians can’t both be right, and therefore at least one of them is committing a grave theological error. Don’t they give a rat’s ass about that? At all?

  78. #78 Rick R
    April 30, 2009

    #75- “Naturally, I strongly disagree.”

    Why? After all, the Wedge document explicitly states that is their intention.

  79. #79 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    A giant wooden boat that can hold two of all the earth’s creatures.

    Not a lot of boat builders in that location, at that time. Even if there were, it wouldn’t matter, because the alleged ark was a ship not a boat. The amount of craftsmanship, materials knowledge, construction know-how, and man power was well beyond the resources available to ole’ Noah. Furthermore, it’s speculated by some engineers that the craft would barely be able to support its own weight, let alone the stress and strain forces of the dynamic loading conditions on high seas while fully loaded. The thing would simply buckle, split, and float apart like a giant island of lumber.

    The take away is that talking about something like a big ship to carry animals is orders of magnitude removed from the reality of actually building it, and floating it successfully.

  80. #80 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    Yea, but if you looking for rocks to “test” for a worldwide flood, aren’t you also examining “evidence” for said flood?

    I see what you’re getting at, but no. Rocks are only evidence for the flood if they are evidence for the flood. I know that sounds flip, but think about it this way. Granite is a rock that formed from cooling magma. If you’re looking at an exposure of granite, then that exposure is not evidence of an ancient lake. Nor is it evidence of an ancient desert. Nor an ancient river. It’s instead evidence of igneous activity. Similarly, that granite is not evidence for Noah’s flood. It’s instead evidence of igneous activity. Rocks form in specific ways by specific processes. If you’re looking at an exposure of ancient river deposits, then those rocks are evidence of an ancient river; they are not evidence of a worldwide flood.* Unless they want to rely on miracles, the creationists cannot just point at a rock and say that it’s a flood deposit unless they can explain how a flood can generate that rock.

    In my example with you and I leaving the bar to go hunt for evidence of the flood, what I meant was that we would be going out looking for rocks that could have possibly been deposited by receding waters from a global flood. Anything else we find is not evidence for that flood. Even if we let the creationists have their “yeah, but the flood was unlike anything that has happened before or since” they still need to deal with the geology that’s actually there and explain how the flood could have generated those deposits. The flood model needs to explain the rocks we see. All of them.

    *Such deposits could be evidence of rivers draining off the last of the receding flood waters, but if so, they would have to fit into a larger overall sequence of rocks that represented the stuff deposited by that flood water.

  81. #81 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    The test you want to do is to examine the Genesis account and see if what it describes is doable.

    Yes. Agreed. But this is a different test than seeing if there is evidence that the flood happened.

  82. #82 Bjørn Østman
    April 30, 2009

    The initial founders of the Discovery Institute were lawyers, philosophers, venture capitalists, businessmen, and theologians, with a scarce few recruits who were once scientists, like Michael Behe.

    PZ, while I realize that ID originated from ideology, by religious people, I do not agree that that matters in the end. It didn’t matter that Newton was religious, and wanted to discover God’s laws, or whatever. It didn’t matter that Tycho Brahe was an astrologer to the King.

    Science emerges from evidence, not ideology, and these gomers had none, and still have none.

    I do not think it matters where the science emerges from, as long as it is backed by evidence. ID was a stupid idea by people with an ideology, but the crux of the matter is that they have no evidence in their favor, not that they are idealogues.

  83. #83 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    ID was a stupid idea by people with an ideology, but the crux of the matter is that they have no evidence in their favor

    IMHO, I think this is what PZ meant by

    Science emerges from evidence, not ideology

    It’s not whether or not how it matters, it’s just that ideological incubators do not have the environment that fosters good science. They have an agenda that wishes to cherry-pick scientifical ideas that support their ideology, while ignoring others that refute it.

  84. #84 kermit
    April 30, 2009

    Walton@68 “Note to Americans: Rest assured, the Daily Mail and its two-bit hacks are not indicative of the average intellectual rigour of the UK political Right.”

    Thanks for clearing that up. Here in the colonies, that level of intellectual rigor *is typical for our political right.

    Clarification: there once was an intelligent right wing political philosophy here, but it has been driven underground by the loons currently in charge of our Republican Party. Perhaps when it is clear that the Neocons have destroyed Republican respectability, pre-Reagan politics will resurface. Or perhaps the GOP will remain the diminished but pure party of rapacious CEOs and their dittohead minions.

  85. #85 Qwerty
    April 30, 2009

    Talk Origins has my favorite refutation of the global flood. I recomment it to anyone who has any lingering doubts about the validity of a global flood. (See link below.)

    http://talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

    The author has a nice philosophical conclusion which contains VERY rational questions:

    “Does the Flood story indicate an omnipotent God?

    If God is omnipotent, why not kill what He wanted killed directly? Why resort to a roundabout method that requires innumerable additional miracles?
    The whole idea was to rid the wicked people from the world. Did it work?”

  86. #86 Bjørn Østman
    April 30, 2009

    Alex (83), that might be what PZ meant by that, but to Judge Jones the fact that the IDers came from a religious and creationist background mattered in the end. Clearly there is a lot of false pretense there on the side of DI, but for the science it doesn’t/shouldn’t matter.

    (…) Intelligent Design was a false front laid over old-school creationism. The lawyers demonstrated, among other things, that a) the textbook in question had been crudely revamped from a creationist text by simply substituting “design” for “creation” (with revealing errors ? anyone remember “cdesign proponentsists”?); b) that the books were bought with money collected by a conservative church, and that the defendants lied about the source; c) that the people who tried to introduce ID into the Dover schools were motivated entirely by their religious goals (Bill Buckingham to the school board: “Nearly 2,000 years ago someone died on a cross for us; shouldn’t we have the courage to stand up for him?”);

  87. #87 kermit
    April 30, 2009

    kingasaurus “I’m frankly baffled by the phenomenon of right-wing Jews who defend Christian fundamentalism.”

    I think it might be a variant of the Stockholm Syndrome.

  88. #88 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    Note to Americans: Rest assured, the Daily Mail and its two-bit hacks are not indicative of the average intellectual rigour of the UK political Right.

    Not to Walton: Yeah, they are. It’s not indicative of the intellectual rigour of a member of an Oxbridge Conservative Society I’ll grant you but the average self-identified right-winger reads the Mail or the Sun. There’s a reason they sell so many copies.

  89. #89 kevinj
    April 30, 2009

    ah mad mel.
    if she tried the texas sharpshooter approach she would still miss.

  90. #90 kermit
    April 30, 2009

    Qwerty quoting talk.origins “If God is omnipotent, why not kill what He wanted killed directly? Why resort to a roundabout method that requires innumerable additional miracles?
    The whole idea was to rid the wicked people from the world. Did it work?”

    And also to discourage the descendants of the survivors from being wicked. But if that were his purpose, why were there dozens of subsequent miracles to hide the very Flood itself?

  91. #91 'Tis Himself
    April 30, 2009

    I’m frankly baffled by the phenomenon of right-wing Jews who defend Christian fundamentalism.

    Orthodox Jews and some Conservative Jews* are Biblical literalists, i.e., YEC.

    *Conservative Jews are half way between Orthodox and Reformed Jews. The conservative label refers to religious views, not political ones.

  92. #92 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    Why resort to a roundabout method…

    Because shooting balls of fire from his eyes and lightning bolts from his ass is a bit unbelievable.

  93. #93 Coemgen
    April 30, 2009

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Melanie Phillips. She is a renowned right wing loonie in a renowned right wing loonie “newspaper” and regularly comes up with such half-baked tosh.

  94. #94 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    In comment #85, Qwerty cited:

    If God is omnipotent, why not kill what He wanted killed directly?

    Indeed. Isn’t this one of the truly great questions related to the flood story? Why use such a cumbersome fucking method of dealing with your creation?

  95. #95 Barney
    April 30, 2009

    The lawyers demonstrated, among other things, that a) the textbook in question had been crudely revamped from a creationist text by simply substituting “design” for “creation” (with revealing errors ? anyone remember “cdesign proponentsists”?)

    Melanie Phillips clearly knows nothing about the case. So what possible reason could she have for claiming ID is distinct from creationism?

    Oh, she knows about the substitution – because Prof. Miller told us about it in the interview (“fire up Microsoft Word, do a Find and Replace, and paste the word ‘designer’ over ‘creator’” was how he put it; you can listen to the interview here; at least he calls his differences with Prof. Dawkins “an honest disagreement”). But it’s typical of Phillips to leave her readers ignorant of a bit of evidence.

  96. #96 chancelikely
    April 30, 2009

    Shorter version:

    Evolution: Right.

    Creationism: Wrong.

    ID: Not Even Wrong.

  97. #97 James F
    April 30, 2009

    Alex #63

    Hold your horses there partner. Science also begins with presuppositions. Ones that say things like, reality is real, and reality exists outside human experience. I mean come on now let’s be fair

    Ah, true. It depends heavily on whether you’re plugged into the Matrix or not at the time you make the observation.

  98. #98 Ineffable
    April 30, 2009

    I always noticed a double standard in the Darwinism/ID debate.
    People always try to point out the religious motivations of ID proponents (let us leave aside the fact that several proponents of ID are atheist/agnostic) however when people point out the anti-religious motivations of Darwinists like Richard Dawkins and PZ and statements from them about how Darwinism promotes atheism they try to deny that evolution promotes atheism and secular humanism.
    I think if they say evolution is religious because some of their proponents have religious statements, we should should Darwinism is anti-religion because Dawkins,PZ…et al make anti-religion satements.

  99. #99 Quidam
    April 30, 2009

    Before you even start looking for ‘flood evidence’ the model needs to explain the already known evidence. Flood geology has never been able to explain the key evidence that dispelled it in the first place – faunal succession. Flood geology was disproved at the birth of geology as a science.

    Building an ark and populating it with animals is an irrelevant experiment whether successful or not. Even if successful it has no bearing on the reality of a Noachian Flood.

  100. #100 raven
    April 30, 2009

    But Jews and Christians can’t both be right, and therefore at least one of them is committing a grave theological error. Don’t they give a rat’s ass about that? At all?

    Naw. A lot of current religion is all about identity politics, in groups versus out groups.

    More is just about politics. God is a Theothuglican, and jesus hates universal health care.

    This is all mixed in with the utility aspects of xianity and conservative judaism. You get to ball up all your hate, fear, paranoia, and bigotry and use religion as the cover for expressing it in a semi socially acceptable manner. Jesus hates all the things you hate.

  101. #101 Owlmirror
    April 30, 2009

    Un-eff-able/Failsilliest:

    I always noticed a double standard in the Darwinism/ID debate.

    Which is totally unlike the double standard of presuppositionalist apologetics, right?

    Dude, you’ve been stalking reading this blog for how long now? And you haven’t learned anything.

    What does Darwinism even mean?

    People always try to point out the religious motivations of ID proponents (let us leave aside the fact that several proponents of ID are atheist/agnostic) however when people point out the anti-religious motivations of Darwinists like Richard Dawkins and PZ and statements from them about how Darwinism promotes atheism they try to deny that evolution promotes atheism and secular humanism.

    What is “Darwinism” and how does it “promote” atheism? How does “evolution” promote atheism and secular humanism?

    I think if they say evolution is religious because some of their proponents have religious statements, we should should Darwinism is anti-religion because Dawkins,PZ…et al make anti-religion satements.

    This isn’t even grammatical, let alone logically coherent. Try again.

  102. #102 CJO
    April 30, 2009

    Isn’t this one of the truly great questions related to the flood story? Why use such a cumbersome fucking method of dealing with your creation?

    Half of it, the so-called J text, was written well before monotheism and the concept of omnipotence. Yahweh was just a local sky god. All he really could do was make it rain.

    The other half, the P text, (you have to pull them apart, since the redactor interleaved the verses to make it superficially appear to be a single story) seems to recognize this tension, and adds on the covenant with Noah signified by the rainbow, perhaps to add a more cosmic, less parochial tone to the whole thing.

  103. #103 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    Darwinism?

    That term is simply rhetoric used to inaccurately color the discussion. No one is a follower or worshipper of Darwin. Darwin had some revolutionary ideas that, after 150 years of scrutiny and testing, became the foundation of the Theory of Evolution. Calling it Darwinism tries to over simplify and trivialize its standing as a collection of observable and testable facts. That’s what a scientific Theory is. So if the frame of reference is that of the ToE being a scientific one, then I would agree that the scientific method poses great (unanswered) challenges to the veracity of religious notions about magical beings and unfalsifiable claims.

  104. #104 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2009

    Ineffable is a dunderheaded godbot. Until you can understand the lack of a need for imaginary deities and fictional holy book and dogma by science, you don’t understand this blog.
    Darwinism is words used by the religiousdelusional to pretend evolution is religion. Just another falsehood by the Liars for Jebus?.

  105. #105 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 30, 2009

    I always noticed a double standard in the Darwinism/ID debate.
    People always try to point out the religious motivations of ID proponents (let us leave aside the fact that several proponents of ID are atheist/agnostic) however when people point out the anti-religious motivations of Darwinists like Richard Dawkins and PZ and statements from them about how Darwinism promotes atheism they try to deny that evolution promotes atheism and secular humanism.
    I think if they say evolution is religious because some of their proponents have religious statements, we should should Darwinism is anti-religion because Dawkins,PZ…et al make anti-religion satements.

    One big giant difference.

    Empirically based evidence

    ToE – totally backed by all existing empirical evidence on the subject.

    ID – exactly zero empirical evidence. They don’t even have a working testable theory.

    The “Dawkins et al cabal” and related ilk are working from the existing evidence as part what they claim of supports questioning the idea of the supernatural.

    The ID supporters and subsequent whiners, are working backwards from their preconceived notion of there being a god, and usually the Christian god, to try and prop up their unsupported idea by being really poor researchers focusing on trying to poke holes in the ToE instead of working to gather evidence and actual science to support ID.

  106. #106 Owlmirror
    April 30, 2009

    Qwerty quoting talk.origins “If God is omnipotent, why not kill what He wanted killed directly? Why resort to a roundabout method that requires innumerable additional miracles?
    The whole idea was to rid the wicked people from the world. Did it work?”

    And also to discourage the descendants of the survivors from being wicked. But if that were his purpose, why were there dozens of subsequent miracles to hide the very Flood itself?

    That reminds me of something that I wanted to point out to Alan Clarke/RogerS, when they were spouting their pathetic failures of sanity about the Global Flood, including their total failure to account for the theodicy of the Flood.

    Genesis 6 has verses that rather vaguely accuse humanity:

    6:5 mentions that the “wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”, and 6:11 says “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.”

    But Genesis 8:21, where God vows not to kill the Earth again, doesn’t say anything different from those verses: “man?s heart is evil from his youth”… but now God has decided not to kill them all again, rather arbitrarily.

    The logical inference is that humans are no different after the flood than they were before the flood. God murdered the world… for nothing.

    Oh, and if humans are born evil, and humans were created in God’s image, then there’s another logical inference that can be made…

  107. #107 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    What amazes me about the religious is that they don’t see that science starts with simple unassuming observations, and tries to work its way to a solution that explains them. It does this by marking everything it learns as tentative, and able to be revised in light of new information. Religion starts with the answer, which is immovable, and cherry-picks from realty facts that support the presupposed answer, while ignoring the facts that confound it.

    There is no value or virtue in presupposing an immovable answer that is only there to bring comfort. This is not an opinion, this is a demonstrable fact. When was the last time religious methodology has cured a disease, grown crops in barren lands, or put a satellite into orbit? The answer is never.

  108. #108 Marcus Ranum
    April 30, 2009

    Creationism, whose proponents are Bible literalists, is a specific doctrine which holds that the earth was literally created in six days.

    This looks like more of the squirrelling around and attempting to redefine ‘religious’ and ‘creationism’ to separate the mild kooks (deists) from the moderate kooks (theistic evolutionists) and the extreme kooks (young earth creationists). Generally, I’m in favor of letting your enemy divide so they can be conquered in detail but I’m concerned that, with the faithful, it’s just going to become a mass of woo that they can arbitrarily put anyplace on a continuum from some zen-ish cryptic bullshit to the god of moses with the bushy beard, depending on who they’re talking to. “Oh, I’m a theist but not a creationist…” “I believe there is a god but I’m not religious…” Basically, different ways of saying “I believe a bunch of bollocks but please don’t laugh at me.”

  109. #109 Marcus Ranum
    April 30, 2009

    Rev BDC writes:
    ToE – totally backed by all existing empirical evidence on the subject

    Minor nit: it’s not contradicted by any known existing empirical evidence. I’m not sure that’s exactly the same thing, but it lets us have multiple contradicting theories extending from our current state of knowledge and, as long as none of them contradict reality, we can say “it’s an OK theory but we don’t know yet” and still talk about it.

    If religion were a theory, I think we’d have to say it’s been horribly patched and remains fatally flawed unless you pare it back to such a small claim (e.g.: deism) that it’s pretty silly.

  110. #110 Watchman
    April 30, 2009

    Ineff:

    People always try to point out the religious motivations of ID proponents

    As well they should. The Discovery Institute’s infamous Wedge Document outlines and explicitly religious agenda that has little to do with science other than an intent to undermine it. Intelligent Design “theory” itself has nothing overt to say about religion per se. The fact that it also has nothing to say about science, coupled with the stated religious motives of the majority of its proponents, makes it primarily a religious movement.

    As for evolution, it doesn’t “promote” anything religious or irreligious. The most one can claim is this: An understanding of the fact and theory of it may lead a person away from their favorite creation myth, which may in turn lead them to question other claims their religion makes.

    However, this doesn’t mean your comparison is valid. It’s a false equivalence. The Discovery Institute has a religious agenda. Even if we remove the Discovery Institute from consideration, ID is ultimately a religious venture, because it always boils down to this: biological evolution as described by the ToE is impossible, therefore it was all part of a grand design implemented by some higher power.

    And how did that higher power come into being?

  111. #111 'Tis Himself
    April 30, 2009

    let us leave aside the fact that several proponents of ID are atheist/agnostic

    But let’s not ignore the fact that the VAST majority of IDers are fundamentalist Christians trying to push their creationism under another name.

  112. #112 pdferguson
    April 30, 2009

    (let us leave aside the fact that several proponents of ID are atheist/agnostic)

    Where the fuck did you come up with this particular IDiocy? And just because you did doesn’t automagically make it a “fact”. Facts are based in reality, something you seem to have a very tenuous grasp of.

    Of course, I could be bashing you unfairly. Perhaps you can cite a source to back up your bizarro claim.

    We await your response with bated breath…

  113. #113 Kel
    April 30, 2009

    Do they really expect that scientists have been living under a rock? Come on, this is just downright dishonest. shhhh we’re trying to trick the evolutionists – they are too stupid to recognise God’s creation so it should be easy!!!

  114. Minor nit: it’s not contradicted by any known existing empirical evidence.

    Yes very true Marcus.

    Replace that with what I said.

  115. #115 Owlmirror
    April 30, 2009

    Charlie Wagner appears to be an agnostic anti-evolutionist. He doesn’t particularly like or dislike the idea of God; he appears to favor a Hoyle-like eternal universe. He is a classic kook; a crackpot.

    David Berlinski has claimed to be an agnostic anti-evolutionist. I don’t know if he really believes in “ID” or not. I think there is evidence in support of him being more of a post-modernist intellectual whore.

    There are probably others as well.

  116. #116 Qwerty
    April 30, 2009

    Owlmirror – Ditto on your description of Berlinski as “a post-modernist intellectual whore.”

    He seemed overjoyed when parading his knowledge in Expelled.

  117. #117 Piltdown Man
    April 30, 2009

    Kingasaurus @ 77:

    I’m frankly baffled by the phenomenon of right-wing Jews who defend Christian fundamentalism.
    Conservative Jews like Phillips, Jeff Jacoby, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Don Feder extol the virtues of Christianity because they often share similar values and modes of thought with the Judaism they themselves follow. But they completely ignore the fact that they are theologically at odds and they both can’t be right. Acting as if the theological differences don’t matter at all (which is the usual pattern with these people), they instead trumpet the virtues of the utility and good consequences of Judeo-Christian “morality”.
    This makes little sense to me, as a deeply religious person’s ultimate concern should be worshipping a god that is really there instead of a god that is a fantasy. But Jews and Christians can’t both be right, and therefore at least one of them is committing a grave theological error. Don’t they give a rat’s ass about that? At all?

    Partly it’s ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ syndrome. They’re both afraid of the Mohammedans.

    Also, a lot of US evangelicals adhere to a weird dispensationalist theology that holds the Jews are still God’s chosen people and the State of Israel exists in fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews.

    The Jews regard them with justified contempt but see them as useful allies of Israel.

  118. #118 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    If I remember correctly, during the Dover trial one of the defendants for ID admitted that they wanted to change the very definition of science to include supernatural causation. This would allow notions (I refuse to call it a theory, and IMO it’s not even a hypothesis) like ID into science class (along with astrology and phrenology among others).

    I think that might be an interesting exercise. Put together a committee of nationally accredited and recognized dignitaries from all the fields of science and ID. The purpose of this committee would be to redefine science to include supernatural causation. This of course would mean that a working definition of supernatural causation would have to be formulated and agreed upon so that it may be applied correctly during scientific inquiry.

    I posit that a coherent working definition of supernatural causation that can be applied to observations in very technical and specific ways does not exist. It would be comical to see ID proponents twist and flail while the scientific community gracefully says to them – “and what did you expect?”. Then they all acknowledge that it was a big set up.

  119. #119 pdferguson
    April 30, 2009

    Owlmirror@115: Being anti-evolution isn’t the same thing as being a creationist, although it’s not clear what you actually believe if you reject both modern science and Bronze Age mythology. As you say, about all that’s left is crockpottery…

  120. #120 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    Before you even start looking for ‘flood evidence’ the model needs to explain the already known evidence.

    Now that we have the flood model, yes, it needs to explain the geology that we see (the known evidence). But just as an example of a testable idea, you could postulate the notion of a global flood based on very limited evidence (e.g., after having looked at a single exposure, say), and then go searching for more evidence to support or refute the idea. Or, you could postulate it on a simple whim, in a bar, based on no evidence at all. The idea, at that time, would still be testable. You don’t have any evidence, but that doesn’t matter. You can hunt for some. The idea is testable.

    Flood geology has never been able to explain the key evidence that dispelled it in the first place – faunal succession. Flood geology was disproved at the birth of geology as a science.

    Indeed. It’s actually pretty dramatic how little the flood model does explain. It’s basically nothing. It just absolutely fucking fails to address the geology that we see. Shit, even when we find flood deposits, they don’t support the Noahian idea. Many delugeonists say that the vast majority of Earth’s sedimentary veneer is the result of the flood. That means that these guys have to explain it all. The whole fucking column. They have to explain how the flood waters deposited not just, for example, this little flood sandstone that we’ve found here in this road cut, but also the river channel gravel which is sitting right on top of it, as well as the ancient soil horizon that developed on top of those channel sediments. Uh oh. Methinks Charlie Delugeonist has a wee bit of a problem to solve.

    And of course it’s even worse than that. Part of how we determine* that a deposit (say in an ancient river system) is the result of flood deposition, is by identifying the signs of where the flood waters, that created the bed we’re looking at, dropped off in energy near the end of the event. This is done in part by looking for a change in grain size/sedimentary structures near the top of the package of sediment in question. So let’s say we’re looking at a tabular bed of sandstone and we’ve identified it as being a flood deposit. What this often means is that we’ve just identified a place where deposition…slowed and stopped for a bit.

    And where exactly was this massive, we’re higher than fucking Everest pile of flood water hanging out then?

    oops.

    Yup. That’s a nice robust little hypothesis you’ve got there, guys. Good luck with that.

    *Because of course not every tabular mud or sand is a fucking flood horizon, another point that’s lost on them.

  121. #121 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2009

    wouldn’t Raelians be considered non-theistic ID supporters?

    If so, IMO it suggests that there is some pyschological factor underlying the specific social constructions (religion or “aliens” or whatever) that is at least in part to blame for the inception of ID (and the maintenance of creationism itself, in all its forms).

    religion, being the wonderful enabler of irrationality that it is, deserves as much blame as anything, and ID certainly fits best with creationism (hence why Pandas and People was written I’d guess) but there are indeed exceptions that point to an underlying pyscopathology unrelated to religion itself.

    I’ve commonly likened it to there being a pre-disposition in some towards addictive behavior, and alcohol is a wonderful enabler of addictive behavior.

    er, not that I’m proposing we do away with alcohol, mind you.
    :P

  122. #122 Alex
    April 30, 2009

    …and alcohol is a wonderful enabler of addictive behavior.

    Oh, why Ichthyic, whatever do you mean?

  123. #123 Qwerty
    April 30, 2009

    Josh – delugeonists – Great work for those who believe in a global flood.

  124. #124 pdferguson
    April 30, 2009

    I’ve commonly likened it to there being a pre-disposition in some towards addictive behavior, and alcohol is a wonderful enabler of addictive behavior.

    I agree, there does appear to be a pre-disposition in many towards the explicit denial of rationalism, rejecting it in favor of a comfortable fantasy world (after all, what could be more comfortable than spending eternity in heaven?)

    As with alcoholism, I can understand the addictive nature of this behavior, even though I can’t understand the behavior itself. Those who are susceptible to anti-rational thinking have been ruthlessly exploited by religions for millennia. Remember, there’s a reason Alcoholics Anonymous employs religion; it’s easier to substitute one addiction for another than it is to overcome an addiction.

    As Marx put it, religion really is the opiate of the masses.

  125. #125 Kseniya
    April 30, 2009

    Remember, there’s a reason Alcoholics Anonymous employs religion; it’s easier to substitute one addiction for another than it is to overcome an addiction.

    Have you ever actually been to an AA meeting? There’s a lot of skirting around “the God thing” these days. The problem with substitution in AA is not that it turns agnostic drunks into sober religionists, but that it sometimes turns alcohol addicts into AA addicts, with or without the extra helping of God.

  126. #126 Josh
    April 30, 2009

    Josh – delugeonists – Great work for those who believe in a global flood.

    Isn’t it terrific? I wish I’d thought of it. This little gem, however, a Wowbagger original:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/science_of_watchmen.php#comment-1515597

    But of course I spelled it frickin’ wrong above…

    delugionist.

  127. #127 raven
    April 30, 2009

    David Berlinski has claimed to be an agnostic anti-evolutionist. I don’t know if he really believes in “ID” or not. I think there is evidence in support of him being more of a post-modernist intellectual whore.

    Berlinkski thinks you should pay attention to him and buy his books. Some of these guys are just attention whores who make their living off of it.

    Berlinski supposedly thinks both ID and evolution are wrong. He has yet to propse his groundbreaking replacement. He also describes himself as a crackpot.

    It doesn’t take much to realize that crackpots are irrelevant. Science runs on data, not kookery.

  128. #128 raven
    April 30, 2009

    wouldn’t Raelians be considered non-theistic ID supporters?

    Sure. But it doesn’t help.

    Who designed the UFO aliens? Or did they evolve?

    The UFO aliens just puts the question back a step or three.

  129. #129 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 30, 2009

    “If God is omnipotent, why not kill what He wanted killed directly? Why resort to a roundabout method that requires innumerable additional miracles? ”

    ‘Cause den i’d ‘ave ‘is fingerprints all over it, wu’nit? ‘E ‘ad ta make it look like an accident di’n ‘e?”

  130. #130 James F
    April 30, 2009

    Alex #118,

    That was Michael Behe.

    pdferguson #112 and others,

    I think the number of “atheist/agnostic” cdesign proponentsists associated with the DI can be counted on one hand. Robert Crowther calls himself a “libertarian agnostic.” Berlinksi is a self-described agnostic; Steve Fuller, a “secular humanist” according to teh wikis. Can anyone think of others?

  131. #131 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    April 30, 2009

    Alex @ 107:

    When was the last time religious methodology has cured a disease, grown crops in barren lands, or put a satellite into orbit? The answer is never.

    True. True. But if you were an Irishman, you could point out that after the catastrophic embarrassment of Vanguard I’s explosion on the launching pad on network TV on Dec. 2, 1957, Vanguard II was successfully launched on St. Patrick’s Day, 1958. It’s also the oldest manmade object still in orbit.

    But I’m only half Irish, so I won’t

  132. #132 Hap
    April 30, 2009

    C’mon, ID isn’t even warmed-over creation, unless it’s been in the sun and you eat it shortly before or after sunset. It’s creationism left out to rot for about twenty years or so, with the proportionate intellectual and nutritive value. With the plethora of fingerprints left on it by the intellectual powerhouses at DI, ID can’t be construed as anything but creationism with a bag over its head, which, alas, doesn’t render it any smarter or less ugly. The lack of testable hypotheses and of actual research is the “moral backbone” of ID, which makes an interesting contrast with its advocates’ moral (*cough*) and intellectual (*cough*) rigidity. It does, however, have utility as a McGuffin in that vocal support of ID is an effective method for intellectual vacuums to self-identify.

  133. #133 Qwerty
    April 30, 2009

    PZ calls Intelligent Design “warmed-over creationism.”

    I prefer to think of it as “camouflaged creationism”. If any non-believer looks it’s: NO! NO! God may not be the designer. But when selling Intelligent Design or showing the movie Expelled, then: YES! YES! God is the designer.

    It’s obvious they are trying to get God into the schools via the back door.

    Pathetic.

  134. Steve Fuller, a “secular humanist” according to teh wikis

    Now that is funny.

  135. #135 defaithed
    May 1, 2009

    Intelligent Design is Creationism with flame decals.

  136. #136 Michael Hawkins
    May 1, 2009

    Too bad Miller is just one of the New Creationists: everything can be explain by science!…almost!

  137. #137 Lilly de Lure
    May 1, 2009

    Being anti-evolution isn’t the same thing as being a creationist, although it’s not clear what you actually believe if you reject both modern science and Bronze Age mythology. As you say, about all that’s left is crockpottery…

    Or puffed-up self importance mascarading as mental masturbation as per Steve Fuller’s erm . . . interesting performance decaffeinated coffee advert at the Kitzmiller trial.

  138. #138 Tom Morris
    May 1, 2009

    It gives me great pleasure to recite to you what William Dembski, the Isaac Newton of information theory, had to say about Intelligent Design in 2001:

    Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory

    But, of course, we all know that intelligent design has nothing at all to do with religion or Christianity or the Bible.

  139. #139 John Haile
    May 1, 2009

    Melanie Phillips is an utter embarrassment to me as a fellow Brit. This woman’s screeds in the Daily Mail have always been utter trash, I had no idea that a ‘respectable’ magazine such as The Spectator was giving her column space.
    She is an evolution denier, a Global Warming denier and she is even against the MMR jabs. I have left a strongly worded message on the Spectator site and will draft an e-mail to her later on today to call her out on her outright lies. People like this make me SO angry.
    On the plus side, it is good to see the majority of comments on the site are basically calling her an insane liar and Mr John A Davison has even made an appearance, spouting all his usual bullshit.

  140. Intelligent Design is Creationism with flame decals.

    My favorite still is

    Intelligent Design is Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo

  141. #141 Harry Varty
    May 1, 2009

    Melanie Philips also appears on a radio programme called The Moral Maze. This article, revealing her to be a religious kook, probably explains her views on morality are at odds with those of decent people.

  142. #142 Sam C
    May 1, 2009

    The Very Reverend Chimp at #134:

    Steve Fuller, a “secular humanist” according to teh wikis

    Now that is funny.

    Steve Fuller (he doesn’t use the second part of his double-barrelled surname, Schitt) is I think better described as an anti-social anti-scientist.

    He’s not even a know-nothing.

  143. #143 Roger Stanyard
    May 1, 2009

    James F suggests that Steve Fuller is a secular humanist.

    As far as we can make out at the British Centre for Science Education, he has now become a fully fledged young earth creationist.

    He also appears to be active in the YEC organisation, Truth in Science.

    He’s also on record in his latest book in stating that Judge John Jones was incompetent because he was a Lutheran that didn’t go to church every Sunday.

  144. #144 Roger Stanyard
    May 1, 2009

    Additional info on Melanie Phillips. She holds no more than a first degree and it is in a subject about as far from science as sone can get – English.

    In fact she is idiotic when it comes to science. This is the very same Melanie Phillips that ran a Daily mail campaign claiming that MMR jabs cause autism.

    As the government’s chief scientist later pointed out, this campaign led to the death of between 50-100 children in the UK.

    Phillips apologise? Forget it. She dismissed the slaughter, stating that she was only doing her job as a reporter. Pity she didn’t point out that she has now understanding of the subject she reports on.

  145. #145 Alex Deam
    May 1, 2009

    Agree with my fellow Brits about this vile woman.

    She is basically our Ann Coulter.

    And the Daily Mail is our Fox News. Our papers and our tv news are seemingly the opposite to yours. Our tv news is more neutral than yours, but our newspapers are more partisan than yours. This is mainly because the newspaper industry is a self-regulated industry for the most part over here.

    Note to Americans: Rest assured, the Daily Mail and its two-bit hacks are not indicative of the average intellectual rigour of the UK political Right.

    This is coming from Walton? Who recently compared democracy to slavery? LOL!

  146. #146 astrounit
    May 1, 2009

    Creationism and Intelligent Design: well, you know, it kind of is and at the same time it isn’t the same thing.

    The trick, of course, is to keep the latter publicly aimed at upstart evilutionist liberal environmentalist scientists, and the former privately within the fold of those who are obessed with moving the world with Righteousness.

    For any single individual, a life devoted to lying is pretty damned hard to keep up.

    But when a Great Strategic Mind like Phillip Johnson (evidently an expert in craft of personal lying) has the audacious hubris to think that lying can be conducted on a vast scale composing millions of people, he has to come up with rubric that can help “explain” to them HOW to “think”:

    “Now, the way that I see the logic of our movement going is like this. The first thing you understand is that the Darwinian theory isn’t true. It’s falsified by all of the evidence and the logic is terrible. When you realize that, the next question that occurs to you is, well, where might you get the truth?…”

    He’s literally giving people a recipe – a “program” – for how to run through their thinking. He’s doing their “thinking” FOR them. It is no coincidence that the rubric of explanation he employs bears a striking resemblance to that of his religion.

    In his own words you can HEAR his thinking processes which are devoted to strategic lying.

    Academically it would be amusing if it wasn’t made so serious by the fact that so many people must readily listen such lies to promulgate it.

    He pushes all the necessary buttons:

    When you realize that, the next question that occurs to you is, well, where might you get the truth?…I start with John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word. In the beginning was intelligence, purpose, and wisdom. The Bible had that right. And the materialist scientists are deluding themselves…In summary, we have to educate our young people; we have to give them the armor they need. We have to think about how we’re going on the offensive rather than staying on the defensive. And above all, we have to come out to the culture with the view that we are the ones who really stand for freedom of thought. You see, we don’t have to fear freedom of thought because good thinking done in the right way will eventually lead back to the Church, to the truth-the truth that sets people free, even if it goes through a couple of detours on the way. And so we’re the ones that stand for good science, objective reasoning, assumptions on the table, a high level of education, and freedom of conscience to think as we are capable of thinking. That’s what America stands for, and that’s something we stand for, and that’s something the Christian Church and the Christian Gospel stand for-the truth that makes you free. Let’s recapture that, while we’re recapturing America.”

    This ASSHOLE LIAR wants to “capture America”. This sonuvabitch wants to to go on the offensive. He wants to capture young people by “educating” them. He wants to indoctrinate American culture into HIS version of “freedom of thought” . Never mind he’s proposed a recipe/program for lying – the LIE IS that he is in possession of the “truth”. That the end of it.

    He wants to monopolize the very concepts of “freedom of thought”, “good thinking” (HIS version, of course), “truth that sets people free” – again, HIS version, and “even if it goes through a few detours on the way”, which is as good as an admission that lying okay as any.

    This miserable liar wants to “stand for good science, objective reasoning, assumptions on the table, a high level of education, and freedom of conscience to think as we are capable of thinking” because he wants to CAPTURE science in order to further his LYING agenda, for without capture there can be no CONTROL.

    Of course, he also does what all “patriotic” and God-fearing liars do best: he must proclaim an intimate connection between an ancient book of towering irrelevancy, inconsistency and hypocrisy with the foundation of the democracy that is the United States of America, a society that was founded PRIMARILY on the principles of checks and balances, which SHOULD be able, in every case, to resist the predatory overtures of assholes, liars and con-artists to rework it into something it isn’t, never was, and never will be…unless they managed to throw away that “goddamned piece of paper” called the Constitution, which in startlingly vibrant and brilliant brevity beats the crap out of anything the Bible, both olde and new testaments, WHICHEVER of the thousands of versions one may cleave to, ever once so much as hint at.

    If the United States of America ever became a “Christian” or any other religious nation, it wouldn’t be “America” any more. Certainly not on the basis of that goddamned piece of paper.

  147. #147 James F
    May 1, 2009

    Roger Stanyard #143

    James F suggests that Steve Fuller is a secular humanist.
    As far as we can make out at the British Centre for Science Education, he has now become a fully fledged young earth creationist.
    He also appears to be active in the YEC organisation, Truth in Science.
    He’s also on record in his latest book in stating that Judge John Jones was incompetent because he was a Lutheran that didn’t go to church every Sunday.

    Thanks for the information. This is why I take Wikipedia with a grain of salt; their citation was from 2006 and the relativists tend to be coy about their beliefs. We’ve got Robert Crowther on record calling himself a “libertarian agnostic.” so that one is a safe bet.

    I also find it interesting that David Berlinski argued the “theist, pro-ID” side in a recent debate with Lawrence Krauss, Denis Alexander, and Bradley Monton in Fort Worth, Texas.

    From the link, I suppose I can add Monton to the mix, although he’s making the same nonsensical relativist argument:

    I don’t quite know what to make of Dr. Monton. He is a philosopher at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an atheist. And yet, he seems to be the Discovery Institute’s flavor of the month because he’s pro-ID. Well… not actually. Just like Berlinski, at no point in the debate did he ever actually argue for intelligent design. In fact, he stated quite plainly that the current arguments used by ID advocates are awful and ineffective, and he was interested in trying to develop better arguments for them to use in the future.

  148. #148 Alt Numlock
    May 1, 2009

    And the never-ending atheist circle-jerk continues…

  149. And the never-ending atheist circle-jerk continues…

    And the never-ending line drive by trolls with nothing to say continues.

  150. #150 OneHandClapping
    May 1, 2009

    Alt Numlock

    And the never-ending atheist circle-jerk continues…

    Well that is a well reasoned argument there, I am certainly glad you took the time off from praying to post something so insightful.

  151. #151 Watchman
    May 1, 2009

    Intelligent Design is Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo

    I think an even more accurate characterization would be this:

    Intelligent Design is Creationism in a stolen labcoat.

  152. #152 CJO
    May 1, 2009

    Thanks, numbnuts! You brought the lube, right?

  153. #153 phantomreader42
    May 1, 2009

    Watchman @ #151:

    Intelligent Design is Creationism in a stolen labcoat.

    A soiled one, snatched from a dumpster, full of holes and reeking.

  154. #154 astrounit
    May 1, 2009

    Alex Dean #145 says, “She is basically our Ann Coulter. And the Daily Mail is our Fox News. Our papers and our tv news are seemingly the opposite to yours. Our tv news is more neutral than yours, but our newspapers are more partisan than yours. This is mainly because the newspaper industry is a self-regulated industry for the most part over here.”

    Spot on.

    As far as Ann Coulter, for quite some time now she’s been the Republican answer to the Scarlet Pimpernel, taking good care of the “aristiocrats” (= WEALTHY Republicans)…except evidently not even Leslie Howard’s spectacular performance of a fop could fool people as readily as she’s able to…

    For those who are enamoured over Coulter (and have, you know, in your fantasies masturbated over her as an exceptional mistress of propriety and whatever feminine pulchritude you see in her) you must admit that it is barely possible that she is, instead, a man.

    She sort of reminds me of Joan Crawford without the looks.

  155. #155 Ineffable
    May 1, 2009

    “Darwinism is words used by the religiousdelusional to pretend evolution is religion. Just another falsehood by the Liars for Jebus?.”
    A quick search of the postings of some prominent Darwinist bloggers shows that you are wrong.
    For example Jerry Coyne.

    “The pro-religion stance of the NCSE is offensive and unnecessary ?… it dilutes their mission of spreading Darwinism,”
    Read the whole post here
    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/truckling-to-the-faithful-a-spoonful-of-jesus-helps-darwin-go-down/

    Proponents of evolution call their own theory Darwinism. And one thing I never got. People never call themselves “Keplerists” or “Newtonists” when they talk about their scientific theories. Nobody tries to spread “Newtonism”. But People label it “Darwinism” like you would label “Marxism” or “Leninism” or any ideology that people spread.
    It is clear they are not defending a theory but their own ideology.

  156. #156 CJO
    May 1, 2009

    Nobody tries to spread “Newtonism”.

    You might reflect that the godbotherers aren’t trying to suppress Newtonian physics, and so it seems to “spread” just fine on its own. Without the backlash, what gets called Darwinism would indeed be just another successful scientific theory and would never have acquired the -ism.

  157. #157 phantomreader42
    May 1, 2009

    Ineffable, do you have the slightest speck of evidence for your imaginary god? Anything, anything at all, to support your asinine claims that two pages of mythology trumps mountains of evidence and centuries of work by countless biologists?

    No? Didn’t think you would.

    Creationists flee in abject terror from the very idea of evidence. Evidence makes baby Jeebus cry.

    If you had the facts on your side, any facts at all, you wouldn’t be playing bullshit word games and babbling about “darwinism”. You’d be showing your EVIDENCE. But we all know you don’t have any.

    Quit whining about vast conspiracies to sap and impurify your precious bodily fluids, quit trying to hide your dogma behind dishonest redefintions, quit lying through your teeth. If you want your delusions to be taken seriously as science, then get off your fat stupid ass and do some damn SCIENCE! Put up or shut up. Find evidence to support your claims, or go fuck yourself.

  158. Proponents of evolution call their own theory Darwinism. And one thing I never got. People never call themselves “Keplerists” or “Newtonists” when they talk about their scientific theories. Nobody tries to spread “Newtonism”. But People label it “Darwinism” like you would label “Marxism” or “Leninism” or any ideology that people spread.
    It is clear they are not defending a theory but their own ideology.

    Oh yes of course it is so very very clear. Because some choose to use the term Darwinism it means they are engaging in some dogmatic defense.

    Screw all the empiricism that backs the theory and the constant attack it is under from those who seek to promote a real form of dogmatism.

    If you add as ism to anything then it automatically negates the vast evidentiary backing of said thing and immediately means you are being dogmatic.

  159. #159 Alex Deam
    May 1, 2009

    Proponents of evolution call their own theory Darwinism. And one thing I never got. People never call themselves “Keplerists” or “Newtonists” when they talk about their scientific theories. Nobody tries to spread “Newtonism”. But People label it “Darwinism” like you would label “Marxism” or “Leninism” or any ideology that people spread.
    It is clear they are not defending a theory but their own ideology.

    This is bullcrap. For starters, no physicist goes around saying “I’m a Newtonian” because Newton’s ideas have been disproved (and are only useful now as very good approximations at the macroscopic level), whereas Darwin’s ideas haven’t been disproved, merely improved upon. Darwin was biology’s Einstein, not its Newton.

    There are many examples of areas in science that are named after their founder:

    Newtonian mechanics
    Lagrangian mechanics
    Hamiltonian mechanics

    The word “Einsteinian” and “Maxwellian” is sometimes bandied about.

    Genetics talks about Mendelian inheritance.

    I assume that people who talk about “Ohmic resistors” are taking an ideological stand?

    The idea that “ideologies” are only named after people is utter crap. Unless of course you care to introduce me to Mr Liberal and Mr Conservative.

    And the idea that ideologies are the only things named after people is also a brain dead theory.

    Faraday’s Law?
    Planck’s constant?
    Avogadro’s number?
    Hawking radiation?
    Higgs Boson?

    I could go on.

    Those are not ideological positions. The fact is that, whether it’s scientific concepts such as Darwinism, philosophical ideas like Platonic realism, or political positions such as Marxism, ideas, whatever their nature, tend to get named after the person who came up with them. Or else I assume Halley’s comet is just an ideological position too?

  160. #160 CJO
    May 1, 2009

    I should amend that somewhat. “Social Darwinism” would probably have arisen regardless of religious opposition to the theory proper. But it highlights another difference between Darwin’s theory and Newtonian physics: Evolution actually impinges on human social concerns obviously enough that an ideology can coherently claim to be based on or inspired by it (whether credibly or not), whereas Physics is sufficiently abstract and mathematical as to not have any direct relevance to the kind of concerns that call for ideological treatement.

    This is not to capitulate to Ineffible’s Expelled-grade insinuations, and agree that ideology comes first in the Darwin wars, only to explain that the fact that some have and do construct an ideology and claim to put the science at the center has more to do with the subject matter and the implications than the value or utility of the theory on purely scientific terms.

  161. #161 Ken Cope
    May 1, 2009

    @Ineffable (Ineffable because nobody would eff it with a rented dick)
    A quick search of the postings of some prominent Darwinist bloggers shows that you are wrong.

    Clueless and dishonest. The fact that some sensible people like Coyne can fall into the misuse of a word frequently thrown at them (and get corrected and asked not to use such a word in the comments right away) by the likes of stupid FCCs like Ineffable does not suddenly negate the meaning of the word. Coyne, PZ, NoROM nor anybody else with a brain accepts the fact of evolution because we worship Darwin, or that science is merely some fungible ideology as barren of content as the one peddled by the godbots.

    Proponents of evolution call their own theory Darwinism.

    Do a google search on The Modern Synthesis and get back to us when you can behave with any honesty or intelligence, or at least respect the intelligence of those you’re only here to insult.

  162. #162 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2009

    I see Ineffable is as stupid as ever. Darwinism is not used much outside of the UK to describe anything other than Darwin’s own ideas, which have been supplant by 150 years of research in biology, genetics, geology, radiochemistry, DNA, evo-devo, etc., and are now call “modern synthesis”, or just plain evolution. But then, to consider that, he might actually have to learn some science, and learn that science does not deify anyone. There is a difference between respect and deification, but I suspect such a simple concept cannot be understood by the ignorants like Ineffable.

  163. #163 Walton
    May 1, 2009

    The idea that “ideologies” are only named after people is utter crap. Unless of course you care to introduce me to Mr Liberal and Mr Conservative.

    Leslie Liberal and Carl Conservative, of course.

  164. #164 Owlmirror
    May 1, 2009

    [Some] Proponents of evolution call their own theory Darwinism.

    And many other proponents of evolution would really rather they didn’t. Because, dammit, Darwin was not the prophet of evolution; we know he was wrong about the mechanics of heredity; and modern evolutionary biology has moved beyond Darwin.

    What part of that do you not understand?

    “The pro-religion stance of the NCSE is offensive and unnecessary ?… it dilutes their mission of spreading Darwinism,”

    And it’s pretty clear what Coyne means here; “Darwinism” is shorthand. So if instead of “spreading Darwinism”, Coyne had written “spreading the understanding of modern evolutionary biology”, would it have made any difference in meaning whatsoever, other than being longer (and, I think, less likely to feed into religion-based paranoia such as you obviously demonstrate)?

    It is clear they are not defending a theory but their own ideology.

    What is the ideology of “Darwinism”, other than the evidence-based science of modern evolutionary biology?

    Come on. You’re so terrified of it. Define what it is you fear.

  165. #165 Glen Davidson
    May 1, 2009

    For example Jerry Coyne.

    “The pro-religion stance of the NCSE is offensive and unnecessary ?… it dilutes their mission of spreading Darwinism,”

    Yes, and plenty of people faulted him for it, too.

    Why, moron, did he title his book “Why Evolution is True,” instead of “Why Darwinism is true”? You ignore the bulk of his writings, and focus on the one slip that suits your violently dishonest purpose.

    And one thing I never got. People never call themselves “Keplerists” or “Newtonists” when they talk about their scientific theories. Nobody tries to spread “Newtonism”.

    The fact is that the special cases of physics covered by Newton are indeed often called “Newtonian physics,” because it is far more convenient than listing off the special cases.

    Nobody tries to spread Newtonianism because dickheads like yourself don’t hate that science.

    The fact is that “Darwinism” is a term that has considerable historical usage, both as “Darwinism” and as “neo-Darwinism,” much as “Lamarckism” has been used. It’s because these are shorthand terms for broad theories, which are not readily encapsulated by descriptive terms like “relativity” and “quantum mechanics” can be.

    But even without blithering and blathering chowderheads like yourself trying to make much of little, the term “Darwinism” has indeed tended to fade out (not as much in the UK), simply because evolutionary theory today covers so much more than Darwin ever attempted.

    It is clear they are not defending a theory but their own ideology.

    It is clear that you’re a mindless quote-miner who cares not in the least about the actual issues involved, but would rather use a quote-mine to prop up your own ridiculous fantasies. This becomes all the more easy to do because you only have to project your own ideological/theological prejudices onto others, unencumbered by any knowledge of the other side and how it really thinks.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  166. #166 strange gods before me
    May 1, 2009

    Leslie Liberal and Carl Conservative, of course.

    And Walton Whig.

  167. #167 strange gods before me
    May 1, 2009

    For those who are enamoured over Coulter (and have, you know, in your fantasies masturbated over her as an exceptional mistress of propriety and whatever feminine pulchritude you see in her) you must admit that it is barely possible that she is, instead, a man.

    Delightful. A dash of transphobia was just what this thread needed.

  168. #168 Glen Davidson
    May 1, 2009

    The fact is that the special cases of physics

    More correctly, “special cases of physics and approximations thereof

    By the way, in a certain sense, we are indeed promoting Newtonian physics when we promote evolutionary theory, mainly because evolution is what brings life into the understanding of physics. By and large, life can be approximately understood according to classical mechanics, apart from the chemistry, that is.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  169. #169 Alex Deam
    May 1, 2009

    Glen see this: http://xkcd.com/435/

  170. #170 James F
    May 1, 2009

    #169

    I like the cartoon, but I’ve never heard a fellow biologist refer to psychology as “applied biology.”

  171. #171 'Tis Himself
    May 1, 2009

    Darwinism would be a reasonable name for the study of natural selection. However, since the creationists and their alter egos, the IDers, have turned Darwinism into a negative, pejorative word, it’s not used by evolutionists.

  172. #172 strange gods before me
    May 1, 2009

    Darwinism would be a reasonable name for the study of natural selection.

    I don’t know about that. Darwin was wrong about many details. When we talk about Newtonian physics, we are limiting the discussion to a certain pre-relativity, pre-quantum paradigm. I would expect Darwinism to refer to Darwin’s ideas, including those we have abandoned and moved beyond.

  173. #173 Anonymous
    May 2, 2009

    “Intelligent Design is warmed-over creationism”

    This is seriously the biggest no brainer of the century. The f*cked up thing is that I have dealt with Rob Koons personally (who is on the DI board of directors) because he is a graduate advisor in philosophy at Univ. of Texas. Sucks.

  174. #174 Brian
    May 2, 2009

    Well the thread is mostly dead now, but I’d still like to add that the Rational Wiki article on Dembski was one of the most refreshingly hilarious articles I’ve read in a while.

  175. #175 ted
    May 15, 2009

    Melanie Phillps has responded, at least to Little Green Footballs, and she is still wrong. My take doesn’t fit here, so click on the URL link to see it, if you are interested.

    http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2009/05/melanie-phillips-is-still-wrong.html

  176. #176 https://me.yahoo.com/a/F3.ERjBvmvB4kXIY4T9Ssq6Bg.R1UnM-#cf450
    February 15, 2010

    #53 Josh said:
    All scientific ideas must describe and predict measurements?
    What? What does this even mean? From where are you sourcing this?

    Good question Josh. If you don’t know what I mean you should probably not be posting so much on a science blog, seeing as you don’t know what it is you’re discussing.

    Science consists of data (which comes in the form of measurements), and ‘ideas’(hypotheses, theories… which describe the known body of data and then make predictions about unexplored bodies of data). An experiment happens whenever you test a theory to see exactly how good it’s predictions are. If a theory makes no predictions you can’t test it.

    So yes, Josh, All scientific ideas must describe and predict measurements. We can then immediately throw out all ideas that make no predictions (or make such vague predictions that a test is impossible). So say goodbye to religion and intelligent design and astrology.

    The theory of evolution for example predicts that separate specimens of the same fossilized species will yield the same age when dated. You can test this prediction by going out and digging up some fossils and dating them. (this will be the first dating you’ve done in a while Josh).

  177. #177 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 15, 2010

    You’re picking on the wrong person.

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