Actually, I wrote that last post partly because I wanted to comment on this one, from David Klinghoffer. He likens the plight of TNRs former staff to the situation of ID proponents:
I identify with TNR's ex-staff, too, in a more fundamental way. In the evolution controversy, it's supporters of intelligent design who stand for ideas (disagree with us or not) and idealism. We've paid a heavy price for that. No one has ever gone into the field of ID in search of career security. By contrast, whatever the merits of Darwinian theory as science, its advocates often seem to be a cynical lot, too comfortable in the role of bully, short on respect for ideas and debate, more interested in punishing and silencing than in arguing.
Promoting ID is only a burden if you seek employment in an environment where facts matter and people know what they are talking about. If instead you have any facility at all for public speaking, and feel no shame about lying to lay audiences, then your career prospects improve considerably.
To anyone outside the ID bubble, the notion that it is the ID folks who stand for ideas, while Darwinists prefer bullying, is too absurd to respond to. ID rhetoric is all about bullying and lack of respect. In Among the Creationists I describe the situation like this:
A scientist confronting ID sees first a collection of scientific and philosophical claims that are flatly erroneous in all of their major points. Upon investigating further he notes much that smacks of propaganda, but far less in the way of measured and reasoned discussion. If he is at all prominent in areas of interest to creationists, he can expect to find his words misquoted, his ideas distorted, his theories caricatured, and his integrity impugned. This, mind you, from people endlessly claiming God's blessing for their project. If the scientist protests, say by pointing out the thinness of ID's arguments, he gets accused of fomenting atheist propaganda and of existing in a state of massive cognitive dissonance. He is called a dogmatist. He and his colleagues are likened to the Mafia.
And when they are done hurling their invective, distortions, and misquotations, the ID folks turn around and accuse scientists of being arrogant.
Where I come from we call that chutzpah.
Klinghoffer is here engaging in a practice that is very common among right-wingers. They present themselves as supremely principled and fearless, daring to take on society's sacred cows with courage and intelligence. When operating in this mode there is no insult too crass, no slur too dishonest, and no argument too divorced from reality that they won't put it forward. But as soon as they get the slightest pushback, say a harsh review of one of their books, they turn on a dime. Suddenly it's all crying and moaning about how put-upon they are and how mean their opponents are and about how, doggone it, they just want to have a calm, measured discussion.
Back in 2011 I wrote a post declaring ID to be dead. Nothing has happened since to make me question that judgment. I argued that the problem wasn't so much the Kitzmiller verdict, though that certainly didn't help. Rather, the problem was the utter vacuity and repetitiveness of their arguments. At one time there was a discussion to be had, but that time has passed. ID folks aren't saying anything today they haven't been saying for twenty years. Scientists have responded in detail, sometimes at book length, to all of their arguments. The fact is that in the nineties, when the ID folks were putting out their foundational books, scientists took it all very seriously. Virtually every scientific journal reviewed Behe's Darwin's Black Box, for example. Klinghoffer is just sore that the verdict among qualified people was unanimously negative.
The ID folks still put out a book from time to time, but nowadays scientists just yawn at them. Come up with something new, and we can resume the conversation. But if you're just banging on about the Cambrian explosion one more time, or if you're presenting ever more cartoonish misunderstandings of the second law of thermodynamics, or if you're talking still more twaddle about the immateriality of information, then don't blame scientists for finding you an unstimulating conversation partner.
I'll leave you with the latest example of how things are going for the ID folks. Here's a blog post by Michael Behe, claiming that new results published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences vindicated a major part of the argument he made in his book The Edge of Evolution. And here he is in courageous right-winger mode, taunting his critics to back up their arguments with actual numbers. Within the ID bubble, where you can be sure most people will lack the interest or qualifications to read a paper published in PNAS, I'm sure it was very impressive. Everyone outside the bubble, however, knew precisely what was coming next. Here's Ken Miller explaining the reality of the situation:
Suppose you published a book making a set of very specific claims. Then, after highly critical reviews of your book are published in major scientific journals, an international research team publishes a detailed study in the Proceedings of the National Academy (PNAS) on the very system that was the focus of your book. Great news? Well, maybe, except for one little problem. That research paper shows, in great detail, why the claims at the heart of your book were wrong. Do you walk away quietly, hoping no one notices?
Not if you’re Michael Behe. Instead, you declare victory, tell everyone who will listen that the research actually vindicates you, and then get your friends at the Discovery Institute to demand apologies from those who had criticized your book. In the strange world of “intelligent design” (ID), that’s how things seem to work. When new scientific findings support evolution, the ID crowd tries to spin things around by pretending they actually contradict it. They’ve done this before, and they’ll probably do it again.
I've written this brief web posting to explain, in detail, why the ID arguments are wrong. Far from confirming Behe's claims about the evolution of complex features, the new research actually shows why these claims fail.
A prominent ID writer grossly distorting the work of other scientists. So typical. So familiar. So boring.
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I can't understand how Behe continues to have a job in a legitimate university, tenure notwithstanding. He consistently demonstrates a complete disregard for the basic principles of science.
Klinghoffer's advocacy of ID is tiresome and predictable - but then, so is Klinghoffer. He really isn't conversant with consensual reality and like the evangelicals with whom he works at The Discovery Institute, he's operating at the developmental level of a child. Consequently, he becomes defensive and lashes out when his belief system is challenged.
If only they would allow comments.
Of course they can't allow comments. Evilutionists like MF and me immediately would go out to derail any sensible discussion! By providing correct definitions and presenting hard facts, I mean. IDiots can't have that.
Btw Cornelius Hunter allows comments.
Jeffrey Shallit does a fine job pointing out how dead ID is:
"that's 1/8th of a paper per member of the editorial team."
Where I come from, "intelligent design" is supposed to mean "good engineering."
It would be acceptable if the IDers made only a religious claim, in the manner of the mainstream Christian denominations that affirm the theory of evolution, and then state as a matter of faith, that the workings of nature are expressions of the deity. That of course is an untestable claim, but it does not purport to be science, any more than a piece of music or a painting purports to be science. We can accept art as art, without logical or empirical contradiction.
The central problem here is that a particular sect of Christianity in America, with a plurality of the national population onboard, is seeking "dominion," the imposition of its will upon the entire society, regardless of the will of others. Keyword search "dominionism" and read up; talk2action.org is a particularly good source for serious journalism on the subject.
We, rationalists and empiricists, would do well to take our fight to that root cause: dominionism and the desire by some to impose their will on all. Doing so would lay bare the terms of conflict and cause our adversaries to react in a manner that would ultimately cost them all credibility with the public.
In the end, trying to argue over ID is, at best, seeking to treat a symptom rather than a cure the underlying disease. Dominionism is the underlying disease that we should seek to cure.
G hit the nail on the head. I grew up in the Rushdoony, Gary North, Thoburn press days and this is EXACTLY what they want to do. The ultimate goal is a theocracy in America.
Since accepted legitimizing institutions reject them, they created parallel institutions to gain public acceptance. They want to chip away slowly and one day wake up in a theocracy.
I'm still amazed that Behe put all his eggs in an argument that Plasmodium couldn't naturally evolve chloroquine residence.
Even if it had a solid basis, the argument isn't going to sell among laypeople because (1) microbes developing drug resistance is normally considered so reasonable and well-established that creationists are forced to dismiss it as mere "micro-evolution", and (2) the unavoidable implication is that the designer actually went out of its way to keep Plasmodium alive, and by extension to kill people using malaria.
Re. Pedr @ 6: Yes, exactly; and everyone here would be well advised to keyword search the names "Rushdoony" (who is the "intellectual father of dominionism") and Gary North (who married Rushdoony's daughter and is another of the primary authors of dominionist writings). Rushdoony's most influential writing is the book _Institutes of Biblical Law_, a thick tome that sets out the dominionist program in detail. Gary North has a book online that you can download free, so that would be a good place to start.
Yes, these people are "bat s--- crazy" as we say, but their influence can't be overstated. It pays to know at least the rough outlines of their positions, in order to know what we're up against, and be prepared to spot it and fight it wherever it comes up.
Re. Lenoxus @ 7: That's a good and compact arguement against ID: "One of two things is true: either Plasmodium evolved on its own, or the deity deliberately intervened to kill people using malaria."
But what I'm saying here is that arguing against ID should only be the lead-in to arguing against dominionism. For example, "In the end, it's a free society and people are free to believe what they want to believe. What we take issue with is that a particular sect is trying to impose its own beliefs on others, and that's contrary to the principles of a free society."
Box the dominionists into the corner where they are forced to admit that their goal is theocracy. That's how to expose them and make them fail.
Whatever claim to a scientific reputation that Behe once had, it was destroyed by his preposterous testimony under cross examination at the Dover trial. Behe is a textbook example of someone who started out as a productive scientist but for whatever reason degenerated into a nutcase. Most scientists who follow this recipe are somewhat advanced in age before the transition (e.g. Linus Pauling, J. Allen Hynek, William Shockley). Behe was still a young man, like Brian Josephson, when his degeneration occurred.l
If you disagree with the proponents of ID, who suspect god's existence from clues, signs, patterns and coincidences so perfect that it kicks you out of your atheist worldview, you might consider the possibility that you may not be really capable of seeing every single phenomenon that might be out there. And there is also a possibility that your cognitive bias can prevent you from observing and seeing things for what they are. Evolutionists, at least some, have a tendency to get cruel towards those, who fail to see evolution, but it could be due to the same reason evolutionists fail to see more phenomena in our universe than ID proponents do. And, plus, there are people who claim to have witnessed other phenomena as well. It's up to you to believe them or not. And there is always this - just because you haven't witnessed something yourself, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and it doesn't happen to other people. Think of crime, for instance.
And then again, the question still remains - do we need to see the truth, and what is the benefit of it, and could it be possible that our phyche protects us from seeing it in case each of us cannot handle it for one reason or another.
Also, nobody really needs to prove anything to anyone. Jason Rosenhous, among many, can easily live with what he knows and is capable of observing in this world, and not being able to make him see something you see, is not really that crucial...especially, if it takes too much effort. Knowing the truth may be not that necessary. No offense, Jason.
How many words did you just use to say absolutely nothing
Thank you; you saved me the trouble. I'll merely add this:
Evolutionists, at least some, have a tendency to get cruel towards those, who fail to see evolution, but it could be due to the same reason evolutionists fail to see more phenomena in our universe than ID proponents do.
Or it could be because creationists, who in this culture are almost invariably conservative Christians, take lascivious pleasure in telling others they're going to hell.
How many words did you just use to say absolutely nothing?
The question is would you trust revelation to convict yourself or someone else of a crime? yes or no? Please let us know Kilnon.
Bullying is all you have left to do.
Well, we'll all be in hell soon enough. That should afford you no end of pleasure.
You forgot to answer the question. Do you trust revelation enough to allow it to be use in a trial? Yes or no?
ID proponents are neither creationists nor conservative Christians. ID, in a nutshell, sees beyond what the scientific method allows to detect, which is observable patterns, bizarre coincidences and clues that form an extra dimension to this world that any truth seeking person would hesitate easily brushing off, as if only what they know constitutes the whole truth. Such patterns, clues and bizarre coincidences can be a sign of the existence of a creator, although it is still inconclusive, at least, not conclusive enough to have absolute certainty about it. I hope you can see the difference. But then again, in order for you to be able to see the difference between ID and Christianity, you need to be also familiar with Christianity. Christianity presupposes the belief in god's existence whereas ID only suspects the existence of a creator from the clues they can observe themselves in this world.
Also, there is nothing in my comment or even in ID that suggests that I believe in the existence of hell or receiving revelations from god. Please refrain from making such assumptions.
So then its not science and should not be taught in science classes. Do you agree?
What, then, is your explanation for the editors of Of Pandas and People substituting "design proponents" for "creationists" approximately 120 times?
Pre-1987 OPAP textbook sentence: "Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc."
Post-1987 OPAP textbook version of that same sentence: "Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc."
It sounds very much like they thought creationism and intelligent design were synonyms to me.
So at best it is a hypothesis with no experimental evidence. And you want it taught in schools?
Still didn't answer the question.
We all know [even ID proponents] that selection can mimic intelligently designed systems. How can you tell the difference?
How do you even know what to look for - if you don't know who the intelligent designer is and how it designs?
[So then its not science and should not be taught in science classes. Do you agree?]
I guess I didn't phrase it properly... ID goes beyond the boundaries set by the conventional science, using the scientific method. You can refer to an extra dimension, for example, as something that is outside our 3D space. Although, there is no reason to believe that the entire 3D space has been fully explored for all the existing phenomena. Alien abductions and interactions with ghosts, for instance, have been reported to have also occurred within the 3 dimensional reality, as opposed to an alternate reality or extra dimension.
[What, then, is your explanation for the editors of Of Pandas and People substituting “design proponents” for “creationists” approximately 120 times?]
It's possible that the reason why creationism and intelligent design are used interchangeably in some sources is because of the overwhelming tendency to intentionally confuse the two.
[So at best it is a hypothesis with no experimental evidence. ]
Evolution as an observable phenomenon does not rule out the possibility of the existence of an intelligent designer. It could be a mechanism with which the designer forms matter or it was set in motion by the designer and was made self-sustaining, so you could say, that the beginnings of life as defined in creationism books is a hypothesis. It's more important to see what's really going on as opposed to defend a certain position. So if ID proponents started observing evolution, then it wouldn't benefit them to deny it, as they are supposed to be after the truth, and not comfort.
[How do you even know what to look for – if you don’t know who the intelligent designer is and how it designs?]
ID does not look for the evidence to support the assumption that there is a creator, unlike atheists like Dawkins, who deliberately look for the evidence that disproves the existence of a designer to the point of brushing off something like mental illness as an impossible to prove hoax because it undermines their comfort zone or safe space. The evidence, which consists of patterns, bizarre coincidences, such as solar eclipses, for instance, where the sun and the moon perfectly coincide in shape and size in a universe, which is suspected to have come into existence by accident...., make you wonder that, perhaps, it is too good to be true, or too good to be just an accident or mere coincidence. The evidence ID collects points to the existence of a possible entity that is behind what we are and what we are in.
"ID goes beyond the boundaries set by the conventional science, using the scientific method"
ID uses the scientific method? Since when? How do you explain the failure of the ID "scientists" to have any new discoveries or testable predictions? Why did they need to set up fake journals with the express purpose of pushing ID work and rejecting real science?
You are deluding yourself.
Not looking for evidence, yet putting forth evidence all the same. Which is it? You contradict yourself in every paragraph. You seem very, very confused.
Using the scientific method is conventional science. Either you use the method, or you don't. Doesn't matter what you point it at. Methodologically rigorous studies of telepathy are science, even if the subject is telepathy (they've been done; the results are 'no telepathy.') If IDers did methodologically rigorous studies of ID and published the results, they'd be doing science. As long as they don't, they aren't. (Here they point out that the flagship ID journat put out 4 papers. Four! It has 32 journal editors. So 1/8 of a paper per journal editor, to say nothing of other contributors. In my book that counts as a don't/aren't. I put out more than four papers as a mere grad student, and I wasn't exactly ahead of the curve.
So, you are saying that the authors of OPAP, a textbook written by ID proponents to teach kids about ID in a positive, pro-ID light, those people intentionally confused ID and creationism?
At first blush I am incredulous. On second, I am inclined to agree with you. But that doesn't paint ID proponents in a very good light, does it?
[And you want it taught in schools?]
I believe that what needs to be taught in schools is the truth... whatever it might be. And I am not sure who, on earth, really knows it. Scientists make a lot of mistakes, make stuff up, replace existing facts with new suppositions, religious people make stuff up as well and force you to believe things that are hard to believe.
[Not looking for evidence, yet putting forth evidence all the same. ]
Sometimes, you don't even have to look for evidence. You just stumble upon it as you go, which might throw you out of your comfort zone, and then you realize that this could be the evidence for something other than what you are already familiar with.
[You contradict yourself in every paragraph. You seem very, very confused.]
You are projecting your own confusion onto the reality, and therefore failing to see what's really going on. In a sense, you are skewing your own perception. I wouldn't recommend doing it to yourself.
[Using the scientific method is conventional science. Either you use the method, or you don’t. Doesn’t matter what you point it at. Methodologically rigorous studies of telepathy are science, even if the subject is telepathy (they’ve been done; the results are ‘no telepathy.’]
ID does use the scientific method to prove the truthfulness of the phenomena they encounter. Once they've noticed something unusual, it's subjected to scientific testing, and the evidence is examined to see if it fits with the assumptions that there is or there is no creator. If the evidence shows that the coincidence and mere chance are highly unlikely or even improbable in a certain case because of the uniformity of a phenomenon, the evidence is considered to be pointing to the existence a possible creator.
There are many reasons why telepathy is hard to prove using the scientific method to the general population. It could be subjects that do not have telepathy, who are being tested. In that case, results will be obviously negative, or they might have experienced spontaneous incidents of telepathy or their telepathy works only under certain conditions. Plus, even if you manage to prove to some people that you have telepathy using science, you'll still be left with the issue of proving this to the rest of the population or, at least, make them believe that you have it. You may not know this, but it could be a serious obstacle in itself. It also possible that some people prefer not to disclose their telepathic abilities to others. So there are definitely complications in the process of finding the truth.
So what is your best evidence for design - what clinched it for you? What jumped out at you when you weren't looking that pulled you out of your comfort zone and into ID? I have heard that sunsets are high on some people's list. Others have pointed out that all babies are cute - coincidence?
That's not the scientific method, that's a false dichotomy. If one theory or hypothesis can't explain a phenomenon, that is not evidence some other theory is correct, it just means we don't have an explanation for that phenomena yet. When science discovered that Newton's mechanics did not get the precession of Mercury correct, nobody leapt to the conclusion of ID. And a good thing too! It took like a hundred years to figure out the answer; relativity.
So, if that's the method that IDers use, if you are correct in how they reason, then they are not doing science. They are committing a modern equivalent of the error: "NM doesn't work for Mercury! Angels must be pushing it."
[So what is your best evidence for design – what clinched it for you? What jumped out at you when you weren’t looking that pulled you out of your comfort zone and into ID?]
When two or more highly unlikely things or events precisely coincide. Sometimes, the frequency of such coincidences can become so uncontrollably high that it literally puts some people in a state of terror.
Even if a rational explanation fits, it may not necessarily tell you what's really going on. It could disguise the truth, in order to keep you within the framework of your worldview. For instance, imagine if you found yourself walking down the street in San Francisco one day, and noticed that few people are wearing 18th century clothes on Union Square, including a homeless guy, who always begs for money. Then, as you're walking by him he is saying to you "Just follow the sign". Not only that, some people walking by are saying that this is the twilight zone. What would you make out of this? If you assign a rational explanation to what is going on, you might end up thinking that those people are experimenting with fashion. Or would you connect all the points and think of it as the twilight zone? However, hypothetically, if the twilight zone is real, and you were thrown into it for some reason, or spontaneously, and immediately assigned a rational explanation to it, you'll be missing out on observing a phenomenon that could make you wonder "what the hell'. Such phenomenon could possibly point more to the existence of god than his absence. And if you want to prove something like this to others, it might be challenging, but you trust yourself with knowing that it happened. There is always a chance that people might simply believe you.