Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Mothballing Uncommon Descent

I’ve decided to put Uncommon Descent into mothballs indefinitely. Although I’ve enjoyed blogging, I find it distracts from more pressing work that I need to get done. On those few occasions when I will need to blog, I’ll probably do it at www.idthefuture.com. If you want to keep track of my work, consult www.designinference.com, which has always been my main website. Also, watch for www.overwhelmingevidence.com, which I expect will provide a suitable antidote to the Dover trial (stay tuned). Two loose ends: The winning entry of the technological evolution prize competition is comment #2 at https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/index.php/archives/341 (I awarded it $150). I still want those OSC letters in the Sternberg case and am willing to pay $1000 for them (thus doubling Read More ›

The Design Inference now in paperback

My book The Design Inference is now out in paperback (I just received 6 copies via FedEx from Cambridge University Press). It might interest readers of this blog to see the difference in the back covers between the paperback edition and the original hardcover edition (after the first two printings, Cambridge omitted the jacket cover of the hardback edition, so it is no longer widely available): Read More ›

What’s up at Reasons to Believe?

Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross, who head up Reasons to Believe (RTB), have issued a press release in which they extol Judge Jone’s decision in the Dover case in coming down against ID: go here for the press release. I’ve already commented on RTB’s distancing itself from ID before on this blog (go here).

Rana and Ross seem happy enough to see ID guillotined by Judge Jones’s ruling, but seem not to appreciate that their own necks are equally in danger. Read More ›

Ken Miller and I on the BBC

Ken Miller and I had a brief five minute radio debate on the BBC on Friday, December 16th. He made two point which I could not address because the BBC host did not give me the opportunity, but which I wish to address briefly now: (1) The main weakness of evolution is that it is science (yes, Miller actually did say this and went on so long about it that the BBC host could not give me my closing comment as he had intended to) and (2) ID’s main fault is that it proceeds by negative argumentation. Read More ›

“Creating first synthetic life form”

Question: When Venter and Co. create the first synthetic life form, will it have been by intelligent design? Follow-up question: Will they do it from scratch, i.e., from non-biosynthesized materials as had to have happened when life originated, or by generously helping themselves to enzymes and a host of other biosynthesized materials?

Creating first synthetic life form
Monday, December 19, 2005
Globe and Mail Update


Work on the world’s first human-made species is well under way at a research complex in Rockville, Md., and scientists in Canada have been quietly conducting experiments to help bring such a creature to life. Read More ›

Who or what is the designer?

A creationist on one of the listserves to which I subscribe wrote:

Ken Miller and Rick Wood (skeptic and host of the radio program audiomartini) claim to have more respect for young earth creationists than ID proponents because “at least they are upfront about what they believe.” According to them, everyone knows what the real purpose of ID is: it is to advance belief in God. What, then, is the problem with acknowledging it? So why not just be up front and put to rest the accusation of dishonesty?

Here is why in fictional monologue: Read More ›

When Will Sci-Fi Push Evolution’s Envelope?

[From an acquaintance:] “Sci-Fi authors have no problem pushing the envelope on physics, chemistry, astrophysics, cosmology, planetology, genetics, nanotech, biotech, neurotechnology, information technology, longevity, robotics, xenology etc. They regularly eat Einstein, or the speed-of-light barrier, for breakfast. But one staple of modern science is consistently taken for granted, never questioned, never paradigm shifted, pushed beyond its current state: the Neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution. In the science-fiction literature, every thing seems to evolve: physics, politics, language, culture, philosophy, fashion, morality, religion, entertainment, transportation, music, psychology, sociology, etc. etc. But there’s one glaring exception: the science and theory of biological evolution! How ironic. The science and theory evolution itself is an axiomatic constant.”

“Smart by Nature”

[Excerpt:] In nature, shape is cheaper than material. This has been shown a number of times and is manifested in the remarkably high performance, both absolute and specific, of biological materials (wood is one of the most efficient of materials; antler bone is tougher than any man-made ceramic composite) which is achieved not by the use of high performance components but by the degree of detail and competence in their design and construction. Read More ›

High-Speed Microscopic Engine Found

I reported on this fascinating bit of nanotechnology earlier (go here). Here’s another article on it.

High-Speed Microscopic Engine Found
By Ker Than

In 1702, the famous Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek made an interesting discovery while gazing at some pond water through a hand-made microscope: He observed a bell-shaped organism that used a long, rapidly contracting stalk to attach itself to objects in its environment.

More than 300 years after Leeuwenhoek first observed Vorticella convallaria, as the microscopic pond organism is now called, scientists are finding that its spring-like stalk is one of the fastest cellular engines ever discovered. Read More ›

Albert Alschuler on Dover

The court offers convincing evidence that some members the Dover school board would have been delighted to promote their old time religion in the classroom. These board members apparently accepted intelligent design as a compromise, the nearest they could come to their objective within the law. Does that make any mention of intelligent design unconstitutional? It seems odd to characterize the desire to go far as the law allows as an unlawful motive. People who try to stay within the law although they would prefer something else are good citizens. The Dover opinion appears to say that the forbidden preference taints whatever the board may do, and if the public can discern the board’s improper desire, any action it takes Read More ›

The Effect of Bias on Courtroom Decision-Makers

[From a colleague who is a trial lawyer:] One thing I know from picking juries for 18 years is that in a courtroom what matters most is the bias of the decision-maker. If his biases favor your position, you have a very good chance of having him rule in your favor on the facts of your case. If his bias is against your side, and deeply held, no evidence will overcome it, period. This decision-maker will always filter the bad and exaggerate the good to fit the facts into his bias. The stereotype must always prevail for him. The only solution to this decision-maker is to kick his biased butt off the jury. But there was no jury with Dover Read More ›