Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

National Forensic League weighs in on ID

The same day that Judge Jones ruled it unconsitutional to teach about intelligent design in public school science curricula, the National Forensic League (i.e. the national high school debate organization) released the following 2006 January Public Forum Topic: Resolved: In the United States, public high school science curriculum should include the study of the Theory of Intelligent Design. So, at the same time that the federal courts are outlawing even a one minute allusion to ID in high school biology classes, the high schools themselves can sponsor an extra-curricular activity where their brightest kids have to research the topic in depth. Perhaps design proponents have won the day after all.

The Significance of the Dover Decision

Judge Jones rendered his verdict in the Dover case today. On September 30th I blogged what I thought would be ultimate significance of Dover — go here. Even though media and bloggers are now analyzing the decision in depth (for the full decision, go here or here), I have little to add to what I wrote in September, so I’ll just leave it there.

Torah and Science Conference with the Lubavitchers

I reported earlier on this blog that I was to be the only gentile speaker at an Orthodox Jewish (Lubavitcher) conference on Torah and science (go here, here, and here). That conference took place in Miami last week, and I gave a talk there on ID (December 14th). The talk was very well attended with several high school senior classes from the local Jewish schools attending along with a fair amount of press. I felt very much at home with the Lubavitchers, and I was extremely gratified by their receptivity to ID. These are well-educated thoughtful people with a great stake in not letting a materialistic view of science steamroller their religious faith. They will be significant allies in coming Read More ›

A Danish ID Blog

[Update: I’ve just learned — see comment below — that a new and improved version of this Danish blog is now available at www.intelligentdesign.dk.] http://intelligentdesign.blogsome.com

ID at Baylor

Here’s an excerpt from Lisa Anderson’s piece today in the Chicago Tribune about ID at Baylor. Notice that Baylor’s main concern in shutting down my Polanyi Center (for the full story, go here) was not the truth of ID but that “it made Baylor look like it could be stereotyped and placed in a particular fundamentalist camp that Baylor didn’t want to be in.” That insightful quote comes from Baylor’s provost.

. . . The initial exposure to modern biology and neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory can be akin to “culture shock,” said Randall O’Brien, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Baylor University, a moderate Baptist General Convention of Texas school in Waco. . . Read More ›

Darwinism — “A cult in which few believe this side of Berkeley and Harvard Square”

Who made the following predition: “Like the Marxists, the Darwinists are going to wind up as a cult in which few believe this side of Berkeley and Harvard Square.” Phil Johnson did over a decade ago. But these actual words are Pat Buchanan’s and were published today.

Tom Bethell Puts Darwinism on Defense
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Posted Dec 18, 2005


Among the most influential men of the 20th century were a pair of 19th century scholars: Charles Darwin and Karl Marx.

Recent years have not been kind to either. Marxism-Leninism, the ideology that welded together and drove the Soviet empire, has been discredited by the horrors it produced and the colossal failure of Marxist theory when put into practice.

Comes now Darwin’s turn. In his 1859 “The Origin of Species” and other works, Darwin posited his thesis that man is not the work of any Creator, but a being that evolved from lower forms of life out of the primordial ooze.

In his “Politically Correct Guide to Science,” Tom Bethell, who Tom Wolfe calls “one of our most brilliant essayists,” has, in 36 pages, gathered and briefly described a few of the difficulties that Darwinists are facing in defending their dogmas against skeptics. Read More ›

ID in Colombia

The well-known Colombian journalist Daniel Samper wrote an article about ID for the most important Colombian newspaper a few weeks back. According to Daniel Andrés, the article says the usual things against ID and it’s clear that the journalist has not read anything about it except what other newspapers say. Daniel Andrés responded in his blog here and here. Note that his ID blog has now moved to http://www.probabilista.blogspot.com, where is speaks to the Latin community in general.

Okay, ID may be taught — But you don’t get to teach it!

The latest edition of Jeffrey Bennett et al’s astronomy textbook The Cosmic Perspective (4th edition) is now out. Sure enough, “intelligent design” is in the index. Indeed, it gets a full page treatment (p. 714). Below is the scan of that page. Does this text provides a fair representation of ID? Hardly. It appears now that ID will indeed be taught in the science curricula of this nation, only ID proponents won’t be doing the teaching. Life is so unfair. Read More ›

Biomimetics — A Subdiscipline of ID

As you read the extract below, ask yourself the following: (1) Why does biology hand us technical devices that human design engineers drool over? (2) Why don’t we ever see natural selection or any other unintelligent evolutionary mechanisms produce such systems? (3) Why don’t we have any plausible detailed step-by-step models for how such evolutionary mechanisms could produce such systems? (4) Why in the world should we think that such mechanisms provide the right answer? (5) And why shouldn’t we think that there is real intelligent engineering involved here, way beyond anything we are capable of?

Spring-loaded microbe inspires nanomachines
17 December 2005
Peter Aldhous
New Scientist Magazine issue 2530

The scum-dwelling beast boasts a tiny spring that, for its size, is more powerful than a car engine — bioengineers hope to use similar springs in nanodevices Read More ›

“The Intelligent Hacker” Behind the Universe

Science 2 December 2005: Vol. 310. no. 5753, p. 1421 DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5753.1421b Founder’s Message Combing through cosmic radiation could reveal a message from the universe’s creator, if it has one, say two physicists. According to theory, anyone could make a universe by squashing a lump of matter violently enough to replicate the big bang. And by tweaking something called the inflaton field, the creator–be it a physicist-hacker or a deity–could put a binary message in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Or so argue Stephen Hsu of the University of Oregon, Eugene, and Anthony Zee of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in a paper at arXiv.org. The message might sit, like cosmic Braille, in the bumps and ripples of Read More ›

Interview with Lenny Susskind

Note the following concession at the end of this New Scientist interview: “If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent – maybe for mathematical reasons, or because it disagrees with observation – I am pretty sure that physicists will go on searching for natural explanations of the world. But I have to say that if that happens, as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature’s fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics. One might argue that the hope that a mathematically unique solution will emerge is as faith-based as ID.”

By the way, I cite Susskind in my book No Free Lunch (p. 338): “When Alan Guth first began proposing his inflationary cosmology, Lenny Susskind remarked [to Guth]: ‘You know, the most amazing thing is that they pay us for this.'” Don’t expect this sort of light-hearted incredulity from Susskind anymore. The stakes are now much higher. It’s no longer a matter of theoretical physicists with their heads in the clouds collecting fat paychecks from schools like Stanford and spinning out theories with only the most tenuous connection to empirical data. Now it’s a matter of destroying ID. Read More ›

Remy Chauvin Slams Darwinism

[From a colleague:] There is a wonderful critique of Darwinism by the French zoologist Remy Chauvin. It is called Le darwinisme, ou La fin d’un mythe [Darwinism, or The end of a myth] (Editions du Rocher, 1997). It is even better, especially for polemical purposes, than the book by Chandebois, previously discussed on this blog. It includes close discussion of many specific cases, with calm and crushing objections (Kettlewell’s moths do not land on the trunks in nature, but under the leaves; Batesian “mimics” also occur among species, both of which are perfectly palatable to predators; etc., etc.). He also gives many statements of Darwinian reasoning that are so logically faulty and empirically vacuous that they would never be publishable Read More ›

Taking Up Patricia Princehouse’s Gauntlet

Patricia Princehouse — the philosophy professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, who has vilified ID and its supporters for years — has published a letter to the editor of USA Today (see below) in which she replies to Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel. The two journalists, one conservative and the other liberal, ran a column a few days earlier in which they wondered why the Darwinists were hiding from a fair debate on ID. Princehouse now writes that on behalf of the Darwinists, she accepts the challenge and sets the terms: “First week in January. Cleveland. Put up or shut up.” Read More ›

Question about 25 Big Questions

With questions so basic as these, why is evolutionary theory taught with such confidence in our textbooks? THE QUESTIONS The Top 25 Essays by our news staff on 25 big questions facing science over the next quarter-century. http://www.sciencemag.org/sciext/125th > What Is the Universe Made Of? > What is the Biological Basis of Consciousness? > Why Do Humans Have So Few Genes? > To What Extent Are Genetic Variation and Personal Health Linked? > Can the Laws of Physics Be Unified? > How Much Can Human Life Span Be Extended? > What Controls Organ Regeneration? > How Can a Skin Cell Become a Nerve Cell? > How Does a Single Somatic Cell Become a Whole Plant? > How Does Earth’s Interior Read More ›