Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Ultraconserved Phenotype

Between 160 and 240 million years of cumulative divergence between two tiny worms resulted in the genomic divergence by sequence comparison you’d expect over that time yet virtually no phenotype divergence. Once you’re a nemotode you’re always a nematode? Who would have predicted that… Caenorhabditis comparative genomics [18 November 2003] Analysis of the sequence revealed that major evolutionary changes in genomes do not necessarily lead to gross physical changes in the adapted organism. “C. elegans and C. briggsae diverged 80 to 120 million years ago, somewhat longer ago than human and mouse,” Stein wrote in an E-mail to us. “By several measures, the two nematode genomes are very much scrambled relative to each other – far more than human and Read More ›

Panda’s Thumb: IDeological Genocide?

Here’s a modest proposal posted at the Panda’s Thumb: Comment #150104 Posted by Steve B. on December 13, 2006 2:35 PM (e) Dayan, NO it wasn’t a parody – here let me try again. Roughly: 1) Evolution is objectively real. 2) IDists deny the reality of evolution which makes them unfit. 3) It follows that since IDists are unfit they should not survive because they hinder evolutionary progress. (I think that We Need To Own This.) Implementation: A) How far is one willing to go to act on #3? a) For the most part PT exists is to act on #3. Example: Participants on PT routinely use justifiably hateful and dehumanizing language to describe IDists or anyone who even suggests Read More ›

“The Judge Jones School of Law”

A hilarious flash animation of Judge Jones as a pull-string doll appears over at www.overwhelmingevidence.com. The humor is, granted, adolescent, but this is a site for high school students, and they are, after all, the ones that Judge Jones’s decision disenfranchised.

Judge Jones: Towering Intellectual or Narcissistic Putz?

Judge Jones tours the American countryside seeking the adulation of our intellectual elite and extolling the genius of his Kitzmiller v. Dover decision. The press release below indicates that Jones let the ACLU essentially dictate his decision. Instead of original and impeccable reasoning, Jones uncritically took extensive material from the ACLU’s proposed “findings of fact and conclusions of law” and either copied it directly or modified it ever so slightly. Outside the legal system this is called plagiarism. But since judges are allowed to draw on briefs of the parties, this is called legal scholarship. Even so, courts frown on decisions in which judges extensively copy and paste from other briefs — which is exactly what Jones did! Wired Magazine voted Jones one of the sexiest geeks of 2005. Time characterized him as a legal genius. Truth be told, Jones is a narcissistic putz.

In case you have trouble downloading the Discovery article cited below, i.e., “A Comparison of Judge Jones’ Opinion …”, I’ve uploaded it on the UD server here: www.uncommondescent.com/documentation/Comparing_Jones_and_ACLU.pdf.

“Masterful” Federal Ruling on Intelligent Design Was Copied from ACLU

Seattle — The key section of the widely-noted court decision on intelligent design issued a year ago on December 20 was copied nearly verbatim from a document written by ACLU lawyers, according to a study released today by scholars affiliated with the Discovery Institute. [Go here.]

“Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling,” said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

“Ironically, Judge Jones has been hailed as ‘an outstanding thinker’ for his ‘masterful’ ruling, and even honored by Time magazine as one of the world’s ‘most influential people’ in the category of ‘scientists and thinkers,'” said West. “But Jones’ analysis of the scientific status of intelligent design contains virtually nothing written by Jones himself. This finding seriously undercuts the credibility of a central part of the ruling.”

The study notes that, while judges routinely make use of proposed findings of fact, “the extent to which Judge Jones simply copied the language submitted to him by the ACLU is stunning. For all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science. As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.”

Jones’ copying was so uncritical that he even reprinted a number of factual errors originally made by ACLU attorneys.

For example, Jones claimed that biochemist Michael Behe, when asked about articles purporting to explain the evolution of the immune system, responded that the articles were “not ‘good enough.'” Behe actually said the exact opposite: “it’s not that they aren’t good enough. It’s simply that they are addressed to a different subject.” Jones’ misrepresentation of Behe came directly from the ACLU’s “Findings of Fact.” Read More ›

Of Mice, Men, and Coelacanths

Alternate title: The Sound of the Tree of Life Exploding Comparing the sequence to other species also turned up a big surprise. When the researchers compared the human ultraconserved element to all the DNA sequences in the public database GenBank, the closest match was to DNA from the coelacanth… Okay, so maybe it didn’t explode but some branches are bent and something is definitely fishy here. Rubin, Haussler, and Bejerano sure do turn up some interesting things. Our closest relative on the tree of life according to ultra-conserved DNA is a fish that’s been around unchanged for at least 360 million years. Mobile DNA part of evolution’s toolbox Thursday, May 4, 2006 Written by Howard Hughes Medical Institute “The big Read More ›

The book that began the ID movement, by Thaxton, Bradley, Olsen

The Intelligent Design movement begins with the publication of The Mystery of Life’s Origin by Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, and Roger Olsen (Philosophical Library, 1984) and Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton (Alder & Adler, 1986). These two books presented a powerful scientific critique of evolutionary theory. Moreover, they set the tone for subsequent publications by refusing to mix the scientific evidence for design with theological views about creation.

-Bill Dembski in The Intelligent Design Movement

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Richard Kirk reviews Dawkins’s THE GOD DELUSION

Here is an excerpt from Richard Kirk’s review of Dawkins’s The God Delusion, which appeared in The American Spectator. . . . When it comes to magnanimity, here’s a sample of the author’s generosity: “To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird.” This comment shows the contempt Dawkins consistently displays for ideas that don’t conform to his own — a bio-creed that includes the following affirmations: life emerged on earth due to random interactions of material elements; life evolved from its primitive forms to its current complexity because of natural selection; no god is needed to make sense of these (or any other) phenomena. In truth, Dawkins’ entire book is an exercise in Read More ›

The Atheism Delusion: The Destructive Power of Materialist Indoctrination

I was an atheist, brainwashed by the establishment, into my 40s. I got a triple dose of indoctrination: from the public schools, from the secular environment in which I grew up (a small college town, surrounded by intellectual university types), and from the university itself. There was no doubt in my mind that God was a human fabrication and that we were the product of purposeless Darwinian mechanisms. In retrospect, however, I realize that I accepted these conclusions completely uncritically, which is ironic, because educated intellectual types supposedly take pride in critical thinking.

I was once debating “evolution” with a friend, and I was spouting all the platitudes I had been taught. He said, “Look, rather than debating me, why don’t you read a book, Evolution, A Theory in Crisis, by Michael Denton”? I assumed that it would be some nonsensical religious hogwash, but I was in for a big surprise.

I devoured the book in a couple of days, and when I was finished I slapped myself on the forehead and thought, “I’ve been conned all my life!” My atheism was quickly unraveling.

This is what the hysterical anti-ID folks fear: Once the evidence of modern science is evaluated without the blinders of a passionately materialistic worldview, design screams at us from every corner.
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NAS at 85% atheists — Let’s bump it up to 100%

The presentations of the Beyond Belief 2006 conference recently held in San Diego are available at http://beyondbelief2006.org/Watch. Here is an excerpt from Session 2, which begins with a presentation from Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium. At the conclusion of his talk (beginning at the 40:47 mark in the clip) is the following exchange: Tyson: I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don’t. That’s really what we’ve got to address here. Otherwise the public is secondary to this. [Moderator then turns to the panel for responses.] Larry Krauss: It’s hard to know how Read More ›

Darwin and Derrida

Here’s a letter that The American Scholar declined to publish. Unfortunately, the magazine has no electronic presence. The printed copy is the only access. The article “Getting It All Wrong” appeared in the Autumn 2006 issue. I reprint the letter here with the permission of László Bencze, who happens to be my professional photographer. (Note that the picture on the UD banner is not by László; one of his will be appearing in the next week or so when the entire blog is revamped.) The Editor The American Scholar 1606 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington DC 20009 24 September 2006 Re: “Getting It All Wrong” It is not often one reads an article which contradicts itself so unashamedly as Mr. Read More ›

UK Bans “Unlocking the Mystery of Life”

I’m informed by a person on the ground that the British government is in a fix about this because the National Curriculum is simply a minimum standard. In other words, it is there to make sure all children get a basic education; it’s purpose is not to ban things. Ministers to ban creationist teaching aids in science lessons · Schools will be told not to use special pack · Intelligent design group asks for meeting James Randerson, science correspondent Thursday December 7, 2006 The Guardian The government is to write to schools telling them that controversial teaching materials promoting creationism should not be used in science lessons. The packs include DVDs and written materials promoting intelligent design, a creationist alternative Read More ›

“The Case for a Creator” event at Biola

Lee Strobel and “The Case for a Creator” Thursday, December 7th 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. FREE EVENT! FREE DVD! Biola University 13800 Biola Ave La Mirada CA 90639 Map to Biola: http://biola.edu/about/map_directions.cfm FIRST COME, FIRST SEATED! Come early. Bring your friends and carpool. We are expecting a full house so please come early to ensure a seat and a parking spot. There will be parking attendants to guide you. Witness the launch of a much anticipated new DVD product based on Lee Strobel’s best selling book. Hear from scholars who are helping to win the debate over Darwinism in our time. –Dr. Jay Richards –Dr. Steve Meyer –Dr. J.P. Moreland –Dr. John Bloom –Dr. William Lane Craig –Dr. Jonathan Wells Read More ›

Templeton Request for “ID” Research Proposals

In commentary under the article about predictability of evolution there was some discussion of the Templeton “ID” RFP (request for proposals). I found the whole thing has a dedicated webpage here. Grants made under the program are listed here. In short the RFP was on the table from May 2005 to May 2006 and all the grant money was awarded. Since this was a call for both pro and con ID research the actual grants should be examined. In that light I’d like commentary generally restricted to discussion of the awarded grants and whether or not any of them can be fairly characterized as ID research. As you can see here I’m not afraid of exposing the truth. I only Read More ›

ID The Future Podcast — “Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design”

For those who are not aware of this resource, check out: http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/ I particularly enjoyed the following interview by Casey Luskin with Thomas Woodward, author of the book listed above. http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2006-11-29T22_39_10-08_00 On this episode of ID The Future, CSC’s Casey Luskin interviews Dr. Thomas Woodward and they discuss his new book Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design, which analyzes the rhetoric used by Darwinists in their critiques of intelligent design. Woodward documents how Darwinists often use ad hominem attacks and promote “fantasy themes” about the supposed “theocracy” of intelligent design to avoid discussing the scientific issues. Did you know that, according to Niall Shanks, Phillip Johnson is like the guy who hangs around schoolyards peddling soft drugs, Read More ›