Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Harvard Origin of Life Project: An ID Prediction

See here for more about the Harvard Origin of Life project. In a nutshell they are setting out to demonstrate how DNA-based life could have originated from undirected interplay of chemicals. If ID is true then it predicts the Harvard project will fail. This is based on the ID hypothesis that the complex patterns found in the basic machinery of life are too complex to come about without intelligent guidance. Now if I may be so bold as to ask that ID theorists be allowed to make predictions based upon their own theory, and detractors are gracious enough to let us make our own predictions, then I don’t want to hear any more nonsense about ID making no predictions. This Read More ›

Predictability of Evolution

We often hear the ridiculous assertion that the theory of evolution is as well tested as the theory of gravity. The theory of gravity can predict precisely where the planets will be a million years from now. What can the theory of evolution predict a million years into the future? Essentially, ToE predicts nothing. It explains history after the fact which is a whole lot different than predicting something before it happens. Of what value is a theory with no predictive power? Why do we bother teaching our children a valueless theory of history that more often than not is disbelieved and causes so much strife? Just the facts, ma’am, please. All life on earth is related through common structures Read More ›

Bad Design Equals No Design: A Perfect Example of Self-Refuting Argumentation

Check out this essay by Jack Woodall in The Scientist: Intelligent Design: The Clincher — A butterfly explodes the theory Follow Woodall’s argumentation to its inevitable implications: If I were the perfect designer I would invent a perfect world in which nothing could possibly ever go wrong or present any challenges or adversity. But then my world would be hideously boring and meaningless (and there would be nothing to learn, because learning takes effort, and effort means challenge and adversity), so I would no longer be the perfect designer of a perfect world. I couldn’t win for losing, and in either case (a “perfect” world or an “imperfect” world) my design would be imperfect, and therefore would not be designed.

“Doubts about Darwinism,” by G. K. Chesterton

Check out the following piece by G. K. Chesterton, published in 1920. . . . The Darwinians have this mark of fighters for a lost cause, that they are perpetually appealing to sentiment and to authority. Put your bat or your rhinoceros simply and innocently as a child might put them, before the Darwinian, and he will answer by an appeal to authority. He will probably answer with the names of various German professors; he will not answer with any ordinary English words, explaining the point at issue. God condescended to argue with Job, but the last Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you. He will inform you of your ignorance; he will not enlighten your ignorance. And I Read More ›

Schadenfreude at UD

I received the following email from someone I will keep anonymous: Subject: blog entry on talk origins Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 12:35:41 -0500 From: snip To: Bill, we have met a few times and are clearly on opposite sides with regards to ID, but I think we are on the same side with regard to Christ (although I am a Mormon). For this reason I strongly think you should remove [the] blog entry on TalkOrigins google problem. First, it is mocking and exploiting talkorgins problems with a hacker. I have always hoped that the ID debate could happen more often at a higher level than that (I do criticize my fellow ID opponents when I feel that they also Read More ›

Recent posts at the Post-Darwinist and Mindful Hack

Apparently, in Britain, where the ID controversy (that was supposed to disappear after some court decision in the United States) rages and rages, an ID-friendly group called Truth in science is taking on one of the most famous frauds in biology, at museum – Haeckel’s nineteenth-century embryo drawings, reproduced in hundreds of textbooks worldwide, to demonstrate the incontrovertible truth of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The only problem is that Haeckel made up most of it. Embryos from various classes of vertebrates simply do not look as similar as he made them out to be. Read more at the http://post-darwinist.blogspot.com/  

One of Canada’s national papers, the National Post, ran an op-ed (November 22, 2006) by a scientist who is a global warming skeptic. S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus, University of Virginia, and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, talks about how he was horsed around by ideologues, and it makes for interesting reading. Read More ›

Global Warming’s Rising Sea-Levels Threaten to Drown Science Itself

Here’s a portion of a letter sent by Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe to the CEO of ExxonMobil. To me, at least, it is becoming increasingly apparent that science as a discipline has lost that essential quality which made science’s authority seem impregnible: objectivity. We increasingly live in a world where everything, including science itself, has been politicized. We’re witnessing the Fall of the Scientific Empire. The parallels to the ID-NDE debate are transparently clear. Instead of “burning the witches”, we’ll soon be seeing the “heretics” (those that don’t believe in NDE or Global Warming) burnt at the stake. I truly believe we find ourselves at a watershed moment in history. Should science itself be unmoored from its “objective” Read More ›

Self Evident Truths in State Constitution Preambles

I’d like to take this opportunity to give a tip o’ the hat to Roddy Bullock for a really great read From Jefferson to Jones: Self-Evident Truths Made Illegal Self evident truths is a reference to the first line of the second paragraph of the United States’ Declaration of Independence made in congress by the 13 original states on July 4, 1776. To wit We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It is often pointed out that the United States Constitution does not specify that inalienable rights are bestowed upon all men Read More ›

[Off Topic:] My Day Job

Some internet gossip is going around suggesting that I am about to start a “new job.” My job, and one I intend to keep for a long time, is as Research Professor in Philosophy at Southwestern Seminary. This is where I teach and this is where I derive my salary and benefits. I very much enjoy my students and colleagues. I recently spoke in chapel there, and, for the good of your soul, you do well to look at the text of my message: http://www.designinference.com/documents/2006.10.the_reach_of_the_cross.pdf. In addition to this “day job,” I have formal and informal affiliations with many groups and organizations. Because of some health issues in my family, we continue to live in the Waco area (Ft. Worth Read More ›

Intelligent design and popular culture: Uncool film wins in Toronto

Of a recent indie anti-abortion film, Robert Novak writes, “Bella” was conceived by three young Mexican men — producer, director and lead actor — who are conservative Catholics and want to make movies removed from Hollywood’s movie culture of sex and violence. Bankrolled by a wealthy Catholic family from Philadelphia, they shot the film in 24 days in New York City. The star is Eduardo Verastegui, a Mexican heartthrob as a lead performer in TV soap operas who now lives in Los Angeles. A devout Catholic, he told me he was tired of movies showing Latinos as disreputable and immoral . He has learned to speak English in three years well enough to play the lead role mostly in English (with subtitles Read More ›

Wikipedia Hatchet Jobs on ID Leaders

A small group of Wikipedia admins with a grudge against ID have been running amok with no oversight performing and/or allowing hatchet jobs on ID and its leaders. It’s long past time to expose what they’ve been doing. Wikipedia is far too popular and reliable source of information, especially for school children, to let this travesty of justice continue. Please keep comments on topic. The Wiki horror stories are great!

Update: I have three people who have biographies on Wiki who’ve written to me privately with similar tales as those in the comments. I expect several more as word gets around. FeloniusMonk’s name is coming up more often than JoshuaZ’s. I’ll collect all the complaints for a couple days then see how each wants to proceed. Read More ›

Theology corner: Why is the ID guy at the open theology conference a pork chop at a Jewish wedding?

Recently, a caffeine-deprived friend was grousing about the fact that ID proponents don’t tend to be welcomed at “open theology” conferences.

“Open theology” implies a much more limited sort of God than the Immortal, invisible, God only wise of the Western monotheist (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) tradition.

Now, it’s unclear to me why the ID guys, who are mostly hard math and science types, should even want to hang out with these children of a lesser god. But my friend insisted on hearing the view from O’Leary’s Point, so here goes. And I have followed it up with a testable prediction, too: Read More ›

ID in the UK: Is there a British media competition to get it all wrong?

So many media outlets have voted themselves the guardians of the bottom-up theory of life and the opponents of the top-down theory of life. Consistent with their mission, they seem to compete for what they can get wrong about intelligent design or any other idea that insists that mind comes first. Evidence has nothing to do with it. The Post-Darwinist skewers the nonsense.

Scientist Says Global Warming A Lost Cause

Controversial scientist predicts planetary wipeout Billions of people could be wiped out over the next century because of climate change, a leading expert said. Professor James Lovelock, who pioneered the idea of the Earth as a living organism, said as the planet heats up humans will find it increasingly hard to survive. He warned that as conditions worsen, the global population which is currently around 6.5 billion, may sink as low as 500 million. Prof Lovelock also claims that any attempts to tackle climate change will not be able to solve the problem, merely buy us time. I’m sure glad that’s settled. Now we can stop worrying and enjoy the little time we have left. It’s a race to see Read More ›