Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Why Mathematicians, Computer Scientists, and Engineers Tend to be More Skeptical of Darwinian Claims

Larry Moran’s presentation in a comment in Granville Sewell’s UD post, I found not particularly persuasive, for the following reasons. I’m not interested in definitions of science; I’m interested in how stuff actually works. I’m perfectly amenable to being convinced that the complexity, information content, and machinery of living systems can be explained by stochastic processes filtered by natural selection, and I would not even demand hard evidence, just some rigorous argumentation based on the following:
Read More ›

Jean Rostand on Evolution

In his 1956 book, “A Biologist’s View”, French biologist Jean Rostand wrote: “If it is true that neither Lamarckism nor mutationism [Darwinism] enable us to understand the mechanism of evolution, we must have the courage to recognise that we know nothing of this mechanism…Some people may perhaps feel that such a confession of ignorance plays into the hands of those who are still fighting the doctrine of evolution. But quite apart from the fact that the most elementary intellectual honesty demands that we should say ‘I do not know’ where we believe that this is so, I think that this doctrine is now so solidly grounded on its own merits that it needs no support from false advocacy. I must Read More ›

What would happen to science if Darwin ceased to be God?

Recently, I received and published this comment on this post about Oxford mathematician John Lennox’s book, God’s Undertaker, from “curwen”:

As an historian, with some background in the cultural and social history of Darwinism, I’m interested in how philosophy effects scientific practice. In my search for current material on the subject, I ran across this post, and became interested in your blog.

I am interested in your opinion on this: in what ways would scientific practice change if materialism, as a philosophy of science, was eventually replaced by design? In other words, would research and experiment be structured differently? Would standards of evidence change? Does Lennox comment on this? I apologize if this is something you’ve already dealt with at length, so even if you responded with relevant posts that would be helpful.

I told curwen that it is an excellent question, and I’d answer it.

I am also going to ask around and post other answers.* (Meanwhile, here is mine below.) Read More ›

Dembski interviewed over Design of Life

Friday Five: William A. Dembski by Devon Williams, associate editor, CitizenLink.org ‘Are there patterns in biological systems that would point us to intelligence?’ Leading scientist and mathematician William A. Dembski has devoted years to researching intelligent design. He is a research professor in philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has been featured on the front page of The New York Times. He has appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and ABC’s Nightline. Dembski talked to CitizenLink about his latest book, The Design of Life — which he co-authored with Jonathan Wells. 1. What is intelligent design? The study of patterns in nature that are best explained by intelligence. But the focus is Read More ›

Chris Comer’s Actual Email

Chris Comer’s firing was briefly discussed on this blog here. Today the Dallas Morning News had a front page (above the fold) about her case (go here). Below is the offending email that got her fired. As you read it, keep in mind that The Center for Inquiry is a virulently atheistic organization (see here for a conference they did in November). In reading the email below, ask yourself: What if someone in the same position as Chris Comer forwarded an email about a forthcoming talk by Ken Ham at a “fundamentalist church” in which he would recommend teaching creationism in public schools?

Pope for sound stewardship

Pope Benedict XVI has formally challenged governments to address the moral issue of placing humanity above the environment. He calls for political decisions to be based on sound science, not political agendas. His challenge to sound science over ideological pressures parallels issues in the origins debate. Note particularly the parallels between differing presuppositions versus consequences of Darwinism, Intelligent Design, and Creationism. The Pope’s message highlights the importance of sound science in following the truth wherever the data leads, versus political environmental movements with explicit or implicit agendas diverging from or running contrary to the data. ———————– UPDATE: The Pope’s message advocates responsible stewardship based on prudent policies undistorted by ideological pressures. The post title was changed to reflect the Pope’s Read More ›

Do Dawkins and Dennett Incite to Hatred?

I live in Arvada, Colorado, and for many years I attended the church associated with the YWAM shooting on Sunday.  Earlier this year I befriended two of the young men going through the training program there, one from New Zealand and the other from England.  I am numb with sorrow, and my prayers go up for the families of the victims.  The media is reporting that Matthew Murray posted the following on the web:  “I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill. …God, I can’t wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don’t care if I live or die in the Read More ›

Skeptical Scientists Urge World To ‘Have the Courage to Do Nothing’ At UN Conference

The original article is here.

Skeptical Scientists Urge World To ‘Have the Courage to Do Nothing’ At UN Conference

BALI, Indonesia – An international team of scientists skeptical of man-made climate fears promoted by the UN and former Vice President Al Gore, descended on Bali this week to urge the world to “have the courage to do nothing” in response to UN demands.

Lord Christopher Monckton, a UK climate researcher, had a blunt message for UN climate conference participants on Monday.

“Climate change is a non problem. The right answer to a non problem is to have the courage to do nothing,” Monckton told participants.

“The UN conference is a complete waste of our time and your money and we should no longer pay the slightest attention to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,)” Monckton added. (LINK)

Monckton also noted that the UN has not been overly welcoming to the group of skeptical scientists.

“UN organizers refused my credentials and appeared desperate that I should not come to this conference. They have also made several attempts to interfere with our public meetings,” Monckton explained.

“It is a circus here,” agreed Australian scientist Dr. David Evans. Evans is making scientific presentations to delegates and journalists at the conference revealing the latest peer-reviewed studies that refute the UN’s climate claims.

Read More ›

A Practical Medical Application of ID Theory (or, Darwinism as a Science-Stopper)

In a previous UD thread, a dude named Poachy (where do these guys get these screen names?), with much sarcasm about a comment I made, proposed: We need to start voting with our feet and eschew all but the medical advances that come from application of the ID paradigm. Here’s a prediction and a potential medical application from ID theory: Design a chemical or protein which would require a triple CCC to defeat its toxic effects on a bacterium, and it will exhaust the probabilistic resources of blind-watchmaker mechanisms to counteract the toxic effects. Such a success could and will only come from engineering and reverse-engineering efforts, not from Darwinian theory. In the meantime, medical doctors should prescribe multiple antibiotics Read More ›

Where do eyes come from?

Richard Dawkins has often expressed faith in the ease of evolving eyes. It shows what strong faith he has in the power of RM and NS. Although he was completely wrong about this, he still has immovable faith in the power of Darwinian evolution. This is because his speculations rather than being based on evidence, simply depend on his very fruitful imagination. Dawkins, Richard, Where d’you get those peepers? Vol. 8, New Statesman & Society, 06-16-1995, pp 29. “Serviceable image-forming eyes have evolved between 40 and 60 times, independently from scratch, in many different invertebrate groups. Among these 40-plus independent evolutions, at least nine distinct design principles have been discovered, including pinhole eyes, two kinds of camera-lens eyes, curved-reflector (“satellite dish”) eyes, Read More ›

Abraham Redux: Please Focus on the Issue

In the post below Dr. Dembski brought the Abraham case to our attention and asked whether it is legitimate to fire an employee merely because of his beliefs as opposed to his job performance.  The discussion rapidly deteriated into speculation about possible reasons Woods Hole might have terminated Abraham for poor performance.  All of those speculations are idle and beside the point.  Dr. Dembski asked, “Is it legitimate to fire someone because of their beliefs?”  It is simply no answer to that question to say, “Well maybe they fired him for reasons other than his beliefs.” The purpose of this post is to attempt to focus the discussion back on the issue Dr. Dembski raised, which is a very profound issue in Read More ›

Nathaniel Abraham — Competence Without Belief?

The case of Nathaniel Abraham — a biologist who does not “believe” in evolution, got fired for it, and is now suing his erstwhile employer — is getting some play in the press (see Boston Globe and Chronicle of Higher Education). The question this raises is whether it is legitimate to fire someone who knows all that he needs to know about evolution to successfully practice his discipline but still does not believe in evolution. More generally, to be a member of the guild, do you have to believe something that you are capable of successfully applying? One of the commenters at the Chronicle of Higher Education remarked that you can’t continue to employ a mathematician who believes 1 plus Read More ›

Paul Myers on Barbara Forrest

Paul Myers, in a recent post at the Panda’s Thumb, notes Chris Comer’s firing for publicizing a talk by Barbara Forrest. I’m still not clear about the details of the case, but if Comer’s firing were solely for supporting Forrest, this ought not to be. The ID community is committed to a culture of rational discourse, and that means freedom of expression for all parties to a debate. The point of interest in Myers’s piece, however, is this: he goes on to describe Forrest as “one of their critics the creationists most fear, so it’s not surprising that her name would elicit knee-jerk panic.” Since Myers sees ID proponents as creationists, presumably he means to include us here as well. Read More ›