Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Why can’t the ID people come up with evidence – evidence that doesn’t cause Darwinists to drive them from their posts?

Darwinian evolutionist E. O. Wilson insists that biology can do better than traditional faith, and meanwhile – in a fascinating passage that somehow signifies the passing of an old order – disses intelligent design.

Wilson insists that all the ID guys have to do is come up with “evidence” – so why don’t they?

The critics forget how the reward system in science works. Any researcher who can prove the existence of intelligent design within the accepted framework of science will make history and achieve eternal fame. They will prove at last that science and religious dogma are compatible. Even a combined Nobel prize and Templeton prize (the latter designed to encourage the search for just such harmony) would fall short as proper recognition. Every scientist would like to accomplish such a epoch-making advance. But no one has even come close, because unfortunately there is no evidence, no theory and no criteria for proof that even marginally might pass for science.

There is something almost obscene about a smug – and so they say – gentlemanly* prof sitting pretty at Harvard , writing this disingenuous garbage, in full awareness that none of his cowering colleagues will ask the obvious question: What happened to people who DID come up with evidence against Darwinism (and therefore maybe for intelligent design)?

What ABOUT Rick Sternberg, Guillermo Gonzalez, and Robert Marks? To say nothing of Mike Behe? Read More ›

The Deification of the Word Scientific, and How it Has Lost Meaning

While I was growing up during the 1950’s and 1960’s the word “scientific” was bandied about with abandon. Anything that was labeled “scientific” was immediately given credibility, because of the tremendous achievements of the hard sciences like mathematics, chemistry, physics, and engineering. There were phrases like “better living through chemistry” in advertisements. When I became interested in games-playing artificial-intelligence research I found books with titles like Scientific Checkers. In the 20th century the meaning of the word science took on almost the equivalent of the meaning of the word holy. Anything that was scientific was good and true, by definition. Anything that was unscientific was suspect at best, and probably the result of ignorance and nefarious intentions at worst. In Read More ›

Universe tunes itself

Paul Davies Tuesday June 26, 2007 The Guardian    Condensed Just why is Intelligent Design referred to as a “movement” when Multiverse is called a “theory”?  “The universe looks like a fix. But that doesn’t mean that a god fixed it. We will never explain the cosmos by taking on faith either divinity or physical laws. True meaning is to be found within nature. Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth – the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient “coincidences” and special features in the underlying laws of the universe. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle once Read More ›

A Twist on the Infinite Regress Argument

In a previous post there was a vigorous debate about idnet.com.au’s suggestion that Craig Venter might soon manufacture a living organism from scratch. This comment caught my eye:  “OMG!! When Craig Venter produces a living organism, will this event trigger the infamous “infinite regress?” WHO DESIGNED CRAIG VENTER???” Indeed.  Assume for the sake of argument that Craig Venter actually succeeds in creating life in the lab (We’ll call them Venter’s critters or “VCs” for short).  Then assume the dreaded super virus comes along and wipes out all life on earth except for the VCs, who are immune.  Assume further that a million years passes and there are no traces that any living thing other than VCs ever existed on earth.  Then two aliens come along.  Alien 1 of 2 observes the VCs Read More ›

The core is the definition of science itself

Your responses to this condensed version of an editorial would be appreciated. (This item is available free as a special feature.) “Anti-Darwin activism is alive and well. The most insidious movement promotes ‘intelligent design’ (ID) – the notion that some features in nature are best explained by an intelligent cause – as an alternative scientific theory to evolution by natural selection. Pro-ID interest groups can be found throughout US and Europe. It becomes increasingly likely for a scientist to be confronted by a pro-ID campaigner or challenged by a student, friend or neighbor intrigued and seduced by the concept of a scientific theory of design. How to respond is not a trivial matter. One can choose to fully engage in debate Read More ›

From the files: Why intelligent design is going to win, revisited

Douglas Kern at Tech Central Station warned, in 2005 that intelligent design is going to win.

And why was that?

He starts with the claim that ID types are more likely to be fertile than others.

I will not hash that out here except to say this: If it means YOU, you might want to include a budget item for receiving blankets, gripe water, and soothers – and if you do not know what those terms mean, ask your nearest and dearest … 

Update note: Your nearest and dearest may even have some amazing news for you that will change your, um, “expectations.”  Like remember that night when you and she got along so well?  Okay, well, life goes on. No, really, it does, and this is how it does. )

He then argues that “the pro-Darwin crowd is acting like a bunch of losers”: Read More ›

History lesson: Eozoon – the dawn – and dusk – of the bogus dawn animal

A golden fossil turned to dross?

According to Natural Resources Canada:

To many mid-Victorian geologists and paleontologists these laminated green and grey rock specimens from altered limestones of the Canadian Shield of Ontario and Quebec were the most important fossils ever found because they constituted evidence of the existence of complex life forms deep in the Precambrian. J. William Dawson, the Principal of McGill University and one of the foremost geologists in Canada, named the fossil Eozoon canadense — the Canadian dawn animal. In his presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1864, Sir Charles Lyell singled out this fossil as “one of the greatest geological discoveries of his time”. Charles Darwin, in the fourth edition of Origin of Species in 1866, was relieved to be able to cite the first fossil evidence that the succession of life on earth proceeded from simple unicellular organisms to complex multicellular animals and plants.

But what happened thereafter is a cautionary tale.

British physicist David Tyler, whose work I have been profiling recently, tells the story here, of how the fossil was greeted with tidings of great joy.

Charles Darwin welcomed the find and brought it into the 4th edition of the Origin in 1866. He wrote: “After reading Dr Carpenter’s description of this remarkable fossil, it is impossible to feel any doubt regarding its organic nature”. The problem for Darwin was that the earliest known fossils were complex, and his theory required something much simpler to precede the forms of the Cambrian Explosion. It was a relief when Eozoon appeared to provide evidence supporting gradualism.

In the 6th edition, Darwin modified the text to read: “The existence of the Eozoon in the Laurentian formation of Canada is generally admitted”.

But there was dissent. In this case, from geologist Professor William King and chemist Thomas Rowney at Queen’s College, Galway.

They did not think that Eozoon was in fact a fossil. And they had good reasons for thinking it wasn’t. They knew how it could have been formed without any input from a life form at all.

So what happened between 1866, when those Galway men were basically a problem to be seen off, and 1879 when the truth was eventually revealed?

As Tyler explains,

The characteristics of the ensuing controversy are the subject of an interesting paper by Adelman.* She points out that the Canadian geologists adopted a “diffusion” model of communication: “scientific facts were confirmed within the scientific community and then presented to the public.” London was the focus of their attention, because the opinion-formers were located there. “The ‘Eozoonists’ felt that the fossil’s credibility was established once the leaders of the scientific community in London had accepted it.” The dissenters, however, chose not to play this game.

And the Galway dissenters were treated with contempt, their credibility under severe question, for years. Their crime? Raising entirely reasonable objections against Darwinism. Read More ›

Reflections on key recent events: Eminent science journal advises meat puppets to get over “image of God” rubbish

Nothing in the intelligent design controversy is more instructive than a convinced Darwinist making his true position very, very clear.

This happened again recently, I see, when Britain’s elite science journal Nature responded to US Senator Brownback, who had written in the New York Times (May 31, 2007). Pointing out that – when he famously raised his hand during a Republican debate – he did not dispute evolution as a process but did dispute the materialist deductions drawn from it, he said,

While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

To which Nature’s editors responded in “Evolution and the Brain”, sniffing with obvious distaste (June 14, 2007), “With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside.” Read More ›

Paul Davies on the Dennis Prager Show (or, A Second Look at the Second Law)

Paul Davies was recently interviewed on the Dennis Prager show, and a caller challenged Davies with the neg-entropic nature of living systems. Paul’s response was the usual: local, open systems can experience decreases in entropy, as long as the overall system experiences an entropy increase. He gave the example of a refrigerator, which can make ice cubes (thus decreasing entropy inside the refrigerator), while the room warms up as a result of the heat pump, thus providing a compensatory entropy increase.

There are two big problems with this line of reasoning.

Read More ›

New ID Briefing Packet for Educators

Check out Discovery Institute’s “The Theory of Intelligent Design: A Briefing Packet for Educators.” As part of its response to the PBS-NOVA documentary “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design,” Discovery Institute just released this packet (for free download, see below). The packet contains numerous resources for educators to effectively teach about biological origins in public schools. These resources include: 1) An introductory letter helping teachers to understand the debate and to avoid the pitfalls in the PBS-NOVA’s educational resources; 2) An FAQ answering common questions about evolution and intelligent design, discussing definitions and evidence for both theories. 3) The truth about the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial. 4) A summary of the law regarding teaching evolution in public schools. 5) A list of Read More ›

Guillermo Gonzalez — the latest

Backers battle ISU professor’s tenure denial By LISA ROSSI • REGISTER AMES BUREAU • November 28, 2007 Ames, Ia. — The fight will rage on over Iowa State University astronomy professor Guillermo Gonzalez, who advocated for intelligent design, the theory that disputes parts of evolution, and lost a bid for tenure. Advocates for Gonzalez said in a release distributed Tuesday that they will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Monday in Des Moines. There, they said, they will discuss documents they contend will prove that Gonzalez “lost his job” because he supports intelligent design, not because he was deficient as a scholar. Gonzalez’s backers say an appeal to the Iowa Board of Regents and possibly a lawsuit would be Read More ›

Flowering Plant Big Bang

See the story here. “From the ubiquitous daisy to the fantastical orchid, flowering plant species are as diverse as they are numerous.  It turns out that these bloomers went through an evolutionary “Big Bang” of sorts some 130 million years ago . . . “Flowering plants today comprise around 400,000 species,” said Pam Soltis, curator at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History. “To think that the burst that gave rise to almost all of these plants occurred in less than 5 million years is pretty amazing — especially when you consider that flowering plants as a group have been around for at least 130 million years.” . . .  From the length of the diagrams’ branches along with Read More ›

Apology to Prof Lawrence Krauss

I would like to apologise to Prof Krauss for a posting which inferred, based entirely on the quotes in a Telegraph UK interview(see here), that he had asserted that observing the universe had adversely changed the universe. Unfortunately the New Scientist paper upon which the Telegraph article is based is not available on line without subscription. idnet.com.au

News Release: Harvard’s XVIVO Video

News Release: Harvard’s XVIVO Video By William A. Dembski | originally posted November 26, 2007 | updated November 27, 2007 Back in September of 2006 I announced at my blog UncommonDescent that a “breathtaking video” titled “The Inner Life of Cell” had just come out (see www.uncommondescent.com/…/the-inner-life-of-a-cell). The video was so good that I wanted to use it in some of my public presentations, but when I tried to purchase a DVD of it (I sent several emails to relevant parties), I was informed it wasn’t ready (to my knowledge the video is still not available for sale in DVD or any other format — if it were, I would gladly purchase it and encourage others to do so). Moreover, Read More ›