Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The New ‘Two Cultures’ Problem: Theological Illiteracy of the Atheological

In 1959, the physicist-novelist-UK science policy advisor CP Snow gave his famous Rede Lecture at Cambridge, where he canonized ‘the two cultures’ , a long-standing and — to his mind at least — increasing distinction between the mindsets of those trained in the ‘arts’ (i.e. humanities, social sciences) and the ‘sciences’ (i.e. natural sciences, engineering). Even back then, and certainly more so now, there was another ‘culture’ that was increasingly set adrift from the rest of academic knowledge — theology.  For example, it would be interesting to learn whether most academics believe that theology constitutes a body of knowledge — and, for that matter, whether most theologians themselves believe that their knowledge applies to more than just fellow believers.  After Read More ›

He said it: Michael Behe on the endless moving of goalposts

[O]ne needs to relax Darwin’s criterion from this: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” to something like this: If a complex organ exists which seems very unlikely to have been produced by numerous, successive, slight modifications, and if no experiments have shown that it or comparable structures can be so produced, then maybe we are barking up the wrong tree. So, LET’S BREAK SOME RULES! Of course people will differ on the point at which they decide to break rules. But at least with the realistic criterion there could be evidence against the unfalsifiable. At least then people Read More ›

He said it: Wait, shut up, believe, pay, wait, shut up, believe, pay, four easy steps …

Phillip [Johnson] is absolutely right that the evidence for the big transformations in evolution are not there in the fossil record – it’s always good to point this out. It’s difficult to explore a billion-year-old fossil record. Be patient! – William Provine, evolutionary biologist, Cornell University* – * quoted in Michael Powell, “Doubting Rationalist: ‘Intelligent Design’ Proponent Phillip Johnson, and How He Came to Be”, Washington Post (Sunday, May 15, 2005). For context, go here. Oh, and did we mention that your kids are legally required to learn in school how to wait, shut up, believe, and pay too? Sure, because we may as well all be one big happy family in the Four Easy Steps plan. Maybe some of Read More ›

He said it: As a butcher eyes a sheep, so the Darwinists eyed paleontologist Steve Gould (1941-2002)?

David Berlinski recalls Gould’s tetchy relationship with the iron rice bowls of the Darwin establishment: Of course, if the fossil record does not fit the theory, it is always possible to adjust the theory to fit the record. In science, an enterprising theoretician has several degrees of freedom within which to maneuver before the referee reaches ten and the final bell comes to clang. Steven Jay Gould, who was trained as a paleontologist, surveyed the fossil evidence early in the 1970s and came to the obvious conclusion that either the theory or the evidence must go. What went, on his scheme of things, was the neo Darwinian orthodoxy by which species change into different species by means of an endless Read More ›