Education

Dr. Dembski’s Students Coming to a Hostile Website Near You

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Journalist Ed Brayton, at his website ScienceBlogs, becomes an expert at education, aside from already being an expert on Panda’s Thumbs. His complaint is with the efficacy of Dr. Dembski’s educational approach of assigning his students, as part of the course requirement, the task of writing at least 10 posts defending ID on “hostile” websites. I would assume anti-ID folks and Darwinsts at these hostile sites would encourage the exchange, given that they think themselves the educational corrective to ID. Why the opposition? And as far as educational theory is concerned, engaging the opposition in a “real world” context, and not theoretically in a classroom,  is wonderfully educational. As a matter of fact, not only will Dr. Dembski’s students be coming to a hostile website in your neighborhood soon, this is likely to become a trend in seminary education, with seminary professors making this a requirement from here on out. One educational benefit of engaging Darwinists is obvious,

What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders.

C. S. Lewis, in a letter to Bernard Acworth, 1951.

This alone justifies the educational benefit, for what Lewis saw, I see, but only as a result of being involved.

But moreover, one of the chief complaints against ID, is that it is a borderland endeavor that isn’t mainstream enough, that it is too isolated. Well, here we have the opposite approach, a requirement to engage the anti-ID and Darwinist community on their own turf, and even this meets with opposition. Really, some folks are hard to please.

Not to mention that this site allows anti-ID advocates and Darwinists to post dissenting comments, and that was a decision made by Barry Arrington and Dr. Dembski himself.

But back to Dr. Education Mr. Brayton, he has this to say in response to a particular exam question posed by Dr. Dembski, who asks his students to answer to the scientific legitimacy of ID at the Dover trial, if they were called as expert witnesses: “Perhaps he was just hoping to invoke memories of his own non-testimony at that trial.” How does one invoke memories of a non-testimony? I just…well…I just have my doubts about Mr. Brayton’s cogency at giving educational advice. He doesn’t have the curriculum vitae that Dr. Dembski has, nor the obvious credibility at first blush. I personally think he should stick to writing about Panda’s Thumbs, and leave the teaching to those who actually are professors.

Update:

It occured to me that Mr. Brayton is trying to teach us from his blog that nothing can be taught from blogs.

23 Replies to “Dr. Dembski’s Students Coming to a Hostile Website Near You

  1. 1
    Learned Hand says:

    But moreover, one of the chief complaints against ID, is that it is a borderland endeavor that isn’t mainstream enough, that it is too isolated. Well, here we have the opposite approach, a requirement to engage the anti-ID and Darwinist community on their own turf, and even this meets with opposition. Really, some folks are hard to please.

    Why would this policy please anyone other than an ideologically-motivated defender of ID? It does not require engagement. It requires only posting solo comments. The effect is to encourage drive-by antagonism rather than actual discussion of the issues.

    Assuming that a discussion does result from these compulsory posts, it’s not the sort of engagement that would go towards establishing ID as legitimate science. The engagement that empirical science thrives upon is when scientists engage each other, on the merits, in ways that become as technical as they need to be because the participants are trained and educated in their field. It is not theology students, untrained and unschooled in the discipline at hand, being ordered to defend their teacher’s pet project on an ideological basis.

    If Dr. Dembski were teaching biology, he could have his students do research and publish their results to be tested and examined by the serious scientific community. That would be the sort of engagement that would go a long way towards establishing ID’s bona fides. This policy suggests that ID is more about ideological polemics than research and scholarship. It’s fun and easy and satisfying for the ideologues (on both sides, I suspect), but irrelevant to the truth or falsity of ID’s empirical assertions.

  2. 2
    Clive Hayden says:

    learned hand,

    ——“Assuming that a discussion does result from these compulsory posts, it’s not the sort of engagement that would go towards establishing ID as legitimate science. The engagement that empirical science thrives upon is when scientists engage each other, on the merits, in ways that become as technical as they need to be because the participants are trained and educated in their field”

    The point of the exercise is for “students” to “learn”.

  3. 3
    Upright BiPed says:

    “Why would this policy please anyone other than an ideologically-motivated defender of ID? It does not require engagement. It requires only posting solo comments. The effect is to encourage drive-by antagonism rather than actual discussion of the issues.”

    Pure unadulterated irony.

    Assuming that a discussion does result from these compulsory posts, it’s not the sort of engagement that would go towards establishing ID as legitimate science. The engagement that empirical science thrives upon is when scientists engage each other, on the merits, in ways that become as technical as they need to be because the participants are trained and educated in their field. It is not theology students, untrained and unschooled in the discipline at hand, being ordered to defend their teacher’s pet project on an ideological basis.

    Translation: Shut up – besides ID is not science! No, it’s NOT!!

    If Dr. Dembski were teaching biology, he could have his students do research and publish their results to be tested and examined by the serious scientific community. That would be the sort of engagement that would go a long way towards establishing ID’s bona fides. This policy suggests that ID is more about ideological polemics than research and scholarship. It’s fun and easy and satisfying for the ideologues (on both sides, I suspect), but irrelevant to the truth or falsity of ID’s empirical assertions.

    Learned,

    In his peer-reviewed paper David Abel suggest that we can empirically test for FSC (funtionally specified complexity = intelligent involvement) “whenever an engineering function results from dynamically inert sequencing of physical symbol vehicles.” In other words, when function is instructed by physical symbols which are not determined by a physical causes.

    Are we allowed to talk about such things? If so, then why not regard your comments as petty and opportunistic criticism?

  4. 4
    Learned Hand says:

    The point of the exercise is for “students” to “learn”.

    Learn biology? Population genetics? Statistics? From blog comments? If that is the goal, perhaps Dr. Dembski should assign reading from a textbook on these subjects, rather than directing his students to defend ID in blog comments in the hope that someone will deign to teach science to them.

    Biped, your comment assumes that science is done, as is ID, through blogs and the comments thereto. If that were true, it would be ironic that I criticize Dr. Dembski’s tacit admission that ID is ideological polemicism rather than empirical science. Unlike ID, however, students of biology study the subject directly, from texts, and perform research to test the truth of the received wisdom.

    These students aren’t being asked to question the subject at hand, enter into reciprocal discussions, or perform research into the merits of the issue. They’re being instructed that ID is true and pointed at ideologues on the other side with instructions to defend ID or else. (Since I doubt they’d be in the class if they weren’t eager to defend ID, I don’t consider this to be much of an imposition on them.)

    Contrast this to a PhD student of evolutionary biology, the vast majority of which don’t bother commenting on blog posts. They’re too busy doing research.

  5. 5
    Clive Hayden says:

    Learned Hand,

    Learn biology? Population genetics? Statistics? From blog comments? If that is the goal, perhaps Dr. Dembski should assign reading from a textbook on these subjects, rather than directing his students to defend ID in blog comments in the hope that someone will deign to teach science to them.

    He does assign this within textbook instruction. The students are directed to blog after they have learned about ID and all of its relevant factors. The blogging is an additional learning tool, not the only one. I keep having to steer you back for some reason from your assumptions.

  6. 6
    DATCG says:

    Learned,

    Richard Dawkins advised his followers to do all kinds of actions in the name of atheism.

    The encouragement of students to participate in blogs is for learning how to debate the principles they have learned.

    That is a healthy habit to create.

    It is my sincere hope they reach past blogs and into videos, cable tv, MSM, print, documentary and all forms of media available to engage, confront and discuss openly the problems with Darwinist dogma at all levels of our society.

  7. 7
    DATCG says:

    They hypocrisy of Richard Dawkins, atheist and complainers about Dembski’s class:

    Dawkins website promotes religious heckling, mocking, scoffing in the Blashpemy Challenge

    Where Dembski encourages open discussion, Dawkins promotes and markets hatred, mocking and scoffing.

    Learned, maybe you want to go lecture Richard Dawkins?

  8. 8
    Learned Hand says:

    He does assign this within textbook instruction. The students are directed to blog after they have learned about ID and all of its relevant factors. The blogging is an additional learning tool, not the only one. I keep having to steer you back for some reason from your assumptions.

    Does he? He assigns his own books as texts, but I am not aware of anyone outside the narrow field of ID advocacy who considers those books to be authoritative on any subject other than ID apologetics. I question whether a student whose only exposure to biology comes from that syllabus would understand the field. Nor, we should note, would the students be allowed to deviate from the prescribed conclusions; the syllabus obligates them to post comments defending ID. Even before the class begins, they’re explicitly told what they will have to believe. If they don’t… Expelled? There’s nothing inherently wrong with a teacher teaching her perspective to students. We can contrast Dembski’s approach, however, with that of actual universities, which do produce a few creationists from time to time; no one is compelled to proselytize what they’re taught.

    We should not be asked to conclude that these students will understand the first thing about evolutionary biology. They are, in the most literal sense possible, being indoctrinated into the faith and ordered to defend a position whose merits they aren’t equipped to seriously analyze.

    DATCG,

    Where Dembski encourages open discussion,

    I’ve seen no evidence of that; the syllabus doesn’t require a conversation, only a drive-by post. From the syllabus, it appears that whatever he encourages, he grades on ideological demagoguery.

    Learned, maybe you want to go lecture Richard Dawkins?

    Why? Dawkins’ atheism is irrelevant to the work done in laboratories, libraries, and research universities, which underlies evolutionary biology. The blogging of a minority of those laborers is independent from their actual output, or the case they’ve built in the scientific community for their theories. As a consequence, if Dawkins were teaching a class in evolutionary biology, he could add quite a bit more to the syllabus than his own polemics. He could add textbooks, research articles, experimental observations, etc. etc. etc. Dembski has his own books and the blogs, and very little else to assign, because of the paucity of rigorous work done to analyze ID.

    Dembski’s syllabus has little to draw on other than his own work because his work-like all ID scholarship-has made made virtually no impact on the scientific community. That is one reason why it is strange to pretend that a class built almost entirely on his own books would prepare a student to make educated comments about the field of evolutionary biology.

    This class may train students to defend ID, but they won’t learn how to analyze it or compare it to the work done by professional scientists. This is similar to the efforts of creationists to get their beliefs taught in high schools, and is symptomatic of a doctrine that is grounded in faith, rather than an effort to learn the truth through laborious, competitive research. Dembski seems to prioritize defending ID over learning whether its principles are actually true.

  9. 9
    Clive Hayden says:

    Learned Hand,

    I question whether a student whose only exposure to biology comes from that syllabus would understand the field.

    You’re welcome to question it and wonder aloud, but that doesn’t mean you’ve actually taken the course, and cannot really speak to it. Dr. Dembski does a thorough job of explaining biology in his courses.

    Nor, we should note, would the students be allowed to deviate from the prescribed conclusions; the syllabus obligates them to post comments defending ID. Even before the class begins, they’re explicitly told what they will have to believe. If they don’t… Expelled?

    Not at all, there have been students of Dr. Dembski who believe in evolution and evolutionary psychology. Dr. Dembski is not as narrow as you seem to be in your assumptions. I can’t fault you for not knowing, but I can fault you for asserting your assumptions as fact when they are fiction. If you want to offer them as supposals, well and good, but not as something to be “noted” as if they are true.

    I’ve seen no evidence of that; the syllabus doesn’t require a conversation, only a drive-by post.

    That’s an assumption too, it could just as easily be an engaging and ongoing conversation within the ten posts, and you’re assuming that all ten will be scattered and disconnected, and that the students will stop once they reach the ten. I, personally, wouldn’t stop with just ten, and I won’t stop with just ten with you either. Again, please, don’t rely too heavily on your assumptions.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with a teacher teaching her perspective to students. We can contrast Dembski’s approach, however, with that of actual universities, which do produce a few creationists from time to time; no one is compelled to proselytize what they’re taught.

    You mean “his perspective”. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is an actual university, that fact may irk you, but it’s true, and there is no proselytizing involved, unless you’re willing to say that you’re proselytizing right now.

  10. 10
    Learned Hand says:

    You’re welcome to question it and wonder aloud, but that doesn’t mean you’ve actually taken the course, and cannot really speak to it. Dr. Dembski does a thorough job of explaining biology in his courses.

    True, but the syllabus (A) includes no evolution textbooks, (B) covers a range of ancillary topics, and (C) is geared towards student with (as I understand it) minimal or no post-high school education, especially in the hard sciences. Given the time constraints, lack of basic texts, and need to cover the basics, I suspect Dr. Dembski could not thoroughly explain mainstream evolutionary theory in that course, even if he had them eight hours a day five days a week. I don’t know how someone could be equipped through such a class to rigorously analyze the claims of ID, but I can very easily see how they could be trained to believe and advocate it anyway. That’s just an assumption, of course, but let’s note that nothing in the syllabus encourages students to question the doctrine, while they are explicitly graded on how well they defend it.

    Not at all, there have been students of Dr. Dembski who believe in evolution and evolutionary psychology.

    I don’t doubt it. How were their grades? If they’re told to defend ID even if they don’t believe it, that’s one thing. As a law student, I often had to defend things in which I didn’t believe. But the usual way to apply that style of teaching is to require all students to defend things they don’t believe, rather than announcing a dogma from the pulpit (almost literally!), ordering students to defend it in the wide world, and deciding that the students who don’t actually believe it are learning something else, differently from those who do. If the goal were to teach these kids to debate, you’d expect them to be asked to make posts defending and criticizing ID. Instead, we see them being told only to defend the dogma. Is there any evidence that questioning it is encouraged, or permitted? That’s a serious question—if you’ve taken this course, or a similar one, I’d be interested in your recollections.

    That’s an assumption too, it could just as easily be an engaging and ongoing conversation within the ten posts, and you’re assuming that all ten will be scattered and disconnected, and that the students will stop once they reach the ten. I, personally, wouldn’t stop with just ten, and I won’t stop with just ten with you either. Again, please, don’t rely too heavily on your assumptions.

    It’s possible. But the students aren’t told to start or engage in a discussion; they’re charged with leaving a series of posts defending ID. Given Dr. Dembski’s approach to engagement, which appears to be to avoid it wherever possible (see, i.e., his reluctance to engage comments on this blog, and his refusal to engage in the back-and-forth of scientific literature), I have no basis for assuming that he will encourage or require his students to discuss, rather than polemicize.

    You mean “his perspective”.

    I do. Goofy typo, sorry.

    Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is an actual university, that fact may irk you, but it’s true, and there is no proselytizing involved, unless you’re willing to say that you’re proselytizing right now.

    I apologize again – I didn’t intend to denigrate the institution. I have no reason to think it performs poorly at its mission, which as I understand it, is to indoctrinate students into a specific branch of the Christian faith. (I use the word “indoctrinate” advisedly, and in its literal sense, and not as a criticism.) Conversely, I have no reason to think it performs particularly well at teaching biology. Dr. Dembski’s syllabus seems well-designed to achieve the first, but not the second.

  11. 11
    PaulBurnett says:

    Clive wrote: “Not to mention that this site allows anti-ID advocates and Darwinists to post dissenting comments…

    …as long as the comments aren’t too “dissenting,” and as long as the “dissenters” don’t mind having their comments delayed for moderation for a few hours or days, and occasionally deleted without explanation.

  12. 12
    DATCG says:

    Learned,

    Richard Dawkins held Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science.

    As its Chair, he mocked, scoffed, ridiculed all others in faith. Had absolutely nothing to do with the “understanding of science” only his petty and bitter hatred as an atheist for those who disagree.

    You can practice hypocrisy and double-standards all you like, but it does not fly.

  13. 13
    Clive Hayden says:

    Learned Hand,

    ——“True, but the syllabus (A) includes no evolution textbooks, (B) covers a range of ancillary topics, and (C) is geared towards student with (as I understand it) minimal or no post-high school education, especially in the hard sciences.”

    The assumptions just keep coming for goodness sakes. Evolution is discussed, and Dr. Dembski gives it a fair exposition in his explanations—he explains it for what it claims to be on it’s own terms. Again, you haven’t taken the class, have you? And you’re mistaken again about the prior experience that the students have in the hard sciences. I really don’t know why you’re making things up out of whole cloth. I really don’t.

    ——“Given the time constraints, lack of basic texts, and need to cover the basics, I suspect Dr. Dembski could not thoroughly explain mainstream evolutionary theory in that course, even if he had them eight hours a day five days a week.”

    False, evolution is not as difficult as mathematics. It can be explained in a few classes.

    ——“That’s just an assumption, of course, but let’s note that nothing in the syllabus encourages students to question the doctrine, while they are explicitly graded on how well they defend it.”

    False again. There are some exams where Dr. Dembski asks the students to critique ID to the best of their ability. You can’t have it both ways. Again, and for the last time, unless you want to be perpetually corrected, stop with your assumptions. It’s wasting my time.

  14. 14
    Doomsday Smith says:

    Clive @ 12

    False, evolution is not as difficult as mathematics. It can be explained in a few classes.

    Er, Clive? Have you not heard of population genetics, evolutionary game theory, computational phylogenetics, evolutionary invasion analysis, or just the ubiquity of mathematics in evolutionary biology in general?

  15. 15
    ScottAndrews says:

    I find it curious that there can be an evolutionary invasion analysis (“a set of techniques for studying long-term phenotypical evolution”) when no one has observed any long-term phenotypical evolution.

    It reminds me of a couple of guys chatting about cars. When one guy says what happens to an engine over time if you use the wrong kind of oil or how best to fix a carburetor, one gets the impression that they speak from years of experience. You would never guess that neither had ever seen a car and that they were discussing hypotheticals.
    But these folks carry on about how evolution does and doesn’t work and how and when as if they’ve been under the hood for years.

  16. 16
    R0b says:

    Clive:

    You’re welcome to question it and wonder aloud, but that doesn’t mean you’ve actually taken the course, and cannot really speak to it. Dr. Dembski does a thorough job of explaining biology in his courses.

    I hadn’t realized that you’ve taken Dr. Dembski’s courses. I’m curious, did anyone in class ever challenge the fundamentals of his approach to ID?

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    DS:

    Remember, Dr Dembski holds an earned PhD in . . . Mathematics.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: my favourite intro to game theory and decision-making is to go through Ac 27 as an exercise in playing a game against nature and in the context of faction dynamics, conflicts of interest, uncertainties and risks, and the manipulation of masses and influence of institutions: one slice of a cake has in it all the ingredients.

    Drawing parallels over to evolutionary speculations and dynamics is a wicked, rather revealing little extension; especially if Darwin’s underlying Malthusianism and so zero sum ideas are brought to bear — just a read away in the intro to Origin, and maybe an excerpt or two from Descent.

    Add a dash or two from Ch XI of a book written in Landsberg prison c. 1925, and you have covered the key grounds.

    All in one 2 – 3 hr seminar.

    And all required text/ref books are easy to hand.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: And, SA, Ac 27 has this advantage: it really happened, c 59 AD! [Smith’s book on the voyage and shipwreck of Paul is a classic!)

  19. 19
    Khan says:

    Scott,

    I find it curious that there can be an evolutionary invasion analysis (”a set of techniques for studying long-term phenotypical evolution”) when no one has observed any long-term phenotypical evolution.

    30 years on the Galapagos not good enough for you?
    30 years on Florida Scrub-Jays?
    20 years of Soay Sheep?
    20 years of e. coli?
    how many years would satisfy you?

  20. 20
    ScottAndrews says:

    Khan:
    My mistake. I didn’t realize we were discussing phenotypical microevolution.
    Leaving the “micro” off makes it sound as if they’re talking about something entirely different. I’m sure it’s unintentional.

  21. 21
    Learned Hand says:

    Clive,

    The assumptions just keep coming for goodness sakes. Evolution is discussed, and Dr. Dembski gives it a fair exposition in his explanations—he explains it for what it claims to be on it’s own terms. Again, you haven’t taken the class, have you? And you’re mistaken again about the prior experience that the students have in the hard sciences.

    Dr. Dembski is teaching a seminary class on ID. Evolutionary biology takes college courses (and grad programs!) to teach; people spend years learning its complexities. Insofar as Dr. Dembski’s arguments are founded in abstruse mathematics, I find it very difficult to believe that he would have the time to teach the science, even if he had the inclination. The lack of any science textbooks in the syllabus suggests he does not have such an inclination. Have you taken that, or a similar, course? Can give us solid information?

    As for the prior experience of the students, I know some denominations require seminarians to have college degrees. I don’t know if the Southwestern Baptist TS has a similar requirement. Does it? If so, what proportion of students would you say have had an education in secular science? Does Dr. Dembski require the students in his class to have had prior exposure to college-level biology, or does he assume that he can present it to the class over the course of a few lectures, without a textbook?

    False, evolution is not as difficult as mathematics. It can be explained in a few classes.

    The strawman version of evolution employed by creationists certainly can. Actual evolutionary biology is extremely complex and, as has been pointed out to you, involves quite a bit of serious mathematics. (Generally performed by professionals who, unlike Dr. Dembski, stay current in their field and publish in the scientific literature.) You can determine the “difficulty” of evolutionary biology by gauging the resources devoted to it by institutions that aren’t bible colleges; Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge, Baylor, and every other research university of which I’m aware devotes faculty and graduate programs to it, as a consequence of its fecundity and success.

    ID, which is taught at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, doesn’t seem to require the same rigorous study. Suggesting that a course in ID, taught to seminarians with no decent textbooks, can cover evolutionary biology “in a few classes” is like saying a mouse can eat a lion in a few sittings.

    There are some exams where Dr. Dembski asks the students to critique ID to the best of their ability.

    How do you know? May we see one?

    Again, and for the last time, unless you want to be perpetually corrected, stop with your assumptions. It’s wasting my time.

    I do want to be corrected when my assumptions are wrong. Don’t you?

    ScottAndrews,

    I find it curious that there can be an evolutionary invasion analysis (”a set of techniques for studying long-term phenotypical evolution”) when no one has observed any long-term phenotypical evolution.

    Do you also find it curious that astronomers can determine the composition and origin of distant stars, despite not being present for their formation? Or that physicists can determine the structure of an atom, despite not being able to observe it? I think that very few scientists can directly observe the subject of their studies, especially now that we have the tools to study processes on timescales that are too long or too short for human eyes. Biologists do so by examining the evidence, in the sort of direct, hands-on research that is curiously absent from the IDists’ toolbox. Speaking of which, has anyone ever observed a designer creating life, or a nonhuman intelligent designer of any sort? Is that a problem for you, or do you apply a different standard to your beliefs than you do to science?

    Kairosfocus,

    Remember, Dr Dembski holds an earned PhD in . . . Mathematics.

    I remember. But I also looked at the available evidence, which nowhere suggests that Dr. Dembski is teaching mathematics, and certainly not on an advanced level. He is indoctrinating students and teaching them to defend the doctrine, without giving them the tools to test it.

    It’s important to recognize that most of us don’t see anything particularly wrong with teaching seminarians to defend ID. Teaching students to defend the faith is what seminary is for. What’s significant about this course, I think, is that it is a tacit admission that ID is faith-based. This is the cutting edge of ID education. You can’t go to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. and take a class in ID as science. You have to go to seminary or bible college, where—according to Dr. Dembski’s syllabus—you are obligated to defend ID, whether or not you understand the underlying biology. That is consistent with religious indoctrination, but hardly with actual science.

    For the purposes of ID critics, Dr. Dembski’s course isn’t a bad thing. It’s an amusing confirmation of our expectations regarding ID, that it is inextricably entwined with religious belief, advanced and defended for religious reasons.

  22. 22
    ScottAndrews says:

    Learned Hand:
    We cannot always directly observe what we study. How does that lend any weight to hypothetical mathematical models of fantastic hypotheses? You can accumulate enough hypothetical material to teach a course, but it’s still as light as a feather.

    Biologists do so by examining the evidence, in the sort of direct, hands-on research that is curiously absent from the IDists’ toolbox.

    Nice try, equating the entire field of biology with evolution. Biologists do some amazing hands-on research, and they get results. That’s not who we’re talking about.

    Speaking of which, has anyone ever observed a designer creating life, or a nonhuman intelligent designer of any sort? Is that a problem for you, or do you apply a different standard to your beliefs than you do to science?

    If you feel that such a direct observation is reqired, you have no choice but to either accept ID and Darwinism, or reject both.
    The former, however is consistent with the available evidence. The latter is pure, unadulterated science fiction.

  23. 23
    Clive Hayden says:

    Learned Hand,

    Dr. Dembski is teaching a seminary class on ID. Evolutionary biology takes college courses (and grad programs!) to teach; people spend years learning its complexities. Insofar as Dr. Dembski’s arguments are founded in abstruse mathematics, I find it very difficult to believe that he would have the time to teach the science, even if he had the inclination. The lack of any science textbooks in the syllabus suggests he does not have such an inclination.

    Well, if you find it difficult to believe, just try a little harder, and listen, for a change, for I know better than you. Dr. Dembski incorporates mathematics, and I’m sorry you find them abstruse. The concepts, both mathematical, and biological, are explained adequately, even to someone with only a law background. I find it ironic that you are lecturing me on the difficulties of biology, having not taken the classes yourself to the degree that you’re faulting Dr. Dembski’s class for. It tells me that you undercut your own argument, and cannot really speak to the difficulties of biology, not having the background yourself. I doubt you have the mathematics background too. I can make all sorts of assumptions too LH.

    As for the prior experience of the students, I know some denominations require seminarians to have college degrees. I don’t know if the Southwestern Baptist TS has a similar requirement. Does it? If so, what proportion of students would you say have had an education in secular science?

    Of course it requires an undergrad degree for the masters or phd track. I thought you would’ve known at least this being the expert that you are on seminary education in general, and what sorts of “indoctrination” it has, and the fact that its students have “no hard science” backgrounds. You seemed to “know” a lot without knowing whether an undergrad is needed for the grad program, which is very interestingly telling. Folks come from all countries and all backgrounds to go to school there. Can you believe it? It’s true. Even, gasp, lawyers.

    The strawman version of evolution employed by creationists certainly can. Actual evolutionary biology is extremely complex and, as has been pointed out to you, involves quite a bit of serious mathematics. (Generally performed by professionals who, unlike Dr. Dembski, stay current in their field and publish in the scientific literature.) You can determine the “difficulty” of evolutionary biology by gauging the resources devoted to it by institutions that aren’t bible colleges; Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge, Baylor, and every other research university of which I’m aware devotes faculty and graduate programs to it, as a consequence of its fecundity and success.

    I told you already, it isn’t a strawman. It’s interesting that the commenters here think they can explain evolution within a comment, but think that Dr. Dembski cannot within a semester. Well, look, I’ll make you a deal, go take the class, and then you won’t have to rely on my word. Otherwise, and for the last time, stop assuming. And all of the above colleges you mention are Bible colleges.

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