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UI faculty sign on against intelligent design in science
By William Dillon, Staff Writer



More than 150 faculty members at the University of Iowa have signed a statement denouncing the use of intelligent design in science.

UI is the last of Iowa’s three state universities to issue such a statement, joining a combined 250 colleagues at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa in an effort to reject “all attempts to represent Intelligent Design as a scientific endeavor.”

“We are concerned about this going on at (the University of) Iowa,” said Tara Smith, one of the seven UI faculty circulating the statement.

“We realized that if we circulated the statement, we would be the first set of regent universities that had all circulated the same petition to show faculty support for teaching good science and keeping intelligent design out of science classrooms.”

But for some scientists at the regent universities, being open to the possibility of intelligent design is a part of good science.

Fred Skiff, a UI professor of physics, has not practiced or taught intelligent design, but he says that scientists need to be open to the possibility that an intelligent cause or agent had a hand in the makings of the universe.

“It’s part of science to consider what blinders you might be wearing,” Skiff said. “Materialists put conditions on science that things can only exist if they satisfy materialism. I think that is a mistake.”

He said scientists need to be open to the possibility of God and the idea that the world could be “bigger than their imagination.”

“They say that can’t be true because it doesn’t fit into their conception of the world,” he said. “That’s not science’ that’s metaphysics. It’s not looking at the world around you. It’s closing your eyes and saying that ‘Nothing can exist except for things that can fit into my theory.'”

Skiff said he believed the statement is intimidating to him and his colleagues who are open to intelligent design because it institutes the philosophy of materialism as the definition of science.

“They are saying that anyone who doesn’t have our point of view isn’t a legitimate scientist,” he said. “That’s coming on pretty strong.”

Smith said the statement was not meant to alienate Skiff or others open to the use of intelligent design.

“We are against the idea, not against the people who support that,” she said.

Hector Avalos, an associate professor of religious studies at ISU and one of the three original authors of the statement that started at ISU, said the UI statement will “affirm the solidarity of the faculty of the three regent institutions in fighting the efforts (of intelligent design) proponents to undermine evolutionary theory through the use of sectarian theology.”

“Any reference by (intelligent design) advocates to so-called ‘(intelligent design) research’ in Iowa universities will now be counterbalanced by the knowledge, now widespread thanks to our efforts, that major scientists and scholars at Iowa’s universities don’t see (intelligent design) as science,” he said.

The near 400 signatures accounts for about 10 percent of the faculty at the three universities.

The UI statement, as well as links to the ISU and UNI statement, can temporarily be found at http://euplotes.biology.uiowa.edu/web/ID.

William Dillon can be reached at 232-2161, Ext. 361, or William.Dillon@amestrib.com

PuckSR, hate to break it to you but that physicist has a fine understanding of philosophy. Materialism is basically the exact same thing as naturalism. The view that there only exists material things, vs. the view that nature is the only thing that exists. That is why Dembski himself uses "methodological materialism" and "methodological naturalism" in the same way. I was surprised to see a physicist with an articulate philosophical mind about this issue, I think he said it extremely well. You, sir, are the one who doesn't have the best understanding of philosophy. Takumi4G63
quick question....i agree that consensus is not the best judge of validity.....but what would you recommend? Any fringe science gets instant academic recognition? Loch Ness monster and UFO abduction get full research grants? Ok...so maybe just the good ideas? Who gets to decide what ideas are good and which are bad? the fringe scientists? puckSR
Crichton's "State of Fear" sounds great. I think I'll order a copy. DaveScot
im totally with crichton (and others who share these views)...consensus means nothing in science. if it did, wed be stuck with a lot of bad science that a tiny minority overthrew simply because the consensus said it was good science. jboze3131
right also, when you hear a scientist claiming that his research is being ignored as part of a conspiracy...its normally only in his head puckSR
"Whenever you see scientists voting or signing petitions, . It’s politics; it’s religion; but it is definitely not science. It is anti-science. It’s what you do when science is actually saying the opposite of what you want to believe.” Hilarious! Mats
"Here's a handy rule: Whenever you see scientists voting or signing petitions, there is no actual science going on. It's politics; it's religion; but it is definitely not science. It is anti-science. It's what you do when science is actually saying the opposite of what you want to believe." (Orson Scott Card, http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2005-01-09.shtml) jaredl
//Your understanding of evolutionary theory is quite impressive. (Its early) jmcd
//You're understanding of evolutionary is quite impressive. jmcd
hehe, mentok... you forgot to put the universal on-line symbol for sarcasm before your words: // Here's an example... //Don't you all know that digital information in the core of the cell generated itself from non-cognizant mechanisms? Bombadill
Joking? Evolution is just so obvious, just the other day I was telling my friend how easy it is for mutations to eventually turn some dirt and water into the orange tree we were sitting under. It's all about mutations ya see. What happens is the mutations actually design orange trees, seeds, flowers and oranges. Mutations are real smart like that. Why it's just plain common sense. Look you got your amoeba right? That amoeba starts to mutate and before you know it you got pineapples, pecans, watermelons, milk, mangos, flowers, trees, hippos, horses, eagles, and Jessica Alba. Mutations is smart like that. I know ID people say that all mutations are usually like 6 fingers or missing limbs or deformed limbs, but hey why can't mutations design new limbs better then the old ones? That just makes sense to me. mentok
okay. from clicking the link with your name, i think you might HAVE been joking with that comment. or maybe not. im confused. then again, its 6 am and im still awake from last night. :) jboze3131
mentok...i really thought that comment was a joke. the problem is- that just-so fairytale you told sounds absurd. the chances of it happening are so small that its absurd to even talk about. that and we know that selection runs into big time barriers in the lab and in the wild. you get to a certain point then bam- the animal dies out and can no longer reproduce, yet still no significant changes in that animal. theres no empirical evidence to back up the narrative you just told. and ID doesnt say god. ID doesnt say ANYTHING about the designer (why is this so hard to understand??) it speaks ONLY of the design itself. not the designer. and im really not sure how the story you told makes any sense at all. you point out many problems- each animal would have to be precisely the right size, in the right condition, etc etc etc down the line for the mutation to take hold in the population and totally wipe out all the animals without that mutation. sexual reproduction, where half comes from mom and half comes from dad screw these chances up even more...when these genetic mutations and such combine and express themselves in some offspring and dont express in others. small changes have never, in the lab or in the wild, been shown to equal large changes. even with artifical selection, the animals involved quickly run into brick wall barriers and simply refuse to change anymore...and even the changes we CAN get outof them are tiny. wings of the same type in the wrong place (hardly a survival advantage!), bigger bodies (maybe a survival advantage, but when left to its own, the body size returns to normal...just as darwins finches' beaks all had their beak size return to normal soon after the weather changes went back to normal.) no empirical evidence backs up this...common design and common descent are both clear options. in the lab and in the field- weve seen big roadblocks to change with mutations...so, the evidence sure as heck isnt leading towards your narrative above. jboze3131
Well, they are right ya know. Lets look at the facts. Lets take an example of a pig evolving into a cow. One day a pig has a mutation. Somehow that mutation becomes dominant in his local gene pool because it somehow enhances the pig's ability to survive. Then another pig has another muation that adds onto the previous mutation in exactly the right size and shape needed so that natural selection won't weed it out. Then another pig has another mutation that adds to the previous two mutations and it also is exactly the right size and shape needed so that natural selection won't weed it out. Then another pig has another mutation that adds to the previous three mutations and it also is the right size and shape so that natural selection doesn't weed it out. Now multiply that until you get a cow or a giraffe or a Banana tree or a rose bush or a dinasaur or a peacock or a whale or a smurf. That's science my friend. Don't they get it? It's so obvious this is science. Intelligent Design isn't science because it doesn't provide any answer but God. If they could come up with a theory that makes as much sense as evolution then we could take it seriously. mentok
#5, a cross-examination would be good. anteater
Is that UI faculty the same one who posts at PThumb? anteater
This brings up an interesting question...what kind of debate a public debate?...do both sides get to lie like politicians? a private debate?...perhaps through exchange of letters...thats sounds nobler.. a roundtable discussion...doubt we will find a table big enough for all of the egos Open Question...which option do you like? puckSR
They repeatedly attempt to substitute "statements" and interference with actual debating. Will no one rid us of these meddlesome evolutionists? CharlesW
Wait....are you saying that Scientists would lose a fight to Philosophers? In that case..engineers would kick some butt puckSR
Right ON Dr. Skiff! These cheaters are simply trying to define the dissenters OUT of the debate - and they aren't even using honest logic or the philosophical method to decide on such a tactic. They simply do it because they 'want to'. They may be post-graduate scientists, but put them in a room with some professional philosophers and they'd be torn apart with ideas and words like these! They are using nothing more than ad-hominem attacks, arguments from authority, and classic examples of the genetic fallacy. But, we've said this so many, many, many times. It is obvious there is truly no honesty in their hearts. They are blind, whining babies. arcturus
Ahh once again a physicist proves that he has no understanding of philosophy. Its naturalism you fool, naturalism puckSR

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