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The Dover case, John West, and intelligent design

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Recently, Evolution News & Views has been discussing the decade-old Dover case that, in my view, cleared the decks for serious discussions about Darwinism. No surprise, lots more people express doubts, now that the failing American school system is no longer  an issue.

West, a director at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (ID Central), writes,

It was during the bleak months following Dover that I made one of the biggest decisions of my professional life. Rather than cut and run, I decided to risk everything. Convinced of the critical importance of the intelligent design debate, I gave up my tenured position as a university professor to devote my full energies to Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, which I had co-founded with Stephen Meyer in 1996.

When an atheist professor discovered I had left my university post, he started harassing me, gleefully informing me I would soon be out of a job because the Dover decision would destroy both Discovery Institute and intelligent design. That atheist professor had not counted on courageous people like the readers of Evolution News.

That professor seems not to have counted on evidence-based reasoning either—the main reason why West and his Center are still here.

Years earlier, I too had given up better-paying, less controversial opportunities in Canada in order to cover the growing ID story.

I had got stuck with a science desk. And soon discovered one thing: The stranglehold that naturalism has on science was becoming more apparent. Wars on falsifiability, the acceptance of crackpot cosmology, crackpot biology, and crackpot psychology, and many other trends, seemed based on a single principle:

That the best available naturalist thesis (nature is all there is)—even if it is untestable, unfalsifiable, doesn’t make any sense, or is contradicted by evidence—is to be preferred to any finding of fact that shows design in nature.

So, if there is design in nature, science wouldn’t allow us to know it or to know what difference it would make.

Science then becomes the propaganda tool of naturalist atheists, and everyone else pays. What a clever way of establishing a religion!  Claiming that it is a “non-religion” or “anti-religion”!

Like most Canadians, I pay little attention to the American public education system. It spends more and results in less than most Western systems. The Darwin-in-the-schools lobby is only a minuscule part of that gargantuan ripoff. It’s not my business apart from the fact that, say, the Pants in Knot Bayou puppet theatre has sorta been charming on a dull afternoon.

But as I said before, the main business for ID now is research and evaluation of research. I’m glad if the American public education scandal is no longer a big part of the ID community’s issues. When Americans are required to pay more and more for less and less, West and his colleagues can just say, “We have nothing to do with that.”

Still—now that West recalls those times—I do remember one thing: Shortly after Dover, I got collared into appearing on some awful local TV show (government-funded, I fear). I found my way to the studio over a bleak landscape. There, I was confronted by a famous progressive journalist who wanted to know what I thought of the “wonderful!, wonderful!” Dover decision.

Which I had hardly noticed. But SHE had. Presumably, she wanted to import that bundle of waste products into as many (separately and better run) Canadian systems as she could. Maybe she has already done so.

Her interests were large, varied, and cosmopolitan. All she and hers need is control over what people are allowed to know. All I need is that they don’t have it.

If you agree, please be nice to John West at Christmas.

See also: Dover is over

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10 Replies to “The Dover case, John West, and intelligent design

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  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    I didn’t know the WEST story. Thats very important and , I say, a future example that will be used for fighters of important truths.
    ID was probably wrong to trust the judicial system to do the smart and good thing. Wrong to let incompetent judges have any say in what scientific methodology is.
    Its none of their business.
    Only the law is.
    therefore if they can’t do the law but by deciding what sciency is then they can’t decide these issues.
    ID/YEC should bring great cases before the public and tyake on THE WHOLE CONCEPT of state censorship in america on issues of importance in public institutions.
    A bother and a big deal.
    however these kittle skirmishes show that, like in the civil war, one must invade like Sherman. Righjt down their throat..
    Freedom of inquiry. teaching, speech is the absoluye right of a free people and the state is not to interfere with that and mandate conclusions.
    Including not to mandate religious conclusions as false by censoring them from subjects that seek truth.
    ID does well from freedom in the nation and owes a debt to America to fight for freedom in academia.
    The right case could be historic.
    Seems that way from Canada..

  3. 3
    paul sussman says:

    But as I said before, the main business for ID now is research and evaluation of research…”

    I am new to this subject. Could you please point me to some ID research?

  4. 4

    @Paul Sussman

    In the broadest sense creationism describes the origins of anything in terms of the decisions by which it came to be. So you just have to look at the work of people who regard freedom / choosing as a fundamental reality of physics.

    The scientists around the CASYS conferences do much work in this regard.

    Peter Rowlands, Vanessa Hill, Edwina Taborsky, Daniel Dubois, Peter Marcer, Walter Schempp.

    Daniel Dubois
    Review of incursive, hyperincursive and anticipatory systems-foundation of anticipation in electromagnetism
    http://scitation.aip.org/conte...../1.1291243

    Edwina Taborsky
    Biological Organisms as Semiosic Systems: the importance of strong and weak anticipation
    https://tidsskrift.dk/index.php/signs/article/viewFile/71446/128775

    Peter Rowlands, Vanessa Hill
    Nature’s Code
    http://www.scienceoflife.nl/VH.....s_Code.pdf

    Peter Marcer
    http://www.bcs.org/content/ConWebDoc/16175

    Walter Schempp
    http://journal.taiwanmathsoc.o.....9809_1.pdf

    Actually none of these are full on creationists, in that they affirm freedom but also deny it. For example Dubois talks about choosing as fundamental physics, but in contradiction also talks about defining a selection parameter in order to choose.

    Taborsky basically got accused of theorizing intelligent design, but then she denied it, arguing definitions of intelligent design.

    Also what makes these non creationist is that many of them refer agency of the decision to the material thing itself, in stead of referring it to a subjectively identified spirit doing the choosing. That is to say, these scientists also intellectually reject the validity of subjectivity, expression of emotion, forming an opinion. That is of course the most important thing in creationism.

    But if you look broadly at the work then it falls in line with creationism:
    – mathematics ordered by zero is the theory of eveything
    – choosing is real and fundamental to physics
    – organisms are chosen to be the way they are in a sophisticated way

  5. 5
    bornagain says:

    paul sussman, and can you point me to any ‘scientific’ research that does not presuppose teleology on some level?

    People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.
    —Paul Davies (cited in, The Historic Alliance of Christianity and Science)

    Exactly how are logic and reasoning to be grounded in a worldview that insists everything arose without any rhyme or reason? To presuppose that the universe can be understood through logic and reason is to presuppose that there is logic and reasoning behind the universe to be understood in the first place. The atheistic/materialistic worldview is incoherent as to providing a rational foundation for practicing science in that it presupposes no logic or reason behind the universe.
    All of which explains, number one, why there were no atheists at the founding of modern science,,
    and which, number two, also explains why the atheistic explanations for how the universe came into being, and for how we ourselves came into being, both wind up in epistemological failure.

  6. 6
    News says:

    Paul Sussman at 3 might be interested in BioComplexity, the journal of the Biologic Institute

  7. 7
    News says:

    Paul Sussman at 3 might be interested in BioCmplexity, the journal of the Biologic Institute

  8. 8
    Bob O'H says:

    The current volume of Bio-Complexity is here. I don’t know if any more papers are planned to come out this year.

  9. 9
    paul sussman says:

    //Paul Sussman at 3 might be interested in BioComplexity, the journal of the Biologic Institute//

    Thank you News. I took a brief look and will read through all of the research articles that they have published. There aren’t many so it shouldn’t take long.

  10. 10
    bornagain says:

    “There aren’t many so it shouldn’t take long.”

    Perhaps, if you have the time to spare, you can look through these:

    BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND ANNOTATED LIST OF PEER-­REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS SUPPORTING INTELLIGENT DESIGN – UPDATED – APRIL, 2015
    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....8;id=10141

    Evolutionary Informatics Lab – Main Publications
    http://evoinfo.org/publications/

    Biological Information – New Perspectives – Proceedings of the Symposium – published online May 2013
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....8818#t=toc

    Biological Information: New Perspectives.
    web site: http://www.binp.org
    short bios of the authors, and a short synopsis of each paper written by Dr. Sanford. William A. Dembski, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute and Bruce Gordon, Associate Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Houston Baptist University

    Biological Information: New Perspectives (reviewed) – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHDSWJBW3DNUUhiC9VwPnhl-ymuObyTWJ

    Dr. David L. Abel – papers
    https://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel

    Bio-Complexity Publication Archive
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....ue/archive

    of particular interest from bio-complexity:

    How the Burgeoning Field of Systems Biology Supports Intelligent Design – July 2014
    Excerpt: Snoke lists various features in biology that have been found to function like goal-directed, top-down engineered systems:
    *”Negative feedback for stable operation.”
    *”Frequency filtering” for extracting a signal from a noisy system.
    *Control and signaling to induce a response.
    *”Information storage” where information is stored for later use. In fact, Snoke observes:
    “This paradigm [of systems biology] is advancing the view that biology is essentially an information science with information operating on multiple hierarchical levels and in complex networks [13]. ”
    *”Timing and synchronization,” where organisms maintain clocks to ensure that different processes and events happen in the right order.
    *”Addressing,” where signaling molecules are tagged with an address to help them arrive at their intended target.
    *”Hierarchies of function,” where organisms maintain clocks to ensure that cellular processes and events happen at the right times and in the right order.
    *”Redundancy,” as organisms contain backup systems or “fail-safes” if primary essential systems fail.
    *”Adaptation,” where organisms are pre-engineered to be able to undergo small-scale adaptations to their environments. As Snoke explains, “These systems use randomization controlled by supersystems, just as the immune system uses randomization in a very controlled way,” and “Only part of the system is allowed to vary randomly, while the rest is highly conserved.”,,,
    Snoke observes that systems biology assumes that biological features are optimized, meaning, in part, that “just about everything in the cell does indeed have a role, i.e., that there is very little ‘junk.'” He explains, “Some systems biologists go further than just assuming that every little thing has a purpose. Some argue that each item is fulfilling its purpose as well as is physically possible,” and quotes additional authorities who assume that biological systems are optimized.,,,
    – per ENV

    here are some Natural Genetic Engineering papers published by scientists who reject natural selection (i.e. The Third Way)

    Natural Genetic Engineering and Natural Genome Editing
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.....1/issuetoc

    The Third Way – people
    http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/people

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