Evolution Intelligent Design

A Humble Suggestion

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ID-phobe bloggers are upset with the NYTimes article yesterday by Kenneth Chang (for the article, go here; for a partial list of upset ID-phobe bloggers, go here). Brian Leiter, for instance, commends a letter by Edouard Machery to the New York Times (unpublished as yet), which remarks, “In no other industrialized country is evolution a controversial fact. ” Let me humbly suggest that Machery is merely underscoring the backwardness of these industrialized countries in unmasking the most oversold and undersupported theory in the history of ideas.

God Bless America!

18 Replies to “A Humble Suggestion

  1. 1
    Srdjan says:

    But why should we take his word for it. Evolution was controversial even in Eastern Block countries where Marxism and Darwinism were state sponsored religions. We openly discussed pros and cons in our Biology classes. Materialism was explained as the underlying philosophy of both. So why is it a problem, in some Darwinist circles, in US to acknowledge this?

  2. 2
    Dan S. says:

    A humble suggestion: celebrating America’s potential failure to keep up with other industrialized countries in the scientific arena isn’t all that funny. I want my kids to be able to get good jobs, y’know, not end up working as nannies or maids or chauffeurs for German or Chinese biotech executives.

    [Dan, let me suggest that you find other blogs on which to make such “Inherit the Wind” arguments. I regard them, in reference to ID, as utterly bogus. You’re out of here. –WmAD]

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    From the article:

    “For example, scientists had predicted that more primitive animals such as fish would be missing certain blood-clotting proteins. In fact, the recent sequencing of the fish genome has shown just this.”

    Don’t you just love stupid statements like that? Excuse me, but fish have been evolving longer than mammals. Bacteria have been evolving longer than anything. To call these “primitive” is wrong. Perhaps “simpler” would be fair as long as simpler is understood to NOT mean less successful.

    There are more fish than there are mammals. They might be simpler but mammalian blood clotting mechanisms haven’t made mammals more successful. And bacteria are the real rulers of the earth. They were here first, there’s more of them than anything else by number or biomass, whichever you prefer to measure biological success.

  4. 4
    DaveScot says:

    So Dan, fill me on what is taught in 9th grade biology classes in public schools in China. Do they uncritically teach evolution to the exclusion of everything else as we do in the U.S.?

  5. 5
    DaveScot says:

    By the way, PZ Myers banned me on his blog “Pharyngula”. So did Ed Brayton on “Dispatches from the Culture Wars”, John Lynch on “Stranger Fruit”, and John Rennie on “Scientific American Perspectives”. No militant evolutionist site will tolerate me. I must be doing something right.

  6. 6
    Srdjan says:

    Dan, so you think that US will be disadvantaged and fail in scientific arena, if ID is considered as an option? I think that is very funny.

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    God bless the USA. Here here.

    Furthering the theme of technological advancement being inversely correlated to acceptance of evolution, Northern Virginia is the “Silicon Valley of the East”. It has the highest concentration of scientists and engineers per capita of any place in the world and possibly the highest per capita number of undergraduate and graduates. It has some the most affluent counties in the nation.

    Can you guess what grade for the teaching of Darwinian evolution the state of Virginia was given???? “D”, as in slightly above failing. I almost regret to say, Virginia didn’t receive an “F” as that would more properly show what should be the inverse correlation between scientific understanding and rejection of Darwinian evolution.

    Salvador
    PS
    In nearby Maryland, the bio-tech technology corridor, home of the NIH and many workers of the Human Genome project, received a mere “C” in teaching of Darwinian evolution.

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    Indeed, in the USA, the most technlogically advanced culture in history, and in a country that has the most sophisticated medical and bio-technologies, 60% of the physicians reject a purely naturalistic origin for life.

    Some of the scientists who have led the USA to first place in technology (like Intel CEO Craig Barrett, a materials engineer), see evolution as peripheral to scientific preparedness and it seems university presidents at a roundtable discussion on scientific preparedness are willing to publicly disagree.

    From an editors of Scientific American:
    http://sciam-editor.typepad.co.....creat.html

    “Like Todd [President, University of Kentucky], Craig Barrett [CEO of Intel] maintained that evolution was peripheral to raising the scientific readiness and competitiveness of American students, and none of the [university] presidents disagreed with him.”

    Salvador

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    Believing that random mutation millions and billions of years ago is the source of variability in life today has absolutely no bearing on anything in modern biology or medicine. The relationships between living organisms today are what they whether by chance or design. While it’s important to know that some amount of variability today is due to chance it’s just as important to know that chance won’t be turning the e.coli in your gut into something substantially different from an e.coli. The *observed limits* of random mutation are much more important to understand. Those observed limits tell us that living things don’t change much in non-geologic timeframes and certainly doesn’t create new cell types, tissue types, organs, or body plans in any spans of time that have practical implications in medicine, agriculture, or any other practical application.

  10. 10
    scordova says:

    I wrote:
    “Some of the scientists who have led the USA to first place in technology (like Intel CEO Craig Barrett, a materials engineer), see evolution as peripheral to scientific preparedness and it seems university presidents at a roundtable discussion on scientific preparedness are willing to publicly disagree.”

    My typing skills leave much to be desired! I meant to say,

    “it seems university presidents at a roundtable discussion on scientific preparedness are NOT willing to publicly disagree.”

    That said, the other industrialized nations will follow the leader, the USA, in eventually realizing the Darwinian evolution is the most oversold and unsupported theory in the history of ideas.

    The community of molecular, cell, and developmental biologists haven’t even caught on yet. As scientist Michael Lynch noted:

    “IDers like to portray evolution as being built entirely on an edifice of darwinian natural selection. This caricature of evolutionary biology is not too surprising. Most molecular, cell and developmental biologists subscribe to the same creed.”

    What is viewed as a caricature by Lynch, is an accepted creed by most biologists. Time for biologists to update their knowledge of current literature.

  11. 11
    JaredL says:

    So, wonder what’s that E. Coli paper gonna say to validate the RM/NS hypothesis and eject effects of intelligence from the category of unobservable phenomena….

  12. 12
    JaredL says:

    heh. “observable phenomena.”

  13. 13
    Derek says:

    Dave,

    What does “60% of the physicians reject a purely naturalistic origin for life” have to do with ID? I keep hearing that ID is a scientific theory. To the extent that the origin of life is supernatural it is precisely to that extent beyond the scope of scientific theories. Scientists can make observations of the natural world, propose theories based on those observations, and continue testing those theories based on new information. If something is the subject matter of an empirically testable theory, it is necessarily a ‘naturalistic.’ Whether or not lots of smart people tend to think there is something beyond such naturalistic explanations, then, is entirely beside the point of any debate about what to teach in science classes.

    Mr. Dembski,

    If you think Dan’s suggestion that teaching ID hurts science education is so obviously off the mark, surely you must make the same assessment of Dave’s suggestion that ID isn’t a naturalistic theory at all.

  14. 14
    mr.orange says:

    Well, you’re both wrong. Australia is the other industrialized nation in which evolution is a controversial fact. So that means they’re just as awesome – truly awesome – as the good ol’ U S of A. Go us!

  15. 15
    Gumpngreen says:

    Now I don’t agree with Dan S.’s comment but wasn’t that a bit quick to pull out the ban hammer? Most of his other comments in other threads have been fairly…um, looking for a word, “balanced”. Or at least his other comments weren’t “utterly bogus”.

  16. 16
    DaveScot says:

    “What does “60% of the physicians reject a purely naturalistic origin for life” have to do with ID?”

    I didn’t bring it up but I think it had nothing to do with ID and everything to do with making the point that the country producing the most progress in medicine is also the one with the most physicians that reject the neodarwinian narrative in regard to origin of life.

    The take home point is that disbelief in darwinian macroevolutionary theory isn’t retarding scientific inquiry or practical application thereof. If anything, the only loose correlation that can be shown is it actually advances science and medicine. My take is that it just doesn’t matter and the success of the U.S. in science and engineering is due to our embrace of free markets and capitalism.

  17. 17
    Derek says:

    Sorry, Dave, I got the names mixed up.

    In any case if the study was about whether such people believed in evolution, why wasn’t that the question asked? “Reject a purely naturalistic origin for life” a is deeply ambiguous between rejecting evolution, believing some supernatural something caused the first ‘spark of life’ but that evolution took it from there, and believing that life began in accord with physical laws and proceeded by evolution but God created the whole system.

  18. 18
    nostrowski says:

    regarding gumpngreen comment, I think it was an excellent application of the “ban hammer” as Dan S. had previously posted this beauty………

    The Soviet Union had similar ideas, oddly (obviously atheism wasn’t a problem for them), and so many scientists were purged and Lysenkoism – which was seen as more compatible with the official ideology – became official science, Soviet agriculture suffered an enormous setback, and many went hungry or even starved. Most likely you folks will read this as with evolutionary bio standing in for Lysenkoism. Note that the U.S. isn’t the USSR; while federal grants matter, science isn’t really a grand conspiracy, and if you pick wrong, future historians may be arguing over what influence ID had on America’s eventual failure to compete.

    But we’ll be very moral. Hungry and poor, maybe, but that does build character . . .

    How much of this is really necessary? Exactly where does it advance the debate?

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