Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Does ID Heckle Evolution?


Darwinian Struggle At Some Colleges,
Classes Questioning Evolution Take Hold

‘Intelligent Design’ Doctrine Leaves Room for Creator;
In Iowa, Science on Defense; A Professor Turns Heckler

November 14, 2005; Page A1


puckSR "Your not very bright if you think a poll=jury decision. Jury of your peers…other scientists." It's called the court of public opinion. Ever heard of it? Who died and made scientists the decision makers of public policy? "In physics, we often question why the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. Many people proposed Dark Matter." That's actually dark energy, not dark matter. The shallow level of your knowledge o physics and cosmology is showing. "Your not very bright" shows your shallow knowledge of grammar. Have you even graduated from high school yet? If you have you could be a poster boy for the hazards of social promotions. DaveScot
Why would i be a Theist, i think that God has not touched Reality since its creation. I am confused. Is the atheism of Darwinism evil? I would personally find Atheism quite comforting and good if i believed in it Is ID suggesting that ID should replace current Darwinism, or is ID simply suggesting that Darwinism should be replaced? Using mathematics, we can deduce that the chance of cells evolving is incredibly low. I may be misunderstanding you here, but why would a slim chance imply impossibility. If you drop an apple on the ground, there is almost no chance that it could turn into a peach, but if there existed any chance that it could spontaneously turn into an orange, then you could not say that it is impossible to turn an apple into an orange. I am not referring to Paley's watchmaker argument. ancient mythology is based on the principle that the unexplained must be supernatural. Paley's argument is not very old, the principle governing it is incredibly old. What materialistic presumptions does Darwinism make? puckSR
Puck, You ought to be a theist, by your own definition, in which you said theism allowed some freedom for God to come back and interact on an occasional basis. Idists are not really trying to overthrow the theory of evolution; they are trying to overthrow the materialist presumptions of Darwinism. You have said Darwinism is compatible with desim and theism, and in the real world that is often so, however, the vanguard of evolution theory have been from the begining and continue to be staunch atheists, and the more honest of them openly state that Darwinism leads to atheism, that Darwinism is not compatible with religion, and they teach students that evolution occurred by random processes which are accidental and purposeless. I think you are not aware of how firmly entrenched atheism really is as a driving force and motivation for evolution theory. You should perhaps check out Telic Thoughts blog - they tend to speak about that. Most all IDists consider evolution a fact, but not Darwinian evolution. There is too much evidence that species do not in fact involve into one another, that random mutation could not solve the complex problems of body plans and all the genomes, and so forth. Life seems to have unfolded slowly through some sort of process. I don't think we understand very well what that is. Continuing to prop up the epicycles of Darwinism long after they have been shown to be absurd does not advance knowledge. By continuing to try to make the facts fit the theory, falsity gets promoted. For example, according to Denton, there is no evidence whatsoever for a primordial, prebiotic soup. They have looked for evidence and it isn't there. But it gets mentioned in the literature and people are misled into thinking it has some basis in fact. The only basis it has is that abiogenesis must have occurred, and it must have had some rich soup of components to work with. So you see, science has plenty of research to do. I do not think I am describing a theological perspective. I think I am describing a scientific perspective. Using mathematics and information theory, we can deduce that a living cell could not have arisen by chance. The physics community is not driven by atheism, and they are not passing off discredited evidence to fit an atheistic presumption. About 40% or more of physicists believe in some sort of God. Among evolutionary biologists, the figure is 4%. It is an indoctrination. Physics may pursue knowledge without reference to God, but the lack of a God is not a foundational principle of their theories. Also, recently there are two books, Privileged Planet and Nature's Destiny which discuss from a physics, astronomy and chemical perspective that the whole universe looks designed to support life. I also think that while it is true that Denton, for example, wrote his book to refute Darwinism, there is nothing so momentous about that. It should happen in science regularly. Yet the whole world is up in arms about ID. And it is not ID who is attacking, except in the realm of ideas. Yet the anti-IDists are indulging in all sorts of frantic misbehavior. What does this tell you? You say an old theological belief is being used. Do you mean Paley's watchmaker argument? Finally, I think you have overcomplicated the issue about God's action in the world. We see a consistent and studiable world. Let's study it. avocationist
oh quick explanation of my point about God in science If The Designer is doing things actively, and we admit that He is actively working, we cannot possibly understand The Designer, so His actions will remain a mystery If we do not admit He is actively doing things, we still cannot understand The Designer, so we will struggle in vain to understand something that we cannot understand If The Designer is not actively doing things, and we admit that He is, we cannot possibly understand The Designer, so His actions will remain a mystery....even though He isnt doing anything If do not admit He is actively doing things, we can understand the natural world, so we will struggle to understand something that we can understand. Truths: We do not know how, why, or when The Designer acts. We seek knowledge. Therefore, it makes more sense to assume that The Designer is not involved, with the worst possible scenario being to struggle in vain vs the alternative of never struggling at all. Unless you suggest that we simply mention that The Designer is working behind the scenes, in which case....this is only philosophy puckSR
sorry Dr. Dembski, misprint puckSR
Let me explain I am a deist and a chrisitian. God, I believe, is All-knowing. If God designed a system that would function so as to please him...then God could have prepared the world before it was actually created. This only leaves on problem....direct intervention and miracles. 1. Miracles are often very rare, but possible occurences. Virginal birth is at least theoretically possible, and if God is really as smart as I think, then he might have had it occur. 2. Direct intervention is trickier. We are not talking about Jesus, Jesus was flesh and blood after all, he could have made it so that Jesus just had the right mind for the job. We are talking about the burning bush and Moses talking to God. This is a bit tougher, and i do not believe it to be literally true. I also do not believe that angels have appeared(just my opinion), but God could have created the universe so other entities exist(angels) that occasionally appear and think they know God. If you are proposing that ID simply suggests that the complexity of the universe is such that something must have designed it...then i wholeheartedly agree. If your definition is correct, then how are you suggesting that we replace the Theory of Evolution with the Theory of ID? In your defintion ID is not a better explanation of how we got here, it is a further definition of how we got here. The problem that I have with Intelligent Design is its general vagueness. Avocationist seems to be describing a theological perspective Dr. Dembsky seems to be describing a biological theory Once again i do not object to the idea of a designer, but the ID movement is trying to replace Darwinism...a definition of the mechanism of evolution.....with ID...a theological perspective. It doesnt make any sense. Physics also does not include any mention of designer in any of it's theories. Why is the ID movement not trying to attack the blatantly Atheistic physics community? Chemisty is completely devoid of the mention of a designer, yet none of those chemical reactions would occur if they had not been designed by someone. I agree with the general concept of ID, i just feel that a fairly old theological belief is being used. It doesn't have any specific application to biology in my eyes, at least not any more than any other branch of science. puckSR
Puck, Now you have surprised me. You are a Christian which must make you a theist. And you've been complaining all day that ID would take the fun out of science, and then you say " if God is not a definable entity, why would his inclusion in science matter?" The problem with science insisting that natural processes can account for everything is that it might not be true. And if it isn't true, we cannot progress in knowledge if we cling to a false idea. So the problem is one of *excluding* God despite evidence. So it appears you are focused on the idea of control. If God controls things, we can't study them. But I think (and few think like me) that God is actually fundamentally present in all things at all times, and yet I do not consider the issue of control to be an impediment to study. Why? Because things are set up to function in certain ways and they do so consistently. Whether God is the author of gravity and motion or no one is, we study it just the same. The only situation in which I think God's control would be an issue is if there were a one-time event like a miracle, and the only reason we couldn't study it is because it doesn't repeat. Besides, it seems to me you believe in a deterministic universe, only one in which the determination was input near the beginning - so isn't that total interference and control as well? In what way do you see the ID world as more limited for exploration? I do not think that the statement the cell or DNA requires a designer is really a philosophical position, and that is why it differs from traditional philosophical proofs of God. We are not asking science to acknoledge a philosophical proof of God, we are asking that they stop refusing for emotional reasons to follow the evidence to its logical conclusion, which is that blind processes are not adequate to account for life. I could be wrong but ID does not have a clear set of beliefs. ID is simply the inference based upon the data we have available that random and undirected processes are inadequate to produce at least certain aspects of life (DNA, IC systems, the first cell, and probably the universe). Most IDists believe in some form of evolution, and many accept a lot of the regular mechanisms, including mutation and common descent. (I don't.) It is strange for a Christian to object to ID when any Christian by definition believes this universe and life had an intelligent designer. I think you could be an IDist and a deist, but I don't think you could be a Christian and a deist. avocationist
DaveScot....I generally consider myself Christian...and to me the designer would have to be God...correct? Could the Intelligent Designer be a computer? I have only been mentioning God to save the discussion of how intelligent the intelligent agency has to be for a later or earlier date. Does ID suggest that the Intelligent Designer has to be more intelligent than Humans? puckSR
puckSR Get with the program before you get the boot. Intelligent agency (which ID posits) is not the same as God. Humans are intelligent agents, for instance. DaveScot
Deism is simply the belief in divinity without current interaction Theism is the belief in divinity with the possibility of current interaction. I disagree that assuming no-god is not neutral. Most people who believe in divinity do not believe that it can be directly defined or proven. That is the nature of God, who am i to question him. The point is that if God is not a definable entity, why would his inclusion in science matter? We have no idea what God does and does not do. Therefore, to assume God is directly responsible for an action would remove the need for research of that action. Yet, if we do not know what God is responsible for, then we must explore every action under the assumption he does not directly control it, therefore we will learn all we can. The assumption for science would be that that God does not control anything, therefore everything is a possible avenue of exploration. What does ID propose that Evolution does not propose except for the existence of God? All ID literature I have read proposes a more limited world, rather than a less limited world of exploration. If ID is simply the conjecture that Nature(or reality) requires a designer...then how does that refer from many of the long standing philosophical proofs of God? Basically, you are requesting that Science acknowledge a philosophical proof of God? I was under the impression that ID was a concise scientific theory, not a conjecture as to the nature of the universe. I was under the impression that ID had a very clear set of beliefs...according to you it does not puckSR
What I meant to explain when I said, Is there any escape? The materialists have tried to foster the notion that assuming no-God is somehow a neutral position. But it isn't. avocationist
Puck, Regarding the supposition of dark matter,I don't think it is quite the same with ID. The focus is a lot narrower. What we have is very complex living systems, and we wonder by what process they got here. And how many possibiliites are there? Either randomly, or some form of intelligently directed process. ID is a certain interpretation of the facts to say that they cannot have arisen randomly. It really doesn't address much else. ID is compatible with many other levels of belief in evolution. Personally, I do not accept common descent, at least not in the usual sense of the term. I think the evidence points to discontinuity in nature. But other far more credentialed ID people do accept common descent. Keep in mind that ID is not a whole theory of life, at least not now. It is simply the inference that nature as we see it required an intelligent input. You list several objections - science would have to validate theism, it provides no new insights, it limits research. I suppose you are right that science would have to validate theism, at least as a background possibility. Right now, however, they have an a priori assumption of nontheism, and that is equally a philosophical approach. Is there any escape? Either there is some form of God or there isn't...and although many people hardly give it much thought, is there a more fundamental question for humanity? Ultimately, although ID people deny that ID is in any way religious, which technically it isn't, the reason this whole entire cultural war is going on is that it hinges on that question -- Is there a God? But to say it provides no insight or limits research - no way do I agree. The only thing it would limit is doing research with the assumption that Darwinian style evolution must be true, and that has already limited our understanding long enough. Everything currently under study would continue. Why not? Nor can I see how IDism limits tradition design theories. ID is simly the proposal that design occurred. You seem to be using deism and theism differently than I have understood it. You say deism would call evolution the genius of God. I had rather thought that was theism. My understanding of Deism is that it postulates some sort of remote deity that has nothing to do with what happens over here. And Theism seems to be comfortable with life arising randomly and without purpose or plan, yet once it got here we have people like Ken Miller thinking that people somehow became sinful and can go to hell for offending a God who didn't really create them. But then he sort of did. He did it by interacting below the quantum level. Which I actually have no problem with and think it is the explanation of so-called 'miracles' -- but then how does he attack ID and insist upon random mutation and no direction or purpose in a universe with a God who impregnantes a virgin and authorizes the pope to speak for him? To me that is all quite a mess. "Yet what hard fact has supported ID" You might like Denton's book, and his other one, too, Nature's Destiny, which you might consider deistic. I'm not sure what you consider a hard fact, but his chapter on A Biochemical Echo of Typlogy is good. avocationist
DaveScot: Your not very bright if you think a poll=jury decision. Jury of your peers...other scientists. Avocationist: Let me explain my position. In physics, we often question why the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. Many people proposed Dark Matter. It seemed to work better than any current theory. The problem is that besides the fact that it was "something that could make the universe expand" there really wasnt much else about it. Recently it has been argued that increasing expanision rates can be explained with current physics. The jury is still out, but dark matter will have to provide something more substantial than a "fudge factor" to be considered real. The same case exists for ID. I dont believe ID has to name the creator to be valid, but ID does have some very strong limitations. First.....if ID is true, then the scientific community has to validate Theism. Secondly....if ID is true, then it gives no new insight into modern biology.(Are we just supposed to wait around till the designer makes something else?). Finally, if ID is true...what does it do besides limit current evolutionary research. Does it provide scientists with a new avenue of exploration besides to "Cure them of their atheism?" Intelligent Design is an interesting philosophy, but the theory as stated by proponents severly limits the scope of traditional design theories. Let me explain. Deism has long stood behind Evolution as the genius of God, especially deterministic deism. Intelligent Design in its current incarnation removes the possibility of deterministic deism. I feel that much of the work on ID is approached from a Theistic perspective, and ignores Deism. The Pope's Intelligent Project accepts all belief structures, with the only question being luck or God(both are possibilities) Little hard fact has supported the Darwinism claims of macroevolution recently...yet what hard fact has supported ID. Some of the premiere work on ID is basically to "give the odds" on evolution. That doesnt really seem like hard fact to me. Especially given that we live in an almost infinite universe(not infinite). puckSR
Puck, "Consensus changes, but in every case where scientific consensus has changed, there was total evidence to disprove the previous consensus and prove the modern consensus." I stayed up very late last night finishing Denton's Evolution: A Theory In Crisis. Wow. Knighthood is in order. In the final chapter I understood that he really does intend the book as a sufficient refutation of Darwin's theory. But he does not kid himself that his book, being sufficient, will cause the consensus to change. He says that both Kuhn and Feyerabend agree that "...it is impossible to falsify theories be reference to the facts or indeed by any sort of rational or empirical arguments." The paradigm must be offered a replacement before consensus changes. I see this corroborated often on these discussions and the articles. Basically, the rebuttal is, "Oh yeah, well what have you got to offer us if our story isn't true, buddy"? What you have here is the fact that only a few people are comfortable coming to their own conclusions upon any matter, and most of them are unable to commit until they have a consensus with them. And you also have the fact that many or most people are uncomfortable with unanswered questions and will refuse to abandon an unlikely story, because having a story at all is paramount. Anti IDists are constantly saying that ID cannot be taken seriously until we know the designer's name, methods, motives, tools, and what he had for breakfast. It's such illogical bunk. If someone proposes a theory of of anything, and that theory is absurd, that can certainly be proved even if an alternate theory is not at hand. And obviously, remaining with an absurd theory will slow progress toward a better one. Second, you would like the golden key, and I do believe it will eventually be found, but meanwhile, I wonder what you make of the sum total of good arguments against Darwin's theory, and the problem that so little hard fact has in all these years really strengthened it? Why isn't that sufficient? avocationist
Does ID Heckle Evolution? From Dr. Wells: "Ten questions to ask your biology teacher about evolution." http://www.iconsofevolution.com/tools/questions.php3 I think heckling is the most likely use for a list like this. IDthink
"It is strong support for ID, but not the kind of proof that would convince a jury." In fact it HAS convinced a jury... http://www.pollingreport.com/science.htm#Evolution DaveScot
jboze you mention stomach ulcers yet again..... Let me ask you a question. Why do we now know that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria? Consensus can definitely be changed in the scientific community, it happens frequently. Science, as you know, is based only on available information. The fact that our knowledge of the universe is finite tends to make absolute knowledge impossible. Consensus changes, but in every case where scientific consensus has changed, there was total evidence to disprove the previous consensus and prove the modern consensus. The fact that the "chance of evolution" is slim does not provide this "golden key". We may have won the intergalactic lottery. It is strong support for ID, but not the kind of proof that would convince a jury. ID supporters, you are trying to convince a jury. The jury will mantain Evolution as long as there is "reasonable doubt" about your theory. You need to remove reasonable doubt. puckSR
[...] Uncommon Descent links to this story in the Wall Street Journal, on how academia is reacting to professors supporting intelligent design. It includes things like showing up in elective classes devoted to intelligent design and heckling the professor teaching it, and offering a counter-class, subtly titled “The Nature of Science: Why the Overwhelming Consensus of Science is that Intelligent Design is not Good Science”. But the most revealing statement is this: “My interest is in making sure that intelligent design and creationism do not make the kind of inroads at the university level that they’re making at the K-12 level,” says Leslie McFadden, chair of earth and planetary sciences at the University of New Mexico, who led a successful fight there to re-classify a course on intelligent design from science to humanities. “You can’t teach whatever you damn well please. If you’re a geologist, and you decide that the earth’s core is made of green cheese, you can’t teach that.“ Young, prospective scientists interested in intelligent design should ask themselves this: What do you do with geologists who think that the earth’s core is made of green cheese? Give them tenure? [...] Telic Thoughts » At least they don’t believe in a flat Earth
puck- consensus means that many people have put forth their own ideas and the majority in the certain group have accepted one position as the position of the group as a whole. thats precisely what i said. how do you think democratic means? if a group of 100 scientists get together, and 80 of them hold to a certain position- thats a democratic majority. its also the consensus of the group. as i mentioned, the consensus was wrong about ulcers...theyve been wrong many many times. a consensus in science means nothing. if a scientist advocates something, it doesnt make it valid, but the same way around- because the consensus holds to a particular position doesnt make it right either, which was my point. history has proven many times that a scientific consensus has been wrong on numerous occasions. jboze3131
Is it correct to say that scientific revolutions (a la Kuhn) destroy consensus? William Dembski
The term consensus is very important in science. There are a lot of fringe ideas in science, and the simple fact that it is supported by a scientist does not make it valid. Consensus does not mean democratically chosen, despite the implications made by jboze Consensus-Agreement in the judgment or opinion reached by a group as a whole the term general consensus is often used, since there will always be outliers. I.E. Some people still think the world is flat...but the general consensus is that Earth is a sphere. Consensus does not mean what you think it does jboze. puckSR
He may have also been using this particular literary device to indicate that while being more than adequately informed on the subject matter, he does not have a doctorate in Biology. This would be akin to not referring Dembski as Dr. Dembski while talking about a hospital visit. puckSR
"Counter-programming against Mr. Ingebritsen, three faculty members are preparing a seminar titled: 'The Nature of Science: Why the Overwhelming Consensus of Science is that Intelligent Design is not Good Science.'" Fine...as long as that one isn't classified as a "science" class, either. Lutepisc
After protesting to a higher-level administrator to no avail, Mr. Ingebritsen revised the syllabus, added a mainstream textbook, and resumed teaching the course in 2004... ...The textbook, "Finding Darwin's God," by Kenneth Miller
Okay. why did other complain about his original textbook claiming that it was inappropriate because it was published by a Christian publisher and that's not right for a state-funded university...yet, it's fine for the new textbook to actually have the word GOD in it and was written by a Christian?! I love the double standard. Put your fingers in your ears and keep screaming that there's no controversey! Call those who claim there is idiots and fools, then start talking about a scientific consensus, which means NOTHING. If we're going for consensus, why not just start voting on science? What causes heart disease? Heck- we'll take a vote, and whichever option gets the most votes wins! Absurd. These sorts of scientists are so clueless, it's scary. "The Nature of Science: Why the Overwhelming Consensus of Science is that Intelligent Design is not Good Science." We could easily change that to: "The Nature of Science: Why the Overwhelming Consensus of Science is that Stress Causes Stomach Ulcers." --then what? We now know this isn't the case, but for decades this has been the consensus view and the few doctors who proclaimed that ulcer were caused by bacteria were laughed at and mocked? We would have a course that is a similar attack, but it makes a joke of the scientists mocking the minority. Now, tell me...which is easier to study- stomach ulcers that are actually in the world today in humans who can be tested in labs and hospitals over and over and over...or processes that took place millions of years ago, sometimes leaving no real trace, not able to be tested and observed in real time? Shall I mention again that doctors still don't really know what causes heart disease- something that takes place everyday inside of living tissue of persons we can question, study, test, observe, and repeat all these steps with?!? Open your minds people! jboze3131
Mr. Dembski, In the scientific realm, what are the 3 most important research projects that are currently being employed to the scientific credibility of ID? What should lay people, who support ID, be doing in the social and political arena to create opportunities for the presentation of the new theory? Letters to editors? Emails to congressman? Is ID being supported by ever increasing research budgets? Or is it hard pressed to compete with evolution on the financial funding front? ryanjaroncyk
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=all&q=%22professor%22+site%3Aonline.wsj.com&btnG=Search It's not style convention for WSJ Online as there's lot of articles written by staff reporters that address non-medical professors as either Doctor or Professor. It appears to be style convention for Pulizter prize winning author Mr. Dan Golden although I did find a WSJ Online article where he uses Dr. repeatedly in referring to a medical doctor. Given that Mr. Golden is a Pulitzer winner I guess I'll cut him a pass. But I still don't care for the style. DaveScot
Not sure if this is an appopriate topic to add this comment to but here goes..... I came accross an interesting comment while doing some background research into Darwin and wanted to post something that may be of interest to the folks here although I expect it may not be news to some. The following was taken from a site maintained by one, John van Wyhe and the page url is: http://pages.britishlibrary.net/charles.darwin3/darwin_bio.htm "The history of the legend, however, is very interestingly and fulsomely revealed in James Moore, The Darwin legend (1994). Darwin was not an atheist, but a deist; that is he believed that some creating intelligence had designed the universe and set up natural laws according to which all of nature was unwaveringly governed." I thought it rather ironic since, if this is an accurate statement, good old Charles would be considered a creationist by the majority of those so strongly supporting his theory. Perhaps he would even have been supportive of the ID stand......... :-) Cheers, Me & Mutt komatiq
"“Mr.” is a style convention in certain publications (typically, it’s not meant as a slight)." Sloth if not slight. DaveScot
From the article: "Mr. Templeton, who chairs the foundation and will turn 93 later this month, believes 'the creation-evolution argument is a waste of time,' says Paul Wason, the foundation's director of science and religion programs." It's as I've suspected for some time now: Old Man Templeton and his money will not be on the forefront of the evolution debate, and insofar as this question forms the hinge of the drawbridge between science and religion, he won't be on the forefront of that either. What a shame. Having reduced itself to a source of funding for generic college courses and academic studies on the number of angels who can hula on the head of a pin, the Templeton Foundation can now be pretty much dismissed as a constructive influence at the science-theology frontier. neurode
"Mr." is a style convention in certain publications (typically, it's not meant as a slight). William Dembski
I was surprised to see the use of "Mr." throughout the article. Last I checked, Tom had a Ph.D.: http://www.gdcb.iastate.edu/faculty/facultyDetail.php?id=120 notenure
"antievolution doctrine"... *sigh. Bombadill

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