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Meyer on ID, Dawkins on EV


Watch this 11 minute PBS interview with Dr Stephen C. Meyer explaining Intelligent Design Theory:

Watch this 2 minute BBC interview with Dr. Richard Dawkins explaining Darwin’s Theory:

"And skip over the anti-religion parts if you can." LMAO. How funny. Its like saying, if you want a scientific view on how the world come about, read the Bible, just skip the pro-religious parts. Both books have equal parts faith, and Dawkins is at least honest enough to show us that. Romanized
I must say that Dawkins is a man of great faith. Benjii
Not sure if this is the right place for this, but hearing Dawkins talk about the feather reminded me of a part of a paper I wrote (a few years ago on my summer holidays from college) in which I analysed a chapter from one of his books relating to the evolution of flight (including feathers), so here is the portion... If its not up to your standards Dr. Dembski, I won't be offended ;-)... ... Anyway, I now want to move in to the issue of RANDOM MUTATION AND NATURAL SELECTION. The universal explanatory tool of evolutionists has since the time of Darwin been to use some form of Random mutation/change and natural selection format in explaining everything from all biological life to who we are and what we believe. It is the kind of explanation used to convert unbelievers to the religion of evolutionism. For this reason it has to be simple, intuitive and thoroughly explanatory. And at first glance, random mutation and natural selection fits this very nicely. As a biological example of its usage consider the evolution of flight, I will take this example from the pope of mental pollution, Richard Dawkins himself. I refer here to his book, Climbing Mount Improbable, if you check out Campbell, Reece and Mitchell’s ‘Biology’ textbook in the library you will find a 2 page section on Dawkins and his theory, there it suggests that you read the blind watchmaker, Dawkins’ earlier book along the same lines, so this is obviously an author respected by his religious peers. Regarding the origin of flight, Dawkins’ thesis, or more accurately, fairytale goes like this: - He decided to give us two possible explanations as to how flight may have evolved: 1. The Tree Gliding theory 2. The running and leaping theory. Analyzing how Dawkins goes about creating his stories is beneficial as Dawkins makes very naked uses of the random mutation and natural selection logic. First he starts with the Tree Gliding theory. In this story he uses a number of tools: - 1. Imagination 2. Analogy 3. Hidden assumption Imagination He tells us to imagine that in the high canopies in a rain forest it is important for some animals to be able to leap across open spaces from tree to tree. He then tells us to imagine that if one of those animals had a little more surface area without much of a weight cost it may well be able to glide a little farther. But how to bring in selection, oh yes, imagine that there was a place where those extra few inches or feet were the difference between life and death, well here we can imagine that those with the extra surface area survive and the others plummet stupidly to their death. I personally think that those stupid animals would be in the minority, and so not providing the natural selection power Dawkins would have liked. So, the story goes, as each bit of increase in surface area arises, it will be selected. After this Dawkins becomes fuzzy on how to get to birds, suggesting that flapping may have helped along with the increased surface area that step by beneficial step evolved. Analogy In order for Dawkins to make us accept his step by step story he resorts to one of Darwin’s own explanatory tools, irrelevant analogy. In his flight chapter, Dawkins gives us examples of different creatures with different levels of increased gliding surface area which he says evolved similar traits for gliding. So, the logic here is, if I can show you different creatures which have evolved their structures to different levels, levels that could be selectable along the evolutionary path to the wing, then you should have no problem taking for granted that the kind of mutations that take us to a birdie exist. This leaves me only with the task of weaving a story for you. Assumption In this chapter, Dawkins obviously wanted us all to believe that the evolution of the bird was indeed eminently possible and easily explainable. But as should be obvious from reading his chapter and noting the analogies that Dawkins makes, he from the outset assumes the sufficiency of evolutionary mechanisms, which he amply makes clear in his book are Random mutation and natural selection. Which means that all he ever needed to do in his chapter was to weave a story using evolutionary logic without the need to prove what actually needs proving in the first place. Namely, sufficiency of mechanism, and viability of transition. Using the same tools Dawkins goes on to the running and leaping theory for the evolution of flight. Imagination In this story we are told to imagine a small fast dinosaur that finds itself chasing after insects. We are told that it is thought that flapping-like motion in the arms of the dinosaur would have been useful in balance when it jumped in the air to grab the insect (whose own ability to fly somehow evolved). So he here creates a situation which (1) has motivation for the ability to fly (2) and gives motive for flapping. What’s left? That’s right, feathers! Well obviously feathers would be nice, and obviously they can evolve from reptile scales (cus we gots birds nowadays! Hyuk!) Dawkins tells us that the feathers would obviously be useful to help the dinosaur get higher and longer in the air (confirm! yes this is an old version of my paper, grrr..), but he also tells us that feathers could have evolved to swat flies! Lovely, now we have a story wherein the utility of mutations leading to flight could be selected for. Analogy Dawkins in his analogy for this theory (ground up) coughs up two examples, a fish with special fins that allow it to flap through the air for a few hundred feet once out of water in order to escape predators, and a squid which uses water propulsion to fly out of water until it runs out of water. Does he explain where these abilities came from with evidence and logic? No. Instead he tells us, ‘look, these evolved, why not the bird?’ (I'm paraphrasing...). Assumption Same as before. If this is the kind of argument that Dawkins is so respected for, I think that those who become atheists after having read his mental puke must have been looking for any excuse to do so. And so the simple explanation breaks down to the following: - A small change, nowadays seen as a point mutation, a recombination, a gene transfer or whatever, anything as long as it is random (at the end of the day(, could be a nonrandom process, as long as the process itself was randomly formed . Lynn Caporale's view on it)), helps an organism to change, if that change is beneficial it will be selected by natural selection, if neutral, it is neither selected for nor directly eliminated, if negative, the mutation will be selected against. So, all you need do is show that a series of mutations are theoretically useful (for some given goal, e.g., the wing) and then make up a story about how and why they would be selected for, and hey presto, you explain everything. In order to make clearer why the RANDOM MUTATION AND NATURAL SELECTION explanations seems so good at explaining everything, I am going to essentially read between the lines of the explanation. When it comes down to it, what random mutation and natural selection is saying is as follows: - There are good traits and there are bad traits, you can always, given time and chance, work towards a good trait, some good trait is better than none, so it gets selected. Because of the commitment to materialism, as explained in lectures 1 and 2, the belief that a good trait, or whatever fraction thereof, must be explainable by some chance based explanation, is an axiomatic belief for the materialist. So with this in mind the above statement can be rewritten to say: - Anything that exists must be possible, so if something is good that exists, it must have appeared mechanistically somehow, and when it appears it will take over by selection. And because the possibility of good traits existing for selection is axiomatic, it can be omitted from the sentence, so that at its most basic random mutation and natural selection, or evolutionary ‘explanation’ says: - Because something has a selective advantage, it exists. The last line is in fact the underlying premise or thought process behind every evolutionary explanation you will ever encounter, be it in biology, psychology or sociology. It is also the reason why the explanation seems so maddeningly plastic, i.e., the statement can (almost?) never be false. In order to unweave the mysterious power of the random mutation and natural selection explanation we must see if the truth is compromised by its usage in universal explanation, or if, in explaining something, it leaves out data that could eliminate its power. ... etc... Marwan_Boustany
So good ol' Dick finally admits it - he relies on faith. I wonder how much more would come out if he were subjected to the vise. ;) David crandaddy
Dawkins says "there cannot have been intermediate stages that weren't beneficial". It seems as though none of these journalists ever asks the most basic follow-up questions. For example, what benefit is achieved by a partially formed heart? What advantage has a partially formed lung or an eye or a brain? What good is a heart without a brain or a brain without a lung? Unbelievable. saxe17
Correction: I meant to write: ....doesn't mean that there weren't a huge number of processes involved." PaV
Darwin's argument when it comes to the 'eye', in particular, but to 'evolution, in general is: "Just because I can't see (in my imagination) every step in this process, doesn't mean that there were a huge number of processes involved." Seems like the classic argument from ignorance. Dawkins merely repeats it. (And "believes" in it!) PaV
formless Good one! I live for humorous gems like that. DaveScot
Richard Dawkins is my favourite comediant. The way he defends Evolutionism is just hilarious. What trully amazes me with Darwinists is that they offer their speculations with a straigh face, as if it is a "Everyone knows but you" kind ot fact. Mats
DaveScot - wrong set of adjectives (though you've got “stupid” right). The correct adjectives are: “ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” formlessandvoid
Poor little Dickie Dawkins. Can someone tell him that I have faith that the sun will set in the west tomorrow because I've seen it set in the west a thousand times and not once has it not set in the west. Richard has faith that every step from a pimple to a feather had selection value yet he's never once seen a pimple evolve into a feather nor has anyone else. I can't but think he's not a moron and so knows the difference between faith in the sun setting in the west and faith in natural selection turning a pimple into a feather. Either he's dishonest or he's stupid. Takes yo choice. DaveScot
ROFLMAO! Dawkins:
Well I suppose that is sort of a matter of faith on my part.
As we say in the Marine Corps "Well no screaming eagle sh*t, sweetpea". DaveScot
For your reference, jimpressario is a name of the past on this blogsite. --WmAD William Dembski
The quote is (speaking of natural selection) "Well, I suppose that is a sort of a matter of faith on my part, since the theory is so coherent and so powerful." Dawkins has said elsewhere: "You do not base your beliefs upon faith; you do not base them upon revelation; you do not base them upon tradition; you do not base them upon authority; you base them upon evidence." -- Richard Dawkins (interview with Skeptical Sunday, 4/3/2005) http://www.bringyou.to/games/dawkins3.wav Of course we don't accomplish much by sound bites. I would suggest folks read Dawkins entire books, and skip over the anti-religion parts if you can. Phil P PhilVaz
jimpressario, I do not understand how this was a quotemine? What you said did nothing to change the context of what Wormherder said. Do you understand quotemining? Dan Dan
'primative' should be 'primitive' Jeffahn
Nice use of condesention jimpressario to hide that fact that your really saying nothing new. How can a fact be a matter of faith ? 'The fact that every stage in the developmemt of a feather is the result of cumulative random mutations is) “a matter of faith ...'Sounds religous to me.. careful. How can a theory be coherent if it requires faith ? WormHerder out WormHerder
11mins > 2mins = ID for the win! Seriously, what is "5% of an eye"? A modern human eye with fewer parts, or just a more primative eye? Jeffahn
“you must have faith” (in natural selection) Nice attempt at quote-mining! More accurate would be : (The fact that every stage in the developmemt of a feather is the result of cumulative random mutations is) "a matter of faith on my part since the theory [natural selection] is so coherent and so powerful" (and there are far too many generations to know them all.) Still, with your reading you get to wet your panties at the thought of Dawkins using the word 'faith'. jimpressario
Listening to Dawkins while always being painful, was nether the less interesting. I remember the -what good is 5% of an eye question -every change must be benifical -thats every change,starting at the molecular level to gross morphology changes. Selection pressure must be constant -so... say you have 5% of an eye.. what good is that ? For it to work you need all of it, its not benifical untill its all present.Before 100 % of it is assembled you are carrying around dead wood which in terms of selection pressure is a hinderance and food for being selected off of the planet. Talk about needing fath... Dawkins you got it! WormHerder out WormHerder
The last bit of Dawkins interview is priceless... "you must have faith" (in natural selection). DK
Tavis Smiley is who you're thinking of. He had Meyer on his show (I work at a PBS station...and I think I was at work when they fed that episode for record.) I know I saw it at work either that night or the next afternoon. Good to see Meyer alone- I didn't have to hear Eugenie Scott interrupt him a thousand times and falsely claim that he never wrote a peer reviewed paper on ID (sadly for Scott, he actually did), and have him calmly explain to her that he would surely know the contents of his paper better than she would. :) Josh Bozeman
:( Tem:( Temporarily with out High speed Internet and stuck with dialup again - man i forgot how long it takes to download things on the net :(. Cant wait to have it back up. I saw Dr Stephen C. Meyer interview on Pbs with Travis Myles [ithink] a while back and that was excellent. Charlie Charliecrs

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