Evolution Intelligent Design

Progress in Kansas

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Evolution suffers Kansas setback
The US state of Kansas has approved science standards for public schools that cast doubt on evolution.

The Board of Education’s vote, expected for months, approved the new language criticising evolution by 6-4. Proponents of the change argue they are trying to expose students to legitimate scientific questions about evolution. The Kansas decision came as voters in Pennsylvania replaced all eight school board members who approved a similar policy in some of the state’s schools.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4419796.stm

62 Replies to “Progress in Kansas

  1. 1
    pmob1 says:

    Democracy 6
    Scientism 4

  2. 2
    dodgingcars says:

    Funny, I heard a sound bite from someone who opposed this (probably one of the 4), and she said, “This decision makes us look like a bunch of yokels.”

    Ok. So criticism of evolution is now “yokelism.” How does that make sense?

  3. 3
    jmcd says:

    Bringing religion into science is yokelism, or at least that is how many in this country and throughout the developed world would see it.

  4. 4
    IDEA_AASU says:

    The article mentions that “Teachers have been ordered to tell pupils that Darwin’s theory of evolution is unproven, and that the universe is so complex that it may have been created by a higher power.”

    is this really what has been mandated? my biology professor today was ranting about this and saying that they were going to be dumbing down science standards by teaching intelligent design in Kansas. I suspected that she picked up an article that was slanted. It’s my understanding to “teach the controversy” does not mean teaching intelligent design, but simply involves teaching criticism of evolutionary theory. so what’s the real deal here?

  5. 5
    jmcd says:

    Kansas carefully avoided mentioning ID because that is immediate cause for a law suit. In a very subtle way they are introducing a teleogical view of the world into science class. That is essentially the goal of id so that may be why your teacher is upset.

    The problem with teach the controversy is that there is not a controversy to teach. At least not a controversy in science. The only controversy that exists is the same one that has existed since Darwinian evolution entered the lexicon. The contoversy is between science and those that feel that science is an assault on their faith.

  6. 6
    dodgingcars says:

    “The contoversy is between science and those that feel that science is an assault on their faith.”

    No.. not really. If anything science (true science) validates my faith.

    It’s materialistic philosophy that assaults my faith.

  7. 7
    dodgingcars says:

    “Bringing religion into science is yokelism, or at least that is how many in this country and throughout the developed world would see it.”

    Since when is criticism of a theory, relgion?

  8. 8
    taiwanmouse says:

    Since when is it okay to teach theory as fact? I am impressed that someone finally had the guts to take a stand and say that evolution is only one theory to explain life.

  9. 9
    jmcd says:

    Darwinian evolution is real science.
    It is certainly true that a materialistic philosophy is part of many scientist’s world view (the terribly abrasive Richard Dawkins for example), but preaching such a philosophy goes beyond the realm of science. The fact that several scientists who are commonly in the public eye decide to take to the pulpit is unfortunate. That fact does not make Darwinism a materialistic philosophy though.

    There is nothing wrong with criticism of a scientific theory on scientific grounds in science class. ID is something quite different though. All one has to do is read the well publicized Wedge Document to recognize that ID’s mission is a religious one. It is an attempt to fundamentally change the nature of science and open it to supernatural possibilities. You cannot get much more unscientific.

  10. 10
    dodgingcars says:

    How does the motives of individuals determine whether something is scientific or not?

    Wouldn’t that invalidate darwinism then, too? As it’s well documented that Dawkins had religious motives (or anti-religious motives) in promoting darwinism?

  11. 11
    jboze3131 says:

    jmcd- really, when will you learn?

    PLEASE, for the love of all things, explain away the existence of IDers who dont believe the intelligence is God. you continue to claim ID is religiou, tho in other comments youve proven you dont even understand ID. you continue to say that ID is an appeal to the supernatural, which is also not the case. ive told you this many many times, yet you continue to comment on nearly every post proclaiming that ID is religion and its an attempt to undermine science.

    please explain anthony flew to us. please explain all the IDers who dont believe the intelligence is God. please explain the fact that ID has nothing to say of the designer to begin with. justify your claim that this is a case of religion trying to undermine science- tho since relihion is what started science, i hardly think thatd even be possible.

    while youre at it- explain P.E. for us and why it came about if there is no problem with darwinism (the fossil record is surely a problem!) explain those who hold to ET in the sense you seem to, but have concluded that theres no way NS is the mechanism. explain where information arose from and how it did so without a source that created the information. explain the process that lead to the BF.

  12. 12
    jmcd says:

    jboze3131

    I keep hearing that id is not about the supernatural yet you ask me to “explain where information arose from and how it did so without a source that created the information.” By implying that there had to be a source of creation for the information that makes life possible you are appealing to the supernatural.

    Yes you keep naming that one guy and I am sure there are several other non-religious believers of ID, but the vast majority are religious. You have apparently not read the Wedge Document. Here are a few quotes:

    “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

    “Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence’s that support the faith, as well as to “popularize” our ideas in the broader culture.”

    “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built”

    And finally this quote listed as a twenty year goal for design theory “To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.”

    Now can you honestly tell me that this is a theory born out of science and not a cultural backlash to a percieved assault on religious faith. Philip Johnson, one of ID’s founders is a law professor who found God after the love of his life left him. He wrote a treatise on the need for a “theistic science” (an oxymoron if you ask me)and got the ball rolling on ID. ID is at its heart a cultural movement with good intentions. People like Johnson view a materialistic worldview as a grave threat to humanity as we know it. They think materialism is a threat to morality, free will, and individual responsibility. I recognize their concern but I also find it somewhat naive.

  13. 13
    Benjii says:

    “By implying that there had to be a source of creation for the information that makes life possible you are appealing to the supernatural.”

  14. 14
    Benjii says:

    “By implying that there had to be a source of creation for the information that makes life possible you are appealing to the supernatural.”

    If you read the design inference, it doesn’t take a mathematician or scientist to infer design. If you find an inscription on a rock, will you attribute it to chance or design? And if you attribute it to design, then are you invoking supernaturalism? That’s the same thing with ID. It has nothing to do with supernaturalism. All it states is whether something in nature is the direct outcome of natural law or design. “Design” is something to mean “neither regularity nor chance,” that is to say, if something is not explicable in terms of natural law or chance, then by definition it is due to “design.” To say that something is due to “design” is just to say that it exhibits a certain kind of pattern.”(Craig)

    If SETI scientists, cryptographers, forensic scientists, and even school teachers use design methods, then, why can’t biologists do it?

  15. 15
    dodgingcars says:

    jmcd,

    Again, I ask (you ignored it the first time)

    How does the motives of individuals determine whether something is scientific or not?

    Wouldn’t that invalidate darwinism then, too? As it’s well documented that Dawkins had religious motives (or anti-religious motives) in promoting darwinism?

  16. 16
    jmcd says:

    Benjii

    Who is to say that natural law is not an agent of design? Regular patterns and complex designs can be created with random change so long as the rules are structured in a proper manner. Stephen Wolfram (the genius of Mathematica fame) did an excellent job illustrating that in his book A New Kind of Science.

    By the vague definiton you give ID Science in general nor enolutionary theory in particular would have a problem with it. You describe a philosophy of science. As it happens I would agree with such a philosopyhy. However, ID is a bit more specific then that. Irreducible Complexity requires the supernatural creation of irreducibly complex systems. That is well outside the realm of science and much closer to religion.

  17. 17
    jmcd says:

    dodgingcars

    Motives don’t detremine whether something is scientific or not. I certainly never said that. I have said or at least implied that the supernatural is outside the realm of science. Any idea that appeals to the supernatural is fundamentally unscientific. I was trying to demonstrate that ID is the theistic science that Johnson needed. A theistic science is not science at all. At best you can have theistic philosophies of science.

  18. 18
    anteater says:

    The evidence for design is natural and tangible, not supernatural.

  19. 19
    jboze3131 says:

    I keep hearing that id is not about the supernatural yet you ask me to “explain where information arose from and how it did so without a source that created the information.” By implying that there had to be a source of creation for the information that makes life possible you are appealing to the supernatural.
    ————–

    that doesnt make sense.

    so, what youre saying is- you know of information without a source? in life, we know that ALL forms of information have sources. to comply with that rule (which would be a law of information) with DNA, thats appealing to the supernatural?

    so youve shown how information can arise from nothing without a source? no scientist has been able to do such a thing- because we know that all sources of information come FROM a source.

    because design fits with monotheism, ID is now religious and not based on any science? so, darwinism, which is inherently atheistic, is also not science and a religious idea, correct?

    you admit that there are some IDers who are not theists…yet you turn around and say- here, look at this document! this proves it! you still have to explain those non-theist IDers, which you refuse to do, because it exposes the bogus claim that this is religion trying to undermine science.

    theistic science is an oxymoron? tell that to pascal, newton, boyle, and the majority of scientists throughout time who were quite implicit of their theistic attitudes in their work. science was born out of the idea to study gods creation.

    i dont care what you think was the reason a theory was started…or what the religious ideas of those who started it were (when darwin published origins he was a devout atheist who despised christianity- so by your view, darwinism is now religious solely for that reason)…the fact is, you cant say this “Now can you honestly tell me that this is a theory born out of science and not a cultural backlash to a percieved assault on religious faith.” after you just admitted that some IDers and non-theist. again, i ask you, why did famous life long atheist flew come to god thru science, the very science underlying ID? since he spent most of his life debating theists, doing all he could to show the idea of god was false, he couldnt have come to his conclusions based on a perceived threat to his non existant religious faith.

    you continue to refuse to answer the basic questions here that disprove your bogus claims…and you continue to distort the very thing youre discussing. its like talking to a wall.

    ‘former atheist here came to god thru the science of ID…yet, i will proclaim that ID is merely a theory of religion used to protect the religious faith from a perceived threat.’ talk about absurd. i wonder what religious faith flew thought was under attack, and i wonder how this attack on his nonexistant faith brought him to god via science. hmmm. feel free to continue to pretend him and others like him dont exist!

  20. 20
    jboze3131 says:

    “Irreducible Complexity requires the supernatural creation of irreducibly complex systems. That is well outside the realm of science and much closer to religion.”

    ———–
    another bogus claim. i suggest you actually learn what ID is before you comment any further. IC requires no supernatural operation.

  21. 21
    jboze3131 says:

    also:
    “I have said or at least implied that the supernatural is outside the realm of science. Any idea that appeals to the supernatural is fundamentally unscientific.”

    we have yet another problem with this. if god were to come down to earth and sit and have lunch with a group of scientists…if that god is outside of nature, or beyond nature- we might call him supernatural. thus, even tho god was sitting there talking with the scientists, proving he was god by making the sun disappear, making things float, stopping the rotation of the earth, etc- science wouldnt be allowed to study him to debunk or verify him, because hes out of the realm of science.

    same goes for the study of ghosts, spirits, hauntings, esp etc. if they DO exist, theyre probably beyond nature (supernatural), which means theyre outside of the realm of science.

    now, scientists can study these things and claim theyre just natural events that are bogus…but, how would it be possible to debunk an idea when one possible explanation is inherently outside of the realm of science? you cant study something scientificall when the negative is considered science yet the positive is considered outside the realm of science. of course, scientists in general, will claim that the positive is impossible and claim it must be a natural event that just SEEMS supernatural. but, thats an impossible claim to make, since youve already proclaimed the positive result out of bounds!

    which is why science is inherently limited by the narrow view it now takes. for most of the history of science- these limits were not in place. they are now, which means a great deal of possible knowledge is already proclaimed out of bounds from the start.

  22. 22
    dodgingcars says:

    “Motives don’t detremine whether something is scientific or not. I certainly never said that. ”

    You’ve been using the “Wedge Document” as evidence that ID is religion and not science. You’ve cited the Wedge document twice as evidence that ID is religion.

    “I have said or at least implied that the supernatural is outside the realm of science. Any idea that appeals to the supernatural is fundamentally unscientific.”

    Except that ID doesn’t appeal to the supernatural. Certainly it has theological implications, but the ID theory itself says nothing of the designer. ID simply says that we can infer design in biological systems. Period.

    The fact that someone can then speculate that such design was by God, is, I agree, theological/religious/philisophical — but it’s also beyond what ID is.

    “I was trying to demonstrate that ID is the theistic science that Johnson needed. A theistic science is not science at all. At best you can have theistic philosophies of science. ”

    I don’t see how design inference is theistic science.

    You’

  23. 23
    jmcd says:

    anteater

    I would agree with you. I see natural evidence for deisign too. The problem is that ID insists or at least relies on non-natural/supernatural mechanisms to explain life. If all ID said was that the organization and complexity seen in the universe indicates design, that would be outside the realm of science. That is primarily how I resolve any conflict between science and faith.

  24. 24
    jmcd says:

    I am out of time for today I just want to address one comment by jboze

    “so, darwinism, which is inherently atheistic, is also not science and a religious idea, correct?”

    Darwinism is not inherently atheistic. To say so is utterly incorrect and represents a profound misunderstanding of enolutionary theory. Catholicism does not have a problem with it nor do many scientists of faith. Darwin himself was a very religious person. I provisionaly agree with Darwinian principles and I am not an atheist. So no, Darwinism in and of itself is not a religious idea.

  25. 25
    jboze3131 says:

    darwin was a religious person?! when he wrote origins, he was clearly not a religious person, and he died an atheist. so no, he was in no way a religious person after origins.

    and of course darwinism is inherently atheistic.

    i bring it back to provine from cornell who said that the only logical conclusion with darwinian evolution is that there is no purpose or meaning to life, that there is no afterlife, and that life is a mere accident. i think most of the big names in the theory would agree with this statement. if theres no purpose or meaning to life, no afterlife, and no reason for being here- youd be hard pressed to posit ANY sort of god at all.

    and you seriously need to read just ONE book on ID, because you continue to claim that ID is an appeal to a supernatural force that designed. ID doesnt look to the designer- they leave that to religion and philosophy. ID looks for the inference of design- which is, in itself, neither natural or supernatural. there is absolutely no appeal to the supernatural with ID. if ID were to search for the designer, that might be true…but it doesnt. the theory has limits, limits that its proponents recognize, unlikes darwinism – most proponents of this theory refuse to put limits on it, as i showed to be the case with provine. dawkins refuses limits on it as well, scott, pz myers, many others- they all claim things outside of the limits of darwinian theory.

  26. 26
    Rick Toews says:

    “If all ID said was that the organization and complexity seen in the universe indicates design, that would be outside the realm of science.”

    If a team of archeologists stumbled upon what appeared to be the ruins of an unknown city and inferred design, would they also be venturing outside the realm of science?

    An obvious difference between the two cases is that, in the latter, the design is easily attributed to human agency–something with which we are familiar and comfortable. The former can’t be attributed to human agency, so even though it looks like there’s intelligence behind it, we run into problems when we try to identify the agent. Most would say it’s “God”; a few might say, “I don’t know who it is”; and more would say that it just looks designed but actually isn’t.

    I speculate that if we had a common knowledge of an intelligent agent or agents who could plausibly be credited with the design of the universe or with encoding DNA, no one would entertain for a moment the idea that such things might have arisen through unintelligent processes. The very idea would be laughed out of court.

    If this is true–and I think it is–then it suggests that the reason why actual design is denied where human agency is implausible or impossible is not because the evidence for design is wanting but because of a desire to avoid the questions that must arise the moment design is acknowledged as real.

  27. 27
    crandaddy says:

    jmcd,

    I don’t know if you are intentionally trying to misrepresent Intelligent Design Theory or if you’re hopelessly confused, but your arguments are utter nonsense. First of all, stop trying to conflate the religious views of one man, Philip Johnson, with IDT as a whole. Ever hear of an ad hominem fallacy? Second, how can neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, which follows directly from Methodological Naturalism, ever be falsifiable if no other theoretical framework is even permitted consideration? MN incorporates the presumption (a priori speculation) that all natural phenomena are reducible to unguided natural processes. If no other theoretical framework can be considered, then neo-Darwinism wins by default; it is unfalsifiable – even in theory. Indeed, the concept of ID in nature provides the counterargument which makes neo-Darwinism a falsifiable scientific theory. Read Bill’s blog entry just above this one, “What Counts as a Plausible Scientific Theory?”, and the excellent first post by Neurode. Also read this other blog entry:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/266

    David

  28. 28
    jboze3131 says:

    i think that MN is a problem in itself. its says that an entire possible spectrum of possibilities is automatically off the table from the start of it all. thats the epitome of anti-knowledge. thats not the way to go about finding truth. i have to admire the scientists who didnt adhere to MN- which are most of the scientists through history. it leaves too much outside the realm of science…

    then again, they claim much of this is outside the realm of science, then they claim theyve studied these same things outside of science and debunked them. nonsense. if MN is the sole thing we look at, of course other possibilities might exist, and youre basically saying- to hell with them, they might have truth to them, they might be totally correct, but were writing them off from the start. this is a terrible way to find truth.

  29. 29
    Bombadill says:

    “…as the rules are structured in a proper manner.”

    This statement requires no comment.

    😉

  30. 30
    IDEA_AASU says:

    I aint came from no monkay!

  31. 31
    DaveScot says:

    jmcd

    “a cultural backlash to a percieved assault on religious faith”

    Even if that were true it doesn’t make ID wrong. You need to learn to separate ideas from the people that hold them.

    As for the perceived assault – ID is essentially Paley’s watchmaker argument updated with recent scientific discoveries. It’s those recent discoveries that really caused the resurrection of the watchmaker argument not any new perception that religion is under assault. Religion has been under assault at least since Copernicus.

  32. 32
    DaveScot says:

    jmcd

    What physical laws do you posit need to be violated in order to modify DNA to acheive a specific heritable trait?

    It seems to me that humans are already modifying genetic information for their own purposes. How can you posit that humans are a natural product of the universe and at the same time say that any intelligence capable of genetic engineering is supernatural? Non sequitur. Big time.

  33. 33
    DaveScot says:

    Rick Toews

    Well said.

  34. 34
    DaveScot says:

    The supernatural, once observed and explained, becomes the natural.

    Science doesn’t avoid the supernatural, it explains it, and in so doing reduces the supernatural to the natural.

  35. 35
    jboze3131 says:

    youre still left with the problem that is science says that the supernatural is out of the realm of science…you automatically go into the process of investigation denying one possibility. if youve already denied the possibility, even if the evidence exists to support the one option, it will be denied and the scientist will say it must be the other option that wasnt denied from the start.

    would god be supernatural or not. if god created nature, is he beyond it or part of it. or both. if he is solely supernatural in the minds of most, science wouldnt be able to study him, because naturalistic science demands that all evidence be of a natural origin. tho, how do we define nature? nature in the sense that everything around us is natural…then what could there possibly be that is outside of nature? if god exists, he certainly has to be part of nature in some manner…

    the whole natural/supernatural question is rather meaningless in the end. how do you define each term. how do you study one if its already denied from the outset…how can one option be out of the realm of science yet still studied? if god showed himself to richard dawkins and he had no way of denying it was truly god- dawkins would be, under the current definition of science, be precluded from studying god. either that, or hed be pressed to define god as natural, which might make sense to some and might not make sense to others.

    the supernatural, by definition, couldnt be explained as natural or by science at all. if the supernatural exists, youre already denying it as a possibility- so no matter what the evidence is, youll ALWAYS define it as natural and “explained” away. counter intuitive if you ask me. were still left the small dilemma- if the supernatural were in existance (depending on how you define supernatural), how would science prove it? ive little doubt that even if a mountain of evidence supported a supernatural event, most in science would shrug their shoulders and claim it was a natural event that they just cant explain (yet). science hasnt explained everything, so maybe part of what hasnt been explained can never be explained. maybe part of what can never be explained is, indeed, supernatural in some sense.

  36. 36
    jmcd says:

    I am sorry to break it to you all but science is methodological naturalism by necessity. We cannot study in any scientific manner that which does not conform to natural laws. Someone said science makes supernatural events natural events. That is just bougus. Science debunks supernatural myths with natural explanations.

    Science cannot deny the possibility of the supernatural, and I certainly would not deny the possibility of the supernatural. I am just saying that such occurences, should they exist, are beyond the realm of scientific inquiry.

    A natural world view does not necessarily lead someone to Atheism. That is just nonsense. It simply allows us to understand how our world works, but it cannot touch what will forever be the unknown.

    Finally, I find this site to be a mildy amusing journey into irony. For a site titled Uncommon Dissent there is a remarkable lack of dissent allowed. I have now twice had my registration removed. I have never been obscene, profane, or even insulting. I would seriously question the honesty of someone’s ideas if they will not allow them to be critically examined. I think the debate is a good thing. Obviously some do not.

  37. 37
    jmcd says:

    As far as inferring design in the universe goes….

    This is something I do all the time. There is nothing unscientific about that. There is nothing scientific about it either regardless of whether I use scientific reasoning to make such an inference. Furthermore the existence of design in no way changes science. The only way design would but heads with Darwinism is if you thought you knew the purpose of the design. Speculations on such matters surely are not scientific.

  38. 38
    jmcd says:

    Dave Scott

    I would not say that it was impossible that we were seeded by an alien intelligence. I would say that there is no evidence to support such a notion as of yet. If that were the case then we would be designed but we would have absolutely no purpose in the theological sense because we would not be God’s creation.

    I see three likely explanations for our existence. 1.We are supernatural creations of God most likely with some purpose. 2.We are a product of natural laws that may or may not have been engineered by God with the intent of producing us. 3. Earth was seeded by a race of ultra intelligent aliens who have the same 3 possibilities for creation themselves.

    Out of those possibilities there is one constant. Scientific inquiry into purpose is impossible. Out of those three possibilities there is one for which evidence is impossible. One for which we have a good deal of evidence. And finally one that we may discover someday but for which there is currently no evidence.

  39. 39
    Gumpngreen says:

    jmcd,

    “The problem is that ID insists or at least relies on non-natural/supernatural mechanisms to explain life.”

    Try reading the literature. Dembski explicitly takes on that baseless assertion in The Design Revolution and several other books.

  40. 40
    jmcd says:

    Gumpngreen

    Corect me where I screw up

    Irreducible Complexity posits that some systems could not exist without each of the system’s parts in place.

    That means that a system has to be created in its current form and is not capable of evolving from other parts or systems.

    There is no natural law capable of spontaneously producing a complex system. Therefore that system must either have a supernatural origin or it must have been planted by an intelligent and natural entity that would have the same origin issues that we do.

    So I suppose if you want to blame it on an alien a supernatural event is not necessary.

  41. 41
    dodgingcars says:

    “So I suppose if you want to blame it on an alien a supernatural event is not necessary. ”

    Ummm… exactly. ID doesn’t address who the designer is. How many times does this have to be said to you? In fact, Behe has said that ID allows for the designer to be anything, including ET.

  42. 42
    jmcd says:

    dodging cars

    The point is that ID relies on either the supernatural or a natural event for which there is not an iota of evidence. There has to be a designer for design to exist. Moreover ID does not simply stop at saying that you can infer design in nature. That I would agree with. It goes as far as to say that natural laws cannot account for our universe or at least life on Earth. That is also something that there is not a shred of proof for.

  43. 43
    crandaddy says:

    jmcd,

    “I am sorry to break it to you all but science is methodological naturalism by necessity.”

    Why is it necessary for science to presume that all natural phenomena are reducible to unguided causes when this is neither empirically validated nor logically exclusive?

    “It [ID] goes as far as to say that natural laws cannot account for our universe or at least life on Earth.”

    Not quite. Causes ungided by intelligence hitherto cannot account for life on Earth, and intelligent causation currently stands as the most plausible explanation.

    David

  44. 44
    Gumpngreen says:

    jmcd,

    “Correct me where I screw up”

    What you are asserting is covered in chapters 21 and 23 through 27 of the Design Revolution, which is $15 on Amazon.

  45. 45
    jboze3131 says:

    jmcd-
    “Someone said science makes supernatural events natural events. That is just bougus. Science debunks supernatural myths with natural explanations.

    Science cannot deny the possibility of the supernatural, and I certainly would not deny the possibility of the supernatural. I am just saying that such occurences, should they exist, are beyond the realm of scientific inquiry.”
    —————-

    dont those statements directly contradict each other?

  46. 46
    jmcd says:

    David

    “Why is it necessary for science to presume that all natural phenomena are reducible to unguided causes when this is neither empirically validated nor logically exclusive?”

    What is your definition of unguided? Science nor Darwinism rules out purpose. It just says that there is no reason to believe that we are part of a directed process. The data suggests that we are a byproduct of a very large process and have no reason to think that we were THE intended product of this process. That does not mean that we are not intentional, but that we cannot look for confirmation of special status in science because as yet we do not see that.

    “Causes ungided by intelligence hitherto cannot account for life on Earth, and intelligent causation currently stands as the most plausible explanation.”

    Very few people in the science community will see divine or alien intervention as the most likely explanation for life on Earth. That is primarily because there is no evidence that would cause us to believe in either account. What we do know about life does suggest that it arose naturally here on Earth. That cannot be proven, but it is almost certain that we will be able to create artificial life forms in the not too distant future. Once that happenns will your opinion change?

    That is one of the main problems of ID. It cannot tackle issues that evolution has already tackled so it must rely on what we have not discovered. Unless the trend of human discovery is sverely altered, ID will continually have to come up with new unanswered questions as the old issues are answered by science. It is only a matter of time until these questions are answered. That is unless we have stumbled upon something that does not have a natural process behind it for the first time in the history of science.

  47. 47
    jmcd says:

    jboze

    No they do not.
    Historically we have ascribed supernatural explanations to what we could not explain. Science gives us tools for explanation debunking the former supernatural explanantion.
    That does not mean that supernatural phenomena cannot exist just that there are none that we are aware of. Since every phenomenom that can be studied has proven to be the result of natural occurences it would not be unreasonable to believe that supernatural phenomena don’t exist, but you can never prove such a thing.

  48. 48
    jmcd says:

    Gumpngreen

    I have read a good bit of Behe and Dembski. Apparently you do not understand the ideas any better then I since you are unable to demonstrate where I am mistaken with Behe’s IC.

  49. 49
    dodgingcars says:

    I’m not sure anyone can show you anything.

  50. 50
    jmcd says:

    Show me how an irreducibly complex system can occur naturally and you’ll be close to winning me over.

  51. 51
    Gumpngreen says:

    Uh, isn’t that an ID proponent’s challenge to you?

    Anyway, if you’ve read so much of Dembski’s work I suggest you reread his explanation of how an unembodied designer can influence the natural world by co-opting random processes (indeterministic quantum states) and inducing them to produce specified complexity.

  52. 52
    Gumpngreen says:

    Also, an IC system is claimed to be not capable of evolving through a DIRECT Darwinian pathway. An indirect pathway is still a live possibility though highly improbable.

  53. 53
    Rick Toews says:

    “We cannot study in any scientific manner that which does not conform to natural laws.”

    Agreed. Observability, testability, repeatability. Our observation tells us uniformly that design requires a designer, that information only comes from intelligence. This observation has been proven over and over in our everyday experience.

    What experience do we have with phenomena that look designed and that we would think designed if we had not actually observed them to originate through unintelligent processes?

    “The point is that ID relies on either the supernatural or a natural event for which there is not an iota of evidence. There has to be a designer for design to exist.”

    Yes, of course there has to be a designer for design to exist. However, we know what design looks like and can recognize it even when we don’t know who the designer is. Since this is the case, the fact that a designer capable of encoding DNA or designing the universe is beyond our common experience is irrelevant to the reality of the design.

    To claim that the design must be an illusion because there is no evidence for a designer seems rather backward. The design itself is the evidence.

    “[ID] goes as far as to say that natural laws cannot account for our universe or at least life on Earth. That is also something that there is not a shred of proof for.”

    This brings to mind Occam’s Razor. In this case, when we already know, by much experience, that information and design are products of intelligence, why should we require that they be explained in terms of unintelligent processes?

    “Very few people in the science community will see divine or alien intervention as the most likely explanation for life on Earth. That is primarily because there is no evidence that would cause us to believe in either account.”

    I am inclined to believe this. Not because there is no evidence for a designer, but because, if one is trained to view the world as the product of unintelligent processes and to regard the appearance of design as an illusion, what, then, could constitute evidence for a designer for such a person?

  54. 54
    jboze3131 says:

    jmcd-

    you said that science can not deal with the realm of the supernatural…and that it couldnt prove the supernatural doesnt exist. at the same time you say that science has debunked the supernatural and has found that everything we know of the universe is natural. well, since the universe itself is considered nature- of course everything would be, to some, considered natural…yet somethings cannot be explained (the origin of the first living being for example). so clearly natural laws havent covered everything or anywhere close to everything. there are hundreds of things science cant explain in the universe…

    you cant say that the supernatural is out of bounds for science but that science has also debunked it. when you automatically deny one option from the start (supernatural), no matter what evidence exists, youll ALWAYS proclaim the second option (natural) is the right one. science will claim it cant handle the supernatural…but when something occurs that cant be explained, science will usually proclaim that the phenomenon is natural, but all the answers arent available.

    with this way of thinking- as i said in other posts, even if god came down to chat with a scientist and proved he was god, the scientist would have no choice but to proclaim god natural because he couldnt possibly deal with the supernatural- those limits of science are in place (arbitrary limits in my opinion.) if the scientist were to say- the supernatural exists, ive proven it becuse god had lunch with me and made the earth stop spinning…hed be, under current definitions, unable to proclaim god being supernatural and would have to say he was natural, because science only deals with the natural.

    then again- if he were honest, he wouldnt arbitrarily change god into a natural being as opposed to supernatural, hed just say that it was outside the realm of science. again, with this mindset- no matter what evidence exists, scientists in general will always call EVERY thing natural. these terms, themselves, are fuzzy to begin with. for example…would a miracle of christ be considered supernatural? would turning water into wine be considered supernatural? how do you define if something is supernatural? what would be supernatural about turning water into wine?

    science proclaims all is natural (well, most in science)…then it takes everything and labels it natural, even if some would consider the events supernatural. is the mind natural? weve no idea…again, how exactly do we define supernatural? does supernatural truly exist as a term at all? if all is inside nature- wouldnt all events be natural? even miracles and such?

  55. 55
    crandaddy says:

    jmcd,

    “What is your definition of unguided?”

    Whenever I say “unguided”, I always mean unguided by intelligent agency unless otherwise specified.

    “Science nor Darwinism rules out purpose.”

    I presume you mean ultimate purpose. Investigation into ultimate purpose lies outside the realm of science; I’ve never disputed that. However, investigation into whether or not some phenomenon can reasonably be attributed to intelligent causation is fair game for science and can be legitimately applied to natural phenomena.

    Throughout most of your response, you assert that the evidence speaks in favor of life being caused by unguided natural processes. I’m inclined to disagree; but, still you seem to concede that ID provides at least one necessary counterargument which makes neo-Darwinian evolution a scientific theory since you do not rebut that point of mine.

    In my view, what is necessary to refute each and every case of irreducible or specified complexity is to show that unguided natural causes can plausibly account for its origin. (This is how ID is testable.) I simply think it is erroneous to presume that some phenomenon can be accounted for in terms of unintelligent causes if no model incorporating only those causes can plausibly account for it. Far be it from me to say that unintellligent causes will *never* account for it. I only say that there are testable methods for inferring design in anything – including nature – and consideration of those methods is warranted when considering the origin of any phenomenon.

    “it is almost certain that we will be able to create artificial life forms in the not too distant future. Once that happenns will your opinion change?”

    To show that life can be artificially created will only serve to demonstrate that an embodied intelligent agent can create life by scientific means; that is no threat to ID. The challenge, as I said before, is to show that it can originate sans intelligent causation.

    David

  56. 56
    jboze3131 says:

    this is what jmcd says of ID:

    The point is that ID relies on either the supernatural or a natural event for which there is not an iota of evidence. There has to be a designer for design to exist. Moreover ID does not simply stop at saying that you can infer design in nature. That I would agree with. It goes as far as to say that natural laws cannot account for our universe or at least life on Earth. That is also something that there is not a shred of proof for.

    id suggest talking to him/her is like talking to a brick wall. he/she refuses to actually read what ID is before making these neverending bogus claims. ive replied at least 10 times telling this person that ID doesnt posit a supernatural force for the theory, and it doesnt say that natural laws cannot account for life on earth! yet, we keep hearing the same claim over and over and over again.

    and the arrogant claim that there isnt an iota of evidence that anything besides natural laws (aka, laws he says are responsible for life on earth…everything else is considered supernatural to him) is just absurd. of course theres evidence to suggest the laws we know of now cannot get us to where we are now. no one has obsereved NS do much of anythign novel, let alone turn one life form into another or build from scratch a new body part, body type, etc.

    scientists cannot even create life in labs…they can create purely synthetic viruses (which arent alive) and the materials used come straight from nature (as opposed to building it from scratch). a purely naturalistic arrival of life then should be considered a near impossible task, especially if it was unguided and no one created it and the materials it was made of. thus, we have large amounts of evidence to suggest unguided natural laws from nothing could not account for all life on earth.

  57. 57
    DaveScot says:

    jcmd

    “a natural event for which there is not an iota of evidence”

    Piffle! Intelligent agency capable of artificial manipulation of genomes is a proven quantity in the universe. There’s exactly one proven instance of it. The only question is how many times intelligent agency has appeared in nature, when, what forms it took, and what evidence there is of it.

  58. 58
    DaveScot says:

    The word supernatural is being abused by chance apologists. Everywhere “supernatural” is used to refer to intelligent agency one should substitute “artificial” instead. Of course chance worshippers can’t do that because an honest admission of the facts about ID destroys their arguments against it.

  59. 59
    jmcd says:

    Dave Scott
    I do not know anyone who would suggest that aliens seeding Earth with life is an impossibility. It is certainly a possibility that must be considered. That said I repeat there is not an iota of evidence to support such a claim. The fact that it is possible does not alone provide evidence. Any such claim at this juncture is pure speculation.

    As jboze is so fond of repeating ID does not attempt to address the creator. I recognize this. It does however necessitate one. My point is that the creator is either a supernatural or a natural being. Science cannot address supernatural creation. There is no reason to believe in a natural creator as of yet.

    ID largely relies on what science cannot not yet explain. Science however has a lot that it has been able to explain thus far. So you are asking me to stray from a worldview with a proven track record because it cannot yet explain some things. The alternative that is offerred does not explain anything persay, but it does rely on events that there is either no evidence for or events for which there can be no evidence. I cannot yet imagine why I should believe in ID other then it is comfortable and conforms to the worldview I was raised with and honestly would like to believe in.

  60. 60
    DaveScot says:

    jcmd

    “That said I repeat there is not an iota of evidence to support such a claim.”

    Actually there’s lots of circumstantial evidence. The main bits revolve around the short time from when the earth formed to when the first bacterial life appeared and the absence of any plausible biochemical environment where abiogenesis could occur on the early earth.

    Further reading for you:

    http://scholar.google.com/scho.....#038;hl=en

  61. 61
    jmcd says:

    Short time?!!

    It took approximately 3.4 billion years for multicellular life to emerge. That is one of the problems in concieving evolution. The immense spans of time involved are very difficult to wrap our minds around. We have no way to concieve of 100,000 years let alone 10 million or 1 billion. Human civilization has only existed for a bit over 10,000 years. It takes 10,000 periods of 10,000 years to get to 100 million years, and 100 million years represents less then 1/30th the amount of time that multicellular life had to evolve. That is a problem that science in general is running into. As we delve into ever more complex areas the processes we uncover will be farther and farther from the realm of common sense.

  62. 62
    pmob1 says:

    Rick, Re: #26 (last 2 paragraphs)

    Interesting.

    Ok. If we were all privy to plausible proof of a Creator, then we would give little credence to Darwinist cosmologies. That’s sensible. Shoot, it’s almost self-evident.

    Then you opine that (in the absence of such plausible proof) people deny a Creator not because “evidence for design is wanting” but because they want to “avoid” questions raised by acknowledgement of the Creator.

    So you suggest that the evidence is, in fact, not wanting, perhaps even obvious. That’s interesting. Tell me more.

    You also suggest that Creator-avoidance is some sort of psychological ailment. Do you have opinions as to:

    1) When the ailment set in, historically
    2) What might have caused it
    3) What might cure it

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