Intelligent Design

Anthropology and ID — fast friends in the making

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Intelligent Design for Anthropologists

Chris Toumey
U South Carolina

Intelligent design is a threat to the knowledge that anthropology discovers
and teaches about human origins and our place in the natural world.
³Scientific creationism² was an attempt to finesse the problem of the
obvious sectarian basis of old-time creationism, and intelligent design is a
clever way of re-packaging ³scientific creationism² after the US Supreme
Court easily saw scientific creationism¹s unconstitutional religious basis
in the 1987 Edwards v Aguillard case. Even though intelligent design is an
intellectual dead end, it is very attractive to religious conservatives who
want to discredit or suppress the principles of naturalistic, secular and
empirical explanation that guide the study of evolution and other sciences.

Why Oppose ID?
Our discipline of anthropology ought to take the intelligent design agenda
seriously, and should actively oppose it, for two reasons: First, it is
wrong for our public schools to mislead students. Secondly, intelligent
design is a prominent feature of the so-called culture wars. Each victory
for intelligent design in the classroom or the courtroom makes it easier to
discredit the accounts of human origins that we generate in anthropology,
along with the methods and concepts that guide our work. . . .

http://www.aaanet.org/press/an/1205/toumey.htm

9 Replies to “Anthropology and ID — fast friends in the making

  1. 1
    Joseph says:

    Chris Toumey needs to buy a vowel and Take the 3 Hour ID Challenge.

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    From the article: “The core of intelligent design theory is the belief that, because we do not know the entire natural history of a complex phenomenon, it must be a miracle.”

    This poor clown doesn’t have the foggiest idea what ID theory says.

    “The counterproof includes vestigial structures that don’t work anymore, or that put a creature at a disadvantage, plus anything else in anatomy or behavior which is not perfect.”

    The Model T Ford is an inefficient, unreliable, unsafe automobile, therefore it must not have been designed.

    “Why a special treatment of evolution but not astronomy?”

    Because foundational precepts of Darwinian evolutionary theory (e.g., random mutations as the source of biological information, and incremental gradualism) are in trouble with the evidence. In addition, astronomy doesn’t promote a fundamentally nihilistic worldview to other people’s children.

    “Each victory for intelligent design in the classroom or the courtroom makes it easier to discredit the accounts of human origins that we generate in anthropology, along with the methods and concepts that guide our work.”

    The methods and concepts of evolutionary anthropology often consist of making up stories, presenting them as facts, and arriving at silly conclusions.

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    Each victory
    for intelligent design in the classroom or the courtroom makes it easier to
    discredit the accounts of human origins that we generate in anthropology,
    along with the methods and concepts that guide our work. . . .

    A better way to put it would be

    Each victory
    for intelligent design in the classroom or the courtroom makes it easier to
    squeeze shut the bank accounts of human beings that we gull in anthropology,
    along with it the dollars and cents that fund our work. . . .

  4. 4
    GilDodgen says:

    Another thought: If and when vestigial organs can be demonstrated to actually be vestigial and not perform a function (as in the case of the atrophied eyes of fish who live in dark sea caves), one has an example of devolution, or the loss or decay of genetic information. No one debates this.

    Where are the extant examples of emergent organs, of which there should be a copious supply if the Darwinian mechanism of gradualism is still taking place, as we are told it is?

  5. 5
    Red Reader says:

    From the article:
    “Our discipline of anthropology….”

    I suggest this article is evidence that there has been a “call for reinforcements”. It appears someone (Chicken Little?) on the NDE side has sounded a “general alarm” so to speak asking for anybody and everybody to defend NDE at all costs for any reason.

    And here you have some poor shlub in anthopology who has no earthly idea what he’s talking about coming forward with the most ridiculous assertions that have NOTHING whatsoever to do with anthropology and everything to do with fear of bright lights.

    Conclusions:
    1) NDE proponents are desperate. They’ve put out the “talking points memo”. This is a good sign that they KNOW their ideas are in BIG trouble.

    2) If there is a “talking points memo” and if THIS is the best response they can get, they really are in BIG trouble. I think Valerie, Keiths (may he rest in peace), ftrp11, egbooth have done a better job of attacking ID than this (to use the technical term offered by GilDodson) clown.

    3) Look for more articles like this one from equally incompetent buffoons in other fields.

  6. 6
    GilDodgen says:

    “…makes it easier to discredit the accounts of human origins that we generate in anthropology…”

    I have yet another observation to make about evolutionary anthropology. Note the use of the words “accounts” and “generates” in this quote. The author is admitting that the “science” of anthropology is about “generating accounts” of human origins. This is, by definition, storytelling, not science.

  7. 7
    Red Reader says:

    Gil,

    I read your last comment on Saturday.

    After letting it sink in for a while, I wanted to thank you for making that comment.

    The distinction is “storytelling” vs. simply reporting the facts.
    There are several problems with “storytelling” and I think they all show up in the Darwinian narrative as well as the anthropological one.

    1) The story can become entrenched: it can become more important than the facts upon which the story is supposedly based.

    2) Once the story becomes popular (or entrenched), storytellers have an incentive to confirm it and embellish it. The story becomes an end unto itself. It become orthodoxy.

    3) Facts that don’t quite fit the storyline (or worse, facts that are contradictory to the storyline) are all too easily ignored, overlooked or explained in some other regard.

    4) Inferences and conclusions then are drawn FROM THE STORY rather than from the facts: this leads to “building castles in the sky”.

    Ptolemaic astronomy is an EXCELLENT example of just this process. The orbits of the planets became subject to the story. People were persecuted who based upon actual observations disagreed with the story.

    NDE is an iteration of the same of cycle.

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    “evolutionary biology is a historical science – the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes.”

    Ernst Mayr

  9. 9
    BK says:

    It seems to me that all theoretical science is a kind of story-telling. All hypothesis argue to the fact rather than from the fact. The descriptive and deductive style of science is the only one that can tell us anything about the reality of our world (as opposed to just manipulating it). Macro-evolution is a story. Looking at the bacterial flegellum is a direct intellectual perception of design.

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