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At New Scientist: Human intelligence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

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The silliness starts off slowly:

INTELLIGENCE has enabled humans to reach for the moon, cure disease and generally dominate this small blue dot of a planet. Arriving at a working definition of intelligence still defeats it, however.

Alison George, “D’oh! Why human beings aren’t as intelligent as we think” at New Scientist

A working definition of intelligence defeats us for the same reasons as a working definition of beauty defeats us. Once abstractions become instantiated, they are laden with particulars. That does NOT mean that the idea is without meaning.

But the New Scientist approach is to go on and deny that any such thing as significantly different human intelligence exists:

In our unusually big and well-connected brains, general intelligence has morphed into special talents for abstract thinking, detailed forward planning, understanding the minds of others and insight – those “aha!” moments when we connect cause and effect.

But we shouldn’t get blown away by our supposedly superior abilities: we share virtually all our intelligence skills with close animal relatives. “Humans are limited by our size, our evolutionary history,” …

Alison George, “D’oh! Why human beings aren’t as intelligent as we think” at New Scientist

To hear more, you would have to send them money. Don’t trip and hurt yourself while rushing to find your credit card.


See also: The real reason why only human beings speak. Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly. (Michael Egnor)

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47 Replies to “At New Scientist: Human intelligence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

  1. 1
    jstanley01 says:

    The world can’t get enough of misanthropic schoolmarms, wagging a finger and telling everybody how to think. Or maybe it’s just New Scientist subscribers.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Apparently, there are a whole lot of people who can’t get enough of gods – or those who claim to speak for them – who tell them what to think, presumably because it saves them the trouble of having to do it for themselves,.

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    Seversky @ 2

    The Soviet Union removed that pesky problem of God and it did not go well for the vast majority who ended up under the brutal boot of oppression. When God is removed, only the state remains. The French Revolution targeted the religious and royal alike and the result is called The Terror. China removed gods and God as they seek to continue to the oppression of their people.

    Is there any instance where removing God has resulted in a better society?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As to thus comment:

    “But we shouldn’t get blown away by our supposedly superior abilities: we share virtually all our intelligence skills with close animal relatives.”

    This, (i.e. minimizing our mental differences and exaggerating our mental similarities with other species), has been the main tactic of Darwinists to try to undermine the Christian’s claim that we, uniquely among all creatures on earth, are alone ‘made in the image of God’.

    In regards to the differences in intelligence, Darwin himself stated that he believed

    “The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind,”
    Charles Darwin – The Descent of Man – 1871

    Yet contrary to what Darwin, and other Darwinists, would prefer to believe beforehand, the fact of the matter is that, “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.,,,
    ,,, It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    Moreover, although the supposed genetic and fossil evidence for human evolution is far more illusory and misleading than many people have falsely been led to believe,,,,

    Refutation of human-chimp genetic similarity, i.e. alternative splicing, dGRNs- October 2019
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/nathan-lents-plugs-joshua-swamidasss-book-on-adam-and-eve-at-usa-today/#comment-685918
    The Missing Link is still missing – October 2019
    https://uncommondescent.com/human-evolution/but-if-homo-erectus-was-just-an-ordinary-dude/#comment-686077

    ,,, Although the supposed genetic and fossil evidence for human evolution is far more illusory and misleading than many people have falsely been led to believe, the one place that even leading evolutionists admit that they have no realistic clue how a particular trait in humans could have possible evolved is with human language.

    In 2014, a group of highly respected leading experts in the area of language research, authored a paper in which they stated,,,

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    As Noam Chomsky himself states in this subsequent article, “The capacity for language is species specific, something shared by humans and unique to them.”,,, “The faculty of language is a true species property, invariant among human groups, and unique to humans in its essential properties”,,, “There is little evidence of anything like human language, or symbolic behavior altogether, before the emergence of modern humans.”,,,

    The Galilean Challenge – Noam Chomsky – April 2017
    Excerpt: The capacity for language is species specific, something shared by humans and unique to them. It is the most striking feature of this curious organism, and a foundation for its remarkable achievement,,,
    There has been considerable progress in understanding the nature of the internal language, but its free creative use remains a mystery. This should come as no surprise. In a recent review of far simpler cases of voluntary action, neuroscientists Emilio Bizzi and Robert Ajemian remark, in the case of something so simple as raising one’s arm, that
    “the detail of this complicated process, which critically involves coordinate and variable transformations from spatial movement goals to muscle activations, needs to be elaborated further. Phrased more fancifully, we have some idea as to the intricate design of the puppet and the puppet strings, but we lack insight into the mind of the puppeteer.”8
    The normal creative use of language is an even more dramatic example.,,,
    One fact appears to be well established. The faculty of language is a true species property, invariant among human groups, and unique to humans in its essential properties. It follows that there has been little or no evolution of the faculty since human groups separated from one another,,,
    There is little evidence of anything like human language, or symbolic behavior altogether, before the emergence of modern humans.,,,
    Our intricate knowledge of what even the simplest words mean is acquired virtually without experience. At peak periods of language acquisition, children acquire about a word an hour, often on one presentation.26 The rich meaning of even the most elementary words must be substantially innate.
    The evolutionary origin of such concepts is a complete mystery.,,,
    — Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT.
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....-challenge

    And as this follow up paper in 2019 reiterated, “The human language faculty is a species-specific property, with no known group differences and little variation. There are no significant analogues or homologues to the human language faculty in other species.”,,, “There is no evidence that great apes, however sophisticated, have any of the crucial distinguishing features of language and ample evidence that they do not.48 Claims made in favor of their semantic powers, we might observe, are wrong. Recent research reveals that the semantic properties of even the simplest words are radically different from anything in animal symbolic systems.”,,,

    The Siege of Paris – Robert Berwick & Noam Chomsky – March 2019
    Excerpt: Linguists told themselves many stories about the evolution of language, and so did evolutionary biologists; but stories, as Richard Lewontin rightly notes, are not hypotheses, a term that should be “reserved for assertions that can be tested.”4
    The human language faculty is a species-specific property, with no known group differences and little variation. There are no significant analogues or homologues to the human language faculty in other species.5,,,
    How far back does language go? There is no evidence of significant symbolic activity before the appearance of anatomically modern humans 200 thousand years ago (kya).22,,,
    There is no evidence that great apes, however sophisticated, have any of the crucial distinguishing features of language and ample evidence that they do not.48 Claims made in favor of their semantic powers, we might observe, are wrong. Recent research reveals that the semantic properties of even the simplest words are radically different from anything in animal symbolic systems.49,,,
    Why only us?,,, We were not, of course, the first to ask them. We echo in modern terms the Cartesian philosophers Antoine Arnauld and Claude Lancelot, seventeenth-century authors of the Port-Royal Grammar, for whom language with its infinite combinatorial capacity wrought from a finite inventory of sounds was uniquely human and the very foundation of thought. It is subtle enough to express all that we can conceive, down to the innermost and “diverse movements of our souls.”
    https://inference-review.com/article/the-siege-of-paris
    Robert Berwick is a Professor in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at MIT.
    Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT.

    The late Best Selling author Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by the honest confession by leading Darwinists, in 2014, (i.e. that they have essentially no clue how human language could have possibly evolved), that he wrote a book on the subject. Wolfe provided a précis of his argument:

    “Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”
    —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech

    In other words, although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, and sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and, more specifically, our ability to infuse immaterial information into material substrates in order to create, i.e. intelligently design, objects that are extremely useful for our defense, shelter, in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and also simply for our pleasure.

    And although the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, that allowed humans to become ‘masters of the planet’, was rather crude to begin with, (i.e. spears, arrows, and plows etc..), this top down infusion of immaterial information into material substrates has become much more impressive over the last half century or so.

    Specifically, the ‘top-down’ infusion of mathematical and/or logical information into material substrates lies at the very basis of many, if not all, of man’s most stunning, almost miraculous, technological advances in recent decades.

    Here are a couple of articles which clearly get this ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates point across:

    Here is one by Peter Tyson
    Describing Nature With Math By Peter Tyson – Nov. 2011
    Excerpt: Mathematics underlies virtually all of our technology today. James Maxwell’s four equations summarizing electromagnetism led directly to radio and all other forms of telecommunication. E = mc2 led directly to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The equations of quantum mechanics made possible everything from transistors and semiconductors to electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.
    Indeed, many of the technologies you and I enjoy every day simply would not work without mathematics. When you do a Google search, you’re relying on 19th-century algebra, on which the search engine’s algorithms are based. When you watch a movie, you may well be seeing mountains and other natural features that, while appearing as real as rock, arise entirely from mathematical models. When you play your iPod, you’re hearing a mathematical recreation of music that is stored digitally; your cell phone does the same in real time.
    “When you listen to a mobile phone, you’re not actually hearing the voice of the person speaking,” Devlin told me. “You’re hearing a mathematical recreation of that voice. That voice is reduced to mathematics.”
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/p.....-math.html

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: page 5: A: Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, ,,,
    The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    What is more interesting still, besides the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information and have come to dominate the world through the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    In the following video at the 48:24 mark, leading experimentalist Anton Zeilinger states that “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information” and he goes on to note, at the 49:45 mark, the Theological significance of “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1

    48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    And as Vlatko Vedral, who is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and who is also a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics, states,

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing scientific proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’ than finding both the universe, and life itself, are both ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and, moreover, have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our unique ability infuse immaterial information into material substrates.

    Perhaps a more convincing evidence that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was indeed God.

    That just so happens to be precisely the primary claim of Christianity,

    allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:

    November 2019 – despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principle is now empirically shown, (via quantum mechanics and general relativity, etc..), to be a false assumption.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/so-then-maybe-we-are-privileged-observers/#comment-688855

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&index=5

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

    Verses and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Chris Tomlin – Noel (Live) ft. Lauren Daigle
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vwu-t7QRaE

  6. 6

    For Seversky and others of his mind set who would trivialize and minimize the exceptionalism of the human species – who claim there are no goals in evolution, no design etc etc …
    ____________________
    Several books have come to my attention that can be placed in the category of “If I were God I wouldn’t have done it that way! Therefore, there is no god” There are others as well such as a Rosa Rubicondior.
    Here are a few snippets from the book “The Not-So-Intelligent Designer” by Abby Hafer:
    “Why do men’s testicles hang outside the body? Why does our appendix sometimes explode and kill us? And who does the Designer like better, anyway-us or squid?”
    Dr. Abby Hafer (doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaches human anatomy and physiology) argues that the human body has many faulty design features that would never have been the choice of an intelligent creator. She also points out that there are other animals that got better body parts, which makes the Designer look a bit strange.
    ID critics such as Dr. Hafer and Glenn Branch of NCSE claim to expose the fallacy of Intelligent Design by showing that, when examined in detail, biological systems are anything but intelligently designed. They show no signs of a plan and are quite ludicrously complex for whatever can be described as a purpose.

    They claim that the Intelligent Design movement relies on almost total ignorance of biological science and seemingly limitless credulity in its target marks. Its only real appeal appears to be to those who find science too difficult or too much trouble to learn yet want their opinions to be regarded as at least as important as those of scientists and experts in their fields.

    I must beg to differ on Dr. Hafer’s and Rosa Rubicondior’s view of this so called “Not-so-Intelligent Designer” as well as the views of Glenn Branch of NCSE. (Search Amazon to learn more about these books.) And I place Seversky in the same league as these so called skeptics.
    What they see as “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures of human biology,” many see as an elegant and quite magnificent design with an amazing and far ranging menu of capabilities. Let me suggest an exercise that the authors, Mr. Branch and others can easily accomplish, and I believe you may see my point.
    ________________________
    Take an evening out and partake in one of those wonderful choral and orchestra performances taking place all around the world at any given time – I would recommend Handel’s Messiah for this exercise.
    As you are watching and listing to this amazing musical performance I would like you to notice and watch a number of things very carefully.
    First the hands – the hands and body motions of the conductor, as well as his facial expressions and body movements as he leads the choir and orchestra through this magnificent musical piece.
    Continuing with the hands — watch the hands, and in particular the fingers of the orchestra members as they travel across the various instruments – the sting section, the brass section, the woodwinds — the piano. Watch carefully as their hands precisely match the direction given by the conductor. Watch as the fingers subtly, and at times strongly tease the music from their instruments.
    And note the various musical instruments — envisioned, designed and created by many beautifully designed and created hands and fingers.
    Next the choral voices – listen as these beautiful voices blend together perfectly with the orchestra and watch the faces and mouths as they blend perfectly with the hands of the conductor and with the orchestra.
    Next listen and pay attention to your own reaction as the message of the words and music bring excitement and inspiration into your heart and soul.
    As you leave the concert hall, take time to look at the building and its architecture and artistry. Again, the hands, arms, legs and mind of those artisans designed those arches, paintings and sculptures you admire so much.
    And when you get back home in bed, ponder over the creation of the musical score of the “Messiah.” Imagine Handel hovering over his desk and the paper taking on lines and musical symbols and words. Imagine him going back and forth over that manuscript as he goes to and from the scriptures that are inspiring him. Imagine the music that is building inside his head as he creates this masterpiece.
    No – the human body is not the “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures, of human biology,” but is something far more splendid and wonderful.

    Next, I would suggest a couple of sporting events for Dr. Hafer , Glenn Branch and Seversky.
    First to a major league baseball game where they can witness the flawless execution of a double play. Beginning with the pitcher placing the ball across home plate at 90+ mph. We then see the batter follow that fast moving and curving baseball with his eyes, calculating where it will be as it passes into the strike zone where he can then attempt to hit it with his hand/eye coordinated swing. Then we see the shortstop field the fast-moving ball after anticipating and calculating where it will enter his glove. He then shovels it off to the second baseman who tags the runner out while leaping over the runner, and then a quick and precise throw to the first baseman who steps on first base for the second out of the double play.
    Next, we go to an NBA basketball game where we witness the continual back and forth of finely tuned, trained and coordinated athletes showcasing example after example of what these well designed machines are capable of.
    Next, we are off to an NFL football game where we witness precision in the well-designed human body of a quarterback throwing the football with precise accuracy to a fast moving and maneuvering receiver who stretches his body out to execute a fingertip catch as he passes the goal line in front of a defender for a touchdown.
    No – the human body is not the “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures, of human biology,” but is something far more splendid and wonderful.

    Next we travel into the applied biological science of medicine and medical research and invite teachers, Seversky and Mr. Branch to read and study the extensive articles that a Dr. Howard Glicksman has compiled on the intricacies and design of many aspects of the human body. We see this compilation of science reporting at the Discovery Institute web site. This series contains at least a half dozen articles on blood pressure alone, and how it is controlled within the human body.
    Note that this science reporting by Dr. Glicksman is seen in the Discovery Institute web site http://www.evolutionnews.org – an ID site – and not on the pages of the National Center for Science Education. I have been following the NCSE site as well as the Discovery site and others for years now, and what I find is that good science reporting like I describe above is found often and on a regular basis there, whereas seldom – approaching never – is an any science reported by NCSE. I find that very interesting and troubling, and thus would offer a caution to teachers to view NCSE with a great deal of skepticism, and especially these books which are little more than a hit piece on those of us who differ with the atheistic stance and mission of NCSE.
    No – the human body is not the “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures, of human biology,” but is something far more splendid and wonderful.
    ________________
    The activities I have described are direct evidence of goal directed purpose and design – evidence of an Intelligent Designer.

  7. 7
    Bob O'H says:

    BobRyan @ 2 –

    Is there any instance where removing God has resulted in a better society?

    The USA?

  8. 8
    ET says:

    The USA hasn’t removed God. God is in our Declaration of Independence.

  9. 9
    Bob O'H says:

    A document with no legal force. The constitution explicitly removes all religions from governmental affairs.

  10. 10
    ET says:

    Oh my.

    The constitution explicitly removes all religions from governmental affairs.

    What?

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    THAT is what is says, Bob.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Most Presidents take the oath of office with their left hand on the Bible. Many federal oaths include “So help me God”.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    “The constitution explicitly removes all religions from governmental affairs.”

    Bob is hallucinating

  13. 13
    asauber says:

    “The constitution explicitly removes all religions from governmental affairs.”

    Bob O’H, you are clearly not paying attention.

    Nancy Pelosi explicitly declared that she’s using her Catholicism to Not Hate Donald Trump.

    If that religious element were to be removed, who knows what she might try to do. 😉

    Andrew

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    A Few Declarations of Founding Fathers and Early Statesmen on Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible
    Excerpt: John Adams
    SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; DIPLOMAT; ONE OF TWO SIGNERS
    OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
    The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.1,,,

    George Washington
    JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS;
    COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY;
    PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION;
    FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; “FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY”
    You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.121
    https://wallbuilders.com/founding-fathers-jesus-christianity-bible/

    It is only by dishonesty, as is characteristic of atheists, that the false myth of ‘separation of Church and state’ being written into the constitution was born:

    Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists – January 1, 1802
    Excerpt: Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a former KKK member),, in 1947, put forth the,, argument for a radical separation of religion and politics, he cited Jefferson’s metaphor: “[t]he First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable.”
    Jefferson’s actual aim was quite to the contrary.,,,
    The “wall” does not imprison the free exercise of religion. Rather, Jefferson sought to prevent the domination of particular sects, making free the religious practices of all.
    http://www.heritage.org/initia.....y-baptists

    Hugo Black and the real history of “the wall of separation between church and state” – 2011
    Excerpt: So how does this invocation of “wall of separation between church and state” become Supreme Court doctrine, extending from a casual phrase by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to an obscure comment in an 1878 Supreme Court ruling on bigamy to a pervasive doctrine of anti-religious censorship in the public square in the 21st century?
    Here’s how:
    On August 11, 1921 Fr. James Coyle, a Roman Catholic priest in Birmingham, Alabama, was shot to death on the porch of his rectory by E.R. Stephensen, a local Ku Klux Klansman. Fr. Coyle had just performed a wedding between Stephensen’s daughter and her Puerto Rican husband.
    Stephenson was defended by five lawyers, four of whom were Klan members. The fifth lawyer who volunteered to defend Stephenson was Hugo Black, a prominent local attorney. Despite the fact that the Catholic priest was unarmed and the murder was committed in public in front of witnesses, Stephensen was acquitted of murder based on “self-defense”and “temporary insanity”.
    Defense attorney Black joined the Ku Klux Klan after the trial. In the Klan, Black was a Kladd of the Klavern, which was an initiator of new Klansmen.
    From The Volokh Conspiracy:
    … Black was head of new members for the largest Klan cell in the South. New members of the KKK had to pledge their allegiance to the “eternal separation of Church and State.”… Separation was a crucial part of the KKK’s jurisprudential agenda. It was included in the Klansman’s Creed…
    Several years later, Black ran for U.S. Senate from Alabama. He barnstormed the state, campaigning on a virulent anti-Catholic platform and demanding “a wall of separation between church and state”. His strongest support came from his Klan base, and he gave many anti-Catholic “wall of separation” speeches to Klan meetings across Alabama.
    Black, a Democrat, won the Alabama senate seat in 1926, defeating his Republican opponent with 80.9 % of the vote. He easily won re-election in 1932, with 86.3 % of the vote. He was a staunch defender of FDR’s New Deal and of Roosevelt’s court-packing plan.
    In 1937 Roosevelt appointed Black to the Supreme Court. Despite controversy about his Klan history, Black was easily confirmed. He quickly acquired a reputation for idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution.
    In 1947, Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority opinion in Everson v. Board of Education, the landmark Establishment Clause Supreme Court decision that barred use of tax revenues to transport children to religious (Catholic) schools.
    Justice Black wrote:
    No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.'” 330 U.S. 1, 15-16 [emphasis mine]
    In 1962, Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority opinion in Engel v. Vitale, the landmark Establishment Clause Supreme Court decision that outlawed prayer in public schools.
    Justice Black wrote:
    The petitioners contend among other things that the state laws requiring or permitting use of the Regents’ prayer must be struck down as a violation of the Establishment Clause because that prayer was composed by governmental officials as a part of a governmental program to further religious beliefs. For this reason, petitioners argue, the State’s use of the Regents’ prayer in its public school system breaches the constitutional wall of separation between Church and State. We agree with that contention since we think that the constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried on by government. [emphasis mine]
    Justice Hugo Black began his political career in the wake of his successful defense of a Klansman who murdered a Catholic priest. The modern application of the non-Constitutional doctrine “a wall of separation between church and state” derives from Black, a former Kladd of the Klavern of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, who used his Klan base to secure a Senate seat and ultimately an appointment on the Supreme Court.
    The phrase “a wall of separation between church and state” played little role in jurisprudence until the mid-20th century. The doctrine has long played a large cultural role, preserved by pervasive anti-Catholic bigotry through organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, and became a ‘Constitutional principle’ through the jurisprudence of an anti-Catholic bigot. It is used today to suppress prayer and religious expression in all public schools in the United States.
    Why is it that discussions of the “separation of church and state” don’t generally include the cultural and political history of the “doctrine”? Why is the central role that “separation” played in the political and judicial rise of Justice Black– the father of modern Establishment Clause jurisprudence– never seems to show up in New York Times Op-Ed columns or NPR’s “All Things Considered”? Ever see a press release by Americans United for Separation of Church and State note the fact that “an eternal separation of church and state” was a part of the KKK’s jurisprudential agenda and the Klansmen’s Creed, and that one of those Klansmen jurists wrote the Supreme Court opinions establishing “separation of church and state” as the law under which we live?
    http://egnorance.blogspot.com/.....ll-of.html

    The false myth of separation of Church and state has had devastating consequences on this country:

    What Happened When the Praying Stopped? April 6, 2008
    Excerpt: How did the removal of voluntary prayer from the schools of the United States (in 1963) affect our nation as a whole?,,,
    Figure 1 shows how drastically the actual knowledge of high school students began to drop at an accelerating rate after 1962. Barton notes in his report that the upturn in SAT scores since 1981 is due to the increase in private Christian educational facilities which began to flourish at that time. Statistics have proven that students from private Christian schools showed higher academic achievement and higher test scores.

    Figure 2: This graph shows the increase in sexual activity in unmarried teen-age girls after the 1962 Supreme Court decision. It is evident from the figures provided that in the years previous to the removal of prayer the rates remained stable and relatively unchanged. In the post- prayer years the numbers immediately began to soar. The sudden increase on the graph appears as if a great restraining force had suddenly been removed.

    Figure 3: Unwed women 15-19 years of age showed a phenomenal increase in the rate of pregnancies after the School Prayer decision. Note that the figure jumps drastically after the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the U.S. The United States now has the highest incidence of teen-age motherhood in any Western country.

    Figure 4: For the 15-19 and 20-24 age group, the rates of youth suicide remained relatively unchanged during the years from 1946 to the School Prayer decision in 1962. But in the years since, suicides among the same group have increased 253 percent, or an average of 10.5 percent per year.

    Figure 5: Stability in the family has also been affected since the 1962 decision. Divorce, single parent families, couples living together but not married, and adultery are areas of family breakdown which have experienced radical growth in recent years. In the graph above, the increase in single parent families (households with only a mother and children) are detailed. Note the dotted line at the bottom, which shows the rate of growth prior to the 1962 decision.

    Figure 6: Crime, productivity, and national morality had been on a fairly stable level prior to the 1962 decision, but that is no longer the case. It is obvious that such a quantity of students praying for their nation had a very positive effect on the course that this nation had taken. The rate of violent crime, as shown above, has risen over 330 percent.
    http://www.forerunner.com/fore.....opped.html

    The Devastating Effects When Prayer Was Removed From School in America in 1962-63 – David Barton
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1No–GpdqCY

    And that is not even including the horrid consequences of abortion:

  15. 15
    Ed George says:

    Bob O’H
    December 18, 2019 at 7:19 am
    BobRyan @ 2 –

    Is there any instance where removing God has resulted in a better society?

    The USA?

    Canada

  16. 16
    ET says:

    And yet 2/3 of Canada’s population remain as Christians. And ten there’s this:

    The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions;

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Ed apparently falsely imagines that his life is much better without God in it, yet the reality of the situation is far different than what Ed falsely imagines to be true:

    Needless to say atheism, a worldview that is devoid of any real meaning, beauty or purpose, for life is a severely impoverished, even severely depressing, worldview for anyone to have to hold. Indeed, such an impoverished view of life goes a very long way towards explaining exactly why Christians report being much happier than atheists are,

    ‘Believers are happier than atheists’ – Jonathan Petre – 18 Mar 2008
    People who believe in God are happier than agnostics or atheists,
    A report found that religious people were better able to cope with disappointments such as unemployment or divorce than non-believers.
    Moreover, they become even happier the more they pray and go to church, claims the study by Prof Andrew Clark and Dr Orsolya Lelkes.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1581994/Believers-are-happier-than-atheists.html

    and also explains why Christians have significantly fewer suicide attempts than atheists do,

    Of snakebites and suicide – February 18, 2014
    RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-suicide/

    and also explains why Christians report having greater life satisfaction than atheists do,

    Associations of Religious Upbringing With Subsequent Health and Well-Being From Adolescence to Young Adulthood: An Outcome-Wide Analysis
    Ying Chen, Tyler J VanderWeele – Sept. 10, 2018
    Excerpt: Compared with no attendance, at least weekly attendance of religious services was associated with greater life satisfaction and positive affect, a number of character strengths, lower probabilities of marijuana use and early sexual initiation, and fewer lifetime sexual partners. Analyses of prayer or meditation yielded similar results. Although decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, encouraging service attendance and private practices in adolescents who already hold religious beliefs may be meaningful avenues of development and support, possibly leading to better health and well-being.
    https://academic.oup.com/aje/advance-article/doi/10.1093/aje/kwy142/5094534

    and also explains why Christians having less mental and physical health issues than atheists do,

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface

    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    and also explains why Christians live significantly longer than atheists do.

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Study: Religiously affiliated people live “9.45 and 5.64 years longer…”
    July 1, 2018
    Excerpt: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/study-religiously-affiliated-people-lived-religiously-affiliated-lived-9-45-and-5-64-years-longer/

    Can Religion Extend Your Life? – By Chuck Dinerstein — June 16, 2018
    Excerpt: The researcher’s regression analysis suggested that the effect of volunteering and participation accounted for 20% or 1 year of the impact, while religious affiliation accounted for the remaining four years or 80%.
    https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/06/16/can-religion-extend-your-life-13092

    Thus Ed, as is characteristic of atheists is simply deluding himself in his belief that his life is better without God.

    This act of self deception is par for the course for atheists,

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory.
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM

    Verse and a Christmas message of hope.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    A Savior Is Born—Christmas Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_TEOyhy7Bg

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AYFP

    Here are a few snippets from the book “The Not-So-Intelligent Designer” by Abby Hafer:

    It’s hard to believe someone actually wrote a book like that. Is she just arguing for atheism on the basis that she doesn’t like some of what she observes in the world? It sounds like the classic objection to the presence of evil.

    Dr. Abby Hafer (doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaches human anatomy and physiology) argues that the human body has many faulty design features that would never have been the choice of an intelligent creator.

    If evolution could actually show what it claims then there wouldn’t be any need for arguments like this. But instead, this is her argument in favor of evolutionarily theory: “what we observe in nature is not what I’d expect God to create – therefore, it must have evolved from random mutations”.
    That’s science?

  19. 19
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    The constitution explicitly removes all religions from governmental affairs.

    This is a very mistaken idea.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017
    A federal court ruled Wednesday that Congress can continue to open its sessions each day with a prayer, and upheld the House’s ability to pick and choose who’s allowed to lead the prayer.

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ba77

    who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear

    When people who proclaim a nihilistic view refuse to admit or accept the consequences of that view (and they actually contradict and try to deny nihilism) – it’s evidence that they really aren’t thinking about their own worldview very deeply. They don’t understand what they are so ready and happy to proclaim.

  21. 21
    Ed George says:

    BA77

    Ed apparently falsely imagines that his life is much better without God in it, yet the reality of the situation is far different than what Ed falsely imagines to be true:

    I don’t imagine that my life is better without God any more than I imagine that my life is better without the tooth fairy. But I do know that believing in something when I don’t see any compelling evidence for it would be an act of self-delusion.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    ^^^^
    Again reality itself betrays you!

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EG

    I don’t see any compelling evidence

    What’s the best evidence (while not compelling) that you see?

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Silver Asiatic- Even the best evidence for Intelligent Design doesn’t point to any God or gods. However, knowing there was an Intelligent Designer would greatly increase the odds that there is a higher purpose to our being. That alone would make anyone’s life better. Except, of course, for those a-mats who will continue to choose the willful ignorance path to bliss.

  25. 25
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ET
    The difference to us is if we emerged from a blind, unintelligent, purposeless material process or from an Intelligent Designer.
    The a-mat, evolutionary view cannot even proclaim that something is good or better than another thing. Human life is unnecessary and meaningless. It is nothing.
    On the other hand, human life created by an Intelligent Designer offers purpose, meaning, value and direction. It makes sense of religion, at least any that explain God or gods. That is obviously much better for a person’s life.
    Evolution makes sense of nothing – not even it’s own theory.
    EG compared God with the tooth fairy. I just hope there is a greater level of understanding about God than that.

  26. 26
    Ed George says:

    SA

    What’s the best evidence (while not compelling) that you see?

    Probably the fact that most civilizations have developed some sort of belief system that involves some supernatural being is the best evidence I have seen.

  27. 27
    asauber says:

    Ed George,

    What about design in nature?

    Andrew

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EG

    Probably the fact that most civilizations have developed some sort of belief system that involves some supernatural being is the best evidence I have seen.

    If you were weighing options about what that evidence means, I don’t think there is a stronger conclusion than God actually exists and the reason ancient human civilizations had parallel belief systems with others they were isolated from is because they recognized a supernatural, divine presence for worship and for moral obligations.

  29. 29

    .
    You fellas need to remember that Ed George is a strong believer in ID not because of some mere collection of scientific facts, logic, or reason. Indeed it is not data that brings Ed to his belief in ID, it is, not surprisingly, his profound faith instead.

    I will admit that my belief in ID is largely due to faith, not a thorough examination of the data
    — Ed George, December 5, 2018

    Oh wait. Some of you might be confused. You might be wondering; how can a man speak of his “Faith” if he is the same man who proudly states that there is no objective right or wrong in the universe, and that he alone can decide, for instance, if it is okay to be honest or dishonest to another person (or even rape a woman for that matter). It is confusing after all. He simply must have been lying.

    But wait! There must be a good reason for such a man of high principle to tell such a lie in public. After all, he has already told us of his deep abiding principle that he refrain from speaking to others who are overtly confrontational towards him, so surely that must be it. He very obviously must have been confronted in an overbearing way — bordering on rudeness — which drove him to this public indiscretion.

    But wait! It was none other than GPuccio, the mildest, most benign and un-offensive ID proponent on UD that Ed was talking to. How it is possible that Ed George could have felt so confronted, so fractured, by GP that he would so clearly and so publically lie about his own beliefs? Whatever it is that GP said to Ed to set him off this way — it is a real head-shaker — but there it is for all to see. This is simply something that GP himself (and his apparent rudeness) must answer for.

    But wait! GP simply told Ed that the research literature that GP was presenting in his OP “supported ID” even if the authors themselves were not ID proponents. That doesn’t sound so confrontational towards Ed, does it? Indeed, Ed George (presenting himself as an faithful ID believer) agreed with GP on the matter:

    To be fair, it is your opinion that they support ID. And I generally agree with you

    This is all so confusing. Ed even goes on to tell GP that he “respects his choices” and “enjoys reading his OPs” which surely doesn’t sound like Ed has been triggered by some unpleasant confrontation.

    So what gives? How can a man of such high principle as Ed George be abjectly lying to a man he apparently agrees with and admires.

    Maybe he’s a con man. Maybe he’s a con man using the mere façade of high principles and reason as a means to taunt and tease his intellectual opponents, to frustrate the open conversation of documented facts, and avoid having to personally engage in the universal evidence against his personal perferences.

  30. 30
    AaronS1978 says:

    I don’t think I’m intelligent enough to understand what’s going on!

    Buduchu I’ll be here all night

  31. 31
    EricMH says:

    Difference between secular governments and say the Soviet Union or China is the former do not make belief in God a necessity, but the latter require a disbelief in God and actively persecute those who follow any authority not controlled by the state. Similarly, there are more overtly religious governments such as Islamic and Catholic countries. These also can be oppressive and corrupt, but nowhere near the scale of the explicitly anti-God communist countries.

    So, on a scale of oppression from least to greatest:
    1. Secular government where God is acknowledged but belief is not forced
    2. Religious government
    3. Anti-religious government

    There may also be the category of secular government that does not acknowledge God. Maybe it is better than #1, but I do not have any data on this option.

  32. 32

    A book you may remember by a secular humanist — “The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism” by atheist philosopher & professor A.C. Grayling.

    I had occasion to hear Dr. Grayling pitch his new book in a bookstore in Madison Connecticut a few years back which touches on the issue of removing God from government and replacing God with secular humanism.
    .
    I ran across his book a week earlier at the Yale B&N bookstore and browsed around in it for a time, and thus was anxious to see and hear him in person.
    As the subtitle indicates, Dr. Grayling advocates Humanism as superior to religion in the governance of human affairs, and I went to hear him in hopes that I may ask one question of him – and I did.
    “Can you name the nations or civilizations that have been successful and prosperous over a long period of time with humanistic governance such as you advocate?”

    I asked this of him because in my knowledge of history there are none, and yet this philosopher is asking us to place our faith in his teachings.
    There is however, a recent experience in governance under a state sponsored extreme form of humanism, and that experience has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for tens of millions of souls. That experience of course is the world wide Communist movement of the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere. It was preceded in centuries past by the French Revolution which based its foundational philosophies on the faith that man is the measure of all things, with God banished from the public square. This glorious experience in humanistic governance resulted in rampant bloodshed throughout France and the rest of Europe throughout the 19th century.

    Getting back to Dr. Grayling, his answer to my question was “China” at which point I asked, which China, ancient China or modern China, which caused the deaths of millions of Chinese? Ancient China was his qualifying answer where supposedly they had no gods. He then went on with a discussion as to how Communism was structured in much the same way as the Catholic Church in Russia, and thus Communism could be considered a religion (I agree, it is a religion.) There was more but I was having trouble hearing all he had to say. I don’t believe he answered my question in an honest way.

    So Dr. Grayling, given the models of the Biblical (i.e. religious) foundational philosophy of the founders of the Untied States of America Vs. the humanistic foundational philosophies of the French Revolution and Communism, I think I’ll stay with Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, Hamilton and Washington.
    My original post is at: https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/the-god-argument-the-case-against-religion-and-for-humanism/

  33. 33
    Ed George says:

    SA

    If you were weighing options about what that evidence means, I don’t think there is a stronger conclusion than God actually exists and the reason ancient human civilizations had parallel belief systems with others they were isolated from is because they recognized a supernatural, divine presence for worship and for moral obligations.

    If they all came to the same monotheistic system, with the same moral system, I would agree with you. But they didn’t. Some demonized homosexuals, others revered them. Some had one God, others had many (and some had none). Some revered human sacrifice (even of children), others didn’t. Some revered cannibalism, others didn’t.

  34. 34
    Ed George says:

    Eric

    These also can be oppressive and corrupt, but nowhere near the scale of the explicitly anti-God communist countries.

    I think this is up for debate. The Spanish Inquisition. The witch trials (and I am not talking about the impeachment. 🙂 ). ISIL beheadings, the Taliban, etc.

    I agree, the communist treatment of Christians is horrific. But the Christian treatment of non-christians was no joy. Why don’t we admit that we all have a burden of guilt.

  35. 35
    Mimus says:

    Once abstractions become instantiated, they are laden with particulars. That does NOT mean that the idea is without meaning.

    Is this the same News who writes a post every time she sees a press release stating that no single definition of “species” can work for all cases, and claims this is evidence for the (alwasy imminent, never actual) collapse of Darwinism?

  36. 36

    .
    Mimus if you have a point you’d like to make about the text you quoted, why don’t you just make it.

  37. 37
    EricMH says:

    @Ed George, yes religious groups have all certainly done horrible things, though it is still nowhere near the scale of the atheist communist countries in the 20th century. Additionally, especially in the case of Christianity, these horrible things were done in direct contradiction to the religion’s core teachings. On the other hand, there is nothing in atheism that says one should not kill millions of people and perform torturous experimentation on fellow human beings, sometimes (often?) just for the fun of it.

    For example, if we total the highest estimates from the European religious wars across multiple centuries, it is about 17 million.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_wars_of_religion#Death_toll
    On the other hand, if we look at communism just in the 20th century, it has killed well over 100 million.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_killings_under_communist_regimes

    You may say this is because communism occurred in the scientific age, and had a greater ability to kill people. Maybe so, though a lot of the killing was due to starvation, workcamps and deportation, which are not modern. Regardless, today we have both oppressive religious and atheist regimes, and the former are no comparison to the latter. Today, I’d much rather be a Christian resident in a Sharia Islamic country than an atheist Communist country.

    Finally, you should research the particular examples you’ve given. Read Rodney Stark’s work. A lot of events religion (esp. Catholicism) is blamed for is more propaganda than fact.

  38. 38
    Ed George says:

    Erik

    For example, if we total the highest estimates from the European religious wars across multiple centuries, it is about 17 million. On the other hand, if we look at communism just in the 20th century, it has killed well over 100 million.

    Yes, it is true that the numbers are much higher in the 20th. But it is also true that the population in the 20th was orders of magnitude greater than in the previous centuries. I haven’t seen any estimates normalized for population size but they might be interesting.

  39. 39
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EG

    Probably the fact that most civilizations have developed some sort of belief system that involves some supernatural being is the best evidence I have seen.

    Why do you consider this the best evidence?

  40. 40
    Silver Asiatic says:

    UBP @ 29
    Has that situation ever been resolved here (with an apology, explanation, etc.)?

  41. 41
    Ed George says:

    SA

    Why do you consider this the best evidence?

    I am not saying it is great evidence, because I think there are rational explanations as to why different civilizations develop belief systems that involve the supernatural. However, nobody has presented any evidence that I find comes as close as this. But, really, you are asking me to provide what I think the best of a bad lot is.

  42. 42
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EG

    I am not saying it is great evidence, because I think there are rational explanations as to why different civilizations develop belief systems that involve the supernatural.

    That God does actually exist is a rational explanation that fits the evidence. But I think you mean “there are better explanations”. What do you think is a better explanation that fits all of the evidence (that virtually every human society since the beginning of recorded history (through to the founders of the USA) has a religious belief system in the supernatural.

    However, nobody has presented any evidence that I find comes as close as this.

    Why do you think the arguments for a necessary being, first cause, origin of immaterial forms (natural laws, logic, mathematics, language), origin of first principles of reason, fine-tuning or the incoherence of infinite regress are not as good?

  43. 43

    .

    Has that situation ever been resolved here (with an apology, explanation, etc.)?

    An apology?

    I am not sure what anyone would expect in the way of an apology. I am quite certain that Ed saw no reason for an apology (and GP certainly has thick enough skin not to seek or expect one). Let us be at least as wise as the average 12 year-old who would recognize the situation – any apology (!) coming from Ed to this community would only be attractive to Ed as an opportunity to reinforce his narrative, and cleverly used to justify his imagined “need” to be deceptive in the first place. I suspect Ed sees ID proponents as those who cower in fear of the facts and observations he might make, and thus he would sell himself as not-a-foe so that he wasn’t (perhaps) banned from hanging around. What a glorious irony that is. But as I said, I seriously doubt even the idea of an apology ever crossed Ed’s mind. If it did, he responded by successfully suppressing it.

    Enough about Ed.

    Cheers…

  44. 44
    Ed George says:

    SA

    What do you think is a better explanation that fits all of the evidence (that virtually every human society since the beginning of recorded history (through to the founders of the USA) has a religious belief system in the supernatural.

    Humans are extremely curious, and have the ability to think abstractly and predict consequences. I think it is reasonable to assume that these will lead people to want to know why? How? Early humans had these desires but didn’t have the knowledge that we have today. Add to this the fact that, for some reason (insecurity?) we want there to be a purpose to our existence. Desiring something can be a very powerful motive. But the great variability in these belief systems is what casts doubt on it for me.

    Why do you think the arguments for a necessary being, first cause, origin of immaterial forms (natural laws, logic, mathematics, language), origin of first principles of reason, fine-tuning or the incoherence of infinite regress are not as good?

    Because they all appear to be special pleading rather than compelling evidence. Let’s take fine tuning for example. This all revolves around the physical constants and that if any of them deviated by even a small amount, our universe would be greatly different, or not exist at all. But this argument presupposes that these constants could be different. Do the constants determine reality or does reality define the constants?

  45. 45

    .

    Let’s take fine tuning for example

    I thought for certain he would choose von Neumann’s prediction of a symbolic language system, and then follow up with Crick’s Nobel prize-winning discovery of it. After that, the coordination of semantic closure and the onset of spatial-orientation in coding would be mere curiosities.

    🙂

  46. 46
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie:

    Humans are extremely curious, and have the ability to think abstractly and predict consequences.

    Right and there isn’t anything capable of explaining our existence besides some form of Intelligent Design. “Minds from the mindless via blind and mindless processes” is absurd.

    This all revolves around the physical constants and that if any of them deviated by even a small amount, our universe would be greatly different, or not exist at all.

    That is false. The constants are one of three- the laws themselves and the fine-tuned conditions in the early universe are the other two.

  47. 47
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EG

    I think it is reasonable to assume that these will lead people to want to know why? How? Early humans had these desires but didn’t have the knowledge that we have today. Add to this the fact that, for some reason (insecurity?) we want there to be a purpose to our existence. Desiring something can be a very powerful motive. But the great variability in these belief systems is what casts doubt on it for me.

    Variability in some ways, yes – but the common element is a religious belief in a divine order, or supernatural. But I don’t think you gave an answer on why diverse human communities, that were independent from each other, isolated on different continents, all had religious belief systems – not only in god or gods – but also had ritual worship, prayer, various sacrifices and offerings, an awareness that moral conduct affected the god(s), and belief in existence of souls after death.
    Those are very strong common elements among widely diverse human societies. All of these point to supernatural or immaterial entities. Wouldn’t the fact that there is some variation in belief be easily explained by the fact that humans are trying to express an ineffable, infinite, divine reality and we use diverse (but very unified in essence) means of doing that?

    But this argument presupposes that these constants could be different. Do the constants determine reality or does reality define the constants?

    Either way, an Intelligent Design explains both and an Unintelligent Design explains neither. If the constants could have been different, then fine-tuning could not have been the result of a random dispersion of elements – it’s a strong indicator of Design. If reality (blind, material) itself determined that the constants had to be that way, then it’s just a lucky arrangement within a multiverse? But this just pushes the problem of origins out to an infinite regress, and does not explain the origin of the multiverse or how and what sustains it, since it is a contingent entity itself.

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