Intelligent Design

Bill Buckley on ID

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In the United States, the battlefront is in the schools, on the question of evolution and creationism. If a 14-year-old student is introduced to the contingent possibility that life evolved as it did because its creator so willed it, which of the following risks, from the hard-line evolutionists’ point of view, is that student taking? 1) His intellectual disqualification by admitting creationism, for which there is no scientific no warrant, into his thinking? 2) A lifelong intellectual confusion, perhaps disabling in its consequences, which will keep him from prevailing as a responsible thinker and actor? Or perhaps, 3) a lifetime as an agent of teleological confusion, with the result that he will not only mislead himself, but also mislead others?

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19 Replies to “Bill Buckley on ID

  1. 1
    DaveScot says:

    Buckley, just like Safire, simply doesn’t understand what’s at stake here. If we dare say to 14 year olds with the authority granted by the State Department of Education that the neoDarwinian narrative isn’t the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help us… uh… so help us… Bob! (yeah, that’s the ticket) then western civilization will collapse. COLLAPSE I TELL YOU! Don’t pass GO, don’t collect $200, go straight to the Stone Age.

    So are we having fun yet? I know I am. 🙂

  2. 2
    sartre says:

    I am unsure how old the other posters are on this site, but I am 25. Even though it has been seven years since I graduated from High School I can still remember the student’s capabilities at thinking critically. High School students are not in a position to accurately assess if Darwinism is false or not. It seems like a political move to say, “Oh the other side thinks your children are so stupid, but we know how smart your pretty little children really are. If you get on our side we will treat them respect, dignity, and compassion.”

    This reminds me of a news story I heard last night. There was an ex-funeral director who was supposed to cremate fetuses from a local hospitol that died from miscarriages. They later found the leftover bones in his garage in storage. They later had reactions from neighbors. One said that it was a tragedy how someone could have a total DIRESPECT FOR LIFE even if the fetuses were DEAD OR ALIVE. Smart statement from a “typical” American (one that the Republicans [most of your supporters] were proud to have on their side [cheap shot, I know]).

    Anyway, our education system in High Schools is weak. The extent that they even teach evolution is minimal. No logic classes are even offered in High School, and in English class, the focus is mostly on expression and organization, not a thoughtful critique through argumentation. Even most college students aren’t even prepared for thoughtful argumentation (look at some of the essays people wrote for the GRE’s and you will see what others have written).

  3. 3
    Charlie says:

    A cheap response:
    Something that was alive represents life on this planet. Perhaps a person would disagree that a fetus is a human life, but it surely has the potential to become a human life. As such, the respect one shows it, in life or in death, is a reflection of the respect one has for human life.
    You might destroy the works of an artist, for instance, to show your disrespect for him as a person. On the other hand, you might treat his work with great care out of respect for him. In neither case is the artist still in the work.
    ‘Life’, in the above example, is a greater concept than that intangible something trapped within, or escaping from, the body of a single fetus.

  4. 4
    Charlie says:

    But I’m sorry, back to Buckley…

  5. 5
    Dan says:

    Biologists in general accept the life starts at conception…that is a given. What they do not agree about is whether that entity has acheived “personhood”. The distinction is very clear for those in the scineces (social and physical) but not understood by the general public.

    Dan

  6. 6
    sartre says:

    I did not mean for the topic to go off like this, so I will respond to it just this once. The fetuses were ALREADY dead. She was saying that the treatment of after that state was a disrepect for life. People can implement all their religious ideas (such as a soul), but it has no value except in those particular circumstances. We are sometimes confused when our imagination takes simple experience data and transform them into no other reality except for conceptual reality. For instance, a primitive man sees a lightning strike and transforms that into an expression of an angry God.

    As for life. Life, for me, does not have a true demarcartion, so it is impossible to say where ad when life truly begins. However, it seems a good AREA to say where life begins is where self-organization is occurring and are able to reproduce. But that lady was not speaking about this.

  7. 7
    Charlie says:

    “The fetuses were ALREADY dead. She was saying that the treatment of after that state was a disrepect for life.”

    This was obvious, and acknowledged.
    And the lady, republican or not, was right.

  8. 8
    sartre says:

    I am not sure how something that is not alive be given disrespect of life. The idea of life that you gave above means nothing to me. Though I am not saying that it should not have any value for you. You gave an aesthetic response, which is fine. Life is not something intangible, nor is it something greater than that (I am disinterested in any religious speak). Life is what an entity can do.

    As Wittgenstein said, “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence” (Proposition 7 in “Tractatus Logigo-Philosophicus”).

    What he meant was that, those propositions that we could not assign true values to (any aesthetic, religious, moral, etc. statement), we could not speak through language. His view on language (in his earlier days) was that language pictured the facts of the world, and the above mentioned non-truth value statement were outside of the world. Thus, they were merely expressions, not propositions, so we must not worry about critiquing them since there will never be any solutions to them.

    Your statement about life falls into this realm (keep in mind Wittgenstein did not ridicule such statements [and neither am I], but he wanted to show which statements we could analyze).

    Life is not something special. It occurs readily and biologists and much closer to the origins of life than what many put on. Many feel that Kauffman was on the mark where he thought that, in a pool of a molecules, molecule A catalyzed molecule B, which then catalyzed C, which all were WEAK catalysts. This continued until molecule Z catalyzed A, which was now a bit stronger. This process continued over and over against, until the catalysts were strong enough for self-organization.

    If this scenario is true, there is nothing special about life.

  9. 9
    sartre says:

    But, as you said, back to the original topic at hand.

  10. 10
    Gumpngreen says:

    So in short, you wouldn’t find it disrespectful if someone dug up any of your dead relatives and did whatever they wanted with them? I think that goes along with Charlie’s point…?

  11. 11
    Charlie says:

    The off-topic, possibly soon-to-be-borffed, concept is not one of religiosity or esoterica, and does not require a full discourse or understanding of what constitutes ‘life’. It doesn’t even require that life be something special, or that it be appreciated.

    Imagine an unpleasant scenario:
    Delinquents A, B, and C, respectively assault D, who dies somewhere in the process.
    Does anybody on earth not claim that A,B and C showed disrespect for life?
    What if D had expired sometime after A first assaulted him but before C did so? Is C now a respecter of life, as D was just a dead thing when he assaulted it? Where does that leave B?

    Say wannabe E comes along, and realizes that D is dead, but also assaults him.

    A court of law may determine which of the assailants, based upon intent and state-of-mind, is a first-degree murderer, which is a man-slaughterer, and which is to be found not-guilty, but that verdict aside, would anyone give A, B, C, or E a plaque commemorating his respect for life?

    Whether one believes that D was worthy of such treatment or not, the assailants have demonstrated their lack of respect for life.

    Perhaps the problem is in understanding the word ‘life’ as a contrast to ‘death’. When death is the condition, there is no life to ponder.
    But consider ‘life’ in relationship to ‘non-life’. There are things upon which life is, or can be, bestowed, and things upon which it is not, cannot be, and never will be. And of course, there are some things treading a fine line that those who ponder such things can’t decide about.
    But ‘life’ in this sense is not the condition of animation of a single thing, but is a category of things. The fact that ‘life’ is something unique from all the matter that is ‘non-life’ makes it something that can be respected or disrespected apart from the vessel in which it appears.

    Simpler examples:
    One time I was wasting paper and was admonished that the rain forests are dwindling. My piece of paper is not a forest, nor is it even a tree. And the tree that did provide it was never part of the rain forest. But, without agreeing or disagreeing with the ideology, the act of wasting a resource shows a disrespect for the cost of that resource – as many a environmentalist (republican, democrat and undecided alike) will tell you.

    Likewise, if I throw a tin can in the garbage instead of the recycling bin I show a lack of respect for the environment even though the single can will make no difference to the landfill where it ends. It won’t cause any measurable increase in additional mining, smelting or manufacturing, and won’t have any discernible effect on the environment as a whole. But the action demonstrates disrespect for the environment and the issue of environmental protection.

    Throwing my tin can or paper away did no direct damage to the environment, just as disrespecting the bodies of already-dead fetuses did not affect a living thing.
    But one need not damage some singular thing that is animated at the time by life to show disrespect for what life is. In the case of the fetuses, disrespecting the remains of a once-living human ( a mother’s baby ) demonstrates a disrespect for the life that they had, and shows a disrespect for life itself. Whether one believes that such a life is special enough to merit any respect is another matter.

    Anyway, what was it William F. was saying again?

  12. 12
    mechanicalbirds says:

    Sartre: “What he [ Wittgenstein] meant was that, those propositions that we could not assign true values to (any aesthetic, religious, moral, etc. statement), we could not speak through language.”

    Wittgenstein’s early views on linguistics and epistemology are fallacious. Indeed, the later Wittgenstein helped to refute his own former philosophy. The problem with logical positivism (or any other spin on empiricism) is that it is arbitrary and self-defeating. When you say ” those propositions that we could not assign true values to (any aesthetic, religious, moral, etc. statement), we could not speak through language”, what you seem to mean is ONLY those things which are acquired through the senses can qualify as items of knowledge. But of course, if you apply that principle to itself, it completely breaks down. The phrase “those propositions that we could not assign true values to (any aesthetic, religious, moral, etc. statement), we could not speak through language” would itself be meaningless. If logical positivism were true, it would be false.

  13. 13
    sartre says:

    Mechanical,

    What you seem to mean by empiricism is that meaning (say that I find an art piece beautiful) cannot be sensed. I do not hold that position. In fact, in ecological psychology, we say that meaning is part of the world, not in our heads (or nervous system, ect.). Meaning is public.

    What I was getting at about Wittgenstein was that any religious sentiment is UNSCIENTIFIC (that is what logical positivism was trying to establish; that is, a scientific basis). Unlike Wittgenstein, I do not hold meaning to be true or false strictly (since meaning could be aesthetic), but rather only those statements that are true and false can only be used in science.

    As for Gump’s question:

    Yes, disrepectful. But not disrepsectful of LIFE.

  14. 14
    Charlie says:

    Pointing out a perceived scientific flaw in the woman’s logic (as presented to us in comment #2) is not only a cheap shot, but is unfounded.
    When confronted with the news that her neighbor had collected human remains in his garage she was giving an impromptu response to a live-interview question, and was not attempting to make a measured scientific pronouncement.
    Her statement was not intended for a scientific journal, neither was there any demonstration that it was a matter of religious indoctrination.

  15. 15
    sartre says:

    Mechanical,

    One last comment on Wittgenstein. I thought your comment was misleading, but I could not figure out why until I was driving today. When you said that “The phrase “those propositions that we could not assign true values to (any aesthetic, religious, moral, etc. statement), we could not speak through language” would itself be meaningless. If logical positivism were true, it would be false,” is not correct.

    Here is why. Wittgenstein distinguished what counted as scientific and what philosophy’s role was. Philosophy’s role was to dissolve linguistic problems. Philosophy had no true/false meaning because it was based on logic. His ideas on logic were either tautologies or contradictions, which were uninformative. Science, on the other had, were contingent statements.

    Now, his main idea, I think, was between what could be said and what could be shown. We already saw that “saying” was through language. It must be clear that langauge, for him, was what we could assign truth values for. Obviously, I could say, “God is alive” through language, but that is not what Wittgenstein meant by language. Language is not what could be elucidated with words (that is why he said, “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence,” since we could express ourselves, but we cannot say meaningful statements such as “God is alive” so we must be silent about them in such scientific contexts).

    However, philosophy SHOWS the logical structure of statements. These could not be said because they are not facts. The logical structure is OUTSIDE of the world, thus is outside of the facts. Ethics can only be shown as well as aesthetics.

    Therefore, the statement that, “Those propositions that we could not assign true values to (any aesthetic, religious, moral, etc. statement), we could not speak through language,” would be meaningless, as you said. But THAT IS THE POINT. His Tractatus was a philosophical work. His whole work was meant to SHOW NOT SAY. This is why, in Proposition 6.54, Wittgenstein writes, “My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)”

    His statement, while interpreting Wittgenstein, could not itself be false because, for him, it SAYS NOTHING. It only SHOWS.

  16. 16
    MGD says:

    “Life is not something special. It occurs readily and biologists and much closer to the origins of life than what many put on. Many feel that Kauffman was on the mark where he thought that, in a pool of a molecules, molecule A catalyzed molecule B, which then catalyzed C, which all were WEAK catalysts. This continued until molecule Z catalyzed A, which was now a bit stronger. This process continued over and over against, until the catalysts were strong enough for self-organization.

    If this scenario is true, there is nothing special about life. ”

    Many also feel that this sort of “reasoning” consists of nothing more than hand waving, equivocation and wishfull thinking. Life isn’t special, it’s just the inevitable outcome of natural forces. Why, I was watching the clouds today and I am sure I saw a horsie and a doggie form right before my eyes.The atmosphere is full of chaotic feedback dynamics you know. hahahaha! Dream on, dream until your dream comes true.

    ps Sartre, when that woman said Life, she meant Human Dignity, something the amoral cannot comprehend. Parse that out.

  17. 17
    sartre says:

    MGD,

    As you will see in my other post, your comments carry no substance and nothing but speculation. You have bought into the ID rhetoric and style of arguing that does no warrant anymore time.

    You can read into what she meant all you want mind-reader, but you did not see the interview or anything. You people stick together no matter what.

    As for the amoral. What is your point? You have no evidence of morals beyond human action. Talk about hand-waving.

    Also, Kauffaman’s scenario has been simulated and actually works just fine. However, as I showed in my last post, Behe misunderstands what Kauffman was actually doing. There have been experiments that show how ordering becomes complex (see Prigogine). Behe’s IC ASSUMES that evolution occurs step-by-step, which hardly anyone agrees with. There ideas are irrelevant to the discussion. But you are too wrapped-up in your hatred and denial to even catch a glimpse of what REAL scientists are doing.

    Good-bye.

  18. 18
    sartre says:

    Sorry, I couldn’t pass this up.

    MGD wrote, “The atmosphere is full of chaotic feedback dynamics you know. hahahaha! Dream on, dream until your dream comes true.”

    Damn, I spent all these months and years studying this phenomena. Scientists have conducted years of RESEARCH and unified them into theories. They have shown EXPERIMENTALLY that chaos is a real factor and is still predictable, but not under classical physics. All of these researchers could have just MGD what his OPINION was. What would they have received as a response.

    “All of your research is a joke. I don’t need to do any research or even know what you guys are talking about. I just know that it is wrong. So there.”

    Wow, insightful and beautiful. But talk about hand-waving. ID doesn’t know HOW life occurred, but that they can detect it nonetheless. In fact, they say that it is not necessary. Hmmm, seems suspicious. They don’t know HOW it got here, but say that it is here. Life just appeared by a special mind that we know nothing about.

    Yeah, I will stick to ideas that we know exist before I jump on the magical mind ride that we don’t even know exists or not.

    By the way, humans don’t create CSI. Human novelty is bounded by natural information. This has been proven under the heading of ecological psychology. To build a house or Mt. Rushmoore means to be able to perceive the environmental capabilities as well as to perceive one’s own abilities. Even though our tendancies are more elaborate than a molecule’s ability, all action is guided by the same TYPE of information, which is environmental information. ID assumes that action can occur WITHOUT information. This is stated where Dembski notes that, “Information always presupposes a range of possibilities, and conveying information means ruling out some of those possibilities (NFL, 125).

    However, this is impossible. It has been shown in EXPERIMENTS that information guides action. There have been no instances that show that one can act (in this case rule out possibilities) without information, which is the case here since information is the result of ruling out possibilities.

    This is a funny thing. A “theory” called “Intelligent Design” doesn’t even know what intelligence is in the first place. How could this be?

    It feels good to get that out of my system. Now I am done with you.

  19. 19
    MGD says:

    Sartre, you have shown nothing in your posts. Only a catalog of informal logical fallacies.

    “It feels good to get that out of my system. Now I am done with you. ”

    a dose of exlax might serve you better.

    “They have shown EXPERIMENTALLY that chaos is a real factor”

    A real factor in what? The origin of life? It’s development? Where are these experiments? Assertions are not evidence (that sounds familiar).

    “By the way, humans don’t create CSI. Human novelty is bounded by natural information. This has been proven under the heading of ecological psychology. To build a house or Mt. Rushmoore means to be able to perceive the environmental capabilities as well as to perceive one’s own abilities. Even though our tendancies are more elaborate than a molecule’s ability, all action is guided by the same TYPE of information, which is environmental information.”

    Does this include your posts? Are they only a product of “environmental information”? So there is no rational component to them? No intention? great! I’m not going to argue with a lamp post. From now on your words are as the grunt of beasts or the whistling of the wind in the trees to me. Goodbye Sartre. Now I’m done with you.

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