Intelligent Design

“An insurgency that ultimately aims to topple Darwin”

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Crocker was about to establish a small beachhead for an insurgency that ultimately aims to topple Darwin…

This is a sizzler! Read more here:

Eden and Evolution

I met the reporter Shankar Vedantam a couple months ago in connection with what was happening in the universities. I’m so glad he covered this story!

Crocker spent most of her career in private industry before recently teaching in universities. She received her PhD under the guidance of Derek Burke, who discovered interferon. To hear a little bit about her, please right click and “save target” the following link to get an audio of her describing her background at an IDEA meeting, September 2005:

Caroline Crocker Autobiographical Sketch

Salvador

49 Replies to ““An insurgency that ultimately aims to topple Darwin”

  1. 1
    Scott says:

    Yes! I love the bold non-conformists like Miss Crocker.

    Great read. Thanks!

  2. 2
    avocationist says:

    All in all, the writer did a terrible job. He concludes that ID is about religion, and ignores the overwhelming evidence of evolution because they’re worried about the religious implications. That is all he took away from ID.

    While I readily believe Darwin was a compasionate man and would not have liked to see slaves mistreated, I have read quotes which indicate he expected the superior races to eliminate the inferior ones in about a hundred years.

    This article does throw some doubt on whether he was really an atheist. But he also was quite interested in abiogenesis.

  3. 3
    Scott says:

    From the article:

    “By 1994, observed Brown University biologist Ken Miller, scientists unearthed fossils of animals near the Indian subcontinent that had front and hind limbs capable of walking on land and flippering through water.”

    Huh? Specific examples please?

    Also:

    “Reduced to the Darwinian arithmetic of natural selection, emotions are neither good nor bad but merely appendages, such as wings or hands, selfishly designed by genes for their own survival. The distant tugs of genes may give rise to altruism, love and compassion, not just to selfishness and hatred, but that means human assertions about good and evil are just that, notions that humans impose on an indifferent universe, instead of absolute law. It would be as if human beings invented God, rather than the other way around.”

    “If humans descended from animals, Weikart argued, no one could assert that humans ought to behave in qualitatively different ways from animals. And whatever Dawkins may say about humans choosing to turn their back on survival-of-the-fittest mentality, Weikart said, evolutionary ideas make the opposite more likely. “Eugenics would have had a difficult time getting off the ground without Darwinism,” he said.”

    Compelling points there.

  4. 4
    ftrp11 says:

    Weikart’s point I have a problem with.
    “If humans descended from animals, Weikart argued, no one could assert that humans ought to behave in qualitatively different ways from animals.”

    I am not sure what acting like an animal would entail exactly. If he is implying that there would be no reason for moral behavior that is just silly. Immoral behavior gets you ostracized, slapped in the face or worse. Whether morality’s origin is divine or natural is irrelevant to this point. The fact is that human society cannot exist without morality. We all have good reasons to act morally regardless of the answer to the creation question.

    I also don’t care for blaming the horrifying results of Darwinism being culturally perverted on Evolutionary Theory. All sorts of ideas have been perverted over the course of history. Blaming Darwin for the Nazis or Eugenics is like blaming Mohammed for our current troubles or Christ for the Crusades.

    Those horrible ideas were products of their time and there were plenty of other philosophies and schools of thought that allowed the Nazis their sleep at night.

  5. 5
    ftrp11 says:

    Scott

    I think he was talking about the current ideas on the evolution of whales. Here is an article that may provide some more information http://www.talkorigins.org/features/whales/.

  6. 6
    tinabrewer says:

    two interesting things really came through for me when reading this article: one is the fact that the anti-ID people seem to have a more honest grasp on the fact that the motivating force behing the ID movement is by and large a religious one. The second thing which was starkly clear was the almost touching way in which Dawkins’ abhorrence of the violence and suffering in nature clearly motivate his own atheism… what is glaringly obvious from this is the fact that by and large religion has completely failed to give satisfactory answers to these 19th century questions. The convulsions which society experienced back then as a result of the failure of religious faith to contend with the basic realities of life will simply be re-experienced should the attempt at getting ID accepted eventually succeed.

  7. 7
    saxe17 says:

    Sorry to bring up Dawkins whose ideas are so tired, but I do find this statement consistent with his bizarre view of reality “It is human agency, human rationality and human law that can create a world more compassionate than nature…” How can a man who believes we are nothing more than molecules in motion, also believe that we should create a world that’s comapassionate? Compassionate? What is compassion to moving molecules? Afterall, there is no good and bad in a purely molecular world. This seems like an utter confusion to me. Can someone help me with this?

    You also have to wonder how he fits Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, Castro, Pol Pot, Kim Jong II and other humanist despots into his theory that “It is human rationality and human law that can create a world more compassionate…”. These humanists took more lives in one century than were taken in the history of the world. This man says he cares about truth. He seems too deluded to spot any truth whatsoever.

    This will hopefully be my last post on that old windbag.

    Thanks,
    Saxe

  8. 8
    tinabrewer says:

    windbag or not, it is clear from his comments that somewhere deep in his soul he is deeply confused about how the world could be filled with such apparent cruelty and yet be the product of a benevolent creator. if that question doesn’t at least disturb a so-called religious person, then that person has less justification for their worldview than does the atheist. All serious persons must concern themselves with answering these basic realities. I sense that many atheists of Dawkins’ ilk became so because of an initial genuine impulse to find a worldview which takes all things into account. Having failed to find reasonable answers in the worldview of religion, they look elsewhere. when all avenues are up, they may reject faith in anything beyond matter as a sort of desperate act of rebellion against the cruelty of their experience. As sad as this is, it doesn’t make the initial questioning any less compelling, and to my way of thinking, such questions still reveal the many ways in which orthodox religion is bereft of real answers.

  9. 9
    scordova says:

    tinabrewer,

    I offered an answer here:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....4#comments

    What are your other impressions of the article, especially the reactions of the students?

    Salvador

  10. 10
    chaosengineer says:

    What is compassion to moving molecules? After all, there is no good and bad in a purely molecular world.

    To a strict materialist like Dawkins, compassion is an “emergent property”. That means that it doesn’t exist on the molecular level. It’s like how you can’t say that a single atom is a solid or a liquid or a gas…those words only make sense if you’re talking about a large number of atoms grouped together.

    Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, Castro, Pol Pot, Kim Jong II and other humanist despots

    A “humanist” is a person who bases his moral values on what he honestly thinks is best for humanity. (As opposed to basing his moral values on his honest perception of what God wants.)

    Stalin and Mao weren’t humanists any more than Hitler was a Christian.

    The only humanist on your list is Marx. My feeling is that he was badly confused about human nature but he certainly wasn’t a despot.

  11. 11
    dj says:

    I agree with avocationist that this article focuses on religious reasons for supporting ID. Wherever the article gives scientific reasons for supporting ID, it just as quickly debunks them. Furthermore, the article shows that religious reasons for criticising a neo-Darwinian view of man and nature aren’t necessarily valid. I’m surprised that this article was linked.

  12. 12
    jasonng says:

    “How can a man who believes we are nothing more than molecules in motion, also believe that we should create a world that’s comapassionate? Compassionate? What is compassion to moving molecules? Afterall, there is no good and bad in a purely molecular world. This seems like an utter confusion to me. Can someone help me with this?”

    Yes, I too would like to hear someone try to explain that. They can go on and on about how they think purposeless evolution gave us a sense of morality and compassion, but last time I checked, going out of your way to help someone that can’t help you back is generally not considered an act that will benefit one’s own survival. The philosophy behind Darwinism is blantantly obvious; it proposes a world of selfishness, greed and power at any cost. It divides people into classes of intellect and physical ability, shunning those that are deficient in those areas. When was the last time anyone heard of a eugenicist who was against Darwinian philosophy? None, because their principles are one and the same.

  13. 13
    Scott says:

    “I think he was talking about the current ideas on the evolution of whales.”

    Ah, in that case, I’m thoroughly unimpressed with Miller’s “evidence” of viable transitions. I’m still waiting to see something that could possilby be construed as a legitimate ape antecedant.

    http://www.trueorigin.org/whales.asp
    http://www.ideacenter.org/cont.....php/id/839

    Tina,

    There is a cogent explanation for the cruelty we see in nature and human behavior (and it’s important to note that once one makes assertions about the nature and purposes of the designer, they have crossed over the line of science and into the realm of theology). My personal belief (not a tenet of ID because ID only detects specified complex information in living systems) is that we live in a “fallen” world which has been subject to the ravages of sin and decay. And that the “designer” is going to redeem this fallen creation, at some point in the future. I’ll leave it at that, as we try to avoid straying too far into theological/philosophical issues here. 🙂

  14. 14
    Red Reader says:

    tinabrewer wrote:
    “the anti-ID people seem to have a more honest grasp on the fact that the motivating force behing the ID movement is by and large a religious one.”

    Were we reading the same article?
    “Crocker said she came to her views on evolution not because of her religious faith but while working on a PhD in biology, when she learned about the complexity of the cell and the immune system.”

    tinbrewer, with all due respect, your comments are thoughtless reactionary spin.

    Granted, Crocker was able to see the *implicatons* of the design she saw in biology: “When I asked her what she made of the extraordinary genetic relatedness of living things, Crocker said she saw it as consistent with the hand of a creator, who uses the same palette of DNA to build protozoa, pandas and people.”

    Seeing implications in science is the opposite of your assertion that ID is *motivated* by religion.

    Turnabout is fair: I believe your reactionary spin is based on your anti-religious beliefs which are in fact just religious.

  15. 15
    scordova says:

    What was apparent in the article was the eagerness of the students! What was also apparent was their determination to enter the field of biology, knowing the hostile environment they faced. I was moved by the account of the student who wanted to be a vet. What is amazing is the amount of ID leaning we see in students coming from public school systems that don’t even teach ID!

    Various informal polls of some classes indicate ID leaning students in freshman biology classes consitute 17% to 33% of the class. There are unfortunately little numbers on college seniors, but nevertheless, I believe more and more students will be emboldened to enter the field of biology as it becomes more culturally acceptable to be an IDist, and fashionable to denigrate Darwin. IDists might even hold close to a majority someday in biology if the trend continues.

    One reason that ID leaning students will be emboldened to enter and remain in the biolgoical sciences is that because of the internet and high-speed communications, it is harder to make students feel isolated for their dissent from Darwin. They can readily find support and resources. They will not be intimidated or ridiculed by their peers as easily as they had been in decades past.

    What a glorious thought, maybe one day 25% of college bio grads will be ID leaning, and it would be triumph by Providence if that number exceeds 50%!

  16. 16
    tinabrewer says:

    red reader, you could not have me more wrongly pegged when you call me a reactionary. I ardently support the aims of the ID movement, and am religious to my core. What I said was that what MOTIVATES the ID movement is a religious or spiritual impulse. That is not the same as saying that the motivation forms the entirety of the movement! I completely understand the necessity of paring down the claims of design to what can be strictly applicable scientifically. Ironically, I am all in favor of the fact that the majority of people who claim to support ID are motivated by at least some rudimentary sense that there is more to life than the movements of molecules. I would like to quote Gandhi once more in these pages “My faith runs so much faster than my reason that I can challenge the world and say ‘God is, was and ever shall be'” Now how is it that feeling in that way, I could possibly be accused of being a reactionary materialist simply for asserting that religion fails to answer many of the questions which caused it to weaken so dramatically in the face of the challenges of science? To Scott: I was referring to more than just the cruelties of nature, but also the many gross inequalities in the lives that humans lead, and the general lack of a good explanation for the sometimes inconcievable suffering some humans experience. I will read your link with interest though. thanks

  17. 17
    Jerry says:

    Tinabrewer,

    Two comments –

    First, I believed in Darwinian evolution into my 50’s not because I understood the issue but it just seemed reasonable to me and I never read anything about it except what was in the popular press. Then I went to a conference where Dembski, Behe and some others were speakers and was blown away by the science presented (my background is science). It had nothing to do with religion and in fact it irks me when either side brings up religion in relation to this topic. If tomorrow science produced two or three very complete fossil transitions, I would probably change my view on Darwinism. My religious beliefs in no way depend on the success or failure of Darwinism and I suspect there is a lot more like me.

    Second, when evil in this world is brought up as an explanation to why someone does not believe in God this is called the theodicy issue (an attempt to reconcile the co-existence of evil and a benevolent God.) It probably should not be the focus of discussion here since this forum is supposedly about science. It is a very legitimate issue in some other venue and is one of the most studied issues in theology with a whole spectrum of interpretations. Just let it go that it is not an issue for science so when either side brings it up it means they have probably failed at the science side of the argument and want to persuade others on the basis of a philosophical argument.

    Based on what I have read, and it is a lot, there is no good scientific evidence for Darwinism outside of micro evolution. There he deserves his due. Every time I ask for a good example, all I get is equivocation or some very specious arguments or vague reasoning.

  18. 18
    John Davison says:

    There are any number of “ape antecedents” that could have given rise ultimately to man. As a matter of fact the genus Homo may have appeared from more than one ancestor. One of the virtues of the PEH is that it places very few restraints on possible origins. But let their be no question. That we had animal ancestors is not to be questioned at least by this investigator. Those that insist otherwise are just as mistaken as those who insist we were an accident. Reproductive continuity will not be violated except possibly at the very beginning and even that is without any tangible justification.

  19. 19
    tinabrewer says:

    I appreciate your comments, Jerry. I also read a lot and am aware of the theodicy issue and the many attempts which have been made to resolve the intuitive conflict between evil and a creator. I guess my earlier comments, which stemmed from the posted article in which Richard Dawkins expressed his personal view that the horrible cruelties of the natural world are incompatible with a benevolent creator, were not so much about EVIL as they were about indifferent nature and the accidents of birth. Slightly different emphasis, but in the same general area. Anyway, maybe I am completely incorrect in my assumption that the main support for ID comes from people who are religiously or spiritually motivated. It certainly feels that way, and I have read all of the works of William Dembski, Johnson, Behe, etc. I don’t mean this as a criticism, by the way. If someone is motivated by spiritual insight to do something which is scientifically true, that is to me all the more powerful. Everyone is so defensive about this. Why? Is it some sort of intellectual sin to do one’s work based on one’s convictions? Has science so won the day that it is the god we shallt have no other gods but? Hmmm…

  20. 20
    saxe17 says:

    Tina,

    You stated, “If that question [apparent cruelty] doesn’t at least disturb a so-called religious person, then that person has less justification for their worldview than does the atheist.” Yes, that question could disturb and would cause a religious person to ponder the character of God. That would be consistent with a religious worldview. However, there is NO such thing as cruelty in a Godless universe. There are only molecules in motion. That’s it. Molecules in motion cannot rationally account for their moral judgments. The fact that atheists make moral judgments does not mean that they can account for them. Everyone has morality (a conscience if you will), because the IDer gave it in us. To listen to molecules ooze forth judgments about cruelty (which don’t rationally exist in their worldview) is quite humorous, isn’t it?

    I personally believe there is a God and therefore I do ponder good and evil. Dawkins may give some pseudo-intellectual “evolutionary” reason to account for his own morality, but I can assure you his arguments are pure vapor. Look at this Dawkins quotation, “Understanding the pitiless ways of natural selection is precisely what can make humans moral”. Think about this sentence. He seems to be saying that understanding the “pitiless” (a moral judgment) comes before we possess morality. Huh??? How would we identify “pitiless” before we are moral? It is easy to feel sorry for this man.

    I know we’re not supposed to be talking religious topics on this site, but I do believe the examples I’ve used are necessary to point out the inconsistency and irrationality of the atheist evolutionist.

    Thanks,
    Saxe

    P.S. If, by the way, you’d like a sound defense of good/evil being consistent with a Holy creator, I’d be happy to offer that offline (since that would be against the rules of this website ☺).

  21. 21
    scordova says:

    “Kamel, who recently presented her own sympathetic views on intelligent design at a seminar, said she heard exasperated sighs from professors. In private, however, many students said they agreed with her.”

    The article mentions an insurgency that aims to topple Darwin. I think an interesting speculation is the probability this may transpire. I think a critical metric are the demographics of the biology majors in school and the trends. If indeed there is a rising trend of seniors graduating in biology who are sympathetic to ID, that would be significant. I would hope polls would be done of seniors in 2006 and then every year for several years. If the percentages of ID friendly bio seniors begins to align with the percentages of the general population, then Darwinian evolution as a dominant paradigm has a chance of finally being toppled. This would be the case since that would mean over 50% of biology majors would be rejecting Darwinian evolution.

    We do know that 17% to 33% is a decent estimate of the freshman, but what we don’t know is the seniors.

    I believe the abundance of ID literature will reduce the attrition caused by Darwinist intimidation. I’m aware that this intimidation has caused some attrition through my personal contacts, but it is hard to quantify. So if the attrition rate can be arrested and then an increase in enrollment, the chance of toppling Darwin will be very good.

    We can also hope that over seas, in the emerging economies, Darwinism will also be in decline. If that happens, Darwinian theory will be toppled. To that end, and to those who will topple Darwin, I say, God Speed.

  22. 22
    scordova says:

    Some random thoughts:

    The article mentions Paul Julienne. I’m good friends of one of his children. He attends the same church (Truro) as Caroline Crocker, and I used to attend that same church in 1992, although I met Caroline Crocker only for the first time in March 2005 at an IDEA meeting. Geoff Brumfiel, of Nature actually gives an account of that meeting:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....1062a.html

    Dr. Julienne is a co-worker of Nobel Laureate Bill Philips who is deeply sympathetic to the notion of a creator (perhaps somewhat like Charles Townes). Phillips said: “when I study cosmology as a science, when I study physics, one of the things that I learn is that there are very clear, beautifully simple laws that describe almost everything that I observe. I see that kind of simplicity and beauty, and I think, this is a put-up job, this didn’t happen by chance…That’s a way in which science informs my faith. I don’t want to compartmentalize them, but I am clear that there are questions that are well-posed to science and questions that are well-posed to religion. But they’re not completely separate entities.”

    Julienne visits our IDEA meetings and was there in 1999 when Michael Behe made a big splash at GMU. I was astounded to see so many department heads give Behe a friendly welcome (except of course the biology department). Julienne is probably a little more sympathetic to ID than the article indicates.

    This is an excellent article by Julienne which he presented in SUNDAY SCHOOL!:
    http://homepage.mac.com/pjulie.....rected.pdf

    The church is extremely intellectual. One of the pastors was a PhD, MD oncology researcher. Many scientists and physcians are in the congregation. It’s a very interesting spiritual and intellectual climate in that church. No kidding.

  23. 23
    crandaddy says:

    I have a lot of respect for scientists like Dr. Crocker who have the backbone to challenge Darwinian orthodoxy. They do a lot to encourage not only students who find unintelligent evolution unconvincing but probably their colleagues who have doubts, as well.

  24. 24
    jasonng says:

    “We do know that 17% to 33% is a decent estimate of the freshman, but what we don’t know is the seniors.”

    Is this on top of the number that are creationists? I can’t imagine over 80% of college freshmen being evolutionist (using the lower value), they’re not that far off from the general population.

  25. 25
    scordova says:

    Here are some of the sources:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05318/606357.stm
    ” an associate professor who teaches introductory biology at Iowa State, one-third of ISU freshmen planning to major in biology agree with the statement that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”

    and Steve Verhey
    http://www.cwu.edu/~verheys/Bi.....6-1003.pdf
    “. Section A contained more self-reported CL or YE creationists compared with
    other sections (53 percent in section A, 34 percent in section B, 33 percent in section C, and 8 percent in section D). …..Other studies have reported various proportions of creationistoriented college students.Brem and colleagues (2003) found
    that 18 percent of students at a “major, public university in the Western United States” expressed creationist views. McKeachie and colleagues (2002) reported that 17 percent of students in an introductory biology course at a midwestern community college identified themselves as CL creationists. Harrold and Eve (1987) found that 28 percent of students from a Texas university and 19 percent of students from two California universities and one Connecticut university agreed with
    the statement that “God created man pretty much in his present form within the past 10,000 years or so.” Eve and Dunn(1990) reported that 25 percent of US high school

    It’s fair to say we don’t have as much data as we want, but I’m sure the 1/3 freshman bio majors at ISU should be pretty distressing to the Darwinists. I conducted a poll at JMU, and the results are 70% had interest in courses:
    http://www.ideacenter.org/cont.....hp/id/1343

    I think if we can get our side to air their case, they’ll be able win. At the very least Darwin won’t have a monopoly, and ID will at least be a respectable alternative.

  26. 26
    jasonng says:

    I find it quite astounding that one-third of prospective biology majors at Iowa State are YECs. There could very well be another 10-15% on top of that which are ID supporters, and as long as ID stays in the news that number will only go up. We’ll probably win over creationists before theistic evolutionists however, unless there’s a breakthrough in the media and ID starts getting some decent coverage.

  27. 27
    John Davison says:

    I get an enormous kick out of the title of this thread. One gets the impression that Darwinism has not yet been “toppled.” Darwinism died right on on the vine in 1871 when St George Jackson Mivart asked the question – how can natural selection possibly be involved in a structure that has not yet appeared? It has since been assassinated countless times by scholars from every field of biology imaginable. The time has come to simply laugh at this idiotic notion that chance ever had anything to do with either ontogeny or phylogeny. Have you noticed that the Darwinians are keeping a careful silence these days about their precious natural selection? I have and I know why. It is indefensible that is why. Rather than concede failure, they continue to pretend, as they always have, that they have never had any critics. They are on the ropes and it is time for attack not defense. They represent the most absurd collection of ideologues ever assembled on this planet. I am convinced that it isn’t even their fault as they were just “born that way” just as liberal left leaning political relativists are which is what 99 percent of them are anyway. Darwinians constitute just one more manifestation of what I have termed a “prescribed” evolutionary scenario. NeoDarwinism in all its many guises is nothing but mass hysteria of the sort that infected Salem Masachusetts for but a short time. The Darwinian hysteria has a history of almost a century and a half now. The time has come to laugh them off the face of the intellectual map, to ridicule them, denigrate them, insult them and lampoon them at every possible opportunity. I have been doing it for quite some time now. It is great sport and the best evidence that it is working is their cowardly failure to acknowledge what I and others have been doing to them. They are the biggest and most homogeneous collection of helpless intellectual childen in the history of the Western World. They have hitched their wagon to a boulder and are dragging it behind them, marching like lemmings to the sea and certain disaster. The sad thing is that they don’t even realize it. Homozygous, “natural born” ideologues are like that don’t you know.

    There now, I feel much better. Thanks for letting me vent a little.

    How do you tens of thousands of Darwinian mystics like them cute little skewered hors d’oeuvres served up on them gorgeous Sterling silver platters. Tasty aren’t they. I hope they give you gas.

  28. 28
    Red Reader says:

    scordova:

    If you’re still checking back, another thought occured to me after I pondered the article for a bit. Comments 21, 24 & 25 this morning also tie into the thought.

    The thought is this: ID would be a BOON to science education, not a disintegration of it as is so often charged.

    If anything jumps out of the first 15 paragraphs, it is the reporter’s observation of the intense and immediate attention Crocker drew from the students when she started her lecture.

    Prior to the lecture: “they fully expected to hear what students usually hear”. Same ol’ same ol’. The 3 hour credit is required for graduation, otherwise many students would just as soon skip the class. Perhaps basket weaving would be more interesting.

    But once the lecture started: “The students leaned forward.” “Ripples of excitement spread through the class.” “Gasps and giggles burst out.” “The students sat stunned.”

    But the learning wasn’t gratuitous. Science came alive again or maybe for the first time for some of the students. Evidence, observation, experimataion–SCIENCE! “Crocker brought up a new slide. She told the students there were two kinds of evolution: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution is easily seen in any microbiology lab. Grow bacteria in a petri dish; destroy half with penicillin; and allow the remainder to repopulate the dish. [snip]….”

    I have no doubt these kids were seeing science in a whole new light: science in pursuit of the truth, following the evidence where it leads, evaluating the evidence based on facts. Instead of “science” meaning memorization of dogmatic edicts issued by elite, tenured PHD’s in far away labs, science is logic, evaluation, testing.

    This article illustrates the pent-up interest students have for real science as opposed to dogma. Doomsayers of disaster predict the end of science if ID is taught. I believe the pent-up interest is a harbinger rather of a rebirth of scientific inquiry.

    Thanks for posting the article.

  29. 29
    paulp says:

    The Seattle Weekly has just released their latest issue with a cover story entitled, “The Plot to Kill Darwin.” The byline reads, “How Seattle’s Discovery Institute orchestrated a plan to take down evolution-and almost succeeded”. I have a picture of the front page (worth seeing) and a link to the story on my blog. Here’s the link: http://spaces.msn.com/pardi/bl.....!287.entry

  30. 30
    ajl says:

    “The thought is this: ID would be a BOON to science education, not a disintegration of it as is so often charged.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. How many non-scientists have now gotten exposed to terms like co-option, common descent, RM&NS, Cambrian Explosion, etc. Hell, more people now know what a bacterial flaggelum is than ever before. In fact, I bet just a few years ago, the general population couldn’t name 1 letter of the DNA alphabet. Now, through these debates you hear it all the time. Also, with all these arguments floating around (pro and con), lots of people are beginning to think about what is science, and what is philosophy.

    Here’s a funny example: I heard my wife on the phone the other day (an Art Teacher) talking with a friend about this (her friend is a YEC and her daughter is now learning about evolution in middle school, so naturally the friend was very concerned). As I listened from the other room, I could hear my wife articulating not just ID stuff, but basic evolutionary stuff too, in a sense re-assuring this friend that not everything her daughter was hearing was unreasonable. For example, she was telling her what co-option is, and why Darwinist believe it, why common descent is believed both by Darwinists and ID folks, and she not only articulated the whole IC debate wrt the flagellum and blood clotting, she also gave a pretty fair assessment against the IC argument wrt scientists looking to find out if some IC process might actually have other functions earlier on. Imagine, an Art teacher with no science education to speak of now gaining a fairly decent grasp of some of these ideas. And this was only because the debate seemed interesting, so she read Strobel’s book, and has glanced over my shoulder on more than one time reading this blog…

    So, how many more people are starting to see that science really isn’t boring, or at least now respecting those scientists who do the ‘boring stuff’ to provide sufficient background to the issues we are arguing about today.

    I think this bodes well for High School students – if they can get excited about pursuing science through the ID / Evo debate, how many more will now give some serious consideration to actually taking that biology class their freshman year in college, rather than seeing if “Strange Ocean Creatures” or some other ‘gut’ course can meet the science distribution requirement 🙂

  31. 31
    dj says:

    It looks like I have to restate post 11 in stronger terms in hopes of having some basic questions answered. Mostly, I’m amused that this previous post was ignored, but I am a little bit perturbed by the fact that many of the posters appear to have failed to read the article critically. The most notable example among posters who failed to read the article critically would be John Davison. John, I’m glad that you got a kick out of the title of the thread, and that it gave you a chance to vent in post 27, but it appears from your post that you didn’t go much further than the title. According to the article, the insurgency “ultimately aims to topple Darwin’s view that humans and apes are distant cousins.” Post 18 indicates that you have no trouble with this aspect of Darwin’s views.

    That was a jibe I couldn’t resist, but my main reason for reposting was to ask scordova and others about their take on the scientific aspects of the piece. Again, I’m very surprised that this article was linked by a site that claims to discuss scientific aspects of ID. The article debunks the “scientific” evidence for ID and emphasizes its religious appeal. Several posters have expressed their delight that Crocker stirred up a scientific debate with her remarks on the Miller-Urey experiment and Kettleworth’s peppered moths. Crocker says that the Miller-Urey experiment is “irrelevant” and the peppered moth experiment was “falsified.” Does anyone here support those analyses? Just to be clear on my own position, I am well aware of criticisms of both experiments. However, those criticisms utterly fail to detract from the conclusions of those experiments. First, Miller-Urey showed that amino acids could be produced in the laboratory from simpler molecules in a reducing environment. Please notice that neither I nor this link claims this experiment is evidence for abiogenesis.

    http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/g.....iment.html

    I agree with you that it isn’t evidence for abiogenesis, and it certainly isn’t relevant to evolution after the first cells were extant, so just what the heck is its relevance in any discussion of evolution? -ds

    Secondly, Kettleworth’s work with peppered moths showed a fine example of natural selection in action. This was addressed in the piece itself, but here is further explanation:

    http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/moonshine.htm

    Kettleworth’s experiment was staged. Black peppered moths were already known to exist decades earlier and no one can say with even a tiny bit of surety the black peppered moths haven’t been around long before there was coal soot in Britain. No one’s contesting that preexisting allele frequency isn’t influenced by environmental factors. Pigmentation frequency that results in better camaflage for some and less for others is however a good example of natural selection in action. It’s a great demonstration of it’s limited ability to select the best preexisting alleles governing cosmetic attributes like pigmentation. Extrapolate that into a story of how bacteria changed into babboons is laughable.

    I would posit that the only potential grounds for calling these experiments “irrelevant” and “falsified” are ignorance, incompetence and dishonesty. Some of the posters suggest that it is important to have science educators who are bold non-conformists or who will pander to incoming students’ notions of young earth creationism. I posit that critical thinking skills are more important than these traits. The article’s description of Crocker’s lecture suggests that Crocker either misunderstands or misrepresents these two experiments and the criticisms they engendered. If so, she is a poor candidate for a biology instructor, and I am not surprised that she no longer appears to teach at Northern Virginia Community College.

    I would posit the only potential grounds for calling these experiments relevant to the question of evolution are desperate want of any substantial evidence.

    While I was working on this, post 30 appeared. I agree that the ID/evolution debate has in some ways been great for teaching people about science. Overblown, agenda-driven criticisms of the Miller-Urey and Kettleworth experiments do a great job showing what non-scientific arguments for ID look like.

  32. 32
    mynym says:

    I get an enormous kick out of the title of this thread. One gets the impression that Darwinism has not yet been “toppled.” Darwinism died right on on the vine in 1871 when St George Jackson Mivart asked the question – how can natural selection possibly be involved in a structure that has not yet appeared? It has since been assassinated countless times by scholars from every field of biology imaginable.

    E.g.

    “In my previous books… I tried to show that the currently accepted theory of evolution—called ‘neoDarwinism’ or ‘the modern synthesis’—is false. Taking an interest in the history of evolutionary thought in the course of subsequent work, I made a very remarkable and unexpected discovery: nobody, not even Darwin and his closest friends, ever believed in Darwin’s theory of natural selection: Darwinism was refuted from the moment it was conceived.”
    And on its last page (p. 422):
    “I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science.”

    (Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth-Søren
    Reviewed by Gareth Neslson
    Systematic Zoology, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Mar., 1988) :80)

    It’s been done based on the evidence more than once, the evidence remains. Yet people are still stupid and ignorant enough to believe in the Darwinian creation myth, as the history of ideas demonstrates that even ideas that are dead at their conception can live on if there are enough people willing to be “overwhelmed” by the supposed evidence of their own imagination. What is ironic about those who cling to Darwinism is that they sometimes claim that numerous biologists would have refuted their manufactured scientific consensus because many young biologists would want to make a name for themselves. They pretend that the Darwinian Herd would not and has not tried to trample those going against their urge to merge. Note how Løvtrup’s book bears the typical imprint of a mind dealing with the Herd:

    The author assumes an iconoclastic and sometimes sarcastic stance from the outset, and this tone persists throughout the book. This alone may discourage some of his potential readers, most unfortunately, for here is a book that all evolutionary biologists should read. […]
    In the end, one is left convinced that the author’s criticisms and suggestions are, for the most part, correct. He hits hard at the innumerable “falsifications” (as he calls them), that have wrongly attempted to enshrine Darwin and natural selection. He concludes that “Darwinism was refuted from the moment it was conceived” (pp. ix, 404) and that ”… as a biologist and thinker Darwin was not a genius. He was not the ‘Newton of Biology’.. . . I would rather. . . bestow the latter epithet on Lamarck” (p. 421). Through degradation and epigonism, Darwin, supported by his friends and followers, reduced all of his important predecessors in evolutionary thought to near-oblivion: “. . . thanks to the deception of these men, Lamarck is largely considered a lunatic, Geoffrey Saint Hilaire an unbridled speculator, Chambers next to unknown, Owen a mischievous struggler, Spencer an inexhaustible scribbler, and Mivart a religious fanatic. Von Baer.. . is hardly mentioned . . .“ (p. 421). Yet, Von Baer was responsible for “the most parsimonious generalization ever stated in biology” (p. 378 ).
    In lauding Løvtrup’s book as an epochal break from the past, I do not wish to imply that he is the originator of his basic tenets. The book abounds with unique and pithy thoughts, but numerous other authors have subscribed to his fundamental theses: “. . . it is with great satisfaction that during the last few years I have been able to record a growing opposition to the ruling micromutation theory, both among experimentally and theoretically minded biologists” (p. 422). The list of people to whom the book is dedicated gives a clue to the free-thinking company sharing many of his views….

    (The Myth is Not Evolution
    Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth by Søren Løvtrup
    Review author: Hobart M. Smith
    Evolution, Vol. 43, No. 3. (May, 1989), :699-700)

  33. 33
    SBlank says:

    Scott wrote:
    ” ‘…front and hind limbs capable of walking on land and flippering through water.’

    Huh? Specific examples please?”

    Here You can read about living mutant whales with hindlimbs. Also please read about mutant humans with genuine tails. Cheers.

  34. 34
    mynym says:

    Overblown, agenda-driven criticisms of the Miller-Urey and Kettleworth experiments do a great job showing what non-scientific arguments for ID look like.

    A note from the story on Kettleworth:”As for gluing moths to trees, Gishlick said, researcher Kettlewell affixed the moths to trees to determine how birds spot moths of different hues. The photos were illustrations and never meant to be depictions of real life.”

    That’s the defense? The whole point is to demonstrate the concept of “natural selection” experimentally, yet the very issue is blurred because someone has placed some dead moths on tree trunks instead of what is typically their natural habitat. This is said to demonstrate how birds spot moths of different hues? The illustrations were never meant to be depictions of real life? What are they meant to be depictions of, perhaps once again they depict the Darwinian imagination that seems to so often overwhelm the Darwinian mind with some fraudulent, silly or inane pattern of images?

    It seems that Darwinists want what they imagine, as well as their images to be ingrained on the minds of impressionable students as a “scientific fact.” I suppose it is all “Just like gravity or somethin’…” again according to the Darwinian mind.

  35. 35
    mynym says:

    Also please read about mutant humans with genuine tails.

    What random mutation or selected mutation is it that results in a “genuine tail”?

  36. 36
    Red Reader says:

    dj wrote:
    “Mostly, I’m amused that this previous post was ignored, but I am a little bit perturbed by the fact that many of the posters appear to have failed to read the article critically.”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho….guffaws…snurg….hee, hee, hee….tears in my eyes…(must blow nose)…(can’t laugh and sneeze at same time)…OK. OK.

    Whew! Man!

    Wait, oh no, starting to laugh again Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, hoha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, haho, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, hahee, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, huaha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho….

    Geeze, I can’t see to type.

    OK OK, must control laughter…..

    Sorry dj, I’m not laughing AT you….
    It’s just so darn funny!!!

    Deep breath.

    No, the post wasn’t ignored. yes, we have brains here: we read critically.

    We’ve just seen it so many times, it’s just laughable.

    Anyway, hope you’re not overly offended.

    Cheers.

  37. 37
    SBlank says:

    Mynym wrote:

    “What random mutation or selected mutation is it that results in a ‘genuine tail’? ”

    I don’t know. Given the comlexity of the above mentioned tail, I suspect it must be a whole series of genomic changes. My point was wee bit different. That’s some proof that human indeed descended from other species. But I’m derailing the thread. Cheers.

  38. 38
    SBlank says:

    I’ve just understood mynym’s question. The genome part coding for that tail is usually repressed in humans. In mutants it gets merely derepressed as the “result of either a somatic mutation, a germline mutation, or an environmental influence that reactivates an underlying developmental pathway which has been retained, if only partially, in the human genome”. You can read about that on the linked site.

  39. 39
    J90 says:

    Slight correction: Burke did NOT discover Interferon, his group just made the first monoclonal antibody to human interferon.

  40. 40
    dj says:

    Red Reader- I know this might be tough for you, since you seem to reside is a Bizarro universe of logic, governed by the equation (zero original peer-reviewed research supporting ID) + (plenty of original peer-reviewed research debunking the irreducible complexity hypothesis) = (overwhelming scientific support for ID). But leaving that larger and oh so boring issue aside, and focusing on the article spawning this thread, my point is quite simple. If you think that the linked article provides scientific evidence for ID, I have every reason to doubt your reading skills and/or your critical thinking ability. At least you still have the ability to laugh at yourself. Enjoy the game today.

    This was dj’s final answer. dj and his ad hominem vomitus are no longer with us. May they live happily together elsewhere.

  41. 41
    mynym says:

    I’ve just understood mynym’s question. The genome part coding for that tail is usually repressed in humans. In mutants it gets merely derepressed… You can read about that on the linked site.

    Apparently you did not notice that they are not being clear in a systematic and falisifiable way what theory, mathematical language or associations that they are linking their observations to. Instead they seem to be going throughout Nature and pointing to any similarities between pretty much anything and saying, “This looks a little like that or somethin’. Yes, I’m beginning to feel overwhelemed now.”

    This is as close as they get:

    Early in the 20th century, developmental biologist Walter Garstang first stated correctly that ontogeny creates phylogeny. What this means is that once given knowledge about an organism’s ontogeny, we can confidently predict certain aspects of the historical pathway that was involved in this organism’s evolution (Gilbert 1997, pp. 912-914). Thus, embryology provides testable confirmations and predictions about macroevolution.

    What that actually seems to mean is that they’re still not going to make any predictions and instead will focus on unverifiable and unfalsifiable claims about history that they “imagine” instead of biology that can be observed, studied and tested. They will try to use what is observed, but their own imagination comes before observation and seems to filter all their observations to suit whatever mythological narratives of materialism that they’re currently imagining. It’s a historical claim. E.g.

    The viewpoint of Coyne et al. (1988) is one in which past events are argued to explain, in a causal sense, the world around us. Such explanations cannot be verified or tested, and the only biological observations they require are that variation and differential reproduction occur. This is not a caricature, as a reading of Coyne et al. will verify. In keeping with this general viewpoint, proponents claim that species are explained with reference to history. Important characters are hence “mechanisms” that have established and maintained the separation between diverged lineages of an ancestral population. According to Coyne et al., even the adaptive purpose of the changes that resulted in these mechanisms is irrelevant.
    We would ask where biology enters into this schema. The answer is that it does not. Rather, biology is interpreted in terms of a range of historical processes, including selection of variation over time. This could, with equal relevance, be used to understand any nonbiological phenomenon such as the development of the automobile, agricultural methods, culture, or men’s suits (Lewontin, 1976).
    […] Let us outline the terms of the disagreement so as to avoid any possible confusion. Within contemporary biology it is commonly argued (e.g., Mayr, 1988) that, in order to maintain the distinctness of species, their integrity must be protected. This protection will have evolved as a result of a history of natural selection on individual genes and characters that have the “function” or “effect” (sensu Williams, 1966) of isolating one species from another. The isolation concept of species is, therefore, not separable from such a historical approach to biology. According to this viewpoint, species are only understandable in terms of history, as Mayr (1988) so correctly recognized.
    In contrast, our view is that the biological-process of mate recognition results in species self-definition, and mate recognition represents the most appropriate basis for the delimitation of particular species (Michaux et al., 1990). Rather than regarding mate recognition as a set of independent traits that isolate species, we view it as a highly integrated communication system. As such, it is not amenable to selectionist and/or reductionist analyses. In a more general sense we suggest that biology should have primacy over historical scenarios (Lambert et al., 1989). That is, although we acknowledge that all attempts to investigate the world are colored by theoretical perspectives, we strongly believe that explanations should derive from knowledge of demonstrable biological phenomena rather than historical suppositions.

    (Points of View
    Species and Neo-Darwinism
    By C. S. White; B. Michaux; D. M. Lambert
    Systematic Zoology, Vol. 39, No. 4. (Dec., 1990), :400-401)

    E.g. the old gill-slit canard that they mention on talk.origins, that is a historical supposition based on increasingly vague handwaving towards any possible similarity in form, which is thus said to explain the origins of all life forms…as well as all form currently. But given that millions and millions of embryos unfold in a short matter of time from seemingly similar origins to this day why do Darwinists insist on vast stretches of time to explain change in history, what falsifiable theory are they advancing based on their observations?

    They argue that they can predict macroevolution based on ontogeny, so what adaptations have they predicted and then verified? I would hope that they’re not just looking back at the past and making historical claims based on their own imaginations again. Darwinism is, after all, “just like the theory of gravity” according to Darwinists and so they should be able to predict a trajectory of adaptation and morphological change given a manipulation or change in ontogeny just as certainly as physicists can predict the trajectory of a physical object given a change in its initial state and so on. Or do Darwinists suppose that physicists sit around after an object has been moved to its current state and argue: “Just as I predicted! I can imagine a historical scenario in which this state of affairs came to be…and now, would you just look at this, this is the way it is. Besides, why would good God let this object land here, this odd way? That settles it then, my theory is verified. See how it overwhelms me!”

    At any rate, you didn’t answer the question, what random mutation is responsible for the origins of the tail? It is such a tall historical tale, after all.

  42. 42
    Artist in training says:

    I am noticing a disturbing thing here. Although I am unqualified to comment on the science of ID even though I support it, I find that we are talking about indoctrinating people rather than educating them. Why does the number of freshman matter? SHouldn’t it be about the quality of the evidence? ID has more than enough merit to stand on its own. I should think that the important number would be the number of outgoing seniors with degrees in life and physical sciences who can understand and support the arguments presented by Behe and Dembski that would be important. By the way, I am more than halfway through “Of Pandas and People” and it is wonderful.

    It seems boggling to me that anyone could think that the universe had no intelligent creator. We are fully capable of feeling the holy spirit. Shouldn’t the fact that this is repeatable and testable be included in “Science”?

  43. 43
    Red Reader says:

    Artist,

    I received “Of Pandas and People” for Christmas.

    I haven’t started it yet because I’m reading “No Free Lunch” which I also received for Christmas.

    Like you, I am not trained as a scientist per se, although my career was in information systems design and development (accounting–I have an MBA).

    But, I have read numerous books on ID and related topics.

    Now, am I qualified to comment on ID? I think I am (with a caveat, see below).
    And I think YOU are.

    One of the most fundamental concepts of ID is that things in nature APPEAR designed because they ARE designed. Another way of expressing this is Design is Self-Evident.

    Related is the idea that Intelligence recognizes Intelligence. In other words, one of the key factors contributing to the theory of ID is the FACT that we humans are in fact intelligent enough to recognize intelligence in the design we can see with our own eyes.

    So, that’s why I think you are qualified to comment, why I think even a child is qualified to comment.

    That said, the caveat is this: I am not qualified to comment at the depth and intensity for example, that Dr. Dembski, Dr. Behe, Dr. Nelson and company are. Nevertheless, I draw a chair to the table because I do have the capability to think, observe, consider, and evaluate. When their arguments make sense to me, I say so. That’s my contribution to the debate. When they see they are making sense to someone with my background or your background or whoever’s background, that helps them press ahead.

    So, don’t be afraid to comment.

    (Just watch out you don’t say something ridiculous like dj–oh no! here I go again ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, hoha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, haho, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, hahee, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, hua ha, ha, ha, ha, ho…..)

  44. 44
    SBlank says:

    mynym wrote:

    “At any rate, you didn’t answer the question, what random mutation is responsible for the origins of the tail?”

    Anwser: I don’t know. As for the rest of your post, I’ll be slowly digesting it for the rest of the week.

  45. 45
    mynym says:

    Anwser: I don’t know.

    Me neither…but I’m sure that you can find one of the charlatans typical to Darwinism to tell you that they know. All they have to do is imagine it, after all.

  46. 46
    chaosengineer says:

    I find that we are talking about indoctrinating people rather than educating them. Why does the number of freshman matter?

    I was thinking the same thing. What happens when the poor kids take Biology 201, and have to play catch-up because their Biology 101 teacher didn’t cover the material she was supposed to?

    Better to focus on converting the professors and the graduate students. Once ID has a substantial support at the graduate level, then it can trickle down into the advanced undergraduate classes, and then into Biology 101, and finally into the high schools.

    It’s enormously frustrating to see the ID movement wasting so much time trying to do things backwards.

    It seems boggling to me that anyone could think that the universe had no intelligent creator. We are fully capable of feeling the holy spirit. Shouldn’t the fact that this is repeatable and testable be included in “Science”?

    It’s not quite repeatable and testable enough. We need for every honest observer to be able to get the same result.

    Science works really well with objective measurements. I can say, “I found this fossil of something I’m going to call an Australopithecus. I found it here…, and the morphology is like this… and it appears to be this old…, so my theory is that it was an ape-like ancestor of modern humans”. Of course anyone else is free to come up with a rival theory, but it needs to be consistent with the established facts about the fossil. Every honest observor will agree about the established facts.

    But we’ve never found a way to objectively measure the Holy Spirit. A might say, “The Holy Spirit spoke to me”. And B might say, “Yes, I think I speak to the same Holy Spirit. He says it’s sinful to eat pork, right?” And C can say, “You guys are talking to a Demiurge who’s trying to blind you to the real Holy Spirit that speaks to me.” And D can say, “How come this Holy Spirit never speaks to me? I think you’re just making the whole thing up!”

    How can science choose between those four claims?

  47. 47
    John Davison says:

    Gee whiz and I thought I had come up with an hypothesis compatible with both the fossil record and the experimental laboratory – The Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

  48. 48
    Patrick says:

    When it comes to Crocker and her worries about losing her job…I’m not surprised. I have a friend in the Florida education system. She hasn’t even attempted to mention ID in a classroom but she has had her job threatened just from disagreeing with fellow teachers on this subject during teacher lunches, meetings, etc.

  49. 49

    […] Links to a TV program describing Crocker’s ordeal at GMU can be accessed through Crocker and Sisson’s TV appearance. A report of her teaching at NVCC can be accessed through : An insurgency that aims to topple Darwin […]

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