Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

ID award recipient not named for own protection …

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I notice that at Overwhelming Evidence, Sam Chen announces that a student sympathetic to intelligent design has received the Cassey Luskin Graduate Award, but

The recipient of the 2008 Casey Luskin Graduate Award will remain anonymous for the protection of the recipient….

It’s interesting to reflect on that in view of the many legacy media know-nothings panning the Expelled documentary, insisting that there is no evidence that anyone has suffered discrimination on account of sympathy for design as a feature of nature.

And they wonder why the blogosphere is whacking the heck out of them …

On most of the issues I monitor, the fact is that, agree or disagree, I can no longer get reliable and timely information from these sources. They seem to have hunkered into their bunker, repeating their well-worn beliefs to people who don’t really care.

Also, just up at The Mindful Hack:

Creating belief systems more essential to our humanity than making tools?

Neuroscience: How complex is your brain? More than you can easily imagine!

Hunting, herding, hiding, and hustling – that explains our social relationships?

Psychiatrist Jeff Schwartz speaks on what drugs can do for you – and what you and your mind must do for yourself

Comments
bFast makes a very good point in (42):
That said, please understand that if your new term catches on, it’ll take about 5 years for that term to also become prejoratized by the creationist community. Therefore I recommend that you start working on your next term as soon as your first term is presented.
The linguistic world is replete with examples. To welsh on a debt, an Irish temper, and German engineering are just a few of the examples of baggage that otherwise neutral names can pick up (in the last example, a good one, in contrast to some other baggage the word German has acquired). This process cannot be halted by fiat. It is picked up first by fair generalizations, and secondly by unjustified prejudice. The precise amounts of these two processes can be debated. Once people figure out what the new terms are, the old stereotypes are immediately reapplied. Attempts to circumvent this process do not last. Consider the sequence Negro, black, and (in the U.S.) African-American, or the sequence (American Indian, Native American, indegenous, and multiple other names that have been applied. When I was in college, I worked for a summer as a sanitation engineer, which used to be a garbageman. Now they are environmental services specialists. It doesn't really matter what you call them. Until the underlying reality changes, changing the name only obfuscates, and that temporarily. Creationists, and to a lesser extent (other) ID advocates (there are some who are both), will always think that Darwinists, or whatever you want to call them, are wrong on the big picture. So whatever new name someone comes up with will in short order carry much the same baggage. The only thing that will change some of this is if the new breed stops trying to oust people from academia based on their disbelief in philosophical naturalism. Then there will be a change in content, and then the new name will actually mean something different. I regard the complaints about "Darwinist" as mostly whining, especially in view of Larry Farfarman's comments at (46). But then, I would have been happy at one time with the term "garbageman". In my book it is a bureaucratic mindset that wants to call a spade a manual digging implement. Paul Giem
If Darwinists don't want to be called "Darwinists," then they should cut the "I love Darwin" stuff (T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc., and now even a doggie shirt), the "Friend of Darwin" certificates (handed out at a reunion of the Dover plaintiffs team), the Darwin-Lincoln stuff (the only thing they have in common is the same official birthdate), etc.. IMO celebrating Darwin Day is OK in moderation. Larry Fafarman
----CECO9: "The debate is over teleology, I believe. Any non-teleologist or anti-teleogist will be objectionable to an IDer (teleologist)." Yes, but you forget the flip side. It is also the case that any teleologist will be objectionable to a Darwinist. What is “methodological naturalism” except a convenient way of imposing that objection on science and institutionalizing it? TEs, by the way, are also on board with that imposition. That is why we need the three terms, “Intelligent design, “Darwinism,” and “Theistic evolution.” StephenB
CEC09:
He objected to the notion of randomness on the grounds that it was ultimately an ontological stance.
In a conversation with me on this site, MacNeill withdrew his objection if random was replaced with non-forsighted. As for Lamarckian evolution, to the extent that it exists, it is seen as a mechanism that was developed via RM+NS. In fact, human-induced genetic engineering is also seen as a mechanism that was developed via RM+NS. There are only three mechanisms in all of the MET -- non-forsighted variation (including events such as asteroids), natural selection, and mechanisms that are ostensibly developed from those two. There are lots of twists and turns within thest parameters, but they all are within these simple parameters. As to teleological v. non-teleological, in general I would agree with you. However, the only non-teleological explanation that has been proposed for life's variety are the above three mechanisms. I am sure that the non-teleologists would be happy to conjur up another mechanism, but so far they have not done so. The ID theorists have simply suggested that if RV+NS is unable to explain something, then foresight is required. If foresight is required, then intelligence must be required. If intelligence is required then either that intelligence is itself a product of RV+NS (think aliens), or that intelligence is "other". bFast
And please, don’t go suggesting that there is much more to the MET than RV + NS. We’ve hashed through HGT, genetic drift, variations on mutations, retroviruses, the list of 40 some odd twists on the theme that MacNeill published. They come down to RV+NS and mechanisms that ostensibly developed from these two.
I've looked back at what MacNeill said at UD. He objected to the notion of randomness on the grounds that it was ultimately an ontological stance. He alluded to more like 200 sources of variation in reproduction. And he referred to himself as Darwinian, Larmarckian, and some other things. I mention "Darwinian" and "Lamarckian" because they are particularly interesting. Darwin actually ascribed to Larmarckian inheritance. Darwinism is crisply distinct from Lamarckianism in the minds of people today only because Lamarckian evolution was debunked. The scientific community did not swallow Darwin's theories hook, line, and sinker. Now Lamarckian inheritance is somewhat "un-bunked," according to MacNeill. If I recall correctly, Darwin never invoked randomness in his theorizing. Randomness comes by way of Mendel, whose work was not widely known until the 1890's. It seems to me that what most ID proponents object to in their conceptualizations of Darwinism is the denial of teleology. Show me an ID proponent who does not conceive of the designing intelligence as goal-oriented. "ID vs. Darwinism" is framed as it is because most ID proponents do not deny that there is some sort of evolution. There is great disagreement among IDers as to how, precisely, intelligence directs evolution. But all IDers are teleologists, as best I can tell. And what they are really taking Darwinists to task for when they reduce Darwinism to "RV + NS" is denial of purpose in evolution. The debate is over teleology, I believe. Any non-teleologist or anti-teleogist will be objectionable to an IDer (teleologist). CEC09
Joel V, you're boring me. Words are wonderful little boxes that portray a package of thought. With a single word we can present a complex piece of information. With the word IDist or IDer we imply one who adheres to an Intelligent Design interpretation of how life came about. Evolutionist is a term with a bit of a floating meaning. I take it to mean one who holds to the understanding that universal common descent is valid (within the complexity added by phenomena such as HGT.) I consider the term "creationist" to be one who overtly interprets the scientific evidence throught the filter of the "divinely inspired" creation story. It is clear, however, that the scientific community uses the term creationist to describe anyone who does not hold to strict naturalism. The term Darwinist has a long history within the scientific establishment. However, as you feel that the term Darwinist has somehow been tainted, prejoratized, by the creationist community, would you please find me another single word that describes those who hold to modern evolutionary theory -- the theory that random (non-forsighted) variation and natural selection are the two mechanisms that built up all of the variety of life on earth. That said, please understand that if your new term catches on, it'll take about 5 years for that term to also become prejoratized by the creationist community. Therefore I recommend that you start working on your next term as soon as your first term is presented. bFast
-----"Perhaps there is no plan or end, but nature is periodically or continually nudged by seemingly random inputs to produce short-term effects." Inputs from where? Once we use the passive voice to describe active events, suddenly that which is logically impossible can begin to seem possible. Putting self refuting words in the same sentence is not the same thing as describing a plausible reality. Either life was created or else it created itself. -----"Then again, maybe there are not even desired short-term effects. Perhaps it’s simply fun to perturb the system randomly and watch what happens." Where do we get the system and who is doing the perturbing? -----“There are many positions one can take. The whole thing of “camps” is very primitive, to me." Explain that to the Darwinists, who insist that only those in their "camp" are doing science. Which is more primitive--for me to call them Darwinists or for them to persecute ID scientists for daring to be non-Darwinists. StephenB
Is the “ist” suffix fundimentally prejorative? What about violinist? From this point on Itzhak Perlman must be referred to as a fiddler! tribune7
Joel --Perhaps, referring to you as a creationist would be a better comparison. Joel, you may be getting on to something here. Let's think this through. If you referred to someone who believe the Earth was created in 6 literal days and that Biblical genealogies should be accepted as the final authority as to the age of the Earth as a creationist would he/should he be offended? If you referred to someone who believe that it was firmly established beyond any debate that random changes to the genome + NS is the only reasonable explanation for biodiversity as a Darwinist why do you think that person should be offended? What would you call such a person? I'll grant you that if you don't hold to RM+NS as the only reasonable explanation for biodiversity and are called a Darwinist you should seek to correct the perception just as one who uses objective metrics rather than faith to declare biodesign should object to being called a creationist. tribune7
Oops. 37 is a response to a deleted comment. It's fine to delete it and this, too. In any case, I'll emphasize that I'm not actually claiming that the cosmos is a toy. If you think hard enough, you can come up with various feasible positions that no one ever takes. CEC09
Either evolution was planned with an end in mind or else it just happened.
Perhaps there is no plan or end, but nature is periodically or continually nudged by seemingly random inputs to produce short-term effects. Then again, maybe there are not even desired short-term effects. Perhaps it's simply fun to perturb the system randomly and watch what happens. Could the cosmos be a wonderful toy? There are many positions one can take. The whole thing of "camps" is very primitive, to me. CEC09
-----joel v: “And in the use of the blanket term ‘Darwinist’ it’s just obvious you’re blindly utilizing a vast generalization fueled by your own motivational bias (it’s alright, we all do it). It’s a tired debate. Look into it a bit.” A mainstream Darwinist is simply someone who believes that evolution is a purposeless, mindless, and non-teleological process. An IDer is someone who believes that evolution is a purposeful, mindful, and teleological process. A mainstream TE is someone is who tries to reconcile Darwinism with Christianity. These are perfectly good shorthand terms and they work very well to distinguish one camp from the other. I use the term to clarify, not to insult. Obviously, there are nuances in each camp, but the overall texture of belief holds. -----“And no, I am not calling IDiot the “insult equivalent” of Darwinist. That is why I didn’t say it is the equivalent but rather implied it was a pejorative.” You suggested that it would be a fair exchange if each side dropped the terms in question. That implies that they are equivalent insults. -----“Perhaps, referring to you as a creationist would be a better comparison.” No. The purpose of establishing categories is to summarize accurately. A creationist is someone who begins with a religious presupposition. An IDer is someone who begins with an empirical observation. They are not even close to being the same thing. On the other hand, it would seem that your beliefs are consistent with neo-Darwinism or the modern evolutionary synthesis. Still, my mind is open. What term should I apply to you? Which camp are you in? Either evolution was planned with an end in mind or else it just happened. Do you know of a third alternative? The TEs try to have it both ways, but I have higher hopes for you. StephenB
I always thought that "Galapagos Finch" was not only a pun on "Darwin's finches," but the "Atticus Finch" of To Kill a Mockingbird. In any case, no one around here would have missed the similarity of the two names when "Atticus Finch" posted. What do you suppose was his relationship to Galapagos? Might his answer to Ms. O'Leary's "Who are YOU?" have turned out to be embarrassing? I mean, it seems strange to cut him off before he could identify himself, and then trounce on him in absentia. If I were one of the Expelled, I would bend over backwards to exhibit the sort of tolerance I want from others. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Atticus was soft on ID. He indicated that Mike Gene was "legitimately pursuing change in what constitutes science." He agreed with Steve Fuller that "religiously inspired ID views have driven the work of many eminent biologists." Was there really no value in debating the impact of politicization on ID? CEC09
I think this is where the blogosphere crumbles under the weight of its own accessibility. StephanB: If you're referring to the 'darwinists' as "my" colleagues, then I am guessing that they are not also your colleagues. Which leads me to believe that you are not familiar with these individuals who might be my colleagues or the titles by which they define their views on one aspect of biology, themselves, or their "world views". And in the use of the blanket term 'Darwinist' it's just obvious you're blindly utilizing a vast generalization fueled by your own motivational bias (it's alright, we all do it). It's a tired debate. Look into it a bit. And no, I am not calling IDiot the "insult equivalent" of Darwinist. That is why I didn't say it is the equivalent but rather implied it was a pejorative. Perhaps, referring to you as a creationist would be a better comparison. So, catch up on current trends, discover the definition of pejorative and refer to appendix B. bFAST: You got it. It is the ist that I find to be pejorative You're saying that your version of evolution uses different mechanisms than mine. You are called an Intelligent Design evolutionist. I am called a Darwinist. They're both just words that define our choice of evolutionary mechanisms. What you're side stepping here is the idea of arbitrary symbols in language. The basis of a word, phonemes or combination of characters doesn't create any absolute meaning. It's the concept of the word that carries meaning. As above, it's just a vast generalization. This is a word ID proponents, creationists and certain religious groups use. Essentially, those who are critical of material evolution use this as a blanket term. And this debate is old. I'm glad you've hashed through modern evolutionary theory. When is the publication date? Was any of this necessary? Is this not what makes comment areas become so trivial? Joel V
Joel V:
c) I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I’d expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term ‘Darwinist’ in turn. Perhaps not a pejorative to the laymen - but you guys know what you’re doing.
I fail to see the prejorative in the term "Darwinist". Is the "ist" suffix fundimentally prejorative? What about violinist? The term IDiot has a clear parallel in the word idiot (an utterly foolish or senseless person). The term Darwinist is used by the ID community because we restle not against evolution as defined by common descent (at least some of us don't) so we see ourselves as Intelligent Design evolutionists. But we wrestle against the simple mechanism (Random Variation + Natural Selection) which was originally popularized by Charles Darwin. (And please, don't go suggesting that there is much more to the MET than RV + NS. We've hashed through HGT, genetic drift, variations on mutations, retroviruses, the list of 40 some odd twists on the theme that MacNeill published. They come down to RV+NS and mechanisms that ostensibly developed from these two.) bFast
-----"I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I’d expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term ‘Darwinist’ in turn." So, am I to understand that you consider the term “Darwinist,” which many of your colleagues use to describe their own world view, is the insult equivalent to the term “IDiot?” Your sense of proportionality lags far behind your sense of humor. StephenB
Please see figure B in the appendix. Joel V
c) I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I’d expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term ‘Darwinist’ in turn. How about if we just agree not to use Darwinoron? tribune7
Mr. Luskin, I admit that I was beginning to think that my response would not be posted. I am humbled. I would agree that flamers and trolls have certainly damaged the potential for the comment section (of-many-a-blog) to be an arena for rational discourse and debate. That being said, a) I thank you for the response. But I was actually referring to Denyse's fleet of blogs. Mention of your name at the beginning of my post might have been the source of confusion. b) You mentioned: "which I hope gives you a little perspective on the reality of how Darwinists behave on the ‘net in this debate" Internet Darwinists, ID proponents, Catholics, secular Jews, Atheists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, car salesman and any other category you'd care to name, all have their subset of trolls in membership. Certainly. I agree. c) I do refrain from using the term IDiot. I'd expect any ID proponent encouraging civilized discourse to drop the term 'Darwinist' in turn. Perhaps not a pejorative to the laymen - but you guys know what you're doing. d) These broad generalizations that all 'Darwinists' are hate-spewing barbarians has got to go. It's just in bad taste. Further, it only results in more useless generalizations from the other camp. e) My original question still hasn't been answered. I do understand the aversion to death-threats, hate-mail, etc. I might even have the capacity to be sympathetic. But what was it that merited the expulsion of Atticus Finch from the discussion? f) Finally, I did find the rebuttal. Thanks. P.Z Myers reciprocated. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/hitchens_luskin_lion_mouse.php Will there be a rebuttal to the rebuttal? Best, Joel Joel V
p.s. you can find my rebuttal to Hitchens at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/07/christopher_hitchens_and_his_c.html ...thanks. Casey Luskin
Dear Joel V, The decision to turn off comments on Discovery Institute's blog was made long before I joined Discovery, but my understanding is that the decision was made after observing the fact that many internet Darwinists are incapable of controlling their mouths and commonly write hate-speech against ID proponents, and that comments on Discovery's evolution blogs would result in a flood of inappropriate comments. Given that I regularly engage with my critics, both on Evolution News and in other private and public correspondence, it seems that your accusations of "bunker hunkering" are inappropriate and unjustified. In any case, I think that 2 things need to happen before you have any right to complain about a lack of comments on Discovery's evolution blogs: (1) When Googling the name "Joel V" results more of hits of hate-speech against you than Googling the name "Casey Luskin" returns hate-speech against Casey Luskin. (2) When PandasThumb makes it as safe for the average ID proponent to freely express their views without incurring verbal abuse as it is for you to express your views here without incurring verbal abuse. Of course neither of those two will ever happen, which I hope gives you a little perspective on the reality of how Darwinists behave on the 'net in this debate Sincerely, Casey Luskin cluskin@discovery.org Casey Luskin
Hi folks, initially, I visited the site in an attempt to locate Luskin's rebuttal to Hitchens' latest piece. I couldn't help but notice Ms. O'Leary's comment: "They seem to have hunkered into their bunker, repeating their well-worn beliefs to people who don’t really care." Though not quite in the same vein as the entry I couldn't help but wonder - Is this bunker hunkering so different from disabling the comment section of your blog? So, while enjoying my mid-afternoon helping of irony, I thought I'd comment. In the process I came upon the first comment . It was not likely to be a popular one. But certainly not out of place. It's to be expected at any public forum discussing such a controversial topic, right?. Well it didn't take long for the whole team to pounce & rebut. Nothing wrong there. I am however having difficulty understanding why this "troll" is worthy of banishment. And From the king of the castle no less. He made a comment free of foul language or harsh accusations. You can have your "oasis" and still allow the occasional critique, can you not? Is this so different from bunker hunkering? Needless to say the snack turned into a full-on irony buffet. I'm full. Sincerely, a crude ignorant Darwin-bot troll Joel V
Well Stephen we are in agreement that ID is a noble cause even if it is not currently, or even will be, a useful paradigm for scientific discovery. My point is political. If we expect ID to be accepted mainstream then it must be useful outside of subjective value. ID really is really not going to spark the interest of many tax dollars state mandates and such if it is not shown to be objectively beneficial to the body politic. Neo DE is a theory and will continue to dominate until ID can be used to explain and expand scientific understanding further than it already is. That is, the theory of ID is already cogent- it’s usefulness and pragmatic value has yet to be objectify established. From what I have seen it is in the early stages but needs further development. I do think though that is will bring forth some very useful insights and thwn it will begin to earn it's stripes as not just some philosophical-theological systmen of interpretation- but as an actual purely sceintific alternative to the neo DE synthesis. With all of the modern tool of computer programming and such I can see a very optimistic and lucrative future for sceintific investigation thought the lense of ID. Frost122585
Perhaps it is just my background, how I was raised, or something I'm just not seeing. I was raised on a farm in the Deep South with strict parents, have attended college in two states and taught school and now work in the communications field. For the life of me, I cannot say I've ever witnessed in person "discussions" of the type that take place over the internet daily. People just don't talk to each other like that; at least not adults who are mature and educated. Phooragula's board is a good example. I had a civil discussion with someone from that board on another site. *But*, as soon as he posted over there, you wouldn't know if was the same person. An educated person suddenly became a raving, foul-mouthed lunatic. When you speak about UD losing "credibility" (larry at #22), you must mean only as one gang loses credibility with another. gleaner63
"Well, Dave, I guess you are aware that I think that these overly strict commenting rules hurt the credibility of Uncommon Descent." --Larry Fafarman Yet UD has managed to be one of the most well-mannered sites for discussions of science and origins, thus fulfilling its purpose of providing ID proponents a place to exchange ideas. "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." --Robert A. Heinlein Apollos
DaveScot said (# 18) -- The point *I* was making is that there is really nothing else in science where the controversy is a national dialog extending beyond the scientific community into politics and courtrooms. There have been lawsuits over thimerosal and Bendectin (the drug accused of causing birth defects in the landmark Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals case). I don’t see much possibility of Judge Jones ruling on whether string theory is or is not science nor do I see much possibility of the president of the United States saying he thinks we should teach the subject in public schools so everyone knows what the controversy in string theory is about. I agree -- there is no principle of constitutional separation of bad science and state. Scientific issues in the evolution controversy are no business of the courts. The courts should rule that scientific issues in the evolution controversy are non-justiciable, just as the courts treated the global-warming controversy as non-justiciable in Massachusetts v. EPA. Questions are non-justiciable when there is “a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards,” Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267, 277-78 (2004). Court rulings on scientific issues in the evolution controversy are like court rulings on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And establishment-clause "monkey trials" just involve a "right to not be offended" -- there is no issue of possible real damage as in suits concerning product liability and global warming. On censorship here… the majority of those comments that don’t get through moderation simply lack sufficient knowledge of ID to make any arguments that constructively add to the dialog. Most of them don’t even know that ID doesn’t deny universal common descent. Many others use trite arguments that have been discussed to death already. Others are just belligerent from the word go and yet others are from people who have blogs where they reveal their intolerance for ID but try to mask it in order to comment here. We choose to publish little to none of the above. Well, Dave, I guess you are aware that I think that these overly strict commenting rules hurt the credibility of Uncommon Descent. Larry Fafarman
For everyone wondering why Bob O'H is here you need wonder no longer. We needed a token Irishman to meet our cultural diversity goals. DaveScot
No, postings are censored so people who are sympathetic of ID can have an oasis for free discussion that isn’t polluted by random trolls.
Oh dear. Does that mean I'm an intelligently designed troll? Bob O'H
Atticus Finch's lame attempt to de-legitimize the use of pseudonyms is nothing short of laughable. In the real world, the use of pseudonyms has a long and august history. As a young man, Benjamin Franklin -- denied the privilege of writing for his brother's newspaper where he was an apprentice -- slipped his work in under his brother's nose by using the pseudonym "Mrs. Silence Dogood." Who was supposed to be a middle-aged widow. Later, in Poor Richard's Almanac, even though everyone knew Franklin was the writer, he wrote under the by-line "Richard Saunders." Just for fun. Meanwhile Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, the writers of the Federalist Papers -- which were published while the US Constitution was being debated -- collectively used the pseudonym "Publius." Because, as members of the Constitutional Convention, they had been sworn to secrecy. But as representatives of the people, they believed that the citizens had a need and a right to know. And indeed, so did many other convention members. But another historical use of pseudonyms has been to enable a writers to publish politically-incorrect truths, facts, and opinions with some measure of protection to their lives and worldly weal. Voltaire, for instance, used the pseudonym of "François-Marie Arouet" when he wrote A Treatise on Toleration in 1763. With good reason too. In 1716 he had been exiled from Paris for five months, and from 1717 to 1718 he was imprisoned in the Bastille, for lampoons against the Regency. jstanley01
The point *I* was making is that there is really nothing else in science where the controversy is a national dialog extending beyond the scientific community into politics and courtrooms. String theory isn't theory in the strict sense of the word. It's not even a hypothesis unless it makes testable predictions. I don't see much possibility of Judge Jones ruling on whether string theory is or is not science nor do I see much possibility of the president of the United States saying he thinks we should teach the subject in public schools so everyone knows what the controversy in string theory is about. On censorship here... the majority of those comments that don't get through moderation simply lack sufficient knowledge of ID to make any arguments that constructively add to the dialog. Most of them don't even know that ID doesn't deny universal common descent. Many others use trite arguments that have been discussed to death already. Others are just belligerent from the word go and yet others are from people who have blogs where they reveal their intolerance for ID but try to mask it in order to comment here. We choose to publish little to none of the above. DaveScot

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