Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

If you can’t beat ’em, outlaw ’em

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Your tax dollars at work:

. . . The constant, unanswered assault on evolution is harmful to science and science education. ID and its progeny rely on supernatural explanations of natural phenomena. Yet all of science education and practice rests on the principle that phenomena can be explained only by natural, reproducible, testable forces. Teaching our students otherwise disables the very critical thinking they must have in order to be scientists and is a fundamental distortion of the scientific process. ID is therefore not simply an assault on evolution: it is an assault on science itself.

ID groups have threatened and isolated high school science teachers. Well-organized curricular challenges to local school boards place teachers in the difficult position of arguing against their employers. We have spoken with high school science teachers who feel censored in their efforts to teach the basic principles of science. The legal challenges to local school districts are costly and divert scarce funds away from education into court battles. Although these court battles result in the defeat of ID, they are draining and divisive to local schools.

Finally, the assault on evolution and science threatens our nation’s scientific and technological leadership. Political and economic agendas are interfering with the free flow of scientific information. For example, political appointees have ordered scientists at NASA to eliminate references to the Big Bang Theory and to cease to mention the eventual death of the sun billions of years from now in their comments and publications. Other scientists have been cautioned about speaking out on global warming. These actions disrupt the long-standing tradition of public policy based on the consensus of the scientific community. . .

http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/116/5/1134

Comments
Zyncod: "I came into my career as a biologist fully believing that God (yes, God) had a major hand in creating and sustaining life. However, as a scientist, there is absolutely no evidence for believing so." What a sad and sorrowful statement. If anything it shows that the naturalistic method does have an effect on one's religious beliefs -- that it is religion. Zyncod, may I suggest that you switch focus from biology to physics. In the world of physics it seems much easier to see God in it. Physics, after all, has bumped square-nosed into the great "I do not know" called the big bang. Physics has encountered the antropic principal, and has seen that the universe is precisely tuned, that without that precision the whole darn thing just wouldn't work. Physicists often just stand in amazement, and say "God did it." Physics was an athiesitic science at one time. I believe that more biologist will become thiests as knowledge increases. Alas, at the moment it seems to be easy to be a biologist/athiest.bFast
May 4, 2006
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zyncod, There’s a lot in that little paragraph, but I’m going to limit the scope of my reply to the issue we started with: dissent. To be fair, my perspective is that evolutionary biology allows and even encourages dissent—but only within the orthodox paradigm. If someone has the effrontery to question the paradigm itself, this is often met with the sort of apocalyptic predictions that the JCI started this whole thread off with: hard questions will “disable… critical thinking,” and “threaten our nation’s scientific and technological leadership.” And California will fall off into the Pacific. And a 1000-year winter will ensue. All because the currently-accepted majority view on evolutionary biology was questioned. Wow. One high school student I happen to know reported to me recently that her biology teacher started off class one day by implementing JCI’s recommendations. The teacher introduced a class by saying that ID would NOT be discussed and that questions related to ID would NOT be tolerated. Not hard to predict how an inquisitive 15 year old—or any person who, as you say, is “willing to learn”—would react to such a speech. How exactly does this approach encourage the scientific process, foster technical leadership or promote critical thinking?SteveB
May 4, 2006
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"The JCI’s line of argument is remarkable, but sadly, not uncommon. Is there ANY academic discipline outside of Darwinism that consistently argues not only that dissent is harmful, but that it should be prohibited?" Not even "Darwinism" does so, if by which you mean evolutionary biology. Dissent and doubt are science's greatest tools. However, there does reach a point at which they are no longer useful: like questioning whether calculus is correct when mathematicians are working on knot theory. Dissent is fine among those that are willing to learn; I came into my career as a biologist fully believing that God (yes, God) had a major hand in creating and sustaining life. However, as a scientist, there is absolutely no evidence for believing so. Given that, you have to abandon your contention as irrelevant at best and false at worst.zyncod
May 3, 2006
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"ID and its progeny rely on supernatural explanations of natural phenomena." Utter nonsense. "Yet all of science education and practice rests on the principle that phenomena can be explained only by natural, reproducible, testable forces." I suppose the author is saying that all intelligence is supernatural and that the effects of intelligent agents on nature are neither reproducible nor testable. With garbage like that in the first paragraph, I don't even think I'll waste my time with the rest of it.crandaddy
May 3, 2006
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Evolution - The White-Noise Channel "Talk about wasting money. the Big Bang Theory is useless and worthless yet tons of money poured into it." The Big Bang Theory is exactly what disproves evolution, showing it to be a useless and worthless, in that there is simply not enough elapsed time allow for the 'random mutation' explanation. Think of a TV tuned to white-noise. Now think of yourself waiting for your favourite episode of Star Trek to materialize (The Enemy Within). Given infinite time, this is theoretically possible. But some kind person with a TV Guide would probably come along and change the channel for you after a while. You would probably object to this, given the lifetime you invested in the white-noise channel, and attempt to ban the TV Guide as 'useless and worthless'.Collin DuCrâne
May 3, 2006
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At a recent ID debate, the anti-ID side was asked: "Why do you hate god?" (ie why are you arguing against your creator?) The retort was profound: "Beacuse all the spots on the pro-ID side were taken" (ie this debate would be moot) It might be time to move on from arguments of doctrine, and practice science as though this debate were over once and for all. Those who have the guts to do this will be the true intellectual leaders of our time. (see Heb 6:1-20) I would like to refer to a parallel doctrinal battle entered into by C.S. Lewis many years ago. He referred to Freud as an excellent behavioural scientist, but a poor philospher (to put it mildly). He went on to be recognized as one of the leading intellectuals of the 20th century, whereas Freud was recently referred to in this century's "Analyze This" as a "Sick (so-and-so)" I would also like to strongly recommend that this blog include more evidence of the 'fruits' of its doctrine - progress that could not possibly have been made under neo-darwinism. I have seen some of this hinted at, and it keeps me coming back for more.Collin DuCrâne
May 3, 2006
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Talk about wasting money. the Big Bang Theory is useless and worthless yet tons of money poured into it.Smidlee
May 3, 2006
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"For example, political appointees have ordered scientists at NASA to eliminate references to the Big Bang Theory and to cease to mention the eventual death of the sun billions of years from now in their comments and publications." If true, people making these accusations and the Cox Law office in WI should produce evidence. I'm surprised it's not exposed by the media. This is not hollywood. If they make such assertions, they need to produce real people. Otherwise, standard dogmatic repeats of false future ramifications on science. As if schools are not in complete disarray now. ID proponents easily counter pointing out the current crisis in education after 80 years of Darwin. As Steve Meyer did against Ward's hyperventilating theatrics. Talk about a "Hoax." Pointing to ID, stating it will ruin education systems already in a bottomless pit is an outrageous false claim. Don't recognize the real problems - make up a Straw-Monster - its ID I tellya! Fear-mongering Propaganda at its worst. I've traveled in nations that shut out dissent in the classroom, media and society. These scientist and lawyers represent Oppression - not science. They refer to ID and Behe: "However, ID is not a scientific theory. The premise for the arguments of Behe and other ID proponents is deeply flawed, scientifically and philosophically. Behe assumes that the component parts of irreducibly complex systems never had other functions in older organisms. This is contradicted by scientific evidence. The Dover trial transcripts are illuminating (see "The Dover trial") (8)." Anyone remember Behe making such assumptions? Did these people read Behe's repsonses to such claims? "Under oath, Behe was forced to concede that there are organisms that lack some of the mammalian clotting proteins. Proteins that are present in the flagellar motor have orthologs that are involved in unrelated functions. A recent elegant example of proteins acquiring a new function within a complex system can be seen in a structure that functioned in respiration in fish and later evolved to be part of the mammalian inner ear (10)." Once again, Behe is not allowed to post, but can only be attacked. The hypocrisy is smothering. Will they allow Behe to respond fully? Will they allow DI? 4 million Davids compared to 400 Million Goliaths? Harvard alone has 10 million assigned alone so - "evolutionist" can "prove" emergence in neo-darwinian fashion. This is seperate from their other evolutionist funding. Oy voy! Sound the alert - ID has some funding! ref:10 link as proof of evolution in rebuttal to Behe - "This spiracular specialization suggests that the middle ear of early tetrapods evolved initially as part of a spiracular breathing apparatus." Of course, right after the early tetrapod used its early finger to stick into its early ear, twisting it repeatedly(thereby creating a "spiracular" groove baby) to get the water out after a cozy dip in Darwin's warm pond. A view of 'possible' ear aches with Panderichthys listed... http://palaeos.com/Vertebrates/Units/140Sarcopterygii/140.900.html#Panderichthys As proof that they are doing real science? They post an insulting cartoon as real scientific opinions: http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/116/5/1134/F1 They call themselves members of "an honor society". More like Dawkins gang at the OK corral with vitriolic insults, half-truths and half-wits. This is sad when people go so low and it undercuts their authority on any level with people of all persuasions. Cowards, fighting by judicial tyranny, not by merit, not by science, not by reasonable discussion and debate. The only ones lacking "rationality" are the Dogmatic Oppressionist.Michaels7
May 3, 2006
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“ID is therefore not simply an assault on evolution: it is an assault on science itself.” My daughter’s junior-high science book contains a number of the discredited icons, and students are taught as fact that microevolutionary changes can be extrapolated to explain all of life’s diversity, complexity, and innovation. Students are taught that randomness (i.e., mutations) are the source of biological information, even though randomness represents the anti-pole of information. That which is known to cause the decay of information is invoked as its creator. In no other field of science is such shoddy reasoning and such a low standard of evidence acceptable. Darwinian evolution as it is taught in the public schools is the assault on science, not ID.GilDodgen
May 3, 2006
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The JCI's line of argument is remarkable, but sadly, not uncommon. Is there ANY academic discipline outside of Darwinism that consistently argues not only that dissent is harmful, but that it should be prohibited?SteveB
May 3, 2006
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* "The past decade has seen breathtaking progress in evolutionary biology, thanks largely to the fruits of genome sequencing projects. The molecular footprints linking all life on the planet are now fleshed out in rich detail, and we possess a chronometer of molecular evolution going all the way back to early bacteria. Strangely enough, among the most vocal opponents of Darwinism are molecular biologists. * "The importance of evolution to biology was properly summarized by White House Science Adviser John Marburger when he said, "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. Period. What else can you say?" The truth instead? "A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, wrote in 2000. "Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superfluous one." Dr Phillip Skell has this to say about Darwinism: "The fabulous advances in experimental biology over the past century have had a core dependence on the development of new methodologies and instruments, not by intensive immersion in historical biology and Darwin's theory, which attempted to historicize the meager documentation." * "The wide gap between established facts accepted by scientists and the sentiments sampled in the polls reflects a failure of science education. Or a failure in the theory.Mats
May 3, 2006
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Under "Our Call to Action" I noted the following suggestion: "Similarly, call in to talk shows featuring pro- or antiscience guests." I was thinking that maybe we could help them heat up the rhetoric by referring to ID opponents as "Pro-evolution Devils" or similar. On the other hand, doing so might drive the ID side into the same negative PR hole that Darwinists are digging themselves into. :)russ
May 3, 2006
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