Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

New ID Briefing Packet for Educators

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Check out Discovery Institute’s “The Theory of Intelligent Design: A Briefing Packet for Educators.” As part of its response to the PBS-NOVA documentary “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design,” Discovery Institute just released this packet (for free download, see below). The packet contains numerous resources for educators to effectively teach about biological origins in public schools. These resources include:

1) An introductory letter helping teachers to understand the debate and to avoid the pitfalls in the PBS-NOVA’s educational resources;

2) An FAQ answering common questions about evolution and intelligent design, discussing definitions and evidence for both theories.

3) The truth about the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial.

4) A summary of the law regarding teaching evolution in public schools.

5) A list of authorities that support teaching the controversy over evolution.

6) A detailed discussion of some of the scientific controversies that can be taught regarding Darwinian evolution.

7) References of peer-reviewed scientific papers supporting intelligent design.

8] A list of internet resources on intelligent design and evolution.

Read more about the educators packet here.

Download color version of the PDF here.

Download B/W printable version of the PDF here.

Tyke, I agree with all your points in your previous post; it seems we share common beliefs. I just want to say that there are many supporters of ID that are not religious or believe in the god of the bible (such as myself). Please don’t come away from this discussion with the belief that supports of ID are all religious fundamentalists. My support for ID has come about directly through the lack of evidence for orthodox evolution and the fact that the only known means of producing high information content is through intelligence. If orthodox evolution could produce what it claimed, I am sure many on this thread would switch allegiances immediately. Nevertheless, I think it is foolish, because we reject the biblical god, to assume that mankind is not a special product of this intelligence. After all, our intelligence has led us to try and seek out new understandings of our world. It would not surprise me if in the end our lives did not turn out to be as pointless as they currently seem. Acquiesce
Well, given that I have spent far too much time on this thread already, I will have to call it quits at this point. Also, while having a respectful one-on-one debate with Frost was fun, I am not going to respond to the palpable condescension that has crept in with one or two of the late arrivals to the discussion. I have merely stated my position and explained why I believe ID is compatible with atheism. And I only said why I don't believe, I never called any of you here foolish or dumb for having the beliefs you hold. So I am not going to start responding to the same pathetically lame old accusations that atheists refuse to believe in God through fear and hate. You say you understand atheists, but with every post you reveal more of your willful ignorance on the subject. You are not interested in learning, or even debating it seriously, you just wish to preach (this is Bourn and Born I'm talking about). Believe what you like about us, but if you cannot show even a modicum of respect then keep your trap shut. Finally, word of advice when debating atheists. Quoting chapter and verse from the Bible is about as useful as quoting the Koran to prove your point at a Christian apologetics convention. i.e. not at all. So, thanks again to Frost and the others who chimed in earlier for an interesting debate. It's the weekend, so time to go off and enjoy doing stuff -- including singing some old Christmas classics tonight, ironically enough ;) (Doesn't that just make your head spin?) Merry Christmas (or should that be XMas? :D ) everybody. tyke
So after following all of this I don't understand why everyone was so hard on Lazarus, since he was saying the very same thing that mynym allanius Borne and Born^Again77 are saying here. Am I missing something? I'm not an atheist but I don't want to start a holy war. I've always thought the aliens as designer scenario was just sidestepping the existence of God question, and as someone pointed out on the other thread avoiding that question is probably a good thing for us to prevent infighting and focusing on the science. So in that respect I can understand why Lazarus had to go. But on this thread is the same sort of proselytizing and off topic Godding the thread that seemed to be the rationale for banning Lazarus and cdesignproponentsists. digdug24
Go easy on the poor tyke, he seems to be a philosophical tyro but not close minded. If atheism is a "disease" or lack of ease in the soul then perhaps it can be cured by reminding the poor soul of the music of the spheres. After all, we all seem to be a bit diseased. Judges have forbid any notion of the music of the spheres from being taught to students as something real/true/"scientific" but perhaps some need to be educated with respect to the anthroprocentric harmony in their lives. It seems that philosophic naturalists argue that students must be taught nothing but methods to build atheism and/or misanthropic principles, yet are surprised that misanthropes may emerge after being educated based on misanthropic principles. Ironically, there is overwhelming evidence for the anthropic principle which is all apparently being rendered "unconstitutional" based on nothing but unprecedented judicial diktats creating precedents for further errors. If ID is now unconstitutional and anthropic principles are linked to ID then parents must be forbidden from using their tax dollars to educate their children the way that they choose to even if a community wants to give their assent to a position rooted in facts, logic and evidence. “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” --Thomas Jefferson mynym
Tyke: "...but while we cannot probe beyond the Big Bang, there is also no evidence that demands that only God existed before or outside our own universe." Ok, what else could have existed? Remember that the big bang was supposedly the beginning of time itself. What can exist out of time that is not itself eternal and self-existent. You answered nothing of my points on self-existence. Whatever created the universe had to be of infinite power and understanding. Call it what you will, you've only avoided admitting that it is God. As is typical of atheist arguments, you focus on unprovable conjectures because atheism has no logical foundations. It is mere denial of reality, denial of all evidence.
"Only in Atheism does the spring rise higher than the source, the effect exist without the cause, life come from a stone, blood from a turnip, a silk purse from a sow’s ear, a Beethoven Symphony or a Bach Fugue from a kitten walking across the keys....."
James M. Gillis "As I said, perhaps our Universe is just the result of a cosmological science experiment by “Q”s (i.e. alien super-being’s) kid? Unlikely, but certainly possible." So where did the alien super-beings come from? Your 'Q' idea is merely another God or gods concept. You're invoking what we have zero evidence for. We have 'mountains of evidence for the existence of a supreme being. Call him or them 'Q' if you wish - you will still end up responsible to him or them. You've invented a pantheon of gods. An ages old concept that has been frequently and adequately refuted throughout the ages. The whole star trek Q concept was pretty lame given the inane actions and words of Q. A rather childish response imo. "Perhaps it’s comforting to define the first cause as God, but there is no scientific evidence, ..." You merely deny the evidence. It is ludicrous to state there is none. Adding 'scientific' to the word means nothing but that you want physical empirical evidence and are thus demanding evidence that is neither necessary or possible under the circumstances. This is called caviling.
God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.
- Sir Francis Bacon "The capability of intelligence to arise may be an innate feature of a multiverse that exists outside time and within which our universe was created." A lot of self-contradictions in that statement. How can intelligence arise from non-intelligence? Please demonstrate this logically. If naturalism (atheism's science) were true then all rationality is the result of non-rational processes thus cutting it's own throat. This isn't hard. But again you're just preaching to your atheist choir. Very old musty tunes we've heard a million times from atheists w/o the slightest proof. All you've said allows you to escape looking at the fundamental facts of what we DO know rather than all these quaint little conjectures of yours. All of which either cannot 'hold water' under logical scrutiny or are mere escape mechanisms to avoid dealing with the facts. Atheists tend to see themselves as very smart people, having arrived at disbelief through reason. That's the self-deception of atheism. There is nothing reasonable about it. In order to be a true atheist you must posses all knowledge of all evidence and have seen, examined it all, and have traveled through the entire universe or multi-verse. Know anyone that has met these requirements? Atheism says, "Can't prove a negative" but thus goes on claiming that proof of the non-existence of God is not possible. But then how can you be a reasonable being if you ardently believe that which you claim can never be proved!? Foolishness to the nth power is what atheism really is. The worst you can do under true reason is agnosticism. Unfortunately even agnosticism doesn't work under the rules of logic! How can you know that you can't know?! Atheism is truly unreasonable and nothing more than a wish that God did not exist - something "like crucify him" comes to mind here. We don't like our feeble and so often completely unfounded views of the God we have imagined so we pretend he simply cannot be. Unfounded, illogical views of God are the 1st step to idolatry - the worship of the god we have imagined. It always comes down to the heart, not the head.
"Atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of understanding....."
Plato Sorry, but 'thems the facts'. Borne
BA77, kudos. It is important to understand that Christ offers a way, not a religion. This way is rooted and grounded in love and depends upon the proposition that all things work together for good to those who love God. Fine-tuning suggests that this proposition may involve something more than fevered optimism: there appears to be a very high level of integration in the universe, which is necessary for life. And as we see from Michael Behe, this is true in the microscopic realm as well. Perhaps, then, faith and reason are not the irreconcilable opposites that Dawkins and his band of merry iconoclasts assert. Fine tuning supports the reasonableness of the way revealed primarily through faith. allanius
Tyke you stated: "then if higher intelligence is required in its creation (the universe's creation) (something I’m not convinced is true) then that intelligence may simply be a property of the multiverse" Proverbs 8:27 "When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep", The numerical values of the universal constants in physics that are found for gravity which holds planets, stars and galaxies together; for the weak nuclear force which holds neutrons together; for electromagnetism which allows chemical bonds to form; for the strong nuclear force which holds protons together; for the cosmological constant of space/energy density which accounts for the universe’s expansion; and for several dozen other constants (a total of 77 as of 2005) which are universal in their scope, "happen" to be the exact numerical values they need to be in order for life, as we know it, to be possible at all. A more than slight variance in the value of any individual universal constant, over the entire age of the universe, would have undermined the ability of the entire universe to have life as we know it. On and on through each universal constant scientists analyze, they find such unchanging precision from the universe’s creation. There are many web sites that give the complete list, as well as explanations, of each universal constant. Search under anthropic principle. One of the best web sites for this is found on Dr. Hugh Ross's web site (reasonstobelieve.org). There are no apparent reasons why the value of each individual universal constant could not have been very different than what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of any naturalistic theory based on blind chance would have expected a fair amount of flexibility in any underlying natural laws for the universe. They "just so happen" to be at the precise unchanging values necessary to enable carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Some individual constants are of such a high degree of precision as to defy human comprehension. For example, the individual cosmological constant is balanced to 1 part in 10^60 and The individual gravity constant is balanced to 1 part to 10^40. Although 1 part in 10^60 and 1 part in 10^40 far exceeds any tolerances achieved in any manmade machines, according to the esteemed British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose (1931-present), the odds of one particular individual constant, the “original phase-space volume” constant required such precision that the “Creator’s aim must have been to an accuracy of 1 part in 10^10^123” or as said another way, "The initial entropy of the universe had to be within one part in 10^10^123!". If this number were written out in its entirety, 1 with 10123 zeros to the right, it could not be written on a piece of paper the size of the entire visible universe, EVEN IF a number were written down on each atomic particle in the entire universe, since the universe only has 1080 atomic particles in it. http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf This staggering level of precision is exactly why many theoretical physicists have suggested the existence of a “super-calculating intellect” to account for this fine-tuning. This is precisely why the anthropic hypothesis has gained such a strong foothold in many scientific circles. American geneticist Robert Griffiths jokingly remarked about these recent developments "If we need an atheist for a debate, I go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn't much use anymore." "The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product of some sort of design, a manifestation of subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgment, is overwhelming. The belief that there is ‘something behind it all’ is one that I personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists." Physicist Paul Davies "Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it's remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren't just the way they are, we couldn't be here at all. The sun couldn't be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here. Some scientists argue that "well, there's an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right." Well, that's a postulate, and it's a pretty fantastic postulate — it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that's why it has come out so specially." Nobel Prize winning physicist Charles Townes The only other theory possible for the universe’s creation, other than a God-centered hypothesis, is a naturalistic theory based on blind chance. Naturalistic blind chance only escapes being completely crushed, by the overwhelming evidence for design, by appealing to an infinite number of other "un-testable” universes in which all other possibilities have been played out. Naturalism also tries to find a place for blind chance to hide by proposing a universe that expands and contracts (recycles) infinitely. Yet there is no hard physical evidence to support either of these blind chance conjectures. In fact, the “infinite universes” conjecture suffers from some serious flaws of logic. For instance, exactly which laws of physics are telling all the other natural laws in physics what, how and when to do the many precise unchanging things they do in these other universes? Plus, if an infinite number of other possible universes exist then why is it not also infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful God to exist? Using the materialist same line of reasoning, if it is infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, does exist no matter how small the probability is of his existence in one of the multiverses, and since he certainly does exist, according to the strict materialistic reasoning you gave me, Then all possibilities by default become subject to Him since He is by definition Omnipotent. As well logic dictates there can only be one infinitely powerful "Lord" of the multiverses. As well, the “recycling universe” conjecture suffers so many questions from the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) as to render it effectively implausible as a serious theory. The only hard evidence there is, the stunning precision found in the universal constants, points overwhelmingly to intelligent design by an infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator who originally established what the unchanging universal constants of physics could and would do at the creation of the universe. The hard evidence left no room for the blind chance of natural laws in this universe. Thus, naturalism was forced into appealing to an infinity of other ??%9 - estable” universes for it was left with no footing in this universe. These developments in science make it seem like naturalism/materialism was cast into the abyss of nothingness so far as explaining the fine-tuning of the universe. Proverbs 8:29-30 "When He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;" Job 38:4-7 "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" bornagain77
... intelligence may simply be a property of the multiverse beyond it or any number of different types of entities we have no means of discovering and probably never will. My atheism came about through the usual means–the study and rejection of Christian tenets like Hell and Salvation... If Heaven and Hell were other universes that were part of the multiverse, perhaps even containing evolving forms of aliens/angels, then would you be more likely to treat them as likely? This may just be me but what you treat as likely and unlikely seems odd to me. As far as the multiverse I know of at least one atheist who agrees that a notion of near infinite universes seems odd (especially given that the same people tend to reject the notion of only a few more like Heaven and Hell):
...I did not find the multiverse alternative very helpful. The postulation of multiple universes...is a truly desperate alternative. If the existence of one universe requires an explanation, multiple universes require a much bigger explanation: the problem is increased by the factor of whatever the total number of universes is. It seems a little like the case of a schoolboy whose teacher doesn’t believe his dog ate his homework, so he replaces the first version with the story that a pack of dogs—too many to count—ate his homework.
(There is a God: How the world's most notorious atheist changed his mind, by Antony Flew and Roy Abraham Varghese :136-137) Is it more likely that an alien civilization of finite or evolving intelligence seeded life on earth or that an infinite Intelligence structured the Big Bang and matter itself based on specification and conditions in which Life could occur? As to evidence of specification one could begin with almost anything and find many layers of structure fit for Life, for example:
All the various physical properties of water which endow it with such a remarkable biological fitness would of course be of no utility if its chemical properties were not similarly fit. Water could have no biological role if it was not a good solvent. The capacity to dissolve a great number of different chemical substances is presumably a criterion that must be satisfied by any fluid if it is to function as a matrix for any kind of chemical “life” remotely similar to our own. It turns out that, as a solvent, water is indeed ideally fit, so much so that water approaches far nearer than any other liquid to the alcahest, the universal mythical solvent of the alchemists. This is a property of critical importance to water’s biological role. Felix Franks recently commented on the solvent action of water: 'Other remarkable properties include the almost universal solvent action of liquid water, making its rigorous purification extremely difficult. Nearly all known chemicals dissolve in water to a slight, but detectable extent.' Water’s power as a universal solvent is also geologically significant, as the distribution of vital minerals through the hydrosphere would be far less equitable if its solvation powers were less marked. The solvation power of water and the distribution of diverse chemical species in large amounts throughout the hydrosphere is illustrated by the vast amount of dissolved materials carried to the sea by all the rivers of the earth in one year. This quantity has been estimated to be some 5 billion tons. Henderson lists thirty-three different elements which can be found in the sea, and probably many more are present in trace amounts. To illustrate the utility of its solvation power in biological systems, he cites over fifty different compounds which are found dissolved in human urine. Today one could cite many hundreds.
(Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe by Michael J. Denton (The Free Press: 1998) :31) mynym
Note the contrast:
To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.
(Letter from Thomas Jefferson to William Charles Jarvis (Sept. 28,1820) in 15 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 276, 277(Andrew A. Lipscomb & Albert Ellery Bergh eds., 1904) ) As compared to emerging traditions in the American judiciary:
Like the character of an individual, the legitimacy of the Court must be earned over time. So, indeed, must be the character of a Nation of people who aspire to live according to the rule of law. Their belief in themselves as such a people is not readily separable from their understanding of the Court invested with the authority to decide their constitutional cases and speak before all others for their constitutional ideals.
112 S. Ct. 2816 (1992) Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (emphasis added) The American judiciary has evolved traditions which fall entirely outside of the design of the Founders, an emerging tradition in which even the accumulation of their own errors is thought to safeguard progress better than the error correction designed into the system. mynym
I believe of all the identities for a designer of life on Earth, an alien civilization using advanced technology to seed life is by far the most likely. It seems that if the intelligent use of technology allows a mind to transcend Nature then according to the logic of federal judges they would be unconstitutional aliens. The irony of a debate with the State funded PBS on one side and so on is that both the Declaration and the Constitution could be declared unconstitutional based on the reasoning of federal judges, so why bother having a debate on their mutable/evolving terms? They have made the Constitution a "thing of wax" as Jefferson warned that they would, so any notion of aliens may be said to be just as unconstitutional as God if it limits the power or will of federal judges. Any alien source, whether God or aliens, opens the door to the notion of actual grounds for unalienable rights that do not depend on the decisions or traditions of people capable of pulling rights out of their own penumbras. As Jefferson said:
[I deny] the right they usurp, of exclusively explaining the Constitution... [Because the] Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax, in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please. It should be remembered as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any Government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law.
(THE NATIONAL ERA April 21, 1859 Washington, D.C., Vol. XIII No. 642 P. 61) The majority of the tedious debate about whether ID is "religion" or not emerges from the American judiciary, yet often it is not limited or defined by the text that were designed to limit it so it's not apparent why anyone tries to frame a debate on its terms. The real issue is whether or not ID is true, not whether or not federal judges support it. Given their attitude towards text and the limitations an ID type attitude could bring to their power it's not in their interest of accumulating power to agree with ID. You can look for a principled pattern or logic to their judgments but they're gradually being united by one thing, the accumulation of power in the judiciary. If that becomes more and more transparent then why bother trying to have a debate on their terms, as these pamphlets apparently do? mynym
I’m curious; Do you think Intelligence was behind the Big Bang or do you think it was an also?
"an also"? Did you miss something off the end of the sentence? To be honest, I don't know if intelligence of some sort was behind the Big Bang. I will concede that it's possible, but I lean towards it being unlikely. I believe of all the identities for a designer of life on Earth, an alien civilization using advanced technology to seed life is by far the most likely. As for the universe as a whole, then if higher intelligence is required in its creation (something I'm not convinced is true) then that intelligence may simply be a property of the multiverse beyond it or any number of different types of entities we have no means of discovering and probably never will. My atheism came about through the usual means--the study and rejection of Christian tenets like Hell and Salvation (amongst others). While ID is a fascinating concept, I see nothing in it that overcomes my reasons for disbelief (the details are not a topic for discussion here). tyke
I believe kairosfocus lives in Montserrat. News reports I've read (from Agence France-Presse) say that the earthquake was felt there but I haven't seen reports of damage on Montserrat. It's reported to be a 7.4 magnitude, at a depth that would not be likely to produce a tsunami. getawitness
Off Topic. There was just a major earthquake in Barbados and Martinique. I believe that is kairosfocus's home turf. Hope he and others are ok. jerry
I really appreciate the great discussion. I thought it was relevant in the sense that it pertains to the modern popular interpretation of the second amendment and how this relates to ID in public schools. "I don’t see how ID –> God can be purely logical." Well it is in the possibility sense because as we all know the God of the books is perfectly equipped with the tools necessary to account for ID. It is this admittance of the possibility or likelihood that the designer is this God that could force "Dogmatic Atheists" (I like your term better) to reject the theory. I maintain that this conclusion is correct. Also its the reality that people do worship that would inductively lead the atheist to assume that people would or probably would worship the intelligent Designer. Once again this for me is a Dogmatic Atheist not a Liberal Atheist which i think account for the vast majority. So logically atheists can accept ID but I feel Dogmatic Atheists cant overlap the possible existence of a God with their extreme belief system. Now I would concede the point (most likely) if my god man Dembski would please chime in on this one. I’m fascinated to hear the conclusion from the man with the plan. I think the question is really important to the essence of the school situation. Frost122585
it was an Ac^ci^dent also? bornagain77
Tyke; I'm curious; Do you think Intelligence was behind the Big Bang or do you think it was an also? bornagain77
tyke [24] "I don’t see how ID –> God can be purely logical." I agree with you. I didn't mean God. I just meant by taking the detection of intelligent design to the next logical conclusion one would arrive at an intelligent agent(s). So merely detecting intelligent design is compatible with all viewpoints, unless we extend beyond this. Acquiesce
BTW: This has been a fun discussion, thanks to Frost and the others involved. (and sorry to those who are annoyed at the hijacking of the thread). :) :) tyke
it’s only a problem when you take this detection of intelligent design to its next logical conclusion.
or better... it’s only a problem when you attempt to take this detection of intelligent design to the next conclusion. I don't see how ID --> God can be purely logical. Without faith, no such connection can be made. (And I think most Christians would say that's how it should be). tyke
Therefore, “intelligence just is” is a mistake unless referring to a supreme self-existent being. This is more obvious once you realize that your own intelligence is not and cannot be self-existent. Your intelligence depended upon that of your parents and so on. Take that to it’s logical conclusions and you pretty much have a minor proof of the existence of a God - an omnipotent, omniscient being - a supreme mind or intelligence.
You make a good point. Intelligence is necessarily a property of something. But asserting that only God (as defined, I guess, in Christian terms) can be the first cause still does not follow absolutely. Sure, our Universe had a beginning, but while we cannot probe beyond the Big Bang, there is also no evidence that demands that only God existed before or outside our own universe. As I said, perhaps our Universe is just the result of a cosmological science experiment by "Q"s (i.e. alien superbeing's) kid? Unlikely, but certainly possible. Perhaps it's comforting to define the first cause as God, but there is no scientific evidence, not even in ID, that demands it. The capability of intelligence to arise may be an innate feature of a multiverse that exists outside time and within which our universe was created. That's as far as ID alone can take us (and I'm not even sure that's not too far). Any further is a matter of faith and religious belief. tyke
While I understand what you mean, I think your term "Religious Atheists" is loaded with implications that distract from your central application of the term. Perhaps "Dogmatic Atheist" would be more accurate.
ID opens up the possibility for there to be a God and for an atheist to reject only the God part would be to partake in unreasonable cherry picking that is not supported by the theory.
I followed you all the way to the last sentence, then... :) It's not even reasonable cherry picking to reject God as part of the ID package when ID, as you say, merely opens up the possibility of God. Even Philip Johnson agrees that ID is simple the "thin end of the wedge", and that any battle over the nature of the designer is farther down the road. Any reasonable scientist will only go as far as the evidence takes them. Even if, one day, Bill Dembski and Michael Behe have overwhelming evidence for ID that everyone in the scientific community accepts, unless there is some obvious marker somewhere (say, the book of Genesis embedded in our DNA) then there is no reason go any further that the evidence allows, and that we were designed by beings unknown.
the simple fact that the intelligence that would be able to create human beings easily could be worthy of worship
I don't see that at all. Absent religious books like the Koran or the Bible, there is little evidence that a designer should be worshipped just because they made us. What purpose would that serve? We don't know if we owe them anything, or that they owe us anything, or even if they are listening to us any more. As I said, we can be grateful, certainly, but that's a long, long way from worship. tyke
If ID is limited to only detecting intelligent design in particular systems / structures etc then surely it doesn't matter what viewpoint you hold - it's only a problem when you take this detection of intelligent design to its next logical conclusion. Acquiesce
"perhaps evidence of a designer may bolster the faith of those who already believe in God, but from a scientific standpoint, proof of ID or the presence of a greater intelligence is not proof that there is a God. That is a matter of faith, and always will be." Well its a matter of the belief that God is possible. Tyke I almost agree with you but im not quite sure. I think you said it very well and for theoretical purposes I think that you are right but I also think that in reality their are people who would view a higher intelligence that is not embodied as a God. The reason is that to infer intelligence is one thing but to admit that there actually is something beyond the material realm that by all means is more intelligent than human beings- (I conclude it must be higher because humans display SC and therefore as NFL says we could only be purchased by something more intelligent) I feel would be rejected by "religious atheists" (my term) because of the realistic worshiping potential. Religious Atheists to me are people who have a prior commitment to the belief that higher than natural intelligence could exist but that any belief in the existence thereof would be worship or would open the door to inevitable worship. I want to make clear that I believe atheism IS compatible with ID on the grounds of accepting the theory of ID or the possibility of transcendence but to conclude that the reality of the preponderance of evidence actually points towards an unembodied intelligent designer which is a strong possibility within ID theory, I feel would be incompatible with Religious Atheism. The reason is this. Anything is possible for anyone who is not a completely just closed minded ideologue but to partake in the actual speculation that a transcendent intelligence (grater or higher in the qualitative vernacular sense) would be a form of accepting the existence of something that is by all cultural norms worthy of worship. Im saying that in the strict sense I think you are right that atheism is compatible with ID but I think the reality of the situation is that the multiplicity of possible designers that ID opens up would at some level create conflict with the belief about the nature of the world due to the simple fact that the intelligence that would be able to create human beings easily could be worthy of worship. To me its like asking a fundamentalist Christian if they can accept the possibility that the bible is false. The answer is that they could and still believe in the bible but many would refuse to admit that it is possible that the bible could be false. ID opens up the possibility for there to be a God and for an atheist to reject only the God part would be to partake in unreasonable cherry picking that is not supported by the theory. Frost122585
tyke: "The only answer you ever get is “God just is”. If that’s the case, then why is it any different to say “Intelligence just is” to your original question?" What you assume here is incorrect even though the statement is not far from true. You assume that "intelligence just is" can be equivalent to "a supreme Being just is". Let me try and clarify if possible: "Just being" is better defined as self-existence. Self-existence cannot apply to intelligence by itself unless you wish to say something like, "God is intelligence". Otherwise there has to be a mind of some kind that contains the intelligence. Can we say, "God is intelligence"? Sure, in the same way we say, "God is light" or "God is love" etc. By those expressions we mean that light (absolute truth, beauty, knowledge, wisdom, etc.) is the chief characteristic of God's essential nature. Same applies to the term love as understood biblically to be benevolence or good willing or willing the highest good. Only that which has no beginning or end can be self-existent. All else is dependent on the self-existent. The universe cannot thus be self-existence since 1. We know it had a beginning (big bang theory). 2. Seeing that the universe is a stupendous series of events and knowing that all events must have an adequate cause 3. The universe is running down, expanding etc. and will end therefore it cannot be eternal or self-existent That's fairly simple. An infinite series of events with no ultimate cause is a logical absurdity. But then God is not an event and his existence must necessarily be independent of all other existences and thus he must be self-existent. Thus the existence of a supreme self-existent being, dependent upon no other than himself, is necessary to all other existences. Without at least one self-existent one, no other existences could be. Can there be more than one self-existence? Speculation is the only response at first consideration. But more than one almighty, omniscient, omnipresent is also impossible. Ex. If I have all the money in the universe then no one else has any. Simplistic yes but consistent. You cannot have 2 omnipresent or all powerful beings. Just as two beings can't inhabit the same physical space at once. Therefore, "intelligence just is" is a mistake unless referring to a supreme self-existent being. This is more obvious once you realize that your own intelligence is not and cannot be self-existent. Your intelligence depended upon that of your parents and so on. Take that to it's logical conclusions and you pretty much have a minor proof of the existence of a God - an omnipotent, omniscient being - a supreme mind or intelligence. The existence of logical absolutes can also be used as a minor proof of the existence of a supreme mind. But that's another story. Atheism cannot account for logical absolutes. Theism can. Borne
I think the material is a little inconsistent. As I was reading through I noticed the way it divided evolution into 3 sections, which for easy of reference I will supply my own names for: 1 - "Adaptation" small changes over time 2 - "Common Descent" organisms are descended for a single common ancestor 3 - "Alteration" natural selection had the power to produce fundamentally new forms of life. It goes on to explain how adaptation is generally excepted and is not in question. More specifically Intelligent Design does not conflict with either adaptation or common descent but rather with alteration. It continues to say that it is important not confuse an issue with alteration with a challenge to the widely accepted adaptation. But as I read further I was confused by the section on "What Are Some Scientific Problems with Darwinian Evolution and Chemical Evolution?" here are some things which seemed wrong to me: The item on Genetics seems to be an attack on adaptation and not just alteration. The items on Paleontology and Taxonomy are focuses on attacking common descent, which isn't in conflict with intelligent design according to the above. The item on Chemistry is out of place. None of the three definitions of evolution in the material discuss the origin of life itself, nor has the other side ever claimed it did. The field of abiogenesis is an entirely different can of worms. Its this tendency to switch between a focus on alteration and seemingly random attacks on abiogenesis, common descent, and at least by appearances adaptation, which enforces the very misrepresentation of intelligent design which the material is attempting to address. Alann
At the very least, given what I have read, he would probably say that it would make it a lot harder to be an atheist. I disagree, for the reasons I have mentioned, but then, I'm not a Christian :) tyke
Tyke -"simply inferring a higher power, while convenient, merely avoids answering the question." The reason why intelligence is a better answer than matter is by the inference from the know cause and effect structure of the world. We know that intelligence can design SC therefore when we detect it in nature we can infer design even if we cant find the designer. This is what happens with SETI. read no free lunch and design inference or the specifics. If when can get to intelligent cuaseation we should get there first and ten decide if we need to know more. My question is "is this design inference an adequate reason for some, all or most atheists to reject? I am still hoping that Dr. Dembski will weigh in. Frost122585
Intelligence transcending matter-and how an atheist might deal with this.
Well, I'm not a philosopher, so I don't have a good answer to your question. But simply inferring a higher power, while convenient, merely avoids answering the question. One might as well ask why there is anything at all. Why is there a universe in the first place? And if God created it, then why is there a God? The only answer you ever get is "God just is". If that's the case, then why is it any different to say "Intelligence just is" to your original question? The fact is that the very fabric of the Universe is made up of weird stuff we don't understand. We may know how quarks behave, and we may speculate about branes and strings and other quantum wierdness, but in the end we don't understand why any of it exists. Intelligence, if it does have a separate existence outside of matter, is just another item on that list of unknowns. tyke
Interesting, I get the gist but I am more curious about the information/intelligence aspect of ID. Intelligence transcending matter-and how an atheist might deal with this. I think my categories are correct, a liberal or reasonable atheist would fallow the evidence and say “yeah it looks like intelligence played a role but there is no evidence or bias towards a particular type of God therefore its ok by me” but a religious atheist would say “no way nothing can transcend matter especially a higher intelligence because that is nothing but a God.”
Well, first I think we need to back off a little. Even anti-theists like Christopher Hitchens will concede the possibility of that the Universe could have been designed. He doesn't think it's likely, but he doesn't completely rule it out. What he does most strongly object to is the belief that if such an entity exists, it is going to be interested in the minutiae of our daily lives, down to the choices of people we have sex with. In less strident terms (Hitchens is certainly a fun rabble rouser, but he's not my cup of tea), I think the main objection for atheists over ID as a theory (besides the lack of evidence) is the implication--even in the introduction to this site you quoted on another thread--that the possibility that we were designed automatically implies that our world view should immediately be radically different. Why? Since ID does not identify the designer, we have no way of knowing if the designer is just a super-intelligent hyper-physics student playing around in an alien lab somewhere outside this universe or a fussy deity that tells us what to wear, eat, drink, kill, and have sex with. The presence of an intelligence greater than our own in or outside the universe does not automatically imply that the intelligence deserves to be the object of worship. Perhaps, in the same way we're thankful our parents happened to conceive us, we should show some gratitude, but I fail to see how ID, on its own, has any cultural ramifications whatsoever. Our culture is already irreversibly wrapped up in all kinds of religious influences (despite what Bill O'Reilly would have you believe), and perhaps evidence of a designer may bolster the faith of those who already believe in God, but from a scientific standpoint, proof of ID or the presence of a greater intelligence is not proof that there is a God. That is a matter of faith, and always will be. tyke
Athiesm and ID? I don't know about you folks, but *I* know who the Designer is. And it sure isn't the devil that athiests worship. Nochange
Well, I read the material. I’m not too crazy about the color and artwork not because it is not nice looking but because it makes the subject seem a little propaganda like but its ok given that everyone seems to be doing this today. I would have preferred something looking like the imagery used in the movie documentary Unlocking The Mysteries of Life http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5585125669588896670&q=intelligent+design&total=2186&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0 because it makes the issue look a little more realistic scientific and serious but artwork is a matter of personal taste. This artist made it look very school like and on the cute side with the bright solid color scheme as if they were trying to make it look less scary. However, the real meat- the points raised in the material are excellent and really speak to the main issues concerning the position that ID has found itself in both politically and legally. Frost122585
A bit of orthographic nitpicking . . . On the front cover of the newly available packet, the topmost image is a faux dictionary entry for "intelligent design." Problem is, the phonetic spelling of both words is incorrect. The second syllable of "intelligent" is "tel" not "te." The ampersand is not part of the international phonetic alphabet. The third syllable should be "li" and in the fourth syllable the vowel sound is a schwa (I don't trust the browser to correctly reproduce the schwa symbol). Likewise, the first vowel sound in "design" is also a schwa and the second is a long i (a lower case i with a line over it). Not a very intelligent design for a publication intended for educators. Michael Michael Tuite
I couldn't agree with that quote more. Materialists/Darwinists are always denying the bigger picture of what science is telling us, just to defend their sacred theory. Cutting edge research is clearly indicating that "materialism, in all its forms, in all disciplines of foundational science, is not only wrong but blatantly wrong in its assertion of natural information generation (From cosmology to biology and everything in between). Indeed there is a veritable gold mine of breakthroughs waiting to be discover once science properly addresses the "physical reality and transcendent nature" of complex specified information (CSI) and utilizes these discoveries to the benefit of man. Quantum non-locality by itself gives strong indication to what awaits discovery in science, as far as information is concerned. Especially since large complex molecules have been manipulated by non-local effects, thereby demonstrating the non-local transference of "complex" information. For science teachers to be forced to teach only evolution to our children, and to not be allowed to raise the serious objections to "purely materialistic" explanations that now exist, is to seriously impede the development of our children progress in their future pursuit of scientific truths. bornagain77
Dog_of_War: quote>I think the resource packet shows that ID proponents are really the ones who are interested in education.quote bornagain77
Back to the topic that Dr. Dembski posted on: I think the resource packet shows that ID proponents are really the ones who are interested in education. Look at all the interdisciplinary information in there. Not only is there material correcting the PBS misinterpretations but there are also points about contemporary events and sociopolitical ramifications (Dover) and for those that can read between the lines, there's a little journalism and biased argument/logic to be learned as well. All in all, a good resource--and for all the right reasons. Dog_of_War
angryoldfatman, I like your analogy but I must avidly disagree. Capitalism is no different than communism or socialism it is just less restrained. So economies as a whole would basically all have to be considered relevant. Also capitalism does not exist in the pure ideal sense unfortunately as even the US has socialist policies. Capitalism is the result of not only individual interests but an idea that was in fact developed and deigned by intelligent designers (people). Now if you take the people individually and look at what they do and contribute (drive to work, work, invent, learn, teach, etc) the result of their individual contributions is not greater or equal to the specified information/ability inherent in their minds or bodies. Even an inventor of the cure for caner has more ideas or knowledge than he/she can contribute to the economy. The result is a system that seems to get everything out of its parts (as capitalism is said to be the most efficient economy) but the truth is that more can be invented, more can be done- the resources a human being has within itself can never be fully expended especially in his/her activity in the economy. In this case the parts are more complex than the apparatus that results from them. This is why capitalism is by and large more productive and efficient than socialism and communism. Therefore, the SC in the people must be accounted for and we are back to square 1. Also an economy is not a case of SC because it is a system or pattern that is imposed upon the world metaphysically. A living cell is not because it is its own entity and thereby fits the definition of SC which requires not just improbability but also an arbitrary objective pattern. As far as the definition of intelligence goes I think we have a good enough grasp to go somewhere with it. I am curious how atheists deal with ID given the current status of intelligence as laid out in IC and SC. Now, I feel you do however raise a good point. What if an atheist accepted the argument based on the fact that it all “added up” so to speak, but in the back of their minds they only accepted it because they thought intelligence is not yet fully understood and when it all comes out it will be acceptable to them as non-god-like. In this case they accept ID formally or in a positivist sense but not realistically. This is an interesting predicament, which could break atheists down into idealists and realists. Idealists ,counter-intuitively, would accept ID because it is just an ideal or fertile point of view in a Wittgenstein sense. Idealist ahteists would disagree with the truth of the theory but would accept it as a theory. The realists might reject it altogether however because they would apply the conclusions of ID to absolute reality and therefore depending on how obligated they felt towards their metaphysical disposition, would reject the idea despite it being fully develped yet becuase of the possible threat it might pose. Those rejecting ID I would deem “Religious Atheists.” Frost122585
Frost122585, you might possibly approach it from the angle that we really don't fully understand what intelligence is yet. For example, the closest observable analog we have for Darwinian systems producing novelty is the capitalist/free market economic system (or so I've been told by Randian atheists). This type of economic system is not controlled by any overarching, centralized intelligence, and yet produces more and more diverse goods and services of which few (if any) are wasted. There is intelligence in the system however - in the component agents themselves. Can one component agent (or even a small group of agents) comprehend the entire system? No. When they assemble themselves into a collective, however, the entire dynamic changes. A hyperintelligence is found to be an emergent property. angryoldfatman
Interesting, I get the gist but I am more curious about the information/intelligence aspect of ID. Intelligence trancending matter-and how an atheist might deal with this. I think my categories are correct, a liberal or reasonable atheist would fallow the evidence and say "yeah it looks like intelligence played a role but there is no evidence or bias towards a particualr type of God therefore its ok by me" but a religious atheist would say "no way nothing can transcend matter especially a higher intelligence because that is nothing but a God." Frost122585
The Intelligent Universe (by Gardner) describes a type of ID that could be supported by athiests. I don't remember the details, but I think it was based on Wheelers ideas that time is cyclic and that intelligence created itself. I'm pretty sure tha author has several peer reviewed papers supporting his ideas. Although the author goes out of his way to say that he doesn't support ID (a couple of "ID = religion" comments), the main ideas of the book are supportive of ID. dl
I dont know it seems to me that you are beating around the bush. If Atheists dont bleeive that any intelligence designed SC or IC than I dont see how it it. I mean I have said I think a liberal Atheist could be sypathetic but a "Religious Athiest" might find the idea of a higher Intelligent cause to be a God. I am not tlaking about after its proven im talking about where the theory is now as supported by the current evidence. Ill be very interested to see Dembski's answer if he chooses to weigh in which I really hope that he does as this could be a good question in regards to the educational potential of ID in public schools. After all Dembski is the philosopher and he designed much of the theory. Frost122585
In my opinion, it's possible for ID to be compatible with atheism. It's conceivable that the designer is not supernatural. That said, if ID were proven true, most arguments used in support of atheism would collapse. A higher intelligence? Random chance isn't enough? That is why you'll find very few atheists interested in ID. They believe that life created itself, with nature selecting some to survive. There is no room for a intelligence in an accidental process. vrf
Dr. Dembski I would like you to know that I am a big fan of your work and have read both The Design Revolution and No Free Lunch. I will soon read the design inference. Sorry for reading them in reverse order. Admittedly NFL is a little beyond my educational level but nonetheless I battled through it and found it very intriguing. In fact I loved it. Now I have a comment and a question. I love this site and its style but i find that you need to have a place where people can chat about ID in general. I can only do this on the article pages and they are becoming clustered with all kinds of comments totally unrelated to the subject of the article. This makes it very difficult to read comments and comment on things pertaining explicitly to the article itself. I hope you will be able to se what I am saying. I am not criticizing the layout of this site. I truly enjoy your articles. My question is this. I have been debating whether or not atheism is compatible with ID. I have said that it is but only if an atheist can accept the idea of information originating from an intelligent source that transcends matter. I have said that liberal atheists could accept ID but Religious Atheists (my term) could not. By religious atheists I am referring to those people who would find the idea of a higher intelligence to be a form of a God. Is this correct and if not could you shortly clear up my misunderstanding? Frost122585

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