Intelligent Design

November Apologetics Conference — We need more than good arguments

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Announcement immediately below plus my commentary afterward:

The Nation’s Leading Christian Apologists to Speak
at The National Conference on Christian Apologetics,
November 7th and 8th in North Carolina

Contact: Deborah Hamilton, 215-815-7716

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, Sept. 10 /Christian Newswire/ — The nation’s leading Christian apologists will speak at Hickory Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC on November 7th and 8th to present The National Conference on Christian Apologetics, presented by the Southern Evangelical Seminary. The theme of this year’s conference is, “A Summit On Defense of the Biblical Worldview.” Plenary and elective sessions will provide solid apologetics content, touching on how the Christian worldview relates to the home, the church, and the culture.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. James Dobson. Other speakers include Chuck Colson of Breakpoint and Prison Fellowship Ministries; Josh McDowell, radio host, author and evangelist; Lee Strobel, journalist and best-selling author; Dinesh D’Souza, author and former senior policy analyst during the Reagan administration; Dr. David Noebel, worldview expert and founder of Summit Ministries; Del Tackett, leader of Focus On the Family’s “The Truth Project”; Erwin Lutzer, best-selling author and pastor of Chicago’s historic Moody Church; William Dembski, author, scholar, educator and expert on intelligent design and many others.

MORE

It’s nice to be in such distinguished company as indicated in this press release. I’ll certainly make my usual ID arguments. But I’ll also be pointing out that our opponents, the materialists and their cronies, are now battling principally for political rather than intellectual control. Indeed, the materialists have lost the intellectual battle.

**Remember how computers were going to become more intelligent than us and that we would be luck if they deigned to keep us as pets?
**Remember how humans were the third chimpanzee, only to find that some dogs and birds are smarter than chimps at various tasks?
**Remember how it was only a matter of time before the Miller-Urey experiment could be extended to explain the origin of life? (For the sheer hopelessness of OOL research, see my forthcoming book with Jonathan Wells, due out next month — How to Be an Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (Or Not).)

The list of vapid materialist promises that show no sign of ever being fulfilled keeps growing and growing. But losing the intellectual battle no longer matters to materialists. Hence Richard Dawkins has no problem endorsing THE GOD WHO WASN’T THERE, a movie that denies Jesus even existed. Imagine what you want to be true and then enforce its acceptance — that’s the “new scholarship.”

It should have been obvious that Marxist economics did not work, but the Marxists took over dozens of countries after, not before, the famines of the twenties and thirties. And ran those countries with an iron hand until the mid-eighties. Yes, we still need good arguments for the faith. But we also need to pay attention to the rapid growth of liberal fascism (check out Jonah Goldberg’s book on the topic here).

There’s an old New Yorker cartoon that shows a client seated across from his attorney. The attorney remarks, “You’ve got a great case Mr. Smith. Now, how much justice can you afford?” We’ve made a good case. What we need now are good legal and political strategies.

98 Replies to “November Apologetics Conference — We need more than good arguments

  1. 1

    P.S. 4,000 people are expected to attend this conference.

  2. 2
    F2XL says:

    It should have been obvious that Marxist economics did not work, but the Marxists took over dozens of countries after, not before, the famines of the twenties and thirties. And ran those countries with an iron hand until the mid-eighties.

    http://i203.photobucket.com/al.....l_marx.jpg

    Come on, you know today’s commies want to blame the people who were in charge for their ideal’s failure, rather then the actual system they believed in. 😀

    But nonetheless, strategy is something we should kick up a notch. We could at least give credit to Dawkins and co. for coming up with things like the Out Campaign.

  3. 3
    halo says:

    Bill

    perhaps you can have a chat with Dinesh D’Souza and bring him up to speed with ID if this has not been done already????

  4. 4
  5. 5
    F2XL says:

    A good critique of “The God Who Wasn’t There:”

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologe.....Review.htm

  6. 6
    EndoplasmicMessenger says:

    Speaking about apologetics, does anyone know why the Vatican is excluding Intelligent Design representatives in their upcoming conference:

    Vatican evolution congress to exclude creationism, intelligent design

    Dr. Dembski, since you are qualified in both Theology and Evolution, how can you finagle an invitation? 🙂 It unfortunately seems that there are some at the Vatican that need to be educated on this matter.

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    EndoplasmicMessenger,

    “does anyone know why the Vatican is excluding Intelligent Design representatives in their upcoming conference”

    My guess is because they identify ID with creationsim.

  8. 8
    GCUGreyArea says:

    “…have lost the intellectual battle.”

    !

    I’d laugh if it wasn’t so tragic.

    “Where do they find these clueless chuckleheads and how do they possibly get advanced degrees?”

    Here is your answer DaveScot, you find them on Uncommon descent.

    Well I guess that’s me expelled. No dissent allowed on uncommon descent.

  9. 9
    nullasalus says:

    While I’m a resident somewhat-skeptic of ID, I think the claim that ‘materialists have lost the intellectual battle’ does have some justification.

    Pick your point of conflict. Philosophy of mind, physics, biology, etc.. materialist (particularly reductionist materialist) views are challenged strongly in just about all of them in some way, and not exclusively by religion-sympathetic philosophers. This doesn’t mean that materialism is lost in the sense that all materialists are clearly wrong. But it’s lost in the sense that developments in science and philosophy have made materialism merely an option, not the only reasonable option.

    For people who want a materialist viewpoint of the world to be the only possibility, that truly is a serious loss. And the desire for wanting such a viewpoint to reign supreme usually has little to do with it being right or wrong, but with secondary political goals. (Look at Cortunix’s recent babble about what purpose he thinks education serves.)

  10. 10
    StephenB says:

    —–“does anyone know why the Vatican is excluding Intelligent Design representatives in their upcoming conference”

    As a Catholic, I am offended by my own Church’s foray into political correctness. My guess is that the whacked out Jesuits at Notre Dame persuaded a few members of the hierarchy to attend and support a TE love fest. I don’t think it reflects the mind of Benedict XVI.

  11. 11

    GCUGreyArea: I think you’ll be happier elsewhere, so you have your wish. I didn’t delete your post, however, because it is instructive. The contempt you feel toward ID is the contempt I feel toward Darwinian materialism, only more so. What I find so offensive about that viewpoint is that it bills itself as the antidote to superstition, the only way to enlightenment, and therefore as justified in using any means whatsoever to advance itself.

    I remind readers of this blog of a quote by Teddy Roosevelt posted here sometime back:

    “There is superstition in science quite as much as there is superstition in theology, and it is all the more dangerous because those suffering from it are profoundly convinced that they are freeing themselves from all superstition. No grotesque repulsiveness of medieval superstition, even as it survived into nineteenth-century Spain and Naples, could be much more intolerant, much more destructive of all that is fine in morality, in the spiritual sense, and indeed in civilization itself, than that hard dogmatic materialism of to-day which often not merely calls itself scientific but arrogates to itself the sole right to use the term. If these pretensions affected only scientific men themselves, it would be a matter of small moment, but unfortunately they tend gradually to affect the whole people, and to establish a very dangerous standard of private and public conduct in the public mind.”

    –Theodore Roosevelt, “The Search for Truth in a Reverent Spirit,” Outlook, Dec. 2, 1911.

  12. 12
    O'Leary says:

    If people don’t know what Bill means by “liberal fascism”, here’s a very brief, basic introduction.

  13. 13
    O'Leary says:

    Nullasalus, if you are still in the “building”, I just wanted to thank you for saying this:

    “Philosophy of mind, physics, biology, etc.. materialist (particularly reductionist materialist) views are challenged strongly in just about all of them in some way, and not exclusively by religion-sympathetic philosophers. This doesn’t mean that materialism is lost in the sense that all materialists are clearly wrong. But it’s lost in the sense that developments in science and philosophy have made materialism merely an option, not the only reasonable option.”

    Yes, and much of the smoke raised in various disciplines (in which some careers have died from smoke inhalation – cf Michael Reiss) is best understood as an effort to avoid the fact that the materialist god HAS failed.

    As Bill noted above, his miracles never happened.

    It’s not that they happened but were shown not to be miracles. They never happened at ALL.

    Case in point: Apes are not people. Computers are not people. Cave men are not half people; they are just people with miserably basic, early technology. Only people are people.

    Believe/don’t believe in Adam and Eve … but don’t anyone try telling me that there is a better materialist explanation out there. It just isn’t true.

    I will have more to say on this.

  14. 14
    Patrick says:

    Well, GCUGreyArea’s one major contribution to UD was agreeing that GAs have known limitations…something most Darwinists are loathe to admit. He never volunteered what exactly made biology so special that it could overcome similar limitations without intelligent input, other than saying that his “biology friends” were certain that “DNA was highly evolvable”, a topic that was broached upon previously.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    Bill

    There’s an old New Yorker cartoon that shows a client seated across from his attorney. The attorney remarks, “You’ve got a great case Mr. Smith. Now, how much justice can you afford?”

    There’s a corollary in the university system. “You’ve got a great intellect, Mr. Smith. You can think, read, and learn. Now how much certification can you afford?”

    GCUGreyArea

    Farewell, we hardly knew ya, but ultimately we still knew ya too well.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Speaking of cartoons:

    The Charles Darwin Memorial Hospital – Day 1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Lj6kEjNns

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Dembski,
    You may find this interesting:

    Christian Apologetics – 16 – Bible Numerology

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nfUI5ed0WI

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    as well as this one:

    Christian Apologetics – 8 – Pi and Natural Log

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gk7E3lbjZI

  19. 19
    StephenB says:

    —–Jerry: “My guess is because they identify ID with creationsim.”

    If ID is committed to following where the evidence leads, it can’t make a prior commitment to an old earth. While YEC seems unlikely to most of us, it is not impossible. What if the designer created, as some believe, “ExNilio,” and what if, under the circumstances, the effects of the command “let there be light” were such that the earth was flooded with cosmic rays. Such an event COULD accelerate the geological aging process and cause a young earth to look old.

    The only thing ID can rule out in principle is materialist Darwinism, which declares design to be an “illusion,” and, therefore, disqualifies itself from consideration. To follow where the evidence leads is to be open to anything, including a young earth. It makes no sense for ID to abandon the principle of openness simply because Darwinists and TEs are so intellectually lazy or so morally dishonest that they cannot or will not distinguish between CS and ID.

    Indeed, even when we dramatize the distinction for our anti-ID guests, TEs and Darwinists alike, they ignore the point and change the subject. We have both witnessed this many times. Their ignorance is less about whatever indiscretions may be coming from the YEC community and more about their own stubborn refusal to consider the evidence.

  20. 20
    ellijacket says:

    Hence Richard Dawkins has no problem endorsing THE GOD WHO WASN’T THERE, a movie that denies Jesus even existed. Imagine what you want to be true and then enforce its acceptance — that’s the “new scholarship.”
    ————————-

    It is just like 1984. I used to read that book once a year just because I liked it so much but it also made me subtly aware of changes in our society.

    Think how silly it would be if I denied the existence of Mohammad. I agree with him in no form or fashion but that has nothing to do with whether he was real or not.

    The thought police are starting to actually come out from under their rocks.

  21. 21
    StephenB says:

    Not all influential Catholics are like those who snubbed ID.

    From Bishop Donald Wuerl:

    “Continuing to make a case for intelligent design among other leading theories of the universe’s origin, the Bishop wrote that, “When we examine with the light of reason the origins of the cosmos and human life then we must be prepared to respond to all the reasonable, rational, intellectually sustainable theories.”
    “Academia”, he said, “must never become arbitrarily exclusive of the conclusions of rational investigation.”

    From Father Thomas Dubay: (In “The Evidential Power of Beauty”)
    “Michael Behe, using his expertise in biochemistry, writes of what he calls ‘irreducible complexity’ on the molecular level. By this terminology, he means ‘a single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.’”

    There are two classes of influential Catholics—those who do the requisite reading, and those who don’t’.

  22. 22
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    “The only thing ID can rule out in principle is materialist Darwinism, which declares design to be an “illusion,” and, therefore, disqualifies itself from consideration.”

    Then ID should disqualify itself from any serious discussion of evolution and as such should not be a player in what the Vatican is doing or any discussion of evolution. It can be part of some philosophical discussions and that is what you are proposing and as such makes it similar to the TE science/theology fiasco.

    By the way I suggest you study geology. There is evidence for both gradualistic and catastrophic occurrence in the geological record and detailed evidence for both playing a part in the history of the earth not only in the past but in the world today. It is this firm foundation for geology that is missing from biology.

    If you want to consider a God that plays havoc with the world, be my guest. I find no need to ever postulate such a deceptive God.

    By the way, I bet the Vatican conference will take into consideration the materialistic implications of Darwin so why does ID even have to exist as far as they are concerned, So ignoring ID is of little consequence according to your thesis.

  23. 23
    sparc says:

    Indeed, the materialists have lost the intellectual battle.

    But who are the winners? In today’s SPIEGEL somebody else is claiming victory for his side with the same arguments. However, you may not be too happy with the designer he claims to have identified.

    English translation of SPIEGEL for non-German speakers — UD admin

  24. 24
    Charlie says:

    Funny how Father Dubay got the definition of IC right on what would seem to be one try when Behe’s rational and scientific critics have mangled it for over a decade.

  25. 25
    Larry Fafarman says:

    The original post says,

    But I’ll also be pointing out that our opponents, the materialists and their cronies, are now battling principally for political rather than intellectual control. Indeed, the materialists have lost the intellectual battle.

    This is true — the Darwinists are not even pretending anymore to be rationally debating the controversy — they say that arguments based on irreducible complexity, bacterial flagella, blood-clotting cascades, the co-evolution of obligate mutualism, etc. are religious arguments.

    Remember how computers were going to become more intelligent than us and that we would be luck if they deigned to keep us as pets?

    A lot of predictions about technology never came to pass — for example, it was predicted that electricity produced by nuclear power plants would be “too cheap to meter.”

    Remember how humans were the third chimpanzee, only to find that some dogs and birds are smarter than chimps at various tasks?

    Maybe those dogs and birds are like human idiot-savants, who are phenomenally talented in narrow areas like feats of rote memory — often areas that require no originality — but who have low overall intelligence. Maybe the chimps just have better overall intelligence.

    IMO the words apology, apologetics, and apologist have bad connotations. In common everyday usage, “apology” and “apologetic” imply regret and an admission of wrongdoing, and “apologist” implies making excuses for something that is bad or evil. I think that a lot of people are unaware that these words can also refer to an explanation or defense. Also, I think that James Dobson is too controversial to be a “keynote” speaker.

  26. 26
    StephenB says:

    —-Jerry: “Then ID should disqualify itself from any serious discussion of evolution and as such should not be a player in what the Vatican is doing or any discussion of evolution. It can be part of some philosophical discussions and that is what you are proposing and as such makes it similar to the TE science/theology fiasco.

    Materialistic Darwinism, (as opposed to Darwin’s special theory) refers to the idea that everything can be explained by natural causes AND that science may not consider anything else. That is not science; it is ideology. There are times when an analysis of comparative difficulties can be helpful. That God created the word in seven days, as some YECs would have it, is highly unlikely; that the world created itself, as the materialist Darwinists would have it, is absolutely impossible. You appear to believe that the former is more unlikely that the latter. If, as it appears, you accept “methdological naturalism,” which is nothing more than euphemized materialism, you are playing into the hands of our adversaries.

    —–“If you want to consider a God that plays havoc with the world, be my guest. I find no need to ever postulate such a deceptive God.”

    I have considered the proposition and rejected it just as you have. That doesn’t mean that ID is required to join me in that rejection. I would never demand that ID rule it out YEC in order to appease materialist Darwinists, especially since I could be wrong on the matter.

    —-“By the way I suggest you study geology. There is evidence for both gradualistic and catastrophic occurrence in the geological record and detailed evidence for both playing a part in the history of the earth not only in the past but in the world today. It is this firm foundation for geology that is missing from biology.”

    You seem to be a little confused here. “Uniformitarianism” is an operating principle which holds that geological processes have not changed throughout Earth’s history. It assumes, for example, that the forces that build mountains and erode mountains, whatever they are, operate in the same way and at the same rate today as in the past.

  27. 27
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    You have good analytical abilities and write really well but some times you lose it when the issue gets near and dear to your heart.

    “If, as it appears, you accept “methodological naturalism,” which is nothing more than euphemized materialism, you are playing into the hands of our adversaries.”

    By rejecting a claim that let’s say has the probability of 10^ -10,000,000 you then say I am endorsing a another claim that is impossible, and thus you can then pin some nasty attribution to me. Non sequitur.

    “I have considered the proposition and rejected it just as you have. That doesn’t mean that ID is required to join me in that rejection.”

    ID is about science as far as I am concerned and not about theology. You just put ID in the theology mode and that is the problem. ID must follow science if it wants to be considered serious. By associating itself with flawed science that has only an ideological basis ID has become just as suspect as the science it walks hand in hand with.

    “You seem to be a little confused here. “Uniformitarianism” is an operating principle which holds that geological processes have not changed throughout Earth’s history. It assumes, for example, that the forces that build mountains and erode mountains, whatever they are, operate in the same way and at the same rate today as in the past.”

    I am not sure I follow what you are getting at. Why am I confused?

    StephenB, we agree on most things in this debate except for the association of ID with YEC. I believe it is extremely negative for the acceptance of ID as legitimate and you do not share that view. I will continue to proffer that point of view since I believe the evidence supports it.

  28. 28
    Upright BiPed says:

    When I make my visits here (which is often) I truly enjoy reading both StephenB and Jerry’s comments on the issues raised. I value them both.

    IMO there is little doubt about the issue of YEC. If we are to believe that a Creator has sought to trick humanity by whatever means, then all scientific credibility is out the window.

    ID can close shop and everyone go home.

    Personally, I think the YEC view shortchanges the Creation. I think the evidence shows that the Creator designed a real world – one that actually operates within definitions – not one that is just a membrane of reality in which to fool the inhabitants. However, I have no inclination to try and change the minds of those who believe in YEC.

    But, at the same time let’s be frank about the actual challenge that ID faces – its all socio-political. If this argument was about the science, then Darwinistic gradulism and the whole greasy bucket of speculation that travels with it would have been buried long ago.

    As such (a political game) it hardly makes sense for ID to align itself beside YEC, particularly if your competitor’s Point Numero Uno is that ID isn’t science.

    That issue becomes even more grave when it becomes abundantly clear that the opposition has had their “ID isn’t Science” stance codified into law, into lore, and into the laziness of the truth-telling press.

  29. 29
    Larry Fafarman says:

    jerry said (#22) —

    StephenB,
    “The only thing ID can rule out in principle is materialist Darwinism, which declares design to be an “illusion,” and, therefore, disqualifies itself from consideration.”

    Then ID should disqualify itself from any serious discussion of evolution and as such should not be a player in what the Vatican is doing or any discussion of evolution.

    If ID scientists are not being invited to the Vatican conference on evolution, then how can the conference properly consider the question of whether ID is relevant or not?

    By the way I suggest you study geology. There is evidence for both gradualistic and catastrophic occurrence in the geological record and detailed evidence for both playing a part in the history of the earth not only in the past but in the world today.

    I have wondered about “slot canyons,” e.g., The Narrows in Zion National Park. Is this the result of “natural” erosion? Does it seem reasonable that the river could saw straight down through the rock with none of the side erosion that we see in other canyons such as the Grand Canyon?

  30. 30
    StephenB says:

    Jerry, I will try to start winding down, but not just yet.

    —–“By rejecting a claim that let’s say has the probability of 10^ -10,000,000 you then say I am endorsing a another claim that is impossible, and thus you can then pin some nasty attribution to me. Non sequitur.”

    Sorry, it wasn’t meant to be a “nasty attribution,” nor was I connecting dots here. I was going by previous comments in which you characterized the Kansas City Science criteria as acceptable. I assumed, then, that you accepted its attendant methodological naturalism as well. Did I misread you on that?

    —–“ID is about science as far as I am concerned and not about theology. You just put ID in the theology mode and that is the problem.”

    Now that is a “nasty attribution” {insert smiley face}. No, I do not. When I argue for ID science, I always argue from the bottom up. Take note of a recent discussion that I had with TedD and JackK in which I asked them to account for “functionally specified complex information.” They immediately headed for the tall grass and tried to reframe the issue. After they put religion on the table, it was one more variable that I needed to respond to. Very seldom am I the first to broach the issue.

    —-“StephenB, we agree on most things in this debate except for the association of ID with YEC. I believe it is extremely negative for the acceptance of ID as legitimate and you do not share that view. I will continue to proffer that point of view since I believe the evidence supports it.”

    I celebrate your right to do it and I admire your dedication towards that end. Also, you do as good of a job separating Darwin’s general theory from Darwin’s special theory as anyone. Obviously, I feel differently about the ID/YEC connection. In my judgment, the TEs and Darwinists who claim to be scandalized by our association with “creationists” are being disingenuous. Or, if they are sincere, meaning that if they really do confuse creationism’s Biblical presuppositions with IDs empirical observations, then they are intellectually challenged in the extreme. For crying out loud, these people do this for a living. Don’t you think they have a moral obligation to know what they are talking about? If they can’t distinguish motives from methods, how bright can they be? Anyone who thinks that Ken Ham and Michael Behe are on the same page is less in need of instruction and more in need of therapy. The academy doesn’t accept ID because it doesn’t want to; it has little to do with the company we keep.

    Also, I should make it clear for other observers that I am not arguing on behalf of YEC. I am saying that, as unlikely as it is, it cannot possibly be as unlikely radical Materialist Darwinism. We should not forget about that point, because it helps us to more accurately assess IDs role in the big picture.

  31. 31
    StephenB says:

    —–Upright Biped: “As such (a political game) it hardly makes sense for ID to align itself beside YEC, particularly if your competitor’s Point Numero Uno is that ID isn’t science.”

    I suppose there might be two levels of disassociation or two ways of speaking to the YECs.

    [A] “We totally disagree with all of your assumptions, and we say so publicly every chance we get.

    [B] “Don’t speak to me.”

    It seems to me that level [A] should be sufficient.

  32. 32
    StephenB says:

    Actually, I should have said

    [A]”most of us disagree with your assumptions.

    By the way, I have interacted with YECs, Darwinists, and TEs on this site, and I will be happy to go on the record with this comment:

    The YECs are far more rational than the other two groups, questionable assumptions notwithstanding. They give straight answers to straight quesetions and they don’t look for every opportunity to escape when the argument is not going their way.

  33. 33
    Upright BiPed says:

    StephenB

    The academy doesn’t accept ID because it doesn’t want to; it has little to do with the company we keep.

    You are correct in your assessment, but it seems like a rather empty observation, and it doesn’t change the reality on the ground.

    The academy may or may not care if your scientific beliefs are based on Genesis, but the Academy caring about it isn’t the issue – at least not from a strategic sense.

    The issue is can they use it to silence your opposition to their control over information, and the overwhelming truth of the matter is – yes they can.

    I stopped by a bookstore yesterday (Bookpeople in Austin Texas, supposedly the largest independent bookstore in America) and was amazed and maddened by the selection. Amongst four lone copies of EOE was a literary lovefest with the idea that ID is CS…and neither is science.

    Ah well, I don’t have to tell you, you already know the score.

    One point though: Two of the principles of opposing force say that to undertake a direct attack on a heavily defended position is a matter of (a) attacking at the weakness inherent in strength and (b) to NOT broaden your forces.

    In this case, the weakness inherent in strength is the fact that the Darwinian paradigm is falsified by the empirical evidence in fossils, in mathematics, and in micro-biology. And further, to not broaden your forces would almost certainly include not trying to also get YEC through the door.

    It’s simply a strategic reality, ID doesn’t have the resources (nor the inclination) to pull that off.

    – – – – – –

    To your last comment (31) – I understand your position, but to my mind it doesn’t follow that

    If ID is committed to following where the evidence leads, it can’t make a prior commitment to an old earth.

    That represents an expansion of a goal that will forever exceed the resources of the ID movement.

  34. 34
    Frost122585 says:

    Bill, nice quote by the real Roosevelt… also you played it brilliantly. I thought that was a rant by you- a culmination of your emotion towards the current state of things and then I saw it was actually from 1911.

    Some things are timeless, and “the controversy” is such.

  35. 35
    allanius says:

    The strongest political tactic for ID is to state its case in an attractive way. ID has natural power because nature looks designed. Now it needs the right kind of rhetoric to transmute this natural power into political gold.

    May I humbly suggest that this has not yet happened. Behe, for example, is learned and convincing and certainly writes well; but the very homeliness of the mousetrap analogy defines its own political limitations.

    Design is magnificence. This becomes more evident every day through basic research, which leaves man stuttering in wonder at what has been made. Now the task is for someone to communicate this magnificence effectively and in a positive way.

    Make note of the positive. If ID wants political influence, it must move beyond the resistance stage. It must put the “Darwin on trial” approach behind it and present itself in more inspiring weeds.

    Gravity and especially light can be used effectively as wildcards in this new polemic, by the way. Their mysteriousness can be easily grasped and is a good antidote to the insufferable egotism of Big Science.

    As for the larger culture—well, we are of the opinion that the antithesis that is Modernism can only be overthrown by a new construct of value that counteracts its nothingness with the self-evident goodness of nature.

    The way to overthrow the superannuated Age of Great Theories is to reground its nothingness in sense. Nothingness was an illusion produced by Darwin. In point of fact, nature is not nothing. Nature is “very good.”

    Cultural change must begin there.

  36. 36
    Upright BiPed says:

    May I humbly suggest that this has not yet happened

    Indeed, the understatement of the millenia.

    Most Americans would be complete shocked to find out that there have been any scientific discoveries that support the possibility of a Creation.

    All science supports Darwinism.

  37. 37
    StephenB says:

    —–allanius: “The strongest political tactic for ID is to state its case in an attractive way. ID has natural power because nature looks designed. Now it needs the right kind of rhetoric to transmute this natural power into political gold.

    May I humbly suggest that this has not yet happened”

    Check out “The Evidential Power of Beauty, by Father Thomas Dubay.

  38. 38
    allanius says:

    Clearly someone who talks about the “understatement of the millenia” [sic] is not given to hyperbole.

  39. 39
    jerry says:

    “May I humbly suggest that this has not yet happened”

    May I suggest the truth or what is the best evidence available.

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    Jerry:

    Upright Biped:

    If you are going to suggest that ID throw YEC under the bus, I ask that you make a few points explicit:

    [A] Why is it necessary to end all relationships with decent and civilized people (YECs) in order to make the point that a religious presupposition (YEC) is not an empirical observation (ID). Why is it not enough to simply make the point in print and at every opportunity.

    [B] Explain exactly what you mean by disassociation and be explcit about how that should be made public. (Should Michael Behe challenge Paul Nelson to a duel at sunrise or should he simply run and hide when Paul says “good morning.”)

    [C] Draw me a picture about how [B] will change things. Tell me how it all plays out—Which Darwinist will stop lying, which TE will finally decide whether or not God really does intervenes in the evolutionary process, which burueacrat in the academy will be persuaded to give ID its rightful place at the table, and which of the uncommitted seekers of truth will decide in favor of ID.

    [D] Meanwhile, explain why we don’t confront materialist Darwinists, our real enemies, and take them to court for violating their precious doctrine of Church/State separation. Inasmuch as they are teaching children the RELIGION of Secular Humanism in the name of science, why don’t we stop cowering and go after them. Explain why we shouldn’t ALL GET FAMOUS TOGETHER.

  41. 41
    YEC says:

    Hi jerry,

    You said:
    “There is evidence for both gradualistic and catastrophic occurrence in the geological record and detailed evidence for both playing a part in the history of the earth not only in the past but in the world today.”

    Would you mind specifying the evidence for past gradualistic geologic processes that require vast amounts of time, and that cannot possibly be produced by rapid processes?

    Little anecdote … Steve Austin (YEC w/ PhD in sedimentary geology) was doing well at showing that geologic features thought to have formed over vast amounts of geologic time, were better explained by catastrophic processes. Fed-up old-earthers finally threw up their hands and said, “Look, all you have to do is go to the Grand Canyon and look at the layers there that HAD to have been laid down over vast periods of time.” So he went, and among other discoveries of evidence of rapid deposition, discovered what may be the largest catastrophically laid fossil deposit in the world. The fossil layer was right in the middle of one of these beds which HAD to have been laid down over millions of years.

  42. 42
    StephenB says:

    —-“Clearly someone who talks about the “understatement of the millenia” [sic] is not given to hyperbole.”

    If I have told him once, I have told him five million times to stop exaggerating.

  43. 43
    YEC says:

    Here are some quick references related to the anecdote above:

    Old Austin article for the layman:
    http://www.icr.org/article/337/

    Abstract for geology conf.:
    http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2002....._45610.htm

    Article by Snelling (another YEC PhD geologist) for the layman:
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....3/time.asp

    (To moderators: It appears that not everyone’s comments are moderated … I’ve been good for a long time and I don’t cause much trouble, is there way to get off the must-be-moderated list?)

    Done. You were nearly the first name on a very long moderation list. Sorry it took so long. It’s easier getting on the moderation list than getting off of it. -ds

  44. 44
    DaveScot says:

    Jerry/Upright

    You know I love you guys and my opinion re an old earth is aligned with yours. I even agree with you that YEC association essentially poisoned the well for ID in several ways.

    However, I urge you to keep in mind that design detection, so far as I know, in and of itself does not give us dates or methods of design. It is, in actuality, only one small part of making a case for YEC. It does not make their case. They have a very long row to hoe beyond simply pointing to design detection in order to show when and how the design was accomplished.

    If you believe design detection speaks either for against an old earth then make your case for how it does. Otherwise we’re not going to be throwing anyone under the bus for political expediency.

    Conflating ID and YEC is a lame untruth that our opponents use because it sells well to the unwashed masses and we, at least here at UD and most other flags under which ID supporters rally, will not be bullied by a lie into shrinking the size of our tent. Our stand is based on principle. We work to expose the lie rather than buckle under it.

    So what I suggest is that those of us who have no problem taking the evidence for an old earth with life diversifying on it for most of its tenure continue to hammer home that evolution by chance & necessity alone is a dog that won’t hunt even when given all the time & opportunity of billions of years of years of descent from one or a few common ancestors and continue pointing to the positive evidence of design as the only other known mechanism with the capacity for explaining the origin and diversification of life.

    And to Jerry in particular, I promoted you from subsciber to author a long time ago so that you could stop spinning your wheels in the comments and get more visibility by putting your views, which are aligned with mine, on the front page in article format. Yet you haven’t availed yourself of that opportunity in what must be at least a year or two. Put your money where your mouth is and give me some support in getting more science headlines copacetic with design and an old earth on this blog. Use your knowledge and writing skills to flog the Darwinists instead of flogging fellow ID supporters.

  45. 45
    Rude says:

    Prof. Dembski! I couldn’t agree more! Right on!! The Designer be with you at that conference!

    “But I’ll also be pointing out that our opponents, the materialists and their cronies, are now battling principally for political rather than intellectual control. Indeed, the materialists have lost the intellectual battle.”

    Indeed they have—yet the political battle rages—note Jonah Goldberg and Dennis Prager today. Materialism must win at all costs, everything else is ignored and forgotten—including 9/11. Today, for what it’s worth, is 23 Elul on the Jewish calendar (as was 9/11/01), and there we see Ahmadinejad lashing out at us and Israel, but what do we care—destroying Sarah Palin is what matters.

    No, the logical case against Darwin and for ID has been made—overwhelmingly! But the materialist elite will not go quitely into the night. We must help them!

  46. 46
    jerry says:

    Dave,

    Two things:

    First: I have been very busy and most of my comments have been made on the fly so I haven’t spent much time here. Most of my free time has gone to trying to figure out the mortgage crisis. It is now 1:30 in the morning and I have a few minutes to respond.

    Second: it has been just six months since you invited me to be an author. I have had some unusual circumstances that has prevented me from submitting anything and probably will continue to prohibit me from doing so in the near future.

    I definitely have some ideas but want to read much more before I stick my neck out. The one that interest me the most is just what is ucd and what are its implications. The other one is just how much do Darwinian processes explain in nature. I happen to think a lot but like you believe it is limited to the devolution of species not the upward evolution proposed by the Darwinists. That would fit in with your beliefs in front loading.

    I also believe that ID leads to an embracing of an old earth. That I have to think out more and would like the thoughts of others on this. I am not sure how much help I will get here on this. I made the statement before that the YEC’s don’t really believe in evolution but ID accepts evolution and only debates the mechanism for it.

    Evolution is not something ID can remain neutral on and the potential mechanisms for it. We should list the things ID can remain neutral on and those they cannot. I do not think the age of the earth is one it can remain neutral on. In order to apply ID methods it is necessary to assume an old earth or else the conclusions do not make sense. ID can not rule out micro evolution as a valid scientific theory and micro evolution implies an old earth.

    So from a political stand point some in ID say it is neutral on the age of the earth but from a scientific stand point it cannot be. Which is why I continue to point out the inconsistency of ID being neutral on the age of the earth not only because it is bad science but also because it really inhibits acceptance of it by a much wider audience.

    ID should start off every discussion of itself with the statement that it is completely consistent with a universe of 14 billion years, an earth of 4.5 billion years, of life existing on this earth for around 3.5 billion years and a general progression of life over that time to greater complexity and more sophisticated functionality. The only thing ID objects to in current evolutionary biology is the mechanism for the appearance of some new species (the real debate is over how big this “some” is). Besides saying that it is not inconsistent with an old earth ID should say it accepts certain mechanism for species origin as likely and that these mechanisms imply an old earth. I am mainly thinking of micro evolution here and the new species are mainly due to devolution.

    When ID makes such a statement and people like Steve Fuller begin their debate with such a statement, they will dominate the debate instead of being defensive through most of it. It would also be a topic in major discussions such as the upcoming conference at the Vatican on evolution. It would also dominate the college debates and rid many ID supporters of evasive and defensive debating techniques. It would put the Darwinists on the defensive in these debates.

    I am sure many will say I am dreaming but that’s what I believe and that is what I continue to push for.

  47. 47
    jerry says:

    YEC,

    I believe, plate tectonics, mid ocean ridge formation, volcanic island formation, magnetic field reversal and silt deposits are only a few items that strongly support an old earth and are both gradual and catastrophic in nature. There are many more but these are good for starters. There is good evidence that these processes have operated in the past and are definitely operating in the present.

    I am not a geologist but have studied it in bits and pieces and the gradualism that is hoped for in biology but embarrassingly missing is present in geology in several different processes. These gradual processes that are operating each day in our present time and are consistent with many of the structures we find in the world. The biologists cannot say the same.

  48. 48
    Larry Fafarman says:

    Upright BiPed said (#28) —

    As such (a political game) it hardly makes sense for ID to align itself beside YEC, particularly if your competitor’s Point Numero Uno is that ID isn’t science.

    DaveScot said (#44) —

    Conflating ID and YEC is a lame untruth that our opponents use because it sells well to the unwashed masses and we, at least here at UD and most other flags under which ID supporters rally, will not be bullied by a lie into shrinking the size of our tent. Our stand is based on principle. We work to expose the lie rather than buckle under it.

    Another reason why Darwinists conflate ID and YEC, Dave, is so they can misuse the Constitution’s establishment clause to attack the teaching or even mention of ID in the public schools. The Darwinists do not give ID proponents any Brownie points for rejecting YEC — the Darwinists insist on always calling ID “ID creationism.”

    YEC’s are not always friendly towards ID, but Answers-in-Genesis, a YEC outfit, enthusiastically advertises Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled,” an ID movie:

    Special pre-release SALE! Get everyone you know to view this eye-opening documentary. Host a video party at your home! Order now to receive it immediately upon its worldwide release! (Ships beginning October 21)

    The lie of evolution must be exposed!

    The message of this top-quality expose’ will both enthrall and shock you. Ben Stein’s amazing, much-discredited (by evolutionists!) documentary is worthy of an Academy Award(R). But it will never receive one, because it reveals that America is losing some of its most important freedoms (academic freedoms, especially in tax-supported institutions) because of what atheistic evolutionists are doing. You will be astounded at what they have already done to squash educational freedom and mock God . . .

    . . . . A very popular “evolution-busting” tool to expose the lack of academic freedom in America’s schools today, we urge you to use it as a powerful resource for outreach. This film is an excellent springboard to tell people who the real intelligence behind the universe is: the Creator God of the Bible. Buy an extra copy and tell your pastor that the whole church—including the teens—must see it!

    Professional review
    “Expelled is a highly entertaining and riveting documentary . . . it’s one of those rare films that I urge you not to miss.”
    — Ken Ham, CEO/President of Answers in Genesis–USA

    — from
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....9,229.aspx

    The Answers-in-Genesis website also sells Michael Behe’s ID book Darwin’s Black Box.

  49. 49
    StephenB says:

    —-Jerry: “I am not sure I follow what you are getting at. Why am I confused?”

    Uniformitarianism is a basic principle of geology and paleontology. It holds that the same geological processes that operate today also operated in the distant past. Catastrophism holds that earth surface features originated suddenly by a process radically different from those we now observe. Yes, in the context of uniformitarianism, “catastrophic events” can occur, but that doesn’t alter the principle. You are confusing “catastrophic events” in the context of the principle of uniformatarianism, with the principle Catastrophism, which is totally incompatible with the principle of uniformitarianism.

  50. 50
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    “Yes, in the context of uniformitarianism, “catastrophic events” can occur, ”

    They not only “can” occur but they occur frequently and gradual events lead to catastrophic events all the time which are in turn modified by gradual events just as they do today. The geological record is consistent with both happening frequently. It is a complete law and chance process.

    Neither of which is happening today in biology. We see no gradual accumulation of new complex functional formations nor do we see any catastrophic changes either. Nor do we see any gradual events happening in the past that led to new organized functionality. Geology has no organized functionality in it where as biology does.

    People like to use analogies to make their case as do Darwinists who look to the geological record or language change as examples of how evolution might work. But one is law and chance completely that leads to no functional complexity and one is intelligently designed though chaotic in nature and subject to environmental effects.

    Again I do not know what the point you are making is about. For such a clear writer, you are confusing me on this.

  51. 51
    YEC says:

    Apparently Obama recently said:

    “I do not believe it is helpful to our students to cloud discussions of science with non-scientific theories like intelligent design that are not subject to experimental scrutiny”

    Somehow I doubt Obama (and probably McCain too) really knows a thing about ID. Do you think he could explain irreducable complexity, or no free lunch, or universal probability limits? I doubt it. He probably thinks the sum total of teaching ID would amount to “On the other hand students, some people believe that the world around us is the result of intelligent design (end of lesson).”

  52. 52
    YEC says:

    jerry,

    Just time for a quick response… YECs have dealt with all those items you have listed. Unfortunately, most people think about YEC in the same way they think about ID … they don’t bother to get a real understanding of it because they think they know enough already.

    I understand that there is a fairly comprehensive YEC geology book coming out soon by Snelling which will gather in one place some of the excellent YEC work that has been going on that isn’t always easily accessed. This kind of book has been needed for some time. I hope you take the time to read that book and maybe get a new perspective on YEC arguments.

    Your name must have been in the moderation list twice or I didn’t save the list after I removed it. Sorry about that. You should be off moderation now. -ds

  53. 53
    Larry Fafarman says:

    jerry said (#47) —

    I am not a geologist but have studied it in bits and pieces and the gradualism that is hoped for in biology but embarrassingly missing is present in geology in several different processes. These gradual processes that are operating each day in our present time and are consistent with many of the structures we find in the world. The biologists cannot say the same.

    As I said, I have wondered about “slot canyons,” e.g., The Narrows in Zion National Park. Is this the result of natural gradual erosion? Does it seem reasonable that the river could saw straight down through the rock with none of the side erosion that we see in other canyons such as the Grand Canyon? As for the Grand Canyon, does it seem reasonable that natural erosion could create such a wide canyon, up to 18 miles wide? And the Colorado River today seems like such a silly little river in comparison to the size of the Grand Canyon.

  54. 54
    jerry says:

    For all you interested in the ID/TE debate, Timaeus has reappeared on ASA and there is an extensive discussion about ID there. Timaeus is defending ID against many TE’s and answering their questions about ID.

    The list of ASA for September is

    http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200809/

    And Timaeus’s post is not by him but by Ted Davis. Scroll down to the post by Ted Davis

    Ted Davis (Mon Sep 22 2008- 15:35:54 EDT)

    I have not read all the replies and Timaeus’s replies to the questions put to him because everything represents 53 pages printed out.

    It might be useful starting a thread here to monitor what is being said and see if we agree with what is being said. So far I think Timaeus has been giving a great defense of ID there.

  55. 55
    Paul Giem says:

    Jerry (and StephenB),

    I find the suggestion that ID disassociate itself from YEC somewhat amusing. Both Behe and Dembski have clearly done that, and look at how much good it did them with the scientific community. Furthermore, if ID is defined as the concept that there is evidence supporting the agency of some kind (or kinds) of intelligent designer in the physical realm and that this evidence should be taken straightforwardly, then YEC’s believe in intelligent design. The major divergence is the time frame. And we will still be (natural) allies and support the concept of intelligent design, because we actually believe in it also. Defining away the relationship won’t make it go away.

    StephenB, you wrote (32),

    The YECs are far more rational than the other two groups, questionable assumptions notwithstanding. They give straight answers to straight quesetions and they don’t look for every opportunity to escape when the argument is not going their way.

    Thanks.

    In (19) you say,

    If ID is committed to following where the evidence leads, it can’t make a prior commitment to an old earth.

    I agree. I would go further. If ID is committed to following where the evidence leads, it can’t make a prior commitment to ID. ID must follow from the evidence. These people who want commitments sound suspiciously like religious bigots to me, the same kind as they accuse (sometimes rightly) YEC’s of being.

    jerry, (46)

    Regarding evolution, you say, “YEC’s don’t really believe in evolution but ID accepts evolution and only debates the mechanism for it.” This needs clarification. There are at least 6 meanings of evolution:
    (1) change over time,
    (2) change in biology over time,
    (3) biological changes driven by RV&NS,
    (4) changes in biology leading to new species,
    (5) the emergence of new orders, classes, phyla, and possibly kingdoms by RV&NS, and
    (6) the progression of the universe from the Big Bang to human history without any intelligent intervention.

    Most educated YEC’s in fact believe in evolution under definitions 1-4. While many of them assume that speciation is more a matter of sorting through pre-existing (“front-loaded”) information than the creation of new mutations, I do not know of a YEC who doesn’t believe that the latter happens, as exemplified by sickle-cell disease and some kinds of bacterial resistance (AIG doesn’t like me to say this, but I doubt that even they would disagree with the concepts outlined here; they just don’t want to call it evolution). So unless you are talking about definitions 5 and 6, YEC’s in fact do believe in evolution, and your statement is incorrect.

    However, most ID adherents don’t believe in definitions 5 and 6 either. So in order for your statement to be true, you must have a different definition of evolution. You need to make clear what that definition is.

    That means that your statement, “Evolution is not something ID can remain neutral on and the potential mechanisms for it”, needs clarification.

    Furthermore, when you state, “I do not think the age of the earth is one it can remain neutral on”, you miss an important point. StephenB has clearly indicated that he is not neutral on the age of the earth, or more to the point, the age of life on earth. He clearly at present believes that the evidence is strongly in support of an old earth with old life, and believes that this evidence should be trusted. What more do you want? An oath saying that he will never in the future consider YEC under any circumstances?

    StephenB made a reasonable request:

    B] Explain exactly what you mean by disassociation and be explcit about how that should be made public. (Should Michael Behe challenge Paul Nelson to a duel at sunrise or should he simply run and hide when Paul says “good morning.”)

    Do you simply want a disclaimer stating that the author believes in the standard geologic time scale? That’s already been done by Behe and Dembski (and StephenB). Should YEC’s not be allowed to comment on this blog, while Ted Davis and even sparc continue to comment? What precisely do you want done that is not already done? That Darwinists recognize that ID is not creationism? The chances of that happening are close to those of insulin spontaneously assembling, and it has nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with political advantage.

    I agree that you need “to think out more” what you want to say, so am trying to give you some clarifying feedback.

  56. 56
    StephenB says:

    Jerry:

    Thanks for the link and the heads up. This looks interesting. Timeaus is very patient and his TE adversaries have been courteous—and not too overwhelmingly numerous. I hope the dialogue continues.

  57. 57
    Paul Giem says:

    jerry (47),

    I agree with YEC (52). To take two of your examples; are you aware that there is evidence that at least one magnetic reversal happened very rapidly?

    And given the speed at which the island of Surtsey emerged, how much time is actually required to produce the Hawaiian Islands (presumably what you referred to when you mentioned “volcanic island formation”)?

  58. 58
    DaveScot says:

    Jerry

    As I thought would happen, you couldn’t say a single substantive thing about how design detection gives us any information about the age of the earth.

    You need geology, astronomy, chemistry, and physics among other things to support an old earth, not intelligent design.

  59. 59
    DaveScot says:

    PaulGiem

    It isn’t how fast the Hawaiian Islands rose up above sea level. It’s how slowly they erode back below it.

    You’re beating a dead horse and making yourself look stupid in the process. Overwhelming evidence points to an earth orders of magnitude older than 6,000 years. If the God of Abraham created the earth six thousand years ago he went to great pains to make it appear to the observer that he did it closer to six billion years ago.

  60. 60
    jerry says:

    Dave,

    I have only a short time to answer your comment.

    No, ID needs to rule out law and chance to be a meaningful discipline and only deep time allows that. A young earth implies a short time so almost everything has to be designed. For ID to be meaningful, it must be an option not a necessity.

    You can use all those disciplines you named to support an old earth of a certain age but biology and evolution support an old earth too and has a valid mechanism for causing most of the change within biology, a mechanism which takes considerable time to play out. Micro evolution is the observed process of changes to populations over time through regular biological processes such as cell division, sexual reproduction, mutations, epigenetic processes, natural selection etc. Micro evolution is understood to a certain degree and is constantly being modified as science proceeds. Micro evolution demands there be an old earth for all the biological complexity to be present. You cannot pinpoint a date from micro evolution like you could from physics but it has to be fairly old. It is not something that could happen over a short time. So if ID wants to play in the evolution area, it must acknowledge this. Something it cannot rule out, must be accepted as a viable explanation.

    Now the biological clock that micro evolution demands is not as necessarily old as the earth as seen from geology or astronomy but it could be. So ID has to dispute a young earth but can be quite comfortable with an old earth but not a too old one. In other words a young earth is anathema to ID but an old earth is not and an infinite earth is also anathema. So we are dealing with a Goldilocks analogy here.

    The theories of physics and astronomy are inherent in ID. For example, the upb of Dembski uses specific dates to limit this number. If the universe was eternal as was thought till less than a hundred years ago by many then the upb has no meaning. So ID uses the concept of an old but limited earth in its science. It depends upon the big bang cosmology.

    Unless you think that all of it just was created a few thousand years ago but there is no scientific evidence for this so ID cannot be neutral and as I said in such a scenario ID is meaningless.

    Where did the 300,000 species of beetles come from? I do not keep repeating this example because I particularly like beetles but use it as an example of how much variety there is and right now the only logical process to explain most of them is a naturalistic process playing out over a long period of time. A process that is completely in sync with ID and may on closer examination represent great design and one that is completely as odds with a young earth.

    Even if a population of beetles was created 6,000 years ago there is not enough time through any mechanism we know of to create this variety unless all were created at once. It must have been a very buggy ark.

  61. 61
    Patrick says:

    The theories of physics and astronomy are inherent in ID. For example, the upb of Dembski uses specific dates to limit this number. If the universe was eternal as was thought till less than a hundred years ago by many then the upb has no meaning. So ID uses the concept of an old but limited earth in its science.

    I said pretty much the same thing to Hugh Ross last time I met him and he was slamming the ID movement. I would agree that if 6000 year YEC were true then the UPB–while still be true–would be irrelevant from a practical perspective. Why bother with heavy math when even a “gut feeling calculation” would do.

    But here is where I disagree. Jerry, you seem to be conflating the ID Movement with core ID theory. The personalities and varying opinions of the Movement should not be conflated with the scientific tools. The UPB is only one tool and it is a maximum estimate for the entire universe.

    Core ID theory is compatible with many competing hypotheses, some of which are tied to particular religions. Compatibility does not rely on agreeing entirely with Dembski’s UPB estimate. A hypothesis is only in conflict if it contradicts design detection. Even if the UPB estimate is wrong and the universe’s age is, say, 1/4 to 3/4 that of current estimates I would still say that 500 informational bits is a good universal baseline. Although, personally I think a Biological Probably Bound BPB based upon only Earth’s history would be more practical.

    One can begin on a personal level with the starting presumptions of a YECer and yet adopt an alternative worldview. Then if the results of the evidential investigation overturn the very presupposition of the initial investigation it is even more convincing. Proof via self-contradiction is a powerful tool. Sal Cordova does this. He accepts the dates as valid and yet shows how Darwinism fails. Your paragraph on beetles is an example of this, since you start with assumption of 6000 years, then look at evidence and say, “How could this be?”

    In short, I see no need to rend the Big Tent. I commented on other reasons over at OE.

  62. 62
    jerry says:

    Patrick,

    If ID is going to be a meaningful player in anything scientific, it must make meaningful scientific statements using its own particular scientific approach. It can not just ignore what is inconvenient for it to address because of political considerations. ID cannot sit off on the periphery of the science universe and only make statements about its little corner of the universe without considering the rest of the universe. Not if it wants to be serious.

    If ID wants to make statements about evolution, then it should only make statements about what it can conclude. If it wants to make a statement about Darwinian processes, then it must say that Darwinian processes is perfectly acceptable to ID for most of life on the planet. If ID has no information that would rule out Darwinian processes to explain most of life or any particular aspect of life then it can not just say it does not make sense but must actually say it does make sense (note to critics that I did not say all of life). To be a science it must provide a series of conclusions and if it is to be a serious science then it cannot contradict other scientific findings unless it has good evidence to do so. It can only rule out any Darwinian/other naturalistic processes if it specifies which examples it rules out and what is the scientific evidence for it. Otherwise it must accept them.

    I gave an example of the diversity of life on the planet. What caused this diversity? ID cannot ignore it. The only logical conclusion at the moment is that the earth is old. Unless one wants to say they were all created in situ but then one has to deal with the rest of the evidence.

    I am not sure what is meant by the ID Movement and how ID science is being conflated with it. I realize that ID is glommed onto by a whole host of people for their own personal ends but what is the ID movement. I thought that this site is mainly about science. We are trying to prevent

    “incorrect and unsupported conclusions about biological and cosmological origins.”

    If that is true then why does ID tolerate young earth creationism as a partner by ignoring their science and attacking the science of neo Darwinism unless we think young earth creationism is correct about biological and cosmological origins. I know the reasons but I am trying to say that it is counter productive and antithetical to the objectives of ID as outlined above on this site. It is also antithetical to good science and I believe good politics. There is a bigger tent out there where ID does not have to ignore good science.

  63. 63
    Patrick says:

    For a question like “What caused this diversity?” I would say that would be the job, or within the scope, of the various ID-compatible hypotheses/models. Seriously, how do you expect the tools of core ID to even begin to address that question?

    The ID Movement is the people. And I don’t see a point in causing a schism by claiming everyone within that movement must adopt a particular hypothesis or you’re out. Do you think that in-fighting would resolve anything? As an individual you of course can constructively criticize hypotheses that you believe are incorrect, but that’s different from adopting an “official model” for the ID Movement as a whole. It’s almost like if the Darwinists as a whole were to say that you cannot be a Darwinist unless you accept a model favored by Dawkins or anyone else.

  64. 64
    DaveScot says:

    Jerry and Patrick

    The UPB using a 14byo universe is simply ceding a point for the sake of argument.

    Cosmological ID is underserved. The fine tuning of the physical constants of the universe is like a trade secret of theoretical physics.

  65. 65
    Patrick says:

    Agreed. There needs to be some sort of agreed upon starting point. Might as well be the standard model since it serves as a good baseline for computing an estimate for probabilistic resources. Although, for an absolute maximum plasma models would probably be more appropriate since, if I remember correctly, some of them assume hundreds of billions of years. Problem with using that maximum for a UPB is, is there any biological object with an IC core composed of many thousands of informational bits?

  66. 66
    DaveScot says:

    Patrick

    The fine tuning problem as I understand it isn’t related to the age of the universe.

    Physicist Carl Frederick did a really good job explaining it.

  67. 67
    Patrick says:

    Sorry, I was only replying to your first sentence. But I would agree that “Cosmological ID is under-served”. Then again, there are many people who agree with cosmological ID but disagree with biological ID.

  68. 68
    StephenB says:

    Patrick:

    Jerry:

    I think Dembski’s upb uses Old Earth numbers to provide a conservative estimate, not to reject YEC as a possibility. If he allowed YEC numbers in the EF, Darwinists would say that his methodology is flawed because he didn’t give natural causes enough time to either succeed or fail. So, to answer that objection, he must say, “OK, I’ll give you all the time you think you need and it still isn’t enough.” That does not seem to be the same thing as saying that he must rule out YEC in principle.

  69. 69
    jerry says:

    Patrick,

    you said:

    “Seriously, how do you expect the tools of core ID to even begin to address that question?”

    If ID cannot address this issue then ID must say that Darwinian processes cannot not be ruled out of consideration as an explanation for most of the life on the plaet. And until that time, ID should accept what is considered most likely by evolutionary biology. Now anyone as an individual can have a different opinion but ID cannot.

  70. 70
    Larry Fafarman says:

    jerry said (#62) —

    If that is true then why does ID tolerate young earth creationism as a partner by ignoring their science and attacking the science of neo Darwinism unless we think young earth creationism is correct about biological and cosmological origins.

    The Darwinists consider YEC to be ID’s “partner” whether ID proponents like it or not. That is why the Darwinists are always calling ID “ID creationism.”

  71. 71
    jerry says:

    Larry Fafarman,

    you said

    “”The Darwinists consider YEC to be ID’s “partner” whether ID proponents like it or not. That is why the Darwinists are always calling ID “ID creationism.”

    Yes, they will continue to do so and they will be right to a considerable degree. Just read this thread. They are part of the ID movement and are welcomed by ID as part of the big tent strategy. The ID movement is the ID theorists and the YEC’s walking hand in hand against atheistic materialism. Unfortunately this alliance inhibits others from joining in this particular effort. ID has one of the strongest weapons against atheistic materialism there is and it is being weakened by a flawed alliance.

    Your point could also be directed at this site in another context. The same thing is done here when authors and contributors conflate TE’s with hard core Darwinists. And people here have said some nasty things about TE’s in this vein.

    As I said the debate would change considerably if ID took a different tack. See my comment #46.

  72. 72
    jerry says:

    One of the best defenses of ID is being made today and in the last few days by Timaeus. He is responding at ASA and Ted Davis is relaying his messages.

    So if you go there to read what Timaeus is saying, look for the Ted Davis comments and in them you will find Timaeus defense of ID. It is well worth the read.

    There are several comments by the members of ASA and some are good and some are inane but they are being answered.

    Thank you Ted Davis for facilitating this.

  73. 73
    Upright BiPed says:

    Jerry…can you provide that link again please (I lost it)

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    —–Jerry: “As I said the debate would change considerably if ID took a different tack. See my comment #46.”

    Could you be more specific about what you mean by disassociating and taking a different tack.

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    Upright BiPod,

    Here is the link. It was in my comment #54 above. Here is the appropriate excerpt:

    The list of ASA for September is

    http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200809/

    And Timaeus’s post is not posted ,by him but by Ted Davis. Scroll down to the posts by Ted Davis

    It might be one of the best ever defenses of ID there is. Timaeus is a very bright, well read and good writer. It is long so start with the Ted Davis posts and read them or do as I did and copy them into a word processor to print out. There are lot of funny characters in the text so I used a search and replace to get rid of them. It makes the reading easier.

  76. 76
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    Suppose all ID discussions started with the following points:

    ———–
    ID accepts good science:

    The earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is approximately 13 billion years

    Life on earth began about 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago.

    Evolution which is the arrival of new and distinct species as well as minor modifications of current species has happened over the last 3.5 million years and there are periods when this phenomena of new specie origins has been rapid and times when it has been slow.

    It has progressed since 3.5 billion years ago showing a pattern to greater complexity sometimes with great changes happening in relatively short time periods such as 5-10 million years and sometimes with few changes over several million years.

    The number of cell types of animals has been increasing since the beginning with over two hundred cell types in many living mammals. Along with this increase in cell types there has been an increase in complexity of the functions which the organisms can accomplish.

    The driving force for most of the diversity of life on the planet seems to be due to Darwinian processes which have been considerably changed since Darwin’s time but generally follow a pattern of new minor variation driven by environmental factors but modified by a whole host of genetic and epigenetic processes that tend to produce gradual changes in species over time. However, this process has never been to shown to be able to produce new complex functional capabilities but only minor changes probably creating at best a new genera.

    However, the mechanism by which new variation appears in the populations of the species on the earth is at this time mostly unknown. There is no known theory that can explain the arrival of new complex functional capabilities in species. Thus, while the traditional Darwinian processes can very often explain changes once this complex functional capabilities arrives, it cannot explain the origin of capabilities.

    In other words using an old saying, “Darwinian processes can explain the survival of the fittest but not the arrival of the fittest.”

    The concept of common descent or uniform common descent is not a given but may have happened. It is not an essential part of evolutionary biology but a possible conclusion from the evidence which is still to be debated.

    Thus, the evolutionary debate is mainly about the mechanism for the development of new complex functional capabilities and secondarily about how fast some of these complex functional capabilities can permeate a population once they arrive.

    The resort to “deep time” as an explanation is not a valid scientific concpt and used mainly to cover up inadedquacies of the current evolutionary paradigm.
    ————–

    This certainly can be improved upon but it is a starter and if every ID conversation opened with this or a similar manifesto, all the contrary debate about creationism or anti science would disappear. Now I don’t doubt that opponents will still try the old tricks but over time they will get worn out and disappear.

    But the ID movement is currently not allowed to take such a tack because of political considerations. But hey, I as an individual can take this position. But when I and like minded individuals do, we will be cast aside as not really representing the ID movement.

  77. 77
    Rude says:

    There is a steady drum beat out there—from friends as well as foes—which would have ID be something bigger than the Big Tent. Rather that let ID be simple design detection, there is also the desire that ID take a stand on other issues, such as, for example, the age of the earth. Some YECs would like to exclude the OEs and some OEs would like to exclude the YECs. But to do that ID would have to be an organization with the power to fix doctrine and implement excommunication.

    How many want ID to be an organization with such powers?

    I prefer it the way it is. You can love ID and be an agnostic, a Hindu, a New Ager, even a Democrat if you behave. You are in if you agree that it is OK to look for design in nature—you are out if you don’t agree. You are with ID if you want to be—there is no membership and there are no dues. So why can’t the TEs enter the Big Tent? Well, do they want to? Do they agree that it is OK to look for design in nature? The TE tends to love vast verbiage that says little, but what he does say is two things:

    1) God, contrary to Genesis 1:26-28, is so alien that there can be no comparison between human instigated design and Divine Design.

    2) Darwinism adequately explains the appearance of design in biological organisms.

    But ID does not proclaim that the designer is God. Some religious agnostics who reject Darwinism are friends of ID, even if they remain agnostic in regard to design.

    You can be on death row for murder and if you think it’s OK to look for design in nature you’re in, and you can be Mother Theresa and if you think it’s not OK to look for design in nature your out.

  78. 78
    Rude says:

    “But the ID movement is currently not allowed to take such a tack because of political considerations.”

    But wait a minute!!

    Can’t ID proponents argue any way they want? I always start by distinguishing between Darwinism (the theory) and evolution (the facts). I say that I do not dispute the geologic column, the history of life, the age of the planet—I say that evolution is evidence—evidence for design.

    If we must publicly excommunicate supporters who might be YECs just to avoid embarrassment (ours or the snobs’) I say we lack courage.

  79. 79
    StephenB says:

    —-Jerry: “Suppose all ID discussions started with the following points:”

    —–“The earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is approximately 13 billion years”

    —-“Life on earth began about 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago…………….continued @76…………………,

    I, for one, would be uncomfortable with a manifesto- like presentation because it gives away too much ground and would distract from the main point. As a tribute to the truly ignorant, however, I would be open to a quick disclaimer as long as it is subordinated to the main ID definition, which should not be tweaked in order to appease critics. After describing is mission, the statement might offer a quick note that reads something like this:

    (Although ID rejects the most radical form of materialistic evolution, it is not anti-evolution as such. It does not rule out common descent, make any affirmation concerning the extent or texture of the evolutionary process, or subscribe to any faith-based approach to science.)

    None of this should be necessary, however, because ID should have the right to define itself and not to have that definition altered or misrepresented by uninformed or hostile critics. Everything turns on how the problem is defined and diagnosed. You and I define and diagnose the problem differently. That means that one of us would get bad results if one of us was allowed to have his way. —Bad diagnosis, bad decision—bad decision, bad results.

    In your judgment, most TEs and Darwinists are confused about ID and its associations, causing them question ID arguments. In my judgment, most TEs and Darwinists prefer not to accept ID and use “confusion” as a pretext to avoid facing ID arguments. Therefore, you think that the solution is to de-emphasize our adversaries’ confusion, convince them that WE are not confused, and come to a meeting of the minds. I think the solution is to keep making our case, expose our adversaries’ confusion, and seek out ID prospects from the ranks of the uncommitted.

    We should worry less about converting intractable ideologues and more about recruiting open-minded onlookers—less about changing minds that have already been made up and more about illuminating minds that are not yet impervious to reason.

  80. 80
    Larry Fafarman says:

    jerry said (#71) —

    you said,”The Darwinists consider YEC to be ID’s “partner” whether ID proponents like it or not. That is why the Darwinists are always calling ID “ID creationism.””

    Yes, they will continue to do so and they will be right to a considerable degree. Just read this thread. They are part of the ID movement and are welcomed by ID as part of the big tent strategy. The ID movement is the ID theorists and the YEC’s walking hand in hand against atheistic materialism. Unfortunately this alliance inhibits others from joining in this particular effort. ID has one of the strongest weapons against atheistic materialism there is and it is being weakened by a flawed alliance.

    There is no “flawed alliance.” Darwinists’ linkage of YEC to ID has nothing to do with anything that ID’ers or YEC’ers do or don’t do. The Darwinists make this linkage for two reasons: (1) to generally try to discredit ID and (2) so they can use the Constitution’s establishment clause to attack ID in the courts.

  81. 81
    Rude says:

    “We need more than good arguments” is how this thread began—and I totally agree.

    The materialists would like us to get bogged down in endless debate which they love to obfuscate and appeal to their authority.

    The arguments have been made—they’re out there—those with any curiosity and a bit of courage will look into it.

    Academics are notorious for their lack of courage—how many stood up to the Nazis, for example? It was pretty much only religious people who did that—not academics. So let’s don’t drive away political allies—even if we don’t agree on everything.

  82. 82
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    I am not sure what you would propose. In other words I am confused except that you do not like my specifics. My specifics may be poorly stated for example maybe it should read

    “ID has not problem with an earth that is 4.5 billion years old and a universe that is approximately 13 billion years old” or

    “ID has no problem with common descent”

    and similarly.

    As for the rest of your comment, I am not sure what you would mean or are getting at.

    I actually don’t think I said anything that gives away anything of consequence. I have just stated some conclusions that are generally accepted by most in the world and are not antithetical to ID. When one does, they should never come up in the discussion.

    I am not sure what the main point is that my list is distracting from. From my point of view it is getting out of the way distractions that never let ID get to any point because it is always on the defensive. Just look at the Fuller presentation for one fantastic example.

    There are other examples I can point to. In fact I have never heard a good debate from the ID stand point. There is always too much irrelevant discussions going on. I am sure there are some but even in the stand alone presentations where the presenter has complete control of the discussion in the question and answer parts I have often seen the presenter go on the defensive immediately with things that my list would get rid of.

    Look at some of the inane examples the people at ASA come up with in reply to Timaeus’ defense of ID. He has done a good job of diffusing much of the standard distractions. The comments indicate how uninformed some of them are. But they also serve to inform someone like Timaeus in his next essay what to get out of the way so even these inappropriate comments are not broached.

    Maybe you want to hone in on atheistic materialism and so do I but I believe the best way to do that is to never mention it and leave the listeners, who are not Darwinists, with the necessary information to come to their own conclusions. Too many people here assume the audience are Darwinists and I view them as distractions.

    My list has evolved over time from reading other comments and I have just learned a lot from reading Timaeus. So may others who just lurk here and may not be interested in getting involved in the conversation but just want reassurance in their own beliefs. Especially those who have the idea that ID is another form of creationism. They certainly will not get that from what I say yet I defend ID as much as anyone on this site.

  83. 83
    StephenA says:

    First they came for the YECs, and I did not speak out because I was not a Creationist. Then they came for the IDists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Design Theorist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  84. 84
    StephenB says:

    Jerry, we can revisit this discussion again after Timeuas makes his case and we get a chance to observe the reaction of his ASA audience.

  85. 85
    Paul Giem says:

    DaveScot, (59)

    You mention the erosion of the Hawaiian Islands as an argument for the standard geologic time scale. I guess I am missing your point. Could you outline your argument briefly, or point me to a source (or both)?

    I’m not sure whether this is the appropriate forum, but my research in carbon-14 dating appears to suggest a date for life on earth in the range of thousands of years. If so, perhaps God has left us some clues that the age of the earth is closer to the Biblical picture than to the standard geologic one.

  86. 86
    Paul Giem says:

    Jerry (and StephenB),

    Let me try my hand at a suggested disclaimer.
    _____________

    The core belief that defines ID is that there is evidence for some kind of intelligence that is capable of creating and instantiating design in the physical universe, based on the similarity of certain features of nature to known designed artifacts and the absence of any reasonable model of their occurrence by non-designed processes.

    While this core principle is compatible with a wide variety of other beliefs, from young earth creationism to old earth creationism to God-guided evolution to agnosticism, and keeping in mind that science is fallible and must be recognized as such, I/our group [name group here] believe in an age of the universe of some 14 billion years, an age of the earth of around 4.6 billion years, and an age of life on earth of about 3.8 billion years, and accepts the standard geologic time scale as essentially accurate.

    We also believe that there is a significant role for evolution, both in terms of change over time in the kinds of organisms found in the fossil record, and in terms of natural variations and random variation being responsible for both microevolution and speciation. We remain skeptical of its ability to completely explain what Ernst Mayr called megaevolution.

    It is therefore grossly inappropriate to argue that I am/we are “creationists” without further defining that term, as both I/we and young earth creationists recognize that there are fundamental differences between us, and specifically arguments that are dependent on a young age creationist reading of the book of Genesis or a young age of the earth are invalid against my/our position and should be recognized as such.

    [Some may wish to go further and disclaim Biblical inerrancy, or disclaim a fundamental role for the Bible in determining, or testing, scientific theories, or explicitly accept common descent, as long as that descent does not exclude designed modification.]
    _________

    I think that both you, jerry, and StephenB could sign on to the above. If so, I would encourage you to do so. However, I share StephenB’s skepticism as to its effect, given how ineffective a much longer disclaimer has been for Behe.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    Paul, for whatever it is worth, I could sign on to @86 without hesitation. Of course, you know my position, which you also probably agree with. I don’t think we should be justifying ourselves to our adversaries, because I don’t think that we need justifying. It is their sensibilities that should be on trial, not ours.

  89. 89
    jerry says:

    Well I disagree and I do not look at people as adversaries but just people who do not understand who we are. So I have modified the introductory document and readily admit it could use a lot of help from a good writer and some critical analysis from others.

    What is wrong and what should be added are some of the critical comments I am looking for. I may end of as the lone ranger on this but I believe something similar is necessary for ID in order to explain itself to the uninformed masses and the people at Panda’s Thumb and many as ASA are not the target. It is the people I meet every day who are well educated and know nothing about ID except what is said in the press that are my target. If in the process scientists learn more about what ID is really about, it precludes them from making wrong assertions without the opportunity to show them they are misleading.

    Here is a rewrite of my points given Paul’s comments

    The core belief that defines ID is that there is evidence for some kind of intelligence that is capable of creating and instantiating design in the physical universe, based on the similarity of certain features of nature to known designed artifacts and processes and the absence of any reasonable model of their occurrence by non-designed processes. ID does not insist that any investigation must stop looking for non-designed processes as causes only that intelligent input be a possible inference. We believe that in certain cases it is the best inference but that this may be superseded by future findings.

    This core principle is compatible with a wide variety of other beliefs and some of these belief systems have adopted this core principle as an essential element of their belief system. This does not mean that ID endorses these belief systems. Just as capitalism and socialism both espouse certain common engineering principles, different belief systems have adopted intelligent design principles.

    ID as a science accepts only good science and insists that only good science be considered when addressing scientific issues:

    Relevant to evolution which is the topic here, ID accepts that

    The earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old and the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years. The necessary ingredients for life were created by cosmological processes that slowly produced the various higher order elements over the last 8-10 billion years.

    Life on earth began about 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago.

    Evolution which is the arrival of new and distinct species as evidenced by the fossil record as well as minor modifications of current species has happened over the last 3.5 million years and there are periods when this phenomena of new specie origins has been rapid and times when it has been slow. The fact of evolution does not imply any mechanism or rationale for the appearance of any new species.
    Life has progressed since 3.5 billion years ago showing a pattern to species of greater complexity sometimes with great changes happening in relatively short time periods such as 5-10 million years and sometimes with few changes over much longer periods of time.

    The number of cell types of animals has been increasing since the origin of multi-cellular organisms about 800 million years ago with over two hundred cell types currently in many living mammals. Along with this increase in cell types there has been an increase in complexity of the functions which the organisms can accomplish.

    The driving force for most of the diversity of life on the planet seems to be due to Darwinian processes. Darwin’s original ideas have been considerably changed since Darwin’s time but the theory today generally hypothesizes that the appearance of new minor variation in species is driven by environmental factors but modified by a whole host of genetic and epigenetic processes that tend to produce gradual changes in species over time. However, this process has never been to shown to be able to produce new complex functional capabilities but only minor changes probably creating at best a new genera. We remain skeptical of its ability to completely explain what Ernst Mayr called megaevolution.

    However, the mechanism by which new variation appears in the populations of the species on the earth that lead to new complex functional capabilities is at this time mostly unknown. We recognize that there is much speculation on this topic but at present all that is available is mainly speculation. While the traditional Darwinian processes can very often explain changes once these complex functional capabilities arrives, it cannot explain the origin of capabilities.

    In other words using an old saying, “Darwinian processes can explain the survival of the fittest but not the arrival of the fittest.”

    The concept of common descent or universal common descent is not a given but may have happened. It is not an essential part of evolutionary biology but a possible conclusion from the evidence which is still to be debated. ID does not dispute the analysis that many species with common genomic elements probably resulted from these species having a common ancestor and that most of differences of these species are due to micro evolutionary processes. This is an area of debate to be resolved through future research.

    Thus, the evolutionary debate is mainly about the mechanism for the development of new complex functional capabilities and secondarily about how fast some of these complex functional capabilities can permeate a population once they arrive.
    The resort to “deep time” as an explanation is not a valid scientific concept and used mainly to cover up inadequacies of the current evolutionary paradigm.

    It is also grossly inappropriate to argue that we are “creationists” without further defining that term. We are not young earth creationists though we are aware that many young earth creationists often use intelligent design to justify their beliefs just as socialists and capitalists use efficiency arguments to justify their distribution systems. There are fundamental differences between us, and specifically arguments that are dependent on a young age creationist reading of the book of Genesis or a young age of the earth are irrelevant for our position and should be recognized as such. We are not experts on young earth creationism nor the bible and because of this no questions about religious beliefs should be asked because we in reality are not able to answer them correctly. Those who espouse intelligent design are of various religious and non religious backgrounds.

  90. 90
    Paul Giem says:

    DaveScot, (87)

    Thanks. I still have some questions about the comparative rapidity of erosion of shield and cinder cone volcanoes, and suspect that catastrophic processes can erode faster than normal processes, but should not comment further on this without specific information about the composition and geography of the various islands. Your reference has given me some food for thought.

    jerry, (89)

    Your proposal is a reasonable one. It may be a little long, and you may wish to shorten it. I wish it would help, and if it did I would be delighted. However, as I noted, experience suggests that it will be ignored.

  91. 91
    DaveScot says:

    Paul Giem

    The best positive evidence of either an old universe is a Hubble photograph of a large galaxy that was hit by a smaller galaxy. It sent out a shockwave like a pebble hitting a puddle. The speed of the shockwave is easily calculated and so is the diameter within small enough margin of error to yield a time interval from initial impact to current diameter of the shockwave – a hundred million years. Plus the galaxy itself is millions of lightyears distant so we couldn’t even see that galaxy if there hadn’t been hundreds of millinos of years for the light to get here.

    It isn’t that there’s just one bit of evidence like this pointing to an old earth, there are a million layers of annual snow deposition in arctic ice cores, there are a million layers of salt deposition in a US saltmine near the great lakes. Speed of continental drift is easily measured and there’s no doubt S.America and Africa were once a single continent and they took millions of years to drift apart where they are today. The earth’s beginning is well enough modeled that we know it was molten and had to cool down for tens of millions of years before liquid water could exist. The list of things congruent with an old earth are truly legion and come from virtually every natural science.

  92. 92
    BarryA says:

    DaveScot, trying to prove that the universe/earth is old to a YEC by pointing to the overwhelming evidence is a thankless task. Everyone, everywhere understands that the evidence points to a universe/earth that are millions if not billions of years old. The YEC’s have an answer to all of that: 6,000 years ago God created the universe/earth with the “appearance” of great age.

    Now here’s the kicker. God, being God, can create a universe that appears to us to have great age if He wants to. Thus, this YEC argument cannot be refuted in principle.

    I do not see how the two sides on this will ever come together and, therefore, the point of discussing it.

  93. 93
    DaveScot says:

    Barry

    I don’t have a problem with in-place creation of a world that merely looks old. Anything is possible for an omnipotent creator. God could have set up the stage then put the players on it of course. The problem I have is when people think they’ve found flaws in the props that reveal it’s just staged to look old. The depth and breadth of contrived hypotheses explaining away the myriad contrary observations are collectively ludicrous. If God wanted the universe to have a consistent appearance of being very old He did a perfect job of it. One shouldn’t expect any less than perfection. It seems rather a dimunition of omnipotence to suggest otherwise.

  94. 94
    BarryA says:

    DaveScot, I agree that God did a perfect job of making the universe appear to be very old, and that is my point. I can see no purpose in arguing with people who deny this fact or try to explain it away.

  95. 95
    BarryA says:

    In other words, why appeal to evidence when even if the evidence goes 100% in one direction the person with whom you are arguing would nevertheless conclude the opposite. Is that not the very definition of futility?

  96. 96
    DaveScot says:

    Barry

    I think we are conflating two things that aren’t necessarily the same – young earth creationism and scientific creationism. Scientific creationism doesn’t argue that God made it look old. They argue that mainstream science has it all wrong and they detail how and why. They play by rules of science but the hypotheses they concoct are possible but unlikely taken one at a time and taken as a whole become ridiculous. On the other hand someone who says God created the universe in place with the appearance of age aren’t making a scientific argument, they’re just pointing out that it’s possible without offering any evidence or justification other than revelation. I won’t argue the latter but arguing the former can be productive as everyone stands to learn a bit from the other. Scientific creationists who I know put a lot of earnest effort into their explanations. I think it’s a futile undertaking but I respect the earnest effort and willingness to engage science on its own terms in the effort.

  97. 97
    Paul Giem says:

    DaveScot,

    You have correctly noted a very important distinction within young earth creationism. There are those who believe that God made it look old, and therefore that scientific evidence for great age, even if 100%, is a deception sent from God. I personally have theological difficulty with this position.

    There are others, which are sometimes called scientific creationists, who believe that one should play by the rules of science, at least except for the requirement made by many scientists that God cannot intervene in nature, and that when we do, eventually we will discover that the evidence points to a short age. I am much more comfortable with this approach.

    Scientific creationists can be argued with. Sometimes they (we) let their prejudices get the better of them (a common failing among scientists). But in principle, at least, they can be argued with, and thank you for defending us against BarryA in that regard (I like BarryA; I just think he is partly wrong here).

    I will tty to point out another subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) set of differences within the ranks of what are commonly (but slightly inaccurately) called YEC’s. Some believe the entire universe was created a few thousand years ago. These are most properly called young universe creationists (sometimes YUC’s). Some believe that only the earth, or only the solar system were included during creation week. These would be YEC’s but not YUC’s. And some believe that only the surface and atmosphere of the earth were remodeled during creation week. These might be called young life on earth creationists, or YLEC’s or sometimes YLC’s. All of them believe that the Phanerozoic strata are only a few thousand years old, and are at least theoretically vulnerable to evidence of an old age for geologic strata. But only YUC’s are troubled by an old age for galaxies.

    I personally have migrated from being a YLEC to being a YEC. I still see the scientific evidence for a young universe to be very weak, and the evidence for an old universe to be very strong, and so, while I am open to YUC arguments, I presently do not believe in YUC.

    So when you point out (91) the evidence of colliding galaxies, I agree with you. It is one of the reasons why I am not YUC. Unless and until there is a theory about, for example, the decreasing speed of light that can make correct predictions about physical phenomena that are not expected from more standard models, I am prepared to live with the more standard models.

    Some of your other examples deal more directly with the age of life on earth, although here the arguments are somewhat weaker. Specifically, there is a reasonable explanation of ice cores from a short-age perspective. Layers in salt mines may not (probably do not) correlate with yearly intervals. Continental drift may have been more rapid in the past than it is now. Arguments regarding the cooling rate of the earth assume (a) that this information is relevant to the age of life on earth, and (b) that the earth started out as originally molten, neither of which assumptions would be valid from a short-age perspective.

    However, to be perfectly fair, with my present knowledge your argument regarding the salt mine layers has some weight, as do your arguments from atolls. I do see them partly counterbalanced by such things as evidence from the erosion of mountains, for example Everest, that we discussed before, by paraconformities, and also by the fact that material up to supposedly 350 million years old still usually has detectable traces of carbon-14, which has a half-life of only 5,730 years. Those, especially the latter two, seem to me to be pretty powerful arguments for a short age at least for life on earth.

    I offer that more in a spirit of learning from each other than from dogmatism. I can actually be taught. Finally, while we may at present disagree in our assessment of where the truth probably lies, we may still agree that the universe shows, and features within the universe show, highly probable evidences of design, and may unite on that. In the meantime our agreement on this principle should not be interpreted as unanimity on “creationism”, and I will be happy to point that out to those who try to charge you with being a “creationist”.

  98. 98
    SingaporeSling says:

    Dr. Dembski:

    I just returned from the National Apologetics Conference. I wanted to thank you for mentioning it as it was the catalyst for 3 families to fly down from Toronto with our teenage kids to attend the conference. I attended both your sessions and enjoyed both of them. Several of us were disappointed that the second one was cut short and wished you had more time. Our kids enjoyed it and were challenged and strengthened in their faith.

    Thanks again – Paul.

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