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The control that evolution supporters hold over the debate “is a kind of an intellectual apartheid,” said Doug Groothuis, professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary and author of 10 books that explore the relationship between science and technology and belief…. “Intelligent design arguments don’t quote the Bible. They appeal to the phenomena in nature, like the complex functioning of the cell. If you can’t explain the complexity (of an organism) on the basis of natural law or chance, and it shows evidence of design, you can infer a designer.”


Dave thats a good point you make on things attributed to the "supernatural". & on the antibiotic example. - i must say you are wise beyond your years :) Giff - thanks also 4 ur comments i appreciate it. you made a pretty good point on faith. Charlie Charliecrs
"i think it really comes down to faith & its really a fine line what we chose to belive eh ?. again how would you not know intelligence and supernatural” are not necessarily synonymous ?" I think this is a misunderstanding of the nature of rational faith. Faith isn't saying "I like this idea, so I choose to believe it" regardless of evidence either way. Rather, faith says "I have found something to be trustworthy in areas I am knowldegable about, so I choose to trust it in areas where I am not so knowledgable." Giff
Dave, Your antibiotics example is interesting. I hadn't thought of ID being practical in that manner. My point was not to set up an exclusionary alternative between speculative and applied truth, and I share your excitement about applied truth - I am an engineer myself. But Schwartzman implies that truth is subordinate to utility. He doesn't say that ID should be excluded from education because it is false, but because it's (he thinks) useless. You've made an excellent case with antibiotics that ID is indeed useful. The deeper problem is, I think, that this case needs to be made at all. Engineering is about practical results, education is about truth. If education is subverted by making truth subject to utility, then the ID vs Darwinist argument won't ultimately matter anyway. taciturnus
Charlie - when I wrote "not necessarily synonmous" I was trying to say that I wasn't sure. The nature of sentience is still largely a mystery. Dembski I believe has written a monolog on "the nature of nature" and I seem to recall "intelligence" being one of the items discussed. I don't really like the term "supernatural" to begin with. If something appears supernatural it's a good bet our lack of understanding of the nature of nature is what makes it appear that way. taciturnus - I must plead guilty to extreme prejudice when choosing between unadorned truth and truth with practical application. I'd say that's the primary mindset separating engineers from scientists and philosophers. ID appeals to engineers for a couple of reasons. First it's probably because as designers themselves they are quick to recognize the designs of others. Even better is when they see an elegant design which they can admire and learn from. We take things apart to see how they work and then challenge ourselves to rebuild it with improvements. The Mount Everest of elegant, admirable designs to take apart, learn from, and improve upon IMO is the living cell. Secondly, while ID in and of itself is isn't a practical application it causes a paradigm shift in how questions in biology are framed and investigated. As Bill said, biologists need to become engineers. Rather than viewing biological structures as purposeless accidents with serendipitous results and trying to figure out how they work by accident reconstruction ID causes us to view biological structures as purposeful designs and we then try to figure out how an intelligent agent accomplished it. Viewing something as an accident when it isn't leads to wild goose chases. A good example of a wild goose chase is acquired resistance to antibiotics. It's empirical fact that most random mutations are either bad or neutral for the individual. The accident theorist presumes that unstoppable random mutations are the root cause in acquired resistance. The design theorist views it differently. A designer, realizing that most random mutations are deleterious or at best not helpful, wouldn't settle for random mutations. A designer would try to improve on randomness. Such an improvement might take the form of regulating the mutation rate based upon need. In good times he would prefer conservation based upon the adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" but in bad times he would prefer to fish for better solutions based upon the adage "it's already broke so we might as well tinker with it". Thus we'd look for a mechanism that regulates mutation rate based upon environmental triggers. In fact that's what we're finding. Bacteria don't just constantly mutate with an occasional serendipitous result. What they do is switch certain genes back and forth from conservation mode to mutation mode based upon environmental triggers. So now we have a potential way of stopping what the accident theorist presumed to be unstoppable. We can design a drug that switches off the mutation floodgate gene. Instead of reactively designing new antibiotics in a never-ending contest between man and disease we can proactively stop them from mutating in the first place. DaveScot
"I don't want to battle this out as a legitimate issue for the public sphere," Schwartzman said. "This is a Trojan horse, and within this horse comes something that will continue to be the undoing of whatever gains we're making in the world of science and math. What atom does (intelligent design) help us split? What miracle medicine does it help us achieve?" This comment indicates the currently degraded state of our educational system. Truth is an end in itself and needs no other justification. Yet Schwartzman implies that his problem with ID is not that it is false, but that it is unproductive. It doesn't "split atoms" or result in "miracle medicine". Truth is made subordinate to utility, rather than utility valued as a means to truth. This is the inversion of values that Plato indicated as the first step in the degeneration of society. What "gains" in science and math does ID threaten? If ID is true, does Euclid's geometry come into question? Newton's theory of gravitation? It doesn't even threaten the productive results of biological science. Whether ID or natural selection is the true story, genetic engineering will go on just the same. Really ID threatens nothing but the inversion of values itself. To take ID seriously is also to take seriously that education is about truth whatever its utility, and that the useful must be subject to the true. This is the real fear behind statements that ID "is a wedge to slip God back into public schools." Actually, it is a wedge to slip truth back into the public schools, which is just as threatening to those who value utility above all. taciturnus
Hey Dave, love your post man but i would semi - disagree with your last comment "I don’t believe that “intelligence” and “supernatural” are necessarily synonymous." personaly i think that its a fine line, if you think about it. everything needs faith. be it, science or religion or whatever. if we belived in evolution - we would need a bit of faith to belive it has happened. [ie - cus we werent there, etc etc ] and if we belive in God - we would need a bit of faith to belive he did everything. so when it comes to your comment about not beliving “intelligence” and “supernatural” are [not] necessarily synonymous." - i think it really comes down to faith & its really a fine line what we chose to belive eh ?. again how would you not know intelligence and supernatural” are not necessarily synonymous ? [oh and im not intending this to turn into a whole thread about faith and all ] just throwing my 2cents in thats all Charlie Charliecrs
Speaking of ID in the news... has everyone seen this: http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,1101050815,00.html I don't subscribe to Time. Anyone here have access to the whole article? DaveScot
divining design Is Intelligent Design truly silent about the designer(s), including the possibility of aliens or some other unknown origin of life?... decorabilia
I had misread it the same way it seems. Thanks for the explanation! Erik
Thanks for the clarification and I appreciate your explanation. I had just come off a debate and I must have read your post incorrectly. Dan Dan
Dan, I think you missed my point. I can't tell you how nature created a living cell but from everything we know about cells it appears possible to create one from non-living matter through nanoscale engineering. This is in tune with Dembski's recent comments about cells being marvels of nanotechnology and biologists needing to become engineers to understand them. I couldn't agree more with Bill as it's a view I've held for two decades since first reading Drexler's "Engines of Creation". Someone or something in nature has handed us a gift - living cells are indisputable proof that nanometer scale engineering is possible and they can be reverse engineered so we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Without nature giving us working examples of nanometer scale replicators it would be a lot bigger engineering problem. On the nature of intelligence I specifically said it's natural only if one assumes that human intelligence is natural. That's a moot point. We know a lot more about simple cells than we do about the nature of sentience. I'm not making the assumption that intelligence is natural but NeoDarwinians must assume it since they deny any supernatural forces in human evolution. Thus they contradict themselves because if intelligence is a naturally occurring phenomenon then intelligent design must also be natural - yet they (or most of them) try to insist that ID requires supernatural forces and thus is religion instead of science. That gets us back to my point where I say that biological ID doesn't appear to require any supernatural intervention. It appears to require intelligent intervention but I don't believe that "intelligence" and "supernatural" are necessarily synonymous. DaveScot
I agree. One cannot simply say "Obviously it is wrong if one assumes it is not right". Also, can intelligence be classified in the same way as its owner or producer? I don't think that if one is "natural", the other has to be "natural" by definition also. But if both are assumed to be natural, then what is this known natural law governing the relationship between the two? Erik
Really Dave, Can you tell me exactly how "natural law" formed DNA? Can you tell me exactly, through natural law how the first cell poofed into existence? Also, your analysis of intelligence being natural is a a logical violation because you cannot prove that it is natural. This argument from authority is false and based in metaphysical naturalism. You have the right to your opinion and I welcome your opinion, but it is anti-intellectual because you are excluding possibilities that have not been proven false. Dan Dan
I've yet to see any evidence in the design of life that can't be accomplished via known natural laws. Obviously intelligence itself is a natural phenomenon if one assumes that humans are not supernatural entities. To say that intelligence isn't "natural" is to say that humans are not "natural". Thus it seems contradictory for one to claim at once that human intelligence is natural but any other kind is unnatural. Talk about a non-sequitur! DaveScot
"Schwartzman said. "What are these people going to do? They'll wind up in a church or house of worship thanking whatever it is they want to thank. . . . I have better things to spend my time on."" ... Yes, there are strawmen to defeat and Trojan horse accusations to parrot. Busy, busy. Charlie

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