Intelligent Design

Sketches from the Toronto ID conference – okay, a bit of context – 2

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A commenter, from my first post-conference sketch, asks,

Denyse: thanks for your first anecdotal response. I have read elsewhere (on this blog?) that the current generation may simply have to die off, given the faith system/creation myth of naturalism/darwinism. A key issue then is what the young people think, both graduate and undergraduate students. What were the objectives of the organizers? How evenly balanced were the ID friendly and evolution friendly speakers? What was the temper of the questions asked? Finally, how well received was the notion of a testable creation model?

Well, the blog’s imputed elsewhere may have been thinking of Thomas Kuhn’s quotation from Max Planck,

“a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it” (Kuhn, 1962).

I call Planck right in this, especially when a system – whether it is the Ptolemaic universe or Darwinism – is a creation story or validation of religion of some kind.

Let’s not forget Ben Wattenberg reminding Richard Dawkins on NPR of his own words in The Selfish Gene,

Living organisms had existed on earth without ever knowing why for 3,000 million years before the truth finally dawned on one of them. His name was Charles Darwin.

– Richard Dawkins on Ben Wattenberg’s PBS Think Tank (1996)

Wattenberg’s comment was “That sounds to me like a religious statement. That is a – that is near messianic language.”

Dawkins, of course, denied that, saying “It’s not religious in any sense in which I would recognize the term.”

And that was precisely the mentality I encountered among the pro and semi-pro Darwinists and atheists at the Toronto ID conference. They do not hear themselves, and – more strange – they actually imagine that most religious folk are more dogmatic than they are. That, in my experience, is not true.

Now, our commenter above wanted to know the objectives of the organizers.

The organizers hoped to explain why there is an intelligent design controversy. In that, they were partially successful. More later.

The commenter also wanted to know whether the speakers were evenly balanced between ID friendly and evolution friendly: Well, there were enough Darwinians and atheists on the program and in the audience to supply a city larger than Toronto, I would think.

But we are intensely broad-minded here. We encourage our village atheists. I have often thought that a theme park on the waterfront, devoted to modernist and secularist myths, might be nice. 

All of the speakers were evolution-friendly, and some were ID-friendly.

As to the temper of the questions asked (another of the commenter’s queries above), well, it varied. Most of the really nasty stuff came in private conversation or badly muffled asides. No surprise there.

About testable models, as per the commenter’s final question, physicist Robert Mann begged the assembled to work on a testable ID vs. Darwinian evolution model. (More later.) However, the Darwinian evolutionists signally failed to pick up on the idea.

No surprise there either. As Kuhn says, scientists do not abandon a paradigm just because it has led them into crisis. “They do not, that is, treat anomalies as counterinstances, though in the vocabulary of philosophy of science that is what they are.” (P. 77)

Maybe it is easier just to get people, sign petitions, and raise cain generally. As I said above, more later.

3 Replies to “Sketches from the Toronto ID conference – okay, a bit of context – 2

  1. 1
    truthseeker says:

    Thank you.

    Looking forward to your More Later.

  2. 2

    […] why would Ayala have read it? If BioLogos’s followers will fall down and worship at the very sound of Darwin’s name, it is not necessary for those folk to actually know stuff about the history of life. They can just […]

  3. 3

    […] why would Ayala have read it? If BioLogos’s followers will fall down and worship at the very sound of Darwin’s name, it is not necessary for those folk to actually know stuff about the history of life. They can just […]

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