Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Thoughts toward an intelligent design textbook …

arroba Email

Warwick U sociologist Steve Fuller, author of Dissent over Descent, and I have been corresponding about how scientists who are sympathetic to intelligent design can make a bigger impact, and what the next generation of ID textbooks should look like.

Me: So what should the ID guys do? Create a complex life form from scratch in under 100 days? That would show that intelligent design is required. Nature never done that. But if they can’t do it, does that prove intelligent design is not necessary? I don’t think so.

He: First, ID needs to stop living up to its critics’ image of the movement as purely negative, i.e. ‘not-evolution’. Because ID has been largely cultivated in a US context, ID supporters have been reluctant to admit theology’s role in informing ID’s scientific imagination.

As a result, and especially when under pressure, ID has tended to focus exclusively on the very real problems in Neo-Darwinism. But not surprisingly, to a disinterested observer, this looks opportunistic and even disingenuous, as it suggests that ID is justified simply if Neo-Darwinism has enough holes it can’t plug.

Me: Yes, I see what you mean. Bear in mind, however, that the icons of evolution I grew up with are mostly exploded now. For example,

For more, go here

Anti-ID bluters: Please give this lots of publicity, so we can find a rich publisher. I absolutely  love all publishers, but rich publishers are more convenient than poor publishers, if only for money-related reasons.  But we will make do with what we get.

WRT textbooks and the public education, I am thinking that ID would be wise to make more movies showing what is going on inside the cell. Just show the public in full graphic detail what is really happening at the biochemical level and let the public decide if these systems are designed or not. William Brookfield
Ed Callahan I have neither censored you nor acted heavy handed in any way. The answers to your questions were open and honest. Feel free to prove me wrong about you being a sock puppet by replying to the answers provided to your questions. Any polite person would do no less when someone goes to the trouble of giving answers. They would say thanks and give some feedback as to whether the answers helped or not. A sock puppet ignores the substance of the answers like you did just now. If you're not sock puppet then stop acting like one. DaveScot
Hi Dave, Interesting. On AtBC some have accused me of being a dense YEC. Here I get that I'm a sock puppet for "The other side". For why? For not towing the line? For not believing in you? Believe what you will Dave. I'm taking a break as I guess I ask hard questions from both sides but at least on the AtBC board I get straight and honest answers. I fear that is impossible from this board with your heavy handed and Stalin like censorship. Good day and God Bless, Ed Callahan PS Dave, that was the name I was born with. lcd
Johnny I fear Ed was a sock puppet for the other side and the presentation of the findings of the congressional investigation of the Sternberg/Smithsonian affair has ended any possibility of further use for this particular sock puppet. The loyal opposition is gonna cut their losses on that brainfart. There's really no possible response except for stony, frustrated silence from the puppet at this point. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Fun once in a while to shred these creations but nothing worth turning into a serious hobby. It was kind of disappointing when you think about it though. I didn't even need to point out how fast Yoko Ono was bitchslapped by a judge when she tried to sue Expelled for using a 15-second audio clip from "Imagine" nor did I need to mention how all of Harvard's lawyers and all of Harvard's men couldn't put an infringment case together for the new and improved version of The Inner Life of the Cell video used in Expelled. Bummer. DaveScot
Ed - "2: ID is a big tent that I fear has many issues, notably keeping many different faiths tied in under the guise of, “We don’t need to know (wink, wink) who the designer is”." What ties ID together is not that we claim not to know who the designer is, but rather that ID is a theory of causation rather than a theory of origins. There are plenty of things to which we can apply ID which have nothing to do with origins, like StoneHenge. We can tell it was designed, and we have no idea who the designer was or why he/she/they built it. But that it is designed is fairly obvious to anyone. I'm sure most of us in the design movement would love to prove who the designer is. The problem is that the evidence and methods that we have designed simply don't have that capacity. I would love to prove scientifically that YHWH is the creator, but the methods of design detection that I know of don't have the capacity to do so. Nor can my thermometer tell the source of heat. Nor does my telescope tell me where the moon came from. "4: I am looking for Positive Evidence FOR not Negative Evidence against something. I am very aware that evidence one thinks disproves one thing does not bolster their own ideas. Only evidence for one’s position bolsters your idea." ID does not rely on evolution as a foil to work. Evolution is often used as a foil simply because that is the other option. For example, I have a video about why Irreducible Complexity is evidence for design, and I don't mention evolution even once: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3nElhRMyAU johnnyb
Ed You might want to ask Wesley Elsberry, the owner of ATBC, if he was copying and redistributing copyrighted works from Uncommon Descent without permission. He was. He had a mirror site set up. Copied our contents lock stock and barrel. If someone wants to read what we write they can bloody well come here to do it. Wesley was stealing our web traffic, which benefits us in many ways like raising our google ranking, and adding it instead to his web traffic which provides for him the same benefits. At any rate we asked Wesley to stop and he did. The situation with Dembski and Harvard's educational video clip (which I might add was widely available all over the web without Harvard bitching about it to anyone else) was handled in the same fashion. Harvard asked Dembski to stop using it from his laptop in speaking engagements and he did. I was a bit miffed and told Bill to just link to it live from YouTube for his lecture and and see if Harvard stops YouTube from broadcasting it. Bill told me that was more trouble than the video was worth and he found a different one to use instead. There are lots of free ones to choose from (although Inner Life was the best at the time by almost universal agreement) that no one gets anal about when those ignorant, wicked, insane ID folks show them. Be sure to check out our collection on the sidebar under Molecular Animations as long as we're on the topic. These are both lesser offenses than someone downloading music file after music file for free without permission from the copyright owner. How many people do you know who fill up their iPods with music they have no right to have? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Write that down. And while I'm shooting ATBC'ers like fish in a barrel ask them if the US Office of Special Counsel found that the National Center for Science Education and the Smithsonian Institute conspired to create a hostile work envirnoment for Richard Sternberg due to his involvement in publishing an article by an ID advocate in a low impact peer reviewed scientific journal where Sternberg was the editor. Ask them if the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform came to the same conclusion. We got linky if they want to deny it. Awe what the heck. Here's the link: UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM DECEMBER 2006 ________________________________________________ INTOLERANCE AND THE POLITICIZATION OF SCIENCE AT THE SMITHSONIAN SMITHSONIAN’S TOP OFFICIALS PERMIT THE DEMOTION AND HARASSMENT OF SCIENTIST SKEPTICAL OF DARWINIAN EVOLUTION Be sure to read the appendix too which has all the smoking gun emails in it. If you want the rest of the dirt go here for links to Wall Street Journal reporting, Washington Times reporting, Washington Post reporting, along with a copy of the letter Rick received from the US Office of Special Counsel. It's great reading and puts truth to the lies published on Darwinian blogs. DaveScot
Ed Let's begin by considering the following. The first is called the law of biogenesis. Omne vivum ex ovum Translated to english it's "all life from an egg". Despite many decades of effort to find an exception to this law of nature there is none. The law remains unbroken and it raises an inescapable question of where life came from if not from another form of life. There has been significant progress made in creating artificial life but the successes are all due to human intelligent agency. Getting life started in a test tube simulation of natural environment is not promising. There's something missing. The missing thing appears to be intelligent design. In attempts to create artificial life with no holds barred (not constrained by simulations of natural environments, any and all possible human intervention used to make it work) there is promise. If the latter succeeds (and I think it will) the law of biogenesis will remain unbroken and the theory of intelligent design strenthened by an actual demonstration of an intelligent agency creating life from inanimate materials. In another post (Can We Make Software That Comes Alive) I proposed in the comments another law of nature: All Intelligence From a Mind This is another unbroken law with billions of observations to support it (every human ever born). In the quest for Artificial Intelligence there has been much progress. I pointed to the DARPA Grand Challenge where in 2005 several vehicles successfully self-navigated a difficult obstacle course through the desert. The vehicles made observations of reality through various instrumentation, made model based projections of how control inputs would alter the course and speed of the vehicle, evaluated these against the goal of successfully navigating towards the finish line, selected control inputs that resulted in desireable model predictions becoming instantiated in reality. This pretty much meets a rudimentary definition of intelligent agency. Yet the law I proposed remains unbroken. The intelligence in these vehicles came from another intelligence. Indeed it is further independent evidence in support of the law for which we previously had only one example (human intelligence). Now we have an example of non-human intelligence created by human intelligence. Granted it isn't anywhere near as sophisticated as human intelligence but there is no reason, at least in principle, that we can't keep improving it to that point. This of course raises the question of where human intelligence came from. Since the only source of intelligence we know of is another intelligence then we must, for at least the time being and until an exception is found, presume the law of intelligence only coming from intelligence is a true law of nature. I'm quite willing to accept any empirical evidence or demonstration that these laws have exceptions but the exceptions must be demonstrated, not imagined. Right now there is nothing but imagined exceptions. P.S. I'm banned on AfterTheBarCloses so I can't respond there but I read the accusations about stolen materials. Ask them where a court found a violation of "fair use" in any of it. There won't be any affirmative answers forthcoming. They made a huge stink about it but in all cases where a court was asked to decide the matter the court found that "fair use" had not been violated. Be prepared to be verbally assaulted by them for asking pointed questions instead of uncritically accepting everything they say. DaveScot
Off Topic Video; Comedian Dane Cook on Atheists http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=4ac065af14111ea9f656 bornagain77
Howdy all, My name is Ed and I started off on the AtBC and TT boards. I've tried to understand the Evolutionist's mind set as I'm perplexed at how they got to their conclusions. However, I find it difficult to counter their claims as I have not been able to find good ID Theories on which to challenge theirs. Since I've started my learning process on an Evolution board, I looked here first and agreed with you all, I have learned the following. This is from the AtBC board. Please note that this was to them but if anyone else would like to take a shot please do so. One does not learn without asking questions. ==================================== Howdy all, Got into work real early and of course, nobody else is in. That includes the person who wanted this to start early. I just want to share with you a few things. 1: I have noted with considerable distress that the science is mostly from non creationist sources. 2: ID is a big tent that I fear has many issues, notably keeping many different faiths tied in under the guise of, "We don't need to know (wink, wink) who the designer is". 3: I am not looking for evidence to bolster my faith in God or His Word in our world. I think that if others who don't have faith see God's hand in things then hopefully this world will be a better place. 4: I am looking for Positive Evidence FOR not Negative Evidence against something. I am very aware that evidence one thinks disproves one thing does not bolster their own ideas. Only evidence for one's position bolsters your idea. Now for the negative parts: 1: I've told more than a few friends who are also YEC or YEC leaning about this site. A few have taken a look. None really want to expose themselves here. A few of you are nice, thanks for the support Jeff, and many are very informative. Still even some of you who have the good info come at others like a ton of bricks. It is hard to listen to someone when they are being rude. 2: Speaking of rude, TARD, is rude. I know what you said it means. To others it means you think others who disagree with you are cretins-creotard which is what they see. The term Creationist is combined with Retard is what is first thought of when many saw that. It is what I took it to mean. 3: As to what many of you might have believed that I was being rude to you in academia when I wrote about "Ivory Tower-ites". I was not trying to be rude. Sorry if it came out that way. There was a story about some college professor (I think she was) that falsified her (?) findings. Now I didn't pay much attention to it. All I kept from it was, "College, studies, false, made stuff up". Sad thing is I thought I was watching carefully and knew what was going on. Sadly that was not correct. So when dealing with people outside of academia, realize that we don't know everything and it seems we remember what we want to or already suspect. This is in direct response to my being quizzed on naming a scientist who was doing something wrong. I can't even remember what discipline that person was in. I apologize for saying it even though I didn't mean it the way many of you might have thought I said it. So what does this all mean? As little or as much as you want it to mean. If you can't see yourself doing anything that might be nice as you are so jaded by real or perceived slights, perhaps you should take a break. Later, Ed ==================================== Now getting back to an ID Textbook which I am waiting for for my kids to learn something other than Darwinian materialism. What I would like to see is more on the positives of ID and IC. Once that is achieved, no activist judge, atheistic professor or anyone else can say, "This is religion". I believe that God is the source of the Intelligence in the Design that we see and that His Word is absolute. However for science, we need to see more on how ID/IC matches up with the evidence instead of how Evolutionists are wrong. I believe they are wrong by my faith. Now is the time to use science to show it. Thanks, Ed lcd
Off topic : Interesting article - fossils found in Anartica. Here's the interesting part: "
To be able to identify living species amongst the fossils is phenomenal. To think that modern counterparts have survived 14 million years on Earth without any significant changes in the details of their appearances is striking. It must mean that these organisms are so well-adapted to their habitats that in spite of repeated climate changes and isolation of populations for millions of years they have not become extinct but have survived."
Here we go again. Stasis, no changes, same as today's species. When will Darwinists figure it out huh? Borne
DaveScot, In my view, the problem is that the tiny part of what gets called Darwinism that is, in fact, true and (as a consequence of being true) also useful is not really due to Darwin at all. Darwin's contribution was to take what had been known for thousands of years about the adaptability of organisms to their environment and man's ability to exploit this through selective breeding, and attribute new creative capabilities to this mechanism even in the absence of an intelligent 'selector'. He certainly didn't discover the mechanism, and nothing he attributed to it made it any easier for others to make productive use of it. For example, there was an article in the Economist about a year ago about genetic algorithms for solving complex multiparameter optimization problems in computational mathematics - basically what I've been doing for a living these last fifteen years. In the article, the discovery of such algorithms was attributed to Darwin and their undoubted effectiveness was cited as evidence for the truth of his hypothesis. This is of course bunkum. The algoritms certainly owe a lot to genetics (which grew up quite independently of Darwin), but the actual process of winnowing through the thousands of generations of candidate solutions and 'breeding' the most promising ones to get to the true global solution has everything to do with selective breeding and nothing at all to do with unguided natural selection. Yet Darwinists seem to get away with this sort of thing in the media almost every day. As StephenB put it in this very forum just a few days ago: what is important about Darwinism is false, and what is true about it is trivial. Stephen Morris
Stephen Morris Darwinism, in its actual role, has been tremendously productive. It does after all explain microevolution in important places like antibiotic resistance and genetic disease. Common descent is also helpful in that it informs us that animals like mice and rats and chimpanzees make good stand-in models for humans in the testing of potentially valuable pharmaceuticals although I grant that the similarity in response to pharmaceuticals was discovered empirically without dependence on knowledge of common descent and also that common design can substitute for common descent to yield exactly the same heuristic value. Where Darwinian theory falls short in heuristic value is in macroevolution. There's no heuristic value in assuming that that birds descended from dinosaurs or that dinosaurs descended from fish or that fish descended from invertebrates or that invertbrates descended from prokaryotes. Macroevolution by Darwinian means simply works too slowly, if it works at all, to be of any practical consequence in timeframes measured even in hundreds or even thousands of human lifetimes to say nothing of mattering in shorter periods of time. No one worries about what direction macroevolution will take in the future simply because any significant future macroevolution is in a far distant future. One might as well worry about the moon gradually getting more distant from the earth and how this will effect life as the ocean tides slowly diminish or worrying about how continental drift will effect life as continents move closer or farther apart or worrying about the sun gradually become hotter over time. Some processes in nature just work too slowly to worry about them. We have bigger fish to fry in the near future. DaveScot
^"clothes"* Frost122585
Little off topic but here’s what I was thinking the other day- The real question that must be asked of any theory or explanation of the origins of all things or at the least complex living things- is this Where does formation and organization come from? No greater "origins" question has ever been asked. You have various laws of physics and you have apparent symmetries- explanations like chance and necessity- but where does the basic character, the fabric from formation and organization originate from? If the most general and simple template of all things cannot be explained from an origins perspective then we are forced to confess that our explanation is utterly inadequate and beyond. To appeal to chance without explaining it's origin and the origins of the characteristics that it is deficient in, is to simply focus on chance and block out all else. Take the word/concept "information" and break it down. You have two words firstly the word "in" which means that the object or subject belongs to a particular concept space and the second word is "formation" which means the subject is organized and or ordered in such a way that it displays certain coherent unique characteristic/s. "Information" is the label for “those things which have order in a certain concept space.” So explain the origins of "particular concept space/s" and "order/formation" and you might begin to have some template for a theory of origins. Otherwise the focus on chance/necessity/materialism is moot and worse it is ignorant and in denial of the rest of the big picture not to mention its own origin and thus itself. All this makes for a theory that is more political and dogmatic then scientific and comprehensive. Darwinism and the neo-Darwinian synthesis is being paid homage to without question, despite the fact that it is barren and impoverished via the shackles of it's own self imprisonment. Someone needs to tell the Darwinists that their emperor is wearing no close! Frost122585
Way to go johnnyb. I think the best way to win this is to demonstrate that ID can offer genuine economic value; Darwinism's dismal failure to do this after 150 years of trying (though frankly they haven't tried that hard) will then be all the more poignant. Stephen Morris
I'm actually working on an ID textbook at the moment. However, I'm taking a novel direction - I'm leaving out origins altogether. No Darwin, probably no (or at least very little) biology-oriented design. Everyone has been staring at the biology for so long that the general usefulness of ID to help out science in other areas and engineering have been completely overlooked. johnnyb
I've had some pretty serious thoughts lately on what it would be like if I chose to write a series of books on ID. I'm thinking along the lines of (1) an intro and history to the movement, (2) then one that details the evidence in physics, astronomy, and properties of matter, (3) after that one on biological evidences, (4) then one on ethics and philosophy, (5) and finally a complete day by day word by word analysis of the Dover/Kitzmiller case, one that's a bit more elaborate then Traipsing Into Evolution. It would take years... and for all we know there may be another lawsuit over ID by the time all of it would even be done. Not to mention the fact that I need to come up with a pen name. :D Really the tough aspect of writing a decent ID book these days is about finding the balance between writing to a newbie to writing for a seasoned ID fanatic who needs something more top-notch. But yeah trying not to bash Darwin's theory would be a tough one though... F2XL

Leave a Reply