13 Replies to “Why President Bush Got It Right about Intelligent Design

  1. 1
    Qualiatative says:

    Excellent article; but I have one point of contention.

    You said:

    Although acceptance of intelligent design has now gone international and includes scholars of many different religious faiths and philosophical worldviews, among Christian proponents of intelligent design, the majority hold to a non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1. I’m one of them.

    Translating the word yom (the Hebrew word typically translated into English as “day”) as an arbitrary period of time allows for a cosmos that is billions of years old. Why would this not be a literal interpretation?

  2. 2
    mynym says:

    That may be. The first book I quote in this post: http://mynym.blogspot.com/2005/07/symbolism.html I tend to agree with. The Spirit moving upon the face of the waters which are as a chaos, “a wreck and a ruin,” or “formless and empty while darkness was over the surface of the deep,” etc. Then what is there is then organized, formed, separated, conditions are set to be favorable to bring forth an unfolding of Life, etc.

    How long what was there was there in its misanthropic lack of form is not part of the scripts of Scriptures, which have long been noted to be remarkably terse.

    Perhaps ID is strong because of its focus on form, separation, “specified complexity” and so on, such words seem to represent the same ancient ideas that Life has to be formed by a Creator. The Darwinists with their urge to merge seem to have the opposite tendency. What I don’t understand is why Darwinists tend to think Darwinism is a good explanation for that which we tend to consider evil such as parasitism when its explanatory power clearly fails in explaining the life cycles of many parasites. Sometimes it just doesn’t have any power to explain how what is observed came to be. It is as if they believe that the God would never allow things that we sense are evil to exist in Nature and so if there is evil then there is no God, so Nature “selected” pretty much everything through natural selections. Is a natural selection falsified by an unnatural selection? It is not apparent why leading Darwinists like Dawkins speak of natural “selection” on the one hand and the blindness of the Blind Watchmaker on the other. There is no “selection” in blindness, the use of the term selection deceptively connotes some type of choice based on sight, will, awareness, knowledge, the things of sentience without which a sentence or code favorable to meaning or planning cannot be written.

  3. 3
    sartre says:

    “There is no “selection” in blindness, the use of the term selection deceptively connotes some type of choice based on sight, will, awareness, knowledge, the things of sentience without which a sentence or code favorable to meaning or planning cannot be written.”

    They do not use the term “selection” how you are using it. Selection simply means those traits that persist over generations. Thus, when nature selects, the types of traits remain in nature. Just as a person who selects a product, it remains with them, and others are ruled out. I guess this is what Dembski means by information, except that nature does not have a target, like what his theorems demand. You are not understanding correctly what they mean by the term.

  4. 4
    Srdjan says:

    I am a bit puzzled. First ID movement was totally against introducing its teaching in the biology class and now, it seams to me, position is different. Can anyone clarify?

  5. 5
    sartre says:

    “I am a bit puzzled. First ID movement was totally against introducing its teaching in the biology class and now, it seams to me, position is different.”

    Yes, I wanted to ask that question also, but it slipped my mind when I was typing.

  6. 6
    Fer says:

    Dr. Dembski wrote:

    “Creationism, by contrast, takes a particular interpretation of Genesis (namely, it interprets the days of creation as six consecutive twenty-four-hour days occurring roughly 6,000 years ago)
    and then tries to harmonize science with this interpretation.”

    My Observation is that the Bible indeed teaches an Old Universe and an Old Earth not on the basis of expanding the span of the six literal days of Genesis chapter one, but on the basis of Genesis 1:2 where we read:

    “the earth was [the text should say ‘became’] without form [tohu], and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”.

    In Isaiah 45:18 “He [God] created it [the Earth] not in vain [tohu]”.

    A Biblical study indicates Old matter but Young breathing living souls on earth (the animals existing now, and men).

    EW Bullinger studied this:
    http://www.therain.org/appendixes/isa4518.html

    I concur with Qualiatative’s posting, as the Bible teaches that the Six days of Genesis chapter 1 were real and literal, with the expression “evening and morning” sealing them as literal 24 hour days. But that is just part of the story. In those 6 days God was re-ordering the Universe to make it habitable again! (Plants were restored since day 3 while the sun, moon and stars were restored until day 4). God was here bringing back order to the Earth and Universe with his Word, in order for him to CREATE breathing animals (the ones that we see now, included their bounded plasticity to bring variation within them, ‘after their kind’) and HUMANITY, His masterpiece!

    We read, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old…” [2Pe3: 5a] So, the Bible teaches that there is an Old Universe and an Old Earth, which is part of such Universe.

    Concluding: Old Universe, Old Earth and Old Vegetation restored by GOD. However, created in the fifth and sixth days, ‘young’ living animals, the ones existing now, included their Intelligently Designed bounded plasticity to bring variation within them, ‘after their kind’. And the climax of God’s work in the sixth day of Genesis 1 was a ‘young’ and unique man, and his woman!

  7. 7
    DaveScot says:

    Great article. Some minor points of contention:

    “a level [of technology in the cell] that human technology has not begun to approximate”

    I think we’ve approximated it to a large extent. The difference is one of scale. Nanometer scale engineering isn’t really different from engineering at larger scales. It’s just many orders of magnitude smaller. Our designs typically use globs of atoms numbered in the trillions for the smallest component parts while the nanoscale machinery in a cell uses component parts of just a few or even single atoms. The engineering concepts are pretty much all the same. We (engineers) just need nanometer scale tools to build nanometer scale machines. Fortunately nature has provided us with those tools in living cells and it’s just a matter of learning how to use them. We’re well along on that path. Drexler set all this out 20 years ago in his seminal book on nanotechnology “Engines of Creation”.

    “biologists now need to be engineers to understand life at the subcellular level”

    Exactly.

    “Intelligent design makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled
    atheist.”

    I can’t agree with that under what I understand as atheism – a positive rejection of any omniscient/omnipotent supernatural entities. At least not based on the design that can be observed in living things (biological ID). Cosmological ID is another story. While these designs are nanometer scale engineering marvels they are not really all that advanced from human technology. At the rate human technology is advancing it isn’t unreasonable to speculate that nanometer scale engineering will be mastered in less than a century. Possibly just a few more decades. Even if it’s a thousand years in the future that’s just a fleeting moment away in geologic timescales. So when we can custom design living things and seed another planet does that make humans into Gods? I don’t think so. It just makes us more advanced tool users than we are now.

    If atheism is defined as positive rejection of any intelligence other than the modern human kind then biological ID certainly does rain on that parade. What I think biological ID does more than deny atheism is opens the door for theism.

  8. 8
    Giff says:

    I want to second (or third) the question asked by several other posters. Is this not a change from the Discovery Institute’s policy on teaching Intelligent Design in public schools? Or did you never fully agree with that stance, Dr. Dembski?

  9. 9
    Gumpngreen says:

    I might be mistaken but I was under the impression Discovery is FOR voluntarily teaching of ID in schools but AGAINST imposing it by legislation?

  10. 10
    mynym says:

    I guess this is what Dembski means by information, except that nature does not have a target, like what his theorems demand. You are not understanding correctly what they mean by the term.

    Sometimes I wonder if they understand how they are using terms and jargon. My point there is not to quibble over terms but to get people thinking about definition. When a writer begins to merge natural selection in with a hilosophic Naturalism in which Nature selects all things anyway then they are beginning to pollute language. They may not even really have a language to say what they want to say. Each word that they try to define will probably work against them. I want people to think about what is being meant, as sometimes it seems that some fellows will seek to merge the simple notion of natural selection in with a Naturalism in which a Blind Watchmaker is making all selections. I’d give it the unibrow, e.g. (The Origin of the Unibrow by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of the Unibrow Race in the Struggle for Life, by Mynym)
    http://mynym.blogspot.com/2005.....d-for.html

    Yet is it elastic enough to stretch over all of Life?

    If you argue for any limitation then instead of answering the argument Darwinists seek to merge their ideas in with the fact that the earth is flat, etc. It seems that for some fellows who have the urge to merge there will never be an end to skirting limitation/definition, separations or “gaps” by hiding in the skirts of their Mommy Nature. Is it psychological dynamics that are the issue or a clear use of language and the empirical evidence? Perhaps the god-of-the-gaps would know….

  11. 11
    mynym says:


    “a level [of technology in the cell] that human technology has not begun to approximate”

    I think we’ve approximated it to a large extent.

    Ironically, it is likely that there is no way of knowing about a technology without approximating it. In the Information Age, suddenly everyone is talking about the genetic code and how everything is like machines and computers. If we didn’t have the analogy of our own technology which itself becomes part of the eyes to see, then you wouldn’t even know of the wonders of the world.

  12. 12
    sartre says:

    “Sometimes I wonder if they understand how they are using terms and jargon.”

    But they do know what they mean. It is you that is playing the semantic games. I have not heard of one Darwinist being confused about the definition of NS. No Darwinist has thought that the two terms are mutually exclusive. As long as THEY are able to work with the terms without confusion, then there is no quibble. That is exactly the essence of Wittgenstein’s language game theory.

  13. 13
    DaveScot says:

    mynym

    “suddenly everyone is talking about the genetic code”

    I don’t think it’s “suddenly”. Without much effort I found Kornberg talking about the “genetic code” in his 1959 Nobel Prize lecture. He likens it to a tape recording: http://nobelprize.org/medicine.....ecture.pdf

    Kornberg: “DNA, like a tape recording, carries a message in which there are specific instructions for a job to be done. Also like a tape recording, exact copies can be made from it so that this information can be used again and elsewhere in time and space. Are these two functions, the expression of the code (protein synthesis) and the copying of the code (preservation of the race) closely integrated or are they separable?”

    This is sometime before “code” became widely associated with computer programming. Back in those days “code” was widely associated with cyphers. Codes were what the military used to keep communications a secret and code breakers were employed to decypher them.

    However, even in those days before the rudimentary bits of computers were widely known, Kornberg describes DNA in a way that is exactly the same way you’d describe magnetic tape storage for a computer.

    So I must disagree with your insinuation that knowledge of computer technology led to describing DNA in computer technology terms.

    “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – WmS

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