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Philosopher Thomas Nagel thinks it is okay to discuss design in nature even in school?

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Prof. Thomas Nagel has published an important essay entitled, “Public Education and Intelligent Design”, in the Wiley InterScience Journal Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 36, issue 2, on-line at < http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118493933/home> His paper is a significant because it encourages all intelligent, educated, informed individuals to consider that intelligent design may be a valid scientific approach to understanding how DNA and the complex chemical systems of life came to attain their present form. Prof. Nagel’s article is well worth the price (fee for access US $29.95). He is a self-declared atheist who earned his PhD. in philosophy at Harvard, has been a professor at U.C. Berkeley, Princeton, and for the last 28 years at New York University, and has published ten books and more than 60 articles.

Note: I don’t care if Nagel is an atheist. I only care if he thinks evidence matters.

(He must be a non-materialist atheist, of course, because a materialist atheist would merely reply that our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth. And he has the bigger social club.)

Here are things that will derail a discussion in school:

1. Student (who somehow lost contact with his bong pipe several months ago): How do we know that Darwinian evolution creates vast amounts of information?

Teacher: I am not legally allowed to discuss that with you. [= Of course Darwinism is silage for hog feed, but a recent legal decision prevents me from discussing that fact.]

Student: So it is worse than I thought. The whole system is like this?

Teacher: No, only Darwinism is like this. But that is precisely the distinction I am not allowed to make.

Student: Too bad the whole system smells like hog feed then.

2. Stuffed toys and fake animals. Look, lots of people work night shifts to fund their STEM education; they don’t do it to hear nonsense from transparently foolish people. Be warned.

3. Threatening people. The ID community would not be as big as it is today if that had worked.

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6 Replies to “Philosopher Thomas Nagel thinks it is okay to discuss design in nature even in school?

  1. 1
    JoeCoder says:

    Looks like it’s the same as this paper written by Nagal back in 2008?

  2. 2
    awstar says:

    His paper is a significant because it encourages all intelligent, educated, informed individuals to consider that intelligent design may be a valid scientific approach to understanding how DNA and the complex chemical systems of life came to attain their present form.

    In fact, science discoveries couldn’t be explained any other way. Try rewriting this article without directly inferring intelligent design.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....012915.php

  3. 3
  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Podcast – Mendel Vs. Darwin, part. 3
    Casey Luskin finishes his interview with Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, an expert in plant breeding formerly affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany. Dr. Lönnig discusses how Darwinian evolutionary biology held back the acceptance of the laws of inheritance, discovered by the famous monk Gregor Mendel.
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....rwin-pt-3/
    Part 1
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....vs-darwin/
    Part 2
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....rwin-pt-2/

  5. 5

    I found the 2008 paper, open access from NYU:

    Public Education and Intelligent Design
    THOMAS NAGEL
    Article first published online: 11 AUG 2008
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2008.00132.x
    © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    The 2005 decision by Judge John E. Jones in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area
    School District was celebrated by all red-blooded American liberals as a
    victory over the forces of darkness. The result was probably inevitable, in
    view of the reckless expression by some members of the Dover School
    Board of their desire to put religion into the classroom, and the clumsiness
    of their prescribed statement in trying to dissimulate that aim.1 But
    the conflicts aired in this trial—over the status of evolutionary theory, the
    arguments for intelligent design, and the nature of science—reveal an
    intellectually unhealthy situation. The political urge to defend science
    education against the threats of religious orthodoxy, understandable
    though it is, has resulted in a counterorthodoxy, supported by bad arguments,
    and a tendency to overstate the legitimate scientific claims of
    evolutionary theory. Skeptics about the theory are seen as so dangerous,
    and so disreputably motivated, that they must be denied any shred of
    legitimate interest. Most importantly, the campaign of the scientific
    establishment to rule out intelligent design as beyond discussion
    because it is not science results in the avoidance of significant questions
    about the relation between evolutionary theory and religious belief,
    questions that must be faced in order to understand the theory and
    evaluate the scientific evidence for it.

    http://philosophy.fas.nyu.edu/.....pa_132.pdf

    Original article:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.....ated=false

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    We don’t need atheist support. What he this guy came out against ID/YEC? Would it hold weight?
    The reason iD/yec has a right to not be censored in institutions or society is for the reason that nothing does. We settled this centuries ago.
    Truth must not be disallowed and if something is THEN someone has decided its not the truth.
    In fact even untruth is not to be disallowed save in slander.

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