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Is Intelligent Design Creationism? – #7 Post of 2010

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Many journalists confuse the Intelligent Design (ID) movement with young earth creationism.  Some of this confusion is nothing more than intellectual laziness, but some of it is caused by ID opponents repeating the assertion over and over again as a rhetorical strategy.

Here is an interview excerpt from Thomas Lessl, a professor at the University of Georgia and an expert on rhetoric (see the entire interview here):

One consistent pattern in the scientific mainstream’s response to ID has been to try to identify it with scientific creationism, to paint it with the same brush so to speak.  Such allegations are still frequently made – that ID is merely “creationism dressed up in a cheap tuxedo”.   This is what movement scholars call a strategy of “evasion”, an institutional effort to slow the momentum of a movement by pretending that it doesn’t exist – or in this case by pretending that it is made up of merely radical fundamentalists of no account.  This strategy is still being plied in the mass media, for public audiences that remain largely ignorant about the differences between these two movements.

Let’s look again at what the actual proponents of ID say about this issue.  Answering the question as to whether ID and creationism are the same, the Discovery Institute says:

No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.

Maybe you still aren’t convinced, though.  Well, let’s also look at what one of the largest young earth creationist organizations in the world says about whether ID is the same as creationism.  Below is an audio podcast from Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis.

There you have it.  Creationists claim that ID is not creationism and ID proponents claim that ID is not creationism.  For anyone that has studied these two different movements, the differences are obvious.  The only reason why the two are confused is due to ignorance or a rhetorical strategy used to confuse the public and marginalize ID without having to confront its ideas.  I think it’s time for the rhetorical strategy to be put to rest – let’s focus on the actual arguments.

 Is Intelligent Design Creationism?   #7 Post of 2010


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Comments

  • fregas

    This is just my opinion, but I see the two movements as different, but related. I would argue that intelligent designers USUALLY begin with the same preconceived notion of supernatural creation, such as christianity and the bible. they then try to reconcile this with science, and unlike young earthers accept evolution as a fact and assume the biblical account in genesis is symbolic. Both are probably strongly biased by christian religion, or at least strongly influenced. There are just few ID’ers that think that the intelligent design was caused by a pantheistic universe, future humans going back in time, or aliens from another dimension. they are almost all evangelical christians who think the God of the bible is the first cause.

    I think it would be better, at least more scientific to say “we don’t know what caused creation” until we find evidence on way or the other. If you philosophically or religiously believe that the first cause is God, then thats fine. But I don’t think its scientific, or at least the ID arguments appear lacking to me.

  • Bill Pratt

    Fregas,
    I think it’s important to distinguish between what ID proponents are saying about the scientific theory of ID and what ID proponents are saying about their ideas of who an intelligent designer might be. The second area is not part of ID theory and is not part of the scientific project that ID is undertaking. This is no different from theistic evolutionists like Ken Miller and Francis Collins asking Christians to not confuse the theory of evolution with the atheistic beliefs of some of evolution’s most vocal proponents (Dawkins, Dennett, et al) . In both cases, the metaphysical views of proponents neither prove or disprove the science behind the theories.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    If intelligent design is not simply a form of creationism, why was it so easy to change Of Pandas and People from a book about creationism into a book about intelligent design simply by substituting “intelligent design” and “designer” for “creationism” and “creator” throughout the text?

  • http://www.religico.com fregas

    Bill,

    I agree that the TRUTH of either theory has nothing to do with the beliefs of its proponents. ID could in fact turn out to be true and we have to weigh the evidence. My concern is merely as a third party, non-scientific layman. Whom do I believe? I don’t believe the fundamentalists who believe in a young earth, creation in 7 days, etc. There are no atheists, agnostics, deists or hindus in the creationism movement. Maybe a few muslims have their own koran creationist movement.

    When it comes to the ID, i see a similar trend. Almost all of them are christians. that tells me that its probably a religious movement, not a scientific one. Now again, it might still be true, I’m open to that. But i tend to distrust it for the same reason that i distrust the fundamentalist creationist movement. the bias seems obvious based on the members of the group. This is just a personal bias on my part. I distrust ID’ers claims the same way i distrust fundamentalists’.

    As to the truth of the ID’ers claims, i’ll give you my opinion. I do not see why an all powerful, all knowing god would need evolution. he could just create everything at once. I dont even see why he would even need 7 days or 6 days and a day of rest as in the bible. i also dont see why an all good, loving god would choose to use evolution. it depends on the suffering and extinction of millions of life forms, some albeit simple but others probably nearly or precisely as conscious as humans. why use a clumsy and painful system such as evolution to create sentient beings? why have them have to prey on each other, suffer and die and reproduce to have their progeny do the same over millions of years? I dont think evolution proves atheism scientifically, but i think philosophically it leans in that direction, at least if your considering the all powerful gods jews, christians and muslims believe in.

    Unguided evolution explains a lot. it explains why there is apparent design, but yet also why there is not perfect design. There are amazing things in the human and animal bodies, but there are also such blatantly stupid things that make no sense if considering a perfect designer.

    Anyway, I don’t expect this to convince you, just my two cents.

  • Bill Pratt

    Fregas,
    Just an observation of a pattern I’ve seen over the years in these discussions. Those who do not believe in God tend to look at the world as being chaotic and therefore undesigned. Those who believe in God tend to look at the world as ordered and therefore designed. We approach the world from two completely different directions. The non-religious tend to point to all that’s wrong with the world, while the religious tend to point more toward all that’s right with the world.

    It’s fascinating to see this pattern over and over. My suspicion is that there is some kind of deeper psychological phenomena going on here that isn’t altogether obvious. The atheist says that the world is so screwed up that God can’t exist. The theist says the world is so designed and ordered that God must exist. We are both looking at the same world, so why the difference?

    By the way, the answer Christians give as to why this world contains evil is that humans sinned against the Creator. All evil stems from this event. God is using the evil in the world to redeem his rebellious creatures. None of us would return to God if the world were a perfect paradise; we would figure, in our rebellion, what need have we of him?

  • http://www.religico.com fregas

    Bill,

    Yes, i agree and I’ve seen the same pattern over and over. The problem of theodicy is usually the main stumbling to secular folk but to christians and other theists its generally not. The atheist stance is generally non-supernatural to begin with, such as: “i dont assume claims that fairies, the lock ness monster or ghosts are true, why should i assume the existence of other supernatural phenomena such as God or virgin births is true?” The theist begins with the supernatural stance almost as an axiom–there must have been something to start everything.

    I’m familiar with the Christian account for evil, the fall of man, etc. but it seems to create more questions than answers, at least for me personal. For example, if humans sinned against the creator and that is what causes evil and suffering, then that still doesn’t not explain why God used evolution prior to that to create animals and humans as that also created a lot of suffering before humans ever evolved. Assuming evolution is not true, why did the animals have to suffer for adam’s sin and how did that one sin cause earthquakes, hurricanes, etc? Why did all of adam’s descendants have to inherit that sinful nature and the suffering that goes with it? Or why could i not just pray “god, make me perfect” and i just lose all sinful tendencies by an act of will as opposed to the christian idea of gradual redemption after salvation? These are just some of the questions i’ve struggled with over the years with christianity.

    I don’t buy the rebellion concept of christianity, at least not 100%. I agree there is a natural tendency to rebel against authority with many people, and that might include rebelling against god, but there is also just a strong tendency to seek out leadership and someone to take control and authority, and for many people this becomes god and the church.

    i’m sure there are some atheists that as you said psychologically are motivated. Maybe as one Christian quipped to Sam Harris they “don’t want a boss” and thats why they don’t believe but i think its a bit simplistic to assume thats the case for every atheist or non-christian. I have heard some atheists say they wish there was a god. I mean, pascal’s wager is right, who WOULDN’T want to take orders from a perfect being? You might have to give up some paltry sins or live a life of some sort of service to god or the church, but that would be nothing compare to knowing you’re doing the right thing, saving people and will be eternally rewarded. But it seems that for many evangelical christians the reason for every theological or philosophical disagreement is “you’re bad. you don’t want to obey god or do the right thing, thats why you dont believe the way i do.” That’s historically true as well by the way. Take a look at the theological disagreements between Martin Luther and Erasmus, both christians. Luther basically accused Erasmus of being atheist and a rebel against God.

    A few other examples: Hindu Yogis who died the day after christ was supposedly ascended into the heavens did not fail to believe in christ or jehovah because they were sinful and rebellious. they believed in something else because they were on the other side of the earth, raised in a different culture and had not one chance to hear of christ because the apostles hadn’t made it over there yet. Muslims today are not “rebelling against god” by being muslims–often they are required to do much more to adhere to their religion than christians have to. They simply have a different view of who god is and what his requirements are. The same is probably true of atheists, deists, agnostics, etc. at least to some extent.

    Anyway, don’t mean to get on a soap box. I appreciate the gentle and friendly discussion you have going here.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Those who believe in God tend to look at the world as ordered and therefore designed.

    In order for Intelligent Design to be a viable scientific theory, it must provide some means to distinguish between things that are not designed and things that are designed. There must be some identifiable quality that designed things have which undesigned things lack. However, if there is nothing that is not designed, what hope can there be of identifying such a quality?

  • Bill Pratt

    Vinny,
    “There must be some identifiable quality that designed things have which undesigned things lack.”

    That is exactly what ID theory is about – providing objective means of determining whether something was designed. One of the the identifiers of design is complex specified information (CSI). Another is irreducible complexity (which is just a subset of CSI). There is a lot of rigorous scientific research that is going into these concepts which arise from information theory. If it weren’t for this aspect of ID, I would have long since cast it aside as unscientific. The fact that ID theorists are actively searching for CSI makes it an empirical science. As ID theorists have pointed out, these same scientific concepts are put to use in other fields already, so why can we not apply them to biological organisms?

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Bill,

    How can you say that irreducible complexity is an identifier of design if in fact you believe that everything else is designed as well?

  • Bill Pratt

    ID theory does not claim that every design can be detected. There are many cases of design that cannot be detected. Irreducible complexity is a positive test for design, so when we find an irreducibly complex system, we know it was designed, but not all designed systems are irreducibly complex. Again, ID theorists do not claim that they can detect every instance of design.

  • Doubting T

    From Wikipedia:

    Irreducible complexity (IC) is a nonscientific argument by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or “less complete” predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally-occurring, chance mutations.[1] The argument is central to intelligent design, and is rejected by the scientific community,[2] which overwhelmingly regards intelligent design as pseudoscience.[3] Irreducible complexity is one of two main arguments intended to support intelligent design, the other being specified complexity.[4]

    Biochemistry professor Michael Behe, the originator of the term irreducible complexity, defines an irreducibly complex system as one “composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”.[5] These examples are said to demonstrate that modern biological forms could not have evolved naturally. Evolutionary biologists have shown that such systems can in fact evolve,[6] and Behe’s examples are considered to constitute an argument from ignorance.[7]

    In the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, Behe gave testimony on the subject of irreducible complexity. The court found that “Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.”[2] Nonetheless, irreducible complexity continues to be cited as an important argument by creationists, particularly intelligent design proponents.
    ——–
    In essence, if you accept ID you reject science.

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom,
    Wikipedia’s bias against ID has a long and well-chronicled history. I would suggest that you actually read the books and articles written by ID proponents instead of relying entirely on Wikipedia. All you are getting is a completely one-sided view of ID. This should be obvious just by reading the kinds of words and rhetoric that the Wikipedia article uses. Do you honestly believe the editors of that article don’t have a big axe to grind?

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Bill,

    ID itself also has a well-chronicled history and its root are firmly established in creationism. A nice summary of that history can be found in the Kitzmiller decision, which was written by a judge appointed by George W. Bush. Creationists had an axe to grind when the Supreme Court ruled against teaching creation science in public schools, so they repackaged it as “intelligent design.” If you insist upon comparing the biases on each side of the controversy, ID comes off on the short end of the stick. There are many theists who acknowledge the overwhelming evidence for evolution, while ID is the exclusive province of conservative theists.

  • Doubting T

    Bill,

    It looks like you are “killing the messenger” here. I challenge you to find any non-biased scientific website in support of ID/IC. Every website I have found in support of these positions were supported by the Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis and/or Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians.

    Following are representative of accepted scientific websites that refute ID:

    National Center for Science Education: http://ncse.com/creationism/general/what-is-intelligent-design-creationism

    National Academy of Sciences: http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/IntelligentDesign.html

    The Royal Society: http://royalsociety.org/Report_WF.aspx?pageid=8307&terms=evolution

    If you continue to support the ID position as least admit that it is in opposition to accepted science. In my opinion, to do otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

  • Bill Pratt

    Vinny,
    Maybe you and Thom could start an ID book club where you actually read the material written by ID theorists instead of court transcripts and Wikipedia articles. Perhaps your small book club would spread like wildfire to other ID opponents, and then in a year or two you could all finally hold conversations about the actual ID arguments themselves. Just a crazy thought….

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom
    I would agree that ID theory is currently opposed by mainstream scientific institutions. But this is the same situation that every single revolutionary scientific theory has been in throughout the history of science, so nothing follows from this fact. It’s a fact that moves the conversation nowhere.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Bill,

    I have read Strobel’s The Case for a Creator in which the whole gang from the Discovery Institute got to make their arguments under Lee Strobel’s softball questioning. I have also read a number of the transcripts from the Kitzmiller case in which those members of the gang who were willing to show up faced real questions with an unbiased judge who could compel them to answer those questions.

    Much more knowledgeable people than I have written books refuting ID. How many of them have you read?

    BTW, can you can name any other revolutionary scientific theory that sought to gain acceptance by forcing its way into introductory textbooks rather than making its case to the best educated scientists in its field?

  • Doubting T

    Bill,

    “But this is the same situation that every single revolutionary scientific theory has been in throughout the history of science”

    Yes, but ID proponents have been presenting their “evidence” to the scientific community for decades, if not centuries, and it has uniformly been rejected due to it being falsified or not being falsifiable.

  • http://www.religico.com fregas

    Bill,

    I think what Doubting T is saying is that its not a “new” theory. Its been refuted over and over.

    Doubting T…i agree with you but just to play devils advocate (ha ha) what about the multi-verse theory? Do you know anything about that? Thats a relatively new scientific theory, and has NOT yet been accepted, but is there any way that can be falsified on principle? How do theories like that differ from ID?

  • Doubting T

    fregas,

    Yes, I am aware of the multi-verse theory. The biggest controversy that I am aware of concerns whether it is falsifiable. Thus, is it truly a “scientific” theory. I believe that string theory has the same problem.

    Lawrence Krause has an excellent utube presentation concerning the origins of the universe that you may find helpful in answering this question in your mind. (see below)

    http://richarddawkins.net/videos/4490-39-a-universe-from-nothing-39-by-lawrence-krauss-aai-2009

  • http://www.religico.com fregas

    So if neither theory has a method of falsification, how are they different from ID?

  • Doubting T

    None, as far as that goes. No ability to falsify, no scientific theory.

    Regarding ID, as I said, some scientists claim they CAN falsify ID and have done so, many other claim they cannot falsify it.

    People smarter and more educated than me do not agree on this point. Bottom line —- ID is NOT accepted by the scientific community outside of biased entities.

  • Doubting T

    As a final thought on this topic, I present Daniel Dennett’s take on true “Intelligent Design”:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_s_response_to_rick_warren.html

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom,
    I think we’re confusing some ideas here. If you mean that the argument from design has been around a long time, I agree. I don’t agree that it’s been refuted at all, but I do agree that it’s been around for a long time. But the design argument is not the same thing as the modern ID movement. Since the mid-1990′s ID theorists have proposed empirical means of detecting design using information theory – means that were not proposed hundreds of years ago. William Paley’s design arguments are not what the modern ID movement is all about. There is much more to it, and that is why I keep imploring you and others to actually read the books written by modern ID theorists. You are missing much of what the movement is saying. The picture of boats passing through the night is an apt one.

    By the way, modern ID theory is easy to falsify. Just find an example of complex specified information that was caused by a non-intelligent agent. That is what the entire movement stands on. If CSI can be solely produced from non-intelligent causes, ID is done – game over.

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom,
    You said, “Bottom line —- ID is NOT accepted by the scientific community outside of biased entities.”

    Again, the scientific community has only been dealing with the modern ID movement’s ideas since the mid-1990′s, a blink of an eye. We have a long way to go….

  • Doubting T

    Bill,

    Based on your responses, I don’t doubt “we have a long way to go”.

    If the ID position is valid, why has mainstream science not accepted it? Are you claiming that the scientific community is biased against it? If so, evidence please.

    If there is a conspiracy against ID, it is the greatest conspiracy in the history of the world, encompassing 60+ organizations of the leading scientists in the world who are committed to finding the truth about our reality.

    “If CSI can be solely produced from non-intelligent causes, ID is done – game over.” — I believe that you have just summed up the findings of science. The fact of evolution through the theory of natural selection shows sufficiently that the reality of life can be solely produced from non-intelligent causes.

  • Doubting T

    Bill,

    By what basis should anyone accept ID before it is accepted by science? Faith? If so, why?

  • Lee Bowman

    @ Doubting T, 9:15 am

    “The argument is central to intelligent design, and is rejected by the scientific community, … which overwhelmingly regards intelligent design as pseudoscience.”[Wiki]

    I use Wikipedia a lot, for unbiased information, but also check out other sources for balance. To touch upon Wiki’s objectiveness, corrections have been attempted at ID related sites by ID knowledgeable folks, and invariably, the corrections are soon after re-corrected to what was written a priori! The ‘pseudoscience’ summation listed above is an example of predicative bias, or a conclusion based on a biased view. In defense, evos will harp on ‘consensus’, or that the science community ‘overwhelmingly’ supports evolution in its current synthesis. This has never been confirmed by an unbiased survey with anonymity guaranteed. Even if/when it is, there will be many who out of fear of reprisals, will side with the vacuous consensus views, albeit w/o actual acceptance of it. And as Bill stated, this ‘bias’ is well-chronicled.

    Michael Behe, the originator of the term irreducible complexity, defines an irreducibly complex system as one “composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”.

    At the Dover v Kitzmiller trial, Kenneth Miller gave an example where the clotting cascade of the puffer fish some of the components of the ‘intrinsic pathway’, and thus claimed that IC was refuted. Behe has repeatedly stated in rebuttals that there may be exceptions in any pathway, but that most of the intrinsic, and all of the extrinsic components are universal in the animal kingdom. Miller’s claim is faulty for two reasons.

    The functional pathway can consist of a subset of existent components which would not need to be a part of the IC sequence, as in the clotting system. http://www.discovery.org/a/14081

    Even if one example was refuted as IC, that would not invalidate IC for other biologic systems. Proving a negative does not remove all other possibilities.

    I would add to the IC proposition the premise of NEC, or non-evolvable complexity, where intermediates offer no selective advantage, and may even be detrimental to existent functionality.

    In the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, Behe gave testimony on the subject of irreducible complexity. The court found that “Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.”

    Speaking of the Court, most of the ruling was cut-and-pasted from the Plaintiff’s briefs, and understandably, since Judge Jones had no scientific training OR familiarity with ID. He admits as much in this interview.

    http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1000297

  • http://www.religico.com fregas

    Doubting T,

    Great link. I enjoyed that talk a lot. It was very interesting.

    Lee,

    I can’t speak to the science or lack thereof of ID versus Evolution. I’m not a scientist. I trust the mainstream scientists more, although admittedly they could be biased. But I don’t think they are, or not as much as religious people (and ID’ers are almost always christians) and here’s why.

    Rick Warren made a quote in the talk Doubting T sent me that was something like “We must obey God and the Bible, even when they don’t make sense.” This hits the nail on the head for me. The bible repeatedly talks about walking by faith not by sight, that faith is things hoped for but NOT SEEN. I heard this over and over, growing up Catholic and later when i was an evangelical christian. This is the mindset of most religious people. This is in absolute contradiction to what science is about. Science is about evidence.

    M. Scott Peck, the author of “The Road Less Traveled” who himself believed in evolution but also considered himself a christian, said that the reason science works is that it is specifically designed to combat human bias, to find out the truth regardless of what we would like to be true. That is why i trust the mainstream scientific community. Their process is designed to revamp ideas, toss old or invalid ones out and update ones that need to be changed. Religion is about believing the same thing no matter what, about how the word of god never changes.

    So this is just my personal opinion is that i trust the mainstream guys more. Especially since many of them still believe in God but reject ID and believe in evolution.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Speaking of the Court, most of the ruling was cut-and-pasted from the Plaintiff’s briefs, and understandably, since Judge Jones had no scientific training OR familiarity with ID. He admits as much in this interview.

    So would you expect the judge’s opinion not to reflect the arguments and evidence that he had found so convincing over the course of the trial?

    Proving a negative does not remove all other possibilities

    This is exactly the problem that faces ID. There are lots of things that science hasn’t figured out, but there is no reason to conclude that they will never be figured out or that they cannot be figured out.

  • Doubting T

    Lee,

    Judge Jones comments from your link:

    “Folks who disagree with my opinion will tell you I never got it right, but I’m confident that I did.”

    “I will always remember Ken Miller’s testimony in the sense that he did A–Z evolution. And then got into intelligent design. And having laid the foundation with the description of evolution, got into why intelligent design doesn’t work as science, to the point where it is predominantly a religious concept”

    “—Another remarkable moment on the science side was Michael Behe, who was the lead witness for the defendants, and a very amiable fellow, as was Ken Miller, but unlike Miller, in my view, Professor Behe did not distinguish himself. He did not hold up well on cross-examination.”

    “In the realm of the lay witnesses, if you will, some of the school board witnesses were dreadful witnesses and hence the description “breathtaking inanity” and “mendacity.” In my view, they clearly lied under oath. They made a very poor account of themselves. They could not explain why they did what they did. They really didn’t even know what intelligent design was. It was quite clear to me that they viewed intelligent design as a method to get creationism into the public school classroom. They were unfortunate and troublesome witnesses. Simply remarkable, in that sense.”

    “—from my view, almost every subsequent discovery tends to bear out Darwin’s theory and has only made it stronger, including the field of genetics. But Ken Miller went into the immune system, the blood clotting cascade, and the bacterial flagellum—all three are held out by intelligent design proponents as irreducibly complex, and in effect, having no precursors. He [Miller] knocked that down, I thought, quite effectively—so comprehensively and so well. By the time Miller was done testifying, over the span of a couple of days, the defendants were really already in the hole.”

    “—the question I decided was whether ID was science. And you use tools like—is it testable? Is it peer reviewed? Is it generally accepted in the scientific community? And the answer to all three of those things is “No.””

    Now, why did you present the Christian Judge Jones’ comments in a link to an interview? I’m dumbfounded that you think this is SUPPORT for ID!!

  • http://www.religico.com fregas

    I am unsubscribing from this thread. No offense to any, but the dialog has become more of an angry argument.

    What both sides have to come to realize is that beliefs are not a choice. People do not (generally) attempt to be intellectually dishonest or believe stupid things. Beliefs are formed by experiences: school, church, family, mentors, friends, books, and so on. They are not selected, they are instilled.

  • Doubting T

    fregas,

    I’m sorry you feel that way. From my end, my statement were not make from anger but from a FIRM belief in the power of science to best determine truth. While not perfect, I do not believe there is an alternative to science.

    That said, I disagree that beliefs are not a choice. Several years ago, after a lifetime of being an active and devote Catholic, I decided ( choice) to take an completely objective look at the issues involved with faith and science. In my experience, most people of faith are unwilling to do so, as I was not willing to do so until late in life. This lead me to the opinion that it is most likely that there is no god.

    Peace.

    Tom

  • Lee Bowman

    @ Vinny 5:11
    “So would you expect the judge’s opinion not to reflect the arguments and evidence that he had found so convincing over the course of the trial?”

    Not at all. His response and conclusions are understandable, given the way the evidence was presented to him, but his ‘way’ of presenting his conclusion, and his arguments for his ruling’s ‘basis’ revealed both his ignorance regarding ID’s validity as science, and his blind acceptance of Kenneth Miller’s skewed logic (Miller did NOT invalidate IC). Following the Constitution and legal precedents, he was correct in ruling on the board’s actions. But ruling on the validity of ID was totally out of his jurisdiction, and his knowledge base. Granted, Miller’s testimony was not challenged properly, but even if it was, the Court would probably not have understood it, and would have rejected it based on the dearth of related published peer reviewed literature (AAAS and NAS prohibit ID papers from being peer reviewed). Judge Jones erred, but essentially had no choice in the matter. Had he sided with ID in part two of the decision, he would have been black balled. Instead, his he has gleaned paid speaking engagements and cracker-box honorary degrees.

    “This is exactly the problem that faces ID. There are lots of things that science hasn’t figured out, but there is no reason to conclude that they will never be figured out or that they cannot be figured out.”

    Sure, but if radical speciation [body plan revision] hasn’t been demonstrated in 150 years, why state that it’s true, but just needs more time? Experiments with drosophila have been an attempt to do just that. Given a ten day gestation time, and with the various available means to induce mutations, there was optimism that species alterations would certainly occur. Aside for degrading the organism, and causing eyes and wings to form in the wrong places, speciation [a different insect] has never commenced. There have been claims of speciation, but these occurrence have been reproductive isolations only, [allopatric, sympatric].

    Why is this important? Due to the intense need to empirically demonstrate that phyla have evolved into all their present forms by mutational events, the data is often misinterpreted to support that premise, a recent example being the development of nylonase synthesis in a bacterium when placed in an environment with only nylon as a nutrient. When nylonase was eventually synthesized within the organization, it was deemed a ‘speciation event’ via mutation and natural selection. This falls under an adaptive (survival) modification, common in all phyla, but does nothing to support Darwin’s central hypothesis. In short, radical speciation by natural occurring means has not been verified, and in my view has essentially been falsified.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    How does one blackball a Federal judge with a lifetime appointment?

    Jones decided the issues that the parties put before him. That’s his job. If he had found in favor of the defendants, he would have had plenty of speaking offers from conservative groups.

  • Lee Bowman

    “How does one blackball a Federal judge with a lifetime appointment?”

    He’d still be a Federal Judge. But knowing the tactics of the parties involved (NCSE, ACLU, AAAS), he would have been widely ridiculed. He may have been invited to speak on occasion, but would not have gotten his honorary degrees, nor named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most Influential people of the year.

    I’m not saying he decided as he did for those reasons, however, since the plaintiffs case was presented more convincingly. But in reality, a non-scientist jourist has no business defining what constitutes science. It’s that simple.

  • Lee Bowman

    I trust the mainstream scientists more, although admittedly they could be biased. But I don’t think they are, or not as much as religious people (and ID’ers are almost always christians) and here’s why.

    Rick Warren made a quote in the talk Doubting T sent me that was something like “We must obey God and the Bible, even when they don’t make sense.” This hits the nail on the head for me.

    First point, the bias isn’t from the workers in the field, although many are biased, but based not so much on their empirical findings, but on the training, and on dictates from NIH, NAS, and AAAS regarding what they are allowed to pursue, or what will be funded. Teleological considerations are forbidden, and this is in print in AAAS published literature.

    Second point: I haven’t read ‘Purpose Driven Life’, but I listened to the link to Dan Dennett’s critique of it. Although Rick Warren mentions design, and may fuse it with his creationist leanings, ID per se is the scientific investigation of design inferences, not philosophy or theology. Dennett states things like:

    And what I find deeply troubling in this book is that he seems to be arguing that if you want to be moral, if you want to have meaning in your life, you have to be an Intelligent Designer — you have to deny the theory of evolution by natural selection.

    And also, citing from the book, and comments,

    But then I read on and I read this — “First, Noah had never seen rain, because prior to the flood God irrigated the earth from the ground up.” I wish that sentence weren’t in there, because I think it is false. And I think that thinking this way about the history of the planet, after we’ve just been hearing about the history of the planet over millions of years, discourages people from scientific understanding.

    So do Rick’s writings and lectures detract from ID? Or take away from its efficacy? Not really, since they don’t address ID from an investigative position. Nor does Dan Dennett’s belief in natural causation.

    Dan Dennett is a philosopher of science with a penchant for understanding ‘consciousness’. I have heard many of his other talks where he muddles over it. And like other philosophers and neuroscientists, they strive to comprehend and to define it based on synaptical functions alone. But alas, they will never find it there.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Unfortunately, a non-scientist jurist had to decide whether ID constituted science because some non-scientist school board members decided to ignore the consensus of the scientific community in order to pursue a religious agenda. The strategy of the ID proponents, like that of their creationist forebears, has been to build support among scientifically illiterate religious conservatives like those on the Dover school board rather than to take their case to the scientific community. ID proponents have always been happy to have non-scientists defining science when those non-scientists share their penchant for magical thinking.

  • Lee Bowman

    The strategy of the ID proponents, like that of their creationist forebears, has been to build support among scientifically illiterate religious conservatives like those on the Dover school board rather than to take their case to the scientific community.

    No Vinny, it was the school board that sought after ID, rather than the other way around.

    ID proponents have always been happy to have non-scientists defining science when those non-scientists share their penchant for magical thinking.

    Not really. Creationists who in the past have coopted the term ‘ID’ is a classic example of identity theft.

    And if there is truly any ‘magic’ involved, it would be the formation of complex bioforms from protozoa by an accumulation of protein folding errors.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Lee,

    The ID movement would not exist but for the fact that creationists were looking for a new strategy. That was very thoroughly documented in Kitzmiller.

  • Lee Bowman

    Vinny,

    Let’s see what Behe himself had to say about D v. K:

    The Court’s reasoning in section E-4 is premised on: a cramped view of science; the conflation of intelligent design with creationism; an incapacity to distinguish the implications of a theory from the theory itself; a failure to differentiate evolution from Darwinism; and strawman arguments against ID. The Court has accepted the most tendentious and shopworn excuses for Darwinism with great charity and impatiently dismissed evidence-based arguments for design.

    All of that is regrettable, but in the end does not impact the realities of biology, which are not amenable to adjudication. On the day after the judge’s opinion, December 21, 2005, as before, the cell is run by amazingly complex, functional machinery that in any other context would immediately be recognized as designed. On December 21, 2005, as before, there are no non-design explanations for the molecular machinery of life, only wishful speculations and Just-So stories.

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=697

  • Bill Pratt

    Vinny,
    If ID is really young earth creationism, then why do young earth creationist organizations, as I demonstrated in the post, disavow ID and claim that it doesn’t go nearly far enough? Are the creationists schizophrenic, or perhaps they have short memories and have forgotten their plans to create the ID movement? Do you really believe there is a big conspiracy among YEC’s and ID proponents?

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Bill,

    I don’t believe that YEC and ID are the same thing, however young earth creationism is only one form of creationism. Moreover, young earth creationists are not uniform in their rejection of intelligent design. Some reject it because it doesn’t go far enough while others support it as a useful tool for attacking evolution.

    I would refer you again to Of Pandas and People. It was originally written as a textbook on scientific creationism. When the Supreme Court ruled that creationism was a religious doctrine rather than a scientific theory, the references to “creator” and “scientific creation” were changed to “designer” and “intelligent design.” The supporters of creationism who wrote that book simply switched their support to intelligent design.

    I doubt that the creationists have forgotten that they created the ID movement, but they seem to hope that everyone else will forget it.

  • Boz

    In relation to ID and creationism, I found the story behind the prase “cdesign proponentsists” to be pretty funny!

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Boz,

    Word processing was still rather novel in those days. They probably ran “spell check” before “search and replace” rather than after.

  • Doubting T

    Bill,

    I just submitted a post and it didn’t post. Are you moderating me? If not, I’ll be glad to re-send.

    Tom

  • Doubting T

    Well, THAT post went through, so I will re-send my post, as follows (minus reference, which are available upon request — perhaps that is why the original post did not get through):

    Bill,

    You haven’t responded to my last postings. I don’t know if you wiIl, but in any event, I would like to add to my previous posts.

    Regarding CSI:

    The concept of CSI is widely regarded as mathematically unsound and has not been the basis for further independent work in information theory, complex theory or biology

    A study by ellsberry and Shallit states that “Dembski’s work is riddled with inconsistencies, equivocation, flawed use of mathematics, poor scholarship and misrepresentation of others’ results”.

    CSI critics cite reports of evidence of the kind of evolutionary “spontaneous generation” that Dembski claims is too improbable to occur naturally.

    Evolution through selection is frequently used to design certain electronic, aeronautic and automotive systems which are considered problems too complex for human “intelligent designers”.

    Researchers are also using computer simulations to investigate artificial life. Jeffrey Shallit states:

    The field of artificial life evidently poses a significant challenge to Dembski’s claim about the failure of evolutionary algorithms to generate complexity. Indeed, artificial life researchers regularly find their simulations of evolution producing the sorts of novelties and increased complexity that Dembski claims are impossible.

    To summarize:

    Virtually all unbiased scientists agree that present-day organisms have evolved from a single common ancestor and that this is as well-established as any other fact of science. Studies in biochemistry and molecular genetics, far from weakening evolutionary theory, have broadened and strengthened the science of evolutionary biology. Pharmaceutical companies, the agricultural industry and epidemiologists base their findings on evolution because it works and explains nature sufficiently.

    In the two decades since the concept of ID was first presented, there have not been any rigorous tests proposed that could identify the effects of ID. In addition, no peer-reviewed articles supporting ID have been published in any mainstream scientific journal.

    Essentially, ID has not been the subject of scientific research or testing as it has not formed the foundation for any scientific process. Behe concedes, “You can’t prove ID with an experiment”.

    Bill, if you do not accept evolution but do accept ID, in my opinion, you are a denier:

    Denialism starts with ideology and a conflict between that ideology and reality. In order to regain control of one’s beliefs, and protect them from being challenged, one has to prove that the science is wrong. That requires one to believe in some form of conspiracy theory.

    Based on comments on your blog, you accept miracles and the Bible as god’s word “a priori”. An individual like myself who places logic, reason and science above faith is not on the same plane. Thus, I think my conversation on your blog ends at this point unless you can convince me that I should accept faith over my present foundation for best understanding reality.

    I wish you and your family well.

    Peace.

    Tom

  • Bill Pratt

    I’m not moderating you, but posts with lots of links get caught in the spam filter. I’ll check it out.

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom,
    I will respond to your latest post, but it will be a few days as you packed a lot in there and I need time to think about what you’ve said.

    Thanks for your patience,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom,
    If your approach to understanding the claims of ID advocates is to only read their detractors, then obviously you won’t find ID theory credible. If you really want to understand some of these issues, I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Signature in the Cell and read it for yourself. This book, by Stephen Meyer, does a great job of explaining information theory as applied to the origins of biological information. When you can clearly explain information theory as applied to biological information (what information is, how it is quantified, where information comes from, how it is manifested in DNA) then I will know that you’ve done your homework and our discussions can be fruitful on that topic.

    “Bill, if you do not accept evolution but do accept ID, in my opinion, you are a denier”

    Thom, I never said I don’t accept evolution and that I do accept ID. Here is where I currently stand with regard to evolution:

    1. The general pattern of the fossil record of the last 600 million years (out of the 4.6 billion years the earth has existed) shows increasing complexity as time moves forward.
    2. All biological organisms share a wide variety of common traits at the molecular level and at higher anatomical levels (as shown by homology, embryology, and molecular sequencing).
    3. There are numerous examples of microevolution (changes within species and genus) in the fossil record and in currently living organisms.

    Given 1 and 2, I can see why scientists would assume that plants and animals living today are descendants of plants and animals living in the past. This theory of common descent explains much of the data.

    There are two major problems I see with evolutionary theory, however. First, scientists cannot explain or demonstrate how evolution has occurred at the macro-level. How did fish become amphibians, amphibians become reptiles, and so forth. Natural selection, nor any other mechanism, has ever been demonstrated to cause these kinds of changes. Even Donald Prothero, arch-evolutionist, admits in his book Evolution that the mechanisms of evolution are still hotly debated and there is still a lot of controversy over this topic. He stresses that life has evolved (theory of common descent), even if we don’t understand how in all instances. This lack of understanding of the mechanism is a severe weakness and leaves me skeptical that we really know what the heck was going on in evolutionary history. There is an awful lot of speculation and guesswork.

    The second major problem I see is that scientists don’t have a clue how life originated. There are lots of ideas, but none that have gathered any sort of long-term consensus from the origin-of-life community. Thus we do not know how life even got started, which seems fundamental to understanding the history of life.

    With regard to ID theory, I don’t know if it is true or not, but I think the application of information theory to biological information is legitimate and worth pursuing. I think ID proponents have embarked on a worthwhile scientific project and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

    “Based on comments on your blog, you accept miracles and the Bible as god’s word “a priori”. An individual like myself who places logic, reason and science above faith is not on the same plane.”

    Thom, if you have really read the blog, I have used logic, reason, and science. This has never been a blog which throws Bible verses at non-believers and just assumes God exists without providing arguments. I have no idea where you would get that idea. I’m not sure what kind of blog topics would be acceptable to you. Could you help me out?

  • Doubting T

    Bill,

    Thanks for your lengthy response. I know I threw alot at you and I appreciate your thoughtful analysis of my comments. I will try to respond in the order of your particular statements.

    Your first paragraph encourages me to read directly from ID proponents. Bill, I must confess, reading excerpts from Behe, and especially Dembski, humbled me. Both of these gentlemen are clearly more intelligent and more educated in what they do then I am. In essence, I do not understand the details of what they are saying. I “trust” the conclusions of scientists that DO understand these areas MUCH better than I do. This is no different that “trusting” my physician, dentist or auto mechanics regarding their specialized expertize. I’m sure you do the same in your life.

    It sounds like you accept micro-evolution but not macro-evolution. I agree that some of the details of evolution are unclear. However, you seem to be making the classical “god of the gaps” argument. I, instead, simply accept the unknowns with the existing evidence strongly pointing to the probability of macro-evolution as well as micro-evolution. No other scientific theory comes closer to what we observe and can test.

    I’m sure you understand the question of the origins of life is apart from evolution from common descent. Your post and my comments have been focused on evolution. However, you may be aware of some of the more recent research in the area of life origins that strongly support the probability that organic substance came from inorganic substances and that organic substance in the presence of unclear catalysts is probably sufficient to initiate life.

    I agree that individuals and organization who think ID is viable in explaining life as we know it should pursue such. However, as I stated in my last post, ID proponents have not presented the foundations for ID to be studied scientifically. I think it wise to not judge ID until it undergoes the rigors of the scientific method. Frankly, based on my research, I do not expect ID to ever reach that level but I am open to the concept.

    Regarding miracles and taking the Bible as the word of god, I have perused your posts and have interpreted many statements that give me the impression that you accept these as givens and/or rely on bias information. Obviously, I am fallible and may have misinterpreted you. In any event, my study of both of these concepts has lead me to the following conclusions: 1) It is most likely that miracles are faulty interpretations of natural occurrences. 2) The Bible is most likely a mythological account of the human condition, a deity and a vocal rebel within the Jewish community. I remind you that I held these concepts as truth for most of my life so I understand how powerful these ideas can be.

    I’m not sure you truly understand how differently a theist and a skeptic looks at the same evidence. To my frame of reference, the theist worldview is inconsistent with reality. I say this with utmost respect for you as a person.

    In closing, I want to say that I am not “anti-theist” for many reasons. However, there are two issues that “fire me up”. One is the attacks against evolution from “creationists” and/or ID proponents who want to include such in the SCIENCE curriculum. The other is the attempt to place government-sponsored god and prayer in the public arena. Thus, perhaps an explanation for my “strong” comments on this thread.

    I will not be posting further on your blog as I believe further comments from either of us will not make a difference in our worldviews or enlighten us.

    All the best, Bill. I have appreciated your courteous interaction with me.

    Tom

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom,
    Thanks for the interaction. One comment you made saddens me.

    “I “trust” the conclusions of scientists that DO understand these areas MUCH better than I do. This is no different that “trusting” my physician, dentist or auto mechanics regarding their specialized expertize. I’m sure you do the same in your life.”

    Physicians, dentists, and auto mechanics are not generally making comments on new theories that explain how life itself emerged. The evolution and origins of life are extremely important issues that we all must make an attempt to understand. These are issues that cannot be ignored or given over to “experts” to handle. I guarantee that you could understand Signature in the Cell if you tried. Thom, if you stop even trying to understand what the other is side is saying, if you just read your side and rest on the hope that everyone on your side is telling you like it is, you fall into a dangerous trap.

    The outspoken anti-ID scientists sometimes uses legitimate arguments and sometimes use nothing but rhetoric to quiet ID proponents (as shown in the blog post). This is an emotionally charged issue (look at how you react to it!) and emotionally charged issues require everyone to be on guard, because the first casualty of these kinds of discussions is truth.

    At the very least, I would implore you to stop criticizing a viewpoint (ID) which you don’t understand. I don’t think that’s right and I know you are better than that.

    God bless you,
    Bill

  • Doubting T

    Bill,

    My analogy is valid because of the particular area of expertize all of these fields have that I do not possess. How “important” the results are does not change the rationale for seeking the expert opinions.

    Bill, you assume I have not been exposed to what ID proponents have stated. I have perused the Discovery Institute website and have read in detail the pros and cons of the issue presented by unbiased scientists working in the field. I see no reason for me, a layperson, to read further publications from the ID folks. Call me biased if you will. I do not consider myself biased against ID but I do admit a biased toward science.

    Another factor that disturbs me about the ID proponents, and the “creationists” before them, is the clear relationship this movement (and I DO consider it one) has with fundamentalist Christianity. It clearly attempts to bypass convincing the scientific community of the value of the concept and attempts to deceive school boards instead. Because you do not see this, I see no reason to discuss it further.

    Peace.

    Tom

  • Bill Pratt

    Thom,
    You said, “Another factor that disturbs me about the ID proponents, and the “creationists” before them, is the clear relationship this movement (and I DO consider it one) has with fundamentalist Christianity. It clearly attempts to bypass convincing the scientific community of the value of the concept and attempts to deceive school boards instead.”

    If you had really read the Discovery Institute web pages, you would know that ID proponents have never advocated the mandatory teaching of ID in public school science classrooms. Discovery Institute opposed the school board’s decision in Dover. So you are just not factually correct.

    You have got to separate, in your mind, young earth creationists from ID proponents. They are two different groups of people with different agendas and different goals. I don’t know how many times I will have to keep saying this, but I will continue to repeat it over and over until we all learn this simple truth.

    The real irony is that ID proponents have published in scientific books and journals, but their opponents do everything they can to prevent this from occurring. They are trying to convince the scientific community, but the majority of the scientific community is refusing to engage them because they have already made up their mind that ID and young earth creationism are the same, without even knowing what ID is! I can’t tell you how many anti-ID rants I read where the author clearly has no idea what ID is about – it is incredibly frustrating.

    Lumping YEC’s and ID proponents together is extremely convenient for anti-theists, but in my opinion it is cowardly and will ultimately backfire. Eventually the mainstream populace will figure out what is going on. Thom, I hope you will disavow this dishonest approach and argue against ID on its own merits.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Bill,

    Tom did not lump together intelligent design proponents and young earth creationists. I did not do so either. Creationism comes in many forms: young earth creationism, gap creationism, day-age creationism, progressive creationism, and evolutionary creationism. You are the one making the mistake by equating all creationists with young earth creationists. I would refer you again to Of Pandas and People the book that was changed from a text on scientific creationism to a text on intelligent design. It was published by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics which recently published The Design of LIfe by Dembski and Wells. The Foundation for Thought and Ethics was founded in 1980 in order to advocate for creation science.

    It is true that many, although not all, YEC decline to support ID because they view it as wishy-washy on Biblical revelation, but that does not change the fact that the roots of ID are in creationism in its various forms.

  • Lee Bowman

    I cannot speak for Bill Pratt, but just a few observations.

    “Tom did not lump together intelligent design proponents and young earth creationists.”

    Not explicitly, but there has been mention more than once that creationism is the antecedent of the ID movement, including references to the NCSE and Dover trial’s parallel assertions. Citing the Court’s decision in that regard is tacit evidence of Thom’s agreement on the Creationism/ID conflation.

    Granted, creationism has variances, but the parsing of creationism into its various forms does not escape that fact that all of them are based on a priori scriptural authority, and ID is not.

    That said, there are design theorists (IDsts) who fall within the creationist camp, some of which helped to promoted ID early on. As documented, Dembski and Behe did have a connection to the Pandas text in the ’80s. While Wm. Dembski co-authored a later edition of Pandas, there is no evidence that he took a creationist position, since the words, “already intact fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.” were present in the earlier editions. In Behe’s case, he merely wrote a chapter on blood clotting. So these events do not tie either of these gentlemen to the various ‘creationist movements’.

    “It is true that many, although not all, YEC decline to support ID because they view it as wishy-washy on Biblical revelation, but that does not change the fact that the roots of ID are in creationism in its various forms.”

    ID is a historic concept, and I don’t mean Paley. It’s historic antecedents predate the Roman Empire. Even Darwin’s associate, Alfred Russell Wallace has alluded to teleological evidences within bioforms, along with other scientists since.

    Much has been written in support of ID by present day scientists and scholars as well, such as Christopher Macosko, Harold Delaney, Michael Kent, David Keller, and Henry F. Schaefer, and of course the evidentiary based tome, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”, by Michael Denton, a landmark book.

    In sum, and understood by its present day definition, ID is a scientific pursuit based purely on data, irrespective of some (not all) of its historical antecedents underpinnings. It is largely political to conflate ID with Creationism, in any of its iterations, solely due to the fact that certain creationists have supported it. ID, by definition, is science based.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Lee,

    I understand that the Discovery Institute would like ID to be understood by the present day definition of its choosing, but that is not how it is understood by the scientific community.

  • Lee Bowman

    How do the two (or more) definitions deffer then?

  • Lee Bowman

    Darn keyboard …. i befor e, except after c

    How do the two (or more) definitions differ then?

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Lee,

    ID is understood to be a religious proposition.

  • Lee Bowman

    Only by those who want it to be. Intelligence per se does not imploy an overseer with canonical dictates (scripture).

    I see design in nature. I do not equate it with a supreme entity, nor do I deny that connection. Bioforms could just as well have been developed incrementally by surrogates of a supreme entity (angelecs), utilizing incremental gene alterations. Sure, there are obvious implications that life was intentioned, and therefor would entail accountability, but there is no emperical data to support that premise.

    The scientific investigation of design inferences is in-and-of-itself a secular pursuit. An overseeing and itself-accountable entity may or may not be involved. Where is the empirical evidence of imposed accountability, other than scripture?

    But Bibles get parked at the lab door. Scripture (religios canon) has no foundational basis regarding the verification or falsification of design inferences. There is therefore absolutely NO basis for IDs exclusion from academia or science.

    Remember, the Establishment Clause was intended to avoid the formation of a theocratic state; not to dictate what constitutes science. If religion is an merely an inference rather than an underlying predicate, then
    to conflate a conclusion (theocracy) with a secular predicate (design inferences) is not only wrong, it is a sophmoric interpretation of the law and of the Constitution.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Lee,

    Unfortunately, many of those who want ID to be a religious proposition are religious people. Perhaps you should work on convincing them of its secular nature.

  • Lee Bowman

    “Unfortunately, many of those who want ID to be a religious proposition are religious people. Perhaps you should work on convincing them of its secular nature.”

    I do, and have received some rebukes from a few. ID has been referred to as a ‘big tent’, encompassing many viewpoints. But the tent may have shrunk a little in recent times, as some have left it.

    Picture a Venn diagram consisting of three circles with an area of common overlap. One is Religion, another Science, and the third ID. The intercepting area is where all three have some commonality. I feel that when it is realized that all three disiplines have their own uncorruptable grounds, then much of the present day anxiety will subside.

    Keep in mind that science (and our form of government) can in no way ever be corrupted as both camps claim, as the courts would never allow for that.

    So in response to your suggestion, yes, that is my penchant; to continue to make the case for secularity, simply a form of objectivity.

    Regarding DI, yes, the Wedge Document was once an internal strategy, intended to soften the hard materialism ubiquitous in science and academia. In twelve years time, policy has softened a bit, as is presently stated:

    Discovery Institute is a secular think tank, and its Board members and Fellows represent a variety of religious traditions, including mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, and agnostic. Until recently, the Chairman of Discovery’s Board of Directors was former Congressman John Miller, who is Jewish. Although it is not a religious organization, the Institute has a long record of supporting religious liberty and the legitimate role of faith-based institutions in a pluralistic society. In fact, it sponsored a program for several years for college students to teach them the importance of religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

    You will still hear the ‘wink, wink, nod, nod’ criticisms, effectively claiming deception, and that DI has none other than religious motives. But that is not what I see from their activities. From their website:

    “Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture awards research fellowships for support of significant and original research in the natural sciences, the history and philosophy of science, cognitive science and related fields.

    By supporting scholarship relevant to intelligent design (ID), the Center seeks to encourage a rigorous critique of scientific and philosophical materialism and to promote non-reductionist study of the natural world.”

    Time will tell.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ Vinny

    Lee,

    I have no doubt that if I relied on how the Discovery Institute’s currently represents itself, I would probably come to a different conclusion as well.

  • Lee Bowman

    Granted. Rather than accepting what an organization claims, it the funding (for them, and their funding for others), and their track record that is much more telling.

    We’ve been discussing ‘Is ID Creationism?’, along with ‘Is ID Science?’ Both are related, since if ID is Creationism, “No’ would logically follow for the second question. The first question begs the second one.

    By the way, I just noticed that they’re debating the second question at Uncommon Descent.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/what-if-its-true/

    Author/ Moderator Barry Arrington, an attorney who has represented personal freedoms and human rights in much of his casework, is a religious conservative, but is open to all sides of the issues at hand, when dispassionately presented.

  • Lee Bowman

    Hmmmmm, actually, the second question begs the first.

    To address the science issue, you must first clarify IDs underlying motives, if any.

  • Doubting T

    Bill, and others,

    I stand by the entirety of my comments on this thread and have no more to add to the conversation until science accepts ID as worthy of study. I do not expect science will ever do so, as, in my opinion, the ID movement clearly is a religiously-motivated enterprise lacking anything that can truly be objectively studied.

    Over and out. I’m gone.

    Tom

  • http://tangenttalk.blogspot.com Rob

    Wow – this one really stirred up a hornet’s nest! I read some of the initial comments, but it got way too lengthy and is really just a long tennis point after a bit.

    I agree that ID is far from Young Earth Creationism. Most of what I know is a pretty logical argument about how a creator/designer could have been involved in/directed what we’ve discovered in science.

    My gut feeling is that this is a tactic to flank the creation vs. evolution debate. Fundamentalists are trying to get a foot in the door. I’ll make an analogy to the health care situation. Many liberals want universal health care. They know they can’t get it all at once, so they’ll start with baby steps on the road to getting the whole thing.

    Moderates. in a much more legitimate way and I think the position you are taking, are trying to reconcile the differences between our knowledge and their faith.

    One of Bill’s earlier comments:
    “Those who do not believe in God tend to look at the world as being chaotic and therefore undesigned. Those who believe in God tend to look at the world as ordered and therefore designed.”

    I don’t believe in God and I DO see a tremendous amount chaos, but I ALSO see an equal amount of fundamental and beautiful order. I hope that we figure out the secrets of the universe at some point in our existence in it. We may find out during this process that we were designed and put here for a purpose. My concern is that we must not let our religion get in the way of this process. I don’t think we need to let go of religion, but we do need to keep it from being a roadblock.

  • http://www.communion.net Communion

    There is a very thin line of separation between the belief, faith and logic. Everyone has a logic to support their faith and beliefs, and the same appears true for those who don’t believe in God. It is what they believe in and should believe because they do think that way and not because it was imposed on by someone.

  • Lee Bowman

    “Everyone has a logic to support their faith and beliefs, and the same appears true for those who don’t believe in God.”

    Agreed. Logic is the application of reason/ rationality to observable and deducible evidences of something. In the case of accepting teleology within nature (design, purpose), you need both. As well, in support of skepticism you also need both. Reason being, there is little empirical evidence in support of either. Faith, therefore, is a necessary component.

    The ratio of ‘faith’ to ‘reason’ within religion might be 90 to 10, whereas logic/reason based on a study of the data alone might be closer to 10 to 90. Faith (or belief) is a smaller, but necessary component of ID, since the data is not firmly conclusive (supportive of teleology). With religion however (a belief in God based upon scripture, testimony, evangelical infput, etc, is largely faith based.

    In my view, ID (limited to biologic progressions, not cosmos formations) has greater logical support than evolutionary theory (natural selection of random alterations), based on statistical probabilities. I view observable evo processes as (1) limited to adaptation to changing environments, (2) to produce diversity, and (3) as a deliberately ‘designed in’ function of the embryogenic process.

  • Jkbell2088

    I think you miss the point if you argue that ID is not Creationism. The question should be: Is both Creationism and ID true?

    If both are true and they are both answering the same question, then I think they are the same thing.

    Look, I’m LDS and I know most people here don’t like us, but indulge me for a while. The Church teaches that all truth fits into one great whole.

    The individual parts of the Gospel fit together like pices of a puzzle. They may look separate but they blend together like colors in a rainbow

    I would argue that the atonement of Christ is Creationism. You can’t believe in Christ and deny the creation. I would also argue that the ID movement is the first step in answering the age old question “who is man that God should be mindful of him?

    JK

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