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  Topic: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed., Sternberg, Gonzalez, Crocker - A film< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 06 2007,13:20   

Good post Glen

Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 07 2007,14:31   

Thanks, J-Dog.

I don't know why posts aren't appearing in any timely fashion, but it makes me more certain that I ought to save my posts here.  I wrote another one today, which at least is supposed to be awaiting moderation.  It goes thusly:

I'm going to try to post, though it doesn't seem that posts are going through now.

Here's Kevin Miller, one of the writers of "Expelled":

--When I say ID is friendly to belief in God in a way that classical Darwinism is not, what I mean is Darwinism literally has no need for the God hypothesis. According to Darwinists like Richard Dawkins, everything can be explained purely by natural forces--including the origin of information, consciousness, and life itself. If you want to bring God into the picture, that is a belief that you are adding to science. It is not required by the science itself, and many Neo-Darwinists believe it gets in the way of science. ID, on the other hand, suggests that rather than something tacked onto one's interpretation of science, God--or whoever you believe to be the Intelligent Designer--is literally at the heart of nature itself, as expressed through information like the genetic code. Therefore, the search for potential signs of intelligence in nature becomes a legitimate scientific enterprise rather than a pseudo-scientific one. IDers are essentially asking the same question as the Darwinists: How did the information get there? What separates them from the Darwinists is that they are willing to consider intelligence as one possible cause. This is not to deny the power of mechanisms like random mutation and natural selection. All the IDers are saying is that such forces are simply inadequate to explain the origin and development of life. Once again, it is not just the IDers who are questioning this. There is huge debate amongst the Darwinists themselves as to which mechanisms are most important and at what level (group, individual, molecular) they operate.--

This tells us all that we need to know about both ID and about the movie.  What Miller doesn't know is that science doesn't presuppose entities like God or the wink-wink nudge-nudge "Designer", it looks for the best hypothesis.  He is trying to tell us that ID is science because it has decided already that God (or "the Designer") is at the heart of nature, so instead of simply searching for the best explanation, ID searches for "potential signs of intelligence in nature".  

That is not science, that's apologetics.  This is what Stein is accusing "Big Science" of suppressing, which of course it is suppressing in the realm of science, for the very good reason that insinuating religious presuppositions about God's role in nature into science is a perversion of the search for explanations in which science engages.  It is exactly the kind of perverse injection of religion into science that Galileo opposed, and for which he was persecuted.  I guess Stein and the rest just want to bring back the good old days of harming those who won't accept religion as the adjudicator of science.

Miller is admitting that his religious presuppositions are what drive ID and the whine in the movie, and, for anyone who believes in the integrity of science, he provides the clinching case against both ID and the movie's false charges of suppression (that is, I don't deny its suppression in science, I deny that there is anything illegitimate about keeping pseudoscience out of science).

It should (but doesn't) go without saying that scientists are not unwilling to consider that intelligence could play a role in the development of life.  The fact that there is no evidence for this intelligence in evolutionary processes is why the null hypothesis (that intelligence is not involved, save through modern human manipulations) is the working hypothesis in science, and will be up until the point where evidence of intelligence guiding evolution is produced by someone (it is unlikely that IDists could produce such evidence, even were it to exist, for they do almost no science--indicative of how little even they think of ID as actual science).  It is grossly unfair to claim that we won't consider intelligence, since we do in any number of cases, and our complaint against ID is that it merely assumes intelligence without any evidence, a fact that Miller tacitly concedes in the excerpt above.

ID is nothing but religious apologetics, a fact that many IDists deny, but one that Miller and Stein's movie only demonstrate is the case.  Science doesn't simply assume that God is directing hurricanes and earthquakes to cause death and destruction to humanity, nor does it simply assume that God designed malarial parasites to effectively sicken and kill humans like Behe suggests that he did.  

Science looks at the evidence, and sees that malaria organisms (Plasmodium falciparum) show evidence of having non-teleologically evolved, both in the manner of its uncaring attacks on humans and in its genomic information, and thus it accepts that it evolved non-teleologically under the present evidence.  Miller and the other IDists have to assume that malaria was designed, then they have to insist that undesign-like features, such as its genome evolved along the constraints predicted by evolutionary theory, are, contrary to all expectations, the result of design.  

This they do because from the start they assumed that God was central to the development of life, which they do not similarly assume for the development of hurricanes.  Why do they suppose that we ought to accept the one assumption without any evidence, while not accepting the other one, due to its lack of evidence?

Glen D

This post added on 9-9-07

--Glenn Davidson:

I must respecfully challenge your contention that creation science and intelligent design are equivalent.--

Considering that I never made that contention here, I have no idea why you're trying to pin me with it.  The fact is that one may treat the various types of creationism differently, or one may treat them as the same, much as IDists do whenever it is convenient for them to do so.

As Deleuze notes, repetition involves difference.  That's why I usually speak of IDists and creationists if I'm discussing both, no matter how similar the two are.  That some will always include a "C" with ID is also understandable (that is, they write "IDC" rather than "ID"), as in "Intelligent Design Creationism".  It hardly matters, of course, whether one drags out creation over 4 billion years or so, the essence is still creation.  It's an absurd concept that "design" would require as long a time as non-teleological evolution is thought to do, but there's nothing new about religious apologists being absurd.

--To better appreciate the differences, I submit to you an interesting historical perspective of both movements.--

Actually, the history is that Paley was an inspiration both to IDists of various stripes since his time, including young earth creationists (YECs).  "Design" is an old YEC claim, and most of Behe's examples were used before Darwin's Black Box by creationists.  Look up "cdesign proponentsists" on the web for the cavalier manner in which one "textbook" was turned from a creationist one into a "design proponent" text.

--Mankind has always been interested in investigating the relationship between God and nature.--

Or the gods and nature, or in how the spirits of nature themselves operate (like the Greek river gods).  It's interesting how readily the "scientific" intelligent design "theorists" allow their theologies to creep into their language.

--At times, philosophy defined the debate; at other times, science seemed to have the upper hand.--

Get real.  Modern science began with, say, Galileo, or more certainly with Newton.  Science has mostly had the upper hand since then, although IDists are very unhappy about actually applying scientific standards to biology.  Hence they wish to change it to accept unevidenced flim-flam, the most beautiful example being when Behe noted on the stand at Dover that astrology would be science under his definition (he seems to have meant only until it was found not to produce results, but it hardly matters, since he there was equating anthropocentric "hypotheses" and actual science hypothesization).

--What has always mattered in this discussion is in which direction the investigation proceeds.--

What has always mattered is how the investigation begins, whether with evidence and minimal biases, or with theistic prejudices.  Kevin Miller wants us to believe that the latter is as legitimate a starting place as the former.  I bet he wouldn't want to be tried for a crime under similar prejudices.

--Does it move forward, that is, does it assume something about God and then interpret nature in that context;--

Assuming something about God is not moving forward.  It is moving backward to the time when science was checked by theology.

--or does it move backward, that is, does it observe something interesting in nature and then speculate about how that might have come to be?--

No, it hypothesizes about how something came to be, and it uses scientific knowledge to do so.  That is, normal causal knowledge is used in any legitimate science.  What Stein, Kevin Miller, and apparently you, want to do is to believe in the kind of "Cause" that Aquinas believed in, something that is only speculation, not the result of continued investigation like causes in classical science happens to be.

--If the investigation moves forward, as does CD, it is faith based; if it moves backward, as does ID, it is empirically based.--

Here you show how very little you know about the practice of science.  Speculation is for metaphysics and theology.  Good solid evidence understood according to normal causality is how science proceeds.  ID only tries to force God into the picture because it is theistic metaphysics.  You can't honestly move from the evidence of continued inheritance with modification with no identifiable breaks into the theistic belief in "design".  If the IDists were honest they'd admit that there is nothing similar between known design practices and evolved characteristics, even if sometimes the results can have a functional equivalence and overall similarities (but the details are what always differentiate evolutionary products and design, hence Dembski's snort at our "pathetic level of detail" which he refuses to engage in, when all of science is about the "details").

But then you seem not to be discussing science, only claiming that religious ID operates differently from religious creationism.  I really don't care, of course, since neither one is doing honest science.

--Each approach has a pedigree that goes back over two thousand years.--

The fact is that the two are doing much the same thing, utilizing their prior beliefs to try to cram themselves into science.  Of course ID wants to claim that it's making valid inferences from the evidence, but it quite obviously is not.  Both intend to bring "science" into accordance with theology and the Bible, of course, the main difference being that creationism tends toward literalism, ID tends more toward medieval metaphysics.

--We notice the forward approach, in Tertullian, Augustine, Bonaventure, and Anselm.--

The whole point of Anselm's ontological proof is to show that God exists sans prior belief in revelation.  So you're hardly characterizing him properly there.  Augustine seems to go back and forth between your "forward approach" and the supposedly different "backward approach".  And he might as well, since modern philosophy and science understand both "directions" to be impossibly dependent upon beliefs which "deconstruct" upon questioning.

--Augustine described it best with the phrase, “faith seeking understanding.” In each case, the investigation is faith based.--

Augustine was not particularly a literalist, and often brought "faith" ideas into line with the evidence as he understood it.  Furthermore, he himself was something of a philosopher who used more than just faith to make his arguments.  Famously, Descartes' "cogito ergo sum" appears to be a reformulation of Augustine's anti-skepticism argument, and from they way that he uses it, one guesses that it was a familiar anti-skeptical argument of his day.

--By contrast, we discover the “backward” orientation in Aristotle,--

You have no business putting Aristotle in with Aquinas and Paley.  Aristotle was nothing like an IDist, or a faith-based thinker like Aquinas and Paley.  He was what philosophers often call "logocentric," if not as much as Plato was.  Nevertheless, he is sometimes called the "first scientist", for he did use empirical data for some of his conclusions, most notably biological conclusions.

--Aquinas, Paley, and others.--

These guys are apologists.  Nothing strikingly wrong with that, especially considering Aquinas's excellent thought.  Nevertheless, if Aristotle was at least somewhat like a modern scientist, Aquinas is solidly metaphysical and a non-scientist, while Paley is just a Reverend trying to come up with evidence that "proves" his faith.  There is nothing new about the fact that Paley's "argument" wasn't based on literalism, just as ID is not, but it relies wholly upon an unevidenced concept, God, to "explain" without the rigor of scientific causality.

--Aristotle’s argument, which begins with “motion in nature” and reasons BACK to a “prime mover,” is obviously empirically based.--

It obviously is not empirically based.  Rather than noting motions in the heavens (which seems to be where his "god" is most being used to "explain motion") and acknowledging that he did not have an explanation for them under his "physics," he just invented a God "thinking himself" which supposedly produced the motions.  It isn't for nothing that such a speculation came in the book now called "Metaphysics," for that work is largely involved in non-empirical speculations.  It is a thoughtful and intelligent work, nothing like ID's attempts to confuse the issues and to have God producing exactly the sorts of patterns of evolution among prokaryotes and among eukaryotes that would accrue through the mechanisms we see affecting each respectively, however it is not an empirical approach at all.

--Obviously, Barbara Forrest and Judge Jones III and others miss the point. CS and ID are simply the latest manifestations of each tradition.--

Obviously they do not miss the main point, which is that although ID is based more in medieval metaphysics and creationism is based more upon a kind of Biblical literalism, both are nothing other than apologetics.  If they had a bit more philosophical knowledge they might at least differentiate between ID and creationism somewhat better, for there are some actual differences (Catholics who reject science tend more toward medieval metaphysics and ID, Protestants who reject science tend more toward Bible literalism).

--I therefore ask you to reconsider your point that the the two are synomymous,--

I ask you to read what I write better than you have, for I did not claim that the two are synonymous.  They're equally non-scientific, though, which I no doubt did imply or state at some point.  Perhaps that is why you merely assumed that I made the two out to be synonymous.

--either theoretically or pragmatically.--

What matters in this debate is that neither one is science, and both are religious apologetics.  Science is what should be taught in science classes, not religion.

Glen D

This, on 9-10-07

--Glen Davidson, rather than respond to all your points (many of which I would challenge),--

You don't challenge them.  More importantly, you haven't the knowledge to do so, but deny like IDists normally do.

--I will try to narrow the focus even more. You tend to impose religious concepts in places where they don’t belong.--

Sorry, I'm the one trying to keep religion out of where it doesn't belong.  Your confusions are inadequate to keep religious presuppositions in their place.  Or more to the point, in many hands they seem designed to deliberately confuse the issues.

--Aristotle did not mention a “prime mover” to inject God into the discussion.--

Here you go in your strawman attack mode again.  I wrote:

--Rather than noting motions in the heavens (which seems to be where his “god” is most being used to “explain motion”) and acknowledging that he did not have an explanation for them under his “physics,” he just invented a God “thinking himself” which supposedly produced the motions. It isn’t for nothing that such a speculation came in the book now called “Metaphysics,” for that work is largely involved in non-empirical speculations. --

I didn't begin to say that Aristotle did "mention a 'prime mover' to inject God into the discussion," which false charge is as incorrect as your many other errors.  I wrote, essentially, that he had no explanation, so he invented one.  That's what religions have often done.

--His point was similar to Aquinas’. Everything in nature that moves must be moved by something else.--

Well gee, I suppose it was similar to Aquinas' "proof of God," since Aquinas' "proof" almost certainly comes ultimately from Aristotle.  

Importantly, everything in nature that moves must not in fact be moved by something else.  This gets back the metaphysics of Aristotle, for indeed he speculated where he had no empirical evidence.  

--In his judgment, that process can not go on forever—it must stop at the point of a “prime mover.” Aquinas made the same point, popularizing the term “inifinite regress,” meaning that the number of prior causes must be finite and finally culminate in a causeless cause. In that context, they were not beginning with faith, they were beginning with observation.--

I wonder why those ignorant of philosophy think they have something to tell those of us who are adept in philosophy.  I know very well what Aristotle, and Aquinas following him, said.  My point was that there is nothing empirical in their "solutions," unlike Galileo's and Newton's physics, and you yammer on about the rationale of a non-empirical "physics" and metaphysics which existed prior to Galileo.

Can't you at least see why we oppose the insistence of the pseudoscientists that we adopt the Aristotelian nonsense that was used (in part) to persecute Galileo?  That's what ID is, where it isn't actually the same as creationism, an attempt to base their "science" on the mistaken presuppositions of Aristotle and medieval scholastics.  

Indeed, Dembski quite directly claims that we need to consider the other "causes" listed by Aristotle (material, formal, and final), along with his "efficient cause" (which really wasn't the same as causation today, though it at least is related to it).  Well we largely gave up the others because they don't work in science, and we're not impressed with the claims made by Aristotle which have been refuted by modern science.  And ID has little else, and nothing worthwhile.

--Obviously, that doesn’t mean that Aristotle and Aquinas never thought about God, it means that they were looking for a method that would dramatize the power of reason without presuming God’s existence.--

Except that they had indelibly in their minds the "fact" of God's existence, though certainly Aristotle was willing to play around with this "fact".  And they operated with metaphysics which assumed top-down imposition of form and motion, while modern science understands it, more or less, bottom up (I don't like speaking of modern science as "bottom up", but compared to the hierarchical IDist claims, and in its metaphysical language, that's the closest I can come to a comparison).  That's why the great majority of Aristotle's work is not science, no matter that he had some of the elements of science working even in his unworkable "physics" (and science almost certainly benefited by Aquinas' incorporation of Aristotelian ideas into Western thought, until Aristotle became a millstone around Galileo's neck).

--One may or may not have religious motives for undertaking such an investigation, but the motive does not define the process.--

Another strawman from Stephen.  I have repeatedly noted that religious motives needn't define the process, as in Galileo, Einstein, Newton, and Lord Kelvin (though both Newton and Kelvin left science in some of their claims).  It's the IDists, not religious people in general, who object to the science which developed to its full flowering within Christendom (with help from ancient pagans and contemporary Jews and Muslims, and almost certainly others as well) who have to force their unwarranted presuppositions into science because they are unwilling to accept the tests of their ideas that science provides.

--So why do I fuss about that?--

No doubt because you'd rather attack a strawman than what I actually wrote, and because you have nothing with which to legitimately argue for ID.

--Why do I narrow the topic to so sharp a point?--

I see nothing sharp or on-point in your treatment of the subject.  Learn some philosophy, at least, if you're unwilling to learn science.

--Because the major objection to intelligent design is the false assertion that THE PROCESS begins with presupposition (faith) and therefore cannot possibly be science.--

Good grief, the major objection to intelligent design is that it has absolutely no sound evidence in favor of it.  I know that you're just making up stuff as you go along, Stephen, but you'd look a whole lot more competent if you'd learn what's at stake.

And the fact that theistic assumptions are necessary in order to arrive at "God" or "the Designer" is another grave objection, one that you seem not even to understand how to potentially address.

--One either begins with presupposition or one begins with observation.--

No, one does not.  One begins with the way that one understands the world (Kant), and one begins with observation (which actually shape Kantian "categories" and the like).  Even presuppositions begin with observations, however they do often intrude into further observation, as is the case with ID.

--Intelligent design begins with observation.--

ID begins with a prejudice, the sort of animistic/typological sense that the world must operate like humans do (probably unavoidable in early humans, for what other processes could they know?).  There are observations involved (gee, it's pretty complicated, and other equally mindless ID tripe), but first and foremost ID begins with a metaphysics which is illegitimate in science and in modern philosophy (possibly not in some dungeons of analytic philosophy (think of Saul Kripke), but certainly in mainstream analytic and continental philosophy).

--If you will not concede anything else, surely you will concede that.--

Sure, I studied philosphy in order to concede that metaphysics is due to observation.  Ha.  

What I can say is that you're pretty far from a good understanding of metaphysics, philosophy, or science.  ID cannot reach the "conclusion" that there was a "designer" without first putting their God into their premises (or, one might say, only if they fail to disabuse themselves of their anthropocentric prejudices, since that's from where those premises come).  It's all top-down metaphysics, assertion that DNA information can only come from mind, and denial of the evidence of derivation of all life via the processes operating at present.  

If you knew anything about the philosophy you invoke, Stephen, you'd know that I'd never concede that ID begins with observation, for I have studied both the history of philosophy and those who have analyzed the presuppositions of the metaphysicians and logocentrists.  One does not concede a falsehood, above all.

Glen D

Another on 9-11-07

Glen Davidson Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

September 11th, 2007 at 12:24 pm
–Glen Davidson, actually, I made a typo on post 1118. What I meant was that you missed my point, not that you didn’t read the post or respond in a timely manner. So, calm down.–

I hadn’t responded to you yet, so how could I have missed your point?

–You say that you haven’t conflated CS with ID, yet you continue to claim that ID, in effect, bootlegs religion into its methodology which is what CS does–

I don’t conflate CS with ID, but I also don’t accept your unevidenced assertion that the difference is that ID isn’t religious. In fact, all of the evidence is that ID is overwhelmingly religious, from it’s “big tent” strategy and its refusal to address the scientific question of the age of the earth (physicist Heddle had a falling out with IDists over that, because he knows that the age of the earth is extremely important in science, and for him, especially astronomy), to the religious statements known from most of its prominent proponents. Dembski famously stated that, “Dembski: “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory,” Touchstone Magazine. Volume 12, Issue4: July/August, 1999? (my source for this was Wikipedia, article “Intelligent Design”).

I would not say that one absolutely has to be religious in order to take up the most minimal tenets of ID. They’d be wrong to do so, likely basing their acceptance of it on teleological biases and incredulity at self-organizing principles, but they wouldn’t have to be exactly religious (arguably, however, they’d be using a metaphysics which is in essence religious, without their recognizing this). What matters is that the movement, and particularly the attempts to force ID into schools and to censor science and its standards, is heavily based in religion and done for the sake of religion.

–So I don’t get why you think I am putting words in your mouth.–

That’s because there is so much that you don’t get. You have your unquestioned “reasons” why ID isn’t the same as creationism, and when someone disagrees with you and tells you how they really do differ, you simply don’t grasp the reasons I have. That is to say, like so many pro-IDists, you really don’t know what makes up philosophy and science, and the various ways that we have of addressing matters, and instead you rely on the narrow claims of IDists and other religionists to set the “standard”.

It’s precisely such narrowness that we are trying to prevent. And no, of course we’re not trying to force the teaching of evolution in the churches, for it is the open society that negates Ben Stein’s charges. The problem is that Ben and the rest wish to intrude their non-standards into another sector of society that allows the reality-based community scope for action, thereby compromising our freedoms to associate and to act as we wish.

Indeed, if that happens it will be the worst for the religious, for there will no longer be any reason why the churches shouldn’t be forced to teach evolution or anything else that society at large might wish everyone to learn.

–If one begins with presupposition (faith, bias, religion etc), one is doing creation science; if one begins with observation and draws inferences from data, one is doing ID.–

Again, Dembski said, “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

–I say ID begins with observation; you (seem) to say it begins with a religious presuppoition.–

How about this, why don’t you tell me what observation leads one to God, or to “the Designer”. I mentioned that the major problem we have with ID is not that it is religious, but that it has no sound evidence in favor of it. That it begins with religion is a problem, but if by strange chance ID (an earlier ID, one that wasn’t so intent on refusing to make inherent predictions) happened to make the right predictions predicated on what we know about design, it would likely be accepted as science (depends upon the circumstances).

That is to say, we keep asking for meaningful observations from IDists, and we never receive any (other than the equivalents of “it looks designed” or the false dichotomy of “evolution isn’t up to the task, hence design is true”—we want evidence for ID, for, even if modern evolutionary failed, there’s no apparent reason why ID would explain anything at all). So yes, of course I’m saying that ID doesn’t begin with observation, that’s essentially the whole case against ID as any kind of science, even as a failed science. We ask for observational data which would point to design (like rational layouts of organisms and systems, instead of the evolved systems and organisms that we see). We ask and ask and ask, and we never receive it. If ID began with observation (and we do mean using the standard observational practices of science and forensics), I’m sure that we’d either have some of the evidence for ID that we have requested, or an admission on the part of IDists that ID isn’t science.

–Am I misreading your position or connecting dots that aren’t there?–

There isn’t any question that I state and have alwasy stated that ID doesn’t begin with observation. IDists no doubt often think that they do, however their unquestioned assumptions and unquestioned human predilections for presupposing purpose and design that isn’t there, precede them.

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 11 2007,13:40   

Still just archiving, as Wesley initially suggested.  Jbagail's post is a particularly nasty and dishonest attack, I would note:


“I’m the one trying to keep religion out of where it doesn’t belong”.

Is this like keeping Blacks out from where they do not belong?--

Since you guys can't make any sort of "argument" except by lame analogy, I'm not surprised that this absurd comment cropped up.

OK, Jbagail, we'll not tolerate being kept out of where we're told that we don't belong.  I demand to be made the pastor of D. James Kennedy's church.  I'm certainly more qualified to tell the truth, and why should I be kept out just because I don't agree with his church's teaching?

So is this an exact analogy?  No, of course it isn't.  One complication is that the gov't has to make decisions about what to teach and fund.  That, in fact, is exactly why religion is kept out of the funding, and the teaching, of science, because the real legal issue is freedom of religion, and not even the importance of teaching science.  You have no business having your religious ideas funded from the taxpayers' dollars.

Your mindless smear has nothing to do with it.  You aren't being kept ignorant by the gov't, you want the gov't to keep children ignorant and to teach them falsehoods.

--A black female relative of mine was murdered many years ago and the male killer got 6 months because she was where “she didn’t belong.”--

Ah yes, the dishonest comparison and the twisting of words by these "righteous" people who try to smear us.  I didn't even come close to saying that any human being of any race, religion, belief, ethnicity, or IQ level doesn't belong anywhere that anyone else does.  I said that I was trying to keep RELIGION out of where it doesn't belong, which is entangled in a government which is bound by the constitution not to establish any religion.

--I find this comment of yours very offensive.--

I find your unintelligent and faulty analogy to be offensive in the extreme, and your attempt to compare keeping a potentially controlling system of thought from controlling the schools and the government as being akin to keeping a person out of somewhere due to race to be highly tendentious and beneath contempt.

--Who are you to judge where religion does not belong?--

First off, I have no power to say where it belongs.  Secondly, I am a reasonable man who has argued these things out like an intellectual, not a blustering bully like your presentation makes you out to be.

--If a man is a Christian he should act like a Christian in everything he does. Many people feel a Sunday Christian is not a good thing.--

Sorry, we're not arguing about whether or not Xians have the rights that everyone else does to free speech, free expression in general, and free public assembly.  I am entirely in favor of the First Amendment, which you seem to oppose.

--Glen, do you want Christians to go into the closet?--

Do you want to attack strawmen all day?  I repeat, I want to keep religion out of where it doesn't belong, and it belongs in Xians, who are free in this society.

--Is this what you want? What about Jews? Shall they go into the closet? We have a Jew and also a Muslim at the University, and both talk about their faith almost every chance that they get (tactfully) and, frankly, I enjoy their company as does everyone else I am aware of.--

Since the idea that I oppose the freedom of Jews and Muslims is entirely of your own malicious and/or ignorant making, I point out again what a dishonest attack you make upon me.  It appears that the words of an honest non-theist such as myself in favor of the First Amendment is, in your mind, justification for a host of false charges.

--Where I work we stress tolerance for all religions. I have learned much from them. Ben you need to release your film ASAP.--

Apparently you haven't picked up any kind of tolerance, rather you promote hatred of those of us who favor the First Amendment.  Indeed, with people like you praising the film, it shouldn't be too hard to demonstrate exactly why we need to keep religion where it belongs, which is, not acting as an agent of the government to oppress those who disagree with would-be theocrats like Jbagail.

You are one frightening person, Jbagail.

Glen D


--In message 1243 Glen D chose to only comment on my last statement about my anticipation of the movie that is receiving immense criticism even though it has not been seen yet.--

Since it is a strawman attack, while you avoid what we actually wrote, it seems unlikely that anything else you might write is worthy of comment.  

--I was disappointed that he did not offer any comment on the more substantive part of my message (1237) about entropy and the origin of life.--

What's substantive about it?  We've read Granville Sewell, who tries to conflate probabilities with entropy, when the two are not about the same things.

--I addressed this only because some of the earlier messages indeed brought up thermodynamics and the acorn analogy.--


--I simply offered what I thought was a reasoned response.--

Well it wasn't.  How about actually addressing some of the many responses that have been made to Sewell and to others who try to shoehorn SLOT into denying evolution?

--However I guess I was just guilty of more “strawman attacks, unsupported demonizations of their opponents, and the most useless “science” arguments that have ever been answered thousands of times without their getting a single clue.”--

Yes, I pointed out how inappropriate your remarks were.  Why do you suppose that anyone should care about what you write about entropy when nothing prevents you from unfair characterizations of your opponents?  Notably, rather than take back your unfair characterization, you simply move on to more attacks.

But okay, I'll answer again the most useless "science" arguments that have been answered thousands of times without their getting a clue:

--Just a few comments about the origin of life and thermodynamics. It is certainly the case that the 2nd law of thermodynaimcs applies in both open and closed systems. It is also true that in the early earth there was plenty of energy available from the sun. It is also true that an acorn only needs water, sun and soil to germinate and grow into a mighty oak tree. This can all seem to argue that life could have arisen on an early earth as a localized decrease in entropy as the rest of the universe necessarily increases in entropy.--

It doesn't speak to the issue of whether or not life could have arisen on an early earth.  Probability is not the same as entropy, even if someone like Sewell claims that it is.  The point about the sun's radiance is that SLOT doesn't rule out increases in order (not the precise language of entropy, but it should be all right for our discussion), and that it can pay for incremental changes during the course of evolution.

I don't even know why abiogenesis is being brought into this, but again entropic considerations don't rule it out.

--But that’s not the whole story. An acorn also needs a genetic blueprint and cellular machinery to take the raw ingrdients of sun, water and soil and grow into a tree.--

That's where evolution comes into the picture.

--And raw energy from the sun is rather impotent without some kind of energy conversion mechanism to harness that energy for useful cell building work.--

No, energy from the sun is quite potent, able to make radicals, superoxides, amino acids, and what-not.  Of course evolution is needed in addition to produce an oak tree and acorns, but that doesn't mean that the sun is impotent sans energy conversion mechanisms.

--Today that role is primarily filled by the process of photosynthesis.--

And on Mars high-energy molecules are made without photosynthesis.  Possibly providing energy to organisms which evolved there.

--In the early earth, if we are going to go from raw chemicals, water and solar energy to even a simplified first cell, there is a desperate need for some kind of energy conversion mechanism.--

Why?  Don't you know that the first organisms are considered likely to have been extreme heterotrophs?  Just as high-energy ozone is made in the upper atmosphere, high-energy organic molecules could be made by sunlight under the proper conditions.

--Applying raw undirected energy to a system of chemicals is almost always going to be destructive not constructive.--

No, chemicals are zapped by various forms of energy to make high-energy and complex molecules.  Buckeyballs and carbon nanotubes form when electrical discharges are run through various chemicals.  Lightning produces ozone and nitrogen oxides.  The Miller-Urey experiments produced amino acids via electrical discharges.  Carbonaceous chondrites have fairly complex organic molecules in them including amino acids, which is certainly a step up from the monotomic atoms coming out of supernovae explosions.

Self-organizing processes are very well known in chemistry and elsewhere.

--Requiring some kind of energy conversion mechanism apart from cellular machinery before there were cells seems to require some kind of intelligent input.--

This is why I didn't respond to this "substantive" stuff before.  It's all sheer creationism/ID, without any knowledge of what is proposed for abiogenesis, nor with any of the understanding of how early "life" might have incorporated and used compounds for reproduction.  Indeed, replication itself would be the only real "metabolic" function in most scenarios, and that could be provided by various environmental means, like pH changes.

--Something has to manipulate the molecules.--

Only in your assumptions.  Real science involves trying to learn how molecules might self-organize, which does happen in many situations.

--And what about the first cellular information blueprint? All of our experience tells us that useful, complex, specified information arises from intelligence.--

Our experience is that functional information in animals has evolved over the course of evolution.  We do not know how genetic material arose to the level of life in the first place, but if we're not willing to conclude that it was just magic, we work at the problem scientifically, not merely resorting to the unevidenced.

Most importantly, the sort of information found in DNA has never been observed to come from intelligence, ever.  Your claim that "All of our experience tells us that useful, complex, specified information arises from intelligence" is related to the idea that we have only seen wolves and lions coming from intelligence, when in fact we have only seen them coming from reproduction.  But even though we HAVE only seen them come from reproduction, and even though we have evidence that lions and wolves share ancestry, you would prefer to believe that an unknown agent was responsible for there being wolves and lions.

Should we believe the evidence of common ancestry among humans?  Among mammals?  Among vertebrates?  Among all of life?  What is most absurd about ID is that it believes that the "probabilities are too high for 'Darwinism' to account for evolution," when apparently the 95%+ relatedness of chimps and humans is either accidental or due to some unfathomable reasons of the creator.  We know that probabilities could never produce anything like the apparent relatedness and non-teleological evolution of all life, and of course claiming that design caused the expected patterns of "Darwinism" is the most ad hoc and lame claim that I can think of.

--Packaged energy for cellular processes and genetic information scream for an intelligent precursor.--

Non sequitur.  And you completely ignored what is actually proposed for abiogenesis, which are also understood only as a sets of hypotheses at this time (IOW, it is not evolutionary theory).

--Compounding the equation is the apparent necessity for this to be a rapid process since fossilized remnants of bacterial life have been dated at around 3.6 or 3.7 billion years old, only a 100 million years or so after the earth had cooled sufficiently to allow life to survive and the major meteoric bombardment had let up.--

Compounding the equation is the fact that you have put in a bunch of assumptions which are not obviously important to abiogenesis.

--You can find the full thermodynamic equations in Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen’s book, “The Mystery of Life’s Origin.” It’s critique of chemical evolution scenarios remains valid.--

And I'm supposed to believe that claim, when none of your assumptions are shared with those scientists who work on abiogenesis?

--If you’re going to rely purely on chemical and geological forces to account for the origin of life, you just can’t get there from here.--

First off, I can't see that anyone was arguing over abiogenesis.  Perhaps some were, but that's not what this blog is about.  Secondly, none of your points have anything to do with the real work being done to try to explain life's origins.

--I look forward to the movie and am disappointed but not terribly surprised at the ad hominem attacks and negative judgement displayed here about a film no one has even seen yet.--

Still a very unfair statement, considering that almost none of the remarks have disparaged the movie except insofar as it has been characterized by Stein and others involved in the movie.  You seem to fault us merely for answering Ben's claims, and without properly characterizing our answers.

Back to the last part of his more recent post:

--I have been making this observation for many years. Perhaps Glen D can enlighten me as to why he would characterize my comments this way. I welcome any response.--

I characterized it that way because you made an unfair attack on those of us who were not faulting the movie so much as the material that has been released about the movie, and because such untruthful attacks amount to ad hominem attacks.  Then I didn't want to get into abiogenesis, since that's largely beside the point that evolution is a solid established scientific theory the equal of other scientific theories.  

And also I had noted how many times pro-IDists' "science" claims have been answered because it is true, and because I dealt with Granville Sewell's attacks on evolution (invoking entropy) here:

You have to click on "Read more" to get the full comments.

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Alan Fox

Posts: 1484
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,12:21   

DaveScot pops in to offer Glen reinstatement at UD "if you can be civil". Then I thought maybe he means JAD, so I posted:

September 11th, 2007 at 1:27 am

Davidson, I will lift your ban at Uncommon Descent if you can be civil.

Great to see you out and about again, Dave. I thought you had retreated to the UD laager permanently. Just to clarify, are you re-inviting Glen (who apart from the odd hissy fit, usually manages to remain civil if somewhat verbose) or was Davidson a typo and you meant to address John (who possibly has overstepped the bounds of propriety on occasion). I am sure UD can restore its rightful place in the blogosphere with some insightful input from JAD.

Shame about the informatics thingie. Bill could do with a  bit of good publicity to boost those book sales which must be flagging a bit since Dover.

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,15:20   

I was uncertain who was meant as well.  It didn't really matter, though, since I had no idea that I am banned, if I am (I don't know if that's really Springer posting either).  That's how eager I am to post alongside DaveScot.

Not that he isn't the epitome of class in inviting whomever back, if he "is civil".  To a bunch of ignoramuses and/or liars, I am not.

I loved ("I love it so") the response from JAD, though, who certainly thought it was the "Darwinian blow hard," and whined like a kicked dog that the dolts at UD won't take him back in.  Is there any set of people about whom he wouldn't complain if they don't accept him (and even more if they do)?  Someday he's going to be muttering out on the street that no bums will let their rags touch him, which will be believable.  Of course he seems to loathe anyone dumb enough to think he has anything to add (for good reason), so he'll always spit at anyone who gives him the time of day.

Poor old fool, there isn't a forum new enough that it doesn't have a good many on it who already know about how he operates.  He's as lonely on Stein's forum as he always was at his own.  What's sad is that someone so socially needy is almost totally without social skills, and devoid of anything of value to offer anyone.

Glen D

Back to the archiving, 9-12-07

--Glen Davidson,

Please knock off the insults and get back into the business of substantive discourse. --

I'm the only one of the two of us who has brought any substantive discourse into the discussion.  Your inability to address anything properly is what I have to address, since you ignore almost everything that I actually write, and turn to repeat some meaningless claim that you made previously and of which you didn't understand the reply which was made to it.  

It's interesting how quickly someone like you who came in with a completely false charge against me faults me for supposedly not engaging in substantive discourse.  Also, when you haven't begun to address anything substantive that I've written.

--Intelligent design is in no way dependent on religion, nor has Dembski ever defined it that way.--

I wish you could actually make a point that would have some intellectual meaning.  I know how dishonest Dembski is about ID, and I didn't suppose or claim that he ever defined it as dependent on religion (it would hurt the legal case if the truth were told).  That it is dependent upon religion is the substantive issue, the one that you haven't begun to address.

--Here is one of the many ways he has expressed it::--

Do you dream that we haven't heard the droning claptrap of the ignorant Dembski over and over again?  What's important is that we're independently capable of evaluating ID apart from the bogus claims of those who want to pretend that it is science, when that is the least plausible claim that it makes.

--“Intelligent design is the science that studies signs of intelligence.--

The trouble is, it doesn't.  What Dembski does is to claim that simple but "unlikely" design is complex, contrary to any meaning of that term.  Then he tries to claim that design is detected by his measure of "complexity," completely ignoring the fact that we rely most of all upon the marks of rational thought which are visible in designed objects, and also upon any evident purpose, novelty, and "borrowing" for an obvious or a non-obvious reason.  What Dembski states is hardly credible.

--"Note that a sign is not the thing signified. Intelligent design does not try to get into the mind of the designer and figure out what a designer is thinking.--

Of course it doesn't.  That's because their "designer" is inscrutable, just like Maimonides', or to a lesser extent, Aquinas's God.  The "Designer" also is apparently capable of fine-tuning the universe, which in ID circles means some nearly-omnipotent Being (that we might be in a simulation is speculated on by non-IDists, in which case it might be a guy sitting around, drinking beer and playing a video game.  Not the scenario proposed by IDists).

Actual science is concerned about anything that can be deduced from a putative cause, while the IDists are not concerned about investigable causes.  We'd be intensely interested in the mind and purposes of a real designer, if you people would actually come up with something for once.  

Thanks for pointing out how unlike science ID is.

--"Its focus is not a designers mind (the thing signified) but the artifact due to a designer’s mind (the sign).--

Dembski doesn't even know how to use the terms "sign" an "signified" properly.  The mind that creates is not what is signified by the object, except in unusual self-referential cases (I don't dispute that some aspect of mind is essentially signified in "signifying something else," but that's already understood by actual scientists).  The sign or object often does signify something, but something other than the mind that creates it.  Dembski either ignorantly or deceitfully switches the meaning of words to avoid the fact that a real designer would indeed be expected to put signification into said designer's object, and this might actually tell us something about that mind (as it does with humans).

But of course Dembski's "Designer" is like the philosopher's God, hence one isn't supposed to speculate about this God, uh, "Designer".  Once again, completely unlike how real science operates.

--"What a designer is thinking may be an interesting question, and one may be able to infer something about what a designer is thinking from the designed objects that a designer produces (provided the designer is being honest).--

Why yes, apparently the "Designer" thinks in genetic algorithms, because instead of ever producing anything that appears like designed objects do, this "designer" is making organisms appear as if they had evolved.

--"But the designer’s thought processes lie outside the scope of intelligent design.--

How convenient, and how unlike real science.  In real science, you have to know something about the cause in order to match it with its hypothesized effects (and ID cannot honestly predict complexity or simplicity, let alone pretend that complexity can only come about through the divine, er, the inscrutable designer).  So Dembski declaims any concern about the actual cause, yet insists that life is its effect.  That's bogus philosophy, let alone being pseudoscience.

--"As a scientific research program, intelligent design investigates the effects of intelligence and not intelligence as such.”--

Yes, we'll ignore the cause, and claim the effect.  That's certainly not science, rather it is what is often known from religion.

--As everyone knows (including you, I trust) Barbara Forrest pulled the quote about “logos theory” to make it appear that ID is religious based.--

Simpleton, of course it was pulled out in order to provide evidence (you know, what none of you people ever provide) for the obvious fact that ID is about religion.  Dembski said, it, quit pretending that there's anything wrong with using it.

--As it turns out, Dembski made that comment discussing intelligent design in the context of its relationship with theology and metaphysics for a Christian audience.--

Yes, we know that extremely well.  During the week, he's telling us that ID is science.  On Sunday, he's preaching ID as religion.  This has been discussed a good deal on forums like Panda's Thumb, and of course you merely make our point, that not only is ID religion, ID is very dishonest regarding its claims to the contrary.

--Unlike many scientists, Dembski is formally trained in philosophy and theology–not just science.--

Dembski is not formally trained in science (I suppose he's taken some classes in it, but I have yet to see any indication that he understands it and its methods).  Quit coming up with false claims.  And he's not adept in philosophy at large, but only in a kind of metaphysical-religious sort of philosophy.

--That means, of course, that he is qualified to discuss controversies that appear at the intersection of science and philosophy,--

Only if he actually understands philosophy beyond a certain metaphysical ghetto, plus had an understanding of science.  I have yet to see him understand any philosophical position that is critical of metaphysics, or science above grade-school level.

--an attribute that not everyone in this dialogue can lay claim to.--

Neither can he.  And you certainly evince no knowledge of science or philosophy that would pertain to this subject.

--From a Christian’s faith perspective, intelligent design does have religious implications, of course.--

Ya think?  I'd like to see what it has to do with anything other than religion.

--But the methodology itself is scientific,--

You know, it gets very tiresome to read you making the same monotonous claim each time you come in here to reveal still more of your ignorance.  I asked you for evidence, for observational data that would support ID.  As with all IDists, you utterly and completely fail to get up to the starting point of science, but merely complain whenever we point out how devoid of science content ID obviously is.

--as Dembski pointed out earlier in the same discussion.--

So, you're resorting to argumentum ad verecundiam.  That's the formal name for your fallacy.

--To ignore the distinction is to violate reasonable standards of fairness. --

And so you convict yourself.  

--If it is not asking too much, please limit your response to this one subject--

If it's not asking too much, please respond intelligently to even one thing that I've written.  And by the way, the fact that you can't discuss or understand the range of issues involved is your problem.  The repetition of untrue claims, fallacies, and your complete inability to broach the issues revolving aroud science and the pseudoscience of ID is unproductive and revelatory of your reliance on the bogus claims of the egregious IDists.

And I already posted this at post #1090, but here is an excerpt of something that one of the writers of this movie posted on a forum regarding ID:

--When I say ID is friendly to belief in God in a way that classical Darwinism is not, what I mean is Darwinism literally has no need for the God hypothesis. According to Darwinists like Richard Dawkins, everything can be explained purely by natural forces–including the origin of information, consciousness, and life itself. If you want to bring God into the picture, that is a belief that you are adding to science. It is not required by the science itself, and many Neo-Darwinists believe it gets in the way of science. ID, on the other hand, suggests that rather than something tacked onto one’s interpretation of science, God–or whoever you believe to be the Intelligent Designer–is literally at the heart of nature itself, as expressed through information like the genetic code.--

Try to understand for once, Kevin Miller is contrasting "Darwinism" with its lack of need for a God with ID's prior belief that God is at the heart of nature.  Of course one could try to bring up the charge of argumentum ad verecundiam, but it won't work because this is simply an example from a pro-IDist, while I've argued the actual case a great deal, here and elsewhere.  Not only does Dembski betray his "during the week" claims when he's selling his book to the rubes, this whole movie happens to be a complaint that we're supposedly suppressing ID because it is religious (and we are suppressing it along with other bogus "science" in certain venues, but only where religion isn't supposed to be supported by gov't, and where our own freedom of speech and association give us the right to do so--along with the other pseudosciences and conspiracy theories).  

Perhaps you should actually read Ben's blog.  He doesn't mention ID, unlike Miller does, but Miller confirms that the movie primarily concerns ID, and the whine is that we're "keeping God out".  Yes, that's what science does, unless you can actually come up with evidence that God is a proximal cause.  You'd be a whole lot more convincing that ID isn't about religion if you weren't commenting under a blog whose main complaint is that ID is being suppressed because, in fact, ID is religious.

Glen D


Glen Davidson Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

September 13th, 2007 at 12:00 pm
–Dear Ben,

I see by the comments that you’ve ticked off a bunch of Darwinists. It’s interesting that they can only resort to calling you names.–

Where are your answers to the questions and points that I raised in posts #389, #1031, #1065, and #1090, for starters? Oh, you didn’t answer them, did you? You prefer to write the blatantly false claim that we can only call names, when in fact I have not seen much other than name-calling from the creos and IDists, and the little else was recycled nonsense (and we have answered virtually all of it, no matter how tiresome it is to do so).

So your credibility level is—about where Dembski’s is, hovering around zero.

–I just wanted to let you know that I applaud your willingness to put out the truth about the suppression of dissension.–

And you provide as much evidence as Ben did for such flim-flam, none at all. But then the need for evidence famously doesn’t trouble IDists.

–My bachelor’s degree is in electrical engineering. It’s interesting that none of the courses (taught in a secular university) which I took had anything to do with evolution.–

Fascinating that a non-teleological biological process wouldn’t be taught to an engineer. Must mean something, huh? But sadly, Josh can’t quite relate what this meaning is (so he invents it).

–It was never even mentioned because engineering has to do with science,–

Actually, it does not. It has to do with applying the conclusions of science. You’re not the first ID engineer to make the colossal error of thinking that in bypassing science with your engineering degree you have nonetheless become an expert in science.

–not science fiction.–

Gee, imagine anyone resorting to name-calling. Well, it wasn’t me, Dimensio, Craig, or a host of other pro-science commenters who thought that name-calling and false accusations would stand in for discussing science (not that we don’t use the names that fit, certainly), it was the whiner who can’t back up a single claim that he makes.

–It saddens me that most of your critics have never stopped for a moment and questioned what they believe.–

Mere ad hominem, and something that Josh could hardly know. I suspect that many on the pro-science side have seriously studied ID and creationism, like I have by coming from a creationist background. But why should Josh bother telling the truth when Stein’s blog is a mash of untrue claims barely altered from official ID mendacity?

–I have studied both evolution and ID.–

I should think that if you knew anything about evolution you’d be capable of dealing with it in detail. And if you really were a scientist, you’d finally tell us what we’ve been asking for, what is the scientific evidence for ID?

–What are those people afraid of? GOD.–

Why yes, it’s what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Dobzhansky, Father Coyne, Ken Miller, and Francis Collins were all afraid of, God. Oops, no. You’re as wrong about that as you are that engineers study science (aside from a few core courses).

Wow, you got absolutely none of your non-trivial claims right. But that’s as good as most IDists, I’ll admit, so you’re in the right company.

Glen D

Glen Davidson Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

September 13th, 2007 at 12:20 pm
–I think the negative comments are proof enough of the need to clarify the THEORY of evolution vs. Intelligent Design.–

Yes, negative comments have proven that the city of Atlantis existed, that UFO abductions are a reality, that homeopathy works, that the CIA killed John Kennedy, that our government was responsible for the twin tower attacks, divination by birds, necromancy, Scientology, and Intelligent Design.

See, all you have to do is to make a statement, no matter how absurd, then when someone disagrees, that proves your statement. Anyway, that’s what all of the pseudoscientists tell us.

–One could just as easily ask an evolutionist to come up with real evidence that this THEORY is true as they push on the ID people.–

This tells us all too much about the mentality of most creos and IDists. Darwin published the evidence 150 years ago (accounting for non-teleological aspects (vestigials and some rather odd adaptations) which pointed away from purposeful design–in addition to providing the evidence of common descent itself), and we get the same demand for “evidence” and denial thereof from the sorts of people who never provide evidence for ID. I wonder why they’re so evidence-challenged?

Darwin only began the process of gathering and disseminating the evidence for evolution. Journals are rife with it, of course, though it rarely is called “evidence for evolution” any more than evidence for Newton’s laws of motion is called “evidence for Newtonian laws”–scientists have been satisfied with the evidence for over a century in the case of evolution. And beyond that, people have been repeatedly pointed toward evidence at Talkorigins and blogs which exist just for the purpose of putting out the evidence and discussing it, as well as presented in numerous comments.

It’s sort of what Plato noted in the parable of the cave, that nothing will actually affect people until they actually look. Because few IDists and creos will look at the evidence, or they fail to understand it, the mere fact that we have done what we can to make the evidence available doesn’t prevent the same kinds of demands and questions from being made. This is due to the fact that if they don’t see the evidence, it does the anti-scientists no good at all.

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy


Posts: 109
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,23:25   


Gotta compliment you on this series of posts.  Did you apply any anesthetic before dissecting? :)


Posts: 11175
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 15 2007,11:11   

Oh, Tardfight at "Expelled"!

"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
" was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 15 2007,16:57   

Quote (snoeman @ Sep. 13 2007,23:25)

Gotta compliment you on this series of posts.  Did you apply any anesthetic before dissecting? :)

They seem to be already numb intellectually, so I didn't bother.

Archiving, 9-15-07

--Glen Davidson,

About me your wrote, …“that you can’t discuss or understand the range of issues involved is your problem.”

My purpose in zeroing in on a simple point was to provide a little focus for you because you don’t seem to be able to do it for yourself.--

What you don't know is that the interaction of science and philosophy is rather complex when it comes right down to it.  It isn't simplistic like you and Dembski suppose.

-- Apparently, you didn’t get the hint, so I will come out with it. Writing forty of fifty paragraphs when one will suffice does not prove intelligence or knowledge, it only proves verbosity.--

The trouble is that you have no clue about what's involved, so you think that an argument from authority, along with some misapprehensions of philosophy, are sufficient.  You can't discuss anything, so you want to make my learning into a problem.

--That your insufferably long posts do not even address the issue is even more annoying.--

You don't understand the issue, as has become painfully obvious.

--That is why I narrowed the issue to ONE ASPECT OF ONE TOPIC—hint-hint-hint—it’s your cue to make a point, shut up, and get out.--

This is how it always ends, we discuss the issues, you who don't know anything get angry that you have nothing to say, and get nasty.

--The idea is go straight to the issue—not to keep shooting arrows endlessly, hoping that one day you will hit a target,--

I'd like you to be able even to discern what the target is.

--Your latest offering shoots about thirty more arrows, none of which even make it to the outside ring. My original point was simple: YOUR EXAMPLE citing Dembski’s comment about the Logos theory of the Gospel as proof that ID is faith-based is illogical. Dembski’s statement was made in a theological/philosophical context, and therefore does not relate to the question about whether or not ID’s methodology is empirically based. I showed that your contention was wrong, and I made the point SUCCINCTLY.--

If stupid and succinct mean the same thing to you, go ahead and believe that.

--Incredibly, your interminable response ignores this one and only point. I am therefore left to wonder whether you just like to read your own prose or whether you have a problem with reading comprehension. --

Unfortunately, you are incapable of thinking from the evidence, and blither around the evidence that Dembski is theology-driven with a bunch of trivial side issues.

--Instead you weasel out by saying, “I didn’t suppose or claim that he ever defined (ID) it as dependant on religion.” Oh no? Well then, what was your point in raising the issue of logos theory in the first place? I didn’t bring it up, you did. Apparently, you will not allow Dembski to define his own theory. If he insists that ID is empirically based, you will simply say, “sorry, we don’t allow people to speak for themselves.--

He spoke for himself, and essentially said that ID is "Logos" of John 1.  You can't accept that Dembski speaks out of both sides of his mouth, so you deny the most obvious fact, that, for Dembski at least, ID is religiously motivated.

--We accuse them of being so enamored with their Christianity that they lost all sense of judgment and can’t possibly know where religious faith ends and empirical observation begins.” What bigotry.--

Yes, you're incredibly bigoted, close-minded, and unable to make reasonable inferences from the data.

--Your mission, then, should you choose to accept it, is to defend your ridiculous and bigoted assertion that Dembski’s Theological comment about Logos theory proves that his science is not empirically based. Also, try to make every word count. If you can’t do both, do neither.--

Well, I've spent too much time responding to someone who can't begin to make a reasonable argument.  Try a little bit of schooling, it might make you capable of at least reading what I write, if not of responding coherently.

The fact is that Dembski's "Logos statement" does not by itself show that ID isn't religiously based.  Yours and his utter inability to come up with any kind of evidence that would actually pass muster in forensics or in science to demonstrate empiricism is what show that it isn't science.  I made this point to you earlier, but you ignore whatever you don't understand, which is about everything.  Since it isn't evidence-based, it must have some other motivation, and that religious motivation is altogether obvious even without Dembski's Logos statement, and more so with it.

I will probably not respond further to you, since you never properly address the issues involved, any more than that fatuous JAD does (which is sort of a response to him, I know, but if it's more than he deserves, it's still very little).  

I suspect that I can at least have a decent discussion with Kevin Miller, unlike you who want authority to stand where you are incapable of any substance (haven't seen any yet from you).

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 15 2007,18:39   

Kevin Miller--one of the writers of "Expelled"--responded to me, and really most dishonestly.  I wrote a very long response, so I'm making another post in which to archive it.  Note, this is before editing and splitting up my comments, which I think I ought to do.

--Glen Davidson,

Thanks for being such a lively participant on this blog. However, I’m afraid your enthusiasm may have gotten in the way of a few facts.--

I'm afraid that your claim that I have neglected any facts is itself markedly lacking in fact.  Of course I don't see the matter as you do, I see it as a philosopher does, and just because I disagree with your tendentious interpretation does not mean that I quoted anything out of context or related anything that wasn't the truth.

--Case in point: When you quoted me in comment 1090, you did so out of context.--

I included everything that was in that section.  The earlier section of your post didn't have a lot to do with the later section.  What is more, I linked to your post.  What am I supposed to do, include the entire thread before you'll allow that it wasn't out of context?  I followed standard procedures, I included a lot of context, and I linked to the rest.  

--What I wrote was not meant as an apology for ID but an explanation of why ID is friendlier to theism than classical Darwinism.--

I neither said that it was intended to be an apology for ID nor that it was.  I said that ID is apologetics.  Here it is:

Try to get your facts straight, Mr. Miller.  It's your "explanation" that indicates that ID is apologetics.

--What I said was, ID leaves room in its paradigm for an active designer,--

No, the relevant statement was not that ID leaves room in its paradigm for an active designer, the relevant statement (the one to which I referred in my comments) was, "ID, on the other hand, suggests that rather than something tacked onto one’s interpretation of science, God–or whoever you believe to be the Intelligent Designer–is literally at the heart of nature itself...".  That not just leaving it open, so you've subtly altered your point without any justification for it.

--whereas the best that Darwinism allows is some sort of non-involved deity or a deity that interacts with the world in a way we cannot measure.--

That's not the "best that Darwinism allows" (and why can't you people ever get it right?  In the US it isn't "Darwinism" as such), it is the best that the evidence allows.  You have no business suggesting that we leave out God at the start, we only leave out God for the same reason that meteorology leaves out God, the evidence just isn't there for biology.

--Hardly a satisfying situation for your average theist.--

Which is irrelevant to science and its practices.  Are you going to write a movie about how meteorology leaves God out of the picture?

--Even so, it is not so much a criticism of Darwinism as a mere a statement of fact, and I don’t see how it can be construed as an endorsement of ID.--

Did I call it an endorsement of ID?  No, I did not.  You're setting up strawment left and right.

--If you read my entire conversation with Peter Chattaway, you will see that it was merely meant as a point of clarification.--

Yes, I don't care what it was.  What you wrote is what I was interested in, how completely wrong you are that we aren't willing to consider intelligence acting in nature (we do all the time where the evidence exists), and how you admit that God is insinuated into ID from the beginning.

--I can accept the above mistake as a potential oversight on your part.--

Sorry, I didn't make any mistake, you just assumed that I wrote what I did not in fact write.  If you care to pursue this any further, please bring up any kind of justification you might have for your claims.

--However, my real bone of contention is when you say, “What Miller doesn’t know is that science doesn’t presuppose entities like God or the wink-wink nudge-nudge ‘Designer’, it looks for the best hypothesis. He is trying to tell us that ID is science because it has decided already that God (or “the Designer”) is at the heart of nature, so instead of simply searching for the best explanation, ID searches for ‘potential signs of intelligence in nature’.”

I meant nothing of the sort, Glen, and I suspect you know that to be true.--

I know very well what you wrote, and I properly interpreted it.  And yes of course it's an interpretation, but it isn't an unwarranted one.

--At best, your interpretation of my post is just plain wrong. At worst, it is a wilful distortion of the facts.--

It is neither, and again you fail to bring any sort of justifiable evidence against my reading of what you wrote.

--Perhaps it will help if I clarify things a little: To disqualify ID merely because it starts from a particular philosophical position is ridiculous.--

There are philosophical positions which have assumptions in them which cannot be justified, and there are philosophical positions which merely formalize the practices of working science and forensics.  Indeed, science essentially operated without a real philosophical basis up until the time of Hume and Kant, because the old metaphysical philosophy didn't work in science, and no satisfying new philosophy existed.

--Who doesn’t do science from a philosophical position?--

The most that Newton had were some rules of inference in science.  He was not working within the edifice of ancient or medieval philosophy as such, he merely borrowed the rules that philosophy had acknowledged regarding evidence.  He did not begin with the assumption that God was "working in the solar system," though it is true that he let God take care of the gaps left over.

Only if you insist that the rules of science "come from philosophy," when it is at least as arguable that they originally came from practical matters, can you even begin to claim that science necessarily operates from a philosophical position.  The fact that philosophy helps to deal with empiricism does not obviously mean that it is the basis from which empiricism is done.

What is perhaps more important is that I actually discussed a good deal that you ignore, like the consistency of sticking with the philosophy and/or scientific positions that work in meteorology when one is also doing biology.  Here you come up with a lot of strawmen to attack, while you ignore the importance of consistency in science.  Why am I not surprised at the lack of consistency between what you wrote previously and what you wrote more recently, and at the lack of consistency between what I really wrote and what you claim that I wrote?

The fact is that IDists generally accept the "philosophy" or science that we use everywhere in our science, but you refuse to follow the same position where it comes to biology.  Ignore that point as many times as you wish, Mr. Miller, but it remains a gaping hole in your treatment of the issue.  

But then I hardly allow that medieval philosophy has stood the test of time anyway, so that on philosophical grounds ID fails, even before it fails on empirical grounds.

--That’s all science is: conceptual model building upon a philosophical foundation—a constellation of unprovable assumptions.--

No, that isn't even close to what science is.  It is a way of dealing with the world in an "intersubjectively sound" (I hate use "subjective" at all, but it gets the point across) manner.  Kant detailed some of the "unproven assumptions" that necessarily go into science, and those have been honed and shaped over time into a more nuanced and sound manner (for instance, we know that at least some of Kant's "givens" are shaped by experience), but it is true that in the most foundational sense we cannot prove or empirically demonstrate that we know the world "as it really is," so to speak.

But as Kant (who was no atheist, by the way) noted, we can agree on how we do understand the world, and from there we can do satisfactory empirical science.  And modern science is "based" upon his philosophy, if any, not upon the unwarranted claims of medieval philosophy.  Metaphysics is just speculation, science operates according to working understandings and constructive capabilities of the mind to work through empirical data in a mutually ("intersubjectively") agreed-upon manner.  You want to claim that ID is equivalent to this, when it simply assumes that a sort of philosopher's God exists, when it cannot show that this God exist in either an empirical sense or in the "intersubjectively sound" sense that much of modern philosophy understands our "prior assumptions" to be.

--If you don’t believe me, just look at someone like Richard Dawkins.--

Dawkins is not my God, or any kind of authority to me.  

--While he claims his atheism is inferred from the evidence—which it may have been at one point—his scientific writings are clearly meant as an apologetic for his atheistic point of view.--

Do you have some kind of legitimate point?  Dawkins has his own problems with philosophy and theology, they aren't mine, or science's in general.

--His atheism doesn’t flow from his science; his science flows from his atheism.--

I see absolutely no justification for this claim.  More importantly, this has no bearing upon your claim that science is simply conceptual model building upon a philosophical foundation.  Anyone who leaves out the empirical matters, and the attempts to remain true to the evidence, is hardly an authority on either science or philosophy.

--So if you want to disqualify anyone for mixing their philosophical presuppositions with their science, Dawkins is your man.--

Nothing at all in your "argument" showed that Dawkins's science comes from his atheistic position.  I have faulted Dawkins at times when he got into philosophical matters (recently on Panda's Thumb), but on the whole he just isn't my concern.  The perversion of science is.

--You may not like ID’s philosophical starting point, just as many others may not like Richard Dawkins’s starting point.--

I do not like ID starting with a philosophical position which assumes that entities are acting without there being any kind of evidence for these undetected entities.  Not all philosophical positions are the same, and it's absurd that you treat them as equals.  That you write as if they are all equal indicates that, as a writer for a movie which delves into both philosophy and science, you cannot do justice to the issues involved.

--But if so, that is a philosophical issue, not a scientific one.--

Evidently you are without any adequate knowledge of science.  Science and modern philosophy are meshed together, with give and take in both disciplines.  Einstein was something of a philosopher, as were most of the early quantum theorists.  Most of us who know philosophy as well as science understand how illegitimate the metaphysics behind ID really is, how it completely fails to follow the methods of either science or of modern philosophy.

Why don't you make a movie about how we reject Hindu philosophy in science like we reject Aquinas's philosophy in science?  Of course we do, because Hindu philosophy, like medieval philosophy, merely assumes what it cannot show empirically or "intersubjectively," instead resting many of its claims upon prior religious assumptions.  So not only does your "argument" fall flat on philosophical and scientific grounds, evidently you're insisting upon that a philosophy coming out of Western religions is as legitimate as modern philosophies which make as few assumptions as possible (and ground them in "intersubjectivity" as well").

Why do you suppose that most of the world adopts the philosophical bases for science, while most reject the philosophies behind ID?  It's because the philosophical basis with which science is associated happens to yield practical and intellectual results, while the philosophies of the IDists belong to Western culture and are not universally applicable.

--If you’re going to reject ID—or Richard Dawkins—you need to do so on the basis of their science.--

We do.  The fact that you ignore all of the scientific arguments that I made against ID explains much of your unjustifiable attacks upon my justified argumentation.

--Which brings me back to my post: Contrary to your interpretation, I am not arguing that ID should be classified as science because it begins with the assumption that God is at the heart of nature. I’m merely arguing that ID should not be disqualified on this basis.--

Sorry, not only does your distinction not make much difference, it doesn't relate what you wrote in your post, which was:

You said that ID suggests that God or the "Designer" is at the heart of nature itself, then you claimed that "therefore the search for potential signs of intelligence in nature [which may be taken as a euphemism for ID] becomes a legitimate scientific enterprise."

It was precisely their "suggestion" that God or "Designer" is at the heart of nature that was your premise for why ID becomes a legitimate scientific enterprise.  I "interpreted" you justly, and you simply deny it without dealing with the evidence that I included.

--As I understand it, the core scientific program of ID seeks to explain how information moves in and out of biological systems. That’s it.--

What's scientific about it?  And how do they seek to find out how information moves in and out of biological systems?  More importantly, how would that relate to their core design claims?  You left those out, didn't you (though it's true that they fail to do science to find evidence for design in nature)?  

Look, we know very well what ID claims, and that it fails to provide any legitimate criteria for what would be "designed," claiming instead that a false dilemma would provide "evidence" for ID.  Indeed, if it is studying information in biological systems in a scientific manner at all, this has nothing to do with their core claims, which are that a designer is responsible.

If they were serious about design being in nature, they'd predict that rational "planning" of organisms would be in evidence, and that purpose, novelty, and "borrowing" might also be visible.  Because none of these are (as meant in science), they refuse to predict that the designer did what known designers do, instead pretending that faulting another theory is all they have to do in order to be scientific.

--All of the religious baggage that gets tagged onto the movement is essentially a red herring perpetuated by their opponents.--

Right, that's why they speak largely to religious audiences, refuse to discuss the age of the earth, and repeatedly claim that ID points toward the supernatural.  Remember, we listen to the IDists, and at a speech I attended, Behe claimed that the reason we reject ID is merely that it points beyond science.  Hardly, we reject it because nothing in biology points beyond the cause and effect standard practices of science.

--Darwinian evolutionists think they’ve already solved the information problem by proposing purely natural information-producing mechanisms, such as random mutations and natural selection.--

You really don't know the science, do you?  There are quite a large number of information problems in biology at present, notably because a whole lot of information has recently become available through DNA sequencing.

Yet virtually all of the data point to nothing but the familiar non-teleological mechanisms known from the laboratory and in the collected data.  Moreover, the predictions of non-teleoligcal evolution have been satisfied by the evidence, while teleology and the marks of rational thought are absent.  Thus we stick with the evidence, no matter how much theology attempts to intrude into science.

--But the ID proponents are skeptical that such mechanisms are sufficient to explain the origin and diversity of life.--

Huh, and very few of them are biologists.  We do have the Moonie Jonathan Wells, and biochemist Behe, but Dembski is a philosopher/mathematician, Phil Johnson is an attorney, Paul Nelson is a philosopher (who can't answer the questions we pose on PT), you have a host of engineers, physicians, and the like, while nearly all biologists are satisfied with the direction in which research is going.  Where is the justification for their "skepticism"?

--In their search for a more satisfying hypothesis, they are willing to consider all possible explanations—including some form of superior intelligence.--

Really.  Why don't they answer our questions?  You know, we discuss these issues on numerous forums, while ID forums are often closed to us.  Still, they could answer our questions--if they had answers.  I see that you don't supply any answers either, but merely try to claim that ID is scientific without your telling us any way in which they actually do science, or conform to science practices.

I have yet to see them consider anything but a "superior intelligence," and this all without any kind of cause and effect relationship being proposed.  I've brought this up in at least one post, and instead of you dealing with such a necessary condition to do science, you're claiming that I wrote what I didn't write, and claiming that you wrote something other than to what I actually responded.

--I fail to see how that makes them unscientific.--

Of course you do, because you don't understand to what we're objecting.  We're objecting to the claim that intelligence was involved without evidence either for an inscrutable designer (one not acting like us, but which can nonetheless be seen to act in ways that produce what we see), or evidence for the marks of design that we use to understand whether or not an object was designed by humans.

We'll consider any investigable cause that leads to observable effects.  We're not willing to "consider" a "cause" that cannot be shown to produce what we see, or which perhaps does design in an intelligible manner, yet doesn't produce the patterns seen in biological change.  It's the evidence that fails, and you completely fail to deal with our actual objections.

--In fact, I think it displays an open-mindedness that seems sorely lacking on the part of their purely Darwinian counterparts—including,--

If they and you were open-minded, you'd actually deal with scientific issues, not monotonously droning on about the "open-mindedness" of those who fail to utilize the methods of either modern science or modern philosophy.

--if I may say so, Mr. Glen A. Davidson.--

You cannot legitimately say so.  I've made the point that I am completely willing to consider anything that fits the accepted methods of forensics and of science (which cannot honestly exclude the "supernatural" except by defining the "supernatural" as something totally unreachable with legitimate epistemologies).  We're (at least not those of us steeped in philosophy) not denying that a superior intelligence could never operate in the biosphere, only that there have to be some observed match between the purported cause and the "effects" that we see in organisms.

Open-mindedness entails giving up meaningless claims when they have proven to be meaningless.  That is why I am open-minded, and your IDists are not---they cling to a "cause" for which they claim no causal markers, for effects which are predicted by non-teleological evolutionary theory.  Hanging onto a non-falsifiable "hypothesis" is not open-minded at all.

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Bob O'H

Posts: 2451
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(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 16 2007,06:46   

In amongst Glen's short and pithy replies, we have this:
Dear Ben,

I see by the comments that you’ve ticked off a bunch of Darwinists. It’s interesting that they can only resort to calling you names. I just wanted to let you know that I applaud your willingness to put out the truth about the suppression of dissension. My bachelor’s degree is in electrical engineering. It’s interesting that none of the courses (taught in a secular university) which I took had anything to do with evolution. It was never even mentioned because engineering has to do with science, not science fiction. It saddens me that most of your critics have never stopped for a moment and questioned what they believe. I have studied both evolution and ID. What are those people afraid of? GOD.

Keep up the good work.


Savour, just savour.


It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)


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(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 16 2007,18:19   

Quote (Bob O'H @ Sep. 16 2007,06:46)
In amongst Glen's short and pithy replies, we have this:
Dear Ben,

I see by the comments that you’ve ticked off a bunch of Darwinists. It’s interesting that they can only resort to calling you names. I just wanted to let you know that I applaud your willingness to put out the truth about the suppression of dissension. My bachelor’s degree is in electrical engineering. It’s interesting that none of the courses (taught in a secular university) which I took had anything to do with evolution. It was never even mentioned because engineering has to do with science, not science fiction. It saddens me that most of your critics have never stopped for a moment and questioned what they believe. I have studied both evolution and ID. What are those people afraid of? GOD.

Keep up the good work.


Savour, just savour.


If I had to guess, I'd say that's a not-so-deep cover troll.  There are just too many telling indicators--the mention of the engineering degree, the arrogance, the overt ID-is-about-God comment, the complete nonsensical reasoning. . .etc.  Yep, that's got to be a troll.  I hope.  ???

Evolander in training


Posts: 349
Joined: June 2004

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 17 2007,11:17   

Quote (someotherguy @ Sep. 16 2007,18:19)
Quote (Bob O'H @ Sep. 16 2007,06:46)
In amongst Glen's short and pithy replies, we have this:
Dear Ben,

I see by the comments that you’ve ticked off a bunch of Darwinists. It’s interesting that they can only resort to calling you names. I just wanted to let you know that I applaud your willingness to put out the truth about the suppression of dissension. My bachelor’s degree is in electrical engineering. It’s interesting that none of the courses (taught in a secular university) which I took had anything to do with evolution. It was never even mentioned because engineering has to do with science, not science fiction. It saddens me that most of your critics have never stopped for a moment and questioned what they believe. I have studied both evolution and ID. What are those people afraid of? GOD.

Keep up the good work.


Savour, just savour.


If I had to guess, I'd say that's a not-so-deep cover troll.  There are just too many telling indicators--the mention of the engineering degree, the arrogance, the overt ID-is-about-God comment, the complete nonsensical reasoning. . .etc.  Yep, that's got to be a troll.  I hope.  ???

I wouldn't be so sure....

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 20 2007,14:51   

Ruloff, of "Expelled", came to Ben's blog with the same tired and slimy list of the "persecuted".  He can't come up with a single new thing to say, which I suppose is why he's dumb enough to make the movie.  Anyway, I made a response which is now pending:

--Do you think this is some kind of fanciful conspiracy theory? Google the names of Richard Sternberg, Caroline Crocker, Guillermo Gonzalez, Dean Kenyon and Bill Dembski and see what you find. These distinguished scientists have suffered severe consequences for questioning Darwinian theory and there are hundreds, if not thousands, more. --

Naw, it isn't even a competent conspiracy theory.

I'm waiting for Ruloff and Stein to put out the film about how Holocaust deniers are suppressed and persecuted, along with JAD, homeopathy, geocentrists, and believers in UFO abductions.  Do you suppose that it is wrong for academia ever to prefer a well-substantiated position over one that is seriously lacking in substance, Ruloff?  How is keeping pseudoscientists from teaching religiously-based nonsense any worse than the fact that I don't get to be the preacher of a church?

Is MOND suppressed just because string theory has a much stronger position in academia?  Is Wicca persecuted by academia because the latter explains the motions of the heavens through physics instead of the wills of the gods?  Is religious persecution behind modern critiques of medieval metaphysics?  And is it even suppression at all in the general sense to tell a guy to quit pretending that Baylor has an "ID informatics lab" when it doesn't?

Of course the only real complaint these whiners have is that science and the rest of academia are doing what they're supposed to do, eliminating "hypotheses" that don't work, while teaching and using the ones that do work.  ID has been answered (despite its not having anything in its favor from the beginning), something that Ben Stein, Kevin Miller, and Ruloff don't discuss, and no reasonable responses have been forthcoming from these guys.  

ID has been considered by academics much better than many genuine scientific hypotheses have been, for the obvious reason, that ID has political clout.  Indeed, ID has to some extent distorted science already, by taking attention away from concepts that follow the scientific method, and diverting time and resources with cheesy arguments and attempts to change science into something that accommodates unevidenced magic.  Thus ID has managed to suppress science, while ID has open to it all of the venues that it belongs in, including the internet and the churches.

The complaint, in other words, is that science comes to the conclusions expected of it, eventually discarding whatever does not comport with scientific practices and evidence.  Their problem is that science works, and it passes judgment upon pseudosciences like ID.

Indeed, one should not forget that "the father of Intelligent Design" denied that HIV causes AIDS, no matter how abundantly the evidence indicates otherwise.  And of course HIV denial is frowned upon in the universities, even though HIV denial doesn't even exist as a Wedge for religion.  How much more ought we to oppose ID in the centers of learning than even HIV denial, considering that ID not only is completely fallacious as science, but exists expressly in order to oppose the highly successful methods of science?  

I do thank Ruloff for so completely exposing the religious nature of ID, however.  To be sure, it was evident to anyone who can think, but then Phillip Johnson explicitly stated it in the Wedge document.  Yet this whole complaint that we're "suppressing" a "science" because it is in fact religious, is helpful to those of us who wish to maintain the First Amendment and freedom--at least it is in the legal realm.

Believe me, a Holocaust denier would be much less welcome to Baylor than an IDist is.  And Ruloff doesn't raise a single objection to shunting out those egregious malingerers.  Why should he?  We have evidence that the Holocaust happened, and the deniers have no evidence that it did not.  Likewise, we have evidence that evolution happened according to mostly known non-teleological processes, and IDists have no evidence for the teleological processes that they claim were involved (which they claim even though they deny that we should look for evidence for teleology in organisms).  But supposedly we're suppressing the one, while Ruloff et al. don't care that we're "suppressing" the other one, and indeed, should complain if we didn't do so.

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Henry J

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(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 20 2007,23:06   

In other words, they're being attacked by the educated segment of society!



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(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2007,08:39   





5:22 am

I certainly understand where you’re coming from. Recall I’m the one who wrote a post here nearly two years ago saying I was going to delete anything that attempted to dispute common ancestry and an old earth.

That said, I can’t say I’m convinced that the YEC contingent is wrong. We appear to live in a universe that is governed by immutable physical laws and everything is understandable by those laws. Certainly if we apply these laws backward in time we see an old universe and common descent. Appearances however can be deceptive. There’s nothing that proves the universe, the laws that govern it, and its apparent history weren’t created any time from a moment ago to billions of years ago. Consider that time and space now appear to be digital (pixelated). There is a Planck length and a Planck time. This is strikingly like how computer simulations (artificial realities) are constructed. A master clock ticks and at each clock tick a set of rules are applied and the model is updated from one state to the next. The programmer (or hardware designer) chooses the clock rate and rules that apply. He may change both the rules and the clock rate at his whim. He can also start the simulation running with any arbitrary set of initial conditions. He can also stop and start the model at any time. If we as conscious human beings are constructs inside such a model how would we be able to know if what we observe is real or the machinations of some entity outside the model? All we can do is look for inconsistencies (violations) of the rules that govern the model. So far I don’t think we’ve categorically observed any inconsistencies but since the apparent history of the model, viewed from inside the model, is manipulable by an outside agency we really have no way of knowing if the clock was stopped and the rules were changed and the state of the system changed to make the new rules appear to be the rules that were there all along.

ID is basically a tentative finding of an inconsistency. If RM+NS is the true source of organic evolution it is so statistically unlikely to have generated the patterns that we see that it warrants a conclusion that there’s an entity involved who either stacked the deck (set up the initial conditions and laws to produce a certain outcome), which is the deist position of esteemed minds like Einstein, or there’s an entity that intervened over the course of time to steer the course of events towards a desired outcome. I prefer the deist position - the deck was stacked one time and the immutable rules take over from there in a clockwork universe not because it must be that way but because it makes the universe rational and predictable.

"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
" was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine


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(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2007,08:50   

That said, I can’t say I’m convinced that the YEC contingent is wrong.

Oops the little yellow ID clown car with the red wheels just reversed into the Big Tent back door ....again. All the YEC clowns clap and jump in the air.HONK

The audience waits for the next act.

The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane


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(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2007,09:24   

Shock, horror, Demski comes out against Common Descent. Davetard who previously wrote, the retracted:

I will remind everyone again - please frame your arguments around science. If the ID movement doesn't get the issue framed around science it's going down and I do not like losing. The plain conclusion of scientific evidence supports descent with modification from a common ancestor. You are certainly welcome to have other opinions based on faith in something other than science but I'd ask that you go to a religious website with them if you must talk about it.

You certainly don't have to agree here with descent with modification from a common ancestor but I'm going to start clamping down on anyone positively arguing against it. It's simply counter-productive to our goals and reinforces the idea that ID is religion because nothing but religion argues against descent with modification from a common ancestor. What we are fighting is the idea that the modification was unguided. ID can fight that without ever leaving the battleground of plain scientific conclusions. If we try to argue against anything else we're are (sic) going to lose. Plain and simple. No buts about it. There's only one gaping vulnerability in the commonly accepted evolutionary narrative we can exploit successfully and that's the bit about it being unplanned.

now agrees with him.

*scratches DT's ears*

"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
" was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine


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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2007,09:32   

Aw, worng thread.

Sternberger Story, Fix puh-lease?

"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
" was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 21 2007,10:32   

What a surprise, the stupid have to defame and lie where they can't hope to know anything (archiving again):

--In reply to Glen’s claim: “The “father of Intelligent Design” and HIV denier to whom I was referring is Phillip Johnson. Is it at all surprising that Johnson has advocated more than one pseudoscience, not just ID?”

It is hard for me to understand how educated persons could be so misinformed and resort to character assassination such as this. Se the above post.--

It's bizarre that people like Jbagail condemn themselves in just about every post, by dishonestly projecting their own faults onto others.  Johnson's past opposition is well-known by those informed enough to comment on these matters, which obviously Jbagail is not.  Here's one example, for the woefully ignorant defamatory pro-ID anti-thinkers:

--Given the 10 years of total lack of progress on AIDS, the billions of dollars that have been wasted, the human heart-ache that this issue has caused so many Americans, it seems only sensible that we should re-examine the question of what really causes AIDS. At issue here are not only the lives of those diagnosed with AIDS who are being treated improperly, but also of those who are tormented by the fear of AIDS-for themselves and their children. We can't allow the scientific bureaucrats at the CDC and NIH to prevent this reappraisal from happening. *--

This was written by:  "By Kary B. Mullis, Phillip E. Johnson & Charles A. Thomas Jr."  The whole piece may be found here:

I should mention that not only do IDists threaten lives by condemning the primary organizing principle in biology, evolution by investigable means, but the HIV denial in which Johnson engaged even more directly threatened the lives of people, especially in Africa.

Fortunately, science has "suppressed" such nonsense here thus far, or in other words, it has discharged its duty to abandon useless ideas whenever and wherever they have proven to be useless.  Jbagail chooses to be dishonest about this, as well as most other related matters.

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy


Posts: 11175
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 23 2007,12:31

"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
" was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine


Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 27 2007,06:26   

The NY Times has a run at the controversy (how dishonest were the makers of "Expelled" when they approached scientists about filming interviews?). PZ gets his name in the paper; Ben Stein gets more free publicity for his wacko beliefs.

Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers


Posts: 11175
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 27 2007,09:03

HT: Pharyngula.

"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
" was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine


Posts: 11175
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 27 2007,09:06   

From above..

Mr. Stein, a prolific author who has acted in movies like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and appeared on television programs including “Win Ben Stein’s Money” on Comedy Central, said in a telephone interview that he accepted the producers’ invitation to participate in the film not because he disavows the theory of evolution — he said there was a “very high likelihood” that Darwin was on to something — but because he does not accept that evolution alone can explain life on earth.

He said he also believed the theory of evolution leads to racism and ultimately genocide, an idea common among creationist thinkers. If it were up to him, he said, the film would be called “From Darwin to Hitler.”

HITLER! Woo Hoo!

(I was hoping for "why are their still monkeys")

"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
" was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine


Posts: 807
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 27 2007,09:36   

I added myself to the "Expelled" mailing list a while ago.  This hit my inbox last night (I'm too lazy to rebuild the links):

Hey there,

Dairek here. I'm the director of Student Outreach for Motive Entertainment (the promotions company working with Expelled).

Wanted to let you know of a HUGE event coming up. It's called "The God Delusion" debate. Richard Dawkins will be debating John Lennox. It's probably the biggest debate on this subject in years. It's at the University of Alabama Birmingham NEXT WED, Oct 3. We're going to hold an Expelled rally before the event happens.

SO, if you happen to live around Birmingham, then please go be a part of the Expelled rally. If you're not in the Birmingham area, then perhaps you'd consider writing an op-ed in your local paper about the debate and/or issue. Dawkins is featured quite heavily in Expelled and has become one of the leading "faces" of Atheism.

Make sure you stay tuned in for the latest updates, and add this email address to your “safe” inbox so we don’t get tossed into the junk e-mail pile.

AND don't forget to help us spread the word . . . Here’s a couple different ways to tell your friends: CLICK HERE and enter your friends’ e-mail addresses. They will be sent an introductory email to the film. CLICK HERE to send your friends an e-card about the film

Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

Henry J

Posts: 5547
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 27 2007,12:04   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 27 2007,09:06)
From above..

[...] — he said there was a “very high likelihood” that Darwin was on to something — but because he does not accept that evolution alone can explain life on earth.

Well, a complete explanation of life of Earth would have to also include geology, astronomy physics, astrophysics, cosmology, climatology, etc., so in that sense evolution alone doesn't explain everything about life. Though that might not be what he meant?


Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 29 2007,22:10   

They finally have a new blog up at Ben's site, about as pathetic as the first one.  Well, I'm going to continue to archive, for I don't know what they're going to do with the blog in the end:

--Actually, the authentic victims in this story are those scientists who have been “expelled” for the offense of merely acknowledging that intelligent design exists within nature.--

Does it ever occur to you that you need to back up your claims?  Or are you just too IDist to care about truth, and evidence?  

Yes, we've heard that extremely tiresome and extremely well-answered claim extremely many times before now.  The mere fact that you've never come up with the slightest bit of solid evidence for it indicates that you're not only uninterested in science, but also that you're uninterested in telling the truth.

You want to know what I think about the complaints over the interviews?  I think they're legit, but not very important.  What?  Someone's making  a film about religion and science, and it ended up having a viewpoint, particularly one in favor of theocracy?  What a shock!  The name change is almost to be expected with films, and <i>Crossroads</i> should have been considered to be a working title by the participants.

Greater honesty from theists might be expected, if these weren't intellectually dishonest proponents of ID.  But the ellipses in their answers, in their "science," and in their dealings with others should be expected when they're opposed to the modern science that was worked out mainly within Christian societies (hardly only by Christians, or even theists, however).

Fine, I've taken care of that, from my perspective.

Now back to the gross dishonesty of the film's producers and writers.  Here's Ruloff's defamation of what is, as far as anybody knows, an honest man and scientist whose work Ruloff couldn't hope to understand, Francis Collins:

--Mr. Ruloff also cited Dr. Francis S. Collins, a geneticist who directs the National Human Genome Research Institute and whose book, “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief” (Simon & Schuster, 2006), explains how he came to embrace his Christian faith. Dr. Collins separates his religious beliefs from his scientific work only because “he is toeing the party line,” Mr. Ruloff said.

That’s “just ludicrous,” Dr. Collins said in a telephone interview.--

And this is supposed to be an honest film?  Not a chance.  Francis Collins, who is attacked by the likes of PZ Myers and other "new atheists" who are intent on faulting religion and not just pseudoscience, does his work of gene sequencing well within the evolutionary paradigm (how could anybody do otherwise and be intellectually honest?), writes books on how he finds faith and science compatible, and sticks up solidly in favor of modern evolutionary theory, and all we get from Ruloff is this slander of the good man.  

By the way, Francis Collins does speak out in favor of cosmological ID and for a mind behind human morality, neither of which is exactly welcome in the scientific community--and for good reason, I might add.  He apparently is willing to buck the "Establishment" in some areas (areas where his competency does not lie, I might add), yet Ruloff acts as if his agreement with modern evolutionary theory is just some slimy suck-up to the powers that be.  These IDists have no shame, much like Joe McCarthy who knew the "communists" without taking the trouble to bring forward any evidence, or even intelligent argumentation.

Of course, Ruloff probably knows about as much about the history of the acceptance of science among religious folk in the Catholic and mainline Protestant traditions as he knows about science itself.  Tell me, Ruloff, why Father Coyne writes in favor of science and against pseudoscience?  Why do Catholic biology departments all across the country oppose "Intelligent Design," when clearly they rely on their Church to shield them from the faux persecution trumped up in this film?  

Indeed, why do many biologists in fundamentalist schools chafe under the restrictions of their religious leaders?  Wouldn't they simply accept ID without concern, if there was anything to it?  I know about at least one of these, because I went to a religious college (Walla Walla University, was Walla Walla College when I attended) for my undergraduate degree.  A number of your better scientists there were frankly evolutionist, from biologists to physicists, for all of the reasons that we've laid out at this blog and elsewhere.

Indeed, if Ruloff, Miller, and Ben Stein were able to show any kind of illegitimate suppression of their unevidenced pseudoscience, they'd be answering the questions I asked in the other thread, namely, why do the taxonomy and phylogeny of prokaryotes and of eukaryotes differ considerably and according to what would be expected from the known "naturalistic" evolutionary mechanisms, if indeed they were "designed"?  And why were pterosaur, bird, and bat wings were all derived from legs, and not from first principles or from extant (in the case of birds and bats) wings?  To say that it makes design sense to make wings out of legs is merely ridiculous.

None of you can answer those questions.  None of you has the slightest evidence FOR design at all.  Yet you demand that we treat ID as science, thus revealing your autocratic tendencies and desires to force unscientific beliefs into the science of Newton, Galileo, and Einstein.

Glen D

One more:

As it happens, Ben Stein doesn't seem particularly impressed by the ID nonsense either.  Not that it really should matter, given that he neither has expertise in science, nor has sense enough to recognize the importance of keeping pseudoscience from being forced into the university science departments.  Nevertheless, this is what NY Times reports of Stein's response:

--...said in a telephone interview that he [Ben] accepted the producers’ invitation to participate in the film not because he disavows the theory of evolution — he said there was a “very high likelihood” that Darwin was on to something — but because he does not accept that evolution alone can explain life on earth.

He said he also believed the theory of evolution leads to racism and ultimately genocide, an idea common among creationist thinkers. If it were up to him, he said, the film would be called “From Darwin to Hitler.--

Now this is a bizarre notion, though one pushed by IDists often enough.

Ben needs to study the history of Germany versus that of England and the United States.  Both of the latter have had and continue to have their faults, but they were the Enlightenment countries (the US in particular was founded on Enlightenment principles), and thus were not fertile ground for the nonsense of the Nazis (it is believed that occult beliefs played a large role in fostering Nazi anti-Semitism, for instance).  Germany was open to such ideas, for a number of reasons, naturally (WWI, depression, etc.), but especially because the Enlightenment hadn't really taken hold in Germany.

From Germany came Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger (actually, Kant, too, but Kant's pro-enlightenment notions had been quickly turned into Romantic thought by people like Hegel and Heidegger).  Of course great scientists came from Germany as well, but the overall attitude of Germany was Romantic, and favored "spirit" over theories about hard evidence.

Darwin, by contrast, was in the tradition of Hume, Newton, and a tradition that in both the judiciary and in science favored evidence over "feelings" and vague notions like ID or, indeed, the German Haeckel's magical notions.  Among the intellectuals of the Anglo world, Darwinism was taken up almost as a matter of course (most religious people in power did not oppose it), and despite a fair amount of Victorian notions in Darwin's writings, including racist ideas, evolutionary theory was part of far saner societies than what appeared in Germany and in Italy.

Evolutionary theory needed to move on from Darwin, in part because he included Victorian prejudices, and it most certainly did (one reason we don't like yahoos like Ruloff calling today's evolution "Darwinism"), for it was evidence-based science and thus became well-integrated with other science, like Mendelism.  Meanwhile, the non-Enlightenment societies of Germany and the USSR largely rejected the "materialistic" ideas of Mendel and of Darwin.  Did this itself make them the totalitarian nightmares that they were?  No, of course not, however, bad ideas in science frequently are associated with bad ideas in government, and Nazi Germany and Stalinist USSR were no exceptions.

In spite of all their faults, the UK and the US remained beacons of Englightenment, as the rejectors of the Enlightenment brought us war and genocides.  

Stein really ought to know about all of this much better than he does, for he ought to know a little about Jews and the improvement of their lot as the Enlightenment took hold.  Medieval theocracies were cruel to Jews, and actually, to many many Christians as well.  The Enlightenment brought relief to most everybody, other than that we had to fight and oppose the anti-Enlightenment societies of Germany and the USSR.

So now what does Ben do?  He attacks the Enlightenment itself through this movie, claiming that those who have no evidence and only desires to impose their will onto science, have been persecuted.  You want Hitler, or at least theocratic dominance over what should be free science?  Then keep this up, Ben.

The Enlightenment is what demanded evidence before one is determined to be guilty, and the Enlightenment is what demands that science remain based in evidence and not in the wishes of Romantics and of atavistic theocrats.  As ID's Wedge Document points out, ID is really only a way of getting rid of Enlightenment ideas (it doesn't call them that, but it is what they are), and hence the way to attack both our Constitution and the science that America needs to compete.

If you don't know science, Ben, at least try boning up some on history.  Attacking the Enlightenment is the way to Hitler, as well as to other less odious but still objectionable impositions upon humanity.  Force science to accept "standards" that reject the need for legitimate evidence, and not only have you destroyed the First Amendment, you have destroyed the Declaration of Indepence as well, and all that gave rise to freedom of thought and of science.

There you go.  You're free, of course, to oppose the Allies and their anti-fascist standards, but if you succeed in your gambit, you had better not count on having freedom for much longer.  

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 02 2007,00:06   

Another half-wit with just enough learning to get everything wrong shows up at the "Expelled" blog:

It's nice of the philosophically ignorant "Post-secular PhD" to tell us all about science and philosophy.  Of course it really has almost nothing to do with actual philosophy, science, or the bases for our judicial system.  Indeed, with his disregard for the "intersubjective" soundness of science, we could hardly do anything in science, and we may as well forget about "proving" anyone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here's some of his "wisdom":

--[Science] almost always requires a deep commitment to a set of principles, laws, and practices in the absence of conclusive “proof” (i.e. faith);--

What a bizarre term for the well-honed understandings of mind worked out in philosophy and in science--faith.  Science, like the related forensics, exists in order to be able to decide matters on something other than faith, which was too much relied-upon in medieval times.

Anyone who's actually read what the more prolific pro-science posters have written, instead of just assuming something that isn't true based on his unwarranted faith like "PhD" did, would recognize that we do not claim that science is based upon "conclusive proof" (not completely true, since mathematical proofs are used, but these rely on "postulates" and "axioms" which cannot be proven).  We rely on the best evidence, and yes, we also rely on the best principles, laws, and practices which have been subjected to skepticism and scrutiny.  They are not "proved" as such, however they have been demonstrated, something that a scientist worth his salt would mention.

--and cannot operate without dogma.--

No, we cannot operate <b>with dogma.</b>  This is why I have no reason to believe the claims you make of being a scientist.  Everything is at least theoretically in doubt, although some principles and "laws" have been very well demonstrated in the areas where they can be tested.  If scientists often reveal their biases, it is completely wrong to say of science as a whole that it operates with dogma.  It uses whatever has proven to be sound after being subjected to tests and questioning, the only legitimate way in which to proceed.  Dogma would totally undermine science because it would destroy the necessary questions of our "intersubjective" agreements and evidentiary processes.

--Furthermore, how well a theory fits the data is often not the main reason for its acceptance or dismissal.--

How well the theory fits the data is indeed the main reason for its acceptance or dismissal, so long as "fit" is understood in scientific terms of causality (in classical science) and the principles that have been shown to work.

--Darwinian evolution took root despite a fundamental deficiency (the lack of any evidence for hereditary material).--

That wasn't a "fundamental deficiency," which you'd know if you were any kind of competent scientist.  First of all, there was indeed evidence for hereditary material, in that parents produced offspring much like themselves.  Darwin utilized the empirical processes of artificial selection as an analogy with natural selection.  The chemical, and what we now call the "genetic", bases for the known hereditary effects were not known, but that something was transmitted was indubitable.

--It took another century to discover the structure of DNA, but that didn’t stop scientists from holding to the theory.--

You totally shifted the issue at stake from what you first wrote to these non sequiturs.  You made the illegitimate claim that scientists accept theories not because of their fit with the data, but for other reasons.  Then you complain about the deficiencies of genetic knowledge (incompetently, I might add) in Darwin's day, as if that meant that "Darwinism" wasn't the best fit to the data.  That doesn't follow in the least.

The point of "Darwinism" (in that time the term was fairly appropriate, but I use scare quotes because we've moved so far beyond Darwin's original theory) was to fit the data as well as was possible at the time.  Which it did.  For your claim about "Darwinism" being accepted without it fitting the data best to have any kind of legitimacy, you'd have to show that there was another scientific theory which fit the data better.  And you seem even to be unaware of this necessity in science.

The fact is that "Darwinism" was a theory of change based upon obvious, yet poorly understood, processes of hereditary.  It fit the data because it explained life without resort to a teleology which cannot be shown in life the life we see, which has no apparent or demonstrable purpose.  "Darwinism" explains how organisms are adapted without any sort of rational planning in evidence (as we'd expect from "design"), and with "competing purposes" evident in organisms (hence no overall "purposes" beyond reproduction).  Evolutionary theory explains why Linnaeus and Aristotle felt compelled to treat organisms with homologies as if they were related--the reason being because they are!

In a way, "Darwinism" predicted that discrete hereditary information exists in organisms, for evolution by natural selection (plus other processes) couldn't occur (in life's context, that is) otherwise.  In that sense, and not in the sense of giving us any of the details, Mendel's findings were predicted by "Darwinism".  Instead of "PhD" being impressed that "Darwinism" would rely upon the kind of conservative yet "randomly" alterable molecule such as DNA turned out to be, he tries to claim that the theory's prescience was actually a liability.

Well, it wasn't, as anyone with a smattering of knowledge of the philosophy of science knows.  Many theories begin without having some of their core requirements fulfilled by observation, and later data fills these in.  Did Einstein's theory of relativity have the necessary evidence of light-bending by gravity when he proposed it?  Of course not, and the evidence that light is bent by gravity showed that his already explanatory theory was likely the proper one.  

Darwin actually did have a good deal more evidence in hand when he wrote <i>Origin of Species</i> than Einstein did.  Hence the acceptance of his theory did not need to wait on further observations (to tell the truth, Darwin's mechanism wasn't fully accepted until the 20th century, but it probably should have been, and was accepted in part by much of biology even earlier).  

DNA and its associated mechanisms (including repair) turned out to be exactly the kind of molecule needed for "Darwinian" evolution to work.  As such, it ought to be considered as vindication of the mechanisms of evolution elucidated by Darwin and others.  And thus, far from being a reason to fault those who were intelligent enough to recognize the importance of natural selection, it indicates that those who insisted on cause and effect processes in biology were correct, and that the people who relied on magic and "vitalism" were as wrong as all who prefer wish-fulfillment to the processes of science.  Or those who can't understand the proper relationship between evidence, science, and philosophy (philosophy must be based on evidence as well, ultimately, and not to dictate the equalities that some neo-scholastics assume).

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 02 2007,21:40   

Can this guy actually think that he's clever?  Anyway, it's quite likely the same halfwit I tackled last night, trying to be "clever" where he can't be competent.

<blockquote>2nd. this is in response to Glen Davidson who will no doubt pounce on my primitive remarks. hey, call me reckless.</blockquote>

Nah, ignorant and incompetent will do.

--i do apologize to everyone else for this because it is way off topic but could prove to be entertaining to some so get your popcorn and that stale diet dr. pepper and read on.--

Yeah, that's right, it's way off topic, and you're too incapable of any insight to actually address anything I wrote.  Hence a long ad hominem attack, none of it honest or substantive.

--Seriously though, you are a fantastic spokesperson for Darwinian evolution…and unresolved rage my man,--

I deal with the emotionally committed who can't make an intellectual case on their own level, at the level of emotion.  Of course you wouldn't understand me, you know nothing about me and are intent only on trying to defame whatever you cannot comprehend.

--but what a wealth of knowledge! WOW!--

Yes, quite unlike yourself, I don't ramble on stupidly about what I don't know.

--I’d love to have an evolution party with you sometime. We could talk Darwin and you could unpack the mysteries of the universe to me and chop a few heads off in the process. woo hoo!--

Wow, clever.  Who'd think to imply that we who defend the Enlightenment are axe murderers.  Oh, except for the rest of the herd who has no capacity for making substantive comments.

--you seem to get around the blog sites too so i’m sure we could go over your “Davidson’s Top 5 Slams” and boast about all the idiots you exposed.--

You'd be on it.  No, not really, you're pretty weak as substanceless maligners go.  I'd put you in the top 50, though, if I cared to document biting gnats.

--do you have them taped on your wall or just saved on your hard drive?--

Actually, I rarely start any of these brawls.  You missed that, didn't you?  True, I hit the "Prof", because he's claiming expertise in an area where he is so clearly lacking.  But I don't do ad homs, I just have to respond often enough to people like you who hate not being able to provide the sorts of evidence that we do.

--i know you believe you’re fine and you’re only upset at the stupidity of that scientist who must be a liar and an idiot savant who happens to help cure lethal diseases but seriously, man. you act like he attacked your belief system or something…weird.--

Oh yes, we know the game.  The creo or IDist attacks scientists, implying that they are liars for maintaining actual standards.  Then when we realize that the snake oil is convincing enough people and we raise the alarm, you attack us for actually responding to a boatload of defamatory comments and attempts to impose theocracy upon the nation.  Tragically, such an obvious and dishonest ploy works on enough people.

--What do you do, cowboy? something noble i’m sure. something that helps and doesn’t hurt which is why you have to take all your aggression out on people you’ll never meet.--

Here's the dolt who can do nothing but attack me for responding to the anti-Enlightenment push, ascribing his own ill tendencies to me.  The fact is that I haven't used particularly strong language, rather less strong than many on both sides have used, you're merely trying to put down what you find impossible to answer.

--what are you so afraid of boss? why do you have to belittle?--

Because you harm people.  Can you get that?  I fear those who would use power to overcome free inquiry, freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech.  In fact just now you are effecting a de facto attempt to curtail my freedom of speech (legal, but immoral), by making a whole lot of dishonest claims in your ad hominem attack.  If you were concerned about honest dialog, you'd engage me on the substance.

--that’s not exactly the best way to educate or inspire, but i’m sure you know that. you do want to educate and inspire right? that’s why you’re standing for something right? its not like you’re learning all this just to justify your rightness and be better than others or anything.--

What education do you bring to this thread?  I don't employ the slimy tactics that you do, I keep it honest.  And no, I do not try to educate people such as yourself, whose hatred of competence combines with your unwarranted egoism to try to put down whatever you can't counter with legitimate arguments.

I do educate.  But I also know how to fight those who will use whatever tactics they can to undermine the integrity of science.

--i mean that would be lame and you don’t have to time for that you have a difference to make. --

Apparently you're really addressing yourself, whatever the pronouns you misuse.

--after all, anyone arrogant enough to tell another scientist whom he doesn’t know from Adam (or grandaddy rock - presludge you know ;)), who obviously has well thought out arguments and ideas, that he isn’t “worth his salt” as a scientist and doesn’t have “a smattering of knowledge” about science or philosophy must be on the brink of an enormous breakthrough in science or medicine.--

Yeah, I knew it was "Prof" again, not willing to show himself, and completely unable to back up his erroneous claims. Sorry, I studied philosophy a great deal, and I have no business treating some ignorant claptrap as if they were "well-thought out" arguments.  They're not, they're pop philosophy, and the call of every honest scientist to actually look at the evidence remains the only proper response to such post-modernist nihilism.

--no? maybe just the head professor at a well respected college changing his community? oh, well i’m sure it’s something worth while.--

And it is a distraction from the issues you're trying to avoid.  You haven't even given your name.  Plus, the issues are laid bare on their own, and it is all too apparent that you wish to avoid the actual issues by bringing in irrelevancies--again because you lack the ability to deal with substance.

--by the way, thanks for proving that idiot “Phd”’s argument for him since he couldn’t do it on his own. you really hit those points home about science having to believe before it knows and all that.--

I guess when you run out of ad hominem attacks you resort to complete fictionalization of the exchange.  Well, you could hardly answer me, now could you?  After all, science is about questioning and skepticism, while your formulation is exactly the opposite, the falsehood that it is about dogma.

--don’t get me wrong. i had to work through all your hate toward your mom, society and that girl that dumped you in highschool that you never got over but seriously,--

Wow, that's really a new one.  Gee pop psychology when your pop philosophy fails you.  Make up a few lies, throw them out, hope that your flung feces work where your wits obviously do not.

--thanks. you really helped use that reverse psychology to drive the point home. did you do that on purpose?--

Even better, the old "reverse psychology" ploy.  Nice to have someone from the '70s visit me with his "profound insights".

--genius. congratulations again for defeating your own argument and actually supporting the other guys.--

Since you're apparently not too bright, I'll have to figure that you came up with that standard little feint by recognizing your own tactics here.  The whole mom and girlfriend thing, while standard empty rhetoric for witless drones, are more than likely to be your own story.

--nice work man.--

You'd mean that, if you were capable of understanding the issues.

--From Carnegie to Lincoln, its pretty common knowledge that the more you have to cut down someone else the less confident you are in yourself and your decisions.--

Gee, I bet you think that hate isn't the opposite of love, only apathy is, also.  Where'd you learn your "psychology", out of Playboys?  

Anyway, if your pop psychology is correct, it clearly cuts against you far more than myself, since I discussed issues and called the "Prof" as I saw him.  It really goes against the intelligence you claim when you suggest that somehow calling out an arrogant guy blabbing on about things he doesn't understand actually exhibits some kind of "need" to cut people down.  From Lincoln to Carnegie, competent people have used the proper words to describe the pompous and substanceless, people like yourself.

--You don’t have to be a scientist to know that. but you don’t care what other people think do you? least off all a lesser mortal like me. all i do is make people millionaires.--

The plaint of the truly pathetic.  'Why yes, I know how to make money, so my opinion about Darwin and DNA is worth something.'  Try that out on the truly stupid.  Come to think of it, I'd guess you do that a lot.  Well then, learn enough to differentiate between the stupid and those who see immediately through your ad hominem attacks.

--i don’t really know a lot about science. speaking of, got a client so have to go. u get clients Dr Glen?--

Gee, I wish I were a suckup to the bourgeoisie like you.  I thought you had no substance, but by God, you have clients (so you say).  That changes everything.

--oh, and before you call me out for belittling you and therefore defeating my whole “confidence” vamp. remember this. i did it with style.--

Thanks for telling me, since I thought that was a collection of inane pop psychology and lame repetitions by the truly uncreative.  Hm, so that's style.  How could I have been so wrong as to think that T.S. Eliot had style, when it is really the babblings of a dull troll are what really counts as style?

--that’s the difference. take notes, cowboy. ciao.--

Write that down.  

Gee, you're turning into JAD (John A. Davison, who attacks the person instead of the substance because he has none of the latter--like you "Galactic") right before our eyes, with the same clicheed patter, the desperate attempts to claim "style" or some such thing for crude and derivative attacks, and of course, a total lack of substance coupled with the projection of your own failings onto others.

I bet you're going to try to claim some triumph for this sad little attempt at a slam, since you reveal yourself in your tired little attacks.  I, naturally, don't do anything like that, since responding to someone like you is too easy.  The only things I remember are the opportunities I have for discussing science and the philosophy of science in depth, while these feces-flingers are answered and quickly forgotten (unless they haunt the forums with their raging impotence).

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 03 2007,13:44   

This is actually some fairly interesting information, which someone named "Roger" found:

I ran across this information on the web (someone else did the work, I'm pointing out, but he only called himself "Roger"):

<blockquote>Domain Name: EXPELLEDTHEMOVIE.COM
  Registrar: TUCOWS INC.
  Whois Server:
  Referral URL:
  Name Server: NS1.FILMPR.COM
  Name Server: NS2.FILMPR.COM
  Status: ok
  Updated Date: 15-jun-2007
  Creation Date: 01-mar-2007
  Expiration Date: 01-mar-2008</blockquote>

So there you are, according to this apparently reliable site, "" was registered in March, 2007.  PZ Myers was told that the movie would be <i>Crossroads</i> in April, 2007, as he wrote:

<blockquote>Last April, I received this nice letter from Mark Mathis.</blockquote>

So how can the following be considered to be anything but misleading, on top of the misleading comments given to the interviewees?

<blockquote>The release references “Crossroads,” as a “tentative” title, if that’s OK? So just to set the record straight, the film was titled EXPELLED only after we began to see the disturbing pattern and shocking information that the footage reveals! So, thanks for the title guys, we couldn’t have done it without you! And we’re still considering using “Crossroads” for something else! Watch out.</blockquote>

Yes, it's true that they may have used <i>Crossroads</i> as a working or tentative title sometime prior to March 1, 2007, but clearly they knew by the time of PZ Myers' interview that they'd probably (or at the very least, very <i>possibly</i> would) go with "Expelled".  Otherwise, they wouldn't have registered the domain "" then.

Now I'm not one who thinks the shenanigans of the producers of "Expelled" are anything to get too worked up about.  The pattern of dishonesty continued in this particular blog, however, hardly speaks well for them--although it's pretty much a constant factor in the promotion of ID, along with the steady whine about "persecution" coupled with dead silence whenever we request the evidence FOR "intelligent design" (as opposed to their attacks on MET).

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 04 2007,16:43   

And another one, which will be broken up at "Expelled":  [oops, I meant to break it up, but didn't]

The rather odd and disjointed composition of this particular blog entry has been commented upon by many.

Being a screed, however, it's not unexpected.  You know, so many of the standard put-downs of the opposition have to get in, so much persecution has to be claimed, and any of the requirements that the claims made on the blog as well as the claims made by IDists must be properly evidenced and argued must be shunted aside with a sort of tabloid rhetoric.

OK, but that's said, and it will be ignored on the other side because they (or most on that side who comment on these forums do, anyway) already "know" that I have to be wrong simply because I am on the other side.  So I'll leave that bit as an introduction that will receive the predictable reactions from the various factions, and will move on to some specific problems with what was written, beyond what I've (or anyone, IIRC) discussed in the past.  To be sure, the problems "go without saying," that is, they go without saying for the people who have learned about science and philosophy.  However, these problems should be mentioned for the sake of those who have either missed out through no fault of their own (elitism is far too rampant in this society), and for those who have simply not cared to learn prior to pontificating on these matters (I particularly mean those responsible for this film).

<blockquote>Actually, the <i>authentic</i> victims in this story are those scientists who have been “expelled” for the offense of merely <i>acknowledging</i> that intelligent <i>design</i> exists within nature.</blockquote>

The way italics are used above is odd.  However, one is probably justified to surmise that "acknowledging" is written and emphasized both to rhetorically (and without evidence) suggest that it is only sensible to claim that life is designed (despite the fact that this claim has never been established in a judicially or scientifically sound manner), and to try to void the normal scientific requirement that such claims need to be <b>evidenced</b>, not merely assumed and (supposedly) <i>acknowledged</i>.

In other words, rhetoric is used to bluster through the fact that ID has no evidence in its favor.  Call the IDists "victims" who are supposedly suppressed for "acknowledging" assumptions for which they are required in scientific practice to actually make an evidence-based case, and thereby you have successfully ignored the fact that ID doesn't meet the requirements for science--and for that reason alone do have their apologetics rejected, or, where that's not possible, ridiculed as being pseudoscience.

<blockquote>Our worldwide investigation over the last eighteen months revealed the <i>real</i> “miscasting.” </blockquote>

Your "investigation" consists in those committed to an <i>a priori</i> belief in a designer-God looking for reasons to attack those who maintain the proper and expected standards of science.  It is not an investigation so much as it is the use of your own confirmation bias as a way to fault those who disagree with you, and to affirm what you prejudicially assumed from the beginning.  A proper investigation would be made up of people who know the rules of evidence, not a right-wing actor/writer like Stein, a right-wing radio host like Miller, and a businessman such as Ruloff.  These people lack the perspective of judges, scientists, and others steeped in the processes of sorting out good ideas from bad ideas, rather they simplistically believe that just because science rules against ID that such judgments are tantamount to "suppression".

<blockquote>Namely, to the role of <i>“the unemployed,” or “discredited,”</i> that the cadre of elite antitheists assigns any scientist or educator dissenting from the party line.</blockquote>

Oh yes, the tired old refrain of the believers in discredited beliefs.  You get that from every purveyor of crackpot "science", from faulty physics "theorists", to UFO believers, to the few geocentrists still kicking around, to Rousseau with his herbal cures which are supposedly being kept quiet by the conspiracy of the medical establishment (Weil is also in this category), and on to the people who just know that the CIA, KGB, President Johnson, or some other favorite enemy "really" killed Kennedy.

In fact it is true that there are many beliefs that are properly discredited.  Does Ruloff want "phlogiston theory" being taught to his children?  Should the claim that Prometheus made man out of earth and water be taught to Miller's kids?  We have the First Amendment to keep blatantly religious beliefs from being promoted by the government, which is why we don't teach Greek myths, nor the Judeo-Christian philosopher's God as being the "intelligent designer" of life, in science classes.

The only legitimate tactic to use when we call ID a discredited pseudoscience is for you to actually produce evidence in favor of your "hypothesis" (no, the "Explanatory Filter" does not provide evidence, it only attempts to impose a false dilemma into science standards).  The people behind the movie and this blog cannot or will not explain why the "designer" supposedly designed prokaryotes differently than eukaryotes (in prokaryotes, different genes in the same organism "speciate" at different times, is one example of what I'm talking about) and in line with known prokaryotic evolutionary mechanisms, nor do they tell me why vertebrate wings were "designed" from leg structures instead of from first principles, or from previously existing wings.  Therefore, the only legitimate conclusion to which I can come is that the <i>Expelled</i> folk cannot produce the evidence required for us to consider their "hypothesis" scientifically.  On the other side, we do have explanations for these phenomena, yet ID wants equal billing in academia when it has no explanation for these or other biological phenomena.

<blockquote>The party line being the “explanation” that random mutation is responsible for the extrusion of <i>every living thing on earth,</i> and in <i>record</i> time.</blockquote>

See now, I'd like to know who wrote "the extrusion of every living thing on earth."  It isn't even proper use of the word "extrusion".  Plastic objects, spaghetti, and Play-Do are what can be extruded.  Extrude a monkey, and you have nothing but a rather disgusting paste with bits of bone in it.

But that's just a complaint that the writing here is bad.  It's the science mistakes that really matter.

Anybody who knows enough to properly be commenting on evolutionary theory either way should recognize at once what a collosal mistake it is to say that the accepted explanation for life's diversity is "random mutation", as suggested by the above quote.  Random mutation doesn't even come up in Darwin's writings, though he did dealt with the variations that do arise without assuming a telos (goal or purpose) which is not in evidence.  Evolutionary theory is based on the obvious fact that "unselected" variations could never produce what we see in life, but rather, some sort of "selection" is absolutely crucial.

It is much easier for the author of this blog piece to attack the strawman that ID sets up (from Dembski's to the Discovery Institute's blog, this strawman is a commonplace of ID misrepresentation of biology) than it would be to discuss the evidence regarding evolutionary mechanisms.

Not content in making one rather egregious language mistake, and perhaps the greatest scientific error one could make about evolutionary theory, the author has to claim that living things were "extruded" in "record time."

I wonder how in the world 3-4 billion years of evolution could be mistaken to be "record time"?  The fact is that life took an amazingly long time even to get beyond single cells and (relatively) simple colonies of these cells.  The Cambrian "explosion" was fast by evolutionary standards, probably for reasons of genetic plasticity along with a dramatic rise in oxygen, but of course its results were fully in-line with what we'd expect from evolutionary mechanisms--evolutionary changes within the expected range of evolutionary constraints, and a whole lot of "primitive" (certainly primitive by comparison with many crown species) ancestors (or close relatives of the actual ancestors) of later organisms.

What is stunning is that IDists suppose that their designer took 3-4 billion years to come up with what we have today.  This is completely out of the range of anything we have ever seen a designer actually do.  Of course we have also never seen designers constrained by the evolutionary limitations that we see in life, nor any designers whose rationality couldn't be elucidated from their work.  IDists cannot point to any rational design or planning of organisms, which is why they try to change the subject.

Lord Kelvin tried to claim that evolution was impossible within the 20 million years or so that he allowed for the existence of the earth, when most biologists were nearly certain that it would take several hundred million years.  So there is nothing odd in the fact that life took so long to evolve.

It is this film that is trying to claim that their "designer" made life in a "record" amount of "time," indeed, in a time so much longer than the scale of all known design processes that it is impossible to conceive of the mechanisms involved in any such "design" (classical science requires so-called "mechanisms", another reason ID isn't science).  That no doubt is why this blog isn't even upholding the ID fiction that ID is not religious, because clearly their designer is God-like in both being inscrutable and in being omnipotent (I know of no IDist who doesn't claim that the "designer" also made the universe).  Isn't it a trifle odd that ID's "design" phase just happens to be within the range required for non-teleological evolution, and also that what we see in organisms is what would be expected of non-teleological evolution?

The following quote is from a different context than the foregoiong (if you want to see the context, just scroll to the beginning blog piece), and is aimed specifically at issues that I will not discuss.  There seems to be little doubt that it is also meant to be a comment about evolutionary ideas in general, which I will address:

<blockquote>Random mutation never ceases to <i>amaze</i>, though. One just can’t <i>predict</i> what will happen!</blockquote>

Again we have the improper claim that evolutionary theory is about nothing other than "random mutation".  What I want to discuss now, however, is the equally false claim that evolution can't "predict" what will happen.

That would be true if evolution were only about random mutation, of course (actually, physics would still yield some predictions, but they'd be biologically uninteresting, for there'd be no biology), or if it were caused by some design process and design goals unknown to us.  However, evolutionary theory is founded upon predictions which have been borne out by the evidence, as any theory must be.

Within known evolutionary constraints, the "nested hierarchy" found in taxonomy is indeed one of the founding predictions of evolutionary theory.  Aristotle and Linnaeus came up with taxonomies (Linnaeus' was far more complete) which grouped organisms in ways that looked a lot like genealogies do, and no one (other than creos and IDists claiming exceptions where their theologies are threatened) claims that genealogical patterns exist by "design".  Darwin (and earlier thinkers like Maupertuis who had similar ideas, but not the needed mass of evidence) made the rather obvious (by now) observation that the evidence that shows organisms to appear as if they were related should be understood as meaning that they are related.

That wasn't a "prediction" in the way that many outside of science consider the term to mean, however it counts as a prediction in science because such patterns are entailed by the theory and its context.

What amounts more to "prediction" in the vernacular sense is that evolutionary theory predicts the range of what transitional fossils must embody.  That's how we know that archaeopteryx is transitional (in point of fact, it is not the ancestor of today's birds, but it is thought most likely from morphological considerations to be about three cladistic branchings off from the actual ancestor).  ID cannot provide the criteria for deciding transitional fossils at all, for there are no known constraints on the supposed designer (unless we simply take MET's constraints as if they are the "designer's", clearly an ad hoc solution).  Hence there is something odd about an IDist like Behe accepting the fact that evolution occurred from the evidence, when the evidence for evolution can only be evidence for evolution if it is constrained by known evolutionary processes, and not when they are unconstrained by dint of some super-intelligent "designer" working for unknown purposes and via unknown capabilities.

The finding of Tiktaalik (a transitional between fish and amphibian) is one of the best examples of predicting both transitional form and timing, since the researchers who went to the expected "time strata" to find evidence about the evolutionary development of Tiktaalik's shoulder girdle and other tetrapod locomotive anatomy (a mere transitional was not what they were after, as some of these transitionals, such as Ichthyostega, were already known) found just the <i>type of</i> transitional for which they were looking--in the predicted range of strata.  I'd also point out that timing is only statistically predictable in evolution, for we do not know all of the contingencies involved.  However, the predicted ranges for transitional fossils is rather narrower than are the predicted times for most transitions (not that there aren't substantial constraints on most temporal <i>ranges</i>).

And of course, as I've mentioned a number of times, and already in this post, prokaryotes are predicted to evolve differently from how eukaryotes are predicted to evolve.  Prokaryote (I mention parenthetically that some object to the term "prokaryote", since it really only means "not-eukaryote" or "non-eukaryote".  However, it is often useful to be able to easily write "non-eukaryote" by writing "prokaryote") taxonomy is difficult, due to the great number of lateral transfers between closely related lines (and yes, like I mentioned, it's interesting that "genes speciate" separately in the same "species" of prokaryote) and lack of true sexual reproduction.  Vertebrates appear not to undergo much lateral gene transfer, so produce the wonderful phylogenetic trees so beloved of the teachers of evolution.

Indeed, the evolutionary patterns are significantly different between eukaryotes (actually, lateral gene transfers to insects from Wolbachia appear to be much more common than were expected in the past, yet sexual reproduction in insects seems to largely maintain the eukaryote patterns of evolution in these as well) and prokaryotes, agreeing with the predictions of MET (modern evolutionary theory).

Look, I could go on about evolutionary predictions, but I think that these are the very biggest predictions which have to work out predictively according to known mechanisms--and this is already a very long response to a few short and erroneous statements.  What I've mentioned already are crucial tests for whether or not MET works within our present ability to comprehend cause and effect, and the predictions are overwhelmingly borne out by the evidence (inevitably there are questions at the margins, as in any science, while the expected patterns are unquestionable).

ID, by contrast, tries to sneek into science by emphasizing the remaining questions, and not by coming up with any kind of prediction or evidence that design has happened over the course of evolution.  Design ought to be detectable, indeed, for we have tests for "engineered" organisms.  And actually, one important question for IDists is why it is that we can detect our own "designs" in organisms (sometimes this is done from specific knowledge about genetic engineering of organisms, but one could also detect substantial tampering with genomes of, say, anthrax by comparing what designers can do with what is possible without any engineering)from the background genomes, since according to IDists the background is also designed.  This may be very important in the future, if terrorist organizations make designer diseases.  It would be impossible for us to detect designer diseases if "wild-type" organisms had been designed, assuming that the word "design" has any actual meaning to it.

Well, it isn't surprising that IDists take pains to avoid making predictions (except to claim that ID predicts IC or some such thing, which it doesn't--clearly design can be either IC or not-IC, and without knowing the capabilities of the "designer" one could never know if it could make anything that is "IC"), since life is so unlike any designs that we have ever observed being produced.  

By contrast, one can predict what will happen in evolution, or more precisely, one can predict the range of possibilities within a given evolutionary scenario.  If what we find in biology did not fit within that range, I'm sure that the IDists would happily point this out to us.  Failing that, they try to make much of the fact that biology is an ongoing science which, unsurprisingly, does not have all of the answers, while they continue to predict nothing whatsoever that is actually entailed by general design principles as we know them, nor by appeal to a specific designer with known specific capabilities and purposes which may differ from presently known designers.  

What the gang at <i>Expelled</i> wants is for us to devalue the explanations and predictions which evolutionary theory makes possible, and for science to capitulate to an unscientific theological idea which refuses to make the kinds of entailed predictions that every legitimate scientific hypothesis must make.  They want us to state that ID is the every bit the equal of the predictive scientific theory that biology researchers use every day, when it is useless for research purposes.  Such heavy-handed tactics didn't ultimately work in Galileo's day, so why should anti-empirical dictates succeed now?

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

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