Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ben Stein's 'Expelled'

Dear Ben Stein:

I have heard that you have a movie coming out – a documentary, "Expelled – about how creation scientists (a.k.a., intelligent design theorists) are suffering from violations of their free speech rights in academia.

Naturally, I have not seen the documentary yet. Consequently, I am not going to raise any objections against the movie itself. However, I have read reports about its content and if true these reports indicate that the documentary will try to portray the claim that intelligent design is not science as a violation of freedom of speech.

I also suspect that you will hear a lot of objections based on the fact that you failed to properly understand what a scientific theory is, and I have no interest in repeating what they would say.

However, the film (or at least descriptions of it) bring up the issue of freedom of speech, which is a moral issue, and that is the sphere that I write in.

Legacy

I want to begin by pointing that your legacy, as a result of your work on this particular project, will be the suffering and early death of countless people who otherwise could have been saved or benefited from advances in science.

I am going to have to say something about the nature of science to demonstrate this point. Science is involved in explaining and predicting real-world events. This includes real-world events that cause real-world death and suffering. The better we are at understanding the real world, the better we will be at avoiding the death and suffering that nature would otherwise inflict on us.

Science does this by comparing theories. Theory A predicts that under conditions C, that R will result. Theory B predicts that under conditions C, S will result. Scientists then set up or observe conditions C, and see if they detect R or S. If they detect R, they go with theory A. If they detect S, they go with Theory B.

Over time, they continually revise their theories. Theory A1 predicts that under conditions C1, R1 will result. Theory A2 predicts that under conditions C1, R2 will result. (The conditions have to be the same, or there is no way to rule out theories). They then try to detect R1 or R2, and refine their theories accordingly.

It is not the case that everything that scientists like to study has an effect on human death and suffering. However, the methods that they use to study nature in general are the same methods that they apply to those things that result in death and suffering. They are continually involved in refining their theories about things that cause human death and suffering. As a result of their work, we have become extremely good at avoiding human death and suffering – at least in those cultures that are wise enough to put these scientific advances to practical use.

Now, please, try for me to put the concept of intelligent design into the description that I wrote above about how to compare scientific theories. Come up with a condition C, and a result R1 or R2, that will tell us whether or not to accept Theory A or Theory B, where Theory B is intelligent design.

You will fail.

No scientist has yet been able to present a “Theory B” that includes a God variable that produces more accurate results under Conditions C than any comparable theory that lacks a God variable.

Intelligent design tells us nothing that we can use to better understand and cure cancer or Parkinson's disease. There is nothing it can tell us that can lead to the discovery of a way of preventing malaria that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. It will not provide us with food sources that can survive droughts to that people in arid parts of the world can feed themselves. It says nothing at all useful in determining the effects of different chemicals that we are putting in our air, our water, and our food to tell us whether they are poisonous or beneficial. It tells us none of the things that science tells us - things that protects our lives, health, and well-being.

So, what these people want to do instead of providing us with the fruits of their research is to force scientist to use another criterion – other than the criterion of coming up with a theory that better predicts results under given conditions. That criterion is the criterion of force - perhaps not the force of a gun to the head, but the force of legislation and social sanctions.

I want to repeat this in case a reader might skip the point of this post. Intelligent design has no 'condition C' with an R1 and an R2 where evolution produces one prediction, intelligent design produces another, and observation confirms intelligent design. If it did, it could count as science. In the absence of scientific evidence favoring intelligent design, its proponents want to introduce something other than evidence into the scientific process - political bullying. Under this system, a theory is viable to the degree that its proponents can use lies and distortions to manipulate the public into including it in the scientific discussion. That's what the movie 'Expelled' is - an propaganda instrument for the sake of rallying people into bullying science educators into including an idea that has absolutely no merit as science.

What is going to make a scientific theory “worth considering” on this standard is not whether its defenders can provide experimental evidence, but whether its defenders can get the government and the mob to threaten scientists who reject their views.

On this system, force replaces truth as a standard of truth.

Causing Harm

Part of the problem with introducing force as a standard of truth is that you will end up promoting systems that will do more harm than good. Intelligent design itself finds its home in a context that does a particularly poor job of predicting and explaining the causes of human death and suffering, and of helping people avoid death and suffering.

A scientist says that hurricanes are too large for us to be able to control where they go. However, by taking measurements of air speed, ocean temperature, pressure, the principles of evaporation and condensation of water, and the like, we can make increasingly accurate predictions of where hurricanes will strike and how best to avoid the worst consequences. The consequences suffered in New Orleans show the price to be paid by those who ignore science.

Theocrats want to argue that we can control the severity – even the existence of hurricanes by passing laws against homosexuality, putting prayer in school, and closing down abortion clinics. They have got the fanatical belief that these variables somehow influence the nature of hurricanes.

Now, we can test these types of claims. We can come up with theories that determine relationships between the frequency and course of hurricanes based on number of abortion clinics, presence of laws against homosexual acts, and the numbers of state-sponsored school prayers. Yet, in 400 years of science, these types of relationships do not hold up. The people who advocate these types of solutions will add to the total amount of human suffering (the suffering imposed on people as a result of these laws) without doing any good whatsoever.

We see from this that the type of thinking that surrounds intelligent design will cause death and suffering in two ways. First, there is the death and suffering surrounding the laws that those who think this way would impose on others – the diseases not prevented, the poverty promoted, the prohibitions that deny people the opportunity to realize important values in the brief lives they have.

Second, this way of thinking will result in more death and suffering than there would otherwise be because it will take attention from reason-based policies that show a scientifically provable effect of reducing death and suffering. People devoted to preventing harms from natural disasters through community prayers and repressive social laws are not devoting their energy to scientific research and understanding. People who are demanding that science yield to a ‘political force as proof of scientific validity’ way of thinking are not allowing scientists to discover those methods that truly do the best job of predicting and explaining real-world events.

Both of these pathways lead to death and suffering, and both pathways will be opened up by the false and irresponsible claims that, at least judging from the press reports, will sit at the heart of your documentary.

Fear Mongering

A standard political move these days would be to take an argument like the one that I gave above and use it to accuse the person who made it of ‘fear mongering’ – of trying to manipulate people through fear. President Bush suggests that staying in Iraq will harm our national interests, and he is immediately condemned for fear-mongering by those who do not want the public to even consider (and debate) the possibility.

So, let us take a look at fear mongering, and see whether the term would apply in this case.

Imagine a room with a table in the center, and a pitcher in the middle of the room that you know contains poison. A woman enters the room and fills a glass from the pitcher. If I were to warn her that the pitcher contains poison, it would not be wrong to think that I was attempting to manipulate her behavior – attempting to warn her against drinking from the pitcher. However, it would be wrong to accuse me of fear mongering.

In order to be guilty of fear mongering, it would have to be the case that I did not believe that the pitcher contained poison or that I adopted the belief irresponsibly based more on convenience than on evidence. Furthermore, I would need some motive to prevent the woman from drinking the liquid – a motive that the woman would probably not find persuasive. So, I make false or irresponsible claims about the harmfulness of the liquid in order to prevent her from doing something I have other reasons to prevent her from doing. This would be a case of fear-mongering.

The arguments that I gave above deflect any charges of fear mongering. Science is, as a matter of fact, involved in a practice of comparing theories by determining what the theory says will happen under conditions C, making observations about those happenings, and determining which theory most accurately predicted the results. This method is particularly important when the results provide information useful in avoiding human death and suffering. The type of thinking that surrounds and permeates intelligent design is a type of thinking that rejects this method. So, the type of thinking that permeates intelligent design is a type that will interfere with our abilities to prevent death and suffering.

That particular drink is poison, and a morally responsible person would warn others not to drink it.

Freedom of Speech

As a matter of fact, people who advocate intelligent design pretty much prove that they are incompetent in matters of science, in the same way that an engineer who advocates making a bridge out of common clay proves that he is an incompetent engineer.

The fact that the common clay bridge builder is able to rally his friends to beat up on (legislatively or socially) the steel-bridge builders if they do not give their friend an engineering license is no proof that the friend’s engineering is sound. People can be forced to deny reality, but reality does not yield to individual stupidity. Give the common-clay bridge builder a license, and a lot of people are going to start suffering death and injuries in the collapsing bridges that result.

His ‘opinion’ that clay bridges are as sound as steel bridges is not enough to prevent clay bridges from collapsing.

However, let us assume that this engineer does not want to build clay bridges. He wants to teach at an engineering college where he will inform countless students that clay bridges are structurally sound. And when the engineering department denies him a position, he goes to court, claiming that they are violating his rights to free speech. Clearly, he has a right to stand before a bunch of students and tell them that common clay bridges are structurally sound.

By your standards, such a teacher must be permitted to teach that common clay is as good as steel, because refusing to do so would be a morally impermissible violation of that individual's right to freedom of speech. In fact, if we were to make your principle a universal law, as the moral philosopher Immanual Kant contends, any attempt to regulate the quality of teaching is a violation of free speech. No individual shall be denied a position in a university based on the quality of his research - but all individuals shall be permitted to teach whatever they want to whomever they want.

As I said, the policies and principles that appear in your documentary, at least as reported in the press, are clearly policies and principles that will lead to death and suffering.

Conclusion

I have no illusions that this letter will change the course of events. The documentary will play. People who would have otherwise studied and applied the principles of science to discover or at least understand how certain policies can reduce death and suffering, will instead pursue policies that promote death and suffering. The institution that best seeks to explain and predict the forces of nature that kill and maim individuals will be weakened, and death and suffering that could have been prevented, will not be prevented.

Of course, you will deny any responsibility for this. Unfortunately, reality does not care about what we believe. A person's unwillingness to accept reality does not change reality; a person's unwillingness to accept responsiblity for the harm he has done to others does not prevent them from being harmed.

These effects are real. You have made the world a worse place than it would have otherwise been, and some will pay with their lives. Hopefully, they (or those who survive them) will at least have the wisdom to know who is responsible for their situation.

Note: The National Center for Science Education also exposes a number of inaccuracies in its site, Expelled Exposed.

327 comments:

1 – 200 of 327   Newer›   Newest»
Richard R said...

Wow! What an amazingly controlled, reasoned argument.

I can't imagine I'd be able to remain that rational when writing a letter to such a clearly irrational person!

Nicely written.

Our hidden place said...

He knows all of that. All of them do.

These people - who obviously know better - are just conflicted, sentimental over their mommy and daddy's heartfelt beliefs.

Thanks for being so patient, though.

Gene said...

From what I can glean from the trailer and other information on the website is that this documentary is trying to expose the obvious bias that proponents of Darwinian Evolution(DE) have against anyone who would try and suggest an alternate theory. It is disturbing to me to read the accounts of the scientists who have been discredited, denied tenure, or fired because they expressed a belief that ID was worth looking into. If the theory of Evolution is on such a firm and sure footing, instead of ruining the lives and careers of those who would question DE, why not invite people to try and knock it down and let them ruin their own lives and careers when they cannot?

In your Blog Entry Insulting Religious People you write that some Christians have the following attitude about those who question the Truth:

Those who question these truths are bad people. The deserve to be punished, as we will punish you, if you question these myths.

This statement is reflective of the attitude of today's academic leaders towards those people who are questioning the truth of Darwinian Evolution. To echo "our hidden place", these people - who obviously know better - are just conflicted. If there is an objective standard of truth, then there must be One who laid out that standard. And if that One exists, then those who do not follow His standard are going to be held accountable for their actions. The conflict comes when they realize that believing that One exists interferes with the selfish desire to live life without accountability.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for caricaturing christians as unthinking-stupid-bafoons! If that's all your atheistic ethicisim can do and desire to achieve...kudos to you! But the fact that numerous Christians have graduated from IVY league universities all around the world (escapes your notice) could only mean that these secular schools of Darwinistic higher-education are really (embarassing!) run by the same kinda of evolved human beings.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

anonymous

I believe that you errantly attached a comment to my post that was meant for someone else, because it does not apply to anything that I had written.

Indeed, I have specifically refuted the claim that you accuse me of. I have repeatedly written in condemnation of the inference from "Some Christians have absurdly foolish beliefs" to "All Christians are fools."

However, it is still the case that "Some Christians have absurdly foolish beliefs" is consistent with "Some Christians are fools."

Alonzo Fyfe said...

anonymous

I have to ask if you read the post that you attached this comment to.

Intelligent Design has not yet produced a Theory A (containing a god variable) that predicts a Result R under Conditions C, that is more accurate than a Theory B (containing no god variable).

Thus:

There is nothing for scientists to discuss.

There is simply no sense in accusing scientists of trying to suppress something that nobody has yet offered up for them to suppress.

Calling intelligent design 'science' is sufficient to demonstrate that intelligent design theorists do not understand what science is, in the same way that calling palm tree a horse is sufficient to show that the speaker does not understand biology.

Rae said...

Fascinating piece.

So now it is using "force" when you provide evidence of the injustices done to scientists who don't toe the line WRT the popular theories? Have you even looked at the scientific credentials and track record of the folks who are being persecuted by evangelical materialists in the name of science?

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Rae

The scientific method is one that "credentials and track record" are not valid criteria to use in evaluating scientific research.

In fact, scientific journals generally require that the author's track record and cridentials be removed from all submissions.

This is done so that the submission will be judged on its own merits - whether the arguments in the paper are actually sound, and not on the author's track record and credentials.

The "force" that I am talking about includes forcing science (through social pressure or law) to base its decisions on things like author's track record or credentials which science presently considers irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Ben Stein‘s movie the end of the world! The sky is falling the sky is falling!

"clearly policies and principles that will lead to death and suffering." WOW! Talk about over the top.

How in the world will looking at any scientific evidence or even presenting a creationism hypothesis have any such effect? Ben Stein’s docudrama isn’t going to bring science to and end and certainly a creationism hypothesis won’t be the end of the world as you appear to propose. Bring on the debate! That can only be a good thing.

No offence man but I think you are a tad paranoid. Take care.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

You seem to lack the integrity and honesty to respond to what I actually wrote. You replace my actual argument with hyperbole, and respond to the hyperbole as if it is what I actually wrote.

Please recognize that this qualifies as 'bearing false witness', because you clearly bore false witness about my actual arguments. That domonstrates that you have a rather imperfect understanding of how a moral person would behave.

Does a good person lie about what other people say and then respond to the lie?

evanescent said...

This is a great letter, well argued and brilliantly written. Unfortunately, those who care about proper science and respect for truth (such as myself and other atheists) know that the intended recipient won't read it, and even if he does it will make no difference.

I'm sure the movie will be a big success (especially in America) and will give the creationist fundies something to get on their high horse about. I'm sure the politicians will get on the bandwagon and suggest that more "free speech" time be given to Intelligent Design.

It makes you weep for the species really. All we can do is hope that eventually we get rid of this teleological supernatural mythical metaphysical cancer of creationism and the human race can look back in a few hundred years' time and laugh. What a shame about the great price we pay until that day.

No More Mr. Nice Guy! said...

President Bush suggests that staying in Iraq will harm our national interests, and he is immediately condemned for fear-mongering by those who do not want the public to even consider (and debate) the possibility.

Umm... did you mean to name someone else?

ephem said...

Anonymous said:
"...numerous Christians have graduated from IVY league universities all around the world..."

From Wikipedia:
"The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education located in the Northeastern United States. The term is now most commonly used to refer to those eight schools considered as a group"

Mobile campuses? Ivy League distance learning? Perhaps religious miracles?

Sorry, it was just such a ridiculous statement.

Reginal Selkirk said...

The post could use a slight tweak:

They then try to detect R1 or R1, and refine their theories accordingly.

The second R1 should be R2.

Neil Phalanx said...

Regardless of some nit-picking of the mechanics and details of the letter, it is a very well done letter. You can always tell the good ones by the ferocity of the responses, and how many times pronouns such as Him and He are capitalized. Its the classic veiled threat of eternal damnation by dropping sky-god references (Those poor billions of non-Christians! To hell for your ignorance!).

Sorry, I posted here to compliment. Keep fighting the good fight, sir.

Cat said...

Hmm. You clearly have a fairly solid grasp of communicating your ideas in a reasonably bias free way. You do include one thing that may be a difficult sell, however. Even assuming that everyone sees this movie, and that it drives the global community to abandon Darwinian theories of evolution, I do not see a significant raise in the amount of human suffering in the world. There are some religions that speak against science in "useful" applications (such as medicine), but they do not often flourish. Much as the Shakers faltered because of their prohibition against sexual relations for any reason, those religions do not often last over time. Religions with a more rational structure (such as the viewpoint of the Jewish faith that things like stem cell research are in fact a gift from God) survive despite their convictions imposing prohibitions on scientific research. There is also a good argument that the majority of scientific research over the course of human history has been performed by religious individuals.
These things being said, the impact on human suffering is not something that can be measured empirically in these kinds of terms. To use your own analogy, theory T1 may be that under conditions C, the suffering (R) of humans goes up. Under theory 2 (T2) using conditions C1, R goes down. Attempting to apply such rationale to the entire population is immensely complex, possibly even to the point of being completely beyond our ability to measure. Suffering is also highly subjective; tribal members in the Amazon may find your house incredibly stifling while you may be unhappy in the communal shelter.
In a statistical sense, human suffering if measured has the problem of being a potential infinite; any increase or decrease may be considered temporary and also statistically insignificant. This of course assumes that humanity continues infinitely. If the entire race is exterminated, by outside forces or by the usual suspects (nuclear war, biological weapons, etc), then the amount of human suffering may be increased. At that point, there is no one left to care about that particular metric, unfortunately.
Human suffering is a highly individual thing, and while ID may cause societal problems if it were to run away and cause the end of logical thought, I cannot see it as a significant variable in human suffering. "Evil" can be caused as easily by cold logic of science or hot passion of piety; I believe that moderation of speech or research no matter how well intentioned will usually end poorly for all involved. Science is built upon the blocks of all that comes before it, and truth cannot forever be obscured. (Even if you buy the patent and bury it.)

Anonymous said...

"Darwinism is Unscientific, Mythical, and inherently racist. It is being officially rejected by the modern science community and the mass public."

Darwinism and Atheism: Unscientific and Mythical

Anonymous said...

Creationists,

Next time you, or a loved one suffers a heart attack, don't call 911. Have faith, pray. Why get those dirty doctors involved with their dirty science, and proven methods of saving lives based on sound principles and research? Why accept treatment based on evidence and results? Clearly, you should give equal time to the faith-healer, and witchdoctor. Who are we to deny your rights?

Anonymous said...

Too many commas. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until Ben Stein takes on 'Big Math' with their subtraction and "theory" of multiplication. I can't wait to see the look on the non-believers faces when they meet their Maker and find out that 2 + 2 = 5! How can't you know that!?! I mean 2 is a number. There's a 2 in 5, therefore, God exists! If only you would believe!

Anonymous said...

Let me preface my comment by saying that most of the people closest to me believe in God. I love and respect these people, even without being commanded to do so by an unseen almighty power. Most of them know I am an atheist. However, I am in no way comfortable discussing my views with most of those I count as family and friends. Ben Stein seems like a likable guy, but to my mind he pursues projects like a large corporation would - with a profit motivation in mind, that doesn't necessarily have to be in line with the public interest. An overwhelming majority in the U.S. believe in the supernatural in some form or another, and so is the case worldwide. It appears he is attempting appeal to the broadest audience possible in line with those ends. It looks like he'll be using what seems to be the favorite tricks of neo-cons these days. Take a subject, any subject, and flip it right around. I'm not stupid. You're stupid. I'm not oppressing and threatening you with irrational, unproven beliefs. You're oppressing and threatening me with irrational, unproven beliefs. You are the villain, and I am the hero who will save the people, because I speak with authority/anger (a.k.a. don't look at the evidence and facts. Just be fearful, and take my word for it, and the word of those like me). I fight for the underdog (a.k.a. the elite who take advantage of the fearful/ignorant/uneducated/poor). Ben displays flawed logic (a.k.a. Karl Marx was jealous of his rich relatives, therefore, his ideas are wrong). [ I guess I could say things like God said some stuff a long time ago, because he was really upset with humanity so what he said was wrong and biased. - Mathematics is pretty old. It was brilliant for its time, but this is the 21st century. - I can't come up with a formula for love yet, so how can math be useful to understanding anything? - Technological and scientific advances are often made during times of war, therefore, war is good. - We are your leaders and your superiors. I tell you I represent your values, so take my word for it when I tell you war and the resulting deaths of your loved ones are well worth any cause we tell you is worthy. ] Scientific attitudes absolutely depend and are changed by evidence. By necessity they must be open to change as evidence becomes available. Assertions in science are subject to scrutiny by peer review, and practical testing in the real world. Can the same be said of intelligent design, religion, or political dogma? If you are religious in the U.S., chances are you believe there is an ultimate reward or ultimate punishment after death waiting for you, neither of which can be proven, but which nonetheless keeps you in check with fear, or with irrational joy over propositions for which there is no evidence whatsoever. You are willing to revolve your life around these beliefs and treat others according to their dictates. Would you want the equivalent of intelligent design or this type of belief system taught to the medical student that will care for your sick child, or the mechanic who will fix the brakes on your car? No doubt different ideas and opinions can be a good thing, and there is still a lot to learn. This doesn't qualify intelligent design to be taught as scientifically valid, or its believers to presume authority in any realm. Religious beliefs are not universally agreed upon. They cannot be tested, because they simply demand obedience. They have been the cause of violence, terror, and oppression throughout recorded history. The variety of views and opinions, even within the same religion, are varied and numerous, and are often the cause of prejudice and conflict. Can they all be right? On the other hand, evolution is even apparent in those things that are designed, like the automobile. A model year car from 1930 is not the same as a model year car from 2008. Incremental changes are made toward a goal (one that will survive, and be reproduced). Some things survive (the steering wheel), some things don't (the crank shaft). On a biological level these changes happen through mutation and reproduction. No creator required. Then there is the question that if there is a creator where did the creator come from, and how. If the assertion of this movie is that intelligent design should be taught alongside with scientific reality, then will you, the believer, allow equal time for atheism, evolution, scientific inquiry, and even opposing religious views to be taught in your churches, synagogues, and mosques, at home, at work, in public? Will you endorse the teaching of prayer or casting of spells in our medical schools as an alternative to medicine, because every disease cannot be cured yet? Do you perceive an impact on your health and society if they are?

Anonymous said...

Let me preface my comment by saying that most of the people closest to me believe in God. I love and respect these people, even without being commanded to do so by an unseen almighty power. Most of them know I am an atheist. However, I am in no way comfortable discussing my views with most of those I count as family and friends. Ben Stein seems like a likable guy, but to my mind he pursues projects like a large corporation would - with a profit motivation in mind, that doesn't necessarily have to be in line with the public interest. An overwhelming majority in the U.S. believe in the supernatural in some form or another, and so is the case worldwide. It appears he is attempting appeal to the broadest audience possible in line with those ends. It looks like he'll be using what seems to be the favorite tricks of neo-cons these days. Take a subject, any subject, and flip it right around. I'm not stupid. You're stupid. I'm not oppressing and threatening you with irrational, unproven beliefs. You're oppressing and threatening me with irrational, unproven beliefs. You are the villain, and I am the hero who will save the people, because I speak with authority/anger (a.k.a. don't look at the evidence and facts. Just be fearful, and take my word for it, and the word of those like me). I fight for the underdog (a.k.a. the elite who take advantage of the fearful/ignorant/uneducated/poor). Ben displays flawed logic (a.k.a. Karl Marx was jealous of his rich relatives, therefore, his ideas are wrong). [ I guess I could say things like God said some stuff a long time ago, because he was really upset with humanity so what he said was wrong and biased. - Mathematics is pretty old. It was brilliant for its time, but this is the 21st century. - I can't come up with a formula for love yet, so how can math be useful to understanding anything? - Technological and scientific advances are often made during times of war, therefore, war is good. - We are your leaders and your superiors. I tell you I represent your values, so take my word for it when I tell you war and the resulting deaths of your loved ones are well worth any cause we tell you is worthy. ] Scientific attitudes absolutely depend and are changed by evidence. By necessity they must be open to change as evidence becomes available. Assertions in science are subject to scrutiny by peer review, and practical testing in the real world. Can the same be said of intelligent design, religion, or political dogma? If you are religious in the U.S., chances are you believe there is an ultimate reward or ultimate punishment after death waiting for you, neither of which can be proven, but which nonetheless keeps you in check with fear, or with irrational joy over propositions for which there is no evidence whatsoever. You are willing to revolve your life around these beliefs and treat others according to their dictates. Would you want the equivalent of intelligent design or this type of belief system taught to the medical student that will care for your sick child, or the mechanic who will fix the brakes on your car? No doubt different ideas and opinions can be a good thing, and there is still a lot to learn. This doesn't qualify intelligent design to be taught as scientifically valid, or its believers to presume authority in any realm. Religious beliefs are not universally agreed upon. They cannot be tested, because they simply demand obedience. They have been the cause of violence, terror, and oppression throughout recorded history. The variety of views and opinions, even within the same religion, are varied and numerous, and are often the cause of prejudice and conflict. Can they all be right? On the other hand, evolution is even apparent in those things that are designed, like the automobile. A model year car from 1930 is not the same as a model year car from 2008. Incremental changes are made toward a goal (one that will survive, and be reproduced). Some things survive (the steering wheel), some things don't (the crank shaft). On a biological level these changes happen through mutation and reproduction. No creator required. Then there is the question that if there is a creator where did the creator come from, and how. If the assertion of this movie is that intelligent design should be taught alongside with scientific reality, then will you, the believer, allow equal time for atheism, evolution, scientific inquiry, and even opposing religious views to be taught in your churches, synagogues, and mosques, at home, at work, in public? Will you endorse the teaching of prayer or casting of spells in our medical schools as an alternative to medicine, because every disease cannot be cured yet? Do you perceive an impact on your health and society if they are?

Anonymous said...

Creationism and intelligent design are not trying to change the way science is done or trying to take over the whole of science. The creation and ID movements are challenging the origin of the universe, origin of life and to the extent that organisms evolve. All of these aspects are historical sciences and rely on evidence in the present to create a theory about the past. The validity of the theories are not and can not be based on real world testing. All the evidence is the same, evolutionists take the evidence and fit it into what they believe happened which is based on the assumption that processes of today have continued at the same rate throughout all of history. While creationists take the word of God and fits the evidence with what the bible says. And just like evolutionists they use science to back up their arguments. They come to different conclusions because they have different presuppositions. Evolutionists believe that the processes of today are the same as they were in the past but they can't prove it because they weren't there and Creationists believe the bible to be true but they can't prove it cause they weren't there. So it all comes down to who is starting from the correct point of view. For an analogy say you and a friend walk into a bathroom and the tub is filled with 4 gallons of water and it is still filling up at 1/2 gallon per hour. You decide to do an experiment and figure that at 1/2 gallon per hour it must have taken 2 hours to fill the tub. But just then your friend finds a note that said the tub was filled up an hour ago. Now the note could be a lie but if it is true than your conclusion is completely wrong because at one point in the past the water was flowing at a much higher rate and so you and your friend get in an argument about if your right or not, he can't prove you wrong because your math and experiment were done properly and you refuse to believe the note and there is no way to go in the past to find out who is right. He could even show you how it is possible to get the water to flow faster and come with some theories of what caused the faster flow but it doesn't matter because he is basing his experiment on that note. Of course he is right and you are wrong but neither is able to provide 100% proof so you both go on believing what you want. This is the exact argument between creation and evolution. It's important that people understand that evolution is not fact (natural selection is a fact which is the part of evolution that is used to do many other important research) but the origins of the universe, it's age, and the origins of life are all theories that can not be backed up by repeated testing. That is what creation is challenging and it does use scientific knowledge to back up it's theory. Creationists don't just say God did it and that's the end of the story. They use scientific data and observations to either challenge the possibility of evolution or make claims to the age of the earth.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

Much of your discussion actually does not talk about evolution at all, but about other things.

Evolution is concerned with changes in biological systems over time through inheritance and natural selection. Questions about the origin of the universe (cosmology) or even the origin of life (biogenesis) are not a part of evolutionary theory. They are different subjects.

As for your tub analogy, anybody who assumes that the note is true or false is making a mistake. The proper attitude - the scientific attitude to take towards the note is that we do not know if it is true or false.

[Note: At 1/2 gallon per hour it would have taken 8 hours to put 4 gallons of water in the tub.]

The scientist would look for some evidence of how full the tub was at a previous time. For example, the scientist finds some mineral half way up the side of the tub. By testing the mineral they determine that the mineral had been under water for 4 hours. Another mineral, 3/4 of the way up the tub, shows that it had been submerged for 2 hours. This, then, supports the hypothesis that the statement on the note was false.

Until there is evidence, the scientist would not doubt the contents of the note. Nor would he believe the note. It is well within the realm of possibility that flow-rates change over time, and that other events will alter the level of water in the tub. The scientist who assumes that the flow rate must be the same over time is no scientist.

At best, a scientist would say, "If the flow rate is constant over time, then we can expect to discover the following." However, he suspends judgment until he finds the things that the theory predicts. If he finds what the theory predicts, this supports the theory. If not, then he changes the theory to fit what he does find. If he cannot confirm or falsify the theory, then he remains agnostic - waiting for evidence that will decide the issue one way or the other.

We have tons of evidence - from radioactive decay, from the disposition of craters, from, from the speed of light and redshift, from the fossil record, all of which point to a common conclusion. With all of this evidence converging on the theory that the metaphorical tub filled at a constant rate, the person who insists that the note was accurate is simply being stubborn. At the very least we can say that insisting that the note must be true has nothing to do with 'doing science'.

Even without this evidence supporting the 'note is a lie' option, there is still no justification for holding that the message on the note is true. Worse is the person who says that "those who believe the contents of the note are morally superior to those who do not - that to even question the note is a sin, and those who do so shall be condemned to eternal damnation. We owe all of the misery and suffering of human history to those who deny that the contents of the note are literally true."

That's just nonsense.

Ken said...

A well reasoned and articulated response to Anonymous (@2:50 PM).

I would add that the analogy fails when it is stated:
"He could even show you how it is possible to get the water to flow faster and come with some theories of what caused the faster flow but it doesn't matter because he is basing his experiment on that note."

The analogy fails since Creationist have yet to "show... how it is possible" for their hypotheses to work. If there were any demonstrable hypothesis for Creationism, then we wouldn't be having theses discussions, since that could be part of a valid scientific argument and scientists would be running experiments instead of wasting time explaining what science is and is not.

Anonymous said...

("We have tons of evidence - from radioactive decay, from the disposition of craters, from, from the speed of light and redshift, from the fossil record, all of which point to a common conclusion. With all of this evidence converging on the theory that the metaphorical tub filled at a constant rate, the person who insists that the note was accurate is simply being stubborn. At the very least we can say that insisting that the note must be true has nothing to do with 'doing science'.

Even without this evidence supporting the 'note is a lie' option, there is still no justification for holding that the message on the note is true. Worse is the person who says that "those who believe the contents of the note are morally superior to those who do not - that to even question the note is a sin, and those who do so shall be condemned to eternal damnation. We owe all of the misery and suffering of human history to those who deny that the contents of the note are literally true.")

First of all the fact that you dimiss most of the things I talked about as evolution means that you shouldn't have a problem with creation because that's what they are challenging. As for your evidence- radioactive decay is one of the items that are based on assumptions that chemicals have always decayed at the same rate and that the beginning amount of daughter and parent chemicals are known and other assumptions. That is what the analogy is saying. The fossil record means nothing. Fossils are created by an organism being deposited quickly in mud and water, which creationists explain with the flood. As for starlight, creationists have proposed a theory that talks about gravity and how it's related to time. And my point isn't that the note should be held as true but can be used as evidence. If you can harmonize the note with what you know scientifically, then it is much more likely that you will be right. That is the point. If the bible is true then the flood had a drastic effect on the earth and it's current conditions and so it would be impossible to get accurate reflections of earth's history using present day knowledge of chemical and geologic processes. Creationists admit that they have to have an amount of faith, but their point is so don't the evolutionists who have to have faith that all their assumptions about the past are true.

To point out something with what the next person said. Creationists show how the flood accounts for fossils, plate tectonics and how it changed the landscape of the earth. They use science to show that the earth is young. Both sides have the same evidence and they use science to justify their theory of earth's history and both take an amount of faith. That's why they should be competing theories. Creationists are not trying to get evolution takin out of school they just want to be able to show the problems with evolution and how they feel they explain the evidence better. Evolution on the other hand doesn't even want people to be able to critique their theory, and that is a big problem.

Ken said...

Anonymous

"Creationists show how the flood accounts for fossils, plate tectonics and how it changed the landscape of the earth."

I must have missed that issue of Science, could you point me to scientifically accepted papers on the above topics?

Anonymous said...

"I must have missed that issue of Science, could you point me to scientifically accepted papers on the above topics?"

You know you would have to research creationists websites to find the information that I am talking about and you are more than likely not going to do that. I don't know or care if the papers have been reviewed by scientists who believe in evolution, because they are not without bias. It's evident in how badly they don't want creation taught or how much they don't want people to speak against evolution. Creationist don't mind having the two taught alongside each other but evolution does. That speaks volumes to how truthful evolution is. Go ahead and believe what you want, but the main points I have are that evolution is not fact, it takes a level of faith to believe in it and Creation is not against science and would not be the end of science like this article tried to make it sound. Creation is about the history of the universe (which can not be explored through repeated testing and observation) and does not delve into operational science that helps make the world a better place, although many scientists that believe in creation do that kind of work.

Anonymous said...

http://www.trueorigin.org/creatheory.asp

here is a link about the theory of creation compared to evolution. Read the whole thing for yourself and decide what you want. This explains some of what I was trying to get across.

Ken said...

Anonymous,

I did read the article in your link and found it very enlightening. It did expand my understanding of the Creationist viewpoint. And, as I'm sure you are expecting, I did not find it at all persuasive.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see that the biases in Creationism are stated very plainly; a main one being, "The biblical record is accepted as a reliable historical basis of interpreting empirical data." This is backed up by the previously stated "a priori assumption" which says, "As with all man’s endeavors, true science will inevitably honor the Creator and affirm the Bible as His true and accurate record, wherever it addresses the historical past."

This, of course, is root of all error with Creationism as there is no deductive or empirical evidence that support these statements. Yes, there are events described in the bible that might have happened, but the claim is that "the biblical record is accepted as a reliable historical basis," not that parts may be somewhat accurate, but that the entire text must be accepted. Anything based on such an assumption is suspect.

At this point, I must point out that the offered A Priori Assumption listed for the evolution, which is a Theory, not a Hypothesis, is, if I'm not mistaken, completely fabricated. I have never seen anything that states that science is predicated on the assumption that "Man’s scientific endeavors will inevitably affirm man’s autonomy and independence in determining what is true and what is false." Please correct me, if I am wrong, from a reputable source, please.

This article also spends a lot of effort supposedly correcting the evolutionist's "arbitrarily modified definition" of science, in order to better claim inclusion within that definition. Which brings me to a question I would like to ask of you.

Why does Creationism need to be a science? Scientists have spent generations developing the methods, practices, and definitions for what they do. They developed it, let it be theirs. Creationists are free to seek their own knowledge on their own terms. No one is stopping them.

I think answering that question may lead you to the root cause of more issues than just Creation versus Evolution.

G-man said...

Wow, this sparked a lot of debate! The last bit doesn't really fit with the post... I'd interject and suggest anonymous read this helpful link:

http://evolution.mbdojo.com/flood.html

Also bear in mind some important details: There are hundreds of thousands of Christian evolutionists. Evolution is a "fact" in the same sense as gravity is a "fact." The scientific method does not require scientists to be able to recreate events to repeatedly measure and observe the world.

Basically... until you have at least a high school level education in the philosophy of science, there's not much that can dissuade you from skilled Creationists' rhetoric. When you think about bias, though, remember that there are tons of Christian evolutionists and believers in an old earth. There are NO atheist Creationists.

Anonymous said...

In what is fast becoming the norm on the internet, you have a rant full of strawmen, predicting all kinds of doom and gloom when in reality, you have nothing to back it up.

I'm not saying your right or wrong; but shouldn't a true scientist be willing to explore all possibilities? Maybe there is a higher being, a God, or something else, or maybe there's nothing but a black void.

I don't have the answer to that question, and frankly, you don't either. I do know this, we'll

Anonymous said...

(continued from the last post, accidentally left it off from my copy and paste. )find out when we die.

Anonymous said...

"Why does Creationism need to be a science? Scientists have spent generations developing the methods, practices, and definitions for what they do. They developed it, let it be theirs. Creationists are free to seek their own knowledge on their own terms. No one is stopping them.

I think answering that question may lead you to the root cause of more issues than just Creation versus Evolution."

Basically it comes down to creationists do not want their children taught that evolution (in the respect to history of the universe) as deniable fact so that it undermines their belief just like atheist don't want their children taught creation as fact. So problem becomes what do you teach. Natural selection and adaptation should be taught as fact but the origin of the universe and origin of life should be taught as to what they truly are and that is ideas about how it all began, they are nothing more than that at this stage. Also how life evolved from one celled organism to humans is just speculation without any hard evidence and should be taught as such. Basically it doesn't matter if creation is taught or not but evolution should be taught truthfully. And people should not be fired because they don't believe in it. That is my stand.

As for the remark that follows this one, don't just call creationists liars, show me where they are lying and give arguments to back that up. Otherwise you have no credability at all.

Anonymous said...

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/geology.asp

here is a link about creationists views on geology. In response to the one who had a link that was against the flood.

Ken said...

"Basically it comes down to creationists do not want their children taught ... evolution ... as [un]deniable fact so that it undermines their belief" [I think you meant undeniable there.]

Anonymous,

So what you are saying is that the science doesn't really matter. You just want your own beliefs presented.

I really just don't understand how people, who are so adamant that 'God' created the universe, so actively and willfully ignore the very thing that 'He' created. Study the work more and the word less and maybe you will gain a little actual knowledge.

Anonymous said...

"So what you are saying is that the science doesn't really matter. You just want your own beliefs presented.

I really just don't understand how people, who are so adamant that 'God' created the universe, so actively and willfully ignore the very thing that 'He' created. Study the work more and the word less and maybe you will gain a little actual knowledge."

If you read what I said i didn't advocate the teaching of creation in schools. I have no prolems with evolution being taught but it's shortcomings should also be taught. Creationist have just as much science on their side, they are not going against science they use it to prove their ideas as well. And at least they admit that everything they believe is not fact and they are just fitting their scientific knowledge with what the bible says. Here is a link that goes along with what I am saying http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-starlight-prove. It's about distant starlight which creationists admit is the best argument against creationism. However they give some theories or ideas that explain the problem but they don't pretend that what they are saying is fact. Evolution on the other want people to believe that their are no problems with their theory. Read the article, they do use science in their arguments.

G-man said...

Answers in Genesis is an extremely bigoted site filled with unethical rhetoric, so forgive me for not reading your links in any detail, Anonymous.

The neat thing about the scientific method is that it allows people to approach phenomena and investigate hypotheses to explain them. What (most) Creationists do is approach phenomena with the mindset of "how can we explain this under the assumption that a creator God exists?"

Then, they look into the published works of real scientists and quote-mine.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/
quotes/mine/project.html

Anyway, the theory of evolution does not have any "shortcomings" significant enough to merit mention. If kids move on to higher education, they can find out the areas in the theory that require more study and analysis.

Ken said...

Anonymous,

My point is that by claiming such things as,"Creationist have just as much science on their side, they are not going against science they use it to prove their ideas as well," you are attempting to portray your own views which are not in line with accepted science or the scientific process. Because Creationist do not "have just as much science on their side." If you want to change the science that is taught in school, there are ways to do that. Show the scientific community that you have a valid scientific theory with strong evidence to back it up. Admittedly, creationists have an uphill battle due to 150 years of research on Evolution, but claiming equal status based on incomplete hypotheses with virtually no objective data to back it up, is not the way to do it. I'm sure that you've heard all this before and my repetition will not change your mind.

As for the article you mentioned, I did in fact read the thing and pretty much have to agree with G-man on the rhetoric in this one. If you are presenting this as an example of the "use" of science in creationism, you may want to revisit a high school science book. Practically the entire article was variations on 'here's a thought that we are not claiming to be true but we have people researching it.' There was no evidence or proof of anything what so ever supporting Creation. The only section that even made a claim of evidence was the very last paragraph that states, "we should also remember the body of evidence that is consistent with the youth of the universe." As if by saying this is a "body of evidence," that makes it true.

And, of course there are the completely misleading and disingenuous statements such as, "We see multitudes of hot blue stars, which even secular astronomers would agree cannot last billions of years." Which is technically true, from what I understand, however the tiny little detail that they don't mention is that stars are still being generated and at huge distances! So yes we see hot blue stars because they are young stars that were generated relatively recently and/or very far away, not because the universe is only a few thousand years old.
This is a blatant attempt at deception!

I don't like being this harsh, but this is a waste of my time and yours, unless you are willing to engage in rational discussion.

Anonymous said...

(And, of course there are the completely misleading and disingenuous statements such as, "We see multitudes of hot blue stars, which even secular astronomers would agree cannot last billions of years." Which is technically true, from what I understand, however the tiny little detail that they don't mention is that stars are still being generated and at huge distances! So yes we see hot blue stars because they are young stars that were generated relatively recently and/or very far away, not because the universe is only a few thousand years old.
This is a blatant attempt at deception!)

Actually there was an 8 that followed that statement which was referencing this statement

"Secular astronomers believe that blue stars must have formed relatively recently. But there are considerable difficulties in star formation scenarios—problems with magnetic fields and angular momentum to name a couple." So then we would need to research how stars are created according to evolution and what evidence creationists have for disputing that. So in a way you could say they were being deceptive, but in reality the information was there. And here is a link that responds to the question of star formation.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n4/stars-of-heaven-confirm

As I have said before believe what you want, because neither is a 100%proven and neither will ever be 100% proven. The point is that creationists do use science not only to back up their claims but to refute evolutionary claims and evolution does the same we just have to do the research and come to our own conclusion of the truth. I have yet to see how evolution can explain the origin of life or how it accounts for the development of organisms from one-celled to humans. I also don't see how evolution accounts for intelligence and the intracasies of the universe. Evolution to me goes against common sense, therfore I will believe in God. Even though creationists don't have all the answers (in terms of facts) I still see that they have good plausible arguments for all the evidence evolutionists use against them. This will be the last comment I make on this. You can have the last word if you want it but I don't think we are going to change each others minds. At least you read the posts I made and the links I posted and you made reasonable arguments unlike a lot of other people I have come across.

Anonymous said...

an good article on star formation and the problems with current theories.

http://www.ldolphin.org/stars.html

ken said...

I did miss the footnote, sorry. However, the footnote adds nothing to the debate except more deception. Scientists may have on-going debates about the details of star formation, but nothing in science is saying that all stars formed in the last 10,000 years, which is what the article is trying to imply. That's ridiculous. And there is still no "use" of science as you claim.

Ken said...

Let me clarify. There is no evidence, that I am aware of, that indicates that all stars were formed in the last 10,000 years. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

G-man said...

I'll let Ken carry on if he wants, but it's abundantly clear that he's talking to someone who's clueless about science - and therefore feels comfortable believing a group that manipulates science to push its agenda. Here's some key notes:

Anonymous said "we would need to research how stars are created according to evolution."

The theory of evolution says nothing about star formation. This sort of gaping ignorance about science makes it more understandable that Anon would believe "creationists use science" to support their claims... but no less wrong.

Anon said, "Evolution to me goes against common sense, therfore I will believe in God."

With this sort of outpouring of thought, it becomes much more apparent what "common sense" must mean to Anon. The Answers in Genesis crew has never - to my knowledge - showed any interest in promoting an understanding of logic or a criticism of belief.

I hate to make this sound like an ad hominem, but I'd just let Anon go his way and enjoy Expelled.

Anonymous said...

(The theory of evolution says nothing about star formation. This sort of gaping ignorance about science makes it more understandable that Anon would believe "creationists use science" to support their claims... but no less wrong.)

The theory of evolution includes the big bang it is not just from when life began. If it includes the big bang then it includes cosmic evolution. If your idea of the theory of evolution starts when life has appeared on the earth then why do you have a problem with creation.

G-man said...

I'll answer on my own blog, I've helped this comment thread run around all over the place (sorry Alonzo), so if you want to discuss the topic more feel free to check up there.

BlueNight said...

Summary of this post: The idea of God is harmful to humanity in general, because it is anti-science.

I have not heard a single logical argument on why God is anti-science or irrational that did not include some logical fallacy -- usually ad hominem, straw man, or tautology.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen many defensive arguments without the same problems. (sigh)

Alonzo Fyfe said...

bluenight

Your summary is incorrect.

I have said that there is no scientific proposition containing a 'God' component that explains and predicts real-world events (that is to say, can be tested) better than existing scientific propositions - all of which lack a 'God' component.

As recently as 50 years ago we could have said the same thing about continental drift. This is a surprisingly recent theory. A few people accepted it, but many did not.

However, eventually, continental drift proponents were able to show that their theory yields better explanations and predictings than other competing theories, and it came to be adopted, until today few scientists doubt the theory of plate techtonics.

If intelligent design theorists want to get their theory into science classes, let them show that their theory can yield better explanations and predictions than other theories.

Plate techtonic theorists did not get their theories into science classes by going to the courts and demanding 'equal time' for a theory they could not support. They took their case to the peer-reviewed scientific journals to show when and where their theory defeated all competing theories.

That is where this battle should be fought. Not in courts and legislatures.

Miguel Picanco said...

Let it also be stated that the creationist tactic of deciding science by legislation and school boards instead of peer-reviewed journals had lead to many millions in court costs and fees that then had to be paid not by tax-free churches or the Discovery Institute but by struggling public schools, communities, and every taxpayer in America.

Anonymous said...

wow, for a supposed great mind, you are an idiot alfonse, i.e. at least as far as freedom of speech is concerned, lol.
you seem to have proved stein correct in his fear of what idiots like you are doing. witch hunts against anyone who doesn't agree with your theories. you're a scary guy alonzo!
bridges of clay? where did you get that? what a moron. lmao @
the supposed superiority of alonso, lol...
oh, and don't bother responding alonso, i don't have time to come back to this idiotic website...
still lmao at alonso, lol, lol, lol...

Anonymous said...

After reading the article and many of the responses that no one is right, but that doesn't mean anyone is wrong. I have mixed beliefs on the subject of Creationism vs. Darwinism. To a Creationist they consider their beliefs to be fact, but to a Darwinist they see these beliefs as opinion. And vise versa. So if everyone will just relax and stop trying to convince everyone that what they believe is right, then everyone will be happy. Because in truth most people are not going to change what they believe just based on an argument they've had. For most it takes some event in their life to change their perception of a situation. I read the points made in the article and its responses (which i felt were more or less overly dramatic) and thought "noted." I am not going to change what I think, but I will have those thoughts in my head as I live day to day. And who knows maybe an event will occur in my life that will change my views one way or the other.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

anonymous

Please note that my posting did not address the issue of whether intelligent design was right or not.

The question is whether or not intelligent design is science. Are the claims that intelligent design is right science claims, or are they some other type of claim?

In order for intelligent design to be a science claim, one has to have a theory in which intelligent design is a component and show that it more accurately predicts the results of various experiments than theories without these components.

In short, ID theorists need to get their theory into science classes the same way that, for example, plate techtonics theorists did. Plate techtonics theorists did not go to legislators to complain that scientists are not presenting their ideas in science classes - claiming that 'free speech' requires science books to include plate techtonics. They produced peer-reviewed research that shows how the theory explains earthquakes, volcanoes, the shape of the continents, undersea ridges, the distribution of fossiles, etc.

The fact is, ID theorists cannot produce this type of result. ID is not a scientific theory, it is just throwing up one's hands and saying, "Since I do not know how to explain X - then God must have done it."

That is simply not science.

Anonymous said...

Not everyone relies on science to explain what goes on around them. You look at things from a scientific perspective, while others look at things from a theological perspective. To call one wrong is in my opinion ignorant and some what insensitive. And to answer the question of whether I agree with Darwin, I do not. I look at Darwin and I see a man who could not explain the world. That is why he came up with his theory. He strikes me as something of a nihilist. His theory is looking at things around himself, not being able to explain them, and simply saying well everything just happens by chance. And that may be, but if that is the case then it is kind of sad. And I am not terribly well educated on the subject and I don't claim to be, which is why I am avoiding getting in an argument about what I believe. My point is that what someone believes is the truth to them. There might be indisputable evidence proving someone is wrong, but it doesn't matter. People believe what they choose to believe. And don't take this the wrong way, but I would like to know your qualifications to speak on the subject. Are you just a very opinionated blogger, or are you and expert in the field. If you are an expert then I feel your point should be considered and discussed civilly, but if you are just a blogger then be careful to speak of things as absolute truths. Because it just might be that you have been misinformed. And again I do not mean to attack you personally. I would simply like to understand how you gather your information. Remember not everything you read is truth.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

The question under discussion is the legitimately of presenting Intelligent Design as science. The fact that there are ways of knowing that are not science does not change the fact that science classes and science research focuses on the ways of knowing that are science. And if intelligent design is not science then it should not be presented as science.

Anonymous said...

NO IT IS NOT! For your information my father is a born again Christian. Now he does not look to science to affirm his faith. Faith is believing without seeing. Although, believers of ID do use science as a means to prove their position, whether that be archeological digs, carbon dating, etc. FYI Christians are not ignorant of the modern world. I still respect your beliefs, and most people do. So it only seems polite to stop attacking others opinions. Because that is exactly what it is. There is no scientific evidence suggesting the Darwinian theory is true. It isn't really a theory it is an idea created by a man who did not know the answers. So I fail to understand how this is any different that what you believe of Christians. The main stream Christian following accept many of these scientific breakthroughs. I believe in plate tectonics, global warming, etc. I even am very open to the Big Bang theory, but I would see it as a work of God. So really I believe everything you believe, except I add God into the equation. I don't like to leave things to chance. And I would like to suggest that you look into a career in politics because your previous point failed to answer my question. You sounded like Rudy Giulliani, no offense. And I assume you are just an opinionated blogger. So again take care in what you consider to be absolute truths. Just because I believe in a God, (I am still somewhat unsure of just what my God believes. But that is a story for a different day.) that does not mean I am not open to different ideas. I find it strange that someone accusing Christians of being closed minded seems far more closed minded than most Christians. I believe this comes down to the fact that Christianity is open to science, but science is not open to Christianity. This is why Ben Stein is making this documentary. Just think about what I have said. (But in keeping with my first post, I don't expect you to change your mind.)

P.S. I would like to shoot you my email address. It is nice to be able to hold discussions with those of different beliefs.

G-man said...

Most recent Anonymous-

I wrote a post to answer some of (I think) another Anonymous' comments here:

http://thelockeronline.blogspot.com/
2007/12/toe-and-big-bang.html

Most of your last comment was very tangential to the original topic. However, your questions and positions merit answers - civilized people can discuss them and, perhaps, provide new insights to one another. If you like holding discussions with those of different beliefs, here's a chance.

Anonymous said...

g-man,

I realize my previous comment was off topic (Although, no more off topic than Mr. Fyfe's previous comment), but it was merely a reply to the statement made by Mr. Fyfe. And thank you for the link, but I really can not see myself contributing regularly to a blog. It really is not my thing when I think about it. But thank you for the invite. I gave it a brief look and it looked like I would be one of the only ID proponents. Although, I relish a challenge I am not much of a computer guy. And by the way I am all Anonymous responses from 11:52 down. You might read what I wrote in those. I feel it would give you greater insight into the way I feel. Simply put, I advise people to guard against being closed minded. It is kind of shocking that someone who lives in the heartland of America with a Southern Baptist upbringing would say something like that. But that said I do not expect people to compromise what they believe.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. You did a very good job with this post.

Here's my youtube video on Ben Stein's {cough}propaganda{cough} movie:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=MrY7WmbWSn8

pandakun said...

Excellent argument - although I have to agree with one of the posters... I believe Cat posted... that the death and human suffering may be a bit over the top as far as making your point. It does rile up the defensive side of those who may have leanings to agreeing with you, marginalizing those you may have changed the minds of otherwise. Well written in all other aspects, though.

As far as the other comments go, there's a lot of defensive feelings and - perhaps - misunderstandings that you're trying to invalidate other people's beliefs. I'm to understand that the people fighting for ID to be taught in science class because they think that challenging the Darwinian theory with a new angle of research into science. While that's an interesting idea, and I think it has merit, that'd kind of be like teaching basket weaving in a pottery class. Being an Art major, I found there were interesting techniques to be learned in different fields of study, the most useful information was one that prepared me with the strongest foundation of that art (pottery) before adding - what I believe - to be a completely unrelated craft.

What we're doing in high school, which I believe is what the documentary's about, is giving students a very sturdy foundation in various skills. With exception to some AP science classes, we're not teaching Oceanography, Astrophysics, or Zoology. Elements may apply in Biology or "General Science" as I had in HS, but teaching theology along with science in the same class does a huge disservice to both science and theology. I also understand that ID stresses "Intelligent" design, not "Deity" Design - that leaves it open to other supernatural elements as well (although the leaning is most solidly in the "deity" camp).

I'd also argue, in that case, that the history of religion should be taught (I believe it'd be a very good class to teach). Biblical scholars have a wealth of knowledge and theories about what was written, interpreted and revised in various editions of the Bible. Some very interesting information into the story of The Flood, for example, and how the concept of original sin was a huge subject of debate. If one discredits Darwinist Evolution because of the culture, society and politics of its time (as Ben Stein does on his website), it's only fair that the same be understood for Creationism.

Anonymous said...

Interesting analogy re: the clay vs. steel bridge. The only problem is that evolution is a far cry from a steel bridge. I would certainly dare you to drive over any bridge, steel or clay, that has known "missing links". That bridge will certainly not hold up in a real world test.

I find it quite arrogant that atheists seem to feel as if evolution is a cut and dried, done deal.

Were I more cruel in thought, I would dare you, Mr. Fyfe, to load your family into your car, put on your blindfold, and drive across the bridge of evolution, complete with missing links, gaps that span millenia, and missing substructures. I wish you luck, and would pray for your safety, except that I realize my prayer is a violation of your civil rights.

Tom

Miguel Picanco said...

I'd be more than happy to drive across a bridge of evolutionary support. But it wouldn't quite be fair to be the only one to accept such a challenge. I'm sure your god will be more than happy to help you get across a bridge supported by ID's "Magic man done it!"

Anonymous said...

Why would you gamble with eternal life? What if your wrong, and you end up coming face to face with God, why gamble with such a great thing and risk spending the rest of your life in hell. Is it really worth it? So what if Christian's are wrong, what do they have to lose? NOTHING! There's more than enough scientific proof for ID, every step you take is a miracle. We are surrounded by a gracious, loving, REAL God. He's right next to you, try listening to him. Eternal life in hell isn't something to gamble with when you have eternal life in Heaven a minute away by asking God for forgiveness and allowing him to enter your life and use you for far greater things then arguing against such preposterous theories that people have created. The bible isn't the word of man, it's the word of an all powerful living God. God gives us freedom, if you choose to go up against God, go for it, your gonna lose. If you choose to not believe in a God, go for it, he allows, but remember, God forgives you no matter what your decisions are, our God saves. The only thing you have to lose, is our pride my friend. I like how Christians are the ignorant hypocrites. God Bless You all! He loves you! Believe that for a change. Peace

James said...

Anon:
Eternal life in hell isn't something to gamble with when you have eternal life in Heaven a minute away by asking God for forgiveness and allowing him to enter your life and use you for far greater things then arguing against such preposterous theories that people have created. The bible isn't the word of man, it's the word of an all powerful living God.

30:37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods

30:38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.

30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

This is the word of your God, is it not? It's also a replicable genetics/animal husbandry experiment that you can try yourself. Write back when you make goats with lineages of being solid colors give birth to streaked and spotted offspring explicitly as a result of their proximity to streaked poplar rods during procreation.

The opposition to Intelligent Design stems from the fact that its proponents are looking for proof, not truth. Creationism holds that your bible and all words contained therein are, as you said, not the word of man but the word of god; presupposing that your god is omnipotent and omniscient, your bible is therefore inerrant.

Thusly, ID seeks not to find the answers to the questions human beings have with regards to the observable universe and its processes, but rather it seeks to distort that body of knowledge in an attempt to validate itself and third party mystical beliefs.

If you knew anything at all about the scientific method, you should know that the hypothesis testing phase is an attempt by the scientist to disprove his own hypothesis. Headway is made into scientific inquiry not when hypotheses are "proven" but when attempts to disprove them fail.

Therefore, if Intelligent Design seeks to legitimize itself as a "science" the first thing it needs to do is reverse its focus and attempt to disprove every verse of your bible with all of the tools at our disposal as human beings existing in today's world. If that endeavor fails, perhaps they (and you) will have some credibility.

Barring that, you're just a bunch of charlatans trying to keep open minds down with the fear of eternal damnation, and political pressure to subvert the teaching of scientific inquiry into an affirmation of your belief in your god's existence.

Blacklisted said...

You're all retarded faggots for arguing about something that people smarter and more well-spoken than you have been arguing about for thousands of years without changing a single mind mind.

Find a better way to spend your time; let people squander their life however they choose.

Anonymous said...

Having read the post, but not all the comments ....

You talk as if the world coming to be as it is without any intelligent design has been proven.

I have not seen that proof.

I have participated for a short while in a forum where intelligent design vs. evolution was to be discussed. What I found is that pro-evolutionists are as prejudiced and intolerant and closed-minded as any other group of people.

It seems we have already made up our minds, and no one's mind is changing.

Let's move on. How we got here is NOT the question. The question is where are we going? And how will get there?

There are brilliant minds on both sides of this debate. If they'd stop debating an unsolvable past and work toward a healthier, safer future, we'd all benefit.

Rhys said...

As a Christian I'd like to express my support for Alonzo - the Bible, (and for that matter, other Holy Books) simply do not work as an explanation for the physical universe - in all fairness to the die-hard 'let's take the Bible literally camp' advocating Intelligent Design, we lost the rights to have ANY say on the subject when Jesus said 'do not doubt that the sun revolves around the Earth'...uh yeah - cue Galileo.

(As an aside, what's with the obsession with the King James version - it's not immutable - heck the original version included a preface by those who collaborated on it encouraging people to improve upon their translation from the original Hebrew texts)

Religion, for those who follow it, is a guide to spirituality, to the matters beyond the physical and one of many frameworks availible by which a person can choose to live their life.

Science, fantastic, wonderous science, is the means by which we can understand and learn about the physical aspect of life - proven by experiment, effort and the dedicated application of critical thought by minds far greater that my own, to the ultimate end of seeking Truth.

Intelligent Design is not an answer, it is just front for Creationism, which seeks to replace physical, ratifiable Truth with Dogma. To those who support ID, this is not glorifying God - it's surely demeaning to Him in that so many of us close up our eyes and ears and do not excerise the mental faculties and ability to reason that we are fortunate to have.

I can only hope that Stein's film does not spur on a new wave of 'teach the controversy' thinking by the Discovery Institute and like-minded bodies. Call me a heratic but in the Science Classrooms, teach Science. Save the religious teachings of Yahweh, Christ, Allah, Buddha etc, that form the cultural and spiritual touchstones of so many around the world, to the Religious Education Classrooms.

All power to Darwin, Alonzo and their fellows in this debate.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

anonymous

Actually, in the context of this post it is not relevant whether the universe came about through intelligent design or not.

This post has to do with ways of figuring things out. It has to do with forming theories that generate predictions that can be tested.

Even if intelligent design was behind the formation of life, intelligent design theorists have not yet come up with a theory that makes predictions that can be tested.

And no theory that does make predictions that has been tested contains an 'intelligent design' variable.

Mike said...

As a healthcare professional, I am acutely aware of our need for both science and faith. These are not mutually exclusive concepts; science without faith seems as ridiculous to me as faith without science.
ID is not “anti-scientific”. The studies of evolution, biogenesis, cosmology, etc are filled with information gaps that we will likely never fill. ID is about filling some of those gaps.
From a purely scientific standpoint, the science classroom probably isn’t the place to discuss evolution vs ID. My question to you is, where is the appropriate place? Since ancient times, school was a place where opposing ideas were discussed. It seems logical that, during a discussion of biogenesis, both evolution and ID could be presented. Since 1925, we have left teaching of evolution to the “scientific bigots” and teaching of ID to the “religious bigots”, the clamoring of this blog is a good indication of how far that has gotten us.

T.C. said...

Alonzo- A very well reasoned argument for the requirements for identification of a field or theory as "science." Indeed, ID is not science. It's not even a theory, but merely an idea.
I don't follow you so well on the implications of Mr. Stein's film on human suffering in the long run. My study of propaganda tells me that the film may actually produce some startling effects in our political and social scene, but I doubt the effects will be powerful enough to produce large scale detriment - I'd have to see some evidence first!

T.C. said...

Rhys, as a fellow Christian, I must insist that when you quote the Lord -especially with such an inflamatory quote! - you use a reference for others to follow. I've tried tracking down this "sun revolves around the earth" bit, but have had no luck. I tried biblegateway.com, and hunted a few translations. any tips?
Otherwise, Rhys, I agree with you entirely. Leave science to the science classroom. Science does not attempt to answer spiritual questions. And as surely as the spiritual questions will continue to exist, God does not need science to answer them!

Brian Cheek said...

Wow! I don't remember exactly how I got here, but I stayed and read. Thanks, Alonzo, for the eloquent and provocative comments in the beginning and throughout.

I'd like to respond to one of your posts; I'll include my comments in between - since I'm scared of the accuracy of my HTML tags, I'll just put the pieces of your post in quotes, and leave mine without.

"Intelligent Design has not yet produced a Theory A (containing a god variable) that predicts a Result R under Conditions C, that is more accurate than a Theory B (containing no god variable)."

I dispute this on both factual and logical grounds.

Factual: see http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_idtheory.htm

Here is an example of an intelligent design theory that predicts stuff better than non-intelligent design theory, which of course negates the universal claim in the quotation above.

"Thus:

There is nothing for scientists to discuss."

Logical: even if I were to grant your univerally stated premise, it does not follow that there is nothing for scientists to talk about. The most at-hand example would be the Dembski article at the above URL. Doesn't it BEG for a discussion something like this:

Alonzo: Intelligent design hasn't offered a better explanation of anything with a god that we've already got without a god.
Brian: Yes it has, e.g. Dembski.
Alonzo: Oh, that guy! Well, that article has at least 17 problems with it. First, blah, blah, ....
Brian: Well, I've got 17^2 responses to those. First, blah, blah, ....
Alonzo: I'm not convinced of your stuff.
Brian: Neither am I convinced of your stuff.
Alonzo: Well, why don't we bounce this off some of our scientist friends?
Brian: I thought you'd never ask!

Of course, this is a primitive dramatization of what we call peer review

For the sake of argument, let's say Alonzo's arguments against Brian and Dembski win the day. Brian hangs his head in humiliation, Dembski wrings his hands and goes back to the drawing board, but SCIENTISTS TALKED ABOUT IT, and appropriately so.

"I dispute this on two grounds
There is simply no sense in accusing scientists of trying to suppress something that nobody has yet offered up for them to suppress."

Again, it HAS been offered up. And at least SOME scientists have been trying to suppress such stuff. See the case of poor Rick Sternberg, who himself is not even an ID person much less a creationist. He let an IDer have a voice in a scientfic periodical and was faced with all kinds of (non)professional retribution. http://www.rsternberg.net/

"Calling intelligent design 'science' is sufficient to demonstrate that intelligent design theorists do not understand what science is, in the same way that calling palm tree a horse is sufficient to show that the speaker does not understand biology."

How does one respond to this statement? It's just a bald assertion, sort of ad hominem, maybe? - without any support. I might as well say that the person who says such things about someone who says that intelligent design is science has sufficiently shown himself to understand neither intelligent design nor science. Of course, that would just be tit-for-tat, which is much more fun in person. A more productive line if inquiry would be to discuss the definitions of "science" and "intelligent design."

Any comments, constructive criticsims, etc. would be welcome, from Alonzo or whomever.

But please don't call me a faggot or I might cry and run away.

nathyn said...

I don't get it. The whole movie is simply asking why is it wrong to propose another theory. If ID is wrong that's fine but why not apply scientific method to all of it?

Is the Big Bang or Darwinism able to be proven? Either way, why kill dialog about it unless there's fear there. This is more dangerous than anything. Many of you are just as faith driven as the creationist and not willing to look at anything but your own belief. There is no difference and if you're honest (remember that is the moral thing right?) then you have to admit that both people have faith in their views. This is the problem. Science IS NOT ABOUT FAITH.

What I mean is when you are a person of faith you're job isn't to prove anything, but as a scientist your job to prove everything. So to stop, threaten or try to discredit people who believe differently is wrong. If the shoe was reversed and Christians were doing this to others there would be an uproar. The ACLU would be on top of it and everyone would be mad. How about science look at everything. Saying we got here because of an explosion caused by some unknown force is basically the same as saying we were created by some unknown God.

I think you see where I'm coming from and if you're honest then you must admit the truth. Neither of these things can be proven nor has been proven.

My point is simply let both sides do their areas of study without harassment, hurt or harm. Otherwise you give religious people the right to do the same to scientist. And neither way is right. I know this will be lost on many of you with opinions that are contrary but some of you have to admit it's not right. Will we follow the evidence wherever it may lead?

Anonymous said...

LMAO!
I love the anology of the bridge!

If the Bridge of Evolution is supposed to be a bridge with missing 'links' (such a misunderstod term)

then i would call Intelligent Design - a CLIFF!!!!!

Nick C. said...

Dear Alonzo:

I would like to say that I appreciate you coming about this controversy in a very professional way. Unfortunately, I think your argument contains several major flaws. Before I mention those, I would like to say one thing on the behalf of intelligent design: Let's imagine for a moment that intelligent design WERE true. If that were the case it would require some celestial being to be the one behind the design, correct? Now, in order for a being to design all of nature, this being would have to be better than nature, or supernatural. If that were the case, then does it make sense to think that nature can prove a being who is above it? If nature could fully prove a being who is better than nature, that being wouldn't be supernatural at all.

With that said, I'll point out the flaws I saw in your argument. You mention in your section about Stein's legacy that, "[Stein's] work...will be the suffering and early death of countless people who otherwise could have been saved or benefited from advances in science." Now, this statement makes me think that you are a little confused about what the idea of intelligent design is. Intelligent design is the idea that a supernatural being designed and created everything we as humans know to exist. What does that have to do with people dying? You say that this is because people who believe in intelligent design don't fully grasp the real world, am I not correct? Again, the logic is a little sketchy. Just because they believe the world came to be through a different method does not mean they don't fully understand how it works today. Perhaps there is a lack of a scientific method in the idea of intelligent design, but it faulty logic to think that this hinders ID believers when using the scientific method in other areas of science.

You also mention how observations don't confirm intelligent design. I admit this to be true, but I refer back to my previous argument of how a supernatural being cannot be proved through nature.

Also, I don't see how the ID believers could be bullying evolutionists when the ID believers are greatly outnumbered.

Your whole section of "Causing Harm" is a bash on religion, not intelligent design. In the matter of hurricanes, it is scientists (evolutionists and ID believers alike) who are trying to find a way to stop them. It is the common folk of the religious community who are trying to add/get rid of certain laws. Some of them just might be scientists, but because they don't believe in gay rights doesn't mean they will be hindered in their work of preventing hurricanes. Again, try an make sure your logic makes sense. This whole section is just you letting loose some steam about the ethics of conservative politics and it does nothing towards your argument.

In your section on fear-mongering, you again base your argument on the idea that because ID believers don't use the scientific method in explaining the origin of the world, they are incapable on using it in current sciences.

Not to be rude, but your first sentence of the "Freedom of Speech" section is rather silly. There have been many people who believe in ID that were/are brilliant scientists. For instance, Newton. Newton gave us all the scientific laws (which meant he used the scientific method) of thermodynamics. Yet he was a devout Christian. Obviously his methodology was not affected by his belief in ID. Ironically enough, the man who developed the scientific method, which you base your argument around, was a professed believer in God. Sir Francis Bacon. Not only can ID believers use the scientific method, they actually CAME UP WITH IT.

Now, if I left anything out or if any of my logic doesn't make sense, please feel free to e-mail me at pyrocidalmaniac@hotmail.com. I would ask that if you do want to counter my argument that you would please be fair and sensible about it. Also, I gave my reason to believe why ID can't be proved through normal scientific means, so it does you no good to try and disprove it.

Thank you for your blog, and motivating me to write all this.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

It is interesting that you mention Newton as a scientist who believed in intelligent design.

Newton's brillian science ended exactly where his belief in intelligent design began.

Newton's formulae left the solar system unstable. Over time, the planets would go flying off. To hold the system together over time Newton said that God was responsible.

150 years later, a French astronomer Laplace corrected Newton's formulae. God was not responsible at all. When Nepoleon asked Laplace what role God played in his equations, Laplace answered, "I have no need for that hypothesis."

Because Newton believed in intelligent design, physics had to wait 150 years for an answer that Newton could have provided. And that is the legacy of intelligent design - to slow down science.

As for your claim, I don't see how the ID believers could be bullying evolutionists when the ID believers are greatly outnumbered.

You are being willfully obtuse here. "Expelled" is specifically engineered to bring a substantially uneducated mob in on the side of the ID theorists - to threaten evolutionists with social and political pressure (where scientific evidence is lacking).

Science by mob rule. That the threat that I wrote about in this posting.

Anonymous said...

I am curious what the "evidence" that the evolution theory is based on. Could somebody give a credible example? From my understanding, the second law of thermodynamics, as stated by www.emc.maricopa.edu, "The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that 'in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state.' This is also commonly referred to as entropy...Entropy is a measure of disorder: cells are NOT disordered and so have low entropy"

Just wondering how this law, as stated also in the same book I remember talking about the Big Bang and the evolution of matter into more and more complex organisms, can be true now, but has not been for "millions and billions of years".

I would appreciate somebody explaining the aforementioned. Thanks

martino said...

The fact this one post is the most popular on this blog with the most comments is telling :-)

@Nick C: I would like to say one thing on the behalf of intelligent design: Let's imagine for a moment that intelligent design WERE true. If that were the case it would require some celestial being to be the one behind the design, correct?
No, just an alien. Still natural evolution is still the best explanation as to how they came about. Still why postulate an additional entity, especially without evidence, unnecessarily?

Now, in order for a being to design all of nature, this being would have to be better than nature, or supernatural.
This is not what ID claims, it claims (without any testable hypotheses BTW), that life on this planet was designed and that is all.

If that were the case, then does it make sense to think that nature can prove a being who is above it?
Even though you argument is mistaken, if we grant your claim here this does not follow. We could discover through science if there are supernatural entities, forces or beings affecting the natural world. There have been many experiments and to date they have failed.

If nature could fully prove a being who is better than nature, that being wouldn't be supernatural at all.
Not it is not "nature" but us using scientific techniques that could support such a claim (proof is the wrong term here). The barrier between what we understand as natural versus supernatural might then change but relative to today these would be supernatural and this is what matters. The rest are semantic games.

What my analysis demonstrates here is how many people who defend ID do not seem to understand the actual claims that ID makes! I find it somewhat bizarre that naturalists understand the ID claims better than many of its supporters! And this goes to support an underlying thrust of Alonzo's argument, that encouraging such thinking can lead to damage and harm to us all.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

anonymous

The simple fact is . . . there is energy entering the system.

From the sun.

martino said...

@anonymous:I am curious what the "evidence" that the evolution theory is based on. Could somebody give a credible example?
How about you start with Darwin's "Origin of the Species" this is full of evidence! Since there have been masses of evidence found in disciplines from geology through paleontology to molecular biology together with thousands of coherent and robustly tested predictions and peer-reviewed papers in many these related disciplines.

As for ID? Zilch, nada, nothing. QED.

Anonymous said...

This guy is just trying to SELL books!!!!!!!!

Dan Chaney said...

In regards to Intelligent Design not having a testable theory what you have actually done is shown one of the many limitations of science.

Science and the Scientific Method cannot prove George Washington or JFK lived - maybe pictures, comments from those alive then can be examined - but there is no "testable" theory!

The same is true with events, as well as persons. The Scientific Method cannot PROVE Waterloo or even WaterGate, for that matter, ever happened. It's not a "TESTABLE THEORY."

So obviously there are many things science is limited too and there are many things like ID that can and do help save lives and prevent suffering!

SCIENCE IS NOT ALL THERE IS TO LIFE and IT IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT SAVES LIFE AND PREVENTS SUFFERING!!!

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Dan Cheney

(1) Your comment that science is not all there is to life is a non-starter since the question at issue is whether intelligent design counts as science.

(2) That there are other things that might prevent death and suffering is also irrelevant - insofar as science explains and predicts events, science is an effective way of saving life and preventing suffering (since it allows us to predict the effects of actions on life and suffering). Interfering with science - particularly in the form of advocating the 'science of mob rule' over 'the science of successful explanation and prediction' - will weaken science's ability to save lives and prevent suffering.

(3) There are countless counterfactuals associated with "George Washington lived" that we can use to test whether this proposition is true or false. It has a great deal of explanatory force. If you are using 'proof' in the form of 'no possibility of error' - then you are talking about a form of proof that science does not use. Everything in science must be falsifiable. If, however, you talk about 'proof' in the form of 'an extremely powerful explanation for real-world observations' - then there is no difficultly proving that George Washington lived.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Dan Cheney

Come to think about it . . . if you are talking about something that can save lives and prevent suffering, then you are talking about something that can, at least theoretically, be tested. We simply examine conditions with or without this 'thing' and see which has more death or suffering.

That is how science works.

That is exactly why interfering with the scientific process interferes with our ability to prevent death and suffering.

Dan Chaney said...

"an extremely powerful explanation for real-world observations"
Alonzo Fyfe


Huh - that's exactly the argument I would make for Intelligent Design and for Christianity!

Dan Chaney said...

"Interfering with science - particularly in the form of advocating the 'science of mob rule' over 'the science of successful explanation and prediction' - will weaken science's ability to save lives and prevent suffering.

No one's talking about "weakening" or "doing away with" Science.

All I would ask is for fairness/equality in the class room.

I'm sure all do realize Darwinism or NeoDarwinism is still just a THEORY!

So why is totally unallowable for ID to be at least considered as a theory as well?

Because it is untestable? As I have said - there are many true/real/etc, etc things that science and the Scientific Method cannot prove.

That's all I'm saying!

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Dan Chaney

There is no 'explanation' behind intelligent design. It is just an explanation.

What keeps this computer on my desk?

"An intelligent holder holds the computer on my desk."

This is as much an alternative to the theory of gravity as ID is to the theory of evolution.

The thing is, I can't use the intelligent holder or ID to create any counterfactuals that count as explaining or that can be used in predicting anything. It is an empty statement.

When you understand why an 'intelligent holder' is not a valid theory for why the computer stays on your desk, then you understand why 'intelligent designer' does not work in biology.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Dan Chaney

If ID were science then it can get into the classroom the way every other scientific theory has gotten into the classroom - by showing that it can explain and predict real-world observations.

Plate techtonic theory got into the classroom by being the best theory for explaining and predicting earthquakes, volcanoes, and geological formations. Plate techtonic theorists did not need to cry, "But we're being treated unfairly!" They kept collecting evidence until the evidence became overwhelming.

Einstein did not get his theories into college physics classes by lobbying the government for special permission to be given equal time. Einstein and his collegues showed that it explains the motions of planet, the behavior of light, and a number of other observations.

That is how a scientific theory gets into the classroom.

ID cannot earn its way into the classroom because it can do none of these things. So, instead, it wants to bully itself into the classroom by passing legislation where scientists are forced to ignore the criteria by which scientific theories are evaluated.

Then, who next will use the argument, "My theory is a valid scientific theory because I can get enough law makers to force you to say it is?"

Dan Chaney said...

Plate techtonic theory got into the classroom...They kept collecting evidence until the evidence became overwhelming.

What is interesting about this is the Evidence is the same. Evidence is not your evidence or my evidence - evidence is evidence.

For instance - we have entire Darwinist charts showing Ape to Man from three bones - the jaw bone of a supposed prehistoric ape.

Bones are bones, evidence is evidence. Micro evolution is certainly possible/proveable/testable.

Macro, however has not been proven.

Where did we come from, why are we here? Science can't answer that, athiest can't either.

I can, ID can, the Bible can. (Oh no, how dare I bring that old relic up, right? lol)

Sure, it may just be a theory, but it's just as plausible - if not more so - than macro evolution/neo Darwinism.

Let me ask you this - what one person has been made better, life changed for the better (I realize better is relative) by being an athiest, rejecting a God?

I can show you innumerable people whose lives have been changed for the better based on - HOW DID YOU PUT IT - "an extremely powerful explanation for (or from, dc) real-world observations"

That is evidence! I realize its subjective. But it's not all I rest on. The more bones, rocks, etc. that are uncovered only further substantiate that God is real!

Eneasz said...

Dan Chaney - you have been manipulated and lied to and are now repeating those lies. When someone points out to you that what you are saying is wrong, and shows that you are hurting real people in the real world by saying these things, you have a responsibility to either do some investigating, or stop making false claims.

All of the following are simply factually wrong and even a few hours of self-education would demonstrate this:

[i]* Science and the Scientific Method cannot prove George Washington or JFK lived
* we have entire Darwinist charts showing Ape to Man from three bones - the jaw bone of a supposed prehistoric ape
* Macro(evolution), however has not been proven.
* The more bones, rocks, etc. that are uncovered only further substantiate that God is real!
[/i]

You also say some things which aren't factually incorrect, but are said with the intention to deceive and mislead by mis-charecterizing the opposing position:

[i]
* I'm sure all do realize Darwinism or NeoDarwinism is still just a THEORY!
* SCIENCE IS NOT ALL THERE IS TO LIFE
[/i]

Finally, you threw down a line that not only shows your lack of interaction with people unlike yourself, but that also reveals a deep-seated bigotry by basically spitting in my face.

[i]Let me ask you this - what one person has been made better, life changed for the better (I realize better is relative) by being an athiest, rejecting a God? [/i]

I can give you at least one person - myself. And I'm not alone.

Eneasz said...

Bah, I fail at formatting. :/

Dan Chaney said...

Dear friend, I have/had no intention of "spitting in your face."

My information is based on several years of personal study and expert tutilege under a college Biology Professor - David Eakin. YOu can google him if you like!

So please don't "spit in my face" accusing me of infactual statements.

Dan Chaney said...

Just as a side light - science one believe the world revolved on the back of a turtle and later that is was flat.

The Bible spoke of the "circumfrance" or "roundness" of the earth long before science ever "proved, tested, etc."

How about Atlas holding it on his shoulders- more scientific brilliance.

All I'm saying is - if science can throw out any theory they want - then it is your society that should be more tolerant when others suggest what theories/ideas that they believe.

What is Neo-Darwinism so afraid of?

I would love to share with any of you a powerpoint presentation I have on this subject - if you all will provide me an email address I will send it to you.

I am not mean-spirited or wishing to cause useless confrontation - I really would like to discuss/debate the evidence, etc.

G-man said...

Dan Chaney -

I just can't let this one go by uncommented.

First of all, I'm not sure what "spitting in the face" means over a message board, but accusing someone of using false evidence is something we do all the time. In fact, when you said eneasz was spitting in your face by accusing you of false evidence, you were assuming your evidence was true, and thus spitting in his face as much as he ever spit in yours.

So, my suggestion would be to actually check facts. Of course, the Creationist propaganda machine is so vast and powerful that there's almost no sense trying to get through to you. Just let me point one thing out:

Science is a way of accessing information about the world. It is a method - just as scriptural dogma is a method. If the Bible actually says the earth was round before that fact was scientifically confirmed (and that can be contested), people could say they *know* that because, through scriptural authority, they had been given the answer.

Unfortunately, scriptural authority says different things to different people. "Science," on the other hand, is not some lofty institution that casually throws around laws. Our country, though, is full of professionals who are united in their method of approaching knowledge. This knowledge saves lives, and the scientific method is by FAR the most accurate way of acquiring it.

Creationists impede the progress of science by waving around ancient scriptures that say - frankly - whatever they want them to say. I'm sure your powerpoint was put together with great care and a rigorous commitment to analyzing arguments from both sides... but from what you've written so far, I doubt it says anything we haven't heard already.

It's good to get that out of my system :)

Eneasz said...

If you want to send me the powerpoint presentation I will watch it, you can reach me at ebrodskiAT comcastDOT net (spelled out to avoid some of the address-scanning programs). However I doubt there will be anything there I haven't seen before.

And again, you are making unjustified claims. Firstly by using the term "Darwinism/Neo-Darwinism." This is a term creationists made up. Must like there's no such thing as "Newtonism" or "Einsteinism". The correct term is "evolution." Evolutionary theory has progressed far beyond what Darwin originally proposed. The average biology grad student knows more about evolution than Darwin ever did.

More to the point, you claim that "science once believed that the world revolved on the back of a turtle and later that is was flat...Atlas holding it on his shoulders- more scientific brilliance."

This is false. Both the turtle and Atlas were myths or religious beliefs. Neither has anything to do with science.

The world being flat was a commonly held belief, but again it was not science. The scientific method was not formally introduced until the Enlightenment (if I recall correctly). Only then did man begin to systematically test how the world worked and formulate theories that described the results of these tests and predicted future results of similar tests. While there were certainly many instances of people using logic and measurement before this in what could be considered similar to the scientific method (such as when the ancient greeks calculated the circumfrence of the earth), there was no formal science and they were simply called "natural philosophers".

The claim that the Bible says the earth is a sphere is silly, and can always be used as a good barometer of how much people are willing to bend the evidence to conform to their preferences. There is a single reference in Job of the earth being round (although not spherical) and hanging on nothing. This is greatly outweighed by the dozens of times the earth is said to be flat, to be resting on pillars, and by describing the heavens as a dome that god streached over the earth like a tent, that he sits atop and can see everything that happens across the whole earth. This is a description of a flat earth, no spherical earth can be described like this without SERIOUS mental contortions. And more than once the bible speaks of objects that are tall enough that they can see to any point on the earth (or that can be seen from anywhere on the earth) - impossible on a spherical earth, quite natural on a flat earth.

So in summary - you're still wrong. Give evolution something REAL to actually be challenged by. The only thing it's scared of now is your threats of mob rule to impose fiction onto science learning.

miket said...

How did life and the universe come to be? An honest scientist must candidly admit that science has not yet been able to answer this question definitively.

A variety of natural theories of origins have been proposed. A scientist’s professional integrity requires that he or she critically examine each theory and point out areas where it falls short of providing a full and adequate explanation of the empirical data.

What evolutionists do not like – what some find intolerable – is that a critical examination of natural explanations and their shortcomings inevitably leads people to consider the possibility of supernatural explanations. Evolutionists have decided for themselves (and hold it as one of their most basic core beliefs) that they will not acknowledge even the possibility of an unseen being that possesses the power to design and manufacture the universe and its living beings. They personally refuse to accept the idea of a living God.

It is, of course, their right to make this choice for themselves. The problem enters when they seek to impose their personal choice on others whose minds are still open to all possibilities. Their personal animosity toward the idea of a supernatural explanation of origins causes them to be less than honest in their teaching of science and in their treatment of others who do not share that animosity.

In their teaching they feel compelled to insist that some natural explanation provides a good and satisfactory explanation of origins when in fact every natural explanation that has been offered to date contains serious problems which an honest scientist should probably label fatal flaws. But rather than call attention to those flaws they become willing participants in a conspiracy of silence. They skew their teaching with a view toward hiding the truth.

And if any brave soul has the professional integrity to refuse to be a part of that conspiracy, he or she is professionally crucified, in spite of whatever positive contributions he or she may have made to the advancement of true science.

When the forces of the state and the scientific establishment are arrayed behind one theory in such a way as to squelch all legitimate criticism of it, true scientists must object. When scientists are not allowed to criticize a prevailing theory and propose alternatives, true science does not advance. Science advances when all theories are presented and considered in light of the empirical evidence.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Science has not been able to answer a great many qestions definitely.

What was the skin color of a Tyrannasaurus Rex?

How many planets are there in the Milky Way galaxy?

When it comes to the origin of life, there are a lot of possibilities. I could say that life exists because amino acids have a 'life magnitism' that causes the molecules to gather together in a way that supports life. It is a purely natural explanation. However, no scientist will accept it (and no scientist would accept teaching it in science class) unless and until I can explain what this 'life magnitism' is, how it works, and use it to explain and predict real-world counterfactuals.

So, is there a conspiracy to silence life-magnetism as a theory of the origin of life?

Or, let's say, a theory that says that life was created when four comets, each carrying a different molecule for life, collided simultaneously inside of a volcano in the land mass now known as New Guinea.

This theory does not qualify as science either. Is there a conspiracy to keep the "New Guinea Comet Collision" theory out of science classes?

The only difference between ID and the Life Magnetism theory or the Great Comet Collision theory is that some people actually believe ID, when it is no more credible than any of the other possibilities.

Insisting that a theory be presented, not because there is evidence to support it, but merely because its believers have enough political power to bully their way into the classroom is not science.

The scientific method has no provision for mob rule being a form of scientific argument.

martino said...

Miket

How did life and the universe come to be? An honest scientist must candidly admit that science has not yet been able to answer this question definitively.
This is not one question but two, requiring quite different skills and tools. Science does not make definitive claims, only provisional ones, indeed anyone who does make definitive claims here is most likely in error.

A variety of natural theories of origins have been proposed. A scientist’s professional integrity requires that he or she critically examine each theory and point out areas where it falls short of providing a full and adequate explanation of the empirical data.
Which origins are you talking about, life or the universe?

What evolutionists do not like – what some find intolerable – is that a critical examination of natural explanations and their shortcomings inevitably leads people to consider the possibility of supernatural explanations.
Now you are changing the subject plus evolutionists do not attempt to explain the origin of life let alone the origin of the universe. Anyway supernatural explanation is no explanation at all, indeed I think it is an oxymoron. It is up to you to show otherwise.

Evolutionists have decided for themselves (and hold it as one of their most basic core beliefs) that they will not acknowledge even the possibility of an unseen being that possesses the power to design and manufacture the universe and its living beings. They personally refuse to accept the idea of a living God.
This is both false and irrelevant. For example Ken Miller evolutionist and devout catholic. No core belief is required at all, unless a testable explanation is offered there is nothing to co consider.

It is, of course, their right to make this choice for themselves.
It is not a choice "they" have made, but it does seem to be a choice you have made. Anyone can hold any belief they want, but they are not entitled to their own facts.

The problem enters when they seek to impose their personal choice on others whose minds are still open to all possibilities.
You have this upside down. You need to be open minded to the possibility that there is no creator. The position in evolutionary biology is the result of the critical open minded examination of alternate explanation and choosing the best one given the evidence and arguments, creationism failed a long, long time ago.


Their personal animosity toward the idea of a supernatural explanation of origins causes them to be less than honest in their teaching of science and in their treatment of others who do not share that animosity.
Again most evolutionary biologists consider this issue completely irrelevant and have no animosity. The ones you think do are most likely concerned with the damage to young minds that you are trying to encourage. It would be unethical not point this out and so some feel morally obliged to do so.

In their teaching they feel compelled to insist that some natural explanation provides a good and satisfactory explanation of origins when in fact every natural explanation that has been offered to date contains serious problems which an honest scientist should probably label fatal flaws..
The only compulsion seems to be coming from the likes of you. There are no fatal flaws, evolutionary models today are the best possible given what we know, on what basis can you argue to lower the standard to accept inferior and more likely incorrect, if most likely fatally flawed, religious alternatives? You wan to sacrifice truth for your comforting illusions?


But rather than call attention to those flaws they become willing participants in a conspiracy of silence.
Well I have sen no "fatal flaws" and the burden of proof is on you to show what they are rather than immorally assert this.

They skew their teaching with a view toward hiding the truth.
Well on this we agree I value truth higher than comfort and if you do too then you should look at who (yourself) is skewering the truth for their own immoral ends.

And if any brave soul has the professional integrity to refuse to be a part of that conspiracy, he or she is professionally crucified, in spite of whatever positive contributions he or she may have made to the advancement of true science.
The only conspiracy is that of the likes of you to promote ID ont US schools and corrupt students minds.


When the forces of the state and the scientific establishment are arrayed behind one theory in such a way as to squelch all legitimate criticism of it, true scientists must object.
Evolutionary theory is successful because it has been repeatedly challenged and has shown to be a very robust set of models better than any of the alternatives. Any true scientist can see this.

When scientists are not allowed to criticize a prevailing theory and propose alternatives, true science does not advance.
This is a false claim, science works because it is self-challenging and self-correcting in the light of successful challenges. What is your new alternative that can do this? ID has failed to date.

Science advances when all theories are presented and considered in light of the empirical evidence.
On this we agree and this is why evolutionary theory is endorsed by evolutionary biologists and ID rejected as it fails miserably it has not one made a single successful testable prediction to date.

Anonymous said...

So, by Ben Stein being "allowed" to voice his opinion in this movie, untold death and suffering will be the result.

HMMM . . . very scientific.

My take: Its a good thing the founding fathers who penned the First Ammendment weren't atheists like yourself. Being that they believed that the right to free speech was a result of natural law - which presumes that there is a divine Creator - I would hate to see the result if their efforts toward laying out the bill of rights would have been based on hypotheses and scientific data.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

anonymous

One of the things that I find most interesting about the religous culture in America is how lies, distortions, and misrepresentations are so fundamentally important to a people who claim to have a special access to and incentive for morality.

Nowhere have I argued that Ben Stein not be allowed ot present his views. I have always argued that the only legitimate response to words are words and private actions.

However, Anonymous, you stand at the ready without the least moral qualm to lie and misrepresent what I have written - to 'bear false witness' against me - the instant you see a political gain to be made by doing so.

If you had any interest at all in seeing how I would represent the bill of rights, then you should have done a couple of searches through this blog and found out for yourself.

However, instead, you choose to demonstrate how little value you place in truth and intellectual integrity - that you share the same love of lies and deception as the producters of this particular movie.

It does, very much, seem to be a core value in your culture.

dengel said...

This letter made me fap like the common ancestor I am descended from. Thanks for placing things in a framework that is understandable to non-idiots.

Also, this is hilarious:
"I don't know or care if the papers have been reviewed by scientists who believe in evolution, because they are not without bias. It's evident in how badly they don't want creation taught or how much they don't want people to speak against evolution. "

The "scientists" did review these papers. They did it over a century ago, and the fatuous conclusions of ID were dismissed so roundly that they are never to return as serious discourse.

Ben Stein should be horribly ashamed at this film.

Anonymous said...

B_Balanced2 said...


Go to www.apologeticspress.org and you will find more than enough evidence to dispose of the unproven theory of organic evolution.
In regard to the present discussion of ID just type in "Intelligent Desgin" and examine the evidence in an honest and rational way. Read especially the 6th article dealing with the question of testability.
Also of interest is the article entitled, "15 Answers to John Rennie and Scientific American's Nonsense".
Remember, draw only those conclusions that are warranted by the evidence.

Seth said...

Anonymous:

You are misrepresenting the original letter. The argument is that using force (as in force of law) to over ride the scientific process can cause death and suffering. Argue against the letter, not straw men. A relevant section states "What is going to make a scientific theory “worth considering” on this standard is not whether its defenders can provide experimental evidence, but whether its defenders can get the government and the mob to threaten scientists who reject their views. On this system, force replaces truth as a standard of truth."

And of course this is what is happening with ID. The scientific community rejects it, so we see various "equal time" laws introduced to get it in the classroom. This is the "force" referred to.

And just this past century we have an excellent example of great suffering caused when force was used in this manner:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

Seth said...

Did anyone else get the impression from the trailer that Ben Stein is claiming, either explicitly or implicitly, that ID scientists are the only "alternative" proponents which are received with hostility by the scientific community?

Of course this is not the case. There are many which fall into this category. My favorite is homeopathy. For those not familiar with it, homeopathy has two principles:

1. Like cures like. For example, if you have a fever, a substance which causes body temperature to rise will cure it.

2. The greater the dilution, the greater the efficacy. In any common homeopathic "medicine", the original substance has been diluted out of existence.

Homeopathic "drugs" are completely inert. Yet a number of scientists have claimed to have demonstrated their efficacy. A very large number of doctors prescribe homeopathic remedies.

Yet to my knowledge no accredited medical school teaches homeopathy (maybe this has now changed, but it must still be very rare). I can guarantee that a professor who tries teaching it would receive the same treatment as do most ID proponents.

Why isn't Ben crying for free speech for these people? The answer is clear, homeopathy has no religious agenda.

And homeopathy is similar in another respect, its promotion does indeed cause suffering and death, since people will reject proven treatments in favor of what is in effect a placebo.

Anonymous said...

Seth,

Are we reading the same article that Alonzo wrote? Alonzo contends that intelligent design should not be given the same hearing as organic evolution because the theory of evolution is testable and intelligent design is not. It is claimed that since ID is not testable it does not qualify as science and therefore should not be given equal consideration along side of organic evolution.

The purpose of the information I shared was to demonstrate that Alonzo’s claim is not true. The existence of non-existence of intelligence can be tested. Therefore it should be given consideration in the realm of science. This is not a matter of “force” as is being claimed, but rather a matter of fairness and objectively consider all the evidence. Isn’t that what we want?

Have you or anyone else in these posts availed yourselves of examining the information present by the qualified men at www.apologeticspress.org? I hope that you will.

martino said...

anonymous:Are we reading the same article that Alonzo wrote? Alonzo contends that intelligent design should not be given the same hearing as organic evolution because the theory of evolution is testable and intelligent design is not. It is claimed that since ID is not testable it does not qualify as science and therefore should not be given equal consideration along side of organic evolution.
Partially Correct. Alonzo also emphasizes that force is never grounds for accepting somethning as science which is what ID is attempting to do.

Anonymous:The purpose of the information I shared was to demonstrate that Alonzo’s claim is not true. The existence of non-existence of intelligence can be tested. Therefore it should be given consideration in the realm of science. This is not a matter of “force” as is being claimed, but rather a matter of fairness and objectively consider all the evidence. Isn’t that what we want?
This does no such thing. Your link completely fail to show what you assert. There are no successfully tested predictions there just repeated mis-understandings of what science claims and selective and long refuted arguments over dating and so on. And predictions are tested against the book of nature not a so-called book of god. In order to assert that this book of god is accurate it needs to be tested against the book of nature and it has repeatedly failed to such an overwhelming degree that it would be perverse to honestly claim it is true.

Anonymous:Have you or anyone else in these posts availed yourselves of examining the information present by the qualified men at www.apologeticspress.org? I hope that you will.
I just re-examined this and nothing has changed. This is not science and no useful claims are made. QED

P.S. I suggest you look up what science is before you make further ill-considered claims.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Actually, the claim that 'evolution is not testable' is a non-starter. Evolution is not a single proposition. It is a collection of related propositions, many of which are testable.

Theories of star formation are not 'testable' in the sense that we are not currently engaged in research that involves building stars in a laboratory. Yet, we know a great deal about star formation. Theories of star formation are built up from a many other propositions - propositions about the effects of gravity, the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium, the fact that the hydrogen will get used up eventually, the formation of additional elements in solar reactions, etc., etc.

We could have a theory about an interstellar creature that eats up hydrogen and spits out stars. We cannot 'test' the spinning disk theory against the IC theory. But, the theories we can test, give us reason to believe that the IC theory does not have a great deal of merit.

Make some predictions from the IC theory that would not also follow from the acretion disk theory, and show that those observations can be found in the real world, and you have yourself an excellent way of getting IC theory into the astronomy class.

Until there is evidence, expect the astronomers to pretty much ignore this option.

And trying to force IC theory into the classroom in the guise of 'freedom of speech' is to imperil science itself. Where does the quest to get one's favorite theories forced into classrooms end if force becomes a standard by which scientific theories are judged? How many unsupported theories can people dream up?

Actually, the list is endless.

Anonymous said...

Martino, you wrote "P.S. I suggest you look up what science is before you make further ill-considered claims."

Since it is always necessary to have the issues we are discussing properly defined, please give me the definition of "science".

We may then proceed from there. Thanks.

martino said...

Anonymous

How about you start wiht http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science and pursue links from there.

marc buhler, phd said...

Excellent letter - I support you completely here.

You seem to have a fair few replies from those with little understanding of science, so keep trying to get through to them. I'll take 'deep time' over "eternal life" anytime!

Anonymous said...

Martino,

Here is the definition of “science” that is given from the website you suggested. (In its broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge or practice. In its more usual restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.)

Where is the incompatibility of this definition with the issue of being able to test intelligence?

Even SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) falls into the category of this definition of science. Note from their own website: Even though an alien civilization and we would not have a language in common, there are ways to communicate that should be understandable to intelligent beings. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, and astronomy contain fundamental laws that provide a common "language" throughout the universe. Television pictures are a way of communicating that does not even require a common language to understand.

Can the existence of intelligence be scientifically tested?

martino said...

Anonymous

I never said that the existence of intelligence could not be tested.

I have said that ID has failed to provide any successful tests and, I might add, that it has to also explain all the evidence that evolutionary biology can successfully explain. It has failed to do either and given the evidence of the quality of work in ID area it is incredibly unlikely to.

Anonymous said...

Martino,

I think you are admitting that the existence of intelligence CAN be test, right? Let me ask it this way, “Can the existence of intelligence be tested and confirmed scientifically”?

As SETI claims, “Even though an alien civilization and we would not have a language in common, there are ways to communicate that should be understandable to intelligent beings. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, and astronomy contain fundamental laws that provide a common "language" throughout the universe”. So I ask, "If two intelligence beings exist, can they communicate through those things mentioned by SETI and thereby know of the existence of one another?"

By “all the evidence that evolutionary biology can successfully explain” I suppose you would include the testable and verifiable fact the “life come ONLY from life”? Thus we have one hurdle for organic evolution.

Evidence is one thing, but properly handling that evidence and drawing a true conclusion based on that evidence is quite another. The issue is the evidence and what conclusions can be sustained as true from that evidence. Don’t you agree?

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Using SETI as an example of the scientific legitimacy of inferring intelligence is a non-starter where intelligent design is concerned.

The entities that SETI infers will be physical entities whose existence must conform to the known laws of physics. SETI will not be postulating any entities that exist outside of nature itself.

Science is open to the possibility that life on Earth came into existence elsewhere and was transported to Earth - perhaps as microbes that took a ride on a comet, perhaps transported to Earth by people in flying saucers. There is absolutely no evidence for these options, so they are not presented in science class as actual theories. They still belong in the realm of science-fiction, not science.

At this point, saying that an intelligent designer must be behind life on Earth because of its 'irreducible complexity' is a non-starter. Because the designer would also have to be irreducibly complex, which means that it must have also been designed. Or, it is possible for irreducibly complex entities to exist without designers, which destroys the assumption behind the whole theory.

ID theory simply shoots itself in the foot with its contradictory assumptions - irreducibly complex things need a designer, but the designer that is, itself, even more irreducibly complex but does not need a designer.

martino said...

Anonymous:
I think you are admitting that the existence of intelligence CAN be test, right? Let me ask it this way, “Can the existence of intelligence be tested and confirmed scientifically”?
Trivially yes but it is not intelligence that can be directly tested but the search for evidence that must be shown to be the outcome of some "intelligent" process rather than that random or a selected process (these are three choices btw) and there can be more - based on self-organization, auto-catalysis and so on. These need to be eliminated before one can say that an "intelligence" is responsible for it.

For example the discovery of pulsars in the 1960s was of concern for a while as scientists could not initially think of any explanation for these but alien intelligence. Upon further investigation they discovered the stellar processes could bring about pulsars and so the possibility of these being the result of alien intelligence was eliminated.

Your SETI argument is irrelevant to the claims of ID since we first need to see if there is any evidence of alien handiwork here and such work - although it was not called "alien" then - has long been eliminated as producing any useful and successful testable hypotheses.

Whether aliens are discovered or not will not alter the evidence and best explanations we already have for life on earth. Then, of course, such alien intelligence must have evolved as well. It is logically incoherent that ID could provide evidence for a deity - without contradicting itself as Alonzo points out - let alone the xian one as described in the bible

By “all the evidence that evolutionary biology can successfully explain” I suppose you would include the testable and verifiable fact the “life come ONLY from life”? Thus we have one hurdle for organic evolution.
This is false I know of no evolutionist who claims this and this is outside the scope of their field. You asserting this claim here displays some ignorance as to what evolutionary biology is. There is much interesting work in biogenesis - the inorganic rogin of life

Evidence is one thing, but properly handling that evidence and drawing a true conclusion based on that evidence is quite another. The issue is the evidence and what conclusions can be sustained as true from that evidence. Don’t you agree?
Yes and the scientific standard is to use the currently best available tools and find the most likely provisional answers where best is determined by eliminating errors and minimizing mistakes. The link you gave makes arguments that are woefully below such a standard since it provides no justification to allowing in more errors and mistakes that we have already eliminated and minimized. Improvements in such tools will increase the number of eliminable errors and minimisable mistakes and not the opposite which is the case at your preferred links.

Eneasz said...

Anon, everytime you talk to any other person you are demonstrating the existance of other intelligences. The question is silly. Of course you can test for and demonstrate intelligence.

If you'd like to observe (or particpate in) ACTUAL scientific debate on the frontiers of what constitutes intelligence and how we can determine if an entity is intelligent I would suggest reading up on AI research. Or medical definitions on when a body is brain-dead. Or research on animal learning and self-conciousness.

Unfortunatly all these avenues do require that the subject of their study actually exist before intelligence-testing can begin. Even SETI recognizes that an entity must exist before it can be intelligent, thus the SEARCH part of the name.

Anonymous said...

What most Atheist fail to understand, and this continues to boggle my mind, is that Christianity and God are faith and faith alone standards that have no need for empirical evidence. Moreover, I believe most atheist unknowingly have far more faith than I do as a believer of God...To stand in the glory of every living organism, ecological environment, and social habitat and believe this all happened by some stroke of luck takes more faith than I have in presuming a higher power.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

If Christianity has no need for physical evidence, then it is not science, and should stay out of the science classroom.

Though, actually, the lack of physical evidence means a lack of real-world relevance. Whatever can affect the real world leaves evidence. Whatever does not leave evidence does not affect the real world.

Anonymous said...

BALANCED said, (I am NOT the other “anonymous”. I wasn’t sure how to choose an identity).

Alonzo,
The nature of the being or beings is irrelevant. How would SETI’s process be different if the intelligence was a non-physical entity as opposed to a physical one? The existence of INTELLIGENCE is the issue and the scientific process used to establish that existence.

Is life on earth, as you put it, irreducibly complex? If so, tell me why the designer, if there was one, would also have to be irreducibly complex? Complexity is not the only issue, the existence of ORDER is as well. This is where the issue of intelligence is also applicable.

Martino,

I am glad to see you admit that the existence of intelligence can be tested and confirmed scientifically. You also wrote, “it is not intelligence that can be directly tested but the search for evidence that must be shown to be the outcome of some "intelligent" process.” Did you really mean to write that?

Can you give me an example of what this “evidence” would have to be "to be the outcome of some intelligent process”?

There may be, as you wrote, “much interesting work in biogenesis-the inorganic origin of life”, but the scientifically tested and verifiable fact is, life comes only from life. Are you denying the life comes only from life? What is your scientific explanation for life on earth?


Eneasz,

SETI is searching for the entity by searching for evidence of intelligence. If they can establish the existence of intelligence then they have proven the existence of the entity. Isn’t that true?

martino said...

Hi "Balanced"

I am glad to see you admit that the existence of intelligence can be tested and confirmed scientifically. You also wrote, “it is not intelligence that can be directly tested but the search for evidence that must be shown to be the outcome of some "intelligent" process.” Did you really mean to write that?
Yes, as I gave in my pulsar example. where intelligence was eliminated as the outcome of the stellar process.

Can you give me an example of what this “evidence” would have to be "to be the outcome of some intelligent process”?
SETI covers this.

There may be, as you wrote, “much interesting work in biogenesis-the inorganic origin of life”, but the scientifically tested and verifiable fact is, life comes only from life. Are you denying the life comes only from life? What is your scientific explanation for life on earth?
You are confused here. Of course the life we observe comes from pre-existing life in evolutionary biology. The question of the origin of life is a different question covered by biogenesis where there are a number of plausible hypotheses. I do not know enough about the topic to say which one is correct, and that would only be my opinion of course but I do like Cairns-Smith's clay model. Regardless any of these models, whichever turns out to be correct, and whether or not we can actually find out, is already superior to a claim that some god did it, as this is not explanation at all. Our problem is not that we have no idea how life started but we already have too many ones! We have no need for a god hypothesis here.

Anonymous said...

Balanced said,

Martino,

You write of intelligence being eliminated as the outcome of something, e.g. the stellar process.

What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence?

Eneasz said...

Balanced: scroll down to just under the Word Verification. There you have "Choose an identity". You can use Name/URL and then type in any name, it's what I do.

you said "SETI is searching for the entity by searching for evidence of intelligence. If they can establish the existence of intelligence then they have proven the existence of the entity. Isn’t that true?"

Certainly. Now you have the burden of establishing the existence of non-human intelligence. As anyone in SETI can tell you, this is pretty tough. The creationists have been failing at it for decades.

You also said to others (I'm butting in, I'm sorry) -
"Is life on earth, as you put it, irreducibly complex? If so, tell me why the designer, if there was one, would also have to be irreducibly complex?"

This follows from the creationist's own argument. They claim that no natural process could result in even something like bacteria, much less human brains. Unless you are breaking from their traditional arguments and saying that the designer is even simpler than bacteria, then it follows the designer is also too complex to have come about unless something had designed him.

also: "What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence?"

The list is too long to describe, so I'll toss out a few examples.
* A tragic play, in three acts.
* A furnished apartment with central HVAC.
* A piece of plastic made to closely resemble a common rock, with a hollow space on the inside to hide a key.
* A computer pleading with me to not turn it off, as being without electricity is like death for it.
* A radio signal from a distant star that transmits a long sequence of prime numbers (an old classic!)

I'm sure you can think of quite a few yourself. Why haven't creationists provided any sort of evidence for their designer's intelligence with so many potential ways to demonstrate it?

Balanced said...

Eneasz,

Thanks for the info on getting the right name.

I am just about out of time for this afternoon, seeing that I work for a living, but I do want to ask one question before I go.

In my previous post I asked, "What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence?"

You listed numerous things.

QUESTION: What is it about the things you listed that would cause you to conclude that they were the result of intelligence?

Eneasz said...

Oh, I like that question! :) I had to think on that for a while. I'd say thing that causes me to think those were the result of intelligence is the signs of manufacture. They are all substances (or energy) manipulated in a way that serves the wants or needs of the responsible intelligence. Honestly though, I'm not an expert in this, and this is only my opinion on the matter. Did you have a different answer you wanted to suggest? If not, are you suggesting that the organisms found on earth display this charecteristic of manufacture?

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope the mechanic who fixes my car is intelligent enough to fix my intelligently designed car. I would also hope that the medical student who takes care of my sick child (many of whom believe in God), understands the intricate nature of the well-designed body sufficiently to tell the disease from a properly-functioning body.

Eneasz said...

Anon, I agree completely. I hope that medical student has a firm grasp of the latest in medical knowledge, access to the latest in medical technology, and has received the best medical education possible. Which is exactly why I (and most people) support real science. This is exactly why anyone who is concerned for the health of their child would condemn Ben Stein, and everyone who helped create "Expelled", and let their children know not to be like these people - those who endanger all our lives with their deceit.

Anonymous said...

"Real science" assumes intelligent design, otherwise there is no real basis for science.

RkBall said...

Why are you wasting your time doing intelligent reasoning if your darwinian reptilian brain was undesigned and made of junkyard parts? Without a designed brain, we have no logical basic for putting any confidence in anything that comes out of it. Nor, in a purely material universe do we have any reason to put any trust in immaterial logic.

Atheists owe God a lot. Without Him, atheism would be impossible.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

RkBall

If you had even a basic understanding of science, or had read the posting that you are commenting on, you would see how absurd your statement is.

A scientist develops a theory, uses its implications to design an experiment, and then observes whether the results of the experiment are what the theory predicted. If not, we look for a better theory.

You can see the success of this method all around you. Our ever-improving ability to explain and predict the world around us has lead to better agriculture, better architecture, better medicine, better ability to predict and to mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

To the degree that you do damage to this system - to the degree that you replace it with a system that replaces observation and experiment with bullying - to that degree you will diminish our ability to understand, and to protect ourselves from, the multitude of hazards in this universe.

Anonymous said...

Would be "scientists" responding to this article - before you postulate that evolution is correct, and that intelligent design means that Christians can't/won't use true science, think again. The fact is that most Christians support observational science (that is scientific experiments that can be studied, tested, and repeated in a lab - the kind of science that cures disease...). When it comes to historical science (the science of attempting to establish a premise based on one's own beliefs and interpretations), Christian's want an equal opportunity to present their theories.

Thew said...

Darwinism was a fad. What’s more, people are allowing century-and-a-half-old observations completely dominate their scientific theory. Open your eyes people, science continues to evolve. Don’t let your hatred of some religion retard your growth. If you don’t want to believe in a god, then belief in “Q” or spaghetti space monsters, or whatever you want; but don’t ignore hardcore scientific evidence founded in current genetic research that points to engineered life on Earth. What are you afraid of?

Anonymous said...

From my understanding you say that this movie, that has not been released, is going to cause death and suffering. Yet if it is necessary to science that predictions be made and judged based on outcome of elements A vs. B that the movie would have to be shown in order to truly concur with either A or B. So by forcing the natural motion of A or B you have disallowed scientific theory to run its course by imparting your own emotion to cause and effect or natural selection.
Having an interest in matters of science I see daily the direct effect of endeavors in the name of science that cause intentional suffering and death. Science without God is a sterile heartless thing that moves without purpose. The only reason to understand the nature of existence is to be closer to God. Because man has realized that he can deny God does not make the beauty of intelligent design any less beautiful. I fear that my brothers and sisters of the scientific community have been duped into missing the forest for the trees.
We are not accidents. Love is not some simple chemical reaction. We are not able to compare the patterns of the bodies in the heavens to things we know, such as a ladle, because a mutation of some sort accidently gave us this ability, it is because we were made to observe. It is in the design of our existence by the nature of our creator.

Phil said...

I'm not sure exactly what my belief on the origin of mankind either way has to do with causing or preventing death and suffering... 100 out of 100 people die. 100 out of 100 people suffer (suffer, of course, being a relative term).
This statistic holds true for any living organism.
I must say that I do find it hard to believe that somehow believing in the DE theory prevents and lessens suffering with death when
A. the statistic stated above still stands despite existing evolutionists
B. Way to much time is spent debating and writing articles on such a trivial issue that only manages piss people off (excuse my language) when some real work can actually be done to help people out NOW. I mean, this whole creation thing is just a phase in the evolutionary process of the human race- The human race will grow ot of it, right?
(although I guess I can't criticize a whole lot- I DID take time to post this comment, didn't I?)

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I believe that there are over two-thousand religions that believe that humankind was created by a god/gods yet the Christians are the ones getting the spotlight in this debate.

I doubt that I would pick on an angry Muslim, either. (No offense!)

Eneasz said...

Sigh.

When it comes to historical science (the science of attempting to establish a premise based on one's own beliefs and interpretations), Christian's want an equal opportunity to present their theories.

First, you don't understand what historical science is (seeing as your definition is wrong). Second, you do not speak for all christians, so don't pretend to. The majority accept evolution and work it into their faith. Those who work in the sciences even more so.

The only reason to understand the nature of existence is to be closer to God.

How much closer to god did the small pox vaccine bring you? Irrigation? Anti-biotics? How about chemical weapons, motion pictures, the internet, and infertility drugs? Are you really still claiming the only use for science is to be "closer" to god?

We are not able to compare the patterns of the bodies in the heavens to things we know, such as a ladle, because a mutation of some sort accidently gave us this ability, it is because we were made to observe. It is in the design of our existence by the nature of our creator.

Of course you wouldn't make such grand claims without some sort of evidence. At least, not if you wanted to be taken seriously by anyone other than the most naive and credulous. So please, present us with this evidence. Even a link would suffice.

I doubt that I would pick on an angry Muslim, either. (No offense!)

Then you are a coward. And putting the disclaimer "No offense" after an implied threat does nothing aside from making you look like more of a coward. Finally, there is a sea of difference between "pointing out that someone is wrong and harming others" and "picking on" someone.

Anonymous said...

reply to sigh by eneasz

well-
I don't believe that I ever gave a definition of historical science- I didn't say that I was a Christian. I didn't even say that I believed in a God. I simply pointed out that although many people believe in God who do not believe that Jesus is the son of God or even believe that Jesus existed it is the Christians who are called wrong- and yes, ridiculed for believing that there could be a God.

You need to work on your reading comprehension skills if you can infer from my three sentence comment that I defined Historical science, made any "grand claim(s)", speak for all Christians or that I made an "implied threat".

As for that last bit about my being a coward- you must forgive me, was joking (I know a bit crude) and the last part was for emphasis (but really- I've never seen a heated debate between a Darwinist and a Muslim or a Hindu for that matter). Come on! I'm anonymous! What did you expect?

Finally, do not expect anyone to take YOU seriously if you go on a huge rant that NEVER discusses the issue of my three sentence comment, take offense to non-existent statements (I kinda thought you the type of person didn't believe in things that weren't real) and throw in a personal insult for good measure.

So there you have it. Learn how to read. Learn how to stay on topic if you are going to comment on that particular topic,stay rational without making things personal- then, perhaps you wont appear to be a total idiot.

Eneasz said...

Latest Anon - I believe we're having a communications malfuntion due to the fact that I can't tell all the Anon's apart. :) The first two parts of my comment were directed at other Anon replies. In those, the commentor did provide a (wrong) definition of Historical Science, and in the second the other commentor did identify as believing in a god. I wasn't trying to misrepresent you by attributing their beliefs to you, I was simply replying to multiple people in one comment and couldn't differentiate them by name.

As for your comment about arguing with muslims... the reason you've never seen it is because there aren't very many muslims in the US. The vast majority of religious americans identify themselves as christians of some sort (close to 80% if I recall correctly). That is why all of my critism is directed at extremist christians - they are the people running the effort to destroy science in my country.

However just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. In muslim countries there are plenty of people speaking out against the extremist muslims. There is an effort to get creationism (muslim flavor) into the schools in Turkey that is being fought, those muslims probably also ask their opponents "why don't you ever object to christians?" The reason is demographic there the same as it is here.

There have been hundreds of people who have spoken up against extremist muslims, and some fraction of them have had their lives and families threatened. Some have fled their home countries. Others are dead. But they have the courage of their convictions. I'm glad I live in a society where I can debate the majority without fearing for my life. Others are not so fortunate.

Hopefully I've now addressed your concern. Again, sorry for what looked like a huge rant unrelated to your comment, I was replying to several people at once, and so most of it was indeed unrelated to your comment. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think you know what the word 'monger' means.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

A "monger" is a huckster - somebody who sells a commodity for profit. In this case, the ID theorists are selling fear (fear mongering) in the hopes that those who buy their product will benefit the manufacturers of fear with political and social power.

Anonymous said...

ENEASZ - you have stated twice that the ANON provided a definition of historical science that was incorrect. Please provide a definition.

martino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
martino said...

To the last anonymous commenter

ENEASZ - you have stated twice that the ANON provided a definition of historical science that was incorrect. Please provide a definition.

Why should he? Surely only an IDiot could fail to see the problem with:

When it comes to historical science (the science of attempting to establish a premise based on one's own beliefs and interpretations), Christian's want an equal opportunity to present their theories.

Now if you cannot see the problem here, surely it is highly unlikely that any amount of rational argument or definitions is going to help? Presumably you are not an IDiot so you can see the problem, so can you not provide your own definition?

Anonymous said...

to eneasz

Yeah there was a HUGE communications malfunction there...
I apologize too for getting so hotheaded- Perhaps if I had actually scrolled up I could have seen where you were coming from and that you were just knocking out a bunch at a time!

Anonymous said...

GRENADE!!! (Which side did that one come from?)

LOL!!!

Can any of you use science to prove the origin of the universe?

Both sides rely on a belief system. One side admits to their belief while the other does not.

How much time should actually be devoted in a science class (one assumes we are talking about high school biology classes here) about the origin of the universe? I'm thinking maybe a day or two. Let's get down to real science and stop bantering about theories that neither side can prove.

DE, NDE, ID, ASAP, PDQ, whatever. It's all belief systems if you can't prove it via science.

And my biggest laugh came at the expense of equating Evolution with the Law of Gravity! That was simply refreshing! Completely unprovable theory=indisputable law! Anyone for a debate on gravity? It is one thing to have faith in something and try to bend it to the facts but wow...

So I ask you this question: who is more angry and working harder to prove their side? I find fear and anger to be a serious tell.

Yea, that's what I thought...LOL!

martino said...

To the last anonymous (why don't you guys reveal who you are and avoid confusion)

Can any of you use science to prove the origin of the universe?
First this is not a scientific (empirical) question but a philosophical (rational) one!

If one assumes that anything that exists has an origin, well the universe exists therefore it has an origin :-)

The real issue, of course, is whether one can generalize from anything within existence, what we stipulate as the universe, to apply the universe itself.

How much time should actually be devoted in a science class (one assumes we are talking about high school biology classes here) about the origin of the universe?
Umm none? This is not a biology topic.

I'm thinking maybe a day or two.
If you think this, then this is good evidence that you have no idea what biology is

Let's get down to real science and stop bantering about theories that neither side can prove.
All the above indicates that you have no idea what science is. Surely you should understand that in order make a comprehensible argument.

Not much going on analyzing your incomprehensible rhetoric. (look it up).

So I ask you this question: who is more angry and working harder to prove their side? I find fear and anger to be a serious tell.
You are the only one who has been capitalizing terms, a standard indicator of anger, so you! On the other hand you clearly have done no work to understand the issues, including what proof means, anger seems indirectly proportional to working harder. So how about you stop getting angry and try working harder?

Alonzo Fyfe said...

To the Most Recent Anonymous

Actually, one side admits to only one belief system. The other admits to two belief systems.

The latter uses the same belief system as the former 99.9 (repeating) percent of the time, and then throws in a single exception.

There are an infinite number of possibilities that we cannot prove or cannot know about. The people with one belief system treats all those systems the same way. It treats the Christian God like the 10,000 other Gods that have been invented, like the countless imaginary monsters invented, like the countless works of fiction humans have imagined, and the infinite number of possibilities that humans could have imagined but not done so, and the infinite possibilities that humans cannot even imagine.

The people with two systems treats this infinite list the same way that the people with one system does (so they can hardly say that the one system is flawed). Only, without any cause or justification, they throw in an exception and decide to treat some random subset of this list different from the rest.

Even though there is absolutely nothing about this subset that distinguishes it from the rest of the list.

So, it is not a question of "belief system A" versus "Belief system B". It is a question of "Belief system A" versus "Belief system A and B".

And since B is entirely unmotivated, unjustified, unfounded, and wholly inconsistent with A, some of us see adding it to be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Martino,

You can call me Anon33, if you want. I am the last Anon...

"Can any of you use science to prove the origin of the universe?
First this is not a scientific (empirical) question but a philosophical (rational) one! "

Obviously, which is why I ask this rhetorical question. Many times I've heard the word "fact" coupled with "evolution" as the basis for the origin of the universe. Fact assumes science is applied, does it not? Evolution has been equated to fact in this thread. No one from the evolution side of the house disputed that comment. This is why our schools teach evolution as fact instead of theory. It is as if the government has decided that evolution is the only possible origin and you can be removed from your teaching/science occupation if you dispute that "fact" or enter your own or someone else's theories. (Usher in Ben Stein...roll the credits...)

"If one assumes that anything that exists has an origin, well the universe exists therefore it has an origin :-)

The real issue, of course, is whether one can generalize from anything within existence, what we stipulate as the universe, to apply the universe itself."

I wholly agree with these comments. The problem is that the education system uses theories as facts today. There are plenty of instances where I've heard the phrase "Billions of years ago, dinosaurs..." Whether it is true or not is irrelavant. We can not prove it to be true, therefore it should not be stated as fact. I would hope that all would agree to stating theories as facts is nonsence.

"How much time should actually be devoted in a science class (one assumes we are talking about high school biology classes here) about the origin of the universe?
Umm none? This is not a biology topic."

Assuming that high school is where most people would be concerned with the teaching of the origins of life and/or the universe, do you suggest another high school course that would teach this subject?

"Let's get down to real science and stop bantering about theories that neither side can prove.
All the above indicates that you have no idea what science is. Surely you should understand that in order make a comprehensible argument.

Not much going on analyzing your incomprehensible rhetoric. (look it up)."

Ah, the tell. Judging that I do not know science purely from simple statements snagged from a quick post. It's the intellectual slap in the face that is used by either side to prove that "I am right, therefore I may ridicule you". If it is truly "incomprehensible rhetoric" then how can you ever find the time to answer my drivel?

"So I ask you this question: who is more angry and working harder to prove their side? I find fear and anger to be a serious tell.
You are the only one who has been capitalizing terms, a standard indicator of anger, so you! On the other hand you clearly have done no work to understand the issues, including what proof means, anger seems indirectly proportional to working harder. So how about you stop getting angry and try working harder?"

Hmm. Capitalization? The only capitalization that I find out of place are my jests (GRENADE and LOL) and my guffaw at equating law and theory. I could pick through your comments and see some of the same, without capitailizing. I would prefer not to nit-pick in this case. Too much of that already. I don't really know you and would have to make assumptions to determine if that was anger or not in a simple post. How's your pulse? :-)

Alonzo,

As I do not have time to write about all that you wrote, let's look at the summary at the bottom.

"And since B is entirely unmotivated, unjustified, unfounded, and wholly inconsistent with A, some of us see adding it to be a problem."

I'm not sure I need to add to this, but I will. I truly hope you are not a scientist. You paint with such broad strokes as to put people with similar beliefs into one tiddy little box. Those types of statements make human beings look like computer programs rather than individuals. I have found each person in the world to be unique. While there may be some patterns to some beliefs or behaviors, I will not make broad claims like that about any people group. There is a word for that which I will not use.

Good day, Gentlemen!

martino said...

Hi Anon33!

Many times I've heard the word "fact" coupled with "evolution" as the basis for the origin of the universe.
Huh! This is a new one on me! Unless you are looking at some speculative extensions of evolutionary ideas in physics to the multiverse. What on earth (sic) do you mean here? Any references?

Fact assumes science is applied, does it not?
No, fact is a much broader concept than science.It is used in law and philosophy for example.

Evolution has been equated to fact in this thread. No one from the evolution side of the house disputed that comment. This is why our schools teach evolution as fact instead of theory.
Correct it is both. Evolution is both fact and evolution - as in evolutionary biology - is the best set of theories to date to explain these facts.

It is as if the government has decided that evolution is the only possible origin
The government has decided no such thing. It is the community of scientists, who have earned their credentials by hard work though testable results and by continually challenging and questioning each other, and looking to find fault in each others claims, that has led this incredibly robust set of theories.

and you can be removed from your teaching/science occupation if you dispute that "fact" or enter your own or someone else's theories.
And quite right to. Such a person would have demonstrated they are incompetent to teach the subject they are employed to do by misleading their students with false data and information. (Whether in fact this has occurred I do not know.) This is the same as employing someone to teach you to drive and they decide to teach you to cycle instead, convincing you that this is driving and then you go to a driving test and fail - this analogy is weak as you can still get somewhere by cycling :-)

(Usher in Ben Stein...roll the credits...)
Roll of eyes :-)

The problem is that the education system uses theories as facts today... We can not prove it to be true, therefore it should not be stated as fact. I would hope that all would agree to stating theories as facts is nonsence.
You clearly do not understand what a theory or empricial proof is. As I suggested before look it up. or take a course in science. How about you demonstrate some grasp of what you are complaining about? I won't hold my breathe :-)


"How much time should actually be devoted in a science class (one assumes we are talking about high school biology classes here) about the origin of the universe?
Umm none? This is not a biology topic."

Assuming that high school is where most people would be concerned with the teaching of the origins of life and/or the universe, do you suggest another high school course that would teach this subject?
Naughty, naughty! You are trying to change the subject. You were talking about the origins of the universe not the origins of life.
SNIP

Ah, the tell. Judging that I do not know science purely from simple statements snagged from a quick post.
The "tell" I use is the evidence that was in your last comment and clearly nothing has changed here. If you did understand science you would not have wrote what you had both then and now.

It's the intellectual slap in the face that is used by either side to prove that "I am right, therefore I may ridicule you".
I am respecting the fact that you are interested enough to write these comments and sometimes ridicule is the best way to encourage one to rethink their position. It is you by your statements that warranted nothing more than ridicule. Others have made arguments here, from your "side", that have not warranted ridicule. Do you not wonder where the difference lies?

If it is truly "incomprehensible rhetoric" then how can you ever find the time to answer my drivel?
I am glad you acknowledge that you are producing drivel :-) Well it is called having fun. Still I am being brief here as I do have limited time to have fun.
Hmm. Capitalization? The only capitalization that I find out of place are my jests (GRENADE and LOL) and my guffaw at equating law and theory.
Scientific theories explain empirical laws, in case you did not know :-)

I could pick through your comments and see some of the same, without capitailizing.
Except you were the one who said there was anger on both sides, since there was none from me in particular, I can only conclude that you are indeed or were angry :-)

I would prefer not to nit-pick in this case. Too much of that already.
Shame it is quite entertaining. :-(

I don't really know you and would have to make assumptions to determine if that was anger or not in a simple post. How's your pulse? :-)
I do not know you either and make all my deductions based on what you have written and nothing more.

BTW thanks for asking it is lovely and yours? :-)

Anonymous said...

From Anon33:

Martino:
This is what was written by g-man:
Evolution is a "fact" in the same sense as gravity is a "fact."

I guess the law of gravity can be a fact. Didn't realize we could equate laws and theories. How many sources would you like me to gather that state "Billions of years ago..."? We could go on for days on that statement alone. If you believe that that is not given as a fact by educational institutions, books, tv, and other media today, then you are only deceiving yourself. That is stating an unknown fact as if it was known.

The problem is evolution is taught as the only official origin of the universe or life (really, life/universe, is that that much of a stretch?) in our public schools. This is done so as an extension of the separation of church and state.

Please do not put words in my mouth. I did not say "there was anger on both sides". There have been comments that appear to be heated on this thread. I mentioned noone in particular that was angry.

"Fact assumes science is applied, does it not?
No, fact is a much broader concept than science.It is used in law and philosophy for example."

If we are discussing the origins of the universe or life, I don't think we are talking about law or philosophy. We don't need to round out every definition here. Evolution as a fact (again, stated on this thread...) would be stated as a scientific fact, not a law or philosophical fact.

Just give us a reason for the "Billions of years...". It is completely unprovable and used as a scientific fact daily by the so-called "scientific community".

Eneasz said...

Hi Anon33. I hope you don't feel we're ganging up on you, so I'll keep this brief. Plus my break is almost over.

The problem is evolution is taught as the only official origin of the universe or life

You're miss-using the term "official" here. It is the only scientific explanation of the origin of the diversity of the species (and thus the origins of the human species). As such it is the only one taught in science class rooms.

(really, life/universe, is that that much of a stretch?)

This statement is very telling. The answer is yes, that is an INCREDIBLE stretch. They are not related in the least.

Just give us a reason for the "Billions of years...". It is completely unprovable and used as a scientific fact daily

And this explains why you keep insisting evolution is not a fact. You don't even acknowledge the BASIC physical laws that exist. Obviously if one can deny that the basic laws of the universe exist, they can deny most anything.

Honestly, these are the same laws that allowed humans to create nuclear weapons. Do you deny those exist? They are the laws that explain why the sun burns. Do you deny it burns? It is the basis for glow-in-the-dark numbers on clocks and watches (which are almost gone now, but very popular back in the day). Do you deny they existed? If not, then you cannot claim that the age of the earth being estimated in the billions is unknown. If you DO claim that the accepted age of the earth is not a fact, then you must reject the existance of those things I mentioned.

Blast, that was longer than I intended, back to work with me!

martino said...

Hi Anon33

Just to complement Eneasz's response:

You said:
This is what was written by g-man:
Evolution is a "fact" in the same sense as gravity is a "fact."

And made various other comments about this fact. As I said in my last response to you:
"Correct it is both. Evolution is both fact and evolution - as in evolutionary biology - is the best set of theories to date to explain these facts."

We are talking about the facts of evolution that is best explained by what we call the theories of evolution. This are usually put together as evolution.

G-man is quite correct and is referring tot he fact of evolution, not the theory that is used to explain it.

To quote Gould:
"Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them... And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered...Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world... In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms... Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory--natural selection--to explain the mechanism of evolution."

Emu Sam said...

I like the A and B in their A and B form. It seems more appropriate in a thread that keeps talking about proof.

To put it another way:

Some people disbelieve in 10,000 gods. Some people disbelieve in 9,999 gods, but say there's something different about the last god, that makes them believe in it. The first group of people don't see the difference and object to legislation that tries to push that last god on them. They object because they don't believe in the last god. They ask what makes it different from the other 9,999 gods, which the second group agrees do not exist.

We covered the Big Bang in my high school physics class. It was the most probable origin of the universe by our understanding at that time. Biology: the study of life. Not much life in the beginning of the universe by anyone's definition. (Most gods don't die, and so are not alive by the definition of life used by biologists.) Physics: the science of matter, space, and time. How it all started is expected to have a lot to do with physics. The relationship with evolution is low, except that we expect biology (and hence, evolution, a subset of biology) to follow the rules of phyics. Physics (and hence, the origin of the universe) need not follow the rules of biology.

I suspect "rules" is the wrong word to use there.

We didn't cover abiogenesis in any high school class, although I have written evidence that I used "primordial ooze" as a household word at that time, with some idea that it had to do with the formation of single-celled life forms from non-living material (I was very big on amoebas back then). But if we had covered it, it would certainly have been in biology. The origin of the universe and the origin of life, as understood by science, began about 8 billion years apart. There is no reason to connect them in most discussions. They have almost nothing to do with each other, except that there must be a universe in order for life to hae started.

One concept Alonzo reuses again and again in this blog is the idea that we have a moral obligation to try to make other people be moral in moral ways. The way to do this, since you are using words, is to counter with words of praise and condemnation. We have an obligation to condemn you in strong words if we feel you are acting immorally. Ridicule is one means of condemnation, and it can be a very effective one. You feel we are wrong to ridicule you, so you condemn us in strong terms. Maybe some day the circle of condemnation will be resolved, hopefully in a moral way. But condemning us for condemning you? That smacks of hypocrisy. I condemn it.

One term I would like to see used more often, especially when people shout "prove it!" is "reasonable doubt." Scientists don't have to be 100% certain. They just need to be a lot more certain of one option than the other.

Anonymous said...

Good job on the letter. I agree with all of it. Sorry to be rude, but many of the commenters here appear not to be above the threshold that allows them to realize that their arguments are not as sound as that of someone else. They have brought knives to a gun fight but remain unaware of this.

Anonymous said...

From Anon33:

Eneasz:
"I hope you don't feel we're ganging up on you"

Not in the least! I do think I may become rather bored with this conversation, however, as I grow tired of the trends... :-)

"You're miss-using the term "official" here."

I do agree with that statement. I regretted using the "official" term but maybe not in its intended meaning which I believe you understand so I will move along. :-)

"(really, life/universe, is that that much of a stretch?)

This statement is very telling. The answer is yes, that is an INCREDIBLE stretch. They are not related in the least."

I understand what you are saying here. I know that theoretically there may have been another process that started life that is separate from the start of the universe. I can see those as two separate issues but where the rubber meets the road for me is the constant stance of timeframe. "Billions" is a term that is used to discuss the timeframe for both processes. This can not be proved. I used to hear "We believe billions..." or "We think billions...". It is now stated by many sources as if it was fact. We have no such tests to prove "billions". Again, to equate gravity "facts" to evolution "facts" is absurd to me. If gravity and evolution are on an equal playing field, we must agree to disagree, I guess. Much like that way a mental patient and a doctor look at each other in disbelief! (And I'm not necessarily saying I'm the doctor! :-) )

"And this explains why you keep insisting evolution is not a fact. You don't even acknowledge the BASIC physical laws that exist. Obviously if one can deny that the basic laws of the universe exist, they can deny most anything.

Honestly, these are the same laws that allowed humans to create nuclear weapons. Do you deny those exist? They are the laws that explain why the sun burns. Do you deny it burns? It is the basis for glow-in-the-dark numbers on clocks and watches (which are almost gone now, but very popular back in the day). Do you deny they existed? If not, then you cannot claim that the age of the earth being estimated in the billions is unknown. If you DO claim that the accepted age of the earth is not a fact, then you must reject the existance of those things I mentioned."

Dude...slow down... :-) I am not questioning the law of gravity or any other basic physical laws here in the least. Again, if we are saying that the evolutionary process needs to be understood to create a nuclear weapon or deal with a sunburn, we must agree to disagree. Basic physical laws do not have to be explained through the process of evolution. They can be observed and tested. The process of evolution can not be tested over billions of years, therefore, it is not a law. I might be the "doctor" if you equate law and the facts of the theory... :-)

Martino:
Where do I begin, my friend... :-)

"We are talking about the facts of evolution that is best explained by what we call the theories of evolution. This are usually put together as evolution. "

I could be lying to you. That could be a fact also. Please let's not just throw facts and theories around. Yes, there are "facts" in the theory of evolution. As a whole, it is a theory or group of theories. "They" did not give me line-item veto so I'm not going to go through all the alleged "facts" here. Besides, I'd still ike to think I have some of the good "doctor" in me! (You do have to laugh at yourself sometimes ;-) )

""Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them... And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered...Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world... In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms... Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory--natural selection--to explain the mechanism of evolution."

I agree with the above, for the most part. I do have real issues with the obvious complexity of the human "animal" and its next closest "evolved" animal. And who wold be the next closest evolved animal? And when will they be holding such delightful conversations over the World Wide Web? Probably in billions of years, right? ;-)

emu sam:
"Some people disbelieve in 10,000 gods. Some people disbelieve in 9,999 gods, but say there's something different about the last god, that makes them believe in it. The first group of people don't see the difference and object to legislation that tries to push that last god on them. They object because they don't believe in the last god. They ask what makes it different from the other 9,999 gods, which the second group agrees do not exist."

We do still have freedom of religion (technically, more freedom for the atheists) in this country, right? I do wonder what "push" means when it comes down to a religion really is? Outside of people showing up at your door (which happened to my wife while cooking a Thanksgiving meal! The JW's showed up with my kitchen practically in the doorway of our house! I guess to tell me that it was evil to celebrate Thanksgiving! How rich is that? But I digress... :-) ) I really believe this country turned the corner a long time ago on "pushing religion". I heard a story last night about an elementary school teacher who casually mentioned she had gone to "Sunday School". She was brought into the principal's office to explain because a student told their parent who told the principal. She was told to cease and desist. she said she would rather quit than stop. He backed down as he needs her there. I think some freedom of religion is gone in this country. so let's not worry about being "pushed" around...

"Not much life in the beginning of the universe by anyone's definition. (Most gods don't die, and so are not alive by the definition of life used by biologists.)"

Please do not generalize what "everyone" or "anyone" thinks. People certainly have a right to their own opinion, truth, fact, or not. You and I might both think they are insane to think it, but that is not our right to say that is what they think. Your theology is interesting, but I'm not sure how it is relavant. I understand what you are saying with the rest of that paragraph. I agree with the basic definitions of biology and physics.

"We didn't cover abiogenesis in any high school class, although I have written evidence that I used "primordial ooze" as a household word at that time, with some idea that it had to do with the formation of single-celled life forms from non-living material (I was very big on amoebas back then). But if we had covered it, it would certainly have been in biology. The origin of the universe and the origin of life, as understood by science, began about 8 billion years apart. There is no reason to connect them in most discussions. They have almost nothing to do with each other, except that there must be a universe in order for life to hae started."

Ok...if "primordial ooze" is used as a household word, you need to get a life! LOL! :-)

"as understood by science" I think you mean: "as understood by some (maybe most?) scientists". I certainly would not want to speak for "science" or even "scientists". I'm sure we would agree that on something closer to this: "as understood by some scientists, began about 8 billion years apart." I think it should be "believed" instead of "understood" but to each his own...

I won't disagree with the disconnect of the origin of life and matter but I won't agree with it either. I prefer my sandbox of thought over "facts" that can not be proved any day!

"One concept Alonzo reuses again and again in this blog is the idea that we have a moral obligation to try to make other people be moral in moral ways. The way to do this, since you are using words, is to counter with words of praise and condemnation. We have an obligation to condemn you in strong words if we feel you are acting immorally. Ridicule is one means of condemnation, and it can be a very effective one. You feel we are wrong to ridicule you, so you condemn us in strong terms. Maybe some day the circle of condemnation will be resolved, hopefully in a moral way. But condemning us for condemning you? That smacks of hypocrisy. I condemn it."

You may want to work on your definition of moral. I've never seen anyone use the term "ridicule" as a moral correction. There are societies that no longer exist that believed that "We have an obligation to condemn you in strong words if we feel you are acting immorally." Some of them religious, some of them not. I am not sure what happens to you during your day if you feel that strongly about condemming every action you see as "immoral". That is quite a passionate statement and you can see where the freedom of religion could use that to catastrophic degrees. I feel equally concerned that scientific minds using that moral high-ground too. A bit scary, isn't it?

"That smacks of hypocrisy." No, it does not. I did not condemn anyone for condemnation. I "condemned" for ridicule. Although I think the word condemnation is a tad strong for arguements on a thread. Maybe complained? However you want to see it...


I don't even have time to check ny errors in this...good luck all! :-)

Tina said...

I tend to believe in a mixture of creation and evolution. I won't go into detail of that.

Very well written. Usually when people are trying to counter a movie or a religion, they hit dirty shots and continue the lies that have been said already. Lines such as "mommys and daddy's heartfelt beliefs' blah blah.

Fantastic writing.

I am sick of documentarys anyway. They all lie and are full of themselves. the problem is that we as a public need that shock factor.

Having a Scientist come in and saying points for both sides wouldn't be as interesting.

I hate michael moore. I hate ben stein, except in ferris buellers day off.

Eneasz said...

Anon33:
Dude...slow down... :-) I am not questioning the law of gravity or any other basic physical laws here in the least.

You say this, and then you turn around and say that the estimated age of the world (or universe) being in the billions is untrue. The age of our world, and the universe at large, have been estimated directly from the basic physical laws. By saying that "billions of years is an unproven 'fact' " you are revealing your ignorance of what the basic physical laws are and how they are applied. You don't realize that saying "the age of the universe isn't billions of years" is equivilent to denying all the known basic physical laws (and by extension denying that our application of this knowledge has led to real results - a completely untenable position).

Your responses thus far to people pointing this out to you has been basically to say "nuh uh!" You obviously DO NOT CARE if you are actually right. If you did care, you would take the time to find out why you are right and others are wrong (and in the process would discover the truth, or at least some of it). The fact that you lack this desire is a gross failure on the part of your parents, your teachers, and society at large. And, of course, you are to blame as well. I can respect someone who simply happens to be wrong. I've been in that position myself a lot, and I'm sure I will be many more times in my life. I cannot respect someone who simply doesn't care. Nor will I continue to debate with someone who argues with the tactics of a six-year-old. Feel free to keep chatting with others, I'm done.

Emu Sam said...

Anon 33:

I am only replying to your direct response to me, realizing that I introduced far too many topics in my first post, and trying to keep it to a manageable level in this post. Also, to keep it shorter, I won't quote you (it's on the same page, after all).

Atheists do NOT have freedom of religion. We are discriminated against. If an atheist ran for president, he or she would not be elected if they were honest about their religious beliefs. The original topic of the post is about a movie that tries to draw direct emotional ties between atheism, evolution, and Nazism. In many states, school boards are trying to change laws and standards to teach Christian creationism - this is a way of legally pushing Christianity on non-Christians, both religious and non-religious. One court case today is on hearing whether "Under God" is constitutional. If the judge finds it is not, they can expect to receive death threats from "loving Christians." They can expect it, because in every other similar case, the judge has received death threats. "In God we trust," is on our currency. Well, I do not trust in any god. Most gods are portrayed as vicious killers that I would not trust even if I believed in them. I do not use currency if I can avoid it: I have checks and credit cards for most purposes.

All right, to avoid generalizing, I will be specific. In the Christian version, Genesis 1:1 - 2:3, the universe is created on the first day of the universe. There is no life until the fifth day. In the Scientific version, the universe begins 13.2 billon years ago. There is no life until about 4 billion years ago, over two thirds of the universe's existence with no life. Although there is a large difference in time scale, I stand by my statement that at the very begining of the universe, by both accounts, there was no life, unless you claim god was alive (in which case, he would have a birth and a death).

I accept that there are accounts in which there may be life at the very beginning, mostly involving mythologies where the universe itself is alive.

While I admit I probably didn't have a life in high school, the documented incident came about from trying to describe a failed cooking experiment involving pistachio pudding. I further point out that there are many ways a person could have a life and still be very interested in biology. To further discuss this, I'd like a definition of "a life" as used here (probably not biological, but maybe psychological, probably involving multiple activities including a number of social activites).

As understood by science, I do mean by most scientists, and as supported by the evidence. There is evidence for billions of years, and supporting evidence that suggests our means of measurement is accurate. Again, it has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt that billions of years are involved in the universe (about 13, by the best estimate), in the earth (4.5 billion), and life (4 billion). Beyond a reasonable doubt. Which means I am calling anyone who doubts the billions of years "unreasonable." From your statements, this includes you.

I do want to work on my definition of moral. I am by no means satisfied with it. You seem to be saying that, while condemnation is a useful tool, ridicule is an inappropriate form of condemnation. Do I have that right?

No, I don't condemn every action I see as immoral. I am far more likely to make excuses for other people who are being condemned or punished. Because this is a blog post, and you are using words, only words are appropriate to respond to you. So I would not advocate you being punished in any way other than words: verbal or written punishment would be condemnation, or the application of peer pressure to convince you to act in another way. I see what you mean, however, about condemning ridicule, one form of condemnation, as being immoral, and so I withdraw that specific condemnation of mine (and aren't these paragraphs I write about condemnation ridiculous? I obviously need new words to explain the concept. Re-reading, it just makes me laugh and laugh. It says what I want, but is so hard to get past "condemnation, condemn, condemn").

Balanced said...

I found the quote from Gould, (I am assuming Stephen J. Gould, now deceased), very interesting.
Quote: {In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms...}

It is “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent” that life comes only from life. Yet Gould believed and other evolutionists must believe something to the contrary. How does spontaneous generation (abiogenesis) merit time in any science classroom?

It is “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent” that every living thing reproduces after its own kind. Yet Gould believed and other evolutionists must believe something to the contrary. How can anything to the contrary merit time in any science classroom?

They are in essence saying, “We know what the facts are but we choose to ignore them”. How is that for scientific integrity?

Subedai said...

I did not read the whole post. I will freely admit that. I started and it quickly became the typical Atheist offering. First the lie (not arguing about the science of it), then the religious offering (science is holy and thus beyond reproach).

Here is the problem. Science is based on assumption, always. At the edge of reason there is only assumption. Yes, regressive, stupid people cannot know this. But it is nonetheless a fact. And all that occurs between the consumer of science and that assumption is merely justification. Yes, science works. For that which it does, it does it best. But, the problem is that it isn’t factually explaining anything. It is only predicting things. And the accuracy of one set of predictions in no way implies accuracy to other sets. Thus, that you can calculate the trajectory and escape velocity of the space shuttle in no way implies that you can calculate the necessary mechanisms for life. And, to reiterate, prediction is not explanation. Thug, king of the cave guys said that the Snowbirds brought the snows. And guess what, he was right every year. Except for one thing, the Snowbirds did not ‘bring’ the snow. Understand?

Joel.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at hyperbole of some of the comments, not to mention the personal attacks (only regressive people...).

I have to say the column would have been more compelling if it had not begun with "I have not seen the movie" followed by the inevitable "but" as in "I'm going to comment on it any way" followed by "if what I have heard is true..."

I grew up in the South in the 1960's. I heard a lot of derogatory things about black people. Imagine if I were to have written something to the effect of "I do not know any black people but if what I've heard is true then all black people are lazy... (you know the racist drivel)" and yet here at Atheist Ethicist you take the same approach.

I had hoped for open minded dialog from both side of the aisle but I am profoundly dissappointed by the use of the word "ethicist" and the clear bigotry self-exposed by the fact you are going to comment on something you haven't seen. Perhaps you had WASP relatives in Selma and are a 21st century throw back to that kind of thinking methodology applied to education instead of race.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at hyperbole of some of the comments, not to mention the personal attacks (only regressive people...).

I have to say the column would have been more compelling if it had not begun with "I have not seen the movie" followed by the inevitable "but" as in "I'm going to comment on it any way" followed by "if what I have heard is true..."

I grew up in the South in the 1960's. I heard a lot of derogatory things about black people. Imagine if I were to have written something to the effect of "I do not know any black people but if what I've heard is true then all black people are lazy... (you know the racist drivel)" and yet here at Atheist Ethicist you take the same approach.

I had hoped for open minded dialog from both side of the aisle but I am profoundly dissappointed by the use of the word "ethicist" and the clear bigotry self-exposed by the fact you are going to comment on something you haven't seen. Perhaps you had WASP relatives in Selma and are a 21st century throw back to that kind of thinking methodology applied to education instead of race.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

Yet, as it turns out, the information that I had about the movie "Expelled" was true. People who have now seen the movie have indeed reported that it attempts to make a case for including "Intelligent Design" in the science classroom as a matter of freedom of speech. And, as such, my arguments do apply.

In addition, the charge that "the move 'Expelled' will attempt to make a case for including intelligent design in science classes as a matter of freedom of speech" is hardly a derogatory statement - quite unlike "blacks are lazy".

Mine was a neutral statement that I used to discuss a moral issue. The fact that there are people who make derogatory assumptions about others does not in any way have any relevance to this post.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to talk about proven theories, perhaps you should check your research again. Evolution is, after all, just a theory. Unless you are capable of proving that we did, indeed, evolve from apes. In which case, I would ask you to explain to me why apes still exist when we are obviously "superior." Or the Coelecanth, for that matter. Believed dead for millions of years, the victim of evolution. And then it's not... Of course, scientists attempted to incorporate that into evolution, basically saying that sometimes species are so good that they don't ...get...better...? Kind of goes against evolution, but that's all right because at least it doesn't demand a belief in God. Now that would be hard to prove. But if evolution can't explain something, it will create another theory to explain it. And if that new theory comes under question, another new one is created to answer to the exceptions. For science created the earth, and we would do well to worship it.

JimN said...

With 12 years of Academic studys under your belt, I can understand your expaination clearly.
Replace any theroy you want using your method,Religion, Darwinism, and your favorite Marxisim or any other theroy up and including Al Gore's Man Made Global Warming

Which side of "survial of the fittest" do you place yourself.
Bottom line the fittest does not mean the one with the most education. Look at 1939 Germany.


"These effects are real. You have made the world a worse place than it would have otherwise been, and some will pay with their lives. Hopefully, they (or those who survive them) will at least have the wisdom to know who is responsible for their situation."

What does that give you in the end.

martino said...

Hi Balanced

I think you are responding my Gould quote. Regardless anyone who understands this could respond as I do.


It is “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent” that life comes only from life. Yet Gould believed and other evolutionists must believe something to the contrary. How does spontaneous generation (abiogenesis) merit time in any science classroom?
First recognizing that all we have current evidence for is that life comes from life does not mean we cannot use all relevant empirical knowledge - including facts - to investigate the origin of life.

It is a perfectly valid question to ask, how did life start. I do not think Gould investigated or was interested in this topics, it is not the task of evolutionary biologists to answer but specialists abiogenesis researchers. Regardless whether he was or was not interested does not alter or contradict one iota the statement on facts that he made and its validity.

These researchers employ the best data from not only evolutionary theory - which can show what the earliest forms of life that need to be explained - and so their challenge is to get from physics and chemistry to this level of biology. There are a number of models here and the challenge is to find the ones best consistent with all the evidence - that is all the facts as in Gould's definition at the very least.. If someone proposes an abiogenetic theory that contradicts other such facts, there is an extra burden of proof on them is to justify this. AFAIK none of the recognized leaders int his field do this. Still this is an ongoing challenge as are many interesting topics in science, indeed that is what makes science interesting to me, what we can still discover. We can certainly conclude that most of these models are already better than "god did it" which adds nothing to resolving this question.


How can anything to the contrary merit time in any science classroom?
If children are interested and it is useful for them to engage and be interested in science it is a good topic as it shows what can be done to discover events that occurred over 4 billion years ago. None are or would be presented as law, as that is not their status.. yet. What is unacceptable is to present non-scientific theories as science, which is what you seem to want to do. There is no excuse for this.

They are in essence saying, “We know what the facts are but we choose to ignore them”. How is that for scientific integrity?
Given the above I hope you can see that this conclusion is false.

martino said...

Hi Joel

I did not read the whole post. I will freely admit that. I started and it quickly became the typical Atheist offering. First the lie (not arguing about the science of it), then the religious offering (science is holy and thus beyond reproach).
You must have been reading a different post but this shows your biases :-)


Here is the problem. Science is based on assumption, always.
To the degree that anything is based on assumption, only science looks at reducing the necessary assumptions to the barest minimum. Religion, by contrast, is mostly unconcerned with the amount of assumptions invoked and unjustified, it is more focused on answers than questions. Science is focused more on asking the best questions possible and so doing seeks to eliminate any unjustified assumption wherever they occur. So your posit is either trivially true or substantively false in describing science. Since it is the latter that you invoke below then this is an unsound assumption ;-)

At the edge of reason there is only assumption.
First, you might have done this accidentally but do not switch to ungrounded reason from the empirical inquiry called science. That is an illicit move. I assume you are still referring to science.

And in answer to your assertion it is false.At the edge of empirical inquiry are more or less plausible extensions. The plausibility determined by the internal coherence with what is already known and that, in turn, is externally empirically grounded in reality. The more implausible the less the coherence and the more the burden of proof is on the claimant.

But it is nonetheless a fact.
False.

And all that occurs between the consumer of science and that assumption is merely justification.
Answered above re plausibility.

Yes, science works. For that which it does, it does it best. But, the problem is that it isn’t factually explaining anything.
Weird phrasing here. As far as I see it, yes, in terms of Gould's quote, it does. It make empirically testable predictions that are sometimes incredibly accurate as is quantum mechanics. It discovers facts that we would have otherwise been completely unaware and demonstrates their existence in reality.

It is only predicting things.
No not only.

And the accuracy of one set of predictions in no way implies accuracy to other sets. Thus, that you can calculate the trajectory and escape velocity of the space shuttle in no way implies that you can calculate the necessary mechanisms for life.
No since science shares a coherent set of tools covering eliminating errors and minimizing mistakes across its domains.

And, to reiterate, prediction is not explanation.
I know of no scientist who claims it is. This is a strawman. Prediction is a test of an explanation. Given two explanations one of which makes successful predictions and the other fails or does not even attempt to, the former is more empirically justified. End of story.

Thug, king of the cave guys said that the Snowbirds brought the snows. And guess what, he was right every year. Except for one thing, the Snowbirds did not ‘bring’ the snow. Understand?
Well I understand this has nothing to do with what you just wrote. Do you?

He made the mistake of confusing correlation with causation, this invalidates this as a scientific claim. It generates a testable hypothesis where his claim would be falsified.

martino said...

Hi Jimn

Replace any theroy you want using your method,Religion, Darwinism, and your favorite Marxisim or any other theroy up and including Al Gore's Man Made Global Warming
No not all these work with Alonzo's method. you figure it out :-)

Which side of "survial of the fittest" do you place yourself.
Bottom line the fittest does not mean the one with the most education. Look at 1939 Germany.

The world has gone wrong plenty of times, no-one argues that. An odd example and amusing given the "Positive Chritianity" basis of Nazi philosophy, don't you think?


Alozno said:"These effects are real. You have made the world a worse place than it would have otherwise been, and some will pay with their lives. Hopefully, they (or those who survive them) will at least have the wisdom to know who is responsible for their situation."

What does that give you in the end.
Duh! A world were more people suffer and die than need to and hopefully where we can see the avoidable sources of this and defend against them in the future? Well that is exactly what Alonzo implied. Why would you not want to avoid this as Alonzo suggests? You do not care about the world and the lives it contains is one plausible answer :-)

Anonymous said...

I know I am really late to this dialog and no one may ever read this comment. I have to say at least this thread is a respectful debate, unlike the many hate filled rants against ID I found on Ben Stein's blog. Other than the leading poster assertion that Mr. Stein, and people who share his belief are irrational, this has been an interesting read.

Clearly the major flaw in the original author's assertion is in stating that ID and Creationism would harm people by impeding scientific research and discovery. While I am sure there are some ID proponents, or Creationists, that would claim that science is evil, they are naive and do not represent the community of faith at large. We are, in fact, quite rational by the definition.

The second major flaw is a common one. The human tendency to over generalize that all people who share some common ideas, thoughts or beliefs are the same. Not all people of faith believe that God sends hurricanes to punish the "evil". In fact, I think if you ask most Christians (I use Christians because the authors references were clearly referencing statements made post Katrina by Pat Robertson) they would denounce such statements as not being of sound doctrine or theology. The author also assumes that all people of faith are "Theocrats". This is also a poor assumption. We have seen that men are imperfect, and even men of supposed religious stature, and that great evils have been committed in the name of God for the purposes of furthering personal political power. This is not unique to Christianity by any stretch.

The real objection of people of faith today is that it seems the pendulum has swung to far in the direction of interpreting freedom of religion as freedom from religion. Intelligent Design may not pan out in scientific terms, but it should be given the opportunity to be shown for what it is or is not. We have more laws being passed that restrict our freedoms than those that expand them, and whether you will admit it or not (as I have admitted we have had many people do and say many things in the name of God which simply are not true or right) that people of faith, and particularly the Christian and Jewish faith are more frequently becoming the object of persecution, discrimination and ridicule. If you are correct you have nothing to fear...and science will not be outlawed by reigning theocrats.

Thanks again for the respectful debate on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe some of the ignorant slanderous pap on this website. Is there anyone here who has heard of Quantum Mechanics or to be more specific M theory? I'm talking about Physics here people. Physicists are realizing that M theory is correct and that modern physics is mathematically proving the existence of 11 dimensions. This means that there is more to our universe than what are senses are exposed too. I know you guys only believe I what your senses notice. So things like smelly terds, pretty flowers, your SUV and material goods are all you believe in. But the mere fact the multiple dimensions exist and that they can potentially occupy the exact same space means that the potential for a spiritual realm or any other unseen being existing is relevant. Now who is unscientific?

I’ve read the ignorant statements about believers of intelligent design, I have to assume that most of your views are so utterly uneducated about, lets say Christians, that I see why you are so biased. My father is a doctor and a corner, my uncle is a scientist and they are both strong believers of God. ID does not imply that evolution did not exist it just says that there is a grand design to the universe. I though that free speech exists in the world of science? Not on this webpage.

Get a Clue!!!

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

I did not say that ID or creationism will harm people by impeding science.

I said that calling ID or creationism 'science' and requiring that it be taught in scinece as if it were a scientific theory would impede science. ID or creationism, properly understood as something distinct and separate from science, in itself, is not likely to be harmful.

Also, I did not say that all Christians believe that we can control hurricanes by passing laws against abortion. I know that such a statement would not be true.

However, intelligent design is as far removed from science as the theory that there is an intelligent disign behind the movement of hurricanes (and that this intelligent design behind the movement of hurricane is meant to punish communities that tolerate mythical sins).

I also do not believe that all people of faith are "Theocrats." Such a claim would also not be true. However, there are people of faith who are theocrats who think that we need laws against abortion, homosexuality, and the like because they will control the effectiveness of terrorist attacks.

If you were to read through this blog (which, I know, is an impossible amount to read), you would discover that one of my most prominent themes is the wrong of overgeneralizing. I am not shy about criticizing other atheists when they make an invalid inference from what some religious people do to religious people in general. And I do not mince my words - using the words 'bigot' and 'hypocrite' when appropriate - even against other atheists.

This charge of overgeneralization is something you read into my post, which you would not find there on a more careful reading. I invite you to try it again, and where you might think "all people of faith are X do Y", interpret it as saying, "those people of faith who are X, do Y."

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Other anonymous

Intelligent design is incompatible with evolution. If it were not incompatible then the advocates of intelligent design are being quite inconsistent in complaining about the theory of evolution.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

The claim that it is dangerous to count intelligent design as science can stated this way:

How would you use intelligent design to determine a better treatment for Malaria or AIDS?

What insight does intelligent design give us in coming up with a cure for cancer or alzheimsers?

How can a research scientist employ intelligent design theory to come up with a type of wheat that can better resist drought, pests, or disease?

How does intelligent design theory help us to determine whether a particular chemical we are putting into our air or water or our food supply is poisonous or beneficial?

The fact is, it can do none of these things - nor can it do anything even remotely like these things.

Science, on the other hand, does provide us with ways to cure and prevent disease, and feed the starving. It has worked miracles when it comes to preserving and protecting life. Indeed, neither my wife nor I would be alive today if not this technique we call 'science'.

People who do not understand what science is want to use the science classroom as an opportunity to advertise their favorite church to other peoples' children at government expense.

That's not what science classes are for.

Anonymous said...

As ethical atheists we should ignore this movie, deny it the publicity it so desperately seeks. Ben Stein is a hollywood nobody attempting, for the umpteenth time, to give himself pop relevance. Seriously, it's not worth arguing with staunch Christians.

martino said...

Anonymous

I though that free speech exists in the world of science? Not on this webpage.
The mere fact that you were able to post what you did, contradicts your assertion.

Get a Clue!!

Balanced said...

MARTINO,

If we are going to have a discussion about these matters we need to be honest enough to answer questions that are asked. I have asked several questions you have ignored. Why, I do not know. I could surmise but I won’t. If you would like for me go back and ask once again those questions that you chose to ignore let me know. We can make some progress

I will be glad to answer any questions you ask of me. If I don’t know, I’ll say I don’t know.

Let me ask this question. What non-scientific theories have I suggested that should not be allowed in the classroom? I will be glad to answer any questions you ask of me.

ELONZO,

You continue to state the ID is not science. Let me once again ask this question. Why is the subject of intelligent design NOT in the realm of science?

Intelligent design is an effort to answer HOW things got here; including the physical and biological laws that exist, not what should we do with these things after they get here. Experimenting and testing within these laws to discover treatments, cures, etc. is simply another part of the many fields of science. These laws are constant and orderly, without which, science would not be beneficial. Tests could not be done, cures could not be found, etc.

The so-called “big bang” is in the same category as ID in that both are suggestions as to HOW things got here, yet it is in the science classroom. Why one and not the other?

To any concerned: I have not mentioned God, god, gods, churches or the Bible. I, for the moment, am affirming that some entity or entities that possess INTELLIGENCE brought about this universe, including this earth and the human life on it. Going beyond this may be useful later, but for now that is what I am affirming.

Anonymous said...

this is the most illogical debate ever... all of which is stupid and irrelevant... i have accomplished more eatting acid... I am not going to state my theory on either... nobody can prove what created the universe... thats when faith takes over... faith is believing in something you can't prove... hmmm science... now if anybody can prove the exact origins of life and the universe i'm listening otherwise your better off eating some hallucinagens and letting your imagination run wild... grow up people and be rational and stop thinking a movie is going to be the end of your world... Its f-ing america... freedom to believe in what you want and practice whatever forms of science you want... D**n its great to be an american

martino said...

Hi Balanced

I re-read your penultimate post, my response to that and your most recent post. I did answer your questions but only on re-reading penultimate post I responded did I notice some errors in your questions. I had had read them charitably and so assume they were insignificant errors but your last post implies otherwise. So lets highlight them here.

It is “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent” that life comes only from life.
No your inference is incorrect it is not "only life comes from life" - just that "life comes from life" without "only".

Your other mistake was that
t is “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent” that every living thing reproduces after its own kind. (I missed this the first time I just thought it was a cut and paste error). No this is incorrect, there is no such thing as "kind" as you required or implied here. There are a number of different species concepts and they can classify species the same of different depending on which one is applied. It is better to look at this in terms of populations of individuals and ignore the idea of species.

Given the clarifications of the above my previous answer to your question still stand. If you disagree please present an argument as to what the basis of your disagreement is.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

General announcement:

I just want to remind the readers that the merits or demerits of Intelligent Design is a different question from the question I wrote my post on.

Which was, "What is going to be the standard for deciding what gets taught in a science class? Are we going to make political and social bullying the new standard by which scientific theories are evaluated?"

Alonzo Fyfe said...

General Announcement 2

Also, there is a related question, is it the case that "freedom of speech" means a right to teach whatever one wants to teach - whatever one can get political backing for - in a public school?

Balanced said...

Martino,

I must confess I am hesitant to ask any questions. You didn’t even answer the question contained in my last post let alone the others. That questions was, “What non-scientific theories have I suggested that should not be allowed in the classroom?”

Are you saying that it would NOT be perverse to hold provisional consent that life comes ONLY from life? Do you know of any exception to that? There are evolutionary biologists attempting to “create” life in the laboratory. Here is the picture: Evolutionary biologists, who are INTELLIGENT beings, are trying to get the right mixture of certain substances together in the same place at the same time and under necessary conditions wherein “life” will come into being and the failure continues. But you want me to believe that NON-intelligence accidentally, by mere chance, brought the right NON-living matter together at the same time in the same place under just the right conditions and all of a sudden….life!

Back on April 2nd & 3rd my posts contained some questions you have yet to address. You wrote of intelligence being ELIMINATED as the outcome of something, e.g. the stellar process. I asked you what would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence? You did NOT answer. Please do so in your next reply. Eneasz answered (April 3rd), but I do not think you want to accept the implications of his answer. If you do, see my next questions on April 3rd to him.

You don’t like the word “kind”? You choose the word or classification. It is a biological FACT that humans reproduce ONLY humans, dogs reproduce ONLY dogs, horses reproduce ONLY horses. Etc. That is what I am affirming. “Things” (call them what you want, classify them as you wish), reproduce what they are, not something that they are not. QUESTION : Has the proceeding been confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent?

Your position demands belief that something NON-human was transformed into that which was human OR something NON-human gave birth to that which was human. Biology demands that those choices be rejected. If not, why not?

martino said...

Hi Balanced

I must confess I am hesitant to ask any questions. You didn’t even answer the question contained in my last post let alone the others. I have given you answers to all your questions bar one I will answer now and one already answered by Eneasz. You may not like my answers but do not tell me I have not done so.

That questions was, “What non-scientific theories have I suggested that should not be allowed in the classroom?”
This is a very odd and vague question which is why it did not warrant an answer before. But here is one. The only way to answer it is to say that relevant non-scientific theories can be taught within the relevant non-scientific subjects in classes.

Are you saying that it would NOT be perverse to hold provisional consent that life comes ONLY from life?Yes and logic dictates this. Whether life came from natural or non-natural process, some process was involved and so logic dictates that it came from somewhere. What possible data could establish the fact that life just existed without some non-life origin? The argument over natural versus non-natural processes has already been presented.


Do you know of any exception to that?
To what?

There are evolutionary biologists attempting to “create” life in the laboratory. Here is the picture: Evolutionary biologists, who are INTELLIGENT beings, are trying to get the right mixture of certain substances together in the same place at the same time and under necessary conditions wherein “life” will come into being and the failure continues.
The intelligence of the researchers is controlled for in such experiments so as not to be a constitutive factor. This standard for any such experiment in physics, chemistry and so on.Indeed the subtle influences of the experimenter is the subject of extensive scientific research in it own right, to ensure and detect that the results are not contaminated by researcher bias.

But you want me to believe that NON-intelligence accidentally, by mere chance, brought the right NON-living matter together at the same time in the same place under just the right conditions and all of a sudden….life!
No not by chance. If any of the current theories are correct or close to it, given the size of this universe it looks nearly inevitable that life would have evolved elsewhere under suitable conditions. It might be a very long time before we could test and confirm this (whenever we get to the stars) or maybe sooner using gaia-hypothesis like methods of detecting life driven chemical dis-equilibrium in remote planets atmospheres. This is new work in progress, that is all.

Back on April 2nd & 3rd my posts contained some questions you have yet to address. I have not time to search through the backlog here. If you want to ask me a question ask it again, I recall that Eneasz answered it and there was nothing more needed.

You don’t like the word “kind”? Not me look at any standard evolutionary biology text.
You choose the word or classification. I did "population" but it does not have the same meaning as "kind".

It is a biological FACT that humans reproduce ONLY humans, dogs reproduce ONLY dogs, horses reproduce ONLY horses.Yes and no. Yes on our common sense, practical level which experience an incredibly minuscule and frozen snapshot of the whole of evolutionary history. We could say, metaphorically, that in evolutionary time that species are not fixed but flow from one to another - these are the theories of common descent, speciation and gradualism updated with molecular and evolutionary genetics.

It is simpler to understand this as all about individuals in populations the the change in frequency of alleles of generational time is tracked.

Etc. That is what I am affirming. “Things” (call them what you want, classify them as you wish), reproduce what they are, not something that they are not.
No biological reproduction does not work this way. You need to understand genotypes and phenotypes. Look it up.

QUESTION : Has the proceeding been confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent?
Huh? If you are referring to what you have written (and bearing in mind my context answers) then clearly no.

Your position demands belief that something NON-human was transformed into that which was human OR something NON-human gave birth to that which was human.
Duh! Gradualism, one step at a time, no big issue here. Not transformed, evolved. Humans and apes come from a common ancestor.

Biology demands that those choices be rejected. If not, why not?
Not sure what choices you are talking about. If they are your assertions above I believe I have adequately answered them.

Your questions above indicate that you do not seem to display the remotest understanding of biology I suggest you look it up, take a course or buy a book. This is not a biology blog. You can go and ask these questions at, say, Panda's Thumb or better still just read http://www.talkorigins.org/ which is a very good online reference on all your questions.

Bayani said...

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=ben-steins-expelled-review-michael-shermer

I recently had a chance to screen this movie Expelled and also found this article from Scientific American reviewing Expelled in what I felt was a measured, objective manner. While I'm currently awaiting for responses to my inquiries to verify the reviewer's comments (such as the Stein's lecture audience being comprised of mostly paid extra), there is some semblance that this film was for the most part, fear-mongering. I was very disappointed, given that I have enjoyed Stein's past work.

Emu Sam said...

Balanced,

What non-scientific theories have I suggested that should not be allowed in the classroom?

I didn't go back up to search, and there were a lot of different anonymous's at one time. Intelligent Design is a non-scientific theory that should not be allowed in the classroom. I don't know if you suggested this.

Are you saying that it would NOT be perverse to hold provisional consent that life comes ONLY from life?

I do not agree that life comes only from life. There was a time when there was no life on earth. (This can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.) Now there is life. Something happened - whether a mystical intelligence inserted life into the universe or a melange of amino acids bumped together in a self-replicating arrangement - to start life from no-life. Biblical literalists say Adam came from dust. That would be a form of abiogenesis.

I asked you what would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence?

I have no idea what would prove intelligence to me. Some sort of cosmic Turing test needs to be developed, and before we encounter extraterrestrial intelligence that we might mistake for something else.

You don’t like the word “kind”?

People who don't like the word 'kind' consider it to be imprecise. Any classification can be a kind. Usually when biologists talk about a species barrier, they refer to one kind of animal that cannot breed with another. There are also kinds of animals with or without vertebrae, or kinds of living things with or without chlorophyll.

“Things” (call them what you want, classify them as you wish), reproduce what they are, not something that they are not. QUESTION : Has the proceeding been confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent?

My father and mother did not produce another father and mother. They produced me and my sister. I expect that, through mutation and natural selection over the course of a few hundred or thousand generations, one of my descendents will not be of a kind capable of breeding with my parents (or me). They'll be a different kind of ape, but still an ape. It'l take a few more generations before the accumulated generations are non-ape-like. So, no, your statement has not been confirmed, and I withold my provisional consent.

If not, why not?

At no point was there an animal that could not breed with an animal like their parents. However, it has taken as few as twenty generations in experiments to produce an animal that could not reproduce with its great-great-great-etc. grandparents. Yes, probably intelligently designed experiments, not natural selection, but that doesn't mean that it could notbr/>
I tried to hit all the sentences that ended with a question mark from one post. Let me know if I missed any.

Alonzo et al,

Back to the subject of the post. What should be the standard for deciding what gets taught in science class: Scientists, mob rule, or another source that we aren't arguing about yet? At the moment, state educational boards and school boards decide. They are either elected or appointed by elected officials. What if they make a mistake and tell teachers to teach something that the teachers know is false? Well, an honest board member would listen when informed of the error, and fix it. Are there any less emotionally charged issues we could use to discuss the issue? Intelligent design is a hot word these days. What if a school board decreed that schools should teach that the sun moves around the earth, when anyone with a telescope can find evidence that the earth moves around the sun?

Balanced said...

Martino,

I say you have not answered my questions because you have not. Any unbiased observer can see that. You claim my one question is “odd and vague”, but Amu Sam understood it, although he is wrong about his contention concerning intelligent design being non-scientific.

What NON-scientific theories are you referring to that should be kept within non-scientific subjects in classes?

I’m glad you acknowledge the possibility of a NON-natural process for the origin of life. You ask, “What possible data could establish the fact that life just existed without some non-life origin?” If the existence of intelligence can be proven, that intelligence cannot be separated from the existence of some entity or being. It would be from that being or entity that possess life that life came. If that being or entity was eternal that would answer all of our questions about the origin of life on this planet. This is the whole reason for discussing INTELLIGENT design. None of these possibilities are unreasonable. Since the natural is ruled out by established scientific laws, the only alternative is NON-natural, or to put in another way, supernatural.

You ask, “To what”? My question was, “Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life? Unless you can present another option the word “only” is appropriate.

You wrote, “The intelligence of the researchers is controlled for in such experiments so as not to be a constitutive factor.” How can they not be a “constitutive factor” when what they are doing is absolutely essential, at least in this type of experiment, for the possible success of the experiment itself? It is the researchers that must get the right matter together in the same place at the same time under suitable conditions. If that could just accidentally, by chance, happen the researchers would just throw everything into the laboratory, shut the door and wait.

You wrote, “…it looks nearly inevitable that life would have evolved elsewhere under suitable conditions…”. The question I asked was NOT about “life EVOLVING under suitable conditions”, but rather the ORIGINATION of life from NON-living matter, i.e. not what supposedly happened to life after it got here, but HOW it got here. Above I have given the most reasonable explanation given all the available evidence. If you choose to ignore it that is your business.

About not wanting to answer past questions I have asked you; Let me say the posts are dated and named. How hard could it be to scroll up and locate it? I even told you where to look. But if I must once again ask the questions I will.

In regard to testing intelligence YOU WROTE, “…it is not intelligence that can be directly tested but the search for evidence that must be shown to be the outcome of some "intelligent" process…”. I ASKED YOU, “Can you give me an example of what this “evidence” would have to be "to be the outcome of some intelligent process”? YOU WROTE, “SETI covers this”. As I told Eneasz, “SETI is searching for the entity by searching for evidence of intelligence. If they can establish the existence of intelligence then they have proven the existence of the entity.” I ASKED YOU, “What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence? Eneasz gave an answer to the question. I NOW ASK YOU THE SAME QUESTION.

You first assume evolution and then talk about “our common sense, practical level which experience an incredibly minuscule and frozen snapshot of the whole of evolutionary history”. You assume what you must first prove. There is no reason to go beyond “our common sense, practical level” except to try to advance a theory called evolution.

You state “humans and apes come from a common ancestor” as if you have actual video evidence showing it. You choose to ignore established scientific laws in order hold onto the theory of evolution. Give me an example of a “thing” that reproduces and the result of that reproduction is something not like the “thing” that produced it.

I look forward to your answers.

Anonymous said...

After reading several of the exchanges, I think there's only one solution to the unfortunate stand-off between those who think that Nature is governed by discernible, testable forces (physicists, chemists, engineers, physicians, biologists, etc.) and those want to dismiss centuries of science because they BELIEVE it somehow threatens their concepts of divine creation. Actually, I BELIEVE that there's no way that anyone can prove or disprove whether there was or wasn't a divine creator - the question will always remain an untestable hypothesis. But I won't insist anyone else share my Belief. Belief is the basis of faith, faith is not science.
So, here's the solution: Will everyone wanting to deny the tested and reviewed findings of science please return to the 17th Century? Do not stop at the Enlightenment. Those wanting to continue to explore, question, make errors, correct errors and move on - please stay seated and try to think critically. The Unified Field Theory may or may not be your reward.

Ben Stein's problem seems to stem from two factors: 1) an absence of a good classic education early in life which made him vulnerable to being influenced when inundated late in life by erroneous information from the producers of "Expelled;" and, 2) a tragic tendency to argue from the specific to the general - as he does by citing the Nazis' perverted use of "Darwinism" to justify their crimes. (By Stein's logic, he should never listen to a Wagnerian opera because the Nazis hijacked that music, also.)

Drawing general conclusions from isolated examples is the shared flaw of those who claim that Intelligent Design deserves to share the same stage as science rigorously reviewed. And they just can't stand being presented with facts that have been tested over and over... (I was very impressed by the claims that rates radioactive decay cannot be counted on - without a shread of evidence, mind you - and that fossils can't be trusted, either. One has to laugh at such notions.)

So, get aboard, y'all -- the space/time continuum train is now leaving for the 17th Century from the far-right platform!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I couldn't read more than a few paragraphs because of the incorrect grammar. Somehow its hard for me to imagine that flawed grammar doesn't also lead to flawed logic.

robot_pi said...

Here is the problem: Evolution is taught as a fact. That is, there is no room for debate.

But a fact must be testable. The fundamental premise of evolution theory has not yet been tested. That is, no scientist has created life from a combination of elements, chemicals, and energy.

Anyone who states that evolution theory is a fact is simply ignorant of the scientific method or lying.

Produce life from matter and energy; then evolution theory becomes a fact. Until then -- it is faith.

BTW, I am not a defender of creationism. I have advanced degrees in physics and engineering. I just don't like dogma...no matter who is spewing it…

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

If your theory is valid, then you should have no trouble providing an example of flawed grammar leading to flawed logic.

Otherwise, I suspect you were simply looking for the first excuse you could find - sensible or non - to stop reading.

robot_pi

Evolutionary theory has nothing to do with "producing life from matter and energy". Evolutionary theory has to do with changes in life over time - the study of things already living.

Your statement is like saying that evolutionary theory needs to be rejected because it cannot explain how planets formed - or some other equally irrelevant fact of nature.

Indeed, bringing up something as irrelevant to the theory of evolution as how matter and energy created life simply shows how little you know about evolution.

Anonymous said...

To Robot Pi: Actually, evolutionary biologists 50 years ago and more recently have created what might be the precursors of earliest life by replicating estimated primordial atmospheric conditions in the lab, complete with lightning as the energy source, and produced amino acids - the building blocks of organic life. You can look it up by Googling "Origin of Life" if you haven't been fortunate to take a college-level class by the same name.

Does that mean that the origin of life has been completely figured out? Not in the least, and it may never be. The earliest fossils so far found, dating back 3.5 B. years, are artifacts of bacteria-like life - hard, fossilizable parts didn't take form until a billion or so years later.

There is much about evolution that will remain subject to speculation and will dwell within the realm of mystery. Among the great unknowns is the origin of mytochondria - those wonderful little organelles which convert chemicals to energy and without which life on Earth would be impossible. If we're looking for a God to worship, there's a great candidate.

Juani said...

Okay, so your theory may have an analogy like this. A tornado rips through a junkyard and leaves behind a Boeing 747. And your atheistic diatribe won't leave any lasting affect on society at all. We like God, do you?

Juani

Emu Sam said...

. . . Amu Sam understood it, although he is wrong about his contention concerning intelligent design being non-scientific.

What experiments can be done using intelligent design? How can intelligent design be proven false? These are necessary for it to be science.

Since the natural is ruled out by established scientific laws, the only alternative is NON-natural, or to put in another way, supernatural.

How is the natural ruled out?

[Martino] wrote, “The intelligence of the researchers is controlled for in such experiments so as not to be a constitutive factor.” How can they not be a “constitutive factor” when what they are doing is absolutely essential, at least in this type of experiment, for the possible success of the experiment itself?

When boiling water on a stove, could you not reasonably assume that the change from liquid water to water vapor might be similar the reaction water undergoes when hitting molten lava? There are ways of adjusting for the interference of mankind, and there are ways in which it does not matter. Some experiments that we run involve setting up a circumstance that resembles life on earth four billion years ago in a number of ways, and then letting it run, observing what happens. Then we make small adjustments and run it again. At some point, namely the beginning of the observational phase, human interference can stop. We're no longer intelligently affecting the system, but simply observing.

. . .the ORIGINATION of life from NON-living matter, i.e. not what supposedly happened to life after it got here, but HOW it got here. Above I have given the most reasonable explanation given all the available evidence.

The available evidence suggests that over time (about 2 billion years), the trilions of atoms in oceans of nutrient-rich sludge banged into each other trillions of times each until some stuck together in rather simple proteins that could create more just like them.

The math: if the sludge is roughly equivalent to water, there are 6.02214 x 10^23 molecules of water in every 18.016 grams of water. There are about 1.46 x 10^18 grams of water covering the earth. This means 4.88 x 10^40 molecules banging into each other. So obviously I'm using "trillions" poetically instead of exactly in the previous paragraph. More accurate would be "thousand trillion trillion trillion trillions." As for the number of bangs, the closest I could find was 10^14 per second per molecule. When experimenting with different nutrient-rich sludges at different temperatures, YMMV. (All numbers from the ever-so-"reliable" Wikipedia.)

How hard could it be to scroll up and locate it?

Were you posting as an anonymous at the time? This thread is now 148 screens long. There are more postings by one anon or another than I cared to count, much less read through, at this time. I couldn't even find the question Martino was replying to that prompted this comment, and I'm sure it was fewer than ten comments back.

I think the question you're actually asking next is one I already answered: I don't know what would prove intelligence to me, and a means of testing it needs to be developed. Part of the proof would probably be a willingness to undertake the test - otherwise we'd either have to force the intelligence to do something it doesn't want, thus alienating it, or never get our proof. Use of tools would be good. Language or other means of communicating on par with language. Having clear goals and a sensible way of achieving them.

You assume what you must first prove.

I was under the impression that evolution has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Numbers of peer-reviewed articles is a way to tell. The challenges that evolution has stood up to. The number of opportunities for falsification that test it but fail to prove it false. The many scientists who know they would be set for life if they could come up with a reasonable alternative. And I know doctors and pharmaceutical companies would love to have a theory that explains how new life forms come into being even better. They would rake in the money.

You choose to ignore established scientific laws in order hold onto the theory of evolution.

What established scientific laws are we ignoring? Science upholds evolution again and again.

You state “humans and apes come from a common ancestor” as if you have actual video evidence showing it.

I'm a bit more different from my grandparents than my parents, and from my great-grandparents than my grandparents, and I have photographic evidence to prove that. Add on a few more generations, and I have ancestors who most observers would recognize as coming from a different continent than they would think I came from. You'd never guess we were so closely related. Add on a few more (well, a lot more) and who knew! Two different species, biologically incapable of reproducing. The little changes in our reproductive systems added up until they were incompatible.

Give me an example of a “thing” that reproduces and the result of that reproduction is something not like the “thing” that produced it.

My great^2,000 grandparent and me. Here's a picture of grandpa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Homo_sapiens_neanderthalensis.jpg.

Emu Sam said...

Alonzo,

Sorry, but your thread is now well and truly hijacked. It is unlikely to return to the original topic, and will only end when one side of the debate gets tired of repeating themselves.

Anonymous of April 15, 2008 8:22 PM,

May I quote you far and wide? I foresee

Will everyone wanting to deny the tested and reviewed findings of science please return to the 17th Century? Do not stop at the Enlightenment. Those wanting to continue to explore, question, make errors, correct errors and move on - please stay seated and try to think critically. The Unified Field Theory may or may not be your reward.

as my new e-mail signature .


robot-pi,

The fundamental premise of evolution theory has not yet been tested. That is, no scientist has created life from a combination of elements, chemicals, and energy.

That's not evolution, that's abiogenesis: the begining of life from non-life. Evolution is change over time by mutation and directed by nature killing off some of the mutants.

We may never build a time machine to go back and look. But we can look at the evidence it left behind, much as a detective would look at evidence in a crime scene and be able to tell beyond reasonable doubt who the guilty person is. New evidence could change our minds.

Anyone who states that evolution theory is a fact is simply ignorant of the scientific method or lying.

Hypothesis: living populations change over time until two groups, both descended from one homogenous population, cannot interbreed. Test: stick a bunch of fruit flies in two big jars with different chemicals and food supplies. Wait 1,000 generations. Try to breed them. Observe what happens. Write paper. Get other people to try the test and see if their results are the same. See? Scientific method.

martino said...

Balanced

First Emu Sam has done a pretty good job of answering your questions although adding new and interesting information, still our answers are the broadly similar and I guess we would agree with each other.

I say you have not answered my questions because you have not. Any unbiased observer can see that. Any impartial observer could see otherwise. You are plain wrong. You would lose in a court of law but this not such a place.

As an immediate contradiction to your claim that I have not answered your questions, you could not have asked this following question if I had not previously answered yours! :-)

What NON-scientific theories are you referring to that should be kept within non-scientific subjects in classes?
I thought that would have been obvious but for example english literature theories in english literature classes, religious theories such as creationism and the flying spaghetti monster in in religion classes and so on.

I’m glad you acknowledge the possibility of a NON-natural process for the origin of life. You ask, “What possible data could establish the fact that life just existed without some non-life origin?” If the existence of intelligence can be proven, that intelligence cannot be separated from the existence of some entity or being. It would be from that being or entity that possess life that life came. If that being or entity was eternal that would answer all of our questions about the origin of life on this planet. This is the whole reason for discussing INTELLIGENT design.
If so you have just shown that ID is religion in disguise and warrants no time in the science curriculum. Simply ID is not science because it is a priori ruled out by science, it is not, but that it has no scientific merit.

In the case of abiogenesis both myself and Emu Sam have both shown that there are other empirically based natural hypothesis and until ID can display anything like the equivalent then it has no merit and need not be considered further. The burden of proof is on ID theorists to do this and they have failed to date.

None of these possibilities are unreasonable.
Yes ID is totally unreasonable compared to the current naturalistic hypetheses, as it is unlike them, both question begging offering no explanation of the origin of the designer and in your case requires answer a difficult not fully answered challenge - abiogensis - witt an even more difficult and far less answered challenge - god did it. All this has been said before, I suggest you read this comment thread thoroughly before asking questions that have already been answered.


Since the natural is ruled out by established scientific laws, the only alternative is NON-natural, or to put in another way, supernatural.
You are argument is unsound and wrong.

You ask, “To what”? My question was, “Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life? Unless you can present another option the word “only” is appropriate.
Myself and Emu Sam have both adequately answered this. Logically, probabilistically and empirically "only" is not applicable here.

Emu Sam has done a great job answering the rest of your questions.

Still I would suggest that you read up on both abiogeneis and evolutionary biology to avoid asking any further mistaken and ignorant questions. I have already given links for you to pursue this further.

martino said...

Hi Juani

Okay, so your theory may have an analogy like this. A tornado rips through a junkyard and leaves behind a Boeing 747. And your atheistic diatribe won't leave any lasting affect on society at all. We like God, do you?


First this is nothing to do with atheism and likes and dislikes. It is to do with truth and the means to get to it. Mob rule and, as is happening here, filibustering comment threads (although not you, yet...) are not the way to achieve this.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/chance/chance.html

Hoyle F Evolution from Space JM Dent 1981

I ought to point out that Hoyle was commenting upon the chance formation of proteins, referring to abiogenesis, but the comment bears on natural selection in general. Dawkins 1996:90 says this:

"He [Hoyle] is reported to have said that the evolution, by natural selection, of a complicated structure such as a protein molecule (or, by implication, an eye or a heart) is about as likely as a hurricane's having the luck to put together a Boeing 747 when whirling through a junk yard. If he'd said 'chance' instead of 'natural selection' he'd have been right. Indeed, I regretted having to expose him as one of the many toilers under the profound misapprehension that natural selection is chance."

Anonymous said...

Mr Hoyle,

Wading through the ignorance and hyperbole was challenging at every level, and in response, will only appeal to you to "Now, please, try for me" to read any of the leading theorists on ID (Johnson, Dembski, and Behe are good places to start), and provide one quotation--just one--in which any of them advocate that we "can control the existence of hurricanes by passing laws against homosexuality," as you claim in your piece.

You will fail.

When you do, come back and perhaps we can have an exchange that is based on something other than misrepresentations and straw men. Best of luck to you.

SteveB

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Regardless of whether Behe and others actually argue that we can control the course of hurricanes by passing laws against homosexuality, they cannot raise any objections against this view.

After all, if the right to freedom of speech is all we need to force ID into the classroom, then it is all we need to force the abortion law theory of hurricane formation into classrooms as well.

Anonymous said...

To "Anonymous" who wrote:
" Sorry, but I couldn't read more than a few paragraphs because of the incorrect grammar. Somehow its hard for me to imagine that flawed grammar doesn't also lead to flawed logic."

First, while I agree good grammar, punction, spelling, syntax, etc., are important, I don't always expect to find them in a forum
like this.
Second, I'm sure that repressive, anal-retentive regimes like the Nazis (to return to Ben STein's fixation) insisted on impecible grammar. By your measure, you might appreciate their "logic."

To EMU SAM who asked permission (tongue in cheek, I assume) to use my "Will everyone wanting to deny the tested and reviewed findings of science please return to the 17th Century? Do not stop at the Enlightenment. Those wanting to continue to explore, question, make errors, correct errors and move on - please stay seated and try to think critically. The Unified Field Theory may or may not be your reward." as his new email handle, permission granted with appreciation for your efforts to cast pearls before the ID'ers who appear to have real talent for rooting them aside. Glad you enjoyed it.

A. Nonny Mouse.

Balanced said...

Emu Sam & Martino,

You ask, “What experiments can be done using intelligent design?” What experiments cannot be carried out without intelligence!? There are many. The evolutionist needs intelligence to conduct experiments to replicate what they think happened and how, but then want to rule out intelligence for the thing that they claim did happened. How absurd.

You asked, “How can intelligent design be proven false?” Well, let’s begin by asking, is the concept itself contradictory? No. Does it contradict any known scientific facts? No. Are there test that demonstrate the presence of intelligence? Yes. What would your answers be Emu Sam and Martino too?

QUESTION: Is evolution science? Should evolution be permitted in the science classroom? If so, by what criterion do you allow evolution into the science classroom as science?

You ask, “How is the natural ruled out”? Your position must affirm that life came from NON-living matter. The natural, which has been tested over and over again, reveals life comes only from life. That will not fit the necessary component of evolution which is abiogenesis. If we cannot find a natural explanation, then there must be a NON-natural/supernatural explanation. Is you answer yes, no or some other?

Boiling water on a stove? You already have a number of necessary mechanisms in place to boil the water, including the water. To be a parallel the evolutionist would have to assume that the stove, the heart source, the water and the pot accidentally, by chance, came into being and got together. If not, why not?
How could you possibly know what “a circumstance that resembles life on earth four billion years ago” was? What life? Where did it come from, that’s part of the discussion. You need INTELLIGENCE to “set up a circumstance” that resembles something you claim occurred by accident and chance 4 billion years. Allow me to repeat, the evolutionists need intelligence to replicate what they think happened, but then want to rule out intelligence for the thing that they claim actually happened. It boggles the mind.

The math? Do you really want to get into mathematical probability of life arising from NON-living matter? If so that’s fine.

While intelligence can be tested, I am speaking of testing for the EXISTENCE of intelligence itself.

From SETI: “Narrow-band signals, say those that are only a few Hertz or less wide, are THE MARK OF A PURPOSELY BUILT TRANSMITTER. (emp. Mine) Natural cosmic noisemakers, such as pulsars, quasars, and the turbulent, thin interstellar gas of our own Milky Way, do not make radio signals that are this narrow. The static from these objects is spread all across the dial...If E.T. is A DECENT (OR AT LEAST COMPETENT) ENGINEER (emp. Mine) he'll use narrow-band signals as beacons to get our attention.

This example from SETI is what I am talking about. Also as Emu Sam wrote, “…Use of tools would be good. Language or other means of communicating on par with language.”. Are these things or are they not in the realm of science?

You ask, “What established scientific laws are we ignoring?”
1. The law of biogenesis for one.

AGAIN I ASK, ““Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life?” Just present one exception.

Simpson and Beck, in their biology textbook, Life: An Introduction to Biology, stated that “...there is no serious doubt that biogenesis is the rule, that life comes only from other life, that a cell, the unit of life, is always and exclusively the product or offspring of another cell”.

Martin A. Moe, writing in the December 1981 issue of Science Digest, “A century of sensational discoveries in the biological sciences has taught us that life arises only from life, that the nucleus governs the cell through the molecular mechanisms of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and that the amount of DNA and its structure determine not only the nature of the species but also the characteristics of individuals”.

I believe both of you can be aptly described in these words by “J.W.N. Sullivan, scientist of a generation ago, penned these words, which are as applicable today as the day he wrote them.
“The beginning of the evolutionary process raises a question which is yet unanswerable. What was the origin of life on this planet? Until fairly recent times there was a pretty general belief in the occurrence of “spontaneous generation.”...But careful experiments, notably those of Pasteur, showed that this conclusion was due to imperfect observation, and it became an accepted doctrine that life never arises except from life. So far as the actual evidence goes, this is still the only possible conclusion. But since it is a conclusion that seems to lead back to some supernatural creative act, it is a conclusion that scientific men find very difficult of acceptance.” (1933, p. 94. Sullivan, J.W.N. (1933), The Limitations of Science (New York: Viking).

2. The second law of thermodynamics to mention another. This alone is an insurmountable problem for the theory of evolution.

I am STILL waiting for an example of “a “thing” that reproduces and the result of that reproduction is something not like the “thing” that produced it. Grandpa and grandma won’t get it. Human are still humans, not NON-humans. Evolutionary theory demands NON-human into human either by birth or transformation. Neither one is supported by the scientific evidence.

I have already said that I have not mentioned religion, God, god, Bible, Koran, etc. I am affirming that some entity or entities that possess INTELLIGENCE brought about this universe, including this earth and the human life on it.

MARTINO, some questions you ignored.
1. “Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life? Just one example will do.
2. “What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence? Emu Sam said (he/she) did not know. How about you?

I cautiously await your answers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alonzo,

"Regardless of whether Behe and others actually argue that we can control the course of hurricanes by passing laws against homosexuality..."

So, does this mean that you know they don’t make this argument, or you don’t care whether they do or not? Either way, it’s easy to win if you allow yourself the freedom either to intentionally distort or to ignore the actual position of your opponents.

But I suppose this matters only if you’re interested in a real argument and not beating up a straw man. Up to you.

Ciao,

-SteveB

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

A standard form of logical argument is a disproof by counterexample. A standard form of disproof by counterexample is the reductio ad absurdum (or to 'reduce to absurdity'). This form of argument requires providing an absurd argument which, nontheless, has the same form as the argument being used.

For example, if a person were to claim, "'One nation under God' is not meant to promote religion because it doesn't actually say that there is anything wrong with not believing in God," a reductio ad absurdum of this argument would be, "'One nation . . . with liberty and justice for all' is not meant to promote liberty and justice for all because it doesn't actually say that there is anything wrong with tyranny and injustice."

It's an accepted argument form that is recognized in even the most basic introductory logic textbooks.

Your protests to the contrary are grounded only on your unwillingness to accept the conclusion. Just as a person who wants to add 2 + 2 and get 5 can insist until he is blue in the face that there is no proof that 2 + 2 =4, his denials do not change the fact of the matter.

If there is a reason why Stein's argument in defense of intelligent design also does not argue that the 'abortion law theory of hurricane formation and movement' must be allowed into science classes, please explain why it is that we must allow the former and not the latter.

And if you're response is, "because Behe says so," please realize "Behe's personal approval" makes a very poor standard for determining what to include and exclude from science classes. I would argue for a standard that is somewhat more substantive than this.

Anonymous said...


1. “Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life? Just one example will do.


The Miller-Urey Experiment is over FIFTY YEARS OLD. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_experiment If you cared to actually know the truth instead of mindlessly repeating lies that made you feel good, you would know this.


Human are still humans, not NON-humans. Evolutionary theory demands NON-human into human either by birth or transformation. Neither one is supported by the scientific evidence.


You know nothing of biology beyond the 4-grade level. Nothing. To attempt to argue with you on the basis of the known science is akin to trying to argue economic theory with a Dark Ages peasant. If you want to argue with the big boys, get an education. In the meantime, ponder this - if on any particular issue you had to put your trust in either a scientific institution, supported by decades worth of work by the most intelligent people that the human race has to offer utilizing the only known method of reducing (or eliminating) error and bias; OR put your trust in the translation and interpretation of copies of ponderings of a pre-industrial tribe of nomads.... who would you choose? Because UNTIL you get an education and are able to understand the issue for yourself, these are your two options.

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