Dover creationism update

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You'll remember that the Dover, Pennsylvania School District has decided to include intelligent design in its curriculum. As this story notes, there's some pretty heated complaints in the neighborhood as a result. This story says the Pennsylvania ACLU is looking at the case, but hasn't yet decided what to do. (My own calls to them on the subject were not returned.)

Meanwhile, this editorial by Nancy Snyder seems to argue in defense of science, making the point that the schools should also teach the weakness of intelligent design.

But in the end, this editorial still makes the "equal time" argument, saying that

If a political science teacher presents the problems of the Democratic and Republican parties and makes students aware of the Libertarian party, without critiquing that party's strengths and weaknesses, that teacher has overstepped constitutional bounds. . .. Public school science curriculum that assesses the weaknesses of Darwinism must also assess the weaknesses of competing theories.

It's a fair point that the ID proponents are really trying to proselytize, not to teach. But the Democrat/Republican analogy is deeply misleading. Evolution is not like a political policy dispute, where there are pluses or minuses to taking one view or another. Reasonable people can disagree over the desirability, of, say, an earned-income tax credit versus a minimum wage increase. But there is no similar dispute over the scientific validity of evolution. Teaching "alternative theories" of the origin of species to ensure fairness is just as valid as teaching children that the earth might be flat or it might be round--or teaching them that the earth might orbit the sun, or the sun might orbit the earth--out of "fairness" to flat-earthers and geocentrists. Ms. Snyder concludes that "Discussing the unanswered questions posed by Darwinism and intelligent design and researching studies that explore those unanswered questions is effective science instruction." But it is just as effective as teaching students the unanswered questions raised by astrology and the users of divining rods.

But aside from the alleged "effective[ness]" of such education, Ms. Snyder argues that it would be legal to do this under the First Amendment. That is not necessarily the case. It is true that the Supreme Court said in Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 594 (1987) that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction," but the point is that intelligent design is not a scientific theory--it's a religious statement, and that makes all the difference. The First Amendment doesn't prohibit schools from teaching bad science--in fact, the First Amendment does not prohibit schools from teaching students that the earth is flat, or that divining rods work. But it does prohibit the government from propagating a religious viewpoint. Intelligent design is a religious viewpoint. Thus Ms. Snyder's suggestion that "teaching the flaws" in intelligent design would render it a legitimate subject of instruction in a government school is incorrect.

Suppose a Catholic parent insists that the school district teach students that transubstantiation is literally true. A Protestant parent then steps up and says, "No, we ought to teach students that transubstantiation is just metaphorical." The second view may be more "moderate" in some sense--but it is hardly more legitimate a subject of instruction in a government school. In the same way, teaching students the flaws in intelligent design might moderate the fury of those parents who care about the scientific literacy of their children, but it would not render teaching religion constitutional.

The distinction here might seem like a subtle one. Government employees may teach students that some people believe in transubstantiation. They may teach students that they must respect people who believe in transubstantiation. They may assign Catholic students to give the class a presentation about what transubstantiation means. They may sponsor student debates in which a Catholic and a Protestant student debate the theological validity of the concept. They may invite students to write essays or poems about how they feel about the subject. A teacher may even tell students "I personally am Catholic, and I believe in transubstantiation." But a teacher may never say "transubstantiation is true," or "transubstantiation is a valid scientific concept, and here is the evidence for it." The state may not endorse a religious viewpoint. The same is true of intelligent design. The one thing that a government school may never do is say "intelligent design is true," or "intelligent design is a valid scientific concept," even if the teacher then goes on to explain various shortcomings in ID. Teachers may use ID as an example of a poor scientific theory, or as an idea of a contemporary mythology. Teachers may invite students to discuss their own personal views on the subject. But teaching it as a valid alternative to evolution, that just happens to have some flaws, is bad science education, and is unconstitutional.

In McLean v. Arkansas Bd. of Ed., 529 F.Supp. 1255 (D.C. Ark. 1982), the law did not prohibit teachers from teaching the flaws in creationism. Nevertheless, the court struck down the law requiring creationism education because

The State failed to produce any evidence which would warrant an inference or conclusion that at any point in the process anyone considered the legitimate educational value of the Act. It was simply and purely an effort to introduce the Biblical version of creation into the public school curricula. The only inference which can be drawn from these circumstances is that the Act was passed with the specific purpose by the General Assembly of advancing religion. The Act therefore fails the first prong of the three-pronged test, that of secular legislative purpose, as articulated in Lemon v. Kurtzman. . ..

Id. at 1264. So I don't think that "teaching the flaws" in ID would make it a proper subject of discussion in a science class--or a legal one.

114 Comments

The radio personality Paul Harvey is mentioning Dover today, 11-12-04. He is explicitly saying (quoting from memory, I apologize for any errors) that “…this is as far as they can go, without saying the ‘G-word.’ “

Any court challenge might make use of this.

fusilier James 2:24

I think there’s a fair chance they’ll succeed in getting ID into high-school classrooms. But on the bright side, if the IDiots fail to win with this Creationism 2.0, I think they will have suffered a serious blow for ever getting a version of creationism into public school science. ID is such a general and vague creationism that it would be difficult to come up with a new kind which is not recognizable as ID. Even if they could, it would take years and lots of effort to get back to this level of political competitiveness. And could the Discovery Institute, Wells, Behe, Dembski, etc, publicly work for the new effort, without confirming that the new version is the same type of thing? If the courts successfully identify ID as creationism, and prohibit it, It’ll be a very good day in America. The creationists will have no clear idea how to proceed. AFAIK.

Steve:

I find your optimism refreshing. Are you familiar with the tax protesters? This particular pathology is distinctly similar to creationism, but the differences are informative. The taxdolts aren’t disputing real-world evidence (which always has an element of ambiguity), but explicit law. They are opposed by EVERY tax accountant, court decision, administrative decision, lawmaker, and bureaucrat. They are jailed for being in contempt of court simply for *raising* these issues. Yet these factors don’t deter them in any way. The lawyers defending the taxdolts find more work than they can handle, every time their jail sentences expire.

For someone who has a hotline to the Truth, new arguments are unnecessary. The old arguments are still “right”, the only challenge is to word them so that the “kangaroo courts” can understand them. We can be thankful that the taxdolts aren’t trying to get their doctrines into high school civics classes.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of US voters believe in the Christian God, accepts that science is a Good Thing, and fervently desires them to kiss and make up. ID holds forth the idea that they do so. Hallelujia, belief is upheld, science is ratified, the international competitiveness of US students is rescued without threatening Faith, God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world. Do you really think any particular court decision can eliminate these social forces?

SCOTUS precedent is a pretty strong thing.

Steve:

I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to. I agree that SCOTUS decisions are important, but they are also problematic. For example, SCOTUS decisions formerly (before the Warren court) followed the format of presenting the argument of the losing side, then presenting the problems with that argument, then presenting the decision itself (with rationale). This format was a goldmine for quote-mining – just quote the part of the decision where the losing side’s argument is presented.

For another thing, Lawyers and courts make a career of differentiating (also known as “splitting hairs”). To some degree, this is inevitable. Fact situations are differentiated on the basis of details so unique to a case that it’s often difficult to extract a useful policy.

But let’s be optimistic and assume a SCOTUS decision that essentially discredits “intelligent design” or (better yet) the projection of ANY “intelligent” (i.e. humanlike, volitional) influence in the origin of species. Sounds great, but we still have more heads of this particular hydra to decapitate:

1) We don’t want a SCOTUS decision that might pre-empt any possible legitimate future scientific development. A broad decision today might seem like paradise, but tomorrow it might seem that SCOTUS is stifling genuine science based on obsolte understaings.

2) We don’t want to underestimate the perseverence of the opposition. This was the lesson of the tax protesters, who remain as virulent as ever despite explicit decisions and punishments. Remember (actually, considering your post, *understand*) that we’re dealing with a political and not a judicial issue. The foundation of the tax protester movement isn’t legal; it’s that people don’t want to pay taxes. Remember the Dred Scott decision? Religion being presented as “science” in high schools is prevented by entirely appointable judges. Bush is President. The SCOTUS tends to decide such matters 5-4 repeatedly. Three of those five won’t make it 4 more years…

Religious fanatics don’t change their faith because civil judges disagree. They simply work to get “better” judges. Roy (“Fuck the Constitution, my opinion uber alles”) Moore could be elected God here in Alabama by a huge majority. ANY solution to this condition is a band-aid. The people WANT a theocracy (which accepts their particular interpretation of scripture, of course).

SCOTUS decisions are no stronger than the composition of the court, soon to change and probably drastically and for a long time. Creationists, whatever their shortcomings, understand that their campaign is political, and understand politics.

(Parental decisions are also pretty strong, until the child leaves home. At which point, what matters isn’t so much the decisions as the perceived basis for them. And I just don’t believe that science will trump God’s Word as a basis for the curriculum. Temporary legal setbacks don’t perturb tax protestors or creationists)

Flint is exactly right, although I would add a third item: We don’t want to undermine the freedom of religion, or freedom of conscience more generally, one of the great treasures of our Constitution. A Supreme Court decision holding that ID violates the Establishment Clause would almost certainly not damage freedom of religion, but there are fanatics on our side who would like to go farther than that, and censor ID even among private advocacy groups. That’s unwarranted, and if established, could easily backfire on us.

Second, he’s exactly right about most Americans wanting science and religion to kiss and make up. This brings to mind the delightful Simpsons episode in which Lisa discovers an “angel” skeleton, starting off a Scopes-trial in Springfield. In the end, the judge issues a restraining order, commanding Religion to stay at least 100 yards away from Science at all times. Hear, hear!

“I’m just trying to get into heaven. I’m not running for Jesus.”

–Homer Simpson

And what was the “angel” skeleton? A ploy by business owners to publise the opening of a new shopping mall. Mammon is the new (old?) god?

Pericles

I know that I will probably regret this but I thought that I should respond. Darwinism prevailed over its competitor Lamarckism because of Darwin’s insight into selective advantage as the mechanism for evolution in biological system. Lamarck had proposed the inheritance of acquired traits. The theory is logically consistent but no mechanism capable of this has been found in biological systems.

However the inheritance of acquired traits is found in cultural learning. Cultures pass what they have learned onto their children in the form of scientific knowledge, culture, laws mores etc. This led James Baldwin in the 1890s to develop a theory on the effect of culture and the capacity to learn on evolution. Consider a species that has the capacity to learn. One member of that species discovers how to swim. Others can learn that skill as well. Suppose that swimming offers a competitive advantage. Then members of the species who are better at swimming have a selective advantage in breeding and so the genome will evolve to stress this capacity. Baldwinian mechanisms can accelerate bioogocal evolution considerably.

With the development of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, Baldwin’s insights are now yielding valuable research results. Baldwin had a found a mechanism by which Lamarckism could operate. It operates at the cultural and at the interface between the cultural and biological levels. In the last ten years or so, there have been conferences and many papers written to explore Baldwin’s theory.

In the same manner a theory of evolution by intelligent design is not logically inconsistent. It just lacks a proven mechanism by which it can operate at the biological level. However, despite what is said in the posting below, it has viable mechanisms at the cultural level. At least one species (humans) is able to reflect on its culture and make deliberate changes to it. Using Baldwin’s insights, it can then be seen that intelligent design can be part of a hierarchy of evolutionary mechanisms that begin with Darwin’s selective advantage.

The dispute is not whether ‘Intelligent Design’ is a viable evolutionary mechanism. It is. The dispute is whether or not the design comes from within or without the evolutionary process. Modern theorists such as Mcluhan and Teihard de Chardin have developed theories that indirectly show how intelligent design can be created in the evolutionary process itself. There is no need to posit a god in a broader theory of evolution.

I think it is slightly inaccurate to say that the Baldwin effect is “a mechanism by which Lamarckism can operate.” But Mr. Gray seems to be using this as an example to support the argument that we sometimes learn about mechanisms for certain observable facts, when we didn’t know about those mechanisms before. Fair enough, but that’s irrelevant, because it isn’t true that the only flaw in ID is its “lack[ of] a proven mechanism by which it can operate at the biological level.” The flaw in ID is that it posits theories that aren’t theories, and can’t be tested, and that the observable facts are already thoroughly accounted for by a coherent theory which has withstood a century of attacks with its health quite intact. It is of course possible that God planned all this out and is cleverly hiding from us, and nobody disputes that. And it’s possible that we could tomorrow discover convincing proof that this is so. But the flaw in ID is that there’s no evidence, no theory, no nuthin—just a bunch of dressed up creationism and allegations on the level of religious morality and the alleged social consequences of evolutionary science.

Intelligent design is a theory since it can make predictions. It is just that it has no specific mechanism to operate at the biological level. It can however operate at the cultural level and indirectly through Baldwinian mechanisms operate at the biological level. Human beings live within cultures that they have consciously designed. It takes no real insight to realize that the ability to live within a culture is through Baldwinian mechanisms has a strong Darwinian advantage. Thus Intelligent Design at the cultural level has likely (perhaps I should say possibly) had an effect on the human geneome.

To answer proponents of Intelligent Design, one must remember that they are advocating a true theeory. To me, it is obviously not viable at the specific biological level. Never tehs less it is a true theory that is incorrect due to the lack of a mechanism not because of any inherent logical flaw.

The real dispute is whether Intelleigent Design has a designer that resides within or wiothout evolution. It ahs been demsntrated that Inteleigent Design does not require an external designer and so by Occam’s Rule the Intelligent Design withn Evolution is preferred.

For an account of Baldwinian evolution, one may examine

http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/Publicatio[…]p?id=1000480

There are many other accounts available through a Google search.

For some reason the posting software put threee dots after the URL I psoted above. Please delete them to access the paper at that site.

A brief biography of Baldwin may be found at

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictiona[…]rk%20Baldwin

Tom, if you don’t like the dots use Kwickcode including text

Tom Gray:

Intelligent design is a theory since it can make predictions. It is just that it has no specific mechanism to operate at the biological level. It can however operate at the cultural level and indirectly through Baldwinian mechanisms operate at the biological level. Human beings live within cultures that they have consciously designed. It takes no real insight to realize that the ability to live within a culture is through Baldwinian mechanisms has a strong Darwinian advantage. Thus Intelligent Design at the cultural level has likely (perhaps I should say possibly) had an effect on the human geneome.

Baldwinian mechanisms will have minimum effect on human evolution because the time scales are wrong. Given the size of the human population, time to fixation of any mutation with a selective advantage of 1% or less is in the 10’s to 100’s of thousands of years. Meanwhile cultures turn over in the hundreds of years. This means specific features of a culture will not result in a mutation becoming fixed in the population - and the Baldwin mechanism you propose will be effectively non-operant. This is not a claim that we are immune to Darwinian evolution. Far from it. But particular features of particular cultures, unlike the common features of all cultures, are too shortlived to be selectively influential.

Secondly, ID may be a theory in the logicians sense, ie, a set of propositions. But it is not a scientific theory. Specifically, it makes no falsifiable predictions except that certain Darwinian research programs will fail. Further, it does not have a clearly stated set of propositions from which falsifiable predictions could be derived with ancilliarly hypotheses. If you disagree on these points, please state the propositions, their emperical consequences, and how we could test for those emperical consequences.

ID has advanced three failed hypothesis in the philosophy of science- That Darwinism is tacitly commited to metaphysical naturalism; That there is a valid “design inference” from CSI; and that there is a valid “design inference” from IC. The rest is apologetics, and PR.

Question for Tom Gray: Exactly what ‘predictions’ does Intelligent Design make? ID asserts that a Designer exists, but you can’t make predictions off of the bare assertion that “a Designer exists”. You need to get into some detail about the nature of the Designer – what sort of tools, techniques, abilities, motivations, etc – and thus far, ID has explicitly rejected all inquiries as to the nature of the Designer, even going so far as to declare such inquiries a matter of theology, for crying out loud! Sorry, but “an unknowable number of unknowable Designers, acting at an unknowable number of unknowable times in the past, used an unknowable number of unknowable tools & techniques to perform an unknowable number of unknowable actions, in accordance with an unknowable number of unknowable motivations” just isn’t science. It may not even be metaphysics, or, indeed, anything other than gobbledygook.

Quentin Long Wrote:

Question for Tom Gray: Exactly what ‘predictions’ does Intelligent Design make?

I’m not sure what Tom will say, but there are well-rehearsed ID answers. The fact is that ID predicts, for example, “Precambrian rabbits” and “no Precambrian rabbits,” “human pseudogenes for chlorophyll” and “no human pseudogenes for chlorophyll.” Get the picture?

Tom Gray Wrote:

Intelligent design is a theory since it can make predictions. It is just that it has no specific mechanism to operate at the biological level.

That is a rare admission from an IDer. The fact is that ID has no mechanism, no alternate theory, no alternate timeline, no alternative to common descent, and no promising hypothesis of abiogenesis. The back-and-forth between “evidence of design” and “evidence against (a caricature of) evolution” is just a strategy that keeps most audiences unaware that ID has nothing to offer but misinformation. As some ID critics have noted, and as the chief ID promoters have all but admitted, even if there were something to the “evidence of design” part, the theory would still be evolution.

Quentin Long Wrote:

You need to get into some detail about the nature of the Designer — what sort of tools, techniques, abilities, motivations, etc — and thus far, ID has explicitly rejected all inquiries as to the nature of the Designer, even going so far as to declare such inquiries a matter of theology, for crying out loud!

My suspicion is that IDers avoid this question because they know that the most likely candidate for a designer is an alien, not God (note Dembski’s analogies to SETI, forensics and archaeology, and Behe’s mousetrap). But if ID pretends to be an equivalent alternative to evolution, this is not the main question that begs to be asked. Before one even gets to the “hows,” let alone “whether a designer” (which evolution never asks in the first place), one must ask IDers simply “what happened and when?

The most exciting aspect of the theory of evolution, for me, was the realization that it takes places at multiple levels and that the mechanisms at each level can be and are different. Another exciting realization is that intelligence can be a product of evolution. Unfortunately I do not see these realization and their implications reflected in the popular books on evolution that I read.

In Dennett’s “Darwin’s Dangerous Ideas”, for example, I read a lot of descriptions of skyhooks creating order from disorder without the need for a guiding intelligence. However I did not read about the interaction of various evolutionary mechanisms. I especially did not read about higher level mechanisms feeding back and modifying the results of lower level mechanisms. The book seems to be an advocacy of a single strongly held opinion in the face of detractors rather than an investigation of the issue.

Previously, I identified three levels of evolution – biological, cultural or learning and something that could be called the reflective level. The biological level contains the familiar Darwinian mechanism of selective advantage. The cultural or learning level contains the Baldwinian mechanisms. Taking the broadest definition of learning and culture, it can be seen that this is active across many species. Finally at least one species on Earth has developed the ability to reflect on and modify its environment. Evolution from inanimate material has created a reflective intelligence that can modify its own environment. Intelligent design can operate at this level.

Thus three levels of evolution can be described with mechanisms at higher levels modifying the context of lower level mechanisms and thus their results. Hypothetically, one can envisage the advantages of culture cooperating at the Baldwinian level to create the consitions whereby evolution at he Darwinian level would select for genomes that produce intelligent individuals who can live in society. The advantages of culture not aspects of any single culture are being sleeted for here. Baldwinian evolution accelerates evolution at the Darwinian level by modifying the environmental context so that the advantages of certain genes may be greatly increased.

With the development of a reflective intelligence, a species developed which can deliberately reflect on and actively modify its environment. It can intelligently design its environment. This in turn will be reflected at the Baldwinian level to encourage the development of certain traits and of course will to a certain extent be then fed back to the Darwinian level.

This idea of intelligent design within evolution is an answer to many of the objections of the hypothesis of intelligent design outside of evolution, For example, the retention of older adaptations and the lack of perfection in creation, is an obvious part of ID within evolution. The intelligent design of society is an ongoing matter not a single instant of creative perfection.

Personally, I find these ideas quite exciting. The interworking of multiple types of evolution and the means by which these interact give evolution to me a much more complete and rewarding character. A fuller understanding of evolutionary mechanisms provided better answers to those who object to it. If some of these objectors attempt to create a theory that is outside of evolution (i.e. ID), a good answer to that would be to show that that theory is not incompatible with evolution but seems to be an inevitable consequence of it.

Tom Gray Wrote:

This idea of intelligent design within evolution is an answer to many of the objections of the hypothesis of intelligent design outside of evolution, For example, the retention of older adaptations and the lack of perfection in creation, is an obvious part of ID within evolution.

The only problem is that the major ID promoters and their creationist followers want no part of “intelligent design within evolution.” Sure, Dembski has admitted that ID “can accommodate all the results of Darwinism.” But (1) that statement is hopelessly ambiguous, and (2) IDers do everything to promote doubt about “Darwinism” and nothing to promote doubt about the potential alternatives, such as those proposed by the mutually contradictory creationisms, and often hinted by the IDers themselves.

If IDers had any interest in “intelligent design within evolution” they would take the advice of some of their own who admit that ID is not sufficiently developed to be taught in science class. Instead of pushing for “equal time” they might recommend Kenneth Miller’s “Finding Darwin’s God” as extracurricular reading. Miller’s speculations in the second half of the book may well be the closest thing to “intelligent design within evolution.”

Definitive PROOF of ID (at least of bumper stickers). Note the tiny “legs” of the hapless Darwin as it is devoured by Truth in this example.

I was primarily commenting on the integration of a variant of intellegent design to to evolution philosophy and science. One common way that politicians use to ovrcome opposition is to co-opt it. If someone wants intelligent design to be part of a science course then intelligent design within evolution could be taught along with Darwin, Baldwin and Lamarck. One could show how all of these theories can fit into a coherent whole. The issue of the intelligent designer coming from within or before evolution could be discussed.

ID is taught. Darwinism is taught. ID is put into its proper perpectie and students are taught the philosphical, cultural and scientfic purposes and origin of intelligence.

Co-opting an opponent is often times useful How can htey aregue if the opposition is agreeing with them?

I suppose (some of) what Tom Gray is saying is at least plausible. Imagine a religion that teaches eugenics. Imagine some devout breeding population, large enough to represent a decent smorgasbord of selectable traits. Alternatively, imagine science develops some really creative human genetic engineering, and some breeding population decides to go nuts with it. Why couldn’t these cultural phenomena have a noticeable impact within cultural rather than geological time frames?

Given the aims of the ID folk, I can’t see this reconciliation working out. Natural ID, whether by artificial selection, or by feedback between culture and the selection regime faced by our own genes, or by direct genetic engineering, just won’t cut it for them. These are perfectly compatible with hard-line philosophical naturalism (and that’s their main target).

I used to wonder why ID proponents don’t make the obvious, Aquinas-style regress argument for the existence of a supernatural designer: If complex specified information (or irreducible complexity, or both…) is required for the production of any natural designer, then there must be another designer who designed that designer. But in a big-bang cosmology there is only time for a finite number of such designers, and the first would be unexplained, violating the basic ID rules of inference. So there must be a designer separate from (prior to?) any sequence of natural designers.

But I’m just an innocent Canadian, without much sense of the politics surrounding the separation of church and state. I finally realized that one good reason (from the ID point of view, anyway) to avoid making such an argument is that it would reveal that ID is a religious point of view, and hamstring their political operation.

ID proponents don’t just want ‘space’ for some form of ID in biology, after intelligence has already evolved by natural means. What they want is a theistic science. Theism is part of science, they claim, because naturalistic accounts of the origin of life and its subsequent evolution must leave unfilled explanatory gaps. And it’s this story of unfilled gaps in natural history that they really want taught in the schools. (Telling any more of their positive story about how the gaps should be filled would make its religious content obvious. It would also drive a large number of wedges between various factions now cooperating in the ID movement!) So I think we have no hope of co-opting them.

Flint:

In either of your scenarios, significant effects could occur in very short time scales (decades to centuries). But neither is an example of the Baldwin effect to which Gray appeals. For the Baldwin effect, you have to imagine a change in behaviour. This change results in a change in relative fitness for different alleles - resulting in different alleles becoming prevalent in the population. Thus a switch of diet to include a milk (or milk products) for adults will result in the spread of alleles, the lack of which is known as lactose intolerance. Lactose amongst caucasian Americans is 15%, amongst Masai 60% despite milk having constituted a large part of their diet for over a thousand years.

Tom Curtis:

I guess I’m missing the obvious here. I thought adoption of new practices such as I suggested WERE changes in behavior. Aren’t breeding programs the imposition of a standard of “relative fitness”? Wouldn’t this result in “different alleles becoming prevalent in the population”? I wish I knew more biology.

Bryson Brown:

I think you’d have to look long and far to find anyone who does NOT recognize ID as a religious point of view. Certainly the ID proponents make no secret of their religious motivations, nor do the school board members trying to get ID into the science curriculum. I don’t think any court decision has even given lip service to the notion that ID isn’t religious.

You’re spot on about theistic science. The claim is made (with a straight face, hard as that is to imagine) that only Christians are competent to do good science, apparently because science is a search for answers, and only Christians have those answers to properly guide their science.

As someone named John Davison wrote on the ARN board, “Intelligent Design is self-evident, but only to the objective observer.” Needless to say, objectivity and Christian doctrine are synonymous. Just ask them.

I’m not going to try to figure out what is being debated here or what it has to do with Dover, but I notice Tom Gray seemingly over excited by the Baldwin effect and at the same time complaining that a philosophy book which considers evolution at a very general level is not a biology text (D’oh).

Tom, I recommend that you first of all acquire and read a text on evolution (then you needn’t be concerned that a different sort of book isn’t one). Then since you like the theoretical side and ‘levels of evolution’, you can go for Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution and Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation .

Enjoy.

Flint:

There’s a difference between acknowledging a personal religious motivation for supporting ID and acknowledging that ID itself is an intrinsically religious theory. Taking the second step would put a serious hole in any attempts to put ID on the curriculum for public schools in the U.S.

But I agree with your point about standards of objectivity. The Catholic doctrine of Natural law is a similar effort to turn religiously-motivated doctrines into ‘objective’ truths that we all must respect. Of course, the church turns out to be the authority on what these objective truths are– and anyone who disagrees is ‘diagnosed’ as too prideful (or otherwise corrupted) to see the truth.

A healthy epistemology of science (and ethics, too) is the remedy here– but it’s a hard sell, since it’s full of subtlties and (far worse) it fails to tell a lot of people what they want to hear.

Flint:

The new practises you suggest are changes of behaviour. However, the consequent change in gene frequencies does not come about from natural selection. In once case it comes about from selective breeding - with selective advantages consequently in the range of 10% or higher. In the case of genetic engineering, the change of allele frequencies comes about by inserting new alleles into the genome multiple times. In principle, either of these could fix an allele in a single generation (if generations are discontinuos). But in fact, neither of these factors have been relevant to the current human genetic makeup.

IN contrast, change of gene frequencies due to the Baldwin effect have probably been quite significant in human evolution - but the relevant changes took place several hundred thousand to several million years ago. In contrast, events as recent as the invention of agriculture have not had time to result in the fixing of many (or any) alleles in human populations. Cultural phenomena more ephimeral than events like the invention of agriculture, which is to say, most of the particular content of any distinct culture, are also too ephimeral to register in terms of natural selection.

As I understand it, Tom Gray’s claim is that “the valid insights” of ID can be incorporated into conventional evolutionary theory by pointing out that some intelligent decisions have shaped evolution through the Baldwin effect. However, because of the slow turn over rate of evolution compared to that of culture, any such shaping is minimal.

This overlooks the two very obvious points. First, as stated so well by Bryson Brown, this is not the sort of reconciliation IDists could accept. Second, there are no valid insights from the ID movement to be incorporated into Neo-Darwinian theory.

Tom Curtis:

I’m still not sure I see the distinction you are drawing, but I’m still pondering it. I do see the distinction between artificial selection (by different means), and natural selection.

Bryson Brown:

My understanding is that the courts, at least, have ruled that ID is a religious doctrine per se, and that any claim that the designer is other than the Christian God is pure smokescreen. But court decisions only last until another court disagrees. My concern is that the ID people, well aware of this, are directing their funding toward getting the “right” judges in place. Only one or two successes, and precedents can be set. I think the cases calculated to set these precedents are already designed and waiting for the appropriate political situation.

Flint wrote: I think the cases calculated to set these precedents are already designed and waiting for the appropriate political situation.”

Yep, science trumped by politics, prepare for a “faith based reality” … there’s an oxymoron for you.

Salvador wrote

3. medical doctors have a good knowledge of undergraduate level biology :-)

I taught in an excellent private college for 20 years, and had any number of pre-med students in various classes. Very very few of them took any evolutionary biology. If they took advanced biology at all they tended to focus on microbiology. Biology is a large and varied discipline, and a few (maybe as few as just an intro course) undergrad courses are a bare introduction to anything resembling a professional level of knowledge. The minimum requirement for admission to, say, the Mayo Medical School is just one year of undergraduate biology. That’s an introductory course, folks, and that’s all that’s required. M.D. does not stand for “minor deity.”

RBH

FYI: the initials of M.D. after a person’s name indicate they are a medical doctor. :-)

I’m aware of Dr. Pitman’s credentials … unfortunately, I am far more aware of his capabilities and knowledge than you are.

I personally would rate Walter Brown, PhD MIT, professor of engineering and physics, as the Top YEC of today.

Goes to show ya that a fool can get through MIT. (As an MSME from MIT, I get to say things like that). It’s kinda sad to see someone totally ignorant of biology and geology get picked as “the Top YEC of today”.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:20.

It’s comments like jon fleming’s which help motivate IDists to fight Darwinism in places like Dover and motivate the electorate to elect creationists to public office.

Gee, interest in the truth and advancing science don’t figure into it? Well, I knew that already.

With inspirational comments like jon fleming’s, I expect in the near future, there will be more school districts mandating the teaching of creationism, ahem, I mean Intelligent Design.

Not inspirational, just pointing out how pathetic your “one of the Top Yec theorists” is.

jon fleming wrote:

Gee, interest in the truth and advancing science don’t figure into it? Well, I knew that already.

Keep up the good work, that’s another inspirational misrepresentation. IDists believe their position represents truth, they are highly motivated to see the truth taught.

They are highly interested to see the the icons of evolution exposed for the fallacies that they are. At the end of an ID presentation at Jason Rosenhouse’s school last month, a biology junior inquired about my hypothesis that undirected abiogenesis is impossible. She said, “what about Urey-Miller?”

I asked what chemistry courses had she taken. She replied, “general chemistry, organic, bio-chemistry…”. I said Urey-Miller is fallacious. The mixtures were racemic, plus there was no mechanism to polymerize the monomers with exclusive alpha-peptide bonds.…. Should have seen the look on her face, because of her knoweledge in these fields, she realized quickly which side had been playing fast and loose with empirical facts. Similar story when we discussed fallacious homologies.

And in nearby UVa, Paul Gross school, there is an IDEA chapter there. Grad students in biochemistry and physics and molecular genetics. They know the case for evolution is promoted with fallacious arguments. And they are only more motivated to hold their position because their classmates are unable to defend Darwinian evolution, and they know that a few biology and medical faculty are creationists. One IDEA biochem grad student said, “my classmates will shy away from a head to head debate, they know their case rests on a house of cards.”

See: http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmg[…].php/id/1244

Urey-Miller, fallacious homologies – that’s the kind of junk that needs to be purged from science education, yet I’m agast that such beliefs persists into the junior year of college biology majors.

Oh, and here is the worst icon of all: “descent with modification under Darwinian evolution automatically generates hierarchical molecular taxonomies over hundreds of millions of years”, thus the the hierarchical patterns confirm Darwinian evolution. Hierachical patterns may emerge over the short term, but Darwinian evolution will erase them in the long term. Molecular hierarchies contradict Darwinian evolution, despite the proclamations of Douglas Theobold. See: http://www.arn.org/boards/ubb-get_t[…]-001496.html

Perhaps in Dover they should cover the history of how Darwinian evolution progressed in the scientific world on fallacious suppositions and how it continues to progress on fallacious suppositions.

a biology junior inquired about my hypothesis that undirected abiogenesis is impossible. She said, “what about Urey-Miller?”

I note that your response was a merely a criticism of a real scientific experiment, not an attempt support of your claim. Urey-Miller indicated that undirected abiogenesis may be possible, but no criticism of it can support your claim of the impossibility of such. It’s a logical impossibility.

Grad students in biochemistry and physics and molecular genetics. They know the case for evolution is promoted with fallacious arguments.

Appeal to authority, and pretty pathetic authority at that.

Hierachical patterns may emerge over the short term, but Darwinian evolution will erase them in the long term.

Your and ReMine’s unsupported/disproved fantasies are not evidence.

Newton said in Principia:

“The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being.”

Einstein once said:

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

Where would these two have stood in the face of “overwhelming objective evidence in favor of evolution” offered by modern molecular biology? Who knows, but on the question of ID, I put more stock in quotes from these two gentlemen, than in the offerings of shiteheads like GWW and his “rubes”.

johnsmith,

What the hell is a “shitehead”? Does it have anything to do with Iraq?

Not sure who you’re responding to, but was that your evidence?

Zillionth time it’s been pointed out, but.…

Einstein’s God is the God of Spinoza, Deus sive Natura. Quoting Einstein to bolster traditional theism is either dishonest or ignorant.

Bob:

johnsmith, What the hell is a “shitehead”? Does it have anything to do with Iraq? Not sure who you’re responding to, but was that your evidence?

I think it’s obvious, Bob, what I meant by “shitehead”. I was merely responding to GWW in a manner she responds to others (… and I should add that I find her posts to be hilarious and enjoyable to read).

Bob - I didn’t respond to your last post because I felt we were arguing different issues.

For the record, I believe in the theory of evolution. “What’s true in yeast is true in humans” is a principle that I accept and has been established by modern cellular and molecular biology. With regards to the debate on the origins of life/ID, I don’t think that science has anything compelling to offer on this – other contributors to this site seem to agree. So, on this philosophical issue, why should I accept censorship of those who would argue in favor of ID?

As one who is religious, let me add that I believe that two defining characteristics of humans are intelligence and inquisitiveness. I would therefore never adhere to a doctrine that would explicitly or implicitly seek to suppress these characteristics. Your view, I believe, as expressed in the following statement:

I’m critical of a mindset which rejects out of hand hundreds of years of research and a major body of multi-discipline physical evidence of natural phenomena, in favor of an appeal to supernatural entities and causes

is shaped by a general ignorance of religion, and may be the result of overexposure to the battle in the United States between religious fundamentalists and left-wing elitists.

Bob, you stated earlier that:

” … Yes, some of the questions pertaining to the mechanisms of evolution remain unanswered, and those answers are slowly being puzzled out through continuing research and discoveries … “

Is that your general understanding of how science works; scientists chipping away, bit by bit, slowly getting to the truth? I respectfully point out again, that this view may be a bit naive, and is not easily supported.

Have you heard of Kuhn’s: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn’s treatise on science might give you pause to rethink. I won’t try to rehash all of his ideas (it’d be better to read the book), but one interesting point that I can’t help but mention, is that he believed generally, that scientists are not objective and independent thinkers.

As you can imagine, that point hasn’t been openly embraced by many scientists - sometimes the truth hurts!

More information on Kuhn can be found at:

http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/Kuhnsnap.html

Bob:

johnsmith, What the hell is a “shitehead”? Does it have anything to do with Iraq? Not sure who you’re responding to, but was that your evidence?

I think it’s obvious, Bob, what I meant by “shitehead”. I was merely responding to GWW in a manner she responds to others (… and I should add that I find her posts to be hilarious and enjoyable to read).

Bob - I didn’t respond to your last post because I felt we were arguing different issues.

For the record, I believe in the theory of evolution. “What’s true in yeast is true in humans” is a principle that I accept and has been established by modern cellular and molecular biology. With regards to the debate on the origins of life/ID, I don’t think that science has anything compelling to offer on this – other contributors to this site seem to agree. So, on this philosophical issue, why should I accept censorship of those who would argue in favor of ID?

As one who is religious, let me add that I believe that two defining characteristics of humans are intelligence and inquisitiveness. I would therefore never adhere to a doctrine that would explicitly or implicitly seek to suppress these characteristics. Your view, I believe, as expressed in the following statement:

I’m critical of a mindset which rejects out of hand hundreds of years of research and a major body of multi-discipline physical evidence of natural phenomena, in favor of an appeal to supernatural entities and causes

is shaped by a general ignorance of religion, and may be the result of overexposure to the battle in the United States between religious fundamentalists and left-wing elitists.

Bob, you stated earlier that:

” … Yes, some of the questions pertaining to the mechanisms of evolution remain unanswered, and those answers are slowly being puzzled out through continuing research and discoveries … “

Is that your general understanding of how science works; scientists chipping away, bit by bit, slowly getting to the truth? I respectfully point out again, that this view may be a bit naive, and is not easily supported.

Have you heard of Kuhn’s: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn’s treatise on science might give you pause to rethink. I won’t try to rehash all of his ideas (it’d be better to read the book), but one interesting point that I can’t help but mention, is that he believed generally, that scientists are not objective and independent thinkers.

As you can imagine, that point hasn’t been openly embraced by many scientists - sometimes the truth hurts!

More information on Kuhn can be found at:

http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/Kuhnsnap.html

johnsmith,

Nice bit of condescension on matters Kuhnian…

However, I can’t help but notice that when it comes to scientific matters, there’s over two centuries of utter failure on the part of Paleyists to contribute anything that would be a positive support for any Paleyist hypothesis. Or, for that matter, any statement of a Paleyist (or neo-Paleyist) scientific hypothesis. That’s true whether you’re a Kuhnian or prefer some other flavor of philosophy of science. I seem to have heard that the truth hurts sometimes…

But if all one has to work with is digression, Kuhn makes for a good one.

Jan,

I’d like to respond to something Tom Curtis wrote:

From this I take it you know nothing of Smolin, whose theory explains “fine tuning” in an entirely naturalistic manner.

Smolin offers a speculation, it is an untestable unprovable speculation, and weakly supported at that! It thus is nothing more than a metphysical hope that a SuperIntellect (as Hoyle suggested) doesn’t exist.

If they’re going to teach in Intelligent Design at Dover (which the DI and myself have reservations about), we should do it right and not halfway. For starters:

Hoyle somewhat inspired the search of the SuperIntellect. It has been pursued by other cosmologists like John Barrow and Frank Tipler. They believe God is a reasonable deduction from the Schrodinger Wave Equation, as do I.

Every physical system is fully actualized by an observer outside the system. The cosmos is a physical system, therefore an All-Powerful, All-Knowing, non-material Intelligence outside the cosmos is actualizing physical reality. That is a controversial, but natural deduction from the laws of physics alone, with no appeal to religious texts.

Tipler writes:

I am as surprised as the reader. When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straight-forward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.

– Tipler from the opening of his book, Physics of Immortality

and Morowitz, who teaches at my school George Mason University, who also testified against the Creationists in McLean vs. Arkansas 21 years ago wrote in 2002:

Emergence of Everything:

This book has proceeded with two agendas: to study emergence by examining a number of examples, and to see for the nature and operation of God in the emergent universe. We thus have reviewed in a very general way a series of novelties from the Big Bang to the Spirit. At each stage we have sought for underlying interactions, laws, and ways in which actual outcomes have been selected to form the complex world of the possible. The laws of physics and chemistry have been identified with the immanent God, a very impersonal God committed to a lawful universe. This is the nature of God posited by Spinoza, Bruno, and Einstein. The immanence is unknowable except through a study of the laws of nature. We study God’s immanence through science. I am sure that there are scientists and theologians who are uncomfortable with that statement but its truth seems undeniable…

Deep within the laws of physics and chemistry the universe is fit for life. This fitness we identify with God’s immanece.…The present study of this fitness take place under the rubric of “design”

in Cosmic Joy, Mowowitze wrote:

from Cosmic Joy page 280:

What emerges from all this is the return of “mind” to all areas of scientific thought. This is good news from the point of view of all varieties of natural theology. For a universe where mind is a fundamental part of reality more easily makes contact with the mind of god than does a mindless world.

page 298: Like Dyson and Henderson and Teilhard, I find it hard not to see design in a universe that works so well. Each new scientific discovery seems to reinforce that vision of design. As I like to say to my friends, the universe works much better than we have any right to expect.

Intelligent Design in Dover does not have to be creationist. It would be interesting to explore the Origin of Life reasearch by Morowitz, and then his deep fascination with MIND toward the latter part of his career. He was director of a research center deeply devoted to the study of Intelligence:

http://www.gmu.edu/news/gazette/9912/krasnow.html

Though my theology disagrees with Tipler and Morowitz’s idea of who the Intelligent Designer of the Cosmos is, one can see that Intelligent Design is a reasonable scientific position.….

Salvador

Jan said:

For those of you who do not know, here is what the first amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

When a teacher tells her class that the universe appears to have an intelligent design, is that teacher establishing a religion? Of course not! The liberal, socialist, secular, usually atheistic agenda that is being promoted in our government schools has convinced a generation of people that the first amendment will not allow the name of God to be voiced in public schools, but that was never the intention of our founding fathers. Our founding fathers only intended that we not establish a national religion that we reguire our citizens to become affiliated with or that we not force them to worship any particular deity. If this error is not corrected soon, it is going to be too late to correct it.

Jan, I regret that you didn’t get a more careful response to your legal claim.

As Madison pointed out several times, the rights in what is now the First Amendment (it was the third amendment in the original series proposed) the rights enumerated there are not granted there – they existed within the people’s rights when the people wrote the Constitution, and they retained those rights because they did not delegate them to any arm of any government. The First Amendment restates them, and adds the kicker that Congress may not legislate against them.

For the purposes of what you propose, it means that Congress cannot pass a law empowering a teacher in a public school to espouse religion. That is beyond the power of Congress, and the religious belief rights remain with the people (and the kids in the class, of course – not the teacher, who is a government employee).

When a teacher claims that the universe is the product of an intelligence, upon what evidence does he base that claim? What paper published in what journal makes that claim? What was the test applied, and how could a kid duplicate the test?

If there is no such paper, no such journal, no such test and no such chance at duplication, then the statement is a statement of faith.

Teachers may not insist that any statement of faith they make is the way to believe. That right belongs to the kids. The teacher is not authorized to make such a statement of faith by state law in any state – and for good measure, each state constitution contains language similar to or stronger than the First Amendment.

The states may not pass laws authorizing statements of faith, by their own Constitutions, and by the law of the First Amendment, whose authority over the states was reiterated in the Civil War and the 14th Amendment.

Unless the statement the teacher makes is one based on science, in a science class, no teacher has the authority to make the claim that the universe is designed. He does not have that authority because the First Amendement, which you cited, denies Congress the power to grant that authority, and because that authority is expressly withheld from government in the U.S. Constitution and each of the state constitutions. Since there can be no law authorizing such a religious statement as you propose, it will always be illegal.

It is not the secularists who have convinced too-gullible Americans that a mere mention of God is forbidden in schools. In fact no secularist makes that claim. On the other hand, fear-mongers like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and D. James Kennedy regularly make such misstatements of fact. The only place you will hear that a mention of God is forbidden is in Christian media, from people who need to make you fearful in order to get you to send money, or to send posts railing against good science to semi-public blogs.

When Madison wrote the First Amendment, he intended to grant no less religious freedom than was already granted in each state charter – which is to say, absolute freedom from any state church, national or state. That was the point of Jefferson’s official proclamation to the Danbury Baptist, who had asked for federal intervention against Connecticut’s establishment of a state church. (Jefferson didn’t intervene, but pointed out that such an action on the part of a state was contrary to the Constitution.)

So when your hypothetical science teacher tells his students that some deity, or a little green man (if he sticks to the Discovery Institute dogma), is behind the creation of the universe, without science to back his claim, he is illegally attempting to establish religion by making an expressly religious statement.

I’d be pleased to provide you with the information you need to get the facts about the Constitution, about the science of evolution, and about the faith required for intelligent design, if you want to pursue the issue. And if you would be open to the concept that most of us Christians agree with that law and that science, I could provide you information that these stands are neither atheist nor socialist.

johnsmith:

Have you heard of Kuhn’s: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn’s treatise on science might give you pause to rethink. I won’t try to rehash all of his ideas (it’d be better to read the book), but one interesting point that I can’t help but mention, is that he believed generally, that scientists are not objective and independent thinkers.

It is true that individual scientists are not open and objective thinkers. They all have their individual foibles and metaphysical presupositions. It is also true that, due to extensive training, the extent to which this is true of scientists is far less than it is true of most others. What is most important, however, is that the individual foibles and presupositions of scientists are individual foibles and presupositions. Scientists disagree amongst each other extensively as regards to metaphysical presupositions, epistemological supositions, and preferences. When one scientist leans to heavily on a metaphysical presuposition, you can be sure another scientist will take exception - and eviscerate his argument. The consequence is that the consensus theory in any given field objective and free of presuposition for all intents and purposes. (This does not mean an individual scientists exposition of the consensus theory will be free of presupposition. Dawkins’ exposition of Darwinism, for example, is influenced by his atheism; just as Simon Conway Morris’ exposition is influenced by his Christianity.)

The upshot is that, unless compelling reasons can be given to the contrary, a person appealling to the “metaphysical presuppositions of scientists” as reason to ignore a particular theory it typically just taking a lazy way out of critically analysing their own presuppositions.

Salvador:

Smolin offers a speculation, it is an untestable unprovable speculation, and weakly supported at that! It thus is nothing more than a metphysical hope that a SuperIntellect (as Hoyle suggested) doesn’t exist.

Allow for argument that Smolin’s speculation is “untestable unprovable … and weakly supported”. This places it in exactly the same boat as speculations about a supernatural creator fine tuning the universe for life. Thus, given the premises of the fine tuning argument, we have no more reason to believe in such a creator than we had before we examined those premises.

In fact, however, Smolin’s theory is testable (as is the fine tuning hypothesis). It can be determined, in principle, if the universe is more favourable for black hole creation than it is for life; or whether it is ideal for life though less than ideal for black hole creation. The former situation would favour Smolin’s hypothesis, the latter the fine tuning hypothesis. That we are not yet in a position to make such a determination means that any direct argument from “fine tuned” physical constants to the existence of a creator is simply an argument from ignorance. Any such argument that fails to mention non-supernaturalistic competitors is either an ignorant argument from ignorance - or dishonest.

Hoyle somewhat inspired the search of the SuperIntellect. It has been pursued by other cosmologists like John Barrow and Frank Tipler. They believe God is a reasonable deduction from the Schrodinger Wave Equation, as do I.

Every physical system is fully actualized by an observer outside the system. The cosmos is a physical system, therefore an All-Powerful, All-Knowing, non-material Intelligence outside the cosmos is actualizing physical reality. That is a controversial, but natural deduction from the laws of physics alone, with no appeal to religious texts.

This argument has at its base a thought experiment by Werner Heisenberg. In this thought experiment we imagine trying to determine the position of a particle. To do this we must bounce another particle of the first - but that imparts momentum to the first particle changing its momentum and position. By using smaller particles we can restrict this effect, but there is a limit to how much we can restrict it - as specified by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

In the Schrodinger equations, the wave function is the measure of our uncertainty of the position of a particle. Supposedly an “observation” colapses the wave function - but an “observation”, interpreted physically, is just sort of thing that occurs in Heisenberg’s original thought experiment - ie, the interaction between two particles.

Invoking God to collapse the wave function of the universe is simply allowing theological prefference to run ahead of your willingness to think straight.

They’re so close, but not quite. The observation which collapses the wave function is made by Santa Claus. I think that’s a reasonable deduction from the Schrodinger Equation.

BTW, collapses of vectors in Hilbert space are done by the Easter Bunny, whose office is across the hall from Santa’s, in momentum space.

jon fleming wrote:

Your and ReMine’s unsupported/disproved fantasies are not evidence.

jon was referring to supposed support of evolutionary theory because of molecular taxonomies.

Perhaps Jon would care to state whether he believes hierarchical patterns in molecular taxonimies is an automatic consequence of Darwinian common descent with modification.

Hierarchies will exist in the short term, but not in the long term because of configurational entropy.

The supposed overwhelming molecular evidence of Darwinan evolution is actually devasting evidence against it. Few people realize this until they study the facts carefully. They just assume because a hierarchy is created in the short term (over a few generations) it will necessarily imply the hierarchy is sustained in the long term.….

So, I suggest jon or someone answer this question: “Are hierachical patterns in molecular taxonomies an inevitable consequence of Darwinian descent with modification?”

Douglas Theobold sometimes posts to pandas thumb. I’d be curious to see if he would be so bold to keep asserting the fallacious argument that Darwinian evoltuion creates hierarchies because Darwinian evolution is a “self-replicating markov processes with branching”.

This is the kind of stuff that should be covered if ID is taught in Dover. A cursory explanation wouldn’t take but 1 or 2 lectures if done right, and it will be obvious the supposed support of Darwinism from molecular taxonomies is devasting evidence against Darwinism.

Salvador

Salvador said:

This is the kind of stuff that should be covered if ID is taught in Dover. A cursory explanation wouldn’t take but 1 or 2 lectures if done right, and it will be obvious the supposed support of Darwinism from molecular taxonomies is devasting evidence against Darwinism.

Sure – if you propose a six-month course in Darwinian evolution, we could give two days to lecture on ID, accompanied by two days of lecture on how ID fails to be science at every turn.

But in a course that probably will run 10-days of evolution, to suggest 20% of the time for pseudo-science is pure nuts.

Creationism isn’t cut out for a world where conservatives push a law called “No Child Left Behind.”

Hmmm. Is there any world creationism IS cut out for?

Mr. Sandefur said:

But in the end, this editorial still makes the “equal time” argument …

As a nation, as policy, we have abandoned the idea of equal time. That has led to the rise of the religious right, who now ask for equal time.

Sure. When the religious right brings back equal time with the FCC and politics, and religion, we’ll see that the religious right gets an equal say in front of a qualified forum of 8th grade students.

I’m sure Rush Limbaugh will be pleased to give equal time on his show, even to evolution.

(Don’t you love it when they beg for mercy under the standards they trashed just a moment before?)

Mr. Sandefur said:

But in the end, this editorial still makes the “equal time” argument …

As a nation, as policy, we have abandoned the idea of equal time. That has led to the rise of the religious right, who now ask for equal time.

Sure. When the religious right brings back equal time with the FCC and politics, and religion, we’ll see that the religious right gets an equal say in front of a qualified forum of 8th grade students.

I’m sure Rush Limbaugh will be pleased to give equal time on his show, even to evolution.

(Don’t you love it when they beg for mercy under the standards they trashed just a moment before?)

Ed asks

Creationism isn’t cut out for a world where conservatives push a law called “No Child Left Behind.”

Hmmm. Is there any world creationism IS cut out for?

Yeah Osama’s Talibanic Afghanistan. Remember what that was like?

Osama bin Laden is a creationist, just like Salvador. Of course Osama is also primarily a rational human being, just like Salvador.

The most important difference between Osama and Salvador? Osama is relatively honest.

Sal, this

Perhaps Jon would care to state whether he believes hierarchical patterns in molecular taxonimies is an automatic consequence of Darwinian common descent with modification.

Hierarchies will exist in the short term, but not in the long term because of configurational entropy.

is far from a coherent position.

In what fashion will ‘configurational entropy’ eliminate our ability to make predictions on the basis of molecular hierarchies? You’re not confusing this with thermodynamics again, are you? The two are unrelated.

The supposed overwhelming molecular evidence of Darwinan evolution is actually devasting evidence against it. Few people realize this until they study the facts carefully. They just assume because a hierarchy is created in the short term (over a few generations) it will necessarily imply the hierarchy is sustained in the long term . ….

And since you haven’t demonstrated this to be true, we should somehow take your word for it?

Do us a favor: show the mathematics behind your contention; the actual result patterns that your non-Darwinian mechanisms would entail.

Otherwise your remarks lack a constructive aspect.

So, I suggest jon or someone answer this question: “Are hierachical patterns in molecular taxonomies an inevitable consequence of Darwinian descent with modification?”

Irrelevant.

You’ve claimed that “configurational entropy”, whatever that is, will prevent nested heirarchies in the long term. Let’s see your math.

Salvador,

I’m sorry I couldn’t respond to your posts #10424 and #10443 earlier; we are running three faculty searches and I have spent most of the last few days reading and re-reading CV’s ( I think I know some of the candidates better than my family at this point!)

In #10424 you listed two popularizations found on Amazon.com, both of which argue (as I recall) that there are particular commonalities to human ancestry, but refer to “Eve” in a metaphorical sense rather than the literal sense you indicated. The Web article by Pitman appears to argue much the same thing. But the nature of human commonality is not really the point: you did not attempt to address the actual question I posed about evidence for a young Earth. Even if you posit that humanity arrived here late last night, there is still a massive volume of evidence pointing to a vastly older Earth than that wished for by YECs’.

In #10443, you offered Walt Brown as a reliable YEC authority, which tells me (again!) that you haven’t been doing your homework. Brown’s hydroplate “theory” (sneer quotes mandatory here) doesn’t stand up even to a cursory inspection by a bright high-school student. Instead of trying to work out an alternative to plate tectonics, he has doodled up something for the Crackpot Hall of Fame, and claims that no mainstream geologist will debate him about it, a charge that is demonstrated as false here:

http://gondwanaresearch.com/hp/walt_brown.htm

So, once again, can you offer real evidence supprting a young Earth? Before trying to answer, feel free to browse www.talkorigins.org. It may help prevent you from launching any clay pigeons that I can shoot down from the hip.

Neil

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on November 12, 2004 9:57 AM.

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