Fighting for (and in) the heart of America

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Today’s Guardian has an article on creationism in American public schools. Most of the article will be familiar to those versed in the subject matter, but what turned my stomach was this quote:

But the largest applause of the evening was reserved for a silver-haired gentleman in a navy blue blazer. “I have a question: if man comes from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”

You poor, poor Kansans…At least they should supply your creationists with some new material every now and then.

The article further fleshes out the reasoning behind the attacks on evolution:

“They believe that the naturalistic bias of science is in fact atheistic, and that if we don’t change science, we can’t believe in God. And so this is really an attack on all of science. Evolution is just the weak link.”

I’m always surprised when they say this type of thing. Evolution is more strongly supported than many other theories in science. I’ve said before that religionists ought to target the germ theory of disease instead: the mere existence of a carrier state could have been used as the death knell to Koch’s postulates, for example. But I’ve not yet seen any takers. At least they must see the absurdity in challenging some well-established theories. For now.

33 Comments

Yei! We finally got some XX diversity on board.

The gentlemen who made the monkeys comment also ended his speech with something to the effect that the children needed to be taught the truth that “in the beginning, God created.” He got a large round of applause for that, even though the moderator of the hearings had asked the audience not to applaud.

On the other hand, please don’t judge all of Kansas by the creationists. A number of people made excellent pro-science speeches. A couple of good lines I liked were when one man ended his speech with “Science isn’t decided by voting, … but school Board elections are.”; and a lady science teacher in a Catholic high school, after pointing out that evolution does not conflict with the Catholic faith, said that “the Kansas state school board doesn’t get to decide what the definition of science is.”

Round two of the public hearings is in Topeka, the state capitol, tomorrow night. Stay tuned for more news from Kansas.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

On the other hand, please don’t judge all of Kansas by the creationists.

Absolutely. I’m a native Ohioan–I feel your pain.

The American Fundamentalist movement is sowing the seeds for the destruction of American power in the world. The American position of power and prosperity is due in no small part by strong scientific education and funding.

It will be interesting to see what the Fundies will do a few decades from now when the fruits of their efforts are realized and America has to take a back seat in the world to Europe and China.…the up-and-coming power-houses.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

Round two of the public hearings is in Topeka, the state capitol, tomorrow night. Stay tuned for more news from Kansas.

Anybody who is planning to speak at the public hearing in Topeka on Tuesday might consider getting there early so you can sign up to speak toward the beginning. That way, you can set a trap for those Creationists who intend to gleefully point out that evolution is “just a theory.” Sadly, this classic “argument” reared its ugly head several times at the first hearing.

If I had the chance to speak again, I would say, “All of the speakers tonight who suggest that evolution is somehow less important in science because it is ‘just a theory’ will automatically disqualify themselves from having something constructive to say about the Science Standards because such a statement exposes a complete ignorance of how science actually works.”

It would be interesting to see the effects of a comment like that. I wonder how many of the following speakers would fall into the trap? Even worse, I wonder how many would fall in and not even notice?

The American Fundamentalist movement is sowing the seeds for the destruction of American power in the world. The American position of power and prosperity is due in no small part by strong scientific education and funding. It will be interesting to see what the Fundies will do a few decades from now when the fruits of their efforts are realized and America has to take a back seat in the world to Europe and China . …the up-and-coming power-houses.

You can be sure that they will have a scapegoat or two to blame for it. Not sure if “commie-loving liberal” will work again.

Anybody who is planning to speak at the public hearing in Topeka on Tuesday might consider getting there early so you can sign up to speak toward the beginning.

Good idea, thanks Jeremy.

The American Fundamentalist movement is sowing the seeds for the destruction of American power in the world.

The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Oh, those nasty ole fundie boogeymen troublemakers! What’s a poor little American evolutionist to do these days?

“the Kansas state school board doesn’t get to decide what the definition of science is.”

Oh? And who does “get to”? KCFS? NCSE? I don’t think so; certainly not exclusively. All sides have some things to say on this one.

And with all due respect, Jack, non-Darwinists are pro-science, too, even if they happen to disagree with you. The usual pro-evolution labeling tactics and condescension bizness, won’t work quite as well as it did in 1999, I suspect.

Anyway, I’m looking at a copy of the suggested revisions being offered to the KS school board. Looks like the non-Darwinists are offering up some good pro-science cuisine. (Here you go, try a sample for yourself. Delicious!)

Methodological naturalism is scientifically problematic in origins science because it violates two key aspects of the scientific method.

It philosophically limits both the formation and testing of competing hypotheses. It limits hypothesis formation by philosophically ruling out a logical, evidence-based competitor to the evolutionary hypothesis, that is, that life and its diversity are the result of a process that is at least partially guided.

Criticisms of the naturalistic hypothesis are also disallowed to ensure that the outlawed competitor does not intrude through the back door. Without any substantive competitor, evolution cannot be effectively tested or falsified, and is thereby converted into a dogma, doctrine or ideology. As such, naturalistic evolution actually ceases to fall within the realm of science.

As I read through this and the other 23 pages of proposed changes and reasons given, I thought about the evolutionists’ claim that Earth life originated from non-life via undirected chemical evolution.

(“The weakest strut in the chassis of modern biology”, according to Scientific American’s John Horgan.)

I thought about how this evolutionist claim, with its many Swiss-cheese holes, is taught in Topeka high-school biology textbooks with absolutely NO mention of the clear problems involved with that claim (such as an irrefutably way-too-short time period in which to get the abiogenesis job done). Nor mention of any possible alternatives.

Tara says, “Evolution is more strongly supported than many other theories in science”, but here is an example where it is clearly NOT. That “not” needs to be clearly taught to the science kids, instead of being censored and sanitized according to the Darwinist faith.

The current textbook situation, that in some areas tend to reflect naturalistic and materialistic dogmas instead of the scientific method, is why I intend, if at all possible, to at least show up for the Public Hearing.

Whether or not the board adopts the proposed changes this year doesn’t matter so much. What matters is that people at least speak up, publicly, and insist on some necessary changes in the way origins are taught to the science students.

FL :-)

Confusing evolution with abiogenesis? “Irrefutable” claim of a “way-too-short time period” for abiogenesis? Can’t you do better than that?

From the proposed changes:

It limits hypothesis formation by philosophically ruling out a logical, evidence-based competitor to the evolutionary hypothesis, that is, that life and its diversity are the result of a process that is at least partially guided.

Problem is, there is no “evidence-based competitor.” That’s your biggest problem right there. All you have is the ages-old “argument from design” which has been rebutted time and time again, even before my great-great-great grandfather’s time.

Criticisms of the naturalistic hypothesis are also disallowed to ensure that the outlawed competitor does not intrude through the back door.

I agree–religion should not enter through a back door. The courts have been clear on this.

Without any substantive competitor, evolution cannot be effectively tested or falsified, and is thereby converted into a dogma, doctrine or ideology. As such, naturalistic evolution actually ceases to fall within the realm of science.

Nonsense. Again, I refer you to the germ theory of disease. Where is its “substantive competitor?” It’s just as Biblically sound to say that disease is caused by the wrath of God ass to say that organisms were created (or their form “guided by”) God. Evolution has no real competition because there is too much evidence in support of it.

And certainly, if you’re familiar with this area, you must know that there are indeed ways evolution has been tested, and could be falsified. It would have been a serious problem for evolutionary theory if, upon looking at protein and DNA sequences, we routinely saw that humans’ sequences were much closer to that of, say, frogs, than that of chimpanzees. It would be a serious problem for evolutionary theory if we found a 3-billion-year-old human skeleton, or indeed, if we found evidence of a great abundance of “complex” life forms before we saw evidence of much simpler ones. Of course, these things haven’t happened, but evolution is constantly being tested whenever new finds are discovered. This is called science.

The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Oh, those nasty ole fundie boogeymen troublemakers! What’s a poor little American evolutionist to do these days?

Now there’s a thoughtful response to a serious question of fundamentalist inroads into academic rigor.

I thought about the evolutionists’ claim that Earth life originated from non-life via undirected chemical evolution. I thought about how this evolutionist claim, with its many Swiss-cheese holes, is taught in Topeka high-school biology textbooks

While I, personally, think it’s a pretty likely scenario, it’s really peripheral to the subject matter of evolution. Can you cite the actual textbook being used in Topeka that makes these claims?

…clear problems involved with that claim (such as an irrefutably way-too-short time period in which to get the abiogenesis job done).

“Irrefutably”? How can you possibly know that? I suppose if they gave you a detailed blueprint of what is supposed to have actually happened, and you knew all the temperatures, pressures, chemical concentrations, etc. you could prove it inconsistent with what we know about chemical kinetics. But is that the case? Or is this just more overheated FL rhetoric?

Tara says, “Evolution is more strongly supported than many other theories in science”, but here is an example where it is clearly NOT.

Again, I’m left wondering whether this persistent conflation of abiogenesis with evolution is the result of the textbooks and curricula in Kansas, or FL’s obsession with the so-called “Darwinists’” supposed campaign against religion.

‘They believe that the naturalistic bias of science is in fact atheistic, and that if we don’t change science, we can’t believe in God. And so this is really an attack on all of science. Evolution is just the weak link’

This is a really interesting statement. Now if it said we live in a science minded society and each new discovery makes the bible and it’s literal truth less likely that would be more accurate.

Truthfully virtually all religious beliefs cntradict science so why do they focus on Genesis and evolution? why not attack gravity which so many beings in the bible easily deny? Why not astronomy which again is shredded in the bible? Why not biology itself?

Also does it strike anyone as being odd that they will say life cannot come from non-life and then say people came back to life after being dead? Isn’t that a mental contradiction?

We could go on. But why bother.

I have a question for ID proponents

Can you tell us how ID theory might explain the shared pattern of endogenous retroviruses observed in the genomes of humans and other great apes?

The theory of evolution has a wonderfully elegant explanation. I’d like to hear a similarly elegant non-evolutionary explanation from the ID folks. If ID is really a legitimate scientific alternative to evolution, it must be able to provide coherent explanations for phenomena like this. So are there any takers? FL? You wanna give it a shot?

FL said:

“Oh? And who does “get to”? KCFS? NCSE? I don’t think so; certainly not exclusively. All sides have some things to say on this one.”

Since when? Why do you and your ilk continue to think that science is decided through a “town hall” process? Sorry, but “all sides” do not have a saying on what constitutes sound science.

“Professor Smith, I’m sorry but I just cannot accept the ‘F’ you gave me on my ID paper. I have many friends in Kansas who really liked what I had to say in this paper and they certainly have an equal say in its quality and scientific merit. And since my friends outnumber you, it deserves an ‘A’. Please change my grade immediately. Oh, and another thing, we just decided that pigs fly so can you incorporate that into your lecture next week? Thanks, and we WILL see you in church on Sunday. God Bless, FL”

People sometimes write that the advance of the sciences is making it harder and harder to maintain that the Bible is literally true. This statement is misleading. It has been a very long time since it was possible to maintain the literal truth of the Bible in any rational way. There’s no harder and harder about it. Since the matter is settled, it’s pointless to blaim 21st Century science for something that happened a hundred years ago.

Jim,

You are quite correct. I didn’t mean this as a debate point, just that the way it presented itself smacks of silliness.

What? FL said:

I thought about the evolutionists’ claim that Earth life originated from non-life via undirected chemical evolution. …

I thought about how this evolutionist claim, with its many Swiss-cheese holes, is taught in Topeka high-school biology textbooks with absolutely NO mention of the clear problems involved with that claim (such as an irrefutably way-too-short time period in which to get the abiogenesis job done). Nor mention of any possible alternatives.

What book is that? I’ve reviewed every American textbook on biology I can find that is currently in use. To the best of my knowledge and searching, none make a claim tha tlife arose from “non-life.” Those that do make mention that such a claim exists make no explanation of it at all.

FL, what book makes that claim?

And, if there is a requirement that the difficulties with the hypothesis are presented, can we count on you to support adding the five or six pages necessary to put the real evidence into the books, so kids can learn all sides of the issue?

Teach the facts, first. If there’s any controversy left over, hold it for the lab.

Tara Smith Wrote:

It’s just as Biblically sound to say that disease is caused by the wrath of God ass…

Now where does the Bible say that? Sounds like some serious, serious wrath… :)

:) No one was supposed to catch that. Stupid typos, no editing function.…grrr…

You can still go back and edit it using the MT editor.

But I kind of like it the way it is. Really drives home the point about slipping religion in through the back door…

Wait, I’m confused. Evolution CAN’T be taught because there is no competing theory? Wow, what a paradigm. Sounds like creationists can’t lose.

“I have a question: if man comes from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”

The proper response is, “Do you have children? Grandchildren?” If the answer is yes, “Then why are you still here?”

COULD THE BOARD RESPOND? That would have been great! Could have turned it into a gigantic teaching road trip.

I wonder what the ICD code is for “God ass”?

Great post Tara. I’m still laughing.

And nice catch Steve.

COULD THE BOARD RESPOND? That would have been great! Could have turned it into a gigantic teaching road trip.

And we could follow up with a trip to the Creation museum…

I wonder what the ICD code is for “God ass”?

Great post Tara. I’m still laughing.

Yeah, yeah, enjoy it. Next time I’ll actually have to proofread or something. :)

And now for some responses. (Somewhat heavy snowfall caused tonite’s sciene standards hearing to be postponed, btw.)

Confusing evolution with abiogenesis?

Nope. Evolutionists claim that life originated on Earth from non-life, via a process of undirected chemical evolution. Some use terms like “abiogenesis”, sometimes “chemical evolution”, sometimes “prebiotic evolution”, to express said claim, but the claim is the same every time, no doubt about that.

“Irrefutable” claim of a “way-too-short time period” for abiogenesis? Can’t you do better than that?

Well, first you may want to go ahead and refute that claim it if you can do so. There’s only like 50 million years available to get the job done (Fazale Rana/Hugh Ross, 2004), or 170 million (Thaxton Bradley Olsen, 1984), to get it done, or on the evolution side, (the NASA Astrobiology website for example) up to a generous 300 million years. Geological blink of an eye in all three cases, however.

Why such short time available? Well, there’s the Late Heavy (meteoric) Bombardment, for one thing. And I don’t think anyone here can refute that, which is why I chose to use the term “irrefutably”.

Problem is, there is no “evidence-based competitor.” That’s your biggest problem right there.

I believe that in this particular area, ID is that evidence-based competitor to with that specific evolutionist claim. That will take some work and some time to show, of course, but because the prebiotic evolutionary claim itself is so very problematic and lacking in support in very important areas, it won’t take nearly as much work and time to show that ID is scientifically competitive with it, imo.

Russell didn’t like my response to Ken’s sky-is-falling post, and honestly, I myself would want to rewrite it to reduce the sarcasm level.

Next time, I’ll just straightforwardly point out the existence of Dr. George Washington Carver, geophysics-software expert Dr. John Baumgartner of Los Alamos, maybe one or two others, and tell Ken to educate himself that a scientist can believe in biblical creationism, YEC, OEC, ID, biblical fundamentalism, etc, and still make outstanding advances in science and technology just like any evolutionist. Would that be a more thoughtful response to offer him?

Ed Darrell says,

I’ve reviewed every American textbook on biology I can find that is currently in use. To the best of my knowledge and searching, none make a claim tha tlife arose from “non-life.”

Russell also says,

Can you cite the actual textbook being used in Topeka that makes these claims?

Yes, though I’m double-checking it because it’s a new semester/school year and I want to be ready (and accurate) when the postponed Public Hearing is rescheduled. But to my knowledge right now, Glencoe’s “Biology:The Dynamics of Life” and Miller-Levine’s “Biology” clearly make such claims.

Let’s start with Miller-Levine. (That’s “Miller” as in evolutionist defender Kenneth Miller of Brown University.)

Miller-Levine specifically says regarding Earths’ early atmosphere, that:

Note that this atmosphere contained no free oxygen gas and thus could not support life as we know it. (pg 343)

Okay. There’s your “non-life” right there, out loud. They then run through the standard presentation (Miller-Urey, Primordial Soup, etc.) In case the kiddies don’t know what the driving force is, that part is spelled out for them specifically:

From the jumbled mixture of molecules in the organic soup that formed in Earth’s oceans, the highly organized structures of RNA and DNA must somehow have evolved. (pg 344-345)

So there you have it. Put the two quotes together and you have the standard evolutionist claim that life originated from non-life via undirected chemical evolution. Glencoe follows the same presentation of course, pointing out that there used to be no free oxygen and that “scientists speculate that the first forms of life were prokaryotes, which probably evolvef from some type of protocells.”

(One can only pray that at this point, teachers are someday allowed to at least hand out a couple watered-down factoids from ThaxtonBradleyOlsen’s chapter on protocells to balance that claim out.)

Amyway, the point is that both textbooks present the claim mentioned earlier.

Tara, these examples also directly answer your objection about “this persistent confusing of abiogenesis with evolution.” As you can clearly see from the textbooks themselves, I am not conflating ~anything~. Merely going by what the texts themselves say. Seems clear enough.

Ed asks,

And, if there is a requirement that the difficulties with the hypothesis are presented, can we count on you to support adding the five or six pages necessary to put the real evidence into the books, so kids can learn all sides of the issue?

Sure, although I suspect rather strongly that we would not agree about that “real evidence” to be added on.

Buridan says:

Sorry, but “all sides” do not have a saying on what constitutes sound science.

Why not? There are PhD scientists on all sides of this controversy. You can find PhD philosophers of science on both the “Descent” and “Design” sides. You can find non-scientists (parents, clergy, etc., definitely including pro-evolution folks) who, despite not being scientists nor having a science degree, are more than willing to express their opinion publicly about what does or doesn’t constitute “sound science.”

So, it would seem to me that all sides have something to say on this issue, including the sub-issue of what constitutes “sound science.” I can’t see what scientific criterion you would use to declare that any particular side does not.

Finally, Caerbannog asks,

Can you tell us how ID theory might explain the shared pattern of endogenous retroviruses observed in the genomes of humans and other great apes?

Nope, I cannot; at least not at this time. It’s something I’ll have to study about later on. (I say “later on” because honestly, my intended main focus for this whole year is going to be exploring evolutionary versus non-evolutionary scientific explanations in terms of the origin-of-life controversy. I believe this is the best path for me to follow in terms of study and writing.

Even so, EvoWiki mentioned the following concerning the endogenous retrovirus stuff:

.….a common theme of dissenters is to deny, implicitly or explicitly, the randomness of proviral integration into the host genome. If integration is non-random, they argue, the extreme improbability of ERVs showing up at the same loci across different species (a problem circumvented by acknowledging they represent ancestry, and not different, convergent instances of infection) effectivly goes out the window. To buttress this claim, creationists cite mainstream literature on specific aspects of integration specificity. For example, Zhu et al (1999) knocked out Sir3p and Sir4p, two components of silent chromatin, in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This was followed by a more than nine-fold decrease in Ty5 (one of the families of S. cerevisiae ERV) integration specificity, which normally (more than 90%) occur near the silent chromatin bounded telomeres and HM loci.

I know that information doesn’t answer your specific question, but it’s at least a starting point as to understanding how non-evolutionists (specifically creationists) have tried to approach that topic.

But as for me, my focus is elsewhere for now.

FL

From the jumbled mixture of molecules in the organic soup that formed in Earth’s oceans, the highly organized structures of RNA and DNA must somehow have evolved. (pg 344-345)

Seems to me like “somehow” could mean anything. Including creation.

Nope. Evolutionists claim that life originated on Earth from non-life, via a process of undirected chemical evolution. Some use terms like “abiogenesis”, sometimes “chemical evolution”, sometimes “prebiotic evolution”, to express said claim, but the claim is the same every time, no doubt about that.

Evolutionary theory is theory about the development of life, not it’s origins. An “evolutionist” would say we don’t know how life originated, but we have some interesting plausible chemical pathways that we can study scientifically.

Why such short time available? Well, there’s the Late Heavy (meteoric) Bombardment, for one thing. And I don’t think anyone here can refute that, which is why I chose to use the term “irrefutably”.

“Short” does not lead to “irrefutably”. Your personal incredulity (“And I don’t think anyone here can refute that … “) doesn’t count as evidence.

I believe that in this particular area, ID is that evidence-based competitor to with that specific evolutionist claim.

Your personal credulity is no more evidence than your personal incredulity.

So there you have it. Put the two quotes together and you have the standard evolutionist claim that life originated from non-life via undirected chemical evolution.

Given phrases like “must somehow have” and “scientists speculate”, it’s clear they don’t make such a definitive claim. This is exactly what I said, looking for plausible pathways based on what we know about geochemistry and what we know about life today.

Tara, these examples also directly answer your objection about “this persistent confusing of abiogenesis with evolution.” As you can clearly see from the textbooks themselves, I am not conflating ~anything~. Merely going by what the texts themselves say. Seems clear enough.

Going by what they say, or what you want them to be saying? Here’s an idea. Look up the definition of “evolution” in those texts. Does it say in the definition it involves the origin of life? I’m guessing no. The OoL is a valid biological question, but it’s not part of evolutionary theory.

Why not?

Because science looks the explanations that best explain the facts, explanations that must themselves be subject to test. Non-testable philosophical musings have no place at that table.

I can’t see what scientific criterion you would use to declare that any particular side does not.

I’m using as my criterion those theories that both explain the existing data and can themselves to be checked by constructing positive testable hypotheses that flow from the theory. IOW, theories that allow us to advance our knowledge of nature.

What’s your criterion?

But as for me, my focus is elsewhere for now.

FL

I hope it’s something like stamp-collecting, because you’re wasting a lot of people’s time with this science-dilettante thing.

You fail to show how your obsession with abiogenesis is anything rational; the quotes you offer from Miller-Levine are, you’ll pardon the expression, “irrefutable”; do even extreme creationists contend that life did NOT come from non-life? I see nothing in the rest of your long-winded dump that even merits comment.

Really. Check out stamp-collecting.

FL,

The next time you need surgery please let me know and I’ll recommend a good mechanic or perhaps I’ll do it myself. Hey, what the hell, we all have opinions on medical issues, that’s more than enough to qualify me or anyone else to practice medicine.

Come on FL, think through your statements before posting them.

FL, the Miller-Levine and Glencoe books specifically avoid making the claim that they know how life arose. You’re suggesting they say what they don’t.

On the other hand, they do cite the science that is quite solid.

So your request is that we don’t tell the kids the facts. I find that an untenable idea, and questionable, ethically.

I find the following problems with FL’s complaint.

1. Evolution makes no claim at all for how life originated. Evolution is a theory for how life diversified once it was established. In point of fact, Darwin rather harkens to Genesis for the origins of life, in the last paragraph of Origin of Species. That so few creationists/IDists know or pay heed to this convinces me they do not bother to learn the material they grouse about.

2. Complaints that 300 million years is not enough for life to arise on Earth rings rather hollow consider the alternative religious explanations, that life arose in 6,000 years, fully formed.

3. There is always a handful of scientists who “disbelieve” other aspects of other sciences. Mach refused to “believe” atomic theory; Einstein had difficulties with quantum mechanics. Neither of them claimed that those sciences they didn’t understand should not be taught, nor did they see conspiracies against the facts by their colleagues.

Yes, there are creationists active in engineering and chemistry and physics. No, none of them has ever published a paper that denies evolution or which establishes an alternative hypothesis, such as ID. No, none of them is engaged in research which would lead to such publication.

The serious question for that small handful of scientists is why they ask for a special case for that science they disbelieve, if they ask it. As I noted, Einstein and Mach had the good sense not to stand in the way of advances in science they didn’t particularly like or fully understand. The vanishingly small, and shrinking number of scientists who “disbelieve” Darwinian evolution mostly don’t endorse creationist goals of stopping education in evolution (Dr. Behe specifically supports teaching Darwin, since, as he notes in Black Box, Darwin was right about evolution of animals and plants).

Arguments from authority don’t wash in these cases. FL may deny evolution until the space cows come home, but diabetics need their evolution-based treatments daily, or more often. We literally cannot afford the folly of “intelligent design” when it would bollux up medicine and agriculture so badly.

4. The chief advocates of intelligent design, to a person, note that there is no hypothesis behind ID that can or should be taught in high schools – including especially Dembski, Behe, and Nelson. I would defer to them on that issue. There simply is nothing to teach.

And in fact, that is the source of the Discovery Institute’s complaints against the actions in Dover, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. DI knows that a court test will find no “there” there in intelligent design. Nothing to teach, no valid secular reason to require it be taught.

5. There is no “ID side” to this issue of what should be taught in public school science classes. There is no scientist willing to state a case for ID. To claim there are two sides to the issue is to claim falsely. Creationists successfully avoided a trial of creationism for more than 50 years, but when they were finally questioned, under oath, in the Arkansas trial, they confessed to two things that killed the chances for a law mandating creationism in science classes: First, they confessed they had no science to support the claims of creationism; and second, they confessed that creationism is based on a particular interpretation of Genesis, religious scripture. Discovery Institute, and all the paid advocates of ID are now scrambling to distance themselves from the court cases on ID, because they wish to avoid being put under oath for similar questions.

There is no laboratory where ID is practiced or researched. There is institution of higher education that offers a sequence of courses to train anyone in ID, largely because there is nothing to train.

The claims that such research exists, and that such hypotheses exist, are false claims, or at best, erroneous ones.

6. If you wish to deny the evidence that exists, please don’t torture yourself and others with claims that you wish to do science. If you are open to the evidence, then you need to start with what is really in the literature and in the labs. NASA’s astrobiology program is quite prolific. You should study with James Ferris, or at least pay heed to his work and his views, rather than distort them as IDists do when they complain about the textbooks (as you have done above). And especially you need to get hold of the work of Andy Ellington at the University of Texas. Your complaints about the difficulty of what you dismissively call “chemical evolution” have been tested in various labs, and your views of how the experiments should have come out appear to me to be significantly at odds with how things work in the universe. These reports probably cannot be summarized in a few paragraphs, but if you wish to present the case for and against them, you will not object to laying out the facts completely, I’m sure.

FL’s complaints against chemical evolution, then, need to be taken up with God, or whoever FL believes the “designer” to be (I rather favor calling that power “the Wilber Force”). Some may regret that the ID view of the universe is not what the universe itself manifests. That is a religious issue, and not a scientific one. Scripture already covers what we are to do in such circumstances, and demanding that God change the universe, or teaching that the universe is something other than what it is, are not among the scriptural solutions.

Methodological naturalism is scientifically problematic in origins science because it violates two key aspects of the scientific method.

It philosophically limits both the formation and testing of competing hypotheses. It limits hypothesis formation by philosophically ruling out a logical, evidence-based competitor to the evolutionary hypothesis, that is, that life and its diversity are the result of a process that is at least partially guided.

Translation: “Methodological Naturalism is bad because it keeps us from calling anything we please ‘science’.”

In fact, methodological naturalism does not ‘rule out’ intelligent design theories; it merely imposes on them the same requirements that all theories are subject to, that they explain the observed phenomena, and that they predict phenomena not yet observed. Evolution is accepted as a theory because it does this; ID is rejected because no ID proponent has yet made a real attempt to do so.

Ed Darell

“1. Evolution makes no claim at all for how life originated. Evolution is a theory for how life diversified once it was established. In point of fact, Darwin rather harkens to Genesis for the origins of life, in the last paragraph of Origin of Species. That so few creationists/IDists know or pay heed to this convinces me they do not bother to learn the material they grouse about.”

As taught in HS evolution claims that life evolved from nothing. If along with an agreement to teach the parts of evolution theory that have strong factual evidence we also agree to fire teachers who teach the parts that have no factual support.

For example there is no support for amino acid to cell evolution. Yet in practice this is taught as fact in many many classrooms.

A unsupported fact that oppose a religious view IS a religious view. As such most teaching of evolution is a form of RELIGION and as such does not belong in school.

Unless you are honest and have a sticker on the book that says evolution cannot explain the origions of life and does not claim to. That is all we want. Follow the rules of science in science class not religion.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on February 7, 2005 11:11 AM.

Behe jumps the shark was the previous entry in this blog.

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