Challenge Accepted

| 43 Comments

USA Today has a short article about the on-going creationist attacks on science education, and the understandable irritation this is causing among leading scientists and educators: ‘Call to Arms’ on Evolution.

It’s kind of the same old thing – presenting it as a he-said/she-said issue and giving the ID advocates space to state their falsehoods. But of course that’s not good enough for the Discovery Institute’s Media Complaints Division, which finds it necessary to complain about every news article that doesn’t specifically advocate ID using pro-ID talking-points and spin. The DI’s Rob Crowther has a lot of silly things to say about the article, but this is the silliest:

The letter [from the NAS] singles out for criticism people who don’t believe in the big bang, that the earth is older than 10,000 years a [sic] plate tectonics. Please. I challenge you to find a serious, leading intellectual ID proponent who does not subscribe to the big bang or does not believe the earth is billions of years old. It’s ludicrous to try and demean design theory by mistakenly equating design theorists with other non-scientific anti-evolutionists.

Challenge accepted.

For exhibit A, I give you Paul Nelson, who is a fellow of the Discovery Institute, the same organization that employs Rob Crowther. Nelson is widely known as a young-Earth creationist (YEC), which among other things, means that he rejects Big Bang cosmology and believes that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Nelson was one of the defenders of YEC in the 1999 book Three Views on Creation and Evolution. Now maybe Crowther doesn’t think that Paul Nelson is serious or intellectual. If so, he’s expressing a rather low opinion of his employer’s judgment, which is not a wise thing to do if one wishes to remain employed. (For what it’s worth, I consider Nelson to be among the more serious and intellectual of the DI crowd.)

Exhibit B is Phillip Johnson, sometimes referred to as the “Godfather” of the ID movement. While ID predates Johnson, he is the leading architect of the Wedge Strategy, and has been instrumental in molding the ID movement into the political machine it’s become. As I previously noted here and here, Johnson’s search for Truth is so great, he won’t even take a stand on how old the Earth is:

Phillip Johnson Wrote:

I have consistently said that I take no position on the age of the earth, and that I regard the issue as not ripe for debate yet. I have also rejected all suggestions that I should denounce the YECs and instead have said that I regard high-quality YECs like Andrew Snelling as respected allies. […]

When developments make it appropriate for me to clarify or adjust my position, I will not hesitate to do so.

So Phillip Johnson, perhaps the most visible leader of the ID movement, doesn’t accept an ancient Earth either. Or at least if he does, he refuses to say so. It’s bravery such as this – the willingness to stand up for what he believes in regardless of the consequences – that earned Johnson the 1st annual Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth.

How many other “serious, leading intellectual” ID advocates are also YECs? No one really knows. My guess it that it’s a fair number, possibly even a majority, but it’s the sort of issue that the ID movement has done its best to sweep under the rug. Most ID advocates are not as forthright as Paul Nelson, nor are they in positions of leadership which require them to go on record like Phillip Johnson has (however useless that record may be). Two notable exceptions are Michael Behe and William Dembski, both of whom are old-Earthers.

No one expects Crowther to accurately represent mainstream science – after all, few ID advocates do – but not understanding the very movement which he shills for is downright sad. Much of his blog is wasted whining about why those evil evilutionists would dare conflate the “scientific” theory of ID with creationism. Rob, old buddy, let me let you in on a little secret: So-called ID theory does not reject young-Earth creationism, nor any other form of creationism. In fact, the ID movement’s strategy is to lump all creationists together under one “big tent” for political purposes. You’re complaining about a situation that your own team has created.

If the ID advocates wished to, they could clarify how old they think the Earth is. They could also construct an actual explanatory model that includes not only their views on cosmology and geology – somewhat basic when theorizing about “origins” – but also testable hypotheses about how, when, why, and where these designs they claim to have detected supposedly came about. Until then, Crowther and his ilk have no right to complain about being lumped in with creationism. Nor should they refer to ID as being scientific.

Update: Dave Thomas, in an effort to ruin my fun, sent Crothwer an email mentioning Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds as two YEC-IDists. Crowther updated his post accordingly. But then he moves the goal posts:

I should have said: Name one prominent ID proponent who has ever proposed that the Big Bang concept be removed from science classrooms.

Now, suddenly, the age of the Earth and plate tectonics are off the table, and it’s only the Big Bang he’s concerned about. Additionally, the issue is now what to remove from science classrooms rather than what to add. Most YECs gave up long ago on removing an old Earth from science class, and are instead happy just to have a young Earth taught as an equally valid viewpoint, which is no less of a concern to Alberts and the NAS. Still, Crowther deserves kudos for correcting his mistake. He also notes:

Regardless, there’s nothing in ID that even implies the details of young earth creationism…

Right-o Rob, it implies no details about anything. That’s what allows the YECs to happily coexist, and it’s the major reason why ID isn’t science.

43 Comments

What about Dr. Jonathan Wells?

Of the ID bright lights, probably only Michael Behe might be certified as an “old Earther.” With Dembski’s current appointment at a seminary in Kentucky, I don’t expect that he will rush to defend Big Bang cosmology and Lyellian/Sedgwickian geology (it would be a pleasant surprise if he would).

Crowther’s degree is in creative writing, is it not?

I wonder: Is there a Boy Scout among the ID folk? Is there any chance there is an Eagle Scout among them? I don’t think they could say some of the things they say, were they to try to live by the Scout Law.

I thought about including Wells in the “artfully ambiguous” set that Johnson is in. In a 2001 interview that I came across, Wells stated that he hasn’t “seen the evidence” for YEC, which I take to mean that he just plum doesn’t know. (As if it’s such a hard thing to figure out). More recently, he’s said that he’s become skeptical of the age of the Earth because he just can’t trust those lying scientists anymore. Couldn’t find the source for that though. However, I’m not sure that Wells hasn’t stated elsewhere that he’s an old-Eather, so I just skipped it.

I found an interesting piece by J.P. Moreland (taken from a Q&A session) in which he seems to defend an old Earth – it was posted on Reasons to Believe, which is an OEC outfit – but in the whole thing he never comes out and says that he adheres to an old Earth. Why not just say, “I think the evidence supports and old Earth.” How hard is that? Instead he meanders around with Biblical issues and how certain respectable authorities interpret the days of Genesis differently, etc. He’s hanging really close to the ambiguous faction as well.

Dembski, on the other hand, has stated more or less directly that he is an old-Earther. It’s possible that he’s being disengenuous, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. It would be easy enough for him to join Team Ambiguity™ just like Johnson and Wells.

Crowther: by mistakenly equating design theorists with other non-scientific anti-evolutionists

sure let’s not confuse design theorists with other non-scientific anti-evolutionist. Although both surely seem to be equally non-scientific. Why does Crowther object to ID being shown to be in the same category as other non scientific anti-evolutionists. Seems Crowther realized his follies and the posting was revised to read

It’s ludicrous to try and demean design theory by mistakenly equating design theorists with non-scientific anti-evolutionists.

In his letter, Alberts criticizes Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a leading proponent of intelligent design, as being representative of the “common tactic” of misrepresenting scientists’ comments to cast doubts on evolution.

Behe calls this “outrageous,” saying he simply points out that even establishment scientists note the complexity of biological structures.

How many minutes would it have taken for the lazy USA journalist who wrote this piece to confirm that Alberts is telling the truth and Behe is not?

Or did the journalist do the research but then had his/her findings edited out so as not to appear “biased” against the Disclaimery Institute’s poof squad?

Man, the media’s ineptitude just burns me up.

Behe = [accurate but vitriolic descriptor deleted]

It’s this dishonesty of the ID crowd that bugs me no end. They have one face for the choir and another for the mainstream. They say it’s not a religious issue, but the vast majority of their works are published by religious publishers. They disavow YEC when it makes them look silly and happily share conference podiums with Gish-ites and welcome them as “respected allies”. And then they demand that they be taken seriously.

Crowther now tries to argue that

Alert reader Dave Thomas answered my challenge by pointing out that design proponents Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds have no trouble with young earth viewpoints. Though it should be pointed out that this does indicate that what they’ve endorsed is more research and they have not been dogmatic about this point.

Have not been dogmatic about this point.… ROTFL… The moving goalposts are starting…

Here’s a review of the “Three Views” book I mentioned earlier:

Philosopher J.P. Moreland expresses some sympathy for the young-Earth view, so only engineering professor Walter Bradley is totally firm in his old-Earth creationist view.

However, here is a (long) critique by Answers in Genesis on Moreland’s previously referenced page on Reasons to Believe. Nonetheless, the critique doesn’t accuse Moreland of being an old-Earther – the problem AiG has is that his statements even allow for possiblity of an old Earth given what the Bible says.

Absent any additional information, Moreland seems to belong to the Ambiguity Faction.

BTW, everyone should feel free to research their own favorite “serious, leading intellectual” IDists to see how different their versions of Truth on this matter really are.

Not dogmatic…

Babinski: According to what Paul has told me and in his contribution to the book, THREE VIEW OF CREATION, Paul no longer even bothers to QUESTION his young-earth views! He in fact, freely admits that the evidence APPEARS to favor an old earth. Here’s how he maintains his cognitive dissonance: Paul believes that the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact, and argues that IF a man can indeed rise from the dead, as he believes can be proven historically (sic), THEN anything can happen, even a whole cosmos that appears by all the scientific evidence to be ancient, can be very very young. So, via a theological bridge of “logic” hanging by mere skyhooks,

Link

And lets not forget Crowther’s ‘original argument’

It’s ludicrous to try and demean design theory by mistakenly equating design theorists with [other] non-scientific anti-evolutionists.

In “YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM” published in “Three views on creation and Evolution” Nelson and Reynolds write:

Why should we adopt recent creationism over an old earth model? We think that this question is much less important. At the moment, with both Christian and secular educational systems beset by naturalism, a truce is in order. The old earth creationist is an ally against both the theistic naturalism limiting the free flow of ideas inside the church and the secular naturalism cutting off new thinking in the universities. There are, however, two very good reasons to maintain a young earth position during the struggle.

and of page 73

Recent creationism must develop better scientific accounts if it is to remain viable against old earth creationism. On the other hand, the reading of Scripture (e.g., a real Flood, meaningful genealogies, an actual dividing of languages) is so natural that it seems worth saving. Since we believe recent creation cosmologies are improving, we are encouraged to continue the effort.

and

Our advice, therefore, is to leave the issues of biblical chronology and history to a saner period. Christians should unite in rooting out the tedious and unfruitful grip of naturalism, methodological and otherwise, on learning. At this moment in history, we need not be concerned with differences between advocates of intelligent design on such issues. Our reviewers are not comfortable with young earth creationism in its current state of development. We do not blame them for this discomfort. They seem willing to allow for an opportunity at a more robust theory on the part of those “young earthers” willing to make the attempt. We are thankful for this tolerance. Our agreements with our reviewers far outweigh the importance of our disagreements.

Drop ‘dogmatism’ in favor of ‘pragmatism’?

My guess is that if other ID proponents were questioned on this issue, they would give their boilerplate answer that “it isn’t my area of expertise”. Here’s a quote from our own Adam Marczyk on a recent talk by Dembski:

I (Adam) also asked whether he accepted common descent and whether he believed humans and apes have a common ancestor. Again, his answer to this was vague. He said that he reads Genesis 1-11 allegorically, but on the other hand, that he “wasn’t taken with” the idea of “transmutation” and that he’d “be happy with” the idea that the first pair of humans was specially created. Ultimately, however, he said he simply didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise. He did indicate that he rejected Behe’s vague ideas about a first cell being front-loaded with all the genetic information of life.

The talk.origins article can be found here in full at Dembski being intellectually dishonest (again)

For as much as they say that they dislike being lumped together with YECs, IDers do precious little to either argue against YEC claims or defend what they view as legitimate in evolutionary theory.

Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds have no trouble with young earth viewpoints.

What about Sasquatch? Or do they belong to that anti-intellectual group of dogmatic Sasquatch deniers?

Astrology? Communication with the deceased? Alien abduction?

All this talk about a 10,000 year old earth makes me very curious about what else Nelson and Reynolds “have no trouble with.”

It would appear that Crowther just doesn’t “get it.” But we know he does – because he makes strange statements and then struggles to correct them.

How much is Crowther paid to tell his stories? Anyone know?

Does anyone have thoughts on the T Rex soft tissue discovery?

Someone will post about the T-rex thing tomorrow. For now, please don’t drag this thread off-topic.

Sorry about that…I understand the mistake and won’t repeat it.

It’s this dishonesty of the ID crowd that bugs me no end. They have one face for the choir and another for the mainstream. They say it’s not a religious issue, but the vast majority of their works are published by religious publishers. They disavow YEC when it makes them look silly and happily share conference podiums with Gish-ites and welcome them as “respected allies”. And then they demand that they be taken seriously.

All of this is legal necessity for DI. It is important to understand that intelligent design “theory” is, if you will pardon the pun, intelligently designed specifically and solely to attempt to evade and get around all of the Federal court cases which make it illegal to use the schools to advance religion. Why does the Institute fall all over itself to disassociate itself from creation ‘science’? Because creation ‘science’ has already been ruled illegal in the 1987 Supreme Court case. Why does the Institute bend over backwards to avoid answering questions about what their designer is, what it does, how old their “theory” concludes the universe to be, or whether humans are evolved from apes? Because each of those points were included as defining characteristics of creationism in the Arkansas and Louisiana cases, and DI has no choice but to avoid mentioning them (it’s also a political ploy on behalf of DI’s attempt to hold together young-earthers and old-earthers in its creationist “big tent”).

.

Teachers feel pressed to teach creationism

Arlington, VA, Mar. 24 (UPI) – A new U.S. survey has found about one third of science teachers feel pressured to present creationism and other non-scientific alternatives to evolution.

Of the more than 1,050 teachers who participated in the National Science Teachers Association survey, 31 percent said they felt pressured by either students or parents when teaching evolution to include creationism, intelligent design and other concepts that are not supported as valid scientific theories. Only 5 percent or less said they felt the pressure was being exerted by school administrators or principals.

“Something is not right when science educators feel pressure to teach a variety of religious or non-science viewpoints. It’s not fair to our students to give them anything less than good science,” said Gerry Wheeler, NSTA executive director.

A debate over teaching evolution has sprung up in several localities recently, most notably in Dover, Pa., which last year became the first district in the nation to require presenting information about intelligent design – the concept that life is so complicated an intelligent designer must have been involved.

The American Civil Liberties Union and several parents have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the curriculum and a hearing has been scheduled for September.

http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/[20050324-031417-7829r].htm (remove brackets)

Johnson equivocates like his brethren, attempting to keep the tent as big as possible.

People of differing theological views should learn who’s close to them, form alliances, and put aside divisive issues ’til later. I say after we’ve settled the issue of a Creator, we’ll have a wonderful time arguing about the age of the Earth. (Christianity Today, 42(5):24; quoted in Pennock’s Creationism and Intelligent Design)

And blood will flow in the aisles when they do.

RBH

Didn’t Stephen Meyer have to sign a YEC statement of faith to join Palm Beach University (or whatever affialiation he listed in PBSW)?

Dembski is evasive as ever when it comes to YEC - not surprising at all in keeping with just about everything he writes. Here is his latest opinion on the scientific validity of YEC, http://www.designinference.com/docu[…]y_Morris.htm

I don’t want to run the risk of a copyright violation notice from Bill so I am paraphrasing a few lines from yet another pseudoscientific tract of his. Bill starts off saying that he does not agree with the timeline of YEC or their literal interpretation of the Genesis and then goes on to deliver what is surely the most breathtaking instance of equivocation yet from the ID crowd. Bill stating that his disagreements with the YEC crowd is less than that with the “Darwinist” types goes on to add that while YEC is off only by a few years abotu the age of the earth etc., “Darwinism” is off by several orders of magnitude with regard to origins and evolution. Bill is ignoring the tomes that have been written efuting and utterly dismantiling the arguments of YEC and worse still is ignoring the fact that in Edwards not a single YEC expert was willing to testify that YEC is a scientific theory.

THIS JUST IN (hat tip to Nick Matzke!):

After moving the goalposts from the Age of the Earth to the Big Bang, Rob Crowther states

I should have said: Name one prominent ID proponent who has ever proposed that the Big Bang concept be removed from science classrooms.

OK - how about Discovery SENIOR Fellow David Berlinski, whom Crowther effused about as recently as last week.

The article in which Berlinski rails against the Big Bang is

Berlinski, David (1998). Was There a Big Bang? Commentary, 105(2), February 1998.

The Commentary article is on-line here (subscription required).

A freely available copy appears here.

Here’s Berlinksi’s dramatic finish:

Like Darwin’s theory of evolution, Big Bang cosmology has undergone that curious social process in which a scientific theory is promoted to a secular myth. The two theories serve as points of certainty in an intellectual culture that is otherwise disposed to give the benefit of the doubt to doubt itself. It is within the mirror of these myths that we have come to see ourselves. But if the promotion of theory into myth satisfies one human agenda, it violates another. Myths are quite typically false, and science is concerned with truth. Human beings, it would seem, may make scientific theories or they may make myths, but with respect to the same aspects of experience, they cannot quite do both.

Will the Discovery Institute admit to two errors in one day? Stay tuned!

Perhaps it is relevant in the context of Crowther’s very flexible thesis and its discussion to recall that Phillip Johnson is an active participant in the “HIV is not the cause of AID” crowd. Generally, I think most of the ID advocates just hate all of science but for diplomatic reasons try to conceal their aversion to science which, after all, is based on “methodological naturalism” and the latter, according to Dembski (in his article in Mere Creation anthology) is as pernicious as the methaphysical naturalism and equally deserves to be destroyed. In view of that, Crowther’s attempt to prove the difference between “other” non-scientific creationists and the ID champions is pathetic. The guy has not done his homework and is now deep in dreck, so it is funny to watch his convulsions as he tries to make a good mien at a losing game.

(1)The letter [from the NAS] singles out for criticism people who don’t believe in the big bang, that the earth is older than 10,000 years a [sic] plate tectonics. Please. (2)I challenge you to find a serious, leading intellectual ID proponent who does not subscribe to the big bang or does not believe the earth is billions of years old.

This is a clear argument. (2) disputes (1). Then in the update, he changes (2) to:

Name one prominent ID proponent who has ever proposed that the Big Bang concept be removed from science classrooms.

Now the argument is

(1)The letter [from the NAS] singles out for criticism people who don’t believe in the big bang, that the earth is older than 10,000 years a [sic] plate tectonics. Please. (2) Name one prominent ID proponent who has ever proposed that the Big Bang concept be removed from science classrooms.

Now this argument is incoherent. Even if he’s right about his new question, it doesn’t dispute the first sentence.

shiva Wrote:

Bill stating that his disagreements with the YEC crowd is less than that with the “Darwinist” types goes on to add that while YEC is off only by a few years abotu the age of the earth etc., “Darwinism” is off by several orders of magnitude with regard to origins and evolution.

Yeah, I had seen that before. It’s truly pathetic. Here’s the money shot: “If you will, young earth creationism is at worst off by a few orders of magnitude in misestimating the age of the earth.

A few orders of magnitude? Try 6. On top of that, YECs are also wrong about Noah’s flood, all “kinds” having been created in 6 literal days, how long it’s taken star light to reach the Earth, humans and dinosaurs living together, and so and so forth. We’d literally have to throw out nearly all of geology, astronomy, physics, and biology to accomodate the YEC model.

What Dembski really means is that theologically, he’s closer to the YECs. He could care less about the science.

What is Crowther’s email (yes I’m just that lazy!)?

I would really like to send him an email similar to the following draft:

You [Crowther] wrote, “It’s ludicrous to try and demean design theory by mistakenly equating design theorists with other non-scientific anti-evolutionists.” Am I to understand that other non-evolutionary, non-ID theories are not science? What is you opinion/reaction to scientists like Jonathon Sarfati of AiG? He has a PhD in science and uses scientific language in his YEC arguments. How is his use of science to support his theory and different than Behe’s PhD in science, and his use of scientific language for old Earth ID? How does one person’s use of science to back up their theory (OEC vs. YEC) make that theory non-scientific, when another person’s use of science to back up their theory make it scientific?

I would like to see Crowther’s response to the idea that “scientists” can use “science” in their arguments, and in one case that makes the argument scientific, but in the other, it is not…

On page 28 of the collection of articles Mere Creation (InterVarsity Press, 1998) edited by William A. Dembski, in the article by Dembski titled “Introduction: Mere Creation” we read: “ … once science is taken as the only universally valid form of knowledge within a culture, it follows that methodological and metaphysical naturalism become functionally equivalent. What needs to be done, therefore, is to break the grip of naturalism in both guises, methodological and metaphysical.” Crowther may quote the above as an argument in favor of his assertion that ID crowd repects science. With ID guys’s uncanny talents to spin everything in their favor (as Johnson did claiming that S. J. Gould’s severe critique of Darwin on Trial “elated him”) the above can be construed by them as a proof they respect “genuine” science.

Mark Perakh Wrote:

Generally, I think most of the ID advocates just hate all of science .…

Right; The Wedge says that science, not just biology, is the villain and must be replaced.

Dembski: “If you will, young earth creationism is at worst off by a few orders of magnitude in misestimating the age of the earth.”

Steve Reuland: A few orders of magnitude? Try 6.

Steve, try to remember, this is the guy who calculated the probability of the formation of a flagellum, given the parts are already present, to be 4.5 x 10^-234. 6 orders is nothing. On a good day, his calculations might be off in the double-digit order range.

Matt Inlay Wrote:

Steve, try to remember, this is the guy who calculated the probability of the formation of a flagellum, given the parts are already present, to be 4.5 x 10^-234. 6 orders is nothing. On a good day, his calculations might be off in the double-digit order range.

There is a discrepancy between the result which Dembski reports for his example calculation of an M/N ratio on p.297 and what the Finite Improbability Calculator reports. Plug in symbols=30, length=1000, tolerance=0.1, and identity=0.2 and the result comes out as 5.555117e-223, whereas Dembski reports 10^-288, or a factor of 10^-65 off. Jeff Shallit noted this error in Dembski’s text some time back.

Someone wrote,

Didn’t Stephen Meyer have to sign a YEC statement of faith to join Palm Beach University (or whatever affialiation he listed in PBSW)?

As cited back in “Meyer’s Hopeless Monster,” the Palm Beach Atlantic guiding principles include:

To assure the perpetuation of these basic concepts of its founders, it is resolved that all those who become associated with Palm Beach Atlantic as trustees, officers, members of the faculty or of the staff, must believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments; that man was directly created by God; […]

This is not an affirmation of Young-Earth Creationism, but it is an affirmation of special creationism.

The common ancestry of humans and apes is as well established as anything in science, but you will find plenty of IDists that doubt that fact…

Laurie Lebo Wrote:

But Kenneth Miller, who co-authored with Joseph Levine Biology, the best-selling biology textbook in the country and the one used in Dover, is one of the most vocal critics of “Pandas.” He said the book’s hedging on the age of Earth is like teaching U.S. history but refusing to tell students the dates of the Revolutionary War.

The discrepancy is like asserting that credible scholars believe that the Revolutionary War was not waged over 200 hundred years ago, but rather a little over four hours ago; that we should keep an open mind on the controversy between the four-hour-ago Revolutionary War and the dogmatic assertion that the Revolutionary War happened such a ridiculously long time ago as 1776; and that it is an abridgment of academic freedom that students aren’t taught both theories of the Revolutionary War.

The ID advocates are, in this analogy, in the position of saying that some of their members believe in a four-hour-ago Revolutionary War, others do not, but that they need not take a firm stance on this particular issue in history.

Thanx, Nick, for the correction.

It’s worth pointing out that the YECs have big problems with the big bang as well as the age of the earth.

It would be simple for the Discovery Institute to separate Intelligent Design from Young-Earth Creationism. A simple statement, something like: “The evidence for an old earth is clear, convincing, and overwhelming. The Young-Earth view is pernicious nonsense and a living testament to the human capacity for self-delusion in the service of fundamentalist religion. Teaching this form of flagrant pseudoscience in schools is akin to teaching geocentrism or a flat earth, an active mis-education of students that we strongly oppose. We in the ID movement realize that ID is controversial and will require decades of the hard work of hypothesis building and testing to ever have a chance of convincing the scientific community. Any association between ID and YEC discredits our attempts to open science to ID and makes this job impossibly more difficult, for the simple reason that YEC is at odds with all of the relevant scientific facts. We also know that YEC has proven a significant barrier preventing many well-educated people from carefully considering Christianity, and thus YEC undermines our goals for cultural as well as scientific renewal. YECs have every right to promote their views in the public sphere, but they should not expect any help from ID.”

Hugh Ross, the Old-Earth Creationist of Reasons to Believe, has more-or-less said all of the above, although not in quite so blunt a fashion. However, as a result he has earned the deep enmity of the Young-Earthers.

So, I won’t be holding my breath to see the above statement anytime soon…

It’s worth pointing out that the YECs have big problems with the big bang as well as the age of the earth.

It would be simple for the Discovery Institute to separate Intelligent Design from Young-Earth Creationism. A simple statement, something like: “The evidence for an old earth is clear, convincing, and overwhelming. The Young-Earth view is pernicious nonsense and a living testament to the human capacity for self-delusion in the service of fundamentalist religion. Teaching this form of flagrant pseudoscience in schools is akin to teaching geocentrism or a flat earth, an active mis-education of students that we strongly oppose. We in the ID movement realize that ID is controversial and will require decades of the hard work of hypothesis building and testing to ever have a chance of convincing the scientific community. Any association between ID and YEC discredits our attempts to open science to ID and makes this job impossibly more difficult, for the simple reason that YEC is at odds with all of the relevant scientific facts. We also know that YEC has proven a significant barrier preventing many well-educated people from carefully considering Christianity, and thus YEC undermines our goals for cultural as well as scientific renewal. YECs have every right to promote their views in the public sphere, but they should not expect any help from ID.”

Hugh Ross, the Old-Earth Creationist of Reasons to Believe, has more-or-less said all of the above, although not in quite so blunt a fashion. However, as a result he has earned the deep enmity of the Young-Earthers.

So, I won’t be holding my breath to see the above statement anytime soon…

In Comment 21777 GWW quoth

In his letter, Alberts criticizes Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a leading proponent of intelligent design, as being representative of the “common tactic” of misrepresenting scientists’ comments to cast doubts on evolution.

Behe calls this “outrageous,” saying he simply points out that even establishment scientists note the complexity of biological structures.

Sure he doesn’t misrepresent people

The ID advocates are, in this analogy, in the position of saying that some of their members believe in a four-hour-ago Revolutionary War, others do not, but that they need not take a firm stance on this particular issue in history.

This analogy is excellent, Wes! It’s a good illustration for people not familiar with the ID controversy to show just how far from reality some IDists’ beliefs really are.

The notion of front loading in a primeval organism or cell is certainly not original with Behe.

“Evolution may be regarded as an unpacking of an original complex which contained within itself the whole range of diversity which living things present.” William Bateson, Nature, Volume 93: 635-642, 1914.

Pierre Grasse also recognized the role of internal forces.

“However that may be, the existence of internal factors affecting evolution has to be accepted by any objective observer,… Grasse page 210

I have since extended this notion by supporting it with both indirect and direct evidence in the paper “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypthesis.” Rivista di Biologia (in press)

As for Intellgent design, my own feeling is that Dembski and Behe both have made a strategic error by presenting ID as something subject to debate. I regard it as a given requisite for all of both ontogeny and phylogeny. Chance has never played any role in either process and allelic mutations are anti-evolutionary as are both natural and artificial selection.

In short, the entire Darwinian scenario is a myth with no foundation in either experiment or the revelations of the fossil record. It should have been abandoned at its inception. Actually it was by St George Jackson Mivart in Darwin’s own day and was subsequently, in roughly chonological order, by Louis Agassiz, Robert Owen, William Bateson, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Leo S. Berg, Robert Broom, Richard B. Goldschmidt, Pierre Grasse and myself. I am sure I left out several others.

Every tangible bit of real concrete evidence pleads that evolution, like development of the individual from the egg, was a front-loaded process which proceeded by the ordered derepression of a huge store of preformed information. Both processes have occurred independently of environmental influence and both are part of the same organic continuum. Furthermore there is absolutely no evidence that macroevolution is even occurring any more. We observe only rampant extinction. We should be more concerned.

There now, I feel somewhat better. Thank you for probably not listening.

John A. Davison

John A. Davison Wrote:

Thank you for probably not listening.

People are more inclined to listen when your posts have something do to with the topic of conversation. Just trying to be helpful…

Steve Reuland

I was operating under the assumption that Panda’s Thumb was interested in the subject of evolution, not the personalities and foibles of those individuals with which this thread is so obsessed. I couldn’t care less what Johnson, Dembski, Behe, Ross or anyone else thinks about Intelligent Design. I am only interested in what experiment and the fossil record demonstrate with certainty.

Sorry to have intruded into your revealing discussion. I will try not to do it again.

John A. Davison

Davison–

Obviously we’re interested in evolution, but we’re also interested in creationism, what with the heavy-handed politicking of its proponents and all. You may have noticed that we post stuff about new (as well as old) developments in evolution, but we also post about what the creationists are up to. If that bores you, feel free to skip over those posts.

I understand you’ve got your own ideas about evolution which you feel very strongly about, and that it would be a complete waste of time to try to convince you that they are horribly off-base. No problem. All I ask is that you display a little common courtesy and limit your advocacy to those threads in which your ideas have something to do with the topic at hand.

You heard me. I will not do it again. Have a nice groupthink.

Dr. Davison said:

I was operating under the assumption that Panda’s Thumb was interested in the subject of evolution, not the personalities and foibles of those individuals with which this thread is so obsessed. I couldn’t care less what Johnson, Dembski, Behe, Ross or anyone else thinks about Intelligent Design. I am only interested in what experiment and the fossil record demonstrate with certainty.

Which, to the extent it is true, separates you nicely from most strident critics of evolution. Can you make a case that the case against evolution must b made with experiment and fossils? Can you convince Johnson, Dembski, Behe, Ross or anyone else who thumps a tub for intelligent design?

Please do.

ID is self evident to any rational observer. I hope that answers your question. I speak only for myself and those sources who have most influenced me. I am only a retired general physiologist but I have long ago recognized that evolution, a phemomenon of the past, is an indeniable reality that will never be explained with any paradigm that relies on chance. So much for Darwinism.

Your question is a good one and I doubt if I can stop the natural tendency to gravitate to that with which one has been thoroughly indoctrinated, often early in life, and which accordingly tends to alter ones perspective from that time forth.

We are all victims in the long run. Some of are luckier than others in the evolutionary prescribed scenario.

John A. Davison, too tired to continue with the ususal monologue to which no one listens anyway.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on March 24, 2005 4:47 PM.

Mendel overturned, or just more Darwin? was the previous entry in this blog.

Dembski’s continuing contradictions is the next entry in this blog.

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