Dover, PA Experts Revealed

| 45 Comments

The York Daily Record had an article on Sunday on the possible expert witnesses in the Kitzmiller v. Dover School District case.

Experts for the plaintiffs:

  • Brian Alters
  • Barbara Forrest
  • Ken Miller
  • Rob Pennock

Experts for the defendents:

  • Michael Behe
  • John A. Campbell
  • William Dembski
  • Scott Minnich
  • Warren Nord

I think that the court could make money selling tickets for the trial. They should rent an auditorium and get in touch with Ticketmaster…

45 Comments

From the YDR article:

For Dover, the expert list includes Warren Nord, a University of North Carolina philosophy professor who co-wrote “Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum.”

The book looks at past First Amendment cases and argues that schools should be teaching students’ about religion.

Does anyone know more about Warren Nord? It sure seems strange to me that the Dover school board would choose an expert on religion for a case that involves defending their decision to present ID in a science class.

And yet I keep hearing ID proponents claim that ID isn’t about religion. Did I miss something?

Count me in for two tickets - front row. What a line-up on both sides.

Thanks to Adrian Wyard of counterbalance.org, there is video online of Warren Nord speaking to the “Interpreting Evolution” conference at Haverford College, June 17th, 2001. Nord was matched up, so to speak, with Genie Scott. Ken Miller and Michael Behe discussed “irreducible complexity”. William Dembski presented stuff on “TRIZ” and I critiqued his “specified complexity”. This was organized by the Center for Theology and Natural Sciences and the AAAS. What I found interesting was that the attendees, as a group, could be considered to be predominantly halfway to the ID side of things, since atheists were distinctly in the minority. Yet the presentations by the ID advocates on Sunday did not seem to lead to any great movement of the attendees to embrace ID.

Sounds like another Scopes trial in the making.

Hope somebody will be keeping a transcript to make a play and movie out of it.

What ID proponent was it who recently argued that ID was not ready to be taught in schools? Could they be called as a hostile witness?

What ID proponent was it who recently argued that ID was not ready to be taught in schools? Could they be called as a hostile witness?

Isn’t Forrest’s doctorate in philosophy? And what about Pennock and Alters?

There are some people who have their doctorate in philosophy who could do a good job in this context. My background is in philosophy.

But would it better to have witnesses who have doctorates in biology? Or another “hard science?”

Ernst Mayr would be perfect, but unfortunately he is dead. E.O. Wilson would be someone to consider. Richard Lewontin might be, as well. What about Lynn Margulis, Mark Ridley and Douglas Futuyma?

I worry that if someone has a doctorate in philosophy (rather than, say, biology), it might count against the person in the eyes of a judge. I went to law school, and I know how judges tend to think.

Also, philosophers would tend to be less familiar with the relevant data than biologists would be.

However, I’ve been impressed with Forrest’s work. I’m not as familiar with Pennock and Alters.

Paul Nelson is an ID advocate who has not minced words about ID’s failure to develop a positive scientific research program. Probably won’t happen to call him as a hostile witness.

About Brian Alters: he’s a professor of science education, a very useful sort of guy to have on hand, I would think.

Pennock is well experienced in critiquing ID arguments. He was on hand in 1997 at the Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise conference. Pretty much all the familiar ID advocates were there, except Michael Behe.

If you find an evolutionist in your neighborhood, TELL A PARENT OR PASTOR RIGHT AWAY! You may be moved to try and witness to these poor lost souls yourself, however AVOID TALKING TO THEM! Evolutionists are often very grumpy and bitter and will lash out at children or they may even try to trick you into neglecting God’s Word. Very advanced witnessing techniques are needed for these grouches. Let the adults handle them.

Don’t laugh. This scenario may not be too far away.

What ID proponent was it who recently argued that ID was not ready to be taught in schools? Could they be called as a hostile witness?

Dembski said as much last Saturday. But he also said it’s necessary to go after the textbooks in the Dover affair in order to bring balance against pure, unadulterated naturalism.

He’s a true believer, it appears to me.

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And yet I keep hearing ID proponents claim that ID isn’t about religion. Did I miss something?

ID is about evidence. The evidence supports ID. Since there is no evidence for evolution, the only reasons to believe in it are religious. If this isn’t true, then why did my post get deleted?

What evidence? There is no evidence. Stop saying there’s evidence until their is evidence. All there happens to be on the ID side is silly, unsubstantiated assertion.

ID is about evidence. The evidence supports ID. Since there is no evidence for evolution, the only reasons to believe in it are religious. If this isn’t true, then why did my post get deleted?

If communism isn’t true, then why did Hitler send communists to Dachau?

The fact that some assholes delete your posts doesn’t make you right.

As far as philosophers go, Elliot Sober, Philip Kitcher, and Peter Godfrey Smith would be high on my list.

Wesley R. Elsberry Wrote:

Pennock is well experienced in critiquing ID arguments. He was on hand in 1997 at the Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise conference. Pretty much all the familiar ID advocates were there, except Michael Behe.

I’d also like to add that Pennock also wrote Tower of Babel, an interesting and enjoyable book where he, interestingly, uses linguistics as an arguement against ID.

ID is about evidence. The evidence supports ID. Since there is no evidence for evolution, the only reasons to believe in it are religious. If this isn’t true, then why did my post get deleted?

Jeff, there are very few among the poobahs of ID (no offense to poobahs, I hope) who claim there is “evidence” that would be worthy of even a graduate seminar in a philosophy class, let alone hard science that could be taught to high school kids.

So, when you say that evidence exists, are you saying that you are persuaded that life looks designed, and that you don’t want to dismiss the possibility there is a deity or alien who planted life on Earth? Or are you saying you know something no one else knows?

There’s a difference.

In an appearance Saturday at an afternoon of ID talk sponsored by a Christian group at the University of Texas at Dallas, Dembski made it quite clear that his target is “naturalism.” Others made it clear, and Dembski did not protest, that ID has nothing that could be taught in high school.

Do not confuse the IDist fight against the methods of science for their actually having conducted any experiments that bear out their religious hopes. No laboratory on Earth at the moment is engaged in a search for evidence of a designer. Dembski’s work is all directed toward making a gambler’s wager that evolution’s design didn’t occur naturally. In short, ID is at the moment nothing but a mathematician’s hope against the odds.

Einstein lost just such an argument, you may recall. (Non-locality was another issue discussed at the Saturday session, but not by Dembski.) Bohr’s team calculated that the behavior of quanta on the opposite side of the universe can be determined by observing related quanta here – Einstein refused to believe it (note that I’m using “believe” as belief, here). ‘God doesn’t roll dice with the universe,’ Einstein famously demurred.

All the evidence we have since then goes against Einstein’s hopes. I personally doubt that God will listen to Dembski any more than God listened to Einstein.

No comment of Jeff’s has been deleted by me. I did move his original comment to the “Bathroom Wall”. Rampant idiocy, such as saying that there is no evidence of evolution, is not topical discussion.

Douglas Theobald relates a very small part of the evidence of evolution in his 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution article. Any decent university library will have more evidence for evolution described in journal articles than Jeff would be able to assimilate in his lifetime.

If Jeff thinks that a statement like “there is no evidence of evolution” deserves serious consideration, he needs to seek professional help. That could be in the form of tutors, to fill in some obvious gaps in his education, or psychiatrists, to help with whatever deficit manifests between his ears.

I suppose this might be worthy of a new post, but not knowing how to start one (or having the time to learn), please note that PBS’s “NewsHour” last night devoted a section to the creation/evolution “debate.” Streaming audio and video and transcripts are available here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/educ[…]on_3-28.html

I find this to be one of the saddest moments in American history. We are actually going to repeat a ‘trial’ over a theory so well supported the only reason to oppose it is religious belief.

What is really sad is that they didn’t invite the young earthers, Old earthers, Indian shaman, and other origins beleifs.

What is even more pathetic is equal numbers of folks are on each side which always gives the look to the uninformed that science actually debates this issue with the lunies.

Einstein’s “God doesn’t play dice” statement was said in another context. In fact he used solid relativistic reasoning to fault non-locality, but he lost that roll of the dice.

And for Einstein it was “Deus sive Nature”, God and Nature, God as Nature, Nature as God. His thinking followed Spinoza’s philosophy/theology.

I say this all not only to keep the record straight, but also because Einstein was doing good science virtually throughout (not the cosmological constant, but I think we’ll let that slide). Einstein may have been impeded in his understanding of QM by his philosophical predilections, but as successor to Newton, he did quite well. He wasn’t ever as unscientific as Dembski, et al.

Which is why I contrasted Einstein’s case with Dembski’s. Glen Davidson is exactly right: Einstein was never unscientific as modern IDists.

There are really dozens of cases where great scientists did not make the next leap, and in all cases I know outside the Soviet Union, they also did not stand in the way of those who did make the leap on the basis of data. Ernst Mach, for example, taught many of the people who came up with atomic theory – but he couldn’t make the leap. He “disbelieved” in atoms, saying “No one has ever seen one.” Now we have photos of the shadows of atoms, but it’s still true that no one has ever seen one.

Were creationists consistent, they’d be thumping the tub claiming Mach was right, and asking that atomic theory be disclaimered as “just a theory” in high school texts.

Are you guys gonna review Dembski’s latest screed or do you want me to do so?

I don’t see anything new in that new thing that “moves the ball forward.” (What ball?)

Ed Darrell Wrote:

Were creationists consistent, they’d be thumping the tub claiming Mach was right, and asking that atomic theory be disclaimered as “just a theory” in high school texts.

Clearly you’re not aware of the work of John Wellington Coors

I think the defense should add pastor Ray Mummert to their list of expert witnesses.

We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.

Actually, doesn’t the cosmological constant have its place in modern cosmology too?

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What ID proponent was it who recently argued that ID was not ready to be taught in schools? Could they be called as a hostile witness?

Campbell for instance? Or the Discovery Institute?

“But would it better to have witnesses who have doctorates in biology?  Or another “hard science?”  Ernst Mayr would be perfect, but unfortunately he is dead.”

So? It’s an ID case. Just prop him up, El Cid style.

Honestly, we shouldn’t even *need* live experts to testify. This is really depressing.

Re “Now we have photos of the shadows of atoms, but it’s still true that no one has ever seen one. “ I thought they’d made images of some of the larger atoms using electron microscopes? (Applied to extremely cold samples since otherwise the atoms would be bouncing all over.)

Henry

I thought they’d made images of some of the larger atoms using electron microscopes?

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). http://www.iap.tuwien.ac.at/www/sur[…]STM_Gallery/, many others. They can move individual atoms around, too … http://www.almaden.ibm.com/vis/stm/gallery.html. Some incredible pictures.

There is no question that the case will be a slam dunk.

Interestingly, the Schiavo debacle may have cooled the heels of some policians who otherwise might be gullible enough to kiss extremist butt and make fools of themselves (“Nobel nominees” anyone? Clairvoyants anyone?).

What is hoped for is that the lawyers on the side of reason write so compellingly in their briefs that the judge, in addition to ruling against the Dover Dunce Squad, feels comfortable trashing the Discovery Institute, their lies, and the Wedge Strategy generally. And perhaps he’ll get personal with some of the creationist experts regarding their duty not to perjure all over themselves.

I posted:

I worry that if someone has a doctorate in philosophy (rather than, say, biology), it might count against the person in the eyes of a judge. I went to law school, and I know how judges tend to think.

Also, philosophers would tend to be less familiar with the relevant data than biologists would be.

I thought about it, and I think I understand the rationale behind having Forrest, Pennock and Alters as witnesses.

The plaintiffs are going to claim that the “intelligent design” language in the Dover curricula is a violation of the Establishment Clause (EC) of the U.S. Constitution. The test that the courts have been using to determine if a law is in violation of the EC is the Lemon Test. It can be reasonably interpreted this way:

Does the law favor one religion over other religions and/or religion over non-religion?

To determine this, courts have been looking at the motives of the individuals who enacted the legislation.

We can argue about whether the Lemon test is a good test for the courts to use. I think it has strengths and weaknesses. One of the strengths is that judges are pretty good at discerning the intent of lawmakers. That is one of the things they are trained to do. Judges tend to be much less good at determining whether a physical event — or series of physical events – such as evolution actually occurred. The just tend not to have the expertise.

I think Forrest, Pennock and Alters are all experts on the goals and motivations of the people who are responsible for the putting the “intelligent design” language in the Dover curricula. They are in better positions to understand these motivations than typical biologists. Forrest, Pennock and Alters also will probably have actual data that enable one to justifiably infer that the people responsible are trying to promote a theologically very conservative kind of Christianity.

That said, I still think it is important to have biologists as witnesses. They will be able to help the judges understand that evolution happened – that a self-replicating molecule that was on earth about 3.8 billion years ago evolved into all the organisms to have live on earth.

I saw this posted on Atrios earlier today. This relates to experts and also to an issue we’ve discussed in the past: how to deal with lazy ignorant media figures.

Watch how superbly this neurologist rips Joe Scarborough a new one (Lazy Shill Joe was on the record last week interviewing Dr. Hammersfahrt, a self-promoting self-proclaimed “Nobel nominee” who is nothing but a hack and was discredited completely by the Judge in Schiavo’s case).

Note especially how Dr. Cranford does not shy away from calling a spade a spade. He is not afraid of Joe Scarborough (why should he be?) and not afraid of what Joe Scarborough might think of him (why should he be?)

http://mediamatters.org/items/200503290005

SCARBOROUGH: Now, the question on everybody’s mind tonight is this: How is Terri Schiavo doing? You know, it’s been 10 days. She is starting her 11th day now without food and water. Let’s go back to Pinellas Park [Florida], where Lisa Daniels [MSNBC daytime anchor] is standing by – Lisa.

DANIELS: Well, Joe, at this point, we are going to delve into the medical aspect of the story. I want to bring in Dr. Ronald Cranford. He’s a neurologist at Hennepin Medical Center in Minneapolis. And, Doctor, before we continue, I want our viewers to understand what your role was in the legal case. I understand that Michael Schiavo and his team asked you to examine his wife. Is that correct?

CRANFORD: Yes. Yes, they did.

DANIELS: And from my understanding, I just want to be accurate, you examined Terri Schiavo for about 45 minutes. Is that right?

CRANFORD: I think 42 minutes, but 45 is fine, sure.

DANIELS: All right. Well, we want to be accurate here. What was your conclusion at the end of –

[crosstalk]

CRANFORD: Wait a minute. You are not accurate on a lot of things here. You’re saying a lot of – she’s not starving to death. Do you understand that? She is dehydrating to death.

DANIELS: Well, why do you say that? Tell us how you came to that conclusion?

[crosstalk]

CRANFORD: Can I tell you why? Because I have done this 25 to 50 times. I don’t know how many times Joe has done it, but I’ve done it 25 to 50 times in similar situations. And they die within 10 to 14 days.

Nancy Cruzan did not die in six days [as guest Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition suggested earlier in the program]. She died in 11 days, 11.5 hours. And Terri Schiavo will die within 10 to 14 days. And they are dying of dehydration, not starvation. And that’s just a lie. And Joe doesn’t have any idea what he is talking about. And you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

DANIELS: Well –

CRANFORD: I have been at the bedside of these patients. I know what they die from. I’ve seen them die. And this is all bogus. It’s all just a bunch of crap that you are saying. It’s totally wrong.

DANIELS: Well, with all due respect, Doctor, it sounds like you think that you know what you are talking about, so let’s ask you about that.

CRANFORD: Sure.

DANIELS: Are you 100 percent correct in your opinion that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state? Do you agree with that?

CRANFORD: I am 105 percent sure she is in a vegetative state. And the autopsy will show severe irreversible brain damage to the higher centers, yes.

DANIELS: Why are you so sure, Doctor?

CRANFORD: Because I examined her. The court-appointed guardian examined her. Four neurologists at the hospital where she was has said she’s carried a diagnosis of vegetative state for 12 years. Every neurologist that examined her, except for Dr. [William] Hammesfahr [a neurologist selected by Terri Schiavo’s parents], who is a charlatan, has said she is in vegetative state. That’s what the court found. Just because you don’t like –

[crosstalk]

DANIELS: Doctor, was a CAT scan – Doctor, your critics would ask you, was a CAT scan used? Was an MRI taken? Were any of these tests taken?

CRANFORD: You don’t know the answer to that? The CAT scan was done in 1996, 2002. We spent a lot of time in court showing the irreversible – you don’t have copies of those CAT scans? How can you say that?

The CAT scans are out there, distributed to other people. You have got to look at the facts. The CAT scan is out there. It shows severe atrophy of the brain. The autopsy is going to show severe atrophy of the brain. And you’re asking me if a CAT scan was done? How could you possibly be so stupid?

SCARBOROUGH: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait a second.

[crosstalk]

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, if I can interrupt here.

CRANFORD: Go ahead. Joe, interrupt me.

SCARBOROUGH: Why don’t you go ahead and tell the rest of the story there? Why don’t you tell us that the radiologist that looked at the two CAT scans said she showed improvement in 2002 over 1996? You know, you seem so sure of yourself. The Associated Press reported yesterday –

CRANFORD: Joe, the judge didn’t believe him.

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. You’re so sure of yourself – respond to this. AP had a report yesterday. They said seven doctors have looked at her. Four said she was in persistent vegetative state. You were one of them, hired by Michael Schiavo to do that. There were three others that looked at her that disagreed. How can you be so absolutely sure that everybody that agrees with you is 100 percent accurate and everybody on the other side is a charlatan?

CRANFORD: Joe, Judge – Judge [George W.] Greer disallowed, didn’t believe what [Dr. William] Maxfield [a doctor selected by Terri Schiavo’s parents] said. You got your numbers wrong. There were eight neurologists saw her. Seven of the eight said she was in a vegetative state. Only one said she wasn’t.

SCARBOROUGH: I am quoting an Associated Press report from yesterday.

CRANFORD: Joe, you’ve got to get your facts straight.

SCARBOROUGH: I have got my facts straight.

CRANFORD: Get your facts straight. You’ve got your facts way off.

SCARBOROUGH: Why don’t we talk about – hold on a second.

CRANFORD: Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH: You talked about a 1996 scan.

CRANFORD: No, 2002, 2002.

SCARBOROUGH: Let’s talk about it. A radiologist told the court that the 2002 scan actually showed improvement over the 1996 scan. Is that inaccurate? Did the AP report that wrong?

CRANFORD: Absolutely. Maxfield said it was improved. And Judge Greer didn’t buy it because the others said it wasn’t improved. It was probably worse than it was before.

SCARBOROUGH: Is he a charlatan also?

CRANFORD: Yes. Maxfield is an HBO [hyperbaric oxygen], vasodilator – look it up, Joe. See what vasodilator does. See what hyperbaric oxygen, see in these cases, and you tell me they are not charlatans. Just because you don’t agree with me – I don’t call everybody a charlatan. I’m not calling [Dr. Richard] Cheshire [who has argued that Terri Schiavo is not in a persistent vegetative state] a charlatan. I think he’s a reputable neurologist. I think he examined her, he interviewed her. So, just because I disagree, I don’t call them charlatans. But you have got your facts so far off that it’s unbelievable, Joe. You don’t have any idea what you are talking about. You’ve never been at the bedside of these patients. And this will come out in the next three to five years about this condition and starvation.

SCARBOROUGH: You were there 42 minutes, Doctor.

CRANFORD: Yes, I was.

SCARBOROUGH: You are only one doctor that’s been there. And somehow, in your 42 minutes of observing her, you have all the answers and everybody that disagrees is dead wrong, I guess.

CRANFORD: No, that’s just a – you know what? You’ve gotta see what Judge Greer said. You’ve gotta see what the appeals court said. If you read that, Joe, you will understand why the judge decided the way he did.

SCARBOROUGH: All right.

CRANFORD: He didn’t believe Hammesfahr. He didn’t believe Maxfield. And it’s not starvation. And Nancy Cruzan did not die in six days. She died in 11 days and 11.5 hours, 11 days and 11.5 hours.

SCARBOROUGH: All right.

CRANFORD: OK?

SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Doctor.

CRANFORD: My pleasure.

SCARBOROUGH: You know what? This is the disappointing thing. You try to have a conversation. You try to talk about what is going on. And I found this as an attorney, too. I have been attorneys for plaintiffs. I have been attorneys for defendants. And what I always find out is, there are certain doctors – I am not claiming that this doctor is a charlatan. I don’t know his body of work. I am not claiming that he is a hired gun.

But too many doctors out there can be bought off by attorneys on either side. And then they come out, instead of telling you the facts, you get into debate like you are talking to an attorney. It is very, very disappointing.

Yeah, Dr. Cranford didn’t behave like a “guest” on Lazy Joe’s show. Dr. Cranford behaved like someone who wanted to set the record straight. I’ve no doubt that Lazy Joe was “disappointed” by the surprising turn of affairs.

We can argue about whether the Lemon test is a good test for the courts to use. I think it has strengths and weaknesses.

Let me be clearer on this. It is good for courts to use the following test to determine whether a law violates the EC is definitely good:

Does the law favor one religion over other religions and/or religion over non-religion?

At least I cannot come up with a better test right now.

But the more difficult issue is whether courts should factor intent as much as they have been in trying to determine whether a law favors one religion over other religions and/or religion over non-religion.

I can’t get into the issue now, but I think it is a good to look to the intent of the people responsible for the law or policy. But that should not be the only consideration courts look to determine whether a law violates the EC.

Over on ARN, “rappell” has pointed out that Behe, Dembski, et al. are testifying in defense of what Rob Crowther so recently described as “the local amateur hour.”

I would like to know the theory of ID. How is it formulated, what is its scope, and what observations is it meant to explain?

4 expert witnesses for the plaintiffs, 5 for the defense. That seems out of balance. Shouldn’t there be 5000 or more experts testifying in favor of evolution? Maybe they should subpoena all signatories of Project Steve.

Longhorn, the judges don’t need to decide whether evolution happened – though, it might be nice if the judge in the Dover case were to make judicial note that such is the case.

The issue is whether intelligent design is science, and therefore should be taught in schools, or whether it is religious dogma, and therefore cannot be taught in public schools.

The answer to the first question is an issue for scientists, and their ruling so far is “no science” in ID. The answer to the second question is one for the judges.

It’s not a simple case. It’s not really about evolution.

Ed Darrell Wrote:

The issue is whether intelligent design is science, and therefore should be taught in schools, or whether it is religious dogma, and therefore cannot be taught in public schools.

The answer to the first question is an issue for scientists, and their ruling so far is “no science” in ID. The answer to the second question is one for the judges.

Let’s assume the answer to both questions is no. Where would that leave ID? If the judge decides it’s neither science nor religion, what is it? It seems to me that a judgment of “no science” ought to put an end to the matter once and for all. If the scientific community deems it’s not science, then it’s not science and has no place in science courses.

I’m wondering about the relevance of the second question if the first is already decided.

The second question, whether ID is religious dogma, is relevant if ID is to be taught anywhere. Here in Texas, for example, we require kids to take two years of U.S. history. The legislature wants kids to know the values of our society, the long fights for freedom, and the sacrifices made by brave people dedicated to making sure schools can function. That’s a bit of indoctrination, similar to religion – but it’s not religion. So it’s legal (and gratifying, I must add) to teach that stuff to kids.

But the First Amendment and the rest of the Constitution, and Texas’ Constitution, say I can’t advocate religion. Even if the legislature likes ID, I can’t teach it as “the way” in social studies classes, if it’s religion with no secular purpose.

I separate out the first question as one for the science guys because, if it’s answered “yes this stuff is science” (whatever the particular stuff is), then the second question is largely moot. If it is “no,” then it may be squirreled into the curricula as literature or something. There are non-science things that school districts and legislatures may require that are not religion. If ID isn’t religion, it may be taught (where?) somewhere other than science classes.

It seems to me that a judgment of “no science” ought to put an end to the matter once and for all. If the scientific community deems it’s not science, then it’s not science and has no place in science courses.

See:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/cobbcase.htm

and

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/dov[…]atement.html

It seems to me that a judgment of “no science” ought to put an end to the matter once and for all. If the scientific community deems it’s not science, then it’s not science and has no place in science courses.

See:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/cobbcase.htm

and

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/dov[…]atement.html

Ed Darrel wrote:

Longhorn, the judges don’t need to decide whether evolution happened — though, it might be nice if the judge in the Dover case were to make judicial note that such is the case. The issue is whether intelligent design is science, and therefore should be taught in schools, or whether it is religious dogma, and therefore cannot be taught in public schools. The answer to the first question is an issue for scientists, and their ruling so far is “no science” in ID.  The answer to the second question is one for the judges. It’s not a simple case.  It’s not really about evolution.

Ed, I’m not sure what you mean. Given how you are using the word “science,” it is “science” if I know that the event referred to actually occurred. But the question is: Am I justified in believing that a deity or extraterrestrial turned inert matter (or “nothingness”) – poof! – directly into two elephants (one male and one female)? No, I’m not. It is ridiculous. But some of the people who are advocating that “intelligent design” be taught in Dover are suggesting that said event did occur. Or, at least they are saying that, over the last 3.8 billion years, a deity or extaterrestrial caused some event(s) on planet earth that enabled some of the organisms on earth to live and/or reproduce. I haven’t see any of the proponents of “intelligent design” be clear as to which event(s) he or she thinks the deity caused.

But the point is that the events that the “intelligent design” people are suggesting occured did not occur. Or, at least I’m justified in believing that said events didn’t occur. I have yet to see any of the people who refer to themselves as “proponents of intelligent design” come out with really specific, clear hypotheses. Some of their claims are not ones that I’m justified in believing, partly because the claims are so vague. But a deity did not turn inert matter directly into two humans. A single-celled microorganism evolved into the first humans.

But one way of looking at it is this: Given how you are using the word “religion,” it is not “religion” if I’m justified in believing that it happened. The ID people are claiming that certain events happened. Are you saying that those events didn’t happened? I am.

If you and I know that Methuselah lived to be 969 years old, would that claim be “science?” I guess – given how you seem to be using the word. But Methuselah didn’t live to be that old. So, it shouldn’t be taught in the public schools as if he did live to be that old. It shouldn’t be taught in public schools that the universe is about 6,000 years old. Because it is known that it is a lot older than that. Or, if you want to be a skeptic, we are very very justified in believing that the universe is a lot older than 6,000 years old.

Similarly, it shouldn’t be taught in public schools that a deity turned dust – poof! – directly into two humans. Self-replicating molecules that were on earth about 3.8 billion years ago evolved into all the organisms to live on earth susequent to the first self-replicating molecules.

If it is clear that an event did not occur, then it shouldn’t be taught in the public schools that the event did occur. And the judges in the Dover case may not be in a position to have a good idea of whether evolution (molecules to humans) occurred. Some judges don’t know much about biology. So, we should have biologists who understand that evolution has happened tell the judges that evolution has happened. And the scientists should present to the judges some of the key data that enables the scientists to understand that evolution happened.

In the interests of posterity, the full list of plaintiff experts is:

1. Brian Alters 2. Barbara Forrest 3. Ken Miller 4. Rob Pennock 5. Kevin Padian 6. John Haught 7. Jeffrey Shallit (rebuttal expert)

The full list of experts for the defendents was:

1. Michael Behe 2. John A. Campbell 3. William Dembski 4. Scott Minnich 5. Warren Nord 6. Dick Carpenter 7. Stephen C. Meyer (rebuttal expert) 8. Steve Fuller (rebuttal expert)

However, in mid-June, the withdrawal/firing of Campbell, Dembski, and Meyer was reported.

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on March 28, 2005 6:42 PM.

A Debate Challenge was the previous entry in this blog.

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