FYI: Intelligent Design on NPR

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Join the studio audience of National Public Radio’s award-winning public affairs debate show, Justice Talking. Host Margot Adler leads the nation’s top advocates in informative, entertaining debate on today’s headline issues, with questions from the audience. Tuesday, April 19 7:30 – 9 pm National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia

Intelligent Design

Guests:

Paul Nelson, Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, and Visiting Faculty in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion, Biola University

Niall Shanks, Professor of Philosophy at East Tennessee State University, where he also teaches in the departments of biological sciences and physics

A Georgia court recently ordered the Cobb County public schools to remove an anti-evolution sticker from textbooks, renewing the nearly century-old battle between science and religion. How far can school systems go to require the teaching of creationism and the theory of ‘Intelligent Design’ without violating the Constitution’s mandate to separate church and state?

To reserve seats, visit www.justicetalking.org/joinaudience.asp, or call 215-573-8919. It’s free.

Can’t make it to the taping? Visit us online at www.justicetalking.org, where you can submit a comment or question that might make it on the air.

Justice Talking is produced at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. The show airs on over 100 public radio stations nationwide, and internationally via NPR Worldwide, Armed Forces Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. Tune in to the sound of democracy.

Laura Sider Outreach Coordinator NPR’s Justice Talking Annenberg Public Policy Center University of Pennsylvania 215-573-8919 [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

42 Comments

Now, if Mr. Shanks were smart, he’d relentlessly attack Paul “I demand you put the vowels back” Nelson, the Disclaimery Institute itself, its warped agenda, the twisted ideals of its funders and “fellows,” the bizarre view that the world’s scientists are deluded hacks or frauds, and the absurd idea that “mysterious alien beings” “somehow” designing and creating all the life that ever lived on earth is “science”.

I know nothing about Mr. Shanks except that he is a philosophy professor and I suspect he is prone to analyze the ID peddlers’ claims on their alleged “merits” and he and Paul will spend time discussing “epistemeological” matters.

I hope I’m wrong.

“Paul “I demand you put the vowels back” Nelson”

I saw that thread. ROFL!

“he and Paul will spend time discussing “epistemeological” matters”

of course you are not wrong, how can any legitimate debate between a purely philosophical viewpoint and a purely scientific one proceed otherwise?

I ask a better question:

in light of the logical decision to boycott the kansas debacle, why on earth is it any better to participate in this debate?

cheers

I ask a better question:

in light of the logical decision to boycott the kansas debacle, why on earth is it any better to participate in this debate?

That is the question that I have suggested (different phrasing) be posed to Shanks. Why don’t you email NPR and suggest this question?

Send it to: Laura Sider Outreach Coordinator NPR’s Justice Talking Annenberg Public Policy Center University of Pennsylvania 215-573-8919 [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

lol. violating my own premise? why not. I assume I should parse it in a slightly more explanatory fashion.

however, assuming the idea of media seems to be to generate controversy to begin with (controversy is interesting - yes, even to NPR), i doubt the question will be asked or answered.

cheers

If it were me, i would wait to ask the question until the peak moment when it becomes obvious there is no real debate… then if i were shanks, i would say:

“i’d have to say the question begs the response,” and simply walk off the set.

Question for Paul Nelson: what experiments are ID ‘scientists’ doing to prove the theory?

as per request, question (rephrased) sent.

hmm, interestingly enough, the use of the word “epistemological” reminded me of something i recently ran across:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/p[…]on-episprob/

rather appropriate.

cheers

Well, Shanks is the author of a book called “God, the Devil and Darwin: A Critique of ID” which received a good review - in fact it claims taht he is particularly good at skewering Dembski. It’s the May 7 2004 issue. However there is some criticism of his tactics. Here is part of the relevant part of the review - the quote constitutes fair use in that it is not the entire article by any means;

Shanks, a philosophy professor at East Tennessee State University, deftly skewers the scientific pretensions of intelligent design creationists. He is particularly effective in demolishing the claims of creationist William Dembski, who claims to have discovered a fourth law of thermodynamics that he terms the conservation of information. However, Shanks offers relatively little advice about how to respond to the demand that science educators “teach the controversy.” In fact, by focusing on the more extreme social ambitions of creationists, he sometimes overlooks their less divisive and therefore stronger arguments.

whoops - that’s in Science May 7, 2004 issue.

” he sometimes overlooks their less divisive and therefore stronger arguments.”

so key here would be to remind him to deal with the danger of caving to the “stronger” arguments then, yes?

will anyone be prepping shanks, or is he on his own?

cheers

Shanks offers relatively little advice about how to respond to the demand that science educators “teach the controversy.” In fact, by focusing on the more extreme social ambitions of creationists, he sometimes overlooks their less divisive and therefore stronger arguments.

I suspect the author of the Science article is less informed than Shanks is about the status of creationist “science”.

My view is that “relatively little advice” as to how to respond to “teach the controversy” is all that is needed. The advice is that “there is no scientific controversy” regarding the principles of evolutionary biology that are taught to sub-college level school students. The only controversy is the political controversy drummed up the charlatans at the DI to promote their religion. And I favor teaching high school kids about that controversy and about political propoganda and the history of anti-science agendas in this country (and the world) – but not in science class.

What other advice is there? Read all about creationists and their bogus tales at www.talkorigins.com and www.pandasthumb.org. But don’t pretend that there is a raging scientific controvery regarding the fundamentals of evolutionary biology. There isn’t one.

focusing on the more extreme social ambitions of creationists

If true, that’s encouraging.

what about teaching creationism in a history of religion class? or maybe a philosophy class? would that work as a response as to why one shouldn’t teach in it science class?

ID belongs in a philosophy class as an example of failed attempts to prove god exists.

Actually, I have used Intelligent Design Creationism and (Strong) Anthropic Principle arguments in my Critical Thinking classes to demonstrate many different logical fallacies. When I teach philosophy of science (or possibly straight philosophy of biology) in the next year or two, I intend to use IDC as a prime example of pseudo-science.

It is too poor an argument to serve as good example of a failed argument for the existence of god. The standard arguments for god’s existence, although all seriously flawed, are actually better arguments than anything IDC offers: Those arguments hide their faulty assumptions better, and generally speaking commit only one key logical fallacy (maybe two) each.

” I have used Intelligent Design Creationism and (Strong) Anthropic Principle arguments in my Critical Thinking classes “

hmm. that’s a good idea, by george!

pardon the pun

:)

So this NPR show is going to feature one ID supporter and one mainstream science supporter? That certainly doesn’t reflect the acceptance of each within the scientific community. In case anyone missed it, Chris Mooney had a nice column in the Columbia Journalism Review: Blinded By Science How ‘Balanced’ Coverage Lets the Scientific Fringe Hijack Reality

I see tha tlink didn’t work well. Try again:

Chris Mooney’s article

I saw Niall Shanks debate Bill Dembski on CSPAN. I was a little dissapointed with Shanks’ peformance. He is a good communicator. And he didn’t just dismiss the claims Dembski made as “non-science.” Saying that a claim is “non-science” seems to skirt the important issue of whether the claim offered is justified. For instance, I know – or at least am overwhelmingly justified in believing that – Mehtuselah didn’t live to be 969 years old. Whether we call that claim “science” of “non-science” is less important than that we make clear that Methuselah didn’t live to be that old. And having that level of straightforward clarity seems to help people understand which claims are justified and which claims aren’t.

But in the debate I saw, Shanks didn’t make any distinctions between various claims. He never made clear that no designer turned inert matter (or “nothingness”) – poof! – directly into the first two humans (one male and one female). It is important to say that. It helps people have justified beliefs and to think critically. No person knows the series of events that resulted in the Big Bang. And no person knows the exact series of events that resulted in the existence of the first self-replicating molecules on earth about 3.8 billion years ago. But the first two organisms that lived on earth that were very similar anatomically to me were born in the same way that I was born. Also, am I justified in believing that an extraterrestrial used a high-tech device to cause the existence of the first cell on earth? No, I’m not.

Also, Shanks never told the audience that self-replicating molecules that were on earth about 3.8 billion years ago evolved (through reproduction) into all the complex organisms that have lived on earth. It is important to indicate to people in a debate with a proponent of “intelligent design” that evolution (cells to elephants) occurred. Or, if you want to be more skeptical, you can say: “We are very justified in believing that evolution occurred.” The proponent of “intelligent design” is probably going to say or suggest that evolution (cells to elephants) did not occur.

In the debate I saw, Shanks was on the defensive in the sense that he rarely offered positive claims. He primarily only responded to the claims that Dembski offered. In fairness to Shanks, he was probably given the impression that he was supposed to respond to Dembski. But (as a philosopher) does Shanks understsand the data well enough to help show laypeople that evolution is overwhelmingly well-supported – that evolution is a scientific fact. He might. But it is important that he makes the case for evolution and presents some of the key data. Because evolution is very important and interesting. And the “intelligent design” seem to be saying that evolution didn’t happen. Now, since before Socrates, there have been people who have said that a being made the universe. It is an interesting issue. It is logically consistent to believe that this occurred and to also accept evolution.

On a different note, Sir Toejam writes:

of course you are not wrong, how can any legitimate debate between a purely philosophical viewpoint and a purely scientific one proceed otherwise?

I ask a better question:

in light of the logical decision to boycott the kansas debacle, why on earth is it any better to participate in this debate?

First, I disagree with making this distinction between “philosophy” and “science” – at least in this context. Or put it this way: There are philophers who are capable of showing laypeople that one is overwhelmingly justified in believing that evolution occurred. But is Shanks one of those philosophers? I think he is capable of doing a pretty good job of showing that Nelson’s claims are not justified. And that is important. And it is a skill that philosophers are going to tend to be better at than biologists are. Philosophers are used to dealing with unjustified and vague beliefs.

But that is not enough. The main approach of many people who refer to themselves as proponents of “intelligent design” is to say or suggest that evolution (cells to elephants) didn’t happen. So, it is important for the debator to show why evolution did happend or why he of she is overwhelmingly justified in believing that self-replicating molecules evolved into all the complex organisms to live on earth.

Finally, I think these debates can be good as long as scientists and proponets of evolution are prepared and understand the data well. These debates can be annoying. But they help U.S. citizens learn. And most U.S. citizens have a weak understanding of science. It is a national problem. We can help educate people. And educating people is very important. But we’ve got to have got to be prepared and have got to have people indicate why we are so justified in accepting evolution.

“Finally, I think these debates can be good as long as scientists and proponets of evolution are prepared and understand the data well. These debates can be annoying. But they help U.S. citizens learn. And most U.S. citizens have a weak understanding of science. It is a national problem. We can help educate people. And educating people is very important. But we’ve got to have got to be prepared and have got to have people indicate why we are so justified in accepting evolution.”

I have a tendency to agree with your reasoning. I always end up viewing from a perspective of having “heard it all before”, many times, in fact, and tend to forget there are those who never have.

OTOH, it is just as important to bring up the distinction between the philosophy that is ID, and the science, which is evolution. this is the most basic point of all to make, imo.

cheers

Sir toejam posts:

it is just as important to bring up the distinction between the philosophy that is ID, and the science, which is evolution.  this is the most basic point of all to make, imo.

Sir toejam, thanks. Could you elaborate on this point? What do you mean by “the distinction between the philosophy that is ID, and the science, which is evolution?” How are you using the phrase “ID?” And how are you using the phrases “philosophy” and “science.”

I think we should just call a false claim “false” rather than calling it “non-science” or “philosophy.” It is a clearer approach. Or, if you want to be more skeptical, we should just call un unjustified claim “unjustified.”

Is the claim that I’ve been abducted by aliens “science” or “non-science.” Well, whether we all it “science” or “non-science,” I wasn’t abducted by aliens. Is the claim that a being turned dust – poof! – directly into the first two elephants “science” or “non-science?” Well, whether we call it “science” or “non-science,” the event referred to didn’t occur. Or, if you want to be skeptical, we can say: “I am overwhelmingly justified in believing that a being did not turned dust – poof! – directly into the first two elephants.”

Re “Methuselah didn’t live to be 969 years old.”

Well, he certainly didn’t live much longer, cuz it reportedly rained that year. (heh heh)

my point is, i couldn’t give a rat’s ass if someone wants to believe in ID or not. with the assumptions it starts with a-priori, it is NOT science, should not be introduced as science, described as science, talked about as if it was a theory of any kind, has no value scientifically, and should not be even compared with science (only contrasted with, if anything).

I personally have no objections to teaching ID, so long as it is treated as what it is, philosophy, not science, and is taught in the appropriate venue (churches, or philosophy class). Students can then examine the value of ID for themselves in a more appropriate realm, and can then more correctly decide its value as a contribution to philosophy or personal belief structures.

I see no reason to attack someone’s personal belief structure, simply in an attempt to prove it wrong.

I feel defensive as a scientist, because the political movement that is ID is attempting to destroy science itself, and this directly threatens my ability to do science.

IDers feel threatened because they think that science directly attacks their religious beliefs.

the reason for the distinction is to show that science does NOT attempt to attack anyone’s religious beliefs, because that is not the realm of science.

If one no longer feels they are being attacked, the rationale for continuing the battle becomes moot, yes?

That is my point, if we can make the whole “debate” pointless, because there really is no basis for it, then wouldn’t that deflate the antagonism on both sides?

I really see little point in continuing the intellectual debate over ID, and obviously the boycott of Kansas BOE suggests the same.

cheers

Toejam, thanks.

my point is, i couldn’t give a rat’s ass if someone wants to believe in ID or not. with the assumptions it starts with a-priori, it is NOT science, should not be introduced as science, described as science, talked about as if it was a theory of any kind, has no value scientifically, and should not be even compared with science (only contrasted with, if anything).

What do you mean by “ID?” And what do you mean by “science?” And why do you say “ID is not science?”

I agree that “intelligent design” should not be taught in science class.

What is important to me is to make clear that no claim that I’ve seen a person make that is logically inconsistent with what we call “the theory of evolution” is justified. Toejam, is it “science” that that snake didn’t talk to Eve? Well, whether it is “science” or “non-science” that fricken’ snake didn’t talk to Eve. Or, at least I’m really justified in believing that the snake didn’t talk to Eve. When someone says that the universe is about 6,000 years old, is that “science” or “non-science?” I don’t care. But the universe is not about 6,000 years old.

I personally have no objections to teaching ID, so long as it is treated as what it is, philosophy, not science, and is taught in the appropriate venue (churches, or philosophy class).  Students can then examine the value of ID for themselves in a more appropriate realm, and can then more correctly decide its value as a contribution to philosophy or personal belief structures.

Why do you call “ID” “philosophy and not science?” My background is in philosophy, and I don’t want what I think you mean by “ID” taught in philosophy class. It can be good for students to deal with the the so-called argument from design that Hume deals with in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. But that is best taught in philosophy courses.

Hume’s Dialogues sould not be dealt with in high school biology class. I agree with that.

But whether we call it science or non-science, I’ve never been abducted by an alien.

I see no reason to attack someone’s personal belief structure, simply in an attempt to prove it wrong.

What do you mean by “personal belief structure?” And why did you say that? I don’t intend to be “attacking” somebody when I say that Methuselah didn’t live to be 969 years old. But in some contexts, it might be better for a given person not to challenge a person if he or she says that Methuselah lived to be 969 years old. But I’ll probably challenge them.

IDers feel threatened because they think that science directly attacks their religious beliefs.

Okay, but what follows from that? How should that affect our behavior?

the reason for the distinction is to show that science does NOT attempt to attack anyone’s religious beliefs, because that is not the realm of science.

Well, look, sometimes people hold beliefs that are not justified. That is just the way it is. And sometimes it is good to make that clear. Not always. But sometimes. It can help them realize that some of the events they think occurred did not occur. So maybe they will realize that.

If one no longer feels they are being attacked, the rationale for continuing the battle becomes moot, yes?

A lot of people (and a lot of U.S. citizens) think in a straightforward way. Trying to separate things into “science” and “non-science” is counter-intuitive for some people. It does work for some people. But with a lot it doesn’t work. What I have found to be effective with some people when they say “The universe is about 6,000 years old” is to say: “With all due respect, you are mistaken. It’s about 13.7 billion years old. And let me show you why I’m justified in believing that.”

Also, for me personally, I don’t like carving things up into “science” and “non-science;” I like to carve things into “justified” and “not justified,” especially when we are dealing with physcial events. It’s clean and it’s honest. The universe is not 6,000 years. Whether we call the claim “science” or “non-science,” the universe is not about 6,000 years old. I think it is generally good to tell people that it is not about 6,000 years old.

That is my point, if we can make the whole “debate” pointless, because there really is no basis for it, then wouldn’t that deflate the antagonism on both sides?

Your approach is going to work with all people. It won’t work with a number of U.S. citizens. It will work sometimes. Maybe the “science”/”non-science” approach is good for some people to use in some contexts. It is not my preferred approach. And, interestingly, I don’t thin it is Shanks’ approach either. He is a philosopher. My background is in philosophy.

I really see little point in continuing the intellectual debate over ID, and obviously the boycott of Kansas BOE suggests the same.

I think I see your point here. I haven’t seen a proponenet of “intelligent design” say anything that is grounds for doubting evolution.

I posted:

Your approach is going to work with all people. 

I meant that your approach is not going to work with all people.

Which approach is best depends on the context and on what you are most comfortable with. For me, if a person says that universe is about 6,000 years old, I’m probably going to say: “You are mistaken. The universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Let me show you why I am justified in believing that the universe is about that age.”

“You are mistaken. The universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Let me show you why I am justified in believing that the universe is about that age.”

while your example is an extreme one, my point is that where it seems to count these days, your attempt to educate such an individual will be met by deaf ears. In support, i give you CW, JAD, EA, etc, etc.

hence the pointlessness of intellectual debate on these matters.

you may be right that the distinction ALONE will not work as an approach with all people, the point is still an important one.

as to the rest, i apologize for assuming a philosophist would want anything more to do with ID than a scientist.

I don’t feel the need to explain why i feel ID is not science in this context. It has been done innumerable times both here on this board and elsewhere. No point in repeating it. Search for yourself if you feel your question was not rhetorical.

“Toejam, is it “science” that that snake didn’t talk to Eve? Well, whether it is “science” or “non-science” that fricken’ snake didn’t talk to Eve.”

oh? prove that the snake didn’t talk to eve then. answer your own question.

answer this too:

what point do you think the boycott of the Kansas BOE serves?

cheers

What questions should we ask of Paul “pity the the poor vowels” Nelson?

And are there any other good ones for Shanks?

I vote to let Dr. Lenny formulate the questions for PN, as he has voiced the same ones over and over again, that go right to the mark, and he has down by this point :)

for shanks, if true that his weakness is on the “reasonableness of the request to teach ID” formulation of questions should allow him to flesh out why it is so innapropriate to even mention ID in a science class to begin with.

again i ask, is shanks already being prepped? any way to find out?

other than that, i suppose asking questions that go right to his supposed weakness is best, just to allow him to flesh it out more.

so something like:

Dr. Shanks, why is it so inappropriate to teach ID in a high school science class?

pretty basic, really.

a followup might be,

How do we as educators, respond to angry parents who want us to teach creationism in our schools?

if he is prepped correctly, these should be easy questions.

Re “the reason for the distinction is to show that science does NOT attempt to attack anyone’s religious beliefs, because that is not the realm of science.”

Yep. Relgion addresses who and perhaps why, science addresses how, and maybe when and where. Different set of questions. Almost one might say mutually exclusive set of questions.

Henry

while your example is an extreme one, my point is that where it seems to count these days, your attempt to educate such an individual will be met by deaf ears.

Not always. I’ve had some success. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of people get convinced that the universe is not about 6,000 years old when they are presented with some of the key data that enables one to determine that.

Besides, my approach is more fun and interesting. Your approach (“that’s not science”) is kind of lame and boring. Mine also tends to foster critical thinking skills.

Besides, I’m overwhelmingly justified in believing that the universe is not about 6,000 years old. I’m overwhelmingly justified in believing that Methuselah didn’t live to be 969 years old. I’m overwhelmingly justified in believing that you have never been abducted by an alien. And I’m overwhelmingly justified in believing that a deity did not turn dust – poof! – directly into two elephants (one male and one female). It’s good to show people that.

My approach is better – at least for me.

And it’s a heck of a lot more interesting. I recommend it.

Also, toejam, you have said a couple of times: “ID is not science.” Is the claim “ID is not science” science? Given how I think you are using the word “science,” I don’t think it is “science.” So, when you say that, I think you are doing “non-science.”

you may be right that the distinction ALONE will not work as an approach with all people, the point is still an important one.

What do you see as the distinction? And why do you think it is an important one?

I don’t feel the need to explain why i feel ID is not science in this context. It has been done innumerable times both here on this board and elsewhere.  No point in repeating it.  Search for yourself if you feel your question was not rhetorical.

No, I’m interested. If it is not inconvenient, please give it a shot. And how are you using the words “ID” and “science?”

“Toejam, is it “science” that that snake didn’t talk to Eve?  Well, whether it is “science” or “non-science” that fricken’ snake didn’t talk to Eve.”

oh? prove that the snake didn’t talk to eve then.

I don’t know if I can “prove it,” given how I think you are using the word “prove.” But I can show you why I’m overwhelmingly justified in believing it. Do you want me to?

what point do you think the boycott of the Kansas BOE serves?

I don’t know the situation on the ground in Kansas. Other people know it a lot better than I do. But if it were up to me, I’d send in the best biologists in the world. I think it would help educate a lot of people. There is reason to believe that the current strategy isn’t going to educate as many. Education is important. And it seems that not sending in the scientists is no more likely to get good evolution teaching in the Kansas public schools.

Did you ever see Kubrik’s movie Full Metal Jacket? Awesome movie. The drill sargent called one of the enlisted men “Private Toejam.” Is that where you got the name?

Henry posts:

Yep. Relgion addresses who and perhaps why, science addresses how, and maybe when and where. Different set of questions. Almost one might say mutually exclusive set of questions.

What do you mean by “religion” and “science?” Why do you say “relgion addresses who and perhaps why?” And why do you say “science addresses how, and maybe when and where?”

“Science” doesn’t really address anything. Science can’t talk. People address things.

Also, I’m sometimes justified in believe that P did Y. Is that a “who” question? For instance, Lee Harvey Oswald fired at least some of the shots. That’s a “who” question, right? Lincoln got shot, right? Booth did it. Right? Did OJ do it? Is that a “who question?”

As for the “why” questions. Don’t I sometimes know which events proximately cause other events? For instance, let’s say the eight-ball is in the corner-pocket. Don’t I sometimes know why the eight-ball is in there?

Stones sometimes fall to the earth. I don’t exactly why that happens. But don’t I know that it has something to do with the earth and stones having a different mass?

“I don’t know if I can “prove it,” given how I think you are using the word “prove.” But I can show you why I’m overwhelmingly justified in believing it. Do you want me to? “

hmm, that could be interesting. just send me an email tho. I’ll give a more detailed response to your questions there.

“The drill sargent called one of the enlisted men “Private Toejam.” Is that where you got the name?”

hmm, nope, but one more to add the file on the name. I find it to be ever more interesting as a handle.

for example, the other day someone asked me if the name came from the beatles song, “Come Together”

as in:

“he got toejam football”

which would translate to essentially “barefoot soccer” in americanese.

again, ask me privately and i’ll fill you in on how i came by the moniker.

I think i will let you research the answer to the question of why nobody is sending a response to Kansas BOE for yourself. there is a good article to get you started right on the board!

past that, you coud write to the Kansas Citizens for Science group, which organized the boycott to begin with. they could answer the question for you far better than I.

cheers

I posted:

My approach is better — at least for me.

I’m going to make a stronger claims than that.

It is almost always better for one to say that the universe is not about 6,000 years old than it is to say “the claim that the universe is not 6,000 years old is not science.”

For one thing, the universe is not about 6,000. Also, I give some other reasons in my post before last.

longhorm:

you should take this discussion to this thread:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archi[…]tml#comments

and read the article the thread is about.

cheers

Toejam, thanks a lot for the link. I agree with you – with what I think you are saying in that thread. It would be good to have our best scientists in Kansas. I don’t know if I can get involved in the discussion, though. Have a good night, man.

Cheers

Longhorm,

I thought I was just paraphrasing the statement I was agreeing with there. Are you asking for more precise wording?

If somebody says God caused something to be, I think that addresses the question of who is responsible for that something existing. If they also attribute motives, that addresses why. But IMO giving God credit doesn’t in itself imply anything about the details.

If somebody proposes a scientific hypothesis, that addresses questions about details: what, how, when, where, perhaps who if people were involved.

Ergo, two different sets of questions that don’t overlap unless somebody inserts assumptions in the wrong place.

Henry

Henry, thanks.

Are you asking for more precise wording?

Not really. But when you write the following, what point are you trying to get across? What do you mean?

“Relgion addresses who and perhaps why, science addresses how, and maybe when and where. Different set of questions. Almost one might say mutually exclusive set of questions.”

I don’t want more precision; I want more elaboration. But I don’t mean to be a pest. If you don’t have time, I understand.

If somebody says God caused something to be, I think that addresses the question of who is responsible for that something existing. If they also attribute motives, that addresses why. But IMO giving God credit doesn’t in itself imply anything about the details.

Sometimes people say that God turned dust – poof! – directly into two elephants. That didn’t happen. Or, at least I’m really really confident that it didn’t happen. Someone might believe that God turned dust directly into me. That didn’t happen. I was born by my mother.

If somebody proposes a scientific hypothesis, that addresses questions about details: what, how, when, where, perhaps who if people were involved.

Most people make claims. Whether we call those claims “scientific” or “non-scientific,” sometimes the event that they believe occurred actually did. Sadly, JFK got shot. But sometimes the event didn’t occur. For instance, I didn’t shoot JFK. Let’s say someone says: “God caused a special bullet to come straight down from heaven and strike JFK and kill him.” That didn’t happen.

Re “Sometimes people say that God turned dust – poof! – directly into two elephants.”

Well, IMO that’s adding ad-hoc assumptions to the assertion that God is ultimately responsible. Personally, I think the dust got metabolized by something, which puts the material in it into the food chain, then it goes from one organism to another until it gets to the elephant or other creature.

Re “Most people make claims. Whether we call those claims “scientific” or “non-scientific,”

If it’s a claim about a specific action by a person, I wouldn’t in general call the claim scientific. One possible exception would be if said action was part of some research. (And I suppose there might be other exceptions.)

To me, the Creationist claim that evolution didn’t happen just seems like an unwarranted ad-hoc assumption that is in no way implied by “God did it”. I’m puzzled by how some people see an implication of that sort.

Henry

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

April 12, 2005, Tuesday, BC cycle

HEADLINE: Correction: Evolution Debate story

DATELINE: TOPEKA, Kan.

In an April 8 story about Kansas science standards, The Associated Press reported erroneously that public hearings next month will feature witnesses who advocate teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in public school classrooms. Instead, the witnesses are expected to advocate exposing students to more criticism of evolution, not teaching alternatives to it.

sigh, more idiots in the press fall to the doubletalk that is ID.

I weep for the future of the free press, if this is the best the AP can do.

Well, IMO that’s adding ad-hoc assumptions to the assertion that God is ultimately responsible. Personally, I think the dust got metabolized by something, which puts the material in it into the food chain, then it goes from one organism to another until it gets to the elephant or other creature.

Henry, I’m not sure I see your point. Let me try to make clearer what did not happen. Some people believe that at time T there were no elephants on earth. Then a deity specially intervened. It turned inert matter – poof! – directly into two elephants, one male and one female. So at time T + .2 second (relative to the velocity of earth), there were exactly two elephants on earth. Those two elephants reproduced. And over millions of years, we have many elephants on earth. Hundreds of thousands of elephants. Some people think the existence of the first two elephants started about 6,000 years ago (relative to the velocity of earth). Others think a deity turned dust directly into the first elephant, say, 20 million years ago. But regardless of when they say the event occurred, the event didn’t occur. About 3.8 billion years ago, there were self-replicating molecules on earth. Those molecules replicated until we had what is fairly similar to what we think of as cell(s). The cell reproduced; it divided. Over hundreds of millions of years, this cell evolved (through reproduction) into sexually reproducing organisms like sponges. The first sexually reproducing organisms were on earth perhaps between 1.5 billion and 650 million years ago. They evolved into all the complex organims that have lived on earth. Eventually an organism was born that was very similar anatomically to today’s elephants.

Someone might balk at my expression of knowledge when I make the above claims. Well, if that makes someone uncomfortable, I am willing to ratchet that down to “overwhelmingly probable.” Though if the preson expresses uneasiness with the way I make the claims, I might want to talk about it with him or her.

Moreover, I don’t know the exact series of events that resulted in the first self-replicating molecules on earth, and I don’t know the exact series of events that resulted in the first cell on earth.

When you say “God is ultimately responsible,” how are you using the word “God?” And what reason is there to believe that?

If it’s a claim about a specific action by a person, I wouldn’t in general call the claim scientific. One possible exception would be if said action was part of some research. (And I suppose there might be other exceptions.)

Why wouldn’t you call the claim “scientific?” And how are you using the word “scientifc?”

To me, the Creationist claim that evolution didn’t happen just seems like an unwarranted ad-hoc assumption that is in no way implied by “God did it”.

I sort of see your point; I sort of don’t. I agree that the elephant event I referred to did not occur. In other words, the first organism that was very similar anatomically to modern elephants was born in the same way I was born. But what do you mean “ad-hoc assumption?”

Thanks

There was a topic here at the start of the thread. It is apparently gone. I am closing comments.

Thank to all those who made cogent comments. I suggest the “Bathroom Wall” for any continued discussions.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Hurd published on April 12, 2005 4:34 PM.

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