Kansas Hearings: Harris

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On page 28, in the Kansas Science Hearing May 5, Mr. Irigonegaray is cross examining witness Harris and exposes the contradictory beliefs.

Harris clearly accepts that science should be dealing with naturalistic explanations and supernatural explanations should not be allowed. And yet he objects at the same time that the science standards should mention something about guided/unguided and the fact that they don’t is a problem…

It seems to me that Phillip Johnson has left a legacy of confusion when he conflated philosophical and methodological naturalism. Too bad that countless Christians are left with an inability to reconcile their faith with scientific fact and theory: Christianity in Crisis…

Harris is asked about science and accepting any particular religious view or atheistic view. When asked about where in the standards it takes a position where it references atheistic views, Harris answers that he does not find them in the standards explicitly and that’s the problem.

Q. You would agree with science should not involve itself with accepting a particular theistic view, but rather to use the rigorous scientific process to search for answers?

A. Or atheistic view.

Q. Where in the standards do you find any reference to atheistic views to be the practice in the state?

A. I don’t find them written explicitly in the standards.

Q. Are you aware that there are many people, millions of people throughout the world that believe that God acts through natural process and that science does investigate the natural process and that it is not incompatible for someone to be both a scientist and a religious person?

A. Yeah, I’m aware there are a lot of people like that.

Q. Not a problem with that?

A. Well, I have– I think they don’t understand evolutionary theory very well. And I think the position that God invented evolution to make all of this is a faith statement, it’s not a scientific statement.

Q. Where do the science standards say anything about unguided or undirected?

A. That’s the problem, they don’t.

Q. So you’re suggesting that because the standards don’t say that, that is a problem?

A. That’s why we’re– that’s why we asked that it be added because that is the fundamental theory and it needs to be exposed and it needs to be disclosed.

Q. Whose fundamental theory is it?

A. Well, I could read some quotes from evolutionary biologists who write textbooks that say it is a completely unguided process.

Q. Referring to the science standards?

A. No, the science standards do not say that.

Q. And that’s what this is about is science standards?

A. Exactly. It’s what’s left out of the science standards.

Q. Should science be involved with the process of attempting to ascertain how the natural world around us functions?

A. Yes.

Q. And is it your opinion that it is appropriate to teach students supernatural answers for that process in the science curriculum?

A. No.

Q. So you would agree with me that supernatural or miraculous explanations should not be allowed?

A. Not in science education.

In the second excerpt, Harris is asked about if the standards state that evolution is based on atheism or in conflict with a belief in God. Harris accepts that science should not deal in religious arguments such as the supernatural and yet he seems to object to the standards not mentioning religion.

Q. Do the standards state anywhere that science or evolution theory is based on atheism or in any way in conflict with belief in God?

A. No, the standards do not address that.

Q. Is it your opinion that to believe in evolution one must adhere to naturalism?

A. If you would define evolution for me.

Q. Evolution as it is in the mainstream of scientific understanding.

A. That’s what I need to have defined.

Q. You don’t understand what I mean by evolution?

A. I know that that’s the slipperiest term in town today and that term can mean change over time, which I agree with completely. That term can mean all that we have in the world today is an accident and I disagree with that. So I need a definition. Q. Is evolution defined in Draft 2?

A. It’s defined in toto, yes. It’s described–actually evolution is– I don’t think it’s described quite like that as a definition like a dictionary definition, but it’s certainly benchmark three, standard three, the 8th through 12th grade is all evolution.

Q. And is it your opinion that that definition stands for naturalism and some sort of religion?

A. The uncritical acceptance of a perspective that says all of life is here by chance, which is, I think, what the minority– excuse me the majority report portrays.

Q. Where does it say that?

A. That’s what I see it in toto. In words it doesn’t say it, that’s what I see.

Q. So once again, you are assuming that that’s what it says? (Reporter interrupts). Just please hang on. You are simply making an assumption that that’s what it means even though that that is not what it says, correct?

A. I am making the assumption based on working on those standards for the last nine months, yes.

Q. The question is, that’s not what the standards say, correct?

A. We think they need to say it more clearly what evolution is, that’s why we have the Minority Report.

Q. And is it your opinion that mainstream science today is, in fact, analogous to religion?

A. No, no, no, not at all. We’re just talking a tiny sliver of science today that concerns itself with the origin of life. The origin of the universe, that area, I think is fundamentally driven by a naturalistic philosophy, but that is a very, very small piece of science.

Q. Based on your interpretation, is it your opinion that the majority are atheists?

A. No.

Q. You would agree, would you not, that there is absolutely no conflict between individuals possessing a particular faith and their ability to work in science?

A. I agree.

Q. And you would agree, would you not, that it is exceedingly important that science - for the betterment of humanity, for the education of our children, and for the separation of church and state - should not include atheistic views?

A. I think it shouldn’t include any philosophical or religious views.

Q. I have nothing further for you.

What a witness, arguing that the standards should remain neutral with respect to philosophical and religious views, and who argues nevertheless that the problem with the standards is that they do not include such views…

The good thing about these hearings is that they not only show the scientific vacuity of ID, but also the religious motivations of its supporters. I can’t wait to hear their testimony quoted in the what seems, inevitable, court case. DI must be shuddering at the thought of yet another poorly thought out court case where ID is put to the ‘test’.

12 Comments

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Well, this has been said before, but I think we’re in for a long slog. It seems obvious that these people are either A) lying through their teeth or B) somehow able to compartmentalize their brains to the extent that they just do not see how they are contradicting themselves. Such people are, I think, inaccessible to reason and logic, and they won’t give up easily (or, perhaps, ever). And, alas, they have the ears of the leaders of the party in power…

These ID guys look clueless.

Possibly because they are clueless.

This lot was the best the ID movement could come up with to defend their ‘theory’ at the court trial? I can’t wait to see what they do in front of a real court.

“To call evolution a faith position equated with creationism is educational debauchery,” Dawkins said, according to a BBC report. “It is teaching something that is utter nonsense. Evolution is supported by mountains of scientific evidence. These children are being deliberately and wantonly misled.”

The above leaves little left to say, eh?

At a real court trial the ID side will not call any of these guys again. They would have to explain what is written in these transcripts and their other activities. Just look at the guys that they got to testify at the Arkansas trial on scientific creationism. Morris, and Gish didn’t testify because they had left too much of a paper trail. Guys like Dembski and Meyers wouldn’t testify for the same reason. They are left with the second string, and now they will have to look for a new second string.

At a real court trial the ID side will not call any of these guys again. They would have to explain what is written in these transcripts and their other activities. Just look at the guys that they got to testify at the Arkansas trial on scientific creationism. Morris, and Gish didn’t testify because they had left too much of a paper trail. Guys like Dembski and Meyers wouldn’t testify for the same reason. They are left with the second string, and now they will have to look for a new second string.

Meyer did testify, so did Behe and Wells.

Dembski didn’t.

And you’re right — if any of these dolts show up in court in Dover, their statements in Kansas (as well as all their written publications) will be used to skewer them.

Can’t the science side subpoena the ID leaders/”experts” anyway, if they wanted to do so (ie in order to expose the vacuous and dishonest nature of their activities)?

Regarding DeHart: “2 Q. Who was the designer? 3 A. Science cannot answer that. When I’m teaching 4 my class I do not answer that.”

Why can’t science answer that? It is not possible that clues about the designer’s identity or source of origin might exist (particularly if the designer was “merely” an extraterrestrial and not a supernatural being)? And doesn’t Hoyle’s panspermia hypothesis suggest that the vehicles of design information (in this case, extraterrestrial viruses) may be found?

The correct answer is: “science might not be able to answer that”. To claim that “science *cannot* answer that” prematurely curtails such investigations.

So much for the idea that ID would enable progress in science.

If I believe something is real, clearly when something is not, would I be labled “crazy” or “in need of help”? Why do the religious fantics get a free pass in the name of religion if they believe the Earth is flat, for example. Sure, we all get a good laugh but what if … I claim the Earth is flat but not in the name of religion? Would I not be labled as crazy? The sun is GREEN. Why not.

Seems to me too many people in the name of religion are allowed to believe just about anything because it is their “beliefs”.

Latest news on Dover? Witnesses/experts, etc.? How will the hearings differ from Kanasas.

Thanks

Seems to me too many people in the name of religion are allowed to believe just about anything because it is their “beliefs”.

Daniel Dennett treats this double standard in his book “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”

To badly paraphrase, basically he says that allowing religious propositions into the argument is “Intellectual tennis without the net,” which he is happy to play: So, it’s faith’s serve. The return (Dennett) is “So God is a ham sandwich wrapped in tinfoil?” Faith: “That doesn’t make sense!” Reason: “Oh, so you want the net down for your serves, but back up again for my return?”

I’m afraid that’s exactly what the IDers want.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on June 12, 2005 5:24 PM.

To explain ID, *don’t* look up the homologies was the previous entry in this blog.

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