Dawkins and Coyne: One side can be wrong

| 16 Comments

In One side can be wrong Accepting ‘intelligent design’ in science classrooms would have disastrous consequences, Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne express their feelings and findings on intelligent design.

It sounds so reasonable, doesn’t it? Such a modest proposal. Why not teach “both sides” and let the children decide for themselves? As President Bush said, “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.” At first hearing, everything about the phrase “both sides” warms the hearts of educators like ourselves.

This is a very good article which goes into quite some depth to describe what is wrong with intelligent design while also addressing what is and is not know about the ‘gaps’ so often abused by ID proponents.

It’s good to see how more and more scientists are standing up to defend science. I believe we should thank George W. for his ill-timed remarks.

16 Comments

Frame that sucker and post it on the wall of every school superintendent in the country.

Uh, nothing was wrong with Bush’s timing. You may think the content of his statement was wrong, but his timing was simply the function of the reporter asking him the question. If the timing is bad, blame the reporter, not Bush.

(From nearly 2/3 of way down the article) Re “Evolution is a fact: as much a fact as plate tectonics or the heliocentric solar system.”

But don’t Creationists deny plate tectonics, too?

Henry

But don’t Creationists deny plate tectonics, too?

A lot of them accept it; it’s hard to deny when continental drift is being measured by GPS.

Creationists who accept an old earth shouldn’t have a problem with plate tectonics.

Young Earth Creationists probably claim that plate tectonics was much faster in the old days, or some such, in order to fit the parts they will accept into the necessary time frame. I’ve heard that radioisotope decay changed after the flood, I don’t recall hearing specific arguments about tectonics.

Uh, nothing was wrong with Bush’s timing. You may think the content of his statement was wrong, but his timing was simply the function of the reporter asking him the question. If the timing is bad, blame the reporter, not Bush.

So Bush has never refused to answer a question, or sidestepped one, when it wasn’t convenient to supply an an answer? I could name a few examples to the contrary.

See also PZ Myers article.

“So Bush has never refused to answer a question, or sidestepped one, when it wasn’t convenient to supply an an answer?”

The fact that he could have avoided the question still does not make it his timing. Besides, if he had, all you liberal f*cks would be complaining about that…

Re “Evolution is a fact: as much a fact as plate tectonics or the heliocentric solar system.”

But don’t Creationists deny plate tectonics, too?

Some of them still deny the heliocentric solar system, too:

http://www.fixedearth.com/

http://www.geocentricity.com/

http://www.catholicintl.com/epologe[…]hallenge.htm

Kent Murkier = smug creep. Back to your hole, morlock.

So, why are we so sure that intelligent design is not a real scientific theory, worthy of “both sides” treatment? Isn’t that just our personal opinion? It is an opinion shared by the vast majority of professional biologists, but of course science does not proceed by majority vote among scientists. Why isn’t creationism (or its incarnation as intelligent design) just another scientific controversy, as worthy of scientific debate as the dozen essay topics we listed above? Here’s why.

If ID really were a scientific theory, positive evidence for it, gathered through research, would fill peer-reviewed scientific journals. This doesn’t happen. It isn’t that editors refuse to publish ID research. There simply isn’t any ID research to publish. Its advocates bypass normal scientific due process by appealing directly to the non-scientific public and - with great shrewdness - to the government officials they elect.

http://lovebingo1.blogspot.com/2004[…]ng-room.html

If ID really were a scientific theory, positive evidence for it, gathered through research, would fill peer-reviewed scientific journals. This doesn’t happen. It isn’t that editors refuse to publish ID research. There simply isn’t any ID research to publish. Its advocates bypass normal scientific due process by appealing directly to the non-scientific public and - with great shrewdness - to the government officials they elect.

I, uh, don’t see any scientific theory of ID anywhere here, Troll.

Why is that?

Is it because:

(1) there IS NO scientific theory of ID, and IDers like you are just lying to us when you claim there is.

or

(2) there IS a scientific theory of ID, but IDers like you are just too dumb to know what it is,

or

(3) there IS a scientific theory of ID and IDers like you DO know what it is, but for some unfathomable reason, you don’t want to tell anyone.

If you won’t (or can’t) tell us what this much-vaunted scientific theory of ID is, Troll, would you at least tell us WHY youw on’t tell us?

My money, of course, is on reason number one.

“It’s good to see how more and more scientists are standing up to defend science. I believe we should thank George W. for his ill-timed remarks.”

Dawkins has been saying this for many years and has a very long history of standing up for evolution.

“When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.” is one of my favorite quotes of his.

More can be found here :)

http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins[…]/index.shtml

While this is generally a decent article - even if it says nothing new! - I think that at one point the writers fall for a logical boobytrap:

If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it’s no solution to raise the theologian’s plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation.

Ultimately, I think this is begging the question. (‘An argument begs the question when it assumes any controversial point not conceded by the other side’). What Dawkins seems to be doing here is asking that the reader accept an argument against the existence of a God outside of physical laws which is premissed upon the impossibility of such a being: in fact, despite what Dawkins maintains the ‘theologian’s plea’ is a logical solution to the problem he raises, it’s just not germane because the question of whether there is a God who himself is outside of natural laws is immaterial to issue at hand. What is critical is whether there is evidence for actions of such a God which actually bypass physical laws and cannot be accounted for by appeal to ‘the normal demands of scientific explanation’ (hint: there aren’t). Whether God Himself is testable or whatnot is beside the point.

ID has no place in the science classroom, not because a God outside the dominions of physics is logically impossible or nonexistent but because even if such a being exists there is - so far (?) - no evidence that His actions have ever caused anything to happen outside of the world of physics. Dawkins’ conclusion that

Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs.

is right, but not for the reason he gives at that juncture.

The rest of his points are fair play, needless to say!

I love how evolutionary proponents/atheists talk about scientists defending “science,” as opposed to intelligent design, meaning that intelligent design isn’t science. This is wrong considering that macro evolution isn’t science. It is a theory, which hasn’t been proven, yet many scientists whose funding depends on this theory of evolution have done a good pr job making it sound as if it is fact. It is far from fact. Intelligent design shows amazing examples of the enormous gaps in the evolutionary theory, gaps that the majority of staticians and physics experts today agree are too large to even pretend they could ever be bridged. If you filled the state of Texas with silver dollars, 4 feet deep, dropped a man somewhere in the state, had him blindfolded, and asked him to pick up the one silver dollar with an X marked on it, 3 times in a row, that is the probability of the first step of evolution occurring. And you people really believe that your theory is a fact! Amazing. It takes more faith to believe in the theory of evolution that it does to believe that some entity directed things like molecules, DNA, etc. And lastly, answer this question. If natural law says that things move towards disorder, breaking down if not kept up, how is it that everything was brought into order in the first place. Evolution is errant from the beginning, skipping right over a very simple natural law.

Nate

Nate Wrote:

This is wrong considering that macro evolution isn’t science. It is a theory, which hasn’t been proven, yet many scientists whose funding depends on this theory of evolution have done a good pr job making it sound as if it is fact.

Either Nate is trying to troll us or his comments are sadly enough the state of understanding amongst creationists as to what is science. Notice that Nate suggests that macro evolution is not science because it has not been proven. Yet, anyone even remotely familiar with science understands that science is not about proving but rather about disproving.

Similarly the theory of evolution is not a fact, evolution is a fact.

Sorry Nate, your lack of understanding of science may explain your creationist tendencies. Your SLOT argument exposes a lack of critical thinking beyond the typical creationist strawman.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on September 1, 2005 9:01 PM.

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