Who is minding the store?

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Who made the watch?

Is intelligent design threatening to dethrone evolution as the leading theory of origins?

More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design. This includes scientists in physics, astronomy, molecular biology and genetics. These scholars have reached a conclusion from their research and the overwhelming volume of evidence that the complexities, structure and laws of the physical universe all point to “intelligent design” as the source. But here’s the big problem - intelligent design means there must be a designer. This can only lead to the logical conclusion that God, the Designer, exists.

http://www.meant4more.com/aboutGod_05.htm

The web article quoted above is from a site supported by Campus Crusade for Christ. It is worth note not because it contained any new points, quite the opposite. Indeed, the claim that “More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design.” is false. This has been called “The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism,” and for good reason. And, of course one must ask, How many are named “Steve?”

It does present what must be a clear and growing problem for Intelligent Design Creationism which tries to deny its religious basis in hopes of inveigling a way into America’s public schools. That problem is of course that the popularity of IDC has run ahead of the scripted denial of Judeo/Christian beliefs that are the actual core of IDC. As delineated in Pim’s recent PT post, the mainstream media, and one expects the US Federal Courts, have become aware that the notion of a secular theory of intelligent design is merely a tattered fig leaf.

123 Comments

1. Is this comment evidence of secular intelligent design? 2. Is Watson’s Panspermia theory a secular theory of intelligent design? 3. Is there a distinction between “secular” and “atheistic”?

And the dishonesty doesn’t stop there. Further in the article, the author wrote the following:

These new scientific tools have found greater order and nearly unimaginable complexity from the level of the cell clear to the level of the Universe.

When Darwin arrived at his theory, during the mid nineteenth century, none of these fantastic scientific tools were available. He basically made field observations and jumped to philosophical, not even necessarily scientific, conclusions.

This sounds really impressive (except for the fact that it is entirely false).

First (and in my opinion, the most damning), the author stresses the watchmaker concept as something new. He misses the fact that the statement was first made more than 50 years before Darwin’s The Origin of Species. William Paley wrote the idea in his book on Natural Theology in 1802.

The arguement behind IDC is basically the same (but disguised with terms like “irreducible complexity” and misapplication of Information Theory).

Finally, the arguement against evolution focuses entirely on Darwin as if evolutionary theory has been entirely unchanged throughout the past 150 years. It tosses away Darwin’s conclusions as “philosophical, not even necessarily scientific” without even acknowledging the thousands of experiments, observations and scientific studies of the evidence that has given strong validity to the basic theory of evolution (presenting greater definition and understanding to evolution from many different fields).

Has it been pointed out that on Friday, ID had it’s own little Waterloo in Utah last Friday?

School board: Intelligent design isn’t Buttars’ pitch can’t sway unanimous ‘no’ vote

http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2997771

NO!!!! It was the wrong button!!!! I just wanted to preview the HTML tags!!!!

Oh, heck. Just read the article yourselves!

I wonder what Rowell’s point is?

1. Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

2. Crick - not Watson - speculated about Panspermia but, no, it wasn’t a theory of “intelligent design”

3. “Is there a distinction between ‘secular’ and ‘atheistic’”? What does your dictionary say?

More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design.

More and more scientists are buying into the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster too. Which means that, as long as we’re basing our conclusions on popularity rather than evidence, design exists and the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the Designer.

Glad we’ve got that sorted.

1) No. 2) The “panspermia” notion has two forms, one that some form of genetic material (life) capable of taking advantage of appropriate conditions can disperse between solar systems. This is secular, naturalistic, and unlikly. Then there is the “directed panspermia” notion that holds that life on Earth is the result of purposeful seeding of the early Earth with genetic material, or living organisms. Either merely pushed the question of abiogenesis away from the Archean. The later however could be taken as either a supernaturalistic, or naturalistic idea depending on how one views the (receeding) origin of life. Retreat far enough and you can reach “Cosmic Fine-tuning” argument. 3) Yes.

Rewarmed natural theology like reheated pizza is never as good as the fresh thing. The only reason natural theology has any appeal is it requires little thought, smells good, it’s easily digested, and serves as “comfort food”.

“More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design. “

Actually, mmore and more (real) scientists are speaking out against Intelligent Design Creationism, because they’re getting pissed off at the lies and misinformation being spread about by the Creationists and the disturbing consequences of teaching a generation of students a load of buncombe masquerading as science.

Good, now just pretend you’re walking through the woods and just happen to come across a watch just like it and perfectly good on the ground.

Funny how the woods themselves aren’t enough for the design argument.

“Funny how the woods themselves aren’t enough for the design argument.”

lol The woods aren’t but a bacteria’s butt is.

They never told me it was a Fossil watch.

This changes everything!

“They never told me it was a Fossil watch.

This changes everything!

OMG(osh)

ur so rite! My false faith in neoDarwinian Evilutionâ„¢ is collapsing. OH NO! I’m melting…

Good eyes (more prooph that Darwin hated God).

;-)

I object!!!! The “greater ornder and nearly unimaginable level of complexity” cannot start at “the cell” and end at “the universe.” It must begin at the most fundamental level of physics and work it’s way upward. The “intelligent designer “ must be manipulating quarks and leptons at the minimum. Otherwise there would be no mechanism of action for the “scientific theory of intelligent design”. Show us the money! And remember this is science, no supernatural explanations are needed.

Hurd writes: “Indeed, the claim that “More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design.” is false. This has been called “The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism,” and for good reason. And, of course one must ask, How many are named “Steve?””

Of course there are real scientists today who question macroevolution. Yes, the number is small. When it comes to a possible scientific revolution size does not matter. This is why the “Steve” rejoinder makes no difference. The multitude of “Steves” are doing what Kuhn referred to as “normal science.” So, one expects there to be many “Steves.” It would be odd if there were not.

But, Mr. Piipo, there are few, if any, real, practicing biologists who question macroevolution. If there are any, they are not much more than three dozen – this in a nation that has between 70,000 and 80,000 advanced-degreed, professional biologists. You figure the percentages.

Also: If the numbers are increasing, it is increasing more slowly in rate than the numbers of those who adhere to evolution. In 1999, Discovery Institute had about a hundred people who would sign their letter, and by 2003 it had grown to about 300. Today it’s about 400. That sort of growth reflects the inability of ID to derive testable hypotheses and get actual experimental results. Roller ball is growing faster than intelligent design.

Those who claim to question macroevolution are generally unfamiliar with the field, and generally are not working in biology at all, nor in research disciplines where understanding evolution is required.

Since “intelligent design” was coined to replace “creationism” in religious textbooks in 1989, no scientist has published research dealing with intelligent design, either using it as a paradigm, or establishing experimental or observational support for the claim. In 16 years, the 400 scientists have failed to produce between them a single paper laying out a cogent hypothesis of a theory contradicting Darwinian evolution and “macro” evolution. 400X16years=6,400 scientist years without a single publication laying out the idea of the so-called science?

Project Steve then becomes very relevant. About 1% of the U.S. population is named “Steve.” Though Discovery Institute spending way more than $1 million a year to find signers of their petition have been unable to get more than 400 people to go along, Project Steve has more than 500 signatures from distinguished scientists, including Nobel winners, all of them named “Steve,” and all of them denying intelligent design. If there are, total, fewer signatories of people who have doubts but no data against Darwin, than there are people named “Steve” who fully support Darwinian evolution … well, you do the math. Your “real scientists” constitute much less than 1% in your wildest dreams, and probably only a fraction of a percentage.

The multitude of Steves who support evolution are doing what Kuhn said – promoting evolution against the older, won’t-die-without-a-garlic-stake-through-its-heart design ideas (you DID read Kuhn, didn’t you?)

The small handful of ID advocates are NOT doing any science related to ID – so one would expect them to shut up about Darwin’s being in error, since they have no evidence to speak about.

It’s odd they do not.

John Pippo, another man very, very, very impressed with himself. Anyone want to testify on the depth and breadth of his reading into Kuhn, or anything else?

Comment #46657

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 5, 2005 06:10 PM (e) (s)

Good, now just pretend you’re walking through the woods and just happen to come across a watch just like it and perfectly good on the ground.

Funny how the woods themselves aren’t enough for the design argument.

Like I’ve been asking Sal for months:

1 you say that CSI is essential to the determination of design

2 you say that a watch laying in some grass is detectably designed

Q: How much CSI is in the watch, how much in the grass, and what’s the rule which allows the conclusion about the watch?

They refuse to answer. The answers, in case you’re wondering, are 1 who knows 2 who knows 3 no such rule exists.

Russell,

1. You said:

Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

You accept then that intelligent design is a legitimate explanation for some effects? It is a real subject for scientific investigation?

2. Apologies …Crick is the fellow… he along with along with Orgel (according to Wikipedia) proposed a theory of directed Panspermia in which “seeds of life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization.” Hence my question… Is this a theory of secular intelligent design?

3. I am very interested in the word “secular” and the meanings that attach to it… someone should do a study on the changes in the uses of this word over the last 150 years or so.

I use the SOD and the relevant definitions are: 2b Not concerned with religious subjects or devoted to the service of religion Spec(of a school or education) excluding religious instruction; not promoting religious belief. 4 Pertaining or adhering to the doctrine of secularism.

Secularism is then defined as follows: 1. The view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs; a system of thought based on the doctrine that morality should be determined solely with regard to the well-being of humankind in the present life, to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future existence. 2. The view that education esp. that which is publicly funded, should not promote religious belief or include religious instruction.

My point is that secularism is practically atheism and the word “secular” has tended to follow the meaning of secularism and has become a polite substitute for atheistic.

Comment #46692

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 6, 2005 02:22 AM (e) (s)

Russell,

1. You said:

Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

You accept then that intelligent design is a legitimate explanation for some effects? It is a real subject for scientific investigation?

Well, to say this is to use a definition of intelligent design which is quite different from Intelligent Design Theory. The way you’re using it, intelligent design means to consider the possible intent of an actor in judging his actions. Nobody here will disagree with the efficacy of that. But that’s not the same as Intelligent Design Theory, which is a pseudoscientific set of badly constructed attacks on evolutionary theory.

Here are some quotes to contemplate:

“Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

“Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.”

-William Dembski

“Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory.”

-John H. Marburger, science advisor to GWB

Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.

-Discovery Instituter Paul Nelson

I think that ID may very well have things to offer science, but I think that it is too early for ID to claim that it has done so.

-Del Ratsch, ID sympathist and author of Nature, Design, and Science

Andrew (and all his inexhaustible ilk),

I worked on a longer reply challenging the depth of your thoughts and their validity, but then thought, why bother? Why bother at reaching out, in pity, reason, or anger, to an anonymous nobody whose opinion is nothing except, like the mountain, “there”. Nothing that doesn’t flatter this person will be heard, and any other attempt at engagement will be turned by his vanity and smugness into flattery under a different brand name.

If we meet in public, with real names and human faces, with something at stake besides your pride, I’ll make another effort.

Of course there are real scientists today who question macroevolution. Yes, the number is small. When it comes to a possible scientific revolution size does not matter. This is why the “Steve” rejoinder makes no difference. The multitude of “Steves” are doing what Kuhn referred to as “normal science.” So, one expects there to be many “Steves.” It would be odd if there were not.

Except that the scientific revolution that occurred through out design in favor of evolution.

You do realize, that “design” of some form was what existed before evolution.

And some people wonder why Kuhn once said “I am not a Kuhnian”

Posted by John Piippo on September 5, 2005

Hi, John. Welcome back.

Last time you were here, you ran away without answering two simple questions that I asked of you.

So I’ll ask again.

And again, and again, and again, and again. As many times as I need to, until you either answer or run away again.

*ahem*

(1) what is the scientific theory of ID, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

(2) What complaint, specifically, do you have with the scientific method, and how would you alter the scientific method, specifically, to accomodate your complaint (whatever it is).

You accept then that intelligent design is a legitimate explanation for some effects? It is a real subject for scientific investigation?

No. And you yourself show us exactly why:

My point is that secularism is practically atheism and the word “secular” has tended to follow the meaning of secularism and has become a polite substitute for atheistic.

ID is nothing but religious apologetics. It has nothing to do with “science”.

Thanks for explaining that to everyone.

Are you willing to testify to this in Dover?

Steve,

You said:

Well, to say this is to use a definition of intelligent design which is quite different from Intelligent Design Theory. The way you’re using it, intelligent design means to consider the possible intent of an actor in judging his actions. Nobody here will disagree with the efficacy of that. But that’s not the same as Intelligent Design Theory, which is a pseudoscientific set of badly constructed attacks on evolutionary theory.

I am not totally convinced by your distinction. As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

Thus the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate intelligent design would depend on the nature of the proposed agent. Am I correct?

As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

Here’s a puzzle to contemplate. Modern science studies the mechanisms of genetic change, makes the thoroughly unsurprising guess that similar mechanisms operated even before humans started figuring them out, and assembles a picture over billions of years that appears to be in every way consistent with that.

The evophobes claim this is an “unwarranted extrapolation” (“were you there?”, etc.)

But the ID folks see nothing wrong with extrapolating from instances of human design to the “design” of life, or the universe itself.

Why is that?

Andrew Rowell Wrote:

As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

Since when? They’ve had a couple of decades to begin having a shot at it, and I’ve yet to see a single one of them bother applying any of the relevent sciences (anthropology, linguistics, etc.) competently other than noting their existance as if that somehow proves ID is in any way comparable.

All they have is vague handwaving about what SETI are doing (speaking of which, it’s always been something of an amusement to imagine what would have happened had an IDist made the discovery of pulsars. Surely their rigorous peer review and teams of relevent scientists, theoretical models and research programmes would have rapidly resolved the mystery!) and ‘look, you can just tell, alright?’ The way they’ve pointed to stonehenge and languages as obvious examples of human design without any deeper analysis of the sciences involved, their limitations, theoretical models and the methodologies developed are excellent examples of how utterly uninterested they are in genuine science except as a political tool or rubber stamp for their narrow view of divinity.

There literally isn’t a scientific field they haven’t brazenly ignored or fought against.

-Schmitt.

Basically, Andrew, you’re using Intelligent Design in two ways. Here’s Larry Arnhart:

Dembski claims that “intelligent design … is entirely separable from creationism.” He explains: “Intelligent design is detectable; we do in fact detect it; we have reliable methods for detecting it; and its detection involves no recourse to the supernatural. Design is common, rational, and objectifiable.”

If this is what he means by “intelligent design,” then any rational person should accept it, and it would not be very controversial. In fact, most of what Dembski says in his book The Design Inference about how we infer design from “specified complexity” is an uncontroversial account of how we detect design by humanly intelligent agents. Up to this point, there is indeed “no recourse to the supernatural.” But clearly Dembski wants more than that. He writes: “The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” This leads Dembski to conclude that “Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.” Here the “recourse to the supernatural” is clear.

This confusion in “intelligent design theory”—both affirming and denying “recourse to the supernatural”—arises from equivocation in the use of the term “intelligent design.” Both Dembski and Behe speak of “intelligent design” without clearly distinguishing “humanly intelligent design” from “divinely intelligent design.” We have all observed how the human mind can cause effects that are humanly designed, and from such observable effects, we can infer the existence of humanly intelligent designers. But insofar as we have never directly observed a divine intelligence (that is, an omniscient and omnipotent intelligence) causing effects that are divinely designed, we cannot infer a divinely intelligent designer from our common human experience.

Campus Crusade for Christ is the organisation that presented Australian Federal Education Minister with the DVD Unlocking the Mysteries of Life, prompting him to “do a Bush” and express support for the teaching of ID alongside evolution in Australian schools. On where the “debate” is currently at in Australia, see the following:

Brendan Nelson suggests ‘intelligent design’ could be taught in schools

‘Intelligent design’ may enter classrooms

Andrew Rowell Wrote:

My point about laws being religious was that laws are made to praise what is good and penalise what is bad. How you decide that something is “good” and something else is “bad” is either by being a god yourself or listening to someone else who claims to be God or a god. Why is it “bad” to murder children either in the school playground or in their mothers birth canal? Who says it is “bad”? We either listen to a human being telling us it is bad or we listen to someone claiming to be more than a human being telling us it is bad.

Is it “good” that alcohol is legal? Tens of thousands of people either are hurt or killed because of alcohol abuse every year. Does that make alcohol “evil”? Is one who obeys the law “good” or “evil”? Debating whether something is “good” or “evil” does not make one a god. What does the legality of alcohol have to do with “good” or “evil”? Making alcohol illegal resulted in the loss of four billion dollars from the gross national product, extremely high unemployment and directly contributed to the Great Depression. It also raised the overall crime rate from organized crime down to the average citizen. Without government regulation hundreds died because toxic alcohol was served. Which is more “evil”, legal alcohol or illegal alcohol? Is one who drinks alcohol today “good” or “evil”? Was one who drank when alcohol was illegal “good” or “evil”? Did “good” and “evil” magically change places because a law was passed and repealed? Laws are made for the benefit of society and are not based on some unassailable religious moral bulwark.

The Temperance Movement was a puritanical religious movement. By making alcohol illegal and contributing to a global economic disaster which facilitated the Nazi rise in Europe and ulitmately the holocaust, does that make the Temperance Movement “good” or “evil”? Maybe they had the best of intentions, but their idealism was misguided.

I thank those who provided cogent comments.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Hurd published on September 5, 2005 4:10 PM.

Hey, “Evolution News”: correct this! was the previous entry in this blog.

Lynn Margulis: “Definitely a Darwinist” is the next entry in this blog.

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