Intelligent design and Homo erectus

| 42 Comments

As we’ve pointed out before on the Panda’s Thumb, the proposed intelligent design textbook Of Pandas and People indicates that intelligent design was simply a rebadging of creationism. In view of that, let’s look at the short chapter of the 1993 edition of Pandas which discusses human evolution. Here are some quotes from that chapter:

Does the fossil record provide any evidence for either the Darwinian or the intelligent design view of man? (p.107)

Homo erectus had a larger brain (950cc) than Homo habilis, and walked with an upright posture, like man. … It had significant anatomical differences from modern man that have prevented its classification as Homo sapiens. (p.110)

Design adherents, however, regard Homo erectus, as well as the other hominids discussed in this section, as little more than apes, and point instead to the abrupt appearance of the culture and patterns of behavior which distinguish man from apes. (pp.112-3)

Who are these “design adherents” who regard Homo erectus as “little more than apes”?

Although there are indeed “anatomical differences” separating erectus and sapiens, they’re relatively minor - to the untrained eye, an erectus skeleton below the neck looks like a modern human. If you had to put erectus somewhere on a scale between ape and human, it would be at least 95% of the way towards a fully modern human.

So who would be clueless enough to believe that erectus was “little more than apes”? Back when Pandas was written, the answer was: pretty much the entire young-earth-creationist community, and no-one else. Spectacularly incompetent creationist luminaries on human origins such as Duane Gish and Malcolm Bowden claimed that the Java Man and Peking Man skulls were really just apes or monkeys, and the creationist community swallowed it hook, line and sinker. That didn’t change until Marvin Lubenow’s book Bones of Contention came out in 1992 and took the far more defensible position that Homo erectus was just a variety of modern humans, and that has become the generally accepted creationist view nowadays.

When the next edition of Pandas comes out, expect any embarrassing claims about Homo erectus being little more than an ape to be quietly dropped. Instead of following an obsolete creationist party line, they’ll replace it with the modern creationist party line, which is that Homo erectus is just a variety of modern man. As far as human origins is concerned, intelligent design appears indistinguishable from creationism.

(Note, incidentally, the phrase “abrupt appearance” in one of the above quotes, which are a reminder of an earlier attempt at rebadging creationism. “Abrupt appearance theory” was a feature of some attempts to sneak creationism into schools around 1980, but never took off the way “intelligent design theory” has. The name, and the “theory”, have sunk without a trace. Maybe the name was too reminiscent of Sidney Harris’s famous cartoon.)

42 Comments

I’ve just heard about Barbara Forrest’s testimony in the Dover trial where she documented how Pandas, in the course of the 10 years it was being developed, changed from an explicitly creationist book into an “intelligent design” one after the 1987 Edwards vs. Aguillard Supreme Court decision which ruled that teaching creationism in public schools was unconstitutional.

Anyone care to take a bet that in the early revisions, the “the intelligent design view of man” and “design adherents” phrases in the above quotes read as “the creationist view of man” and “creationists”?

Jim Foley wrote: “…how Pandas, in the course of the 10 years it was being developed, changed from an explicitly creationist book into an “intelligent design” one after the 1987 Edwards vs. Aguillard Supreme Court decision …”

What’s surprising about that is that they’re such lazy and stupid liars. Did they already have a creationist market that wanted the Panda book? Why didn’t they write a whole new book – they have written more books – before introducing the ID concept? Why did they keep the proof that ID was creationism in the public record like that?

They’re not very good at conspiracy.

They’ve got a lot to learn from our top secret evil atheist conspiracy. Look at us, were a tiny minority and yet we control the whole world and there they are, a distinct majority and they can’t even do a high school text book right.

Last night after reading articles on PT I had followed links - by accident - to a site selling the book Pandas and People. For the first time I noticed a co-author was Dean Kenyon who was a Fellow at the Discovery Institute.

Dean Kenyon?? I had Kenyon for a freshman biology (Human Bio 100) class at San Francisco State University in 1983 or so. It was an OK class, until he got to the ‘Origin of Life’ material. For the only time in my life I heard the “alternative view”. Kenyon spent a full couple days talking about the “problems” with Evolutionary theory - gaps, complexity, etc - the usual tripe. He used the “hurricane blowing through a junk yard” argument too (which I’ve ever since referred to as the “Here be Dragons” argument). At the end he took a poll of the class, asking which view students thought made more sense. To my dismay the majority - like 90% - were in the ID camp.

Admittedly most students there were young Liberal Arts types taking this class as a GE requirement. But 90%?

Kenyon’s bio said that he was Professor Emeritus at SFSU. Emeritus?? He should have been thrown out on his ear.

Homo erectus just an ape? I guess that’s why it is called Homo and not Pan or Gorilla. So maybe the strategy will change to say that all the experts who understand anatomy are wrong, and the whackos are right.

One of the reviewers of Pandas reviewed both editions, and posed the question, did the second edition correct any of the errors pointed out in the first edition. The answer was no, not only were all the original errors still there, but many new errors were introduced. So I’m not sure the next edition will be any different.

The fact that the majority of the students swallowed the “hurricane in a junkyard” argument is a glaring example of Kenyon’s incompetence as a Biology teacher.

Or maybe he just lied to his students, which would be par for the course for DI folk.

He used the “hurricane blowing through a junk yard” argument too (which I’ve ever since referred to as the “Here be Dragons” argument).

My version of that is: since bicycle mechanics of 1903 did not have the knowledge and technology to construct 747s, therefore air travel does not exist.

I have the 1989 version of OPAP. In the origins section, on p. 45, assumption #5, they list the inter-dependency of DNA and protein as part of Oparin’s hypothesis. Here is the entirety of what they have to say about the RNA World (RNA first) theory on page 51:

To get around the problem, some have suggested that RNA came first, since, besides its code-carrying capacity, it also exhibits some catalytic proerties. So perhaps RNA came first, carrying the code for proteins and also assisting in their synthesis. After some initial enthusiasm for this suggestion, even leading defenders of the idea have discarded it, citing the same objections as with the notion that DNA came first.

Having dismissed the RNA world theory in three sentences, they then proceed to concentrate on less likely theories.

How can the “same objections” apply, when the objections were that DNA does not catalyze reactions?

Certainly this was a weak and dismissive treatment in 1989, today, with the structure of the ribosome and other evidence in hand, it is hopelessly outdated.

Kenyon eventually got into trouble for teaching creationism. Here’s Stephen Meyer’s version of what happened

One of the reviewers of Pandas reviewed both editions, and posed the question, did the second edition correct any of the errors pointed out in the first edition. The answer was no, not only were all the original errors still there, but many new errors were introduced.

If they had removed all the factual and logical erros from OPAP, nothing would have been left by the picture of a panda on the cover.

My favorite error is the bit about how north american wolves and marsupial wolves would be classified as one species if only their skeletons were available for examination. I think they got that one straight from Denton.

The transformation of Homo erectus from “fully ape” to “fully human” in creationist thought is a great example of evolution.

Jim Lippard “… transformation of Homo erectus from “fully ape” to “fully human” in creationist thought is a great example of evolution.”

They’ve had to adapt to a more information rich environment.

Kenyon’s bio said that he was Professor Emeritus at SFSU. Emeritus?? He should have been thrown out on his ear.

http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or152/bio101.htm

Jim Lippard Wrote:

The transformation of Homo erectus from “fully ape” to “fully human” in creationist thought is a great example of evolution.

That’s what I was thinking. It also suggests a sort of backhanded recognition that–Gosh!–Homo erectus shares some characteristics with humans and others with apes. It’s almost like it’s a transitional fossil or something…

To my mind, a supreme irony in the “hurricane (or tornado)in the junkyard” trope is that the source of “randomness” is actually an example of the very thing they are attempting to prove can’t happen. Hurricanes and tornadoes self-organize out of the background variations and are shaped by the regularities in their environments, with obvious analogies to biological evolutionary processes.

Those of us who oppose pseduoscience could go some further distance in resisting these too-easy, completely wrong, yet superficially compelling ID metaphors. Another one that bugs me is the “watch on the heath” story stolen from Paley.

The biggest issue with that one is that the very reason the watch stands out on the heath is precisely because it IS designed in a way distinct from everything else on the heath. That fact alone calls into question the ultimate utility of the analogy. But beyond that, two big factors distinguish the legendary watch from biological life. First, watches, being designed more or less from scratch using human intelligence, do not contain EXCESS complexity–extra parts that don’t contribute to time-keeping, say, or jury-rigging that reduces efficiency, that sort of thing.

So far from being an analog to the complexity within biological systems, watches are actually far too SIMPLE to adequately represent them.

And the other thing is, reproduction is a huge factor in biology, especially evolutionary theory. For the watch analogy to really take off, the watch would have to, in addition to being a functioning watch, also be a watch factory that makes little watches that grow up to be more or less like itself. It is reproduction, with variation, plus the non-random act of selection, that drives evolution. Minus those features, I don’t see the watch on the heath being a very robust paradigm for biological systems, and we should say so.

The mousetrap needs a good ripping, too, but I’ve already written too much.

First, with nods to the previous comments, Kenyon’s emeritus status is testimony to the fact that the brief filed by DI is false. Kenyone was reprimanded for teaching stuff contrary to the catalog at San Francisco State, but he didn’t lose his job and he even made it to emeritus status. Someone should file an answering amicus brief saying that ID and other creationists get it too easy in the real world – they never suffer consequences from their stupidity.

Second, to the new edition getting rid of errors: William Dembski is on the payroll of the “Foundation for ‘Thought’ ‘and’ ‘Ethics,’” to be the editor of the new book. That’s why he sought to bring in another lawyer to his deposition to protect the material in the book from his own bumbling in deposition.

Will Dembski carefully correct errors? I will not hazard a guess. Will he introduce new errors? I’d bet on that.

It is quite correct that Homo erectus was “little more than apes.” The same is true of Homo sapiens.

A further point regarding watches: although indisputably designed, they DID evolve! What fool would pick up that lost watch and assume that nothing even remotely like it had ever existed before? That it had been invented ex nihilo, with no predecessors?

http://www.members.aol.com/darrwin/watch.htm

And yet another point re: the argument from design and watches, is that the cornerstone of Paley’s argument is not complexity per se, but function.

We can tell the watch is designed because all its parts work together for the purpose of telling the time of day.

So what is an organism’s purpose? Sure, you can say “the flagellum is like a motor. It’s for propulsion.”

But what about the bacterium of which it is an integral part? What is that for? What was it designed to do?

Sure looks like it was “designed” to be a survivor/replicator to me.

What’s common descent got to do with ID? I’ve got no problem with having a monkey for a cousin, and neither do the more sophisiticated ID supporters ( Alvin, MikeGene, Dembski, Behe.)

What’s common descent got to do with ID? I’ve got no problem with having a monkey for a cousin, and neither do the more sophisiticated ID supporters ( Alvin, MikeGene, Dembski, Behe.)

How about having a houseplant for a cousin?

Hiya’ll asked: “What’s common descent got to do with ID?”

It makes human beings less special. We may not be the crown of creation, we may be transitional ourselves… a preparation for the next stage.

Hiya’ll wrote: “I’ve got no problem with having a monkey for a cousin, and neither do the more sophisticated ID supporters ( Alvin, MikeGene, Dembski, Behe.)”

Then why does Dembski call his blogging website “Uncommon descent”??

Greg Peterson wrote: “… irony in the ‘hurricane (or tornado)in the junkyard’ trope is that the source of ‘randomness’ is actually an example of the very thing they are attempting to prove can’t happen. Hurricanes and tornadoes self-organize out of the background variations and are shaped by the regularities in their environments, with obvious analogies to biological evolutionary processes.”

Another irony is that tornados in junkyards almost sounds like a good metaphor for how hard it is to do synthetic chemistry. You can’t pick up a molecule and attach it to another molecule, you’ve got to figure out how to send a tornado through a junkyard of molecules to assemble a new drug.

mark Wrote:

Homo erectus just an ape? I guess that’s why it is called Homo and not Pan or Gorilla. So maybe the strategy will change to say that all the experts who understand anatomy are wrong, and the whackos are right.

I believe that Linneaus, who was hardly an evolutionist, classified the chimpanzee as a species in the genus Homo. Perhaps he was right.

I’m surprised that Rick Santorum hasn’t demanded that we change terms like “Homo Erectus” and “Homo Sapiens” to their more culturally acceptible – “Hetero Erectus” and “Hetero Sapiens”.

For another “creationist” perspective on Homo erectus and the other hominids see

Who Was Adam?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/15[…]amp;v=glance

The view espoused is that H, erectus is neither ape nor modern human but is… H. erectus.

Jeff McKee said:

It is quite correct that Homo erectus was “little more than apes.” The same is true of Homo sapiens.

I know what Jeff means, and I agree - compared to most other organisms on Earth, the distance betweens humans and apes is not that great. (Jeff is a real paleoanthropologist, by the way.) But my comment was made in the context of using the difference between humans and apes as a yardstick. On that scale, I think Jeff will agree with me that it’s absurd to call erectus “little more than apes”.

Hiya’ll wrote:

What’s common descent got to do with ID? I’ve got no problem with having a monkey for a cousin, and neither do the more sophisiticated ID supporters ( Alvin, MikeGene, Dembski, Behe.)

If so, bravo. But although Behe has said he doesn’t have a problem with common descent, I’ve never heard of Dembski saying anything similar. If he accepts common descent, he really needs to get the word out a bit better. And, all the ID witnesses at the Kansas Board of Education hearings were asked if they accepted that humans had evolved. To the best of my recollection, they all either said they did not, or they dodged the question.

What’s common descent got to do with ID? I’ve got no problem with having a monkey for a cousin, and neither do the more sophisiticated ID supporters ( Alvin, MikeGene, Dembski, Behe.)

Has anyone ever gotten a straight answer out of any four of these guys mentioned about common descent in the human lineage. Behe has his puff of smoke mechanism, does he apply it to the relationship among hominids? I don’t think that any of these guys has given a straight answer about how common descent works for the human lineage within the last 5 million years. They seem to be lying about it when you look at what guys like Dembski claim. He just seems to give lip service to the notion. It almost seems like Dembski is YEC, but can’t admit it. So, where have these guys really stated in an unambiguous manner how common descent fits into the current scenario that has all the evidence going for it?

And, all the ID witnesses at the Kansas Board of Education hearings were asked if they accepted that humans had evolved. To the best of my recollection, they all either said they did not, or they dodged the question.

From the released transcripts:

Q. Do you believe in common descent?

A. You mean, common ancestry?

Q. Common descent, yes.

A. Well, I have difficulty with common ancestry and maybe that’s what you mean by common descent.

Q. Do you believe in common descent in humans, such as the fact that there were perhominids before homo sapiens?

A. Are you asking me if I accept evolutionary thought on this?

Q. I’m asking you if you accept prehominids as the ancestral line to homo sapiens?

A. Personally I don’t, no.

Q. You what?

A. I personally do not.

Q. You do not?

A. Yes. I mean, I’m not an expert on this. (Thaxton testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

*************************************************

Q. You do accept, do you not, common descent within species?

A. Within a single species, of course. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.

Q. What about among species?

A. Among species? Well, I stated in my power point that I find it extremely unlikely based on the evidence that the animal phyla are related through common ancestry. Other biologists have said they’re dubious of common ancestry at levels higher than that. The levels in between, I don’t know. As a scientist I would have to say each case would have to be settled based on the evidence.

Q. What about between humans, the humans– homo sapiens and other species, such as prehominids?

A. I think it’s extremely unlikely based on the evidence. (Wells testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Sir, the first question I’d like to ask you is, do you accept the evolutionary theory of common descent of humans from prehominids?

A. From the data that I’ve been following it’s probably not true.(Simat testimony, Kansas Hearings, transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Do you– do you accept the general principle of common descent, that all of life was biologically related to the beginning of life? Yes or no?

A. No.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors? Yes or no?

A. No. (Leonard testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent, that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life? Yes or no?

A. No.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to predominant ancestors? Yes or no?

A. No. (Ely testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Do you accept the principle– the general principle of common descent that all of life was biologically related back to the beginning of life?

A. Not if you interpret common descent, and realize that I’m taking liberty here, not if you interpret common descent as being that that is natural selection acting on random mutations I do not.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors? Yes or no?

A. No. (DeHart testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Do you accept the principle of common descent that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life? Yes or no?

A. I will say no, because –

Q. I didn’t ask you for an explanation. Yes or no?

A. Okay. No.

Q. Okay. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors? Yes or no?

A. No. (Millam testimony, Kansas Hearing transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent, that all of life was biologically related to the beginning of life, yes or no?

A. No.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors, yes or no?

A. No. (Bryson testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life, yes or no?

A. I won’t answer that question as a yes or no. I accept the idea of limited common descent. I am skeptical about universal common descent. I do not take it as a principle; it is a theory. And I think the evidence supporting the theory of universal common descent is weak.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors, yes or no?

A. I’m not sure. I’m skeptical of it because I think the evidence for the proposition is weak, but it would not affect my conviction that life is designed if it turns out that there was a genealogical continuity. (Meyer testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

*************************************************

Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life?

A. Not as defined by neo-Darwinism, no.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors?

A. I doubt it. (Menuge testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

Hiy'all Wrote:

What’s common descent got to do with ID?

Don’t ask us. Ask the folks who wrote that creationist ID book, Of Pandas and People. My guess is it was written long before ID was painted into the molecular machine corner, so it included ID at a higher level, such as ape to man evolution.

Jim Ramsey wrote: “I’m surprised that Rick Santorum hasn’t demanded that we change terms like ‘Homo Erectus’”

I’m surprised he hasn’t made a Freudian slip and called it Homo erection.

What’s common descent got to do with ID? I’ve got no problem with having a monkey for a cousin, and neither do the more sophisiticated ID supporters ( Alvin, MikeGene, Dembski, Behe.)

Then what’s this all about?

and, by the way, who’s “Alvin”? Please don’t tell me the famous singing chipmunk has gone on to become an ID proponent.

From the Kansas school board hearings via ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank:

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to predominant ancestors?

A. I personally do not. (Thaxton testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript) A. From the data that I’ve been following it’s probably not true.(Simat testimony, Kansas Hearings, transcript) A. No. (Leonard testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript) A. No. (Ely testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript) A. No. (DeHart testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript) A. No. (Millam testimony, Kansas Hearing transcript) A. No. (Bryson testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript) A. I’m not sure. I’m skeptical of it because I think the evidence for the proposition is weak, but it would not affect my conviction that life is designed if it turns out that there was a genealogical continuity. (Meyer testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript) A. I doubt it. (Menuge testimony, Kansas Hearings transcript)

Unfortunately, none were questioned on the biological evidence they based their conclusions. The publication of the chimp genome sequence allows those who deny common decent and the relationships among apes and humans to make predictions based on their model.

Richard Thompson’s common designer common design argument at the Dover trial “So that if there is a God, that God could use the same kind of genetic material making, you know, a monkey or an ape and making a human being. Isn’t that a possibility?” demonstrates that their arguments are theologically based and not scientific. It also guarantees there will not be testable predictions forthcoming.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

My favorite OPAP error: The one about how the Hardy-Weinberg equation “has nothing to do with large-scale evolution”, and is strongly implied to mean only that “the percentage frequencies [sic] remain the same from generation to generation” (OPAP, p. 65).

It really takes some – er, creativity to interpret the most useful null hypothesis in population biology as a law that makes evolution improbable. (The best analogy I can think of: Claiming that because we can define a normal range for blood sugar levels in humans, it’s impossible for anyone to get diabetes.) In fact, the closest mention ever made of any the five necessary conditions of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (large population, random mating, no mutation, no drift, no selection) is this expertly muddled piece of hand-waving on page 68:

“The Hardy-Weinberg law states that, in the absence of selection or other outside forces, the proportions of these five mutated genes to their non-mutated counterparts will remain the same from generation to generation.” (Italics mine.)

Wow. If there’s no selection going on, and we conveniently forget that net mutation is an important factor in whether a population is at HWE, and go a step further by ignoring or obfuscating the other necessary conditions for supporting the null hypothesis – in other words, if we assume there’s no evolution taking place, then there must be no evolution taking place.

Of Pandas and People. Intelligently designed by expert prevaricators, or the result of random efforts by incompetents? You decide .…

If H. erectus and H. sapiens were designed by an intelligence, then where did that intelligence come from? The monotheists would, I presume, continue to stick the “er” on the end of intelligent design(er), and argue that this designer has no origin, instead having “always been there.” The polytheists would, I presume, adapt a serial view of deities, one fathering the next ad infinitum. The atheists would abandon this bootless seach for how many angels can fit on the end of a pin and go sailing on this fine Saturday morning, and perhaps reflect on the irony that, despite seemingly endless polls on how “christian” we are as a society, the days still takes their names from the pantheistic majority of an earlier time. I can’t help but think that the whole ID debate is essentially a grammatical catfight. And the only difference between a bootless catfight and government-mandated religion is the number of people who think that their views warrant not just persuasion, but compulsion. This is why the debate matters, this is why resisting the attempt to mandate ID instruction in our schools is worth a Saturday morning arguing about Homo erectus. The debate is not about whether these old bones, deposited before we were born, disprove the assertions of old books, written before we were born. It is about the thousand year old tension between those who support the protection of law for religion, versus those who seek the force of law for religion. We have nothing to fear if the majority of our citizens understand this difference - as I believe they do.

Julie Stahlhut questions: Of Pandas and People. Intelligently designed by expert prevaricators, or the result of random efforts by incompetents?

You mean like Pervaricators?

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Re Dembski and common descent, it seems he does not accept it in the case of humans. From Dembski’s article “What every theologian should know about creation, evolution and design” (http://www.leaderu.com/offices/demb[…]heologn.html):

William A. Dembski Wrote:

Depending on how one construes the words “creation” and “evolution,” one’s answer to the question Do you believe in creation? and Do you believe in evolution? are likely to show quite a bit of variability. For myself, Yes, I believe that God created the world with a purpose in mind, and No, I don’t believe that God created the world in six 24-hour day periods. No, I don’t believe in fully naturalistic evolution controlled solely by purposeless material processes, and Yes, I do believe that organisms have undergone some change in the course of natural history (though I believe that this change has occurred within strict limits and that human beings were specially created).

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

Has anyone ever gotten a straight answer out of any four of these guys mentioned about common descent in the human lineage. Behe has his puff of smoke mechanism, does he apply it to the relationship among hominids?

Behe will have an opportunity to answer such questions in Harrisburg soon, under oath, if the plaintiff’s attorneys wish to ask.

I was probably wrong include Dembski in the list, his beliefs on the subject, at second glance, waver. At times he has accepted on, in his essay’s and on his blog common descent, yet the title of his blog does seem like a direct attack on the hypothesis. I’d say he doesn’t know what he believes about common descent and ID. Behe however has given some pretty straight answers, as has MikeGene, and Alvin Plantingia has said he has no problem with the whole man from monkey, mammal from reptile thing.

…I was probably wrong include Dembski in the list, his beliefs on the subject, at second glance, waver. At times he has accepted on, in his essay’s and on his blog common descent, yet the title of his blog does seem like a direct attack on the hypothesis. I’d say he doesn’t know what he believes about common descent and ID. Behe however has given some pretty straight answers, as has MikeGene, and Alvin Plantingia has said he has no problem with the whole man from monkey, mammal from reptile thing.

So the leaders of this allegedly “scientific” movement are all over the map on this issue, which you might have thought was central to their whole focus on origins. Dembski, Johnson, Nelson, Wells and I guess just about all the Kansas witnesses are somewhere on the YEC-OEC continuum of special creation. But some pseudonymous internet nobody, a theological philosopher with no particular science credibility, and Mike Behe - author of the famous “poof” theory of origins - have expressed some openness to the idea of common dissent.

Hiya’ll might want to take a second look at the viability of “Intelligent Design” as a scientific idea.

Jim Foley Wrote:

Re Dembski and common descent, it seems he does not accept it in the case of humans.

Note that, while having the chutzpah to call “evolution” a weasel word, Dembski uses the weasel word “specially created,” as opposed to the more descriptive term “independent abogenesis.” Consider his audience. When speaking to scientists, he seems more open to common decsent.

With these guys, it’s not what they believe that counts, but what they want the audience to believe. They probably wish that everyone could be progressive OECs, but realize that criticizing YEC is counterproductive to their political strategy. One can never know for sure, but I’m fairly convinced that Dembski and most other ID leaders accept theistic evolution if not their “Darwinism” caricature. But they don’t think that “the masses” can handle it.

Re “But they don’t think that “the masses” can handle it.”

Or, what if they figure they wouldn’t like the result of the “masses” handling of it? (i.e., they might stop listening to certain people?)

Henry

Henry,

That’s what I mean by it. It’s actually the IDers who cannot “handle” a public that can think for itself. So they fill their need by spinning fairy tales. Or more correctly, setting it up so that classic creationists do it for them.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim Foley published on October 7, 2005 7:39 AM.

YDR: Dover trial, horns (or lack thereof) and all was the previous entry in this blog.

Pandemic Influenza Awareness Week Day 5: How ready are we, and what can YOU do? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter