Intelligent Design to be taught at University of Kansas

| 344 Comments

Fox News reports that Professor Paul Mirecki will be teaching a class on intelligent design.

The class, titled “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies” will be taught in the religious studies department of the university.

John Calvert did not take long to respond. Always good for a laugh, he comments:

John Calvert, an attorney and managing director of the Intelligent Design Network in Johnson County, said Mirecki will go down in history as a laughingstock.

“To equate intelligent design to mythology is really an absurdity, and it’s just another example of labeling anybody who proposes (intelligent design) to be simply a religious nut,” Calvert said. “That’s the reason for this little charade.”

Oh the irony…

344 Comments

Ah, PvM, struck down in his prime by the merciless and poorly designed KwikXML.

Should double check my postings. Corrected…

Dr.Mirecki sure has a sense of humour!

Hmm, let’s think who’d be a better judge of the religious nature of ID - a doctor of theology, or a lawyer? I’ll have to think about it.

John Calvert Wrote:

Mirecki will go down in history as a laughingstock

I can’t believe Calvert thinks anyone will go down in history for discussing Intelligent Design at all. But I suppose its political significance will insure its place in the history of stupid ideas.

At least it’s being taught in the right department with a title that does not distort ID’s true nature.

Alittle farther in the fox article it says: “To equate intelligent design to mythology is really an absurdity, and it’s just another example of labeling anybody who proposes (intelligent design) to be simply a religious nut,” Calvert said. “That’s the reason for this little charade.”

WHy are there soooooo many examples of that do you think?

That will take …oh all of 5 minutes ? ctrl h [creationism] tab [intelligent design] ctrl a

Calvert alreayd IS a laughingstock. What an idiot.

By perpetuating the ID myth, Calvert is probably making lots of $$$ … an idiot? I don’t know, seems pretty well educated. But a scoundrel, for sure.

I think mythology is being maligned when it is put on an equal basis as ID.

But, heck, ID is in the classroom. Why isn’t everyone happy?

an idiot? I don’t know, seems pretty well educated. But a scoundrel, for sure.

Yeah you’re right. He is, however, scum - helping to sell out the future of the US for a quick buck.

Wow this is funny, Prof. Mirecki sounds like he has a pretty good sense of humour. By jings; I bet there are some heckles rising in the ID crowd.

I have a few mental images of red faces and stamping feet in the Disco institute.

What about the “academic freedom” talking point that the intelligent design creationists are always using? Could it be that they’re not actually interested in academic freedom at all?

Stephen Elliott:

I have a few mental images of red faces and stamping feet in the Disco institute.

The Disco Institute! I like it: all glitter and no guts.

That’s an insult to disco.

googling for “disco institute” does return www.discovery.org as its first entry. :}

Googling for “disco institute” does return www.discovery.org as its first entry. :)

LOL - now all we need to do is “train” the Google toolbar to redirect you there immediately if you type it into your browser’s Address bar.

Don’t tell me the Darwinists have invaded the religious studies department at KU!

Oh, the humanity!

Does this mean that if Scientology and Intelligent Disco ever got together that John Travolta would be leading the revivals? Praise the Lord and pass the Spandex!

The one problem is that ID isnt valid theology. Its equally out of place in a religion class as it would be in a science class.

Here are some course titles where I think ID would fit well: Public Relations 420: Lying with a Straight Face Marketing 370: Selling Crap to the Gullible Political Science 403: Modern Crackpottery as a Political Movement Econ 760: Really Bad Ideas that will Cripple America’s Economy

I can imagine a scenario where this will backfire from your perspective. Suppose Mirecki knows no science. Now you can dismiss that as a non-concern by saying that it doesn’t matter given that ID is not science. But if I were in his class, I could (and I would) ask him detailed questions about fine-tuning. If he continually flubbed the answers, or answered unconvincingly—well you get the picture.

Heddle’s Skool Daze, hmmmm?

The thing is, there are obviously going to be guest lecturers. So, to be relevant, your questions would likely be posed to a cosmologist in front of 100 or so undergraduates.

Waterloo! Waterloo! Waterloo!

cn mgn scnr whr ths wll bckfr frm r prspctv. Spps Mrck knws n scnc. Nw cn dsmss tht s nn-cncrn b sng tht t dsn’t mttr gvn tht D s nt scnc. Bt f wr n hs clss, cld (nd wld) sk hm dtld qstns bt fne-tnng. f h cntnlly flbbd th nswer, r nswrd ncnvncngl—wll gt th pctr.

And then you’d tell the world what the scientific theory of ID is, and how to test it. As soon as you were done with that second part, what a backfire it would be.

Otherwise you’d just be a pedantic know-it-all jerk bogging down a religion class.

drtomaso, on a more serious note, dont forget:

Social Psychology 327: Social Influence

Mr. Heddle proposes: Suppose Mirecki knows no science. Now you can dismiss that as a non-concern by saying that it doesn’t matter given that ID is not science. But if I were in his class, I could (and I would) ask him detailed questions about fine-tuning.

Did you fail to notice that there will be several faculty brought in as guest lecturers? I can virtually guarantee you, there will be a scientist or two in the mix, who no doubt could easily deal with your “fine-tuning” red herring.

Dr. Mirecki is chair of the KU religious studies dept. Religious studies properly addresses the history of the evolution/creationism controversy in the U.S., and this I know because that was my major, and I studied creationism whilst earning my BA in that discipline.

Specifically, in 1989 at the U of Wisc-Oshkosh I enrolled in an inter-disciplinary “Evolution v. Creationism” seminar co-taught by a geologist and a prof of the Old Testament. A biologist and a physicist also addressed the class.

ID clearly picks up where full-blown YEC leaves off, as anyone with a passing familiarity with the content, personalities, tactics and motives of the latter would know. Indeed, Dembski has credited YEC godfather Henry Morris with having influenced him.

At any rate, Dr. Mirecki is not the first to address ID/creationism in the context of religious studies, and I am certain he will not be the last. Good for him.

If he continually flubbed the answers, or answered unconvincingly—well you get the picture.

And if IDers are asked, every day in class, to produce this scientific theory of ID they keep gibbering ab out (ya know, the one that’s not religion), and then give the same answer YOU do:

(sound of crickets chirping)

I think everyone will get the picture.

On a more serious note—more serious than Heddle’s repetitive mention of fine tuning when that has nothing to do with Darwin, evolution, natural selection or any other aspect of evolution and origins—does Mirecki plan on taping the lectures or offering the new course as an extension course to Kansas residents? Aside from the KBOE, six of whose members learn all they need to know from the Bible, many Kansan’s might find the course enlightening.

You know, just to be fair, or maybe…rational, we should not simply compare or state that intelligent design is a mere mythology. I can see the rhetorical value in doing so, but c’mon, ID is quite different from say, the greek myths.

As far as I am understanding it, ID begins with observations concerning the type of information produced when intelligent agents act, and then seeks to define some criteria for this (specified complexity, SC), arguing that natural mechanisms cannot produce SC, and then further seeks to identify SC in living systems or the natural world. This seems to me to be a far more reasonable project than opponents often let on. Calling ID a mythology seems a bit silly.

Why not just repeatedly show why the arguments for ID are neither valid nor sound?

MS

ID needs to be understood in the “history of ideas” the people behind it, their motives, their relationship with “identity politics” and Mammon.

Their co-opting of postmodernist (Vichy and reality denial)verbal obfuscation to support their pseudoscience(magical thought), their attempt to change the meaning of language and logic, the court cases(the cold light of the law has shown them to be ..well not to put too fine a point on it.… Blatant Liars), the battle for the hearts and minds of Religious and Political Leaders not to mention their blatant misuse of the media.

The science is actually irrelevant to them because they want a vote by scientists and have science run as a “democracy” -

They don’t like the vote so they want to change the rules from truth to Truth (democracy to Theocracy)as defined by their interpretation of truth/Truth that may sound schizophrenic to normal people but not to them)

Funny I thought peer review was the search for truth/Truth but,but,but.…. need I go on?

David But if I were in his class, I could (and I would) ask him detailed questions about fine-tuning. If he continually flubbed the answers, or answered unconvincingly—well you get the picture.

Didn’t find you on the list here (at the bottom of the page). http://www.phys.cwru.edu/events/cosmol03.php It would have been fun to watch you ask your questions there! Looks like the those folks had better things to do.

Sal Wrote:

This leads however to a substantive criticism of ID, “how do we know something is indeed improbable?” Recall, unlike traditional creationism (which dealt with absolutes), ID is more modest in its approach in that it offers ideas as a falsifiable hypotheses, not some creed of faith.

That’s one of the many problems facing ID. For instance, why, just because known chance and regularity processes may have small probabilities, should this give ANY credibility to a ‘design inference’? What if the probability of the design inference is even smaller?

Another real problem with ID is that other than for some trivial cases, the concept of CSI has never been applied to any relevant problems. Flagellum? Cambrian? etc are all Icons of ID which fail to be supported by much of any application of the claimed ID ‘approach’.

Which is why I conclude that ID is scientifically vacuous. But things get better, ID cannot even compete with our ignorance. “We don’t know” is, lacking any understanding of the probability of the ID inference as good and in many ways a much better position to take.

sal Wrote:

In sum: The “probabilistic complexity”, or “improbability” is customarily calculated according to accepted conventions. Further, the probabilistic complexity (improbability) of an event is not always tractable, hence even if the artifact is designed, it may not be subject to such analysis. Let me know if that clarifies “probabilistic complexity” sufficiently.

Accepted conventions is a very vague concept and as ID critics have shown this ambiguity has a significant impact on ID. All the way back to Wein, people have argued that the lack of much of any guidance by ID proponents in this area makes ID somewhat of a vague concept.

Dembski’s latest attempt to rescue the No Free Lunch arguments uses a concept of displacement but this concept raises more problems than it solves.

Sal Wrote:

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony.

The problem is that the ‘evolution’ is mostly in rethoric and less in scientific accuracy or relevance as the few papers relevant to ID have demonstrated.

I cannot believe that ID still relies on the creationist view of the Cambrian for instance. ID proponents quote Valentine as if he we an ID supporter but fail to mention Valentine’s recent papers which clearly demonstrate that ID’s portrayal of the Cambrian is largely vacuous

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony.

When ID proponents manage to camouflage what they are doing (attempting to substitute cryptotheological know-nothingism for science education), they win. There is a rather Red Queenish flavor to the entire enterprise, since the entire edifice is built on ignorance, and people (and case law) learn over time. As the niche space changes (e.g., a new predator emerges, such as the dreaded Edwardssversus aguillard), the creationists have gotta run (change their story) to stay in place. Of course, the mechanism of creationist change is more Lamarckian than Darwinian.

And that’s not ironic. It’s just sad.

Creationists are evolving quite rapidly, and improving in their fitness for public discurse, faster than their pro-Darwin counterparts. That’s the real irony.

What’s this have to do with ID? I thought ID wasn’t creationism. That’s what the IDers always tell me.…

steve s,

Re “Does ROFL mean you found it ridiculous?”

Funny, not ridiculous. I figured the “unused” elements would have some affect on the elements that are connected to something, perhaps from quantum and/or electromagnetic properties.

Henry

This discussion of the relationship between Avida and evolution suggests to me what all that junk DNA is–what we’re dealing with here is well commented code!

When we get the genome deciphered it’ll read like

void MakeHemoglobin(*alpha, *beta, *gamma) { chain += new alpha; chain += new beta; chain = chain-gamma; if (malaria ==true) betachain[17]=T; } // basically I had to break the hemoglobin a bit // in order to make up for that crappy Plasmodium // disaster Frank came up with. Don’t know what // he was thinking. Glad they fired his ass. // known bugs: Thalessemia, Methemoglobin, etc etc. // need to totally rewrite this whole kludge someday

Cordova

For what it’s worth, I believe, Verhey, Balter, RBH, corkscrew’s, Shallit, Elsberry, Reuland, talkorigins, etc. approach to dealing with ID to be more of a threat to ID’s advance than Lenny Flank & friends approach…

And why should anyone believe you about this subject when you have demonstrated habitual evasiveness and dishonesty when it comes to every other aspect of your hobby?

But let’s think about this for a second.

In which sort of world are folks like Sal more likely to thrive?

A world in which lengthy pages of scientific arguments are laid out side by side with lengthy creationist lies?

Or a world in which folks who attack scientists for doing their job are openly ridiculed and treated with scorn and contempt, much like we treat the once-tolerated racists and woman haters?

In which world are folks like Sal and their “theories” more likely to thrive?

I’m sorry, Sal, but more and more folks are on to your sad little ignorance-peddling scheme.

The trial in Dover sure made you look like a stooge, Sal. Yes: you. And you’re not the only one.

Get ready to reap the whirlwind of your deceit, Sal.

Salvador Wrote:

actually Salavador wrote exactly nothing to respond to Lenny’s questions… yet another Lenny-dodging post. I have another question for you Sal - if Lenny’s are too hard.how about one from me: Why exactly don’t you address Lenny’s questions? Lenny is not the only one who would like an answer.….(awaits next Lenny dodging post with supreme confidence)…

Henry J Wrote:

Wonder if that has something to do with quantum effects… ? Or might the “removing” of some gates affect the spacing between the remaining ones? (and thereby affect the timing of signals between them.)

I think the folks who did the experiment just figured it was some kind of induction thing affecting the timing. You could call that a quantum effect.

Salvador Wrote:

In sum: The “probabilistic complexity”, or “improbability” is customarily calculated according to accepted conventions. Further, the probabilistic complexity (improbability) of an event is not always tractable, hence even if the artifact is designed, it may not be subject to such analysis. Let me know if that clarifies “probabilistic complexity” sufficiently.

That does clarify it somewhat. However, it still leaves the issue of: if probabilistic complexity is partially dependent on how we think the system might have arisen, doesn’t a negative result (“design!”) possibly just indicate that we don’t know enough about that process?

And if PC is not partially dependent on how we think the system might have arisen, there are trivial counterexamples to the implication that high PC implies design.

I guess my basic question here is: why should the probabilistic complexity of a bacterial flagellum work out as being higher than the probabilistic complexity of a snowflake?

Salvador Wrote:

Unless one has the teleological goals to measure what a “good” design is, it is premature to suggest it is a bad design.

I’m not sure teleological is the word I’d use here (because I’m not sure what it means :P). I wouldn’t say it’s completely premature to suggest it’s a bad design though. The common-or-garden octopus has one design of eye (‘verted’ - in which the optic nerves lie under the retina); the common-or-garden human has another (‘inverted’ - in which the optic nerves lie on the surface of the retina). The latter results in the famous “blind spot”, among other problems. Now, one of these approaches is going to be broadly more efficient. So why would there exist two different approaches? One of them must be bad design.

The standard counterargument is that humans and octopi live in very different environments. But fish also have inverted eyes, and they live in exactly the same habitat as octopi. There’s no good reason there.

I agree that this is not a scientific issue as such, but it sure is fun to debate :P

steve s Wrote:

This discussion of the relationship between Avida and evolution suggests to me what all that junk DNA is—what we’re dealing with here is well commented code!

Ha! I have to remember that one. Hmm, maybe we can get Dr John Dee* in to decipher it…

* For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, Dr Dee claimed that he was visited by angels who imparted knowledge of, among a number of other things, the angelic (aka Enochian) script.**

** Yes I do have too much time on my hands. I’m a student dammit!

Round two:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/nov/27/2nd_ku_class_denies_status_science_design_theory/?city_local

2nd KU class denies status of science to design theory

By Sophia Maines (Contact)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Intelligent design — already the planned subject of a controversial Kansas University seminar this spring — will make its way into a second KU classroom in the fall, this time labeled as a “pseudoscience.”

In addition to intelligent design, the class Archaeological Myths and Realities will cover such topics as UFOs, crop circles, extrasensory perception and the ancient pyramids.

John Hoopes, associate professor of anthropology, said the course focused on critical thinking and taught how to differentiate science and “pseudoscience.” Intelligent design belongs in the second category, he said, because it cannot be tested and proven false.

“I think this is very important for students to be articulate about — they need to be able to define and recognize pseudoscience,” Hoopes said.

News of the new class provided fresh fuel to conservatives already angered that KU planned to offer a religious studies class this spring on intelligent design as “mythology.”

“The two areas that KU is trying to box this issue into are completely inappropriate,” said Brian Sandefur, a mechanical engineer in Lawrence who has been a vocal proponent of intelligent design.

Intelligent design is the idea that life is too complex to have evolved without a “designer,” presumably a god or other supernatural being. That concept is at the heart of Kansas’ new public school science standards — greatly ridiculed by the mainstream science community but lauded by religious conservatives — that critique the theory of evolution.

More controversy

Hoopes said his class would be a version of another course, titled Fantastic Archaeology, which he helped develop as a graduate student at Harvard University.

The course will look at the myths people have created to explain mysterious occurrences, such as crop circles, which some speculate were caused by extraterrestrials.

The course will explore how myth can be created to negative effects, as in the case of the “myth of the moundbuilders.” In early American history, some people believed the earthen mounds found primarily in the area of the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys were the works of an ancient civilization destroyed by American Indians. The myth contributed to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which relocated American Indians east of the Mississippi to lands in the west, Hoopes said.

“It was that popular explanation that then became a cause for genocide,” Hoopes said.

That example shows the need to identify pseudoscience, he said.

“What I’m trying to do is deal with pseudoscience regardless of where it’s coming from,” he said.

But Sandefur said intelligent design was rooted in chemistry and molecular biology, not religion, and it should be discussed in science courses.

“The way KU is addressing it I think is completely inadequate,” he said.

Hoopes said he hoped his class stirs controversy. He said students liked to discuss topics that are current and relevant to their lives.

“Controversy makes people think,” he said. “The more controversy, the stronger the course is.”

Hmm, I think that that probably deserves its own thread here, otherwise most people are going to be put off by the 339 posts preceding it and aren’t going to get the benefit. I can feel the indignation steaming off of this Sandefur guy.

But Sandefur said intelligent design was rooted in chemistry and molecular biology, not religion, and it should be discussed in science courses.

From what I’ve seen on this site, ID appears to be rooted (on the assumption that it has roots) in mathematics. I think I’m getting to the point where I need to roll up my sleeves and get digging in Dembski’s papers. If I manage to, and find that (as I currently suspect) it’s incorrect, would anyone be interested in my attempting to write a refutation?

Bwhaaaahahahahah I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop “Politic’s and Propoganda” the rise of the 4th Riech

Corkscrew

Good luck.

do a search on Shallit on PT There are a few http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archi[…]/000112.html

Dembski uses extremely tortured language. I have to pull it apart and put them back together changing the order, removing double negatives. One of his favorite tricks is to splurge out a whole sentence that when deconstructed is completely meaningless, just metaphysical mumbling.

He refuses to allow his “Special magic Words TM” to be redefined in plain language that communicates a common understanding or if he does he will change it whenever you try and give it a meaning in true crackpot science style.

Sal will waste weeks of your time setting up the proverbial SM allowing you flail away.

So to save time pin the meaning of the “Special magic Words TM” first by short simple understandable words that don’t look Magic and don’t allow him to move an inch which he will I promise. I suggest You set the terms - plain language only. Like CSI = “cute”.= zero meaning= neutral= Because I say it looks made by god.

Remove code words like designer designed > manufacturer product

In fact the whole thing blows up when you just say CSI=cute and designed = product of god=any life anywhere, everywhere.

The argument is totally worthless in my view because it is god in a box and fails basic logic.

On top of all that they won’t put it to Lenny’s test

Your suspicions will be rewarded

Sooo…

Hope that helps

I am closing this thread due to its size. I will be reporting on a new development at the University of Kansas soon, and hope to use that thread to continue our ‘discussion’ with Salvador on the scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on November 22, 2005 12:25 PM.

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