The Great Debate

| 131 Comments

by Ellery Schempp, Ph.D.

I attended tonight at Boston University The Great Debate: “Should public schools teach Intelligent Design along with Evolution?”

The Debate Participants:

Affirmative:

  • Edward H. Sisson, Esq. Partner, Arnold and Porter, Washington, D.C. Mr. Sisson advised witnesses at the Kansas evolution hearings
  • Professor Bill Dembski, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture
  • Nick Barber, Senior, Broadcast Journalism major, Boston University College of Communication

Negative:

  • Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D. Executive Director, National Center for Science Education
  • Professor James Trefil, Ph.D. Robinson Professor of Physics, George Mason University; co-author, Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
  • Neil St. Clair, Sophomore, Broadcast Journalism and Political Science major, Boston University College of Communication and College of Arts and Sciences

The Tsai Center has a capacity of 525 and I was turned away for it being filled. Managed to get in late. The audience was 90% undergrads.

Here are my impressions:

(please note that quotes are approximations from hurried notes, my gist is here)

As a long-term member of NCSE and supporter of Genie Scott, and reader at Pandas Thumb and allied sites, there was little new. Scott made the usual arguments that ID is not science, that ID is “creationism lite”, that ID posits an “unlimited, unconstrained designer”, and is playing games about “who the designer is”. That the DI is only interested in teaching “evidence against evolution”, but has nothing positive to offer.

Scott said that Behe has lost faith in “intelligent design” as a phrase and is now promoting “sudden emergence theory”. First I heard of this. Scott scored good points when she said that ID cannot answer the questions of how? and when? I thought the when–the time frame for “intelligent meddling” could have been expanded.

Scott: “We know designed tools in archeology because we know that is what humans do, how they do this, and why–the purpose. But we do not know why or how the bacterium flagellum arose.” “It is an artificial dichotomy to assert that there are intelligent causes and natural causes.” “The SETI argument from ID is tiresome; sure, scientists look for patterns to distinguish a signal from noise, but this in no way shows that there is an ‘intelligent designer’.” “Labeling -isms is a rhetorical strategy–Darwinism, evolutionism–but such labels are not a substitute for a transcendent understanding.”

Dembski is a tall, lanky figure who speaks without notes and wanders on stage. He started out quote mining from John Gerhart and Marc Kirschner (GK), The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma. (Yale University Press, 2005), to the effect that “the scientific consensus of small genetic mutations accumulating to new species is an illusion, as Scott says.” “We need a radically new understanding, according to GK.” “Evolution is like a woman who goes for plastic surgery multiple times; after all the cutting and pasting… it is all the same…” I didn’t hear this last phrase clearly, so this is not a quote–the audience giggled. I was lost wondering how plastic surgery fit into the argument. Surely this was a dig against women.

Dembski: “The study of patterns in nature is best explained by intelligence… archeology and SETI show this.” “There are reliable ways of distinguishing between random/chance structures and purpose structures.” Dembski used the phrases “design detection/design inference” many times without ever once saying how to detect. The phrase “design inference” seemed to me to be hollow–because my tomato plants are wilted and have yellow-tipped leaves, I infer/deduce from previous experience that a frost hit them. Dembski uses the term to mean “there must have been a purpose, therefore ID.”

Dembski: “in any other context, the merit of ID would be recognized. It is the evolutionists that prevent this.” {not a quote, but the gist as I heard him speak}. “Evolution is a theory of processes, going from point A to point B. This theory is not working; it is not detailed; Darwin had no idea of the internal structure of a cell.”

James Trefil spoke next: “There are external tests, and it is interesting to contrast the legal position of witnesses in the courts to what IDists proclaim. The courts have set up rigorous criteria for ‘expert witnesses’; they must meet the tests of recognized evidence, facts widely viewed as established and verifiable, and independent of any vested interest.” Trefil contrasted this judiciary requirement to ID, saying that ideas to be “presented in school classrooms should not have a lower standard”.

Trefil went on to discuss how gold nuggets form, that random accumulations of gold atoms would be ridiculously improbable, but that we understand geothermal and mineralogical processes now and understand how they form. I think his point was that previously un-understood matters have yielded to scientific investigations over the decades.

Sisson, a lawyer in the Philip Johnson mold, spoke on the “tyranny of the majority” re evolution. I thought this curious. His view was that there are these unconscionable, atheist elites, and he doesn’t like them. Evolution is an elitist notion, and he emphasized “as a lay person” and quoted lines from three textbooks to the effect that “complexity is unexplainable” thus ID is right. An argument to a jury, perhaps. That Dawkins and Darwin have it all wrong, that “facilitated variation” is a brief without a proper rebuttal in a court. ID is in the court of public opinion. {I imagine him as a prosecutor–to hell with the truth, we’ll get a conviction of these pervos, drugos, evos.}

Sisson said that “life is so extraordinary”, but the evolutionists have “no Bible in their set of data [sic]”. He went on to say that he could refute every one of the pages in a large stack on his desk, printed out from MIT’s or BU’s Bio 106 course, but he did not have sufficient time. The comment about “no Bible in their set of data” was especially telling.

I was particularly interested in the audience reactions. Comments were accepted from about 20 audience members, lining up to the left (affirm) and right (negative).

Some excerpts:

1. Atheism is a religion that denies a higher power. Archeology shows this.

2. We can infer design from the fact that the fundamental physical constants are tuned. {I think–the fundamental constants are such that they allow life forms and cranky consciousnesses to form–if the constants were different, we would not be here to argue the matter!}

3. Kevin: as an English major, I see many subjective interpretations of poetry and literature. Isn’t ID the same?

4. Katie: evolution presents a one-sided view. ID is a good balance.

5. no name: Evolution is not random; evolution is the cumulative effect of traits kept and lost. Negative traits give way to positives. Isn’t this the way in society in general?

6. no name: There may be equal theories, but the presupposition of a higher power is an argument against using taxpayer dollars to fund ID. The First Amendment, etc.

7. no name: I am confused between how ID is detected and how ID is installed. ID seems to offer no explanation of the mechanisms or the principles involved when the “designer” chooses to act. {me, too; the audience applauded}

8. Ryan: evolutionists can’t handle the truth; the pyramids, the Egyptians, therefore ID. {my mind lost contact during this}.

9. Mathers: What do IDists hope to achieve? Dembski admitted that it was “exposure”. Why did DI/Dembski hire an expensive PR firm in Washington, a firm that also represents big oil firms? Isn’t this a sign that ID/Dembski/Behe/DI are in league with PR perceptions rather than scientific ways of thinking? {I have no idea about the allegations.}

10. no name: In 10 years, we humans will certainly be able to create a primitive cell in the lab. What then, ID?

Overall, I think the audience of mostly undergrads was about equally divided. There was no poll.

I was disappointed that the pro-evo side did not make a strong case for what evolution does explain, and beautifully. Why mammals have a common blood structure (Types A,B,O also in chimps) based on cells, in contrast to circulating proteins (cf. hemocyanin, a copper-based porphyrin oxygen-carrier found in e.g. lobsters). How human embryos have tails until late in development. How large mammalian herbivores could only develop after the evolution of grasses. There is a wonderful story of what evolution does give us an understanding of, and the legalisms (nonsense about complexity; specified, irreducible complexity, supernatural interventions, biology as distinct from chemistry, etc.) of ID short-changes us.

I introduced myself to Dembski. He shook my hand happily. I said, “You know that I started the Supreme Court case about Bible-reading in the public schools. I oppose everything you say.” He took it in good stride and mumbled.

Ellery Schempp was the primary student plaintiff in Abington School District v. Schempp, which declared mandatory bible readings in public schools unconstitutional. He is a physicist residing in Boston.

Editor’s Note: This was promoted from a comment that didn’t belong where it was made.

131 Comments

As to why the pro-evo side didn’t make those points: a lot of evolution advocates assume that the publice is more informed than it actually is. Ask a humanities graduate what’s the gist of the laws of thermodynamics, and you’ll only get TANSTAAFL from people who aren’t ashamed to admit they read Heinlein. :)

Wait: didn’t the Discovery Institute just say in Dover that they were NOT for teaching this in public schools? Why is Dembski speaking for it? I’m confused…

Wait: didn’t the Discovery Institute just say in Dover that they were NOT for teaching this in public schools? Why is Dembski speaking for it? I’m confused…

Dembski is still running the scam. Out of one side of his mouth he admits that there isn’t anything to teach, out of the other he has to give it lip service so that his fellowship stipend will still roll in. $60,000 isn’t small change even to a guy that wanted so much to be an expert witness at the Dover trial. Dembski is also involved in shilling the rubes in his publishing efforts. He is probably getting paid to be involved with the next Panda’s replacement where they are busy switching over intelligent design to the next scam.

I wish that Dembski could have gotten to the witness stand. The contrast between Behe’s incompetence and Dembski’s scam artistry would have made a wonderful example of just what ID is.

I wish someone would raise the point that ID is unfalsifiable. In the Kitzmiller trial Behe said that if someone grew bacteria lacking flagella in a lab and selected for some kind of flagella device and one evolved then ID would be falsified. However, in such an experiment it would be impossible to rule out a supernatural designer doing the work. ID is therefore not science.

Bagaaz Wrote:

in such an experiment it would be impossible to rule out a supernatural designer doing the work. ID is therefore not science.

Thank you for the beautiful point.

ID is not science. Science is testable. Science is falsifiable. Science uses peer review, observation, and repetition to support theories about how things behave.

Science doesn’t try to get a new theory accepted by taking it to court, trying to teach it to high schoolers, and asking the public what their opinion is. (Although it would be rather interesting if it did. Imagine how different the results of Katrina would be. “95% of New Orleans residents don’t believe that a hurricane could cause massive flooding or levy damage. Therefore, it won’t happen, and we don’t have to worry about it.” Wow.)

I was also at the debate and was able to get a seat in the front row. I am sympathetic to ID, but my impression was that the ID side lost this debate, mostly due to the incompetence of Sisson.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1) Edward Sisson, the pro-ID lawyer was absolutely terrible. He had ten minutes to make the opening statement and he spent the entire time talking about where he went to grad school, how he got involved in the theater, how he became a producer of a theater company, how they put on a show in Germnay, how he then decided to go to law school, how he made partner at a firm, how he got married, etc. etc. This was all evidentally supposed to show us that his background was not that of a fundamentalist Christian. He finally said something like “and now let me turn to the science” and right at that moment the bell rang, indicating he had one minute left, and he spun around, looking bewildered and asked “what does that mean?” He then apologized for not having time to get to the science and sat down. It was an absolutely pathetic showing. He would do much the same with his closing remarks, during which he claimed that he didn’t have time to go through and refute all the evidence in the various textbooks he was holding up. I was extremely disappointed in his performance. I don’t know why they didn’t get someone competent from the Discovery Institute. In fact, the undergraduate journalism kid who spoke for the ID side was infinitely better than Sisson. The fact that Sisson was so unprepared and so wandering in his thoughts reflected terribly on ID.

2) The debate was impossible for the ID side to win, anyway, b/c ID is not mature enough to be taught in public high schools, and even the Discovery Institue acknowledges this. So the pro-ID side was stuck defending a position they were not eager to defend, while the anti-ID side could score simple and credible points about how we should just stick to the consensus in science when it comes to what we teach in high school and leave the ID stuff for later in a person’s education if they are interested in pursuing it. The pro-ID side ended up doing the best thing they could in that situation, which was to defend ID generally and not mention high schools much at all. Dembski, for instance, did not use any of his time to discuss whether ID should be taught in high school and instead explained what ID is, how we can detect intelligence in SETI, anthropology, what specified complexity is, etc. A student who spoke during the open mic time later said that he had emailed Dembski asking him what he hoped to accomplish at the debate and Dembski had simply said “exposure”. I believe it. Dembski simply used this as a chance to talk about ID.

3) The anti-ID side was well-prepared and clear. Eugenie Scott spoke first and she came accross as intelligent and competent. She also made points that were easy to understand. Given that each person only had 10 minutes or so to speak, it is important to get a couple simple and clear points in, and she was able to do this. She was on-target and well-prepared. The contrast with Sisson, who had just spoken before her, was tremendous. I cannot overstate her contrast with Sisson.

4) The two undergraduate kids were about equal in their performance and persuasiveness.

5) Trefil did well for the anti-ID side. He had the advantage of being clear, well-prepared, and also chatty and likeable.

6) The open-mic comments from the students were about evenly divided in terms of persuasiveness and performance for both sides of the debate.

7) The original post in this thread didn’t get Dembski right on the quote about a woman. What he said was something like this: “Evolution is like a model, a woman, who has had a lot of plastic surgery. She looks good from far away, but when you get up close she looks cut and pasted together and isn’t that attractive.” This got a good laugh from the audience.

8) I am still sympathetic to ID and I don’t think these sorts of questions can be resolved in such a time-constrained format, but at least you should make the best case you can in the time you are given, and Sisson, who spoke twice for ID just didn’t know what he was talking about, and worse, wasn’t prepared anyway. He also did some purely stupid things, like admit that he hadn’t read one of the books he was critiquing all the way through, admit that he doesn’t have a science background, and claim that he could go through 600 pages of class notes from a BU class on Evolution, and refute Evolution page by page, but he just didn’t have time to do it here tonight. He also used statements like “it’s just so amazingly incredibly complex that it just *couldn’t* have happened by chance” which strikes me as the kind of argument a fifth grader in favor of ID might make, but I was hoping for better. I don’t know why Sisson was the main guy making the opening and closing remarks for ID when Dembski was on their panel. Dembski only got to speak once and Sisson spoke twice, which was really the wrong way for them to go about it.

On the whole a very frustrating experience for me.

Dr. Kate,

I cannot dispute whether Bagaaz’s point is beautiful. But it is too simplistic. Without commenting on whether Behe’s ID is falsifiable, I just want to point out a common error: Responses along the lines of “regardless of what happens, it is impossible to rule out a supernatural designer” are not relevant.

To falsify biological ID, if it is falsifiable, you do not have to prove that “a designer could not have designed it.” That is a red herring tantamount to saying you have to disprove God. No, what you have to do is show that there is no evidence for design. If you demonstrate how a flagellum evolves–then someone could still say that God did it that way–but that wouldn’t be ID they were defending, it would simply be theism.

Evolution is not immune to a similar criticism: “regardless of what happens, it is impossible to rule out evolution.” My favorite example is Mars. We see water and methane. Assume abiogenesis has occurred. Evolution, being a science that can make predictions, should have something to say about what Martian life might be like, but as far as I know it is silent. Will it be single celled? Multicelled? As complex as insects? Silence. In other words, it can accommodate all eventualities.

David

Assume abiogenesis has occurred.

Evolution…should have something to say about what Martian life might be like, but as far as I know it is silent.

Scientists are expected to foresee what will happen if it is ‘assumed’ something else has occured.

Assume abiogenesis has occurred. Evolution, being a science that can make predictions, should have something to say about what Martian life might be like, but as far as I know it is silent. Will it be single celled? Multicelled? As complex as insects? Silence. In other words, it can accommodate all eventualities.

You haven’t specified anything about the type of abiogenesis (dna or non-dna?). But it doesn’t matter, since the example you cite has apparently occured only once on this planet so far. Making a prediction based on a sample size of “1” is not good science. Where evolution can make reasonable predictions, is where it has seen something happen many times, such as the evolution of the eye, for example.

David Heddle Wrote:

Evolution is not immune to a similar criticism: “regardless of what happens, it is impossible to rule out evolution.”

Have you found that pre-Cambrian rabbit fossil yet? Go away and look some more. Don’t come back without it.

Heddle, your point is nonsensical right from the get go. You say you won’t comment on whether ID is falsifiable then proceed to explain how to falsify it (by your rules, specifically). So either comment on falsifiablity or dont, but dont say you won’t and then do. You obviously will not be satisfied until science patches every little gap of knowledge and if and when a gap is filled you will simply point to another and say, well there’s still this, could be designed, prove it’s not. In the meantime doing no work whatsoever yourself to prove that something IS designed. Looks designed, appears designed, leave it to the evos to prove otherwise. The very definition of a free lunch for you. And of course, complete BS. Evolution can be easily disproven in a variety of ways; the fact that you do not seem to understand this speaks volumes. As far as life on Mars is concerned, evolution simply says life could evolve if the right conditions exist. ID of course, says what? Well, anything it wants. The designer could presumably design life that could live on Mars, right? If not, why not? And if so, what would its nature be? Unfortunately, ID does not choose silence as often as it should and we are regularly subjected to droning nonsense like yours.

I don’t know why they didn’t get someone competent from the Discovery Institute.

Because that would be impossible.

David Heddle Wrote:

Evolution, being a science that can make predictions, should have something to say about what Martian life might be like, but as far as I know it is silent. Will it be single celled? Multicelled? As complex as insects? Silence. In other words, it can accommodate all eventualities.

Leaving aside the fact that “complex” is to ID what “kind” was to old-fashioned creation-science, evolutionary theory can make some (falsifiable) predictions about Martian life.

The simplest one is - “Martian life will show evidence of common descent from its most primitive ancestors.” If we find eukaryotic life, we will also find prokaryotic life. If we find multicelled animals, we will also find single-celled animals. If we find something as “complex” as an insect (unlikely, but not absolutely impossible), we’ll find examples of, or evidence for, a whole range of “simpler” animals going back to prokaryotes.

If we find an insect and no bacteria, evolution will be falsified.

Heddle said

To falsify biological or Any ID, if it is falsifiable, you do not have to prove that “a designer could not have designed it.” That is (a red herring) tantamount to saying you have to disprove God.

David you have hit the nail on the head for once.

Your thinking is “evolving”.

Unfortunately for the promoters of natural theology/creationism their pathological desire (materialism) to find a natural/real/cast-iron creator will always result in a suspension of dis-belief that can never be answered by biology,mathematics,physics,meteorology,crash investigation.

Natural theologians/creationists want to find god in nature and use biology,mathematics,physics,meteorology,crash investigation to selectively reveal direct material evidence of god to them instead of accepting all science revelation/knowledge as simply revelation.

The old trying to find a needle in a haystack without realizing the haystack is what they are looking for. The old can’t see the wood for the trees, ego limited reality.

I have a suggestion. OPEN YOUR EYES, ears and nose and (don’t) tell me what you see, hear, smell. Its between your toes on the beach, its NOW.

Heddle said this and that too.

But more importantly, Prof. Schempp said,

The comment about “no Bible in their set of data” was especially telling.

And that’s the heart of the matter after all.

Why it’s impossible, bill? I don’t think soo!

“Ask a humanities graduate what’s the gist of the laws of thermodynamics, and you’ll only get TANSTAAFL from people who aren’t ashamed to admit they read Heinlein. :)”

Why would anyone be ashamed to admit reading Heinlein? :) Seriously, many people wise enough to consider that the brainwashing religion they were plastered with as children got to the point at which they could make such a realization due to Heinlein’s influence, not to mention other science fiction writers who dared to state the blasphemous truth that other explanations exist beside the ones taught in Kansas tent meetings by comb-overed blowhards.

Professor Schempp, this is a little off-topic, but thank you for your action in Abington v Schempp. I attended public schools thirty years ago and am glad I didn’t have to sit through state-imposed demoninational lectures on theology. I also wish Dembski had appeared as a witness at Kitzmiller v Dover - he would have driven the judge nuts, I think, kind of like Bonsell did with his apparent perjury. Chris

oops - I meant “denominational.” A Freudian slip…

“other explanations exist beside the ones taught in Kansas tent meetings by comb-overed blowhards.”

I think it’s “combed-over” but I could be wrong.

Re Martian evolution, we don’t expect to find life there like ours, since the planet is frozen. As was alluded to, if there were life there, we would expect (nay, evolutionary theory explicitly posits) that we will find a nested heirarchical pattern of descent there. As on earth, this pattern, as evidenced by comparative biology, archaeology and comparative genomics on earth, is the heart of evolution. It does make specific predictions. The “rabbits in the precambrian” test is actually not so specific, if we could find anything that didn’t fit in our tree, we would be screwed. That would include higehr the appearance of higher organisms in the fossil record where they shouldn’t be, or modern organisms that are entirely dissimilar to known patterns observed in the biochemistry and genetics of other modern organisms. If organisms had genes that didn’t fit our “similar with modifications” scheme, comparative genomics would be on flipped on its head. Alas, these things haven’t happened, and we don’t expect them to happen, which is why we are dismissive of ID.

Common descent? You call that a prediction? It is about as specific as my saying “on Mars, a stone will fall governed by the same laws of gravity as on earth.”

The rabbit (or human) fossil in the pre-Cambrian is not a falsification test of evolution. Or, more precisely, if that is representative of the best evolution has to offer for falsifiability tests, then evolution is not falsifiable.

If you found simple organism (on earth) with a totally unique genome, would that falsify evolution or would you claim abiogenesis occurred at least twice?

“No, what you have to do is show that there is no evidence for design.”

Bad logic David. Demonstrating ‘no evidence’ is not the same thing as falsifying. To falsify ID, ID would have to make predictions that are testable. ID hasn’t done that. ID appears unable to do that. ID fails to rise to the level of science.

The rabbit (or human) fossil in the pre-Cambrian is not a falsification test of evolution. Or, more precisely, if that is representative of the best evolution has to offer for falsifiability tests, then evolution is not falsifiable.

This is just a ridiculous statement. Not even worthy of a reply.

If you found simple organism (on earth) with a totally unique genome, would that falsify evolution or would you claim abiogenesis occurred at least twice?

If we find life on Mars (or any other planet), will you claim that “god dunnit” twice?

theonomo: Thanks for your balanced and informative description of the debate. I had to laugh, however, when you said this: “He also used statements like “it’s just so amazingly incredibly complex that it just *couldn’t* have happened by chance” which strikes me as the kind of argument a fifth grader in favor of ID might make, but I was hoping for better.” ID as propounded by Behe or Dembski is precisely that argument cloaked in fancy mathematics to make it sound more impressive.

Jeffw,

This is just a ridiculous statement. Not even worthy of a reply.

Why is it (rabbit in the pre-Cambrian is not falsification) a ridiculous statement? I have had many discussions on just this topic on PT. Some, unlike you, agreed that the pre-Cambrian rabbit was not a legitimate test and provided reasonable falsification tests for evolution (at least they sounded reasonable to me, a non-expert.)

If you think that it is a good test, then why not apply for an NSF grant? Clear-cut falsification tests of important theories, especially if the test is simple and elegant, are always funded. Write a grant proposal promising to search pre-Cambrian strata (or whatever the correct language is) on a search for rabbit (or human) fossils.

If we find life on Mars (or any other planet), will you claim that “god dunnit” twice?

Yes, I would. (Unless it was clearly related to life on earth, in which case I’d say it originated here.) Now what would you say if you found a simple organism (on earth) with a totally unique genome, would that falsify evolution or would you claim abiogenesis occurred at least twice?

Yes that member (theonomo) of the ID choir wasn’t happy with a couple of the conductors but maybe next time. Trouble is the best they have are delusional pseudo scientists and hack lawyers, does the word “denial” mean anything to these people.

Dave, The (pre)-Cambrian rabbit challenge was first made by Haldane. I will leave it to you to find out the context in which he made the statement; and also read up on his works and try to understand if that is all Haldane had to say about testing or falsifying evolutionary theory. But as for this one

Now what would you say if you found a simple organism (on earth) with a totally unique genome, would that falsify evolution or would you claim abiogenesis occurred at least twice?

I hope you understand that science isn’t rhetoric while IDoC may be. If and when you find a simple organism (on earth) with a totally unique genome bring it over to PT and we will discuss it.

Why is it (rabbit in the pre-Cambrian is not falsification) a ridiculous statement?

Isn’t it obvious? If a rabbit or human is truly found in the pre-cambrian, and there’s no good explaination for it, then something’s wrong with evolution. In other words, evolution is falsifiable

Now what would you say if you found a simple organism (on earth) with a totally unique genome, would that falsify evolution or would you claim abiogenesis occurred at least twice?

What would you say if santa clause’s house were discovered at the north pole?

Have we ever found an organism with a totally unique genome here on earth? No. If and when we do, it would present serious problems for evolution, and there would be alot of explaining to do. But that’s a pretty mute point, isn’t it?

But it’s much more likely that we’ll find new life outside the earth somewhere. It would only strengthen the case for evolution/abiogenesis. If you believe that god dunnit twice, well good for you. No one can falsify your belief system.

Jeffw,

It is true that a pre-Cambrian rabbit would falsify evolution, but that doesn’t make it a good test. Just like following Al Sharpton around to see if he floats off the planet is a not good falsification test for gravity, even though it would, in fact, falsify gravity. And if the only way we could test gravity would be to watch for people floating away, we would say that gravity was not, in any real sense, falsifiable.

What does the fact that we never found an organsim with a unique genome make it moot? We have never found a pre-Cambrian rabbit, but you don’t seem to find that question moot.

At any rate, it is a question to probe how biologists might respond to such a find. I appreciate that you gave a honest answer.

It is true that a pre-Cambrian rabbit would falsify evolution, but that doesn’t make it a good test. Just like following Al Sharpton around to see if he floats off the planet is a not good falsification test for gravity, even though it would, in fact, falsify gravity.

Then what would be a good falsification test for gravity, and how would it differ fundamentally from the example you just described?

What does the fact that we never found an organsim with a unique genome make it moot? We have never found a pre-Cambrian rabbit, but you don’t seem to find that question moot.

Yes I do. They’re both moot points, because they haven’t happened, and probably won’t happen. If and when they do, then we can talk.

It’s true I don’t answer your questions. So let me not answer your questions again to your dissatisfaction again. I invite you to repeat them each time I visit and post and thereby spam up PT beyond recognition. How does that sound?

Typical of someone who’s unable to defend their position and knows it.

A simple test of this bit of “glib” is to take out the bible and ask what other supernatural/unreal explanation is there? Behe’s ace spaliens ? Dembski’s numerology? Heddles contrarian rabbit hopping in and out of holes of convenience? Science Fiction? The infinite dreams of the Hindu gods? (A great story if you want look it up) or a cold hard nothing?

Those are all potential supernatural/unreal explanations, though. If you’re going to object to ID on scientific grounds, you needn’t target the Bible–any other supernatural explanation is probably held by some IDer somewhere, and is equally useless.

And incidentally, it’s possible to invoke the “aliens” option and have it be halfway scientific, provided you make some actual testable claims about said aliens. Not saying anyone ever does, but you could.

(If you’re going to object to the ID movement on social/political/religious/legal grounds, of course, it’s perfectly legit to observe that most of their support comes from conservative Christians.)

Lenny, you must remember that Sal is here to gratify his ego, and for no other reason. To expect anything from him other than grandstanding is like expecting cleanliness from a slug.

Unfair! Slugs are basically self-washing!

Hiya Lenny! It’s true I don’t answer your questions. So let me not answer your questions again to your dissatisfaction again. I invite you to repeat them each time I visit and post and thereby spam up PT beyond recognition. How does that sound?

It sounds great! We need to make newbies aware of charletons, scumbags, and wipers of other people’s bottoms (like you). And reminding the regulars doesn’t hurt either. At least Lenny is actually doing something useful. You on the other hand, appear to have no “purpose” (you like that word, don’t ya?), other than fellating bill. And you do it *so* well! I’m sure he’s very pleased!

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 175, byte 175 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 238, byte 238 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

It’s true I don’t answer your questions. So let me not answer your questions again to your dissatisfaction again. I invite you to repeat them each time I visit and post and thereby spam up PT beyond recognition. How does that sound?

Let me repeat myself, since Sal was apparently too stupid to catch it the first dozen times:

Hey Sal, the last dozen or so times you were here, you ran away without answering four simple questions I’ve asked of you. So I’ll ask again. And again and again and again and again, every time you show up here, until you either answer or run away. I want every lurker who comes in here to see that you are nothing but an evasive dishonest coward.

Lenny, you must remember that Sal is here to gratify his ego, and for no other reason. To expect anything from him other than grandstanding is like expecting cleanliness from a slug.

Oh, I know. As I’ve said before, my questions make their point whether Sal (or Nelson, or Piipo, or Dembski, or . … ) answers them or not.

I don’t expect his cooperation. But then, I don’t *need* it. (shrug)

Running away only shows his double bankruptcy:  intellectual and theological.

This is now on record, for anyone to find.  The more believers find it, and find out what they have been supporting, the more will turn away from the liars, from ID, and from fundamentalism.

Until then I will as always consider your position purely mythological and driven by… the desire to keep the money flowing into your pockets.

Evopeach

I knew there was some reason why I’m at work at 10:45pm revising tomorrow’s lecture on prokaryotes. It’s all that money that flows into my pockets.

–B

Sal pooted:

I had lunch with him, Rick Santorum, Tom Petri at Discovery Day

hmm was that upstanding supporter of xianity and moral decency Tom Delay invited as well?

you know, that wonderfull congressman who was recently indicted on about a dozen major ethics violations?

the dishonesty exhibited by you and yours makes me physically ill, Slaveador.

Lunch ?

I’ll bet they fantasized about it being the last supper what a bunch of pathetic loosers.

More like a meeting of the the Peoples Freedom for Industrial Deception Party. More comical than the meeting in the (Roman) Sewers in the “Life of Brian” did Dembski have a bad back?

Comical

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Guest Contributor published on November 3, 2005 2:05 AM.

Blog About Hothead and Get an Easy Paper was the previous entry in this blog.

Simple evolutionary study may predict path of Ebola outbreaks 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