Well Done Jonathan


On Seattle based Discovery Institute’s EvolutionNews (sic) Blog, Jonathan Witt continues the confusion by not only apparantly distancing himself from the Discovery Instute’s Amicus Brief filed in the Kitzmiller case but also by showing his unfamiliarity with the actual ruling by Judge Jones:

Witt Wrote:

To get around the substantive differences between intelligent design and biblical creationism, Judge Jones had to fixate on motive (both real and imagined); he had to assume that if he can identify one motive, he has magically ruled out the possibility of another motive playing a crucial role (in this case, the desire of ID scientists to follow the evidence wherever leads, even if it means upsetting a few Darwinists); and he had to mischaracterize ID as a religion-based theory when instead it’s a theory based on scientific evidence that, like Darwinism, has larger metaphysical implications.

In other words, Witt is arguing that Judge Jones should have looked more carefully at whether Intelligent Design is science. And although this goes against what the Discovery Institute’s Amicus Brief argued, Judge Jones seems to have agreed with Witt and, rather than magically ruling out [an]other motive[s], Judge Jones looked in depth at the scientific nature of ID and found it sufficiently wanting to rule it not to be science.

Witt has had enough time by now to have read the Judge’s ruling. It’s good however to hear that Witt disagrees with the Discovery Institute’s Amicus brief…

In the ill-fated Discovery Institute’s Amicus brief

DeWolf Wrote:

Amicus disputes the second, more general claim, because it ignores the many secular purposes under which the theory of intelligent design could be taught, as well as the likely primary effect of teaching about intelligent design—to advance science education.

The Judge, rather than taking this assertion for granted, based his ruling on the presented evidence which included Barbara Forrest’s in-depth and thorough description of the history of the ID movement, and the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Strategy. But the Judge did not stop here and continued to explore the well documented motives of the school board. Since addressing whether intelligent design is science was essential to the ruling, the Judge continued to explore this issue and based on evidence presented by both the plaintiffs’ witnesses as well as the defense’s withnesses, he ruled that it was clear that intelligent design was not science. In fact, he also addressed the ‘teach the controversy’ variation of ID. Thus when DeWolf argued in the Discovery Institute’s Amicus brief that

Secular purposes for teaching about the theory of intelligent design include informing students about competing scientific theories of biological origins, helping students to better understand the contrasting theory of neo-Darwinism (the standard textbook theory of evolution), and enhancing critical thinking skills.

the Judge rather than ignoring these claims, addressed them in depth in his ruling.

Judge Jones Wrote:

Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents’, as well as Defendants’ argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

Witt may not like Judge Jones’ ruling but his claim that the Judge had to fixate on both real and imagined motive and had to assume that he could magically rule out the possibility of other motive(s) playing a crucial role, is clearly contradicted by the Judge’s own ruling.

On Reasons to Believe, Ross and Rana similarly argue that intelligent design fails as a science and that the true nature of ID is religious. Seems that it is not just a Judge who can see through the motivations of ID proponents.

And Witt still (ab)uses Anthony Flew’s mythical conversion:

As is reported here

Flew Wrote:

I now realize that I have made a fool of myself by believing that there were no presentable theories of the development of inanimate matter up to the first living creature capable of reproduction.

Furthermore Witt seems to fail to understand the Edwards v. Aguillard ruling


The ID crowd doesn’t like its camouflaged creationism being constantly recognized so easily by reasonably well informed people. However, painting out the stripe on a skunk’s back doesn’t change the skunk’s smell.

In his determination that ID is not science, Judge Jones, as I recall from reading the decision, validated his conclusion from the words of Behe himself. Contradictory words, I might add.

Wasn’t it Behe who famously said regarding ID, “if it looks like a canard, walks like a canard, quacks like a canard then in absence of compelling information to the contrary, it must be a canard.”

Or, is that the French version?

In regard to the distasteful comment by Bill (#64697). We could say, “If it looks like an ape, walks like an ape, grunts like an ape then in absence of compelling information to the contrary, it must be an ape.” It is just this kind of mindless chatter that briefly compels me to fully embrace the theory that man evolved from an ignorant monkey. However, even after reading Bills witty little post I’ll remain convinced of ID.

Ryan, I can totally appreciate your position: You feel that ID is the last hope of Christianity to exist peacefully alongside mainstream science, right? As a believer myself in the existence of God, I can not understand why there is so much under-the-surface hatred for evolutionists from Christians and Pseudo-Christians. Nowhere in the bible does it say what processes God may or may not have used to create the universe and everything in it, only that it was made.

I think Christianity is coming to a crossroads, where we must make a decision on how to support our beliefs without looking like wool-over-our-eyes fools in the process. And there is a way: Evolution is NOT God-exclusionary. If we can accept that portions of the Bible are parables (some of which are told by Jesus as such within the Bible), then we can co-exist peacefully.

For example, those of us who are still supporting the idea of a young earth must give up this fight, as it is easily disproved (The light from the most distant object seen from Earth certainly takes longer than 6000-10,000 years to get here). And to actually try to argue that the speed of light has changed rather than simply accept that either the Earth and everything in the universe was created in “6 time periods” rather than 6 days or that this part of the Bible was not meant to be taken as fact is ridiculous.

Remember the knowledge available to the men writing the Bible (as the word of God, of course) was quite limited. Accept the teachings of Jesus and the disciples in the Bible as your moral code, and the rest as parables to teach life lessons and we can all live peacefully together.

It all fits together.

Did Noah really fit every creature on the Earth into one boat whose dimensions are given in the Bible? Probably not. Is it mathematically possible that the current Earth population of 6.5 billion came from less than a dozen people who were closely related to each other in less than 10,000 years? Highly unlikely.

But it doesn’t matter if you accept it for what it is: A moral lesson.

Hello Russell, I think that even if you believe in a literal reading of Genesis 1 and 2, you don’t have to reject the scientific evidence of an old earth and evolution. We know that there were other people on earth than Adam, Eve and their children since Cain took a wife and built a city, unless Cain married his sister and Eve was popping out kids like an assembly line factory to populate Cain’s city. This would indicate that the Garden of Eden was a separate place Adam and Eve were ejected from for disobeying God into a natural world already populated by evolved ape-men. Christians don’t have to accept a mentality that science has to be false for the Bible to be true; since many of the events described in the Bible are supernatural, they can happen in ways that do not conflict with the natural history of the universe. In regard to Noah’s flood, if every place he ever knew was flooded, and everyone he ever knew drowned, and he took on his ark every animal he ever saw, from his POV it would be a universal flood, and christians can quit worrying about the nonsense of how kangaroos could get to Iraq and back to Australia, and how Noah could house and feed one “kind” of every animal. The nonsensical war on science isn’t a necessary part of fundamentalist christianity.

Russell Wrote:

But it doesn’t matter if you accept it for what it is: A moral lesson.

Of course, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Fundamentalism is a synonym for literalism and this is just the latest round in a fight that began about two and a half seconds after Mary Magdalene discovered the tomb was empty. The literalists seem to have won most of the rounds until the Reformation but, nonetheless, frequently seemed to drift into allegory or apostasy. The Protestants started out with a more allegorical view but frequently seemed to drift to a harsher, more rigid, interpretation. Regardless, nearly all Christian religions have ended up, at one time or another, in a place where they abandonded the lessons taught by The Prince of Peace to focus instead on secular power in His name. But I suppose Panda’s Thumb is not the place for such maunderings.

I’ll remain convinced of ID.

That’s fine with me. (shrug)

But you won’t be preaching it inside a science classroom.

Russell Wrote:

Accept the teachings of Jesus and the disciples in the Bible as your moral code, and the rest as parables to teach life lessons and we can all live peacefully together.

Yeah, that way we can have MORE racism, MORE bigotry, MORE people in Africa with AIDS, MORE starving, NO religious freedom, NO [real]family values.

Enlighten yourself about Christian/Biblical Morality and see it for what it really is.

The sad fact is that scientists can not even agree on specific aspects of the evolutionary process. Neither can they produce any real evidence to support their theories. There are hundreds of brilliant anti-big-bang scientists. Yet, people continue to act as if ET is not merely a “THEORY” but a fact. The word theory by definition means, “not yet scientifically PROVEN.” Man has always striven to rid himself of authority, specifically God’s authority. I have no doubt that ET gives man a quick and easy alternative to the “God problem.” Thus, ET’s fanatical, borderline religious, rise in popularity. Interestingly, the general public grabbed hold and now it can never let go. Yes, this is a religious matter, but not only because of us crazy, unlearned Christians, but because of those who will never be willing to accept an all powerful Creator. A Creator they would be obligated to obey, this would require egos to be thrown by the way side, all our little wants to be placed in submission. That is the real reason for the fear, yes fear, and hatred of ID. Supporters of ID are not asking that we ban ET, but simply asking that our children could be shown an alternative. In a time when a sexual alternative lifestyle is so willingly taught in the public school systems, I would think our diverse and all embracing culture would appreciate our standpoint. Why our we afraid of an alternative to the Big Bang? This moves beyond science, this is man’s unwillingness to face eternity. Without God we are animals, we are primitive, we no longer have a basis to judge any act as evil or wrong. One man may be a predator, instincts become law. I believe their are those that long for more than an empty theory to give meaning to life. Life is more than just survival and selfishness, there is one transcendant truth.

Ryan, admit it. You got that set up in a macro.

Ryan, you may want to discuss with other christians and reach some kind of consensus about your creator before preaching to the “atheistic darwinists” on this forum.

When I asked I was told that christians do not have to believe in divinity of Jesus, do not have believe in original sin, and do not have to believe in anything in the bible that is irrational. What are your views on the above?

Therefore, I for one have no idea what kind of creator you are talking about. I don’t know how to believe in something when I don’t know what it is.

While you are at that, may be you can explain what ET has to do with Big Bang?

Eugine you make an excellent point, and it is well taken. I wish that I was able to bring all so called Christians to one supreme consensus. You just described an invasive and shallow Christianity, which is even more dangerous than the silly ET vs. ID controversy we have all been chomping over. If I felt that I could not believe even one word of the Bible than I could not believe any of it. And if I had not experienced God’s presence in my life in a tangible way, than I would also have difficulty believing in Him. I humbly and openly admit to being Biblical literalist. I make no claims of brilliance, nor do I claim to have all the answers. However, I can not deny my experience with God, the same experience millions have had around the globe. The same experience the good people had in Bible’s book of Acts, chapter 2. I also realize that Christians are not the only group with contradictions, but where there is smoke there is fire, and where there is error, there is also truth. Do not make the mistake of judging us all because of few. Are all Muslims the same? Are all atheists, agnostics, or liberals the same? Why only do you ask us of us the impossible? Why hold us to standards that are unattainable, we are merely human. Do not base your relationship with God on your relationship with humans. Seek and you will find.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on December 24, 2005 3:03 PM.

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