The Ruse - Woodward debate: an introduction to political creationism

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by Pete Dunkelberg

Valencia Community College, Orlando FL, 19 Jan 2006, 7:30 PM

Thomas Woodward, professor of religion at Trinity College and Michael Ruse, professor of philosophy at Florida State University debated evolution vs intelligent design (ID) before a packed hall. Woodward spoke first. His first slide advertised the videos Icons of Evolution and Unlocking the Mysteries of Life. Then he flashed a slide associating evolution with atheism in very large letters. (In reality, biology is merely nontheistic just as chemistry, physics and plumbing are.) Then he started with a major theme: there may be some “microevolution”, which doesn’t count, but there is no evidence for “macroevolution”. To glimpse the volumes of evidence, see Transitional Vertebrate Fossils and 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution.

Woodward’s first argument against macroevolution was based on a quote from the book Origination Of Organismal Form: “Darwinism has no theory of the generative”. The book is about evolutionary developmental biology, known affectionately as evo-devo, along with some more speculative ideas. Thanks to evo-devo research, we now know that new forms can evolve much more readily than used to be thought. Evo-devo expert Sean B. Carroll’s book Endless Forms Most Beautiful is an excellent introduction to the topic, and he also has a short online article, The Origins of Form to whet your appetite. As always, there is more to be learned; we still lack a good understanding of just why certain forms evolved, and not others – the rest of the “theory of the generative”. But how could Woodward misinterpret rapid progress in our understanding of evolution as support for creationism?

Woodward then switched to ‘fine tuning’ of the universe. As you know, if just one of several physical constants were different, the universe would be unsuitable for life as we know it. (What if several of the constants were different? The possibilities are endless.) Woodward thinks the values of the physical constants imply that the universe is Designed. While on the subject of the universe, he brought up Fred Hoyle, a deceased astronomer who made some not very sensible calculations about life’s origin.

The next slide came up and it was Haeckel’s embryo drawings. Oooh, the wicked Haeckel. Richardson and Keuck 2002 (pdf) will tell you at least as much as you want to know about the infamous drawings. Despite their imperfections, I think the drawings convey the big picture well enough at the level of detail a beginning student is likely to notice. Haeckel’s biggest error was an idea he called the biogenic law, which never became mainstream biology. What you never hear from creationists, though, is that evolution is not based on Haeckel - he’s a distraction. Evolution is very properly based in part on embryology, with modern research (evo-devo again) showing a very solid link between evolution and development. For some real embryology, read Wells and Haeckel’s Embryos by PZ Myers. I’ll just say that yes, you had gill slits and you had better be glad. Why? After reading PZ try to figure out what you’d be like without them.

Woodward’s embryos: Haeckel compares embryos of several species at successive stages of development. Woodward put up a slide with four embryo pictures, labeled (I’m not sure of these labels; there wasn’t much time) fish, bird, reptile, mammal. “Here is what they really look like” he said. His embryos all looked strikingly different from one another, which they are not. I’m not sure what was in that murky black and white slide; he may have shown yolk sacks or other external features, or his embryos may be at different developmental stages. Perhaps someone else who was there can shed some light on this.

Moving on to ID

Based on Hoyle, Haeckel, and the quote from the evo-devo book, the audience must have been fairly well convinced that there is little evidence for macroevolution. (Obviously, Woodward presented the material differently than I did.) Woodward reinforced this conclusion while praising Michael Denton’s book Evolution: A Theory In Crisis. He will speak of the book four times during the evening, but forget to mention that Denton himself now says it is mistaken. Next, he briefly mentioned the book Darwin on Trial by Phillip Johnson, the Godfather of ID.

Now comes the best part: Woodward gives two strong reasons why ID is scientific. The first is irreducible complexity, (IC) the subject of Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box. Behe defines IC thus:

Behe Wrote:

By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

(Darwin’s Black Box p 39, emphasis in original)

Behe argues that IC just can’t be produced by evolution, or at best it won’t evolve because it’s too improbable. Earlier creationists like Henry Morris had the idea first, but didn’t have Behe’s clever name for it:

Morris Wrote:

This issue can actually be attacked quantitatively, using simple principles of mathematical probability. The problem is simply whether a complex system, in which many components function unitedly together, and in which each component is uniquely necessary to the efficient functioning of the whole, could ever arise by random processes.

(Scientific Creationism 2nd edition p 59)

Reality: IC evolves naturally and easily. Evolution is bound to lead to co-adapted parts. Once these exist, the observer can designate functions, ‘systems’, and the subdivision of a system into parts such that all of the parts are required for the designated function. Bacteria have evolved IC systems in just the last few decades to deal with man-made chemicals. More complicated IC systems would take longer to evolve, but then life has had much longer. Examples and details can be found at Talk Design.

Woodward’s second reason why ID is scientific is Dembski’s explanatory filter (EF). Dembski, who Woodward called the Einstein of ID, has codified a standard pattern of creationist thought and named it the EF. Used as directed, it is supposed to filter out all explanations other than “The Designer did it”. (Reality: at best, it filters out everything except “I don’t yet know how this happened”.) Here’s what it looks like:

The Devine Inference

The idea is that something that is very likely to happen, given the right conditions, is considered a natural regularity, medium probability is just one of those things, but low probability, in combination with specification, means the Designer did it. A specification, in practice, is just a brief verbal description of the thing in question. To simplify matters further, Dembski says that in biology the description of the function of something is its specification. Now suppose that something is very rarely observed, and that you have no idea of any exact conditions that will cause it. Also suppose that this thing does not look at all like a random mixture of particles. What can you say about the probability of it happening at all? Essentially nothing except that this probability is greater than zero. Dembski’s method, though, is to calculate the probability of it occurring as a random mixture, which it surely did not. This is bound to give a very small number. Give it a specification and voila! The Designer did it.

Let’s work an example. Say we find a field of stone circles. (there’s our specification already). No natural cause is known, and such an arrangement of stones has a very low chance of happening at random. So it was designed. But then Oops! A geological explanation is found after all. Now the event is not designed, and the EF has produced a false positive. If it produces false positives then it is not a design detector after all. It is only a “Don’t know” detector.

Perhaps the EF makes sense to creationists because “God did it” is their default explanation of everything. It makes no sense in science because “Don’t know” is the default explanation. In science, design can’t win by default; there must be evidence for it. To learn more about the EF, read The advantages of theft over toil.

Back to fossils

Having established to his satisfaction that ID is scientific, Woodward returned to disproving evolution. He reminded us that there are no truly intermediate fossils. To drive this home, he said he has seen some of the fish-to-amphibian fossils, and he can tell that every one of them is either completely a fish or completely an amphibian. This exemplifies the creationist solution to transitional fossils; draw a line somewhere and concentrate on the line rather than on the pattern you might otherwise see. Everything is on one side of the line or the other, so there are no transitionals.

Getting back to the fossils, it is not correct to say that each is either a fish or an amphibian. Legs and air breathing evolved while the animals were still aquatic and not yet amphibians. They became aquatic tetrapods. You could say that each one of them either was a tetrapod, or else it wasn’t. But just when does a fin become a leg? At what point are fewer, stronger fin rays digits? I don’t know, but here’s an up to date popular review by leading authority Jenny Clack, and here’s the latest (for the moment) research paper on the transition.

Woodward continued with a couple more standard creationist topics: punctuated equilibria, which all creationists are sure makes evolution wrong, then the Cambrian explosion. Of course he insists there are no preCambrian fossils, or at least none that make a difference so far as he is concerned. Regular readers here will know that there are many, and they certainly do matter for evolution. Here is a good introduction to the Ediacaran, as the relevant part of the preCambrian is called. Readers are invited to share their favorite Ediacaran organisms.

Too much DNA?

From the Cambrian, Woodward segued into a topic that seemed especially pleasing to his many supporters in the audience: the great quantity of information, or DNA, contained in living cells. He insisted that there is no way so much information could have arisen by any natural process.

Why aren’t scientists concerned about this? There are several types of mutation. One type just changes a single “letter” of DNA into another one. Other mutations duplicate sections of DNA, making the molecule larger. Gene duplication is a common type of mutation, and sometimes a whole chromosome or even a whole genome is duplicated. Duplicated regions then mutate, diversify and take on new functions over time. Because of all the duplications it is actually necessary to lose genes to keep the size of the genome from getting out of hand. See here and here and here for instance.

It is also impossible for life to start, at least as creationists envision it. Woodward seems to think the “first cell” formed suddenly, complete with 250 genes. Creationists don’t seem to think in terms of slow processes with many intermediate steps.

Finally, he quoted Bill Gates saying “Human DNA is like a computer program”, which it isn’t. Woodward’s own comparison of DNA to a database is much better. Then he told us Mt Rushmore exhibits intelligent design.

Ruse

Ruse gave a relaxed presentation which I won’t cover in detail. He began with Darwin and the voyage of the Beagle, pointing out that evolution by natural selection explains a wide variety of natural phenomena. “Darwin delivered the goods” on evolution, he said. Then he discussed Augustine and nonliteral views of the Bible. Ruse noted that ID is “creationism lite”, and thought as many do that IDists ought to just admit the Designer is God. He very correctly noted that Behe doesn’t seem to know how evolution works, and that IC may evolve by sundry means. Ruse also made the important point that ID is bad religion as well as bad science.

Q & A

Much of the question and answer session was taken up by each speaker posing a question to the other. Woodward posed an odd question about an unnamed physicist who read something by Gould and decided that the natural origin of life was “implausible”, and an unnamed biologist who had some partial doubts of evolution. What did Ruse think about that, he asked. What can one say to this vague question?

Ruse asked a friendly question: Didn’t Woodward agree that, as Phillip Johnson has also said, the controversy isn’t really about fossil fishes. Isn’t it really about how one views the moral order of life, and things like that? No, Woodward said, it’s really an intellectual disagreement over the evidence. He then recited his lecture points all over again.

At last a few students were able to ask questions.

Q: Why would plants evolve fruits?

A: (Ruse) After a couple general remarks he stated the obvious: animals eat fruit and then spread the seeds.

A: (Woodward) He indicated that evolution might change one fruit into a similar one, but there was no way for flowers to start. The way he explained it, the first flower must have been a rose. In answering this question he ran through Denton, gigabyte database, the Designer can not be identified, Fred Hoyle, SETI, bacterial flagella, and the big bang! This is a man who knows his talking points.

Q: If Archaeopteryx is in between a reptile and a bird, how could such a mutation be beneficial?

A: I didn’t take down the speakers’ answers to this question, but I’ll just say: think about a seal, and about what influences whether an adaptation is beneficial.

Q: A student asked Dr. Woodward if it concerned him that the Vatican says ID is not science. She could also have mentioned the Clergy Letter Project, and added that even the Templeton Foundation is fed up with ID.

A: Since Woodward’s “scientific” claims had not been thoroughly exposed, it was easy for him to reply that he was not concerned at all, since his position was based on scientific evidence.

Conclusion

The encounter between Ruse and Woodward wasn’t really a debate. Woodward got away with a powerful (to the scientifically naïve) presentation of creationism. Ruse idealistically tried to get the audience to think about religious and philosophic issues, but this just isn’t as exciting as learning that science is thoroughly, stupidly wrong. It wouldn’t occur to most people that Woodward’s confident delivery could itself have been false and misleading from beginning to end.

Readers unfamiliar with political creationism (if that’s you, you’d best be aware of The Wedge) may be surprised at the thorough inaccuracy of Woodward’s presentation, but it’s all too normal. Day after day Americans hear misinformation if not disinformation about biology. Dr. Woodward’s sincerity notwithstanding, the strongest reason not to teach creationism in schools, whether it is called Creation Science or ID or “the controversy”, is that teaching it would amount to lying to students about science.

I’d like to hear the impressions of others who were there. What did you learn? Who won?

44 Comments

I personally find it curious that a debate of the *science* is taking place between a religion professor and a philosophy professor. Though it can be noted that one wanted to keep the grounds in their sphere - the moral issues.

And I would hope that Dr. Ruse would have been willing to point out that the audience could investigate the science further by doing some reading/research on their own. And maybe they’d discover the side that was so confident of their science facts were in fact being quite misleading about where the evidence really points.

I saw a similar debate on the subject of “is religious belief justified” or something like that, with much the same conclusion. The slick televangelist type pretty badly slaughtered the obviously intelligent but less presentation-oriented philosopher. This was extremely frustrating since I know that I could have demolished half the religious guy’s points without even preparing.

Or perhaps they’ll discover that they’re basing their arguments on 20-30 year old results in most cases, and haven’t actually done any real science of their own.

I mean I don’t expect my kids to learn the most cutting edge science in High School - it takes a while to get it vetted and published and into the mainstream for inclusion in text books, but I do expect them to not be learning the earth centrism theory or the theory of the flat earth.

I think what irritates me the most about Intelligent Design is the outright lies and misleading statements that its supporters make in the name of “good science”. Good science is based on evidence, experimentation, and results, not PR.

Unfortunately, the American public loves PR more than good science. They don’t call it the court of public opinion for nothing.

I did not see this debate but I can’t help but wonder why a professor of religion and a professor of philosophy were consdiered appropriate persons to debate the science of evolutionary theory and the (pseudo)science of ID. Ae there no biologists at Florida State University. Without vigourous opposition to the pathetic claims of IDers like Woodward (did he even read the Kitzmiller stuff and see the complete demolition of irreducible complexity and other silly ID claims?) most lay people are going to be tricked by this rubbish. There must be some way to get good ID debunking out to the masses, perhaps a movie like Inherit the Wind or a great TV series like some of the brilliant stuff done by Attenborough or even the Richard Dawkins program recently shown in the UK. I realize none of these things will cure IDers of their own blindness but at least it might make the “average” person recognize the ID claims as complete shite!

I am trying to get one of our Canadian networks (more likely a cable channel) to get the Dawkins material, so far we have not had much in the way of IDiots trying to destroy education and rational thought.

Sounds like another farce to me…

When are we going to see a debate between a legitimate, presentation-oriented scientist who is armed with the relevant details from his field and someone like Woodward?

Why was a philosopher debating the merits of precise scientific research against Woodward? Why not, say, debate a scientist?

This is like having a debate on the quality of american cars and using your florist as the expert opposition.

I was there,(yawn) same old rhetoric (yawn),wake me up if there is any new ideas (snore).Not really any kind of debate, just an expression of counter view points.I left early, total waste of time and a 2 hour drive. In the time I managed to stay awake,I would have to say Woodward came out on top,on top of what exactly,I have no idea, sorry to be so negative

AD Wrote:

When are we going to see a debate between a legitimate, presentation-oriented scientist who is armed with the relevant details from his field and someone like Woodward?

How about last October?

Should Schools Teach Intelligent Design?

I’ve only managed to watch up ’til the first Q&A, but it was fine stuff from Ken Miller.

Where did Denton say he is mistaken? I missed out on that one.

Adam asks a good question:

Where did Denton say he is mistaken? I missed out on that one.

People rarely say “I was mistaken” in so many words, and I was mistaken to condense the situation in those exact words. Here are some details which I did not want to include in what is just a report on the debate in Orlando.

Denton wrote a second book, Nature’s Destiny, in which he has some ideas that are quite different from what he said in Theory in Crisis. This is not to say that every detail is different, but in the second book, Denton explicitly disagrees with special creation. He is however a strong teleologist, and thinks that the “fine tuning” of physical constants is precisely made for a species like us.

In the Note to the reader at the front of his second book he writes:

Denton, on page xiii Wrote:

Even more radically, I believe that there is a considerable amount of evidence for believing that the cosmos is uniquely fit for only one type of advanced intelligent life - beings of design and biology very similar to our own species, Homo sapiens.

and

Denton, on page xvii - xviii Wrote:

Because this book presents a teleological interpretation of the cosmos which has obvious theological implications, it is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science - that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes. [emphasis in the original] This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called ‘special creationist school’. According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of supernatural acts, involving God’s direct intervention in the course of nature, each of which involved the suspension of natural law. Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world - that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies.

In large measure, therefore, the teleological argument presented here and the special creationist worldview are mutually exclusive accounts of the world. In the last analysis, evidence for one is evidence against the other. Put simply, the more convincing is the evidence for believing that the world is prefabricated to the end of life, that the design is built into the laws of nature, the less credible becomes the creationist worldview.

Note also that the creationist / ID authors praised by Woodward are Fellows (or Program Director in Johnson’s case) of the Discovery Institute (DI or Disco), the political organization that brings us the ID campaign, except that Denton was a Fellow at the time of his first book, then resigned after the second. It may be, too, that creationists over interpreted Denton’s support for their position in his first book. After all, the book’s very title is one of their favorite themes.

Thank you for posting that.

Kurt and AD-

I think you are both being too hard on philosophers of science. Most of the really good philosophers of science have a solid background in the science one way or the other. Certainly if anybody reads Ruse’s work one will be convinced of Ruse’s understanding of some fairly complex science.

My criticism of Ruse is that as an oral debater/presenter, he tends to ramble and thus many of his truly excellent points get lost. I saw Ruse in a debate once on my own campus and had a chance over dinner to talk to him a bit. As a speaker, Ruse leaves the impression of being quite erudite and learned, but of tending to get off point a bit. Secondly, he lacks the killer instinct that is so necessary for effectiveness in oral debate. IT is almost as if he stops short of putting his opponent away.

When one reads Ruse’s books and articles one has the complete opposite impression. In writing, Ruse can be quite devastating. Which I think goes to show that a big part of the problem with this whole debate is that showmanship, presentation skills alas tend to determine the outcome in “debate” in the public’s mind.

Ken Miller is a much more effective speaker. He is much more organized, much more effective and stays on point. And he has the credentials to blast through the opposition on the complex molecular issues in terms that are understandable to a lay audience. When I heard Miller speak I went away with a definite feeling that to be a student in his class would be a real treat. There is a man who has thought long and hard about how to teach science effectively.

But all said, I disagree that this isn’t a philosophical debate on some level.

The encounter between Ruse and Woodward wasn’t really a debate. Woodward got away with a powerful (to the scientifically naïve) presentation of creationism.

Which is exactly why such “public debates” are a waste of time. All they do is allow the nutters to raise money from the faithful, and to pretend there really is a “scientific controversy” with two valid “sides” to “debate”.

The IDers had their chance to “debate”, in Dover. They were able to present any witnesses they wanted. They could introduce any evdience they wished. They had the chance to cross-examine all the “darwinists” and point out any errors or distortions they thought they found.

They shot their load. They lost. (shrug)

What Ruse apparently failed to do was to marshall a coherent argument from his expertise – philosophy. A philosopher can pretty thoroughly dismantle ID simply by reviewing the philosophers through the ages. David Hume probably presents the most cogent argument against ID of them all.

As 2 examples of what can be done with simple philosophy in attacking ID, I submit the following posts for your enjoyment:

The issue presented by therapods is not merely the imperfection of the human body, which raises questions about the philosophical basis of “intelligent design.” No, the human body is merely a good example of the problems inherent in “ID” because our bodies are simply the substance of which each of us is most keenly aware. In the end, the imperfections of the human body are reflected in, and can be extended to, the “imperfections” apparent in the entire universe.

If we assume arguendo an “intelligent designer,” then, as good Christians, we also assume a designer that is good, omnicient, omnipotent, loving, orderly and perfect. We should, by analogy, expect to see the reflection of such an intelligent designer in the universe because, after all, he created it. We should not be left to auger out the existence of the “designer” merely by the absence of such a designer, since it is precisely the “absence of scientific proof” in which ID-ers claim to see “evidence” of “intelligent design”.

From what we know about the universe, we do, indeed, see a certain “orderliness” to matter, which is embraced by the ID-ers as further “evidence” of “intelligent design.” The sun warms the earth, the earth spins on its axis, giving rise to seasons, crops grow and people prosper; ergo, God exists. The problem with any empirical hypothesis is that you can’t just look at the positive evidence in the formulation of the hypothesis (in this case, “ID”). You have to look at, and explain, the negative evidence as well.

Hence, gravity is an accepted factual theory since it very neatly explains the motion of objects up to the point of Einstein’s relativity. Relativity, too, is an accepted factual theory. And evolution is an accepted factual theory since it very clearly explains the phenomena of changing matter, including living matter, over time.

While it is true that humans, and suns, experience of the “miracle” of birth, they then begin to fall apart, both culminating in (the “miracle”? of) death and disintegration. The universe itself is expanding and the rate of expansion is increasing. Under current thinking, in about 20 billion years, all of the suns in all of the galaxies in the entire universe will use up their nuclear fuel. The last sun in the universe will twinkle out, the light gone, the universe cold and dead.

You can’t just say, “look at the system – it rains and crops grow.” No, you’ve also got to look at reality of flood. And drought. You can’t just look at miracle of babies’ births without also looking at the tragedy of stillborn babies.

There was a thread a short while back where the poster put up pictures of a terrible car wreck – but the driver survived with mere bumps and bruises. The pictues, the poster claimed, was irrefutable “evidence of the existence of God.” And while the survival of the driver was indeed most surprising, to be sure, the same poster admitted to, but ignored, all the evidence of other drivers who have been killed in similar accidents.

You can’t just take the positive evidence that supports your idea of the existence of “intelligent design,” the hypothesis must also explain the negative evidence as well – otherwise the “hypothesis” is religion and not science. And the negative evidence, in science, counts even more than positive evidence in formulating an hypothesis. Find one example of a creature without DNA, and you’ll find scientists in calamitous confusion, searching for an explanation.

If you walk into the front room of a house, and that room is exquisitely well-built, but the rest of the house is falling down around you, the last thing you would say is that the house was built by a “master architect.” No, the negative evidence would count even more.

Given the universe that we inhabit, there is at least equal (more?) evidence of ignorant design than of intelligent design. Perhaps we should conclude that the universe was designed by a child deity, who couldn’t get it right, whose parents said, “Get rid of this one –it’s no good!” And yet we go through existence completely deluded? If a parent could save his child from falling into a crevice opened up by an earthquake, he would do so. Otherwise, we wouldn’t call the parent either good or intelligent.

And if the designer were, in fact, “intelligent,” then why did he make the universe so poorly? If I were asked by the deity to suggest ideas for a better universe, I could so do. Proceed from the specific, instead of the general. Let the wicked die young. Let the good live longer. Improve our minds, our senses, and, as suggested in the main post, give us better bodies. Temper catastrophic flood, drought, and earthquake. Etc.

Furthermore, man improves on “intelligent design” everyday. It’s what we do in medicine. It’s what we do in agriculture. It’s what we do in dog breeding. What does this suggest about a perfect creator?

While it is true that there is order in the universe (and in humankind), it is equally true that there is disorder in the universe, and negative evidence counts even more. Look, if we think carefully about the universe (and about ourselves), there can be only 4 possibilities for the cause:

Either: (1) the creator of the universe was infinitely good (as ID-ers suggest); or, (2) the creator was infinitely evil; or, (3) the creation was a battle between good and evil; or, (4) the creation of the universe was neither good nor evil.

An infinitely good creator is disproved by suffering, death, and disorder in the universe. An infinitely evil creator is disproved by kind acts and orderliness in the universe. A creation based upon a struggle between good and evil is disproved by natural laws of motion and relativity to which the universe obeys.

Leaving only a universe created without regard to good or evil. ***************** The “clockmaker approach” to God is certainly one that has been around for a few hundred years. Consider the following inferences that arise for those subscribing to the “clockmaker philosophy of God”.

First, one must accept the key tenets of evolution. Including man evolving from lesser hominids, over time. So one must accept that “man came from monkeys”, to utilitize a descriptive phrase. The only way out of the “man from monkey” dilemma, under the clockmaker approach, is if the person goes ahead and interjects a necessary intervention by God (a “miracle”) into the working of the “universe’s clock.”

To escape “man from monkey,” the person must believe that a particular, interventionist “miracle of God” created the fossil record to fool us, for reasons known only to God, and that the Earth really isn’t billions of years old, it only goes back 6 or 7 thousand years. And that’s fine if you want to believe that – but that’s religion, not science. However, “ID” claims to “compete” with science, not religion. It sure would have been a lot easier for God to forget the fake fossils by making man not wonder where he came from.

Which brings us to the “clockmaker” problem of explaining miracles – at least philosophically – in the first place. Consider a village in the year 1400 or so that just got its town clock. The unsophisticated people would listen and watch in wonder when St. George came out of the clock banging the hours against a gong. Undoubtedly they thought some supernatural forces were responsible for St. George’s movement, such as an angel animating St. George to make him move.

Then the people marveled at the clockmaker’s skill when they discovered, no, it’s not an angel at all that makes St. George move – it’s a man! A man who created the clock, set it in motion, and then left it to operate on its own devices. Until when?

Until the clock broke. And then the clockmaker would have to come out – perhaps years later – and fix the clock.

Is this the way an omnicient, omnipotent God works? He made the universe then left it to its own devices? But he made the universe so poorly that it is necessary for God to return with “miracles” to “fix” the universe? Does the universe break down? Is God perfect? Or not? What’s going on here?

Furthermore, the clockmaker approach undermines religion in a particularly insidious way because it suggests that God is, at best, only probable. If one walks in a forest, and to comes to a clearing where the person finds a magnificently written book, with wonderful sentence structure and a facinating plot, one is confronted with 2 choices. Either the words tumbled down randomly and fell into place, or the book was written by a man. Clearly, in such a situation, one can deduce that the book was written by man.

And like the book in the clearing, where an inference of human creation must be made, the “clockmaker philosophy” demands that since the universe obeys orderly laws, such as Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, we must therefore analogize that the universe, like the book, was “created.” Except this time, the creation was by God.

The problem is that this is a very weak analogy (although within the realm of probability, since the existence of God cannot be empirically disproven). Consider, first, that we know many creations of man from which we can deduce, with at least some confidence – those things which are created by man and things which occur in the natural world. We have a lot of experience with manmade creations and things of the earth.

But we only know of 1 universe. We do not have the luxury of comparing many universes. And we know this universe only very partially indeed. What we do know of this universe, though, is that disorder exists, as well as pestilence and death. From that, we are going to infer a perfect, loving creator? If you go to the grocery store and need some tomatos, but the top carton of tomatos is black and rotten, the thought you do not infer is, “What a perfect grocery store – the bottom carton of tomatos must be truly magnificent!”

Furthermore, there are more dissimilarities than similarities between anything created by man and the universe at large. If a person had knowledge of the circulation system of animals, but not of plants, and the person then saw sap coming out of a tree, he could easily conclude that the sap circulated in the tree because of a beating heart. And there are many more dissimilarities than similarities between a tree and an animal. Just as there are between any works of man and things of the universe.

By infering the existence of God from the workings of a machine made by man, the existence of God is merely probable as new “facts” about the universe become revealed. Take the example of a person from the tropics who has never experienced, and cannot believe, that man can walk on water. When that person discovers ice for the first time, and experiences a walk across a frozen lake, he must reconsider his belief about walking on water. Empiricism always requires an open mind as new experiences dash old beliefs and information.

Hence, the “clockmaker philosophy” must always be ready to “reinvent” God each time some new fact or factual theory is “discovered” by science. Which makes the existence of God merely “probable” at best. The “clockmaker philososphy” strips faith from the equation of belief, thus undermining and eroding the entire enterprise of religion.

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

Both taken directly from David Hume’s analysis of the mid-18th century. Except that Hume’s analysis is much clearer than the above.

xover your argument against the existence of a perfect and good God creating the universe is some of the poorest argument I have ever heard. No disrespect intended as i myself am only a learner when it comes to this kind of debate. But a very simple answer to your problem with a good God creating a universe which in it’s form today appears to have just as much “evil as good” is found in the first book of the bible the book of Genesis. If you were to read even the first four chapters you would soon find the reason for why there is so much pain and death and all other evil today. Upon reading this you should also discover that you’re philosophical debate here only further proves the authenticity of the Bible as absolute truth and the author (God) as absolutely trustworthy in all accounts, including the true account of how He created the whole universe and everything therein. In short it was actually the original disobedience of man which caused evil in the universe and thus the subsequent punishment, which is death. And the continuing downfall of the world today is a result of so many people denying the existence of God and thus walking away from the ways in which He intended for us to live.

Brenton Wrote:

xover your argument against the existence of a perfect and good God creating the universe is some of the poorest argument I have ever heard. No disrespect intended as i myself am only a learner when it comes to this kind of debate. But a very simple answer to your problem with a good God creating a universe which in it’s form today appears to have just as much “evil as good” is found in the first book of the bible the book of Genesis. If you were to read even the first four chapters you would soon find the reason for why there is so much pain and death and all other evil today. Upon reading this you should also discover that you’re philosophical debate here only further proves the authenticity of the Bible as absolute truth and the author (God) as absolutely trustworthy in all accounts, including the true account of how He created the whole universe and everything therein. In short it was actually the original disobedience of man which caused evil in the universe and thus the subsequent punishment, which is death. And the continuing downfall of the world today is a result of so many people denying the existence of God and thus walking away from the ways in which He intended for us to live.

Or, to summarize, XOVER: Unfortunately, the Intelligent Designer’s a horrible bastard.

That possibility really does make ID as impossible to disprove as it is to prove. While a God who operates the way Brenton suggests wouldn’t be anywhere near “perfect and good” by my standards–or yours, I suspect–the fundamentalists are using a different ethical rulebook. More importantly, there’s no scientific way to rule out Designers who are stupid, insane, or evil by anyone’s standards. All the “problem of evil” argument does is rule out the best possible Designer. Which is kinda depressing, but there you go.

I had a copy of Science & Creationism in my library, which is more of a collection of papers and reports. Michael Ruse reported on being an expert witness in the 1981 Arkansas trial. It was very interesting. When I looked up who he was, I was surprised to find I had one of his books… but I just couldn’t get through, and I consume books (munch, munch).

Not much of a surprise that he might go off-track. A good man to have on our side, but philosophical arguments really don’t carry all that far or interestingly in front of an audience. I’ve seen the videos of two of Miller’s presentations, and I’d have to agree - Miller is interesting and well-prepared.

Still struck by the duplicity of ID folks when it comes to their motivations and reasons. I guess they have to claim it’s “all about the evidence” in front of any less than 100% sympathetic audiences.

Mayhaps Ruse will be better prepared next time :) Still, it’s the glitzy creationist tours of the past few decades all over again. You can’t win with just the truth; you need the truth and the glitz, as many hapless debaters found out on their own. If Ruse held his own, I’m still impressed :)

Brenton,

The obvious problem with your argument is that once you make that argument-you lose. You lose because it immediately takes ID away from any effort to sustain a rational, scientific explanation for a designer and takes one off explicitly into the land of theology.

It also brings one back into the land of young earth creationism. One must explain “sin”, how “sin” as a mysterious substance starts to cause the body to decay. Then one must explain the longevity of life pre-Noah and post-Noah, and then one must get into the various and sundry speculative theories about water canopies and shortening of telemers.

So, the “sin” argument is a clear loser from the scientific side.

And the continuing downfall of the world today is a result of so many people denying the existence of God and thus walking away from the ways in which He intended for us to live.

But ID isn’t about religion. No sirree Bob.

Statements like this, are why I love fundies so much. Even after the Disco Institute has spent DECADES trying to tell fundies that they can’t mention the G-word in connection with ID because it kills them in court, whenever the subject comes up, there is ALWAYS some dumbass like this who will pipe up and scream “Jesus saves!!!!”, thus undoing everything that DI has tried to do for the past 20 years.

Just let the fundies talk long enough, and they shoot themselves in the head every time. Even after Dover, where the judge explicitly and clearly ruled that ID was religious preaching and therefore illegal in schools, the fundies are STILL too stupid to understand why they lost there, and thus STILL pipe up and preach at every available opportunity – thereby demonstrating that Judge Jones was absolutely correct.

I thank them for that.

Ah yes Brenton, fear and guilt that’s what its all about eh? The ways in which you live? baloney! What matters to your own personal religious belief is what others believe and if they aren’t the same as yours then they are rejecting God and are responsible for continued death and suffering. Get a life.

Woe is me Brenton Wrote . …..And the continuing downfall of the world today is a result of so many people denying the existence of God and thus walking away from the ways in which He intended for us to live.

Oh yeah.… which horse’s arse elected you god’s representative to decide how he intended us to live? I thought only Mormons could decide that.

Look if thinking bothers you THAT much why don’t you take up sciencepantagruelism

Brenton,

Your argument against Xover is fundamentally (ohh, there’s the f word) and horribly flawed. You have based your argument on the first four chapters of the Bible, which is fine. But you have assumed, a priori, that they are correct and true, without any substantive evidence in either direction. There’s no way to prove that what Genesis I - IV say is true (thus the term faith) anymore than we can prove or disprove that the Universe is just some experiment in a giant petri dish in some lab. That sort of argument is beyond our ability to know with certainty, and has no place in a logical discussion.

I’m not trying to rain on your parade or change your belief or anything, but if you’re going to criticize the logic of someone else’s posts, you might at least insure that your own logic is up to snuff.

Ugh.

More so, your argument is completely wrong because it has no scientific context whatsoever (both Brenton and Xover). All of it would be soundly rejected in the scientific community, and therein lies the problem:

This issue may have complex social, philosophical, and cultural ramifications, but science is neither going to address nor care overmuch about those. Science cares about being RIGHT in an empirical sense. The other issues are entirely extraneous.

You can only make a scientific argument to prove science. Anything else would be methodologically disingeneous. The whole point is to show that, upon critical analysis of only fact, your theory is the most probably correct one. Human guesses and philosophy about a divine creator, what the bible says, or what the cultural ramifications are prove irrelevant. Science is about teaching what is correct, not about what is “nice”.

It’s too bad if something makes you unhappy about the universe because of your world view if it happens to be the empirically supportable truth. I’m entirely against altering truth in order to make someone feel better about their delusions.

Is Michael Ruse the Joe Lieberman of the evo side? I fear that in trying so hard to be “personable” and “reasonable,” he concedes too much to the creationists.

The reason I chose to respond to this particular theory from Xover was because it had no scientific substance to it, it was a completely phiosophical and theological comment. Based on the evidence given, to say that “God is a cruel bastard” or evil, or would be just as easy to assume the same of my parents, as I received much pain in my time of growing up each time being a consequence of a choice I made to disobey. But rather than assuming that the desire of my parents was to embarras me and ruin my life and that they did’nt know what they were doing. I understand and know now that rather the fact that they disciplined me is evidence that they loved me, and wanting to stop me from causing harm to myself and others and it also taught me that for every choice I make in life there is going to be a consequence. therefore the fact that there is evil in the world today does not say that God is dumb or evil but rather, it is a result of choice. Which would suggest to me quite the opposite. 1. it proves to me that God is both good and loving simply because of the fact that He gave a choice in the first place. If there was no choice then there is no love and this would produce “robots” or people who lived a certain way, or in this case God’s way, not because they wanted to but because they’re not given any other option. 2. it proves to me that God is just and fair and that He cares. Adam and Eve were given a choice because God loved them and He wanted their friendship to be from their heart not because they had no other option. Adam and Eve chose to do their own thing and disobey God and thus “because we have a choice here there has to be a consequence” we have the fall of mankind and sin. Now here if God does not discipline then He would not be just nor could He truly care. But because God is just and every choice has a consequence, He adequately disciplines Adam and Eve and removes them from the garden and so on… this also proves that God cares because had He not of disciplined them they would not have known directly that there was direct consequences for the choices we make and thus they could have continued making such choices and ruining either their lives or the lives of their children who are left live with consequences of their parents mistakes. Had God just eliminated Adam and Eve right there and then would also suggest that He did not truly love as He does because He would just be using His power to Manipulate circumstances until He gets the result He wants.

The reason I chose to respond to this particular theory from Xover was because it had no scientific substance to it, it was a completely philosophical and theological comment. Based on the evidence given, to say that “God is a cruel bastard” or evil, or would be just as easy to assume the same of my parents, as I received much pain in my time of growing up each time being a consequence of a choice I made to disobey. But rather than assuming that the desire of my parents was to embarrass me and ruin my life and that they didn’t know what they were doing. I understand and know now that rather the fact that they disciplined me is evidence that they loved me, and wanting to stop me from causing harm to myself and others and it also taught me that for every choice I make in life there is going to be a consequence. therefore the fact that there is evil in the world today does not say that God is dumb or evil but rather, it is a result of choice. Which would suggest to me quite the opposite. 1. it proves to me that God is both good and loving simply because of the fact that He gave a choice in the first place. If there was no choice then there is no love and this would produce “robots” or people who lived a certain way, or in this case God’s way, not because they wanted to but because they’re not given any other option. 2. it proves to me that God is just and fair and that He cares. Adam and Eve were given a choice because God loved them and He wanted their friendship to be from their heart not because they had no other option. Adam and Eve chose to do their own thing and disobey God and thus “because we have a choice here there has to be a consequence” we have the fall of mankind and sin. Now here if God does not discipline then He would not be just nor could He truly care. But because God is just and every choice has a consequence, He adequately disciplines Adam and Eve and removes them from the garden and so on… this also proves that God cares because had He not of disciplined them they would not have known directly that there was direct consequences for the choices we make and thus they could have continued making such choices and ruining either their lives or the lives of their children who are left live with consequences of their parents mistakes. Had God just eliminated Adam and Eve right there and then would also suggest that He did not truly love as He does because He would just be using His power to Manipulate circumstances until He gets the result He wants.

Brenton,

I understand from what you wrote that there is evil in the world today because God gave Adam and Eve a choice and they took the wrong choice.

So my dog has to suffer from arthritis solely because of a mistake someone made 6000 years ago?

And this you take as proof of God’s loving and just nature? You are off your trolley.

Frank,

No. Michael Ruse is not the Joe Lieberman of the science side. Michael Ruse is a good philosopher. I think his effectiveness in oral debates just comes down to a simple matter of style. Formal (oral) debate requires a willingness to sometimes oversimplify complex issues. Ruse likes to get in and wrestle with the deep ontological and epistemological issues. He likes to put things in historical context and tries hard to see the other side as a means of shoring up his side.

All of these are good intellectual qualities. That is why in writing I think he is actually more persuasive than he is in person.

To put it bluntly-Ruse is a good academic. When he came to my campus to lecture he started off with a discussion about Augustine, Aquinas and the history of science. Interestingly, my class had just heard a similar lecture from me so they appreciated hearing the same points made with much greater erudition from Ruse. He is an excellent lecturer.

“Winning” in a formal debate is another matter altogether. The other side will always have the upper hand in a formal debate in front of a lay audience. That is because they are able to distort the record, get in a few cheap soundbites and thus require us to go back and systematically correct the record. Remember-they don’t have to win, or knock us out. All they have to do is hold their own and have a few persuasice arguments.

For example, if Johnathan Wells says something like genetic homologies don’t correspond to physical homologies he has scored a major point. Correcting that point requires a good bit of work. Then they can claim victory simply by saying that “reasonable people can disagree”. And if reasonable people can disagree, then why not teach the controversy and let students decide. After all, its good critical thinking, right?

Such sophistry always sounds compelling. It takes a very special kind of talent to expose the sophistry and point out that it is indeed sophistry. Making the case in a 300 page book is far easier than making the case in a 20 minute presentation.

Again I ask — if ID/creationism is just about science and isn’t about religion, then why does every IDer want to drag their opinions about God into it?

Or are ID/creationists just … well … LYING to us when they claim it’s about science and not religion?

Brenton,

I don’t agree with you either. But as long as you don’t want to preach religion to kids in public school, or teach ID as ‘science’, I have no particular quibble with you.

“More so, your argument is completely wrong because it has no scientific context whatsoever (both Brenton and Xover).”

AD, Xover’s point isn’t that ID/C is bad science, that point has been made many times on PT, but rather that it leads to philosophical and religious stances that are unpalatable. We are, after all, discussing a philosophical debate. The intelligent design movement is unfortunate on so many levels; scientific, religious, philosophical, educational, and political, it seems appropriate to point that out.

Brenton, you seem to be starting from the position that God is real and the Bible is an accurate depiction of His plan. Fair enough. However, if the evidence that life, including human life, evolved from a common ancestor is a threat to your belief, then you may want to adopt the strategy of adapting your religious beliefs to scientific reality rather than insisting that science conform to your beliefs.

A logical contradiction is a fatal weakness in a theory but it actually makes a myth more powerful. Which is why one can hardly refute Christianity or Judaism by pointing to the absurdity of their accounts of the origins of evil.

When you teach symbolic logic, you do a little proof that shows that every sentence can be validly inferred from any contradiction. The history of religion shows that this fact is not simply a technical curiosity. It’s the foundation of the inexaustable fecundity of theological thinking.

For the record, the proof:

Given A and non-A (the contradiction) If A and non-A, then A (from the definition of conjunction, i.e. “and”) A (modus ponens) If A and non-A, then non-A (from the definitioin of conjunction again) not-A (modus ponens) If A, then A or B (from the definition of disjunction, i.e. “or”) If A or B and not-A, then B (by disjunctive syllogism) B (QED)

Since A and B can be any sentences whatsoever, the proof shows that any conclusion follows validly from any contradiction.

Brenton,

So, according to the myth of Genesis in chapter 3, this “good and benevolent”, “just and fair”, and “intelligent” designer purposely set up a catch-22 trap for Adam and Eve?

You know, forbidding them from obtaining the knowledge of good and evil, and then when they did something evil (because they didn’t know it was evil) punished them along with all their descendants?

Well, I’m pleased that the ideas of David Hume, butchered though I may have presented them, still gets some to thinking.

One of the points that I think is always worth reemphasizing when ID is discussed is that there is nothing new about ID, or creation science, or creationism, or whatever the ID “label du jour” may be.

Then public at large generally has no understanding that ID ideas are philosophical ideas that are traceable to Thomas Aquinas (even further back than that, according to some), or that ID really made the philosophical “talking list” with the works of Bishop George Berkley and William Paley in the 18th century, being only repackaged since then.

Many folks seem to think ID is some brand-new “theory” suggested by “experiments” of “modern science.” Hence, my reference to Hume’s ancient arguments because Hume thought all this out with his Treatise on Natural Religion over 200 years ago.

And yet in all this time – centuries – all ID has to recommend to the world is the Paley’s “watchmaker” analogy, Behe’s “irreducible complexity”, Dempski’s “explanatory filter”, and now, in this thread, the story of Adam and Eve? Not a lot of progress there, in my view, for a philosophy that has definitely grown gray in the beard through all these long decades and centuries.

Finally, it always hurts my feelings when my Christian friends tell me that I have to be punished because Adam ate that doggone apple way back when. I keep hoping that any day now, God will decide to just let Adam’s little indiscretion go. I mean, I don’t punish my grandchildren just because my children ate some of the birthday cake before folks arrived for the party 25 years ago. Then again, I am merely mortal, thanks to that naughty Adam, while God is inscrutable.

Well as I do not have very much knowledge at all concerning science, my argument to this point, has never been about ID being a legitimate scientific answer or argument against other scientific teachings about the origin of man. But I do believe it can stand the test. thank you to all who have responded honestly to any of my comments so far as I have been enjoying reading and hearing the different opinions of you all and have been challenged and am learning more. One comment that was made there in the last part of this discussion, which came a couple of times, in different ways. Was basically, why do we have to suffer for some mistake that Adam and Eve made. 1st things 1st we have all sinned in our lives and therefore have fallen short Gods glory. 2ndly the answer the bible gives which I believe is truth is that because Adam was the 1st man to live he was representative head of all mankind and thus because as the representative of all mankind unfortunately we all suffer the consequences daily. But the other side to the coin is God also hates the fact that we suffer because one man chose wrong (still remembering though in actual fact we are all also personally guilty), which is why He chose to send Jesus. As the bible describes Him as the last Adam. The thing that Jesus had in common with Adam is that He to entered the world with out sinning (through immaculate conception and the virgin birth) therefore totally innocent before God. Because Jesus lived His whole life with out sinning He was then able to pay the penalty for sin which was death, (Which Adam brought in for us) But because He never actually sinned He was not guilty but rather righteous, and God rose Him up on the third day thus Jesus conquering Sin and the punishment, death. Because Jesus is righteous, according to the bible we to can be righteous. Simply by choosing to be live that He rose from the dead and confess Him as our Lord and Savior. And my point in all this is that we can look and say it’s not fair that we have to suffer the consequences of sin because of one mans disobedience, (Adam) but then equally it can be said it’s not fair that a righteous man had to pay the penalty for our sin, and because of this one mans obedience we receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. And also in answer to the theory of God setting Adam up, as I said earlier God was not setting Adam up for failure but rather, He simply gave Him a choice. And this was because God loved Adam because He wanted to and therefore He wanted Adam to love Him not because there was no other option but because he to wanted to. True love must not only consist of giving the other person the right to choose either good or bad or what you want them to choose or what you don;t want them to choose. But true love must also allow the natural consequences of such a decision (good or bad) otherwise if one interferes one is merely making an attempt to alter the circumstances to get the results which best suits them, which is selfishness and not really love at all. Also Adam was well aware of the consequences of his choice and that making such a choice was evil as God told Adam specifically not to eat of that one tree and that if he did eat of it that he would surely die.

Once again, I ask; if ID is all about science and not religion, then why do IDers keep dragging their religious opinions itno every conversation?

Or are IDers just lying to us when they claim their views are science and not religion?

Brenton, would you like to answer that question . … . . ?

Brentod Wrote:

Also Adam was well aware of the consequences of his choice and that making such a choice was evil as God told Adam specifically not to eat of that one tree and that if he did eat of it that he would surely die.

But, Brenton, Adam did NOT know that making such a choice was EVIL. God said to his own self in Genesis 3:22 that Adam did NOT know EVIL prior to consuming that forbidden fruit.

Would God lie to himself? Hmmmm…

Posted by Judas on January 30, 2006 11:29 AM (e) … But, Brenton, Adam did NOT know that making such a choice was EVIL. God said to his own self in Genesis 3:22 that Adam did NOT know EVIL prior to consuming that forbidden fruit.

Would God lie to himself? Hmmmm…

Very good point.

We have 2 chars that do not know right from wrong. Make a bad choice. All humanity is damned for it. Very sensible (not).

Surely anyone with an IQ above 15 can see this. Mine is at least 12;

j

Brenton, you seem like a polite, well-meaning person. I appreciate that. Many believers who come here just troll and attack blindly.

I won’t criticize your religion, but I do encourage you to learn more about it as well as science. I think that one of the first things you’ll realize after learning specifically about biology and evolution is that ID can withstand no scientific test. If it appeals to you for religious reasons, be honest and recognize the distinction. In so doing, you will be far ahead of many others.

I’d like to put a word in for the snake. If it was unjust to punish Adam for making a bad moral choice before he had knowledge of good and evil, it was even more unjust to punish the snake, who, presumably, not only didn’t have the knowledge of good and evil but was incapable of it.

Genesis itself tries to finesse this problem by announcing the serpent was the more subtle than the other animals, but subtle isn’t the same as evil. Anyhow, you don’t need a myth of the origin of evil if evil already exists. The Christians dealt with the problem with characteristic clumsiness by identifying the serpent with Satan–for the Jews, who stay closer to the text, the tempter remains just a talking snake. Unfortunately, the mythic contradiction persists even if you bring in the Devil, not only because the preliminary Fall of Satan is as inscruitable as the Fall of Man but because it isn’t Satan but snakes that get punished for their role in corrupting Adam. Satan doesn’t crawl on his belly in the dust. One can imagine that Satan used some viper or other as his sock puppet, but in that case, it’s sure unfair to go on punishing the snake’s decendents.

By the way, it hasn’t just been the scoffers who bring up these problems. In Paradise Lost, Milton is obviously puzzled by how to deal with the guilt or innocence of the serpent.

XOVER wrote:

Then public at large generally has no understanding that ID ideas are philosophical ideas that are traceable to Thomas Aquinas…Many folks seem to think ID is some brand-new “theory” suggested by “experiments” of “modern science.”

That’s not what today’s IDers are saying. Which should give us some idea who’s responsible for the public’s lack of understanding.

(jumps up and down and waves arms)

Yoo hoo !!! Brenton !!!!! Let me repeat my question for you:

*ahem*

Once again, I ask; if ID is all about science and not religion, then why do IDers keep dragging their religious opinions itno every conversation?

Or are IDers just lying to us when they claim their views are science and not religion?

Brenton, would you like to answer that question .….. ?

Brenton,

I will not even attempt to refute your theology.

That is not the problem here.

The issue is that you are claiming ID is a scientific theory. If it is, then you certainly cannot confuse explanations based on sin or redemption with scientific explanations. The problem to be explained is why if the Designer is so intelligent, is his design so flawed? The answer you provide about sin, suffering, redemption and God’s love has nothing to whatsoever with science.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say ID is just about the science, that the designer is neutral and then jump with specific christian theological explanations when confronted with anomalies.

And besides, you are messing with the DI”s talking points.

You guys have to admit. Brenton appears a lot more sincere and honest than say, Carol, GoP, Blast, Jad…

One can be very sincere, but sincerely wrong. I look at Brenton and see myself a couple of years ago. Some advice Brenton :

1) Read, listen, learn. Not just christian propaganda, but go and read www.talkorigins.org . It will help you understand evolution and why the creationist/ID claims are lies, dishonest lies.

2) Go over to www.infidels.org and read why many people cannot be Cristians. For many people it really is impossible.

Remember Brenton, there can be no wisdom without knowledge, and there can be no knowledge without effort. Enjoy!

A professor of religion gets to explain ID, and assiociates evolution with atheism?

I guess ID really isn’t religion based after all.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Guest Contributor published on January 27, 2006 12:01 PM.

Lonnig’s “Dynamic Genomes” paper: A quick critique. was the previous entry in this blog.

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