Teaching Evolution and the Challenge of Intelligent

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The Georgia Journal of Science has published several articles about Intelligent Design presented during a 2005 Symposium titled titled “Teaching Evolution and the Challenge of Intelligent Design”

Teaching Evolution and the Challenge of Intelligent Design: A Symposium by John V Aliff Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse: A Closer Look at Intelligent Design by Barbara Carroll Forrest Countering Public Misconceptions About the Nature of Evolutionary Science by Keith B Miller Why “Intelligent Design” is More Interesting than Old-Fashioned Creationism by Taner Edis

In his introduction, John V Aliff, quickly settles the matter

Aliff Wrote:

Intelligent Design theory is not a valid scientific theory for these reasons: 1.) Its hypothetical, intuitive and religious assumption of the intelligent design of complex systems is not testable or falsifiable using the scientific method, 2.) ID “theory” cannot develop hypotheses, and 3.) ID theory does not predict new discoveries as a true scientific theory does. More simply put, ID cannot explain natural phenomena beyond the intuitive and religious assumption that “God did it.”

Aliff Wrote:

Barbara Forrest, professor of philosophy of Southeastern Louisiana University, has written and spoken extensively about the political machinations of the ID movement. Her book, Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (8) is an important contribution to the knowledge of the politics behind the ID movement. Dr. Forrest explained the scope of the ID movement and their political force, which in Kansas recently led to kangaroo courts (Darwin trials) that featured ID creationists.

Taner Edis, associate professor of Physics at Truman State University (MO.) and research associate of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,explained how the theory of intelligent design is scientifically flawed. He pointed out that Darwinian evolution (natural selection) has taken root outside the confines of Biology by moving into physics. Dr. Edis explained how both chance and necessity, in addition to natural selection, are vital to creativity in general. He has authored an important book on the topic of the symposium: The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science (13), and he has edited, with Matt Young, Why Intelligent Design Fails, A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism (14).

The existence of God and the belief in a Creator cannot be tested or falsified using the methodology of science (6). Keith B. Miller is a research geologist (paleontologist) at Kansas State University and a Christian who has defined and defended the roles of science and religion in society. Dr. Miller and I made clear the value of science to describe nature using the evidence provided by nature itself.

As Judge Overton said in the 1982 Arkansas decision overturning a law requiring the teaching of scientific creationism, “creation science” was a “religious crusade coupled with a desire to conceal this fact” (6). The new ID creationists, like their scientific creationist forebears, attempt to disguise their religious and political motivations. The curricula of ID creationism and the olderscientific creationism are remarkably alike. Supported by illogical arguments, they are crescendos of erroneous observations about the meanings of the terms evolution and theory, as Massimo Pigliucci, evolutionary biologist of S.U.N.Y., Stony Brook, pointed out. Dr. Pigliucci’s book Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism and the Nature of Science (7) traces the roots of American creationism to populism, anti-intellectualism, and scientism (science as an exclusive ideology to explain everything in human experience) taught by some science teachers.

Aliff quickly shows why ID is scientifically vacuous, its main focus is not on doing science but rather on confusion, and political and religious propaganda

Offering only anecdotes and evidence by analogies (e.g., the irreducible complexity of the “designed” mousetrap conflated to apply to biochemical pathways), ID creationist publications, websites, and films use sophisticated propaganda designed to confuse the boundary established between science and religion by traditional academic disciplines (science, philosophy and theology) and the U.S. Constitution.

It’s time to ‘salvag[e] science education by correcting misinformation”

We must understand the motivation of the creationists. They have a deep emotional response to any information that is perceived to threaten their understanding of religious scriptures. Although it may sound ridiculous to many, creationist suspicions about the “evils” of evolution and its effects on society must be addressed specifically. Instructors of evolution should avoid the battle of literalisms: scientific literalism vs. scriptural literalism. Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality. Scientific theories should be presented as concepts that not only describe a set of discoveries but also serve as a way of predicting new discoveries and formulating new hypotheses.

As data have suggested, education is or should be the greatest enemy of the Intelligent Design movement. By showing how science proceeds from ignorance through hypotheses to knowledge we should contrast it with ID’s approach of hiding in the shadows of our ignorance. ID cannot survive without ignorance.

I will address the individual papers in a later posting.

174 Comments

Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality.

Sad that spirituality is not a place where people choose to investigate. As Dave Scott says, every living thing has a parent. So too does every meme have a parent. How does it go from “What is the nature of the universe and how do I fit in?” to “The nature of the universe is god and god wrote his words in hebrew in the old testament (nod to Carol) and through the new testament works of Mathew Mark Luke and John.”

We laugh at the flying spaghetti monster but we should be crying.

We must understand the motivation of the creationists. They have a deep emotional response to any information that is perceived to threaten their understanding of religious scriptures.

http://www.drdino.com/readNews.php?id=20

And a deep emotional response to information that reaffirms why the heck they believe this stuff in the first place.

Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality.

Damn their comfort zone. When spirituality has the ability to explain ANYTHING, anything at all, THEN, and only then, can they have a seat at the ‘finding new knowledge’ table. Science may have to pander to religious sensitivities (by claiming no conflict because they’re separate magisteria) to avoid repression by the masses, but science shouldn’t ever have to give up it’s status as the single most successful method humanity has ever invented to acquire new knowledge.

PvM wrote: As data have suggested, education is or should be the greatest enemy of the Intelligent Design movement. By showing how science proceeds from ignorance through hypotheses to knowledge we should contrast it with ID’s approach of hiding in the shadows of our ignorance. ID cannot survive without ignorance.

Unlike religious spirituality, which proceeds from plain ignorance to making stuff up to special dogmatic ignorance. Science as a method is second to none; it has no competitors on the same planet let alone on the same playing field.

The problem, the way I see it is that, when it began to occur to us as a species that religion had not panned out in its promises and that it was essentially political, we didn’t scrap it and begin again. We gave way to much authority to philosophers who used logic instead of relying on evidence. Who was it that pushed and continues to push religious absurdism? Those who would lose their jobs. That’s who. Aaaarrggghhh.

BWE, you’re missing your own point re: memes.

We didn’t get the chance to “scrap it and begin again.” Religion persists because religious memes are champion survivors. Scientific knowledge, in this view, is analagous to an invasive species that displaces the natives.

But some habitats are more robust than others.

Yeah, I know. That last post was my tourettes talking.

Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psycological comfort. Science does not do that (other than indirectly through medication and the like). Science does not provide assurance of everlasting life or that there is a potential good to come from bad things. When people are weak, religion is the only thing that can come to our aid. We rely on science to cure us but religion to calm us. It requires a major shift in thinking to allow ourselves to be set adrift in our lives, far from the safe moorings that religion provides. I recently lost a relative in a tragic way and I had to listen to family members who are not religious tell their children that their (very young) grandma was in heaven. The kids really couldn’t do better than that. Heaven was described as a place in our minds but heaven, nevertheless, was the word.

It’s hard to imagine a god who created an entire universe being offended by the discoveries made by some of the creatures in that universe. The smallness of the ID god is mostly a reflection of the smallness of the ID mind.

Good Lord BWE that is a great page you linked to. Check out: “Anthropoligists: Things that make Evolutionists look stupid” that’s the way they spelled ‘anthropologist’ not me.

Funny Stuff!!!

http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?cat=2

Gee Mike smallness of the IDgod giddygod Small ? practically non existent or very highly and inscrutably improbable or irreducibly compost. No wonder the mainline churches are out to lunch on this. They can stand back and convert the leftovers.

You think that one is funny Erasmus? Try this one: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage[…]p;version=31;

Yikes I knew they were in trouble but Gee they can’t be that badly off can they? Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah! why is the phone bill so high?

Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

You want to play Golf OK but make those new ear rings BIG.

The Daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons, like a city under siege.

News break.…. Oil tops $70.00

Is there a word for collective anal retention ?

I’m going to take a moment to decry the abject hostility towards religion here. That’s no more productive nor correct than the hostility that fundamentalists display towards science, to be honest. If you’re going to say religion is useless, highly negative, etc, then you cannot seriously expect anyone religious to believe a damn thing that you say.

Religion, ideally, is attempting to answer questions (even in an abstract faith-based manner) which science readily admits it CANNOT address. I see no point for hostility towards it.

Only to those who misunderstand what science is actually doing, but those are individuals within religions. Being hostile to all religions, to a point, is precisely the scientism that is being spoken against here.

Before anyone says it, also, I’m not advocating religious explanations for scientific phenomenon. I’m merely saying both have a seperate yet valuable sphere, and they need to be kept that way. Hostility in either direction ultimately damages both sides.

Actually, it’s difficult to figure how an omnipotent, immortal being could be hurt or offended by anything. But that’s just my own argument from incredulity.

BWE said,

“Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psychological comfort. Science does not do that”. Is spirituality really a comfort, and what price intellectually do we pay for that comfort? Science does not offer solace in times of distress or mourning,BUT,do we delude our selves into thinking that there is a greater meaning or purpose to life? Do we turn to pious religious teachings or writings to calm us? knowing that these very writings are opposed to any form of critical thinking.One of the most insidious biblical teachings is that the intellect is not to be trusted as the final arbiter of ones decisions. Faith in Jesus, theological insights, and spiritual gifts are to replace knowledge, disputation, and philosophy as the ultimate source of truth. In effect, faith is to replace proof, hope is to replace work, and trust is to replace evidence. People are to rely on forces and beings beyond their control rather than their own talents and abilities. This debilitating approach to life’s challenges, which can only lead to self-effacement and low self-esteem

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on February 7, 2006 04:32 PM (e)

Actually, it’s difficult to figure how an omnipotent, immortal being could be hurt or offended by anything. But that’s just my own argument from incredulity.

Neither do I. But do you see any point in insulting people of religion who support science and in particular evolution?

Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality.

That’s not why science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything. Science shouldn’t be taught as an exclusive way of knowing everything because its methods are not capable of addressing certain questions.

It has nothing to do with “pandering to religious sensibilities”. It’s a fact: there are important questions that can’t be answered using the scientific method.

I’m with AD on this one: you can’t insult religion and expect religious people to listen to you about science. I’m continually somewhat astonished by the way that defenders of evolution–many of whom are very intelligent people!– nonetheless fail to make use of basic knowledge about human nature.

AD et al. Who started to roll back the enlightenment with religious obscurantism ? Choose your weapons I’ll take truth any day.

Ok AD. I’ve heard that before and you’re right. But I was reponding to two specific points made in the article 1. Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality. 2.We must understand the motivation of the creationists. They have a deep emotional response to any information that is perceived to threaten their understanding of religious scriptures.

So the point is that we will just “educate away” the mass hypnosis that is religion. Without understanding and somehow confronting the comfort zone problem and the motivation of creationists problem we are just continuing with business as usual.

I guess that must be what I meant by

Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psycological comfort. Science does not do that (other than indirectly through medication and the like). Science does not provide assurance of everlasting life or that there is a potential good to come from bad things. When people are weak, religion is the only thing that can come to our aid. We rely on science to cure us but religion to calm us. It requires a major shift in thinking to allow ourselves to be set adrift in our lives, far from the safe moorings that religion provides.

That “major shift” I mentioned is really what seems to be hoped for in the post. You have to allow for the possibility that you could be wrong in order for science to work. In order to even begin to teach, you need to go way back from demonstrating that “ID is scientifically vacuous, its main focus is not on doing science but rather on confusion, and political and religious propaganda”. If you could do that Bush the lesser would not be president. Propoganda is about tying ideas to emotions. Science is about untying those knots and verifying the validity of those ideas. Do they flow from what the data seems to suggest. Politics is, um, not like that and neither is religion.

So I do not lightly ridicule religion as a method, I see it as potentially hindering the scienfic method and fueling the absolutism that powers fundementalists of all religious persuasions. Spirituality may in fact be a different issue but the absolute literal belief in any religious text precludes the potential that it might be flawed. Um, I don’t really know of a religion that claims not to be pretty sure that it is correct in its teachings.

Wow, All those comments after AD Happened while I was writing that post. I need to point out that science cannot answer metaphysical questions because that is not what it can do. On the other hand, religion can’t either.

But do you see any point in insulting people of religion who support science and in particular evolution?

No, but no one has insulted any one here yet…

well, I came close with that bible passage one and for that I’m sorry. I will pray the rosary 4000 times and go to hell when I die to try to atone for my sin.

BWE Wrote:

Um, I don’t really know of a religion that claims not to be pretty sure that it is correct in its teachings.

True, although there are religious people who are willing to bend their belief in the face on scientific discoveries.

I am no big fan of such premise, but I have learnt to plead no contest unless they make specific scientific or philosophical claims based on their belief in the first place.

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 05:02 PM (e)

well, I came close with that bible passage one and for that I’m sorry. I will pray the rosary 4000 times and go to hell when I die to try to atone for my sin.

LOL. That is funny.

AD Wrote:

Religion, ideally, is attempting to answer questions (even in an abstract faith-based manner) which science readily admits it CANNOT address. I see no point for hostility towards it.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Religion asserts that statements accepted on faith are the answers.

Science acknowledges that there are questions for which no answers can ever derived.

It’s not a question of hostility. The two systems are simply incompatible. You might as well say that the statements “2+2=4” and “2+2=5” are ‘hostile’ to each other - it’s absurd. They’re simply mutually exclusive.

I agree that insulting religious people is not very conducive in building allies on behalf of the scientific community,never the less we should not panda to them either.I have the greatest respect for the right of an individual to have their personal religious convictions,but do not expect me to have respect, for the convictions. Central to any sensible society is the belief that truth is discovered through the interchange of ideas in an open forum. Yet,religious people are repeatedly admonished to avoid those of another persuasion and shun the exchange of ideas through dialogue. They are told to flee non-religious ideas because the latter are not only wrong and lead believers astray but possessed by those with less than honorable motives “When religion becomes scientific, it ceases to be religion and becomes science. Religion is not intellectual–it is emotional. It does not appeal to the reason. The founder of a religion has always said, ‘Let him that hath ears to hear, hear!’ No founder has said: ‘Let him that hath brains to think, No one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, or upon intellectual development. Thomas Paine said, “As you can make no appeal to reason in support of an unreasonable religion, you then…bring yourselves off by telling people they must not believe in reason but in revelation.” Voltaire said, “The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason” and Havelock Ellis was probably as blunt as anyone when he said, “The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum

Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 05:35 PM (e)

I agree that insulting religious people is not very conducive in building allies on behalf of the scientific community,never the less we should not panda to them either.…

I hope that was intentional. Damn funny.

Comment #78114 Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 03:31 PM

Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psychological comfort. Science does not do that (other than indirectly through medication and the like). Science does not provide assurance of everlasting life or that there is a potential good to come from bad things. When people are weak, religion is the only thing that can come to our aid. We rely on science to cure us but religion to calm us. It requires a major shift in thinking to allow ourselves to be set adrift in our lives, far from the safe moorings that religion provides.

As much as I would love to see religion squashed in all its forms all over the world, I’ve said before that trying to come between mankind and his delusions is dangerous work. One that science is ill-equipped to do for your reasons above. I realize that there is a tension here between what I’m saying: pander on the one hand, don’t pander on the other and I don’t think I can adequately put into words the proper balance. (Where is Flint when you need him?) Fine, go ahead and wallow in the delusions of your (not you specifically BWE) ignorance (or should that be the ignorance of your delusions, bahh). But don’t do so and then try to b*llsh*t me that your ignorance is really knowledge and your delusions are really reality as revealed to you in that book.

I recently lost a relative in a tragic way and I had to listen to family members who are not religious tell their children that their (very young) grandma was in heaven. The kids really couldn’t do better than that. Heaven was described as a place in our minds but heaven, nevertheless, was the word.

I tend to think parents to this more for their own convenience and peace of mind than they do it for their children. I’ve had more than adequate demonstration in my life that children are far tougher and more resilient than parents want to believe they are. Explaining death may not be easy but that is taking the cowardly way out. You said people can be weak but how can we address that weakness if we don’t ever stop reproducing these memes in our children. I see a bit of a chicken and egg problem here.

Sincerely, Paul PS Re Comment #78097, I couldn’t agree with that more. That is as lucid a rendering of that idea as I have ever read. It’s too bad investigating that idea is too threatening to fundie ideology.

STEPHEN E

Thanks, I was waiting to see if anyone caught the jib,I must admit it was not intentional, but when I read through the post I decided to leave it in.

One point: religion is not immune to reason and logic. I know many people that have changed their minds concerning purely non-empirical religious ideas after engaging in argument and reasoning. Sometimes these changes of belief are even based on observed external phenomena (though not objectively and repeatedly measured ones).

Anyone else think this should be moved to a thread in AtBC?

An instructor of mine insist that Intelligent Design could be defined not as an explanation of the origin of life, but as an explanation of current scientific advancement in the realm of genetic engineering. Thus, the “theory” of ID would apply to humans designing life through cloning, gene slicing, etc. If advocates of ID used such a definition would the perceived incompatibility between ID, Evolution, and the academic arena be reduced?

So they think, what, that human genetic engineers travelled back into time to design the flagellum, blood clotting, etc?

Yep, that’s about the level of sophistication that I’ve come to expect from IDiots. (shrug)

For society as a whole, we’ll have to come up with some kind of useful secular philosophy…

We’ve already got one – it’s called “the US Constitution, as amended.” Note that it includes nearly unlimited freedom of speech and religion, thus allowing people to examine each other’s belief-systems, offer criticism, and incorporate what the majority find beneficial into the overall secular philosophy (a.k.a. “laws”).

It seems to be working. We’ve already spread the good word to Europe after WWII, and now some Muslims are starting to catch on as well.

Spike Wrote:

There’s a kind of one-two punch when you can say, “I’m helping others because God wants me to.” Look how far people can get when they say that and they are lying. Then think about how powerful that is for people who really believe it.

What do the non-theists have instead?

Personally, I have “I’m helping others because they need help, I can help, and I want to.” For me, that statement is just as powerful as the other because it gets results and superior in a way because it is free of coercion. As far as how to get more people to see the world as it is, without the vaseline of religion, I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s very disturbing that so many people associate basic human experiences and emotions with religious ideas, allowing them to dehumanize those who reject or merely do not share those ideas.

AC wrote:

It’s very disturbing that so many people associate basic human experiences and emotions with religious ideas, allowing them to dehumanize those who reject or merely do not share those ideas.

On this forum, at least, the only people “dehumanizing those who reject or merely do not share their ideas” are the atheists who indiscriminately attack beliefs of which they appear to know nothing; using generalizations so broad as to be, not only dishonest, but meaningless; blaming these beliefs for every evil perpetrated by humans (and none of the good); and offering nothing of their own to replace the spirit, wisdom and guidance they demand that we abandon.

The very least you atheist ninehammers could do to maintain some credibility, would be to add a perfunctory “present company excepted” to your judgemental rants; because practically no one here fits your badly-drawn picture of persons of faith.

Of course raging b its a gas. When you only have a hammer the whole world looks like an anvil. I’m fairly ignostic about non-theism (look them up) And the only thing I’m intolerant to is intolerance and I the only temptation I can’t resist is tempatation.

Raging, I hope you don’t include me in the ranks of athiests you mentioned. I am a Unitarian.

raging B I actually concur with most of your schtik but me thinketh thou protesteth too much over atheism, that’s schlock. I don’t get what all the excitement is about over Dawkins he acknowledges and praises the words AND DEEDS of Jesus so what is the problem ?

and Oh one other thing I never stop asking Why. Here’s a temptation I can’t resist

Why does the art and representation of JC over the centuries reflect the nature of the society that created it How the Godman is Made and Remade

AND why the hell are the religiosity inclined getting all bent out of shape and PC about their *personal* beliefs? In other words why are people so insecure and need so much back patting and affirmation for something er …so meaningful…er so real? That persona is projecting an ill god.

Have you heard about turning the other cheek?

Raging Bee Wrote:

The very least you atheist ninehammers could do to maintain some credibility, would be to add a perfunctory “present company excepted” to your judgemental rants; because practically no one here fits your badly-drawn picture of persons of faith.

I see no more reason to tack such a redundant clause onto my statements than to tack “theory” on the end of every “Big Bang” uttered by NASA.

The reason would be to acknowledge that you understand that not all persons of faith are your enemy, nor are they all uniformly guilty of the evils you carelessly ascribe to all religion, nor are they all equally “irrational.” Such an acknowledgement would not be a redundancy.

BWE: you don’t sound like the Unitarians I know – they’re more respectful toward the different faiths they have to share their space with.

AND why the hell are the religiosity inclined getting all bent out of shape and PC about their *personal* beliefs? In other words why are people so insecure and need so much back patting and affirmation for something er …so meaningful…er so real? That persona is projecting an ill god.

I think this is a bit overboard.

I know plenty of non-religiously inclined people who are prone to getting all bent out of shape and PC about their personal beliefs as well. Have you ever discussed politics? Global warming? What kind of cars people like? Baseball?

There’s insane opinions about all sorts of things, many of which cannot be affirmed in any way, shape, or form (or can be directly refuted with evidence) that people display wildly illogical behaviors about and try to convince others of in highly obnoxious manners, claiming them to be certain and scientific.

To ascribe a religious motive to this activity is highly dubious. It’s a human activity, not a religious one. This is the root of my objection here.

Your argument essentially, to me, reads like this:

All ID supporters are religious people. Thus, all religion is bad.

Likewise: All Nazi supporters are white people. Thus, all white people are bad.

It’s a logically bogus argument. You can’t generalize about an entire set from a specific subset.

Raging Bee, What have I said that was innaccurate or disparaging toward people’s faiths? I do include all faiths but I don’t promulgate stories that create legitimacy for those who would claim special knowledge of god. Show me where I am doing anything else.

Francis J. Beckwith Wrote:

The short answer is that there are no necessary and sufficient conditions to distinguish science from non-science on which philosophers of science agree.

All true, and maximally irrelevant. It most certainly is a challenge to find abstract ways of distinguishing science from pseudoscience. In typical cases, we can make the distinction, and it is left to the philosophers to come in afterwards and do their best. It is a common confusion, made both by philosophers and scientists, that some such demarcation has been made and is the end of the story.

Meanwhile, the extremes are readily identifiable, and the qualities that put one field of inquiry firmly in the science camp, and the qualities that put another field of inquiry in the pseudoscience camp are blatant and obvious. The continuing inability to articulate a perfect division will probably always be with us. The core deconstructionist fallacy is to wildly exaggerate the significance of such difficulties and thereby conclude that the entire enterprise is useless.

So, for me, the issue of what counts as “science” is not relevant.

Nobody cares what you think. The fact remains, as Judge Jones noticed, is that Evolution by Natural Selection is solidly on the science side, and Intelligent Design is solidly on the pseudoscience side. There is no evading this basic distinction.

What is relevant is whether the argument offered for the point of view, ID or something like it, is reasonable or not obviously irrational and it does not rely on sacred scripture or religious authority.

As a matter of fact, as Judge Jones noticed, there are no arguments for Intelligent Design at all, outside of appeals to some religious authority. Behe and Dembski have offered nothing but garbage, involving lies, incompetence, moving goalposts, and a nonstop refusal to actually do any science.

Calling such an argument “religious,” “science,” or “swiss cheese” does nothing to support or undercut the quality of the argument offered. […] It is a way to marginalize people who offer it.

It simply makes it clear the actual issues have been identified. If losers go around lying about what great science they are doing, and get marginalized when it is clear they are through and through idiots, that’s just too bad if the losers get marginalized. That’s where they belong.

It does not advance the conversation in an intellectually exciting way.

Taking out the trash is not meant to intellectually exciting. It’s just a job that has to be done.

It’s the secular version of “heresy hunting.”

Cry as much as you want, the trash still stinks.

Dear Lenny:

First off, how’s Squiggy?

Oh, and since Francis made fun of my name (not clever beyond measure, by the way), I feel it only fair for me to point out that at least MY momma didn’t give me a girl’s name.

So there.

Lenny, Re “Oh, and since Francis made fun of my name”

If it’s making fun to note that one’s name is the same as a character on a TV show from 2 or 3 decades ago? But on second thought (after recalling what said TV character was like), never mind.

Henry

If it’s making fun to note that one’s name is the same as a character on a TV show from 2 or 3 decades ago?

Yes. But’s it’s a pretty lame attempt.

dr. Beckwith! Leave these attempts to trained professionals!

.…er.…AD .….not a human activity ? Careful stepping outside it dangerous out here.

.…er.…AD .….not a human activity ? Careful stepping outside it dangerous out here.

I am completely lost. What did I say was not a human activity?

AD Your statement logically implies religion is not a human activity. Perhaps a a miscontructed statement ?

Bah! Perhaps a miscontructed statement ?

Double bah! make that a .…misconstructed statement?

Raging Bee Wrote:

The reason would be to acknowledge that you understand that not all persons of faith are your enemy, nor are they all uniformly guilty of the evils you carelessly ascribe to all religion, nor are they all equally “irrational.” Such an acknowledgement would not be a redundancy.

No offense, but this is getting tiresome. Here is my statement:

It’s very disturbing that so many people associate basic human experiences and emotions with religious ideas, allowing them to dehumanize those who reject or merely do not share those ideas.

Where is the ambiguity? Where is the confusion? How does a good faith reading of that statement lead someone not referred to by it to believe that he is referred to?

I’m beginning to think that you are determined to not read statements of “atheist ninehammers” in good faith. I also think that this is undermining a lot of potentially thoughtful communication, which is very unfortunate. For clarity, I know well that not all persons of faith are my enemy, and that they are not uniformly guilty of any evils. However, all religion is irrational. But, again for clarity, “irrational” is not meant to imply moral condemnation. It is merely descriptive.

BWE-“Hmmm. Sagan said it before me. Whoooooosh. (Sound of air going out of a tire)

It’s OK BWE. Being scooped by Sagan is nothing to be ashamed of. :)

Raging Bee, I don’t know whether to hug you or strangle you. You go back and forth; every other comment you write, regardless of thread, I cheer. Then you turn around and follow up with another comment that is just as inflammatory to me as you think my stuff is to you. Do you really think we’ve been hostile? Here, let me give you an example of some real hostility. I blame christianity for every single death due to smallpox that ever occurred west of a demarcation line that runs down the Ural Mtns. to the Straits of Hormuz, to include the Western Hemisphere, after smallpox crossed that line as it moved out of Asia. Now, golly gee willikers*, Isn’t THAT an over the top claim worthy of Rove himself and equivalent to any of the accusations that are leveled at atheists.

I’ll explain tomorrow. My day has been too long and I am deadbeat tired. Sincerely have a good night. Paul

*Sniffles the Mouse

Atheism and theism are opposite and equal to each other. One says an omnipotent God exists and the other says God does not exist. Both assumptions are untestable and unfalsifiable using the scientific method.

This is cool, you have to try it. I guessed 72415, and this game guessed it! See it here - http://www.funbrain.com/guess/

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on February 7, 2006 12:40 PM.

Evolution Sunday was the previous entry in this blog.

Can you hear me NOW? is the next entry in this blog.

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