When the truth hurts

| 49 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Intelligent Design activists seem to be upset with the Media for point ing out that intelligent design requires a supernatural designer, “or other guiding force”. That ID proponents have spent much effort to disguise this foundational principle has been well-documented. Thus when ID activists claim that ID

… merely proposes that there is good evidence that some features of nature–like the intricate molecular motors within cells and the finely-tuned laws of physics–are best explained as the products of an intelligent cause, not chance and necessity. Whether this intelligent cause identified through the scientific method is (or is not) “god” cannot be answered by the science alone and is therefore outside the scope of the theory of intelligent design.

the media aa well as the judge in the Dover case have found these claims without much merrit.

West, faced with an uncooperative media, decided to send of a letter to the newspaper complaining about using ‘inaccurate descriptions’ of Intelligent Design (by refusing to accept ID’s definition and instead looking at the logical consequences of ID’s claims). Worse, the editors, according to West, ‘surpressed a more accurate description’.… Not to mention the use of the pejorative ‘watering down’ when describing ID’s efforts. And yet, the judge ruled that

Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

ID, by raising mostly irrelevant objections to evolutionary theory (see for example Icons of Evolution) is trying to water down evolutionary theory. Lest people are confused what drives ID proponents to ‘teach the controversy’, let me quote West

John West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, said he considered the revisions a victory for his group. The revisions in Glencoe and Holt books are tantamount to an admission by “Darwinists” that evolution theory is flawed, he said. “This vindicates us.”

Indeed, the goal seems to not be to strengthen evolutionary theory but rather to suggest that Darwinian theory is flawed. And yet, West is surprised when the media describes the efforts as ‘watering down’ evolution.

It may be helpful for the reader to be reminded of the ‘arguments’ by ID activists which lead to the inevitable conclusion that ID is all about the supernatural, although given the recent ‘successes in the courts’, it should not come as a surprise that ID activist have tried unnusccesfully to ‘divorce’ ID from its religious foundations.

And people wonder why so many are starting to realize that Intelligent Design is scientifically vacuous.

It suffices to point out that the Judge in the Kitzmiller v Dover case found that an objective observer would know that Intelligent Design is all about God (wink wink)

An Objective Observer Would Know that ID and Teaching About “Gaps” and “Problems” in Evolutionary Theory are Creationist, Religious Strategies that Evolved from Earlier Forms of Creationism

Replacing God with the term intelligent design(er) makes no difference as the history of ID shows that this designer is simply God.

We initially note that John Haught, a theologian who testified as an expert witness for Plaintiffs and who has written extensively on the subject of evolution and religion, succinctly explained to the Court that the argument for ID is not a new scientific argument, but is rather an old religious argument for the existence of God.

This designer is clearly supernatural as it works outside the laws of nature and science.

In fact, an explicit concession that the intelligent designer works outside the laws of nature and science and a direct reference to religion is Pandas’ rhetorical statement, “what kind of intelligent agent was it [the designer]” and answer: “On its own science cannot answer this question. It must leave it to religion and philosophy.” (P-11 at 7; 9:13-14 (Haught))

West repeats much of the same ‘argument’ in his letter

West Wrote:

Whether this intelligent cause identified through the scientific method is (or is not) “god” cannot be answered by the science alone and is therefore outside the scope of the theory of intelligent design.

The most dramatic evidence of ID’s religious nature comes from the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Document”

Dramatic evidence of ID’s religious nature and aspirations is found in what is referred to as the “Wedge Document.” The Wedge Document, developed by the Discovery Institute’s Center for Renewal of Science and Culture (hereinafter “CRSC”), represents from an institutional standpoint, the IDM’s goals and objectives, much as writings from the Institute for Creation Research did for the earlier creation-science movement, as discussed in McLean.

Even the witnesses for the defense showed how ID is all about the supernatural

Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700). Second, Professor Minnich testified that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened so that supernatural forces can be considered. (38:97 (Minnich)). Third, Professor Steven William Fuller testified that it is ID’s project to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural. (Trial Tr. vol. 28, Fuller Test., 20-24, Oct. 24, 2005). Turning from defense expert witnesses to leading ID proponents, Johnson has concluded that science must be redefined to include the supernatural if religious challenges to evolution are to get a hearing. (11:8-15 (Forrest); P-429). Additionally, Dembski agrees that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. (Trial Tr. vol. 5, Pennock Test., 32-34, Sept. 28, 2005).

And then the book Pandas and People which showed so clearly why Intelligent Design is nothing more than a repackaged creationism

The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from “creation” to “intelligent design” occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court’s important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs’ assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.

And if ID were scientific how come that ID backers have both avoided scientific scrutiny and have failed to present much of anything related to ID which is scientifically relevant. Worse, ID has repackaged itself as ‘teach the controversy’, trying to avoid the scrutiny.

Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

While the truth may hurt, the fact is that the media has wisened up and is not accepting the Discovery Institute’s claims without a critical analysis. Ironically, it seems that the concepts of “teaching the controversy” and “critically analyze” are something to which ID strongly objects when applied to its own claims.

See also the response at hell’s handmaiden

1 TrackBack

Intelligent Design supporters hate to have their 'science' compared to creationism. "The two are not the same," they insist. "Calling ID 'creationism' is misrepresenting the facts," they cry. Joe G. took just that tact with me in a comment to an post o... Read More

49 Comments

John West seems to be losing control of the media’s ability to willfully ignore ID as mere quackery. For the longest time the media (I refuse to capitalize The Media…seems to Orwellian) was willing to give IDiots their due in the interest of fairness and in some ways to squelch criticism of the media being left-wing, commie, atheists. I can honestly say I can’t believe the day where politely ignoring IDiots would’ve ended so fast. They refused to be ignored and thus have been exposed into the public sphere, and in so doing they have been found wanting.

Note to John West, the analogy is this. If ID were a duck, we’re simply mentioning that fact to everyone.

Note to Pandas Thumb posters, I’ve been reading this blog for awhile now, since the Dover case reinvigorated by believe in the rationality of most Americans (I was having some serious misgivings for awhile, although my fears have not been completely alleviated.) and genuinely enjoy the farce the Pandas Thumb can make of the ID movement. Congratulations.

Of course ID is all about God. The CC has had ID as an integral component of its theology from the middle ages all the way down to the current Pope. The CC says that design in nature is as plain as as the nose on your face, and therefore there is undeniably a designer-creator behind nature. Faith is only required in order to know the nature of the creator-designer - the Christian God. DI ID is just CC ID recycled. Anyone who is aware of the CC’s original version of ID, can see that everything you say here applies as much to it as to the DI’s bastard version. The CC calls it theistic evolution. They are open about the designer being God. It’s faith that tells you that; but it’s pure reason working on the undeniable design in nature that tells you that the whole of nature must undeniably have a creator. Pure reason, mind. The stuff that science uses, not faith. The CC says that you cannot deny design, and therefore you cannot deny a designer. Evidence of nature and reason prove it beyond any doubt.

Tell that to Darwin.

Leigh, you are overlooking the heresy inherent in DI ID – their claim is that *SOME* aspects of nature are so complex as to require design. This requires a corresponding belief that there are things in nature which do not require or imply a designer – their entire ability to distinguish design from non-design REQUIRES the distinction.

Tell that to Dembski and his ilk.

Heretics, the lot of them, unlike good Catholics like Ken Miller.

CC “ID” is nothing whatever like DI ID. Had you been paying attention, you would realize that.

hugs, Shirley Knott

West whinges:

The definition of intelligent design given in Chris Kahn’s article, “Broward selects biology text with watered-down passages on evolution” (Feb. 24), bears no resemblance to the definition actually used by the scholars and scientists who have proposed the theory. It also bears no resemblance to the definition I discussed with your reporter. Why is that? Why does the Sentinel refuse to allow the proponents of intelligent design to define their own theory, and instead substitute a highly inaccurate definition of its own?

Molecular Biology has been around longer than “Intelligent Design” (if we ignore the fact that ID was around and was called Creationism). Is there a consistent definition of Molecular Biology? Does anyone whinge about its definition?

I guess I stepped out of the room just before the Disco folks explained how the cosmos was designed by some man from Mars at a time before there was a Mars, and then some life-form designed (and built) life before there was any life.

I find it funny that they claim that their can be intelligent design without an intelligent designer but rather by means of nature. That bluntly spells out “evolution” in my mind. Unless they think that everything just “became” in an instant by some natural means?

-Tim

Re “it should not come as a surprise that ID activist have tried unnusccesfully to ‘divorce’ ID from its religious foundations.”

Isn’t divorce sinful, anyway? ;)

Never mind the design , what about the engineering and/or manufacturing of the “product”? Near as I can tell, calling their idea “I.D.” in the first place is an attempt to trick people into not thinking about the details of the engineering of the presumed design. (Or am I being picky?)

Henry

Larry will show up and proceed to hijack this thread with his meaningless and erroneous legal theories. If history is any teacher, one of the issues he will likely confuse “objective observer” with “ignorant observer.”

Shirley, you are overlooking the fact that the medieval argument from design which is to this day a central plank of CC theology, and upon which theistic evolution depends, was blown out of the water by Darwin. Theistic evolution is not simply an act of faith, it is claimed to be based on the evidence of nature and reason.

I can hear Darwin laughing in his grave. (Just down the road from me).

Moses Wrote:

Larry will show up and proceed to hijack this thread with his meaningless and erroneous legal theories. If history is any teacher, one of the issues he will likely confuse “objective observer” with “ignorant observer.”

OK, you’ve got an hypothesis. I guess that means it’s time to start pushing to teach it in schools ;)

No wait… yours is falsifiable isn’t it. I’m afraid that’s not good enough - the DI will only accept hypotheses that are 100% vague and untestable.

Posted by Henry J on February 27, 2006 05:40 PM (e)

Never mind the design , what about the engineering and/or manufacturing of the “product”? Near as I can tell, calling their idea “I.D.” in the first place is an attempt to trick people into not thinking about the details of the engineering of the presumed design. (Or am I being picky?)

Excellent point.

Assuming that some ET aliens designed the bacterial flagellum or the blood-clotting mechanism, just how did they go about engineering them in all those species that have them? Determining just the right set of base-pairs in the species’ DNA to yield the desired results to build these intricate mechanisms - quite a feat - and then inserting the base-pairs in enough individuals to cause the mechanism to spread throughout the species? Actually, it seems to me that the Intelligent Biotechnicians would have needed to round up ALL the individuals of a species and alter the DNA in ALL of them.

Seems to be an awful lot of work to give flagella to a some species of bacteria.

Way back those billions of years ago, they musta had awfully advanced biotechnology, and an awful lot of time on their hands, with nothing better to do.

(Of course, if God did it, it would have been easy for Him.)

Re “they musta had awfully advanced biotechnology,”

Or lots of duct tape…

Henry

Sorry, Leigh, but I have to disagree. The Catholic Church’s position has many flaws, not the least their undefined and undefinable “something” at the top of it all, but Darwin did nothing to discredit the fundamental claim that everything which exists has its fundamental cause in this undefined and undefinable “something”. [note to pedants – I’m well aware of the plenitude of Catholic and christian “definitions” of ‘god’; I find them all ludicrous or worse]. Darwin showed that within the natural order evolution of species can be explained by purely natural causes. But the church’s position is that all “purely natural causes” are rooted in god – there is absolutely nothing in Darwin’s work to challenge this. There is no conflict between Darwinism, so-called, and Catholicism, as various of the popes have known quite well. The core of the DI’s approach is to discard the notion that everything is rooted in ‘divine cause’ and limit the impact of the divine strictly to [some of ] biology. This is heresy, for it asserts that there are things in, and facts about, nature which do not require recourse to divinity. Natural law theology rejects that notion as part of its foundations. And Darwin does not refute or challenge it.

I really think its time to start challenging those miserable f*wits with their heresy. That would be a good question to ask Dembski at the university presentation I understand he’s giving soon. How do you reconcile the heresy of ID with Christian theology, given that ID requires a distinction between that which requires a divinity and that which does not? If the distinction cannot be supported, the only argument [such as it is] for ID is blown out of the water.

hugs, Shirley Knott

The changes were “kind of a merging of philosophies to get something that everyone was satisfied with,” said Broward science curriculum supervisor J.P. Keener.

I think that’s an utterly reasonable way to distill a quality science textbook.

Now that that’s been settled, can we get on with merging other philosophies into the science curriculum so that young-Earth Creationists, astrologers, homeopaths, Geocentrists, and Planet-Xers are also satisfied?

I think Leigh’s error lies in this claim:

Theistic evolution is not simply an act of faith, it is claimed to be based on the evidence of nature and reason.

This is not my understanding. Theistic evolution holds that nature and all natural forces work according to the Will of God, a statement of pure faith. Evidence and reason only come into play in analyzing how God’s Will plays out in practice. In other words, we require faith to say THAT God is doing everything. But taking that as a given, we require evidence and reason to see HOW God is getting it done. And the how part works the same even if we discard gods and substitute “just the way things happen to be” instead.

Darwin really WAS ‘focused exclusively on the mechanisms’, whether or not we regard these mechanisms as divinely created. Whether environmental pressures select more suitable traits because God wants it that way and set it up accordingly, or whether this happens as a natural feedback process without any gods directing it, is impossible to reason out. The “God’s Purpose” position adds no explanatory power, but doesn’t conflict with observable mechanisms either.

West is going to have a coronary

According to intelligent design, life advances because of a higher power, not necessarily God.

From Kansan.com

… Another point of Magruder’s speech was that intelligent design was not the new creation science. He maintained that “creation scientists had an agenda, which was to defend the literal meaning of the Bible. But that is not what I.D. is about.” Intelligent design is a theory raised from inside the scientific community, he said. Magruder claimed that intelligent design “is totally free from any religious entanglements;” it merely points out the gaps in evolution and allows students to “make their own inferences” about who the intelligent designer is.

Come on. Obviously, there is only one real inference to be made, unless kids believe that Santa Claus created life.

If you listen to Magruder, you would think the world is a conspiracy against intelligent design. He said that “Intelligent design supporters are scientists, but the media and KU don’t want us to know that.” He also maintains that “KU refuses to talk about intelligent design because they say there is nothing to debate.”

I hate to tell you, Magruder, but we have discussed intelligent design in three of my classes. Apparently Magruder does not understand that no one wants to discuss intelligent design because it’s not worth the time and effort. …

Cassie Gentry is a Piper freshman in English.

A freshman! In English! And she gets it. I feel better about the future.

Comment #82576

Posted by Corkscrew on February 27, 2006 08:08 PM (e)

OK, you’ve got an hypothesis. I guess that means it’s time to start pushing to teach it in schools ;)

No wait… yours is falsifiable isn’t it. I’m afraid that’s not good enough - the DI will only accept hypotheses that are 100% vague and untestable.

That was pretty funny.

I know of no statement from the CC saying that belief in theistic evolution is entirely a matter of faith.

But now read the following abridged address from John Paul II:

John Paul II Wrote:

The Proofs for God’s Existence July 10, 1985 — General Audience

General Audience, July 10, 1985

When we ask ourselves “Why do we believe in God?” our faith provides the first response. God has revealed himself to humanity and has entered into contact with it. The supreme revelation of God has come to us through Jesus Christ, God incarnate. We believe in God because God has made himself known to us as the supreme Being, the great “Existent.”

However, this faith in a God who reveals himself, also finds support in the reasoning of our intelligence. When we reflect, we observe that proofs of God’s existence are not lacking. These have been elaborated by thinkers under the form of philosophical demonstrations in the sense of rigorously logical deductions. But they can also take on a simpler form. As such, they are accessible to everyone who seeks to understand the meaning of the world around him.

In speaking of the existence of God we should underline that we are not speaking of proofs in the sense implied by the experimental sciences. Scientific proofs in the modern sense of the word are valid only for things perceptible to the senses, since it is only on such things that scientific instruments of investigation can be used. To desire a scientific proof of God would be equivalent to lowering God to the level of the beings of our world, and we would therefore be mistaken methodologically in regard to what God is. Science must recognize its limits and its inability to reach the existence of God. It can neither affirm nor deny his existence.

From this, however, we must not draw the conclusion that scientists in their scientific studies are unable to find valid reasons for admitting the existence of God. If science as such cannot reach God, the scientist who has an intelligence, the object of which is not limited to things of sense perception, can discover in the world reasons for affirming a Being which surpasses it. Many scientists have made and are making this discovery.

Whoever reflects with an open mind on what is implied in the existence of the universe, cannot help but pose the question of the problem of the origin. Instinctively, when we witness certain happenings, we ask ourselves what caused them. How can we not but ask the same question in regard to the sum total of beings and phenomena which we discover in the world?

A scientific hypothesis such as that of the expansion of the universe makes the problem all the more clear. If the universe is in a state of continual expansion, should not one go back in time to that which could be called the “initial moment,” the moment in which that expansion began? But, whatever the theory adopted concerning the origin of the universe, the most basic question cannot be avoided. This universe in constant movement postulates a Cause which, in giving it being, has communicated to it this movement, and continues to sustain it. Without such a supreme Cause, the world and every movement in it would remain “unexplained” and “inexplicable,” and our intelligence would not be satisfied. The human mind can receive a response to its questions only by admitting a Being who has created the world with all its dynamism, and who continues to maintain it in existence.

The necessity to go back to a supreme Cause is all the greater if one considers the perfect organization which science has ceaselessly discovered in the structure of matter. When human intelligence is applied with so much effort to determine the constitution and modalities of action of material particles, is it not perhaps induced to seek their origin in a superior Intelligence which has conceived the whole? In face of the marvel of what can be called the immensely small world of the atom, and the immensely great world of the cosmos, the human mind feels itself completely surpassed in its possibilities of creation and even of imagination. It understands that a work of such quality and of such proportions demands a Creator whose wisdom is beyond all measure and whose power is infinite.

All the observations concerning the development of life lead to a similar conclusion. The evolution of living beings, of which science seeks to determine the stages and to discern the mechanism, presents an internal finality which arouses admiration. This finality which directs beings in a direction for which they are not responsible or in charge, obliges one to suppose a Mind which is its inventor, its creator.

To all these “indications” of the existence of God the Creator, some oppose the power of chance or of the proper mechanisms of matter. To speak of chance for a universe which presents such a complex organization in its elements, and such a marvelous finality in its life would be equivalent to giving up the search for an explanation of the world as it appears to us. In fact, this would be equivalent to admitting effects without a cause. It would be to abdicate human intelligence which would thus refuse to think, and to seek a solution for its problems.

In conclusion, a myriad of indications impels man, who tries to understand the universe in which he lives, to direct his gaze toward his Creator. The proofs for the existence of God are many and convergent. They contribute to show that faith does not humble human intelligence, but stimulates it to reflection and permits it to understand better all the “whys” posed by the observation of reality.

Reason contemplating nature demonstrates all these indications of intelligent design. Not faith, but reason. There are many very similar statements from other CC sources.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 5, column 0, byte 228 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

Theistic evolution is not simply an act of faith, it is claimed to be based on the evidence of nature and reason.

This is not my understanding.

Nor mine. Indeed, the very basis for the unending conflict between ID and theistic evolution (the IDers, remember, have always considered the TEists to be their deadliest enemies) revolves around the TE assertion that NO evidence of nature can prove the existence of God, and the very loud claim by IDers to HAVE that evidence.

Leigh’s claim is precisely bass-ackwards.

“creation scientists had an agenda, which was to defend the literal meaning of the Bible. But that is not what I.D. is about.”

Well, let’s have a look, shall we . … ?

First, we take a peek at how creation “science” describes itself:

(1) ‘Scientific creationism’ (no reliance on Biblical revelation, utilizing only scientific data to support and expound the creation model). (ICR Impact No, 85, “The Tenets of Creationism”, Henry Morris, July 1980)

we turn to the other major work of creation “science”, the book Scientific Creationism, published by the ICR in 1974 (Henry Morris, ed., Scientific Creationism, Creation Life Publishers, San Diego CA, 1974). This book, the ICR informs us, was written by “the scientific staff of the Institute for Creation Research” (p. i). It is, the editor declares, a work of science, and “makes no reference to the Bible or other religious literature as its authority, but only on the facts of science” (p. v): “It is possible to discuss the evidences relating to evolution versus creation in a scientific context exclusively, without reference to religious literature or doctrine.” (p. 3) “The purpose of Scientific Creationism (Public School edition) is to treat all of the more pertinent aspects of the subject of origins and to do this on a scientific basis, with no references to the Bible or to religious doctrine.” (p. iv) Morris emphasizes again that the book treats creationism in “a strictly scientific context” (p. iii) and as a “scientifically sound alternative to evolution” (p. iii).

“There is nothing inherently religious about the terms ‘creator’ or ‘creation’, as used in the context of Act 590. Act 590 is concerned with a non-religious conception of ‘creation’ and ‘creator’, not the religious concepts dealt with in the Bible or religious writings… All that creation- science requires is that the entity which caused creation have power, intelligence and a sense of design.” (Defendant’s Trial Brief, McLean v Arkansas, 1981)

Hmmm. Sound at all familiar to anyone?

Then, we take a peek at how IDers describe ID:

Published statements by DI associates confirm that “renewing our culture” by replacing “scientific materialism” with “God” or a “theistic understanding of nature” is indeed the only aim and purpose of “intelligent design theory”. DI associate George Gilder wrote an entire piece entitled “The Materialist Superstition” which decries “the Darwinian materialist paradigm”, and advocates replacing it with “intelligent design”, which, Gilder implies (but is very careful not to explicitly state), is non-materialistic. (“The Materialistic Superstition”, Discovery Institute Website, 2005). Other ID advocates, however, have at times been less circumspect.

Phillip Johnson, who talks much more openly than the others about the explicit anti-atheistic goals of “intelligent design theory”, specifically contrasts “scientific materialism” with “divine intervention”;

“It is the alleged absence of divine intervention throughout the history of life – the strict materialism of the orthodox theory – that explains why a great many people, only some of whom are biblical fundamentalists, think that Darwinian evolution (beyond the micro level) is basically materialistic philosophy disguised as scientific fact.” (Johnson, “The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism”, First Things, November 1997, PP 22-25)

“Science also has become identified with a philosophy known as materialism or scientific naturalism. This philosophy insists that nature is all there is, or at least the only thing about which we can have any knowledge. It follows that nature had to do its own creating, and that the means of creation must not have included any role for God. … The reason the theory of evolution is so controversial is that it is the main scientific prop for scientific naturalism. Students first learn that “evolution is a fact,” and then they gradually learn more and more about what that “fact” means. It means that all living things are the product of mindless material forces such as chemical laws, natural selection, and random variation. So God is totally out of the picture, and humans (like everything else) are the accidental product of a purposeless universe.” (Johnson, “The Church of Darwin”, Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1999).

“For now we need to stick to the main point: In the beginning was the Word, and the ‘fear of God’- recognition of our dependence upon God-is still the beginning of wisdom. If materialist science can prove otherwise then so be it, but everything we are learning about the evidence suggests that we don’t need to worry. (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship; A Call to Separate Materialist Philosophy from Empriical Science”, address to the 1996 “Mere Creation Conference”)

Johnson explicitly calls for “a better scientific theory, one genuinely based on unbiased empirical evidence and not on materialist philosophy” (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship). Johnson doesn’t tell us what this non-materialistic philosophy might be that he wants to base science on, but it is clear from the rest of his statements that he, like every other IDer, wants to base science on his religious beliefs.

DI associate Michael Behe also makes the connection between fighting “scientific materialism” and “theistic understanding of nature” explicitly clear.

“Darwinism is the most plausible unintelligent mechanism, yet it has tremendous difficulties and the evidence garnered so far points to its inability to do what its advocates claim for it. If unintelligent mechanisms can’t do the job, then that shifts the focus to intelligent agency. That’s as far as the argument against Darwinism takes us, but most people already have other reasons for believing in a personal God who just might act in history, and they will find the argument for intelligent design fits with what they already hold. With the argument arranged this way, evidence against Darwinism does count as evidence for an active God, just as valid negative advertising against the Democratic candidate will help the Republican, even though Vegetarian and One-World candidates are on the ballot, too. Life is either the result of exclusively unintelligent causes or it is not, and the evidence against the unintelligent production of life is clearly evidence for intelligent design.” (Behe, “The God of Science”, Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999, p. 35)

“Naturalism is a philosophy which says that material things are all that there is. But philosophy is not science, and therefore excluding ideas which point to a creator, which point to God, is not allowed simply because in public schools in the United States one is not allowed to discriminate either for or against ideas which have religious implications.” (Behe, Speech at Calvary Chapel, March 6, 2002)

Another DI associate, William Dembski, makes the connection between ID and Christian apologetics even more explicit:

“Not only does intelligent design rid us of this ideology, which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I’ve found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ. Indeed, once materialism is no longer an option, Christianity again becomes an option. True, there are then also other options. But Christianity is more than able to hold its own once it is seen as a live option. The problem with materialism is that it rules out Christianity so completely that it is not even a live option. Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.” (Dembski, “Intelligent Design’s Contribution to the Debate Over Evolution”, Designinference.com website, February 2005).

Indeed, Dembski titled one of his books Intelligent Design; the Bridge Between Science and Theology (Dembski, 1999). In that book, Dembski makes the religious basis of ID “theory” explicit: “The conceptual soundings of the theory can in the end only be located in Christ.” (Dembski, 1999, p. 210). Other statements by Dembski make it clear that his designer cannot be anything other than God:

“The fine-tuning of the universe, about which cosmologists make such a to-do, is both complex and specified and readily yields design. So too, Michael Behe’s irreducibly complex biochemical systems readily yield design. The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.” (Dembski, “The Act of Creation”, ARN website, Aug 1998)

“From our vantage, materialism is not a neutral, value-free, minimalist position from which to pursue inquiry. Rather, it is itself an ideology with an agenda. What’s more, it requires an evolutionary creation story to keep it afloat. On scientific grounds, we regard that creation story to be false. What’s more, we regard the ideological agenda that has flowed from it to be destructive to rational discourse. Our concerns are therefore entirely parallel to the evolutionists’. Indeed, all the evolutionists’ worst fears about what the world would be like if we succeed have, in our view, already been realized through the success of materialism and evolution. Hence, as a strategy for unseating materialism and evolution, the term “Wedge” has come to denote an intellectual and cultural movement that many find congenial.” (Dembski, “Dealing with the backlash against intelligent design”, 2004)

“But there are deeper motivations. I think at a fundamental level, in terms of what drives me in this is that I think God’s glory is being robbed by these naturalistic approaches to biological evolution, creation, the origin of the world, the origin of biological complexity and diversity. When you are attributing the wonders of nature to these mindless material mechanisms, God’s glory is getting robbed…And so there is a cultural war here. Ultimately I want to see God get the credit for what he’s done - and he’s not getting it.” (Dembski, address given at Fellowship Baptist Church, Waco, Texas, March 7, 2004) “Even so, there is an immediate payoff to intelligent design: it destroys the atheistic legacy of Darwinian evolution. Intelligent design makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (Dembski, Why President Bush Got It Right about Intelligent Design, 2005)

As the Wedge Document puts it:

“We are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a “wedge” that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the “thin edge of the wedge,” was Phillip Johnson’s critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe’s highly successful Darwin’s Black Box followed Johnson’s work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.” (Wedge Document, 1999)

Hmmmmmm.

To all these “indications” of the existence of God the Creator, some oppose the power of chance or of the proper mechanisms of matter. To speak of chance for a universe which presents such a complex organization in its elements, and such a marvelous finality in its life would be equivalent to giving up the search for an explanation of the world as it appears to us.

Of course, if we applied the same logic to the formation of a beautiful snowflake, we might never have come to understand physical chemistry…

But anyway.

… merely proposes that there is good evidence that some features of nature—like the intricate molecular motors within cells and the finely-tuned laws of physics—are best explained as the products of an intelligent cause, not chance and necessity.

If that’s how they are best explained, then let’s see the explanation.

I think this is something the uninitiated can readily understand.

9 year old: Daddy, why is the sky blue? father: That’s best explained as a result of physical phenomena. 9 year old: But daddy, you didn’t answer my question!

Re “If that’s how they are best explained, then let’s see the explanation.”

I’ll second that!

Lenny, John Paul II said that wherever he looked in nature, he found evidence which proved that God existed.

Lenny, John Paul II said that wherever he looked in nature, he found evidence which proved that God existed.

How poetic of him.

What scientific evdience did he present for this, again?

Re “What scientific evdience did he present for this, again?”

Poof?

John Paul II says that science can neither affirm nor deny the existence of God, and that there is more than sufficent evidence from nature to prove God’s existence. Perhaps you understand what he is talking about Lenny, if so could you explain it to me please?

Where Darwin replaced the appearance of religiously satisfying divine design with the appearance of “chance and necessity” (gene mutation and natural selection), the CC replaces the appearance of scientifically satisfying natural “design” and reinstalls divine design by dictat.

“An unguided evolutionary process — one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence — simply cannot exist.” (International Theological Commission, under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — aka Pope Benedict XVI.)

Science says that it can, the CC says that it cannot.

We reject ID (DI) not because it is bad science, or even because it is fraudulent science, we reject it because it is religion masquerading as science. (Whether it is heresy is irrelevant, Shirley. It’s religion stupid.)

Now ID (CC) (theistic evolution) does not even pretend to be science. It is proudly, openly and emphatically religion. The CC has concocted a form of evolution which it finds palatable to its religious taste. Fair enough, it is entitled to do that if it wishes, just as ID (DI) is entitled to do whatever it wishes with evolution in order to render it palatable to its religious taste, so long as it is honest about what it is doing and why.

Science cannot endorse any from of evolution which is predicated on the existence of an intelligent designer (least of all a divine one). The evidence renders the assumption of any kind of intelligent designer redundant. Nature apparently creates life’s variety out of her own resources, so far as science can tell.

Theistic religion must necessarily render evolution into some form that it finds compatible with itself, or reject it wholesale. Rejecting it wholesale is certainly not compatible with science, and neither is rendering it into something utterly alien to it.

If the CC merely argued that it is possible that God could be responsible for the natural processes of evolution and that the Church believed this was true purely as a matter of faith, I would have no problem with that; but to assert that it is impossible that nature might be self-sufficient — as the evidence suggests it is — is simply to overrule and discount science. Which is the less compatible with science, I wonder, to reject it wholesale or to overrule it?

John Paul II says that science can neither affirm nor deny the existence of God

Right. IDers, on the other hand, say that science PROVES the existence of God.

Which is precisely why theistic evolutionists (like the Pope) and IDers are lethally deadly enemies that hate each other like poison.

Does that sound at all familiar?

Of course some IDers hate some theistic evolutionists and vice versa,but at the same time there is a close connection there too. Behe and Schoenborn do not hate one another like poison; I am sure about that.

Of course some IDers hate some theistic evolutionists and vice versa,but at the same time there is a close connection there too.

Riiigggghhhtttt. Kind of like Stalinists and Trotskyists, huh. They had a close connection, too.

They killed each other, ya know.

Behe and Schoenborn do not hate one another like poison; I am sure about that.

Schoenborn (an IDer) doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church.

And I invite you to go ahead and email Behe, or Dembski, or any other IDer, and ask them yourself what they think of theistic evolutionists.

Schoenborn, both as a Cardinal and as the person entrusted with directing the Catechism of the CC is a senior figure, close to the centre of power.

I have quoted John Paul II. I shall do so again.

However, this faith in a God who reveals himself, also finds support in the reasoning of our intelligence. When we reflect, we observe that proofs of God’s existence are not lacking. These have been elaborated by thinkers under the form of philosophical demonstrations in the sense of rigorously logical deductions. But they can also take on a simpler form. As such, they are accessible to everyone who seeks to understand the meaning of the world around him.

Using the reasoning of our intelligence there are proofs of God’s existence accessible to everyone, not just Catholics. Not faith then, but reason.

The evolution of living beings, of which science seeks to determine the stages and to discern the mechanism, presents an internal finality which arouses admiration. This finality which directs beings in a direction for which they are not responsible or in charge, obliges one to suppose a Mind which is its inventor, its creator.

To all these “indications” of the existence of God the Creator, some oppose the power of chance or of the proper mechanisms of matter. To speak of chance for a universe which presents such a complex organization in its elements, and such a marvelous finality in its life would be equivalent to giving up the search for an explanation of the world as it appears to us. In fact, this would be equivalent to admitting effects without a cause. It would be to abdicate human intelligence which would thus refuse to think, and to seek a solution for its problems.

Ordinary reason has led us to the opposite conclusion of what science says is true. As far as we can tell there is no evidence of any intelligence involved in the processes of evolution. The possibility cannot be ruled out, but there are no grounds at all for ruling it in.

Thus John Paul II has reasoned himself into a conflict with science.

Revelation and faith are only required to know the triune and personal nature of God, and to demonstrate to us what the nature of the intelligence is that ordinary reason tells us must exist.

Incidentally Lenny, since you have not explained what John Paul II means when he says that science can neither affirm nor deny the existence of God, and that there is more than sufficient evidence from nature to prove God’s existence, would I be correct in assuming that like me, you have no idea what he is talking about?

(sigh) Well, if you want to view the Catholic Church as IDers, go right ahead. Certainly no one can stop you. (shrug)

The IDers, of course, know differently. Just ask them.

Ok, I shall take that as meaning you do NOT know what John Paul II is talking about.

He’s, uh, not talking about science.

Want to know what IDers think of the Catholic church and/or theistic evolutionists? Ask them. They’re not shy about telling everyone.

There’s simply no point in my arguing with you over the matter, when anyone with an IQ above room temperature can simply email the IDers and find out for themselves, quickly, cleanly, unequivocably, and with no input at all from me. (shrug)

Re “To speak of chance for a universe which presents such a complex organization in its elements,”

Quantum theory speaks of “chance” in the motions of subatomic particles. Yet molecules remain intact, and solid objects stay solid (usually). Ergo, the presence of chance does not contradict complexity or organization.

Henry

John Paul II says that science can neither affirm nor deny the existence of God, and that there is more than sufficent evidence from nature to prove God’s existence.

The key to understanding this is that it’s apologetics, not rational argument. Of course the pope found “more than sufficient evidence”, because he took all evidence from nature as evidence of God’s existence, and still would have if the evidence had been completely different. Of course it’s begging the question, but that’s what apologetics is all about.

I have never claimed that ID and theistic evolution are identical; far from it, there are significant differences between them. (They are like the two different sects of Marxism, which you mentioned).

What I say is that they are both, fundamentally, just the bad old argument from design dressed in a cheap tuxedo.

Many people appear to believe that theistic evolution is a belief held on pure blind faith, but that is not true. The RCC only requires faith in order to know the personal nature of God; it claims that reason is sufficient to discern the fact that God exists.

The RCC argues that the footprints of God are all over nature - intelligent design. However God created life, whether it be evolution or otherwise, God is behind it. Science says that there is no evidence of intelligent design in evolution; science can present natural mechanisms to explain the appearance of design. The assumption of a designer is not warranted on scientific grounds.

ID tries to finger certain molecules within the cell as being designed by means other than the mechanisms of evolution. Science says bollocks.

The logical form of the argument from design is to argue from the physical to the metaphysical, from the evidence of nature to the existence of the supernatural.

ID and theistic evolution both involve the argument from design; they obey the same logical form.

In science one may only infer the physical from the physical, or the natural from the natural. Science does not deal in the metaphysical or supernatural.

Thus whilst ID and theistic evolution are logically compatible, neither of them are logically compatible with science.

Sorry, I meant to say the fingerprints of God are all over nature, not the footprints. Maybe both, who knows, after all he is made in our image… *chuckle*

I think I have it Popper, if I understand you correctly. If I understand that John Paul II is talking nonsense, then I do understand him correctly, because he is talking apologetics, and apologetics is just.. umm.. plain nonsense? Is that it?

I think I have it Popper, if I understand you correctly. If I understand that John Paul II is talking nonsense, then I do understand him correctly, because he is talking apologetics, and apologetics is just.. umm.. plain nonsense? Is that it?

I would call it sophistry, rather than nonsense. The goal of apologetics is to provide enough of an appearance of a rational argument to be able to claim that one provided a rational argument without gagging.

Thus whilst ID and theistic evolution are logically compatible, neither of them are logically compatible with science.

Logical incompatibility requires a logical contradiction. If theistic evolution and science are not logically compatible then, if all of the claims of theistic evolution and all of the claims of science are taken as givens, it must be possible to provide a deductive argument of (P and not P), for some P. It’s not clear what would count as such an argument, since science proper does not contain any metaphysical claims, and thus doesn’t contradict such claims. Science is methodologically causally closed, but not metaphysically. It doesn’t seem to me to be logically inconsistent to assert that there is a causal agency that acts outside any discernible physical laws or mechanisms. Imagine a virtual world implemented in a computer. Every once in a while the programmer twiddles a bit here or there – the programmer is a causal source outside of the virtual world; the virtual world is not causally closed, regardless of whether it seems that way to its inhabitants.

ID is a different matter altogether, since it claims that certain observed systems cannot be causally reached without unlawful intervention, but the determination of causal paths is precisely what science is about.

Thus whilst ID and theistic evolution are logically compatible, neither of them are logically compatible with science.

Says you. (shrug)

But, since the vast majority of Christians have no gripe with science, and find science and their faith quite compatible, and since both IDers and theistic evolutionists find their views mutually incompatible and say so out loud, your conclusions seem pretty silly on the face of it.

Let p =

The evolution of living beings, of which science seeks to determine the stages and to discern the mechanism, presents an internal finality which arouses admiration. This finality which directs beings in a direction for which they are not responsible or in charge, obliges one to suppose a Mind which is its inventor, its creator.

Science says that the mechanisms of evolution which “direct beings in a direction for which they are not responsible or in charge”, as far as we can tell, do not steer life towards any final end.

Far from being obliged to suppose a Mind in order to explain it, we are obliged to say that there is no appearance of any final end in view for the processes of evolution.

If p is a statement properly entailed by theistic evolution, then science says not p.

I do not disagree that is possible to assert that God guides the mechanisms of evolution. Faith may assert it in the absence of any evidence if it wishes to.

Apologetics, however, really does muddy the water. The RCC appears to want to have its cake and eat it. It points out quite properly that science can say absolutely nothing about the existence of God from the examination of nature. It then goes on to reason to the existence of God from the examination of nature.

If the Church would issue a clear and unambiguous statement that by faith alone the faithful may believe God guides evolution, I would have no quarrel with it.

If it tries to argue that there is the slightest evidence visible in nature to lead one to believe that, then IMO they are in conflict with science.

Lenny Wrote:

…since the vast majority of Christians have no gripe with science, and find science and their faith quite compatible, and since both IDers and theistic evolutionists find their views mutually incompatible and say so out loud, your conclusions seem pretty silly on the face of it.

The fact that IDers in general hate theistic evolution is not a proof that theistic evolution is compatible with science. I do not believe that the RCC hates intelligent design, on the contrary, all the evidence shows that it adores the idea. It has pushed the argument from design since the middle ages.

ID has adopted and adapted the argument into a creationist form. They are still trying to hold the forward trenches of the argument. The RCC has made a forced tactical retreat into the fallback position of theistic evolution.

I do not have any problem with religious people finding their faith compatible or incompatible with science on grounds of faith. That is a matter for them. It is a matter of complete irrelevance for science whether or not it is compatible with religion.

I do not think it is for science to take a position one way or the other on the question, since it is religious-philosophical question.

I see many in science seeking to push the idea of the compatibility of religion with evolution, as a political tactic in the fight with ID. I think this temptation ought to be avoided.

Some of those pushing the idea are themselves religious, so that naturally they must believe the two to be compatible. They may see the battle with ID as an opportunity to push their own views forward.

Others are neutral or negative in their own true opinion but publicly push a different case to that which they personally believe, for the sake of what they believe to be the greater good of defeating ID.

I profoundly believe that science should avoid going down this path. Science itself is the best and only true way of making the case for science. It must only keep on explaining itself with forceful honest clarity. If it does that I am firmly convinced that the inane posturing of ID will not obtain general favour. Because I see this move towards the politics of the expedient happening on the side of science I want to forcefully examine the claim of compatibility to see whether it holds up.

I see no reason for allowing the compatibility claim to go forward by default without scrutiny. I think science descends into the mire if it goes in this direction.

Amen Leigh.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on February 27, 2006 8:49 AM.

Larry Witham: ID Flack was the previous entry in this blog.

New evidence that natural selection is a general driving force behind the origin of species is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter