Oops, they did it again

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From Premier Christian Radio we learn more about the concept of Intelligent Design.

28 October 2006 Darwin vs. Design

We revisit the subject of Intelligent Design and Evolution with special guest Dr. Tom Woodward from the USA who has written a history of the Design movement. Pete Hearty of the National Secular Society argues for Darwinian evolution. Will the idea of a a “God-like” intelligence behind nature supersede Darwinism?

A “God-like” intelligence behind nature. Good for them, finally some Christians who clearly describe what ID is all about.

73 Comments

Will the idea of a a “God-like” intelligence behind nature supersede Darwinism?

When will they finally get it? Evolution is God’s Design of creation. Therefore the question in itself is nonsense, since it suggests opposites that do not exist.

As Stephen Barr writes in “The Miracle of Evolution”:

“If biology remains only biology, it is not to be feared. Much of the fear that does exist is rooted in the notion that God is in competition with nature, so that the more we attribute to one the less we can attribute to the other. That is false. The greater the powers and potentialities in nature, the more magnificent must be nature’s far-sighted Author, that God whose ‘ways are unsearchable’ and who ‘reaches from end to end ordering all things mightily.’ Richard Dawkins famously called the universe ‘a blind watchmaker.’ If it is, it is miracle enough for anyone; for it is incomparably greater to design a watchmaker than a watch. We need not pit evolution against design, if we recognize that evolution is part of God’s design.”

Of course, atheists will not agree with this interpretation, but believers should realize that this creates the logically necessary harmony between philosophy of belief and science – after all, for a believer, nature, which is studied by science, is the book of God’s works. Then we can all together move on and wholeheartedly embrace science, whatever the ultimate philosophical interpretations of its results may be for each person, theist or atheist. These will not influence scientific progress, but silly disagreement on science itself will.

Nice post, Al. I really like the quote from Stephen Barr.

The key idea is that for the creationists if nature did it, then God didn’t do it, as if “God is in competition with nature.” They will inevitably see science as in conflict with their religious beliefs, but frankly, that’s not science’s problem.

The other key idea is that different people will have different religious interpretations of the findings of science. This is something we should be able to live with. If we want to dialogue about something important, we can, and should, talk about different religious perspectives, but we should understand that the findings of science are merely a part, and not the main part, of what we should consider as we have those discussions.

Re: comment 145119 by Moritz (endorsed by Krebs in 145135): a guelder-rose berry said, “I am good with honey.” Honey replied, “I am good without you.” Confronted with evidence for evolution, some believers simply deny or misinterpret the evidence, but some other, like Moritz, perform acrobatic exercises to reconcile their faith with scientific evidence, and sometimes even go to such lengths as to view their religious prejudices as allegedly supporting their faith. In fact, though, science is “good without faith” and cares not a fig about religious fantasies.

In fact, though, science is “good without faith” and cares not a fig about religious fantasies.

If it “cares not a fig” about them, then, um, why do the evangelical atheists keep bringing them up … ?

Alas, it sounds to me as though the evangelical atheists want the same thing that the fundamentalist nutters want — they want science to support their religious and philosophical opinions.

And they are both equally wrong.

Lenny Flank:

If it “cares not a fig” about them, then, um, why do the evangelical atheists keep bringing them up … ?

“Evangelical atheists”? A new entry to the dictionary of oxymorons? Any examples?

Funny, if you look up Lenny Flank’s post onTalk Reason, it makes one expect that Lenny would agree with my statement in comment 145146 he now rejects in his comment 145151. Science cares only about evidence and as such makes no distinction between “natural” and “supernatural.” That is Lenny’s thesis in the above post; I agree with it and it is in tune with the statement that science does not care about religious fantasies.

“Evangelical atheists”? A new entry to the dictionary of oxymorons? Any examples?

Sure, an evangelical atheist is someone who zealous and enthusiastic in taking atheism and using science and philosophy to argue not only that atheism is correct but also that religious beliefs are wrong. Often they make the same mistake as Young Earth Creationists or Intelligent Design activists to argue that science not only supports but proves their position. Example

The Evangelical Atheist is dedicated to helping mankind overcome religion.

From the Urban Dictionary

An evangelical atheist is one who not only believes there is no god or other supreme being, but is obsessed with convincing everyone around them to become an atheist too, usually through hard-line intolerance (the kind they accuse other religions of). When cornered they usually try to put down their opponent’s religion and bash them for ‘blind faith’, not realizing that their belief that there is no god is no more or less valid or provable than the other guy’s belief that there is one.

Not to be confused with normal atheists/agnostics, who for the most part just dont talk about religion and accept the beliefs of those around them as their perogative. Evangelical atheists are particularly common on the Internet, as organized religion is generally accepted as part of ‘the system’ of global human society, and lately it’s become cool on the Internet to hate ‘the system’. Mostly teen angst if you ask me…

No mention throughout the entire discussion of silly YEC ideas, for example, the Earth being only 6,000 years old, dinosaurs living alongside people in the Garden of Eden (just like in the Flintstones), flood geology, vapour canopies, etc.etc. Which is why I get somewhat confused at times as to the real nature of ID. Is it YECism or not ? Are all the people involved in the movement YEC’s ? I got the impression Woodward wasn’t.

I just love C.S.Lewis

I wonder if Tom Woodward realises that C.S.Lewis was a T.E. and that he (C.S.Lewis) didn’t have a problem with evolutionary science. I’m puzzled as to why YEC fundies so often quote Lewis.

In all my 20+ adult years of seeking out atheists and intelligent believers, I’ve never met or read anyone who fits the descriptiom of “evangelical atheist” that I’ve seen here. The closest was an ex-Christian friend of mine who, upon losing his faith, was so ardent about it that he would actually correct people who said “God bless you” when he sneezed.

However, he was just predictably stretching new intellectual legs, and quickly passed through that phase to the one the other 99.9% of atheists I’ve met and discussed the issue with inhabit: we wouldn’t think about gods or anyone else’s opinion of them at all were the pious not so incessantly blocking our path because of what they think their gods think of what we are doing. That’s why the term is so absurd. When was the last time you heard of a bunch of atheists trying to stop believers from doing something because it was based religiously motivated?

Evangelical Christians knock on your door, uninvited, on a Sunday morning to convert you to their view. Evangelical Christians stop you in the street to convert you, and think it’s cute when their kids try the same thing. There is no group of atheists that can’t fit in a phone booth that has anything even close to that attitude.

In all my 20+ adult years of seeking out atheists and intelligent believers, I’ve never met or read anyone who fits the descriptiom of “evangelical atheist” that I’ve seen here.

Then you haven’t been here long enough.

Oh, and before anyone gets their anti-religious panties all in a bunch, let me point out that I do not assert, and do not accept, the existence of any god, gods, goddesses, or any other supernatural entity whatsoever.

But as was pointed out, science isn’t pro-religion. Nor is science anti-religion. When faced with religious matters, opinions, or questions, the only answer science can give is: (shrug).

Alas, as I noted earlier, both the fundie Christians and the evangelical atheists have the same goal – they both want science to support their religious/philosophical opinions. They are merely different sides of the same coin – birds of the same feather. And both are mis-using and abusing science.

An evangelical atheist is one who not only believes there is no god or other supreme being, but is obsessed with convincing everyone around them to become an atheist too

Yep. I’ve certainly met people like that.

They have become exactly what they say they are fighting. (shrug)

Evangelical Christians knock on your door, uninvited, on a Sunday morning to convert you to their view.

That’s the ‘old days’, nowadays they have book tours :-)

PvM and Lenny: Is it not interesting that the Urban Dictionary referred to by PvM gives as a synonym to “evangelical atheist” the word “asshole?” It makes doubtful that dictionary’s authority except as a source of fun.

The combination of “evangelical” with “atheist” does not seem to be apt. Indeed, would you call an overzealous Orthodox Jew an “evangelical Jew” or an overzealous Muslim an “evangelical Muslim?” I don’t think you would, because the word “evangelical” has a strong connotation of being related to Christian Gospels’s dissemination. When applied to atheists, it is IMHO misleading.

I think atheism and religious faith are both irrational. Neither is provable by incontroversial evidence. A different question is the veracity of science vs. specific tenets of a religion. Science is highly reliable and mostly contrary to the tenets of any religion. One can believe in God but reject “revealed” religious fantasies as being hopelessly against scientific data. That is why science does not care about religious fantasies which are not supported by evidence and are therefore beyond science. This does not prevent science from investigating phenomena involving possible “supernatural” components (as in Lenny’s example of intercessory prayers, or in the Bible code fallacy).

“Evangelical atheists”? A new entry to the dictionary of oxymorons? Any examples?

I think Lenny may be refering to people like Richard Dawkins etc.:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/a[…]n-the-march/

I think groups like AIG would like this to become a debate about whether or not God exists. Since many Christians accept evolutionary science the issue of God’s existance is irrelevent and shouldn’t be an issue. I thought that both Peter and Chris were very wise not to bring this up during the radio programme.

Believers are far more motivated to convert than are nonbelievers, irrespective of who is right. The inapplicability of “evangelical” to atheism need not be perceived as some sort of insult to believers. Imagine you had two friends:

Bob thinks your religious views are mistaken, and you are wasting your time in your religious activities.

Jow thinks your religious views are going to land you in a fiery pit of pain and despair for all of eternity.

Now seriously gentlemen, who is going to be the evangelical one? And given the presumptions, it is entirely rational. Atheism just isn’t all that exciting.

Believers are far more motivated to convert than are nonbelievers, irrespective of who is right. The inapplicability of “evangelical” to atheism need not be perceived as some sort of insult to believers. Imagine you had two friends:

Bob thinks your religious views are mistaken, and you are wasting your time in your religious activities.

Joe thinks your religious views are going to land you in a fiery pit of pain and despair for all of eternity.

Now seriously gentlemen, who is going to be the evangelical one? And given the presumptions, it is entirely rational. Atheism just isn’t that exciting.

Lenny Says:

Alas, as I noted earlier, both the fundie Christians and the evangelical atheists have the same goal — they both want science to support their religious/philosophical opinions. They are merely different sides of the same coin — birds of the same feather. And both are mis-using and abusing science.

Nonsense, they aren’t even close to the same thing. As the IDers are so apt to demonstrate for us, the Evangelicals distort science to support their views, almost proudly so. Show me an atheist group that lobbies the world to accept their view in spite of what mainstream science has to say. Oh, science favors the atheists you say? Exactly my point, and Dawkins’ as well.

Dawkins is just not making an exception for gods in his thinking, and is no more an evangelical atheist than he is an evangelical a-unicornist. He just doesn’t have Unicornists in his face every day trying to get him to stop eating ice cream cones because they think Unicornius considers it blasphemy against the Holy Horn, and therefore Dawkins has less of a need to write a book showing how flawed the arguments proporting to prove the existence of Unicornius are.

The atheist, like the a-unicornist is entirely reflexive, which is why “Evangelical atheist” is, at best, an oxymoron, and at worst, fodder for the intellectual enemy that would quote mine and slander with it.

As the IDers are so apt to demonstrate for us, the Evangelicals distort science to support their views, almost proudly so. Show me an atheist group that lobbies the world to accept their view in spite of what mainstream science has to say. Oh, science favors the atheists you say? Exactly my point, and Dawkins’ as well.

Science favors the atheist as much as the Christian religion. That by itself is a clear evangelical atheist statement to suggest that science favors the atheists.

The combination of “evangelical” with “atheist” does not seem to be apt.

It is once you get to know people like PZ, Norm, and Popper’s Ghost.

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Alas, as I noted earlier, both the fundie Christians and the evangelical atheists have the same goal — they both want science to support their religious/philosophical opinions.

Oh, science favors the atheists you say? Exactly my point, and Dawkins’ as well.

As I was saying . … . (shrug)

I think groups like AIG would like this to become a debate about whether or not God exists. Since many Christians accept evolutionary science the issue of God’s existance is irrelevent and shouldn’t be an issue. I thought that both Peter and Chris were very wise not to bring this up during the radio programme.

I quite agree. This is simply not a fight between “science” and “religion” (although extremists from both sides would LIKE to make it one). It is a fight between “a tiny minority of fundamentalist nutters” and “everyone else”. If we turn this into a “science vs religion” fight, we will lose. Like it or not, most people in the US are religious, and in a political fight with the fundies, we cannot win without the active support of most of those religious people. Fortunately, most religious people think the fundies are just as nutty as I do.

The whole “is there a god or not” issue is a non-issue. ID isn’t science, whether there’s a god or not. ID offers nothing scientifically useful, whether there’s a god or not. ID is illegal to teach, whether there is a god or not. Nobody supports the theocratic dominionist political agenda behind the IDers, whether there is a god or not. So there’s simply no need for the issue to come up at all. (With the sole exception that every time the fundie nutters preach to us about their god, they make it SOOOOOOO much easier to kick their ass, yet again, in Federal court by making clear their unconstitutional aims and motives.)

And I will once again repeat, for the hard-of-hearing, that I do not assert, and do not accept, the existence of any god, gods, goddesses, or any other supernatural entity of any sort whatsoever.

Of course, atheists will not agree with this interpretation, but believers should realize that this creates the logically necessary harmony between philosophy of belief and science — after all, for a believer, nature, which is studied by science, is the book of God’s works. Then we can all together move on and wholeheartedly embrace science, whatever the ultimate philosophical interpretations of its results may be for each person, theist or atheist.

In other words, what is proposed here is a formulation which renders notions of gods irrelevant to, rather than in competition with, the reality that science investigates. Which in turn constructs a scheme wherein those unable to set aside beliefs that serve no positive purpose, can at least neuter them so they don’t actively hinder anything important.

Kind of like figuring out a way to drive with a blindfold on by making the blindfold transparent, for those unable to take it off. It says that your particular god(s) are so almighty that they’ve set things up so as to render themselves unnecessary, now or ever. The distinction between this and there not being any gods requires at least seven Philadelphia lawyers to distinguish.

Nonsense, they aren’t even close to the same thing.

They are precisely the same.

And, oddly enough, both extremes tend to react in precisely the same way whenever I point this out to them. Apparently, neither one of them likes having their particular religious/philosophical opinions to be questioned . …

The distinction between this and there not being any gods requires at least seven Philadelphia lawyers to distinguish.

Well, as long as their religious beliefs don’t affect their science, what do YOU care? What’s it to YOU? If someone does make that distinction, how does it pick YOUR pocket or break YOUR leg?

Or do you simply object to the mere *presence* of religious beliefs, in any form … ?

Lenny:

They are precisely the same.

ONLY if evidence does not matter. As soon as you start thinking evidence indeed matters, then the distinction becomes huge.

ONLY if evidence does not matter.

Well, whenever you figure out a way to test for the existence of gods using the scientific method, do let us know, OK?

If it can’t be tested using the scientific method, then science has, uh, diddley doo to say about it. Pro or con. (shrug)

You are of course entitled to any religious/philosophical opinions that you like (the fundies haven’t YET managed to repeal the First Amendment). But until you can test them using the scientific method, they’re not science. Period. And claiming they are, is an abuse of science. Every bit as much as the fundie abuse of science.

Thank you, Lenny, for a whole lot of common sense on this thread.

“Well, whenever you figure out a way to test for the existence of gods using the scientific method, do let us know, OK?”

If it cant be tested empirically, how could anyone have come to believe in it in the first place? If your position cannot be proven true or false, what led you to hold that position?

That is why I am an atheist. I will only believe in god when not only can those who claim it or any other supernatural being exists come up with a test, but also have that test support their hypothesis. I fail completely to understand why, when there is no evidence for something, some people will start believing it is true anyway.

If there is no proof that something exists, is it so hard to admit it probably doesnt?

If it cant be tested empirically, how could anyone have come to believe in it in the first place? If your position cannot be proven true or false, what led you to hold that position?

The same that led atheists to reject the existence of a deity.

Sorry to interrupt here, but PZ is back to deleting my posts from **all** his threads again … (sigh)

So I’ll repost this one, from the “Nature Publishes A Crank Letter” thread, here:

Yes I do, and Beneviste’s paper is still cited by homeopathy advocates.

It has always amused me whenever homeopathy advocates try to make the point that their, uh, cures “don’t have any harmful side effects”.

Yes, by golly, they are right. Plain old ordinary water is indeed not known to have any harmful side effects. (giggle)

Questions that PvM may prefer not to have me ask (you’ll know when he censors them)

You seem to be, um, uncensored. (shrug)

Would you mind asking your pal PZ to stop censoring ME? Once again, after a fight, he is childishly deleting comments of mine on all his threads, which do not refer to him, do not refer to religion/atheism, and are utterly and totally innocuous.

I.e., he is waving his dick again.

Wrote:

Yes, by golly, they are right. Plain old ordinary water is indeed not known to have any harmful side effects. (giggle)

Tell that to a drowning man, smart guy.

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank asked:

Would you mind asking your pal PZ to stop censoring ME?

Lenny, you need to be discouraged from posting for the sake of your own mental health. You spend way too much time posting here.

I know because I spend too much time here and I’m not posting half as often or as much as you do.

norm is questioning Lenny’s mental health? What a joke!

It has always amused me whenever homeopathy advocates try to make the point that their, uh, cures “don’t have any harmful side effects”.

Yes, by golly, they are right. Plain old ordinary water is indeed not known to have any harmful side effects. (giggle)

Yep, you’re excactly right Lenny. Tried it a number of years ago in desperation. Getting up at 7.00am in order to rub an unknown substance on my navel didn’t do anything for my U.C. I’ve had experience of homeopathy twice now and the only thing it harmed was my bank account ! In the end surgery worked on both occasions. I went to a colleague of this well known U.K. homeopathy Dr.by the way:

http://www.jandevrieshealth.co.uk/

Plain old ordinary water is indeed not known to have any harmful side effects. (giggle)

Actually, suddenly ingesting very large amomunts of water can be dangerous, sometimes fatal.

The problem is that if you suddenly put a bunch of water into your digestive tract, especially if your stomach is empty and it can get straight to your duodenum, it will be very quickly absorbed through osmotic pressure.

Your kidneys will do their noble best trying to get rid of it, but there’s a limit to how fast they can pump, and the salinity of your blood can fall to levels where the biochemistry that keeps you running collapses.

The condition is called water toxicity, and, in extreme cases can lead to fatal heart atttacks.

Who would suddenly decide to drink gallons of water with nothing at all in their stomachs, you ask? Like all weird things, the best recent examples of this way to win the Darwin awards came out of California a decade ago, in the midst of the “cleansing colonic” fad. Not content to just pull the drain plug, some extreme enthusiasts decided that a system flush was just the right ticket, an it turned out badly.

Proof that nature eventually thins the herd, I guess.

Oh, Carol!

I am somewhat perplexed as to what you are “sensing” about my “Jewish God” (whatever that means) vis-a-vis the “diffuse God” (universe and its rules). To me they were always one and the same. What’s on your mind?

Huh? Carol, I agree that my incredulity isn’t evidence of much of anything, other than your well-known capacity to boggle my little pinheaded excuse for a brain (I must not have had any Neanderthal ancestors).

But is this diffuse, Einsteinian “God” you now seem to be claiming not a considerably different deity than the interventionist, burning-bush, tablet-engraving, enemies-of-the-Israelites-smiting, humans-to-salt-pillars-transmuting “God” of the Pentateuch?

Or does Mr. Landa’s “authorized” translation of the first several books of the Bible put some entirely different “spin” on those episodes as well?

Who would suddenly decide to drink gallons of water with nothing at all in their stomachs, you ask? Like all weird things, the best recent examples of this way to win the Darwin awards came out of California a decade ago, in the midst of the “cleansing colonic” fad. Not content to just pull the drain plug, some extreme enthusiasts decided that a system flush was just the right ticket, an it turned out badly.

this isn’t the only way to get water toxicity, and actually the most common sufferers are marathon runners, who take in water, but forget that electrolytes are also lost through sweat.

there was even a story on it on 60 minutes last year.

actually the most common sufferers are marathon runners

Ah, that explains why I hadn’t heard of it before. Marathons involve exercise, a subject of which I try to avoid any direct knowlege.

(I kave no direct knowlege about colon-cleansing either, but at least that makes it into News Of The Weird.)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

“this isn’t the only way to get water toxicity, and actually the most common sufferers are marathon runners, who take in water, but forget that electrolytes are also lost through sweat.”

I think this happened to me. In 1998, I ran the Dallas marathon while drinking mainly just water throughout the race and at the 22 mile mark, I hit “the runners wall”. I was running a decent pace (I ran the first half in 1 hour 22 minutes), but at mile 16 I could tell I was starting to slow down and at mile 22 - Wham! It took me about 45 minutes to run the last four miles. It also probably did not help that my longest run before the marathon was only 12 miles (which was really stupid!)

Anyway, just a little insider info for anyone interested in marathons and what not to do when training for or running in one.

Re “Science is about cause and effect relationships.”

Not all of it. Science can also study correlations in which no cause/effect relation is evident, as long as there are repeatable verifiable observations that form pattern(s) that can be used to produce or support theories.

————-

Re “Plain old ordinary water is indeed not known to have any harmful side effects.”

That reminds me of an episode of MASH, in which one of their people had a condition that blocked the usual way of removing excess water from ones system.

Henry

I would have to go with Pandeism – the God that created the Universe actually became the Universe at the time of the creation. Therefore, God can not interfere with the Universe, which operates according to natural laws set at the creation, but does experience the world.

This idea has gotten a recent boost from Paola Zizzi, an Italian astrophysicist/mathematician, who suggests that during the Big Bang the expanding proto-universe may have passed through a point where the patterns of energy match those which are theoretically required to express consciousness. Since a being with the power to create the universe would presumably have the power to initiate such creation at any point on the scale, there may have been nothing preceding this point other than a different manifestation of such a being, a thought entity, if you will, an entity formed of energy masked in a pattern alien to the laws of this universe (and indeed, responsible for creating the laws of this universe).

So, this entity which could conventionally be called God chooses to disperse itself (really to re-arrange itself) and become the Universe, thereby to complete its knowledge of the possible conditions of existence. The absentee landlord/clockwork universe-maker of Deism becomes the God=Universe of Pantheism, hence Pandeism; God is a scientist conducting an experiment, and all of us are the bacteria in this Petri dish universe (but then again, the Petri dish, everything in it, and the experiment are God itself).

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on November 18, 2006 8:11 PM.

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