December 24, 2006 - December 30, 2006 Archives

Convocation on Intelligent Design Creationism with Robert Pennock

(#12066 ; 58 minutes; 12/11/2006 ) Robert T. Pennock, the scientist, philosopher and author of “Tower of Babel, The Evidence Against the New Creationism” speaks on the controversial movement to include intelligent design creationism in the curricula of public schools.

Contrived dualism and other ID fallacies

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On Nobel Intent, John Timmer discusses recent attempts by Intelligent Design Evangelical Activists (IDEA) to ‘rally its base’. Mostly this involves returning to the good old creationist claims about evolution and mutations but it also involves ad hominem attacks on Judge Jones who ruled in a devastating manner on the topic of Intelligent Design, causing Behe to describe Judge Jones as “the former head of the liquor control board who signed off on a tendentious brief by a product liability trial lawyer.””

Of course, it was Behe’s own testimony which provided much of the ammunition for the lawyers and helped Judge Jones make his ruling. Not surprisingly, Behe claims that his testimony has been misinterpreted or misunderstood. So far, it seems that Behe is unable to accept personal responsibilities for his testimony.

Behe’s confusion about falsification

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On UcD, the following statement by Behe is being discussed. I will show that IC or falsification of IC has nothing to do with Intelligent Design since IC is merely a negative statement about natural selection, and flawed by definition. Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to expose the fallacies behind ID think and educate people about its flaws and why it has remained scientifically vacuous.

Behe Wrote:

The National Academy of Sciences has objected that intelligent design is not falsifiable, and I think that’s just the opposite of the truth. Intelligent design is very open to falsification. I claim, for example, that the bacterial flagellum could not be produced by natural selection; it needed to be deliberately intelligently designed. Well, all a scientist has to do to prove me wrong is to take a bacterium without a flagellum, or knock out the genes for the flagellum in a bacterium, go into his lab and grow that bug for a long time and see if it produces anything resembling a flagellum. If that happened, intelligent design, as I understand it, would be knocked out of the water. I certainly don’t expect it to happen, but it’s easily falsified by a series of such experiments.

Note that Behe’s claim does not logically follow: Namely that if something cannot be explained by one of the processes of evolution, namely natural selection that we then have to assume that it was intelligently designed. Even though we have no competing explanations as to who, what, how or when. In other words, ‘intelligently designed’ becomes a place holder for our ignorance.

On Nobel Intent, John Timmer discusses amongst others the contrived dualism of many ID relevant claims

He also relied a lot on the “contrived dualism” argument: design was supported by the failure of evolutionary explanations, because no other alternative was possible. This was stated with extraordinary specificity when Behe answered questions, as he more or less claimed that ID was accessible to experimental studies because finding the limits of evolution would reveal design (more on that later).

Answering Krauze and Sternberg

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Krauze has written a response to my debunking of the Souder report, and it includes a response from Richard Sternberg to one small portion of my critique. What is most remarkable about the response, I think, is how much is left entirely undisputed. Neither Krauze nor Sternberg even mentions, much less attempts to dispute, the argument that Sternberg acted unethically in regard to the publishing of the Meyer paper, and that truly is the single most important issue. If that much is true, then whatever hostility he met with by his colleagues is entirely justified. And neither of them even tries to dispute my arguments for that conclusion.

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