New Scientist Investigates the Biologic Institute

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In its latest issue, New Scientist has published a story—Intelligent design: The God Lab—and an editorial—It’s still about religion—about that double-secret, DI funded research center: the Biologic Institute.

The reticence cloaks an unorthodox agenda. “We are the first ones doing what we might call lab science in intelligent design,” says George Weber, the only one of Biologic’s four directors who would speak openly with me. “The objective is to challenge the scientific community on naturalism.” Weber is not a scientist but a retired professor of business and administration at the Presbyterian Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. He heads the Spokane chapter of Reasonstobelieve.org, a Christian organisation that seeks to challenge Darwinism. …

Last week I learned that following his communication with New Scientist, Weber has left the board of the Biologic Institute. Douglas Axe, the lab’s senior researcher and spokesman, told me in an email that Weber “was found to have seriously misunderstood the purpose of Biologic and to have misrepresented it”. Axe’s portrayal of the Biologic Institute’s purpose excludes religious connotation. He says that the lab’s main objective “is to show that the design perspective can lead to better science”, although he allows that the Biologic Institute will “contribute substantially to the scientific case for intelligent design”.

Clearly, the Discovery Institute has established the Biologic Institute a few decades too late. The Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society have been doing research to challenge naturalism for a long time. They are so prestigious in the field that they have even created their own research journals for publishing their papers. This does not bode well for the Discovery and Biologic Institutes because they will have a hard time breaking the stranglehold that those two research centers have on the industry. For decades now, the ICR and CRS have been telling us that their research is going to revolutionize science in five years time. How can the Biologic and Discovery Institutes compete with such success?

We here at the Thumb wish the Biologic and Discovery Institutes all the luck in turning the ID public relations campaign into a working scientific program. They’ll need it.

74 Comments

aww… how cute, they think they’re scientists.

This reminds me very strongly of the Raëlians’ famous “cloning laboratory”. Am I the only one?

They are so prestigious in the field that they have even created their own research journals for publishing their papers.

This is what I was talking about in another comment! Beautiful, glossy, scientific-looking journals with a giveaway on the inside flap: all our scientists have signed a statement of belief.

“We are the first ones doing what we might call lab science in intelligent design,” says George Weber,

Maybe theirs will differ in that it will omit the small print about belief. As usual, the ID-crowd will be displaying even more dishonesty than traditional creationists.

oh very tres manifique .…here is a prediction they will discover a handful, a manipolo, a hÃ¥ndfull, a handjevol, a punhado, die Handvoll, a poignée, a å°‘æ•°, bir avuç, a garstka, a عَدَد قَليل of dust, which by any other name is still a handfull (OF DUST)…after all.…. man created god from it.

Reed is absolutely right that just having trained scientists working in a real lab on an official “research program” in itself is not going to accomplish the desired feat of lending ID “scientific respectability”, as the failure of decades of work by “creation scientists” has shown.

It seems likely that the BI work is mainly going to focus on peripheral issues related to “obstacles to evolution”, as Axe’s previous work and the Behe & Snoke paper did, and not on ID itself, which is essentially empty of positive scientific predictions. I think papers of that kind can certainly find outlets in the mainstream scientific literature. Whether they will convince anyone about any “big picture” interpretation is another matter.

Still, I have to hand it to Axe and Gauger for putting their scientific careers where their mouths are. I don’t know what kind of contract and guarantees they got from the DI, but if this move results in a long publication drought, as young scientists this could be a big problem. (The third guy is not a scientist at all, so I am sure if things go sour he could happily go straight back working at MS messing up browser software.)

Which brings me to the last point - I actually and honestly wish them good luck. If they do real science, and interpret their data rigorously without forcing interpretations on them (as Dembski as been doing with Axe’s previous work, for instance), they may well turn out to be the death blow against ID (in its present form). This is of course assuming they will publish any kind of result, both favorable and unfavorable for ID, and we have no reason to doubt them at this point.

It is certainly a positive development that, only a mere decade or so into its history of proclaiming that a scientific revolution is afoot, the modern ID movement has realized that doing science should actually be part of the deal. Now, if they just fired all their lawyers/PR hacks and put all their cash in the BI, I’d be totally happy.

I don’t think the 2-decade headstart the ICR and CRS have had, will pose much of a problem. After all, science builds on existing work, and the BI folks should be able to come up to speed on all the lab work the ICR and CRS have done, within a reasonable amount of time. In fact, they probably already ARE up to speed, since they are specialists in this field and presumably keep up to date with the latest research and results.

Well, I posted this, and it vanished. Preview shows NO prior posts, so I don’t know where it went. If this is a duplicate, don’t blame me…

I don’t think the 2-decade headstart the ICR and CRS have had, will pose much of a problem. After all, science builds on existing work, and the BI folks should be able to come up to speed on all the lab work the ICR and CRS have done, within a reasonable amount of time. In fact, they probably already ARE up to speed, since they are specialists in this field and presumably keep up to date with the latest research and results.

10 to 1 says this is just ICR 2.0. The hush-hush nature of the institute–a hush-hush science lab for god’s sakes–is all I need to know about this move. They want an apologetics mill that they can quote from and say, “Ah ha! Now we have publications! You can’t deny we’re all about science now!”

Reminds me of Mormonism’s FAARMS institute: a scientific front used to shore up and protect a failing faith.

The New Scientist page linked to from this Thumb posting shows a thumbnail ad for the print version of the magazine in the left column. The cover photo, an old man with his back to a chimp, both with their chins in the air, is (weirdly) the same that was used on the cover of Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box—at least in the softbound edition (Touchstone, 1998).

“Great Minds Think Alike” is the cover story with the man-chimp photo. Presumably the New Scientist did not mean to be classing themselves with Behe … Or is Behe supposed to be the—nah, can’t be. That would be ad hominid, eh?

There should be something more clever to say about this: maybe someone else can think of what it is. Still, I found the clashy deja vu pretty intense until I figured out where it was coming from. Lazy graphics person at New Scientist is probably the long and short of it.

Larry

I don’t think the metaphor “Beating a dead horse” is going to work for these people anymore. From now on we should use the analogy “Beating a horse that has been dead for 10 years”. Come on, how many times do these people have to fail before they realize it’s just not going to happen. Take all the money you are spending on “Real” ID research and feed starving children, or fight disease. It’s just a waste of money.

Granted that Weber is out and the following query is therefore effectively moot, but nonetheless…

“The objective is to challenge the scientific community on naturalism.”

I’m wondering what kind of experimental result Weber had in mind here.

“And, since the litmus strip now turns BLUE, we can see that the only plausible explanation is the intervention of a supernatural entity, presumably a litmus fairy, or perhaps a lesser known patron saint of pH balance.”

No, see, they’re going to come up with unreproducible results and chalk them up to the supernatural. Sort of like we did in labs from time to time.…

I knew my professors were biased when I got so-called “impossible results”. Where were the IDIsts when I needed them (and no, really, I didn’t screw up labs very often)?

Maybe that’s the secret behind ID after all, revenge on the teachers who denied their creations of energy, their spontaneous generation of flies and bacteria (‘honest, it wasn’t contamination, it was God’), and their inability to get any consistent geological dates (so we’re agnostic on the age of the earth, don’t you know?). The science teachers will pay when we bring down materialism/naturalism.

What other “results” could they come up with? “Consistent miracles” wouldn’t be considered to be miracles, so they must be trying to show that science is really inconsistent, which it likely will be in their hands.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

From the article:

However, Steve Fuller, a sociologist at the University of Warwick, UK, who testified in favour of ID in the Dover trial, believes the Biologic Institute’s activities could help break down barriers between religious people and scientists. “Regardless of whether the science cuts any ice against evolution, one of the virtues is that it could provide a kind of model for how religiously motivated people can go into the lab.”

Apparently the model is one where one works in secrecy, and tells anyone interested in your work to piss of.

Err, OK.

Bob

The quality of the research that comes out of this is likely to be similar to the quality of “Christian rock.”

If propaganda is your primary motivation, it becomes the only thing you will excel at. That’s why the research (and the music) will suck.

There won’t be anything even remotely useful coming out of this place. If they were seriously interested in biology and its applications to real needs such as curing disease, improving food quality, etc., they’d be doing that research at any of the hundreds of reputable institutions that already exist. It’ll be a propaganda mill just like the ones in the past, and its main reason for being will be so that their targeted sections of the public (nonscientists and the religiously inclined) will think that there is some “scientific intelligent design research” going on somewhere, and will be more favorably disposed towards it.

“However, Steve Fuller, a sociologist at the University of Warwick, UK, who testified in favour of ID in the Dover trial, believes the Biologic Institute’s activities could help break down barriers between religious people and scientists. “Regardless of whether the science cuts any ice against evolution, one of the virtues is that it could provide a kind of model for how religiously motivated people can go into the lab.”

Sure, the way to “break down barriers” between religious people and scientists is to weaken science so it becomes less threatening to said religious people. And why should religiously motivated people be encouraged to “go into the lab” any differently than other scientists, anyway? What malarkey.

I guess they’ll sit around waiting for the intelligent designer to “intervene” and hope they get it on film.

I wonder, are they hoping for reproducible or irreproducible results?

From talkorigins:

Axe (2000) finds that changing 20 percent of the external amino acids in a couple proteins causes them to lose their original function, even though individual amino acid changes did not. There was no investigation of change of function. Axe’s paper is not even a challenge to Darwinian evolution, much less support for intelligent design. Axe himself has said that he has not attempted to make an argument for design in any of his publications (Forrest and Gross 2004, 42).

Duh. Proteins and protein complexes function according to their shape. How is a demonstration of this an argument against evolution?

Andrea Bottaro is very generous in his comment. The best that Behe has proposed is taking away parts from a system and seeing if function is lost, AFAIK. May as well remove the retina from a mammalian eye and then observe the loss of vision. Does anyone know of another type of experiment that would support vague notions of irreducible complexity? The pre-requisite to that type of experiment has to be coming up with a definition, and then actually demonstrating something that is truly irreducibly complex. What else is there?

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 3, column 2, byte 87 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

To some degree, I think I can understand the “ID scientist” being frustrated. To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design. It’s there, it’s something an eye HAS. So what can you do in a lab? Peer at an eye and say “Ayup, it’s designed, just as we saw last time. It has the property of design.” Through Behe’s view, design is simply not a conclusion. God is the conclusion. Design is the raw datum.

If it was my job to come up with a definition of IC, logically I would have to assign the following properties:

1. The system is perfect at its function,

2. There are no functioning homologues lacking any components which are present in said system (i.e. no simpler versions)

Wonder if I could get a job at the DI.

To some degree, I think I can understand the “ID scientist” being frustrated. To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design. It’s there, it’s something an eye HAS. So what can you do in a lab? Peer at an eye and say “Ayup, it’s designed, just as we saw last time. It has the property of design.” Through Behe’s view, design is simply not a conclusion. God is the conclusion. Design is the raw datum.

I can only understand that level of frustration, if one refuses to acknowledge the logic behind it as being exactly the same level of logic, thereby producing a similar level of frustration, that geocentrists must have felt during Copernicus’ time.

really, bottom line, there is no longer support for this kind of logic, thereby while you might be able to comprehend the “frustration”, it is no longer defensible, given how many times prior the “intuitive” approach has been proven incorrect when actually put to the test.

To some degree, I think I can understand the “ID scientist” being frustrated. To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design.

Ah. Like N-rays.

So what exactly is the research subject here? Like, what are some of the things they are working on? I mean, assuming the point is to actually perform any specific research on any particular subject, and not just to do “research”. (“So, what are you working on?” “Research.”) The New Scientist article says:

Gauger would not speak to New Scientist about her work. According to Axe, the projects currently under way at Biologic include “examining the origin of metabolic pathways in bacteria, the evolution of gene order in bacteria, and the evolution of protein folds”…

“On the computational side, we are nearing completion of a system for exploring the evolution of artificial genes that are considerably more life-like than has been the case previously.”

For a research lab supposedly about the “design perspective”, that sure is a lot of work on evolution.

So I guess the plan is, research metabolic pathways and then claim that whatever they find proves the metabolic pathways couldn’t have evolved, research gene orders and then claim that whatever they find proves that the gene orders couldn’t have evolved, research protein folds and then claim that whatever they find proves that protein folds couldn’t have evolved, and then write an evolutionary algorithm that doesn’t work and claim it proves that biological evolution doesn’t work either?

Wonder if I could get a job at the DI.

You look for clarification - that sort of behaviour will disqualify you from working in ID!

What I find funny about the “Biologic Institute” is all the subterfuge. They want to avoid mention of “God”. They want to be respectable. They fire George Weber because he “was found to have seriously misunderstood the purpose of Biologic and to have misrepresented it” (read: that purpose is to disguse the fact that they are a branch of Christian apologists, Weber talked too much about God). Also, the website “ReasonsToBelieve” backs Hugh Ross (old earth creationist). When reading the article I couldn’t help but think about these ID “scientists” putting on a red cape, taking off their glasses like superman, running down the street telling everyone that they’re real scientists, and that Goddidit. Then they go back home, take off their capes, put on their glasses, sit behind their desks labeled “Christian Creationist”, and hope that their glasses prevent people from recognizing the fact that they’re the same person.

Erasmus in Comment #150396 kind of Wrote:

Syntax Error: mismatched tag ‘sarcasm’

Maybe I’ve just missed previous occurances, but that’s funny!

To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design. It’s there, it’s something an eye HAS.

Dembski actually helps here, by explicitly stating in “The Design Inference” that design (as he defines it) doesn’t imply intelligent agency (he then goes on to foolishly induce intelligent agency by selectively noting all human design and circularly ignoring the fact that evolved design (as he defines design) is counter to the induction).

The trick is that directly perceiving color, or design, isn’t what’s relevant – it’s the “intelligent” part that matters. What IDiots like Behe and Dembski do is analogous to someone claiming that, just as a stop sign is colored red by an intelligent agent, blood must likewise be colored red by an intelligent agent.

P.S. Worst science site server ever.

Oh, and I found this rather funny. It’s from the ReasonsToBelieve website:

A new study affirms the biblical account of humanity’s origin and spread. Archeological finds in Southeast Asia corroborate genetic studies and confirm that humanity spread from near the Middle East recently (roughly 40,000 to 60,000 years ago) in a pattern consistent with the biblical description. The biblical account of human pre-history continues to find support as anthropologists study human genetic variation and the archeological record.

First of all, how does “40,000 to 60,000” years square up with the date of the Biblical flood (around 4,300 years ago)? Second, any scientist will tell you that humans didn’t START in the Middle East, they started in Africa and moved THROUGH the Middle East. Their little summary leaves out that inconvenient little detail.

Oh, and I found this rather funny. It’s from the ReasonsToBelieve website:

A new study affirms the biblical account of humanity’s origin and spread. Archeological finds in Southeast Asia corroborate genetic studies and confirm that humanity spread from near the Middle East recently (roughly 40,000 to 60,000 years ago) in a pattern consistent with the biblical description. The biblical account of human pre-history continues to find support as anthropologists study human genetic variation and the archeological record.

First of all, how does “40,000 to 60,000” years square up with the date of the Biblical flood (around 4,300 years ago)? Second, any scientist will tell you that humans didn’t START in the Middle East, they started in Africa and moved THROUGH the Middle East. Their little summary leaves out that inconvenient little detail.

If it was my job to come up with a definition of IC, logically I would have to assign the following properties:

1. The system is perfect at its function,

2. There are no functioning homologues lacking any components which are present in said system (i.e. no simpler versions)

Wonder if I could get a job at the DI.

As long as you omit

3. Such IC systems aren’t inconsistent with ToE, since they can evolve from more complex systems with additional, unnecessary, components.

Also, the website “ReasonsToBelieve” backs Hugh Ross (old earth creationist).

Actually, I’m pretty sure Hugh Ross runs ReasonsToBelieve, or at least founded it.

IC systems are unlikely to evolve further, because any change to them is non-viable.

This claim is unsupported.

Excuse me? The claim before the comma is supported by the statement after the comma. Do you really not understand that IC systems are evolutionarily robust, because any mutation that destroys the function of some component destroys the function of the system?

And you haven’t defined IC.

Excuse me? IC is well understood to refer to a system that can’t function if any of its components is removed. “IC” isn’t just a pair of letters; it means “irreducibly complex”. The “reduction” of complexity here refers to the removal of a component; the “ir” means that the system no longer functions if such a reduction occurs.

In that case, your attempt at describing it was misleading.

That’s quite a non sequitur. I don’t think you have any idea what you’re talking about; you certainly don’t seem to have any idea what I’m talking about, but I’m not going to waste my time repeating it.

Maybe my difficulty is, I simply don’t see anything in the biological word that looks “apparently intentional.”

Me neither, but that’s because I understand the process of evolution; your “long feedback process”. But many people don’t understand it, and have trouble comprehending it, and for them intent is the only option. There are many people whose process is not “I believe in God, therefore I believe he designed everything”, but rather consider the appearance of design to imply intent (a la Paley), which supports their belief in God. I have talked to plenty of people who, upon learning that I’m an atheist, ask “then how do you explain [various well functioning and highly interactive biological systems]”. The answer, a “long feedback process”, is not something they find convincing. Perhaps with better science education, more people would.

testing…

I work in an ancient lab, last remodeled in maybe the 30’s, at least until we move into a new lab next fall. Only one fume hood is functional, I desperately need a microscope in our cold room, our single incubator is a piece of broken down garbage, and my lab bench is made of wood that oozes unidentifiable black crap when I wipe it down. So imagine my irritation to read in New Scientist that “…benches lined with fume hoods, incubators and microscopes…” have been given to IDers, who in the last decade and a half could hardly be bothered to lift a damn pipette. If that equipment were in the hands of my lab, we’d actually do research with it. Of course, we’re all familiar with Intelligent Design Creationism. Wouldn’t it be par for course if their benches were plywood mockups, microscopes all missing lenses, and fume hoods not plugged into the necessary air handling equipment? I’m no expert on the building engineering end of scientific research, but I imagine that a biology research center requires all sorts of special equipment, permits, and inspections. Who wants to bet the IDers haven’t bothered? After all, it’s not like they’re actually going to do scientific research–that’s hard work, would undermine their own postion, and above all else take cash away from their PR effort.

I find it peculiar that the Biologic Institute wants to find “counter-examples” the work of Pennock. Does that mean that if they write an algorithm that doesn’t show evolutionary behavior that they have therefore refuted Pennock’s work?

Duh! Any incompetent fool can write a program that doesn’t work. And any bumbling idiot can claim they don’t get the same results others do while waving their degrees in the air to prove they are legitimate researchers. If you have a laboratory or a program that is used solely for disputing results established by the scientific community, that doesn’t prove anything. Results must be replicated (or non-replicated in their case) independently and have to stand up repeatedly.

It sounds as though this lab is for political purposes only. Claim in public that your lab results dispute those of the established scientific community and now it is the duty of the scientific community to answer or refute your claims. And we are off and running on the famous “controversies” with the public and the politicians believing BI’s lab is as legitimate as those in the scientific community. Unfortunately, this may require honest researchers to waste their time “peer reviewing” a bunch of crap that would not have passed muster in the earliest stages of review.

Had another thought after my last post.

The complaint by Mark Souder, discussed in another thread, raises a question about possible earmarking of funds for institutes like BI. Given how much this was abused in this last Congress, it would not come as a surprise if some of BI’s funding came from this source. It would be a way taxpayer money could be siphoned off to fund a sectarian agenda without going through a peer review process such as required by NSF.

Just some speculation, but it happens quite often in other contexts. Has anyone discovered where their money ultimately comes from?

Do you really not understand that IC systems are evolutionarily robust, because any mutation that destroys the function of some component destroys the function of the system?

Yes, I do understand. But not all mutations are knockouts, as you know. And I don’t see why all mutations will destroy the function of the system. Unless by “destroy,” you mean “modify.” And even if that is what you mean, mutations can duplicate a system, so the original function is not lost, but there is an additional function that adds to the overall efficiancy of a greater system. Like in blood clotting. Types of mutations from talkorigins:

· addition of multiple parts; for example, duplication of much or all of the system (Pennisi 2001) · change of function · addition of a second function to a part (Aharoni et al. 2004) · gradual modification of parts

Pops Wrote:

IC is well understood to refer to a system that can’t function if any of its components is removed.

Yes, there is a definition that was used by Muller, as seen in PT archives:

Muller’s definition of “interlocking complexity” is exactly the same as the definition of “irreducible complexity” — a system of mutually independent parts that requires all those parts to be present for the system to work. However, Muller’s claim is that this is an EXPECTED result of evolution. Behe took the same definition, and claimed it was IMPOSSIBLE as a result of evolution.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]ble_com.html

And while I agree, it is not all that clear-cut.

From talkorigins again:

1. Irreducible complexity is poorly defined. It is defined in terms of parts, but it is far from obvious what a “part” is. Logically, the parts should be individual atoms, because they are the level of organization that does not get subdivided further in biochemistry, and they are the smallest level that biochemists consider in their analysis. Behe, however, considered sets of molecules to be individual parts, and he gave no indication of how he made his determinations. 2. Systems that have been considered irreducibly complex might not be. For example: · The mousetrap that Behe used as an example of irreducible complexity can be simplified by bending the holding arm slightly and removing the latch. · The bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex because it can lose many parts and still function, either as a simpler flagellum or a secretion system. Many proteins of the eukaryotic flagellum (also called a cilium or undulipodium) are known to be dispensable, because functional swimming flagella that lack these proteins are known to exist. · In spite of the complexity of Behe’s protein transport example, there are other proteins for which no transport is necessary (see Ussery 1999 for references). · The immune system example that Behe includes is not irreducibly complex because the antibodies that mark invading cells for destruction might themselves hinder the function of those cells, allowing the system to function (albeit not as well) without the destroyer molecules of the complement system.

This discussion could probably drag out forever, but the points I was trying to make originally are rather minor. The greater points which PG and Flint make, I was not trying to challenge.

How strongly our expectations color our observations depends a lot on the situation (e.g. how clear-cut is the data?). Obviously, science would make no progress at all if our expectations colored our observations too strongly. We’d still be living with “demons cause disease” and “the sun goes around the earth”.

Right! Isn’t that the point of the scientific method, falsifiability, and the peer review process?

Ahh, but there’s a simple, readily accepted definition of color and how you measure it.

But it’s not true at all; color is a perceived characteristic, it is not determined solely, or sometimes at all, by the wavelengths reflected by an object..

I hate to pick nits with you, Pop, but just to be precise, color is a physical property of a surface. It’s objectively measurable, and an entire branch of measurement science (colorimetry) exists to do just that.

Perception of color, on the other hand, is a very fuzzy and fascinating thing, interwoven with all the intricacies of the human visual system.

Anyhow, I do get your point

… which is that it’s the purported detection of intent, not design, that is problematic.

Just like all of us get the same sensory input and perceive a different color, All of us have access to the same physical evidence, but the DI people, well, they choose to see what they choose to see.

The saddest thing about this “research” is that they will be specifically writing papers so that they can dishonestly quote mine themselves and claim the papers say things that are not concluded by the research. Both Minnich and Behe had to admit that under oath. Their papers that are listed by the Discovery Institute as supporting ID, do not support ID. Both had to admit under oath that not a single scientific publication that they knew of supported ID, and unless they don’t know about the papers that they themselves published they had to admit that the Discovery Institute is dishonestly using those publications. Does anyone think that Axe’s papers were excluded from that confession? The dishonest propaganda use for any “research” that these guys end up doing is their only reason for their existence.

It is pretty sad when you publish junk just so that you can dishonestly claim things about it for creationist propaganda purposes. What you are not likely to see is anyone of these “scientists” that eventually publish from this “research” testifying in the next lame ID court case because they would have to admit the same thing that Behe and Minnich had to admit. It would be a major boondoggle for the Discovery Institute scam artist to make that mistake twice.

There are many people whose process is not “I believe in God, therefore I believe he designed everything”, but rather consider the appearance of design to imply intent (a la Paley), which supports their belief in God.

I try, but I can’t see it this way. I only see that a priori beliefs in supernatural agencies, implanted very early, subsequently color the intuitive interpretation of what some people see forever after. That perhaps such “goddidit” teachings find such a comfy home in some brains that they take over.

At the very least, I’d expect such teachings to grease the skids, so as to make supernatural intent sound plausible. I just have a problem accepting that “I don’t know, so it must have been magic” would be the default hole-filling “explanation” to an observer not already primed to go in that direction.

It is pretty sad when you publish junk just so that you can dishonestly claim things about it for creationist propaganda purposes.

A variation on this approach was behind the whole Leonard episode at Ohio State. The scam was to find a couple creationists (in departments unrelated to the nominal thesis, but that didn’t matter) to sleaze through a bogus “ID thesis” purporting to be “original ID scientific research” (it was nothing of the sort, of course), after which the prestige of Ohio State University could be used to wave around the “original scientific ID research Ohio State Ph.D. degree”. When someone caught onto this scam before the degree was granted, the committee was reconstituted with a member of an appropriate adacademic department, and the thesis was withdrawn “temporarily”, meaning until they can pack the committee with another creationist sometime in the future.

What bothered me was the willingness, in fact the eagerness of these OSU professors, to rig this scheme to trash the reputation of their own employer. They *dreamed it up* knowing it would have this effect. What kind of god could they possibly believe in, who would either command or condone that kind of pimping?

What bothered me was the willingness, in fact the eagerness of these OSU professors, to rig this scheme to trash the reputation of their own employer. They *dreamed it up* knowing it would have this effect. What kind of god could they possibly believe in, who would either command or condone that kind of pimping?

This is a question that Sternberg should be asked.

John West’s spin on the article is truly breathtaking, IMHO. See http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/1[…]arch_la.html

As Biever’s article grudgingly makes clear, “researchers [at the Biologic Institute lab] work at benches lined with fume hoods, incubators and microscopes–a typical scene in this up-and-coming biotech hub.” The article also reports on some of the research projects underway, and even describes Darwinian biologist Ken Miller as conceding that the topics being explored “are of interest to science”

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on December 14, 2006 2:54 AM.

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