UCSD TV: Pennock - Convocation on Intelligent Design Creationism

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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.

26 Comments

Thanks. This works too, to skip the stream, you can direct download (right click, save target):

http://132.239.224.19/UCSD_TV/12066.rm

If you want the entire Real Player file offline, it is 111 meg. Using Mini-Stream’s “RM to MP3 Converter” you can convert the sound portion to MP3. I’ve converted a lot of old Real Player files that way.

Phil P

Here’s the MP3, trimmed, volume boosted

http://www.bringyou.to/PennockUCSD12112006.mp3

Phil P

Dembski Wrote:

Comment: They are herewith throwing down the gauntlet. I’ll wager a bottle of single-malt scotch, should it ever go to trial whether ID may legitimately be taught in public school science curricula, that ID will pass all constitutional hurdles. To see why, check out the fine Utah Law Review article by David DeWolf et al. at http://www.arn.org/docs/dewolf/utah.pdf.

William A. Dembski, 7/2/02 Darwin’s Predictable Defenders

FINALLY a videographer who knows how to cut to the presenter’s slides when it is appropriate to cut to the presenter’s slides. I was absolutely frothing at many points in the KU series when the camera remained resolutely focused on the speaker while the speaker repeatedly directed the audience’s attention to some aspect of the image on the screen.

Re: Single Malt

I wish I had had enough trust in a Republican monster, err, judiciary to have taken that bet.

But when the radical right promotes school race segregation as “school choice” it is hard to believe they have any interest in truth or our Constitution. They are protecting the rights of racists to be racists in public schools. The referenced case was really the effort to block poor brown children from attending schools for rich white children. Jim Crow lives again.

These racists are the Pacific Legal Foundation, Tim Sandefur’s friends, colleagues, and bosses. They also “protect” forests by clear cutting, and are in my opinion sick and disgusting. I have a philosophical problem with the idea of evil, but these people are close to being persuasive.

OK, that does it. I’m abandoning Obama and switching to Pennock for President. What a masterful, calm, straightforward presentation!

Hmm. I wonder if he can do anything about the resemblance to Bork. Maybe shave off the beard?

Hmm. I wonder if he can do anything about the resemblance to Bork. Maybe shave off the beard?

That is it! I had this weird angst, and you revealed its source.

The thing I did not like about his talk was that he does not mention the names of people. Eric Rothschild was “the ACLU attorney.” Neither Barbara Forrest, nor Nick are mentioned even when they were particularly significant to what Pennock was presenting. He needs to give some acknowledgement to people that worked very hard as part of the Dover trial.

Gary Hurd Wrote:

The thing I did not like about his talk was that he does not mention the names of people.

I thought I noticed a very familiar (to me) set of vocal patterns as he was apparently trying to recall the name of a person to mention (I knew who it was at the time, but I can’t quite fetch up the name at the moment).

Those of us who have a neurological problem that renders the recall of names difficult develop a repertoire of compensatory strategies to try to disguise the fact that we can’t introduce a co-worker’s wife to somebody at the New Years party because, even though we’ve known her for a decade, we can’t quite recall her name without either consulting an address book or going through an elaborate memory search. I almost never address someone by name in a conversation, and am always relieved when somebody else steps up and performs introductions.

I’m not saying conclusively that this is the root cause of his lack of name mentioning, but it sure seemed like it to me.

mdr (add that to my mild prosopagnosia and you have a person who definitely would not have succeeded at a career in politics)

Those of us who have a neurological problem that renders the recall of names difficult develop a repertoire of compensatory strategies to try to disguise the fact that we can’t introduce a co-worker’s wife to somebody at the New Years party because, even though we’ve known her for a decade, we can’t quite recall her name without either consulting an address book or going through an elaborate memory search.

Interesting, but I don’t believe it is the problem with Pennock. It is my experience that I speak publicly from careful notes. Typically these are in outline form with all the personal names and references always made clearly and explicit.

I have had the uncomfortable experience of ‘forgetting’ the names of dear people when in the television spotlight. When I have been asked the names of people I am very familiar with, I have used their names incorrectly in various non-English languages, or forgoten them all together. I am also severely dyslexic, which has always made writing very difficult, and may be related to my problem with asociating names with people. I once had a housemate whom I called “Dave.” Sad to say he was not named Dave. It really pissed him off.

Pennock, to the best of my knowledge, does not suffer this problem. If he does, then many other people will benefit from his admision of this condition.

Thanks Phil

Gary, I didn’t watch the video until after I’d read your comment. Pennock did name Rothschild at the very beginning, when he was commenting on the photograph. But he didn’t mention Barbara Forrest at all as he discussed Pandas and People. I’ve never heard him talk before. He struck me as being a bit nervous. In any event, I think he’s a lot better looking than Bork.

ID is a silly cover for creationism. As a scientist, I am always disgusted when people are blinded by faith against rationality and the value of those, like myself, who have spent a lifetime studying evolution and other biological tenets. Yay for those who defend us!

For more comments on this topic, please see my blog post: http://angrylabrat.blogspot.com/200[…]olution.html

As a scientist, I’m always glad to see defenders of reason against blind faith and ignorance. ID is another blatant attempt by neocons to blind an ignorant public. I talk about this in one of my recent blog posts:

http://angrylabrat.blogspot.com/200[…]olution.html

Let’s keep putting the word out there to educate the public and keep a firm separation of church and state by excluding creationism or “intelligent design” out of the classroom!

Single-malt has its following but one shouldn’t overlook the many excellent, blended scotches out there that often quite reasonably priced.

Did Bill say how big a bottle he was wagering? Hopefully not one of those little, $3 ‘taster’ bottles one finds near the checkout…

That’s all well and good, but talking down your nose at those inferior still doesn’t explain away all the glaring shortcomings of evolution.

Howzabout we simply say, in teaching theory, that it is theory and not fact?

Or is that too unscientific?

In re: evolution vs. ID, howzabout we simply teach facts and state that, in teaching theories, we state that we’re teaching unproven theories?

Or would that ‘fact’ be too unscientific?

In re: evolution vs. ID, howzabout we simply teach facts and state that, in teaching theories, we state that we’re teaching unproven theories?

Cut to the chase here, octo.

Howzabout you give me one verifiable piece of evidence that points away from evolution and supports ID.

Not attacks on evolution.

Not Dembski’s filter, because even he is unable to explain his ideas in cogent terms. Here’s a hint: if you can’t write down the equations, it’s probaly not real math.

Not Behe’s flagellum. He had to admit under oath that his mystery is only a mystery if you ignore reams and reams of existing research.

No, Octo, a Fact.

A piece of evidence that can be examined and verified.

Ya know, something like a dinosaur bone.

A hominid skull.

Mendel’s peas.

You come up with some kind of real evidence for ID, and you can teach it in any school you want (that’s not just me being magnaminous BTW, the case law actually says that).

But if all you’ve got is the “fact” that you don’t like evolution… well, too bad.

A good presentation overall and I’m glad that it was given to an apparently large audience. He’s an alright orator, if a bit stilted and his slides were great. They helped him a lot. I wish that he wouldn’t continue the “no conflict with religion” line because it’s simply not true that science doesn’t introduce some kind of conflict with religious thinking. If it didn’t we wouldn’t be where we are in this country having the contrived controversy we are having.

Howzabout we simply say, in teaching theory, that it is theory and not fact?

A scientific theory will never be a fact. A good theory is able to explain many different facts and make predictions about what we should observe. It’s not the same thing as a guess.

This isn’t about talking down to anyone, but the average person on the street doesn’t use theory in the same sense as scientists do. When people learn music theory; they don’t guess at what it is, they use observed facts in music for analyzing and creating new music. Perhaps in that aspect we could do a better job of educating, but that doesn’t have any effect on the validity of any scientific theory.

In re: evolution vs. ID, howzabout we simply teach facts and state that, in teaching theories, we state that we’re teaching unproven theories?

Or would that ‘fact’ be too unscientific?

It would certainly be unscientific from the standpoint that one does not try to prove scientific theories. Any basic scientific education that does not make this clear is inadequate, if all too common, but that has nothing to do with the current conflict between evolutionary biology and the program of christian apologetics currently foisting itself off as science via a sleazy PR campaign. I’m sorry that that was the kind of scientific education you apparently got (an inadequate one). Fortunately it’s a curable condition, but the first step in getting help is admitting you have a problem.

Also, as far as teaching theories, ID would not come up because ID does not offer anything approaching a theory. I haven’t seen ID offer anything which even rises to the level of hypothesis–you can’t have a hypothesis until you at least have a logically sound argument, regardless of the evidence, and every ID assertion seems inevitably rife with fallacy.

ID “theory” is basically equivalent to UFO “theory”–“the best explanation for the set of phenomena that UFO nuts choose to attribute to alien visitation, is alien visitation.”

Octopibingo said

That’s all well and good, but talking down your nose at those inferior still doesn’t explain away all the glaring shortcomings of evolution.

Howzabout we simply say, in teaching theory, that it is theory and not fact?

Or is that too unscientific?

Perhaps you would like to tell us what these glaring shortcomings are?

I don’t consider people who know very little about evolution to be inferior and I’m sure most of the other contributors to this site feel the same way. However, we do expect people who make provocative statements (like yours) to be able to justify them. If you can’t, then you will be treated with contempt (but for your approach, not your lack of knowledge).

In the two or three years I have been following this blog I have yet to see anyone who has made your kind of remark who has had a clue about the basics of the theory of evolution, and I expect you to be no different. Why? Because it seems you do not know anything about scientific theories in general. A theory is an explanation for a body of observations, that fits all known information. An important point is that a theory enables predictions to be made.

A scientific fact is information for which there is no reasonable doubt. However, in science there are relatively few proven facts. For example, it has not been proven that if you jump off a tall building you will fall until you reach something that can support your weight. However, it is accepted as fact that a flying Superman is not possible.

When it comes to evolution, there is overwhelming evidence that organisms have evolved (and are continuing to evolve) over the past few billion years (the fact of evolution). The best explanation for this is given by the Theory of Evolution (as distinct from Lamarkism, the Great Chain of Being and various creation myths).

I look forward to seeing your list of the glaring shortcomings (hint: using Answers in Genesis and other creationist sites as reliable sources would be like trying to get good information on the Republican Party from Democrat TV campaign ads).

Thanks for saving evolution. First off, 2006 has been a good year in he battle to save evolution and natural science in the U.S. I admire and thank all of those (theist or not) who have been on the front lines of the battle and perhaps have saved the U.S. from entering some kind of scientific “Dark Age” reversing the centuries-long struggle for natural science. But, there’s a strong anti-science general undercurrent in the U.S. that’ll be hard to fight. (See “The Flight From Science and Reason” edited by Paul R. Gross, Norman Levitt, and Martin W. Lewis.)

All-in-all, this was a nice presentation, but I have a worry. Although he did not indicate that he actually believed in “Theistic Evolution”, still Pennock seems to be using it to protect evolution in the Biology Dept. by redirecting theists to the Cosmology Dept. “Leave us alone, your problem is with them.” There’s certainly no more reason to let religion fill in the “gaps” in Cosmology than to let it fill in those of evolution. Also, there’s no reason why Philosophers of Science should accept the claim that “God created natural law.” This isn’t poetry: this is a real assertion of fact! Maybe throwing physical law to the theists looks harmless now but what about the future? I think that saying that God created physical laws will get us into trouble much as saying that God created Panda bears as-is: perhaps a different kind of trouble but trouble nevertheless. Anyway, getting theists off the backs of Biologists is welcome and (unfortunately) an immediate desperate necessity, but there’s a price to be paid—one that makes me cringe.

Scientists should reject mysticism throughout science. It’s very important that scientists remian “on target” even when they’re completely stuck and don’t see a way forward. They shouldn’t dive into mysticism themselves or defer to the mystics who will be quite happy to rush in to fill the void. Scientists should not promote ideas which will later harm their own scientific field or another scientifc field. Indeed, scientists supporting faith and dogma in any field is bad news.

Pennock is not a scientist.

He is a philosopher

octopibingo projects…

That’s all well and good, but talking up your nose at those who you’ve deemed superior still doesn’t explain away all the glaring shortcomings of GwOD.

Howzabout we simply say, in teaching GwOD, that it is theory and not fact?

Or is that too unreligious?

Oh so pretty VACANT.

In re: evolution vs. ID, howzabout we simply teach facts and state that, in teaching theories, we state that we’re teaching unproven theories?

Given that you don’t have a friggin’ clue on what a theory is, that’s probably not a good approach to take.

k.e.:

Oh so pretty VACANT.

I guess that would make “E.M.I.” Dembski’s favorite.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on December 27, 2006 9:06 PM.

Contrived dualism and other ID fallacies was the previous entry in this blog.

Divided by a common language: Richard Dawkins clarifies his position is the next entry in this blog.

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