Don’t teach ID – at least not until our textbook is published

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This is interesting:

Creationists welcomed their new leaders to Knoxville last weekend for a convention held by the Discovery Institute, a Seattle non-profit that acts as a publishing house and endowment for proponents of intelligent design (ID). The institute supports a dozen senior fellows and more than two dozen other scientists. Staff scientists are working to develop an intelligent design curriculum, and advance copies of Explore Evolution, a biology textbook soon to be released by the organization, were available at the convention. Program Director Stephen Meyer told the crowd it is “premature” to teach intelligent design in public schools. Meyer said, “We encourage people not to push this in schools right now.”

The science of ID isn’t fully developed, and it shouldn’t be pushed in schools, but the revolutionary research movement founded with a textbook is producing another textbook! (and another!)

51 Comments

The article, from which you quote, by Rikki Hall in the Knoxville’ weekly “Metro Pulse” merits publication in its entirety. Hall clearly knows much more about evolution and science than the average reporter and does a very nice takedown of the DI. I particularly liked his assessment from the next to last paragraph

“They {the promoters of ID] say evolution is purposeless, but the theory implicitly endows all life with the purpose of reproduction. That purpose might be too sexual to sit comfortably with Christians, but evolution can be viewed as an unbroken chain of motherly love stretching back through human history into our mammalian, reptilian and more primitive forebears.”

I rather liked this paragraph in the linked piece:

Because Meyer does not discuss how his “rational agent” might have acted nor attempt to quantify how much information is too much, his argument remains philosophical, not scientific. The relatively young branch of mathematics called information theory could help ID proponents strengthen their case, but their forays into math appear limited to irrelevant exaggerations of biological probabilities and absurd claims like Strobel’s “Nature can’t produce information.”

Rather than “philosophical” I’d have used “clueless” (in the literal sense), but aside from that, it’s an excellent summary.

Behe said: “One problem with developing mathematical formulas is that your audience is necessarily limited.”

Yup!

“Philosopher Jay Richards told the audience there are too many universal constants set too precisely to have aligned perfectly by chance, so there must be a purpose to our existence. He has discovered that purpose. Earth is positioned not only within the solar system’s narrow life-friendly zone, but also within the galaxy’s astronomer-friendly zone. We are perfectly positioned to see what is around us, so our purpose is to discover.

And isn’t it amazing how the puddle outside my house fits its pot-hole so perfectly!

Note that FTE quotes Dembski as claiming the 7th chapter he wrote for “Design for Life” (or whatever this new creationist text is called) is “bullet proof”.

For some reason I suspect his contribution will be far from bullet proof.…More like a “kick me” sign that he will be wearing for some time.

Yeah, Bullet Proof Junk.

With all the “perfection” in the world “proving” ID, this may be a good time to resurrect Voltaire. Note that if our noses were pasted on upside down, we would drown when it rains. As it is, it is perfectly designed to shed the rain.

“This is the best of all possible worlds.”

:-)

So let me get this straight. They are saying: “Here’s a text book showing that ID is a mature science, but you shouldn’t use it because ID isn’t a mature science.”

Is this the shortest textbook ever? Let me write it.

Chapter 1 - terminology We do not have well defined terminologies. We do however have vague terms without definitions, you can throw about: complexity, information, and design. Feel free to add as many adjectives as you would like.

Chapter 2 - Methodology We have one-well defined methodology - to claim to have method of detecting design. Actual methods of detecting design will come in later editions.

Chapter 3 - Hypothesis We do not have any testable hypothesis, but we are not constrained by the materialistic naturalistic bounds of science, but we are science.

Chapter 4 - Evolution. It is to blame for everything.

Chapter 5 - Evolution (continued) Gave us Hitler and the Ford Pinto.

Chapter 6 - ID. It is the foundation of everything good, like ice cream and puppies.

There, the complete unabridged ID text book of the future. I call it “ID- an introduction into Intelligent Design and an explanation of why Darwin hated cute kittens.”

PS. Mr_Christopher: Dembski just means that his chapter is written on Kevlar. It will give the ID students in the classroom something to hide behind when the evolutionist student goes nuts and starts to shoot everyone because he found out that he and a chimp share a common ancestor 4 to 6 million years ago.

Chapter 5 - Evolution (continued) Gave us Hitler and the Ford Pinto.

Actually, the Discovery Institute has officially determined that Intelligent Design produced the Ford Pinto. I am not making this up:

“Was the Ford Pinto, with all its imperfections revealed in crash tests, not designed?”

Casey Luskin, DI Blog, November 18, 2006

Last December, Jon Buell of the FTE put out a begging letter, asking for $250K to publish Th Design of Life. This week, he claims the FTE has now raised about $113K, with another $50K offered as a “matching grant” if that amount comes in by May 31. Buell admits, however, that “we really hope to raise $275,000” to “print, publicize, and market it aggressively, especially to the young.” He also claims that “a major book club [unnamed] has expressed enthusiasm about the book.…”

The other day, I made Dembski a wager of a bottle of single-malt Scotch (he’s made such wagers before) that TDOL would not be published within the next year (or ever) because no publisher would pour money (even the FTE’s) into a book with no market potential beyond single-copy sales to IDers. Kitzmiller has killed any public-school market, and Christian schools and home-schollers have plenty of “six-day” creationist books they prefer to watered-down ID.

My guess is that this is all blather, and TDOL is still dead. But we’ll wait and see. Steve Meyers’s Explore Evolution textbook, which I presume the DI will publish in-house, like Traipsing Into Evolution, has even less chance of public-school sales. They’re simply pouring mone down rat holes.

Nick Matzke,

That is the saddest thing I have seen in a long time. Luckily for me, since my text book is on ID. Since ID is pretty much just BS, it doesn’t matter if it is logically consistent.

Does this mean if I drop a copy of “Explore Evolution,” it will burst into flames?

bob

If the ID folks were themselves intelligently designed then, after their last go-round with Nick (aka Debacle in Dover), you’d have to figure they’d make extra darn sure to eliminate every single rough draft of this new text.

Whaddaya bet that they forget anyway (even after I just warned them in writing)?

Sigh. Let’s try that again with the correct brackets:

If the ID folks were themselves intelligently designed then, after their last go-round with Nick (aka Debacle in Dover), you’d have to figure they’d make extra darn sure to eliminate every single rough draft of this new text.

Whaddaya bet that they forget anyway (even after I just warned them in writing)?

Looking at the link “another” in the above article, I saw the images of the crowd gathered for the ID conference. And I was struck with how white they were. Which suddenly struck me- all of the proponents, all the people supporting ID, that personally I have ever run into or heard of- are all white. Not to say that there aren’t minorities in the group- but I’ve never run into them. And now I’m wondering how much of this movement is rather centered towards one race in particular. Certainly science needs to provide more opportunities for minorities, but I’ve seen far more diversity in biology classrooms than I do in the ID movement.

interesting that you brought up race. I wonder if the blacks and Aborigines have caught up with the whites liked Darwin theorized they would in his book descent of man.

Comparing the typical black and/or aboriginal to the typical ID creationist, I’d have to say that the correct word to use is “surpassed”! Althought a case could be made that any group standing pat still surpasses the retrograde motion of the ID creationists.

wow you really backed that up! No facts and put downs, how genuine. Are you saying darwin didn’t say that, or you agree. Is there anything about evolution you know to be true?

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Just a suggestion:

As “The Design of Life” text becomes more prominent in our discussions, we may wish to use a more suitable acronym than TDOL (the creobots are using DOL). Since “Design of Life” is a text, might I humbly suggest the acronym of DOLT.

More apropos…yes?

Sorry Levi, the only correct response to blatant trolling is well deserved scorn. Come up with a real argument and you might get a real response.

I dunno, maybe levi is on to something. If I just read the decontextualized description he provides, then yes indeed, Darwin was right. The inferiority he (thought he) observed in Aboriginies and blacks was a cultural artifact. With the white European’s (limited) increase in cultural preception, much of that inferiority is shown to be an illusion. The rest vanished with the wildly successful assimilation by non-European groups of the positive (and regrettably also the very negative) elements of European civilization. So if Darwin was claiming that all races were ultiamtely capable of the same cultural sophistication, he has absolutely been proven right. If he thought, as levi apparantly wants us to believe, that the differences were biologically determined, then he has been shown to be wromg. As others have already asked, how would either answer affect the validity of the theory of evolution?

I dunno, maybe levi is on to something. If I just read the decontextualized description he provides, then yes indeed, Darwin was right. The inferiority he (thought he) observed in Aboriginies and blacks was a cultural artifact. With the white European’s (limited) increase in cultural preception, much of that inferiority is shown to be an illusion. The rest vanished with the wildly successful assimilation by non-European groups of the positive (and regrettably also the very negative) elements of European civilization. And that utterly neglects all the important diffusion in the other direction. So if Darwin was claiming that all peoples were ultimately capable of the same cultural sophistication, he has absolutely been proven right. If he thought, as levi apparantly wants us to believe, that the differences were biologically determined, then he has been shown to be wrong. As others have already asked, how would either answer affect the validity of the theory of evolution?

Is there anything about evolution you know to be true?

Well, we know that the theory of evolution by natural selection predicts that all complicated, functional structures and behaviors seen in nature should act to pass on the genes that code for them.

We know that the theory of universal common ancestry predicts that novel traits should appear in a nested hierarchical pattern.

We know that everything we’ve observed in biology for over a hundred years agrees with the first prediction, and that nearly everything (with the exception of apparent lateral gene transfer) has agreed with the second.

Oh, and another thing that we know to be true about evolution: it ought to be taught in schools.

Kind regards, B. Spitzer

Off-topic, but that quote from Jefferson reads rather differently after you know about Sally Hemings.

Levi has a good point, though. It’s time to ban computers, due to the racist Shockley’s role in the development of the transistor.

Oh, or was the point of science that it doesn’t depend upon biases and preconceptions? Well ID does, and the sooner we move to ID, the sooner we can return to the Dark Ages. It’s been too long since the last infidel or heretic burned (we’ll keep the knowledge of fire around, for sure).

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Highly relevant to this discussion is Jared Diamond’s observation in Guns, Germs and Steel that he found the highland New Guineans to be more intelligent than the average American.

Why is that, do you suppose?

Cherry-picking history is no better than quote-mining.

In fact, the latter is an instance of the former.

“Highly relevant to this discussion is Jared Diamond’s observation in Guns, Germs and Steel that he found the highland New Guineans to be more intelligent than the average American.

Why is that, do you suppose?”

My recollection is that he thought a harsh, demanding jungle environment where people lived by their wits in small groups selected for a tough, practical intelligence, while the close-packed, urban environments that Europeans lived in before modern hygiene selected not so much for intelligence as for resistance to infectious disease.

Wow you ‘know’ alot of truths about evolution. Wow- you guys get really offended when all I want to do is join your blog. You think you all would jump at the chance for dialogue with a seeker!

Common ancestry proves one thing: there are species that are similar in many ways. They appear in glorious illustrations of the herb/bush/hedge/tree of life. And yet a chimp is still a chimp.

Funny- I thought evolution was taught in schools! Heres what my text says: Miller Urey was accurate Peppered Moths werent staged Haeklls embryos were not faked Homology is evidence of common ancestry Life emerged from primordal soup

Are any of these claims true, please let me know. Then hurry up and bash me because I asked a question.

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Oh no, oh gosh golly levi please don’t be offended that we read sarcasm and snottiness into your perfectly innocent initial posts here. I don’t know what we could have been thinking.

If you’re really interested in continuing this conversation perhaps you could tell us which “text” your school uses. Wouldn’t want anyone thinking you were just parroting Wells’ lying bullcrap. That would be unkind.

levi (latest evolution villifying idiot?):

And yet a chimp is still a chimp.

Dude, you totally forgot to credit Herman Hupfeld, whose lyrics you are paraphrasing. Shame on you.

Oh, I get it! You wanted to be clear right off the bat that you’re gonna be a plagiarizing, quote-mining sorta guy.

Cool! Got that.

levi — Consider yourself bashed…

Levi,

All of the statements you made are true, including the one where you said that chimps are still chimps. If you disagree please tell us why and provide evidence. Do tell - how does one “fake” an embryo? How can a moth be “staged”? How were Urey Miller experimental results not “accurate”? Why do you think any of this is at all relevant?

By the way, before someone else tells you, you should really read the archive responses to creationist claims before answering. All of these issues are dealt with at length there.

“Miller Urey was accurate Peppered Moths werent staged Haeklls embryos were not faked Homology is evidence of common ancestry Life emerged from primordal soup”

levi- maybe you should check out the index to creationist claims at talk origins, and then you can debunk yourself.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

Perhaps TEN ANSWERS to Rev. Jonathan Wells’ Questions about Evolution on the millerandlevine site will help.

ok-so let me get this straight, if I put up posts that echo Wells’ arguments that I find interesting that makes me a plagerist. Isn’t that what this site is devoted to; looking at articles and commenting and bouncing ideas. Wow shame on me for punching up evolution on Google and reading. Wow shame on me for happening upon this site which seemed like a place to talk. So is it all of your opinions that the Peppered moth photos are legit? Is it all your professional opinions that the embryos werent illustrated? Is it all your professional opinion that homology is indeed evidence for common ancestry? Just answer those three questions without calling me something another name. Golly- I sure am sorry I don’t have the text publishing number in front of me- I must be on this well planned out mission from wells himself. Im sure you all have the library call numbers of your texts in your wallets-my bad. One more thing…why is there no evidence for evolution presented in the text that is less than 50 years old. And why is noone justifying life from primordal soup? I’ll get off now…hurry and call me names and not answer any questions! P.S. I enjoy this site and all of your responses. I look forward to talking later.

Thanks for finding and reading my article! I believe the intended market for their textbook is home schoolers.

I was talking with Behe trying to get an idea what sort of evidence might satisfy him as an explanation for a complex organ or system. I tried to see whether he understood the comparative method or how much historical data would be needed to explain the origin of a biological system. He seems to understand.

Behe was more interested in a professor Lenski who has been propagating bacterial lines in his lab for about two decades waiting for some novel feature to appear. Or something like that. He’ll know evolution can create novel, complex systems when it happens in a lab.

uh words.…words.… I hate Behe.…words, no questions answered. Rikki man, you rock!

Wow shame on me for happening upon this site which seemed like a place to talk.

Waaaah, all I was looking for was a comfortable “place to talk” when I checked into the thread with conversation starters like

I wonder if the blacks and Aborigines have caught up with the whites liked Darwin theorized they would in his book descent of man.

and

wow you really backed that up! No facts and put downs, how genuine. Are you saying darwin didn’t say that, or you agree. Is there anything about evolution you know to be true?

Troll.

Typical creo crap–poison the well by baiting people into insulting you for your know-nothing provocations, then whine about civility and closed-mindedness. Waaah, I only wanted to talk, waaah. Bull. You came here to troll and you intended for people to attack you. You’re not here to learn anything and you know it. You’re a hypocrite and a liar.

Levi,

I never called you any names. I simply pointed out where you could find detailed answers to your questions. Apparently you are unwilling to look up the answers. I hope you can see why people get upset with that.

The answers to your questions are as follows. The pictures of moths are really pictures of real moths (for some reason they had to hold them still in order to get good pictures). The drawings of embryos are really drawings of real embryos (although somewhat inaccurate, that is why we use photographs now). Homology is evidence of common ancestry, (in fact that is the definition of homology).

Once again, if you disagree please tell us why. Please provide some evidence of why you think these things are important or why you think these issues are a problem for evolutionary theory. This is the second time I have asked. I will not ask again, nor will I respond to you again unless your answer. I suggest others do the same.

Levi said : You think you all would jump at the chance for dialogue with a seeker! First of all, we love dialog. The sharing of informed ideas is the cornerstone of human culture and development. The trick there is “informed”. The problem creationists run into, is they attempt to discuss science as uninformed children. You can’t base your position on the propaganda you are given. Thats why everyone here is so hard on private schools and home schools. You people call yourselves “seekers”, but that implies you seek things out. But in reality you limit your learning to what you agree with, or EVEN WORSE what is given to you and told to you as truth. Ask yourself why people always have links in the blogs here. Because a true seeker doesn’t take someones word for it, they find the original data for themselves and make INFORMED conclusions for themselves. You know as we do that your schools have rules against ANYTHING that isn’t christian. No non-christian books, no non-christian clothes, no non-christian words or you get punished. Your home life probably isn’t any better. Thats called oppression. So don’t throw the term seeker around until you actually spend sometime looking for yourself. You think anyone here takes anything at face value? Do you think any book we read is the end all be all of science? No, there are second opinions, new incites, and thank the powers that be NEW discoveries. When it comes down to it, thats why you creationists will NEVER gain the upper hand in a discussion about evolution. Its part of your “design” to take the words of others as truth as long as it agrees with you. But if someone disagrees you have no defense, because you can’t quote scripture to a non-believer. I have found freedom in science, where in the past there was only persecution.

levi Wrote:

One more thing…why is there no evidence for evolution presented in the text that is less than 50 years old.

A textbook is generally not the best place to find the latest discoveries or developments in a field. That said, if you have a textbook that is 50 years out of date, I doubt it is currently used by an institution that takes teaching evolution seriously. Please provide its publication details and which institution (if any) is currently using it as a textbook. This should be a trivial matter.

And why is noone justifying life from primordal soup?

It is a matter of chemistry, though certainly not a simple matter. What alternative do you propose? I Dream of Poofie?

One other thing quickly:

levi Wrote:

Common ancestry proves one thing: there are species that are similar in many ways. They appear in glorious illustrations of the herb/bush/hedge/tree of life. And yet a chimp is still a chimp.

Common ancestry is not a thing that proves; it is a concept that results from scientific discoveries about terrestrial life. Again, what alternative do you propose to the idea that all life on Earth evolved from a common ancestor? Keep in mind that a creator who creates in a way that doesn’t require a creator would be more of a trickster god than the god of Western monotheism.

Possibly, in the beginning of life on earth, there was more than one common ancestor.

Keep your options open…

And chimps are still Pan which are still Hominidae which are still Catarrhini, Primates, Eutheria, Mammalia, Therapsida, Synapsida, Amniota, Terrestrial Vertebrates, Sarcopterygii, Gnathostomata, Vertebrata, Craniata, Chordata, Deuterostomia, Bilateria, Animals, Eukaryotes.

(Btw, more than half of those names aren’t in the spell checker.)

Common ancestry proves one thing: there are species that are similar in many ways. They appear in glorious illustrations of the herb/bush/hedge/tree of life. And yet a chimp is still a chimp.

Some profound shit, dude.

Hey, and if we’re descended from apes, how come we still have apes?

Maybe cause we haven’t finished wiping out the jungles they live in?

Levi wrote:

And yet a chimp is still a chimp.

The logic of this argument seems to be: I can apply the same word to both parent and offspring, therefore speciation cannot occur. Oh yeah? Try the following:

Choose a point on the light spectrum that you would label “green”. Now move the tiniest bit towards the ultraviolet end of the spectrum. Would you call that color “green” too? Yes, you would. However, we cannot conclude from that that it is impossible, making many many of the same steps, to get to colors that you would call “violet”.

In other words, just because you perceive the genetic difference between a chimp and its mother to be zero doesn’t make it zero, and millions of years is a long long time.

And chimps are still Pan which are still Hominidae which are still Catarrhini, Primates, Eutheria, Mammalia, Therapsida, Synapsida, Amniota, Terrestrial Vertebrates, Sarcopterygii, Gnathostomata, Vertebrata, Craniata, Chordata, Deuterostomia, Bilateria, Animals, Eukaryotes.

(Btw, more than half of those names aren’t in the spell checker.)

Random thought – does anyone else find it extremely annoying that MS Word hasn’t bothered to expand its spellcheck dictionary to include at least moderately common scientific terms?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on March 28, 2007 2:02 PM.

The circus is in town; the creationist calliope is wheezing away again was the previous entry in this blog.

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