The scientific vacuity of ID: Dembski and the flagellum

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On ERV’s blog we find an article titled Irreducible Complexity Reflects Human Ignorance about Phillip Klebba, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma. It was Klebba’s relentless questions during the Q&A of Dembski’s talk at the Trinity Baptist Church Oklahoma University in Norman Oklahoma which forced Dembski to admit to the level of ignorance that is required for ID.

The Baptist Trinity Church had invited Dembski “to penetrate the university campus with the gospel” (source). After all, what better way to introduce the students to the gospel than through the ideas of William Dembski? Dembski presented a talk titled “Why Atheism is no Longer Intellectually Fulfilling: The Challenge of Intelligent Design to Unintelligent Evolution”. During the Q&A, Dembski found out that the students were not impressed by his arguments. While Dembski may have contributed to the successes of Atheism on the University, he also managed to show to the audience present why ID is scientifically vacuous.

Countless blogs have already commented on Dembski’s talk and the disastrous Q&A session where Dembski was to admit that he would never accept an evolutionary explanation for the flagellum but also where Dembski admitted that he doubted that apes and humans shared a common ancestry.

Klebba’s relentless questions forced Dembski to admit that

… [N]o amount of detail would ever convince him of evolution. No matter how much evidence you had, he wanted ‘evidence + 1’. I shit you not, Dembski retreated to the YES fossil defense– For every fossil you find, you create two more gaps. Dembski modified this to for every step in the evolutionary process science discovers, it creates two more half-steps to explain. He even pulled a classic-quack move, and made a plea to quantum mechanics.

Seems that Salvador has managed to confuse Dembski with his nonsensical arguments involving QM. Thanks Sal, you’re one of the best evolution defenders in disguise, I kid you not.

Klebba has written an OP-ed in the OU student newspaper in which he states:

Phillip Klebba Wrote:

As a researcher who understands the biochemistry that was the main subject of the lecture, I was surprised to find the discussion much less substantive than I anticipated.

It was a bit more like the naive questions of a teenager than the keen insights of an erudite philosopher.

The Elders of the Baptist Trinity Church invited its people to pray for Dr Dembski and the college students…

We also need people to commit to pray faithfully for this event. Pray for Dr. Dembski, for our college students, for believing professors who will be involved, and for the gospel to be proclaimed with boldness and power!

Seems that the Lord listened and indeed equipped the college students with the knowledge necessary to expose the vacuity of ID.

Praise to the Lord for exposing the scientific vacuity of ID and the flawed understanding amongst Christians who believe that evolutionary theory somehow undermines the concept of a God. Little do they realize that their own actions do more to undermine both science and religious faith since they failed to adhere to St Augustine’s fair teachings

Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim) provided excellent advice for all Christians who are faced with the task of interpreting Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge. This translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]

Source: Saint Augustine on Science and Scripture

Read more about how well Dembski performed

Ontogeny: The Dembski Affair by Matt Dowling

IIDB ‘live’ report by Golfvixen

Dembski at OU: Why Atheism is no Longer Intellectually Fulfilling

Much more on the aftermath of Dembski’s Waterloo

PZ on How to organize against a creationist lecture

Erv Part 1

Erv Part 2

Erv part 3

In the mean time UcD has remained silent and there are rumors that the flagellum has disappeared from the site’s masthead, only to reappear shortly thereafter. Seems ID is having some not so intelligent ‘design’ problems.

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It’s hard for me to work with the terms “creationist,” “creationism,” and “evolutionist,” because if I’m completely honest I consider myself to be a creationist who accepts the theory of evolution. The t... Read More

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I like the new layout.

link to any kind of audio please?

Yes, audio would be very much appreciated. I heard it was recorded, (sometimes the churches record it themselves, too) and it would be great to directly quote it. I encourage ERV to make an mp3 available, and if he doesn’t know where to post it or anything, send me an email at karl AT inoculatedmind DOT com and maybe I can host the file at my site.

So, if I made Dr. Dr. Dembski a bowl of vegetable soup, the only way I could prove to him that I made the soup, rather than the soup POOFING out of thin air would be to take each and every vegetable, individually (corn, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic), track it back through every step of the distribution chain, back to each farm, the pickers, the farmers, the planters and document each and every event for each and every individual vegetable right back to the original plant.

I think any reasonable person would say that would be impossible to do.

However, any reasonable person would also agree that the vegetables were planted, raised, harvested, packaged, sold, bought, chopped up and cooked.

…Dembski retreated to the YES fossil defense…

You seem to have a point mutation in here.

Inoculated Mind - ERV has been advised not to put the audio up, but she will have a transcript available.

Bob

Even after repeatedly being brought up, I still don’t understand the point of bringing up the Augustine quote. People like Dembski couldn’t care less about Augustine. He’s not even a semi-traditional Lutheran or Anglican, much less a faithful Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christian. The quote seems like an argument from authority, which would be bad in itself, but to make matters worse it’s not even an authority accepted by the person you are arguing with. If you just want to get across the general principle that Augustine was articulating in the passage, then why not just do it yourself?

“Even after repeatedly being brought up, I still don’t understand the point of bringing up the Augustine quote. People like Dembski couldn’t care less about Augustine. He’s not even a semi-traditional Lutheran or Anglican, much less a faithful Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christian. The quote seems like an argument from authority, which would be bad in itself, but to make matters worse it’s not even an authority accepted by the person you are arguing with. If you just want to get across the general principle that Augustine was articulating in the passage, then why not just do it yourself?”

Agreed! This quote-mining looks just silly.

Justin,

Even after repeatedly being brought up, I still don’t understand the point of bringing up the Augustine quote. People like Dembski couldn’t care less about Augustine. He’s not even a semi-traditional Lutheran or Anglican, much less a faithful Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christian.

Off topic, but this is bad reasoning. Many reformed protestants, regardless of denomination–baptist, Presbyterian, etc., consider Augustine the greatest theologian of the first millennium, if not all time. I don’t know if Dembski likes Augustine or not, but it is not a denominational question.

And the quote is not an argument from authority. For crying out loud, it’s getting to the point where you cannot quote anyone without being charged with a fallacy.

I once asked Dembski point blank if he accepted common descent and he admitted that he did. He even implied that the plagarized error argument is what had convinced him. Why now claim that humans are not descended from other primates, especially when many plagarized errors are shared between humans and other primates? Are the rules just different for us alone?

As to the Augustine quote, I don’t think anyone is trying to argue that he was some kind of authority to be trusted implicitly. I just think that the quote is sound advice that should be taken by any person trying to persusade others to share their faith. It certainly describes the damage that ignorance of science can do to religion. And it is even more relevant today than ever, since it is now much harder to dismiss scientific knowledge while taking advantage of the modern technology it has provided. Science has come a long way in the last sixteen hundred years. No one can reasonably question the success of methodological naturalism. That doesn’t mean that science can answer all of the questions, it just means it has so far been very successful at answering some of them. You ignore that success at your own risk.

Justin: actually, Augustine is a central figure even in Evangelical Protestant circles - they still recognise ideas like “original sin”. And Dembski has an M.Div from Princeton, and is well enough versed in theology to recognise his intellectual roots. I seem to recall him referencing Augustine when he preached at Trinity Baptist last Sunday (but I may be totally wrong).

Praise to the Lord for exposing the scientific vacuity of ID and the flawed understanding amongst Christians who believe that evolutionary theory somehow undermines the concept of a God.

Um, it does. The concept of God used to include a very active creator role. ID reduces him to an occational tinkerer, while sophisticated forms of theism struggles to find any active role for God at all. If that’s not undermining of a concept, nothing is.

Augustine believed that God created everything INSTANTLY. Including our planet, including us humans. The ultimate Young Earth Creationist position, as it were.

Do you yourself, subscribe to St. Augustine’s “fair teachings” like you recommend for others, or have you “failed to adhere” and thus indulged in a bit of hypocrisy?

:)

“Augustine believed that God created everything INSTANTLY. Including our planet, including us humans. The ultimate Young Earth Creationist position, as it were.

Do you yourself, subscribe to St. Augustine’s “fair teachings” like you recommend for others, or have you “failed to adhere” and thus indulged in a bit of hypocrisy?”

Augustine did not know any better, no wonder he was wrong on facts. But not on the logical/philosophical _argument_ in question. I.e., you’re an illogical fool.

Re the Augustine quote: One theological argument used by creationists and fundamentalists is that the use of scientific knowledge to help interpret and clarify the meaning of scripture is modern invention, unknown in the history of the Church. That’s a hard argument to support when Augustine was doing that very thing 1600 years ago.

Several persons recorded the audio of Dembski’s debacle (especially in the Q and A). ERV (http://endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com/) recorded all of the event and plans to post it for all to see. The audio is being cleaned up for posting. Keep tuned. Also rumors on the OU campus are that the Trinity Baptist Church, sponsor of Dembski’s visit, plan to sell DVDs and CDs of the event at $10 each! If they do, will they include the Q and A session? Perhaps they are trying to recoup some of the estimated $10,000 the events cost. Another summary of the events will be posted shortly on the web site of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/oese/).

Woops. Just noticed that ERV can not post the Dembski audio, apparently for possible legal reasons. She does plan to provide text of the Dembski affair, however.

May I assume that FL does not believe that presenting poor science by Christians has any impact on the credibility of religious faith and Christianity? Does FL believe that Christians have a responsibility to be truthful and reflect Christian morality and ethics? When ID presents its ‘scientific’ musings as such to the faithful, in this case a poor Baptist congregation who sees ID as the way to spread the gospel amongst students, because they have been (mis)led to believe that ID is scientific, the cost of such a mistake can be significant. The Q&A session allowed the students to expose ID as scientifically vacuous and with each question, students could see how ID failed to live up to its expectations. And the poor congregation who has spent significant moneys and hopes, remains quite disillusioned, and the students and the countless witnesses on the internet see how a poor congregation of well meaning Christians, believed that presenting ID to the students would be a good way to proselytize the gospel.

In the second paragraph of the main posting the link ‘source’ yields an error. Click on ‘Notes from the Elders’ on the left side to reach the intended item.

The Notes from the Elders has been removed since I checked last yesterday.

The note can still be retrieved from the Google cache. Search for trinity baptist church Norman Dembski.

Augustine believed that God created everything INSTANTLY. Including our planet, including us humans. The ultimate Young Earth Creationist position, as it were.

My understanding of Augustine is somewhat different. Do you have citations for this?

I thought that Augustine rejected the idea of a six-day creation, and that he believed that living things were created in some unformed way, with the potential for development. This latter position (“rationales seminales”, as I recall the Latin phrase that Augustine used) has been claimed by some to be an anticipation of evolution (not that I am endorsing this claim).

A letter of thanks to the distinguished Professor FOG E.REASONING (AKA Panda’s Thumb editor) Hi Professor FOG E. REASONING, I’m glad you have pointed out my delusions for thinking that the intelligent design theory made more sense than the evolutionary theory . As a result of your superior insight ,i called a convention of the hundred’s of PhD s that support intelligent design. It was held in Las Vegas. The respected assembly had a note of nobility, because scientist,researchers of both public and private facilities,as well as many tenured professors were present. When i called the meeting to order and addressed them so as to inform them of your conclusion that they are all hopelessly delusional. There was objection bordering on riotous proportion. Once a semblance of order was restored, There was a demand put forth as to who had made this ridiculous accusation. When I stated that it was none other than Professor FOG E. REASONING. The assembly humbled dramatically and bowed their heads .I was impressed by the respect that your name generated. But one brave, but foolish, soul not totally satisfied with his diagnosis of insanity managed a meekly worded question. But what about the dramatic evidence in the fossil record ,the sudden appearance of all the different forms of life in the fossil record in what is commonly called “the Cambrian Explosion” ,then the stability demonstrated by all fossils as long as they are found in the fossil record ,one popular example being the fact that when we find a T-REX it is always a T-REX ,not almost a T-REX ,over the millions of years we find it in the fossil record ,also there is the total lack of evidence for the hypothetical primordial slime that the evolutionary theory says we supposedly crawled out of , plus there is the fact that there is not even one example of transition from one form to another in the entire fossil record of millions of collected fossils? Plus the fact that all the undeniably transitional fossils to humans that evolutionist have trumpeted over the years have each turned out in the end to be very embarrassing frauds for the evolutionist. Well my friends,i stated as i adjusted my tie, Professor FOG E. REASONING has concluded that tectonic activity and erosion have chosen exactly which fossils are to be eliminated and all the transitional fossils were the ones that were chosen. That is why there is no evidence of evolution in the fossil record. A collected “OH ,thats right” realization permeated the air of the assembly. Then a physicist, from a nuclear facility, had the audacity to stand up and ask, What about the irrefutable proof of mathematics which point to the fantastically impossible origin of even the simplest single cell by natural mechanisms, much less the impossibility of the Cambrian explosion, which saw the sudden appearance of all the amazingly complex different forms of life in the fossil record, Plus the lack of natural explanations to explain the amazing complexity of information in the DNA. And furthermore the absolutely crushing fact that over 99.9999% of the naturally occurring mutations to DNA are shown to be Harmful/Fatal to whatever species being studied has them. With that fact being established ,one of the foundational cornerstones of the Darwinian mutation/natural selection scenario, is scientifically shown to be not feasible with the reality of the facts at all. Well sir ,i replied, Professor FOG E. REASONING has explained that it is not at all unreasonable for a monkey to sit down at a typewriter and type the Gettysburg address on his first try ,and that the monkey can continue to generate meaningful essays on his way to building a library without ever hitting a dead end of meaningless essays. So Prof. FOG E. REASONING has concluded that mathematics don’t apply in this instance. “OH ,thats right math is not consistent” was the collected sigh of shame of the gathered scientist. Then Michael Denton a noted doctor of international fame had the gumption to ask. What about the protein sequences between different branches of life that shows the same percentage of divergence no matter which two groups are compared, no matter how “primitive” or “advanced” the branch of life may be? Or What about the fact that all the useless ,leftover organs and body parts that the evolutionist have pointed to as evidence , the appendix being one example, have all,after careful study been shown to have essential purpose after all. Or how about the fact that the highly trumpeted Finch Beak variation that has been paraded as positive proof for evolution turns out to be a cyclical variation that goes back and forth ,thus showing no permanent change in the beaks of the finch. Well sir,as i cleared my throat, Professor FOG E. REASONING has concluded that all of that is just meaningless tripe. Saddened but satisfied that it had been thoroughly refuted ,he sat down. Then Michael Behe the distinguished tenured professor of molecular biology of Lehigh University managed a very feeble question. But what about the principle of Irreducible Complexity ,on the molecular level ,that i have explained so clearly in my book “Darwin’s Black Box”? Well sir, i explained, Professor FOG E. REASONING has stated that he doesn’t even need to read your book for he has already concluded that everything is reducible and as you know anything running contrary to his reasoning is garbage. He sat down satisfied that he had been thoroughly chastised by such a distinguished authority as Professor FOG E. REASONING. Then a clergyman, who had somehow managed to sneak in to the convention, whispered this question. What does he say about God ,about the miracles I’ve seen through the love of Jesus? Well sir,i replied, Professor FOG E. REASONING concludes that there may be a God but has concluded that if God does exist He is not powerful enough to create life, and also has concluded that God could care less about individual human beings and has also concluded that miracles are the result of the brainwashed delusions of preachers such as yourself. The group of scientist had to be forcibly restrained from tearing the clergyman apart. Though I’m pretty sure that i convinced most of them of the validity of your judgments ,I wasn’t taking any chances ,so i had the local mental health hospital come in and put the whole assembly in straight jackets and take them away to a mental institution, as well i had the doctors give them heavy doses of medication to try to keep them rational. I Also wanted to thank you for cluing me to the lack of consistency in mathematics, since this was in Las Vegas, i walked out of the convention hall and into the gambling hall ,where i played poker, and sure as you predicted, i had 100,000 Royal flushes in a row ,so i now am the proud owner Las Vegas and also declared myself King of Nevada. Thank you so much for saving me from my delusions.And for making me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Love, Bond, James Bond

I just got the ‘Note from Elders’ post on the Trinity site. It is still there at 1:06 PM, CST, 23 September!

Seems that Poor Bond has also been misled by ID into fallacious beliefs about the Cambrian explosion and other traditional ID ‘arguments’ which on closer scrutiny reveal ignorance and often worse, quote mining.

If ID is all about focusing on the ignorance of science, as Bond suggests, we can safely thank him for exposing the scientific vacuity of ID.

In the recent case of Dembski, the cost went beyond science and extended itself to religious faith. These poor Baptists at the Trinity Church in Norman Oklahoma really believed that Dembski’s ‘scientific arguments’ could help them penetrate the University with the gospel. Little did they realize how ID would be exposed as a scientifically vacuous concept, and running afoul of St Augustine’s fair warnings. That Bond still considers Behe’s concept of IC to be of scientific relevance shows the depth of self deception found amongst some ID proponents. As a recovered YEC-er I can understand that denial is the first step towards recovery and I wish Bond all the success on this long and often difficult road. If it helps, I managed to overcome the ignorance of YEC, both scientifically and theologically. So there is hope for recovering IDers as well.

The Notes from the Elders may have been removed now that the event has passed.

Bond, James Bond: Look for that funny L-shaped key on the right marked “enter”.

You could use it to make paragraphs, so that your giant chunks of mental froth would be at least physically readable.

You might use it just like this.(enter) (enter) That way people like me might actually attempt to read your blather, instead of skipping right over it, like I just did.(enter)

Augustine believed that God created everything INSTANTLY. Including our planet, including us humans. The ultimate Young Earth Creationist position, as it were.

My understanding of Augustine is somewhat different. Do you have citations for this?

I thought that Augustine rejected the idea of a six-day creation, and that he believed that living things were created in some unformed way, with the potential for development. This latter position (rationales seminales, as I recall the Latin phrase that Augustine used) has been claimed by some to be an anticipation of evolution (not that I am endorsing this claim).

You are correct; klint is misinformed. You can find Augustine’s key teachings on Genesis in Books Twelve and Thirteen of Confessions and his commentaries on Genesis.

You remember the Latin almost correctly (it’s rationes seminales), and your account of Augustine’s view of creation is essentially correct. In order to understand Augustine, we have to take into account that he adopted and “christianized” the neo-platonism of Plotinus. Neo-platonism identified God with “the one” or the form of the good. God was therefore unchanging, and creation could not be in time because that would imply a change in an unchanging being. Therefore Augustine held that creation was “from eternity” in God’s unchanging will. There was no “before” the creation because God created time along with space and matter. God imbued the creation with the rationes seminales, the “seeds” from which the creation would grow. In Augustine’s view, creation was not static, nor a once for all time event; it was a process.

Re the rationes seminales and evolution. Though it wouldn’t be fair to say that Augustine anticipated Darwin, I think it’s safe to say that his theology of creation is certainly compatible with a evolutionary view of creation.

I once asked Dembski point blank if he accepted common descent and he admitted that he did. He even implied that the plagarized error argument is what had convinced him. Why now claim that humans are not descended from other primates, especially when many plagarized errors are shared between humans and other primates? Are the rules just different for us alone?

He wouldn’t be the first person to take that position.

OTOH, was he saying what he believes or just catering to his (expected) Baptist audience?

Bobby,

Good question. In this case the exchange took place in a small class room in a university setting. Some community members were in the room at the time and I assume they were recruited from some area church. However, I am not sure if they were listening to our private conversation or not. Perhaps he only made the admission thinking they could not overhear. Indeed I have no proof at all and no way to document what he said. Still, this is pretty much the stand taken by Behe, so I guess he could get away with it if he choose to make his views public.

Even after repeatedly being brought up, I still don’t understand the point of bringing up the Augustine quote. People like Dembski couldn’t care less about Augustine. He’s not even a semi-traditional Lutheran or Anglican, much less a faithful Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christian. The quote seems like an argument from authority, which would be bad in itself, but to make matters worse it’s not even an authority accepted by the person you are arguing with.

Doesn’t “argument from authority” refer to using an assertion by that authority? When the quote contains the logic used to reach its conclusion, as this one does, it’s not depending on the “authority” of the person who said it.

Henry

Stevaroni just said that he skipped right over Bond, JB’s post. I did better than that - I scanned it. What I read was:

eipqrysdvklaeripq ioueqbvw FOG E.REASONING piwrvniypwqegt liieuqrb eqiphevb bvaqifvbierq ivbrevy eruiveqbvq T REX obvrthiley lreuqvy transitional fossils pbvy elbverh rvuerqbir erouvyer vieyivrvrdanfbvxco wq;idn.n God does exist He is not powerful rtid puitabv afvm adfbb tjkhbvedfabodfqb oayade sdify oerwnveaur 100,000 Royal flushes ortbvldufybv bvydjah tyibmer.

BJB - If you don’t think your thoughts are important enough to be readable, why should anyone bother reading them?

Stevaroni just said that he skipped right over Bond, JB’s post.

Skipped also. Just another collection of lies and fallacies.

He comes across as a home schooler who has never heard of paragraphs much less understanding what he cut and pasted. I don’t think he writes this stuff, just cuts and pastes from creo sites without a link or attribution.

My understanding of Augustine is somewhat different. Do you have citations for this?

Try this one:

http://capo.org/cpc/lavallee.htm

FL

From the City of God

They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed. And, not to spend many words in exposing the baselessness of these documents, in which so many thousands of years are accounted for, nor in proving that their authorities are totally inadequate, let me cite only that letter which Alexander the Great wrote to his mother Olympias, giving her the narrative he had from an Egyptian priest, which he had extracted from their sacred archives, and which gave an account of kingdoms mentioned also by the Greek historians. In this letter of Alexander’s a term of upwards of 5000 years is assigned to the kingdom of Assyria; while in the Greek history only 1300 years are reckoned from the reign of Bel himself, whom both Greek and Egyptian agree in counting the first king of Assyria. Then to the empire of the Persians and Macedonians this Egyptian assigned more than 8000 years, counting to the time of Alexander, to whom he was speaking; while among the Greeks, 485 years are assigned to the Macedonians down to the death of Alexander, and to the Persians 233 years, reckoning to the termination of his conquests. Thus these give a much smaller number of years than the Egyptians; and indeed, though multiplied three times, the Greek chronology would still be shorter. For the Egyptians are said to have formerly reckoned only four months to their year; so that one year, according to the fuller and truer computation now in use among them as well as among ourselves, would comprehend three of their old years. But not even thus, as I said, does the Greek history correspond with the Egyptian in its chronology. And therefore the former must receive the greater credit, because it does not exceed the true account of the duration of the world as it is given by our documents, which are truly sacred. Further, if this letter of Alexander, which has become so famous, differs widely in this matter of chronology from the probable credible account, how much less can we believe these documents which, though full of fabulous and fictitious antiquities, they would fain oppose to the authority of our well-known and divine books, which predicted that the whole world would believe them, and which the whole world accordingly has believed; which proved, too, that it had truly narrated past events by its prediction of future events, which have so exactly come to pass! (Saint Augustine)

See more Here

The problem here is that St Augustine was relying on the scriptural history and found support from science lacking. I am sure that he would have happily accepted the scientific fact of an old earth, rather than let himself run afoul of that which he so passionately preached.

As I thought this link shows how

Augustine claims that we ought to be willing to change our minds about the interpretation of Genesis 1-3, particularly as new information comes to light.

Consistent with the claim that Genesis 1-3 is difficult and obscure, Augustine repeatedly urges restraint, flexibility, openness to new interpretations, and openness to new knowledge that may provide insight into the text. He says that “in matters that are obscure and far beyond our vision … we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to conform to that of Sacred Scripture” (p. 41).

David Stanton said:

I once asked Dembski point blank if he accepted common descent and he admitted that he did. He even implied that the plagarized error argument is what had convinced him. Why now claim that humans are not descended from other primates, especially when many plagarized errors are shared between humans and other primates? Are the rules just different for us alone?

I think you were duped. Not your fault, the ID guys are very adept at obfuscating their position e.g. to make it seem less like creationism. Dembski might say that one could accept common ancestry and still be an IDer, or that he accepts common ancestry (but leaving out “only common ancestry within narrow limits of created kinds”) – but neither of these is really an admission that Dembski accepts the reality of common ancestry of life.

In fact, Dembski has been against common ancestry, as we normally understand the term, for 10+ years, and probably for his whole adult life. Here is the 1995 Dembski article that mentions this:

Depending on how one construes the words “creation” and “evolution,” one’s answer to the question Do you believe in creation? and Do you believe in evolution? are likely to show quite a bit of variability. For myself, Yes, I believe that God created the world with a purpose in mind, and No, I don’t believe that God created the world in six 24-hour day periods. No, I don’t believe in fully naturalistic evolution controlled solely by purposeless material processes, and Yes, I do believe that organisms have undergone some change in the course of natural history (though I believe that this change has occurred within strict limits and that human beings were specially created).

William A. Dembski (1995), “What Every Theologian Should Know about Creation, Evolution, and Design.” Center for Interdisciplinary Studies Transactions, 3(2): 3.

Mr. Bond, if all that you say in that one paragraph is true, why didn’t Dembski present that evidence at his speech?

OK, folks, I’m gonna bite the bullet here and try to shred all of these mistakes. Bear with me, it’ll take a while.

One comment before I start, BJB: your typography makes you come across like some kind of ignorant monkey. I’d suggest either: (1) you bother to use correct English; (2) you learn correct English; or (3) you use an amanuensis, if you consider what you have to say to be sufficiently important.

Bond, James Bond Wrote:

… As a result of your superior insight ,i called a convention of the hundred’s of PhD s that support intelligent design.

Are there really hundreds? How many exactly?

And how many of those PhDs are in biological sciences?

[irrelevant scene-setting snipped out]… But one brave, but foolish, soul not totally satisfied with his diagnosis of insanity managed a meekly worded question. But what about the dramatic evidence in the fossil record ,the sudden appearance of all the different forms of life in the fossil record in what is commonly called “the Cambrian Explosion” ,

The Cambrian “explosion” took about 20 - 30 million years. Extending both before and after the so-called “explosion”, from about 575 mya to about 540 mya, there is a record of gradually more complex organisms appearing in the fossil record. This trend extends from before the CE to after the CE. Modern paleontologists do not use the term “Cambrian Explosion” in any technical sense, because it is widely recognised that it took a long time to occur. The term is misleading.

then the stability demonstrated by all fossils as long as they are found in the fossil record ,one popular example being the fact that when we find a T-REX it is always a T-REX ,not almost a T-REX ,over the millions of years we find it in the fossil record ,

Hey, this would be a lot easier if you used, y’know, sentences.

Anyway, Darwin addresses this point in TOOS: transitional forms exist for only a short period of time. Have you actually read the theory you criticise?

A species will remain unchanged if it is to its advantage not to change.

Besides, never mind T. rex: what about the hundreds of transitional forms that have been discovered?

also there is the total lack of evidence for the hypothetical primordial slime that the evolutionary theory says we supposedly crawled out of ,

That’s a misrepresentation. Evolutionary theory makes no claims about how life began. That field of investigation is known as abiogenesis.

plus there is the fact that there is not even one example of transition from one form to another in the entire fossil record of millions of collected fossils?

I don’t know to whom you have been listening, but they lied to you. There are hundreds of transitional forms.

Plus the fact that all the undeniably transitional fossils to humans that evolutionist have trumpeted over the years have each turned out in the end to be very embarrassing frauds for the evolutionist.

Wrong.

There was one fraud (Piltdown Man). It was uncovered by scientists. The other hominid fossils are genuinely related to our lineage.

Well my friends,i stated as i adjusted my tie, Professor FOG E. REASONING has concluded that tectonic activity and erosion have chosen exactly which fossils are to be eliminated and all the transitional fossils were the ones that were chosen. That is why there is no evidence of evolution in the fossil record.

Wrong. There are hundreds of transitional forms.

… What about the irrefutable proof of mathematics which point to the fantastically impossible origin of even the simplest single cell by natural mechanisms,

Actually, there is no relevant calculation that indicates life is unlikely. All of Dembski’s calculations are based on assumptions that do not apply to real biological systems. Other creationists and IDists have carried out calculations that also use assumptions that do not apply to any system that can undergo natural selection.

much less the impossibility of the Cambrian explosion, which saw the sudden appearance of all the amazingly complex different forms of life in the fossil record,

Not sudden, it took millions of years.

All of the forms that we see for the first time in the fossil record at the start of the Cambrian have ancestors in the Pre-Cambrian. Just because the fossil record does not show an unbroken lineage for every form, does not mean that such a thing did not happen. This is more an indication of the unlikelihood of soft bodies fossilising than anything else.

The key thing about the early Cambrian is that it was the time at which hard body parts such as shells started to become widespread (probably in response to the evolution of more efficient predators). A consequence of this is that the fossil record goes from being quite sparse in the Pre-Cambrian to quite numerous in the Cambrian.

Plus the lack of natural explanations to explain the amazing complexity of information in the DNA.

The information in DNA is simple, actually.

You use an argument from ignorance here. Just becasue we do not know exactly how DNA came to be the molecule that encodes genetic information, does not mean that we cannot ever know. It does not indicate anything except that abiogenesis is a field that has significant challenges (particularly the difficulty of acquiring evidence to throw light on the processes that took place as life began).

And furthermore the absolutely crushing fact that over 99.9999% of the naturally occurring mutations to DNA are shown to be Harmful/Fatal to whatever species being studied has them.

Rubbish. Many mutations are silent, i.e. they have no effect whatsoever. This is due to (1) the redundancy of the genetic code (at which you earlier marvelled, but apparently did not take the trouble to view!), and (2) the fact that some changes of amino acid residues in proteins can have very little effect on the structure and function of the protein (e.g. a change from leucine to isoleucine, or from aspartate to glutamate).

With that fact being established

Where quite the opposite is true, so I wonder that you didn’t bother to check if it was genuinely established or not.

,one of the foundational cornerstones of the Darwinian mutation/natural selection scenario, is scientifically shown to be not feasible with the reality of the facts at all.

As I pointed out, you’re wrong. When it was discovered, it was greeted with enthusiasm, because the mechanism whereby DNA encodes genetic information fits very neatly with Darwin’s original theory. In fact, the closeness of the fit is a successful prediction of Darwin’s theory.

…it is not at all unreasonable for a monkey to sit down at a typewriter and type the Gettysburg address on his first try

Unreasonable or not, it is highly unlikely. However, are you trying to say that an unlikely event can never happen?

,and that the monkey can continue to generate meaningful essays on his way to building a library without ever hitting a dead end of meaningless essays. So Prof. FOG E. REASONING has concluded that mathematics don’t apply in this instance.

This is blatant nonsense. The calcs done by creationists and ID proponents are irrelevant, because they start from assumptions that do not actually apply in the real world of biology. Whereas, calculations carried out by people who do not have an ulterior motive or a preconceived conclusion to support, do indicate that the scenarios proposed by evolutionary theory are eminently plausible.

… What about the protein sequences between different branches of life that shows the same percentage of divergence no matter which two groups are compared, no matter how “primitive” or “advanced” the branch of life may be?

There is no such thing as more “primitive” or more “advanced” branches of life. All life has been evolving for the same time. The bacteria in my gut are just as “highly-evolved” as I am.

Or What about the fact that all the useless ,leftover organs and body parts that the evolutionist have pointed to as evidence , the appendix being one example, have all,after careful study been shown to have essential purpose after all.

Well, except thay’ve been shown to have no important function actually. Just ask anyone who has had an appendectomy.

Or how about the fact that the highly trumpeted Finch Beak variation that has been paraded as positive proof for evolution turns out to be a cyclical variation that goes back and forth ,thus showing no permanent change in the beaks of the finch.

What, so a change has to be permanent to count as evolution, does it?

The beak size of Darwin’s finches has been shown to respond to the nature of the available supply of food. The fact that it can change from form A to form B and back is still change, and it is change in response to environmental change. It is a good example of natural selection.

… Then Michael Behe the distinguished tenured professor of molecular biology of Lehigh University

Hahahaha. Sorry.

managed a very feeble question. But what about the principle of Irreducible Complexity ,on the molecular level ,that i have explained so clearly in my book “Darwin’s Black Box”?

Hmm, yes, explained so clearly that a “system” can be defined as any desired number of “parts” and the “function” one considers does not have to account for all possible functions of the “system”. Err, so how do we recognise what is a “system” and what isn’t?

Also, is it that definition that has changed twice since the publication of DBB?

That definition of IC, whereof all examples have been shown not to be IC after all? And whereof the very concept of IC was actually a prediction of evolutionary theory made in the early part of the 20th century?

… What does he say about God ,about the miracles I’ve seen through the love of Jesus?

But, surely, ID is not that kind of theory? It does not deign to stoop to scientists’ pathetic level of detail, so how is this relevant?

BTW, all I would say is: show me the evidence.

Well sir,i replied, Professor FOG E. REASONING concludes that there may be a God but has concluded that if God does exist He is not powerful enough to create life,

Er, not so. Science does not comment on the existence or otherwise of God, but does require that any idea we propose to explain physical phenomena be consistent with all of the evidence.

As it happens, a theistic view of evolution is not parsimonious, so does not provide as satisfying an explanation as modern evolutionary theory. Additionally, there is ample evidence that evolution exhibits no teleology.

and also has concluded that God could care less about individual human beings and has also concluded that miracles are the result of the brainwashed delusions of preachers such as yourself.

Poisoning the well + straw man. Next fallacy, please.

… straight jackets …

Or did you mean straitjackets?

… i had 100,000 Royal flushes in a row ,so i now am …

Somewhere between 8 and 12 years older, depending on how much time to allot to eating and sleeping.

Honestly, do you really believe all this tripe that you’ve written?

Bond, James Bond, here’s a link for you:

List of creationist arguments

Mr Bond: Do you expect me to educate myself?

Me: No, Mr Bond, I expect you to ignore the link and remain ignorant. Muhahahahahahaaha!

Nigel,

Nice job. Obviously Mr. Bond has been badly misinformed. However, one point he makes does make a certain amount of sense:

“… What about the protein sequences between different branches of life that shows the same percentage of divergence no matter which two groups are compared, no matter how “primitiveâ€? or “advancedâ€? the branch of life may be?”

If you actually examine the tree of life you will find that, for example, all vertebrates now living shared a common ancestor with, for example, fruit flies at one time in the past. Since the time is exactly the same for all of the species within the group, the divergence is expected to be the same no matter what pairwise comparison is made. This is in fact the basis of the relative rates test. In that sense, and that sense only, Mr. Bond is correct. But of course that is exactly what is predicted if the tree of life is correct. If you compare any vertebrate to any echinoderm the divergence will be less, since echinoderms are the proper sister group to the chordates (assuming you choose a gene that evolves slowly enough so that saturation has not occurred). This falsifies the statement conclusively. By the way, the relative rates test sometimes shows that rates vary significantly between lineages for certain genes. So, in that sense, the statement is also wrong.

Mr. Bond also wrote:

“…it is not at all unreasonable for a monkey to sit down at a typewriter and type the Gettysburg address on his first try.”

A simple correction will make the statement meaningful:

It is not at all unreasonable to assume that if a million monkeys sat down at typewriters and typed random sequences that some of them would more closely resemble the Gettysberg address than others. If the closest one was chosen as the next starting point and every monkey were allowed to start over and only those changes that made the document more similar to the target were allowed, and this process were to be repeated many times, it is easy to calculate the expected amount of time it would take before an exact copy of the Gettysberg address was produced. Under those conditions, it would not take very long at all.

So Mr. Bond is worong on all counts. Perhaps he should be shaken and not stirred.

David, thanks again.

I didn’t want to get into the detail of differential evolutionary rates in different groups. I was trying to address BJB’s comment on a level that did not require much detail, in order to save time. As it was, my response took nearly an hour to compose.

I consider it an hour well spent, though, because (1) it made me think about what the evidence actually is that supports MET, and (2) visitors to this comment thread may see that the arguments put forth by supporters of ID, even when superficially convincing, are full of logical flaws, misrepresentations, and repetitions of points that have already been addressed and refuted.

“He’s not even a semi-traditional Lutheran or Anglican…” Good grief! Talk about looking ignorant… St. Augustine died in, what, 430 or thereabouts. Tough to be a Lutheran or Anglican a thousand years before there were Lutherans or Anglicans. Even the Eastern Orthodox Church didn’t exist until after the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Finally, while Martin Luther had a lot to say about the papacy, church indulgences, etc., I don’t recall any critical commentary on St. Augustine. OTOH, I’d have to agree that Debmski, and his ilk, probably don’t give much truck to Augustine… precisely because of the quote cited. Cheers!

Nigel D and David Stanton -

Thank you for your efforts.

I always find the would-be-patronizing rants of James Bond (whom I suspect has had several names over the years) amusing. But I always find it unsatisfying when they go unanswered.

I hate it when he uses verbosity as a shield, trying to machine gun out the BS and flawed logic in massive volume, quite correctly assuming that doing so will inhibit people from replying to it.

I’ve taken the time to pick through his nonsense myself, and I know that, although it’s a labor of love, it’s a lot of work.

Nigel and Harold,

Thanks for the kind words. I never know whether to respond to such nonsense or not. It takes so little time to generate and so much time to adequately refute. And as Science Avenger and others have pointed out, there is never any possibliity of changing the minds of the people who write such stuff anyway.

My thinking is that is the administrators let such stuff be posted and don’t remove it, then they must consider it on-topic and it is therefore fair game for rebuttals. If they didn’t want anybody to respond they would simply remove the offensive post. Of course that may presuppose a certain level of vigilance that may not be realistic here. I certainly don’t mind when my comments are removed to the Bathroom wall.

Still, some such as Neal intentionally cross the line repeatedly. I don’t know why his posts are allowed. Responding seems pointless because unless you sink to his level you will never get anywhere. In that case the cure might be worse than the disease.

Thank you Nigel, Harold and others for debunking the baloney and lies of Realpc, Mats, FL, “Bond, James Bond”, etc.

I learn a tremendous amount from the explanations of their errors and falsehoods.

I suspect there are many others lurking and learning like myself.

Please keep it up.

Sincerely,

ROG

Still, some such as Neal intentionally cross the line repeatedly. I don’t know why his posts are allowed. Responding seems pointless because unless you sink to his level you will never get anywhere. In that case the cure might be worse than the disease.”

What do you mean “cross the line”? Many times, the truth is undeniable, even when presented out of context (which your beloved sympathetic editors have the ability and will continue to “tweak” my messages in favor of what ever benefits them personally.

You very much need to (if you are really interested in the demonstrable truth regarding these issues) hold the “priests of the forum” accountable for their editorial manipulations. (and i am reasonably sure these people will edit out my comments here as they have done repeatedly in the past to protect their financial interests this discussion has been set up to support)

You very much need to (if you are really interested in the demonstrable truth regarding these issues) hold the “priests of the forum” accountable for their editorial manipulations. (and i am reasonably sure these people will edit out my comments here as they have done repeatedly in the past to protect their financial interests this discussion has been set up to support)

You are too funny. A bit more outrageous than Sal but still doing a good job at making creationists look silly and ill informed. Don’t worry, your musings deserve to be exposed for all to see.

People may also want to check out Henry Neufeld’s Trackback

In contrast, as a “creationist” who accepts the theory of evolution, I believe that the entire universe is designed. That universal design is the biggest problem there is for IDC, because IDC requires places that are less and more designed so they can detect the differences. IDC doesn’t try to demonstrate that the universe is designed, as many people, especially Christians, believe it does. Rather, it is attempting to prove a variation in God’s involvement.

Of course Dembski will not admit an evolutionary pathway no matter how many steps you discover. Why? Because that would mean totally abandoning everything he has worked for. If all the animals truly are equal, and none are more equal than others, then what is there for Dembski and his ilk to detect? The field is different, but the method is the same as the constant attack on new fossil discoveries by the young earth crowd. One new specimen, in their propaganda, simply means two new gaps that must be filled. And of course they have no similar requirement to fulfill.

In other words, theologically and scientifically vacuous. What a beautiful meme this is.

Good to see that Neal has calmed down. I think he knows exactly what is meant by “cross the line”, and I suspect that he has been pulling your chains the whole time he left his most familiar posts.

I would like to leave a little bit on the “financial interest” angle, though. This is a .org site. There are no advertisements. The people who post here do so on their own free time. Unless, of course, you are referring to “financial interest” as evolutionary biologists countering criticisms to their profession. It goes deeper than money; scientific integrity and education are at stake in this debate. As for your illusion that they are some how cashing in, my opinion is that if money was such a big motivator, they would not be working in academic research and education. There are better ways to make money than being evolutionary biologists, after all, even with a science degree.

Note that we receive a ‘hazard’ bonus for rebutting Neal which can amount to almost three times our usual pay. Only the best trained are allowed to look at Neal’s postings due to their dangerous content and the disastrous impact it may have on the faith of ‘Darwinists’.

At this rate I may be able to retire any time soon.

I kid you not…

Ah, PvM, so you get danger money at triple-time for dealing with Neal’s posts do you?

Such a shame that 3 x 0 = 0, isn’t it?

:)

JakeS:

… I would like to leave a little bit on the “financial interest” angle, though. This is a .org site. There are no advertisements. The people who post here do so on their own free time. Unless, of course, you are referring to “financial interest” as evolutionary biologists countering criticisms to their profession. It goes deeper than money; scientific integrity and education are at stake in this debate. As for your illusion that they are some how cashing in, my opinion is that if money was such a big motivator, they would not be working in academic research and education. There are better ways to make money than being evolutionary biologists, after all, even with a science degree.

Actually, I’m not an academic scientist: I work for a CMO in biopharmaceuticals (my area of expertise is downstream process development). However, my employer’s customer base contains, inter alia, several biotech start-up companies. Without a highly-educated (and highly motivated) workforce, these customer companies would be unable to operate, and therefore my employer would have significantly fewer customers.

Therefore, I have an indirect financial interest in the scientific education of people throughout Europe, North America and East Asia.

UO:

Praise to the Lord for exposing the scientific vacuity of ID and the flawed understanding amongst Christians who believe that evolutionary theory somehow undermines the concept of a God.

Um, it does. The concept of God used to include a very active creator role. ID reduces him to an occational tinkerer, while sophisticated forms of theism struggles to find any active role for God at all. If that’s not undermining of a concept, nothing is.

“The concept of God” referred to may well be what most Christians subscribe to, but I nevertheless find this a relevant question: Is that the one and only possible concept of God? In my opinion, the creator God of the bible is not the true God; the true God is a spiritual force. The ancients had a lot of gods, each of them responsible for particular aspects of the physical world. They got rolled into one and equated with the spirit God as well Thus making the monster we find in the OT.

If PvM deserves ‘hazard’ pay for Neal, David Stanton and, especially, Nigel D. deserve it for tackling Bond James Bond. I was one of the many who couldn’t make it through the verbage. One question, though, to Nigel– are the bacteria in our guts really just as “highly-evolved” as we are? Since their generations are so much shorter, wouldn’t they be MORE highly evolved than us?

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on September 22, 2007 9:40 PM.

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