Where Teaching the Controversy is Prohibited

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On “Threads from Henry’s Web”, Henry Neufeld writes more about Colling and ‘teaching the controversy’

This action shows some of the destructive potential of ignorance, but it also removes any fig-leaf of respectability from the “teach the controversy” argument. The advocates of creationism generally do not want the controversy taught. They want to win. If they were to win a court case allowing their materials into the public school classrooms, their next move would be to prevent critical examination of those ideas, and then to prevent the teaching of evolutionary theory itself. I simply don’t believe the public propaganda. I never have, but the evidence that it is pure propaganda just keeps building up.

Henry describes himself as “… an author and lecturer, owner of Energion Publications, and president of Pacesetters Bible School.” His description of the problems and risks of ID seem timely and to the point.

55 Comments

Just google it until the link is up.

He’s absolutely right, of course. Here at my University, I tell folks that I’ll be happy to teach ID and creationism in my classes – but they will hate it even more because I will teach the truth by laying out the evidence, at which point the ugly beast under the mask will be exposed, and the students will see just what a lying scam the whole business is. This, of course, is why they focus mainly on public schools, and not the University. In public schools, they think they can basically force the teacher to teach what they say, and they know that few are prepared to directly challenge them in a curriculum that has little room to go into depth. Remember that these people tend to lean heavily to authoritarianism.

On the bright side, my daughter’s 9th grade science teacher started off her class with lectures on “what is science” with the stated goal of clearing up all the baloney and confusion generated by letters-to-the-editor, while my son’s 6th grade science teacher announced yesterday that she will teach evolution (unlike my daughter;s 6th grade science teacher, who omitted it).

I doubt we will hear from the creationists about how wrong this is.

I’m still waiting for someone on the ID side to explain how one could do science without assuming so-called “naturalism” (that is, ruling out the supernatural). The very notion of a “supernatural explanation” is an oxymoron, that is to say, it’s the same as no explanation at all. Another name for a supernatural explanation would be a miracle, that is, an event or phenomenon that cannot be explained (and if I’m mistaken, please explain how). As soon as you declare that something is miraculous, you stop looking for an explanation. And if you accept an explanation for it, it’s not a miracle. In science, you don’t classify the unknown as miraculous, you admit that you don’t know and leave the problem for the next generation. Or maybe you put forth the best explanation that you can, and the next generation shows that you were wrong. But the scientific endeavor as a whole does not just give up. Now, can we logically consider that this is proof that the supernatural does not exist? Of course not! Why is it so difficult to accept that, if the supernatural exists, it will forever remain beyond scientific proof, no matter how smart we become? Isn’t that called faith? Aren’t they limiting God by assuming we have the ability to catch up to him and tread where we shouldn’t? Assume for the sake of argument that what we are studying really does come from the supernatural. Either we’ll never find an explanation and we’ll look forever and be forever unsuccessful, or we’ll find an undetectably incorrect explanation. Science would survive either situation just fine. But if science were to start accepting supernatural “explanations”, it would cease.

The advocates of creationism generally do not want the controversy taught.

Of course not. The designer-free “teach the controversy” approach in particular, promoted only by design advocates (surprise, surprise), makes sure that none of the failed, mutually-contradictory creationist alternatives get critically analyzed. Only evolution gets “critically analyzed,” or more correctly misrepresented. Few if any teachers would have the time to counter the misinformation, and few if any students will have the time and interest to seek out counter arguments on their own time. That is, for all intents and purposes, censorship.

But if science were to start accepting supernatural “explanations”, it would cease.

You got it - that’s the creationists’ goal: “Back to the Dark Ages!”

Aren’t they limiting God…?

Yes, they are, as a matter of theological fact. Creationism in general and intelligent design in particular are both technically heretical. Denying the miracles of creation or (even worse) invoking an anonymous “designer” instead of the Creator God of Genesis can really upset some of the faithful when it’s properly pointed out to them.

But if science were to start accepting supernatural “explanations”, it would cease.

You got it - that’s the creationists’ goal: “Back to the Dark Ages!”

Aren’t they limiting God…?

Yes, they are, as a matter of theological fact. Creationism in general and intelligent design in particular are both technically heretical. Denying the miracles of creation or (even worse) invoking an anonymous “designer” instead of the Creator God of Genesis can really upset some of the faithful when it’s properly pointed out to them.

I’m still waiting for someone on the ID side to explain how one could do science without assuming so-called “naturalism” (that is, ruling out the supernatural)… if science were to start accepting supernatural “explanations”, it would cease.

And in the absence of an answer to your question here, it starts to seem reasonable to wonder:

Do you suppose that Intelligent Design advocates actually care whether there is an answer to the question of how, or if it is even possible, to do science under the rules they seek to impose?

Do you think that they would view science ceasing as any particular loss?

Bill Gascoyne Wrote:

I’m still waiting for someone on the ID side to explain how one could do science without assuming so-called “naturalism” (that is, ruling out the supernatural).

Asking them that just allows them to bait-and-switch between methodological and philosophical “naturalism.” What I am waiting for is for IDers to simply state what the designer did and when that makes it qualify as something other than evolution. Heck, even YECs and OECs can do that. They can’t support it, though, and IDers know that. Other than a rare half-hearted speculation (such as Behe’s ancestral cell that is no comfort at all to YECs and OECs) IDers simply evade the questions.

Paul Burnett wrote:

You got it - that’s the creationists’ goal: “Back to the Dark Ages!”

About the only thing honest about the Discovery Institute’s ID scam outfit was the name (Center for Renewal of Science and Culture). They were announcing just what you conclude, but it was too honest and they had to change it to be more consistent with their other junk.

Like the good authoritarians they are, they don’t see it that way. See, the problem with science as it’s practiced is, you can’t pre-determine the results. It’s anarchy out there man!!! Anybody can come up with any answer they like, and pretend that it’s right, just because it agrees with the evidence!

If you look at the history of biology creationism was taught, then modified, then eventually discarded in favor of an explanation that worked a whole heck of a lot better without arguments from ignorance, appeals to authority etc.

Oh and going over this and what science is in a first year college bio class really does work to change minds (not all but some).

Although I don’t talk about the modern versions (e.g. ID) the same arguments and data that made our ancestors discard that hypothesis work today except we have even better data. There is no flipping controversy!

It’s anarchy out there man!!! Anybody can come up with any answer they like, and pretend that it’s right, just because it agrees with the evidence!

i rather think you are on to a large part of it there.

after they forcefeed biblical literalism into the mass populace, next they’ll be telling us how wonderful for everybody it would be if we reintroduced feudalism.

There is no flipping controversy!

no REAL one, anyway.

after they forcefeed biblical literalism into the mass populace, next they’ll be telling us how wonderful for everybody it would be if we reintroduced feudalism.

Do you think that they would view science ceasing as any particular loss?

We’re wandering around close to something important here. I’m personally convinced the creationists want a fairly rigid theocracy (so long as they’re in charge), and that they would NOT be willing to discard the steady advance of technology. The relationship between technological advances and scientific advances is easy to deny if you don’t understand either one.

Besides, they don’t wish to lose science AT ALL. They would be horrified at the prospect of science ceasing. If I’m reading them right, they think science would advance at least an order of magnitude faster if only scientsts had the sense to recognize that Jesus lies at the heart of all true science, and that they’re missing a zillion crucial breakthroughs by leaving Him out of their research. If science is a Good Thing (and it is), Creation Science is a Better Thing. How could it be otherwise?

Imagine if creationists’ political goals were achieved, and biological scientific advances (including all of medicine) came to a stop. What do you think they’d do? I imagine they’d execute a few suspected atheist biologists, imprison a few, and impose increasing levels of theological oversight in the labs. The Soviet experience is instructive: when a planned economy failed, the “solution” was to execute ten million people (to eliminate those responsible for the failure), plan in ever more detail, and turn half the workers into otherwise-unproductive secret police.

So, as usual, the error people here make over and over and over is to assume that evidence matters to ideologists. And so if the evidence is that A always prevents B, people here assume that those who advocate A desire to avoid B. This is completely wrong-headed. Creationists want lots and lots of B (scientific advances, better medicine, better technology). A (enforced creationism), however, is not negotiable. And if A precludes B, all the more reason to get into the political position to exterminate those who must be preventing B.

Sadly, this is human nature.

So, as usual, the error people here make over and over and over is to assume that evidence matters to ideologists.

uh, I do hope your overanalysis doesn’t apply to the post I left as a joke?

I do indeed agree, and have stated numerous times over the years how futile evidence based arguments are against creationists (the only proven benefit being to bystanders).

frankly, while i see people like David Stanton and others constantly attempting to bother to respond to the likes of realpc (a real or ficitional character that’s just representative) with actual evidentiary arguments, I’m pretty sure they actually don’t think positions taken by such people are ever seriously influenced by them.

er, at least I’d hope not after all this time.

I also don’t think the push behind the machinations of the creationists is even really to create a theocracy; it’s more the destruction of democracy, which is why i made the flippant comment about feudalism, and also why I thought that the other flippant comment about eliminating anarchy (which any follower of Levi Strauss would recognize) was rather spot on.

looking at the history of who pours money into creationist coffers, it really does suggest followers of Straussian philosophies are behind a lot of it.

I also don’t think the push behind the machinations of the creationists is even really to create a theocracy; it’s more the destruction of democracy

OK, I respectfully disagree. I think they have what they consider a positive goal. Yes, they see democracy as evil, because it permits the Great Secular Unwashed to influence policy in directions uncongenial to their preferences.

Maybe it would be useful to distinguish the sincerly deluded majority from the control-freak ringleaders? I think the rank and file creationists have been brainwashed into mindless cannon fodder being used by the (equally deluded but more practical) political activists, who simply desire to be in position to cram their delusions onto the unfaithful.

The general approach is, the only way to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number is to put ME in charge, without any restrictions. The people who pour in the money want to run the show, directly or indirectly. But every one of them hears voices, at every level. They are ALL thoroughly insane.

Yes, they see democracy as evil, because it permits the Great Secular Unwashed to influence policy in directions uncongenial to their preferences.

then we uh, disagree to agree?

:p

They are ALL thoroughly insane

indeed a ripe market for an enterprising HMO dealing in mental health care.

In fact, I have found it surprising that it isn’t being exploited yet.

too many “sensitive” issues to address, I suppose.

Sir Toejam,

You are correct sir.

Bill G writes…

I’m still waiting for someone on the ID side to explain how one could do science without assuming so-called “naturalism” … The very notion of a “supernatural explanation” is … the same as no explanation at all.

Actually, Bill, I think you’re a little wrong here.

The real problem for supernatural explanations isn’t that science disallows the supernatural out of hand. Science is more than happy to postulate, and investigate all manner of supernatural events, from lightning being the thunderbolts of the Gods to Uri Geller bending spoons with his mind.

It’s that nothing of the kind has ever ever been shown to actually exist, so science consequently now regards them as fairy tales. Science would be perfectly fine with the explanation “…And then a miracle occurs” if you could just establish that there actually is such a thing in the first place.

It’s not that the creationist explanation is automatically rejected because science doesn’t allow for that sort of stuff, but that their explanation automatically ignored because it’s so unsupported and devoid of demonstrable facts.

Science kind has a fetish for those, Kinda like Imelda Marcos had a thing for shoes.

In the mean time, the DI and UcD are licking their wounds. Surprising how effective Dembski is in undermining ID’s goals just because of his disagreements with Baylor. All because of some poorly chosen words in an email and now this.

And really, all under the cry of ‘academic freedom’… Of course Baylor has all the right to protect its good name. This is not about academic freedom, this is about using the good name of a respectable university to further a scientifically vacuous concept.

Now that this has failed, ID is quick to tar Baylor… How ironic… Even in defeat they fail to show forgiveness and grace.

St Augustine would surely roll over in his grave…

I don’t see which is the problem with teaching ID, all the content can be covered in 15 minutes, or maybe less. On the other hand this course could be useful for reducing the stress of serious study.

What in the hell is so good about Supernatural explanations for anything?

For most of human history, supernatural explanations were the norm. The only game in town.

Ignoring all the mythology of the Greeks and Romans and Norse who had the winds being controlled by minor deities and a big snake wrapped around the world, we have:

1. In the middle ages, witches were thought to have powers. Tens of thousands were killed in Europe. A few dozen were killed in Salem Massachusetts. In the 21st century, they are still killing supposed witches in third world dumps.

2. For a time in the medieval period, cats were thought to be the devil’ creatures. They were rounded up and killed, especially if they were black. Ironically these rodent catchers were most persecuted during the Black Death, spread by rat fleas. Not smart.

3. For much of the last 2,000 years, disease was thought to be due to evil influences or demons. Modern medicine has a different approach and it works a lot better. The demon theory of mental illness is still very common in certain quarters. It ends up killing people occasionally. Ask Andrea Yates, Cho Seung, or anyone killed during an exorcism gone wrong.

4. Up until recently, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and zombies roamed the night. While they make good movies, we now know they aren’t real.

We don’t need supernatural explanations in science anymore. No proof, no data, no evidence. And such explanations have a bad reputation that they earned all by themselves.

stevaroni,

I think we have a semantic issue here. Tell me, if you actually found the guy in the clouds throwing thunderbolts, took his picture, and interviewed him, would he still be “supernatural”? A technology so advanced that you and me find it indistinguishable from magic is still technology and not magic to anyone with sufficient understanding.

stevaroni Wrote:

It’s not that the creationist explanation is automatically rejected because science doesn’t allow for that sort of stuff, but that their explanation automatically ignored because it’s so unsupported and devoid of demonstrable facts.

Acute.

Bill Gascoyne Wrote:

A technology so advanced that you and me find it indistinguishable from magic is still technology and not magic to anyone with sufficient understanding.

But who are we to reject a religious definition? Also, tests yields false positives. Neither would be a problem for an empiricist in search of facts, solely for religious Truth.

But who are we to reject a religious definition?

*raises hand*

St Augustine would surely roll over in his grave…

wait, what’s he doing hanging out in a grave?

ain’t he a saint?

shouldn’t he rather be “looking down and shaking his head”?

damn, all this mythology is confusing.

Bill;

…and not magic to anyone with sufficient understanding.

I agree. In practice, “supernatural” is just a placeholder for “s**t we don’t understand yet”.

Science actually likes that aspect of it. If someone could actually prove that Paris Hilton can communicate psychically with her pet chihuahua it would open up boatloads of interesting (and no doubt amusing) research for years to come!

(Those poor, poor chihuahuas. The horror.)

But eventually, of course, somebody would figure it out and it would cease to be supernatural, just like lightning bolts and radio did.

My point, if overly flippant, was that creationists always complain that science rejects them without a fair hearing because they claim the supernatural is real. I wanted to point out that science has a long, happy history of investigating the supernatural, it just has real problems with the totally vacuous.

“In practice, “supernatural” is just a placeholder for “s**t we don’t understand yet”.”

I agree. However, theoretically there is another possibility. It is possible that some things could exist that are outside of the laws of nature. In that case, it could really be defined as supernatural and not just advanced technology. If such a thing existed then it would be effectively beyond the ability of science to study. Science requires that natural laws be followed if things are to be comprehensible. Anything that follows natural laws, even those not yet discovered, can still be understood, at least potentially. But if something is truly outside the laws of nature, then no predictions can be made and no tests can be properly interpreted. It would simply not be possible to explain such phenomena scientifically.

One of the greatest intellectual achievements in history, (often attributed to Issac Newton), was the realization that the natural world was comprehensible in terms of natural laws. Since then, no evidence has ever been discovered of anything that is truly outside of natural law. If there was evidence for such a thing, it might indeed be outside the realm of science. But, until there is evidence, it is outside the realm of science anyway. This is not a prejudice or committment to a philosophy, it is a practical as well as theoretical limitation of science. If such a thing is discovered, it might remain forever outside the realm of science. However, until there is evidence for such a thing it is unproductive to assume that such a thing exists and to use such explanations for natural phenomena. The history of science shows that this approach has vbeen neither productive nor instructive.

“And in the absence of an answer to your question here, it starts to seem reasonable to wonder:

Do you suppose that Intelligent Design advocates actually care whether there is an answer to the question of how, or if it is even possible, to do science under the rules they seek to impose?

Do you think that they would view science ceasing as any particular loss?”

Very good point. The leaders of ID movement know the truth…what they don’t want is, the rest of the sheeple knowing the truth.

Fact is, as the science advances and can explain more, the myths of religious belief will fall to the side as they have done for the last 1000 years. So, in an effort to stop that before it’s all explainable, IDiots are serving up their dreck to prevent this.

They simply want science to stop before the man behind the curtain is exposed.

Flint Wrote:

Imagine if creationists’ political goals were achieved, and biological scientific advances (including all of medicine) came to a stop. What do you think they’d do? I imagine they’d execute a few suspected atheist biologists, imprison a few, and impose increasing levels of theological oversight in the labs. The Soviet experience is instructive: when a planned economy failed, the “solution” was to execute ten million people (to eliminate those responsible for the failure), plan in ever more detail, and turn half the workers into otherwise-unproductive secret police.

The Soviet analogy is perfect. I’m continuously amazed at the extent to which the theocrat and neocon wings of the conservative movement resemble Soviet ideology. During the Bush presidency I’ve called them “Busheviks.”

The fact that so many neocon intellectuals are ex-Marxists is, I’m sure, purely coincidental. They’re still looking for a way to stop history and realize the absolute, static “truth.” They’re still looking for their “end of history,” an idea so ridiculous anyone who utters it should have cold water poured on them.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

I also don’t think the push behind the machinations of the creationists is even really to create a theocracy; it’s more the destruction of democracy, which is why i made the flippant comment about feudalism, and also why I thought that the other flippant comment about eliminating anarchy (which any follower of Levi Strauss would recognize) was rather spot on.

looking at the history of who pours money into creationist coffers, it really does suggest followers of Straussian philosophies are behind a lot of it.

If Strauss isn’t yet called the “father of American fascism,” give it another few decades.

Here is the quote that sums up the entire Straussian project, from another neocon:

Irving Kristol Wrote:

There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn’t work.

This is really an amazingly radical and amazingly elitist statement. First of all, he’s basically saying that stupid people need religion. Before you freak out, I don’t think that, he does. It’s deeply insulting. I’m not even religious, and I even find it insulting from this distance.

But even more deeply, it’s really a rebuke not only of the enlightenment but of the whole of Greek democratic philosophy and even, in a sense, of Christianity. It’s a rebuke and denial of the entire universalist tradition of the west: political, epistemological, and religious.

I consider it to be one of the most vile statements ever uttered by a human being.

a. The IDiots are doomed to lose in the ‘science’ wars because they have no science.

b. Now they’re even stuggling to keep afloat in the public relations arena because of a.

c. Nobody is stopping them from doing or bringing forth the necessary science to support their ‘theory’.

In the final analysis, these religious nutjobs are only about 5% of the population, so unless we decide to cede control of our lives to the American Taliban, the only way they’re ever going to be ‘powerful’ is through force. They’re actively training their youth for the upcoming war on all of us. Look it up.

Enjoy.

Flint -

I think you’re Soviet analogy is an excellent one, but I think you are wrong here…

We’re wandering around close to something important here. I’m personally convinced the creationists want a fairly rigid theocracy (so long as they’re in charge), and that they would NOT be willing to discard the steady advance of technology. The relationship between technological advances and scientific advances is easy to deny if you don’t understand either one.

Besides, they don’t wish to lose science AT ALL. They would be horrified at the prospect of science ceasing. If I’m reading them right, they think science would advance at least an order of magnitude faster if only scientsts had the sense to recognize that Jesus lies at the heart of all true science, and that they’re missing a zillion crucial breakthroughs by leaving Him out of their research. If science is a Good Thing (and it is), Creation Science is a Better Thing. How could it be otherwise?

This may be true for “passive creationists” - people who happen to follow a religious tradition that is technically YEC or something close, but who aren’t aggressive politically.

This is just my opinion, but I think that the type of hard core political authoritarians at the DI, and their general supporters, should not be given the benefit of the doubt. Here’s my subjective opinion of roughly how these minds operate -

1) They have a strong emotional preference for the idea of a harsh authoritarian system that would impose humiliation and physical punishment on those who broke its arbitrary rules. They apparently see themselves in the role of the enforcers; the rules wouldn’t necessarily count for them. 2) They do NOT have the concepts of honesty, evidence or consensus. Asking them to is like saying that a lion should be “nice” to gazelles. That is not something that their brains can do. For them, every statement and action by everyone is made to advance a hidden social and political agenda. This is what they think that scientists do. To them it’s “obvious” that scientists and other “humanists” want a “materialist” society and make up stories to justify that. 3) To put it another way, objective evidence does not exist for them. All observations and assertions are biased by the need to advance an agenda. 4) The Bible is a secondary phenomenon. These kinds of brains always latch onto an accepted but ambiguous source of authority, and then claim to interpret it in a way that justifies their agenda. It can be the Bible or Das Kapital or the Bhagavad Gita. They are not conscious of being cynical in this way, though - again, they cannot conceive any alternative BUT to constantly justify and advance their selfish personal agenda. Again, they consistently assume that everyone else is doing the same thing. 5) They also assume that everyone’s agenda is “hidden” yet obvious to them. They are made intensely uncomfortable when challenged about how they would SPECIFICALLY behave if they had power (Mark Hausam refused to answer my questions about specific beliefs on the grounds that he would be labeled a “barbarian”). Yet they all recognize each other. Likewise, they consistently assume, against all evidence, that all science-supporters are secret advocates for what they seem to imagine as some kind of hippie commune existence, and all that blabber about bacteria or black holes is an effort to formulate some kind of abitrary rule system that justifies social and political desires.

They don’t CARE about “losing science”. They don’t think that far ahead, and the concept of genuine curiousity that goes beyond immediate advancement of an agenda is completely alien to them at any rate - they don’t necessarily even understand that there is such a thing as actual science. They are hard-wired to single-mindedly advance an agenda, using all guile they can muster. They are true believers - true believers in gaining authoritarian power for themselves. Jesus is, consciously or unconsciously, a means to an end. He can be replaced, and has been.

This post contains some pretty shocking generalizations, but I stand by them, with the caveat that there are surely exceptions, and that this analysis is by necessity oversimplified. Still, this is the behavior I observe in creationists and ID advocates. They all favor an obvious authoritarian social and political agenda, they all say or do anything that they think advances that agenda in the immediate term, they all assume that everybody else is doing the same thing for a different selfish agenda, and the only limit I see on their behavior is what they think they can get away with.

Harold:

You just described the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociopath

I call them would-be “sociopath priest-kings.”

Harold:

Sorry to spam, but a final thought on your post:

I think there is and has always been a percentage of the body politic who thinks like this. A century ago, they were all socialists. Then they were all fascists and Marxists. Now they’re all “conservatives” and they’ve all found “religion.” They like to glom onto ideologies that are a) popular and b) can be twisted so as to serve an authoritarian agenda. Such ideologies are like fly paper for these guys.

When/if conservative religious ideology goes out of fashion, they’ll all glom onto something else. I wouldn’t be surprised, hate to say it, if they glom onto atheism or some other secular ideology next.

No matter what ideological suit they happen to be wearing, they are always the same. The agenda is always more or less the same as well. A major goal of politics is to keep them away from power at all costs. Much of the American system of checks and balances was set up to attemp to do this.

The advocates of creationism generally do not want the controversy taught. They want to win. If they were to win a court case allowing their materials into the public school classrooms, their next move would be to prevent critical examination of those ideas, and then to prevent the teaching of evolutionary theory itself.

Henry is correct. If this were to happen it would be a disaster for science:

http://www.scifidimensions.com/Jun0[…]ationism.htm

To seek shelter behind the law is also dangerous because laws can be changed, and if we neglect to educate the people, the day will soon come when the Christian Right will have enough votes to alter the Constitution. Then what? That is why a simple defensive action on the part of scientists and educators is not enough.

OK, so some will argue the religious is on the retreat at the moment, with the Democrats poised to win the race for the Whitehouse next year. But what happens if there’s another 9/11 ? In these circumstances the Republicans often do well (remember the Iranian crisis in the late seventies/early eighties). Dr. Piglucci’s poignant prediction should be noted by all who think the Dover case was the last word in this nonsensical debate !

The fact that so many neocon intellectuals are ex-Marxists…

I’m curious as to whether there is a good source that compiles this kind of info?

As to the matter of religious ties and ID’s true broader motives:

Aren’t these guys in bed with the Christian Reconstructionist/Dominionist crowd? I believe you could find many links between them. If this is so (as I believe), then the grand aspirations of ID mirror those of the Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists.

I’m more of a political junkie than religion/science nut these days. My concern with the ID crowd is that they are indeed a part of a much larger and odiuous religious agenda intent on destroying church-state separation.

Enjoy.

Adam I -

You and I are certainly on the same page.

I almost used the terminology “sociopath/psycopath”. I have used it in other posts.

My only question is whether it’s “exact match” or “something related that overlaps”.

Again, though, I’m talking about the political subset.

I live physically near large numbers of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Orthodox Jews. Both of those groups ostensibly contain large numbers of people who accept YEC, and neither of those groups has caused me the least bit of trouble, or attempted to. Good neighbors, as far as I’m concerned. I grew up around a lot of good neighbor Baptists, too. Never had a problem.

The critical difference is whether or not their goal is to violate MY rights. If it isn’t, they can count on me to strongly SUPPORT their right to live and believe as they see fit. If they want to discuss science and philosophy with me, all they have to do is ask.

On the other hand, someone like Dembski is an obvious problem for me (and you and all other reasonable readers). His goal is to use guile to spread false ideas, in the interest of a not-very-concealed political agenda.

Adam Ierymenko Wrote:
Irving Kristol Wrote:

There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn’t work.

This is really an amazingly radical and amazingly elitist statement. First of all, he’s basically saying that stupid people need religion. Before you freak out, I don’t think that, he does. It’s deeply insulting. I’m not even religious, and I even find it insulting from this distance.

But even more deeply, it’s really a rebuke not only of the enlightenment but of the whole of Greek democratic philosophy and even, in a sense, of Christianity. It’s a rebuke and denial of the entire universalist tradition of the west: political, epistemological, and religious.

I consider it to be one of the most vile statements ever uttered by a human being.

It’s a throwback to Plato’s Republic, and it raises the same question: Who’ll guard the guardians?

It’s also a sign that the neocon elite want religion precisely because it works as an opiate for the masses.

Aren’t these guys in bed with the Christian Reconstructionist/Dominionist crowd? I believe you could find many links between them. If this is so (as I believe), then the grand aspirations of ID mirror those of the Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists.

i rather think that the re constructionists are being played for more political motives.

oh, where is Lenny Flank when you need him?

this was entirely his favorite subject.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

*raises hand*

That is okay too. :-) As long as we define something that is observable.

I do teach the controversy in my Intro to Physical Anthropology class. It’s not my fault that it only takes a couple of minutes to explain ID and 15 weeks to do the same for evolution.

There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn’t work.

The truth is, simply, the truth. At least when we’re talking about things like the physical world. Pi is the same for everyone.

There are, however, different levels of detail appropriate for each audience.

We can all know the answer to “where babies come from”, but your 5 year old gets “They grow in mommies tummy” while your horny teen-ager probably gets somewhat different advice on the matter.

Likewise, there actually is controversy over some aspects of evolution. But these are deep in the tiny details of the process, and cast no doubt at all on the basic model. You can’t even begin to coherently argue them till you get into college-level biology.

At the level of explanation appropriate to a high school biology class, the truth is there hasn’t been controversy for a hundred years.

There are, however, different levels of detail appropriate for each audience.

degrees of freedom, as it were?

degrees of freedom, as it were?

Which meaning of “freedom” are we talking about?

as in:

level of detail based on the number of inputs.

as the number of inputs increases, so does the level of detail. Kind of like how we introduce new inputs to students as they grow older, which increases the level of detail in their understanding.

sorry, too much statistics…

http://davidmlane.com/hyperstat/A42408.html

though i suppose you could also stretch that to the other meaning of “freedom”, in that in purposefully limiting the number of inputs, we are limiting freedoms in that sense too, but with good reason.

*shrug*

Stevaroni says, “At the level of explanation appropriate to a high school biology class, the truth is there hasn’t been controversy [about evolution] for a hundred years.”

I’m not sure that’s true. There was still a lot of controversy early in the 20th century. Theorists had the idea that genetics was somehow opposed to natural selection (an idea that now seems bizarre, and not worth discussing at the HS level.) It is certainly true that since the the first studies of DNA mutations in the early 1960’s, there has been no way of arguing that living creatures will breed true indefinitely. N***’s capitalizations and exclamation points against “macro-evolution” indicate the creationists have now conceded that evolution does happen– but only at the level which can be studied in a single human lifetime. The fact that changes over time, as measured by both fossils and isotope decay, are (literally) rock-solid seems not to get mentioned in creationist propaganda. It is certainly material for a HS level biology class.

The more frightening thing for me about Kristol’s statement is the idea that “highly educated” adults should be presented with different truths from the rest of us peons. There is lots of evidence that children can’t think like adults until their brains mature. To slip in the idea that, therefore, mature adults with less formal education also have to be talked down to and handed watered-down (or simply falsified) versions of the truth, is malicious. In practice, it invariably involves twisting the truth to get people to act against their own self-interest. Propaganda, pure and simple, and it’s no more justifiable coming from Kristol than from Hitler or Stalin.

Neufeld is one of my favorite religious bloggers, and he often takes on the ideas behind Creationism and ID. He has a more complete explanation of his views at his blog where he defines science from a layman’s point of view as “things we know” and “things we don’t know”. His entry linked above says the ID folks want to further separate the “things we don’t know” into two, with “things we don’t know that we can find out about” and “things we’ll never know because they are designed by an Intelligent Designer”. He agrees with me, and simply doesn’t see a need for ID.

I go further and say that I think the ID people and the Creationists miss the point entirely: the study of the natural world can be an act of worship for the Christian, and they are denying their adherents from that course of worship. It is more than just the cosmologist, astronomer and biologist who are supposed to be energized by the study of the natural world. Like David in the Psalms, we are all to wonder about them (and “wonder” is asking the question).

Fr. Georges Lemaitre said there were two paths, and he took them both. Rather than fighting science, Christians should be embracing it.

It is possible that some things could exist that are outside of the laws of nature.

What could that possibly mean? The laws of nature aren’t a priori, they are discovered through observation. The only way for anything to “exist outside the laws of nature” is for us never to have observed it. It’s sad that even scientists don’t understand that “supernatural” isn’t a coherent concept, and think that Uri Geller bending spoons with his mind would be “supernatural”. Of course he does bend spoons with his mind, by mentally plotting courses of action intended to deceive and then carrying them out, resulting in bent spoons. The deception is to hide the causal relationships by which the spoons come to be bent. But if there truly were no causal relationship, what would warrant the claim that Uri Geller’s mind bends the spoon? We would be equally justified (that is, not at all) to claim that audience wishes the spoon to be bent and so it is, or that the spoon possesses a soul and bends because it wishes to, or any of a number of other nonsense claims.

Popper’s Ghost wrote:

“The only way for anything to “exist outside the laws of nature” is for us never to have observed it. It’s sad that even scientists don’t understand that “supernatural” isn’t a coherent concept, …”

Agreed. It is certainly possible that some things exist which have never been observed, but so what? If no one has ever observed them then there is no evidence that they exist. As you point out, even if unexplained things are observed they can never really be studied or understood using the methods of science if they are truly outside the laws of nature. Therefore, supernatural can never be a coherent concept nor an adequate explanation for anything.

In a sense, doing science requires faith that the universe is comprehensible. Of course that faith is based on hundreds of years of experience and xuccess, not mere wishful thinking.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on September 14, 2007 10:08 AM.

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