Johnson on Intelligent Design: ‘Flunked’

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flunked.jpgIn my earlier posting on Johnson, I was reminded by a Ron Okimoto that Johnson in an interview with the Berkeley Science Review had made even more startling claims:

“I considered [Dover] a loser from the start,” Johnson begins. “Where you have a board writing a statement and telling the teachers to repeat it to the class, I thought that was a very bad idea.” The jaw drops further when he continues:

Johnson Wrote:

I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…No product is ready for competition in the educational world.

I remain speechless. The real question now becomes, if there is no real competing ‘theory of ID’ then how can ID have been ‘expelled’. It seems to have been flunked.

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Conflict between religion and science has rarely been of more concern. Whereas the rhetoric of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others has little measurable effect, the outcome of a juryless trial in a two-bit Pennsylvania town in 2005 had a... Read More

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Actually, Johnson is only half-right… There is no “theory” of Intelligent Design.

One explanation may be that Johnson finally got the message that people at PT and elsewhere have been saying, that ID explains nothing, not the who, where, when, why, and how. Note the ‘full worked out scheme’. Maybe he is going to encourage ID’ers to come out of the creationist closet.

PvM Wrote:

I remain speechless. The real question now becomes, if there is no real competing ‘theory of ID’ then how can ID have been ‘expelled’. It seems to have been flunked.

It sounds like it never made it past the entrance exam.

no, Johnson has been saying this for years now.

he just likes to play it down when he does.

seriously, I recall having this exact discussion over 2 years ago on this very board.

it’s not like consistency is anything we should expect from the purveyors of IDiocy.

Wait a minute! A lawyer being honest? Isn’t that one of the signs of the end times?

Frank B Wrote:

Maybe he is going to encourage ID’ers to come out of the creationist closet.

I see that as unlikely. The alternative “creationist” (YEC and OEC) whats, whens, etc. can be easily stated without any reference to design. If they thought those claims had merit why didn’t they promote them that way in the first place? That would gave given them a lot more science to teach. And they could have avoided the embarrassing switch from “teach ID” to “teach the controversy.”

Instead we have Behe, who has practically come out of the “evolutionist” closet by stating his acceptance of old earth and common descent more strongly than ever, and even boldly admitting that to read the Bible as a science textbook was “silly.” Yet none of the other major IDers have challenged Behe directly. Most in fact publicly agree with him on old earth, and even if they seem to deny common descent, choose their words very carefully to leave us guessing. Even the few token YECs do not seem very confident in anything beyond problems with “Darwinism.” The very consistent use of “Darwinism” itself seems very self-conscious, as if they know that there are really no problems with evolution, the fact or the theory.

I know that my view is a minority one around here, but the DI shows all the signs of a gang that knows that we are right, but doesn’t think that the “masses” can handle the truth. But even if I’m wrong, and there are some genuine YECs and OECs at the DI, they’ll probably stick to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy because it resonates with a larger audience.

Johnson came out with the admission after Dover in the Spring 2006 edition of the Berkeley review.

http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/a[…]le=evolution

pdf version: http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/a[…]volution.pdf

The source of Johnson’s comment is an interview at Berkeley, quoted in Michelangelo d’Agostino, “In the Matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley,” in Berkeley Science Review, Spring 2006, p. 31 (at 33). So it’s a recent view, not something out of the distant past.

A similar statement is George Gilder’s “Intelligent design itself does not have any content.” This is reported in Joseph P. Kahn, “The Evolution of George Gilder,” The Boston Globe, July 27, 2005.

(To forestall any allegations of quote-mining, here is the context:

“I’m not pushing to have [ID] taught as an ‘alternative’ to Darwin, and neither are they,” he says in response to one question about Discovery’s agenda. “What’s being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there’s a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content.”)

gary:

Wait a minute! A lawyer being honest? Isn’t that one of the signs of the end times?

I once heard it said that every good lawyer knows that when you have the facts on your side, you argue the facts, when you have morality on your side, you argue morality, and when you have neither on your side, you attack your opponent.

Philip Johnson is a good lawyer.

Bill G. got it slightly wrong: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither, pound the table.”

/\/\ike /\nglin, Registered patent attorney

Just to complete the reference that Olorin gave to the interview with George Gilder:

http://www.boston.com/ae/books/arti[…]orge_gilder/

The quotation is on page 3, paragraph 4 from the end of the interview.

Quote taken from Olorin’s post

“I’m not pushing to have [ID] taught as an ‘alternative’ to Darwin, and neither are they,” he says in response to one question about Discovery’s agenda. “What’s being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there’s a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content.”)

The sad thing is that this is the switch scam that is part of the bait and switch that the Discovery Institute is running on any creationist rube that believes them about teaching ID.

They only came up with critical analysis or teach the controversy when they realized that ID wasn’t going to make the grade. They have been giving the replacement to any rube or group of rubes that pops up and still wants to teach intelligent design. All their years of propaganda about teaching ID can’t be washed away by lies about not wanting it mandated. The Wedge document clearly states that they were targeting school boards and legislators to get ID taught.

Anyone that claims that the Discovery Insitute never claimed to be able to teach intelligent design in the public schools is lying or too ignorant or incompetent to be taken seriously by anyone. Gilder is just trying the big lie propaganda ploy, but it doesn’t do him any good. He knows what the Wedge was about, and he helped run the ID scam. Trying to deny the junk is stupid.

Sure, currently the Discovery Institute is running the classic bait and switch scam. They sold the public ID, but all they have is a stupid obfuscation scam that can’t even mention that ID ever existed. This in no way affects the fact that they lied to the public about being able to teach intelligent design for years. Who at the Discovery Institute is going to deny that they used to claim that ID was their business? Now, what creationist scam are they running?

DI IDism claims that empirical reality reflects intelligence and intelligent causation.

Historic Paleyan design (Watchmaker thesis) says the observation of design and organized complexity in nature and organisms corresponds directly to the work of invisible Designer.

The upper is an identification process.

The lower a observation.

Neither claim to be “a theory” in the same sense of how the phrase “theory of evolution” is understood.

I also think that the Johnson quote looks like a quote-mine.

DI IDism claims that empirical reality reflects intelligence and intelligent causation.

Not really, ID claims that intelligent design is that which remains when science has exhausted its present knowledge and admits ignorance. Even when science does not admit ignorance and shows plausible pathways, ID refuses to accept them as relevant. But design is nothing similar to what you believe it is. You have been duped by the equivocating language of Intelligent Design.

Did you know that ID cannot even exclude selection as an intelligent designer? Now that’s something to ponder on.

I also think that the Johnson quote looks like a quote-mine.

Really… How would you know?

I read Ray’s post as follows:

“Whaaa? Say it’s not so, uncle Phil!”

sorry, but it’s true.

don’t yell at us, Ray, go yell at Phil.

…as to the non-issue of that statement being some kind of quotemine; Ray, you can go to the Berkeley Review article referenced by Ron and see him say it there too.

just to be redundant, since I’m sure you’re not terribly observant:

http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/a[…]le=evolution

the relevant section starts with:

“Boalt from Above”

horror of horrors, he also says:

…he wouldn’t mind being related to gorillas

which IS a quotemine by me, of sorts, just to keep it clear.

:P

Johnson also said

Johnson: Well, the alternative is not well developed, so I would prefer to say that, as far as I’m concerned, the alternative is we don’t really know what happened. But if non-intelligence couldn’t do the whole job, then intelligence had to be involved in some way. Then it’s a big research job to figure out the consequences of that starting point.

2007

Johnson

The reason why that premise of natural causes has to be so inviolate and so ferociously defended is that what if something other than purely natural causes was involved? What would it be? Well, the most obvious answer to that question is it would be God.

Duh… Why is it so hard for ID to admit this. Johnson ‘father of ID’ can do it.

DI IDism claims that empirical reality reflects intelligence and intelligent causation.

Historic Paleyan design (Watchmaker thesis) says the observation of design and organized complexity in nature and organisms corresponds directly to the work of invisible Designer.

The upper is an identification process.

The lower a observation.

No. They are both assertions.

Well like Ichthyic noted, this is rather old news, even if it’s worth bringing up again. But there’s no question that he’s spun the issue since those fairly candid remarks (with gratuitous aspersions cast on MET, of course, “whatever errors it might contain” (indeed, there are no doubt errors, but he doesn’t know of them)).

It is, of course, all our fault in fact:

www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3914&program=CSC%20-%20Scientific%20Research%20and%20Scholarship%20-%20History%20and%20Philosophy%20of%20Science

We’re just not willing to consider the issue, according to the above less than candid attack. This despite the fact that he himself allows that he doesn’t know that “ID theory” is doable in the Berkeley Science Review, and of course his science “experts” don’t know that it’s doable either (the way they avoid inherent predictions strongly suggests that they know it is not doable).

The fact is that sometimes he ends up not lying–so much. The rest of the time he’s back to tip-top IDist form, lying that we’re not willing to consider ID (the IDists have made certain that there’s not really anything to consider, other than the way they bypass all of the requirements of science), and blaming everyone except the unproductive IDists for ID’s unending failures.

Does it never occur to them that Darwin almost single-handedly made evolution into a science (though he was hardly the first with NS)? They have rather more than a single Victorian scientist to come up with an honest ID theory, and of course they’re doing nothing but dithering over words and the meanings used in science.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

On the Nova web site they have up about the Dover trial they have an interview with Johnson.

I’ll put up one quote by him.

Q: How would you go about testing for the existence of a designer? What is the research program?

Johnson: I’d like to start with the first question. It is sometimes said that the hypothesis that there is a designer is untestable. This is false. It is testable, and the test is Darwinian evolution. The claim of the evolutionary biologists is that unintelligent causes did the whole job. If they can prove it, then the counter-hypothesis that you need intelligence has been tested, and it has been shown to be false.

But what I concluded after reading the literature was that the claim that unintelligent processes have been shown to be capable of doing all the work of creation, from the simplest creatures to the more complex ones, is unsupported. The evidence for it lies somewhere between very weak and nonexistent. When you try to get proof, you get stories about microevolution.

This isn’t scientific testing. It is just the only way untestable notions can be dealt with in science. There is no way to directly test the designer did it notions. Science ends up doing the hard work and once another gap in our knowledge is filled another designer did it explanation bites the dust.

There has been a 100% failure rate for intelligent design using this testing method. Not a single success in the entire history of science. With that kind of track record how could anyone let alone an ID advocate claim that it was a good way to test their junk. 100%, not a single god did it explanation in nature has ever been verified by this method. If the IDiots like Johnson had a success they would be trumpeting it from every street corner. If you go to scam outfits like the Discovery Institute you won’t find a single success mentioned. What good is an explanation with a 100% failure rate? What good is using a method that results in a 100% failure rate for your type of baseless assertions?

How many times has the ID inference failed this test? Who pulls the sun and moon across the sky? Who makes the seasons change? Who throws lightning bolts? Were angels responsible for the discrepancies in Newton’s data? Who is the cause of disease? Who makes babies? Who made the blood clotting system? Who cares about the assertions that haven’t been demonstrated to be wrong, yet, when there hasn’t been a single verifiable success in the entire history of science? Who would claim that such testing was at all useful in support of their constant failure?

These guys know that if they claim that the evidence for biological evolution is “between very weak to nonexistent” that they are admitting that what they have is even worse off. Obviously, worse than nonexistent. If this were not the case the ID creationist scam artists wouldn’t be running the dishonest bait and switch scam on the rubes that believed that they had something to teach about ID. They would actually have something to teach. Do they have a single scientific success to teach? Surely, they wouldn’t be teaching all of their failures, so what would they teach? Hope? The untestable assertions that haven’t failed yet? Why?

The saddest thing is that this is as good as ID gets. Any questions as to why ID isn’t science? How many people can not see that using a method that has never worked out for you, ever, and has just resulted in constant failure is not a method that you would want to claim to be using if you want to claim to be trying to accomplish something.

It isn’t just ID. All such notions that have had to be tested in this fashion have failed once the testing is complete. Just think for a minute. If there is not a positive testing method you never know that you are right. Unless you develop a way to test your notion it always fails once the correct answer is put in its place. You can never know if you are right using this method if you support the notion that can’t be tested. The only way that you can ever know if your option is the correct one is to find a way to test it and knock out the contenders. Backing the notion that can’t be tested at this time is backing the notion that can’t win at this time. That is what Johnson is admitting.

Game over.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/defense-id.html

Johnson says:

“The claim of the evolutionary biologists is that unintelligent causes did the whole job [of, presumably, evolution.]”

This got me trashed on another thread, but I’ll try again. Actually, we know that evolution is often driven by intelligent “designers”, especially in the animals and plants most people care about. By this I mean, when evolution appears to be progressive, it is often driven by co-evolution. A big factor in the species’s environment is that some creatures with brains are making consistent choices that drive natural selection for that species. This selection could be the result of an evolutionary arms race, symbiosis, or sexual selection.

Of course, to take a typical evolutionary arms race, cheetahs aren’t deliberately ‘designing’ faster gazelles to make life difficult for their descendants. But they are consistently choosing the slower animals as prey. The selection pressure for fleet gazelles is driven by the choices in the cheetah’s brain.

It’s the same process that goes on in artificial selection. In the case of peacocks, the peahens’ choices of mates have even created a bird that looks like a product of artificial selection.

It might be argued that mutation is all “unintelligent causes,” but a lot of natural selection is driven by creatures with brains making choices. Without too much exaggeration, one can say there are “intelligent designers” out there– not supernatural ones, but living creatures whose behavior has, in some cases, already been intensively studied. So the sense that the average person has that evolution can’t all just be random chance is perfectly correct.

Since there really are creatures with brains out there acting as a driving force in evolution, why isn’t the Disco Institute, whose denizens are sure there has to be a designer, studying cheetahs and peahens instead of assuming some supernatural being is driving evolution?

To Hoary Puccoon:

The short answer, in terms of the current intelligent design scam, is because it doesn’t matter to their argument. Why do you think that Behe had to admit under oath that the designer might be dead? The flagellum evolved around 2 billion years ago. The blood clotting system mostly evolved before multicellular animals had what anyone would call a brain, and the immune system not long after that. The Cambrian explosion happened over half a billion years ago. They can’t figure out an excuse to call anything designed that evolved within the last 300 million years.

They aren’t interested in the types of design that we can observe happening. The reason for this is simple. They would be able to test their notions, and we know that they are unwilling to do this. Behe even claimed that he didn’t have to test his notions in trying to defend his court admission that no IDiot that he knew of had attempted any scientific testing of ID. Every single one of the IDiots with enough neurons to rub together know that the 100% failure rate of ID, throughout the history of science, will likely bite them if they are able to test their assertions. Testing just isn’t an option for them with that likelihood of success.

In terms of the real science. Other lifeforms are part of the environment that any lifeform finds itself in. Even if it was the only type of lifeform the other members of the population would influence the environment, and influence any selection pressure on that population. The selection is likely not conscious and premeditated even if the organisms have brains. Ants have domesticated fungi and aphids for crops and livestock, and the affected species have evolved into the domesticated niche, just like cattle or wheat, so we know nature can do these things, and it doesn’t take a lot of intellect, but that isn’t the type of intelligent design that the ID creationist scam artists are hawking. In fact they have to ignore that kind of intelligent design because it makes it more difficult to claim that they can “know it when they see it” for their own type of intelligent design.

Ron Okimoto–

I’m totally with you in believing the ID movement is a deliberate scam. I really think the reason Behe and his followers focused on cell chemistry is because most of their target audience doesn’t know anything about cell chemistry.

It’s ironic to me that before X-ray analysis of proteins and DNA, many legitimate scientists (e.g., Max Delbruck) thought that the workings of the cell were so different from anything else in the universe that they must operate by unknown laws of physics. X-ray analysis revealed ordinary– although extremely large– molecules that obeyed all the known physical laws.

Of course, in one way, real cell chemistry is a lot more complicated than some amorphous goo called protoplasm, in that there are more moving parts. But it’s simpler to study, because it doesn’t need new laws to explain it.

So Behe’s claim that the unexpectedly complex nature of cell chemistry has baffled scientists and led them to believe something more than ordinary physical laws must be responsible is not merely off-base; it is precisely the opposite of the historical facts. (Standard operating procedure for the Disco Institute, right?)

In pointing out that creatures with working brains making choices drive evolution, I was more focused on the ordinary citizen who hears Johnson’s distortion of evolutionary theory, that “unintelligent causes did the whole job” and thinks, ‘That can’t be right. How could something as beautifully designed as a gazelle just come about randomly?’ The answer is, of course, that the gazelle didn’t come about randomly. It’s the result of thousands of generations of consistent culling– not by some supernatural force, but by cheetahs and lions trying to feed their families. I think that’s a concept the ordinary person without scientific training can easily grasp. And it stands in sharp contrast to the fog of technical jargon that creationists always use when they pretend to present the views of legitimate scientists.

And it stands in sharp contrast to the fog of technical jargon that creationists always use when they pretend to present the views of legitimate scientists.

That is, when creationists bother to represent Creationism or ID as science. I know of some who don’t even bother with that false pretense.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 31, 2007 10:16 PM.

Creating A Truth was the previous entry in this blog.

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