Letter: Intelligent design, public schools

| 26 Comments

Letter: Intelligent design, public schools

Therein lies the rub. What other explanations could there possibly be that are nonreligious? (Besides extraterrestrials.) Intelligent design advocates such as Voss might not openly call for classroom lectures on “looks like divine intervention!” But the implicit conclusion is nigh unavoidable. Intelligent design (note the expression!) in public schools functionally guarantees teaching/discussing religious ideas as “truth.”

We can explore that. If my inference is correct, what “unavoidable conclusion that is a religious belief” might intelligent design advocates have in mind? Dare we ask how many want this who are not Christian? (In fairness, perhaps Voss is no more a theist than Dawkins et al.) Could they live with students embracing deism? Islam? Buddhism? Classical philosophy? Anything besides Christianity? Or is the intent to promote some vague generic theism? And why would a committed member of any religious tradition hope for such a thing? Be careful what you ask for.

Be honest and tell us openly. Although difficulties with evolutionary theory probably should be acknowledged, exactly what “other explanations” will be presented and discussed – and accepted? I honestly cannot find how Voss would answer.

26 Comments

Although difficulties with evolutionary theory probably should be acknowledged

Don’t look now, but the guy has just endorsed the 2005 Kansas Science Standards.

E-mail him for me, please, and tell him thanks!

FL

Given the irresistible urges to preach and scold that some of the more bigoted posters here at PT have shown, it is quite likely that the religious angle would come out very early in any classroom that offered their “alternative theory”. And once out, it would be hard to put it back in the bottle (as Dover, Kansas and other places clearly show).

While channel surfing today, I happened upon a religious program in which a fundamentalist preacher was being interviewed by the host of the program. This preacher was bemoaning the fact that his fellow Christians were being too low-keyed and “timid” in their witnessing; referring to this as somehow a weakening of Christianity and a cowardly retreat from what he thinks should be a bolder form of evangelism. He seemed to be picking his words carefully, but it appeared that he meant a more confrontational form of in-your-face proselytizing.

One would hope that some of these Christians he was referring to are getting the message that their aggressive proselytizing is coming across as the arrogant bigotry that it is, but apparently this preacher sees low-keyed as a weakness.

Perhaps it is the irresponsible leadership of these fundamentalist sects that is keeping the cultural warfare going. If their followers are made to feel guilty and fearful of going to hell if they don’t proselytize more aggressively, the primary fault lies with the leadership. On the other hand, if the leaders are picked because they fulfill the wishes and aspirations of the following, the whole sectarian movement is at fault.

In either case, they are out there waiting for an opening in the classroom, and it is pretty clear that it’s their god they want in the curriculum. They won’t allow anything else.

FL Wrote:

Don’t look now, but the guy has just endorsed the 2005 Kansas Science Standards.

Other than the fact that he rejects Intelligent Design as being scientific and mostly religious as the Kansas kangaroo hearings revealed

Scientists and science educators shouldn’t get too complacent about using the ID-is-religion argument to keep ID out of the public schools. The U. S. is just a couple of Supreme Court appointments away from losing much of the separation between Church and State, and with it the prohibition against teaching religious-based ideas in public schools.

The science education community needs a more durable and robust means of keeping fake science out of science classes.

Father Wolf:

Scientists and science educators shouldn’t get too complacent about using the ID-is-religion argument to keep ID out of the public schools. The U. S. is just a couple of Supreme Court appointments away from losing much of the separation between Church and State, and with it the prohibition against teaching religious-based ideas in public schools.

The science education community needs a more durable and robust means of keeping fake science out of science classes.

Yes, I agree. While I understand the motivation for keeping ID excluded like the pre-scientific relic of superstition that it is, the legal ability to maintain that separation looks to me to be growing tenuous. I think emphasizing the differences between science and ID are important. People should be made more aware of the distinction between hole picking and offering a valid, working, alternative hypothesis. Just relying on a court decision is risking having that decision overturned. It doesn’t have to just be a matter of denial. The process of stressing that distinction could be helped by making people more aware of other areas of science. Help the public understand how evolution is a vital part of the field of immunology and not only do you help bring attention to another field of science, but you help point out how evolution is a living, breathing field of science that not only exists unto itself, but which is required for the functioning of many other fields.

The image of the “ivory tower elitists” is almost a required component of the ID message. People have to believe that science is some sort of elitist fraud that is unconnected to daily life. Explain to them that the flu shots that they may be relying on are designed with an explicit reliance upon evolution and perhaps they may understand the practical implications of what some would have them believe is simply a scam.

Nomad: The image of the “ivory tower elitists” is almost a required component of the ID message. People have to believe that science is some sort of elitist fraud that is unconnected to daily life. Explain to them that the flu shots that they may be relying on are designed with an explicit reliance upon evolution and perhaps they may understand the practical implications of what some would have them believe is simply a scam.

One should also point out how evolutionary biology is important in other things, as well, such as how it applies to making antibiotics (and why bacteria can become resistant), and how it applies in agriculture, too.

As a non-US citizen I wonder about the consequences of ending of the US separation of Church and State. Consequences for science, and wider consequences for US society.

Although the anti-science and anti-materialism proponents appear to be mostly fundamental Christians, Christianity is a grab bag description of many differing sects, some of which are at odds with some of the others.

If you look at the numbers of each sect (see here) Christians are still the majority in the USA (at 76%), but declining. Whithin the Christian category, the largest single sect is Catholic, although the sum of all Protestants is greater.

You could end up with scientific evolution in some areas, theistic evolution in Catholic areas, and various flavours of Creation elsewhere. This does not sound like a recipe for good science, or indeed good theology.

Inadvertently, Pastor Wright nailed it:

Do I believe in “intelligent design?” I think it is a no-brainer.

The idea is as intrinsically brainless as it is religious.

Flint:

Inadvertently, Pastor Wright nailed it:

Do I believe in “intelligent design?” I think it is a no-brainer.

The idea is as intrinsically brainless as it is religious.

Let’s also not forget FL explanation of Intelligent Design not being religious by saying that it is “not religious.” Then again, the fact that all he could say was that Intelligent Design wasn’t religious as an attempt to demonstrate ID’s explanatory power speaks volumes about the ID movement actually thinks about education.

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Stanton says,

Let’s also not forget FL explanation of Intelligent Design not being religious by saying that it is “not religious.”

Well, you DID previously receive a full (and fully rational) explanation of why the 3-point ID hypothesis is specifically not religious, and the rational explanation is still there in the other thread, quite unrefuted in part and in whole.

At this time, you evolutionists are clearly limited to simply doing fiat declarations (without ANY rational support) that the specific 3-point ID hypothesis I offered, is “religious”.

You were, and are, unable to show that the philosophical implications (greater philosophical support for theism, lesser philosophical support for atheism/agnosticism) that might FOLLOW from the 3-point hypothesis if it survives falsifiability, are in any way PRE-required or PRE-assumed by the hypothesis itself or any of its planks.

Nor can you demonstrate that anybody’s religious texts or religious-book claims are stated, pre-required, or pre-assumed at any plank in the hypothesis.

This is important, btw, because this same specific failure to demonstrate that the the 3-point ID hypothesis is religious also is displayed by the letter-writer that PvM is quoting. Notice that his letter is similarly unable to show these things.

In fact, at one point, PvM’s letter-writer is even forced to concede the very same point on which you guys got pinned down in the earlier thread. Let’s look

What other explanations could there possibly be that are nonreligious? (Besides extraterrestrials.)

Yeah. Extraterrestrials, Baby!! And as we saw previously in this forum, you evolutionists have actually BEEN THERE DONE THAT, even within a modern 2004 evolutionary biology textbook (Freeman & Herron’s).

And so NOW, you evolutionists don’t get to duck and wiggle out of it—you yourselves have provided a clear, published textbook example of a clearly Non-Religious design explanation, and there’s nothing that the letter-writer can do to eliminate your example! (Which is why he conceded on it.)

Even if no other “non-religious” example is given for the next 500 years, it’s now a FACT that at least one published “non-religious, natural design explanation” is already on the science table, and therefore the 3-point ID hypothesis is NOT religious.

Therefore it is clear that this letter-writer of PvM’s is sincere, but sincerely wrong and sincerely unsupported in his claims.

Next letter-writer please!

FL

The science education community needs a more durable and robust means of keeping fake science out of science classes.

The first amendment assures us that school systems are free to teach any sort of nonsense (except religious nonsense) in public schools. Only vigilance and quality education can steer school systems in the direction of quality education.

Well, you DID previously receive a full (and fully rational) explanation of why the 3-point ID hypothesis is specifically not religious, and the rational explanation is still there in the other thread, quite unrefuted in part and in whole.

And you received SEVERAL refutations of your “hypothesis” and all of its underlying reasoning, in several threads, from several respondents; you ran away from every single one of those threads when your assertions were refuted; and now you’re just flatly lying when you say any of your assertions are “unrefuted.”

This is all creationists can do anymore: make the same assertions over and over, and ignore all of the evidence and responses that disprove them.

(Of course, FL worships a deceiving God who creates an entire Universe full of deliberately misleading evidence, so such repeated lies from him should surprise no one.)

Even if no other “non-religious” example is given for the next 500 years, it’s now a FACT that at least one published “non-religious, natural design explanation” is already on the science table, and therefore the 3-point ID hypothesis is NOT religious.

So, naturally evolved alien beings we don’t know about created the life we do know about? If they didn’t evolve naturally, where could they have come from, without invoking either the supernatural or an infinite regress?

DiscoveredJoys Wrote:

As a non-US citizen I wonder about the consequences of ending of the US separation of Church and State. Consequences for science, and wider consequences for US society.

I am sure this has crossed the minds of many who have had to deal with the fraudsters who hide behind religion. Unfortunately, protecting religious freedom has a very unpleasant side-effect; if a charlatan squawks “religious persecution”, it makes building a case against him much more difficult. And it is clear that we have many such charlatans taking refuge behind “freedom of religion”.

The other annoying misconception about freedom of religion is that some groups take that to mean freedom to proselytize until all other sects are eliminated and a theocracy is established.

FL Wrote:

Well, you DID previously receive a full (and fully rational) explanation of why the 3-point ID hypothesis is specifically not religious, and the rational explanation is still there in the other thread, quite unrefuted in part and in whole.

That’s not true, I have in fact provided you with a reasoned analysis of why the 3 point hypothesis is inherently about the supernatural, after all what remains when you have eliminated natural processes of regularity and chance? It’s called design and as I have shown, this concept is either vacuous (no supernatural) or religious (supernatural)

So why would ID propose a vacuous concept if it were not for other motives such as outlined in the Wedge Document and well documented by people like Barbara Forrest and Gross and exemplified by ID proponents own statements?

Or it is a religious concept from the start but that would undermine the ID approach, so in fact, they seem to have chosen to argue for something that is vacuous so that they can pretend it is not religious.

What’s so hard to understand about this FL?

hat other explanations could there possibly be that are nonreligious? (Besides extraterrestrials.)

Yeah. Extraterrestrials, Baby!! And as we saw previously in this forum, you evolutionists have actually BEEN THERE DONE THAT, even within a modern 2004 evolutionary biology textbook (Freeman & Herron’s)

But extra terrestials are based on natural processes of regularity and chance so it is not an alternative of ID that is non religious in nature.

Such poor logic concerns me FL. Are you really saying that since some have argued for extra terrestrial origins of life that therefor ID can be natural? But remember that ID does not mean what its proponents typically believe it does, it has nothing to do with intelligence but all with the set theoretic complement of regularity and chance.

As we all know, natural intelligence is not an example of ID, no matter how much ID proponents claim it is, it does not follow logically. Which is why ID proponents are known to have claimed that intelligence itself is ‘supernatural’

Lovely…

FL Wrote:

Therefore it is clear that this letter-writer of PvM’s is sincere, but sincerely wrong and sincerely unsupported in his claims.

Next letter-writer please!

Why not stick around for a while and defend your thesis? As others have already pointed out, you have failed to defend your claims in the other threads where people shredded it.

Short term memory loss can be quite convenient.

PvM:

FL Wrote:

Don’t look now, but the guy has just endorsed the 2005 Kansas Science Standards.

Other than the fact that he rejects Intelligent Design as being scientific and mostly religious as the Kansas kangaroo hearings revealed

FL just provided an example of Creationist quote mining. E-mail him and tell him thanks! LOL

PvM Wrote:

Short term memory loss can be quite convenient.

And also a symptom of lack of brain function.

FL:

Stanton says,

Let’s also not forget FL explanation of Intelligent Design not being religious by saying that it is “not religious.”

Well, you DID previously receive a full (and fully rational) explanation of why the 3-point ID hypothesis is specifically not religious, and the rational explanation is still there in the other thread, quite unrefuted in part and in whole.

At this time, you evolutionists are clearly limited to simply doing fiat declarations (without ANY rational support) that the specific 3-point ID hypothesis I offered, is “religious”.

I specifically asked you to demonstrate how Intelligent Design explains ground sloths and the shells of heteromorph ammonites, such as Nipponites mirabilis, to which you babbled your three plank nonsense and that Intelligent Design is not, allegedly, religious. And this is why I suspect you are incapable of pronouncing “ground sloth.” Or, at the very least, you are fully aware of Intelligent Design’s physical incapability to scientifically describe anything at all, and refuse to admit it.

You were, and are, unable to show that the philosophical implications (greater philosophical support for theism, lesser philosophical support for atheism/agnosticism) that might FOLLOW from the 3-point hypothesis if it survives falsifiability, are in any way PRE-required or PRE-assumed by the hypothesis itself or any of its planks.

Nor can you demonstrate that anybody’s religious texts or religious-book claims are stated, pre-required, or pre-assumed at any plank in the hypothesis.

This is important, btw, because this same specific failure to demonstrate that the the 3-point ID hypothesis is religious also is displayed by the letter-writer that PvM is quoting. Notice that his letter is similarly unable to show these things.

You were, and are unable to realize that I am only concerned with a science’s ability to describe phenomena, and that you were, and are physically incapable of demonstrating Intelligent Design’s descriptive ability, given as how Intelligent Design has no descriptive ability, and thus, IS NOT A SCIENCE. It never was, and never will be because no one knows how utilize Intelligent Design to scientifically describe anything, especially not its proponents. If a person has to make up unintelligible twaddle about “philosophical implications” in (alleged) conversations concerning science, that person knows nothing about science nor is his bullplop even worth shovelling into a garden.

In fact, at one point, PvM’s letter-writer is even forced to concede the very same point on which you guys got pinned down in the earlier thread. Let’s look

What other explanations could there possibly be that are nonreligious? (Besides extraterrestrials.)

Yeah. Extraterrestrials, Baby!! And as we saw previously in this forum, you evolutionists have actually BEEN THERE DONE THAT, even within a modern 2004 evolutionary biology textbook (Freeman & Herron’s).

And so NOW, you evolutionists don’t get to duck and wiggle out of it—you yourselves have provided a clear, published textbook example of a clearly Non-Religious design explanation, and there’s nothing that the letter-writer can do to eliminate your example! (Which is why he conceded on it.)

If aliens are not “The Intelligent Designer,” then who else could it be? Time travellers? You continue to fail to acknowledge that the Discovery Institute, the group that founded the current incarnation of Intelligent Design, has made numerous, extraordinarly unsubtle inferences that “The Intelligent Designer” is none other than God.

Even if no other “non-religious” example is given for the next 500 years, it’s now a FACT that at least one published “non-religious, natural design explanation” is already on the science table, and therefore the 3-point ID hypothesis is NOT religious.

Therefore it is clear that this letter-writer of PvM’s is sincere, but sincerely wrong and sincerely unsupported in his claims.

Next letter-writer please!

FL

It would be nice if Intelligent Design proponents could use Intelligent Design to explain even one biological fact within the next 500 years. But the sad fact is that no one can support Intelligent Design as a science, let alone a potential replacement for Evolutionary Biology, if the Discovery Institute used steel girders and chewing gum. You demonstrate this with each time you pathetically evade my request for a demonstration of how Intelligent Design is a science.

People should be made more aware of the distinction between hole picking and offering a valid, working, alternative hypothesis.

Agreed. They should also be made more aware that to the contrary to postmodernism and theological apologetic descriptions, facts and thus criticism has a solid base of principled validation. Part of “elitist fraud” consparicy theories is to believe that collegial cooperation is the beneficial rule, without any healthy competition.

That is why Wright, PhD as he is, can write that “difficulties with evolutionary theory probably should be acknowledged”. I believe that the day when difficulties of say general relativity (for instance, choosing energy principle) will be acknowledged and publicly discussed.

FL:

you DID previously receive a full (and fully rational) explanation of why the 3-point ID hypothesis is specifically not religious, and the rational explanation is still there in the other thread, quite unrefuted in part and in whole.

You dumped your idea of hypothesis on several threads, and each time you got several answers ranging from explaining why it wasn’t well defined and so predictive to asking for an application example.

AFAIK you didn’t answer, so consider it fully refuted, as we do.

Raging Bee said:

“This is all creationists can do anymore: make the same assertions over and over, and ignore all of the evidence and responses that disprove them.”

Anymore? What do you mean, ‘anymore’? I’ve been around since it was called creation science, and I can assure you, the Gish gallop was SOP way back in the previous millenium. ;-)

You could end up with scientific evolution in some areas, theistic evolution in Catholic areas, and various flavours of Creation elsewhere. This does not sound like a recipe for good science, or indeed good theology.

In the past, the various Xian sects as well as other religions have settled their differences by killing each other. The Catholic-Protestant wars lasted 400 years and wound down in N. Ireland a whole 7 years ago.

The baton has recently been passed to Shiite and Sunni Moslems who are doing the same thing. Someday they may learn that cycles of religious violence cause as many problems as they solve. Or they may just take it to the Xians and Hindus.

This is in fact, why we have separation of church and state. It protects everyone, not just scientists from fundie persecution. Some groups are more interested in pushing their agendas than in avoiding a new Dark Age. And they are one appointment on the supreme court and an election from starting one.

That’s not true, I have in fact provided you with a reasoned analysis of why the 3 point hypothesis is inherently about the supernatural, after all what remains when you have eliminated natural processes of regularity and chance? It’s called design and as I have shown, this concept is either vacuous (no supernatural) or religious (supernatural)

PvM, you (and the others) have missed the point entirely. FL wants us to start again from scratch to find the data, do the science, and then write up refutations–again and again, as fast as he can repeat his false claim, so we don’t have time to investigate new questions. I, too, remember FL’s assertion and that his points have been refuted many times. Perhaps we need a link to a list of detailed refutations (for the benefit of others).

Y’know, Mark, you might just have something there… keep us too busy checking OUR facts to worry about what they’re saying.

Fortunately, we all know there are only two times when a theory (and the facts that support it) needs to be checked:

1) in the face of new evidence. Evidence need not be contradictory - any evidence should be measured against known facts. If necessary, the theory needs to be tweaked a bit (or, of course, in extreme cases, thrown out alltogether where it can keep company with phlogiston)

2) during instruction. teaching. demonstrating the validity of the theory.

IDers consistently point to the “holes” in the theory and shout “see? this hole renders the whole structure incapable of standing” - while not realizing the hole is merely a doorway to a string of investigation that will eventually be closed.

If you want to knock the house down, you have to do more than shoot BBs at it.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on November 4, 2007 10:18 PM.

Science versus Intelligent Design: And the myth continues (Luskin on Behe) was the previous entry in this blog.

National Science Teachers Podcast is the next entry in this blog.

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