Discovery Institute Senior Fellow speaks out

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The important thing about Intelligent Design is that it is not a theory - which is something I think they need to make more clear. Nor is Intelligent Design an explanation. Intelligent Design is a challenge. It’s a challenge to evolution. It does not replace evolution with something else.

Jerusalem Post: One on One: Broadcast views

And who is this Senior Fellow? Michael Medved of course, who recently became a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. Seems that the DI may be having some problem hiring qualified people. The problem is that in his usual ignorance Medved explains exactly what ID is and isn’t. With friends like these…

HT: Ed Brayton

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Conventional wisdom holds that, when you’ve dug yourself into a hole, you should stop digging. But, then again, if your religious beliefs require you to keep digging, and to hell with the rest of the world, far be it for me to stop you. Intelli... Read More

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Let’s not forget DI co-Founder George Wilder

‘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.”

HT: Herod the Freemason, same thread

It’s hard to deny the obvious

Um, Michael Medved’s appalling admission is, perhaps, the most shocking example of “open mouth: insert foot” I have seen in years.

I mean, if Intelligent Design is not supposed to be a “theory,” or even an “explanation,” then, how can it be a challenge to Evolution as a theory or an explanation? That’s like demanding that motor oil be used as an alternative to ketchup while simultaneously acknowledging that motor oil has gross, pernicious effects on living organisms.

Gilder, Paul Nelson, and even Philip Johnson all have come out to proclaim the vacuity of ID. Even Dembski seems to be moving to the position that “ID has contributed to science” as its best raison d’etre.

Stanton said:

Um, Michael Medved’s appalling admission is, perhaps, the most shocking example of “open mouth: insert foot” I have seen in years.

I mean, if Intelligent Design is not supposed to be a “theory,” or even an “explanation,” then, how can it be a challenge to Evolution as a theory or an explanation? That’s like demanding that motor oil be used as an alternative to ketchup while simultaneously acknowledging that motor oil has gross, pernicious effects on living organisms.

PvM said:

Gilder, Paul Nelson, and even Philip Johnson all have come out to proclaim the vacuity of ID. Even Dembski seems to be moving to the position that “ID has contributed to science” as its best raison d’etre.

Rashes have made ten fold more positive contributions to science than Intelligent Design ever could.

The important thing about Intelligent Design is that it is not a theory - which is something I think they need to make more clear

Actually they have made that very clear.

As much as I’d like to think this will be regarded as one of those, “Ah ha! Gotcha!” moments that rationalists can use to fight ID, I’m afraid it’s really not all that explosive. Everybody knows ID is not a theory, and the fact that Medved says as much here isn’t going to stop its proponents for a moment. They’ve already moved on. The threat now comes under the guise of “academic freedom,” and their latest attacks on evolution aren’t going to be quite as easy to combat. By eliminating the notions of pseudo-scientific “theories” such as ID, they’re taking removing the target they had once propped up.

Medved’s use of the term “intelligent design” is sort of a vestigial remain of the DI’s propaganda mill. He may have not simply not received the memo that the rest of them have stopped using that term.

In the culture war, in which rhetoric is the chief weapon, it’s a mistake for rationalists to continue to attack ID. The God camp has already realized i doesn’t need to present an “alternate” theory, just to plant the seed of doubt about evolution.

The only way for rationalists to stay ahead of the game (and this is a game, though the stakes are serious), is to actively educate people about evolution.

Peter Vesuwalla,

While I agree that this “Gotcha!” is in itself not going to change anyone’s mind (the ID crowd is pretty resistant to *any* information changing their minds), it is very useful when it comes to defending curricula against the intrusion of ID. If ID is not a theory or an explanation, then it has no place in a science curriculum. Again, the creationists who have angled themselves onto school boards won’t care, but many of the laypeople sympathetic to telling both sides of the story may find themselves less sympathetic when they are exposed to the admission by IDists that they have no side to the story.

“which is something I think they need to make more clear”

maybe the DI could be convinced to create a Department of Making Things Clear

The next sentence reveals even more doubletalk

Q: Speaking of your desire for this kind of particularity, you are a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute that studies and believes in Intelligent Design. How do you, as an Orthodox Jew, reconcile with this kind of generality - with the view of their being a hierarchy with a chief “designer” - while believing in and praying to a very specific God?

A: The important thing about Intelligent Design is that it is not a theory - which is something I think they need to make more clear. Nor is Intelligent Design an explanation. Intelligent Design is a challenge. It’s a challenge to evolution. It does not replace evolution with something else.

Q: The question is not whether it replaces evolution, but whether it replaces God.

A: No, you see, Intelligent Design doesn’t tell you what is true; it tells you what is not true. It tells you that it cannot be that this whole process was random.

Aside from the fact that evolution is not a wholly random process, how can Intelligent design say evolution is not true when it can’t explain anything?

Perhaps this “gotcha” won’t change minds. However, this seems to be a pretty fundamental shift. If ID is acknowledged to be no theory or explanation, then where’s the controversy? There’s no competing idea to hold up as the alternative. If ID doesn’t explain anything then it would seem to be pretty squarely in the belief category and not part of the discussion of academic freedom.

All in all, this seems to be an important shift that can be use against the ID’ers. If there is no controversy and it has nothing to do with academic freedom, then the battle will have to move elsewhere.

We here in Louisiana are waiting patiently for the ID minions to make their next move, though they have the “Academic Freedom” nonsense on the States books and as in my case on the local school boards also, they very well know that this is a waiting game and before any definitive action can be taken they are going to have to tip their hand in the classroom, which they very well know is going to get them blown out as happened at Dover. They are currently laying low trying to figure out how to maneuver around the separation clause and make use of what they consider an opening provided by the enactment of LA SB 733. Their problem is that even though the language provides for the introduction of competing theories to the science debate they don’t have one which will pass the separation smell test. Their next move, I suspect, can only be toward a redefinition of the science paradigm, otherwise they’ve painted themselves into a corner here.

I’m going to begin by pointing out that I am an agnostic atheist and a strong defender of rationality and intellectual honesty, with great contempt for the special privilege given to those branches of irrationality that we refer to as “religion”. However, I can’t stand behind this statement:

“Aside from the fact that evolution is not a wholly random process, how can Intelligent design say evolution is not true when it can’t explain anything?”

Presumably most of the people here are agnostic atheists like myself (or pragmatic atheists, theoretical agnostics. Whatever). Everyday all of us say that religions X, Y and Z are unreasonable to believe in without being able to say with confidence the true origins and nature of things. We may have certain persuasive information, such as evolution and big bang, but we have no certainty with regard to how the universe began, for instance.

But regardless, ID is a travesty.

Peter Vesuwalla Wrote:

In the culture war, in which rhetoric is the chief weapon, it’s a mistake for rationalists to continue to attack ID. The God camp has already realized i doesn’t need to present an “alternate” theory, just to plant the seed of doubt about evolution.

The only way for rationalists to stay ahead of the game (and this is a game, though the stakes are serious), is to actively educate people about evolution.

Not sure what you mean by “God camp,” but most mainstream religions accept evolution, and many of the top critics of ID/creationism are devout theists.

Certainly people need more evolution education, if only to counteract the media caricature that, for most people, quickly overwrites what little they learn in school. But outside of science class they also need to learn how anti-evolution activism has “evolved” (and “speciated”) to the point where some very vocal groups like the DI have almost completely abandoned any pretense of having a new and better explanation. “Expelled” is all but a complete admission that they abandoned science in favor of a “postmodern” approach that will free teachers to mislead students in ways that the old Biblical creationists never imagined.

Part of this effort must be to correct the common misconception that all anti-evolutionists are honest believers in a 6-day-~6000 year ago creation. While most DI folk have shrewdly adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward what the designer did, when, and how (the only part that could make it science), the one who spilled the Beans, Michael Behe, has conceded a ~4 billion year history of life and common descent. And none of the DI folk who seem to disagree have ever challenged him directly. That’s no comfort at all for YECs, but fortunately for the DI, most YECs are too compartmentalized to notice. There is a much larger group, though, that isn’t hopeless, but has nevertheless been sold on at least some anti-evolution sound bites, including many who accept evolution (or what they think is evolution) but still think it’s fair to “teach the controversy.”

As for the game, it’s time we stop letting the scam artists make the rules.

Their problem is that even though the language provides for the introduction of competing theories to the science debate they don’t have one which will pass the separation smell test.

Stupid laws always have unintended consequences. In this case, the law authorizing the teaching of scientific alternatives to evolution highlights the fact that there are none.

Ron Brown Wrote:

However, I can’t stand behind this statement:

“Aside from the fact that evolution is not a wholly random process, how can Intelligent design say evolution is not true when it can’t explain anything?”

Certainly IDers can say that “evolution is not true” (or falsified, or unfalsifiable, or both) without providing a potential alternative. But classic creationists have already provided several mutually contradictory alternatives. They can either say that one is more promising than evolution and all other creationist accounts, or that they are all just as “not true” as evolution. But IDers almost never say either, despite claiming that ID is not creationism. I disagree with most fellow “evolutionists” on what IDers (professionals, at least) are trying to hide (I think they privately know evolution is correct; most others think they honestly believe that their interpretation of scripture is correct), but there is almost complete agreement that they are trying to hide something in order to more effectively mislead the public.

Dear PvM,

Maybe Medved could “explain” this to my fellow Brunonian, Discovery Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer David Klinghoffer, who has told me in private e-mail correspondence that he regards ID as a viable scientific alternative to evolution. If ID is a viable scientific alternative, then it has to be a viable scientific theory. Medved can’t have it both ways by asserting that ID is a “challenge” to evolution unless it is indeed a viable scientific alternative (which of course Ken Miller has demonstrated eloquently why it isn’t in his book “Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul”).

Seems like Luskin, West and Chapman should have discussed “talking points” with Medved first.

Cheers,

John

If ID is a viable scientific alternative, then it has to be a viable scientific theory.

Easy, Klinghoffer is wrong, and should take notice of Paul Nelson, Philip Johnson, and Medved as well as the many science organizations that have come to the self evident conclusion that ID has no scientific content and can thus not be a viable scientific alternative.

It’s simple really and if Klinghoffer believes otherwise then it is up to him to explain how.

Perhaps we should demand that the DI make a definitive policy statement as to whether ID is a scientific theory or not. Of course, no matter what they claim, every real scientists already knows that it never was and never will be.

As far as bashing evolution without providing an alternative goes, it won’t work scientifically. The current theory has such amazing explanatory and predictive power that any alternative would fall far short. You will have to come up with a better theory if you are going to replace evolutionary theory, at least for any real scientist.

So, what have they got left? Just sowing seeds of doubt among the ignorant and trying to convince politicians and lawyers. No one should be fooled by such duplicity however, since it should be immediately obvious that these people have not done any scientific research, nor do they ever intend to do any. So, no real scientist would ever be fooled by their rethoric.

If they were serious about criticizing evolutionary theory they would be out in the field and in the laboratory doing science. There is much still to be discovered and in some areas modern theory will no doubt turn out to be incorrect or at least incomplete. That would be the only chance they would have of ever convincing any real scientist of anything. So, why don’t they do that? Obviously because they know deep down that they will find that the theory is basically correct and only relatively minor moidifications to the basic concept will be discovered.

… No, you see, Intelligent Design doesn’t tell you what is true; it tells you what is not true.

So, what Intelligent Design tells us is not true.

Couldn’t put it any more concisely for a million bucks.

Pierce R. Butler Wrote:

So, what Intelligent Design tells us is not true.

Couldn’t put it any more concisely for a million bucks.

Actually what ID tells is about itself is “not even wrong.” One of these days I won’t be the only one saying that the main reason for ID as we know it, specifically the part about “don’t ask, don’t tell what the designer did, when or how,” is not the legal failure of classic creationism, but the scientific failure, not the least of which are the mutual contradictions between YEC and OEC.

As you know, what Medved was trying to say is that ID claims that “random evolution” (or pick your buzzword: “Darwinism,” “RM+NS,” naturalistic evolution”) is not true. In order to accommodate classic creationists under the big tent, however, ID tries to be “agnostic” about the creationist accounts. But they know that, by definition, most of them must be wrong. And I suspect that most DI fellows know that all of them are wrong, whatever they think of evolution or their “Darwinism” caricature.

IDers would have loved to include theistic evolution in the big tent, but theistic “evolutionists” recognized early on that ID is a scam, so ID and TE have become politically polar opposites. That IDers always trot out Dawkins and the atheists first is all part of the game.

Hi PvM,

I agree completely with your observation:

PvM said:

If ID is a viable scientific alternative, then it has to be a viable scientific theory.

Easy, Klinghoffer is wrong, and should take notice of Paul Nelson, Philip Johnson, and Medved as well as the many science organizations that have come to the self evident conclusion that ID has no scientific content and can thus not be a viable scientific alternative.

It’s simple really and if Klinghoffer believes otherwise then it is up to him to explain how.

However, Klinghoffer ignored me when I observed that Johnson recognizes that ID is not yet a scientific theory.

Regards,

John

David Stanton said: You will have to come up with a better theory if you are going to replace evolutionary theory …

I would be more pointed about this: They will have to come up with some substantive, positive statement if they are going to enter into discussion. It is an idle exercise to try to compare a non-theory with a theory. If all they are saying is “somehow, somewhere, something might be wrong with evolutionary biology”, how can it be productive or even slightly interesting to discuss that?

John Kwok said:

Dear PvM,

Maybe Medved could “explain” this to my fellow Brunonian, Discovery Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer David Klinghoffer, who has told me in private e-mail correspondence that he regards ID as a viable scientific alternative to evolution. If ID is a viable scientific alternative, then it has to be a viable scientific theory. Medved can’t have it both ways by asserting that ID is a “challenge” to evolution unless it is indeed a viable scientific alternative (which of course Ken Miller has demonstrated eloquently why it isn’t in his book “Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul”).

Seems like Luskin, West and Chapman should have discussed “talking points” with Medved first.

Cheers,

John

To my Dearest John,

Suddenly, I’m thinking that Mr Medved’s confession of Intelligent Design theory not being a scientific theory or even a rudimentary alternative is a pathetic attempt at a loophole to circumvent fellow Intelligent Design proponobot Ben Stein’s proclamation that “science leads to killing people.”

Also, has Mr. Klinghoffer ever attempted to explain how Intelligent Design theory is a viable scientific alternative? If he hasn’t, might I recommend taking up a hobby while you’re waiting for him, such as translating War and Peace into Klingon by inkquill, or perhaps knitting piano cozies or afghans for Clydesdales?

Well, so much for “ID is science.”

TomS Wrote:

If all they are saying is “somehow, somewhere, something might be wrong with evolutionary biology”, how can it be productive or even slightly interesting to discuss that?

Well it’s “productive” in the sense that it still has most people fooled. And what’s interesting to us is to them uninteresting, too complicated, or both.

Steve Whisnant said:

Perhaps this “gotcha” won’t change minds. However, this seems to be a pretty fundamental shift. If ID is acknowledged to be no theory or explanation, then where’s the controversy? There’s no competing idea to hold up as the alternative. If ID doesn’t explain anything then it would seem to be pretty squarely in the belief category and not part of the discussion of academic freedom.

All in all, this seems to be an important shift that can be use against the ID’ers. If there is no controversy and it has nothing to do with academic freedom, then the battle will have to move elsewhere.

I can predict what their reply will be to this line of argument: “Of course there’s a controversy, because evolution is riddled with gaps and flaws! We don’t need to present an alternative to criticize bad science.” Then, they’ll saddle up and try to Gish gallop all over you.

That’s what’s going to make “strengths and weaknesses” so annoying - it’ll boil down to anti-evolutionists throwing the whole Index of Creationist Claims at the wall to see what sticks.

Oops, a conservative talk-show host as a “Senior Fellow” - defending The Passion of the Christ to boot - that is a major revelation already there.

And, while english is obviously not my first language, I’m afraid that

with the view of their [sic?] being a hierarchy with a chief “designer”

doesn’t instill confidence in the essay’s message either.

Chris Lawson said:

While I agree that this “Gotcha!” is in itself not going to change anyone’s mind (the ID crowd is pretty resistant to *any* information changing their minds), it is very useful when it comes to defending curricula against the intrusion of ID.

I would add as a minor point that it is likely also useful in such circles that still pretend that ID is ‘scientific’. Even pompous asses like Berlinski will have a harder time to publicly feign that ID can have ‘academic repute’, even if hard facts doesn’t seem to penetrate his thick skull.

Btw, the trackback uncovers some more of Medved’s hole digging.

(And slightly OT, I note that the “Blogging on Pseudoscience” effort has passed me by. I remember when the icon first did the rounds though. It’s a good initiative, one that I think PT could adopt to great effect, say as another great site symbol.)

Shrike Wrote:

That’s what’s going to make “strengths and weaknesses” so annoying - it’ll boil down to anti-evolutionists throwing the whole Index of Creationist Claims at the wall to see what sticks.

Part of the IDers’ bag of tricks is to throw only a subset of the Index of Creationist Claims, wait for a critic to address one of the claims they don’t make, and retort with “You see, ‘Darwinists’ don’t understand ID, ID is not creationism.” Of course IDers are not interested in actually refuting any of the creationist claims that they know are bogus.

The important thing about Intelligent Design is that it is not a theory - which is something I think they need to make more clear. Nor is Intelligent Design an explanation. Intelligent Design is a challenge. It’s a challenge to evolution.

The ID strategy in a nutshell. They can’t contribute anything of substance to the discussion, but they can surely get in the way of those who can.

It does not replace evolution with something else.

Yeah. like a more correct answer.

My only hope is that someday the DI will find itself on the witness stand in some future Dover case, and have to put “fellows” of this caliber up for cross examination.

I almost lick my lips imagining the Jack Nicholson style “You want the truth!?! You can’t handle the truth!!” moment that’s coming someday from a witless witness like Medved.

PvM Wrote:

Seems that the DI may be having some problem hiring qualified people.

For those of you who think that Medved is another liability for the DI (as is often claimed for Behe after his Dover debacle), which DI fellow said, way back in 2001, that ID can accommodate all the results of “Darwinism”?

You guys need to get out more and take a closer look at what IDers are up to these days and stop leaning on your rusty assumptions.

Yes, IDers have given up on science and are now going down the misleading route of ‘teach the controversy’. What a sham

Of course we think there is plenty of positive evidence for complexity in life that cannot be accounted for with the usual evolutionary explanations.

And IDers conflate this with evidence for design… Again causing much confusion and embarassment to people who are led to believe that science has detected ‘design’ when we all know that ID is not in the business to support its claims.

I’m feeding the trolls people, please forgive me.

Sup Kevin!

I’m a Christian and a graduate student studying evolutionary theory. As a Christian, I’m at least somewhat open to the idea that life evolves by divine fiat, however, the empirical evidence, IMHO, speaks very strongly that divine fiat is unneccisary to explain any portion of our evolutionary history.

I notice that you imply that natural selection is incapable of creating information. Adapting the terminology of the ID for a moment, I would argue that antigen recognition is a system containing CSI. Antibodies are highly specific. The vast majority of all possible Antibody sequences do not bind with a specific antigen. This specificity is used in medical diagnostics because antibodies are commonly used to diagnose disease, and without specificity false positives would be quite common. In addition to be specific for a particular antigen, antibodies contain fairly long variable sequences, around 100 amino-acids, which is 300 bp. So, using a common statistical fallacy, we might imagine that the chance an antibody would bind to a specific antigen is around 1/4^300, tough in reality it will be much much higher than that. Regardless, the mechanism which produces this CSI is very clearly random mutation combined with natural selection. Your individual B cells under go a process termed somatic hyper mutation, which increase the rate of copying errors in specific genes in order to increase the diversity of antibodies available for antigen binding. If CSI could not be produced by natural selection, then somatic hyper mutation would be strictly deleterious to organism, and our resistance to diseases would have to be divinely imbued. This is manifestly not the case.

Since Dembski argues that CSI cannot be produced by non-intelligent process, his design theory is clearly and unequivocally rejected by readily available empirical evidence.

From the perspective of irreducible complexity, an antibody which fails to recognize an pathogen due to a mutation in the antigen recognition sequence is entirely ineffective at combating that pathogen, so an antibody could be considered irreducibly complex, and a similar argument for the fallacy of the irreducibly complex concept follows.

It is the hesitance of other design believers to reject the intellectually barren arguments of Dembski et al. which clearly indicates the pseudo-scientific status of design arguments.

Kevin Wirth said: 1) Of course we think there is plenty of positive evidence for complexity in life that cannot be accounted for with the usual evolutionary explanations.

So what is this positive evidence?

2) Mutually contradictory alternatives? Not sure what you mean by that, but, if you are referring to the differences among Design advocates, I would certainly not view those differences as less credible than the similar differences among evolutionists. Like the differences between those who argue for or against a cladistic approach, or among those who hold to a neo-Darwinian view rather than a punctuated equilibrium view.

If you think the differences among scientists who favor puncuated equilibrium versus those who favor gradualism, or those who prefer cladistics to traditional classification schemes, are in any way similar to the differences among “Design advocates” that can amount to billions of years difference in the age of the earth, or whether new species can be generated through natural means at all, perhaps you have problems.

It’s one thing for two biologists to argue like so: “Puncuated Equilibrium better explains the appearance of species in the fossil record! See these long-term stable trends, followed by abrupt diversity?” “I disagree. I think it is very plausible that the appearance of stability and abrupt change are artefacts of the fossilization process, rather than evidence of an overarching start-stop pattern!”

It’s quite another for Design advocates to sit around and argue this: “Come on, Polonium Halos prove that the Earth formed quickly! There isn’t any way that this planet and all the things on it could be billions of years old!” “Those halos are mistakes! The Earth is billions of years old, it’s the living things that are only a few thousand years old!” “I disagree with both of you! I think the Earth AND life are both very old, but God built all this variation into life so that eventually humans would arise!”

“Intelligent design is legitimate science and a theory and an alternative to evolution theory!” “No it isn’t any of those things!”

Those are NOT “the same types of differences.”

3) ID is NOT the same as creationism in its approach.

Then why are the ID arguments identical to those made by classic, up-front Creationists decades earlier? In fact, we even have evidence of the transitional form: early drafts of the book Of Pandas and People were very much a “Creation Science” text. Only once the Supreme Court gave its ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard did the terminology of ID systematically replace the language of earlier Creationism. All it took was a simple, and in some cases clumsy, vocabulary shift. After Pandas was published, lawyer Phillip Johnson took the initiative on himself to encapsulate the changes and pit science explicitly against theistic Creation beliefs in his series of books. This religious focus was even enshrined with the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Document, explicitly identifying ID as a movement to preserve what they perceived as Christian theistic western values.

So, what is the difference? And don’t simply say “Creationism is based on the Bible where ID isn’t!”

4)No, we really DON’T ‘privately’ think evolution is correct. We ARE misunderstood (or more like ignored) when we say what we agree on with regard to evolution (ie, for example, IDers typically agree that natural selection works as a conservation agent of characteristics rather than an agent that produces new information).

So what agents do you accept as producing new information? Evolution has several, and obviously ID disagrees either with some of them or posits additional sources.

5) Um, we are not at all deliberately trying to hide anything, much less mislead the public, rather, we’re trying to undo the harm brought to science through the perpetuation of an intractable refusal to admit what so many others see rather clearly - ie, that macro evolution has much more speculation on its biceps than compelling evidence.

Actually the ID movement has historically tried to hide its ties with older forms of Creationism.

And by the way, macroevolution in the form of speciation has been directly observed and documented more than once.

Evolution feed on, in fact, is sustained by massive injections of speculation. It would be fair to say that evolution is “hooked” on speculation, just like the drug addict is addicted to his drugs. Speculation is to evolution what drugs are to the drug addict: can’t live without it. Take it away and watch what happens. The speculation factor is so huge that evolution would pretty much fall apart without it.

Creative speculation is an inherent part of the scientific process, without which we would be powerless to generate new ideas. However, evolution is not mere speculation: it is extremely observable and demonstrable. There are many ways to put the speculative portions of evolution to the test, to examine the world empirically and determine whether the speculation works or doesn’t work. Ultimately speculation in the sciences should be held accountable to observed reality, and in the case of something as initially contentious as evolution, there has most definitely been intense and focused scrutiny on its various aspects. If you mean to imply that evolution has been coasting along on an ideologically-based free ride without proper scientific investigation, you couldn’t be further from the truth if you tried. The very fact that evolution was so controversial for many people has ensured that it received (and still receives) demanding and rigorous empirical support.

Important: By contrast, what exactly does Intelligent Design have other than misguided negative arguments?

You guys need to get out more and take a closer look at what IDers are up to these days and stop leaning on your rusty assumptions.

IDers have more up their sleeves than you give them credit for.

If it’s up their sleeves, are they not hiding it?

And the close scrutiny that ID has gotten over the years has produced a number of interesting things that were “up their sleeves,” such as the Wedge Document, bait-and-switch scams being played out on schools and governments alike, slanderous character attacks, baseless historical revisionism, quote mining, severe ignorance, and an astounding lack of proper research needed to establish a scientific basis for their assertions. If that’s the sort of things they have up their sleeves even as we converse, then I can’t say I’m looking forward to the unpleasant revelations yet to come.

Instead, how about peer-reviewed research? How about formalized assertions supported by positive evidence and math that isn’t lobotomized? How about abandonment of political polemics? Why not try to address the scientific community itself rather than duke things out over public school curricula when they don’t have any research to support their waste-of-time pseudoscience? How about trying to HONESTLY approach the issue with scientific rigor and methodology? Will the ID movement finally “man up” and do some real honest-to-God work for a change?

Sure, they might make comments like Medved and Dembski do, but so what? How is that any different that the Colin Patterson admission that he doesn’t know one thing that is true about evolution?

Source, please?

One theory is that ID is not only creationism, but a particularly conservative branch of Christian creationism.

I would like to make a prediction to test this theory:

After several weeks, or perhaps months, of dodging, Kevin Wirth will admit he believes in ID Creation because the Bible is the inerrant word of the One True God. This would be true to the pattern of the theory, which also explains Mark Hausam and Keith Eaton.

Kevin Wirth Wrote:

I get so tired of hearing so many critics rebut creationist critiques of evolution with sneering schoolyard comments like “oh yeah? And I suppose YOUR idea is so much better!”

This statement misconstrues the challenges by the science community to the claims of the ID/Creationists. ID/Creationists constantly claim they have some alternative or some evidence (as you just did). Asking for it is not a sneer on the part of the scientists.

And since they constantly ask, why don’t you present what you have? Now, is that last question a sneer?

Of course we think there is plenty of positive evidence for complexity in life that cannot be accounted for with the usual evolutionary explanations.

See? You just did it. You made a claim with absolutely no supporting examples or evidence.

Where is this “plenty of positive evidence for complexity in life that cannot be accounted for with the usual evolutionary explanations”? By asking for such evidence, are we sneering now? Do you have any answers?

If it’s OK for one group to have differences, but it’s not OK for another group to have those same types of differences, then I think something is amiss.

If you think something is amiss, why can’t you be more specific? What is amiss? Or is it more likely the case that you have no comprehension of what is behind the discussions going on in the science community? Tell us what is amiss. Be specific about why you think it is amiss.

We ARE misunderstood (or more like ignored) when we say what we agree on with regard to evolution (ie, for example, IDers typically agree that natural selection works as a conservation agent of characteristics rather than an agent that produces new information).

You claim you ARE misunderstood and then betray grotesque misconceptions about evolution in the very same sentence.

It is a fact (not speculation or a misunderstanding on the part of scientists) that ID/Creationism is riddled with grotesque misconceptions and misrepresentations of evolution and science in general. Your very use of terms betrays your misconceptions and misrepresentations. Yet none of you ever take the time to clean up your act and start learning what is behind the science of evolution.

Um, we are not at all deliberately trying to hide anything, much less mislead the public, rather, we’re trying to undo the harm brought to science through the perpetuation of an intractable refusal to admit what so many others see rather clearly - ie, that macro evolution has much more speculation on its biceps than compelling evidence.

You want and example of your misconceptions and misconstruing of evolution? Well, there it is in one of your own quotes.

Why don’t you take the time to figure out what is wrong with your concepts of evolution? Where is the barrier between “micro” and “macro” evolution? What do “macro” and “micro” mean in your understanding of evolution?

Evolution feed on, in fact, is sustained by massive injections of speculation. It would be fair to say that evolution is “hooked” on speculation, just like the drug addict is addicted to his drugs.

Speculation, eh? Have any of you ID/Creationists ever noticed that lots of things in this universe evolve, including things that are not living? It’s not just atoms whizzing around banging into each other.

There is far more to emergent phenomena than any of you have ever noticed. It is the most common and obvious characteristic we see in the universe. So, just what is “speculative” about such processes occurring right on up through living organisms?

You guys need to get out more and take a closer look at what IDers are up to these days and stop leaning on your rusty assumptions.

One of the biggest problems with ID/Creationists is that they apparently are too self-centered to notice that they are being noticed and profiled. But apparently that comes with reading a single “holy book” over and over and trying to bend everything else to fit sectarian dogma. Many people in the science community have catalogued your lack of awareness of what is going on in the universe.

IDers have more up their sleeves than you give them credit for.

Indeed; and it appears to be all political. No science anywhere.

Given what I’ve seen, your general attitude towards them is bit over the top.

Really? Then explain Dover. Explain all the bills in state legislatures pushing anti-evolution legislation. Explain the Creationist Kansas State Board of Education. Explain the Texas Board of Education. Explain a hundred years of political activity that has kept evolution out of or watered down in public school science.

Why should we not be skeptical of such political activity that is motivated by sectarianism and gross ignorance of science?

You claim you are misunderstood. But in your very complaint you display all the egregious ignorance of science for which you are criticized.

Now, what point do you think you are trying to make?

Kevin Wirth said:

Yes, IDers CAN say things like “evolution is not true” without being required to posit anything in its place.

Well of coarse they can. They do it all the time. Anybody can say things like “evolution is not true” without being required to posit anything in its place. Congratulations I guess!

Mike Elzinga said: You want and example of your misconceptions and misconstruing of evolution? Well, there it is in one of your own quotes.

Why don’t you take the time to figure out what is wrong with your concepts of evolution? Where is the barrier between “micro” and “macro” evolution? What do “macro” and “micro” mean in your understanding of evolution?

Hey Mike, we all know the ID answer to this one. IDers identify an evolutionary barrier at the species level when it comes to humans and somewhere around the genus or family level for most (other) large animals, like cats, dogs etc… I’ve never heard them discuss barriers for insects, plants, sponges, etc…but then again I didn’t read Behe’s “edge of evolution” book either.

These barriers correspond nicely with earlier creationist attempts to explain how all animal life fit on the biblical ark, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence… ;)

Ooh.. be still my racing heart!

Is this just a cruel troll or are we in the presence of The Kevin Worth?

(You know, the Kevin Worth, the author of such monumental peices of legal and scientific insight as “How the Kitzmiller decision resulted in legalized academic thuggery”. http://www.kevs-korner.com/CREVO/)

The writing style is certainly consistent, as is the tenancy to attack, attack, attack, while offering noting substantive to back up his arguments, and never answering a direct question - sorta Gish light (if that concept makes any sense).

Eric said:

I’ve never heard them discuss barriers for insects, plants, sponges, etc…but then again I didn’t read Behe’s “edge of evolution” book either.

I believe among prokaryote they place it at the kingdom/domain level, since after all, Lenski’s E. coli are still bacteria!

These barriers also coincide with the anthropocentric gross morphological criteria someone entirely untrained in biology would use. I am sure this is also coincidental.

fnxtr Wrote:

One theory is that ID is not only creationism, but a particularly conservative branch of Christian creationism.

I would like to make a prediction to test this theory:

After several weeks, or perhaps months, of dodging, Kevin Wirth will admit he believes in ID Creation because the Bible is the inerrant word of the One True God. This would be true to the pattern of the theory, which also explains Mark Hausam and Keith Eaton.

Your hypothesis may work for followers of ID, who usually reveal themselves to be YECs or OECs. But the ID leaders will not only not take the bait, they might even admit, as Behe did, that reading the Bible as a science text is silly.

ID is “conservative” in terms of anti-evolution pseudoscience because it stops short of offering any hint of what the designer did or when, as the more “liberal” creationisms do.

OTOH, ID seeks to radically liberalize science and science education by proposing that mere arguments from incredulity (misleading ones at that) qualify as scientific explanations.

One of the most famous ID rubes of all time even titled an editorial pleading to liberalize science education “Illiberal Education.”

I’ll leave it to the reader to find out who wrote the editorial. And who wrote the quote I posted previously.

Eric Wrote:

IDers identify an evolutionary barrier at the species level when it comes to humans and somewhere around the genus or family level for most (other) large animals, like cats, dogs etc… I’ve never heard them discuss barriers for insects, plants, sponges, etc…but then again I didn’t read Behe’s “edge of evolution” book either.

AIUI, Behe never claimed a species or genus level barrier for humans either. At best a “maybe”. But evolutionary barrier or not, Behe has repeatedly acknowledged that humans and other species share common ancestors.

Ran across that one as well. Lovely piece… Made me laugh, and cry. I wonder if Kevin will return anytime soon.

stevaroni said:

Ooh.. be still my racing heart!

Is this just a cruel troll or are we in the presence of The Kevin Worth?

(You know, the Kevin Worth, the author of such monumental peices of legal and scientific insight as “How the Kitzmiller decision resulted in legalized academic thuggery”. http://www.kevs-korner.com/CREVO/)

The writing style is certainly consistent, as is the tenancy to attack, attack, attack, while offering noting substantive to back up his arguments, and never answering a direct question - sorta Gish light (if that concept makes any sense).

Of course I could be wrong.

Kevin may not be a Bible-thumping ignoramus*.

He may be a ‘cdesign proponentsist’.

*No disrespect meant to those who choose to believe in a higher power (whatever that is) while still living in the real world.

Eric Wrote:

Hey Mike, we all know the ID answer to this one. IDers identify an evolutionary barrier at the species level when it comes to humans and somewhere around the genus or family level for most (other) large animals, like cats, dogs etc… I’ve never heard them discuss barriers for insects, plants, sponges, etc…but then again I didn’t read Behe’s “edge of evolution” book either.

These barriers correspond nicely with earlier creationist attempts to explain how all animal life fit on the biblical ark, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence… ;)

Yeah; isn’t that interesting?

The ID crowd doesn’t like being connected to creationism, yet they have inherited all the vestiges of creationism’s sectarian reading of their holy book. Even with creationist => scientific creationism => cdesign proponentsist => design proponents => intelligent design advocate => teach-the-controversies advocate “fossil record”, this Kevin Wirth character still doesn’t seem to get it (or maybe doesn’t want to get it).

And we can never get an explanation of just what those barriers are and how they work. (Of course, from their reading of their holy book, it has been revealed to them that “kinds” are immutable, but they have to find a “barrier” that sounds scientific in order to get this sectarian doctrine into the schools.)

So we hear terms like “entropy barrier” from Philip Bruce Heywood. And “genetic entropy” from a number of sources, some of which attempt to argue from the laws of thermodynamics that degradation must occur unless some “intelligence” (shhh; we can’t use the G-word here) intervenes.

Has anyone here ever heard an explanation of the so-called science behind these “sciency-sounding” words (I don’t think they rise to the level of concepts)? I sure haven’t. I claim it’s all pure crap.

Then there are the arguments from incredible improbability of fabricated scenarios that assume targeted evolution produced a particular organ or organism in a specified manner. And even then, the probabilities are plucked out of the air (or from somewhere else).

And what about all the converging evidence from the fossil record, morphology, DNA, drug and pesticide resistance, and hundreds of other patterns that all point to the fact that evolution not only happened, but we have some very good general ideas about how it happened?

One has to wonder where these ID/Creationists keep their heads tucked away. This Kevin Wirth character seems to have a lot of time to blog and bandy around bullshit, but he doesn’t seem to have the time to learn anything of any consequence.

I am quite sure we won’t get any answers from him. He doesn’t appear to be capable of any depth in learning or understanding.

In fact, I have come to the general conclusion that fundamentalist religion of the ID/Creationism type destroys the brain, makes learning impossible, and impels its drones to actively go out and try to destroy the brains of everyone else.

Eric Wrote:

IDers identify an evolutionary barrier at the species level when it comes to humans and somewhere around the genus or family level for most (other) large animals, like cats, dogs etc… I’ve never heard them discuss barriers for insects, plants, sponges, etc…but then again I didn’t read Behe’s “edge of evolution” book either.

Ah so. Let me guess: For humans it’s at the species/genus level. For non-human apes, family level. For non-ape primates, order level. For non-primate mammals, class level. For non-mammal chordates, phylum level. For non-chordate animals, kingdom level. For non-animal eukaryote, domain level.

Ergo, bacteria are all one “kind”!!!111!!!!one!

Henry

Thanks guys for showing Kevin the ‘door’. I guess he is not ready for prime time yet, and neither is Intelligent Design.

I found some blogs addressing our confused friend

Freedom Fighter Kevin Wirth Fights Freedom

How the Fallen Have Fallen. Jerry Bergman Stoops to Kevin Wirth.

And not to mention this funny website

Slaughter of the Dissidents: The shocking truth about killing the careers of Darwin doubters which argues that Jerry Bergman somehow fell victim of a Darwin conspiracy.

Wow… Enjoy…

Kevin seems to aspire to be a Salvador/Luskin combined.

PvM Wrote:

Kevin seems to aspire to be a Salvador/Luskin combined.

Wow; those are pretty low aspirations. :-)

That’s not going to the bottom of the barrel; that’s tipping over the barrel and digging deep below it.

Henry J Wrote:

Ah so. Let me guess: For humans it’s at the species/genus level.

See my reply to Eric (8/12/08, 6:25).

Since this thread is about Michael Medved I’d like to bring the focus back on him and ask any IDer who may still be lurking where he thinks Bigfoot fits into the “family tree.” Or if you’re one of those IDers who denies common descent, is Bigfoot it’s own “kind”?

OK, since there are no bites yet on my questions, here are the answers, just in case some of you don’t know already.

The person who made Medved’s “startling” admission rather moot by admitting in 2001 that “design” can accommodate all the results of “Darwinism” was none other than William Dembski.

And the clueless rube (as of 2002 at least) who admitted in his editorial that science education was not liberal enough for him was none other than former PA Senator Rick Santorum.

Mike writes.…

Yeah; isn’t that interesting?

The ID crowd doesn’t like being connected to creationism… (but)… we can never get an explanation of just what those barriers are and how they work.

So we hear terms like “entropy barrier” from Philip Bruce Heywood. And “genetic entropy” from a number of sources, some of which attempt to argue from the laws of thermodynamics that degradation must occur unless some “intelligence” (shhh; we can’t use the G-word here) intervenes.

Has anyone here ever heard an explanation of the so-called science behind these “sciency-sounding” words (I don’t think they rise to the level of concepts)? I sure haven’t. I claim it’s all pure crap.

The even funnier question I always ask whenever I discuss this with an ID proponent (I live in Texas, it happens). First, I spot my local ID proponent the stipulation that ID is not “divinity” creationism, that the “designer” could be a flesh & blood entity (whatever that means).

Now, wouldn’t a flesh & blood entity necessarily be complicated? Isn’t a complicated entity impossible by all the thermodynamic arguments you’re making to claim that humans are impossible? Doesn’t entity X therefore have to be created by entity Y, which is also impossible without entity Z, and and the stack keeps being impossible to you get to God?

Every time I’ve asked this of a live ID proponent, they immediately grasp at the last line and happily announce “and that just proves God exists”.

To which I reply “But I thought you said ID does not require God?”

(Um, Keith, if you’re out there, feel free to chime in on this one).

Henry J said: Ergo, bacteria are all one “kind”!

For years I have been asking creationists how many syphilis spirochetes and tuberculosis mycobacteria and Ebola and Marburg virii and cholera and leprosy and gonorrhea bacteria (and so on…you get the picture) were on board Noah’s Ark (and where they were living). But they are uniformly too ignorant to even understand why the question is meaningful.

Paul Burnett said:

Henry J said: Ergo, bacteria are all one “kind”!

For years I have been asking creationists how many syphilis spirochetes and tuberculosis mycobacteria and Ebola and Marburg virii and cholera and leprosy and gonorrhea bacteria (and so on…you get the picture) were on board Noah’s Ark (and where they were living). But they are uniformly too ignorant to even understand why the question is meaningful.

They heed W. Dembski’s advice about not needing to pay attention to the same pathetic level of detail that evolutionists [sic] do, not realizing that by refusing to pay attention to this pathetic level of detail, they expose themselves as appalling, incompetent frauds.

Yep, the devil’s in de tails. Or in their case, de flagella.

FWIW, I don’t think anyone demolished this as well:

Kevin Wirth said:

… we’re trying to undo the harm brought to science through the perpetuation of an intractable refusal to admit what so many others see rather clearly - ie, that macro evolution has much more speculation on its biceps than compelling evidence.

Oh, please! Evolution has become the funding theory of biology, and as such has been of immense value.

This value stretches outside biology, as AFAIU it wasn’t clear before its success that processes like biology were amenable to science. It has also added to what we consider as science and how to see it. For example, it has brought home by example that contingent systems aren’t necessarily modeled by greedy reductionism (while at the same time in such cases is still a fertile research strategy).

Compare that with the harm for public knowledge of science and education pure antiscientific efforts of creationists, especially ID creationism, has made.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Compare that with the harm for public knowledge of science and education pure antiscientific efforts of creationists, especially ID creationism, has made.

Such as the way creationist politicians and creationist educators in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Kansas have worked hard to turn their educational systems into fly-infested mockeries?

Torbjörn Larsson,

Oh, please! Evolution has become the funding theory of biology, and as such has been of immense value.

Just wondering, but was that on purpose? :p

Henry:

No, I’m afraid I wasn’t as pun as you. (LOL, btw.)

I just want to single out Larry Boy’s comments as worth reading.

Thank you.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on August 10, 2008 12:25 AM.

Human & Dino footprints, and Dating strata & fossils? was the previous entry in this blog.

Quality Education Wins Again in the California Creationist Case is the next entry in this blog.

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