Simon Mundy: The Creation of Confusion

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Simon Mundy, in The Creation of Confusion, published in “The Journal”, on 19 September 2008 explains why Intelligent Design, due to its lack of scientific content, is dangerous to our educational system.

To label as “information” the murky doctrine of creationism (now repackaged as “intelligent design”) is ludicrous. The intelligent design movement represents a desperate attempt to accommodate within American schools the religious fundamentalism that is undiminished–even resurgent–in many parts of the country. Clearly, the Christian creation story should be taught in religious education classes, alongside those of the other major faiths. But there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that the Garden of Eden fable should be given no more credence than the Hindu belief that the world rests on the back of an elephant.

As Mundy explains the cost to education is not small:

Simon Mundy Wrote:

. But for a supposedly secular education system to give an artificial impression of high-level disagreement where none exists, at the behest of a fundamentalist religious minority, is inexcusable. To compromise scientific integrity in this way would set a dangerous precedent.

Indeed, to compromise scientific integrity for the sake of some creationists’ faith, whether it be Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism or their scientifically vacuous offspring, Intelligent Design, is inexcusable.

In the mean time, ID seems to be returning to its apologetics roots and betting on the outcome of political races more than on presenting scientific contributions. What choice do they really have?

138 Comments

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

So how come I can’t find any time-lines on the evolution of these “simple” things? If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved. But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

The issue of the artificial impression given to students that there is a real scientific controversy is particularly important. It gives a false view of the level at which controversy exists in evolutionary biology–and as we know, it is not at the level of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Rather, any controversy is about mechanisms for particular taxa. Further, to give this false impression also wastes valuable time that is better spent developing student understanding of the science itself, and this is a daunting enough task because students at the high school level often come with very little background that prepares them to understand what science is and how it works.

As for the teaching of the creation stories in Genesis along with other such stories, I suggest that this is more properly done as part of comparative literature in the humanities. This is part of the story of Western Civilization and its relationship to other civilizations. An understanding of the purpose of the Genesis story in this cultural context–that it implies an orderly and lawful universe–prepares the student to understand why the scientific method arose in Christian Europe, and why it is the fruit of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. (Although not Christian myself, I taught science at a Catholic school and I found that I had to teach this in science class in order to explain this connection. This explanation helped students understand the historical context for Galileo and Newton). In any case, religious studies per se are not and should not be part of the government school curriculum.

It gets really pathetic and tiring listening to the same creationist drivel that people like Novparl spew forth, who obviously don’t have the slightest idea what science is about versus their religious myths.

It might also be mentioned that there is only one segment of the religious communities that is pushing for its own sectarian view to be given preferred status. The result of this is obvious: This small segment is being given social status as the normative Christian faith; You’re not considered a “true Christian” if you don’t follow their beliefs. Theists who accept the reality of evolution without denying traditional belief in creation are not asking that this be taught in school science classes.

Novparl said:

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

So how come I can’t find any time-lines on the evolution of these “simple” things? If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved. But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

Firstly, he didn’t say that at all, which makes me suspect your comment has gone astray. But, in answer: have you looked? I know for a fact people have studied the problem of how DNA may have evolved, and I would be surprised if no one has looked at evolution of the others.

The problem is, you won’t want to understand it, so for you it will be a matter of faith, which you can easily disbelieve. For people who actually do science, it’s a working theory.

I will, however, ask this: are atoms a matter of faith for you? Do you genuinely understand electron orbitals and quantum levels, which are the foundation of chemistry, and if not, why do you believe in atoms or chemistry?

Novparl said:

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

Where did we say that? We said that they evolved, we said nothing about “easily”.

So how come I can’t find any time-lines on the evolution of these “simple” things?

Because you did not look hard enough. A look at the phylogenetic tree and the dates at which the different lineages diverged will give you all the information you need.

If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved.

It is, it is just that you are looking in the Bilbe, which does not tell you those things. Look elsewhere and you will find what you want to know.

rossum

Novparl said:

But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

You take it on faith that you have a brain. Ever seen it? No? Then how do you know it’s there?

I believe you have a brain (no, not going to take cheap shots here). Is that an act of unreasonable faith? Or just an inference based on the fact that it would be hard to understand how people could be posting online if they didn’t?

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Novparl said:

If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved. But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

Did it ever occur to you to attempt to research such things? Or, are we to assume that you want us to take trivial things like the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria due to misuse of antibiotics, or crop plants becoming vulnerable to pesticide resistant pests and diseases as matters of faith, too?

Novparl said:

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

No, what he said was:

[But] there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that the Garden of Eden fable should be given no more credence than the Hindu belief that the world rests on the back of an elephant.

Perhaps you’d like to comment on that, i.e. the actual subject of the thread?

Novparl said:

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

So how come I can’t find any time-lines on the evolution of these “simple” things? If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved. But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

Well blood circulation (or at least the heart), see http://pandasthumb.org/archives/200[…]of-th-5.html

This would shed some light on DNA evolution: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/200[…]g-lifes.html

Looking around will get you more information, all you need to do is try.

Other than not addressing the subject of the thread, there are two problems with your comments: 1. Importance does not translate into simplicity. Evolution is an important biological concept, but in practice is hardly simple. Evolution might be simple insofar as no organism is thinking or planning–it just is the result of its attempt to survive and reproduce–but it is not that simple to understand or research in its details. 2. Evolution is not now, nor has it ever been a matter of belief. Belief is a word better suited to matters of faith. In matters of science, one accepts explanations as being the best current explanation for what we observe, or not. A lot of confusion can be avoided if this distinction is kept in mind.

No, but rather than let our ignorance conclude ‘design’ we should let our ignorance conclude ‘we don’t know’. As to the specific examples. Have you even looked at what science has done to explain them? Please cite your sources.

Novparl said:

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

So how come I can’t find any time-lines on the evolution of these “simple” things? If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved. But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

PvM said:

As to the specific examples. Have you even looked at what science has done to explain them?

I think this was a “drive-by”, someone taking a shot and then moving on. If one must spam forums, this at least has the virtue of being economical for all concerned. I would like to humor myself to think that he was reduced to confusion by the prospect of telling me that I was wrong, he really didn’t know if he had a brain … but I don’t honestly believe that.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Simon Mundy Wrote:

Palin has studiously refused to say whether she believes in the theory of evolution.

I would have said “accepts” instead of “believes in,” but I am interested if anyone has any references of her specifically evading the question.

If one actually denies one or more of evolution, common descent, and a 4-billion year history of life, and that same one knows that the majority of her votes would come from YECs, one should be eager to express her opinion on those subjects. I’m guessing that, like McCain, she reluctantly accepts evolution, but unlike McCain, fears that admitting it would risk more votes.

PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools. If the author knows this, then why does he bother to quote someone who doesn’t know it, as if to delight in another’s ignorance rather than presenting it as your own?

The accountability of misrepresenting ID was sidestepped subtly with the following:

“Indeed, to compromise scientific integrity for the sake of some creationists’ faith, whether it be Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism or their scientifically vacuous offspring, Intelligent Design, is inexcusable.”

Yet, it is clear that the definition of ID is not what Mundy was clearly criticizing (which was, namely, religious doctrine), and I am sure you know this. So again, if Mundy’s accusations were based on a false misconception of what ID is, then why bother?

Frank J said:

I’m guessing that, like McCain, she reluctantly accepts evolution, but unlike McCain, fears that admitting it would risk more votes.

McCain’s flatly said he believes in evolution, but was careful to add a “teleological” argument in that the wonders of nature do suggest a Creator. Personally I don’t have a problem with that, it makes no problems for science … anyway, Palin has stated the “teach both” position and has said little more on the matter. In fact, few have pressed her on it – even among the religious right it’s lower priority than abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research.

I personally see that most people don’t care about the evolution issue much one way or another, and to Republican politicians it’s nothing more than a nuisance. Democrats can flatly come out against ID and the rest, then forget about it, because nobody who is likely to vote for them is of different opinion. Republicans have to walk on eggs over it because by coming out against it, they alienate one bloc of voters, while by coming out for it, they look like idiots to another bloc. It’s a low priority issue to them that buys them nothing and can only cost them something.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Robb Massey Wrote:

PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools.

PT people are well aware of that. It’s not admitted enough to my satisfaction, but to his credit, PvM was careful to add “Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism or their scientifically vacuous offspring [ID]” to his comments on the article.

The ID movement does not advocate teaching “the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden” (YEC or OEC versions) because they don’t want students to critically analyze them - either the correct way or the phony way that they “critically analyze” evolution.

iml8 Wrote:

Democrats can flatly come out against ID and the rest, then forget about it, because nobody who is likely to vote for them is of different opinion.

It hasn’t been that way for long. In 1999 Al Gore waffled on the Kansas plan to elimimate evolution from the standards.

Even now, ~20% (rough estimate from NCSE reports) of those state and local politicians who introduce anti-evolution legislation are Democrats.

Frank J said:

Even now, ~20% (rough estimate from NCSE reports) of those state and local politicians who introduce anti-evolution legislation are Democrats.

That’s scary.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Frank J said:

PT people are well aware of that. It’s not admitted enough to my satisfaction, but to his credit, PvM was careful to add “Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism or their scientifically vacuous offspring [ID]” to his comments on the article.

I did mention that exact quote in my post.

You don’t seem to realize or remember that virtually all of the arguments and objections to evolution raised and used by the Intelligent Design Movement have been literally recycled from Young Earth Creationist sources, hence the term “cdesign proponentist” that’s been bandied about due to the bungled editing of a Young Earth Creationist textbook into an edition of “Of Pandas and People.” You also don’t seem to realize or remember that many people join the Intelligent Design Movement as an excuse to teach Young Earth Creationism, and you don’t seem to realize or care than many Intelligent Design proponents are, themselves, Young Earth Creationists.

Robb Massey said:

PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools. If the author knows this, then why does he bother to quote someone who doesn’t know it, as if to delight in another’s ignorance rather than presenting it as your own?

The accountability of misrepresenting ID was sidestepped subtly with the following:

“Indeed, to compromise scientific integrity for the sake of some creationists’ faith, whether it be Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism or their scientifically vacuous offspring, Intelligent Design, is inexcusable.”

Yet, it is clear that the definition of ID is not what Mundy was clearly criticizing (which was, namely, religious doctrine), and I am sure you know this. So again, if Mundy’s accusations were based on a false misconception of what ID is, then why bother?

Robb Massey said:

PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools.

That’s only because the courts told them they can’t. So they took the same position, took out all the (supposedly) offending parts, renamed it “Intelligent Design” and plowed on.

They would teach the creation story in a minute if they were allowed to, don’t kid yourself.

Mr. Massey is correct and I hand him that: the ID people know better than to try to push straight Biblical creationism into the public schools, one of the major reasons being that it would be legally impossible.

I think there is a bit of confusion on both sides of the fence in that the resistance is phrased as “we don’t want trash science that’s just a front for conservative religions taught in public school science classes”. The core issue is really “we don’t want trash science taught in public school science classes.” The fact that it is a front for conservative religion is a secondary issue.

I believe Judge Jones made this careful distinction. If the ID crowd actually had legitimate science to push, they would be able to sell it even if it was compatible with conservative religious doctrines, but there’s going to be resistance against teaching that the Moon is made of green cheese no matter what the motivation for doing so is.

What muddies the distinction is the fact that the trash science being offered so clearly reflects conservative religious doctrines, with little or no basis in any science worth the name. The ID folk keep trying to hide their tracks on this issue, claiming they’re not classic creationists like Ken Ham, who not only does not conceal his guidance from Scripture but is clearly proud of it (I have a certain respect for that).

However, brief readings of the O’Luskins of the ID movement; the fact that the “payload” texts for the public schools like OF PANDAS & PEOPLE are just classic creation science tracts with the religious rhetoric (sometimes poorly) edited out; and the reality that school board members and other locals working to get ID into the school are as a good bet going to be straightforward Bible creationists not much different from Ham tends to make this disguise unconvincing.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools.

Technically, this is true. The ID scam is not intended to be positive (“Here’s how it went down”) but rather negative (“Our myths are accepted more easily among those ignorant of the facts.”) The goal is to trick people into thinking that there is some sort of secular disagreement on the scientific merits, therefore what science says can’t be trusted, therefore our myth is as good as any AND our magic book ALSO guarantees it’s Truth, if you squint and read it just right.

But it doesn’t take a genius to see that the motivations behind those trying to undermine rational understanding and evidence-based explanations are invariably religious. As Judge Jones wrote, ID’s claims cannot be decoupled from their religious context.

Robb Massey

PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools. If the author knows this, then why does he bother to quote someone who doesn’t know it?

Well, Robb, let’s ask someone who does know what motivated them to teach ID, because they had to testify to it in court.

We need to look no further than the transcript of the Dover panda Trial, notable because it’s an instance where people really did try to teach ID in schools, and their motivation was examined under oath.

And what did that reveal? That the school board, and specifically, Alan Bonsell (the spearpoint of the effort) had…

* Expressed the opinion that separation of church and state was “absurd” and actively sought ways around it.

* Did not believe in evolution and wished to see classroom discussions of evolution balanced “fifty-fifty” with creationism. (not, ID, mind you, full blown creationism)

* Settled on “Pandas and People” only after evolution could not be removed from the curriculum, and his first choice of instructional material, “Icons of Evolution”, was flatly rejected because the Pennsylvania education code made it illegal to present “present materials known to be false” and their lawyer was sure they would get dinged.

And why did Bonsell feel that he had to cast doubt on evolution? Because of some deep-seated scientific issue. Well, not really.

In his own words, “because someone died on a cross 2000 years ago, isn’t it time we remembered him?”

Robb Massey said:

.….. Yet, it is clear that the definition of ID is not what Mundy was clearly criticizing (which was, namely, religious doctrine), and I am sure you know this. So again, if Mundy’s accusations were based on a false misconception of what ID is, then why bother?

I have never seen a clear definition of ID. What does ID say about the age of the earth? How does it mesh with the fossil record? How does it relate to continental drift? How does it fit with the almost daily discoveries about various genomes? There is nothing. There will always be nothing. That way, ID can be anything you want it to be in order to fit your favorite mythology.

About the only thing that DI Dembski said was that it was the set complement of what we know, or some such nonsense (i.e. God of the gaps).

And wouldn’t a “false misconception” be the same as an “accurate depiction”?

Robb Massey said:

PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools. If the author knows this, then why does he bother to quote someone who doesn’t know it, as if to delight in another’s ignorance rather than presenting it as your own?

The author, nor me suggested that ID wants to teach the Christian Creation story. What the author stated was

. The intelligent design movement represents a desperate attempt to accommodate within American schools the religious fundamentalism that is undiminished—even resurgent—in many parts of the country.

And continues to state that the Christian Creation story is well worth teaching in comparison with other creation stories.

The author is also well aware that teaching ID compromises the scientific integrity by suggesting that there exists a high-level disagreement.

The accountability of misrepresenting ID was sidestepped subtly with the following:

“Indeed, to compromise scientific integrity for the sake of some creationists’ faith, whether it be Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism or their scientifically vacuous offspring, Intelligent Design, is inexcusable.”

So in other words ID was no misrepresented but rather correctly represented as a scientifically vacuous offspring.

Yet, it is clear that the definition of ID is not what Mundy was clearly criticizing (which was, namely, religious doctrine), and I am sure you know this. So again, if Mundy’s accusations were based on a false misconception of what ID is, then why bother?

Mundy was criticizing, like I was, the scientific integrity and how ID undermines this because its claims are scientifically vacuous and thus what remains is a religiously charged attempt to introduce ‘God’ into our classrooms under the guise of ‘teaching the controversy’.

That Mundy did not just see ID as religious but also as scientifically vacuous is well established in the piece I quoted

But the question of Reiss’s own faith is irrelevant. He is clearly well aware of the fatuity of the intelligent design dogma, and wants time to be taken to explain to children why it has no scientific basis.

Do we really have to repeat the well established history of ID? Yes, ID proponents have become more insistent in their claims that ID is not about the supernatural, and yet, logic and reason, as well as their own words, show clearly a different picture.

iml8 Wrote:

Mr. Massey is correct and I hand him that: the ID people know better than to try to push straight Biblical creationism into the public schools, one of the major reasons being that it would be legally impossible.

The other reason being that most if not all IDers know that there is no evidence for YEC or OEC. The supposed YECs (e.g. Nelson) and OECs (e.g. Wells and those others who seem to deny common descent) are not confident enough to try to defend their “theory” it on its own merits. Of course, neither are the “classic” YECs and OECs.

Robb Massey said: PT ought to know by now that the ID movement does not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools.

You forgot to include “…in public.”

Here’s a 2003 quote from Philip Johnson, the acknowledged father of the intelligent design creationism movement, on a Christian radio talk show: “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit, so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” And here’s a 1996 quote from Philip Johnson: “This isn’t really, and never has been, a debate about science. It’s about religion.”

Here are some quotes from William Dembski, Senior Fellow at the Dishonesty Institute and a leading light of the high intelligentsia of the intelligent design creation movement: “Christ is never an addendum to a scientific theory but always a completion.” - from his book, Intelligent Design, page 207.) More quotes from Dembski’s book: “[A]ny view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient.” and “[T]he conceptual soundness of a scientific theory cannot be maintained apart from Christ.” Here’s another quote from Dembski: “…I think God’s glory is being robbed by these naturalistic approaches to biological evolution…” Here’s another article exposing Dembski’s cowardice and dishonesty in dodging questions about intelligent design: http://www.talkreason.org/articles/revolution.cfm . And here http://www.designinference.com/docu[…]y_Heresy.htm is a 2004 talk “Intelligent Design: Yesterday’s Orthodoxy, Today’s Heresy” Dr. Dembski gave in a church - not at a scientific symposium.

There are many other undeniable examples of the religious background of intelligent design creationism. What these cdesign proponentsists say in public and what they say in private to their almost solely fundamentalist Protestant religious base are two different things. When they say they do not advocate teaching the Christian Creation story and/or the garden of Eden in public schools, they are breaking the Ninth Commandment: They are lying, pure and simple.

Novparl said:

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

So how come I can’t find any time-lines on the evolution of these “simple” things? If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved. But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

Read the transcripts of the Dover Trial:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dov[…]v_dover.html

Novparl said:

So you’re saying that the brain, DNA, blood circulation, the womb, are all so simple that they all evolved easily?

So how come I can’t find any time-lines on the evolution of these “simple” things? If evolution is so important, it should be easy to find out how these things evolved. But we must take evolution on faith, I suppose.

The reason you can’t find any of these time-lines is because you are not looking hard enough. The field of evolutionary biology seems like a good place to start looking.

D. P. Robin said:

“Intelligent Design” is really the last gasp for Creationism–it is creationism so watered-down and shorn of meaningful content that many religious creationists ignore it as no longer being a position that has meaning for them.

I’d prefer to think that the distinct “teach the controversy” effort is the very last gasp; it’s so content-free it doesn’t even need to mention Intelligent Design, it skips the trouble of rephrasing “scientific creationism” into a different set of words, and hopefully there is nothing even more pathetic beyond that to which they can turn.

*edit to add* But then, I am an optimist.

Wheels said:

I’d prefer to think that the distinct “teach the controversy” effort is the very last gasp; it’s so content-free it doesn’t even need to mention Intelligent Design, it skips the trouble of rephrasing “scientific creationism” into a different set of words, and hopefully there is nothing even more pathetic beyond that to which they can turn.

When it comes to gross and malicious stupidity, human ingenuity will not disappoint anyone concerning sinking to new, lower levels.

If you’re a cynic bereft of hope, that is.

Bill Gascoyne Wrote:

What I want to know is how electrons know when they’re supposed to be particles and when they’re supposed to be waves.

(continue sarcasm) Why, they’re intelligent, of course.

Wheels Wrote:

I’d prefer to think that the distinct “teach the controversy” effort is the very last gasp; it’s so content-free it doesn’t even need to mention Intelligent Design…

I had trouble posting last night, but also wanted to add my usual comment about the phony “critical analysis” of evolution that not only doesn’t mention creation or design, but also exempts the “what and when” hypotheses implicit in “scientific creationism” from critical analysis, be it real or phony (aka “designed” to promote unreasonable doubt).

Whatever the terminology, the core issue is that the public thinks of “creationism” as the honest beliefs of the rank and file, whereas critics define it in all its forms, up to the designer-free scam and “academic freedom” (aka “academic anarchy”) nonsense, as a strategy to mislead. It would be nice if most people read and understood the excellent article by Barbara Forrest cited above, but unfortunately most won’t.

Frank J said: It would be nice if most people read and understood the excellent article by Barbara Forrest cited above…

That’s why I keep citing it, and providing the link…particularly when I’m being a troll on right-wing fundagelical blogs.

Bill, You may want to pick up Feynman’s book “QED.” According to him (at least the way I read it, I could easily be wrong), its all particles - no ifs, ands, or buts. What we observe as wave-like behavior is explained/predicted by quantum electrodynamic theory.

Bill Gascoyne said: (Hint: Electrons are neither particles nor waves; they’re electrons. Particle-like and wave-like are our explanations or analogies to describe how they always behave.)

Paul Burnett Wrote:

That’s why I keep citing it, and providing the link…particularly when I’m being a troll on right-wing fundagelical blogs.

By all means keep doing it, but don’t expect much, especially where the most of the few who will bother to read it, will do so only to quote mine, and refine their bait-and-switch tactics.

My approach is to ignore the ~25% that will never admit evolution under any circumstances, and concentrate on the other ~25% who reject evolution due to misunderstanding, and another ~20% who accept evolution but still think it’s fair to “teach the controversy.”

Frank J said:

By all means keep doing it, but don’t expect much, especially where the most of the few who will bother to read it, will do so only to quote mine, and refine their bait-and-switch tactics.

I have considered the possibility of infiltrating some Darwin-basher sites and pretending to be a hardcore Biblical creationist who hates ID because it disses God. (Two can play at “wedge strategies … it would certainly make the closet creationists among the ID crowd uncomfortable.) But that would be a considerable and eventually distasteful level of work for such an idle amusement.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html distasteful amount of wor

iml8 said: I have considered the possibility of infiltrating some Darwin-basher sites and pretending to be a hardcore Biblical creationist who hates ID because it disses God. (Two can play at “wedge strategies … it would certainly make the closet creationists among the ID crowd uncomfortable.) But that would be a considerable and eventually distasteful level of work for such an idle amusement.

They have a tendency to ban people who present views similar to that over at UD (even the sincere ones).

Saddlebred said:

They have a tendency to ban people who present views similar to that over at UD (even the sincere ones).

No doubt because they represent a real threat while the pro-Darwin crowd is at most a mere nuisance. Somewhat along the lines of the way they find Dawkins with his outspoken atheism convenient to their cause because he’s so easy to demonize – if he didn’t exist, they would have to (and would) invent him – while they clearly regard theistic evolutionists as the much more dangerous enemy because they are chopping away at the Message.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

FL said:

So.…..we see now that they are NOT claiming to “replace science with a specific religious theology” but instead to replace a specific worldview (the religion of materialism) WITH SCIENCE. They want to replace it with science that’s “consonant with Christian and theistic convictions”, that’s true, but still they want to replace things WITH SCIENCE, not with theology.

1. What happens if this theistically-compatible science discovers something that isn’t theistically-compatible? Is it ignored?

2. In what way is current science not theistically-compatible? That there are so many scientists who are theists seems to belie a contradiction between science and theism. I can only think that by “a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions” is meant one that incorporates Christianity and theism into its methodology. In what way does such a science differen from one that has been replaced by theology?

David Fickett-Wilbar said:

1. What happens …

We’ve been asking for specifics for a while to no good end. I don’t think it’s a waste of time – I have a suspicion that Phil Johnson had no specific idea of what he was asking for and the lack of useful response lends weight to this idea. The real irony is that we have an initiative to reform science in which the community to be reformed has not a clue of what is being asked of them.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

David Fickett-Wilbar said:

2. In what way is current science not theistically-compatible? That there are so many scientists who are theists seems to belie a contradiction between science and theism. (snip)

We have already seen that FL has decided these scientists are not True Christians ™.

According to FL, all Christians who accept the fact(s) of evolution are not True Christians ™, save for the current Pope.

fnxtr said:

David Fickett-Wilbar said:

2. In what way is current science not theistically-compatible? That there are so many scientists who are theists seems to belie a contradiction between science and theism. (snip)

We have already seen that FL has decided these scientists are not True Christians ™.

David Fickett-Wilbar Wrote:

1. What happens if this theistically-compatible science discovers something that isn’t theistically-compatible? Is it ignored?

Not sure what you mean, but the major ID players seem to believe that they only need to find a few objects or systems that are “definitely designed,” then it doesn’t matter if anything else is designed, or appeared “naturalistically” without the designer’s involvement, or maybe even his/hers/its knowledge.

Michael Behe claims to have found a few biological systems – and this is very important - the first example of which was designed (other major IDers like Dembski don’t even claim to have found anything specific in biology, so let’s focus on the only one who has). If you take Behe at his most literal, that means that humans – and this is also very important - not even the first example of which, were probably not designed. Not good news for Biblical literalists!

Of course the ID argument is “designed” to sell to an audience (rank and file creationists) that will give it the most slack. So we have creationist fans of ID like FL, who admitted to me some months ago that human conception is a design actuation event. But if we can observe design actuation events in real time, then there doesn’t need to be anything mysterious and remote about them that supposedly (1) violates known laws of chance and regularity and (2) is conveniently beyond the reach of testing. Unless the DI is willing to dispute FL’s claim (my $ says they won’t comment either way), they essentially admit that design is not an alternative to evolution, but at best another way to describe it. Note also that no major IDer ever challenged Behe directly on his concession that the evidence supports common descent and a ~4 billion year history of life, and that Dembski admitted that ID accommodates all the “results” of “Darwinism,” and conveniently omitted any other specific “results” that it could accommodate.

When the IDers rationalize their efforts by invoking real “design science” such as forensics and archaeology, they conveniently omit the fact that, once design is detected, the investigators don’t stop investigating and spend the next 20 years advertising that they “found design.” Rather they keep at it to determine what the designer did, when and how. But here too, IDers are slick; they know that their target audience will forgive them, and welcome the opportunity to fill in the blanks with their favorite childhood myths.

YEC and OEC leaders are a different story, and ironically, on this topic I find them more reasonable than many fellow “Darwinists.” At least the former join me in taking the IDers to task, for not elaborating, and in fact even backpedaling, on the whats, whens and hows of design activation. Too many “Darwinists” instead take the bait and obsess over whether IDers found design or not, instead of showing that IDers are not even taking their own design detection seriously.

David Fickett-Wilbar said: What happens if this theistically-compatible science discovers something that isn’t theistically-compatible? Is it ignored?

What type of theistically compatible science are you talking about? I can think of at least three flavors, two stupid, one more legit.

There’s the type where “theistically compatible” means dictating what conclusions science is allowed to come to. The sun circles the earth and scientific findings that say otherwise will be banned or marginalized.

Then there’s the type where ‘theistically compatible’ means dictating what lack of knowledge means. This is the god-of-the-gaps or explanatory filter type. Its still stupid but at least there’s no active punisment for heresy.

More legit is when ‘theistic compatibility’ simply means compatible with doctrine-derived ethics. I doubt very much DI means it this way, but if they do it means they’re just another PETA, and our attitude should be the same: we accept your right to participate in the political process that makes the ethical rules - just don’t do anything illegal when you lose.

eric said:

Bill, You may want to pick up Feynman’s book “QED.” According to him (at least the way I read it, I could easily be wrong), its all particles - no ifs, ands, or buts. What we observe as wave-like behavior is explained/predicted by quantum electrodynamic theory.

Bill Gascoyne said: (Hint: Electrons are neither particles nor waves; they’re electrons. Particle-like and wave-like are our explanations or analogies to describe how they always behave.)

I’ve read it. Excellent book. The point, however, is not electrons or any other subatomic particle, it’s the human tendency to confuse the analogy with reality.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on September 25, 2008 8:27 AM.

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