These Weeks in Intelligent Design - 07/03/12

| 27 Comments

Intelligent design news, commentary and discussion from the 20th of February to the 7th of March, 2012. 

Semester 1 of my 3rd year of university started last week, so I’ve suddenly found myself with coursework to pore over. Likewise, the Discovery Institute seems to have kicked itself into a high gear, publishing a larger-than-average number of articles about numerous different topics, all of which just so happen to be rather important and weighty. Ah well, someone’s got to cover them, my own studies of evolutionary genetics be damned.

This week I’ll be looking at how the ID movement views the relationships between science, religion and politics, how it operates with respect to criticising evolutionary biology and supporting its own ideas, and how it deals with the “bad design” objection from critics of ID.

27 Comments

Hi,

That ought to be “coursework to pore over” - unless, of course, you have coursework on your salad instead of Thousand Island dressing :)

Kevin B said:

Hi,

That ought to be “coursework to pore over” - unless, of course, you have coursework on your salad instead of Thousand Island dressing :)

You’re quite right, thanks…

It’s not at all surprising that the DI considers faith and government to be “indivisible” considering how much of their funding comes from Howard Ahmanson Jr., a Dominionist who openly states “My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives.”

Jack Scanlan said:

Kevin B said:

Hi,

That ought to be “coursework to pore over” - unless, of course, you have coursework on your salad instead of Thousand Island dressing :)

You’re quite right, thanks…

With Intelligent Design “work,” how can you tell the difference between it and salad? Aside from the croutons either being made from bread or nonsense, that is.

apokryltaros said:

Jack Scanlan said:

Kevin B said:

Hi,

That ought to be “coursework to pore over” - unless, of course, you have coursework on your salad instead of Thousand Island dressing :)

You’re quite right, thanks…

With Intelligent Design “work,” how can you tell the difference between it and salad? Aside from the croutons either being made from bread or nonsense, that is.

I imagine the Menu is actually a Wedge of Fruit Cake Document.

Your analysis of Granville Sewell’s argument is quite correct. A simpler refutation of his argument is to note that it also shows that plants can’t grow (and we do have empirical evidence that they can grow, particularly weeds).

Sewell’s equations may be fine, but then he ignores his own middle-school science classes and asserts that with regard to the Earth

if all we see entering is radiation and meteorite fragments, it seems clear that what is entering through the boundary cannot explain the increase in order observed here.

He thereby ignores that this “radiation” is not just a few cosmic rays, but the solar radiation that powers the growth of plants and the survival of the whole evolving ecosystem. Did he never hear about this in secondary school or in middle school?

Sewell has been refuted many times but he never answers those criticisms. The Discovery Institute’s scientific credibility [such as it is] is on the line and the outcome is pretty disastrous for them.

I’m a believer, but if God wired us for language, why are people who lose the ability to speak still able to swear? (It’s true!)

He thereby ignores that this “radiation” is not just a few cosmic rays, but the solar radiation that powers the growth of plants and the survival of the whole evolving ecosystem. Did he never hear about this in secondary school or in middle school?

Not to mention the subsea hydrothermal vents and ecosystems, powered by geothermally heated water, independent of solar energy.

Rolf said:

He thereby ignores that this “radiation” is not just a few cosmic rays, but the solar radiation that powers the growth of plants and the survival of the whole evolving ecosystem. Did he never hear about this in secondary school or in middle school?

Not to mention the subsea hydrothermal vents and ecosystems, powered by geothermally heated water, independent of solar energy.

True enough, but I suspect he’d hear of the sun first, and I am sure it accounts for more than 99% of the energy that enters the biosphere.

Not to mention the sub-sea hydrothermal vents and ecosystems,

Then don’t mention them!

Yeah, besides the sun, there’s heat left over from planetary formation, and heat from radioactive decay. But I don’t know what the ratios are between those three sources.

(Of course, science deniers could theoretically had heat generated by da Flud, but I’ll leave that aside.)

Henry

(Of course, science deniers could theoretically had heat generated by da Flud, but I’ll leave that aside.)

Actually, creationists claim that the Flood caused the Ice Age (Creationists accept only one ice age)

Henry J said: Yeah, besides the sun, there’s heat left over from planetary formation, and heat from radioactive decay. But I don’t know what the ratios are between those three sources.

My very cursory googling says ~50% of the earth’s internal heat is expected to come from radioactive decay. About 20 TW. See this Nature article.

YECs sometimes claim radioisotopic dating gives incorrectly long ages for the earth because half-lives were significantly shorter in the past. But I don’t think any of them have really considered what releasing all that energy in the span of a few thousand years would be like. Baked Alaska, anyone?

eric said:

Henry J said: Yeah, besides the sun, there’s heat left over from planetary formation, and heat from radioactive decay. But I don’t know what the ratios are between those three sources.

My very cursory googling says ~50% of the earth’s internal heat is expected to come from radioactive decay. About 20 TW. See this Nature article.

YECs sometimes claim radioisotopic dating gives incorrectly long ages for the earth because half-lives were significantly shorter in the past. But I don’t think any of them have really considered what releasing all that energy in the span of a few thousand years would be like. Baked Alaska, anyone?

How much of the energy that powers living systems comes from the earth’s internal heat? I thought you had to have a heat gradient to power anything. Just sitting in some rocks and being at the same temperature as your surroundings does not mean you have a source of energy – even if that temperature is well above absolute zero.

Someone please correct me, as IANAP (Physicist).

Joe Felsenstein said:

eric said:

Henry J said: Yeah, besides the sun, there’s heat left over from planetary formation, and heat from radioactive decay. But I don’t know what the ratios are between those three sources.

My very cursory googling says ~50% of the earth’s internal heat is expected to come from radioactive decay. About 20 TW. See this Nature article.

YECs sometimes claim radioisotopic dating gives incorrectly long ages for the earth because half-lives were significantly shorter in the past. But I don’t think any of them have really considered what releasing all that energy in the span of a few thousand years would be like. Baked Alaska, anyone?

How much of the energy that powers living systems comes from the earth’s internal heat? I thought you had to have a heat gradient to power anything. Just sitting in some rocks and being at the same temperature as your surroundings does not mean you have a source of energy – even if that temperature is well above absolute zero.

Someone please correct me, as IANAP (Physicist).

The Earth’s surface heat flow is on the order of 100mW/m^2. What we get from the Sun is 340W/m^2

Do the math :-)

eric said:

Henry J said: Yeah, besides the sun, there’s heat left over from planetary formation, and heat from radioactive decay. But I don’t know what the ratios are between those three sources.

My very cursory googling says ~50% of the earth’s internal heat is expected to come from radioactive decay. About 20 TW. See this Nature article.

YECs sometimes claim radioisotopic dating gives incorrectly long ages for the earth because half-lives were significantly shorter in the past. But I don’t think any of them have really considered what releasing all that energy in the span of a few thousand years would be like. Baked Alaska, anyone?

If you condensed all of the radioactive decay that has transpired over the last 4.5by into 6000 years, the surface heat flow would be 6 orders of magnitude higher. In other words we would be living in Kilauea Crater.

Creationists do not understand that you cannot vary the constants of nature nilly willy to achieve a desired result.

bigdakine said:

If you condensed all of the radioactive decay that has transpired over the last 4.5by into 6000 years, the surface heat flow would be 6 orders of magnitude higher. In other words we would be living in Kilauea Crater.

Is it not much worse than that? You need a similar six or seven order of magnitude increase in the speed of light to be able to see all we see of Creation, which implies a twelve to fourteen order of magnitude increase in the energy output of the radioactive decay if E=mc^2 has always been true.

Good write up, but I think you missed two opportunities:

1} When creationists of any stripe jump on a discovery to claim that “See scientists are wrong!” they don’t just go on to claim “So… sometimes they’re wrong!”. Nope, they make the leap all the way to “Therefore my favourite, long refuted, crackpot guess about origins – and my religion, which I have unnecessarily tethered to it – must be right!”

2} IDiots don’t like to get into theological discussions because none of them agree! As soon as the unifying theme of ‘hate on the [favourite demonizing term] scientists’ is gone, they fall on each other, knives drawn, with the same fervour and righteous zeal that has been reserved for hunting heretics throughout human history. They do not, and cannot, agree on what happened when and how – because any movement from their initial position is an unthinkable confession that their religion was wrong.

Something else that’s coming up is the Coppedge/JPL trial. Klinghoffer has something to say about that (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/0[…]g057091.html).

I suspect they’ll try to bring ID into the trial and “prove” that ID is science & Coppedge has a right to talk about it on company time. It’s a much bigger case than the Freshwater affair, not unlike the Smithsonian, but actually going to court.

DavidK said: I suspect they’ll try to bring ID into the trial and “prove” that ID is science. Coppedge has a right to talk about it on company time. It’s a much bigger case than the Freshwater affair, not unlike the Smithsonian, but actually going to court.

Coppedge wasn’t pimping for science, or even for intelligent design creationism - he was pimping for good old-fashioned creationism. There was no science whatsoever - just willful ignorance and pseudoscience. Coppedge is on the Board of Directors of Illustra Media (which produced the DVDs), which is a wholly-owned creature of Discovery Media, which in turn is the successor to the infamous Moody Institute of Science, producer of anti-science pro-creationism media for the fundamentalist Moody Bible Institute. All JPL has to do is show that connection, and any claims that Coppedge was pushing science will be laughed out of court.

bigdakine said: Creationists do not understand that you cannot vary the constants of nature nilly willy to achieve a desired result.

That depeneds. If the creationist is talking about the Anthropic Principle Argument for the Existence of an Intelligent Designer, then they are quite sure that the constants of nature have to be very precisely tuned to their presently accepted values.

It’s rather like the Creationist Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is conveniently forgotten when it comes to the sorting of the fossils after the Flood.

Creationism is based on having a short attention span.

bigdakine said:

Creationists do not understand that you cannot vary the constants of nature nilly willy to achieve a desired result.

But you CAN if you’re a creationist–or rather your god can. He can make a magic flood, change the speed of light, change decay rates of isotopes, change the refractive properties of light, or completely alter the physical laws of the universe, either universally or locally to produce his (or the creationists’) desired result. Any damn thing.

Which makes all of our rational argument that those things can’t happen irrelevant to the creationist. His god can work miracles. Any damn thing.

And which also makes creationism (including ID) ABSOLUTELY USELESS as a science, EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE! In a magical creation where any damn thing can happen at any time at the whim of a capricious magical god, we can’t know or predict, or count on anything. There ARE no laws of physics or chemistry or biology that we can be certain are always true, or were in the past, or will be in the future.

If God is capable of all that creationists say they believe, we simply cannot trust the universe to be rational and understandable. What’s to prevent God from treating the universe as his personal playground, to do with whatever he fancies at the moment? IOW, God is the ultimate cheater.

But that’s not what we see. We see a rational universe, a universe that we have found is quite reliable. Without signs of a spirit playing with it.

Rolf said:

We see a rational universe, a universe that we have found is quite reliable. Without signs of a spirit playing with it.

WE do, right, but not the creationist, who knows a priori that his god can do any damn thing. The creationist lives in a completely different universe from us. And he simply can’t see that what we do (science) works, and what he does (magic) doesn’t.

If God can do anything, why would evolution be beyond His abilities? ;)

God doesn’t like evolution because creationists don’t like evolution. When you create God in your image and then imagine he created you in his you tend to not notice that your God seems to like what you like, think what you think, and so on.

Leszek said:

God doesn’t like evolution because creationists don’t like evolution. When you create God in your image and then imagine he created you in his you tend to not notice that your God seems to like what you like, think what you think, and so on.

So THAT’S why their god is a homophobic, misogynist, racist petulant child, with a limited imagination, extremely limited abilities, a limited attention span, a hatred for intellectuals, a generally nasty personality, and an inordinate fondness for GUNS!

Just Bob said:

Leszek said:

God doesn’t like evolution because creationists don’t like evolution. When you create God in your image and then imagine he created you in his you tend to not notice that your God seems to like what you like, think what you think, and so on.

So THAT’S why their god is a homophobic, misogynist, racist petulant child, with a limited imagination, extremely limited abilities, a limited attention span, a hatred for intellectuals, a generally nasty personality, and an inordinate fondness for GUNS!

Sheds a new light on the whole thing doesn’t it.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jack Scanlan published on March 7, 2012 4:16 AM.

[UPDATED] Freshwater: Appeal denied was the previous entry in this blog.

Splendour Awaits: Carnival of Evolution #45 is the next entry in this blog.

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