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Monday, July 17, 2006

N.Y. Post: Mushnick: WRIGHT STARS IN AD FOR FAITH HEALER (RR)

To live, I’d drink even the liquid of feces!

So it’s Saturday afternoon and we’re watching the Mets on Ch. 11. They’re playing the Cubs in Wrigley, when, during a commercial break, David Wright, in his Mets uniform and standing in Shea, pops up to tell us:

“Hi, I’m David Wright. I invite you to the ‘Salvation Miracles Revival Crusade’ with Dr. Jaerock Lee, at Madison Square Garden, July 27, 28 and 29.”

...Sorry, boys and girls, while we mean no offense toward anyone’s spirituality and religious devotion - Wright’s included - that was the weirdest player/team-connected TV ad we’d ever seen within a telecast of a big league game.

And are Mets telecasts and Mets dressed in their Mets uniforms now available to help deliver religious come-ons of any and all kinds?

Repoz Posted: July 17, 2006 at 11:18 AM | 462 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: international, mets

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   301. FJ Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:25 PM (#2105487)
Gee, scientists don't understand exactly why ice has all of the properties it has, lets spend a week discussing whether there's some supernatural influence!


I think it's a standpoint also of those who are trained in the sciences and do it for a living and those who do not (I could be wrong here, though).

Science requires a certain set of criteria to pass through. MEANING and truth, however, does not require as stringent a set of criteria. Both TwoAlous and BL seem to think that there is no real significant difference between scientific truth and truth. (Ok, TwoAlous DOES state that it's not science, but he is then, "amused" with the people who strongly object to it being taught AS SCIENCE in science classes. But then, he also says it's wrong. I'm really not sure what his stand is.)

I'd say that most scientists, who are forced to do this for a living, think (perhaps incorrectly) that there IS a significant difference between looking for a scientific truth and a truth.

Would that sum up some of the differences correctly?

F
   302. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2105499)
The current objection is to making it a "SCIENCE" which has bigger connotations than just argumentation.
Well, I for one don't view ID as "science," as I've said many times in this thread, because it doesn't make testable claims. I'd say it's falls in the realm of metaphysics, or something like it. And I agree that it shouldn't be taught "as science" - by which I assume you mean as fact. If it's going to be taught, it should be more posed as something to think about. But I don't have a problem with it being taught "in science classes" which to me is an irrelevant matter of scheduling.

I remember when I was learning about quantum mechanics at school, we were definitely taught about the philosophical implications of collapsing wave-packets and so on, and encouraged to think ourselves about these things. And I don't think my school was exceptional in this - hasn't everyone heard of Schrodinger's cat, for example? And yes, this was in timetabled physics classes. No, considering these matters is not, in itself, science. And it's certainly not a substitute for learning the formulae and equations, and more importantly how to apply them. But you need to understand what the science means, otherwise it's pointless.

If this is the case for physics, why isn't it the case for biology?
No, it's completely relevant. ID asserts that it is impossible for such complex organisms to have arisen without an external actor.
No it doesn't, or at least it doesn't necessarily. ID asserts that, absent an external actor, it is impossible for such complex organisms to have developed from nothing within the time frame in which they have done so on Earth. So, perhaps our alien friends have evolved by chance over a much much longer time frame. Or, perhaps our alien friends did not evolve from nothing, they sprang into existence at the dawn of the universe in an already substantially formed state. I'm afraid there's no logical contradiction here.

Now, some people take ID outside the evolutionary sphere, and argue that the universe itself shows evidence of intelligent design. That, to my mind, requires the existence of a First Mover, which I guess you may as well call God. But that does not apply if you restrict ID to talking about evolution.

And, even supposing it were true. Supposing (which I strongly deny) that ID requires a First Mover - so what? I'm not saying that children should be taught to believe in ID. I'm saying that if you want to suggest it to them for their consideration, that's fine by me.
   303. Backlasher Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:50 PM (#2105556)
Rather than just continue the pattern of articulating what TwoAlou states, I will stand with 303 and expound.

So I ask again -- where did the aliens come from?

I thought I answered. I don't know, and don't care as it relates to the curriculum of public secondary (and lower) schools. That is a theological question. I operate on the belief it is from God.

Now, I ask, (which you kind of answer in 301), where did the first law of thermodynamics come from.

If you abstract to end game in any subject, you deal with First Mover(s). At such point you either adopt agnosticism or you assert that such things are persistent. Scientists think of nice names like "universe". Then noveau-scientists will one up them with "multiverses". For a lot of human history it was the "nature of god". It doesn't matter what you call the persistent state. And that persistent state is super-probablistic, as you discuss in 301.

Disovering the nature of things does not get you past this system. I am not pushing it into paradox; I am following it to the same place that you are leading. I do not step beyond where you step. You push it higher, I'll go to the same place.

And in the class room you stop at the biology.

Would that sum up some of the differences correctly?

I doubt it. I know a little bit about 2Alou, and I can certainly speak for myself. I doubt the scientific training or career as scientist or engineer is going to be outstripped by many.

In fact, it seems that the more advance training that one has in science, the more one would push the paradox and the ontological assumptions necessary for such things to work.

And despite what anyone says, they are tautological, even much below the godhead level. Have you found that gravity particle yet. It sure does make sense, but its an opearable assumption that force requires particle exchange. But if you assume it does it would be massless with a spin of 2.

Both TwoAlous and BL seem to think that there is no real significant difference between scientific truth and truth. (Ok, TwoAlous DOES state that it's not science, but he is then, "amused" with the people who strongly object to it being taught AS SCIENCE in science classes. But then, he also says it's wrong. I'm really not sure what his stand is.)

Really, I thought my first post pretty much expressly defined what I thought the nature of the question.

But more important, that first post also deals with this definitional problem. "Scientific truth" first needs a definition, other than what is in the textbook I like. Once we have that definition, it is then worthwhile to decide if "scientific truth" as is being discussed makes a difference in state-run curriculum. If its definition is naturalistic philosophy, then that is a problem.
   304. Srul Itza Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:50 PM (#2105557)
No it doesn't, or at least it doesn't necessarily. ID asserts that, absent an external actor, it is impossible for such complex organisms to have developed from nothing within the time frame in which they have done so on Earth.

I don't believe that states the essence of intelligent design. The time frame argument is secondary, even when it does get mentioned (and even when the ID people are willing to accept that the Earth is several billion years old, which not all of them do). It is fact of compexity from "nothingness" that is the essence.
   305. J. Cross Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:51 PM (#2105560)
If this is the case for physics, why isn't it the case for biology?

I think the difference is that in quantum mechanics you have two (main) theories each of which lead to paradoxes. Also, the fact that scientists as notable Einstein and Schrodinger hold the minority opinion gives it enough credence to be worthy of discussion. Evolution, on the other hand, doesn't lead to a contradiction that can't be explain. There aren't great scientists like Einstein and Scrodinger noting paradoxes that evolution can't explain. Instead, there are a bunch of religious nuts and a small group of third-rate scientists claiming that their views are being excluding by the atheistic scientific community.
   306. Mefisto Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2105567)
hasn't everyone heard of Schrodinger's cat, for example? And yes, this was in timetabled physics classes. No, considering these matters is not, in itself, science. And it's certainly not a substitute for learning the formulae and equations, and more importantly how to apply them. But you need to understand what the science means, otherwise it's pointless.

If this is the case for physics, why isn't it the case for biology?

If the explanation for Schrodinger's Cat were that we couldn't know whether the cat was alive or dead because God was playing dice and didn't roll them until we looked, then I doubt that would be taught in physics class. The reason physicists discuss that issue is becuase, as you said, they need to understand what the science means. ID does not aid that understanding; it's a means of dodging the science.

Who said anything about "creationism"

ID = creationism.

There obviously is a controversy

There is no controversy about the science. The only controversy is the political argument about what should be taught in science class. Besides, claiming that there's a "controversy" is disingenuous. Is there a controversy over whether the earth is round because some flatearthers run around saying so? Would there be a controversy about the Copernican system if I insisted that the sun revolved around the earth? Is there a "controversy" about the Holocaust because David Fisher denies it? These aren't controversies, and there is no controversy in science about creationism.

Likewise, a belief that no such supernatural entity exists would be a precursor to buying into a naturalistic theory of ontology.

As I've said twice before, this is not true. It's not a belief, it's an operating assumption. Science limits itself. So does history -- it's not philosophy. That self-limitation makes no statement one way or the other on the subjects left out.

I haven't seen a singly person make an argument about "BEST FITTING DATA"

You did. I quoted you.

Its the "I think this is the proper theology therefore the state must instruct according to my belief system"

Arrant nonsense. Nobody is saying that at all, any more than they're saying it in astronomy class when they teach Copernicus or in physics class when they teach quantum mechanics.

Where have I said a word about the Dover court. As near as I can tell, we are talking strictly about ID and its place in curriculm. I have expressly stated that no specific form of theology should be taught, and the teaching of theology is not likely to occur in the public classroom.

You're dodging the question: if we teach creationism, must we also teach the creation myths of EVERY religion in order to satisfy your neutrality rule?
   307. Srul Itza Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:55 PM (#2105570)
first law of thermodynamics

The three laws of Thermodynamics:

1. You can't win.
2. You can't break even.
3. You can't get out of the game.
   308. FJ Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:57 PM (#2105575)
Well, I for one don't view ID as "science," as I've said many times in this thread, because it doesn't make testable claims. I'd say it's falls in the realm of metaphysics, or something like it. And I agree that it shouldn't be taught "as science" - by which I assume you mean as fact.


No, by "as science," I mean "as tested and retested by the scientific method." But I guess that's close enough.

If it's going to be taught, it should be more posed as something to think about. But I don't have a problem with it being taught "in science classes" which to me is an irrelevant matter of scheduling.


I guess I just don't see what the point of doing that is ESPECIALLY SINCE THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR IT.

I remember when I was learning about quantum mechanics at school, we were definitely taught about the philosophical implications of collapsing wave-packets and so on, and encouraged to think ourselves about these things. And I don't think my school was exceptional in this - hasn't everyone heard of Schrodinger's cat, for example? And yes, this was in timetabled physics classes. No, considering these matters is not, in itself, science. And it's certainly not a substitute for learning the formulae and equations, and more importantly how to apply them. But you need to understand what the science means, otherwise it's pointless.


I disagree. Learning about the consequences of what quantum mechanics MEANS is still trying to understand the underlying theory of it. Thus, you are trying to understand the SCIENCE. This is not an equivalent analogy to ID which doesn't HAVE a scientific basis.

F
   309. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:01 AM (#2105588)
I think I agree with what FJ says about truth v. scientific truth.

There's nothing less scientific than saying "Well, if this theory doesn't work there must be something supernatural going on!"

Yet, "Scientific theories can't really explain the universe in the end." could be the ultimate truth.

I certainly accept the possibility that something supernatural is going on, sometimes I think it's likely, sometimes I don't, but I completely reject the suggestion that it should be taught as an alternative to science in science class.

Also, note that although quantum mechanics is MUCH less well understood than evolution, you don't have a bunch of people suggesting that we teach that there might be a supernatural explanation and that the unmoved mover's hand must be at work.
   310. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:20 AM (#2105637)
There is an even larger group of christians who has no trouble "believing" in evolution, just as they have no trouble "believing" that the earth goes around the sun, regardless of what the pentateuch might suggest.

I really don't believe this to be true. I think most Christians who don't believe in evolution take that position by default, and if the argument were presented from a Christian-friendly perspective, they'd embrace it.

And no, its not THE THEORY THAT BEST FITS THE DATA. Its a tautological theory that has no higher strength score in any type of reliability test, and is actually more complex than a design theory. IOW, its the Theory that best fits the data if and only if you presume there is no supernatural sentience, which is almost directly synonomous with atheism

I think you vastly underestimate how compelling the data are.
   311. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:22 AM (#2105640)
I doubt it. I know a little bit about 2Alou, and I can certainly speak for myself. I doubt the scientific training or career as scientist or engineer is going to be outstripped by many.


Really? So, you're a scientist/engineer AND a lawyer? How do you also find the time to watch baseball and post on it?

In fact, it seems that the more advance training that one has in science, the more one would push the paradox and the ontological assumptions necessary for such things to work.


Huh? What paradox? What things to work? I'm totally confused by this.

And despite what anyone says, they are tautological, even much below the godhead level. Have you found that gravity particle yet. It sure does make sense, but its an opearable assumption that force requires particle exchange. But if you assume it does it would be massless with a spin of 2.


Ok, I'm not sure what exactly you are trying to illustrate here....

Really, I thought my first post pretty much expressly defined what I thought the nature of the question.


Which first post? If it was the first, first post, I don't think I understood it well enough to see what you were trying to say. If it was the first post after the site having problems, I thought that this is what you outlined. I could be wrong about the interpretation, though....

But more important, that first post also deals with this definitional problem. "Scientific truth" first needs a definition, other than what is in the textbook I like. Once we have that definition, it is then worthwhile to decide if "scientific truth" as is being discussed makes a difference in state-run curriculum. If its definition is naturalistic philosophy, then that is a problem.


And again, if you're going to take issue with the scientific method and classify "general knowledge" as science, then, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.

I'll state it again. The reason why science HAS gotten as much backing and belief in it, is directly because of the scientific method. The scientific method requires vigorous testing and retesting of its theories, before it starts giving credence to its theories. This is what separates "scientific knowledge" from other types of "knowledge," and gives it a firmer backing in most people's eyes.

To lump all "knowledge" into the term "science" seems to take an illogical step backward for no clear reason.

F
   312. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:28 AM (#2105656)
Earlier, I wrote and asked the following:

W
e have "seen" evolution occur? Do you mean the adaptation of an organism to its environment, or the creation of a new species out of another? And, when you write "we have MADE it occur" doesn't that sort of undo the whole "evolution" thing? Isn't the "making" of evolution by a purposeful being the position of ID?


The point of the question, which I believe 2Alous replied to, was to distinguish micro and macroevolution. Before Darwin, science was aware of micro evolution, or the changing w/in a species of that species as in, say, breeding. Since Darwin, the hullabaloo has been over macroevolution, has it not? Do we in fact have evidence ("have we seen?") the emergence from one species of a new one? I ask out of ignorance, b/c it seems this is a crucial bit of evidence for Darwinian or macroevolution, and if not, the science would force us to remain skeptical about it. Someone (2As?) said we have seen this. Please educate this dull lad.

And, is not much of the rancor precisely about the notion that macroevolution simply is "irrefutable", that you'd have to be a dolt not to accept it, that the "scientific community" overwhelmingly accepts it? And thus the insults to those scientists who believe otherwise, and dare wonder just how all this complexity came to be?

ID is NOT creationism. That's just a nice way to dismiss it.

There's nothing less scientific than saying "Well, if this theory doesn't work there must be something supernatural going on!"


Who the hell argues this? This is sheer nonsense, total strawman. Notice that science developed in the Christian West, and the reasons for this are (among others) precisely the (1) belief in the goodness and reasonability of creation, (2) the belief that we can figure this #### out and therefore (3) are not satisfied w/the deus ex machina explanations.
   313. Srul Itza Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:28 AM (#2105659)
Combining two thoughts:


I don't know, and don't care as it relates to the curriculum of public secondary (and lower) schools. That is a theological question. I operate on the belief it is from God.

. . . .

If you abstract to end game in any subject, you deal with First Mover(s).



Who here honestly doubts that, in "teaching" ID to a high school class, you do not "abstract to end game"? I mean, I suppose it is possible that the entire class is so brain dead that not a single student raises the issue of WHO the intelligent designer is, where he came from, who designed the designer, etc., etc.

In the end, you arrive at the "theological question". In the end, you arrive at "God".

Now, let's leave aside for the moment that most everything that the ID crowd puts out is chock full of errors, inaccuracies, and logical flaws, such that it could not really be "taught" without being educational fraud. What could be raised is the philosophical question of first movers.

In fact, when I was in high school, this of course DID come up, but not in biology. It came up in physics, when the concept of the Big Bang was discussed. It was not an in-depth philosophical discussion. The point was merely made that, we cannot posit what happened on the other side of the Big Bang, and if you want to fill in that blank with the God of your choice, so be it. Nobody seemed overly concerned that this was some breach of the wall between Church and State.

That is the only place the conversation belongs. It does not belong in biology because in that instance, the conversation leads immediately to God and creation-myths -- and this is even excluding the crap that the ID "institutes" put out.
   314. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:29 AM (#2105662)
ID = creationism.

No, that has been the point of most of this thread.

There is no controversy about the science. The only controversy is the political argument about what should be taught in science class. Besides, claiming that there's a "controversy" is disingenuous. Is there a controversy over whether the earth is round because some flatearthers run around saying so? Would there be a controversy about the Copernican system if I insisted that the sun revolved around the earth? Is there a "controversy" about the Holocaust because David Fisher denies it? These aren't controversies, and there is no controversy in science about creationism.

By definition, yes there is a controversy, but none of those are relevant to the concept of ID as an alternative theory to intelligent design. Whatever you prove is true, not operable, but true is not subject to controversy on whether there is a reason for the state to sanction it (and science controversy is again that circular definition problem).

It's not a belief, it's an operating assumption.

Oh, that changes everything. ID is a belief, and naturalism is an operating assumption. They differ in, well, they differ because I used different words. They differ because the people with the operating assumptions that I choose accept the operating assumptions I choose.

And people are throwing "disengenous" around a lot. What is disengenous is to pretend somebody objects to saying that AB, CD does not produce a certain distribution in an unconstrained environment.

You did. I quoted you.

That's right. I missed a valuable word. I haven't seen anyone that asserts the non-ID position is the BEST FITTING DATA present an argument, a proof, a calculation or anything else that shows that is in fact the BEST FITTING DATA. They just asserted it. I showed it was incorrect because at the level of disagreement, both use tautologies. Its only the best fitting data if you start with an operating assumption of naturalistic philosophy.

Nobody is saying that at all, any more than they're saying it in astronomy class when they teach Copernicus or in physics class when they teach quantum mechanics.

Really, your statement was pretty express.

You're dodging the question: if we teach creationism, must we also teach the creation myths of EVERY religion in order to satisfy your neutrality rule?

I don't know how more fully I could have shown that this statement is first, definitionally inappropriate as ID is not creationism. And just because you say it is does not make it so. We have spent countless text showing that it is not the same. And when you are talking about ID, that is not correct. It does not require any dogma, and for every level you try to abstract the argument, naturalistic philosophy has the same problem. For every level that you try to create paradox, naturalistic philosophy will have the same paradox.

No matter what you want ID to mean; no matter what someone did or did not do in Kansas. ID as it applies to evolution simply requires there is an intelligent designer to human life -- no more, no less. If you say, but if you say that, it means (when probably is is 'could mean') I can do the exact same thing with naturalistic philosophy.

If you don't want ID in the "science classroom" then take "naturalistic philosophy" out of the science classroom. As previously mentioned, that seems impractical.
   315. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:32 AM (#2105668)
Who the hell argues this?

People who believe in ID.

Do we in fact have evidence ("have we seen?") the emergence from one species of a new one?

Yes, there are many instances of species showing remnants of the species from which they evolved.
   316. Jeff K. Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2105671)
Primer never ceases to amaze me.
   317. Srul Itza Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:34 AM (#2105673)
I really don't believe this to be true

Do you believe that the majority of Christians in the world do not believe in evolution? I suppose that could be the case, but then again, I don't have a particularly high opinion of Christians -- largely because so many of them failed to practice christianity toward me and mine throughout history. [So I carry a grudge. So sue me.] But I would be curious if there have been wide opinion polls of Christians that show what percent disbelieve evolution.
   318. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:35 AM (#2105679)
Again, to state my differences between "scientific knowledge" and "general knowledge" and ID.

1) Scientific knowledge must be gained from via the scientific method. General knowledge can be gained by any means.

2) Scientific knowledge has a firmer basis because the theories are tested and retested by individuals in different settings. General knowledge does not have to be. In addition, because of this testing and retesting and the throwing out of theories which do not fit the data, people usually believe more strongly in "science" and "scientific truth" than they do in "general truth." They can sometimes take this too far, however, and sometimes people will be taken in by pseudo-science or poor-science masquerading as science which can be detrimental.

3) The scientific method requires logic and proof of evidence, but these are not the SOLE criteria for the scientific method to work.

4) Among the other things that the scientific method requires are theories that make predictions and can be TESTED. Without these, then, essentially any theory can be proposed and still be believable. That would take away from the general usefulness of defining something as a science. ID fails in this regard.

There are probably other statements I should make, but I can't think of them at this time, and this is a good starting point.

F
   319. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:41 AM (#2105692)
The reason why science HAS gotten as much backing and belief in it, is directly because of the scientific method. The scientific method requires vigorous testing and retesting of its theories, before it starts giving credence to its theories. This is what separates "scientific knowledge" from other types of "knowledge," and gives it a firmer backing in most people's eyes.


Methinks you've vastly understated the issues and grossly simplified the problems. I'm not sure quite what you mean by "science has gotten so much backing ...", but on the assumption you mean the reason most laypeople trust science, I'd say it's for lots of things not having much at all to do w/the scientific method since they themselves don't typically, if at all, apply the scientific method to their beliefs in the positions of science, right? So, they believe science in part b/c often science works, not b/c of the scientific method, much as they used to believe whichever shaman got his #### more right than the other shamen (?). IOW, they trust, or take on faith, what they've been told from a class of people they've become accustomed to believing.

But, as we know, scientific claims are often false, and very often the scientists are wrong. Most people have a very pragmatic relationship w/knowledge. They go w/what works, and they'll go w/science where science works, and where it doesn't, they'll depart.

Back to evolutionary theory... Again, what seems to fuel the issue to my way of reading things are the claims that outstrip the science, the claims of people like Dawkins that only idiots DON'T accept Darwin, AND the close relationship of Darwinian theory (particularly as read by Dawkins and Dennett and others) to cosmological theories in general. These folks really do believe that science supplants god(s); that Darwin is or ought to be the last nail in the death of god. As long as it's being fought that way by the scientists (and odd that, btw), you can damn well anticipate reaction from the believers in god(s) AND the non-believers in god (Gould et al) who understand the cosmologically false conclusions being drawn.

Does that make sense?
   320. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:41 AM (#2105693)
The point of the question, which I believe 2Alous replied to, was to distinguish micro and macroevolution. Before Darwin, science was aware of micro evolution, or the changing w/in a species of that species as in, say, breeding. Since Darwin, the hullabaloo has been over macroevolution, has it not? Do we in fact have evidence ("have we seen?") the emergence from one species of a new one?

Pretty much. Usually it involves hybridization (a more orthodox mode of speciation than one might think). The best example is probably that in sunflower. Another interesting one is the fungus that causes Dutch Elm disease in North America, which apparently came to be sometime in the second half of the 20th century. In neither case do we have photographs of the origins of the new species, but the genetic evidence is pretty compelling.

The whole idea of the Modern Synthesis is that macroevolution has microevolutionary roots in genetics, of which Darwin didn't really know about. Everything we've learned about genetics since Mendel's, Morgan's and Wright's peas, fruit flies and guinea pigs -- and I'd say that's been a fair amount -- has only strengthened the connection between genetics and evolution.
   321. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:42 AM (#2105696)
I'll respond to BL's post when someone translates it into English.
   322. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2105714)
I'll respond to BL's post when someone translates it into English.<blockquote>


Nice and insulting.

I should have known that Gee would go to the fungi.

Who the hell argues this?

People who believe in ID.


No, they don't.

but then again, I don't have a particularly high opinion of Christians -- largely because so many of them failed to practice christianity toward me and mine throughout history.


Gratuitous.
   323. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:51 AM (#2105730)
and, btw, welcome back. I'm glad the vacation gave you restored vigor. seriously though, this thread makes me glad that we don't have any lawyers at the faculty meetings.

I haven't seen anyone that asserts the non-ID position is the BEST FITTING DATA present an argument, a proof, a calculation or anything else that shows that is in fact the BEST FITTING DATA.

This is really on you. There are plenty of books you could read and courses you could take. I don't think all the evidence can be explained in this thread but do you really doubt it exists or are you just acting the lawyer bit again. This is where the word "disingenous" comes to mind for me but maybe Im' wrong and you really aren't aware of all of the evidence.
   324. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:53 AM (#2105744)
Methinks you've vastly understated the issues and grossly simplified the problems. I'm not sure quite what you mean by "science has gotten so much backing ...", but on the assumption you mean the reason most laypeople trust science, I'd say it's for lots of things not having much at all to do w/the scientific method since they themselves don't typically, if at all, apply the scientific method to their beliefs in the positions of science, right? So, they believe science in part b/c often science works, not b/c of the scientific method, much as they used to believe whichever shaman got his #### more right than the other shamen (?). IOW, they trust, or take on faith, what they've been told from a class of people they've become accustomed to believing.


That's kind of essentially what I'm saying.

But, as we know, scientific claims are often false, and very often the scientists are wrong.


Yes. And how do we know? Because some other scientists test those findings and find the data to contradict those claims. USING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Thank you for proving my point for me :p.

Most people have a very pragmatic relationship w/knowledge. They go w/what works, and they'll go w/science where science works, and where it doesn't, they'll depart.


Yes, which is why there's philosophy, archaelogy, and a ton of other liberal arts. However, they are not called SCIENCE, are they?

In addition, this is the problem with lumping everything together as "science." You basically dilute the term for no good reason, and then people stop "trusting science" because it doesn't work, when the problem isn't that it doesn't work, but everyone wants to label what they do as "science."

F
   325. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:54 AM (#2105745)
I read Dawkins' books years ago and they had a profound effect on me, but I do cringe regarding his position as the standard bearer for the cause of evolution, much the same as I cringe about Michael Moore and the left. As a public figure, Dawkins does the cause little good.

JC, have you ever heard Will Provine?
   326. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:54 AM (#2105746)
JC, thanks for coming in and acting like the thread mommy. I'm sure we'll all behave better now.
   327. Mefisto Posted: July 21, 2006 at 12:57 AM (#2105759)
ID is NOT creationism. That's just a nice way to dismiss it.


ID = creationism.

No, that has been the point of most of this thread.

Sorry, but the evidence in the Dover case was overwhelming. ID is simply creationism re-packaged.

Do we in fact have evidence ("have we seen?") the emergence from one species of a new one?

Yes. This has been observed in insects (e.g., mosquitos). Though nobody watched it happen, recently formed (within the last 150 years) lakes have fish species which are unique to them.

Remember that we would not expect to see much speciation in longer-lived animals. In general, evolution proceeds slowly. Even Gould, who argued that it could occur "quickly", was referring to periods of thousands of years. Darwin's theory has existed for only 150 years. If we actually observed a fish turning into a frog in front of our eyes, that would be evidence against evolution.

Also, the evidence is not limited to what we see happen in front of us. For example, fossils show many transitions between species. This is true even for humans, where the differences are often small enough that there is great debate on whether there are 2 species or one.

is not much of the rancor precisely about the notion that macroevolution simply is "irrefutable", that you'd have to be a dolt not to accept it, that the "scientific community" overwhelmingly accepts it?

No, the frustration arises from the failure of creationists to actually offer alternatives other than sophistry and misrepresentation. Like Holocaust deniers.

Oh, that changes everything. ID is a belief, and naturalism is an operating assumption. They differ in, well, they differ because I used different words.

No. As I said above, an operating assumption makes no statement one way or the other on the omitted topics. A belief does do that. It's the difference between night and day.

I'll leave off responding to the rest of your post because you're still dodging my question.
   328. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:00 AM (#2105766)
This is really on you. There are plenty of books you could read and courses you could take. I don't think all the evidence can be explained in this thread but do you really doubt it exists or are you just acting the lawyer bit again. This is where the word "disingenous" comes to mind for me but maybe Im' wrong and you really aren't aware of all of the evidence.


I don't agree with BL's take on this, but he's arguing in good faith.

Essentially, he's arguing that evolution is the best fit ASSUMING NATURALISTIC METHODS, while ID is the best ASSUMING NON-NATURALISTIC METHODS.

I can't really think of how to tackle this argument without going HEAVILY in-depth into both the current strands of evolution and ID. And that's not really something that I plan on doing, since I feel that my current arguments are significant enough to make it a waste of time.

F
   329. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:02 AM (#2105771)
Really? So, you're a scientist/engineer AND a lawyer? How do you also find the time to watch baseball and post on it?

No, but when you figure out how it goes together you will find its not that unique because it also would apply to 2Alou and possibly Srul.

[So I carry a grudge. So sue me.]

Is that a cause of action under the Patriot Act?

It came up in physics, when the concept of the Big Bang was discussed. It was not an in-depth philosophical discussion. The point was merely made that, we cannot posit what happened on the other side of the Big Bang, and if you want to fill in that blank with the God of your choice, so be it. Nobody seemed overly concerned that this was some breach of the wall between Church and State.

With all due respect Srul, your getting a little old. My level of concern is that this itself can cause concern. And what can be extrapolated out of it can cause concern.

People who believe in ID.

I'm sure some do. I imagine there are some people that believe in all evolutionary theories that expouse all manner of nonsense. You certainly should have seen by now some people that believe in ID that do not espouse that point.

Who here honestly doubts that, in "teaching" ID to a high school class, you do not "abstract to end game"? I mean, I suppose it is possible that the entire class is so brain dead that not a single student raises the issue of WHO the intelligent designer is, where he came from, who designed the designer, etc., etc.

Why any more in teaching ID than teaching assumptions based on naturalistic philosophy. If you go there, you go there.

But as for "brain dead students", I don't think they would not go there, either way. That is why I think the distinction of "in a science class" is not meaningful.

What matters is that "when they go there" you do not have state sponsored atheism any more than you have state sponsored Zorastorism. You have neither. That is not for the state to instill upon children.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.

I don't agree with that. We can agree to disagree about what is "right" I don't even know if we do; that has not come up. Most of the rest is not an aesthetic choice or value based choice or tautological choice.



Taking the most extreme argument and then putting it in the mouths of all people doesn't get you far.

But I would be curious if there have been wide opinion polls of Christians that show what percent disbelieve evolution.

Let's take an internet poll on the issue.

I think you vastly underestimate how compelling the data are.

I doubt I do. I imagine its very compelling. I have not said ITS WRONG OR IT SHOULDN'T BE BELIEVED.

But by all means, feel free to educate me. I should at least be able to read what you post.
   330. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:02 AM (#2105773)
I read Dawkins' books years ago and they had a profound effect on me, but I do cringe regarding his position as the standard bearer for the cause of evolution, much the same as I cringe about Michael Moore and the left. As a public figure, Dawkins does the cause little good.


Hmmm, I haven't read him, but from all I heard, I'd concur with your last sentences.

Still, as someone who hasn't really kept up with the latest theories in evolution, would you suggest him as someone to read to improve your insight on the current trend of evolution?

F
   331. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:05 AM (#2105784)
There's nothing less scientific than saying "Well, if this theory doesn't work there must be something supernatural going on!"

Who the hell argues this? This is sheer nonsense, total strawman.


Intelligent design (ID) is an anti-evolution belief that asserts that naturalistic explanations of some biological entities are not possible and such entities can only be explained by intelligent causes.

In others, IDers say that since evolution doesn't work as an explanation there must be a supernatural explanation. This is fundamentally unscientific.

Of course they have yet to present any evidence that evolution doesn't work as an explanation which also hurt their case. If they DID, "opposition to evolution" would be a topic for science classrooms. ID STILL wouldn't be.
   332. Mefisto Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:08 AM (#2105792)
Again, what seems to fuel the issue to my way of reading things are the claims that outstrip the science, the claims of people like Dawkins that only idiots DON'T accept Darwin, AND the close relationship of Darwinian theory (particularly as read by Dawkins and Dennett and others) to cosmological theories in general. These folks really do believe that science supplants god(s); that Darwin is or ought to be the last nail in the death of god. As long as it's being fought that way by the scientists (and odd that, btw), you can damn well anticipate reaction from the believers in god(s) AND the non-believers in god (Gould et al) who understand the cosmologically false conclusions being drawn.

I understand your annoyance with them. As I said above, I think Dawkins outruns his evidence. Dennett is simply a fool; I'm stunned that anyone listens to him. Of course, he's a philosopher, not a scientist....

If outright atheism, a la Dawkins, is being taught in biology class, I'm opposed to that and I'd have no problem stopping it. I would expect religous issues to be raised in proper context, i.e., in philosophy or in history, and my personal view is that our education system woefully fails when it comes to educating students about the history and philosophy of religion.
   333. Jeff K. Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:11 AM (#2105798)
The General Tone on This Thread Needs Improvement.
   334. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:12 AM (#2105805)
No, but when you figure out how it goes together you will find its not that unique because it also would apply to 2Alou and possibly Srul.


Lawyers use the scientific method? Really?

That seems like overkill to me. If I were a lawyer, I'd just want to show REASONABLE CAUSE for a theory, which is significantly different from continually looking for evidence to specifically DISPROVE the theory. But then, again, I'm not a lawyer.

So, you spend all your time looking for stuff to disprove your own theories (or the theories you have to back)? How DO you also have the time to watch baseball and post about it?

I don't agree with that. We can agree to disagree about what is "right" I don't even know if we do; that has not come up. Most of the rest is not an aesthetic choice or value based choice or tautological choice.

Taking the most extreme argument and then putting it in the mouths of all people doesn't get you far.


Ok, I think I might have misunderstood again, and I think I see where I might have misunderstood.

Let me see if I can clear this up so that I can understand your issues.

1) You don't have problems with evolution, per se, but the natural selection.

2) You believe it's naturalistic philosophy, and therefore a non-naturalistic philosophy should also be available to be taught in the same class.

3) You believe that ID is the best-fitting theory assuming a non-naturalistic philosophy.

Is that your viewpoint?

F
   335. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:14 AM (#2105813)
well, I'm sorry if I haven't contributed to the tone. I reserved my jabs for BL who I think we all know can take it.
   336. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:17 AM (#2105823)
Essentially, he's arguing that evolution is the best fit ASSUMING NATURALISTIC METHODS, while ID is the best ASSUMING NON-NATURALISTIC METHODS.

That is 100% correct and thanks for the vote of confidence to the extent it was given.

More important to J. Cross's is another definitional concern. Fit would be a measure, compelling would not be, but compelling also would depend upon one's belief system (or if you prefer, "operating assumption"). For instance, I doubt anything you could throw out would be compelling to Kirkegaard.

I expect but I don't know that J. Cross's library would not show best fit unless you made the operating assumptions you identified.

I'm not sure if I disagree with JC, but I don't even think macro-evolution would be inconsistent with ID, but I'll defer to him on that subject.
   337. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:31 AM (#2105884)
JC, have you ever heard Will Provine?


No. Do tell.

J Cross: I don't know what you mean. You are being insulting. My conclusion is scientific.

I'm not sure if I disagree with JC, but I don't even think macro-evolution would be inconsistent with ID, but I'll defer to him on that subject.


No, or, it all depends. If you believe Dawkins, or those like him, macroevolution disproves the existence of some supernatural creator (or maybe more precisely, disproves the need for a theory about creation that is non-natural). If, however, you accept "lower-flying" versions of macroevolutionary theory, then there's nothing inconsistent about them and creation by a supernatural force.

BTW: As I said earlier, the term "science" predates "science" as used by FJ and others here. Theology and philosophy were sciences long before "science" got to claim the mantle exclusively.

I understand your annoyance with them. As I said above, I think Dawkins outruns his evidence. Dennett is simply a fool; I'm stunned that anyone listens to him. Of course, he's a philosopher, not a scientist....

If outright atheism, a la Dawkins, is being taught in biology class, I'm opposed to that and I'd have no problem stopping it. I would expect religous issues to be raised in proper context, i.e., in philosophy or in history, and my personal view is that our education system woefully fails when it comes to educating students about the history and philosophy of religion.


I agree w/everything in these paragraphs.
   338. Jeff K. Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2105885)
I'm sure the flies you find in your kitchen are P flies.

Which reminds me to clean up the urine in my kitchen.

But seriously, I'm not understanding something here:

However, when an M male mated with a P female, the offspring were healthy (though often exhibiting specific mutations and always maintaining the P phenotype). This phenomenon, called hybrid dysgenesis, is one hallmark of speciation, the loss of ability to mate with and produce offspring of a related specie. Now that P flies and M flies are biologically separate (they can't mate with one another and produce viable offspring),

Doesn't the first sentence make the part in the parentheses untrue?
   339. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:36 AM (#2105901)
Lawyers use the scientific method? Really?

No, I'll give you a hint, its a temporal problem. I wasn't born a lawyer; I didn't start a legal training program at kindergarten. I don't particularly like talking about CV's so I'll let you fill in the rest.

well, I'm sorry if I haven't contributed to the tone. I reserved my jabs for BL who I think we all know can take it.

As long as you can take my (J.) Cross.

1) You don't have problems with evolution, per se, but the natural selection.

Close. I don't have a personal problem with natural selection, either. I would never have a problem with it being taught. To the extent that natural selection excludes supernatural cause, I disagree based upon a Belief System.

2) You believe it's naturalistic philosophy, and therefore a non-naturalistic philosophy should also be available to be taught in the same class.

That is the crux of the issue, which I'll elaborate on later.

3) You believe that ID is the best-fitting theory assuming a non-naturalistic philosophy.

I don't know if I'd go that far. ID is meaning a lot of different things to people. I've expressly stated that the organizing premise of ID is valid, and Srul duped me into saying its part of my belief system. When we get to the level of a specific ID curriculum and whatever may be in the canon of ID, I may disagree.

That is no different than saying, I believe in God, but I don't believe in the entire canon of the Baptist church.

But before you can even take the next step, you have to get past the ID=creationism dismissals.

But in my first post, the issue is one of polity at that point. That was the crux of the argument from yesterday; most of today was washing out the words others are putting in my mouth.

The Dawkins example is probably the best and the one in which there is some consensus. The state should not endorse an atheistic belief any more or less than they should endores a Buddhist belief. That is problem number one. You have state sponsored atheism at a non de-minimis level.

The second problem is articulated by Srul. He just doesn't think I agree with him. Nobody is not going to go to a First Mover question. When they do you have to decide what level of response is going to be allowable.
   340. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:36 AM (#2105902)
Sorry, but the evidence in the Dover case was overwhelming. ID is simply creationism re-packaged.

For the purposes of the discussion here, dismissing the wolves in sheep's clothing behind the current ID in schools movement does not mean that ID is without merit. Scrutiny of the ID arguments to explain biological phenomena has shown that they have little merit, but the people making those arguments are not the menagerie that was behind Dover.
   341. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:37 AM (#2105904)
BTW: As I said earlier, the term "science" predates "science" as used by FJ and others here. Theology and philosophy were sciences long before "science" got to claim the mantle exclusively.


I don't dispute that. I just don't see why we should go BACK to those days.

Especially since I've brought up an argument about why they should REMAIN separate.

F
   342. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:37 AM (#2105906)
hmmm.... yes, my test would be whether (macro)evolution is a thoroughly tested and supported theory. I think that between the biology books and Gould I have lying around that someone could be comvinced or that. Could I prove that it's better than the supernatural explanation if perfectly happen to accept a supernatural explanation even if given another choice? No, I don't think I could but I don't think I could establish ANYTHING playing by those rules. In fact, I don't think anyone can establish anything playing by those rules. I think that's why we don't use them.
   343. Srul Itza Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#2105909)
Gratuitous

But true.
   344. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:39 AM (#2105918)
BTW: As I said earlier, the term "science" predates "science" as used by FJ and others here. Theology and philosophy were sciences long before "science" got to claim the mantle exclusively.

This isn't a very convincing argument, and it's semantic anyway. I mean, so what if theology and philosophy stole the crown -- there was a reason they called them the Dark Ages.

(smiley face)
   345. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:41 AM (#2105925)
JC, have you ever heard Will Provine?

No. Do tell.

J Cross: I don't know what you mean. You are being insulting. My conclusion is scientific.


JC, that's not my quote and I'll admit right now that I've never heard of Will Provine. So, if it's an insult, it's not mine.
   346. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:44 AM (#2105938)
But true.


I don't really want to get into a debate about this, b/c it was gratuitous, but the notion that Christians are discredited b/c "they didn't act Christian" toward Jews is like saying that Jews are discredited b/c they didn't act Jewish toward Palestinians (or whomever else one chooses to insert). In addition to backing into the Kantian problem of reducing religion to ethics, it's so historically imprecise as to be, well, gratuitous.
   347. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:45 AM (#2105940)
No. Do tell.

Provine is also an evolution guy who is an atheist, but he came to that conclusion from a different perspective. A very interesting, provocative guy, and he has a lot more respect for theology than Dawkins, who just dismisses it all as silly. Unfortunately, he hasn't written the popular books that Dawkins has, but he teaches one of the most popular courses at Cornell and gives quite a talk. If you ever get a chance to see him, do.
   348. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:50 AM (#2105962)
The Dawkins example is probably the best and the one in which there is some consensus. The state should not endorse an atheistic belief any more or less than they should endores a Buddhist belief. That is problem number one. You have state sponsored atheism at a non de-minimis level.

When I read Dawkins (The Selfish Gene) in class the discussion was about whether group evolution was necessary to explain animal behavoir or whether Dawkins rejection of group evolution was a better simpler explanation. I don't remember his atheism ever being taught (unless you just mean his argument that animals aren't altruistic) but I would agree that it shouldn't be.
   349. Jeff K. Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:52 AM (#2105970)
The main problem with intelligent design is the circular logic required to sustain it.

If there is an intelligent designer, then where did he come from? Who designed the designer? And if someone designed that designer, then who designed him(her?).


I don't really talk religion with anybody, but this is always my point when I'm in the middle of discussions like these. We're sliding way off into a tangent of a tangent of a tangent, but I don't see why people who are very religious without being strict believers in the exact truth of every word in the Bible (like most of my extended family) are so against concepts like evolution and the Big Bang theory (and they're certainly not arguing the scientific methods; neither am I, here.)

The Big Bang doesn't discredit the notion of an all-mighty being. If all matter exploded outward from a superdense ball o' Universe (just add water), where did the superdense ball o' Universe come from to start with? I see nothing to threaten anyone except those who take the Bible for the gospel truth (pun intended).
   350. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:56 AM (#2105988)
Agreed, Jeff K.

Is there anything wrong with a god who created the physical laws of the universe knowing where it would lead? I think some people want their god to be more active that this. I'll stick to the lazy god; especially if I'm supposed to believe that I was made in his image.
   351. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:58 AM (#2105995)
No, I'll give you a hint, its a temporal problem. I wasn't born a lawyer; I didn't start a legal training program at kindergarten. I don't particularly like talking about CV's so I'll let you fill in the rest.


Ah. You studied as an undergrad?

But you still took the lawyer route..... Something is seriously wrong with you :D. No, check that. You probably make a lot more money now. Something is seriously wrong with me.

Close. I don't have a personal problem with natural selection, either. I would never have a problem with it being taught. To the extent that natural selection excludes supernatural cause, I disagree based upon a Belief System.


I don't believe that natural selection excludes supernatural cause (well, at least the non-Dawkins' type), which is probably why I'm still not really sure what your argument is....

That is the crux of the issue, which I'll elaborate on later.


Oh, goody. Finally, we're making progress. I await with open eyes.

I don't know if I'd go that far. ID is meaning a lot of different things to people. I've expressly stated that the organizing premise of ID is valid, and Srul duped me into saying its part of my belief system. When we get to the level of a specific ID curriculum and whatever may be in the canon of ID, I may disagree.

That is no different than saying, I believe in God, but I don't believe in the entire canon of the Baptist church.


Hmmmm, one problem is that IDers have changed ID to mean as many different things as it can. They can, usually do this, because, well, they don't present anything to be tested.

Mostly, IDers say that evolution doesn't explain the complexity well enough, so therefore, it must be ID. Of course, I'm simplifying, but the problem is that the IDers usually just leave it at that and then don't propose anything to test whether ID is better.

But then again, this might not go your argument.

But before you can even take the next step, you have to get past the ID=creationism dismissals.


While it's not completely true, it seems that the Judge in the Dover case lends some credence to this argument.

I haven't read the ruling, but here's what a news source reports:

The judge could have issued a much narrower opinion, finding merely that the Dover Area School Board in Pennsylvania acted with a religious purpose when it required biology teachers to refer to intelligent design.

While that was indeed part of the ruling, much more of the 139-page opinion was devoted to the proposition that intelligent design was repackaged creationism rather than science. At times, Jones sounded more like a biology professor than a judge....


But in my first post, the issue is one of polity at that point. That was the crux of the argument from yesterday; most of today was washing out the words others are putting in my mouth.


Sorry, I misinterpreted what you were saying earlier. Unfortunately, it's often a necessary part of the problem with trying to clarify another's position.

The Dawkins example is probably the best and the one in which there is some consensus. The state should not endorse an atheistic belief any more or less than they should endores a Buddhist belief. That is problem number one. You have state sponsored atheism at a non de-minimis level.

The second problem is articulated by Srul. He just doesn't think I agree with him. Nobody is not going to go to a First Mover question. When they do you have to decide what level of response is going to be allowable.


Ok, that is certainly an interesting problem, but unfortunately, given the problems with the education system today, I don't think it's readily solvable.

Of course, I find the previous issues much more interesting, but then, I'm not a lawyer.

Here's a nice summary from the Dover judge's opinion:

"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions."

F
   352. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:00 AM (#2106004)
This isn't a very convincing argument, and it's semantic anyway. I mean, so what if theology and philosophy stole the crown -- there was a reason they called them the Dark Ages.


I didn't mean it as an argument. It's a point about the nature of science, and about the power of language. If I accept that "science" alone, in the naturalistic sense, is "science" then I've already lost the battle. I refuse to accept that.

Oh, and has Provine published a book?

J Cross: You misunderstood, I did not misunderstand.
   353. Jeff K. Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2106016)
Is there anything wrong with a god who created the physical laws of the universe knowing where it would lead?

I say no, and in fact, I find it preferable.
   354. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:03 AM (#2106020)
J Cross: You misunderstood, I did not misunderstand.

Congratulations.
   355. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:04 AM (#2106022)
I think you vastly underestimate how compelling the data are.

I doubt I do. I imagine its very compelling. I have not said ITS WRONG OR IT SHOULDN'T BE BELIEVED.

But by all means, feel free to educate me. I should at least be able to read what you post.


It's really too much to explain here, but I'll try to at least plant the seed. We now have a tremendous amount of genome data -- I'd guess that we have a couple of hundred complete genome sequences, and we will probably generate that many again this year, and that rate of increase will probably be maintained for some time, possibly even accelerating. The first complete genome (I'm not counting viruses, kevin) was completed in 1995. I don't sequence complete genomes but I generate a lot of DNA sequences from one gene or another myself, for the purposes of figuring out who's who and who's related to whom. While generating 30 or 40 sequences was a PhD project when I got my degree in the early 90s, I can do that in a day now.

The theory behind how molecules like DNA and protein should behave under various evolutionary forces: mutation, selection, drift, were developed starting in the 1960s and have continued on since. The data though were very difficult if not impossible to get, well into the 1980s. Since then, however, the data have flooded in. And when you compare sequences from different organisms, it tends to fit very well to how the Neo-Darwinian (and neutral theory, if you distinguish that from Neo-Darwinian) models predicted, and in fact, the more data you generate, the more it makes sense. You might have to spend some time with data to actually be convinced of this, but we're way beyond questioning the validity of the models, of course with some rough edges.

I was trained as an evolution guy among a bunch of hardcore molecular biologists, and they always considered what I did to be sort of a cute novelty. It's been gratifying to see them comparing genomes, for simple, practical purposes, and realizing that they should have paid more attention in that evolution class they were forced to take.
   356. Srul Itza Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:08 AM (#2106033)
With all due respect Srul, your getting a little old. My level of concern is that this itself can cause concern. And what can be extrapolated out of it can cause concern.

First of all, I'm not GETTING a little old. I am a little old. Maybe that's why you've lost me here. Please elaborate without so many pronoius (what is the "this" that can cause concern, and the "it")

Srul duped me into saying its part of my belief system


I am not sure about that. That being whether we agree. I think

??? When did I do that? HOW did I do that? I never thought you believe in ID, I just assumed that you did not believe in dinosaurs.


The second problem is articulated by Srul. He just doesn't think I agree with him. Nobody is not going to go to a First Mover question. When they do you have to decide what level of response is going to be allowable.

Okay, now maybe I do understand where you are coming from in the first part. The First Mover question is going to arise. Who should deal with it when it does? When, where and how? At what point does what the current polity want, contradict the larger governing law? Yes, schools should NOT teach atheism, theism, deism, agnosticism, buddhism, christianity or whatever.

The problem, as I see it, is that you can't as a practical matter really teach ID as a possibility, without teaching some form of theism, deism, etc. You can raise it with something as YES/NO as the Big Bang. But with ID, you are treading on different ground, because there is no way to really "teach" it, without (a) spreading a lot of nonsense, if you use the materials from the ID "institutes" or (b) being so vague, you are not really saying anything or (c) getting right down to the whole God issue.

I think the best you can do is teach genetics and evolution in a neutral manner, and pass on that some people have very different beliefs.
   357. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#2106038)
Is there anything wrong with a god who created the physical laws of the universe knowing where it would lead?

I say no, and in fact, I find it preferable.


Bully for you two, but this has very little to do w/the nature of the current debate. ID exists in large part b/c many people believe (on both sides) that evolution cannot coexist w/a non-naturalistic explanation for the foundations of life. Since before Augustine, many Christians understood much of the Genesis account to be allegorical, so as I've said before, it's not like Christians have been disposed to be anti-science. Quite the contrary. Much of what we all believe about the Christian stance toward science emerges from a Protestant attack on papists and, today, from "Fundamentalism."
   358. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:12 AM (#2106043)
Ah. You studied as an undergrad?

But you still took the lawyer route..... Something is seriously wrong with you :D. No, check that. You probably make a lot more money now. Something is seriously wrong with me.


Getting warmer and correct in what you stated, but still not quite there.

... While it's not completely true, it seems that the Judge in the Dover case lends some credence to this argument.

ID is not Dover. A news report is not legal analysis. What happened in Dover is what happened in Dover. We are dealing with the concept of Intelligent Design, not specifically what happened in any one curriculm.

Moreover, the question is supra-judicial. It is what we think should be and why it should be, not whether one attempt would be constitutional.

Even if you want to make it judicial, anything the judge says about the whole system of ID being equal to creationism would be dicta. A judge cannot sit in judgment at the level, he can only deal with the facts in front of him as it pertains to the law.
   359. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#2106045)
I didn't mean it as an argument. It's a point about the nature of science, and about the power of language. If I accept that "science" alone, in the naturalistic sense, is "science" then I've already lost the battle. I refuse to accept that.


How's the windmill, DQ? :)

F
   360. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2106069)
Oh, and has Provine published a book?

None that I know of on that subject. He's written one on The Modern Synthesis and a biography of Sewall Wright (one of its architects) but these are both fairly straightforward historical pieces.

Much of what we all believe about the Christian stance toward science emerges from a Protestant attack on papists and, today, from "Fundamentalism."

Come on JC, you must really despise these ID people, with their half-assed version of Aquinas.
   361. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:20 AM (#2106075)
ID is not Dover. A news report is not legal analysis. What happened in Dover is what happened in Dover. We are dealing with the concept of Intelligent Design, not specifically what happened in any one curriculm.

Moreover, the question is supra-judicial. It is what we think should be and why it should be, not whether one attempt would be constitutional.


I'm not saying it's definitive or anything of the like.

However, you were talking about the ID = creationism is flat-out not correct, and I wanted to point out that IN THIS INSTANCE, a CONSERVATIVE, REPUBLICAN, GOD-FEARING judge ruled that THIS INSTANCE of ID was at least in the same ballpark (if not the same).

While, I would not take that as definitive proof, it does give me pause in believing the stated assertion that ID is not the same as creationism. Especially, since neither one of us has made it a priority to go that in depth into it and find out if it is.

F
   362. Srul Itza Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:22 AM (#2106077)
but the notion that Christians are discredited b/c "they didn't act Christian" toward Jews is like saying that Jews are discredited b/c they didn't act Jewish toward Palestinians (or whomever else one chooses to insert).

I am not talking about being "discredited." This was purely a personal statement. I said I did not have a high opinion of Christians because of what they have done to me and mine. I am not particularly fond of Germans, French, Russians, etc., for the same reason.

In fact, I don't like anybody very much.

[5 points to whoever gets THAT merry reference]
   363. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#2106081)
Getting warmer and correct in what you stated, but still not quite there.


Hmmm, so you went for an advanced degree in a science/engineering and THEN went to Law school? Wow, I don't know how you handled all that schooling.

For those interested, here's a link to the Dover judge's full ruling

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   364. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:26 AM (#2106087)
Come on JC, you must really despise these ID people, with their half-assed version of Aquinas.


LOL. Anyway, what I despise is the notion that science is not taught ideologically w/in our public schools. Of course it is. That is what animated ID. Everybody is right that we're talking ultimately about a philosophical position regarding creation, but the notion that IDers started this, or are simply a trojan horse for scripture, is false. It's a reaction to the dominance of materialism/naturalism in the classroom, which dominance produces scientific religiosity dismissing as dumb, or stupid, or primitive, contrary views and doing so WITHOUT BLOODY EVIDENCE against those views.
   365. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2106093)
It's a reaction to the dominance of materialism/naturalism in the classroom, which dominance produces scientific religiosity dismissing as dumb, or stupid, or primitive, contrary views and doing so WITHOUT BLOODY EVIDENCE against those views.


I don't think you'll get that much argument here against that view.

But then again, I don't think the solution is 1) presenting a non-science as a science or 2) diluting what "science" means to a pre-Modern-thought version.

I'd much rather focus on improving the science instruction so that people understand what exactly science is and and what it isn't.

How people interpret even this, though, is up to them.

IOW, you still can't legislate stupidity.

F
   366. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2106094)
In fact, I don't like anybody very much.


We have something in common.
   367. FJ Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2106097)
Got to run now, but I look forward to the furthering of this thread tomorrow :).

F
   368. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:34 AM (#2106099)
LOL. Anyway, what I despise is the notion that science is not taught ideologically w/in our public schools. Of course it is. That is what animated ID. Everybody is right that we're talking ultimately about a philosophical position regarding creation, but the notion that IDers started this, or are simply a trojan horse for scripture, is false

I believe the ID proponents behind the move to change how evolution is taught in schools are effectively a Trojan horse for Fundamentalist, hard creationism. Some of them have pretty much admitted it. Again, this does not mean that there is an ID argument of merit somewhere, but that's what we're dealing with now.
   369. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:34 AM (#2106100)
My level of concern is that this itself can cause concern. And what can be extrapolated out of it can cause concern.

First of all, I'm not GETTING a little old. I am a little old. Maybe that's why you've lost me here. Please elaborate without so many pronoius (what is the "this" that can cause concern, and the "it")


Fair enough, and I love the word pronious.

The question regarding the seperation of church and state as applied to state school systems has seen a very drastic migration. We have gone from removing school prayer to not even allowing multi-cultural displays and presentations during national holiday period.

I don't promote or endorse what comes out of institute x regarding ID. I don't even know what comes out of institute x and its not easy to figure out what comes out of institute x. I visited the web site. I did not see any curriculum based information. I can judge that on its own.

But kids reach the ontological questions, and they reach them through exploration of multiple subjects. What you are seeing now is a situation that is not "given the laws of nature, x will occur"; you are getting "solely because of natural laws, x will occur" and it is being fused with the ontological question of the "origin of life"; "why we are here"; etc.

That is going to be as countervailing to many citizens belief system (in fact more) than someone having to pray for the health of their family. The "cosmic accident" is curriculmised. And it should not be any more than arising from the brokerage with the Damballah, Ezili, Ogu, Agwe, Legba and others.

ID offers a non-theistic alternative. If the "biology class", which is what is at issue, teaches only about the progression of carbon based life and some organic chemistry, there is no problem in stating that two alternatives of randomization and design. If the curriculum goes deeper in any one of these, then it should go equally deep for the other.

I think the best you can do is teach genetics and evolution in a neutral manner, and pass on that some people have very different beliefs.

I can live with that, the problem is that you are prolificating a certain belief over another. And it is just a belief (or operating assumption) at certain levels.

Biology does not live with the ontology of life any more than physics lives without the ontology of the universe.
   370. Jeff K. Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:35 AM (#2106102)
Bully for you two, but this has very little to do w/the nature of the current debate. ID exists in large part b/c many people believe (on both sides) that evolution cannot coexist w/a non-naturalistic explanation for the foundations of life. Since before Augustine, many Christians understood much of the Genesis account to be allegorical, so as I've said before, it's not like Christians have been disposed to be anti-science. Quite the contrary. Much of what we all believe about the Christian stance toward science emerges from a Protestant attack on papists and, today, from "Fundamentalism."

I'm not really getting into this; I have neither the scientific nor religious background to do so. I respect that some people feel this way, I just said that personally, I don't see the mutual exclusivity in the concepts of believing in a Creator figure and accepting evolution, the Big Bang, or many other things that seem to be bright lines between the two camps.
   371. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:39 AM (#2106108)
Hmmm, so you went for an advanced degree in a science/engineering and THEN went to Law school? Wow, I don't know how you handled all that schooling.

Almost. Still missing some things.


LOL. Anyway, what I despise is the notion that science is not taught ideologically w/in our public schools. Of course it is. That is what animated ID. Everybody is right that we're talking ultimately about a philosophical position regarding creation, but the notion that IDers started this, or are simply a trojan horse for scripture, is false. It's a reaction to the dominance of materialism/naturalism in the classroom, which dominance produces scientific religiosity dismissing as dumb, or stupid, or primitive, contrary views and doing so WITHOUT BLOODY EVIDENCE against those views.

Srul, you can also take JC's response instead of mine. Its close to being the same thing.

Again, this does not mean that there is an ID argument of merit somewhere, but that's what we're dealing with now.

In this thread we are not dealing with any specific institute. We have tried to draw that distinction expressly and often.
   372. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:44 AM (#2106114)
Again, this does not mean that there is an ID argument of merit somewhere, but that's what we're dealing with now.

In this thread we are not dealing with any specific institute. We have tried to draw that distinction expressly and often.


Well, maybe that's not what JC meant. Anyway, I'm coming from a different perspective asking people to distinguish ID from the ID movement they hear about in the press.
   373. Srul Itza Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:57 AM (#2106127)
ID offers a non-theistic alternative.

And I think here is one area where we disagree. ID is at its heart, theistic. You cannot have Intelligent Design without an Intelligent Designer. And the Intelligent Designer will ALWAYS come back to God. You can call him/her/it by any other name you choose, but it will always comes back to God. To think otherwise is simply not logical or realistic.

the problem is that you are prolificating a certain belief over another. And it is just a belief (or operating assumption) at certain levels.

Again, we disagree. Evolution is simply not a "belief" in the same way that ID is a "belief". Evolution is backed up by reams of research in numerous realms, from the micro to the macro. It is taught, because it comports with the evidence. ID "comports" with evidence, only in the sense that you could provide a "supernatural" explanation for ANYTHING, and say that it fits the pattern as well as anything else.

We do not teach supernatural theories of gravity, like mysterious invisible rubber bands placed there by God. We do not teach supernatural theories of thermodynamics. We do not teach supernatural theories of genetics. We should not reach supernatural theories of evolution.

The problem with the accomodation that you may be suggesting, is that there is no way for it to end, unless we counterpose every lesson in science with the countervailing argument from every possible religion.

Is this a slipper slope/camel's nose type argument? To some degree. But it is a realistic problem.

Of course, it is not a problem in some countries, which do not separate church and state, and have no problem teaching the mystic as real. I prefer our system, and I am grateful that our Constitution does keep the State out of the Religion Business.
   374. Mefisto Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:57 AM (#2106129)
Even if you want to make it judicial, anything the judge says about the whole system of ID being equal to creationism would be dicta. A judge cannot sit in judgment at the level, he can only deal with the facts in front of him as it pertains to the law.

It was not dicta. It was an important link in the chain of establishing ID as religious. And there were LOTS of facts demonstrating that ID is, in fact, warmed-over creationism; that's why the judge reached the conclusion he did.

Anyway, what I despise is the notion that science is not taught ideologically w/in our public schools.

How very postmodern of you.

Much of what we all believe about the Christian stance toward science emerges from a Protestant attack on papists and, today, from "Fundamentalism."


I'd modify this to say "certain Protestants". A great many Protestants, after all, have no problem with modern science.
   375. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:09 AM (#2106135)
ID offers a non-theistic alternative.

I don't know as much about this as most of you... I may have a background in philosophy of science, but in Canada we don't have these political battles over ID theory because the evangelical community lacks the political clout to execute them. So I've never needed to deal with it seriously.

But I have a question - how is ID "non-theistic"? I've never understood this. My (primitive) understanding of ID is that it posits a hypothesis that certain features of the natural world are best explained as having been designed via an active intelligence. Is it fair to call ID "non-theistic", then, if it proposes an intelligent designer with the power to seed and create living beings from nothing?

I may be missing something fundamental, as I say. But it seems to me a theory designed with a curiously god-shaped hole in it... positing the existence of a "mystery designer" hidden under a black cloth with lots of spangly question marks on it, which just so happens to be curiously Jehovah-shaped.
   376. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:18 AM (#2106145)
I'd modify this to say "certain Protestants". A great many Protestants, after all, have no problem with modern science.


I used "a" to signify that it was a specific attack.

How very postmodern of you.


I'm not sure the relevance of the label, but the issue is whether it's accurate. I believe it's accurate. If you disagree, say so.
   377. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2106148)
You cannot have Intelligent Design without an Intelligent Designer. And the Intelligent Designer will ALWAYS come back to God. You can call him/her/it by any other name you choose, but it will always comes back to God. To think otherwise is simply not logical or realistic.

Everything will always come back to some system of ontology that will include either god(s) or no god(s).

We do not teach supernatural theories of gravity,

Maybe I was in Cadillac's class, but we sure talked about gravitons. And we tend to teach a lot of things, it depends on what desk your ass is parked in.

I have dealt with the other side of the issue growing up in a region heavily dominated by a single religion. I've sat in a public school classroom and heard a teacher espouse if not creationism, at least a creationist doctrine (e.g. "Man was created in the image of God, and I don't think God looks like a Monkey"). I've heard other religious and racist doctrines taught in the public school system. And I'm a mere babe compared to this august body of intellectuals.

I don't think that is appropriate any more than I think a naturalist philosophy should dominate the classroom. Curriculum can keep balance.

It was not dicta. It was an important link in the chain of establishing ID as religious. And there were LOTS of facts demonstrating that ID is, in fact, warmed-over creationism; that's why the judge reached the conclusion he did.


Mark, you know better than that. No judge can say ID by definition is x, any more than he can say Randian philosophy is for fruit loops (no matter how true either may be).
   378. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2106150)
if it proposes an intelligent designer with the power to seed and create living beings from nothing?

I imagine Gee and Kevin can do that right now. I like them both, but I don't consider them God. (Which may be why Gee beats up on me).
   379. greenback likes millwall, they don't care Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#2106151)
And there were LOTS of facts demonstrating that ID is, in fact, warmed-over creationism; that's why the judge reached the conclusion he did.

While I prefer your side of the argument -- Backlasher is the embodiment of evil, after all -- the philosophical aspect of your point would be much more forceful if you divorced the ID notion from the charlatans who have developed it.
   380. Mefisto Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:38 AM (#2106163)
I'm not sure the relevance of the label, but the issue is whether it's accurate. I believe it's accurate. If you disagree, say so.

I was teasing -- you're fairly far removed from a postmodernist so far as I can tell. I agree with your statement -- in my view, ALL subjects are taught with a particular viewpoint (I'm not using the word "ideology" only because it can have some Marxist baggage to it that I'd like to avoid). I think it's important to make sure students understand what that viewpoint is and why the teacher/discipline adopts that viewpoint. But that still doesn't mean ID should be taught in biology class.

Mark, you know better than that. No judge can say ID by definition is x

I think he can. The SCOTUS did that in Edwards for creationism. The judge did it in Dover at p. 24 et seq. (see the link in post 367).
   381. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:41 AM (#2106164)
I imagine Gee and Kevin can do that right now. I like them both, but I don't consider them God. (Which may be why Gee beats up on me).

No, BL. That is not the argument - I do at least know that much. The argument is that certain complex features of living organisms (and in the more interesting kind of ID for me, certain "fine-tuned" aspects of the physical universe) are best explained through them having an intelligent designer. Now in our brilliance as a species, we can do a little bit of Frankensteining. That is NOT the kind of design that is posited by ID - if it was, it would beg the question. Splicing genes to put bug #1's eyes on bug #2 is not "design" in the ID sense. We're talking about complete ground-up organism design.
   382. Mefisto Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:43 AM (#2106167)
the philosophical aspect of your point would be much more forceful if you divorced the ID notion from the charlatans who have developed it.

Fair enough in a technical sense. But isn't that a bit like saying we should divorce communism from Karl Marx (or Stalin, or whomever)? We could be very philosophical about this, but the actual push for ID -- which is what I'm opposing, after all -- is made by actual people with an actual background and agenda.

BTW, I feel compelled to note that Philip Johnson, one of the principal movers of ID, was my Crim Law professor in law school. He wasn't crazy then.
   383. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:03 AM (#2106181)
ID offers a non-theistic alternative.


Well, this goes back to Gee's question, to some degree, but I think that what BL means is merely that ID posits a non-naturalistic cause of being; something outside of matter. That doesn't have to be 'god' in a theistic sense. I grant, however, that if we're talking about an unmoved mover, we're talking about god.

Here's a lovely quotation from our boy, Dawkins:
"Even the bad achievements of science work. The achievements of theologians don't do anything."

Let's proceed by discussing theism as the alternative to naturalism. There are three charges against theism: (1) it is incompatible w/certain evils [disease, disasters, pain]; (2) it is a primitive attempt to explain things we now can or soon can explain by science; and (3) psychology and sociology account for religion's emergence from childhood fears, etc.

The first of these is presented for us moderns by Hume in particular, though as Srul could tell us the problem of evil redounds through the Old Testament, and in particular is forefront in Job. I cannot here adequately explain the Christian reply to evil, but, simply, it's not one that has overwhelmed Christianity, or counts against belief in God. Essentially, the reply has been "B/c there is a God, there is no useless or unnecessary evil", which then involved an explanation for the existence of evil.

But it's the 2nd one we're vexed by in this thread, and rightly so, despite Jeff K's happy marriage of the evolutionary and theistic POVs. B/c the theists have long claimed that the creator had a purpose; that the purpose was revealed by the design; that the revelation of the purpose in the design pointed to the creator. There's no way around that. For instance, take Aquinas's teleological argument for the existence of God. Roughly:

(1) Some things exhibit order
(2) If any things exhibit order, there must be an uncreated orderer/designer
(3) Therefore ...

Theoretical physics and neo-Darwinism precisely strike at that argument. There are different apparent holes, right? OTOH, you can deny things exhibit order. To me, that's implausible, however, b/c some things do exhibit order. Let's say you agree w/me on that. It's the second thesis that's apparently the weakest by n-D lights: whatever order exists is purely accidental and explicable naturalistically, the n-D argues. Paley's reply (there's too much design for this to be undesigned) is undone by Lyell's support of Darwin.

One reply to this very strong and impressive n-D position is to question the fossil record and the claims of Darwinists. This is a weaker counter position: it may be right, but it's akin to saying that the Darwinists don't yet have all the proof they need for their position, but it can't rule out that they won't at some point.

Another stronger reply is Behe's argument from irreducibility: some things (e.g. bacterial flagella (?)) exhibit irreducible complexity - they had to come into existence as a whole and not in parts (else they wouldn't work). If irreducibly complex organisms exist, there must be a designer, they exist, therefore....

If one accepts that there are irreducibly complex things, the argument goes, but denies that such things must be the consequence of a creator (by which one means some non-natural cause and not a particular god), then, it is that person who is being unreasonable. Or so argued the medievals. That is, once you begin to search for the causes of things, and you have something whose cause you cannot explain, it is unreasonable and obviously a fortiori unscientific to rule out a non-naturalistic cause. (It goes w/o saying, as I said but didn't need to earlier, curiosity about this cause and belief in the power of reason converged to fuel science to squeeze the creative actor into an increasingly constrained yet precise position. It is not anti-scientific, IOW.)
   384. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:07 AM (#2106183)
BTW, I feel compelled to note that Philip Johnson, one of the principal movers of ID, was my Crim Law professor in law school. He wasn't crazy then.


Nifty. You can call him crazy, but he's obviously smart.
   385. Jeff K. Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:16 AM (#2106187)
JC, I'm actually interested in what you have to say on the broader topic that I broached, if you'd care to comment further.
   386. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:25 AM (#2106198)
Another stronger reply is Behe's argument from irreducibility: some things (e.g. bacterial flagella (?)) exhibit irreducible complexity - they had to come into existence as a whole and not in parts (else they wouldn't work). If irreducibly complex organisms exist, there must be a designer, they exist, therefore....

IC is interesting, but the leap to the designer may be a leap too far - haven't given it the thought (not that there is reason to make the leap anyway since I take the position that there are no irreducibly complex structures in nature. What's neat about IC is it throws the responsibility to prove a negative into the neo-Darwinist camp, as you call it).

once you begin to search for the causes of things, and you have something whose cause you cannot explain, it is unreasonable and obviously a fortiori unscientific to rule out a non-naturalistic cause

Sorry, this has me confused a bit. It isn't "scientific" to rule out a non-naturalistic cause in such cases, but that doesn't make such causes scientific, compatible with science or even rational. This may be too excessive an embrace of the principle of induction, but does it make sense to embrace naturalistic causes of 99.99999999% of the phenomena and then, in the absence of explicable natural causes for the remainder, say well, we really can't tell whether the causes of those last phenomena are naturalistic or not? Maybe it does, I don't know... this is just me thinking off the cuff late at night.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to privilege ALL naturalistic causes, including "some naturalistic cause, but one I can't explain yet" over ANY non-naturalistic cause, because 100% of the publicly testable evidence is on the side of naturalistic causes of everything you can name. Now I do actually accept that someone with a personal experience of the non-natural in the world might reasonably disagree, and I respect that position, but I think it's important to make a distinction between that, which ultimately rests on a non-public piece of evidence, and what can pass for public knowledge (or wisdom, science, or whatever else you prefer).

When we are in a position where we do not understand something, or are unable to find a cause, I do *not* think it is reasonable to say that we have no idea about the explanation or cause might be, that hey it might be just anything. It is very likely, astoundingly likely, that the explanation or cause will be of a piece with other explanations or causes that have been successfully tested in the past. That is, naturalistic ones.
   387. Mefisto Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:32 AM (#2106204)
If one accepts that there are irreducibly complex things, the argument goes, but denies that such things must be the consequence of a creator (by which one means some non-natural cause and not a particular god), then, it is that person who is being unreasonable.

This is indeed the argument. Of course, evolutionists don't accept the assertion that there are irreducibly complex organs (or whatever). If ID were a science, it would set about proving with empirical data that something is irreducibly complex instead of spinning theories about how something might be.
   388. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:32 AM (#2106205)
JC, BL, do you believe that there are irreducibly complex things?

I think that's the kind of "opposition of evolution" claim that's conctructive -- forcing biologists to explain the existence an eyeball or a wing. I still don't believe that the appearance of seemingly irreducibly complex things would lead a good scientists to say that there must be something supernatural going on. In my opinion a scientist would conclude that we simply don't understand the mechanism yet and keep looking. Of course, I think this is moot, in this case, since there aren't irreducibly complex things.
   389. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2106206)
Great reply, JLAC.

I agree it's perfectly reasonable to privilege naturalistic causes. The question then becomes what do you do when you've exhausted them? You can say the thing is non-explicable, which I would argue is irrational and not scientific, or say it is explicable, and one POSSIBLE explanation is that it has a non-naturalistic cause. And, going back to IC, if you agree you have something IC, and that complexity requires some cause (which is why you went to a Darwinian account in the first place), but this one doesn't fit the Darwinian explanation (b/c irreducible), then you're BACK to the theistic position of an unchanging cause, or unmoved mover.

Jeff: I'm not sure which thing you mean.
   390. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:43 AM (#2106218)
If ID were a science, it would set about proving with empirical data that something is irreducibly complex instead of spinning theories about how something might be.


I'm not a scientist (I'm replying to Cross and Mark here), but Behe uses the flagellum as an example. Others have used reproduction itself, but anyway. Don't misunderstand, Cross. Let's say the flagellum appears IC, as Behe argues. No one would argue (I hope) that science should cease studying it, nor that eventually we might understand it better. But there are other kinds of things that don't fit the evolutionary model well like, say, consciousness. That seems to bugger naturalistic explanation.
   391. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:44 AM (#2106219)
I think he can. The SCOTUS did that in Edwards for creationism. The judge did it in Dover at p. 24 et seq. (see the link in post 367).

Fair enough, to the extent that he literally said "its not science" then he can say it. But a judge cannot prescribe anything beyond the law. And while he made a nice, cute little pre-emptive strike that he was "not an activist judge"; he also showed his pure activism by trying to deal with an issue broader than what was in front of him.

No, BL. That is not the argument - I do at least know that much. The argument is that certain complex features of living organisms (and in the more interesting kind of ID for me, certain "fine-tuned" aspects of the physical universe) are best explained through them having an intelligent designer. Now in our brilliance as a species, we can do a little bit of Frankensteining. That is NOT the kind of design that is posited by ID - if it was, it would beg the question. Splicing genes to put bug #1's eyes on bug #2 is not "design" in the ID sense. We're talking about complete ground-up organism design.

Yes we are. And if you apply that to human life then such designer would have more capability than human beings currently now have.

But that is it, and when it comes to an application to biology, you don't NEED to go any further.

But if you want too fine. In the non-ID role, you read Dawkins. Dawkins says x, which is plausible. Dawkins says x means god doesn't exist. Some of that seeps into the classroom and its apparently ok for some reason. Some people seem to agree with the proposition that you can say, Dawkins shows x, but you shouldn't say x means anything ontologically. Assuming you can stop that, we would have a nice point of agreement.

However, there is no give and take. Aquinas says x, x is plausible. Aquinas says x means God exists. John Jones and anti-ID proponents say BECAUSE AQUINAS THINKS THIS IS A PROOF OF GOD, YOU CAN"T TEACH THE ANTECEDENT. Yet the antecedant to an atheistic argument is fair game. That is why there is a problem.

Its an association with a belief in God that is making it verboten.

And as 2Alous pointed out long ago, what the Discovery Institute says does not represent the sum total of thought. You can actually have ID that is consistent with an atheistic point of view. Anti-ID proponents make this look like excuse mongering.

Yet many of the anti-ID arguments trumpet that evolution is consistent with theism so it should be allowed. And that would also be rare.

And this is the thing that I come back to, despite what everyone talks about with evidence, etc. The issue of randomization versus design has no more scientific basis than the other. The distributions of pairings and mutation under certain conditions have scientific basis (science as defined by FJ) but not the causality. No one here is proposing that these distributions not be taught.
   392. Mefisto Posted: July 21, 2006 at 04:57 AM (#2106224)
I'm not a scientist (I'm replying to Cross and Mark here), but Behe uses the flagellum as an example. Others have used reproduction itself, but anyway. Don't misunderstand, Cross. Let's say the flagellum appears IC, as Behe argues. No one would argue (I hope) that science should cease studying it, nor that eventually we might understand it better. But there are other kinds of things that don't fit the evolutionary model well like, say, consciousness. That seems to bugger naturalistic explanation.

The flagellum example has been dealt with pretty well. It came up in Dover and Behe's testimony on it was somewhat embarrassing (for him). Then, more recently, studies have shown how it may have evolved.

And this gets us to the real point, which JCr and JLAC both stated very well: when science reaches a particularly difficult problem, how should it approach that problem?Should it say, "the naturalist assumption got me this far, I'll stick with it in confidence that I can solve this one eventually"? Or should it give up and admit it can't solve the problem?

IMO, science does not give up its assumption. It may not solve the problem now or in a decade; heck, it took multiple decades to solve many of science's more difficult problems. But it ceases to be science if it takes any other approach.

But a judge cannot prescribe anything beyond the law. And while he made a nice, cute little pre-emptive strike that he was "not an activist judge"; he also showed his pure activism by trying to deal with an issue broader than what was in front of him.

I don't think he did anything different than the SCOTUS did in the creationism cases. I wouldn't call those decisions "activist", but that's a flexible term.
   393. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:03 AM (#2106226)
This may be too excessive an embrace of the principle of induction, but does it make sense to embrace naturalistic causes of 99.99999999% of the phenomena and then, in the absence of explicable natural causes for the remainder, say well, we really can't tell whether the causes of those last phenomena are naturalistic or not?

No, I do not disagree with this at all. In fact, you probably see me become a staunch supporter of that on this forum.

Someone will say its .000001% possible it could happen because of x, therefore I'm going to say it happened because of x, and until you rid that minutia of doubt, the burden is on you ... Bar bar bar.

But I don't think people are reading what most of the persons discussing ID are posting. We don't object to the teaching of findings regarding any distributions under certain conditions.

We don't object to saying based on what we know about x,y, and z, and if we randomize a, b, and c, we learn n, m, and o. We don't object to theorizing about intermediate causes and building systems based on those. Heck, at least two of us wasted far too much time in our lives being modelers.

What we are saying is don't teach complete systems that presume there is no design AND tautologically arguing that is evidence for no designer.

And that is what happens. We are introducing faux-natural elements into curriculae to reinforce a naturalistic philosophy. We have always done that. ID is non-theistic, no matter what John Jones says or what Aquinas postulates from it.

I'm still missing what is so evil about supernatural agents (who don't even need to be supernatural), and what is so good about introducing non-natural agents that someone pulled out of their ass and became the en vogue theory.

There apparently is a delusion that science is not subject to politics, faddishness or error. Or that naturalistic science is more equipped to recover from error. Wrong is wrong either way you go.

And I seriously doubt John Jones has spent one minute of time studying information theory. Complexity is one way that we determine if there is signal. As i stated multiple posts ago, its not like the concept of complexity in order indicates purposeful design is something new and novel.
   394. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:06 AM (#2106227)
But there are other kinds of things that don't fit the evolutionary model well like, say, consciousness. That seems to bugger naturalistic explanation.

Ok, I think that's an interesting thing to talk about and something a class might enjoy discussing and something a teacher should certainly be free to discuss. If that's what you mean by raising ID ideas in the classroom I'm all for it (although I'd still leave which topics are discussed up to the science department and the individual teacher). Of course, I think it should be posed more as "Can we explain consciousness?" or "How do we explain consciousness?" rather than "Does consciousness prove the existence of a supernatural being/force?"

That said, I don't think consciousness is a paradox once you accept that form doesn't always match function. All of our attributes weren't selected for. Some of them are byproducts of other traits that were selected for. Our brains grew in order to be able to solve some problem that would increase our chances of survival (I don't know what problem this was and I'm not sure what the theories are). As an unintended consequence our brains became capable of contemplating our own existence. Definitely magical to think about.
   395. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:16 AM (#2106233)
What we are saying is don't teach complete systems that presume there is no design AND tautologically arguing that is evidence for no designer.

I agree with that being able to explain all of the facts without the supernatural does not prove that there is no supernatural. If that is taught somewhere, it shouldn't be. I've never heard of it being taught that way though.
   396. JC in DC Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:17 AM (#2106234)
There apparently is a delusion that science is not subject to politics, faddishness or error. Or that naturalistic science is more equipped to recover from error. Wrong is wrong either way you go.


Beautiful point.

Of course, I think it should be posed more as "Can we explain consciousness?" or "How do we explain consciousness?" rather than "Does consciousness prove the existence of a supernatural being/force?"


Of course. But the specific question "Does consciousness prove..." is of the same form as the one most people ACCEPT in the classroom: "Does natural selection prove ..." As I think BL is arguing, the fact of natural selection (not denied by me or him) prove that life came about purely naturalistically? it's an extraordinary theory about species diversity and possibly even about the emergence of humans, no question.

That said, I don't think consciousness is a paradox once you accept that form doesn't always match function. All of our attributes weren't selected for. Some of them are byproducts of other traits that were selected for. Our brains grew in order to be able to solve some problem that would increase our chances of survival (I don't know what problem this was and I'm not sure what the theories are). As an unintended consequence our brains became capable of contemplating our own existence. Definitely magical to think about.


Yes, but an odd concession. You're basically claiming that arguably the constitutive feature of humanness is an evolutionary byproduct that persists despite its apparent lack of utility and possibly even disutility?
   397. Backlasher Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:17 AM (#2106235)
I don't think he did anything different than the SCOTUS did in the creationism cases. I wouldn't call those decisions "activist", but that's a flexible term.

John Jones is not on the SCOTUS.

That said, I don't think consciousness is a paradox once you accept that form doesn't always match function. All of our attributes weren't selected for. Some of them are byproducts of other traits that were selected for. Our brains grew in order to be able to solve some problem that would increase our chances of survival (I don't know what problem this was and I'm not sure what the theories are). As an unintended consequence our brains became capable of contemplating our own existence. Definitely magical to think about.

Which is fine, and plausible, but by your own definition NOT SCIENTIFIC.

although I'd still leave which topics are discussed up to the science department and the individual teacher

But this is why there is objection. Such things are not left up to the science department and the individual teacher (which could have its own set of problems or constitutional issues); such things are part of curriculae, and curriculae that would avoid, not allow, or ridicule any theological explanation or discussion.

And ID would not even have to go to theology, its not going to be allowed in the curriculae (but Dawkins will be) because most of the people that support it happen to also be part of religions our government has labeled as fundamentalist.
   398. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:30 AM (#2106248)
Yes, but an odd concession. You're basically claiming that arguably the constitutive feature of humanness is an evolutionary byproduct that persists despite its apparent lack of utility and possibly even disutility?

Many such things exist. In order for a trait to be passed on it doesn't have to have utility as long as it doesn't prevent you from mating.

because most of the people that support it happen to also be part of religions our government has labeled as fundamentalist.

I don't think there's anything preventing teacher's from raising questions like "How could consciousness possibly come about by natural selection?" and then preventing theories as well as opposition.

Some schools probably teach Dawkins selfish gene/individualistic evolution stuff (most probably don't go into enough depth to discuss Dawkins) but are you aware of any schools that teaches Dawkins theory that natural selection proves that there's no supernatural being as fact?

If not, it appears that you're complaining about things that aren't actually happenning.
   399. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:36 AM (#2106250)
Yes, but an odd concession. You're basically claiming that arguably the constitutive feature of humanness is an evolutionary byproduct that persists despite its apparent lack of utility and possibly even disutility?

To give another Gould example: perhps the defining characterics of Panda's are that they're always eating bamboo and always sh*tting. The need to be constantly eating and constantly sh*tting because they have the digestive systems of their carnivore ancestors. And yet, despite it's obvious disutility Panda's continue to persist... although they may go extinct.

Was consciousness a disutility to early man? I'll leave that question to someone else. Someone who believes that early man existed, that is.
   400. J. Cross Posted: July 21, 2006 at 05:38 AM (#2106251)
Which is fine, and plausible, but by your own definition NOT SCIENTIFIC.

How is that?
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