Skip to comments.10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part I)
Posted on 08/03/2006 12:22:06 PM PDT by SirLinksalot
10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part I)
Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, the public still refuses to accept the idea that Darwins theory of natural selection is a sufficient explanation for complex biological phenomena. In fact, opinion polls show that fewer people are willing to accept the idea that human beings developed from earlier species than they were just ten years ago.
In Britaina country that is not exactly known for fundamentalist Christianityfewer than half accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life. (And more than 40% of those polled believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons.) Even doctors, who are more informed about biology than the general public, overwhelmingly (60%) reject the claim that humans evolved through natural processes alone.
Why do so many people have such difficulty accepting the theory? Is it due to a resurgence of religious-based creationism? Or is it that the Discovery Institute and other advocates of Intelligent Design are more persuasive? I believe the credit belongs not to the advocates of ID but to the theorys critics.
Had the critics remained silent, ID might possibly have moldered in obscurity. But instead they launched a counter-offensive, forcing people into choosing sides. The problem is that the more the public learns about modern evolutionary theory, the more skeptical they become.
I wont argue that critics of ID are always wrong or that ID is alwaysor even mostlyright in its claims. But I do think a compelling case can be made that the anti-IDers are losing the rhetorical battle. Here is the first five in a list of ten reasons ways in which they are helping to promote the theory of intelligent design:
#1 By remaining completely ignorant about ID while knocking down strawman versions of the theory. Whether due to intellectual snobbery or intellectual laziness, too many critics of ID never bother to understand what the term means, much less learn the general tenets of the theory. Instead, they knock down a strawman version of ID that they have gleaned from other, equally ill-informed, critics. The belligerent or paranoid advocates of ID will assume that the misrepresentation is due to dishonesty or a conspiracy by Darwinists. But even those who are more charitable will agree that when a critic misrepresents the theory, it undermines their own credibility.
#2 By claiming that ID is stealth creationism. -- Resorting to this red herring is one of the most common arguments made against ID. While its true that ID could be used to promote a particular religious agenda, this is not a sufficient argument against it being a legitimate scientific research program. There is no a priori reason why a research program could not be completely in adherence to accepted scientific methods and yet be completely compatible with a particular religious viewpoint.
But it also refuses to acknowledge the vast majority of people throughout history have believed in at least a basic form of creationism. Most people believe that some form of intelligent being (i.e., God) created the universe and everything in it. For most of these people, creationism is not a derogatory term. The phrase stealth creationism might appeal to the pseudo-intellectuals (those who know almost nothing about science but do know that they despise fundamentalist Christians) yet for most ordinary people it sounds like bigoted nonsense.
#3 By resorting to science of the gaps arguments. Critics of ID often claim that the theory relies on a God of the Gaps argument. (Dont understand how something occurred? Well God did it. Case closed.) As scientific reasoning, this method is obviously flawed. Yet the critics of ID often resort to the same tactic, only instead of saying God did it they claim Science will find it.
The problem is that this almost never happens. Closing a "science gap" almost always leads to the discovery of other, even more difficult to explain gaps in knowledge. For example, when evolution was first proposed by Darwin, there was no explanation for the mechanism of transmission of traits from one generation to the next. With the discovery of DNA, Watson and Crick closed that particular gap.
But as physicist David Snoke notes, no one today has an adequate explanation for how this highly complicated molecule arose out of nowhere. Also, we do not have an adequate explanation within chemical evolutionary theory for the appearance of the mechanism that gives us a readout of the information, or for the appearance of methods that replicate information with out error, or for the appearance of the delicate balance of repair and maintenance of the molecular systems that use the information stored in DNA.
Scientific discoveries tend to find that nature is even more complex than we imagined which makes it even more unlikely that a process like natural selection is a sufficient explanation.
#4 By claiming that ID isnt science since it's not published peer-reviewed literature...and then refusing to allow publications of ID papers in peer-reviewed journals. The hypocrisy of snubbing ID because it lacks peer-review was exposed by the treatment of Richard Sternberg, a journal editor who made the career-killing mistake of actually publishing an article that was sympathetic to ID.
The resulting controversy exposed just how close-minded some scientists were to criticisms of neo-Darwinism. As Sternbergwho is not an advocate of ID--said after the incident, It's fascinating how the 'creationist' label is falsely applied to anyone who raises any questions about neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. The reaction to the paper by some [anti-creationist] extremists suggests that the thought police are alive and well in the scientific community."
#5 By making claims that natural selection is responsible for all behaviors and biological features. -- Instead of saying that God created X, Darwinists tend to claim that Sex selection created X. Take, for instance, this statement made by zoologist Richard Dawkins:
"Why did humans lose their body hair? Why did they start walking on their hind legs? Why did they develop big brains? I think that the answer to all three questions is sexual selection," Dawkins said. Hairlessness advertises your health to potential mates, he explained. The less hair you have on your body, the less real estate you make available to lice and other ectoparasites. Of course, it was worth keeping the hair on our heads to protect against sunstroke, which can be very dangerous in Africa, where we evolved. As for the hair in our armpits and pubic regions, that was probably retained because it helps disseminate "pheromones," airborne scent signals that still play a bigger role in our sex lives than most of us realize.
Why did we lose our body hair? Sex selection. Why do we retain some body hair? Yep, sex selection. Why do humans walk on two legs? Again, the same answer, sex selection. Why do dogs walk on all four? You guessed it, sex selection.
The same goes for human behavior. Hardly a week goes by that some newspaper or magazine article does not include a story claiming how evolution is the reason humans do X, avoid Y, or prefer Z.
Even scientists grow weary of hearing such faith claims presented as if was science. As Philip S. Skell, emeritus professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, notes in a recent edition of The Scientist:
Darwinian explanations for [human behavior] are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self- centered and aggressive - except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed - except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.
Even those who flunked high school biology can see that when a theory can be used to prove any behavior that it ceases to be science and enters the realm of faith. Yet when evolutionists make such claims they are often flummoxed by the publics skeptical reaction. They cant understand how we could be so stupid as to not accept their claims. And we wonder how they could be so stupid as to think we are really that gullible.
To be continued in Part II
So I see you are using the tactic that ID is a cover for religion?
I think you are allowing your personal religious beliefs (atheist) to conflict with fact.
Many who are intrigued or support ID are well-respected scientists......unless they have been attacked by those supporting evolution.
Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Live with it.
I know that doesn't really help, but I read it on FR last week and thought it was pretty funny.
Anyway, men and women are no easier or harder to understand than any other complex biological organism. The less likely we will act like robots. Sometimes we will do things that others can predict. Sometimes we won't.
I submit that women don't understand women any better than men do - it's just that the lack of sexual tension makes it less of an issue.
Now, did something happen while I was in a meeting that ended men discussing women?
"Who are those people who put fish with feet on their cars that have DARWIN written inside?"
I couldn't answer that, as I don't know any of them. If they're not scientists, then they're in the same boat as other non-scientists. Are they Darwinists? If they self-identify as such, I suppose they are.
I'm willing to bet that very few of them are working in the field, however.
You mean the Flying spaghetti MONSTER??
So you would say that the entire explaination of your science is understanding what a theory is?
I don't know what your science is, but I don't think it's anything I would be interested in.
What I would be interested in is an elevator statement explaining the mechanism that introduces a change in a complex organism, such as a rabbit or a chipmunk, to a layman.
If it's not doable, it's not science, it's magic.
You know, since you're not a scientist by your own admission, why should we listen to what you have to say on the subject? You really shot yourself in the foot on this one.
So break it down. Don't explain all of subatomic physics. Explain part of it. I understand protons, neutrons, and electrons. I understand quarks to some extent. I understand the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
Unfortunately, some of the physicists I have talked with seem to think that math proves reality, instead of the other way around. Many of those don't mind that they have a mathematical model but don't know what it means. They then can't explain it to me. But that's not science, it's magic.
"You know, since you're not a scientist by your own admission, why should we listen to what you have to say on the subject? You really shot yourself in the foot on this one."
Not really. I'm not a scientist, so I rely on scientists to explain things to me. When it comes to the Theory of Evolution, my understanding comes from the work of scientists in the field.
Others use other sources. For some, a book written around 3-4000 years ago to explain things to nomadic shepherds will suffice to explain things. I guess I'm after more up-to-date information.
I see you mock me sir. Call it what you will, it's tentacles pervade your brain. But because they pervade your brain, they can keep you from ever perceiving it.
Do you doubt me. Then PROVE ME WRONG!!!!!!
Yes, I read Cosmic Speghetti.
Those operating with all their brain got the humor but also the point that the author missed.
The problem is that there are only two possible competing theories. This issue is completely black and white - binary.
Either things gradually morphed (or "evolved") into more complex things, or someone designed them. There are hybrid theories of course, but few of them are genuine and are used more as a debate tool for "fence post sitters".
Darwinianism is to evolution theory what creationism is to ID. We are really talking evolution vs ID, and those are the only possibilities within the realm of human comprehension that I am aware of.
Both require faith. Proof for one is proof against the other - and vice versa.
You're right. I guess I will stop posting about politics on FR also since I am not a politician.
Osama, you can do whatever you want. I won't comment since I'm not a terrorist.
You could just post: "ID v Evo: Discuss" and get the exact same responses.
These threads never discuss what is actually in the article. It's just the same people posting the same things until the next crevo thread pops up. Then, they do it again.
So, does it hold that, since you are so notably irreligious, that your opinion on matters of religion is to be likewise downplayed, discarded, ignored?
First, I don't considered plagiarism a conservative virtue, nor is the failure to admit mistakes.
Second, you cite Dembski as an authority. He is a mathematician, and yet he made a completely boneheaded mathematical mistake in his Google research. p>Finally, putting these together, both you and Dembski have made painfully elementary mistakes and have refused to acknowledge them. This speaks poorly for your commitment to basic personal honesty, and it speaks poorly for your basic competence in using math to analyze phenomena.
"Either things gradually morphed (or "evolved") into more complex things, or someone designed them."
Trouble is that you have the Theory of Evolution wrong. Nothing in that theory requires increased complexity, just change. For example, every mammal is essentially at the same level of complexity, yet all evolved from the earliest proto-mammal. You are not really any more complex than a mouse. Your morphology is different. Your brain is of larger size, but constructed in exactly the same way.
You reproduce in the same way as the mouse. Your young feeds on milk produced by mammary glands.
Sometimes, complexity increases, but that is hardly a requirement of the Theory of Evolution. Change is what the TOE is about.
So, you see, you get a basic fact wrong and that affects your argument in a negative way.
I recommend that you go to your local public library and ask for an introductory book on Evolutionary Theory. That way, you can learn something about it.
"The problem is that there are only two possible competing theories."
Only two that you can think of. To close the door on there being a third is unscientific, even if nobody can think of another at the moment. At one time, people only saw one possible theory: that some supernatural force created life.
" You know that tail bone between your butt cheeks?? Why would God place that bone there?"
Oh, I know. I know! (holding hand high in air)
God put the coccyx in man to help him learn a lesson. You see, God knew that man would eventually learn to roller skate. Thus, God knew that man would fall upon his arse and fracture that series of fuzed vertebrae.
God knew that upon suffering that fracture, man would shout "Jesus Christ!" thereby affirming his religion.
And that is the story of how Man got his coccyx.
I have other such stories, and will tell them when appropriate.
This is clearly a survival characteristic since it has survived and the only characteristics that survive are survival characteristics.
Back when pre-human beings were separating from pre-chimp beings the intelligent females of this species looked at the ones who spent their time wisely looking for bugs in the shade of the trees instead of the jerks who were trying to figure out how to balance on their hind legs in the heat of the savannah. The latter decided they had to do something to attract chicks so they acted all puffed up with NOLLIJ. This NOLLIJ actually attracted some of the chicks out of the shade of the trees and onto the savannah so these pre-humans kept it up.
Human males have been bloviating ever since. The best of them become lawyers and politicians. The less accomplished become scientists or clerics.
Except when it is in favor of evolution.
You are too funny mineral man!
Wow! This is something I had not heard before.
What are some of the things that used to be viruses?
"So, does it hold that, since you are so notably irreligious, that your opinion on matters of religion is to be likewise downplayed, discarded, ignored?
You're welcome to discard anything I say about religion. Religion is not science, nor is it based on factual information that can be tested.
I rarely say anything negative about religion. I believe that each person comes to whatever religious faith they can accept...hence the many religions and sects of religions on this planet. I never say, for example, that a religion is false. I will say that I do not believe in any religion, which is not the same thing at all.
I don't really care what religion anyone follows. I do enjoy discussing the niceties of doctrinal issues from time to time, and do so from the point of view of someone who has studied many of them.
Being without a religion myself does not disqualify me from studying the beliefs of various religions.
You can keep it.
It is untestable.
It is unprovable. Only a very small minority of those in the scientific community even subscribe to it.
So far, there is not even any evidence for it. Mere vacuous wisp of an ethereal theory, my friend. Nothing more.
Ruminations on a chalkboard.
A vague attempt to stave off the inevitable conclusion that something created this universe...and it wasn't another universe did the creatin'.
Bye-bye, String Theory. Bye-bye, Brane Theory.
Consign them both the the Dustbin of Theories.
Wonder why (some) scientists feel compelled to grope for explanations that might counter the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God?
...because they don't wanna believe in a god. Any god. It scares them, personally, because they are arrogant, and don't want to be accountable for their actions.
Read the Old Testament (at a minimum). Move from your atheism to deism (at a miniumum).
Unlike YOU, I don't have enough FAITH to be an ATHEIST!
Sauron (Despite what I've said, supra, I have always greatly enjoyed your posts, MineralMan. You just happen to be wrong on this particular issue.)
If I read this correctly, the TOE is, basically:
Things change - get used to it.
Wow! And I thought it was science.
"Except when it is in favor of evolution."
No. Not then either. A poll of people not involved in the sciences has no relevance to science. Period. It doesn't matter how the poll turns out. Science does not use polls to determine facts.
"Read the Old Testament (at a minimum). Move from your atheism to deism (at a miniumum). "
Oh, my friend, I have read the Old Testament. I have read it six times straight through and much of it many more times than that. I can say the same for the New Testament.
I have read the scriptures of several religions, but I have focused primarily on the dominant religion of my own culture.
Trust me. I know the Bible. I know it very well, indeed.
The scientific method is the same. It's the confidence intervals that change.
Some of us need a better rinse. ;)
There is nothing testable in your lengthy reply. It's just an excuse for something that currently does not have an explanation.
Really, as opposed to the ID folks who say "God created Adam and Eve, it's in Genesis and if you don't believe it you're a godless satanic communist."
The world is waiting eagerly for the creationists to prove their theory. Let's see it.
I am flattered, but I should pass on this one since I get in trouble every time I note that Darwinists seek through reductionism to define an emergent phenomenon, whereas IDers appear to be trying to cite an emergent phenomenon without sufficient referral to the evidence to show that it is emergent. If the debates were kept to that limitation, without bringing in God or anti-god rhetoric, the discussion might actually accomplish something. Evolution exhibits emergent properties, but we do have an extensive fossil record to which Science may refer; with a voluminous record of phyla, missing data isn't a refutation of reductionist notions so much as it is evidence of emergent phenomena ... to extrapolate existence or non-existence of a designer is oblique to the real issues. And you don't even want me to get into the illogic/irrationality dripping from creationist dogma.
"If I read this correctly, the TOE is, basically:
Things change - get used to it."
Clearly, and derision is good enough for science?
>>Others use other sources. For some, a book written around 3-4000 years ago to explain things to nomadic shepherds will suffice to explain things.<<
Some things, yes. It does not speak to every nook and cranny of creation. That is why man invented "science" and "mathematics". It is also why God gave us the ability to do just that.
I'd challenge that. Definitions are a lot fuzzier. I have yet to find a good definition of life that can last. I have had no problem adhering to the defitions of chemical and physical processes I learned when I was young.
Biology is the study of very complex things, so it's nearly impossible to limit the number of variables to only one. Most of what I see discussed as biology is either observation of the living and developing a story to try to explain its behavior, or biochemestry which is really chemestry.
So then, you believe there is a creation/evolution hybrid thing going on? Is my brain more complex than that of a Sparrow? So which part was created, and which part morphed.
So, you see, you get a basic fact wrong and that affects your argument in a negative way.
No, you seem to be more interested in what you think I meant than what I actually typed.
I recommend that you go to your local public library and ask for an introductory book on Evolutionary Theory. That way, you can learn something about it.
I recommend you brush up on your reading comprehension skills. Education does not equal knowledge, which does not equal wisdom.
"Some things, yes. It does not speak to every nook and cranny of creation."
There was no need for it to. Of what use would information regarding the evolution of, say, the marsupials be to nomadic shepherds?
No, Genesis gives a neat explanation of how things happened...enough to more than satisfy nomadic shepherds. It's very useful that way, just as are the creation stories in all ancient scriptures. Hinduism has several, depending on which of the many creations are being addressed.
We're less easily satisfied today. We do know a lot of things. We've visited some nearby moons and planets, either in person or via robotics. We have the tools to see things as small as individual atoms.
No, Genesis doesn't do as a good explanation for us today. It was adequate when it was written, though. I'm sure none of the nomadic shepherds questioned it at the time. They'd have no reason to, nor any interest in doing so.
The time of Moses was a long, long time ago. It was the bronze age, but many living in that time still used stone tools, since they were less costly. The population of the world known to the Israelites was small, and an entire people could cross the desert and come to a new territory to claim as their own.
Genesis is a great book. It's one of our earliest records of a culture. It has survived, intact, because it was a religious text. Indeed, only religious texts have survived that long, but there are a few others of the same age. All have similar characteristics, particularly in their creation stories.
I'm of the opinion, though, that the turtle theory is the best one. It is, indeed, turtles...all the way down.
I hate to tell you this but people have known how for millennia. Men seem to enjoy it more than women, and both seem to enjoy it more than animals, but we have all understood the process pretty well.
The additional detail has proven interesting, but not any more useful.
No that is not true as far as evolutionists are concerned. There was quite a fuss about 400 scientists named Dave signing a letter in support of evolution as well as a number of other polls of educators and "scientists" that come up from time to time.
Evolution is only possible if there is no creator as Darwin explains in his thesis.
I am a not a sir.
I'm sorry, I have a cold.
Just as hominids evolved into other species such as homo habilus and homo sapian, viruses evolve into other viruses that are more deadly.
I don't think anyone has any trouble with this concept. Humanity has understood this for millennia (although not at the virus level).
I think the sticking point is when a virus becomes something that is not a virus.
"So then, you believe there is a creation/evolution hybrid thing going on? Is my brain more complex than that of a Sparrow? So which part was created, and which part morphed."
Not really. My personal opinion is that the whole universe is a natural phenomenon, brought about by the laws of physics. Life is chemistry.
A sparrow is not a mammal. Your brain is actually somewhat more complex than a bird's brain. It is not, however, different in its components than that of a mouse. The human brain is larger and has more neural connections than that of a mouse, but the structures are equivalent. Different portions of the human brain are larger (comparitively) than the mouse's brain, but the various sections of the brain are made up of virtually identical components.
The bird's brain is more closely related to that of the reptiles. There are common structures, however, even in the bird or reptile brain and the human brain. The brain stem, for example, which handles some basic things, like the beating of the heart, etc., along with the fight/flight instinct, are quite similar in birds and humans.
"I recommend you brush up on your reading comprehension skills. Education does not equal knowledge, which does not equal wisdom."
Knowledge comes almost exclusively from education. Even the most basic of human functions must be taught, such as walking. Education does, indeed, lead to knowledge. Wisdom, on the other hand, is a rare thing. It's seldom found in human beings.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.