Skip to comments.Intelligent designís long march to nowhere
Posted on 12/05/2005 4:06:56 AM PST by PatrickHenry
The leaders of the intelligent design movement are once again holding court in America, defending themselves against charges that ID is not science. One of the expert witnesses is Michael Behe, author of the ID movements seminal volume Darwins Black Box. Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, testified about the scientific character of ID in Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, the court case of eight families suing the school district and the school board in Dover, Pa., for mandating the teaching of intelligent design.
Under cross-examination, Behe made many interesting comparisons between ID and the big-bang theory both concepts carry lots of ideological freight. When the big-bang theory was first proposed in the 1920s, many people made hostile objections to its apparent supernatural character. The moment of the big bang looked a lot like the Judeo-Christian creation story, and scientists from Quaker Sir Arthur Eddington to gung-ho atheist Fred Hoyle resisted accepting it.
In his testimony, Behe stated correctly that at the current moment, we have no explanation for the big bang. And, ultimately it may prove to be beyond scientific explanation, he said. The analogy is obvious: I put intelligent design in the same category, he argued.
This comparison is quite interesting. Both ID and the big-bang theory point beyond themselves to something that may very well lie outside of the natural sciences, as they are understood today. Certainly nobody has produced a simple model for the bigbang theory that fits comfortably within the natural sciences, and there are reasons to suppose we never will.
In the same way, ID points to something that lies beyond the natural sciences an intelligent designer capable of orchestrating the appearance of complex structures that cannot have evolved from simpler ones. Does this claim not resemble those made by the proponents of the big bang? Behe asked.
However, this analogy breaks down when you look at the historical period between George Lemaitres first proposal of the big-bang theory in 1927 and the scientific communitys widespread acceptance of the theory in 1965, when scientists empirically confirmed one of the big bangs predictions.
If we continue with Behes analogy, we might expect that the decades before 1965 would have seen big-bang proponents scolding their critics for ideological blindness, of having narrow, limited and inadequate concepts of science. Popular books would have appeared announcing the big-bang theory as a new paradigm, and efforts would have been made to get it into high school astronomy textbooks.
However, none of these things happened. In the decades before the big-bang theory achieved its widespread acceptance in the scientific community its proponents were not campaigning for public acceptance of the theory. They were developing the scientific foundations of theory, and many of them were quite tentative about their endorsements of the theory, awaiting confirmation.
Physicist George Gamow worked out a remarkable empirical prediction for the theory: If the big bang is true, he calculated, the universe should be bathed in a certain type of radiation, which might possibly be detectable. Another physicist, Robert Dicke, started working on a detector at Princeton University to measure this radiation. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson ended up discovering the radiation by accident at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., in 1965, after which just about everyone accepted the big bang as the correct theory.
Unfortunately, the proponents of ID arent operating this way. Instead of doing science, they are writing popular books and op-eds. As a result, ID remains theoretically in the same scientific place it was when Phillip Johnson wrote Darwin on Trial little more than a roster of evolutionary theorys weakest links.
|When Behe was asked to explicate the science of ID, he simply listed a number of things that were complex and not adequately explained by evolution. These structures, he said, were intelligently designed. Then, under cross-examination, he said that the explanation for these structures was intelligent activity. He added that ID explains things that appear to be intelligently designed as having resulted from intelligent activity.|
Behe denied that this reasoning was tautological and compared the discernment of intelligently designed structures to observing the Sphinx in Egypt and concluding that it could not have been produced by non-intelligent causes. This is a winsome analogy with a lot of intuitive resonance, but it is hardly comparable to Gamows carefully derived prediction that the big bang would have bathed the universe in microwave radiation with a temperature signature of 3 degrees Kelvin.
After more than a decade of listening to ID proponents claim that ID is good science, dont we deserve better than this?
Tens of millions of years isn't no time at all biologically. I don't think that is quite true that all phyla originate in the Cambrian, I'd have to check, but I agree many phyla do originate in the cambrian. Don't get over hung-up on the phyla thing anyway. The importance of phyla is retrospective. At the time the difference between one phylum and another would have been very small, just like modern speciations, its just that subsequently they ended up going different ways that formed different branches of the phylogenetic tree.
From The List-O-Links:
WHAT ABOUT THE CAMBRIAN "EXPLOSION"?
Another service of Darwin Central, the conspiracy that cares.
Pretty vile stuff.
Derr! I know. These guys missed their cue. The red hats and wool gloves are scheduled for a later date.
No, not unexpected, but I had hoped for better anyway. :-(
Your Brain on Evolutionism worthy? With an abuse of brain cells like that it's no wonder nature took its course and rearranged a few particles.
Are you deliberately trying to make fundamentalist Christians look like ignorant, violent rednecks? Sometimes I think it's even odds whether you believe the stuff you post or if you have some serious axe to grind against Christianity and are engaging in a fairly inelegant subterfuge to make Christians look bad.
They sure weren't represented on the first 100 posts on main thread. At least two people said the beating wasn't severe enough. You yourself were more concerned with weighing in on Fester's side than dissociating yourself from his disgusting reaction.
~But, whatever comes of the story, if the violators exist, they should be appropriately punished and it should be aggravated punishment for allowing opportunists to use Creationists/IDers as scapegoats.
Within the last month on this forum, a FREeper called on violence to be used against academics who criticize religion. I drew the attention of the mods. The post was allowed to remain. The practice here is violent rhetoric from the nuts, toleration from the moderators, and silence or acquiescence from the likes of you.
If this incident happened as Mirecki said, it was advocated by self-professed Christian FReepers with the knowledge and consent of management.
I have all the relevant posts stored on disk, so history is not going to be erased, either.
You are probably right. However, it's seldom a mistake to wait a day or two to make sure all the facts are in, before one reacts.
Creationism is a cancer on conservatism placemarker
Whether or not the attack really happened (or is fake or whatever), the responses of Freepers has already become a valid discussion point. There have been more than one support such an attack. BAV (the political arm of Harun Yahya) seems to be making inroads on FR even if not in Kansas.
"Bolshevik monopoly" (( aclu // nea )) ...
tyranny (( taliban // jihad )) ---
brainwashing (( conservatism // Truth )) ...
indoctrination (( liberalism // atheism // evolution // communism )) !
Libertarian schlock ... anarchy --- evolution !
" RC is actually the original large-scale organized apostasy FROM the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3)"
Peter= 1st Pope. look it up.
"You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).
....and David Horowitz was a Communist before he had an epiphany.
....and C.S.Lewis was an atheist before J.R.R.Tolkien sheparded him into the Christian Faith.
I am saddened by this. :-(
I grow weary of the duplicitousness of the militant evos. Growing up I remember hearing about the wealth of evidence from the paleontology community demonstrating the irrefutable evidence of the fact of evolution. Yet when we focus on this evidence we find that the wealth of transitional forms Darwin hoped for is devoid of substantiation. Now we are told to believe the theory absent the record of transitional paleontological fossils. To boot, when Gould, Dawkins, et al admit to one another of said absence of fossils, they attempt to back pedal from their own admission in the face of public attack. Sorry, no take backs. The militant evos are flat wrong and they have been called on it and no volume of slippery forked tongues will undo the grave they have excavated for themselves. Simply duplicitous!
I respect your position, and agree wholeheartedly. Scientists should educate the public, and not let the forces of ignorance frame the debate. For example, skipping the Kansas hearings was a monumentally stupid idea. Bad strategy, and an opportunity lost.
I would take issue with one thing that you said, at least as far as it relates to conversation on these threads:
For instance as a non-scientists I have an idea of what the word "theory" means: "An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.". However the scientific definition of theory is, of course, quite different.
It's not the publics fault that they go with the one they're likley to understand from their non-scientific lives. They're not morons, they've simply not been exposed to the fact.
Few people on these threads are ignorant as to the scientific meaning of the word "theory." The vast majority of creationists who twist it into "guess" do so with full knowledge of their dishonesty.
Everybody gets one free pass on that mistake. Most don't seem to care about the truth so long as they can advance their agenda, and I have no problem calling out those people for it.
5 AM is a bit early for happy hour
Then put the bottle down.
Your parents took their ideas for child training from someplace other than the Darwinian model.
Don't argue from the consequences? That's exactly what evolution tries to do. It sees a consequence of time in "nature" and tries to imagine its source over spans of time it makes up itself.
Welcome back AndrewC!
Haven't seen you around for awhile.
And that crash of the polar lander was the engineers' fault for not getting their units correct. There was nothinig mystical about it.
Again I say the bar is on the rise. Sauron was trying to say that no progress has been made in abiogenesis hypotheses in the last 50 years, now we're talking about the deeper mysteries of DNA. You know that the literature on the topic is abundant for anyone who wants to look.
My own personal view is that we'll never discover everything that can be known in the universe in this life, and probably not in any other. I'm just happy when the furnace is working when it's 4 degrees outside, the sports highlights come on in the morning before work, and I can get on FR and blather like an idiot. ;)
"Providence withdrew its protection and our people fell
And in this hour we sink to our knees and beseech our almighty God that He may bless us, that He may give us the strength to carry on the struggle for the freedom, the future, the honor, and the peace of our people. So help us God."
"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without religious foundation is built on air; consequently all character training and religion must be derived from faith "
"We were convinced that the people need and require faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."
"Your parents took their ideas for child training from someplace other than the Darwinian model. "
There IS no evolutionary model for child rearing. It doesn't say anything about morals, or what one aught to do. It says what IS, period. Just like every other theory in science. It's descriptive, not prescriptive. And, since most evolutionists are also Christians, your *all or nothing* stance is ludicrous anyway.
"Don't argue from the consequences? That's exactly what evolution tries to do. It sees a consequence of time in "nature" and tries to imagine its source over spans of time it makes up itself."
Now you're just being deliberately dense. You are arguing that the consequences (imagined by you) of evolution are enough to dismiss it. That's nonsense, and a logical fallacy. The extra-scientific consequences of ANY theory have NO bearing on the scientific validity of any theory.
LOL I would consider the evolutionists a cult: the Universities fire or don't hire well-qualified scientists if they get a hint you don't march to their drum. Editors who dare publish any research that is critical of evolutionary theory are fired!
Sorry, but evolutionary theory is going down with the dinosaurs. My daughter attends a well-respected private Academy and guess what? They teach ID and evolutionary cosmology. It does'nt hurt the student's ability to understand any of the hard sciences.
Evolution has nothing to do with understanding genetics, biochemistry or open-heart surgery.
It's only the cult of evolutions theorists and their cultish followers who claim the sky is falling! Please go back to the cave and live your glory days.
Why hit "Abuse," the Creationists should be allowed to shine in all their glory.
There IS no evolutionary model for child rearing. It doesn't say anything about morals, or what one aught to do. It says what IS, period. Just like every other theory in science. It's descriptive, not prescriptive.
This seems to be the heart of it.
Creationists seem to be constantly looking for a Theory of Everything. There's this constant confusion about the roles that various elements in life play.
The Bible is an excellent guide to being a better human being, so naturally it must be an excellent biology textbook, right? It must be an accurate history textbook, right?
WTF is evolutionary cosmology? The theory of evolution has absolutely nothing to do with cosmology.
So you don't accept evolution at all? Well at least you don't support ID then. Curious that you should post support of Sauron, who professes to support ID.
What I do is point out the duplicity of the ToE thought police like Gould and Dawkins. First the transitional record is not there. Then it is. Then its not. Then it is. It is a silly two step to justify there status as a scientist in the community at large. Never mind that their so-called research doesn't provide any meaningful productive contribution to society. It is simply another religion, only it requires more faith than most religions. And the thought police cannot stand the idea of having competition in the marketplace identifying and broadcasting the gaping holes in their theories.
Creationist Talking to Himself Placemarker
Don't bother; he prefers to make posts to himself.
If it were their strength, believe me, you'd be hearing more about it. But they can't tout it, because no one understands it.
Sorry, not so. Different field entirely.
In grad school I did the course in human evolution, two advanced courses in problems in evolution, human races, and studied both human osteology and fossil man for the Ph.D. exams. Never once do I remember abiogenesis coming up for discussion. Why? Different field entirely!
It is only the creation types (who must think they found the 'smoking gun' at last) that keep linking the two. Either that or the creationist websites have this near the top.
I doubt that Gould is policing anything much, and scientists are an argumentative bunch. If Dawkins were massively wrong then there'd be plenty of scientists shouting him down.
First the transitional record is not there.
That has been false for a long time. When Darwin was alive the entire fossil record was thin. Since then, not only have fossils been found that match the predictions of ToE again, and again, but many remarkable transitional sequences have been filled in. But feel free to wave away the avalanche of evidence presented on Ichneumon's home page.
Then it is.
Then its not.
Then it is.
It is a silly two step
Yes you are being quite silly
to justify there [sic] status as a scientist in the community at large. Never mind that their so-called research doesn't provide any meaningful productive contribution to society. It is simply another religion, only it requires more faith than most religions.
Yet another example of a creationist decrying science by calling it a religion. Curious that to call something a religion appears to be an insult. So, accepting for a moment your false contention that the theory of evolution is useless, what bearing does that have on its truth value?
And the thought police cannot stand the idea of having competition in the marketplace identifying and broadcasting the gaping holes in their theories.
Anytime you discover a competitive scientific theory to evolution, tell us about it, and we'll discuss it.
That is hard to detect in history. The first thousand years of Christianity in Europe were a time of stagnation and ignorance. For much of it, Europe had no centers of culture and learning to match the best of the Islamic world.
When things changed, it was as much over the opposition of the Church as not.
Odd - usually you see folks like that hanging out at bus stops and in front of liquor stores...
Sorry, I couldn't resist, I know I'm wasting my time with him though.
All of them, and the general community of evolutionists at large, are on their face simply duplicitous. Militant evolutionists do believe in limitless speciation
What is "limitless" speciation? If this simply means that evolutionists accept the proposal of "common descent" (that all living things, and all species, are ultimately related by biological reproduction) then, yeah, of course they do. Common descent, after all, is a core claim of modern evolutionary theory. But this would mean you're saying that it's "duplicitous" for those who openly claim to be evolutionists to openly accept and advocate evolution, which is exceedingly odd to say the least!
and expect us to swallow broad abiogenesis
Uh, yeah. So what? You realize that abiogensis simply means the origin of biological life by any means other than biological reproduction? Therefore, unless you believe (like for instance Aristotle a few other ancients) that biological life has ALWAYS existed -- that it had no beginning -- then you too expect us to "swallow" abiogenesis.
but dare not trumpet their duplicity from the wires lest their opponent gain greater public support
This might come as a shock to your inflated sense of the influence of popular antievolutionism, but the VAST majority of evolutionists, and scientists generally, couldn't care less about "greater public support" for the theories they work with. They're only concerned with the professional standing, and actual utility vis-a-viz their own research interests, of these theories. It's only a very small proportion (probably much too small, if anything) who take time from their professional pursuits to engage popular controversies about evolution (or pushing gravity, flying saucers, etc).
These are the militant evolutionists who choose to ignore the compelling nature of the apparent mechanical designs underpinning the delicate balance of life.
How do you get "ignore"? A principle purpose of evolutionary theory is to explain such "mechanical designs"!
But you just happen to know a large selection of standard creationist mantras yet appear blithely unaware of the equally stock mainstream science refutations. You have somehow been very selective in your reading.
Anyway, to get back to the original theme of my post to you which you ignored, you were supporting Sauron, a self-professed IDer. Amongst the tenets of ID are the following (according to Michael Behe, the prominent scientific proponent of ID under oath in the Dover Trial):
* The earth is billions of years old
* Evolution is true
* All of life on earth shares common descent
* There is no evidence that God has intervened for millions of years
* The Designer may not still be around.
Which of those ID beliefs do you support?
No, you are not told this. I'm growing weary of the duplicitousness of holy warrior recta.
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