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Intelligent designís long march to nowhere
Science & Theology News ^ | 05 December 2005 | Karl Giberson

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 movement’s seminal volume Darwin’s 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 big–bang 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 Lemaitre’s first proposal of the big-bang theory in 1927 and the scientific community’s widespread acceptance of the theory in 1965, when scientists empirically confirmed one of the big bang’s predictions.

If we continue with Behe’s 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 aren’t 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 Triallittle more than a roster of evolutionary theory’s 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 Gamow’s 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, don’t we deserve better than this?


Karl Giberson [the author of this piece] is editor in chief at Science & Theology News.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; evochat; goddoodit; idjunkscience; idmillionidiotmarch; intelligentdesign
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To: MissAmericanPie
Maybe you should study the folk lore of the Cherokee nation. Their version of the begining goes something as follows. A large buzzard flew across the face of the water drying out the land, where his wing dipped he created rivers and canyons. There was a brother and a sister, every time the brother hit the sister with a fish she had a child until the earth was full. The Great Spirit decided that there were too many people so she was allowed to have one child a year. As primitive and child like as this folk lore is, it is an example of the flood/adam/eve story combined. Check it out.

I am familiar with many of the oral traditions of American Indians; I have regularly posted these in the past as a reminder that the Genesis account is by far from being the only account. I am posting the version I have of the Cherokee Creation story. Many of these stories involve water, one of the most prevalent of the natural disasters to befall human settlements.

But you still have not addressed the archaeological findings I mentioned in my last post to you. In many years of research, my colleagues and I find no evidence for a global flood at the suggested time period.


Cherokee Creation Story

Long ago, before there were any people, the world was young and water covered everything. The earth was a great island floating above the seas, suspended by four rawhide ropes representing the four sacred directions. It hung down from the crystal sky. There were no people, but the animals lived in a home above the rainbow. Needing space, they sent Water Beetle to search for room under the seas. Water Beetle dove deep and brought up mud that spread quickly, turning into land that was flat and too soft and wet for the animals to live on.

Grandfather Buzzard was sent to see if the land had hardened. When he flew over the earth, he found the mud had become solid; he flapped in for a closer look. The wind from his wings created valleys and mountains, and that is why the Cherokee territory has so many mountains today.

As the earth stiffened, the animals came down from the rainbow. It was still dark. They needed light, so they pulled the sun out from behind the rainbow, but it was too bright and hot. A solution was urgently needed. The shamans were told to place the sun higher in the sky. A path was made for it to travel--from east to west--so that all inhabitants could share in the light.

The plants were placed upon the earth. The Creator told the plants and animals to stay awake for seven days and seven nights. Only a few animals managed to do so, including the owls and mountain lions, and they were rewarded with the power to see in the dark. Among the plants, only the cedars, spruces, and pines remained awake. The Creator told these plants that they would keep their hair during the winter, while the other plants would lose theirs.

People were created last. The women were able to have babies every seven days. They reproduced so quickly that the Creator feared the world would soon become too crowded. So after that the women could have only one child per year, and it has been that way ever since.


841 posted on 12/08/2005 3:10:44 PM PST by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: dotnetfellow
Multipart systems that are tightly integrated and functional have within them subsystems serving different functions. It is conflating to suggest that the presence of such a subsystem controverts IC. And it is at best especially disingenuous to describe it as professional misspeaking.

Behe claimed to be was aware of the research showing flagellar TTSS.
Proteolytic Cleavage of the FlhB Homologue YscU of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Is Essential for Bacterial Survival but Not for Type III Secretion

-- For the lazy, the paper shows that by changing 4 proteins they can cause the TTSS needle to develop as a hook and filament flagella.

So either Behe "misspoke" about his knowledge of the research or he "misspoke" about it being "irreducible complex".

842 posted on 12/08/2005 3:26:44 PM PST by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: Senator Bedfellow
> BTW, If you know his real name please Freepmail it to me. I'd love to look up his papers on PubMed.

If you want to make some hay,

Guess I forgot my grin-winky
;->

843 posted on 12/08/2005 3:28:39 PM PST by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: dread78645
LOL - sorry. :)

Anyway, his anonymity may not last much longer on the registration front. ICANN was already cracking down on registrars who collect obviously fake info, and now the GAO has released a report complaining about how much fraud and spam is being protected by fake domain info, so it's only going to get worse. Truly anonymous domains are slowly looking more and more like an endangered species.

844 posted on 12/08/2005 3:33:55 PM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: Last Visible Dog

"I totally agree with your position as I feel that is my position also. I am certain the FreeRepublic Evo's will be calling you a "creationist" in no time (if they have not already)"

If you have followed this thread, that's exactly what has happened. I'm assumed to be a closet Creationist posing as an open-minded agnostic. And if not that, I'm assumed to be dumb and ignorant. The closed-mindedness and the ad hominem attacks I would have expected from DailyKos, not FreeRepublic.


845 posted on 12/08/2005 4:15:01 PM PST by KamperKen
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To: KamperKen
I'm assumed to be a closet Creationist posing as an open-minded agnostic.

Maybe you're not doing "open-minded" very well. Someone who thought maybe fire is the result of a substance called phlogiston rushing out of the burning thing could cite some ancient writers of historical interest in support of the idea. Hey! He's just being open-minded.

If that someone is shown Lavoisier's clear demonstration that burning is a process called "oxidation," and told how absurd it is to think all of chemistry since the late 18th century has somehow missed Lavoisier being wrong, one would expect an open mind to absorb this information and revise its opinion. An open mind which would fail to do so is not open to the evidence.

You have demonstrated a mind which is amazingly open to the arguments of creationists and singularly shut to the evidence. A few people tried you out on your Cambrian explosion talking point. You never articulated a convincing reason for clinging to your position, but you cling to it. When I mentioned how little you seem to have absorbed of the mainstream science position, you replied that it is weak. No examples, just "It's weak."

No, your charade is weak. I think an inherent limitation in trying to be the shill in the crowd is that your primary job is to spout the talking points, and only secondarily to be convincing.

You got your primary assignment done. It won't fool anyone who hasn't already checked his brains at the door.

846 posted on 12/08/2005 5:32:59 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: KamperKen
If you have followed this thread, that's exactly what has happened. I'm assumed to be a closet Creationist posing as an open-minded agnostic. And if not that, I'm assumed to be dumb and ignorant. The closed-mindedness and the ad hominem attacks I would have expected from DailyKos, not FreeRepublic.

All I can say is "been there, done that" - about a year or so ago. If you do not goose-step to the neo-Darwinist party line you are nothing but a dumb Creationist in denial trolling FreeRepublic whose only goal is to torment the enlightened Darwinist oracles. Anybody caught attempting to think outside of Darwin's Box will be severely reprimanded – “Bring in the Comfy Chair” – oops, wrong skit.

847 posted on 12/08/2005 6:04:17 PM PST by Last Visible Dog
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To: VadeRetro; KamperKen

It's like a lame seminar caller that can't be hung up on. Mostly it's tedious, also a bit embarassing and kinda sad 'cause they really think they're pulling it off!


848 posted on 12/08/2005 6:13:27 PM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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It's like a lame seminar caller that can't be hung up on. Mostly it's tedious, also a bit embarassing and kinda sad 'cause they really think they're pulling it off!

Nobody expects the neo-Darwinist Inquisition!!

849 posted on 12/08/2005 6:18:21 PM PST by Last Visible Dog
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To: Stultis
In the "Stop-me-if-I've-posted-this-before-department"... (Ha ha! This is the INTERNET! You can't stop me!)

During impeachment (Clinton, not Johnson), C-Span had two numbers for callers, a Democrat line and a Republican line. During one spell of maybe a week, several callers on the Republican line sounded more or less exactly like the following.

Me an' mah husbin' been Repullicuns fer thurty years but no mower. Kin Starr has gone too far! I don't think them Repullicuns keer about a wommin's raht to chews or mah heyulth care. It's gonna be Dimmacrat all the way frum now on!
The first time, I wasn't sure. By the third time, I was sure.
850 posted on 12/08/2005 6:25:07 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: VadeRetro

"No, your charade is weak." a

Charade? You ad hominem attack, like your "arguments" is weak.


851 posted on 12/08/2005 7:11:40 PM PST by KamperKen
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To: KamperKen
Charade? You ad hominem attack, like your "arguments" is weak.

Excuse me, but I explained in some detail how your charade is weak. A real refutation would show in some detail where my analysis fails.

You could do this wonderfully by showing where exactly mainstream defenses of that awful Darwin person's theory are weak. That would not only help you with your free-thinking credentials, but it would move you closer to a financially rewarding Nobel Prize.

Now, I and others have already posted enough of the mainstream science evidence to give you something to chew on, at you and at other open minds of your sort. I'm reasonably sure your thirsty mind has somehow failed to absorb any of it, though, so I'll lay some at your feet here.

What is weak about this?

852 posted on 12/08/2005 7:22:09 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: KamperKen
Since you like the Cambrian explosion talking point, what about primitive bilaterans turning up 580-600 million years ago? "Deep roots and tiny prototypes."

Makes the explosion rather less explosive, right? What's weak there?

853 posted on 12/08/2005 7:33:43 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: VadeRetro
Pictures, you gotta have pictures!

Here's a cutie:


Herto skulls (Homo sapiens idaltu)

Some new fossils from Herto in Ethiopia, are the oldest known modern human fossils, at 160,000 yrs. The discoverers have assigned them to a new subspecies, Homo sapiens idaltu, and say that they are anatomically and chronologically intermediate between older archaic humans and more recent fully modern humans. Their age and anatomy is cited as strong evidence for the emergence of modern humans from Africa, and against the multiregional theory which argues that modern humans evolved in many places around the world.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/herto.html

854 posted on 12/08/2005 7:34:17 PM PST by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Coyoteman; Ahban
Idaltu? I don't think I'd ever heard of that. It must really be new! Thanks for it!

(But I'm sure there's some reason why it's "weak." My sixth sense is telling me. I'm getting a feeling everyting on this thread is going to be "weak" for as long as someone's convenience demands it.)

There's a freeper named Ahban who has at times staked a lot on this kind of thing not existing, so I have to ping him here.

855 posted on 12/08/2005 7:40:47 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: VadeRetro
Well, here is another good one for him then (and lots more where this handsome creature came from).


Fossil: KNM-ER 3733

Site: Koobi Fora (Upper KBS tuff, area 104), Lake Turkana, Kenya (4, 1)

Discovered By: B. Ngeneo, 1975 (1)

Estimated Age of Fossil: 1.75 mya * determined by Stratigraphic, faunal, paleomagnetic & radiometric data (1, 4)

Species Name: Homo ergaster (1, 7, 8), Homo erectus (3, 4, 7), Homo erectus ergaster (25)

Gender: Female (species presumed to be sexually dimorphic) (1, 8)

Cranial Capacity: 850 cc (1, 3, 4)

Information: Tools found in same layer (8, 9). Found with KNM-ER 406- A. boisei (effectively eliminating single species hypothesis) (1)

Interpretation: Adult (based on cranial sutures, molar eruption and dental wear) (1)

See original source for notes:
Source: http://www.mos.org/evolution/fossils/fossilview.php?fid=33

856 posted on 12/08/2005 7:50:55 PM PST by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Coyoteman
Wikipedia has a nice article on the same thing.

I love it. A God of the Gaps is no God at all.

857 posted on 12/08/2005 7:51:41 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: Coyoteman
Ergaster, for those without scorecards, is a variation off of erectus that not everyone recognizes as a distinct species.

Out for the night.

858 posted on 12/08/2005 7:55:14 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: KamperKen; VadeRetro
You ad hominem attack, like your "arguments" is weak.

Ad hominem? You mean like coyly comparing those doing or teaching mainstream science to Stalin and Mao, as you did here?

Is this an indication of your "open mindedness" to "both sides" of the debate? Or have we just failed to notice that you maintain balance by comparing the antievolution side to Hitler and Genghis Khan?

859 posted on 12/08/2005 8:42:58 PM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: Last Visible Dog
The dogma of Christianity permeated western science many years ago. Now the dogma of Materialism permeates science - and you demonstrated this with your materialism tap-dance.

The dance shoe is on the other foot. From your previous posts, there's no way you don't get this, if you looked up the definition of materialism. Please explain in what manner scientists that believed in the ether were philosophical materialists.

Dogma is unwarranted - or better put: unchallenged - a priori assumptions. For the vast majority of scientific endeavors this is of little to no concern. But on the fringes of science it is important to think "outside of the box" and to not be blocked by unwarranted/untested a priori assumptions.

So, once again you agree with me in an annoying, testy manner. You cannot tentatively formulate theories, later to be tested, if you have a dogmatically materialistic framework--and, of course, modern science constantly does so, as you have previously, and herewith, acknowledged regarding, for example, string theory. Hence, as I may possibly have mentioned, modern science is not materialistic. Materialism is not the opposite of believing in the existence of God; materialism is the opposite of believing in incorporeal ideas of any sort.

And at this point, I tentatively conclude that you are bluffing (in a slightly insane manner where you advocate both sides of the argument at once) with an almost invisibly thin hand, and hoping your air of confidence will carry your argument, or at least wear out your deponent's patience.

860 posted on 12/09/2005 6:58:10 AM PST by donh
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