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?
Again, I have to say...you guys have strange bedfellows.
What is your definition of legitimate?
If you want science and religion to become one, then Giberson and Templeton are your men. If you want these two to remain separate, then these aren't your men.
Giberson is a professor at Eastern Nazarene College, in Quincy, Mass., and promotes Process Theology and Open Theism. I have read several of his articles, both of his co-authored books ("The Unholy War" and "Origins of a Creation Story"...or something like that...I have them on my bookshelf) and formerly subscribed to Science & Theology.
Several of my friends have had Dr. Giberson for a professor. Wesley would be rolling over in his grave, if he knew what Giberson was teaching at a Nazarene Church University.
Templeton, a billionaire investor, is a universalist who believes that the Bible does not have/hold all of the information about God and that "new spiritual information" will be found via scientific discovery until some point omega is reached. He gives away a lot of money in an effort to encourage and advance "religion" in, and through, science (I think VadeRetro would really like him).
What Templeton and Giberson advance is no form of Biblical Christianity, nor is it the pure form of science that you say evolutionists adhere to...But I am not surprised that those at Darwin Central would gravitate towards these guys.
It is either a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend or...your evolutionary views are philosophical and religous in nature, as well. Which is it?
When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.
-- Isaac Asimov's Corollary to Clarke's First Law
Good parody. Nice paranoid ranting with no justification of the inane rhetoric. You sounded just like a creationist without making it over-the-top and unbelievable.
Doing science takes knowledge and practice. It's no more nor less elitist than playing baseball or being a concert pianist or flying an F-16. Those who haven't walked the walk merely babble the talk. (I would never venture to advise Alex Rodriguez on how to swing a bat nor to advise George Bush how to set the flaps on an F-16.)
The John Templeton Foundation does not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge. In addition, we do not support political agendas such as movements to determine (one way or the other) what qualified educators should or should not teach in public schools. ... [T]he Foundation does not support the movement known as Intelligent Design as such, as an intellectual position or as a movement.
That's way less that the odds of shuffled deck of cards coming up in their exact order and you can shuffle a deck of cards all day long.
Reagan didn't operate on that principal, he believed that Americans could be talked to, not insulted or talked down to.
But he didn't look to opinion polls to determine policy, which is what you're suggesting we do with science.
Something not mentioned very often is that DNA readily takes a crystaline form. I can't help thinking this will eventually have some relevance to calculating the odds.
As well it should. The preachers running around lying to kids in museums are despicable.
What's wrong with being elitist? Conservatives (as opposed reactionary populists) are by nature elitist.
Nobody is trying to tell Behe and others they can't present their work to the scientific community to try to get it accepted. You confuse rejection based on lack of merit with stifling.
Each shuffle of a deck of cards has an outcome which is one in 52! (That's 52 factorial, which is 8.06581752 × 1067.) It's a huge number. For comparison, the estimated number of stars in the universe is "only" 1021. Source: this NASA website.
So the odds against any particular card shuffle are truly beyond astronomical. Yet, if you go ahead and shuffle a deck ... ta-DA! There it is. You've obtained a virtually impossible outcome. Similarly, the odds against the history of England being what it has been are probably even greater (I wouldn't even guess at how to quantify that).
The point is that computing the odds against such things doesn't do much for you -- especially when you're dealing with events that have already happened, when the events have become a 100% certainty. I've labeled this kind of thinking the fallacy of retrospective astonishment. It applies to the existence of each of us, when you consider the odds against each specific conception for each of your ancestors. And it also applies to the development of the presently-existing biosphere on Earth.
One can, if so inclined, see the hand of Providence in each such outcome. Or not (as each step along the way is a natural event). There's no scientific answer to such speculations. But there's always Occam's Razor.
Yet here we are. Just like a shuffle of a deck of cards. We're highly improbable. If it were to start all over again, some other shuffle of the cards would take our place. We're unique. Never to be repeated. Irreplaceable. Priceless.
Which might cause some wondering about the conservative credentials of those who toss around "elitist" as though it were a stick to beat someone with...
Thanks for the ping!
Such calculation of odds assumes that life as we know it today is the desired end point. I'd have extremely bad odds on predicting right now what movie will win the 2020 Academy Award for best picture (especially since it hasn't been made yet), but it's pretty good odds that one will. After the 2010 ceremony, do we say "This movie couldn't have won because the odds against it winning were beyond calculation."
I don't support or adhere to ID either...but I would never quote Giberson and/or The John Templeton Foundation in defense of my objection to ID.
In your case, I believe that it is must be an instance of...my enemy's enemy is my friend.
BTW, when creationists do that...you guys call it quote-mining.
Doctor James F. Coppedge is a real-life scientician - clearly the mistake is ours, somewhere. If only we weren't so thick-headed, we'd be able to see how 1 is equivalent to 2.6...
Speciation in progress?
It's not quote mining when you provide a link to the full text.
You should read the reasons that Templeton does not support ID. It's very interesting.
Given infinity, everything has a probability approaching 1.
If you're willing to grant the status of "science" to reasonable inferences based upon unobserved, unrecorded processes, then don't be surprised when certain folks who cannot produce an intelligent designer infer that one exists where organized matter presents itself, and call such inferences "science," too.
Don't forget lab coats.
Dr. Crick won a Noble Prize and he believed in space aliens. In fact, he "theorized" that life on Earth came from aliens via rocket ships...Directed Panspermia.
What were Darwin's education and qualifications and did not he dictate the course of science?
First, pull some numbers out of your arse ...
Huey Long-style conservatism, if that even remotely makes sense...
Given infinity, everything has a probability approaching 1.
Infinite doesn't mean all-encompassing. (There are infinitely many even integers, but the list also excludes infinitely many integers -- the odd ones.)
Even given an infinite universe, some things still might not happen. (Impossibilities, for example; the probability that 1=2 will remain zero.)
But the vast majority of those 52! hands are nothing special, and there are only a few "extraordinary" hands. For example getting all the cards in strict order of suit and number would be an extraordinary hand, and would be astonishing retrospectively without being a fallacy.
This is similar to life. The vast majority of nucleotide combinations are no-results. A very few lead to functional proteins. So we could say there is an extraordinary hand in life.
But astonishment at this is another thing. It would be astonishing to think chemistry could have dealt such an extraordinary hand if chemistry was random. But it isn't, so there is no necessary reason to be astonished by it.
So I think the fallacy being committed is more like "fallacy of astronishment where no astonishment is necessarily due".
Anyone can believe anything they please.
It isn't science unless it is productive. Ideas must suggest research if they claim to be scientific.
No. 100 is the average IQ, not the median IQ (the median defines the point at which half are above and half below). It's very unlikely that the average and the median IQ values are exactly the same--this is only true for a perfect normal distribution. It's probably roughly true, but it's certainly not exactly true.
Just a statistics nit (and common error).
Well, on another thread, someone claimed that numbers bigger than 1050 were impossible; that would affect the history of England a bit. Of course, if the French hadn't won at Hastings, we'd all be speaking English now.
Do you agree with Templeton, Giberson and Science & Theology in their entirety or are you just agreeing with the anti-ID part?
I could see Darwin Central sitting in on one of Templeton's symposiums on the origin of the healing power of prayer (or love, or eternity, or origins) with the New Agers, Buddhists and the like...It would be fun just to watch!
Nothing is more routine than a creationist cutting and pasting a stupid probability of things jumping together all at once from aminos, atoms, subatomic particles, or whatever, and omitting to fix the superscripts. It must have happened 1720 times by now.
Are you suggesting research for Dr. Crick's "theory" (word used in the less concrete sense...I know) of Directed Panspermia?
It's very unlikely that the average and the median IQ values are exactly the same--this is only true for a perfect normal distribution.
Your general point about medians and means is correct, but it's not true that the mean and median are the same only for a normal distribution. Trivial counterexample: if half the population had IQs of 99 and the other half had IQs of 101, the mean and the median would both be 100. You can think up more complex variants yourself.
If you look at the manifesto of the Discovery Institute it is clear that they are not promoting a theory in the sense that the big bang is a theory. They are trying to change the definition of science, to remove empiricism from science.
Speciation in progress?
Below are the facts.
p. 73-80, Table 6.5: National IQ based on arithmetic means calculated by Lynn and Vanhanen (2002), in parentheses PISA scores of "mathematical competence" (Prenzel, Manfred et al. (eds).: PISA 2003. Münster: Waxmann 2004, p. 70, Table 2.9; or: PISA 2003: A Profile of Student Performance in Mathematics) , transformed into IQ (PISA scores, mean 500, SD 100, have to be transformed into IQ values, mean 100, SD 15, by adding or subtracting the deviation from the mean in the relationship 100 : 15 = 6,67, that means PISA 433 corresponds to IQ 90, PISA 500 to IQ 100, PISA 567 to IQ 110):
Afghanistan IQ 83, Albania IQ 90 (78), Algeria IQ 84, Angola IQ 69, Antigua and Barbuda IQ 75, Argentina IQ 96 (82), Armenia IQ 93, Australia IQ 98 (104) Aborigines (92) Non-Aborigines (105), Austria IQ 102 (101), Azerbaijan IQ 87, Bahamas IQ 78, Bahrain IQ 83, Bangladesh IQ 81, Barbados IQ 78, Belarus IQ 96, Belgium IQ 100 (104) Eupen-Malmedy (102) Flanders (108) Wallonia (100), Belize IQ 83, Benin IQ 69, Bhutan IQ 78, Bolivia IQ 85, Botswana IQ 72, Brazil IQ 87 (78), Brunei IQ 92, Bulgaria IQ 93 (87), Burkina Faso IQ 67, Burma IQ 86, Burundi IQ 70, Cambodia IQ 89, Cameroon IQ 70, Canada IQ 97 (105) Alberta (107) British Columbia (106) Manitoba (104) Newfoundland (103) New Brunswick (102) Nova Scotia (102) Ontario (104) Prince Edward Island (100) Quebec (106) Saskatchewan (102), Cape Verde IQ 78, Central African Republic IQ 68, Chad IQ 72, Chile IQ 93 (81), China IQ 100, Colombia IQ 89, Comoros IQ 79, Congo (Brazzaville) IQ 73, Congo (Zaire) IQ 65, Costa Rica IQ 91, Croatia IQ 90, Cuba IQ 85, Cyprus IQ 92, Czech Republic IQ 97 (102), Denmark IQ 98 (102), Djibouti IQ 68, Dominica IQ 75, Dominican Republic IQ 84, Ecuador IQ 80, Egypt IQ 83, El Salvador IQ 84, Equatorial Guinea IQ 59, Eritrea IQ 68, Estonia IQ 97, Ethiopia IQ 63, Fiji IQ 84, Finland IQ 97 (107) Finns (107) Swedish minority (105), France IQ 98 (102), Gabon IQ 66, Gambia IQ 65, Georgia IQ 93, Germany IQ 102 (100) Immigrants from Turkey, descendants of first generation, born and educated in Germany (86) PISA 2000/PISA 2003: Baden-Wuerttemberg (102/101) Bavaria (102/104) Berlin (-/98) Brandenburg (96/98) Bremen (93/95) Hamburg (-/97) Hesse (98/99) Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (98/99) Lower Saxony (97/99) North Rhine-Westphalia (97/97) Rhineland-Palatinat (98/99) Saarland (98/99) Saxony (100/103) Saxony-Anhalt (97/100) Schleswig-Holstein (99/99) Thuringia (99/101), Ghana IQ 71, Greece IQ 92 (92), Grenada IQ 75, Guatemala IQ 79, Guinea IQ 66, Guinea-Bissau IQ 66, Guayana IQ 84, Haiti IQ 72, Honduras IQ 84, Hongkong IQ 107 (107), Hungary IQ 99 (99), Iceland IQ 98 (102), India IQ 81, Indonesia IQ 89 (79), Iran IQ 84, Iraq IQ 87, Ireland IQ 93 (100), Israel IQ 94 (96), Italy IQ 102 (95) Italy South (89) Lombardy (103) Piedmont (99) South Tyrol - German Schools (105) Tuscany (99) Veneto (102), Ivory Coast IQ 71, Jamaica 72, Japan IQ 105 (105), Jordan IQ 87, Kazakhstan IQ 93, Kenya IQ 72, Kiribati IQ 84, Korea (North) IQ 104, Korea (South) IQ 106 (106), Kuwait IQ 83, Kyrgyzystan IQ 87, Laos IQ 89, Latvia IQ 97 (97), Lebanon IQ 86, Lesotho IQ 72, Liberia IQ 65, Libya IQ 84, Liechtenstein (105), Lithuania IQ 97, Luxembourg IQ 101 (99), Macao (104), Macedonia IQ 93 (80), Madagascar IQ 79, Malawi IQ 71, Malaysia iQ 92, Maldives IQ 81, Mali IQ 69, Malta IQ 95, Marshall Islands IQ 84, Mauritania IQ 74, Mauritius IQ 81, Mexico IQ 87 (83), Micronesia IQ 84, Moldova IQ 95, Mongolia IQ 98, Morocco IQ 85, Mozambique IQ 72, Namibia IQ 72, Nepal IQ 78, Netherlands IQ 102 (106), New Zealand IQ 100 (103) Whites (109) Maori (100), Nicaragua IQ 84, Niger IQ 67, Nigeria IQ 67, Norway IQ 98 (99), Oman IQ 83, Pakistan IQ 81, Panama IQ 85, Papua New Guinea IQ 84, Paraguay IQ 85, Peru IQ 90 (76), Philippines IQ 86, Poland IQ 99 (99), Portugal IQ 95 (95), Puerto Rico IQ 84, Qatar IQ 78, Romania IQ 94, Russia IQ 96 (95), Rwanda IQ 70, Samoa (Western) IQ 87, Sao Tome/Principe IQ 59, Saudi Arabia IQ 83, Senegal IQ 65, Serbia IQ 93 (and Montenegro 90), Seychelles IQ 81, Sierra Leone IQ 64, Singapore IQ 103, Slovakia IQ 96 (100), Slovenia IQ 95, Solomon Islands IQ 84, Somalia IQ 84, South Africa IQ 72, Spain IQ 97 (98) Basque Country (100) Castile-Leon (100) Catalonia (99), Sri Lanka IQ 81, St. Kitts and Nevis IQ 75, St. Lucia IQ 75, St. Vincent/Grenadines IQ 75, Sudan IQ 72, Suriname IQ 89, Swaziland iQ 72, Sweden IQ 101 (101), Switzerland IQ 101 (104) German Swiss (106) French Swiss (104) Ticino (102), Syria IQ 87, Taiwan IQ 104, Tajikistan IQ 87, Tanzania IQ 72, Thailand (87), Togo IQ 69, Tonga IQ 87, Trinidad and Tobago IQ 80, Tunisia IQ 84 (79), Turkey IQ 90 (88), Turkmenistan IQ 87, Uganda IQ 73, Ukraine IQ 96, United Arab Emirates IQ 83, United Kingdom IQ 100 (in 2000 IQ 104, no representative sampling in 2003) Northern Ireland (102) Scotland (104) Wales (100), United States of America IQ 98 (97) IQ averages in US States (attention, you have to subtract 3 points to correct these data to a mean of 97), Uruguay IQ 96 (88), Uzbekistan IQ 87, Vanuatu IQ 84, Venezuela IQ 89, Vietnam IQ 96, Yemen IQ 83, Zambia IQ 77, Zimbabwe IQ 66
There is such ongoing research. There's an article in a recent Scientific American on the subject.
I was taking the data from an old WAIS manual, which has the mean, mode and median the same. I think the test was designed--or re-normed--to produce such a standard normal curve. But, in actuality, the number I used was a guess based upon those old norms.
How did they do this? Was the same test used for all countries?
Yeah...speciation in progress.
The infinite monkeys still stands. They will create not just all shakespeare, but every written work ever created, and in order of creation. If a probability is more than zero, it will probably happen given infinity.
(Impossibilities, for example; the probability that 1=2 will remain zero.)
|a = 1, b = 1|
|Therefore:||a = b|
|*a||a2 = ab|
|-b2||a2-b2 = ab-b2|
|factor||(a+b)(a-b) = b(a-b)|
|cancel(a-b)||a+b = b|
|Put original values in||1+1 = 1|
|Result||2 = 1|
Have a nice day. :)