Skip to comments.SMU profs protest intelligent design conference
Posted on 03/24/2007 10:28:12 PM PDT by SirLinksalot
Professors opposed to the Bush library aren't the only angry faculty members at Southern Methodist University this week.
Science professors upset about a presentation on "Intelligent Design" fired blistering letters to the administration, asking that the event be shut down.
The Darwin vs. Design conference, co-sponsored by the SMU law schools Christian Legal Society, will say that a designer with the power to shape the cosmos is the best explanation for aspects of life and the universe. The event is produced by the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based organization that says it has scientific evidence for its claims.
The anthropology department at SMU begged to differ:
"These are conferences of and for believers and their sympathetic recruits," said the letter sent to administrators by the department. "They have no place on an academic campus with their polemics hidden behind a deceptive mask."
Similar letters were sent by the biology and geology departments.
The university is not going to cancel the event, interim provost Tom Tunks said Friday. The official response is a statement that the event to be held in McFarlin Auditorium April 13-14 is not endorsed by the school:
"Although SMU makes its facilities available as a community service, and in support of the free marketplace of ideas, providing facilities for those programs does not imply SMU's endorsement of the presenters' views," the statement said.
The school also will review its policies about who is allowed to hold events on campus, Dr. Tunks said.
The size of the dispute reflects two ongoing battles about academic freedom and responsibility.
One is local: The concern that some SMU professors have that the proposed Bush library and an accompanying policy institute would create the impression that the school tilts politically toward the positions of the current administration.
(Excerpt) Read more at dallasnews.com ...
Wonder what John Wesley would think of this...
Nice to see that the school didn't cancel the event as the left-wing professors desired.
The Left is decidedly intolerant of alternative viewpoints, as evidenced by the responses of the most vocal profs.
I don't believe in Intelligent Design, but I always find it hilarious when professors and teachers attempt to squash opposing points of view in a free society. Next week these same people will be whining about someone trying to "silence dissent" when they try to teach how evil the USA is, or something.
Sure, but how does that conflict with evolution?
What these ID "scientists" have to do is declare a consensus on the question, and then the Lefty "Global Warming" crowd would jump onboard and fully support the idea.
Does it make no difference to you that ID is religion dishonestly masquerading as science? Its not exactly a secret. Check out the wedge document. It spells out the Trojan horse approach that the Discovery Institute developed a couple of decades ago.
Within science there are not two "opposing points of view" to debate. Rather there is science, which relies of evidence and theory, and the ability to make accurate predictions. Opposing this is a particular strain of religion which seeks to overrule the findings of science because those findings do not conform to that religious belief. Creation "science" distorts science in any way necessary to make things come out to fit, for example, the Biblical version of things.
This latter approach is not science, and deserves no role in scientific debate.
If we can debate such "soft sciences" as psychotherapy, and such ideas as "fuzzy logic" I don't see a problem with ID being DEBATED. Where's the harm in discussion?
If the world, the universe, and all life were created by God, as many (including myself) believe, then no scientific debate would be complete without discussing how Intelligent Design has worked to form all that we can know.
You don't believe that it's possible, but all the evidence shows that life cannot have been some grand coincidence, which means it must have been purposely created.
Your continued denial of this fact does not make you a scientifically minded rational thinker. It simply makes you a close-minded denier of the obvious.
You have a cognitive dissonance that borders on the fanatical.
You don't believe that it's possible, but all the evidence shows that life cannot have been some grand coincidence, which means it must have been purposely created.
You are arguing a religious point, not a scientific point.
If you want to argue within the realm of science, you need to bring scientific evidence.
You're right in that it is not science. It should not be taught or debated as such. It is philosophy. I believe philosophy can be debated on college campuses. And if a philosophy has religious or areligious underpinnings, that's not really new or novel, is it?
What rules of debate will you use? Science, or apologetics. And where will you conduct the debate?
Unless you can agree on a set of rules for the debate you will have nothing more than these FR threads.
The real debate in science is conducted in scientific journals and at scientific conferences, using the scientific method. Because it is based entirely on religion, ID has no part in that debate.
Who died and made you the Setter of What Can Be Debated In An Open Society?
The rules for a debate would be set by those engaging in the debate. Why is this such a controversial idea to you--there are debates about ethics, morality, science vs. religion all the time. No one's forcing you to accept the groundrules for any debate, and there are plenty of religious believers who would agree to a science-based debate, and scientists who would agree to any variation of groundrules simply to take on believers in ID.
You claim a completely false authority to set debate rules. There's no sillier concept when the debate is between believers due to scientific evidence and believers due to religious FAITH.
Why is this so hard for you to understand?
What difference does it make
"Left wing"? It's scientists versus lawyers
In science, a debate has to be about the evidence, and to use the scientific method.
Other debates use other methods and rules.
It is useless for a scientist to debate creationists who just wave away any facts they find inconvenient.
The age of the earth is a good example. Science favors about 4.5 billion years based on several lines of evidence. Young earth creationists, with no good scientific backing, often play silly games with the decay rates to try to argue against this. When their arguments are finally beaten down, they turn to something else equally ridiculous. But because their arguments really stem from religious belief, rather than scientific data, they cannot accept the findings of science. Why should scientists waste time arguing with them?
Who's forcing them to?
Stick to the point of this thread--no one is being forced to debate anything. And whether you cop to it or not, there is absolutely nothing wrong with arguing a scientific position vs. a philosophical one.
This is so simple, but you just seem to want to argue.
Sorry to have to tell you this, but you are absolutely wrong about the way science works.
No theory is ever proved in science.
Evolution is a theory, and that is the highest level in science. With additional documentation and support, a theory does not graduate to "proved," or "fact" or "law."
There is nothing wrong with it, but it is apples and oranges.
How many philosophical opinions does it take to show a fact is not a fact?
Thats why evolution will always be a theory and nothing more. Case closed.
Well of course its a theory. What did you expect it to be? And what more would anyone want it to be?
Your posts are apples to my oranges--are you actually reading what I post, or just typing whatever comes to mind?
You've not addressed the point I keep repeating, and I have to wonder why.
["If you want to argue within the realm of science, you need to bring scientific evidence."]
No scientific evidence would be sufficient, coyoteman, as we both know. Your mind is made up, and the facts aren't about to get in your way.
Over and over, you've been presented with the facts that show it is clearly impossible for life to have been spontaneously formed by coincidence, which only leaves room for creation.
You choose to reject that, on grounds that you simply refuse to accept this as scientific enough for you.
You also refuse to accept as scientific enough, the idea that where there is a clock, there must have been a clockmaker.
I don't know what could be less scientific of you.
The problem is, evolution is taught as fact in schools and universities. If it was taught as theory and nothing more there wouldn't be a problem.
["Do you see any similarities with the global warming wackos who say the global warming debate is over when in fact it is just beginning,.."]
The similarities are legion. Debate in both, by those who are skeptical, is not merely refuted, it is treated as heresy. I find that very ironic.
No, scientists don't fear open debate. In contrast, the Left does fear it. Global Warming. Intelligent Design.
Tell a Lefty that the Sun is warming Mars and they want to shut you up. Tell that same Lefty that only Intelligent Design explains modern genetically-altered pigs that have been made to produce human growth hormone and they again want to shut you up (even though it's obvious that Man designed the pigs).
The modern Left fears open debate.
That's not scientific.
Nonsense. Only Intelligent Design explains genetically altered animals such as pigs that have been made to produce Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
That's not religion. That's modern science.
Evolution can't explain those pigs, by the way...
Fair enough. Here's scientific evidence:
Now, which theory best explains how the above pig came to have the gene for producing Human Growth Hormone:
#1. Evolution or
#2. Intelligent Design
There is just no reasoning with the soup creation myth zealots. :-)
Many schools with religious names became humanist a long time ago.
Methodist In Name Only.
SMU is the school of the first lady.
She studied to be a librarian there (work in public education).
Schools like this have become places for humanistic training instead of Christian training.
He would probably think that ID con men are a disgrace to both science and religion. Producing no results or evidence, only throwing talking points and B.S. against the wall and hoping something eventually sticks that will topple Evolution Theory.
The Discovery Institute is making a lot of money by selling books, dvds and charging speaking fees for it's fellows, in the meantime.
And Wesley might also thank God that only Behe is showing up, and not a real idiot ne'er-do-well like William Dembski. Billy would really taint the good reputation of SMU; they would never be able to break the association with fringe cranks and anti-science anti-intellectualism a visit from him would bring upon them.
How interesting that the administration distances itself from this conference. The idea that God created the world, as plainly stated in Genesis 1:1 is clearly a subversive notion at Southern Methodist University.
In Jesus's day, the evil crowd shouted, "Give us Barabas!" Today's cry on formerly Christian campuses is, "Give us Darwin!"
Wonder what all those elderly Methodists, who have so generously endowed SMU, will think when they see that God, the Creator, is no longer honored there.
I think you may be a day late.
Darwin's Theory, too, is less "scientific" than meets the eye. He has made a theory that explains the "HISTORICAL" record. It cannot be experimentally validated; in other words we cannot create human beings in laboratories using the methods of natural selection. We can only collect historical data and ask if this data fits the theory. If it doesn't perhaps we modify or update the theory. To prove its uniqueness, that it is the only possible theory would be nearly impossible.
Lastly one shouldn't confuse the "True" with the "Provable." Even in mathematics Goedel proved that any system is either incomplete or inconsistent. In other words either there exist truths that are not provable or there are contradiction that are both provable.
A theory in science is the "end point". Gravity is a theory as well. BTW, there is more evidence for The Theory of Evolution than there is for Gravitational Theory.
That's just not true. The "Earth is flat" was a theory. It turned out to not be the end point. As for Theory of Evolution evidence, there's no evidence there that wouldn't also support ID, but the converse isn't true.
For instance, there *is* evidence that supports ID that does not support Evolution. See post #29 above.
The plain truth is that Evolution fails to explain modern genetically altered species. Only Intelligent Design explains them.
And that's the end point.
See post #29.
"No scientific evidence would be sufficient, coyoteman, as we both know. Your mind is made up, and the facts aren't about to get in your way.
This is plain incorrect. If the scientific evidence against some hypothesis was convincing, a scientist, such as coyoteman, would be the first to accept that evidence. If I understand your comment correctly, you are not arguing with scientific evidence however, you are arguing with the use of misapplied probability.
"Over and over, you've been presented with the facts that show it is clearly impossible for life to have been spontaneously formed by coincidence, which only leaves room for creation.
This statement has a number of problems with it.
First off you are claiming that what you have presented are scientific facts yet they are far from even the common use definition of fact. (Again I am referring to the common arguments against Abiogenesis)
Second, probability calculations will not determine what is impossible unless the probability is 0. Anything more than 0 and the phenomenon is still possible. What they can do, and are limited to, is the determination of the likelihood of some phenomenon occurring given a specific set of initial assumptions, conditions and constraints. If any of those are inaccurate the calculation is also inaccurate.
Another problem is the assumption you make that life has to have formed spontaneously, rather than by slowly and incrementally bridging between non-life, pre-life, protolife and then eventually life. This assumption is a direct result of your assumption that life is 'essential' (as an essentialist would describe it).
Yet another problem with your argument is the assumption that life would have formed by 'coincidence'. Life is a by product of the complexity of specific chemical reactions and the resulting molecules. The forming of molecules from atoms is deterministic as is the formation of more complex molecules from simpler ones. Many of the building blocks of RNA are found in space, including a number of amino acids, sugars, and alcohols. That they are found in space indicates that they are easily formed whenever the requisite elements are in contact. Since the majority of chemicals formed in space are the result of the complex atom building within stars and supernovae, the contact between elements as a result of this construction would not be a coincidence. This of course assumes you are using the term 'coincidence' as meaning 'chance' not 'undirected'.
"You choose to reject that, on grounds that you simply refuse to accept this as scientific enough for you.
The main proponents of ID also understand that the 'evidence' you want to put forward is not scientific, which is why Johnson, Behe, Dembski and others want to change the definition of science, and therefore the methodology used by science, to be more ID friendly. Behe even admitted in court that the changes necessary to make their evidence for ID fit scientific methodology would also make Astrology part of science.
"You also refuse to accept as scientific enough, the idea that where there is a clock, there must have been a clockmaker.
Indeed, when you find a watch you know there is a watchmaker. However you have not shown that biology is a watch. Nor have you correctly considered why we know a watch has a watchmaker. We do not identify artifacts simply by their complexity, in fact many artifacts identified as of human construction are anything but complex. On the other hand, unless you are making an argument by definition, which a useless thing to do, complexity is not the sole purview of intelligence.
"I don't know what could be less scientific of you.
Why, because he doesn't subscribe to your definition of what is scientific?
Which doesn't mean that the remaining 99.999% of species are explained by ID.
You can not say that the pigs were produced by intelligent design, you can only say that the pigs were modified by intelligent design.
"That's not religion. That's modern science.
Genetic manipulation is science. CM did not say otherwise. He was referring to the idea that all life, starting 3.8 bya is the result of intelligent design. That we can currently modify the genomes of animals to get what we want shows that it is possible for intelligence to produce variation in life, it does not give any evidence what so ever that the life on Earth is the result of ID. We need physical evidence that it happened that way not evidence that it is possible. All scientists recognize that genetic manipulation by intelligence is possible. What we don't believe is that there is any independent evidence that shows that is what happened.
"Evolution can't explain those pigs, by the way...
Evolution can and does explain the pigs used as the basis for these new ones. We just modified the genome, we did not create it. I'm not saying that we could not have created it, nor that some other intelligence could not have created it, I am saying that your argument, as you present it, is jumping to unwarranted conclusions.
There you go again.
The pig does show that ID can produce changes to a genome. It does not show that all life is the result of ID. Showing that it is possible is not the same as showing that it is universally true.
Why is requiring ID follow the same processes and conditions as every other science being a zealot?
Just as an experiment, do the calculations necessary to produce an accurate probability for the gradual incremental change from a simple chemical complex we would define as nonliving to the more complex chemical complex we define as alive and compare that probability to the probability that an all powerful, all knowing, all encompassing being exists. Tell me what you get and show me your work.
I have to hand it to you. Based on your past posting history, I had you pegged as a moron, but now you've bested our best. My hat's off to you.
ID is supposed to be able to differentiate between the intelligently designed and the naturally occurring. If they can't then the conclusion that life is designed is an unfounded conclusion.
"Darwin's Theory, too, is less "scientific" than meets the eye. He has made a theory that explains the "HISTORICAL" record. It cannot be experimentally validated; in other words we cannot create human beings in laboratories using the methods of natural selection.
Where do you get the idea that we would have to replicate the creation of a organism, let alone a specific organism, for the study of evolution to be science?
The 'replicable experiments' done in a lab does not refer to the replication of the phenomenon under study but that the test produced in the lab be replicable and the results be consistent. What is required is that the tests be broadly and specifically applicable to the question being asked.
As far as selection is concerned, all that is necessary is that the tests be formed in such a way that it can be shown that selecting for a specific trait will produce changes in the dominant genotype and phenotype of a population. In other words that selection will maximize the number of organisms with the changes and minimize those without. This has been done many times. We certainly do not have to build a specific organism from scratch.
By the way, Darwin's original theory is just the beginning of what has become a much larger and encompassing set of theories. Restricting the modern study of evolution to Darwin's ideas is to create a straw man.
"We can only collect historical data and ask if this data fits the theory. If it doesn't perhaps we modify or update the theory. To prove its uniqueness, that it is the only possible theory would be nearly impossible.
This is true of all sciences. Science does not try to determine if an explanation is 'true' it determines which of a number of explanations best fits the evidence. Testing of a hypothesis is always done with respect to another hypothesis, even if that hypothesis is simple - it didn't happen that way'. The hypothesis, and the resulting theory are based on the inability to falsify, in the Sober sense, the hypothesis under question. Your statement does not in any way reduce the modern theories of Evolution to anything but science.
Sequential data probability is one area where we have already done the math (and yes, the work is shown). The math alone completely rules out the Theory of Evolution, by the way.
Ever heard of genetic engineering?
Evolution explains how the pig came to be a pig.
Intelligent design explains nothing. It is based on religious belief, and has no explanatory power in science. It is a dishonest attempt by the Discovery Institute to sneak creation "science" into science classes following the Supreme Court decision of the late 1980s that tossed it out.
(While we're on the subject, you want some lipstick for that pig?)
Ah yes, an attack on me from the man who once tried to tell the world that bacteria do not have recessive traits: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1326116/posts?page=680#680
Dear Child, you *failed* to answer which theory (I even listed the multiple choice options to simplify your obviously Herculean task) explains how the pig came to have the human growth hormone gene.
Do you realize that you will have to dance in every post that you make to me (and I've heard all of the common flee-from-the-debate-excuses) until you *answer* that query?!