Skip to comments.Academia's Assault on Intelligent Design
Posted on 05/28/2007 5:44:20 PM PDT by SirLinksalot
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Newton’s statement about intelligent design was written in The Principia, perhaps the single most important scientific treatise of all time. It was a simple unequivocal statement of fact as Newton saw it, and your attempt to twist it is pathetic.
By the way, the “God did it” explanation is really not much less “scientific” than “evolution did it.” Read what a Nobel-laureate physicist says about it:
Much of present-day biological knowledge is ideological. A key symptom of ideological thinking is the explanation that has no implications and cannot be tested. I call such logical dead ends antitheories because they have exactly the opposite effect of real theories: they stop thinking rather than stimulate it. Evolution by natural selection, for instance, which Charles Darwin originally conceived as a great theory, has lately come to function more as an antitheory, called upon to cover up embarrassing experimental shortcomings and legitimize findings that are at best questionable and at worst not even wrong. Your protein defies the laws of mass action? Evolution did it! Your complicated mess of chemical reactions turns into a chicken? Evolution! The human brain works on logical principles no computer can emulate? Evolution is the cause! —Robert B. Laughlin, Nobel-laureate physicist
I have heard many people assert that it is possible to simultaneously believe in God and in "the theory of evolution." But this is mere assertion. Usually it is accompanied by an argument that "so-snd-so" has no problem with it. But that is not even a feeble attempt at explanation.
Can anyone here give a meaningful explanation of how this conundrum is resolved? How can nature be inintended if by "God" we mean an intending being who is the source of all things?
Well, not a bad effort at all.
Koestler's The Lotus and the Robot offers some interesting insights, and there's this especially interesting treatment of the topic titled Netti Netti (trans. Neither this nor that.), which argues that there is a middle between two apparently opposing concepts (e.g., faith vs science) which is actually neither one. Obviously, the book is a bit weird. If you can visualize infinity you may be able follow every word and concept---I struggled. Then there was the improbable Time magazine's cover article (may be in the late ?60's) which showed a graphic of a mountain with the pinnacle labelled something like "Understanding the Universe," or the "Meaning of it All." On one slope was scientist crawling to the top, on the other the mountaineer was a theologian. The article inside argued, effectively, that despite epistemological differences both were asking similar questions and were reaching the same, ultimate conclusions. And, lastly, don't forget Descartes.
Multiple intelligent designers? As a scientist I must ask, where's the data that there's even one?
Sorry, I intended "how can nature be unintended," obviously (there's a stupid joke lurking in there somewhere).
Yeah, it's a jungle out there, that's for sure.
But don't blame a perversion of a concept upon the original version. You'll get yourself into an untenable Oedipal conflict, i.e., since the father had sex with mom, so will the son. "Applied Darwinism," has nothing to do with Darwinism, except as practiced by those who perverted the original example.
Every one I know is still researching evolution, except for my deceased physicist-friend, Nobel Laureate Owen Chamberlain, who gave the topic little thought. But, I digress...we're not here to defend evolution. And no one I know thinks they have the answers on that topic. Such is the nature of science---ever-correcting.
Still, no scientific data exist that support ID.
“Still, no scientific data exist that support ID.” —Rudder
“Overwhelmingly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie around us ...” Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)
Well, folks, we have a dispute here between Kelvin and Rudder. What’s amazing is that we know so much more now about the amazing complexity of life and nature than was known in Kelvin’s time, yet Rudder can still make such truly asinine statements.
I think I’ll go with Kelvin on this one, even though he apparently did not understand “scientific principles.”
You anti-ID dogmatists are foolish beyond words.
Ah, yes. That statement, in and of itself, is "proof" of ID.
I admit my ignorance on data which prompted Kelvin to make such a statement as a scientific statement.
Kindly tell me what were the data.
Please post Kelvin's data which justified his statement quoted by you.
Thanks a bunch.
Jeez, I'm up too late. Time flies, etc.,...
“I admit my ignorance on data which prompted Kelvin to make such a statement as a scientific statement.”
Well, that’s a step in the right direction.
“Kindly tell me what were the data.”
Kelvin discovered the atomic structure of matter if I am not mistaken. He also obviously made major contributions to thermodynamics. Try looking there, and quit making a fool of yourself.
I get the impression that your mind is about the size of a thimble.
Great points yourself. I’m frazzled, going to bed.
We’re talking about intelligent design. We’re not talking about the straw man that you have constructed of the “Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute addresses intelligent design, and so did many great scientists, including Newton and Kelvin. The fact that you are clueless about the history of science does not give you exclusive rights to the term “intelligent design.” Oh, by the way, I realize this is against the rules, but I have a very hard time hiding my contempt for fools like you.
“Okay, I think that crosses the line into ad hominem personal attack, and is obviously without merit.”
As is your asinine assertion about the lack of evidence for ID. You’ve swallowed the PC party line — hook, line, and sinker. Ever heard the expression “The emperor has no clothes.” Well, your emperor is naked as a jay bird, and I just hope people like you wake up to that fact someday.
Too late for rebuttal...back at you tomorrow.
The problem is that the "original version" and not a perversion of it, is what led to eugenics. The notion that any variation is inheritable (Darwin) is precisely that notion which makes pathological science like eugenics and evolutionary psychology possible. Despite Mendel and all the advances in genetics, Darwinians still think in terms of Darwinian heredity, even today.
What the F is "Darwinian heredity?"
Even today, even?
The notion that any variation is inheritable.
I never heard of that notion. G’night.
It's best if you remain in your happy little bubble.
I understand the difference between a statistical inference and "evidence." What I object to in this debate is the heated assertion that a statistical inference -- in this and apparently only this -- case cannot be admitted into the discussion.
That sounds a lot like your assertion: Darwinism isn't about truth, and truth is a word best avoided entirely in Darwinism. On this point you are in full agreement with many non-Darwinians here. Why complain about it?
Science is not about TRUTH - Coyoteman
Truth: This is a word best avoided entirely in physics [and science] - Coyoteman Cut & Paste
How about a different intelligent design for each dimension of space/time, or each “universe”? (Just exploring the unknown here.)
“If you don’t buy into the group’s beliefs, don’t expect the group to give you a lifetime guarantee of employment, is all I’m saying.”
So Christians should be excluded from tenured public university positions?
This is hardly a scientific critique of Behe’s work.
I was looking for something specific, like why the following statements are not “scientific.” I’ve studies much science at the undergraduate and graduate level. Much of what passes for science in universities does not even approach Behe’s level of discourse.
Here’s an example-
“To Darwin vision was a black box, but today, after the hard, cumulative work of many biochemists, we are approaching answers to the question of sight. Here is a brief overview of the biochemistry of vision. When light first strikes the retina, a photon interacts with a molecule called 11-cis-retinal, which rearranges within picoseconds to trans-retinal. The change in the shape of retinal forces a change in the shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which the retinal is tightly bound. The protein’s metamorphosis alters its behavior, making it stick to another protein called transducin. Before bumping into activated rhodopsin, transducin had tightly bound a small molecule called GDP. But when transducin interacts with activated rhodopsin, the GDP falls off and a molecule called GTP binds to transducin. (GTP is closely related to, but critically different from, GDP.)
GTP-transducin-activated rhodopsin now binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When attached to activated rhodopsin and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the ability to chemically cut a molecule called cGMP (a chemical relative of both GDP and GTP). Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the phosphodiesterase lowers its concentration, like a pulled plug lowers the water level in a bathtub.
Another membrane protein that binds cGMP is called an ion channel. It acts as a gateway that regulates the number of sodium ions in the cell. Normally the ion channel allows sodium ions to flow into the cell, while a separate protein actively pumps them out again. The dual action of the ion channel and pump keeps the level of sodium ions in the cell within a narrow range. When the amount of cGMP is reduced because of cleavage by the phosphodiesterase, the ion channel closes, causing the cellular concentration of positively charged sodium ions to be reduced. This causes an imbalance of charge across the cell membrane which, finally, causes a current to be transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain. The result, when interpreted by the brain, is vision.
My explanation is just a sketchy overview of the biochemistry of vision. Ultimately, though, this is what it means to “explain” vision. This is the level of explanation for which biological science must aim. In order to truly understand a function, one must understand in detail every relevant step in the process. The relevant steps in biological processes occur ultimately at the molecular level, so a satisfactory explanation of a biological phenomenon such as vision, or digestion, or immunity must include its molecular explanation.
Now that the black box of vision has been opened it is no longer enough for an “evolutionary explanation” of that power to consider only the anatomical structures of whole eyes, as Darwin did in the nineteenth century, and as popularizers of evolution continue to do today. Each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple actually involves staggeringly complicated biochemical processes that cannot be papered over with rhetoric. Darwin’s simple steps are now revealed to be huge leaps between carefully tailored machines. Thus biochemistry offers a Lilliputian challenge to Darwin. Now the black box of the cell has been opened and a Lilliputian world of staggering complexity stands revealed. It must be explained.”
So, to paraphrase your own words, for evolution to rise to the level of science, scientists would need to repeatedly replicate random evolutionary changes from one species to another?
How exactly does one ensure pure randomness in a clinically controlled setting? There mere fact that a study is underway implies intelligent design.
I don't need to. I believe the same thing. Are you sure you're responding to the right post? I also believe in the fallability of mankind.
I should have pinged the other poster. I was just supporting your comment.
You quoted me as saying:
Let me get your argument straight... Darwin's theory of evolution... is hogwash.
When my original post was:
[Marx] can justly be compared with contemporaries like Faraday, Darwin, and Pasteur, who are still influencing our lives and thoughts, because their ideas were important not only for their own time, but for many generations to come. These men applied scientific method to new fields. So did Marx -- J.B.S Haldane.
Let me get your argument straight. Because Darwin's ideas are still influencing our lives and thoughts, as are Faraday's, Pasters', and Marx's, that is proof that Darwin's theory of evolution, as modified by 150 years of scientific advances by tens of thousands of scientists, is hogwash.
Is that what you were trying to peddle?
Then you misquote me again on the roll of truth in science. Here is a definition from my FR homepage:
Truth: This is a word best avoided entirely in physics [and science] except when placed in quotes, or with careful qualification. Its colloquial use has so many shades of meaning from it seems to be correct to the absolute truths claimed by religion, that its use causes nothing but misunderstanding. Someone once said "Science seeks proximate (approximate) truths." Others speak of provisional or tentative truths. Certainly science claims no final or absolute truths. Source.A little different from what you are claiming I said, eh?
BTW, to those who think that Guillermo Gonzalez does not deserve tenure because he believes the fine-tuning of the universe and the conditions that create life on our privileged planet are better explained by intelligent design, you might want to ask yourselves why the following professors who endorsed his work are TENURED :
1) Owen Gingerich
Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Author of The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus
2)Michael J. Crowe
Cavanaugh Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame
3) Philip Skell
Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Physics, Pennsylvania State University
Member, National Academy of Sciences
4) Henry F. Schaefer III
Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry
Director, Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry, University of Georgia
Five-Time Nobel Prize Nominee
5) Simon Conway Morris FRS is a British paleontologist. He made his reputation with a very detailed and careful study of the Burgess Shale fossils, an exploit celebrated in Stephen Jay Gould’s Wonderful Life. Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology in the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University.
Just to name a few...
Are these respected scientists loonies too ? Are they people who don’t know what they’re talking about when they endorse Gonzalez’s work ?
Yes, we adapt. We adapt to the environment we live in and the universe as it is. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be here. The universe does not adapt to us.
Which leads to you previous post. If various physical constants were different, the universe would not form as it did and we would not be here. We would be in a different universe, one that allows life to form. The anthropic principle most explicitly does not say the universe was made to suit us. We just happen to be living at a time a place where it does.
I just cant see how the evidence for the anthropic principle exists anywhere except for pure conjecture. If Krauss cant get his view of string theory to work, maybe its because it doesnt. I dont see how it follows that if a theory doesnt work then the alternative must be the anthropic principle-now thats a leap of faith. It could also be that string theory and other, related theories are not my bailiwick. But, as a life scientist of 47 years practice, I see strong (a gross understatement) evidence that life forms adapt to the universe, or die, and that the universe did not or does not adapt to us.
But anthropic principle researchers are generally not examining the adaptation of life forms to the universe, or the universe to life forms, but rather asking what kind of universe would have been necessary for there to be life at all-— the same sort of question Stephen Wolfram and Stuart Kauffman have asked. And the design inference is not, "these theories don't work, therefore, magic explanation x must be true" but rather an inference to the best explantion based upon markers of design., connecting the dots much as a data mining program searching for terrorist activity does.
What Gonzalez does on his own (not the university’s) time is a subset of that work that provides empirical evidence from astronomy, chemistry and biology that the principle of mediocrity that Carl Sagan popularized was false.
Your comments about purpose making man superior to an indifferent universe are interesting. While you find purpose as something that exists in the mind of man, according to Daniel Dennett, this means you are shirking from the logic of “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” which, according to him, is like a universal acid, eating away at our notions of purpose all the way up in regards to the universe and all the way down in regards to notions of personal identity, consciousness and intentionality. In other words, wherever there appears to be “purpose”, Darwin’s dangerous idea gives us every reason to think that science, perhaps on the part of you or one of your fellow neuroscientists, will show that purpose to have been merely epiphenomenal i.e. an illusion. Now, some would say Dennett and those like Dawkins who follow him are extremists, but he would say that people who say that, whether Stephen Jay Gould or Noam Chomsky, or perhaps you, are simply refusing to accept the full force of Darwin’s discovery.
Does belief in Panspermia ( i.e., a hypothesis that the seeds of life are prevalent throughout the Universe, and furthermore that life on Earth began by such seeds landing on Earth and propagating.) count as intelligent design ?
No less a distinguished scientist than E.O. Wilson (Pellegrino Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University) seems to be attracted to it. There is a hypothesis that alien lifeforms seeded earth eons ago with microorganisms to produce life as we know it.
See here for instance :
It says :
“E.O. Wilson thinks panspermia is likely: Some serious biologists and I count myself among them have begun to wonder that among the enormous and still unknown diversity of microorganisms one might just might find aliens among them true aliens that arrived from outer space. They’ve had billions of years to do it. But especially during the earliest period of biological evolution on this planet. We do know that some bacterial species that have earthly origin are capable of almost unimaginable extremes of temperature and other harsh changes in environment, including hard radiation strong enough to crack the Pyrex vessels around the growing population of bacteria.”
Keep those strawmen coming!
No more than it counts as "intelligent design" if a species of bee settles a new island and evolves into several different species, or if our Mars crawlers deposit bacteria from Earth in the rocks that somehow survive and evolve into new bacterial species.
Panspermia is not in opposition to evolution.
Evolution is a theory of change in populations, not a theory of origins of life. Lateral transfer is not in opposition to evolution. Gene transfer is one of many mechanisms of change.
Regardless of the source of variation, some individuals will have more reproductive success than others. This is true of artificially engineered organisms as well as ones arising from mutation. Selection by humans did not protect the Irish potato from natural selection. There is not enough computing power on earth or possible in theory to anticipate all the possible ecological changes that can occur.
Even if the original living things were created in an instant, evolution describes how populations adapt and change over time.
My post #144 was intended for you.
Alright, from one who must wear tightass logic pants, I'll put it another way...
WHO or WHAT introduces the sequence in a DNA chain?
I'll remind you "information" just doesn't spontaneously erupt.
LOL! It just seems so twisted when supposed scientist insist something is absolutely, NOT an indication of something!
But according to the naturalistic philosophy, everything just sort of happened and somehow got together and started self-replicating, and......
I googled "origin of life" and went to the Wiki article just for the summary. What a joke. What they won't stretch to try to figure out how it happened without help.
No, I meant of the specifier, “Darwinian.” How is that distinguished from the broader concept of heritability?
So far as I can recall, I've not made any strenuous use of inferential statistics, nor said they were inadmissible. I guess I need more details.