Skip to comments.Witness: 'Intelligent Design' doesn't qualify as science [Day 4 of trial in Dover, PA]
Posted on 09/29/2005 3:36:00 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The concept of "intelligent design" is a form of creationism and is not based on scientific method, a professor testified Wednesday in a trial over whether the idea should be taught in public schools.
Robert T. Pennock, a professor of science and philosophy at Michigan State University, testified on behalf of families who sued the Dover Area School District. He said supporters of intelligent design don't offer evidence to support their idea.
"As scientists go about their business, they follow a method," Pennock said. "Intelligent design wants to reject that and so it doesn't really fall within the purview of science."
Pennock said intelligent design does not belong in a science class, but added that it could possibly be addressed in other types of courses.
In October 2004, the Dover school board voted 6-3 to require teachers to read a brief statement about intelligent design to students before classes on evolution. The statement says Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to an intelligent-design textbook for more information.
Proponents of intelligent design argue that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force, and that natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms.
Eight families are trying to have intelligent design removed from the curriculum, arguing that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. They say it promotes the Bible's view of creation.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for two newspaper reporters said Wednesday the presiding judge has agreed to limit questioning of the reporters, averting a legal showdown over having them testify in the case.
Both reporters wrote stories that said board members mentioned creationism as they discussed the intelligent design issue. Board members have denied that.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III agreed that the reporters would only have to verify the content of their stories -- and not answer questions about unpublished material, possible bias or the use of any confidential sources.
"They're testifying only as to what they wrote," said Niles Benn, attorney for The York Dispatch and the York Daily Record/Sunday News, the papers that employed the two freelancers.
The reporters were subpoenaed but declined to give depositions Tuesday, citing their First Amendment rights. A lawyer for the school board had said he planned to seek contempt citations against the two.
The judge's order clears the way for the reporters to provide depositions and testify Oct. 6.
I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
(Albert Einstein, 1954)
The fraud occurs when theory is taught to students as fact, when students are not taught to think critically, and that is my point. It IS taught as fact, and has been for years, and has become institutionalized as impregnable fact. Further, its favored stance as impregnable in the classroom has led to its dissemination through our culture as fact; to wit, watch The History Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, any show -- including news programs -- (or many of the popular books on these subjects) that talks about the earth in even the remotest way and you will hear undisputed statements about how this or that happened billions of years ago in our universe, about physical events flowing from the big bang theory, about this or that group of people who roamed the earth millions of years ago doing this or that as man evolved after his ancestors crawled out of the murk. Once one's ears and eyes are attuned to these references, the enormity of this theory's influence is rather shocking.
That is a fraud of unfathomable proportions.
Creationism/ID is to science what Liberalism is to public policy. By not requiring rational objective analysis and debate, both of these ideologies can appear more acceptable to a dumb-downed public.
Please explain what is meant by "theory" in the context of science.
Thanks. Check the second quote I made, though ;)
n. pl. the·o·ries
1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.
3. A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.
4. Abstract reasoning; speculation: a decision based on experience rather than theory.
5. A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment: staked out the house on the theory that criminals usually return to the scene of the crime.
6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
The dictionary is my friend.
From yours: "Theories are the explanations that best fit the facts."
That is one of the explanations / definitions. Look at the applicability of theory as touching Darwin as it is defined in
"4. Abstract reasoning; speculation: a decision based on experience rather than theory,"
"6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture,"
because Darwin and those who promoted this theory could not and cannot prove it.
From yours: "Before you start talking about scientific theories, you need to learn what they mean. Otherwise, you sound like you want to eliminate all science, and everything built upon them. Sounds like you want to live in the Dark Ages during the Inquisition."
Nonsense. That's laughable.
"2. ... a fine musician who had never studied theory."
Darwin doesn't even qualify metaphorically for that part of the example. He was a bitter hack who turned his back on God and his theory was one of the results -- flawed, tortured, sick (as in lacking wellness) -- as was he. He knows better, now that he has taken up his place in eternity and met his Maker, but his "work" goes on, polluting the public discourse with an unproven set of assumptions, even turning people away from God. I guarantee it and some day I will have the satisfaction of seeing this come alive to you -- in the hereafter. Hopefully, before then.
Haven't read all of your reply but would ask you to please see my reply here
to another post. I'll catch up with the rest of your long reply later.
Oops = my bad - I see the quote was listed in it's long form...
Note: I am including your comments in italics and my responses in blockquotes (indented). Also, most of my responses are my own, and any other sources I use are cited.
I am aware that your post consists largely of The Problem of Carbon by William Tripp posted at http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?spec=79.
Radiocarbon dating, especially using the Carbon 14 method, takes advantage of the radioactive decay of the isotope, which is seen as a constant. Every living thing takes in and expels Carbon 14 while it is alive, and a static level of the element is maintained. When the organism dies, the infusion is suspended, and the level is reduced according to the rate of decay, known as the half-life. The amount of Carbon 14 in the artifact is measured and then compared to the presumed static level the organism maintained while alive; the comparison then yields the relative age of the specimen. Though this sounds very straightforward and scientific, there are several serious problems.
The first problem is seen in the very approach in the presumption that must be made in the level of Carbon 14 the organism had while living. Here we have a critical calculation that is based upon an assumption that an organism which lived thousands of years previous, of which there are no modern species to compare, developed a specific level of Carbon 14 from an environment we know nothing about. If for example, the presumption is inaccurate by only 10%, considering that it is the rate of decay that forms the mathematical constant, the inaccuracy of the calculation of age at the upper limit would be tens of thousands of years.
This last paragraph heads off the deep end. We do know about the level of Carbon-14 in past environments. Or rather, we can calibrate the radiocarbon curve based on a variety of things, including Bristlecone pines.The very basis for the assumption above is another problem, and is perhaps the most embarrassing for the proponents of radiocarbon dating. To assume a particular level of Carbon 14 in an organism requires a precise determination of environmental (atmospheric) levels of the same. That is, to presume a particular level in a living thing requires a precise knowledge of the ambient amount of Carbon 14 in the air and environment. Scientists performing radiocarbon dating assume that the amount in the environment has not changed. This is compelling for several reasons, not the least of which is the convenience with which science apparently operates; we hear of massive changes in the earth, ice ages, catastrophic events that killed the dinosaurs, etc., but the environment never changed according to the same scientists.
Weins says it better than I can: "For example growth rings in trees, if counted carefully, are a reliable way to determine the age of a tree. Each growth ring only collects carbon from the air and nutrients during the year it is made. To calibrate carbon-14, one can analyze carbon from the center several rings of a tree, and then count the rings inward from the living portion to determine the actual age. This has been done for the "Methuselah of trees", the bristlecone pine trees, which grow very slowly and live up to 6,000 years. Scientists have extended this calibration even further. These trees grow in a very dry region near the California-Nevada border. Dead trees in this dry climate take many thousands of years to decay. Growth ring patterns based on wet and dry years can be correlated between living and long dead trees, extending the continuous ring count back to 11,800 years ago." http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html#page%2012
One more comment, if the "presumption is inaccurate by only 10%" then the resulting date will be inaccurate by 10%, not "tens of thousands of years" as the radiocarbon method only goes back some 50,000 years. So the most you could have with a 10% error is 5,000 years. If fact, most radiocarbon dates used by archaeologists are in the 12,000 or less range, so the error in this example would be 1,200 years at the most. With the calibration curve that has been worked out for the past 12,000 years I doubt there is anywhere near such an error. (I am not sure why you are so worried about potential errors in the Carbon-14 method, as scientists use other methods to date fossils anyway.)
Actually scientists assume that changes did occur in the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere and the environment. That is why so much effort has been put into the calibration curve.
Not only does the requisite level of assumption and presumption all but invalidate the accuracy of the claims of very old dating, but were there for example, an environmental phenomenon that affected the level of ambient Carbon 14, the results could be skewed exponentially. In fact, several such phenomena did indeed exist, proven by the same science that supports old-age radiocarbon dating! It would seem quite clear that some predisposition or predilection for particular findings in terms of dating artifacts is at work in this case. For example, consider that it is essentially accepted that an antediluvian water canopy existed surrounding the earth; this would have acted to either negate or at least significantly reduce the effect of cosmic, x-ray, and ultraviolet radiation in the upper atmosphere. Carbon 14 production would have been negligible, and therefore would not have been absorbed by living things; any organism living before the reduction of the canopy would in turn be dated exponentially older than it actually is. Or consider the effect a global atmospheric shield of dust created as a result of a meteor impact some scientists believe killed off the dinosaurslevels of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere must certainly have been different, thereby invalidating the age/date test data. Isnt it funny how the same scientists who purport constant catastrophic changes in earths history depend upon the inherent necessity that it was completely without any changes?
This paragraph is full of errors. First Carbon-14 is not used for "very old dating." Second, there is no scientific evidence that "an antediluvian water canopy existed surrounding the earth." And even if there was it would not change the production of Carbon-14 in the outer atmosphere. Third, "a global atmospheric shield of dust created as a result of a meteor impact some scientists believe killed off the dinosaurs" was some 60+ million years ago, while the Carbon-14 method we are dealing with is limited to 50,000 years. And the dust probably would not change anything anyway, as it would not have been in the outer atmosphere! (If only you could think as critically about the "antediluvian water canopy" as you pretend to do about Carbon-14 dating.)Moreover, it is established fact that the earths magnetic field has been in a constant decline in strength2, which would have vigorously protected the earth from the same radiation, all but negating the production of Carbon 14 and thereby minimizing the ambient amount available for absorption by living things. Yet these two facts are virtually unknown in modern society, and it seems never associated with radiometric dating, apparently since it would put such method (and indeed its findings) in doubt as to its reliability.
We are talking about the last 50,000 years, during which Carbon-14 dating is applied. There is no evidence the earths magnetic field has changed much in this time period.
Another fact, which proves quite embarrassing to old-age proponents in regard to radiometric dating, is the half-life of Carbon 14 itself. Not only is the actual half-life length itself in some contention, but the effect it would have on the upper limits of its capability in dating illustrates clearly the level of fraud that has been foisted on an unsuspecting society. Consider that Carbon 14s half-life is around 5,630 years 3 (though estimates range from 5,300 to 5,700 years); in only ten cycles of this, there would be nothing left to measure in the extant specimen! This means that the absolute maximum age radiocarbon could date a specimen to would be around 56,300 years; yet daily society is barraged with reports that some new find was dated in the hundreds of thousands, and even millions of years using Carbon 14. Actually, after the sixth cycle or so, there would not be enough Carbon 14 in the sample to be measured; the upper limit then would be around 30,000 years.
The half life of Carbon-14 is not a problem, as it is rather closely established. It is also well known to everyone but creationists that the Carbon-14 method cannot be used beyond about 50,000 years. Certainly dates in excess of 30,000 years have to be taken as estimates. So?
This leads to yet another inherent problem in the use of radiometric dating which would seem virtually insurmountable, and is caused by the presence of environmental Carbon 14 itself, ironically, the phenomenon scientists exploit in the determination of date of origin. Simply stated, it is nearly impossible to preclude contamination that seriously affects the results of the measurement. The levels of Carbon 14 in any old artifact are extremely low; because of this, it is virtually impossible to prevent the test and measurement equipment from picking up residual or background environmental Carbon 14 not associated with the specimen.
Contamination is a real problem! That is absolutely right. Especially at the oldest end of the range. That's why archaeologists don't smoke during sample collection, and laboratories go to great lengths to ensure samples are clean. And that is why a dinosaur bone can have some residual Carbon-14 (but the CS types make lots of hay from that one; google something like "dating dinosaur bones" for a good laugh.)Further, most artifacts by their very nature are found in and around various forms of rock, which provide several sources of additional radiation. This has the concomitant effect of providing a source of neutrino radiation; Carbon 14 decay is accelerated in the presence of such bombardment, and again the effect would be to cause the specimen to appear much older than it actually is. This effect cannot be overstated in regard to the estimates of agea less than 5% reduction in the extant amount of Carbon 14 in the specimen, owing to the constant of its half-life will yield a factor of 5 times the actual age. Imagine the effect on science if an artifact dated at 45,000 years is actually only 9,000; the possibilities are staggering.
Actually most artifacts are found in soil; as most early peoples lived in productive environments, soil was important either for early agriculture or for the plants and animals it supported. Caves were used, but not as much as one might think.The foregoing is [sic] but a few examples of the problems with Carbon 14; many more examples could be given, as well as some documented, glaring failures such as live clams being dated at 1,500 years, and parchment documents from the 17th century being dated to the 4th. The point however, is that radiocarbon dating has serious problems in terms of reliability and veracity, and its use is at best quite limited. On the other hand, there is an obvious dichotomy in these problems and the lack of common knowledge regarding them; it would seem that there should be some explanation why the vast majority of society is so unaware of the spurious nature of the science behind radiocarbon dating. That is, since science is ostensibly clinical and without emotion, the most likely cause of the dearth of knowledge of the limitations, fallacies, and vulnerabilities in this method is man himselfa manifestation of his own biases and predilections. This is the subject of the next division.
Also, many of the items dated by archaeologists are not artifacts. Charcoal from firepits is an ideal material. Bones and shells work well too. I particularly like marine shell, particularly mussel and abalone shells. They can be acid-etched to remove any possible contamination from the soil or fingerprints, etc.
"neutrino radiation"? Oh, horrors! We're all doomed! Not that kind of radiation? Oh, well. Neutrinos are produced by the sun and have very little interaction with the earth--they sail right through without even noticing it. It is very difficult to even catch one as they don't really want interact with much of anything. Oh, well. Another hypothesis spoiled by a nasty little fact (isn't science fun?).
Actually Weins has a good paragraph on this one: "Some people have tried to defend a young Earth position by saying that the half-lives of radionuclides can in fact be changed, and that this can be done by certain little-understood particles such as neutrinos, muons, or cosmic rays. This is stretching it. While certain particles can cause nuclear changes, they do not change the half-lives. The nuclear changes are well understood and are nearly always very minor in rocks. In fact the main nuclear changes in rocks are the very radioactive decays we are talking about." http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html#page%2023
"a less than 5% reduction in the extant amount of Carbon 14 in the specimen, owing to the constant of its half-life will yield a factor of 5 times the actual age." My math has never been too good, but wouldn't a 5% difference in the amount of Carbon-14 lead to a date that was 5% off?
Several things of note here. First, you simply can't date live clams and get a reliable age. The nuclear tests beginning around World War II did what all the wishful thinking of the creationists can't do--messed up the intake of Carbon-14 in living creatures. Secondly, parchments are often treated with different chemicals, and that can contaminate dates. Finally, it has not been shown that "radiocarbon dating has serious problems in terms of reliability and veracity" or the "spurious nature of the science behind radiocarbon dating" or that "the most likely cause of the dearth of knowledge of the limitations, fallacies, and vulnerabilities in this method is man himself."
[Several paragraphs of opinion, ending with something about serpents and Eve, etc., has been omitted as irrelevant.]
You got yourself a looser here son. If you don't know anything about the Carbon-14 method it might be better if you stopped badmouthing it. Or at least seek out better websites for your quotemining.
If you have any specific questions let me know. If I can't answer them surely one of the others on these threads can.
But so far, science is ahead on this one by a knockout.
Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective, by Dr. Roger C. Wiens. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html
Yeah - I read it in whole after it was too late! Great quotes, btw. People don't understand that Einstein used God as a metaphor, not as our friend in the sky...
Pls see my post at #207.
The trouble with the Darwin's theory of evolution is there is a lot of actual physical evidence to refute it. That cannot be said in the reverse re proving D's theory.
Nice list from a dictionary of the English language. Definition 1 appies to scientific theories, including evolution. There are millions of facts used to construct this theory, just like all the others. It makes testable predictions. The predictions have been tested and thus far do not invalidate the theory of evolution. Just by reciting a dictionary has not demonstrated you even understand scientific theories, let alone evolution. You are doing what many creationist-types are guilty of. Deliberately misleading people as to what a scientific theory is by twisting it into what a lay person would see.
OK, thanks for the answer - I see the point you are making.
So, regarding the Dover Disclaimer Text:
"Because Darwins Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.
Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwins view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People is available for students to see if they would like to explore this view in an effort to gain an understanding of what intelligent design actually involves. As is true with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind."
...the main beef is with the words " Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwins view.
So, could we clear this whole mess up by saying Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life. ??? ...and edit out "that differs from Darwins view".
Excellent. The Grand Master liked it too.
Half of these guys arent even professional scientists.
The other half are probably out of work post-docs.
The dictionary doesn't appear to be your friend, after all. Quote mining, on the other hand....
Is Intelligent Design a theory then?
It appears the fraud was in your education. Seek a refund.
It would clear it up to my satisfaction if the 2nd paragraph was omitted. Well, you could keep the last sentence.
"Darwin doesn't even qualify metaphorically for that part of the example. He was a bitter hack who turned his back on God and his theory was one of the results -- flawed, tortured, sick (as in lacking wellness) -- as was he. "
Oh, my! Isn't that special?
Oh, by the way, your slip is showing....
scientists can predict what we will learn in the future about the past.
Whoa, dude - sounds like thought conditioning.
Scientists approach all new data with skepticism, even if that data would appear to support existing theory. That dilligence is what separates science from faith, and evolutionists from creationists.
Methinks you have fallen for the: evolutionist scientist is good scientist / creationist scientist is bad scientist ruse.
Let's be real here - the evolutionist scientist can be a good or bad scientist AND the creationist scientist can be a good or bad scientist (just like his/her evolutionist brother/sister). The creationist scientist though would assuredly be a bad "evolutionary" scientist, but, I'm sure he/she can live with that.
Good post Coyoteman. Very interesting.
A "creation science" can of course be a "good" scientist. He could apply the scientific method to his specific field and not to the rest of science. Makes him a great scientist within his field, but for other branches, not so much.
Actually, I heard this guy speak somewhere (can't quite recall where)...anyway he gave an in-depth presentation on his analysis of the dental remains and skulls of human fossils. I thought it was pretty interesting, but, since I'm not a scientist, and he's not a scientist (at least you think he's not a scientist) that should be enough to totally dismiss anything he would ever have to say about the "pure science of paleontology".
One of the most important parts of a scientific theory is that it must be falsifiable. Evolution is falsifiable by many different methods, such as finding species that the theory predicts are "new" intermingled with species the theory predicts are "old". Claims of such finds have never been sufficiently solid to cause evolution a problem, in comparison to the overwelming volume of finds in the "proper" sequence.
The Intelligent Design hypothesis, on the other hand, cannot be falsified. The "intelligence" could do anything, on any whim, in any sequence, and thus it makes no predictions about what we should find. ID cannot be falsified by studying any evidence, because anything we find can be explained as being created by the "intelligence".
"By definition science can't address anything that's not naturalistic. How many times do we need to state this before it sinks in?"
It won't sink in. Some surfaces aren't porous.
Now what do we argue about?
Oops, sorry I inadvertently missed your answer to my earlier question.
scientists can predict what we will learn in the future about the past.
Whoa, dude - sounds like thought conditioning.
Nonsense. That's the hallmark of a good theory - it predicts future discoveries. We know there are gaps in the fossil record, and we can speculate on their nature based on what we already know. And this has borne out time and time again.
"Thought conditioning?" What do you mean?
Well, gee. I don't know. Some say 'tis and some say 'taint. Theory or no, it certainly is an EXPLANATION for a current area of ignorance.
Ichneumon is the Big Dog of fossil links
Vade is up there as well :-)
"Actually, I heard this guy speak somewhere (can't quite recall where)...anyway he gave an in-depth presentation on his analysis of the dental remains and skulls of human fossils. "
OK. Give me a list of his published papers on anthropological dentistry. It is a field of study. I'd be happy to go examine them.
A speech that happened somewhere, sometime (sorry you can't recall) is not evidence of his expertise, quite frankly. And you wouldn't know if he was an expert or not, since you can't even remember where or when you heard him speak.
Scientists doing research like this publish their research. So, let's see it.
Theory or no, it certainly is an EXPLANATION for a current area of ignorance.
So is claiming that my cat created the universe and all in it Last Thursday. That doesn't mean that it should be presented as a viable scientific alternative.
Exactly. Not all explanations are equally valid. That's why we deal in theories.
Words mean things. ID isn't a "theory" in the scientific meaning of the word. There are no alternative notions that get anywhere close to fufilling the basic requirements for a scientific theory, which is why evolution is the only one worth talking about in science classes.
Don't get freudian on us now!
"Theory or no, it certainly is an EXPLANATION for a current area of ignorance."
OK. God did it. That's their explanation. Pretty hard to test that theory, isn't it?
And which deity do they think was the one? There are so many that it's hard to sort out. Some of them gave birth to the universe. Some spoke it into existence.
What experiments will we use to figure out which deity or "intelligent entity" did all of this?
I mean, when you put on your "evolution sunglasses" and you look at data you see evolution in the data.
Why not look at the data in the pure, true light?
Please don't. Please.
OK, there, I did some research on Dr. Jack W. Cuozzo, and here's a list of his publications. Oddly, they don't appear to be scientific publications, except perhaps the Journal of the New Jersey Dental Society. I'll have to see what that article was about:
I'm sorry, but that's just nonsense.
You have it backwards. Evolution is the only theory that matches the data. Those who would like to pretend that evolution doesn't exist are the ones who refuse to acknowledge data.
There is plenty of evidence to support the Theory of Evolution. The more evidence that we find, the stronger the theory is. Where's the evidence for creationism, other than you want it to be so?
Hold on Nellie, I'm just trying to humanize this here discussion (I could have easily left out the part of my absent-mindedness). Anyway, I think he published something, a book perhaps - heck, I'm not his agent. I just amused myself by realizing that I had indeed heard of the one guy that a previous poster had singled out as a persona-non-scientista.
... soon to be a major motion picture, starring Raquel Welch.