Skip to comments.Future of Conservatism: Darwin or Design? [Human Events goes with ID]
Posted on 12/12/2005 8:01:43 AM PST by PatrickHenry
Occasionally a social issue becomes so ubiquitous that almost everyone wants to talk about it -- even well-meaning but uninformed pundits. For example, Charles Krauthammer preaches that religious conservatives should stop being so darn, well, religious, and should accept his whitewashed version of religion-friendly Darwinism.1 George Will prophesies that disagreements over Darwin could destroy the future of conservatism.2 Both agree that intelligent design is not science.
It is not evident that either of these critics has read much by the design theorists they rebuke. They appear to have gotten most of their information about intelligent design from other critics of the theory, scholars bent on not only distorting the main arguments of intelligent design but also sometimes seeking to deny the academic freedom of design theorists.
In 2001, Iowa State University astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez’s research on galactic habitable zones appeared on the cover of Scientific American. Dr. Gonzalez’s research demonstrates that our universe, galaxy, and solar system were intelligently designed for advanced life. Although Gonzalez does not teach intelligent design in his classes, he nevertheless believes that “[t]he methods [of intelligent design] are scientific, and they don't start with a religious assumption.” But a faculty adviser to the campus atheist club circulated a petition condemning Gonzalez’s scientific views as merely “religious faith.” Attacks such as these should be familiar to the conservative minorities on many university campuses; however, the response to intelligent design has shifted from mere private intolerance to public witch hunts. Gonzalez is up for tenure next year and clearly is being targeted because of his scientific views.
The University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho, is home to Scott Minnich, a soft-spoken microbiologist who runs a lab studying the bacterial flagellum, a microscopic rotary engine that he and other scientists believe was intelligently designed -- see "What Is Intelligent Design.") Earlier this year Dr. Minnich testified in favor of intelligent design at the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial over the teaching of intelligent design. Apparently threatened by Dr. Minnich’s views, the university president, Tim White, issued an edict proclaiming that “teaching of views that differ from evolution ... is inappropriate in our life, earth, and physical science courses or curricula.” As Gonzaga University law professor David DeWolf asked in an editorial, “Which Moscow is this?” It’s the Moscow where Minnich’s career advancement is in now jeopardized because of his scientific views.
Scientists like Gonzalez and Minnich deserve not only to be understood, but also their cause should be defended. Conservative champions of intellectual freedom should be horrified by the witch hunts of academics seeking to limit academic freedom to investigate or objectively teach intelligent design. Krauthammer’s and Will’s attacks only add fuel to the fire.
By calling evolution “brilliant,” “elegant,” and “divine,” Krauthammer’s defense of Darwin is grounded in emotional arguments and the mirage that a Neo-Darwinism that is thoroughly friendly towards Western theism. While there is no denying the possibility of belief in God and Darwinism, the descriptions of evolution offered by top Darwinists differ greatly from Krauthammer’s sanitized version. For example, Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins explains that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” In addition, Krauthammer’s understanding is in direct opposition to the portrayal of evolution in biology textbooks. Says Douglas Futuyma in the textbook Evolutionary Biology:
“By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.”3
“Evolution in a pure Darwinian world has no goal or purpose: the exclusive driving force is random mutations sorted out by natural selection from one generation to the next. … However elevated in power over the rest of life, however exalted in self-image, we were descended from animals by the same blind force that created those animals. …”5
Mr. Luskin is an attorney and published scientist working with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash.
For some people fear is the only thing that makes them behave in any way, for good or ill.
In any case, the means to virtue is a different thing than the nature of virtue. Plus, there are kinds of fear. And there are kinds of virtue.
Laws, on the other hand, are nothing without consequence. And according to the wise, one should fear the judge, rather than the law.
Evolution - explains the diversity of life
Heliocentric theory - explains the motions of the planets
Germ theory - explains the cause of disease
Atomic theory - explains the nature of matter
Plate Techtonics - explains continental drift
I threw the word "thorough" in there to distinguish between hypothese and theories. Both are explainations, but theories are better.
ID - explains what? Most of the time it simply claims to be able to detect design which isn't an explaination for anything. When it does claim that a certain system is better explained as designed - that is a hypothesis.
Still, being our own god is better than having none at all. Intellect and willfullness beats ignorance and laziness. Even when in total spiritual denial.
Sorry, but even the scientifically competent among the ID crowd agree that evolution is a historic fact. Michael Denton, author of "Evolution, a Theory in Crisis, has written a new book, "Nature's Destiny," on intelligent Design. In it he says this:
"it is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science - that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes.
This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called "special creationist school". According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving the suspension of natural law.
Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world - that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies."
Behe, the chief defense witness at Dover, has this to say about evolution:
I didn't intend to "dismiss" the fossil record--how could I "dismiss" it? In fact I mention it mostly to say that it can't tell us whether or not biochemical systems evolved by a Darwinian mechanism. My book concentrates entirely on Darwin's mechanism, and simply takes for granted common descent.
And you? If tomorrow it were shown that there are no eternal consequences or eternal reward - nevermind the likelihood for a moment - would you still be virtuous?
In any case "truth" beyond mere tautological symbol-string completions is outside scientific limits to determine. It is a spiritual sensation.
The organization of matter that behaves under predictable laws.
He does sound like the Leftists I encountered in grad school. Of course, so do the Creationists. I've written random buzzword generators that got the physics more nearly correct.
Altruism means acting for the other. Reciprocal altruism is merely an unavowed contract. Everyone makes them, every day. Why you're dragging Orwell into this is beyond me.
After life there is judgement. I believe it, you don't. One of us will be severely disappointed. :-}
Neither of us will be around to care. And, as an ex-Catholic, I seem to recall something called the sin of presumption.
Here's a true story Prof. Ten years ago, I almost met my maker. Ran too hard, split off a plaque, closed down the circumflex nice and tight. After intervention I was in the CCU where I knew the nurses. To tweak them I would make my heartrate go below the lower limit threshold on the heart monitor. At will. I have witnesses. LOL
Oh, you can train yourself to exert a little control over your heart rate, no doubt. Quite a few people used this to get out of the draft. It doesn't bear on my main point.
Definitions (from a google search):
Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"
Hypothesis: a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"
Guess: an opinion or estimate based on incomplete evidence, or on little or no information
Law: a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature; "the laws of thermodynamics"
Assumption: premise: a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn; "on the assumption that he has been injured we can infer that he will not to play"
Speculation: a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence)
Observation: any information collected with the senses
Data: factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions
Fact: when an observation is confirmed repeatedly and by many independent and competent observers, it can become a fact
Belief: any cognitive content (perception) held as true; religious faith
Faith the belief in something for which there is no evidence or logical proof
Dogma: a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof
Impression: a vague idea in which some confidence is placed; "his impression of her was favorable"; "what are your feelings about the crisis?"; "it strengthened my belief in his sincerity"; "I had a feeling that she was lying"
Based on this, evolution is a theory. CS and ID are beliefs.
Why? We are still social animals, which is the reason it was selected for in the first place. Take a look at kin selection.
"But it wasn't. And now morality directs change in ways that natural selection never would. Intelligently, I might add.
You'll have to expand on this, I don't follow.
"Bit of a conundrum there sharp.
Not if you consider the reason morals were selected for in the first place.
Sometimes I get the impression that you're frustrated by your inability to gain traction with your weak arguments, so you lash out with childish insults.
Don't insult *us* for your own poor performance.
Maybe that's the big "Discovery" at DI ... how to make a Gore3000 screed intelligible. It would be the 1720th time ...
Again, people should note that evolution is about species or groups, not about individuals.
Well, a theory is "cognitive content (perception) held as true," so it, too, qualifies as a "belief."
This is just goofy, son. The *majority* of Americans who are "in the evolution camp" are *Christians*, who are quite unlikely to fulfill your paranoid fantasy of people who "hate the very idea of God".
If you're dead-set on spewing lies, you might want to try to pick some more believeable ones.
Bully for you. I say if there is anything science can do to detect a supernatural entity, than that part or effect of the entity science can deal with is, de facto, a natural, not a supernatural, phenomenon. The ether was a big part of science for a long, time, but then the ether went away. So, one could argue that the ether is a supernatural phenomenon--there is no scientific validity to its existence because science can't detect it. Does that mean science has proved there is no ether?
Similarly, will the discovery of an obvious natural explanation for abiogensis disprove the existence of God the Prime Mover of life? Scientific theories are provision in nature: they are just convenient approximate maps of reality--they are not real things in a tangible sense. We tend to accept them because they are useful, not because they are in some sense absolutely true or transcendent--or even trying to approach such pinnacles. Just because Einstein's theory is useful, doesn't mean Newton's theory is useless; just because there is an abiogenic explanation for the existence of life, doesn't mean there isn't also a Prime Mover God.
How would this statement qualify under the above definition: "In order for science to be science, it cannot, and must not, entertain any notions about the supernatural, or God."
Festival of the Tractionless Trolls placemarker
Do you include C.S. Lewis in this? He has written that the Genesis stories are copied from older mythologies.
Maybe some day you will actually accept the notion that science gets to establish its own methods, one part of which is its definitions.
You can't get anywhere in a rational discussion when words are used as rubber bands and twisted all out of shape at a whim, or in order to fudge a point.
The establishment of definitions is not the sole property of science. I assume definitions to be the property of general human convention unless otherwise specified. The definitions you've posted several times are reasonable. While you're listing them, why not include the standard definitions for "intelligence" and "design"? Or are those not germane to the subject at hand?
I'd like to see "standard" definitions for intelligence or design.
You seem to believe that once a definition makes the dictionary it limits what people can say or do. Science doesn't work this way.
Science is governed and policed by results, not by definitions or committees. there are frequent squabbles over turf, but in the end, only results matter.
No it doesn't. You destroy the meaning of the word by omitting the word selfless which is well, Orwellian.
Reciprocal altruism is merely an unavowed contract.
The very word altruism denies any contract at all which is why the sociobiological term "reciprocal altruism" is so farcical. There is nor reciprocity in a selfless act. The act is born of a morality learned, not acquired else there would be no heroes.
Everyone makes them, every day. Why you're dragging Orwell into this is beyond me.
I drag Orwell in because he would very much appreciate the term "reciprocal altruism" I think.
Neither of us will be around to care.
On this mortal plane at least.
And, as an ex-Catholic, I seem to recall something called the sin of presumption.
Do tell, who has presumed what?
Oh, you can train yourself to exert a little control over your heart rate, no doubt.
Yes, you can. It really isn't very hard at all.
Quite a few people used this to get out of the draft.
No doubt but I admit to not having it under control when I enlisted.
It doesn't bear on my main point.
Sure it does. One can consciously control his heart rate and the same one makes moral decisions consciously both of which are contrary to your assertions.
..."I will leave the conservative base over it...."
IOW, you will accept Socialism, the loss of American Soveriegnty and a UN tyranny over an argument that has no affect on your or your family's well being.
Some people feel the same about morality that is nothing more than fear of punishment by a supernatural being.
Here are all the listings for a google search for "define:intelligence" but I don't see anything supporting your side of the argument. I will leave "design" as an exercise for the student.
the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience
the operation of gathering information about an enemy
secret information about an enemy (or potential enemy); "we sent out planes to gather intelligence on their radar coverage"
news: new information about specific and timely events; "they awaited news of the outcome"
Intelligence is a general mental capability that involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. In psychology, the study of intelligence is related to the study of personality but is not the same as creativity, personality, character, or wisdom.
An intelligence agency is a governmental organization devoted to gathering of information by means of espionage (spying), communication interception, cryptoanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public sources.
Intelligence is a scientific journal dealing with intelligence and psychometrics.
Intelligence is the process and the result of gathering and analysing difficult to obtain or altogether secret information. See espionage, intelligence agencies.
The product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of available information concerning foreign countries or areas. Information and knowledge about an adversary obtained through observation, investigation, analysis, or understanding.
Intelligence is the system's level of performance in reaching its objectives.
many competing definitions exist for one of the most controversial concepts in psychology. The most influential in the assessment of intelligence in workplace settings is the innate ability to perceive relationships and identify co-relationships. The assumption is that much of the variation in intelligence can be explained by one general ability factor (G).
Intelligence is a generic term for various cognitive abilities. It is classified into different components, depending on the intelligence theory (eg in his work "The Berlin Model of Intelligence", AO Jäger lists: cognitive speed, memory, creativity, and reasoning to process verbal, numerical and figural material). ...
Physical bits and pieces gathered in a sceptical way, evidence. Ability to follow a program and carry out a routine in an expedient and effective manner. Compare Knowledge.
is effectively perceiving, interpreting and responding to the environment. It is also taken to mean the ability of an organization to survive and meet desired goals and objectives.
The ability of an individual to understand and cope with the environment; generally assessed with intelligence or "10" tests that are measures of aptitude.
The capacity to create constructively for the purpose of evolutionary gain. The ability to recognize that which is useful and that which is not, in the creation of internal and external change. Degree of sophistication in the manipulation of fact and materials on a progressive basis.
Intelligence concerning foreign developments in basic and applied scientific and technical research and development including engineering and production techniques, new technology, and weapon systems and their capabilities and characteristics; it also includes intelligence that requires scientific or technical expertise on the part of the analyst in areas such as medicine, physical, health studies, and behavioral analyses.
It used to be thought that the sauropods (like Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus) and Stegosaurus had a second brain. Paleontologists now think that what they thought was a second brain was just an enlargement in the spinal cord in the hip area. This enlargement was larger than the animal's tiny brain.
Work of Intelligence personnel of a military organization in gathering, evaluating, and disseminating Information of Military Value, also division or section of a military unit handling Intelligence matters . Abbreviation int
The part of the computer that carries out the calculations -- ie, the logic and arithmetic functions.
As ability: The ability to be able to correctly see similarities and differences and recognize things that are identical. Also the ability to figure out the correct relative importance of something. Government: Operation that finds out what the enemy is doing; spying.
Does the horse seem in control, aware of its surroundings, alert?
under the authority or control of a superior; subservient; dependent.
LOLOL!!! So of course, the answers will be "naturalistic" answers! Duh!!!
But the metaphysical naturalists take the problem one step further into absurdity: For they claim that the "natural" is ultimately completely reduceable to the material.
Jeepers. Talk about "stacking the deck!" And then having the temerity to call it a "method!"
Need I point out that every single "metaphysical naturalist" alive is a "closeted philosopher?" Who simultaneously claims for himself the "objectivity" of a scientist?
Who do these guys think they're trying to kid, to fool, with such a "method?"
Thanks for patiently bearing with my rant, dear Alamo-Girl. And thank you so much for your excellent essay/post.
Look again at the post I was answering. He was insinuating that the diversity of opinion among educated people was a sign of weakness. I was pointing out that the diversity is even stronger among the superstitious.
I'll guess that you agree that morality or immorality if you will can be both advantageous or disadvantageous. That would seem self evident. So the why must be directed at should morality have been selected out. I can offer you any number of examples along the line of the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak in opposition to natural selection.
We are still social animals, which is the reason it was selected for in the first place.
You assert that morality was selected for. Presumably you have some proof other than sociobiologic hypotheses or evolutionary psychobabble?
Take a look at kin selection.
Why? You'll have to expand on this, I don't follow.
Certainly. Winnowing of the gene pool by immoral acts of man. Expanding the gene pool by moral acts of man providing and caring for those who would be naturally selected out. Unintelligent design and intelligent design.
Not if you consider the reason morals were selected for in the first place.
:-} I like you sharp but you're gonna have to back up these kinds of assertions and you'll have to do better than "reciprocal altruism".
Really? You have just sent untold lawyers to the poor house. Now that may not be a bad thing but it certainly puts the kabosh on your definition of altruism.
Lawyers act for another, the other if you will. Acting for the other does not assert non reciprocity, so to speak. The lawyer acts for the other for one third of the proceeds in personal injury cases. An altruistic act? Certainly not. So when you leave out the word selfless you destroy the meaning of the word altruism.
I'm out for now but I always come back, be it for good or not so good, depending on your vantage point. Adios.
The future of political conservatism will not be impacted by this, either way, nor should it be.
Boy, it must frost your ass for you and your faithful mascot, Plato the Platy, to labor dilligently in obscurity in your basement laBORatory on your anti-Gravity machine whilst wackjobs like Gene Ray get this sort of publicity in Wikpedia, and is even invited to speak at academic institutions like MIT.
"I'm out for now but I always come back, be it for good or not so good, depending on your vantage point. Adios."
Coming back is always good, or else I would be talking to myself. :)
Maybe you're just not expressing yourself clearly enough, but your statement as written is trivially incorrect.
First, you seem to think that "the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak" is some sort of contradiction to natural selection, and the reason for this seems to be the common misunderstanding of "survival of the fittest" as "survival of the *strongest*" (which it is not) at the *expsense* of the weak (which it is not).
Second, a mother animal sacrificing herself to save her children is certainly an example of "the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak", and yet not only is it hardly the "opposition to natural selection" you claim, it is actually a *classic* example of evolutionary "selfishness" -- protecting the perpetuation of one's genes.
Do you have any examples that aren't so vaguely overgeneralized as to be obviously fallacious?
Furthermore, make sure that any new examples you might offer don't fall under the evolutionary instinct of "kin selection". Note also that the instincts of kin selection also apply to sacrificing oneself for other members of a close-knit group, for a variety of reasons.
If you're looking for examples of counter-survival morality, you'd do best looking elsewhere than the variations on "protecting the tribe" which you've been unsuccessfully mining so far.
Is the explaination any more than just "intelligence did it"?
I call it Intelligent Aerodynampigs.
Evolution(and various iterations of it) carried back to the ultimate source would be the earth itself, wouldnt it?..
And would be responsible for the "Spontaneous Humanation"(I just made that up).. of our species on this planet.. Or am I missing something.?.
If so then the Spontaneous Humanation of awareness beyond consciousness that could invent a God let alone inventing philosophies that would deny that God looks like a Chinese Fire Drill to me..
Did I get myself all confused on this?.. Help?.. Its so confusing.. I'm having trouble dealing with the possibility I'm a parasite on a little blue planet using resources that are in fact my father.. its so cannibalistic..
(basically rhetorical screed displaying, "Who's yo Daddy")
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.