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.
Has it occurred to you that your screen name has an annoying grammitical error? Sorry, but it just bothers me. You don't say, "a NYC guy. You say, "an NYC guy." If you spell out New York City, then you precede it with "a," but for the acronym you use "an," because "N" is pronounced "en."
Do you know what 'arguing by analogy' is? Becasue, despite my cautions, that's all you seem to do.
"'Pigs can't fly' is falsifiable."
Oh, is it? Can you prove that no pig is able to fly? I don't think so. You'd need to thorougly test every pig in the world.
Is that an unreasonable standard of proof to ask for? Of course it is, just as it is unreasonable for evolutionists to implicitly require absolute proof of ID (.9999999999 probability isn't good enough).
The irony is that as an evolutionist, you must be willing to concede that pigs may someday develop wings and start flying!
When I read the "arguments" presented against ID here by evolutionists, I can't help but think that they are parrotting the party line just as Democrats parrot the party line on Iraq, taxes, etc. So many evolutionists hear something about the philosophy of science and parrot it without really understanding it, thinking they are experts, and not realizing that they lost something critical in the translation.
'Alter' is Latin for other, nothing more. My dictionary specifies a particular meaning in the field of behavior that means acting for the benefit of others, possibly but not necessarily at some disadvantage to the self. You're the one trying to eliminate a normal use of the word, and the one that is valid in the present context. But then redefining words to suit is a MO of yours. Funny you should mention Orwell.
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.
This discussion is on hold while you reacquaint yourself with the English language.
Don't need to. All I have to show is that pigs don't have the means or physiology for it. If you had an organism with wings, hollow bones, etc., it wouldn't be a pig.
As for the rest of the rant, I think for myself. I don't have a party line. What you don't seem to appreciate is that the arguments you're presenting are transparently specious, and it's not in the least surprising that twenty people, all with a reasonable command of logic, will be able to drive a truck for them.
"'Pigs can't fly' is falsifiable."
"Oh, is it? Can you prove that no pig is able to fly? I don't think so. You'd need to thorougly test every pig in the world."
OK, let me correct myself here. I posted too hastily this time. Of course "pigs can't fly" is falsifiable in principle. All you need to do is show a pig flying. But someone took me to task earlier in this thread for giving an example of how ID is falsifiable -- because it couldn't actually be done (just as you can't actually make a pig fly).
A more interesting question is whether the theory that "pigs CAN fly" is falsifiable. How could it be falsified? As I suggested in my last post, you'd need to test every single pig in the world and prove that not one of them can fly. And how could you even prove that one particular pig can't fly? How would know that they are just refusing to cooperate with you? I'm talking about absolute, 100% proof here. You may be able to get to 99.9999999999% certainty, but I don't think you can get to exactly 100% certain proof. So then the theory that "pigs can fly" is unfalsifiable, so it is not a valid theory. Oh, but it *is* a valid theory -- just not a very useful one.
Alamo-Girl extrapolates from methodological to metaphysical naturalism by saying that people who adopt naturalism as a mere working hypothesis often note that they never encounter a case where it is invalid, and thence extrapolate to naturalism as a metaphysical principle. I find that concession revealing, to start with. But arguing, never in thousands of instances having encountered an exception, that no exceptions are likely to exist, is hardly 'philosophy'; it's a valid application of induction that in any other case would be regarded as unexceptionable.
"Science doesn't deal in 100% certain proofs. Next."
That's was exactly my point. But as I said before, evolutionists are very skilled at missing the point.
"As for the rest of the rant, I think for myself. I don't have a party line."
Funny, that's exactly what the Democrats say as they rattle off their talking points. Then again, I was not necessarily referring to you in particular in that particular "rant."
"What you don't seem to appreciate is that the arguments you're presenting are transparently specious, and it's not in the least surprising that twenty people, all with a reasonable command of logic, will be able to drive a truck for them."
Congratulations. You've obviously mastered the art of bold assertion.
By the way, I have a question for you (or anyone else who knows the answer). This is a sincere question that I think I know the answer to but am not sure. Has anyone ever directly observed the "evolution" of a single-celled organism to a multi-celled organism?
You addressed it to me.
Has anyone ever directly observed the "evolution" of a single-celled organism to a multi-celled organism?
Boraas (1983) reported the induction of multicellularity in a strain of Chlorella pyrenoidosa (since reclassified as C. vulgaris) by predation. He was growing the unicellular green alga in the first stage of a two stage continuous culture system as for food for a flagellate predator, Ochromonas sp., that was growing in the second stage. Due to the failure of a pump, flagellates washed back into the first stage. Within five days a colonial form of the Chlorella appeared. It rapidly came to dominate the culture. The colony size ranged from 4 cells to 32 cells. Eventually it stabilized at 8 cells. This colonial form has persisted in culture for about a decade. The new form has been keyed out using a number of algal taxonomic keys. They key out now as being in the genus Coelosphaerium, which is in a different family from Chlorella.
Boraas, M. E. 1983. Predator induced evolution in chemostat culture. EOS. Transactions of the American Geophysical Union. 64:1102.
I did -- and I read the original paper:
Lineage-Specific Expansions of Retroviral Insertions within the Genomes of African Great Apes but Not Humans and Orangutans
If the subsequent insertions are truly not orthologs, and "few if any" are, it is still problematic that gorillas and chimps were subject to later re-insertion but humans were not (resistance/susceptibility hypothesis) despite their overlap during the Miocene era.
Resistance/susceptibility is one possibility mentioned in the article, but ScienceDaily failed to mention a few of the others.
First is habitat difference, an epidemic in heavily forested areas but not pandemic onto the lowlands and savanna where humans found their niche.
Second is that PtERV1 sharply reduced survivability of human fetus/children, and the lower fecundity of those with the insertions would have been overwhelmed by the populations without.
Third is an Out-And-Back-to-Africa scenario. An uninfected population (from Asia) returned to Africa after the virus ran its course and subsumed the remaining hominids.
My mind is open and I patiently await the results of further research.
Science partakes of both. If it chooses not to remain within its own set of definitions, then it either ought to say so or it ought to be pointed out. What is "peer review" but "approval by committee" of sorts?
But using the set of definitons often posted by evos on these threads, it is plain to see that intelligent design qualifies as a "theory," and evolution qualifies as not only a "belief" but also, when God is not allowed into the discussion, "dogma."
Your excursion regarding "intelligence" is good. It may be to our advantage to focus on a terse, single definition that fits the debate, much as has been done for the other scientific definitons.
Is the explanation any more than just "evolution" did it"? Substitute your favorite word. A theory is just a general way of interpreting the evidence on a regular basis. The presence of organized matter and physical laws to governing it in predictable fashion can be explained by an almighty intelligence. It may be beyond proof, but then that's not what science is all about, is it?
Yes such as a specific explaination for the pattern of the fossil record, and a specific explaination for the geographical distribution of species. Its explaination for these things is a consequence of the mechanisms it proposes.
ID has no explainations for these things because it proposes no mechanisms which explainations could be based from. An Intelligent Designer could create species in any order at any time and at any place. So ID does not expect a specific order, or fossil record pattern, so it cannot explain the specific order that we see today.
This is the difference between evolution and ID which I am talking about.
Substitute your favorite word. A theory is just a general way of interpreting the evidence on a regular basis.
Nope a theory is a well tested explaination for a phenomenon. If the explaination is not well tested then it is just a hypothesis. If an explaination cannot be tested at all then it isn't even a valid hypothesis in science.
The presence of organized matter and physical laws to governing it in predictable fashion can be explained by an almighty intelligence.
Yep but that cannot be tested so you know what that means. The problem is that the presence of anything can be explained by an almighty intelligence.
Organised matter and physical laws to govern it in a predictable fashion can also be explained as a computer simulation which we are all plugged into. But like ID that explaination has no explainatory power either, as it fits anything. So it's no suprise that both would fit this specific case.
Wrong. First, leading "biblical exegetes" like Luther and Melanchthon denounced Copernicus' theory of heliocentrism.
Martin Luther called Copernicus an "upstart astrologer" and a "fool who wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy." Calvin thundered: "Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?" Do not Scriptures say that Joshua commanded the sun and not the earth to stand still? That the sun runs from one end of the heavens to the other?Similarly, the Church, citing common sense and biblical passages that seemed to indicate that the earth does not move, warned Galileo that he could not teach that these biblical passages are erroneous. Rather, as Cardinal Bellarmine stated:
I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve round the earth, but the earth round the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated.In fact, Galileo did not have a valid scientific proof for his theory at the time.
Pagan philosophy had become interwoven with traditional Catholic teachings during the time of Augustine.
Plato with Augustine; Aristotle with Aquinas. These were the greatest philosophical syntheses in history.
Therefore, the Church's dogmatic retention of tradition was the major seat of controversy, not the Bible.
The Church's teaching and tradition allowed the reinterpretation of biblical passages in seeming contradiction to heliocentrism, as Cardinal Bellarmine's comment exemplifies.
The so-called reformers, like Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin, were locked into biblical literalism.
On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
"O sun, stand still over Gibeon,
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.
Martin Luther called Copernicus an "upstart astrologer" and a "fool who wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy." Calvin thundered: "Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?"One of the most important aspects of Galileo's "threat" to education is that he published his writings in Italian, rather than Latin, which was the official language of scholarship. Galileo was attempting to have his ideas accepted by common people, hoping that they would eventually filter into the educational institutions.
This is a classic example of reinterpreting history. The common man rejected heliocentrism as an eccentric theory, since the idea defied common sense. In fact, Copernicus dedicated his book to the pope, hoping that the pope's endorsement would help him to avoid ridicule.
Thus, Galileo was regarded as an enemy of the established scientific authorities and experienced the full weight of their influence and persecution.
"Persecution" like a bishop and cardinal funding Copernicus' research? Or Galileo's personal friendship with the pope?
Again, it was Galileo's demand that the Church teach the errancy of Joshua 10 that got him into trouble. His research went on through several papacies. Copernicus' research was funded by a bishop and cardinal. The Church objected only when Galileo overstepped the bounds of science and ventured into dogmatic teaching regarding the inerrancy of scripture.
In many ways, the historic controversy of creation vs. evolution has been similar to Galileo's conflict, only with a reversal of roles.
In the sixteenth century, Christian theism was the prevailing philosophy and the Catholic Church dominated the educational system. Those, like Galileo, who dedicated themselves to diligently search for truth found themselves at the unmerciful hands of the authorities whose theories they threatened.
Pure historical revisionism. Bishops were funding Copernicus. Galileo was only censured when he criticized the authority of scripture
Galileo drew the greatest criticism from the so-called reformers and biblical literalists, like Luther, Calvin and Melanchthon.
People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon . . . This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy, but sacred Scripture tells us (Joshua 10:13) that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.The lesson to be learned from Galileo, it appears, is not that the Church held too tightly to biblical truths; but rather that it did not hold tightly enough.
Some think it a distinguished achievement to construct such a crazy thing as that Prussian astronomer who moves the earth and fixes the sun. Verily, wise rulers should tame the unrestraint of men's minds.
Certain men, either from the love of novelty, or to make a display of ingenuity, have concluded that the earth moves . . . Now, it is a want of honesty and decency to assert such notions publicly and the example is pernicious. It is the part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God and to acquiesce in it . . . The earth can be nowhere if not in the centre of the universe.
The Church didn't hold tightly enough to biblical literalism, like Luther?
It allowed Greek philosophy to influence its theology
Resulting in such towering achievements as the Summa Theologica.
...and held to tradition rather than to the teachings of the Bible.
Compare the statements of Cardinal Bellarmine with those of Luther, Calvin and Melanchthon.
We must hold strongly to Biblical doctrine which has been achieved through sure methods of exegesis. We must never be satisfied with dogmas built upon philosophic traditions.
We must stop reading history through Protestant preconceptions.
The Bible is the only infallible, inspired revelation of God.
Inerrant and inspired. This non-biblical, Protestant doctrine of biblical literalism led Luther, Melanchthon and Calvin into their errors regarding heliocentrism. It was the Church's non-literalistic approach to biblical exegesis that allowed the funding of and toleration for a theory that seemed to contradict the bible and common sense.
You may have the last word.
Should I throw a monkey wrench into that with quantum physics, or should we not confuse things even more?
Works for me. In fact, my theory is that we know precious little regarding the origins of life, and human life in particular.
Damn atheist Pope.
Good catch. Not just an innocent typo, it made the sentence take on a whole different meaning.
IIRC an ID book in question in the Dover case was originally a creationist tract, re-edited for ID mainly by making all the God references vague. This was the book the IDers perjured themselves over.
ID can explain patterns just as easily.
Nope a theory is a well tested explaination for a phenomenon.
There you go again, adding to a definition. Look at the definition of "theory" again and see of the words "well-tested" are in there.
Yep but that cannot be tested so you know what that means.
The best, but not the only, test for organized matter is whether it can be observed or not. That renders the known universe as supportive evidence of intelligent design. If you want to use another explanation for the presence of organized matter and the laws that govern it, have at it, but please understand your assumptions, like those of ID, will be treated as speculative.
I think I win the obscure reference challenge.
Relatively speaking this may be be true. Until we identify the center of the universe we had best reserve jdgment on the matter.
Pigs On The Wing Alert!
Wave upon wave of relentless avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity and into the dream.
Luther 1483 - 1546
Calvin 1509 - 1564
Melanchthon 1497 - 1560
Galileo 1564 - 1642
Not that I have a problem with your major point, but you want to watch the anachronism.
It doesn't explain the specific patterns we see around us because it is compatible with *any* pattern. We could have modern horses in the cambrian and ID would be compatible with it. Mix the fossil record up in any way you want and ID would still be just as compatible.
So clearly the actual pattern of the fossil record does not test ID at all. ID is guaranteed to be compatible no matter how it is arranged. Therefore ID does not explain the specific pattern we do see.
There you go again, adding to a definition. Look at the definition of "theory" again and see of the words "well-tested" are in there.
I don't have to look up definitions. I know what a scientific theory is and I can put it into my own words. A n explaination such as "Earthquakes happen because of hurricanes" is a testable explaination, but until it is well tested it remains a hypothesis.
If you want to use another explanation for the presence of organized matter and the laws that govern it, have at it, but please understand your assumptions, like those of ID, will be treated as speculative.
Sure because it is philosophy.
Seat Belt extender needed for 4D! And make sure 4E is empty!
Teddy looks like a single-malt kind of guy...
Well, the anti-intellectuals always claim that intellegent .NE. competent. An intelligent designer may be an incompentent builder.
That raises an interesting point - we never hear about an Intelligent Contractor - who actually built these things?
It was probably outsourced.
BS! Social "conservatives" deserted our President -- if not outright backstabbed him -- on the Social Security reform issue.
How are we more than the sum of the parts? What was added and when? That is my question. You admit that the [material] universe has no values, claim we are solely a product of the [material] universe and then state you have values that are real and meaningful. But you can't get blood from a stone. Even emergent properties don't add something that wasn't there before.
Indeed. To draw on obvious parallel, compare how the mainstream left treats Farenheit 9/11 and how the mainstream right treats The Clinton Chronicles.
Oh, puh-leeze. The formation of oil deposits (whether it happened according to orthodox theory, Thomas Gold's deep-hydrocarbon theory, or some other mechanism) occurs over a similarly long time scale, but it would be preposterous to assert that understanding it has little to do with day-to-day human experience (at least, if you live in a society that runs on oil and therefore needs people who can figure out where it is likely to be found).
You owe me a new monitor.
Same goes for the theory of evolution. There is nothing in the universe that cannot be explained by "natural" causes.
If one takes creationist "it's only a theory" arguments seriously, one might as well try Douglas Adams' method of flight -- throw yourself at the ground and miss. Heck, it might work....
Actually, that makes it the best theory then, because it best fits most of the evidence. You apparently believe some other force is responsible for the presence of organized matter and predicatable laws that govern it. What scientific cause do you propose other than an almighty, intelligent agent?
A scientific understanding of anything is necessarily based on testable predictions in the material world. This does not in any way exclude the religious underpinnings behind questions of ultimate issues beyond the scope of science (e.g. Why are the laws of physics the way they are, rather than otherwise?).
The notion that ID is inherently "unscientific" is patent nonsense
What testable predictions does ID make?
Nice try. We're on to that one (the definitions of "macroevolution" and "microevolution" are gerrymandered based on what can be nailed down beyond plausible denial. As I've noted before, there is a striking parallel to the defintions of "a serious accusation if true" and "not rising to the level of impeachment", as those terms were used by Clinton's defenders.)