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.
One would have hoped that HE's editors would have called the writer on the ellipses. Editiorials are often filled with hyperbole, sometimes told in parables, but ellipses are just too, too conical.
That organized matter operating under predictable laws will be found.
Was this before or after the "Would you like to pet my pussy?" "OK, but first you'll need to move the cat." exchange?
The machines used in playing card factories are intelligent?
But you can raise the same objection to a song, or to this post, or to the shape of a snowflake. Where did the chemical properties of an atom "come from", as it was being built of protons, neutrons and electrons? The constituent particles didn't have these properties beforehand, and the properties are certainly real and meaningful, but nevertheless we know exactly how they come about, without invoking anything mystical, and without even insisting that the properties were there since the universe began.
As for how the human brain comes to have values--preferences--we don't yet know, but we've only just begun to measure how the brain works.
Values are human--likely pre-human--inventions, albeit ones that constitute a prerequisite for any sort of meaningful society, even a family. Likewise, letters are human inventions. The ability to distinguish good from bad is as artificial as the ability to distinguish A from B. Are "A" and "B" "real and meaningful"? Were they there since the universe began?
Those gentlemen must have been extremely insightful to criticise the theories of someone who hadn't even been born yet.
Oh, yeah, they certainly do. Hydrogen and oxygen atoms don't possess the properties of water. Water certainly is more that the sum of its parts. "What was added and when" that made this particular molecular combination of hydrogen and oxygen a nearly universal solvent (even in their molecular forms H and O don't have this property) that gave water the unique ability to expand rather contract on freezing, and etc?
I guess not obscure enough. But someone always gets it when I make a reference, even stuff I'd swear nobody else here would know.
I hate having something in common with Teddy.
Yeah, but in a just world, Teddy would be drinking from a screw-top bottle and begging for change at the bus station.
ID hasn't met the burden of ".9999999999 probability". ID hasn't even met the burden of "0.5 probability". ID hasn't made any solid (or even tenuous) case that any of its "probability" calculations are even remotely grounded in reality. Anyone who regularly works with statistics & nonlinear (i.e. chaotic) mathematics understand well that retrospective probabibility calculations in systems with blurry boundary conditions have no real meaning.
Find some and get back to us. Come up with a specifically-stated hypothesis, set up a reproducible test, have it be successful and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal. If it survives, you have a decent hypothesis. Then you can work on building a general theory to explain it.
Nobody will take you seriously until that's done, because that's how the science game is played. But then you've already come up with the vague, ill-defined "theory," so you'll have to backpedal a bit to overcome that initial loss of credibility.
Just as those who are pressing for ID are doing so over an issue that has no effect on their family's well being, and risking that I and many others will drop their support of the Republican party over because of it.
This knife cuts both ways. IDers need to drop this issue. It can do nothing but harm, and has no hope of doing any good should ID be adopted in schools.
I refuse to support lies, whether those lies come from socialists, or "Christians" promoting the latest fundimentalist fad.
Based on what evidence? And how would that be relevant, even if true?
You typed alot but basically your full of tautological non-speak. As you know, a tautology has the appearance of being explanatory, but is not.
Rude, pointless and obviously incorrect.
It is a statement which, due to its circular form, is true by definition. So your all about words, not about the empirical world. You have managed to explain nothing about our observations. You masquerade as though your conveying knowledge and information when in fact you convey nothing. It reminds me of the doctor saying "Your father's deafness is caused by hearing impairment."
Your incapacity or unwillingness to follow is not a demonstration that I have no point to make.
What can one expect from a person of your perspective...
And what perspective would that be, pray tell?
How about this "The universe has survivable properties because we survive. Now, that would be profound compared to to the nothingness of your post.
Well, if you're through clearing your pipes, perhaps you might be calm enough to follow the argument--I'll try to make it even simpler: The Einsteinian universe and the Newtonian universe make, perhaps, the paradigmatic example of science's generously expansive nature regarding theories. The grand design of the universe that these two theories propose could hardly be more dramatically mutually exclusive. And yet, both theories are happily and fruitfully employed in science and technology to this very day.
Hence my point, which is hardly tautological, but might be taken for so, if you suffer from an extreme case of philosophical dyslexia--or are being sort of intellectually lazy: science is not capable of categorically proving or disproving things such as, just to pick an example at random, your contention that the discovery of natural abiogensis eliminates God as the ultimate cause of life.
It is noteworthily vacuous to call pointing out that two supposed opposites are in fact not, a tautology.
The universe is replete with organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws. You need look no farther than the front of your nose at any time. From both an inductive and deductive standpoint, the theory of intelligent design makes sense.
But you, too, must have some other theory to explain the presence of organized matter that behaves under predictable laws. What is it? Evolution? That works, too. There is nothing in the universe that cannot be explained by "natural" causes. Evolution is a legitimate theory, to be sure. But it is not the only one capable of explaining the data.
And if you live under the illusion that science, in order to be science, must omit any notion of God or the supernatural, then you adhere to a dogma of your own. An unscientific practice at best. Bigotry at worst.
You are again making a value judgement. Hydrogen has unique properties. It's the lightest element, the building block of all others. It can hydrogenate fats, explode, make fuel cells, and be used in nuclear reactions. Oxygen is magnetic in liquid form, supports combustion, can be used as bleach, gives us the aurora, and serves to send environuts into a conniption fit in the form of ozone.
Look at it the other way, you lose a lot of valuable qualities when you combine hydrogen and oxygen to make water. From this viewpoint, the sum is less than the parts.
That organized matter operating under predictable laws will be found.
You just got through saying that a thoroughly hoc theory (one that can account for anything) is a good theory, and now this? Parading an arm waving generalization as a testable prediction, and a presupposition common to all scientific theories as the implication of a particular theory (ignoring for the moment that ID isn't a theory)?
Seriously. Are you purposely engaging in some sort of satire?
Is this an admission that ID is strictly an anti-evolution philosophy?
Why do you have such trouble understanding that the falsification criterion you supplied just will not work? Showing that some aspect of one theory is valid cannot be used to falsify another theory unless you can show a true dichotomy. In the case of Evolution\ID this has not been shown. If evolution is valid, this does not mean that ID is not valid, there could be cases where the original was created by an IDer but substantially modified by evolution. Of course the reverse also holds.
I repeat, ID simply can not be falsified by proving evolution, nor can evolution be falsified by proving ID*, there is no dichotomy.
*Evolutionary mechanisms can be falsified, but not by proving ID, unless it can be shown that no change occurs but through ID.
Your proposed hypothesis was not a case for ID, it was an observation of the obvious status quo. Restate the hypothesis to support a tenet of ID, and propose a test.
From both an inductive and deductive standpoint, the theory of intelligent design makes sense.
You're talking logic and philosophy, but the subject is science.
And if you live under the illusion that science, in order to be science, must omit any notion of God or the supernatural
We are talking about the natural sciences. You know, as opposed to supernatural (ID). That pretty much frames the debate from the beginning. Or do you think they should be mixed? Do you think we should teach natural selection in church? Of course not, you only want your beliefs taught in schools as science, no reciprocity.
Has anyone ever actually directly observed an electron take a quantum leap thru an N-P junction, a star cook up an element from two other elements, a galaxy form, a continent drift, or grass grow? Despite it's frailty, science marches on the back of inductive reasoning from incomplete evidence. Like many creationistas before you, you have gotten all quivery and preachy about this discovery which all scientists make by about 6th grade.
"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.
To *falsify* 'Pigs can't fly' all you would need to do is show one pig fly. To *prove* pigs can't fly you would have to test a statistically significant number of pigs.
They would no longer be pigs. Just consider for a moment how many changes would be necessary.
A good theory explains the data. When organized matter is found to behave in accord with predicatable laws, then it is reasonable to attribute this to intelligent design. What is intelligent design but taking matter and then organizing it to behave according to predictable laws?
Testable predictions are largely the practice of emprical science, when, on a smaller scale, hypotheses are formed and tested. You are mistaking "theory" for hypotheses. "Theory" is merely a general way of explaining the available data, so intelligent design makes for a very good theory.
Are you saying it is not possible for science to test for the presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws? Perhaps the theory of intelligent design is so self-evident you have tired of it and yearn for something new. Be my guest. But don't think you've "explained" something any better when you assume and conclude that only "natural" causes can be explored by science. You tell me the testable hypotheses that can explain the presence of organized matter that behaves according to predicatable laws while leaving intelligent design out of the picture.
If my genes have inclined me to develop with a feeling that it's right to protect my family or wrong to kill someone, then how can I discount those feelings in order to become a nihilist without somehow 'ripping out' those genes and every effect they've had on me?
Or, to put it another away, knowing that my sex drive is only an adaptation produced by natural selection doesn't make me want to stop having sex, so why should knowing that my moral 'drive' is (at least partially) derived from the same source make me want to stop being moral?
No. I said, and have been saying, that intelligent design is a respectable theory. I've not introduced the word "hypothesis" except in response to others who have introduced it.
Someone asked what ID as a theory predicts, and I said, "That organized matter behaving according to predicatable laws will be found."
That's the first very good scientific theory I've ever heard of that does not have even one supporting hypothesis or proposed test.
I'll agree that ID is a theory in the vernacular, but not in the scientific.
Is a collection of cooperating unicellulars with no nervous system an organism? Like a fungus, or a jellyfish? How about ants and termites, that are incapable of breeding on their own? Is an ant colony one creature, or many creatures? Shared morphology, chemistry, and DNA structure is devastating evidence of the evolutionary link between unicellulars and multi-cellulars. Science is not required to jump thru some arbitrary hoop some cultist with a burr under his blanket and an obvious ax to grind holds up for it to jump thru before getting along with its business.
For instance, we cannot say that something is random in the system if we do not know what the system "is". A string of numbers extracted from the extension of pi would falsely appear random where they are in fact highly determined.
Likewise, in the case of methodological naturalism, one cannot presume that conclusions drawn from an intentionally narrowed field of view reflect truths about the system, because they never ask nor answer what the system "is".
The blind men and the elephant parable is a metaphor for this phenomenon although in this case, the blindness was not intentional and thus, not as tragic:
A number of disciples went to the Buddha and said, "Sir, there are living here in Savatthi many wandering hermits and scholars who indulge in constant dispute, some saying that the world is infinite and eternal and others that it is finite and not eternal, some saying that the soul dies with the body and others that it lives on forever, and so forth. What, Sir, would you say concerning them?"
The Buddha answered, "Once upon a time there was a certain raja who called to his servant and said, 'Come, good fellow, go and gather together in one place all the men of Savatthi who were born blind... and show them an elephant.' 'Very good, sire,' replied the servant, and he did as he was told. He said to the blind men assembled there, 'Here is an elephant,' and to one man he presented the head of the elephant, to another its ears, to another a tusk, to another the trunk, the foot, back, tail, and tuft of the tail, saying to each one that that was the elephant.
"When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, 'Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?'
"Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, 'Sire, an elephant is like a pot.' And the men who had observed the ear replied, 'An elephant is like a winnowing basket.' Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a plough; others said the body was a grainery; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush.
"Then they began to quarrel, shouting, 'Yes it is!' 'No, it is not!' 'An elephant is not that!' 'Yes, it's like that!' and so on, till they came to blows over the matter.
"Brethren, the raja was delighted with the scene.
"Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing.... In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus."
Then the Exalted One rendered this meaning by uttering this verse of uplift,
It will qualify as a hypothesis or theory only if and when it suggests research.
This is not something that can be settled by reference to dictionaries. When ID people formulate a hypothesis that can be tested, it will be science.
In what way would you expect science to test for the presence of organized matter that behaves according to predicatable laws?
The presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws is all that science has to research. The last time I checked, when intelligent design is employed, it consists in organizing matter so that it behaves according to predictable laws.
"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.
No, he'll probably become a Libertarian, which while considerably more conservative than the Republican party, certainly isn't considered part of the "conservative base". Brilliant!
(BTW, the Libertarian party has no problem with either evolution or an over-affinity for religious fundamentalism. It could use a reality check when it comes to foreign policy and the military.)
Hence the phrase, "Give the devil his due, or there'll be hell to pay."
I think we may have unearthed a coverup.
That would not be a very good prediction, because unintelligent design would predict unorganized matter that behaves unpredictably.
"That would not be a very good prediction, because unintelligent design would predict unorganized matter that behaves unpredictably."
But that's what I say it predicts. It's my theory, I get to make up any predictions I want for it. Why do you get to decide what the structure of my theory is? :)
The question is, is the field intentionally narrowed, or do we in fact fail to observe phenomena that show indications of supernatural action? In my case, the answer would be the latter. I've been exposed to all sorts of dubious claims of the supernatural, including people who claimed to have ESP, fortune tellers and prophets who could predict the future, ghostly phenomena, spoon-bending abilities, etc. In every single case the claim turned out to have a natural and generally rather tawdry explanation. At one stage, in fact, I was quite willing to accept supernatural explanations for phenomena.
Methodological naturalism is the stance almost all of us adopt almost all the time these days. We put more confidence in physicians than in faith healers; in meteorologists rather than seers; in radar rather than divination. Our experience is, that as knowledge and understanding of our universe grows, so the domain of the supernatural shrinks.
When ID produces a hypothesis that suggests research, it will qualify as science. Science is an activity, not a list of facts.
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.
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.
You need to introduce that word if you want to break out of the junk science category. You have a vernacular theory, "Life is organized in such a way that it must have been designed by an intelligent designer." You need to do at least the following to gain credibility as science:
And IDers think they can be accepted as science without even having done as much hard research and testing as those working on CF?
"That organized matter behaving according to predicatable laws will be found."
And as I've said, it has been found, but doesn't necessarily have anything to do with ID. The statement does not even require ID in order to be true.
OK; that makes more sense.
You have an assumption in the back of your mind when you state "organized matter that behaves according to predicatable laws." The assumption is of a designer. You need to put the designer into the statement, otherwise you've just said "The sky is blue today" well, duh, of course it is (where I am).
Once you've done that part, it is you, the proponent, who needs to design your test, conduct it and publish it so we can try to reproduce it.
Eh? The courts, a purely defensive militia, and the police are the only functional arms of government libertarians support. I guess George Washington also needs that same reality check.
"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 interjected a new word, "understanding". My point was that speciation is a slow process and not (often) relevant on human time scales. Influenza is one exception...
By the way, another point to be made that relates to a lot of posts on this thread is that many feel that intelligence has caused the normal evolutionary process to be altered in people. For example, modern medicine has removed the selection pressure from diseases like diabetes. This phenomenon is not limited to humans, for instance chimpanzees have removed selection pressures by learned behaviors like using tools to harvest termites.
It's ironic that the first real cases of "intelligent design" are happening in modern times, as genetic engineering becomes possible. Evolution won't apply to humankind going forward as much as engineering will, IMO. Then there's the coming fusion of man and machine...interesting times without a doubt. ;-)
The word "necessarily" being key. I haven't said anything about "necessity" or even proofs. I am only stating what constitutes a reasonable theory based on the definition usally posted by evos. Intelligent design involves the organization of matter that behaves under predictable laws. The presence of such matter is ubiquitous. Therefore to infer intelligent design as present and operative throughout the universe is to indulge a reasonable explanation, or theory.
You seem awfully ignorant. Read some of Einstein's writings for instance. There are many famous, respected scientists who are deeply religious. However, science by definition does not address "God" or the "supernatural", at least as long as they are claimed to have traits and capabilities that transcend the physical world.
Science has not made, nor does it seem likely to make, any pronouncements about what existed before the Big Bang, or what caused the Universe to have its particular laws and composition. So, the explanations that "God created the Universe", "the Universe suddenly appeared randomly from nowhere", and "the Universe was created when an extra-universal garbage collector accidentally collected too much garbage and it imploded" are all equally plausible and likely from a strictly scientific standpoint. Science is willing to concede that the unknowable is the province of religion...it seems to be taking quite some time for religion to admit the counterpoint, that the knowable is the province of science.
I think ID should only be taught in science class if Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is given equal time, and the reason why is fully explained.
They must have possessed the same time machine that allowed Darwin to get all his ideas from Haeckel's drawings (which apparently happened according to a frequent creationist poster here)
So can other things. You need to nail it down to ID being the cause, otherwise you're just making obvious general statements.
Therefore to infer intelligent design as present and operative throughout the universe is to indulge a reasonable explanation, or theory.
Only in the vernacular definition of theory, as in your personal guess or belief. I can respect the statement in that category, but not as science.
Pete apparently believes that he'd lose his moral sense and turn into an insensate psychopath or perhaps some kind of despairing nihilist if he weren't a Christian. Let's all hope for his sake and/or ours that he doesn't get a crisis of faith.
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