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Future of Conservatism: Darwin or Design? [Human Events goes with ID]
Human Events ^ | 12 December 2005 | Casey Luskin

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

Thus when Krauthammer thrashes the Kansas State Board of Education for calling Neo-Darwinian evolution “undirected,” it seems that it is Kansas -- not Krauthammer -- who has been reading the actual textbooks.

Moreover, by preaching Darwinism, Krauthammer is courting the historical enemies of some of his own conservative causes. Krauthammer once argued that human beings should not be subjected to medical experimentation because of their inherent dignity: “Civilization hangs on the Kantian principle that human beings are to be treated as ends and not means.”4 About 10 years before Krauthammer penned those words, the American Eugenics Society changed its name to the euphemistic “Society for the Study of Social Biology.” This “new” field of sociobiology, has been heavily promoted by the prominent Harvard sociobiologist E.O. Wilson. In an article titled, “The consequences of Charles Darwin's ‘one long argument,’” Wilson writes in the latest issue of Harvard Magazine:

“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

This view of “scientific humanism” implies that our alleged undirected evolutionary origin makes us fundamentally undifferentiated from animals. Thus Wilson elsewhere explains that under Neo-Darwinism, “[m]orality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. … [E]thics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed on us by our genes to get us to cooperate.”6

There is no doubt that Darwinists can be extremely moral people. But E.O. Wilson’s brave new world seems very different from visions of religion and morality-friendly Darwinian sugerplums dancing about in Krauthammer’s head.

Incredibly, Krauthammer also suggests that teaching about intelligent design heaps “ridicule to religion.” It’s time for a reality check. Every major Western religion holds that life was designed by intelligence. The Dalai Lama recently affirmed that design is a philosophical truth in Buddhism. How could it possibly denigrate religion to suggest that design is scientifically correct?

At least George Will provides a more pragmatic critique. The largest float in Will’s parade of horribles is the fear that the debate over Darwin threatens to split a political coalition between social and fiscal conservatives. There is no need to accept Will’s false dichotomy. Fiscal conservatives need support from social conservatives at least as much as social conservatives need support from them. But in both cases, the focus should be human freedom, the common patrimony of Western civilization that is unintelligible under Wilson’s scientific humanism. If social conservatives were to have their way, support for Will’s fiscal causes would not suffer.

The debate over biological origins will only threaten conservative coalitions if critics like Will and Krauthammer force a split. But in doing so, they will weaken a coalition between conservatives and the public at large.

Poll data show that teaching the full range of scientific evidence, which both supports and challenges Neo-Darwinism, is an overwhelmingly popular political position. A 2001 Zogby poll found that more than 70% of American adults favor teaching the scientific controversy about Darwinism.7 This is consistent with other polls which show only about 10% of Americans believe that life is the result of purely “undirected” evolutionary processes.8 If George Will thinks that ultimate political ends should be used to force someone’s hand, then I call his bluff: design proponents are more than comfortable to lay our cards of scientific evidence (see "What Is Intelligent Design") and popular support out on the table.

But ultimately it’s not about the poll data, it’s about the scientific data. Regardless of whether critics like Krauthammer have informed themselves on this issue, and no matter how loudly critics like Will tout that “evolution is a fact,” there is still digital code in our cells and irreducibly complex rotary engines at the micromolecular level.

At the end of the day, the earth still turns, and the living cell shows evidence of design.





1 See Charles Krauthammer, “Phony Theory, False Conflict,” Washington Post, Friday, November 18, 2005, pg. A23.
2 See George Will, “Grand Old Spenders,” Washington Post, Thursday, November 17, 2005; Page A31.
3 Douglas Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology (1998, 3rd Ed., Sinauer Associates), pg. 5.
4 Quoted in Pammela Winnick “A Jealous God,” pg. 74; Charles Krauthammer “The Using of Baby Fae,” Time, Dec 3, 1984.
5 Edward O. Wilson, "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's ‘one long argument’" Harvard Magazine, Nov-December, 2005.
6 Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson "The Evolution of Ethics" in Religion and the Natural Sciences, the Range of Engagement, (Harcourt Brace, 1993).
7 See http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/ZogbyFinalReport.pdf
8 See Table 2.2 from Karl W. Giberson & Donald A Yerxa, Species of Origins America’s Search for a Creation Story (Rowman & Littlefield 2002) at page 54.

Mr. Luskin is an attorney and published scientist working with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; humanevents; moralabsolutes; mythology; pseudoscience
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To: PreciousLiberty; Fester Chugabrew
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.

Heathen infidel blasphemer! Everybody knows the Invisible Pink Unicorn (PBUHH) created the universe. Reject your pagan pasta god or be cleaning out Her stables for eternity!

551 posted on 12/13/2005 9:28:40 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Fester Chugabrew; CarolinaGuitarman

I have yet another theory. It is that the entire universe is a construct of my over-wrought imagination. Someone asked what my theory predicts, and I said, "That organized matter behaving according to predicatable [sic] laws will be found."


552 posted on 12/13/2005 9:31:04 AM PST by Thatcherite (F--ked in the afterlife, bullying feminized androgenous automaton euro-weenie blackguard)
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To: Senator Bedfellow
If tomorrow it were shown that there are no eternal consequences

An interesting wager and I'm not entirely sure about how to proceed as I'm unclear about the nature of the interrogation. Ethics is rather a complex of many elements, and your scenario will require more details before it can get a good answer. Some things that are missing are, kinds of virute, and kinds of consequences. Also, the nature of temporality and eternity will have to be settled. Does your question assume that there is nothing eternal?

553 posted on 12/13/2005 9:35:24 AM PST by cornelis
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To: antiRepublicrat
Everybody knows the Invisible Pink Unicorn (PBUHH) created the universe.

Heretic! You will be forever boiled in a giant vat of the holy garlic-pepper-sausage sauce!

(It's my personal favorite.) :^)

554 posted on 12/13/2005 9:36:01 AM PST by PreciousLiberty
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To: Aquinasfan

Of course, Galileo produced some pretty convincing evidence that the moons of Jupiter orbited Jupiter. This upset the assumption that everything orbited the earth.

One of the main differences between Galileo and Copernicus.

Evidence.


555 posted on 12/13/2005 9:40:09 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Thatcherite; CarolinaGuitarman; antiRepublicrat
Quite. My theory is that my cat created the universe and everything in it yesterday. This theory predicts that the sky is blue.

Ah, so it is. Obviously, my theory is correct.

Of course, what's missing from all this is an explanation of how and why that particular prediction is a necessary consequence of my cat-creation theory being correct. In the case of the Big Bang, the theory was that the universe expanded in such-and-such a way. Well, the prediction from that specific event was that there should be some leftover radiation as a consequence of the specific mechanism by which the universe expanded. Notice that there is some sort of logical connection between the theory and the prediction - the prediction is not a complete non sequitur in relation to the theory. Asserting that Big Bang theory predicts that my dryer will have lint in it doesn't work, because there's no reason to accept that dryer lint is a necessary consequence of the Big Bang.

Or if you think it is a necessary consequence, it's incumbent upon you to explain how and why that consequence necessarily results from your theory - simply asserting that it does is meaningless. Ya gotta put some chips on the table if you want to play the game.

556 posted on 12/13/2005 9:43:00 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: Right Wing Professor
Our experience is, that as knowledge and understanding of our universe grows, so the domain of the supernatural shrinks.

zero-sum fallacy

557 posted on 12/13/2005 9:43:06 AM PST by cornelis
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To: antiRepublicrat
You need to nail it down to ID being the cause, otherwise you're just making obvious general statements.

No more than evos need to nail down some other cause. The theory of evolutioon is a general statement supporting the evidence at hand. It makes "obvious general statements" in view of the givens with which its proponents operate.

558 posted on 12/13/2005 9:44:01 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: cornelis

Assume for a moment that death is akin to snuffing out a candle - once your bodily functions cease, you are no more. Will you behave yourself prior to that event, or not?


559 posted on 12/13/2005 9:44:40 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: js1138
When ID produces a hypothesis that suggests research, it will qualify as science. Science is an activity, not a list of facts.

Please enumerate the activities science can engage without the presence of intelligence, design, or any combination of the two.

560 posted on 12/13/2005 9:45:09 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: PreciousLiberty
It's ironic that the first real cases of "intelligent design" are happening in modern times, as genetic engineering becomes possible.

Actually, genetic engineering is just cut and paste with existing materials. It is not design any more than stringing Shakespeare quotes together is writing.

What ID lacks, and what it could genuinely use, is understing of how the materials work, how the blueprints lead to organisms. You really can't do design without understanding your materials.

I am puzzled why design advocates aren't conducting research toward demonstrating that design is possible.

561 posted on 12/13/2005 9:46:05 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: cornelis

I think you have answered the question. Anyone who hedges on the question of whether they would behave well without fear of punishment or expectation of reward really doesn't have any internalized moral compass.


562 posted on 12/13/2005 9:50:27 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Fester Chugabrew
Please enumerate the activities science can engage without the presence of intelligence, design, or any combination of the two.

I am assuming you are referring to design and intelligence in the phenomena being studied. Are you suggesting that all phenomena are designed?

563 posted on 12/13/2005 9:54:04 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: PreciousLiberty
Heretic! You will be forever boiled in a giant vat of the holy garlic-pepper-sausage sauce!

You will not be allowed to proselytize edible idolatry to our children. Let the holy wars begin, noble equine vs. Spaghetti-Os. Bring it on!

564 posted on 12/13/2005 9:55:07 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Senator Bedfellow
Will you behave yourself prior to that event, or not?

You mean, will I behave virtuously or not?

That depends on the concept virtue, i.e. understand its origin and application. Again, you'll need more details to get a good answer.

565 posted on 12/13/2005 9:55:52 AM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis

By your own definition of virtue, naturally. You currently have a sense of what is "moral" versus what is "immoral", correct? Will you continue to live according to that sense, or not?


566 posted on 12/13/2005 9:57:39 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: js1138
Anyone who hedges

Who is hedging? And on what point?

567 posted on 12/13/2005 9:57:59 AM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis

Just answer the question. Would you behave differently if you were certain there would be no personal consequenses for being altruistic or selfish?


568 posted on 12/13/2005 10:01:14 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Senator Bedfellow
By your own definition of virtue, naturally.

No, this is not self-evident. You have already removed one of the conditions for virtue in the initial question and thereby excluded my understanding of elements involved in virtue. So I need your understanding of virtue.

569 posted on 12/13/2005 10:01:35 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Right Wing Professor; betty boop; cornelis; hosepipe; Physicist; TXnMA
Thank you so much for your reply!

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.

Your theory begins with a false presupposition – that that which is not supernatural is natural.

To the contrary, I assert that the natural is part of what you would consider "supernatural" and indeed, the natural declares that God exists. For instance, that there was a beginning, that the universe is intelligible at all, the unreasonable effectiveness of math, the existence of information in the universe, that order has arisen out of chaos (the void), willfulness, autonomy, semiosis and so on.

What you are speaking to is causation. Where you have looked you have found physical causation. Science depends on physical causation to understand nature, so that is not surprising.

But I doubt you have weighed the full concept of causation. For instance, were it not for A, C would not be. Were it not for space/time, events would not occur, etc. Or as Physicist remarked on another thread, existence exists.

To that I would add that everything we observe ought to be understood in that context. Intentionally not doing so, leaves one in worse shape than a blind man in the elephant metaphor (from post 529)

Considering your credentials and fields of interests which I have discerned from your postings on the forum over the years, I also suspect there are many anomalies you have not yet weighed.

For instance, you mentioned prophesy. Here's a simple one which is not part of either a Jewish or Christian canon. Consider that the book of Enoch was dated by Laurence “before the rise of Christianity, most probably at an early period of the reign of Herod” because it prophesied the reign of King Herod the Great which began 37 B.C. and was quoted by Jesus Christ and His apostles. In other words, the presumption of scholars is that prophesy cannot be true and therefore if something prophesied actually happened, it must have been written after the event mentioned. That is a false presupposition which leads to error. In this case, a copy of the manuscript was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran – fragment 4Q208 – and was dated with a paleographic age 200 B.C. and was carbon-dated, calibrated 166-102 BC and 186-92 BC.

We could examine other prophesies in Scripture - but to do so would involve much more discussion, sources, etc. But if you are interested in such things, we can set them up and proceed to examine them one at a time.

570 posted on 12/13/2005 10:04:36 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: js1138
Just answer the question.

You can put aside your whip. This is a discussion forum, not an interrogation.

I said to Bedfellow that the question is unclear on the starting points. If you have a deductive argument, conclusions will differ, depending on the starting points.

571 posted on 12/13/2005 10:04:50 AM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis
zero-sum fallacy

Nah. Look at medicine. Once the plague was a supernatural visitation. Now it's a medical condition. One excludes the other.

572 posted on 12/13/2005 10:05:37 AM PST by Right Wing Professor
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To: cornelis

The fact that you have to ponder this says something about you as a person.


573 posted on 12/13/2005 10:06:11 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
You've introduced a new concept. The "exclusion" is a logical opposition that involves different features than the zero-sum fallacy.

In any case, a medical condition does not exclude divine agency.

574 posted on 12/13/2005 10:11:46 AM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis

Would you behave any differently than you do now?


575 posted on 12/13/2005 10:13:21 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: js1138
The fact that you have to ponder this says something about you as a person

I'll take that as a compliment. Dogma and simplification (scientific and philosophical) is politically dangerous. And the compliment belongs to Socrates, who taught me to ponder.

576 posted on 12/13/2005 10:13:59 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Fester Chugabrew; bobdsmith
A good theory explains the data.

A good scientific theory must explain the data, but it must also be vulnerable to the data. The validity of the theory must be put at risk when we make observations or do experiments. There must be things that, apart from the theory in question being true, we would reasonably expect to observe, but which are prohibited by the theory.

However you said here, in response to your correspondent's complaint that ID "is compatible with *any* pattern" of evidence, "that makes it the best theory then, because it best fits most of the evidence."

This is wildly perverse. It's saying that a theory can be consistent with any possible observation -- that is be invulnerable to the data and therefore untestable, and still be good theory. This is most emphatically not the case.

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?

Actually this is the opposite of ID. Propents of ID claim to infer "intelligent design" in precisely those case that (they assert) CANNOT be accounted for by the natural behavior in the form of predictable laws!

What's more you're taking a presupposition shared BY all scientific theories (the uniformity of natural law) and saying it's a prediction OF a particular theory.

577 posted on 12/13/2005 10:14:27 AM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: Alamo-Girl
Your theory begins with a false presupposition – that that which is not supernatural is natural.

Supernatural is by definition what is not natural.

Consider that the book of Enoch was dated by Laurence “before the rise of Christianity, most probably at an early period of the reign of Herod” because it prophesied the reign of King Herod the Great which began 37 B.C. and was quoted by Jesus Christ and His apostles.

Please identify the verses from Enoch that prophesy Herod the Great.

578 posted on 12/13/2005 10:14:31 AM PST by Right Wing Professor
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To: cornelis

" In any case, a medical condition does not exclude divine agency."

It's not that calls to divine action aren't possible after the natural causes of the medical condition are discovered, it's that they are no longer necessary. Why bring in a supernatural explanation when a natural, testable one will do perfectly well?


579 posted on 12/13/2005 10:16:04 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: cornelis
The "exclusion" is a logical opposition that involves different features than the zero-sum fallacy.

If the intersection of sets A and set B is zero, and if the union of A and B is C, and we move elements into set A, from within C, then we must subtract the same elements from B.

In any case, a medical condition does not exclude divine agency.

It does if you accept a naturalistic explanation for disease.

580 posted on 12/13/2005 10:18:13 AM PST by Right Wing Professor
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To: Stultis
A good scientific theory must explain the data, but it must also be vulnerable to the data.

Who says? Why carry the attribute of "vulnerability" into the definition of theory? A theory by defininition is simply a way of explaining data. Read the definition again, and tell me how you wring "vulnerability" out of it.

581 posted on 12/13/2005 10:19:28 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: PatrickHenry
This debate is more of a distraction than anything else.

If you look back at the earlier years of the last century, some supporters of Darwinian evolution supported eugenics and other efforts to "improve the race." So did plenty of other people whose notions of humanity's origins were not derived from Darwin. After Hitler, most people rejected such ideas of eugenics, selective breeding, or the elimination of the "unfit." They saw clearly where such ideas could lead. That held for Darwinians, non-Darwinians, and anti-Darwinians.

Now we've come full circle. New techologies create new possibilities and some rush to embrace them. Some Darwinian evolutionists are in the lead, but they aren't the only ones. It will take some time to sort things out. It's doubtful that Darwinians will ever be won over to intelligent design. The question is whether we can adopt a moral consensus that can prevent dangerous policies from being put into effect. There are extreme Darwinians and extreme anti-evolutionists. Most people fit in somewhere in the middle, and are more concerned with doing the right thing in practice, rather than with asserting this or that vision of the universe.

582 posted on 12/13/2005 10:20:04 AM PST by x
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To: CarolinaGuitarman
Why bring in a supernatural explanation when a natural, testable one will do perfectly well?

If there is only one kind of causality, one will do perfectly well. My experience with nature is that there is more than one kind of causality.

583 posted on 12/13/2005 10:20:10 AM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis

This isn't dogma and it isn't simplification. It's a simple question about what kind of person you are.

To the extent that you can understand situations and determine outcomes, would you behave differently if the difference between helping or hurting others had no consequenses for you?


584 posted on 12/13/2005 10:21:16 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Stultis
What's more you're taking a presupposition shared BY all scientific theories (the uniformity of natural law) and saying it's a prediction OF a particular theory.

So? That makes the theory even more applicable, since it encompasses the practice of science itself.

585 posted on 12/13/2005 10:21:39 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Fester Chugabrew
No more than evos need to nail down some other cause.

Evolution (the fact, not the theory) is due to changes in a population's gene pool, with changes more adaptable to the environment more likely to live on and pass those changes to the next generation (the theory).

That statement puts forth a cause. "The organization of matter that behaves under predictable laws" does not.

586 posted on 12/13/2005 10:22:05 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: cornelis
"If there is only one kind of causality, one will do perfectly well. My experience with nature is that there is more than one kind of causality."

How does that make an untestable assumption (divine interference) better than a testable one (natural, physical causes)? And what other kinds of causality are there?
587 posted on 12/13/2005 10:24:35 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: js1138

I told you this is not an interrogation. If you are willing to discuss what virtue is, I can talk with you. If not, fine.


588 posted on 12/13/2005 10:27:21 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Senator Bedfellow

I find it amusing that you can't pin down creationists or semi-creationists on the simple question of their natural inclination towards selfish or altruistic behavior.

The notion that everything will fly apart without an omniscient authority handing out rewards and punishments just has to be projection.


589 posted on 12/13/2005 10:29:07 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: js1138; cornelis

I think the answer is he can think of no rational reason, besides the dictates of a Deity, to make any moral decisions. Morality in that case is subjective, not objective. It's either the subjective whims of a deity, or it is the subjective feelings of an individual. But there can no objective basis to being *moral*. The question seems nonsensical to a subjectivist.


590 posted on 12/13/2005 10:29:30 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: CarolinaGuitarman

Perhaps there is a hierarchy of causes, but that again is something different than exclusionary causes. What other kinds of causality are there? Aristotle lists four.


591 posted on 12/13/2005 10:31:06 AM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis
tyranny of logic

The tyranny of logic is in its being locked within the extreme limitations imposed by attempts at verbalized reasoning. The difference between true reasoning--that is by scanning all of the observations of a lifetime, in relation to any subject--and the verbalized constructs of formalized logic, is the equivalent of the difference between the modern computer and an old adding machine.

The reality, easily observable, is that Creation involved the creation of creatures, with a built in tendency to evolve. Hence the idea of a conflict is absurd. (To deny the tendencies that God gave his Creatures, is to deny the reality of Creation. The quest, again, of both science and religion is the same: To find and by implication to celebrate the truth.)

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

592 posted on 12/13/2005 10:34:20 AM PST by Ohioan
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To: CarolinaGuitarman; js1138
I think the answer is he can think of no rational reason

No, I've made an attempt to answer the questions based on Bedfellow's understanding of virtue. I will not conjure what he thinks virtue is. I only understand that we must deny eternal consequences to proceed.

593 posted on 12/13/2005 10:34:21 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Alamo-Girl; Right Wing Professor; marron; hosepipe
...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".

This is a point that's easy to miss. Somehow.

This sort of thing reminds me of a bloodhound, nose to the trail, sniffing out his prey, following the spoor.... Everything else around the dog is screened out from the dog's consciousness. But that doesn't mean that only the prey and the spoor exist.

Thanks so much for your excellent essay/post, Alamo-Girl!

594 posted on 12/13/2005 10:34:54 AM PST by betty boop (Dominus illuminatio mea.)
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To: cornelis

"Perhaps there is a hierarchy of causes, but that again is something different than exclusionary causes. What other kinds of causality are there? Aristotle lists four."

How does that make an untestable assumption (divine interference) better than a testable one (natural, physical causes)?


595 posted on 12/13/2005 10:35:25 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: x
If you look back at the earlier years of the last century, some supporters of Darwinian evolution supported eugenics and other efforts to "improve the race." So did plenty of other people whose notions of humanity's origins were not derived from Darwin.

Eugenics, in one form or another, has been around for a long time. It didn't start with Darwin.

Greek warrior Spartan civilization. Weakling infants were left in the mountains to die.
The Republic, Book 5, Section 1. Plato recommended state-supervised selective breeding of children.
History of Australia. Before Darwin, England exiled criminals to purify the race.

596 posted on 12/13/2005 10:35:50 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, common scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: Thatcherite

" One thing all real scientists agree upon is the fact of evolution itself. It is a fact that we are cousins of gorillas, kangaroos, starfish, and bacteria. Evolution is as much a fact as the heat of the sun. It is not a theory, and for pity’s sake, let’s stop confusing the philosophically naive by calling it so. Evolution is a fact"

BACK TO BASICS

Can any of you "real scientists" defend this statement?


597 posted on 12/13/2005 10:36:37 AM PST by caffe
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To: js1138; CarolinaGuitarman

Indeed, what does "virtue" or "morality" mean if the behavior is compelled by a whip in one hand, and a carrot in the other? Can we not make any behavior moral or virtuous merely by offering a reward for some aritrary behaviors and a punishment for others?


598 posted on 12/13/2005 10:37:38 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: Stultis
The folks you're criticizing consistently distinguish between "metaphysical" (or philosophical) naturalism and "methodological" naturalism.

The person I'm criticizing is Dawkins, et al. I don't think he makes that distinction at all. His "method" tells him what is legitimate for him to be concerned with, and how he is to think about it. What the method does not cover does not exist for him.

599 posted on 12/13/2005 10:42:11 AM PST by betty boop (Dominus illuminatio mea.)
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To: CarolinaGuitarman
Some people hold that testable assumptions are somehow better. This is on account of a preference for certainty with results.

Others recongize that free causality would not be testable as such. Between the two, the second is the health of a civilization and makes politics possible. That is why better is relative. But the denial of one for the other is an exclusion with consequence.

600 posted on 12/13/2005 10:42:32 AM PST by cornelis
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