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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: CarolinaGuitarman
I think the answer is he can think of no rational reason, besides the dictates of a Deity, to make any moral decisions.

Anybody can learn to recite a dictionary definition of virtue. We have a lot of dictionary mongers online in this thread.

It strikes me that these folks are incapable of understanding the internalized desire to be a good person, to help one's children and, by extension, build a just society for one's descendants to live in.

I fully appreciate the difficulty of defining specifically what is to be done. That is what politics is about, deciding what needs to be done to improve the world.

I am curious, however, about people who aren't self-motivated to make things better.

601 posted on 12/13/2005 10:43:34 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: antiRepublicrat

All you've done is present a tautology. The words "is due to" does not define a cause. One could just as easily substitute the word "is."

The presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws is due to the ongoing activity of an almighty, omnipresent, intelligent agent as demonstrated by the ubiquitous presence of observable data communicated to intelligent agents outside of the same, without which the practice of science would be impossible.

The most convincing argument against this theory would be the absence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws. Such evidence has been small in forthcoming, although black holes may be a sign that the absence of organized matter exists.


602 posted on 12/13/2005 10:43:41 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Stultis; editor-surveyor
e-s: This does seem to be all that the evolution camp has left; they all hate the very idea of God with equal intensity.

Stult: Your claim is manifestly false. (Having no more integrity than "Bush lied" and similar leftist mantras.) You have, and always have had, every theological shade among evolutionists. You have agressive atheists (e.g. Richard Dawkins) you have skeptical agnostics (e.g. Darwin himself) and YOU ALSO HAVE theists, often fairly pious ones (e.g. Asa Gray, Kenneth Miller, Francisco Ayala, Ronald Fisher, Simon Conway Morris, just to name a few that come to mind).

Don't forget that noted God-hater, Pope John-Paul II.

603 posted on 12/13/2005 10:45:04 AM PST by Gumlegs
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To: Thatcherite

I thought you held to the theory of evolution.


604 posted on 12/13/2005 10:45:37 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Senator Bedfellow
Indeed, what does "virtue" or "morality" mean if the behavior is compelled by a whip in one hand, and a carrot in the other?

I suspect this is related to the question of being born again, but you'd never guess it from the speechifying of the Elect.

605 posted on 12/13/2005 10:45:58 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: betty boop
[ 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. ]

Killer example.. just beautiful...

606 posted on 12/13/2005 10:46:48 AM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: cornelis
"Some people hold that testable assumptions are somehow better. This is on account of a preference for certainty with results."

Not just certainty. We can't know ANYTHING if we can't make tests of our assumptions.

"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."


Sorry, my BS alarm just went off. The above paragraph is nonsensical. Science isn't a postmodernist enterprise.
607 posted on 12/13/2005 10:47:14 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: Senator Bedfellow
Can we not make any behavior moral or virtuous merely by offering a reward for some aritrary behaviors and a punishment for others?

You can, by way of speaking. But the language is historically a posteriori to an experience that is not secular.

The whole structure of a secular virtue is actually no simpler than any other. Instead of a theodicy one must give a "physidicy." It must also answer the origin of virtue and why we would act against nature. Unless I am mistaken, this is only possible in some form of dualism. I don't think along these lines, and I suggest that if you do, give us what you think. I might be converted.

608 posted on 12/13/2005 10:48:22 AM PST by cornelis
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To: betty boop
But that doesn't mean that only the prey and the spoor exist.

Nor does it mean that only the correct answer exists in mathematics. I understand your analogy is quite popular in modern classrooms. The idea that one could set a goal and a procedure for achieving it is so stifling.

609 posted on 12/13/2005 10:51:13 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
Flying Spaghetti Monster Theory of Disease placemarker ("all diseases are the result of the lack of properly prepared/ingested pasta" - Mary Baker Macaroni)
610 posted on 12/13/2005 10:52:23 AM PST by longshadow
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To: cornelis
some form of dualism

Dualism remains possible until we can explain how a conscious volitional thought migrates down the nervous system and activates a muscle or gland. We might question consciousness, volition, or thought, or all three, but consciousness, especially self-consciousness seems a given.

611 posted on 12/13/2005 10:53:13 AM PST by RightWhale (Not transferable -- Good only for this trip)
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To: cornelis

I really don't find it very interesting to talk about virtue and morality with someone who considers it an inquisition to be asked why he seeks or does not seek virtue.


612 posted on 12/13/2005 10:53:57 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: js1138; cornelis
Well, you see, it's not your arbitrary whims about what's moral or virtuous, it's someone else's arbitrary whims, so that makes it okay.

Less sarcastically, I will take the liberty of answering the question for him - I suspect that Corny is an inherently moral person, who is not simply one crisis of faith away from being a thief or pedophile or serial killer. He (she?) might find it shocking and dismaying if it were discovered that morality and virtue were concepts inherently created and defined by humans, rather than handed down by some otherworldly being, but I suspect he would recover from that relatively neatly and continue living according to these human concepts of morality and virtue. Naturally, I trust that cornelis will correct me if this is not the case, if I have somehow misjudged him ;)

613 posted on 12/13/2005 10:54:45 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: js1138
It strikes me that these folks are incapable of understanding the internalized desire to be a good person, to help one's children and, by extension, build a just society for one's descendants to live in.

I trust you would be courteous enough to accept that I too recognize people's desire to be good, to help one's chikldren, and buid a just society.

I will add also that the problem of evil is just as real.

614 posted on 12/13/2005 10:56:42 AM PST by cornelis
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To: js1138
man's natural inclination is towards evil, that goes for evo's or creationists.

The interesting question comes about in how we define morality and evil? What standard is used?

My standard is God. What is the standard for one who does not believe in God?

JM
615 posted on 12/13/2005 10:58:37 AM PST by JohnnyM
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To: cornelis; js1138; Senator Bedfellow
Okay, I'll take a shot at getting an answer.

Would you behave differently if you were certain there existed no externally-originating consequences or rewards for your actions towards others? E.g., would you kill others for their money if you were sure that you could get away with it, escaping negative judgement and punishment even in the eyes of whatever supernatural powers exist?

Me, I wouldn't. But that's just me. I don't think it's a moral thing to do.
616 posted on 12/13/2005 10:59:38 AM PST by aNYCguy
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To: CarolinaGuitarman; Alamo-Girl; betty boop; cornelis
[ Sorry, my BS alarm just went off. The above paragraph is nonsensical. Science isn't a postmodernist enterprise. ]

Science is composed of scientists.. And some make Vestal Virgins out of them(scientists).. whom were in fact/became whores.. and thats no BS..

617 posted on 12/13/2005 10:59:45 AM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: js1138
someone who considers it an inquisition to be asked why he seeks or does not seek virtue.

But I don't, js1138. Yet if I cannot ask you what virtue is makes we have something less than a dialogue.

618 posted on 12/13/2005 10:59:52 AM PST by cornelis
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To: caffe
Can any of you "real scientists" defend this statement?

Yes. There is incredibly so much evidence to support this that it is generally accepted as fact. As someone has mentioned, our entire classification system looks as it does because of this fact. The theory of evolution exists to explain this fact, just as the various theories of gravity exist to explain the fact of gravity. ID, if it could be formed into a scientific theory, would also exist to explain this fact.

619 posted on 12/13/2005 11:00:27 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: cornelis
But the language is historically a posteriori to an experience that is not secular.

Such is the assertion, anyway - this assertion is, needless to say, rather contentious and not universally accepted in any case.

In any case, it seems that unless I can explain why virtuousness or morality is better than the lack thereof, and additionally where such concepts as "virtue" come from, you may very well see no need to be virtuous or moral. To the first, I offer you the same deal you have now - be moral or suffer the consequences. To the second, the mere fact that it exists is enough to proceed - from whence it came is not critical to its continued use.

620 posted on 12/13/2005 11:01:57 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: Right Wing Professor; betty boop; cornelis; hosepipe; TXnMA
Thank you for your reply!

Supernatural is by definition what is not natural.

To put what I said at post 570 back into context (emphasis mine):

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.

You also asked for the verses from Enoch that speak to the reign of King Herod the Great. The entire issue may be understood in context here: Translation of Enoch from 1882 by Schodde (pdf) The more current translation (Charlesworth edition of the Pseudepigrapha) is not available online.

If you search on "Herod" you can peruse the various points in the manuscript where the translator interpreted the "prophesy" and thus dated it after the beginning of the reign of King Herod the Great. A more thorough discussion is around page 59.

In sum, chapters 89 and 90 of Enoch are a review or preview (prophesy) of Jewish history - at about 90:9, the 'great horn' is described which is interpreted to mean Judas Maccabi (first few years of the reign of King Herod the Great 37 B.C.)

621 posted on 12/13/2005 11:05:12 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Senator Bedfellow
... if it were discovered that morality and virtue were concepts inherently created and defined by humans, rather than handed down by some otherworldly being...

I don't think morality and virtue are inventions, although their codification in law and manners is.

I will answer for myself. I am perhaps excessively empathic. I didnt ask to be this way or work toward it; I just happen to be personally distressed by seeing others in pain or discomfort. I am personally made happy by the sight of others being made happy.

When I look around at the world I see people who vary in this tendency. Some I would say are amost pathalogically empathic, and some seem to be entirely lacking in empathy. I assume this is a trait like height or skin color that varies among individuals. To my way of thinking, laws are a kind of prosthetic for people lacking in empathy. They are also a shorthand way of making decisions without having to ponder the consequenses of every little thing we do.

622 posted on 12/13/2005 11:05:22 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: JohnnyM
man's natural inclination is towards evil, that goes for evo's or creationists.

Speak for yourself.

623 posted on 12/13/2005 11:06:27 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: betty boop
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.

What an excellent metaphor! Thank you so much for post and for your encouragements!

624 posted on 12/13/2005 11:07:03 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: js1138
Perhaps "morality", like "mind" or "reason" is simply an emergent property of "brain", an epiphenomenon, if you will. Morality and reason are what human brains do, in much the same way that locomotion is what feet do and digestion is what stomachs do.
625 posted on 12/13/2005 11:10:03 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: Senator Bedfellow
Naturally, I trust that cornelis will correct me if this is not the case, if I have somehow misjudged him ;)

Certainly.

I don't find it shocking or dismaying. I actually do understand that morality and virtue are concepts created and defined by humans.

Plus, being a good Cartesian, I'll entertain a criticism of that view, namely, how do we know that this is the right concept?

Possible answers to his have already been given in the history of our books. All of them seen to follow something that Aristotle says about virtue. He says that ethics is living in accordance with a principle. He points out that this is more than simply material behavior since it involves choice. If we deny choice, that changes the rules and we have to start over and ask again, what is your understanding of virtue.

626 posted on 12/13/2005 11:10:05 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Fester Chugabrew
All you've done is present a tautology. The words "is due to" does not define a cause. One could just as easily substitute the word "is."

Whatever the wording, the statement puts forth a cause. Yours doesn't.

The presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws is due to the ongoing activity of an almighty, omnipresent, intelligent agent

Leaving off the editorial piece, that's the statement I was looking for. You have now put forth a cause rather than just making a general obvious statement. Your nascent theory now has a point to it.

Now set up non-rediculous criteria for falsifiability, have your theory make some predictions, set up some hypotheses within that theory (like a specific instance of Behe's irreducible complexity), reproducibly test those hypotheses and publish. Then we'll talk.

But given the thrashing that Behe's gotten, you might not want to go down that road.

627 posted on 12/13/2005 11:10:31 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: PreciousLiberty
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.

Atheistic science by definition does not investigate such things, yet it seems to do fairly well. You make the mistake of protracting your preferred definition of science into a universal definition of science. It is well within reason to assume science is simply the exploration of everything supernatural while it merely assigns the words "natural" to those things for which it has an explanation. One thing for sure: there is no lack of organized matter behaving under predictable laws. That is what intelligent design is all about.

Maybe your definition of "scientists" extends only as far as those who wear lab coats and propose detailed hypotheses for specific phenomena. Mine is wide enough to accomodate any intelligent observer who is free to accept or reject any positive statement about the universe based on the evidence at hand. Since the universe is replete with organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws it is hardly unscientific for an observer to deduce that an almighty, intelligent agent is present and operative.

628 posted on 12/13/2005 11:10:43 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: JohnnyM; js1138
man's natural inclination is towards evil, that goes for evo's or creationists.

Presume to speak only for yourself, not for me or others.

The interesting question comes about in how we define morality and evil? What standard is used? My standard is God.

That's the same answer a Muslim would give -- ponder on the reasons why their standards of "morality and evil" differ so much from your own.

What is the standard for one who does not believe in God?

Pragmatism, empathy, culture, rationality, and conscience.

629 posted on 12/13/2005 11:12:40 AM PST by Ichneumon
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To: cornelis
Yet if I cannot ask you what virtue is makes we have something less than a dialogue.

I have no interest in playing dictionary. I know two things that I take to be relevant. One is that people differ in their degree of empathy. The second is that we do not have perfect knowledge of the future, and even if we are perfectly motivated toward a cause, we cannot be certain of the consequenses of our actions.

630 posted on 12/13/2005 11:12:41 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: hosepipe; betty boop; cornelis
Thank you so much for the ping to your post!

Once upon a time "science" referred to the entire body of knowledge, episteme - philosophy - spiritual and natural - all of it. Hence I Timothy 6:20-21 in the King James translation says:

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace [be] with thee. Amen.

The modern translations accommodate science tunneling its field of view to nature alone and use the word "philosophy" to keep an overarching meaning - all attempts of science to unseat philosophy notwithstanding.

631 posted on 12/13/2005 11:15:33 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: hosepipe
Science is composed of scientists.. And some make Vestal Virgins out of them(scientists).. whom were in fact/became whores.. and thats no BS..

A group of pearls composed of pearls.. is what hosepipe is Casting to the Public (swine)... whence we do not/cannot deserve these gems of wisdom...
632 posted on 12/13/2005 11:15:42 AM PST by aNYCguy
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To: antiRepublicrat; Fester Chugabrew
FC: That organized matter operating under predictable laws will be found.

aR: 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.

I think you're being unfair to Fester and his rather elegant theory, "Stuff exists."

And, as I look around ... I see STUFF! Intelligently designed stuff, at that! Hey! Fester may be onto something! "Stuff exists" explains so much. It explains everything, in fact ... uh-oh ...

633 posted on 12/13/2005 11:18:08 AM PST by Gumlegs
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To: cornelis
He says that ethics is living in accordance with a principle.

And any principle will do, in a pinch? It seems not, so then the next question is, which principles, and why those? We can certainly imagine an ethical system constructed around the principle that all you peons do and say should be for my personal benefit, but somehow I suspect that some will object.

Perhaps, instead, we should find a set of principles for which there is some broad agreement. But if we do that, what is the need for a third party to dictate said principles to us?

634 posted on 12/13/2005 11:18:36 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: js1138
two things that I take to be relevant. One is that people differ in their degree of empathy. The second is that we do not have perfect knowledge of the future, and even if we are perfectly motivated toward a cause, we cannot be certain of the consequenses of our actions.

On the first. It's a fact. Who can deny it? So I also think it should be considered.

On the second. I think you hit on something very important and difficult. This is what makes our life tragic or comic.

635 posted on 12/13/2005 11:18:49 AM PST by cornelis
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To: antiRepublicrat
Now set up non-ridiculous criteria for falsifiability . . .

Your own editorializing aside, one criteria is that the organized matter will retain its organization from moment to moment, age to age. That is to say, the elements will continue to function in a predictable fashion, much as it is when man designs a machine it is intended to function consistently according to the purpose for which it was designed. The criteria that would falsify intelligent design entails matter that changes unpredictably from one form to another, or laws that act arbitrarily. Again, little evidence of that has been forthcoming since the beginning of science.

You are, of course, free to enumerate those instances where science can take place without the presence of either intelligence, design, or some combination of the two; or those instances where either can exist without an intelligent agent. Be sure to set up testable hypotheses to make your point, or it won't be science.

636 posted on 12/13/2005 11:20:36 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: cornelis

I guess if we talk long enough we can find something to agree on.


637 posted on 12/13/2005 11:23:28 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Alamo-Girl
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.

Supernatural Of or pertaining to existence outside the natural world; not attributable to natural forces.

None of what you list above is a phenomenon.

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.

Forget science. I know of no phenomenon that cannot be attributed to causation by elements of the natural world. The natural world is a closed system, in as far as I can detect.

In sum, chapters 89 and 90 of Enoch are a review or preview (prophesy) of Jewish history - at about 90:9, the 'great horn' is described which is interpreted to mean Judas Maccabi (first few years of the reign of King Herod the Great 37 B.C.)

Judas Maccabeus died in 161 B.C.E.. If the 'prophesy' refers to him, it's consistent with the carbon dating of the m/s, and is hardly a prophesy.

638 posted on 12/13/2005 11:23:54 AM PST by Right Wing Professor
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To: RightWhale

As long as there is knowledge, there is always the "possibility" of a dualism. That is why Plotinus long ago decided that knowledge was excluded from the One. Your statements suggest some affinity to monistic views.


639 posted on 12/13/2005 11:24:10 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Gumlegs

To say that matter is organized and acts according to predictable laws is to say more than "stuff exists." The ubiquity of intelligent design is such that, like the air you breathe, it goes unnoticed. It is considered natural only because you were born into it and have become accustomed to it.

At any rate, Intelligent Design is well-qualified to be called a "theory," because it explains the data, which, if it were without design, would be incomprehensible to reason and senses.


640 posted on 12/13/2005 11:26:12 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: cornelis

No, I am firmly commited to dualism until someone can explain how the thought becomes action. Once the nerves are fired up there is no problem, but how does the thought activate the nerves? Parallelism seems to be another word for dualism.


641 posted on 12/13/2005 11:28:23 AM PST by RightWhale (Not transferable -- Good only for this trip)
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To: hosepipe
"Science is composed of scientists.. And some make Vestal Virgins out of them(scientists).. whom were in fact/became whores.. and thats no BS.."

More nonsensical gobbledygook. I am still waiting for a coherent response to my question about how an untestable assumption (divine interference) is better than a testable one (natural, physical causes)?
642 posted on 12/13/2005 11:29:43 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: Fester Chugabrew; PreciousLiberty
Mine is wide enough to accomodate any intelligent observer who is free to accept or reject any positive statement about the universe based on the evidence at hand.

The more restrictive definition is better. Anybody can run around creating any sort of crazy explanation for anything, from crop circles to the Bermuda Triangle. But mere statement doesn't come with any credibility. Who's to know what's credible? Do we teach crystal therapy in med school because some new-age people think it works? A scientific process is in place in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Even long-standing theories have had to be changed over time or partially ignored due to a constant attack from within the scientific community. We've punched holes in Newton's gravity theory, but we did it by offering a testable, falsifiable, predictive scientific theory that better explained the same phenomena.

Thus you can be sure than ideas that went through the scientific vetting process unscathed are at least pretty damned good explanations for what we see around us. The longer the theory's been up, the more credit it has.

The rest, ID included, is chaff.

643 posted on 12/13/2005 11:30:36 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Fester Chugabrew

"At any rate, Intelligent Design is well-qualified to be called a "theory," because it explains the data, which, if it were without design, would be incomprehensible to reason and senses."

But I already told you, MY theory of Unintelligent Design (The universe just *is*) also predicts that matter is organized and acts according to predictable laws. My theory has just as much explanatory power as yours. Why is yours better? What evidence can be put forth to choose between the two?


644 posted on 12/13/2005 11:32:27 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: hosepipe
Sorry, that last question was for Cornelis, not you. I misread who posted to me. Busy day. :)
645 posted on 12/13/2005 11:35:10 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: RightWhale
I see, as in the division between the sensible and the intelligible.

I use dualism in the sense that they are the fundamental bases of the universe. Your example: matter and spirit (or whatever terms you've chosen).

I think temporality splits the world of spirit. The only duality I recognize(not necessarily antagonistic) is between the temporal (or extensive) and the eternal. Obviously the temporal is not also eternal.

646 posted on 12/13/2005 11:39:19 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Fester Chugabrew
one criteria is that the organized matter will retain its organization from moment to moment, age to age

Then you've already had it falsified. The fossil record shows changes, and we have observed population adaptation to the environment through genetic mutation over generations. Things do not remain the same.

Now you could say that natural selection is one of your designed predictable laws, and that everything follows that. However, in doing so you would be admitting that the theory of evolution is valid. Your argument would be faith instead of science, but science would also not be able to disprove it.

free to enumerate those instances where science can take place without the presence of either intelligence, design,

Now you're going off again to attack science in general. Why do you attack that which you so desperately want to be a part of, but can't be? The real definition of "sour grapes."

647 posted on 12/13/2005 11:41:05 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Fester Chugabrew
At any rate, Intelligent Design is well-qualified to be called a "theory," because it explains the data, which, if it were without design, would be incomprehensible to reason and senses.

So if it is "well-qualified," what predictions does ID make?

How is ID falsifiable?

648 posted on 12/13/2005 11:42:42 AM PST by highball ("I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: antiRepublicrat

Certainly there is something to be said for agreement in numbers when it comes to science. Doubtless there are cases where observers have been deluded and come up with highly improbable theories. But it seems that when consensus is given as a reason to accept or reject an arugment one might just as soon declare that objective reality is not dependant upon the number of people who accept or reject its claims.

ID and it opposite are two legitimate ways of doing science. Both begin with assumptions about the universe that are beyond proof, but neither is wholly unreasonable. I would posit that 99% of the world's population holds to one or the other of these assumptions, or a combination of the two.

If you can find an individual who seriously espouses spaghetti monster theory, please let me know.


649 posted on 12/13/2005 11:43:22 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Fester Chugabrew
Same goes for the theory of evolution. There is nothing in the universe that cannot be explained by "natural" causes.

The theory of evolution doesn't vaguely cite "natural causes" in the same way ID vaguely cites "intelligent causes". The theory of evolution presents specific natural causes.

650 posted on 12/13/2005 11:44:15 AM PST by bobdsmith
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