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.
I'm not of the Evangelical sort.
Get thee hence to thy nearest Olive Garden; there you you shall find the TRVTH that you seek.
"If you can find an individual who seriously espouses spaghetti monster theory, please let me know."
Flying Spaghetti Monsterism isn't a theory, any more than is ID.
They are both equally valid beliefs.
I hope that cleared things up.
'It posits a single, almighty, intelligent agent, not vague "forces of nature;" not a concoction of natural selection, random mutations, unguided forces, etc.'
And that is its biggest problem - no scientist has observed this "single, almighty, intelligent agent", OR any evidence that he/she/it exists or took any action.
However, scientists have repeatedly observed natural selection, random mutations and unguided forces.
Thank you for very clearly stating one of the main reasons ID is emphatically NOT science.
I assure you that if you produce the "Intelligent Designer", and/or ANY *believable proof* that he/she/it actually transformed or created species on Earth, you'll win the Nobel Prize ten times over.
Wide enough to include fantasies, superstition, and unsupported desires mistaken for belief, among other things...
Call that kind of mish-mash what you will, but do not insult our intelligence -- or your own -- by calling it "science". It isn't.
Science is, quite simply, *the* most incredibly effective and productive method ever found for separating sense from nonsense, truth from falsehood, knowledge from speculation. It is the most powerful means in all of human history for extracting reliable knowledge from the Universe. It has done more to make fundamental discoveries, enhance living standards, produce workable results, etc., than *any* other method of searching for knowledge. Indeed, it has done so vastly better and produce vastly more real results than *ALL* other methods combined, including philosophy, religion, intuition, or anything else you care to list. And it has done so by a careful refinement and accumulation of methods which are demonstrably reliable and effective.
You can not arbitrarily "include" methods known to be shaky and unreliable and still have it be *science*, although I know that this is a popular attempt by those (including the IDers and other mystics) who wish to dishonestly stretch "science" to include their own pet superstitions by "expanding" the definition of science. The deep and fundamental dishonesty of this is that they're trying to wrap their untested (and often *untestable*) beliefs in the authority of science -- but they do so by *undermining* the very essence of science (it's methodical reliability) in an attempt to falsely give their claims an air of scientific validation THAT THEIR CLAIMS HAVE NOT ACTUALLY EARNED.
And let's revisit that "testability" requirement for a moment, since it bears on something that the critics of science seldom seem to properly grasp (and instead just ludicrously ridicule it without understanding with childishly inappropriate analogies like "tunnelvisioned bloodhounds", as if scientific inquiry isn't the vastly wide-ranging activity that it actually is).
Some think that the "requirements of science" are some sort of "club" that erects artificial restrictions to keep out the "unwanted" viewpoints. But that's not the case.
Instead, the scientific method has been developed over the centuries to incorporate reliable methods of acquiring valid knowledge, and avoid unreliable methods.
And the reason that "testable" and "falsifiable" are such large parts of that method is because they get to the core essense of telling sense from nonsense. Or even more to the point, useful knowledge from useless notions.
And that's the crux of the issue. If an idea isn't "scientifically testable", it's because it has *no* real-world consequences. It doesn't affect reality, or if it does, it does so in no predictable or useful ways. It is, in every sense of the word, a useless idea. An idea which has no practical value, which makes no difference, which produces no results. In short, it's an idea that doesn't make any difference whether it's true or not.
Useful ideas *are* testable. Useless ones are not.
Science deals with useful ideas. Useless ones are outside of its scope. For some reason, this seems to bug the hell out of some people, so they feel they have to denigrate science, or smugly declare that there are "larger truths" or "other methods" of determining truth (despite the notably poor performance of those other methods over the past several thousand years), in order to cling to the hope that their preferred philosophies might "really" be true in some "higher" sense, despite the fact that they can't be found useful (and therefore testable) in any *real* sense in this *real* world.
If that's your goal, just be honest enough to come out and say so, but don't try to denigrate science for failing to find any support for your view, or try to dishonestly "stretch" science (to the point where it loses its reliability) in a cheap attempt to *pretend* that your views have been given a scientific seal of approval. You can't have it both ways.
Now would be a good time to remind everyone that all the "intelligent design" people here were merely "creationists" a mere 3 or so years ago.
It would be fun to really comb the FR archives to pull up some of the creationist dribble from the very same people here who twaddle on about the "Designer" as if they've come to some sort of epiphany.
BS is BS no matter what you call it.
Epistemology is a difficult word. I think it means something like the study of what there is. We call it knowledge, but that isn't exactly equivalent.
Without exaggeration, pretty much everybody! That is virtually (maybe even literally) all reflective working scientists or philosophers of science would agree unhesitatingly with this: that good scientific theories must be vulnerable to disconfirmation by the data.
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.
Um, are you actually saying some definition you saw or posted is more import than the way science is actually done? Why don't you tell me why in the world do you think that scientists in all fields and disciplines spend countless hours and dollars devising and performing observations and experiments? Why is any of that necessary if you only need an "explanation" and don't need to test it?!
As betty boop has pointed out on several threads, the German language preserves the original meaning: "Wissenschaft encompasses both Naturwissenschaften the natural sciences as well as Geisteswissenschaften the humanities." The Greek counterpart, episteme is the "totality of human knowledge comprised by all the knowledge disciplines at any given time."
I disagree wholeheartedly.
How so? You have stated that the standard of your morality is "God". So do the Muslim terrorists.
I have previously asked you to ponder that, and its implications. It does not appear that you have done so.
By right, I mean the correct answer or, in our case, the correct morality, which of course implies an objective source to determine rightness or wrongness.
You're just substituting one vague word for another. What does it mean, to you, for a morality to be "correct"?
I beleive this source to be the God of the Bible.
The Muslim terrorists believe it to be the God of the Koran. You say po-tay-to, they say po-tah-to...
How then, is this an "objective source" for morality? Isn't it just relative after all? Relative to which holy book or which holy man one chooses to follow?
If we say there is not an objective source, than my morality, or the morality of the terrorist, has just as much value as yours.
Rightness and wrongness is then defined by sticking to the principles of your brand of morality.
So you would be immoral if you practiced things which go against your morality. Conversely, a terrorist would be a moral person by killing the infidel, because he is living in accordance with his morality.
That's one way to look at it, I suppose.
In the Republic there are grades of knowledge. There is also doxa and pistis. And in Aristotle episteme is for scientific knowledge of things that exist necessarily and eternally and this is classed under several other forms of truth including art, prudence, wisdom, intelligence, conception and opinion (doxa). So episteme often has a more specific meaning.
The entire reason the book was dated after 37 B.C. was because the scholars presumed that prophesy is impossible, i.e. mentioning the end of the Maccabee reign would date the manuscript after 37 B.C., the rise of Herod the Great. Subsequent carbon-dating set the Qumran copy's date as far back as 186 B.C. (before Herod the Great and before the Maccabees as well).
They were wrong because they made a naturalistic presumption going into the investigation.
Now, the translators must look at the same passage as either a prophesy fulfilled or an accidentally accurate statement or metaphor made at least a century and a half earlier. The part about the "great horn" is in context with a full review or preview of Jewish history spanning two chapters, 89 and 90.
One entry found for altruism.
Main Entry: al·tru·ism
Etymology: French altruisme, from autrui other people, from Old French, oblique case form of autre other, from Latin alter
1 : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others
2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species
- al·tru·ist /-tru-ist/ noun
- al·tru·is·tic /"al-tru-'is-tik/ adjective
- al·tru·is·ti·cal·ly /-ti-k(&-)lE/ adverb
[On what scale are you basing this on? Why is it wrong and yours right?]
I think you misunderstood the context of my answer. I wasn't saying that one or the other morality was "wrong" (although such a case could be made), I was saying that your notion that if there's not an "objective source", then all moralities "have just as much value" is, itself, wrong.
There is a large body of prior discussion on this topic, going back many centuries. I'm not going to trivialize it by trying to sum it up in a few paragraphs. Hit any decent library or do some web-based research to come up to speed on some of it. Suffice to say that there are many potential foundations for morality other just "God", most of which do not result in the kind of vapid "all moralities are of equal value" relativism you presume must be the case.
But it deliberately avoids doing that.
It is actually capable of more specificity than the theory of evolution. It posits a single, almighty, intelligent agent
Almighty? No I don't think ID does specify that, in fact it doesn't specify anything about the designer at all, not even whether there is just one designer. I've heard supporters say that the designer isn't necessarily god - it could be aliens.
Right the common definition of theory, and I was thinking we were talking about the scientific definition. I apologize for assuming that.
The evidence for an intelligent designer is indirect, much as the evidence for the director in a play is indirect while watching the play. There is ample evidence of intelligent design, as demonstrated by the ubiquitous presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws.
Actually it isn't. It was perhaps too brief due to time constraints but it was neither trivial nor incorrect.
First, you seem to think that "the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak" is some sort of contradiction to natural selection, and the reason for this seems to be the common misunderstanding of "survival of the fittest" as "survival of the *strongest*" (which it is not) at the *expsense* of the weak (which it is not).
Incorrect. We were discussing social populations. In that context my proposition was simply this, the strong spending disproportionate resources to ensure the survival of the weak works against natural selection as a matter of fact. Heritable genes that otherwise would be selected out by natural selection proliferate in that social population. Allele frequencies are thus changed in that population by design, that design mechanism being morality.
Likewise, immorality can have the same effect.
Second, a mother animal sacrificing herself to save her children is certainly an example of "the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak", and yet not only is it hardly the "opposition to natural selection" you claim, it is actually a *classic* example of evolutionary "selfishness" -- protecting the perpetuation of one's genes.
Yeah, and some animals eat their own. But neither fact has anything to do with what I was saying.
Do you have any examples that aren't so vaguely overgeneralized as to be obviously fallacious?
Fallacious is in the eye of the beholder Ichy. In this case it's stuck in your eye.
Furthermore, make sure that any new examples you might offer don't fall under the evolutionary instinct of "kin selection". Note also that the instincts of kin selection also apply to sacrificing oneself for other members of a close-knit group, for a variety of reasons.
Kin selection? :-} I like that one too. Is it heritable?
If you're looking for examples of counter-survival morality, you'd do best looking elsewhere than the variations on "protecting the tribe" which you've been unsuccessfully mining so far.
I go where my mind takes me. But thanks for the advice.
Or a committee of bureaucratic aliens.
This ID thingy is starting to make sense ....
Something to think about:
Consider the number
It is highly determined, in fact one can come up with a formula for the n-th digit.
Given any number, it is obvious that it appears infinitely many times in this decimal.
It is conjectured that pi has the same property; it is known that almost all real numbers do.
Dr S: Anything to add to AG's assertion? or mine?
I assume that is the definition evos have been working with. Again, an intelligent designer is a reasonable way to explain the presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws. I have yet to see an evo suggest a better alternative to fit the evidence, and I have yet to see any evo enumerate those things science can accomplish without the presence of either intelligence, design, or some combination of the two.
Nothing in the scientific definition of "theory" suggests there must be evidence to confute it in order for it to be a theory. Even so, I told you that the evidence which best refutes the theory of intelligent design is matter that is not organized and does not behave according to predictable laws. So far there has been little of it forthcoming, black holes perhaps being an example.
There are indeed a number of suggestions. On the face of it there are good reasons to infer that the intelligence is omnipotent, omniscient, and singular.
The presence of organized matter that behaves according to predicatable laws is indeed scientifically testable. It is the stuff of science. To infer from the presence of the same that intelligent design is involved with its presence is no less reasonable than assuming some other agent, which agent (or agents) on the part of evos seems a shade scrappy. Intelligent design is a theory that well explains the whole of the universe, not to mention the practice of science itself.
So you agree, given definition 2, there is no problem with the idea of reciprocal altruism?
Now, given that we need to keep tabs on the behavior of others in order to be able to engage in reciprocal altruism without being continually cheated; and we need to be able to convince others we ourselves should be trusted, what is the problem with the idea that we should have evolved innate senses of cheating, fairness, trustworthiness, shame, and loyalty? And, since the most important kind of reciprocal altruism is between a spouse and his/her partner, jealousy and fidelity?
I'm not claiming these supersede, or are alternatives to, those we may add or justify using a system of ethics; just that we should recognize what we all start off with as human beings.
Actually, based on my brief reading, there was argument about this even before the carbon dating.
It does seem, though, that any inferences they made based on a very stretched reading of the manuscript were questionable to start with. Based on a quick reading of 89 and 90, and the history of the Jews in the Maccabean period, I don't see much relationship between the two.
Note the absence of any suggestion in the above definiton - the same one evos keep posting- that, in order to be a theory, there must also be evidence that can refute, or falsify it.
From the general theory of intelligent design science engages in specific fields of study, much of which enjoys or requires the rigorus application of falsifiable hypotheses, etc. The best science does not shy away from entertaining propsitons that may appear absurd on the face of it. The more reliable science is engaged in direct observation, which places the notion of a 4.5 billion-year-old earth, among other notions like the spaghetti monster, on relatively shaky ground.
I'm sure you're aware that there are many scientists who have come to a different opinion than the one you stated in your post. These viewpoints should be presented to our schoolchildren. Promoting unquestioning faith in evolution is not the antithesis to lying to schoolchildren.
Will wonders never cease! I must have posted it to him enough times that something finally sank in.
I tend to agree with this view. I would say philosophy has tools for evaluating knowledge, just as mathematics does, but I do not see philosophy adding knowledge.
I gotta hand it to you Fester. Every time I think you can't make a sillier, more uninformed post than your previous one, you go ahead and top yourself. I think you would be more comfortable living amongst the reality-based community instead of FR.
If I had known it was "your" definition of a theory I would have posted something else. In view of the fact that intelligent design fits comfortably under your definition maybe you'd like to change it.
One can be a science writer without any credentials at all, but I would say that at a minimum, a "real" scientist must be paid to do research or must publish in refereed journals. Some people would qualify posthumously.
There are certainly a number of arbitrary claims made by astrology, especially today when it is associated more with mysticism. My point is that astronomy is historically rooted in astrology. We don't dismiss the study of medicine as "silly" because the ancients once used medicine while associating it with various gods, do we? Every scientific discipline would do well to revisit it's roots, if not to avoid re-inventing the wheel, at least to appreciate where their discipline has been before.
Do you consider it wholly unscientific to associate the behavior of women during certain times of the month with the position of the moon?
I agree entirely with post 704.
No it is not. The evidence for unintelligent design, as I have stated, would be the absence of organized matter and the absence of predicatable laws governing the same. The two are highly distinct in nature.
Of course these things are observable. They are intelligently designed. The capacity to be observed would be additional evidence for intelligent design. Thank you for pointing that out. Of course, most of the claims of evolution are by indirect observation - certainly a legitimate form of observation, but not as reliable as direct observation, such as was practiced by astrologers in times of old.
I doubt there are many of you who think the Raelians are credible.
When an object is intelligently designed, it by necessicity entails the organization of matter for the purpose of having it perform consistently and according to the purpose the designer intended. One might find an argument for unintelligent design in the works of certain modern artists, but even these, though they may attempt to demonstrate unintelligent design, nevertheless fail, for by their attempts to denote the unintelligent, they have by default engaged an element of design.
If you are attempting to convince someone of the sensibility of your arguments it does little good to posit a fake theory that makes a mockery of conventional meanings and has no basis in reality. The presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws is a reality, and it is best explained by intelligent design.
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