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.