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.
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.