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"Intelligent design" not science: Vatican paper
Reuters via Yahoo! ^ | 01/19/06 | Tom Heneghan

Posted on 01/19/2006 1:33:32 PM PST by peyton randolph

PARIS (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church has restated its support for evolution with an article praising a U.S. court decision that rejects the "intelligent design" theory as non-scientific.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said that teaching intelligent design -- which argues that life is so complex that it needed a supernatural creator -- alongside Darwin's theory of evolution would only cause confusion...

A court in the state of Pennsylvania last month barred a school from teaching intelligent design (ID), a blow to Christian conservatives who want it to be taught in biology classes along with the Darwinism they oppose.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: catholic; creationisminadress; dover; fsm; id; idiocy; idisjunkscience; ignoranceisstrength; science; vatican
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To: CarolinaGuitarman

Inquisition, now there's another original argument. Yet another misrepresented and misunderstood topic (which, by my saying so, will undoubtedly cause you to assume that I advocate the Inquisition, or approve of its tactics...)

As for evidentiary proof, the Church (along with Protestants and professors and scientists...) relied on centuries-old ideas and the (faulty) biblical interpretation of the day. Galileo said they were wrong, but offered no proof. THERE'S a strong argument... "Your Honor, my client is not guilty." "Have you any evidence?" "Well, no, but he isn't!"

I don't know what else to say. You single out the Church because it put him on trial, you criticize it because it was wrong, standing in the way of "free thought" and so on, and yet you ignore the fact that the Church was not alone in their opposition to Galileo. Copernicus said the very same thing (yes, he published the year he died, but his ideas were well known) and nothing happened to him. Galileo was on trial not just with the Church but in the minds of EVERYONE, because he taught as fact that which he could not prove as fact--scientists, professors, and theologians alike all looked at him the same; it just happened that he was under the Church's jurisdiction.

I'm at a loss for words. If you would just do some cursory reading, you would see what I am saying. It is not that hard to find the meat of the matter--it was failure of all parties, not just the Church. If Galileo could have decisively proven that what he was teaching AS fact actually WAS fact, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

401 posted on 01/20/2006 2:11:59 PM PST by jcb8199
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To: PatrickHenry
They were scientific boneheads once, but they're determined to avoid such a mistake in the future.

Nice to see that someone learns from history....

402 posted on 01/20/2006 2:14:46 PM PST by highball ("I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: PatrickHenry

But the whole image of being 'anti-science' is fallacious (at least you knew to mention Bruno--most people hold up the Galileo issue as the definitive "proof" of the anti-science leanings of the Church and fail to come up with even ONE other instance). The Galileo affair can be taken as evidence of the PRO-science leaning of the Church--turning 1500 years of accepted scientific fact over because one man said he had proof but couldn't produce any, makes no sense no matter WHAT age you live in. Galileo taught as fact that which he couldn't prove was fact. Proof was all the Church was after. As you mentioned, the disconnect comes in the speed with which the Church acknowledged the proof. There was not sufficient proof until Newton, at which time the Church should have reversed, which it didn't.

As for the Letter to the Grand Duchess, it is actually something I am going to be giving my students on Tuesday...

403 posted on 01/20/2006 2:18:11 PM PST by jcb8199
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To: jcb8199
If Galileo could have decisively proven that what he was teaching AS fact actually WAS fact, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

He had more than enough evidence to be persuasive. What additional evidence would you require, if you were a contemporary of Galileo's, to accept the solar system? Please name something specific, that would have been a clincher.

The point is that he had plenty of evidence, and of course it was a revolutionary idea. So what? Why threaten him with torture, ban his book, and place him under house arrest for the remainder of his life? What if he had been a total goofball and said that the earth orbits Santa Clause? Then he would have had no evidence at all. Again, so what? He shouldn't have been persecuted. We all understand why the Church did what they did, but I hope we all understand that they were wrong in doing so. They recognize this now, so why can't you. Or do you?

404 posted on 01/20/2006 2:18:38 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: b_sharp
I thought I said that as far new species were concerned, perhaps that part of evolution had ended, and I took a wild guess as to why. The anti-evolutionists are always claiming that species are immutable. Perhaps they were immutable, not theoretically but in fact, after a certain point, is what I was saying. If species are not immutable now, let me know of one that has changed within our knowledge. I believe Darwin's observations were of varieties only, and the rest was extrapolation.

I believe his extrapolation to be correct, but I'm just making some guesses about the relatively very recent history of the planet.

405 posted on 01/20/2006 2:19:34 PM PST by firebrand
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To: PatrickHenry
The Galileo affair is the inevitable background to understanding the current position of the Church on such issues.

And the ONLY background often mentioned...

The Church is never credited for fostering and growing science and education, only for standing in its way as "proven" by the Galileo affair. As I said a second ago, it can be said that the Church was acting in the interests of science in insisting the heliocentric model be taught as hypothesis, since not enough evidence was available to prove it. Scientists (good ones, anyway) don't make claims they can't back up--they make hypotheses that are subject to change or affirmation with the discovery of new information.
406 posted on 01/20/2006 2:21:48 PM PST by jcb8199
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To: jcb8199
Proof was all the Church was after.

Hmmm. That's a pretty bold statement.

Given that the Church used force to quiet Galileo, it's also a very hard one to support.

407 posted on 01/20/2006 2:28:49 PM PST by highball ("I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Chili Girl
"The Catholic Church does not believe in creationism?"

Where did you read that?

Evolution does not address creation, evolution means change after creation.

Once one settles that little tidbit in one's own mind, then one can be quite comfortable believing in both Creation and evolution.

Simply stated, to make the argument that the Creation of everything can be boiled down to a few words, and understood by man, is actually a silly notion; if a man could grasp the complexity of His Creation and how He did it, that man would be a God.

In a nutshell, if there once existed an amoeba that was able to eventually evolve into a monkey able to evolve into man, that amoeba was created by God.

Was Creation an act of God?

Without a doubt.

Has evolution happaned in this planet?

I believe that it has...and in no way does that belief interfere with my belief in Biblical Creation.

408 posted on 01/20/2006 2:30:54 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Tsk tsk. Such hostility. Maybe if you had a little more emotional maturity you wouldn't be so quick to anger.

Have a nice day!
409 posted on 01/20/2006 2:35:28 PM PST by Sirloin
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To: munin

That does not answer my question.

410 posted on 01/20/2006 2:42:18 PM PST by Dimensio ( <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: PatrickHenry

Being that I am a historian and not an astronomer or physicist, I wouldn't know what evidence to produce. Given the history, doubt was removed when Newton developed his laws of planetary motion. Parallaxes work into it, something which was not observed until 1838 (Copernican theory holds that you would observe a shift when viewing a star, though supporters explained the lack of one as being that the stars were too far away to see). It was Newton's work, ultimately, that proved the heliocentric model.

Fact remains he couldn't provide the mathematical, physical, or observational PROOF necessary. He observed compelling evidence ("experimental evidence"), but the evidence he provided couldn't prove he was right--among the evidence, he said the tides were caused by the motion of the Earth (dismissing other evidence to the contrary); he said the orbits are circular, despite Kepler's work.

As for my personal feelings on the topic, obviously the Church was wrong in holding to steadfastly to the (incorrect) interpretation of Scripture. As a Modern Catholic, I can apprecaite that the Bible is a guide, not a end in an of itself. I agree with Galileo (and the modern Church)--the interpretation of the Bible is correct only insofar as it doesn't contradict what is scientifically proven; then, it is not the science that is faulty, but the interpretation. Cardinal Bellarmine said the same thing 400 years ago, but Galileo was unable to sufficiently prove that the interpretation was wrong as shown by science. Newton did that, and the Church should have corrected its position. I'm not sure what else you are looking for...

411 posted on 01/20/2006 2:46:03 PM PST by jcb8199
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To: highball

Galileo was saying the scientists for the previous 1500 years and the Biblical interpretation of Catholics and Protestants alike were wrong, yet offered insufficient evidence to prove it. He persisted in teaching as fact that which he could not prove, without doubt, was fact. It is for that reason that he got in trouble.

412 posted on 01/20/2006 2:48:35 PM PST by jcb8199
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To: wyattearp

The best name was "Domino"--

413 posted on 01/20/2006 2:57:11 PM PST by Mamzelle
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To: b_sharp

I hate to admit it, but the creationists do seem to have thrown out the most insults so far in this thread. (at post 330)

414 posted on 01/20/2006 3:26:22 PM PST by xmission
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To: jec41
However there are primitive tribes that exist on islands off of Indonesia that have no thought or concept of time.

Seriously? They don't say to themselves, I just ate? or the sun is straight up, the day must be half over?
415 posted on 01/20/2006 3:35:43 PM PST by xmission
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To: xmission
Seriously? They don't say to themselves, I just ate? or the sun is straight up, the day must be half over?

Serious as can be. I can't remember the names of the tribes.
Here is a tribe without math. I will try to find one for you without time.
Life without numbers in a unique Amazon tribe

Piraha apparently can't learn to count and have no distinct words for colours

Friday, August 20, 2004 - Page A3

1+1=2. Mathematics doesn't get any more basic than this, but even 1+1 would stump the brightest minds among the Piraha tribe of the Amazon.

A study appearing today in the journal Science reports that the hunter-gatherers seem to be the only group of humans known to have no concept of numbering and counting.

Not only that, but adult Piraha apparently can't learn to count or understand the concept of numbers or numerals, even when they asked anthropologists to teach them and have been given basic math lessons for months at a time.

Their lack of enumeration skills is just one of the mental and cultural traits that has led scientists who have visited the 300 members of the tribe to describe the Piraha as "something from Mars."

Daniel Everett, an American linguistic anthropologist, has been studying and living with Piraha for 27 years.

Besides living a numberless life, he reports in a separate study prepared for publication, the Piraha are the only people known to have no distinct words for colours.

They have no written language, and no collective memory going back more than two generations. They don't sleep for more than two hours at a time during the night or day.

Even when food is available, they frequently starve themselves and their children, Prof. Everett reports.

They communicate almost as much by singing, whistling and humming as by normal speech.

They frequently change their names, because they believe spirits regularly take them over and intrinsically change who they are.

They do not believe that outsiders understand their language even after they have just carried on conversations with them.

They have no creation myths, tell no fictional stories and have no art. All of their pronouns appear to be borrowed from a neighbouring language.

Their lack of numbering terms and skills is highlighted in a report by Columbia University cognitive psychologist Peter Gordon that appears today in Science.

Intrigued by anecdotal reports that Prof. Everett and his wife Keren had presented about the mathlessness of Piraha life, Prof. Gordon conducted a number of experiments over a three-year period.

He found that a group of male tribe members -- women and children were not involved because of certain cultural taboos -- could not perform the most elementary mathematical operations.

When faced with a line of batteries and asked to duplicate the number they saw, the men could not get beyond two or three before starting to make mistakes.

They had difficulty drawing straight lines to copy a number of lines they were presented with. They couldn't remember which of two boxes had more or less fish symbols on it, even when they were about to be rewarded for their knowledge.

A significant part of the difficulty related to their number-impoverished vocabulary.

Although they would say one word to indicate a single thing and another for two things, those words didn't necessarily mean one or two in any usual sense. "It is more like oneish and twoish," Prof. Gordon said in an interview.

Prof. Everett, who now teaches at the University of Manchester in England and who unlike Prof. Gordon is a fluent Piraha-speaker, takes issue even with the "ishness" of the Piraha numbers.

"The word he [Gordon] translates as 'one' means just a relatively small amount, the word for 'two' means a relatively bigger amount," he said in an interview from Brazil.

Prof. Everett points out that when the Piraha are talking and use the "oneish" word to talk about something such as fish, you can't tell whether they are describing a single fish, a small fish, or one or two fish.

Linguists and anthropologists who have seen both the Everett and Gordon studies are flabbergasted by the tribe's strangeness, particularly since the Piraha have not lived in total isolation.

The tribe, which lives on a tributary river to the Amazon, has been in contact with other Brazilians for 200 years and regularly sells nuts to, and shares their women with, Brazilian traders who stop by.

"Why they have been resistant to adopting Western number systems is beyond me," Ray Jackendoff of Brandeis University, a past president of the Linguistic Society of America, said in an interview.

Prof. Gordon said the findings are perhaps the strongest evidence for a once largely discredited linguistic theory.

More than 60 years ago, amateur linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf argued that learning a specific language determined the nature and content of how you think.

That theory fell into intellectual disrepute after linguist Noam Chomsky's notions of a universal human grammar and Harvard University professor Steven Pinker's idea of a universal language instinct became widely accepted.

"The question is, is there any case where not having words for something doesn't allow you to think about it?" Prof. Gordon asked about the Piraha and the Whorfian thesis. "I think this is a case for just that."

Prof. Everett argues that what the Piraha case demonstrates is a fundamental cultural principle working itself out in language and behaviour.

The principle is that the Piraha see themselves as intrinsically different from, and better than, the people around them; everything they do is to prevent them from being like anyone else or being absorbed into the wider world. One of the ways they do this is by not abstracting anything: numbers, colours, or future events.

"This is the reason why the Piraha have survived as Piraha while tribes around them have been absorbed into Brazilian culture," Prof. Everett said.

Nevertheless, the Piraha's lives and lifestyles are so strange that other anthropologists have raised the question of whether inbreeding -- their lack of number skills apparently makes it difficult for the Piraha to identify kin -- has resulted in a tribe of intellectually handicapped people.

Both Prof. Everett and Prof. Gordon say that they have seen no examples of this and that the Pirahas' fishing, hunting and even joking skills seem equal to those of people elsewhere.
416 posted on 01/20/2006 3:56:35 PM PST by jec41 (Screaming Eagle)
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To: jec41

Aw heck, we've got people like that here!
417 posted on 01/20/2006 4:02:56 PM PST by xmission
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To: firebrand
There lies the problem with debates, sometimes mistakes are made in interpretation of posts. Now that I understand what you meant... I hope.

"I thought I said that as far new species were concerned, perhaps that part of evolution had ended, and I took a wild guess as to why."

Actually it depends on whether you use the scientific definition of speciation or the YEC definition.

The science definition of speciation is - a single population that splits into two subpopulations that for one reason or another do not interbreed and gene flow between the two groups is restricted to such an extent as to be considered stopped. This has happened on numerous occasions, both in the lab and in the wild. PatrickHenry's List-o-Links has many links to examples.

The typical YEC definition is - a cat giving birth to a dog. This is simply a strawman. No saltational event such as this has ever been proposed by science and would never survive in the wild.

Everything happens at the species level and the variance between any two related species whether in the same Genus, Family, Order, Class,... or in different classifications is a result of accumulated changes over a number of generations. We see the changes occurring, we see the split at the species level, we see the molecular evidence of larger variance.

Evolution is proceeding exactly as it always has.

418 posted on 01/20/2006 4:18:27 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: jcb8199
"He persisted in teaching as fact that which he could not prove, without doubt, was fact"

Sounds like what the IDists are trying to do.

419 posted on 01/20/2006 4:23:14 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: xmission

I stopped keeping track a little too quickly.

420 posted on 01/20/2006 4:24:39 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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