Breaking news: SCIENCE WINS IN TEXAS!! Barely.

By Phil Plait | March 26, 2009 10:52 am

Incredible news out of Texas: creationists have lost a big battle to destroy science education in the Lone Star State!

The State Board of Education voted on the science standards — the list of basic scientific knowledge students should have at various grade levels, like knowing that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter, the Earth goes around the Sun, and — say — evolution is the basic and most fundamental aspect upon which all of modern biology is based.

Creationists on the board (and there are many) tried to water down the standards by creating a phony baloney "strengths and weaknesses" amendment, a totally bogus and arbitrary rule that says that teachers have to point out where a theory has faults. They did this specifically to weaken the teaching of evolution in biology classes. They don’t actually care if the students get a solid education on the fact of evolution, they only care to tear down real science and replace it with Biblical literalism.

And they failed. According to the fantastic science-based Texas Freedom Network, which has been live-blogging the vote, the creationist amendment lost in a 7-7 vote. They could not add the amendment without an actual victory, so the tie means the garbage amendment goes down.

But before you dance in the streets, have a mind that the vote was tied 7-7. In other words, half the people on the Texas State School Board of Education thought it was fine and dandy that evolution, a foundation of modern science and shown to be fact beyond reasonable doubt, be taught as being weak and flawed.

So once again, we see that creationists have lost, but we also know that they will never, ever admit defeat. Remember, their entire outlook on life is not based on reality, but dogma, and so they cannot rest, cannot stop, without shattering their whole worldview.

So as always, this is not over, despite this advance. It’s a victory for the students of Texas and for reality, but the war will rage on.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and I’m not the first): the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Stay sharp, Texas. They’ll regroup. Bet on it.

[UPDATE: TFN notes that a final vote will come Friday on all the standards, so even this chapter of the battle isn't over yet. Stay Tuned.]

Texas Doomed… not this time.

Comments (317)

  1. IVAN3MAN

    Commonsense prevails!

  2. QUASAR

    If I ever have any children, I am going to home school them!

  3. Geek Goddess

    Dodging bullets since 1836…

  4. Todd W.

    If only there were a book we could send to those 7 that were in favor of the amendment…something that discussed the strengths of evolution and tore apart the creationist/ID critiques. Heck, I’d even take a transcript of a court case to send them, if there were one.

    Hmm…where could we find something like that…

  5. Phil,

    Some other blogs are talking about additional votes tomorrow, so they might be regrouping quickly.

  6. Could we ask Texans to consider a teaching requirement that discussions of religion should highlight not only the good that religions do (if they do) but that they also have fatal weaknesses and flaws? Or that political parties have weaknesses and flaws? Or that Texas legislators have weaknesses and flaws? I mean, isn’t that also part of education? And if not, why not? Why are these BS amendments always and only aimed by frothy religionists at science? What are these idiots afraid of? and if their religion is so great, why do they have to keep blurring the line between church and state by offering BS amendments to force everybody to consider their religious beliefs and n0body else’s? Something stinks in their reasoning and methods.

  7. Can I just say… W00T!

  8. Luke

    What an utter waste of time this whole affair has been and will continue to be! As if science education in the US didn’t have enough to worry about already.

  9. Dan Solove

    If these bible based moonbats are so right about things, why didn’t the lord make the school board vote come out differently?

    Maybe he was too busy watching over Kurt Warner’s throwing arm.

  10. Waste of time no kidding. I forced myself to listen to yesterday’s hearing. Was left with the following thought (which closed out my brief blog post on the matter): Introducing “strengths and weaknesses” as a specific educational standard does not strengthen the proper understanding of science, but instead weakens it. To go out of one’s way to add the phrase to the standards is tantamount to confessing that science is not already about strengths and weaknesses — a confession as false as it is forced.

  11. PAN

    I thought it was Jean-Luc Picard that said vigilance is the price we pay.

    Good work on keeping people informed Phil, thanks.

  12. Kevin

    Digged.

    Or is it dugged? :)

  13. DGKnipfer

    That was too close.

  14. @QUASAR: That’s a funny reversal of the normal situation!

  15. Jesso

    Victory! I emailed my rep, Patricia Hardy, and was very pleased to find that she was already planning on voting for keeping the standards high. She had several letters from area scientists, who also happened to be Christian, all saying “DON’T LOWER THE STANDARDS!”

    Oh, I’m so pleased by this.

  16. CS

    Question from a European, could the government establish federal education standards that would prevent this sort of situation?

  17. Fantastic news! I only wish it had been a steeper loss for the quacks.

  18. QUASAR
  19. Brandon

    Yeah for science! down with nonsense!

  20. Joe Meils

    You know, I wonder… If you were to add up all the court costs in these various creationisim/ID vs. …well, reality… cases- I wonder how those costs would compare to, say, AIG bonuses?

    I keep having the sneaking suspicion that out there, somewhere, is a cabal of trial lawyers who keep leading the creationist “idiocracy” down the rosy path to keep trying this BS… just so they can syphon off a few hundred million in the continuing court battles.

    But, that’s just me.

  21. Todd W.

    @CS

    I think that might be stepping on States’ rights, which is prohibited by our Constitution.

  22. Greg in Austin

    @CS,

    We have. Its called the First Amendment to the Constitution. It prohibits the government from establishing a state religion.

    The creationist School Board members are trying to sneak their religion into public schools, because some of what science has learned contradicts their interpretation of the Bible. It has been happening all over the country. First, they tried to say,
    “Its not Creationism, its Intelligent Design.” Then they tried to say, “There are weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution.” Now they are saying, “We want to prevent censorship.”

    Its a lie, and we know it.

    8)

  23. We already have science education standards; the states have authority on how to implement them. Which is why we keep seeing freak shows like the one here play out.

  24. Todd W.

    @Greg and ccpetersen

    Thanks for the clarification. You read the question a bit differently than me.

  25. Brandon

    “Question from a European, could the government establish federal education standards that would prevent this sort of situation?”

    There already exists a mandatory division between church and state for this very reason. However there are people who spend all day looking for any crack in any system to jam their theology down our throats.

  26. Matt Tarditti

    The other solution is to teach CRITCIAL THINKING at the appropriate age (middle school?) so that the student will be armed with the tools necessary to filter information for themselves. I have a serious probelm with devoting so much time to deciding what and what not to teach a child. They will hear it all anyways, right? Present the student with EVERYTHING, and let them make thier own decision.
    I learned how to cricically think about the world in my last year of high school – much too late. Granted, I knew the scientific method well before that. But the process on how to really examine an argument (that’s all that a theory is: an argument; evolution just happens to be a very sound argument), be able to pick apart a weak one and discover how to bolster a promising one, that’s the real key here. Imagine how much better off we would be as a nation if everyone was taught how to listen to both Fox News and CNN and be able to decide for themselves that both are full of it.
    Elementary school is too early: you need to have some basic math before you can start tackling the very basic statistics necessary to teach a critical thinking class. Besides, science in elementary school is benign and basic enough not to matter to this discussion (IMO). Obviously, high school is too late.

  27. A tie?? A TIE??!! Half of the board of education in Texas believe creationism should be taught alongside evolution? I’m blown away by this to be honest. Great that the board didn’t vote in this crackpot nonsense, but 7 of the 14 members of the education board are creationist advocates steering an entire state’s educational system?! (to emphasise: ??!!!!???!??!!?!?!)

    I feel like I’ve woken up in one of those sci-fi comedy futures where the world is governed by monkeys (although, I think a few monkeys in the Texas ed board would be a good thing right now! For an evolution case study and for some common sense!)

    Wow.

  28. QUASAR

    Every nation in the world should have a completely secular character, like the Soviet Union, China and other socialist states, meaning outlawing the opium of the masses completely!

  29. Why is it that the most grandiose and blatant lies I have ever heard come from creatonists? Isn’t their little dogmatic fable book kinda against the false witness thing?

    Ian, don’t be that surprised, it’s Texas. They do churches like coloseums there.

  30. am heartily sick of you who cringe at the thought that religion might have a sound basis. after all, you only have darwin, and a bunch of scientists who shudder at the thought that their beliefs might have no foundation at all. am i a believer in a higher authority? you betcha! when i read your comments, i immediately think of a scripture or two, that apply to y’all. jeremiah 10:23; “does not belong to man, who is walking, to even to direct his step. also, daniel 2:44. ever wonder what that kingdom is, that is prayed for in the model prayer? daniel 2:44 answers that.

  31. Gary

    Good news indeed! But I don’t agree with you that the creationists will never give up. There used to be Earth Centrists (or whatever the right name is) who believed that scripture taught that the sun and planets orbit the earth. Folks have largely gotten over that. They’ll eventually get over the bible as God’s science manual too.

  32. Greg C

    I kinda like it here in Texas, we all have our wack jobs and loons but common sense usually prevails.

  33. dar7yl

    At risk of sounding like the devil’s advocate, I do think that the strengths and weaknesses of all theories should be discussed in class. That is the essence of the Scientific Method.

    If the law had passed, and I was a teacher in Texas (I’m not), I would jump at the opportunity to open up that discussion in class. And I would of course, contrast it with the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of god.

  34. Todd W.

    @MizPeg

    If you have scientific evidence that evolution (which has moved way beyond what Darwin wrote) is wrong, then please present it. If you have scientific evidence that creationism/ID is valid, please, present that, as well. We’ve been waiting for a long, long time for such evidence, yet no one ever provides any.

  35. David E.

    The Discovery Institute is already spinning this.

  36. Yay, but just barely. 7-7 is scary as that hot place, by which I mean the sun.

    Thanks for the update Phil!

  37. Todd W.

    @dar7yl

    At risk of sounding like the devil’s advocate, I do think that the strengths and weaknesses of all theories should be discussed in class. That is the essence of the Scientific Method.

    Teachers are already allowed to do just that, which makes this bill meaningless.

  38. Reader

    I’m a Texan, an atheist, and I wholeheartedly believe in evolution, but this article disgusts me. The author shows as narrow-minded a view as those displayed by the creationists.

    1) Creationism SHOULD be taught in schools. It is a belief firmly rooted in not only religion but also history. For THOUSANDS of years, people believed (and some still do) that God created the universe 6000 years ago. You shouldn’t just dismiss a theory because it’s incorrect.

    How will our future generations fully understand historical events and their implications if they don’t have a solid understanding of the culture and mindset of the people living in those times? To deny educating students about Creationism is the same as denying the validity of evolution.

    What a good education would do is teach children creationism, evolution, and any other theories out there…THEN prove why evolution is the winning idea.

    2) What in the world is so bad about a “strengths and weaknesses” approach to education? Why the hell is it “bogus and arbitrary” to teach students the strenghts and faults of every theory? In what way is it detrimental to train students to think for themselves and to analyze everything they hear and judge for themselves instead of just believing everything forcefed to them?

    This sort of mindless education is exactly what is wrong with not just Texas but the whole country. If our students, kids, and future generations are trained to be so mindless, then it doesn’t matter what theories are taught.

  39. Kevin

    1) I don’t think creationism is science. If God exists science can’t prove Him. It can only examine what He made. Attempts to use Science to somehow disprove God are equally vain and pointless.

    that said

    2) It’s The Theory Of Evolution, which means it’s not fact beyond reasonable doubt.

    3) I fail to see why it’s a victory for science to say we can’t examine the weaknesses of a theory. Seems to fly in the face of the Scientific Method and does an equal disservice to students to teach that there are some things you shouldn’t question in science.

  40. magicmarker

    am so amazed at the arrogance of all the armchair scientists. Do you truly know so much? or perhaps have you forgotten how much you do not know? Completely remove the possibility of a Supreme Being? Quite a wager. You guys sound like the Catholic Church during the Dark Ages with your fear of being wrong or being questioned.

  41. @Kevin:

    1) No one is trying to prove that Yahweh doesn’t exist; default position is null, that he doesn’t exist. It is up to you to prove other wise.

    2) Yes, it is “fact beyond reasonable doubt”, if you actually know anything about evolution and what “theory” means. There is a fact of evolution as well, which is made through the observation of random mutation in organisms. Google Richard Lenski and E. coli.

    3) No one said you couldn’t examine a weakness of a theory. Do you honestly think that high school students are going to have any insight into this? Oh, and false dichotomy if you think that anything else is equal to evolutionary theory. Would you like to propose an alternate theory to discuss concerning heliocentrism?

    Try a book Kevin, not that hard. Left to right, top to bottom. The evidence is in (has been for a long time). Instead of whining, why not go out and find us a fossilized bunny dating to the Cambrian? That would immediately refute evolution.

  42. Todd W.

    @Reader

    We’re not talking about keeping creationism out of the school, period. We’re talking about keeping creationism out of the science classroom. If teachers want to discuss it in the context of history, philosophy, humanities, etc., then sure. But that’s not what the proponents of ID/creationism are trying to do. They are saying, “Hey, teach our belief as science, even though it isn’t science.”

    @Kevin

    1) Science makes no attempt to prove or disprove God (or Odin, or Zeus, etc.). It can be used to evaluate certain claims made regarding God.

    2) Yes, it’s the Theory of Evolution. Much like the Theory of Gravity. Remember, in science, Theory is as high as it gets, meaning that the collection of explanations, predictions and observed facts are as close to “fact” as the evidence allows. So, it is beyond “reasonable doubt”. But, it still leaves room for being falsified.

    3) It’s a victory in that creationism/ID (i.e., religion) is being kept out of the science class. We can already discuss the weaknesses of theories and scientific ideas, based on evidence, without this bill. The sole purpose of the bill, then, is to try to get religious ideas taught as science.

  43. You shouldn’t just dismiss a theory because it’s incorrect.

    No, that is exactly why you dismiss a theory immediately. Or would you like to continue to discuss phlogiston theory and the ether, since they are also of historical significance?

  44. Daniel J. Andrews

    “Why is it that the most grandiose and blatant lies I have ever heard come from creatonists? Isn’t their little dogmatic fable book kinda against the false witness thing?”

    @Larian. That’s a question I’ve been looking at the past while too. Information is published from a source who may or may not even be Christian, it is picked up by places like the Creation Research Institute, from there it is shuttled off in newsletters and disseminated by news groups. Each group thinks the previous group is a trustworthy source and wouldn’t lie. And they are usually right…they wouldn’t deliberately lie. But because they think it is a trustworthy source they don’t check and just go on trust.

    E.g. Keith Davies, 1994, published a paper on missing Type II SN and lack of 3rd Stage SNR, therefore since these were missing the universe can’t possibly be as old as we say it is. His paper cited other papers out of context, making them say things they hadn’t said, he cherry-picked papers that supported his view, ignored the others. It all sounds very scientific when you read it though, and the easily verifiable bits that he got right (e.g. average number of SN seen/century) make people think the whole paper must be right.

    Now, this paper is cited by Dr. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D., ICR associate professor of physics, on AnswersinGenesis.org as evidence for a young earth. His credentials sound good, he’s Christian and wouldn’t lie, and people would trust this source. However, it is obvious that Dr. Humphreys hasn’t even done basic background checking and, indeed, I’d bet he hasn’t even read the paper. I think he just cited another source that he trusted.

    This taking something on faith is a necessity where no-one has the time to look everything up or do studies themselves. And it is also written into our nature to trust and accept information from “one of our own” versus “one of them”, and it certainly isn’t limited to creationists. Similar things happen in peer-reviewed science where one lone paper gets something wrong, someone cites that paper, someone then cites that paper, several people then cite this ‘body’ of literature, and on it goes, with no-one checking to see what the original citation or citations said (I believe an example is the whole 50-100 words for snow in the Inuit language?).

    I saw the famous and brilliant Kary Mullis, in a televised talk early 2000s (now online), venture out of his area of expertise and into climatology where he insisted global warming was not occurring. And he made an absolute fool of himself by reaching conclusions the authors of the paper he was citing hadn’t reached, by using long discredited arguments, by cherry-picking his data. His critical thinking processes as he went from bad premise to non-sequiter conclusion were so lacking you would have thought he’d never had a science or thinking course in his life. He trusted what he’d been told by a website that meshed with his ideological views and he never checked for himself.

    And everyday examples can be found in the comment section of the BA blog when it comes to any religious issue. The misinformation, misunderstandings, non-sequiter leaps from premise to conclusion, really bad philosophy and theology are rampant yet people repeat them over and over again without once checking to see if it is accurate, or even aiming a little critical thinking at it. After all, we “know” it is true so why check up on it, why think too hard about it and waste time looking into what is “obviously” nonsense.

    Basically, we all do what creationists do to a lesser or greater degree, depending on where our subject trigger mechanisms are. As science-folks though we should at least be able to recognize this tendency in ourselves and consider that we may make the same errors when confronted with subjects that conflict with our ideological values (politics, gender issues, etc). It is difficult to change your mind though if you have invested a lot of emotional energy into it, and we would rather attack than thoughtfully consider if we are right or not.

    Pointing out flaws in one ideological subset of people usually means we’ll have the same flaws, just in another area. We’re all human afterall. [Except me. My humanity is long gone and given a chance I'd crush you all like ants ;) ]

  45. Geek Goddess

    @Reader

    Although your first paragraph states that you are an atheist and ‘believe in ‘ evolution (I also ‘believe in’ gravity, BTW), I think that was just stuck on the front of your note to some how validate your opinion. No, people have NOT believed ‘For THOUSANDS of years, people believed (and some still do) that God created the universe 6000 years ago. ” Bishop USsher came up with the 4004 BC date about 1650, based on his reading of various texts available to him:
    Faced with inconsistent texts of the Torah, each with a different number of years between Flood and Creation, Ussher chose the Masoretic version. Partly his reasons were sound scholarly ones – the Masoretic text claims an unbroken history of careful transcription stretching back centuries – but his choice was confirmed for him because it placed Creation exactly four thousand years before 4 BC, the generally accepted date for the birth of Christ; moreover, he calculated, Solomon’s temple was completed in the year 3000 from creation, so that there were exactly 1000 years from the temple to Christ, who was the fulfilment of the Temple (from Wiki) He also believed the pope was the Antichrist. Other peoples in other times believe different things. If we teach ‘creationism’ as a science topic, we should also teach Hinduism and the Halls of Valhalla. You gotta problem with that?

    As far as having future generations understand the historical events and their implications, as you state, I’m all for it. We should teach in history or philosophy class that a particular subset of the (mostly) US evangelical denominations believed in creationism. And that we once interned the Japanese during WWII. And that diseases were caused by an imbalance of the four bodily humors (the exact nature of these humors varied over the centuries and cultures), a ‘theory’ that was around before Hippocrates (b. 460 BCE). Shall we teach that in science class as well, outside of any ‘history of medicine’ topics?

    “You shouldn’t just dismiss a theory because it’s incorrect.”

    WHAT??!!??

  46. Terry Perkins

    I really don’t agree with the author’s stand on this. The theory of evolution does have flaws, why is it a bad thing that teachers should have to talk about those flaws. And, evolution has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Many prominent scientists know that evolution has flaws, and have begun to question it. Especially with the discovery of irreducibly complex systems, which put a pretty big hole in the theory of evolution.

  47. Brett

    dar7yl:
    This is precisely the point I reiterated in my letters to the Texas SBOE. Science inherently addresses “strengths and weaknesses”. There is no need to explicitly insert such language – we acknowledge strengths and weaknesses when we apply the scientific method.

    I called into a San Antonio, TX radio program on Monday in defense of science. The host was courteous, but it was clear he was not swayed. This morning, I heard the same radio host interviewing Casey Luskin, fawning over him the whole time. Blech.

  48. Read

    Yet another reason I am glad I am homeschooling my 4 kids here in Texas.

    Strengths and Weaknesses. EVERY scientific theory has them…including Newton’s Law of Gravitation (yes, I got my B.S. in Physics). If you cannot teach the strengths and weaknesses of science, then you are not teaching the scientific method. Pure and simple. All you will be teaching is somebody’s dogma (either “scientific” dogma or “religious” dogma). Both do damage to critical thinking skills.

    Just another nail in the coffin of the gubmint skools in my opinion.

  49. Paul

    How about we make Creationists ONLY have access to medicine and technology and the fruits of science that could not have come about from following evolution.

  50. Free Will

    Um, someone call the Flying Spaghetti Monster. His noodly appendage is needed in Texas!

  51. EvolutiNo

    Two questions (that I will argue there is no consensus on):

    1) When we say evolution, what do we mean?

    And the follow-up:

    2) What does the following statement mean? From the first paragraph of the post: “evolution is the basic and most fundamental aspect upon which all of modern biology is based”

    Let me simplify and re-phrase, “Modern biology is based on evolution”. What exactly does that mean?

    If my first premise is true, that there is no consensus answer — even among biologists — for these two questions, then how can we claim this topic must be taught? Shouldn’t we define what we mean first?

    My claim is not that evolution is false. It’s that evoultion is ill-defined. And before we make strong claims that “it” must be taught, we must have consensus on what “it” is.

    My second observation is that simply by asking a rational question, my prediction is that I will be vilified for even daring to questions “evolution”. (I hope I’m wrong)

  52. Craig DeForest

    You “Strengths and weaknesses” people are being wilfully blind. Kevin complained that “It’s The Theory Of Evolution, which means it’s not fact beyond reasonable doubt”, Reader wants to see someone’s unsupported (except by faith) fairy tale elevated to the status of scientific fact, MizPeg is offended at the idea that maybe religious dogma isn’t as well founded as scientific observation.

    Did any of you folks notice the difference between Sunday school and science class? In science class (in good school districts), there is a laboratory component, carefully designed so that you can experience for yourself each part of the Universe that’s being described. In Sunday school it’s all book-learning and singing. The whole point of science is that it hopes to describe that part of the Universe which does not require belief — an objective truth. The whole point of religion is to pass on a set of dogma that has been refined for hundreds of years by a navel-gazing priesthood.

    The Theory of Evolution is no less solid than the Theory of Gravity, and explains a bazillion things that creationists must sweep under the rug or ignore (like, if God designed us so well, why do we have Ear/Nose/Throat doctors? Why do we have to learn the Heimlich Maneuver?). It is also a natural consequence of the simple idea of Deep Time — that the Universe has been around for a long, long, long time. Deep Time is the most basic concept of modern geology — which clearly works, since it is used routinely to find the buried chemicals that you use to heat your homes and drive your car and power your computer.

    Sure, kids should learn about creation myths — but not in science classes, in something like comparative mythology. After all, who’s to say that the Christians have it right and the Navajos or Hindus don’t? There’s room for both to be taught, just not in a science class.

  53. mr shrinkidink

    it doesnt help to bash them. the goal of true science is the same as the goal of true religion – true enlightenment.
    bashing only beats the devil in further.
    theres no reason to hold evolution as a holy grail when in fact it may be disproven tomorrow. much like the idea that ulcers were caused by stress and the guy who found out it is actually a bacterial infection ( for those of you who believe in germs) had to go thru a horrendous amount of personal and professional ridicule – based on ? bias.
    wasnt all that long ago that women HAD to wear veils or they would be publicly censured. (ok – Catholic’s were in the lead on this.)

    actually – how has it affected your life? if evolution is a form of creation or the other way around, how would that make any difference?
    its no more important to our life that the fact that the world is flat and rides on the back of a turtle.
    all this proves is that we are victims of the illusion of control. like everyone believes that 1 + 1 = 2 yet iv’e never seen any proof. we just accept it and go on …

    …(wanders off)

  54. John

    Few things:
    1) If you really want to show how inaccurate the bible is and things on creationism, show them the creationism/bible episodes of Penn and Teller’s Bullsh*t
    2) From the show, I found that the Declaration of Independence states that public systems (like school and hospitals) should be free of religion. So trying to introduce religion into a public school system is a violation of the Declaration of Independence.

  55. Stark

    @Terry Perkins -

    OK, I’ll bite. Exactly what are the “irreducibly complex systems” you are referring to?

    @Read -

    Schools do teach the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories… and if you actually had a Baccalaureate of Science in Physics you’d know that. If you were paying attention you’d also know that this is a debate about inserting creationism into science class as a competing theory to evolution – it isn’t.

  56. If my first premise is true, that there is no consensus answer

    You forget to provide evidence for this premise.

    My second observation is that simply by asking a rational question, my prediction is that I will be vilified for even daring to questions “evolution”.

    Nope. Just noticing that you forgot to support your assertions. Evolution is defined by biologists, put simply, as a change in a population’s alleles over time.

  57. Joe

    This article is such bull and is so slanted. Evolution is not fact my friends… it is theory. This vote goes to show that most of the population is divided on this topic. But all of you sit on your high horses because you think that you are “right”.

    If any of you spent the time to read the Bible, you would get the answers to some of the stupid questions like “why do we need ear nose and throat doctors”. I mean, come on. Are you really that stupid to throw out such a rediculous question? Before commenting on something, you should know both sides of the story so go read the Bible before condeming it as bunk. If you want to believe that hundreds of millions of years ago there was a fart in a swamp and out crawled some amoeba and it evolved into you, well, you are probably right. As for me, I was created as a human in God’s image by His devine hand. This question will be answered once and for all when we all stand before the Pearly Gates. Personally, I like my chances of getting in since Christ, and not Darwin, is my Saviour.

  58. The Theory of Evolution is no less solid than the Theory of Gravity

    If anything, evolution is more solid, since there are serious inconsistencies at the very root of physics. Attempts to unify relativity with the quantum world are still struggling.

  59. kevin

    (linkback) Hooray! or Boo!? Science beats creation in Texas-Kids will only be taught science! [VOTE] – http://www.pikk.com/9d633

  60. Stark

    @EvolutiNo – Your first premise in false. Patently so.

    See here for the answer to question number 1 : http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html

    It’s not a simple and concise answer (it’s a complicated topic after all) but the idea that there is no scientific consensus on what evolution is (and isn’t) is patently false. You may get slightly different verbiage but the definition you will get from the vast majority of biologists will be consistent. A lack of knowledge on the part of the general public does not make a theory invalid or ill-defined.

    As for question 2, well, that’s actually fairly simple. Every single advance in biology for at least the last 75 years has been underpinned by our ever increasing knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms and processes. All of them. All of the nice medicines you use today are only here because of understanding gleaned from evolutionary theory. Without evolution, there is no science of biology. All life is classified by how it relates to all other life – Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species – and that is all supported by (with literal mountains of evidence) evolutionary theory.

  61. numsix

    Perhaps if you used B.Sc. for Bachelor of Science degree instead of BS; the creationists would lose some of there ability to sway people from science?

    That was a Joke.

    I am happy at the turn out and the indication of a not so proper (read ‘not so legal’) agenda by the creationists.
    Maybe people will learn over time and in 10 years creations will lose as opposed to not win because of a tie.

  62. Stark

    Naked Bunny – your definition, while correct, is incomplete. I think it’s the fact that evolution is a varied wildly diverse and complicated topic that leads people to think that the various one line definitions that are out there are contradictory. They aren’t of course, they just define different pieces of evolutionary theory.

    I really think we ought to rename Biology, which most people recognize as a huge and complicated family of endeavors that cannot be completely define in a one line sound bite, to Applied Evolution. Ok, that name sucks… but literally all of biology is tied inextricably to evolution (by nature, not by man) so trying relegate evolution to a subset of Biology seems silly to me. Ah well, not gonna happen but a geek can dream! ;)

  63. Public User

    Creationism should be taught in Sunday School. Do not force it on the public school system. Religious zealots are never good, especially when they exist in numbers.

  64. I’ve noticed that a number of the folks dissenting with Phil Plait’s “Proclamation from On High” have not only couched their dissent with ostensibly mitigating circumstances (e.g. “I’m a Texan and an atheist”), but they’ve also referred to Phil as “the author”. While this is a polite way to address someone you aren’t a sycophantic blog-minion of, it also seems to be a tell — either there’s some sockpuppetry going on, or someone linked this article from a creationist site.

  65. MadScientist

    @CS: At the moment, NO. Historically the federal government has always been very weak; it had to live off contributions from the states and in most matters the states retained their powers. Over the years more power had been ceded to the federal government more as a matter of practicality than anything else. We didn’t even have a central authority for currency until about 90 years ago and the federal tax system was only introduced a little over 100 years ago. Education remains largely the responsibility of the states so the federal government really can’t interfere much. Dubbyah was the last to interfere with his “no child left behind” which was a bonanza for useless managers and bureaucrats but absolutely worthless for the educational system – it was nothing but yet another delusional Dubbyah policy which was meant to change the world overnight – just like the invasion of Iraq which was only going to last weeks, not months or years. In general it is also not a good idea to legislate what is taught because that unnecessarily fetters the educational system; one consequence of that is that we have to rely on sensibility to keep nonsense such as creationism out.

  66. MadScientist

    @dar7yl: The strengths and weaknesses of the theory of god? Isn’t that something like “do potatoes suffer less when grown in Idaho as opposed to Ireland”?

    I wonder if that MizPeg is for real; the post does sound like the ignorant rantings of someone who only ever attended bible school but then again some people put up some whacky satirical posts.

  67. Justin

    For anyone who trumpets the “irreducibly complex systems” excuse, a guy who goes by cdk007 has some great youtube videos you should see.

  68. @MadScientist: Poe’s law is a really tough one to beat. Thing is, every bible-thumper that’s ever tried to convince me of the validity of religion has quoted scripture at me as though quotes from the book would help prove the book is right. If that was possible, I’d go out and write a book right now claiming myself to be the greatest guy on Earth, then I’d cite it whenever possible to convert the masses.

  69. Daniel

    Perhaps science class should also include that there is absolutely no geological evidence of any kind to support the biblical-factoid of a great flood engulfing the Earth. You’d think something like that might leave a footprint.

    If evolution is weak and flawed, so is the estimated weight of 2 of every animal on the planet being sustained by a 450 foot boat. Without evolution, every creature we know of today must have had a direct descendent on that famous vessel.

    That includes Architeuthis. :)

  70. Philip

    It’s 2009. We should be way past this. Another example of religious dogma holding the human race back. Kinda like when the Christian church destroyed the Library of Alexandria. BURN THAT KNOWLEDGE!!!!!

  71. your definition, while correct, is incomplete

    Of course. It’s the foundation, the basic starting point, and other structures are built on top of it. As you say, it doesn’t make what comes from that foundation contradictory.

    The foundation has to be taught, and taught well, before trying to go further. Most, if not all, of the arguments I see about evolution that aren’t purely religion-based stem from misunderstanding that evolution is a change in a population’s alleles over time. If you don’t understand that, then you start wondering why there are no transitional forms today, or start thinking that microevolution and macroevolution are different, or asking why dogs don’t give birth to cats, or start claiming that every male mutation has to have an exactly corresponding female mutation to survive another generation.

  72. t

    First, what do you hold to be true?
    —————————————————————
    I went to public school in Texas about 12 years ago. My AP Biology class used the Campbell Biology textbook and I never recall any intelligent design theories being mentioned. Covering evolutionary theories wasn’t a problem, but I had to get a parental waiver to read the Bible in school…. I thought that was non-nonsensical… which leads me back to what do you hold as true?

  73. Stark

    @Jason – Scary thing is… that actually works – see L. Ron Hubbard for a modern example.

  74. Geek Goddess

    @Terry Perkins
    Many prominent scientists know that evolution has flaws, and have begun to question it. Especially with the discovery of irreducibly complex systems, which put a pretty big hole in the theory of evolution.

    First, ‘many’ doesn’t mean ‘most’. Do scientists know every single thing? Of course not. That means there an as-yet unanswered questions, not that the entire theory is flawed.

    And for the record, there was no ‘discovery’ of irreducibly complex systems. It is a made-up viewpoint, created as a thought experiment. As with many of the ID concepts, it is not a science based in research, but is a philosophical attempt to ‘disprove’ evolution without presenting any evidence of its own. My picking holes in your evidence is not the same thing as my presenting evidence for an alternate theory.

  75. Davidlpf

    I think a lot of people missed the point of the BAs point a couple days ago. That this is not a place to discuss the existence of god but science. So far Evolution is the theory that is supported by scientific evidence and since the vote is over what is being taught in science class of course evolution should be taught. Of course there are ares that some disagree with like did birds come from dinosaurs or some other reptiles.

  76. One

    Thanks for keeping us informed!!
    It’s so surprising and sad that this fight even exist…especially in the US.

  77. Stark

    @NBwW (Naked Bun…)- Your name is too long my friend so I’ve decided to acronym-ize you. :p

    And, you are absolutely right. Also, give me a few months and a crack surgical team and I’ll give you a dog giving birth to a cat. ;)

  78. Brian

    Phlogiston! Teach the controversy!

    Of course, phlogiston is quite frequently taught in chemistry classes, being one of those classic ideas that teachers use to show how theories are evaluated and disproved by the scientific method.

    What we need in Texas is to modify the science standards to require teachers to teach the strengths and weaknesses of intelligent design. To aid teachers with this new addition to the curriculum, we’d provide them with a handbook. Of course the “Weaknesses” section would take up the majority of the handbook; we ‘d have to restrict it to just the highlights to keep it from getting too big. And under “Strengths” it would have … what? “It Makes Some People Feel Better”, I guess.

  79. Stark

    @Brian – ID Strengths: Doesn’t tax the brain. Tests are dead easy.

  80. justcorbly

    @CS: To add to MadScientist’s comment, in recent decades, many Federal initiatives are enforced in the states via a carrot and stick approach. I.e., if a state plays by Washington’s rules, the state gets Federal funds. If the state choose not to, Washington can do nothing to force the state to change its mind, but it can hold on to the money. That’s how Bush’s No Child Left Behind program works: If tests scores are high enough, the feds send money.

    Factoring into this is the fact that the constitutions of most states mandate that they operate on a balanced budget. They cannot run a deficit, making federal funds all the more appealing.

  81. Tim

    One of the fatal flaws of democracy. He with the biggest gang wins. And we see that in action here. Had the ‘creationist’ gang had one more vote, reason would have been irrelevant in the state of texas.

  82. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    I thought it was Jean-Luc Picard that said vigilance is the price we pay.

    Wikiquote: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    * Commonly attributed to Jefferson, but no original source has been identified for this
    * Variation: It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
    o John Philpot Curran, Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790; earliest established source”

    Also attributed to, or used (with variants) by, Wendell Philips, Milton Friedman, Andrew Jackson, …

    Robert A, Heinlein’s variant: “Perhaps the meek shall inherit the Earth, but they’ll do it in very small plots . . . about 6′ by 3′.”

  83. Let’s send those 7 a copy of the “Jefferson” Bible.

  84. Most educated folks understand that creation stories have served humans as a way of making sense of life and where we come from. I think it’s very likely that in a few thousand years, our descendants will look back on our scientific understanding of the origins of life and the universe as very primitive.

    The problems arise when (1) these metaphorical and highly symbolic stories are taken as literal fact and (2) the people who believe them feel they have a right to impose their beliefs on everyone around them. Religion and spirituality are very private matters and shouldn’t be forced on other people. This insensitive approach to evangelizing has created intense animosity against all religions, even though not all religions are jerks about their beliefs. The pendulum swings radically in the opposite direction, and suddenly people want to suppress all religion.

    That said, I think creationism has a place in schools, but not in science classes. The various creation stories should be taught in social studies or history. The fact is that it is quite fascinating to see how various people thought we came to be.

    In the meantime, I keep hoping that these religious movement will mature and follow their own advice to “let go and let God.” If someone feels compelled to seek out a religion, let them find it on their own, not in their science curriculum.

  85. Scott

    Interesting topic. I guess my thoughts are that the more knowledge we have, the closer we get to a more informed decision. Period. I mean, it may be hard for kids to see through the political agendas of text books, but I think it’s smart to just say “ok, Johnny, this is what we adults think, but we aren’t exactly able to prove it for these reasons…”

    I used to believe in evolution, but then again, I never had a chance to see the other arguments or antithesis. Believe it or not, there is some very good scientific evidence of Creation. One particularly good collection of evidence can be found in In the Beginning: Compelling evidence of Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown. As far as I can see, just as much faith is needed to believe in evolution than creation (unfortunately, faith in man will not do you much good) “Give it a chance” is all I am saying because I think I would have benefited in my school career from such curriculum decisions. Ignorance will not be a defense when we are all judged, and neither will be “but science said…” Thank you.

  86. wikiBuddha

    This whole debate really made me wish the majority of public school “social studies” were directed toward understanding the U.S. (and their respective state) constitution(s)…

    There is no such thing as “separation of church and state,” but rather “…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    This exact quotation has made me think very much about religious “exemptions,” like I don’t understand how or why religious “establishments” are granted rights beyond “secular” establishments, particularly in the context of the constitution. How is it that a religious establishment (when no loaw shall respect such an establishment) can A) evade taxes and B) evade laws that other establishments must follow, like “public indecency”?

    The wording of the constitution definitely makes me question the constitutionality of any law utilizing the word “god” for a number of reasons. For instance, I really can’t believe that the pledge of allegiance had god added to it (I personally replace god with “the constitution” in the pledge), because for 1) the word God is a relatively new word in man’s history and 2) some religions (like Buddhism) do not have a word “god” (although some would equate the term “Buddha” although “Universe” or “Me” might be more accurate) and other religions specify their god (Odin, Shiva, Brahma, …)

    So, where does this fit into the scientific realm? I am in agreement that there could be no conclusive theory that a theological being exists at this time, since it is only an untested hypothesis. ID/creationism is simply an unverified hypothesis. This is antithetical to the principles of science…

    And the argument is correct, if intelligent design is legislated into school teachings, that opens the can of worms for other views, like the Buddhist view of a beginningless past and eternal future (no creationism there). However, this is also a hypothesis, an untested theory, so I cannot support such teachings in a science class. I don’ t undestand why there is no religious class(es). Is it because of the constitution? Or is it too pretentious and nobody can agree on which religious principles should be taught?

    However, my argument that hypothesis should not be taught is, I think, weak. For instance, the idea of nuclear fusion is still essentially a hypothesis, but I think it deserves attention in science class.

    While the bibble does discourage the worship of false idols, I would think that knowing about them and the reasons they are false would serve to deepen confidence in the beliefs of monotheists. I can only question one’s beliefs when their confidence in those beliefs depends on those beliefs being shared by those whom surround them.

    Eh, while I’m ranting, I feel like it’s also worth reminding the religious right that the USA is not, nor has it ever been, a Christian country. History holds that the founding fathers were Unitarian and today I think that secularism can best describe this country, although there are a great many hypocritical “believers”.

    I expect to see most of you in purgatory… until then, cheers!

  87. Radwaste

    One more time: Point at an example of “creation” for me.

    You can’t. Even your birth and growth violated no mass-conservation laws.

    The first step here should be to define your terms. That has not been done.

  88. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Oops. There was supposed to be a yay! at the start of my previous comment, Obviously my editor is feeding on yay!s.

    And now for the inevitable sad part of science denialists:

    You shouldn’t just dismiss a theory because it’s incorrect.

    And, evolution has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    Obviously ya’ll don’t know what a scientific theory is. It unites several known facts and predict new ones; it is stronger than the facts that it is based on. Famously the criteria is “tested beyond reasonable doubt” (often expressed in terms of some standard of uncertainty).

    The process of evolution is an observable fact, tested beyond reasonable doubt (see for example TalkOrigins for those tests, “29+ evidences…”) – deal with it.

    It is in fact, the most tested theory in science, as for 150 years more and more biologists have researched and tested its domain, currently at a rate of hundreds of papers a day (many with several tests).

    It is also the most exact theory, as common descent predicts a nested hierarchy of traits, in this case traits that evolve or are lost along lineages. When phylogenies are made, one typically gets a very small set of possible trees of lineages with exactly that pattern.

    And the precision of that subset compared to the larger set of all possible trait arrangements, for even a small group of species, is an observation better than any physical observation ever made! (See the above reference for details.)

  89. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Many prominent scientists know that evolution has flaws, and have begun to question it.

    Name some prominent expert evolutionary biologists that question the fact of evolution (or its theory).

    But note that every scientists acknowledge that any science isn’t complete. This is different, because it means that there are still things to discover, that the science is alive.

    Especially with the discovery of irreducibly complex systems, which put a pretty big hole in the theory of evolution.

    Only in the minds of denialists, that think that if I prove something wrong my viewpoint is instead automatically right. But what of all the other possibilities?

    But in fact, irreducible complex systems are exactly those that evolution explains, it is a prediction and so a test of the theory. Made in the early 20th century by evolutionist Muller, IIRC, which called the idea “interlocking complexity” – as the number of traits increases, and traits are duplicated and repurposed by the mindless process, they form an interlocking and system.

    I.e. ribozome RNA, essential for making proteins, have evolved by duplicating segments and adapting to scaffold proteins. Remove any segment or scaffold protein, and the modern ribozome may stop working. (But actually it seems to be a pretty tough bastard and AFAIU often retain functionality despite that it is no longer optimized for earlier configurations.)

  90. jaded

    One word. Causality. Until it is addressed, evolution remains a popular theory and cannot eliminate alternative theories.

  91. Sorry, late to the repetitive game, but…

    Doesn’t MizPeg’s syntax and lack of capitalization and paragraph breaks remind you of a certain Chuckster? I noticed “she” hasn’t responded ad nauseum, tho, so she clearly isn’t the same person. :)

  92. Mike

    What? This doesn’t even make sense. What’s wrong with teaching the weaknesses of the theory of evolution? I’m not convinced the writer of this piece knows what a ‘theory’ is. It’s, in lamens terms, an educated guess. It’s not factual. So, you’re in favor of teaching something that’s not factual as being the truth? Sounds ignornant to me.

  93. IVAN3MAN

    @ kuhnigget,

    It clearly illustrates that ‘home schooled’ individuals have a lot in common. :-)

  94. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ EvolutiNo:

    As noted there is a consensus opinion how to describe the observed process in a definition, based on “common descent” or in other words “hereditary changes”. [I.e. anything from evolving antibiotic resistance to the fossil record are the products of such a process.] This is the same type of inclusive process definitions that are used in physics.

    Take Moran’s own definition of the process of evolution, given in the link provided to you:

    “Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.”

    And now look on the analogous definition of the process of gravitation:

    “Gravitation is a process that results in changes in velocity of (test) masses by other masses over time.” [I.e. the product of gravitation are that masses accelerates each other.]

    Each of those process definitions then cover many mechanisms together or separately, from variation (mutation) and selection for evolution, to newtonian (old theory) or einsteinian (new theory) gravitation. Tests will tell you which of those are the factual basis or not for the more quantifiable observations made.

    And now revert your viewpoint to ask if all life are the result of the above process: Yes, according to the science and scientists. In other words, this is the very process of life! (Which I find an endearingly poetic observation to make.)

    As someone said, roughly: “Life was born in the warm seas of the Archean, and haven’t managed to get killed, go fully extinct, yet.” Unbroken lineages, genomes and cellular metabolisms handed down (with changes due to changed environments) from generation to generation through cell divisions and fusions. Lineages die, goes extinct [in fact they tell me 99.9 % of them have], but other populations carry on and the tree grows new branches that replace all those gone and more [life is more diversified than ever before].

    And that is why it is the basis for biology, it defines and explains what biology is, and what biological systems we see.

  95. EvolutiNo

    @Stark:

    My claim was there is no concise consensus on the definition of evolution.

    You said: “Your [claim] in false. Patently so.”

    You then referenced this web site: “http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html”

    This site seems to support my claim. Allow me to highlight some quoted text from the reference that supports the claim:

    The author of the website claims that, “[...] any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next” is the best definition.

    The author then claims a scientific dictionary’s definition is wrong. That definition is, “The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms”

    And the author also states that “the development of a species, organism, or organ from its original or primitive state to its present or specialized state; phylogeny or ontogeny” is also an incorrect definition of evolution.

    There are other definitions from other sources that the author criticizes as well.

    So, my claim was

    There is a lack of consensus for the definition of evolution.

    Your reference illustrates the issue: one authroity claiming their definition is more accurate than other authorities.

    Which should we teach as authoritative?

    And shouldn’t we decide this before saying “it” should be taught?

    P.S. Recall, my claim is not that evolution is false; it’s ill-defined.

  96. EvolutiNo

    @Stark

    @Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    … And if a concept is ill-defined, can we accurately say it is the “basic and most fundamental aspect upon which all of modern biology is based.”? (quote from the first paragraph of this article)

  97. @ Mike:

    I’m not convinced the writer of this piece knows what a ‘theory’ is. It’s, in lamens terms, an educated guess.

    That would be those lamens down there in Texas, no doubt.

    And no, a theory is not an educated guess. Guess again.

  98. mike westman

    Ho Ho Ho……common sense and scientific method triumph (barely) over hocus pocus and the mindless mumbo jumbo of the creationists…..actually I am surprised it did….kudos Texas

  99. Geek Goddess

    “the author”?

    The comments that refer to ‘the author’ rather than Phil or BA tend to have more typos and factual errors…

  100. EvolutiNo

    @Stark

    @Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    … And if a concept is ill-defined, can we accurately say it is the “basic and most fundamental aspect upon which all of modern biology is based.”? (quote from the first paragraph of this article)

    I don’t deny that organisms change over time. We are, after all, mutating replicators.

    However, what I do take umbrage with are the sweeping, often unjustifiable claims that are made with evolution as the fundamental premise — and these claims seem to get a free-pass: anyone who examines them in any detail is somehow a lunatic or labeled as a creationist wacko.

    So for example from the comments, @Stark said in response to my post,

    “Every single advance in biology for at least the last 75 years has been underpinned by our ever increasing knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms and processes”

    Really?

    First, the claim is too ill-defined to assess its veracity. That notwithstanding, can I ask for the claim be supported? Or should we simply blithely nod our heads in agreement since the word ‘evolution’ is attached to the claim?

    Did Watson and Crick begin with “knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms and processes” and arrive at the double helix? No. Is the discovery of the double helix counted as one of the “advances in biology over the last 75 years”? I hope so.

    RNA interference, hailed as one of the top scientific advances of recent years, was discovered by ‘Functional Genomics’ researchers examining nematodes — using the “DNA -> RNA -> protein” paradigm and brilliant strategies they happened upon a new discovery.

    I would counter @Stark’s claim by saying “Functional Genomics” is at the core of an emering host of new discoveries, *not* evolution.

    I’m not trying to be pedantic about terminology. However, words are powerful and convey great meaning. So to accomplish the greatest utility let’s use the correct words. Evolution is far too conflated a term.

    And I’m still not sure what we should be teaching these youngsters. ;)

  101. Thomas

    to “magicmarker” — You suggested science is trying to “completely remove the possibility of a Supreme Being”… It’s exactly that kind of thinking (yours) that causes these problems. I have no doubt in evolution, and believe it should be taught as the scientific explanation behind how we all came to be here today. I also believe in God, as do many of these scientists… People like you claim piety, and yet your ignorant grandeous claims, accusations that any science must absolutely deny God — all this and more, only serve to make God seem rather small and stupid. Again, just to be clear… YOU are making God seems small, stupid, biased and ignorant, illogical and angry, full of hate, and more. YOU.

    I was taught that God is greater than anything that can be conceived by the mind of man… and I’m perfectly capable of using my God given mind to deduce or agree with smart scientists’ research indicating that we’ve been around, evolving and changing for quite a lot longer than 6,000 years. Science helps answer the possible, and the knowable. I leave everything else to God. You on the other hand, seem perfectly – ironically – happy characterizing God as some weak old man, who waves a magic wand and makes trees and people appear “poof” out of thin air. Science will never know how it all started, and Religion is apparently not yet capable of understanding that most of us who believe in God and science have no problem letting Faith fill in the gaps. On the issue of evolution, the only gap is “in the beginning”. Stop making God so small. People like you said the Earth was flat, and the center of the universe. People like you read the Book of Genesis and used that as an excuse to subjugate women for hundreds of years (because, according to your kind, it was their fault we were cast out of Eden – which ignores the possibility that maybe God, in His infinite wisdom and all, maybe knew we humans would CHOOSE free-will for ourselves, even before he made Adam and Eve). So many other examples of how YOU make God seem small and petty. You force people to choose between the ridiculous or life without God. You embarass yourself, and hopefully your ignorant ilk will continue losing influence, as more of us understand the absolute evil in YOUR hypocricy.

  102. Mike

    @kuhnigget

    According to Websters, on a ‘theory’ -

    6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : CONJECTURE

    Your turn to guess again – not Texas.

  103. What’s wrong with teaching the weaknesses of the theory of evolution?

    Another demonstration that some people are being fooled by the creationists’ newspeak.

  104. Okay, Mike, you got me on a technicality. Point yours.

    Now tell me where the “educated” part comes in….

  105. MartinM

    Mike, try plugging a randomly selected dictionary definition of mass into a physics equation and see what happens. Or, better yet, learn how to use a dictionary correctly.

  106. And I’m still not sure what we should be teaching these youngsters.

    Do you really think that every scientific theory should be able to be summarized in a sentence or two before it is taught to students? You seem so focused on evolution, but can you give me a one-sentence definition of astronomy, of physics, of geology, of statistics, of medicine, of chemistry? If it were that easy, then you could teach all scientific disciplines in an afternoon.

    I’m sorry that life isn’t as simple as you’d like it to be, but what you’re asking for isn’t the consensus definition. You want some single authority to speak for all of science, but there’s no Pope of Evolution. Science is complex and complicated, by its very nature.

  107. Authentic Christianity is not opposed to science. The Catholic and Orthodox Christians have set an example that these followers of post reformation mutations need to follow.

    Most Christians, regardless of any amount of idiots you encounter, are not opposed to science. Lumping Catholics or Orthodox Christians in with “Creationists” would be a mistake. Kenneth R. Miller (Renowned Catholic Biologist) fought for the side of education in the Dover trials. Don’t forget it!

    Google: apostolic apologetics false dilemma

  108. HoustonLaw

    @Mike
    From Websters

    5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena

  109. James

    ummmm the theory of evolution does have significant flaws. I’m not saying it does or doesn’t exist, but science in principle is based on proving and disproving hypotheses through observed and testable circumstances. With the time frame that evolution requires you cannot scientifically prove it. Yes there are observations that can be used to make educated inferences and assumptions about the progression of life, that may very well be true, but until we test it, it remains a THEORY. And when dealing with theory albeit intelligent design or evolution it is only fair to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each theory being taught.

  110. Arnold

    First I would like to say that if Religion were allowed to be taught in public schools, then I think that definately, the good and the bad should be taught to kids. That would show, how things can be distorted by humans in order to profit by some means. As for evolution, if it is “fact beyond a resonable doubt”, there should be no fear from evolutionist to having ALL aspects of it taught. I am by no means a “moonbat”, and as a matter of fact I myself used to challenge the Bible and all that I taught. I am 38 years old now, and a mechanical engineer. I have studied science, biology, chemistry, design and of course math. I also have studied what the Bible says, and I can say without a doubt, even based on just scientific evidence, that evolution in false. There are so many holes in the “theory” (not fact), that it actually requires MORE faith to believe in evolution, that it does to believe in a Devine Creator. Those of you who truly believe evolution is true, take the time to read and study BOTH sides of the issue, but not just from those who support evolution. That is what I did, and I realized that the more I learned, the less I knew.

  111. EvolutiNo

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip

    You said, “Do you really think that every scientific theory should be able to be summarized in a sentence or two before it is taught to students?”

    That wasn’t my claim.

    You said, “you seem so focused on evolution…”

    Evolution *is* the topic of this discussion, no?

    You said, “Can you give me a one sentence definition …”

    I’ve set no criteria for one sentence definitions.

    You said, “Science is complex and complicated, by its very nature.”

    I agree … But what about the actual issues I raised:

    If consensus on the notion of evolution is lacking, then how do we decide what to teach as authoritative?

    And shouldn’t this conversation have been underway in the mainstream long ago?

    And doesn’t this deficiency give others pause as we contemplate educational policy?

  112. CitizenT3

    @Mike

    a “scientific theory” and a “theory” as you have defined above are not the same thing. try again again.

    Hint: there is a “theory of gravity” too….

    sorry to burst the creationist bubble but the debate over the validity of evolution is long over. the SCIENTIFIC THEORY of evolution is supported by all aspect of modern science from geology, to genetics, to anatomy, to archiology, etc. Even the catholic church and the pope have stated that evolution is correct.

    There are no “flaws” in evolution and the “holes” are being answered and patched up everyday.

    When it all comes down to it though, I don’t think that people really mean it when they say they don’t believe in evolution.

    When you travel, do you get on a magic carpet or do you fly in a plane? Well you fly in a plane of course, YOU TRUST THE SCIENCE!

    When your kid is dying of disease, do you call up a medicine man, shaman, or priest or do you go see the best doctor there is and take the medicine which that doctor reccomends? Well you take your kid to the doctor of course, YOU TRUST THE SCIENCE.

    Well when the overwhelming majority of scientists, tell you that EVOLUTION is the most complete and accurate system we have for explaining the biological world around us and that this “SCIENTIFIC THEORY of EVOLUTION” is the basis of modern biology…

    what do you do…?

  113. EvolutiNo

    @wikiBuddha

    You said, “History holds that the founding fathers were Unitarian [...]”

    Consider the following text, which seems to invalidate your claim:

    The phrase “Founding Fathers” is a proper noun. It refers to a very specific group of people, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Yes, there were other important players, like Jefferson, whose thinking deeply influenced the shape of our nation and who were not in attendance, but the 55 Fathers make up the core.

    The denominational affiliation of these men is a matter of public record. Among the delegates were 28 Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 1 unknown and only 3 deists–Williamson, Wilson and Franklin, this at a time when church membership entailed a sworn public confession of biblical faith.(John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), p. 43.)

    This is a very revealing tally. It means that the members of the Constitutional Convention, the most influential group of men shaping the political foundations of our nation, were almost all Christians, 51 of 55–a full 93%. Indeed, most were Calvinists (the Presbyterians and the Dutch Reformed), considered by some to be the most extreme and dogmatic form of Christianity.

    See: http://tr.im/hRwA

    Now, to be clear, I wouldn’t characterize the U.S. as a “Christian Nation” (what does that really mean, after all?), but the founding fathers claim was a bit far afield.

  114. PHUQUE

    Gravity is just a theory.
    It cannot be currently explained on a quantum level
    and It cannot be explained why it is so weak relative to the other forces.
    So, I say we must teach alternative theories.
    Like, stupidity sucks.
    As the world population grows, so does the stupidity of the world.
    Thus the world will increasingly suck till it becomes a vast blackhole.
    This effect can obviously be seen on a smaller scale in Texas, as small towns are drawn into the deep dark suck of stupidy.

  115. TheBlackCat

    Evolutino, in biology evolution is the unifying framework through which all knowledge is organized. It may not necessarily lead to every discovery, it provides the framework through which individual discoveries can be interpreted, compared, and combined to create a coherent picture. We can collect data all we want in biology without evolution, but we can’t do anything useful with that data without evolution.

    Did Watson and Crick begin with “knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms and processes” and arrive at the double helix? No. Is the discovery of the double helix counted as one of the “advances in biology over the last 75 years”? I hope so.

    It might be interesting to read their original paper. I happen to have the paper handy, and one quote is particularly telling: “It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.” So the very first thing they did after getting the structure was to put it in a reproductive, and ultimately evolutionary, framework. Its implications to evolution were immediately clear to them and they made that known right away. That should highlight how important evolution is.

    RNA interference, hailed as one of the top scientific advances of recent years, was discovered by ‘Functional Genomics’ researchers examining nematodes — using the “DNA -> RNA -> protein” paradigm and brilliant strategies they happened upon a new discovery.

    And its role in evolution immediately took center stage in the discussion. Once again, evolution may not have led to the discovery, but it it provides the framework under which the discovery is integrated with the rest of our biological knowledge. For instance, the shared structure but differing roles of RNA interference between plants and animals only makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.

  116. TheBlackCat

    @ Mike:

    It’s, in lamens terms, an educated guess.

    Yes, but we aren’t using the layman’s term here, we are using scientific terms, which often have completely different definitions.

    According to Websters, on a ‘theory’ -

    6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : CONJECTURE

    When scientists talk about a theory, they are not using that definition, they are using the one immediately before it in Webster’s:

    5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena “the wave theory of light”

    I know you read this definition, since it comes before the one you cited. So why did you choose that definition over this one which is clearly marked as dealing with science and even has an example of it being used in this sense?

  117. I (heart) black cat.

  118. EvolutiNo

    @TheBlackCat

    You said, “the shared structure but differing roles of RNA interference between plants and animals only makes sense from an evolutionary perspective”

    Can you expand upon this? Specifically, why does (shared RNA structure) + (differing roles of RNA) “only make sense from an evolutionary perspective”?

  119. PHUQUE

    Evolution is a theory about both a general process and the history of all life and near life on earth.
    To say it needs a consensus on every detail of the fossil record or every detail of genetic code over the entirety of the history of life and near life on earth, is absurd. The general principals are supported by both inspite of minor interpetations of data. As more evidence is analyzed, the more we rule out wrong interpetations or find new questions to answer. All of which, still fit into the basic theory of the evolutionary process.

  120. TheBlackCat

    Both plants and animals have an RNA interference mechanism that uses the same proteins and same structure of the RNA component, presumably inherented from a protist common ancestor. However, plants use it as a form of immune system against viral RNA while animals using it for regulating their own RNA. So it is the same tool, same mechanism, but completely different functional roles within the two groups.

    Why would two organism have the exact same biochemical tool but use it for completely different purposes? The discovery on its own provides no insight into why this may be the case. However, if we look at it from an evolutionary standpoint then having a feature present in a common ancestor that then diverged to serve two different roles in two different lineages is an extremely common thing.

    That is the importance of the evolution, or any similar unifying theoretical framework in science. It may not be necessary to make the discoveries, but the discoveries cannot be related to each other or used to provide any sort of coherent picture without something like evolution.

    In this particular case, all we would know is that two different groups of organisms share the same feature but use it in different ways. There would be no way to understand why they might use the same things for different reasons, how these different purposes might have developed, why they would share the tool at all, or what sort of processes might have led to the differences.

    In the end, without evolution, biology would just be a collection of raw data with no way to make any sense of it all.

  121. EvolutiNo

    @TheBlackCat

    I appreciate your reasoned, measured response. Thank You.

    I completely agree with your perspective, given the following caveat:

    If the realm of explanations are limited to metaphysical naturalism (e.g., God cannot be invoked), then without a doubt, evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life we observe.

    A couple questions:

    First, given what we understand about the variety of life forms present prior to the Cambrian explosion ~500M years ago, and given the diversity of life we see today, is it your sense that genetic mutation rates are sufficient to explain the diversity of life we now see? Asked slightly differently, is it your sense that 500M years is enough time for natural selection with undirected mutation to create the diversity of life we now see?

    Second, given the host of intermediate (transitional) forms predicted by evolutionary theory, do you intuitively expect more evidence for transitional fossils should be present than have been found? If no, why not? Stated another way, what is your answer to the, “Where are all the transitional forms” question?

    Finally, do you think that metaphysical naturalism is the best explanation for the universe we inhabit? Why or why not?

    Thanks! :)

  122. EvolutiNo

    @PHUQUE

    You said, “As more evidence is analyzed, the more we rule out wrong interpretations …”

    Can you highlight the current ‘correct’ interpretations w.r.t. evolution?

  123. Ladymongoose

    “Matt Tarditti Says:
    March 26th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    The other solution is to teach CRITICAL THINKING at the appropriate age (middle school?) so that the student will be armed with the tools necessary to filter information for themselves. I have a serious problem with devoting so much time to deciding what and what not to teach a child. ”

    Well, let’s see….one ‘theory’ is based on actual science and rational thinking…the other mind-blathering nonsense is based on Bible-thumping, fear-mongering….I’ll stick with science, thanks.

  124. Ian

    This begs the question, when will Evolution be changed from a theory to a law?

  125. LazyLoader

    I’m happy with the outcome, really. But I’m also having a hard time
    sharing the passion about this issue. Let’s say it went FAR the other
    way and tommorrow we started teaching “young earth” creationism as an
    alternative theory. Do you honestly think we’d start turning out
    glassy-eyed zombies incapable of critical thinking? I’d wager no more
    so than we already do.

    Kids smart enough to actually become useful scientists will figure
    this out on their own, regardless of what they’ve been taught. Those
    that don’t? Well, they’ll never be taken seriously so who cares?
    Academics are not under the government thumb and they tend to be
    rather brutal with fools. Science will be fine.

    I concede though that the real danger is public opinion. You know, all
    those “smart American people” that I keep hearing about from
    politicians and talk show pundits. The ones that vote on things like
    stem cell research funding. In sufficient numbers they can certainly
    impede the rate of progress in some sciences, and that’s a bad thing.
    But I can’t make the leap from teaching “strengths and weaknesses”
    to the dystopian hell so many think will inevitably follow.

    Sure, I wish we didn’t have to waste time on this nonsense. But so
    much in life is cyclical. I often hear we’re “drifting to the right”.
    Compared to what? 1859? 1950? 1969? Idiots come and go. Money
    tends to win. Scientific advances make money. Do the math.

    Oh and I agree with Matt Tarditti: TEACH CRITICAL THINKING.

    And I thought Daniel J. Andrews’ post was brilliant.

    Think happy thoughts!

  126. Felix

    I’m sorry to interrupt your discussion, but what I read here is just beyond me. How can you be that stupid? How can … WTF????

  127. PHUQUE

    Per http://www.merriam-webster.com
    Metaphysics definition

    “1 a (1): a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology (2): ontology 2 b: abstract philosophical studies : a study of what is outside objective experience”

    One person is having a scientific debate the other a philosophical debate.
    You can believe what you want, regardless of evidence or lack thereof.
    Science can’t do that, by it’s definition.
    Nothing metaphysical about it.

  128. Ladymongoose

    “1) Creationism SHOULD be taught in schools. It is a belief firmly rooted in not only religion but also history. For THOUSANDS of years, people believed (and some still do) that God created the universe 6000 years ago. You shouldn’t just dismiss a theory because it’s incorrect.”

    Creationism is religion…PERIOD. It has NO PLACE in our public schools as a valid means of defining the reasons behind life. Want to credit God with making everything? Then why not have classes that teach that Hilter was literally the Anti-Christ or the economic downturn is because God is in a pissy mood. Teach it in private schools if you want, but I do not want to see this garbage in a school that my tax dollars help fund.

    If you want to teach Creationism as a separate view in terms of simple, historical value then fine. It can be taught alongside any other religion in a historical theology-based class. It should not be taught as an actual possible reason behind life itself in public schools.

  129. Tom

    Every time a extreme christian tells me I am gifted and I am gods good creation I ask “So are the people in poor nations like Africa… cursed?” I never asked to be gifted but since I am I enjoy my gifts but I also try to help others.

    What do they do walk around spamming around their religion and talking about the “gifts” their god gives but never mention gift-less people and when you ask about it they just say god works in mysterious ways because that instantly cloaks the giftless people.

  130. EvolutiNo

    @PHUQUE

    You said, “Gravity is just a theory …”

    While Gravity and Evolution share similar features as theories, there are significant differences that limit the utility of the comparison.

    With Gravity, unlike Evolution, we can obtain repeatable measurements that consistently demonstrate the effects that the force of gravity on exerts on matter, confirming that F = (GMm) / r^2.

    We cannot, in the same fashion, obtain repeatable measurements of natural selection with undirected mutation (NS + UM) that demonstrates macroevolution. (e.g., I can’t repeatedly apply NS + UM to a species with a given gene frequency and create a new, distinct, isolated species with differing gene frequency to prove the theory of evolution.)

    So in that sense, Evolution may share more features with Archeology and History than with other Physical sciences.

    Do you agree?

  131. hannah

    it breaks my heart to see so many people lost.
    look around you.
    hasnt your breath ever been taken away by a beautiful view or a newborn baby?
    if there wasnt a Creator, God, up in heaven, do you think things would be beautiful?
    There are records of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, and do you think an innocent man would give up his life willingly?
    there are so many hundreds of thousands of species of animals and billions of different characteristics in people of the world today, that doesnt just happen.
    in the Bible it says that the rocks will cry out to God if there is nobody left to praise him. I hope one day the rocks will cry out not because there is nobody left to praise our Creator, but because maybe then people will have the proof that they need so badly.
    you cannot see the wind, but you can see evidence of the wind when the leaves on trees are moved.
    you cannot see God, but you see evidence of him all around you every single day of your life. The beauty and glory of our Lord shines in a simple laugh to a heart being changed.
    I believe that one day, my savior Jesus Christ is going to come back with trumpets and angels declaring him worthy of all of our glory and those of you who didnt believe will fall to your knees in awe of what you have been missing.
    as to those 7 on the board, just know there are people in Texas, in the US, and all over the world supporting you.

  132. EvolutiNo

    @PHUQUE

    You said, “One person is having a scientific debate the other a philosophical debate.”

    I think that may be a false dichotomy.

    Would you characterize science as a philosophical pursuit? If not, what would you characterize it as?

    You said, “Science can’t do that, by it’s definition.”

    Not following you — Science can’t do what?

    One thing for certain Science can’t do is prove that the Scientific method is true. Do you agree?

  133. TheBlackCat

    First, given what we understand about the variety of life forms present prior to the Cambrian explosion ~500M years ago, and given the diversity of life we see today, is it your sense that genetic mutation rates are sufficient to explain the diversity of life we now see? Asked slightly differently, is it your sense that 500M years is enough time for natural selection with undirected mutation to create the diversity of life we now see?

    Yes. Changes in regulatory regions can have profound changes on the structure of an organism. Experiments with Hox genes in insects, for instance, show how small changes can have profound impacts on the overall structure of an organism.

    Second, given the host of intermediate (transitional) forms predicted by evolutionary theory, do you intuitively expect more evidence for transitional fossils should be present than have been found? If no, why not? Stated another way, what is your answer to the, “Where are all the transitional forms” question?

    No I would not. In fact, considering how rare fossilization is, how briefly many species exist, how geographically narrow the range of many creatures is, hos unlikely it is for fossils to survive once they are formed, how unlikely it is for fossils to be forced back to the surface where we can find them, how briefly they remain at or near the surface before being destroyed, how little of the Earth’s surface is actually a plausible place to find fossils, and how little of such areas we have searched, I am amazed at just how complete the fossil record is, as well as how thorough the history of transitional forms are. We have fairly complete transitional lineages for most major groups of animals below the phylum level, and we are now filling in the history of the earliest development of the phyla as well.

    So to summarize: intuitively I would expect a much worse fossil record than we find, and much fewer transitional fossils.

    Finally, do you think that metaphysical naturalism is the best explanation for the universe we inhabit? Why or why not?

    I will answer this question if you can give a reasonable answer to one question for me: why are you asking this question? More specifically, what does it add to the discussion at hand?

    Before you say that it highlights my biases, I should point out that my opinion on that issue (and thus any biases I might have) has changed substantially over the last 5 years, while my opinions on evolution have stayed constant over the same time frame (longer, actually).

  134. Phil G

    How about this? Why doesn’t the Texas school board consider changing the history standards? Include lessons about all the wars and deaths caused by religious hatred and dogma. Or include all the foolish beliefs religions used to have, only to change them in the face of new scientific discoveries. Or maybe lessons about how we are all atheists in one way or another (if you believe in Christ — the son of god –, you don’t believe in Allah — the one and only god). Or maybe…

  135. Ladymongoose

    @Hannah… thankfully, there really aren’t that many people routing for those wacky board members in Texas. Your human-written bible also condones rape, murder and slavery. Continue to believe in your delusion that your savior will come down to earth with trumpets, blah blah blah. .

  136. Phil and others,

    There were several bad, creationist-motovated amendments made to both the biology and earth and space science standards, so today was not a clear victory by any measure. They may have closed the door on “strengths and weaknesses”, but threw open the windows by allowing amendments that speak specifically to denialism of common descent and irreducible complexity.

    This was a preliminary vote, so keep your eyes on what happens Friday…this is the real battle.

  137. CitizenT3

    TheBlackCat wins at the interwebs

  138. Yojimbo

    @EvolutiNo Says:

    “While Gravity and Evolution share similar features as theories, there are significant differences that limit the utility of the comparison.

    With Gravity, unlike Evolution, we can obtain repeatable measurements that consistently demonstrate the effects that the force of gravity on exerts on matter, confirming that F = (GMm) / r^2.”

    Unfortunately, you confuse the theory of gravity with the law of gravity. Different animals.

  139. PHUQUE

    I roll the dice of probability. I get a 5. Roll again I get a 4. I do this enough times I get a pattern that will let me deterime the number of sides on the dice and the number of dice being rolled. Get’s more complicated if each dice has a different number of sides and some of the numbers are negative or zero. Add to this that not all of these various dice are rolled every time. Add to this from time to time a dice is added or subtracted from the pool of dice that could be rolled. Do this for a few billion years. And we get a very complex system which still has various patterns that can be discerned.
    Now hide or throw out random data. It becomes a lot harder to discern these patterns. But we now numbers have been rolled, and apparently are still being rolled.
    But we have no way of knowing whether some one is cheating with the dice. Or if anyone is consciously choosing different dice. Or if anyone is doing the actual rolling of these dice. Why? Because there isn’t any evidence to suggest it. So, you can believe someone is. Or something is. Or a bunch of somethings, or whatever. But you’re choosing to believe something rather than deducing it from the physical evidence that’s there. Just saying some one could be playing with the dice, doesn’t make it so. Nor does it make it a valid scientific theory.
    You keep throwing loaded arguments that might be fine in a philosophical or religious debate, but not in a scientific one.

    Here’s a difference in interpetations. The 4 wing dinosaur. 2 groups of scientist have differing opinions on how it physically looked and flew/glided. Which one is right? We don’t know if either of them are entirely correct, if at all. We need more data on that one. But they’ve both made plausible interpetations of the data available. Will anyone ever figure out how exactly this animal looked and flew or glided? Who knows. Is it an ancestor of modern birds or a dead end. Don’t know. Need more data. You can believe it was or wasn’t, but not enough evidence to tell, scientifically either way.

    Sorry, responding would be either, but I’m at work and being interrupted by the big suck. A lot of it from Texas, Florida, and oddly, Connecticut.
    We may have less time than I predicted.

  140. EvolutiNo

    @TheBlackCat

    You said, “I will answer this question if you can give a reasonable answer to one question for me: why are you asking this question? More specifically, what does it add to the discussion at hand?”

    I would ever say it “highlights biases” — but one’s perspective on this matter helps inform the conversation. I think we are engaged in fair conversation and I truly appreciate your responses. My sense is that as humans it is impossible for us not to bring “biases”or “perspectives” into the conversation, and its important to understand those perspectives in meaningful dialogue.

    I’m happy to share that my personal perspective is that metaphysical naturalism fails to explain observable features of our universe. So while one’s position w.r.t. metaphysical naturalism suggests a leaning toward a particular end of a philosophical spectrum, it’s unfair to use that information in a pejorative fashion.

    While there are many who do not hold to metaphysical naturalism (supernaturalists) who conclude evolution is true (theistic evolutionists), it seems that if one holds to strict metaphysical naturalism, then the best (only?) logical explanation for the diversity of life on earth is Evolution. And concluding evolution true often (implicitly or explicitly) leads one to make other conclusions about the nature of the world. Thus, I think one’s position w.r.t. metaphysical naturalism helps inform the conversation.

  141. CitizenT3

    @hannah

    stop trolling please. no one is that retarded. at least the romans and greeks had enough creativity to give nature more than one name. stop me if im wrong, zeus did the lightning, posidon was the ocean, apollo was the sun……

    @EvolutiNo

    you can stop trolling also please. especially after accusing proponents of evolution of false dichotomy…..

    In a false dichotomy (also called a false dilemma, either or, black or white, the missing middle) you are presented with two choices, when in fact there are more than two choices. If one choice is discredited, then the reader is forced to accept the other choice. But this is not an adequate argument, the choice favored must be supported by evidence.

    EXAMPLE: “Evolution science is in disarray, so ‘creation science’ must be right.”

  142. EvolutiNo

    @Yojimbo

    You said, “Unfortunately, you confuse the theory of gravity with the law of gravity. Different animals.”

    Agree with your assessment.

    However, if you follow the trail, I was responding to @PHUQUE’s post, which posited that both evolution and gravity are theories.

    This seems to be an oft-used canard in Evolution discussions. So while the less satisfying “one’s a theory, one’s a law” response could’ve been thrown out, my response was (perhaps unsuccessfully) intended to highlight how the use of gravity as a theory doesn’t really cash out.

  143. TheBlackCat

    @ EvolutiNo: So, in other words, you were trying to set me up for an ad hominem fallacy. I figured as much.

    In a scientific discussion such as this the arguments and evidence should be what decide things. Trying to attack someone’s philosophical opinions has nothing at all to do with whether the evidence and arguments that person uses are valid or not. So please stick to the arguments and evidence.

  144. EvolutiNo

    @CitizenT3

    Thanks for pointing out the false dichotomy flub — I definitely used the wrong term :P

    Can you help me understand how I’m trolling? I’m actually learning quite a bit and I think at least some of the folks here are willing to engage the other side in the marketplace of ideas in a meaningful fashion. I certainly am :)

  145. TheBlackCat

    However, if you follow the trail, I was responding to @PHUQUE’s post, which posited that both evolution and gravity are theories.

    There is a theory of gravity, a theory formulated to explain the law of gravity. But it is much, much weaker than the theory of evolution.

  146. CitizenT3

    @EvolutiNo

    so what your saying is…

    it is your opinion that because “metaphysical naturalism fails to explain observable features of our universe”…

    you would rather essentially bury your head in the sand, plug ear ears with your fingers shouting GOD DID IT! ITS SCARY AND STRANGE TO ME AND I DONT UNDERSTAND, GOD MUST BE BEHIND IT !!!!

    than actively investigate the matter and try to solve the problem…

    I am so glad we don’t rely on people like you to advance the human race. We’d still be stuck in the dark age if we even got that far at all.

  147. EvolutiNo

    @TheBlackCat

    You said, “So, in other words, you were trying to set me up for an ad hominem fallacy”

    No — ad hominem is unfair and unproductive and I tried to make that clear in my previous post. Apologies if I didn’t make it clear. I hope my discourse reflects appropriate tenor.

    Do you agree with the claim that if metaphysical naturalism is one’s world view then supernatural explanations are excluded apriori? (this is not intended to set up an attack)

  148. EvolutiNo

    @CitizenT3

    You said, “it is your opinion that because “metaphysical naturalism fails to explain observable features of our universe”… you would rather essentially bury your head in the sand, plug ear ears with your fingers shouting GOD DID IT! ITS SCARY AND STRANGE TO ME AND I DONT UNDERSTAND, GOD MUST BE BEHIND IT !!!!”

    The former premise in no way leads to the latter conclusion. The latter does not follow from the former.

  149. TheBlackCat

    No — ad hominem is unfair and unproductive and I tried to make that clear in my previous post. Apologies if I didn’t make it clear. I hope my discourse reflects appropriate tenor.

    No, what you are describing is exactly an ad hominem attack. You are attempting to discredit my position based on my philosophical opinions rather than addressing the evidence I presented or the arguments I based on that evidence. My philosophical position has absolutely nothing to do with whether my arguments or my evidence is valid. It is totally and completely irrelevant. For all you know I could believe the universe doesn’t even exist, that doesn’t make the arguments or evidence I presented wrong.

    Do you agree with the claim that if metaphysical naturalism is one’s world view then supernatural explanations are excluded apriori? (this is not intended to set up an attack)

    I am not having this discussion. I will ask you one more time: stick to the arguments and evidence. I will not respond to any further attempts by you to drag me into an irrelevant philosophical debate.

  150. Skyh

    But.. evolution is a theory.. is it okay that it be taught as a theory, rather than fact? I’m all for science, and there’s a pretty valid distinction, although there is a strong argument for evolution anyways.

  151. CitizenT3

    @EvolutiNO

    Sorry for attacking you if you are indeed no trolling and instead actually taking something away from this discussion.

    You might have inadvertently caught some of my irritation directed at another poster.

  152. EvolutiNo

    @TheBlackCat

    Completely respect your right to not answer. Just FYI … in full transparency — I’m not trying to set you up — I am genuinely interested in hearing the reasons why you you believe the way you do w.r.t. your position on metaphysical naturalism (which I don’t presume to be one way or the other). As I alluded to before, I have (what I believe to be) measured, rational, logical reasons for not being a metaphysical naturalist and I recognize how that conclusion influences the way I view the world. And I imagine your position (which I suspect is equally measured and reasonable) influences the way you view the world.

    Will end the thread here.

  153. CitizenT3

    @EvolutiNo

    I would like to hear your “measured, rational, logical reasons for not being a metaphysical naturalist” and that was exactly what I intended in my previous post, which you took offense to.

  154. PHUQUE

    Re-itterating.
    Science is a methodology.
    Religion is a faith.
    One says you can’t be valid argument unless you can use evidence to disprove me.
    The other says you can’t disprove me therefore I must exist.

    As for the diversity of life on earth.
    Time and money. Given enough time and biological currency, anything is possible. Now that’s not a scientific argument.
    A scientific argument would be. Do you have a better explaination that more simply explains the evidence than the current theory does?
    Can you say that this level of diversity cannot be obtained without a guiding hand? If so, prove it. Where is your evidence? You got the same evidence for ID as we have for evolution. But your theory requires a leap of faith that someone is guiding this evolution. Or simply that, “POOF”, it was created. Where is your evidence of that? The simplest, plausible, logical, undisproved(so far) explaination is the general theory of evolution. The evidence says the world is billions of years old. The evidence says life some how arouse billions of years ago. How? Don’t know. You can believe something said, “Let there be life”, but you got no proof. It would be a belief, in this case, a religious one. Not a provable or disprovable theory or hypothesis. It’s just what you believe.
    You can play word games and throw out logical errors and fallacies all you want. Your belief requires a leap of faith. Evolutionary theory requires
    you simply to accept there is no other explaination for the fossil record, for genetic variation, the observed adapted changes of species to altered environments or isolation, or to the diversity of life that is as simple, logical, reasonable, and so far, undisproved.
    Maybe we can bring back acquired characteristics.
    That was a rival theory. It was disproved.
    ID not even a theory. It’s a belief.
    It requires you to accept a divine power that you have no evidence of. And no, the complexity of the eye is not evidence. They have shown various intermidiate forms for eyes of various types. Even if they hadn’t, it still wouldn’t have disproved random mutation giving rise to eyes. It just BS.

  155. EvolutiNo

    @CitizenT3

    The edges may be rough, but here goes.

    Keep in mind my claim is that the reasons are measured, rational and logical. We may debate the veracity of the premises, but if the premises are true then the conclusion follows, and thus is logical.

    If, as Carl Sagan (love his books, got to meet him at JPL a few decade ago) says, “The cosmos is all there is was, or ever will be”, then the cosmos is infinitely old. If the cosmos is infinitely old we never would have arrived at this time. Therefore the cosmos is not infinitely old. Therefore the cosmos had a beginning.

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause. Causes are separate and distinct from there effects. The universe began to exist. Therefore the universe had a cause, and this cause was separate and distinct from universe. Anything separate and distinct from the natural universe is, by definition, supernatural. Therefore, the universe had a supernatural cause.

    Whew!

    Will stop there for now.

  156. CitizenT3

    @EvolutiNo

    and how does that in turn relate to evolution….

  157. PHUQUE

    ad hominem – again
    Plus a philosophical argument.
    We do not know what was before the beginning of the universe.
    Someone had/has a theory that what was before could be discerned from the imprint it left on this universe.
    If he hadn’t left I would admit that I believe in God simply to the fact that we exist. Might as well be. But that’s a belief not a scientific theory.
    It is plausible that the hand of God is so pervasive and so intwined into existance that it’s effects are indiscernable from the natural probability we see in the universe.
    But then again, maybe not. No proof. Nothing even to suggest that could be true. So, not valid in a science class.

  158. EvolutiNo

    @CitizenT3

    The potential existence of supernatural cause logically permits one to include supernatural causes as an additinal item in the apriori menu of possible explanations for the diversity of life we observe.

    Please don’t conclude I am claiming that evolution doesn’t occur (mutating replicators and all that). My claim is that supernatural causes may contribute.

  159. EvolutiNo

    @PHUQUE

    You said, “ad hominem – again”

    Can you say what component of my argument was ad hominem?

    You said, “Plus a philosophical argument”

    Not sure what your point here is. Aren’t all arguments ‘philosophical’ in that they adhere to some philosophical system? So in a sense isn’t ‘philosophical’ a redundant term in the phrase ‘philosophical argument’?

  160. CitizenT3

    @EvolutiNo

    Evolution is not inherently atheistic, the theory describes nothing regarding the existence of god, it is a scientific theory confining itself to prediction and observation of the natural world.

    So what part of evolutionary theory do you have a problem with?

  161. EvolutiNo

    I’m not convinced 500M years is sufficient time for natural selection plus undirected mutation to explain the diversity of life we see. The problem with that challenge is, it’s nearly impossible to prove either way, so it’s left one’s inclinations.

    If we humans lived 100,000 years, we may be able to watch the evolution experiment play out conclusively — unfortunately our lives are too short to necessarily have conclusive data to make a fully informed decision w.r.t. evolution.

    So we each must perform our own internal “Expectation Maximization” calculation — that is, which explanation (in this case, the explanation for the diversity of life and the fossil record) is the most likely, given the evidence at hand?

    And while the supernatural may open additional explanatory options, it *does not* preclude using the scientific method.

    Do organisms change over time? (“Evolve”?) Absolutely. The question is, what degree of variation does evolution produce and is it enough to explain what we observe? Are there other mechanism that may explain diversity?

    These should be permissible questions to ask. It just seems that anyone who wants to have an reasoned exploration of both sides is shut down if we happen to explore the “off-limits” areas.

  162. PHUQUE

    Regardless of all the logic in between.
    Your argument was essentially if not natural it’s supernatural
    We don’t know what was before the universe.
    God, not God, something else? Don’t know.
    Quantum physics makes reality a little fuzzy when it comes to exist or not exist. Or most other things as well.
    Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t make it unatural, supernatural, or something else. How do you define supernatural?
    Maybe supernatural is simply a euphamism for I Don’t Know.

  163. PHUQUE

    The question of how much organisms change over time is essentially answered.
    We have a level of biodiversity that we obtained over the course of life on the planet with several mass extinction events periodically thrown in.
    To that degree of variation.

    CSI:ID
    Well, what time of death shall we put on this victim?
    Well, 10pm as good a time as any.

  164. EvolutiNo

    @PHUQUE

    You said, “We have a level of biodiversity that we obtained over the course of life on the planet with several mass extinction events periodically thrown in.”

    That may be circular reasoning. My question was, is natural selection plus undirected mutation sufficient to explain life’s diversity.

    Your response seems to assume that all variation is due to natural selection plus undirected mutation, which assumes the answer to the question.

    Time to sleep! :)

    Thanks you all for the conversation — it truly was meaningful and enjoyable!

  165. PHUQUE

    Sorry, if sounding flippant, but your arguments are not scientific.
    If we don’t know this, then any belief will do.
    That’s philosophy and religion, not science.
    You have to have a rational explaination of your hypothesis based on observable evidence.
    You can’t simply say, It doesn’t explain this, so I believe that. It’s not designed to. There is no set increment or timetable for change. Mutations may occur at an average rate over time in a certain set of conditions. But this rate would vary for environment and complexity and make up of the DNA. Throw in mass extinctions and other more localized enviromental upheavals, then it is what it is. Things will expand their diversity to fill in whatever niches they are able to expand into.
    How do we know? Because they did. You can believe some guiding hand put them into their niches, but that’s not science.
    You can make great philosophical arguments about your beliefs, but if you can’t supported it with physical evidence, that’s all it will ever be.

  166. PHUQUE

    “You said, “We have a level of biodiversity that we obtained over the course of life on the planet with several mass extinction events periodically thrown in.”

    That may be circular reasoning. My question was, is natural selection plus undirected mutation sufficient to explain life’s diversity.

    Your response seems to assume that all variation is due to natural selection plus undirected mutation, which assumes the answer to the question.”

    Is it enough to explain it. YES.
    The fact is life expanded to the diversity that it did.
    What’s the most simple ration explaination for this.
    Apparently, some supreme being blasted f@rts out his ass till life fit the niches. No? Well, maybe things mutated and evolve to fit those niches?
    That’s the theory. The one designed to best explained what apparently, as indicated by the fossil record, studies of genetics, chemistry, physics and all other sciences, happened.

    CSI:ID
    Multiple stab wounds. Knife sticking out of the body with bloody fingerprints on the handle. Man covered in blood. Fingerprints match the ones on the knife.
    But does that explain how the knife got from his hands into the guys back.
    Must be something supernatural guiding the knife or something.

  167. aaron

    I often wonder if the home schooling demographic will switch from religious folks trying to insure their kids get taught “bible safe science” as they believe, to families that have to teach their kids real science at home since the schools only teach “bible safe science”.

  168. Truthurts

    THE FOSSIL RECORD

    Evolutionists have constructed the Geologic Column in order to illustrate the supposed progression of “primitive” life forms to “more complex” systems we observe today. Yet, “since only a small percentage of the earth’s surface obeys even a portion of the geologic column…the claim of their having taken place to form a continuum of rock/life/time…over the earth is therefore a fantastic and imaginative contrivance.”(1) “The lack of transitional series cannot be explained as being due to the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled.” (2) This supposed column is actually saturated with “polystrate fossils” (fossils extending from one geologic layer to another) that tie all the layers to one time-frame. “To the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation.” (3)

    1. John Woodmorappe, “The Essential Non-Existence of the Evolutionary Uniformitarian Geologic Column.

    2. H. Heribert Nilsson, as quoted in Arthur C. Custance, THE EARTH BEFORE MAN, Part II

    3. E.J.H. Corner, CONTEMPORARY BOTANICAL THOUGHT

    DECAY OF EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD

    Dr. Thomas Barnes, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at El Paso, has published the definitive work in this field. (4) Scientific observations since 1829 have shown that the earth’s magnetic field has been measurably decaying at an exponential rate, demonstrating its half-life to be approximately 1400 years. In practical application its strength 20,000 years ago would approximate that of a magnetic star. Under those conditions many of the atoms necessary for life processes could not form. These data demonstrate that earth’s entire history is young, within a few thousand years.

    4. Thomas Barnes, ICR Technical Monograph #4, ORIGIN AND DESTINY OF THE EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD.

    THE GLOBAL FLOOD

    The Biblical record clearly describes a global Flood during Noah’s day. Additionally, there are hundreds of flood traditions handed down through cultures all over the world. (5) M.E. Clark and Henry Voss have demonstrated the scientific validity of such a Flood providing the sedimentary layering we see on every continent. (6) Secular scholars report very rapid sedimentation and periods of great carbonate deposition in earth’s sedimentary layers. (7) It is now possible to prove the historical reality of the Biblical Flood. (8)

    5. Edward Blick, A SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS OF GENESIS; p. 103

    6. M.E. Clark and H.D. Voss, FLUID MECHANIC EXAMINATION OF THE TIAL MECHANISM FOR PRODUCING MEGA-SEDIMANTARY LAYERING.

    7. Derek Ager, THE NATURE OF THE STRATIGRAPHICAL RECORD, p. 43 and p 86

    8. John Anthony West, SERPENT IN THE SKY: THE HIGH WISDOM OF ANCIENT EGYPT, pp 13-14

    RADIO HALOS

    Physicist Robert Gentry has reported isolated radio halos of plonium-214 in crystalline granite. The half-life of this element is 0.000164 seconds! To record the existence of this element in such short time span, the granite must be in crystalline state instantaneously. (10) This runs counter to evolutionary estimates of 300 million years for granite to form.

    (10) Robert Gentry –CREATIONN’S TINY MYSTERY)

    HUMAN ARTIFACTS THROUGHOUT THE GEOLOGIC COLUMN

    Man-made artifacts – such as the hammer in Cretaceous rock, a human sandal print with trilobite in Cambrian rock, human footprints and a handprint in Cretaceous rock – point to the fact that all the supposed geologic periods actually occurred at the same time in the recent past. (11)

    (11) Carl Baugh, Ph D –WHY DO MEN BELIEVE EVOLUTION … AGAINST ALL ODDS?

  169. themos

    I think Reader above is quite correct. If we applied the strict test of never teaching falsified theories we would have to teach kids Einstein gravity and quantum electrodynamics instead of Newtonian mechanics and simple 19th century electromagnetism.

    The point about ID “theories” is that there’s not much science to teach about them because there aren’t any constraints on the IDer.

    I vote for “strengths and weaknesses” of theories to be discussed in the classroom. We should be telling kids that many very clever people used to believe all kinds of crazy stuff in the past and there is a process by which minds are changed.

  170. Hold on a min…
    “the fact of evolution” and “shown to be fact beyond reasonable doubt” …

    So exactly what kind of evolution are we talking about here? The one were the schools teach us that a long, long time ago, we came from some type of primordial soup, crawled out onto land, morphed into monkeys, and then magically changed into man?
    So your version of evolution has actually been proven? Wow man must have come along way to all of a sudden reproduced those same variables in a lab (a controlled environment) and now we even have proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” to show all of us nay-sayers!

    OK I will end the sarcasm here, but seriously, I am neither for nor against such teachings. I do believe that Evolution (as i was taught in school) does indeed help mankind in scientific advancements and understanding. HOWEVER … I also see the flaws of the THEORY of evolution. (I capped the word theory because, it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt – at least not yet…) And as there are such obvious flaws, I believe that we should, in good scientific consciousness, teach “both sides of the coin” as it were. It is wrong to just say that only one side of this argument is correct when neither side can be proven (or dis-proven – as of yet). If someone “believes” evolution to be true (and by evolution i mean the whole primordial soup to man theory) then that belief, without such undoubted proof, is nothing more than another religion, and as such, we should either teach booth – religions, or non. After all that would be the fair, scientific way to do things. At least until someone proves (beyond doubt) one or both of the theorys of creation, or comes up with another, more believable and viable theory.

  171. When did the theory of Evolution be promoted to fact? I mean it’s a FACT that the THEORY exists but other than that it’s just a logical argument that fits the facts as we know them – more or less- but we have not PROVED it to be true… we didn’t prove that giraffes started out as regular deer-type animals likes Zebras and Horses that randomly got longer and longer necks over the years… We didn’t prove that humans evolved from anything (on this planet) and we didn’t prove any macroscopic living species has ever evolved from an earlier one… We see things mutate, but mutations aren’t always evolution.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d bet evolution is a big part of the final answer but to assume we know the final answer is to be as ignorant as those in 16th century Europe who were SURE the Sun revolved around the Earth.

  172. TheBlackCat

    If the cosmos is infinitely old we never would have arrived at this time.

    Why?

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    Why? Actually, we know this is not the case, google “virtual particles”.

    Causes are separate and distinct from there effects.
    Why?

  173. TheBlackCat

    Also, your argument is inherently self-defeating because it applies equally well to whatever supernatural force created the universe, thus creating an infinite regress. What created the creator?

  174. TheBlackCat

    that a long, long time ago, we came from some type of primordial soup, crawled out onto land, morphed into monkeys, and then magically changed into man?

    No, we are talking about the actual scientific theory of evolution, not the creationist straw-man like this one used by people who don’t want to deal with the reliable-heavily tested and extremely robust theory that scientists have actually accepted.

  175. We still need support from Texans, in the form of e-mails, to save the standards:
    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/texas-science-under-siege-help-if-you-can/

  176. Robert Carnegie

    If “the cosmos” means “everything that has ever been or ever will be”, it doesn’t follow that it’s infinitely old. Maybe time did not exist before the Big Bang, and as there’s an “absolute zero” of temperature, there’s an absolute zero of time.

    Or imagine a time machine going back in time to osbserve the Big Bang – what if it is like flying a plane over the South Pole, and you find that from going south you end up going north without turning around – if you see what I mean. There is an ultimate south point and nothing is south from there. So maybe there is an ultimate “backwards in time” point. But this is only a suggestion by means of a metaphor.

    But “cosmos” or “universe” strictly should include really everything that exists, which is not necessarily only the space and time that we can see. However, I think galaxies were called “universes” at first when astronomers had got the idea of what they were – “island universes”.

    And a colleague of mine creates “universes” – these are merely a kind of self-contained, self-referring database for statistical use. I don’t think I’ve had the argument with him about the word.

  177. TheBlackCat

    Let me try being more explicit about why the Evolutiono’s argument is self-defeating:

    If the cosmos is infinitely old we never would have arrived at this time. Therefore the cosmos is not infinitely old. Therefore the cosmos had a beginning.

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause. Causes are separate and distinct from there effects. The universe began to exist. Therefore the universe had a cause, and this cause was separate and distinct from universe. Anything separate and distinct from the natural universe is, by definition, supernatural. Therefore, the universe had a supernatural cause.

    If the supernatural cause is infinitely old it never would have arrived at this time. Therefore the supernatural cause is not infinitely old. Therefore the supernatural cause had a beginning.

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause. Causes are separate and distinct from there effects. The supernatural cause began to exist. Therefore the supernatural cause had a cause, and this cause was separate and distinct from the supernatural cause. Anything separate and distinct from the supernatural cause is, by definition, super-supernatural. Therefore, the supernatural cause had a super-supernatural cause.

    This leads to an infinite regress, since this same chain of argument applies to the super-supernatural cause, and its cause, and so on. But there is more:

    If the regress is infinite it never would have arrived at this cycle. Therefore the regress is not infinite. But it must be infinite, based on the above argument. Any attempt to posit a creator of the regress simply deflects the course of the regress, since it is still subject to this argument. It still leads to a supposedly impossible infinite regress. Therefore, based on your argument we must necessarily conclude that the regress must be infinite but at the same time conclude that it cannot possible be infinite. Any argument that leads to mutually exclusive conclusions must be wrong.

  178. themos

    BlackCat, arguments like that were used by the old Greek philosophers and they can produce utter rubbish.

    “If the cosmos is infinitely old we never would have arrived at this time. ” – I disagree.

    “Everything that begins to exist has a cause. ” – I disagree.

    The one pitfall I see in arguing about evolution is this: if we are products of evolution (as I think we are), our reasoning is as reliable as a cat’s. So we should always take our reasoning with a pinch of salt and have some humility. Our reason evolved to help us compete with other species and each other, not to understand the universe. It’s weird that we understand as much as we do (or maybe don’t), in fact.

  179. science

    Endless topic. Just a message to creacionists: you had your time during the medieval age, and you screwed it bad, don’t bring that again pls. Now let science keep things getting better and everything will be fine. Remember, it is because of science you are allowed to come here and post, so take you lil bible book home and keep it there.

  180. TheBlackCat

    <blockquote.BlackCat, arguments like that were used by the old Greek philosophers and they can produce utter rubbish.
    Yes, I know. That was my point. I may not have made this clear, but the first two paragraphs of the argument are copied verbatim from any earlier post Evolutino. The third and fourth paragraph applies his same argument to the creator he posited as the conclusion of his argument. The sixth paragraph then applies his argument to the infinite regress this results in. I was just showing how applying his own argument ultimately leads to a self-contradictory result. I already stated a few posts before that one that none of his premises are substantiated, and one is actually known to be false.

    The one pitfall I see in arguing about evolution is this: if we are products of evolution (as I think we are), our reasoning is as reliable as a cat’s.

    I disagree.

  181. Re: definition of evolution
    EvolutiNo claims that there are conflicting definitions of evolution, and thus we should not be teaching “it” since we can’t even say what “it” is.
    Poppycock.
    The two definitions he provides are: “[…] any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next” and “The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms”. These actually refer to the same thing, but the former can be argued to be ‘better’ because it makes specific reference to the mechanism of change (altered allele frequencies) while the latter is a more general statement. The two are not in conflict.
    You can define a car as “a four wheeled vehicle powered by an internal combustion, electric, or hybrid motor” or as “a means of powered, personal transportation developed in the 20th century”. Which is more correct? Should we stop using cars because we have different definitions?

  182. Sol

    Should Evolution Be Immune From Critical Analysis?
    by David Buckna
    http://www.rae.org/critanl.html

    [snip]

    The following suggested Origins of Life policy, which first appeared in
    the Buckna/Laidlaw article, “Should evolution be immune from critical
    analysis in the science classroom?”(http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=print&ID=411)is a realistic, practical and legal way for local and state school boards to achieve a win-win with regard to evolution teaching. Even the ACLU, the NCSE, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State should find the policy acceptable:

    “As no theory in science is immune from critical examination and
    evaluation, and recognizing that evolutionary theory is the only approved
    theory of origins that can be taught in the [province/state] science
    curriculum: whenever evolutionary theory is taught, students and teachers
    are encouraged to discuss the scientific information that supports and
    questions evolution and its underlying assumptions, in order to promote
    the development of critical thinking skills. This discussion would include
    only the scientific evidence/information for and against evolutionary
    theory, as it seeks to explain the origin of the universe and the
    diversity of life on our planet.”
    ========================================================================
    Teaching Evolution – Is There a Better Way?
    by Ian Taylor
    http://www.creationmoments.com/articles/article.php?a=21

  183. Joel

    Real science, eh? Real science is behind evolution? Is it scientific to reinvent the theory of evolution again and again whenever it is shown to be flawed? The original theory of evolution as envisioned by Darwin has evolved significantly. If a theory is constantly reworked whenever problems are found in it, then potentially it can never be proven wrong. The basic premise upon which evolution is based is always assumed to be correct. I hardly call that scientific.

  184. Dave

    I have no problems with adaptation within a species, but there is a serious problem with teaching evolution from one species to another as proven scientific fact. There is nothing to prove it at this point, so it is still theory. That is how the scientific method works. There may eventually be entire home schools set up to actually practice the scientific method.

  185. TheBlackCat

    but there is a serious problem with teaching evolution from one species to another as proven scientific fact. There is nothing to prove it at this point, so it is still theory.

    An outright lie. Species changing into new species has been observed both in the wild and in the laboratory.

  186. Ernest Hua

    Oh my *@#!! god! What is wrong with you people?!

    Stop debating this BS until you have taken some logic classes!

    There is a huge difference between:

    1. I can’t see any mechanism for X, so it must be supreme being Y that did it.

    2. I can’t see any mechanism for X, so I must not understand the mechanism yet.

    The first is a cop out so you don’t have to bother to think.

    The second is just an honest statement of your current knowledge base.

    If you don’t know by now, #1 is not allowed in science.

    And we are talking about SCIENCE classes, aren’t we?

    Get a clue!

    Ern

  187. Todd W.

    @Joel

    Real science, eh? Real science is behind evolution? Is it scientific to reinvent the theory of evolution again and again whenever it is shown to be flawed? The original theory of evolution as envisioned by Darwin has evolved significantly. If a theory is constantly reworked whenever problems are found in it, then potentially it can never be proven wrong. The basic premise upon which evolution is based is always assumed to be correct. I hardly call that scientific.

    By this statement, you show that you have no clue what real science is. A theory is the best explanation based upon the available evidence. When new evidence becomes available, the theory must deal with it, either by going the way of the dodo (e.g., phlogiston), already explain the new evidence, or change the theory where the evidence contradicts it (e.g., evolution as it’s changed from Darwin’s time to today).

    Science is never 100% stable and unchanging. And as regards the theory being “proved wrong”, it hasn’t. Parts of it have been. Various mechanisms have been questioned or added or discarded as new evidence arose, but the underlying fact, that species change over time and that they share common ancestry, remains true throughout the whole process.

    Compare this with religion: An idea is formed to explain certain observations. New evidence arises that contradicts this idea. The idea is kept and the new evidence is discarded or rationalized away.

  188. Joel

    Todd…

    If I observed a larger dog produce a smaller dog, and in turn that smaller dog produce a smaller dog, I might conclude that animals are devolving. I might even create a theory that all things started from one initial, immensely complex creature that reproduced less complex creatures, and those in turn produced other less complex creatures, and so on until all the variety of creatures were produced today. We might call this the theory of devolution.

    After decades of testing the theory, I could find problems with the theory and reconstruct it over and over again, until I had a more complex and (supposedly) more probable theory of devolution. It would be harder to disprove the theory, but that wouldn’t make it correct. The theory could grow in complexity to try to incorporate all the observations and paleontological research.

    It might possibly be still a feasible theory after decades of study and modifications, but it would not be “scientific.” It would be a combination of mostly faith and a lesser degree of science at work.

    That is, IMHO, approximately what has happened to the “scientific” theory of evolution. (Granted, this hypothetical theory of devolution would potentially take even greater skill of intellectual acrobatics to explain, but it might be possible.)

  189. TheBlackCat

    @ Joel: Early ideas about atoms said that atoms were the building blocks and smallest units of matter and were indivisible. Then it was found that atoms were actually composed of mobile negative charges and a small, positive core. The ideas about how the negative charges behaved underwent a series of radical changes, from the “plum pudding” model, to the planetary model, to the modern probabilistic model. We also found out that the nucleus could actually be broken into smaller pieces, protons and neutrons, and later we learned those could be further broken into various types of quarks. Even later we discovered atoms could also be formed out of antimatter, and later still that they could be formed using muons in place of either the electrons or the nucleus.

    So by your logic we should toss out the atomic theory of matter because it has undergone such substantial changes over its life span.

  190. TheBlackCat

    While we’re at it, let’s throw out the germ theory of infectious disease as well. They keep on adding on all these new disease-causing organisms. First it was just supposed to be single-celled bacteria and protists. Then they toss in viruses, which aren’t even alive. Then they add prions, which are just single proteins. And now we find out that our own cells can go rogue, infect other people, and kill them. If the germ theory of disease was really correct they wouldn’t have to keep adding these new types of germs, would they?

  191. InquiringMinds

    Please provide an example (I’m only asking for one) where there is evidence that one species has evolved into another. (And minor changes within a species don’t count.)

  192. InquiringMinds

    Science as I understand it has nothing to do with debates but is the “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”. The fact that there exists such a debate seems very unscientific. Why can’t we just let the physical observations and results of experiments decide and let the chips fall where they may.

    I find it curious that to some scientists, evolution IS science. That seems to me very closed minded. It seems to me that the essence of science would by definition invite more observation and experimentation – using all theories. By closing the door on one theory – intelligent design – you seem to be contradicting the essence of scientific discovery by hiding theories from other worldviews.

    Have any of you investigated intelligent design? It is a scientific approach to explain the origin of the universe suggesting that there is a design to it all and that the whole thing isn’t just completely random.

    You can disagree with this theory.

    You can disprove this theory.

    But it is unscientific to simply suppress this theory.

    If you were really being scientific wouldn’t you just disprove this theory rather than take it to court or pass legislation to silence it by force of law? True scientists would welcome other theories – relish them – test them – not debate them or try to silence them!

  193. Dave

    I am not a biologist, so if my terms are not correct as far as species is concerned then you can correct that for me. As InquiringMinds has asked, I would like to know what proof there is of an organism evolving from one Kingdom to another, or one phylum to another. In other words a turtle to a rodent, or a plant to a fish.

  194. TheBlackCat

    Please provide an example (I’m only asking for one) where there is evidence that one species has evolved into another. (And minor changes within a species don’t count.)

    Google “london underground mosquito”. This is a case where an entirely new species of mosquito evolved in the London underground (the London subway station) since its construction 100 years ago. This is an entirely new species forming in just a century, if not less.

    I am not a biologist, so if my terms are not correct as far as species is concerned then you can correct that for me. As InquiringMinds has asked, I would like to know what proof there is of an organism evolving from one Kingdom to another, or one phylum to another. In other words a turtle to a rodent, or a plant to a fish.

    If we had evidence of a turtle turning into a rodent, or a plant into a fish, it would be strong evidence AGAINST evolution. Evolution does not suggest that sort of thing happens. We do have very complete fossil records of fish evolving into mammals, for instance. We also have development data charging the same transition, biochemical data, and genetic data.

    Not only that, but try googling “tikaalik”. This is a case where not only did scientists figure out beforehand what characteristics a “fishapod” (a part fish part land animal) would have, but they were able to figure out where and when that creature would have lived, found a place that had exposed rocks from the right time and place, and then went there and sure enough a totally new fossil that exactly met their predictions was found.

    Have any of you investigated intelligent design?

    Yes I have investigated it, at length.

    It is a scientific approach to explain the origin of the universe suggesting that there is a design to it all and that the whole thing isn’t just completely random.

    Not, it is NOT a scientific approach. Even the leaders of the ID movement admit that we would have to completely redefine science to make ID qualify.

    And evolution does not say “the whole thing is just completely random”. That is a creationist and ID strawman. Evolution is decidely non-random.

    But it is unscientific to simply suppress this theory.

    No one is trying to suppress ID. What people are saying is that until it qualifies as science, until it makes testable predictions and has evidence backing up those predictions, then it should not be taught to students. ID researchers are perfectly able to do research if they want, they simply refuse to do so. They say it is everyone else’s’ responsibility to go and get their data for them (this is not how science works). At the same time, they refuse to provide other scientists with enough details to actually test the ideas. The few cases where they did offer anything specific they were quickly found to be wrong and the ID proponents quickly backtracked and lied saying they never said any specifics (despite the fact that they are on film doing so).

    The proper place for discussing and validating new science is in scientific journals and conferences, not grade school classrooms.

    If you were really being scientific wouldn’t you just disprove this theory rather than take it to court or pass legislation to silence it by force of law? True scientists would welcome other theories – relish them – test them – not debate them or try to silence them!

    Quite true, and scientists have been begging the ID proponents for decades for anything specific enough to work with, but the ID crowd has said explicitly that they have no intention of providing it. All other once controversial scientists did certain things, they made specific, testable predictions, gathered data to support that position, and ultimately through hard work and perseverance they showed they were right. They never tried to force their ideas on public school students before making even the slightest attempt to do any new research on the subject.

    ID proponents do not do any of that, they have had decades but they have made absolutely no attempt to do this. The very first published work on ID was not a proceedings in a scientific conference, it was not a peer-reviewed scientific article, it was not even a book written for scientists. It was a public school science textbook. This was the first place the word “intelligent design” was even used (at least in the sense that they use it). This alone should tell you their plan was not to do science, not to follow the scientific process, not to validate their ideas, but instead to force their ideas on grade school students who lacked the background and understanding to see why the ideas are totally without any scientific merit whatsoever. If the ID proponents really thought their ideas could stand up to scientific scrutiny, they would present them to scientists to be scrutinized. That is how every other once controversial idea earned its merits.

    And don’t say that their is a conspiracy to keep ID articles out of scientific journals. The ID proponents have admitted that they are not even trying to get any work published. They claim that unnamed researchers are doing top-secret ID research at undisclosed location and that they will be publishing their work any day now, but they have been saying that for years and nothing has come of it.

  195. tim

    lol, you guys are funny. I thought creationist were suppose to be the “close minded” ones?

  196. Darth Robo

    I’m late to this party, ain’t I? Although I’m pretty sure it’s all under control.
    :)

    @InquiringMinds

    >>>”Have any of you investigated intelligent design? It is a scientific approach to explain the origin of the universe suggesting that there is a design to it all and that the whole thing isn’t just completely random.

    You can disagree with this theory.

    You can disprove this theory.

    But it is unscientific to simply suppress this theory.”

    “Suppress” this “theory”? What uh, “theory” might that be? What is the “science” behind ID? Who or what is the “designer”? What EXACTLY did it do, and when did it do it? What are the proposed mechanisms of ID? What useful scientific predictions does it make? What observations can be made in regards to ID? How does one test for ID? What peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published to support ID? And, as you did state it could be disproven, how exactly can one go about falsifying ID?

    I’ve been asking this for a while now and never had an answer. Even the IDer’s themselves have previously stated that there is no “scientific theory” of ID, but yet there still seems to be many creationists, uhm, ahem, I mean “open minded” (religious) individuals who claim otherwise. So your response is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  197. Yojimbo

    Darth Robo, I once asked a whole forum of ID proponents to give an ID mechanism explaining why winged insects have four wings (or two wings and two associated wing-related structures), but birds and bats have only two. Their answer, over and over, was “evolution is wrong and here’s why…”. Not one would even speculate on a mechanism.

    I asked them to explain ID to me without mentioning evolution. Nobody even tried. As far as I can see ID theory consists of “here’s what’s wrong with evolution.

  198. InquiringMinds

    Blackcat: “Google “london underground mosquito”. This is a case where an entirely new species of mosquito evolved in the London underground (the London subway station) since its construction 100 years ago. This is an entirely new species forming in just a century, if not less.”

    and…

    “If we had evidence of a turtle turning into a rodent, or a plant into a fish, it would be strong evidence AGAINST evolution. Evolution does not suggest that sort of thing happens.”

    Aren’t these two statements contradictory? I do happen to agree with the logic of the second statement however and it does seem more consistent with my understanding of evolutionary theory. A mosquito changing to a different kind of mosquito would simply be adaptation. I suppose you could make the argument that that is a piece of evidence to support evolution just as many other pieces when all put together make up the theory of evolution. However there are significant gaps which is what I was getting at. Where in the fossil record is there any evidence of one form of being evolve into another. If these things happen over even 100 years there should be some fossil evidence to back that up. The suggestion regarding the ‘fishapod’ seems a more consistent answer to this question. I’d like to know more about that and will look that up.

    Blackcat: “Even the leaders of the ID movement admit that we would have to completely redefine science to make ID qualify.”

    Explain, if by ‘redefine science’ you mean that science and evolution would no longer be synonymous then I suppose you would be correct, however, I don’t see why the definition of science would need to be redefined in terms of reaching repeatable conclusions from experimental observation. To be honest, I have a hard time putting either evolution or Intelligent Design in the category of science since in reality it is history and archeology. No one can go back and observe what has happened as it happened. We can only intelligently speculate what happened based on tools, methods and understandings we have today… and as has been stated, this is continuously changing based on the acquisition of more knowledge. Or to take the Archeology angle, it is taking artifacts and piecing them together to recreate what happened.

    Blackcat: “No one is trying to suppress ID.”

    Have you seen the movie “No Intelligence Allowed”? …and before you dismiss this I would first like to know if you have actually watched the movie with an open mind from beginning to end. I’m not interested in what you have heard others say about it. In it there are a number of documented cases where leading scientists have had their careers effectively ended because they have dared admitted to exploring the idea of Intelligent Design. I find it curious that even in this forum no one has actually spelled out Intelligent Design – always referring to it as ‘ID’. I don’t reach the same conclusion that the movie implies about it being a conspiracy. A conspiracy is a specific orchestrated event in which a specific small group or individual sets out under cover of secrecy to accomplish something sinister. I don’t think that’s what is going on here. However it is clear that those in the scientific community don’t want anyone to know about the gaps in the theory of evolution. That’s the part I just don’t get. If it is so solid, why would any scientist have such a problem with allowing the teaching of proven verifiable gaps in the current theory of evolution? If anything I would think that the scientific community would want that information out there so that more students would be interested in helping fill in those gaps.

    People keep mentioning that there must be a ‘peer reviewed’ article on Intelligent Design to make it worth investigating. The last and I suspect only time that has happened, the editor of journal was fired for even allowing it to be published. How many other publishers of scientific journals would be willing to publish such an article after this well known incident? I’d call that a pretty hostile environment that other theories do not face and one that does effectively silence and isolate Intelligent Design scientists from the remainder of the scientific community.

  199. Mark Hansen

    Inquiring Minds, have you viewed the website “Expelled Exposed”? The claims made in “Expelled” for victimisation and persecution are checked and found wanting. http://www.expelledexposed.com/

    And if you’re worried that Intelligent Design has been reduced to a 2 letter acronym, then you’d better get on intelligentdesign.org ‘s case ’cause they’re doing it too. The real reason? We’re all lazy typists that prefer LOL to laugh out loud.

  200. TheBlackCat

    Aren’t these two statements contradictory?

    No. Modern major groups of organisms started off as very simple and very similar and later diverged their modern forms. The ancestors of vertebrate and the ancestors of insects were both simple, hardly-distinguishable worms-like animals. The common ancestor of plants and animals was a single-celled life form. Those sorts of forms can easily change. However, as they get more complex and more specialized, as they evolve to take better advantage of their inherent capabilities, those features that distinguish plant from animal, or a reptile and a mammal, become locked-in and generally impossible to change without killing the organism. That is why we see major changes to important features happening early on, back when the organism’s biology is more flexible, but those changes don’t occur later on because too much of the organism’s biology becomes dependent on them.

    A mosquito changing to a different kind of mosquito would simply be adaptation.

    No, it is an example of one species changing into another, exactly what you asked me for.

    The mosquito is substantially different than the mosquito it evolved from, yet the change happened in under a century. So we have a pretty significant change happening in under a hundred years, imagine the sorts of changes we could see in a hundred thousand, or a hundred million.

    However there are significant gaps which is what I was getting at. Where in the fossil record is there any evidence of one form of being evolve into another. If these things happen over even 100 years there should be some fossil evidence to back that up.

    There is massive amounts of evidence backing it up. Whoever told you otherwise is either ignorant or a liar (or both). We have very complete fossil records of most major transitions. For instance the evolution of fish to amphibians to mammal-like reptiles to mammals to whales. Our fossil record is amazingly detailed. This information is easy to find.

    Explain, if by ‘redefine science’ you mean that science and evolution would no longer be synonymous then I suppose you would be correct, however, I don’t see why the definition of science would need to be redefined in terms of reaching repeatable conclusions from experimental observation.

    No, the leaders of the ID movement said that in order to include ID as science then you would also have to include things like astrology as science as well. They said flat-out that the definition of science as used by scientists today, making and testing hypotheses, does not fit with ID.

    No one can go back and observe what has happened as it happened. We can only intelligently speculate what happened based on tools, methods and understandings we have today… and as has been stated, this is continuously changing based on the acquisition of more knowledge. Or to take the Archeology angle, it is taking artifacts and piecing them together to recreate what happened.

    Wrong. As I have said several times, we can observe evolution happening right now, in the laboratory and in the wild. We can see fairly radical changes in a very short period of time. Further, if evolution was not true we would not be able to use it to predict the existence of fossils we have not found yet.

    In it there are a number of documented cases where leading scientists have had their careers effectively ended because they have dared admitted to exploring the idea of Intelligent Design.

    I have not seen the movie, but I have studied the cases they mentioned well before the movie even came out. They are well-known lies by the ID movement. I suggest you check out the website Mark mentioned. I don’t care what the movie says, I did my own research and reached my own conclusions. None of them, not one, has had their career ruined because of ID. Most have not had any impact on their career at all, and the one who did had his career ruined because he didn’t get much funding or publish any independent research.

    If it is so solid, why would any scientist have such a problem with allowing the teaching of proven verifiable gaps in the current theory of evolution?

    Because the supposed gaps are all lies. All of them, every single one of them, has been shown to be totally and completely without merit. What people are against is forcing students to learn things that are known to be false.

    The last and I suspect only time that has happened, the editor of journal was fired for even allowing it to be published.

    That is an outright LIE. He had a fixed term in which he was the editor of the journal, and just before that term expired he and a few ID friends of his decided to sneak the article past the normal peer-reviewed process. He committed a gross ethical violation. Despite this he completed the term he was set to complete, he was not fired. He also did not lose his job at the Smythsonian, despite what you heard in expelled. In fact he didn’t even have a job there, and no one was able to find any documented cases of discrimination against him, despite the fact that people were angry at his terribly unethical behavior and various other poor behavior on his part. He changed offices as part of an overall restructuring of the facility, and had his key replaced with a keycard like everyone else, and some people complained about him not returning books to the library and not properly maintaining samples he checked out, but that is it. If you ask me he should be fired for his lack of ethics, someone who is willing to do something like that can’t be trusted. The only reason he has not been fired is because he is associated with the ID movement and people know that they will make a big stink about it despite there being perfectly legitimate reasons. So instead the ID crowd was forced to make up supposed hardships he has faced.

    That is why I did not watch expelled, it has been universally derided as bearing no resemblance whatsoever to reality. Let me ask you, have you made any attempt to verify what was said in the movie using independent sources, or did you just buy whatever it was they said?

  201. Darth Robo

    @Yojimbo

    That’s exactly the same as what I get from creationists at Topix. I always ask them and I’m always disappointed.

    And ooh, look: this is exactly what we’re getting from ‘Inquiring Minds’. Instead of realising that there are people here who have way more knowledge than him about evolution, he continues question it based on his lack of knowledge of the subject. And then moves on to the ever popular fundie martyr complex and the “great evolution conspiracy”, “boo hoo all the evolutionists are mean to us poor widdle creationists”. I guess he’s bought the creationist handbook.

    So, Inquiring Minds: Did your fancy “Expelled” movie mention anything about the “science” of Intelligent Design? (ID for short)

    No? Can YOU tell us what the science of ID is? Cuz you say there’s a whole bunch of scientists who have (supposedly) had their careers gone to kaflooey for supporting ID, but uh, we’re still trying to figure out here if they were supporting religious apologetics or a “scientific theory”…

    (tick tock tick tock tick tock)

  202. InquiringMinds

    Darth Robo…

    Quite a defensive response to my conversation. Blackcat is at least having an intelligent conversation without belittling my questions or assertions. Honestly that is what bothers me most about this whole issue. Why are people so defensive when questioned?

  203. InquiringMinds

    Blackcat: Those are a lot of issues we have delved into and given that it’s 1:00 in the morning and I have to get up early I’m not going to start a response just yet. I’d also like to look into some of the things you mentioned in more detail. (You’ve given me some homework to do.) This may be hard for you to believe, but I’m trying to take a scientific approach to this to discover the truth for myself. Where it leads me is where it leads me.

  204. José

    @InquiringMinds
    Have any of you investigated intelligent design? It is a scientific approach to explain the origin of the universe suggesting that there is a design to it all and that the whole thing isn’t just completely random.

    Mutations are random. Evolution is not random. The ideas that ID proposes have been around in some fashion probably as long as humans have been around, and in all that time nobody has been able to make a scientific argument for it.

    Why are people so defensive when questioned?

    Because you accuse science of being close minded and trying to suppress ID, and you’re basing that on lies and misinformation. That tends to put people in a foul mood.

  205. InquiringMinds

    As I ponder…

    Do you beileve that Science alone can explain the existence of the universe?

    Is there a place (preferably a reputable internet site but I’d settle for a book if necessary) where the entire theory of Evolution is explained along with all supporting evidence?

    BTW… I have looked through the http://www.expelledexposed.com/ website and even taking everything on that site at face value, it’s final conclusions are actually not that different than the ultimate conclusion of the movie. While the movie certainly inserts many exagerations and drama for entertainment sake – just as any movie does, such as the ruining of peoples carreers, It is clear even from that web site that the people suggesting ID as legitimate, essentially got their ears clipped by the scientific community, perhaps correctly so for not producing evidence only a theory. It would seem that only after they backed away did any of them move forward with their carreers. I do agree that new theories when first introduced do typically recieve the ridicule of their peers. Christopher Columbus believing the earth was round when the ‘settled science’ was that it was flat, Darwin himself when he came up with this theory. Many of their theories were accepted only after their deaths. So perhaps it’s in keeping with that tradition that a new, especially competing, theory be treated with such disdain and ridicule. And I believe that those that are putting forth the ID theory must address the hard questions put to them before through science before they gain at least some acceptance as a possibility.

    I ask this question, if a paper describing a theory which uses the scientific method to back up evidence of the existence of an external designer of the universe, would it make it through a peer review process today?

    No doubt many of you have studied evolution much more than I and are much more familiar with the research than I that backs it up.

    Blackcat: You mention that there is a wealth of fossel evidence to back evolution up and that the fossel record is remarkably detailed however you also suggest that there isn’t a complete record from beginning to end that details the whole story. I’m not bringing this up to suggest that this means that evolution is incorrect. Such a task would surely take a very long time. Just to say that those are the “gaps” that I am referring to and to suggest that those shouldn’t be mentioned when teaching evolution is intelectually dishonest.

    In reading the original text before of the change in wording in the Texas Education Agency Science Standards would seem to me that this is simply what they were trying to do. By presenting the “strengths and weaknesses” of a theory would be the correct scientific approach – to any theory. There isn’t even any mention of Intelligent Design or of the dreaded Creationism. It seems to me that those who see that language between the lines are the ones who see a conspiricy not those on the Intelligent Design side.

  206. InquiringMinds

    If asking reasonable questions puts people in a foul mood I make no apologies for that. Their mood is their responsibility not mine and frankly I’m not interested in their mood just that they don’t try to substitute real answers with name calling or dismissal. It just degrades the discussion into ‘my daddy can beat up your daddy” which is of course childish.

    I do see an effort to supress ID though, as I said above perhaps that is the correct response at this time. If the science is isn’t there to support it yet then it is only a theory with no evidence yet to back it up – thus no peer reviewed papers would make it through. But what is the harm in allowing it to be discussed as a scientific theory? What I find curious though is the effort to defend evolution as unquestionable by not allowing it’s “gaps”, “weaknesses” whatever you wish to call it to be presented with the evidence that exists. If the evidence is so overwhelming, why such fear over presenting a few unknowns or a few alternative theories that could explain those gaps?

  207. Todd W.

    @InquiringMinds

    If the science is isn’t there to support it yet then it is only a theory with no evidence yet to back it up – thus no peer reviewed papers would make it through. But what is the harm in allowing it to be discussed as a scientific theory?

    Perhaps you can tell us what the “theory” of ID actually is? Tell us what testible predictions it makes, what evidence has been found to support it, where the published papers are detailing this evidence, how it can be falsified, mechanism of action, and so on. If it has all of that stuff, in abundance, then it can be called a theory, in the scientific sense. Right now, it’s just an idea. Heck, I’d even settle for what hypothesis it suggests that can be tested, with an explanation of how it can be tested.

    So, ID is not a theory. It has no research backing it up. It consists solely of mistaken claims of weaknesses in the theory of evolution. Therefore, it has no place in a science class. Once it actually has some scientific merit to it, then it should be discussed in science classes. Right now, it is merely creationism rewrapped in new clothes, as admitted by people at the Discovery Institute themselves.

    As to the “gaps” in the fossil record, keep in mind that it is amazing that we have as complete series as we have, given how difficult and rare it is for something to actually fossilize. Also, every fossil we find is transitional. Every creature alive is transitional from its ancestors to its descendants. The “gaps” criticism is a typical canard used to attack evolution. Every time a fossil is found that represents a form somewhere between two other forms, creationists chirp “Aha! But where are the transitional fossils in those two new gaps!” All the while, they ignore the fact that the new discovery shows evidence of change from the older form to the newer form.

  208. TheBlackCat

    Do you beileve that Science alone can explain the existence of the universe?

    It can’t yet, but I see no reason to think that it won’t be able to eventually (and probably sooner rather than later).

    Is there a place (preferably a reputable internet site but I’d settle for a book if necessary) where the entire theory of Evolution is explained along with all supporting evidence?

    You still don’t get it. Pretty much everything we know about biology is supporting evidence. A good place would be every research journal article on biology ever written.

    That being said, talkorigins.org is a decent place to start, as has already been pointed out several place in this thread. So would your local library.

    BTW… I have looked through the http://www.expelledexposed.com/ website and even taking everything on that site at face value, it’s final conclusions are actually not that different than the ultimate conclusion of the movie. While the movie certainly inserts many exagerations and drama for entertainment sake – just as any movie does, such as the ruining of peoples carreers,

    What?! You must have read a different website than I did, since that does not even come close to what the website I read said.

    Whose career was ruined? The only person from Expelled who seems to have suffered anything is Gonzalez, and that was because it he didn’t do any independent research, didn’t get enough funding, and didn’t graduate any grad students. There is no evidence that it was connected to ID in any way. There is no evidence that anyone else faced any hardships at all, not to mention that they suffered because of their support for ID.

    It is clear even from that web site that the people suggesting ID as legitimate, essentially got their ears clipped by the scientific community, perhaps correctly so for not producing evidence only a theory. It would seem that only after they backed away did any of them move forward with their carreers.

    No, all of those people are still just as much involved in ID and creationism now as they were before. No one has backed away.

    Christopher Columbus believing the earth was round when the ’settled science’ was that it was flat,

    Please do not use this myth, it only makes you look ignorant. By the time of Columbus it had been known that the world was round for thousands of years. The disagreement was over the size of the Earth. The prevailing wisdom was that the world was a certain size. Columbus thought it was much smaller, and ignored the refutations of his position from everyone else. It turns out the prevailing wisdom was right, and if it wasn’t for a previously unknown continent in the way Columbus would have been lost at sea (he was far too stubborn to turn back). Columbus is a hero because he was an idiot who got lucky.

    Darwin himself when he came up with this theory.

    Another myth. No, many of Darwin’s ideas were rapidly accepted by the scientific community. That is because he collected a huge amount of evidence backing up his claims, thought through potential problems with his ideas and addressed them with good arguments and solid evidence, and fully acknowledged the limitations of his ideas. There were of course a handful of scientists who didn’t accept them, and there were some known problems with his ideas that were later corrected, but by and large his ideas were quickly embraced by the scientific community based on the weight of the evidence. Same with Einstein, by the way.

    Many of their theories were accepted only after their deaths.

    No, that is actually pretty rare. It was more common in the middle ages where people were afraid of being executed by the church, but in the last 200 years it was very uncommon.

    So perhaps it’s in keeping with that tradition that a new, especially competing, theory be treated with such disdain and ridicule.

    As I keep saying, the reason ID proponents are treated as they are treated is because they steadfastly refuse to do science. Every other time that a new scientific theory has replaced the prevailing one, it has been because those who supported the then-hypothesis worked hard to test their ideas, to address the criticisms of those who doubted them, and to ultimately win on the scientific merits of their claims. None tried to force their ideas on public school students before doing even figuring out what their ideas even are. The ID proponents refuse to do this. They refuse to get evidence, they refuse to address the criticisms of their ideas, they refuse to even explain what their ideas even are. Instead, they went straight to public schools. That is not science, it is dogma.

    And I believe that those that are putting forth the ID theory must address the hard questions put to them before through science before they gain at least some acceptance as a possibility.

    They apparently don’t think so, they have explicitly refused to address the criticisms of their ideas.

    I ask this question, if a paper describing a theory which uses the scientific method to back up evidence of the existence of an external designer of the universe, would it make it through a peer review process today?

    If it was a quality paper backed by sound evidence and argument? Yes, I have no reason to doubt it would. But not a paper based on arguments that were discredited decades ago, which is what the Sternberg paper did.

    No doubt many of you have studied evolution much more than I and are much more familiar with the research than I that backs it up.

    Which doesn’t seem to stop you from making (wrong) pronouncements on what evolution does and does not say.

    You mention that there is a wealth of fossel evidence to back evolution up and that the fossel record is remarkably detailed however you also suggest that there isn’t a complete record from beginning to end that details the whole story. I’m not bringing this up to suggest that this means that evolution is incorrect. Such a task would surely take a very long time. Just to say that those are the “gaps” that I am referring to and to suggest that those shouldn’t be mentioned when teaching evolution is intelectually dishonest.

    Bullocks. No one is saying that we can’t mention that the fossil record is incomplete, the problem is that this is NOT evidence against evolution. The fact that we do not have a fossil of every single organism that has every lived does not mean that evolution is wrong, flawed, or even in the slightest bit of doubt.

    In reading the original text before of the change in wording in the Texas Education Agency Science Standards would seem to me that this is simply what they were trying to do.

    There is a big different between pointing out that we do not have absolute, 100% knowledge and claiming that evolution is flawed because of it. The fossil record is not weak, it is unbelievable strong. It is not 100% complete, but neither is our record of the U.S. civil war. Does the fact that we do not have complete records of every moment of every day for every soldier in the U.S. civil war indicate that the civil war does not happen? Should students be studying the “strengths and weaknesses” of the theory that there was a war between the northern and southern portions of the U.S. in the 1860′s? Seriously, if you are going to say that the fossil record counts as a weakness of evolution you might as well throw out all human knowledge, because we will never know absolutely everything about everything. The fossil record is far more thorough and complete than our knowledge of many things you take for granted.

    By presenting the “strengths and weaknesses” of a theory would be the correct scientific approach – to any theory. There isn’t even any mention of Intelligent Design or of the dreaded Creationism. It seems to me that those who see that language between the lines are the ones who see a conspiricy not those on the Intelligent Design side.

    The problem is that the supposed weaknesses are all lies or intentional misrepresentation. Legitimate weaknesses are fine, but these people are saying students should be taught decades-old lies. I keep pointing this out, but you don’t seem to be listening.

  209. Dave

    Black Cat-
    “The mosquito is substantially different than the mosquito it evolved from, yet the change happened in under a century. So we have a pretty significant change happening in under a hundred years, imagine the sorts of changes we could see in a hundred thousand, or a hundred million.”

    So here is where the science of transmutation of species takes a giant leap into the unknown. I have not read “On the Origin of Species,” I will now though, but I believe transmutation of species has been fairly well observed and documented. Where some religious types have a problem is the theory that transmutation can occur beyond the units of species, genus or higher up the taxonomic scale. I believe most people have been properly educated about transmutation of species, but after they leave school, connect it with a theory of the origin of life and seem to take it as fact.

    As was stated earlier, why or how we came to exist is a different study altogether. ID does not belong in the science classroom, but also, some people, including myself, and I do not consider myself an IDer, would like a serious distinction made between theory and scientific fact, so that children do not end up believing that science has proved that all life came from a single self procreating cell. My guess is that if a poll were taken among HS seniors or even regular everyday people, most would not be able to give a legitimate answer to what evolution is. And therein lies the problem, the transmutation of the word evolution. Maybe if we used Darwin’s original term, transmutation of species, there would be less confusion.

    On a side note, the most interesting part of Expelled I found was when Stein asked Dawkins about the possibility of ID and he basically said it was possible, but that it had to happen by an explicable process. This was the most open minded statement I have heard in quite sometime from an athiest/evolutionist. So if alien intelligent design is a possibility, then why not, say Yahweh, or Allah, or Buddah, etc. The strange part about it though is that it seems to fit the Scientology story of an alien race planting seeds on earth. Is Dawkins a Scientologist?

    Black Cat, thank you for your time and input into the discussion, as well as a few others here. Clearly you know your stuff. I am but a regular cup of joe, and enjoy discussing and learning about many things.

  210. TheBlackCat

    Where some religious types have a problem is the theory that transmutation can occur beyond the units of species, genus or higher up the taxonomic scale.

    Not exactly. They have a problem with changes between species (transmutation is not the right word), until they are shown examples of changes between species, at which point they have a problem with a higher level. That is the problem, no matter how high of a level we demonstrate they will always just demand the next higher level.

    You seem to fail to miss the main point: we had a substantial change in an organism, enough to make it into an entirely separate species with significant differences in both physical form and behavior, in under a century. Life has been around for almost, if not more than, 4 billion years, 40 million times longer. So considering we can have pretty drastic changes in a single human lifetime, what is stopping nature from causing even more drastic changes over even longer time scales?

    Creationist so often say that they deny changes above whatever level we have observed changes at, but so far not one I have heard of has been able to provide an actual mechanism to prevent those changes. So let me ask you, what is preventing changes above the species level?

    I believe most people have been properly educated about transmutation of species, but after they leave school, connect it with a theory of the origin of life and seem to take it as fact.

    That’s because it is a fact.

  211. José

    @InquiringMinds
    If asking reasonable questions puts people in a foul mood I make no apologies for that. Their mood is their responsibility not mine and frankly I’m not interested in their mood just that they don’t try to substitute real answers with name calling or dismissal.

    Nobody gets defensive if you ask reasonable questions! As I stated, people get defensive because you unfairly accuse science of being close minded and trying to suppress ID. If you make false accusations against someone, you force them to defend themselves. If all you had done was ask reasonable questions, instead of making baseless allegations, no one would have been defensive. It’s that simple.

  212. InquiringMinds

    Are you saying that evolution is a theory of the origin of life and that evolution is a fact?

  213. TheBlackCat

    Are you saying that evolution is a theory of the origin of life and that evolution is a fact?

    Wrong. Evolution is a fact and it is also a theory, but it does NOT deal with the origin of life. That is a separate area of research in biology called “abiogenesis”. Evolution only deals with life once it got started.

  214. Dave

    I believe most people do not know or remember the taxonomical scale and therefore ask about evolution using the word species in a generic sense, as I did earlier. They do not mean species though, they mean a higher level. The reason they demand the higher level is because the word evolution has become generically associated with the viewpoint of life starting as a single self replicating cell that slowly evolved over 4 billion years into the hundreds of thousands of species on the planet today. Beyond evolution or transmutation or adaptation of species, none of this is provable, which is why it is theory. It may be the best theory science has at the moment, but it is still just that, theory. It just needs to be taught and discussed as theory, not as fact.

    I agree that species adapt, or evolve and there is record of that, but to then leap all the way up the ladder of life and believe that small deviations over large amounts of time will in fact produce large deviations is only a hypothesis at worst and a theory at best. If there is no proof, then it is still a theory, and the burden of proof is on the holder of the theory.

    There are many definitions of the word fact, here is one from a pretty well known educational institution.

    # a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred; “first you must collect all the facts of the case”
    # a statement or assertion of verified information about something that is the case or has happened; “he supported his argument with an impressive array of facts”
    # an event known to have happened or something known to have existed; “your fears have no basis in fact”; “how much of the story is fact and how much fiction is hard to tell”
    # a concept whose truth can be proved; “scientific hypotheses are not facts”
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

  215. Darth Robo

    InquiringMinds:

    >>>”Quite a defensive response to my conversation. Blackcat is at least having an intelligent conversation without belittling my questions or assertions. Honestly that is what bothers me most about this whole issue. Why are people so defensive when questioned?”

    On the contrary, I was being offensive. Not as in “offending” or “intending to offend” but rather trying to go straight to the point, straight to the heart of the matter. I ask what the “scientific theory” of ID actually IS, and NEVER get an answer. Ever ever ever. Whatsoever. Not even a ickle bit. At all. There must be some reason…

    >>>”Do you believe that Science alone can explain the existence of the universe?”

    Not so far, but it’s the best tool we have that produces valid results. But what does this have to do with evolution? Answer: Nothing.

    >>>”Is there a place (preferably a reputable internet site but I’d settle for a book if necessary) where the entire theory of Evolution is explained along with all supporting evidence?”

    School and college might be a good start. Assuming our fundamentalist friends don’t make a mess of it for the sake of their fantasies.

    >>>”While the movie certainly inserts many exagerations and drama for entertainment sake – just as any movie does, such as the ruining of peoples carreers”

    Ah, so you admit they lie? Or is it merely exaggerate? (I’m getting a Kirk & Spock vibe here) But I thought it was meant to be a “documentary”? I take it they didn’t mention what the “scientific theory” of ID actually is either?

    >>>”It is clear even from that web site that the people suggesting ID as legitimate, essentially got their ears clipped by the scientific community, perhaps correctly so for not producing evidence only a theory.”

    Again, what “theory”? And if they got their ears clipped because they provided absolutely NO evidence for ID at all whatsoever, not even a ickle bit, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable to dismiss their pathetic whining about being “suppressed by the evil atheist Darwinist conspiracy” now, does it?

    >>>”And I believe that those that are putting forth the ID theory must address the hard questions put to them before through science before they gain at least some acceptance as a possibility.”

    And yet despite this, the IDCreationists are STILL attempting to force their nonsense into public school science classes, even though it has nothing to do with science. And they’ve been trying for years. Is this sinking in yet? Are you starting to realise why proponents of good science standards defend the teaching of evolution with (as the creationists often view it as) such “religious zeal”?

    >>>”I ask this question, if a paper describing a theory which uses the scientific method to back up evidence of the existence of an external designer of the universe, would it make it through a peer review process today?”

    If it was falsifiable, based on observable evidence and made successful, repeatable, testable predictions, then yes. Do you have any ideas of how this could be done in regards to ID? No? Neither can the creationists. They just say “Evilushun iz rong, so GODDIDIT!”

    >>>”In reading the original text before of the change in wording in the Texas Education Agency Science Standards would seem to me that this is simply what they were trying to do. By presenting the “strengths and weaknesses” of a theory would be the correct scientific approach – to any theory. There isn’t even any mention of Intelligent Design or of the dreaded Creationism. It seems to me that those who see that language between the lines are the ones who see a conspiricy not those on the Intelligent Design side.”

    But that is what science does. So the point (if the creationists were being honest about it) is redundant. But the creationists have been using the “strengths and weaknesses” argument for years now, and the “weaknesses” they refer to are the same tired old creo arguments which have been debunked for years. So apart from the language being redundant, it’s insertion would be seen as a sign to fundies that fundie nonsense is allowed to be taught.

    >>>”If asking reasonable questions puts people in a foul mood I make no apologies for that. Their mood is their responsibility not mine and frankly I’m not interested in their mood just that they don’t try to substitute real answers with name calling or dismissal. It just degrades the discussion into ‘my daddy can beat up your daddy” which is of course childish.”

    You have been given real answers, as well as good reason for the dismissal of creationism/creationists. If you can’t handle that, that’s your problem.

    >>>”I do see an effort to supress ID though, as I said above perhaps that is the correct response at this time. If the science is isn’t there to support it yet then it is only a theory with no evidence yet to back it up – thus no peer reviewed papers would make it through. But what is the harm in allowing it to be discussed as a scientific theory?”

    Hello? Is this thing on? Uh, because it ISN’T a “scientific theory”. And ID was SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to circumvent church and state laws in order to be able to teach religious apologetics, dressed up in sciencey-sounding language. Therefore, there is no science to “suppress”. You can prove us all wrong by telling us what the “scientific theory” of ID is. And if you think it’s perfectly okay to teach religion in place of science in public schools, then obviously (like all the rest of the creationists) you’re not interested in science education. So why come here and put up the pretense that this is all about your interest in science?

    >>>”What I find curious though is the effort to defend evolution as unquestionable by not allowing it’s “gaps”, “weaknesses” whatever you wish to call it to be presented with the evidence that exists. If the evidence is so overwhelming, why such fear over presenting a few unknowns or a few alternative theories that could explain those gaps?”

    You mean say: “Science can’t explain “X” therefore GODDIDIT!” ?

    And HOW exactly does this help science education again?

  216. Darth Robo

    @Dave:

    From dictionaryDOTcom:

    “–noun, plural -ries.
    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
    3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
    4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
    5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
    6. contemplation or speculation.
    7. guess or conjecture.
    Origin:
    1590–1600; < LL theōria < Gk theōría a viewing, contemplating, equiv. to theōr(eîn) to view + -ia -y 3

    Synonyms:
    1. THEORY, HYPOTHESIS ARE USED IN NON-TECHNICAL CONTEXTS TO MEAN AN UNTESTED IDEA OR OPINION. A THEORY IN TECHNICAL USE IS A MORE OR LESS VERIFIED OR ESTABLISHED EXPLANATION FOR KNOWN FACTS OR PHENOMENA: THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY. A HYPOTHESIS IS A CONJECTURE PUT FORTH AS A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION OF PHENOMENA OR RELATIONS, WHICH SERVES AS A BASIS OF ARGUMENT OR EXPERIMENTATION TO REACH THE TRUTH: THIS IDEA IS ONLY A HYPOTHESIS. "

    (emphasis mine)

    And in this case, evolution is a theory, and abiogenesis (which is currently being scientifically researched) is a hypothesis. So let's forget the "It's only a theory" argument. That argument kills cute kitties. Theory is as high as it gets in science. Theories explain facts.

  217. TheBlackCat

    @ Dave: We are discussing science and science education. For that reason, as we have discussed repeatedly in this thread, we are using the scientific definitions of “fact” and “theory”, not the laymens’ defintion like you are. Ultimately you are just playing a semantics game.

    As we keep saying, a theory does not become a fact. A theory is the highest level a scientific principle can achieve. Facts are fairly trivial, theories are the ultimate goal of all science.

    And science does not deal with “proof” in the mathematical sense of the term. Nothing in science is proven in that sense. However, if you are using the loose, scientific sense of the word “proof”, that is that there is so much evidence (so many facts) supporting a theory that it is no longer subject to any sort of reasonable debate, then evolution is proven, more so than any other scientific principle ever.

  218. Mark Hansen

    Inquiring Minds, the “strengths and weaknesses” gambit is to get an opening. If that works, then it progresses to the next stage of ID/creationism; i.e. Teach both sides. Sledgehammers and lockpicks; both work, but if brute force fails, then ID must be a little more subtil.

  219. Dave

    To Black Cat and Darth Robo–

    So, it is easy to quickly provide facts and stand on them with great bravado when discussing species, which I am not disputing, but when asked to provide facts/data for higher levels of evolution, facts become fairly trivial and theory becomes the ultimate goal. Which is it, Facts matter and provide data to back up theory, or facts are trivial?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Scientific method as far as I know consists of Observation, Hypothesis, Prediction, and Experimentation/Verification. When an idea completes all four stages it becomes knowledge or truth until it can be refuted. In the case of Physics or math, many of these truths becomes Law.

    Evolution of species has gone through all four steps and passed with flying colors, but the over arching theory posited by Darwin in which small deviations over a short time frame lead to large deviations over large time frames is stuck in the Experimentation/Verification phase, as there is no data available to support higher level evolution. Therefore, the larger theory can not be considered knowledge or truth as of yet, until data with repeatable experimentation and verification occurs.

  220. TheBlackCat

    but when asked to provide facts/data for higher levels of evolution, facts become fairly trivial and theory becomes the ultimate goal.

    Hardly. As I have said over and over, and others have as well, we have extremely detailed fossil records of the transitions all the way up to the phylum level. Or are you claiming that each fossil was individually created with exactly the right features in exactly the right time and exactly the right place in order to trick us into thinking they were transitional?

    We also have a great deal of other evidence above the phylum level, including morphological, biochemical, biomolecular, genetic, and development evidence show very clearly that creatures are related above the phylum level.

    We also have genetic studies that demonstrate, beyond any doubt, that changes above the phylum level are possible by modifying regulatory regions of the DNA such as HOX genes. Such changes, or at least changes near that level, have even been caused in some animals by modifying HOX genes. We even have animals that go through changes that would be seen as phylum-level changes over the course of a single lifetime (tunicates are a good example).

    So by far the weight of the evidence is that such changes do happen. We can even cause some of them by screwing with regulatory regions of the DNA.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Scientific method as far as I know consists of Observation, Hypothesis, Prediction, and Experimentation/Verification. When an idea completes all four stages it becomes knowledge or truth until it can be refuted. In the case of Physics or math, many of these truths becomes Law.

    No, laws are more like facts than they are theories. They are descriptions like facts, not explanations like theories. What makes them different from facts is their mathematical nature.

    Evolution of species has gone through all four steps and passed with flying colors, but the over arching theory posited by Darwin in which small deviations over a short time frame lead to large deviations over large time frames is stuck in the Experimentation/Verification phase, as there is no data available to support higher level evolution. Therefore, the larger theory can not be considered knowledge or truth as of yet, until data with repeatable experimentation and verification occurs.

    I’ve already shown why this is false, but it is more basic than this. A large number of small changes, by definition, is a large change. Claiming otherwise is like say you can count up to 5, but there is some magical barrier preventing you from counting to 100 if given enough time. We are dealing with nothing more than basic arithmetic here. In order for a large number of small changes to NOT cause large changes, there must be some sort of fundamental barrier to change. Without such a barrier, and with all the evidence pointing to large changes occurring, then the appropriate conclusion is that they occur.

    So with the evidence I have presented to back up my side the burden is now on you: what evidence do you have that these changes do not accumulate, or what mechanism is there that can prevent an accumulation of small changes from becoming large ones?

  221. InquiringMinds

    Darth Robo… as you requested, here is the definition of Intelligent Design from http://www.intelligentdesign.org...

    “What is intelligent design?
    Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system’s components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.”

    also…

    “Is Intelligent Design the same as Creationism?
    No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.

    Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he “agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement.” Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are “the easiest way to discredit intelligent design.” In other words, the charge that intelligent design is “creationism” is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.”

    and…

    “Is Intelligent Design a Scientific Theory
    Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.”

  222. José

    @InquiringMinds

    Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function.

    Where are these tests? Why can’t any ID proponent actually show evidence of an irreducibly complex system in biology?

  223. InquiringMinds

    Some of you have also been clamoring for peer reviewed articles…

    Stephen Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and
    the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” PROCEEDINGS OF
    THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON 117 (2004):
    213-239.

    Lönnig, W.-E. “Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis and
    the origin of irreducible complexity,” DYNAMICAL GENETICS
    (2004), pp. 101-119.

    William A. Dembski, THE DESIGN INFERENCE: ELIMINATING
    CHANCE THROUGH SMALL PROBABILITIES (Cambridge:
    Cambridge University Press, 1998).

    John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, DARWINISM,
    DESIGN, & PUBLIC EDUCATION (Michigan State University
    Press, 2003). [Hereafter, “DDPE.”]

  224. InquiringMinds

    This thread was started based on the results of the Texas State School Board requirements for science. There was nothing in there before that even mentioned ID nor was there any attempt to insert such language. Yet, the Evolution scientists (depending on your definition of evolution) came out in force to try to eliminate the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theory – something that Darth Robo described as redundant!! If it’s redundant then why such an uproar?

    The current stated position of ID is “For the record, we do not propose that intelligent design should be mandated in public schools”

    It just seems clear that Evolutionists are simply paranoid of anyone raising ANY areas in evolutionary theory that aren’t complete. …and yes, I get it – to you it is.

    By the way… Blackcat – thank you for your patience and respectful debate. I am not a scientist or biologist, nor do I intend to be. You seem that you may be given your extensive knowlege on the subject. I’m perfectly happy with my current dayjob as an engineer. I am simply interested in my kids learning the full truth. I have learned much by looking at the web sites that you cited. Not that I agree with everything that was on them but it at least helped me understand where you are coming from. It seems that one’s perspective depends so much on one’s worldview and where they get their information. In today’s world it’s easy to only get your news/information from those you tend to agree with. It’s always refreshing to find someone who one can have an honest debate.

  225. Darth Robo

    InquiringMinds

    >>>”Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature.”

    What evidence?

    >>>”The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”

    Using what mechanism? And why is this “Intelligent Designer” incapable of using the mechanisms of evolution if it so wishes?

    >>>”Through the study and analysis of a system’s components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof.”

    How do they do this?

    >>>”Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence.”

    That’s interesting. How are they able to observe the “Intelligent Designer” in action? Where? When?

    >>>”Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures,”

    Really? What SPECIFICALLY points to “design”? And in what? And what “irreducibly complex” biological structures are they talking about? As far as I’m aware, Behe has never done any actual research into IC, neither has anyone else.

    >>>”the complex and specified information content in DNA”

    Ah, this is one I’ve asked often. What IS “complex specified information” (CSI) and how is it quantified?

    >>>”the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.”

    Darn, they’re good! They’ve DETECTED design in the physical nature of the universe and the Cambrian? How did they do that?

    >>>”No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence.”
    So if they don’t START with the presumption of ID, why is it called ID in the first place? And why is ID incompatible with the mechanisms of evolution? HOW exactly do we determine the difference between natural occurrences and designed ones? Forgive me, but it seems that like religion, they start with their answer (design) and attempt to reconcile it with reality.

    >>>”Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.”

    Well, surely that if they can detect evidence of ID, observe it in action, test for it, and make scientific predictions from it, then it must be natural then, yes? After all, we know that if something falls under the banner of “SUPER-natural” then it is un-scientific. Therefore, we should be able to have a pretty good idea of WHAT this “designer” actually IS, WHAT it DOES and what mechanism it uses, and quite possibly, WHEN it did whatever it did you think it did.

    >>>”Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he “agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement.” Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are “the easiest way to discredit intelligent design.” In other words, the charge that intelligent design is “creationism” is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.””

    Really? Do they have any evidence of this? And what’s all this talk of “Darwinists”? Again, why is ID incompatible with evolution? And WHAT are the “merits” of ID?

    “>>>“Is Intelligent Design a Scientific Theory
    Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI.”

    Well, surely all objects are “natural” in that respect. What examples can you give of something that is designed and something that isn’t? And how can we tell the difference? I imagine that would be pretty hard, since it is postulated that the “designer” created the universe after all. Therefore everything in it should show signs of “design”. But, what are they?

    >>>”Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.”

    And what tests are those? And how do they quantify CSI in the process? Because it sounds like IC is just an argument against evolution. You know, “If evolution couldn’t have done it then GOD, uh, I mean the unidentified Intelligent Designer did it!”. Very much like creationism, yes?

  226. Darth Robo

    InquiringMinds

    I’ll answer these questions for you.

    >>>”Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature.”

    What evidence? Answer: NONE

    >>>”The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”

    Using what mechanism? And why is this “Intelligent Designer” incapable of using the mechanisms of evolution if it so wishes?
    Answer: No mechanism has ever been proposed to my knowledge. And if this “designer” is capable of creating the entire universe, I see no reason for it not to be able to use evolutionary mechanisms, unless one subscribes to a literal interpretation of ancient superstitious texts (like say, the Bible).

    >>>”Through the study and analysis of a system’s components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof.”

    How do they do this? Answer: They haven’t.

    >>>”Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence.”

    That’s interesting. How are they able to observe the “Intelligent Designer” in action? Where? When?
    Answer: They haven’t.

    >>>”Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures,”

    Really? What SPECIFICALLY points to “design”? And in what? And what “irreducibly complex” biological structures are they talking about? As far as I’m aware, Behe has never done any actual research into IC, neither has anyone else.
    Answer: True, no scientific research has been done into IC, yet this does not stop IDCer’s from claiming that things like the immune system or the bacterial flagellum are irreducibly complex. The flagellum has it’s roots in the type 3 secretory system and Behe was given a very large pile of of books and scientific papers pertaining to the evolution of the immune system. He said he never read them.

    >>>”the complex and specified information content in DNA”

    Ah, this is one I’ve asked often. What IS “complex specified information” (CSI) and how is it quantified?
    Answer: We don’t know yet…

    >>>”the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.”

    Darn, they’re good! They’ve DETECTED design in the physical nature of the universe and the Cambrian? How did they do that?
    Answer: They haven’t.

    >>>”No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence.”
    So if they don’t START with the presumption of ID, why is it called ID in the first place? And why is ID incompatible with the mechanisms of evolution? HOW exactly do we determine the difference between natural occurrences and designed ones? Forgive me, but it seems that like religion, they start with their answer (design) and attempt to reconcile it with reality.
    Answer: Their own Wedge Document says otherwise, and so did their ID “textbook” called “Of Pandas And People”, in which all references to “Creationists” were replaced with “Design Proponent”. Except this one time where it was replaced with “cdesign proponentsists”. A wonderful example of a transitional form, don’t you think?

    >>>”Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.”

    Well, surely that if they can detect evidence of ID, observe it in action, test for it, and make scientific predictions from it, then it must be natural then, yes? After all, we know that if something falls under the banner of “SUPER-natural” then it is un-scientific. Therefore, we should be able to have a pretty good idea of WHAT this “designer” actually IS, WHAT it DOES and what mechanism it uses, and quite possibly, WHEN it did whatever it did you think it did.
    Answer: IDer’s like to be coy and say “SOMEthing did it, SOMEwhere, SOMEhow, at SOMEtime”. Honest creationists cut the bull and cheerfully admit that “Goddidit”.

    >>>”Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he “agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement.” Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are “the easiest way to discredit intelligent design.” In other words, the charge that intelligent design is “creationism” is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.””

    Really? Do they have any evidence of this? And what’s all this talk of “Darwinists”? Again, why is ID incompatible with evolution? And WHAT are the “merits” of ID?
    Answer: No. Creationists think evolution is incompatible because of their religious beliefs that “they didn’t evolve from no monkey!” and there are no merits to ID. ID was shown to be Creationism in court. And the creationists lost, just like they lost EVERY OTHER court case they’ve been involved with.

    >>>“Is Intelligent Design a Scientific Theory
    Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI.”

    Well, surely all objects are “natural” in that respect. What examples can you give of something that is designed and something that isn’t? And how can we tell the difference? I imagine that would be pretty hard, since it is postulated that the “designer” created the universe after all. Therefore everything in it should show signs of “design”. But, what are they?
    Answer: We STILL don’t know yet…

    >>>”Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.”

    And what tests are those? And how do they quantify CSI in the process? Because it sounds like IC is just an argument against evolution. You know, “If evolution couldn’t have done it then GOD, uh, I mean the unidentified Intelligent Designer did it!”. Very much like creationism, yes?
    Answer: Yes.

    Feel free to give some alternate answers.

  227. Flying sardines

    Feel free to give some alternate answers.

    Uh … 42? ;-)

    The answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

    - ‘The Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy’, Douglas Adams.

    Well you did ask … ;-)

  228. Darth Robo

    Inquiring Minds

    >>>”This thread was started based on the results of the Texas State School Board requirements for science. There was nothing in there before that even mentioned ID nor was there any attempt to insert such language. Yet, the Evolution scientists (depending on your definition of evolution) came out in force to try to eliminate the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theory – something that Darth Robo described as redundant!! If it’s redundant then why such an uproar?”

    Because a good science class should already teach critical thinking and the scientific method. That’s how science works. So the language in that sense is redundant. But creationists want an excuse to teach religious apologetics and sow doubt over evolution where there is none. And the pro-science crowd wish to keep religious apologetics out of schools. Remember? We’ve already been through this. So if this is not about ID then why have you been arguing for it’s supposed validity?

    >>>”The current stated position of ID is “For the record, we do not propose that intelligent design should be mandated in public schools” ”

    Of course. That’s because they know ID is illegal to teach. They don’t like the idea of getting trounced in court. Again.

    >>>”It just seems clear that Evolutionists are simply paranoid of anyone raising ANY areas in evolutionary theory that aren’t complete. …and yes, I get it – to you it is.”

    Well, since it’s only those who oppose evolution on theological grounds who are attempting to push this “strengths and weaknesses” in and water-down the teaching of evolution, and they’ve been doing it for a decade (even going to court), and have tried to get this pushed in MANY states simultaneously? And any time we hear the supposed “weaknesses” of evolution they happen to be the same old long debunked creationist “arguments” that have nothing to do with science? And oh look – here you are, someone who ADMITS they don’t know much about evolution, yet still claims to be an evolution “skeptic”, and just by pure co-incidence I’m sure, happen to be an IDer. Gee, nothing to be “paranoid” about, is there? And you’re an engineer to boot – it’s always the engineers.
    :p

    >>>”I have learned much by looking at the web sites that you cited. Not that I agree with everything that was on them but it at least helped me understand where you are coming from. It seems that one’s perspective depends so much on one’s worldview and where they get their information.”

    And this is your problem. You think it all comes down to one’s “worldview”. Science however, doesn’t work that way.

  229. Darth Robo

    And after all this, we STILL don’t know: What IS the “scientific theory” of ID? WHO or WHAT is the “designer”? What EXACTLY did it do, and WHEN did it do it? What are the proposed MECHANISMS of ID? What useful SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS does it make? What OBSERVATIONS can be made in regards to ID? How does one TEST for ID? What PEER-REVIEWED scientific papers have been published to support ID? And, as you did state it could be disproven, how exactly can one go about FALSIFIYING ID?

  230. Darth Robo

    Oh, and uh, Inquiring Minds, those “peer-reviewed” papers you cited where (shock, horror, gasp) NOT scientifically-peer reviewed. The only “peer-review” they’ve gone through was by the IDer’s themselves. In fact, the first one you cited was the one that attempted to sneak through the peer-review process, as TheBlackCat has ALREADY talked about.

  231. José

    @InquiringMinds
    It’s always refreshing to find someone who one can have an honest debate.

    Make false accusations. Ask questions. Ignore/misrepresent answers. Dodge questions. Whine about people being mean. Ask a few more questions. Ignore/misrepresent more answers. Dodge more questions. Whine a little more about people being mean. Pretend you’ve taken the high road.

  232. TheBlackCat

    This thread was started based on the results of the Texas State School Board requirements for science. There was nothing in there before that even mentioned ID nor was there any attempt to insert such language. Yet, the Evolution scientists (depending on your definition of evolution) came out in force to try to eliminate the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theory – something that Darth Robo described as redundant!! If it’s redundant then why such an uproar?

    It is clear that you are either extremely dishonest or you have not read anything anyone else is writing. People have explained over and over again in this thread the problem with the strengths and weaknesses language.

    The current stated position of ID is “For the record, we do not propose that intelligent design should be mandated in public schools”

    They have also said the exact opposite, and are extremely supportive of anyone who attempts to do what they say there shouldn’t be done. They are two-faced liars, saying one thing at one point and the exact opposite at others. This is well-documented.

    It just seems clear that Evolutionists are simply paranoid of anyone raising ANY areas in evolutionary theory that aren’t complete. …and yes, I get it – to you it is.

    Another lie, a lie that we have corrected over and over and over again in this thread. But you are obviously either not listening or simply ignoring what is being said to you.

    By the way… Blackcat – thank you for your patience and respectful debate.

    Unfortunately I cannot say I share your sentiments.

    I am not a scientist or biologist, nor do I intend to be.

    As always, this doesn’t stop you from making uniformed and ultimately wrong pronouncements on biology.

    I’m perfectly happy with my current dayjob as an engineer.

    *sigh*, why is it always engineers. (I am an engineer myself, I might add)

    I am simply interested in my kids learning the full truth.

    No, you are interested in your kids, and everyone elses’ kids, being taught creationist lies. You have made this abundantly clear.

    I have learned much by looking at the web sites that you cited. Not that I agree with everything that was on them but it at least helped me understand where you are coming from.

    Didn’t you just say that you weren’t a biologist and that you had no intention of being one? Now you are saying you think you are qualified to counter what biologists are saying about their own field. Make up your mind. You readily admit you are not a biologist, do not understand biology, are not educated on the subject, yet you still think you are in a position to say that biologists are wrong on things you readily admit you know nothing about.

    Also, considering your ability to read the expelled exposed website and somehow come away believing they said the exact opposite of what they actually wrote I am not confident in your reading comprehension skills.

    It seems that one’s perspective depends so much on one’s worldview and where they get their information.

    It has nothing to do with your worldview, unless your worldview is “everything in the Bible is literally true”. People with a huge variety of worldviews, including the vast majority of Christians outside of the U.S., have no problem with evolution. It is only a problem for those who think a several thousand year old self-contradictory creation myth of cattle-sacrificing bronze-age nomads somehow trumps all scientific knowledge and evidence.

    In today’s world it’s easy to only get your news/information from those you tend to agree with.

    I get my information from the consensus of those who know what they are talking about. Those people happen to agree with me. You get your information from a tiny fringe group with a documented history of lies, misrepresentation, and the explicitly stated goal of destroying all science. Saying that this just comes down to a difference in who we get our information from is absurd.

    This is always the last-ditch effort of people when it becomes clear they can no longer stand up to the evidence they have been given. They always just dismiss the evidence as being based on a “different world views” or “different sources”. It is an admission that the person has nothing left, that all of their arguments have been thoroughly demolished, and all they have left is to dismiss the usefulness of evidence entirely. It is an admission that no matter how strong your evidence is, no matter how strong your arguments are, they will simply dismiss anything that conflicts with what they believe. It is projection, they conclude that because they are unable to deal with anything that contradicts their cherished beliefs, no one else can either. They cannot comprehend someone who honestly looks at the full range of evidence and draws an informed conclusion.

    It’s always refreshing to find someone who one can have an honest debate.

    I would love to have an honest debate with a creationist. Unfortunately it has never happened, and this thread is no exception.

  233. InquiringMinds

    Well, Blackcat, you seem to have now joined the others in simply trying to ridicule me instead of providing facts and evidence as you were originally (which I still thank you for by the way).

    You all insist you have provided me with evidence that by inserting the words “strenghths and weaknesses” into scientific standards for school students that the future of science in our country is threatened even while admitting that the essence of science is to evaluate strengths and weaknesses! In fact no one has offered a single shred of evidence that would show that by establishing science standards that require presenting strenghts and weaknesses is somehow a threat to science. It’s because it can’t be done. The language itself defines the essence of science as unbiased. However, according to you I’m just supposed to take your word for it that you’ve broken the secret code book of those backwards creationists hiding behind the ID theorists. Therefore you know what they really mean even if they aren’t saying it. Shhh, Not only that once they make this inroad then they will bust the door down and force religion down every kids throat! Give me a break!

    I do get that you are saying in this thread that there are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory. However, saying something has no weaknesses is saying that it is perfect and that there is nothing more to know about it. That is a stretch at best and I don’t need to be a biologist to see that. First, it depends on which evolutionary theory you are talking about. Second, given that evolutionary theroy is evolving, you cannot say that it is complete. ID may prove to be a key part of evolutionary theory one day. It is still a very young theory. It does not presuppose that the intelligent designer is God as so many of you seem to ‘know’.

    Some of you have questioned why I am bringing up intelligent design. I didn’t. That topic was already being discussed before I even joined the discussion.

    Many of you have called me a creationist. I have never called myself a creationist or even a advocate of intelligent design. Though I am open to the idea. Though for merely suggesting that intelligent design is an idea that merits exploring I have been called a liar, a whiner, uneducated, uninformed, and have even been maligned for being an engineer of all things! Oops there I go whining again. Only Blackcat has offered any outside evidence for any question I have asked and now he is apparantly out of evidence as well.

    This whole post is evidence enough for me that there is a concerted effort to suppress ID. This is much more convincing than the movie! You ridicule ID admitting you know nothing about it. I know much more about evolution now thanks to Blackcat however I have only questioned it – not attempted to discredit it.

    Depending on your definition of evolution, it can in fact coexist with ID. Microevolution is undisputed – it is undisputed because it is verifiable and has been observed and repeated. Macroevolution in the sense that all living creatures evolved from a single source has not – at least not yet. I haven’t stated whether I believe it or not – I simply want all the evidence presented.

    You all insist that I provide you with definitions and explanations when they can clearly be found very easily on reputable internet sites – yes even the ones that your web sites say are “discredited”. At the very least you would be getting it from the source and not misquoting the same thing over and over. If you would look at a few other sites, people, books, articles than the ones who simply try to discredit intelligent design you might learn the answers that you supposidly are seeking – However, it is clear that this is not something you are curious about.

  234. José

    @InquiringMinds
    However, saying something has no weaknesses is saying that it is perfect and that there is nothing more to know about it.

    Everyone acknowledges that our knowledge of evolutionary theory is not perfect. What we’re saying is things like supposed “gaps” in the fossil record are not weaknesses in evolutionary theory.

    ID may prove to be a key part of evolutionary theory one day.

    Maybe, but right now no one has produced any evidence to support it.

    It is still a very young theory.

    No it’s not. It’s a very old idea with a shiny new name for legal reasons. Give me one argument in support of ID that hasn’t always been trotted out in support of creation.

    Though for merely suggesting that intelligent design is an idea that merits exploring I have been called a liar, a whiner, uneducated, uninformed, and have even been maligned for being an engineer of all things!

    No. You’ve been called that because you’re a liar, a whiner, and uninformed. You’re a liar because you continue to intentionally misrepresent supporters of evolution. You’ve managed to stay uninformed despite people repeatedly informing you. And you’re a hypocritical whiner because you use these tactics and then have the gall to complain when people calling you out.

    This whole post is evidence enough for me that there is a concerted effort to suppress ID. This is much more convincing than the movie! You ridicule ID admitting you know nothing about it.

    Who’s admits we know nothing about it? We ridicule ID because we’ve heard every argument supporting it a thousand times, and there’s nothing of substance there. When we ask you or anyone else for evidence supporting ID it’s not because we don’t know about ID. It’s because we’re hoping in vain that someone will actually produce some evidence that supports it. In any case, we certainly know much more about ID than you do.

    If you would look at a few other sites, people, books, articles than the ones who simply try to discredit intelligent design you might learn the answers that you supposidly are seeking

    We have looked. It’s not there. If you think it is, stop being a baby and point it out. And don’t get upset at us if you just point out the same tired old crap we’ve already seen. It’s not our fault if no one can make a scientific argument in support of ID. It’s the fault of the people who support ID.

  235. Mark Hansen

    Quote:
    …However, according to you I’m just supposed to take your word for it that you’ve broken the secret code book of those backwards creationists hiding behind the ID theorists…

    Actually, Inquiring Minds, no one needed to break the “secret code book”. They left it in almost plain sight. Try researching “Of Pandas and People” and then tell us that there is no element of creationism behind ID.

  236. TheBlackCat

    Well, Blackcat, you seem to have now joined the others in simply trying to ridicule me instead of providing facts and evidence as you were originally (which I still thank you for by the way).

    I am not ridiculing you. I am pointing out a pattern of behavior that that you have demonstrated. I am a reasonable person, but I am not going to lie and say that I support your behavior. I gave you the benefit of the doubt for as long as I could, but you have made it abundantly clear that you are just as closed-minded and willfully ignorant as any of the hundreds of other creationists I have debated with over the last 7 or 8 years. If you don’t like that, then you should change your behavior or leave.

    I call things as I see them. If someone is behaving well, fine. If not, then I am going to point that out. Sorry, if you don’t like being criticized then you are on the wrong blog. I play fair, but I play tough as well.

    You all insist you have provided me with evidence that by inserting the words “strenghths and weaknesses” into scientific standards for school students that the future of science in our country is threatened even while admitting that the essence of science is to evaluate strengths and weaknesses! In fact no one has offered a single shred of evidence that would show that by establishing science standards that require presenting strenghts and weaknesses is somehow a threat to science. It’s because it can’t be done. The language itself defines the essence of science as unbiased. However, according to you I’m just supposed to take your word for it that you’ve broken the secret code book of those backwards creationists hiding behind the ID theorists. Therefore you know what they really mean even if they aren’t saying it. Shhh, Not only that once they make this inroad then they will bust the door down and force religion down every kids throat! Give me a break!

    This is not some secret code. As Darth Robo pointed out earlier in the thread, The Wedge Document by the Discovery Institute explicitly states this as the goal. But of course you never bothered to read the document. This is another example of your problem.

    But you don’t need to even go that far. All you really need to do is see what sort of “weaknesses” the school board members were proposing be taught. Every single one was creationist lies. They even brought in well known young-Earth creationists to discuss these supposed weaknesses. If you have people who explicitly state they think that creationist lies should be taught, and bring in creationists to tell those lies, then it leaves little room for guesswork. The fact that you don’t know this means, as I have stated before, that you are either intentionally being dishonest or have not bothered to educate yourself even the slightest bit on what is actually going on here.

    I do get that you are saying in this thread that there are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory. However, saying something has no weaknesses is saying that it is perfect and that there is nothing more to know about it.

    A blatant lie. Please show me where I have said anything even remotely similar to this.

    First you get upset because I am criticizing you, then you turn around and do the exact thing I was criticizing you for. A pointer: if you don’t want to be criticized, then fix the behavior that you are being criticized for. It as as easy as that.

    ID may prove to be a key part of evolutionary theory one day. It is still a very young theory.

    IT IS NOT A THEORY! How many times do we have to explain this to you before it sinks in?

    It does not presuppose that the intelligent designer is God as so many of you seem to ‘know’.

    Yes it does. In the Wedge Document the Discovery Institute lists its overriding goals as:

    To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
    To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

    The document also repeatedly states that it is a Christian organization. If you had actually read the stuff we told you to read like you claimed you did you would have known this already.

    Though for merely suggesting that intelligent design is an idea that merits exploring I have been called a liar, a whiner, uneducated, uninformed, and have even been maligned for being an engineer of all things!

    No, you were called a liar because you have lied. I already provided a specific example, which you have not contested. You were called a whiner for a very specific reason, one that has already been pointed out to you. You admitted yourself that you are uniformed. As for you being an engineer, there is a marked tendency for engineers to be creationists. They are not creationists anywhere near as often as average people, but they are creationists far more often than real scientists. I even pointed this out myself, and I am an engineer myself.

    Only Blackcat has offered any outside evidence for any question I have asked and now he is apparantly out of evidence as well.

    If you actually showed any indication that you are honestly interested in learning about the subject, then I would be happy to present thousands of more pieces of evidence. But you have not addressed a single piece of evidence I have presented, and based on your statement it seems clear you have barely glanced at it. I am not going to waste any more of my time on presenting evidence when you have shown no indication that you are even going to glance at it, not to mention take the time to understand it.

    This whole post is evidence enough for me that there is a concerted effort to suppress ID.

    WHAT!? Everyone here has been asking and asking and asking for someone, anyone to actually tell us what ID is, what it means, what its predictions are what evidence there is to back it up. Not a single person has provided anything. If we wanted to suppress ID, why are we trying so hard to find out what it is?

    You ridicule ID admitting you know nothing about it.

    Baloney. Many of us here know as much about it as can be known, and clearly we know far more about it that you do. The fact is the ID proponents themselves do not know what it is. We know as much as they do, though.

    I know much more about evolution now thanks to Blackcat however I have only questioned it – not attempted to discredit it.

    Another lie. You have repeatedly tried to discredit it. For instance saying that fossil evidence is not reliable, or that evolution is propping itself up by supressing dissent and that it must therefore have serious flaws.

    Depending on your definition of evolution, it can in fact coexist with ID. Microevolution is undisputed – it is undisputed because it is verifiable and has been observed and repeated. Macroevolution in the sense that all living creatures evolved from a single source has not – at least not yet. I haven’t stated whether I believe it or not – I simply want all the evidence presented.

    The evidence has been presented. The fact that you are still saying this proves once again that you have not actually looked at any of the evidence I have presented. It is clear that despite your claims that you have learned a lot about biology, you have learned nothing.

    You all insist that I provide you with definitions and explanations when they can clearly be found very easily on reputable internet sites – yes even the ones that your web sites say are “discredited”.

    Another lie. The leaders of the ID movement themselves have admitted that no such definitions or explanations exist.

    If you would look at a few other sites, people, books, articles than the ones who simply try to discredit intelligent design you might learn the answers that you supposidly are seeking – However, it is clear that this is not something you are curious about.

    More projection. Just because you have not taken the time to learn about the subject does not mean no one else here has.

  237. Darth Robo

    >>>”ID may prove to be a key part of evolutionary theory one day. It is still a very young theory. It does not presuppose that the intelligent designer is God as so many of you seem to ‘know’.”

    Really? What do YOU know about it then? Please share.

    >>>”I have never called myself a creationist or even a advocate of intelligent design.”

    So here you are advocating ID and you’re not an advocate. Gotcha.

    >>>”I have been called a liar, a whiner, uneducated, uninformed, and have even been maligned for being an engineer of all things!”

    You are certainly uninformed. A fact which you admitted yourself previously, but that still doesn’t stop you from sticking your fingers in your ears apparently. Sorry about the engineer thing, it’s a long-running joke that many ID supporters who show up on blogs and forums tend to be engineers.

    >>>”This whole post is evidence enough for me that there is a concerted effort to suppress ID. This is much more convincing than the movie!”

    And could you describe WHAT it is EXACTLY that we’re suppressing here? While we uh, talk about it OPENLY AND DIRECTLY here on a INTERNET BLOG IN PUBLIC?

    >>>”You ridicule ID admitting you know nothing about it.”

    Well so far, EVERYONE seems to know more than you about it. But yes, we know little of what the “scientific theory” of ID actually IS, because here we are trying to determine exactly WHAT it is. And you can’t tell us. Creationists can’t tell us. Even the IDer’s themselves can’t tell us. Heck, even one of it’s founders Phil Johnson has come right out and said that there IS NO THEORY OF ID!

    >>>”I know much more about evolution now thanks to Blackcat however I have only questioned it – not attempted to discredit it.
    Depending on your definition of evolution, it can in fact coexist with ID. Microevolution is undisputed – it is undisputed because it is verifiable and has been observed and repeated. Macroevolution in the sense that all living creatures evolved from a single source has not – at least not yet. I haven’t stated whether I believe it or not – I simply want all the evidence presented.”

    And here we go with the same old fundie nonsense about “micro” and “macro” evolution. And this is exactly the kind of tripe that fundies want taught under the “strengths and weaknesses” nonsense. Your incredulity does not make for valid science teaching. You’re proving our point for us.

    >>>”You all insist that I provide you with definitions and explanations when they can clearly be found very easily on reputable internet sites – yes even the ones that your web sites say are “discredited”. ”

    Then how come neither you or they can answer my questions? Remember, you quoted from their sites, you STILL claim those sites have some kind of validity, but you can’t back yourself up.

    >>>”At the very least you would be getting it from the source and not misquoting the same thing over and over. If you would look at a few other sites, people, books, articles than the ones who simply try to discredit intelligent design you might learn the answers that you supposidly are seeking – However, it is clear that this is not something you are curious about.”

    On the contrary, you don’t seem to be aware that many of us have been involved with debating evolution and ID at various places all over the net and have already seen all this ID material you present. You’re not the first one to link to ‘Expelled’ or ID central or whichever one you like. We’ve seen it all, and we keep asking the same questions. What IS the “scientific theory” of ID? WHO or WHAT is the “designer”? What EXACTLY did it do, and WHEN did it do it? What are the proposed MECHANISMS of ID? What useful SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS does it make? What OBSERVATIONS can be made in regards to ID? How does one TEST for ID? What PEER-REVIEWED scientific papers have been published to support ID? And, as you did state it could be disproven, how exactly can one go about FALSIFIYING ID?
    You do recall I asked these questions? You do recall that the “peer-reviewed papers” you quoted were addressed? You do also recall that you brought up the Meyer one AFTER you were told about the violation of the peer-review process? You do notice that your posts are addressed while you constantly avoid our points? We tell you why ID is creationism, and you simply deny it. We tell you why evolution works and you deny it. We tell you why the language is being used to take advantage of science teaching and you deny it. And all you tell us is that it’s all part of the “evil Darwinist evolutionist conspiracy to suppress”… well, we’ve tried to get you to tell us what it is that’s being suppressed, but you won’t tell us what it is. And you STILL claim it’s supposed to have some kind of validity.

    So by all means, carry on and ignore everything that everyone has said. Again. I’ll still be waiting for you to tell me what exactly is being “suppressed”.

  238. InquiringMinds

    You asked for evidence – references, etc…

    Since according to many of you I am not qualified to speak to this topic this is taken from:

    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/2/2009/03/31/title_38

    If you question any of the quotes taken out of context, look them up. The references are all there.

    …You can’t claim evolutionary relationships as a fact today, and then see it get blown to bits by new evidence and still claim it’s evidence for evolution tomorrow. I’m somehow reminded of the old adage about moving the target to make sure the arrow hits the bulls-eye. And, you have to do more than just show sequences – you have to show compelling evidence (not speculation) of relationships between critters. And there’s the rub, because it’s just not there. Even experts who expect it to be there find it nearly impossible to even imagine how they can fit a square peg of fossil evidence into a round hole of evolutionary conjecture.

    So here is just a sample of what I learned last summer. You can multiply these comments by the hundreds, but you’ll get the idea. Just go and read similar books by recognized paleontologists describing their unending speculative notions about evolutionary relationships. I guarantee it’ll be an eye-opener.

    And please, I don’t want to hear any whining about how this is just another example of “quote mining gone wild.” No, it’s not. It’s a small sampling of what many experts have been saying over the years, and what many of them continue to say today about the fossil evidence.

    So educators, beware of the huffing and bluffing of know-it-all folks like Ed Brayton who insist and bray that the only “rational” appreciation of the fossil evidence is an evolutionary one.

    I think any rational person who dives into an examination of the fossil evidence will came back to the surface with a new-found appreciation for just how unfounded such a claim really is.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    “In all major lineages, the earliest known members had already achieved the basic body plan of their living descendants. They differed in details, but most can be readily allied with their modern descendants . . . . Few fossils are yet known of plausible intermediates between the invertebrate phyla, and there is no evidence for the gradual evolution of the major features by which the individual phyla or classes are characterized.”

    Carroll, Robert in Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution. Cambridge University Press, (1997), p.4.

    “The introduction of a variety of organisms in the early Cambrian, including such complex forms of the arthropods as the trilobites, is surprising. … The introduction of abundant organisms in the record would not be so surprising if they were simple. Why should such complex organic forms be in rocks about six hundred million years old and be absent or unrecognized in the records of the preceding two billion years? If organisms evolved, it should have taken a long time for them to have developed into forms such as arthropods. Many suggestions have been made. They may have had soft bodies, structures that were not resistant enough to be preserved as fossils. As we will see, remarkably well-preserved records of soft-bodied Cambrian organisms are known in Alberta-animals that otherwise are not known through the geological record because they have so rarely been preserved. … If there has been evolution of life, the absence of the requisite fossils in the rocks older than the Cambrian is puzzling.”

    Kay, Marshall, and Edwin H. Colbert in Stratigraphy and Life History. John Wiley & Sons, New York, London, Sydney, NY (1965), p.102-103.

    “One might suppose that Darwin, like his modern intellectual descendants, saw in the fossil record a confirmation of his theory — the literal documentation of life’s evolution from the Cambrian to the present day. In fact, the two chapters devoted to geology in The Origin of Species are anything but celebratory. On the contrary, they constitute a carefully worded apology in which Darwin argues that evolution by natural selection is correct despite an evident lack of support from fossils. ”

    Knoll, Andrew H. in Life on a Young Planet. Princeton University Press, (2003), p.11.

    “Most paleontologists today give little thought to fossiliferous rocks older than the Cambrian, thus ignoring the most important missing link of all. Indeed the missing Pre-Cambrian record cannot properly be described as a link for it is in reality, about nine-tenths of the chain of life: the first nine-tenths.”

    Ladd, H.S. in Geological Society of America Memoir, Vol II. (1967), p.7.

    “Since there is considerable question as to just when plants did come from water onto land-estimated dates varying from early Cambrian to Silurian times-it is clear that no one actually knows much about the actual events. There is no tangible evidence whatsoever in the fossil record.

    Supposedly somewhere within the group called algae lay the sources of the higher plants, the vascular groups. Whatever these ancestors may have been, they seem to have been irrevocably lost in the vastness of time.”

    Olson, Everett C. in The Evolution of Life. The New American Library, New York and Toronto, (1965), p.160,161.

    “Ediacarian fossils provide the earliest evidence of metazoan life on Earth. All are impressions of soft-bodied organisms that lived in shallow seas over 600 million years ago, about 50 million years preceding the Cambrian. …At any rate, they shed little light on the question of which phyla were ancestral to other phyla, or if, indeed, animals have a common ancestry.”

    Pearse, V., J. Pearse, M. Bushsbaum, and R. Buchsbaum “Chapter Thirty: Animal Relationships” in Living Invertebrates. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Palo Alto, CA (1987), 2nd edition, p.764.

    “The known phyla of living animals…number well over 30, each with a characteristic body plan. …There are few convincing intermediate species that might serve as bridges between the phyla.”

    Pearse, V., J. Pearse, M. Bushsbaum, and R. Buchsbaum “Chapter Thirty: Animal Relationships” in Living Invertebrates. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Palo Alto, CA (1987), 2nd edition, p.753.

    “A record of pre-Cambrian animal life, it appears, simply does not exist. Why this lamentable blank? Various theories have been proposed; none is too satisfactory. It has been suggested, for example, that all the Pre-Cambrian sediments were deposited on continental areas, and the absence of fossils in them is due to the fact that all the older animals were sea-dwellers. But that all these older sediments were continental is a theory which opposes, without proof, everything we know of deposition in later times. Again, it is suggested that the Pre-Cambrian seas were poor in calcium carbonate, necessary for the production of preservable skeletons; but this is not supported by geochemical evidence. Yet again, it is argued that even though conditions were amenable to the formation of fossilizable skeletal parts, the various phyla only began to use these possibilities at the dawn of the Cambrian. But it is, a priori, hard to believe that the varied types present in the early Cambrian would all have, so to speak, decided to put on armour simultaneously. And, once again, it has been argued that the whole evolution of multicellular animals took place with great rapidity in late Pre-Cambrian times, so that a relatively short gap in rock deposition would account for the absence of any record of their rise. Perhaps; but the known evolutionary rate in most groups from the Cambrian on is a relatively leisurely one, and it is hard to convince oneself that a sudden major burst of evolutionary advance would be so promptly followed by a marked ‘slowdown’. All in all, there is no satisfactory answer to the Pre-Cambrian riddle.”

    Romer, A.S. in The Procession of Life. The World Publishing Co, Cleveland, OH (1968), p.19-20.

    “The models we consider are of three sorts: those that extrapolate processes of speciation to account for higher taxa via divergence, those that invoke selection among species, and those that emphasize that many higher taxa originated as novel lineages in their own right, not only as a consequence of species-level processes. It is in this latter class of model that we believe the record favors.” “… many of the large populations should have been preserved, yet we simply do not find them. Small populations are called for, then, but there are difficulties here also. The populations must remain small (and undetected) and evolve steadily and consistently toward the body plan that comprises the basis of a new phylum (or class). This is asking a lot. Deleterious mutations would tend to accumulate in small populations to form genetic loads that selection might not be able to handle. Stable intermediate adaptive modes cannot be invoked as a regular feature, since we are then again faced with the problem of just where their remains are. We might imagine vast arrays of such small populations fanning continually and incessantly into adaptive space. Vast arrays should have produced at least some fossil remains also. Perhaps an even greater difficulty is the requirement that these arrays of lineages change along a rather straight and true course — morphological side trips or detours of any frequency should lengthen the time of origin of higher taxa beyond what appears to be available. Why should an opportunistic, tinkering process set on such a course and hold it for so long successfully among so many lineages?”

    Valentine, J., and Erwin, D. “Interpreting Great Developmental Experiments: The Fossil Record” in Development as an Evolutionary Process, Raff, Rudolf A. and Elizabeth C. Raff, ed. Alan R. Liss, Inc., New York, NY (1985), p.71.

    “We conclude that the extrapolation of microevolutionary rates to explain the origin of new body plans is possible, but does not accord with the primary evidence.”

    Valentine, J., and Erwin, D. “Interpreting Great Developmental Experiments: The Fossil Record” in Development as an Evolutionary Process, Raff, Rudolf A. and Elizabeth C. Raff, ed. Alan R. Liss, Inc., New York, NY (1985), p.95.

    “It is certain that the multicellular animals, like the two other multicellular kingdoms, the Fungi and Plantae are the descendants of the unicellular (or acellular) eukaryote protists. But there the certainty ceases. Most of the animal phyla that are represented in the fossil record first appear, fully formed, in the Cambrian some 550 million years ago…The fossil record is therefore of no help with respect to the origin and early diversification of the various animal phyla.”

    Barnes, R.S.K., P. Calow, P.J.W. Olive, and D.W. Golding in The Invertebrates: A New Synthesis. University Press, Cambridge, (1993).

    “We must still address the phylogenetic origin of the molluscs themselves. The excellent fossil record of molluscs extends back some 500 million years and indicates that the origin of this phylum lies hidden in Precambrian history, and we may never know with much certainty what the first mollusc was like.”

    Brusca, Richard C. & Gary J. Brusca in Invertebrates. Academic Press, New York, NY (1990), p.764.

    “The origin of insect flight, like the origins of wings and flight in vertebrates, is a wonderful mystery yet to be completely solved. The basic problem is one of explaining the intermediate stages … The earliest known insect fossils include both winged and wingless types – but no intermediates or partly winged fossil forms have yet been found….”

    Brusca, Richard C. & Gary J. Brusca in Invertebrates. Academic Press, New York, NY (1990), p.562.

    “The fossil record of amphibians in the Lower Carboniferous is very incomplete and little is known of the specific interrelationships of the numerous lineages.”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.188.

    “The origin and relationships of salamanders and caecilian remain uncertain. The presence of pedicellate teeth in all three groups and the operculum-opercularis complex in frogs and salamanders suggest that the modern amphibian groups share a common ancestry from among the Paleozoic amphibians. However, no fossils are known that support this hypothesis, and all three groups may have evolved separately from distinct ancestral groups.”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.189.

    “The early amniotes [birds, reptiles, mammals] are sufficiently distinct from all Paleozoic amphibians that their specific ancestry has not been established.”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.198.

    “By the early Permian, pelycosaurs made up 70 per cent of the known amniote genera and had diversified into a number of distinct families. Unfortunately, remains from the Carboniferous, when these groups underwent initial differentiation, are still poorly known, and specific interrelationships of these families continue to be in dispute.”

    Carroll, Robert in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.364.

    “All birds that we know from the Cenozoic appear to share a common ancestry above the level of the toothed Hesperornithiformes and Ichthyornithiformes. The fossil record demonstrated that at least some of the modern orders had already differentiated by the end of the Mesozoic, but their remains are so incomplete that it is not possible to establish the common skeletal pattern from which they evolved or to establish their interrelationships (empahsis added).”

    Carroll, Robert in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.364.

    “Because of their great numbers and wide range of anatomical diversity, it is a monumental problem to establish phylogenetic relationships among the teleosts [ie, fish] (emphasis added)…

    No fossils are known of an immediate common ancestor that might have given rise to crossopterygians and Dipnoi…”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.113.

    “Despite extensive study of exceptionally well-preserved fossils of sarcopterygian fish near the beginning of their radiation in the Devonian, considerable controvery remains regarding their relationships.”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.153.

    “Olson (1962, 1974) described fossils from the early Upper Permian that have some features in common with therapsids, but their remains are too fragmentary to provide information regarding the transition between the two groups. ”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.369.

    “Unfortunately, the record of the immediate ancestors of mammals becomes less complete in the Upper Triassic. The trithelodonts provide only a tantalizing glimpse of small forms that may be derived from the chiniquodontids. The tritylodonts provide good evidence of the final stages in the evolution of the therapsids, but their highly specialized dentition indicates that they are not close to the ancestry of mammals.”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.392.

    On Captorhinomorphs…

    “Each of these derivative groups is already well differentiated when it first appears in the fossil record, and the specific times of their derivation has not been established.”

    Carroll, Robert “Evolution” in Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY (1988), p.202.

    “Every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I determine I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts.”

    Crick, Francis in Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature. Touchstone Book, published by Simon & Schuster, New York, NY (1981), p.153.

    “Unfortunately evidence of the crucial steps leading to the origin of insects have not yet been found in the fossil record. Wings have contributed more to the success of insects than any other anatomical structures, yet the historical origin of wings remains largely a mystery. The earliest insect fossils that have been discovered, from the Pennsylvanian Period, were already winged…Thus the body structures that developed into wings, the steps in the evolution, and the ecological circumstances that favored wings are debatable.”

    Daly, H.V., J.T. Doyen, and P.R. Ehrlich. in Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity. McGraw Hill, New York, NY (1978), p.274.

    “Some scientists say, just throw energy at it and it will happen spontaneously. That is a little bit like saying: put a stick of dynamite under the pile of bricks, and bang, you’ve got a house! Of course you won’t have a house, you’ll just have a mess. The difficulty in trying to explain the origin of life is in accounting for how the elaborate organisational structure of these complex molecules came into existence spontaneously from a random input of energy. How did these very specific complex molecules assemble themselves”

    Davies, Paul C.W. and Adams, Philip in More Big Questions. ABC Books, Sydney, (1998), p.53-54, 47-48.

    “It is easier to understand the stages by which the reptiles evolved temporal fenestrae and other distinguishing skeletal characters than to imagine the steps that led to the development of the `land egg.’ Paleontologists continue to speculate upon the way in which the enclosure of the embryo came about, however, because the matter is central to the broad question of reptilian origins. Study of the eggs laid by living reptiles has provided little insight into the evolution of the extraembryonic structures which gave protoreptiles their first advantage over other tetrapods. Rather than recapitulating the process of its evolution, the `land egg’ develops in a specialized manner derived, no doubt, by abbreviation and reordering of an earlier procedure. … All the extraembryonic membranes in the `land egg’ of a modern reptile must complete their formation normally if the embryo is to sustain itself. The yolk sac is of crucial importance, because nutritive materials from the yolk mass can enter the body only by passing through the vessels in its surface. The allantois also cannot fail: it serves as the respiratory organ for the embryo, since blood coursing through it loses carbon dioxide and receives oxygen by diffusion through the adjacent chorion and porous shell. In addition, its central cavity stores nitrogenous wastes produced by the actively metabolizing, embryonic cells. Blood reentering the embryo from the allantoic vessels restores to the body water that has been resorbed from the excreted waste and also adds some that passes into the egg from the environmental air. The exterior of the embryo is kept wet by a liquid that accumulates within the amnion. Unlike pond water, to which it is often compared, the amniotic fluid does not act as an oxygen-bearing medium for the embryo. It is an adaptation for protecting the developing, animal against shock and for preventing it from resting against the membranes in the shell and sticking to them. Despite the difficulty of explaining how the embryo might have been served while the “land egg” was evolving to its present state, Szarski has suggested a series of steps by which the reptilian structure may have arisen.”

    Stahl, Barbara J. “The Rise and Fall of the Reptiles” in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution. Dover, New York, NY (1985), 2nd edition, p.269-270.

    “Paleontologists are quite certain of the relationship between the rhipidistians and the amphibians even though they have not discovered the animals intermediate between the finned and limbed forms . The remains of the oldest tetrapods in their collections leave no doubt about the derivation of the axial skeleton from fishes of the rhipidistian group. Since the fossil material provides no evidence of other aspects of the transformation from fish to tetrapod, paleontologists have had to speculate how legs and aerial breathing evolved and why a group of fishes produced forms that habituated themselves little by little to life on land.”

    Stahl, Barbara J. in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution. Dover, New York, NY (1985), 2nd edition, p.194-195.

    “The lack of fossil specimens intermediate between anurans or urodeles and the older amphibians has forced paleontologists and students of the living animals to base their speculations about the evolution of the group upon evidence from the anatomy and embryology of modern species. This approach has presented difficulties that have so far proved insurmountable . The structure of the existing amphibians is so specialized that the more generalized condition from which it derived is almost completely obscured.”

    Stahl, Barbara J. in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution. Dover, New York, NY (1985), 2nd edition, p.240-241.

    “If sufficient fossil material were available, paleontologists think that the turtles would be traceable…almost directly to the early cotylosaurs. Because turtles enter the record in a nearly modern state in the Triassic period, the supposition rests on inferences from the anatomy of their skull rather than on evidence of known transitional forms.”

    Stahl, Barbara J. in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution. Dover, New York, NY (1985), 2nd edition, p.284-285.

    “…frogs and toads…have been found as fossils, but known extinct forms are essentially modern in structure and give no hint of the older amphibians from which they have descended.”

    Stahl, Barbara J. in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution. Dover, New York, NY (1985), 2nd edition, p.240.

    “The great diversity of these opinions reflects their largely subjective nature. Individual viewpoints often reveal idealogical, philosophical, or religious biases more than they express objective appraisals, for the simple reason that not enough elements are available for objective analysis.”

    de Duve, Christian “Chance or Necessity” in Blueprint for a Cell: The Nature and Origin of Life. Neil Patterson Publishers, Burlington, NC (1991), 1st edition, p.212.

    “Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record. … That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin. Darwin himself, … prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search … One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserly fossil record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.

    The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor’s new clothes: everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it. Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin’s predicted pattern, simply looked the other way.”

    Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982)
    The Myths of Human Evolution
    Columbia University Press, p. 45-46

    “The gaps in the fossil record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods; species seldom and genera never show evolution into new species or genera but replacement of one by another, and change is more or less abrupt.”

    Wesson, R.
    Beyond Natural Selection
    MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1991) p.45

  239. InquiringMinds

    For the truth about the “Wedge document” including a debunking of the lies that have been spread about it see the following…

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=349

  240. @InquiringMinds
    You can’t claim evolutionary relationships as a fact today, and then see it get blown to bits by new evidence and still claim it’s evidence for evolution tomorrow.

    How exactly does the information cited argue against evolution?

    And please, I don’t want to hear any whining about how this is just another example of “quote mining gone wild.”

    So it’s not quote mining because the author says so? Nice.

  241. Darth Robo

    I’ll take a look at your long post later, but let’s quickly deal with this bit:

    >>>”For the truth about the “Wedge document” including a debunking of the lies that have been spread about it see the following…”

    Ah, yes, the part where they say “So what?”. And you eat it up. They claim they are fighting against “scientific materialism”. How may I ask, do they intend to look at scientific IMmaterialism?

    And there’s that part in the Wedge Doc about “defending a traditional doctrine of faith”. What “doctrine of faith” were they talking about and why does it need “defending”? After all, this is supposed to be a SCIENTIFIC discussion, right?

  242. AWOL

    Creationists?

    Scientific!?!

    Never!

  243. AWOL

    José Says:
    (March 31st, 2009 at 7:49 am)

    @InquiringMinds: “It’s always refreshing to find someone who one can have an honest debate.”

    Make false accusations. Ask questions. Ignore/misrepresent answers. Dodge questions. Whine about people being mean. Ask a few more questions. Ignore/misrepresent more answers. Dodge more questions. Whine a little more about people being mean. Pretend you’ve taken the high road.

    Yeah, I think he’s (?) done all that.
    Creationist identification checklist ticked. ;-)

  244. BeinSilly

    Try researching “Of Pandas and People” …

    But “pandas” = slang term for police ( @ least in Oz) & the police *are*
    still people aren’t they? ;-)

    .. Although, yeah, I sometimes have my doubts of that! ;-)

  245. BeinSilly

    No I haven’t read that piece of $#@!!$%^$#!! book yet. Why do you ask? ;-)

  246. BeinSilly

    Have heard about it but. ;-)

  247. InquiringMinds

    Darth Robo Says: And there’s that part in the Wedge Doc about “defending a traditional doctrine of faith”.

    I have done a word search on the document (in addition to reading it) and cannot find that phrase. Were you looking at the link that I posted? Could you tell me what page you found it on?

  248. Todd W.

    @InquiringMinds

    Here is the “Wedge” document text, where faith is most certainly mentioned: ncseweb.org/creationism/general/wedge-document
    And another link to the text: geocities.com/capecanaveral/hangar/2437/wedge.html
    And here: antievolution.org/features/wedge.html

    Here are some quotes:
    “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”
    “We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence’s that support the faith, as well as to “popularize” our ideas in the broader culture.”

    By the way, those quotes can be found in the version you linked to, as well.

  249. Nick

    I have been studying evolution concepts for over 10 years, evolution is a hypothesis, arguably not even a theory. As a professional engineer who studies geology and has an analytical mind, i can point to much scientific evidence that indicates evolution is not proven and relies on too much circular logic or selective data recognition. Children should not be forced to study one hypothesis and not others (ie intelligent design).

    http://creation.com/horseshoe-crabs-invented-themselves

  250. InquiringMinds

    @Todd – The phrase that Darth Robo ‘quotes’ is not in the document at all. The word faith is mentioned one time in the ‘Wedge Document’ unless you count the two other times where it appears as part of a title of a publication that is simply referenced to describe one of the places that papers had appeared.

    The one time it is mentioned simply addresses the fact that the results of the theory of ID would most naturally appeal to the Christian faith.

    The other links you provide do in fact show the Wedge document but what exactly is the point. I had already provided a link to the original source. Interestingly they are all on sites that also try to discredit the Discovery Institute and the Wedge Document.

  251. Did you REALLY read it, IM? Click my name for Wiki link to look at the doc in any format you wish. There is even a PDF scan of the original. I was quoting the phrase from memory, pardon me, I was in a rush at the time. So here are some of the money quotes:

    >>>”FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN SUMMARY

    The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a “wedge” that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the “thin edge of the wedge,” was Phillip ]ohnson’s critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe’s highly successful Darwin’s Black Box followed Johnson’s work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

    >>>”Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Chnstians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence’s that support the faith, as well as to “popularize” our ideas in the broader culture.”

    >>>”We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula. The attention, publicity, and influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready. With an added emphasis to the social sciences and humanities, we will begin to address the specific social consequences of materialism and the Darwinist theory that supports it in the sciences.”

    >>>”Governing Goals

    * To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
    * To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.”

    >>>”FIVE YEAR OBJECTIVES

    5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:

    * Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism
    *MAJOR CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION(S) DEFEND(S) TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF CREATION & REPUDIATE(S)
    * Darwinism Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate naturalistic presuppositions
    * Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and BELIEF IN GOD”

    (emphasis mine)

    So uh, what IS the theory of ID? What about the goals laid down by the Wedge Document? What is this “traditional Christian doctrine of creation” and why does it need “defending”?

    Or are you (like the DI) just gonna shrug your shoulders and say “So what”?

  252. Nick:

    >>>”I have been studying evolution concepts for over 10 years, evolution is a hypothesis, arguably not even a theory. As a professional engineer who studies geology and has an analytical mind, i can point to much scientific evidence that indicates evolution is not proven and relies on too much circular logic or selective data recognition. Children should not be forced to study one hypothesis and not others (ie intelligent design).”

    So your an ENGINEER who has NO knowledge of biology, yet you still think you can critique it? And then you link to a site whose “scientific alternative” is… GODDIDIT.

    Hey, IM! What I tell ya? He’s an ENGINEER!
    ;)

  253. >>”We don’t wanna teach IDCreationism, we only wanna teach the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ of evolution!”

    O rly? And what “strengths and weaknesses” are those?

    (InquiringMinds and other creo friends then look for nearest creationist web link)

    >>”Look! Here they are!”

    HELLO?!? (thump, thump, thump) This thing on?

  254. Mark Hansen

    Inquiring Minds, did you miss the bit about “Of Pandas and People”? You claim that creationists aren’t behind ID yet they left their fingerprints in it. Try searching for “cdesign proponentsists” instead.

  255. Ooh, this is interesting. From ARN, InquiringMinds website of “useful” info on ID:

    >>>”Texas board comes down on 2 sides of creationism debate”

    Um, CREATIONISM debate? Texas?

    (click my name for linky)

  256. InquiringMinds:

    >>>”Some of you have questioned why I am bringing up intelligent design. I didn’t. That topic was already being discussed before I even joined the discussion.

    Many of you have called me a creationist. I have never called myself a creationist or even a advocate of intelligent design.”

    And just to note, you mentioned it in your second post (after your very brief first one) and have been advocating the same tired 40 year old long debunked creationist nonsense ever since. All the while avoiding discussing what should be at the very core of what you think is being “suppressed” – the “science” of ID.

  257. InquiringMinds

    @Darth Robo: Yes, I brought ID up in my second post – I was commenting on what was already being discussed because it was relevant to the discussion. ID is relevant to this discussion because there is an alternative legitimate theory to evolution which is why when teaching evolution in public schools, it should not be taught as if it were the only possible explanation for the existence of the world as we know it today. Since evolution has the benefit of 150 years of research and ID has really only recently become a cohesive theory I agree that only evolution should be taught in public schools however ID has become enough of a valid and useful theory to be accepted as a legitimate topic of research at any university. Scientists that are interested in advancing ID are simply recognizing that there is more than evolution and are fighting to ensure that yet another generation is not taught that evolution is complete so don’t bother questioning it further and please don’t actually think for yourself about it! Just accept what your teacher or professor says.

    The “science” of ID is the same as the “science” of evolution. It’s taking the same data and observing/evaluating it with a broader perspective (as described below). Here is a much more complete explanation than I could give you from newworldencyclopedia.org. This is the only web site I have found so far that fairly gives both sides of the argument.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    In The Design Inference (1998), mathematician and philosopher William A. Dembski formalized, quantified, and generalized the logic of design inferences. According to Dembski, people infer design by using what he calls an Explanatory Filter. He wrote: “Whenever explaining an event, we must choose from three competing modes of explanation. These are regularity [i.e., natural law], chance, and design.” When attempting to explain something, “regularities are always the first line of defense. If we can explain by means of a regularity, chance and design are automatically precluded. Similarly, chance is always the second line of defense. If we can’t explain by means of a regularity, but we can explain by means of chance, then design is automatically precluded. There is thus an order of priority to explanation. Within this order regularity has top priority, chance second, and design last.” According to Dembski, the Explanatory Filter “formalizes what we have been doing right along when we recognize intelligent agents.”[24]

    Of course, different aspects of the same thing can be due to different causes. For example, an abandoned car will rust according to natural laws, though the actual pattern of rust may be due to chance. Yet, the car itself was designed. So regularity, chance, and design, though competing, can also be complementary.

    When inferring design, ruling out regularity is the easiest step. Ruling out chance is more difficult, since mere improbability (i.e., complexity) is not sufficient to infer design. Something that is complex could easily be due to chance. For example, if several dozen letters of the alphabet were randomly lined up, it would not be surprising to find a two-letter word such as “it” somewhere in the lineup. A two-letter word is not improbable enough to rule out chance. So, how complex must something be? Dembski sets a quantitative limit on what chance could conceivably accomplish with his universal probability bound. The total number of events throughout cosmic history cannot possibly exceed the number of elementary particles in the universe (about 10 to the 80) times the number of seconds since the Big Bang (much less than 10 to the 25) times the maximum rate of transitions from one physical state to another (about 10 to the 45, based on the Planck time). Thus, the total number of state changes in all elementary particles since the Big Bang cannot exceed 10 to the 150, and anything with a probability of less than 10 to the 150 cannot be due to chance.

    In practice, however, the universal probability bound is not always useful, so Dembski introduces another criterion, specificity, or conformity to an independently given pattern. For example, if we see twenty-eight letters and spaces lined up in the sequence WDLMNLT DTJBKWIRZREZLMQC O P we would not infer design, even though the exact sequence is highly improbable (and thus complex). But if we see twenty-eight letters and spaces lined up in the sequence METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL, we would immediately infer design, because the sequence conforms to an independently given pattern (namely, a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet). So in order to infer design, the Explanatory Filter requires answering “Yes” to all three of the following questions: Is the feature contingent (i.e.. not due to natural law or regularity)? Is the feature complex (i.e., highly improbable)? And is the feature specified (i.e., does it conform to an independently given pattern)?

    The hallmark of design is thus specified complexity. According to Dembski, it is our universal human experience that whenever we encounter specified complexity it is a product of an intelligent agent (though the agent need not be supernatural). If specified complexity can be found in nature, then it, too, must be due to intelligent agency. As Dembski put it in The Design Revolution (2004): “The fundamental claim of intelligent design is straightforward and easily intelligible: namely, there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence.”

    Irreducible complexity and specified complexity are not the only ways to formulate a design inference. According to philosopher Paul Thagard: “Inference to a scientific theory is not only a matter of the relation of the theory to the evidence, but must also take into account the relation of competing theories to the evidence. Inference is a matter of choosing among alternative theories, and we choose according to which one provides the best explanation.”

    Geologist and philosopher of science Stephen C. Meyer uses this “inference to the best explanation” approach to supplement the Explanatory Filter. According to Meyer, the subunits of DNA are like a four-letter alphabet carrying information “just like meaningful English sentences or functional lines of code in computer software.” This information cannot be reduced to the laws of chemistry and physics. In 2003, Meyer wrote: “The information contained in an English sentence or computer software does not derive from the chemistry of the ink or the physics of magnetism, but from a source extrinsic to physics and chemistry altogether. Indeed, in both cases, the message transcends the properties of the medium. The information in DNA also transcends the properties of its material medium.” So biological information is not due to natural laws or regularities.[28]

    Since a typical gene contains hundreds of such subunits, and organisms contain hundreds of genes, the information carried in an organism’s DNA is extremely complex. Furthermore, a living cell needs not just any DNA, but DNA that encodes functional proteins. To be functional, a protein must have a very specific sequence, so the information in DNA is not only contingent and complex, but also specified.

    Historical science typically relies on a uniformitarian appeal to causes that can be observed in the present to explain events in the past. Following this line of reasoning, Meyer formulated a scientific inference to the best explanation for the origin of information in DNA. “We know from experience,” he wrote, “that conscious intelligent agents can create informational sequences and systems.” Since “we know that intelligent agents do produce large amounts of information, and since all known natural processes do not (or cannot), we can infer design as the best explanation of the origin of information in the cell.”[29]

    “Inferences to the best explanation,” according to Meyer, “do not assert the adequacy of one causal explanation merely on the basis of the inadequacy of some other causal explanation. Instead, they compare the explanatory power of many competing hypotheses to determine which hypothesis would, if true, provide the best explanation for some set of relevant data.”

    The principal hypothesis competing with ID to explain the origin of biological information is that the molecular subunits of DNA self-assembled to form primitive cells. Yet, although scientists have shown that some of the molecular building-blocks of DNA, RNA, and protein can form under natural conditions, without pre-existing cells or intelligent design those building-blocks do not spontaneously assemble into large information-carrying molecules. Since the only cause known to be capable in the present of producing such molecules outside of living cells is intelligent design, Meyer argues that it is reasonable to infer that an intelligence acted somehow in the past to produce the existing information-rich sequences in living cells.

    In 2004, Meyer published an article in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington titled “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.” Arguing that the origin of major animal body plans in the Cambrian explosion required an enormous increase in complex specified information, Meyer wrote: “Analysis of the problem of the origin of biological information… exposes a deficiency in the causal powers of natural selection that corresponds precisely to powers that agents are uniquely known to possess. Intelligent agents have foresight. Such agents can select functional goals before they exist.” Intelligent design theorists “are not positing an arbitrary explanatory element unmotivated by a consideration of the evidence. Instead, they are positing an entity possessing precisely the attributes and causal powers that the phenomenon in question requires.”

    ….

    Although most ID arguments currently focus on design in living things, some focus on design in the cosmos. In The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (2004), astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and philosopher Jay W. Richards argued that the universe and our place in it are designed not only for life, but also for science.

    The authors reiterate a point made by others—that over a dozen universal constants (including the strength of gravity, the strength of the electromagnetic force, and the ratio of the masses of the proton and electron) are remarkably fine-tuned for life. If any of these constants were even slightly different, the universe would be uninhabitable. Gonzalez and Richards also point out that the Milky Way is just the right kind of galaxy to support life, and our solar system is situated in a relatively narrow “galactic habitable zone” in the Milky Way that minimizes threats from dangerous radiation and comet impacts, and also ensures the availability of heavy elements needed to form large rocky planets.

    Our Sun is just the right size and has the necessary stability to support life. Unlike the other planets in our solar system, the Earth is in a “circumstellar habitable zone” that permits moderate temperatures and liquid surface water. Furthermore, the Earth is just the right size to hold an atmosphere, consist of dry land as well as oceans, and produce a protective magnetic field. Finally, the Moon is just the right size and distance from the Earth to stabilize the tilt of the latter and thereby prevent wild fluctuations in temperature. It also helps to generate tides that mix nutrients from the land with the oceans.

    Not only is the Earth especially suited for life, but it is also well situated for scientific discovery. Because the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, it is relatively flat, so that from our vantage point midway from its center to its edge we can enjoy clear views of distant galaxies and the subtle cosmic background microwave radiation that provided evidence for the Big Bang. Our solar system is also well suited to scientific discovery. The simple near-circular orbits of the planets, and the large Moon orbiting the Earth, have guided scientists to an accurate understanding of gravity.

    The same parameters also make possible total solar eclipses, which have played a crucial role in astronomy. During a total solar eclipse the Moon exactly covers the face of the Sun, leaving only its tenuous outer atmosphere visible from the Earth. Studying that outer atmosphere has enabled astronomers to make discoveries about the composition of the Sun and other stars. Total solar eclipses have also provided tests of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. If the Moon were smaller or larger, or closer or farther away, such discoveries and tests would have been delayed, perhaps indefinitely. To Gonzalez and Richards, it seems as though the size and orbit of the Moon were tailor-made for science.

    So the most habitable places in the universe are also the best places to make scientific discoveries about it. According to Gonzalez and Richards: “There’s no obvious reason to assume that the very same rare properties that allow for our existence would also provide the best overall setting to make discoveries about the world around us. We don’t think this is merely coincidental. It cries out for another explanation, an explanation that suggests there’s more to the cosmos than we have been willing to entertain or even imagine.” They conclude that the correlation between the factors needed for complex life and the factors needed to do science “forms a meaningful pattern” that “points to purpose and intelligent design in the cosmos.”

    From: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Intelligent_design

  258. Darth Robo

    Your link (to Sun Myung Moon’s wiki site – good call by the way) is a really long winded rehash of argument from incredulity – “Wow, it’s so complex! It MUST be designed!” with no way to measure “complexity”

    argument from analogy – “It’s LIKE a computer program/machine!” and “Complex Specified Information!” which we still don’t know what CSI is or how to quantify it,

    and argument against evolution – “Irreducible Complexity!” of which nothing has shown to be irreducibly complex anyway. BUT ID should stand on it’s own merits. And it too references Meyer’s paper which was NOT peer-reviewed. Remember that one we’ve told you about already about five times over or something?

    And after all this, we STILL don’t know: What IS the “scientific theory” of ID? WHO or WHAT is the “designer”? What EXACTLY did it do, and WHEN did it do it? What are the proposed MECHANISMS of ID? What useful SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS does it make? What OBSERVATIONS can be made in regards to ID? How does one TEST for ID? And, as you did state it could be disproven, how exactly can one go about FALSIFIYING ID?

    But like every other dishonest fundie, you’re just gonna ignore these points again, aren’t you? THIS is why creationism is not taken seriously. It is completely vaccuous and devoid of all merit. When they’re shown to be wrong, they ignore it. When people refuse to take them seriously, they pull out the fundie martyr card and cry. Yes I know you’ll claim again that IDCreationism is being “suppressed”, but then, you can’t even tell us what it is exactly that is being “suppressed”. Instead you repost the same old apologetics which has been done to death, tima and again, as surely you must realise by know since many of us here have been through it a million times before. They brought the same stuff to court, and unsurprisingly, they got beat there too. But you still go to any creo site you can find and gullibly swallow up anything you can find, because you’ve already made up your mind that evolution is not a fact because it conflicts with your theological beliefs.

    What the creationists are doing is immoral, and illegal. They have no science to back themselves up because they’re not INTERESTED in science. For them, this is nothing to do with science education. It never was. Your theological beliefs have nothing to do with science and have no place in public schools. Sorry if you don’t like it.

  259. Todd W.

    Hahahaha. I love the comparison between the group of “nonsense” letters and the line from Shakespeare. The only reason one would infer design in the latter is because it is recognizable as a series of grouped letters with arbitrarily assigned meanings that we call “English”.

    ldr m kdn ghjclsmgf
    apd;g kweiofuhm slskfjr
    ajdpl9 wx tkhnq 5′;fmsk

    Question. Which line(s) of the preceding lines was/were typed with each letter specifically chosen by me, and which line(s) was/were typed with my eyes closed and keys poked at random by single fingers (i.e., no touch-typing)?

    I’ll post the answer in a separate post later (if I remember to do so).

  260. Todd W.

    What? No IDers have figured out which of my lines of characters were intelligently designed and which were typed at random?

    Fine. The answer is: the first two lines were typed at random, eyes closed, index-finger poking at the keyboard. The third line was purposely typed, eyes open, looking at the keyboard and selecting which letters I wanted.

  261. Mark Hansen

    Obviously Inquiring Minds doesn’t consider that his snide “secret code book of the creationists” reference, which turned out to be wrong, to be worthy of reply. A standard creationist, I’m sorry, cdesign proponentsists tactic of avoidance when caught out.

    The most habitable place that we know of would be the best place to make scientific discoveries, genius, because it has lifeforms capable of making discoveries, as opposed to a lifeless planet which doesn’t. Common sense, not intelligent design.

  262. InquiringMinds

    As I’ve said before, you have to actually be looking for the answer to get it. And, also as I’ve said before, it’s obvious no-one on this thread is actually trying to understand the ID perspective. That’s why you don’t get it. It’s not because you haven’t been given the answers – I’ve given you full, complete answers numerous times yet you simply dismiss them rather than even consider them.

    To you, the only thing that exists is the simple physical world around you. To you, thought, reason, intellect, conscience, mind, soul, love, hate (those things which make up ethics) do not exist in the phisical world therefore they are defined as having no part in science. They therefore must be isolated from any ‘real scientific inquiry’. Have you considered the implications of this?

    For you to keep regurgitating that I am advocating creationism is a flat out lie. I have been solely discussing ID which is plainly obvious. You have chosen to believe that ID and creationism are equivilant. And how have you come to believe that? Interestingly enough by ‘inferring’ that the results of creationism and ID are the same – incorrectly by the way. The Wedge document makes the goals of ID absolutly clear. Yes, they are no doubt similar, but they do not have the same methods or end goal. The goal of Creationism is to simply force scientific discovery to fit with the biblical account of creation. The goal of ID as stated very publically in the wedge document over ten years ago is to rebroaden science to include ethics. You see the word Christianity or religion in the document and therefore jump to the conclusion that it must be about God.

    No doubt you have read what I’ve written here and the wedge document and many other things but you do not read them with an aim to understand them, your only aim is to refute them. That is why you cannot understand them. If you read the link I gave to the wedge document it has commentary at the beginning which explains it in more detail for those who misunderstood it and misused it when it was first published.

    It’s ironic that you can be so certain that you can ‘read between the lines’ and infer something (read-design) in peoples words yet you find it so unreasonable to consider the obvious design in the natural world.

  263. The goal of ID as stated very publically in the wedge document over ten years ago is to rebroaden science to include ethics.

    Science includes ethics.

    Scientific studies must be conducted ethically. Scientists must not lie when presenting their data (especially if they have none). Scientists must not mislabel a conclusion drawn from a lack of data as anything other than an opinion. Scientists must respect the valid scientific work of others and hold their own work to the same standards. Scientists must not pass off unproven, unsupported, illogical claims as valid theories and demand they be given the same status as proven, supported by evidence, logical theories that can be tested. Etc.

    Get it?

    To you, thought, reason, intellect, conscience, mind, soul, love, hate (those things which make up ethics) do not exist in the phisical world therefore they are defined as having no part in science.
    WTF are you on about? Neurologists and psychologists study the brain’s functions quite seriously. Thought, consciousness, emotions…these are ripe for scientific analysis, because they are the product of physical processes going on in the brain, processes that can be isolated (with difficulty, so far) and measured (ditto). Just because you know nothing of a subject does not mean everybody else is as ignorant. Kriminy, Discover magazine — host of this blog — has a big issue on the brain about every six months. Try reading it.

    And BTW, how exactly does that list equate to “ethics”? Ethics is a system of beliefs and standards we humans invented (and reinvent rather frequently) in order to help us lead better lives together. “Ethics” are studied in philosophy classes and civics courses and law seminars and political science symposia. (And only rarely in business schools.) So what on earth are you blathering about?

  264. InquiringMinds

    kuhnigget says:”Science includes ethics.”

    and…

    “Ethics is a system of beliefs and standards we humans invented (and reinvent rather frequently)”

    So, therefore you are saying that Science includes beliefs. Sounds like superstition to me. :)

    How can they be called ethics if they are ‘reinvented rather frequently’? If they are frequently reinvented of what use are they? If you don’t like the rules you just change them so having them in the first place is pointless and equates to having none at all.

    That is what you are left with when you go down the road of evolution – no ethics. That is the why the goal of ID is to reinsert ethics into science.

  265. Mark Hansen

    Oh yes, ID = ethics. When it’s propenentsists lie and distort. And ignore what they don’t like facing. Very ethical.

  266. @ inquiringminds:

    So, therefore you are saying that Science includes beliefs. Sounds like superstition to me.

    No, I’m saying scientists have ethics. Science is a process. It can no more be ethical than a baseball can be angry.

    Honestly, you cannot be that stupid.

    How can they be called ethics if they are ‘reinvented rather frequently’? If they are frequently reinvented of what use are they? If you don’t like the rules you just change them so having them in the first place is pointless and equates to having none at all.

    The number of times that our ethical standards have changed over the years is too numerous to count. That in no way affects the usefulness of those standards. What is deemed “good” and “proper” in one era is frequently seen as not good and improper in another. Tell me, amigo, when’s the last time you sacrificed a human being before the altar of God? I’ll make it easier for you: When’s the last time you slit the throat of a lamb before the altar of God?

    Get it?

    That is what you are left with when you go down the road of evolution – no ethics.

    Please explain how A leads to B in that sentence. Your logic is elusive.

  267. IVAN3MAN

    Gordon Bennett! I didn’t realize this thread was still active until now!

    Dr. Phil Plait ought to seriously consider limiting commenters’ posts to a maximum of 3000 characters.

  268. Petrolonfire

    “It can no more be ethical than a baseball can be angry. ”

    Being contrary here, but I’ve seen a few angry baseballs in my time! Struck out to more’n a few too. ;-)

  269. Petrolonfire

    “Tell me, amigo, when’s the last time you sacrificed a human being before the altar of God? ”

    The scary thing is, perhaps he’ll say last night! ;-)

    (Joking .. I think!)

    If he does we should tell the police ..

    On a more grimly serious note; many people *are* still dying and killing for their faith today -at the same time in the case of suicide-homicide bombers. :-( (Israelis it must be noted are murdering for their religion too.)

    Religion incites hatred and murder no doubt of that.

  270. InquiringMinds

    kuhnigget says: “Science is a process. It can no more be ethical than a baseball can be angry.”

    You said earlier that science includes ethics. Now you say sience is a process and therefore has nothing to do with ethics. And you call me elusive?

    Evolution presupposes that our existence is a mere coincidence as in not planned. The clear implication of that is that humans have no greater value or meaning than any other living thing on the plannet or for that matter no value or purpose at all. This results in significant philosophical implications. Some of which could be that the life of a person is of no greater value than the life of an ant or even a single cell, therefore no value judgements can be made at all therefore making it no less moral to kill a person than to kill an ant. Conversly, the opposite position could be made that higher forms of life are of greater value than lower forms of life since they are further along in the evolutionary process. Taken to the extreme you have Hitler’s Germany where supposed inferior life forms were killed to help the evolutionary process along to create an even greater race. I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU ARE ON THE SAME LEVEL AS HIM. Don’t misunderstand me here, but the implications of science are where ethics do become important. The presuppositions that are necessary to create the theory of evolution have been responsible for the devaluing of life itself from the killing of unborn babies to teens disposing of newborns in the trash to euthanizing the elderly or terminally ill. These are real implications that have their direct roots in evolution.

  271. Petrolonfire

    @ Inquiring Minds :

    “For you to keep regurgitating that I am advocating creationism is a flat out lie. I have been solely discussing ID which is plainly obvious. You have chosen to believe that ID and creationism are equivilant. And how have you come to believe that?”

    Intelligent design is creationism – and this was convincingly demonstrated and proven in court! Check up the records of the Dover school board trial where the C-design changes in the textbook were done so clumsily as to have *exactly* the same sentences with only the word “creation theory” switched for “intelligent design theory.”

    ID = Creationism rebadged = NOT science but lies. The judge has ruled, the verdicts in. Its beyond reasonable doubt.

  272. InquiringMinds

    @Mark Hansen: I wasn’t intentionally ignoring you I simply began answering another post. For the record I have now read the history of the ‘panda book thingy’ and I stand corrected. I can understand now why you would be suspicious. However, it doesn’t change the fact that ID is a worthy theory to explore and the fact is that ID proponents aren’t activly trying to get ID officially taught in schools until it has been more thouroughly tested. I do understand better now why you all are so paranoid though. I’m content to see what settles out.

  273. Petrolonfire

    “Taken to the extreme you have Hitler’s Germany where supposed inferior life forms were killed to help the evolutionary process along to create an even greater race.”

    Whatever happened to “Godwin’s law” &/or “reductio ad Hitlerum?”

    Hitler was a nut with a lot of bad ideas – who was raised Catholic if memory serves. ;-P

    I doubt Hitler understood anything much about evolution. Actually, the really weird thing when you think about it, is that Hitler – a weedy little brown-haired madman – wanted to create a super-race of people with steretypical blue-eyed blonde strongmen (& baby machine blonde, blue-eyed bimbo aryan women.) By his own creed Hitler was himself an inferior type! Odd ain’t it?

  274. IVAN3MAN

    According to the Wikipedia article on Sophism:

    In modern usage, sophism, sophist, and sophistry are derogatory terms, due the influence of many philosophers in the past (sophism and Platonism were enemy schools).

    A sophism is taken as a specious argument used for deceiving someone. It might be crafted to seem logical while actually being wrong, or it might use difficult words and complicated sentences to intimidate the audience into agreeing, or it might appeal to the audience’s prejudices and emotions rather than logic; i.e., raising doubts towards the one asserting, rather than his assertion. The goal of a sophism is often to make the audience believe the writer or speaker to be smarter than he or she actually is; e.g., accusing another of sophistry for using persuasion techniques. An argument Ad Hominem is an example of Sophistry.

    A sophist is a user of sophisms; i.e., an insincere person trying to confuse or deceive people. A sophist tries to persuade the audience while paying little attention to whether his argument is logical and factual.

    Sophistry means making heavy use of sophisms. The word may be applied to a particular text or speech riddled with sophisms.

    InquiringMinds, that sounds like you!

  275. InquiringMinds

    @Petrolonfire

    Interesting… So science is decided in court now? And here I’ve been thinking that it was decided by the scientific method.

    I can understand you not wanting it taught in schools until it’s been proven.

    I can understand why you might associate it with creationism even though it’s not.

    But I can’t understand why you are so afraid of state teaching standards ensuring that students are encouraged to think critically about theories they are taught.

  276. InquiringMinds

    No doubt, religion has been responsible for justifying all kinds of atrocities. Some religions are perhaps more prone to violence and others are more prone to peace. However, typically it is individuals misintrepreting their own religion that is the cause rather than the religion itself. To suggest blanketly that “religion incites hatred and murder” is just rediculous

  277. However, typically it is individuals misintrepreting their own religion that is the cause rather than the religion itself.
    No true Scotsmen eh?

    No matter how much you deny it, InquiringMinds, ID is religion and it is creationism.

  278. InquiringMinds

    Petrolonfire says: “Actually, the really weird thing when you think about it, is that Hitler – a weedy little brown-haired madman – wanted to create a super-race of people with steretypical blue-eyed blonde strongmen (& baby machine blonde, blue-eyed bimbo aryan women.) By his own creed Hitler was himself an inferior type! Odd ain’t it?”

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always thought that was pretty ironic too.

    And on that note I’ll have to say I’ve said everything that I can say. It doesn’t seem that we’ve gotten anywhere with this and it doesn’t appear to be getting anywhere anytime soon and I’ve got to start getting some sleep. I’ve presented a lot of information that no one is at least admitting they have read. You’ve presented good information as well. I don’t believe any minds were changed even a little. Unfortunatly all I can say is that I understand the argument better. Have a good time talking about me amongst yourselves.

    TTFN

  279. StevoR

    @ PetrolonFire

    Whatever happened to “Godwin’s law” &/or “reductio ad Hitlerum?”

    It was abandoned as a dumb idea and utterly unworkable ages ago.

    Incidentally, Petrolon Fire is right to note :

    On [suicide bombers - which btw. incl. Tamils as well as Muslims with the former pioneering the tactic.] Israelis it must be noted are murdering for their religion too.

    [brackets added.]

    It should also be noted that Israel is in fact killing a lot *more* innocent victims than are the Palestinean sucide bomnbers. By a ratio of over three to one. Palestinean civilians are being slaughtered by the apartheid military theocracy of Israel in the thousands compared to only a few hundred Israeli casualties.

    By their own bloodthirsty jewish “eye for an eye” law Israel “owes” the Palestineans many thousands of dead Israelis. :-(

    Religion incites hatred and murder no doubt of that.

  280. StevoR

    Religion incites hatred and murder no doubt of that.

    Especially Judaism which is a form of racism with a religious veneer over it. :-(

  281. José

    @kuhnigget
    Honestly, you cannot be that stupid.

    After reading the comments from InquiringMinds, Chuck doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

  282. Darth Robo

    InquiringMinds

    >>>”As I’ve said before, you have to actually be looking for the answer to get it. And, also as I’ve said before, it’s obvious no-one on this thread is actually trying to understand the ID perspective. That’s why you don’t get it. It’s not because you haven’t been given the answers – I’ve given you full, complete answers numerous times yet you simply dismiss them rather than even consider them.”

    Most ironic post ever. Your posts have been dismantled bit by bit and whenever we critique them, you don’t address ours, and go searching for the next bunch of apologetics you can cut-and-paste. And we have to be looking for the answer to get it? You mean, we have to assume ID is real before we can get “evidence”? Very typical creationist response.

    >>>”To you, the only thing that exists is the simple physical world around you. To you, thought, reason, intellect, conscience, mind, soul, love, hate (those things which make up ethics) do not exist in the phisical world therefore they are defined as having no part in science. They therefore must be isolated from any ‘real scientific inquiry’. Have you considered the implications of this?”

    Ever heard of the science of psychology? These things have all have their place; sorry, you just don’t seem to understand science at all.

    >>>”For you to keep regurgitating that I am advocating creationism is a flat out lie. I have been solely discussing ID which is plainly obvious. You have chosen to believe that ID and creationism are equivilant. And how have you come to believe that? Interestingly enough by ‘inferring’ that the results of creationism and ID are the same – incorrectly by the way. The Wedge document makes the goals of ID absolutly clear. Yes, they are no doubt similar, but they do not have the same methods or end goal. The goal of Creationism is to simply force scientific discovery to fit with the biblical account of creation. The goal of ID as stated very publically in the wedge document over ten years ago is to rebroaden science to include ethics. You see the word Christianity or religion in the document and therefore jump to the conclusion that it must be about God.”

    Uh, did you READ the Wedge Document? Did you read the same quotes again that I gave for you? If I assume you are telling the truth, that you don’t think you are advocating creationism, the simple fact is, you ARE whether you realise it or not. You’re either being supremely ignorant or deliberately being evasive and dishonest. Which is it?

    >>>”No doubt you have read what I’ve written here and the wedge document and many other things but you do not read them with an aim to understand them, your only aim is to refute them. That is why you cannot understand them. If you read the link I gave to the wedge document it has commentary at the beginning which explains it in more detail for those who misunderstood it and misused it when it was first published.”

    Yes, something about scientific “materialism”. AGAIN I ask: care to tell us how scientific IMMATERIALISM works?

    >>>”It’s ironic that you can be so certain that you can ‘read between the lines’ and infer something (read-design) in peoples words yet you find it so unreasonable to consider the obvious design in the natural world.”

    yes, that “design” which is SO OBVIOUS that you can’t even tell us specifically what it is. So I’ll ask these questions AGAIN, just in case you missed them the first ten times or so: Can you SPECIFY what CSI actually IS and tell us how to quantify it? What IS the “scientific theory” of ID? WHO or WHAT is the “designer”? What EXACTLY did it do, and WHEN did it do it? What are the proposed MECHANISMS of ID? What useful SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS does it make? What OBSERVATIONS can be made in regards to ID? How does one TEST for ID? And, as you did state it could be disproven, how exactly can one go about FALSIFIYING ID?

    Feel free to ignore these questions again. This is why ID is ignored by the scientific community, because no-one wants to answer these kinds of questions. Which is uh, kinda a REQUIREMENT for science. And until they do, ID remains unscientific and should not be taught in public school science classes. Sorry if you don’t like it.

  283. Darth Robo

    >>>”Unfortunatly all I can say is that I understand the argument better.”

    And yet even though every single point you’ve brought up was addressed, you sitll cannot tell me what ID is. In other words, you understood absolutely nothing and stuck your fingers in your ears.

    Godd luck with your lies, IM.

  284. Darth Robo

    >>>”Oh yes, ID = ethics. When it’s propenentsists lie and distort. And ignore what they don’t like facing. Very ethical.”

    Preeeeecisely. And what we have from IM is essentially a very long winded way of saying “People who don’t put God in science can’t be ethical!”

    I feel so much better that there are so many who derive their ethics purely because they fear punishment from an invisible undetectable entity that they can’t even prove exists. And let’s just hope their God doesn’t have (another) change of heart and decide to tell it’s followers to commit genocide against anyone who doesn’t believe what they do.

  285. StevoR
  286. Todd W.

    @Darth Robo

    You stole what I was going to say, re the wedge document and the unanswered questions about ID “theory”.

    I would just add a bit, regarding IM’s rant about evolution devaluing life and leading to a lack of ethics. Evolution does indeed put humans at the same level of importance as every other living thing on Earth, or at least animals, as opposed to Christianity, which places humans at the tiptop of everything. Does that mean that people are just going to go around slaughtering each other because it’s no different than killing an ant? I doubt it. See, humans are, for starters, social animals. That means they like being around other members of their species. They also kinda like to perpetuate their species, just like every other living thing on Earth. Wantonly killing other humans would be slightly detrimental to this biological drive. You don’t specify, however, how ID is any different. If everything was intelligently designed, then humans are still on the same level as other animals, at the least, if not on the same level as all living things. How, exactly, then, does ID lead to greater ethics in science?

    I’m guessing your answer will be that humans were created for a purpose. If that’s so, what’s that purpose? How does ID propose to investigate it? What evidence is there for a purpose? How can that hypothesis be falsified? Please provide citations to even one study that has scientific evidence for some purpose that would necessarily make humans more ethical than the biological impulses that have evolved.

  287. StevoR

    @ Darth Robo :

    Good luck with your lies, IM.

    Speaking personally, I hope IM’s lies always have the bad luck to encounter critical, skeptical thinking. ;-)

    Or at least I would if I believed in”luck” ;-)

  288. Flying sardines

    Asked Darth Robo :

    1.Can you SPECIFY what CSI actually IS and tell us how to quantify it?

    A. Its a TV show often with many spinoffs; Miami, New York, LA, etc .., Its quantified in the number of spin-off series & TV ratings. I think it stands for Criminal Special Investigations or something.

    2. What IS the “scientific theory” of ID?

    A. Research Freudian Psychology, there’s something there about id, ego & superego. Then again, Friedian pysch is arguably pseudo-scientific in itself.

    3. WHO or WHAT is the “designer”?

    A. Werner von Braun for NASA’s Apollo & many other space programs, Korolev for their Russian equivalents, Mr Andrews for teh ‘Titanic’ and Isard kingdom Brunel for the ‘Great Eastern’. Speer was Hitler’s designer (well okay, architect, same diff!) – if Godwin permist me to mention him. As for the best computer designer, I think Turing takes the cake full of silicon bytes there.

    3. What EXACTLY did it do, and WHEN did it do it?

    It made a weird flatulent noise, repeatedly at intermittant intervals. Can the designer please issue a recall or at least repair it? I think its still under warranty!

    4. What are the proposed MECHANISMS of ID?

    The Oedipus complex engages with the Electra syndrome to iniate high neurosis leading to full blown sociopathic catatonia. Alternatively, the phlogiston combusts with the aether to produce spontaneous generation.

    5. What useful SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS does it make?

    That the ides of march will always fall in March and December 25th will mark Christmas day, a day tobe marked with an ‘X’; the calander was designed that way.

    6. What OBSERVATIONS can be made in regards to ID?

    The observation that its false & silly pseudoscientific baloney in both guises – even worse than this post!

    7. How does one TEST for ID?

    Start with a test for IQ. An average or above IQ is likely to lead to a negative ID test and the converse also applies.

    7. And, as you did state it could be disproven, how exactly can one go about FALSIFIYING ID?

    First remove the false arguments and objections made by ID against conventional scientific understanding, when these have been disproven check under electron microscope for any substance remaining. If substance is totally lacking ID has been falsified.

    (Oh wait that’s already been done! ;-) )

    Some powdery brown residue of an impurity may be detected and should be placed in specimen dish for further analysis. Subsequent spectroscopic analysis then revealing the volatile and highly toxic element religionite dimethacide. (ReGd4WhAt)


    In an even stranger mood than usual .. ;-)

  289. Not that it matters, wince he went ta-ta and all (odd, how they do that), but…

    (National)InquiringMinds said:


    kuhnigget says: “Science is a process. It can no more be ethical than a baseball can be angry.”
    You said earlier that science includes ethics. Now you say sience is a process and therefore has nothing to do with ethics. And you call me elusive?

    No, I’d call you an evader. As in, evading the true response, which came right after. Science does include ethics, because scientists adhere to a code of ethics.

    Repeating: honestly, can you really be that stupid?

    And more. At least this one presented an actual response to a point I made:


    Evolution presupposes that our existence is a mere coincidence as in not planned. The clear implication of that is that humans have no greater value or meaning than any other living thing on the plannet or for that matter no value or purpose at all.

    This is unsupported by anything other than opinion. Value is a human quality. We value what we perceive to be valuable. I consider intelligent life to be incredibly valuable, perhaps one of the universe’s most valuable commodities. I don’t need an omnipotent being to back up that belief.

    As to purpose, that is what you make of it. Again, no superdaddies required.

  290. DiggzDime

    I find it hard to take religious people seriously and here’s why. In the bible their is story after story of God or Jesus talking to regular citizens and instructing them to do things like kill, or start wars, or harm women,children etc. However if a person kills someone tomorrow and goes to court and claims that God spoke to him and told him to do it. People will look at this guy like he is crazy. Why is that? Why would God telling someone to kill someone or to do anyhing for that matter not be believable if you believe in the bible? If I walk up to you on the street and say God told me to take you to an ATM and give me all your money. Why would you doubt me. Surely God doesnt have to explain himself to you right? Would you risk angering your God buy not doing what he asked you to do? Or would you not believe that he would talk to someone and ask him to do that. If you dont believe he would have ask me to kill you, then why would he ask cain to kill able? I dont understand….as far as teaching “creation” science in school. I say teach it, but then teach EVERY RELIGION’s creation story and see how quick those parents change their tune. Never mind the fact that why your teaching every religions creation story in science class. Kids wont learn any actuall science but hey…who cares about that right? The answer for everything is ….GOD DID IT!!

  291. IVAN3MAN

    Todd W.:

    I’m guessing [InquiringMinds'] answer will be that humans were created for a purpose. If that’s so, what’s that purpose? How does ID propose to investigate it? What evidence is there for a purpose? How can that hypothesis be falsified? Please provide citations to even one study that has scientific evidence for some purpose that would necessarily make humans more ethical than the biological impulses that have evolved.

    InquiringMinds’ response:

    *Crickets* *Crickets* *Crickets*
  292. On the other hand, Chuck is back in the Texas March Madness thread. Still hasn’t answered my question yet, tho.

  293. IVAN3MAN

    Oh Gordon Bennett!

  294. Clay

    I like the way this article assumes that the evolutionary “THEORY” is fact. It is called the evolutionary “THEORY” because it is still just that, a theory. There is nothing wrong with pointing out WHY it is still just a theory. In fact, there is good reason for showing that the creator of the theory (Charles Darwin) said he didn’t think it was accurate. It is now, and always has been, a working theory that must change and adapt (or evolve for you atheists) to fit new discoveries. However, nothing has been discovered and science has so far been unable to prove evolution is fact! If you are going to truly educate someone, this point is vital. A true education shows both sides of a theory, not just the one you want to promote (that would be propaganda, not education). There is as much “proof” behind intelligent design as there is evolution, but for some reason, everyone wants to ignore the one and teach the other. I don’t see a problem with intellectual honesty.

  295. Clay

    I find it ironic that I’m arguing the merits of evolution with a bunch of monkeys (assuming your theory is correct). I’ll go with the creationist theory, at least we can argue like humans.
    :)

  296. Mark Hansen

    Clay, teach the controversy about gravity!!!!!!111!!! It’s only a theory!!!111!!!one!! Schools must teach Intelligent Falling too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111!! There is no more proof for gravity than there is for Intelligent Falling!!!!!!!!!!!1111111!!!!
    .
    .
    .
    Ok, back to reality. Clay, what is the theory of Intelligent Design? What predictions does it make? How can it be falsified?
    And quite clearly, you either haven’t heard of, or choose to ignore, species that have been discovered that were predicted. Try googling Tiktaalik for one example.

  297. Clay:

    I like the way this article assumes that the evolutionary “THEORY” is fact. It is called the evolutionary “THEORY” because it is still just that, a theory. There is nothing wrong with pointing out WHY it is still just a theory.

    The word “theory” does not often mean very much to a layperson, so let us be quite clear about it: A scientific theory is a scientific idea which was thought of by somebody, suggested by him in a scientific book or journal, and accepted by other scientists after due consideration. “So-and-so’s theory” means “So-and-so’s accepted idea”. The process of getting an idea accepted may be a long one; there will be arguments, objections, testing by experiments, improvement of an idea, but, if it finally wins acceptance by scientists generally, it will only then be called a theory. When the idea is first postulated, and is still in the ‘argument-and-objection’ stage, it is called a hypothesis; later, if generally accepted, a theory.

    However, nothing has been discovered and science has so far been unable to prove evolution is fact!

    Behold…

    * 15 Evolutionary Gems [PDF]

    * 29+ Evidences for Macro-evolution

    A true education shows both sides of a theory, not just the one you want to promote (that would be propaganda, not education).

    Teach Both Theories; Let The Kids Decide
    Click on the image for more stuff like this.

    There is as much “proof” behind intelligent design as there is evolution, but for some reason, everyone wants to ignore the one and teach the other. I don’t see a problem with intellectual honesty.

    Err… what “proof” would that be, then?…

    *Crickets* *Crickets* *Crickets*

    I find it ironic that I’m arguing the merits of evolution with a bunch of monkeys (assuming your theory is correct). I’ll go with the creationist theory, at least we can argue like humans.

    Genesis IV

    4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
    4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
    4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
    4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

    So, God likes Abel’s dead animals better than Cain’s fruits and vegetables. Why? Well, no reason is given, but it probably has something to do with the amount of pain, blood, and gore involved.

    4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?
    4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
    4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

    Because God liked Abel’s animal sacrifice more than Cain’s vegetables, Cain kills his brother Abel in a fit of religious jealousy. (Click on my name to see an illustrated version of this story.)

    Well, Clay, what was that you were saying about how “we can argue like humans”?

  298. Todd W.

    @Clay

    Oh, boy. Here we go again. Clay, take a moment to go back and read through this thread. You will find some clarification on what “theory” means in a scientific sense (hint: it isn’t what you seem to think it means). You will also find plenty of evidence that supports the Theory of Evolution. What you will not find, however, is any evidence for intelligent design from those supporting it. We ask and ask and ask for evidence. Heck, we ask for a simple explanation of just what the heck it is, and what do we get? Bumpkus. Perhaps, since you find ID so well-founded, you can answer these questions for us:

    * Just what is the theory of intelligent design?
    * What predictions does it make?
    * What evidence has been found to support it (that hasn’t already shown to be false)?
    * How can ID be falsified?
    * Where are the scientific papers published in mainstream scientific journals supporting ID?
    * How is ID different than creationism (religion)?
    * Who, or what, is the designer?
    * And finally, where did the designer come from?

  299. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd W.,

    I have posted a response to brains of Clay, but, at the time of writing this, it’s still “awaiting moderation”. Phil Plait is probably still in bed!

  300. Clay

    To All:

    I’m not saying that things don’t “evolve” or perhaps a better word would be “adapt”. However, I am saying that all life as we know it didn’t “evolve” out of some kind of primordial “goo” into the biological creatures that we observe today. In that aspect of “evolution”, it IS still just a working theory.

    As to the gravity argument, can we stick to one debate at a time?! You’re willing to point out the flaws in the gravity theory, but not let people point out the flaws in the evolutionary theory? In addition, there is no competing theory to gravity, therefore there wouldn’t be a problem with what our schools are teaching.

    My whole response to this article is not whether evolution is correct, or intelligent design is correct, or creationism is correct (or that gravity is even correct), but that both sides of a theory should be discussed and taught. This massive list of posts proves that people (and some of them seem very intelligent) have differing opinions and beliefs about where we came from. I think it’s fair to point out both sides of a theory, the reasons it works and the areas it falls short.

    Now, I have to go actually work for a living, so I’ll leave the rest of the debate to ya’ll (guess that gives away where I’m from). Hopefully, someday I can check back to this thread and find that the contributers have solved the evolution debate, the gravity debate, the intelligent design debate, and whether or not you can actually “set it… and forget it”.

    Until then, ya’ll have fun typing away.

  301. IVAN3MAN

    Clay:

    In addition, there is no competing theory to gravity, therefore there wouldn’t be a problem with what our schools are teaching.

    Err… obviously you haven’t heard of “Electric Universe/Plasma Cosmology” proponents, then? They have a lot in common with creationists/”Intelligent Design” proponents — both love to shovel and spread male-bovine-excrement onto science blogs like this one!

  302. Todd W.

    @Clay

    In addition, there is no competing theory to gravity, therefore there wouldn’t be a problem with what our schools are teaching.

    And there is no competing theory to evolution. So, what was your point again?

    However, I am saying that all life as we know it didn’t “evolve” out of some kind of primordial “goo” into the biological creatures that we observe today.

    You state with certainty that the life we know today did not evolve from “some kind of primordial ‘goo’” way in the past. Please provide your evidence. Please include the title and author of any studies that support this claim, as well as where to find such studies.

    My whole response to this article is not whether evolution is correct

    Actually, you were pretty clear in your claim that evolution as it is taught is wrong. Let me refresh your memory. You said:

    However, nothing has been discovered and science has so far been unable to prove evolution is fact!

    This statement is, quite simply, wrong. Various fields of science have quite an extraordinary amount of evidence showing that evolution occurs, and that it occurs not just within species, but across species.

    You also said:

    There is as much “proof” behind intelligent design as there is evolution, but for some reason, everyone wants to ignore the one and teach the other.

    Another incorrect statement. There is no “proof” behind intelligent design. I guess to be picky about semantics, there’s no “proof” in the logical sense to evolution, either, but there is evidence. ID has zero evidence. So, how again are they on equal footing? And yes, if an idea has no science to support it, it should be ignored and not taught. Once it gathers some scientific evidence, then we can talk.

    So, perhaps you can clarify for us, what is the “other side” to evolutionary theory? If you say it is intelligent design, then the questions I asked before still need answering, please.

  303. Mark Hansen

    Clay, perhaps my ridiculous example wasn’t quite obvious enough. The gravity argument was an absurd way of showing how the word “theory” is misused. A scientific theory is not a wild guess. ID, on the other hand, is a wild guess because it insists that we can look no further than a Creator, er, Designer. And then its proponentsists coyly suggest that it doesn’t really meant that it was god, just a designer. Perhaps they mean Armani. Who can say?

    However, if you do want a “theory” of Intelligent Falling as a counter to gravity (teach both sides!), you could try theonion.com.

  304. IVAN3MAN

    @ Clay,

    Mark Hansen is referring to this satirical article:

    theonion.com/content/node/39512

    Just copy-and-paste the URL into the address bar of your Internet browser.

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