Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Intelligent Design, Stupid People

Ah, the Great State of Kansas is at it again. Advocates of "intelligent design," a nontheory as to the origin of the universe and of human beings, have forced inclusion of statements to the effect that the theory of evolution has been "challenged" into science curriculums:

The new standards contend that several aspects of evolution that most scientists believe are settled fact, such as the concept that all living things are biologically related, have been "challenged." They also redefine science to allow for other than natural explanations of events. [See the Title link.]
This provides a back door for the introduction of "intelligent design" in the curriculum of those counties/cities in Kansas that want to do so since if there ever was a theory that cannot meet the empirical standards scientists burden their theories with it is the nontheory of "intelligent design." We have an extraordinary irony here: the empirical falures of evolutionary biology are taken as a sign of a defect but the fact that the theory of "intelligent design" has NO empirical consequences is considered as okay. This is a sign of incredibly ignorant and possibly very stupid people at work.

The reason that advocates of "intelligent design" want to allow for nonnatural explanations of events is simple: they know that the nontheory of "intelligent design" has no testable empirical consequences. In every scientific domain the standard of "goodness" of a theory is its capacity to provide testable empirical consequences and then to pass these tests. Advocates of the theory of "intelligent design" know that they cannot provide empirical tests proving the existence of an intelligent designer who created the universe and swooped down and posited adults full grown in the Garden of Eden. Being unable to provide such empirical tests, advocates of "intelligent design" want a free pass.

The claim of the Kansas school board that the theory of evolution has been "challenged" would be funny if it weren't for the fact that it will have implications for how children will be taught. What it really deserves is a resounding, "Duh!!" Of course the theory of evolution has been challenged. There is scarcely a scientific theory in existence that hasn't been challenged. Newtonian mechanics was challenged. I suspect that advocates of "intelligent design," were there any at the time, would have pointed out failures in Newtonian mechanics as evidence that, to use the Big Argument of advocates of "intelligent design" that the universe is too complex not to have had a designer, who, of course, would be intelligent (though you wouldn't know it from some of the human creations he gets credit for). Should I capitalize "Intelligent Designer" to pay proper respect to God? I notice that advocates of an "intelligent designer" don't because that would give away that this is just a religious theory masquerading as science.

Newtonian mechanics was replaced. Relativity theory emerged and physics went forward. But even now contemporary theories of physics are being challenged. In my blog on Incomprehensible Language I described my experience reading a dissertation in astrophysics at Ohio State and serving as an outside observer/examiner. I didn't understand a damn thing. Should I have taken my ignorance as evidence that the physical world is too complex for there not to have been an "Intelligent Designer." It was sure as hell too complex for my wee brain. Afterward I asked the advisor of the Ph. D. candidate if he expected further revolutions in physics and he said, "Yes," and went on to say that the hypothesized phenomena of dark matter and dark energy, once understood, could very well lead to a new model in physics. So, clearly, the universe is too complex, perhaps, for him to fully understand it.

Meanwhile our busy "intelligent design" advocates seem to be hard at work exploiting the current ignorance of physicists by claiming

The majority of dark matter, however, is the cold dark matter which might be the spirit matter.
Finally, at long last, the Holy Spirit has found some work to do. The question I ask now is that given that we know what the Holy Spirit is and where it is (scattered all over the universe), can we now ask where Heaven is? And, for that matter, where Hell is. I don't need the full directions -- just point to them. Actually, I can tell you where Hell is: it is in the United States where we have to cope not just with real problems like the deficit, a stupid war in Iraq, terrorists who want to blow our heads off, racial and ethnic inequities, rising energy costs, etc., but we also have to deal with the nitwits who think that Human Ignorance is Proof of the Existence of God (Intelligent Designer), for certainly it is human ignorance that leads to our inability to provide unassailable scientific theories. In the case at hand, the human ignorance in question is that of evolutionary biologists who have not yet come up with an unassailable theory. News Flash to Creationists: The theory of evolution will never be unassailable. It is of the nature of science that it will fail to provide complete accounts of the phenomena being studied and that is true not just of the theories of evolutionary biologists, but also theories of linguists, physicists, and the rest. I will explain why science is this way in the next blog, assuming my blog is not blown up by angry Creationists.

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Blogger Dusty said...

Thank you!!! It wasn't just me that saw it and said "What were they thinking!?!" Next we will be teaching children how to ward off evil with a chicken claw.

10:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish to pose a question, which I consider not only valid but also rather pertinent; it is this:

Assume if you will, that an intelligent entity perhaps "supernatural" in some way did indeed design the universe and by implication living matter.

I ask what would an "evolutionist" accept as evidence that this is the case?

Or similarly, what observations would an "evolutionist" consider as proof that the theory of natural selection etc was untenable, false, could not have taken place? required an intelligent designer?

These questions are important, because they force the proponent of evolution to define the conditions for the theory to be acceptable.

In all the "debates" it seems that evolution (which is of course a "reasonable" hypthesis) does not define anything that might expose it as flawed, ie it does not (so far as I know) define any explicit, concrete tests that we can use to accept or reject it as truth.

I think it would be very helpful to this whol "debate" to explore this issue and try to agree on key questions and observations that can be used in this way.

To refuse or worse, be unable, to define such key observations is in my opinion to admit that one's position is merely dogma.


10:28 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I don't think that whether it is a scientific theory is a real debate is the pertinent question here, due to my discussion here. I think the real question is what we should do about it, admitting that it's not scientific.

That said, God, or a god, is not the only possible intelligent designer. Refer to Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question" for another example.

10:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I dont really understand the basis upon which one will object to ANY alternative to evolution (be it ID, or any of the possiblities mentioned in your article) when evolution itself is demonstrably not a theory or so it seems.

Personally I think far too much attention is paid to evolution anyway and I for one think it should be downplayed in schools, taught to a lesser degree, this is one possibility for "what to do about it".

Now at some risk of demonstrating ignorance here, I need to ask what exactly are the merits of teaching evolution? They don't teach even special relativity in schools and this requires no more math than newtonian mechanics, so why so much attention to evolution? by all means teach genetics, anatomy, biochemistry etc.

I'd prefer to see some teaching at a philosophical level, perhaps the philosopy of science and cover evolution and other "theories" in that course, arguably far more useful at encouraging rational thinking. This will expose children to the a more realistic view of how science really works.

Almost every science student I ever speak to about this issue, reacts robotically about ID or "creationsim", by instantly making it clear that "evolution" is correct; it strikes me as deeply rooted in the modern psyche; to object to evolution is very risky, is this desirable?

Most biology teachers have more or less simply accepted evolutionary explanations as fact, pretty much beyond question so far as a causal explanation for life is concerned.

Those that will have raised objections or refused to simply accept what may be intellectually unsatisfcatory, will probably not have become biology teachers, so there is considerable bias already in the teaching community when it comes to questioning evolution, what I'm saying is that biology teachers must have passed a formal exam and in doing so must have accepted some fundamental evolutionary beliefs.


11:18 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

My very religious Pentecostal Mother threw the intellegent design theory upon me with glee.
Thanks for giving me some ammo, although, when she first spouted the idea I had to laff. Those silly Christians trying to be scientists. They are better off looking for Noah's Ark. What is FAITH if you have to expend all that energy proving it? Jeez

11:23 AM

Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

Go, Mike, Go!

11:26 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

The fact is that we do not know yet. We keep finding out new things all the time. But, evolution as it stands is a truth. Not the theory. But, life has been proven to evolve. Intellegent design? Who knows? personally I don't think christians know God any better then I do. As a word it is o. k.(intelligent design) as a theory, O.K. but to teach it to school children? It's sick.

11:30 AM

Blogger jo_jo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:54 AM

Blogger jo_jo said...

Scientists are doing their job right when they happily discard a theory in the face of evidence that it is wrong. As to what they would accept as evidence, it would have to be another empirically testable theory - one that could be proved via repeatable experimentation, in the same way that evolution has been proved (for example using many generations of bacteria and viruses).

So the answer to your question, what would it take for scientists to accept that evolution is false, is that we can't answer it until someone comes up with something that also meets a scientific standard which will invalidate evolutionary theory. We don't know exactly what, because it hasn't been done yet. But when/if someone does, the scientific community will embrace it eventually; it has no choice, according to the rules of the discipline.

That said, I don't see a problem with the teaching of intelligent design, as long as it is not taught in Science class, as a scientific theory. Hopefully we can all agree that it is not science because it does not meet the definition of science. There are lots and lots of other things that are valued parts of human society, are taught in school, and are not science, like Lit Crit or Art. Teach ID in Religious Studies, and you're fine.

11:58 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

jo-jo i agree. the fact is that Christians will teach it to their children as fact. There is a huge amount of home-schoolers out there that have some pretty bizarre curriculum. The hope is that these children will be able to use logic to find truth. I think ID is fueled by these people.

12:04 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

j-g, I've been bitting my tounge, it's bleeding.

12:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I cannot accept that "another empirically testable theory" is necessary to disprove an existing theory.

Astronomers were puzzled at the orbit of Mercury in the early 20th century, it deviated from the path predicted by Newton's model; this observation was known before any alternative theory was even proposed (General Relativity), this observation clearly demosntrated that Newton's model was flawed (and by implication many of the other theories and models that were based upon it, this was the real worry).

Nor do I accept "that evolution has been proved" for the simple reason that theories by definiton are never proven, only repeatedly tested.

Any hypothesis that fails or refuses (or is unable) to defines specific tests as to it's validity is by definition not a theory according the accepted scientific usage of the term.

Now of course the same criticism holds for alternatives, which of course include "creationsim" "intelligent design" etc, unless they define specific tests against which observations can be compared, they are not theories as is the case it seems with evolution.

My position on this subject is and always has been, that "evolution" is not a theory (and is certainly not a "fact") and this is the crux of the matter (for me!).

I am not being flippant here, I am aware of the complex model that has been constructed, into which new biological discoveries are placed and that the model seems reasonable and largely self-consistent. But that is not sufficinet, no matter how impressive such an edifice of knowledge may be.

Quite simply there is no test, because if an intelligent designer is at work, there is every possibility that the design could look just like it had not been designed.

If there is no way to distinguish through observation between a designed universe and an evolved one, then both explanations have to be given equal standing, do you agree?

By way of example, I take issue with Richard Dawkins, in fact I wrote a critique of this:


but I doubt Dawkins ever received it (email).

Clearly Dawkins consider himself a scientist, yet by claiming "I believe in the fact of evolution." he demonstrates his true position, dogma.

No physicist would ever claim "I beleive in the fact of general relativity" for example, this is something alien to Dawkins it seems.

By claiming "I believe in the fact of evolution." Dawkins makes a very serious logical error, for inherent in that claim is the expression of belief, that no alternative explanation is possible.

This is untenable so far as I am concerned, because to claim (as clearly some renowned scholars do) that no other explanation for the origin of human life is possible, is to admit not only to dogma but to blind faith, the very thing Dawkins sets out to refute.


12:41 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

You mean to say that species don't evolve? if you don't believe that evolution is fact, (im talking about evolution as the historical devolopment of a related group of organisms.) That is evolution as a fact not a theroy, right? you could say it isn't a fact, because nothing is for sure, but that would be a moot point?

1:02 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

i cannot see where ID can hold a candle to evolution even as a theory, because wasn't it made up by a bunch of Christians who instead of trying to be sciencific were just trying to prove their theology?

1:19 PM

Blogger Dusty said...

From what I understand of Christianity and Intelligent Design, I have one question does God look like an upright chimp? The first man from the fossil records Australopithecus afarensis is the first hominid and God made man in his own image. Since you are asking me to disregard the natural order which can be broken down into mathematical form, then I am asking you to believe God looked like an up right Chimp.

I'm waving my chicken claw.

1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I can't comment on the physical appearance of "God" or any other intangible concept.

But I am far from convinced that a fossil labelled as "Australopithecus Afarensis" is an ancestor of modern humans, I mean it might be but this can hardly be proven.

How can it be proven that this fossil (and other specimins of it) are not the fossilized remains of some completely independent species of animal? Nothing is known of its intelligence, social nature or anything else of use, again I may be wrong and feel free to educate me if so.

It seems that some 300 examples of this have been found, and I must say this begs the question (an oft posed one for me) of why we find no examples of the (undoubted?) multitude of other variants that must have existed between it and us?

Here is a (admittedly randomly chosen) website that depicts a family tree of sorts:


when I see this, I am always drawn to the little lines, and wonder where are the "in between" species?

It is puzzling that 300 samples of Australopithecus Afarensis are known, yet no examples of closely related predecessors or successors are known (apparently).

It seems that based purely on perceived similarities/differences in skull structure one is able to deduce that one species is "related" to another, I am unconvinced, I am not denying it but far from convinced, in short I am very skeptical.

Because "evolution" pervades our thinking so much these days, all discoveries like this are automatically viewed as somehow fitting into this "grand scheme", these precenceptions I find a little suspicious, perhaps I am a heretic for even expressing such views :)


2:41 PM

Blogger jo_jo said...

Hi again Hugh,
Ironic - I think we have a language problem here. When I say "evolution has been proved", I am talking about the process of modification of a species. Scientists have watched it happen in the lab, creating experiments that test and retest the hypothesis. That small part of the theory does have definable tests, and when they are met consistently in a variety of conditions over a period of time, that's what I mean by proof. If I am using the wrong word, please tell me the right one for this concept! And that's the case in which I'm saying one would need a new hypothesis to explain this existing phenomenon, as in the example of Mercury's orbit you gave above. But new hypothesis would need to be within the concept of science, too, because that's the belief system we're working in.

I agree that both explanations of the universe, designed and evolved, deserve equal standing. I am not trying to say that evolution has been proved to be the way the universe and all life was created, and the implications of all of that. Heck, I'm pretty shaky on the definition of reality! I agree that there is no objective test, nor can there ever be, that will prove or disprove intelligent design or evolution in this large historical sense. Both are manifestations of thought systems that are valid and useful to me as long as I remain comfortable with ambiguity.

Concerning Dawkins - he went to the same high school as I did, and he came to speak to my graduating class. I think that he is sincere in his beliefs, but I agree with you that they are beliefs. They are beliefs that sell books and grant tenure! Just as intelligent design beliefs are reinforced by religions in their own way.

Expanding small bits of data to create an entire belief system seems to be hard-wired into humans (cf. cargo cults, for example). But why deny any view of life? Why do we spend so much time arguing about this stuff, instead of accepting the beauty of the mystery even as we strive to understand? To me, that's the really interesting question.

2:43 PM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

lol @ J_G...funny, i actually stopped in to advise J_G to check out my latest post, i'm sure she'd love it...and then i see that she wrote:

"Of course my theory hasn't changed in years. "if you believe you are decended from muck in a pond you probably are" Have a nice day all."


the weak need to imagine something perfect which they are descendants of in order to balance out their lack of survival skills...

to go one step further, they make the claim that this imaginary being is perfect in judgment, therefore, these people with imaginary universes have the right to practice their birthright, that of perfect judgment with the right to kill anyone who steps against it...

we're on our way to a new holy crusade, it's already being implemented through government by delusional descendants of wild imaginations...

peace n whatnot,


p.s. leave people alone you hypocritical monkey's cousins, become a libertarian, legalize prostitution, legalize drugs, stop promoting the advancement of OPPRESSION through controlling people's free will to choose their own behavior

3:06 PM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

p.s. sorry for bein crude today, i'm in a mood (not enough sex lately...lol)

3:07 PM

Blogger Dusty said...

Jo_Jo I absolutely adore your mind, your articulation and your infinite patience. To me, this part of the mysteries of life, to question our very existence, to find and explain were we fit in to the “grand scheme.” Some want to believe we are cogs with a function, others a random accident and you find it wondrous to exist.

Sometimes expanding your mind means you have to poke others with a stick to see what happens. I have to admit I own a stick. S.R. Deardorff owns a really big stick.

The passionate retorts are interesting because it is visceral. They still follow a basic pattern theorized by behaviorist.

Hugh, thank you for the site, I had forgot “ground root man” A/K/A Ardipithecus ramidus. Silly me. Huge we put the puzzle together through the mitochondrial DNA. It is still a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces. This is preferred by some because it has evidence that can be picked apart, shuffled and reorganizes. Religion or ID asks us to accept an idea the is an invisible intelligence that has not only an interest in our existence but may even control it. Faith believes when there is no reason to believe. Science believes when there is a hypothesis that can be repeated and proven. Not a huge gap but big enough.

Still shaking my chicken claw!

3:20 PM

Blogger Dusty said...

Hugh... Sorry not huge...

3:22 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Nice, oh Sadistic one. Nice.

3:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Intelligent Design is just some word that Creationists "intelligently designed" to make the idea of creationism more palatable for the non-religious, yet still ignorant agnostic types who don't want to offend their "Christian" counterparts. I think the story of creation is just a story that you tell people who lived 6,000 years ago because they couldn't understand things like dinosaurs and carbon dating. They understood simple things like days, weeks, water, light dark, etc. If you look at the story of creation, you'll see that it actually does follow evolutions' footprints. You just can't take the "day" thing so literally. I think of it as an "age".

3:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadistic Gardener

I want to know of a test or tests that we can define and then use to say whether we (man) did or did not evolve from primitive early life forms (by defintion single cell at the earliest stage).

Since nobody here seems able/willing to do this, how about a test that takes a single celled asexually reproducing organism and demonstarates that by natural physical forces alone, it is possible for a multi-cellular sexually reproducing organism to eventually arise?

That's one test (of many), can we agree on this as a test?

Can we/someone now do the test? if it proves impossible then may I cinclude that we (mankind) did not arise in such a manner?


4:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They don't teach even special relativity in schools and this requires no more math than newtonian mechanics, so why so much attention to evolution? by all means teach genetics, anatomy, biochemistry etc."
This is not true, special and general relativity require differential geometry and calculus, the former is not taught unless one goes on to undergraduate study in mathematics, and the latter is only taught in the most upper level high school grades in the U.S.
In response to your question, what is the merit in teaching evolution (I'll assume you mean in lieu of ID), and the answer is obvious. Evolution is actually based on empirical evidence from phylogenic trees and observations conducted on the Galapagos island. In fact, any one w/ a little knowledge of biology and probability, would argue that natural selection is inherently true. (The question of species evolving from one into another is another question, which I will agree with you, has little evidence). ID on the other hand has no empirical evidence, and cannot be tested, unlike evolution. It is not a scientific theory. Should we teach children to think that thunder is caused by angels bowling, and rain is when God pisses on earth? Hardly scientific.

4:16 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Empirical tests that can be run in real time today will hardly be able to simulate millions of years of evolution and it is silly to suggest they should.

DNA tests showing similarities among higher life forms and humans ought to do the trick for you. When linguists find similarities of certain types among different languages analogous to DNA similarities, they feel comfortable positing a similar origin however different the languages may have ended up looking. When you are dealing with the past and with significant time periods for development, giving chapter and verse while easy for Creationists is not so easy for scientists.

Meanwhile, come up with a nice neat test simulating how God created the universe or how God might have posited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, full grown and speaking a language. Does He/She just say, "Shazzam!" or some other thing and up pops a universe?

4:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm busy just now, but I think I'm right in saying that special relativity makes no use of differential or non-euclidean gemotery. It does introduce a Lorentz transformation but this is all it does from a geometric standpoint so far as I recall.

Here is original article, I have seen this explained with less math as well, it isnt that complex (unlike general, which is formidable)


As for Language Guy, well you are suggesting that it is sufficient to make some obervations (DNA, gene sequencing) and then postulate a process with the need to experimentally verify that such a process does indeed lead to the obervations?

Of course there will be similarities between genetic sequences from organisms that share many physical attributes, however that is not the same as saying (proving) that one gene sequence arose from the other over vast time periods under the influence of natural known forces.

I am not proposing that God or his/her creation of the universe is a scientifically demsonstrable fact, I am not. I simply object to "evolution" being taken for granted and assumed to be truth.

5:14 PM

Blogger Larry Kollar said...

There are two forces at work here driving ID (aka creationism in a suit).

One are the more ignorant and fearful of my Christian brethren, who see everything as absolutes. To these folks, refining a theory on the basis of new evidence (for example, newtonian physics to quantum), or throwing out flawed theories entire (for example, phlogiston) terrifies them. For them, change is Evil Personified.

The others are the forces that have been working for the last 40 years or so to ruin public education. Their goal is a return to the Gilded Age, where people are born to privilege because they deserve to be, and an ignorant (therefore easily-controlled) populace does not question their "betters." The second group is using the first to do their dirty work, naturally.

5:58 PM

Blogger Dusty said...

Mitochondria Eve Comparisons of the mitochondria DNA of various peoples suggest that Europeans and Asians can trace their origin to a woman who lived some 200,000 years ago in Africa and evolved thereafter in their characteristic ways.

Scientists also agree that Neanderthals and other early Homo Sapiens appeared in Africa. But when it comes to determining the roots of the ancestors of modern humans that lived 10,000 to 40,000 years ago the paleoanthropological community is split between those that support the "Multiregional" hypothesis and those that support the "Out of Africa" hypothesis.

Mitochondria DNA supports the "Out of Afica" hypothesis. DNA form other than M. DNA has been discovered that can also be used to trace human evolution. A number of studies using this form of DNA also support the Out of Africa hypothesis.

6:06 PM

Blogger Dusty said...


6:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

General relativity is intimately connected with differential geometry and curvature of spaces. Look at his paper, it is all differential geometry and metric tensors. Way above high school kiddos. Unlesss you're merely talking about a surface introduction to special relativity in which you introduce them to time dilation and length contraction. Without Riemann's creation of differential geometry, Einstein's paper would not have been published. Differential geometry was the necessary precursor to Einstein's work.

6:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Of course there will be similarities between genetic sequences from organisms that share many physical attributes"
Hugh, you should read up on genomics. It is not just similarities between species that share physical attributes, there are huge stretches of DNA sequence that are preserved throughout nearly ALL organisms.

6:41 PM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

the only thing i want to reply to is frida's comment that my behavior follows a behaviorist pattern...untrue, at least for me, i'm well aware of the various reward/punishment structure and various variables influencing my environment and thinking; yet, in many cases, i choose a path that i KNOW ahead of time will not produce benefit for self...

short and sweet, i'm what many of you would call, "mental."


7:48 PM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

oh...and you're right...i DO carry a big stick (and, i have references)



7:49 PM

Blogger DEN said...

People are forgetting that we do have an imprical proof of Evolution. Take Listerine. It started as an evil, medicine tasting substance and has, over measurable eons, become no less than a strategic force in preventing gingivitis and tooth decay. Some people even think it prevents disease. (I can testify that I have not had any anal warts since gargling regularly - with the new light blue flavor.)
Clearly, this ID debate, like any discussion with a True Believer is a waste of time. (Toto, we *are* in Kansas... and we need to ask the Wizard for a brain.)

9:12 PM

Blogger Chops said...

I happened to notice this brief article:


1:36 AM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

I recall, a few posts back, LG mentioning that Wittgenstein was a favorite of his at one time while studying philosophy; and, while my math skills have been severely dulled to the point where I could not attempt to understand or "proof" his theoroms, (though J_G leaves the trait to women) the women that raised me honed my intuition quite a bit.

One of Wittgenstein's most basic ideas was, "whereof one cannot speak, one must remain silent," an attempt to say, especially in philosophy, it is senseless to use conjecture and opinion in order to obtain truth.

Having read many a philosophers' work, many a religious tenets, many a political opinion, etc., etc., e nauseum... One of the most difficult conclusions I had to reach (mostly because of education in psychology, me wuz a psych major b-4 being booted!) was that people ARE inherently good - and, for the most part, are innocent in most of their behavior. It's very, very difficult, even in the most vulgar and "uncivilized" people, to find someone who has "evil" intentions.

Most philosophers, saints, politicians, are, in fact, doing what they "believe" is best for, not only themselves, but the human race. Though I've never had the patience to read the bible in its entirety, I've read over half that damn paperweight over the years when various friends and aquaintences have recommended various sections and whatnot...As a matter of opinion, I've always been willing to admit that the bible offers profound insight on how to live a good life, I'll not deny that; its intentions are surely good...The conclusion that I reached regarding the motive and intent behind its authors are simple -

Humans don't like to admit they're wrong. For whatever reason, a person can be wholly aware of their own lack of intellect, lack of knowledge, and STILL VIOLENTLY oppose anything that refutes their opinion, I reiterate, OPINION. Now, I know, this doesn't hold true for EVERYBODY, but most.

The authors of the bible, and Wittgenstein, KNEW of the nature of man and his unnecessary love of ego. Specifically, the authors of the bible knew that if they attributed all these OPINIONS to self, that they would not be given a second thought. In other words, if the bible was a bunch of people saying things like, "I believe/know that you should do this and that, and not do the other thing and that," NOBODY would listen.

The authors of the bible KNEW that their wisdom, if it were to persuade anyone, could not come from the self, and needed a way to communicate their advice so that it would be accepted. The authors of the bible are credited for being PURE men, but rarely do I hear people describing them as genius. The authors of the bible were of extraordinary genius because the communicated their philosophy in such a way that their argument was unbeatable. Their entire goal was to create a body of philisophical/poetic work that was not refutable. Mission accomplished.

People have long been thought to be too stupid to govern themselves, that sentiment, surely, was much more prevalent in biblical times. The idea of God is one formulated out of pure speculation, and, in order for it to have any merit, it must, by the logic of our language, stand on its own two feet, so to speak. It always will so long as people are willing to speak of that which they know not. So long as people are willing to create, out of thin air, ideas regarding fictitious characters, the bible, and God, will hold.

Why is it that even today philosophy hasn't solved many, if not all, of their major "problems?" Well, it could be one of two things, man's unfounded love of ego, or God. God would be responsible because it gives the philosopher an out, a reason to refute any argument of logic out of the desires of the possible.

To wrap this up I'll use the bible and God to back up the foundation of my philosophy, which, is largely based on my education in psychology:

"All the Kingdom of heaven rejoices more for the repentance of one sinner than for all the world's righteous men." -from the mouth of Jesus (supposedly)

The above scripture is to remind us of the power of forgiveness and should remind us of the power of "leading by example" (I never said I could practice what I preach...therefore, I say unto you, be an asshole).

But, my point is, as any attentive psych 101 student can tell you, more often than not punishment induces rebellion. More often than not, the simple act of preaching induces rebellion. These are obviously not hard steadfast rules of behavior, rather guidelines. Each human being will have varying gradations of rebellion. However, the only way to create a human being that is perfectly obedient is to beat them like a dog whenever they stray from your law. Its a paradigm of human behavior; you can either provide a perfect example and give your child total free will, they will most likely follow the example and express tremendous gratitude for the freedom and positive environment you've provided...OR, you can do whatever you want, adopt a "do as I say not as I do" policy, slap the shit out of the little bastard every time he/she gets out of line or disobeys and then, even then your results are going one of two ways:

you'll get a mindless, obedient little puppy dog OR

a serial killer....

good luck...

peace n whatnot,


10:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I object to (and the Dawkins lecture is an example) is the dogmatic assertion by many educated individuals, that evolution is the undoubted explanation for human existence, and that this is beyond serious debate. To question the legitimacy of this assertion is met with laughter and risks ridicule.

However the fact remains that the magnitude, the scale of these claims is barely addressed by the circumstantial data available. I have never said that evolution is foolish or unreasonable, on the contrary it is very reasonable, and I can easily see why it is compelling, I have no objection to it being proposed as a possibility for what we observe today.

Because the time-scales required (or more precisley: postulated) are so vast, it is impossible to carry out many scientific experiemnts.

Now it is sheer arrogance to suggest that (which many do by implication) that the inability to execute such experiments is nevertheless immaterial, and that the claims of the theory may be proven in other ways.

It is (for example) an assumption that the physical laws observed today were identical in the distant past, this is an assumption (and not unreasonable, but still an assumption). In fact radio carbon dating assumes that the intensity of cosmic ray radiation striking the earths surface has been contant, and ineherent in all such dates is the assumption that the radiation levels we see today are at the values they were in the past.

If you loosen this restriction (and there is some evidence that the assumption is wrong) then you impact the dates determined from radio carbon observations.

Of course radio carbon dating is not used for dating > 60,000 years or so, but this is just one example of how it is implictly assumed that laws/contants observed today were the same at all times in the past, there are other important examples too.

Cosmologists consider this issue, becaue they recognize that it is equally presumptive to assume that laws/constants observed locally also apply at remote regions of the universe, these are assumptions, reasonable yes, but nothing more than assumptions, the ONLY justification for them in fact is that it would be impossible (or more difficult) to formulate any model, but this doesnt make the assumption anything other than an assumption.

Recall that Newtonian mechanics rested upon a very very reasonable set of axioms that were taken for granted, assumed for centuries. Einstein daringly changed these axioms and was able to produce a far better theory. Physics is clear on what it's axioms are, they are well defined and unambiguous, the very foundation of the mathematical resoning that comprises modern theories.

Why do proponents of evolution seem to beleive that their own axioms (and there are a great many!) are somehow beyond question, and must be assumed as true always.

One example: it is an assumption, axiom that an asexual goup of organisms can through repeated reproduction and genetic mutation, lead to a sexually reproducing group of organisms. I am not saying that this is impossible, I have no idea, but I think it is more than reasonable to question this and ask if it can be demonstrated through experimetation. Of course it has been (to a limited degree) "simulated" using computer models, but this begs the question: has the model been engineered/calibrated in such a way as to lead to the required outcome?


We have extremely well tested models for fluid dynamics (used in meteorology) but we still cannot predict the weather more than a handful of days in advance, so on what basis do we assume that models of asexual bacteria are accurate enough to prove conjecture especially when used to simulate long time periods?

In closing, imagine we were able to carry out such an experiment on a real community of bacteria, and we were able to wait and observe over great time periods. Imagine further that after repeated attempts, with differing organisms, initial conditions, environmental disruptions etc, that no sexually reproducing community emerged, what I ask would be the reactions?

Evolutionists (the dogmatic variety) "Well, this proves nothing, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Clearly we need to better understand the environemntal issues here or the kind of mutations caused by external factors...."

This is what much of the evolutionary edifice rests upon, assumptions that inherently prevent themseleves from ever being disproven and thereby supporting a theoretical framework that by definition cannot be demonstrated as false.

Any system/theory/model that does not provide a test for it's own falsity is by definiton nothing more than hypothesis.

I strongly belive that these issues should be taught and not hidden away or labelled as "whacko".


10:56 AM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

Listen to yourself just once...

J_G...ya know what...as simply as i believe i can explain..

i m prittee shoor that u r a vary nise lady indeed in prsun, ibet u r kiend genneruss luving n caerng, i wood hav no problm nor qustn thatt i wood ask if u evr neded my hlp, if u neded ajob, sum cloths foodbedcot, if yr evr n nede id giv wut i can, id doo it fer enneebuddy, n i do meen enneebuddy..

of ennee race
of ennee culler
of ennee mined
of ennee uther...

mi werds convay storees, n tha voyce uv a raeginnnn man, cuz i no frum xpeereence dat u n sumuthers liekyou focus yer lives on holdinnng thee unfortu-knits down, holeding yoor "hi-er ground<" u, my frend, centr yer jujmint on tha' fact that yoor already "up"


11:40 AM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

my advice to anyone, in poetic simplicity:

adlib life

11:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


You raise a very pertinent point, indeed, what is the point?

This is what I was getting at when I asked what are the merits, the fruits of teaching evolution anyway?

I mean it, what actually is the objective of indoctrinating young people in this way? in what way does anyone benefit? indeed WHO are the beneficiaries?

The evolutionary view of nature (which I repeat may or may not be correct) has become a religion in it's own way. Questioning it, even attempting to discuss it, results in insults being hurled and name calling etc.

This is how Galileo was treated, so people are no different now to what they were way back then.

Galileo was mistreated simply because he dared to question perceived wisdom, ie he was not politically correct. Questioning the evolutionary doctrine today is very similar, it is politically correct to simply swallow what they teach, few have the strength of character to openly question things.

Things are getting worse today, so many people are hostile and narrow minded, most of them are dumbed down by mindless TV anyway, actually thinking for ones self, daring to raise and hand and say "But, what about this?" is sadly becoming rarer.

Too many people today rely upon the "system" to spoon-feed them an "education", they rely upon society to decide what is worth teaching and what should be taught, rather than setting their own agenda, their own curriculum as it were.

I often suggest to people that I meet, that they should listen to radio more, it is far less limiting than television, which avoids not only academically stimulating subject matter, but controversy too, you can put anything you like on TV but for God's sake dont be controversial, we don't want that, Oh no, we can't have that, what would the public do? I'll tell you what they would do, they would THINK and we can't be having any of that thank you!

Try this anyone who is interested, it is free, and beats TV to a pulp (I'm not saying that this is controversial by the way, the BBC too have their own little way of working)



11:47 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Thanks Sean.
Anuff said.
It's hard to get anything across to someone who oviousily enjoys being beat up.
Listen, L. Guy i had to say it.

12:03 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Listen j-g, even Christians, who have privy to knowledge that the rest of us heathens don't, need to take advice from the world sometimes. Think about this, How much of your faith, belief, whatever is Christ-like or just your own masochistic(sp) tendicies? do you think just because we pick on you, we are the ones that are misinformed? Maybe you Christians need to get your heads out of your you-know-whats & get some real compassion & understanding. Jeez
O.K. L. Guy, kick me off I don't give a damn.

12:15 PM

Blogger AndyT13 said...

The Flying Speghetti Monster waves his noodly, pirate clad appendage at you all.

2:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:12 PM

Blogger Marissa Engel said...

It seems all the empirical testing we do as humans only widens the chasm of uncertainty. Wouldn't it be novel if we didn't have to prove how intelligent we are and could accept our minute role in the universe at large with grace?

2:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those willing to read, with an open mind that is, here is an article I just dug up:


It is a much more elborate discussion about the simplicty I mentioned with respect to the "family tree of man" and the scarcity indeed absence of "in between" fossils.


4:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article is a compelling read, most enjoyable.

I particularly like these snippets:

"Evolution[ary] paleontologist Sankhar Chatterjee has found what appears to be a fossil bird, Protoavis, in Late Triassic strata--at the same geological period as the appearance of the first dinosaurs. This fossil appears to have more features in common with true birds than Archeopteryx did. Given that it appears in the fossil record at the same time as the earliest dinosuars, then it seems highly unlikely that birds are descended from dinosaurs."


"You've probably never heard this before, but it just so happens that evolutionarily speaking, nobody has any idea where the dinosaurs came from. The major dinosaur groups appear in the late Traissic fossil record without any recognizeable ancestors".


"Another says, "Acanthostega had many fish-like characteristics it did have legs and feet rather than fins". But why did these limbs evolve, supposedly? In the PBS Evolution series, it is claimed that the aquatic Acanthostega developed limbs so it could have an advantage running out of the water to escape predators. However, there's a tradeoff: limbs are not as good for swimming as fins are. Why would a fishlike creature begin to develop legs which themselves inhibit their ability to swim away from predators? There simply is not a Darwinian scenario whereby it is advantageous for an aquatic creature to develop limbs for organisms with poor fins for swimming would quickly get selected out by predatation over swimming organisms".


"But wait, what if there was some "fish with legs" fossil out there? Wouldn't that give us some hope? Unfortunately, regardless of how much we speculate, there are no fossils of fish with legs. One biologist said, "we still do not have any really intermediate fossil forms between fishes and tetrapods (we are getting closer, with the description of _Panderichthys_ and _Elpistostege_; see later)". He ends by saying, "we are free to argue vociferously about the identity of the group of fishes that must be the tetrapod ancestor32"."

Incredible that these and other criticisms are glossed over, and their proponents labelled as "whakos" or "fundies", well you can all draw your own conclusions, I care not what you beleive, but do hope that it is based on logic and not peer pressure!


4:56 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

L. Guy, I know you love me, so, indulge me one more time.?!
j-g I'm inviting you again to come over to my blog. I have a poem for you. What's more benign then a poem? Come to the Musings,Rants, & Ravings site.
P.S. Don't look at the cartoons if they offend you.

10:14 PM

Blogger Dusty said...

Intelligent design states simple something Intelligent must have put the proteins or molecules together. (We are ignoring the eleven dimensions string theory has offered.) Would I be out of line to say the intelligent designer was an Alien? If they can traverse the vastness of space and stir the primordial ooze or start the big bang, they are more intelligent. There is more evidence to suggest aliens exist. “Waiting for the Galactic Bus” has as much plausibility as anything else.

When the time comes and it will come, what do you tell the children in your class who is the designer, what will you say? I think if I have to pick a god and there are many to choose from, I will go with Loki. He’s funny, crafty, sneaky, silly and malicious… Sounds like the guy who started all this.

2:38 AM

Blogger Fayyaz Khan said...

I have discussed the issue of Darwinian Evolution in my blog at the following page:


You will see that the idea of Darwinian evolution holds false when viewed in light of the unassailable and overwhelming modern scientific evidence against it.

4:20 AM

Blogger Dusty said...

We aren't holding on to Darwin as the final word. He was the one who put us on the right path. As with his original theory, it evolved. As our technology grew, so did our understanding. It's not just one man saying we are shaved apes. The fingers of biology, genetics and even behaviorists.

4:59 AM

Blogger Fayyaz Khan said...

It seems that you haven't read the relevant chapter that I have referred to in my blog. The chapter of the book is available online at the following page:


It should be clear that the fingers of biology, genetics, and behaviorists CLEARLY point to the notion that we are NOT "shaved apes".

6:25 AM

Blogger Dusty said...

"According to the evolutionists, the reason why evolution cannot be observed today is that it takes place very gradually, in million of years. In 1965, however, a new island (Surtsey) was born near Iceland in submarine volcanic upheavals, and hundreds and thousands of insects and plant species emerged there within an interval of a year. It is still not understood how and whence they came."

This is easily explained. We've seen this in Antarctica all the time. A burrowing, deep hibernation of insects. This land was probably up 3000-6000 years ago. The insects are new to us right now but not to the earth. I have no proof without seeing some of the body types.

"Mutation is never constructive; it is destructive" Viruses do it all the time. Why? To keep themselves alive. They need a host. If you kill all the people on the earth, what will happen to you? You become a less virulent strain and then your chances of survival increase. Bacterium on astriods and comets...

"assume increasing complexities and perfection in the chain from primitive to (in their view) elevated organisms. But to assume such as ascent is both arbitrary and subjective" Can't this be said about heaven? Aren't we guessing who goes and who stays? Aren't the rules for getting there so varied it is like a roulette wheel?

It is a nice article and there was a lot of though given to it. It was mostly conjecture. Show me proof. The fact that we are only 98.5 percent identical to chimps say a lot. Most people can only hope to get a 98% match to their children.

9:57 AM

Blogger Larry Kollar said...

j_g: “We should teach children them science but science that makes sense. Science that include all of the facts and not jusr cherry picked ones that try and support a theory that is almost laughable at best.

OK, whatever, but you’ve just advocated eliminating any mention of creationism/ID in science. ;-)

I think you might be missing the point, though: science is not, nor pretends to be, revealed truth. If you insist on teaching only subjects that include “all the facts,” you might as well close down the entire educational system because all the facts haven’t been discovered (and probably never will be).

Newton and Einstein have been mentioned several times, and for good reason. Newton’s theories and equations do a good job describing what we might call “real-world” situations — there are errors, but they’re insignificant until you move fast enough. Science is constantly refining itself, given new data and new ways of looking at things. And like I said earlier, that scares the bejeebers out of people who don’t like things to change. (Jesus had two words for people like that: “Fear not.”)

Christians refine their beliefs and doctrines in much the same manner, although most of us don’t realize it, on both a personal and church-body-wide level. The early church(es) had tons of wildly different doctrines, which had to be weeded out over several centuries, for example. Jesus Himself triggered a quantum shift in how we relate to and worship God.

We can’t grow, either in intellect or in faith, unless we constantly test our beliefs and chuck the stuff that doesn’t work. Paul said as much: “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.... Test everything.” (1Th 5:19-21)

Thus, teaching a science that’s rapidly shifting, like evolution, is a good idea IMO. You want to be able to show how a theory gets refined over the decades and where there are gaps to fill in — because that is what science is about.

11:07 AM

Blogger Fayyaz Khan said...

This is easily explained. We've seen this in Antarctica all the time. A burrowing, deep hibernation of insects. This land was probably up 3000-6000 years ago. The insects are new to us right now but not to the earth. I have no proof without seeing some of the body types.

You probably didn't realize that Surtsey was born out of a volcanic upheaval. The land was not up 3000 to 6000 years ago, but it was up in 1965. Your "probably" word there is nothing more than speculation. Besides, the insect and plant species that emerged there were new to the land, as observed by scientists. Finally, you paid absolutely no attention to the sentence, "It is still not understood how and whence this came", which basically means that scientists have failed to come up with any coherent, evolution-friendly theory for the observed phenomenon, let alone offer an easy explanation.

"Mutation is never constructive; it is destructive" Viruses do it all the time. Why? To keep themselves alive. They need a host.

Firstly, viruses need a host to keep themselves alive, not a mutation! Secondly, since viruses do it "all the time", what have they evolved into? Nothing but more viruses.

"assume increasing complexities and perfection in the chain from primitive to (in their view) elevated organisms. But to assume such as ascent is both arbitrary and subjective" Can't this be said about heaven? Aren't we guessing who goes and who stays? Aren't the rules for getting there so varied it is like a roulette wheel?

Firstly, you have changed the topic there. We are discussing evolution here, not Heaven. Secondly, the rules for who goes to Heaven and who doesn't are very well laid in the Qur'an.

It is a nice article and there was a lot of thought given to it. It was mostly conjecture.

You keep contradicting yourself. It was "nice", yet it was "mostly conjecture".

The fact that we are only 98.5 percent identical to chimps say a lot. Most people can only hope to get a 98% match to their children.

The fact that we are 98.5% identical to chimps does NOT say a lot. Since we are 98.5% identical, on what basis can we say that we evolved from apes, but apes did not evolve from us? I think it would do us good to read the following paragraph from the said article again:

In accordance with their earlier conceptions, evolutionists still classify cells as primitive or evolved. After 1955, however, it was realized that 99% of cellular structure is identical, and that this value is 100% for DNA, the chemical building block. The difference between cells, lies in their mathematical programs. That is, a plant cell is programmed to process Oxygen, while a liver cell is geared to produce bile. Since one cannot speak of computer. programs serving different purposes as being primitive or evolved versions of one another, evolution, i.e. the gradual attainment of perfection, is not a valid statement. Evolutionists should first disabuse themselves as regards the relation between a cell and its mathematical program.

12:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I became absorbed in all this some 20 years ago, borne out of genuine desire to really know "what do we know". At that time it was becoming clear to me that "evolution" was making claims far beyond what the evidence justified, far beyond.

Reading up on this again, my feelings are confirmed, the fossil record simply does not support the claims, it does not; it is clear to me that this is a true statement.

For example going back to Archeopteryx, why are advocates not concerned that fossils of the transitional forms are not found? I mean what is the probability that all seven examples of (conjectured) reptile-to-bird fossils will be the same?

One would expect that statistically there would be a wealth of similar but distinct fossils that fit the "gap" between reptile-bird, but no, we find seven fossils ALL the same, the same animal.

I am not just pointing out the lack of transitional fossils, but the oddity, sheer bizzare reality that we have seven exactly the same animals found. If these seven were similar but distinct in some way that would fit with expectations.

Clearly the evidence indicates that there was Archeopteryx and no transitional, because there was no transition it is an observed fact that this creature once existed but is now extinct, from whence it came I cannot say, but evolution is currently not a convincing explanation.

I could do a statistical model of this idea, and I may. But in essence if we assume there were at least ten "steps" (observably distinct) transitional forms between some defined reptile fossil and Archeopteryx, then it is odd indeed that all examples we do find are of only one species and NO examples of the other ten (and there must have been far more than ten, perhaps 100 steps are required from reptile to Archeopteryx who knows, the more the worse it becomes for the evolutionary model) are found.

I would expect to see many examples of almost continuously related fossils, very spread out, rather than the quantized steps we actually observe, this is staring us in the face, deny it, conjur up unlikely explanations if you wish, but the facts speak for themselves.


1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am not concerned with the percentage "similarity" between the DNA of ourselves and some apes, that has never been on my list of relevant issues.

There are indeed similarities, but how does this support evolution?

If we look at a 1920s radio and a 1960s radio, they do indeed share similarities at a functional level (tuning, IF amplifier, AF amplifier etc) they are both clearly radios.

But this observation obviously cannot mean that the latter is evolved from the former, we know it wasnt.

If all living things (or most) have a DNA molecule always made up form the same bases, then of course there will be similarities, because they share the same building blocks.

It is fallacious to argue that because living things are all based on DNA and some examples happen to have "98%" similarity in their DNA that this has something to say about how these species came into existence, it is illogical and goes well beyond the facts themselves.

There is clearly nothing in this observation (98% similarity) at odds with EITHER evolution or supernatural creation, both scebnarios are compatible with this observation, yet neither may be deduced from the observation.

However the fossil record and its glaring lack of transitional fossils is completely the opposite of what evolutions says one should expect top observe.


3:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the inadequacy of the fossil record (from an evolutionists position) is not the only serious problem, but it is one the most compelling.

The true neutral, unprejudiced mind cannot fail to see that there is a serious mystery here, clearly evolution as currently described, has not taken place, so something else has, this is a marvelous opportunity to apply real scientific analysis to the problem.

The sad fact is that for many to even admit that there is somethings amiss, is too painful, too shocking, so denial is the easiest way forward, safety in numbers.

We need to be real scientists here, even if this leads to conclusins and views of the univerese that are hard to accept.


3:22 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Anon. Do you think their is a point of evolution for humans? Like Neanderthals? or to go even further? Or is this idea too, not realistic.

5:32 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

BTW, I've figured out how to avoid the knee-jerk response when a person annoys you, just don't read anything they post.

5:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evolution is a nontheory,a non-event,beacuse
a)karyotypes resoundingly discredit evolutionary phylogenies
b)meiosis/gametogenesis prevents generation of novel-and-sexually-reporoducible karyotypes
c)synergism of groups of chromosome pairs in execution of vital functions necessitates inheritance of complete and original karyotypes.
Evolution is,therefore a nonsensical nontheory/non-event

6:25 AM

Blogger Mr. Crap Head said...

It saddens me that this is even debatable. That points out our complete ineffectiveness as an "intelligent" society to provide enough details and explain how things work to lay people.

We know that 4.5 billion years ago, Earth was formed. We know from fossil records that micro-organisms formed shortly after, and we have millions of fossil records between 4.5 billion years ago and 40,000 years ago that are basically a picture-book of the species that lived and died on this planet. It's an evolution that is as tightly seeled as knowing that I probably fell asleep exactly where I woke up this morning. No, I can't prove retroactively that I fell asleep on the couch. But, I did wake up here. I used my brain and deduced that God didn't just put me on the couch because this is where he wanted me.

I'm hopeful that science, common sense, and evolution will prevail; that our children will be educated about the fact of evolution; and the stupid people who blindly believe otherwise will die without reproducing and thus complete the final human evolution on the "theory" of evolution.

2:30 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Last night I saw again "Planet Earth" in HD thanks to DirecTV and the channel that ran it. It makes what you say quite clear. The problem is that when you have stupid or uneducated people being preached to by charlatans or ignorant preachers you are going to get some very sad results.

7:22 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Hello, I was just searching on google for ad hominem attacks on Intelligent Design and used “intelligent design stupid” for my search. Not sure if you know this, but congratulations, yours was the first hit on the list! I’m just poking fun a little bit, but on a serious note I would like to address only one of your arguments against intelligent design as it seems to me that you have a misinformed view of it. There are several other things that I take issue with in this blog, but this seems to be the most important.
I want your assertion that Intelligent Design has no empirical consequences. I think what you might mean here is that there is no empirical evidence for intelligent design. In fact, intelligent design does provide empirical evidence through the science of design detection. Design detection is used frequently in such fields as archaeology and is based on information theory. In order for design to be detectable, whatever is being examined must demonstrate the communication of specified information, or information that serves a purpose. This empirical method for testing design is used by intelligent design theorists in biology and provides good proof for design by demonstrating specified complexity in all forms of life through such things as DNA replication.
“I described my experience reading a dissertation in astrophysics at Ohio State and serving as an outside observer/examiner. I didn't understand a damn thing. Should I have taken my ignorance as evidence that the physical world is too complex for there not to have been an ‘Intelligent Designer’”
I hope you are joking in this quote, but I’m going to assume you are not and explain why this argument is a better illustration of ID. The dissertation you read used big words to communicate information. You did not understand said big words; therefore you conclude that the entire world is too complex for there not to have been an intelligent designer; this is obviously a ridiculous argument. The use of design detection is key in this situation though. You observe in the dissertation that there is information being communicated. You also observe that this information is complex and specified. You do not understand the entirety of the document and yet you can at least determine certain facts about this document. One may infer that this document has been designed by intelligence i.e. a doctorate student. This is pretty basic, but you hopefully you understand what I mean. This is also empirical evidence of design. ID theorists through observation recognize that this information and specificity is also present in life on earth. This is why they infer an intelligent designer.

6:06 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Your substantive comment that these criteria for intelligent design detection are being used is interesting for it suggests that the ID folks have realized that what they have been passing off as proof of ID has been a sham.

I found a website which provides some information about this concept. This passage makes your point:

Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the "messages," and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the orquoteigin and diversity of life.The bugaboo in this is the phrase

semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information

I know from "semantic" and "functional" and let me say that if you read in the lingusitic literature about functional accounts of language structure you will find huge areas of disagreement. I am thinking I need to do a full blown blog on this scam and piss off a bunch of fundamentalists for fun but sadly, not profit. Maybe I can protect a few young minds.

8:52 AM

Blogger JEM said...

Thank you Jennifer and A Christian poet, and J_G and Hugh. It is quite amazing how aggravated and annoyed people get when someone gives reasons or thoughts for a certain view if it in any way can be seen as coming from a faith, particularly Christianity. But I am thankful that at least some people on this blog can debate earnestly and without showing outward disdain for an argument that seems to come from a Christian. Sadly, there are not many - most of the people on this blog seem to have a high amount of open animosity towards people of faith, towards Christians. I am guessing not many of them have known too many true Christians or they would think differently of them. True Christians don't judge everyone else, but rather are hard-working, loving people. True Christians don't have animosity towards those who believe or think differently than they do. And dare I say that true Christians would welcome an open and honest debate about anyone's thoughts on science or philosophy or literature or anything.

But anyway, I digress. All I really wanted to say was that it was nice to see some kind and thoughtful responses for both sides. I just wish there could have been more of that and less name-calling. Let's talk and debate, not get angry and personal.


9:26 PM


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