Saturday, December 03, 2005

ID...Nuggers and nutters following wicked liars.

In C. S. Lewis' children’s novel the Silver chair the great climax of the story comes in the underworld where Eustace and Jill have ended up in their quest to rescue Prince Rilian with the inimitable Marshwiggle “Puddleglum” (what a character!) They are struggling with the soothing deceptions of the witch who is crooning…. There is no Narnia… There is no Narnia….There is no sun... There are no fields…

Puddleglum’s answer is a masterpiece:

"One word, Ma'am" he said coming back from the fire; limping because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.

In some ways the conviction that intelligent design is right is like this… at the moment (for me anyway)…it is too beautiful and alive to be wrong. Truth is alive and envigorating. Falsehood is deathly and suffocating.

For anti-IDers we are somewhere on a scale of “just plain delusional nuggers to certified nutters” as Jeffahn put it elegantly… with a few (Like Behe and Dembski) who are just plain old fashioned wicked liars. We’re just babies making up a game. Delusional nuggers and certified nutters following wicked liars!

In the story the “underworlders” were intent on going deeper and deeper underground they were not interested in even going to have a look at the little hole being enlarged to look into a very real Narnia.

Puddleglum knew his world was the real one and the story ends with an escape from the gloomy underworld into the shockingly dazzling brightness of a real Narnia!

Which world will turn out to be the real one?
I am going with Puddleglum….


Blogger Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...


See here for more insight borrowed from C.S.Lewis on the Great Evolution Debate.

2:09 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

Which world will turn out to be the real one?

Well, go and do some experiments and find out. Or persuade Behe and Dembski to do some experiments. I recall that Behe testified udner oath that he is not actually doing experiments to test ID, and Dembski has said on more than one occasion that he isn't interested in submitting his work to peer-reviewed journals.

With respect to Puddlegum, it isn't a good scientific strategy to decide what you want the world to be like, and then do the experiments. Chances are that you'll get the answer you want......

9:46 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...


It is not exactly a level playing field for doing ID experiments...but I am working on it.

Can you give me the quote and reference for Behe's statement under oath?

10:02 pm  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

I found this (Behe is being cross-examined):

Q. Did you submit an article with scientific research advancing the argument for intelligent design to a peer reviewed science journal?

A. I'm sorry?

Q. Have you submitted an article with scientific research making the argument for intelligent design to a peer reviewed journal, science journal?

A. I was invited to submit such an article by the Quarterly Review of Biology.

Q. Let me -- was there an article that you sought to submit to the Journal of Molecular Evolution?

A. Yes. That was an article which was essentially a condensed version or a truncated version of the one which eventually became the article which was published in Biology and Philosophy where I essentially had the section deals with Russell Doolittle's claims on the blood clotting system.

Q. Did the Journal of Molecular Evolution accept the article that you submitted to them?

A. No, it was not accepted.

1:23 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...


Thanks for finding that quote but
I don't think that can be the piece that Andy was refering to.

8:37 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

I contacted Michael Behe and he said:

"I said I wasn't doing experiments aimed at falsifying ID, which I judge would not be fruitful."

Not doing experiements AIMED at FALSIFYING ID is different from not doing experiments to TEST ID I think. I get the impression that writing Darwin's Black Box effectively ended Behe's normal research career in terms of getting funding from the normal sources.

3:47 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

You already got the answer from behe, but here's the testimony anyhow:

Q. Professor Behe, you say right here, here is the test, here is the test that science should do, grow the bacterial flagellum in the laboratory. And that hasn't been done, correct?

A. That has not been done. I was advising people who are skeptical of the induction that, if they want to essentially come up with persuasive evidence that, in fact, an alternative process to an intelligent one could produce the flagellum, then that's what they should do.

Q. So all those other scientists should do that, but you're not going to?

A. Well, I think I'm persuaded by the evidence that I cite in my book, that this is a good explanation and that spending a lot of effort in trying to show how random mutation and natural selection could produce complex systems, like Barry Hall tried to do, is likely to result -- is not real likely to be fruitful, as his results were not fruitful. So, no, I don't do that in order to spend my time on other things.

Q. Waste of time for Barry Hall?

A. I'm sorry?

Q. Waste of time for Barrie Hall?

A. No, certainly not a waste of time. It was very interesting. He thought that he would learn things. And he did learn things. But they weren't the things that he started out to learn. He thought that he would be able to see the evolution of a complex system. And he learned how difficult that was.

Q. In any event, you have not undertaken the kind of test you describe here for any of the irreducibly complex systems you have identified?

A. I have not.

Q. And neither has anybody else in the intelligent design movement?

A. That's -- well, actually, I think some people are testing, not the bacterial flagellum, but are testing other things on protein structure, which I would probably count under that.

Q. Count as irreducibly complex systems?

A. Well, I wouldn't really call them irreducibly complex in that sense, but I think bear on the question.

Q. Okay. So in terms of irreducibly complex structures, you haven't done any tests, right?

A. That's right.

Q. You're not planning on any tests --

A. That's right.

Q. -- of the type you described here?

A. Well, I'm doing my theoretical work with David Snoke and hope to continue that, so I think that bears on this question.

Q. Bears on it, but it's not testing an irreducibly complex system in the way you described in this article?

A. That's right.

Q. And nobody else, you're not aware of anybody else in the intelligent design movement doing a test of the type you described here of an irreducibly complex system?

A. No, not yet.

Not doing experiements AIMED at FALSIFYING ID is different from not doing experiments to TEST ID I think.

Can you describe an experiment that would test ID?

6:09 pm  

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