Friday, December 02, 2005

Vote for High Priest of the Temple of the Enlightenment.


In his last address as President of the Royal Society Lord May mentioned the values of the Enlightenment:

What are these values? They are tolerance of diversity, respect for individual liberty of conscience.....

He then proceded to attack ID, Christianity and especially the last book of the bible as the cause of Islamic terrorism! There are clear limits to his tolerance then. Clearly a prime candidate for the High Priest at the Temple of Enlightenment Tolerance. Perhaps this is why he has retired from the Royal Society.

Dr William Dembski has a new candidate for the leader in the new Darwinist culture of contempt.

Other notable examples of candidates for the position of High Priest:



Dr. Richard Dawkins Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Scientific Enlightenment and Tolerance:

"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that) "

[He later explains that what he particularly dislikes about creationists is their intolerance.]


Paul Z. Myers:
"Please don’t try to tell me that you object to the tone of our complaints. Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many schoolboard members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians."

And:


"Don't tell me to be dispassionate or less unreasonable about it all because 65% of the American population think creationism should be taught alongside evolution, or that Americans are just responding to common notions of "fairness". That just tells me that we scientists have not been expressing our outrage enough. And yes, we should be outraged that the president of our country panders to theocrats, faith-healers, and snake-oil artists; sitting back and quietly explaining that Bush may be a decent man who is mistaken, while the preachers are stridently condemning all us evilutionists to hell, is a (deleted word) ineffective tactic that has gotten us to this point.
I say, (deleted word) the polite words and careful rhetoric. It's time for scientists to break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles, and get out there and hammer on the lunatics and idiots. If you don't care enough for the truth to fight for it, then get out of the way. "

Paul Mirecki, designer of the world's shortest course on Intelligent design and other mythologies at Kansas University (It is one of those course that finishes before it begins!) :

“The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology,’"

24 Comments:

Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

BTW,

I am willing to forgive PZ Myers a great deal for the last sentence of his quote... I wish we were on the same side.

8:38 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

Well, in some ways I think you are on teh same side. In principle, I don't think you believe kids should be taught things in science classes that have little or no evidence to support them. Where you differ is that you think that there is scientific evidence for ID, and he doesn't.

PZ has made it clear in his blog that although he is an atheist, he has no problem with religious people so long as they leave him alone personally, and don't try and dilute science with religion. He feels that ID is thinly-disguised religion, and he's not alone.

BTW, I have met PZ, and he's really very plesant and soft-spoken in real life.

9:31 pm  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

It's harsh, but I have to say that I agree 100% with Dawkins. The fact is that 9/10 people are plainly ignorant of ToE (this includes strawman/incorrect versions of ToE).

Dembski, Behe et al, are all, as far as I'm concerned, wicked -because they know that they are lying for God to further their own moral crusade. Most of those who follow them are somewhere between just plain delusional nuggers (Salvador, Heddle et al) to certified nutters.

2:31 am  
Anonymous Nathan said...

How do you figure that Behe and Dembski are lying for God? Please explain your statements don't just throw them out with no support, that is weak. And why do you keep tagging ID to religion, sure it has religious connotations but the opposite could just as easily be said about evolution. Look at someone like Antony Flew, a former atheist who discarded some of his views based partially on evidence for intelligent design. I, like Flew, believe that the scientific community needs to follow the evidence wherever it goes. Forget whether Intelligent Design points towards theism, thats not important here . So stop making it a religious debate. Just present the evidence and let the students decide. What are evolutionists so afraid of?

6:44 am  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

Nathan said...

How do you figure that Behe and Dembski are lying for God? Please explain your statements don't just throw them out with no support, that is weak.

Both Demski and Behe have been debunked by specialists in their respective fields, and neither will respond to the challenges that have been set. Both have also made it clear that they believe that the IDer is God.

And why do you keep tagging ID to religion, sure it has religious connotations but the opposite could just as easily be said about evolution.

Evolution is not religious because it follows the scientific method, sticks to the evidence and offers no ultimate explanation. By your definition of religion, weather forecasting could be labeled a religion because it requires some faith that the forecasting is correct.

Look at someone like Antony Flew, a former atheist who discarded some of his views based partially on evidence for intelligent design. I, like Flew, believe that the scientific community needs to follow the evidence wherever it goes. Forget whether Intelligent Design points towards theism, thats not important here .

Flew is not a biologists and has flip-floped now in any case.

So stop making it a religious debate. Just present the evidence and let the students decide. What are evolutionists so afraid of?

You cannot present ID as science because there is nothing to present. It is merely a notion. There are no predictions made, experiments to perform etc. That said, would you be happy with Hindu origins being 'taught', the belief that humans have existed for 15 billions years?

10:50 am  
Anonymous Nathan said...

Jeff Said: "Both Demski and Behe have been debunked by specialists in their respective fields, and neither will respond to the challenges that have been set. Both have also made it clear that they believe that the IDer is God."
Who are these specialists that have debunked Dembski and Behe, what did they say? Give me examples.
Why is it a problem Jeff that they all believe in God? Whats your point? So did Newton, but I don't see you arguing about his contribution to science.

Jeff Said: "Evolution is not religious because it follows the scientific method, sticks to the evidence and offers no ultimate explanation. By your definition of religion, weather forecasting could be labeled a religion because it requires some faith that the forecasting is correct."

Weather does not attempt to explain origins, whereas evolution does. It trys to explain man's appearance on earth. That is, the progression from ape to man.

Jeff Said: "Flew is not a biologist"

So? Whats your point, are you saying that only people who have a degree in biology can contribute to the debate over evolution?


Jeff said: "would you be happy with Hindu origins being 'taught', the belief that humans have existed for 15 billions years?"

No, because I have not seen any scientific evidence for Hindu Origins specifically. I do see evidence for an intelligent designer in science (i.e. the Cambrian Explosion, the bacterial flagellum, the complexities of cells, the information system in DNA etc.)
I am a university student and I personally would like to see this presented in class.

4:47 pm  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

Nathan said...

Jeff Said: "Both Demski and Behe have been debunked by specialists in their respective fields, and neither will respond to the challenges that have been set. Both have also made it clear that they believe that the IDer is God."

Who are these specialists that have debunked Dembski and Behe, what did they say? Give me examples.


www.talkreason.org is probably the best starting point for you.

Why is it a problem Jeff that they all believe in God? Whats your point? So did Newton, but I don't see you arguing about his contribution to science.

There is no problem with them believing in God. The problem is that they consciously lie and deceive in order to further their particular religious views.

Jeff Said: "Evolution is not religious because it follows the scientific method, sticks to the evidence and offers no ultimate explanation. By your definition of religion, weather forecasting could be labeled a religion because it requires some faith that the forecasting is correct."

Weather does not attempt to explain origins, whereas evolution does. It trys to explain man's appearance on earth. That is, the progression from ape to man.


You're confusing biological evolution with abiogenesis. The bare form of ID (the version they don't like to talk much about) accepts common descent (including man sharing a recent common ancestor with apes).

Jeff Said: "Flew is not a biologist"

So? Whats your point, are you saying that only people who have a degree in biology can contribute to the debate over evolution?


Only scientists in evolution-related fields can make a meaningful contribution to the scientific debate (by means of peer review) of origins. The political debate (instigated by the ID brigade) is another matter entirely.

Jeff said: "would you be happy with Hindu origins being 'taught', the belief that humans have existed for 15 billions years?"

No, because I have not seen any scientific evidence for Hindu Origins specifically.


What evidence you have against Hindu deities being the intelligent designers? This explains more than ID, in identifying the designers, doesn't it?

I do see evidence for an intelligent designer in science (i.e. the Cambrian Explosion, the bacterial flagellum, the complexities of cells, the information system in DNA etc.)
I am a university student and I personally would like to see this presented in class.


Your alleged 'evidence' of ID is dealt with at both www.talkorigins.org and
www.talkreason.org.

Nathan,

I think you have to make a decision here. The overwhelming majority of scientists (in the relevant fields) endorse the theory of evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth (google 'project steve' for some idea) and almost all apolitical scientific organizations have issued statements in support of evolution and against ID being scientific.

Here's the Project Steve statement for good measure:

Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to "intelligent design," to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools.

So your decision is this:

Either all these people and organizations are part of an incredibly well-coordinated exercise in deception, or the top tier ID proponents are trying to force their particular religious views into science.

Stark.

6:35 pm  
Anonymous Nathan said...

Jeff said: "You're confusing biological evolution with abiogenesis. The bare form of ID (the version they don't like to talk much about) accepts common descent (including man sharing a recent common ancestor with apes)."

I am not confusing evolution with abiogenesis, what I am trying to say here is that evolution makes a direct statement as to where (or what)humans originated from, it says we evolved from apes, and so on down the evolutionary ladder. It is attempting to explain where we came from.

Jeff Said: "The overwhelming majority of scientists (in the relevant fields) endorse the theory of evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth."

Ok, well then instead of doing scientific research into evolution and intelligent design, why don't we simply take a poll of scientists in relevant fields, and then determine which theory is correct based purely on numbers. Do you essentially believe that the majority is always the most correct? Whenever a new theory is proposed, of course the majority of people in that field will be opposed to it, simply because it has been established for x number of years (e.g. the idea that the sun revolves around the earth vs. the earth revolving around the sun).

Jeff Said: "
What evidence you have against Hindu deities being the intelligent designers? This explains more than ID, in identifying the designers, doesn't it?"

I'm not exactly sure where you are going with this...

7:30 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

Nathan said:

I do see evidence for an intelligent designer in science (i.e. the Cambrian Explosion, the bacterial flagellum, the complexities of cells, the information system in DNA etc.)

Can you explain why you think these are evidence for an intelligent designer? What is it about each of these things that make the case for design?

I have the feeling that in each case, you will reply "Evolution cannot explain.....", or something along those lines. My question is this: how is that evidence for design?

11:08 pm  
Anonymous Nathan said...

When I look at mount rushmore, with the intricately shaped faces, I immediately infer an intelligent source. Similarly when I look at computer code, I automatically assume that there is a programmer. DNA is stashed FULL of information waiting to be translated, information is always the result of intelligence. Evolutionists want to look at DNA, something infinitely more complex than computer programming and say that it is one giant fluke.

I assume that the earth in all its comlexities has a designer based on the same reason that you would look at mount rushmore and say that it is the work of a skilled craftsman. It seems obvious to me.

And although I know you think it is a weak argument, our options are limited if we reject evolution.

How about you give we some evidence FOR evolution.

12:23 am  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

Nathan said...

I am not confusing evolution with abiogenesis, what I am trying to say here is that evolution makes a direct statement as to where (or what)humans originated from, it says we evolved from apes, and so on down the evolutionary ladder. It is attempting to explain where we came from.

Yes it does. I'm not sure what you mean by “where we came from”. Evolution explains the current diversity of all life.

Ok, well then instead of doing scientific research into evolution and intelligent design, why don't we simply take a poll of scientists in relevant fields, and then determine which theory is correct based purely on numbers.

The ID/Creationist (unscientific) viewpoint was dominant for centuries before the modern age of science. All contemporary scientific research (~150 years worth) supports evolution and that is why it is supported by the overwhelming majority of scientists in the relevant fields.

Many scientists had originally set out to look for evidence of God/design in nature only to come to find no evidence to support such a viewpoint.

If the ID movement has a scientific theory then they first need to state its predictions, how to test for it and how it could be falsified, they might also have to state the nature, intention, goals etc etc. of the alleged intelligent designer/s.

I can save you the trouble and tell you now that there are no peer-reviewed scientific articles supporting proposing positive evidence for ID.

Do you essentially believe that the majority is always the most correct?

Most correct? No.

Whenever a new theory is proposed, of course the majority of people in that field will be opposed to it, simply because it has been established for x number of years (e.g. the idea that the sun revolves around the earth vs. the earth revolving around the sun).

A greater majority of scientists oppose my 'theory' that my erstwhile feline companion created God, the universe and pop tarts, than oppose ID -that make my 'theory' more valid than ID?

Your first problem is that the idea the sun revolves around was never a scientific idea, rather an idea based on the belief that the earth was the centre of the universe.. Science made a positive case for the alternative and it was eventually accepted.

If you have positive evidence for whatever you think should should replace evolution, then compose a theory, make some predictions etc. etc. and finally, publish it for peer review. If your theory is supported by the evidence then it will eventually gain acceptance.

Jeff Said: "
What evidence you have against Hindu deities being the intelligent designers? This explains more than ID, in identifying the designers, doesn't it?"

I'm not exactly sure where you are going with this...


My ID 'theory' is more complete than yours, basically. You won't/can't identify the designer for legal/political reasons.

Personally, I would prefer to to have my version taught.

12:49 am  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

Nathan said...

When I look at mount rushmore, with the intricately shaped faces, I immediately infer an intelligent source.

Well done.

Similarly when I look at computer code, I automatically assume that there is a programmer.

2/2

DNA is stashed FULL of information waiting to be translated, information is always the result of intelligence.

You need to provide a definition of 'information' before you can make such claims. Also google 'Avida' & take a look at: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF003.html Browsing through here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html should also save you lost of wasted time and effort (me too, hopefully!).

Evolutionists want to look at DNA, something infinitely more complex than computer programming and say that it is one giant fluke.

No they don't. I think you meant to say something different, but the answer is still the same.

I assume that the earth in all its comlexities has a designer based on the same reason that you would look at mount rushmore and say that it is the work of a skilled craftsman. It seems obvious to me.

I think you wanted to say something about life on earth here, but anyway the answer is still the same: a complete lack of positive evidence for design in the natural world. We know Mt Rushmore was designed because we have records of the blueprints, construction process etc. etc. What can you tell me about your supposed intelligent designer that is supported by empirical evidence?

And although I know you think it is a weak argument, our options are limited if we reject evolution.

How about you give we some evidence FOR evolution.


Sure:
http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs.html

See you in 2 weeks (roughly how long it should take you to read all that)!

1:16 am  
Anonymous Nathan said...

Jeff Said: "Your first problem is that the idea the sun revolves around was never a scientific idea, rather an idea based on the belief that the earth was the centre of the universe.. Science made a positive case for the alternative and it was eventually accepted."

The fact that it wasn't a scientific idea does not change the fact that whenever ANY new idea is proposed it meets a great deal of opposition, whether it be scientific or not. The fact that you say "eventually" alludes to this. There was indeed some opposition to this idea. The same can be said for intelligent design, which is also meeting barriers.

Jeff said: "A greater majority of scientists oppose my 'theory' that my erstwhile feline companion created God, the universe and pop tarts, than oppose ID -that make my 'theory' more valid than ID?"

Did I ever say that majority or a lack thereof reflect validity? Because if I did please quote me on it. I said and I say again that you cannot muster support for evolution by saying that more people believe it therefore its right.



Jeff Said: "You need to provide a definition of 'information' before you can make such claims."

By information, I mean something that can be interpreted, the instructions packed into DNA can be classified as such. I find that this points to an intelligent source.

Nathan Said:
"I assume that the earth in all its comlexities has a designer based on the same reason that you would look at mount rushmore and say that it is the work of a skilled craftsman. It seems obvious to me."

Jeff said:
"I think you wanted to say something about life on earth here."

No, I said exactly what I meant to. I am saying that I believe that we can draw parallels between design in society and the mechanical world, and design in nature.

Jeff said: "What can you tell me about your supposed intelligent designer that is supported by empirical evidence?"

I have already told you about what I believe to be evidence for ID.

Thanks for the evolution link at talk origins, I read a few of the articles already and plan on reading more.

5:52 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Jeff Said-"We know Mt Rushmore was designed because we have records of the blueprints, construction process etc. etc"

Jeff,
I think you are wrong here. We make inferences to intelligent design without any of the supporting evidence that you refer to. If we found a model of Dr Spock orbiting around Mars we would still infer design. We do this often in every day life and we do it with historical objects too. Context is very important but I do not think it is essential. ID is about asking what is the logical framework for these common inferences and how do we rigorously determine whether they are valid or not.

8:46 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Andy,
The bacterial flagellum and the first cell are examples of the wrong sort of object to be contstructed by numerous slight modifications each one generally leading to an increased survival rate.

Would you agree that the sudden appearance of a large amount of integrated information is a strong pointer to an intelligent source?

What I see in the origin of life and in the origin of the motor element of the bacterial flagellum is the need for numerous interrelated elements to function together. The tight limits around this function and the information needed to code it seem to "common sense" to point to design. Dawkin's agrees that there is a strong tendency in the human mind to make this inference. He argues that it is mistaken on the basis that evolution can do remarkable things...the question is: What is the limit to the remarkable things that can happen by chance? Can we produce an accurate theoretical framework for all of this?

9:01 am  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

Would you agree that the sudden appearance of a large amount of integrated information is a strong pointer to an intelligent source?


You're begging the question. How do you know that a large amount of integrated information appeared suddenly in the history of life on Earth?

10:38 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

Nathan said:

When I look at mount rushmore, with the intricately shaped faces, I immediately infer an intelligent source.

Be careful. You are inferring a source that is human (and therefore intelligent). We are very good a recognizing human design. You cannot give me an example of something similar to Mount Rushmore that we have good evidence is a) designed and b) not designed by humans.

Let's burrow a little deeper though. What do Mount Rushmore and a computer code have in common that causes you to say they are both designed?

10:41 pm  
Anonymous Nathan said...

Andy Said:
"You cannot give me an example of something similar to Mount Rushmore that we have good evidence is a) designed and b) not designed by humans."

How about a beaver damn? It is a) clearly designed, b)clearly not designed by humans. If you had no idea about beavers, and you stumbled across a damn, would you not infer that it has a designer?

Why don't YOU tell me why you think the beaver damn or mount rushmore appears to be designed, because I know you would make the same assumptions as me.

6:01 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Andy,

Is SETI looking for intelligence which can be recognized irrespective of whether it is human or not? ie do the workers on the SETI project think that they can detect intelligence irrespective of whether it is human or not?

8:02 am  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

Andrew,

SETI is looking for signals that are similar to those that humans might send. In other words, unlike ID, they make a priori assumptions about the characteristics of the designer.

7:32 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

Nathan,

Two points with regard to beaver dams. First, the behavior of beavers is not intelligent, and the dams they build are not the products of design. Beavers will instinctively place tree branches and mud wherever they hear running water. If you put beavers in a pool of non-flowing water, and play them the sound of running water from an underwater speaker, they will place objects in the vicinity of the speaker.

Second, we recognize beaver dams and other animal constructions as designed because we are familiar with similar products of similar designers. We've seen the animals in action. As Steven J put it in the talk.origins newsgroup a while back:

“We do not invoke a "mud-and-stick dam designer" of unguessable motives and methods; we invoke the observable methods and inferrable motives of the designers. Even if some naturalist found the dams of some previously unknown castorid with no trace of their builders, he would not invoke a vague "instinctual designer" but a sort of beaver as similar to known beavers as the new type of dam is to known types of beaver dams.”

When people say that DNA is designed because it is a code, they are mixing simile with reality. We know that humans program computer codes. Humans do not program DNA codes. When we call the bacterial flagellum a machine, we are using a simile.

7:42 pm  
Anonymous Nathan said...

"SETI is looking for signals that are similar to those that humans might send. In other words, unlike ID, they make a priori assumptions about the characteristics of the designer."

So do you see SETI as being flawed because it looks for evidence of a designer based on human like signals?

8:40 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

So do you see SETI as being flawed because it looks for evidence of a designer based on human like signals?

It is fair to say that SETI will only detect signals that fall into its criteria. That could be construed as a flaw. But it's a good start. I'm not sure how a SETI program could detect signals from an intelligence that worked in a completely different way to ours. What criteria would they use?

9:18 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

There's a nice essay about SET and ID here:

http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_intelligentdesign_051201.html

2:32 am  

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