Monday, November 27, 2006

Truth In Science Materials.


The "Truth in Science"

material is attraction considerable attention and discussion.

The Guardian- Revealed: rise of creationism in UK schools

The Nuffield Curriculum Centre.

The Guardian Seminar.

UPD8 Intelligent Design in Science.

BBC- Let's test Darwin.

It is also to be the subject of a discussion on Newsnight tonight between Lewis Wolpert and Andy MacIntish.

Peter Hitchen's piece in the Mail on Sunday...a rare journalist who can see the difference between ID and various forms of creationism.

Denyse O-Leary's analysis.

Lucy Sherrif writes a standard ID=creationism line at The Register.

46 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

Andrew, don't you think it's a little disingenous for a group to call themselves "Truth in Science" when they a) are at odds with the vast, vast majority of the scientific community, and b) don't have a scientific basis for their arguments, and c) don't participate in scientific research on the very areas they disagree with the scientific community on?

Perhaps a better name for them would be the Ministry of Truth in Science.

2:37 am  
Anonymous harry b said...

Matt said...
Andrew, don't you think it's a little disingenous for a group to call themselves "Truth in Science" when they a) are at odds with the vast, vast majority of the scientific community,


What's the actual evidence for this claim? So far I've seen reference made to various science lobby groups opposing the Truth in Science materials. And some of the groups, like the British Humanist Association, aren't especially scientific at all. Since people on this blog seem very concerned about 'evidence', can any of you provide links that suggest that 'the vast majority' of the scientific community opposes the TiS materials, or for that matter, intelligent design or creationism. Do you have particular surveys in mind? If so, which one(s)?

6:39 am  
Anonymous ah_mini said...

http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/site/content/view/50/65/

LOL

Any site that quotes Bill Bryson as an authority on science deserves a credibility rating of zero. ASHONE was an entertaining popular read (particularly concerning the odd personal habits of some long-dead scientists), but by no means accurate as a scientific text.

Oooh, and they have a Dawkins' quote mine regarding the mythical Cambrian "explosion":

http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/site/content/view/48/65/

All rather embarrassing really. This site is just a rehash of Answers In Genesis. I'd be surprised if AIG personell weren't involved somwhere in its development.

Andrew

2:03 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"What's the actual evidence for this claim?"

TiS is pushing Creationism (and are in fact overwelmingly Young Earth Creationists) and attempting to undermine the teaching of Evolution. In doing so, they are at odds with:

1. Albanian Academy of Sciences
2. National Academy of Exact, Physical and
Natural Sciences, Argentina
3. Australian Academy of Science
4. Austrian Academy of Sciences
5. Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
6. The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts
of Belgium
7. Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and
Herzegovina
8. Brazilian Academy of Sciences
9. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
10. RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and
Sciences of Canada
11. Academia Chilena de Ciencias
12. Chinese Academy of Sciences
13. Academia Sinica, China, Taiwan
14. Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and
Natural Sciences
15. Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences
16. Cuban Academy of Sciences
17. Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
18. Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
19. Academy of Scientific Research and Technology,
Egypt
20. Académie des Sciences, France
21. Union of German Academies of Sciences and
Humanities
22. The Academy of Athens, Greece
23. Hungarian Academy of Sciences
24. Indian National Science Academy
25. Indonesian Academy of Sciences
26. Academy of Sciences of the Islamic Republic of
Iran
27. Royal Irish Academy
28. Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
29. Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy
30. Science Council of Japan
31. Kenya National Academy of Sciences
32. National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz
Republic
33. Latvian Academy of Sciences
34. Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
35. Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts
36. Academia Mexicana de Ciencias
37. Mongolian Academy of Sciences
38. Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco
39. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and
Sciences
40. Academy Council of the Royal Society of New
Zealand
41. Nigerian Academy of Sciences
42. Pakistan Academy of Sciences
43. Palestine Academy for Science and Technology
44. Academia Nacional de Ciencias del Peru
45. National Academy of Science and Technology,
The Philippines
46. Polish Academy of Sciences
47. Académie des Sciences et Techniques du
Sénégal
48. Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
49. Singapore National Academy of Sciences
50. Slovak Academy of Sciences
51. Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
52. Academy of Science of South Africa
53. Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural
Sciences of Spain
54. National Academy of Sciences, Sri Lanka
55. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
56. Council of the Swiss Scientific Academies
57. Academy of Sciences, Republic of Tajikistan
58. The Caribbean Academy of Sciences
59. Turkish Academy of Sciences
60. The Uganda National Academy of Sciences
61. The Royal Society, UK
62. US National Academy of Sciences
63. Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences
64. Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y
Naturales de Venezuela
65. Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences
66. African Academy of Sciences
67. The Academy of Sciences for the Developing
World (TWAS)
68. The Executive Board of the International
Council for Science (ICSU)

http://www.interacademies.net/Object.File/Master/6/150/Evolution%20statement.pdf

2:48 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

It should be noted that the teacher mentioned in two of the articles Andrew cites, Nick Cowan, is:

1) a chemistry teacher, not a biology teacher, so his comments on the subject are pure grand-standing, as he is in no position to teach evolution, ID or anything else;

2) a Young Earth Creationist; and

3) the head of the hardline right-wing evangelical Christian Institute.

This further emphasises the linkages between ID, Creationism and reactionary Christianity.

3:33 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

hrfan said:

TiS is pushing Creationism (and are in fact overwelmingly Young Earth Creationists) and attempting to undermine the teaching of Evolution. In doing so, they are at odds with:..


Interesting response. I guess you didn't understand my question. I was asking what evidence is there that what TiS is promoting is at odds with the vast majority of the scientific community. I was more expecting some survey data that indicated what actual scientists thought about TiS's purported aim of portraying Darwin's theory of evolution as controversial. What you provided instead was a hidden gloss on TiS activities, alongside what on close inspection turns out to be a rather vague document in support of some idea of evolution, signed by representatives of national academies, most of which (I'd guess) are self-appointed.

Can you do better, or is this the standard of evidence you're normally satisfied with in this kind of discussion?

3:36 pm  
Blogger Ranter said...

Hrafn,

What are the characteristics of a 'hardline right-wing evangelical'?

I'd be interested to know.

Thanks

4:08 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

harry b:

Can you provide any evidence that that these national bodies do not represent the majority position of their nation's scientists?

Survey evidence is fragmentary, although supportive (e.g. in Ohio, traditionally somewhat of a hotbed of Creationism, 93% of science professors said they were not aware of "any scientifically valid evidence or an alternate scientific theory that challenges the fundamental principles of the theory of evolution.")

4:12 pm  
Blogger Lepus said...

Well Science isn't a 'popularity contest' as such, so a survey doesn't prove one side more right than the other. To get an idea of Scientist's opposition to ID, try project steve

In other news, you could try the court transcripts for the kitzmiller/dover case in which Intelligent Design was found to be religious in nature and therefore violated the separation of church and state clause in US law.

This is why the other groups like the Humanist Association are involved. ID/Creationism is religious doctrine, not science.

5:48 pm  
Blogger Lepus said...

my apologies - screwed up the Project Steve Link

5:53 pm  
Anonymous Matt Inlay said...

harry b said,
"I was asking what evidence is there that what TiS is promoting is at odds with the vast majority of the scientific community."

Are you suggesting that the TiS is in line with the scientific community?

"Can you do better, or is this the standard of evidence you're normally satisfied with in this kind of discussion?"

Oh come off it, Harry. Anyone who's following the ID/evolution controversy knows that the "teach the controversy" strategy is just a smokescreen for ID. Take this from the TiS welcome:

"For many years, much of what has been taught in school science lessons about the origin of the living world has been dogmatic and imbalanced. The theory of Darwinian evolution has been presented as scientifically uncontroversial and the only credible explanation of origins."

The 2nd sentence is an accurate assessment of the general position of the scientific community. The 1st sentence is intended to imply that the 2nd is "dogmatic and imbalanced". That is at odds with the scientific community.

I find it strange that you would so quickly dismiss a list of 68 national science academies (which includes the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science). So you don't think those groups are representative of the scientific community as a whole?

Not included in that list is the AAAS, one of the largest science organizations in the world. Go here for their take on the controversy:
http://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/evolution/

8:08 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

Hrafn said...
harry b:

Can you provide any evidence that that these national bodies do not represent the majority position of their nation's scientists?

Survey evidence is fragmentary, although supportive (e.g. in Ohio, traditionally somewhat of a hotbed of Creationism, 93% of science professors said they were not aware of "any scientifically valid evidence or an alternate scientific theory that challenges the fundamental principles of the theory of evolution.")



Clearly you’re easily impressed. If these bodies aren’t accountable to rank-and-file scientists, even in the fields that you yourself would consider relevant, then there is no reason to believe that these bodies represent the vast majority of scientists in their respective countries. (Reality check: Can a group of scientists in these countries petition the named scientific bodies to change their view about anything? Probably not.) So I’ll take your response to mean that you don’t have any of the relevant evidence I asked for. This says a lot about how easily you believe things.

11:29 am  
Anonymous harry b said...

Lepus said...
Well Science isn't a 'popularity contest' as such, so a survey doesn't prove one side more right than the other. To get an idea of Scientist's opposition to ID, try project steve

In other news, you could try the court transcripts for the kitzmiller/dover case in which Intelligent Design was found to be religious in nature and therefore violated the separation of church and state clause in US law.

This is why the other groups like the Humanist Association are involved. ID/Creationism is religious doctrine, not science.


You’re too smart for me! I’d never realized that science conducted itself in the manner of Orwell’s Animal Farm, where all scientists are equal except that some scientists are more scientific than others. Even if we grant that only scientists should decide the content of science textbooks, one would hope that in cases where content is being restricted (i.e. no ID), it would meet with the approval of all practising scientists. But there is no way of ensuring this at all. It’s basically which lobby group shouts the loudest and has the most clout. The British Humanist Association is not a scientific body. It’s just a cheerleading society of non-scientists who flatter scientists with honorary presidencies and vice-presidencies. Please, don’t use that as a standard of scientific probity! As for court cases in the US, big deal! We happen to live in a different country (or at least I do!) where the separation of church and state is not constitutionally inscribed – and in any case, is not interpreted in such a restrictive fashion. Of course, if you’d like to make the UK the 51st state of the US, be my guest!

11:39 am  
Anonymous harry b said...

Matt inlay said:

I find it strange that you would so quickly dismiss a list of 68 national science academies (which includes the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science). So you don't think those groups are representative of the scientific community as a whole?



I find it strange that you would take what they say at face value without knowing how members of these bodies were selected and the degree to which they are accountable to the larger scientific communities in their countries. That level of faith makes you eligible for a true theist. God bless you!

11:50 am  
Blogger Lepus said...

@harry b.

Your original response was requesting evidence that 'Truth in Science''s views and Ideas are at odds with the vast majority.

'What's the actual evidence for this claim?' -- harry b

In an attempt to answer this question, I made an assumption that perhaps some sort of survey was what you were looking for and thought that maybe 'Project Steve' would help give you an indication of the level of opposition to ID within the scientific community.

The second part of your original post I was addressing was that of your second sentence.

So far I've seen reference made to various science lobby groups opposing the Truth in Science materials. And some of the groups, like the British Humanist Association, aren't especially scientific at all -- harry b

My response to that is, that Scientific groups are not necessarily all that should be involved in this discussion, as ID is a religious doctrine, and not, science at all. By way of backing this particular claim up, I thought I'd mention a US court case illustrating so clearly the reasons that ID is not a scientific idea.

So, to your post responding to mine...

First sentence.

I would submit that ALL scientists are equally scientific, albeit with expertise and specialities in many different and varied disciplines. I would however argue that all IDEAS are NOT equally scientific. Your agricultural argument is both irrelevant, and in my opinion needlessly antagonistic.

Second sentence. I have no idea how the curriculum is developed in the UK, I will endevour to find out. I would hope though, that scientists are heavily involved in developing a scientific curriculum. I would also hope that they would include Science in that curriculum, and not half baked apologetics for christianity.

Third Sentence. No way of ensuring this? As I said, I don't know how the curriculum's developed. I'll get back to you on this. I doubt that it's "who shouts the loudest" however.

Fifth Sentence (begins "The British Humanist Society..." Whatever your opinion of the BHS, they, as many of us are doing, view ID as religious apologetics. Accordingly, ID has no place in a science lesson and indeed a religious (or non-religious) group has every right to make a comment.

I'm most empatically NOT using the BHS as an example of Scientific Probity. I am using the BHS as an example of a religuously (or non religiously) oriented group who are commenting on a Religious Idea.

I am fully aware that the UK is not (yet) the 51st US state. That may or may not be a matter of time, but this is not the blog to go into politics on. Nonetheless none of the arguments, evidence or questioning is any less relevant over the status of ID just because that argument took place a couple of thousand miles from the UK. Agreed, in the UK, there's no state and church to separate, so this case could not possibly reach that particular verdict over here.

I am also fully aware that the UK is nominally a religious country where the head of state is also the head of the church of the national religion. That is why, I beleive that assemblies of a religious nature are held in schools, and additionally why religious education appears on school curricula.

If you want to teach/discuss ID, place it in RE classes.

It doesn't matter how you dress it up, its still creationism.

1:24 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Harry B:

If you believe that these national scientific bodies do not represent the views of the majority of their members, and their nation's scientists, then PROVE IT

Otherwise, I have not got time for your irrelevant, unsubstantiated nit-picking.

2:27 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

Hrafn said...
Harry B:

If you believe that these national scientific bodies do not represent the views of the majority of their members, and their nation's scientists, then PROVE IT

Otherwise, I have not got time for your irrelevant, unsubstantiated nit-picking.


Is this all you do, shift the burden of proof? In that case, you shouldn't mind if someone says,if you believe that God doesn't exist, PROVE IT!

3:52 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Harry B:

You are the one alleging that the national scientific bodies do not represent the views of their constituent scientists, it is therefore up to you to prove your allegations.

...if you believe that God doesn't exist, PROVE IT!

I don't believe that Zeus, Osiris, the Easter Bunny, fairies-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden or unicorns exist either. I am however quite happy to continue to disbelieve in them until somebody presents some credible substantiation as to their existence.

The opinions of the national scientific bodies is credible prima facie evidence of the existence of a majority supportive of evolution. It is therefore up to you to substantiate any claims discrediting these bodies (mere assertion does not count as substantiation).

4:06 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Rogue Scientist Has Own Scientific Method
"TALLAHASSEE, FL—Only months after abandoning a tenured position at Lehigh University, maverick chemist Theodore Hapner managed to disprove two of the three laws of thermodynamics and show that gold is a noxious gas, turning the world of science—defined for centuries by exhaustive research, painstaking observation, and hard-won theories—completely on its head."
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/49180

5:17 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

hrafn said:

The opinions of the national scientific bodies is credible prima facie evidence of the existence of a majority supportive of evolution. It is therefore up to you to substantiate any claims discrediting these bodies (mere assertion does not count as substantiation).


My mind boggles at your credulity. Would it be possible for a group of scientists -- even the majority of practising scientists -- to petition the Royal Society to change its view of something? If the answer is no, then your continued belief in the Royal Society's speaking for the majority is no more than wishful thinking. I think you need a lesson in the history of democracy. The masses have been quite docile when they have no mechanism for collecting and voicing their opinions. Scientists exist in just such a primitive political state today, and you act as if this were some kind of divine right.

7:51 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

harry b

You seem to be implying the RS position is not endorsed by the scientific community? I hardly think the whining of a minority of scientists who endorse ID constitutes enough of a revolt to make such a rash statement.

As mentioned previously there are more scientists by the name of Steve who support evolution than there are scientists who endorse ID (most of whom are not sufficiently trained in biology to have anything other than an opinion on the subject).

Common sense alone tells me that groups, such as TiS, who peddle the scientifically discredited claims of the DI will always be at odds with the majority of scientists (represented or not) who do not have 'appeals to the supernatural' in their toolkits.

10:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrafn said

'I am however quite happy to continue to disbelieve in them [includes God presumably] until somebody [define somebody] presents some [define some] credible [define credible] substantiation as to their existence.' Really? I don't believe it for one moment. Your belief / faith system will not allow it. Admit it, you are only open to what you already agree with.
This is my observation.

By the way i'd like to know the characteristics of a 'hardline right-wing evangelical' as well. I notic you haven't given an answer. Are they similar to a hard-line right wing evolutionist?

10:30 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

harry,

It's unfortunate that you can't see how ridiculous you sound dismissing statements by the National Academy of Science as unrepresentative of the scientific community.

"That level of faith makes you eligible for a true theist."

My "faith" in these organizations is based on their track record of scientific achievement. I heard Bruce Alberts, the president of the NAS, give a talk last year about how the NAS pushed for the sequencing of the human genome in the early 90s. I wonder how that one worked out for them...

"Even if we grant that only scientists should decide the content of science textbooks, one would hope that in cases where content is being restricted (i.e. no ID), it would meet with the approval of all practising scientists. But there is no way of ensuring this at all."
(boldface mine)

This is a ridiculous standard. There are individuals with PhDs out there that believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. In fact, these people outnumber the IDists several fold. Should we include that in science textbooks? What about the Raelians, or Scientologists? Should we include their theories because at least one of them is a scientist?

I'm not suggesting that there isn't room for differing opinions in science textbooks, but when the vast majority of scientists take one point of view, and dissenters a) represent a tiny percent of all scientists, b) do not practice science in the field under question, and c) do not have a scientific basis for their alternative theory, then I don't think there is sufficient justification for including the alternative theory in high school science textbooks. I think it's fair to expect some kind of scientific output from the alternative theory before putting it in textbooks, don't you?

"The British Humanist Association is not a scientific body. It’s just a cheerleading society of non-scientists who flatter scientists with honorary presidencies and vice-presidencies. Please, don’t use that as a standard of scientific probity!"

Just a note, the British Humanist Association is not among the scientific organizations listed by Hrafn. Do not dismiss these science organizations because a non-scientific society takes the same position as they.

"Would it be possible for a group of scientists -- even the majority of practising scientists -- to petition the Royal Society to change its view of something?"

Absolutely. Do you have any evidence of a member from any of these organizations complaining about their stance on evolution? I have no idea if there's a formal procedure in place for any of these organizations, but on a scientific level, the consensus for a particular scientific paradigm changes all the time. The term "dogma" has only been used once in biology (do a google search for "Central Dogma of Molecular Biology), and it was disproven a long time ago.

10:32 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

It seems the silly season is out in force.

"some": "4 : being at least one..."

"credible": "1 : offering reasonable grounds for being believed"

Christian Institute
"The Charity Commission has criticised the rightwing religious pressure group behind the Tory peer's campaign against the repeal of clause 28 for breaching the terms of its charitable status. It has ordered the Christian Institute to change its subtitle, 'influencing public policy', and accused it of engaging in politics. The Newcastle-based charity, supported by hardline Christian evangelicals, lobbied hard to support Lady Young's campaign in the House of Lords to defeat government attempts to repeal clause 28, intended to prevent 'promotion' of homosexuality in schools and by local authorities."
The Guardian, 23rd. August, 2001, page 7.

"The Christian Institute (CI) is a UK-based, right-wing, evangelical Christian registered charity. They derive their policies from a belief that the Bible is inerrant and should be the authority on all of life."
http://www.answers.com/topic/christian-institutex

1:39 am  
Anonymous harry b said...

Brian said
harry b

You seem to be implying the RS position is not endorsed by the scientific community? I hardly think the whining of a minority of scientists who endorse ID constitutes enough of a revolt to make such a rash statement.

As mentioned previously there are more scientists by the name of Steve who support evolution than there are scientists who endorse ID (most of whom are not sufficiently trained in biology to have anything other than an opinion on the subject).

Common sense alone tells me that groups, such as TiS, who peddle the scientifically discredited claims of the DI will always be at odds with the majority of scientists (represented or not) who do not have 'appeals to the supernatural' in their toolkits.


I don’t think the bare fact that relatively few people have been participating in this debate at all says much about who believes what about what. What you and I both know, though, is that anyone who sticks their head above the parapet and expresses even mild support for ID is bound to get shot at. Witness this blog, which is less verbally abusive than some on this topic. So it’s reasonable to conclude that what is expressed by either side isn’t necessarily representative of what the majority of scientists believe.

As for Project Steve and kindred attempts, their success is a no-brainer. If you keep the definition of both evolution and ID sufficiently vague, so that people can read whatever they want into them, then it’s not surprising you get the results you do. The statement from the national academies of science is only slightly better than this in their attempt to remove all the bits of evolutionary theory – i.e. the important bits that have to do with actual mechanisms – that might cause controversy from their ‘consensus’ statement.

As for ‘common sense’, that’s your PC word for ‘prejudice’.

8:45 am  
Anonymous harry b said...

Matt said:

My "faith" in these organizations is based on their track record of scientific achievement. I heard Bruce Alberts, the president of the NAS, give a talk last year about how the NAS pushed for the sequencing of the human genome in the early 90s. I wonder how that one worked out for them...


In other words, your faith is based on their effectiveness in pushing particular agendas, which in this case coincides with yours (and mine, as it happens). The relevant sense of ‘achievement’ is at least much political as scientific. But that’s exactly what you’d expect of a body with the political status of the NAS. What this says about their relationship to the rest of the scientific community remains an open question.


Matt said:

Harry b said: "Even if we grant that only scientists should decide the content of science textbooks, one would hope that in cases where content is being restricted (i.e. no ID), it would meet with the approval of all practising scientists. But there is no way of ensuring this at all."
(boldface mine)

This is a ridiculous standard. There are individuals with PhDs out there that believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. In fact, these people outnumber the IDists several fold. Should we include that in science textbooks? What about the Raelians, or Scientologists? Should we include their theories because at least one of them is a scientist?


Well, if the standard is so high – i.e. if such a wide range of scientific opinion is represented in matters of origins – then that may be an argument for taking the decision out of the hands of scientists. In fact, scientists don’t determine the content of the school curriculum (they write the textbooks, of course), and that’s OK with me.

But in any case, your worries are overstated. If we used a 5% threshold of scientific opinion to determine what gets into textbooks, then there may be 4 or 5 distinct accounts of origins represented, like Young Earth, Panspermia, but I’m not sure about Raelians and Scientologists. But how much space are we really talking about here – a paragraph or two for each? Would that be a crime against the intellect, especially if it came along with some statistical breakdown of the weight of scientific opinion, along with disciplinary origins of respondents, etc.?

9:06 am  
Anonymous ah_mini said...

harry b, I think you will find it is the DI who have used vague definitions of evolution and ID to get people on their argumentum ad populum list. In fact, some scientists, upon discovering that they had been tricked, demanded that their names be removed.

The Project Steve mission statement is very clear indeed (you can look it up for yourself) and all the people on it have PhDs in biology. Project Steve is also a joke, it's not a serious attempt to say, "Look at all these people, evolution must be true!". Its only purpose for existence is to mock the ridiculous ID/creationist lists that are supposed to make us think that there might be some "controversy" about evolution.

The "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" argument doesn't wash either. We are told that loads of scientists are secretly supporting ID, but don't want to ruin their careers. We are told that ID peer-reviewed research will come, but it is surpressed by the evil "Darwinist" cabal. May I remind you that controversial theories such as the Big Bang, Plate Tectonics (hated by Einstein no less) and bacterial generation of stomach ulcers have all succeeded in the face of initial resistance. Even the most hostile and irrational of scientists must back down when a theory is shown to work.

So when are ID proponents going to show us that ID works? If piddling scientists on far less resources (and no public relations department to work for them) can advance human knowledge, why can't the ID acolytes? Do your science, publish it, revolutionise the scientific world and claim your Nobel prize. Enough of this pathetic school campaigning for a "theory" that hasn't got beyond vague mumblings by Behe in court about a "purposeful arrangement of parts".

Regards

Andrew

9:14 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

harry b

I favour honest discussion over PC talk. If you wish to mis-interpret my comment then that's your choice.

ID supporters will only ever gain respect from the scientific community if they decide to engage in scientific discourse with them. That unlikely to happen given they have sqaundered the previous 10+ years peddling long-discredited pseudoscientific icons of ID. When Behe suggested the IC of the flagellum it may have been plausible given the state of knowledge at the time. Since then enough real science has been done to resign the idea of IC to the scrapheap of creation science. A modicum of honesty will tell you that the claims of IC in the flagellum are long dead yet promoters of ID still peddle this idea as 'emergent science'. They have done absolutely nothing to substantiate their claims other than initiate a PR campaign of persecution.

The idea of a 'controversy' is wishful thinking on behalf of ID. If you want to make it a reality you are going to have to produce something more substantial than an appeal to the supernatural. It's not scientific.

9:43 am  
Blogger Alan Fox said...

Andy Macintosh is an expert in flame technology. How does this qualify him beyond any other layman off the street to debate the shortcomings of evolutionary theory? It couldn't be that he is a leading UK hard-line creationist, could it?

PS, Andrew, why do you call your blog "ID in the UK"? As there is no separation of Church and State legislation to circumvent, unlike in the US, the "ID is not religion" charade is redundant and thus seems superfluous. This also appears to be underlined by the lack of commenters, other than those, like myself, following the link from Uncommon Descent.

4:29 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

ah_mini said:

The "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" argument doesn't wash either. We are told that loads of scientists are secretly supporting ID, but don't want to ruin their careers. We are told that ID peer-reviewed research will come, but it is surpressed by the evil "Darwinist" cabal. May I remind you that controversial theories such as the Big Bang, Plate Tectonics (hated by Einstein no less) and bacterial generation of stomach ulcers have all succeeded in the face of initial resistance. Even the most hostile and irrational of scientists must back down when a theory is shown to work.


It's only on your say-so that scientists aren't repressed. Yet it's clear if you look at the humiliation Behe was dealt by his own department that supporting ID in the open -- ESPECIALLY if you're a practising scientist even remotely close to the relevant subjects -- is not for the feint-hearted. And you write as if the same evidence cannot support evolution and ID. The difference is often whether the peer-review journals will allow an author to make reference to an ID concept. Behe and Minnich testified that they have been censored by such journals -- i.e. their articles were published but on the condition that the ID concepts are dropped. I suppose the smart thing for ID people would be to start their own peer-review scientific journals, so as not to be at the mercy of the scientific censors.

Finally, yes, yes, science is full of these overcoming resistance stories. It often helps if the struggle takes a generation or two so that in fact different people are passing judgement on a different version of the original theory. My guess is that ID will probably be eventually assimilated into the body of scientific knowledge this way, after guys like Behe and Dembski are off the pitch.

5:56 pm  
Blogger Alan Fox said...

My guess is that ID will probably be eventually assimilated into the body of scientific knowledge this way, after guys like Behe and Dembski are off the pitch.

That's nice, Harry.

BTW, whereabouts in the UK are you from?

9:48 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

Me: "My "faith" in these organizations is based on their track record of scientific achievement."

Harry: "In other words, your faith is based on their effectiveness in pushing particular agendas, which in this case coincides with yours (and mine, as it happens). The relevant sense of ‘achievement’ is at least much political as scientific. But that’s exactly what you’d expect of a body with the political status of the NAS. What this says about their relationship to the rest of the scientific community remains an open question."

harry, your statements are getting more and more deluded. First, you describe my trust in scientific organizations based on their track record as "faith". This is hardly equivalent to the faith expressed by theists.

Second, you keep insinuating that these scientific organizations are not representative of scientists, particularly on the issue of evolution. Why? Do you have any reason to think otherwise? That these organizations are representative is totally non-controversial. It's common knowledge.

Third, you suggest that the contribution of these organizations is "as much political as scientific". No one denies that there's a political component to science, especially publically-funded research. But do you realize what the scientific output of the NAS is? This week's issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) had 60 research articles, spanning approximately 350 pages. One issue of PNAS contains more research than the entire ID movement has ever produced. That you would suggest the political output of these organizations is even remotely close to their scientific is ludicrous.

What do you think is the political:scientific ratio of "Truth in Science"? Has any member of that organization produced even a single scientific article on evolution? Yet their political impact is fairly obvious.

"Well, if the standard is so high – i.e. if such a wide range of scientific opinion is represented in matters of origins – then that may be an argument for taking the decision out of the hands of scientists. In fact, scientists don’t determine the content of the school curriculum (they write the textbooks, of course), and that’s OK with me."

The issue here is what you mean by "represented". An extraordinarily low percentage of scientists actually support ID. Nearly all those scientists who support it do so for religious reasons. Almost no scientists in evolutionary biology support ID. So in terms of popularity amongst scientists in the field, there is essentially zero support for ID. In terms of scientific output, it's even lower. There is no research being conducted on ID, and no papers produced on ID. So far all we've seen from the IDists are a handful of articles that present no original research on ID, published in some very obscure journals.

"But in any case, your worries are overstated. If we used a 5% threshold of scientific opinion to determine what gets into textbooks, then there may be 4 or 5 distinct accounts of origins represented, like Young Earth, Panspermia, but I’m not sure about Raelians and Scientologists. But how much space are we really talking about here – a paragraph or two for each? Would that be a crime against the intellect, especially if it came along with some statistical breakdown of the weight of scientific opinion, along with disciplinary origins of respondents, etc.?"

There is a lot of information that is not presented in high school biology classes, primarily due to time constraints. This information has a lot more scientific backing than ID. One example is bioinformatics, which is given very little, if any, treatment in high school. This certainly has a higher priority than ID, or young earth creationism. Furthermore, there is a progression for science education. New concepts are first introduced in advance graduate courses. A few years later they are presented in upper division undergraduate classes, then lower division introductory courses. Only after they've gone through those classes are they taught in high school. This is what bioinformatics is going through. Are you suggesting that ID be given special treatment?

10:59 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

By Harry:"Yet it's clear if you look at the humiliation Behe was dealt by his own department that supporting ID in the open -- ESPECIALLY if you're a practising scientist even remotely close to the relevant subjects -- is not for the feint-hearted. And you write as if the same evidence cannot support evolution and ID. The difference is often whether the peer-review journals will allow an author to make reference to an ID concept. Behe and Minnich testified that they have been censored by such journals -- i.e. their articles were published but on the condition that the ID concepts are dropped."

The issue here is why Behe and other IDists have been ostracized by their fellow scientists. The reason is because to scientists in the field, ID is obviously not science, but a form of creationism mascarading as science. There is no evidenciary support for ID, and it relies solely upon attacks on evolution. There is a clear double-standard that scientists can immediately recognize. It's also obvious that ID advocacy is based primarily upon the religious convictions of it's followers (it's called "Intelligent Design" for goodness sakes!). It doesn't take long for scientists to figure out what ID is all about. It pisses off most scientists that people like Behe will use their scientific credentials to claim that ID is science, and the public, without the necessary training to understand the evidence, buy it hook, line, and sinker. That is why Behe and company take so much flak from the scientific community.

Imagine if instead of ID, we were talking about Raelianism. If there was a Raelian in your department, who used his PhD and academic position to claim that we were created by aliens, and that cloning was the key to immortality, wouldn't you be pissed?

"I suppose the smart thing for ID people would be to start their own peer-review scientific journals, so as not to be at the mercy of the scientific censors."

They have, it's called PCID and you can find it from the ISCID website (www.iscid.org). The most recent issue is now 1 year old. They have so far only published review articles. No original research has ever been presented in any of their issues. With the opporunity to publish their findings free from the spectre of academic peer review, the ID community has utterly failed to produce any work of scientific merit.

2:58 am  
Anonymous harry b said...

Matt said:

harry, your statements are getting more and more deluded. First, you describe my trust in scientific organizations based on their track record as "faith". This is hardly equivalent to the faith expressed by theists.


Well, neither you nor the theist have much empirical evidence for what you say. Just a lot of attempts to suggest that doubters are crazy.

Matt said: Second, you keep insinuating that these scientific organizations are not representative of scientists, particularly on the issue of evolution. Why? Do you have any reason to think otherwise? That these organizations are representative is totally non-controversial. It's common knowledge.

‘Non-controversial’ ‘Common knowledge’. Admit it: You’re just whistling in the dark. I don’t believe scientific organizations are necessarily representative of the scientific community because they don’t require the consent of the scientific community in order to exist and have influence. They are self-organizing and self-perpetuating. There is a disconnect between the institutions that issue degrees in science (i.e. universities) and the institutions that speak on behalf of science (e.g. Royal Society). There is no mutual accountability between these two institutions. It’s as simple as that.

Matt said: Third, you suggest that the contribution of these organizations is "as much political as scientific". No one denies that there's a political component to science, especially publically-funded research. But do you realize what the scientific output of the NAS is? This week's issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) had 60 research articles, spanning approximately 350 pages. One issue of PNAS contains more research than the entire ID movement has ever produced. That you would suggest the political output of these organizations is even remotely close to their scientific is ludicrous.

Jesus! Since when is weighing verbiage the measure of anything significant? Can’t you do better than this? So how do you suppose radical scientific change occurs – simply by one side outpublishing another? Give me a break!

Matt said: The issue here is what you mean by "represented". An extraordinarily low percentage of scientists actually support ID. Nearly all those scientists who support it do so for religious reasons. Almost no scientists in evolutionary biology support ID. So in terms of popularity amongst scientists in the field, there is essentially zero support for ID. In terms of scientific output, it's even lower. There is no research being conducted on ID, and no papers produced on ID. So far all we've seen from the IDists are a handful of articles that present no original research on ID, published in some very obscure journals.

Again, we don’t know what scientists’ real views about ID are. Indeed, we don’t even know if scientists have any clear sense of what ID is, given that its detractors tend to misrepresent it so badly. All your other claims are equally unsubstantiated. But regardless of how many or few scientists support ID, we do know that many prominent scientists are actively hostile to it, even though they don’t quite know what it is or how powerful it might be within the scientific community as a whole. The whole thing wreaks of a very pre-scientific witch hunt.

Matt said: There is a lot of information that is not presented in high school biology classes, primarily due to time constraints. This information has a lot more scientific backing than ID. One example is bioinformatics, which is given very little, if any, treatment in high school. This certainly has a higher priority than ID, or young earth creationism. Furthermore, there is a progression for science education. New concepts are first introduced in advance graduate courses. A few years later they are presented in upper division undergraduate classes, then lower division introductory courses. Only after they've gone through those classes are they taught in high school. This is what bioinformatics is going through. Are you suggesting that ID be given special treatment?

Now you’re saying something interesting. I agree that bioinformatics should be taught. But I wonder whether high school biology texts need to be any longer as fact-driven as they have been traditionally, especially given the increased computer literacy of younger people. If students learn to search efficiently – i.e. know how to pose the right questions – then a lot of time could be freed up to teach kids how to organize all this material about the structure an function of plants, animals, etc. In that case, the larger theories of life, including evolution and ID could be taught in greater detail. Even evolution these days isn’t taught with much sophistication because of an excessive concern for fact, which just ends up making evolution appear more dogmatic than it should.

6:28 am  
Blogger Matt said...

"‘Non-controversial’ ‘Common knowledge’. Admit it: You’re just whistling in the dark. I don’t believe scientific organizations are necessarily representative of the scientific community because they don’t require the consent of the scientific community in order to exist and have influence. They are self-organizing and self-perpetuating. There is a disconnect between the institutions that issue degrees in science (i.e. universities) and the institutions that speak on behalf of science (e.g. Royal Society). There is no mutual accountability between these two institutions. It’s as simple as that."

harry, it is not my job to make sure you understand that which everyone else already knows. If you want to continue to claim that these organizations are not representative, then that's fine with me. All you're accomplishing is making it clear to everyone else here that you don't know what you're talking about. I suppose I could spent some of my free time looking up resources to convince you otherwise, but why? The information is out there, you're just as capable of discovering it for yourself.

"Jesus! Since when is weighing verbiage the measure of anything significant? Can’t you do better than this? So how do you suppose radical scientific change occurs – simply by one side outpublishing another? Give me a break!"

Okay, clearly you don't understand how science works. How do you think scientific change is mediated if not through publishing research articles in peer-reviewed journals? Through informercials sent directly to high school classrooms? It's remarkable how much you're willing to attack the scientific community in defense of an organization like "Truth in Science", which clearly does not hold itself to the same standards as the scientific community does.

By all means, tell us how radical scientific change occurs, and how groups like "Truth in Science" are a part of that.

"Again, we don’t know what scientists’ real views about ID are. Indeed, we don’t even know if scientists have any clear sense of what ID is, given that its detractors tend to misrepresent it so badly. All your other claims are equally unsubstantiated."

Actually, only you don't know what scientists' real views on ID are. To everyone else, it's common knowledge, regardless of whether or not others on this forum decide to spend their free time trying to prove it to you.

With regards to your accusation that most scientists don't understand ID, it's primarily because there is no formal scientific definition of ID.

"The whole thing wreaks of a very pre-scientific witch hunt."

Please try to remember that witch hunts have never been carried out by the scientific community.

10:31 pm  
Blogger The Pixie said...

As a parent of school chldren in the UK, I have a vested interest in keep this nonsense out of schools. I have written some comments about the lesson plans here:
http://www.arn.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=30328018&an=0&page=0#Post30328018

1:51 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

Matt said: harry, it is not my job to make sure you understand that which everyone else already knows. If you want to continue to claim that these organizations are not representative, then that's fine with me. All you're accomplishing is making it clear to everyone else here that you don't know what you're talking about. I suppose I could spent some of my free time looking up resources to convince you otherwise, but why? The information is out there, you're just as capable of discovering it for yourself.

I’m calling your bluff. It may be that you don’t know what ‘representative’ means, either politically or statistically. But I dare you to find some empirical evidence that any scientific society in the UK – I’m assuming that’s where you from, but you can pick your country – is representative of its corresponding scientific community.

Matt said: Okay, clearly you don't understand how science works. How do you think scientific change is mediated if not through publishing research articles in peer-reviewed journals? Through informercials sent directly to high school classrooms? It's remarkable how much you're willing to attack the scientific community in defense of an organization like "Truth in Science", which clearly does not hold itself to the same standards as the scientific community does.

In case you haven’t noticed, those in control of the research agenda aren’t necessarily in control of what is taught in schools. You may bemoan this fact but you should acquaint yourself with it before you launch into another patronising sermon. In fact, if the current government has its way, there will be even more of a disconnect between how research and teaching are set. So start investing in those infomercials!

Matt said: Actually, only you don't know what scientists' real views on ID are. To everyone else, it's common knowledge, regardless of whether or not others on this forum decide to spend their free time trying to prove it to you.

With regards to your accusation that most scientists don't understand ID, it's primarily because there is no formal scientific definition of ID.


The phrase ‘common knowledge’ is little more than a verbal tic with you. Why don’t you try unpacking it with some serious evidence? Is this the ‘Me and my mates down at the pub’ theory of scientific consensus? I dare you.

‘Formal scientific definition’: I love this one. Apply it ‘evolution’ and see what you get….

5:42 am  
Anonymous Louis said...

From Harry B:

There is a disconnect between the institutions that issue degrees in science (i.e. universities) and the institutions that speak on behalf of science (e.g. Royal Society). There is no mutual accountability between these two institutions. It’s as simple as that.

Actually this isn't true. Admission to the RS is based purely on the quality of scientific output alone. Not anyone can join. The RS is also involved in the accreditation and development of degrees as well as the funding of fellowships etc. Being elected (by scientists in the relevant field both in and outside of the RS) to the RS is the highest scientific honour that can be bestowed in the UK. Akin to the "British Nobel Prize" to use a simile.

The scientists in the RS are those who have demonstrated a high quality scientific career (not necessarily prolific). I.e.. they have solved previously intractable problems, made discoveries that have lead to substantial change or novelty in science etc. The NAS in the USA has similar criteria. Whilst I can be a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (a seperate society to the RS related to my own field) simply by being a professional research scientist (or affiliated career) in chemistry, I cannot so simply become a fellow of the RS. In fact I can't so simply become a fellow of the RSC, fellowship again being determined on merit alone. This is a key distinction between many learned societies, some are professional societies for the advancement of their science who may or may not confer honorary positions based on merit, and who may or may not be involved in the development, accreditation and granting of degrees/fellowships.

Societies llike the RS are a different beast. Their membership is comprised only of those scientists whose contributions to science have been deemed exemplary on the basis of their ability to describe and predict observed phenomena in nature. Yes we fallible humans set the bench mark if you like, but whether a specific scientist's ideas are demonstrably correct or not is between that scientist and good ol' mother nature. And she's a tricky bitch!

Unlike other field of human endeavour science thrives by overturning dogma. Of course as science is practised by humans the usual human fallibilities creep in, but with the external benchmark that a scientist's ideas must be representative of observed reality, those human fallibilities can be, and are, minimised. Being wrong in science is a good thing.

The sad thing for the IDcreationists (for sorry to say creationists they are) is that their ideas have be found wanting on this key criterion of representing observed reality. They don't. Of course there are other criteria they fuck up on, but different story for a different day.

The ideas of William Paley and countless other scientists pre Darwin were the dogma that Darwin and others overturned. We are still today dealing with the repercussions of that overturning for one reason and one reason only: the dogma that Darwin and others overturned is and was conducive to a certain group of people's interpretation of their religion. This is the only reason we here about IDC today.

Also IDC has been conclusively demonstrated in court, lab, classroom and out of the very mouths of IDCists to be creationism 2.0. Read the Dover decision, the Wedge document, the book "Of Pandas and People" (which contains the hilarious "cdesignproponentists" typo).

This "controversy" is in no way scientific, it is entirely political. For someone of such a skeptical bent Harry B, you sure seem to have bought the hype and hoopla of the "teach the controversy" and "ID" bunch. The scientific controversy ended over 150 years ago, before Darwin even published OTOOS. The teleological arguments were known in Russel's time to be fallacious and lacking evidenciary support. The difficulty then was we had not alternative so it was the stop gap dogma of choice.

As for your prediction that ID will be incorporated into science post Dembski and Behe: sorry but no it won't. The ideas and hypotheses contained in ID are simply wrong. Not for any sinister reason, but for the same simple reason that the ideas about phlogiston and the lumeniferous aether were wrong. They were good ideas that, when held up for examination and comparison with what we DO observe, failed. The halls of science are littered with such ideas. It's how science works.

To reiterate: the only reason we are STILL hearing IDCists and their ilk is that they have poured old creationist wine into new bottles and they have cash and backers who wish to promote these specific ideas because they are congruent with the ideas of a specific, narrowly interpreted, literalist religious sect. nIf you read just those few things I suggested above you read, this becoomes blindingly clear.

If you then go away and learn the relevant science (which despite being just a chemist, I've done. My actual field borders biology) it becomes really really blindingly clear. But please, please, please do not under any circumstances take my word for any of this. Find out for yourself. I'd be happy to point you in the direction of some information if you'd like.

Louis

3:27 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

Louis said:

Actually this isn't true. Admission to the RS is based purely on the quality of scientific output alone. Not anyone can join. The RS is also involved in the accreditation and development of degrees as well as the funding of fellowships etc. Being elected (by scientists in the relevant field both in and outside of the RS) to the RS is the highest scientific honour that can be bestowed in the UK. Akin to the "British Nobel Prize" to use a simile.


You’ve unwittingly demonstrated just what a disconnect there is between the RS and the scientific community. As is made very clear from the RS’s charter, it is a self-selecting and self-perpetuating body. Only those already in it determine what counts as ‘quality of scientific output’ and who then become members. Yes, I know the RS is involved in accreditation, funding and the rest – but that’s the sort of activity you’d expect of a special interest group trying to curry favour with a target constituency. The RS’s actions don’t reflect government policy, let alone the general will of the scientific community. You’d see this point if you weren’t already committed to seeing the RS as the voice of science. I’m afraid you’re operating from one of those dreaded ‘faith-based’ positions.

Societies like the RS are a different beast. Their membership is comprised only of those scientists whose contributions to science have been deemed exemplary on the basis of their ability to describe and predict observed phenomena in nature. Yes we fallible humans set the bench mark if you like, but whether a specific scientist's ideas are demonstrably correct or not is between that scientist and good ol' mother nature. And she's a tricky bitch!

I’ll give you credit for a being a bit more colourful than the other patronising sods on this blog but you still fail to persuade. All you’re doing is assuming what we’re debating – namely, that the RS actually represents what the scientific community thinks is good science. From a political standpoint, this is like letting unelected aristocrats dictate what ordinary people are allowed to do or believe. Maybe you think that such pre-democratic arrangements are appropriate for science in a way they’re not for politics. If so, say so. At that point, you will have turned science into the new church – which I thought you were trying to avoid.

Also IDC has been conclusively demonstrated in court, lab, classroom and out of the very mouths of IDCists to be creationism 2.0. Read the Dover decision, the Wedge document, the book "Of Pandas and People" (which contains the hilarious "cdesignproponentists" typo).

This is the part I like best: You’re telling me that the verdict rendered by a judge in one US state ‘proves’ that IDC is rubbish. The judge is an irrelevancy – at least I hope he is! Had he ruled in favour of the Dover school board, you would probably be rubbishing him now. The judge only matters because he said something you already believe and would continue believe, even had he decided otherwise.

This "controversy" is in no way scientific, it is entirely political. For someone of such a skeptical bent Harry B, you sure seem to have bought the hype and hoopla of the "teach the controversy" and "ID" bunch. The scientific controversy ended over 150 years ago, before Darwin even published OTOOS. The teleological arguments were known in Russel's time to be fallacious and lacking evidenciary support. The difficulty then was we had not alternative so it was the stop gap dogma of choice.

This is the part where I wonder whether you’re just uninformed. Russel?!!!! I hope you mean Alfred Russel WALLACE. And actually his version of evolution is more teleological than Darwin’s and even supports a weak version of the micro/macro evolution split that ID people support: i.e. micro can be explained by natural selection but macro can’t. Maybe while we’re teaching the controversy, we should teach some history as well….

7:23 pm  
Blogger Matt Inlay said...

"I’m calling your bluff. It may be that you don’t know what ‘representative’ means, either politically or statistically. But I dare you to find some empirical evidence that any scientific society in the UK – I’m assuming that’s where you from, but you can pick your country – is representative of its corresponding scientific community."

Sorry, harry, I'm not doing your homework for you, even if you double-dog-dare me. You haven't given me a compelling reason to spend any of my time answering your demands. Hrafn has already mentioned a survey of scientists in Ohio that supports our basic point, that the vast, vast, majority of scientists supports evolution and rejects ID. Can you give any reason why anyone would doubt this? Can you give any reason to suggest that the scientific organizations that have endorsed the teaching of evolution do not represent the scientific community? If you could provide some shred of evidence to support your claims, maybe I would feel motivated to reply in kind, but I'm not going to waste my time on every whim of anonymous webposters.

11:45 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

OK, Matt, I understand. You can’t really provide evidence and so you’re making my request look unreasonable. I accept your concession on this point.

Meanwhile, while chastising me for remaining anonymous, you cite as an authority that maestro of bloggery, yet strangely anonymous, ‘hrafn’, who says:

Survey evidence is fragmentary, although supportive (e.g. in Ohio, traditionally somewhat of a hotbed of Creationism, 93% of science professors said they were not aware of "any scientifically valid evidence or an alternate scientific theory that challenges the fundamental principles of the theory of evolution.")

Now look at this statement that these ‘93% of scientists’ in Ohio agreed on. Look hard at it, Matt. What does ‘not aware’ mean? What does ‘challenge’ mean? What does ‘fundamental principles’? Have these terms been explained in the survey? Unless I am shown otherwise, I believe not. In other words, dear Matt, respondents are invited to read whatever they want into the terms. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest that the people who commissioned the survey were Darwinists who precisely wanted to capitalise on the ambiguity of wording. Prove me wrong, dear boy!

6:15 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Ministers to ban creationist teaching aids in science lessons
"The government is to write to schools telling them that controversial teaching materials promoting creationism should not be used in science lessons."

12:00 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Harry "maestro of bloggery" B will clearly only be satisfied with a notarised affidavit from each and every scientist on the planet supporting evolution. If we provide him with anything less, he will simply reject it due to some imagined flaw (it wasn't good enough that the 68 groups I listed were "especially scientific" -- they had to be especially scientific and especially democratic, in spite of the fact that science is explicitly a meritocracy not a democracy).

I therefore suggest that we leave him to bugger himself in peace.

12:09 pm  
Anonymous Louis said...

Harry B,

You’ve unwittingly demonstrated just what a disconnect there is between the RS and the scientific community. As is made very clear from the RS’s charter, it is a self-selecting and self-perpetuating body. Only those already in it determine what counts as ‘quality of scientific output’ and who then become members.

You obviously missed the parts about people from outside the society being involved in the selection process AND the really rather key point that it is the accuracy of the science (something only the researcher themselves has any control over) and how best it models observed reality (something no one has any control over, we don't know what the answer is before we start, unlike you it seems) that counts in terms of deciding what is good science and what isn't.

Your lack of ability to follow an argument, read for comprehension and your desire to dishonestly paint this as a conflict of faiths is noted.

Let's see if anything else you say makes you worth taking seriously. Thus far you're scoring nil points.

{reads} Nope you're just bashing strawmen. Sorry chum.

I meant Bertrand Russel BTW, and indeed pretty much any ancient Greekyou care to name, all of whom knew the logical flaws of the teleological argument.

Oh and I was not saying that Judge Jones' decision was evidence, just a good starting place for your reading. Since you are obviously vastly more ignorant of the actual issues and facts of this matter than you wish to let on, and you equally obviously have no interest in anything approaching a rational discussion, I think I'll leave it there. No doubt you'll do the usual internet troll nonsense of declaring vicory or some such wankery. Go right ahead. Your ignorance and lack of intellectual honesty do not constitue evidence. Sorry.

If you truely think that the accumulated evidence of centuries and the intellect to comprehend it can be put into a suitable soundbite for you on an internet forum and blipped into your brain, you are grossly mistaken. You are going to have to do some work you tiresome little troll. Your personal conviction one way or another is irrelevant, the science, history of science and (ya know) those pesky facts demonstrate you're wrong. As of course you'd know if you possessed the first clue about them.

Goodbye and enjoy your hair.

Louis

12:18 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

"OK, Matt, I understand. You can’t really provide evidence and so you’re making my request look unreasonable. I accept your concession on this point."

Taunting is not going to get you very far, harry.

"Now look at this statement that these ‘93% of scientists’ in Ohio agreed on. Look hard at it, Matt. What does ‘not aware’ mean? What does ‘challenge’ mean? What does ‘fundamental principles’? Have these terms been explained in the survey? Unless I am shown otherwise, I believe not. In other words, dear Matt, respondents are invited to read whatever they want into the terms. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest that the people who commissioned the survey were Darwinists who precisely wanted to capitalise on the ambiguity of wording. Prove me wrong, dear boy!"

I have no interest in proving you wrong. It's obvious that no amount of evidence could convince you that you're wrong, and any attempt to do so would be a waste of my time. I would do it for Andrew, but not for you.

This thread seems to have run it's course, so here's where I bow out.

9:52 pm  
Anonymous harry b said...

To Matt, Hrafn and Louis:

May you continue to be educated in public! I am happy to let readers decide for themselves where the truth is most likely in dispute.

Adios!

1:25 pm  

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