Monday, May 07, 2007

Evolution becomes fact.

"For many years it was possible to doubt the validity of Darwin's theory, but skepticism is not a tenable position today."

Cynthia Russett, Darwin in America 1976, p210

When did this transition take place? What were the key discoveries that resulted in this transition?

37 Comments:

Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Well I think that it is widely recognised that it is religion that claims absolute truths whereas in science discoveries are always contingent.

However, not all are held to be equally contingent. the level depending upon the weight and type of supporting evidence.

E.g. no-one doubts the validity of Newton even though we have already superseded him with Einstein.

Even though no one seriously doubts the validity of Einstein many observations are being made and many experiments are being conducted to test him out.

The huge amount of evidence from many varied fields which all support evolutionary theory leave us in little doubt that it is "true" in some sense in the same way that the incredibly exact predictions of Quantum theory mean that it is "true" in some sense even though we have a far better understanding of the underlying process for evolution than QED.

Which sea-bed pebble being dislodged or crack in the earth slipping was the actual last event which happened before the earthquake which caused the Asian tsunami happened? I don't know, no-one does. Which wisp of winds contribution finally made possible Hurricane Katrina, no one knows either. But most scientists agree on the forces which lead to both. (Although some evolution deniers did claim that Katrina was their god punishing sinners.)

- - -

Which bit of "Sometime, somewhere, in some way, somebody designed something intelligently for some reason." is the best supported by evidence?

8:55 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,

You said:"The huge amount of evidence from many varied fields which all support evolutionary theory leave us in little doubt that it is "true" in some sense in the same way that the incredibly exact predictions of Quantum theory mean that it is "true" in some sense even though we have a far better understanding of the underlying process for evolution than QED."

You have not answered the questions.

9:58 am  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi Andrew,

I did answer the questions - in the bits of my comment you did not repeat.

I will attempt to paraphrase for you again;

I don't think that any such individual discovery or observation could be agreed upon, just like in my tsunami and hurricane examples.

This in no way invalidates either that evolution is in some sense true or that the Tsunami or hurricane causes are in some sense understood.

In other words your questions demonstrate an implied conclusion that if the actual "transition" can't be pinned down then the transition itself is without basis and therefore that the opinion expressed in your quote is not based on either evidence or reason.

None of this makes your conclusion follow logically from your premise - this is simply a non-sequitur.

I could not give you the precise age at which a boy becomes a man. This does not mean we are both still boys ;-)

I was trying to give you other examples of this kind of error in thinking regarding the Tsunami and hurricane examples.

The huge amount of evidence from many varied fields which all support evolutionary theory leave us in little doubt that it is "true" in some sense.

If this implication wasn't what you meant then please explain what you did mean.


So perhaps you can see that I did attempt (in my own clumsy way) to answer your questions the first time, and at least you could acknowledge that I have tried to spell this out more fully for you now.

- - -

When it comes to my question you haven't even tried to provide an answer ;-)

Which bit of "Sometime, somewhere, in some way, somebody designed something intelligently for some reason." is the best supported by evidence?

1:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is something quite pathetic about Psi's argumentation here. Let's make it a little simpler, so that the level of sophistry is diminished:

Even though we don't know when exactly a boy becomes a man, we can say that, say, 13 he's still a boy but at 23 he is a man. Now try answering Andrew's question in that frame of mind. For example, was evolution a fact when Darwin published Origin? Was it a fact in 1900? How about 1920? 1940? 1960? etc. Different things were happening in biology during those times, and Andrew is simply trying to figure out the sorts of things that turned out to be decisive. You don't need a precise date or exact discovery. But you do need a sense of a sense of 'before' and 'after' in the history of science, comparable to the male at 13 and 23. You might help illuminate Andrew if you dealt with the matter like this.

6:18 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi Anon,

I like your songs ;-)

I have asked Andrew for clarification on exactly what and why he was asking.

"Pathetic" "sophistry"

Thanks for the insults,

Regards,

9:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Is it understood that there is a common distinction between the "fact of evolution" and the "theory of evolution"? (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html)

2. As for when the theory of evolution gained significantly in terms of skepticism being swept aside, I would suggest that the discovery of DNA and the subsequent comparisons of and discoveries within different kinds of DNA (human, animals) made a significant contribution to that.

As psilo has observed, there is no one particular detail that sealed the deal, but DNA research could, I suggest, be seen as the "puberty and adolescence" in the analogy made by anonymous two posts above.

-- creeper

7:20 am  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi Creeper,

Just to claim a little credit - it was my analogy from my "pathetic . . . sophistry".

I have been wracking my brains (doesn't take long) to work out where the question might mean if the implication I refer to above was not intended.

Otherwise the only other interpretation I can think of is "when did the theory become accepted as a theory by the wider "scientific community".

I am using the usual scientific convention for "theory" here. Not Michael Behe's Astrology et al definition.

i.e. you make observations and measurements ( from memory of OoS Darwins' were about such things as the geographical distribution of species and observations of breeding in domestic plants and animals etc. )

You then hypothesise about these facts and make extrapolations and predictions about future observations.

Here is a short list of the areas within which we have seen huge swathes of observations and measurements which have supported evolution as snipped from a page at TalkOrigins;

A consensus universal phylogeny
Cladistics and phylogenetic reconstruction
Maximum parsimony
Maximum likelihood
Distance matrix methods
Statistical support for phylogenies
Nested hierarchies
Convergence of independent phylogenies
Statistics of incongruent phylogenies
Transitional forms
Reptile-birds
Reptile-mammals
Ape-humans
Legged whales
Legged seacows
Chronology of common ancestors
Anatomical vestiges
Atavisms
Whales with hindlimbs
Humans tails
Molecular vestiges
Ontogeny and developmental biology
Mammalian ear bones, reptilian jaws
Pharyngeal pouches, branchial arches
Snake embryos with legs
Embryonic human tail
Marsupial eggshell and caruncle
Present biogeography
Past biogeography
Anatomical parahomology
Molecular parahomology
Anatomical convergence
Molecular convergence
Anatomical suboptimal function
Molecular suboptimal function
Protein functional redundancy
DNA functional redundancy
Transposons
Redundant pseudogenes
Endogenous retroviruses
Genetic Change
Morphological Change
Functional Change
Stages of speciation
Speciation events
Morphological rates
Genetic rates

Some of these areas are newish other have been around since and even before Darwin.

I must just go back to my main point which is this;

You can't look at the history of how a theory is regarded by individual scientists or even the consensus and learn something about how strongly supported the theory is by the evidence.

To see this you should look at the evidence.

I am reminded of someone's sig I saw once on a discussion board which goes along these lines;

"Many widely accepted scientific theories were initially rejected by the scientific community"

He went on to argue that the rejection of his own pet theory (expanding earth) was therefore evidence in and of itself that his theory would be accepted in time.

BTW Creeper - does your name imply you are not a supporter of punctuated equilibrium? ( Those being referred to as the" Jerkers" I presume ) ( evolutionary joke ;-) )


Regards,

8:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Psi, you're simply changing the question. The same evidence can be used to support a wide variety of even conflicting theories. Do you think that most of the genetics research before, say, 1930 that now is used as evidence for evolution was originally done by evolutionists? Of course not. Yet it is quite legitimately used to support evolution today. Well, the converse applies as well. Evidence gathered by evolutionists can be used to support non-evolutionary theories -- that is, of course, if those alternative theories are allowed a decent run for their money. This goes back to Andrew's point about calling evolution a 'fact'. I think part of what he means to ask is when evolution became the only show in town.

9:54 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi Anon,

I'm glad you have a hot line to Andrew and what he meant.

You said; "Evidence gathered by evolutionists can be used to support non-evolutionary theories"

Perhaps you can give us an example of what you mean?

You also said;"that is, of course, if those alternative theories are allowed a decent run for their money."

What is it that you think stops them having a decent run?

Where do they want to have this run? In the scientific community or in school classrooms?

I answered the point about the word fact and the contingent nature of findings in science in my very first comment, but you seem to ignore this despite the fact that this is intrinsic to understanding the situation.

Assuming for a moment that this alternative theory is ID, please tell us the details of the theory.

Remember this from my first post? -
Which bit of "Sometime, somewhere, in some way, somebody designed something intelligently for some reason." is the best supported by evidence?

Please give us more details of this "theory" - the supporting evidence, any of the details missing from above would be handy to know, what predictions it makes etc.

As a starter what about these questions;
What mechanisms where used, when, how, how often? Where any forces presently known to physics and chemistry used? How can we tell?
Will it happen again? Where, when and how? How will we be able to tell? Does this mean that evolution happens as currently thought as well and ID is simply an add-on? What abut common descent, doesn't all this evidence just mean it was a common designer?

What about how long humans have been around as a species? Was there a flood? Dinosaurs and humans existing together in historical times? The age of the earth?

Do you think that we should teach any of the following in science class; Astrology, expanding earth, the stork theory of human reproduction?

If you don't want them taught in school science classes but do want ID taught in them, then what is different abut ID?

If you d want ID taught in science classes, what about the kids? It is not on the syllabus and they won't be examined on it. At best it wastes their valuable time. Looking at the Truth In Science stuff sent to schools, it is actually much, much worse than this. The material deliberately sets out to confuse kids and is highly likely to reduce their exam performance.

Do you just think the kids are acceptable collateral damage?

I look at this stuff in detail in my blog "truth in science revealed" - click on my name and click on the blog link in my profile for details of this.

I look forward to your answers.

Thanks,

8:00 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,
You said:
"Remember this from my first post? -
Which bit of "Sometime, somewhere, in some way, somebody designed something intelligently for some reason." is the best supported by evidence?"

If ID has happened in biology and it can be detected then all of your "some's" must be true at once and the evidence, if evidence there is, will support most of the "some's". We will not necessarily be able to detect the reason for the design event.

I am probably not understanding your question....

7:50 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,
Thank you for your questions... I know they are not addressed to me but I found them interesting...

What mechanisms where used, when, how, how often?


Where any forces presently known to physics and chemistry used? How can we tell?

Will it happen again? Where, when and how?

How will we be able to tell?
If we have an accurate design detection filter method.

Does this mean that evolution happens as currently thought as well and ID is simply an add-on?

ID is sceptical about whether life can originate from matter without intelligent intervention.

ID is sceptical about whether the development of the whole range of biological complexity can originate from a simple living cell without intelligent intervention.

What abut common descent, doesn't all this evidence just mean it was a common designer?

Do we have water tight methods to distinguish between common descent and common design?

What about how long humans have been around as a species?
Was there a flood? Dinosaurs and humans existing together in historical times? The age of the earth?

Psi- I think it is important to distinguish between YEC and ID. There is considerable overlap in terms of people involved but the whole intellectual thought processes are fundamentally different. YEC's believe differently on the answers to the above questions mainly because of their commitment to the bible.
ID started as a way of separating the question from religious authority and asking where does the evidence in nature point without any religious authority to tell us.

Do you think that we should teach any of the following in science class;
Astrology, expanding earth, the stork theory of human reproduction?
This sort of question does not stimulate productive discussion in my experience.

If you don't want them taught in school science classes but do want ID taught in them, then what is different abut ID?

There is real concern that methodological naturalism is closely related to philosophical naturalism and that exclusion of the possibility of intelligent involvement in biology as a foundation of science is just as "religious" as dogmatically teaching that it is present.

Can you honestly detect no difference between ID and the above?

If you d want ID taught in science classes, what about the kids? It is not on the syllabus and they won't be examined on it. At best it wastes their valuable time.

Thinking about big questions is not a waste of time! Are schools just exam factories?

Looking at the Truth In Science stuff sent to schools, it is actually much, much worse than this. The material deliberately sets out to confuse kids and is highly likely to reduce their exam performance.

I disagree with your views of the material sent completely.

8:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is real concern that methodological naturalism is closely related to philosophical naturalism and that exclusion of the possibility of intelligent involvement in biology as a foundation of science is just as "religious" as dogmatically teaching that it is present."

See, here's the thing: science works exceedingly well on the basis of methodological naturalism – empirical observations, repeatable experiments, falsifiable hypotheses etc. I can't think of a single scientific advancement that was based on a supernatural explanation. I've seen people who were adamant that science would be so much more, well, useful if only certain shackles were released who couldn't name a single example of this actually being the case. If it is, surely there would be at least one such example. And it's not like there's some conspiracy to silence the obvious truth of such a thing - it just isn't there.

Religious folk will on occasion complain that not including the supernatural is somehow limiting. The thing is, nobody is stopping those who question the current methodologies of science from coming up with a better way of doing things - they could use a supernatural explanation to come up with, say, a cure for cancer. That would be very convincing indeed. But for some reason creationist outfits are more intent on putting out half-fast (and half-baked) arguments against evolution that don't stand up to scrutiny. Have you ever wondered why their focus is on that instead of on broadening human understanding by using this supposedly mind-blowing advancement in science of including the supernatural?

But as long as this tactic smacks of mere excuses to circumvent the hard work of science to put some unproven propaganda into the heads of impressionable children (keep in mind you always have the churches to do that anyway), it's not going to be very competitive vis a vis the accepted scientific mainstream.

"Thinking about big questions is not a waste of time! Are schools just exam factories?"

No, but then please include all creation myths. And put them where they belong, in comparative religion classes. Thinking about big questions is not a waste of time, but don't delude impressionable kids into thinking that creationism, in whatever form, is science until it has gone through the same kind of rigorous testing that, for example, the theory of evolution has gone through. The shortcut of getting the propaganda out there before doing the hard work just will not wash.

Psi: "Looking at the Truth In Science stuff sent to schools, it is actually much, much worse than this. The material deliberately sets out to confuse kids and is highly likely to reduce their exam performance."

Andrew: "I disagree with your views of the material sent completely."


You may be aware that Psi has a blog that takes on and debunks Truth In Science in detail. I haven't followed Psi's blog pertaining to this topic in detail, so if I'm not taking into account your arguments over there, please forgive me. If you haven't, however, please don't hesitate to use factual arguments instead of just saying that you "disagree completely" and letting it rest there.

-- creeper

5:19 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi Andrew,

I think that disagreeing without being disagreeable is a sign of civilisation - so thanks for the tone of your response.

I am conscious that this discussion is getting to be very long winded, although for the best of reasons.

I think your comments and questions raise some interesting points and I have written up a full response and put it on my own blog. This affords better text formatting options and it will ensure we don't get our wires crossed.

If you then want to respond on my blog or with another entry here than that's fine.

If you want me to copy the text on to a comment here then of course I will do so but it may not be the best way for us communicate clearly.

My blog entry is here;

http://cogitatute.blogspot.com/2007/05/in-conversation-with-id-proponent.html

I look forward to you response,

Regards,

8:43 pm  
Blogger John said...

Andrew,
I've been giving your question some thought. Inasmuch as Cynthia Russett was right about skepticism not being a tenable position in 1976, the transition did not take place just because of key discoveries. The most important reason for the death of skepticism was the removal of reasons for skepticism.
• The defeat of the ideas of Louis Agassiz took non-theological creationism off the field.
• The discovery of radioactivity put paid to the time limits imposed by William Thomson's (Lord Kelvin's) thermodynamic calculations.
• Snobbish resistance on the grounds that descent from a monkey was too undignified was a very strange defence for people who putatively believed that Adam had been formed from the dust of the ground.
• Divisions among Darwin's successors ceased to be a valid reason for skepticism with the dissemination of Mendel's genetic experiment conclusions.
• The failure of many generations of theorists to find evidence of a universal flood gradually removed more ground for skepticism.
• The abandonment of Natural Theology with its characteristic doctrines meant, not so much the loss of a reason for skepticism as the loss of an easy target for evolutionary theorists. Since nobody believed them it was no longer part of the teaching of evolution to attack them.
• The moving of the goalposts to make any grounds for skepticism untenable that weren't evidentialist has to be mentioned.
• The untenability of skepticism about Darwinian validity is in some measure a social construct so those who adopt skepticism are to a greater or lesser extent excluded from society. In 1976 it may well have seemed in its turn tenable to exclude the relatively small number of skeptics.

Since that time much has changed, theistic anti-evolutionists are not by and large engaged in trying to get the conservative genie back into its skeptical bottle and it is IMO both a cynical ploy to pretend that they are and a fatal error to believe that they are.
Anti-evolutionists are more likely to be concerned with challenging some areas of Darwin's theory and exposing the misuse of some putative implications of it.
It is also IMO a mistake to think that the eradication of the tenability of skepticism has got to the heart of the problem that people will always have with Darwin's theory. I believe that the zeal to eradicate skepticism from the narrower community of science has produced far more widespread skepticism in the wider community than could have been imagined in 1976.

It seems to be the case that about 40% of young people have reacted to being told that skepticism is untenable by being skeptical. It is an easy target to blame 'religion' for spreading this skepticism but a quick tour of our places of worship would show that we don't have them. It would do opponents of ID in general and of the Truth in Science initiative in particular some good if they would recognize that those who distributed that material are also concerned about the skepticism young people are showing about science as a whole.
I cannot believe that this has been thought through by opponents of Truth in Science, because they have got to know that there are no more powerful incentives to rebellion in the human heart than telling us what we have to believe and giving the impression that something is being hidden.
By thus introducing new grounds for skepticism about Darwin's theory the establishment are ensuring that skepticism about Darwin's theory will remain untenable in ever decreasing circles.

12:15 am  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

You said;

"It would do opponents of ID in general and of the Truth in Science initiative in particular some good if they would recognize that those who distributed that material are also concerned about the skepticism young people are showing about science as a whole."

Can you point to some evidence for TiS's concern at the level of scepticism young people are showing about science as a whole please?

At first blush this seems very odd to me as they chose to distribute material produced by The Discovery Institute. The same organisation who produced the infamous "wedge" document which states;

"Governing Goals
• To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
• To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.
Five Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
• To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
• To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.
Twenty Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
• To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, palaeontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
• To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life."

Please note that none of this has any mention of what the actual truth is - they already know that they are right - scary.

This position seems pretty anti-science to me.

However I try to take pains to be open to new evidence in all things in life so please show me why you think this.

8:59 am  
Blogger John said...

Mark (?),
You ask for evidence of the TiS compilers' concern about the degree of skepticism shown among young people about science in general.

Why not just ask them or any one of them if they are concerned about that? Failing that, here are my evidences.
• The standing of the people involved in their communities as far as I am acquainted with those communities. I've been surprised at how many people I knew of were having their names bandied about in the initial furore over TiS being published.
• The simple fact that the people I know of were and are outstanding in the field of science education. I was a poor science teacher in my time (I mean I wasn't very good) but even I feel shame when I witness the skepticism with which the great British public treat new plastic bag dispensers in the supermarket as though they couldn't possibly have been designed to do the job they do. Educators just do not want widespread skepticism about their subjects.
• Ironically enough my knowledge of what is in the TiS materials comes mostly from your blog and your descriptions of what is there are enough to convince me that this material is intentionally designed to combat cynicism about 'what science isn't telling us' etc.

So this is the so-called wedge document that I've heard about? I'm not a lawyer so I might be missing some of the nuances that are being seen by those who get upset by this statement of goals but this seems perfectly in order to me. If a society for the promotion of, say, Plasma Cosmology, for example, were to have similar goals why would anyone get upset?

About using Discovery Institute material you are in the Catch 22 position of advertising Discovery Institute by fulminating against the use of its materials. I would counsel you to work out a reason why the proverbial man in the street will find this connection disturbing before even mentioning them. You say, 'This position seems pretty anti-science to me.' but with all due respect, it would, to you, wouldn't it? Why bother mentioning it if you can't work out why it doesn't to me?

Oh and just to help you understand why it doesn't to me.
• It doesn't because ID theory doesn't seem any more 'creationist' to me than big bang cosmology does.
• It doesn't because doubting the truth of one's own theories is not part of the science culture.
• It doesn't because the triumph of naturalism looks awfully like the death of science to this observer.

3:52 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

Well its taken a few attempts but my requests for evidence have finally been answered!

But hang on a second - no - still no evidence regarding ID itself. You all seem a little shy;-)

Oh well lets see what we've got here.

BTW if you could just see your way to answering any of the other questions, you know, the "when, where what how" stuff?

Thanks.

Standings in communities (congregations?) doesn't make the material sent out any different form what it is.

My blog contains the exact wording of their "learning points" and the letter. Please tell me where my analysis in incorrect.

If you can't point out where I am going wrong then how on earth can such error riddled and confusing material achieve anything other than confuse people and reduce their exam grades?

Please give a specific answer - where is my analysis wrong.

My chin is raised (the analysis is on the blog in full) - take your best shot.

Re the wedge document;
"If a society for the promotion of, say, Plasma Cosmology, or would anyone get upset?"

Plasma scientists don't have plans for the moral development of society. They don't use their interpretation of ancient texts to make moral judgements of others.

Read my first post in this thread - all things in science are contingent - as a science teacher I am surprised you seem to have forgotten this.

John,

I have spelled out in minute detail the problems with the TiS materials in my blog - you just state that you don't agree - you have not picked up even a single item and given your reasons as to why my analysis is wrong.

Why don't you do that and we can discuss it in detail.

This will be more productive than you simply stating that you don't agree.

You said;
"• It doesn't because ID theory doesn't seem any more 'creationist' to me than big bang cosmology does."

Its the E word again John. There is evidence for one and not for the other.

You said;
"• It doesn't because doubting the truth of one's own theories is not part of the science culture."

Then you don't know the "science culture".

All truths are contingent in science - how contingent they are depends on the evidence.

Is anyone going to offer any supporting evidence in favour of ID at all?

Is anyone going to offer any supporting evidence in favour of ID at all?

Is anyone going to offer any supporting evidence in favour of ID at all?

Oh - I seem to be repeating my self again ;-)

You said;

"• It doesn't because the triumph of naturalism looks awfully like the death of science to this observer."

You seem to be using a different definition for science to that is general usage. Science doesn't include the supernatural.

How about that supernatural cure for cancer creeper mentioned?

4:52 pm  
Blogger John said...

Mark,
If you ask me for evidence for one thing don't heckle me for not giving you evidence for another, please. You say, 'Standings in communities (congregations?) doesn't make the material sent out any different from what it is.' and I'm tempted to ask, and your point is? but then maybe you've forgotten that I'm giving my evidence for stating that the compilers of TiS are concerned about skepticism about science among the young. Are you, in dismissing this evidence for concern also saying that the content of TiS is evidence that the compilers do not have such concern? On the subject of 'communities' I am acquainted with schools, education authorities, organisations and universities where some of these people work or have worked. I don't know a single congregation where any of them worship.

I'm saying that even your analysis displays that these people must have a concern for the attitude shown to science in general. If you want your analysis to say otherwise it's surely up to you to try again to show otherwise. I don't think you can do it.

I take it since you don't mention my main evidence — which is that these people are educators (highly respected educators the ones I know of) and educators do not strive to promote skepticism about their subject among their students — that you have accepted the point. I expect to hear no more about these people having little concern at the level of scepticism young people are showing about science as a whole.

But if you want to know about this particular concern just ask them. These people are to be found.

I've got to go. I'll get back to this when I can.

7:13 pm  
Blogger John said...

Mark,
sorry about not delivering everything in one reply, time waits etc.

About the wedge document, you say, 'Plasma scientists don't have plans for the moral development of society. They don't use their interpretation of ancient texts to make moral judgements of others.' but I don't recall reading anything in the wedge document about ancient texts so when you said, 'This position seems pretty anti-science to me.' you didn't actually mean the position laid out in the wedge document did you?

I don't see how my alleged forgetfulness about scientific contingency relates to whether or not the Discovery Institute or any other organization should have a vision statement but it seems that you are confusing law with policy. I too would take umbrage if this were a white paper or a by-law but it isn't.

Suddenly we are back with TiS and your analysis of it and …
Oh! I think I misread you the first time. Now I suspect that when you said, 'This position seems pretty anti-science to me.' you were talking about TiS so I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Right now in the middle of working through this I get that you were no longer talking about the wedge document as such. I don't know that it will change much but my 'disagreement' (as in, "You say, 'This position seems pretty anti-science to me.' but with all due respect, it would, to you, wouldn't it? Why bother mentioning it if you can't work out why it doesn't to me?") was given under the impression that the 'position' I was denying to be anti-scientific was that of the wedge document.

Don't get your hopes up; I disagree that the position of TiS in using materials produced by Discovery Institute is anti-scientific. Furthermore I can't quite see this time why anyone should expect me to accept that in any way the use of these materials could make TiS positionally anti-scientific.

Be that as it may I did give reasons for not accepting that the wedge document was anti-scientific and you did respond.
With respect it isn't evidence or the lack of it that makes ID more 'creationist' in your eyes than big bang theory; it's your assumption that the intelligence behind the design in ID must relate to God as mentioned in the second 'governing goal' of the wedge document and the further assumption that God need not be the initiator of the big bang in the first place.
With further respect, and I do think we got our wires crossed here, in the scientific community when one gets something wrong it is customary to let someone else counter-publish to put the record straight. If the 'correction' is not accepted then either the original thesis is reconfirmed or a third way solution is put forward. If the 'correction' is accepted by the original worker she need not (in fact ought not in normal circumstances) publish her acceptance. The community does not need her permission to change its mind about her conclusions, she can be afforded the dignity of silence about her 'mistake' and the individual or the team who correct the original are not eclipsed by a clever retraction that still manages to steal the glory.
You might dismiss that as irrelevant but that is pretty much what I meant by, 'doubting the truth of one's own theories is not part of the science culture.' As I said: crossed wires.
The triumph of naturalism would not just be the elimination of supernatural explanations from natural science. Merely holding it as an axiom that, 'Science doesn't include the supernatural.' won't be the death of science, in fact, a strengthened axiom that says, 'Natural science can't include the supernatural.' makes science healthier.
By the triumph of naturalism I mean not only that unwarranted extrapolation that says 'Because natural science can't include the supernatural there is no God.' but the refusal, for example, to allow that intelligence is natural or design is natural when combined in the expression 'Intelligent Design.'

Be patient about people not leaving comments on your blog by the way. Hardly anyone ever comments on mine either. Andrew manages to get us to comment at great length so perhaps we should emulate him if we want to get comments or get linked.

1:49 am  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

You once again fail to address the point.

We still have seen no evidence in support of ID being science.

Pointing this out is not heckling.

You have once again refused to address any of the points of fact about the TiS claims and materials.

You once again say you don't agree with me and that I can't support my point. There are pages of detailed analysis on the TiS Revealed blog which show this and you still refuse to bring up even once point.

The issue at stake here is not if you want a subject taught at school. It is if you want something regarded by the scientific community as unfounded claptrap taught in science classes, when it is not even on the syllabus.

You keep refusing to refute this with either any evidence to support ID or even a description of what it is.

Yes John I was speaking about the wedge document, which displays an overt religious agenda based upon the bible - or which other religion do you think they follow?

Once again you miss the main point here - there is nothing in this agenda about experimentation, evidence or science apart from branding it with a fancy name and saying it is bringing society down.

This is only in the open now because the document was leaked.

If you can't spot the DI's religious agenda then I think you should have a look at their web site.

I say the DI materials are not scientific. You say they are. I back up my claim with detailed analysis. You ignore it and tell me you don't agree. I point to my analysis and invite you to respond, you ignore the analysis and say you don't agree . . .

This approach of your seems odd - perhaps you are deliberately refusing to engage on any substantive level for a reason?

I have got the message that you don't agree loud and clear - give me some of your reasoning. My argument is laid out in detail - pick the weakest bit and have a go.

I am losing count now - this may be the third or fourth time of asking.

- - -

Lets have a quick thread recap of ignored questions;

What is the "theory of ID"?

"Evidence gathered by evolutionists can be used to support non-evolutionary theories"

Perhaps you can give us an example of what you mean?

Remember this from my first post? -
Which bit of "Sometime, somewhere, in some way, somebody designed something intelligently for some reason." is the best supported by evidence?

Please give us more details of this "theory" - the supporting evidence, any of the details missing from above would be handy to know, what predictions it makes etc.

As a starter what about these questions;
What mechanisms where used, when, how, how often? Where any forces presently known to physics and chemistry used? How can we tell?
Will it happen again? Where, when and how? How will we be able to tell? Does this mean that evolution happens as currently thought as well and ID is simply an add-on? What abut common descent, doesn't all this evidence just mean it was a common designer?

Do you think that we should teach any of the following in science class; Astrology, expanding earth, the stork theory of human reproduction?

If you don't want them taught in school science classes but do want ID taught in them, then what is different abut ID?

- - -

I'm not holding my breath ;-)

8:52 am  
Blogger John said...

Mark,
I think we are to be congratulated for producing, between us, a piece of irreducible complexity by natural selection without the least sign that we've put any intelligent designing into the construction of our dialogue whatsoever. I can't think that either of us is pleased by the result.

My four options at this point are to ignore all this as having answered the question you asked, to shout, 'You tell them, brother!' and point out the various places where you've made quotable statements about ID leading inexorably to the God of the Bible, to excruciatingly follow through all the twists and turns pointing out why I think that your criticisms of my response so far are ill-made or, to realize that none of these will get us anywhere (and why should I spell the second one out to you?) so what I'm going to do is to start attempting to answer you from the end of your post. Forgive me for paraphrasing your questions, your can always come back at me if I soften your point.

Q1 What about other 'subjects' like astrology, expanding earth, stork theory of reproduction? Should they be taught in school science classes? and if not, why is ID any different?

Ans. Let's ditch the stork nonsense first if only on the grounds that calling a fairy tale a theory is a category error, non-starter. No, astrology ought not be in the science curriculum but you could hardly teach history of science without looking at how chemistry was separated out of alchemy and astronomy out of astrology.

Expanding Earth theory is a different story being in some respects more suited for the task of showing how scientific disputes are settled than ID is. For a start, it is a theory on the wane, having lost out in geology's paradigm shift where the reality of continental drift was recognized but the mechanism has been shown to be plate tectonics, one easily-understood piece of evidence, subduction, finds no place in earth expansion and it would take a very clumsy teacher indeed to leave students with the idea that earth expansion is anything other than an interesting idea that didn't quite fit the facts. The biggest problems I can see with this suggestion are the likely unavailability of suitably simple presentations of expanding earth, whether geology gets enough space in the science curriculum and the 'no-brainer' nature of making the decision. ID should probably win out over Expanding Earth as a discussion topic simply because it isn't easily dismissed by the student.

I might or might not have given you enough rope to hang me by already but once again, I have to go. I'll try to cut the Gordian knot of your second to last question when I return.

9:23 am  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

I await your next post with relish.

So to the last question first;

I think you are saying that Astrology, storks, expanding earth are not ok in science classes (not history of science classes). Yes?

The question was actually - why should ID be in science classes - what is different about it?

In your post I can only see this answer;

"ID should probably win out over Expanding Earth as a discussion topic simply because it isn't easily dismissed by the student"

I don't see why "ease of dismissal by the student" is a suitable metric against which to select curriculum subjects.

But perhaps you can address this in your next post along with the details of the ID theory.

I am really looking forward to it.

Regards,

Mark

2:36 pm  
Blogger John said...

Mark,
I thought I just said that Expanding Earth theory would be useful in the school science class to take up the curricular suggestion that different models are discussed at an appropriate stage in the year's work. Never mind.

Q2 'Does this mean that evolution happens as currently thought as well and ID is simply an add-on?'

Ans. I think that that's pretty much it as far as ID theory can go. It dictates, of course, that no irreducibly complex mechanism could currently arise without intelligent design but offers no evidence that any such irreducibly complex mechanism is being newly introduced into the biosphere at this time.

Q3 …

Ans. Sorry, we're back into the verbiage again which I can consider to be heckling me personally since I set off in good faith to answer a particular question of yours as to how I knew that the compilers of ID were concerned about skepticism about science in general so I'm going to skip the other 'questions' for now to get back to self defence.

Your allegation, 'This approach of your seems odd - perhaps you are deliberately refusing to engage on any substantive level for a reason?'

My answer: You forget yourself, this is not your blog. Nevertheless, the 'substantive level' on which I entered into this was in an attempt to contribute an answer to Andrew's very simple question. You, quite legitimately asked a supplementary and I replied. I do not know what I have done that gives you any right to accuse me of 'deliberately refusing to engage on any substantive level.' So stop it, please.

Your allegation: 'I say the DI materials are not scientific. You say they are. I back up my claim with detailed analysis. You ignore it and tell me you don't agree. I point to my analysis and invite you to respond, you ignore the analysis and say you don't agree.'

My answer: Yes I got a bit lost at this point, bogged down in trying to answer the point I thought you were making. I read your blog posts before Andrew even asked this question and you responded. The trouble is, I read them for what they purported to be, the point by point notes of an anxious father who did not want his son's science education to be disrupted. This means that I noted various places where you confused education with indoctrination but never once did I pause to wonder if your claims of anti-science were any better founded than your claims that TiS is anti-education. Perhaps if you'd do me the courtesy of picking out your three main killer points about why the TiS materials are anti-scientific I might be able to agree or disagree with you more fruitfully.

Your allegation: 'If you can't spot the DI's religious agenda then I think you should have a look at their web site.'

My answer: But I do spot the Discovery Institute's 'religious agenda', Mark, and you were kind enough to evangelise for them. My point isn't just that I'm not bothered by it, it's that you ought not to be either. If you have a problem with Christians having an agenda then look no further than the popular publications of the TiS compilers. Read them, advertise them for free, if you will, but you nevertheless ought not to be bothered by the fact that these people are visibly, openly, and confessionaly Christian.

Your allegation: 'Once again you miss the main point here - there is nothing in this agenda about experimentation, evidence or science apart from branding it with a fancy name and saying it is bringing society down. This is only in the open now because the document was leaked.'

My answer: As you have said yourself, one could look at the Discovery Institute website and deduce that it had a 'religious' agenda' so the problem of the wedge document not having been in the open before it was leaked is considerably reduced. Now, if the American Civil Liberties Union had a secret agenda with these objectives leaked to the world that would be a problem for both of us because the ACLU's mode of operation would be at odds with such objectives and would raise the question of what they were really up to.
I mention the ACLU because that organisation provides both an illustration of and a reason for the desirability of secrecy about such an agenda. The ACLU are absolutely open about their purpose for existing which is to defend the 'bill of rights' in the American constitution so, as long as they stick to doing that, who would question that they would want to keep any long term strategy they might have secret?
Wrt the details: 'scientific materialism' isn't science per se and if you are saying that you and some friends have an agenda to replace science with scientific materialism then you've probably revealed more than you should :-). You say yourself that science is contingent so how could future experimentation be projected in a blue sky vision statement?

Your allegation: 'The issue at stake here is not if you want a subject taught at school. It is if you want something regarded by the scientific community as unfounded claptrap taught in science classes, when it is not even on the syllabus.'

My answer: I'm embarrassed for you if you really think so little of what teachers do. As I explained with your suggestion of expanding earth theory, a teacher aided discussion in class would enable a class to come to the conclusion for themselves that the plate tectonic theory is to be preferred because it makes use of all the evidence. Such a discussion is on the syllabus and, for the purpose of loading the dice so that the pupils come to the right decision, surely any 'unfounded claptrap' would do? You really don't get the difficulty posed for impressionable youth by an establishment acting as though it has something to hide, do you?

1:54 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

Thanks for this reply. The written word is not the best way to communicate complex nuances but I think we are getting somewhere - thanks for your perseverance.

I don't have a problem with Christians having a agenda that is out in the open as a Christian agenda.

Also, please note that I do realise that examples and analogies are useful in teaching and that any old claptrap will do for this.

The only problem I have with these thoughts is that they don't address the actual situation we are in today.

The situation is that the Christian agenda behind these materials is being deliberately hidden and that false and misleading claims regarding the nature of the materials sent to schools have been made by TiS (see below).

John, - they actually want this stuff taught as genuine science.

In a nutshell- I do have a problem with them trying to get their faith into kids head's by sneaking it into science classes in the guise of a genuine theory casting doubt on evolution. I also have a particular problem with the damage this will do to kids exam results and therefore future life prospects.

To repeat myself; The ID supporters don't want ID in the classroom as an example of bad thinking and pseudo science. They want it presenting as true. They want people to think evolution doesn't work.

Whilst the TiS are almost silent on religion and put themselves forward as a "science" site, the tru agenda as shown in the wedge is best explained by the people in the video material themselves (speaking off camera of course).

To quote Johnson."The Intelligent Design movement starts with the recognition that "In the beginning was the word", and "In the beginning God created", establishing that point isn't enough, but it is absolutely essential to the rest of the gospel message."

or "Get the bible and the book of genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so called bible/science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on,"do you need a creator to to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?"

"Convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism v evolution to god vs atheism. From there people are introduced to "the truth" of the Bible."

So, I think to suggest that we should just ignore these people, and leave them to send their lies and distortions to our schools without even drawing attention to it, is wrong.

We will also have to agree to differ in that I don't think my modest little blog is "advertising" for them.


- - -

As to the evidence in the materials themselves - I am happy for you to pick any point - but I have asked you this before ;-(

So let's start with your reaction to the claims they make in the accompanying letter and on their homepage (very similar wording) regarding the whole topic.

The post is here.

Finally John, I do not have the power to make anyone answer a question, even one as central to the ID debate as "what is it?" and I don't want to live in a society were anyone has this power either ;-) - but don't stop me from pointing out that my only objection to ID is being ignored completely.

It's not science - nobody can even seem to tell me what it is. What happened, how, when , where etc?

I have no agenda about the definition of science.

Its ID proponents who want to change science to include supernatural powers that worries me.

7:03 pm  
Blogger John said...

Rather boringly a Google server outage trashed my first attempt at this so if I'm too brief forgive it, please. I find six points to deal with in your post.

Point 1: 'The situation is that the Christian agenda behind these materials is being deliberately hidden and that false and misleading claims regarding the nature of the materials sent to schools have been made by TiS (see below). John, - they actually want this stuff taught as genuine science.'

Response: I'll get to the alleged hidden agenda and the alleged false and misleading claims in due course. The point isn't that they think it's genuine science (even less that I tend to agree with them about that) but that you think that it's claptrap! If it's claptrap and its use is limited to this point in Keystage four, where's the problem?
Are we to rule out any serendipitous scientific discovery because it was made in the pursuit of something not quite kosher? I don't think so.

Point 2: 'Whilst the TiS are almost silent on religion and put themselves forward as a "science" site, the tru agenda as shown in the wedge is best explained by the people in the video material themselves (speaking off camera of course).'

Response: Oh! the naivety of it, that they didn't think that anybody would read their books or check their records! Come off it, Mark, these guys are the blunt end of your wedge. You quote Phil Johnson (who as far as I know isn't one of the TiS compilers) but you might as well have quoted Andy McIntosh, Stuart Burgess or even Alistair Noble. As I have repeatedly said, these men are to be found and their views are well known. Where's the big secret? Where's the big problem?

Point 3: 'So, I think to suggest that we should just ignore these people, and leave them to send their lies and distortions to our schools without even drawing attention to it, is wrong.'

Response: Well yes, Mark, from your point of view, if you could make these allegations stick, it would be worth while your drawing attention to them — if you could make these allegations stick. If you can't though don't you think that you'd have been better to let it lie? Half your case, that the agenda of the movement is hidden, is blown out of the water by the popular publications of those who put their names to TiS - there is no conspiracy to expose and the other half you want dealt with with reference to your blog so I'll get to that.

Point 4: 'So let's start with your reaction to the claims they make in the accompanying letter and on their homepage (very similar wording) regarding the whole topic.'

Response: The immediate words that come to mind are 'prosecutorial overkill' (I'm pinching the phrase from John Grisham.) You make two points (and then let those you quote undermine them!)
Your first point is that evolution is uncontroversial because a whole lot of Steve-named Phds representing 99% of scientists signed up to say so. Unfortunately, these same Steves are under the impression that ID is 'creationist' which rather undermines their condemnation of it, but we ought to let that one go. The real difficulty for you isn't even that the words 'Darwin's theory of Evolution' are used in the same sentence as 'scientific controversies' in the curriculum. The real difficulty is that the controversy rages among a whole load of Steves who are merely undergraduates and many of them will think that 'Science' has something to hide if their controversial thoughts are not dealt with.
Your second point is that a discussion of ID is not quite what the government had in mind, no kidding? and that not saying that is somehow lying. But when whoever did the brief for the minister can't even tell the difference between ID and creationism who is to know what the government had in mind? I would have been more ready to think that the minister knew what ID was and still insisted it to be creationist if press releases at the time of the launch hadn't kept going on about fossils! With respect, I don't think the government knew what they meant by their curricular aim but they certainly didn't mean to offend Steve.
In other words, Mark, I cannot see how you can call it 'lying' (or even 'telling fibs' as you do elsewhere.)

Point 5. 'It's not science - nobody can even seem to tell me what it is. What happened, how, when , where etc?'

Response: I suggest you look at the Wikipedia article on Intelligent Design. You might find the answer to your quest buried in there.

Point 6: 'Its ID proponents who want to change science to include supernatural powers that worries me.'

Response: Interesting: scientists in an attempt to regulate themselves demand that all discourse within the natural sciences is couched in terms of nature and who could argue against it being so? but when a way is found to discuss certain observations and doubts about natural selection that is thoroughly scientific it produces fear in the hearts of those who put their faith in the definition of science. I'm sorry about your fear.
My fear for science is that overkeen defence of its parameters will bring it into disrepute, not with Steve, but with hoi polloi in general and government ministers in particular.

Science cannot afford for you to win this battle on its behalf.

2:16 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

Point 1. If I can show ID is claptrap? :-) I can't even get you to define it!

Claptrap? Definition? Mechanism? What , when how etc. etc.

Point 2. The letter the website and the DVD's are designed to open up their religious agenda, they said this much themselves. They don't admit this in the materials, the website or the letter. This is a matter of fact.

Point 3 & 4. Finally comments about my case;

Your first point is that evolution is uncontroversial because a whole lot of Steve-named Phds representing 99% of scientists signed up to say so. Unfortunately, these same Steves are under the impression that ID is 'creationist' which rather undermines their condemnation of it,"

Why does holding an opinion of ID as creationist, undermine the validity of an opinion in favour of evolution?

This is not logical statement.

"The real difficulty is that the controversy rages among a whole load of Steves who are merely undergraduates and many of them will think that 'Science' has something to hide if their controversial thoughts are not dealt with."

The facts are that 99% of scientists accept evolution. Is this "whole load" the other 1%?

What percentage does your "whole load" equate to?

You said;
"But when whoever did the brief for the minister can't even tell the difference between ID and creationism who is to know what the government had in mind? I would have been more ready to think that the minister knew what ID was and still insisted it to be creationist if press releases at the time of the launch hadn't kept going on about fossils! With respect, I don't think the government knew what they meant by their curricular aim but they certainly didn't mean to offend Steve."

The government position is very clear;

Wikipedia spells it out nicely;

"When it was revealed that a group called Truth in Science had distributed DVDs produced by the Discovery Institute affiliate Illustra Media[142] featuring Discovery Institute fellows making the case for design in nature,[143] and claimed they were being used by 59 schools,[144] the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) stated that "Neither creationism nor intelligent design are taught as a subject in schools, and are not specified in the science curriculum" (part of the National Curriculum which does not apply to independent schools or to Education in Scotland).[145][146] The DfES subsequently stated that "Intelligent design is not a recognised scientific theory; therefore, it is not included in the science curriculum... Intelligent design can be explored in religious education as part of developing an understanding of different beliefs. It is up to the local SACREs (standing advisory councils on religious education) to set the syllabus for how this should be done. The department is currently working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to communicate this message to schools."

I note that you haven't backed this allegation of confusion up with any evidence. And the statement above certainly makes the position very clear now. If TiS had any common decency they would at least reflect this on their web site - they don't - they keep quote old comments.

You make vague accusations of "whole loads" and "ministers not knowing about ID/Creationism" without backing them up.

You still seem to insist that ID isn't creationist.

Based upon this you conclude;
"In other words, Mark, I cannot see how you can call it 'lying' (or even 'telling fibs' as you do elsewhere.)"

This conclusion doesn't follow from your comments, and you provide nothing to support your comments anyway.

Point 5 - Defintion of ID- from reading Wiki as you suggest;

Creationism.
Refuted calims that some things can't evolve.

Nothing about what when how etc. - If you think it is science please give me your defintion of it.

"Abracadabra", "Shazzam". and "Let there be light" might suit.

Point 6 - you claim ID is thoroughly scientific, you haven't yet told me what it is.

Your fan dance is coming to an end soon John and you are going to have to say what this "scientific theory" is at some point - why not now?

Please tell me what ID is? (7th or 8th time of asking now)

3:06 pm  
Blogger John said...

Mark,
here are more attempts to give you what you don't want. Structure is
'your comment' my whatever.

'If I can show ID is claptrap?' You've misread an exclamation point for a question mark.

'The letter the website and the Dvds are designed to open up their religious agenda, they said this much themselves.' Just out of interest, where have they said that?

'Why does holding an opinion of ID as creationist, undermine the validity of an opinion in favour of evolution?' It doesn't?

'This is not logical statement.' Well said, 'This is not a logical statement.' isn't a logical statement if it refers to itself. Sorry, couldn't resist that one but I couldn't tell if you meant the statement before or afterwards.

'Is this "whole load" the other 1%?' It is embarrassing that you should think that undergraduates have PhDs. I suggest that you did not give my post the same care as I'm trying to give yours.

'The government position is very clear;' But since this is written about TiS after the materials were distributed it can't be used to build a case that TiS was deceitful in any way!

'I note that you haven't backed this allegation of confusion up with any evidence.' You note wrongly, my evidence is that the newspapers reported official comments about fossils which would apply to self-styled 'Scientific Creationism' but don't apply to ID theory as far as I'm aware.

'You make vague accusations of "whole loads" and "ministers not knowing about ID/Creationism" without backing them up'. The 'whole loads' refers to the startling number of undergraduates who seem not to accept what they have been 'taught' about origins. The number quoted was about 40%. I'm not crowing about this figure, in fact I think that I've been fairly consistent here in showing concern about that. I think that I'm right in thinking that the entire educational establishment shares my concern, as do you. The problem is that both you and the establishment are hunting the wrong bogeyman.

'You still seem to insist that ID isn't creationist.' Let me qualify that. ID isn't Creationism and I would challenge anyone to define 'creationist' so that the term can be used to exclude ID and yet include big bang theory. You have said yourself that the difference between ID and big bang theory is 'evidence' so why risk 'doing a Pluto' and ruling the one out as science on grounds that should have the other excluded as well?


'Your fan dance is coming to an end soon John and you are going to have to say what this "scientific theory" is at some point - why not now?' I'm surprised that the Wikipedia entry didn't satisfy you, Mark. Honestly, you're beginning to sound like a schoolboy with a really great 'Knock, knock' joke who can't get anyone to say 'Who's there?' The encyclopedia won't do so let's try the dictionary:
Intelligent: 1. Having the faculty of understanding: possessing intelligence or intellect. 2. Having or showing a high degree of intelligence: knowing, sensible, sagacious 3. That understands (a particular thing, etc.)
Design: 1 A plan or scheme conceived in the mind of something to be done; the preliminary conception of an idea that is to be carried into effect by action; a project 2. Purpose, aim, intention 3. The thing aimed at 4. Contrivance in accordance with a preconceived plan; adaptation of means to ends; prearranged purpose; as, the argument from. 5. In a bad sense; Crafty contrivance; an instance of this.
Now will you tell us the punchline?

5:47 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

You avoid a question by a "funny" comment about a question mark;

"'If I can show ID is claptrap?' You've misread an exclamation point for a question mark."

Next you forget my previous post;

"Just out of interest, where have they said that?

Next you refuse to comment on me pointing out the logical fallacy you came out with and make a another "funny" remark;

Next I point out you have not backed up a claim with evidence.

Next you say;
"'The government position is very clear;' But since this is written about TiS after the materials were distributed it can't be used to build a case that TiS was deceitful in any way!"

Of course it can when TiS are falsely representing the government positon and their own materials to be something else.

"'I note that you haven't backed this allegation of confusion up with any evidence.' You note wrongly, my evidence is that the newspapers reported official comments about fossils which would apply to self-styled 'Scientific Creationism' but don't apply to ID theory as far as I'm aware. "

Well apologies for not realising that you had some evidence at the back of your mind somewhere, I find it easier to read when it is actually typed in.

Well at least now you give some evidence ;-)

"The 'whole loads' refers to the startling number of undergraduates who seem not to accept what they have been 'taught' about origins.

"The number quoted was about 40%. I'm not crowing about this figure, in fact I think that I've been fairly consistent here in showing concern about that. I think that I'm right in thinking that the entire educational establishment shares my concern, as do you. The problem is that both you and the establishment are hunting the wrong bogeyman. "


I don't think that changing the definition of science to include the supernatural would save science - it would stop it in its tracks.

Please can you give me the source for the 40% claim - that seems very interesting, and I would like to look into it further.

You suggested I look in Wikipedia for a definition of ID - perhaps you should have a look at that yourself.

Intelligent Design


"The encyclopedia won't do so let's try the dictionary:"

Whisper - A subtle hint for you from the real world - whisper.

This is priceless;
"Intelligent: 1. Having the faculty of understanding: possessing intelligence or intellect. 2. Having or showing a high degree of intelligence: knowing, sensible, sagacious 3. That understands (a particular thing, etc.)
Design: 1 A plan or scheme conceived in the mind of something to be done; the preliminary conception of an idea that is to be carried into effect by action; a project 2. Purpose, aim, intention 3. The thing aimed at 4. Contrivance in accordance with a preconceived plan; adaptation of means to ends; prearranged purpose; as, the argument from. 5. In a bad sense; Crafty contrivance; an instance of this."

You make my point for me wonderfully;-)


Hang on I think I've got one too;

"electrodynamics" =

Electro = 1 short for electrotype or electroplate . 2 a style of dance music with a fast beat and synthesized backing track.
Dynamics = 1 [treated as sing. ] the branch of mechanics concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of forces. Compare with statics . • [usu. with adj. ] the branch of any science in which forces or changes are considered : chemical dynamics. 2 the forces or properties that stimulate growth, development, or change within a system or process : the dynamics of changing social relations. 3 Music the varying levels of volume of sound in different parts of a musical performance."

To be fair to you John, then at least there is something in your definition to teach the kids.

There is nothing in the creationist/ID DVDs sent to UK schools by a group pretending it is for GCSE study and part of the curriculum.

Boom Boom

8:16 pm  
Blogger John said...

Once again, Mark,
you are confusing TiS with the Discovery Institute. I'm not saying that TiS haven't 'said as much themselves', I don't know, but having looked back to previous posts, you seem to be quoting the wedge document. If TiS have said something similar it would be good to know, but I don't think you can tell me that.

I'm glad we've finally got to the joke. Thank you, you might just have told us, 27 posts ago.

Sorry I don't have a citation for the 40% thing. It was being banded around in the press at the time TiS was released and many public-eye scientists were expressing concern. Maybe someone else knows but if anyone else is still reading this exchange I'll be quite surprised.

9:19 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi John,

No I am not confused, but I can see now that you perhaps haven't seen the discovery institute DVD's sent out by TiS (or have forgotten them).

The DI folks I quoted are featured heavily in the DVD's that TiS are promoting as good science education as recommended by the National Curriculum. So it is rather hard to separate the two organisations in this case unless we conjecture that TiS had not viewed and did not endorse and agree with the content before sending it out.

I really like your definition - I will pinch it shamelessly ;-)

9:26 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Oh and by the way, I do think that simply assuming younger people will automatically rebel against any statement is a little stereotypical. With two teenagers I can confirm that they are nowhere near as easy to predict as that ;-)

Just because "science says" it's daft to be sceptical of evolution and "40%" of undergraduates are sceptical does not give a causal link.

After all, most complicated questions have a simple, clear easy answer that is also wrong.

"Confusing correlation with causation" and all that jazz.

Especially when we don't know where or how the 40% was measured.

9:34 pm  
Blogger CoralPoetry said...

Hi,

I'm still reading through this humorous thread, avidly and agog, I might add.

John: Have you read Pope Benedict's new book which was published in Germany called
Schoepfung und Evolution (Creation and Evolution). He "praised scientific progress and did not endorse creationist or "intelligent design" views about life's origins."

Telegraph.co.uk


Supporters of ID are now desperately spinning to suggest that the Pope implicitly supports the idea of an interventionist designer, but the truth is that if he had decided to back Intelligent Design he would have said so. And he didn't.


Regards,
Coral

10:12 pm  
Blogger John said...

I should have cited the OED, Mark,
watch out for illegitimate totality transfer.

10:15 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Good Point John.

ITT = the unjustified inclusion of all the possible meanings of a word regardless of the limitations of the context.

But then no one will tell us what the context is will they;-)

8:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are all fakes. What’s the bet that when I next amble down High Road Finchley, London, which is very likely, what is the likelihood of meeting a blogger called John Kilpatrick who hails from GodknowsWhere, and doesn’t bother to answer one of his flock? And nobody seems to be interested in his blog as evidenced by the zero comments thereon

7:18 pm  
Blogger John said...

I had noticed that virtually nobody comments on my blog, Anonymous, thank you very much for advertising.
I'm very sorry that you think I'm a fake. I'd be happy to be greeted in the High Road. I'm overweight, balding, have a grey beard and this afternoon I intend to wear a red shirt and drink an americano coffee in Coffee Republic around three.
I'll check with my very small flock about the 'not answered' thing. You can visit our fairly large building at 609 High Road but if you want to catch me in Finchley, you'd better hurry. We leave in August.

11:40 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew asked:
"When did this transition take place? What were the key discoveries that resulted in this transition?"

The transition comes with the molecular evidence, Andrew. This is why real scientists talk about twin nested hierarchies, while the ID camp lies and deliberately misrepresents nested hierarchies as nothing more than similarities.

10:48 pm  

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