Greek Philosophy corrupting our beliefs on creation

Did I get your attention with this title?

(I have been thinking about science and creation this week.  So has LDS Dave B. over in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  I invite you all to our “Celebration of the Creator” this Sunday.  It is going to be great.)

Paul Garner of BCM writes,

One of the most important influences on the development of the “species” concept came from Greek philosophy.  In the fourth century before Christ, Aristotle had taught that every entity was characterized by an eternal and unchanging set of features or form–its immutable “essence.”  Such “essentialist” thinking was eventually applied in biology, leading to belief in the immutability of species.

Of course, Aristotle did not believe in biblical creation, but many Christians who later adopted his ideas did.  Thus, by the seventeenth century, the concept of the immutability of species had become linked to belief in their separate creation.  The Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus, famous for laying the foundations of our moder biological classification system, expressed his essentialist thinking like this:  “We count as many species as there were created forms in the beginning.”

In this way, a Greek philosophical concept became Christianized.  Although it was given a biblical facade, this belief was really rooted in Aristotelianism (AnswersMagazine, Jan.-Mar. 2009, p. 38).

Dr. Todd Wood asserts, “Many people think the Bible teaches that God created modern species in the beginning and then Darwin proved the Bible wrong.  The truth is more interesting.  When fossils of extinct species were discovered in the fossil record, scientists started to ask, what mechanism changed species?  Darwin didn’t raise the questions, and his followers didn’t settle them” (p. 67).

Todd Wood raises some heart questions for biologists.

How do created kinds generate species?  Is it just random variations and natural selection like Darwin said, or is there something else involved?

How fast can species change?  Creationists believe that earth is only 6,000 years old, but the Bible records modern species in the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:16).  Could there be some kind of “trigger” that makes species change quickly?

How much can species change?  Is there some intrinsic limit to change, and if so what is it?

Why do species appear to be so well designed?  If species can change and even adapt to new environments, how do they end up so beautifully designed?  Does God somehow oversee the changes, or is the change itself part of God’s design?

Good questions.

Dr. Todd Charles Wood, president of the Creation Biology Study Group (BSG) declares,

We’re not just trying to answer some weird questions or refute the scoffers.  Our goal is God Himself.  We’re trying to understand His creation, His design, which ultimately is a reflection of His very nature.  What better goal could there be?” (p. 77).

I agree 100%.  There is no better goal.

(Of course, then my LDS friends want to take the discussion up to the highest notch.  How much does Greek philosophy corrupt our beliefs about the Creator?)

37 comments

  1. I’ll have a bash at Todd’s questions. This will probably turn out to be as long as a blog post, but here goes anyway:

    How do created kinds generate species?

    Ignoring for the moment that this question presupposes the creation of kinds and that the word ‘kind’ is without any known scientific definition, I’ll focus on the heart of this which is essential ‘speciation’ (the generating of new species).

    This has been the subject of intense research for some time. The phenomenon itself has been observed both experimentally and in nature (as well as in genetic lineages and the fossil record), but the actual mechanism itself was the subject of some speculation. Exactly how much natural selection and genetic drift (genetic drift occurs when populations become geographically isolated for a sufficient length of time for genetic variance to render interbreeding impossible) was involved in the process appears to vary with each speciation event.

    The bottom line seems to be that many different environmental, ritual (eg: mating dances etc.), geographical and climatic can combine to make reproduction more difficult with the same population in a manner that actively diverges a specific set of genetic or phenotypic changes. These pressures, if sustain for long enough, will cause the ancestral population to have two distinct subsections which can no longer interbreed across the divide. This is speciation in its essence.

    Is it just random variations and natural selection like Darwin said, or is there something else involved?

    At the moment the latest scientific research seems to agree with the basics of Darwin’s original premise. There are advancements in this field, like any branch of science, which has included modern synthesis, increased understanding of genetics and the ability to track mutations as and when they occur. The new kid on the block is evolutionary developmental biology (or evo-devo for short) which factors in the impact of embryo development to the aforementioned ideas.

    Despite the incredible scientific understandings that have occurred in the 150+ years since Darwin, the basic ideas he presented (descent with modification, natural selection acting upon variation etc.) still hold true. There has been no scientifically demonstrated alternative ‘something’ involved in this process.

    How fast can species change?

    Good question. It depends upon a number of factors. For example how strong the selective pressure of the surrounding environment is a major influence. The specific genetics, and consequently the associated genetic mutation rate, is also a crucial factor (for example the mutation rate leads to 175 novel genetic mutations in each child that were not present in his/her parents). Ultimately there is no rule on this and it varies depending on the individual organisms involved.

    Could there be some kind of “trigger” that makes species change quickly?

    There is a resounding ‘yes’ to this question. Species are adapted to the environment in which they habit. The selective pressure that is present in the environment has usually already had an effect of the development of the species and an ‘optimum’ (I can’t think of a better term at the moment) has occurred. A rapid and dramatic change to that environment would create an entirely new selective pressure, and a pressure that would have been adapted to. Such a scenario would greatly accelerate the process of evolutionary change.

    In laboratory experiments rapid changes in bacteria genomes can be produced by exposing the bacteria to novel selective pressures. The strong the pressure the faster the evolution.

    How much can species change? Is there some intrinsic limit to change, and if so what is it?

    Since any part of your genetic code can be altered through mutation there has been no theoretical limit demonstrated on potential species change.

    Why do species appear to be so well designed?

    Successive generations adding up can produce incredible traits that appear designed. The strength of natural selection upon variations can be seen in some of the applications which benefit from the concept. Check out genetic algorithms to see the inherent strength this has. Genetic algorithms are computer programs that mimic the process of mutation, reproduction and natural selection (essentially and evolution simulator). NASA has used such genetic algorithms to discover optimum solutions to real world problems. For example, running a genetic algorithm to repeatedly modify and ‘reproduce’ satellite trajectories, while continually selecting for trajectories minimising quiet time, has produced satellite trajectories that provide more consistent ground coverage than those designed by NASA scientists!

    The idea that consistently selecting from random variation can produce such exquisite solutions in the natural world becomes obvious when we see human designers being defeated by computer programs emulating this same process!

    If species can change and even adapt to new environments, how do they end up so beautifully designed? Does God somehow oversee the changes, or is the change itself part of God’s design?

    Given the above, these questions are easily seen for the anti-scientific creationist tosh they are.

  2. TMH, so in answer #6, perhaps there will be the enhancement of the human fetus with the intelligence of genetic algorithms from super computers to bring forth the next evolutionary step of mankind. Eh?

    Actually, I like the question on page 77 the best.

  3. Mr.Hair: very well written post

    I find at no small amount of irony in the project wherein some of our best and brightest minds help construct algorithms that will help demonstrate that SOME kind of intelligence was not needed to get us to our current level of complexity……that is rich: the smart guys say that no smart guy/force/alien was needed as shown by our algorithms…..

    consider me not so convinced…

  4. TMH, so in answer #6, perhaps there will be the enhancement of the human fetus with the intelligence of genetic algorithms from super computers to bring forth the next evolutionary step of mankind. Eh?

    Given the extra understanding that exponentially increasing computational power brings to genetics research, coupled with improved technology that makes more precise genetic manipulation possible, you may not be so far astray with that thought…

    But you miss something here – evolution is still happening in humans. Every human child has on average 175 genetic mutations that were not present in the child’s parents. This leads to new variation which is the fuel that natural selection acts on to drive mutations. The interesting question is what traits does the modern environment select for?

  5. Mr.Hair a little off topic, but if you wanted to showcase the best known examples of transitional forms, backed up by the fossil record what would they (2or 3) be ?? Seems archaeopteryx and tikaalik have gotten a lot of press….just wondering. thanks

  6. @ germit

    This is the best I example I can think of:

    A is clearly not human. N is clearly human. The skulls in between are the transitions between the two (the sequence is arranged chronologically).

    Two questions serve to make the point here:

    Can you spot where the transition between A and N occurs?
    If you answered no to the above, then isn’t this as good an example of transitional fossils as you can imagine (bearing in mind the theme of descent with gradual modification)?

  7. this doesn’t have to become a “Darwinist vs. all other views” thread, but it’s interesting to me that what holds A to N together is a prior commitment to your theory: these animals a alike in many ways and share many similarities, but if one is able to suspend the NECESSITY of the Darwinist theory, then I’d suggest the chain begins to weaken….yes, selective pressure brings about changes….but did it work with art.Sel. to take A to N or are these stand alone organisms ?? you’ve read and heard these questions before, no doubt

    GERMIT

  8. @ Jim Strickling

    “Gradualism” will never explain such things as …

    This sounds like your book employs a false trichotomy here, presenting negative arguments for two propositions and failing to present any positive evidence for the actual proposition being espoused. I could very well be wrong. Unfortunately, due to my already extensive reading list, it is unlikely I will ever be able to get around to reading that book so I’ll have to ask you to present on its behalf.

    Why does much between A and N look like a lot of reconstruction?

    There are portions of reconstruction – is there any reconstructed part that you feel differs from what the original skull would have looked like?

    …but if one is able to suspend the NECESSITY of the Darwinist theory…

    The sequence as depicted was based upon how old the skulls were dated and at what depth they were found. That the pattern is so pronounced when chronologically arranged is why it is taken as strong evidence for evolutionary theory (I refuse to use the term Darwinist here).

    …but did it work with art.Sel.…

    I assume you mean ‘artificial selection’ with your abbreviation. If so I am not understanding what you are trying to say here.

    to take A to N or are these stand alone organisms ??

    Distinct skulls are found to be present in distinct adjoining geological layers and dating to the same era of time. For example, skulls of type N are only found in very shallow layers and date to a relatively young age – they are not found in any deeper and older layers. Skulls of type A are only found in very deep and very old layers (with reference to the other skulls) and are not found in shallower and younger layers. Also consider that skulls of types A to M are not found in any extant species.

    If you assume that these skulls types represent ‘stand alone’ creatures then the above data is either false or in serious need of explanation.

  9. Mr.Hair thanks for the ping back

    well, as murky as the fossil explanations get, the hominid situation seems murky times 100x….your reading schedule seems packed, I know mine is , but I’d recommend

    “Bones of Contention” by Marvin Lebenow

    the dating of hominids, like many other fossils, is no where as linear as evo’s would wish it to be….this is one reason why the fossil record , when carefully looked at , is a big wrench in the works…..it’s been awhile since I looked at “Bones”, but I can remember distinctly that the scientists have had a devil of a time figuring out how old, or modern, Neanderthal (sp?) is. The theories have waffled considerably. I also remember that it is NOT uncommon to find a hominid in an “inconvenient” layer….inconvenient to the kind of progresssion you’ve layed out. This kind of dating problem crops up a lot, I won’t pound it , here, but as I recall archaeopt. is pre-dated by a MORE developed fossil by 300k yrs or so…this is not uncommon.

    I look forward to getting back to the ID/evo debate, as it’s been a few years since I did serious reading on it. I’d assume the Kenneth Miller and friends have put out some rigorous rebuttals since I last looked at things.

    as an aside: the entire enterprise of studying human origins (paleoanthropology, I’d assume) seems like a ‘good old boys club” to me, an outsider. The secrecy and limited access to first source materials is puzzling and I’m sure vexing for those trying to figure out the true nature of things.

    blessings on you and yours

    GERmIT

  10. As for the philosophy, its a bit sloppy. A species for Aristotle is a genus with a specific difference added to it. Christians saw in Aristotle what they had already held to with respect to the doctrine of the Logos and the many logoi. This morphed somewhat in Latin theology via Augustine into the doctrine of the divine ideas. In anycase, the idea that God made things according to a logos isn’t a simple carry over from Aristotle.

    As for the questions, it isn’t so easy for Darwinism. The rejection of essentialism with respect to species cuts both ways. If essentialism is wrong, then there can be no transitional forms, since there are no forms to move between. In which case, there are not many different living things, but just one, Life, with many different manifestations. Then we are back to say Plotinus’ late platonism with its World Life or Soul that manifests itself in a variety of ways. And we could have ignored Dawrin and just read more Plotinus.

  11. “Bones of Contention” by Marvin Lebenow

    I think I may have read that back in ’01 when my local library had a clear out. My memory is a bit fuzzy here given this was years ago but, and correct me if I am wrong here, the central tenet the author argues for is that any collection of man made objects could be arranged to show an evolutionary progression – and this, he argues, is what is being done with hominid fossils. I also seem to remember an accusation that ‘Darwinism’ (you have no idea how much I hate that term) is merely an attempt to reduce the universe to a series of unguided processes (ignoring that science, almost by definition, has to employ methodical naturalism out of necessity).

    Wasn’t this the book that claimed that Neanderthals were simply human beings suffering from rickets? I think I remember finding that funny at the time.

    well, as murky as the fossil explanations get, the hominid situation seems murky times 100x

    You have no idea how murky. Lebenow played on this throughout his book. There is a massive misconception (which is actively spread by folks like Lebenow) that, under evolution, in order for a ‘new’ species to arise the ‘old’ species must die out. This straw man is can be easily pounded with fossil evidence (and this is what ‘Bones of Contention’ does), but it is still a total and utter straw man.

    Let me explain with reference to the hominid skulls posted previously. Firstly, many of these skull types lived together, and may possibly have been capable of interbreeding. Secondly, the above skulls are only a fraction of hominid fossils with the actual evolutionary lineage not resembling a branch going from A to N, but a thicket with a central branch of A-N giving rise to all manner of dead ends. If you have two skulls of different types you have no way to know if they were capable of interbreeding or not – and this greatly complicates things.

    If you found the fossil remains of a Chihuahua and a St. Bernard you could be forgiven for concluding that they were two different species – and yet they are still capable of interbreeding. Now consider the similar scenario when finding hominid fossils of different types.

    But, and this is where Lebenow really falls down, when the sum of these fossils is taken the progression of skull types from one form to another really does become clear. With the exception of Homo Sapiens, these skull types belong to creatures of a type that no longer exist, and the fossil record shows that it is only relatively recently in geological time that Homo Sapiens roamed the earth. Many of these skull types are fixed to a handful of adjoining geological layers indicating their existence for an era on this planet.

    I recall archaeopt. is pre-dated by a MORE developed fossil by 300k yrs or so…this is not uncommon

    This is the ‘evolution is rigidly linear in its progression’ argument combined with the rejection of the existence of sister species. For example Neanderthal man is not a human ancestor, but was a fully fledged sister species that we shared a common ancestor with. In some aspects Neanderthals were more ‘developed’ (to use your phrase) than humans and yet they are extinct while humans are extant.
    To take the specific example you cited, there a lot of these bird/lizard transitionals and it seems that there is a thicket there too. It is likely that most of evolution is like this but there may never be sufficient fossils found to sort out the mess in detail. The central facts shown by the fossils in this case (i.e. that prior to a certain timeframe there were no birds, then there were intermediaries featuring traits of both birds and lizards and then there were birds) strongly imply descent with modification.

    the ID/evo debate

    Until a representative of the ID crowd produces some scientific research to back any of their claims (or at least provide some POSTIVE scientific evidence for their ideas rather than attacking scientific fields) I don’t think this can be described as a debate. Certainly not a scientific one.

    The secrecy and limited access to first source materials is puzzling and I’m sure vexing for those trying to figure out the true nature of things.

    There was a recent hoax fossil (which was hoaxed by composing two incomplete two bird/lizard transitionals to fabricate a complete fossil – although both specimens were a scientific treasure trove) that is prize scientific find valued in excess of $1 million. Most of the really rare fossils are kept under lock and key. I can understand this but I am strong supported in museums and displays for such prized fossils where possible.

  12. Mr.Hair thanks for the posts

    My memory being what it is , I dont’ remember Mr.Lebonow’s main thesis, you think I would, but hominids was not a major part of my class, and I was ‘skimming” to get a few important things from it.

    Yes, he mentioned Neandrtal and rickets, but not as HIS theory, but as an attempt by some to get around the ancient morphology coupled with the modern dating…you, and others prefer to deal with this by just calling it an evolutionary dead end, and place N. in a “thicket” of the tree that goes nowhere.

    I do know that Marvin spent a lot of time contesting many of the hominid “charts” and “graphs” and shows quite a few holes in the time lines, and places where the data just does not match……but they are forced into a chart or graph anyway…..this reminds me of the “horse” prgressions, but that’s another thread.

    you quoted, from somebody:

    Until a representative of the ID crowd produces some scientific research to back any of their claims (or at least provide some POSTIVE scientific evidence for their ideas rather than attacking scientific fields) I don’t think this can be described as a debate. Certainly not a scientific one.

    there is some merit to this, and William Dembski and others have conceded that the ID guys need to have more than just negative things to say about the dominant theory, that’s a solid point. Still, this is a “circle the wagon” approach” by the evolutionists, and really sad and counterproductive, and both the scientific community and the world at large are the losers: if there are serious holes in the theory, they should be addressed and “fixed” as best they can. Yes, I know that many say they have (Eugie Scott sure thinks so, and P.J. Myers, etx)

    the answers , for many, don’t resonate as complete or adequate, largely because the major problems are not explained, NOT because Ken Ham and others have so much social and political pull…..I live in the ev.christian community, trust me, Mr.Hams’ stock is just not that high. the creationists as THAT big a social force is one big red herring.

    when inquiring minds want better answers, the debate continues…..within the schools or without….thank GOD for the internet…and yes there is a LOT of junk on the internet, but there you can also find David Berlinski and others….so it’s a mixed bag.

    on a theological note: expect more and more evangelicals to make LESS of a big deal about the whole thing, theologically… as more and more ev’s realize that one can be a “bible believer” and hold to a variety of positions. I’m strong into ID, but I welcome this shift, as we learn to ‘major in the majors”.

    Peace and grace to you and yours.

    GERMIT

  13. you, and others prefer to deal with this by just calling it an evolutionary dead end, and place N. in a “thicket” of the tree that goes nowhere.

    Given that this is what the fossil evidence implies, and given that Neanderthal DNA has since been sequenced also supporting this, can I ask why you dismiss this contention? I am genuinely interested in understanding the reasoning here since, knowing that different skull types were relegated to specific geological eras and that progressions become apparent when such skulls are arranged chronologically, it seems to me that the expectation of evolution being rigidly linear is the only thing I see being offered in contestation. But such a rigid linear view of evolution is a straw-man given the capacity for continual interbreeding across morphological divides.

    As a thought experiment consider ‘ring’ species. If you were to be investigating such fossils, could you really imagine being able to untangle the mess?

    you quoted, from somebody:

    That was me. This comments section needs a preview option since it is far too easy to screw up the blockquotes.

    Still, this is a “circle the wagon” approach” by the evolutionists, and really sad and counterproductive, and both the scientific community and the world at large are the losers:

    Here is where I strongly disagree. If there were legitimate scientific criticisms to be levelled at evolutionary theory by the creationism movement then the onus is on them to gather the evidence, do the research and to win the scientific consensus on the strength of their ideas. Rather than do this, they seek to have their ideas inserted in school science curricula by attempting to drum a ‘scientific controversy’ that simply doesn’t exist.

    I would also strongly disagree that this defence is solely by ‘evolutionists’ (I call them biologists but that may just be me). In order for creationism to be true, and in particular YEC or biblical literalism, much of modern science would have to be discarded. The fields of astronomy, geology, atomic physics and plate tectonics are just some of the non-biological sciences that are in direct conflict with creationism. The evolution/creation ‘controversy’ is a religiously motivated war being raged on science with the field of evolutionary biology being on the front line – a war that degrades scientific education and understanding which threatens both the economic prosperity and quality of life for all.

    if there are serious holes in the theory, they should be addressed and “fixed” as best they can… the major problems are not explained

    Can I ask which ‘serious holes’ and/or ‘major problems’ you have in mind? I’m reminded of a quote by Jones which hit the nail on the head – “To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

    but there you can also find David Berlinski and others

    I remember his book ‘The Deniable Darwin’ (are there any DI fellows who haven’t wrote a piece on the Cambrian explosion?). Now that I think of it, I remember he complained that there was no transitional between fish and amphibians. To be fair it was written pre-tiktaalik, but it does serve to illustrate that the ‘gaps in the fossil record’ argument really isn’t sound.

    expect more and more evangelicals to make LESS of a big deal about the whole thing

    I am not so sure about this. There seems to be a great deal of resentment within some evangelical communities toward more mainstream religious faiths whom they view as having ‘sold out’ as it were.

  14. I’ll work up a brief response to the rest of your thought out post later in the week, but I wanted to touch on this:

    Here is where I strongly disagree. If there were legitimate scientific criticisms to be levelled at evolutionary theory by the creationism movement then the onus is on them to gather the evidence, do the research and to win the scientific consensus on the strength of their ideas. Rather than do this, they seek to have their ideas inserted in school science curricula by attempting to drum a ‘scientific controversy’ that simply doesn’t exist.

    Well, I’m fairly certain that M.Behe and others are still doing research to prove their points. So far, that’s not too convincing to you and many others, even to include the majority of scientists in every discipline. OK, so it’s decidedly a minority view…rather than allow this SOME small discussion in the public venues, you would prefer to believe that their is “no controversy”. Obviously not as far as you are concerned, but those who disagree with you are not all ‘church guys” , and to be fair Mr. Lebenow by training is an seminary trained apologist, but like M.Behe are accomplished scientists in their own right. Squelch the argument with shrill cries of ‘bad for education, bad for business”…this is the line that worked well with the Ks. school board debate a few years ago, but many (for some collection of bizarre reasons) remain thoroughly unconvinced of macrevolutionary theory.

    The position , as far as I understand them, of those at Discovery Institute is to let the local school boards decide, so the fuss here in Ks. has pretty much died down, as far as lobbying for what the high schools teach. It’s interesting to me that last I checked, a few colleges were CHOOSING to offer some kind of “study the debate’ class, and of those that did, these were seen as POSITIVE by all parties involved. These were NOT required by any science dept., but were more a philosophy of the culture type class. Do you have an opinion about that kind of class ??

    I won’t beat this point to death, but the “bad for business” line is funny….like the bio-med people really care about what a handful of YEC’rs are doing here or there…..FYI: the stats on homeschooled kids that are spoonfed YEC seem to show that they understand your pet theory BETTER than public school kids…..which , perhaps, is not bragging.

    I’m a cultural and political realist: if ID gets thrown out of HS and middle school, for now, my world and cosmology is not shook….if this idea has ‘legs” , then there is no “policy” that will effectively snuff it out…..if it REALLY has no scientific merit, then it certainly deserves a quick death….on that I think you’d agree.

    More later…..GERmIT

  15. Well, I’m fairly certain that M.Behe and others are still doing research to prove their points.

    Such as? Genuine question here – but what ID-directed research is Mr. Behe doing? I consider Mr. Behe, possibly to your surprise, to be a first rate scientist and have been impressed by his honesty on more than one occasion. His contributions to science have been duly noted, but none of those contributions were ID-directed and none of his published research supports ID.

    rather than allow this SOME small discussion in the public venues, you would prefer to believe that their is “no controversy”.

    There is no scientific controversy. If you disagree with this contention then please feel free to produce the scientific research and papers that argue this controversy.

    I have no problem with discussion in public venues. There are public discussions on UFO’s, Bigfoot, chemtrails, the Loch Ness monster, ghosts, psychics etc. and such discussions will continue indefinitely – but to trying to pretend that any of those discussions are scientific controversies is being extremely disingenuous.

    Squelch the argument with shrill cries of ‘bad for education, bad for business”

    Teaching school children, in science classes, material that deliberately and wantonly misrepresents the current state of scientific research is indefensible. To do so on the basis of religious sensibilities is callous. What is taught science classes should be the very best, most up to date and most verified scientific discoveries and understanding as determined by the scientific community and the research it has carried out using the scientific method.

    Given that economic success often depends on technological innovation, and technological innovation depends upon cutting edge scientific research, it seems clear to me that a lot rests upon the quality of scientific education given to the future generations of scientists. Teaching an untested and untestable alternative to the current state of scientific research threatens this.

    but many (for some collection of bizarre reasons) remain thoroughly unconvinced of macrevolutionary theory.

    There are people who deny the holocaust – should their views be taught in history? There are people who deny a round earth – should their views be taught in geography? There are people who deny evolutionary theory – should their views be taught in science class given that their views are directly contradictory to the current state of scientific research?

    let the local school boards decide

    Be honest, you don’t really buy that argument do you? If a school started teaching holocaust denial in history they would be an absolute uproar. If a school receives government funding then there are restrictions on what it can and cannot teach. Teaching ID has already been shown to violate the first amendment.

    but were more a philosophy of the culture type class. Do you have an opinion about that kind of class ??

    Teaching culture in culture class and teaching philosophy in philosophy class is simply a logical extension of advocating science in science class.

    FYI: the stats on homeschooled kids that are spoonfed YEC seem to show that they understand your pet theory BETTER than public school kids…..which , perhaps, is not bragging.

    There is a phrase that is relevant here – ‘Dox or STFU’. I’d have to see this evidence in order to believe that. From Demski’s ‘No Free Lunch’ to Behe’s ‘Darwin’s Blackbox’, from Gish’s “Evolution? The Fossils Say No!” to Johnston’s ‘Darwin On Trial’, I have serious trouble believing your claim given that every single book I have read from ID/creationist authors has demonstrated a total lack of understanding evolutionary theory.

    The position , as far as I understand them, of those at Discovery Institute is to let the local school boards decide

    Blunt questions but I think they are relevant here – Given that the Discovery Institute has not produced the goods (or anything resembling goods) in terms of scientific research supporting ID, what right do they have to even approach a school board until they have done so? What right do they have to forgo the research necessary for getting their ideas into science classrooms?

    if it REALLY has no scientific merit, then it certainly deserves a quick death

    If an idea has scientific merit it will produce avenues of potential research. ID does not do this, and I would actually argue that the concept, in and of itself, almost explicitly prevents avenues of research.

  16. Well, that was a fun post (above) …I got the biggest kick out of STFU, which I like but cant’ use with those I normally hang with….DOX still throws me, but my lab girl is working on it……

    About the school board:
    Be honest, you don’t really buy that argument do you? If a school started teaching holocaust denial in history they would be an absolute uproar. If a school receives government funding then there are restrictions on what it can and cannot teach. Teaching ID has already been shown to violate the first amendment.

    yes I do, even if their ideas are TOTALLY whack , short of causing physical or emotional harm to peope…..and if the ideas ARE shown to be whack, then (a la Ks. school board….and this favors YOU by the way) they can change who is on the board. I would MUCH prefer this , with its inherent accountability than having a few powerful lobbys TELLING parents how things are going to go down in their (the Parent’s ) neighborhood…. I’ll live with some mistakes, and even some political BS, and hang onto the freedoms/responsibilities of the LOCAL people: yes , this can get misused…welcome to sometimes sloppy representational gov’t…….better than the alternatives.

    There is a phrase that is relevant here – ‘Dox or STFU’. I’d have to see this evidence in order to believe that. From Demski’s ‘No Free Lunch’ to Behe’s ‘Darwin’s Blackbox’, from Gish’s “Evolution? The Fossils Say No!” to Johnston’s ‘Darwin On Trial’, I have serious trouble believing your claim given that every single book I have read from ID/creationist authors has demonstrated a total lack of understanding evolutionary theory.

    well here’s the deal: you , and Eugenie Scott and friends are NEVER going to be satisfied with an opponents description of your little pet….that’s just how it is, and again, these people are scientists, and some quite accomplished…..so what do we do with the dissident voices, and remeber the Dover fiasco involved maybe 2 or 3 PARAGRAPHS in an entire semester’s curricula…. you are happy to shut them up, shut them out….doesn’t seem very open minded, education producing to me, and to many others who hold the macro-ev position….

    more later………I appreciate the discussion.

    GERMIT

  17. If an idea has scientific merit it will produce avenues of potential research. ID does not do this, and I would actually argue that the concept, in and of itself, almost explicitly prevents avenues of research.

    Actually the areas of fraud detection, plagiarism, and even SETI, ALREADY use many of the principles put forward by ID, so your claim, to me, looks like a broad overstep; how these principles would be applied to the biological sciences is a big topic, but to rule out INTELLIGENCE or DESIGN outright because you fear a philosophic or religious intanglement says as much about YOUR biases, as mine.

  18. If the faith is based in REALITY, space, time, and history, then Todd is rock’n and roll’n…….maybe that’s why MANY of the pioneers of science were strong believers…. back before philosophic mateirialism took over science…..

  19. Todd: I was reading what wikkiipedia had to say about “Teach the Controversy”…..what a shocker: not very complimentary to the ID crowd…. LOTS of quotes from Judge Jones, he’s an expert because he heard weeks worth of testimony…. anyway , just thought I’d let you know that you are a MINORITY, dude…..maybe there’s some federal money in it for you…..if you could get yourself to look like a snowy owl or something…

  20. I got the biggest kick out of STFU, which I like but cant’ use with those I normally hang with….DOX still throws me, but my lab girl is working on it……

    You never heard the phrase ‘DOX or STFU’ before? Dox means “corroborating documents and/or evidence”. The phrase ‘dox or stfu’ is a common way to ask for dox on the internet.

    they can change who is on the board

    Does that still allow people to teach falsehoods and/or violate the first amendment? Is there something wrong with asking people unqualified in, and uneducated about, science and scientific education to determine the science curriculum?

    you , and Eugenie Scott and friends are NEVER going to be satisfied with an opponents description of your little pet…

    As a science enthusiast, I cringe whenever established scientific propositions are being misrepresented. How can any science enthusiast (or scientist for that matter) be happy when rubbish like this (http://www.discovery.org/a/9101 ) is being published, complete with a deliberate quote-mining of Darwin (read the full quote and judge for yourself), a deliberate misrepresentation of a New Scientist article (read the full article and judge for yourself), regurgitating the debunked ‘lack of transitionals’ argument (check the hominid fossils linked to above to see this debunked), misrepresenting the field of junk DNA research (I’m tempted to believe that the author simply doesn’t know that the phrase means in scientific research), repeating the teleological argument and deliberately misleading the reader into thinking this features in scientific research (it doesn’t), deliberately lying about ID non-presence in mainstream scientific literature – and after misrepresenting and straw-manning science, and whitewashing over the inconvenient fact that no positive ID evidence exists, to have the audacity to cry persecution???? I read paper after paper from the ID/creationism movement and I swear some of these guys must be doing these misrepresentations deliberately.

    the Dover fiasco involved maybe 2 or 3 PARAGRAPHS in an entire semester’s curricula…. you are happy to shut them up, shut them out…

    To quote Judge Jones:

    The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

    With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

    Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court.

    Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

    To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID. We will also issue a declaratory judgment that Plaintiffs’ rights under the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have been violated by Defendants’ actions.

    doesn’t seem very open minded, education producing to me, and to many others who hold the macro-ev position….

    How does misrepresenting the state of current scientific research to school children in their science classes produce education or open-mindedness? Should we teach them the alternative to round earth geography (flat earth)? How about the alternative to pregnancy theory (stork theory)? If you think these comments facetious – they really aren’t.

    Actually the areas of fraud detection, plagiarism, and even SETI, ALREADY use many of the principles put forward by ID

    I remember Demski making this same claim in his book ‘Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design’. This also ties into his idea of a ‘design inference’ (wherein in butchers Shannon-Weaving theory). Contrary to what you may have been told, ID does not feature in the above sciences.

    In fraud detection statistical analysis on both actual and theoretical fraud cases in order to develop useable fingerprints for detecting fraud. Looking for biases to determine money flow is also a key feature. Note that both of these does not involve a ‘design inference’ or any design methodology developed by the ID movement.

    Detecting plagiarism involves developing methods for performing statistical comparisons that assign meaningful probabilities to potentially derived works. How this is claimed to involve detecting design still puzzles me.

    The SETI claim actually does more harm to ID than good here. By developing patterns not found in nature, but theoretically known to lifeforms possessing intelligence, a database of signals is compiled in the search for intelligence. The reason this backfires on ID? The signs of intelligence that SETI developed in order to search for intelligence (prime number sequences for example) are not found in biological systems.

    but to rule out INTELLIGENCE or DESIGN outright because you fear a philosophic or religious intanglement says as much about YOUR biases, as mine.

    The Dover trial showed the theological roots of the ID movement. But that isn’t why I reject the idea of intelligence and/or design as a scientific explanation – I reject any claim that doesn’t have sufficient corroborating scientific evidence (and ID doesn’t have any evidence period). I freely admit that I have a strong pro-evidence bias.

    back before philosophic mateirialism took over science

    You have confused methodological naturalism with philosophic materialism here. They are not the same.

    not very complimentary to the ID crowd…

    Given the history of the ID movement, and given that the majority of the ID proponents continually misrepresent current scientific research and given that the entire movement is composed entirely of negative argument cum false dichotomy – is it really surprising wiki is uncomplimentary to the ID crowd?

  21. Mr.Hair:

    phrase ‘dox or stfu’ is a common way to ask for dox on the internet.

    thanks….my lab girl wanted the night off, now she gets it, something about a rave downtown…..

    Does that still allow people to teach falsehoods and/or violate the first amendment? Is there something wrong with asking people unqualified in, and uneducated about, science and scientific education to determine the science curriculum?

    that’s why we have elections, and people get elected in and out….you don’t like that system ?? you would replace it with what ??

    you , and Eugenie Scott and friends are NEVER going to be satisfied with an opponents description of your little pet…

    this kind of thing will likely never get settled, at least not to everyone’s satisfaction. Not because people are stupid , or don’t do their homework, but because the same thing can be seen more than one way. I’m not making an argument for some kind of “scientific relativism” here…only pointing out that evidence , even the SAME evidence, can be seen to show two different things to two different people. If you want to assign a permanent religious and/or political bias to people who disagree with you, go ahead, but I don’t think it’s that simple. I can also be pretty sure that “misrepresention” can be in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think the dudes at Discovery Institute would call YOUR description of ID fair and balanced, but that’s one reason why the debate, yeah, the one that doesn’t really exist, goes on.

    Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

    A quick reading of this would suggest that what was being asked was to do some kind of “side by side comparison”. Nothing like that was being asked: like I said, 2 or 3 paragraphs which QUICKLY mentioned that a FEW scientists have SOME big questions about the theory….and then the sky started falling…
    The honorable Jones should make up his mind: if it should be “studied, debated, and discussed,” then why did he choke on 2 or 3 paragraphs ?? we’re talking 10 min. of precious class time, maybe ?? Did he mean what he said ?

    Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court.

    We agree that he’s seen as an activist judge. He called that one, he might be prophetic…

    The signs of intelligence that SETI developed in order to search for intelligence (prime number sequences for example) are not found in biological systems.

    For the life of me, I don’t see how this proves your point. To my undersized brain, it proves mine: applying a grid, known to be produced by intelligent agents, to detect intelligence…..how does biological life fit into this ?? Unless you ASSUME that what happens in the non-biological could never happen in the biological ….. and how could you ever determine that ??

    given that the entire movement is composed entirely of negative argument cum false dichotomy – is it really surprising wiki is uncomplimentary to the ID crowd?

    I look forward to finding out what has, and has not been done in the last two years. I know Behe has put out another book (18 months ago ??) , and of course Dawkins has been busier than monkeys pounding out Shakespeare.
    And no, I wasn’t surprised in the least.

    Blessings on you and yours.

    GERMIT

  22. that’s why we have elections, and people get elected in and out….you don’t like that system ?? you would replace it with what ??

    I suppose that is why there is a judiciary.

    Not because people are stupid , or don’t do their homework, but because the same thing can be seen more than one way. I’m not making an argument for some kind of “scientific relativism” here…only pointing out that evidence , even the SAME evidence, can be seen to show two different things to two different people.

    Paul Taylor uses this line of argumentation a lot, and to be frank there are scenarios that it simply doesn’t defend. For example, consider the skulls we talked about earlier (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/images/hominids2_big.jpg ) – how can the ‘no transitionals’ claim be taken as an honest and well researched argument in light of this evidence? Consider the article I linked to in my previous post (http://www.discovery.org/a/9101 ) – I genuinely implore you to read the New Scientist article it references and ask yourself how you can consider the way this article was referenced as anything other than deliberate misrepresentation? There are far far too many examples of this nature to ascribe to mere differences of interpretation.

    A quick reading of this would suggest that what was being asked was to do some kind of “side by side comparison”. Nothing like that was being asked: like I said, 2 or 3 paragraphs which QUICKLY mentioned that a FEW scientists have SOME big questions about the theory…

    Why was the statement regarding one particular theory? Why single out evolutionary theory and not some other theory? The reasons, as were made clear in court, were entirely grounded in religion and had absolutely nothing to do with fostering and/or encouraging debate. Again – they had no right whatsoever to misrepresent current scientific research.

    Did you know that the 1 minute statement was read out by the supervisors because the teachers refused to read it? The reason they gave for refusing was they seen it as a violation of their position as educators to present material they believed to be factually incorrect.

    Did you know that Dover school district was not covered for legal costs by their liability insurance because they carried out their actions against the advice of their lawyers which voided said insurace?

    Did you know that the students were encouraged to seek out the textbook ‘Of Pandas and People’ as an alternative to evolutionary theory? This textbook was demonstrated, in painful detail, to not only be wholly inaccurate on matters of science but that it was, in fact, a straight up creationism textbook with the word ‘god’ replaced with the words ‘intelligent designer’ and with ‘creationism’ replaced with ‘intelligent design’?

    Did you know that the reason Judge Jones ruled so broadly on the subject of ID was because he was asked to by both sides in this court case?

    Did you know that three Discovery Institute fellows who were scheduled to testify didn’t show up to the witness stand? (This one is particularly given that Bill Demski, one of those scheduled to appear, had previously remarked about his desire to have an ‘evolutionist’ on the stand in a court of law)

    Did you know that, under oath, Michael Behe admitted that in order to permit ID as a science it is necessary to alter its definition, and that in so altering that definition the field of astrology would also become a science?

    I could go about the Dover case. The point I wanted to raise is that it wasn’t over just a one minute statement as you seem to believe. There was considerably more involved in this case and it was an important battleground to help secure science standards in your country.

    applying a grid, known to be produced by intelligent agents, to detect intelligence…..how does biological life fit into this ?? Unless you ASSUME that what happens in the non-biological could never happen in the biological ….. and how could you ever determine that ??

    I was responding to the idea that Demski put forward. He asserts that because science theorises the possibility of detecting intelligence, the relevant part being that we have some metric for detecting design as a result, then we can do likewise with biological organisms to prove ID. Problem with that assertion is that the hallmarks for design that SETI uses aren’t found in biological systems. Since you mentioned that SETI used ID I assumed this was what you were referring to.

    I know Behe has put out another book (18 months ago ??)

    ‘The Edge of Evolution’. Very little, if any, new material from ‘Darwin’s Blackbox’. He still assumes that for irreducible complex structures to arise there had to have been simultaneous mutations – a claim that he got a royal smackdown for in Dover. The thing that stuck out for me is that Behe pretty much endorses most of evolutionary theory in his book (he called common descent obvious iirc), but somehow he can’t seem to get his head around the concept that evolution isn’t goal-based. He assumes that the structures he cites as examples were a goal that the previous evolutionary development was working towards which, surprise surprise, leads to some really erroneous probability calculations.

    It is a strange read. Most books on creationism/ID accept natural selection but lose the plot when it comes to random mutation. Behe, however, does completely the opposite totally acknowledging the mutation (although he claims it is directed) but really losing the plot over the natural selection (and specifically the role of natural selection in promoting precursors to Behe’s example of irreducible complexities).

    Dawkins has been busier than monkeys pounding out Shakespeare.
    And no, I wasn’t surprised in the least.

    Let me try and surprise you – I’ve never read a single Dawkins book. Come to think of it, apart from ‘Origins of Species’, I’ve never read a pro-evolution book that wasn’t a textbook or a scientific paper.

  23. Mr.hair I checked out, briefly , your YOU-TUBE link, and had to ask: how in the world did you find this LDS link in the states ?? Yeah, internet, but this seems far from home , and I don’t mean the miles ?? The evolution thing seems to be an important “cause” (nothing cosmologically teleological here, only an expression) for you. Am I getting that right ?? Just curious .

    GERMIT

    PS: from your you tube margin: I’m all on board with scrutiny in matters both religious and scientific.

  24. My previous comment is awaiting moderation due to including two links. I’d already linked to both but I forgot about WP’s anti-spam settings.

    The evolution thing seems to be an important “cause” (nothing cosmologically teleological here, only an expression) for you.

    I tend to debate on most scientific topics. The reason I probably spend more time defending evolutionary theory is because it is the area of science most under attack – and under attack for reasons that have little to do with science.

    how in the world did you find this LDS link in the states ??

    Good question. I’m not actually sure on that one. It may have come up in one of those WP ‘similar posts’ for something I was reading.

  25. Interesting reply: my take is that ev. theory is DEFENDED as rigorously as it is for reasons that are only tangential to science….though I’m not saying that’s so in your case…..we’ve barely met.

  26. my take is that ev. theory is DEFENDED as rigorously as it is for reasons that are only tangential to science…

    It is certainly possible. I can only hope my defence of evolutionary theory in particular, and science in general, is reflective of the evidence I use to try and justify that position.

  27. Actually yes it has been, as far as I can tell, no Penn and Teller from Mr.hair….which does not mean you don’t have some kind of philosophical fire smoldering somewhere…..but I’m probably just paranoid…..

    Consider you use of the evidence a kick in the butt for GERMIT, but as one of six boys in a family of nine, that’s happened a time or two before…… I’ll use that as encouragement.

    GERMIT

  28. i think when science itself gives us a satisfied answer. it will be proven again that the bible is not wrong. god does not want to teach us physics with bible. he teaches us love, where does the world come from and where is it going to. the bible teaches some people dispute with each other is man born first or is woman born first. something like that. the bible use it as an example to tell people not to be engage in arguing with each other in those kinds of things.

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