Come see the proper response to ID: As Part of Darwin Days BYU Biology brings in Kenneth R. Miller

“Darwin, God, and Design: America’s Continuing Problem with Evolution”

Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, Brown University

JSB Auditorium, BYU Campus

Open to the Public

This Thursday, October 29

11:00 a.m.

Host Monte L. Bean Museum

Ken Miller has been recommended many times on this blog he is the author of:

Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution

and

Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul

I pulled this from Amazon:

From Scientific American
Miller, professor of biology at Brown University, believes firmly in evolution. He also believes in God-a belief not widely shared among scientists. Here he sets out to offer thoughts on how to reconcile the conflict many people see between the two positions. Evolution, he says, is a story of origins; so too is the Judeo-Christian creation story. “The conflict between these two versions of our history is real, and I do not doubt for a second that it needs to be addressed. What I do not believe is that the conflict is unresolvable.” Laying out the positions with care and clarity, he offers his resolution: “As more than one scientist has said, the truly remarkable thing about the world is that it actually does make sense. The parts fit, the molecules interact, the darn thing works. To people of faith, what evolution says is that nature is complete. God fashioned a material world in which truly free, truly independent beings could evolve.”
EDITORS OF SCIENTIFIC AME

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46 comments to Come see the proper response to ID: As Part of Darwin Days BYU Biology brings in Kenneth R. Miller

  • An no, the irony of these two posts coming back to back is not lost on me. And to forestall the obvious criticism “Why shouldn’t we be fair and hear both sides of the issue?” Let me repeat a comment in made in the last post:

    “Why shouldn’t we bring in a diversity of thought to BYU? What’s wrong with hearing Behe? In part my writing this was a counter balance. I suppose my complaint really lies in the realities that many in the Church already are inappropriately and unreflectively drawn to ID and his coming to BYU is seen as legitimizing ID rather than as offering a counter point (as evidenced by the Mormon Times article, or as a unique perspective among many. The invitation was also flawed in that he was brought in as a supposed refutation of the New Atheism when he is really one of their greatest wedges in their war against faith. I would really have no problem with Behe coming, along with people, with differing perspectives (imagine the fun of bringing Behe and Dawkins both in to BYU for example to sit on a panel together), but as is stands Behe reinforces harmful stereotypes already intrenched in the Church and therefore would have been better left uninvited.

  • Tim

    Wish I could be there. Miller’s one of my heroes.
    Now if you can only get the press (BYU, Deseret News, Mormon Times, SL Trib) to show up too…

  • Jack

    I agree. There is no scientific issue here with two sides, only a manufactured issue pitting science against something that is not science. As for that panel with Dawkins and Behe on it, I’d pay a pretty penny to sit in on that one.

  • larryco_

    I was hoping that you were announcing that “Ardi” had been invited to speak at BYU.

  • Mark D.

    The *very* first question that someone should ask Dr. Miller is does he personally believe in creatio ex nihilo?

    If he does, that is adequate to explain everything about his beliefs. If he does not, he has a serious problem on his hands, one that can only be answered by the following question:

    Is conscious epiphenomenal? i.e. fully explainable in every detail by physical determinism and random chance?

  • Mark D.

    If he says consciousness is epiphenomenal while affirming theism, then he belongs to a very strange breed indeed. I would love to hear him try to explain that.

  • Well, I hope Kenneth Miller has a lovely and positive visit to BYU. And, I hope he is NOT asked whether he believes in “creation out of nothing,” as suggested by Mark D. Further, I hope he is not subjected to “theological tests” from the zealous.

    It is hard for some LDS to understand, but evolution as a natural fact (and it is factual) has as much to do with theology as the roundness of the earth.

    Miller is a tremendous speaker, and I hope he makes a mark.

  • Mark D.

    Come on – the guy wrote an entire book about reconciling science and religion. Not only that, the information readily available does indeed suggest that he believes that God created the universe and all physical laws in particular.

    That generally implies something akin to creatio ex nihilo, a proposition which is sufficient to explain hard materialism (for anyone and everything except God) and the necessary physical laws and cosmic accidents for evolution to get started in the first place.

    He is a Roman Catholic, and creatio ex nihilo plus determinism is fully adequate to sustain a Thomist / Aristotelian view of the world. As I said, it is adequate to explain virtually everything about his beliefs on this subject.

    The reason why is that God can *make sure* that the universe starts out in a condition that guarantees that evolution will happen (if not guarantee the future history of the world in every detail).

    This sort of classical “winding up the clock” is in actual fact a version of Intelligent Design. God designed the laws of physics and set up the initial conditions to make sure that human evolution happened the way He wanted it to.

    The only difference here is that, as with all good Aristotelians and Deists everywhere, God’s creative involvement is exclusively exercised at t = 0.

  • “if he does, that is adequate to explain everything about his beliefs. If he does not, he has a serious problem on his hands”

    Anytime someone reduces someone else beliefs to a single issue has closed all discussion and done a great disservice to thought and discourse. Such fundamentalist caricatures in reducing others to litmus tests of personal entrenchments is unworthy of us and I really hope you don’t come and embarrass us with such fundamentalist simplicities. When people do that to Mormons we take it as a great put down, but people like you can trash others beliefs with abandon because you are unwilling to explore what they are really saying. Shameful.

  • Mark D.

    Steve, Of course he might vary on this detail or that detail. He might have a unique spin on this or that.

    But given his reported statement that God created the universe and the laws of physics in particular to guarantee that evolution would happen, that is adequate to solve the problem, and to place him in a broad classification of traditional (i.e. classical) resolution of divine creative power and nature as we know it.

    That is not shutting down discussion. That is what he says he believes. After that it is all details – very interesting details perhaps, but very much in the vein of the theology of Thomas Aquinas or some classical theist like him.

    So the next religiously pertinent questions would be is what about immortality, inspiration, divine intervention after the fact, and so on. Thomists tend to be hylomorphists about immortality (preservation of the soul as an eternal form), a view certainly consistent with materialist evolution. So it would be interesting to know if that was his view as well, or if he had some other explanation for life after death.

    In a more scientific vein, it would be interesting to know if he believes that God created non-random initial conditions for the universe or if he believes (as his comments suggest) that the laws of physics that God did create were sufficient to turn random noise into the first viable cell, etc.

    Why in the world would he write a whole book on the subject if he wasn’t inclined to take a stab at such questions? The reviews of his book indicate, that in fact he has, addressing the issue of free will in particular. I suspect he is a compatibilist. If he were a LFW sort of guy that would be *most* interesting.

  • SteveP

    Mark,

    These are interesting questions. But I’m not sure he has decided on many of these. He (like me) is comfortable recognizing that we don’t have answers to all the questions and that they can remain open. We have present abundant evidence that life on earth evolved. We also have evidence from subjective experience with God that He exists and is present in our lives. These two things must be compatible. Science continues to enhance our understanding of the former. Experience though prayer and scripture adds to the later. But I am quite comfortable with not demanding that he declare his take on the nature of physical reality, free will or consciousness sense in deep senses our theology only has the briefest glimpse into deep ontology. His primary message, one I deeply share, is that our best science, and our best theologies are compatible, important, and worth exploring as best we know how.

  • RoDeO

    Personally, I believe that both evolution and ID have viable testable “scientific” hypothesis oriented ideas. I belive most of the underlying problems pitting Evolution against ID is terms and semantics. Most of the talk gets railroaded right off because both sides can’t agree with each others views on defining words and processes.

    Evolution says ID is not science while Id says evolution is not fact. Both of these statements are quite abiguous and need context to clarify. For instance- Evolutionists who state “ID is not science” usually do so in the context of asking the question- Can methods- scientific methods, be devised to conclude who God is and where he is? This is done so in the mindset that ID is claimed as something other than “creationism” where the first few chapters of Genesis is used as the measure against all other data.

    In reply ID proponents are not claiming in any part or way to define what the intelligent cause is- whether it be a god, a alien, or just some unknown law governing the universe and lacking basic entity. What ID keeps saying all along is that it is “science” because it seeks, through testable means, to show how and why complex things in nature work in designed and intelligent intentful ways.

    As for ID’s claims that evolution isn’t fact, it too must be used in proper context. It is well known that species have been shown to evolve, or change within taxa boundaries. This part of evolution (micro-evolution) is true. Now whether or not certain ocean fish evolved to the point to where they came onto land and developed into land dwelling creatures is certainly “not fact” but only a theory.

    I think dropping some of the set ways in which both sides view the other would do worlds of good to finding the real truth. Each side could continue to pick apart each others theories and ideas and use words to belittle and slam each other, but in the process no real progress is made.

    I lean towards the ID side when it comes to macro-evolution because it appears to me that ID has the better theory, plus it coincides with being able to mix theological personal ideas into ID theory better. Evolutionary theory leaves me without a God, without a means or purpose in life, In Evolutionary theory I do not need to answer to causes of “moral responsibility” because I am just what nature evolved me into being- if I am a murderer it is only because my evolution caused me to be that.

    I believe it was Dawkins who was asked why we have moral or ethical fibers. His reply was something in the tune of- evolution has made us that way so that we preserve our species- its part of how our brains evolved and it carrys out in our reproduction.

    That wasn’t word for word, but something like that. I am left to think- How does helping an old Lady accross the street have anything to do with how my brain eveolved? Its not that i am going to preserve my species by mating with her. What if I help out my male neighbor friend who likes my wife? If I kill him I preserve my species better, but I don’t and in fact help him. Why do we as humans create things that have purpose and design in them and know what moral and ethical behavior is?

    If evolution can’t answer these scientific inquirys then who am I to turn to? Let me ask it another way- Lets suppose that God doesn’t exist at all or any entity of intelligent purpose for that matter. How does evolutionary theory explain creating me who is capable of self awareness, moral character, and other points such as being able to go to a lab and generate changes in lifes structure through manipulating DNA? As has been obviously brought up before, at some point science must seriously ask why we think the way we do, and not just rattle off some obscure line such as “to preserve our species”.

    It seems than that if I was created by a creator to have intelligent purpose and that I was designed to come forth this way, then whether evolution or some other process developed my physical body, ID has great merit in scientifically explaining why I exist and why think and act the way I do in society.

  • SteveP

    RoDeO, It is unfortunate you missed Miller’s talk, he addresses specifically why ID is indeed a religion steal move (and the evidence for it, that came out in the Dover trial discovery). You should look at his book.

    The issue has never been about design. All biologist believe in design, nor is it about the intelligence of God, religious believers know that from interacting with Him. ID is only and has ever been about teaching creationism in the schools. There is no science or biological facts with which it engages. None. All it’s examples have been refuted, their methods have been shown to be deceptive and disingenuous and its an unfortunate fact that they have so successfully marketed an idea without substance.

  • RoDeO

    Steve,

    The ID proponents like Behe and like company sure seem to be distinguishing ID from creationism. This is what I was talking about in my last post. We can’t get past what ID is and what it is not. I will agree that creationism is more founded upon a religious ideal rather than much science. But ID is “not” creationism. Here is a neutral source explaining it-

    “Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.”

    As I also said before, how does evolutionary theory scientifically address the computational process of thought? Do we have purpose in our creation from God? Did the Creator “plan and design” our bodies to come forth as they are, as it says, created in the image of God? Now whether or not this was done by procreation or evolution, was it a guided purpose to come out according to plan? If this is true, how is this not inference to ID?

  • David

    I thought his talk was great. I was particularly surprised at how many students I heard afterwards saying how wonderful it was, how they thought that the entire university should have been there. Several mentioned how frustrated they get with the semiannual anti-evolution letters to the Daily Universe or things they hear from the Religious education department. I really think that the mistrust of science by some in the Church really does do damage, and puts a big weight on some of these students. Seeing some of that weight lifted was nice.

  • RoDeO,

    The connections between ID and creationism are well documented. See, for example, here for some history.

  • Concerning the supposed disconnection between I.D. and creationism: a rose is a rose regardless of the name — however, both have a specious smell that lures all admiration into a thorny and dangerous trap.

  • Jack

    Jack: “There is no scientific issue here with two sides, only a manufactured issue pitting science against something that is not science.”

    Maybe. But then science needs a thump on the head now and again — you know, a little reminder that scientists aren’t any closer than anyone else in understanding why there’s anything at all.

    Jack: “As for that panel with Dawkins and Behe on it, I’d pay a pretty penny to sit in on that one.”

    I’d love to see that too — that is if Dawkins could think outside of his little Saganish box. Other wise it would be a total bore.

    Jack (the real Jack — the one who has earned the right to that handle after 5 long years trolling these parts)

  • RoDeO

    I am not arguing that there is not a connection with creationism and ID in it’s past, I am suggesting that ID- what it is now, is not the same movement as creationism.

    Current ID theory is not creationism.

    I am still waiting for a reply with how evolution deals with us having a purpose in our creation. How does evolution handle the belief that we were created through an organized intelligent process? Theistic evolutionists are really people who believe both in ID and in evolution. Am I wrong?

  • Mark D.

    Although I sympathize with ID in a technical sense, in real life it has been a comedy of errors, unfortunately, starting with the name, “Intelligent Design”, a proposition (in the external sense) that is essentially impossible to demonstrate by any reasonable means.

    Reason #1 why most scientists maintain ID isn’t remotely scientific is that the conventional theology behind most ID advocates is super-natural in the strict sense of the term, i.e. “magic”. Magic is the end of rationality, and thus intrinsically incompatible with scientific inquiry. A theological question at best.

    The only useful question here is whether LFW is real or not. That is a question that is subject to empirical and mathematical inquiry. The self-existence of an external designer, or an infinite backward recursion of space aliens is not.

    ID went horribly wrong from the first day due to that sort of assumption, a completely gratuitous one as it turns out, as many ID advocates now recognize.

  • Did not hear him speak, but from what I’ve heard from him before, he is a bit of a sell out.

  • Jeff G

    S. Faux,

    While I certainly agree that the main/only reasons to accept ID are religious, this doesn’t make it religion does it?

    After all, people accept the big bang and reject evolution for religious reasons, and this doesn’t make them religion. Copernicus’ and Kepler’s were certainly motivated by religious reasons, and yet we accept them as science.

    If Joseph Smith had revealed that E=mc2 and afterward it was confirmed to be true, would we not want to say that Joseph Smith had revealed a scientific theory?

    Why can’t we just say that ID is a hypothesis which would be scientific (meaning it would be a part of the scientific community) if it actually had SOME confirming evidence in its favor, but there simply isn’t. As such, why can’t we just call it really, Really, REALLY bad science. Put another way, why don’t we just say that it is false?

  • Jeff G

    As for Mark D.’s comments, I still have no idea what relevance LFW is supposed to have for the scientific illegitimacy of ID. I must have skipped the chapters on Free Will in all the evolutionary biology text books I read in college.

  • Jeff G.:

    You say, “Why don’t we just say that it [I.D.] is false?”

    Fine, it is false.

    It is NOT science. I would not even give it the benefit of the label “bad science.”

    I can go to a scientific conference and see a lot of bad (and good) science — but in that situation, the term “science” is almost always appropriate.

    In all honestly, I think of I.D. as anti-science. The field seems to be designed to STOP research, not to start it. I.D. seems to be designed to keep us as ignorant as possible, rather than expanding knowledge.

    The proponents of I.D. cannot communicate with average scientists, because their ideas are not testable, are contrary to overwhelming data, put a halt on the search for natural causes, and seem to be a giant step backward toward the early 19th century — via Wm Paley’s natural theology.

  • Well said, S. Faux (as always).

    “I am still waiting for a reply with how evolution deals with us having a purpose in our creation.”

    Check out my five-part series back in March this year. I try to lay this out clearly. Evolutionary theists reject ID creationism completely. As Miller does.

    I’ll be laying out the ideas from Miller’s presentation in an upcoming blog. He nicely shows how ID is just a bad religious idea masquerading as science.

  • Jeff G

    S. Faux,

    Don’t get me wrong, I think ID is totally and completely bankrupt. I just hope we all think it is bankrupt for the right reasons.

    “In all honestly, I think of I.D. as anti-science. The field seems to be designed to STOP research, not to start it. I.D. seems to be designed to keep us as ignorant as possible, rather than expanding knowledge.”

    I’m not sure I can wholeheartedly agree with any of this.

    1) ID is an attempt to make the teleological argument scientifically rigorous. I don’t see how that is anti-science in any way.

    2) ID is certainly designed to stop Darwinian research, but not research altogether. It is designed to start research down new avenues; it simply hasn’t been, and won’t be successful in this.

    3) Again, if ID could actually show us the limitation that, hypothetically, did exist on Darwinian processes this would be a significant increase in scientific knowledge, not ignorance. Now of course it doesn’t actually do this, but it was designed to do so.

  • RoDeO

    Steve,

    I read the posts. I respect your opinions on the matter, although it seems kind of vague what you are saying. Are you arguing for a deterministic universe until life comes along? Are you arguing in favor of or not in favor of God aided direction in the creation?

    I agree with you that some points of ID do not comply with evolutionary ideas. But to reject all of it from a theistic background and point of view is unwarranted and ignorant on your part. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing your intellect or anything, but there are parts of ID such as direction and design in nature which points to a creative or intelligent source that satisfys LDS doctrine and even evolution in the same hand. So I am left to wonder what you really mean when you say that… “Evolutionary theists reject ID creationism completely”,

    I am also left to wonder why you coupled ID with creationism? We both know that they have ties in the past but that current ID theory abandons much of creationism. It seems that your real beef is with “creationism” by itself.

    Needless to say, I find it quite amusing that you seem stuck in the ages of times past trying to discredit ID as if it were creationism. I want to challenge you with something- Go to the Discovery Institue and show me through their views on what ID really is- what is their current theory? I will bet you a thousand dollars you can’t find where ID is masquerading as creationism. You really want this but it is not to be. ID is not what you espouse it to be. In your “About the Blog” you mention-

    “If you call me an idiot I probably won’t put it in. If you call me an idiot and explain clearly why I am, I will (it is easily accomplished by the way, so it will not be an impressive achievement if you pull it off).”

    I am going to just say- don’t be an idiot about what ID really is. Now I want to be “clear” here. I am not directly calling you an idiot (personally I like your material and your approach), I am just saying that you should be aware that ID is not what you propose it to be and that by trying to redefine it to fit your wanting curiosity and resolve, you may prove to show some idiocy.

  • Jeff G

    RoDeO,

    So which is it? Is ID creationism or not in your mind? On the one hand you want to accept ID due to its affinity with religious/creationist ideas but on the other hand you want to call Steve out on equating ID with religion/creationism. What gives?

    To clear up the difference between ID and theistic evolution (TE):

    TE holds that God is guiding things behind the scene, He doesn’t have to keep intervening to repair His broken machine (nature). Sure God has been in control on the evolutionary processes, but this has been by way of guiding mutation and/or selection, things we which could never be detected by science. In other words, TE science and naturalistic science look exactly the same.

    ID, on the other hand, is motivated by the idea that God is center stage, not behind the scenes. He occasionally, if not frequently intervenes with nature by way of creating novel lifeforms, species or organs de novo. ID holds that this intervention is so abrupt, unsubtle and necessary that it can be detected by science. ID stands apart from naturalistic science in that the former holds the latter to be incomplete at best, totally wrong at worst. The two look nothing alike.

  • Jeff G. you hit it.

    “am not bashing your intellect or anything, but there are parts of ID such as direction and design in nature which points to a creative or intelligent source that satisfys LDS doctrine and even evolution in the same hand.”

    Wiki Discovery institute on Wikipedia. Why I coupled ID with creationism. That just cracks me up. I’ve blogged on that so often and so much it would be silly to say more than “Look and see.” And it’s been declared a stealth religion teaching by a US Court. Need I say more?

  • RoDeO

    Jeff,

    Big difference there my brother. Creationism sticks with a “literal” interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis (earth created out of nothing in 6 literal 24 hour days, etc.) ID is something that is similar but yet totally different.

    ID leaves behind the biblical narrative and instead approaches nature from a logical, scientific methodology using testable hypothesis. It allows for inferrence of a creator- an intelligent cause. One could argue- as yourself that evolution also could infer a creator (and being LDS, one must!).

    Steve,

    There are other sources on the web that properly define what ID is and what it is not. the Wiki is opinion based and certainly on that subject is biased towards evolution. A US court judge does not have the ability to classify what is and what is not science- they are judges and have their opinions. There is a reason that court judges are “Republican or Democrat” It literally means- which “sway” or “spin” would you prefer.

  • RoDeO

    This from the New world Encyclopedia-

    “Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.”

    No spin here!

  • Jack

    “And it’s been declared a stealth religion teaching by a US Court.”

    Federal courts also judged that right to privacy trumps right to life in the case of the unborn. Does that make it right?

  • ID leaves behind the biblical narrative and instead approaches nature from a logical, scientific methodology using testable hypothesis.

    There is no science in ID. None. There is no research program. There is no hypothesis no theory. Nothing for a scientist to do. When they start doing science then we’ll judge that in the usual way. Until we see some science it’s not science. There is not a single peer reviewed paper they can point to. The claim ‘we can’t figure something out (even if science does) does not a science make. ID is the declaration here is a wall you can’t pass. We do and they keep closing their eyes and saying ‘we can’t see you.’

  • “maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines”

    Why haven’t they produced it? Is it in a secret vault? Soon as they show some we’re listening.

  • SteveP

    And RoDeO quoting from an encyclopedia with these credentials: “the originator of this project is Sun Myung Moon” (Known IDer and leader of the Unification Church) does not help your case. Actually now that I think about it, it speaks to exactly the kind thing ID should be associated with. Well done.

  • Mark D.

    Evolutionary theists reject ID creationism completely.

    Depending on what you mean by “creationism”, that isn’t true. Mr. Behe, for example is a theist, who believes in evolution and common descent, and yet is probably the #1 ID proponent in the world.

    ID and “creationism” aren’t synonymous – in fact they are often at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

  • Mark D.

    Jeff G: I still have no idea what relevance LFW is supposed to have for the scientific [il]legitimacy of ID

    Look into the philosophy of the mind and the philosophy of biology, and the issues about reductionism are as hotly debated as ever. If the mind is more than ordinary mechanics, natural selection cannot fully explain its evolution, nor the evolution of the brain, etc.

    Evolutionary psychologists claim to be able to explain consciousness, morality, will, etc. solely in terms of evolutionary mechanics. That means a *hard* reductionism of not only the mind to mechanics, but also every iota of the evolutionary process (including abiogenesis) to mechanics.

    An LFW proponent and soft reductionist (like me), would argue that if we have real moral responsibility, e.g. to control our own destiny, then consciousness is more than mechanics, and if consciousness is more than mechanics the evolution of the brain cannot be explained by purely mechanical means.

    What good would a human brain be if it wasn’t conscious? This is not exactly a philosophical novelty. Thousands of articles and hundreds of books have been written on the subject.

  • RoDeO

    “You and I both know that ID is not creationism. The definition I listed is exactly what ID is- we both know it and you lie to say otherwise.”

    Troll be gone. Such comments result in banning. You are no longer welcome at this site and your comments have been deleted and henceforth will be sent strait to spam.

  • The_Truth

    I was just starting to like that Rodeo guy and you go and kick him off. What fun is there now? Not to be rude but I thought he was making a pretty good case for ID.

  • Quoting an encyclopedia started by Sun Myung Moon? Good catch, Steve! That’s rich because, of course, Jonathan Wells is a leading ID proponent and has said: “Father’s [Sun Myung Moon's] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.”

  • While Rodeo is right in that some significant proponents do basically accept the history of evolution and get caught up in the mechanism of randomness, it’s also clear that many, many do not. For many, if not most, proponents it’s simply a way to sneak Creationism in by making it seem like something it’s not. Were the IDers able to keep a divide between themselves and Creationism I’d probably not be nearly as worried about them. (I’d still think them completely wrong mind you, but wouldn’t quite see it as the anti-science threat I do)

    Mark, if the mind can’t be reduced to the laws of physics (as I think it can’t) I don’t see how in the least that entails a problem for evolution. Let’s say there were elements akin to Pratt’s atoms of mind mixed in with other matter. If these offered some strength for reproductive success you’d fully expect evolution to make use of them. Or, if you follow Blake Ostler’s view of emergence then at a sufficient level of complexity there would be an ontological transition. (I’m very skeptical of Blake here – but you seem to simply be discounting it out of hand)

    The point being that one can reject a simplistic reductionism of the mental to the physical without saying anything about evolution.

    I honestly can’t quite figure out why you keep bringing consciousness up as I see it as largely orthagonal.

  • Jack

    “The point being that one can reject a simplistic reductionism of the mental to the physical without saying anything about evolution.”

    Maybe. But on the other hand you might be implying something positive about ID — and I think that’s the real question here.

  • Jeff G

    Just to echo Clark, the non-reduction of the mind to the physical say pretty much zero about evolution as far as I can see. Dennett is a strong non-reductionist and to say that he doesn’t understand or believe in a fully natural evolution would be more than a little far fetched.

  • The_Truth

    It seems like the truth is that there are parts of both ID and evolution that every good scientist should hold fast to. I sometimes wonder if we do not embrace the one or the the other for fear of being labeled with them.

    Watching this debate unfold over the past few decades has both sides scrambling to find new ways of disputing the other. I would believe that if both sides were to just set aside each others differences long enough to aknowledge each others merits, they would really have more in common than they realize.

    It’s not as if both sides are wanting to decieve the other, no, both sides are after the honest truth. What we really need to do is make alist of the points we both agree with and build off that platform.-

    Micro-evolution would be one that both sides wopuld agree upon. So also is complexity and intelligence as a measurable phenomenon- both sides can agree on that.

    Lets make this debate un-political.

  • See here a nice debunking of the “science” of ID by Stephen Barr.

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