Corante

About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Emolecules
ChemSpider
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
PubChem
Not Voodoo
DailyMed
Druglib
Clinicaltrials.gov

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
Kilomentor
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
ChemBark
Realizations in Biostatistics
Chemjobber
Pharmalot
ChemSpider Blog
Pharmagossip
Med-Chemist
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
SimBioSys
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Business|Bytes|Genes|Molecules
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Depth-First
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa


Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
FuturePundit
Aetiology
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Sciencebase
Pharyngula
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net


Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
GruntDoc
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine


Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem


Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Instapundit
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus


Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« The Dover Decision | Main | University of Drug Discovery? »

November 7, 2005

Intelligent Design, Molecule By Molecule

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

[Update: reading this post, I can see that I was in a pretty testy mood when I wrote it last night. Intelligent Design does that to me. So if you're not in the mood to be ranted at, come on back tomorrow and I'll see what I can do for you. . .]

Further update: comments have now been turned off, to keep this one from rising from the grave. No doubt I'll post on ID again eventually, so everyone will have another opportunity to ventilate their opinions.

OK, one more on this topic, and then we'll try to give it a rest until the Dover school board decision comes down. (The comments to the yesterday's post are still rolling right along, though, as you'd expect from a debating ground like this one). The article by Jerry Coyne I linked to yesterday gives some good anatomical arguments against intelligent design. But I wanted to zoom down to the molecular level for a minute, since after all, I am a chemist.

DNA is a wonderful molecule, no doubt about it. And to someone like me, who believes that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, it's also a fine illustration of how it works on a molecular level. Others, though, no doubt see in its intricacies the hand of a creator. What, I wonder, are we then to make of the degraded remnants of old viral DNA in our genome? Designed in there, or not? Or what about the long stretches that seem to do nothing but repeat the same few base-pair letters over and over - dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times? Doubtless the Designer would have his reasons, but perhaps some of these would have been better implemented with repeats that aren't so prone to breakage and mismatch. Hundreds of terrible diseases result. (That page is only the barest sample. It's an awful topic to research). It's almost as if these things persist as the residue of ancient random choices or something.

Moving on to what are supposed to be the normal genes, we find entire books can be written on the horrible consequences of tiny changes in the genetic code. Take the so-called Swedish and Dutch mutations in the amyloid precursor protein. Switch the DNA a bit, and you get a new amino acid in the protein. Get the wrong one, and you die, most terribly, from early and rampaging Alzheimer's disease with complications. Those particular mutations have been in families for hundreds of years now - we've tracked them through the generations. They're still with us because the people involved live long enough to have children - many of whom are destined to die the same terrible way - before the underlying disease finishes them off. It's almost as if the consequences of a mutation were more severe when it affects reproductive fitness.

Mysterious ways, mysterious ways. No doubt that accounts for why we (and guinea pigs, and Peruvian fruit bats) can't make our own vitamin C, the way the other mammals can. Or why our livers respond to the excess of free fatty acids in type II diabetes by. . .making more sugar, which is exactly what the body doesn't need. There must surely be a reason, too, a good well-designed one, for autoimmune diseases: having our bodies tear themselves to pieces on a cellular level; I can't wait to hear why that feature was built in. It's almost as if once we've had children, just about anything can happen to us.

I'll stop there. I could go on for pages. Suffice it to say that when I look at the biochemistry of living systems, I see an amazingly complex system, wonderful to behold. And it's held together with duct tape, chewing gum, and weathered pieces of wood - whatever was handy, and whatever worked. It's almost as if it's just been tinkering along for a billion years.

Comments (133) + TrackBacks (2) | Category: Current Events | Intelligent Design


COMMENTS

1. peej on November 7, 2005 10:48 PM writes...

Derek- maybe you have hit on the "not so intelligent design" theory.

Personally, I think your observations just give credence to my explanation that all life is being designed by a bunch of competing 14 year old boys in some giant sim game. Multiple Not-So- Intelligent designers, as it were.

Now I just have to convice a school board to include this in the curriculum for fair balance.

Permalink to Comment

2. biohombre on November 8, 2005 12:02 AM writes...

Hmmmmm. Duct tape, chewing gum and pieces of wood? With over 100 genes (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/D/DNArepair.html) involved in maintaining the fidelity of DNA, (or over 500 proteins involved in DNA replication & maintenance; Nature 409, 860-921 ) it strikes me as just a bit more elegant and just a bit less jury-rigged than you imply! I do not know if it has a failure rate to satisfy rigorous 'sigma six', or better self-maintenance than Mac OSX (10.4.3), but I suspect it may do better than some manufacturers of our commodity electronics!

Permalink to Comment

3. Clark on November 8, 2005 1:01 AM writes...

Friend of mine is a born-again microbiologist. Was a creationist for a long time. Is now an IDer of the flavor of God giving an occassional nudge. Is this so bad? It led him to 'predict' that all the junk DNA was not junk but actually useful in ways we hadn't yet determined. (And this is turning out to be a lot more true than was apparent 10 years ago. As an example, the viral fragments may be useful for jumping genes) It did NOT cause him to stop looking for the evolutionary things (remember he believes that only the occassional nudge is necessary). While I think it is a violation of Occam's Razor, it is largely a harmless bent that actually provides a different (and thus useful) perspective as long as not taken too far.

If what is bad about ID is the camel's nose, then we should be honest and say so.

Clark

Permalink to Comment

4. David on November 8, 2005 3:57 AM writes...

The ID movement, as articulated by the Discovery Institute and its associates, denigrates the hard work of scientists and makes a mockery of the process of scientific discovery. By actively attempting to defecate on evolutionary science for purposes of suplanting good science education with religious dogma, the "ID movement" of the Discovery Institute (DI) positions itself not at the nose, but in the heart of the camel's bowels. One wonders whether the ID proponent who favors "God's occassional nudge" can be left unscathed by the foul fumes of the DI approach. Where is the line between a "harmless bent providing a different perspective" and a religious zeal that would, through distortion and faulty reasoning, joyfully violate your freedom of religious choice and that of your children?

Permalink to Comment

5. daen on November 8, 2005 4:37 AM writes...

biohombre, DNA copying and repair mechanisms certainly do ensure remarkably high fidelity. Except when they don't. There are diseases which affect these repair mechanisms (for example, the XRCC and xeroderma pigmentosum disease genes), and certain DNA polymerases are lower fidelity than others.

If one in three copies of OSX spontaneously developed an electronic cancer, I wouldn't consider that a "six sigma" result.

If there is a Designer, then He is not entirely right in the head. Or He really doesn't like us very much.

Permalink to Comment

6. qetzal on November 8, 2005 8:00 AM writes...

Clark,

I fail to see how ID adds anything useful. How does ID lead one to predict that most non-coding DNA has a function?

That said, I have no objection to anyone pursuing the scientific implications of ID as they perceive them. In fact, I wish more ID proponents would do exactly that.

The problem with ID is not the camel's nose. The problem is that most major ID proponents claim that there is significant evidence for ID, when there is not. Many ID proponents claim that evolution is a 'theory in crisis' or some such. Also untrue.

A great many ID proponents want high school instruction in evolution to be watered down or subject to special caveats (evolution is 'just a theory'). A significant subset want ID taught as an alternative 'theory.'

The reality, of course, is that there is virtually no scientific evidence that supports ID. There is certainly no scientific theory of ID. In most cases, ID isn't even formulated as a testable scientific hypothesis.

Despite all this, some people want to force the teaching of ID in public science classes. And it's quite clear that they want this because it furthers their religious goals. This is a perversion of science and a perversion of public schooling.

Adults who choose to believe in ID (despite lack of evidence) are not the problem. The problem is adults who want to teach kids that ID is well-suppported science, when it clearly isn't.

Permalink to Comment

7. Tom Bartlett on November 8, 2005 8:52 AM writes...

I wish we were intelligently designed. Except, I'd be out of a job. But, I guess I'd be able to throw away my eyeglasses.....

Permalink to Comment

8. SteveSC on November 8, 2005 9:13 AM writes...

The issue of a creator, whether a 'nudger', 'clockmaker', or raging Zeus, is properly the realm of religion. We don't have enough knowledge to know whether, in a probabilistic universe, there is some 'intelligence' who is loading the dice.

The problem in the public schools is that the religious zealots are rising up to battle the 'anti-religious' zealots. Intelligent design is a tactic used to oppose those who believe that freedom OF religion is freedom FROM religion and teach kids that evolution 'proves' there is no god.

When zealots of one stripe want witchcraft, astrology, mysticism, and various "man is the source of all destruction to Gaia" tenets taught in the public schools, and oppose teaching the Bible as literature, or even Shakespeare, it is no wonder that zealots of another stripe rise to oppose them. To be credible, scientists that oppose ID should be just as energetic opposing ALL the pseudo-science in the public schools.

Permalink to Comment

9. Derek Lowe on November 8, 2005 9:32 AM writes...

Steve, I'm ready, willing, and able. Anyone who wants to point out organized efforts to teach voodoo or the like, please do. (As an amateur astronomer, you can imagine how much time I have for astrology, for example).

And I regard much current environmentalism as a religion. (I remember the first time I came across that idea, in a speech by Michael Crichton. It was disconcerting, because there are a lot of things about Crichton that I don't like, but when I read that, I thought "Yeah. . .of course. . .")

Fuzzy Gaia-ism is probably the biggest load of rubbish in the school system, measured by volume. But as far as I can see, Intelligent Design has the highest muzzle velocity these days.

Permalink to Comment

10. Tom Bartlett on November 8, 2005 10:04 AM writes...

I think "freedom FROM religion" is pretty much my most cherished aspect of the Bill of Rights. And it pisses me off every time I hear some demagog politican invoking the Deity to sell soap, or justify bombing civilians or any other Christian purpose.

I agree with Derek that fuzzy Gaia-ism is rubbish, but I would also argue that global warming, whatever your political leanings may be is THE most critical issue facing humanity this century.

Permalink to Comment

11. PandaFan on November 8, 2005 10:22 AM writes...

If we are designed, not only did the designer not let us synthesize vitamin C, said designer left a nearly functional gene for the process behind (which looks suspiciously like the functional ones in other mammals, save the function destroying mutation).

Permalink to Comment

12. fool on November 8, 2005 11:07 AM writes...

Derek

The underlining assumption of your critique of the "unitellegent design" is that the creator's intention was to let man live forever disease free.

It was, untill sin entered. Remember what the God of the bible said:"but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. Genesis 2:17” And when Adam did, God said "“ Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

Obviously, a dramatic change at the DNA level was brought about with that curse, whcih would explain the things you mentioned regarding DNA and just human pain and suffering in general.

Permalink to Comment

13. Timothy on November 8, 2005 11:16 AM writes...

Apparently that God fellow is a real jerk.

Permalink to Comment

14. fool on November 8, 2005 11:29 AM writes...

With all the voodoos out there in this world, it can be mighty confusing...well it actually is! You all are rigthfully skeptical and should be at anything that sounds like a fairy tale.

But I submit to you that the Bible and the God of Israel can hardly be compared to the other voodoos, with thousands of years of researchable history and countless scientists of all fields behind it. I have a humble suggestion to all of you skeptics. Assume the biblical account of origin to be true, and use ITS account (not your own version) to examine it against the facts and see if it makes sense beyond reasonable doubt.

Like I said before Kurt Wise and Ken Ham (www.answersingenesis.org) are excellent references.

Permalink to Comment

15. Derek Lowe on November 8, 2005 11:32 AM writes...

Fool, I can see why you recommend Kurt Wise, since you seem to be on the same wavelength. I really can see why, if you stipulate at the beginning that the bible is the inerrant word of God, why you come to the conclusions that you do. It's just that I don't (and can't) start from that premise.

But that leaves us no room, in the end, to discuss anything. Anything the scientists think that they can explain? They're wrong. God created it to look like that. And the things that the scientists can't yet explain? They can't, because God did them. How do we know that? Because it says so here in his book. And how do we know it's his book? Because it says that it is. We have God's word that it's the Word of God.

Case closed, for those with enough religious faith to take all that in. Case not closed, for those who align with the system of thought that has built the technology we're now using to argue these points.

Permalink to Comment

16. Jim on November 8, 2005 12:24 PM writes...

Here's an interesting question (at least I think). Do we know more about the universe than we do not know? Surely we know much more about the universe than we did 4000 years (or yesterday for that matter) ago but do we know more about it than we don't know? Likewise, do we know more about the simplist living organism on earth than we don't know? With every question we answer don't we create 3 more? I think we (as scientists) often have an extremely arrogant view of things. We act as if we have it all figured out (as compared to our ancestors thousands of years ago) when in fact we do not. To be sure, science constantly moves forward and it provides the basis for the advance of civilazation in many respects but we are not even close to having all the answers. Is ID science? That's a tough question. Is an archeologist or anthropologist sifting through a pile of rocks looking for primative tools practicing science? Is natural selection by random mutation truely random?

Should we teach our kids it is truely random and that this is an irrefutable fact?

Permalink to Comment

17. jim on November 8, 2005 12:29 PM writes...

Just so there's no confusion, the idiot "Jim" above me is not, well, me, the "jim" of yesterday's posts. I wouldn't want my rep soiled by this vegetable who can't tell that ID isn't science.

Permalink to Comment

18. RKN on November 8, 2005 12:55 PM writes...

  Suffice it to say that when I look at the biochemistry of living systems, I see an amazingly complex system, wonderful to behold.

Me too, but...

  And it's held together with duct tape, chewing gum, and weathered pieces of wood - whatever was handy, and whatever worked.

With all due respect to you, Derek (and I mean that), I loudly disagree.

I would invite inlookers to take a gander at this and then decide for themselves if it looks more like duct tape, gum, and driftwood, or rather more like a printed circuit board.

Does this provide evidence for the design[ER] or in any identify who it is? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Does it infer design? I think any intellectually honest person would have to say it does. Could it have self-assembled via the preferential selection of accumulated mistakes? That thought experiment is left to the reader.

Permalink to Comment

19. qetzal on November 8, 2005 1:10 PM writes...

Jim (not jim) asked:

Should we teach our kids it is truely random and that this is an irrefutable fact?

No. But we should teach our kids that evolution is the best and only scientific explanation for the diversity of life on Earth. It is the only explanation that is well supported by scientific evidence. It's the only explanation that has repeatedly made successful predictions about what we should expect to observe in appropriate contexts.

Does that prove that it's correct? No. Does a lack of scientific evidence for a designer prove one doesn't exist? No!

If there really are public school teachers who routinely claim that science disproves God and that the universe is irrefutably undesigned, they should be firmly corrected or fired. However, I suspect this is largely a strawman argument. I don't know of any recent cases where parents felt compelled to sue schools for teaching atheism. Contrast that with the many recent controveries involving inappropriate attempts to slip religion into science class: Dover PA, Cobb County GA, Kansas State Board of Education (more than once now), ....

To be clear, I'm just as opposed to teaching atheism in public schools as any other religious tenets. But I'm also skeptical of SteveSC's implication that this is a major overt problem.

Permalink to Comment

20. Nathan on November 8, 2005 1:47 PM writes...

Listen people, it's all very simple:
Teaching that the universe was "created" (or designed) is a RELIGIOUS statement.
Teaching that the universe was "created" from nothing by chance is also a RELIGIOUS statement.

Either teach both or teach neither.

The vast majority of nonscientists understand the simplicity of this. Why do so few scientists?

Permalink to Comment

21. Derek Lowe on November 8, 2005 1:52 PM writes...

RKN, those metabolic pathway charts are always impressive-looking. (Until recently there was an older version taped to a wall downstairs from my office). But I can just as easily look at it and see two billion years of "whatever worked". Our imaginations seem to run in different ways.

Earlier generations of humans looked at the cathedral-like complexity of cave formations and clouds, the fine structures of snowflakes and crystalline outcrops, and the curved and carved patterns of eroded rocks, and decided that these things must have been built.

And built they could have been, if you believe in a God that set up the physical laws involved and sat back to see what they could do. I have no problem with such a Deity. I do have a problem with one that could faked everything to make it look as if such laws were in operation, though.

Permalink to Comment

22. jim on November 8, 2005 1:55 PM writes...

Nathan,
For something so "simple", you sure misunderstand it. The theories you think you have a problem with DON'T require that the universe was created from nothing by chance.

Permalink to Comment

23. fool on November 8, 2005 2:06 PM writes...

Derek

I find it perplexing that highly educated people would believe without such faith that, as complex as life is, there can simply be one explaination--evolution and a God cannot have designed all this.
Do you really have that big of a faith to believe billions of years plus NOTHING will give rise to one single cell, let alone humans?

RKN
I have to say you're among the most intellectually fair-minded persons on this board. No offense to anyone else.

Permalink to Comment

24. fool on November 8, 2005 2:10 PM writes...

jim

"you sure misunderstand it. The theories you think you have a problem with DON'T require that the universe was created from nothing by chance."

Please give your insights on how the first atom (or whatever) came to exist without invoking God or something like God.

Permalink to Comment

25. jim on November 8, 2005 2:20 PM writes...

An interesting question, fool, and one currently being addressed through ACTUAL RESEARCH. While you may find it hard to get your head around, I also don't have a problem with the thought that "God" or whoever got the ball rolling. My point in this case was that this in no way invalidates Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian, really) evolution and natural selection, and vice versa.

Permalink to Comment

26. fool on November 8, 2005 2:22 PM writes...

"I do have a problem with one (God) that could faked everything to make it look as if such laws were in operation, though"

I'm not quite sure what you meant by that. But it'd certainly make sense to me that when God created Adam, he didn't make a baby Adam and allow the "physical laws" to make him a grown man just so that years later people like you and me can make sense of our carbon dating. He surely would've made a grown man to begin with. And the same goes for the rest of the creation.

Permalink to Comment

27. Nathan on November 8, 2005 2:28 PM writes...

Jim,
Of course "God" doesn't invalidate Darwinian evolution. The two can be absolutely compatible. However, I don't want it to be taught that chance mutation (biological universe) or chance collisions (physical universe) created what we see and know. By saying this, scientists are essentially making "chance" thier creator. I choose to have "God" as the creator, not chance. Both are RELIGIOUS viewpoints and either both or niether should be taught in schools.

Permalink to Comment

28. David on November 8, 2005 2:33 PM writes...

This fear-mongering about school teachers using evolution to teach that “God doesn’t exist” – where does it come from? Have there been any published studies of this? How many public school teachers are stupid enough to think that science has an answer to the existence of God question, and how many live in a social context that would allow them to make such a bold public statement without being called on it? Really folks, kids do talk to their parents and real cases of “God-denial” would stand out like a fish out of water.

The problem rather is that many parents and “community leaders” PERCIEVE that evolutionary science threatens their beliefs about God – especially those who subscribe to biblical literalism. This of course is the reason behind the “ID movement” which effectively argues “my God doesn’t exist and my moral standards don’t mean anything, if evolution is a fact, and current evolutionary theory is an accurate representation of the history of life”. Never mind that evolutionary theory is not considered the “ultimate truth” but rather the best explanation consistent with the mountains of evidence. Never mind that it is tentative and revisable. People threatened by evolutionary science usually haven’t taken the time and energy to understand it, but there is also the complication that deep belief systems are often difficult to reconcile with reasoned and reasonable views of the evidence and the scientific processes that develop and support scientific theories.

Permalink to Comment

29. jim on November 8, 2005 2:49 PM writes...

I couldn't have said it much better than David. Can anyone provide evidence for this supposed concerted campaign by science teachers to impose atheism on their students?

Permalink to Comment

30. fool on November 8, 2005 2:54 PM writes...

David

"Never mind that evolutionary theory is not considered the “ultimate truth” but rather the best explanation consistent with the mountains of evidence. "

I'm not so sure about that. What you have is a mountain of evidence being interpreted as for evolution which is also consistant with creation. And there's also another mountain of evidence against evolution, such as the gaping gap in fossil records for transitional species.

Permalink to Comment

31. fool on November 8, 2005 2:57 PM writes...

jim

"An interesting question, fool, and one currently being addressed through ACTUAL RESEARCH. While you may find it hard to get your head around.."

Indeed that's beyond what my mind can fathom how one can create energy/substance out of nothing. Not only will these researchers shut people like me up, they will also solve our energy crisis!

Permalink to Comment

32. Derek Lowe on November 8, 2005 2:57 PM writes...

Fool writes:

"I find it perplexing that highly educated people would believe without such faith that, as complex as life is, there can simply be one explaination--evolution and a God cannot have designed all this."

Science forces us to deal with the evidence we have in front of us, whether we find it comforting or not. The evidence I have in front of me is tha evolution occurs right now (as in bacteria, for example). The speciation found on isolated islands and such cases strongly suggests that it has occurred to produce a variety of other living species in the same manner. And the fossil record strongly suggests that it has occurred in the past, in the same manner. And the biochemical record (DNA analysis) strongly suggests that it occurred in the past, too, leaving thousands and thousands of clear traces and clear connections between species.

All of these lines of evidence agree with each other in degree, in kind, and in timing. They point the same way, and at the same thing. What I find perplexing is how all this can be ignored or brushed aside, and why I am supposed to do likewise.

Permalink to Comment

33. jim on November 8, 2005 3:12 PM writes...

fool,
It's amazing that you can even find ways to selectively quote a three-sentence paragraph. Is that stuff in the ID handbook?

Permalink to Comment

34. fool on November 8, 2005 3:17 PM writes...

Derek

As a scientist myself, I'm all for examining the facts. What I have been trying to get across is these facts could be interpreted differently according to one's onw world view.

jim

I didn't quote your entire post to save space. And the quote was NOT out of context. Just answer my previous question if you want to.

Permalink to Comment

35. jim on November 8, 2005 3:30 PM writes...

Actually, grammar commander (fool), it WAS out of context. The part I thought you would have trouble understanding was my ability to allow for the existence of a god (even one that created existence itself) without rejecting well-established science.

Permalink to Comment

36. Timothy on November 8, 2005 3:36 PM writes...

Fool: it sounds like you've been reading too much Kuhn.

Permalink to Comment

37. David on November 8, 2005 3:40 PM writes...

fool: “What you have is a mountain of evidence being interpreted as for evolution which is also consistant (sic) with creation. And there's also another mountain of evidence against evolution, such as the gaping gap in fossil records for transitional species.”

My case substantiated by “fool”, who apparently knows little or nothing about 1) geological time; 2) the processes whereby fossils are produced 3) the probabilities for a full series of graded transitions to be preserved, 4) the probabilities for fossils to remain unchanged over geological time, 5) the probabilities that fossils would have been discovered given the effort to date and 6) the plethora of transitional forms so far discovered showing grades of evolution in such animals such as horses, whales, etc. Negative arguments from ignorance seem to be the fuel for the ID fire.

While on this tirade, I’d like to comment on the misconception so often pushed by ID proponents that feeds into the frenzied backlash against evolutionary science taught in schools. It speaks to the random origins issue so problematic for some in this discussion.

Jim (capital “J”) says “Is natural selection by random mutation truely (sic) random?”

Again, (J)im needs some further study, or to think more about ID pronouncements touting the idea that evolution is entirely random. Evolution is anything but random, although some random processes, such as mutation and natural disasters, factor into evolutionary change. Evolutionary change builds on existing organisms and the ecosystems they live in/create. Co-evolution, and convergent evolution point clearly to the interplay of random and non-random factors in evolution.

Permalink to Comment

38. fool on November 8, 2005 3:41 PM writes...

"Change over time" doesnot translate into "inorganic substance to life". Creation has no problem with change over time, but differs in degree and time frame.

Speaking of the fossil records, how does one explain the absence of transitional species, which would abound if evolution were true.
Point is evolution is full of more holes than it's proponents would like to admit.

Permalink to Comment

39. fool on November 8, 2005 3:47 PM writes...

jim

"The part I thought you would have trouble understanding was my ability to allow for the existence of a god (even one that created existence itself) without rejecting well-established science."

Why would I have trouble. I agree with you on this one :) And you still haven't answered my question on creating energy from nothing.

Timothy

Who's Kuhn?

Permalink to Comment

40. David on November 8, 2005 4:04 PM writes...

fool: Speaking of the fossil records, how does one explain the absence of transitional species, which would abound if evolution were true. Point is evolution is full of more holes than it's (sic) proponents would like to admit.

I guess you miss my point (in 37). You are either too stupid or too lazy to actually learn about how fossils are created, how they are affected by geological processes, and why we don’t have relatively full series of intermediates for all species, but do have pretty complete series for some.

Like all of the main ID “leaders” you have no scientific evidence to communicate for “design” but you seem to be well-versed in the fallacious negative critiques of evolution. Probably reading Wells (Icons of Evolution) rather than Kuhn. Next, will you drag out the “Cambrian Explosion” critique?

Permalink to Comment

41. fool on November 8, 2005 4:16 PM writes...

David

My training is in chemistry. So I admit my limited understanding in paleontology. Although I do know that some more-than-competent paleontologists seem to have different opinions with you.

I have no idea what “Cambrian Explosion” or who Well is. You seem to know more about these creationists than I do :)

Keep you temper down. We're just having fun here.

Permalink to Comment

42. jim on November 8, 2005 4:17 PM writes...

fool,
We have, to some extent, already covered the "origins of the universe" question, and anyways, it's one separate from the matter at hand. The main point related to this discussion is that there is nothing in evolutionary theory which is thermodynamically disallowed.
Of course, you put that damn smiley face in there, so it's hard to stay mad at you...

Permalink to Comment

43. fool on November 8, 2005 4:24 PM writes...

jim

As I have said over and over, I have no issue with "change over time". My problem is with the change being "from nothing eventually to living things".

Permalink to Comment

44. Derek Lowe on November 8, 2005 4:33 PM writes...

Fool, you really have no issue with "change over time" in species? Even though, to the best of my knowledge, it isn't in the bible? I have to say, you've certainly had me fooled the last couple of days.

Permalink to Comment

45. Tom3 on November 8, 2005 4:49 PM writes...

I hope the intelligent designer isn't the Old Testament God.

He's a psycho.

Permalink to Comment

46. fool on November 8, 2005 4:58 PM writes...

Derek

Again, creation has no problem with change over time, but--differs in degree and time frame. And my "change over time" certainly doesnot translate into "inorganic substance to life".

Permalink to Comment

47. God Here on November 8, 2005 4:59 PM writes...

So if God created energy, then who created god? Do gods also have their own gods. Has anyone seen god. I'll also bet that if you question people of different religions around the world, they will insist that their god is better that your god and many will go further and insist that their god is the only god and your god is a piece of shit.

Permalink to Comment

48. fool on November 8, 2005 5:01 PM writes...

And I certainly don't believe in the kind of species-transforming change (e.g. monkey to man).

Permalink to Comment

49. Derek Lowe on November 8, 2005 5:05 PM writes...

Hmmm. Then can I ask what sort of "change over time" you're willing to accept? What are your cutoffs, in amount of change and in the time it takes to happen? (And while we're at it, what's your definition of a species?) I'm quite interested to see what you find acceptable.

Permalink to Comment

50. LNT on November 8, 2005 5:16 PM writes...

Wow -- 49 posts in less than 24 hours. This has to be a record of some sort!

I still just don't understand what is so threatening about letting kids know that, in fact, Darwinian theories simply can't account for all the diversity of life we see today. (nor for the evolution of the "first" life) That's it. End of story. Let the kids draw thier own conclusions about what happened.

Permalink to Comment

51. SteveSC on November 8, 2005 5:26 PM writes...

I wish I had as much time as you guys to comment in Derek's blog ;-)

Someone asked about the anti-religious teaching in the public schools. I am not aware of any 'published studies', and I doubt a study of this kind would be published anyway. My evidence is anecdotal, from personal reports by family and friends, to stories in the various educationally-related blogs. For example, see a case where a 6 year old's poster about environmentalism was not allowed to be 'contaminated' by a picture of Jesus. Other blogs that seem to be fairly neutral occasionally include similar stories, e.g., Educationwonk and Joanne Jacobs. (Disclosure--we homeschool, primarily for academic reasons rather than religious, but we hear all the stories...)

But the link between evolution and anti-religiousness is easily found. Just one example is the editor of Slate clearly proposing that evolution implies no God. "Post-Darwinian evolutionary theory, which can explain the emergence of the first bacteria, doesn't even leave much room for a deist God whose minimal role might have been to flick the first switch" in his article Evolution vs. Religion--Quit pretending they are compatible.

And parents have a legitimate reason to worry about their kids' education. The recent court decision in California basically said the State can determine what information public school children are exposed to irrespective of the parents wishes.

"We agree, and hold that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students. Finally, we hold that the defendants’ actions were rationally related to a legitimate state purpose." Fields, et.al. v Palmdale School District

As an aside, anyone who develops drugs should be worried by the lessons now imparted by schools, i.e., all drugs are bad. Many school systems treat Tylenol the same as heroin, and kids have been expelled for taking a Midol or sharing an asthma inhaler. When these kids grow up and serve on juries, just think of how well prepared they will be to make narrow distinctions about causality and side-effects.

Permalink to Comment

52. Vegetable AKA Jim on November 8, 2005 5:36 PM writes...

Jim (not me),

Sorry. Didn't mean to soil your rep-I didn't even know you had one (goes to show exactly how ignorant vegetables actually are). What is the experiment that tests the hypothosis: the force behind life and the universe is an intelligent designer? There are no experiments to test this hypothesis? Please share your thoughts on this with me. If there is an intelligent designer did IT (whatever it was) have to make it's design perfectly?

David: Is random mutation truely random? Something is random if we see no pattern to it but just because we see no pattern to it (yet) does not mean it is random. Granted, if we see no pattern (yet) it is not scientific to say well "god did it". I agree. But random is no argument at all. It is the lack of an argument. It is, "well, I can't make sense of it so its random". Some things may be truely random but not everything labeled as random is random.

I have only just seen this site today so you guys have covered all of this stuff before so just ignore if I am bringing up old uninteresting arguments. No matter what, in this argument, the boudaries of science and philosophy overlap-that is one of things that makes this argument so interesting to so many.

You are correct. Many Christians look at evolution as a threat. There is some reason for that, one of which is that some have used evolution improperly to "prove" there is no god (thus the Christian feels under siege). Another one of the reasons for their thinking is true ignorance. There is no reason for a Christian to be threatened by evolution at all. What threat does evolution pose to Christianity? If Christianity is the truth (and I say it is) then true science can pose no threat whatsoever.

Evolution (which is a broad term poorly defined in most of these arguments) itself is undeniable. Who can argue it? Seriously? We can watch bacteria mutate and become resistant to certain drugs, etc. Do parents really have a difficult time teaching that in our classrooms? Do Christian parents really have a difficult time with us teaching that the Earth is 6 billion years old based on certain radiodating techniques? There are exceptions but talk about a straw man. The question is, does evolution explain the origin of life? The question is, what of the Cambrian explosion (I'll take the bait Fool would not)? Punctuated equilibria? The question is what is the mechanism by which evolution occurs? Do we truely understand it or do we have a near complete grasp of it? My opinion is that we do not understand it as well as we think (scientific arrogance). There is plenty more work to be done.

Science teachers do not routinely use evolution to prove there is no god (there are always exceptions)-this is a strawman argument-I agree. That was not my point.

The best we can do is to teach the observations we have made with the theories we have developed to explain these observations (true objectivity is impossible though). Then let the student take it from there. The Truth will eventually win the day.

Permalink to Comment

53. David on November 8, 2005 6:20 PM writes...

Fool (41): My training is in chemistry. So I admit my limited understanding in paleontology. Although I do know that some more-than-competent paleontologists seem to have different opinions with you.

There you go. My degrees are in Chemistry, Biology and Science Education. I doubt that you would agree with someone who would deny that carbon single-bonding is tetrahedral, or would claim that lead can be transmuted into gold, especially if these claims are not substantiated by any evidence whatsoever.

So then I wonder why you would make pronouncements about the “gaping gaps” in the fossil record, without actually understanding a) whether there are gaps, b) whether there are any well-established graded series that have been discovered, and c) whether we can rationally expect to see abundant graded series as you claim (“how does one explain the absence of transitional species, which would abound if evolution were true.”). Whether or not you have a Paleontologist friend who might disagree with me, the scientific knowledge from fossils strongly supports the fundamental theories of evolution, even though we have found relatively few DETAILED graded series of intermediate fossil species (We have tons of broad scale (time-wise) series of graded fossil transitions). The fossil record captures only a tiny fraction of the organisms that have lived, so this is to be expected. But nothing from the fossil records discovered so far indicates that the evolution theory is an inaccurate description of the known evidence. I’m certain that you would discover this by doing the research.

Perhaps you do not support the ID proponents who would like to wedge their form of religious dogma into the school curriculum as a substitute for biological evolution theories (which threaten their religious views), but by not doing your homework, by supporting blatantly inaccurate accusations against the science of biological evolution, you offer less than a good role model for rational fact-based science education.

Permalink to Comment

54. God Here on November 8, 2005 6:44 PM writes...

The reason that "the fossil record captures only a fraction of the organisms that have lived" is that I converted most of it to coal, oil and gas for your consumption.

Permalink to Comment

55. David on November 8, 2005 6:50 PM writes...

God to the rescue, once again.

Permalink to Comment

56. fool on November 8, 2005 7:14 PM writes...

David

I'm not ready to concede yet :) I'm busy setting up reactions now. Spent WAY too much time typing here...

Permalink to Comment

57. David on November 8, 2005 7:23 PM writes...

Fair enough. And by the way - my apologies for stepping beyond the bounds of reasonable, rational discussion (40).

Permalink to Comment

58. vegetable Jim on November 8, 2005 7:26 PM writes...

The original rant started over intelligent design and how Derek just cannot see why it should be taught as science or in a public school in any way (the Dover case). As the post grew more and more bias (including my own) came into play. I think the argument here is really misunderstood. At issue is whether the mechanism for evolution is understood. Is it truly random mutation or intelligent design. You call it random and we call it design. You say its a crumby, lousy, poorly concieved design and we say it is brilliant and genious. Which is correct and which better aligns itself with the facts? We can each decide based on examination of the evidence we do have (without the spin from either side).

I think Christians misunderstand the importance of the ID argument. It is not an argument for converting chuckleheads like some of you. It is not a stand-alone argument to make sure our children hold to our values. It will fail nearly everytime when used by itself in these ways. If what we (Christians) believe is true there had better be better proof and evidence than the study of some old rocks and bones. The truth had better be stamped onto each of us so as to leave us without excuse (end sermon).

When we teach evolution we ought to be careful and not overstate the case though (there-David and I agree). It is a theory to explain facts that we can observe and measure-and it is an excellent theory at that. Like all theories it is a living thing in itself subject to revision and careful scrutiny. We ought to be able to ask (and we can) is this theory adequate to explain this or that. And we ought to be able to do so without be labeled a scientific heretic. Evolution is not a philosophy to do away with the idea of a god and when it becomes a philosophy it crosses the line. It does not explain the origin of life (something science will never be able to prove-no one, except of course, 'God here', was there-making the fossil fuels we use today no doubt). It has other holes too but both sides are polarizing it to the point where it pretty much cannot be taught or argued anymore with any kind of objectivity (including from me). Pandora's box is open now though-who can close it?

Permalink to Comment

59. Si on November 8, 2005 7:34 PM writes...

I don't understand why this has to be such an issue. There exist thousands of theories about thousands of subjects, but not all of them can be taught and not all of them are worth being taught. There is Atomic Theory, Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VESPR) Theory, Crystal Field Theory, String Theory, Hund's Theory of Maximum Multiplicity, and, of course, Si's It-Will-Never-Work-As-Well-As-It-Did-The-First-Time Theory. All of these are great theories that help us understand a myriad of problems all around us, yet I don't think they all need to be taught in our public elementary schools. Scientific theories need to be taught to our youth so they understand science and how ideas are generated (and proven wrong). Darwin's Theory of Evolution is still just a theory, but it is a darn good one used successfully every day in the laboratory (random mutagenesis, phage display etc). ID, on the other hand, is a (potentially) competing theory with very little scientific support and, consequently, shouldn't even be an alternative suggestion for something as well grounded as evolution. It can be taught by parents or churches or whomever, but like String Theory, isn't exactly ready for high-school classrooms.

Permalink to Comment

60. Eric on November 8, 2005 7:38 PM writes...

LNT (50)"I still just don't understand what is so threatening about letting kids know that, in fact, Darwinian theories simply can't account for all the diversity of life we see today."

I personally don't find it threatening if a teacher were to leave it at that statement and move on. I do find it a waste of valuable time to teach ID in a Science classroom. Why stop at ID? Why not any other "theory"? Do they all deserve equal time? The point is that we have more tangible evidence for evolution than any other theory available. Thus, why teach other theories in Science class until this ceases to be the case? In my opinion, ID would be a topic more constructively discussed in a class about Philosophy or Religion.

Permalink to Comment

61. kevin on November 8, 2005 7:42 PM writes...

Sure evolution can happen. But so can intelligent design. How else do you explain Round-up ready corn and Golden rice?

Permalink to Comment

62. Si on November 8, 2005 7:43 PM writes...

Eric makes a great point! ID would be a wonderful topic for a philosophy course!

Permalink to Comment

63. daen on November 8, 2005 8:19 PM writes...

Si, ID isn't even in the same taxonomical system as string theory.

String theory, in all its many forms, has mathematicians and physicists of the highest intellectual calibre working on it. Many hundreds of papers have been published in top rated journals.

ID has ... well, advocates of Intelligent Design working on it and they publish in the Journal of Creation and Creation Magazine (they have to : no other publisher will touch their stuff with a ten-foot olive branch).

Permalink to Comment

64. Si on November 8, 2005 8:33 PM writes...

Sorry. It was supposed to be a satirical juxtaposition illustrating the only thing the two have in common.

Permalink to Comment

65. CJ Croy on November 8, 2005 8:35 PM writes...

LNT,

"I still just don't understand what is so threatening about letting kids know that, in fact, Darwinian theories simply can't account for all the diversity of life we see today."

I do because that is false, misleading and threatening. Darwinian theories can account for all the diversity of life we see today. All of it. I'd like to hear one specific example of diversity of life that Darwinian evolution not only doesn't, but is incapable of accounting for.

"nor for the evolution of the "first" life"
Evolution != Abiogenesis. Neither of them require each other. Evolution would still be true if the first cell spontaneously arose from abiogenesis or if God put it there. The various hypothesis's about abiogenesis could still possibly be true even if the various Theories of Evolution were all proven to be a total communist atheist lie that the overwhelming majority of living biologists were "In" on.

"Let the kids draw thier own conclusions about what happened."
Would you apply this same logic to the Holocaust? After all, there's a number of people that dispute that the Holocaust happened. Wouldn't it be fair to Teach the Controversy and just let the kids draw their own conclusions about whether it happened or not?

Permalink to Comment

66. Derek Lowe on November 8, 2005 8:56 PM writes...

CJ, although I agree with you, I feel obligated to point out that you're about as close as can be to violating Godwin's Law.

Permalink to Comment

67. David on November 8, 2005 8:57 PM writes...

Vegetable Jim (59), what really is your answer to Derek’s question: “Should ID be taught as science or in a public school in any way?”

Whether creating fossil fuels, or nudging evolutionary processes, God’s actions, being supernatural, are not amenable to science. ID, with its fundamental basis in supernatural causation, is not science – it is religion.

To pretend that ID is science is a huge disservice both to science and to religious thought . This is what the Discovery Institute is doing with its form of ID. It is pushing and wedging its version of ID into schools, churches, and communities with the goal to supplant science with a particular form of religious belief system (and this has come out clearly in the Dover Panda Trial). Make no doubt – the “intelligent designer” of ID is indeed a Christian God and not a Flying Spaghetti Monster or the god of any other religion. The Discovery Institute and those who follow its strategy are not interested in education, but indoctrination.

Biological evolution theories, like all scientific theories, are tentative and revisable. But not by ‘pretend science’ based on false negative arguments. Because ‘we cannot explain something’ or because ‘we don’t have a full understanding’ of something is not a valid argument for “God did it”. It is not valid science to believe God Here’s claim (55) that he (or she) purposefully turned organisms into oil for human use and consequently winnowed out the fossil record. It is equally invalid to claim that complex living systems prove “intelligent design” (thanks for that point, God Here).

My guess that most of the fears about “evolution theory being used to teach atheism” are being promoted by – you guessed it – ID proponents, although I have no empirical evidence for this. This is not to say that concerns about teachers subverting science for this are not legitimate, but rather that those concerns are blown far out of proportion by people who stand to benefit from heightened fear over it happening.

The plaintiffs in the Dover Panda Trial concluded that ID is NOT SCIENCE and has no place in science classes. They acknowledged ID as a religious idea and graciously suggested that it might have a place in philosophy classes, comparative religious classes or social studies classes. Given the underhanded and fundamentally corrupt tactics of the Discovery Institute (DI), I doubt whether there is any place for its form of ID in any of these non-science classes. For all of those who in this discussion have presented reasonable arguments for having a religious (not scientific) discussion about the role of a god in either creation or the turning of the evolutionary clock, then I would suggest working to get the DI out of ID.

Permalink to Comment

68. qetzal on November 8, 2005 9:25 PM writes...

Veggie Jim:

The original rant started over intelligent design and how Derek just cannot see why it should be taught as science...

Nor can I. How is ID science? Science is not just explanations for facts and observations. If it was, Greek mythology, astrology, and psychic readings would qualify as science, too.

The key point is that science explains things in a testable way. That is, it predicts future observations. A hypothesis that repeatedly and successfully predicts future observations becomes a scientific theory. Evolution is an example.

ID is not a scientific theory. Most of the time, it's not even a proper hypothesis. Do you disagree? Then I respectfully request that you offer some evidence to the contrary. Scientific evidence, of course.

If you agree there is little or none, then how do you justify teaching ID as science?

...or in a public school in any way (the Dover case).

The Dover case is> about teaching ID as science. If you're advocating ID as philosophy, that's different. I'm still not sure it belongs in public high schools, but that's less objectionable than trying to have it declared science by fiat, as Dover, the Discovery Institute, & the Thomas More Law Center wish to do.

At issue is whether the mechanism for evolution is understood. Is it truly random mutation or intelligent design. You call it random and we call it design. You say its a crumby, lousy, poorly concieved design and we say it is brilliant and genious. Which is correct and which better aligns itself with the facts? We can each decide based on examination of the evidence we do have (without the spin from either side).

We can also decide scientifically, based on which explanation is better at predicting future observations. I maintain that the theory of evolution has been almost infinitely more successful to date, given that ID has made almost no prections. Moreover, the few I know of have actually proved wrong (e.g. blood clotting systems aren't irreducibly complex as some ID proponents claimed).

Once again, I'm not insisting that the theory of evolution is therefore Right, and ID is Wrong. I'm arguing that evolution is the only well-supported scientific theory we currently have. Until something else comes along that is better at explaning and predicting real observations, evolution is the best we've got. Even if evolution only made correct predictions 25% of the time, that's a far better track record than ID to date. If ID proponents want to demonstrate scientific superiority, they should start showing how ID makes better predictions than evolution. I don't think they can do that, but if they do, I will happily support teaching ID as science.

We ought to be able to ask (and we can) is this theory adequate to explain this or that. And we ought to be able to do so without be labeled a scientific heretic. Evolution is not a philosophy to do away with the idea of a god and when it becomes a philosophy it crosses the line.

I agree completely. But several people have already noted that this is largely a strawman issue. Few people seriously suggest that school kids should be taught that evolution (or science in general) disproves God. Even if they did, that would not justify teaching Christianity (or any other religion) as some sort of counterweight.

I grant that there are people who cite science and evolution as part of their personal justification for atheism. But that is their right, as much as it is anyone else's right to cite the Bible as justification for believing in Christianity. What neither may constitutionally do (in the US) is present those views in public school classrooms.

It does not explain the origin of life....

It isn't meant to. This is another typical strawman argument, often presented by people who are looking for a justification to insert religion into classrooms. Evolution isn't about the origins of the first cell, and shouldn't be taught as such. I personally doubt that's really a common problem in schools, but if it is, we should fix that problem, not make it worse by including yet more scientifically unfounded material.

Permalink to Comment

69. Viji on November 8, 2005 9:45 PM writes...

I get really depressed reading thru this whole hokus pokus... rather than moving on to prosper and try to solve the many problems that bring suffering to millions of people and living things, we choose to argue on a piece of essay written by an old prophet or scholar or wise man/women or holy man/women, who with his limited understanding of the natural world in his day, wrote an epic essay piece in his/her attempt to try to solve the problems of his day, that is to give humanity an identity, to delineate human beings from beast, to instill morals and allow us to develop our mind.

And his/her efforts paid off really well for the last few centuries, we build civilisations, we fight on improve social care to alleviate human/sometimes even animals' suffering, we champion and toil to advance our understanding of the world thru science and experiments - sometimes out of curiousity - but most of the time to bring benefit to our fellow humans and try to purge the age old suffering of diseases and the such....Well it worked really well for centuries up till now...he/her made a really huge mistake while penning his epic, he/her coined it all as a holy book, the only authority, and let not others question His/Her authority, he/her made his teachings Dogma, resistant to change, inconsistent with advances in knowledge.

He/Her was brilliant I'll admit, by cleverly arguing that we as simple low life humans may never understand the wisdom and workings of his/her creation - "the Almighty", well it seems today-a good example here would be "fool", a lot of people have been bounded/blinded by this clever statement, to concede that we really haven't a clue, and thus doggedly, with religious fervour defend this "faith", to an extent becoming closed minded, making excuses justifications here-there, and sometimes even becoming fanatical. And because of this, portions of humans become entrenched in this dogmatic, stubborn, arrogant mentality, and this is not without disastrous results...plenty examples in history, the Crusades, the 100 years' war, the Co inquisition, the Witch Hunts, the War on Terror of today, so many human suffering, just because we hold on to this "faith".

I can really understand why Him/Her structured his epic holy book in such a way, the people of his day were an uneducated, uninspired, unholy motley bunch of ruffians, without striking fear of God, he/her may not have achieve anything. Without dogmas, He/Her may have feared that his good teachings (to love and care for our fellow human beings, to avoid evil, to do good) would be diluted thru time. Understandable. But is this still relevant today? YES in a way, we need to uphold this religious moral values, but WE DO NOT WANT TO NEED TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE RELATED STUBBORNESS. I firmly believe we should allow ourselves space and clear objective mind to work on, build upon, advance on top of thousands upon thousands of years of collective accumulation of knowledge and understandings, rather than be tied and held back by religious dogmas.

Him/Her may have written this passage of Genesis because the most emminent thinker of his day, Aristotle says-so, species are immutable, therefore he wrote that the Almighty created this immutable human beings. Understandable. Aristotle based his statement on his observations, an objective conclusion. I believe that if Aristotle was alive today, and with the amount of knowledge, he would have changed his ideas in a flick of a finger. So why do we need to be bogged down by religious dogmas??

DO keep our religious faiths, the good teachings in our holy books, but DO NOT resist the advancement of knowledge just because a holy book written eons ago say's a "truth" that the Earth is 4000 year's old, Our World is the center of the universe, the Sun goes around Earth, Black Death is the warth of God (gone insane?), We humans have to suffer because of AdamEve's sin (Hell I am not even sure if I even have his genetic makeup or if I am related to him at all, and if I am, this "Almighty" fellow really does hold a grudge, esp when he keeps telling people that he is benevolent and forgiving, is the Almighty a hypocrite or what?). As we can see, IMO, such thoughts and portions of the holy book should be left with the ancient ruffians of the day.

If I could travel back in time, perhaps I would suggested to Him/Her to put in some elements of Buddhist teachings, that is, with plenty of similarity, i.e. to do good, avoid evil, love thy neighbour, etc. etc. but what I believe would be critical, to give an example, in every Buddhist sermon, we are told that you although we should listen to the teachings of the Buddha - our teacher (not prophet), don't believe what you hear based upon hear-say or some holier than tho person says so, so because a holy texts indicate so, but more importantly to practice what you have been told, apply your rhyme and reason, try-it-out-experiment the teachings yourself, and determine if it works, it is true or otherwise, teh Buddha said that only when you've experienced it yourself, then only you accept what I have thought you. In fact, there is much emphasis in Buddhist teachings that it is a way of life, a method introduced to improve our lives, and not to be hold on to as a dogmatic religion or holy texts. There is a Buddhist saying that the world changes day by day, old methods that works sometime ago, may not necessary work today, if it no longer works, find your way, improve the method, seek wisdom, and you'll find happiness.

That is perhaps why I see no conflict of my religion (Buddhism) with my work (advancing medical science to alleviate suffering). In fact it bolsters me to work harder to help my fellow human beings.

Similarly, I believe that you should make use of your strong faith and collective energy to help more people, rather than wasting time and energy defending dogmas that brings and achieves little.

Cheers and May you be well and happy
Viji

Permalink to Comment

70. Frank on November 8, 2005 10:45 PM writes...

So the author's argument against Intelligent Design is that if he were god, he would have done it different? (And you wonder why only 20% of Americans believe in evolution)

If you want us to believe you, you're going to have to come up with better arguments than that!

Permalink to Comment

71. Clark on November 9, 2005 12:26 AM writes...

"The reality, of course, is that there is virtually no scientific evidence that supports ID. There is certainly no scientific theory of ID. In most cases, ID isn't even formulated as a testable scientific hypothesis."

I agree that by Popper's definition it is not scientific. Not disprovable. Largely because it is separated from evolution by an ever decreasing line that in theory may be indistinguishable from evolution. But precisely because it is indistinguishable from evolution it isn't clear that it is hugely wrong to believe it. The only real problems with it are that it doesn't obey Occam's Razor and that there is good reason to be deeply suspicious of the motives of most of the proponents.

"I fail to see how ID adds anything useful. How does ID lead one to predict that most non-coding DNA has a function?"

10 years ago the theory was that junk DNA was indeed junk. ID folks are less inclined to believe in junk (by the way, this particular 'theological' bent is not isolated to IDers. It was Einstein who said 'God doesn't play dice', which is essentially the same sentiment but stated about physics.). It isn't that I think that this is right, but that science, academia, industry, ... all tend to get trapped in ruts. Having different bents is good therapy for avoiding this problem. And when the only baggage it comes with is something that is, in practice, indistinguishable, it might be worth the price of violating Occam's Razor.

Clark

Permalink to Comment

72. daen on November 9, 2005 4:34 AM writes...

Clark, I just wanted to clear up a few things in your post:

1. ID and evolution are separated by a line which, if anything, is broadening, not narrowing.

2. Occam's Razor is sometimes wrong, but less often than it could be.

3. Science is beginning to discover that some "junk" DNA has a purpose through a lot of hard work, careful observation and debate. IDers don't believe in junk DNA. That's not because they've worked diligently to find out its purpose, they just don't *believe* in it.

4. Einstein was talking about the role of chance in nature. The fact that, for example, the decay of a particular radioactive particle cannot be predicted ahead of time bothered him hugely. This is absolutely nothing to do with non-coding DNA.

5. Events of the last 100 years are a fairly good indication that academia, science and industry do not get trapped in a rut.

6. Discarding evolution in favour of ID right now is about as sensible as abandoning your bicycle/car/train to get you to work and instead glueing hundreds of humming birds to your coat in the hope that they'll somehow decide to all fly in the same direction at the same time.

Cheers

D.

Permalink to Comment

73. Anonymous on November 9, 2005 8:01 AM writes...

Jesus Christ.......

Permalink to Comment

74. Clark on November 9, 2005 8:55 AM writes...

"ID and evolution are separated by a line which, if anything, is broadening, not narrowing."

Cites please. If they are propouding some fact that is just wrong (e.g. creationist bunk of looking at fossil records from only sites with inverted strata) then I'd truly love to see that. I've looked for such bunkum and haven't found it. My point, which you didn't really address, was that by definition ID as defined by occassional nudging of evolution, cannot be separated from evolution. It has the same observables. I think there is a lot of shear raw anxiety here which is not focused where it needs to be.

"Science is beginning to discover that some "junk" DNA has a purpose through a lot of hard work, careful observation and debate. IDers don't believe in junk DNA. That's not because they've worked diligently to find out its purpose, they just don't *believe* in it."

In order to look for something it helps to believe it is there. There were a lot of scientists who got pretty pissy if you told them that you suspected it wasn't junk.

"Einstein was talking about the role of chance in nature. The fact that, for example, the decay of a particular radioactive particle cannot be predicted ahead of time bothered him hugely. This is absolutely nothing to do with non-coding DNA."

Come now. You seem smart enough to have gotten my point. But let me help anyway: Einstein: a) was citing God as a reason to look someplace in science, b) did not like the random element in his chosen field of science. These are the chief characteristics of ID as I've defined above and no one has disputed (I would love to see a dispute of this and associated cites - if the IDers are doing something more asinine I'd love to know about it)

"Events of the last 100 years are a fairly good indication that academia, science and industry do not get trapped in a rut."

I could name 10's of nobel prize winners that would disagree with you and hundreds and hundreds of now-acknowledged ground breaking scientists that would disagree with you. See, for instance, the two winners of this year's Nobel Prize in medicine. I acknowledge that being in a rut is relative, not absolute, but we clearly get rutted on many things for a decade or two.

Permalink to Comment

75. Derek Lowe on November 9, 2005 9:25 AM writes...

Clark, Einstein was indeed disturbed by the probabilistic interpreation of quantum mechanics, and did indeed say "God does not play dice." But it's important to remember that Einstein was wrong. The probabilistic approach works very well, and Einstein's "hidden variables" approach to getting around that problem has not panned out. And it's also important to remember Bohr's reply to him: "Albert, stop telling God what to do."

And you're right, science does get stuck once in a while. But then some ambitious hotshots come along and break us out of it by finding new data and better explanations.

That's another reason that ID has nothing in common with science. As far as I can see, there's no attempt to offer any explanation other than "God did it." Your data are too complicated to figure out right now? That's because God did it. Whoops, the "Intelligent Designer" did it, excuse me.

Mind you this only seems to apply to biology, specifically speciation and biogenesis. I have all kinds of data in medicinal chemistry that I can't explain, for example. But I don't get to assume that it's been tangled by the Hand of God - I'm expected to try to work it out myself.

Permalink to Comment

76. fool on November 9, 2005 10:40 AM writes...

David

No worries. Here's my comeback to your arguments on fossil evidence:

S.J.Gould, an evolutionist himself, said "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology." ("Evolution's Erratic Pace", Natural History 86(5):14, 1977)

All they have are a handful of disputable ones.

Permalink to Comment

77. fool on November 9, 2005 10:43 AM writes...

I want to make my main philosophical point again:

The facts are the same. It all depends on one's interpretive framework.

Permalink to Comment

78. Derek Lowe on November 9, 2005 11:07 AM writes...

Hi Fool - I'm still wondering how much "change over time" you're willing to credit - to what degree and at what speed, and how you'd define "species." Then we might be able to figure out what we're both talking about.

Permalink to Comment

79. fool on November 9, 2005 11:20 AM writes...

Derek

I haven't forgotten your question :) But allow me to at least make an analog or two first to keep my job. I'll get back to you.

Permalink to Comment

80. fool on November 9, 2005 12:50 PM writes...

Derek

Let me state my overall philosiphy on this topic.
Creation is consistant and agrees with change of organisms. The difference between us is two fold:

1. In terms of the degree of change:
the proposed or observed change cannot turn inorganics into a living cell; nor can it turn that living cell to Eohippus and then to horse (neo Darwinism). But it can produce dramatic differences within the species (via interbreeding).

2. The cause of the change:
It's a result of reshuffling (and/or mutation) of PREVIOUSLY existing genetic information (bacteria resistance, etc.), and NOT a result of the creation of NEW genetic information. Notice that's not to say mutation cannot be beneficial.

"...All point mutations that have been studies on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it..." Dr. Lee Spetner, Johns Hopkins Univ., Not by Chance, p131-143.

Permalink to Comment

81. PandaFan on November 9, 2005 1:18 PM writes...

The above comment about point mutations is both bogus and illustrates the difference between ID and science.

First, what does it mean to create or destroy genetic information? For an IDer, this is an important concept, since ID posits that such information cannot be created. Point mutations can change information. For example, a mutation might destroy or alter the regulatory information for a gene -- thereby changing the expression pattern & yielding something new.

Second, a lot of evolutionary change is _not_ via point mutation -- the genetic record clearly shows that duplication events are critical.

But most importantly, ID says to not even both looking for such changes -- they don't exist. Contrast this with the emerging evo-devo field, where the actual mutability of developmental structures is being explored.

In an education context, the distinction between the two camps is clear. ID: We do not know how one species changed into another, because it can't happen. Any evidence to the contrary is to be ignored. End of discussion. Science: There is a lot of evidence supporting the idea that all extant life arose from a common ancestor via a pattern of intermediate species. We don't understand precisely how that happened -- but, here are the questions we have partial answers to & here are some questions we want to ask whose answers would advance our understanding.

Permalink to Comment

82. WBurke on November 9, 2005 1:32 PM writes...

What a can of worms Derek - ? - How did that can come into existence?

What would you call a person who said their car (i.e. Honda Prelude) came together without the influence of a designer or manufacturer of any components over millions of years and miraculously sits before you shining in all its glory, running perfectly with over 100,000 miles on it?

You would call them an idiot or even worse because to imagine that scenario one would have to check his intelligence at the door and step out of the realm of knowledge and into the realm of science fiction fantasy. It doesn't matter how much you try to conjure up ways to disprove the existence and authorship of God on the Creation of the world as we know it - you are ignoring science and making a laughing stock of scientists in the process.

You can lock yourselves up in your labs all day, meet with colleagues and converse about how ridiculous those ID or Creation Science people are but the truth remains and will always stand that you cannot confirm Macro-evolution, you cannot show one car, building, even the simplest tent or metal box that has developed by chance over the course of years, yet you would like us non-scientists to believe that the intricately designed and highly complex human or even an animal or insect was simply the product of many years of uninfluenced evolution and some cosmic soup?

Romans 1:18-32 speaks of this age Derek - yet you'll deny it, why? Why would you deny His Creative power and authority? Why would anyone look at the wonder of Creation and deny it was the act of a sovereign and all-powerful God? because you know that you will have to answer to that authority on the day of Judgment for your deeds and your pride and self-centered ego will not allow that to penetrate your hardened heart. You know when a skydiver challenges the Law of Gravity he seldom would consider jumping without a trusty parachute knowing that the end of such a jump would be certain death, but the fall would be quite a joyful time as he freefalls - what a rush!!!! Then SPLAT!!!! He pays the price for his error only at the end of the ride, such will be your fate and that of those who continue to deny God despite all the evidence He has provided us - a conscience to tell us right from wrong (many of you turn it off, but we are all born with it), the wonders of Creation bees and flowers, trees and the sun, the earth and the sun, all the inexplicable accuracy of the positioning of things without which this planet would not function. His laws are simple and we are all in violation of them - liars, thieves, adulterers (lust in God's eyes is adultery of the heart), blasphemers, idolators, covetous - deserving of death yet He sent His Son to die that we might have eternal life if only we repent of/from our sins and put our trust in Jesus Christ who conquered death when He rose from the dead. Much like a skydiver puts his trust in a parachute we must put our trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ - Heaven for those who do and Eternal Hell for those who do not. Your eternal soul lies in the balance and you want to deny the clearest of all confirmations of the existence of God by some convoluted "scientific" discourse - the folly of man is ever expansive to say the least.

The text of Romans 1:18-32 follows: (think about the power of the One who could have authored this work nearly 2 thousand years ago - do you really want to bet on some theory that's been experiencing an evidentiary meltdown?)

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Permalink to Comment

83. fool on November 9, 2005 1:39 PM writes...

Pandafan

"Science: There is a lot of evidence supporting the idea that all extant life arose from a common ancestor via a pattern of intermediate species. We don't understand precisely how that happened -- but, here are the questions we have partial answers to & here are some questions we want to ask whose answers would advance our understanding.
"

1. If there's so much evidence how come still "We don't understand precisely how that happened"?

2. "...here are the questions we have partial answers to.. " Again it's just interpreting data through one's own interpretive framework.

Nothing new. It goes back to my previously stated main philosophical argument.

Permalink to Comment

84. CJ Croy on November 9, 2005 1:49 PM writes...

Derek,

Point taken. I think my point has more in common with "When did you stop beating your wife?" than the original intent Godwin's Law.


Frank,

[i]"So the author's argument against Intelligent Design is that if he were god, he would have done it different?"[/i]

The author's argument is that he'd have done it better, not different. Whether I prefer pirates or ninjas is merely a difference. Whether I get scurvy or not is inferiority vs superiority. In this case, this is at least one way in which your common rat is objectively superior to humanity.

He also hinted at more than one of the many lines of evidence that all point to the theory of evolution. For example, just why DID God leave those strands of virus DNA around in the human genome? Evolution explains it(Just click his link in that comment). Or Derek's point about vile mutations that stay with us for generations. Evolution explains that(They have children before they die, so natural selection isn't doing much to remove those genes). The best creationism can do is wave its hand and say "The fall!"

[i]"(And you wonder why only 20% of Americans believe in evolution)"[/i]

The word you're looking for isn't believe, but accept. Those that refuse to accept evolution are simply in denial.


Fool,

Congratulations. You took a creationist quote mine and actually took it even more out of context than most creationists who violate SJG's memory. For that, I applaud you. Here's a quote for you, proving that the bible doesn't support The God Hypothesis: "There is no God." (Psalms 14:1) I presume you will immediately drop this whole God thing and become an atheist now that I have so completely shattered your worldview with a biblical quote taken out of context?

SJG was not discussing the secret darwinist-atheist-secularist-materialist conspiracy that so many evolution deniers allege. He was using a rhetorical flourish to try and persuade people to embrace his own modification of Darwinian theory, Punctuated Equilibrium. Evolution deniers have this funny habit of taking out of context his criticisms of some parts of evolutionary theory and proclaiming they're profound attacks on the foundations of evilutionism.

And you know what? He said they're RARE. Not non-existant. Even if we only had ONE good set of transitional fossils(And we don't. Off the top of my head, we have a very good set of fossils leading to the modern whale, horse, and man), we'd still be mountains more fossil evidence for evolution than for creationism which not not only doesn't have any, but is completely at odds with what the fossil record actually says.

Permalink to Comment

85. fool on November 9, 2005 2:06 PM writes...

CJ Croy

I believe I was replying to David. But at any rate, I thought you or others would bring this up ('And you know what? He said they're RARE. Not non-existant.")


The bird(Archaeopteryx), horse, whale, mollusks, ambulocetus, basilosaurus, ...etc. All these handful of examples used by evolutionists as transitional forms are built on highly disputable physical evidences mixed with creative interpretation within the evolutionary framework.

Permalink to Comment

86. David on November 9, 2005 2:41 PM writes...

Fool (77) : " S.J.Gould, an evolutionist himself, said "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology." ("Evolution's Erratic Pace", Natural History 86(5):14, 1977)
All they have are a handful of disputable ones."

Have you actually read even a small fraction of Steven J. Gould’s works? Er, one essay? Did you read the Natural History Essay? Does he really say in that essay that there is something about the fossil record that is inconsistent with evolutionary theory? Have you read any published, peer-reviewed papers on transitional fossils? How about review papers on transitional fossils?: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Miller.html

I had higher hopes for you, fool. Not that you would change careers from flasks and beakers to observing nature (yes, this is the activity upon which evolution theory is based!), but that you might actually begin to engage in the study of that which you and a lot of others on this discussion know very little about, but seem willing to criticize from the strong position of near-ignorance. Will you next be quoting from the Bible as the authoritative text on matters scientific (as in Wburke – 83)?

Message to God Here (55): Could you please hand out a little more capacity for research, verification of facts and critical reasoning?

Permalink to Comment

87. Katherine on November 9, 2005 2:47 PM writes...

I was thinking about posting my views on how evolution and worship are entirely compatible (after all, God gives us each freedom to grow and develop individually, without interfering unless we ask; why wouldn't he do the same for life in general? just start out the universe and watch things grow and develop?) but then I saw that WBurke just posted a comment. I believe that means the thread is over.

Permalink to Comment

88. fool on November 9, 2005 2:56 PM writes...

David

I never implied Gould did not believe in evolution despite the lack of these fossil records. I was just merely quoting his own admission of the lack of evidence for his belief.

The fact that my PhD is not in paleontology doesnot mean I can't discern arguments. I resort to trustworth and honest experts in this field for 2nd opinions and critique of the evolutionary point of view. I'll make an educated decision for myself.

I've tried to argue from a logical and philosophical standpoint and not to go into details of particular cases, because such discussion usually ends up in a deadend.

I'll reiterate--the same physical facts can be intepreted differently depending on one's framework and assumptions.

Permalink to Comment

89. David on November 9, 2005 3:18 PM writes...

CJCroy – “The word you're looking for isn't believe, but accept. Those that refuse to accept evolution are simply in denial.”

Thanks for the analysis of the fool(ish) out-of-context quote from SJG.

I wonder what good can come out of trying to rationally discuss something with those in the grip of “acceptance and denial”.

I’m not certain who said the following, but it captures the moment:

“Science is the search for truth; Religion is the acceptance of someone else’s truth.” – (unknown source)

I put it down to religious belief systems overcoming values for critical thinking and scientific accuracy. “My truth is so much better than your evidence-based truth, that I don’t need to bother evaluating your evidence or your conclusions – I’ll just find some arguments to deny your truth and work from there”.

I, perhaps simplistically, attribute most of this to poor science education. Here in this debate we see “scientists” arguing against (and denying) the value of science for looking at the truth of their own existence.

It speaks to why this battle in Dover and in schools across the country is so important. For those who say “what harm can some of airing ID in school science programs” I say - you’ve already bought into someone else’s truth.

Permalink to Comment

90. fool on November 9, 2005 3:35 PM writes...

David

You blatant assertion is absurd that creation has no "scientific" basis whatsoever and only ignorant people follow it. You're writing off countless real, everyday scientists including Nobel Prize winners. Your almost hatred towards creationists makes me doubt your ability to digest what we have to say with a clear mind.

BTW, "science" is like a holy word to you. I'm not sure..well better shut up now.

Permalink to Comment

91. David on November 9, 2005 5:09 PM writes...

Fool (91) “You(r) blatant assertion is absurd that creation has no "scientific" basis whatsoever and only ignorant people follow it. You're writing off countless real, everyday scientists including Nobel Prize winners. Your almost hatred towards creationists makes me doubt your ability to digest what we have to say with a clear mind”

Maybe your claim of countless refers to the list of scientists who’ve signed the DI’s list of about 400. You’ll have to do better. Firstly, these people did not claim that ID is science – they simply signed a statement that reads:

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged”.

So it’s really quite questionable as to how many of those (if any) view ID as science. It’s also quite weird that they would demand that the evidence for any field of science be examined carefully. Don’t we do that in science? Or is it that we don’t really do it so much in chemistry, physics, math, etc. (see below) so that we are suspicious that those evolutionary biologists aren’t doing it either.

As to the countless numbers, from that list, I can count on my hands the numbers of published evolutionary biologists who support ID as science (does zero or (questionably) one work for you?) In fact, I could pretty much count on my hands (might need to count a toe or two) the total number of real biologists (research and publish in biology rather than biochemistry) that view ID as science. Now for the other countless numbers of scientists – is it roughly 400 at this point? Mostly biochemists, mathematicians, psychologists, chemists and physicists? Would you mind letting me know who are the Nobel Prize winners who view ID as science? I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting “countless” out of this. (I won’t even go into Project Steve). If 99% of all evolutionary biologists (it’s their field for Pete’s sake – do they criticize your work in your field, based on minimally researched information, no workable hypotheses, and a series of negative criticisms?) and 90% of all other scientists… if they view ID as NOT SCIENCE, then I think it’s good support for my argument.

I didn’t say that only ignorant people follow ID. I agreed with CJCroy that ID followers seem to be in the grip of denial, and that they seem to suspend the very processes of science – gathering all relevant evidence, evaluating the evidence, forming testable hypotheses, formulating tests of those hypotheses, observing or experimenting according to those tests, critically evaluating the results. Guess what - ID does none of this either. There is only one hypothesis in ID – “God did it” and that is not a testable hypothesis. So yes, once again, I blatantly argue that ID is not science. If you want to go over all of the evidence as to why it is not science – go to the trial documents for the Dover Panda Trial: http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/

I don’t hate creationists or even almost hate them. But those who claim ID is science for the purpose supplanting their religious views in place of science education – those people, whether scientists or non-scientists have none of my respect. I doubt that all of the 400 signatories of that statement would actively try to replace science education their religious views, but you’re correct – I would write them off as people who are, for some reason, in denial of science, and who, quite frankly, aren’t good scientists. This is a small percentage of a large collection of scientists who keep their religion separate from their science, and who do not try to subvert the science or education of others.

Permalink to Comment

92. God Here on November 9, 2005 5:21 PM writes...

Message to God Here (55): Could you please hand out a little more capacity for research, verification of facts and critical reasoning?

Sorry David, now thats asking for too much. If I were to start designing all those qualities into everybody, I wouldnt have such a big fan club anymore.

Message to WBurke - We have recently designed a special suite in hell for vitamin peddlers such as yourself. It is even hotter!

Permalink to Comment

93. CJ Croy on November 9, 2005 5:28 PM writes...

David,

"“Science is the search for truth; Religion is the acceptance of someone else’s truth.” – (unknown source)"

I might disagree with the idea behind the quote(It's difficult to discern the true meaning of random quotations). Unless you're a specialist in an area, you probably do need to take on faith what specialiasts in an area say is truth if you want to keep your sanity and not spend your life repeating the work of others. I have no idea why my cat's litter clumps her urine. Supposedly it has to do with chemistry, but for all I know what it actually does is summon invisible Clumping Angels to put it all together into clumps for easy scoopage.

In my opinion, the major difference between science and religion is that science has very few things that NEED to be taken on pure faith(The universe operates by consistent rules and our senses don't lie to us). I don't NEED to take the clumping litter on faith. If I was sufficiently motivated, I could probably find the guy who invented it and ask him how it worked. I choose to take it on faith because I have no reason to believe They're lying to me about how it works. I could back-figure their work and experiments if I thought they were.

Religions usually NEED faith. Lots of faith. You can't check Paul's math. You can't double-check John's Methods section to see if he forgot to account for an important variable. You just have to take on faith that they're leading you to paradise track and that some obscure African tribe isn't the only group of people with the Truth.


Fool,

"You're writing off countless real, everyday scientists including Nobel Prize winners"

I just want to zero in on this because it's pertinent to my point with David.

You can take on faith only what experts in a particular area say. The history of science is littered with people who were very competent in one area, but prone to shooting their mouth off about things that were totally outside their area of expertise. It's when they shot their mouth off that people smacked them down.

Sometimes experts are even wrong about things in their own area. Fortunately, science doesn't have prophets but experts. Just because Linus Pauling won two unshared nobel prizes doesn't mean other chemists were unwilling to say "Linus, you are so full of it when it comes to Vitamin C". Being regarded an expert typically just means more scientists will give your ideas a closer look if it seems wrong at first glance.

There's no doubt in my mind that William Dembski and many of the others in the DI are very intelligent people. The only doubt in my mind is whether they really, truely believe what they say and write or not. I'm not sure what possibility is more frightening.

Permalink to Comment

94. daen on November 9, 2005 5:40 PM writes...

Katherine, Godwin's Law has been invoked and WBurke has posted a diatribe. Yes indeed, it's all over folks : please move along, there's nothing left to see. Rationality has left the building.

Permalink to Comment

95. daen on November 9, 2005 6:09 PM writes...

WBurke, take a big breath and imagine what it would be like to be a Buddhist or Muslim or Hindu or even an atheist scientist. That you either don't have the support of your faith, or your faith is vested in a different panoply of deities, or maybe still one God, or maybe no God at all. Just try. What does it feel like? Doing this exercise myself, I can imagine it must be wonderful to be sure that you have all the answers and that you know with absolute certainty how things are going to pan out, that you know everything that is wrong with the world and how to fix it. It must be wonderful to know that Someone has our best interests at heart and grieves for us because of the wrong turns we have taken. It must be heartwrenching to know that that Someone sent their only son to try to talk sense into us, and we were so bloody minded as to give him no respect and, finally, nail him to a tree. I can imagine it, but I cannot believe it and I cannot trust in it, because I have, as yet, been presented with no evidence for this touching myth beyond ancient writings. It doesn't square with the factual history of the world, or the way thing really work today. Show me the hard evidence (which should *not* be the Bible and which, crucially, is incontrovertible in my judgement) for a God and you'll have a new convert. I'll keep an open mind, but it'll have to be pretty convincing.

Permalink to Comment

96. fool on November 9, 2005 6:24 PM writes...

CJ Croy

"You can take on faith only what experts in a particular area say..."

I was aware of this. There're many facets to this whole creation/evolution issue, and all have to be factored in.

David

You still don't get my point do you. Here's a simple analogy. Knowing how a car works doesn't say anything about where and how the car is made.

Now I really have to go back to work.

Permalink to Comment

97. Phil Maguire on November 9, 2005 7:32 PM writes...

Hey Derek,

Give us a new argument, not the same one people who think like you have been using forever, however long ago that may be. The fact that people get ill, that there are diseases in this world etc etc doesn't mean the designer was not intelligent. Steve Jobs is intelligent but the hard drive on my Mac still managed to crash a few months back. This argument is about design, purposeful design. Your assessment of the designer's intelligence doesn't really enter the debate.

Permalink to Comment

98. CC on November 9, 2005 8:01 PM writes...

I stumbled upon this thread today while trying to find out more about the Dover election. Specifically, I was trying to find out what Intelligent Design, as a scientific pursuit, meant.

I'm a layman - I'm not a biologist. Based on what I've read here, there are many folks on both sides of this issue with scientific backgrounds. I hope that you'll bear with me, and maybe give me your thoughts on my question.

How does Intelligent Design work as a scientific theory?

Perhaps I am over simplifying it, but consider these two Wikipedia entries on Evolution and Intelligent Design:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution
"Darwin and Wallace proposed that evolution occurs because a heritable trait that increases an individual's chance of successfully reproducing will become more common, by inheritance, from one generation to the next, and likewise a heritable trait that decreases an individual's chance of reproducing will become rarer."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design
"William Dembski, one of Intelligent Design's leading proponents, has stated that the fundamental claim of Intelligent Design is that 'there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence.'"

I can understand how Evolution, as a theory, works (I think). When you are faced with a question you can apply the theory of traits and survival and arrive at an answer. It might lead you to another question, or it might lead you to go looking for a particular piece of data. An example of this might be found in the discovery of the "Giant Madagascar Moth" after observation of long, slender flowers.

How would Intelligent Design be applied as a theory? After the fact, and Intelligent Design observer of the flower and the moth could state that the pair constituted an 'irreducible system'. But, if the Intelligent Design observer only witnessed the flower, what would lead them to the search for the moth?

How is our understanding of 'things' advanced by Intelligent Design? As a layman, it appears to be kind of 'flat'. That is, every question that you encounter could simply be answered by declaring the mechanisms involved to be an 'irreducible system'. What about Intelligent Design leads or inspires you to further discovery?

I'm not proposing that it *doesn't* lead you to further discovery, I'm admitting that I do not understand the mechanism for how it would do so.

Thanks very much!
CC

Permalink to Comment

99. David on November 9, 2005 8:24 PM writes...

CJCroy
Nice analysis of the articles of science faith.

I agree about Dembski and colleagues – frightening or damn frightening. Now if we could just convince them that Vitamin C is a better cause than ID… But then, there’s probably little power to be gained from Vitamin C pushing and even Linus couldn't even succeed at this… I’m inclined to vote for “damn frightening”.

Fool (97) “’You can take on faith only what experts in a particular area say...’ I was aware of this. There're many facets to this whole creation/evolution issue, and all have to be factored in.”

Please, Please list the main factors about creation/evolution that compel scientists to ignore evolutionary biologists’ expertise in their own field. Please then explain why each of these factors takes precedence. Please keep your points to science. Please keep in mind that virtually all evolutionary biologists agree to the fundamental accuracy of basic ideas in evolutionary theory, (although they might argue about finer points of mechanism) and that they have catalogued a huge body of evidence from all kinds of sub-fields of biology and related fields (paleontology, geology, etc) that has been used as the measure to test evolution hypotheses. So, the list?

“David, You still don't get my point do you. Here's a simple analogy. Knowing how a car works doesn't say anything about where and how the car is made.”

OK, I’ll go over this one, but now you really owe us the list and explanation above.

The answer is simple – a person or people and/or machines made the car, right? OK, within the scope of scientific investigation, with some time and effort, I would probably be able to tell you a lot about the person/people/machine(s) that made the car – in part from looking at the car, but there would be lots of other evidence I could draw in, including looking up the place where it was built from the serial number. Over time and with some good scientific work, I could likely tell you when and how the car was built. Heck, I could even make a fairly good conjecture about the appearance of the car that was previously made on the same production line, but was supplanted by the model you provided (this is because I know that models change from year to year and the production line is just tweaked to provide the correct specifications).

Now, let’s just move this to the world of living organisms. Guess what – every species alive today (all 5-30 milion or so of them) was derived from “last year’s model” - a previous species (and similar) species. That’s what expert evolutionary biologists say, and they say this because everything they’ve studied so far agrees with this idea. The mechanism by which this happens is very well known (that’s the work that Darwin started off and biologists (not countless biologists, but a very large number) have since corroborated). Now, I can investigate one of those organisms, and using hypothesis-testing based investigation, I can learn a lot about its ancestry. I can examine a whole group of organisms, make hypotheses about such things as their relatedness, and test this with DNA sequencing (among other tools). If anything that I find is not consistent with the over-arching theories, I can make new hypotheses and test these through a scientific process. If I overturned any of the major theories of evolution, I would become absolutely famous – but I could only do this through real science – not through bogus science with no testable hypotheses, and only false, distorted or mis-represented negative attacks as the basis for claiming to have overturned an evolutionary theory.

But when ID people tell us that an organism (organ, organelle, biochemical pathway, take your pick) is “intelligently designed” (created by the supernatural) then you’ve taken that organism (organ, etc) out of the realm of scientific investigation – you’ve made a mockery of science. You’ve said we’ll never know, because of course, we can’t know the mind of god – so don’t bother going any further.

The design analogy doesn't work, because supernatural design is not science - it's a relgious, untestable proposal.

No, for that list…

Permalink to Comment

100. Anonymous on November 9, 2005 9:42 PM writes...

CC (99), you are exactly right. That's one of the main problems with ID as I understand it.

Phil Maguire (98): I take your point that purpose doesn't imply perfection. But these are cases where the design seems so imperfect as to call into question any purpose behind them.

As one of the earlier comments mentioned, the gene for synthesizing Vitamin C is present in humans, but in a mutated form where it can't work. The difference between it and the functional gene found in most other mammals is a small one, and it's easy to see how it could have happened randomly. Purposeful design, though, might better show itself as a complete deletion of this now-useless stretch of DNA.

I know, I know - God could have reached in there and tweaked just that part to inactivate that pathway, and left the rest sitting there as apparent clutter. But if this is design, how can we ever tell the difference between it and accident?

Permalink to Comment

101. fool on November 10, 2005 12:08 AM writes...

David

"Would you mind letting me know who are the Nobel Prize winners who view ID as science?"

CHARLES H. TOWNES, Physics Nobel Prize in 1964 for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle. I had the chance to listen to the man in person, a christian, talk on this subject of science and religion.

Lots of founding fathers of modern sciences were christians or at least had faith in the existence of God, including Einstein. There're more real scientists than you'd like to believe in every field that have faith in God and his marvelous creation. A single one scientist deosn't mean anything; taken as a whole, it sure makes a HUMBLE person think. But this is hardly definitive proof for creation, because you could have two persons equally knowledgable and intellegent examine the same observations and yet arrive at opposite conclusions, which brings up the point I've been trying to get across and you still don't get---the observations being examined are the same, what's the deciding factor is one's interpretive framework.

I've been trying to point out the fallacy in the philosophical foundation of your (and others) thinking so that there'll be no need (and I also don't have the time) to discuss specific cases (there're many books on those). That fallacy in your reasoning is that you exclude God a priory and already draw your conclusion before the critical examination of all possible models to fit those observations even begins. Hence your refusal to consider even the possibility that creationism models might also be consistant with everything we know.

Permalink to Comment

102. fool on November 10, 2005 12:21 AM writes...

BTW, evolutionists...(actually materialists is a more accurate term) haven't earned the right to get rid of God yet , not untill they figure out how the first particle/substance/energy burst into existance out of nothing.

To lighten things up a bit, here's a joke.

A bunch of scientists had finally figured out how to create life out of dirt, and to rid this world of God they demanded Him to have a life-creating contest with them. God complimented them for their marvelous achiement and then said "A contest? Sure, but you go and get your own dirt."

Permalink to Comment

103. Duds on November 10, 2005 12:29 AM writes...

It looks like Fool is getting ganged up on here a bit.

I do not think Fool was using SJG (91) out of context in any way! In fact I think you guys (David-92- and CJCroy-85-) were taking Fool out of context. Fool's point was not that SJG didn't believe in evolution. Just the opposite however, that even an ardent proponent of evolution admits the fossil record is a bit lacking for transitional forms which is one of the things you need to put the common decent jigsaw puzzle together! I think Fool used the quote perfectly. It is the brilliant scientists who have missed Fools point completely.

In truth, SJG said that there was nothing wrong with the fossil record at all! It is exactly the way it should be. He (and Eldrege)actually came up with the punctuated equilibria theory to explain why we have very few (arguably no) fossils of transitional species (theories are developed after all to explain a set of observations). At the time this theory was published there were many (in the field of evolutionary biology!) that thought it was bunk (some still strongly question it and its applicability and scope) and even those who did agree with SJG and Eldrege sharply criticized them for taking claim to a theory that Darwin himself first advanced 100 years earlier.

Do proponents of ID really try and lay claim that ID theory replaces evolution and should be taught instead of evolution? Now, there's your strawman. As you all know, I am confident, the Dover case was not about teaching ID at all. It was about mentioning it. The written statement clearly states that evolution is what will be taught. I think proponents of ID are saying three things:

1. That random mutation may not be the mechanism of evolution. Talk about an untestable hypothesis. Prove it's random! I agree that invoking "random" is to throw up your hands and cry uncle. "Random" is a science in and of itself. Bring on the mathmaticians and statisticians. You are in essence saying I have no explanation at the moment so for now we will call the phenomenon random. But you guys are really smart so if you say its random then far beit for any of us to question you. It is known that single point mutations (in a colony of bacteria for instance) can follow a recognizable statistical pattern (does this make them random?). Give me your probability calculations and I will give you mine. We will argue forever just trying to agree on the most modest set of assumptions, etc.

2. That common decent is not a law but it is still just a theory. Is there evidence for it? Sure there is and I am sure you could quote a great deal of it for us. Are there major holes in the theory? You bet there are (as will be the case in all broad umbrella theories such as this). So call us bad scientists out of our area of expertise, incapable of logical thought with our heads buried in the sand but at the end of the day there are still major holes in the idea that all living things evolved from a set of unicellular organisms (even given 5 billion years and PE). Talk about faith. I'm gonna need more than the arguments I've heard here (or elsewhere) to believe it and not because of my religious views and not because I am a serious scientist (even if I am not a good one as you insist) but because as a logical thinking homo sapien I cannot agree with you that it is essentially law because your interpretation says it is. Fool is right about the interpretive framework we bring to the table. Do you believe what you believe about common decent because you objectively looked over the data and observations and concluded without bias what you did. Or did peer pressure play any role or your own bias or lack of objectivity? Gimme a break. You lack objectivity as much as anyone else-you have not cornered the market on it in any way and your agenda is just as transparent as Fools and mine.

3. Science has almost nothing to say about how we went from inorganic materials to life (abiogenesis). Can abiogenesis be tested? Sure it can and yes you can make nucleic acids and proteins and lipids from CN ion, lightning, water and heat but that is just simple chemistry (Fools area of expertise so by your thinking let us defer to him now). Bring it alive my friend and then you will have something. Manufacture life from that which is not alive and then you have a right to the arrogant position that evolutionary/origins science takes today. These challenges almost always end with an argument over the definition of "life" and again we will argue forever about unimportant details avoiding completely the main point which is that almighty science really has very little to offer on this question. I am not arguing that we should end the testing now either. On the contrary, lets step up the efforts and do more and more experiments-I do agree with many of you it is the Truth that should be in pursuit of it just so happens that at the moment we don't have any idea scientifically what the truth is in regards to this matter.

So ok ID is not science (so lets not teach it in public schools as such) but the issues raised by it are. So we won't teach ID but we can teach that while certain aspects of evolution are almost incontrovertable (bacteria that develop resistance over time, etc) there are parts of the theory under the umbrella that are far from being completely understood (mechanism and common decent). And we can sure teach the theory of abiogenesis but that had better not be taught as anything even closing in on an airtight theory. We have no freakin idea-it is basically faith-based science all over again.

As far as your religion arguments go David (from 92) and Daen (from 96) and CJ (from 94) one thing we completely disagree on is faith. Scientists (even real ones like some of you) use faith every day in their science(as CJ points out in 94). And blind faith, I argue it does not exist. Faith does not come out of a vacuum. Unquestioning belief in an object (even a god)without evidence or proof just does not exist. The evidence may be bad and the faith may be in the end unwarranted but it does not come from nowhere. There is one thing I think we can agree on though. Either the resurrection happened or it did not. There is no other option. If it did not happen I am the real fool. If it did happen you are the real fools. Hopefully we can agree on this as well that if it did happen, it makes no sense at all to keep it a secret. Given a real God who did this it is common sense that He would make it plain to man. Did He make it plain and clear to you?

Permalink to Comment

104. David on November 10, 2005 1:31 AM writes...

Fool,

I’m not seeing your list of rationales for scientists (outside of biology) ignoring, badmouthing and otherwise denigrating the expertise of evolutionary biologists.

But I am amazed by your humility. By the way, Did Dr. Townes specifically say that ID is science?

I usually don’t talk about god with other scientists, and certainly did not with the one Nobel Prize winner I had breakfast with (who interestingly had two Nobel Prizes).

I don’t know why, but I suspect that many of the scientists I have met and worked with – the ones I rarely, if ever, discuss God with – actually do hold a belief in the existence of God, but for some reason they just didn’t seem to need to convince me about their God and his capacity for creating the natural world. I just kind of assumed that they shared my own view – that you can’t know God through science, that the methods and thinking of religion are not the same ones you use for doing science, and that it’s really a personal matter that doesn’t make them or me any better or worse no matter what view we hold.

“But this is hardly definitive proof for creation, because you could have two persons equally knowledgable and intellegent examine the same observations and yet arrive at opposite conclusions, which brings up the point I've been trying to get across and you still don't get---the observations being examined are the same, what's the deciding factor is one's interpretive framework.”

Why would one need to prove creation? You either believe it or you don’t – it’s not provable (not with science, at least). I’m pretty certain that many people (scientists and non-scientists) find a place for God (and creation) in their world views, and have no trouble accepting the science of evolutionary biology. (No doubt more difficult for a Bible literalist, and here’s where a bunch of trouble brews up, doesn’t it – I happen to be a fan of myth, parable and metaphor as keys to Bible interpretation myself).

As CJCroy suggested, I choose to have faith that the universe operates by consistent rules, and that my senses don’t lie to me. I also have faith that accurate scientific observations can be universal enough that, they don’t really have “multiple interpretations”.

Yes, we don’t see eye to eye and it’s not because we’re examining the same observations and coming to different conclusions, it’s because I’m placing faith in the observations of science, and you are rejecting them.

Permalink to Comment

105. PandaFan on November 10, 2005 1:35 AM writes...

To the first approximation, mutations are random. Or to put it better, they are indistiguishable from random. By Occam's Razor, we don't ascribe a cause to things which don't need one. This is one of the dirty little secrets of ID -- it follows a completely different philosophical framework than mainstream science. Michael Behe apparently admitted this on cross in the Dover trial -- his definition of science would also encompass astrology.

Second, we can observe mutations in the lab. We can, through the modern magic of DNA sequencing, view all the mutations. We can look for patterns. And yes, they aren't quite random -- but there are simple chemical explanations for this (e.g. methyl-cytosine deaminates to thymidine).

Third, we can make predictions about what the data should look like given random mutation, such as the neutral theory. We can observe laboratory populations & see that the patterns fit the model. And we can see the same patterns in data from different species, implying the same process.

This is what science does. It extrapolates from what we can observe & test directly to more indirect tests of data. Only in biology (and for old earth creationists, geology & cosmology) do people object to this. We don't know the details of how some of physics fundamental forces work -- but nobody objects to teaching physics. We don't understand every last detail of how chemical reactions work, but nobody objects to teaching chemistry. Why isn't the ID crowd objecting to textbook statements about the chemistry of stars (nobody has actually visited a star!)? Or the structure of the interior of the earth (all those diagrams -- extrapolation!). Or subatomic particles (I've never seen one of those!). Or radioactive decay (nobody can explain when a particular atom will go -- evidence for an intelligent decayer! Random? No, you just haven't found the pattern yet!). Apply the ID thought process to any field of science and that field will be stripped bare.

Permalink to Comment

106. fool on November 10, 2005 10:19 AM writes...

David

Unfortunately you still don't understand my point (106). You keep saying "science, science, science". What does "science" mean? It's coming up with theories and models to explain the observations. Why do you think I have trouble with the observations themselves rather than the narrow minded intellectually arrogant way of interpretation of some evolutionists.

The more knowledge one acquires about this physical world, the more one can't help but wonder if all this marvelousness came from design. Any fair-minded scientist would admit at least this possibility. To say otherwise, either this person doesn't fully appreciate what it takes for this world to operate, or he doesn't WANT TO allow the existence of God, which seems to be the case with you David.

Richard Lewontin, a geneticist renowned champion of neo-Darwinism wrote this revealing comment:

"We take the side of science (wrong use of the word in my opinion) IN SPITE of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, IN SPITE of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, IN SPITE of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and instructions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explaination of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explainations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." ---from "Billions and Billions of Demons," The New York Review, Jan 9, 1997, page 31.

He was at least honest to himself.

Permalink to Comment

107. fool on November 10, 2005 11:00 AM writes...

pandafan

Your post illustrates the common confusion of "operational science" with "origin science". Using my previous car analogy, knowing how all the parts work together doesn't say anything about
where and how the parts and the abstract physical laws that govern how they work came from.

Permalink to Comment

108. CC on November 10, 2005 1:45 PM writes...

fool,

Regarding 109 - Is this the difference, then, between ID and non-ID (for lack of a better term):

An non-ID proponent takes the list of "we don't knows" and attributes them to "unexplained".

A ID proponent takes the list of "we don't knows" and attributes them to God.

Is that the crux of it?
CC

P.S. - that dirt joke was awesome!

Permalink to Comment

109. David on November 10, 2005 2:13 PM writes...

Message to God Here (93):

After fool’s last entry (108) in which he votes to re-define science to accommodate his religious views, I have to admit it: You Win.

But here’s a question from a narrow minded intellectually arrogant evolutionary biologist (not me, I’m just passing this along): Did you design this capacity for denial into the nature or nurture part of the developmental equation? And if nature, how do you distribute it?

Permalink to Comment

110. tool on November 10, 2005 2:29 PM writes...

CC

More or less. The crux of it is one's interpretive framework derived from one's world view--either exclusively materialistic/naturalistic or willing to consider a creator.

As a model, ID/creationism is no more inconsistent with the physical observations than evolution. Of course personally I'd submit that it fits better than evolution. I recommend you to check out Kurt Wise's books (he's a leading figure in creationism with a PhD in paleontology from Harvard)and the website http://www.answersingenesis.org for credible materials on creationism.

Permalink to Comment

111. fool on November 10, 2005 2:44 PM writes...

David

"After fool’s last entry (108) in which he votes to re-define science to accommodate his religious views, I have to admit it: You Win."

Physical observations are absolute. The philosophical framework/belief one uses to examine them is not. You're begining to get my point :) except that I was not redefining "science" but merely bringing to light the inevitable bias we ALL have. If you really understood what Richard Lewontin meant (post 108), you'd have gotten my point.


Permalink to Comment

112. David on November 10, 2005 2:54 PM writes...

CC and Tool:
An non-ID proponent takes the list of "we don't knows" and attributes them to "unexplained".
A ID proponent takes the list of "we don't knows" and attributes them to God.

Change to:
A scientist acknowledges that the list of “we don’t knows” is a long one and attributes them to the “not yet explained” and often “not yet investigated” category. The scientist never assumes that the explanations will come easy, but that it is worth asking the questions and trying to find the explanations,

An ID proponent – Well you got that right. Thus, not science.

Message to God Here:

I know, I know. We’ve been here before and it’s fruitless.

Permalink to Comment

113. David on November 10, 2005 3:06 PM writes...

Further Message to God Here:

You’ve made your case well by designing in the capacity for these guys to invent the term “non-ID proponent”.

Permalink to Comment

114. Derek Lowe on November 10, 2005 3:16 PM writes...

Hi Fool -

If you "more or less" (112) agree with CC's definition in (110), that is: a non-ID proponent takes the list of "we don't knows" and attributes them to "unexplained", an ID proponent takes the list of "we don't knows" and attributes them to God, then I have another question. (I think it's what David is getting at in (114), too.)

Under what conditions, then, would an ID proponent find it appropriate to move something out of the "don't know" column - that is, from the "attributed to God" category over to the "non-divine-intervention" category?

As science has marched along, the "don't know" category has come to be enriched in especially hard and fundamental problems, as the easier stuff gets worked out. And I can see how people find it appropriate to fit creationist-type explanations to those - after all, they're Big Questions.

But the "don't know" category used to include many things that were thought to be the direct works of God which now are seen to work though "materialist" mechanisms. We can argue forever about First Causes and so on for those, but I'm talking about things like having no explanation for lightning other than "direct blasts from God". So many things have moved over from the "God does it" side of the ledger to the "Well, if God does it, he seems to do it through these physical/chemical processes which seem to obey these general laws" side.

Is this how you see things as well, or am I missing your point entirely? If this does more or less fit your worldview, can you foresee this process continuing? Is it even appropriate to try?

Permalink to Comment

115. CC on November 10, 2005 3:41 PM writes...

David - you wrote [115]:
"Further Message to God Here:

You've made your case well by designing in the capacity for these guys to invent the term 'non-ID proponent'. "

FWIW, I'm not advocating ID, I'm only trying to understand it. In fact, I'm still not sure why it's considered 'science'. It seems that there are people who are 'scientists' who feel that it is. I'm trying to see that side of it.

I think I inadvertently tweaked you with "non-ID proponent". Not intentional - it seemed from reading the posts prior that the word "scientist" and even "science" itself was getting caught up in the fray.

It seems to me that 'fool' is saying that he uses the scientific method (theory, test, new theory) - so he's not just throwing up his hands and saying "God did it".

And, it seems to me after reading 'fool', that ID'ers and non-ID'ers might BOTH use the scientific method. The difference is what they call the stuff that they don't understand.

That was a revelation to me - before I read this thread, I'd assumed that a follower of ID would be anti-science. I'd assumed that ID was simply a packaging for getting a religious viewpoint snuck into school curriculum. And, maybe in the general case it is, and 'fool' is the exception.

But, fool IS an exception to what I thought would be true about ID'ers. And that's intriguing to me.

If, by labeling as "God's Design" things that he doesn't understand somehow gives him the inspiration to pursue an understanding of it - to move more stuff from the "don't understand" to "understand" column... then what in the heck is the harm?

If ID says "thou shalt not try to answer questions" then I have a BIG problem with it. And, that's what I thought it meant.

If it's just what 'religious scientists' put on the column of the 'don't know' column, then I don't think I have a problem with it.

And, who cares what I thing anyway!! I'm a layman! But, to my credit, I will claim to be a pretty decent bass player.

CC

Permalink to Comment

116. fool on November 10, 2005 3:49 PM writes...

I was afraid my "more or less" comment would ignite a firestorm :) Of course that was an oversimplified response.

Derek
Are you still hanging around here :)? What "don't know" would I attribute to God? If you had gotten my philosophical point, you'd be able to answer that one for me. Here's a couple of examples: the existence of the first inorganic matter and it's conversion to life. And no, I was not refering to the various "unworked out" evolutionary mechanisms, because in the creation framework by design is the answer.

David

"A scientist acknowledges that the list of “we don’t knows” is a long one and attributes them to the “not yet explained” and often “not yet investigated” category. The scientist never assumes that the explanations will come easy, but that it is worth asking the questions and trying to find the explanations,"

Here we go again--the absolute exclusion of God a priori.

Permalink to Comment

117. fool on November 10, 2005 3:55 PM writes...

CC

"If, by labeling as "God's Design" things that he doesn't understand somehow gives him the inspiration to pursue an understanding of it - to move more stuff from the "don't understand" to "understand" column... then what in the heck is the harm?"

Ever wondered what drove a lof of the founding fathers of the now modern sciences :) Newton (physics), Boyle, Dalton (Chem), Ray, Linnaeus (Biology), Steno (Geology), Copernicus, Kepler (Astronomy), Pascal, Letbnitz (mathematics)...

Permalink to Comment

118. Ted on November 10, 2005 4:10 PM writes...

Semi-religious (Catholic) scientist (neuroscientist) chiming in here...

The thing I cannot understand about ID, and franky find offensive, is that it attempts to bring matters of faith into science. Theology and science are 2 completely different animals. Science is concerned with matters of observation, prediction and experimentation which sometimes leads to fact (as in a law of nature) but more frequently leads to a theory (or current best understanding -- but not quite, or maybe not even nearly, fact). Theology is concerned with faith, which has nothing to do with any of the previously stated qualities of science unless you want to start looking into historical theology.

What gets me about ID is that intruducing this designer (which is always God, let's face it) brings faith into the realm of science and it does not belong there. Sure scientists take matters of science on "faith" all the time, but this is a questioning type of "taking it on faith". As was so nicely stated by David (I think -- this thread is really long!!) we are perfectly capable of working out these problems for ourselves and seeing if that faith is well placed. Religious, or theological faith is not to be questioned. Sure, many religious people question their faith, but they are doing so in a completely different manner. They are looking inside themselves for percieved weakness (or something of the sort) for why they are faltering in their belief in God. They are most certainly not looking for evidence that God exists because anyone with faith in God should know there is no physical evidence nor is any needed.

By trying to infuse the Designer (God) into science IDers, in my opinion, denigrate matters of religious faith because it neccessarily means looking for proof of the hand of the designer. If one claims that this is not their purpose, and they are merely trying to disprove Darwin, then stick to trying to disprove Darwin but please try to remember that one needs not invoke God to do so.

One more thing, all of the ID proponents I have seen listing items that are contrary to evolution here have only made mention of negative evidence. I am sorry, but absence of evidence is not, and never will be, evidence of absence.

Permalink to Comment

119. Ted on November 10, 2005 4:25 PM writes...

Fool,

Many of those scientists you listed were very religious people (mostly Catholics) who were clearly inspired by their belief in God and their drive to understand what they believed was his creation. Thing is that had no bearing on their work aside from the fact that their religion gave them strength and inspiration. Newton is perhaps the finest example of this. His early work, the calculus and his mechanical laws were shear genious and included no mention of God. His later work, most of which has been supressed, was a load of mystical junk trying to mathematically prove the existence of God, along with some alchemy, which threatened to turn him into a quack for all time in the eyes of the world. If you are interested in a deeper investigation into this watch NOVA next week on PBS, it will be the hour long topic.

I think you are benevolently confusing the faith of these scientists with their work. Inspiration and strength can come from all sorts of places and for many the strongest influence on that is God. That does not, however, mean that they were looking for the hand of God in their work or that they were concerned at all with their findings breaking their faith. As I said before, science and faith are completely different things, and I think they can coexist very nicely in the brain of any scientist, student of science or interested layperson. Science class, however, is not the place to try to mix them!

Permalink to Comment

120. David on November 10, 2005 5:30 PM writes...

Congratulations Derek (116). You finally got an answer from fool (118) to your key question about where science kicks out and “design” kicks in (and kudos, Derek, for hanging in there for the full seven repetitions of the same question).

If I may, as a sounding board, interpret fool’s answer as to what things belong in the “we don’t know, God did it” column – a) abiogenesis and b) anything that evolutionary science hasn’t yet worked out.

I guess it’s now time for all of those arrogant evolutionary biologists to stop doing their science thing and stop working on any more of those unsolvable questions.

Or maybe fool will now answer the second part of your question about the “non-divine intervention” column of the ledger – the one that is ok for evolutionary biologists to work on. Maybe he’s got a set of criteria for inclusion in that column? Better be careful though, fool, because this puts YOU in the position of God.

Fool (118) “Here we go again--the absolute exclusion of God a priori.”

Science can’t address the question of God’s existence. Science can’t address the question of God’s existence. (sorry, I said that) It doesn't exclude or accept any god, yours or anyone else's. It's a question for philosophy or religion. When you re-define science to address the question of God’s existence then you make it NOT SCIENCE. Would you have science be adjusted to acknowledge a particular version of the Christian God? What about the gods of earth's other 4 billion people? If you really think that you, Dembski and other IDers can legitimately re-define science, then don’t speak to us about arrogance.

Like Ted (120 – thanks for the great contribution), I just have no idea why you can’t see God’s existence and role in world as an issue of religion separate from science. But then, I’m not particularly good at ledger books, anyway.

Permalink to Comment

121. fool on November 10, 2005 5:41 PM writes...

Ted

"Thing is that had no bearing on their work aside from the fact that their religion gave them strength and inspiration."

"Inspiration" was my point to CC and nothing more was implied. And I WAS aware of Newton's later theology work.


"Science is concerned with matters of observation, prediction and experimentation which sometimes leads to fact (as in a law of nature) but more frequently leads to a theory (or current best understanding -- but not quite, or maybe not even nearly, fact). "

Why is ID theology? ID doesn't teach about God (spirituality); it deals with how "design" is manifested in this physical world. Your above mentioned principles are my definition of science too and ARE applied to creation studies. I have recommended a couple of references earlier if you want to check it out for yourself.

Permalink to Comment

122. fool on November 10, 2005 5:48 PM writes...

"By trying to infuse the Designer (God) into science IDers, in my opinion, denigrate matters of religious faith because it neccessarily means looking for proof of the hand of the designer."

Yeah, it is "Intellegent Design" we're talking about, isn't it.


"One more thing, all of the ID proponents I have seen listing items that are contrary to evolution here have only made mention of negative evidence. I am sorry, but absence of evidence is not, and never will be, evidence of absence. "

Well, I don't want to beat a dead horse. But you probably didn't have the time to read through this long thread---the physical observations are the same, it's the all important interpretive framework! Need evident for ID? Open any physics, biology, chemistry books. There's tons of study done and supporting evidence directly related to the biblical account of creation too, if you'd check out the references I gave out earlier. Maybe you'll turn from "semi-religious" to "religious" someday :)

Permalink to Comment

123. fool on November 10, 2005 6:00 PM writes...

David

"I guess it’s now time for all of those arrogant evolutionary biologists to stop doing their science thing and stop working on any more of those unsolvable questions."

I guess you still don't get my point. I use my ID interpretive framework to look at the same physical observations that you do with your materialistic God-absolutely-out framework. And we arrive at different conclusions. That's all handy dandy but stop asserting that rational thinking and logical reasoning belong exclusively to the evolution crowd. Please read Richard Lewontin's comment again and try to think about what he meant.

Permalink to Comment

124. fool on November 10, 2005 6:02 PM writes...

In case anyone is interested, here's a re-post:

Richard Lewontin, a geneticist renowned champion of neo-Darwinism wrote this revealing comment:

"We take the side of science (wrong use of the word in my opinion) IN SPITE of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, IN SPITE of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, IN SPITE of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and instructions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explaination of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explainations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." ---from "Billions and Billions of Demons," The New York Review, Jan 9, 1997, page 31.

Permalink to Comment

125. Ted on November 10, 2005 6:08 PM writes...

Fool,

I'm going to harp on you again, please don't take it personally as I don't mean it that way in the least, I'm mearly trying to make a point.

Take this exchange:
David

"A scientist acknowledges that the list of “we don’t knows” is a long one and attributes them to the “not yet explained” and often “not yet investigated” category. The scientist never assumes that the explanations will come easy, but that it is worth asking the questions and trying to find the explanations,"

Fool

Here we go again--the absolute exclusion of God a priori.

What David said does not exclude God in the least bit. David's explanation mearly demonstrates how science works. Science is about reason and logic. Religion defies logic and reason. The majority of people on this earth have blind faith in a higher power for which there is no proof whatsoever! This is the beauty of faith. The amazing thing is that us humans are capable of maintaining this faith, which is beyond logic and reason, yet we are still capable of yearning to explain nature that surrounds us with reason and logic. Throwing up ones hands and waving them wildly while exclaiming that God did it when faced with a difficult problem is pure absurdity, in my opinion (and I think if there is a God, such action would be most displeasing to him or her).

On the other hand, facing down hard problems requires strength, courage, perseverance and faith in one's self. Many of the greatest minds that came before us and have laid the ground work for this age of magnificent discovery found that strength, courage, perseverance and faith in themselves through their faith in God. This is, and has always been the beauty of religion. For many of us, I think probably in the majority of scientists working today even, this faith gives us strength when we are in our darkest times and faced with the most difficult problems. It is empowering and uplifting. For many it is an integral part of the process, but it is not the answer to the scientific problem. To throw up one's hands and say, God did it, without even trying to look for the logic and reason behind the natural world, is, in my opinion, to spit in the face of why faith is such an important part of those of our lives it touches.

I will toil for the rest of my life trying to understand how the wonder that is the human brain works. And guess what, my faith will be an important part of it. Not, however, because I will look to the hand of God to explain it, but because when i think i am beat, when I cannot think straight anymore I will turn to my faith. Why, because it brings me happiness, it reminds me what a priviledge it is to be alive and it will reinvigorate me. Then, I will toss that moment of illogical thought aside and continue with my task of explaining how the brain works using logic and reason.

Permalink to Comment

126. Ted on November 10, 2005 6:27 PM writes...

Fool,

In response to 123... I have read every word of this thread and the previous one, and about every word of Derek's blog for about a year now though I rarely comment. I'm just an interested bystander. I have read most of your references in the past and have also read some of Dembinski (sp?) and Behe's books. Frankly, they are scientific garbage. I have read as much SJG as I have time to read (that man was absurdly prolific). You have misinterpretted his comments I'm afraid.

ID makes a crucial mistake, and trying to show Darwin was wrong is not it! Their mistake is that they are superimposing matters of faith into science. This violates one of the basic tenets of theology. Faith needs no reason, it needs no proof and it does not require grounding in scientific evidence of any kind. Faith is about the soul, which is eternal and not of our realm. It is not addressable by science. Looking for the hand of God in the natural world violates this basic tenet of what faith is.

If you want to open up a biology, chemistry or physics book and interpret that things are the way they are because God made them that way, there is no problem with such practice. Understand though that this is not a scientific interpretation. It is not something that belongs in a science class, which is what this debate is all about. Moreover, it likely does not belong in a philosophy class because it violates the constitution of your country (I assume you're an American). If you incorporate such an interpretation into your faith, more power to you.

Permalink to Comment

127. Duds on November 10, 2005 7:46 PM writes...

Ted,
I think you are making a big assumption. You appear to be assuming that if there is a god that it does not want to be detected-it either doesn't care or it wants to be believed without any evidence whatsoever. Further, perhaps you have faith in a god without any evidence or proof but I think you are really in the minority on this.

Fool is just looking at the world through his own prism which is the creation account in Genesis. He makes no bones about it. He is saying that nothing science has put forward is inconsistent with that account. Fool and IDers in general do not say we cannot explain it so its god! That is rediculous. They are saying things like random mutation and natural selection do not account for the diversity of life on earth. They are saying that statistically speaking it takes alot of faith (and now I am talking blind faith) to believe that life came from that which was not alive. They are saying statistically, it is more probable that life was created by a god and that this god has directed creation since its inception (and I already know we will never agree on the assumptions and basis for these calculations-it is hopeless). IDers believe that it takes less "faith" to believe this than it does to believe in unguided evolution of life via only natural causes (never mind the philisophical question of what is respo. But it is more than this. This thread has been limited somewhat to only the issue of evolution and origins science. ID also says that it seems much more than a coincidence how the universe itself is almost perfectly set up for life on earth within an incredibly narrow, mind bogglingly unlikely set of parameters. Darwin's theory was developed to make sense of observations. ID is a competing theory that says an intelligent designer better explains the data. You can say we can't test it (the hypothesis that there is a god) so its garbage and that is your perogative. We can statistically detect "random" but we cannot statistically detect design? I also refer you to the posts Fool gave but if you have already read Behe and Dembinski..... But this much is certain, Fools world view is obvious and he doesn't hide it but many of those who have posted against Fool in this argument have an agenda as well. They bring their own bias and there on clutter to the table just the same as Fool. If we cannot see that then we are fooling ourselves. Fool has just as much objectivity as anyone else who has posted here and there are at least some who are trying to use evolution to prove there is no god! Even SJG wrote on this almost continuously for years. We all lack objectivity and we all bring bias and baggage to every situation (something we agree on).

Permalink to Comment

128. daen on November 10, 2005 8:55 PM writes...

Where science prospers, and what makes it to my mind so much more exciting and less sterile than religion, is that great minds and hard work can completely change its direction. Ambiguity is not a favoured condition in science, but the paradox is that every mystery resolved reveals ten new ones - the analogy is of a growing forest clearing exposing more of the dark forest beyond.

One of the consistent success stories of science since the 1600s has been the excellent correspondence between materialistic scientific explanations and the behaviour of the real world, without the need to invoke supernatural forces. This capacity for naturalistic explanation has extended from the very smallest distances to the very largest, from the shortest to the longest timespans. If I were to list every scientific advance, every acheivement gained without resort to the supernatural, the list would be many dozens of pages long.

And you know what the really fun thing is? Are we done? Are we close to being finished with explaining the world around us? We are not. It looks like we have only just started. Are we finding limits to the descriptive power of the scientific method? We are not. It's been just over 50 years since the structure of the vehicle of heredity, DNA, was elucidated, and less than 150 years since The Origin of Species was published. Should we really expect a comprehensive, robust theory of evolution to be available alredy, given that it was nearly 230 years before Einstein developed Newton's theories of gravitation into something more general? And remember, that work is not yet done : general relativity and quantum mechanics need to be unified. Anyone here up for that challenge?

Permalink to Comment

129. daen on November 10, 2005 9:00 PM writes...

And should I learn to proof read these posts for spelling miskates more carefully at 3am? Probably ...

Permalink to Comment

130. Derek Lowe on November 10, 2005 9:15 PM writes...

I've actually enjoyed "Fool"'s contributions to this comment thread, frustrating as they've been at times. I don't often get to meet an intelligent, articulate creationist, and I'm glad to know that there are some out there.

But I think that some of the recent comments are sounding just the same note that I'm about to: he and I are using the word "science" differently. And neither one of us is willing to give up on our definition, which means we're not going to come to much of a conclusion here.

One of "fool's" main complaints is that the pro-evolution people keep harping on materialistic explanations, with no room for divine intervention (specifically, in his case, the account found in the Book of Genesis.) But to me, we can't go that far and still call it science (or use its methods). Once you get away from the material world, our observations of it, and the laws which we may be able to discern from them, you're outside of science. At least by my definition you are, and I'd say it's shared by most scientists.

And that's the first (and most crucial) place where Fool and I part company. Leave aside all the later issues about transitional fossils, DNA, and what have you - we've already set up our tents on different premises before we even get to that stuff. He wants to know why science doesn't want to deal with the reality of God and his works. And I think that once you step in that direction, you're outside science's boundaries (not least because of the non-falsifiability problem).

So me, if you bring direct Godly intervention into something, it isn't science, and talking about it (or trying to sort it out) in scientific terms is a waste of time. But to Fool, I think, it makes no sense to talk about anything without acknowledging direct Godly intervention, because that (to him) is the basis for everything right from the start and how can you ignore it?

In the end, his questions sound to me like someone asking what the German word for something is in Spanish. No, not the Spanish word - the German word, in Spanish. No doubt I sound just as obtuse to him. I see no way to come to terms.

Permalink to Comment

131. fool on November 10, 2005 11:24 PM writes...

I've made my points time and again. No sense repeating myself. So these are my final comments.

Throughout history scholars and scientists of all fields have believed in God and His creation, many of whom founding fathers of the now modern sciences and Nobel Prize laureates. To name a few: Newton, Eisteine, Towns (physics), Boyle, Dalton (Chem), Ray, Linnaeus (Biology), Steno (Geology), Copernicus, Kepler (Astronomy), Pascal, Letbnitz (mathematics)...

People like these still work among us as we speak. To suggest somehow they're all living an intellectually self-deceiving life because of this agonizing "conflict" between their ID belief and scientific principles is absurd.

If they see enough evidence in this universe we live in to believe in a creator, our children deserve to hear their side of the story.

Permalink to Comment

132. David on November 11, 2005 1:26 AM writes...

Hey fool.

Nice group of scientists sharing your religious beliefs. My question for conjecture – what would these great scientists think about the field of evolutionary biology if they were suddenly time-transported to the present?

Would they stand beside ID proponents to deny and denigrate the work of a large group of fellow scientists who have developed theories that unify biological understanding? .. theories that provide a solid basis for hypothesis-testing that has promoted tremendous advances in biology, medicine an other fields?

Would they promote the re-definition of science so that it would accommodate their religious views, even though it would also open the door to alchemy, astrology, and spaghetti-monsterism?

Would they find any way to reconcile their religious beliefs with the new understandings that science has provided since their own time? Would they even want to engage in this reconciliation process?

I stumbled on this letter to the Kansas School Board this evening (this is the school Board that just voted in a curriculum document incorporating ID). I don’t know how many of these scientists share your belief in a Christian God, but I did note with great interest a fair number of Chemists.

THE ELIE WIESEL FOUNDATION FOR HUMANITY
NOBEL LAUREATES INITIATIVE

September 9, 2005
TO: Kansas State Board of Education

We, Nobel Laureates, are writing in defense of science. We reject efforts by the proponents of so-called “intelligent design” to politicize scientific inquiry and urge the Kansas State Board of Education to maintain Darwinian evolution as the sole curriculum
and science standard in the State of Kansas.

The United States has come a long way since John T. Scopes was convicted for teaching the theory of evolution 80 years ago. We are, therefore, troubled that Darwinism was described as “dangerous dogma” at one of your hearings. We are also concerned by the Board’s recommendation of August 8, 2005 to allow standards that include greater criticism of evolution.
Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. As the foundation of modern biology, its indispensable role has been further strengthened by the capacity to study DNA. In contrast, intelligent design is fundamentally unscientific; it
cannot be tested as scientific theory because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent.

Differences exist between scientific and spiritual world views, but there is no need to blur the distinction between the two. Nor is there need for conflict between the theory of evolution and religious faith. Science and faith are not mutually exclusive. Neither should feel threatened by the other.

When it meets in October, 2005, we urge the Kansas State Board of Education to vote against the latest draft of standards, which propose including intelligent design in academic curriculum.

Sincerely,

Alexei A. Abrikosov, Nobel Prize, Physics (2003)
Richard Axel, Nobel Prize, Medicine (2004)
Günter Blobel, Nobel Prize, Medicine (1999)
Linda B. Buck, Nobel Prize, Medicine (2004)
Aaron Ciechanover, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Prize, Peace (1976)
Robert F. Curl, Jr., Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1996)
John B. Fenn, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2002)
Clive W.J. Granger, Nobel Prize, Economics (2003)
David J. Gross, Nobel Prize, Physics (2004)
Leland H. Hartwell, Nobel Prize, Medicine (2001)
Herbert A. Hauptman, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1985)
Dudley R. Herschbach, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1986)
Avram Hershko, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)
Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1981)
H. Robert Horvitz, Nobel Prize, Medicine (2002)
Eric R. Kandel, Nobel Prize, Medicine (2000)
Wolfgang Ketterle, Nobel Prize, Physics (2001)
Aaron Klug, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1982)
Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1996)
Anthony J. Leggett, Nobel Prize, Physics (2003)
Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1987)
Ferid Murad, Nobel Prize, Medicine (1998)
Erwin Neher, Nobel Prize, Medicine (1991)
Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize, Medicine (2001)
Stanley B. Prusiner, Nobel Prize, Medicine (1997)
Irwin Rose, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)
K. Barry Sharpless, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2001)
Horst L. Störmer, Nobel Prize, Physics (1998)
Gerardus ’t Hooft, Nobel Prize, Physics (1999)
Daniel C. Tsui, Nobel Prize, Physics (1998)
Harold E. Varmus, Nobel Prize, Medicine (1989)
John E. Walker, Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1997)
Carl E. Wieman, Nobel Prize, Physics (2001)
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize, Peace (1986)
Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize, Physics (2004)
Jody Williams, Nobel Prize, Peace (1997)
Betty Williams, Nobel Prize, Peace (1976)

Permalink to Comment

133. Derek Lowe on November 11, 2005 9:40 AM writes...

Well, I think we've come to the end of the line, for now. I'm closing off this post to further comments in order to keep it from rising from the dead. I'm sure that we're going to revisit this topic at some point, though. I'd like to thank everyone for keeping it thoughtful and (reasonably) civil.

Permalink to Comment

TRACKBACKS

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Intelligent Design, Molecule By Molecule:

Hit Magnet: Intelligent Design from Idiotsyncrasies
The frustrating thing to me is that while I believe that ID has it's merits and is worth discussing, I can understand the point of view of the scientist who wants to just stick to the evidence... [Read More]

Tracked on November 11, 2005 9:36 AM

ID and ego from Random John reloaded
Anyone who reads the news/blogs knows by now that ID is on its way out in Dover, PA (the first school district to require it in the curriculum), eliciting an IDiotic retort from Pat Robertosn. Quite frankly, I’m not sure why ol’ Pat likes ... [Read More]

Tracked on November 11, 2005 10:14 PM


EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):




RELATED ENTRIES
Scripps Update
What If Drug Patents Were Written Like Software Patents?
Stem Cells: The Center of "Right to Try"
Speaking of Polyphenols. . .
Dark Biology And Small Molecules
How Polyphenols Work, Perhaps?
More On Automated Medicinal Chemistry
Scripps Merging With USC?