Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dover Round-Up

Just about every media outlet and the entire blogosphere is weighing in on the big Dover decision. I am currently working on a Cliff's Notes version of the entire thing for my next CSICOP column, and I hope to finish that tonight. In the meantime, though, here's a round-up of things that particularly caught my eye:


  • Pride of place must surely go to to this article from The New York Times. They assembled a truly stellar, first-rate panel of experts to provide quotes for the pro-evolution side:


    Mainstream scientists who have maintained that no controversy exists in the scientific community over evolution were elated by Judge Jones's ruling.

    “Jubilation,” said Kenneth R. Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University who has actively sparred with intelligent design proponents and testified in the Dover case. “I think the judge nailed it.”

    Dr. Miller said he was glad that the judge did not just rule narrowly.

    Jason D. Rosenhouse, a professor of mathematics at James Madison University in Virginia and a fervent pro-evolution blogger said: “I was laughing as I read it because I don't think a scientist could explain it any better. His logic is flawless, and he hit all of the points that scientists have been making for years.”


    Heh heh heh.

    Also interesting from the Times article was William Dembski's reaction:


    William A. Dembski, a mathematician who argues that mathematics can show the presence of design in the development of life, predicted that intelligent design would become much stronger within 5 to 10 years.

    Both Dr. Behe and Dr. Dembski are fellows with the Discovery Institute, a leading proponent of intelligent design.

    “I think the big lesson is, let's go to work and really develop this theory and not try to win this in the court of public opinion,” Dr. Dembski said. “The burden is on us to produce.”


    Indeed it is. So far all they've produced is a lot of very bad arguments.

  • Salon has this interesting article on the subject:


    Intelligent design did not spread through culture on its scientific merits. It got a big push from religious and political advocates. Funded by millions of dollars from some of the same religious supporters that helped put President Bush in the White House (conservatives like Philip F. Anschutz, Richard Mellon Scaife, and Howard and Roberta Ahmanson), the Discovery Institute has pushed a fringe academic movement onto virtually all the front pages and TV sets in the country. The New York Times has reported that the institute has granted $3.6 million in fellowships to 50 researchers since 1996. Those investments produced 50 books on intelligent design, innumerable articles, and two I.D. documentaries that were broadcast on public television.

    Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins has said that Darwin's theory of evolution made it possible to be an intellectually satisfied atheist. Intelligent design, it seems, has made it possible for many fundamentalists to be intellectually satisfied creationists. Wesley Elsberry, a biologist at the National Center for Science Education, says millions of evangelical Christians craved a more science-like, sophisticated yet Bible-friendly theory to explain the diversity of life on earth.


  • P.Z. Myers' commentary on the Salon article is more important than the article itself.

    The Salon article mentions a series of public presentations, one on science, one on creationism, and one on ID. The science talk was given by Wesley Elsberry, mentioned above. The article's conclusion is that the creationism talks were more engaging than the science talks. Myers nails the important points:


    It's true: we aren't trained to be showmen. We are very good at talking to other scientists—I'm sure Wesley's talk would have been a pleasure for me to listen to, and I would have learned much and been appreciative of the substance—but most of it would have whooshed over the heads of a lay audience. I wrestle with this in my public talks, too. There's always this stuff that I am very excited about and that I know my peers think is really nifty and that gets right down to the heart of the joy and wonder of biology, but it's so far from the perspective of the audience that it is well nigh impossible to communicate. And I know that when I try, I usually fail.

    Another problem is that we're used to giving lectures that people are required to attend in order to absorb the raw information they need to do well on a test. I don't think my students show up for the visceral joy of hearing me talk.

    The two creationists in the series, on the other hand, are simple and clear (and the young earth creationist has the advantage of being entertainingly insane). They don't have any complex data to explain, so they aren't tempted to try, and they put everything in terms everyone can follow. An absence of evidence can be an advantage in a talk, because then everything rests on well-honed rhetoric; the scientist's reliance on actual information means we often skimp on the presentation.


    That's exactly right. I've attended enough creationist conferences to know that their speakers operate unencumbered by any sense of shame or conscience. This allows them to speak freely and enthusiastically on subjects they know nothing about.

    Any mathematician who has ever tried to explain the Monty Hall problem to a lay audience knows the frustration Myers is describing. It reminds me of something a professor told me in preparation for the first math class I ever taught. It was a low-level introduction to calculus for students with weak math backgrounds. The professor said something like, “Prepare yourself for a certain amount of frustration when you're teaching. There will be times when you think you are being so clear and explaining things in such simple terms that there is no way anyone could misunderstand you. Then you'll be hit by question straight from Mars.”

  • Anyway, moving on with the round-up, Ed Brayton has some favorable reactions from legal scholars on the decision. Of course, The Panda's Thumb has quite a few posts up on the subject as well.

  • And if that's still not enough, Tony Galucci gathers some more links here, as does Mike Dunford here.


Enjoy!

34 Comments:

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason, I share your sense of triumph in this decision, as well as your summary of Creationists use of any and all sources--real or imagined--which seem to support their arguments. However, I am very doubtful how convicing any rational argument will be against Creationists.

I have a simple view of science vs. religion: Science is subservient to method, religion is subservient to conclusion. In the former, conclusions can and do change fairly often, driven by evidence generated in the method; in the latter, the methods can and do change often, driven by the importance of the conclusion.

IMHO, this is why there are no stickers being proposed for quantum mechanics texts--a field with theories far more difficult to believe than the theory of evolution. Fortunately for us physicists, the Bible has no Scripture on the nature of the wavefunction

 
At 8:08 PM, Blogger John said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger John said...

No one knows if life came about from evolution, creation or intelligent design. Evolution is a valid theory with some evidence to support it. However, there are some serious problems with the theory of evolution. Any lesson on evolution should include these problems. How is this related to religion?

We need to acknowledge problems with any theory on any topic. We need to be open minded and not afraid to approach a problem from a different angle. This is how difficult problems are solved. To force our children into believing evolution to be fact is detrimental to human progress. No one should take as truth what any evolutionist or creationist says. It is most important for people to think for themselves and not accept what is presented to them as fact. This is true for anything. When people stop thinking for themselves and start believing whatever is presented to them, the product is things like Nazi Germany or religious terrorists.

Claiming that intelligent design is not science is simply a stigma that has been attached to religion over the centuries. Modern man should be smarter and more open minded than that. There is nothing inherent in intelligent design that makes it impossible to be a valid theory. Intelligent design could in fact be true, or evolution could be true. Or consciousness and "the life force" could be fundamental properties of matter, in the same way that mass is. No one knows. All these theories should be researched, along with any other valid theory that explains our origins. To categorically say that any one of them should not be is backward and narrow minded and is not unlike the narrow minded thinking of man hundreds of years ago. We should be smarter than that.

To present evolution as fact is a lie.

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Norm Conway said...

John, you miss two points. First, ID cannot be subjected to the scientific method, and so cannot be studied scientifically. (Care to propose an experiment to determine if any given observation in the natural world is the product of ID or not?) Second, soft minds are among the most open. It is impossible to develop any true understanding if one considers every new idea that comes along--especially if the idea is based on the supernatural and without evidence.

 
At 9:55 PM, Blogger John said...

So, to exclude ID as a science, one must say: "It is categorically impossible to propose an experiment that provides evidence of intellgient design."

How can one say such a statement. I would say saying that statement is impossible.

Intelligent design does explain some of the holes of evolution, and is also supported by the second theory of thermondynamics and information theory (don't waste time posting arguements against this, it can be argued either way, no one knows the right answer). So we could obtain greater understanding by pursuing this theory.

To say intelligent design has no evidence and is based on the supernatural is simply a narrow minded response from someone who refuses to acknowledge the possibility of the existence of some sort of creator. No one knows if there is or isn't, but its possible. How can you rule it out without proof. That is not science.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Zeno said...

No sooner did the anonymous poster say "I am very doubtful how convicing any rational argument will be against Creationists" than John came along to prove him all too correct.

That's nice of you, John. Now that you've spouted your regurgitated talking points about the second law of thermodynamics (which, by the way, was established by scientists) and information theory (about which, I suspect, you know nothing—or would you like to tell me the significance of the base 2 logarithm?), why don't you get busy cooking up some of those experiments Norm asked for. He said no such experiments exist and you think they do. Okay, cough 'em up, please.

 
At 12:10 AM, Blogger John said...

Come on, seriously, you think it is impossible to propose an experiment that provides evidence of intellgient design? Really, this is a stupid thing to say.

Because it is Christmas, let me propose one for you. Suppose someone had a time machine, went back in time and directly observed the creator designing life.

This meets your definition for ID to be called a science, and so all arguements on this topic can be ended. Before you say "time travel, that's ridiculous" (although it could be theoretically possible), your definition does not stipulate that we must have the technology to conduct the experiment. Now you might change your definition, but that is not a valid arguement.

We do not have the technology to measure gravity waves, does that mean the theory of relativity is not a science?

Because the second law of thermodynamics was developed by scientists, does that mean it is impossible for it to support ID? Because I may or may not know what base 2 logarithm is, does that make it impossible for ID to be a valid theory? Your arguements lack logic. Perhaps you should study the tpoic of logic so that you can present valid arguements. If people have logical arguements for or against any theory, then put them forward, otherwise do not waste time.

So lets stop wasting time debating whether we call something "science" or call it something else. Lets find the truth, and to find the truth we cannot discount possibilities such as the existance of a creator, no matter how narrow minded you are or how hard it is for you to swallow.

 
At 12:44 AM, Blogger Norm Conway said...

John, in order for ID o be seriously considered by any scientific institution, someone somewhere needs at a minimum to present a realistically testable hypothesis. This has not been done yet.

As far as holes in the ToE go, claiming a supernatural explanation is not much of an explanation. If in our intellectual development as a species we resorted to magic and the supernatural every time we ran up against difficult questions, we'd still be back in the dark ages.

 
At 1:27 AM, Blogger John said...

When relativity was first theorised, there were no known experiments to provide evidence to support it. To this day there are still some results of the theory that can't be confirmed through experiment. However, relativity was and is seriously considered by scienctific institutions.

When certain parts of thermodynamics wer first theorised, there were no experiments that could provide evidence for them. Still the theory was developed and expanded, and scientists created "thought experiments" so that they could think about the theory and provide solutions to the thought experiments.

What you say, that "in order for ID to be seriously considered by any scientific institution, someone somewhere needs at a minimum to present a realistically testable hypothesis", is not necessarily true. This idea has been manufactured by evolutionists to suppress ID and stems from the refusal of the scientific community to accept the possibily of the existence of a creator. It is very hard for people in the scientific community to accept this possibility, not because of the idea itself, but because of the manufactured link between "supernatural" and "fiction", the fear of being labelled not a true scientist, or a mad scientist etc. Despite this, you should try to think for yourself. Many great scientists believed in a creator, and they have said that science brought them closer to understanding the creator.

This is the reasoning behind your second point, putting "magic" and "supernatural" together, implying ID is simply a myth created to explain the unexplained. That is not a valid arguement. It is just as valid for me to say that you are resorting to evolution because you cannot explain God.

Science is about understanding the nature of the universe. If a creator exists, then he is part of the universe, and we should be trying to understand him. If it is proven that a creator does not exist, or if it is proven that evolution of species is impossible, then we can discard the respective theory.

 
At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Zarquon said...

When relativity was first theorised, there were no known experiments to provide evidence to support it. To this day there are still some results of the theory that can't be confirmed through experiment. However, relativity was and is seriously considered by scienctific institutions.

That simply isn't true. The null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment supported relativity. Also Einstein's first paper on relativity was called 'On The Electrodynamics Of Moving Bodies', and Einstein had the results from a series of experiments on electrodynamics conducted by other researchers. In other words, the theory of relativity was designed to explain the data, just like the theory of evolution.

You simply don't know what you're talking about when it comes to science.

 
At 2:16 AM, Blogger John said...

I don't believe Einstein began his theory of relativity to explain the Michelson-Morley experiment, or at what time the link was established. I think it later became the accepted solution of the null result, after the theory of relativity was around for some time. Einstein's main inspiration was his curiosity, and his desire to explain the nature of the universe.

But the point is not to debate the details of the history of relativity. The point is that "in order for a theory to be seriously considered by any scientific institution, someone somewhere needs at a minimum to present a realistically testable hypothesis", is not necessarily true.

 
At 4:57 AM, Anonymous Zarquon said...

ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS
OF MOVING BODIES
By A. Einstein
June 30, 1905

It is known that Maxwell's electrodynamics--as usually understood at the present time--when applied to moving bodies, leads to asymmetries which do not appear to be inherent in the phenomena. Take, for example, the reciprocal electrodynamic action of a magnet and a conductor. The observable phenomenon here depends only on the relative motion of the conductor and the magnet, whereas the customary view draws a sharp distinction between the two cases in which either the one or the other of these bodies is in motion. For if the magnet is in motion and the conductor at rest, there arises in the neighbourhood of the magnet an electric field with a certain definite energy, producing a current at the places where parts of the conductor are situated. But if the magnet is stationary and the conductor in motion, no electric field arises in the neighbourhood of the magnet. In the conductor, however, we find an electromotive force, to which in itself there is no corresponding energy, but which gives rise--assuming equality of relative motion in the two cases discussed--to electric currents of the same path and intensity as those produced by the electric forces in the former case.

Examples of this sort, together with the unsuccessful attempts to discover any motion of the earth relatively to the ``light medium,'' suggest that the phenomena of electrodynamics as well as of mechanics possess no properties corresponding to the idea of absolute rest. They suggest rather that, as has already been shown to the first order of small quantities, the same laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference for which the equations of mechanics hold good.


So the results of experiments using electromagnetic theory and the null result were known to Einstein. He also had a testable hypothesis, that "the same laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference for which the equations of mechanics hold good."

Also "desire to explain the universe" means explaining in terms of mechanism, not in terms of comforting stories like ID.

 
At 6:35 AM, Blogger LiberPaul said...

Where did John go?? Did he think he commenting to a bunch scientific illiterates?

 
At 8:21 AM, Anonymous jc said...

Wow! That was entertaining. Where did John go? I hope he sticks with that time machine analogy. That has real knee-slapping potential.

 
At 9:39 AM, Anonymous CBBB said...

Also ID is NOT supported by Information Theory, probability or any other sort of mathematics. Dembski's work is a bunch of theatrics and probability games and nothing more. John I will refer you to this paper (which was peer reviewed unlike any of Dembksi's papers) by mathematician Jeffery Shallit (who is FAR FAR more accomplished than Dembski ever will be) and Biologist Wes Elsberry:

http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/papers/eandsdembski.pdf


Note this paper was written in 2003 and has YET to be addressed seriously and successfully by Dembski.

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous jc said...

cbbb:
Could you provide that link again? The one you listed seems to be broken.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Zeno said...

Oh, is John gone already? He was a hoot and a half. I agree that the proposed time machine experiment deserves a place in the ID Hall of Fame (or the Evolution Hall of Stupid—it's the same institution). Suppose you go back to the beginning of time to watch God make the universe and you don't see Him around. You step out of the time machine and suddenly discover you are Him! Boy, wouldn't that be a twist! Say, is The Twilight Zone still accepting scripts?

P.S.: I think cbbb's post was intended to refer to this pdf document. The paper's title is Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski's Complex Specified Information.

 
At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Pope Zach 64 said...

John (if you're still there)-


(I've posted these comments elsewhere, but I hope they're especially relevent here.)

Let us entertain for the moment the notion that it is possible, at least in principle, to formulate a scientific theory of design.

In order for a theory of design to gain scientific credibilty, it would need to offer predictions and answers to questions like:

1. How do we detect design? What structures were designed and when? How can we be certain that evolutionary mechanisms are incapable of producing such a structure?(Don't cite Dembksi- his methods are a failure.)

2. How do we distinguish the "designed" features of an organism from its evolved features, i.e., where does "design" end and "evolution" begin?

3. How can we tell if the Designer is intervening in nature before our eyes?

4. When in the past has the Designer intervened? Was it on just one occasion, or several?

5. Can we predict if the Designer will intervene again in the future? If so, how can we detect it when it happens? If not, why not?

6. What kinds of problems was the Designer trying to overcome? What were the objectives of the intervention(s)? How effective was the intervention in addressing the issue?

These are but a few questions that come to mind - I'm sure many other, more rigorous questions could be posed.

Now if you can formulate a design theory that addresses these questions, you might be on to something. Current ID "theory", however, has no predictive usefulness or explanatory power other than to look backward and say, "It looks designed - therefore it must be designed."

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger Norm Conway said...

Forgetting for a minute about science and the supernatural, let's look at the essential hypothesis we would have to prove in order to establish any form of ID. Design is order with conscious intent. The essential requirement is to prove that any observed order in the universe is the product of intent. How does one prove intent? Does the condensation of highly disordered water vapour into highly ordered snow flakes represent intentional order? If so, how might we show this? Would it suffice to discover that each H2O molecule had an angelic chaperone who could expalin to us why he is ording the water?

Science can only describe observable phenomena, and in some cases explain it as derivative of some more fundamental principle.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

I'm going to try to present a rigorous logical argument against ID.

Postulate 1: One can prove design IF AND ONLY IF they can define a method to distinguish between things which are designed and things which are not designed.

Anyone disagree with postulate one? It seems pretty clear to me.

Postulate 2: To distinguish between two categories of things requires examples of things which fall into each category.

I don't think it's really possible to disagree with this postulate, either.

Postulate 3: ID, as promoted by the DI, claims the Universe was designed.

this is known fact - I can break it down further if necessary, but I doubt it is.

Postulate 3 also means that it is impossible to find an example of something that was not designed, as everything in the universe, then, was designed - call this Statement 1.

Statement 1 and Postulate 2 lead to Statement 2: It is impossible to distinguish between things which are designed and things which are not designed, according to ID.

And Statement 2 and Postulate 1 combine to produce the conclusion: It is impossible to produce an experiment to detect design, if you accept the ID claim that the Universe was designed. QED.

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger mgarelick said...

"Any mathematician who has ever tried to explain the Monty Hall problem to a lay audience knows the frustration Myers is describing."

In my experience, the first thing to do in explaining the Monty Hall problem is to make sure that the person you're talking to has actually watched "Let's Make A Deal."

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger Norm Conway said...

Michael, I think rigorous proofs convince those who already oppose ID. No one on the ID side will appreciate any sort of rigor.

 
At 7:10 PM, Blogger John said...

I am back, after a good nights sleep.

People may bring up irrelevant points about what I said about time travel, or about the accuracy of my wording on what I said about relativity, but that is a waste of time, and misses the fundamental point. Anyone with reasonable intelligence can understand my points, and we should not waste time.

I don't have time right now to respond to the supposed "criteria" that ID must meet in order to be a science, or check your references (of which of course anyone could counter reference, and we could go on forever) but in terms of testing ID, what about this:

1. Macro-mutation, in the Darwinian sense, is statistically impossible
2. Therefore theory of evolution is only possible through micro-mutations
3. The decendant transitions of some organs or complicated systems
would be of no advantage to organisms and so could not have been evolved through micro-mutations.
4. Macro-evolution is the only solution to these complicated systems.
5. Macro-evolution is only possible via some sort of design.

What about this:

1. The information and structure present in species and genes, if arisen to randomly, violates the second law of thermodymics and information theroy.
2. The information and structure present in species and genes was not arisen to randomly.

Both hypothesis are logical and testable. They may or may not be true, that is why we need to test and research. Don't worry about arguing why they are not true, anyone can argue for and against. If you can argue that they are fundamentally illogical, then that is a valid thing to say.

The point is, science is about understanding the nature of the universe.

Science is not about meeting some bogus criteria invented by evolutionists.

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous darthwilliam said...

John,

Let's take your last post points:

1. i assume you mean something like a reptile suddenly giving birth to a mammal. Of course, this never happens. But of course, evolutionary theory predicts that this will never happen, so it is evidence FOR evolution as currently understood.

2. ok
3. How can you make this baseless assumption? There are many documented ways of how small changes can be advantageous. Read a book.

4,5 - Since #3 is incorrect, 4 & 5 are also.

Now the second set:

1. Again, please actually read about the theory before commenting on it. Order arises from disorder ALL THE TIME - no violation of the 2nd law is needed. Again PLEASE read some books, or this article: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF001.html

For a quick example of order from disorder, try this:
http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/ and see for yourself.

I think you are just woefully mis-informed.

...darth

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger John said...

Please don't argue the individual points in my previous post, it is beside the point. If you were trully unbiased and open minded, you would acknowledge that there is plenty of literature for and against those points and plenty of intelligent people who believe for and against those points. The truth is no one knows the right answer.

We are trying to establish what constitues a valid theory.

My opinion is that a valid theory is one that can help us understand the nature of the universe, or help us get closer to the truth.

Your opinion is that a valid theory is one which conforms to a set of bogus criteria invented by evolutionists.

That is it from me, I am off on my christmas break. Merry Christmas everyone.

 
At 8:07 AM, Anonymous darthWilliam said...

John,

First, if we can't argue individual points, how can we possibly debate anything except some vague generalities?

Second, whether there is literature and/or people believing something is irrelevant. What matters is what the evidence shows. I can write 100 books about the world being flat and convince thousands of people that it is, but that won't make it flat.

Third, we are not trying to establish what consititutes a valid theory. That's been done, you can easily look it up. Again, what our opinions are of what is a valid theory is quite irrelevant.

Happy Yule!
...darth

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

John, you have a serious misconception here. Well, you've got many, but this is the important one:

"So, to exclude ID as a science, one must say: "It is categorically impossible to propose an experiment that provides evidence of intellgient design."

How can one say such a statement. I would say saying that statement is impossible."

One can say such a statement because ID, by not constraining the designer, explains all evidence (and therefore none). You can point at anything and say "the Designer wanted it that way". There is thus no way to distinguish between "naturally arose" and "designed to look natural".

Where your confusion comes is conflating a "specific ID", ie young earth creationism with "ID" as a generic concept. Young earth creationism makes positive scientific claims that can be tested. It turns out the claims are wrong, but they are in the realm of science. The claims that ID makes are metaphysical and thus outside the realm of science.

 
At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Pope Zach 64 said...

John -

"Bogus criteria invented by evolutionists". You really don't know what you're talking about, do you?

The burden is on YOU (and ID proponents in general) to produce data that cannot be reconciled with evolutionary theory, devise a theoretical model that CAN account for such data, and PREDICT new data that could not be predicted by the old theory (in this case evolution).

That's how science - any science - works, whether it's Physics, Chemistry, Evolutionary Biology, Meteorology - whatever. That's not "bogus criteria". And if you can't agree with that then you are not interested in science but rather fantasy.

So for starters, what are the data that cannot be reconciled with evolutionary theory? Give one example. But before you do, consider this: How can you be certain that evolutionary mechanisms cannot account for the data? (As I pointed out above.)

And don't give us your micro/macro argument,as the assumption in your point #3 is false, as Darth has pointed out. So your whole argument pretty much disintegrates. Or is the requirement that your starting premises be true also just "bogus criteria"?

Have a happy Winter Solstice. Use the time off to read a few books.

 
At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comments from John typify the born again mentality (my mind is made up, the facts are irrelevent). In particular, he poses the old canard about evolution violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics because one moves from a state of disorder to a state of order (complexity). This has been refuted on numerous occasions by pointing out that the 2nd law only applies to closed systems. The surface of the earth is manifestly not a closed system as it receives energy from the sun (i.e. the loss in entropy on earth is made up by the gain of entropy of the sun).

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger John said...

I am not here to argue the individual reasons for and against intelligent design. Anyone can argue for and against, doing so is wasting time. Lets leave that to the high school students. The truth is we don't know the right answer.

The previous poster's arguement is of course invalid. Apart from being besides the point of trying to establish in general what constitutes a valid theory, the story on entropy cannot be completely told by simple statements such as "the earth is not a closed system" or "look at this example of order", nor can the story be told by statements such as "put an unassembled bike in the sun and see if it assembles itself". It does not take much research to understand that these statements mean nothing. In reality it is much more complicated than that, and no one knows the right answer. The universe is a closed system.

So lets look at what has been said so far:

Originally, someone said the criteria for a valid theory is that someone must be able to propose an experiment that can provide evidence to support the theory.

My proposal was: Suppose someone had a time machine, went back in time and directly observed the creator designing life.

Your response was: He's silly, he said time travel.

That is not a valid arguement.

To even comtemplate suggesting that it is categorically impossible to propose an experiment that can support intelligent design is incredibly stupid. Then a later post by a different person repeated that he believes it is impossible, even though there were several examples given above. Really, what a joke. Any reasonable person will agree. It is more ridiculous to make that statement then it is to suggest a solution involving time travel.

Then the criteria changed to:

Someone somewhere needs at a minimum to present a realistically testable hypothesis.

I proposed a few logical solutions:

1. Macro-mutation, in the Darwinian sense, is statistically impossible
2. Therefore theory of evolution is only possible through micro-mutations
3. The decendant transitions of some organs or complicated systems
would be of no advantage to organisms and so could not have been evolved through micro-mutations.
4. Macro-evolution is the only solution to these complicated systems.
5. Macro-evolution is only possible via some sort of design.

and:

1. The information and structure present in species and genes, if arisen to randomly, violates the second law of thermodymics and information theroy.
2. The information and structure present in species and genes was not arisen to randomly.

Isn't it possible to test thermodynamics? Isn't it possible for someone to study and research the possibility of certain complicated systems that could not have evolved through micro mutations?

Your response was to propose ideas or point to some links that provided evidence against what I stated. Of course, this is not a valid arguement. The criteria is NOT:

Someone somewhere needs at a minimum to present a realistically testable hypothesis that conforms to the ideas of evolutionists.

Such a criteria would be unreasonable. So where are the arguements saying that what I proposed does not conform to the actual criteria?

Now the criteria has changed to something like:

One must be able to distinguish between what is a consequence of the theory and what is not. In the case of ID, this is distinguishing from what is designed and what is not.

How about using this method:

If, assuming random processes, the coming to existence of a particular entity does not violate the second law of thermodynamics and / or information theory, then that entity come about naturally.

If, assuming random processes, the coming to existence of a particular entity does violate the second law of thermodynamics and / or information theory, then that entity has been designed.

Remember, the criteria is not:

One must be able to distinguish between what is a consequence of the theory and what is not, and the theory must conform to the ideas of evolutionists.

So please, valid arguements only.

In summary, there have been no valid arguements posted against the validity of ID as a theory. You can argue the individual points all day, pointing to endless texts for and against. The truth is we don't know the right answer.

You are going around in circles, repeating what you have already said, posting nothing logical or valid in the context of the actual arguement, in a struggle to try to suppress an idea. When solutions to your manufactured criteria are proposed, rather then addressing them, you change the criteria or make arguements that, apart from not being in context of the arguement, are not even conlusive.

To try to suppress an idea, especially when you don't know whether the idea is accurate or not, and when you don't even know if your own idea is accurate, is incredibly backward and narrow minded. To try to suppress it through the law is even worse.

What is this, Afganistan?

 
At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John has responded to my explanation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics by stating that my comment on closed systems was invalid. This merely shows his total ignorance of Physics (a subject on which I have some qualifications to comment on being as I have a PhD in Physics). He further demonstrates incompetence with the statement that the entire universe is a closed system. That is true (provided that there are no other universes, a subject of current debate in cosmology) but is irrelevent. There is no violation of the 2nd law if entropy decreases in one part of the universe if it increases by an equal or greater amount elsewhere in the universe. Thus the statement that the 2nd law precludes the evolution from simple to complex biological features because of entropy considerations is invalid. It should be pointed out that this argument says nothing about the validity or lack thereof of ID so I am somewhat supprised as to why this issue even arises.

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Pope Zach 64 said...

John-

Once again you have demonstrated glaring ignorance of science and of evolution in particular.

First of all, evolutionary processes are not random. The chemistry of self-assembling systems is not random. While the generation of mutations in the genome may appear to be random, their effects are subject to selection so that the organism either ends up with a competitive advantage or a disadvantage compared to its neighbors. That's not random. That's also documented FACT - not "bogus criteria". Your whole "random process" assertion is false - just like your "micro/macro" assertion. You're 0 for 2 so far.

Now I suppose if an observed phenomonen did indeed violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics it would be cause to either take a closer look at the phenomenon or the 2nd law. There's just one little catch - there have been NO known violations of the 2nd law. Anywhere.

So your scenario of a random process that violates the 2nd law is based on false assumptions.

You claim no valid objection to the validity of ID have been raised. You are wrong. You can't just pull an idea out of your ass and expect it to fly as science just because it sounds cool.

If you want to claim ID as a valid scientific alternative to evolution, then you must show: 1. Data that is not consistent with evolutionary theory. 2. A theoretical model that does account for the data. 3. Predictions or consequences of the model that evolutionary theory does not have. 4. Verification of those predictions or consequences.

As I said before, that's science - any science. That's how science works. If a claimant wants to overturn established theory, he damn well better have some good evidence. That's what Einstein did. That's what Bohr and Schrodinger and Heisenberg did.

Now where's you evidence? Your thought experiment with the time machine is intriguing, but seeing as how we don't have a time machine handy, we need other evidence. How do we detect design in nature? How can you prove that known evolutionary mechanisms are insufficient to account for certain features of life? At what point the designer intercede?

It may be true that we may never know if life was created or evolved entirely by natural processes. We have to make conclusions based on the best evidence we have. And that evidence points to evolution. And unless and until evidence to the contrary surfaces, we will continue to go with evolution. In the absence of such evidence, inventing a designer is completely superfluous.

Sorry John, that's how science works. Don't like it? Then go and invent a perpetual motion machine. Or join the Republican party.

Oh, and by the way, just who the hell is trying to supress ID through the law? Apparently your knowledge of law is as poor as your knowledge of science. ID "theorists" are free to do as much research, publish and speak about it as much as they wish. In fact they have yet to come up with peer reviewed research or any useful theory of ID. And in case you missed it, peer review is another critical function of science - any science. Not just "evolutionists", but any field of science. Sorry - that's how science works.

All that has been decided in Dover is that ID can't be taught in science class (in Dover anyway). Philosophy, comparitive religion, fine. But it is not fit for science class. Even the DI admits this.

Since when do untested, undeveloped, useless theories get taught in science class? Do we teach the flat earth "theory"? Do we teach the earth-centric "theory" of the solar system? How about in math class we teach about "squaring the circle"?

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John:
Thanks for the memories. It's been real...& be careful crossing the road.

 
At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice blog.

has good info, without so much personal attacks along with gross ignorance as seen in others.

thanks again for the efforts in making a decent and informative blog.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home