On the one hand the ID creationist crowd wail and moan about how they supposedly face discrimination and censure (that’s what film Expelled is about), and on the other we find this sort of stuff:
Pandas Thumb reports on an article in the Washington Post that talked about the case of Nancey Murphy of the Fuller Theological Seminary:
Nancey Murphy, a religious scholar at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., said she faced a campaign to get her fired because she expressed the view that intelligent design was not only poor theology, but “so stupid, I don’t want to give them my time.”
Murphy, who believes in evolution, said she had to fight to keep her job after one of the founding members of the intelligent design movement, legal theorist Phillip Johnson, called a trustee at the seminary and tried to get her fired.
But this isn’t the only example.
Back in the mid-1990’s Christian biochemist Terry M. Gray was tried and convicted of heresy by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for daring to suggest that humans have primate ancestors in a review… wait for it… of Phillip Johnson’s book Darwin on Trial (1991).
A. We charge that Dr. Terry Gray has committed the public offense of stating that Adam had primate ancestors~ contrary to the Word of God (Genesis 2:7, 1:26,27) and the doctrinal standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (WCF IV.2, W L C 17).
Fortunately Dr. Gray wasn’t put on the rack or burnt at the stake for his “heresy” (like they used to do), but he was censured and had to write a recantation.
Dr. Gray has a page on links to articles on the incident: Documents Related to the Evolution Trial in the OPC
A similar example is Christian physicist Howard Van Till, of Calvin College in Michigan had the school’s board of trustees questioning his views after he wrote in a book (The Fourth Day 1986) in which he argued that “…the stories of the Bible and science’s account of evolution could both be true” (from chicagotribune.com):
His critics on the school’s board of trustees had no interest in reconciling the religious account of creation with a naturalist explanation of how life and the universe have evolved over the ages. For years after the book’s release in 1986, Van Till reported to a monthly interrogation where he struggled to reassure college officials that his scientific teachings fit within their creed. Van Till’s career survived the ordeal, but his Calvinist faith did not. Over the next two decades, he became the heretic his critics had suspected.
Over a span of three years a conservative businessman Leo Peters ran thirty full-page ads in the Grand Rapids Press attacking Van Till for his views.
Seems they can dish it out but can’t take it; though they really haven’t had to actually take it because most (if not all) of their claims of discrimination or censure are nonsense.
Wow. Here’s the real story. Someone ought to make a documentary about this!
Add to this the story of James Hansen at NASA being forced to amend his papers on global climate change and the Big Bang, and the shuttering of/shredding documents at the EPA libraries, and other outrages by the Bush Administration, and you have a clearer picture of what’s really going on in this country.
Don’t fret. The Flying Spaghetti Monster will save us.
I watched some clips from Expelled today and listened to the atheists. They came across as egotistical, narcissistic, parochial and highly opinionated individuals.
So I guess they have something in common with us Christians after all…
Wow! Very interesting indeed. Thank you for pointing this out, too bad the mainstream media never points out this side of the story.
Troy: Thanks for a few more data on just what hypocrites the ID crowd is.
Consider the degree of projection from the ID camp, though, and be very concerned. Now that they’ve elevated it to equating science to the Holocaust, and seeing that they’re projecting …
Kristine: Hansen doesn’t write about the Big Bang. That was a separate story that broke shortly after his story did. His story was that he was being prevented from speaking to media (not that he had to amend his papers) and when he did, had a political ‘minder’ following him around. The EPA libraries were shut down outright — the shredding being how to dispose of the now ‘unneeded’ documents. Book burning by administrative fiat. Doesn’t change the drift of your comments, but details are helpful.
A few honest questions:
What predictions does Darwinism make that ID can’t make? If we start with the real observations of: 1) Descent with modification, 2) Random Mutation, 3) Natural Selection, 4) Homology of Morphological Features and Genetic material (DNA) between species… What does “common descent” (i.e. Darwinism) predict that ID does not?
If ID is not falsifiable, why did Ken Miller spend all that time attempting to show how the flagellum is not irreducibly complex? Doesn’t Miller’s attempt at falsification prove that it IS falsifiable (even if Miller didn’t quite get it right and failed in the attempt as Behe has gone on to demonstrate…) ?
Josh: Start with Doug Theobald’s FAQ at talkorigins.org:
Why would ID predict nested hierarchies, transitional forms, endogenous retroviruses, or any of these other features that are clear predictions of common descent as opposed to common designer?
On your latter point, there are definitely a few specific arguments made by ID advocates that are falsifiable. The same is also true of creationism (e.g., young earth, flood geology, and vapor canopy).
Jim: Start with Ashby Camp’s Critique:
(we can keep avoiding questions for a number of more rounds, but it fails to be productive…)
Maybe you misunderstood my question. I did not ask “What predictions CAN’T Darwinism make that ID also can’t make?”
“there are definitely a few specific arguments made by ID advocates that are falsifiable”
So when a majority of ID critics repeatedly say “ID is not scientific and not falsifiable” …would you say the majority of them are misinformed or just dishonest?
Don’t forget Chris Comer, fired last year for forwarding an email announcing a talk by someone critical of “intelligent design.”
I don’t think those who claim that ID (in general) is not scientific and not falsifiable are dishonest, misinformed, or even mistaken, because the bulk of ID constitutes standard creationist attacks on evolution without putting forth any positive claims. The same is true of creationism.
We’re still waiting for a scientific theory of creationism, and we’re still waiting for a scientific theory of intelligent design.
Theobald has already responded to Camp’s critique. His article links to Camp’s critique as well as to his response.
“A few honest questions:
What predictions does Darwinism…”
Josh, when you use the rhetorical gambit of “Darwinism,” you’ve forfeited any claim to honesty.
“…make that ID can’t make? If we start with the real observations of: 1) Descent with modification, 2) Random Mutation,…”
Um, Josh, “Random Mutation” has nothing whatsoever to do with Darwin. Moreover, the “random” part, to be honest, is only random with respect to fitness, not generally random.
“3) Natural Selection, 4) Homology of Morphological Features and Genetic material (DNA) between species…”
Darwin didn’t know jack about DNA. What about non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms? Are you honest about those?
“What does “common descent” (i.e. Darwinism)…”
Josh, you are not being honest. Common descent (it’s a simple concept, no scare quotes needed) does not even come close to being equivalent to your fictional “Darwinism.”
“… predict that ID does not?”
For starters, modern evolutionary theory predicts where a new sequence will fall in the nested hierarchies (both organismal and protein families). This is based on purely mathematical analysis. ID makes no such predictions, and in fact, consists of pathological lying about these mathematical relationships, pretending that they are simply vague “similarities.”
“If ID is not falsifiable, why did Ken Miller spend all that time attempting to show how the flagellum is not irreducibly complex?”
Because IC is merely an ever-changing definition, and Behe is so incompetent/dishonest that he can’t even apply his own definition properly. The non-falsifiable HYPOTHESIS (dishonestly stated as fact by most ID proponents) connected with allegedly IC structures is that they cannot have evolved.
“Doesn’t Miller’s attempt at falsification prove that it IS falsifiable (even if Miller didn’t quite get it right and failed in the attempt as Behe has gone on to demonstrate…) ?”
Behe never demonstrated anything of the sort, and you’re ignorantly conflating a definition (IC) with a hypothesis (IC structures cannot evolve).
Hi Josh, I am working on a response, which will be in a separate post on my blog. Stay tuned.
Well, whatever you’ve heard regarding “bulk of ID” or “standard creationist attacks” may be fluff because the ID argument is pretty simple and precise:
Certain features of biology (such as DNA and molecular machines) exhibit designed properties (specified complexity or irreducible complexity) that are only known to be the product of intelligent agents or intelligent causation as opposed to unguided processes.
These observations are based upon the molecular evidence and information content of DNA and protein complexes, not religious books.
Distinguishing between and separating ID’s molecular (scientific) basis and subsequent religious implications seems to be a sticking point for many Darwinists.
Smokey, breathe deeply, count to ten… try not to get so emotional…
Your not making sense: “‘Random Mutation’ has nothing whatsoever to do with Darwin” Huh? So if there is no (molecular) basis for differences between progeny phenotypes in a given population, then what exactly does natural selection have to work with? The Neo-Darwinian synthesis contradicts your statement.
I really love the way you dig into the stories and find all these nice little tidbits. For me it makes this whole situation much more interesting.
“…the ID argument is pretty simple and precise:”
It’s simplistic, imprecise, and is inconsistent with mountains of freely available evidence.
“Certain features of biology (such as DNA and molecular machines)…”
Those aren’t “features of biology,” Josh. DNA is a chemical and “molecular machines” is a metaphor.
“… exhibit designed properties (specified complexity or irreducible complexity) that are only known to be the product of intelligent agents or intelligent causation as opposed to unguided processes.”
Now you’re simply lying and asserting what you’re pretending to demonstrate.
“These observations are based upon the molecular evidence and information content of DNA and protein complexes, not religious books.”
No, they aren’t. For example, explain how sequences (the “information content”) fit into the superimposable nested hierarchies (both organismal and protein families). Then point to a set of designed objects that have the same characteristics.
(note: if you don’t know what I mean by superimposable nested hierarchies, try to resist the impulse to lie and pretend that you can name such a set)
“Distinguishing between and separating ID’s molecular (scientific)…”
Josh, don’t be a doofus. “Molecular” is not a synonym of “scientific.”
“… basis and subsequent religious implications seems to be a sticking point for many Darwinists.”
The fact that you ignored my challenge to name a non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanism while employing the grossly inaccurate label “Darwinists” suggests that you are a very, very dishonest person, Josh.
“Smokey, breathe deeply, count to ten… try not to get so emotional…”
I’m not being emotional. I’m calling you on your dishonest bluffing.
“Your” is a possessive pronoun. YOU’RE the one not making sense.
“… not making sense: “‘Random Mutation’ has nothing whatsoever to do with Darwin” Huh?”
Why don’t you try reading what I wrote instead of regurgitating the bald-faced lie about my position below?
“So if there is no (molecular) basis for differences between progeny phenotypes in a given population,…”
I didn’t claim that there is no molecular basis, liar. I pointed out a fact. The mutations are only random with respect to fitness, not generally random. This is another common lie of the ID movement: pretend that the “random” refers to evolution in general.
“… then what exactly does natural selection have to work with?”
Mutations that are random with respect to fitness, not simply random. Your questions are completely dishonest.
“The Neo-Darwinian synthesis contradicts your statement”
You don’t have a clue, and it’s dishonest of you to pretend that you do.
You don’t have a clue.
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Josh formulates ID as: “Certain features of biology (such as DNA and molecular machines) exhibit designed properties (specified complexity or irreducible complexity) that are only known to be the product of intelligent agents or intelligent causation as opposed to unguided processes.
These observations are based upon the molecular evidence and information content of DNA and protein complexes, not religious books.
Distinguishing between and separating ID’s molecular (scientific) basis and subsequent religious implications seems to be a sticking point for many Darwinists.”
The problem here is that ID’s attempts (mostly by Dembski and Behe) to explicate “specified complexity” or “irreducible complexity” in a testable way that can be shown to distinguish designed from undesigned features is an abject failure. Behe’s ended up drawing a line between evolved and designed characteristics in a way that satisfies no one (e.g., look at what he writes about malaria in his latest book, which has fallen still-born from the presses and is now available very, very cheaply). Dembski has tried multiple definitions of “specified complexity” and “complex specified information,” but all suffer from fatal flaws, inconsistency, and lack of demonstrated capability of doing what it’s supposed to do, as well as lack of peer-reviewed publication.
That’s fantastic! Can you show me this peer-reviewed research?
Josh raises one modestly interesting point: If ID is non-falsifiable, why do we knock ourselves out trying to falsify it? The ancillary claims of ID “theory”, such as irreducible complexity, are relatively down to earth, subject to scientific scrutiny & theorization, etc. ID critics have shown how IC bio systems could have evolved. They have not scientifically “disproven” non-evolvable IC, because it is a metaphysical claim, not a scientific hypothesis. The grand, over-arching theme in ID is that the universe & life were somehow designed by some entity who, even if not God, apparently has such God-like powers that he is indistinguishable from God. This is such a fanciful, out-of-reach concept that it is indeed non-falsifiable—even if true.
As Mr. Johnson, the “father of ID” pointed out in his book kicking off these post-1992 rounds of strife, ID’s purpose is to inject God into public schools. Let’s be clear about the origins of philosophy, can we?
While this commenter quoted above boldly offers a hypothesis of intelligent design, Mr. Johnson and his colleagues at Discovery Institute disavow all such efforts. There is no publication by any of the main advocates of ID that lays out a hypothesis for how ID works, let alone for how ID would work in opposition to any part of evolution theory today, nor any part of Darwin’s proposals in the past. So, let’s be clear that this offer of a hypothesis is the commenter’s alone, and does not reflect any effort to make an argument in science by any ID advocate in any formal or informal setting of science.
Now let’s look at the commenters proposal seriously:
First, there is no feature of biology that is the “product of intelligent agents or intelligent causation as opposed to unguided processes.” And that’s really the whole ballgame. Every thing found in biology that would make one say, “Hmmm! That certainly looks like somebody or something designed it just exactly for that purpose,” instead has a natural, non-intelligent-intervention explanation for how it arose. Each and every one of them. Behe, perhaps accurately, proposed that were such features found for which there were no possible natural explanations, the existence of those features would be one argument in favor of a further search for an intelligent designer. Alas for Behe and the argument, the examples he offered of such features instead had explanations for how they arose, in some cases well documented, but in all cases refuting Behe’s claim. Behe got a lot of mileage out of “forgetting” to list pages of research papers anyone could have found in a good library, and then claiming that the research did not exist and could never be done. So Behe’s claim is founded in inaccuracy and falsehood. Irreducible complexity, to the extent that it is a “down-to-earth” concept subject to scrutiny, has been scutinized and falsified in the lab and in the wild.
What else is there that smells of science in ID? Nothing I know of.
So let’s be clear: ID is based on religious intent, with a hope that a scientific basis might be found; attempts to find a scientific basis for intelligent design have all flopped dreadfully.
ID is a major concession by Creationists to the overwhelming evidences of evolutionary theory. They are, of course, still trying- even as they compromise- to force facts into the shape and size of the human imagination. The human-elevating, God-diminishing stories of literal, biblical creation are themselves evolving and will one day (hopefully) not be a part of any scientific inquiries where they muddy both research and emotions. Better that creationist ideas take their proper (and useful) role in the mythological realm of understanding the evolution of human consciousness.
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I am a writer of what I call a Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece. I have a blog that (mostly) is about the writing process in various forms, but also deals with some human evolution issues from time to time. The blog is called TheWriter’s Daily Grind, and is located at:
The reason I’m writing this, however, is to let you all know that I’m linking this blog to mine. I am extremely impressed by it, just on general principles. And besides, on other forums, I’m constantly dealing with people who think ID “explains things” better than what they choose to call “Darwinism”(where is the Church of St. Darwin, pray tell?) In any case I’m linking the blog, because there’s more to life than writing(even if you’re a Starving Writer)!!
The reason Ken Miller et al take the time to show that individual examples of IC are mistaken is to actually show how the concept of IC isn’t falsifiable.
If it were falsifiable, simply showing that one instance of it is wrong would falsify the concept. But since at it’s core, IC is simply a logical argument from ignorance (a logical fallacy), while individual instances can be shown to be wrong, unless there is nothing left undiscovered, it can’t be falsified in principle.
Paley thought the eye was IC (though he didn’t use the term), he was wrong, and now the more sophisticated creationists don’t use the eye as an example of IC. Behe doesn’t talk much about the blood clotting cascade anymore even though he thought that was a great example of an IC system because it’s been shown to be “reducible.” But neither of these examples has falsified the concept of IC.
Because any instance where there is micro-biological uncertainty about how a process or structure evolved can be plugged into the IC mold, until Biology becomes a “complete” science (no time soon), IC can’t even in principle be falsified. Even then, the argument from ignorance can simply be applied to some other aspect of empirical reality that isn’t well understood, and those guys can sell some more books.
A secular institution that proclaims itself to be a center of open minded inquiry fires someone for being out of line with orthodoxy, and gets criticized for it.
A religious institution, unabashedly dedicated to a theological position, fires someone for not adhering to that position. This is hypocrisy?
There is a previously unknown heat resistant life form which lives in the sun. You can’t falsify it, but that doesn’t make it true. DNA is a code or blueprint which contains millions of pieces of information. Calling it a chemical is like calling a blueprint for a nuclear submarine a piece of paper.I still can’t figure out how a mouse born with webs between it’s fingers had a competitive edge on the other ones. Not only that, all it’s offspring inherited it. Then, over eons the webs kept getting bigger and bigger, against all odds, until they became wings. While at the same time the musculature and skeletal structure also deformed so as to enhance and enable the capability for flight. They have found fossils of bats dating back 52 million years, but none of the web footed mice that kept getting longer fingers and bigger webs. Maybe a mouse gave birth to a bat, and it mated with a mouse and all it’s genes were dominant.
OK people. Let’s take Josh Caleb’s comment, “Certain features of biology … exhibit designed properties … that are only known to be the product of intelligent agents or intelligent causation as opposed to unguided processes” at face value.
Surely, Caleb, you should be able to tell us how these features came to be designed. Watch out though. It’s a gigantic leap to just tell us they must have been designed by anything remotely similar to any Judeo-Christian-Muslim God. Unless you can supply us with evidence?
Ever heard of flying squirrels, DaveM? Your argument from incredulity does not impress anyone.
IF falsifiable not! This means that the basid position – the Designer did it – is not falsifiable. It does not mean creationists are somehow unable to make false statements. They are able. Willing too.
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What Josh fails to realize is that IC is not an argument for ID. It is a negative argument for ToE. That something is irreducibly complex only proves that it could not have evolved. It doesn’t prove anything about Intelligent Design unless you fall for the false duality con.
(False duality con: If not A, then B. It is false because it assumes there cannot be a C, D, E, etc. In this case, the con is “If something cannot have evolved, it must have been designed.”)
Ken Miller falsifies IC in order to defuse the challenge to ToE, not to falsify ID.
Secondly, there has never been a biological structure that has been shown to be IC.
As for Specified Complexity, SC has never been applied to an organism or part of an organism with any degree of success. I know of no organism that has been proposed by anyone to be SC.
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