Saturday, September 15, 2012

How Do Intelligent Design Creationists Define "Creationism"?

David Klinghoffer showed up in the comments on James Shapiro Claims Credit for Predicting That Junk DNA Is Actually Part of a "highly sophisticated information storage organelle" to ask about creationism.

He didn't like the fact that I define "creationism" as belief in a creator and anyone who believes in a creator is a creationist. I identified several flavors of creationism including Young Earth Creationism, Intelligent Design Creationism, and Theistic Evolution Creationism. This is exactly the same sort of definition used by many people and it's the one described in the Wikipedia article on creationism. (It has even more flavors.)

David Klinghoffer didn't like that so he decided to make an issue of it by posting on Evolution News & Views: What Is a "Creationist"? Let's take a look at what he says in order to learn a little more about the creationist mindset.

After a few swaps at me, Klinghoffer begins with ....
An astute Sandwalk reader pointed out that Theodosius Dobzhansky, the Darwinian biologist famous for an essay title often quoted by Darwinists, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution," described himself as believing in a creator. That would make him just another "creationist" in Larry Moran's book.
That's absolutely correct and it's how Dobzhansky described himself.
So Moran is saying that no matter how committed a Darwinist you seek to be, no matter how firmly you hold the line against any critique of orthodox evolutionary theory, if you believe in a God as described by any religious tradition no matter how attenuated, you are hardly to be distinguished from those "creationists" who picture cavemen riding on the backs of tame dinosaurs some six thousand years ago when the earth was brand new.
Nope. That's not what I said and it's not what the Wikipedia article says either. Like most intelligent people I can easily distinguish between Young Earth Creationists and creationists who call themselves Theistic Evolutionists. I can also distinguish between Christian creationists, Jewish Creationists, Hindu creationists and myriads of others.

I suspect that David Klinghoffer has difficulty distinguishing between Young Earth Creationists and the beliefs of some of his colleagues at the Discovery Institute who look, act, and talk like they are YECs. I sympathize, but it's not my problem.
I love this. It should serve as yet another reminder to any naïve theistic evolutionists still out there who think they are going to get a pass from Darwin enforcers. It demonstrates, in Larry Moran's artlessly frank prose, the assumption that lies hidden in much of Darwinist thinking: Any concession to religious belief, no matter how tiny, is a cause for expulsion from sclerotic Darwinism.
The fight is between rationalism and superstition. Theistic Evolution Creationists try to accommodate their superstitious beliefs by making them compatible with science. They frequently use the same arguments used by other flavors of creationists. Things like Moral Laws, Fine Tuning, Sneaky Gods, Evidence of Design etc. I try to point out that such arguments make no sense. They don't get a pass fro me just because they pretend to accept evolution.

BTW, in case anyone is interested, I'm not a Darwinist. When it comes to evolution I'm just as much opposed to atheists who get it wrong as I am to creationists.
It also conclusively shows what a fringe community the Darwin faithful really are. This way of arguing, with its irresistible tendency to blanket condemnations, is endemic to the far Left and far Right. Among some fringe right-wingers, for example, anyone who accepts the necessity of any government social welfare program is, by definition, a socialist. That would make both the Democratic and Republicans parties alike "socialist" and therefore, on this bizarre extremist view, utterly and equally anathema.

Why, indeed, stop at calling Republicans "socialists"? Anyone who sees virtue in community is a communist, so call Romney a Communist.
I am not a "Darwin faithful." I do not use the word "creationist" as a "blanket condemnation" (some of my best friends are creationists). I don't give a damn about stupid American Republicans or Democrats.

This would be a good time for David Klinghoffer to offer us his definition of creationism. He clearly wants it to be a word that distinguishes him from some really stupid people like some of his Young Earth Creationist colleagues in the intelligent design movement. Which ones, David?
This is a crazy way of thinking, but how is it different from lumping together anyone who varies from Larry Moran's version of evolutionary thinking as a "creationist"? It's not.
Thank-you, David Klinghoffer, for giving us some insight into how creationists think. It's been very informative.

BTW, I'd love to add a comment to your blog just as you added to mine but there's a minor problem. Evolution News & Views doesn't allow comments. Why is that?

This is not a new topic. Here's some other posts I've made on creationism.

The "Intelligent Design" Version of Creationism

Theistic Evolution: How Does God Do It?

Creationist Continuum

Theistic Evolution: The Fallacy of the Middle Ground

P.S. David, please let me know when you're ready to offer another definition of creationism. Since you clearly mean the term to be derogatory, you might want to check it out with Jonathan Wells, Bill Dembski, Paul Nelson and Howard Ahmanson, Jr.


111 comments :

  1. He *is* aware that you are Canadian, right?

    The lame part of creationist denial is that even if Jehovah was just a "designer" and not a "creator" then they have to explain who used his designs to build life, the universe and everything? Someone or something had to enact the plan if Jehovah didn't, right? (And they aren't very clever at concealing the fact that ID is about Jehovah and his merry band of Elohim.)

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    1. Mike Haubrich asks,

      "He *is* aware that you are Canadian, right?"

      How would he know that Larry is a Canadian when Larry does not use the Canadian spelling for "flavour"?

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    2. Re Ceronica Abbass

      Oh, but I bet that Prof. Moran says oot, aboot, zed, etc.

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    3. One of the nice things about being Canadian is that you can choose whichever way of spelling the word "flavor" that you like. There is no "Canadian" way that's mandated by the spelling police.

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  2. BTW, in case anyone is interested, I'm not a Darwinist.

    Well, since the IDers use "Darwinist" as a synonym for "metaphysical naturalist," which you certainly are, Klinghoffer is at least being consistent, if dishonest. The DI's definition of "creationist" is, roughly, "that which I am not, as long as I'm in a public school classroom."

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    1. John, I usually don't debate with you because after twenty years I'm still never sure what you mean and because you never listen to what I have to say. I'm pretty sure I'm not a metaphysical naturalist in the sense that you mean but who knows?

      However, your claim that IDiots use "Darwinist" as a synonym for "metaphysical naturalist" can't go unchallenged. As you well know, two of the worst "Darwinists" are Ken Miller and Francis Collins. Would you like to defend your silly claim or just ignore the obvious inconsistency as you usually do?

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    2. I would have to agree with John here. "Darwinist", as used by the likes of Klinghoffer, is a pejorative epithet for evolutionists who they believe dogmatically exclude the possibility of anything other than naturalistic explanations for how life evolved - in other words metaphysical naturalism.

      Klinghoffer objects to "creationist" because the strongest connotation is that of a knuckle-dragging YEC. He sees that as being intended as an insult as much as "Darwinist" - which it often is - even though, in a broader sense, it encompasses a range of creationist beliefs.

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    3. @ Larry:

      I usually don't debate with you because after twenty years I'm still never sure what you mean and because you never listen to what I have to say.

      Maybe the reason that you don't understand what I have to say is because you don't listen to me. I know I listen to you, I just don't always agree. But, in this case I do. Miller is, theologically, a creationist. And the only reason the IDers care about the term is, if ID is seen as creationism, it is excluded from American public school science classes, just as Miller's talk about quantum mechanics as a possible area of divine action is.

      I'm pretty sure I'm not a metaphysical naturalist in the sense that you mean but who knows?

      Larry, do you have a strong belief in naturalism and hold that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences?

      Be all that as it may ...

      However, your claim that IDiots use "Darwinist" as a synonym for "metaphysical naturalist" can't go unchallenged. As you well know, two of the worst "Darwinists" are Ken Miller and Francis Collins. Would you like to defend your silly claim or just ignore the obvious inconsistency as you usually do?

      Out of curiosity, have you any examples of Miller or Collins being directly called "Darwinists," the way you, PZ and others have been? Again, be that as it may ...

      Ian is correct in that "Darwinism" is the IDers' code word for any philosophical position that excludes from science supernatural explanations for how life evolved. I did not mean to say that metaphysical naturalism is the be all and end all of their usage of the term. Phillip Johnson specifically equated methodological naturalism (which Miller practices but Collins not so much so) with metaphysical naturalism, putting Miller also in the "Darwinist" camp. The extent they use the term, as always with the spinmeisters at the DI, depends on the audience they are targeting.

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    4. I thought that by "Darwinist" they meant "Devil Worshipper".

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    5. Re John Pieret

      I rather suspect that Francis Collins practices methodological naturalism in his medical research.

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  3. Indeed. It's a bit rich for Klinghoffer to bitch about a supposed dishonest use of terms, given the way he uses the term 'Darwinist.'

    Mr. Klinghoffer, in case you happen to read this, didn't your hero supposedly have something to say on this matter? Something about motes and beams, if I recall correctly.

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    1. Hypocrisy becomes an art form over on the IDiot blogs. It's something to be proud of. It's also called "sophisticated theology."

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    2. Re qetzal

      Actually, it is my information that Mr. Klinghoffer is of the Jewish persuasion so it is not accurate to refer to Yeshua of Nazareth as his hero.

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  4. Larry, I'm curious: If an atheist believed that Earth was seeded with microbes billions of years ago that were designed by an extraterrestrial civilization, would you call that person a creationist? Would you call them a supporter of Intelligent Design Theory?

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    1. Interesting question. I suppose, for me, it would depend on whether the aliens engineered the microbes themselves or were just relocating them. The first would be Intelligent Design the second would be something like IPS or Interstellar Parcel Service.

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    2. Such a person would not be a creationist if they were an atheist. They wouldn't be welcomed by the Intelligent Design Creationist movement because their views would conflict with much of what the IDiots believe. They certainly wouldn't be welcomed by scientists since their belief is really, really, stupid and conflicts with all the available scientific evidence.

      Neither side wants to be identified with this particular kind of kook. Do they exist?

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    3. They would be ET geneticists and biochemists, like geneticists who modify an organism's genetics to have certain traits. Creating life from the ground up using elements and molecules is plausible. I think we could this ET creationism, or naturalistic creationism to distinguish it from the more common variations of supernatural creationism.

      The DI Institute defines ID as applying to "certain features of the universe and of living things". Thus, it applies generally as a property of the universe and living things. Naturalistic creationism would be a historical event, not a general property of the universe and living things. So I say no, naturalistic creationism is not ID, at least not ID as defined by the DI.

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    4. Naturalistic creationism by ETs, if we call it that, is a historical event within the universe. So Insofar as creationism is defined to apply as a general overall property of life or of the universe then ETs planting microbes that they designed and built is not creationism.

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    5. That would depend on how your atheist thought the extraterrestrial civilization came to be.

      This atheist presumably does not think that any supernatural agency was involved in the genesis of the extraterrestrials and presumably they are the result of strictly material processes.

      So all your argument does is to move the venue for evolution some where else.

      I believe Richard Dawkins has discussed this scenario, but as usual this just becomes "Dawkins believes we were created by alien gods" fodder for creotards.

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    6. @Laurence A. Moran Do they exist?

      Fred Hoyle, English astronomer and mathematician was a proponent of panspermia.

      I recall reading that he claimed that human nostrils faced downwards in order to avoid the intake of interstellar microbes.

      He is also the author of the 747 analogy so beloved by creotards although he applied it to abiogenesis and not evolution.

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    7. Even believing in "seeding" ET's wouldn't make one a Creationist any more than "believing" in farming would make one a creationist.

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    8. "Neither side wants to be identified with this particular kind of kook. Do they exist?"

      Raëlians They are so kooky you have probably never heard of them Larry.

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    9. Neither side wants to be identified with this particular kind of kook. Do they exist?

      Don't forget Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel.

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    10. I vaguely remember some ID site saying that yes, evidence for ID does not necessarily point to a God but could point to an alien civilization seeding the earth with genetically-engineered organisms. And I would have to say that IDers who did allow such a possibility are in fact doing science when they look for evidence of ID. Of course, there is no evidence for the seeding hypothesis, but it can't be ruled out a priori.
      And of course, there would still be the question of how the aliens arose, or how their creators arose, and on up the chain. If the IDer allowed that the top link of the chain arose by natural evolutionary processes, then he or she would be making an entirely scientific claim.

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    11. I should change my last sentence to "If the IDer allowed that the top link of the chain could have arisen by natural evolutionary processes, then he or she would be making an entirely scientific claim."

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    12. Lou, you are correct in the ID proponents will occasionally argue that they do not rule out the possibility of a naturalistic "creator" but it's quite evident from all their other writings and commentary that they don't really take the idea seriously. It suits them to pay lip service because they can claim to be willing to follow the evidence for ID wherever it leads, but there is absolutely no doubt in their minds that life requires a supernatural creator.

      The funny thing is, if representatives from some advanced alien civilization did ever drop in on Earth to see how their little experiment was going, odds are that they'd be perfectly happy to explain the abiogenetic processes that kick-started life on their own planet.

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    13. Yes, such aliens would almost certainly have originated by abiogenesis, so this kind of ID doesn't do anything to save godders from reality. But this example makes an important point: ID is not intrinsically non-scientific and is not necessarily equivalent to supernatural creationism, even though virtually all IDers do in fact believe in some form of supernatural creationism.

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  5. The fight is between rationalism and superstition.

    Is a belief in the reality of Hamilton's "altruism" equations superstitious? I'd call it superstition, others call it science. How about Daniel Dennett's extravagant extension of a version of natural selection outside of evolutionary biology, into systems that lack the "substrate" that makes it possible to believe in natural selection within biology? And Dennett's idea that natural selection is "substrate neutral", when it's obvious that it isn't? I'd go farther and question whether or not natural selection is actually a theory, but I really, really don't want to get into that brawl just now. Given enough time and enough space I could probably come up with dozens of things I'd assert were superstition that are intrinsic to the self-appointed "rationalists" in your fight.

    And so much of it depends on whether or not something is presented as "belief", among those who believe it instead of "knowledge", as I pointed out to you yesterday. I believe that those who hold that the Turing Test could really identify actual thinking in a machine are superstitious, I don't know that. I believe that the idea of machine intelligence is superstitious unless that belief includes a new definition of intelligence to distinguish it from real intelligence in living minds.

    Anyone who doesn't keep in mind that science is a human invention that exists only in human minds, regarding science as having some other, objective existence are superstitious. I'd include just about every, last atheist I've ever encountered online in that group. I would hold that belief is incompatible with science.

    Theistic Evolution Creationists try to accommodate their superstitious beliefs by making them compatible with science.

    I believe that God created the universe and all of life in exactly the way that it actually is, known or unknown by human minds and the science that resides in those. My belief is entirely compatible with any ACCURATE holding of science. I would guess that billions of people would articulate a similar understanding of the universe if you asked them in those, specific, terms. That belief doesn't mean that any idea that people can have about the universe at any time is correct. People can be mistaken about the physical universe, as I also pointed out yesterday, within science you and other, equally qualified scientists disagree about things. Likwise, non-scientists can hold incorrect ideas about science. On one hand, you blanket religious people with the adjective "superstitious" on that basis but not atheists who are equally superstitious.

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    1. Regarding the first sentence of your last paragraph: Why do you believe that? And are you suggesting that god might have planted evidence to make it look like evolution happened?

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    2. Anyone who doesn't keep in mind that science is a human invention that exists only in human minds, regarding science as having some other, objective existence are superstitious. I'd include just about every, last atheist I've ever encountered online in that group. I would hold that belief is incompatible with science.

      I'm not aware of any atheist who holds that science is anything other than human enterprise but then I haven't met every atheist. It's possible there are such creatures, just as there are IDers who believe in objective morality but that sort of blanket condemnation sounds like the sort of stereotyping you seem to be complaining about. I would suspect, although I cannot prove, that not all atheists are scientistic just as not all Christians are dominionist theocrats - although a few are.

      Yes, there are scientists who, for various reasons, overstate a specific case or make grandiose claims about the reach and power of science in general. They're only human. More often, though, it's journalistic exaggeration. Most people don't get their news about science by reading the primary literature. They get it from the Inernet, TV, radio, magazines and newspapers. Those reports are competing for audience attention with a lot of others so there is pressure to make them as eye-grabbing as possible. Not surprisingly, this can lead to distortion, oversimplification and exaggeration. Also not surprisingly, the cumulative effect of all this can be a public impression of what science is and what it can do that is rather different from reality and what scientists intend.

      I think that opposing rationality and superstition is a misconception. The religious like to think of themselves as just as rational as the next person and they are - if you accept their premisses. The Jesuits, for example, have a formidable reputation for ironclad logic. The difference is that, for believers, there are certain beliefs which have a sort of diplomatic immunity from challenge and criticism. In their minds, they are certainties and their sense of security and purpose depend on them being true.

      This is not to say scientists are not tempted by the same craving for certainty. Theories like evolution, relativity, the Standard Model and quantum mechanics will be defended tenaciously not just because they are good approximations but because men and women have invested the best years of their lives in working on them.

      The key difference, however, is that while a biologist can at least conceive of the theory of evolution being superseded and still be a biologist doing biology or a physicist could imagine giving up the Standard Model and still find exciting work to do in physics, Christians cannot abandon belief in God and Jesus and still be a practicing Christians. They might move on to some other faith or some more vaguely-defined belief but they would no longer be Christians in their own minds or those of others.

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    3. Regarding the first sentence of your last paragraph: Why do you believe that? And are you suggesting that god might have planted evidence to make it look like evolution happened? Matt G

      Matt G, maybe God made evolution happen to make it look like evolution happened. Or maybe he made people smart enough to see that evolution happened so people who don't care for physics can get jobs at universities.

      What a stupid question.

      I'm not aware of any atheist who holds that science is anything other than human enterprise but then I haven't met every atheist Ian H. Spedding

      You seem to have avoided most of the ones I've encountered on-line including several I encountered here.

      The religious like to think of themselves as just as rational as the next person and they are - if you accept their premises.

      Oh, give me a break. You obviously have missed most of the history of the study of logic in Europe, the beginnings of science, the many, prominent figures of science who were and are Christians, not to mention the many highly rational people in other fields who are religious. I've always found that in atheists that kind of arrogance is usually accompanied by that kind of ignorance. And you started out rather better.

      As to accepting premises, that works quite as much for atheists as it does for any other identifiable group. Or what else could the tenor of your comment reveal?

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    4. Oh, give me a break. You obviously have missed most of the history of the study of logic in Europe, the beginnings of science, the many, prominent figures of science who were and are Christians, not to mention the many highly rational people in other fields who are religious. I've always found that in atheists that kind of arrogance is usually accompanied by that kind of ignorance. And you started out rather better.

      I'm not denying that, in its early days, science was nurtured in religious institutions or the scientists of that period saw their role as revealing the glory of God's creation. Do you accept that the divergence between the science and religion has its roots in the fact that science began uncovering things that were difficult to square with doctrine and scripture?

      I also don't deny that there have been occasions when scientists have overstepped the bounds of their authority. The "Objections to Astrology" circular is a good example. Science is not done by manifesto. But missteps like the Mars Effect controversy do not justify bashing science in general for unjustified arrogance any more than the poisonous hate-mongering of the vile Westboro Baptist Church justifies attacking the whole of Christianity.

      As to accepting premises, that works quite as much for atheists as it does for any other identifiable group. Or what else could the tenor of your comment reveal?

      Yes it does apply to atheists as much as any other group but my point was about inflexibility. I'm think of myself as agnostic and atheist. I don't believe there is a god in the Christian sense because I see no persuasive evidence for one and a number of awkward objections to the whole concept of one. But I can be an agnostic/atheist and still admit I could be wrong. There is a lot that I don't know and something could turn up to change what I think. Can the same be said of True Believers? Could a Christian still be a Christian if he or she admitted that maybe God and Jesus didn't exist and had never existed?

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  6. I suppose anyone who believes in god could be called a creationist but I think that term might be a bit too lumpy. I think there are theists who would agree that the universe is absolutely indistinguishable from a universe with no god. They would have the same interpretation of any and all scientific results with an atheist. This should really be called 'creationism light' A genuine creationist is anyone who thinks there are phenomena/facts/scientific results for which a designer god is the best explanation

    RW

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    1. I think your assertion hinges on the possibility of having a complete conception of the universe, I'd say no one can have that. No one can even know everything that science holds, complete with contradictory holdings and science has nothing like a complete conception of the universe.

      As pointed out here a day or so ago, H. Allen Orr said: "It could, after all, be a brute fact of the universe that it derives from some transcendent mind, however question-begging this may seem." If God created the universe then the universe, no matter how you think about it, could not be entirely conceivable if it includes the idea of "no god". But science doesn't produce a complete view of the universe, even as we know it. Science can't include much of what history does, often far closer to a status as absolutely reliable information than science includes. That's a brute fact about science and history. History, though, is generally far less arrogant in asserting its universality while scientists are more prone to that kind of tall talk.

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    2. anonymous says,

      I think there are theists who would agree that the universe is absolutely indistinguishable from a universe with no god.

      Really? There are theists who say that no miracles ever happened, no prayers are ever answered, nobody ever rose from the dead, heaven and hell don't exist, and all of ethics and morality was created by humans?

      Where are these mysterious theists?

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    3. Well, in answer to Larry's questions above, these mysterious theists wouldn't be Christians, obviously, based on the criteria he posits. But most theists aren't Christians to begin with.

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    4. Larry said:
      "Where are these mysterious theists?"

      After I read "Finding Darwin's God" I had the impression that Ken Miller was such a theist. He might have proven me wrong since then. Perhaps only deists would have such a position and deists are exceedingly rare

      RW

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    5. Re Larry Moran

      Really? There are theists who say that no miracles ever happened, no prayers are ever answered, nobody ever rose from the dead, heaven and hell don't exist, and all of ethics and morality was created by humans?

      Try Thomas Jefferson, although I don't know his view about the creation of ethics and morality. He certainly didn't believe in any of the other items in the list, but did believe in an intervening god, just not the god of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. I think that the description of him as a non-Christian Theist is most accurate (intervening disqualifies him as a Deist).

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    6. SLC, Jefferson specifically endorsed the views of Priestley and Channing, both of whom called their theological systems Christianity, he expressed the wish to have such a Christian church that he could attend and hoped that it would be a view that would propagate. In one letter I know of he called that belief "deism" as well, so it would seem that when he said "deism" he included the teachings of Jesus in that.

      I've never understood what it was about the claims of miracles that got supposed scientists all worked up. That is if it's a matter of science, which it seldom is. It's almost always an ideological position misrepresented as being scientific. Scientists routinely encounter data that they can't deal with and so throw it out of what they use in analyzing the typical appearance of natural phenomena they present. Especially these days when they also routinely present possibilities in nature that would be taken as miraculous if they were witnessed, actually happening. Not that these same scientists have ever seen these things they present as being possible in x over n percent of the time.

      But the same people who can calmly accept the seemingly impossible as a scientific possibility get all wound up if people, on the basis of their own experience, believe they've witnessed highly unusual, or perhaps, improbable events and, from their experience, interpret their own experience as a "miracle". Even when the scientists have no physical evidence to go on and have no knowledge of the people making the claims, they figure they can come up with a definitive declaration as to experiences they haven't had. Sometimes you get the feeling that the sciency guys don't think other people have a right to their unauthorized experience without prior approval of them.

      When there is physical evidence available to study, scientists might legitimately refute some claims of miracles or if they have an accurate knowledge of the people making the claims, they might be able to be able to truthfully present evidence that the person would have the ability to use trickery to produce the appearance of a miracle by deceit (a kind of deceit that they would also be able to practice if they were a professional conjurer). Other than that the would be debunker has nothing to go on. They might be able to compare the alleged miracle to other, similar, events in nature to come up with some assertion of the liklihood of it happening, in some cases. But if the description of an event, for which there is no physical evidence, asserts that it is a unique event for certain reasons, it can't be legitimately compared to other events. No one is required to believe any claim of a miracle, even if they've witnessed it. But the business of debunkery goes past mere personal disbelief into making public claims that, like the claims of a miracle which are made to convince, require more honest information than mere assertions. Only, in the case of debunkery, pointing out that the debunker hasn't presented that information is almost never considered. That's become an ever more obvious case since the rise of organized pseudo-skepticism.

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    7. Paul Feyerabend wrote a short essay about the statement issued by Bok, Jerome and Kurtz(!) condemning astrology signed by 186 eminent scientists, the event that kicked off the beginning of CSICOP. He compared the modern denouncement to the first edition of the "Malleus Maleficarum", another document that set off another round of ideological persecution (admittedly more serious). He pointed out that the ecclesiastical authorities, including the Pope, who issued the Malleus Maleficarum presented arguments that were contrary to their case, including materialistic ones, and argued them down in the Malleus to assert the legitimacy of their case.

      But the eminent scientists - including, as the Bok-Kurtz document was at pains to point out 18 Nobels - presented a statement of merely authoritative denouncement with no evidence to support their denouncement and no refutation of their opponents. Feyerabend pointed out that a number of the very eminent scientists, when approached by the BBC, declined to be interviewed because, as they admitted, they didn't know anything about astrology, even as they decried it out of their massive intellectual authority.

      http://digilander.libero.it/astroitalia/cialtrones.pdf

      Now, I don't believe in astrology, no more than I believe Europe was overrun with witches, but I do believe in the responsibility of people who are presented as highly educated to know what they are talking about and that such people, who don't know what they are talking about, using their intellectual credentials to assert their authority to be believed, are, in fact, intellectual frauds. And that responsibility is especially serious when it is granted the equivalent of the authority of the medieval Catholic hierarchy, today. Scientists are regularly granted, and regularly demand, that their pronouncements outside of their intellectual competence be taken as absolutely reliable. Even when they have no knowledge of what they're talking about. And yet they become enraged when they sometimes aren't.

      Now, tell me why those 186 scientists didn't have an intellectual obligation to know what they were talking about before using their authority to condemn what they condemned.

      I'll point out that just a few months later, their ring leader, Paul Kurtz, demonstrated that he didn't even have the background in statistical analysis to make a coherent case against neo-astrology or to recognize a horribly botched, not to mention illogical, refutation presented by two eminent scientists, one of them, Abel, a signatory, even when a competent statistician repeatedly pointed out the problems with it. That's the infamous sTARBABY incident. Ironically, the neo-astrologer turned out to be a better statistician than the CSICOP experts making a statistical case condemning him.

      http://cura.free.fr/xv/14starbb.html

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    8. What exactly is it that you need to know about astrology before you are deemed able to confidently declare it false?

      Can you enlighten us on that?

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    9. Georgi Marinov, when someone uses their authority to push their opinion as an authoritative statement on the basis of their authority, it might be a nice idea to know enough about it to answer a BBC reporter's questions on the subject.

      Not to mention being able to understand a statistical argument in the matter.

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    10. I could point out that also applies to people who oppose the scientific case for evolution and for human-caused global warming. It cuts all ways.

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  7. BTW, I'd love to add a comment to your blog just as you added to mine but there's a minor problem. Evolution News & Views doesn't allow comments. Why is that?

    I'm beginning to suspect that the only traffic that IDiot and creotard web sites get is through sites like yours and Jerry Coyne's.

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  8. I don't give a damn about stupid American Republicans or Democrats.

    I certainly hope that Prof. Moran is not implying that all Rethuglicans and Democrats are stupid. Certainly he would not consider US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winner in physics or Harold Varmus, co-head of the president's science advisory committee, a Nobel Prize winner in medicine, as stupid.

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    1. I hope that you are not implying that receiving the Nobel prize confers god like powers of infallibility, one only has to listen to Kary Mullis wax lyrical on AIDS and global warming or Luc Montagnier on homeopathy to disabuse ones self of that notion.

      These are just 2 Nobel winners that come to mind from a long list of those who have descended into the swamp of pseudo-science.

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    2. Re steve oberski

      To those, one can add Linus Pauling,
      William Shockley, and Brian Josephson.

      However, I doubt that Mr. oberski would even consider Steven Chu and Harold Varmus as anything other then very highly reputable scientists.

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    3. No argument there, although after having bought into the Linus Pauling/vitamin C scam big time, I would not be using their Nobel prizes as a measure of their competence, especially outside of their areas of expertise.

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    4. Re Steve Oberski

      I would not be using their Nobel prizes as a measure of their competence, especially outside of their areas of expertise.

      That would be true regardless of whether or not they were Nobel Laureates. One should always look with considerable skepticism at scientific pontificating by scientists outside their area of expertise. That was one of the biggest problems with LInus Pauling relative to his vitamin C claims as he had no expertise in medical research. That's one of the reasons why I don't pontificate on the relative importance of natural selection and genetic drift; I'll let Prof. Moran and Jerry Coyne debate that one.

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  9. By the way, does Klinghoffer or any other of the clowns at the Dishonesty Institute ever define what a Darwinist is?

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  10. Why not Francis Crick? SLC, Oberski He was a major supporter and proponent of scientific racism, he wrote lots of letters in support of Arthur Jensen long before his Nobel partner James Watson revealed himself as a racist as well. Not to mention having stolen crucial information they used to get their Nobel. If Shockley belongs on your list for being a scientific racist and eugenicist, you'll have a long list to make. Not to mention many other Nobels who were more appropriately brought up on war crimes charges, Fritz Haber, for example. The history of science has many real skeletons in the closet a lot more serious than having too much faith in the efficacy of Vitamin C and the rest of the CSICOP Index of Forbidden Ideas.

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    1. Far worse then Crick or Watson were Nobel Prize winners Philip Lenard and Johannes Stark both of whom were fanatical Nazis who supported "German Science" as opposed to "Jewish Science", e.g. relativity.

      As for Fritz Haber, if he was a war criminal then so were Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and, in fact, all scientists who at one time or another worked for the military. Since Einstein undertook to study the failure of US manufactured torpedoes for the Navy Department, in addition to his signing a letter written by Leo Szilard (also, of course a war criminal) suggesting the development of nuclear weapons, he too was a war criminal. Mr. McCarthy fails to understand that scientists who work for the winning side aren't war criminals, they are patriotic individuals. Only scientists who work for the losing side are in danger of being labeled war criminals.

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    2. Oh, but, SLC, I've pointed out to you adherents of scientism over and over again, that science is up to its eyeballs in blood, that without the weapons it produces that modern warfare and things such as the Nazi death machine couldn't have happened as they did. The number of scientists who are employed by the weapons industry and, as you point out, that history in modern physics makes Steven Weinberg's wildly popular atheist declaration, "but for good people to do evil—that takes religion" so bizarrely unaware if not massively dishonest.

      There were a number of people who pointed out that Haber was a war criminal. The Nobel committee didn't have the authority to indict him, they did, though, have the ability to give him the Chemistry award in 1918 to help shield him from those who might have pressed that case. Few scientists have ever been called to account for their direct and intentional participation in killing large numbers of people but Haber is one of the few who have witnessed their work in the field as it is deployed. Clara Immerwahr, his first wife is widely believed to have committed suicide on account of his participation in gas warfare. He is also widely believed to have ruined her career in science before that. The day after she killed herself, he went to oversee the use of gas against the Russians. Of course, he can't be directly faulted for having helped invent Zyklon-A, which he intended to be used as an insecticide. It's future use was in the hands of other scientists who altered it into Zyklon-B.

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    3. Dear "The Thought Criminal"

      My patience is wearing thin. If you persist in trying to label all scientists as war criminals then you will have to do it on someone else's blog.

      This is your first official warning.

      Would everyone please stop feeding this troll!

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    4. Larry Moran, where did I "label all scientists as war criminals"? In this comment I pointed out Clara Immerwahr, a PhD chemist as rejecting her husband's weaponeering. I named fewer scientists for condemnation than SLC and steve oberski, or others here.

      If you don't want me to post comments on your blog, that's your right but you don't need to pretend I said what I didn't.

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    5. Re Larry Moran

      I agree that we should stop feeding the Anthony McCarthy troll. Getting into discussions with him is like getting caught in a toilet. Obviously, in his last comment, he failed to understand that my list of names of scientists was not meant in any way, shape, form, or regard to label them as war criminals, only to point out the absurdity of his claim about Fritz Haber.

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    6. What did I say about Fritz Haber that isn't part of the well-known public record that anyone can go check if they don't believe what I said? He was the major figure in German gas warfare, he did oversee its use in the field, and he isn't the only future Nobel prize winner involved in that despite it being a violation of international law as they did it. The Hague Convention of 1907, signed by Germany.

      I'm curious about this fearless, scientific championship of reality and reason that can't stand inconvenient reality being discussed. I never figured that a PR effort requiring the burying of history and the documentary record was going to lead to anything good.

      I've never thought burying the truth was any way to get anything except getting it wrong.

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    7. Dear "The Thought Criminal" (Anthony McCarthy),

      This is your second warning. There will not be a third.

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    8. Oh, don't worry. I think I've learned everything to be learned here anyway. Thanks for providing me with material.

      Delete
    9. Re Anthony McCarthy

      Don't let the door hit you in the posterior on your way out.

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  11. Ha. Someone sent me an e-mail asking me if I'm not ashamed of being mentioned in David Klinghoffer's post. Hey, Larry Moran said what I said was true. It's not my responsibility who learns the truth from me and who doesn't, I figure once you've told the truth that's the only thing you can be responsible for. It's not my fault it's inconvenient to one side or another.

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  12. The IDiots are trying to escape the problem of being labeled creationists. But they miss the point (on purpose), which is not whether they are creationists, but whether ID is creationism (which it certainly is).

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    1. If IDers don't try to ID the designer, then (as mentioned in earlier comments) they may be scientific creationists---they could conceivably find that the first life on earth was created and designed by space aliens. While this is wildly improbable, it is not impossible and it does not necessarily abandon methodological naturalism, depending on how the IDer thinks that the alien creator arose (could be by evolution).
      So I have to disagree with those who say that any kind of ID is nonscientific. Yes, ID as currently practiced is silly, and always has religious connotations. But there is nothing unscientific about the question "Was the first life on earth designed or engineered by some external intelligence?" The answer seems to be "No" but we do not know this with absolute certainty, and it is at least conceivable that evidence could arise to make us change our answer. It is a valid scientific question.

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  13. It is true that there are numerous times when rationalism 'fights' with superstition. But there are other times when that is just used as a rather shallow remark to claim more for science than it has in fact merited. Is it more 'rational' to believe that the universe arose from nothing than that it emerged from some sort of consciousness? Given that we have no idea how this universe came to be, you can't really argue that. Is it rational to maintain that this vast universe was completely blind to itself for more than three quarters of its existence, obeying certain 'laws' all along? No sights ever seen, no sounds ever heard, until some creatures on this one rock in space evolved apparatuses for sight and sound?

    It is neither more or less rational to believe that some sort of consciousness has been there from the beginning as to believe that no form of consciousness has been there from the beginning. As soon as people start going beyond that to create certain myths that they are unwilling to be dissuaded from; THAT'S when the rationalism/superstition debate can begin. But the origin of the universe, and for tat matter the origin of life? The nature of consciousness? Still very unresolved questions.

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  14. "Is it more 'rational' to believe that the universe arose from nothing than that it emerged from some sort of consciousness?"

    I can't think of a time when I saw or heard anyone seriously and consistently argue that "some sort of consciousness" designed/created the universe, and I've never heard of a religion that worships and promotes "some sort of consciousness" but I've seen and heard many, many people argue many thousands of times that "YHWH" or "Allah" or some other NAMED being (a particular "God") designed/created the universe, and of course there are all the stories that are associated with those so-called gods.

    If people merely suggested that some sort of consciousness might be responsible for the design/creation of the universe, and left it at that, I doubt that there would be much fighting about it. But when people say, with self-proclaimed authority, that their imaginary god or any so-called god absolutely, positively did design/create the universe, and they throw in all the ridiculous (and often threatening) associated fairy tales, there's going to be a fight over it, even between the god pushers.

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  15. Twt, I agree with what you wrote, as written.

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  16. Larry, while I kinda sympathize with that what you are essentially doing is that you lump together the deists with the theists and call them creationists. That just is not always helpful and you loose the ability to criticize the IDots if they call everybody that accepts the ToE Darwinists. (Combining these two definitions make people like Ken Miller both a creationist and a Darwinist.)

    It also does not matter whether you mean the term creationist derogatorily if it is commonly used derogatorily. If you are white you just don't get to call other people Nigger without being a racist. All what this shows is that intellectual honesty is nearly as rare among the atheists as it is among the theists.

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  17. I realize that you might live in a culture, or a bubble, where the only time you hear the word "creationist" is when people really mean to say "Young Earth Creationist."

    I don't.

    All what this shows is that intellectual honesty is nearly as rare among the atheists as it is among the theists.

    I'm assuming that you are an atheist in which case I agree with you that people like you can easily exhibit traces of intellectual dishonesty. In fact, you just did.

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  18. It is intellectual dishonest to complain about being called a Darwinist while at the same time calling people creationists according to your definition.

    This is easy to understand if you consider that a large portion of theists and deists don't call themselves creationists. And I'm pretty sure you actually understand that.

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    1. The IDiots are claiming to be fighting for a scientific position, yet they fail at understanding evolution properly enough and they end up calling anybody who accepts evolution a "Darwinism," which comes only to show that they have no idea what they are talking about. If we call ID creationism it is because it is creationism. Ironically enough, their use of the "Darwinist" label betrays them so, among many other things. I for one do not complain of them calling me a Darwinist. I think it is nice of them to use the label and thus show what they really are: creationist propagandists.

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  19. I’m posting below an ‘Open Letter to Bloggers.’ Likely, this letter might raise a few eyebrows and annoy some people, but I think it’s justified and it’s for a good cause:

    Every time I read a thread like this, I’m overwhelmed by the extraordinary intellectual effort, arguing skills, common sense reasoning, and the passion behind the posts and the myriad of comments.

    If only a fraction of these would spill over to some biomedical fields that are struggling to make breakthrough advances, such as the field of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, CJD, Huntington’s disease and other devastating neurodegenerative diseases, the progress toward developing preventive and therapeutic approaches might come to fruition, sooner!

    Timely progress in this field is vital. Every day thousands of people die from these devastating diseases, and even more people enter their tragic course. In the US, alone, there are more than five million Alzheimer’s disease patients, and many more family members and friends that are affected.

    So, what is the problem in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and how can you help?

    The researchers and scientists in this field have made substantial progress in generating valuable experimental data and observations, so there is no need for help on this front. However, most of the thinking and research in this field has been directed by two hypotheses, the protein misfolding concept and the prion hypothesis; the problem is that these working hypotheses are flawed, and they are slowing down the development of preventive and therapeutic approaches.

    Unfortunately, an entire generation of scientists and clinicians in the field has developed their professional careers under the umbrella of the protein misfolding concept and prion hypothesis. So, their reluctance to engage in an open and inclusive discussion about the flaws of these working hypotheses is somewhat understandable. But it is not right; it is not right for the millions of people suffering from these diseases and the thousands who die every day.

    What it’s lacking in the field is an open and comprehensive evaluation of the prion hypothesis and protein misfolding theory based on biological and evolutionary principles, common sense reasoning and resilient inquiry. The field needs your skepticism and inconvenient questions, and your front-line energy of searching for the truth.

    Investigating the problem, writing posts and comments, and asking tough questions are the way forward; and, don’t forget, that these are some of the very human activities that one day these diseases might take away from you.

    I recently wrote a perspective on these issues, which you can use as a primer (http://www.alzforum.org/res/adh/cur/bandea/default.asp), but there are many other sources available.

    Thank you,
    Claudiu Bandea

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    1. Every time I read a thread like this, I’m overwhelmed by the extraordinary intellectual effort, arguing skills, common sense reasoning, and the passion behind the posts and the myriad of comments.

      If only a fraction of these would spill over to some biomedical fields that are struggling to make breakthrough advances, such as the field of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, CJD, Huntington’s disease and other devastating neurodegenerative diseases, the progress toward developing preventive and therapeutic approaches might come to fruition, sooner!


      What you don't understand is that curing Alzheimer while an important goal is a fairly minor issue compared too all the problems that religion, superstition and irrational thinking in general are causing this world. I'm on record saying this multiple times, I will say it again - there will not be a human society to benefit from the cure for Alzheimer (which, BTW, one should no be assuming is necessarily going to be possible - people have this fantasy view of scientific progress as a path towards making everything they're dreaming about a reality; it does not work this way - there is no way to make the impossible possible, no matter how much brainpower you throw at the problem, that's why nobody is even bothering to review perpetual motion machine proposals anymore) if religion continues to have such a an influence on people's thinking and worldviews. With a very high probability, we will eventually self-destroy if this does not change.

      This is one of the reasons you see so many scientists so passionately arguing over these things on the internet and seemingly wasting valuable time they're supposed to be working in this way (even if it's on a Sunday morning when most normal people are either sleeping or engaged in some recreational activity and I am posting this because I just took a 5 minute break from work). It's not the only one and it's not what drives everyone, but is something to consider

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    2. Georgi, by all means your concerns are noted. Religion and superstition seem likely to do us all in the short or long term if we don't do something. Please tell the scientific community to stop arming religion to the teeth. Please remind your fellow scientists that without nuclear warheads and biochemical weaponry, without highly sophisticated delivery systems, without computer programs for pinpointing targets, etc. the religions of the world will be forced to destroy the earth by casting spells on each other. Please tell your fellow scientist leaders/teachers in the Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, etc. departments of the world's universities that they are not doing a good enough job of dissuading numerous among their bright students from accepting jobs in the armaments and aerospace industries. No doubt they are doing all they can, but obviously the students aren't getting the message.

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    3. Also, Georgi, I would like to recommend that in this battle to rid the world of superstition before it wipes us all out, we make a special exception in the case of the citizens of Bhopal, India. I think they can be forgiven for not feeling that their religion(s) is the cause of all the ills in the world, or the most serious threat to their health and wellbeing.

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    4. I think that most blogs on evolution and creationism, whether approached from a scientific, philosophical, or faith perspective, are well distanced from the evils you outline. Moreover, it appears that most arguments and ideas from both sides of the isle are increasingly overlapping, pushing the disagreements farther and farther back in time towards the begging of life on Earth: e.g. did life originated on Earth or it was seeded by a God? Is this issue important and worth discussing? Obviously, but it is not an issue that will put our health or life at risk, because we have different believes.

      I think that many of the evils you outline are brought on by people, or groups of people, that escape the kind of transparency and questioning that I talked about in my Open Letter regarding the problem in the field of neurodegenerative disorders.

      Also, it is important to point out that Alzheimer disease is by no means “a fairly minor issue” compared to anything happening in the world. Please tell me, what religion or superstition activity leads to the death of thousands of people every week, or to heart-breaking disability in fifty million people worldwide?

      And, did I mention that the negative economic impact of Alzheimer disease in US alone is 250 billion dollars per year; what kind of religion or superstition activity leads to that kind of economic waste?

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    5. I'll use this video as an illustration for what I mean:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGEOFipx70U

      It is done by what most would call extremists (of which, however, there are billions in this world - look at interviews with poor farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa being asked what brought them the drought and you won't see much difference in their understanding of the situation) but that's not a bad thing because it illustrates the kind of thinking that dominates the minds of most people even if in more subtle ways.

      The basic sequence of events is the classic picture of population dynamics for an invasive species - exponential growth, overshoot of carrying capacity, environment significantly depleted in the process, population crash, sometimes even to zero.

      The development trajectory of humanity over the past 100,000 years follows exactly the same course but with the added bonus of now having extremely destructive military technology that can do far more damage to humans and the planet than any biological organism could on its own.

      Now, the difference between humans and other species is that we have the mental capacity to understand that population dynamics and act in ways that do not lead to the overshoot and die off part (although it's too late to avoid the overshoot, we're already deep into it). A small fraction of human beings do understand this necessity. But for that change to happen, we need to see ourselves as a species to which the basic rules of ecology apply just as they apply to every other species on the planet. And here is where religion comes with human exceptionalism as a core part of its doctrine and completely blocks that understanding from developing in most people's minds. Note that this is still a problem even if a church is saying that the Bible means dominion over the earth as "stewardship" and preservation - that still has humans as separate and above the rest of the ecosystem, not as a dependent on its health part of it. This is also why understanding evolution is so important - because properly understanding evolution is incompatible with the human exceptionalism view, i.e. the creationism debate is not just about what is going to be taught in schools to children who even if they are taught actual evolution at the current high-school level, are not necessarily going to understand it (I come from a country where no creationism is allowed anywhere close to schools, plus there was a long period of direct state atheistic propaganda - it's not nearly as bad as in the US, but still the majority of people has pretty much no knowledge of evolution), it's about things much bigger than that.

      So a necessary (although not sufficient) requirement for seriously addressing sustainability issues is impossible to be met because of religion, and if it is not met, there is a high probability there won't be any humans in the not so distant future; certainly, there won't be any industrial civilization. That's a many orders of magnitude bigger problem than curing Alzheimer, HIV, cancer, etc.; in comparison those are indeed fairly minor issues (that's not to say they are not huge problems to be tackled on their own, it just illustrates the enormity of the sustainability crisis) - if there is no advanced technological civilization, whatever cures are developed now, will be forgotten (together with most of the scientific knowledge we have worked so hard to generate), and if there are no humans around, then obviously the discovery of such cures becomes pointless. Also, the 250 billion negative economic impact is something simply laughable compared to the impact of continuing on the trajectory we're on right now, and of course, measuring everything in terms of economic impact is itself another aspect of the problem, but that's another discussion.

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    6. Georgi, frankly, I'm aghast. Humans have been religious/superstitious for pretty much the entirety of our history. Our 'footprint' throughout most of that history was relatively negligible. We didn't destroy the earth. We built, we cut down trees, etc. We expanded our population to a huge number. We eliminated competing predators.

      The scientific/industrial revolution, that more or less began with Galileo and the invention of the microscope and telescope, has been with us for a few hundred years. This era should very correctly be referred to as the Age of Science. In that time, we have invented weapons that can destroy life on earth several times over. We have denuded the soil, abetted by antibiotics and pesticides that leech the earth of nutrients, such that we are now near a point of chronic food shortages. We have overfished the oceans, using new technologies of fishing dreamed up in labs. We have meanwhile used the ocean as a toilet, toxifying it with chemicals and plastics.
      You see the same things I do, you realize the danger we now face. And you blame religion?
      I saw the video you posted. I find it every bit as appalling as you do. Religion is culpable, no question. But technology is the reason why we have reached the precarious point we are now at. Teaching people about evolution, and making sure people don't believe in god anymore; you are dreaming if you think that will save us.

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    7. @andyboerger Our 'footprint' throughout most of that history was relatively negligible. We didn't destroy the earth. We built, we cut down trees, etc. We expanded our population to a huge number. We eliminated competing predators.

      How difficult is it to remain consistent within the same paragraph ?

      We didn't destroy the earth but we built, cut down and bred right up the the Malthusian limit.

      How is this different from destroy ?

      I think you have a rather rosy picture of our nomadic, pastoral hunter/gatherer ancestors in tune with mother Gaia, stewards of creation, only to be pushed aside by evil science and it's henchman technology.

      Those people are us, there has been no time for any signifcant evolutionary changes to make us any different from them other than at a cultural level, and even with the technology available at the time, the biggy being domesticated animals, enormous damage to the ecosystems of Africa and the Mediterranean ensued.

      I think you have the causal arrow reversed here, it's not science that has changed our nature and transformed us into ecological monsters, it just gave us the tools to maximize the advantage of our local ingroup to the detriment of the outgroup.

      It is exactly education grounded in evidence based critical thinking that will allow us to transcend our poorly evolved behaviours for living in a modern science and technology based society.

      And while no one (other than mythical strawmen of your own invention) would claim that religion is the sole cause of our problems, it is at the top of the list of irrational and sectarian ideologies that stand in the way of achieving a society that maximizes the well being of all sentient beings.

      And given the fact that it seems to have been accorded a special status that makes it immune to criticism in the marketplace of ideas, viz your constant stream of apologetic verbiage in defense of religion, so should it be mercilessly exposed for the cultural garbage that is to ensure that it in no way has any ability to pervert the course of negotiation and compromise necessary to implement public policy in a secular democracy.

      And I don't think you are really aghast, you just suffer from confused and muddled thinking.

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    8. steve, there is a difference. We had a huge impact on the earth, no question. I wrote that. But we did not face an existential crisis until the Industrial Revolution. And there is a reason for that. And it is not religion. And it is not superstition. It's not even overpopulation. It's duh, the Industrial Revolution.

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    9. steve, I know you have trouble with words sometimes, so just to be sure, you DO know what 'existential crisis' means, right? It means our very existence is threatened. Right above us, Georgi is saying that superstition is going to do us all in, so if you want to call Georgi a strawman, work it out with him, not me.

      We haven't faced an existential crisis before, just so you know. We did cut down forests, so that is, technically, 'destroying'. But that is not destroying the earth. For that, you need technology. You can thank the last three or four hundred years of our history for that. Please let me know if I am going too fast for you so I can slow down.

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    10. But we did not face an existential crisis until the Industrial Revolution.

      Not true.
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v475/n7357/full/nature10231.html

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    11. sorry, my error. What I meant to write was 'existential crisis of our own making'.

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    12. @andyboerger

      I don't think you know the history of the planet very well - the overshoot and collapse cycle has played itself out numerous times on a local level. But when you have a global civilization, things are different.

      You can not blame science for that though - science is the best tool available that we have for understanding the world around us. What we do with that understanding is a completely different subject. Science should not be confused with technology and it most definitely should not be confused with the use of that technology. That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of science - yes, the two things are closely related and develop hand in hand but they are not at all the same thing. Science provides you the knowledge you need to build a self destructive technology, it also provides you with the understanding of the consequences if you use it. Science provided us with the knowledge needed to take over the planet and it was science that provided us with the understanding of where that trajectory will take us in the future - all those ecologists, atmospheric and planetary scientists, paleontologists, and other doomsayers are scientists who reach these conclusions based on the science they're doing.

      Finally, that's an objection that completely sidesteps the main point of what I posted above - the one about human exceptionalism, which is a core part of religious doctrine but is incompatible both with proper understanding of evolution and with proper understanding of the planetary ecosystem and is a major reason why we are collectively in such a complete denial about the situation.

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    13. Georgi, certainly there have been civilizations that have collapsed, many of them due to territorial overreach. But it is erroneous of you and Steve to just assume that our current predicament is nothing more than that played out to its logical endgame. Those collapses did not result in nuclear fallout, nuclear and toxic waste that we don't know what to do with, the hole in the Ozone Layer, 'dead zones' in the oceans, acid rain, etc. etc. The modern age of technology has devastated the environment. About this you and I are in agreement.

      As for not blaming science; well, yes. Science cannot be blamed, but it CAN be implicated because its fingerprints are all over the problems we face. Most of them originated in laboratories, not churches. Most of them were developed by people who had years of scientific training, not seminarians. It is disingenuous of you to separate science out of its results so conveniently.
      Do you do the same for medical advancements? Have you never used them in an argument to vouch for the benefits of science?
      Do you make the same distinction when arguing that just believing in God does not cause one to crash planes into buildings, or to feel 'exceptional'? There are many kinds of religion, many kinds of beliefs.
      Which leads to your point about exceptionalism. Here I am in agreement with you, in that it is foolish and wrong. But I am not convinced that it is a major reason why we are 'collectively in such complete denial about the situation'. I'll go with you as far as agreeing in the possibility that it plays some sort of significant role. But the biggest reason that I see is that people are so shortsighted. It is possible to feel that one is exceptional, a special creature of God, and still treat the earth right. But if people are generally shortsighted, and are led by shortsighted governments and shortsighted business leaders who champion the creed of 'grow or die' (which should really be called 'grow AND die'), then you're in trouble.

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    14. @Georgi, andyboerger, steve

      I have yet to come across any current mainstream cultural, social, or even political platform that is explicitly promoting evil for the sake of evil.

      Take, for example, the video example you posted above. Possibly, it is no more than a sensible (form the producer’s perspective) marketing approach of selling some videos and making a living from it. Obviously, you would not be able to sell a product/service like that without appealing emotionally and culturally to your potential audience. And this scenario might apply to many other ‘evils’ you describe in your comments.

      In my Open Letter above, I bring forward this very fundamental issue when I say:

      “Unfortunately, an entire generation of scientists and clinicians in the field have developed their professional career under the umbrella of the protein misfolding concept and prion hypothesis. So, their reluctance to engage in an open and inclusive discussion about the flaws of these working hypotheses is somewhat understandable”

      Let’s say that the protein misfolding concept and the prion hypothesis are indeed flawed. And, consider that you are among the prevalent group of thousands of scientists who have built their professional career working on and promoting these misleading working hypotheses.

      What will you do?

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    15. Claudiu, I don't imagine that any one of us believes that organizations - political, religious, scientific, otherwise - are 'promoting evil for the sake of evil'. I think none of us is referring to 'evil'; we are referring to damage. We have different perspectives as to what is causing that damage, and perhaps as to what, specifically, that damage is. But, speaking for myself, I don't get the impression that Steve or Georgi are demonizing religion, and I hope that is not the impression I give in regard to science.

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  20. ID proponents and creationists use the terms Darwinist / Evolutionist interchangeably. In the broader sense they call everybody who accepts the ToE that. In the narrower sense only the atheists. While that is in principle legitimate it's a rhetoric device used condescendingly, painting the ToE as an ideology and alluding to social Darwinism.

    The meaning that a Darwinist is somebody who emphasizes natural selection over Neutral theory or evo-devo is largely made up. Virtually no evolutionary biologist or other biologist calls herself a Darwinist to express that difference. Hence the intellectual dishonesty.

    And if you want to prove me wrong please show me quotations where somebody calls himself a Darwinist to express that difference.

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    1. I wouldn't say that the distinction of a Darwinist as someone who is inclined to attribute most of evolutionary change to natural selection is "largely made up." If by "made up" you mean "it's coming out of somebody's ass," then your description would not be accurate because the distinction comes to mind somewhat understandably. After all, Darwin's main focus was natural selection. Darwinist is not my preferred term, but no such thing as intellectual dishonesty.

      Whether the selectionists (which is the label I prefer, rather than "Darwinist," but they probably would not like it) generally call themselves Darwinists I do not know. I knew one who did call himself a Darwinist, but that is too small a sample.

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    2. The meaning that a Darwinist is somebody who emphasizes natural selection over Neutral theory or evo-devo is largely made up. Virtually no evolutionary biologist or other biologist calls herself a Darwinist to express that difference. Hence the intellectual dishonesty.

      This is a case where, if you'd bothered to follow the links I gave you, you would have seen examples of scientists who use the word "Darwinist" as I do. It's also a case where reading the Wikipedia article on "Darwinism" would help you overcome your ignorance.

      There are several ways to use the word "Darwinism." I am not a Darwinist, using the definition I prefer. In fact, there's no reasonable definition of "Darwinism" that accurately describes my views on evolutionary theory yet the creationists frequently refer to me as a Darwinist.

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    3. Thanks Larry, I had not seen that you gave this person some links. They are quite helpful.

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    4. Darwinists like Larry sometimes don't read third paragraphs so I will repeat: And if you want to prove me wrong please show me quotations where somebody calls himself a Darwinist to express that difference.

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    5. anon10,

      The problem you are having seems to be that you do not really know what it takes to prove you wrong. Those who accept evolution and tend to blame natural selection for most evolved features calling themselves Darwinists is one thing. Whether the term is "Darwinist" is proper for such subset of people who accept evolution is another. Your charge, in case you don't remember, was about intellectual dishonesty. We have shown you that there's no such thing. All you have to do to understand why is follow the links that Larry provided, or, if you are too lazy (which would be quite ironic being lazy to understand while accusing others of intellectual dishonesty), then at least try and understand why the term would be proper for those inclined to blame natural selection for whatever features they find among life forms, and quite wrong when used to describe just about anybody who accepts evolution.

      It seems like you don't read any paragraphs. If you cared you would have stopped calling Larry a Darwinist by now. So the intellectual dishonesty seems to be all yours. Compounded with intellectual laziness, stupidity, or both.

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    6. Look Negative Entropy,

      the Americans have a strange habit. They call toilets restrooms although that is clearly wrong. Because restrooms are not toilets. At the same token the Australians call flip flops thongs. Which is clearly wrong because thongs are not flip flops. The British call French fries chips which is clearly wrong because chips are clearly not French fries.

      But you and Larry are ordinary Evolutionists / Darwinists. There is nothing special about you to justify to call you any differently.

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    7. Well, I tried and you don't care. Fine. It's your choice to remain uneducated.

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    8. "There is nothing special about you to justify to call you any differently."

      Despite thinking that the significant majority of evolutionary change is due to a mechanism that wasn't discovered (by Sewall Wright) until half a century after Darwin's death and which Darwin never himself proposed? It's more reasonable to call such a person a "Darwinist", even though Darwin only proposed natural selection and sexual selection, and his name has become identified with natural selection especially? That's not going to be in the slightest way misleading?

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  21. But you and Larry are ordinary Evolutionists / Darwinists. There is nothing special about you to justify to call you any differently

    Would you agree that all Darwinists are evolutionists but not all evolutionists are Darwinists? If you do then it is at least possible for Larry to be a Gouldian pluralist evolutionist but not a Darwinist, isn't it? This may seem trivial to intelligent design/creationists just as the difference between Methodists and Congregationalists may seem trivial to Muslims, for whom they are all just Christians but it's not.

    BTW, brawny British chips are vastly superior to anorexic French Fries.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know. Do you agree that all Mormons are Christians but not all Christians are Mormons? If you do then how is it possible that the Catholic church does not consider Mormons to be Christians?

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    2. Who frigg'n cares? Mormons are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Ask Obama's mother, Romney's father-in-law and Pope John Paul II.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism_for_the_dead

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  22. I am YEC and the only time we could ride dinosaurs was before the fall and then they didn't look like they did later as killers. cave men never exited or rather poor sampling of mankind at any time.

    In the study of nature there has been and is a conclusion that a thinking being, greater by far then our thinking, created the universe and earth.
    Everyone in history thought so.
    so thinking people assert or defend that this BEING did create the universe.
    If they say he did or didn't there is no fingerprints to tell so.
    So people defend the universe has the fingerprints of this creator.
    Then people deny its as the historic writings teach in gEnesis etc.
    So people defend these historic writings as true and attack opposing ideas to these writings.

    If its about a creator and the contention is against those who deny the creator then the defenders of the creator are creationists.
    Damn proud of it! The smarter chaps we think!

    There are important segregated species of the creationists as can be shown by different species names and descriptions.

    If there is lumping together then all creationists should be proud in such company of revolutionaries.

    P.S. Remember the old saying. If your not riding the dino your be run over!

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    Replies
    1. cave men never exited or rather poor sampling of mankind at any time.

      So, according to Booby Byers, Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, Home Ergaster, Australopithecus Afarensis, etc. never existed. All the scientists who have studied these species are wrong and Booby Byers, who doesn't know his posterior orifice from a hole in the ground is right, based on the writings of iron age goat herders. Ho, ho, ho and need I say ha, ha, ha.

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    2. And Mr Byers is wrong about dino-riding not having been practised since the fall. People occasionally ride dinosaurs (theropods) even today:

      http://webassets.scea.com/forums/35957_Ostrich-Riding_20110725579_5186.jpg

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    3. @Piotr Gasiorowski

      You are wrong. Dinosaurs and Ostriches belongs to different kinds.

      Ask Denny or Mr. Byers.

      ;P

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  23. I am YEC and the only time we could ride dinosaurs was before the fall and then they didn't look like they did later as killers. cave men never exited or rather poor sampling of mankind at any time.

    In the study of nature there has been and is a conclusion that a thinking being, greater by far then our thinking, created the universe and earth.
    Everyone in history thought so.
    so thinking people assert or defend that this BEING did create the universe.
    If they say he did or didn't there is no fingerprints to tell so.
    So people defend the universe has the fingerprints of this creator.
    Then people deny its as the historic writings teach in gEnesis etc.
    So people defend these historic writings as true and attack opposing ideas to these writings.

    If its about a creator and the contention is against those who deny the creator then the defenders of the creator are creationists.
    Damn proud of it! The smarter chaps we think!

    There are important segregated species of the creationists as can be shown by different species names and descriptions.

    If there is lumping together then all creationists should be proud in such company of revolutionaries.

    P.S. Remember the old saying. If your not riding the dino your be run over!

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  24. Definition.

    Mankind has always believed a thinking being, greater then we think, created the universe and earth.

    Amongst those who study nature or think about there are contentions on the origins of the universe.
    There are those who say this BEING never existed. Then people say this BEING does exist but there is no evidence in the universe for this being.
    There are those who say there is this evidence or fingerprints for this BEING.

    Then people say there is no evidence and evidence against this creator as described in the historical writings called Genesis.
    There are people who say there is evidence for these writings being true and other ideas are untrue that contradict Genesis.

    All those who contend and defend for this CREATOR are creationists since they argue against someone denying some or all of the creator's acts.
    There are several species with names and descriptions that classify them.

    If folks lump them together then Yes its poor research but one should be glad to be in such company of modern revolutionaries.

    We were here first and will remain at the end.
    We are the good guys and a wee bit smarter.

    By the way. Remember the old saying.
    If your not riding the dinosaur then your being run over by it!
    (Somewhere in Genesis it says this! can't quote chapter and verse)

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  25. Larry - there you go again being disrespectful to a proponent of intelligent design.

    Creationism could be taken loosely as the idea that life on earth and the universe was created. Which would put even Richard Dawkins into a creationist category, according to his comments in Expelled:

    "It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer."

    I would define creationism as many refer to it - a belief in the account of creation as detailed in the book of Genesis in the Holy Bible.

    Proponents of intelligent design theory are not automatically "creationists" and it is a lazy mistake to label them so because it means your job is done - you don't have to debate with them on the merits of their scientific research!

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    1. If so perhaps this superior civilization made videotapes of earth's biological etc beginnings!
      If they are monitoring us they could help progress us all by sending these videos to youtube or something!

      Its a funny thing to me how easily evolutionists etc drop the bubbles to buffaloes idea if they can invoke seeding from outer space.
      On old Star Trek they mostly said we evolved but sometimes they said our first people came from elsewhere.
      Its like thee is a great unconscience desire for any explanation except the historic in the writing's.!

      Sorry folks. Ain't nobody out there.
      Its just the first eternity we were to use. Then the fall came and eternity went elsewhere!

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    2. Globe Trotter said:

      "Proponents of intelligent design theory are not automatically "creationists" and it is a lazy mistake to label them so because it means your job is done - you don't have to debate with them on the merits of their scientific research!"

      Surely you jest?

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    3. Globe Trotter:

      "Proponents of intelligent design theory are not automatically "creationists" and it is a lazy mistake to label them so because it means your job is done - you don't have to debate with them on the merits of their scientific research!"

      Yes, that would be quite difficult — even finding meritorious scientific research from intelligent design advocates to debate about would be like going on a hunt for Prester John's kingdom.

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    4. Globe Trotter says,

      Larry - there you go again being disrespectful to a proponent of intelligent design.

      I'm constantly disrespectful of IDiots. If you're going to document every instance of that then I'll have to make a new post just for you. I've posted 4,200 articles so I bet there are at least 4,000 examples of my disrespect for Intelligent Design Creationists. If you post links to all of them then that will make 8,000 examples on my blog.

      Go for it.

      Proponents of intelligent design theory are not automatically "creationists" and it is a lazy mistake to label them so because it means your job is done - you don't have to debate with them on the merits of their scientific research!

      It may have escaped your notice that I spend a great deal of time debating the merits, or lack of merits, of scientific research with proponents of Intelligent Design Creationism. I've also debated scientific issues with Theistic Evolution Creationists. I've even, on occasion, debated science issues with Young Earth Creationists.

      Your statement is ridiculous. You should pay closer attention to my posts.

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    5. I have never thought to mix together my religion and science. My view about biology is exceptional because of the following Annila´s (difficult) theories

      http://www.helsinki.fi/~aannila/arto/

      and intuitively to the whole universum (to biology too) generalized Feynman´s path-integral (of which is a good explanation in Mlodinow´s and Hawking´s book). I therefore defined myself as an intelligent cell (IC) -theorist.
      (My real field is not biology but mathematics etc.)

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