Sunday, February 02, 2014

A quiz for those of you who think you understand Intelligent Design Creationism

One of the great ironies of the Intelligent Design Creationist movement is that its proponents don't understand evolution and they don't understand what their movement stands for. They can't agree on the meaning of intelligent design.

You might think I'm exaggerating about not understanding their own goals but just think about it for a moment. The movement encompasses people like Michael Denton who promote a deist version of creation and it also welcomes huge numbers of Young Earth Creationists who believe in the literal truth of the biblical creation myth. Many proponents are somewhere in between these extremes but the vast majority think that there's something seriously wrong with evolution that demands the intervention of an intelligent designer. The designer may have just made bacterial flagella and a few other complex molecular machines or he/she may have stepped in to make all the animal phyla. Almost every proponent of Intelligent Design Creationism thinks that the designer intervened in the human lineage to make humans special.

Someone named "nullasalus" thinks that it's only critics of Intelligent Design Creationism who are confused. He tries to set us straight at: A Quiz for Intelligent Design Critics.
In the near decade that I’ve been watching the Intelligent Design movement, one thing has consistently amazed me: the pathological inability of many ID critics to accurately represent what ID actually is, what claims and assumptions are made on the part of the most noteworthy ID proponents, and so on. Even ID critics who have been repeatedly informed about what ID is seem to have a knack for forgetting this in later exchanges. It’s frustrating – and this from a guy who’s not even a defender of ID as science.
I try really hard not to misrepresent the Intelligent Design Creationist movement. That includes my preference for adding the word "Creationist" to their label. What they're talking about is creationism—a being who creates the universe and who creates some aspects of living organisms.

It's never easy to say exactly what "the most noteworthy ID proponents" mean by intelligent design. That's because they can't agree among themselves. The most common characteristic is that they are all anti-evolution in one way of another. Some of them accept microevolution and some accept common descent but almost all of their writings focus on some aspect of evolution that they don't accept. It could be the idea of junk DNA, or the evolution of animals in the Cambrian, or any one of a long list of "icons of evolution" that scientists get wrong.

A great many prominent ID proponents are opposed to "materialism"—that means they support non-materialism, otherwise known as supernaturalism (e.g. founder Phillip Johnson). A great many prominent ID proponents try to paint all supporters of evolution as social Darwinists. They try to link us to Nazis and they go out of their way to denigrate Charles Darwin. This seems to be an integral part of the Intelligent Design Creationist movement and it can't be ignored.

Just read the titles of the major ID books. They are all about attacking evolution.

"Nullasalus" thinks he knows what Intelligent Design Creationism is all about so he's created a quiz to test us.
But I’m interested in progress on this front, and I think I’ve come up with a good solution: let’s have an ID quiz. And let’s put this quiz to critics, in public, so at the very least we can see whether or not they’re even on the same page as the ID proponents they are criticizing.

I want to stress here: the goal of this quiz isn’t to score points, or force ID proponents to concede controversial things – asking ‘Is there a complete and satisfactory origin of life theory?’ is an important question, but it’s not what I’m after here. I’m talking about the bare and basic essentials of Intelligent Design arguments, as offered by Dembski, Behe and others.
Hmmm ... "other" proponents is a pretty broad category. It includes Jonathan Wells, Denyse O'Leary, Barry Arrington, David Klinghoffer, and Casey Luskin as well as a host of other "noteworthy ID proponents." In order to answer the quiz we need to consider all of them.

Here's the quiz. The questions are in italics and my answers are in bold.
To that end, here’s the quiz I’ve come up with, just by recalling off the top of my head the systematic mistakes I see made:

1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

Yes, almost all Intelligent Design Creationists would have to agree that evolution, as defined, is a fact. Unfortunately, many prominent ID proponents can't bring themselves to do that (e.g. Cornelius Hunter).
2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?
Apparently not, because there are very few prominent ID proponents who would agree that all living organisms share a common ancestor. Stephen Meyer, for example, has just written a book challenging the evolutionary explanation for the Cambrian Explosion. Since Meyer is the director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and one of the founders of Intelligent Design Creationism, we have to concede that his views count.
3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?
Their claim is that certain aspects of the history of life looked designed. That means there has to be a designer. Some of the Intelligent Design Creationists pretend that the designer could be aliens or humans from the future. It's just an amazing coincidence that all of them believe in creator god(s). The smartest ID proponents are honest enough to admit that they are talking about god(s) and most of the rest talk about god(s) quite frequently without ever overtly admitting that their god(s) are the intelligent designer.

I think it's quite fair to answer "yes" to the question of whether they are referring to god(s).

We all know that their god(s) are omnipotent and quite capable of doing whatever they want. They can poof flagella into existence and they can create all sorts of new animals during the Cambrian. These are not "natural" events by any reasonable definition of "natural." They are supernatural. So, "yes," the most noteworthy ID proponents explain their examples of design by appealing to supernatural acts. This is easy to disprove—all they have to do is describe in some detail how they think designed features can arise by purely natural means.
4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?
No, they are very, very, careful to avoid saying "must." But we all know what they mean. None of them have ever offered an explanation for design that doesn't imply god(s) or angels. All we have to do is ask them directly how they think purportedly designed features came into existence. "Do you think that God did it?" Most honest ID proponents would have to answer "yes."
5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?
No. That's why there's not a single Intelligent Design Creationist who will admit to being an atheist. How could they?

You know what the "sophisticated" ID proponents are going to say, don't you? They're going to say that the ID movement is only about detecting design and it has nothing to do with explaining design. They're going to say that you don't have to believe in god(s) in order to detect design. That's ridiculous. The "movement" is all about making science compatible with religion.
6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)
No, most of them are pretty stupid but they aren't that stupid. However, I doubt very much that Intelligent Design Creationism would have ever been created if its proponents didn't already believe in the Creator that's described in the Bible.

The essence of the movement is an attempt to use science to prove the existence of god(s) an unknown intelligent designer.
7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?
It's an example that's supported by a handful of noteworthy ID proponents. There aren't any Young Earth Creationists who believe it and very, very, few other Christians.
8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?
I don't understand the question. I can't think of any group of ID proponents who advocate anything like this. If they exist, they are minor players.
9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?
The most noteworthy proponents would probably pretend that this is compatible with their beliefs. Nobody thinks they are telling the truth.
10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?
No.
That was pretty easy. I answered the questions based on more than twenty years of experience with prominent ID proponents so I'm pretty sure I've represented their true position on the intelligent design version of creationism.

"Nullasalus" continues ...
This list could be tweaked or expanded, I’m sure. But I have a suspicion here: I think many ID critics, at least critics of public note, would be unable to pass the quiz I just outlined. Not just unable, but unwilling – because to answer it would be to obliterate some common misrepresentations of Intelligent Design, and for whatever reason, those misrepresentations are very important to people. And pardon the repeated inclusion of ‘as offered by its most noteworthy proponents’ bit – I’m being stuffy about that because I don’t want to see someone exploit a loophole and run off on a tangent.

Regardless, I offer this quiz for ID regulars – critics and supporters alike. Feel free to take it in the comments if you’re interested! I can already name a few ID critics on UD I think would successfully pass the test, and maybe some ID proponents would actually fail it. Perhaps we’ll see.
How did I do? Did I pass?


103 comments :

  1. Roundup Ready Corn was intelligently designed by humans. We have already established that intelligent beings can design organisms. The question should always be about the origins of the first intelligent beings capable of doing that.

    Many of these quiz questions seem to be suggesting that ID does not necessarily invoke the supernatural. But in the end, they must either invoke the supernatural, or accept that the origin of intelligence is in mundane natural processes without a designer to guide it.

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    1. My answers:

      1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

      Yes, obviously.

      2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

      Yes, obviously.

      3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

      No, obviously.

      4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?

      No, obviously.

      5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

      Yes, obviously.

      6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

      No, obviously.

      7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

      Yes, obviously.

      8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

      Yes, obviously.

      9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?

      The nature of the intelligence is irrelevant to ID. ID is merely the inference to design by an intelligent agent, supernatural, natural, whatever.

      10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

      No, obviously.

      How about some intelligent questions on ID? If you don't know the answers to those questions, you have no business participating in this debate.

      Delete
    2. Now that I have answered for what I believe is the mainstream ID view, I'll give you my personal view (which is not ID science and is certainly not shared by all ID folks).

      God created the universe ex-nihilo, and sustains it in existence. He created by primary causation, and nature works mostly by secondary causation. Secondary causation entails material, efficient, formal, and final causes.

      Evolution is a fine example of a teleological process (final cause).

      We infer God's intelligence in nature by an analogy to human intelligence, although (obviously) God's intelligence is not identical to human intelligence.

      Delete
    3. We infer God's intelligence in nature by an analogy to human intelligence

      False. You reason from the belief that there's a god that you can infer intelligence in nature, and then try and do so by making analogies to human intelligence.

      Delete
    4. Negative Intelligence:

      Your accusation of circular reasoning is unfounded.

      The demonstrations of God's existence are many and protean, of which the analogy to intelligent agency (Aquinas' Fifth Way) is only one.

      Delete
    5. How surprising that you would say that despite you know quite well that Aquinas' ways are ways to describing what this imaginary being you call "God" would be (the first cause, the prime mover, etc), rather than demonstrations of its existence.

      So, of course that Aquinas' ways, when mistaken for "demonstrations of God's existence," become circular reasoning.

      Delete
    6. Could you translate that into English?

      Delete
    7. mregnor How about some intelligent questions on ID?

      You do realise these were an IDist's questions, not Larry's?

      Delete
    8. Could you translate that into English?

      Take a freaking English course, Smegnor. You have no demonstrations of God's existence. You've tried the other four proofs on us and we shot them down already.

      Delete
    9. Hey, Larry. Egnor fit your predictions of what IDiots would pretend to believe exactly. Congratulations, though in fact it wasn't much of a challenge.

      Delete
    10. Well, this thread and the comments certainly bid fair to be the gift that keeps on giving.

      Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

      Proved in a court of law, actually. Two words: "cdesign proponentsists"

      In other words, creationism (the Biblical version, made more science-y) and Intelligent Design are identical to the extent that all one need do to convert a textbook for the former into a textbook for the latter is perform the non-substantive word substitutions of "intelligent design" and its derivative forms for "creationism" and its derivative forms.

      Delete
    11. Here is Egnor's genius answer:

      6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

      No, obviously.


      No, obviously, says Egnor! Except that all of their ideas are based on the Bible, as they themselves admit and endlessly repeat. The ID proponents are constantly beating us over the head with Bible, Bible, Bible.

      In a comment below, Andre Gross tells us what ID is based on:

      Exodus 4:11 "Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?"

      and

      Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

      So ALL things possible includes imperfect design.....


      So ID is based on the Bible, and also not based on the Bible, at the same time. When you understand that all ID claims coexist with their opposites, you understand the Wedge Strategy.

      Hey Egnor, let me ask you a question (which you won't answer): didn't Phillip Johnson and William Dembski say that Intelligent Design starts with the Gospel? The gospel, which is part of the Bible?

      (Now I know Egnor won't answer, he can't answer, but the point is that he won't answer because Intelligent Design is a fraud.)

      Delete
  2. 1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

    Compatible with the fact of evolution - yes. Compatible with the theory - no.

    2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

    Yes, but they nevertheless attack common descent all the time. I never understood that - even the Catholic church does not deny common descent and it definitely denies the theory of evolution...

    3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

    Definitely - otherwise, what is the point of all the talk about flagella, Cambrian explosions, etc.?

    4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?

    No, they claim some fraction between a few key ones and most. How much exactly - nobody ever gives you any estimates or proposes ways to find out. I actually seriously doubt they are that interested in that question themselves (although isn't that the ''research'' they are supposed to be carrying out?).

    5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

    No

    6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

    Officially no, and in theory no. In practice yes.

    7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

    Yes, but it's also what a lot theistic evolutionists are claiming.. Which makes TE equivalent to ID.

    8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

    Yes, but the thought that such an analogy describes the actual process of evolution is based on a misunderstanding of evolution.

    9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?

    Technically no. In practice none of them takes the possibility seriously.

    10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

    No

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  3. Georgi:

    [2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

    Yes, but they nevertheless attack common descent all the time. I never understood that - even the Catholic church does not deny common descent and it definitely denies the theory of evolution...]

    Common descent has nothing to do with ID. Many ID folks question common descent because the evidence for it is not nearly as strong as Darwinists insist.

    I've never understood the Darwinist obsession with common descent-- it's not essential to their theory, it has no metaphysical importance, it is just an empirical claim, for which the evidence is iffy.

    Some things like common genetic code imply universal common descent, but there are complexities in the molecular genealogies that suggest that ucd may be an oversimplification.

    I see no reason, except mindless dogma, for insistence that common descent is true, beyond doubt.

    Similarities can be explained by common design/teleology as well as it can be explained by common descent.

    The one thing the debate about ucd has provided is knee-slapping humor, to wit: Berra's Blunder.

    Darwinists aren't always the sharpest knives in the drawer.

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    1. I've never understood the Darwinist obsession with common descent-- it's not essential to their theory, it has no metaphysical importance, it is just an empirical claim, for which the evidence is iffy.

      Common descent of existing life forms is very much a necessity. Did life arose multiple times on this planet - in all likelihood it did, at least IMO, but only one lineage survived until the present.

      And it is not the deep past before the Archaea/Bacteria split (or emergence from the ancient mega-pangenome, whichever way you want to look at it) that creationists have in mind when they question common descent - it is the very recent split between humans and other primates. After all most creationists have no idea what the difference between Archaea and Bacteria is to begin with.

      Some things like common genetic code imply universal common descent, but there are complexities in the molecular genealogies that suggest that ucd may be an oversimplification.

      For example? The differences between Trees, Bushes, Forests and Nets of Life do not count.

      Similarities can be explained by common design/teleology as well as it can be explained by common descent.

      As has been pointed out so many times - if you're going to argue for that, you are not painting your designer in a favorable light.

      Delete
    2. [As has been pointed out so many times - if you're going to argue for that, you are not painting your designer in a favorable light.]

      I am not discussing theology. I'm discussing scientific inferences.

      The theological approach to the problem of evil is another matter entirely, which is not the issue here.

      Delete
    3. Georgi Marinov

      Your post just gave me an idea…

      I for one would like to see a comprehensive list of features that would constitute examples of unintelligent design for the benefit of high school teachers to employ with their students.

      Neil Shubin came up with 4 great examples in his book Your Inner Fish:
      • Hiccups
      • Hernias
      • Hemorrhoids
      • Heart disease!

      I think it was Dawkins who waxed eloquent about his impacted sinuses better suited for drainage in a prone horizontal position of our original tetrapod ancestors. My favorite remains the laryngeal nerve of the giraffe.

      No teleology anywhere!

      More here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_poor_design
      &
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintelligent_design

      Anybody want to add their favorites to the list.

      Delete
    4. Common Design fails to account for silent and chemically conservative substitution patterns, SINE data, indels, inversions etc etc. Nor does it really account for commonality - why do human and chimp make do with exactly the same cytochrome c but the rhesus monkey has threonine at 67, same as every other mammal (inc. whales) except the kangaroo ... sure, the tree isn't perfect on the common descent hypothesis, but Common Design is just bollocks.

      Delete
    5. ID does not posit that all biology manifests intelligent-type design. ID acknowledges imperfections, just as Darwinism does.

      ID proposes that some aspects of biology (eg the genetic code) are best explained as the consequence of an intelligence.

      It's an obvious inference, and obviously true, which is why you guys squeal so loud.

      You understand the threat it poses to your creation myth and to your (ir)religion.

      Delete
    6. OK - I cannot help myself and I am probably going to regret breaking my earlier resolution of keeping regnor on ignore.

      Out of idle curiosity mregnor - are you even aware of the distinction between hypothesis and theory?

      Have you ever heard of Karl Popper's contributions to the philosophy of science and his criterion of falsifiability for empirical statements in science.

      Hell - do you even know what the word "empirical" even means.

      OK... I think I am going to regret this but here goes... I'm hitting the "publish" button.

      Delete
    7. ID does not posit that all biology manifests intelligent-type design. ID acknowledges imperfections, just as Darwinism does.

      That's not the point, Mr. Egnor. The point is that the distribution of those imperfections across different lineages is better explained by common descent than common design. Unless of course you'd like to argue that the designer was intent on making it look like common descent is true.

      Delete
    8. ID does not posit that all biology manifests intelligent-type design. ID acknowledges imperfections, just as Darwinism does.

      Oh, good! So we can agree that the "designer" is either not omnipotent/omnicient or only designs some things! Since you are not, in any way, shape or form positing omnipotent/omnicient "designer," you will be able to tell us how to determine which are designed and which aren't. Of course, that will require you to tell us a little about the motives and methods of the "designer," won't it?

      We'll wait ....

      Delete
    9. mregnor ID does not posit that all biology manifests intelligent-type design. ID acknowledges imperfections, just as Darwinism does.

      No, but the data consists of 'all the bits that ID might posit as Design' plus all the other bits as well. You were talking of Common Design as an alternative to Common Descent, as an explanation of the patterns observed. It is not necessary that the design be perfect, but if a common pattern is due to common design, there is no reason to expect organism-irrelevant features to follow that pattern. Common Design does not work as an explanation due to the factors I mentioned. It is not about imperfections per se, but about the distribution of patterns. If one is saying that X and Y have similar genomes because they share design features, many differences are not attributable to any 'design' requirement, and many others follow no apparent relationship with the conditions of the organism – whales and seals, for example. Their bodies are tuned to aquatic environments, but their proteins are much more like those of Artiodactyls and Carnivores, respectively. In short, Common Descent explains the patterns extremely well, whereas Common Design is (I may have mentioned this) bollocks.

      Delete
    10. I can't help but notice that every materialist here thinks that only perfect design can be designed!

      Perfect design = design
      Imperfect design = no design!

      Seriously the heart is a pump it has parts any designed thing in the universe right now that consist of parts is susceptible to breakdown. What is wrong with people? I almost get the feeling that you're all just angry with God because nothing's perfect!

      Delete
    11. There is however good news for all you angry atheists, God takes full responsibility for all his imperfect designs. So instead of saying... well imperfections show there is no God you can rightly call him out on his seemingly bad designs He's owned up to them!

      Exodus 4:11 "Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?"

      Delete
    12. Lastly please stop using the argument "God would not have done it that way" because I'll bet my whole salary than none of you can do it better anyway! But good luck in thinking you can!

      Delete
    13. Shay GaetzSunday, February 02, 2014 5:39:00 PM
      Georgi Marinov

      Your post just gave me an idea…

      I for one would like to see a comprehensive list of features that would constitute examples of unintelligent design for the benefit of high school teachers to employ with their students.


      There is a whole book on the subject on the level of genes and genomes - Michael Lynch's The Origins of Genome Architecture

      That's where my expertise is too. If you want macroscopic organism-level traits, you should ask someone else.

      Delete
    14. Andre GrossMonday, February 03, 2014 4:23:00 AM
      I can't help but notice that every materialist here thinks that only perfect design can be designed!

      Perfect design = design
      Imperfect design = no design!


      Then God is not omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenelovent.

      Delete
    15. Are you blaming God for the evil of man? I guess you don't really understand how the world works do you?

      Example, a knife is a very good thing it allows us to cut our food and some even use it to drive in a screws, some use them for entertainment, but people also use knives to stab someone else to death.

      You see wherever there is something that has the potential to be used for good it equally has the potential to be used for evil.

      If you have the ability to choose good then counter to that you must also have the ability to choose to do evil.

      So the question is this then? Why does God allow suffering?

      Delete
    16. I have a very personal reason why there is pain and suffering and here it goes;

      1. Natural evil (disease, earthquakes) is the consequence of a world where free moral agents have the ability to choose

      2.) Moral evil is the consequence of those free choices we can make.

      Try and imagine the dilemma of free will in a perfect universe, we will not have emotions because nothing will ever go wrong or right everything will be the same every single persons favorite team will win the super bowl every single time all the time, no accidents no choice to stop and help, no spilling your coffee over the keyboard and get mad about it, because everything will alwyas be perfect.

      Now in this perfect place there is two questions you need to ask?

      1.) If everything is perfect can I make any free choices?
      2.) Can I know what love, anger, disappointment, sadness, suffering, joy in such a place?
      3.) If I can't experience all these unique things about being human whats the point of even being alive, conscious or even have consciousness? I might as well be a robot! but then it presents a problem because can robots freely choose?

      Delete
    17. I almost get the feeling that you're all just angry with God because nothing's perfect!
      ...you can rightly call him out on his seemingly bad designs He's owned up to them!


      It would seem that Andre's cartoon god has just entered the building. Run for your lives, because if the OT is any guide the merest interaction with this "fellow" results in unfortunate circumstances even for the most faithful.

      Delete
    18. Georgi one last thing....

      If God could only make perfect things he would actually be very limited in His power and then you have a leg to stand on.

      Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

      So ALL things possible includes imperfect design.....

      Delete
    19. I have a very personal reason why there is pain and suffering and here it goes;


      1. Natural evil (disease, earthquakes) is the consequence of a world where free moral agents have the ability to choose

      2.) Moral evil is the consequence of those free choices we can make.

      What about the creation of non-moral agents who can survive only by inflicting pain, suffering and death on other non-moral agents? What does it tell us about the nature of God that He created a world where millions of animals can survive only by hurting and killing others (from bacteria and viruses spreading through infecting and killing animals, to some animals surviving by killing and eating others - often in a quite horrific manner).

      Please tell us the moral reason for sharks to eat baby seals, Andre, and for puppies to die of viral diseases, and how this is an illustration of God's infinite love and mercy.

      Delete
    20. What an IDiot. Andre says: "So ALL things possible includes imperfect design....."

      So your "theory" accommodates all conceivable observations, thus predicting no observations. Theories have to predict some things and exclude others. So you admit there is no theory of Intelligent Design.

      As ID theorist Paul Nelson admitted years ago.

      Paul Nelson: "Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don't have such a theory right now, and that's a real problem.

      [Gee, ya think?]

      Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.”


      [Paul Nelson, quoted on page 64 of "Interview: The Measure of Design, A Conversation About the Past, Present & Future of Darwinism & Design". Touchstone 17 (6): 60–65. July/August 2004.]

      Delete
    21. Andre's response to evil:

      1. Natural evil (disease, earthquakes) is the consequence of a world where free moral agents have the ability to choose

      Riiight. You mean disease and earthquakes, which existed billions of years before humans evolved, are the "consequence" of something that happened billions of years later-- humans being free moral agents.

      So you believe effects happen before causes.

      Moreover, you also believe that you, being religious, may assert cause-effect relationships with no evidence to back them up-- none. You have zero evidence that any mechanism linked the cause, which happened later, to the effect, which happened earlier.

      Claims of cause-effect relationships require evidence. What's yours?

      As Jesus and Mo say, "Science is limited by its refusal to make stuff up. That's what gives religion its edge." [Warning: cartoon NSFJ- not safe for Jihadists]

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    22. Andre Gross says,

      I have a very personal reason why there is pain and suffering and here it goes;

      The most obvious explanation is that god is evil. How come nobody think of that? Maybe Satan is the most important god and he's the one you should worship. Pascal's Wager may apply if you like that sort of stuff.

      Delete
    23. I can't help but notice that every materialist here thinks that only perfect design can be designed!

      Andre,

      Your post followed mine, seemed to be a response to it in some way, and yet you clearly did not understand a single word of it. I am not suggesting that design must be perfect to be valid. The pattern of imperfections and perfections, to whatever source you ascribe them, follows a pattern consistent with DESCENT, but not with COMMON design, perfect or otherwise.

      Common Design is not a theory of perfect design, and I do not attack it as though it is. I attack it because it is bollocks.

      Delete
    24. Incredible! For people that don't believe God exist you lot sure know allot about Him!

      The food chain it seems is something that you intellectuals don't really understand, everything that eats everything else keeps the balance, no sharks and seal populations will grow out of control. If the seal populations goes out of control then the fish stocks will dwindle, there is a very fine balance in the food chain and you scientific literate ones as you call yourself should know about these things in detail but you don't instead you make emotional pleas about cruelty and God.

      Secondly I do not believe that animals have a conscience, and the reason is simple, they do not show any capability of free will, had God given them a conscience but no free will I'd say as much as you that he is a cruel God!

      On the nature of cause and effects, effects are never greater than their causes and the can never be before a cause that is illogical in this universe.

      Alan , seriously is a car a perfect design? A Fridge? a House? a Hockey puck?, all these things are susceptible to breakdown especially in this universe!

      Delete
    25. One last thing......

      Did you complain about animal cruelty before of after you had a nice big steak? Pot calling the kettle black much?

      Delete
    26. Incredible! For people that don't believe God exist you lot sure know allot about Him!

      No, we know a lot about what people claim about him and about the implications of those claims. Mistaking claims for knowledge is certainly a problem of creationists and of theists in general.

      The food chain it seems is something that you intellectuals don't really understand, everything that eats everything else keeps the balance, no sharks and seal populations will grow out of control.

      A much more elegant solution would have been for populations to have some internal control over reproduction. Couldn't god manage that? But you are merely spouting the standard creationist claim: whatever something is like, that's exactly the way god would have done it, therefore god did it.

      How do you know animals don't have consciences or free will? And the cruelty of god lies not in giving animals consciences, but in making them capable of suffering. Though perhaps you also have evidence that animals can't suffer? There is, by the way, evidence that some animals have morals.

      Can you show evidence that effects are never greater than their causes? What exactly does that mean?

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    27. effects are never greater than their causes
      You've never heard of a device called an amplifier? And you want to argue about science?

      Delete
    28. "Secondly I do not believe that animals have a conscience, and the reason is simple, they do not show any capability of free will, had God given them a conscience but no free will I'd say as much as you that he is a cruel God!"

      All too easy.

      OK.

      1) Do you believe animals are capable of suffering?

      [This is always a fun one to asks the theists, because they're all over the place on this one. The Catholic Church, for example, did a massive retcon in the 1980s when they realized that people didn't like the answer they'd been giving for over a thousand years. Iron Age morality allows cruelty to animals. God actually tells Noah to 'terrorize' them. Even more so than the Biblical treatment of women, or Jesus' cheerful support of slavery, animal cruelty is the area where you can just clearly demonstrate that the average modern human being is a kinder, more generous, more loving being than their hate-filled, illiterate git of a Messiah.

      You'll have noticed the theists can't win here. If they answer 'no', then they're saying there's little to nothing intrinsically wrong with animal cruelty. If they answer 'yes', then just remind them they also believe in moral absolutes, and spiders eat their own young. Or mock them about gerbils at prayer. They have no comeback, no answers, nothing. If you ever want to see a theologian break the sound barrier leaving a debate, just open with 'so, let's discuss animal cruelty'. The whole basis of Christianity is that God made us as his special little snowflakes and there's a little bit of magic in us that animals don't have.]

      2) Is it possible to imagine a universe exactly like this one in every respect except one being who died in agony once died a fraction of a second earlier?

      [If the answer is 'yes', which it is because 'duh', then the God of the Christians doesn't exist, because we can conceive of, in Christianity's own terms, a 'better' universe than God managed to make. If the answer is 'no', then we live in an utterly deterministic universe where it is impossible for any of our actions or choices to mitigate earthly suffering.]

      The 'problem of evil' is astonishingly easy to answer if you're an atheist. It's the work of moments. Why doesn't God save people from being murdered? For exactly the same reason Batman doesn't.

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    29. The food chain it seems is something that you intellectuals don't really understand

      On the contrary. Why didn't God simply make us all vegetarians? Or provide natural reproduction and death cycles that took care of the problem without predation? Or a thousand other solutions that don't include baby seals being eaten and puppies suffering from disease unto death? If this is the most loving, merciful and "moral" solution to the problem of overpopulation among animals, I don't see it, but you apparently do, since I haven't read anything from you suggesting God is horrible and loves watching puppies suffer. So please tell us all why this is loving, merciful and a moral example for we humans to emulate.

      Secondly I do not believe that animals have a conscience, and the reason is simple, they do not show any capability of free will

      Oh come on. The moral problem isn't one of the predator having a *conscience*, it's the prey *suffering*. Or don't you think suffering is a moral problem?

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    30. "You've never heard of a device called an amplifier? And you want to argue about science?"

      'Effects can never be greater than their cause' is one of the beliefs of Thomas Aquinas that current Thomists choose not to discard. They've discarded plenty of other things as gibberish over the years, or because it's massively inconvenient to some trendy position they're claiming is eternal doctrine this week like when life starts, but they cling to this one. They kind of have to.

      It's linked to the Fourth Way:

      AQUINAS: '"more” and “less” are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.'

      Translation: to work out if something is 'hotter', we need another object to compare it with, and so follow that chain along and you'll get to the 'hottest' thing, and as that's the standard by which all hotness is judged, it's the cause of all hotness. Therefore God.

      It's reasoning from an age when heat and cold were thought to be subjective, that there was no objective scale. The idea of a temperature scale is actually a pretty late one - ask someone in Shakespeare's time, they'd have said the idea that you could assign a number to how hot something is that we could all agree on would be like us 'measuring' beauty or anger.

      The reason those whose minds are clogged with Aquinas can't quit this one is because Aquinas' fourth way goes on to say 'and the maximum goodness is God, so the source of goodness is God'. Ditch the idea that all heat ultimately comes from the hottest thing in the universe, you're ditching the idea that all goodness comes from God.

      It's all blithering nonsense.

      Expect a Courtier's Reply or two any moment. Oh, I just don't understand, oh, it's just so complicated, oh, there's so much more to it than that, oh who are you to argue with centuries of wise men. They won't actually explain, they'll just say I don't get it. Someone on autopilot will say 'privation' because that's the response to the most common objection to the Fourth Way, but that's not actually the objection I'm raising. Then they'll explain how my (admittedly brief and glib) summary is wrong, and they'll describe a 'right' one that's exactly what I just said. And then I'll point that out, and then ... etc ... we get to the bit where Aquinas says that his proofs aren't proofs, you need faith.

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    31. Andre says: Incredible! For people that don't believe God exist you lot sure know allot about Him!

      Actually, atheists know precisely nothing about "Him". This does not seem to have overt effects on human activities. Theists claim to know many things about "Him" (except when its convenient to view "Him" as inscrutable). This often has overtly negative effects on human activities.

      Delete
    32. In other words, refrigerators are impossible, because you require something still colder as the maior causa that imparts its more perfect frigidity to the freezer compartment.

      Delete
    33. Thank you for all the replies guys, let me ask you a question?

      Do you consider pain (suffering) to be be a bad thing? I consider it to be both good and bad. It is a good thing because pain can save our lives and protect us from more harm. The pain signals are a reminder to get away or don't do it or don't go there. If we could feel no pain when would we know when to stop when we endanger our own lives?

      Lastly, there is evidence that shows that in life threatening positions our brains shut off the sensation of pain, so perhaps there is some mercy in the mechanism when we are about to die. Dr Livingston has a vivid account about this when he was attacked by a lion.

      An amplifier is not greater than its cause, its cause consists of the the materials, the energy time and maker of the amplifier, you're confused on that one.

      The rest of the babble needs no response, because it just the usual fluff....

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    34. Judmarc

      Have you ever considered that you are free to choose to be a vegetarian? I have two sons one is 7 the other 5 my 7 year old is a vegetarian by choice, you can make that choice freely too.

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    35. 'refrigerators are impossible'

      Well ... it gets amusing at this point. Aquinas didn't live in a world with fridges, of course.

      What people spotted, though, was that this 'hottest' God would also have to be the 'coldest', using the same logic. If all good was caused by God, then so was all evil.

      So later Thomists came up with the fudge of 'privation' - cold is an absence of heat, evil is an absence of good.

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    36. "Do you consider pain (suffering) to be be a bad thing?"

      I don't consider 'pain' and 'suffering' to be synonyms. I consider suffering to be a bad thing.

      In the example I gave, though, there's no real difference. It actually helps, I think, because 'pain' is more concrete a concept than 'suffering'. OK ... can you imagine a universe exactly like ours except for the tiniest difference: once, a being who died in great pain suffered that pain for a fraction of a second less?

      Our universe: one person fell off a cliff and died alone from an injury after exactly 15 minutes of agonizing pain.

      Other universe: one person fell off a cliff and died alone from an injury after 14.9999999999999999999999999999 minutes of agonizing pain.

      Is the other universe radically different from ours?

      If you can imagine the other universe, then you can imagine a universe better than the one God created.

      "The rest of the babble needs no response, because it just the usual fluff...."

      Ha ha ha.

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    37. So later Thomists came up with the fudge of 'privation' - cold is an absence of heat, evil is an absence of good.

      Which doesn't give you a hint how to build a functional fridge, either ;).

      And while we are at it, how did the great philosophers of the past account for the fact that fire can be made by generating heat (with a bow drill, firesteel, pair of flintstones, etc.) rather than borrowing its essence from a "greater cause"? Perhaps both Aristotle and Aquinas were too upper-class to strike fire with their own hands, but they surely knew how their domestics did it.

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    38. "Perhaps both Aristotle and Aquinas were too upper-class to strike fire with their own hands, but they surely knew how their domestics did it.'

      Long story short: things that made fire had little bits of fire trapped in them. Slightly longer story 'or contained the potential for fire'.

      This is, of course, exactly what some creationists think we're saying evolution is - that God made animals with all the giraffe, bird, squirrel and whale potential tucked away in there. It's the origin - even if they don't understand it - of all that 'a fish never gave birth to a bird' nonsense. In a world where God has the cheat codes, of course a fish could give birth to a bird.

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    39. "Similarities can be explained by common design/teleology as well as it can be explained by common descent."

      Baloney. The frequent continuation of blatant errors in the "design", plus the complete absence of borrowing of good ideas across across lineages, belies this reach. If the life family tree of earth is the result of design, it is unlike any design tree known.

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    40. Alan , seriously is a car a perfect design? A Fridge? a House? a Hockey puck?, all these things are susceptible to breakdown especially in this universe!

      FFS Andre,

      You keep talking to me as if I said a damned thing about expecting the design to be perfect. I didn't. I explained this, and you come back as if I hadn't said what I said. So here it is again: I was talking about the patterns. They are not compatible with Common Design, emphasis on Common, Perfect not even mentioned.

      I'm not saying "it wasn't Designed 'cos it ain't perfect", but that some things (such as silent substitution, where the amino acid does not change, or SINE inserts caused by what amounts to disease) have nothing to do with the design, either good or bad. There is a signal in that noise, and that signal is, loud and clear, Common Descent. Common Design does not cut it because not every organismal feature is functional, not because it is imperfect.

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  4. ID proponents or apologists seem genuinely unaware of the biggest gap in their purported explanations: design is nothing without manufacture. ID gives no account of the manufacturing process. So EITHER ID does not explain the features that it is invoked to explain, OR the designer is also a serial miracle worker.

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    1. The inference to design does not depend on knowledge of the designer nor of the "manufacture".

      The reception of a signal from space of obvious intelligent origin (a list of prime numbers as Carl Sagan noted) would be clear evidence for design, yet nothing would be known otherwise about the designer or the process by which the signal was "manufactured".

      Design has hallmarks-- codes, arrangement of parts to ends, etc that are independent of causal stories.

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    2. Egnor: Design has hallmarks-- codes, arrangement of parts to ends, etc that are independent of causal stories.

      This is a lie-- indeed, the Fundamental Fraud of Intelligent Design. ID "theorists" cannot tell you where something came from unless you first tell them where it came from.

      Present ID theories with two patterns and don't tell them which one was designed by humans. Ask them to identify which pattern was designed by humans. They'll go apeshit.

      They immediately demand that you tell them where it came from, so they can put that information through their "explanatory filter", and output the information you just input to them.

      Here is an example where Joe Gallien is presented with a pattern by ID critic blipey. He goes apeshit when blipey asks if it is intelligent designed, or gibberish.

      Joe G: In order to tell if blipey's string- 100011101001011100010111010101- is designed or not I would need to know where he got it from.

      Of course. That's why Dembski's Explanatory Filter has no false positives-- because it demands as input what it is supposed to output.

      Compare this to how ID frauds sell their "theory":

      William Dembski: "Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?"

      "even if nothing is known about how they arose" is how they sell this shit in church basements. It's not how they apply it. When they apply it, Step 1 is "Tell me as input what I said I could output."

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    3. The reception of a signal from space of obvious intelligent origin (a list of prime numbers as Carl Sagan noted) would be clear evidence for design, yet nothing would be known otherwise about the designer or the process by which the signal was "manufactured".

      Nonsense! First and foremost, we would know that they use technology similar to ours to create radio waves ... or are you suggesting that the aliens just "think" radio waves into existence? ... in which case, they would be distinguishable from god(s) how? We would also know that they do mathematics the same way we do. We would also know that they have a desire to communicate across long distances, either accidentally to us (it might have been a teacher sending a message to a student) or intentionally sending it to contact other life forms. In short, it would tell us about their means and motives. What were the means and motives of the "designer" of the flagellum?

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    4. IDiots have been lying about SETI for decades. SETI does not use and has never used the methods of Intelligent Design. SETI scientists themselves have said that very clearly, they don't use ID methods, but IDiots just lie about it.

      Here's an example of how IDiots lie about SETI, this from ENV:

      "Ironically, though, most SETI supporters are ardent Darwinians...They call ID religion, but find its principles very useful for detecting intentional design from the intelligence of aliens…" [Royal Support for ID: UK Funds SETI Project. By Anonymous. Evolution News & Views. July 18, 2013.]

      Outright lying. Here's an actual SETI scientist explaining how they do not use ID's bullshit methods like "specified complex bullshit" and "irreducibly complex bullshit."

      Seth Shostak of SETI: "...the adherents of Intelligent Design... point to SETI and say, "upon receiving a complex radio signal from space, SETI researchers will claim it as proof that intelligent life resides in the neighborhood of a distant star. Thus, isn't their search completely analogous to our own line of reasoning--a clear case of complexity implying intelligence and deliberate design?" ...

      In fact, the signals actually sought by today's SETI searches are not complex, as the ID advocates assume. We're not looking for intricately coded messages, mathematical series, or even the aliens' version of "I Love Lucy." Our instruments are largely insensitive to the modulation--or message--that might be conveyed by an extraterrestrial broadcast. A SETI radio signal of the type we could actually find would be a persistent, narrow-band whistle. Such a simple phenomenon appears to lack just about any degree of structure, although if it originates on a planet, we should see periodic Doppler effects as the world bearing the transmitter rotates and orbits.

      ...Our sought-after signal is hardly complex, and yet we're still going to say that we've found extraterrestrials. If we can get away with that, why can't they? Well, it's because the credibility of the evidence is not predicated on its complexity. If SETI were to announce that we're not alone because it had detected a signal, it would be on the basis of
      artificiality. An endless, sinusoidal signal - a dead simple tone - is not complex; it's artificial.... such a signal is devoid of the appendages and inefficiencies nature always seems to add - for example, DNA's junk and redundancy...

      Junk, redundancy, and inefficiency characterize astrophysical signals. It seems they characterize cells and sea lions, too. These biological constructions have lots of superfluous and redundant parts, and are a long way from being optimally built or operated...

      In short, the champions of Intelligent Design make two mistakes when they claim that the SETI enterprise is logically similar to their own: First, they assume that we are looking for messages, and judging our discovery on the basis of message content...In fact, we're on the lookout for very simple signals. ...But their second assumption, derived from the first, that complexity would imply intelligence, is also wrong. We seek artificiality, which is an organized and optimized signal coming from an astronomical environment from which neither it nor anything like it is either expected or observed: Very modest complexity, found out of context. This is clearly nothing like looking at DNA's chemical makeup and deducing the work of a supernatural biochemist."
      [SETI and Intelligent Design. Seth Shostak, SETI Institute. December 01, 2005.]

      Stop lying about SETI! They don't use your BS methods.

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  5. Quiz question # 11: Why do ID proponents and others care so much about the appearance of design in living things? Is it because they are just so darned scientifically curious about the phenomenon of life or because they believe it proves that god (their god) exists?

    The answer to that question is obvious of course.

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  6. Let me try that again. The quiz is too long for me to respond to all of Larry's answers, so I'll just respond to the fifth question:

    5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

    No. That's why there's not a single Intelligent Design Creationist who will admit to being an atheist. How could they?


    But if you had read Fred Hoyle's Omni Lecture on "Evolution from Space," Larry, you would know that at least one very well known atheist believed in Intelligent Design. Or you can read my post on it here. So I would say your answer to 5 incorrect.

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    1. I'd have to agree with that. Berlinski claims to be an agnostic, and agnostics are just atheists without a backbone.

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    2. Fred Hoyle may have been crazy but he never would have supported the Intelligent Design Creationist movement.

      I was pretty sure Berlinski's name would come up. I doubt very much that he even knows what he believes. He certainly isn't an atheist and I'm not even sure he's a real supporter of Intelligent Design Creationism. He just likes hanging out with people who don't like biology.

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    3. Re Moran

      Actually, my take on Berlinski is that he is a curmudgeon who likes to pull the chains of real scientists. He claims to be a non-believer in god and I believe that he is on record as a non-believer in evolution and ID. As I stated elsewhere on this thread, he at one time passed himself off as a mathematician; however, his degree is in philosophy and, to my knowledge, he has never published a mathematics paper in a peer reviewed mathematics journal. He did teach mathematics as a nontenured track lecturer as several universities. He might best be described as a not particularly humerous comedian.

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    4. I think there may be some philosophers ( Steven Fuller might be one) who claim that, Intelligent Design is a valid proposition that doesn't require belief in God. Of course, to hold this position it helps if you know very little science.

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    5. Berlinski is not an atheist nor an agnostic. Like the other IDiots he says atheism is bad and causes immoral behavior. That's his best evidence against evolution.

      Fred Hoyle believed in some kind of cosmic intelligence. In one of his books he argued that the cosmic intelligence designed some smaller intelligence, which designed a smaller intelligence, and so on. The intelligence that designed us was a kind of silicon chip, which created us so that we could make more silicon chips.

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    6. Intelligent Design is creationism decorated with the trappings of science (white lab coats and latex gloves in the photographs, some technical jargon, cargo-cult publications) and a lot of hypocrisy ("no, no, we are discussing design, not the designer"). Its real ambition is not to understand anything but to obtain fake scientific credentials in order to fool the sector of the public who can't tell the difference.

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    7. cf9d2dc4-8c52-11e3-a6e1-000bcdca4d7aSunday, February 02, 2014 4:41:00 PM
      I'd have to agree with that. Berlinski claims to be an agnostic, and agnostics are just atheists without a backbone.


      What Berlinski does most of the time is bash atheism and materialism. It's hard to reconcile that with him being "agnostic" in the sense most people would use the term

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    8. Hi Larry,

      I don't know if Hoyle would have supported the Intelligent Design movement, but he definitely believed that the original life forms on our planet were intelligently designed by somebody, somewhere else. If you don't believe me try reading my post about it. I would hate to think that you are being deliberately ignorant.

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    9. @Bilbo

      I'm well aware of the fact that in his crazy years Hoyle proposed that the Earth might have been seeded with life from another planet. He also proposed that the Archeopterix fossils were fakes.

      I find it ironic and amusing that you accuse me of being deliberately ignorant.

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    10. Yeah, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe got the idea that Archaeopteryx fossils were fakes from IDer Lee Spetner, who showed up in "Expelled."

      Hoyle and Wickramasinghe also originated the "tornado in a junkyard" argument, demonstrating complete ignorance of both basic statistics and molecular biology.

      When it came to biology, they were moronic and had many crazier ideas, like Wickramasinghe's notion that insects were smarter than us but just pretending to be dumb, and the idea that we were created by a silicon-based intelligence so that we would manufacture silicon chips.

      Hoyle believed that the silicon-based intelligence had been created by a cosmic intelligence, so he doesn't count as an atheist.

      No IDologue can really be an atheist, because ID is based on God of the Gaps. Sometimes even real scientists fall for God of the Gaps, but when you fall for that, you immediately fall for some kind of god, deity, ghost, spook etc. You have to-- it goes along with God of the Gaps.

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    11. Fascinating. Why the heck did their silicon superintelligence have to make us so that we would make more silicon chips? From what we have achieved so far, it would seem that manufacturing silicon chips is easier than creating carbon-based life from scratch, and you don't have to wait 4 billion years to get your chips if you make them yourself.

      Delete
    12. """But if you had read Fred Hoyle's Omni Lecture on "Evolution from Space," Larry, you would know that at least one very well known atheist believed in Intelligent Design"""


      Fred Hoyle was never an Atheist. He was Deist. He was brought up in a religious family, but he was too smart to believe in the usual Biblical Hocus Pocus. However, he was never abble to shook out Theism. He even remarked that he was convinced Darwinism was nonsense when he was a young teenager. That's funny, seeing how even in is mature years he never quite understood it (or molecular evolution, for that matter; you just have too think about monkeys with typewritters and hurricanes in the junkyard to see that he never got it, or better yet, he misrepresented it).

      Hoyle, as well as Chandra Wickramasinghe, were never Atheists. They were Theists of a particular Deistic brand. The most ridiculous thing about H&W panspermia was that Hoyle believed that his God/Designer appeared naturaly in the universe, and was not the source of the Universe's existence. It begs the question if the Universe can produce such a highly improbable tremendous Inteligence by natural processes, then why not all the rest and just drop the god part?

      Plus, H&W were quite dishonest, I'm afraid. Hoyle never "appologized" for the Archaeopterix blunder (although Chandra did after Hoyle died). Hoyle presented data that was wrong at a meeting even though he knew about it (see A Brief History of Time). Hoyle never delt with the criticism about his Monkeys and Hurricanes not being anywhere near correct analogies of Evolution. Hoyle never answered the criticism presented to him for his ridiculous Epidemiological argumets by professional Epidemiologists themselves. And it goes on and on. He ignored the criticism and kept going on repeating the same thing ad nauseam in unending iterations of his books. Chandra does exactely the same thing today. He uses a mockery of what evolution is supposed to be and what we speculate about the origin of life, etc and then deconstructs that same mockery. It's pretty easy to spot when you know what you're talking about. In a way, they are/were littlle better than the IDists.

      And this comming from someone that loved all those Fred Hoyle books on Panspermia as a kid. Than I learned a thing or two about the subject, and things started looking ugly. I still have a soft spot for the old bear, though.

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    13. Hi Larry,

      You wrote:

      I'm well aware of the fact that in his crazy years Hoyle proposed that the Earth might have been seeded with life from another planet. He also proposed that the Archeopterix fossils were fakes.

      I find it ironic and amusing that you accuse me of being deliberately ignorant.


      You still haven't admitted that the atheist Fred Hoyle believed that the first life forms were intelligently designed. This fact would show that your answer to the fifth question was incorrect. When you are willing to admit this, I'll withdraw the suggestion that you are being deliberately ignorant. Meanwhile, your mention of irony would seem to suggest that I am being deliberately ignorant. In what way do you think I am being deliberately ignorant?

      Delete
  7. To Larry Moran:

    As I explained in my emails to you, I am a big (and most grateful) fan of yours …

    I remain a bit perplexed – why are you wasting all our time with this IDiocy? IDiots are an intellectually bankrupt fringe group with no credibility.

    I was taught in elementary school to pick on people my own size. This is like picking on Flat-Earthers, Moon-landing-conspiracy theorists or 9-11-was-a-Mossad-Plot wonks.

    Even the Vatican has lost its patience with IDiots! The Vatican recently hosted a five day conference to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species and deliberately informed Pentecostal and Evangelical IDiots that they were most unwelcome to attend.

    I mean really – if even the Vatican has no patience for IDiots, why provide them yet another forum?

    Can’t we leave that genre to other sites? http://www.crank.net/

    But if it is quizzes you want – I’ve got quizzes.

    I managed to score 9/10 on this one (although I feel hard done by given one question actually had two correct answers)

    http://www.bettybowers.com/reich.html

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    1. IDiots are an intellectually bankrupt fringe group with no credibility.

      True, in the scientific community, but not amongst the larger mass of people who have very little knowledge of science. Many (most) people are religious and believe in a god that they can have a personal relationship with, and in a world in which evidence of god's acts and actions are always to be seen.

      One intent of ID is to convince people that there is scientific support for such notions that will, among other things, justify inserting religious concepts into school science curricula.

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    2. To finish my thought... it is not the recognized ID proponents that are to be worried about, it is their influence upon a largely scientifically illiterate and religiously inclined population that is of concern.

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    3. Re Shay

      Prof. Moran spends a considerable portion of his time on IDiots because they have some influence on education in the US and have substantial financial resources via Howard Ahmanson, Jr., who is a billionaire who inherited his bread from his father who founded the Home Savings and Loan company in Southern California. Ahmanson is a follower of the late and unlamented Douses Rushdoony, a theocratic fascist nutcase who proposed to transform the US Government into a theocratic state based on the Hebrew bible. Ahmanson is a backer of the Dishonesty Institute in Seattle, Washington, which is the spiritual home of the IDiots.

      http://goo.gl/LbWl5r

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    4. colnago80

      Hmmm interesting... I guess I we don't have these kinds of issues in my neck of the woods in Canada. Mind you - whenever I visit Alberta I get real scared!

      I did some google-whacking and came up with this interesting article

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html

      not to mention
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Views_on_Evolution.svg

      OK - now I get it... sorry I asked.

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  8. Shay:

    Is God's design evident in nature?

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    1. Nope. Those actually studying the genome seem must unimpressed with the purported "design".

      “I would be quite proud to have served on the committee that designed the E. coli genome. There is, however, no way that I would admit to serving on a committee that designed the human genome. Not even a university committee could botch something that badly.”

          —David Penny
      Genome Biol Evol. 2013; 5(3): 578–590

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    2. Interesting that you say it that way when you have just finished telling us all that ID has nothing to do with God.

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    3. Haha, Egnor shoots himself in the foot again.

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    4. "Is God's design evident in nature?"

      What method would we use to determine if God's design is evident in nature?

      If your belief in God is axiomatic, then you're in this Texas Sharpshooter position where whatever the universe looks like is because God made it that way.

      If your belief in God is not axiomatic, all you can do is look at precedents, which are all those of human designers and science. So it becomes a question that's purely scientific in nature and need not refer beyond the methods and understanding of modern science.

      And if you do that, you can say that the most generous possible interpretation is that it's been designed to look undesigned. So, God could exist, but it would be a deeply deceptive God.

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    5. What method would we use to determine if God's design is evident in nature?

      Well, for instance, if we got a regularly repeating signal beacon sitting in space, we'd know it would have to have an intelligent origin.

      Unless it were a spinning neutron star.

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  9. Beautiful Quote - definitely a keeper. I am in awe of Phage and Bacterial Genetics... awestruck actually!

    When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, a majority went to the Ottoman Empire where they settled. There was an apocraphyl anecdote that the Ottoman sultan, Bayezit II was heard to remark: “How can you call Ferdinand of Aragon a wise king, the same Ferdinand who impoverished his own land and enriched ours?”

    As Mark Twain remarked: "History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme!" History reprised as Europe’s best scientific minds sought refuge in America during the Nazi years.

    Forgive me for going on a tangent here – but I strongly feel that modern texts and curricula are missing something important here!

    Today’s Geneticists and today’s Molecular Biologists are standing on the shoulders of intellectual giants (the epicenter was Cold Spring Harbor) whose work remains forgotten because modern textbooks cannot dumb-down their intellectual tours des forces! Intergenic Recombination, Genetic Complementation, Intragenic Recombination and Gene Regulation were all figured out FIRST in VIRUS systems leading ultimately to the resolution of the Fundamental Dogma of Genetics by Jacob and Monod of lac-operon fame... or so I thought until Larry Moran alerted me to Crick and Watson's prior hypothetical musings back in the Cavendish Labs. ( I still think talk is cheap and credit should go to the scientists who first came up with the hard data, but we digress.)

    Anyways - to get back on track... That would be because viruses have co-opted host regulatory machinery and vice versa. That constitutes the acme in molecular host-parasite coevolution.

    Americans have every right to be proud of their great accomplishments such as the Manhattan Project and the race to the Moon but in my opinion these achievements pale in significance to the accomplishments of the Phage Group of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.


    On the subject of "DUD" = "Definitely Unintelligent Design"

    ... I offer by way of recompense the following

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/03/egnorance-combo-arrogance.html

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  10. followup on Jacob & Monod

    http://www.bookrags.com/research/jacob-monod-hypothesis-wob/

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    1. You don't need to convince me. Vive Jacob et Monod!

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  11. It is confusing. It seems ID is so much about particular people that each one defines what it is without a meeting.
    Even my brother YEC attack Id or endorse them as it suits.
    Many ID thinkers want to be great movers in science , all of them, and so do shy from any YEC stuff.
    It seems almost all believe the intelligent design came from a intelligent being.
    Them a slightly lesser number attack evolutionary biology in many or most aspects.
    Yet allow a little or a wee bit more then a little.
    ID is still not organized with rules.
    Yet they do believe they will overthrow the general errors of evolution and add the real evidence that a thinking being is behind nature.

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    1. The hall of mirrors that is Bob Byers' mind strikes again! Checkmate atheists!

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  12. 3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

    Yes.

    http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Puff_of_Smoke

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  13. By the way, "Nullasalus" is short for the doctrinal statement Extra ecclesiam nulla salus 'No salvation outside the church'. Somebody who tries to convince the world that ID is a scientific movement with no religious axe to grind should have chosen a more secular nym.

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    1. Yes, the IDs of the IDers at Uncommon Descent include Kairosfocus and Bornagain77. Clearly, ID has nothing to do with religion.

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  14. 8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

    Uhhhh... I beg yor pardon? The "designer" creates the right conditions for the origin of life (in a completely "natural" manner, i.e. without actually designing anything, or what?) and "successfully predicts" what will happen a few billions years later (like, say, humans will show up)? How does one do that, even in a highly speculative thought experiment, unless one happens to be omniscient and omnipotent?

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    1. The point is that, if you wanted to set in motion a series of events, which would eventually produce a desired outcome, DNA is the last instrument you would ever use.

      Leaving aside all the theological problems... e.g. God sets matter in motion so that evolution will eventually produce humans-- humans with overwhelming drives for sex and violence-- humans, the male of whom has a foreskin that we are then commanded to cut off.

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  15. Georgi Marinov

    re: There is a whole book on the subject on the level of genes and genomes - Michael Lynch's The Origins of Genome Architecture

    Thank you for the reference!

    Your posts just provided me an “aha moment”! I am in your debt

    I am finding this thread very useful! I am completely rewriting the stand-alone evolution unit I teach in Grade 11 high school.

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  16. Is God's design evident in nature?

    If it is, then we can infer God had no intentions whatsoever - good, evil, or otherwise - with respect to what would happen in His universe. Because the nature of the universe, as a wise doctor named Egnor once said, is fundamentally and elegantly quantum, and because it is the nature of quantum mechanics that it is probabilistic rather than deterministic, the outcome of Creation is absolutely not determinable.

    Thus the scenario in question #7 (evolution initiated by a supreme being in order to obtain a specific predetermined result) is impossible.

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  17. I never anticipated some IDiotical rebuttals that may be causing some of my students problems outside of the classroom.

    So G-d is capable of imperfect design?! Is that what I am to understand?

    Interesting - just like G-d buried the fossils in strata just to confuse us and then created marijuana in case we did not manage to get the joke.

    Hmm – this raises the whole question of Karl Popper's criterion of falsifiability for empirical statements in science. But let’s leave that for just an instant.

    I now understand how IDiots manage to dodge contradictions generated by misplaced teleological assumptions. I am still somewhat unclear how Idiots dodge contradictions generated the cogency of genealogical (did I just invent a new word?) considerations.

    Let’s examine their favorite paradigm: “The perfection of the eye” – Deuterostomes possess a most unintelligent jerry-rigged layer of neural tissue that always impedes and diffuses light before impinging on the retina; which is a feature common to all deuterostome lineages for the simple reason that all animals possessing an eye shared a common ancestor who possessed just such a primordial eye.

    OK- so G-d is arbitrarily generous to squids by granting cephalopods what appears to be a perfect design whereas humans (the presumed apex of the scala naturae) get the inferior version. Hmmm, I wonder if cephalopods were in fact created in G-d’s image! (tip of the hat to PZ Myers)

    So why are squids and humans really different? They have different lineages and differences are an accident of evolutionary history! Basta!

    We have not yet touched on evodevo!

    OK – that means the story is a little complicated – check out
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/12/21/evolution-of-vertebrate-eyes/
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/10/26/how-many-genes-does-it-take-to/

    How do IDiots explain the phenomenon of Endogenous retroviral insertions - Ancient but now inactivated retroviruses inserted into specific loci of various genomes? I am at a loss?

    For a retrovirus to be inherited in all members of a species, a series of highly improbable events must occur. The virus must insert into the germline and it must mutate such it is inactive. That new version of germline must then make gametes and ultimately embryos that live to reproduce; and this novel genome must then fixate into a population at that random location in the genome.

    This rare event is usually species specific but can be employed to trace common ancestry between species.

    How could ID ever begin to explain this phenomenon?

    OK – let’s say the Idiots concede evolution at a minor scale does take place… and accept that horses and donkeys have a common ancestry. OK… but then that would mean an even stronger argument can thereby be made for common ancestry between Great Apes and Humans. QED!

    So what are we talking about again?

    How about Pseudogenes ? Shared errors are a powerful argument for a common source. Pseudogenes are genes that no longer work due to mutations. If different species have the same pseudogene disabled by exactly the same mutation, they surely had a common ancestor who shared that same pseudogene.

    Just like several different books that all share identical clusters of grammar and spelling errors, obviously they plagiarized a common source. Similarly, if several different species all share identical clusters of pseudogenes, disabled by identical mutations, then genetic plagiarism must have taken place, i.e. these species all shared a common source or ancestor.

    So its not about G-d tolerating imperfection… it’s about the identity and commonalities of these imperfections that tell a compelling story – the story of evolution!

    I am very grateful for this string! Like I mentioned above – I am completely rewriting my Grade 11 Unit to address this IDiocy!

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    1. Re Gaetz

      You should be aware that Dr. Schmucknor is a surgeon who practices on Long Island, New York. It is not necessary for a surgeon to know much about biology or evolution in order to perform his tasks. In this regard, he is much like an automobile mechanic who doesn't have to know anything about the thermodynamics of the internal combustion engine to work on your car's engine.

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  18. One of my best gigs was teaching Biology (especially evolution) in a Catholic Separate School. I remember a phone-call from an outraged parent demanding to know why I was teaching the Devil's curriculum.

    He sent his son to our school so he could save some money by not having to pay tuition to send his son to a private Evangelical Parochrial School.

    I had to explain to him that our school was not Christian - but rather we were Catholic.

    ;-)

    I caught a lot of sh!t for that from my principal!

    At least I can take some solace that Egnorant belongs to the Fundamentalist crowd and is far removed from Catholicism.

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    1. At least I can take some solace that Egnorant belongs to the Fundamentalist crowd and is far removed from Catholicism.

      Oh, really? Far removed?

      Dr Egnor: "I’m Catholic, and my religious faith was mocked by my fellow scientists."

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    2. Piotr

      Are you f…ing kidding me?! Egnor is a Catholic!?

      Ouch – OK… reality Check!

      egnor represents a bizarre and very anomalous data point! He not only does NOT represent Catholic thinking on evolution – egnor is diametrically opposed to current catholic thinking on evolution!

      The Catholic Church learnt its lesson after the Galileo affair and is probably the most science-friendly religious institution on the planet!

      http://discovermagazine.com/2008/sep/18-how-to-teach-science-to-the-pope

      FTR - Pope John Paul II definitively proclaimed that the theory is 'more than just a hypothesis, much to the chagrin of IDiots!

      The Vatican also hosted a five day conference to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species and deliberately informed Pentecostal and Evangelical IDiots that they were most unwelcome to attend.

      As just one "for example" - here is the text of EDWARD M. DE ROBERTIS inaugural lecture upon his admission into the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

      http://www.hhmi.ucla.edu/derobertis/EDR_MS/Evo-Devo_page/EVO-DEVO.html

      … it would appear the Vatican buys into evodevo!

      I humbly offer the following suggestion – while some IDiots deserve censure, ( do I ever concur!) just the same, while engaging the enemy in this bataille royale perhaps it behooves us to identify exactly who our enemies are and exactly who our allies are.

      It would appear, the Catholic Church should be numbered amoung the good guys. (egnor is no representative of Catholicism!)

      OK… I get it: some here would prefer to completely reject all and any religious belief as silly superstition. I understand and respect that POV.

      Allow me to speak as a public teacher adressing wavering students in the classroom:

      ...publically demonstating malicious delight in ridiculing any and all religious points of view will antagonize and alienate those "still sitting on the fence on the question of evolution". If our goal is to convince others to embrace evolution as both fact and theory, then we dare not tread on our opponents’ corns and churlishly laugh at their discomfort.

      ITMT - we must not fall into the enemies' trap!

      Under no circumstnaces dare we permit the FALSE dichotomy that religious and empirical POVs are mutually exclusive. It is possible to simultaneously embrace religion and embrace evolution.

      By alienating mainstream religion - we are making a tactical error of brobdingnagian proportions!!!! We need to think like chess masters. Do not be lured by the enemy into debating traps that would lose our cause valuable public support.

      Would it not be better to demonstrate dignity and class with soft suasion and gently entice gainsayers into our camp?

      ITMT - I am wondering if the enemy is playing us like fiddles here?

      Just thinking out loud …

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  19. 3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

    They don't propose to explain any purported incident of design at all, because to do that they'd have to delve into the nature of the designer, and they very unscientifically and arbitrarily declare that question out of bounds.

    ReplyDelete