Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"Intelligent Design" has NOTHING to do with religion - nope - all science!

So they tell us.

But have a look at this - it is a list of screenings of the movie. Note the locations of almost all of them.

Just a coincidence, I am sure.

24 comments:

NomadSoul said...

You think that's interesting, you should see the content of the movie and hear what the people working the screenings say afterwards. The movie says that ID isn't religious, and then proceeds to spend a large amount of time trying to demonstrate that learning about evolution makes you an atheist and that those scientists are trying to turn the entire world atheistic. If there was no religious motive then that would be irrelevant. Of course it's doubly irrelevant since it's an argument from consequences that fails to address the validity of the theory of evolution at all.

And afterwards the two websites for the movie are mentioned. One is said to be more for the movie itself, and one (getexpelled.com) is described as being for the "people of faith". It contains information about how to go about setting up expelled meetings at your church, has information for church leaders...

So yeah, the claim of lack of religious motivation rings even more hollow. The screenings are held in religious locations, the movie is primarily composed of content designed to convince the religious that science is a threat to their beliefs, the attendees to the screenings are primarily religiously motivated (this can be demonstrated because almost every single conversation I heard while waiting for the movie to start revolved around religion, and often included anti science sentiment), and the promotional material for the movie is targeted towards a religious audience.

But they say it's not religious, and otherwise they haven't given me any reason to doubt their integrity. I mean it's not like they lied about the identity of the movie when trying to secure interviews with respected scientists, or that they misrepresent historical events such as the holocaust in order to advance their agenda, or that they lie through omission in order to paint a picture of discrimination against sub par scientists who failed to make the grade and then cried persecution instead of trying harder.

Oh wait, they did do all that.

Gee, these really are some despicable individuals.

Jason said...

So churches requesting and getting screenings of this film unequivocally means ID = religion? Did I get it right that that's what you're arguing?

Doppelganger said...

You don't seem to get much, Jason.

You jump to illogical concluions.

ID IS creationism IS religion.

Sure, there are a few token folk that claim that they are not religious, and thus ID is not, but if it is all science, why screen this crappy movie in almost exclusively religious venues?

Suppose a group of folks put out a video declaring that the Holocaust never happened. Supoose that they claim to have all sorts of empirical evidence, that they are not anti-Semitic, that there are many scxholars and historians who agree with the premise, and they are "expelled" from academuia.

They screen their film at KKK rallies and Aryan brotherhood meetings.

No connection, right?

kwekeljo said...

To claim that ID, if shown to be true, does not have any religious implications is absurd. (Look at the turmoil that Big Bang Cosmology caused in its religious implications!)

But equally absurd is the claim that ID is only supported by religious belief. Dembski, Behe and others have clearly shown how empirical data and scientific questions drive the ID enterprise in assessing whether Darwinian mechanisms can accound for ALL biological diversity.

The fact that knuckle-dragging Darwinists like yourself can't parse out the separation in these points does not bode well for your position. I suggest engaging the real arguments, not just the strawmen like "ID is religion".

Jason said...

>ID IS creationism IS religion.

ROFLMAO!!!! Your intellectual dishonesty is unbecoming. Absolutely NO ONE but liars for atheism like you and PZ make such a claim. Oh, but please, dredge up the "cdesign proponentsists" canard as "proof" again. I always love to see that.

scripto said...

"But equally absurd is the claim that ID is only supported by religious belief. Dembski, Behe and others have clearly shown how empirical data and scientific questions drive the ID enterprise in assessing whether Darwinian mechanisms can accound for ALL biological diversity."

Clearly shown? I'm having trouble locating anything in the appropriate journals regarding Specified Complex Information or Irreducible Complexity. Nor can I find where any biologists or information theorists have found Behe or Dembski's ideas compelling enough to investigate further.

Without a proposed process there is nothing to test. A couple of papers proving or disproving certain proposed evolutionary mechanisms is not enough for some sort of eliminative filter. I can't figure out exactly where or at what level of organization and function Behe and Dembski can apply their ideas. It would be nice if they would try, or at least answer their critics adequately.

All I see is a slick PR campaign. It is almost as though the entire group is being dishonest. Rather than doing the work and inviting constructive criticism they spend all their time evolving new political stratagems to preach to the choir. Now, it's ID, the movie. What's next? ID, the breakfast cereal? Absolutely no nutritional value but the box is nice.

Doppelganger said...

Somwe clown writes:
To claim that ID, if shown to be true, does not have any religious implications is absurd. (Look at the turmoil that Big Bang Cosmology caused in its religious implications!)


The big question there is "if true". If it were true, it seems that the ID advocates woul dhnot have such a hard time coming up with some actual EVIDENCE supportive of their claims, as opposed to lying about evolution and whining about how mean people are to them.


But equally absurd is the claim that ID is only supported by religious belief. Dembski, Behe and others have clearly shown how empirical data and scientific questions drive the ID enterprise in assessing whether Darwinian mechanisms can accound for ALL biological diversity.


Now THAT is an absurd claim. You might want to check out the Dover trial transcripts. But why, even if your hyperbolic, nonsensical claim has merit, are they applying their amazing empirical evidence to see whether or not 'Darwinian mechanisms' can account for life instead of applying their mystery evidence to ID itself?

The fact that knuckle-dragging Darwinists like yourself can't parse out the separation in these points does not bode well for your position.


The fact that a hero-fellating stooge like yourself actually seems to believe the disinfornmation churned out by the DI does not bode well for yours. Of course, I am familiar witht he "scientific" rantings of ID advocates - as seen in the stellar research papers [sic] published is now defunct ID journals like Origins Research, Origins and Design, and PCID (neither of which has even been put out in several years, and when they were published, the papers consisted largely of op-eds and essays rather than actual research).


I suggest engaging the real arguments, not just the strawmen like "ID is religion".

Apparently, in your zeal to prop up your faith, you failed to notice that I was not actually making an argument against ID, I was commenting on the fact that ID is creationism in disguise (look up cdesign propentsist) and creationism is pure religion.

If you are dimwitted and gullible enough to believe the lies and disinformation produced by the likes of Dembski and Behe, you are beyond hope.

Doppelganger said...

Jason the unhinged right winger blabs:
ROFLMAO!!!! Your intellectual dishonesty is unbecoming. Absolutely NO ONE but liars for atheism like you and PZ make such a claim.


Actually, incompetent liars for Christ - like you - unwittingly admit it when your ID 'textbook' turns out to be a creationist textbook with the word 'creation' and its derivitives replaced by 'design' and its derivitives. That you are too blind to see that is a reflection on YOU, not us.


Oh, but please, dredge up the "cdesign proponentsists" canard as "proof" again. I always love to see that.

You wear damning evidence like a badge of honer - much like Pat Robertson sending out buttons with the words "poor, uneducated and easy to control" to his foillowers.

Doppelganger said...

Nomadsoul writes:

"One is said to be more for the movie itself, and one (getexpelled.com) is described as being for the "people of faith". It contains information about how to go about setting up expelled meetings at your church, has information for church leaders..."


Indeed.

And, of cours,e they trot out the usual martyr lies and misinformation, like Crocker...

Doppelganger said...

Scripto is absolutley right.

Josh Caleb said...

"lying about evolution" ??

IDists recognize the real and true observations of A) Descent with modification: offspring do vary from parents, although horizontal gene transfer does muck it up a bit. B) Natural Selection: certain traits are preserved in the gene pool due to selective advantages or adaptations to habitation, limited resources or competitors/predators. C) Random mutation/genetic drift: DNA replication is not perfect, very rarely mutations cause selective advantage (i.e. antibiotic resistance). D) Homology: similarity in morphological features is, at least partly, explained by similarity in genetic code (DNA) and similarities between and among species are observed.

So IDists are fine with microevolution and all the abundant data that backs it up. Microevolution explains a lot of biological diversity. The question that ID puts forth is this: does it explain ALL of biological diversity? Is "common descent" the necessary capstone to A, B, C and D above? or could some type of creator/designer better explain gaps in our scientific knowledge (i.e. gaps=macroevolution/speciation).

Any scientist will admit gaps in scientific knowledge; what most scientists will not admit is that those gaps in scientific (read: empirical data) are filled by ideology dependant upon the person thus making "Naturalism of the gaps" just as wrong, scientifically, as "God of the Gaps". Because the assumptions of naturalism/materialism are just as untestable/unrepeatable (Popperian falsification anyone?) from a naive inductivist standpoint as Creator/God. So inference to the best explanation (into the realm of philosophy, rather than empirical science) becomes the most important case to be made.
ID is merely fleshing out Aristotelian causation (material, formal, efficient, final) in the sense of “formal” cause requiring intelligent organization and information.

Ken Miller seems to see the power of the design inference as he made his case before the NAS a few weeks back that scientists need to coopt this "design" language because it is so powerful and obvious. Now the question I have for him and you is WHY does it appear designed? By what criteria do we judge design? If Miller sees the urgency to bring this before the NAS, then on what basis do we judge design? A valid question given Miller's argument. Don't you think?

Jason said...

Did you serve in the military?

If so, I thought they did not let homosexuals in...
doppelganger | Homepage | 03.25.08 - 7:58 am


Typical hypocritical liberal asshole. Hope you had fun because you won't be back. Cheers!

Doppelganger said...

Josh writes:

IDists recognize the real and true observations of A) Descent with modification:

Are you sure about that?
All of them?


offspring do vary from parents, although horizontal gene transfer does muck it up a bit.


Interesting - I was unaware that horizontal gene transfer occurs in multicellular eukaryotes at a frequency sufficient to 'muck up' parent to offspring variation. Must be new ID science fromt he Biologic Institute or something.

So IDists are fine with microevolution and all the abundant data that backs it up. Microevolution explains a lot of biological diversity. The question that ID puts forth is this: does it explain ALL of biological diversity? Is "common descent" the necessary capstone to A, B, C and D above? or could some type of creator/designer better explain gaps in our scientific knowledge (i.e. gaps=macroevolution/speciation).

Ah, gaps. If 'naturlaists' don't have all gaps filled today, then the obvious scientific answer is to posit somethign for which thwe only evidence is the existence fo these gaps.
Amazing.

Any scientist will admit gaps in scientific knowledge; what most scientists will not admit is that those gaps in scientific (read: empirical data) are filled by ideology dependant upon the person thus making "Naturalism of the gaps" just as wrong, scientifically, as "God of the Gaps".


Ok, let's explore this a moment.
Let's say you are an epidemiologist, and you are cataloguing the causative agents for diseases (let's pretend that we have no idea whatsoever what causes diseases). You focus on diseases that cause pus formation and fever. You look at disease 1 - caused by bacteria. Disease 2 - bacteria. 3- bacteria. 4-bacteria.....58 - bacteria.. 62 - can't find a causative agent yet... 77- bacteria...

Now, a 'naturalist' would probably conclude:
'We see that bacteria are the causative agents in 76 out of 77 diseases with similar symptoms. The causative agent for the 77th disease is also likely a bacterium, though we have not yet identified it. We will continue to investifate.'


Apparently, the IDist would say:
'76 out of 77 diseases with similar symptoms were caused by bacteria. However, the 77th disease did not have bacteria as an identified causative agent. Thus, we conclude that the 77th disease was likely caused by an Intelligent Agent operating in unknown and unknowable ways. Further investigation into this disease is thus unnecessary, and speculating that the causative agent is just another bacterium is premised solely on ideology.'

One of those conclusions makes practical, logical, and scientific sense. The other does not.


Because the assumptions of naturalism/materialism are just as untestable/unrepeatable (Popperian falsification anyone?) from a naive inductivist standpoint as Creator/God.

Creationists are enamored with Popperian falsification. Popper's notions are impractical and in practice not useful. All hypothesis testing is de facto attempts at falsification.
But what does "the assumptions of naturalism/materialism are just as untestable/unrepeatable" even mean?
Look at my little scenario above - what about the assumptions are untestable or unrepeatable? Do you understand what 'repeatabl;e' even means in this context? I ask in all sincerity as I have recently encountered a creationist who claims to be a science teacher who insists that in order for something to be science, the actual events being investigated must be repeatable. So, if you are a volcanologist, according to this creationist, you are not engaging in scienctific research at an eruption site unless you can repeat the eruption.
Is that what you mean?


So inference to the best explanation (into the realm of philosophy, rather than empirical science) becomes the most important case to be made.

This is fairly naive and certainly impractical. It rests on the necessity of the assumptions employed being nothing but idle speculation. An atronomer assumes that when he looks into a telescope the 'laws' and principles describing light hold true every time. According to you, this 'assumption' renders his descriptions of what he sees as mere philosophical musings.


ID is merely fleshing out Aristotelian causation (material, formal, efficient, final) in the sense of “formal” cause requiring intelligent organization and information.

Fleshing out how? Have any IDcreationists actually applied, say, Dembski's filter to anythign biological and done so in a rational way? And what is the definition of "information" you are employing?
Are you aware of Kimura's 1961 paper demonstrating mathematically that adaptive evolution adds information to the genome?


Ken Miller seems to see the power of the design inference as he made his case before the NAS a few weeks back that scientists need to coopt this "design" language because it is so powerful and obvious. Now the question I have for him and you is WHY does it appear designed? By what criteria do we judge design?

By analogy. It is easier to use metaphorical terminology in describing things than it is to explain them in mechanistic detail. But metaphors and analogies are not evidence. They are pedagogical shortcuts.
Frankly, I think the appearance of design is a post hoc rationalization of that which we are awestruck by.

If Miller sees the urgency to bring this before the NAS, then on what basis do we judge design? A valid question given Miller's argument. Don't you think?


I am unfamiliar with his argument, if he evenmade it.
I am familiar with his statements regarding the vacuity of ID and, for example, his presentation titled "The Death of Intelligent Dersign". Doing a quick search, I could not find anything about any sort of presenatation to the NAS.
I did find his evolution page, and his homepage - apparently updated recently - mentions nothing of presenting anything to the NAS.

I think you meant the AAAS. Miller didn't exactly indicate what it appears you want him to have done:

"Miller will argue that science itself, including evolutionary biology, is predicated on the idea of "design" -- the correlation of structure with function that lies at the heart of the molecular nature of life."

Niot exactly a ringing endorsement of an super skyman breathing life into dirt...

Doppelganger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doppelganger said...

Poor little Jason - likes to call names on the internet. He wouldn't be so brave in person, I am sure.
Probably too fat or stupid to have served in the military. Plus there's the gay thing...

Go ahead and block me from your blog - it will hurt me so much.

Another censor for Christ... Best you peole seem able to do.

Josh Caleb said...

Yes, AAAS, my apologies.

http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2007-08/07-101.html

Neel said...

I don't think the makers of Expelled have any intentions of divorcing Intelligent Design from religion. Ben Stein himself continually invokes creationist rhetoric in his interviews with Bill O'Reilly and Pat Robertson. According to the screenwriter of Expelled, Intelligent Design is not creationism but it is religiously motivated. In this sense, I think the film is at least honest (although it may be disingenuous in many other ways).
However, the Discovery Institute will simply aim to steer clear of stating outright that it is religiously motivated, primarily because of legality of trying to push an openly religious ideology into science classrooms.

Josh Caleb said...

Neel,
'they're wrong because they have religious motivations" ...yes the genetic fallacy becomes oh so appealling doesn't it?

Doppelganger said...

You don't seem to get the point, Josh.

ID advocates swear up and down - to the general public - that ID has nothing to do with religion. Yet to sympathetic listeners, they let slip what it is really about. They're 'wrong' in trying to claim from one side of their mouths that ID has nothing to do with religion, yet trying to drum up public support by claiming that it does out of the other.

ID as such is wrong for a number of very good reasons, the least of which is that it's primary public advocates (those associated with the DI) have a pretty well documented track record of distorting real science and, of course, producing NONE of their own.

If they can promote their "science" without distorting the work of others, using guilt by association arguments ('evolution leads to Hitler, so we should not be teaching it'), and appeals to false authorities (their silly lists, which contain far more engineers, medical doctors, and non-scientists than biologists), and tall tales of discrimination against 'truth seeking' ID advocates, then maybe they would deserve a seat at the table.

Doppelganger said...

Oh, and Josh - will you define "information" for me in a meanigful and applicable way, in the context of evolution?

How is it measured?

Josh Caleb said...

Doppelganger,
Not “getting the point” doesn’t appear to be my problem. If you go back to my initial post I hinted at this concept that scientific concepts can have metaphysical implications. Certainly the shift from steady state to big bang cosmology (BBC) and the philosophical fervor that followed exemplifies this fact.

The same is the case with ID. Certainly the grounds for ID theory are not based in religion, thus you’re correct in observing cries that “ID has nothing to do with religion” in this way. But in changing the connotation of “nothing to do with”, we can’t ignore the metaphysical implications of ID. Just as the implications of BBC don’t touch upon its scientific merits, so the implications of ID don’t either.

I do admit that if ID is accepted, that more questions follow; but that those questions need to be answered at the outset is separate from ID’s current aims and quite intellectually dishonest if you ask me.

As for a definition… “Information” is one of those things that falls into the category of easy to recognize but difficult to define precisely. But I think some of the ID proponents have proffered the definition of “specified complexity” in order to qualify or differentiate from simply just Shannon information. As some have pointed out it is not just DI that uses information in this way but even biologists like Crick use it with the connotation of specified for functionality or utility.

Doppelganger said...

Josh writes:
Not “getting the point” doesn’t appear to be my problem. If you go back to my initial post I hinted at this concept that scientific concepts can have metaphysical implications.


That is all well and good, but your response to neel above is what I was commenting. I don't think you got HIS point.

The same is the case with ID. Certainly the grounds for ID theory are not based in religion, thus you’re correct in observing cries that “ID has nothing to do with religion” in this way.


How do you think ID came to be?

But in changing the connotation of “nothing to do with”, we can’t ignore the metaphysical implications of ID. Just as the implications of BBC don’t touch upon its scientific merits, so the implications of ID don’t either.


And therer we have the crux of the difference. BBC came about BECAUSE of the evidence and scientific merits. ID came about as a way of getting creationism into public schools (as the Dover trial all but proved). It was not the RESULT of the accumulation of data and observations, it was the preconceived conclusion, and now it's advocates are scrambling to procure any tidbit of 'evidence' they can to justify their stance. And failing miserably, I might add. Thus far, all of the "evidence" for ID seems to be analogies and claims that evolution cannot explain this or that.
That is not evidence.


I do admit that if ID is accepted, that more questions follow; but that those questions need to be answered at the outset is separate from ID’s current aims and quite intellectually dishonest if you ask me.


Yes, it is intellectually dishonest of the ID movement to demand a "fair hearing" when they have nothing to offer but poor analogies, assertions, and whining about how mean everyone is to them.

Are you familiar with Caroline Crocker's claims?


As for a definition… “Information” is one of those things that falls into the category of easy to recognize but difficult to define precisely.


Then it hardly should be used as a scientific argument, should it?


But I think some of the ID proponents have proffered the definition of “specified complexity” in order to qualify or differentiate from simply just Shannon information.

So, how do you conclude that a sequence of DNA is or contains or possesses 'complex specified information'? Why, you have to know what it does. If it encodes a protein, say, then the post hoc 'conclusion' is that it is/has/possesses CSI. At least that is what several ID advocates have told me.

As some have pointed out it is not just DI that uses information in this way but even biologists like Crick use it with the connotation of specified for functionality or utility.


Sure, but I don't think Crick declared that the specification must come beforehand and thus anything possessing it must have been "designed."

scripto said...

"I do admit that if ID is accepted, that more questions follow; but that those questions need to be answered at the outset is separate from ID’s current aims and quite intellectually dishonest if you ask me."

Sorry, no process, no dice. You'll notice that conflicts among evolutionary biologists revolve around the relative merits of observed or hypothesised processes to explain diversity. I can't even find a defined Design Event in their literature.

Speaking of honesty, allow me to luskinate your above quote:

"ID's current aims...quite intellectually dishonest"

Consider yourself steined.

Doppelganger said...

Luskinate... Classis!

Along with the Cordova maneuver, soon to be recognized as one of the hallmarks of intellectual dishonesty.