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Intelligent Design
Posted: 15 February 2005 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Today, in my local newspaper, this letter-to-the-editor appeared:

 

I replied, and my reply will run tomorrow.  I invite any or all of you to reply as well.  To email a reply to the editor, email is:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Rules are:  max 225 words, must give name, address & phone number.  They will call to verify that you wrote the reply & it is OK to publish.  They have, many times, published replies from outside the area, for this is a resort and people are always coming and going.  My dashed-off reply is below.  Thank you for helping out us poor folks here in the bible belt!

I would like to address the writers question as to why intelligent design (ID) is not taught in our schools alongside evolution.  (“Fittest” 2/15/05)  ID is not science, in any sense of the word.  Unlike evolution, ID makes no predictions, suggests no experiments, and most importantly, does not fit the observable facts.

ID is merely the latest attempt by bible literalists to take us back to the middle ages, when the church controlled everything.  There is no science in ID, it is simply a Trojan horse designed to remove evolution and replace it with the supernatural.  While we’re at it, let’s stop teaching Astronomy, and teach astrology instead.  We don’t need chemistry anymore, we can go back to alchemy, and make gold from lead.

When we ease science out of our schools, and replace it with preposterous, unfounded myths, limit promising medical research for purely religious reasons, or write Christian dogma into our laws, we are doing PRECISLY the kinds of things that plunged Europe into the dark ages.  We must train our students to base their decisions upon reason and intellect, not fear and superstition.

Thanks,

Pete

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Posted: 20 February 2005 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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The problem with evolution in classrooms is misunderstood by many. Fundamentalists still foolishly hold a seven-day creation. Ironically, the only way for this to be the case is to turn 180-degrees from Descartes who’s philosophy was founded on a God who wouldn’t deceive.
  Many materialts are equally guilty of blind dogmatism, however. The evolution taught in high school is Darwinist gradualism. Known to many biologists and anthropologists, but unbeknownst to many teachers or text book writers is that this is completely unproven—none of Darwin’s transitional fossils have been found. Why? Because they do not exist. Natural selection deals with alleles and genotypes: the means of microevolution. In other words, breeding selected traits, even over millions of years, does not simply produce new species. New species are perfect according to their kind. Only tenable explanation is punctuated equilibrium (period of equilibrium among species, followed by rapid speciation, followed by another long period of equilibrium), but many scientists don’t like that because no one knows how it would work. Scientists don’t like to admit to ignorance.
  As I see it, there are four main areas that science, and the popular materialist philosophy cannot answer. 1) The cause of the Big Bang. Although it angers fundamentalists, scientists used to be scared to death of the theory because it made a creation necessary (thereby implying existence of creator). Contingency is still probably the most difficult argument for God for atheists to answer. [P.S. Why did God create—Love! in other words, He is self-effusive. Being made by Him, we are designed to love ourselves. Sorry for throwing that in. Only moral deal I’ll put in here.]2) Origin of life. Even RNA world experiments are flawed: they contain no information (ie. words combined to form meaningless sentences). 3) Means of punctuated equilibrium. Only natural explanation I have ever heard is that natural selection/processes speed up rapidly for short time, but that begs the question “why?”. The only good answer to that would be God. 4) Intellect and Will. Reductionists like to pinpoint every thought to the brain. Obvious problem is that without a will, the material brain would be controlled by random chemical reactions and chance. Fine, but then how does chance and randomness combine to cause me to write this argument. It is senseless. The control we have over our bodies I will call the will, and it must be spiritual. For a will to exist, self-reflection is necessary. I call that the immaterial intellect.
  Through this argument, I do not wish to persuade anyone to my religion, I merely wish to keep you open against the dogma of materialism. Hopefully, if you come to believe in a creator, you will decide to learn more about Him, through natural law and realism.

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Posted: 02 March 2005 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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For F & R…

I too have seen how science can become dogmatic and rely too much on a sort of faith of its own. But really, this is done to science by other institutions that still operate as if everything were a religion. Our schools present everything as dogma because thats the way we’ve been taught to expect all information to be. The church depends on this expectation. Public education is still trying to outgrow this approach- “don’t question the teacher!” “Study and get good grades” “answer all questions correctly”
Science is the dileberate pursuit of discovery. It must question everything, including the teacher.

If schools treat evolution as dogma, blame their religious masters. Only an idiot would assume that any scientific discovery is final. Darwin discovered something about the way life works, and we’ve built upon it ever since. Darwin isn’t perfect. Science isn’t perfect. In fact, perfection cannot be found anywhere in the physical universe- only in religion.

I don’t have a problem with the notion of the universe having a purpose given to it by an intelligent creator. I rather like the idea. I like it so much, I even carry on as if it were true. I am confident in its probability. You could call it faith. But I’m still a long way from reality being just a busy week for Jehovah. Besides, if evolution had an intelligent design or was random chance, would it look any different to us?

If there is a sales pitch for religion in your post, I missed it.

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Posted: 02 March 2005 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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This whole thread seems to be argument almost for the sake of argument. I’m left wondering what the goals of each side are, and even the motivations. Is one side actually trying to say that the holy Bible is irrefutable in every way and somehow teaches everything a person needs in order to understand the world? Is the other side arguing against any type of deistic possibility whatsoever?

Just to be real here, I see the Bible as a collection of sophisticated but misconstrued fairy tales that has somehow been raised to a position far beyond what it deserves. But how could I possibly claim that I have absolute confidence that no form or god could possibly exist?

Respectfully   -Dave

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Posted: 13 April 2005 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Dave,
They are very good at strawmen arguments. It would take me hours to research and explain some of the things ‘shot down’. They refuse to do it properly, why should I do it for them?

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Posted: 29 April 2005 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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In debating the merits of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution, it would seem apparent that there’s no comparison applicable. From the outset, each “theory” attempts to explain different phenomena. I. D. , as the title implies, attempts to “prove”, by specious pseudo-observation, that many forms of life-especially at the molecular level- are too ordered and complex to have formed by random forces in nature. A watch implies a watchmaker, ID’s adherents would point out.

Evolution, on the other hand, does not at it’s core presuppose the presence or absense of a supernatural creator. Rather, evolution starts with the assumption of life and offers a detailed explanation for the myriad of variations and diversity we observe in the natural world. The scientific theory of evolution is the product of a rational, logical and patient interrogation of nature by scientists over the last one hundred fifty years.

By contrast, the proponents if ID make no bones about their religious motivations for promoting an idea - not a scientific theory - that eschews reason for faith in forming it’s main “hypothesis”.

In the last decade, courts have handed a string of defeats to religious groups trying to impose “creation theory” into public schools. Many of these decisions found that CT wasn’t science at all, but instead just a thinly veiled attempt to replace science in the classroom with state-sponsored religious belief. ID appears as the latest iteration of that same back-door attempt; re-packaged, new and improved. With this latest push, however, there seems to be an element of concession from the ID camp that breaks with the bible literalists by saying to the scientific community, in effect, “Keep your genetic mutation and natural selection - but leave creation to us.” Even the pope, in a 1997 speech, characterized the mechanisms of evolution as “likely”, while simultaneously annexing creation as the province of “God alone”.

This re-drawing of the religious fault lines by the ID believers should not be seen as a partitioning of the rational , however, because in their ardent attempt to secure safe harbor for God the Creator, they will ultimately share oceanfront property with the untenable beliefs of their literalist, old testament kin.

As a “theory”, even in the most pedestrian sense, Intelligent Design leaves little evidence of either quality.

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Posted: 30 April 2005 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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  Known to many biologists and anthropologists, but unbeknownst to many teachers or text book writers is that this is completely unproven—none of Darwin’s transitional fossils have been found. Why? Because they do not exist.

Keep an eye on this discovery, could hold part of the key.

http://earthnet.bio.ns.ca/vft/ns/bluebeach/fossils_e.php


Also, check out the latest find from there.

http://www.herald.ns.ca/stories/2005/04/22/fNovaScotia102.raw.html

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Posted: 30 April 2005 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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The evolution taught in high school is Darwinist gradualism.

I hope not. Things have changed since Darwin.

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html

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Posted: 02 May 2005 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Thoughtful, interesting comments above.
Somewhat more entertaining if less enlightening is this gem found during a Google search on ID:

“We will prove on this website that our children’s special abilities are not the result of the parents’ genes but rather is due to the children being blessed enough to be born during special planetary alignments.  Therefore parents cannot pass on their advantages to their children.  This breaks the Darwinian chain of events necessary for Darwinism to work.  Therefore, Darwinism is wrong and false.” [...an argument / “proof” of Magi Astrology! ]
http://www.benevolentdesign.com/

It’s interesting enough what rational people come up with when thoughtfully sifting empirical evidence for patterns and logical connections; it’s especially entertaining what happens when you start with a completely irrational premise and proceed further out on the limb. 

Personally I don’t buy the…“and then something magical happened” explanation for any of my science; wondrous, perhaps.
Yes, I’m holding onto logic and rationality and I’ll let go of them when you pry them from my cold dead fingers. They’ve given us satellite TV and Google, for crying out loud!
No, I’m not a Darwin cultist so I agree that competing explanations and theories for the existence of life as we observe it should be examined and critiqued; however I am disposed to respect Occam’s razor and the magical explanation doesn’t seem to qualify as “simpler” than time, incremental mutation and natural selection for any evidence I’ve seen or heard so far.
Curious question posed by “Nhoj”, above:
“Besides, if evolution had an intelligent design or was random chance, would it look any different to us? ” which leads me back to the least contrived workable explanation of life processes I can wrap my head around. Based on my own experience I would suggest: don’t underestimate the power of random chance over time.
Go ahead and look for God under the microscope; just because I think it will be a fruitless search doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend/waste your time that way.
—Bill Barney

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Posted: 02 May 2005 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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“...thoughtfully sifting empirical evidence for patterns and logical connections…”

Geez, you’re way over my head. You must be a Stephen Hawkings clone or something.

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 02 May 2005 05:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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What an odd comment…

Which word do you not understand… thoughtfully… evidence… or logical connections???

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Posted: 02 May 2005 06:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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“It’s interesting enough what rational people come up with when thoughtfully sifting empirical evidence for patterns and logical connections.”

Actually, just thought it was an elegant post.

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 03 May 2005 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Still odd.

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Posted: 04 May 2005 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]”...thoughtfully sifting empirical evidence for patterns and logical connections…”

Geez, you’re way over my head. You must be a Stephen Hawkings clone or something.

I thought this part—

“We will prove on this website that our children’s special abilities are not the result of the parents’ genes but rather is due to the children being blessed enough to be born during special planetary alignments. Therefore parents cannot pass on their advantages to their children. This breaks the Darwinian chain of events necessary for Darwinism to work. Therefore, Darwinism is wrong and false.” [...an argument / “proof” of Magi Astrology! ]
http://www.benevolentdesign.com/

—was hilarious. Youd never hear that from Hawkings. Hopefully you dont subscribe to that, Champion?

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Posted: 04 May 2005 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Well, I’m sold.  A bizarre coincidence that I look a lot like my Mom crossed with my Dad…
(Sure, blame the poor innocent planets…)

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Posted: 04 May 2005 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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I have a real problem here understanding how ID finds a “basis” in the bible.

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