Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Neil at 4simpsons provides a link to a blog claiming that a new classification of the fossil remains of  “Lucy” is another nail in the coffin of evolution.  Apparently, “Lucy” has been moved to another branch on the Hominid family tree.  Interesting also how the creationists claim that “Lucy” disproves evolution because she has physiological traits in common with a chimp.  She also still has many traits in common with a modern human, but that is ignored.  At the same time, they claim that a “lack of transitional fossils” disproves the theory of evolution and natural selection.

 Let’s see, a fossil that has some traits in common with one set of creatures on the earth, and some traits in common with another set of creatures on the earth, though now believed to not be a direct ancestor of either one of them somehow disproves the theory that they have a common ancestor and the differences are due to changes over time in the genetic code that lead to different species with a common ancestor?

Kirk Cameron demands to see a croc-o-duck before he believes that evolution happens, but then these people insist that a “chimp-o-human” is somehow proof of the opposite?  The discovery of a third cousin somehow proves that you and your first cousin don’t share grandparents?

Evolution and natural selection necessitates the existence of branches in the evolutionary line.  Yet, somehow, the discovery of branches is supposed to disprove the theory?

Creationist “logic”:   “The theory says that B follows A.  Therefore, if A is true, then B cannot be true.  If A is false, the B cannot be true”.

 Whaaaaa?

There is no way to win against such…I was going to say illogic, but somehow, that doesn’t cut it...

Both Neil, and the blogger he points to claim that the “mainstream media” would never cover something like this.

Untrue.  The mainstream press covers this sort of thing all the time.  When new evidence is discovered that changes our understanding of the world, it is most certainly covered.  This, for instance.  Or this.

And CNN will almost certainly be all over it in their race to catch FOX in a contest to see who can out-pander the other for the viewership of the somnolent masses.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007 08:21:55 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [18] | #
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 09:20:11 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
"And CNN will almost certainly be all over it in their race to catch FOX in a contest to see who can out-pander the other for the viewership of the somnolent masses."

Keep us update if and when they do. I am also curious to see how much coverage it gets. Like most retractions in any subject, such news is usually buried.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 09:31:24 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Interesting. I had a chat with a friend of mine yesterday on the topic of ID and Evolution in general. His point was "it's just a theory", and I agreed. But it's a theory that results in new breeds of dogs, cats, vegitables, and plants all the time due to human selection.

I guess some people need to feel as if they hold a special place in the universe.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 15:01:39 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I don't think the posts (my link or the original) characterized it that way at all.

I think the reasoning merely went like this: Major claims were drawn from Lucy for decades. Those claims are now recognized as being untrue. The retractions will receive a fraction of the press as the originals. That's it.

Dracut, I think your use of the word "theory" is too broad a term. The examples you cited are of micro-evolution (within a species) but Darwinian evolution is all about macro-evolution (one species to another - i.e., primordial soup to everything we see today). I don't know anyone who debates the existence of micro-evolution (it is Biblical and everything), but I see huge gaps with macro. I suppose I could be wrong. But I base my conclusions on fact and reason, not a lack of feeling special.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 15:55:55 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
The distinction between "micro-" and "macro-" evolution is something made up by people trying to muddy the waters and sow confusion. There is only evolution. Changes within a species and changes that result in new species are driven by the same sets of physical processes. That conclusion is based on fact and reason.

Dracut's use of the word "theory" is actually a bit misdirected: Evolution is a fact. The "theory" here is that natural selection is the mechanism that accounts for evolution. This theory holds its place because it works. If it didn't, it would be discarded. The scientific process loves to discard theories. Even ones that hold up over time are continuously modified as more data come in.

"Intelligent Design" is most emphatically NOT a theory. It's a propaganda tool, and the propagandists who crafted it were caught red-handed in court with the proof. Fact and reason are things that they treated with visible disdain, and continue to do so. In turn, they earn the disdain of those who actually do value facts and reason.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 16:08:14 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
"This theory holds its place because it works. "

If you like tautologies, it is a swell theory.

If you think micro and macro were made up, then blame Darwin as well (they are analogous to his "special" and "general" theories).

Macro and micro just describe the obvious. If you think breeding cows for more milk production, for example, is equivalent to self-creating and organizing protein molecules, DNA and such I doubt anything I could write would persuade you otherwise.

ID is a theory. When we see things with a design, we infer a designer. Pretty basic stuff. Perhaps you are right that the universe came from nothing, that life came from non-life and randomly mutated into the spectacular variety of creations we see today (butterflies, bombadier beetles, elephants, humans, fish, etc.) I just think that theory lacks evidence and logic.

While I see you like ad hominems ("propoganda tool," etc.), I won't speculate on your motives for believing in Darwinian evolution.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 16:16:11 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Neil,

I was more reacting to the blog that you linked to,and the constant and unrelenting argument that somehow, whenever new information clarifies the picture we get from science, there's all these people who pop up and claim that it's proof that science is invalid.

Perhaps you could clarify what gaps you see in "macro evolution"?

from what I can see, "Macroevolution" is an invented distinction, and the objections to "macroevolution" amount to claiming that there is no cumulative effect to billions of "microevolution" changes over the course of billions of years.

Essentially admitting that it is possible to take small steps (microevolution, but it is impossible for those small steps to add up to walking a tremendous disctance over a long period of time (macroevolution).

Finally, Darwin died a long time ago. He has not published anything for a very long time. The theory of random mutation and natural selection has been developing without him for a very long time. Calling it "Darwinian evolution" is about as accurate as calling what Einstein did "Newtonian Physics."



Tuesday, 15 May 2007 16:23:04 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Hi Teresa,

Fossil gaps. Fossil frauds. Irreducible complexity. Way too little time for the required mutations to have occurred (even if you claim that humans have been around for billions of years, which I don't think you are claiming). Among other things.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 16:25:37 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
P.S. I'm familiar with Mr. Darwin's demise. I find Darwinian evolution easier to write than the alternatives, and I use it to distinguish from micro-evolution. I'm pretty sure people know what I mean when I say it.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 16:47:12 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
"When we see things with a design, we infer a designer"

Neil, I don't think you want to use that argument. That is actually a misuse of a Stoic and later Deistic rhetorical device (Cicero, Descartes, Voltair, Paine)to explain why Deists are not Atheists. We reject religion, but believe that there is a God...the God of first cause whose creation functions according to natural laws (what science explores) A creator God of infinate creation would have no need to violate his own laws and mess around with his own creation in the manner that Intelligent Design describes.

ID claims to offer the "theory" of a designer...but what it actually describes is not a God of creation, but a tinkerer God. One that can't seem to get it right, who fusses and fidgets with what he has made, adjusting and puttering without reason or plan. The God of Intelligent Design would never have rested on the seventh day, not declared "it is good"...but is instead never satisfied or finished. Like a poor artist who doesn't know when to quit and ruins his masterpeice.

If Intelligent Design is correct, then there is no point in any sort of scientific inquery, as the rules and functions of the universe can change at any time due to some passing whim that God might have to add a leg or an eye or a second pancreas for no apparent reason.

If the theory of random mutation and natural selection are correct, then science should be able to make predictions and confirm them, interpret natural laws in ways that can be used reliably to get results that either sustain the theory and make it more complete, or which clarify and alter the picture somewhat, but fit within the over-all framework of understanding. Which is what happens. The implications of the theory is so fundimental to biology, medicine, chemistry, etc. that it is the accepted scientific consensus.

Sort of like when you are assembling a jigsaw puzzel. You go through the operation of picking up a peice, and finding other peices that fit with it. Eventually, a picture begins to emerge. You might say, "Oh! This is a farmhouse!" only to find out, after assembling a couple of more peices, that it is actually a machine shed...does this negate the effectivness of your assembly technique? Does this change the expectation that a picture will emerge? No. All it means is that your interpretation of one part of the picture has changed with the addition of new information.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007 16:54:03 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Say a guy tells you he walked a mile cross country by taking many small steps, and you claimed it was impossible, so he went back with you and showed you where he walked through the grass and left a trail, and where he walked through the mud and left tracks, and you pointed to the places where he walked over stone and pavement and said "AH HA! GAPS! Proof that you didn't walk the whole way as you claim!"

The fossil frauds are unfortunate, but no more a proof against the materialistic approach to science than forged checks are proof of the invalidity of the banking system. And if fact, I would be much more skeptical of a system that did NOT expose mistakes and forgeries.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 16:55:44 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Teresa,

Not sure where to go with any of that . . . I don't follow how your conclusions follow from your premise (the tinkerer God, the lack of a need for scientific inquiry, etc.)

Peace,
Neil
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 17:22:43 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Neil,

If natural laws do not govern changes in organisms, and instead it's just God doing it for his own mysterious purposes (as the DI claims), then materialistic scientific inquery would be useless...as the Discovery Institute people assert (The Wedge Document, where they state their aim is to destroy the approach of natural explinations, and replace it with theistic explinations...which they denied in Dover...to avoid an accusation of ad hominim attacks, I'll let you draw your own conclusions about how that reflects on their character.)

Intelligent design claims that changes seen over time are the result of God intervening and making changes (tinkering), and are not the result of natural laws. Where older creature didn't have an eye before, God now inserts a creature with eyes into the mix. It's rediculous and useless, and will produce no knowledge that will be of any benefit to mankind.

Materialism, on the other hand, has produced medicine, and epidemiology, and airplanes, and electrical systems and cars.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 17:40:34 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Neil, this is copied and pasted from: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/wedge.html

The "Wedge Document"



NOTE FROM LENNY FLANK: The Wedge Document is an internal memorandum from the Discovery Institute (the leading proponent of Intelligent Designer "Theory") that was leaked to the Internet in 1999. The Discovery Institute later admitted to its authenticity. Since then, Discovery Institute hasn't talked very much about the document, or the strategy it outlines. The reason is crushingly obvious, since the Wedge Document makes it readily apparent that the Discovery Institute is flat-out lying to us when it claims that its Intelligent Designer campaign is concerned only with science and does not have any religious aims, purpose or effect.


The Wedge Document is reproduced here, in full.




CENTER FOR THE RENEWAL OF SCIENCE & CULTURE


INTRODUCTION

The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West's greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.


Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art


The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.


Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.


Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth.


Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature. The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds conferences, and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life after materialism.


The Center is directed by Discovery Senior Fellow Dr. Stephen Meyer. An Associate Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College, Dr. Meyer holds a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University. He formerly worked as a geophysicist for the Atlantic Richfield Company.


THE WEDGE STRATEGY


Phase I.


* Scientific Research, Writing & Publicity


Phase II.


* Publicity & Opinion-making


Phase III.


* Cultural Confrontation & Renewal


THE WEDGE PROJECTS


Phase I. Scientific Research, Writing & Publication


* Individual Research Fellowship Program

* Paleontology Research program (Dr. Paul Chien et al.)

* Molecular Biology Research Program (Dr. Douglas Axe et al.)


Phase II. Publicity & Opinion-making


* Book Publicity

* Opinion-Maker Conferences

* Apologetics Seminars

* Teacher Training Program

* Op-ed Fellow

* PBS (or other TV) Co-production

* Publicity Materials / Publications


Phase III. Cultural Confrontation & Renewal


* Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences

* Potential Legal Action for Teacher Training

* Research Fellowship Program: shift to social sciences and humanities


FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN SUMMARY


The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a "wedge" that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the "thin edge of the wedge," was Phillip ]ohnson's critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe's highly successful Darwin's Black Box followed Johnson's work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.


The Wedge strategy can be divided into three distinct but interdependent phases, which are roughly but not strictly chronological. We believe that, with adequate support, we can accomplish many of the objectives of Phases I and II in the next five years (1999-2003), and begin Phase III (See "Goals/ Five Year Objectives/Activities").


Phase I: Research, Writing and Publication


Phase II: Publicity and Opinion-making


Phase III: Cultural Confrontation and Renewal


Phase I is the essential component of everything that comes afterward. Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade. A lesson we have learned from the history of science is that it is unnecessary to outnumber the opposing establishment. Scientific revolutions are usually staged by an initially small and relatively young group of scientists who are not blinded by the prevailing prejudices and who are able to do creative work at the pressure points, that is, on those critical issues upon which whole systems of thought hinge. So, in Phase I we are supporting vital witting and research at the sites most likely to crack the materialist edifice.


Phase II. The pnmary purpose of Phase II is to prepare the popular reception of our ideas. The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized. For this reason we seek to cultivate and convince influential individuals in pnnt and broadcast media, as well as think tank leaders, scientists and academics, congressional staff, talk show hosts, college and seminary presidents and faculty, future talent and potential academic allies. Because of his long tenure in politics, journalism and public policy, Discovery President Bruce Chapman brings to the project rare knowledge and acquaintance of key op-ed writers, journalists, and political leaders. This combination of scientific and scholarly expertise and media and political connections makes the Wedge unique, and also prevents it from being "merely academic." Other activities include production of a PBS documentary on intelligent design and its implications, and popular op-ed publishing. Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Chnstians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence's that support the faith, as well as to "popularize" our ideas in the broader culture.


Phase III. Once our research and writing have had time to mature, and the public prepared for the reception of design theory, we will move toward direct confrontation with the advocates of materialist science through challenge conferences in significant academic settings. We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula. The attention, publicity, and influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready. With an added emphasis to the social sciences and humanities, we will begin to address the specific social consequences of materialism and the Darwinist theory that supports it in the sciences.


GOALS


Governing Goals


* To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

* To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.


Five Year Goals


* To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.

* To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.

* To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.


Twenty Year Goals


* To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

* To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.

* To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.


FIVE YEAR OBJECTIVES


1. A major public debate between design theorists and Darwinists (by 2003)


2. Thirty published books on design and its cultural implications (sex, gender issues, medicine, law, and religion)


3. One hundred scientific, academic and technical articles by our fellows


4. Significant coverage in national media:


* Cover story on major news magazine such as Time or Newsweek

* PBS show such as Nova treating design theory fairly

* Regular press coverage on developments in design theory

* Favorable op-ed pieces and columns on the design movement by 3rd party media


5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:

* Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism

* Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s)

* Darwinism Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate naturalistic presuppositions

* Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in God


6. Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory


7. Scientific achievements:


* An active design movement in Israel, the UK and other influential countries outside the US

* Ten CRSC Fellows teaching at major universities

* Two universities where design theory has become the dominant view

* Design becomes a key concept in the social sciences Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory


ACTVITIES


(1) Research Fellowship Program (for writing and publishing)

(2) Front line research funding at the "pressure points" (e.g., Daul Chien's Chengjiang Cambrian Fossil Find in paleontology, and Doug Axe's research laboratory in molecular biology)


(3) Teacher training


(4) Academic Conferences


(5) Opinion-maker Events & Conferences


(6) Alliance-building, recruitment of future scientists and leaders, and strategic partnerships with think tanks, social advocacy groups, educational organizations and institutions, churches, religious groups, foundations and media outlets


(7) Apologetics seminars and public speaking


(8) Op-ed and popular writing


(9) Documentaries and other media productions


(10) Academic debates


(11) Fund Raising and Development


(12) General Administrative support


THE WEDGE STRATEGY PROGRESS SUMMARY


Books


William Dembski and Paul Nelson, two CRSC Fellows, will very soon have books published by major secular university publishers, Cambridge University Press and The University of Chicago Press, respectively. (One critiques Darwinian materialism; the other offers a powerful altenative.)


Nelson's book, On Common Descent, is the seventeenth book in the prestigious University of Chicago "Evolutionary Monographs" series and the first to critique neo-Dacwinism. Dembski's book, The Design Inference, was back-ordered in June, two months prior to its release date.


These books follow hard on the heals of Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box (The Free Press) which is now in paperback after nine print runs in hard cover. So far it has been translated into six foreign languages. The success of his book has led to other secular publishers such as McGraw Hill requesting future titles from us. This is a breakthrough.


InterVarsity will publish our large anthology, Mere Creation (based upon the Mere Creation conference) this fall, and Zondervan is publishing Maker of Heaven and Earth: Three Views of the Creation-Evolution Contoversy, edited by fellows John Mark Reynolds and J.P. Moreland.


McGraw Hill solicited an expedited proposal from Meyer, Dembski and Nelson on their book Uncommmon Descent. Finally, Discovery Fellow Ed Larson has won the Pulitzer Prize for Summer for the Gods, his retelling of the Scopes Trial, and InterVarsity has just published his co-authored attack on assisted suicide, A Different Death.


Academic Articles


Our fellows recently have been featured or published articles in major sciendfic and academic journals in The Proceedings to the National Academy of Sciences, Nature, The Scientist, The American Biology Teacher, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Biochemirtry, Philosophy and Biology, Faith & Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Analysis, Book & Culture, Ethics & Medicine, Zygon, Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith, Relgious Studies, Christian Scholars' Review, The Southern Journal ofPhilosophy, and the Journal of Psychalogy and Theology. Many more such articles are now in press or awaiting review at major secular journals as a result of our first round of research fellowships. Our own journal, Origins & Design, continues to feature scholarly contribudons from CRSC Fellows and other scientists.


Television and Radio Appearances


During 1997 our fellows appeared on numerous radio programs (both Christian and secular) and five nationally televised programs, TechnoPolitics, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Inside the Law, Freedom Speaks, and Firing Line. The special edition of TechnoPolitics that we produced with PBS in November elicited such an unprecedented audience response that the producer Neil Freeman decided to air a second episode from the "out takes." His enthusiasm for our intellectual agenda helped stimulate a special edition of William F. Buckley's Firing Line, featuring Phillip Johnson and two of our fellows, Michael Behe and David Berlinski. At Ed Atsinger's invitation, Phil Johnson and Steve Meyer addressed Salem Communications' Talk Show Host conference in Dallas last November. As a result, Phil and Steve have been interviewed several times on Salem talk shows across the country. For example, in ]uly Steve Meyer and Mike Behe were interviewed for two hours on the nationally broadcast radio show ]anet Parshall's America. Canadian Public Radio (CBC) recently featured Steve Meyer on their Tapestry program. The episode, "God & the Scientists," has aired all across Canada. And in April, William Craig debated Oxford atheist Peter Atkins in Atlanta before a large audience (moderated by William F. Buckley), which was broadcast live via satellite link, local radio, and intenet "webcast."


Newspaper and Magazine Articles


The Firing Line debate generated positive press coverage for our movement in, of all places, The New York Times, as well as a column by Bill Buckley. In addition, our fellows have published recent articles & op-eds in both the secular and Christian press, including, for example, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Times, National Review, Commentary, Touchstone, The Detroit News, The Boston Review, The Seattle Post-lntelligenter, Christianity Toady, Cosmic Pursuits and World. An op-ed piece by Jonathan Wells and Steve Meyer is awaiting publication in the Washington Post. Their article criticizes the National Academy of Science book Teaching about Evolution for its selective and ideological presentation of scientific evidence. Similar articles are in the works.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 18:43:24 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
A few things:

One of the problems with ID and creationism, from a scientific perspective, is that they cannot be tested. When we (i.e. conservatives) criticise global warming and the idea that if there's warm weather, it's global warming, and if it's cold weather, it's global warming, is that such a "theory" cannot be disproved. That is a bedrock principle of scientific thought.

Evolution can be proved or rebutted. It must, however, be proved or rebutted on rational grounds. I had the same thought as Teresa upon reading the Lucy thing: "So because she looks part human and part ape, she's not the missing link?"

The problem with a lot of creationists/ID people is that they use catch phrases as if they were truth, when they are in fact not true at all. For example, Ann Coulter complained that we don't get to see any funny animals, such as dogs with tails growing out of their heads. Thing is, we often DO see the funny examples of evolution. Sometimes, they die in utero (if not genetically suitable for living - so there's your weeding-out process of bad genetic examples); other times, they go on to become circus freaks. There have been humans with four legs, two of which grow out of the stomach; humans with extra faces (in places like the stomach); often they are the result of improper twinning, but, nevertheless, exist. There's also polydactyly - will humans someday have six fingers?

That brings me to my next point about the foolishness of micro v. macro evolution. Thing is, there is NO definite way to determine when a new species is created. The lines are fairly arbitrary. Are pluots new species of fruit? Can we create new species of dog by continuous breeding? When have bacterial diseases so evolved as to be considered new species?

It is somewhat odd to look around earth and discuss the tremendous variety of life forms as if that proves or disproves anything. Fact is, we lack any standard of comparison. To us, lobster and insects are massively different, but they bear so many similarities as to be almost boring. There's only a handful of ways in which different life forms have developed, which is why they can be classified in the kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species manner: they are all fundamentally similar to others.

Ultimately, if there is a God, He designed the world. Examination of that design and the mechanism by which it works does not undermine him. Knowing how atoms and molecules are assembled (in a very boring, routine way) does not detract from a creator, but it tells us that a specific mechanism was created. Likewise, it is possible that God created Earth, physics, and thermodynamics, knowing that it would set into motion a chain of events that would lead to humans. As an engineer, I find it much more sensible to build a machine to do repetitive tasks than to do them many times over.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 19:10:17 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Theobromophile,

Thank you for your comments on evolution. I don't really have anything to add to that.

I DO have a comment on your statement about global warming, however.

When "Global Warming" is blamed for both unusually hot temperatures, and unusually cool temperatures, it is referring to changes in local climate/weather due to effects on the global heat distribution systems of the planet due to a rise in the over-all temperature of the system.

It is not inconsistant with climate modeling, and indeed, climate models are growing more and more able to accurately predict these changes within a range that allow for chaotic forcer values (such as volcanos. etc.)

An increasingly clear and convincing picture is emerging of Global Climate Change and it's effects.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 19:57:47 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
"Materialism, on the other hand, has produced medicine, and epidemiology, and airplanes, and electrical systems and cars."

Huh? Are you saying these would not have been produced without materialist philosophy?

I think you are misinterpreting ID. It merely approaches science the way many great Christian scientists (not the Tom Cruise kind) did - i.e., God created this so we can try to determine how he put it together. Some Christians believe in theistic evolution (I think that is wrong for a bunch of reasons, but I'll save that for another day). I don't see how it would limit scientific inquiry.

I find it interesting that many bits of "evidence" can be claimed by both sides. Materialists insist that similarities are proof of common ancestry, while ID-ers claim that is evidence of re-using good design principles. Again, the issue with Lucy is that it was wrongly represented for decades. The latest information isn't being presented as the final refutation of materialism, just the reminder that similarities aren't proof of the materialistic worldview.
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 20:57:51 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Neil,

I am absolutely saying that if the laws of the natural world were not consistant, observable, and testable, we would not have been able to produce those things.

And I am not misinterpreting the DI. This is a direct quote from The Wedge Document (quoted in full above):

"Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature."

Materialism works the same, whether you believe in God, don't believe in God, and no matter which God you believe in. The same rules and laws apply. Assumptions about God and his intent are unknowable, and are not brought into the question. They are recognized as personal belefs, not entered as facts that impact the outcomes.

With the DI, assumptions of God's exsistance and his intentions are accepted as facts that are allowed to impact the outcomes.

The outcomes accepted and proposed by the DI stand in direct contradiction to a tremendous volume of knowledge produced by the materialist apporach to science. Outcomes that support the idea that laws are consistant, observable ane testable have been rejected by the DI because they are not consistant with theism.

Look at irreducable complexity. Behe claims that it is impossible for a more primitive version of the eye to exsist...yet there exsist examples everywhere of various primitive eye forms preserved in species on the planet.

Yet the similarities to the human eye have to be ignored to preserve the myth of "irreducable complexity".

A peprfectly good explination that is consistant with what we know of the laws of nature has to be rejected in favor of the explination that one day God woke up and said "We need eyes" and created a new form of life that had eyes.

If THAT were our science, we would absolutely not have come up with the sort of rigerous testing and systematic exploration that would have resulted in cancer treatments and chloronated swimming pools, or germ theory.

Materialism is not inherantly inconsistant with belief in God, but Intelligent Design is specifically and purposfully originated to destroy the idea that the world operates in accordance with consistant, observable,and testable laws, and its creators said as much in one of theri foudational documents. And then denied it under oath in a court of law.

They also denied association with creationism under oath in a court of law despite the fac that their "ID" textbook was demonstrated to be re-write of a creationist textbook with a few minor word changes.





Wednesday, 16 May 2007 12:21:24 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Jeez, I go away for a few hours and things get weirder...

"If you like tautologies, it is a swell theory."

I have no use for tautologies, which is why I have no use for creationism.

"If you think micro and macro were made up, then blame Darwin as well (they are analogous to his "special" and "general" theories)."

Darwin is hardly to blame for your attempt to draw a poor analogy.

"If you think breeding cows for more milk production, for example, is equivalent to self-creating and organizing protein molecules, DNA and such I doubt anything I could write would persuade you otherwise."

Since it's not entirely clear what you're attempting to argue here, I suspect you're quite correct in your assessment of your persuasive abilities.

"ID is a theory. When we see things with a design, we infer a designer."

Teresa already covered this one quite well above; I have nothing to add.

"Perhaps you are right that the universe came from nothing, that life came from non-life and randomly mutated into the spectacular variety of creations we see today (butterflies, bombadier beetles, elephants, humans, fish, etc.)"

Evolution is not a random process. Random events inevitably influence it, but none of them involve changes to the laws of physics and chemistry that biology results from. The word for this is "stochastic". Pretty basic stuff, at least for an eighth-grade science course. The "random mutation" claim, as though one type of organism suddenly changes into an entirely different kind of creature, is never used by scientists or others who understand evolution. It's not about sudden fundamental transformations; it's about variations on themes.

"I just think that theory lacks evidence and logic."

Huh.

"While I see you like ad hominems ("propoganda tool," etc.),"

That would be my cue to point to something like the Wedge document, but Teresa has already done so. You might want to look up the term "ad hominem". There is nothing "ad hominem" about pointing to something that was explicitly designed for propaganda and calling it what it is. Attempting to characterize that as an ad hominem attack is illogical at best.

"I won't speculate on your motives for believing in Darwinian evolution."

First of all, I don't believe in evolution. I acknowledge the self-evident fact of evolution. "Belief" does not enter into it. Second, a statement like the one above, made after a blatantly false accusation of ad hominem argument, carries with it an implicit sense of judgement which belies the surface assertion. It's dishonest, and does not speak well of you.
Rick
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