Saturday, November 19, 2005

Intelligent Design

People are still talking about the tentative gains toward public recognition Intelligent Design has achieved in a few places. The most common attack is to call it all unscientific, by which they usually mean one of the following:

1 the faith of the scientists in question means they can't be good scientists because scientists should have no framework drawn from any source other than that allowed by NSF (or other currently governing scientific guilds)


Your position on the relative position of the universe to yourself is part of your belief system (aka religion, with or without a God. Atheists must also have faith, because you can't truly disprove God)

I have read any number of quotes and refs that have established beyond doubt that many who push(ed) the evolutionary framework have had their own humanistic faith (bias) to guide them. This included Darwin, though he may or may not have repented of it at the end.

They did NOT leave their faith at the laboratory door, Sir. They left everybody else's there.


2. No good scientists are involved in this effort.

Actually MANY good scientists have questioned evolution. Many of these were not believers in the Bible at the time, but being pilloried for daring to hold a 'religious' view, when they were only (initially) questioning a detail in the evolutionary framework, opened their eyes. Not all became believers then, but they ceased to be blind followers of Darwin.

Some were actually trying to improve upon evolution in a new direction, but found themselves on the receiving end of demonic attack, at last understood that there WAS a battle going on, that it did concern faith in God, and that they had been deceived by the system.

The pilloring itself, (ie the sort of garbage thats currently aimed at Behe), is part of what has become a standard process to demonize and discredit anyone not following the party line. Behe was recognized as a leading scientific light before his 'defection.'

Please understand that not all those who have given some credence to ID, or who question the Darwinian framework, are Christians, let alone conservative believers. The common identification made by the media/establishment is for two reasons 1) evangelical believers have been the quickest to recognize the importance of the debate. 2) These believers were already being demonized and there are those who see tarring all dissenters with this label as a way to discourage other defections. Its an implicit threat. Anyone NOT a believer would prefer not to have to seek conservative Christian support in order to continue their scientific studies. Once you are portrayed in this manner, it is likely to be very difficult to receive grants or gain tenure.


If the evolutionists truly believe they are correct, why do they feel the need for so many political dirty tricks ? The truth should be self-evident. If they truly value all searchers for truth, why be so hostile to those exploring another paradigm?

Currently those who do not already hold very strong positions or very strong beliefs are going to be discouraged to speak of any doubts they may have in such a charged atmosphere. At its base, this shrill cry is persecution, plain and simple because it doesnt respect any other point of view than its own. Worse, it insults people of faith as being incapable of logic. (They teach that at some colleges too, but its a different course).

Bluntly, our society is becoming increasingly intolerant of monotheists/dissenters from the current media-drenched culture. It just hasnt gotten down to the level of concentration camps and gas chambers...yet.


3. Mixing science and scientific study with elements of one's faith will produce not produce 'pure' science. The results should not be treated as though they were equal to purely scientific studies

Most people have yet to realize that their view of science reflects a taught bias most received from their earliest years in education. One of my children's textbooks, purchased from a public school, cheerfully informed them that scientists are impartial beings who set up studies purely for the love of knowledge or to solve a problem. They were assured that all real science is based on laboratory results and theories based in impeccable logic. T'ain't necessarily so.

I've already mentioned the current bias against monotheism, but there are other issues.



First off, science, as defined by that textbook, has overstepped its bounds. If only that which is reproduceable in a laboratory is good science, then most of what I see, hear, and read from the scientific establishment is the worst sort of charlatanism. They can not reproduce fossils by a slow process over millions of years. They cannot make a universe with a big bang in one. They cannot show a slow change, unaided by intelligent agents, even within a species, let alone a change from one to another. Closest they can get is to show single cell organisms using their amazing, built-in adaptive mechanisms to defeat the challenges we put in their way. Adaption within a species is designed into the creature. It is not 'progress' in the evolutionary sense.

Most think science and worldview can be separate at all levels. On some levels it can, as per chemistry and most Mythbusters experiments. But when you get into the age of the world and other BIG questions you start accepting some other unproven (and unprovable) hypothesis in order to move forward. Evolution is one of those uber-theories. Its a belief framework under which other hypothesis can be framed and tested, but the results will likely be interpreted ONLY in terms of the base belief/theory. Unless another truly different paradigm is substituted, you will probably never know if the results of your test/study could have a different meaning than the one you assigned to it.

The interesting thing to me is how many results of known studies change so drastically in significance when the ID framework is adopted.


Evolution has been billed to young children (and the general public) as the only good theory that covers all the facts, despites its many contradictions and failures. Students, being younglings, usually believe what they are told. Even by college days, they are still highly influenceable. They follow their professor's lead and continue to frame all questions in light of what they were told. They wish to look good to their elders. They wish to be recognized in the world. They are told evolution is the one ring of science that rules all others. One day, some of them become professors themselves...and Mordor's influence grows. (Sadly, I believe this West-dominated, scientific monoculture has not been wholly wonderful for the advancement of mankind.)

Imperfect humans rarely engage in perfect activities of any sort. Most logical constructs of any complexity develop flaws that may or may not be readily apparant to reviewers. They may or may not recognize their own prejudices. Some quite racist studies at late 19th/early 20thC held many societal and prejudicial errors in both the framing of the questions and in how the scientists in the experiments sought their answers. Those studies stood for decades. It was not pure science that budged those 'laboratory results' in the end. It was social pressure and a change in public attitudes. The mistakes are fairly obvious to any educated modern audience ~ who does not share their views. So much for 'pure' science. :P

The world doesn't have to get saved to recognize intelligent design as an alternative. The recognition for the catastrophic framework need not be religious per se. There are several possibilities that could account for their discoveries. The Bible's account would do so but so would the transplanting of species from elsewhere to this planet, once a catastrophically unstable world (that eventually settled down). Direct intervention of the Arthur C. Clarke variety, but earlier in the day, would have the ID effect. Cyclical quantum effects, especially between universes, might also produce dramatic effects that could account for an ID framework. Who knows?

*I* believe God is the cause, true. All I ask is that you recognize that He is a possibility and show me respect as a fellow, thinking human. Anything else is between you and Him.

Yes, the results do encourage Christians...and Hindus and ufologists and certain New Age sects. Christian ID scientists have found that allowing the words they believe came from the Maker of the universe to guide their searches has an illuminating effect.

but that doesn't make their work based on this alternative framework non-scientific.

Besides, its about time somebody else got a word in edgewise.

3 comments:

Scott said...

A theory explains data. Yet to date, no one has been able to tell me what intelligent design creationism explains, other than: it cannot explain things.

But this is not what a theory does.

Theories explain data. And if they cannot, they are falsified and discarded, or altered to reflect observed reality. That is what all good theories, like the modern synthesis of evolution, do. Bad theories (like Intelligent Design Creationism) do none of these things.

So why pretend IDC is science, when it has been made clear by example by its own advocates, that it is plainly and definitively not science?

I fear the answer lies in the inability of some Christians to accept God on faith. Failing that, they demand of science that God be "demonstrated" to exist. But by doing so, they corrupt science and betray faith. That they don't seem to know or care that they are doing this dismays me.

What they are saying is essentially that God has limitations. They are saying that He cannot possibly evolve life through means deducible by science, but only by the way the Bible describes.

But the Bible wasn't written by God. It was written by men, who meant well, but also who meant differently than to be taken as a source of scientific fact. The Bible describes a Creator, and His relationship to creation, but not functional details of how He created. There is no commandment that tells men how literally to interpret religious writings like the Bible.

Intelligent design creationism is nether theologically nor scientifically sound. It is utterly vacuous; even as it offers nothing to science, it offers even less to theology. It even has the potential to damage how Christianity is viewed by those who witness the antics of its proponents.

I have witnessed many contortions and distortions of the truth from some Christians in order to enable them to reject the outcome of rational science. Even more awkwardly, some cling to IDC as though it were some affirmation of faith. But intelligent design creationism is no homily. It's a rejection of reason, one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to mankind.

Shushan said...

) ID is an uber-theory under which much good scientific research can and

has been done

I do not claim ALL assertions made by every person who has adopted the ID

framework are correct, and you'd be a fool to claim anything equivalent

for the evolutionary belief system which has been repeated endlessly to

you since grade school.

I still have reservations about a number of specific theories that have

been propounded in support of both the ID and evolutionary systems, but I

find the ID paradigm more sensible on the whole.

2) You are clearly arguing from the position of a closed mind, as

evidenced by the your opening statements.

You follow this up with statements that outline your own belief of how

you think the Christian scripture ought to be interpreted, but this is

not logic or science. This is your faith, and its not even particularly

good history, as even a cursory study of the epistles themselves, and

church records would quickly set you straight as to how seriously the

apostles and prophets expected the Old and New Testaments to be taken.

They very much believed God spoke to men. They believed He had spoken to

them and occasionally made claim to revelations from God concerning some

historical events they could not have witnessed, prophecies of events to

come, and referencs to natural laws, facts and events which they could

not personally know. Allegory was used, but not every inconvenient bit

can be declared inherently allegorical by the writers.

You allow that evolution has had to adapt to hold its position of

dominance. However this meager admission fails to recognize that the

changes have been because much 'evidence' and many assumptions made on

the basis of it have proven false over time. Many of the 'evidences' used

to enshrine evolution included outright fakes like Piltdown Man, and the

now discarded 'race studies' I referenced in my post. Meantime much

ballyhooed proofs' like the pepper moths and variations in dog types

evidence only variation in a species, not change from one species to

another, let alone progress from chemical leachates to all the life on

Earth!

Fossils continue not to form by 'gentle, slow degrees over millions of

years, but you do get interesting results after flash floods and volcanic

eruptions! Life appeared pretty much everywhere in the fossile record at

once. 'Changes' (different types) also appear all at once, without

transition forms ...and still this continues to be the official

explanation.

Geologists have been getting an education on how much the landscape can

change in natural disaster lately. Further, I have read several

admissions of places where the much of the strata is 'out of order'

according to the previous established eras..and this is considered a

mystery, not a reason to re-examine the timeline.

The irreducible complexity issues have not been solved by a long chalk,

which is apparantly why there is so much anger at the man who made the

subject a public issue.

and so we get interesting variations like punctuated equilibrium,

periodic catastrophism etc which adopt a few bits of ID positions while

clingly desperately to Lowell's & Darwin's framework.

Evolution now has any number of definitions as a result of such

gyrations.


That is not the hallmark of a 'good theory.' But Men have staked their

names and souls on these beliefs, and they won't easily consider any

other position.

The spiritual implications are a big part of the debate on boths sides

imo. That is why this is never discussed purely on scientific grounds. I

noticed you also failed to discuss any actual studies, intepretations, or

theories of ID scientists. I'd be willing to bet you haven't seriously

studied the issue at all, and certainly didn't approach what little you

heard (probably from a pro-evolutionary source) with an open mind. Most

critics haven't.

The path you chose is the most common. That is you simply denigrated the

position as worthless and went directly to your subjective interpration

of scripture.

and, yes, the Bible is clear that it was written by men operating under

the influence of God's Holy Spirit.

You can choose to believe or disbelieve God's Word, but the heresy is

yours if you try to make others accept as Christian dogma a postion

contrary to Holy Writ.

I have given you the honor of a reply but will ignore any further

attempts to dialogue on this issue from you as your mind is clearly made

up in advance.

You have appealed to God, and I pray He will give you wisdom on this, and

on more important issues.

God bless us every one

Bye

Shushan said...

*growl*

and now, something completely the same ~ but with better formatting! lol

============================

1) ID is an uber-theory under which much good scientific research can and has been done

I do not claim ALL assertions made by every person who has adopted the ID framework are correct, and you'd be a fool to claim anything equivalent for the evolutionary belief system which has been repeated endlessly to you since grade school.

I still have reservations about a number of specific theories that have been propounded in support of both the ID and evolutionary systems, but I find the ID paradigm more sensible on the whole.

2) You are clearly arguing from the position of a closed mind, as evidenced by the your opening statements.

You follow this up with statements that outline your own belief of how
you think the Christian scripture ought to be interpreted, but this is
not logic or science. This is your faith. Frankly, its not even particularly good history, as even a cursory study of the epistles themselves, and church records would quickly set you straight as to how seriously the apostles and prophets expected the Old and New Testaments to be taken.

They very much believed God spoke to men. They believed He had spoken to
them and occasionally made claim to revelations from God concerning some historical events they could not have witnessed, prophecies of events to come, and references to natural laws, facts and events which they could not personally know. Allegory was used, but not every inconvenient bit can be declared inherently allegorical by the writers.

You allow that evolution has had to adapt to hold its position of
dominance. However this meager admission fails to recognize that the changes have been because much 'evidence' and many assumptions made on the basis of it have proven false over time. Many of the 'evidences' used to enshrine evolution included outright fakes like Piltdown Man, and the now discarded 'race studies' I referenced in my post. Meantime much ballyhooed proofs' like the pepper moths and variations in dog types evidence only variation in a species, not change from one species to another, let alone progress from chemical leachates to all the life on Earth!

Fossils continue not to form by 'gentle, slow degrees over millions of years,' but you do get interesting results after flash floods and volcanic eruptions! Life appeared pretty much everywhere in the fossile record at once. 'Changes' (different types) also appear all at once, without
transition forms ...and still this continues to be the official explanation.

Geologists have been getting an education on how much the landscape can change in natural disaster lately. Further, I have read several
admissions of places where the much of the strata is 'out of order' according to the previous established eras..and this is considered a mystery, not a reason to re-examine the timeline.

The irreducible complexity issues have not been solved by a long chalk, which is apparantly why there is so much anger at the man who made the subject a public issue.

and so we get interesting variations like punctuated equilibrium, periodic catastrophism etc which adopt a few bits of ID positions while clingly desperately to Lowell's & Darwin's framework.

Evolution now has any number of definitions as a result of such gyrations.

That is not the hallmark of a 'good theory.' But Men have staked their names and souls on these beliefs, and they won't easily consider any
other position.

The spiritual implications are a big part of the debate on boths sides
imo. That is why this is never discussed purely on scientific grounds, at least by evolutionists. I noticed you also failed to discuss any actual studies, intepretations, or theories of ID scientists. I'd be willing to bet you haven't seriously
studied the issue at all, and certainly didn't approach what little you read (probably from a pro-evolutionary source) with an open mind. Most critics haven't.

The path you chose is the most common. That is, you simply denigrated the ID position as worthless and went directly to subjective matters ~ like your interpration of scripture.

and, yes, the Bible is clear that it was written by men operating under the influence of God's Holy Spirit.

You can choose to believe or disbelieve God's Word, but the heresy is yours if you try to make others accept as Christian dogma a postion contrary to Holy Writ.

I have given you the honor of a reply but will ignore any further
attempts to dialogue on this issue from you as your mind is clearly made up in advance.

You have appealed to God, and I pray He will give you wisdom on this, and
on more important issues.

God bless us every one

Bye