Incompetent Reporting on Intelligent Design

Back in September, Fort Worth Weekly published an article on Intelligent Design entitled Devolution in Education.  Its author, Laurie Barker James, should win a prize for producing such a choice example of poorly researched biased reporting.  Full of misrepresentations and falsities, James’ article is a beautiful demonstration of how to build a straw man.  However, James can’t take too much credit for this masterpiece in absurdity; after all, she was only parroting what everyone else in the popular media has been saying.   Poorly researched biased reporting has become the hallmark of mainstream reporting on ID.   This is a tremendous shame for at least three reasons:  (1) It proves that journalists are either being lazy (unwilling to dig deep and be innovative in their reporting on ID) or dishonest (unwilling to report the truth), (2) it suggests that journalists are scared of challenging the status quo (i.e. challenging Darwinism), and (3) it means that millions of people are being misinformed. 

To those of you reading this post, shaking your head in disbelief, I issue a challenge.  Read James’ article and check her facts.  Don’t just take her word for it; go find out for yourself.  For instance, she gives a definition of ID in her article.  Google it and find out how Design Theorists really define ID.  Pick up a copy of Debating Design (published by Cambridge University Press) and do a little bit of reading.  Then, next time you read an article like Devolution in Education, write a letter to the editor pointing out all of its mistakes.    

You can read Devolution in Education here: http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=7149

You can read my letter to the editor here:  http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=7208

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20 thoughts on “Incompetent Reporting on Intelligent Design

  1. I found James’ piece to be very informative. Intelligent design is a political and religious idea, not science. Trying to “define” what the idea means isn’t possible using usual methods scientists use, going to research publications and experimental results — because there are no research publications, and no experiments done, on intelligent design.

    “Design Theorists” is an interesting phrase. It suggests that some advocate of intelligent design has actually proposed a hypothesis on the way to a theory. But even the Discovery Institute admits that is not so, that there is no theory behind intelligent design, and as of yet, not even a hypothesis.

    James’ article discusses the politics behind the effort to gut science in public school curricula. Intelligent design, devoid of science itself, is part of the gutting tools proposed to be used. I thought her article was probably too gentle in making that point.

  2. “find out how Design Theorists really define ID.”

    Design theorists? Wouldn’t it be more honest to call them Magic theorists?

    How magic theorists define ID? Wouldn’t it be more honest to say “How magic theorists define Magic?

    Everyone knows the designer of intelligent design creationism is a magic god fairy. Calling a fairy a “designer” does not make it any less childish.

    What’s interesting about the magic theorists is how dishonest they are. They are trying to disguise their childish belief in magic to look scientific but they are not fooling anyone, at least not anyone who is scientifically literate.

    “it suggests that journalists are scared of challenging the status quo (i.e. challenging Darwinism)”

    So you think a journalist who is educated enough to accept the basic facts of evolutionary biology is afraid to challenge it. Maybe they don’t want to challenge evolution because it’s a fact supported by mountains of evidence.

    I would suggest you study the discoveries of real scientists, but don’t bother. I don’t think you have the ability to understand even the most simple concepts.

    So please continue lying about science, and please continue believing in magic. Nobody cares about your wasted life.

  3. bobxxx

    your response is probably the most childish thing of all
    you say, “Maybe they don’t want to challenge evolution because it’s a fact supported by mountains of evidence,” yet you offer no evidence yourself.
    Having read this article myself James research is shody and biased. It took about ten minutes of actual research to prove some of her statements as false. Whether or not you believe in evolution or not that is just bad journalism.

    Also your statement: “Nobody cares about your wasted life.” is erroneous you obviously care or you would not have posted a comment.

    Come back when you want to offer an intelligent debate it is always welcomed. Name calling and libel (libel is the same thing as slander but in written form) are not though.

    God Bless

  4. Ed

    The two major inaccuracy are addressed in Mr. Brown’s letter to the editor. The real travesty seems to be that when people write about Intelligent Design they always lump it in with Creationism or use the terms interchangeably in order to discredit ID as another religious idea when it is not. It seems that people always come to the illogical conclusion that just because some creationists support ID that ID must support Creationism.

    by the way, I thank you for your ability to discuss without bickering or exchanging angry words.

    Christophereasy

  5. Dear Mr. Darrell,

    I appreciate you taking the time to read and address my post. Your comment affirms my conviction that the media’s misrepresentation of ID is leaving many confused and misinformed. You made several statements which gave me the distinct impression that you have not seriously considered ID; it appears as if you have written it off on the basis of how reporters and evolutionary biologists depict it in the popular media. Allow me to address one of the common misconceptions in your post.

    You say, “Intelligent design is a political and religious idea, not science.” This statement is simply false. While ID does have serious political and religious ramifications, it is false to suggest that ID fails to count as science. The chief assumption of ID is that, “intelligent causes are empirically detectable,” and that, “there exist well-defined methods that, on the basis of observational features of the world, are capable of reliably distinguishing intelligent causes from undirected natural causes.”(1) This assumption is already embraced by at least five special sciences including: forensic science, artificial intelligence, cryptography, archeology, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.(2)

    Consider forensic science for a moment; if there were no way of distinguishing between intelligent and non-intelligent causes forensic scientists would find it near impossible in many cases to make a distinction between evidence and non-evidence. Or take archeology as another example; there are clearly well defined methods of demarcation between a piece of pottery (which has an intelligent cause) and a rock (natural cause). ID theorists (yes they are properly called theorists) use similar methods to detect evidence of design in nature. This upsets Darwinian evolutionist who assume a priori that nature does not have an intelligent cause.

    So you see, ID is not magical (as another commentator suggested), nor is it based on sacred writings (as Laurie Barker James would have you believe). ID is based upon empirical observation and embraces methods already employed by scientists across multiple fields. As such, it should be given its fair chance in the free market of ideas.

    (1) William A. Dembski, ed., Mere Creation (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 17.

    (2) Ibid., 17.

  6. Jim,

    Quite to the contrary I’ve carefully considered intelligent design, and I can find no science in it.

    First, recall that the ID movement owes its existence to Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson. In his books he is quite clear that he pushes intelligent design for the glory of Jesus. He rejects evolution on no scientific principle, but because it conflicts with dogma he prefers. I know of no branch of science that got started that way.

    Second, having carefully observed the evolution of ID in federal court, I’m particularly struck by the fact that the courts have repeatedly noted any science makes it into the textbooks without any operation of law — but since the Arkansas case in 1981, advocates of creationism (including intelligent design) have steadfastly refused to do science. I used to love to tweak Bill Dembski by asking him for a photograph of an intelligent design scientist doing work in an intelligent design laboratory somewhere. There is no such animal, nor is there any such place. As a research prompt, intelligent design is moribund at best, but more likely completely dead.

    You know, the science of chaos offers a good example of how new branches of science get started. Before they even had a name for the thing, chaos was published in several dozen journals and had dozens of researchers working on it. It proved useful almost immediately in meteorology, and it produced cool stuff that probably had little use other than aesthetics. But there was a body of research, serious publications, and real work in real laboratories. You can read about the development of the science in James Gleick’s wonderful book about it, Chaos.

    I mention that because Gleick’s book was published in 1988. Chaos theory grew up at the same time creationism was facing its post-Sputnik crisis. From Gleick we get a good view of what serious, new science really looks like in the modern age.

    Nothing in intelligent design looks like the growth of chaos theory. There are no practical applications, no fun research tools, no journal articles, no research projects, no serious scholarly work in the area that might advance intelligent design to a hypothesis stage, which would be necessary before developing any theory.

    I have not been surprised that the courts have consistently found no science in creationism and intelligent design. I’ve been looking, too, and I can’t find it. Even tinfoil hat stuff in science gets discussed in graduate seminars in relevant departments at vanguard universities. There are no such classes, for intelligent design. No major university, especially no major Christian university, teaches intelligent design as science. Someone wishing to get a good background in the science would discover no courses anywhere.

    And the ID advocates at the Discovery Institute tell us why: There’s no theory, there’s no hypothesis — there’s no science there. The advocates say “yet,” but Johnson’s book was published in 1991. In 18 years, ID has failed to generate even a failed graduate discussion seminar in science. In 18 years ID has failed to generate even one testable hypothesis. That’s a stark contrast to, say, Einstein, who proposed to shake up the foundations of physics in a series of papers published in 1905 (Einstein alone published more papers in 1905 than all of ID has published, ever). Confirmation of one of his many ideas came in 1919, when light was observed bending around the sun during an eclipse — one of the key things Einstein had predicted would happen. Einstein went from proposal to proof in 14 years, in the most dramatic scientific revolution in history.

    In 18 years, ID hasn’t produced even one testable hypothesis? Where’s the science?

    I like that you mention forensic science. When we use the methods of forensic science, or archaeology, to look for intelligent design, we find none. Certainly we can detect design. That’s what Darwin’s book was all about. Darwin noted natural causes to the design he found, and in 150 years since, all we’ve found is more natural causes.

    If we use your preferred methods of looking, from forensic science, we find no science in intelligent design. There is no set of empirical observations ever proposed to detect ID, and certainly there is no one working to make such observations. (There’s a clue in the fact that Dembski’s book which you cite was published by a theological publishing house, and not a science house, don’t you think?)

    Why shouldn’t we call ID “magical,” then? ID has been tested in the free market of ideas. The lack of any product has seriously impinged on demand. Supply of ID ideas runs way in advance of any serious demand.

    Minor problems in that Fort Worth Weekly article aside, it makes a good point. There’s no science there that we could teach to high school kids. And using ID to dull down and dumb down teaching of evolution seems rather counterproductive to me.

    Where’s the science?

  7. Hello Ed,

    Once again I thank you for your pointed comments. I’m happy to hear that you’ve carefully considered Intelligent Design; however, I’m disappointed with the conclusions you’ve drawn. There are several factual errors and some problems with your reasoning which I’d like to address.

    (1) In your explanation of the origin of ID you commit a common logical fallacy known as the genetic fallacy in which, “a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself.”(1) Clearly, the origin of the modern ID movement does not invalidate the theory itself. Furthermore, it doesn’t follow that ID is not science because someone pushes it, “for the glory of Jesus,” as you put it. If this were so, Sir Isaac Newton was not a scientist. Your reasoning here is seriously flawed.

    (2) You say, “I have not been surprised that the courts have consistently found no science in creationism and intelligent design.” This statement is erroneous because you and I both know that courts do not decide what is and is not science. Those qualified to make such judgments about the nature of science are philosophers.

    (3) You say, “In 18 years, ID hasn’t produced even one testable hypothesis? Where’s the science?” This of course is false. The hypothesis, “evidences of intelligent design can be detected in nature,” is certainly testable. As has already been mentioned, there are ways of detecting ID and there is no reason why they can’t be utilized when observing nature. One need not mention the work of Steven Meyer in detecting ID as the source of information in the DNA of a cell or the work of Michael Behe concerning irreducibly complex molecular machines etc… These are cases in which clearly defined methods of detecting ID in nature are employed to test the above said hypothesis. You may disagree with the results of their findings, but to say that their hypothesis is not testable is clearly mistaken.

    (4) You say, “When we use the methods of forensic science, or archaeology, to look for intelligent design, we find none.” This statement is clearly false, otherwise forensic scientists and archaeologists would be out of the job. Obviously, a forensic scientist or an archaeologist has methods of determining whether or not something is or is not the product of intelligence. After all, there is a difference between an arrowhead and a rock.

    (5) You say, “There is no set of empirical observations ever proposed to detect ID, and certainly there is no one working to make such observations. (There’s a clue in the fact that Dembski’s book which you cite was published by a theological publishing house, and not a science house, don’t you think?).” Again this statement is false. Dembski has proposed a way in which to detect ID and it was published by Cambridge University Press (one of those pseudo-science publishing houses). If you are interested, it’s entitled, The Design Inference. In point of fact, there are people, “working to make such observations.” Those would be the many scientists and philosophers who are proponents of ID.

    (6) You say, “Certainly we can detect design. That’s what Darwin’s book was all about. Darwin noted natural causes to the design he found, and in 150 years since, all we’ve found is more natural causes.” Again, you have committed a logical fallacy known as begging the question. (2) In this statement you assume Darwin’s theory to be true and assume natural explanations can explain all of the design we find in nature; however, this is precisely the point ID proponent’s dispute. Hence, it is question begging to assert this as proof against ID.

    There are other things I could critique about your comment; however, for the moment, I think I’ve said quite enough. Obviously, your position on ID is built upon faulty logic and misinformation. I urge you to carefully reconsider the things you have said.

    (1) http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/genetic-fallacy.html
    (2) http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/begging-the-question.html

  8. They’re not logical fallacies when they require evidence that you can’t produce. The logical fallacy is in noting that there could be a controversy, but refuse to acknowledge the evidence that exists.

    1. Phillip Johnson’s religious motivations for inventing intelligent design say nothing about the science involved, but since they are published and well known, they put the lie to the claim that there is no religious motivation. All one has to do is listen to the ID defenders testifying to the Texas State Board of Education, to the point that they think their faith in Jesus requires them to defend ID “regardless the facts.” As one clergyman observed in Dover, Pennsylvania, it’s like ID is under assault by smart and educated people. That’s not a logical fallacy, that’s simply a fact.

    Darwin’s quest was religiously motivated, too. The sole difference is that Darwin believed God is responsible for creating the Earth, and therefore, the evidence gathered by observing creation is accurate. Darwin thought it was important to be honest about what we see in nature. Ethically, I think that’s a superior position, especially for Christians, and I rue that more Christians don’t take that position.

    2. Courts decide what is and what isn’t science all the time. It’s a key issue in the litigation of tort suits. Each time this issue has been litigated with regard to creationism, the decision has been that there is no science in creationism. See the decisions in McLean vs. Arkansas,, Edwards vs. Aguillard, and Epperson vs. Arkansas, for three examples other than the Dover case.

    Specifically, creationists have claimed they have some science. When put under oath, in the Arkansas trial, and again in the Pennsylvania trial, they confessed that was not the case. When were they telling the truth, when the made the claim, or when they retracted it under penalty of perjury?

    3. If you want to get very technical, yes, we can detect intelligent design. The problem is, we cannot detect it in evolution. That’s not a problem for evolution theory, but it’s a killer for ID. The proven methods of detecting intelligent design show no intelligent design in the evolution of organisms.

    Actually, I’ve questioned Behe on this point, and been present when he actually answered the question to an audience of biochemists. What he said was, “I can’t tell you how to tell, but I know it when I see it.” In law, we call that the Potter Stewart Standard. And in law, we find that standard to be inadequate to making claims.

    Under oath in the Pennsylvania trial, Behe confessed he can’t tell design. His principle of “irreducible complexity” might work, but he’s been completely unable to find anything in living organisms that is irreducibly complex. Meyer has done no work in the area, and I’m shocked that someone has told you he did. This is a key problem among creationists, the claiming of work that has not been done.

    If we stick to the science, then we come to understand that there is no evidence of intelligent design in the evolution of the diversity of life as we know it.

    4. Let me be more specific: When we look for signs of intelligent design in the design of living organisms, we find none. The methods used by archaeologists — which are rejected soundly and roundly by creationists in all other areas — detect no intelligent design in genomes. It’s interesting that creationists reject the science on one hand, then claim it works on the other. I wish creationists would figure out what they want to say. As Mark Twain noted, it’s easier just to tell the truth, then you don’t have to remember the lies to try to keep them from conflicting.

    There is no sign of intelligent design in the evolution of living things that anyone can detect. Bill Dembski’s work all boils down to “if it’s complex, it’s designed,” though complexity is usually the mark of lack of design, and we can explain every piece of complexity Dembski points to in living things as the result of natural processes, not design. As I noted, Behe’s methods have come up dry.

    There is no hypothesis that is not disproven from intelligent design. What science was there is dead.

    5. Dembski’s book was not peer-reviewed. When the errors in it were pointed out, Oxford refused to publish a second edition. More to the point, there is no laboratory anywhere using Dembski’s proposed but disproven methods, nor any other, to find evidence of intelligent design in evolution. If you claim there is, please tell us where it is, who runs it, and how we can contact them to learn about their work.

    6. I don’t assume Darwin’s theory to be true; I implicitly acknowledge that it has withstood tests trying to disprove it for more than 150 years, including Darwin’s own testing of it for 20 years before he dared make it public. IDists can find nothing in nature that cannot be explained by natural causes. It’s not “begging the question” to note that the evidence supports one proposition, and not the other. You’re confusing a logic class with biology. Philosophically, it would be possible for there to have been an intelligent entity that directed evolution at some time in the past. In fact, however, there is not a shred of evidence to support such a proposition.

    My position in favor of the science of evolution is built on the mountains of evidence supporting evolution theory, and the fact that so many applications of the theory work well, including treatments for diabetes, the creation of new, more nutritious cereal grains that can be grown more easily, the treatments and cures of cancer, and so much more that is based on practical evolution theory.

    Intelligent design is a dead end in science, and a dishonest claim in philosophy and religion. I urge you to think about ethics, and reconsider the things you’ve said.

    Evidence of evolution:
    http://www.hhmi.org/genesweshare/e120.html

    The view from the National Academy of Sciences:
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6024

    Evolution gateway, at Berkeley:
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

  9. Hello Ed,

    I’m enjoying our conversation although it seems we’ve drifted away from the original topic of my post: incompetent reporting on ID. Originally, my desire was to talk about the media’s consistent misreporting on ID rather than debate the details of ID. However, it’s my fault we’ve drifted off topic and since you’ve brought up some interesting points, I feel compelled to continue our dialogue.

    (1) In spite of what you say, your argument against the modern ID movement based upon its origin is fallacious; the truthfulness of the claims of ID theorists has nothing to do with how the modern ID movement originated. Such allegations merely divert one’s attention from the questions at hand; namely, are the claims of ID true? Is ID science? The answers to these questions have nothing to do with the movement’s origin. You’ve committed the genetic fallacy. This type of argumentation has great rhetorical value but is not logical.

    Furthermore, your rhetoric is not factually accurate. Phillip Johnson’s books helped kick start the modern ID movement, and he was instrumental in developing the strategy used by the Discovery Institute to defeat Darwinism. However, Phillip Johnson did not invent ID; ID has been around for thousands of years. The idea that the universe and all living things are the product of intelligent design dominated science and philosophy up until Darwin published The Origin of the Species. Second, modern ID theory has primarily been developed by Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, etc… not Phillip Johnson. Nevertheless, if you simply said that Johnson’s work was crucial and that the movement would not be where it is today without him, I would agree with you.

    You also claim that, “Darwin’s quest was religiously motivated, too.” If this is accurate I’m not sure why you brought up the point that Phillip Johnson and other ID proponents are religiously motivated. Obviously you think Darwin’s ideas are correct, in spite of his religious motivations. Couldn’t this be true of proponents of ID as well?

    (2) The courts do not decide what is and is not science; the courts decide what will be taught in High Schools; answering questions about the nature of science falls into the realm of Philosophy. A judge can decide what a fourteen year old biology student will be taught but he is not qualified to define science.

    Also, you keep calling ID theorists creationists; this of course is false. There is a clear distinction between creationism and ID. You’re making the same mistake the media consistently makes in its reporting on ID. If you haven’t already, please read my letter to the editor to see the difference between creationism and ID.

    (3) You say, “if you want to get very technical, yes, we can detect intelligent design. The problem is, we cannot detect it in evolution. That’s not a problem for evolution theory, but it’s a killer for ID. The proven methods of detecting intelligent design show no intelligent design in the evolution of organisms.” This statement is convoluted. First, evolution, by definition, excludes ID. Evolution says there is no purpose or ID in nature and that any semblance of ID in nature is simply an allusion. So, stating that one cannot detect ID in evolution is redundant. Secondly, it is begging the question. You assume evolution to be true, which is precisely what ID theorists deny. Once again you’ve committed the fallacy of begging the question.

    You also say, “Meyer has done no work in the area, and I’m shocked that someone has told you he did. This is a key problem among creationists, the claiming of work that has not been done.” Actually, he has. I was present at SMU when he spoke about the information in the DNA of a cell and its ramifications for evolution; he also has a book on this topic coming out in 2009.

    (4) You say, “the methods used by archaeologists — which are rejected soundly and roundly by creationists in all other areas — detect no intelligent design in genomes.” Well, I’m not sure what creationists have to say about archaeology, but I’ve never heard of an ID theorist rejecting the methods used by archaeologists. However, to be honest, I’ve never heard of a creationist rejecting the methods of archaeologists either.

    You say, “There is no sign of intelligent design in the evolution of living things that anyone can detect.” As I pointed out before, this statement is extremely problematic. First, evolution rules out the possibility of ID from the beginning; so, of course there is no sign of ID in evolution. Secondly, you are begging the question; you assume evolution is true, which is precisely the point that ID challenges.

    You also say, “Bill Dembski’s work all boils down to “if it’s complex, it’s designed.” This statement is painfully naive and I wish you hadn’t made it. This is not what Dembski’s work boils down to. Please go and read his book The Design Inference.

    (6) You say, “I don’t assume Darwin’s theory to be true.” However, when you make statements like, “we can’t detect ID in evolution,” you’re assuming evolution to be true. I understand you believe evolution is true based upon your evaluation of the facts. However, since your debate is with ID, which says that evolution is not true, you can’t assume evolution to be true and use that as evidence that ID is false. To do so is begging the question. Perhaps if more biologists took logic class better science would result.

    Again, upon examining you’re arguments, I find no basis for your claim that, “intelligent design is dead in science,” or that it is a, “dishonest claim in philosophy and religion.” I also fail to see the ethics in admitting evolution is true.

  10. Here’s the problem: ID isn’t science.

    Courts determine what is science when the law requires science be taught in science classes. There are several tests used in courts to see what is science, including looking to see whether there is any scientific output from the school of thought, checking to see whether there is scientific enterprise, and checking to see the origins of the stuff.

    As I noted, Darwin’s quest was religious, to put together the evidence that would, once and for all, verify Genesis as the accurate version of how the universe came to be, versus the other creation stories in the Bible and scientific hypotheses posed in the previous two centuries. Darwin stuck to the evidence gathered, however, and the conclusions from that evidence did not verify a young Earth, a short period of creation, nor special creation to get the diversity of life on Earth. So, Darwin wrote up the facts. Writing up the facts is what science is.

    ID could, then, become science, if ID researchers chose to write up the facts.

    Alas, there are no ID researchers, really — even Scott Minnich confessed he’s working in other areas. Behe has noted several times that he is not working on ID. So for the test of “show us the labs where ID is being worked on,” ID fails as science.

    It’s short work to finish off ID as science in a courtroom from that point. What workable results do we get from ID? Well, there are only the two papers, only one of which is still supported by the publisher. Contrast that with last year’s output of 10,000 papers on evolution theory and its applications, in peer-reviewed science journals, you can begin to see the scale of things. In fact, since 1981, the year of the Arkansas trial when the courts determined creationists were lying about journals being biased against them (creationists could not produce a single piece of scientific research from creationism), we’ve had about 10,000 papers a year on evolution. That was 27 years ago. In the last 27 years we’ve had a quarter million serious research publications on evolution, versus one on intelligent design.

    Courts conclude from that history that ID is no more science than any other form of creationism.

    At the lab bench where, as Richard Feynman note, real science is done, we learn quickly that there is no science in ID.

    This conclusion has nothing to do with the admitted religious origins. As I noted, under oath and facing prison time for lying, creationists and intelligent design advocates all admit there is no science there. I suppose you won’t admit it until we put you under oath?

    You don’t see lack of hypothesis, lack of research, lack of any practical application, and statements from the key authorities of ID that there is no science, as evidence there is no science in ID? Fascinating.

    But neither can you show us an ID lab. You can’t point us to a single research publication on ID in the past two years, and only one in the past 20. You can’t tell us any practical application of ID theory, nor can you state what ID theory might be, since there are no ID hypotheses being tested anywhere.

    You keep complaining about my bias, but you’re blind to your own.

    I would agree with the broad statement that reporting on ID is inaccurate, but only because most reporting tends to give way too much credence to ID. If there’s a story on textbooks, instead of interviewing 10,000 people who understand evolution, including quotes from all of them, and then noting the one ID supporter’s quotes, reporters will interview two or three scientists and pose their statements equally against the one ID supporter, who is not a research scientist. This makes ID look like it has more supporting it, more people following it, than it does.

    It hoodwinks non-critical thinking people and religionists who are ethically blinded, almost every time.

  11. You say, “if you want to get very technical, yes, we can detect intelligent design. The problem is, we cannot detect it in evolution. That’s not a problem for evolution theory, but it’s a killer for ID. The proven methods of detecting intelligent design show no intelligent design in the evolution of organisms.” This statement is convoluted. First, evolution, by definition, excludes ID. Evolution says there is no purpose or ID in nature and that any semblance of ID in nature is simply an allusion. So, stating that one cannot detect ID in evolution is redundant. Secondly, it is begging the question. You assume evolution to be true, which is precisely what ID theorists deny. Once again you’ve committed the fallacy of begging the question.

    I did make a minor goof. I should have said, “we can detect design in nature.” That’s a key source of trouble for people who wish to see God behind everything.

    As Darwin well knew, the religious view from William Paley (which intelligent design tries to revive) is that nature has designs, and infers from the fact that design exists that there must be a god behind those designs.

    But as Darwin found repeatedly, and we still find today on even deeper levels, what looks like design has a natural cause that is unconnected to some intelligent elf cobbler in a supernatural workshop hammering out designs for organisms. DNA, for example, causes the creation of things that give the appearance of having been designed by someone. Design itself is not an indicator, we now know, especially when we find a natural, non-intelligent source for the design.

    So I should rephrase: “if you want to get very technical, yes, we can detect intelligent design. The problem is, we cannot detect it in evolution. That’s not a problem for evolution theory, but it’s a killer for ID. The proven methods of detecting design, and intelligent design, show no intelligent design in the evolution of organisms.”

  12. Hello Ed,

    I apologize for taking so long to respond; I don’t always get a chance to check my blog. Before we move any further I’d like to thank you for two things: first, for conducting this conversation in a civil manner and focusing on the argument, and second for making the correction on your previous comment; it makes a lot more sense now. I hope we can continue to debate this ever important topic with as much dignity and clarity. Ok, now for the argument.

    I understand that the courts are being forced to make rulings on what is and is not science in order to make determinations on what will be taught in high schools. However, you and I are not in high school and our qualm is not with what we are going to be taught by a high school biology teacher. We are trying to determine whether or not ID is science and whether or not certain claims of ID are true. To determine this we can’t turn to the courts. Judges do not have the specialization or training to define science; those who do are philosophers. Hence, we must look at the philosophy of science to figure this out.

    I’m going to construct a definition of science based upon your argument thus far and then ask whether or not it is (1) a good definition of science and (2) a definition of science accepted by philosophers of science.

    Your definition of science thus far…

    “There are several tests used in courts to see what is science, including looking to see whether there is any scientific output from the school of thought, checking to see whether there is scientific enterprise, and checking to see the origins of the stuff.”

    “So, Darwin wrote up the facts. Writing up the facts is what science is.”

    “So for the test of “show us the labs where ID is being worked on,” ID fails as science.”

    “Well, there are only the two papers, only one of which is still supported by the publisher. Contrast that with last year’s output of 10,000 papers on evolution theory and its applications, in peer-reviewed science journals, you can begin to see the scale of things.”

    I will summarize your definition as follows…

    Science is: A school of thought that has scientific output, shows scientific enterprise, writes up the facts, is done in a lab, and has a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit.

    (1) Let’s examine your definition of science and try to determine if it is adequate. From the beginning, your definition of science is plagued with bad logic. Your first two tests for science assume the very thing you seek to define. You claim that we can tell if something is science if there is any, “scientific output from the school of thought.” Well, we have to know what science is before we can tell if there is any scientific output from the school of thought. The same problem rests in your second test. You have to have a clear definition of what science is before you can determine if something is demonstrating scientific enterprise. With these first conditions out of the way your definition is reduced to this:

    Something is scientific if it writes up the facts, it is done in a lab, and has a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit.

    If this were the definition of science, almost all of the most famous scientists in history would not be scientists; including Darwin. Science is not merely about “writing up facts” it’s about constructing theories to explain data (facts). Gathering data is usually assumed after a theory has been formulated; this helps scientists know which data is relevant to their research. There are an endless amount of facts about nature, but simply recording facts is not what science is all about. Another problem with this definition is that science is not the only discipline which gathers facts. Philosophy, Theology, History, Law-each of these disciplines gather and write up facts. So, it’s no enough to say that something is scientific if it writes up facts.

    Let’s look at your other two qualifications: science is something that is done in a lab and has a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit. Whether something is done in a lab or not has little bearing on whether or not it is science. If science had to be done in a lab this would exclude a lot of scientific work done by Zoologists, Sociologists, Psychologists, and Astronomers; as well as those involved in Forensic Science, Archaeology, and SETI; a lot of work done in these fields are not done in a lab.

    Finally, you suggest that in order for something to be science it must have a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit. Again, this is not a viable test for science. If it where, when Darwin first published the Origin of the Species, one could have claimed his arguments were not scientific because there were not a massive amount of peer-reviewed journal articles about it. You would agree that this is an absurd proposition.

    In the final analysis your definition of science is extremely lacking. It is built upon faulty logic and lacks the precision that one would expect from a good definition of science. Furthermore, I would expect a good definition of science to encompass the work done by many of the great scientists of history. However, if we seriously adopted this definition we would have to admit that Isaac Newton (among others) was not a scientist. If this is the reasoning that Judges are using to determine whether or not something is science I am correct in my assertion that they are not equipped to make such determinations.

    (2) Now that we’ve established that your definition of science is not, by any means, a good definition of science, we must turn to the second question: is your definition accepted by philosophers of science? I think the answer to this should be obvious; no. I can think of no philosopher of science who would adopt such a poor definition of science.

    You have yet to produce any serious argument against ID being science or proven any of its claims to be false. It’s essential that you develop a viable definition of science before claiming that ID is not science. Repeatedly bringing up court cases does not successfully defend your position. This type of rhetoric may persuade the media or parents at a PTA meeting but it is not going to persuade anyone with a background in philosophy.

  13. I understand that the courts are being forced to make rulings on what is and is not science in order to make determinations on what will be taught in high schools. However, you and I are not in high school and our qualm is not with what we are going to be taught by a high school biology teacher. We are trying to determine whether or not ID is science and whether or not certain claims of ID are true.

    In tort cases, in patent cases, and in other cases, the courts must determine what is good science and what is nonsense every day. They are practiced at it. Many courts have great skill at determining science from nonsense. To be more specific, that was precisely the issue in the Arkansas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania trials. If what was proposed by creationists was science, it would be included as a matter of course. If it is not science, it requires a special law to get it in. The motivations of those special laws are always religious (so far — I can’t imagine how such a law wouldn’t be religious), but religious motivation doesn’t matter if the stuff is real science. So even in this issue, with the First Amendment implications, the courts need to determine what is science and what is not. You can look up the technical definition of what is science and what scientists do in the Daubert case, but you won’t like those definitions, either. The courts look for the same stuff I’ve talked about here (that you seem hell bent to distort or dodge), whether there is real science being done. That is all.

    There is no evidence of science being done in ID. I’ve asked you to tell me where such science is being done, by whom, and what that stuff is, and you can’t offer any answers. That’s no surprise: ID isn’t science. It’s a political position designed to make war between fundamentalists and Christians, between fundamentalists and scientists, between fundamentalists and public schools. This is a culture war that has nothing to do with real science, sadly.

    To determine this we can’t turn to the courts. Judges do not have the specialization or training to define science; those who do are philosophers. Hence, we must look at the philosophy of science to figure this out.

    As I noted earlier, courts do this all the time. They get scientists as expert witnesses most often. I’ll warn you again: There are no expert witnesses in intelligent design. They can’t meet the qualifications, particularly the qualification of having done science. There are no researchers, there are no theorists, there are no intelligent design engineers who merely act as technicians and apply the science, because there is no science to apply. There is no science there.

    I’m going to construct a definition of science based upon your argument thus far and then ask whether or not it is (1) a good definition of science and (2) a definition of science accepted by philosophers of science.

    I’ll highlight some of the things you’re working hard to ignore.

    Your definition of science thus far…

    “There are several tests used in courts to see what is science, including looking to see whether there is any scientific output from the school of thought, checking to see whether there is scientific enterprise, and checking to see the origins of the stuff.”

    “So, Darwin wrote up the facts. Writing up the facts is what science is.”

    “So for the test of “show us the labs where ID is being worked on,” ID fails as science.”

    “Well, there are only the two papers, only one of which is still supported by the publisher. Contrast that with last year’s output of 10,000 papers on evolution theory and its applications, in peer-reviewed science journals, you can begin to see the scale of things.”

    I will summarize your definition as follows…

    Science is: A school of thought that has scientific output, shows scientific enterprise, writes up the facts, is done in a lab, and has a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit.

    I worked as a botanist. You must understand that when I say “lab” I mean, “place where observations and experiments are conducted.” Today, December 30, is Hubble Day. Edwin Hubble’s observations (which deny creationism, by the way) were done from an observatory, but it was the universe which was the lab in which those observations were made. Darwin’s incredible output between 1831 and 1836 was entirely observation made in the wild, in the field; his write-ups for most of the next two decades were based on that lab work, none of which was conducted in a building.

    When Feynman offered his definition of science as what gets done on the lab bench, his lab bench included cyclotrons and the cosmos.

    Let’s be very clear about what science is: It’s the observation and recording of facts from nature, and the hypothesizing, experimentation, and theorizing that comes the same way.

    In all of those exercises, intelligent design is absolutely sterile, completely moribund.

    (1) Let’s examine your definition of science and try to determine if it is adequate. From the beginning, your definition of science is plagued with bad logic.

    You should know that I don’t like arguments based on logic, especially when the logic is contradicted by the evidence. You can’t logic nature away. You cannot logic away the wetness of water, the lightness of air, atomic theory, or evolution theory. You may claim the logic is bad, but it is what God has given us. Take up your argument with God, but don’t call God’s creation “bad logic.” It’s poor form.

    Your first two tests for science assume the very thing you seek to define. You claim that we can tell if something is science if there is any, “scientific output from the school of thought.” Well, we have to know what science is before we can tell if there is any scientific output from the school of thought.

    No, you don’t. In the case of intelligent design, there isn’t any output of any significance, or that is not completely riddled with error. Science is only as good as it answers questions. We can tell whether there is scientific output if there is hypothesizing, regardless whether the hypotheses are confirmed or denied. You cannot get away with claiming that science goes only one way. The exercise of science, experiments and observations, either confirm or deny a hypothesis. It’s not fair, or accurate, to say confirming is science, but denial is not, nor is it fair the other way around. Science is the getting of knowledge both ways, learning what works and what fails.

    The key thing here is to take what we know and make a hypothesis and test it. ID fails badly and making hypotheses, and that alone would disqualify it; but ID also doesn’t test even hypotheses from other areas. Worse, ID is usually an exercise in distorting what we know to make that knowledge useless, or at least unused.

    You can’t logic this away: There is no body of knowledge in ID, no scientific hypotheses that might lead to a theory, no hypothesizing on experiments that might be done, no experimentation or other observation, and no writing up of the results that do not exist. Those are facts.

    Facts are not “bad logic.”

    The same problem rests in your second test. You have to have a clear definition of what science is before you can determine if something is demonstrating scientific enterprise.

    Balderdash. All we have to have is scientific work. Linneaus simply catalogued living things. By your definitions, we can’t call that science — but it’s part of the foundation of all biology. It’s not fair to claim that Linne can be “logically excluded” from the body of science.

    What I asked you was, please show me a lab where ID work is done, by a scientist claiming to use an ID paradigm, and show me the results.

    You can’t do that, so you quibble and dally with definitions.

    If there were a lab where ID scientists did science, what difference would these definitions make?

    With these first conditions out of the way your definition is reduced to this:

    Something is scientific if it writes up the facts, it is done in a lab, and has a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit.

    A massive amount of written reports is not part of the test. I only offer that as a comparison. As science, evolution is hundreds of thousands of times more powerful, useful, and effective, than anything to come out of ID. Intelligent design has, in the last 25 years, failed to produce one testable hypothesis on anything. Contrast that with Einstein in 1905, who proposed 15 or 20 different experiments, any one of which would knock physics on its head — and within 14 years, there was confirmation of one of his more controversial claims about gravity (they had to wait for an eclipse of the right sort). Einstein proposed within the space of a few months, more hypotheses than all the ID advocates have been able to muster in 25 years, and then got the experimental results that confirmed his hypotheses — an in the same amount of time, ID has been unable to go beyond Phillip Johnson’s wild rantings that evolution is immoral.

    There’s no science in ID. You know it, if you’ve tried to find it.

    Now ID is hammering away at your own moral foundations, making you unable to directly answer a simple question: If ID is science, where is the science?

    If this were the definition of science, almost all of the most famous scientists in history would not be scientists; including Darwin. Science is not merely about “writing up facts” it’s about constructing theories to explain data (facts).

    Said like a true person who has never done any experimentation. Am I correct in assuming you took the minimum amount of science to get out of high school, and you’ve never been involved in a serious experiment since? Science is very much about writing up the facts — both to catalog what is known, and to share it. Those data are the stuff from which hypotheses and theories are made.

    No, theories don’t come first, not in the real world. Especially now, we get data, and where there are anomolies, we have to try to explain them. Data first, theory from data.

    Gathering data is usually assumed after a theory has been formulated; this helps scientists know which data is relevant to their research.

    The purpose of detailed lab journals is because scientists often do not know what data are relevant until later. In controlled experiments, we try to control the variables to limit them to a few, or best, just one. In living things, that’s almost impossible.

    Data almost always come before theory. Some data come in pursuit of a hypothesis — but there must be a foundation, a starting point, a grounding in the real world. Linne’s catalogueing of living things suggested to Paley that there is design; Darwin’s testing of Paley’s ideas provided a set of data, but even Darwin didn’t know what he had until years after the data were collected. Then the patterns emerged.

    Darwin didn’t know the thirteen very different birds he’d collected on thirteen islands in the Galapagos were all finches until six years after he’d collected them, and after the ornithologists at the British Museum had themselves spent several years studying the birds. You’re methods don’t allow much room for serendipity, or the reality that often contradictory data show up. That’s science, too.

    There are an endless amount of facts about nature, but simply recording facts is not what science is all about.

    No, not since Darwin noticed evolution. Before that, it was just collecting facts.

    Another problem with this definition is that science is not the only discipline which gathers facts. Philosophy, Theology, History, Law-each of these disciplines gather and write up facts. So, it’s no enough to say that something is scientific if it writes up facts.

    Scientific methods apply in many fields, even in social science. There is little difference between the fact recording a lawyer does, and the fact recording a scientist does. That’s why scientific evidence is so powerful in court, it’s more reliable than testimony from humans. DNA is the most powerful and accurate evidence we have in court. On the basis of DNA we let convicted murderers off of death row.

    The question is, do we allow the facts to speak, or do we have the temerity to tell the facts they are wrong? ID tells the facts they are wrong. Creationism tells God’s creation that it is wrong, and lying. There are good moral reasons to avoid creationism, wholly apart from the usefulness of the science.

    Let’s look at your other two qualifications: science is something that is done in a lab and has a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit. Whether something is done in a lab or not has little bearing on whether or not it is science. If science had to be done in a lab this would exclude a lot of scientific work done by Zoologists, Sociologists, Psychologists, and Astronomers; as well as those involved in Forensic Science, Archaeology, and SETI; a lot of work done in these fields are not done in a lab.

    Only if you think “lab” must be four walls, and only if you confuse my offering the mountains of evidence as a requirement, rather than as a verification of the accuracy.

    At one point the Nazi government published a screed, “100 scientists against Einstein.” Einstein took great amusement at that. “If I were wrong, it would only take one scientist,” he said.

    If Darwin were wrong, surely one scientist could have found the error in the past 150 years of furious testing of evolution’s every jot, tittle, nook, cranny, joint, electrical connection, nut and bolt. Instead, there are 10,000 papers a year, all noting that Darwin was right.

    It would only take one to prove him wrong. ID’s many public relations flunkies and philosophy majors cannot devise even one question that might prove Darwin in error.

    There’s a lesson there, if you don’t try to avoid the obvious.

    Finally, you suggest that in order for something to be science it must have a massive volume of peer-reviewed journal publications to its credit.

    No, I didn’t say that. I noted that for practical applications, there are about 100,000 times more publications with science in them than in ID, even if we say by fiat that the one ID publication was scientific (which it wasn’t, offering no hypothesis, no theory, and no research at all).

    I think you’re working hard to create a straw man to knock down.

    Again, this is not a viable test for science. If it where, when Darwin first published the Origin of the Species, one could have claimed his arguments were not scientific because there were not a massive amount of peer-reviewed journal articles about it. You would agree that this is an absurd proposition.

    Your logic is almost right, but your facts are wrong. Darwin carefully footnoted every page of the book. One of the startling things about Darwin’s theory is that it came with a massive amount of verification that amounted to the equivalent of today’s journal articles, verifying each and every step of the process, every bend in the theory.

    What is absurd is your notion that science is not grounded in hard observation, in careful looking at the operations of nature to see how things work. That’s what Darwin was so very good at, and why his publications range from the creation of coral atolls and the life cycles of different barnacles (pre-Origin), to the first descriptions and hard research on insectivorous plants, how vines twine, how emotions are expressed in animals and man, how orchids grow and diversify, how pigeons are made into “fancy breeds,” and how worms are critical to the health of soil.

    You’ve never read Darwin, have you!

    In the final analysis your definition of science is extremely lacking. It is built upon faulty logic and lacks the precision that one would expect from a good definition of science.

    Your assumption that logic triumphs over evidence is, itself, faulty logic.

    Furthermore, I would expect a good definition of science to encompass the work done by many of the great scientists of history. However, if we seriously adopted this definition we would have to admit that Isaac Newton (among others) was not a scientist. If this is the reasoning that Judges are using to determine whether or not something is science I am correct in my assertion that they are not equipped to make such determinations.

    All you’d need to do is name the lab, name the researcher, tell what the experiment is.

    Unable to do that, you deliver a thousand words claiming to find logical errors in the operation of nature, and how science records the observations of those operations.

    Don’t look now, but you’re confirming that ID isn’t science. It’s political. It’s philosophical flim-flam, of the sort you engage in here. That’s just not science.

    (2) Now that we’ve established that your definition of science is not, by any means, a good definition of science, . . .

    No, we haven’t done anything of the sort. We’ve learned that you can’t show any science being done in ID, but nothing more.

    . . . we must turn to the second question: is your definition accepted by philosophers of science? I think the answer to this should be obvious; no. I can think of no philosopher of science who would adopt such a poor definition of science.

    Then I would invite you to read philosophy of science. You may not like the fact that science involves observing and testing, especially of nature, but that’s the way it is. Aristotle was the last “scientist” who could get away with claiming there were 5-foot ants in Afghanistan, and a race of people which no heads, but faces in their torsos. Logically, he might have been right. realistically, such things don’t exist. Evidence counts heavily, and ID hasn’t got any.

    You have yet to produce any serious argument against ID being science or proven any of its claims to be false. It’s essential that you develop a viable definition of science before claiming that ID is not science. Repeatedly bringing up court cases does not successfully defend your position. This type of rhetoric may persuade the media or parents at a PTA meeting but it is not going to persuade anyone with a background in philosophy.

    There are no serious claims of ID. What can be proved false? ID claims, as Behe said, “we know design when we see it.” Every case where Behe claimed there might be no natural cause to design, the evidence — those research papers you claim are not science — show that there is a natural cause, an unintelligent cause, to the appearance of design.

    Evolution is applied in our fight against fire ants and boll weevils here in Texas. At M. D. Anderson in Houston, evolution theory is applied to cure cancer. At Southwest Medical, evolution is applied to fight diabetes and heart disease. Across north Texas, confirming geology tenets are applied to find pockets of natural gas.

    All “logical errors” to you, I suppose.

    And that’s the danger of ID. Much of what we use in our everyday life — the food we eat, potatoes, tomatoes, beef, wheat; the medicines we take; the fossil fuels we burn — is based on evolution theory. You claim that theory is in error. You cannot show where, but you’re hell bent to keep our children from learning the truth.

    Where will the next finds of oil come from when our children have learned ID? The next cancer cure? The next Green Revolution?

    The stakes are high. It’s not a philosophical argument at all. The question is, who will stand up for the truth? Who will stand up for God’s creation against those who claim all of nature is “logically in error?”

    God save us.

    • Hello Ed,

      You say, “You should know that I don’t like arguments based on logic,” and I most assuredly agree with you; you don’t. There are two appropriate responses when someone accuses you of committing logical fallacies: you can (1) put forth rebuttals which show that your arguments are not fallacious or (2) admit that your arguments are faulty. Surprisingly, you’ve opted for plan (3) mocking the rules of reasoning. You have not taken my critiques of your reasoning seriously; rather, you have resorted to disregarding logic altogether and suggest that my arguments only prove that ID is, “philosophical flim-flam.” Once again you have implemented rhetoric to avoid the problems in your reasoning.

      Allow me to recap some of the main problems in your reasoning…

      (1) You persistently argue that ID is not science because of some perceived defect in its origins…

      “First, recall that the ID movement owes its existence to Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson. In his books he is quite clear that he pushes intelligent design for the glory of Jesus. He rejects evolution on no scientific principle, but because it conflicts with dogma he prefers. I know of no branch of science that got started that way.”

      However, this line of reasoning is completely irrelevant to the questions: is ID science? Are the claims of ID true? You have committed the genetic fallacy in which a, “a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself.” Let me give you an example to illustrate this point. If a mad man asserted that the earth was round and not flat it would be fallacious to argue that the belief that the earth is round is false because it originated from a mad man. You employ the same reasoning when you try to discredit ID by invoking perceived defects in its origin.

      (2) You persistently appeal to the vast body of writing done on Darwinian Evolution to prove that ID is not science…

      “we’ve had about 10,000 papers a year on evolution. That was 27 years ago. In the last 27 years we’ve had a quarter million serious research publications on evolution, versus one on intelligent design.”

      Let’s assume, for arguments sake, that this statement is true; it is still not a logical argument against ID being science, nor does it prove that the claims of ID are false. It simply shows that more research and writing has been done on evolution. Aristotle’s geocentric model of the universe dominated science up until Copernicus and Galileo. Thousands (if not more) of treatises had been written which supported Aristotle’s views when Copernicus wrote in favor of a heliocentric model of the universe; this did not make his arguments unscientific nor his claims false. In the same way, the fact that more time and money has been spent researching and writing on Darwinian evolution does not make ID unscientific or prove its claims false.

      You are committing at least two fallacies here: (1) You are making an appeal to popularity (i.e. Most people approve of X, therefore X must be true) and (2) you are making an appeal to belief (i.e. Most people believe that a claim is true; hence, it must be true). You are trying to prove that ID is not science because more scientists approve of Darwinian evolution and because most scientists believe in Darwinian evolution (hence, more writing and research has been done on the subject).

      (3) You are also partial to begging the question; assuming evolution to be true and using that as evidence that ID is false. As I have told you, time and time again, this form of argumentation is faulty.

      These are but a handful of the problems in your reasoning; and they are serious problems that need to be addressed. You can’t brush them aside as some kind of philosophical game. If you want to convince me that ID is not science and that the claims of ID are false you’re going to have to do what you don’t like: give me logical arguments.

      Now, I’d like to clarify some things.

      (1) You say, “Science is very much about writing up the facts — both to catalog what is known, and to share it. Those data are the stuff from which hypotheses and theories are made.” I never claimed that science didn’t involve observation and the collection of data (facts) about nature. What I did say was, “Science is not merely about “writing up facts” it’s about constructing theories to explain data (facts).” Notice the word merely. I was simply pointing out that science was not merely (simply, only) about writing up facts; but, that it involved constructing hypothesis and theories to explain data.

      (2) You say, “Data almost always come before theory. Some data come in pursuit of a hypothesis — but there must be a foundation, a starting point, a grounding in the real world.” I’d like to clarify my position, because I don’t think you understand my point. Of course a hypothesis is grounded in an initial observation; however, this is only the first stage. For example, someone observes a plant and then wonders how it is nourished. They come up with a hypothesis and then test it to see if it is true. It is during this stage of testing that a scientist collects the relevant data to prove his hypothesis. My point is that scientists usually don’t go around collecting random facts. They construct hypothesis and theories which determine what data they collect. I’m not saying that observation and data collection is not an important part of science; I’m merely pointing out that science is more than writing up facts.

      (3) You say, “Evolution is applied in our fight against fire ants and boll weevils here in Texas. At M. D. Anderson in Houston, evolution theory is applied to cure cancer. At Southwest Medical, evolution is applied to fight diabetes and heart disease. Across north Texas, confirming geology tenets are applied to find pockets of natural gas.” I’d like to remind you that ID theorists do not reject the theory of evolution in its entirety. Remember, the theory of ID holds that, “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” I’d like to emphasize the words “certain features.” They are not claiming all features, but certain features.

      Furthermore, ID theorists make a distinction between microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution entails minor variation and change overtime and the ability of organisms to adapt to their environment, among other things. Macroevolution entails the creation of entirely new species due to random mutations and natural selection; it also entails that all living organisms are descended from a common ancestor. ID theorists affirm microevolution (as do most creationists) but reject macroevolution. Hence, all of the things you mentioned—the fight against fire ants and boll weevils or diabetes and heart disease—may benefit from theories applying microevolution. Michael Behe says, in an essay he wrote in Debating Design (Published by Cambridge University Press), “Intelligent Design can happily coexist with even a large degree of natural selection. Antibiotic and pesticide resistance, antifreeze proteins in fish and plants, and more may indeed be explained by a Darwinian mechanism. The critical claim of ID is not that natural selection doesn’t explain anything, but that it doesn’t explain everything.”

      (4) You say, “The stakes are high. It’s not a philosophical argument at all. The question is, who will stand up for the truth? Who will stand up for God’s creation against those who claim all of nature is “logically in error?” First of all, the question of the nature of science is a philosophical one. Those who define science are philosophers of science. However, the theory of ID is a scientific theory and its claims are scientific claims. Secondly, I’ve never claimed that all of nature is “logically in error,” just your arguments.

      Finally, I’d like to address what I think is the main thrust of your argument. You persistently claim that there is no research being done on ID and that ID theorists haven’t published in any peer-reviewed journals. Furthermore, you claim that ID produces no testable hypothesis. All of these claims are false.

      To begin with, the assertion, “evidence of ID can be found in nature,” is certainly testable. You’ve given me no clear reason why it is not. Furthermore, Behe’s assertion that certain molecular machines are irreducibly complex is indeed testable. Many Darwinian scientists are working hard to disprove Behe. Russell Doolittle, an eminent protein biochemist, tried to prove that the blood clotting cascade is not irreducibly complex. However, his attempts failed and in fact the research he used to prove Behe wrong actually confirmed his theory.

      Steven Meyer has suggested ID is the best explanation for the origin of biological information in DNA. Most naturalistic theories on the origin of life are in critical condition; Meyer’s arguments breathe fresh air in this particular discussion.

      Protein scientist Doug Axe has also done laboratory work pertinent to ID and published his results in the Journal of Molecular Biology. You can read an article about this here…

      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/01/journal_of_molecular_biology_a.html

      Once again, I urge you to reconsider your position and rethink some of your arguments. I also urge you to read these two books: The Design Inference and Debating Design: from Darwin to DNA. Both of these are published by Cambridge University Press and have been peer-reviewed.

  14. Here is a list of professional peer-reviewed journal articles pertinent to ID.

    Ø. A. Voie, “Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent,” Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, Vol 28(4) (2006): 1000-1004.

    S.C. Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2) (2004): 213-239.

    D. A. Axe, “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds,” Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 341 (2004): 1295-1315.

    W.-E. Lönnig & H. Saedler, “Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements,” Annual Review of Genetics, 36 (2002): 389-410.

    D.K.Y. Chiu & T.H. Lui, “Integrated Use of Multiple Interdependent Patterns for Biomolecular Sequence Analysis,” International Journal of Fuzzy Systems, 4(3) (September 2002): 766-775.

    M.J. Denton, J.C. Marshall & M. Legge, (2002) “The Protein Folds as Platonic Forms: New Support for the pre-Darwinian Conception of Evolution by Natural Law,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 219 (2002): 325-342.

    D. A. Axe, “Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors,” Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 301 (2000): 585-595.

    For descriptions of these articles and even more information on peer-reviewed books, essays, and articles on ID please check out this link.

    http://www.discovery.org/a/2640

  15. Have you read any of those papers?

    Without a careful dissection of each, a couple of quick observations:

    1. See the Meyer paper at #2? That’s the one that was retracted by the society that published it. In the world of science it is considered unethical to cite retracted papers as good science, especially while failing to note the retraction. Such a citation in federally-funded research is a crime.

    Do you stand behind that citation? Are you claiming that a paper officially retracted by its publishers is good science, despite the peer-review retraction?

    Did you know that was the unethical paper? Does it bother you that creationist sources would put you out on a limb like that? Ethical people would be troubled, I think.

    2. Can you point me to any of those papers which makes a clear argument that any part of evolution theory is incorrect? Please tell us what the paper says. (Hint: None do, but I’d like you to discover that for yourself.)

    3. Can you tell us which of those papers actually advances a hypothesis for intelligent design that might be considered an alternative to evolution, such that we could use it to write a high school textbook?

    4. Can you tell us which of those papers is not almost wholly grounded in evolutionary biology?

    Thanks.

  16. I really do resent your constant misstating of my arguments. I suspect that it is because you’re so steeped in the creationist claims of superior logic — claims that cannot be demonstrated, by the way — that you think your failure to understand, plus creationism’s abject failure at science, must be someone else’s fault, perhaps the fault of the stars.

    The fault is not in the stars, it is in creationism and creationists.

    (1) You persistently argue that ID is not science because of some perceived defect in its origins…

    “First, recall that the ID movement owes its existence to Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson. In his books he is quite clear that he pushes intelligent design for the glory of Jesus. He rejects evolution on no scientific principle, but because it conflicts with dogma he prefers. I know of no branch of science that got started that way.”

    However, this line of reasoning is completely irrelevant to the questions: is ID science? Are the claims of ID true? You have committed the genetic fallacy in which a, “a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself.” Let me give you an example to illustrate this point. If a mad man asserted that the earth was round and not flat it would be fallacious to argue that the belief that the earth is round is false because it originated from a mad man. You employ the same reasoning when you try to discredit ID by invoking perceived defects in its origin.

    You never get to “second.”

    Here’s my argument, stripped of adornment so that you can more clearly see it:

    There is no science in creationism, including intelligent design. There is no significant body of work supporting any part of creationism as an alternative to evolution, there is not a laboratory working on creationism including intelligent design. The scientific output of advocates of intelligent design, in support of intelligent design, is minuscule — and all of that has been demonstrated to be erroneous.

    Why is this? It is because ID is not grounded in observations of nature. ID is not promoted by anyone who makes a business of looking at God’s creation in detail, as scientists do.

    As a point of ethics, I note that honest creationists, when put under oath, admit this. You keep claiming that their admissions, under oath, are fallacious, and I shouldn’t cite them.

    I regard that as evidence of the corrosive effect of creationism on morality. Science cannot function without such honesty.

    Christianity shouldn’t function without it.

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