Monday, November 24, 2008

Philosopher Thomas Nagel on Intelligent Design as science

This article by philosopher Thomas Nagel is one of the better treatments I have seen of the Intelligent Design issue.

46 comments:

onein6billion said...

"Are mutations entirely due to chance?"

It will be very difficult to prove that mutations are NOT entirely due to chance.

Behe tries: "many changes ... that were beneficial beyond the wildest reach of probability".

This is the "negative" argument. Evolution cannot explain this, therefore something else must be required.

But Behe is simply wrong. His calculations are wrong and his conclusion is wrong.

"boundaries around science depends not on a definition, but on the unspoken assumption that all such propositions are obviously false"

Now we really do have a philosophical question. But if you try to introduce this question into a public high school science class, you are going to utterly confuse the students.

"Either he admits that the intervention of such a designer is possible, or he does not."

Aha! The third possibility is that the scientist admits that determining whether or not such a designer actually intervenes is "beyond science".

"The have a scientific disagreement that cannot be settled by scientific reasoning alone."

Riiiight. He is definitely a philosopher. Try explaining that sentence to a public high school student.

"Evolutionary reductionism defies common sense."

Well, common sense comes with 10,000+ years of superstition attached, so it's not very surprising that "evolutionary reductionism defies common sense".

"Perhaps silence ... is the only course"

Wow - a momentary bit of reasonableness. I bet that this professor has not been in a public high school in the last 40 years.

"teachers should cover the evidential gaps and controversies"

Riiiight. But there are no such things that could possibly be understood by an average public high school student.

"You have to stand and fight them here or you will end up having to fight for the right to teach evolution at all."

Wow - a final reasonable conclusion. But it kind of assumes that evolution is currently being taught - that's not true in a lot of the US. Just because it's in the textbook does not mean that it's actually taught.

Lee said...

> But Behe is simply wrong. His calculations are wrong and his conclusion is wrong.

Handwaving.

> But if you try to introduce this question into a public high school science class, you are going to utterly confuse the students.

> Aha! The third possibility is that the scientist admits that determining whether or not such a designer actually intervenes is "beyond science".

Actually, by presuming that evolution must have happened by random mutations and natural selection, "the scientist" is taking sides: no designer.

> Well, common sense comes with 10,000+ years of superstition attached, so it's not very surprising that "evolutionary reductionism defies common sense".

But we're all better now, right?

> Riiiight. But there are no such things that could possibly be understood by an average public high school student.

So then, back to the overreaching and glib segues of Darwinism for you students.


Good thing Darwinist propaganda is so easy to understand, then.

One Brow said...

Dr. Nagle exhibits a common misunderstanding of the meaning of "random" and "chance" in evolutionary theory.

From the beginning it has been commonplace to present the theory
of evolution by random mutation and natural selection as an alternative to intentional design ... supposed to be
evidence for the absence of purpose in the causation of the development of life-forms ... the claim that all this happened
as the result of the appearance of random and purposeless
mutations in the genetic material


Science can not and does not speak to a general purposefulness or randomness regarding evolution. In fact, most mutations are cuased by events that are the result of determinative causes. What it does say is that these mutations are random with respect to the needs of the organism in it's environment. Fish which have newly encountered a fast-swimming predator do not suddenly get mutations to make them swim faster. Giraffe populations don't have long-necked kids because they strech their necks.

If their is some supernatural force directing long-term mutations in a subtle manner, it is almost certainly beyond the power of science to test for its presence.

The contention seems to be that, although science can demonstrate the falsehood of the design hypothesis, no evidence against that demonstration can be regarded as scientific support for the hypothesis.

Science can't demonstrate the truth or falsity of the design hypothesis, so ii doesn't belong in a science class.

This is not the forum for a full discussion/fisking of the article, which clearly shows Dr. Nagel is unaware of the nnature and hisotry of the ID movement.

One Brow said...

Lee,
> But Behe is simply wrong. His calculations are wrong and his conclusion is wrong.

Handwaving.


Behe's errors have been discussing in detail in many forums by many people. It's not handwaving to make note of this.

Actually, by presuming that evolution must have happened by random mutations and natural selection, "the scientist" is taking sides: no designer.

Designers are perfectly capable of designing by the process of random mutation and natural selection, and humans have done this (look up some of the latest results in the design of antennas). Who is to say the designer of ID did not use this process?

But we're all better now, right?

Sadly, no.

So then, back to the overreaching and glib segues of Darwinism for you students.

There is no "Darwinism" being taught in high schools, just biology.

onein6billion said...

"Actually, by presuming that evolution must have happened by random mutations and natural selection, "the scientist" is taking sides: no designer."

Of course you ignored the actual argument.

If scientists admit that such a designer is "beyond science", they are not "taking sides", they are simply admitting "incompetence" in addressing this question.

Go argue this question with a philosopher in a philosophy class.

On the other hand, if such a designer is "beyond science", then there will never be an excuse to teach anything about such a designer in a science class.

"So then, back to the overreaching and glib segues of Darwinism for you students."

Your ignorance is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

http://mohan-theblogofsmallthings.blogspot.com/2008/09/famous-philosopher-supports-intelligent.html

Lee said...

> Behe's errors have been discussing in detail in many forums by many people. It's not handwaving to make note of this.

Maybe Behe is wrong, but you have not shown it. To present a conclusion and to act like it has been demonstrated, is handwaving. The way I would handle the situation, if I may be so bold, if I were in your shoes, is:

> "Behe's criticisms, specifically [such and such], were addressed by Drs. Hardcase and Testtube, and can be found here: [link], and I think their arguments are good at least insofar as addressing X and Y because of A and B."

How many times have I been asked for "proof" in these discussions? I'm a critic of evolution, so if I use the alphabet, I have to prove every letter that I spell with. I just think that those I argue with ought to have to go to at one-tenth the trouble that I do.

> Designers are perfectly capable of designing by the process of random mutation and natural selection, and humans have done this (look up some of the latest results in the design of antennas). Who is to say the designer of ID did not use this process?

Nobody. But the question put before us by Dr. Nagel is whether or not ID can be a priori ruled out as science. ID generally proceeds by trying to present evidence of non-randomness.

> There is no "Darwinism" being taught in high schools, just biology.

Darwinism is indeed being taught in the classroom, as biology -- as fact.

Lee said...

> If their is some supernatural force directing long-term mutations in a subtle manner, it is almost certainly beyond the power of science to test for its presence.

I don't think that's the objective of ID. Nagel, I think, is fair in his presentation:

> Nagel: "Nevertheless, there is a distinction between the arguments for intelligent design in biology and the traditional argument from design for the existence of God. ID (as I shall call it, in conformity to current usage) is best interpreted not as an argument for the existence of
God, but as a claim about what it is reasonable to believe about biological evolution if one independently holds a belief in God that is consistent both with the empirical facts about nature that have been established by
observation, and with the acceptance of general standards of scientific evidence."

I hope I am doing justice to his remark, but I'll try to paraphrase: if Darwinism can be plausibly challenged, it therefore casts doubt on the argument that random processes can explain the diversity of the species. The alternative, or at least one alternative, would be non-random processes -- i.e., design.

> Science can't demonstrate the truth or falsity of the design hypothesis, so ii doesn't belong in a science class.

But that's not how ID goes about its business, which is to cast doubt on the non-design hypothesis.

> This is not the forum for a full discussion/fisking of the article, which clearly shows Dr. Nagel is unaware of the nnature and hisotry of the ID movement.

I don't think Nagel is interested in defending every ID claim or validating all of their research, or tracking its pedigree -- which seems to have you somewhat mesmerized. I think all he's doing is showing that explaining everything by random evolution is not only a reach based on what little we know, but that Darwinists set up the board so Darwinists can launch "scientific" critiques against the supernatural, but that it can never go the other way.

In other words, if the supernatural is ruled out a priori as a cause, then Darwinism is not a science at all, but just another religious creed, though an atheistic one.

Lee said...

> Of course you ignored the actual argument. If scientists admit that such a designer is "beyond science", they are not "taking sides", they are simply admitting "incompetence" in addressing this question.

Well, I think if we're discussing Nagel's argument, it's important to get it right:

>> Nagel: "So the purposes and intentions of God, if there is a god, and the nature of his will, are not possible subjects of a scientific theory or scientific
explanation. But that does not imply that there cannot be scientific evidence for or against the intervention of such a non-law-governed cause in the natural order. The fact that there could be no scientific theory of the internal operation of the divine mind is consistent with its being in large part a scientific question whether divine intervention provides a more likely explanation of the empirical data than an explanation
in terms of physical law alone. To ask whether there are limits to
what can credibly be explained by a given type of scientific theory, or any theory relying only on universal physical laws, is itself a scientific question. An answer to the question that asserts such limits on the basis of empirical evidence is still a scientific claim, even if it also proposes an
alternative cause whose internal operation is not governed by the kind of natural law that science can investigate. I suspect that the assumption that science can never provide evidence for the occurrence of something that cannot be scientifically explained is the principal reason for the
belief that ID cannot be science; but so far as I can see, that assumption is without merit."

> Go argue this question with a philosopher in a philosophy class.

Where would scientists be without philosophers? I think philosophical questions are appropriate in science, and in particular, on this issue -- since so much of the debate seems to be revolving around the question, what constitutes science? Epistemology, after all, is a branch of philosophy.

> Your ignorance is irrelevant.

On the other hand, your graciousness is exceeded only by your tact. I'm just waiting around to see if you're going to call Dr. Nagel an idiot.

One Brow said...

Maybe Behe is wrong, but you have not shown it.

That would be highly redundant.

To present a conclusion and to act like it has been demonstrated, is handwaving.

Actually, I always took it to mean "to present a conclusion as obvious, when the proof for it is not obvious or clear".

The way I would handle the situation,

Behe makes so many bad arguments, in so many forms, discussed by so many people, that I don't have time for them all.

However, here is a link to the start on a whole series of posts over three months regarding Behe's error in fitness landscapes generally, and also with regard to the evolution of HIV, at erv.

Honestly, just googling his name with "erv", "scienceblog", or "panda's thumb" should provide plenty of material.

How many times have I been asked for "proof" in these discussions?

I have no idea.

I'm a critic of evolution, so if I use the alphabet, I have to prove every letter that I spell with.

Richard Dawkins is a critic of evolution, as is Lynn Margulis and pretty much any other biologist writing for the general public. I see no evidence of criticism from you so far, just denialism.

I just think that those I argue with ought to have to go to at one-tenth the trouble that I do.

I agree you should be able to get evidence regarding claims.

But the question put before us by Dr. Nagel is whether or not ID can be a priori ruled out as science. ID generally proceeds by trying to present evidence of non-randomness.

When ID comes up with a genuine test of non-randomness, that can tell a random string from a designed string with 95% accuracy in 20 trial, I will be happy to acknowledge the feat.

Darwinism is indeed being taught in the classroom, as biology -- as fact.

No, they are taught biology and physics, not Darwinism and Newtonism. I'm pretty sure that no one is taught to worship Darwin, any more than they they are taught to worhip Newton. If you mean something else, you should define the term, as there are about 5 different versions of what "Darwinism" means.

One Brow: If their is some supernatural force directing long-term mutations in a subtle manner, it is almost certainly beyond the power of science to test for its presence.

I don't think that's the objective of ID.


That's essentialy what it boils down to, eventually. Either this force front-loaded the design or it altered thte world as time went on.

ID ... is best interpreted not as an argument for the existence of
God, but as a claim about what it is reasonable to believe about biological evolution ..."


I have no problem with this discussion of ID in a philosophical context, such as a pholosophy class, in any school. Philosophy is where you discuss what you believe about things. Science class would discuss evolution, not what to believe about evolution.

I hope I am doing justice to his remark, but I'll try to paraphrase: if Darwinism can be plausibly challenged, it therefore casts doubt on the argument that random processes can explain the diversity of the species.

Irrelevant, since evolutionary theory does not teach that the processes involved are inherently random. They are random only with regard to the needs of the animal in the environment.

The alternative, or at least one alternative, would be non-random processes -- i.e., design.

Actually, design can also be performed through random processes.

But that's not how ID goes about its business, which is to cast doubt on the non-design hypothesis.

Science does not have a non-design hypothesis upon which to cast doubt.

I don't think Nagel is interested in defending every ID claim or validating all of their research, or tracking its pedigree -- which seems to have you somewhat mesmerized.

If you don't understand the the origin and goals of the ID movement, you don't understand what it is trying to accomplish.

I think all he's doing is showing that explaining everything by random evolution

Evolution is not a random process.

is not only a reach based on what little we know, but that Darwinists set up the board so Darwinists can launch "scientific" critiques against the supernatural, but that it can never go the other way.

Any "scientific" critiques of the supernatural are phlosophical arguments, not science.

In other words, if the supernatural is ruled out a priori as a cause,

It is ruled out as a testable cause. How would you test the hand of a god/gods?

then Darwinism is not a science at all, but just another religious creed, though an atheistic one.

That depends on what yo umean by Darwinism.

Well, I think if we're discussing Nagel's argument, it's important to get it right:

>> Nagel: "... To ask whether there are limits to what can credibly be explained by a given type of scientific theory, or any theory relying only on universal physical laws, is itself a scientific question.


Nagel is wrong. This is a questuion about science, but not a question you can answer within science.

Where would scientists be without philosophers?

The same place historians would be?

I think philosophical questions are appropriate in science, and in particular, on this issue -- since so much of the debate seems to be revolving around the question, what constitutes science?

This questions are appropriate about science, but not in science. Science and philosphy use truth-verification routines that are not compatible.

Epistemology, after all, is a branch of philosophy.

Epistemology is not science.

I'm just waiting around to see if you're going to call Dr. Nagel an idiot.

I'll call him naive.

Lee said...

> Actually, I always took it to mean "to present a conclusion as obvious, when the proof for it is not obvious or clear".

Close enough, unless you want to quibble endlessly. Like I said, you were handwaving.

> Behe makes so many bad arguments, in so many forms, discussed by so many people, that I don't have time for them all.

Or one or two.

> No, they are taught biology and physics, not Darwinism and Newtonism.

You have been to every biology class in high school? In particular, the ones I took?

> If you mean something else, you should define the term, as there are about 5 different versions of what "Darwinism" means.

Fine. I use "Darwinism" to distinguish it from the sort of evolution that may have happened, but with intelligent selection rather than random selection. Many IDers believe in evolution; they just don't accept that it could have happened without a guiding intelligence, given what we know about the other variables, e.g., time. I'm sure there are umptyump subtheories and rabbit trails.

And though it is irrelevant to any arguments I make, I haven't decided for myself if ID is correct or not. If I believe something may be plausible, I'll give it a listen. I read Behe's first book, and occasionally read some of the other ID folks. I've grown quite fond of reading David Berlinski, who at least claims he's not really an IDer and is certainly not a Christian (he describes himself as a lapsed Jew).

I have always sensed that the case for evolution has greatly overreached what anyone knows about it. I get tired not only of the incessant propaganda drum beat in the popular media about things we don't know, but the smug, know-it-all arguments put forth by Darwin's holy crusaders. And, like Thomas Huxley, I have sensed that much of this overreaching has more to do with an atheistic agenda than a scientific one.

In short, I know the difference between hearing an argument refuted, and watching it get shouted down and kicked with hobnail boots. Darwinists argue like thugs. It's sickening. If truth and justice and the American way are on the side of the Darwinists, they should not behave like they're deathly afraid somebody, somewhere, is going to give ID, or Creationism, or whatever, a fair hearing.

And they certainly shouldn't act like anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot. At one of the ID web sites, there is an exchange between Berlinksi and not one, not two, but half a dozen or more distinguished scientists, and they pull all the rhetorical tricks out of the bag on him -- and he demolishes them point by point. My advice is, try another tack. ID may be wrong, but they're not wrong because their guys are stupid and don't know how to make a case. It makes the Darwinists look really stupid themselves.

> I'm pretty sure that no one is taught to worship Darwin, any more than they they are taught to worhip Newton.

They are not taught to worship Darwin. They are taught to doubt their religious faith.

> I have no problem with this discussion of ID in a philosophical context, such as a pholosophy class, in any school. Philosophy is where you discuss what you believe about things. Science class would discuss evolution, not what to believe about evolution.

Well, as a matter of fact, I will meet you halfway. ID should not be taught in high school biology, but neither should Darwinism. Stick to the facts, save the inferences for later on. There is plenty to learn about biology without having to pull in Darwin to save it. Teach them both in a philosophy class later on in college.

> Evolution is not a random process.

As I have said before, "random" as opposed to "guided".

> Any "scientific" critiques of the supernatural are phlosophical arguments, not science.

Therefore, when scientists insist that there must have been no guiding hand, that's a philosophical statement, not a scientific one. I agree, and so does Dr. Nagel. No, scratch that. It's actually a theological statement. And that's the problem.

> It is ruled out as a testable cause. How would you test the hand of a god/gods?

Indirectly, for signs of design.

> Epistemology is not science.

Oh come on. Do you think the scientific method is science, or philosophy? Practically this entire debate centers around what to consider as science, and what not to consider. That sound an awful lot like philosophy to me.

>> I'm just waiting around to see if you're going to call Dr. Nagel an idiot.

> I'll call him naive.

I'm sure that will ruin his day.

onein6billion said...

"ID ... is best interpreted ... as a claim about what it is reasonable to believe about biological evolution if one independently holds a belief in God"

So, he admits that ID only makes sense IF one has an a priori belief in God. Try explaining that to a high school student. And try getting that by the current interpretation of the Constitution.

"but so far as I can see, that assumption is without merit."

Well, the philosopher is entitled to his opinion. My opinion is that his opinion has no merit.

The assumption has "merit" because it's "practical". If science discovers something that seems to require a non-scientific explanation, then science can "give up" or decide "we don't know yet" and go looking for a scientific explanation. So the scientific assumption is a practical one - something that would never occur to a philosopher.

"if Darwinism can be plausibly challenged, it therefore casts doubt on the argument that random processes can explain the diversity of the species."

Or it would simply mean that the current Theory of Evolution is incomplete - "we don't know yet".
So, do we "give up" or "keep searching"? And note that "natural selection" is not at all a "random process". But until someone actually does come up with something that cannot be explained by the Theory of Evolution, there's nothing to discuss. Of course if the Theory of Evolution is true, then it would be expected to explain everything and there will never be anything to actually cast doubt on it. After 150 years, you would think that if there really was anything, someone would have noticed by now.

"which is to cast doubt on the non-design hypothesis."

They have utterly failed. And it would not mean anything if they succeeded except "we don't know yet".

"if the supernatural is ruled out a priori as a cause"

It's not "ruled out" - it's simply "beyond science". You don't seem to want to address this possibility.

"if you're going to call Dr. Nagel an idiot"

No, he's a very intelligent philosopher. So what? I'm sure there are many books about the "philosophy of science". From Wikipedia: "No single unified account of the difference between science and non-science has been widely accepted by philosophers, and some regard the problem as unsolvable or uninteresting."

So he has "solved" the problem by saying that the supernatural is a possible explanation if one has an a priori belief in God. Wow, I'm not impressed.

One Brow said...

Like I said, you were handwaving.

I don't need to re-prove Zorn's Lemma every time I want to use it.

One Brow:> Behe makes so many bad arguments, in so many forms, discussed by so many people, that I don't have time for them all.

Or one or two.


I linked directly to one of them. Did you miss that?

You have been to every biology class in high school? In particular, the ones I took?

Naturally, I was referring to the standard curriculum. I'm sure some biology students are taught creationism to this day, and some are taught that marijuana should be legal. In a standard curriculum, there is no Darwinism nor Newtonism.

Fine. I use "Darwinism" to distinguish it from the sort of evolution that may have happened, but with intelligent selection rather than random selection.

Evolutionary theory does not teach random selection. However, since you are using Darwinism to mean something that could not have happened, and that evolutionary theory does not contain, we can certainly agree it should not be taught.

Many IDers believe ...

The key word. Science class is a place for what can be demonstrated, not for what is believed.

I get tired not only of the incessant propaganda drum beat in the popular media about things we don't know, but the smug, know-it-all arguments put forth by Darwin's holy crusaders.

They don't worship Darwin, any more than physicists worship Newton and Einstein.

And, like Thomas Huxley, I have sensed that much of this overreaching has more to do with an atheistic agenda than a scientific one.

When you are referring to the Dawkins-Harris-Hitchens group, you are correct. However, please keep in mind tha there are equally virulent opposers of ID as science, such as Miller and Elsberry, that would find that comment offensive to their faith.

In short, I know the difference between hearing an argument refuted, and watching it get shouted down and kicked with hobnail boots.

ID gets the benefits of both treatments, as befits an inherently dishonest enterprise. If you want to see only the first, I might suggest TalkReason asa good place.

...they should not behave like they're deathly afraid somebody, somewhere, is going to give ID, or Creationism, or whatever, a fair hearing.

If they want a fair hearing, they should do some science and get published.

And they certainly shouldn't act like anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot. At one of the ID web sites, there is an exchange between Berlinksi and not one, not two, but half a dozen or more distinguished scientists, and they pull all the rhetorical tricks out of the bag on him -- and he demolishes them point by point.

Really? By all means,let's see that. I have never seen Berlinski do well in these discussions, although certainly some of the scientists do behave badly.

They are not taught to worship Darwin. They are taught to doubt their religious faith.

I agree there should be no discussion of religion in biology. where did this happen?

Stick to the facts, save the inferences for later on. There is plenty to learn about biology without having to pull in Darwin to save it. Teach them both in a philosophy class later on in college.

Since Darwinism is something that could not have happened, why teach it at all?

As I have said before, "random" as opposed to "guided".

As I have mentioned before, "random" and "guided" are not opposites. You can be both random and guided, or neither random nor guided. You are setting up a false dichotomy.

Therefore, when scientists insist that there must have been no guiding hand, that's a philosophical statement, not a scientific one. I agree, and so does Dr. Nagel.

So do I, and there should be no such statement in biology.

Indirectly, for signs of design.

No such reliable test yet exists. There are valid reasons for thinking there may never be one.

Oh come on. Do you think the scientific method is science, or philosophy?

Are you referring the use of it (science) or the discussion about its boundaries (philosophy)?

Practically this entire debate centers around what to consider as science, and what not to consider. That sound an awful lot like philosophy to me.

That was my point.

I'm sure that will ruin his day.

I hope he has a thicker skin than that, for his sake.

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

>> Nagel: "ID ... is best interpreted ... as a claim about what it is reasonable to believe about biological evolution if one independently holds a belief in God"

> So, he admits that ID only makes sense IF one has an a priori belief in God.

Cherry-picking is fun. Nagel also wrote this:

> Nagel: "This is just common
sense, however, and the opposite is just as true: evolutionary theory as a complete explanation of the development of life is more plausible to someone who does not believe in God than to someone who does."

>> "but so far as I can see, that assumption is without merit."

> The assumption has "merit" because it's "practical". If science discovers something that seems to require a non-scientific explanation, then science can "give up" or decide "we don't know yet" and go looking for a scientific explanation.

We don't need a Christian interpretation of natural history to reach a point where scientists give up lookikng for alternative explanations. Evolution itself is such an orthodoxy, and those who step outside of it to criticize it often find themselves looking for a new job. This makes sense if evolution were a religious faith, as excommunicating those who criticize the tenets of a religion is what religions do.

> "if Darwinism can be plausibly challenged, it therefore casts doubt on the argument that random processes can explain the diversity of the species." Or it would simply mean that the current Theory of Evolution is incomplete - "we don't know yet".

Of course it could mean that. But as Nagel said, if the theory of evolution were simply held up to be unchallengeable, it could hardly qualify as science.

> So, do we "give up" or "keep searching"?

We keep searching, but we keep searching fully aware that we do not have all the answers already, and may not even grasp the framework itself.

> And note that "natural selection" is not at all a "random process".

It is random in the sense that it is unguided. If a process comes into being which appears to make decisions on a non-random basis, the question still remains, how did that process come into being? If there is no designer, it still ultimately comes down to random happenstance. I have had similar discussions with friends of mine who are big into genetic algorithms, programs which sort of invent their own ordering system and come up with some wild and crazy results. My question is always this: was the genetic algorithm itself designed by someone, or was it just the result of random bit-settings?

> But until someone actually does come up with something that cannot be explained by the Theory of Evolution, there's nothing to discuss.

I don't understand why this is so. I thought science was supposed to question everything that wasn't proven.

> After 150 years, you would think that if there really was anything, someone would have noticed by now.

Lots of theories were believed for longer than 150 years which turned out to be false. And aren't you begging the question? Maybe ID has indeed noticed, but others don't want anyone to notice that they've noticed. I think Nagel nailed it: if you approach evolution from an atheistic angle, you're going to more easily tend to accept it without question.

>> "which is to cast doubt on the non-design hypothesis."

> They have utterly failed.

So you say. But not so you have demonstrated.

> And it would not mean anything if they succeeded except "we don't know yet".

Nagel was obviously thinking about people who think the way you do. Evidence can only count if it favors the theory. It is outside the realm of science if it counts against it.

ID will succeed if, by scientific means, they can demonstrate that the odds are against a naturalistic explanation.

>> "if the supernatural is ruled out a priori as a cause"

> It's not "ruled out" - it's simply "beyond science". You don't seem to want to address this possibility.

I have addressed it many times, but of course Nagel does a better job: "I submit that this way of drawing the boundaries around science depends not on a definition but on the unspoken assumption that all such propositions are obviously false -— there are no ghosts, there is no ESP, and there is no god -— so that to invoke such things to explain any observed phenomenon, even one for which no other explanation is available, reveals a disposition to take seriously a possibility that a rational person would not consider. Without this assumption the exclusion of ID from consideration cannot be defended."

I can't improve on that but let me paraphrase anyway: if a naturalistic explanation is shown by empirical research to be unlikely, then it count as evidence in favor of a supernatural explanation. But because evolutionists are already *predisposed* to disbelieve in the supernatural, that possibility is simply excluded from the debate. Dr. Nagel doesn't buy it, and neither does Behe, Berlinsky, or me, for that matter.

>> "if you're going to call Dr. Nagel an idiot"

> No, he's a very intelligent philosopher.

It cheers me, then, that you can be gracious towards those who disagree with you.

> So what? I'm sure there are many books about the "philosophy of science".

That's true. But philosophy comes before science. The scientific method itself is the product of philosophy, as was Kuhn's indictment of scientists' lack of adherence to the scientific method -- and, as are your statements that such questions are "beyond science."

I take the view that if science can attempt to prove the diversity of life has been a purely naturalistic phenomenon, then it is fair to argue against that proposition. Again, Nagel: "No one suggests that the [evolution] theory is not science, even though the historical process it describes cannot be directly observed, but must be inferred from currently available data. It is therefore puzzling that the
denial of this inference, i.e., the claim that the evidence offered for the theory does not support the kind of explanation it proposes, and that the purposive alternative [design] has not been displaced, should be dismissed
as not science. The contention seems to be that, although science can demonstrate the falsehood of the design hypothesis, no evidence against that demonstration can be regarded as scientific support for the hypothesis. Only the falsehood, and not the truth, of ID
can count as a scientific claim."

> So he has "solved" the problem by saying that the supernatural is a possible explanation if one has an a priori belief in God. Wow, I'm not impressed.

Well, of course, he said a great deal more than that. He seems, all in all, to be saying that evidence is a two-edged sword: if the evidence can support a scientific theory, so too can evidence cast doubt on a theory. In short, the way Darwinists want to define science, evidence can only work to support Darwinism, and can never call it into question.

Which, to me, sounds like faith, not science.

Lee said...

>> Like I said, you were handwaving.

> I don't need to re-prove Zorn's Lemma every time I want to use it.

So, then, you are saying that the criticisms of Behe's argument are on the same level of certainty as a mathematical proof? And it isn't even fair to ask how you know this to be true?

> In a standard curriculum, there is no Darwinism nor Newtonism.

You are saying that the standard curriculum does not teach evolution, and that they also do not teach that all life descended from a common ancestor, and that natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the diversity of life? If they teach those things, then they teach what I have referred to as "Darwinism."

> Evolutionary theory does not teach random selection.

I do hear an awful lot of quibbling about the meaning of "random". Here's a definition I just pulled off the top at dictionary.com:

> random: proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.

I submit that a synonym would be "undesigned". Your only objection could be to focus on the word "pattern", and argue because we find patterns in nature, evolution is not talking about randomness, but about an apparent order resulting from (here's that word again) random mutations selected for by natural selection.

But my response to this would be, how did such an ordering come about in the first place? If nobody designed the process with a purpose in mind, then random is what we're left with.

> However, since you are using Darwinism to mean something that could not have happened, and that evolutionary theory does not contain, we can certainly agree it should not be taught.

I hope we've cleared up at least that part of the dispute.

>> Many IDers believe ...

> The key word. Science class is a place for what can be demonstrated, not for what is believed.

Nice "gotcha". But surely, you meant to say that "science is a place for what can be demonstrated, not for what is *merely* believed," no? Or are you saying that no scientists believe the things that have been proven? Or the things that they have not proven, but have reason to believe they can successfully infer?

> When you are referring to the Dawkins-Harris-Hitchens group, you are correct. However, please keep in mind tha there are equally virulent opposers of ID as science, such as Miller and Elsberry, that would find that comment offensive to their faith.

If they would be offended by anything that I say, they should be doubly offended by the things Dawkins says.

> ID gets the benefits of both treatments, as befits an inherently dishonest enterprise.

I don't believe that. But even if it were true, I don't see any reason why it couldn't be done in an honest matter. Unless, that is, disagreeing with Darwinism is by definition dishonest, in your eyes.

> If you want to see only the first, I might suggest TalkReason asa good place.

I have frequented several such sites, including TalkReason. I don't think they discuss these issues in any manner that suggests reason is at the top of their agenda.

>> ...they should not behave like they're deathly afraid somebody, somewhere, is going to give ID, or Creationism, or whatever, a fair hearing.

> If they want a fair hearing, they should do some science and get published.

Even when just the act of publishing somebody who had favorable things to say about ID can get somebody fired? As recently happened to a fellow at the Smithsonian? I'm reminded of a line from the movue "Silverado", where the corrupt sheriff (Brian Dennihy) explains to his prisoner (Danny Glover): "We're going to give you a fair trial, followed by a first-class hanging."

> Really? By all means,let's see that. I have never seen Berlinski do well in these discussions, although certainly some of the scientists do behave badly.

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=submitSearchQuery&query=David%20Berlinski&orderBy=date&orderDir=DESC&searchBy=author&searchType=all&includeBlogPosts=true

Specifically, two articles. One by Berlinksi, "A Scientific Scandal," and another just above it, "Berlinksi & Critics."

I confess: I'm a lay person. I tried to understand the issues, and hope I succeeded. At the heart of the discussion, Berlinski asked why nobody in the scientific community had called Dawkins on the carpet for exagerating the claims made in a scientific paper, which purported to show how an eye could have evolved in stepwise evolution from a light-sensitive cell patch. I have read a number of articles by Berlinsky, since then -- enough to make me suspicious of the claim that he hadn't 'done well' in a number of discussions.

But by all means, I would like to read an article where he did not do well against his critics, if you have a link to such. The point I have been making is the ID folks are not dummkophs, as their critics like to claim. But you go further than that, and claim they're dishonest. Why?

> I agree there should be no discussion of religion in biology. where did this happen?

It is implicit when it is taught that natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the diversity of the species. That position takes sides on an issue that cannot possibly be proven one way or the other -- it is simply an assumption. I am aware that there are some who espouse the Christian faith who have no problem with this viewpoint. But other forms of Christianity cannot surrender that much.

However, many Christian critics of evolution would be satisfied if the textbooks would simply acknowledge that ultimately we cannot know whether all selection was "natural" or "divine". That's all I would need. Just an admission of the limits of what we know.

> As I have mentioned before, "random" and "guided" are not opposites. You can be both random and guided, or neither random nor guided. You are setting up a false dichotomy.

I don't think so. Either life was designed, or it wasn't. Either the universe was created by someone with a purpose in mind, or it wasn't. But I will happily substitute the word "undesigned" for "random" if we can agree on something to get past the quibbling.

>> Therefore, when scientists insist that there must have been no guiding hand, that's a philosophical statement, not a scientific one. I agree, and so does Dr. Nagel.

> So do I, and there should be no such statement in biology.

Thank you.

>> Indirectly, for signs of design.

> No such reliable test yet exists. There are valid reasons for thinking there may never be one.

Only if, as Dr. Nagel suggests, the possibility of doing so is ruled out a priori.

Lee said...

Regarind Berlinksi, I hope this link is reproduced better than the previous one.

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&isFellow=true&id=51

Once there, click "articles by David Berlinski".

Anonymous said...

Lee said...
"Regarind Berlinksi, I hope this link is reproduced better than the previous one.

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&isFellow=true&id=51

Once there, click "articles by David Berlinski"."

Not a single one of these was in a peer reviewed scientific publication or presented at a scientific meeting where scientific "debate" actually takes place. You would think Berlinski WOULD AT LEAST TRY submitting his ideas to a real science journal. If he to do so and were to feel he was treated unfairly, he could always wave about his rejection letter.

Lee said...

That's nice. Assuming he could get published in a such a journal, when an editor who accepted his work is liable to be fired.

One Brow said...

So, then, you are saying that the criticisms of Behe's argument are on the same level of certainty as a mathematical proof?

Certainly not. The criticisms on Behe's anti-evolution arguments are based on science, and mathematics is a formal system, not a science. They have entirely different methods of proof.

And it isn't even fair to ask how you know this to be true?

I don't recall saying it was unfair to ask, nor complaining about your asking anything, unless for you making an incorrect characterization is meant as an interrogative.

> In a standard curriculum, there is no Darwinism nor Newtonism.

You are saying that the standard curriculum does not teach evolution,


That's not what you defined as "Darwinism".

and that they also do not teach that all life descended from a common ancestor,

That's not what you defined as "Darwinism".

and that natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the diversity of life?

That is not an accurate protrayal of mainstream evolutionary theory, which has some 15+ mechanisms in addition to mutation and natural selection.

If they teach those things, then they teach what I have referred to as "Darwinism."

If you are going to change your definiions in mid-thread, it's going to be hard to have a productive conversation that uses them.

Fine. I use "Darwinism" to distinguish it from the sort of evolution that may have happened, but with intelligent selection rather than random selection.

Common descent is a fact, and evolution did and does happen, so neither fits under your initial description.

One Brow said...

I do hear an awful lot of quibbling about the meaning of "random". Here's a definition I just pulled off the top at dictionary.com:

> random: proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.

I submit that a synonym would be "undesigned".


No, you can be undesigned and still exhibit a definite pattern.

Your only objection could be to focus on the word "pattern", and argue because we find patterns in nature, evolution is not talking about randomness, but about an apparent order resulting from (here's that word again) random mutations selected for by natural selection.

Actually, my objection to "random" = "undesigned" has nothing to to with evolution and everything to do with the fact that you can be random and designed, or patterned and undesigned.

But my response to this would be, how did such an ordering come about in the first place? If nobody designed the process with a purpose in mind, then random is what we're left with.

That's an interesting philosophical position, but unproven and probably unprovable. More to the point, that is not what random means. Whether or not someone designed the ordering, it is not random if it is ordered.

One Brow said...

Nice "gotcha". But surely, you meant to say that "science is a place for what can be demonstrated, not for what is *merely* believed," no?

If I had meant that, I would have said it.

Or are you saying that no scientists believe the things that have been proven?

I'm saying the key is demonstrability, regardless of belief.

Or the things that they have not proven, but have reason to believe they can successfully infer?

Why would such unproven beliefs be put into a high-school classroom?

If they would be offended by anything that I say, they should be doubly offended by the things Dawkins says.

Many of them are. Even some atheists get offended by Dawkins. None of that changes the fact they see ID as a threat to reason and common sense, as opposed to some rude guy.

One Brow said...

> ID gets the benefits of both treatments, as befits an inherently dishonest enterprise.

I don't believe that.


It is true, nonetheless.

But even if it were true, I don't see any reason why it couldn't be done in an honest matter.

It can be, and often is. Paley was quite honest.

However, when the goal is to introduce discreditied anti-evolution arguments for the purpose of bolstering religious faith, while hiding this intent under the claim of being science, the result is a dishonest enterprise.

Unless, that is, disagreeing with Darwinism is by definition dishonest, in your eyes.

Your attempts to erect straw men do you no credit.

I have frequented several such sites, including TalkReason. I don't think they discuss these issues in any manner that suggests reason is at the top of their agenda.

There are quite a few sites that I can understand would give you this impression. However, I have not seen one article from Talk Reason that engaged in the juvenile insults you deplore. If you really believe their work consists of insults and is free of substance, that will pretty much end any expectation I have of having a reasonable discussion with you.

Even when just the act of publishing somebody who had favorable things to say about ID can get somebody fired? As recently happened to a fellow at the Smithsonian?

If you are referring to Sternberg:
1) he was not fired from the magazine, he had already resigned before that issue was published;
2) he was not fired from his government job with the National Institues of Health; and
3) he had no job at the Smithsonian, just proviledges, and continued to have those same priviledges years after the publication of that article.

So, you claim of persecution for editors is laughable.

One Brow said...

Specifically, two articles. One by Berlinksi, "A Scientific Scandal," and another just above it, "Berlinksi & Critics."

I really enjoyed this quote:
we calculate the spatial resolution (visual acuity) for all parts of our eye-evolution sequence, and the results are displayed in figure 1 of our paper. The underlying theory is explained in the main text, including the important equation 1 and a reference to Warrant & McIntyre (1993), where this theory is derived.

In fact, no underlying theory whatsoever is explained in Nilsson and Pelger’s main text, or in the legend to figure 1; and while they do assert that calculations were made, they do not say where they were made or how they were carried out.

Berlinski seems to miss entirely that Nilsson has pointed out exactly where the theory is explained and how the calculations are performed.

... Berlinski asked why nobody in the scientific community had called Dawkins on the carpet for exagerating the claims made in a scientific paper,

Since Dawkins wasn't writing in the scientific literature, they probably did not care.

which purported to show how an eye could have evolved in stepwise evolution from a light-sensitive cell patch.

That was not Dawkins error. Dawkins error was that he claimed a computer simulation was used, rather than a mathematical model.

I have read a number of articles by Berlinsky, since then -- enough to make me suspicious of the claim that he hadn't 'done well' in a number of discussions.

If you did not see above where Berlinski simply missed Nilsson's reference, I'm not sure whaqt else to show you. It's an embarrassing oversight even for an amatuer.

But by all means, I would like to read an article where he did not do well against his critics, if you have a link to such.

You just offered one for me, thanks.

But you go further than that, and claim they're dishonest. Why?

Because they claim to be scientists, while doing no science, instead spending their money on public relations and pressuring school boards. Because of how they betrayed the Dover school board. Because they quote mine.

One Brow said...

It is implicit when it is taught that natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the diversity of the species.

You are incorrect. There is a difference between being a sufficient explanation and a correct explanation. The sufficiency of the 17 mechanisms does not imply no other forces were involved.

That position takes sides on an issue that cannot possibly be proven one way or the other -- it is simply an assumption.

Again noting that sufficiency is different from correctness, sufficiency has been well-established.

But other forms of Christianity cannot surrender that much.

Irrelevant to what is demonstrable.

However, many Christian critics of evolution would be satisfied if the textbooks would simply acknowledge that ultimately we cannot know whether all selection was "natural" or "divine". That's all I would need. Just an admission of the limits of what we know.

Every high-school science class should begin with reminders that science only studies that natural world, and has nothing to say on the supernatural.

But I will happily substitute the word "undesigned" for "random" if we can agree on something to get past the quibbling.

Works for me.

Only if, as Dr. Nagel suggests, the possibility of doing so is ruled out a priori.

No, there are other valid reason. Currently, design is science is done primarily by analogy to other, very similar works known to be designed. We have no examples like that for a life form. ID proponents have come up with no other tests that are reliable.

Lee said...

> So, then, you are saying that the criticisms of Behe's argument are on the same level of certainty as a mathematical proof?

Certainly not. The criticisms on Behe's anti-evolution arguments are based on science, and mathematics is a formal system, not a science. They have entirely different methods of proof.

Nice, but you were the one who brought math into the discussion, not me. And if Behe's arguments are not based on science, you are either saying that his evidence was bad, his reasoning was bad... or you are simply defining his case as outside of science. If you can find holes in his evidence or his reasnoning, that's fair game. But defining such a pursuit as Behe's as outside of science does neither, and no one has yet explained how it can be that evidence can only support a naturalitic evolution, but never contradict it.

>> You are saying that the standard curriculum does not teach evolution,

> That's not what you defined as "Darwinism".

>> and that they also do not teach that all life descended from a common ancestor,

> That's not what you defined as "Darwinism".

>> and that natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the diversity of life?

> That is not an accurate protrayal of mainstream evolutionary theory, which has some 15+ mechanisms in addition to mutation and natural selection.

Have you ever written code? You need to take the entire statement, not just pick on partial sentences taken out of context. I was *getting* to the third point. You're so sure I'm wrong, you won't even wait until the end of the statement to pronounce it wrong.

As far as whether it is an accurate portrayal of mainstream evolutionary theory, it's close enough. None of it could have happened, according to the evolutionists, had it not been for random mutation + natural selection.

Your debate style, if I might be so bold to comment, is of the Joe Frazier school: wear down an opponent with endless quibbling. When I say Darwinism, I mean simply to distinguish unguided selection from guided selection. You know what I'm talking about, so why the constant clinching?

>> If they teach those things, then they teach what I have referred to as "Darwinism."

> If you are going to change your definiions in mid-thread, it's going to be hard to have a productive conversation that uses them.

It's even harder when you act like you don't understand what I'm saying, when we both know perfectly well that you do. I haven't changed the definition. You keep inserting highly specified denials of my definition. I said earlier:

> I use "Darwinism" to distinguish it from the sort of evolution that may have happened, but with intelligent selection rather than random selection.

I will use any term you like to describe what I mean as: a theory which holds that life has a common ancestor, and that the diversity of life is due *decisively* to (let me substitute for the perfectly good word to keep you happy) unguided mutations and natural selection of said mutations, all of which is explicable by naturalistic (i.e., non-supernatural) mechanisms.

This is what I have been referring to as "Darwinism", or have at least intended. If you don't like that word, please suggest another.

And that the ID quarrel with it is the "natural selection" part, as they believe there is evidence for design.

I have tried to add in your added specifications: i.e., your 31 flavors of naturalistic mechanisms. If you have any others to add, please suggest them.

Once we agree, *then*, may the quibbling stop?

> Common descent is a fact, and evolution did and does happen, so neither fits under your initial description.

Nonsense. Common descent is not a fact. The best you can hope for is to infer its existence.

Lee said...

> More to the point, that is not what random means. Whether or not someone designed the ordering, it is not random if it is ordered.

In math, a random variable is a numerical outcome of a random experiment. If you can spot a pattern in the numeric outcome, it is still a random variable. If you take a pair of dice and roll 100 sevens in succession, and presuming 100 honest rolls and honest dice, it is an ordering that resulted from random happenstance. However, if the dice were in some manner built or altered to produce that sequence, that would be design.

Now: it is of course possible that the 100 sevens could have resulted from fair rolls. On any given role, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the result would be a seven. We do not need a "design" hypothesis to explain the result, as the mechanism is perfectly capable of rendering 100 sevens in a row. We only need the hypothesis because of the highly specified result: the odds of it happening were astonomically low, about 1/6**100. If you were to roll it innocently in a casino, your dumb looks wouldn't stop the proprietors from throwing you out, or worse. They would say the results indicate intelligent design -- in this case, cheating. You would of course argue that the results were not designed.

(Naturally, they would not complain if you rolled 100 snake eyes in a row, but then you would have *your* doubts about the fairness of the dice.)

But like I said, I'll use "undesigned" if you prefer, as long as you will concede that if we're looking for design in something, we are necessarily looking for patterns, albeit highly specified ones.

> Why would such unproven beliefs be put into a high-school classroom?

Well, since you believe common descent is a fact, then you tell me.

> Many of them are. Even some atheists get offended by Dawkins. None of that changes the fact they see ID as a threat to reason and common sense, as opposed to some rude guy.

For my sake, would you specify what you?

Is ID a theat because IDers argues something outside the realm of science? Or are they a threat because they argue something that is inside the realm of design, but do it poorly?

And if both, which is the more decisive of the two?

For the sake of argument, I will grant that much of ID research is done poorly. I would then ask, if it were done well, would that change your judgment?

I'd like your answer, of course, but I'm betting that it wouldn't make any difference. I think you will respond that any such endeavor is necessarily tainted at the start, simply by not being "scientific".

And if that's your response, then I would like to know how evidence can only support your take on evolution, and why it can never bring it into question? How does one go about challenging evolution as a scientific theory? If it can't be challenged, it isn't scientific.

> It is true, nonetheless.

It may be true, but it hasn't been proven.

> However, when the goal is to introduce discreditied anti-evolution arguments for the purpose of bolstering religious faith, while hiding this intent under the claim of being science, the result is a dishonest enterprise.

The purpose doesn't matter. The only question that matters is whether the critique is good. Dawkins does the same thing to bolster atheistic faith, but nobody is saying his science isn't any good because of that.

> Berlinski seems to miss entirely that Nilsson has pointed out exactly where the theory is explained and how the calculations are performed.

Nilsson said that's where they were, Berlinkski denied it. I don't have access to the paper. Was it there and did Berlinksi miss it? Or was it not there and Nilsson was handwaving? You have taken sides, so may I presume you've seen Nilsson's calculations where he said they were?

> Currently, design is science is done primarily by analogy to other, very similar works known to be designed. We have no examples like that for a life form. ID proponents have come up with no other tests that are reliable.

You're taking Hume's position, basically, that life is life and not a mechanism (to answer Paley's watchmaker analogy). Problem is, life is a mechanism, only Darwin didn't understand it as one. Life is a biochemical mechanism, and so analogies can be illustrative.

> If you did not see above where Berlinski simply missed Nilsson's reference, I'm not sure whaqt else to show you. It's an embarrassing oversight even for an amatuer.

Did you misunderstand? Here is the entire Berlinski passage, of which you quoted part, after he had cited Nilsson's claim:

Berlinski: "In fact, no underlying theory whatsoever is explained in Nilsson and Pelger’s main text, or in the legend to figure 1; and while they do assert that calculations were made, they do not say where they were made or how they were carried out. The burden of Mr. Nilsson’s denials is conveyed entirely by equation 1 and by his references.

Let us start with equation 1, and with figure 1b that this equation is said to control. It is in ifgure 1b that aperture constriction takes over from invagination in getting an imaginary eye to see better. The graph juxtaposes aperture size against detectable spatial resolution. Having dimpled itself in figure 1a, Nilsson and Pelger’s blob is now busy puckering its topmost surface to form a pinhole in figure 1b.* In a general way, the curve they present is unremarkable. No one doubts that spatial resolution is improved in an eye when its aperture is constricted. But why is it improved in just the way that Nilsson and Pelger’s graph indicates?

Equation 1 is of scant help in this regard, despite Nilsson’s insistence that it is important. Drawing a connection among visual acuity, focal length, light intensity, and noise, the equation specifies the local maximum of a curve, the place where it stops rising. In other words, it specifies a point; and it does nothing more. “We can now use this relationship,” Nilsson and Pelger nevertheless declare, “to plot resolution against aperture diameter.” They can do nothing of the sort, at least not in my calculus class. Knowing that a man has reached the summit of Mt. Everest, we still know nothing about the route he has taken to get there. What is needed if Nilsson and Pelger are to justify their graph is the equation from which equation 1 has been derived by differentiation. It is not there, just where I said it would not be.


Berlinsky, by the way, is a layperson in biology, but has a Ph.D. in math. In other words, in math, Nilsson is probably the relative layperson.

So, now that we have acknowledged that he simply holds Nilsson's math to not illustrate what Nilsson says that it illustrates, why should Berlinski be embarrassed?

Anonymous said...

Lee said...
"That's nice. Assuming he could get published in a such a journal, when an editor who accepted his work is liable to be fired."

Ah yes! There is a MASSIVE CONSPIRACY against your view. I used to work for an editor of an important science journal. We never got a creationist paper, but we did get some odd ones. We sent them out to reviewers anyway. Most were rejected, but I do remember a paper by a couple of Russian geophysicists that had some really odd ideas. We recommended it for publication even though none of the reviewers agreed with the ideas presented. The paper was published and elicited some interesting comments. Once we got an odd paper that was sent by a Canadian High School teacher. It was eventually rejected because of some rather obvious mistakes in the individual's reasoning and conclusions. We still sent the paper to numerous reviewers. We also sent the author a polite rejection letter praising him for his efforts. As I said above, Berlinski isn't even trying. Him and his DI crones are producing opinions, editorials and op-eds, not science. They should at least be able to show the world their rejection letters.

Lee said...

I can't speak for the fellows at Discovery. But I have emailed and asked them why they don't publish more. I too would like to know the answer to that question.

As for scientists at universities who might sympathize with ID but whose livelihoods depend on getting grants, getting tenure, etc., I know that if I were in their shoes, I would think twice, maybe twelve times, before I did something that might cost me not just my job, but any job in the profession.

And, by the way, ID and Creationism are different.

Anonymous said...

Lee said...
"I can't speak for the fellows at Discovery. But I have emailed and asked them why they don't publish more. I too would like to know the answer to that question."

I'm certain you will share their response with us. LMAO!

"As for scientists at universities who might sympathize with ID but whose livelihoods depend on getting grants, getting tenure, etc., I know that if I were in their shoes, I would think twice, maybe twelve times, before I did something that might cost me not just my job, but any job in the profession."

Another conspiricy theory. What is your evidence for this? Do you know what is involved in getting a National Science Foundation grant for example? Do you understand the concept of academic tenure?

"And, by the way, ID and Creationism are different."

Yes, ID avoids saying anything specific. Fortunately Judge Jones saw through this ploy at the Dover, PA trial.

One Brow said...

Nice, but you were the one who brought math into the discussion, not me.

I mentioned a concept that has been well-established, as an illustration to note that I don't feel the need to continually re-demonstrate that which has been demonstrated. I don't know why you would turn that into a claim of deductive proofs being available in science.

And if Behe's arguments are not based on science, you are either saying that his evidence was bad, his reasoning was bad... or you are simply defining his case as outside of science. If you can find holes in his evidence or his reasnoning, that's fair game.

Behe's evidence (regarding HIV evolution) and reasoning (regarding fitness space models of evolution) from his 2007 book have both been shown to be faulty.

But defining such a pursuit as Behe's as outside of science does neither, and no one has yet explained how it can be that evidence can only support a naturalitic evolution, but never contradict it.

You share Nagel's misconception. It's not that the evidence can only support a naturalistic explanation, its that only naturalistic evidence can be used, and ID does not use naturalistic evidence to support itself.

Have you ever written code? You need to take the entire statement, not just pick on partial sentences taken out of context. I was *getting* to the third point. You're so sure I'm wrong, you won't even wait until the end of the statement to pronounce it wrong.

The first two points are independent of the third, so I addressed them separately.

As far as whether it is an accurate portrayal of mainstream evolutionary theory, it's close enough. None of it could have happened, according to the evolutionists, had it not been for random mutation + natural selection.

It's not about what could have happened, but what did happen.

Your debate style, if I might be so bold to comment, is of the Joe Frazier school: wear down an opponent with endless quibbling. When I say Darwinism, I mean simply to distinguish unguided selection from guided selection. You know what I'm talking about, so why the constant clinching?

Going with that definition, Darwinism is not a part of science and is not, or at least should not, be taught in a biology course, because science can't offer anything with regard to whether evolution was guided.

And that the ID quarrel with it is the "natural selection" part, as they believe there is evidence for design.

I have not read a ID proponent who does not accept natural selection. I think you may be confusing that term with the idea of having a purely natural origin. They are vastly different.

One Brow said...

Nonsense. Common descent is not a fact. The best you can hope for is to infer its existence.

The existence of facts can be inferred, and this does not change that their being facts.

In math, a random variable is a numerical outcome of a random experiment. If you can spot a pattern in the numeric outcome, it is still a random variable. If you take a pair of dice and roll 100 sevens in succession, and presuming 100 honest rolls and honest dice, it is an ordering that resulted from random happenstance. However, if the dice were in some manner built or altered to produce that sequence, that would be design.

If the dice were dropped off of a high surface by accident, and suffered an internal deformity that only allowed them to roll a specific number, they would exhibit a pattern but that pattern would not be designed. It's a pattern is it succumbs to predictability, regardless of whether you can discover purpose.

Well, since you believe common descent is a fact, then you tell me.

Common descent has been proven, having passed the tests of dozens of predictions.

For my sake, would you specify what you?

Is ID a theat because IDers argues something outside the realm of science? Or are they a threat because they argue something that is inside the realm of design, but do it poorly?


Neither. ID, the current political movement, is a threat because it seeks to deliberately undermine the teaching of science by presenting discredited arguments, claiming science is an untrustworthy source of information, and trying to introduce non-naturalistic ideas as if they were science.

For the sake of argument, I will grant that much of ID research is done poorly. I would then ask, if it were done well, would that change your judgment?

Yes. If ID comes up with testable, verifiable predictions and those predictions get confirmed, I will absolutely change my mind.

And if that's your response, then I would like to know how evidence can only support your take on evolution, and why it can never bring it into question?

I can probably name twenty different things that would call my understand of evolution into questions, any five of which combined would result in my rejecting common descent.

It may be true, but it hasn't been proven.

The dishonesty of many of the current proponent of ID has been well-established.

One Brow said...

The purpose doesn't matter. The only question that matters is whether the critique is good.

That the arguments have been discredited does matter, and is why the critique is not good. That the ID proponents know this, and use the arguments anyhow, is dishonest.

Nilsson said that's where they were, Berlinkski denied it.

No, he ignored it.

Again, I quote:
we calculate the spatial resolution (visual acuity) for all parts of our eye-evolution sequence, and the results are displayed in figure 1 of our paper. The underlying theory is explained in the main text, including the important equation 1 and a reference to Warrant & McIntyre (1993), where this theory is derived.

Nilsson very clearly states the theory is in the Warrant and McIntyre paper, and that's where you would find the calculation methods. He mentions more than once that Berlinski has failed to check the supporting literature. Berlinski's failure to note this is an embarrassment for him.

You're taking Hume's position, basically, that life is life and not a mechanism (to answer Paley's watchmaker analogy).

Incorrect. My position is that we have no analogous, designed mechanism to which we can compare living things. We have seen what human-created spear-points look like, have taken measurements of them, so we know what a spear-point looks like and the types of measurements we would see. We do not have similar measurements for created life.

Life is a biochemical mechanism, and so analogies can be illustrative.

Illustrations are not proof.

Did you misunderstand? Here is the entire Berlinski passage, of which you quoted part, after he had cited Nilsson's claim:

Berlinski: "In fact, no underlying theory whatsoever is explained in Nilsson and Pelger’s main text, or in the legend to figure 1; and while they do assert that calculations were made, they do not say where they were made or how they were carried out. The burden of Mr. Nilsson’s denials is conveyed entirely by equation 1 and by his references.


No, I understood it just fine. Nilsson says that the theory, and methods needs to perform the calculations, are in a referenced paper, Berlinski complains they are not in the Nilsson's paper.

Lee said...

> I'm certain you will share their response with us. LMAO!

This, folks, is what passes for debate these days. If I get a response, yes, I'll share it.

Lee said...

> I mentioned a concept that has been well-established, as an illustration to note that I don't feel the need to continually re-demonstrate that which has been demonstrated. I don't know why you would turn that into a claim of deductive proofs being available in science.

You were the one who suggested it, sir. I asked you to address an argument, you stated you did not feel the need to prove your point any more than you felt the need to re-prove a mathematical theorem. If you didn't think it was a good analogy, you shouldn't have brought it up.

> If the dice were dropped off of a high surface by accident, and suffered an internal deformity that only allowed them to roll a specific number, they would exhibit a pattern but that pattern would not be designed. It's a pattern is it succumbs to predictability, regardless of whether you can discover purpose.

I will ask again: is there a way to test for intelligence that does not involve finding patterns?

> Common descent has been proven, having passed the tests of dozens of predictions.

You cannot observe it, and you cannot test it -- anymore than you test for the theory that Colonel Mustard killed the butler in the drawing room with a knife. Common descent must be inferred. We seem to be employing different definitions of the word "proof".

How is it that we rule out the an intelligent designer, then, because he cannot be observed or tested? Is it not enough to infer him as a fact?

> I have not read a ID proponent who does not accept natural selection. I think you may be confusing that term with the idea of having a purely natural origin. They are vastly different.

I didn't mean that, but I should have made it clearer that I meant IDers don't accept natural selection as a sufficient explanation, but think there must have been some designed selection going on as well.

> The existence of facts can be inferred, and this does not change that their being facts.

Well, then, I guess it depends on what we mean by "fact". Wikipedia goes all loosey-goosey on the definition as it pertains to science, interestingly enough. E.g., "Fact does not always mean the same thing as truth. Fact is a generally agreed-upon and seemingly obvious observation."

So then, by this definition, for hundreds of years, it was a fact that Earth was the center of the universe. It was also a fact that the earth was flat, for a while.

Fine, if you want to use this definition of fact, I stand forewarned. When I have used the word, however, I have intended to mean something that was observable and testable. E.g., you can test the acceleration of gravity anytime you drop a raw egg on the linoleum.

But I'm sure it's worth another three go-arounds of quibbling.

> Berlinski's failure to note this is an embarrassment for him.

It really sounds to me like you didn't digest Berlinski's rebuttal. He not only criticized Nilsson's math at length, including an equation that (according to Berlinkski) was intended to describe a curve but only described a point. Then, he examined the references and critiqued the applicability of the math to what Nilsson was writing about -- in particular, the references pertained to compound eyes, but Nilsson was writing about a pinhole eye, and failing to properly disclaim the applicability. I'm not making this up: go back and read it for yourself.

Berlinkski could be wrong. But he didn't miss the references.

> The dishonesty of many of the current proponent of ID has been well-established... That the arguments have been discredited does matter, and is why the critique is not good. That the ID proponents know this, and use the arguments anyhow, is dishonest.

Perhaps ID proponents disagree about their arguments being discredited. In any event, since we're talking about honesty, now might be a good time for you to acknowledge that Berlinski did not miss Nilsson's equation and references, as you claimed he should be embarrassed about it.

> we have no analogous, designed mechanism to which we can compare living things.

Life is a mechanism. That's what makes it an analogy.

> Neither. ID, the current political movement, is a threat because it seeks to deliberately undermine the teaching of science...

Translation: they seek to dissent from an orthodoxy which simply defines certain questions as being outside the realm of science.

> ... by presenting discredited arguments...

Translation: any time a mainstream science rebuts an ID proponent, we should assume the ID proponent lost the argument.

> And claiming science is an untrustworthy source of information

I confess: I don't know what you're talking about on this one.

> ...and trying to introduce non-naturalistic ideas as if they were science.

If evolutionists can claim naturalistic processes are sufficient to explain the diversity of life, they are *already* assuming non-naturalistic ideas. They are assuming that this all happened without a guiding hand. They don't know this. They can't prove this. They only assume this.

Is there scientific evidence that evolution could explain the diversity of life from a common ancestor by purely naturalistic means? If yes, then there can also be scientific evidence that calls that into question. Evidence is a two-edged sword, except in the aggressively protected world of evolution.

One Brow said...

If you didn't think it was a good analogy, you shouldn't have brought it up.

As I already clarified,I did not feel the need to re-demonstrate what has been demonstrated, and that is the analogy I was making.

I will ask again: is there a way to test for intelligence that does not involve finding patterns?

As far as I know, the only test in wide use is by comparison to objects of nearly identical construction that we know to be designed (such as seeing fossils are spear-points by comparing them to spear-points made by people today).

> Common descent has been proven, having passed the tests of dozens of predictions.

You cannot observe it,


Historical occurrences,like common descent or the Punic wars, are indeed not observable.

and you cannot test it

Incorrect. For example, you might use common descent to predict that a certain type of fossil might be located in Devonian shales, look for that fossil, and find it.

Common descent must be inferred. We seem to be employing different definitions of the word "proof".

I've been using the word "demonstrated".

How is it that we rule out the an intelligent designer, then, because he cannot be observed or tested?

We can't rule out any sort of supernatural designer, because we can't test for them.

Is it not enough to infer him as a fact?

For philosophy, certainly. For science, you must demonstrate them.

So then, by this definition, for hundreds of years, it was a fact that Earth was the center of the universe. It was also a fact that the earth was flat, for a while.

One of the hallmarks of science is that all understandings are provisional.

Fine, if you want to use this definition of fact, I stand forewarned. When I have used the word, however, I have intended to mean something that was observable and testable. E.g., you can test the acceleration of gravity anytime you drop a raw egg on the linoleum.

Common descent has been tested in many ways.

One Brow said...

It really sounds to me like you didn't digest Berlinski's rebuttal. He not only criticized Nilsson's math at length, including an equation that (according to Berlinkski) was intended to describe a curve but only described a point.

Apparently, Berlinski is making this claim on the inability to get an anti-derivative from an equation in that is mentioned. Anti-derivatives are not complex to generate from polynomial functions, and any calculus student knows, with the only uncertainty being a starting constant; the shape, and the relationship depicted thereby, of the anti-derivative is the same regardless. Berlinski presumably knows this; he does have a Ph. D. in math. His claim that that the anti-derivative is not presented, so the relationship is not indicated, is a lie.

Then, he examined the references and critiqued the applicability of the math to what Nilsson was writing about -- in particular, the references pertained to compound eyes, but Nilsson was writing about a pinhole eye, and failing to properly disclaim the applicability. I'm not making this up: go back and read it for yourself.

I read it. That would be a valid criticism if Nilsson had claimed his paper represented a definitive pathway, but there is no such representation, so the claim has no validity.

Berlinkski could be wrong. But he didn't miss the references.

He went back to check the references only only after being chided to do so by Nilsson. It's still an embarrassment that he had to be reminded to do that.

One Brow said...

Perhaps ID proponents disagree about their arguments being discredited.

Yes, denialists are always very reluctant to give up their arguments.

In any event, since we're talking about honesty, now might be a good time for you to acknowledge that Berlinski did not miss Nilsson's equation and references, as you claimed he should be embarrassed about it.

I acknowledge that, after Nilsson reminded Berlinski to check the references, he did so.

Life is a mechanism. That's what makes it an analogy.

We have no analogous mechanism to life.

> Neither. ID, the current political movement, is a threat because it seeks to deliberately undermine the teaching of science...

Translation: they seek to dissent from an orthodoxy which simply defines certain questions as being outside the realm of science.


That is one of the methods. There are also the claims of wide-spread dishonesty and conspiracies, persecutions, etc. There are the discredited arguments.

> ... by presenting discredited arguments...

Translation: any time a mainstream science rebuts an ID proponent, we should assume the ID proponent lost the argument.


Isn't that what a rebuttal is?

> And claiming science is an untrustworthy source of information

I confess: I don't know what you're talking about on this one.


Wells' book Icons of Evolution contains claim after claim that you can't trust what science says about certain well-known experiments.

> ...and trying to introduce non-naturalistic ideas as if they were science.

If evolutionists can claim naturalistic processes are sufficient to explain the diversity of life, they are *already* assuming non-naturalistic ideas.


Again, I point out the difference between sufficiency and actuality. If the ground is wet, it is a sufficient cause that there is rain. That doesn't mean it's actually raining. If your only testing arena is the wetness of the ground itself, you have no guarantee actual rain is the cause.

They are assuming that this all happened without a guiding hand.

Only the atheists and some of the theists.

Is there scientific evidence that evolution could explain the diversity of life from a common ancestor by purely naturalistic means? If yes, then there can also be scientific evidence that calls that into question.

I agree that such evidence could exist with regard to a specific set of mechanisms; it simply does not.

However, there is no scientific evidence that life did actually arise through purely naturalistic means, and no method of proving that naturalistic mechanisms of any possible combination, known or unknown, are indicated or counter-indicated.

onein6billion said...

"if a naturalistic explanation is shown by empirical research to be unlikely"

Which, of course, has not been done in this case.

"if the evidence can support a scientific theory, so too can evidence cast doubt on a theory"

Of course. But you have no evidence and you have no "unlikely", so you have nothing.

onein6billion said...

"As recently happened to a fellow at the Smithsonian?"

That's a lie, of course.

Lee said...

> He went back to check the references only only after being chided to do so by Nilsson. It's still an embarrassment that he had to be reminded to do that.

An interesting take. Berlinski says there was no math to justify the curve. Nilsson said there was, in figure 1, and in the references. Berlinkski responds that the math in figure 1 was of a point, not a curve, and the references were to invertebrate compound eyes, not pinhole eyes -- and therefore there was, as Berlinski stated, no math to justify the curve. And you think Berlinkski is the one who ought to be embarrassed.

So it is not apparent that Berlinkski ought to be embarrassed. He ought to be embarrassed if and only if the math indictated by Nilsson justifies Nilsson's claims. But I don't know that. Do you? Are you taking Nilsson's word for it?

> Incorrect. My position is that we have no analogous, designed mechanism to which we can compare living things.

The question is whether a given level of complexity can be sufficient to infer design. But we do have complex mechanisms. The question of whether they are designed and analogous is exactly what is being debated.

>> You cannot observe [common descent]

> Historical occurrences,like common descent or the Punic wars, are indeed not observable.

Begs the question whether common descent occurred. There were human eyewitnessed to the Punic Wars, and some of them wrote of their experiences. There have also been archaeological digs. We know there was a city named Carthage that was destroyed. There were no humans writing when the first amphibian wriggled out of a fish egg.

>> and you cannot test it

> Incorrect. For example, you might use common descent to predict that a certain type of fossil might be located in Devonian shales, look for that fossil, and find it.

And that could not possibly be a coincidence?

Like I said: you cannot observe common descent. Nobody was there. If you invent a time machine, we'll discuss it some more.

>> How is it that we rule out the an intelligent designer, then, because he cannot be observed or tested?

> We can't rule out any sort of supernatural designer, because we can't test for them.

I don't think their research depends on finding a supernatural designer. They are looking for elements of design, not elements of the supernatural, and therefore they would be looking at evidence. Since you can't test for common descent, I think it puts you in the same boat: good old inferential reasoning.

>> So then, by this definition, for hundreds of years, it was a fact that Earth was the center of the universe. It was also a fact that the earth was flat, for a while.

> One of the hallmarks of science is that all understandings are provisional.

Is that an understanding? Then it too is provisional. And so is the "fact" of common descent.

> Common descent has been tested in many ways.

Well, if one can make successful predictions based on the presumption of design, would that then be enough to say we can test it?

> Apparently, Berlinski is making this claim on the inability to get an anti-derivative from an equation in that is mentioned.

I think his complaint was that it was the integral of the equation that was necessary to represent the model; otherwise, it looked like Nilsson just found an equation for the maximum of the curve and interpolated the curve.

> Anti-derivatives are not complex to generate from polynomial functions, and any calculus student knows, with the only uncertainty being a starting constant;

It's been, oh, maybe twenty-five years since DiffEq, but as I recall, I think it depends on the function.

> ...the shape, and the relationship depicted thereby, of the anti-derivative is the same regardless.

I think there is also more than one possible solution if we go from a point to a curve, no? If the polynomial is complex enough, it and lead to a whole range of solutions. I think the complaint may be, which solution?

> Berlinski presumably knows this; he does have a Ph. D. in math. His claim that that the anti-derivative is not presented, so the relationship is not indicated, is a lie.

Unless you know the precise equation or set of equations in dispute, and can demonstrate it, I will take that as wishful thinking.

> That would be a valid criticism if Nilsson had claimed his paper represented a definitive pathway, but there is no such representation, so the claim has no validity.

Exactly. I think that was Berlinkski's point. Some computer model.

> Yes, denialists are always very reluctant to give up their arguments.

You're certainly reluctant to give up yours.

> That is one of the methods. There are also the claims of wide-spread dishonesty and conspiracies, persecutions, etc. There are the discredited arguments.

They're not the only ones who complain of wide-spread dishonesty, so that hardly distinguishes them.

>> Translation: any time a mainstream science rebuts an ID proponent, we should assume the ID proponent lost the argument.

> Isn't that what a rebuttal is?

It depends. In a debate, when Team B gets up and answers the points made by Team A, they call that a "rebuttal". Did Team A lose the argument? Not necessarily; that's the intent of the rebuttal, but not necessarily the outcome. Team A gets a rebuttal too, after Team B speaks.

But I will amend that to "attempted to rebut" since that clarifies what I meant.

> I agree that such evidence could exist with regard to a specific set of mechanisms; it simply does not.

Interesting. Why a specific set of mechanisms? What would qualify? I'm asking for a hypothetical.

> However, there is no scientific evidence that life did actually arise through purely naturalistic means, and no method of proving that naturalistic mechanisms of any possible combination, known or unknown, are indicated or counter-indicated.

Then what are we arguing about? So then, we agree that they should quit teaching it.

Lee said...

As I stated earlier, I wrote to the Discovery Institute and asked a question:

> "I find myself arguing with many evolutionists on the boards, and one question I keep getting asked that I don't have an answer for is this: Why aren't you writing papers and submitting them for peer review in scientific journals?

> "Or maybe I'm begging the question. *Are* you getting articles published in the journals?"

I promised I would print their reply, if I got one. I did get one. Here it is:

> "To answer your question, most evolutionists who argue against intelligent design on the internet are grossly uninformed about intelligent design. ID proponents ARE doing research and they ARE publishing scientific papers. Some of these papers and this research is described at the following 2 links:

Biologic Institute Research Page
http://www.biologicinstitute.org/research

Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design
http://www.discovery.org/a/2640

One Brow said...

An interesting take. Berlinski says there was no math to justify the curve. Nilsson said there was, in figure 1, and in the references. Berlinkski responds that the math in figure 1 was of a point, not a curve, and the references were to invertebrate compound eyes, not pinhole eyes -- and therefore there was, as Berlinski stated, no math to justify the curve. And you think Berlinkski is the one who ought to be embarrassed.

Yes, because 1) the math seems to have been easily derivable from the available information in the paper, and 2) if for some reason this is not true, and Berlinski failed to mention it, he still could have gotten the information from Nilsson.

So it is not apparent that Berlinkski ought to be embarrassed. He ought to be embarrassed if and only if the math indictated by Nilsson justifies Nilsson's claims. But I don't know that. Do you? Are you taking Nilsson's word for it?

I’m not saying that Berlinski should be embarrassed by the math per se, but by his own lack of effort and/or preparation in criticizing the paper.

Since neither of us knows what sort of equation is involved, I’ll drop the discussion of whether Berlinski could have generated an anti-derivative. Even if he could not, the original equation would still have been available to him from Nilsson.

One Brow said...

The question is whether a given level of complexity can be sufficient to infer design.

That’s easy: no. Randomly assembled objects tend to show more complexity than designed objects (but simplicity is not a good test either).

But we do have complex mechanisms. The question of whether they are designed and analogous is exactly what is being debated.

They are not analogous except in very superficial ways. We don’t assume a particular rock is an arrowhead by comparing it to bullets, we compare it to known arrowheads.

Begs the question whether common descent occurred.

If you prefer, putative historical events.

There were human eyewitnessed to the Punic Wars, and some of them wrote of their experiences. There have also been archaeological digs. We know there was a city named Carthage that was destroyed. There were no humans writing when the first amphibian wriggled out of a fish egg.

So, if the proof is in physical evidence as opposed to human writings, this is a mark against common descent? People lie, evidence does not.

And that could not possibly be a coincidence?

Do you think this was the first time that happened? How many putative coincidences need to line up before it common descent becomes reliable to you?

Like I said: you cannot observe common descent. Nobody was there. If you invent a time machine, we'll discuss it some more.

Well, I suppose that’s one effective way for you to keep denying common descent to yourself. Just throw out all the evidence not seen by humans.

I don't think their research depends on finding a supernatural designer. They are looking for elements of design, not elements of the supernatural, and therefore they would be looking at evidence.

The claim is that natural means can not account for life. If the origin is not natural, it must be ___________.

Now, if there were really a test for design, that would be another thing.

Since you can't test for common descent, I think it puts you in the same boat: good old inferential reasoning.

Except, you can test common descent, it has been tested, and I just described one example of such a test. Denying the existence of tests after an example has been provided is not a mark of honest discussion.

> One of the hallmarks of science is that all understandings are provisional.

Is that an understanding? Then it too is provisional.


More like a principle from the philosophy of science than understanding from science.

And so is the "fact" of common descent.

Absolutely. As soon as there is a better explanation for all the evidence, one which can be tested in a manner that differentiates it from common descent and that passes such a test. I will abandon common descent. Of course, I could say the same thing about gravity.

Well, if one can make successful predictions based on the presumption of design, would that then be enough to say we can test it?

Yes. If design can make predictions of what we do not currently see, that would be a test.

Exactly. I think that was Berlinkski's point. Some computer model.

So, we agree Berlinski was criticizing a paper for not doing what it did not claim to do (provide a definitive pathway), and not having what it did not claim to have (a computer model)?

> Yes, denialists are always very reluctant to give up their arguments.

You're certainly reluctant to give up yours.


I need only to refer you to the previous paragraph, or up above where you deny common descent can be tested after calling the passing of such a test a coincidence, to demonstrate which of us is practicing denialism.

One Brow said...

They're not the only ones who complain of wide-spread dishonesty, so that hardly distinguishes them.

True. The difference is that the DI fellows need to rely on quote-mining, long-discarded hypotheses, and similar tactics in their accusations of dishonesty.

Interesting. Why a specific set of mechanisms? What would qualify? I'm asking for a hypothetical.

I’ll do better, and give you an actual. Operating only by themselves, the mechanisms of random replacement mutation and natural selection do not create separate breeding populations. Thus, by themselves they can not account for even the observed instances of speciation.

Then what are we arguing about? So then, we agree that they should quit teaching it.

They don’t, and it’s not part of the standard biology curriculum.

> "To answer your question, most evolutionists who argue against intelligent design on the internet are grossly uninformed about intelligent design. ID proponents ARE doing research and they ARE publishing scientific papers.

Many ID proponents are also capable scientists, certainly. What they are not is publishing work that puts forward a theory of intelligent design, much less work that would support such a theory.

http://www.biologicinstitute.org/research

There were 19 papers listed, of which 1 (Axe DD (2004) Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds. Journal of Molecular Biology 341: 1295-1315. PMID: 15321723) could be charitably interpreted to support an ID argument against an evolutionary straw man.

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

Did you notice that it had to go back 150 years or more to find examples of significant science not originally published in scientific journals? Even Einstein’s Annus Mirablis papers went through this route. The Michigan State University press, et. al., does not do the same type of work.

Out of the that whole list, there were a total of 5 articles, one of which was on the other link.

John A. Davison, "A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis,"

S.C. Meyer, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,"

M.J. Behe and D.W. Snoke, "Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues,"

D. A. Axe, "Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds,"

D. A. Axe, "Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors,"


These could be charitably construed to provide research supporting intelligent design by attacking limited aspects of evolution.

From two sites, after 20 years of having an intelligent design movement, 5 papers, none of which offer any sort of theory of intelligent design.

onein6billion said...

Of course "Lee" is "Lee Bowman" - associated with both the blog "Uncommon Descent" and the "Discovery Institute". So he is a very partisan advocate of "intelligent design".

I'm sure his same ideas have been posted many times on different blogs. See also:

http://www.opposingviews.com/questions/does-intelligent-design-have-merit

where it is clear that "intelligent design" does not have any merit.