The Roots of ID

June 1, 2009

In a recent document, “The Roots of Intelligent Design” [pdf] posted on their new Faith & Evolution website, the Discovery Institute states:

Some people claim that intelligent design developed in response to modern court cases or debates over Biblical creationism in the twentieth century. Others assert that intelligent design grew out of “Christian fundamentalism.” This selection of readings and other resources is designed to allow people to investigate and discuss the roots of intelligent design for themselves. The readings and questions can be used for personal study and reflection or for group discussion.

This is followed by a series of discussion questions pertaining to extracts of varying lengths from Plato, Cicero, Josephus, Philo of Alexandria, the Old and New Testaments, and the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The general thrust of these extracts and questions is simple – a claim that intelligent design is not a partisan, modern, Christian invention.

Firstly, the DI are being more than a little disingenuous here. No one – least of all the philosopher Barbara Forrest who has most completely documented the history of the modern design movement or Michael Ruse in his history of the design argument, Darwin & Design – is claiming that the design argument is a modern invention, merely that the argument reemerged as a major strategy within Christian anti-evolutionism in response to a series of legal defeats for fundamentalist strategies such as “creation science.” Note that I’m making a distinction between (1) the argument itself, and (2) the renaissance of that argument in light of events in the past 30 years through the development of a self-conscious ID movement.. When I have talked in public and in the classroom about the roots of the ID movement, I have always stressed the long history of the argument, via discussion of Plato, Cicero, Lucretius, Aquinas, Newton, Hume, Paley and, of course, Darwin (among others). The standard narrative sees the argument surviving Hume’s cogent attack in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion only to be polished off when Darwin offered the first coherent naturalistic mechanism by which apparent design (“contrivances”) could be achieved. Arguments about design had to be significantly modified in the years following 1859 (see, for examples, the works collected in Richard England’s Design After Darwin, Thoemmes, 2003). For the majority of the twentieth century, the design argument – though sometimes used – fell into relative disuse until its resurgence in the 1990’s following the Edwards decision.

Secondly, I’m not sure that the DI’s sourcebook actually helps their case for disentangling design from Christianity. Verses from Proverbs, Job, Psalms, Matthew, Acts, and Romans – while they may show that the design argument predates Edwards v. Agulllard – do nothing to separate the argument from Christianity. Inclusion of the non-scriptural writings of Theophilus, Athenagoras, Irenaeus, Dionysius, Lactantius, Athanasius and Chrysostom doesn’t help either. Whether these arguments

appeal primarily to evidence that only Christians can accept, or do they point to facts, observations, and arguments that non-Christians can see and understand? (b) How are these writings from Christian thinkers similar to or different from the writings of Plato and Cicero on design? (c) What do these Christian writings show about whether the design inference is based primarily on the authority of the Bible or on evidence and logic to all human beings regardless of whether they accept the Bible?

is largely irrelevant, given the apologetic nature of the writings. Of course the writers appealed to extra-Biblical evidence. What is important here is not the arguments themselves but the role they were being marshaled to play in Christian apologetics, a role that they are essentially still playing today.

The Christian nature of all of this is clearly indicated by the relative attention given to Christian and non-Christian material (all word counts are approximate):

  • Plato: 1000 words from Philebus (though Laws X is briefly mentioned) completely stripped of their context and indeed any indication of what the dialogue is attempting to argue
  • Cicero: 480 words from De Natura Deorum again completely decontextualized
  • Scriptures: 16 verses from Proverbs, 4 chapters from Job (specifically God’s reply to Job), 6 verses from Psalms,  7 verses from Matthew, 3 verses from Romans, 10 verses from Acts
  • Jewish Thinkers: 220 words from the Wisdom of Solomon, 360 words from Philo of Alexandria, 215 words from Josephus
  • Early Church Fathers: 11 pages accounting for over 8000 words

Acknowledging that the extracts given above are not exhaustive and are, nonetheless, representative of the available material, it is notable how little the scriptures argue for design. The representation of Jewish thinkers is perfunctory and the vast majority of the sourcebook is given over to the Church Fathers. In fact, if we ignore scriptural sources, we have approximately 1500 words from the secular Plato & Cicero being joined by ~800 from Jewish sources and 8000+ from the Church Fathers. The best evidence for the antiquity of the design argument – or at least the most sustained evidence – comes from the Christian writers. (I am of course aware that Plato and Aristotle use the argument in various places, but the DI choose not to include these, instead clearly concentrating on the Church Fathers. They also ignore Hume’s treatment of the argument which is in many ways more clearly stated – via the voice of Cleanthes – than Cicero’s. The reason for this omission is fairly obvious: Hume decimates any attempt at an argument from design).

Similar to Hume’s Dialogues, Cicero’s De Natura Deorum is a three-way interaction, in this case between an Epicurean, a Stoic and an Academic. The issue here is not whether design can be detected but whether the gods (whom all three interlocutors agree exist) care for humans in any meaningful way. While the extract chosen by the DI “outlines the basic Stoic argument about design in nature”, the DI fails to note that Cicero then offers cogent arguments against this position through the other two characters. Plato’s Philebus is a late dialogue whose central argument is an interaction between two claims:

Philebus was saying that enjoyment and pleasure and delight, and the class of feelings akin to them, are a good to every living being, whereas I [Plato through Socrates] contend, that not these, but wisdom and intelligence and memory, and their kindred, right opinion and true reasoning, are better and more desirable than pleasure for all who are able to partake of them, and that to all such who are or ever will be they are the most advantageous of all things.

In the end, Plato claims that the good life consists of a mixture of pleasure and knowledge. I will leave it up to the reader to figure out the function of the design argument within the overall argument. So in the case of both Cicero and Plato, the sourcebook does not invite us to seriously engage with the arguments presented in the context they are given. Instead, we are essentially invited to merely accept Cicero and Plato as proto-design proponents (pdesignproponentists, if you will).

Lastly, the document briefly rallies Thomas Jefferson (as a deist) and Alfred Russel Wallace (as an evolutionist) to support their claim that the appeal to design is not necessarily a Christian argument. No actual writings by Wallace are presented, and unmentioned, of course, is Wallace’s spiritism and the fact that he was more of a selectionist that even Darwin. Once again, information is ripped from its historical context.

The intended audience for their sourcebook is “a small group, an adult Sunday School class, a church school science class, or a mid-week adult education program.” Any such group of students would be left with a slanted depiction of how the design argument has been supported – and refuted – though the past 2,500 years. If I engaged in such non-contextualized presentation in my classroom, I would rightly be accused of being a bad teacher. More importantly, the audience would receive no indication of how the argument ceased to be scientifically and philosophically tenable and instead became an issue of interest solely to apologists and theologians.

The question remains as to how relevant it is to even identify design arguments outside of Christian apologetics. It is not surprising that various individuals have argued that design can be detected in nature; whether this design is real or apparent and whether it indicates the sort of designer that the individual wishes to exist, is another matter. Psychologists have discovered that humans in general – and children in particular – exhibit three innate biases:

  • Essentialist bias: all natural kinds have an immutable essence
  • Teleological bias: what they see must be purposeful and goal-orientated
  • Intentionality bias: actions and outcomes must be the work of an intentional agent

These biases are actually useful for children to make predictions in the world and are defaults that adults revert to at times. We clearly see all three at work in the design argument.

The “Roots” document ends with a series of questions to which I offer the following answers:

  • What do these readings show you about the origins of intelligent design as an idea? The readings merely indicate the inherent bias to seeing design is a universal in human cultures.
  • Is intelligent design a response to modern court rulings or an outgrowth of “Christian fundamentalism”? The design argument is not, the design movement is.
  • Is it dependent on the authority of the Bible rather than the observations of nature and the inferences drawn from those inferences [sic]? No, but then again, no one is arguing it is. As a form of natural theology, it serves as a gateway to the acceptance of revealed religion.
  • How long have people been debating about whether there is evidence of design in nature? Since the sourcebook has strenuously avoided any presentation of debate (see the treatment of Hume and Cicero, for example) this question is meaningless.

Note: Thanks to Pete Dunkelberg for pointing out a few minor typos. That’s what I get for writing this while in a cafe in Crete.

Update: A link from PZ made this the #45 post on WordPress.com for June 4th. Behold the power of Pharyngula.

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  1. DLC
    June 2, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Not surprising that DI would put out such an argument. It seems funny to have diehard christians putting forth the idea that christian theology has nothing to do with their intelligent design movement.
    Especially going back and considering the now infamous wedge document. I guess bearing false witness is fine with them so long as it’s for their cause.

  2. June 2, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    The intended audience for their sourcebook is “a small group, an adult Sunday School class, a church school science class, or a mid-week adult education program.” Any such group of students would be left with a slanted depiction of how the design argument has been supported – and refuted – though the past 2,500 years.

    The current talks presented by the Dishonesty Institute are precisely aimed at these audiences. Stephen Meyer is giving such a talk on 6/2 to a church group, the favorite target of the DI.

  3. June 3, 2009 at 12:58 am

    You wrote,
    –Firstly, the DI are being more than a little disingenuous here. No one – least of all the philosopher Barbara Forrest who has most completely documented the history of the modern design movement or Michael Ruse in his history of the design argument, Darwin & Design – is claiming that the design argument is a modern invention, merely that the argument reemerged as a major strategy within Christian anti-evolutionism in response to a series of legal defeats for fundamentalist strategies such as “creation science.”–

    The pdf file “The Roots of Intelligent Design” makes no mention of Forrest or Ruse — this pd file only says, “Some people claim that intelligent design developed in response to modern court cases or debates over Biblical creationism in the twentieth century. Others assert that intelligent design grew out of ‘Christian fundamentalism.'” What some people claim and what Forrest and Ruse wrote do not necessarily have anything to do with each other. I have frequently heard the claim that “intelligent design developed in response to modern court cases,” with no mention that ID “merely . . .reemerged . . . in response to a series of legal defeats.” BTW, only two court cases — Edwards v. Aguillard and McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education — concerned “creation science” (also called “scientific creationism”), so where is the “series” of legal defeats? You said that there were “fundamentalist strategies” other than “creation science” — what were those other “fundamentalist strategies”?

    –Secondly, I’m not sure that the DI’s sourcebook actually helps their case for disentangling design from Christianity.–

    They didn’t say that they were trying to “disentangle” design from Christianity, but they were trying to show that design has some non-Christian roots.

    Also, the pdf file had a bunch of questions which you misrepresented as claims.

    Your arguments against the pdf file are straw men.

  4. June 3, 2009 at 5:37 am

    It looks like they have sunk to quote mining their own source material, which is somewhat amusing (if not surprising).

  5. Bob
    June 3, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Larry Fafarman writes, they were trying to show that design has some non-Christian roots. Looks like you are conflating “intelligent design” with Intelligent Design”! The first refers to a long standing argument in the history of ideas, the second to an activist Christian creationism movement.

    One wouldn’t think a web site would be required to show that design is an old idea any more than to show that magic is an old idea.

  6. J-Dog
    June 3, 2009 at 6:56 am

    John – Beautifully written and sourced smack-down about the continued lying of the DI, but I think this means you are off the Christmas Card list of Moonie Wells and Casey Luskin.

    So thanks, and yes, I will be saving this for future use and attribution as the fight will go on for the forseeable future.

  7. June 3, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Bob barfed,
    –Looks like you are conflating “intelligent design” with Intelligent Design”! The first refers to a long standing argument in the history of ideas, the second to an activist Christian creationism movement.–

    That is a breathtakingly inane comment — you only changed the description of ID from “long-standing argument” to “movement.” The question is, are the principles of “id” and “ID” the same or similar?

    Also, how is the DI’s pdf file inconsistent with Forrest’s and Ruse’s alleged claim that ID “reemerged as a major strategy within Christian anti-evolutionism in response to a series of legal defeats”?

    –One wouldn’t think a web site would be required to show that design is an old idea any more than to show that magic is an old idea. —

    Another breathtakingly inane comment.

  8. BlueIndependent
    June 3, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I’d ask “Can these people be any more disingenuous?”, but I know the answer, and it is “yes.” They want to dispel the myth that ID is based in religion, yet they overuse apologetics from specific religious texts to make their case, while suggesting conveniently religious forums in which to pass along information about ID. If they wanted to ruly make the case completely, why not round up the Bhagavad Gita? Why not tap the Native American community, or aboriginal tribes around the world for their stories? Why rest solely in the Abrahamic religions? Why not add context from Buddhism or Taoism?

    I also fail to see the relevance of the DI’s pointing out the historicity of the ID argument. Everybody already knows the argument has been made from some of the earliest eras of human society. This is not novel information. I understand why they think they need to make such a case, but that is beside the fact that there is no evidence for the design argument. Not in the past, and certainly not now. Arguing that extended historicity imparts some level of value or continued usefulness to the concept implies that many old things are meaningful simply for having existed for so long. The wrong-headedness of such a stance need not be explained.

    Fafarman, we already are beyond your point. The DI doesn’t need to make the case that ID is an old idea because that is well-known even to apologists. The DI’s PDF is an attempt at a sales job to very thinly show some sort of efficacy for their bullcrap. Look at how the questions they pose are structured, especially the last one, which is fairly condescending in its formulation based on what the reader just finished. The DI most certainly is interested in “disentangling” Christianity from ID because doing so suits their purposes, and this document of their is another attempt to deny the reality of their organization and the activities of its members. I have yet to hear of the scores of Jews and Muslims, let alone Hindus, Raelians, et al that comprise their ranks. The fact is the DI is a group made up of Christians who happen to be making a creation-based case for their “theory”, and recent evidence has shown the creationist and Christian entanglements of their cause. Lynch is merely showing what they are trying to do and is comparing that against what is known of their organization. He is putting the truth to the lie that the DI is interested in ID from a purely non-partisan sectarian standpoint.

    The series of legal defeats you seek are those such as Scopes (over 80 years ago) and Dover, but also the very recent failings of creationist movements in states like Texas to get creation-sympathetic/evolution-unsympathetic textbooks into public school classrooms, and to stuff education boards with religious apologists that have a distinct bent toward – in the US’s case – Biblical literalism vis a vis creation. Look it up. The battle has a long history, and it’s pretty disingenuous of you to come in here acting as if you have no cognition of the issue.

  9. BlueIndependent
    June 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Larry Fafarman:
    “That is a breathtakingly inane comment — you only changed the description of ID from “long-standing argument” to “movement.” The question is, are the principles of “id” and “ID” the same or similar?”

    I think the more pertinent question, and the thing you are apparently missing is, the DI in its PDF file is using the term for its pet theory and applying it across the panacea that is known history. As you ask “The question is, are the principles of “id” and “ID” the same or similar?” is appropriate, although not as a means of arguing with the DI, but against them. So is the DI assuming the way it applies ID the same as id? If so, they are unraveling their own case, because the DI tries to sell capital ID as a new theory that challenges “the scientific establishment”; yet this PDF file claims that the idea extends far into the past thousands of years. So which is it? Is it an old musty idea, or a brand new way to look at things?

    Up to this point the argument from design was known as creationism, but the DI appears to want to astroturf all that old stuff and reframe it with their far more modern label, probably in an attempt to earn some cheap credibility. What Bob said is exactly right: id as the DI has used it in this PDF is a very old and documented argument; ID as used by the DI today is, by evidence of the creationist movement itself (see readily available creationist text with all uses of “creation” replaces with “ID”), an only slightly different off-shoot of the new creationism movement that seeks to hide its religious affiliations as opposed to wearing them proudly.

    Larry Fafarman:
    “Another breathtakingly inane comment.”

    I invite you to explain how. Don’t think you can make sweeping claims that will stick while leaving them unverified.

  10. Dan L.
    June 3, 2009 at 8:57 am

    @ Larry Fafarman:

    “They didn’t say that they were trying to “disentangle” design from Christianity, but they were trying to show that design has some non-Christian roots.

    Also, the pdf file had a bunch of questions which you misrepresented as claims.

    Your arguments against the pdf file are straw men.”

    Lynch is clearly acknowledging the fact that the argument has non-Christian roots here. His argument is that the PDF fails to establish widespread recognition of the validity of the design argument outside of Christian doctrine. He further points out that it’s disingenuous to present historical arguments for design but ignore historical arguments against design. Your argument against his argument is a straw man.

    And he doesn’t present the questions as claims — he presents the questions as questions and then answers them. Which would be obvious if you had read thoroughly before commenting.

    Another point: the teleological argument arises in several contexts, but most relevantly as part of Discovery Institute’s “Wedge strategy.” Don’t act like there isn’t a religious/political movement trying to resurrect the (largely discredited) teleological argument for the sake of pushing an anti-evolution agenda. We know better.

    And for those that don’t:

    “http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html”

  11. Nichole
    June 3, 2009 at 9:26 am

    This is a really illuminating piece. Thanks, John.

    Sorry to see you’re plagued by creationist trolls. Who told these jerks about the internet? We should have done a better job of keeping it a secret. This used to be a nice place!

  12. June 3, 2009 at 10:09 am

    BlueIndependent says,
    –They want to dispel the myth that ID is based in religion, yet they overuse apologetics from specific religious texts to make their case, while suggesting conveniently religious forums in which to pass along information about ID. —

    The DI would rather ignore the religious issues and focus on the scientific issues, but it is you Darwinists who have been trying to make religion the main if not the sole issue. The DI is only trying to set the record straight about the religious and philosophical issues.

    –I also fail to see the relevance of the DI’s pointing out the historicity of the ID argument. Everybody already knows the argument has been made from some of the earliest eras of human society. —

    Even if everybody already knew that, and not everybody does, there is no reason to not go into the details.

    Everybody already knows that some religious people see no conflict between evolution and religion, so why have the “Clergy Letter Project” and the National Center for Science Education’s “Faith Project”?

    –Arguing that extended historicity imparts some level of value or continued usefulness to the concept implies that many old things are meaningful simply for having existed for so long. —

    The DI’s pdf file makes no such argument.

    –I have yet to hear of the scores of Jews and Muslims, let alone Hindus, Raelians, et al that comprise their ranks. —

    Christianity happens to be the predominant religion in the USA and other Western countries. Duh.

    –The series of legal defeats you seek are those such as Scopes (over 80 years ago) and Dover, but also the very recent failings of creationist movements in states like Texas to get creation-sympathetic/evolution-unsympathetic textbooks into public school classrooms–

    Scopes was a victory for the fundies and there has been no court case in Texas (BTW, critics of evolution have been doing fairly well in Texas). BTW, two court decisions against evolution disclaimer statements — Selman v. Cobb County and Frelier v. Tangipahoa Parish — came close to being overturned on appeal. And the Dover decision is a farce — it is just an unreviewed opinion of a single crackpot activist judge. You Darwinists consistently underestimate the strength of your opposition.

    BlueIndependent says,
    –Up to this point the argument from design was known as creationism, but the DI appears to want to astroturf all that old stuff and reframe it with their far more modern label, probably in an attempt to earn some cheap credibility.–

    The Discovery Institute says,
    University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he “agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement.” Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are “the easiest way to discredit intelligent design.”

    http://www.discovery.org/csc/topQuestions.php#sameAsCreationism

    Another reason for conflating ID and creationism is to use the establishment clause for attacking ID.

    Nichole drivels,
    –Sorry to see you’re plagued by creationist trolls. —

    “I’m always kicking their butts — that’s why they don’t like me.”
    — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

  13. Dan L.
    June 3, 2009 at 10:24 am

    @Larry Fafarman:

    I realize you’re busy ignoring substantive arguments, but would you mind informing us as to exactly what science the DI (or any intelligent design “researcher”) has done? A falsifiable scientific hypothesis? A predictive theory? Anything?

  14. June 3, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Dan L. moans,
    –I realize you’re busy ignoring substantive arguments, but would you mind informing us as to exactly what science the DI (or any intelligent design “researcher”) has done? A falsifiable scientific hypothesis? A predictive theory? Anything?–

    The science of ID is mostly beyond the scope of the DI’s pdf file “The Roots of Intelligent Design.” That pdf file was about the early history of ID and therefore ignored the recently discovered scientific evidence for ID — e.g., the bacterial flagellum, the blood-clotting cascade, and the complexity of the DNA molecule. I did not ignore any “substantive arguments.” Hogwash.

  15. James F
    June 3, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Public service announcement for those not familiar with Mr. Fafarman:

    He keeps dredging up long-discredited arguments for ID like the “evidence” in post #14. Over and over and over again.

    As a bonus, he’s also a Holocaust revisionist.

  16. Michael Fugate
    June 3, 2009 at 11:25 am

    One troubling part of the .pdf for me is the attempt to take what a historical figure said before 1859 and apply it to a post-1859 world. We have no idea if Plato, Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Paley, or Thomas Jefferson would accept or deny evolution were they alive today. Another is the dismissal of the “design” capacity of selection acting on phenotypic variation.

  17. Dan L.
    June 3, 2009 at 11:30 am

    @ Larry Fafarman:

    You’re “defending” the PDF partially by claiming that intelligent design actually has some science behind it. Therefore, it is completely relevant to ask you to provide support for such a claim.

    In terms of the topics you mention, none of that constitutes “evidence.” In all cases, it is simply a few PhDs asserting (without doing their own research) that the systems are too complex to have evolved. This assertion is usually coupled with an argument from incredulity or a probabilistic argument completely lacking in anything resembling mathematical rigor. In any case, all the arguments have been discredited by researchers working in the relevant fields.

    Incidentally, the substantive argument you ignored is as follows:

    Fafarman: “Your arguments against the pdf file are straw men.”

    Dan L.: “Lynch is clearly acknowledging the fact that the argument has non-Christian roots here. His argument is that the PDF fails to establish widespread recognition of the validity of the design argument outside of Christian doctrine. He further points out that it’s disingenuous to present historical arguments for design but ignore historical arguments against design. Your argument against his argument is a straw man.

    “And he doesn’t present the questions as claims — he presents the questions as questions and then answers them. Which would be obvious if you had read thoroughly before commenting.

    “Another point: the teleological argument arises in several contexts, but most relevantly as part of Discovery Institute’s “Wedge strategy.” Don’t act like there isn’t a religious/political movement trying to resurrect the (largely discredited) teleological argument for the sake of pushing an anti-evolution agenda. We know better.”

    Finally, a little tip for you. Perhaps you think it’s cute to characterize the tone with which people type at you (moans, drivels, etc.), but most thinking people can recognize it as a diversionary tactic. It only serves to undermine your credibility. To that end, I don’t mind if you keep doing so; just thought I’d try to help.

  18. June 3, 2009 at 11:37 am

    @ Larry Fafarman

    Re “moans” and “drivels”

    Unless you can keep a civil and respectful tone regarding your comments, you’re going to find yourself banned here.

  19. Igor
    June 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Somehow the irony of whining about alleged whining is completely lost on Larry.

  20. Larry Fafarman is an infamous troll
    June 3, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Unless you can keep a civil and respectful tone regarding your comments, you’re going to find yourself banned here.

    As he has been banned at Pharyngula, PandasThumb, and everywhere else with any sense.

  21. Carl Sachs
    June 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    The distinction between the design argument and the ID movement is well-taken and should be proclaimed loudly and clearly at every opportunity.

    As a point about the history of philosophy, the design argument is central to Stoicism — for example, in Epictetus’ criticisms of Epicurus. And it’s worth noting that Stoicism was an important influence on Deism and on the Enlightenment generally as philosophers looked for an alternative basis for ethics and metaphysics than Scripture. When Hume attacks the argument from design in the Dialogues, it’s deism that’s in the cross-hairs, not Christianity. (Hume deals with that elsewhere.)

    Theologically, it’s quite striking that the “cdesignproponentists” are effectively arguing that an intellectually defensible Christianity requires the acceptance of a Stoic doctrine. This would have surprised the pants off of any of the Church Fathers, or Augustine, I think.

    Politically, it’s also a striking move — the strategy seems to be that only the revival of Stoic doctrine as a framework of interpreting biological data is sufficient for combating the pernicious effects of Epicureanism (“chance” and “necessity”).

  22. June 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Intelligent Design is a fraud.
    Nobody’s fooled by it anymore except those who wish to be fooled.

    As he has been banned at Pharyngula, PandasThumb, and everywhere else with any sense.

    True is that.
    Larry, get back on your meds.

  23. Comstock
    June 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Crete is my favorite place on the whole planet. Hope you’re enjoying it.

  24. June 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    As I see it, the historiocity of the argument supplies no insight into its veracity. It’s a thinly disguised Argument from Authority. It should play well to its target audience, with their penchant to be poleaxed by assertive bullshit artists.

    @ Larry Fafarman:

    The following language constructs suggest you are disingenuous, stupid, or both. Asterisks added in lieu of underscoring.

    “Darwinists”

    “The DI is *only* trying to *set the record straight* about the religious and philosophical issues.”

    “Christianity happens to be the predominant religion in the USA and other Western countries. Duh.” – Evasion, and inane.

    “The science of ID is mostly beyond the scope of the DI’s pdf file” – Partial evasion. You are not to blame for the change of subject, however the “substantive arguments” you were ignoring to this point related to the subject matter of the post and the Abrahamic bias of the citations in the pdf.

    “Even if everybody already knew that, and not everybody does, there is no reason to not go into the *details*” – Most egregious. One of the main points of this post was the omission of context (details) of the philosophic arguments presented. One wonders if you have an attention disorder.

    Dan L.@#17 has said all I have to say about the pseudo-science behind ID, except this: why is it that no one has even proposed an avenue of actual research designed to test one theorem of ID and accept the results no matter what conclusion or non-conclusion obtains? My current theory is that junk science is untestable.

  25. BlueIndependent
    June 3, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    “The DI would rather ignore the religious issues and focus on the scientific issues, but it is you Darwinists who have been trying to make religion the main if not the sole issue. The DI is only trying to set the record straight about the religious and philosophical issues.

    By using quite a bit more religious sampling than the philosophical? And said larger sampling having a distinct basis in Abrahamic theology? Do you think I’m we’re idiots or something? And you’re still avoiding the Wedge document issue. It should also be beyond obvious (if you, Larry, actually cared about being honest) that sourcing people from millenia ago should bring with it at least one asterisk (if the DI were intent on actually informing instead of guiding their audience), in that the DI makes a particularly long assumption that Plato et al would agree with creationism (ID, as you call it). You have no proof that they would, and their POV is rather explanatory given the extremely limited capabilities of philosophy and science of that era.

    Everybody already knows that some religious people see no conflict between evolution and religion, so why have the “Clergy Letter Project” and the National Center for Science Education’s “Faith Project”?

    Good question: why? Faith and science do not mix because one is built onb evidence that happens to cancel the other out. That some people see no conflict doesn’t mean that the conflicts haven’t and don’t occur.

    The DI’s pdf file makes no such argument.

    Not explicitly it doesn’t. But then it doesn’t have to. Creationist organizations try to make this argument all the time by invoking all relgion and the identification of one or more gods by peoples as the creator(s) of the universe and all things in it. They also wax about how nearly everyone throughout history inevitably gravitates toward or adopts a religion, the implication being that religion is necessary and particularly valuable. But the DI is not a scientific institution so I wouldn’t expect that they would expound on the implications of what they say, unlike the common practice in the scientific community of doing so.

    Christianity happens to be the predominant religion in the USA and other Western countries. Duh.
    So is ID then only the purview of western Christianity? I thought the DI wanted to promote its pet “theory” around the world? Why should they tailor this document only to the West? Maybe it’s because the DI is an organization run by Christians for good ol’ Western Christians?

    e.g., the bacterial flagellum, the blood-clotting cascade, and the complexity of the DNA molecule. I did not ignore any “substantive arguments.”
    Well you’ve just proven you’ve ignored the substantive evidence that shoots down all these false holes in evolutionary theory. So yes, you’ve ignored all kinds of substantive arguments much the same way as you’re intentionally ignoring being honest about anything. Are you employed by the DI? Do you get paid by the word? I’d tell you to read An Index to Creationist Claims, but surely someone has by now done so, and I’m sure you’ve ignored all the rather simple refutations of all the garbage you’ve allowed yourself to believe.

  26. MadScientist
    June 3, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Oh, I was wondering where all this pathetic bullshit I’d been hearing had come from. I’d have religiotards throw a few names at me and, stupidly thinking that they actually read the works of any of those long-dead people, I would respond and they would then give me a blank stare and stammer. So they don’t actually know anything, they just memorize names and bullshit from religious edicts from the oxymoronic “Discovery Institute”. Well, that’s religion for you – don’t think, just believe – you will be rewarded for your beliefs – don’t forget to reach deep into your pockets when the money basket is passed around.

  27. June 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Michael Fugate said (#16) —
    –We have no idea if Plato, Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Paley, or Thomas Jefferson would accept or deny evolution were they alive today. —

    And we also have no idea if Darwin, Wallace, and other early evolutionists would accept or deny evolution were they alive today.

    Dan L.says (#17)–
    –You’re “defending” the PDF partially by claiming that intelligent design actually has some science behind it. Therefore, it is completely relevant to ask you to provide support for such a claim.–

    Wrong, I am not defending the PDF on the basis of modern scientific claims about ID — I pointed out that those claims are irrelevant because the PDF is about the early history of ID. You are trying to hijack this thread to argue about something that is completely off-topic.

    –His argument is that the PDF fails to establish widespread recognition of the validity of the design argument outside of Christian doctrine. —

    That is not the purpose of the PDF. The PDF actually makes no specific claims about the validity of ID or anything else, but only asks questions. This post completely mischaracterizes the PDF.

    –He further points out that it’s disingenuous to present historical arguments for design but ignore historical arguments against design. —

    What historical arguments against design are ignored? For example, the PDF asks, “Did Wallace agree that Darwin disproved the idea of intelligent design in biology? Why or why not?”

    John Lynch said (#18) —
    –Re “moans” and “drivels”

    Unless you can keep a civil and respectful tone regarding your comments, you’re going to find yourself banned here.–

    What about Re: “creationist troll”? You just want me to be a sitting duck for abuse from other commenters.

    Anonymous commenter (#20) —
    –As he has been banned at Pharyngula, PandasThumb, etc.–

    I was banned for the same reason that Gov. Arnold Scharzenegger said, “I’m always kicking their butts — that’s why they don’t like me.”

    Carl Sachs says (#21) —
    –The distinction between the design argument and the ID movement is well-taken and should be proclaimed loudly and clearly at every opportunity.–

    The design argument is the basis of the ID movement — how can there be a distinction between the two?

    –Politically, it’s also a striking move — the strategy seems to be that only the revival of Stoic doctrine as a framework of interpreting biological data is sufficient for combating the pernicious effects of Epicureanism (”chance” and “necessity”).–

    The philosophical arguments may be interesting, but ID proponents’ top priority is to giving ID scientific validity.

    breakerslion said (#24) —
    –“Even if everybody already knew that, and not everybody does, there is no reason to not go into the *details*” – Most egregious. One of the main points of this post was the omission of context (details) of the philosophic arguments presented. One wonders if you have an attention disorder.–

    I don’t care what the “main points of this post” are — I was not responding to them but was responding to a visitor’s comment that said, “I also fail to see the relevance of the DI’s pointing out the historicity of the ID argument. Everybody already knows the argument has been made from some of the earliest eras of human society.” You are the one with an attention disorder that is so severe that you can’t even remember what was said in the preceding sentence.

    BlueIndependent said (#25) —
    –By using quite a bit more religious sampling than the philosophical? And said larger sampling having a distinct basis in Abrahamic theology? —

    The sections on Judaism and Early Christianity are balanced by sections on Greco-Roman thought and the Age of Reason.

    — Do you think I’m we’re idiots or something?–

    Please don’t tempt me.

    –And you’re still avoiding the Wedge document issue. —

    What do you mean, I am “avoiding the Wedge document issue”? The “Wedge document” is grossly off-topic here. And I don’t give a damn about the Wedge document issue. I know that some atheists are using Darwinism to promote an atheistic agenda, but I don’t use that as an argument against Darwinism.

    –DI makes a particularly long assumption that Plato et al would agree with creationism (ID, as you call it). You have no proof that they would, and their POV is rather explanatory given the extremely limited capabilities of philosophy and science of that era. —

    I am sure that the DI is well aware of the limited perspective of the ancient philosophers.

    The DI’s pdf file makes no such argument.

    Not explicitly it doesn’t. But then it doesn’t have to. —

    Now you are criticizing the PDF for a claim that it does not make? You really have gone off the deep end.

    Christianity happens to be the predominant religion in the USA and other Western countries. Duh.
    So is ID then only the purview of western Christianity? —

    No, you didn’t ask if ID is “only the purview of western Christianity” — you only asked why there are not more Jews and Moslems in the ranks of the Discovery Institute, and I correctly answered your question. BTW, Jews are well represented in the DI — there are David Klinghoffer and David Berlinski (an agnostic, secular Jew), and Casey Luskin also claims to be Jewish.

    –Well you’ve just proven you’ve ignored the substantive evidence that shoots down all these false holes in evolutionary theory. So yes, you’ve ignored all kinds of substantive arguments much the same way as you’re intentionally ignoring being honest about anything. —

    Just saying that these holes are “false” does not make them so. Anyway, as I have already pointed out, modern scientific arguments for ID are irrelevant here because the PDF is about the early history of ID.

    –I’m sure you’ve ignored all the rather simple refutations of all the garbage you’ve allowed yourself to believe.–

    I am no big fan if ID — I prefer arguments concerning the barriers to coevolution. My thoughts about coevolution are summarized in the following post on my blog —

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2009/01/summary-of-thoughts-about-co-evolution.html

    James F. says,
    –he’s also a Holocaust revisionist.–

    So are you trying to hijack this thread to argue about the holocaust?

    My basic argument about the holocaust is that a “systematic” Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

  28. @larry fafarman
    June 4, 2009 at 4:33 am

    “My basic argument about the holocaust is that a “systematic” Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.”

    that’s a pretty feeble argument. why do they need a reliable way of telling? you don’t need reliable methods of discrimination when conducting a witchhunt. you just point the finger. if you denounce some non-jews by mistake or miss some jews here and there that doesn’t stop you massacring most of the jews by simply killing anyone you even *suspect* is a jew.

  29. Gilian
    June 4, 2009 at 4:44 am

    “My basic argument about the holocaust is that a “systematic” Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

    In pre-war Europe, some countries in Europe had registered the presence of jews and other minorities in big archives. The german invaders used these archives to identify and find the jews and other undesirables.
    The jewish communities also had long histories in their countries, and thus also where fairly easy to identify/isolate.
    So actually, the Nazi’s had very reliable ways of identifying jews and I’m quite sure objectivity wasn’t high on their priority list.

    I’m guessing Larry Fafarman isn’t from Europe himself, as most people who live here in Europe know better than to write such nonsense, since our parents and grandparents actually lived through the german occupation and the consequental jewish deportions and murders.

  30. June 4, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Re: comments #28 & 29 —

    See how easily a thread can be hijacked by a stupid comment that attempts to discredit someone by calling him a holocaust revisionist or denier? That person then feels a need to defend his holocaust views and that starts a big argument. Dumb.

    I will only make the following points:

    (1) The issue of Jew & non-Jew identification should be central to holocaust studies but has been almost completely ignored.

    (2) The Nazis just rounded people up en masse — there was no time to do individual background checks, even if such checks were possible. To the Nazis, even non-practicing people with some Jewish ancestry were Jews. It is alleged that many “Jewish” victims of the holocaust did not even think of themselves as Jews.

    (3) Methods of Jew & non-Jew identification must work all the time, not just some of the time. There is not even an objective definition of the term Jew. Even today, we don’t know exactly what a Jew is.

    (4) If the Nazis had attempted to have a “systematic” Jewish holocaust, we would have heard more complaints from non-Jews who thought that the Nazis mistakenly identified them as Jews.

    (5) Edwin Black, author of “IBM and the Holocaust,” also says that Jew identification was a problem, but when he says it he is regarded as an expert and when I say it I am regarded as a crackpot. He claimed that the Nazis identified all of the Jews of Europe by using Hollerith-card machines to process data stored on billions of IBM cards, but that claim is absurd — all those primitive machines could do was just read, sort, and merge a few cards at a time.

    (6) Holocaust denial/revisionism is a crime in several European countries, leading to the suspicion of an attempted cover-up.

    It is difficult or impossible to make any inroads in questioning the holocaust or evolution because a lot of people’s minds are closed. These people are not just deaf to support for old ideas but are deaf to new ideas. These people will desperately use the most absurd, twisted arguments in efforts to refute arguments against the holocaust or evolution.

  31. barryweber
    June 4, 2009 at 6:28 am

    “Intelligent” Design is aimed at those persons whose critical abilities would allow them to pronounce a movie like “Expelled” as AWESOME! It is for those who know nothing about Plato or Philo but who recognize that it’s a good thing for those “smart guy” names to be associated with their pet project. “I”D is for those- how many times I have heard this now!- it is for those who find it easier to believe in Creationism than evolutionary biology, but who recognize that the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming that they must compromise their Creationist notions, and think “I”D is a way to do that..

  32. Igor
    June 4, 2009 at 7:53 am

    So Larry, since all you are saying that Nazi’s faced some difficulty in identifying all the Jews, do you think a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish population occur? Because if you say “no”, that would be the difference between a holocaust denier and Ed Black.

  33. geofftop
    June 4, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I’m a Christian myself and ID is just a fraud. Were supposed to be speaking the truth no inventing fake science to repress it. This just turns intelligent people away from Christianity. Common people we have nothing to fear from the truth.

    Search for tons of great documentary films.
    Educate yourself: http://geofftop.com/gt_graphic.php

  34. BlueIndependent
    June 4, 2009 at 8:04 am

    And we also have no idea if Darwin, Wallace, and other early evolutionists would accept or deny evolution were they alive today.

    Your argument only seems cutting on its face, but the fact is claiming Darwin might not accept his own theory is much more of a stretch than the possibility he wouldn’t. Leaving aside the fact that the DI is quoting philosophers and not scientists (which evolution deniers are wont to do when they get crushed by scientific evidence for evolution), you seem to forget he and only a few others formulated the original theory of evolution by simple observance and documentation, the easiest thing any scientist can do. Darwin and others also formulated the TOE from the standpoint of being theists themselves. That these men codified a theory that has expanded beyond their wildest dreams to benefit humanity in ways they couldn’t have imagined stands in the face of your admonishment that they might not accept it. You’re telling us they would reject the resounding success their own theories brought. What you are saying is basically like claiming Newton wouldn’t accept that the Hubble could provide us clear imagery from hundreds of light years away. Your position is long on assumption, and thin on predictability.

    The sections on Judaism and Early Christianity are balanced by sections on Greco-Roman thought and the Age of Reason.

    And you just failed to answer my challenge to the PDF again. If ID has all this historic backing, why isn’t the panacea of philosophical and religious though used, as opposed to arbitrary Abrahamic selections that Westerners would be familiar with but not others? Scientific documents and articles don’t code themselves for specific hemispheres (unless you count language as being a code). It’s absurd to say that the DI put this together only because their audience is Western. That’s laughable. If ID is so huge a new idea, why aren’t they trumpeting it to the world?

    No, you didn’t ask if ID is “only the purview of western Christianity” — you only asked why there are not more Jews and Moslems in the ranks of the Discovery Institute, and I correctly answered your question. BTW, Jews are well represented in the DI — there are David Klinghoffer and David Berlinski (an agnostic, secular Jew), and Casey Luskin also claims to be Jewish.

    Ok great: Three people. Yawn. Next.

    What do you mean, I am “avoiding the Wedge document issue”? The “Wedge document” is grossly off-topic here. And I don’t give a damn about the Wedge document issue. I know that some atheists are using Darwinism to promote an atheistic agenda, but I don’t use that as an argument against Darwinism.

    How is the Wedge document off topic in a discussion about a DI piece that claims their pet theory has always been around, when in fact the very term for it was coined as part of an effort to reframe creationism less than 20 years ago? The Wedge document is THE issue. The DI at once wants to claim ID is new and interesting and novel (without providing evidence and instead making up terms like “irreducible complexity” to cover for holes in their understanding), and apparently now wants to shift the story to include past history by making big IS small id and claiming it’s been around since the dawn of humanity and has been understood in that context. What they are doing is attempting to rewrite what is known by trying to extract old terms like “creationism” from the vocabulary in an attempt to make their case.

    And what is the “atheistic agenda”? I never get to hear what this entails. It’s certainly not on my Outlook calendar. And as an atheist, I haven’t been let in on whatever the plan is. Maybe I should demand my monthly membership fee back…

    I am sure that the DI is well aware of the limited perspective of the ancient philosophers.

    Yet they used them anyways…

    Just saying that these holes are “false” does not make them so. Anyway, as I have already pointed out, modern scientific arguments for ID are irrelevant here because the PDF is about the early history of ID.

    Scientific arguments are always relevant in a discussion about alternative theories and their ability to dethrone evolution, something that is accepted by so great a majority of the scientific community as to not be worth counting. As I stated before, the DI’s document, while certainly not discussing whatever science they claim to have, is still a bunch of hashed garbage that makes things up out of whole cloth. It’s an astroturf campaign plain and simple.

    I am no big fan if ID — I prefer arguments concerning the barriers to coevolution. My thoughts about coevolution are summarized in the following post on my blog –

    So you’re not a big fan of ID, yet you denounce “darwinists” as having an “atheistic agenda”, and seek to propagate a lot of the same tired rhetoric and false debate that the anti-evolution crowd loves to peddle to make itself feel important. You’re not a fan of ID, but you like anything that explicitly challenges evolutionary theory because, well, you think there are too many scientists accepting it and your hate of what you perceive as errant mob-think tells you that your position *must* be the right one because someone came up with an objection to the mob, however unsubstanitated? I hasten to point out that the position standing against the perceived mob acceptance of evolution by scientists is juxtapositioned against the far larger mob acceptance of godidit fantasizing seen ’round the world. But my guess is there isn’t a lot of potential in taking the belief-in-arguments-against-established-things position. One would think that since you enjoy not accepting something because there are objections to it, that the logical end of that would be that you do not place any credence whatsoever in ID or creationism either, sicne there are objections to those. Or what about the origin of the universe? What about flat vs round Earth theory? There are objections to everything; staking out a position that is fond of arguments against something simply because said arguments exist regardless of efficacy is the stuff of instructive short stories written by famous authors for critical purposes.

    You Darwinists consistently underestimate the strength of your opposition.

    No, I think it’s more like you evolution-deniers consistently overstimating your collective level of expertise, your bullshit meter’s detective accuracy, and your own degree of critical thinking skills. The supporters of evolution know perfectly well the “strength” of the opposition, strength that is typically housed in the halls of deific idols and millenia-aged books with contradictive “allegories” buttressed by traditions that exist for their own sake through WOM repetition and obeisance by way of exploitation of familial bonds and the human propensity for fear. I need only ask the average public school science teacher about his or her day to understand the level of ignorance and illegitimate disdain American society still holds for science and the process by which it is conducted.

  35. Dan L.
    June 4, 2009 at 8:04 am

    @Larry Fafarman:

    “I pointed out that those claims are irrelevant because the PDF is about the early history of ID. You are trying to hijack this thread to argue about something that is completely off-topic.”

    Bull. Here’s from your last post:

    Larry: “The DI would rather ignore the religious issues and focus on the scientific issues, ”

    This is an assertion. I’m saying you need to back it up by showing that the DI is the least bit focused on scientific issues. If this is off-topic, it’s your fault for asserting something off-topic.

    “What historical arguments against design are ignored? ”

    Hume, Kant, Darwin, and Russell just to get you started. Did you even read the post?

    The point here is (and you keep side-stepping it) that the DI is trying to demonstrate that the teleological argument has a history outside of Christianity. And they do this by citing almost exclusively old testament, new testament, and statements by early Christian church officials.

    Someone had another good point above. If this hypothesis is really as old as the DI claims, then it is safe to say that it has already been rejected through application of the scientific method. The DI’s position always seemed to be, “hey, check out our fresh new look at the origins of life!”

    So is it a fresh new way of looking at the world or an old way of looking at the world that has already been rejected as having no explanatory power?

  36. Dan L.
    June 4, 2009 at 8:19 am

    @Larry Fafarman:

    “The design argument is the basis of the ID movement — how can there be a distinction between the two?”

    This is proof you’re either dishonest or half-bright. An argument and a movement are not the same thing no matter how you slice it; even if the movement is defined through their adherence to a particular argument, there is still clearly a distinction between an argument (a proposition derived through logical inference from a set of presuppositions) and a movement (a group of individuals with a politically motivated common goal).

    If you can’t recognize this immediately as a category mistake, then I wonder how you can maintain such a high opinion of yourself.

  37. BlueIndependent
    June 4, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Dan L. has it exactly right, and just as I also pointed out. the DI is trying to say ID is new and fresh and fancy-free, while claiming that it’s been around the whole time and giving it the new lower-case face as a facile attempt to give ID credibility. What the DI wants is paradoxical at best, and the only conclusion a critical thinking objective reader with knowledge of the evolution wars can arrive at is that this is a PR stunt to divert attention.

    The DI’s argument would have been better stated as an existing theory that had been forgotten for whatever reason, but could be better understood in the modern age by giving it a new name (FITB). But then they apparently can’t think that far ahead and instead thought everyone would simply accept whatever they wrote without thinking through it. Pretty illustrative of the deep thinking within their halls I wager. And even if they did make their case as I just offered, their argument would STILL be crap because:

    age + forgotten != necessarily good or useful

    If that’s the equation they wished to go with, they’d be seen as nothing but pure traditionalists for the sake of being so. You know what they say about market economics working out inherently unfit ideas…

  38. June 4, 2009 at 9:57 am

    “’My basic argument about the holocaust is that a “systematic” Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.’”

    “that’s a pretty feeble argument. why do they need a reliable way of telling? you don’t need reliable methods of discrimination when conducting a witchhunt. you just point the finger. if you denounce some non-jews by mistake or miss some jews here and there that doesn’t stop you massacring most of the jews by simply killing anyone you even *suspect* is a jew.”

    Definitely. I had a Dutch Jewish teacher who hid out from the Nazis as a child. She told us about a cousin, uncle, or some such relative of hers who never registered as a Jew, and played chess throughout the war, in occupied Europe, as best I recall.

    Most European Jews, though, were known to be Jews because they went to temple, belonged to the Jewish social scene (in many cases they’d been restricted to that in various ways), had Jewish names, simply registered as Jews (solidarity, for one reason), or some such thing. It should not come as a shock that a number of Jews do “look Jewish,” as well, even if the “Semitic look” is a stereotype and not a “type” as such.

    That’s not why I wanted to comment, though. I assembled a number of claims by IDists that ID was a new idea and/or a new science, and included a bit of testimony from the Kitzmiller case in which ID was identified for being both as old and typically religious, and posted them at Panda’s Thumb:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/06/john-lynch-on-t.html#comment-188292

    The usual weaseling, waffling, and distortion from the IDists.

    Glen Davidson

    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  39. BlueIndependent
    June 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Fafarman’s argument that there could be no Holocaust because selection methods were poor basically infers it’s not possible to strike a campaign of hatred and violence against any group. Fafarman is treading some really thin ice over some truly deep water on this one. So I guess it’s not possible to hate and commit violence against gays, women, Blacks, Asians, etc. because the “selection methods” are flawed? Is Fafarman going to make the case that some races are more easily identifiable than others, making hate and violence toward one easier than another?

    Fafarman, nice way to try to muddy the waters with denialism masquerading as faux intellectualism.

  40. Michael Fugate
    June 4, 2009 at 11:13 am

    “Michael Fugate said (#16) –
    –We have no idea if Plato, Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Paley, or Thomas Jefferson would accept or deny evolution were they alive today. –
    And we also have no idea if Darwin, Wallace, and other early evolutionists would accept or deny evolution were they alive today.”

    If Darwin or Wallace reappeared today, would it matter if they accepted or rejected modern evolutionary theory? No, it wouldn’t. Damn near every practicing biologist accepts evolution on the basis of the evidence not on what any single authority says.
    The DI is trying to take pre-1859 historical figures and use them as authorities to promote ID and discredit evolution. It is vacuous.

  41. June 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    The issue isn’t whether the design argument is ancient or even whether the phrase “intelligent design” had been used somewhere, sometime prior to 1987. The issue is that “intelligent design” was first offered as referring to a field of science suitable for instruction in public schools in drafts of the supplemental textbook “Of Pandas and People”. The use of “intelligent design” to mean an alleged field of scientific inquiry was definitely seen in the draft following the SCOTUS decision in Edwards v. Aguillard.

    No IDC advocate has ever provided any earlier usage that showed the phrase “intelligent design” as meaning an alleged field of scientific inquiry. End of story.

    Why does it matter what meaning is attached to “intelligent design”? Because the courts had already noted that science could not be excluded from classrooms to privilege sectarian religious views. The antievolution movement seized upon that as their ticket to inject their narrow sectarian views into public school classrooms by the strategem of re-labeling the ensemble of arguments as being science, the category of content already noted as approved by the courts. The first tests came when the label of “creation science” was scrutinized, and failed. The switch in label from “creation science” to “intelligent design” occurred in association with the failure of the earlier phrase. The overall strategy remained the same; all that changed was the label to be floated as if it constituted a scientific endeavor that students in public schools should be informed of.

    Arguing about prior deployment of “intelligent design” as a descriptive phrase seems to me to be not pointed enough. The IDC advocates aim to sow confusion over this, and allowing them to get people arguing over descriptive uses allows them to make some progress in obfuscation. Every time they trot out the same old BS they should get a uniform reponse that they aren’t dealing with the real issue, that what “intelligent design” was supposed to mean changed significantly in 1987, and did so with the clear intent of permitting the antievolutionists to evade yet another inconvenient outcome in the courts.

  42. June 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Leisure Suit Larry flagellates himself with his own weak rhetoric and bad (nonexistent) ID ‘science’. He must think we have no access to easily digestible sources of info like the PBS documentary on the Dover trial that totally shreds his Christan bunkum.

    Enjoy.

  43. June 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    barryweber said (#31) —
    –“Intelligent” Design . . . is for those who know nothing about Plato or Philo but who recognize that it’s a good thing for those “smart guy” names to be associated with their pet project. —

    Wrong. Those “smart guy” philosophers were not smart about modern science and so their opinions about ID have nothing to do with ID’s scientific validity. You Darwinists are anti-intellectual pseudo-intellectuals who are always coming up with all sorts of reasons why some things should not be studied.

    Igor said ((#32) —
    –So Larry, since all you are saying that Nazi’s faced some difficulty in identifying all the Jews, do you think a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish population occur? Because if you say “no”, that would be the difference between a holocaust denier and Ed Black.–

    In the introduction to his book “IBM and the Holocaust,” Edwin Black said,

    When Hitler came to power, a central Nazi goal was to identify and destroy Germany’s 600,000 Jews. To Nazis, Jews were not just those who practiced Judaism, but those of Jewish blood, regardless of their assimilation, intermarriage, religious activity, or even conversion to Christianity. Only after Jews were identified could they be targeted for asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, and ultimately extermination. To search generations of communal, church, and governmental records all across Germany–and later throughout Europe–was a cross-indexing task so monumental, it called for a computer. But in 1933, no computer existed . . . .

    . . . . I was haunted by a question whose answer has long eluded historians. The Germans always had the lists of Jewish names. Suddenly, a squadron of grim-faced SS would burst into a city square and post a notice demanding those listed assemble the next day at the train station for deportation to the East. But how did the Nazis get the lists? For decades, no one has known. Few have asked.

    http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/introduction.php

    Note Black’s statement, “few have asked.” As I said, the issue of Jew identification is central to the holocaust but has been almost completely ignored in holocaust studies. Instead, people just wave their arms and say that the Nazis just “knew” who were Jews and who were not.

    Black claims that the Nazis identified all of the Jews of Europe by using IBM Hollerith-card machines to process data stored on billions of IBM cards, but that claim is absurd. Even if all of the data had been available, those machines simply did not have such data-processing capability — all they could do was just read, sort, and merge a few cards at a time. And the Jews had to be found once their names were identified.

    Gilian said (#29) —
    –I’m guessing Larry Fafarman isn’t from Europe himself, as most people who live here in Europe know better than to write such nonsense, since our parents and grandparents actually lived through the german occupation and the consequental jewish deportions and murders.–

    I don’t give a damn what your parents and grandparents in Europe think or know — or claim to think or know — about the holocaust. Questioning the holocaust is banned in many European countries, so your parents and grandparents are simply not a reliable source of information about the holocaust.

    BlueIndependent says (#34) —
    –the fact is claiming Darwin might not accept his own theory is much more of a stretch than the possibility he wouldn’t. —

    Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record. … That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin. Darwin himself, … prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search … One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserly fossil record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.

    Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982)
    The Myths of Human Evolution
    Columbia University Press, p. 45-46

    http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/origins/quotes/Stasis.html

    –If ID has all this historic backing, why isn’t the panacea of philosophical and religious though(t) used, as opposed to arbitrary Abrahamic selections that Westerners would be familiar with but not others?–

    The PDF file does use what you call the “panacea” of philosophical and religious thought!

    –If ID is so huge a new idea, why aren’t they trumpeting it to the world? —

    They are.

    –Ok great: Three people. Yawn. Next.–

    Considering that Jews are only about 2% of the US population, that’s a lot of Jews on the DI staff. Those were just the three I could name — there could be more.

    –Scientific arguments are always relevant in a discussion about alternative theories and their ability to dethrone evolution–

    I have pointed out a zillion times already that modern scientific arguments for ID are irrelevant because the PDF is about the early history of ID. Sheeeesh.

    –you denounce “darwinists” as having an “atheistic agenda”, —

    Darwinists Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers have atheistic agendas.

    Dan L. says (#35) —
    –I’m saying you need to back it up by showing that the DI is the least bit focused on scientific issues.–

    Go to the DI’s website Evolution News & Views and you will see that they are presenting scientific arguments all the time.

    “What historical arguments against design are ignored?

    Hume, Kant, Darwin, and Russell just to get you started. Did you even read the post?–

    And I pointed out (#27) that the PDF file mentions Darwin and Russell (For example, the PDF asks, “Did Wallace agree that Darwin disproved the idea of intelligent design in biology? Why or why not?”). Did you even read my comments?

    Dan L. says (#36) —
    –An argument and a movement are not the same thing no matter how you slice it; —

    That is a nitpicking and meaningless distinction.

    BlueIndependent says (#37) —
    –Dan L. has it exactly right, and just as I also pointed out. the DI is trying to say ID is new and fresh and fancy-free, while claiming that it’s been around the whole time and giving it the new lower-case face as a facile attempt to give ID credibility. —

    Where has the DI said that ID is “new and fresh”? DI has only said that ID is different from creationism — that is not the same as saying that ID is new and fresh.

    Glen Davidson said (#38),
    — if you denounce some non-jews by mistake or miss some jews here and there that doesn’t stop you massacring most of the jews by simply killing anyone you even *suspect* is a jew.” —

    As I said, if the Nazis had tried to “systematically” exterminate the Jews, we would have heard more complaints from people who believed that the Nazis mistook them for Jews. Anyway, there is simply no excuse for the fact that the very important issue of the identification of Jews & non-Jews has been almost completely ignored in holocaust studies. You Darwinists make a big fetish about peer review, then think that your unsupported assertions about the holocaust are substitutes for peer-reviewed holocaust studies. The whole history of holocaust studies has been just one big cover-up after another. Why is questioning the holocaust a criminal offense in several countries of Europe? You people who blindly swallow official holocaust history are a bunch of gullible fools.

    BlueIndependent said (#39),
    –Fafarman’s argument that there could be no Holocaust because selection methods were poor basically infers it’s not possible to strike a campaign of hatred and violence against any group. —

    Wrong — for example, blacks are easy to persecute because of skin color.

  44. June 4, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    The DI would rather ignore the religious issues and focus on the scientific issues, but it is you Darwinists who have been trying to make religion the main if not the sole issue. The DI is only trying to set the record straight about the religious and philosophical issues.

    In the Arkansas case’s decision in 1982, and in the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard any rational lawyer could tell that the problem with creationism is a lack of science work to back it up (and ID is creationism; even were it not, the legal analysis applies). In Arkansas the creationists argued that there are no peer-review articles supporting creationism because the nasty editors of the journals all conspire to prevent the publication of the real research showing creationism works. Judge Overton opened the door for creationists to get around those gatekeepers, and publish the research as part of the decision. Alas for creationists, they could find not a single article on research that had been submitted to a science journal and rejected — nor any research at all.

    Overton noted that text publishers rush to put the latest research in the books — if creationists would just do research, they’d be in the textbooks and consequently in all public school curricula without special pleadings for breaks from school boards and legislatures.

    The same problem came up in the Dover, Pennsylvania case on intelligent design. No research.

    If DI wishes to ignore the religious issues, they should stop taking their mangy dog and sway-backed pony show to churches across the nation, and instead do some serious research to support ID, write it up and publish it.

    That creationists and ID scientists who know how to do research and who have many published papers to their names, fail to do research that supports ID or creationism of any sort, might be explained by a bias against their work by others; but a more careful analysis shows it simply isn’t done. Why doesn’t Michael Behe do the research that would show his hypotheses work, irreducible complexity for example?

    I suspect it’s because even Michael Behe knows ID is a crock of crank science. I suspect that is why no ID scientist bothers to go into the lab to show he or she is correct.

    Challenged to show that peanut growing was a good idea, George Washington Carver spent a couple of weeks in his lab and cooked up a whole bunch of products that could be made from peanuts. In 50 years, every creationist on Earth has failed to be as productive as George Washington Carver was in two weeks.

    Excuse me, but I think that’s God telling us that ID/creationism don’t work.

    It doesn’t matter what ID is in concept, or where those concepts came from, or when those concepts were first articulated. ID stinks as science. ID as science is as sterile as a trilobite fossil.

    ID fails because it has no spunk. Literally. Quit wasting our time and our children’s education on false crap.

  45. June 5, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Wesley R. Elsberry said (#41)–

    –The issue is that “intelligent design” was first offered as referring to a field of science suitable for instruction in public schools in drafts of the supplemental textbook “Of Pandas and People”.

    –and–

    No IDC advocate has ever provided any earlier usage that showed the phrase “intelligent design” as meaning an alleged field of scientific inquiry.–

    You are not being consistent — your first sentence above refers to instruction in public schools but your second sentence above does not. Which is it?

    –The first tests came when the label of “creation science” was scrutinized, and failed.–

    In Edwards v. Aguillard, the courts did not rule on the scientific merits of creation science but only ruled that the legislators were motivated by religious beliefs. The Supreme Court said in Edwards v. Aguillard,

    Appellants contend that affidavits made by two scientists, two theologians, and an education administrator raise a genuine issue of material fact, and that summary judgment was therefore barred. The affidavits define creation science as “origin through abrupt appearance in complex form,” and allege that such a viewpoint constitutes a true scientific theory . . . .

    We agree with the lower courts that these affidavits do not raise a genuine issue of material fact. The existence of “uncontroverted affidavits” does not bar summary judgment. Moreover, the postenactment testimony of outside experts is of little use in determining the Louisiana Legislature’s purpose in enacting this statute. The Louisiana Legislature did hear and rely on scientific experts in passing the bill, but none of the persons making the affidavits produced by the appellants [p596] participated in or contributed to the enactment of the law or its implementation. The District Court, in its discretion, properly concluded that a Monday morning “battle of the experts” over possible technical meanings of terms in the statute would not illuminate the contemporaneous purpose of the Louisiana Legislature when it made the law. We therefore conclude that the District Court did not err in finding that appellants failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact, and in granting summary judgment.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0482_0578_ZO.html

    District courts did rule on the scientific merits of creation science and intelligent design in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education and Kitzmiller v. Dover respectively, but those are just unappealed district court decisions of single judges and therefore have little value as precedents.

    Scientific questions in the evolution controversy should be declared by the courts to be non-justiciable. These questions are like the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Questions are non-justiciable when there is “a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the question.” Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004). Even if a court could reach fair decisions on scientific questions about evolution after several days or weeks of scientific testimony, appellate courts would not want to just rubber-stamp lower courts’ decisions about those questions, nor would appellate courts want to hear or review several days or weeks of scientific testimony. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court treated the global warming question as non-justiciable.

    Ed Darrell said (#44) —
    –In Arkansas the creationists argued that there are no peer-review articles supporting creationism because the nasty editors of the journals all conspire to prevent the publication of the real research showing creationism works.–

    In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993), which is the de facto standard for review of scientific questions in federal courts, the Supreme Court said that publication in peer-reviewed publications may be a consideration but cannot be a requirement —

    Another pertinent consideration is whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication. Publication (which is but one element of peer review) is not a sine qua non of admissibility; it does not necessarily correlate with reliability, see S. Jasanoff, The Fifth Branch: Science Advisors as Policymakers 61-76 (1990), and in some instances well grounded but innovative theories will not have been published, see Horrobin, The Philosophical Basis of Peer Review and the Suppression of Innovation, 263 J. Am. Med. Assn. 1438 (1990). Some propositions, moreover, are too particular, too new, or of too limited interest to be published. But submission to the scrutiny of the scientific community is a component of “good science,” in part because it increases the likelihood that substantive flaws in methodology will be detected. See J. Ziman, Reliable Knowledge: An Exploration of the Grounds for Belief in Science 130-133 (1978); Relman and Angell, How Good Is Peer Review?, 321 New Eng. J. Med. 827 (1989). The fact of publication (or lack thereof) in a peer reviewed journal thus will be a relevant, though not dispositive, consideration in assessing the scientific validity of a particular technique or methodology on which an opinion is premised.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/92-102.ZO.html

    –Judge Overton opened the door for creationists to get around those gatekeepers, and publish the research as part of the decision.–

    What proof do you have that Overton made such an offer? Anyway, such an offer cannot be serious.

    Also, the importance of pre-publication peer review has been greatly overblown, because a lot of peer review happens after publication. Also, the courts are not in a good position to point a finger at scientific writing that did not have pre-publication peer review, because typical law journals are not peer-reviewed or even faculty-reviewed but are just student-reviewed — see

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/05/judge-jones-hypocritical-about-peer.html

    –Overton noted that text publishers rush to put the latest research in the books — if creationists would just do research, they’d be in the textbooks–

    Do you have any proof that Overton said this? You are making a lot of unsubstantiated assertions here. Anyway, you Darwinists are always arguing that only established science should be in textbooks.

    If “research” is defined as including experimentation or field work, then a lot of scientific writing does not qualify as research. A lot of scientific writing is analysis of pre-existing scientific information.

    The Tim Channel says (#42) —
    –Leisure Suit Larry flagellates himself with his own weak rhetoric and bad (nonexistent) ID ’science’. —

    “I’m always kicking their butts — that’s why they don’t like me.”
    –Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

  46. June 5, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Brother Farfarman-FYI, them Nazi’s were given special powers by The Demon so as they could distinguish between the Jews and the innocent non-Jew people and round up the right ones. The Demon’s powers should never be underestimated. For example, he gave the same powers to them Hutu negro fellers, so they could hack up all them Tutsi negroes a while back over there in Arewanda place. If a Hutu and a Tutsi stood side by side in front of you and me, we wouldn’t see no burn difference between them. Unlessing of course The Demon gave us such power to do so.

  47. Brian P
    June 5, 2009 at 11:22 am

    To the author, thank you for a well written and insightful article.

  48. June 5, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hipple, Rev. Paul T. said (#46) —
    — he gave the same powers to them Hutu negro fellers, so they could hack up all them Tutsi negroes a while back over there in Arewanda place. If a Hutu and a Tutsi stood side by side in front of you and me, we wouldn’t see no burn difference between them. —

    Good question — I have often wondered about that myself. And I have also wondered, for example, how universities were able to enforce Jewish quotas, considering that all that the universities had to go by were the names on applications for admission whereas a lot of non-Jews have names that sound Jewish and a lot of Jews have names that don’t sound Jewish. But I chose to focus on the Jewish holocaust because of the dogmatism of official Jewish holocaust history, the proscriptions on questioning the Jewish holocaust, and because the extensive studying of the Jewish holocaust makes the absence of study of the identification issue more glaring.

  49. June 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    In Edwards v. Aguillard, the courts did not rule on the scientific merits of creation science but only ruled that the legislators were motivated by religious beliefs.

    But the Supreme Court endorsed the decision in McLean vs. Arkansas in which the scientific merits of creationism were found to be non-existent, leaving the sole issue for the Supreme Court in Edwards whether the summary judgment was justified since the legal issues were all that was left.

    You’re trying to find a loophole that isn’t there, Larry. The Supreme Court did not leave such a loophole.

    As to Daubert, the issue was tort law experts for courts, not educational curricula for children. It’s an interesting decision, though, because under the rubric laid out in the case, there can be no creationism or intelligent design experts because there is no such branch of scientific inquiry. Peer-review journals are not the only standard, but creationism and intelligent design fail worse at all the other possible standards.

    Intelligent design is more sterile than a dead mule, Larry. It’s more sterile that the steer that made the steak on your plate. ID hasn’t got the cojones to do the job. Keep it away from children.

  50. June 5, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Larry, have you ever read Overton’s decision?

    Creation science as defined in Section 4(a), not only fails to follow the canons of dealing with scientific theory, it also fails to fit the more general descriptions of “what scientists think” and “what scientists do.” The scientific community consists of individuals and groups, nationally and internationally, who work independently in such varied fields as biology, paleontology, geology, and astronomy. Their work is published and subject to review and testing by their peers. The journals for publication are both numerous and varied. There is, however, not one recognized scientific journal which has published an article espousing the creation science theory described in Section 4(a). Some of the State’s witnesses suggested that the scientific community was “close-minded” on the subject of creationism and that explained the lack of acceptance of the creation science arguments. Yet no witness produced a scientific article for which publication has been refused. Perhaps some members of the scientific community are resistant to new ideas. It is, however, inconceivable that such a loose knit group of independent thinkers in all the varied fields of science could, or would, so effectively censor new scientific thought.

  51. June 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Ed Darrell said (#49) —
    –But the Supreme Court endorsed the decision in McLean vs. Arkansas in which the scientific merits of creationism were found to be non-existent–

    Heavens to Betsy, that is one of the most ridiculous arguments I have ever heard. The Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard did not “endorse” (as you call it) McLean‘s finding that creation science has no scientific merit — the Supreme Court only cited McLean’s review of “historical and contemporary antagonisms between the theory of evolution and religious movements.” The following text and footnote are the Supreme Court’s only mention of Mclean in Edwards v. Aguillard

    There is a historic and contemporaneous link between the teachings of certain religious denominations and the teaching of evolution. [n9]

    9. See McLean v. Arkansas Bd. of Ed., 529 F.Supp. 1255, 1258-1264 (ED Ark.1982) (reviewing historical and contemporary antagonisms between the theory of evolution and religious movements).

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0482_0578_ZO.html#482_US_578n9

    The Supreme Court’s approval of the district court judge’s refusal to hear expert scientific testimony (see comment #45) made it clear that the scientific merits of creation science were not a factor in the Edwards decision.

    It is very doubtful that the Supreme Court would ever cite Mclean‘s or Kitzmiller v. Dover‘s rulings on such contentious issues as the scientific merits of creation science or intelligent design, because McLean and Kitzmiller are just the opinions of single federal district court judges and were not even reviewed by courts of appeals.

    Your reasoning here reminds me of Wikipedia’s ridiculous claim that Judge Jones’ acceptance of word counts from Wesley Elsberry’s text comparison program showed that the entire federal court system approved the program for the purpose of determining the extent to which two different texts contain the same ideas.

    –As to Daubert, the issue was tort law experts for courts, not educational curricula for children.–

    Sheeesh, Daubert makes no such restriction as to its applicability. BTW, Judge Jones made the mistake of assuming that Daubert applies only to jury trials — see

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2009/04/kitzmiller-failed-to-follow-daubert.html

    –there can be no creationism or intelligent design experts because there is no such branch of scientific inquiry–

    Then how do you explain or justify the courts’ acceptance of expert scientific testimony about creation science in the McLean case and ID in the Kitzmiller case?

    –Keep it away from children.–

    Even if ID is pseudoscientific, there would still be good reasons for teaching it: broadening students’ education, encouraging critical thinking, increasing student interest, helping students learn the material, preventing or correcting misconceptions, and helping to assure that technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution are taught only by qualified science teachers.

  52. June 5, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Even if ID is pseudoscientific, there would still be good reasons for teaching it: broadening students’ education, encouraging critical thinking, increasing student interest, helping students learn the material, preventing or correcting misconceptions, and helping to assure that technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution are taught only by qualified science teachers.

    Possibly one of the dumbest (and disingenuous) things I’ve ever seen written.

  53. June 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    –Possibly one of the dumbest (and disingenuous) things I’ve ever seen written.–

    So, you are against broadening students’ education, encouraging critical thinking, increasing student interest, helping students learn the material, and preventing or correcting misconceptions, and you want to have technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution taught by unqualified people.

    You Darwinists are talking out of both sides of your mouths — on the one hand, you complain that teaching criticisms of evolution only “confuses” students, and on the other hand, you want to maximize that confusion by having those criticisms taught by unqualified people.

    How are students going to develop good critical thinking skills if they are spoonfed only the things that work?

    BTW, this new set of comments is easy to miss if readers don’t see the “Newer Comments” sign in the lower right-hand corner of the original thread. Poor blog design.

  54. June 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    OK, firstly I am not a “Darwinist”.

    [Y]ou are against broadening students’ education, encouraging critical thinking, increasing student interest, helping students learn the material, and preventing or correcting misconceptions

    I guess since you’ve actually seen me teach, you’re speaking from authority here. I’ll also guess that I actually spend more time in classrooms fairly presenting the claims of ID proponents that they do presenting evolution.

    You’re getting a tad tiring. Move on.

  55. June 6, 2009 at 11:33 am

    It is very doubtful that the Supreme Court would ever cite Mclean’s or Kitzmiller v. Dover’s rulings on such contentious issues as the scientific merits of creation science or intelligent design, because McLean and Kitzmiller are just the opinions of single federal district court judges and were not even reviewed by courts of appeals.

    To the contrary, the Supreme Court often notes lower court decisions especially where, as in these two cases, the losing side got shellacked so hard they didn’t bother to appeal any further.

    The Louisiana case was structured by the religiously-inclined state legislators to try to get around Overton’s decision. The district court in Louisiana, well aware of what happened in Arkansas, didn’t fall for the bait, and simply looked at the overt religious intent of the legislators as they so gleefully revealed it on the public record on the floor of the state legislature. They had thought that if they stripped the language out of the bill, unlike Arkansas, the courts would wave it on.

    Larry, here’s the issue: Is there any science being done in creationism or intelligent design? If so, why doesn’t it show up in research reports, in grant requests, in publications, and in experimental and observational results? Why is there no course on creationism in any biology graduate school in the nation? (I’d take to the world, but there might be some obscure diploma mill somewhere that actually teaches what it calls a graduate level course in creationism, as the ICR tried to do in Texas.) There is need to look at religious intent ONLY if there is no secular science backing the claims.

    Why in heaven’s name are creationists so god-blessed lazy? It’s been 48 years since Morris’s big book trying to give U.S. high school science back to the Soviets, and in that 48 years no creationist has figured out a single science question to ask, a single experiment to run, that supports any — any — hypothesis in favor of creationism?

    The Supreme Court approved the Louisiana district court’s refusal to hear expert testimony relying on the shellacking the creationists got in Arkansas. There was no reason to get to the voir dire phase, since there could be damnably few creationist experts (probably not the ones Louisiana had in mind), and there were no issues the experts could shed light on that hadn’t already been worked over in Arkansas.

    That means creationism has been scientifically sterile almost as long as navel oranges.

    When a brilliant federal judge like Overton does such a thorough job of writing a careful decision, or Jones in the Pennsylvania case, it is not wise to claim that it is “just one judge” and then claim it has no precedential value. Lord Coke was just one judge, not an appellate judge, but look what influence he’s had!

    So, the Supreme Court noted its own decision in an earlier Arkansas case, noted the Louisana case was not significantly different from the later Arkansas case the creationists refused to appeal fearing (wisely) further shellacking by the Supremes, and went on to endorse the Louisiana court’s refusal to let the religious nuts try to filibuster the court.

    Scientific merit? That wasn’t on the plate of the creationists — it couldn’t be, because they had done zero research since McLean. You’re trying to filibuster us here. And that’s why you guys keep losing in court. It’s why you can’t get into the school texts the fair way, because you haven’t got a case on any merits, not on science, not on religion.

    Your refusal to look at what I said about Daubert rules is telling. I said that there are no creationist experts who can qualify under Daubert. You can’t deny that, so you give a diversionary response. There still are no creationist experts. Nobody could possibly qualify under any part of Daubert, which requires, if the publication record is weak, and if there is no established body of literature, that someone have extensive experience working in the field.

    Nobody does any research. There isn’t anyone with any experience in the field of creationism, except those who keep refuting the claims.

    In McLean the creationist “experts” were well qualified on what the Bible says. Larry, that’s a bad example. Each creationist, under oath, denied that there is any science basis for creationism, and that it comes completely out of an interpretation of religious scripture. They were experts in what is taught, and that hanged the case.

    In the Pennsylvania case, Behe and Minnich were allowed as witnesses, but not as experts, as I recall. They testified to their own work, and were not there to offer opinions accepted by the court on what the work meant.

    And again, their testimony denies your claims completely, often in an embarrassing way. The only time either of them suggested that there was science, the court found their testimony unconvincing and ungrounded in fact.

    The only experts creationism can muster are liars? Please, Larry, keep them away from children. It’s immorality you urge. Shame on you.

    Teaching ID as pseudoscience is counter to what the best education schools claim is pedagogically correct. Heck, it’s counter to what the worst education schools teach. Teaching pseudoscience confuses kids. Teaching the wrong stuff doesn’t help kids get the right stuff down. We don’t teach that George Washington was America’s first Black president, and that he sailed with the British Navy, or that he was a religious nut, just so the kids can critically analyze crank claims. There is a body of knowledge out there to give students, with very limited time.

    Anyone who teaches ID or creationism to students harms the children. Jesus warned people who harm children in such a fashion put millstones around their own necks. Most teachers are well aware of how to avoid such stupidity. And do.

  56. DLC
    June 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Every time I see intelligent design mentioned I can’t help but think
    “This is too hard to figure out, so God did it.” That always seemed to be a hand-washing way of dealing with subjects. If it’s something you can’t figure out, declare it happened by supernatural means and walk away from it. I can’t accept that idea. There may be things that we cannot understand at present, but this does not mean there will never be anyone able to understand it.

  57. BlueIndependent
    June 7, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Larry:
    “…Even if ID is pseudoscientific, there would still be good reasons for teaching it: broadening students’ education, encouraging critical thinking, increasing student interest, helping students learn the material, preventing or correcting misconceptions, and helping to assure that technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution are taught only by qualified science teachers.”

    The only educational value would be acknowledging that ID is an idea, however flawed, and that it is one that distorts science in order to claim that it is so. Ironically the critical thinking and preventing or correcting misconceptions benefits you cite are exactly the result of coducting real science, which has shown ID to be intellectual trash. The only way ID “broadens students’ education” is in the knowledge that it exists, certainly not in anything it says or does. Increasing student interest in what exactly? And “and helping to assure that technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution are taught only by qualified science teachers”? So the only qualified science terachers are those that give ID a “fair shake” in the classroom? And it’s still incumbent upon you to explain the “technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution”. What are those exactly? And if a “technically sophisticated criticism of evolution” has already been dismantled completely, how is it still a “technically sophisticated criticism of evolution”?

    As expected, we are still not getting answers from you, only redirection and pathetic attempts to rewrite legal history.

    BTW, continuing to sign your posts with a really dumb-sounding quote from an action star governor makes you look like more of an idiot. You seem to get a lot of personal strength from such little things, and you obviously are using it as a prop for your shortcomings. Perhaps you could try being as honest as you would like to think you are and start dropping the schtick…

  58. Jason S.
    June 18, 2009 at 8:23 am

    I’m a bit confused here. ID arguments are merely repetitions or extensions of the design arguments being used in the creationist literature. These variations of arguments didn’t hit the scene in the ’90’s. They were there in the creationist literature when ID arose out of progressive creationists adopting a new label.

  59. June 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for a good summary!

  60. June 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Yep ID is a load of garbage. These people are simply taking a political and or religious ideology and calling it Science. It’s just good old fashioned creationism with a pseudo scientific spin to it. There is really no point debating with these people as they are set in their ways and will refuse to accept valid criticism.

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