Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Koppel Of Errant Knights Align

I'm still seething at the awful mishandling of the debate about Intelligent Design on Nightline tonight.

Cal Thomas missed the point by seguing into the politics of red-state disenfranchisement, leaving the viewer with the impression that there was no reason to advocate the teaching of ID beyond pandering to the rubes.

George Will missed the point by arguing that the question of whether there was design is properly left to the philosophy classroom and has no place in the science classroom; true enough, but disingenuous in the current controversy: the fact is that the anti-design viewpoint is presently taught in science class.

It was a sad day for intelligently designed debate.

32 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

You're going to get a lot of feedback on this one, Jay.

Any decent ID debate needs to have Michael Behe (who has still not been refuted by the other team), Jonathan Wells, Bill Dembski, etc. It's stupid to have a bunch of op-ed writers fighting over ID. Bring in the experts.

Timothy Birdnow said...

I agree with Mr. Baker; asking pundits to opine about a scientific issue is guaranteed to get the results Nightline wanted-namely, ID appearing to be unscientific. That assertion is at the heart of the pro-Darwinist argument, since they haven`t been able to prove their own case, nor disprove the ID`s on scientific grounds.

After all these years, Darwinism is still weak as water. If Darwin`s particular theory of evolution is correct, we shouldn`t be having this argument at this point. The fact is, evolution through Natural Selection has never been proved; the most famous ``proofs`` have turned out to be hoaxes. I can`t Imagine any other science demanding to be taken seriously in a similar situation.

It really is no surprise that Nightline (and the rest of the Liberal Media) steers clear of interviewing the experts.

Hunter Baker said...

Oh, you've done it now, sir. Get ready for a hail of unhappy Darwinists. There will be notes from Tlaloc, James Elliott, Ed Darrell, Liberal Anonymous, and many more. I expect you to stick around and fight with 'em!

Burwell said...

Thank you, Mr. Birdnow, for saying what I was thinking. While I respect and enjoy Cal Thomas and George Will, one should ever send a columnist to do a scientist's job.

Those who may claim "victory" as a result of the Nightline broadcast may not realize that they were witnessing a show of fireworks, not firepower.

Burwell said...

For what it is worth, Slate.com has a piece today on the ID vs. Darwinism debate.

http://www.slate.com/id/2124297/nav/tap1/

(I do not know how to post links, sorry.)

Tlaloc said...

"George Will missed the point by arguing that the question of whether there was design is properly left to the philosophy classroom and has no place in the science classroom; true enough, but disingenuous in the current controversy: the fact is that the anti-design viewpoint is presently taught in science class."

That's manifestly false Jay. Science says nothing at all about whether there was a designer it concerns itself SOLELY with the rules that are in operation. Whether those rules occured naturally or as a result of design is amatter of no interest to science. It is a question of Philosophy. For once (and I hate to say this) George Will is absolutely right.

ID is not and cannot be science. It cannot create testable hypotheses.

S. T. Karnick said...

Excellent Spectator piece, Hunter. Thanks for linking to it.

Tlaloc said...

"After all these years, Darwinism is still weak as water. If Darwin`s particular theory of evolution is correct, we shouldn`t be having this argument at this point. The fact is, evolution through Natural Selection has never been proved; the most famous ``proofs`` have turned out to be hoaxes. I can`t Imagine any other science demanding to be taken seriously in a similar situation."

I'm afraid you are dead wrong, probably because you read too many ID sites which are, frankly, about as full of BS as you can get.

Evolution has a huge volume of evidence. It's called the fossil record. There are clear indications of transitional forms such as archaeopteryx. There are clear common ancestral forms. There are clear descent traits such as mitochondrial DNA that help shw the linkages through generations. There are certainly theories that are better supported but there are also theories with far less support that you accept willingly (example- viral pathology).

Tlaloc said...

"Get ready for a hail of unhappy Darwinists."

Actually unhappy scientists. Darwin was just the start of the theory of evolution, it's developed significantly since then what with the understanding of DNA and the discovery of various fossils.

Locke said...

I think Baker was referring to the anti-ID commenters to this site, who are most likely not all scientists.

Are you a scientist, T-Lilac? Or are you just an unhappy Darwinist?

Tlaloc said...

"Are you a scientist, T-Lilac? Or are you just an unhappy Darwinist? "

I always assume I'm winning when the opponent is reduced to name calling.

Yes I am a scientist. My background is physics and I work in a materials analysis laboratory. Specifically I work on Atomic forces microscopy, xray photelectron spectroscopy, and I dabble in auger electron spectroscopy and xray diffraction. Lots of big shiny boxes that cost a boat load of money.

Back in college I also studied chemistry and biology (as well as a bunch of other stuff) including genetics.

Happy?

Kathy Hutchins said...

I always assume I'm winning when the opponent is reduced to name calling.

You always assume you're winning period. It doesn't make it so.

I'm not sure it's even possible to name-call someone who's chosen to call himself Tlaloc in a public forum. It's so ridiculous to begin with that it contains its own ridicule. It's so self-referential in its mockery, it should be programmed in Prolog or LISP.

Tlaloc said...

"You always assume you're winning period. It doesn't make it so."

Still bitter over your flubs regarding the population and environment I see.


"I'm not sure it's even possible to name-call someone who's chosen to call himself Tlaloc in a public forum. It's so ridiculous to begin with that it contains its own ridicule."

Lets just say that your opinion on this and most other matters is supremely unimportant to me Kathy darling.

Tlaloc said...

So other than Kathy and Locke's personal attacks is anyone going to try and actually defend the ID movement? I mean here you are claiming it's solid enough to be taught in place of science in schools and no one can even defend it on the merits in a forum?

I'll even give you some help:

Don't talk about the big bang. I've lost count of how many times someone arguing for ID has mentioned the Big Bang. You know what message it send when they do? That they know exactly nothing about science. The Big Bang isn't even remotely connected to evolution. It can be considered cosmology or astrophysics or within the broader realm of physics in general. Evolution meanwhile lives only in biology.

Keep this in mind when reading ID sites, anyone who tries to tie the Big Bang into a discussion of evolution is at best uneducated on the topic and at worst an idiot. You'll find these two catagories neatly cover the vast majority of ID sites and personas.

Dembski for instance is hideously uneducated on matter os basic science methodology. He makes jaw dropping errors routinely on his site and then deletes the comments that point them out.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Why go all the way back to the big bang. Watch out even for those who confuse evolution with the origin of life.

Tlaloc said...

"Why go all the way back to the big bang. Watch out even for those who confuse evolution with the origin of life."

That's at least somewhat more understandable. At least both are part of biology.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Understandable only if the person making the argument is either lying or ignorant of what he is arguing against.

James Elliott said...

In order to be scientific, the theory must be testable/observable and potentially falsifiable.

Intelligent Design is neither.

Intelligent Desing is not scientific.

I believe that's called a syllogism, and it's about as basic to logic as you can get.

So, you defenders of ID in SCIENCE class, you have to demonstrate how ID is scientific. If all the big brains at the Discovery Institute can't do it, well, you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting on y'all.

Tlaloc said...

by the way techcentralstation has a decent article about ID and science, and they clearly come down to the same place George Will did, that it's a very valid question, just not one that belongs in a science class.

The article is here.

Oh and just for Kathy:
they also have a nice piece on global warming which includes this quote-
"On the positive side, at least some portion of the disagreement between satellite and thermometer estimates of global temperature trends has now been removed. This helps to further shift the global warming debate out of the realm of "is warming happening?" to "how much has it warmed, and how much will it warm in the future?"."

Looks like it's getting lonely there in Denialville

Francis J. Beckwith said...

"In order to be scientific, the theory must be testable/observable and potentially falsifiable."

Of course, this claim, on its own grounds, is not scientific, since it is not testable/observable or potentially falisiable. But if you know this and this is not science, that means that science does not encompass all of knowledge, which means that even if ID is not science, it still may be an item worth bringing up in class in order for kids not to get the mistaken notion that materialism is entailed by "science."

Also, how do you know that this what makes something "science." Can you prove it?

Of course, this definition of science is completely wrong, for a variety of reasons. First, according to this definition, "creationism" is science, since it makes testable claims about the age of the earth, catstrophic flood,etc. But we know that creationism is rejected by mainstream science because it has been tested and it fails.

Second, what's even weirder is that all testable "theories" become science. For example, my theory that my wife has eaten the last enchilada in the freezer because it is no longer there is "science." But that can't be.

Third, philosophers of science have argued that historical sciences, such as geology, archeology, and paleontology, are no less sciences than physics or chemistry simply because the former do not rely on laws as explanations for phenomena but rather reconstruct the past grounded in inferences based on knowledge of the causal powers and forces of particular entities.

My understanding of your definition would exclude those sciences as sciences. (I could, of course, be wrong in my reading of your definition).

You write: "Intelligent Design is neither."

Why would you want to say that, since this undermines the explanatory power of neo-Darwinism, whose proponents claim accounts for the apparent design in nature without the need to postulate an agent behind the "design." So, neo-Darwinism has shown ID to be a gratitious hypothesis. But that would mean that ID has failed as an hypothesis. But that is only possible if ID in fact attempts to explain something and fails to do so more adequately than its rival. But that means that it is testable. Why would you want to not say this, since it helps strengthen the neo-Darwinian hypothesis? I don't get it.

"So, you defenders of ID in SCIENCE class, you have to demonstrate how ID is scientific. If all the big brains at the Discovery Institute can't do it, well, you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting on y'all."

Because only an agent can hold his breath, I have no grounds, according to your point view, in believing that in fact if you hold your breath it is you who is doing it. Since in order to explain breath-holding, I need a mechanism. And an agent is not a mechanism. So, breath-holding is unscientific and thus unworthy of my belief.

Now, take a deep breath, if you're really there and able to do it (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Tlaloc said...

"But if you know this and this is not science, that means that science does not encompass all of knowledge, which means that even if ID is not science, it still may be an item worth bringing up in class in order for kids not to get the mistaken notion that materialism is entailed by "science.""

Of course science does not encompass all of human knowledge. That's a given. There are a great many fields that science does not and cannot address. Philosophy is one of them. But at the same time you are worng when you say this means we should teach ID in class. The class is called biology, it's a science class, i.e. a class for teaching science.

As has been often said if you wish to incorporate intelligent design into the philosophy class down the hall then have a ball.



"Also, how do you know that this what makes something "science." Can you prove it?"

Because science is a methodoly, that methodolgy is laid out at length in any number of texts you might chose to consult.


You following two points are based on you taking JE's statement entirely too literally. Yes being testable (or more precisely falsifiable) is a key element of science but no it's not the only element. Your third point is simply wrong as historical sciences still do and must create testable hypothesis. They test these hypothesis of course by uncovering more and more historical evidence.

Similarly the arguments of "neo-darwinists" is of little consequence.

Locke said...

T-lilac, when I bring up people in your line of work (eminent people) who see problems with the dominant paradigm to Darwin enthusiasts, they always complain that he/she is not a biologist.

Besides, it appears to me your line of work is internet comment posting.

James Elliott said...

They let you teach students? Shame on them.

Of course, this claim... blah blah blah

Sheer sophistry, and I suspect you know it.

"Causes are wholly material. Physical objects and processes obey laws which men of commonsense will usually discover by using scientific procedures." - Bacon

Creationism is in no way science by definition. How do you test for God's hand? You can't, unless you're engaging in projection. "This is so complex and serves such a purpose that it HAS to have been designed." That's not science, it's philosophy, and you're more than welcome to teach Creationism in mythology and theology classes and ID in philosophy classes. But it's still not science.

Your "enchilada" example is an example of utilizing the scientific method, which is a form of inquiry. Perhaps this is due to your profession, but you are engaging in semantic word games that lead you down the path of erroneous conceptions.

Again, you're somehow trying to refute me by stating that the above syllogism rules out the scientific method, deduction, or induction (which it does none of - all of them are ultimately testable and potentially falsifiable). There is no way to use anything other than metaphysics to arrive at the conclusions of creationism or intelligent design.

If ID is, as you argue, neither hypothesis nor theory, then what is it doing in a science class? That's the end-all be-all of the question. But more to your point, are all hypotheses science, and are all hypotheses falsifiable? No. You draw a false conclusion based purely on language projection. In fact, your entire argument is refuted by Fuerbach. You're engaging in language projection via a subjective viewpoint.

I also never stated I was a neo-Darwinist. For all you know, I believe that the world was created out of dung-sculptures by Bornean Monkey Devils. I was engaging in a critique of ID. It's you who's projected a neo-Darwinist point of view.

James Elliott said...

the dominant paradigm to Darwin enthusiasts

People have problems with natural selection? Come on, the idea that species and genetics improves based on survivability and breeding isn't all that difficult to see or observe. Look at the average height difference in Western European men over the last five hundred years. It's not that difficult a concept to grasp, Locke. Give it a shot.

Oh, you must mean the mistaken belief that Darwinism postulates an origin for LIFE as opposed to species. Well, in that case the problem isn't that they're not biologists, it's that they're stupid.

Locke said...

Nobody ever said the species doesn't improve. That's clear. It's just that some people never get any smarter or wiser during their entire lifetimes. And that is a pity.

Tlaloc said...

"Nobody ever said the species doesn't improve. That's clear."

Actually everyone who believes in strict interpretation of genesis believes precisely that species don't change over time.

James Elliott said...

Why then, Locke, are you saying that Darwinism is RIGHT? Because, really, that's what Darwinism SAYS.

Of course, T, these are the same people who condemn incest while glossing over the idea that if Genesis is literally true, somebody HAD to have had sex with his sister...

(Watch, someone's going to totally misconstrue this argument and accuse me of supporting NAMBLA or some such crap...)

Locke said...

That's not what Darwin says. The proposition you just set up has been accepted by any dog breeder for past 1000 years. We're talking about amoeba going to fish then monkeys then humans. That silly stuff.

James Elliott said...

That silly stuff.

Six billion years is a long time, man. If we can grow four inches and start losing our wisdom teeth in five hundred years, and if our kids now can be way smarter than us or our parents thanks to environmental stimuli, I see no reason to believe that fish can't grow legs. Or for single-celled organisms to begin living together in symbiosis and then differentiate into multi-cellular organisms.

Francis J. Beckwith said...

Elliot write quotes Bacon: "Causes are wholly material. Physical objects and processes obey laws which men of commonsense will usually discover by using scientific procedures."

This statement by Bacon, then, is the result of wholly material causes, since it is an effect of an apparent physical object we call "Franics Bacon." But if that is the case, why should we trust it as an inference resulting from an intelligent agent who freely came to this conclusion. Laws do not give us inferences. I should no sooner believe "Bacon" than I should believe that my alphabet soup is talking to me when the letters on my spoon spell "Frank."

Locke said...

I think if you read the Founders or Aristotle or even my opponent Hobbes, for instance, you will have a difficult time arguing anyone now is smarter.

James Elliott said...

Nonsense. There is always individual variation. Charlemagne, for example, was 7 feet tall in a time of short men.

The point is that children today are learning more, faster, and better than earlier generations. As an aggregate whole, today's children are smarter than yesteryear's.