What creationists look like

creation 2In his recent opinion in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board, Judge John Jones accused members of the Dover Area School Board of being closet Christian creationists. In fact, he more or less painted the entire Intelligent Design community as creationists. And I bring this up because one wonders what Jones and his bedfellows would call folks like Ken Ham, profiled yesterday in the Los Angeles Times.

The story is written by Stephanie Simon, who we’ve praised for her reporting on pregnancy issues. This is not written in as much of her trademark spare style, but she still permits her subjects to speak for themselves:

“Sometimes people will answer, ‘No, but you weren’t there either,’” Ham told them. “Then you say, ‘No, I wasn’t, but I know someone who was, and I have his book about the history of the world.’” He waved his Bible in the air.

“Who’s the only one who’s always been there?” Ham asked.

“God!” the boys and girls shouted.

“Who’s the only one who knows everything?”

“God!”

“So who should you always trust, God or the scientists?”

The children answered with a thundering: “God!”

A former high-school biology teacher, Ham travels the nation training children as young as 5 to challenge science orthodoxy. He doesn’t engage in the political and legal fights that have erupted over the teaching of evolution. His strategy is more subtle: He aims to give people who trust the biblical account of creation the confidence to defend their views — aggressively.

That, my friends, is what creationists look like. And reporters, and others, would do well to see the difference between those who advocate teaching the literal biblical account of creation in government schools . . . and those who think the complexity of the universe points to a designer.

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  • David Buckna

    Too bad the Dover Area School Board didn’t consider the following suggested Origins of Life policy, which appears in the article, “Should evolution be immune from critical analysis in the science classroom?” (http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=411)

    The policy is a realistic, practical and legal way for local and state boards of education to achieve a win-win with regard to evolution teaching. Even the NCSE, the NAS, the AAAS, the ACLU, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State should find the policy acceptable:

    “As no theory in science is immune from critical examination and evaluation, and recognizing that evolutionary theory is the only approved theory of origins that can be taught in the [province/state] science curriculum: whenever evolutionary theory is taught, students and teachers are encouraged to discuss the scientific information that _supports_ and _questions_ evolution and its underlying assumptions, in order to promote the development of critical thinking skills. This discussion would include only the scientific evidence/information _for_ and _against_ evolutionary theory, as it seeks to explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on our planet.”

    I don’t want to see the teaching of intelligent design/creationism mandated in public school science classes, but still I wonder how many students would say they have the academic freedom to critique evolution in these same classes?

    AP, Gallup or some other news organization should take state and national polls of public school and college/university students studying evolution, asking two questions:

    In this class: a) is evolution taught as fact or theory? b) do you have the academic freedom to critique evolution?

    In a related poll, those who teach evolution could be asked:

    1. a) Do you teach evolution as fact or theory? b) Do your students have the academic freedom to critique evolution?

    2. What’s the best evidence you can cite for vertical evolution (information-enhancing evolution) in your field? How do you know it’s true?

    3. Regarding University of Massachussetts professor Lynn Margulis, Michael Behe writes in “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution” (1996): “At one of her many public talks she asks the molecular biologists in the audience to name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. Her challenge goes unmet.” (Behe, p. 26).

    In the years since Margulis first asked the question, can biologists now name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations? Can they give one reference for any study that has shown duplicated genes acquired different functions during an experiment or series of experiments?

    4. Are you able to describe the specific evolutionary process that accounted for the complex arrangement of inanimate matter into a life form that grows, metabolizes, reacts to stimuli, and reproduces? (the four criteria for biological life). If ‘yes’, what was the process? If ‘no’, why can’t the process be specifically described?

    5. On page one of Richard Dawkins’ book, “The Blind Watchmaker” he writes: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.

    a) If living things look designed–if the empirical evidence suggests purpose–then how does Dawkins know they weren’t designed?

    b) Has Dawkins ever formulated criteria for “apparent” design?

    In May 2001 Dr. Jonathan Wells presented the lecture “Promoting Accuracy in Biology Textbooks” at the B.C. Science Teachers Association conference (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada). Wells noted some common ‘evidences’ for evolution–such as peppered moths and Ernst Haeckel’s faked drawings of vertebrate embryos–were discredited decades ago, while others continue to be presented in distorted or misleading ways. Wells said teachers need to correct such misrepresentions and bring textbooks more into line with recent discoveries.

    The article, “Was Darwin Wrong?”, in the November 2004 issue of National Geographic, is a good example of an evolutionary article. Teachers should be encouraged to distribute such articles to students, then ask them to mark the verified facts with one colour, the opinions with another colour, and the suppositions with another. Students should be taught to weigh the factual evidence, evaluate statements, and recognize the writer’s purpose and point of view.

    Ian Taylor writes in “Teaching Evolution: Is There A Better Way?” (http://www.creationmoments.net/articles/article.php?a=21&c=27): “Although unstated, traditional teaching [of evolution] assumes a progressive increase of genetic information as molecule becomes man.The evidences offered by textbooks in support of this progression and discussed here can hardly be considered convincing while other evidences such as the origin of life experiments or the evolution of the horse are equally as dubious. Students familiar with the Internet are becoming aware of these deficiencies and, if not confused, are left skeptical. … It would be an instructive and insightful exercise to ask students to consider or to list actual evidences that support either progressive acquisition or progressive loss of genetic information.”

    For further info, read: “Teaching and Propaganda” by Mano Singham in “Physics Today” (http://www.aip.org/pt/june00/opin600.htm)

    “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” –Theodosius Dobzhansky, “The American Biology Teacher”, March 1973

    “A true scientist would say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evidence.”–Jonathan Wells, “Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?”, 2000

  • Tim Makinson

    Mollie:

    There are a wide variety of Creationists. Ken Ham is a Young Earth Creationist (the most tradionalist arm of the movement), Intelligent Design is an explicit descendent of the (modernist) ‘Creation Science’ arm of the movement (though it does include a number of YECs in its ranks).

    Claiming that Intelligent Design isn’t Creationism simply shows an ignorance of the history and diversity (with consequent schisms and infighting) of the Creationist movement.

    Anybody attempting to claim that Intelligent Design is a ‘scientific’, rather than a Creationist religious, movement will first have to overcome the fact that it was started, not by a scientist, but by a religiously-motivated law professor, Phillip E. Johnson.

  • Karl Priest

    Following are facts extreme evolutionists don’t want the public to know.

    1. I am a recently retired public middle school mathematics teacher in West Virginia with over 30 years experience as an educator including administration.

    For the last five years of my full-time career, with the full knowledge of State, County, and ACLU officials, I demonstrated to my students that mathematics proves beyond the shadow of doubt that evolutionism is nonsense. The students saw that the evidence clearly shows that every item associated with humans, animals and plants are Intelligent Designs and Intelligent Design is science because it is observable by billions of people trillions of times, always has been, always will be. I always let them figure it out for themselves and allowed them to believe what they chose, but at least they were exposed to the scientific facts that extremists want to censor from the minds of public school students. After the lesson a student from an atheist family said, “Evolution is silly.”

    2. Currently, as a substitute teacher, I have contact with more public school students than ever and take advantage of every opportunity to provide them with the facts described above.

    3. Evolutionists are bluffing when they say their beliefs are scientific. Be sure to look at the list of evolutionists who refuse the debate challenge from my friend Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo. See the list at http://www.csulb.edu/~jmastrop/. Click on the Life Science Prize at the bottom.

  • http://ceejayoz.com/ ceejayoz

    “That, my friends, is what creationists look like.”

    You’re massively (or intentionally?) missing the point of “closet Christian creationist”. Ham is unabashedly out-of-the-closet. The very pont of a “closet creationist” is that they don’t outwardly appear to be one.

    @ Karl Priest

    “Be sure to look at the list of evolutionists who refuse the debate challenge from my friend Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo.”

    Be sure to look at the Talk.Origins FAQ on this.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA343.html

    In short, Mastropaolo’s challenge is a) flawed and b) not possible to fulfill as constructed.

  • Tim Makinson

    Karl Priest:

    Mathematics alone cannot prove anything (except perhaps that 1+1=2 and the like). It is only mathematics combined with assumptions that can prove anything. If these assumptions are scientifically valid, then the proofs are scientific. If the assumptions are junk then so are the ‘proofs’. Garbage in, garbage out.

    I have seen a number of ‘mathematical proofs’ that evolution couldn’t occur. They all involve numbers plucked from thin air and/or blatantly unrealistic distributional assumptions.

  • http://blogs.salon.com/0003494/ Bartholomew

    Karl Priest:I demonstrated to my students that mathematics proves beyond the shadow of doubt that evolutionism is nonsense.

    Could you point us to your research on the subject? Or do you prefer to just present your alleged “proofs” to captive audiences of children?

    I’ve asked this before but I’ll ask it again: what is it about evolution which makes every underqualified crank think they have a valid and worthwhile opinion on the subject?

  • ANJackson

    The theory of evolution was published prior to Mendel’s discoveries on inheritance.Evolution has not yet caught up with facts.Karyotypes utterly discredit evolutionary phylogenies.Meiosis thwarts generation of novel inheritable karyotypes.Other features of karyotype function also demonstrate that they could not have originated by incremental evolution.
    Until these deficiencies are corrected(probably never) evolution remains utterly fallacious.

  • Tim Makinson

    ANJackson is an ignorant moron.

    Evolutionary Biology was moribund before the discoveries in genetics breated new life into it. That is a sign of a robust scientific theory – it anticipates new discoveries.

  • http://blogs.salon.com/0003494/ Bartholomew

    The theory of evolution was published prior to Mendel’s discoveries on inheritance

    I think this nicely reveals the crank-creationist view of evolution – rather than engage with current scientific literature and practice, there’s a preference for seeing evolutionary biology as some sort of Victorian ideology which can be critiqued without the bother of having to attain real scientific understanding. I suppose it’s an easy mistake to make when your own view on human origins is based on a literalist reading of ancient mythology. That’s also why Creationists continually insist on calling evolutionary biologists “Darwinists”.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    My point is that the world is not black and white and good and bad but there are a million shades inbetween. And while it’s easy to be a lazy reporter (or judge) and just cast all people one disagrees with as the extreme version of that disagreement, humans with brains and time to do so should feel free to explore the nuances and degrees of difference.

    Also, thanks to the few people who actually stayed on topic here (who also happened to be the folks disagreeing with me!). We don’t debate evolution or creationism at GetReligion — we debate how the media handle the topic.

    And if you want to debate the topic, I’d suggest this isn’t the best venue for it.

  • http://auspiciousdragon.com holmegm

    >That is a sign of a robust scientific theory – it
    >anticipates new discoveries.

    A Darwinism without a clue about genetics anticipated genetics?

  • http://auspiciousdragon.com holmegm

    >And if you want to debate the topic, I’d suggest
    >this isn’t the best venue for it.

    Oops … I plead technical problems for not seeing this before my last.

  • http://fixedandconsidering.typepad.com/a_worthy_message Dan

    “what is it about evolution which makes every underqualified crank think they have a valid and worthwhile opinion on the subject?”

    This isn’t the place to debate this, but maybe this will help you understand.

    Has evolution (one species changing into another) ever been observed or proven to have happened? Are there any “missing links”?

    Can it be reproduced?

    Aren’t those two requirements for a scientifically valid theory?

    Maybe that’s why people object to it being shoved down our throats.

    People who believe in evolution have more faith than I do.

    And only one person on this thread called someone an “ignorant moron.” I wonder what that makes that person.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Mollie, while it’s true that there are extreme, blatant creationists, it does not follow that the more moderate, subtle creationists are therefore not creationists.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Avram,

    I know. But if people do not consider themselves creationists, I’m not sure we should feel like we know better than they do and call them that anyway.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Hmm. What if you had some guy who said he believed in the six-day creation right out of Genesis, that evolution was nonsense, the whole usual young-earth creationist ball of wax, and yet denied being a creationist for some reason? Is creationism defined by a set of beliefs, or by what the believers call themselves?

    Keep in mind that for legal purposes creationists who want to get their beliefs taught in schools have an incentive to call themselves something else.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Avram,

    I totally understand your point and it relates to a larger non-creationist/evolutionist issue about how to characterize people.

    But in this case the hypothetical is not helpful because the intelligent design folks have a fairly limited point they are trying to make. And I think that ID opponents can lose their arguments by overstating things.

    But either way, it’s not the job of a reporter to overstate things. And if the ID views are ludicrous, they will be seen to be ludicrous by characterizing them properly. No need to go overboard.

    I also am glad to see your point about incentives. It’s the one thing I wish reporters would see in all groups they cover. Everybody has an incentive for doing things. Exploring incentives actually writes stories, I think.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Another thing to keep in mind, Mollie, in the context of the Kitzmiller decision, is that one of the things kicking the legal case off was the donation to the school of a bunch of copies of the textbook Of Pandas and People, originally published in 1989. In the course of the trial, early drafts of the book were submitted as evidence. In draft it had been called “Creation Biology”, and draft references to “creationism” and “creator” were changed to “intelligent design” and “intelligent designer” in the final version.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Joe bob

    ANJackson writes:

    The theory of evolution was published prior to Mendel’s discoveries on inheritance. Evolution has not yet caught up with facts.

    The neo-Darwinian synthesis, which was developed in the 1930s and 40s, specifically incorporated genetics into evolutionary theory.

    Karyotypes utterly discredit evolutionary phylogenies.

    That’s hilarious. You can see a comparison of human and ape chromosomes here:

    http://www.gate.net/~rwms/hum_ape_chrom.html

    Note how the banding patterns line up.

    Meiosis thwarts generation of novel inheritable karyotypes.

    If that were the case, it would be hard to explain why lots of species have multiple chromosomal races (i.e. multiple karyotypes) that interbreed and produce hybrid karyotypes. But I guess you’d have to be caught up with the facts to know that.

    Other features of karyotype function also demonstrate that they could not have originated by incremental evolution.

    Such as?

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Joe bob

    Mollie wrote:

    In his recent opinion in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board, Judge John Jones accused members of the Dover Area School Board of being closet Christian creationists. In fact, he more or less painted the entire Intelligent Design community as creationists.

    He didn’t just accuse them, he laid out a pretty throrough case that they are, in fact, creationists. The ID movement sprang forth from the creationist movement as a reaction to prior court rulings that declared teaching creationism unconstitutional. During the trial it was discovered that previous editions of the text book Of Pandas and People (the one the Dover school board wanted included in the curriculum), used the word “creationism” where the term “intelligent design” now sits, even though the rest of the text remained unchanged. That’s about the strongest evidence you could have that, in the minds of its own proponents, ID is intended to be a PC form of creationism.

  • Scott Allen

    Looks like everybody here takes the topic seriously, which is good, and we also see the merits of a free discussion. This is not what you see in schools today. You see evolution taught as iron clad fact, even stating that it is a “theory” (see Cobb County, Georgia) is evidently outlandish, flat-earth thinking. Oh well. If you’ve bothered to read ID and counter-arguments (there is much online material) I find the knee-jerk defense of macroevolution to be disturbing. If you believe in macroevolution, you can learn a lot more detail about the current state of evolutionary science through these articles. As always, shutting down free inquiry produces stagnant and boring discussions.

  • Tim Makinson

    Scott Allen:

    No ‘belief’ is needed for macroevolution. It has been observed a number of times in the last century, with one species splitting into two.

  • Tim Makinson

    “But if people do not consider themselves creationists, I’m not sure we should feel like we know better than they do and call them that anyway.”

    Mollie:

    When talking to Christian groups, Intelligent Design advocates call themselves creationists – when talking to the media and the courts, they call themselves ‘scientists’.

  • Michael

    “But if people do not consider themselves creationists, I’m not sure we should feel like we know better than they do and call them that anyway.”

    Except that this isn’t good journalism. Organizations call themselves all sorts of self-serving names and affiliations and the media isn’t required to parrot those self-serving descriptions. As someone who covers Washington, you know that everyone here calls themselves non-partisan, even when they are being bankrolled by special interests. It’s a journalists job to determine the truth behind the labels, not just parrot the propoganda. If Intellecual design advocates are just creationists dressed up for the media, it’s the media’s job to explain what’s underneath the new clothing.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Tim,

    “When talking to Christian groups, Intelligent Design advocates call themselves creationists – when talking to the media and the courts, they call themselves ‘scientists’.”

    Can you substantiate that at all? Or are we just supposed to trust you?

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Michael:

    “Except that this isn’t good journalism.”

    You know what’s even worse journalism? Thinking that you know better than your subjects what they REALLY believe.

    This is not that difficult. It just takes time to learn a bit about your enemies/subjects.

  • http://www.blackphi.co.uk/webitorial.php Phil Blackburn

    This whole name thing is really quite messy: I believe that God created the universe, but I am not a Creationist; I believe that God has a plan, a ‘design’ if you like, for that universe, but I do not believe in ID. Within the Christian community perhaps we can follow along with this ‘small c’, ‘big C’ stuff, but it must be a real headache for secular journalists.

    As Michael points out above, this is a common problem in politics too, but that’s why you need specialist political reporters who understand political titles that don’t mean what they say. Which leads directly to a regular GR theme, of course.

  • Michael

    This is not that difficult. It just takes time to learn a bit about your enemies/subjects.

    Or when our own biases potentially prevent us from acknowledging the elephant in the room.

    Maybe instead of calling them creationists, it requires letting them say they aren’t creationists than including a voice that disagrees with that assumption.

  • Karl Priest

    Evolutionists have no evidence, not Star Wars, not swords, not pitchforks, not pointed shoes, nothing. When they wisely default on the Life Science Challenge it proves they are all bluff and no science, or as they say in the Southwest, all hat and no ranch. Now, you say you have a jumping frog that can beat our jumping frog but you refuse to put you money where your mouth is. Or you say you have a runner who can beat our runner or a jumper who can jump higher than our jumper. Well, let’s put them on a level playing field and see. The proof is in the results of the contest. The contest settles the issue with finality. The Super Bowl and the World Series are not decided with hot air on web sites. If evolutionists are so sure of their position they would debate. Hot air on blogs prove nothing. Recruit all blogger true believers in evolutionism to chip in a few dollars and send their best (as many as they want) to face Dr. Mastropaolo. Evolutionists bragged, they have been challenged on their bragging, now they are reneging on the contest their bragging instigated. When you call for a contest, then decline to compete, you lose. Even six-year-olds know that.

  • Karl Priest

    One more thing, then I am “outta here”.

    If the media ever reports what the Life Science Prize has done to evolutionism–it’s going to be devastating to evolution extremists.

  • Paul Barry

    I’m sure that the “label” issue is a sticky one for a journalist, but there’s another potential obstacle to a successful report. You can end up writing a badly flawed piece if you don’t have some basic understanding of the science (or set of beliefs). That can happen even when you’re quoting. A source on one side of an argument can make a statement that contains a significant error, but supports the argument. Then you have to decide what to do with the quote.

    Example: the above-quoted Origins of Life policy contains the statement:

    “This discussion would include only the scientific evidence/information _for_ and _against_ evolutionary theory, as it seeks to explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on our planet.”

    Simply stated and clear, but there’s a factual error. Darwin’s studies didn’t seek to explain the origin of the universe or of life itself – only the diversity of life forms. It’s a very common mistake, but you have to be at least a bit familiar with the subject to catch it.

    Fair and balanced reporting on this debate would require at least a rudimentary understanding of the “competing” perspectives of Earth’s and of life’s timelines, as well. All in all, a challenging assignment.

  • Jeff

    Karl Priest, the requirements for the Life Science Challenge revolve around having a Federal Judge to adjudicate what is scientifically correct. Perhaps we can have the courts decide who will win next years Super Bowl too, it would save everyone alot of time and money.

    After watching the OJ Simpson trial, I can see why Mastropaolo chose that particular venue to hold the challenge. He is essentially trying to construct a peer review of his own, consisting of un-scientific laymen without any background to analyze and compehend the arguments he will present.

    I will issue my own challenge: I will give $10,000 to anyone who submits Mastropaulo’s Biblical hypothesis for standard peer review and sees it published in any scientifically reputable and widely circulated journal. Very simple challenge. Perhaps I’ll create a website and start childishly posting names of those who will not accept my challenge as Mastropaulo has done on his website.

  • Scott Allen

    Tim Makinson’s comments about macroevolution — that one species can split into two — show that he could learn a bit from studying ID. One problem with (neo or traditional) Darwinism is that speciation can occur with a loss of DNA information (such that these species cannot interbreed), true enough, but that macroevolution (that is, progress from “simple” to “complex” organisms) requires the introduction of new information. ID addresses the problems inherent with introducing new information (that is, DNA variants) that would produce “successful” species.
    Further, I’m not surprised that Tim makes a blanket statement which Mollie asks him to prove…and then fails to respond. His aim does not appear to be exchange of ideas, rather, he prefers to insult with the goal of shutting down discussion. He could learn a lot from ID, and its counter-arguments, and master the topic in detail. As it stands, he only manages to spew generalities. Hardly “scientific” in nature or method.

  • Tim Makinson

    Scott Allen:

    I will listen to ID claims about ‘information’ (lost gained or otherwise) WHEN ID theoreticians define what ‘information’ they are talking about in a way that is comprehensible to orthodox Information Theory, rather than simply “written in jello”, as David Wolpert, one of the inventors of the ‘No Free Lunch Theorems’, described Dembski’s work ( http://www.talkreason.org/articles/jello.cfm ).

    Wolpert went onto say: “Perhaps the most glaring example of this is that neo-Darwinian evolution of ecosystems does not involve a set of genomes all searching the same, fixed fitness function, the situation considered by the NFL theorems. Rather it is a co-evolutionary process. Roughly speaking, as each genome changes from one generation to the next, it modifies the surfaces that the other genomes are searching. And recent results indicate that NFL results do not hold in co-evolution.”

    This would appear to be a prominant disendorsement of any view that Information Theory could rule out evolution producing new information.

    Further, Scott has presented no evidence that ANY (let alone all) of the observed instances of speciation (e.g. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html ) involve loss of genetic ‘information’ (however that is defined), so his claims are PURELY speculative.

    Why should I pay ANY attention to ID advocates claims not to be creationists, when they themselves use blatantly creationist language on occasion.

    Phillip E. Johnson:

    “My colleagues and I speak of “theistic realism” — or sometimes, “mere creation” –as the defining concept of our movement. This means that we affirm that God is objectively real as Creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology. We avoid the tangled arguments about how or whether to reconcile the Biblical account with the present state of scientific knowledge, because we think these issues can be much more constructively engaged when we have a scientific picture that is not distorted by naturalistic prejudice. If life is not simply matter evolving by natural selection, but is something that had to be designed by a creator who is real, then the nature of that creator, and the possibility of revelation, will become a matter of widespread interest among thoughtful people who are currently being taught that evolutionary science has show God to be a product of the human imagination.”

    William Dembski:

    “The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

    ID’s ‘counter-arguments’ have been throughly analysed by experts in fields ranging from Information Theory to Evolutionary Biology, and have been found to be empty rhetoric.

    What scientific discussion is possible with people who REFUSE to put up a scientifically meaningful hypothesis? They refuse to say when, where, how or by whom this design occured – only that sometime, somehow and by someone, something got designed. If one of their ‘examples’ of designed is proved explanable by evolution, they just move onto the next ‘gap’.

  • Tim Makinson

    “If evolutionists are so sure of their position they would debate.”

    No they wouldn’t. Debates favour empty rhetoric (which ID excels at) over evidence. The correct forum is peer-reviewed scientific journals. And in this forum ID is losing, badly.

  • Tim Makinson

    Further on the “is ID Creationism” question, could somebody explain to me how ID’s view differs from that of ‘Progressive Creationism’ ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_creationism – described as “the most common form of Old Earth creationism today”)?

  • Tim Makinson

    “Has evolution (one species changing into another) ever been observed or proven to have happened? Are there any “missing links”?”

    Yes. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html gives a partial list. For transitional hominid fossils: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/

    “Aren’t those two requirements for a scientifically valid theory?”

    No. Historic sciences (such as Geology and Astrophysics) do not require that the phenomenons their theories predict be directly observable or reproducable – as this is often impossible. What they do require is that they make testable predictions. The Big Bang is neither observable nor reproducable – but it does predict the existence of ‘cosmic microwave background radiation’ – the discovery of which significantly substantiated the Big Bang theory.

  • Scott Allen

    Good job Tim, you did your homework. Perhaps you should have made these detailed statements (including links) earlier instead of starting your comments with unsubstantiated generalizations. How many people are still reading this thread? Probably just us. You missed an opportunity, however small it may appear. It’s ironic that someone who advocates greater knowledge of the subject simultaneously denies the necessity of public debate in favor of “peer-reviewed scientific journals.” It should thrill scientists that they have an audience willing to listen, even if it seems like 90% are close-minded. Educating the remaining 10% is worthwhile. But the greater “scientific” community has decided it’s not worth the trouble, and your main objective regarding the general public has been to pidgeonhole and stigmatize any heterodoxy. For example, your response to me assumed that I am an ID advocate. No, not necessarily, but I am an advocate of critical thinking. Now, if you define anyone who criticizes accepted evolutionary theory as an “ID advocate” or anyone who has failed publication in your (self-selecting) peer-reviewed scientific journals as a whacko, I congratulate you. Nice little closed and closed-minded society you have. Wake up. Your lax attitude toward educating the general public has created a vacuum and others are filling it. You will have to deign to debate, or you will lose.

  • Tim Makinson

    “It’s ironic that someone who advocates greater knowledge of the subject simultaneously denies the necessity of public debate in favor of “peer-reviewed scientific journals.”

    ‘Debates’,in the sense of a creationist & and evolutionist debating in front of an audience (which was what I was arguing against) are not about facts, evidence or logic. They are about rhetorical tricks and swaying the audience emotionally/psychologically (look at the Bush/Kerry debates for example). How does that add to knowledge?

    “But the greater “scientific” community has decided it’s not worth the trouble…”

    Because ID has neither provided any theory that is fruitful in terms of further research nor done any genuine research on the matter themselves. There is no requirement for science to treat every half-baked idea positively. It is up to the advocates of an idea to either do the research to substantiate it themselves or convince other scientists that it would be fruitful/interesting to do this for them.

    “…and your main objective regarding the general public has been to pidgeonhole and stigmatize any heterodoxy.”

    No – not ANY heterodoxy, one particular, blatantly religiously motivated and scientifically wholly unsupported heterodoxy.

    “For example, your response to me assumed that I am an ID advocate.”

    Yes, because you appeared to be regurgitating William Dembski’s ‘Law of Conservation of Information’ canard uncritically. The position you were taking was an ID position, so I assumed you were an ID advocate.

    “Now, if you define anyone who criticizes accepted evolutionary theory as an “ID advocate”…”

    No. Stephen Jay Gould criticised “accepted evolutionary theory”, but is widely respected in evolutionary circles.

    “…or anyone who has failed publication in your (self-selecting) peer-reviewed scientific journals as a whacko…”

    No. I define anybody who attempts to overthrow the principle of Methodological Naturalism that is the basis of all modern science as a “whacko”. This would include the Discovery Institute and the majority of the ID movement.

    “Your lax attitude toward educating the general public has created a vacuum and others are filling it. You will have to deign to debate, or you will lose.”

    No. The appalling standards in science education in the US is what has created the vacuum. The “public debate” only superficially comes into contact with the public beyond confirmed advocates of either position. It will therefore do little to change public perceptions.

    Further, I have no genuine investment, other than enjoyment in the argument, in this debate. Many Americans believe a number of stupid things, ID is just one more. Their belief in ID won’t make it either scientific or true. Science is international, and is not a popularity contest, so what the American public believes cannot effect the scientific validity of the Theory of Evolution.

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com Molly

    I’m still reading and as an old high school debater, Tim won this one, hands down.

  • Tim Makinson

    Thank you Mollie. :)

    I must admit, in direct opposition to Karl Priest’s position, I find blogged debates far more conducive to airing the issues than town hall style debates, in that in a blogged debate you have the time to search out further facts in support and refinement of your position rather than having to rely solely on preprepared ‘canned’ positions.


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