Intelligent Dawkins Debate

Dawkins rap

The Intelligent Design and Anti-Evolution lobbies often argue that evolution is but a theory and that opposing theories must be taught in order to be properly scientific about the origins of the human race. Well, if its debate they want, then it’s debate they shall have. The Education section of the Guardian reports that the UK government wants religious education classes for 11-14 year olds to encompass the notion of intelligent design (ID) and to highlight texts such as the writings of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, Galileo, and Charles Darwin.

It’s about time. While it is all well and good giving our children an education that offers them the opportunity to understand the traditional religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam etc – the only way to get a true perspective on philosophical thinking is to provide them with the perspective of those who have no religion.

“ID,” The Guardian says, “argues that the creation of the world was so complex that an intelligent – religious – force must have directed it.” The debate has been an incredibly contentious issue for scientists and “people of faith” in Britain and the US in recent year, with several education boards (Kansas in the US, Gateshead in the UK) famously scratching evolution from the curriculum because it is purportedly an “unproven theory”.

Scientifically speaking, evolution is a theory, of course and as all good scientists know theories cannot be proved. Science can only look for contradictory evidence that requires said theory to be refined or discarded if too many observations conflict with the predictions of the theory. Scientists are yet to find any such conflicting evidence when it comes to evolution. In contrast, there is much evidence that ID “as a theory” is wholly invalid.

Take the eye, for instance. How on earth could such a device have been designed and if it were, then why were so many variations developed from the simple light sensors of flat worms to the prismatic arrays of fruit flies to the honed sensors of the Golden Eagle?

Debate is a good thing and it is certainly a positive step to at least address the concerns of scientists about the degrading of evolutionary theory by the ID lobby, but there is the worry that 11-14 year olds who are not generally keen on science will become even more confused by the complexities of evolution as a sound explanation for the origin of species. It might even nudge a proportion of them to the far easier to understand fairy tales of benevolent sky gods.

How do you feel about this development? Does evolution have a place alongside Intelligent Design in religious education or should they both be kept for science lab debates?

67 thoughts on “Intelligent Dawkins Debate

  1. It’s not funny really, but the debacle of Royal Society head of education – Michael Reiss – who was allegedly misquoted in the media last week as having said that creationism should be taught alongside science in schools has been forced to resign his position. I couldn’t get the image of the Viz cartoon Dawkins being marched out of the hallowed halls of science by a load of stovepipe wearing blokes…

  2. I have seen the book and it was written by a man with only his on mindless ramblings, the Bible was written by many men with the help of everyday life and God himself.

  3. The word God is meaningless. See the chapter “Does the word God exist?” in the book

    Our Almost Impossible Universe:
    Why the laws of nature make the existence of humans
    extraordinarily unlikely
    R. Mirman
    iUniverse, inc. 2006

  4. Getting back to schools, it has always seemed baffling to me which people are asking for what to include. At first I thought trying to get prayer in the public shools must be an atheist plot, withe believers pretending to be atheists while oppossing it. After all anyone with a familiarity with schools, at least in the USA, would know that prayer in the public schools would result in would result in a loss of religeous customers. I’ve always guessed that religeous belief is much stronger in the USA then other developed countries is that we have always had seperation of church and state, while most european countries have a history of mandatory religeon. I think that with regard to ID similar considerations apply. The public opponents of ID are the same people who anguish over the many polls showing that about half the US population doesn’t believe in evolution, and half of the rest believe that it was guided by God. In that sense at least the ID people are winning. The sports axiom, “always change a losing game, never change a winning game” suggests that ID in the schools would be bad for the ID crowd and good for the naturalist.

  5. Ok, God created everything, that means time, although time wasn’t even recorded until man became smart, cave men probably did exist, but not as humanoids, but more as another animal that was here, such as the monkey. Time was first recorded by a Westerner the first scientist more or less. But you must agree time was then not even precisely calculkated, because they only recorded big things that took place in history that means technically time was never made, although as proposterous as it may seem the Jewish Calender is almost right. The Bible is also marked as a huge thing in history, because of the great dispute fought after as to the way and who should print it, the Bible also is correct and precise as to time, from the existence of intelligence down to the way it will all end, if you look in the Bible, Elisha a very powerful prophet whop prfessed many things and as recorded all of his profecies came true.

  6. Yes, admittedly, we all fall into an infinite regression once we ask what made the universe, that’s a question neither religion nor science can answer. After all, if there were a god, what made it? If that god has been for eternity then what was happening before creation? At least with cosmological theory we might demonstrate that time itself did not exist prior to the Big Bang so there was no “before”

    db

  7. Did I not say science done it, but how would science be able to do it without divine intervention, how was science made, what made the universe? Questions you or I will never fully answer with science, but are so clear spiritually when God is ours.

    Those books can’t disprove anything, nor can they fully acknowledge ID a bluff.

  8. That there is still controversy about ID shows the incompetence of the science community. They should have been able to show that ID is nonsense long ago. To see how look at the website
    randomabsurdities.wordpress.com
    and the chapter “Does the word God exist?” in the book
    Our Almost Impossible Universe:
    Why the laws of nature make the existence of humans extraordinarily unlikely

  9. However while chaos is important, and there is a chapter on it in the OAIU book, that is not what
    makes the universe, and what it is, so improbable. It is really just coincidences in mathematics, just arithmetic. You should look at the OAIU book. It is startling.

  10. Okay, R. Mirman, then correct your English.

    David, do you believe in God? Where has every miracle pointed to, if you read in History, and all of the religous books of each religion, you will find recorded a great flood, ah but that would say that every reigion is right, not exactly, the Christian/Catholic/Judaism had a guy there named Noah, its an old tale, that I’m sure you’ve heard, but society has G rated it, they don’t tell it how it really was, the dead floating. Just review the Bible, I’ll talk more later.

  11. This is not what I said. I said language disproves God. See my blog and book
    Our Almost Impossible Universe:
    Why the laws of nature make the existence of humans extraordinarily unlikely

  12. I never said God could be disproven. But, the notion of a god invented by man being the ultimate creator of the universe and having a focus on a few short years on a single planet within a universal time of billions of years seems just so unlikely.

    db

  13. As weird as it may seem, God cannot be disproven by Science or any type of formula for human life or evolution, its comes as a spiritual deal. God won’t randomly pop out of know where and say, “Hey, you need to believe I’m real.” Its a very proprosterous deal, when you look at the sky and its magnificent hues and color shades, then to a molecule or atom, the amazement of the small things, things that you wonder how, and then you wonder how science knew, its something for your mind to work with, science has yet to disprove. No not one human in all of history has used their whole brain, you use different parts of your brain, but at different times, I mean they used their whole brain at the same time.

    R. Mirman, as said before, nothing can disprove him.

  14. It is language that proves that God cannot exist. The word is undefined, undefinable, meaningless. All this nonsense would have ended a long time ago if it were opposed correctly. For full discussion see blog
    randomabsurdities.wordpress.com
    and chapter
    Does the word God exist?
    in the book
    Our Almost Impossible Universe:
    Why the laws of nature make the existence of humans extraordinarily unlikely

  15. J-Boe – Adam and Eve used their whole brains, did they? Well, so do we. It’s a myth that anyone only uses part of their brain (injury, disease and disorders excepted). By the way professor, one f two s.

    Evolution is not a hypothesis “that one man came up with”. Check your science history books, before preposterous claims.

    Show me one, just one, minute, single piece of evidence that proves a god, any god, exists…

    db

  16. The figure, as said before, came from a proffesor in Virginia, she is also a scientist. Also hemophelia as we all know is a “disorder” but how do we not know that it is but a mistake us humans can fix, that would make us more intelligent which is God’s plan, in the beginning it has been said that Adam and Eve were genius’s they used their whole brain, not the left or the right, unfortunately their brain had just been created and still needed time to adapt and learn, had they not sinned the human race would be smarter and more calculating. ALos as for the Revelations, maybe you ahve not heard of “Global Warming” its only happening due to our slowly decreasing gap between Earth and the Sun, which was foretold in the Bible, not once but many times, including in the OT.
    Evolution is a hypothesis that one man came up with, but the percentage of DNA that we have in common with a monkey is the same as that of a frog, 3%. People say monkeys are like us due to their learning ability and hand-eye coordination, problem is they are only remembering shapes, letters, colors, etc. Thus said, they are smart, but its a memory inquiry.
    There is more proof that God exists than there is that he doesn’t.

  17. J-Boe, there are so many flaws, misconceptions, and misspellings in your comment, that I suspect most readers will not be inclined to respond.

    “life on another planets success rate is slim and very uncalculating” – what does uncalculating mean

    “.1 to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000E100,000” – first off, why .1, a ratio of 1 to something would make sense, but where does that ludicrous figure come from?

    “Also inside the human body, the blood clotting system…” – how does this prove God’s existence, the flaw of hemophilia springs to mind as an argument against ID. It should really be uID for unIntelligent Design.

    “Also if you have ever read the book of Revelations in the Bible, you would also know that the Earth is slowly growing closer to the Sun” – I have read the book of revelations, actually, it’s a bizarre and monstrous fairy story. Moreover, nowhere in revelations does it mention anyone going to heaven after they die, your body will according to the story be resurrected on earth, it’s going to be awfully crowded down here given the 100 billion or so humans who have lived so far.

    “As for Evolution, it has already been proven un true” – where’s the evidence that evolution is a “mere” idea? There is vast amounts of evidence that shows evolution occurs.

    db

  18. Ok, I’m back and with answers, I have studied under a very smart Science Professor in Buena Vista, Virginia. The professor claims that God must be real, life on another planets success rate is slim and very uncalculating, the fact that Earth is in the right spot and slightly tilted, which on another thought is also immpossible, here is the data and statistics for a ratio of another planet throughout the galaxy to hold life, .1 to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000E100,000.
    Which basically states an immpossiblity.

    Also inside the human body, the blood clotting system has numerous elements and vitamins that must come together so perfectly for your blood to clot, or you would other wise bleed to death from the smallest scratch, also showing that God had a hand in creation.

    Also if you have ever read the book of Revelations in the Bible, you would also know that the Earth is slowly growing closer to the Sun, which is evident by the fact that we are becoming hotter and hotter, and the steady sea rise, lower ice cap count, and droughts that seem to come from around the equator, other than the rain forests, like lets see, near the Tropic of Cancer, God is slowly destroying the Earth.

    I have one more thing. I have heard many people say that they don’t believe in God or Jesus because a loved one died, or “How could be real, there is so many bad things going on.” One that is God’s plan, everyone has a due date with Christ, whether your on a good note or opposite. If you choose to not believ in God because of someone or how they act or because a couple of christians aren’t nice, hey dumby we have idiots too, just because you claim the religion doesn’t mean you will go to Heaven, and we, as all religions do, have the handicappedness of hypocrites and irrelevant seeds planted, we have a few people that can mess up anyone’s view on the peaceful religion, churches can be the same as well, we can have a whole church community screw it up for a whole city or state.

    As for Evolution, it has already been proven un true, and it also was not a fact to begin with, it was merely a hypothesis, or idea more or less.

    If you have questions or concerns E-Mail me: j-boe@triad.rr.com

  19. I don’t care who made this vid or whether it’s supposed to be taking the piss out of Richard or advocating what he says, it’s just very well done and funny

    db

  20. Since you mention string theory why don’t you discuss that it is all nonsense wasting huge amounts of money? It predicts some absurd dimension, wildly disagreeing with reality, but it has long been known that physics would be impossible in any dimension but 3+1 (quite boring since it actually agrees with experiment). For proof see my book Our Almost Impossible Universe: Why the laws of nature make the existence of humans extraordinarily unlikely, given in my blog which also discusses many other things wrong with it. Science blog
    impunv.wordpress.com
    or
    impunv.blogspot.com
    Political blog
    randomabsurdities.wordpress.com
    The politics should be ignored except by those who like nasty remarks about George Bush.

  21. I think it’s time to close off comments on this post. Religious faith and faith in science are never going to be reconciled, as we see time and again. Any last calls before I uncheck the comments box on Tuesday?

  22. First im not actin anything like a dominence indwelled monkey im bein a christian with christian beliefs that Jesus christ my lord and savior made the Earth in 6 days and a rest and that he made Humans after monkeys but not thru evolution. Im tryin to show yall the way to heaven but yall r fightin it if yall can prove that god and jesus do not exist and never did ill leave yall alone but i will still hav a comeback to everything yall say because god and jesus hav been proven real. E-Mail me at : j-boe@triad.rr.com

  23. Thanks to CJ and J-boe for using my words out of context. That supports my point that creationists won’t debate without trying to distract and confuse us. And in a related development, when their arguments are examined, they can be stripped down to the hooting and ground-slapping of a basic struggle for dominance. By showing human’s monkey nature, CJ and J-boe are giving us plenty of evidence in favor of evolution. But even if they want to declare a truce, I’m NOT doing the bonobo thing with them!!

  24. You and your primitive religions are so naive. You should fear the Flying Spaghetti Monster! If you do not repent now and embrace his noodly appendages, you will surely burn in hell.

    Mitch

  25. Mitch first off do u believe in a god or that flyin spaghetti monster?

    And CJ god is real and all should fear that he might send u straight to Hell.
    But u should hope u go to Heaven.

    I have felt the holy spirit in my church i hav felt moved by god to come and tell yall that he is very real.
    Jesus`s tomb has been found. That should be enough for yall to understand that he is the way to thy father which art in heaven.

    Robert Bowen when u said “like he is zapping us with a magnifying glass” he is merely trying to show how real he is to all thye world if more believe that he is the Messiah less will die.

    But that is near impossible i know but if a worldwide campaign and a couple of stars the influence of god would go worldwide which could and would help everyone.

  26. But of course I’m going to respond CJ, although I’ll keep my remarks short as this thread was on ID in the schools, not on morals, ethics or the effectiveness of science.

    Yes, I take it personally, religious ideas and the behaviors that they provoke have a direct impact on my life. Filling the minds of the next generation of citizens with nonsense like ID will have a direct impact on my future. If I’m not willing to fight this fraud at every turn then I am allowing it by default.

    As far as religion being the font of moral and ethical thought I would like to make an oblique argument. Deists claim, as you have, that without a moral giver there can be no morals, only opinion, and Relativism (because that’s what you are referring to) is empty and meaningless as a system of belief. Leaving aside the fact that this has already been addressed at length by Western Humanism, (because there is, in fact, some truth in the counter argument that it is a product of Christian thought,) consider the following:

    Let us assume that Christianity is, as it claims to be, the One True Faith. Thus all moral and ethical thought must flow perforce from it’s teachings as revealed by the Trinity to the authors of scripture.

    On the other hand, every other faith is in Grave Error, unregenerate and thus not in communion with the Devine Will. It follows then that any moral or ethical systems that they develop must be the product of their own minds, not that of Almighty.

    Yet when we examine the teachings of Jainism, a faith far removed from Christian thought and influence, we find that it has a moral and ethical structure in many ways parallel. How can this be so?

    The only resolution to this is to conclude that we don’t need any input from God to decide right from wrong, reasoning based on observation is sufficient. The Golden Rule, in one form or another, has been discovered by several societies, not because it was handed down from On High, but because it is simple commonsense.

    As to your charges against science, and my defense of Method, I’m afraid you have it wrong when you accuse me of arrogating to myself the definition of this field. Science is Natural Philosophy practiced by the Scientific Method. Period. Christianity is a religion that believes in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ. Period. These are non-negotiable definitions, because ultimately they are tautological. There are many ways of practicing religion, and there are many ways of practicing natural philosophy, however based on results, science has a better track record than consulting the viscera of a disemboweled goat when predicting the behavior of the universe.

    Science does not address metaphysics, aesthetics, morals and ethics, and any number of philosophical domains that fall outside of its preview, nor does it claim to. Nor does it claim to be self-referential; in fact most scientists would be repelled by the idea. The latter also covers why it doesn’t speak to math and logic; these are tools of science and are covered by metamathimatics and metalogic respectively, studies in their own right. Religion on the other hand claims that it has all the answers to everything and justifies its stand on some of the most breathtaking circular logic ever to spring from human thought.

    As a concession to the topic of this thread let me conclude with this:

    Creationists have been pestering evolutionary biology for decades, and while the anti-Darwinists have been loosing ground the whole time, they have caused the legitimate community to go on the defensive, making it very difficult to get funding to explore new ideas. The fear is that any perceived deviation from the current path would provide ammunition to those who would undermine current theory for religious reasons.

    While annoying, these activities have not seriously impacted the field, and progress can still be made. The Intelligent Design fraud is however, a different matter. Unlike its predecessor, ‘creation science’ it is not content to simply whiten the sepulchre of the Genesis myth; no, it wants to claim coequality with legitimate science and demands a place in the curriculum. This is where the line must be drawn, for it is an incubus for damage far beyond just biology. It is an attack on reason itself. It is time for every rational person to take a stand or be prepared to live in a world where dogma circumscribes thinking.

    Did I say short? I’m sorry, this is just too important to be ignored. Apologies to all and thanks to the Moderator(s) for their forbearance, I also will not continue; I would only be repeating myself. So unless someone needs clarification of anything I have written here, ‘till next time.

  27. DV8 says:
    “What unmitigated arrogant horsesh*t, how dare you assume that I or anyone else needs the fear of hell or the promise of paradise to be moral, ethical people. Because if that’s what you need, it doesn’t say much for what’s inside.”

    DV8, you seem to take things really personally. Are you by any chance related to science? You confuse me stating my beliefs with a direct attack on you. I dont feel that when people state they believe in evolution, they are attacking me. Whats up with the hostility? Why so much fear? You might win more people over if you talked more rationally. Maybe you should try reading some Dale Carnegie books.

    I do find it interesting you think you have a basis for morality though. If there is no God and morals evolved, what difference does it make if one applies them or not? If morals evolved, then morals are arbitrary and they really dont tell us wrong from right. Actually, evil and good would be just opinions and not real values in an evolved society. Saying you are ethical is pretty vacuous if there is no moral giver. What makes one moral system better than another? If one society things slavery is ok and it works for them, why try to convince them they are wrong? You rightly state that racism is wrong. But why? Because we evolved that way? That seems pretty empty and meaningless as a system of belief.

    But Im not going to address all your statements since you seem to stretch my words to mean what you want them to. I find it interesting that you think you have rightly determined what science is, and there is no room for debate…while at the same time you think you have also determined what scripture is and says with no room for debate. You seem to have all the bases covered. Of course this means no one can play in your game at all. You determine what all things mean and that settles it for you. It must be nice to have life all figured out. But I will sum up why science is a slave to philosophy. Here are five rational beliefs that cannot be proven by science:

    1.Math and logic (science presupposes them)
    2.metaphysical truths, ie. there are minds that exist other than my own.
    3.Ethical judgements (these are not subject to the scientific method)
    4.Aesthetic judgements like beauty
    5.Science itself.

    I think we should all be careful how we employ science. With all the differing viewpoints(rational nonrealism, phenomenalism, operationism, constructive empiricism, nonrational nonrealism…etc.) in science and all the changes over the centuries, Im betting science has a ways to go before its perfect. ID is not a reaction to the theory of evolution, no matter how many times one says that it is. Many scientist, Kepler and Newton for example, believed in creation and an absolute supreme being that guided their theories. Many physicists and mathematicians in particular have written scores of books about the odds stacked against Darwin’s theory. Even some of Darwin’s peers thought evolution was a joke. Some even laughed when they first heard it. But I guess many people today think this is as smart as we will ever get and weve got it all figured out. I just think that seems arrogant and narrow minded.

    DV8, this will be my last post as Im afraid you are going to bust an artery. But Im sure you wont be able to pass up trying to have the last word. Im confident enough in my beliefs that I dont feel the need to respond anymore. Good luck on your journey in life.

  28. “I will also restate that if we narrowly define science as something that must use the scientific method, then science itself fails the test because you cant use the scientific method to determine if its the best methodology to conduct experiments.”

    Science is defined by Method, it is a narrow definition. Christianity is defined by the acceptance of Christ as a personal savior., also a narrow definition. Science does not have to validate itself reflexively, nor has it ever tried to, it is a process that is justified by results. Using science one can make predictions about the future behavior of a system under examination, when they hold true, then the science that made those predictions is valid, if they don’t, well then you go back to work and reexamine the science. This is how it was meant to work-this was how it was designed to work.

    “We assume math is a reliable indicator of the way things are”

    You might assume that, no educated mathematician or scientist assumes it. Check out Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem for why that is. It’s just an aid to to the process in science, no prediction made mathematically is presumed true until it is validated by observation inside a controlled experiment.

    “without God, no one has any value.”

    What unmitigated arrogant horsesh*t, how dare you assume that I or anyone else needs the fear of hell or the promise of paradise to be moral, ethical people. Because if that’s what you need, it doesn’t say much for what’s inside.

    But it’s typical of those that think that the have a direct line to god’s will.

    ID isn’t science, it isn’t science because it isn’t practiced as a science. It wasn’t formulated as a science, it was designed to attack good science to promote the idea of creationism. Biblical creationism as prescribed by the book of Genesis. To claim otherwise is a bald-faced lie. Science has changed, and will change, but those changes are driven by necessity, and built on the firm foundations of that which has gone before. ID hasn’t payed it’s dues and thus has no right to demand a change in the rules and methods to suit its own predetermined belief in a Designing Intelligence.

    Do you have any idea how it’s supposed to be done? Proponents of ID should be running experiments to prove that a Designer DOESN’T exist, and only after falling over and over come to the conclusion that hypothesis of a non-designed universe is not supported. Note that that still doesn’t prove a designer, only that the existence of one cannot be discounted.

    But it hasn’t the patience for that, nor do its proponents care, because all it needs to do is create doubt of the validity of Natural Selection, or at least plant the seeds to do what it was invoked to do. It is an attack by religion on science, and I will not grant it any other status than that.

    I’ll reiterate: pseudoscience has no place in State supported education, not ID, not any of the other idiotic ideas that try to claim to be science. Are some of them ‘pre-sciences’ that may one day have a place at the table? Yes maybe, some have, but only by earning it the hard way. None of them that did got a free ride into the classroom on the backs of a belief system that feels threatened that the students won’t buy into the fairy-tales that religion tries to pass as ‘revealed truth.’

    I really don’t give a damn what you think or believe, if you want to support this line of inquiry with money or time be my guest. But the moment that any supporter of this doctrine tries to drive it down the throats of kids, hijacking pedagogical authority to give it a veneer authority it doesn’t warrant, I will fight it tooth and claw.

    This is what this fight is about.

  29. If there were a spiritual realm created by a god, then what would a statement like “God values you, not because he controls you, but because he created you,” actually mean? God created what? Matter? Energy? Consciousness?

    However you look at reality, if a god produced everything we perceive including our own consciousness and freewill from nothing but his own being, then there is actually nothing outside this god, “creation” is but a figment of the god’s imagination. The universe is just some kind of simulation, albeit one made of particles we perceive as somehow solid and real. We’re just a game in the supernatural mind of this higher being. I’m not claiming some Matrix type reality here, and I realise that countless philosophers have trodden this path before. Yes, I think therefore I am, but so do 6 billion other biomechanical collectives and so have 100 billion before us.

    Is that any more of an uncomfortable thought than the absence of a god from reality?

  30. DV8, I guess my main concern is who made you God? You seem to have established science as that which abides by the scientific method. So in other words, you have determined that this is what science is, and you have determined the rules and the methodology of the game. This seems to beg the question. I refer back to my point that science has not always used the same methodology and I would bet that it will also change in the future. I think its rather arrogant to assume this will never change. I will also restate that if we narrowly define science as something that must use the scientific method, then science itself fails the test because you cant use the scientific method to determine if its the best methodology to conduct experiments. There seems to be an infinite regress occuring here. No matter what you state, assumptions are made in every aspect of life. One simply cannot function without them.

    DV8 states:
    “Science by the way, doesn’t address math as a subject, it uses it as a tool. ”

    I never stated that it addresses math as a subject. You actually state my point though and that is math is a tool. Its an assumption that science bases many findings on. We assume math is a reliable indicator of the way things are.

    DV8 also says:
    “As for your ad hominem attack on my ‘faith,’ or as I would style it lack of faith, true to form you are applying the fallacy of the excluded middle: ”

    I suggest you check on your application of the excluded middle and try again.

    Im a little disappointed with this whole line of debate. Some posters keep repeating themselves as though if they scream loud and often enough their voice will be the only one heard. Unfortunately, our academic system in this country is doing the same thing. Why are they so afraid to open the debate to other viewpoints? I think ufo-ology should have a voice. But if it cant garner support on a level playing field, then its popularity will die on its own and it wont have to be censored by threatened scientist. I think the bottom line is that some people dont want to believe in God. Robert Bowen states it best when he likes the idea of being part of a complex web. Unfortunately, without God, no one has any value. If we are the result of a blind process of molecules in action, then there is no such thing as free will. God values you, not because he controls you, but because he created you. Actually you have the choice to choose him or not. without God, you have no choice in the matter, as you are just a momentary blip in the process. Also DV8, I suggest you really look at the teachings of Christ and see if you honestly can say he preached racism. Anybody can make claims that he does, but are they being honest about their conclusions?

  31. Apparently, you can be banged up in Massachusetts for blasphemy:

    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-36.htm

    “Whoever wilfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.”

  32. Don’t flatter yourself CJ, I fight ID because now this argument has moved into my yard. If your going to claim ID is a science, then you have to play by our rules. Disabuse yourself of the conceit that ID is being singled out for special abuse. No pseudo-science gets a free ride in this neighborhood, and if the believers in astrology, alchemy, or any one of a number of equally deluded ideas were to attempt to have their nonsense taught in schools, they would get the same rough ride. Even legitimate science is played hardball, and contesting ideas are fought over with just as much intensity as you see here. Look at the current debate over string theory for a current example.

    Supporters of ID have made a major tactical error in attempting to dress Creationism as science, because now you are vulnerable to the scrutiny of Scientific Method. Keep in mind that it was Deism that broke the truce of Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria,” we didn’t bring the fight to you.

    Do you really need a list of biblical quotes detailing, the Bible’s support of slavery, misogyny, and homophobia? Tell you what, surf over to any of a number of christian sites on the web, they will show you a more complete list than I could scrape up. And please don’t feed me this line about ‘real Christians,’ who are you to stand in judgment of those who interpret your scripture differently from you.

    As for your ad hominem attack on my ‘faith,’ or as I would style it lack of faith, true to form you are applying the fallacy of the excluded middle: the question is still open for me, but until I see proof, and I mean proof that holds up under scientific examination, I will assume no deity exists.

    Science by the way, doesn’t address math as a subject, it uses it as a tool.

    This is not , in the broader sense, or between us, a reasoned debate. You and any supporter of ID abandoned reason by accepting faith in a god as a tenet, attempts to claim that science is based on faith shows a breathtaking misunderstanding of the meaning of the term axiom. There is a manifest difference between an obvious, self evident truth, and belief born of blind faith. I am openly attacking ID because it is a pseudo-science that is demanding a place in the classroom, if it were take it’s place with Ufology, Vitalism, Cartomancy, and the rest in the intellectual hinterlands where it belongs, I would waste no time attacking it any more than I would these other nonsensical pretenders to the mantel of science.

  33. ID teaches us that we’re essentially an ant farm, created for somebody’s amusement. So whenever there’s a hurricane or tsunami, that seems equivalent to the IDer zapping us with a magnifying glass and a sunbeam. That’s such a depressing, meaningless existence it’s no wonder that the ID faction is so cranky.
    I’ll stick with evolution, where our selfish genes can constantly strive to adapt and “improve”. Besides, I find great comfort in knowing that I’m an integral part of the complex web of existence.

  34. I’d like to first state that my viewpoint as well as the viewpoint of ID is seriously misrepresented here. It’s a shame that there is so much closed mindedness in these postings. I thought religious people were supposed to be the narrow minded and dogmatic ones. The more hostile a person is about their view…the more obvious is that they hold a tenuous grip on their beliefs. Yes, atheism is a belief. No matter how much they try to make faith in God seem like just a “belief” system, they must realize that they cannot disprove God. Thus, they believe there is no God, but they can never be absolutely sure of it.

    But just to touch base on a couple of items in the recent postings. Science is most definitely based in philosophy. Modern science relies on the scientific method. The scientific method cant prove the scientific method. Its an assumption made in modern science that it is the best method for obtaining reliable and predictable results. Just to note here, science hasn’t always been done this way. Science has changed over the centuries, and I find it odd that we assume that this is the best way to do science. How do we know in 100 years we wont look back and realize how wrong this methodology is? Isnt that rather arrogant to assume this is real science and we will never change the way it works? Anyway, back on point; Mathematics are also used in modern science. Science cant prove math…it merely assumes its veracity and accuracy in results. Science has a list of assumptions it makes before it can even begin. Science also analyzes data obtained from experiments. It often comes to wrong conclusions about this data, and thus theories are overturned often. Being in the field of data analysis I can attest that the “facts” don’t always lead to the right conclusions. Usually, the methodology employed has a major impact on the accuracy of the conclusion.

    While I cant address all the twisting of my words from DV8, I would like to point out a couple of glaring categorical and logical mistakes made by DV8 when he drew conclusions about my statements. Ill assume DV8 thought his conclusions where reasonable, so I will only briefly reply.

    DV8 said:
    “You yourself gave gaps in the fossil record as an example of where ID provides answers where evolutionary theory does not. Guess what? That’s a God in the Gaps argument BY DEFINITION.”

    That is not by DEFINITION a God of the Gaps. Actually some theories of evolution have tried to explain the lack of fossil evidence. Surely you arent suggesting they are employing God in the gaps? This is an obvious example of the straw man fallacy thrown and creationist. I also think you should re-read what I wrote. I claimed that ID predicts there will be gaps in the fossil record. I never said this was in response to provide answers where evolutionary theory does not. You are making an assumption here. You gotta be careful here since your assumptions arent based on the scientific method they cant be as reliable.

    DV8 said;
    Really. Let us examine some past examples of that mode of thought: “Blacks are not humans;” “women are not the equal of men under the law;” homosexual behavior needs to be controlled by punishment. All of those were base on reasons alright, and from the same Scriptural sources that you now use to justify your faith. Not committing to a course of action when not in full possession of all the facts is called ‘common sense’ no ‘empty minded’”

    Wow…where did this come from? Sounds like somebody has a chip on their shoulder. However, I would like to point out that this is an opinion of yours. No where does scripture endorse such teaching. Christians have been on the forefront of charity in the world and the examples are voluminous. Take William Wilberforce for example. I wont go into detail, but leave that to you. You might also want to look up topics referring to the abolitionist. Lest we also forget Mother Theresa? How about all the Christians that went into Rome during the great plagues to care for the sick while others were fleeing the city? Good grief…just because some Christians don’t follow the teachings of Christ doesn’t mean there is no God. I don’t have room here to discuss the logical fallacies of such a conclusion.

    In the words of Shakespeare, I think you protesteth too much. Your hostility is an outward sign that you lack confidence in your view point. People that are confident in their view point are calm, well reasoned and willing to discuss their ideas in a rational forum. A large part of our disagreement actually stems from you drawing malformed conclusions on my statements. It seems as though you aren’t actually reading, but assuming something and then angrily posting. Once again, I point out to posters that this is typical style of those who are more concerned about being right than discovering the truth. The red herrings thrown at me and the slipshod reasoning is almost too much to even address. But thats part of the tactic…change the rules of debate, make bold statements that can’t be backed up and then assume that being a bully will quiet the opposition. Come, let us reason together. Perhaps the facts are more elusive than you think…

  35. First, one should educate the present “educators” and policy makers in the education field, to look for the truth, with open mind.

  36. Hey, it is fortunate that some can now ‘BELIEVE’ F=ma (when the velocity of the coordination related to another is much lower than c).
    But why you have to BELIEVE something? Science doesn’t provide anything for you to believe. Science is not based on philosophy as CJ claimed before. But the holy ID provides something for people to believe ‘WITH REASONS’ (rather than fact) and based on which they can ‘DRAW CONCLUSIONS’, so ID is great, science is sh*t. That it.

  37. CJ: Your faith in a deity is as irrational as a belief in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the Tooth Fairy or any other imaginary friend. It is not based on science, or rational analysis, it is based on faith – which is defined as belief without proof. If any God wanted to have his creatures believe in him, He wouldn’t depend on poorly transcribed, poorly translated, Bronze -age documents to do so, nor would he muddy the waters by allowing so many divergent descriptions of Himself, and His will to cause the degree of suffering that these have caused.

    You yourself gave gaps in the fossil record as an example of where ID provides answers where evolutionary theory does not. Guess what? That’s a God in the Gaps argument BY DEFINITION.

    Attacks on things that can’t be proven is not strictly a feature of science, Western systems of judicial law, for example uses that principle in litigation, and yes the whole point of the Scientific Method is based on rejecting that wihich cannot be proven. If you (or ID) wants to play on our field, then it’s our rules.

    You say:, “It is more rational to draw conclusions based on reasons than to not draw any conclusions at all.” Really. Let us examine some past examples of that mode of thought: “Blacks are not humans;” “women are not the equal of men under the law;” homosexual behavior needs to be controlled by punishment. All of those were base on reasons alright, and from the same Scriptural sources that you now use to justify your faith. Not committing to a course of action when not in full possession of all the facts is called ‘common sense’ no ’empty minded’

    Even if crazy implies variance from the norm, that does not assert that variance from the norm implies crazy. Worse you know it, how dare you try and float such a statement here, it’s an insult to every poster here.

    Science is not based on philosophy, it is a branch of Natural Philosophy, it is based on the Scientific Method. ID can claim along with other pseudoscientific nonsense like Velikovskyism that it is Natural Philosophy (for what that’s worth) but it cannot claim to be science.

    Yes this is an attack. I attack ID wherever I find it and it’s supporters because it itself was formulated as an attack on scientific reason, to claim otherwise is a lie.

  38. CJ: First off Newton’s laws are not permanent stones in science, they have been modified since he died. At very fast velocities they are replaced by Einstin’s laws of relativity, and Newton’s laws can be seen as a limit to the grander expressions of Einstein’s. Second of all, there is a problem of honesty with ID. Science, will not lie to make it’s point and from everything I’ve seen and read ID will not hesitate to. The claim that transitional forms are not found is a lie and more are found all the time. The claim that the geological fossil record is 99% complete is a lie; and an obvious one at that. There is simply not much funding nor great quantity of scientist digging into the fossil record and there is vast more we can still learn from exploring it. But, the most absurd claim of ID is that it is a science or has anyplace in science or that it is respected anywhere on this planet as science by real scientists. Just because I say there is a China teapot floating in space between the Earth and the Sun, it doesn’t mean the onus is on you to find it and it doesn’t mean it is a valid scientific theory just because you could apply a scientific method to find it or not find it.

    On reflection, the teapot hypothesis might be a stronger scientific theory since you could actually prove or disprove it. What evidence would you need to not believe in ID?

    Mitch

  39. Of course, the China teapot actually orbits the Sun in exact opposition to the Earth, so we can never see it as it’s always eclipsed by the sun. The sooner NASA gets Hubble’s main camera repaired and relocates the space telescope over that side we can have proof of its non-existence once and for all. And Bertrand Russell’s book The Teapot Delusion can be published finally.

  40. While I usually dont address what could be considered more of a hostile attack than an actual discussion, I would like to make a couple of points just to clarify and follow up. You state that no one here is asserting that nothing is real unless science says so. I beg to disagree and I would say that if one reads between the lines about the flying spaghetti monster it is obviously an attack on the spiritual – or things that cant be proven. The undertone of that line of reasoning seems to assert that science hasnt proven it, so its not real. Perhaps Im reading too much into that, but if thats not the intent of those posts…Im not sure what is.

    In regards to me stating that it is more rational to believe in God than something coming from nothing, you state, “No the rational choice is to leave the question open. ” I think this is a confusion between open minded and empty minded. It is more rational to draw conclusions based on reasons than to not draw any conclusions at all. Just because you have made a conclusion and live in accords with that conclusion, does not mean you are closed minded to any further debate or evidence. Never making a decision and leaving all questions open without committing is called empty minded. By definition, you can have knowledge without certainty. If you can justify your beliefs, then you have adequate knowledge to make rational decisions based on that knowledge. This is just a basic philiophical principle.

    You also state:
    “Rubbish. At one time most of the world believed that the earth was the center of the universe – that did not make it so. By definition ‘faith demands believing without proof thus to claim that believers have ‘good reason’ is an oxymoron. And anyways, since when is ‘crazy is considered deviating from the norm’?”

    I dont remember using ad popularum when referring to the majority of the world’s population having good reasons. You are trying to change the line of reasoning that Im using. Im not saying that its rational because its popular, Im saying that the majority of the worlds religions have good reasons for their faith. I also never state that crazy is considered deviating from the norm, but I do make that proposition. Its merely a proposition that you can accept or not. I would however find it logical to assert that its more likely for crazy to be not normal than normal. Surely you arent denying this assertion.

    When it comes to your statements about ID and science, I have only a couple of comments.

    “No it does not. Most glaringly, it doesn’t apply the Null Hypothesis, when asserting ‘God in the gaps,’ a fundamental element in the ID hypothesis. ”

    -You might want to review the tenets of ID. ID does not have a platform stating “God in the gaps.” You will have to prove it does, or withdraw it. Many books out there on ID simply dont even mention such a thing. Im not saying that somewhere in some book you cant find somebody making this claim, but its not accepted in the ID community as a tenet. Actually, when it comes to theories that try to fill the gaps, evolution is prize winner. Just look at all the different types of evolution currently circulating, with each one addressing a problem with another theory.

    ID is a science. Im not going to list names of supporters out there, but there are several nobel prize nominees that hold to this belief including scores of physicists, astronmers, biologists and mathematicians. I will leave that research up to reader.

    For those of reading these posts, I hope you see that this is a classic pattern the followers of “scientism” take. They change the details of reasoning, throw out red herrings and straw men and then usually resort to ad hominems. What ever happened to rational debate involving philosophy, theology, science, etc.? Why all the hostility? It makes me wonder what they have to protect. Why are they so scared that they have to resort to aggressive arguementation? Churchill said it best when he stated that the truth is so valuable, we have to protect it with a bodyguard of lies. Science is based on philosophy…unfortunately many scientist today make poor philosophers.

  41. “Some posters essentially assert that nothing is real unless science says so.”

    Do they? Please review the past posts, in fact NOBODY has made that statement here or implied it.

    “Science has never proven something comes from nothing, and until it does, belief in a non-contingent, absolute being is more rational than belief in evolution from molecules to man.”

    No the rational choice is to leave the question open. And at any rate, (speaking of straw men) natural selection has never addressed the origin question, that’s a different field of study encompassing ideas like exospermia, panspermia as well as several other hypotheses also not addressed by evolutionary theory.

    “Several straw men have been set up by the evolutionist. The question of “what is science”, is not a scientific question, but a (sic) philosphical one”

    Evolutionist do not address this question when asserting the tenets of natural selection.
    “most philosphers of science agree ID is a science.”

    Prove that statement or withdraw it, you cannot just asert something like that without backing it up.

    “A majority of the world’s people have faith in an absolute power because they have good reasons, not because they are crazy or delusional. Actually, if crazy is considered deviating from the norm, then atheists would more closely fit this category than believers.”

    Rubbish. At one time most of the world believed that the earth was the center of the universe – that did not make it so. By definition ‘faith demands believing without proof thus to claim that believers have ‘good reason’ is an oxymoron. And anyways, since when is ‘crazy is considered deviating from the norm’?

    “Isaac Newton himself was a great scientist because many of his theories derived from a belief in God. Should we throw out his theories because he used God as the inspiration? That is a classic genetic-fallacy mistake.”

    Three hundred years of history stand between us and Newton. Charles Darwin stands between us and Newton. And since when has discarding Newtons work because of his faith been entertained by anyone?

    “The genetic fallacy also applies when people say ID isn’t science because its theories are based on the Bible.”

    This is a fallacy alright: the Fallacy of the Premise Major, to be exact.

    “Creationism holds to all the tenets that other sciences do.”

    No it does not. Most glaringly, it doesn’t apply the Null Hypothesis, when asserting ‘God in the gaps,’ a fundamental element in the ID hypothesis.

    “Creationism makes predictions like gaps in the fossil record and geological formations consistent with a large scale flood. ”

    It sure it does, in as much as real science doesn’t recognize either of these two ‘problems’, as they have been made up by creationists.

    ID hasn’t proven a damned thing yet, and never will. It was created to FUD evolutionary theory and serve as a Trojan horse for Biblical creationism and to claim otherwise is a lie. Do you honestly think that your God wants you to lie? To fool people into accepting faith?

  42. Thanks for the comment, CJ. Interesting point that is often overlooked is that science can only “know” what it knows, but some of the ideas from ID and other religiously based constructs are in serious conflict with the evidence and “believing” in some higher being doesn’t mesh with that evidence unless you assume it’s all artificial and there only to test your faith.

    However, religions rise and fall and now Belgian physicists have spotted an interesting social trend that seems to show how the popularity of a religion follows the same mathematical rules as crystallisation

  43. Its apparent that many of these threads strongly lean towards “scientism.” Some posters essentially assert that nothing is real unless science says so. Unfortunately there is one significant problem with this view, and that is the statement (“something isnt true unless science proves it”) itself cannot be proven by science. Many things in life cannot be seen, heard, touched or emprically validated. Take the laws of logic for example.

    Faith is essentially trusting in something that you have good reasons to believe. A majority of the world’s people have faith in an absolute power because they have good reasons, not because they are crazy or delusional. Actually, if crazy is considered deviating from the norm, then atheists would more closely fit this category than believers. Science has never proven something comes from nothing, and until it does, belief in a non-contingent, absolute being is more rational than belief in evolution from molecules to man.

    I would also have to disagree that ID is not a science. Several straw men have been set up by the evolutionist. The question of “what is science”, is not a scientific question, but a philosphical one; and most philosphers of science agree ID is a science. Isaace Newton himself was a great scientist because many of his theories derived from a belief in God. Should we throw out his theories because he used God as the inspiration? That is a classic genetic-fallacy mistake. The genetic fallacy also applies when people say ID isnt science because its theories are based on the Bible.

    Creationism holds to all the tenets that other sciences do. Creationism makes predictions like gaps in the fossil record and geological formations consistent with a large scale flood. These predictions are also empirically testable and falsifiable. Also, just because the term “God” is used doesnt disqualify creationism as a science. God is used as an explanatory entity in creationism, not as term of religious worship. To assume that using the term “God” means religious worship is a logical mistake.

  44. J-Boe: You are insulting GOD (aka. Flying Spaghetti Monster) and he does not look fondly on your heresy. Your only hope for salvation is to pray to his spaghettiness and claim ignorance for your blasphemous comments. I hope one day you will hold your soul in enough high esteem to see the light and welcome his noodly appendage into your heart and mind.

    Mitch

  45. If evolution theory is real, what we will look like today is NOT PREDICTABLE, nor is whether will monkeys become man. Evolution theory does not predict anything at all; it describes how, besides by being created by someone called God, could the species today be such a variety. In fact it is not based on evidence because it is a piece of theory, but it is more accepted (only temporally though) by scientists than creationism because 1) as a theory it use no unknown/undefined concept, and 2) evidence can be found to support it OR A MINOR REVISION OR SUPPLEMENT OR BOTH of it. If a new fact seems to contradict with the basic principle of evolution theory that no revision or supplement can help, it is then allowed, in the sense of science, to postulate another theory that 1) is also based on known/defined concept in the current scientific context, and 2) can explain this new fact AS WELL AS ALL THE PREVIOUS FACTS THAT EVOLUTION THEORY CAN ALSO EXPLAIN.

    The ‘theory’ of creationism fails because the concept of God or ‘some intelligent force’ is not a known/defined concept, it has to be defined scientifically, that is, in a way that deductions can be made and testing experiments can be conducted. That is to say, this ‘theory’ is NEVER WRONG AND NEVER RIGHT, so it is scientifically a negligible nonsense (but indeed a very great principle religiously because a huge village of people believe it).

    The origin of life, no matter in terms of science or religion, is one of the most unknown myths of human. Scientists can well bear the feeling of unknowing, because it is the nature of science to identified and explore the unknown portion of Nature.

    Religion is an alternative solution of humans to the unknown world, and also an ultimate one, however, so that nothing seems to be unknown under this solution, and exploration of Nature becomes unnecessary. Not everyone likes to be a scientist and loves to explore the unknown world. Most people hope that an ultimate solution can sweep away all their troubles and unhappiness. So religion will continue to exist, and science is still hard to live.

  46. AAAhhhh but wait a minute like i said before if if evolution is real we would look almost like the flying spaghetti monster that mitch is talkin about and monkeys would already be human.

    And Mitch the Spaghetti Monster is not real

    Jesus Christ is real God is real…………The Christian Religion states that God created the Earth in 6 day s and 1 day of rest. and it gives detail maybe u should read tha Bible Mitch. Genesis 1

  47. I too believe that GOD (aka Flying Spaghetti Monster) did create people, the world, and life itself. This is a fact I do not contest and I am strongly in favor of it being taught in science class as well as history class and physical education class too for good measure!.

    Mitch

  48. i think that if evolution was real things would be changing before our eyes

    God created people, the world, and life itself

    AND THATS A FACT!

  49. Let’s step back a bit. It’s not so much about evolution or ID as being told what to think. We’ve had to come up with tons of evidence to support evolution. Creationists just want us to accept what they say without evidence. Is it that different from Gallileo and the church? And while I’m on the subject, we’re at a severe disadvantage in a debate. Scientists are constrained to use facts and logic, while the creationists can just make stuff up as they go along.

  50. I went to a catholic school my entire life. I didn’t like how they taught creationism. My high school taught that it is wrong to think any differently. Now that I’m out, I’ve been questioning everything. I love to hear everyone’s point of view. I respect all of your opinions and I thank you for showing me so many different ideas.

  51. There is no unknown premise in the theory of Evolution. It is based on known fact. But the ID’s ‘theory’, which says life is created by ‘some intelligent force’, bases itself on this unclear/un-defined concept. So, worse than the theory of Evolution, the ID’s theory is even not discussible, until ID explains the concept of the “intelligent force” with ONLY known facts.

  52. Wow, yes, they all but prove it by pulling out a few quotes from Darwin. Darwin it is interesting to note held back from publishing his theory till well after the death of his daughter. I always suspected he did so because his theory basically disproved intelligent design or any other human invented creationist story and he didn’t want to admit that after losing a child, because he knew once it was published it would quickly be validated. Just a thought.

  53. I have to agree with Brian, ID is a concocted attack on natural selection masquerading as science. It has no credibility in religious circles beyond it’s application as a Trojan horse for the creation myth of Genesis. I would not like to see this ‘theory’ gain status by exposure in a classroom setting.

  54. Brian, that thought did occur to me…but if we’re getting Dawkins in there too, there might be hope. Children have an innate scientific curiosity and at this age are beginning to question seriously the received wisdom whether that’s Buddha, Christ, or Mohammed. We just have to pray (aaagh) that they’ll also see the inherent problems with these views in terms of the lack of evidence.

  55. Having the atheist viewpoint is certainly appropriate in religion class. But, I do fear that any platform for the ID movement, even if it’s not in a science class, is giving its proponents a little of what they want: a way to drum up further support that will then take it into science class.

    I guess the question is whether or not its a worthy trade-off?

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