Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Denying Darwin is like denying the Holocaust!'

'Romans 1:20? What Romans 1:20...?'
Evolutionary biologist and ex-priest Francisco Ayala,
who believes that seeing design in nature is "contrary to Christian doctrine". 


From Steve Lopez the L.A. Times, with my commentary:
Does creationism have a place at a public school? 

The Christian Club on an L.A. Unified campus has heard presentations from a nationally prominent creationist. A biology teacher believes such events undermine science education. 

Los Angeles Unified School District biology teacher Tom Phillips is retiring this month, but on his way out, he's decided to go public with a pet peeve.
Free speech is his pet peeve.
Phillips believes the continued Christian fundamentalist effort to debunk evolution is undermining science education in the United States, and he has seen evidence of that with his own students at Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington.
Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy, packed with creationist students and teachers, is an outstanding school. The most creationist county on earth leads the world in science. Darwinists are mystified. Could creationism be... adaptive?

"Large numbers of Christian Evangelicals have flocked to this school because of its strong academics and have turned it into a publicly supported religious institution," Phillips, 64, said in an email that began several weeks of correspondence between us. 

So Phillips rats out his Christian colleagues and students to the LA Times. You see, public schools are supposed to be publicly-supported atheist institutions, stripped by law of any reference to God. Phillips is upset that Christians didn't get the memo.

The evolution vs. creationism debate has a long history, dating back to the 1925 Scopes monkey trial in Tennessee. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that barred the teaching of evolution unless creationism was also part of the curriculum. But some states, at the urging of Christian conservatives, still encourage teachers to challenge evolution as part of teaching "critical thinking."
Yea. Darwinism, unlike all other theories in science, can't be challenged in a public school. That would be illegal.

I'm willing to go out on a limb and suggest there's not going to be a "challenge evolution" movement any time soon in California. But Phillips believes some activities of the student-led Christian Club on his high school campus come close to violating the separation of church and state.
Yea. School kids meeting to talk about Christianity establishes a National Religion. It's like these pubescent theocrats think they have a right to free exercise of religion... oh... oh... wait...
A local clergyman often attends club meetings, Phillips said, and twice in the last few years, the club has heard presentations from Bill Morgan, a creationist of national prominence.
Christian speakers are speaking at a Christian club! That's against the Constitution! Oh... oh... wait...
"He mixes with students saying, 'Hi, I'm Bill Morgan. Do you think we descended from monkeys? Well, what do you think of this?' It was in the form of proselytizing," said Phillips.
Proselytizing is definitely outlawed in the Constitution.
He added that Morgan can be a persuasive debater, making students all the more vulnerable to indoctrination.
"Persuasive debater" is atheist-talk for "smarter than atheists and has the facts on his side". Persuasive debaters really piss atheists off.

Phillips said Morgan, an engineer whose beliefs and taped debates can be found at www.fishdontwalk.com, conducts his presentation as if he were a teacher.
Mr. Phillips sets the standards by which speakers who disagree with him can speak.
"He says something and says, 'Now class, how did that go again?' "
How dare he! Indoctrinating students is Mr. Phillips' job.

Mattie Adams, the school principal, suggests Phillips is greatly over-stating matters, given how rarely the Christian Club has invited a creationist to school. She told me she passed along Phillips' complaints, and district officials determined that the club — which meets during lunch—has been operating within district guidelines, including those regarding guest speakers. A district representative pointed me to a policy statement that says "voluntary student initiated meetings are permitted, regardless of religious, political or other content."
Good. The school teaches kids about freedom of speech and freedom of religion by setting an example. That really pisses Mr. Phillips off.
I wasn't allowed to talk to students because they didn't have parental approval, but I was told that Christian Club members rarely discuss creationism, its variant, intelligent design, or other controversial topics.
But they probably whisper about them...
History teacher Brian Groven, the club sponsor, says the students generate the topics on their own, and they're more inclined to discuss generic teenage issues. Last week's subject had to do with the meaning of Christmas.
Mr. Phillips is convinced that "teenage issues" and "Christmas" are like really a secret code for intelligent design. These Christian kids can't fool him.

Even Phillips — who considers himself a conservative and was a career Air Force pilot and Vietnam vet before taking up teaching — said he believes there's a laudable "good citizenship" component to the club. 
But he's got these sneaky little Christians in his bomb-sights...
But whether the students are being influenced at home, in church or through Christian Club connections, Phillips finds it disturbing to see them turn in class reports in which they question irrefutable evidence that Darwin had it right.
"Aufmerksamkeit! Sie haben nicht in Frage Darwin!" Perhaps if Mr Phillips shouted his proclamation against questioning Darwin in German, the kids would understand the futility of resistance. 
On Tuesday, I was in Phillips' classroom during his lunch break when Adams walked in, and a spirited discussion began.
Phillips doesn't like spirited discussions.
"We're allowing students to exercise their rights on campus," said Adams, who later told me she challenged evolution as a young student and still believes "it's good for students to look at different versions of how man came to be."
Mr. Philips was not enjoying this conversation...
"I believe they have a right" to exist, Phillips said.
Mr. Phillips decides who has the right to exist.
"But … when students are taught that science is a bunch of malarkey, and when people are trying to indoctrinate them with something that's not true," it's a disservice to students and a hindrance to science teachers.
Mr. Phillips decides what's true. He does not suffer hinderance.

Adams said there's a gay-lesbian club on campus, and she supports that, too. 
Mr. Phillips believes that clubs based on personal preferences for pestilential under-age same-sex anal intercourse are fine in public schools. Clubs based on personal preferences about God, on the other hand, are dangerous for children...
Sure, I said, but is that a fair comparison? Mr. Phillips sponsors the school's military club, I said. If he invited speakers who contradicted historical fact by insisting the Holocaust didn't happen, would that be appropriate?

Denying Darwin is like denying the Holocaust?

:)
LAUSD policy says that "non-school persons may not conduct, control or regularly attend meetings."
I'm still smiling about the Darwin-Holocaust analogy. Is he sure that he really wants to make that analogy?

Ralph Girodano, youth pastor at Wilmington's Harbor Christian Center, told me he attends fewer than half the high school Christian Club's weekly meetings, so I'll let readers be the judge of whether he's in compliance.
For a Speech Compliance Police update, dial 1-800-SHUT-UP-YOU-CHRISTIANS.

Harbor Christian is an Assemblies of God church, with a website that proclaims: "We believe that Hell is real.... We believe that the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit … include divine healing, the gift of tongues, miracles, and signs & wonders."
Giordano told me he believes all those things, but doesn't preach them at Harbor Prep.
Giordano believes those things? Eeeeewww... Giordano is a... a... Christian.

"It's a Christian club, so the Bible is the source of a lot of the discussion," said Giordano, who told me he believes in creationism and can't understand why Phillips or anyone else would be intolerant of a student's healthy inclination to challenge what's being taught.
Actually pastor Giordano understands why Phillips is trying to censor him and the kids, but he's being polite. Phillips, along with our unbiased reporter, are anti-Christian bigots.

So reporter Lopez, our Christian-teen-hunting muckraker, finds an unbiased source...
But it isn't a healthy inclination at all, says Francisco J. Ayala, a UC Irvine biology professor who laments the creeping influence of creationists, with polls now indicating that nearly half of U.S. residents believe God created humans in their present form.
... a rabid Darwinist. Intelligent design theorists must have all been too busy to be interviewed on this story about intelligent design.
Ayala, a decorated scholar...
"Decorated" scholar? They decorate scholars? Like soldiers? Like Christmas trees?

... is a former Dominican priest who believes the natural process of evolution is not incompatible with a belief in a God who created the world.
The relationship between "former Dominican priest" and  "believes the natural process of evolution is not incompatible with a belief in a God who created the world" is surely accidental.
But teaching intelligent design while denying the overwhelming evidence of evolution, Ayala said, is like teaching "alchemy rather than chemistry, astrology in contrast to astronomy, or witchcraft as an alternative to medicine."
Intelligent design isn't denial of evolution. Intelligent design affirms evolution. It is the theory that evolution manifests evidence for design.

Darwinism is the assertion that life shows no evidence for design. Just happened. No reason. Mud turned into life... survivors survived... things just changed into other things...

You decide which theory is closest to alchemy, astrology, and witchcraft.

Ayala also believes "the teaching of intelligent design is contrary to Christian doctrine."
Yea. Ayala's "Christian Doctrine" reference book has coffee stains on Romans 1:20, so Ayala can't make out the words. Explains the "ex-priest" tag.

"If we believe in God as the omnipotent and benevolent creator," said Ayala, "and that God designed human beings, he would have a lot to answer for."
Ayala asserts that God's handiwork is not evident in man. This view is apparently perfectly legal to expound in school, unlike the opposite view that God's power and divine nature are manifest in His creation, which is a crime.

Ayala is an ex-priest. Mr. Phillips, retiring, will soon be an ex-teacher. Mr. Lopez will move on to stories he can report without shilling.

Small steps forward.


63 comments:

  1. I don't even care about this issue, but it is clear that the separation of church and state is being used as a weapon against believers. It's supposed to be our shield against the government, not its saber against us.

    The quickly migrating goalposts on display are also worth noting. Anti-theists love to tell you that they aren't against religion and nothing they're advocating infringes on anyone's rights in any way. They even like to tell you that optional, student-led religious functions are permissible, although anyone who has ever attended a public school in the past twenty-five years knows that this isn't true. There is a de facto ban on God in schools. Look at this guy--he's all upset that the separation of church and state might be violated by an invited speaker coming to speak to an extracurricular Christian club.

    TRISH

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    1. They even like to tell you that optional, student-led religious functions are permissible, although anyone who has ever attended a public school in the past twenty-five years knows that this isn't true.

      You're so funny when you shriek and clutch your pearls. Even more so when your claims are directly contradicted by the article you are commenting on. This article is about student-led religious functions at a public school. These functions are explicitly permitted by the school authorities. Not even the guy who is critical of the speakers in question says that they can't do it. He just thinks that espousing creationism as science does a disservice to students.

      Delete
    2. "You're so funny when you shriek and clutch your pearls."

      You're so funny when you don't know what the heck you're talking about.

      The article directly contradicts what you said. Sure, they permit the club to exist, but then they invite the wrong speaker and there's suddenly a "constitutional" church-state conflict. Isn't it still optional and still student led? He is saying that the speaker is doing a disservice but that's not all he's saying. He's saying that it's unconstitutional.

      "But Phillips believes some activities of the student-led Christian Club on his high school campus come close to violating the separation of church and state."

      No, they don't.

      TRISH

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    3. He's clearly saying that inviting this Mr. Morgan is not allowed under the Constitution, anon. He's saying this has to stop.

      So let's be clear--nowhere is safe for Christians. Even if the religious content appears in a voluntary, extracurricular student-led activity, it's still not allowed. Or at least that's what this nasty man is advocating, and if you disagree with him then you should be on the doctor's side here. You should at least admit that some very intolerant people abuse the separation doctrine to silence their opponents and squelch religion. Can you do that?

      JQ

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    4. He's saying that it's unconstitutional.

      He's clearly saying that inviting this Mr. Morgan is not allowed under the Constitution, anon.

      No, he's not. What do you think "comes close" means? It means it is not a violation of the Constitution.

      So, despite the pearl clutching and horrified shrieking, we have a club that is allowed to operate, that the administration says is operating within the accepted rules, and that even this teacher who dislikes creationism says has not violated the Constitution.

      So, contrary to Trish's assertion that "They even like to tell you that optional, student-led religious functions are permissible, although anyone who has ever attended a public school in the past twenty-five years knows that this isn't true." what we have here is optional, student-led religious functions that are not only permissible, but are actually happening and which the administration of the school finds to be perfectly okay. In other words, the article directly contradicts Trish.

      And the "nasty man", contrary to JQ's blathering, is not saying that this activity is not allowed. He's saying it is close to the line. Whether or not it is true that it is close to the line, he's not saying it is not allowed. In fact, he says the exact opposite when quoted in the article.

      So, either the two of you cannot read very well, or you are just lying about it. Which is it?

      Delete
    5. That's incorrect, Anonymous. He said that it comes close to being a violation of the separation of church and state. No, it doesn't. The reason he's saying that is because he either believes it's a close call (which it isn't) or he wants others to believe that it's a close call. Otherwise, he would say, "Clearly this is constitutional" or "obviously there is no church-state issue here." To use a cursed double negative, he is NOT saying that there is NOT an issue here.

      Either you can't read well or you're just lying. Which is it?

      "They even like to tell you that optional, student-led religious functions are permissible, although anyone who has ever attended a public school in the past twenty-five years knows that this isn't true."

      I stand by that comment. Schools are a God free zone. That is how many teachers and students understand it. I made the mistake of talking about God when I was young enough not to know better and uncomfortable teachers let me know that we don't talk about that in school because not everyone believes (so what?) and some people might get offended (the bigots) and yada yada yada.

      TRISH

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    6. "Whether or not it is true that it is close to the line, he's not saying it is not allowed. In fact, he says the exact opposite when quoted in the article."

      The exact opposite of saying that there is a church state issue here would be to say that there is obviously none. He hedged his bet by saying that it comes close. That is not the exact opposite.

      TRISH

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    7. You anonymous: If it's optional and student led, why did he even bring it up? Eh...the Constitution doesn't even say anything about that anyway. It talks about Congress establishing an official religion, that's all.

      Joey

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    8. He said that it comes close to being a violation of the separation of church and state.

      Yes he did. Close does not mean he thinks there is a violation. He just thinks it is close to the line. As I said before, whether it is actually close or not is beside the point. He says this particular activity is permissible under the law. Which makes your shrieking and wailing silly.

      Schools are a God free zone.

      Except that in this school, and every other school in the U.S., where optional student-led religious activities are clearly permitted by the administration. For you to claim that schools are a God-free zone when the very article you are commenting upon has religious activity happening at this very minute is the height of hypocritical hysteria.

      Delete
  2. This Phillips is such a crybaby bitch.

    These people really don't like discussion. It's the same with global warming, homosexuality, and nearly everything else I can think of. It's all the equivalent of Holocaust denial. They decide what's true and keep opposing ideas out.

    The Torch

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  3. My first glance at the LA Times article was that, since it's a student run club, having invited Creationist lecturers is quite legal and constitutional.

    I wonder, though, how you'd be able to stop a Holocaust denier talking at a history club meeting, if run entirely by students. I imagine it wouldn't be possible to stop it, unless Holocaust denial is illegal in America, as it is in Germany and Austria (David Irving ran into trouble with this law in Austria).

    Francisco Ayala is a Christian. He won the Templeton Prize, the main qualifications for which being 1. A scientist, and 2. Saying nice things about religion.

    I don't take much notice of your remarks on evolution. You're as clueless on this just as you are clueless on neuroscience, cosmology, particle physics, history, literature, fine art, logic, and virtually every other field of knowledge. Besides Aristotle and hylemorphic dualism.

    Ayala doesn't like ID, because if the human body was set out to be intelligently designed, not a very good job was done of it. More Incompetent Design than Intelligent Design.

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    1. Well, I suppose that Federal Courts won't need to get involved. Johann P'dq, an Australian pathologist, has issued an opinion.

      Which is worth about as much as his opinions on "neuroscience, cosmology, particle physics, history, literature, fine art, logic, and virtually every other field of knowledge".

      Have a nice day, Johann. We love ya up here. Always good for a little comic relief. You da man.

      Delete
    2. @bach:

      Holocaust denial is largely the dissembling of Nazi sympathizers and anti-Semites. It is not a valid historical viewpoint.

      Intelligent design is a difference of opinion regarding biology. It is a valid scientific inference, one held by many scientists, the majority of scientists in history, most Americans (by a huge majority), most human beings alive now (by a huger majority), and most people who have ever lived (a hugerer majority).

      The question is: should we permit the teaching of atheistic Darwinism in school?

      I like a good debate, and I like the Constitution, so I say yes, as long as opposing (ie majority) views can be expressed.

      Delete
    3. Intelligent design is a difference of opinion regarding biology. It is a valid scientific inference, one held by many scientists

      You misspelled "a tiny fraction of scientists who can't support their claims".

      Delete
    4. By the same 'reasoning', faith healing should be taught in medical school. You do believe in faith healing, don't you Egnor?

      Delete
    5. bachfiend: "...if the human body was set out to be intelligently designed, not a very good job was done of it."

      I beg to differ!

      Delete
    6. @troy:

      I think that most faith healing, like Darwinism, is a delusion or a fraud. Faith certainly heals, and can heal physically, but mostly heals spiritually.

      Of course faith healing should be taught in medical school, in the sense that it should be discussed freely and taught formally in psychiatry and ethics classes. Student doctors should know the claims and facts and fallacies about it.

      Censorship is bad for all, except people like you who are afraid to contest your views in the marketplace of ideas.

      Delete
    7. If Intelligent Design is a valid scientific inference, why does it have no testable hypotheses or research program despite having decades to develop either?

      Oh, and Mr. Egnor? Stop trying to be funny. Seriously, just stop. You're a conservative. You don't know how to do funny.

      Boo

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    8. If ID has no testable hypotheses, why do Darwinists insist that its not true? How did they test it, to know it's not true?

      If you can't test for design in nature, how can you assert that Darwinism, which denies design, is true?

      And on the topic of my being funny, I'm not funny. You're funny, and I just write about it.

      Delete
    9. They don't insist it's not true, they say it isn't science, and they're right. The theory of evolution is not about denying design in nature, it is a model which fits the data. And I didn't say you can't test for design in nature, I said the ID movement has never figured out a way to do so. Which is not surprising since ID in its current form is incapable of coming up with any testable hypotheses. A completely unconstrained "designer" cannot in principle be tested.

      Boo

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    10. Boo:

      Let me get this right: you assert that Darwinism "is not about denying design in nature"? So all of nature could be designed-- God with his big chisel and paintbrush working away feverishly, designing everything, and that would be entirely consistent with Darwinism?

      Are the innumerable atheists who tout that Darwin made them "intellectually fulfilled atheists" just making it up?

      Bullshit. Darwinism explicitly and emphatically denies design in biology. That's the whole f*cking point. Per Dawkins: "biology is the study of things that appear designed, but aren't".

      One of the most frustating things about dealing with you losers is that you haven't a shred of rhetorical integrity. You'll say anything to get yourself out of a hole.

      Delete
    11. I think that most faith healing, like Darwinism, is a delusion or a fraud. Faith certainly heals, and can heal physically, but mostly heals spiritually.

      If you claim that faith certainly heals, how can you say that faith healing is mostly delusion or fraud? Seems contradictory to me. Or is this a Catholic vs. Protestant thing?

      Why don't you explain exactly what you mean by Darwinism? You call it a fraud or delusion, but it's not clear what it is exactly that deserves this judgement.

      Delete
    12. Darwinism explicitly and emphatically denies design in biology.

      No, it doesn't. And by claiming this, you expose your complete ignorance of the subject. The theory of evolution by natural selection makes design unnecessary, but it doesn't "explicitly and emphatically" deny it.

      But since there isn't any actual evidentiary support for design in nature, there isn't any reason to claim that there is. Until you ID clowns come up with some evidence in support of your claim that there is design in nature, there is no basis for claiming design.

      But that's different from deny that there is design. That is simply pointing out that there isn't any evidence for that proposition.

      Delete
    13. One of the most frustating things about dealing with you losers is that you haven't a shred of rhetorical integrity. You'll say anything to get yourself out of a hole.

      Funny, isn't it? I feel the same way about your bullshit. How can we fix that problem?

      Delete
    14. If ID is such a fertile source of new ideas, then why hasn't it produced any results? The flagship journal 'Bio-complexity' in the 2012 volume has just 4 articles.

      Young Earth Creationism is science, wrong science, but still science. It makes predictions what evidence would be found if you went out into the world and looked. The tactic of ID is to cast doubt on evolutionary biology, which they call Darwinism - as if they think that Darwin is a shady scientist (which he isn't, he was a perfectly respectable scientist of his time who got a lot of things right, a lot of things wrong and didn't know what we know now) - in the delusion that if they could defeat it, then ID wins by default.

      Stephen Meyers' list of 'predictions' that he reckons ID makes in Appendix A in 'Signature in the Cell' are just nonsense.

      ID is just recycled 1802 Paleyism.

      Anyway, does anyone dispute that a student club with no direction from the school or teachers can discuss anything they want? Creationism and Holocaust denial would be entirely constitutional, not able to be challenged in a federal court? And that if a student club attempted to discuss anything considered to be 'beyond the pale' of accepted community standards, the only way it could be stopped would be a direction from the school administration?

      I'm mainly thinking of a student club set up based on 'racial superiority', but it could also apply to Holocaust denial. Creationist clubs could not be stopped by the school because it's an infringement of the first amendment.

      Delete
    15. @anon:

      [The theory of evolution by natural selection makes design unnecessary, but it doesn't "explicitly and emphatically" deny it.]

      Of course Darwinism denies design. That's the whole f***ing point. But for the sake of argument, let's go with it. Let's say that "The theory of evolution by natural selection makes design unnecessary" is a true statement.

      Then I can argue that the obverse is just as true: the theory of design makes evolution by natural selection unnecessary. Design can explain everything evolution can, if evolution can explain everything design can.

      'Oh' you say, using your highly evolved atheist brain, 'but Darwinism is a much better explanation for bad design, vestigal structures, homology, etc.'

      And I would reply: "But you just said the design can't be tested scientifically, and yet you are proposing the superiority of Darwinism based on it's superior power in scientific tests."

      So unless design can be tested scientifically, my assertion that design makes Darwinism superfluous and your assertion that Darwinism makes design superfluous have the same claim to truth. You can't invoke scientific evidence, because you claim design is untestable.

      At this point your highly evolved atheist brain acts like those primates in the cages that George talked about...

      Delete
    16. [If ID is such a fertile source of new ideas, then why hasn't it produced any results?]

      The inference to design is used everywhere in biology. Without inference to purpose and function, biology cannot be discussed, let alone studied. If there is no design in biology, why study DNA as a code? Why investigate the function of enzymes, or the purpose of metabolic pathways?

      ID of course makes very specific predictions (cf Myers) One prediction is that most DNA is not junk. That prediction has been verified in spades, in what has been the biggest scandal to hit biology in the past 50 years-- the idiot Dawinist insistence that most DNA was non-funcitonal junk.

      Delete
    17. [Why don't you explain exactly what you mean by Darwinism]

      Darwinism is the theory that there is no design or teleology in biology. The various mechanisms proposed-- RM+NS, neutral drift, puncuated equilibrium, kin selection, yada yada-- are merely mechanisms by which non-teleological function may evolve.

      Delete
    18. But you just said the design can't be tested scientifically, and yet you are proposing the superiority of Darwinism based on it's superior power in scientific tests.

      No. I said you haven't come up with any method of demonstrating design. There is no "theory of design", because you haven't actually come up with anything to test whether design is true.

      The theory of evolution by natural selection, on the other hand, has been tested and has held up every time. But it says absolutely nothing one way or the other about whether there is design in nature. That's a separate question. You have to establish that there is support for design before you can assert design.

      But of course, your brain can't seem to grasp that.

      Delete
    19. One prediction is that most DNA is not junk. That prediction has been verified in spades

      Only if one ignores the actual evidence. A year or two from now when it is so painfully obvious that you're claim about "junk" DNA is bullshit that you can't even deny it, you'll be desperately trying to claim that a foundational prediction of ID is that DNA is mostly junk.

      Delete
    20. bachfiend sees suboptimal design when he looks at himself in the mirror. Here is a text (cut-and-pasted from UCD) to help him vanquish his problem!

      It seems to me that there are several flaws with the argument from ‘suboptimal design’ in nature. For one thing, the ability to detect design does not require that the design be optimal. Windows operating systems have many design flaws – but that doesn’t make them any less designed. The argument carries the assumption that the only candidate for designer is an omnipotent and benevolent deity, but this doesn’t necessarily follow. I happen to believe in such a deity (for, in my judgment, good reasons), but I don’t believe that it logically follows from the evidence of design in biology. Even if one is a theist, I see no problem with the position that God may have acted through secondary causes. Perhaps there is some sort of intrinsic teleology built into the world, for instance, that produces the sort of complex specified information we find so abundantly in living systems.

      A second problem with the argument is that it assumes that an intelligent cause would have to produce each living thing de novo. But, again, this doesn’t necessarily follow. The theory of ID (as applied to biology) asserts that there are certain features of living systems that bear hallmarks of an intelligent cause, but this does not necessarily entail a rejection of common ancestry. Perhaps there are constraints on design placed by an organism’s evolutionary history. I happen to be skeptical of universal common ancestry, for reasons that I have articulated in my writings. But it isn’t at all incompatible with ID – in fact, many of my colleagues (e.g. Michael Behe) subscribe to common descent. I’m ambivalent on the issue. I can see some defensible arguments for the idea of hereditary continuity, but I can also see severe scientific problems with it. In my opinion, many evolutionary theorists fall victim to confirmation bias here.

      Third, the theory of ID does not require that everything in biology be designed. Indeed, designed artifacts may exhibit evidence of weathering – an example of this would be the once-functional vestigial lenses of marsupial moles which are hidden under the skin.

      Fourth, the argument often commits what one might describe as an “evolution-of-the-gaps” fallacy. Whereas the “god-of-the-gaps” fallacy states that “evolution can’t explain this; therefore god must have done it,” the converse “evolution-of-the-gaps” fallacy states that “God wouldn’t have done it that way; therefore evolution must have done it.” It is curious that this dichotomous mode of thinking is precisely what ID proponents are often accused of. Much like “god-of-the-gaps” arguments, the “evolution-of-the-gaps” argument has to retreat with advances in scientific knowledge, as biologists uncover important reasons for the way these features have been designed. One example of this would be the once-thought-to-be-prevalent “junk DNA” in our genomes, for which important function is constantly being identified. I would argue that such design reasons or “trade-offs” are plausible for the recurrent laryngeal nerve that you mention (as well as many of the other examples that are traditionally cited). On this subject, I would invite you to read this article (and the links contained therein) by my colleague Casey Luskin.

      I hope this answers your question. Feel free to respond to these remarks.

      Kind regards,

      Jonathan

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    21. [The theory of evolution by natural selection, on the other hand, has been tested and has held up every time.]

      All theories in science have evidence against them. No theory-- not Newtonian physics, not Relativity, not Quantum Mechanics-- "holds up all the time".

      Only tautologies and ideology hold up all the time.

      Your science is crap. Just atheism, in a lab coat.

      Delete
    22. Michael,

      Biology is capable of being studied not because there's the presumption of design, but because structures have function. Function is being studied, not design.

      'Junk' DNA wasn't a prediction of evolutionary biology, or even genetics. The human genome was initially assumed to be lean and mean (rather like the bacterial genome) because anything wasteful would be ruthlessly stripped out.

      But 'junk' DNA is still a viable hypothesis. The size of the genome across species shows enormous differences. The marbled lungfish has a genome 40 times greater than humans, for example.

      'Junk' DNA didn't delay research. The human genome was sequenced when the technology and computers had developed sufficiently to do the task economically - and even then it cost a billion dollars. The geneticists were predicting that many more genes would be demonstrated, as many as 100,000. The actual figure is not much more than 20,000.

      I've challenged you many times to state what percentage of junk DNA would be consistent with your assertion that almost all of the human genome is functional. But you keep on refusing to do so.

      Delete
    23. Michael,

      'All theories in science have evidence against them'.

      No, no, no, no ...

      All INCOMPLETE OR INCORRECT (I use capitals to emphasise the correction) theories in science have evidence against them.

      Scientists love to find unexpected results. You'll never win a Nobel Prize for confirming someone else's theory. But you will, possibly, if you disprove it, and come up with a better one.

      Many scientists were actually hoping that the Large Hadron Collider wouldn't show evidence of the Higgs boson at the mass where it was predicted and with the properties it was predicted, because it meant that the Standard Model of particles was correct (or rather, not disproved) and that there's nothing further to discover, at least with the available technology (if only you Americans hadn't canceled the SSC to fund the useless International Space Station - a waste of over 500 billion dollars...)

      Delete
    24. All theories in science have evidence against them.

      Only ideology and tautologies have all of the evidence on their side.

      Delete
    25. Michael,

      Why don't you answer the comments instead of making the same incorrect statements?

      And, anyway, Christianity is an ideology. Your 'brilliant' argument has just disproved Christianity.

      Delete
    26. "Let me get this right: you assert that Darwinism "is not about denying design in nature"? So all of nature could be designed-- God with his big chisel and paintbrush working away feverishly, designing everything, and that would be entirely consistent with Darwinism?"

      The theory of evolution is not about denying design in nature. Regarding whether or not "Darwinism" is about denying design in nature, you would first have to mean what your strawman of "Darwinism" means today. Even then, it would still be totally irrelevant since I'm talking about evolutionary biology as practiced by evolutionary biologists, not creationists strawmen. It's certainly possible for life to have been designed. The point is we have no scientific evidence that it is.

      "Are the innumerable atheists who tout that Darwin made them "intellectually fulfilled atheists" just making it up?"

      The theory of evolution is not responsible for how atheists feel about the theory of evolution. Hitler breathed oxygen, that doesn't make the theory that humans need oxygen to live responsible for Hitler. Personally, what I know about evolution fills me with awe at the awesome power of God's creative majesty. But that doesn't make evolution a religious theory either.

      "Bullshit. Darwinism explicitly and emphatically denies design in biology. That's the whole f*cking point.

      The point of the theory of evolution, Mr. Potty Mouth, is to provide an accurate model of the data on the history of the diversity of life. Again, you're confusing the theory itself with the implications some people happen to want to draw out of the theory.

      "Per Dawkins: "biology is the study of things that appear designed, but aren't".""

      Per Boo: "what I know about evolution fills me with awe at the awesome power of God's creative majesty"

      "One of the most frustating things about dealing with you losers is that you haven't a shred of rhetorical integrity. You'll say anything to get yourself out of a hole."

      Right. The "hole" that just happens to drive all biological research. While the IDists with their supposedly superior understanding just sit there twiddling their thumbs. And I really don't think you are in any position to question anyone else's intellectual integrity, given how many times you've run away from your opponents.

      Why has ID never come up with a single testable hypothesis or any research program?

      Boo

      Delete
    27. Theory of evolution is no more about denying design than theory of gravity is about proving that planets are not kept in their orbs by angels. In both cases there is positive theory that makes the old views obsolete.

      Your views are out of date by a century or two, Mike. This train has left the station and you are left standing on the platform. Too bad, I guess.

      Hoo

      Delete
    28. [Your views are out of date by a century or two, Mike.]

      Teleology is so... yesterday.

      I'm not fashionable.

      Delete
    29. "... given how many times you've run away from your opponents."

      Says the anonymous commentor to the guy who begins the conversations and blogs daily in his own name.

      Delete
    30. [Why has ID never come up with a single testable hypothesis or any research program?]

      ID predicted that most DNA wouldn't be junk. Darwinists used junk DNA as a crucial buttress for their theory.

      How's that workin' out for ya?

      Delete
    31. ID predicted that most DNA wouldn't be junk.

      No, actually it didn't. Any amount of Junk DNA would have been consistent with design. That's why "design" has never come up with a testable hypothesis. Anything would have been consistent with design.

      Darwinists used junk DNA as a crucial buttress for their theory.

      Except they didn't, which has been pointed out many times to you. But actual facts don't matter to you. Only your ancient ideology.

      The ID "community" has provided exactly zero contributions to science thus far. Even the ENCODE data that you keep fraudulently insisting is evidence for design was done by non-ID researchers. ID is a parasitical group leeching off of and misrepresenting the scientific research of actual scientists.

      Delete
    32. ID predicted that most DNA wouldn't be junk.

      Then show us, step by step, how it follows logically from ID that most DNA wouldn't be junk.


      Darwinists used junk DNA as a crucial buttress for their theory.

      Who did? References and quotes please.

      As a matter of fact, the presence of junk DNA, i.e. functionless DNA, was inferred from evolutionary models. Simply put, given the measured rate of deleterious mutations, the amount of functional DNA had to be much smaller than the amount of DNA present in the genome, or else, according to calculations from the models, the mutational load would have killed us all a long time ago.

      Would you care to point out the flaws in this reasoning?

      Delete
    33. "Says the anonymous commentor to the guy who begins the conversations and blogs daily in his own name."

      And then runs away when he is proven wrong. Our identities do not change that fact.

      "ID predicted that most DNA wouldn't be junk. Darwinists used junk DNA as a crucial buttress for their theory."

      Wrong on both counts. Junk DNA having function is not a prediction of ID. ID posits a completely unknown "designer" who may or may not be omnipotent, may or may not be incompetent, and whose purposes and methods ID itself says we have no way of knowing. ID is perfectly compatible with a "designer" whose design methods involved junk DNA as a byproduct, or as a consequence of the "designer's" incompetence, or for a purpose we simply cannot comprehend.

      As others have pointed out, junk DNA was actually a surprise to evolutionary biologists when it was discovered. And as I have pointed out to you before, junk DNA which is transcribed is still junk.

      Care to try again? And maybe while you're at it tell us why ID has never established a research program? It's not like they don't have the resources. They complain about the "Darwinists" not letting them publish in scientific journals, but it would be a simple matter for them to put papers up on their websites and trumpet that here is the research all the "Darwinists" don't want anyone to see. Yet they never do this. Why do you suppose that is?

      Boo

      Delete
    34. "proven wrong"?

      References. Do tell.

      Delete
    35. References? You're doing it right here in this thread! You've already been called out on your nonsense of trying to claim that ENCODE vindicates the claim that there is no junk DNA, but you ran away and then continued to make the same disproven claim right here. You do this all the time. You make a claim, we point out evidence that you are wrong, you run from it. Try reading your own blog now and then. Would you care to tell us exactly what function ENCODE found for junk DNA?

      Boo

      PS- Why has ID never come up with a single testable hypothesis or any research program?

      Delete
  4. Mr Egnor,

    Please support the cause to provide a place for feelings in intellectual circles, by supporting the knowledge about free will.

    http://ameriwiki.org/index.php?title=Free_will

    The freedom of alternatives provides the place for feelings. This knowledge is currently under attack by the usual suspects.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't make sense of what you're saying, but good luck with that.

      JQ

      Delete
  5. Leftists really don't understand the concept of the Arena of Ideas. They really, really, don't get it.

    Liberals do, by which I mean true liberals. That's why having a discussion with a true liberal is a pleasure. Liberals consider different ideas, and while they can't agree with all points of view, they enjoy a good debate and it shows. They like to hear different points of view and they are always courteous. They aren't bullies or bigots.

    True liberals are an endangered species.

    JQ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hrmm a true liberal who doesn't understand how free will works? Please read again the referred webpage, and reflect on the imporance of the issue. The knowledge about freedom is clearly the main underlying issue in the US culture war.

      Evolution theory vs creationism is merely an exponent of intellectuals not accepting the fact that freedom is real.

      If truth be told no religious person minds very much when people don't believe in the holy spirit. It is just when their own human spirit is not subjectively acknowledged that it becomes... difficult...

      Delete
    2. That's why I don't call them "liberals", JQ.

      TRISH

      Delete
  6. Despite the fact that I am more-or-less sympathetic to some of the tenets of neo-Darwinism, it amuses me that anytime someone questions the dogma it's like raking a broomstick down the cages in the Primate Lab. The next thing you know, there's a general fracas going on with screeching, threat displays, and feces-throwing from Darwin's monkeys.

    Great post, Egnor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "... it's like raking a broomstick down the cages in the Primate Lab..."

      :)

      George, you have a gift for verbal imagery. I'm still laughing from your reference to "sporting clays" in an earlier comment.

      Delete
  7. Your German is kind of unintelligible, Dr. Egnor. But I understand the gist of your post.

    Joey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a better translation would be:

      'Vorsicht! Man soll Darwin nicht bezweifeln'.

      Delete
  8. This post makes me so happy I live in a country where nobody takes creationism seriously (I guess many people don't even know what creationism is) — I have literally never met a creationist. We don't have to deal with retards who want to force schools to teach pseudoscience.

    Before a smartass makes a comment about Pyongyang, I don't live in a communist (or ex-communist) country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Americans are happy you live there, too!

      Delete
    2. Not all Americans. Some of aren't insane like Egnor.

      Delete
    3. So which country do you live in?

      Joey

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete