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Creationist groups banished from free schools

News | Published in TES Newspaper on 20 May, 2011 | By: David Marley

Bids by fundamentalist religious groups given cold shoulder

Free school bids from groups advocating creationism and intelligent design as scientific theories will not be approved, according to the first government guidance on the issue.

The move follows repeated concerns that fundamentalist religious organisations would establish free schools to promote the controversial ideas as an alternative to evolution.

As reported in The TES, the Everyday Champions Church in Newark submitted plans to the Department for Education to open a secondary school with creationism as part of its science curriculum.

But in guidelines published this week, the Government has ruled out such groups being able to set-up free schools. “Creationism, intelligent design and similar ideas must not be taught as valid scientific theories,” according to the criteria to assess the suitability of applications.

The publication comes just a week after ministers were lobbied by a new campaign group, CriSIS (Creationism In Schools Isn’t Science). The organisation sent a letter - whose signatories included professors of science and theology and practising members of the clergy - to education secretary Michael Gove calling for a ban on creationism being taught as science in lessons and extra-curricular activities.

“We demand that creationism should not be presented as a valid scientific position, nor creationist websites and resources be promoted in publicly funded schools or in any youth activities run on publicly funded school premises,” it said.

CriSIS was established by Laura Horner, a practising Christian, after a creationist was invited to speak at her son’s school, St Peter’s Church of England School in Exeter, as part of an RE revision session.

Mrs Horner claims that the speaker, Philip Bell, from Creation Ministries International, was allowed to present his views as a scientific theory. Creationism should be taught in RE as a religious point of view, but by teachers rather than guest speakers, she said.

“The guidance is wonderful news and shows the Government taking a step in the right direction,” said Mrs Horner. “We now expect the ban to be extended to apply to any activity taking place in school.”

Keith Porteous Wood, director of the National Secular Society, which is also part of the CriSIS group, said: “It is a perversion to suggest that creationism is part of science. We are pleased that the Government has acted to tackle this extremism.”

Mr Bell, a former scientist, denied that he had attempted to present his creationist views as scientific fact.

“The presentation was about my opinions,” he said. “That’s the point of RE. Many people probably think that what I said was wacky or wrong, but it is right that pupils can listen to the idea.”

Mark Perry, head of St Peter’s, said Mr Bell was one of a number of speakers with different views who had spoken to the Year 11 pupils.

“Having him speak was good RE teaching from my point of view. Creationism is on the RE GCSE syllabus,” said Mr Perry.

“I disagree with the idea that students can’t understand it and think it through for themselves.”

A Department for Education spokesman said Mr Gove had been “crystal clear” that teaching creationism as scientific fact was “wrong”.

“He will not accept any academy or free school proposal which plans to teach creationism in the science curriculum or as an alternative to accepted scientific theories,” the spokesman said.

“It’s not unusual for creationism to be discussed in religious education classes alongside other beliefs - but we’ve been given no evidence that any academy has ever taught creationism as science.”

DEADLINE: REMIT WIDENS BUT TIME IS SHORT

Parents, teachers and other groups will have just two weeks to get their application forms sent in time to open a free school by September 2012.

The Department for Education announced on Monday that the window for applications was open and that for the first time it will consider free schools for 16 to 19-year-olds, for children with special educational needs and for pupil referral units.

Groups applying this year will be the first to submit their plans under the new guidelines, which call for far more detailed proposals than the original applications.

 

Original headline: Gove banishes creationist groups from free


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Comment (186)

  • The CrISIS campaign must be the first time that Richard Dawkins and Oxford theologian Keith Ward have signed the same letter to a Government minister.

    The DfE guidance SHOULD mean that Free Schools proposals from Everyday Champions, or from the Christian Schools Trust (which teaches the absurdities of "creation science" as a credible alternative to evolution) will be turned down.

    A lot of people will now be watching closely.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    10:03
    20 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • The sooner all realise the nefariousness of Creationism the better. I first came across it 40 years ago during a transition period between working as an exploration geologist and an Anglican clergyman. At first it baffled me and then I realised that all creationism is systematically dishonest.

    Creationism is a mixtire of
    1.bad science
    2.nonsense
    3 accidental or deliberate dishonesty (or possibly delusion)
    4. a lack of care for the environment
    5. A misreading of the bible (which I hold dear)
    6 A viscious dismissal of Christians who reject Creationism
    etc

    This type of nonsense should be banned from all schools, except to be discussed as similar ideas like holocaust denial and a flat earth

    Michael Roberts

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    11:23
    20 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • Good for Newark. But Beware though, those creationists will come back with more tricks.

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    15:07
    20 May, 2011

    2011007

  • I think Mr Gove's announcement is to be applauded.

    Interested readers can sign the crISIS petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/crisis-creationism-in-schools-isn-t-science.html

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    15:41
    20 May, 2011

    Gethyn Jones

  • There are some seriously muddled ideas being broadcast here. What we want in schools is good science teaching. This means developing a mindset that questions, poses hypotheses and tests those ideas. Based on this criteria, much teaching that goes under the name of “evolutionary theory” is unworthy of the name “science”. If anyone doubts this, consider why data such as the peppered moth, or the Galapagos finches, or antibiotic resistance are presented as though they explain the origin of complexity and biological information. Conversely, as a matter of history, scientists who endorsed intelligent design in the created order contributed much to the development of the scientific enterprise. Students who are told that creation / design is banned from the science classroom may end up very confused when they discover that some of the heroes of science were people of faith and upheld design concepts that are now taboo.

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    15:57
    20 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Oh dear!

    “If anyone doubts this, consider why data such as the peppered moth, or the Galapagos finches, or antibiotic resistance are presented as though they explain the origin of complexity and biological information.”

    Oh no they are not. They are presented as examples of evolutionary change, which is quite different. The *explanation* of evolutionary change is in terms of variation and selection.

    “scientists who endorsed intelligent design in the created order contributed much to the development of the scientific enterprise.”

    Yes, and so, in their time, did scientists had thought that somewhere around the earth. I don't see why anyone should find these facts confusing.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    18:51
    20 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • And I should also have said to David that we are not discussing the entire "created order", but, quite specifically, creationism and intelligent design as opposed to the biological fact of evolution.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    19:14
    20 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • Q. What should be taught in science class-rooms?

    A. In science class-rooms, let's teach cutting-edge science.
    A few examples include:

    - Molecules-to-man evolutionism violates the Law of Biogenesis: Life does not come from non-life.

    - The specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not increase spontaneously. Therefore, there is no natural process whereby reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees (or any other supposed common ancestor) into human beings.

    - Many worldwide natural processes indicate an age for the earth of 10,000 years or less. These include population kinetics, influx of radiocarbon into earth’s atmosphere, absence of meteorites from the geologic column, and decay of earth’s magnetic field

    For more examples,
    See:
    Creation Doctrine
    What Does the Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
    What Does Cutting-Edge Science Teach about Origins?
    http://www.kolbecenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83:creation-doctrine&catid=19:creation-doctrine&Itemid=81

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    19:43
    20 May, 2011

    JosephU

  • Joseph

    Your post is scientific drivel. That is zero evidence that the earth is only 10000 years old/. The examples you gave are simply pathetic and wrongf and have been trashed many times in the last 40 years.

    I suggest you read your pope on Genesis to get your theology right as his book is excellent

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    20:26
    20 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • David

    It is your thinking that is muddled. For someone who beleives contrary to all of science that the earth is only a few thousand years old , your appeal for good science teaching is laughable.

    Now you know as well as I do that Intelligent Design only came about in the mid 90s. It was you who got me to read Behe in the first place. ID is not design but god of the gaps wrapped up in amino acids to look plausible but it is devoid of any science. Further do not retro intelligent design to those like Ray and Paley who were exponents of Design from 1680 to 1810. Those writers had more about them and should not be confused with the Design brigade of today. You need to learn a little history of science and get your facts right.

    Also please not subsume the Christian doctrine of creation into a nonsense 6 day creation which has never been the dominant view of any church (except a few oddities)

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    20:33
    20 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • PaulBraterman: "Oh no they are not. They are presented as examples of evolutionary change, which is quite different. The *explanation* of evolutionary change is in terms of variation and selection."

    The problem is that they are often the _only_ examples of "evolutionary change". Students are not told that these examples of variation are easily understood within a design-framework - so they should not be used as evidences that count against design. Darwin led the way in this confusion, because he argued that any evidence of variation was evidence for his theory. Patently, it is not. Should we not expect science students to be alert to such issues? What they should be asking for are evidences that point to increased complexity and new biological information. Very few textbooks grapple with these issues - because they are written by Darwinists who think that the variations we see in peppered moths, galapagos finches and antibacterial resistance can be extrapolated to produce complexity and new biological information. This is why much teaching of evolutionary biology has lost sight of the basic principles of science.

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    20:43
    20 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Michael Roberts: "Now you know as well as I do that Intelligent Design only came about in the mid 90s. [. . .] ID is not design but god of the gaps wrapped up in amino acids to look plausible but it is devoid of any science."

    Intelligent Design is an argument from evidence, not "god of the gaps". There are three categories of causation: Law, Chance and Design. In science, we are accustomed to methodologies for identifying and describing law-like phenomena, and also behaviour of a stochastic nature. But very few scientists have addressed causation by design. Nevertheless, we need it in archaeology and forensic science. Design theorists have sought to put methodologies for identifying design on a firmer footing - with considerable success. This is what scientists do. It is only those who are committed ideologically to a naturalistic science who say that design invokes "god-of the gaps" - but then their objections come not from science, but from metaphysics.

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    20:58
    20 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • David, you are really doing a great job helping readers evaluate the merits of your case.

    For example, "these examples of variation are easily understood within a design-framework ". True. So are all others. I have three eyes because that's what the Designer ordered.

    With Intelligent Design, we understand everything, which means that we understand nothing. If we invoke design, now as in Paley's day, we lose all incentive to understand process. How did this or that remarkable thing happen? The Designer ordered it so.

    End of story. The death of science.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    22:08
    20 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • MichaelRoberts 20:33
    20 May, 2011
    erroneously wrote: "... 6 day creation which has never been the dominant view of any church"

    A summary of a few Magisterial Catholic Church teachings about origins includes:

    - Genesis does not contain purified myths. (Pontifical Biblical Commission 1909)

    - Genesis contains real history - it gives an account of things that really happened. (Pius XII)

    - All the Fathers who wrote on the subject believed that the Creation days were no longer than 24-hour-days. (Consensus of the Fathers of the Church)

    - The work of Creation was finished by the close of Day Six, and nothing completely new has since been created—except for each human rational soul at conception (Vatican Council I)

    - Evolution must not be taught as fact, but instead the pros and cons of evolution must be taught. (Pius XII, Humani Generis)

    See:
    Creation Doctrine
    What Does the Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
    http://www.kolbecenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83:creation-doctrine&catid=19:creation-doctrine&Itemid=81

    Also,
    when God gave us the 10 commandments,
    God specifically said that creation occurred in six days,
    and was followed by one day of rest:

    Exodus 20:1,8,11 (NIV 1984)

    The Ten Commandments

    1 "And God spoke all these words ...
    8 'Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. ...
    11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
    Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.'
    See:
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus20:1-11&version=NIV1984

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    3:29
    21 May, 2011

    JosephU

  • wow the nutjobs have really came out of the corner on this one. I hope you're not teachers, seriously.

    So lets talk about the Dover trial. A Conservative Republican Christian judge, appointed by Bush himself, listened to the arguments and ruled against the teaching of ID/Creationism in school.

    His conclusion?
    "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."
    and
    "After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community."

    And just to pour salt in the wound, several of the ID defendants were charged for perjury following the trial.

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    7:44
    21 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Paul Braterman: "With Intelligent Design, we understand everything, which means that we understand nothing. If we invoke design, now as in Paley's day, we lose all incentive to understand process. How did this or that remarkable thing happen? The Designer ordered it so.
    End of story. The death of science."

    This is a caricature. I know of no advocate of intelligent design that thinks we understand everything. Rather, there is a strong conviction that we are just starting on a journey of exploration and understanding.
    There is no logical reason behind your claim that invoking design leads to the loss of any incentive to understand. To give an example, take biomimetics. For years, people schooled in evolutionary theory considered biological structures as the result of a blind tinkering process, and so they did not view the natural world as a stimulus for innovative design. How wrong they were! The field of biomimetics is blossoming and we find, not tinkering design, but exquisite design. To my knowledge, scientists sympathetic to intelligent design have always been positive about biomimetics.
    Another example concerns Junk DNA. For years, it was the mainstream position to consider 98% of the genome to be junk - the product of blind processes of duplication, mutation and recombination. I know of no scientist open to intelligent design who took this view. Instead, there was a presumption that the so-called Junk DNA has functionality. We are now discovering that junk DNA has all sorts of functions, mostly linked to regulation. The percentage of Junk DNA is rapidly falling!

    Conclusion: these two examples show that design perspectives result in asking questions and searching for answers - not the "end of science". By contrast, mainstream evolutionary biologists have gone down several cul-de-sacs because their approach left them blind to the potential of some avenues of research. We need more scientists willing to develop research that presumes design - science will be more healthy as a result.

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    14:58
    21 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • jut1233456: "So lets talk about the Dover trial."

    I cannot think of any good reasons for doing this. Scientific matters are not determined by courts of law, but by processes of reasoning, testing and experimentation. The Dover trial may make some sense in the US scene, but I hope we don't get embroiled in legal proceedings here in the UK.

    A related thought suggests we guard against following the "scientific consensus". Scientific knowledge does not come about by a democratic process (based on the number of supporters) but by scientists testing hypotheses and validating or refuting theories. Intelligent design and creationism can face the challenge. Our concen is that evolutionary theory (and particularly neodarwinism) is protecting itself from critical scrutiny and trying to present any critique of the theory as 'subversive activities by religiously motivated people". This is unhealthy for science and for education. I'd like to repeat the comment in my first post: "What we want in schools is good science teaching. This means developing a mindset that questions, poses hypotheses and tests those ideas."

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    15:14
    21 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • David, you have got it exactly wrong.

    I learned about biomimetic organic synthesis as an Oxford undergraduate in the 1950s, while discussion of biomimetic materials science was under way by the 1960s. If you don't think you need a meddling designer, that makes the subject more, not less, attractive as a research topic.

    As for what you call "junk" DNA, by which I presume you mean non-protein-coding DNA, we have known about control genes for decades. We also now know, thanks to current sequencing techniques, about accidental doubling, redoubling, and modification of function, as, for example, in Photosystems I and II, and about the varying degrees of sequence conservation depending on the significance and flexibility of function, all in triumphant confirmation of the evolutionary research programme.

    In contrast, all the Intelligent Design enterprise has given us is denial of the plain facts of common descent (Wells), statistical errors based on confusing the probabilities of events with those of sequences of events (Axe, Dembski), unsustainable claims that natural processes cannot generate new information (Dembski again), and the assertion (contradicted by his own literature survey; see QRB December, 2010) that mutation cannot spontaneously generate new function (Behe). In all these cases, not a critical examination of the evidence for evolution, but a determination, for reasons lying outside science, to reject it.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    17:01
    21 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • PaulBraterman: "If you don't think you need a meddling designer, that makes the subject more, not less, attractive as a research topic."

    This reveals the major problem for your argument: no one is advocating a meddling designer. The science in intelligent design is about design detection and the inferences that follow from a recognition of design. These discussions are often made unproductive because people do not take the trouble to find out what people are really saying. A look back at the 17th Century might help: the scientists then were all positive about design in nature, and this was a source of inspiration for them. They never spoke about a meddling designer and neither do advocates for design today.

    "As for what you call "junk" DNA, by which I presume you mean non-protein-coding DNA, we have known about control genes for decades."
    It is not what I call "Junk DNA" - the point I was making related to the consensus among evolutionary biologists that Junk DNA existed in large quantities, was not worth researching and was an evidence for evolution (because no designer would do it that way!). What are you saying? Was this consensus wrong (as I have argued) or are you still prepared to defend the concept?

    "In contrast, all the Intelligent Design enterprise has given us is denial of the plain facts of common descent (Wells), statistical errors based on confusing the probabilities of events with those of sequences of events (Axe, Dembski), [. . .] In all these cases, not a critical examination of the evidence for evolution, but a determination, for reasons lying outside science, to reject it."
    The test of this assessment requires an examination of their arguments. The authors you mention are all seeking to publish in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, but this is not straightforward. On many occasions, a critique has appeared in a journal, but no right of reply has been granted by the editor(s). Then, they have had to resort to posting on the web. The point I am making is that the criticisms of their work have all been answered, but the critics do not engage with the responses - they only refer to the critique published in peer-reviewed journals and claim victory. This is the very human face of science and I look forward to a day when the science community express a revulsion about what is being done to inhibit debate and deny scholars the opportunity to present and defend their work.

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    21:18
    21 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • All other considerations apart, you would think this was a discussion of a biology or theology Master's course. Even if creationist anti-scientific arguments had anything going for them, they would still have no place confusing school children by pretending to be science.

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    22:07
    21 May, 2011

    Brian Jordan

  • David, it is worth pointing out that you are now resorting to a most implausible conspiracy theory. Dembski's arguments are web, not journal, published because they fail to convince reviewers, even though mathematicians *love* impossibility theorems (think of the impact of Goedel). Dembski himself, after claiming that evolution cannot generate new information, has admitted that he cannot provide a proof of this assertion. And the refutation of Behe that I referred to comes, not from an imagined cabal of deaf adders, but from his own most recent publication, which I cited.

    I repeat the central charge; you are peddling convoluted scientific garbage, which you and your allies embrace for reasons that have nothing to do with science, and you want the right to present this as science, in publicly funded schools, to kids who don't know any better.

    For shame!

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    23:10
    21 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • to teach children things contrary to what the bible states about the origin of the universe and the human family, Is to deprive children of basic rights which include a good sound education and the right to know the truth.
    to teach children lies about evolution Is so wrong...and that also exposes us as hypocrites that celebrate Christmas in supposed honor of god and his son Christ Jesus even though December 25th actually corresponds with the pagan birth of the sun...History bears witness to the fact that December 25th was chosen by a church leader to be the date Jesus was Born even though the Greek and Hebrew scriptures do not actually say when Jesus was born.
    This whole set up Is a conspiracy headed by the government...to keep people in ignorance and amazingly the church leaders are silent when they should be speaking out against it since they are meant to be representing god?
    don't the scriptures show for example that when the apostles were told to stop teaching on the basis of Jesus name they replied that they cannot stop talking about Jesus...in fact It was so important that they carried on speaking about him because His name Corresponds with freedom...freedom from Spiritual ignorance and freedom from sin and Death eventually because of our excising faith in his name.
    therefore if we as a nation claim to be Christian and yet teach things contrary
    to what Jesus Taught and twist the words of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures to align with what we want to believe then not only are we deceiving ourselves but we are doing the same to children who deserve to receive a good education at least with regard to the origin of life and to know the truth about the purpose of Christianity.
    Micheal Gove Is not Fit to be Schools secretary.
    if he Is dead against teaching the truth then we ought to stop pretending to be a Christian nation and accept the truth which Is we are a nation of hypocrites.
    lead by wicked people who close their eyes to the truth and lead us further into ignorance...in fact they are following the pattern of the religious hypocrites in Jesus day...do not the Scriptures show that they taught contrary to what Jesus Taught?
    are not our so called political and religious So called leaders doing exactly the same?
    Shame on This Country.

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    8:59
    22 May, 2011

    saladmaster

  • Here, Here Saladmaster, I have to agree. Michael Gove is not fit to be secretary of state for schools. On that I agree but as for the rest of your drivel and inane biblical twisted arguments - are you for real???

    This is a joke, surely - a wind up. First you argue for the truth of the Bible then argue that the Bible as is today has been twisted to suit the beliefs of religious leaders. Actually I agree also with this bit, the Bible is a twisted retelling of stories deliberately put together to suit the male dominated female subjugated societies during which it was put together - just look at how many Gospels didn't make it in - a notable absence being the Gospel of Peter - the so called 'rock' on which the church is founded. Where is his 'word'? Oh yes - didn't say what they wanted him to say so cut him out. As were women, as was the Gospel of Mary so too the Gospel of Judas. Who above all should be the most revered disciple and should be the top saint - after all, if he had not betrayed Jesus then the man would not have been executed and so couldn't die to save us all!

    By the way Saladmaster, were you hoping for the end of the world yesterday? You must be so disappointed today, no rapture, no earthquake of massive proportions, no second coming (well, to be fair that's October isn't it) no dead people ascending. What a rotten day you are having. Never mind, it will get better I'm sure - there'll be plenty to read about why God didn't choose to end the world yesterday - all justified by the Bible no doubt.

    Plato

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    9:32
    22 May, 2011

    Plato

  • "I cannot think of any good reasons for doing this. Scientific matters are not determined by courts of law, but by processes of reasoning, testing and experimentation. The Dover trial may make some sense in the US scene, but I hope we don't get embroiled in legal proceedings here in the UK."

    IDiots had their chance to present evidence that ID is a credible scientific theory, and they were found to be lacking.

    The court of law may not be the place to settle scientific matters, but ID is NOT a science. As court documents showed, ID was born out of a necessity for the creationist movement to survive following Edwards v. Aguillard which lead to the teaching of creationism being banned from schools. Early draft copies of Pandas and People, showed that the the word Creationism, was simply replaced with Intelligent Design before publication. This is a FACT.

    A scientific theory, by it's very core should be testable and falsifiable, so pray tell, how do you test or falsify the existence of a "designer"?

    I bet you hope the UK doesn't get involved in legal proceedings, considering the ass kicking IDiots got in the US, and would also get here.

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    18:18
    22 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • PaulBraterman: "David, it is worth pointing out that you are now resorting to a most implausible conspiracy theory."
    No. If you look outside the controversies about design in the natural world, you find the same problems: those advancing the "consensus" position find it far easier to get their papers published. For contemporary examples, consider those scientists questioning anthropogenic climate change and those questioning plate tectonics. Climate science shows the features well: the "consensus" is that anthropogenic global warming is a major problem affecting our planet. This has involved scientists in political activity and advocacy for major structural changes in human society. Dissenting scientists have been portrayed as few in number, in the pay of oil companies, or not scientists at all. The Climategate emails revealed scientists manipulating the peer review process to support the "consensus". The dissenting scientists have been open in acknowledging that their research has been severely affected: both in failing to get papers published and in bids for funding being unsuccessful. This situation is not healthy for science - but it reveals the problems of people operating outside the "consensus" paradigm. The same could be written of scientists dissenting from plate tectonics, although they are fewer in number and the political dimension is not part of this story. So, if "conspiracy theory" is the appropriate term, it is not implausible.

    Intelligent design theory claims that design inferences can and are made with scientific rigour. However, there are numerous science opinion formers who are adamantly opposed to this as a matter of principle. They restrict science to causation via Law and Chance because their philosophy of science tells them there are no other possible categories of causation. By their definition, science is naturalistic/materialistic and all talk of intelligent design MUST be anti-science. This explains the fervour of opposition experienced by design advocates. I would point out, however, that their stance is itself alien to the spirit of science, because _if_ intelligent design is to be found in the natural world, there is no way for naturalistic science to find out the truth.

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    19:01
    22 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • jut1233456: "A scientific theory, by it's very core should be testable and falsifiable, so pray tell, how do you test or falsify the existence of a "designer"?"
    If you take the trouble to find out what design theorists write, rather than what their opponents say about them, you will find out that the issue is not testing or falsifying the existence of a "designer". The issue is whether empirical data allows design inferences to be made (or whether the data is better explained by Law or Chance). Dembski's Cambridge University 1998 monograph "The Design Inference" provides the foundation, and "No Free Lunch" (2002) develops the theoretical approach. In view of this, one might think it not unreasonable to have science students grapple with these issues during their studies.

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    19:37
    22 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • I had not intended to continue, but resent the suggestion that I have commented without informing myself.

    I am all too familiar with the creationist literature. For my take on Dembski, see http://www.cesame-nm.org/index.php/Downloads/sublevel/cid/1/start/0%22, June, p 4, and I would remind you that Dembski has retreated from his promise to produce a formal proof that undirected evolution could not explain novelty. I have numerous other analyses on the BCSE website at

    http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php?q=braterman&n=Site.Search

    I resent the time that I need to spend on such activities, but feel bound to do what I can to counter the tide of hogwash.

    But once again, we have lost track of the real issue, creationist teaching in schools, and the attempts by Everyday Champions and "Christian" Schools Trust to set up Free Schools within the publicly funded system.

    According to the PhD thesis of Sylvia Baker, a creationist science adviser to CST, these schools teach that Noah's Ark and world wide Flood are historical fact, that death only came into the world through Adam's sin, and that both Young Earth and Old Earth creationism are acceptable alternatives to 21st century Earth science and life science.

    The Baker thesis is freely downloadable at http://go.warwick.ac.uk/wrap/3115

    Note in particular Table 7.2 regarding the beliefs of students taught by CST, and the CST 2009 policy on teaching evolution, pp 354 ff.

    But I really have spent more time on this than I can afford. Pray excuse me.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    22:33
    22 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • David

    You are trying to deflect matters onto Intelligent Design. None of the ideas of Behe Dembski, Menuge hold any water at all. All they do is to repeat their oft-refuted ideas of the 90s

    Howver I wish you would come clean and admit that you beleive, contrary to all evidence, that the earth is only a few thousand years odla dnthat all geology is wrong. Oh and don''t say you love geology and you have studied it at length. In one sense you have but then you reject all you learnt.

    It is vital that all this young earth nonsense is not taught in any schools., for the reasons I gave in my first post.

    I cannot see how anyone with a modicum of intelligence can swallow such nonsense

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    22:53
    22 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • "If you take the trouble to find out what design theorists write, rather than what their opponents say about them, you will find out that the issue is not testing or falsifying the existence of a "designer". The issue is whether empirical data allows design inferences to be made (or whether the data is better explained by Law or Chance). Dembski's Cambridge University 1998 monograph "The Design Inference" provides the foundation, and "No Free Lunch" (2002) develops the theoretical approach. In view of this, one might think it not unreasonable to have science students grapple with these issues during their studies."

    So In short, you're ignoring the fact that the central idea behind ID cannot be tested in any meaningful way. The illusion of design is not proof that something was designed. You've also ignored the fact that ID was inserted in place of Creationism, word for word in their flagship textbook. This is not from anti-IDiot literature, but court documents from the Dover Trial.

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    5:14
    23 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Paul Braterman: “For my take on Dembski, see
    http://www.cesame-nm.org/index.php/Downloads/prep_hand_out/lid/59
    June 2010, p 4, and I would remind you that Dembski has retreated from his promise to produce a formal proof that undirected evolution could not explain novelty.

    Your “take” has the same problem as most other models of evolutionary processes: it makes no attempt to establish connections to the real world. You acknowledge that Dembski has a convincing argument that the maximum number of events that have occurred in the entire history of the universe is considerably smaller than 10^150. Also, you accept that, when applied to protein sequences, the probabilities are of a comparable magnitude. Then you construct a scenario that can create as large a number of possibilities as anyone might want. There is nothing profound in this. Then, you conclude with a statement derived from dogma: “Evolution is possible without supernatural intervention because natural selection taps into the enormous amount of information implicit in the fitness landscape itself.”
    The problem here is that you have departed from science by failing to root your arguments in the empirical world. You have a theory which trumps every hand played against it – a modern version of Aristotelianism.
    Very few evolutionists have gone into print about probabilities (whether of the origin of life or the formation of the most basic usable protein) but when they do, they confirm the vast improbabilities of getting biological information through blind processes of variation and natural selection. One who has, in the context of the origins of life, is Eugene V Koonin. The probabilistic hurdle is unimaginably vast and Koonin has resorted to desperate measures to escape the inference to design. He invokes the multiverse theory: “In this model, the stage for Darwinian selection is set by anthropic selection of complex systems that rarely but inevitably emerge by chance in the infinite universe (multiverse).” For more on this, go here:
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2007/06/23/how_to_solve_a_puzzle_that_defeats_conve
    Just as cosmologists have found the multiverse concept a way of evading design in physics and chemistry (fine tuning, etc) so some biologists are now turning to the multiverse to escape the implication of design in the biological world. This would not be so bad if a free discussion of design in nature was allowed so that students could critique the options, but current talk is about prohibition of design theory. This leads me to suggest that a consequence of denying design is an attack on empirical science by the imposition of grand multiverse theories that no one can test and no one can prove.

    Regarding Dembski’s thinking on undirected evolution failing to explain novelty, his most recent offering appears to be this: “Life's Conservation Law: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information.”
    http://evoinfo.org/publications/lifes-conservation-law/

    “But once again, we have lost track of the real issue, creationist teaching in schools, and the attempts by Everyday Champions and "Christian" Schools Trust to set up Free Schools within the publicly funded system.”
    The problem for me is that these words carry a lot of baggage that I do not recognise or want to own. The argument I am bringing was expressed in my first post on this thread:
    “What we want in schools is good science teaching. This means developing a mindset that questions, poses hypotheses and tests those ideas. Based on this criteria, much teaching that goes under the name of “evolutionary theory” is unworthy of the name “science”.”

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    13:36
    23 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Michael Roberts: “You are trying to deflect matters onto Intelligent Design. [. . .] It is vital that all this young earth nonsense is not taught in any schools, for the reasons I gave in my first post. I cannot see how anyone with a modicum of intelligence can swallow such nonsense.”

    Intelligent design is part of the prohibition petition – so writing about it is not deflecting the issue.
    Let me make it clear that I am opposed to brainwashing posing as education. Educators need to be helping students develop their critical faculties, evaluate arguments, apply the scientific method, etc. Teachers are working to curricula set by exam boards. In my view, they should have the freedom to teach without being told what they can and cannot do by politicians or pressure groups. I regard the latest petition as an intrusion into the professionalism of teachers. My fear is that it will reinforce the hegemony of Darwinism in education – and I regard Darwinism as seriously deficient as far as science is concerned. I am not asking for people to agree with my assessment of Darwinism. However, I am raising concerns that students are being taught Darwinism uncritically. In 1960, Professor Kerkut wrote a book on the “Implications of Evolution”. In it he had an account of typical interviews he had with students:
    Professor Kerkut: "Well, now, if you really understand an argument you will be able to indicate to me not only the points in favor of the argument, but also the most telling points against it"
    Student: "Yes, sir"
    Professor Kerkut: "Good. Please tell me, then, some of the evidences against the theory of Evolution."
    Student: "Against what, sir?"
    Professor Kerkut: "The theory of evolution."
    Student: "But there aren't any, sir"
    Professor Kerkut was alarmed by this – and it motivated him to write his book. Based on my own experiences, we are still facing the same problems.

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    14:35
    23 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • And in that case the Student would have been right.
    I find it amusing that you are rabidly against accepting that so far ToE is the best explanation we have for explaining the vast variation of life on this planet, yet you're typing on a computer built by science, you drive a car built by science, take medicine made by science, and live in a world surrounded by science. The same scientific method that lead to the discovery of Evolution, surrounds you.
    I'll never cease to be amazed at the level of 'head in sand' shown by the IDiot crowd. Even after Dover.

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    16:04
    23 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • And you're quoting from a guy who published a book in 1960, claiming several assumptions that, quite correctly at the time, he was not happy with.
    The first strands of DNA were sequenced in 1970, the information from which provided evidence to satisfy all but one of his concerns.

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    18:23
    23 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • A Department for Education spokesman said Mr Gove had been “crystal clear” that teaching creationism as scientific fact was “wrong”.

    At last one year in Gove does something right. Trouble is that prior to this he sent out all the WRONG messages.

    Intelligent design & creationism is openly taught in a number of Academies & Faith schools; these same Academies & Faith schools have been held up as beacons of light for other schools to follow.

    Intelligent design & creationism are at their core 'dishonest'; ignoring all evidence in favour of an ideological viewpoint. The ideas projected by the nutters that push these ideas can be seen to be just one branch of religion. However looked at rationally it is possible to see that all (yes ALL!) religious ideas are at their core 'dishonest'; ignoring all evidence in favour of an ideological viewpoint................So I'd go as far as saying that all religious ideas should be kept away from places of learning. Please don't teach ANY RE (with or without the wacky ideas of Intelligent design & creationism) in ANY shcool. Just teach evidence based, peer reviewed KNOWLEDGE.

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    10:33
    24 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • DavidJTyler

    Quote: 'If you take the trouble to find out what design theorists write, rather than what their opponents say about them, you will find out that the issue is not testing or falsifying the existence of a "designer". The issue is whether empirical data allows design inferences to be made (or whether the data is better explained by Law or Chance). Dembski's Cambridge University 1998 monograph "The Design Inference" provides the foundation, and "No Free Lunch" (2002) develops the theoretical approach. In view of this, one might think it not unreasonable to have science students grapple with these issues during their studies.'

    You have your hypothesis: A designer created this, before examing one single bit of evidence. By openly stating: 'The issue is whether empirical data allows design inferences to be made....' You have broken the fundamental idea that reseach LEADS to knowledge; you are openly 'data trawling' for anything to support your ideological point of view. In addition your hypothesis is not falsifiable and therefore is actually nonsense.

    By adding: 'The issue is whether empirical data allows design inferences to be made (or whether the data is better explained by Law or Chance)' you are deliberately creating a straw man argument of Evolution as 'Law or Chance' which is what you complain that scientists do when you initially said: 'If you take the trouble to find out what design theorists write, rather than what their opponents say about them...'

    Half-truths, an appeal to unreason and no evidence isn't science and never will be.

    Your ideas aren't based on science.
    Your ideas aren't based on evidence.
    Your ideas aren't based on logic.
    Your ideas aren't based on rational arguments.
    Your ideas have no basis in 'truth' as we understand it.

    Your rant: 'Let me make it clear that I am opposed to brainwashing posing as education. Educators need to be helping students develop their critical faculties, evaluate arguments, apply the scientific method, etc. Teachers are working to curricula set by exam boards. In my view, they should have the freedom to teach without being told what they can and cannot do by politicians or pressure groups. I regard the latest petition as an intrusion into the professionalism of teachers. My fear is that it will reinforce the hegemony of Darwinism in education.......' is trying to place very silly ideas based on bronze age myths as somehow intellectually equal to modern science. There isn't 'Darwinism in education' there is SCIENCE in education. The freedom to explore ideas shouldn't include teaching 'alchemy' in chemistry other than to point out how silly it is; the same applies to ID & creationism.

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    12:05
    24 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Brooke Bond, you are unfair to alchemy. If studying the history of ideas, we teach alchemy as a stage in the development of chemistry, geocentrism as a stage in the development of astronomy, and Cuvier's fixity of species as a stage in the development of biology. But it is only in biology that we are plagued with those who want to ignore centuries of subsequent discovery.

    Brooke Bond (and anyone else); if you have details of creationism being taught as valid, BCSE would like to hear form you at

    committee@bcseweb.org.uk.

    Meantime, the CrISIS (Creationism In Schools Isn't Science) petition remains open at

    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/crisis-creationism-in-schools-isn-t-science.html

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    12:56
    24 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • Brooke Bond: “By adding: 'The issue is whether empirical data allows design inferences to be made (or whether the data is better explained by Law or Chance)' you are deliberately creating a straw man argument of Evolution as 'Law or Chance' ”

    I find it difficult to understand your arguments. “Law” and “Chance” together represent “natural” causes. Evolutionary theory is committed to natural causation – so inevitably, Law and Chance summarise the processes contributing to evolutionary change. This is not a straw man argument. Let me illustrate this with a quote from Jacques Monod – who wrote the book “Chance and Necessity” to specifically point out that Chance and Law (necessity) are the factors involved in evolutionary theory. His argument in the quote below is that the chance mechanism can and never will be dethroned:
    "We call these [mutation] events accidental; we say that they are random occurrences. And since they constitute the only possible source of modifications in the genetic text, itself the sole repository of the organism’s hereditary structures, it necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free and blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition --or the hope – that on this score our position is likely to be revised."
    (Jaques Monod, Chance and Necessity, Collins, Vintage Books, London, 1972, p.112-113).

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    13:43
    24 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • PaulBraterman: “If studying the history of ideas, we teach alchemy as a stage in the development of chemistry, geocentrism as a stage in the development of astronomy, and Cuvier's fixity of species as a stage in the development of biology. But it is only in biology that we are plagued with those who want to ignore centuries of subsequent discovery.”

    I get the feeling that you want to terminate this discussion – which is OK, but I’m not prepared to leave this as the last word. You are seeking to present intelligent design and creationism as stuck in the past, ignoring centuries of discovery. In my experience, the scientists who are prepared to recognise design in nature are far more aware of the literature and contemporary trends than those who defend the textbook versions of evolutionary theory. In my various posts to you, I have tried to stress the need to test all theory against evidence rather than allow theory to mould our perceptions of the data. My impression of contemporary Darwinists is that it is they who are stuck in the 19th Century and unable (or unwilling) to see the gaping flaws in their thinking. Happily, there are mavericks that have shaken off the cobwebs. This involves people coming from a variety of different perspectives (many of whom do not recognise design). Here is a quote from two evolutionary biologists to illustrate the point:
    "Dogmatic thinking has prevailed all too often in our account, with disastrous consequences for the progress of the fields of microbiology, molecular biology, and the study of the evolutionary process. It led to the stagnant and scientifically invalid notion of the prokaryote; it led to the redefinition of the problem of the gene; and through a slavish adherence to the modern evolutionary synthesis, it led to a premature declaration of victory in the struggle to understand the evolutionary process."
    Carl R. Woese and Nigel Goldenfeld, “How the Microbial World Saved Evolution from the Scylla of Molecular Biology and the Charybdis of the Modern Synthesis”, Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 73(1), March 2009, 14-21.

    I want you to consider, bearing in mind that you have chosen NOT to interact with the responses I have given you, whether you fit the description of having “a slavish adherence to the modern evolutionary synthesis”. I want to see an educational system that is committed to empirical science, not adherence to ideology - whatever source itcomes from.

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    14:23
    24 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "I want to see an educational system that is committed to empirical science, not adherence to ideology - whatever source it comes from."

    I'm glad you've mentioned ID and creationism in the same sentence, at least you've dropped the pretense that ID is anything but creationism in a new shirt (as proven in the Dover trial).
    So again, tell me, how do you empirically test the existence of a supernatural designer? And where does invoking a supernatural cause fit into empirical science? Considering a supernatural designer is the keystone of Creationism, surely empirical evidence that one exists should be of the highest priority. Either than or a Precambrian Bunny.

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    14:54
    24 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • You find it difficult to understand my arguments? What you mean is that you are wriggling.

    Quote: 'Law and Chance summarise the processes contributing to evolutionary change.'

    Like a chameleon you change what you say even though we can still observe it several posts ago. You actually said: 'The issue is whether empirical data allows design inferences to be made (or whether the data is better explained by Law or Chance)'. This is deliberately creating a straw man argument of Evolution as 'Law or Chance' you are now saying something different.

    Probability DOES have a part to play in evolution but it is only a part. To claim evolution is just random chances is to deliberately distort science. You are playing on a niave idea of probability & silly ideas of what 'chance' actually is.

    Let me explain a bit about probability.

    1. Every week I pick a set of lottery numbers and every week the chance of those numbers winning is 1 in 13,983,816 I haven't yet won but most weeks somebody DOES win. That person feels very special, and no doubt thinks he was chosenbut it could just as easily been me or several million other outcomes.

    2. Starting out with a single cell organism containing some DNA the chances of that developing into a complex human life form is very much lower than 1 in 13,983,816. However we ARE here and you obviously FEEL very special but there could just as easily been another form of multi-celled organism or one of several million other outcomes, sat here in our place.

    You complain that people distort what ID & creationism is yet at the same time YOU distort basic maths and the theory of evolution.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    PaulBraterman,

    While on holiday recently I was chatting to a young lady educated in one of the Sunderland Emmanuel Schools Foundation academies controlled by the wealthy philanthropist, Sir Peter Vardy. She is now in her early 20's and explained how all the way through her school life creationism was being taught as fact. At the time she WANTED to question it as nonsense but there wasn't really any 'pupil voice'. I hjad a very interesting conversation with someone who wasn't taken-in by nonsense but who couldn't believe that this rubbish was taught in schools.

    My worries go further though, with RE being given ANY schooltime we are allowing ideology to take presidence over knowledge.

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    15:01
    24 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • DavidJTyler,

    For the record there aren't ANY 'evolutionary biologists' or 'contemporary Darwinists' there are just biologists or or even scientists.

    Quote: 'I want to see an educational system that is committed to empirical science, not adherence to ideology - whatever source itcomes from.'

    You actually HAVE science which is a PROCESS committed to empirical evidence being taught in schools but you actually want to change that to an educational system that tells STORIES based on MYTH & LEGEND instead.

    Please do not try to cover up your religious agenda, these battles have been fought many times; creationism and ID will eventually be consigned to the dustbin of ideas alongside alchemy, leaching, witchcraft and Homeopathy.

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    15:12
    24 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • David, I have indeed had enough of this nonsense, but cannot let plain error stand. I have heard Woese and read his papers with interest.

    Your citing him in favour of creationism is total travesty. He argues, NOT that the modern synthesis is wrong in the creationist sense, but, on the contrary, that it is too restrictive and underestimates horizontal information flow.

    Yet he is invoked in creationist texts, and in your posting, as if he supported either divine guidance or separate creation. The very opposite of the truth.

    I refer you to the 9th Commandment.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    17:55
    24 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • I have to say I am staggered by this move, as the evidence for design rather than evolution is in my view totally overwhelming. What is happening is that atheists are banning any alternative viewpoint being even discussed. What is so wrong with the very rational viewpoint that the Universe has an Intelligence behind it?The modern view of the cell as an interconnected network of truly staggering interdependent complexity has a far more natural explanation in terms of design rather than any hope of a naturalist evolutionary development being responsible. Added to that the fine tuning in the cosmos and a thousand other facts which simply cry out for an intelligent design viewpoint and the evidence is in my view overwhelming. I speak as a former atheist and a person with good degrees in physics, computing and space engineering. It is SO sad that atheists are now cutting off any disagreement at root. I didn't want to live in a Communist style country but I am afraid that in this instance the Atheist Politburo has won. What a shock when they turn out to have been wrong all along.

    Graham Paterson BSc,MSc

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    21:49
    24 May, 2011

    grahampaterson1

  • Graham Paterson BSc,MSc,

    Quote: '.....the evidence for design rather than evolution is in my view totally overwhelming.'

    As yet NOBODY has ever offered ANY actual evidence for design. Do you have any? Could you share it with us?

    Quote: 'What is happening is that atheists are banning any alternative viewpoint being even discussed. What is so wrong with the very rational viewpoint that the Universe has an Intelligence behind it?'

    Atheists are not banning anything. Other rational (ie evidence based) hypotheses will be considered if they ever emerge. At the moment it is NOT a very rational viewpoint that the Universe has an Intelligence behind it simply because no evidence for this actually exists.

    Quote: 'The modern view of the cell as an interconnected network of truly staggering interdependent complexity has a far more natural explanation in terms of design rather than any hope of a naturalist evolutionary development being responsible. Added to that the fine tuning in the cosmos and a thousand other facts which simply cry out for an intelligent design viewpoint and the evidence is in my view overwhelming.'

    THAT isn't evidence.

    Quote: 'I speak as a former atheist and a person with good degrees in physics, computing and space engineering.'

    All humans are born atheist; it is the natural way. Only some are infected with 'belief'. As for your 'good degrees in physics, computing and space engineering': are you a space cadet?

    Quote: 'It is SO sad that atheists are now cutting off any disagreement at root. I didn't want to live in a Communist style country but I am afraid that in this instance the Atheist Politburo has won. What a shock when they turn out to have been wrong all along.'

    This isn't a disagreement. This isn't about cutting off debate on two equally rational points of view. This is rational evidence being used to form 'knowledge' rather than myth, legend & ideology.

    By the way: Holding atheist views doesn't make you a communist. Communism is a political ideology and has nothing to do with atheism. Just because you are christian I don't consider you a nazi, even though all nazi's were christians.

    Was I meant to be impressed with your BSc,MSc? I wasn't.

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    22:25
    24 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Well Graham Patterson, for all your quyalifications, you don't half talk some utter rubbish.

    Fine tuned cosmos - where is that then? because it isn't the cosmos 7 billion people on Earth live in. A formula one racing car is 'fine tuned' our cosmos is NOT - just a few examples - the moon wobbles and its orbit is decaying (if it was fine tuned it wouldn't wobble and it would be in a perfect orbit).

    You may 'see' design but that doesn't mean it is designed - take a snow flake or a crytal - looks designed but they aren't.

    Life and our bodies have inherrent flaws in their so called design. Quite frankly if this universe is the perfect deisgn of an almighty being then he/she/it is a crap designer or an infant - perhaps that's it. The cosmos - the universe is actually a third grade kid's science project. Problem is that teacher only gave it a C- because it was badly designed hadn't been thought through and was a rush job (well 14 billion years to an omnipotent being is more like 20 mins. So 'God' spent 20 mins on his homework and this is the result.

    Go get a propoer qualification in biology perhaps you'll learn something!

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    23:53
    24 May, 2011

    Plato

  • PaulBraterman: “I have heard Woese and read his papers with interest. Your citing him in favour of creationism is total travesty. He argues, NOT that the modern synthesis is wrong in the creationist sense, but, on the contrary, that it is too restrictive and underestimates horizontal information flow. Yet he is invoked in creationist texts, and in your posting, as if he supported either divine guidance or separate creation. The very opposite of the truth.”

    Paul, you are not reading what I am writing. I did not quote Woese as though he favoured creationism, but as one who has broken out of the Darwinian straitjacket. Remember, you had accused me of ignoring centuries of scientific research: “But it is only in biology that we are plagued with those who want to ignore centuries of subsequent discovery.” I was showing that this mantle falls on those who can’t see the inadequacy of Darwinism (and Neodarwinism) to explain the complexity of life and the origin of biological information. What I actually wrote was:
    “Happily, there are mavericks that have shaken off the cobwebs. This involves people coming from a variety of different perspectives (many of whom do not recognise design). Here is a quote from two evolutionary biologists to illustrate the point: "Dogmatic thinking has prevailed all too often in our account, with disastrous consequences [. . .]”"

    Paul, your reactions illustrate why it is so important for educationalists to recognise that all explanations of origins have to be subjected to critical analysis based on evidence. It is not a case of feeding students with Neodarwinism as though this were the complete solution. This is what Woese is calling “dogmatic thinking” – I quoted him because there is a real problem here that few are addressing. Scientific discourse is being downgraded by the constant claims that dissent from the Modern Synthesis is either politically or religiously motivated. For the health of science and education, this polemical approach needs to be treated as a form of yob-culture.

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    11:12
    25 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Graham

    What is the evidence for design? Let's consider something I know a little about - glaciation. How are glaciers designed, how are the resultant landforms moraines, kames, glacial striae, erratics designed? I would love to know. Perhaps we could go to a place like Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia with a host of glaciologists and you could explain design there !!!

    Further this is NOT an athesit campaign but those who value science being properly taught in schools and colleges. Note that many of us are Christians and I resent the likes of you trying to make out it is atheistic persecution of Christians rather than intellgient people trying to stops lies and nonsense being taught as science

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    11:42
    25 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • DavidJTyler,

    You are an annoying troll.

    Quote: 'I did not quote Woese as though he favoured creationism, but as one who has broken out of the Darwinian straitjacket.'

    Not true; you did quote Woese as though he favoured creationism. Read your own comments.

    There is no such thing as a 'Darwinian straitjacket' there is a THEORY of evolution; some scientists may have arguments with other scientists about details of evolution (THAT is science!) but no scientist is arguing against evolution.

    Mr Troll: You openly talk of: 'the inadequacy of Darwinism (and Neodarwinism) to explain the complexity of life and the origin of biological information', despite there being no such thing as Darwinism or Neodarwinism, but you offer in place of the THEORY of evolution an idea based on myth, legend and bronze age stories coupled with no evidence to support it. How inadequate is that?

    Quote: 'Paul, your reactions illustrate why it is so important for educationalists to recognise that all explanations of origins have to be subjected to critical analysis based on evidence.'

    Well Mr Troll show us the evidence for ID. Because to any open minded scientist a design STORY doesn't need to be subjected to critical analysis as it is just a story..........But the THEORY of evolution is subjected to critical analysis based on evidence EVERY DAY and it is found to be the best explanation we have.

    Quote: 'Scientific discourse is being downgraded by the constant claims that dissent from the Modern Synthesis is either politically or religiously motivated. For the health of science and education, this polemical approach needs to be treated as a form of yob-culture.'

    There is NO EVIDENCE what-so-ever for this statement. Open minded people are free to engage in open discussion about evolution with science as long as they present 'science' in the form of evidence based theories. Your quote about "Dogmatic thinking'' is presented with no context and could have been taken from anywhere; I agree dogmatic thinking is bad, no scientist would disagree but I think in THIS context any open minded scientist would see ID as dogmatic and not the Theory of Evolution. In your case all your dissent is religiously motivated; so listing it in your rant doesn't somehow get you off the hook. You are ideologically opposed to the Theory of evolution because it shows that the rantings of your religious books are just plain nonsense.

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    11:54
    25 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • MichaelRoberts,

    As a climber I always thought Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia could have been better designed with a large roof to keep the rain off!

    B-Bond

    PS Sorry to hear you are a christian. Hope you get well sometime.

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    11:57
    25 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Care you answer the question I've posted twice already? Or are you just going to ignore it and hope it goes away?
    It's very simple, if you want to pretend ID/Creationism is a science, then the core concepts behind it must be testable and falsifiable.

    "So again, tell me, how do you empirically test the existence of a supernatural designer? And where does invoking a supernatural cause fit into empirical science? Considering a supernatural designer is the keystone of Creationism, surely empirical evidence that one exists should be of the highest priority. Either that or a Precambrian Bunny."

    Graham Paterson BSc,MSc - I suggest you go back to which ever diploma mill you got your qualifications from and demand a refund. They failed to teach you science.

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    12:53
    25 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • My personal belief is that you athiests dont want to see the immaculate design that exists in this universe and so close your eyes and just rubbish it as if you did then it would entail making a decision and oh you want to shy away from that don't you. When you see this plannet and notice if it were just a few miles out of orbit nearer the sun we would burn up and few miles the other way we would all freeze to death. The fact that we have an atmosphere we can all breath and it sustains life and all the know planets to us don't. The fact that all life on this planet relies on other life to continue the spiecies and now as we mow down the forrests for monetary gains, pull out all the oil and the gasses we see the earth retaliating and earthquakes, sunamis, hurracanes, complete unusual weather patterns, holes in the atmosphere and we can only blame it on the complete uncaring, money grabbing few on this earth that put accumulated wealth (which they cant take with them) and often which is a legasy where no mass of this earth gain from it. to do what but destroy this plannet which was created for the benefit of the human race. One day all you people will have to answer and then we will see where you stand as you shout for help and liberation from an eternity of torment.

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    12:59
    25 May, 2011

    kleenrod777

  • Kleenrod777 - I'm glad you've turned this into an 'Evil Atheists' vs 'God' argument that way we can at least drop the pretense that the subject of this article actually has anything to do with science.

    Also, if you believe in design, then obviously the same designer that created all the lovely things you mention above, also created delightful things such as HIV, cancer, parasitic wasps which lay eggs inside a live caterpillar (which when they hatch eat their way out), and all the other cruel and nasty things that exist in nature.
    Just remember -> http://i.imgur.com/B3scW.jpg

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    14:22
    25 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Michael Roberts: Although your last comment was addressed to Graham, I’d like to respond because it allows me to reinforce some points I’ve made earlier.
    “What is the evidence for design? Let's consider something I know a little about - glaciation. How are glaciers designed, how are the resultant landforms moraines, kames, glacial striae, erratics designed? I would love to know. Perhaps we could go to a place like Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia with a host of glaciologists and you could explain design there !!!”

    On 20 May, I responded to you with these words: “Intelligent Design is an argument from evidence, not "god of the gaps". There are three categories of causation: Law, Chance and Design.” Let me show how this works by reference to Cwm Idwal.
    Let’s assume we approach via the Nant Ffrancon valley and we climb up to find Llyn Idwall before us. We observe loose stones and ponder the significance of where they are found. We find none, and conclude that their location is dominated by chance effects. However, the lateral moraines look rather different – they are positioned in a more orderly way. We conclude that the glacial model of their deposition is a good explanation of the data. It is fully consistent with the glacial cwm/cirque/corrie visible behind the lake and also the U-shaped valley of the Nant Ffrancon. Now we are looking for more clues, and we spot glacial striations, roche moutonees and other topographic features that confirm the glacial hypothesis. All this comes into the causation category of “Law”, because we are dealing with the physics of ice buildup, erosion and movement. We now head for the west side of the lake, and note that the ground is altered in ways that facilitate walking. There are flat slabs of stone placed in strategic positions to form a (relatively) level path. As we follow this path, we see a wrought iron gate before us. This is utterly unlike anything we have witnessed thus far and we examine it more closely. We conclude that it is an intelligently engineered structure. Walking further, we see structures known as the Warden Centre and the Information Room. These are complex structures with embedded information. One piece of information we learn here is that the gate was made to commemorate the life of Evan Roberts, the first warden of Cwm Idwal. Finally, going further, we encounter a tablet near to Pont Pen-y-Benglog that has a picture of Charles Darwin and writing that makes mention of Evan Roberts. All these latter observations do not have an explanation in terms of Law and Chance, but are best understood in terms of intelligent design.

    Design thinking does not by-pass reason, nor is it an escape from reality. We use it all the time in our day-to-day lives. Always, we must come back to the evidence: what does our analysis of the data reveal: Law? Chance? Design? If natural causation provides the answers to origins, what have those committed to the philosophy of naturalism to be concerned about - all they have to do is demonstrate that their naturalistic theories work.

    But this is my concern - they must be required to demonstrate that their theories actually work. They must submit their ideas to critical scrutiny. But this seems to be what they fear - because they are fighting to keep critical evaluation of evolutionary theory out of the classroom.

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    14:39
    25 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "But this is my concern - they must be required to demonstrate that their theories actually work. They must submit their ideas to critical scrutiny. But this seems to be what they fear - because they are fighting to keep critical evaluation of evolutionary theory out of the classroom."

    Strawman again. The nature of science itself is critical. Having a paper published in a peer reviewed journal is a grueling process, and a person's lifework may be torn to shreds due to this critical process. Hell they were willing to have their ideas tested in a court of law during the Dover trial.
    Science is not fighting to keep critical evaluation of evolutionary theory out of the classroom either, they are fighting to keep religion out of the science classroom.
    And again, you fail to see that your argument is indeed a god of the gaps. You can't think of any way law or chance could explain how certain things have arisen, so you assume the default position of 'magic man did it', even though there is no empirical evidence a designer even exists.

    Finally, noting that for the third time you've ignored my question.

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    16:18
    25 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • kleenrod777,

    Quote: 'My personal belief is that you athiests dont want to see the immaculate design that exists in this universe and so close your eyes and just rubbish it as if you did then it would entail making a decision and oh you want to shy away from that don't you.'

    The PROBLEM with a belief is that it requires no evidence and you can ignore all the facts. Which you are doing.

    Quote: 'When you see this plannet and notice if it were just a few miles out of orbit nearer the sun we would burn up and few miles the other way we would all freeze to death.'

    THAT is simply not true. But even if it was you have reversed the cause & effect. We are the animals we are & life has developed the way it has BECAUSE of many factors including the orbit of the earth, the sun, the moon etc

    When you show me ONE tiny bit of evidence which actually supports your design hypothesis I'll look at it.

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    16:43
    25 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • DavidJTyler,

    Your waffle fools nobody.

    Your explanation of Cwm Idwal was mising a few things........

    1. Many cwm's will have been examined & several ideas looked at before a testable hypothesis was formulated around the idea of glaciation.

    2. Evidence would be collected from Cwm Idwal with a view to collecting evidence not supporting or opposing the hypothesis.

    3. The evidence would be evaluated to see if it supported the hypothesis.

    What you are doing with your design stories is that you BELIEVE design is the root of everything so you deliberately go & visit ares were you already think you've found evidence of design, then you exhibit THAT as evidence; ignoring many rational explanations. Alternatively you have in mind throughout your collecting of 'evidence' the idea that it was there because of design......THAT isn't science & that isn't rational.

    When you show me ONE tiny bit of evidence which actually supports your design hypothesis I'll look at it.

    Quote: 'Design thinking does not by-pass reason, nor is it an escape from reality. We use it all the time in our day-to-day lives. Always, we must come back to the evidence: what does our analysis of the data reveal: Law? Chance? Design? If natural causation provides the answers to origins, what have those committed to the philosophy of naturalism to be concerned about - all they have to do is demonstrate that their naturalistic theories work.'

    Read a science book you'll see that science (which YOU call 'naturalism') has already demonstrated all the evidence to support scientific theories. It is you who choose to ignore that evidence.

    Quote: 'They must submit their ideas to critical scrutiny. But this seems to be what they fear - because they are fighting to keep critical evaluation of evolutionary theory out of the classroom.'

    Not true. Science is fighting to keep looney tunes nonsense out of the science classroom.

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    16:57
    25 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Dear all,

    Many of us are approaching this from the wrong perspective. We are trying to prove one theory over another. More specifically - one belief over another. Instead of going into all the detail that many thousands of books have done over many hundreds of years (please don't missunderstand me - I am not saying the debate isn't valid, and the issues are helpful and interesting to discuss) it really comes down to the issue of authority. Some of the most brilliant minds in the history of the world have and do advocate evolution. However the issue is whether we want to purt our trust, faith, belief in a falible human mind - however brilliant - or the infalible mind of God as revealed in the BIble.

    Contrary to popular opinion the Bible is both internally and externally verifiable and is worth any serious thinkers consideration. Please do read for yourself - Genesis 1-11 gives the early history of the earth. However you can meet the creator persoanlly and see how he deals with all the issues and questions from his oponents in the 1st century AD - see the books of Matthew, Mark Luke or John.

    Thanks for reading this post.

    For Jesus - not for myself,

    Chris

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    22:28
    25 May, 2011

    chrisdavies7

  • David

    I think William Paley beat you. He used a watch rather than paving stones and a gate.

    What about travelling to County Antrim - you walk along the cost you see flat stones, nicely shaped to regular hexagons, "This is utterly unlike anything we have witnessed thus far and we examine it more closely. We conclude that it is an intelligently engineered structure. These are complex structures with embedded information.” There are regular straight sides and angles and they are the same for each hexagon - the designer likes regular sides, consistent angles, It is, in fact, a bridge that was used by a Giant, Finn McCool, built to cross over to Scotland to fight another giant.

    Giants are of course in the Bible so our explanation is given credence, the nephilim are those giants. Our science also supports the existence of the giants and supports our explanation of these hexagonal stone structures in that the atmosphere of the early earth (we leave the date out here as we can't stomach anything over 10,000 years old) where the level of oxygen was higher and organisms grew bigger indeed our creationist science brings in yet more supportive evidence in the form of fossils of giant flying insects - also supporting our giant people who used these evidently designed causeways of hexagonal stones...

    and then, along comes a scientist, a geologist, like me, and spoils it all by stupidly claiming that in certain circumstances basalt will naturally cool to form these regular hexagonal columns.

    Heavens to betsy! to paraphrase Huxley: - all it takes is one small beautiful scientific fact to spoil a creationist ‘theory’. (I put theory in single quotes to distinguish it from a real scientific theory)

    So we continue our search and by chance we have a piece of glass that is very, very cold and snowflakes alight on the glass - we take out our pocket magnifying lens and... what do we see... we see something "utterly unlike anything we have witnessed thus far and we examine it more closely. We conclude that it is an intelligently designed structure... These are complex structures with embedded information.”

    Along comes a scientist a meteorologist (not me) and states that these snowflakes are not designed but natural.

    We walk on, we see a glint in the rock, we take a hammer and carefully chip out crystals! They are “utterly unlike anything we have witnessed thus far and we examine it more closely. We conclude that they are intelligently engineered structures”, angular, straight sides regular faces - we hold it point to point and turn it to find that after a certain time the faces repeat . “These are complex structures with embedded information” - they appear to pass on their information as there are small identical structures and bigger identical structures so there must be information buried somewhere for these repeating structures to be found.

    Then along comes a scientist, a crystallographer (again not me, I'm an evolutionary palaeontologist really - I was economical with the truth above). Who tells you that there are various crystal classes and they are neither designed nor engineered and in fact you can grow them at home using either sugar or salt.

    Ok I think you get the picture.

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    23:02
    25 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • We have all learnt a lot through this debate and so will our school children. So let our children question and debate evolution against other theories in a classroom so that they can learn a lot more too. Intelligent design theory is another theory to compare with evolution theory. Our very opinionated teenagers can make up their own minds - allow them to do so. It won't kill em you know.

    'Born again' Christians should be able to have our money back from the public purse to set up our own free schools.

    SJ

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    23:04
    25 May, 2011

    Sheila James

  • That would be great Sheila if our teenagers were taught more clearly about the nature of science and understood the difference between the vernacular use of 'theory' which could be a guess or just an idea/hunch asnd a scientific theory which is well evidenced accepted by the scientific community as the best explanation for the observed phenomenon.

    Intelligent design theory is not a scientific theory and you are falling into just the trap that creationists want. By calling it a theory they are trying to queue jump. Going from an unevidenced idea to acceptable alternative with nothing inbetween - no actual evidence, no actual explanations, no actual tests of the idea, bno actual evidence.

    Science has a process and intelligent design needs to earn its place, if it has one, in teaching we cannot skip the process just because some people don't like evolution (which actually at its heart does nnot ppreclude a God if that is what you would like.

    An analogy would be the insistence that in RE equal time and equal status to Christianity MUST be given to the Jedi Religion because a few thousand people decided that they would like to try and make it a mainstream religion. Ok you say, well lets do that because kids will easily see that it's not a religion. But what if you then had people who profess authority in religious matters stating that the chilkdren have to be told that it IS a religion that is valid that has evidence for its central tenets and that it should be treated seriously and on an equal footing with Christianity and therein lies the problem - teenagers are not, on the whole, very sophisticted and deeep thinkers - it may be our aim to get them to that point, but it is quite difficult.

    Think about those who followed the evangelical Harold Amping - who committed suicide, who tried to kill their chiuldren, who gave away all their money and possessions - they were folled because he misrepresented the Bible and claimed authority and these were ordinary people - adults - who should be able to decide. But when you falsely claim authority for your ideas (as Intelligent design creationiusts do) people will be fooled.

    Our education system cannot teach every crackpot idea - there should be safeguards. I will be more than happy to teach ID should the idea go through the scientific process and show that it has merit such that the scientific community accepts it as the best explanation. Then we can being it in. Science is full of people who have ideas - initially rejected who then go and do the work, the reserach, find the evidence, publish in the peer reviewed journals and make a solid case. Intelligent Design does not wish to do this, they simply want their idea accepted and pushed in schools -munried and un-tested. Where would we be today in science if we did that with say cold fusion (and there are still scientists out there who accepot it as viable) - our physics would havce to teach something as valid that so far science rejcets as not valid. Cabn children really have the level of sophistication to understand that? My own research on science graduates at Sussex University shows that they struggle with understanding the Nature of Science and struggle with the differences between the various definitions of the term 'theory' I can assure you that what you propose would not work in the science classroom, no matter how good your intentions are. You may as well teach astrology as there are more believers in that than is healthy. Astrology GCSE as part of the sciences - I bet children en masse would not reject the idea on the balance of evidence.

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    8:00
    26 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • Sheila James

    Quote: 'We have all learnt a lot through this debate and so will our school children. So let our children question and debate evolution against other theories in a classroom so that they can learn a lot more too. Intelligent design theory is another theory to compare with evolution theory.'

    You need to examine the FACT that evolution is a theory in that it is a falsifiable hypothesis backed by a huge amount of empirical evidence, peer reviewed by all of science against the FACT that Intelligent design is NOT a theory because it consists of a non-falsifable dogma backed by not one shred of empirical evidence. Our very opinionated teenagers can make up their own minds ONLY when actual FACTS are presented to them. Please don't pretend silly stories are theories that is called lying.

    Quote: 'Born again' Christians should be able to have our money back from the public purse to set up our own free schools.'

    The children of 'Born again' Christians should not be penalised for the ignorance of their parents and deserve an education free from dogma and full of evidence based, peer reviewed evidence driven KNOWLEDGE. Sorry to burst you 'Born again' Christian bubble of nonsense.

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    8:30
    26 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • chrisdavies7,

    Quoite: 'Many of us are approaching this from the wrong perspective. We are trying to prove one theory over another.'

    Once more with feeling: ID is NOT (repeat NOT) a theory. To pretend otherwise is not just the wrong perspective it is to be a liar.

    Quote: 'More specifically - one belief over another.'

    Evolutiopn is based on empirical evidence and is therefore NOT (repeat NOT) a 'belief'. ID is a 'belief' as like all religious ideas it has no basis in evidence. Please don't present this is a clash of 'beliefs'; THAT would be lying.

    Quote: '......it really comes down to the issue of authority. Some of the most brilliant minds in the history of the world have and do advocate evolution. However the issue is whether we want to purt our trust, faith, belief in a falible human mind - however brilliant - or the infalible mind of God as revealed in the BIble.'

    Actually it comes down to an issue of verified EVIDENCE. You say god is revealed in the bible but I can demonstrate that the bible is a man-made (not even woman made!) construct full of very basic errors & silly stories, manufactured in the 4th century from selected & edited scripts written about a bronze-age man called jesus, for which no actual evidence exists that HE ever existed. As far as 'authority' goes your bible has zerto authority on any historic event or scientific process.

    Quote: 'Contrary to popular opinion the Bible is both internally and externally verifiable and is worth any serious thinkers consideration. Please do read for yourself - Genesis 1-11 gives the early history of the earth. However you can meet the creator persoanlly and see how he deals with all the issues and questions from his oponents in the 1st century AD - see the books of Matthew, Mark Luke or John.'

    Popular opinion? You mean contrary to EVIDENCE. Have a read of Exodus 21:7-11 NLT on the subject of slavery.....Quote: 'When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.' I hope you don't follow the 'authority' of the bible on that one!!!!

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    8:50
    26 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • James,

    Quote: 'But what if you then had people who profess authority in religious matters stating that the chilkdren have to be told that it IS a religion that is valid that has evidence for its central tenets and that it should be treated seriously and on an equal footing with Christianity and therein lies the problem - teenagers are not, on the whole, very sophisticted and deeep thinkers - it may be our aim to get them to that point, but it is quite difficult.'

    Usually I agree with you but I'm not happy allowing the beliefs of christianity to somehow gain the tag: 'serious'.

    Christianity only exists BECAUSE people who profess authority in religious matters state things about their 'beliefs' which cannot be evidenced; but, like snake oil salesmen, the state them very well. In reality Jedi knights have equal validity with christianity or more to the point there is as much evidence for the existance of the Easter bunny as there is for any one event in the christian bible. Please don't imply otherwise because I'll ask for evidence.

    I agree teenagers are not, on the whole, very sophisticted and deeep thinkers, and they need protection from people with pretend knowledge. To be entirely honest, anyone who has faith has nothing to offer other than pretend knowledge; christianity is just better 'sold' than jedi knights.

    Our education system should not teach ANY crackpot ideas and that includes all the crackpot ideas associated with all religions including christianity, islam, judaism, gnosticism, buddhism, hinduism, jainism, sikhism, or any of the ancient Egyptian religions etc etc. We waste time & resources teaching alsolute rubbish to kids in the name of religion and we then create an unfair, unbalanced education system purely to keep religions happy.

    The only reason that creationists have a claim to any level of validity is because the major churches won't denounce them..........keeping religion out of schools is good for education.

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    10:43
    26 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • jut1233456: “And again, you fail to see that your argument is indeed a god of the gaps. You can't think of any way law or chance could explain how certain things have arisen, so you assume the default position of 'magic man did it', even though there is no empirical evidence a designer even exists.”

    I’ve already made it clear that this is not how intelligent design works – it is how the critics of intelligent design say it works. The example I gave of discerning Chance, Law and Design at Cwm Idwal should help to clarify the argument. There may be some uncertainty about the apparently ordered slabs, but the wrought-iron gate and the information-rich resources are evidence for design. Saying ‘you can't think of any way law or chance could explain how these things have arisen’ will make your student group think you have lost the plot.

    “Finally, noting that for the third time you've ignored my question.”

    No, I have not ignored your question. I answered it on 22 May. I am not intending to descend into the style of posting that endlessly repeats the same points. I will respond to new points, but have no appetite for repeating what has already been said.

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    10:45
    26 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • James: “I think William Paley beat you. He used a watch rather than paving stones and a gate.”
    And William Paley was beaten by the pioneer scientist John Ray.

    We do not need to go to County Antrim to see columnar jointing in basalt rocks. Two weeks ago, I was on Eigg looking at similar phenomenon. These features are likely to be found wherever there are lava flows. But you jumped straight to a design inference – but this is not the methodology of intelligent design. You can think of the approach as having three filters: the first catches Law as an explanation (by recognising order), the second catches Chance as an explanation (by catching random complexity) and the third catches Design (which catches specified complexity). Let’s apply this to columnar jointing in basalt. Is the mechanism linked to the Law-filter? There is certainly order. The more observant members of the educational group might suggest they have seen something similar with desiccation cracks in mud – so this hypothesis is not thrown out. The data passes through the Chance filter because the observations are not about random complexity. Let us suppose that some members of the group are impressed by the design arguments that you vocalise – so these two options are taken for further consideration. We conclude that we need more data to decide. So we start to gather more data. We look carefully at the basalt flows and realise that the columnar structures are only in the lower parts of the basalt flows – they are overlain by a rubbly top. This does not tell us how the columns formed, but this is sufficient to reject the idea that the columns are there by design. On the Sgurr of Eigg, which is a pitchstone lava flow (not a basalt), columns are also found. The lava flow was constrained by the topography of the time – it filled a steep valley. The columns in visible contact with the valley side are not vertical but perpendicular to the ancient valley side. This suggests strongly that the columnar structure is associated with cooling. Obviously, there is more to be said on this – but I think you get the picture: design inferences are not the first choice of explanation, but are part of a systematic methodology to examine all possible aspects of causation against the evidence. Where there is uncertainty, we don’t jump to a conclusion, but revisit the problem – always by reference to evidence.

    Regarding your snowflake and crystals examples, I have the same basic response. If a student comes up with a design explanation, I would refer to the “Explanatory Filter” approach and ensure the student thinks more carefully about possible causes. I would want to help the student understand that that snowflakes and crystals are _not_ “complex structures with embedded information”. In the interest of being brief, here is a link to more info on snowflakes, developing the concepts of Law, Chance and Design.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2008/02/05/learning_how_snowflakes_form

    The point I am making is that the design approach is not a bolt-on but it provides a good pedagogical foundation for science education. Teachers should be encouraged to use the Explanatory Filter to help students focus their minds on ways of analysing and solving problems.

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    11:36
    26 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • David, you have the illusion of design confused with design. In otherwards your argument is "I can't think of any reason how this could have originated naturally so magic man much have done it" Which part of this thought process is science.


    @The point I am making is that the design approach is not a bolt-on but it provides a good pedagogical foundation for science education.

    You're deluded.

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    12:07
    26 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • James Williams, Your response to Sheila James begs too many questions and deserves a response.
    “That would be great Sheila if our teenagers were taught more clearly about the nature of science.”

    Let’s start with agreement: yes, we do need more clarity about the nature of science. However, this is no definitive answer because there are different voices about what the nature of science actually is. Our task as teachers is to help our students understand those aspects of these discussions that are relevant to their studies.

    “Intelligent design theory is not a scientific theory and you are falling into just the trap that creationists want. By calling it a theory they are trying to queue jump. Going from an unevidenced idea to acceptable alternative with nothing inbetween - no actual evidence, no actual explanations, no actual tests of the idea, no actual evidence.”

    This is a pre-emptive conclusion that is contested. Earlier in these comments, I have written that intelligent design (ID) is a scientific program for detecting design in nature. ID claims that there are features of the living world that cannot be explained in terms of undirected natural causes (whether Law or Chance) and should be attributed to intelligence. What are these features? Here is a selection:
    • the complex systems of living cells – unknown in Darwin’s time – are not explained by gradual processes.
    • fully formed animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, especially at the “Cambrian explosion”, and these show disparity preceding diversity (contrary to all explanations emerging from Law or Chance causation).
    • the human genome is like a computer program, an information-rich system, and far more complex than any that humans have been able to design.
    • Evolutionary theory predicts that complexity is built by a “tinkering” process at the genetic level, but what we find is exquisite design with very few features indicating tinkering.
    These features constitute data that not only challenge evolutionary theories but also constitute evidence for design: the features display complex specified information. The idea that ID has no data and no tests of these claims is a myth.

    “Our education system cannot teach every crackpot idea - there should be safeguards. I will be more than happy to teach ID should the idea go through the scientific process and show that it has merit such that the scientific community accepts it as the best explanation.”

    It is not the case of even considering the teaching of crackpot ideas. We are talking about the origin of biological complexity and, more than that, the origin of design in the Cosmos. This is something that gets addressed _repeatedly_ in the scientific literature, in textbooks and in the media. The problem is that design inferences are rejected for all the wrong reasons! Some say that design is not scientific, so it is excluded (this is defining away the issue – but it is not science). Some say that if there is design, then God would be a pretty poor designer, so we can reject the thought immediately (this is a theological argument – not scientific). Some say, as you do here, that there is a dearth of support in the peer-reviewed literature, so the ID approach has no academic status (two points here: apparently, it is scientific to say “no” to design in peer-reviewed literature but unscientific to say “yes” – this is being inconsistent; and the number of design-orientated papers in peer-reviewed literature is increasing steadily – you can no longer say that there are _no_ ID papers in this literature, so now you appeal to consensus “such that the scientific community accepts it” – but this is also profoundly unscientific, because science is based on evidence, not on the number of people who sign up to a specific theory).

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    13:48
    26 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • DavidJTyler,

    You are a 'snake oil' salesmen; selling a non-rational approach as being rational.

    Quote: '.............this is not how intelligent design works – it is how the critics of intelligent design say it works. The example I gave of discerning Chance, Law and Design at Cwm Idwal should help to clarify the argument.'

    I'm glad you've come-clean with this nonsense as it can be fully explained by any early researcher in any field of study as poor methodology, circular reasoning and faulty epistemological assumptions. (An undergraduate attempting their first bit of research won't fall for any of that nonsense let alone postgrads on masters degree's & doctorates.)

    A methodology based on your so-called Chance, Law, Design 'filter' is NOT science. It has an epistemological assumption that causation has taken place and that this causation could only have taken place by Chance, Law or Design. This in itself is a self-referential system basing itself ENTIRELY on Chance, Law & Design; which in itself is a circular argument leading towards Design as a common answer. As David says; if you can't reason an explanation you automatically say ''magic man much have done it" .

    If you haven't developed the maths or the physics or the chemistry or the biology to deal with a given situation your Chance, Law, Design 'filter' will always select Design as your 'reason'..............For example if we didn't know how the forces on an aircraft kept it flying (eg pre1700) we'd ignore Chance, not know any Law and conclude Design..........what utter nonsense!

    Quote: 'The point I am making is that the design approach is not a bolt-on but it provides a good pedagogical foundation for science education.'

    BUT the 'design approach' IS NOT science so how could it possibly have anything to do with the pedagogy of science education? By your logic VooDoo would also be a 'good pedagogical foundation for science education.'

    Quote: 'Teachers should be encouraged to use the Explanatory Filter to help students focus their minds on ways of analysing and solving problems.'

    No. Science teachers should just get on with teaching science and not religious driven dogma.

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    14:10
    26 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • DavidJTyler

    Quote: 'Let’s start with agreement: yes, we do need more clarity about the nature of science.'

    This is just about the most disingenuous comment you have made! Science is VERY CLEAR about what science is. You and Sheila and the other creationists WANT science to be something else or worse still want something else to be science.

    In reply to “Intelligent design theory is not a scientific theory....'' you say ''this is a pre-emptive conclusion that is contested'' but you fail to add it is only contested by creationists NOT scientists.

    Quote: 'It is not the case of even considering the teaching of crackpot ideas. We are talking about the origin of biological complexity and, more than that, the origin of design in the Cosmos.'

    Again the smake-oil-salesman emerges; there is no evidence of any design in the Cosmos yet you just play with words as if it is the most obvious thing. You can kill my argument dead with one bit of evidence of design but you have no evidence. Instead you set up a circular argument based on the god-of-gaps idea that if you can't immediately explain it god must have done it.....Total & utter nonsense.

    Regarding the snowflake and crystals examples; if science had not already explained snowflake and crystals, how they form, why they grow etc your Chance, Law, Design 'filter' would conclude 'Design'. Your methodology is wrong and could be shot down by the arguments of a bright five year old.

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    14:22
    26 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Brooke Bond, you wrote: “A methodology based on your so-called Chance, Law, Design 'filter' is NOT science. It has an epistemological assumption that causation has taken place and that this causation could only have taken place by Chance, Law or Design. This in itself is a self-referential system basing itself ENTIRELY on Chance, Law & Design; which in itself is a circular argument leading towards Design as a common answer.”

    You are pushing yourself into a corner with this argument. Science _has_ to work with methodologies – the debate is about what those methodologies are. If you don’t include Design options within the methodology, you are left with Law and Chance. This is what the advocates of naturalism in science promote: everything within science has to be Law or Chance or a mixture. Design explanations are then _defined_ as non-starters. The day will come when people will see this as an absurdity – because if Design is significant, these advocates of naturalism have made themselves blind to it. They have burnt the bridges that will allow them to recognise design. It is their arguments that are circular because their methodology presumes there is no Design and then they declare it does not exist.

    If you can’t see my argument for science in general, you should consider the science of Archaeology. Is this sharp stone chipped by frost? Is it sharp because it has fractured along a plane of weakness? Is it the product of an intelligent agent wanting something to strip a hide off an animal? Archaeologists need to use a methodology that allows analysis of Law/Chance/Design options. There is no “circular argument leading towards Design as a common answer”. The outcome of the enquiry has to be based on evidence.

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    15:50
    26 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Brooke Bond: “there is no evidence of any design in the Cosmos yet you just play with words as if it is the most obvious thing. You can kill my argument dead with one bit of evidence of design but you have no evidence.”

    Cosmologists and physicists have been exercised about this for years – they do see plenty of evidence for design. The literature on this is concerned with “the Anthropic Principle” and “Cosmic fine-tuning”. You will find millions of links to these issues on Google. There is a real phenomenon here that scientists are grappling with. I’ll give one example – there are thousands to choose from!

    This is from a Nobel Prize winner: the physicist Charles Townes
    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/06/17_townes.shtml
    “Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it's remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren't just the way they are, we couldn't be here at all. The sun couldn't be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here. Some scientists argue that 'well, there's an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.' Well, that's a postulate, and it's a pretty fantastic postulate — it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that's why it has come out so specially.”

    Townes here is pointing to just some of this evidence. Do a bit of homework and you’ll find much more. Those who deny design have no answer for it – their responses trend either towards denial (fewer do this as time passes) or invoking the Multiverse. They allow billions upon billions of universes with varying physical makeups so they can say that it is just by Chance that we exist in one that is just right for life. By doing this, they escape from the world of science into a virtual reality world they have invented using mathematics. I think students should be encouraged to consider the different responses to design features in the Cosmos and I encourage you to weigh the evidences relating to this.

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    16:08
    26 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Archaeologists don't just find sharp stones lying around though do they? They will find other traces of the designer; Houses, paintings, clothes, writing, bones, and in some cases, preserved remains. There is evidence of the designer.
    Where is the evidence of the designer that supposedly created life?
    Design becomes a viable option when there is evidence a designer exists.

    Bond summed you up well. A snake oil salesman. A weasel.

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    16:29
    26 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Let's add in the paragraphs before and after your quote shall we David?

    "I think it's very unfortunate that this kind of discussion has come up. People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there's no evolution, no changes. It's totally illogical in my view."

    *Cherry picked quote*

    "Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It's very clear that there is evolution, and it's important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they're both consistent."

    It would appear that when taking in context that he has no problem with Evolution, instead relegating ID to the creation of the universe (see God of the Gaps). He also gets cause and effect confused.

    And you evoke the argument from authority. Just because he has a Nobel Prize, it doesn't mean his ideas are infallible (see Linus Pauling).

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    16:38
    26 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • David

    You are persistent but nothing will make you change your mind as your worldview will collpase if you start to beleif geological time. I cannot see how you can beleive that the earth is only 6-10000 years old.

    You are stuck on the ID myth , both with Dembski gates which tell you nothing and Behe's ID argument of Ireducible Complexity which as many have argued (and I one of the first) is simply God of the Gaps

    You now try to recruit Charles Townes who can see intelligent design (lower case) in the universe which is very different from Intelligent Design (upper case). However townes ' argument is not scientific but an extension of science to justify a beleif. Hence I too can see intelleignet design in the universe but cannot prove it.

    In all your woffle David you have failed to put over your undamental beleif of a young earth , flood geology and all that and bring up design to obsure that.However neither are science and have no place is science

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    16:40
    26 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • David, you know perfectly well that we are talking about the reality of geological deep time, the common ancestry of living things, and your desire (which would appal the scientists from whom you mine your quotes) to use scarce public resources to tell children that the Earth is young, that we do not share our ancestry with animals, and that Noah's Ark was for real.

    As for your reference to the fine tuning argument, interesting though that is, you are very well aware that it is not what we are talking about.

    I refer you,again, to the 9th Commandment.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    17:18
    26 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • jut1233456: "Design becomes a viable option when there is evidence a designer exists."

    No, evidence for design is sufficient in itself for us to recognise design.

    *Cherry picked quote* "Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well."

    Yes, evidence of design in the cosmos is independent of evidence for design in the biological world. But that was not the point at issue - Brooke Bond wanted feedback on design in the cosmos. There are numerous other quotes saying very similar things. Wold they all be cherry picked?
    P.S. Nobody holds to the fixity of species and "no changes". This was a concept used by Darwin to support his thesis and his followers continue to apply it to creationists without checking whether it has any validity.

    Michael Roberts: Your comments suggest you are carrying an extraordinary amount of baggage in your approach to these issues. My comments relate to education and what children deserve to know about the science on their syllabus.

    PaulBraterman: "As for your reference to the fine tuning argument, interesting though that is, you are very well aware that it is not what we are talking about."

    The evidences for design are everywhere - in the animate and the inanimate world. These impact on the relevant sciences. The biologists have been influenced by Darwin's approach, and they think they have a mechanism to explain "design" without reference to intelligence, but ID scientists and some other scientists want to see these mechanisms put under scrutiny - they do not deliver what is claimed. The physicists and cosmologists do not have reproducing organisms like the biologists, so they either live in denial of design, or they invent reproducing universes to account for our universe with an appearance of design. In my judgment, this is all relevant to what we are talking about.

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    19:30
    26 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • For the non-crazy people here, allow me to share the name Jack W. Szostak with you. His labs are making some fantastic breakthroughs regarding abiogenesis. His papers are well worth reading. He's at the point where he has created a growing, self replicating vesicle which builds it's own RNA precursor, and "eats" other vesicles.

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    20:54
    26 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • OK David, I'lll play your game.

    I trust therefore that you will support the inclusion of the science of crop circles in national curriculum science GCSE. There are a number of scientific studies of crop circles that show that they were the result of an alien (not human) intelligence. They have the appearance of design and there is much to support the idea that the aliens are real - there is empirical evidence in the form of the circles. I suggest that we introduce this evidence to all children and stop pretending that we are alone in the universe.

    Here is some of the "best evidence":

    • Number, complexity, and placement
    • Changes to plants
    • Electromagnetic and radioactive effects
    • Physical side effects
    • Highly intricate mathematical design
    • Eyewitnesses and balls of light

    So will you support the inclusion of crop circle science in our curriculum (I suggest we ditch say, textiles from the technology curriculum to make room. There is undoubted (if you are willing to open your eyes and look) evidence for a designer that is not of this earth - an alien intelligence - not a God. Indeed we could link it to Intelligent Design and together this makes a formidable body of evidence against evolution - after all the aliens could have planted life on earth. We now have an identity for the designer. It is an alien life form from probably another galaxy that can traverse space-time and visit us here (indeed has visited many times in the past - there is evidence for this as well)

    There are scientists with proper PhDs (unlike me who is not a scientist but a science educator so clearly from an authority point of view I have no say in what should be taught and must surely bow to their authority.)

    This is the sort of evidence I think we should acknowledge.

    In 1991, two American nuclear physicists, Michael Chorost and Marshall Dudley, applied their expertise to crop circle research. After subjecting a number of seed and soil samples to rigorous lab analysis, their main discovery was that the soil in genuine formations contained no less than four, short-lived radioactive isotopes - vanadium, europium, tellurium and ytterbium. Tests conducted on soil from the Beckhampton July 31 formation yielded alpha emissions 198% above control samples, beta emissions 48% above, both of which seemed 'strikingly elevated, since they were two to three times as radioactive as soil from outside the formation. Analyzed DNA samples from plants in another circle were found to be considerably more degraded than that of surrounding plants.

    Now that surely cannot be man-made. This is, I hope you agree, at least paranormal if not alien - but as ghosts are very unlikely aliens it is then. As such it should be added without delay to our science curriculum. We cannot hide any longer the fact that alien intelligence is trying to contact us, send us messages in the form of these intricate designs. We must provide this evidence to our pupils.

    I'd also like to add astrology to our curriculum and for it to have equal time with astronomy as they are both observational sciences.

    "Many people have conducted very impressive research studies in astrology. Here are the names of a few of these people: John Nelson, Mark Urban-Lurraine, Ann Parker, Ray Merriman, Theordor Landschedit, and John Addey. There are many others. The research results are very impressive. A very recent, very impressive research study conducted by David Cochrane shows the validity of astrology. In order for these studies to be considered scientifically valid, they must however be reviewed by experts in the scientific method, and be published in an accepted scientific journal. This level of research requires huge amounts of time and typically a great deal of money as well. Astrology currently is caught in a chicken-and-egg situation: the research requires great amounts of time and money, and the interest of a prestigious scientific journal in publishing the research, but astrology is still foreign to our college and universities, and they are unwilling to invest the resources required to validate the studies. No, astrology has not been disproven. The scientific method is one of the great keys to the great advancements of our modern times, and the scientific method should be adhered to and respected. Ironically, astrologers are sometimes attacked by scientists for promoting pseudo-science and superstition, and I have heard scientists state that astrology has been disproven, a statement which is untrue and unscientific! So although, like Intelligent Design, astrology is excluded by cynics from the mainstream peer reviewed scientific journals, that should not be a barrier to being accepted as a science.

    I'm sure David that given the almost identical problems you have you will join me in campaigning for FULL recognition of astrology in our school curriculum. Children should know the truth - that their fate is written in the stars!

    OK I think you get the picture.

    Education is not a playground for pushing untried untested ideas that has no credible evidence on children we can only teach what forms the best, most credible and accepted science. For the development and diversity of life on earth that is the current theory of evolution by means of natural selection.

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    21:14
    26 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • James: “OK David, I'll play your game.”
    You are certainly playing a game, but I am not. We are talking about the education of young people and I am expressing my concerns about the representations currently being made to Michael Gove.

    I’d like to remind you that I have not been championing a change to the syllabus. Consequently, your “game” has another agenda in mind.

    My comments relate to the way existing syllabi are taught. The intention is to get students to think about questions like: “What are the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories?” and “Can you suggest reasons for the different theories?” Those behind this petition appear to me to make it more complicated for teachers to develop interesting and relevant ways of addressing such questions. The threat of complaints about bringing religion into science classes is likely to hang over them (it is real – my comments have been interpreted in this way in the contributions above). At the same time, the agenda of some atheists (to use evolutionary theory to promote their own religious stance) is overlooked and allowed to continue. This creates extraordinary tensions for students who are not atheists – perhaps it is time we started thinking more about them. Maybe it would be helpful if we referred to the research of Michael Reiss.

    “Education is not a playground for pushing untried untested ideas that has no credible evidence on children we can only teach what forms the best, most credible and accepted science. For the development and diversity of life on earth that is the current theory of evolution by means of natural selection.”

    I agree with the first sentence, but profoundly disagree with the second. Evolution by natural selection is partially relevant to diversification within biological families, but there is no credible evidence that it explains the origin of phyla, classes and orders. There is an academic debate about this, which the pro-Darwinians are reluctant to acknowledge. The failure to address this academic debate in education opens the way for brainwashing. This is why these matters are important and deserve more than people playing games.

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    10:12
    27 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "Evolution by natural selection is partially relevant to diversification within biological families, but there is no credible evidence that it explains the origin of phyla, classes and orders."
    How's that 9th commandment working out for you? Try looking at Pseudogenes and the shear amount of evidence presented at the Dover Trial.

    "There is an academic debate about this, which the pro-Darwinians are reluctant to acknowledge." Please point to this academic debate in a scientific journal please. 9th commandment again.

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    10:48
    27 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • David,

    Quote: 'You are pushing yourself into a corner with this argument. Science _has_ to work with methodologies – the debate is about what those methodologies are. If you don’t include Design options within the methodology, you are left with Law and Chance.'

    Read my post again. I said your methodology wasn't science; I did not LIMIT science to methodologies. You cannot think outside your own self-referential design system; stand back & be honest for once. Science doesn't include Design options within any methodology because it doesn't include Law or Chance either because methodologies don't work like that.

    Quote: 'I’d like to remind you that I have not been championing a change to the syllabus.'

    The word these days is 'specification' not syllabus (apart from the time-locked IB). At least get your terminology correct.

    Quote: 'My comments relate to the way existing syllabi are taught. The intention is to get students to think about questions like: “What are the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories?” and “Can you suggest reasons for the different theories?” '

    Actually you are aguing about CONTENT of exam specifications not how they are taught. In addition there are no conflicting THEORIES to the THEORY of evolution that any scientist is aware of; there are only conflicting STORIES.

    Quote: 'There is an academic debate about this, which the pro-Darwinians are reluctant to acknowledge. The failure to address this academic debate in education opens the way for brainwashing.'

    Again you are being openly disingenuous. There is no such group of people as 'pro-Darwinians' there are scientists. Science is an open process and not capable of being used as a method of 'brainwashing' unlike religious dogma which you want to replace science with. There is and always have been open academic debate around all theories of science, but that debate doesn't include religious dogma dressed up as pretend-science backed by no evidence.

    James closed the debate well with: “Education is not a playground for pushing untried untested ideas that has no credible evidence on children we can only teach what forms the best, most credible and accepted science. For the development and diversity of life on earth that is the current theory of evolution by means of natural selection.”

    No more snake oil please.

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    11:01
    27 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • jut mentioned Szostak. Nobel Prize chemist, his work directly inspired by working on the very problems that the Creationsts and their Intelligent Design allies regard as insoluble. I think jut will enjoy this:

    http://www.health.medicbd.com/library/video_play/U6QYDdgP9eg/The_Origin_of_Life_Abiogenesis_Dr_Jack_Szostak

    Many others on that site. One of my favourites: What every creationist (yes, that means you, David) must deny:

    http://www.health.medicbd.com/library/video_play/5nj587d5ies/What_Every_Creationist_Must_DENY

    10 information-packed minutes. Or does David simply deny that he's denying it?

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    11:05
    27 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • David

    You simply don't get it. The reason why both Christians and atheists and all other scientifically informed people object to Creationism or its bed mate Intelligent Design being taught in schools is that they are both nonsense and not even science.

    You wont come clean on your wacky ideas of the history of the earth viz that it is thousands and not billions of years old and that most fo the strata were laid down in Noah's flood, that there were no predators before a couple of nudists went scrumping. It is instructive to check out the alleged science behind this. YECs have Catastrophic Plate Tectonics with geological plates whizzing around at about 30 mph producing enough heat to volatolise all life on earth, odd interpettions of the fossil record from hydraulic sorting to "recolonisation" and to keep a young earth postulating without evidence that radioactive decay was greater during the Flood
    All this is scientifically absurd but is made worse by the systematic distortion of standard science by Creationists , which can only be seen as utter delusion or deliberate dishonesty. As you know I have been following creationism for many decades and have found myriad examples of this deceit
    No student should be presented with this type of nonsense and told it is an alternative "scientific " theory.
    Further I would argue that any teacher who does should at first be severely disciplined and possibly sacked
    I am well aware that some atheists push evolution to justify their atheism but the antics of creationism gives credence to their viewpoint
    All you are doing is creating a problem in schools and making your Christian faith look utterly ludicrous.
    And finally do not forget that many of your fellow creationists in such organisations as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International (of which Philip Bell is an employee) are thoroughly offensive to Christians like me who accept normal science and regard us as "compromisers" and basically heretics.
    Please keep your creationist poison out of education and out of churches

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    11:09
    27 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • Take a look in this weeks Times Ed. at:

    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6085943#

    An RE teacher shows why these creationists are dangerous & why we should be careful of who teaches in our schools!

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    12:44
    27 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • jut1233456: "There is an academic debate about this, which the pro-Darwinians are reluctant to acknowledge." Please point to this academic debate in a scientific journal please.

    The academic debate is ongoing. Here’s just a few pointers from the past year:

    "By 1982, the centenary of Darwin's death, Niles Eldredge and Steven J. Gould had catalyzed a loosely connected group of evolutionary biologists unhappy with the New Synthesis to unleash a cascade of criticisms and proposals. Emboldened by this display of the scientific community at its meritocratic best, Ed Wiley and I entered the fray.” (Daniel Brooks) For more, go here:
    Are evolutionary biologists really ready for the Extended Synthesis?
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2011/03/18/are_evolutionary_biologists_really_ready

    Question: What kind of evidence turned you against neo-Darwinism?
    Lynn Margulis: What you'd like to see is a good case for gradual change from one species to another in the field, in the laboratory, or in the fossil record--and preferably in all three. Darwin's big mystery was why there was no record at all before a specific point [dated to 542 million years ago by modern researchers], and then all of the sudden in the fossil record you get nearly all the major types of animals. The paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould studied lakes in East Africa and on Caribbean islands looking for Darwin's gradual change from one species of trilobite or snail to another. What they found was lots of back-and-forth variation in the population and then – whoop - a whole new species. There is no gradualism in the fossil record.
    (Lynn Margulis – The Discover Interview, Discover, April 2011, 66-71)
    http://discover.coverleaf.com/discovermagazine/201104?pg=68#pg68

    “The overall picture is that the main response to major environmental changes is individualistic movement and changes in abundance, rather than extinction or speciation. In other words, the connection between environmental change and evolutionary change is weak, which is not what might have been expected from Darwin's hypothesis.” (Keith Bennett, The chaos theory of evolution, New Scientist, 18 October 2010)
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827821.000-the-chaos-theory-of-evolution.html?full=true

    “According to the Modern Synthesis, populations containing some level of genetic variation evolve via changes in gene frequency induced mostly by natural selection. Phenotypic changes are gradual, and speciation and diversification into higher taxonomic levels come about over long periods of change. These ideas have remained largely unchallenged for more than a half-century. But since the 1940s, science’s concept of evolutionary dynamics has, well, evolved. Indeed, these days, calling the Modern Synthesis “modern” might be a stretch. Some evolutionary biologists say that the body of knowledge concerning evolutionary processes has simply outgrown the confines of the Modern Synthesis, which was crafted before science had a strong grasp of genomics, molecular biology, developmental biology, and other, more recently derived disciplines, such as systems biology.” (Bob Grant, Should Evolutionary Theory Evolve? The Scientist, 2010, 24(1), 24).
    http://www.the-scientist.com/2010/1/1/24/1/

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    14:32
    27 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Paul: “jut mentioned Szostak. Nobel Prize chemist, his work directly inspired by working on the very problems that the Creationsts and their Intelligent Design allies regard as insoluble. I think jut will enjoy this: [. . .]”

    The video demonstrates how ingenious the human mind can be. My summary: “Life is just a matter of chemistry – it is possible to get structures that divide, consume and evolve. Natural selection does the rest!”
    How should an educationalist handle it? Is it worth showing to students? My answer is no. It presents a model. I happen to know that some of it is based on experimental work, but much of it is untested theory. Failing to distinguish the two is not good educational practice.

    Two years ago, a significant paper appeared in Nature, and Jack Szostak wrote a News & Views commentary (Szostak, J.W., Origins of life: Systems chemistry on early Earth, Nature 459, 171-172 (14 May 2009)) with this comment: “It is precisely because this work opens up so many new directions for research that it will stand for years as one of the great advances in prebiotic chemistry.” For a comment on this paper, see:
    Ribonucleotides and the revival of the "warm little pond" scenario
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2009/05/19/ribonucleotides_and_the_revival_of_the_w

    Also, checkout:
    Pssst! Don't tell the creationists, but scientists don't have a clue how life began, By John Horgan, Scientific American, (cross-check blog), 28 February 2011
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=pssst-dont-tell-the-creationists-bu-2011-02-28

    If students are going to be exposed to these issues, what are we going to tell them? How do we do justice to the findings of science? How do we avoid the hype of that video?

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    14:46
    27 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • You're seriously using SJG in an argument against Evolution?
    Two groups of scientists debating the finer details of speciation?

    How's that 9th commandment working out for you?

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    16:02
    27 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Michael, “You simply don't get it. The reason why both Christians and atheists and all other scientifically informed people object to Creationism or its bed mate Intelligent Design being taught in schools is that they are both nonsense and not even science.”

    I ask you to assess what I am saying, not what you think I ought to say or what other people might say. My focus in these comments is not on the views I hold, but on what would be good educational practice in schools, colleges and universities. My concern is to see science taught well, and when students are expected to be able to “identify the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories”, I expect this to be done rigorously, rationally and objectively. Teachers should not take offence if students draw conclusions that are different from their own – but they should be concerned if people fail to use rational arguments and fail to engage with relevant evidence. (This is a concern I have when I reflect on many of the comments posted here.)

    You may not realise this, but there are many students having a hard time when evolution is taught by teachers who are free with expressions like “nonsense”, “not even science”, “wacky ideas”, “utter delusion or deliberate dishonesty”, “poison” when they find a student questioning Darwinism. There are, unfortunately, teachers who see it as their duty to confront students with their folly and turn it into a personal issue. These issues are recognised by Professor Michael Reiss, who has some helpful things to say. I’ve invited James Williams to discuss these ideas, and I’d like to extend the same invitation to you.

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    16:05
    27 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • jut1233456: "You're seriously using SJG in an argument against Evolution?
    Two groups of scientists debating the finer details of speciation?"

    What makes you refer to an argument against Evolution? I had written:
    "Evolution by natural selection is partially relevant to diversification within biological families, but there is no credible evidence that it explains the origin of phyla, classes and orders. There is an academic debate about this, which the pro-Darwinians are reluctant to acknowledge."
    This debate is about the failure of neo-Darwinism to deliver anything like an explanation of the supposed "Tree of life". Many scientists find that the evidence is against it. They are NOT debating the finer points of speciation.

    By the way, I should have also pointed you to this recent documentation of the failure to see a branching tree pattern in the fossil record:
    The unscientific hegemony of uniformitarianism
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2011/05/16/the_unscientific_hegemony_of_uniformitar

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    16:13
    27 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Yet again you're taking out of your own arse. The very scientist you invoked to try and support your idea (Steven J Gould), was responsible for Science throwing away phyletic gradualism, and adopting Punctuated equilibrium along with Cladogenesis.
    Heaven forbid scientists present different models to try and explain a collection of facts, testing them against on another until a clear winner emerges!

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    16:51
    27 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • David, I KNOW Lynn Margulis, whom you cite, and have also read (have you?), and heard in person, Stephen Jay Gould, whom you also cite.

    Lynn is, and Gould was, totally horrified at being quoted in support or creationism. When Einstein revised Newton's work, he wasn't advocating a return to Aristotle's physics, and when Lynn, Margulis, and Woese (whom you mentioned earlier) revised Darwin's work, they had no intention of advocating Cuvier's separate origins.

    And you must know all this, since you will have heard it many times in discussions like these.

    Your level of dishonesty in argument makes me angry, necks-and-millstones angry.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    17:31
    27 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • And I should also add that Lynn Margulis's contribution towards the topic at hand was to again, refine the current model of speciation. Her Endosymbiote theroy is not incompatible with what you term neo-darwinism, instead it compliments it (in fact her theory [backed up by repeatable lab experiments] explains the origin of Chloroplasts and Mitochondria in the Eukaryotic cell.) , as does punctuated equilibrium

    Groups of scientists debating the finer points of speciation.
    Sagan would be spinning in his grave to hear you twist his wife's work like that.

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    17:58
    27 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • David the reason for my detailed posts is entry and show you how ridiculous it would be to entertain non-science as science when trying to deliver a curriculum to children. The two examples I gave can make exactkybthe same case as you for their crackpot ideas. You say that children should be able to discuss competing theories and that's fine. BUT ID is not a scientfIc theory - evolution does not have any competing scientific theory, neither goes gravity. So your call makes no sense. What you want is to slp religion into science by pretending that ID is a science. the lip service you pay to wanting children to be critical thinkers etc. Is just your mechanism for intoroducibg religious stories into science. Philip Johnson was very clear about this when the wedge strategy was developed.

    Lynn Margulis has been mentioned here. My advice to you and all I d creationists is to follow her example if you are genuine about ID as science. Her ideas on endosymbiosis were rejected outright by the scientific community. She did bleat and campaign and stamp her fit and demand to be let into the curriculum. She did what creationist don't do, will not do probably because they can't do it. She did the research came up with the evidence and persevered. She worked hard to turn her idea into hypotheses and with the ACTUAL scientific empirical evidence - not stories or religious tracts - she gained the acceptance of the scientific community. Now we teach endosymbiosis in science in schools. Because it is science and it deserves to be there. So David the answer to your prayers is in thehanss of the creationist ID community. Stop playing games, stop trying to use clever, but twisted logic to shoehorn unscientific ideas -ID creationism - into science. If younwant ID in the curriculum DO the research, get the empirical evidence publish in the mainstream scientific journals and convince the scientific community of your theory. Then you will have earned your place in our curriculum. Margulis did it and because of this Inused her as an example or How Science Works in my book. When creationists cry bo hoo it's not fair they won't let us teach our ideas in sciene because science always excludes new and innovative ideas, there is a conspiracy against us. I cite Margulis, she was a proper scientist who did not act like a petulant child, which is how most creationists I meet do, she took the rejection and proved the establishment wrong. It's about time the creationist community did the same - problem is they can't do it because they know full well that no matter how hardcthey look the evidence is not the, but I support their right to look fo the evidence.

    As for SJG, I only met home once, he was an inspirational. When I asked him about creationism he was very clear. he said that students should discuss the controversies in evolution. 'Take my idea of punctuated equilibrium that's a real controversy in evolution, not all scientists agree we me on that one, but never be fooled into thinking that just because I oppose phyletic gradualism that I in any way support creationism or that my ideas support creationism, that's just bunkum' .

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    19:38
    27 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • Sorry, very difficult to post using a smart phone. ' Margulis didn't bleat and stamp her feet,' that should read.

    Smart phones with predictive text are not that smart. So apologies if the above is difficult to read.

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    19:45
    27 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • David

    Imagine you are a history teacher and are teaching the period 800 to 1300 for A level.Then in one lesson two Christian students start insisting the Willy the Conker never lived . How would you deal with it?

    I can imagine any teacher gettng rather fed up and going to the head to get them thrown off the course. It would serve them right.
    (If anyone thinks I pinched this from Dawkins I made it up 30 years ago)

    This is the same as creationist students going into class are saying evolution did not happen and that the earth is only 6-10000 years old. Of course a teacher should try to treat them gently but in the end they are disruptive. Appeals to religious belief are insufficiaent as the arguments they will put forward will be typical creationist garbage. Further why should a teacher waste his time with students who have been pumped full on nonsense?

    Now before you say I am insenstive I have been there as I taught goelogy once for an Amercian liberal arts college and half my studnets were YEC. It was tricky but fortuantely it was only a 4 week course for non-scientists. It would have been very difficult to teach them over three years on a geology major and I dont know why their teachers managed to do that.

    Once I was in a car/auto witha student and the head of geology. The student started to complain how she had been brainwashed into YEC by her youth pastor and my friend did his best to guide her inot a sensible position. I said nothing. Now there David, because that girl got creationist garbage in her church she was given serious faith problems which no atheist would appreciate/ This si common in the USA and courtesy of the loony fringe of evangelicals getting common here

    I am not sure how creationists should be treated in scvhool but if they disrupt classes expulsion may well be necessary and the responsibilty for that falls squarely on those like you and YEC pasters who deliberately fill young minds with nonsense

    Incase you think I am unaware of the problem of unproffesional atheistic biology teachers, my daughter was taught by one and perhaps I should have complained. He was so bigotted that he could not distinguish between me and YECs

    (For thsoe who don't know I am a vicar and a geolgoist by previous profession and write on Darwin's geology among other things. I am good enough on Darwin for Harvard's annual Darwin course:)

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    19:49
    27 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • jut1233456: “The very scientist you invoked to try and support your idea (Steven J Gould), was responsible for Science throwing away phyletic gradualism, and adopting Punctuated equilibrium along with Cladogenesis.”

    It is difficult to have a rational discussion if arguments are twisted and reinterpreted to fit a predetermined mould. That is how I read your response. I use, and will continue to use, Stephen Jay Gould as an example of someone who considered Darwinism to be of little importance in understanding the big questions of evolutionary biology. I do not refer to him as supporting creationism. What I will continue to say that there are significant areas where the thinking of scientists like Gould and the thinking of creationists and ID scientists overlap.

    PaulBraterman, these comments also apply to you. “Lynn is, and Gould was, totally horrified at being quoted in support of creationism.” I am well aware of this and I have not presented them as supporting creationism. However, some of their ideas converge with those of creationist and ID scientists. I do take the opportunity to point this out. This is partly to show that creationist and ID scientists are not talking nonsense, and partly to show that they are engaging with the data and the theories of science.

    I am concerned that these comments are becoming “noise” rather than useful. We all need to make an effort to read and understand the comments that are made.

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    12:19
    28 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • James Williams: “David the reason for my detailed posts is to try and show you how ridiculous it would be to entertain non-science as science when trying to deliver a curriculum to children. The two examples I gave can make exactly the same case as you for their crackpot ideas.”

    James, the reason why I used geological field trip examples was because both you and Michael introduced them and because both of you were providing examples of how not to educate. The problem for me was that you were suggesting that design perspectives have nothing to contribute to science. I provided you with scenarios with a rather different content, based on weighing the merits of Law, Chance and Design avenues of causation. No one pointed out any faults in this approach – so I do not see any reason to link this approach with the promotion of crackpot ideas.

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    12:29
    28 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "It is difficult to have a rational discussion if arguments are twisted and reinterpreted to fit a predetermined mould. That is how I read your response. I use, and will continue to use, Stephen Jay Gould as an example of someone who considered Darwinism to be of little importance in understanding the big questions of evolutionary biology."
    Are we living in the same f*cking universe here? Is there another Steven Jay Gould I'm not familiar with.

    These are the worlds of SJG
    "Darwinian selection will not be overthrown; it will remain a central
    focus of more inclusive evolutionary theories. But new findings and
    interpretations at all levels, from molecular change in genes to patterns of
    overall diversity in geological time, have greatly expanded the scope of important causes -- from random, selectively neutral change at the genetic level, to punctuated equilibria and catastrophic mass extinction in geological time.

    In this period of vigorous pluralism and intense debate among evolutionary
    biologists, I am greatly saddened to note that some distinguished commentators among non-scientists, in particular Irving Kristol in a New York Times Op Ed piece of Sept. 30, 1986 (''Room for Darwin and the Bible''), so egregiously misunderstand the character of our discipline and continue to confuse this central distinction between secure fact and healthy debate about theory.
    I don't speak of the militant fundamentalists who label themselves with the
    oxymoron ''scientific creationists,'' and try to sneak their Genesis literalism
    into high school classrooms under the guise of scientific dissent. I'm used to
    their rhetoric, their dishonest mis- and half-quotations, their constant
    repetition of ''useful'' arguments that even they must recognize as nonsense
    (disproved human footprints on dinosaur trackways in Texas, risible
    misinterpretation of thermodynamics to argue that life's complexity couldn't
    increase without a divine boost). Our struggle with these ideologues is
    political, not intellectual. I speak instead of our allies among people committed to reason and honorable argument."

    That would be you he's writing about. Have you no shame?
    9th commandment again.
    Misrepresenting a dead man's life work is low.

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    14:22
    28 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • http://www.scribd.com/doc/17464111/Darwinism-Defined-the-Difference-Between-Fact-and-Theory-Essay-Stephen-Jay-Gould

    His position is as clear as crystal.

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    14:26
    28 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • My whole point is that introducing ID creationism into school science is unacceptable when such an idea is so far from the reality of the body of knowledge that we call science. We are dealing with children here between the ages of 5 and 18. What we teach must cover what is currently accepted. Why should an untested, un-evidenced idea that the VAST MAJORITY of scientists dismiss as not even being science be privileged to take its place in our teaching of science? All I am asking is this.

    IF ID WISHES TO BE INCLUDED, DO THE WORK, GET THE EVIDENCE, CONVINCE THE COMMUNITY OF SCIENTISTS AND THEN WE WILL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY.

    As it is how can an idea with such a corrupt, untruthful basis which was nothing to do with actually evidencing design with real research and scientific work, but everything to do with injecting religion into mainstream science as its overriding principle. Ultimatley what ID proponents wish for is that education and all science should be delivered from the perspective of a full acceptance of the Christian God. This will then lead to the rejection all other faiths and beliefs as having any place in education and society. Any ID proponent who genuinely does not think that this is the case is either deluded or has been conned on a massive scale. For all I know David you genuinely don’t link ID and God – in which case you have been monumentally conned and you are working very hard to achieve something that is not your intention – injecting religious belief and faith as the foundation of all science.


    Let’s remind ourselves of the goals of the Wedge Strategy which is the driving force behind Intelligent Design.

    " GOALS
    * To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
    * To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

    Five Year Goals
    * To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
    * To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
    * To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

    Twenty Year Goals
    * To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
    * To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.
    * To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life."


    The goal is to fundamentally change science and the nature of science. In order to achieve this, getting at children as you want to do is the best way to indoctrinate them, the younger the better. Hence why creationists produce massive numbers of books aimed at young children spouting creationist nonsense like dinosaurs wandering the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.

    You may wish to disassociate yourself from this on here by saying that your beliefs are not the issue – all you want is to just let the children think. And of course that is EXACTLY what the wedge is all about – as Johnson said in, I think 2003, on a Christian radio broadcast:

    “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit, so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.”

    The thin end of the wedge.

    Johnson also said as early as 1996:

    “This isn’t really, and never has been, a debate about science. It’s about religion and philosophy.”

    You’ve been ‘had’ David – or you know full well that this claim of ‘we just want our children to critically evaluate all the evidence’ etc. etc. etc. is total nonsense. This is not what ID is about at all.

    And you, David, are very good at sticking to the advice that Johnson gave in 2002 in a magazine interview:

    "So the question is: "How to win?" That’s when I began to develop what you now see full-fledged in the "wedge" strategy: "Stick with the most important thing" —the mechanism and the building up of information. Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, "Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?" and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do."

    And I applaud you for how you very cleverly evade religion and the true intent of ID. Most people would not see what you are doing and how you are doing it. Unless that is they understood what ID creationism is REALLY all about. And it isn’t and never was about science.

    Johnson does see all this as a game, a game of high stakes and for him winning is the replacement of science with all things being caused by God and with the Bible as the handbook of science and life.

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    14:40
    28 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • "Ultimately what ID proponents wish for is that education and all science should be delivered from the perspective of a full acceptance of the Christian God."

    And Sylvia Baker, the science misteaching adviser to the Christian Schools Trust admits as much in as many words in her 2009 PhD in education, Warwick, freely downbloadable at http://go.warwick.ac.uk/wrap/3115

    P 168: "Theodicy is of central and critical importance to the creation/evolution debate";

    p 354; (I quote from the policy on teaching evolution!) "Primary school students would also learn that creation was originally good but that it is now flawed as a consequence of sin introduced into the human race by Adam and Eve. The picture presented would be one of decline from an original state that was perfect and highly ordered." At secondary level, "Evidence for and against [what evidence against?] the theory of evolution will have been evaluated and discussed and they will have been made aware that many, probably [sic! Do they think there's any scintilla of doubt here?] most, of today‘s scientists support the theory. However, it will also have been pointed out that many [who?] well-qualified scientists oppose it or dissent from it in some way."

    In other words, the children will be lied to in order to protect a bizarre pre-scientific theory of the origins of evil.

    You will find the kind of pseudoeducational resources used for this purpose critiqued in detail on the BCSE website.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    17:27
    28 May, 2011

    PaulBraterman

  • Thanks James Williams

    Now at last we can see ID creationism for what itr is. So this isn't about critical thinking, alternative views it is a cynical devious ploy to get religion into the science curriculum. All the more reason to ban it. In fact why not ban religion from schools altogether. All religion does is promote bigotry and hatred.

    Come to think of it how many wars have been fought between two sets of atheists over the centuries? How many examples are there of atheists slaughtering people who 'believe' rather than don't believe? How many cases are there of atheist suiceide bombers?

    The world would be so much better if we banned religion.

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    17:27
    28 May, 2011

    Plato

  • DavidJTyler

    Once more you are being openly disingenuous of your intentions with these silly arguments.

    Scientists will always argue with each other on the FINE DETAIL of the theory of evolution, but no serious scientist quoted by you is arguing AGAINST the theory of evolution. Even if the theory of evolution had never been discovered the alternative to an evidence based, peer reviewed theory is another evidence based, peer reviewed theory and NOT a religious dogma.

    Quote: 'This debate is about the failure of neo-Darwinism to deliver anything like an explanation of the supposed "Tree of life". Many scientists find that the evidence is against it. They are NOT debating the finer points of speciation.'

    The ''tree of life'' is an analogy; it isn't THE theory of evolution. Once again there is no such thing as a neo-Darwinist there are just scientists.

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    17:53
    28 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • "Now at last we can see ID creationism for what itr is. So this isn't about critical thinking, alternative views it is a cynical devious ploy to get religion into the science curriculum."
    As pointed out in the verdict of the Dover trial several years ago. The response from the creationists though is to put their head in the sand, pretend anything that questions their would view doesn't exist, and continue their annoying trend of lying to try and get their view across (see David's bastardising of Gould's work above for example, and his selective quoting of prominent scientists.)

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    19:30
    28 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Paul

    I note your comments on the creationist view of theodicy which is held by Sylvia Baker.

    It is wrong to see this as a pre-scientific view of the origin of evil as it is not the traditional Christian one however much Creationists claim it is.

    I have spent much time reading theologians of the past on this and from that I cannot say that the majority claimed that animal death came in when Adam and Eve went scrumping. Some were iffy but befroe 1700 there was little evidence on an ancient earth and thus animals dying before Adam was not considered. That is different from saying that it was integral to Christian beleif.

    When you look at old theologians eg Aquinas and many others the death of animals was irrelevant and not tied into theodicy. I have read a vast number of 18 and 19th english speaking evangelical theologians and the vast majority were not concerned by animal death and it was only a tiny handful in the early 19th c who were concerned eg George Bugg and a few others. Most evangelical stalwarts rejected his ideas.

    The creationist emphasis on theodicy and no animals dying before Adam fell was effectively first (in significance but not in time) by Morris and Whitcomb in the Genesis Flood in 1961 and has since become one of the main planks of YEC as they argue that Jesus ' atoning death is meaningless without this CURSE on the whole of creation

    It is a novel view of recent decades and is virtually absent before 1961 and not held by the majority of evangelicals today eg theologians like Wright Bauckham et al and most in Christians of Science (RJ Berry has written on it as have others)

    The appeal of this creationist theodicy is that it is so simple and is presented in a way which forces the bulk to accept it as most do not havbe the science nor theological knowledge to see it is bunkum. I tis also very clear black and white whereas the likes of me put it in shades of grey.

    On the origin of evil I like the comment of the French evangelical theologian Henri Blocher (who wrote a good commentary on Genesis who said (sadly verbally to a meeting in France) if anyone thinks they understand evil then they don't. This I got from a friend who is a Baptist minister in France who in the 80s was instrumental in stopping a tiny French baptist church becoming creationist. (A few years before I had persuaded him that creationism was wrong!).

    What annoys me is that few leaders and bishops in mainstream churches are willing to see what is so wrong both in science and thelogy (though you may not care about the theology!!) and think there should be fairness in the teaching of science in schools

    I am sorry if I alternate between wearing my dog-collar and weilding a geological hammer:)

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    21:38
    28 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • Damn system ate my reply so i've got to do it again!!!

    The danger from this sort of right wing religious fundamentalism isn't just that they seek to alter and play about with the science that kids get taught, it's that they will also go after the other subjects to. Think i'm joking, then check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQx_2j5nXuc The fundamentalists want to rewrite american history, also AronRa is an excellent pro-science youtuber. I don't know about you but the thought of the religious right, irrispective of the flavour of religion, playing about with any section of the curriculum isn't one that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

    And as someone has mentioned those that deny plate tectonics, be they creationist or just any other random pseudoscience proponent, are utterly wrong. Plate Tectonics is the explanation that we have come to following the evidence in the rocks and whilst there might be some debate that will continuously bounce around academia they are only debating the detail of the theory not the theory itself. I can comfortably say this as a geologist as I've spent the time studying the subject and I know how it all fits together. You can also throw hydroplate 'theory' and the flood of noah into the BS pile!

    Also I think it's importent to stress that during the time that things like creation, geocentrism and flat earth were accepted that the evidence was limited and that the people at the time weren't stupid for accepting these thigns. Those explanations were sound given the knowledge and understanding of the day but since then our knowledge and understanding has grown and we know that those ideas weren't correct. And whilst I will swing my own metaphorical geological hammer when talking about these things online I do cut any ids i teach that have these sorts of views a fair amount of slack. And i do know the difference between those that are rank and file believers that accept science and those that have a more narrow minded fundamentalist view.

    Oh and i've passed this on to a archaeologist friend of mine given that some arguement about archaeology was put forward.

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    15:22
    29 May, 2011

    Moony

  • jut1233456: “Is there another Steven Jay Gould I'm not familiar with.
    These are the worlds of SJG: "Darwinian selection will not be overthrown; it will remain a central focus of more inclusive evolutionary theories.” [. . .] That would be you he's writing about. Have you no shame? [. . .] Misrepresenting a dead man's life work is low.”

    Please remember that I have not presented SJG as in any way sympathetic to creationism or ID. He was an atheist and fully committed to an evolutionary explanation of origins. My references to him came about because on 27 May you questioned my claim that Darwinism does not satisfy a significant number of evolutionary biologists ("There is an academic debate about this, which the pro-Darwinians are reluctant to acknowledge"). You asked “Please point to this academic debate in a scientific journal please.”

    This I did – and SJG was (and is) at the top of my list. Gould never wanted to abandon Darwinism (nor do I, because mechanisms of mutation and natural selection do exist and they have measurable effects). However, he always sought to show that the new, emerging evolutionary theory would look very different from Darwinism.

    “In this context, I believe that the most portentous and far-ranging reform and expansion of Darwinism in our generation has been the growing, if so far ill-coordinated, attempt to reconstruct the theory of natural selection as a more general process, working simultaneously on biological objects at many levels of a genealogical hierarchy. The revised theory is in no way antithetical to Darwinian natural selection and should be read as an extension rather than a replacement. But the hierarchical theory has a structure very different from conventional, single-level Darwinism working on individual organisms - so the revised theory is a fascinating novelty, not a more inclusive extrapolation.”
    Tempo and mode in the macroevolutionary reconstruction of Darwinism
    Stephen Jay Gould, Proc. Nadl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 91, 6764-6771, July 1994.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/91/15/6764.full.pdf

    I do not think I am misrepresenting Gould. (Although Gould would disown me, I hold him in high esteem. I have 14 books of his plus numerous articles – which are all good reading). It is sad that atheistic ideology throws up so many barriers to meaningful communication.

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    15:38
    29 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • James Williams: “My whole point is that introducing ID creationism into school science is unacceptable when such an idea is so far from the reality of the body of knowledge that we call science. We are dealing with children here between the ages of 5 and 18. What we teach must cover what is currently accepted.”

    Much of what I have written relates not to content but to the way the syllabus is taught. Everyone is agreed that living things show the appearance of design – so what are students going to be taught about how this design came into existence? Overwhelmingly, students are taught that Darwin solved the problem and his mechanisms of natural variations and natural selection is the answer. The problem for education is that educationalists must sacrifice good science and much else to sustain this story. There is no valid evidence that specified complexity and biological information are generated using Darwinian mechanisms. Biologists do not have a naturalistic explanation of design – anyone who tries to say otherwise is bluffing. Biologists adhering to a naturalistic approach do not like the idea that intelligent design is crucial for explaining the data, but this element of analysis is fully consistent with theistic science.

    Here are a couple of points – taken from the textbook: “Longman biology for IGCSE” (Bradfield and Potter, 2004).
    Many biologists now believe that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that evolution has followed the general course outlined below:
    • Life began in water as a result of reactions between chemicals in the early Earth’s atmosphere and oceans
    And:
    • The multicellular organisms became more and more complex, giving rise to plants, animals, fungi and other types of organisms.”

    There is not sufficient evidence re abiogenesis (see my comments on this earlier) and there is no evidence that the rise of differentiated multicellular organisms was a gradual increase in complexity – and, as I have already pointed out, the Cambrian Explosion of animals is strong evidence against it.

    If we are to have good science teaching, we must have some integrity about the teaching of evolution. This is the goal to which I am striving in these posts.

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    16:08
    29 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Daveyboy.....

    "Biologists do not have a naturalistic explanation of design – anyone who tries to say otherwise is bluffing. Biologists adhering to a naturalistic approach do not like the idea that intelligent design is crucial for explaining the data, but this element of analysis is fully consistent with theistic science. "

    Biologists don't seek to explain your notion of design, thats the job of those that support IDiotism. And what you fail to understand about the explanation that the data leads to is that it has NOTHING to do with ID.

    The notion of theistic science is also tosh, there is only science. Some of the people that do it are beleivers of one flavour or another and some don't believe in anything divine/supernatural.

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    17:04
    29 May, 2011

    Moony

  • Michael Roberts: “I have spent much time reading theologians of the past on this and from that I cannot say that the majority claimed that animal death came in when Adam and Eve went scrumping. Some were iffy but befroe 1700 there was little evidence on an ancient earth and thus animals dying before Adam was not considered. That is different from saying that it was integral to Christian beleif.”

    Perhaps a more fruitful place to look would be Romans 8:19-23 and Paul’s comments on the redemption of the created order. But your reference to Adam and Eve may provide some useful discussion relevant to the way evolution is taught in schools. You and I are both members of the organisation “Christians in Science” and you will be aware that there are a diversity of views among the members of this organisation about Adam and Eve. I’ll refrain (for the moment) from asking you about your own views, but I would like us to consider a student coming from a background where Adam and Eve were real, historical figures: the first parents of the human race. This student comes from a family where the parents are graduates in science.

    In school, the teacher referred to the textbook which said: “Darwin’s “Origin of Species” changed forever the way in which biologists think about how species arise. Darwin went on to suggest that humans could have evolved from ape-like ancestors, for which he was ridiculed, largely by people who had misunderstood his ideas.” The teacher went on to say how modern research has confirmed Darwin’s hypothesis, and now the fossil record of ape-like animals to humans is one of the classic examples of evolutionary transformation. The teacher suggested that any talk of a “first parent” was religious in nature and had no place in a science lesson. The student was left feeling very distressed because science had been turned from a friend to a foe.

    I’d like to know how you analyse this scenario. It is of considerable practical importance, because many of my concerns are about the way epithets of “nonsense” and “poison” have been freely thrown around by some folk. Students are facing very hostile class environments, and it is going to get worse if the petition gets its way.

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    17:09
    29 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Moony: “The notion of theistic science is also tosh, there is only science. Some of the people that do it are beleivers of one flavour or another and some don't believe in anything divine/supernatural.”

    You have a lot to learn about the philosophy of science. The pioneers of science exemplified theistic science. The foundations of their thinking were rooted in Christian theology. Even today, we refer to laws of nature – the analogy is with God’s laws in the spiritual realm. The Enlightenment Deists pushed God back to being a first cause, with a mechanistic universe. Then came the advance of secularism and practical atheism. This gave a boost to naturalism as the working philosophy of science. This philosophy will admit nothing but Law and Chance. Christians who want to find a place within secularised science have adopted “methodological naturalism” (i.e. we are not naturalists but we do our science as though we are). My advice to them is to promote methodological theism instead – this re-establishes the link with the pioneers of science.

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    17:28
    29 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Congratulations David. Once more you evade the crityicism of Intellif=gent Design. What about some straight answers to some straight questions.

    Is intelligent Design creationisms aim to overthrow naturalistic science and replace it with God as the creative and directive force in all subjects from science to philosophy? Yes or No (see the goals of the wedge strategy by Johnson if you are unsure of the answer)

    Well done also on the subtle 'everyone agrees that there is the appearance of design...' that;s a very good psychological way of implanting design without even having to provide evidence. It is just this type of approach that MUST be kept out of school science. Here you have stacked trhe deck in favour of deisgn so that ultimately children will say - well, yes of course it must be designed because it looks that way - how simple!

    How about we start instead from the perspective that in nature NOTHING is designed. That would be for me a better starting point. If you want to go away and do the work and show that it is go ahead come back with the evidence and we will look at it. Until then, why should we start from a false premise that everything looks designed. It does look that way to me, I'm not against God I was brought up a Christian in a Christian family. But God is not necessary for explaining the development and diversity of life. Evolution does the job nicely - still more work to be done, but so far looking very good from where I sit.

    Would you also like to publically state that you disagree with the wedge statement and goals and that you disagree with Johnson? Do you condemn his underhand micheavious strategy? Would you like to comment on any of that or are you just going to carry on avoiding answering difficult questions and just keep appealing for what superficially seems reasonable, but once we add in your very subtle mind games (everyone agrees... etc) begins to betray the deeper more sinister objectives of Intelligent Design.

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    18:15
    29 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • "Gould stuff"
    So what exactly is your point? Theories are modified when new evidence comes to light? Darwinism has changed from it's initial conception? The pope is catholic?
    You're full of it.

    "You have a lot to learn about the philosophy of science. The pioneers of science exemplified theistic science. The foundations of their thinking were rooted in Christian theology."
    Look before the enlightenment. Specifically at the Golden age of Islam. Science isn't a Christian invention (in fact the beginnings of Evolutionary Theory can be found in the Golden Age of Islam from scholars such as Al-Jahiz and Ibn Miskawayh)

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    18:21
    29 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Sorry major gaff there when it comes to design in nature it DOES NOT look that way to me. I really hate smart phones now!

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    18:27
    29 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • David - "You have a lot to learn about the philosophy of science. The pioneers of science exemplified theistic science. The foundations of their thinking were rooted in Christian theology. Even today, we refer to laws of nature – the analogy is with God’s laws in the spiritual realm. The Enlightenment Deists pushed God back to being a first cause, with a mechanistic universe."

    Do you mean Popper of Kuhn? I have actually done some studying on the history, philosophy and ethics of science so I am coming from a point of understanding with this. And the fun thing is that one of the things I worked on was the enlightenment, James Hutton to be precise. He was a Deist but his thinking was far from rooted in christian thinking, and the work he produced had nothing to do with any law or otherwise of god. Because is someone is a Deist they will believe in god, but not the necerssarilly the god of the bible and they certainly didn't blindly accept the creation story. In fact when Hutton went to Siccar Point and saw that is now known as Huttons Unconformity he put together the fact that the lower sediments took a lon time to form.....then there was the tilting and erosion that took some time.....and then the upper sediments were formed, and that took time.......then it was subjected to more tilting, then uploaded and is now being eroded again, taking even more time. All of this added up to a heck of a long time, and Hutton came to the following conclusion about geological time and the age of the earth "there is no vestige of a beginning, no sprospect of an end".

    "Then came the advance of secularism and practical atheism. This gave a boost to naturalism as the working philosophy of science. This philosophy will admit nothing but Law and Chance."

    Because of science we know more about the world around us, and there are many people finding that having a belief in a god or gods isn't really something they have a need for. This isn't a problem so long as everyone can respect each others right to believe or not believe as the case may be, now granted there are militant atheists out there but that does not give you any right what so ever to lamblast those that don't believe or to try and assert your beliefs as fact.

    There is a reason why science doesn't dabble in the supernatural, it's that science does not work with things that have no evidence, and there is no evidence of the supernatural. Science can and only works with hard data, the ideas you are wanting to be taught as science have no data to support them, and the data that exists has lead to the current explanations that we have.

    "Christians who want to find a place within secularised science have adopted “methodological naturalism” (i.e. we are not naturalists but we do our science as though we are). My advice to them is to promote methodological theism instead – this re-establishes the link with the pioneers of science."

    No, the christians who want to find a place in science find a place in science. The term secularised science is an oxymoron, science is science, it is neither theistic or atheistic/secular. In fact if you want to ascribe any term to science agnostic (in relation to the supernatural) is the one that would fit. As i said above, science doesn't work with the supernatural, which means it can't prove or disprove it. Although with the more we learn about science the more that scientists are able to confidently infer that the supernatural probably doesn't exist.

    Your advice is pointless as science works by the scientific method, not your supposed methodological naturalism, and given that I am actively engaging in scientific research as part of my masters degree I am in a position to tell you that your wrong about the way science works.

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    19:02
    29 May, 2011

    Moony

  • Jut - thanks for picking up about the Golden Age of Islam, it's something I know of but I know more about the Enlightenment.

    James - I tend not to bother posting on message boards via my smart phone cos of how iffy they can be with this sort of thing, handy for checking e-mails though!

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    19:11
    29 May, 2011

    Moony

  • David

    I will take your account of the distressed student at face value. I feel for kids like him and that is why I oppose the teaching of creationism in schools or churches.

    Perhaps that teacher was rather harsh with the student, but howver gentle the teacher was that student is bound to have got hurt.

    The responsibility for his hurt lies primarily with his parents and church teahers for teaching him creationism in the first place.

    I don't know how many times you need to have it explained to you that creationism is so utterly utterly false and all your appeals to philosphy of science etc does not change that

    If students who have been pumped full of creationism will face even more hostile envorinments that is not the fault of the petition or letter to Gove , but the sheer folly of all who push creationism. You will have to take some of the blame for the hurt to students as you have pushed creationism for decades.

    What baffles me is how you do not see the dishonesty of creationism which is so apparent when you go to leading creationist websites

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    22:06
    29 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • David

    I agree with Michael – the problem that the student had was not because o0f the science or the science of evolution it comes from the misguided home education the student received. Evolution is a matter of the acceptance of evidence whereas creationism is a matter of belief. I think it is possible, if, for example we adopted Gould’s NOMA (non-overlapping magisterial), that we teach about the acceptance of evidence in science and allow that people will have beliefs. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Many people can comfortably live with a belief in God and accept evolution as the explanation for the development and diversity of life. It is only when fundamentalist evangelical Christians insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible, ridiculous insistence on Adam and Eve petting dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden, Carnivores being herbivorous until the first sin was committed etc. etc. etc. It is this, coupled with the insistence that evolution is inherently evil that will lead to such a distressed child – not the fact that evolution has happened.

    It is distressing when people you look up to are wrong. My father once told me how to distinguish between stars and plants (the former twinkle and the latter do not). That for me for many years was a fact as I looked up to my father – he knew this because he studied navigation in the air force while on national service. So he had ‘authority’ in my eyes. It is not true – when I discovered this I at first argued but the science soon showed me that he was wrong. I was disappointed, but his memory is not diminished in me. He ‘believed’ what he was saying was true – I’m just sad that he died before I could discuss the science with him (to be honest it’s such a small issue I probably wouldn’t bother).

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    10:57
    30 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • David

    You (and many other creationists) often appeal to the fact that because some of the great minds in science were very religious and believed in the Christian God that clearly they were right and that we should all go back to that and accept the Christian God as the basis for our science. This is such a silly argument.

    Newton, for example did as much, if not more work on alchemy and searching for the philosopher’s stone as he did on formulating his universal laws on gravity. So by your logic then chemists should really get back to the roots of their subject and start teaching alchemy and searching for the philosopher’s stone. After all Newton was a giant of science and he must be right.

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    10:58
    30 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • James Williams: “Once more you evade the criticism of Intelligent Design. What about some straight answers to some straight questions.”

    I have been providing you with many straight answers, your disagreement with these answers does not mean they have not been given. Furthermore, I have put many points to you that have not received any response: how about this one on 27 May which is of enormous significance in the classroom?
    “At the same time, the agenda of some atheists (to use evolutionary theory to promote their own religious stance) is overlooked and allowed to continue. This creates extraordinary tensions for students who are not atheists – perhaps it is time we started thinking more about them. Maybe it would be helpful if we referred to the research of Michael Reiss.”

    “Is intelligent Design creationisms aim to overthrow naturalistic science and replace it with God as the creative and directive force in all subjects from science to philosophy? Yes or No (see the goals of the wedge strategy by Johnson if you are unsure of the answer)”

    Intelligent Design Creationism is a term not used by either Creationists or advocates of intelligent design. Similarly, some of the other phrases you are using are not ones that I would choose.

    My concern is that science is being hi-jacked by people who have an agenda to promote the philosophy of naturalism. These people are denying the heritage of science, which developed in harmony with theism and the recognition of design in nature. I want to see a restoration and development of this harmony

    James: “Well done also on the subtle 'everyone agrees that there is the appearance of design...' that’s a very good psychological way of implanting design without even having to provide evidence. It is just this type of approach that MUST be kept out of school science. Here you have stacked the deck in favour of design so that ultimately children will say - well, yes of course it must be designed because it looks that way - how simple!”

    Prominent evolutionists state quite freely that living things have the appearance of design. Richard Lewontin: living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”. Richard Dawkins: “Biology is the study of complex things that appear to have been designed for a purpose”. Are you also challenging these guys to provide evidence? Are you saying that school science ought to shun the design pronouncements of Lewontin and Dawkins? Are they helping the cause of design by saying such things? The reality is that there is convergence in the way evolutionists and advocates of design think: “Thus, evolutionists share with creationists the same understanding of design; they differ only in how they invoke it.”
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2010/04/23/on_perpetuating_the_myth_of_the_creative

    I’ll rephrase the wording: “apart from James Williams, everyone agrees that there is the appearance of design.” Advocates of naturalism insist that it is only an appearance – it is not intelligent design. Dawkins used the word “designoid” to help him get this message across to children. By contrast, advocates of intelligent design find the hallmarks of real design – intelligent design. The design roots in biology go deep. I would go as far as to say that most research in biology is based on design thinking: there is functionality and purpose in the structure that is being investigated. In “Darwin and design: does evolution have a purpose?” by Michael Ruse, the author reminds his readers that “function-talk” is embedded in the vocabulary of biologists. He writes: “We still use the language that theists used in Darwin’s day”. So scare-mongering talk about the dire consequences of allowing design thinking into biology is mischievous and polemical – neither are in the interests of science.

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    11:19
    30 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • OK, Michael, you have avoided interacting with the Adam and Eve context of my scenario, so I will need to ask you specifically about this.

    Michael Roberts: “The responsibility for his hurt “lies primarily with his parents and church teachers for teaching him creationism in the first place.”

    The issue in my scenario was not “creationism” but human evolution and whether Adam and Eve were historic figures. I also drew attention to the fact that we are both members of “Christians in Science” where there is a diversity of views on the historicity of Adam and Eve. Are you now saying that Christians in Science ought to come clean on the issue and declare that Adam and Eve were not historic figures, despite being part of the teaching of Jesus Christ on marriage and the Apostle Paul on the meaning of redemption?

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    11:28
    30 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "My concern is that science is being hi-jacked by people who have an agenda to promote the philosophy of naturalism. These people are denying the heritage of science, which developed in harmony with theism and the recognition of design in nature. I want to see a restoration and development of this harmony "

    What?? You want science to be done without it being rooted in the natural world?? Thats like asking for formula one to stop using cars. We're not denying the philosophical roots of science, or that many early scientists were theistic. We're just simply working within the framework that they established and you just seem to be getting p/ssy that we're not coming back with the mantra of goddidit.

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    12:20
    30 May, 2011

    Moony

  • Wow, now you misrepresent Dawkins in your little crusade.
    What you're leaving out, is that although Dawkins accepts that organisms have the APPEARANCE of design, when you examine the finer details (i.e. the structure of the mammalian eye, or the redundant multi-chamber stomach in carnivorous whales), one can only come to the conclusion that the *designer* was an idiot. A mechanism that doesn't invoke a retarded magical sky fairy having created everything has been proposed, tested and refined.
    Science - It works.

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    12:35
    30 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • My question:
    “Is intelligent Design creationism’s aim to overthrow naturalistic science and replace it with God as the creative and directive force in all subjects from science to philosophy? Yes or No (see the goals of the wedge strategy by Johnson if you are unsure of the answer)”

    Your answer:
    “Intelligent Design Creationism is a term not used by either Creationists or advocates of intelligent design. Similarly, some of the other phrases you are using are not ones that I would choose.”

    So that’s a straight answer is it?

    Well it is clear to me that your answer should be yes. You deflect by attacking the term intelligent design creationism so you avoid the straight answer.
    But, and no surprise here, we are getting to the truth – this is not about thinking skills for children, it is not about establishing design in nature as a scientific study, it is just about bringing God into the first cause of everything. You are, David, completely showing all the signs and attributes of Philip Johnson wrote and talked about when presenting his wedge strategy and his approach to replacing actual science with science derived from God . I salute you sir as a true and faithful Johnsonsite to the core, well done for sticking to your guns and not letting on the true intent even when asked a direct question you avoid a direct answer – have you thought about a career in politics? They never give a straight answer either.

    I do not see now or in the near/far future Cambridge offering Supernatural Science degrees rather than natural science degrees. Science is about the study of the natural and not the supernatural. Taking science back to incorporating God as the explanation for anything we cannot yet understand or explain is a major retrograde step. Science is about explanation of the natural world and not the supernatural.

    As for Dawkins, yes he wrote about the ILLUSION of design in the Natural History magazine in 2005, he no more accepts design than I do. He wrote in that same article:

    “The illusion of design is so successful that to this day most Americans (including, significantly, many influential and rich Americans) stubbornly refuse to believe it is an illusion. To such people, if a heart (or an eye or a bacterial flagellum) looks designed, that’s proof enough that it is designed.”

    You, David, seem to fall into this category. You are fooled by the illusion.

    He went on to say.” The arguments of creationists, including those creationists who cloak their pretensions under the politically devious phrase “intelligent-design theory,” repeatedly return to the same big fallacy. Such-and-such looks designed. Therefore it was designed.

    Interestingly Dawkins also puts forward the following challenge:

    “In any developing science there are disagreements. But scientists—and here is what separates real scientists from the pseudoscientists of the school of intelligent design—always know what evidence it would take to change their minds.”

    What, I wonder would it take to change your mind David? I’ve told you what it would take to change my mind, evidence from empirical research that is published in the mainstream science journals and an acceptance by the scientific community. Then I will change my mind and advocate teaching intelligent design in science. And before you cry that this is not achievable because of systematic bias and conspiracy – I refer you back to Margulis who managed to achieve it and get her idea accepted.

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    17:11
    30 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • David

    Can I suggest two really good books:

    Not by Design: Retiring Darwin’s Watchmaker, John O. Reiss.
    University of California Press (2009). xviii, 422 pp., Price £34.95, Hardback, ISBN-13: 978-0520258938

    Also

    The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma (2005)
    Dr. Marc W. Kirschner (Author), John C. Gerhart (Author), John Norton (Illustrator) Yale University Press; 1 edition (October 19, 2005) ISBN-13: 978-0300108651

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    18:38
    30 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • James: “So that’s a straight answer is it?
    Well it is clear to me that your answer should be yes. You deflect by attacking the term intelligent design creationism so you avoid the straight answer.”

    When someone asks the proverbial question “When did you stop beating your wife?”, it is necessary to point out that it is a loaded question and it is impossible to give a straight answer. If you want a straight answer, you must ask a straight question. The problem I am facing is that those of you who are criticising design-thinking are making no effort to understand what design theorists are saying. For example, we have already met the idea that ID is a god-of-the-gaps approach, and I have already explained that ID is based on evidence – is anyone listening? Your post betrays a misunderstanding of ID because you infer that ID is about studying the supernatural: “Science is about the study of the natural and not the supernatural. [. . .] Science is about explanation of the natural world and not the supernatural.” This has been presented as an error earlier in these exchanges.

    The quote you provide of Dawkins is of interest: “The illusion of design is so successful that to this day most Americans (including, significantly, many influential and rich Americans) stubbornly refuse to believe it is an illusion. To such people, if a heart (or an eye or a bacterial flagellum) looks designed, that’s proof enough that it is designed.” He makes it appear that design inferences are a matter of gut feeling. He does not acknowledge the work of design theorists to put some rigour into this - to provide a methodology for design to be inferred within science. I have already made an introduction to this by referring to complex specified information – and there is more for those who want to follow it up.

    I’d like to stick with your quote of Dawkins, because on 29 May you wrote to challenge my claim that “everyone agrees that there is the appearance of design”. You suggested that this claim is “a very good psychological way of implanting design without even having to provide evidence. It is just this type of approach that MUST be kept out of school science.” You went on to say “How about we start instead from the perspective that in nature NOTHING is designed. That would be for me a better starting point. If you want to go away and do the work and show that it is go ahead come back with the evidence and we will look at it.”

    The Dawkins’ quote confirms the quote I gave you from Dawkins, that there is an _appearance of design_. To suggest that this phrase is a psychological device to implant ideas in the minds of students without providing evidence is absurd. There is no controversy about the appearance of design! The challenge is to get students (and some of their teachers it would seem) to analyse what it is that constitutes an appearance of design. Then we can consider alternative ways of explaining the data. I would suggest that unless educators get to grips with what ID theorists have been saying about these things, they will be poorly equipped for this task. “Coming back with the evidence” is what ID theorists have been doing for some time now, and yet the promise “we will look at it” has been taken up by very few.

    The fact that you are giving the promise and yet turning a blind eye to over a decade of coming “back with the evidence” shows that there are other factors operating here. You had an opportunity to engage with ID advocates at the Brighton Science Fair on 26th February 2006. Following your presentation was a talk by a PhD biologist on ID in biological science, and then a talk by myself on ID in the cosmos. Many of the popular errors about ID thinking were corrected on that occasion, but the stereotype remains. This is important now because I wonder what has been fed to Michael Gove about creationism and ID? If he has only been exposed to the cardboard image constructed by critics, his recent decision needs to be reconsidered.

    “What, I wonder would it take to change your mind David?”

    The essence of science is the testing of hypotheses relating to evidence. The failure of a hypothesis triggers its reconsideration.

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    11:56
    31 May, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "He makes it appear that design inferences are a matter of gut feeling. He does not acknowledge the work of design theorists to put some rigour into this - to provide a methodology for design to be inferred within science."

    The bacterial flagellum came up during the Dover Trial, and a mountain of evidence was submitted by the scientific community to show how it evolved.

    Speaking of straight questions. Was ID born out of necessity to continue the creationist viewpoint following a court ruling which banned the teaching of creationism?

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    12:28
    31 May, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Actually ID came out as a response to the 1980 s Chicago Declarations on Inerrancy who proscribed evolution as a possible evangelical position by Bradley and Olson. This was later taken by others and came to the for in the 1990s.

    David said "The essence of science is the testing of hypotheses relating to evidence. The failure of a hypothesis triggers its reconsideration." Quite correct. All YEC hypotheses have been tested and found wanting and are also based on sheer misreprsentation - just see on the Creation Ministries internation website where they have posted Tas Walker's article on Derek ager and polystrate fossils. The allegorical use of the ninth commandment there beggars beleif . We need to remember that Philip Bell is employed by CMI and was handing out CMI literature at St Peters School Exeter.

    Hence David's arguments are not worth being discussed but rather dismissed . Perhaps they can be considered when CMI and other creationists stop allegorising the ninth commandment and correct previous errors


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    13:49
    31 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • Oh I forgot to say I discussed this on p51 ff in my book Evangelicals and Science (Greenwood 2008)

    I also deal with aspects of the use of the bible and the rise and flaws of YEC and ID as well as fine evangelical scientists like Adam Sedgwick , Darwin's geology teacher and more recent ones.

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    13:52
    31 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • Oh I forgot to say I discussed this on p51 ff in my book Evangelicals and Science (Greenwood 2008)

    I also deal with aspects of the use of the bible and the rise and flaws of YEC and ID as well as fine evangelical scientists like Adam Sedgwick , Darwin's geology teacher and more recent ones.

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    15:04
    31 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • Another book for youi David (though I suspect you may have read it)

    Creationism's Trojan Horse by Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross (2007) paperback ISBN: 978-0195319736

    If you haven't I suggest that you do. You may be unwilling to accept the agenda of Intelligent Design creationism - but you should understand the real intent behind what you are pushing to place in schools - though I suspect you know perfectly wel what it is all about. It's worth reflecting on why the book was written - as the authors state:

    Why We Wrote This Book


    Religious interference in American science and science education is an old story. But intelligent design proponents’ cultivation of support for efforts to eliminate evolution from public school science, or to disparage it, and to secure recognition of creationists’ claims of scientific legitimacy, are today enjoying unprecedented, nationwide success. For the first time, such claims seem to many lay observers to have become respectable. In fact, however, they are no more respectable as scholarly inquiry, or specifically as biological science, than were their discredited “creation science” predecessors. Unfortunately, this is not widely understood. Nor is the seamless continuity of “Intelligent Design Theory” with other recognized forms of creationism. Having examined in detail claims made by members of the “Wedge,” we saw it as our professional and civic obligation to scholarship and science to prepare a fully documented account of their anti-evolution agenda. We came to understand that, for the well-being of science and science education, the seamless continuity of intelligent design and traditional creationism must be demonstrated for our colleagues and the knowledgeable public. The narrowness of Wedge strategists’ religious aims, which do not reflect the values of the broader, more tolerant religious community, must be exposed, as must ID’s pervasively sham methods of inquiry. People who value science and the benefits of life in an enlightened society must be alerted to the Wedge’s political, cultural, and religious ambitions.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creationisms-Trojan-Horse-Intelligent-Design/dp/0195319737/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1306860329&sr=8-3

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    17:48
    31 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • Exactly James .

    There is a seamless continuum between ID and YEC and both are totally destructive both to science education and the church.

    I cannot see why people like David do not realise what nonsense Creationism is and that it is the best argument against any form of christianity

    Sadly many both here and elsewhere fall for their shoddy and dishonest arguments and either reckon it's fair play or that IDa nd YEC do have some real scientific basic whereas they have none.

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    18:14
    31 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • On the matter of such scientists as Newton, I'll recount in brief the conversation that I had over lunch today with Professor Sir Harry Kroto (yes, I know, name dropping) - I was discussing the Intelligent Design Creationists’ attempts to gain a foothold in schools over here - he was not complimentary as you can imagine. But he told me something about Newton that I didn't know.

    Newton it seems was an Arian and, as such thought of the worship of Jesus as a part of the Trinity and, therefore, a God, was idolatry and a sin. It seems that Newton kept his religious views secret as he faced the threat of severe punishment if he had been open about his religious beliefs. Heresy was a crime that could have been punishable by the loss of all property and status or even death. Newton also invoked God as the means by which planets were kept in motion and he implied that God was the cause of gravity – that being the case I guess that we have wasted billions on the large hadron collider searching for the cause of mass and therefore the explanation for the cause of gravity We should have listened to Newton and accepted that Gravity was caused by God – no need to find the Higgs boson and see if the field interactions cause things to have mass.

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    18:35
    31 May, 2011

    James Williams

  • Kroto is right and that is standard historical knowledge. One Newton scholar said newton replaced Jesus in the trinity with himself.

    Much creationist history of science is woefully wrong with all their silly appeals of creation scientists in the past.

    Gish did this during a Gish gallop . No questions were allowed but I have a loud voice so I pointed out to him of his 4 creation scientists

    Newton rejected the trinity
    Galileo had more children tahn a bachelor out
    Agassiz was a racist
    Lord Kelvin rarely went to church

    I asked if he thought all good christians should copy them.

    Lots of prayers were said for my salvation that night - but sadly for them I became a christian though a univ Christan Union:)

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    22:52
    31 May, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • This discussion seems to have moved from a focus on whether creationism and intelligent design should be discussed in science lessons to a general free-for-all to persuade anyone who is listening that the discussion is over because evolutionary theory has won all the arguments. I will discuss the education questions, but will leave the free-for-all to others.

    James, you recommended: The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma (2005) by Marc W. Kirschner and John C. Gerhart, Yale University Press. I’ll refer to this to revisit some of the points I have made earlier.

    The authors are eminent biologists in their fields, and they have an interesting goal: to close "a major gap in Darwin's theory". That is of relevance for education, because few students appear to realise there is a major gap in Darwinism. I note also that the authors aim to provide "a timely scientific rebuttal to critics of evolution who champion 'intelligent design.'" The relevance of this is that a scientific rebuttal is deemed legitimate, but any attempt to counter that scientific rebuttal with a scientific response is (by definition!) religiously motivated and is not acceptable to scientists. I hope the double standard here is evident!

    What is this major gap? It is the origin of novelty. They write: "Ignorance about novelty is at the heart of skepticism about evolution, and resolving its origins is necessary to complete our understanding of Darwin's theory." Before going any further, I’d like to relate this to education. What opportunity do students get to grapple with this issue? What they are typically told is that Darwin solved the problem by the mechanisms of variation (now understood in terms of genetic mutations) and natural selection. They are not told that there is a major gap in our understanding of novelty. Needless to say, Creationists and design theorists have been making this a major issue for years – perhaps they are talking science after all!

    The authors advance an evo-devo approach, which is much discussed by evolutionary biologists but has not yet made much of an impact in school textbooks. They start their story with the earliest prokaryotes, saying: "Evidence is completely lacking about what preceded this early cellular ancestor," and "Everything about evolution before the bacteria-like life forms is sheer conjecture." I commend them for their honesty here (but why don’t school children get exposed to this message?). From a design perspective, Kirschner and Gerhart are starting with complexity – and the more we know about bacteria-like life forms, the more we have to admit they are not simple! These authors are not building complexity from scratch, they are starting their argument with life that is already complex.

    Having established their baseline, they proceed to build. "Generating the first eukaryotic cell was a major and enduring accomplishment," – which is an important point for them to make. "Extensive innovation showed up in the complexity and organization of the eukaryotic ancestor." Next, it was necessary for cells to aggregate and communicate with each other in order to form multicellular organisms. Writing of the Cambrian explosion, they refer to the origin of the phyla: "Once again, a new suite of cellular and multicellular functions emerged rather quickly and was conserved to the present."

    All these transitions are unexplained by Darwinism, and it appears, also from Kirschner and Gerhart’s new theory. Add to this the origin of limbs in the first land vertebrates, the origin of neural crest cells that sculpt the heads and nervous systems of vertebrates, and the origin of the neocortex in vertebrate brains. "The origin of these processes and properties would seem to be the primary events of evolution, requiring high novelty," but the authors admit they cannot explain them. They offer their theory of facilitated variation as a plausible route for getting answers to these apparently intractable problems.

    The book has not been received well by Darwinists. They feel their theory has been undersold and that the alternative presented is too sketchy and lacking in rigour. Brian Charlesworth wrote a review in Science [310, 9 December 2005: 1619-1620] with the title: On the Origins of Novelty and Variation. Charlesworth’s evaluation is that: “Kirschner and Gerhart do not present any detailed examples of how the properties of developmental systems have actually contributed to the evolution of a major evolutionary novelty. Nor have they shown that alternative properties would have prevented such evolution. Although The Plausibility of Life contains many interesting facts and arguments, its major thesis is only weakly supported by the evidence.”

    There are numerous educational issues here – but students are being presented with a carefully selected diet of Darwinian tidbits. Whilst the interpretation of these evidences is challenged by some scientists as leaving major gaps in our understanding, there seems to be a determined attempt to keep all critical discussion of Darwinism out of the classroom – interpreting any critique as religion being smuggled into science. Of course, design theory has a role here. It challenges people to face up to problems and provides a much-needed focus on the origin of novelty and biological information. That’s what is needed, and banning such discussions from science should be interpreted as an anti-educational stance which will ultimately harm students.

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    17:48
    1 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • another wall of text from David which could be shortened to "Darwinists can't explain X, therefore magic man did it"

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    20:13
    1 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • And still missing the point made by Gould that
    "Darwinian selection will not be overthrown; it will remain a central
    focus of more inclusive evolutionary theories. But new findings and
    interpretations at all levels, from molecular change in genes to patterns of
    overall diversity in geological time, have greatly expanded the scope of important causes -- from random, selectively neutral change at the genetic level, to punctuated equilibria and catastrophic mass extinction in geological time."

    Heaven forbid a theory is modified as new evidence comes to light.

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    20:18
    1 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • I find it interesting that you decide to ignore those books which show the intent behind intelligent design creationism and which shows that the idea of design to explain what you cannot understand is flawed.

    I put The plausibility of life here to illustrate, and you have backed this idea, that science is not inherently biased against revolutionary ideas and that all biologists are just Darwinists who dare not question the ‘established orthodoxy’. When science is presented scientists will debate it. I do not necessarily agree with the central thrust of the book, I think there are problems with their idea but I am not an eminent biologist who can mount a scientific rebuttal of their ideas. I would not necessarily present this in a science class to children on the same basis that I reject the unscientific intelligent design creationism approach – Kirschner and Gerhart’s ideas are not accepted by the scientific community as the best possible explanation. There are critics of their work (from the scientific community) and their ideas are quite new and as yet not backed by lots of evidence.

    All science has gaps, unknowns, puzzles, intrigue. The science we present in school is SCHOOL SCIENCE it is NOT cutting edge untried, untested science. If we took the approach you advocate then every major theory would have to be presented as unproven (even gravity), not fully explained, tentative, poorly evidenced, in lots of ways speculative and something that should never be trusted. Now, with this type of approach recourse to God is very useful because each time a difficult question arises you simply pop in God and hey presto problem solved.

    The discovery institute (by the way what actually has it ever discovered?) makes a big play about how science is a closed shop and that despite knocking on the door nobody will let them in. This book shows that it is not. It is possible to have scientific ideas that depart from ‘the norm’. It is possible to look at established theory and to question and promote new ideas. The key, however, is that it should be science and this is where intelligent design creationism fails. It is not science and it does not advance learning – if anything it does the exact opposite. It teaches children that, when faced with a complex idea or structure or process rather than seek to explain, the best recourse is to opt out, simply give up and say – well it must have been designed that way! I would rather teach children to grapple with problems and try to understand.

    If we accept 'design' ans an answer for things we do not understand in science, when children then ask – as they will, just who or what is the designer – what is your answer? God, Vishnu, Buddha, the magic reed (American Indian creation myth), Ame-no-Minaka-Nushi-no-Mikoto, Takami-Musubi-no-Mikoto, Kammi-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the three Japanese creating deities), Tepeu and Gucumatz (Mayan), Coatlique (Aztec), the Ungambikula (Aboriginal) etc. etc. etc. All these are valid and acceptable ‘designers’ according to intelligent design creationism because, of course, as you keep telling us, Intelligent design creationism has nothing to do with religion and the designer – as the discovery institute state, does not have to be the Christian God. So I assume that teachers would be free to pick whichever designer they fancy.

    We know what the strategy is.

    1. Convince people that nature has a designer – but shh, don’t mention God just yet!
    2. Once convinced and ‘design’ is accepted as a scientific explanation – well, now have a duty to address who or what the designer is – after all children keep asking!
    3. God fits the bill nicely so, God is the designer – after all the other stories are not credible are they? A magic reed – are you having a laugh? We can’t possibly tell that to our children in a science class and keep a straight face!

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    8:23
    2 June, 2011

    James Williams

  • James: “I find it interesting that you decide to ignore those books which show the intent behind intelligent design creationism and which shows that the idea of design to explain what you cannot understand is flawed.”
    They are not being ignored, but responses from me have to be prioritised – especially this week when time is much more constrained for me.

    “I put The plausibility of life here to illustrate, and you have backed this idea, that science is not inherently biased against revolutionary ideas and that all biologists are just Darwinists who dare not question the ‘established orthodoxy’.”
    Sure. And the book conveniently illustrates the point that I made earlier, that there are significant dissenters from Darwinism – who recognise that Darwinism does not explain very much. Of course, they all find a place for Darwinism (as do I). All along, I have been pointing out that students are being given a one-sided evolutionary story that is not healthy for science.

    “I would not necessarily present this in a science class to children on the same basis that I reject the unscientific intelligent design creationism approach – Kirschner and Gerhart’s ideas are not accepted by the scientific community as the best possible explanation. There are critics of their work (from the scientific community) and their ideas are quite new and as yet not backed by lots of evidence.”
    If you are serious about this, then you should be able to understand why people like myself object to the way Darwinism is presented in textbooks. The research literature is much better – this often reveals the weaknesses in evolutionary theory according to Darwinism. On scientific grounds, Darwinism should not be accepted as the default explanation of origins. Educationalists should present both strengths and weaknesses. Kirschner and Gerhart are well aware of the weaknesses.

    “The science we present in school is SCHOOL SCIENCE it is NOT cutting edge untried, untested science. If we took the approach you advocate then every major theory would have to be presented as unproven (even gravity), not fully explained, tentative, poorly evidenced, in lots of ways speculative and something that should never be trusted.”
    I agree completely with the first sentence, although there is a place for introducing “case studies” from current research as this provides stimulation and provokes interest. They get it anyway via the media, so why not exploit this in teaching?
    So, I ask, why are you defending the teaching of Darwinism? It has been tested and found wanting. It does not deliver what Darwin claimed. Kirschner and Gerhart are clear about that, as is Gould and many others. If you want examples of ideas that are “not fully explained, tentative, poorly evidenced, in lots of ways speculative and something that should never be trusted”, then look at the way adaptation is handled!
    If we can agree on this, I am happy to move on and explain why design concepts do not fit this description, but deserve to be considered within a scientific discussion of origins.

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    18:11
    2 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "So, I ask, why are you defending the teaching of Darwinism? It has been tested and found wanting. It does not deliver what Darwin claimed. Kirschner and Gerhart are clear about that, as is Gould and many others."

    No one's teaching children that Natural Selection is the sole mechanism of Evolution, they teach Science, and by extension Evolution, of which what you refer to as Darwinism is but one part. Scientists such as Gould found flaws in the theory, found that it doesn't explain *everything* it claimed to, and ended up filling in the blanks themselves as new evidence came to light. Hence Gould saying that

    "Darwinian selection will not be overthrown; it will remain a central
    focus of more inclusive evolutionary theories. But new findings and
    interpretations at all levels, from molecular change in genes to patterns of
    overall diversity in geological time, have greatly expanded the scope of important causes -- from random, selectively neutral change at the genetic level, to punctuated equilibria and catastrophic mass extinction in geological time."

    Are you seriously complaining that because Darwin was wrong on a few things 151 years ago, that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater? Natural Selection is but one way in which species can arise. No Biologist worth his weight would claim that Natural Selection is the sole mechanism by which new species arise (Darwinism), and that is *NOT* what is taught in schools. Hell the CIE A-Level syllabus states that we *must* teach about genetic drift and gene flow alongside Natural Selection.

    Nice strawman.

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    19:12
    2 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Now if ID is a science as you claim it is, what is the hypothesis? how is it falsifiable? and why have experiments not been done and published in a mainstream journal?
    Why have no IDers submitted their groundbreaking work to the Templeton Prize? you could hardly call an organisation that awards millions for the advancement of spirituality a bias organisation.

    "The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.

    "They never came in," said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned."

    Oh

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/weekinreview/04good.html

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    19:24
    2 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Surely you are not seriously suggesting David that what is taught in schools about evolution is a 'strict' original Darwinian theory unchanged from 1858???

    Darwin got lots of things wrong (e.g. suggesting that bear like animals are the ancestors of whales).

    All; you are doing is using silly creationist argumentrs like 'Darwin got this wrong so his whole idea is worng and we are right' If you are descending to that level of argument then we stop now. It is so silly it's not even worth wasting time on. Guess what, Wallace got things wrong as well so why not discount his input as invalid.

    As mentioned real science teachers adopt a modern approach to teaching evolution. Remember also that a textbook is a support and resopurce and not the whole teaching approach. There are things I don't like in textbooks and I challenge them and sometimes the textbook get the science wrong, but in the end professional teachers take responsibility for delivering high quality teaching and that does not include delivering non-science as science.

    I think that we should do better in our teaching of evolution and too many science teachers have a basic understanding of evolution (many of the non biologists such as physicists for example actually don't like biology and so tend not to deliver it very well - sometimes I have seen them taking in by creationist propaganda and delivering downright lies (e.g. Darwin awas a racist; Darwin rejected evolution on his deathbed and accepted God; no new species, from pre-existing species have ever been observed in nature; etc.)

    Please David go away and read about what evolution theory is NOW and don't try to pretend that we are all still teaching Darwin and Wallace's ideas unchanged.

    Newton got things wrong about gravity - guess what, we don't dismiss his ideas. We also don't include his notion that the cause of Gravity was God.

    Get back to the core of this argument. Should we teach intelligent design creationism in science?

    Answer NO, not unless and until those who propose it provide the evidence, do the reserach publish it in the mainstrem science journals and it provides an acceptable (to the scientific community as a whole explanation for the development and diversity of life on Earth.

    IDC is not science. Stop trying to leapfrog/queue jump it into schools. If it is to take its place it must have scientific credibility and to date it has not gained that credibility. Very few new ideas gain that credibility without a lot of hard work, testing, evidence, publications etc. Cold water fusion was another 'idea' that while supported by bona fiode scientists is not taught in school science - why? because it does not have the acceptance of the scientific community.

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    20:46
    2 June, 2011

    James Williams

  • Oh dear. I have just returned from leading an Ascension day communion. I preached on it and started with Camping's prediction of 21st May and they agreed they were not good enough christans to be raptured. I went on the bike so cycled along the Lune estuary past a ruined 12th century monastery. Beautiful

    And then I read another of David's posts where he shows he simply doesnt understand anything about science and rabbits on about Design and why Darwinism is wrong

    Perrhaps he could put a proposal to the templeton Foundation for a grant.

    I benefited from Templeton funding for ID in 2000 when they paid for me to go to an ID conference in the USA. I met all the ID guys and that cvlinched it why it was wrong. My theme was geological time and ID and got published in Debating Design ed Dembski and Ruse.. If ID is correct and geological time is correct then God returned every few years to zap a bit more Irreducible Complexity into life. It gets a bit silly

    What David hasn't grasped is that if YEC or Design was taught in science at schools it would destroy the faith of many evangelcial students who have been brainwashed into beleiving it.

    Creationism is a great recruiter for atheism !!

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    21:15
    2 June, 2011

    MichaelRoberts

  • James: “Surely you are not seriously suggesting David that what is taught in schools about evolution is a 'strict' original Darwinian theory unchanged from 1858???”
    No I am not suggesting this.

    “All you are doing is using silly creationist arguments like 'Darwin got this wrong so his whole idea is wrong and we are right' If you are descending to that level of argument then we stop now. It is so silly it's not even worth wasting time on. Guess what, Wallace got things wrong as well so why not discount his input as invalid.”
    I do not recognise my arguments here. It would be a lot less tedious for you and I (and any other readers) if we interact on the basis of what the other actually writes.

    “As mentioned real science teachers adopt a modern approach to teaching evolution. Remember also that a textbook is a support and resource and not the whole teaching approach. There are things I don't like in textbooks and I challenge them and sometimes the textbook get the science wrong, but in the end professional teachers take responsibility for delivering high quality teaching and that does not include delivering non-science as science.”
    Exactly. This is why attempts to tell professional teachers what they can and cannot do in the classroom should be regarded as meddling and unhelpful. This is perfectly compatible with the argument I have been making to you.

    “I think that we should do better in our teaching of evolution . . .”
    Yes, certainly. I have not been arguing against the teaching of evolution, but for teaching it better – being realistic about what inferences we can make from empirical findings.

    “and too many science teachers have a basic understanding of evolution (many of the non biologists such as physicists for example actually don't like biology and so tend not to deliver it very well - sometimes I have seen them taking in by creationist propaganda and delivering downright lies (e.g. Darwin was a racist; Darwin rejected evolution on his deathbed and accepted God; no new species, from pre-existing species have ever been observed in nature; etc.)”
    First, saying that Darwin would today be regarded as a racist is not a creationist invention. In The Descent of Man, Darwin argued quite explicitly that Europeans were intellectually and morally superior to other races and that this gave them an advantage in their struggle for existence with other races.
    Second, the myth of Darwin’s conversion was exposed in creationist literature.
    Third, creationists do not argue that no new species arise. They do say that the speciation we observe involves no new genetic information and that genetic loss is the primary driver.

    “Please David go away and read about what evolution theory is NOW and don't try to pretend that we are all still teaching Darwin and Wallace's ideas unchanged.”
    I have written many comments on the current status of evolutionary theory. These have been met with stiff resistance – but no one has demonstrated that my understanding is flawed.

    “Get back to the core of this argument. Should we teach intelligent design creationism in science?”
    You are lapsing into jargon again – and I’ve already pointed this out to you. I strongly recommend that you stop getting your cues from those who oppose creationism and intelligent design. These people have not done their homework either.

    The position I have been advocating in these comments is that teachers should work with the syllabi they have for the examinations to be taken by the students. I have argued that they teach science, not philosophy dressed up as science. This means they major on the evidences and get the students to think about the implications of the data. They should look at the strengths and weaknesses of whatever theories seem relevant – the goal is to help the students develop a scientific mind and skills of critical analysis. The latest GCSE document has: “to identify the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories” and “to suggest reasons for the different theories”. Teachers should be free to explore this, particularly if some students bring a design perspective to their studies. The work of identifying differences and suggesting reasons is always educationally valuable. Prohibitions imposed upon teachers about what they should and should not do introduce a practice that is alien to science and to education.

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    13:35
    3 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Wow davyboy, you just don't give up do you - like a dog with a bone. Even when you have been exposed, you still hang on in there!

    "The position I have been advocating in these comments is that teachers should work with the syllabi they have for the examinations to be taken by the students."

    Good, cos that's what we do and, guess what, it doesn't include intelligent design. You said earlier that you didn't want to change the content of the specifications (actually how long have you been out of teaching - we dropped 'syllabus' years ago!!). Good. So no need to bring in intelligent design then - not part of the spec now you don't want the spec changed so we are all happy then.

    "The latest GCSE document has: “to identify the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories” and “to suggest reasons for the different theories”. Teachers should be free to explore this,"

    Yes and that's what we do in the classroom, we teach about Darwiun's theory and Lamarcks and compare and contrast (two competing theories - do you see?) We teach about phyletic gradualism and punctuated equilibrium - again compare and contrast look at teh strengths and weaknesses - all the things you want.

    Now, intelligent design, let me see, do we teach that as a competing theory? Um, let me think, err, NO

    Why not?

    BECAUSE INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC THEORY ASND THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO EVALUATE!!!!

    Get it now davyboy that's what we've all been trying to tell you but knock knock it isn't getting through is it??

    "particularly if some students bring a design perspective to their studies"

    And what is they bring in the flying sphaggetti monster should be go through the strenths and weaknesses of this as compared to intelligent design? Tricky as they are identical except on the identity of the designer - who we all know is the great Noodly appendage...

    And what if, like me, you teach children of many faiths (at least six or seven in one of my classes) - do we have to include all their creation theories as well? If so my teaching load is going to go sky high and I won't be able to get through the specification as we wtill be spending all our time discussing myths and stories instead of doing the science!

    "I have argued that they teach science, not philosophy dressed up as science. This means they major on the evidences "

    Great Davyboy - you are getting it at last!! YES we teach science and, as noted above....

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    15:10
    3 June, 2011

    Plato

  • INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT SCIENCE

    What it IS, is just what you don't want taught, 'philosophy dressed up as science' - I think that intelligent design has been described as creationism dressed up in a cheap suit in a bid to try and make it respectable.

    Oh and I think I can detect a little 'Americanism' here... you want the student to 'major' on the evidences.

    Well, great again Davyboy and so far there isn't any evidence that I can see in the mainstream peer reviewed science journals that supports intelligent design - indeed quite the opposite!

    So come clean – you are not a qualified teacher are you? Have you ever taught biology in a UK school? Are you an American evangelist wishing to corrupt our children with some weird fundamentalist rubbish? In fact have you even got a biology or geology degree?

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    15:21
    3 June, 2011

    Plato

  • By the way, can't believe that this thread is still going strong - I go away for a short break over half term and you guys carry on the party without me!

    Keep going boys, this is fun!

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    15:25
    3 June, 2011

    Plato

  • You said it all Plato:)

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    16:09
    3 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • You said it all Plato:)

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    15:06
    4 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Plato: “Yes and that's what we do in the classroom, we teach about Darwin’s theory and Lamarck’s and compare and contrast (two competing theories - do you see?) We teach about phyletic gradualism and punctuated equilibrium - again compare and contrast look at the strengths and weaknesses - all the things you want."
    On the face of it, this is good practice.

    “Now, intelligent design, let me see, do we teach that as a competing theory? Um, let me think, err, NO
    Why not?
    BECAUSE INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC THEORY ASND THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO EVALUATE!!!!”
    This is where I get fearful for students, because some of them are persuaded that there is evidence, and that reasoned arguments can be given to support this. I gave some myself to James Williams on 26 May. These evidences are frequently discussed in the scientific literature – although mostly by scientists committed to the philosophy of naturalism (so they exclude design on dogmatic ground, not via reasoned argument). I am fearful for students, because the danger is that their enthusiasm for science will be crushed by being told something they know to be false by their teacher. I have raised these practical problems several times during these exchanges, but there has been no acknowledgement that these concerns are legitimate. I tried to get Michael Roberts to address the problem, because he will know of parents educated in science who consider that the human race has descended from an ancestral couple (let’s call them Adam and Eve). This is not a Creation/Design issue only – for many people take this view – they are to be found in Protestant or Roman Catholic circles. Many of them find this an important consideration when thinking about the sanctity of life and the differences between humans and animals. However, it would be possible for a teacher to jump insensitively into the world of young people and say that science has disproved all this nonsense and that such considerations are not to be evaluated in a science lesson. I am suggesting that such an approach is deeply flawed.

    No more time now - more feedback to follow.

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    13:54
    6 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Again can you answer these two very simple questions?
    "Now if ID is a science as you claim it is, what is the hypothesis? how is it falsifiable? "

    If people are being indoctrinated to believe fictional stories then it's the fault of the people teaching that nonsense in the first place. You can't expect science to bend to your will if it states something that hurts your feeling. Opinions have no place in Science.

    The Vatican state that they have no problem with Evolution, and the same for the Church of England.

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    15:12
    6 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Plato, I had written about the relevance of teachers discussing design issues "particularly if some students bring a design perspective to their studies". You replied: “And what is they bring in the flying spaghetti monster should be go through the strengths and weaknesses of this as compared to intelligent design? Tricky as they are identical except on the identity of the designer - who we all know is the great Noodly appendage... “
    The flying spaghetti monster was a student prank. It fails to be relevant on numerous counts. First (and I’ll just mention this one), design perspectives are concerned with making scientific inferences to design, not with studying the design agent. Design theorists have always been clear about this – the persistent practice of rephrasing the issue in this way is a sign of weakness on the part of those who want to keep design thinking out of science.

    “And what if, like me, you teach children of many faiths (at least six or seven in one of my classes) - do we have to include all their creation theories as well? If so my teaching load is going to go sky high and I won't be able to get through the specification as we will be spending all our time discussing myths and stories instead of doing the science!”
    With design theory, we are not addressing creation theories. We are considering whether design inferences can be made using data from the natural sciences. We are considering potential explanations for ubiquitous biological (and physical) phenomena. I have supplied numerous examples of the need to do this in education and quotations from leading scientists who realise that Darwinian adaptation does not deliver the important changes in complexity and biological information. I am complaining about the way science writers routinely consider it “science” to refute design and tell their readers that design thinking is a cop-out (or whatever) but never allow design theorists the right to defend design theory within science. The reason is dogma – not evidence.

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    16:51
    6 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "I am complaining about the way science writers routinely consider it “science” to refute design and tell their readers that design thinking is a cop-out (or whatever) but never allow design theorists the right to defend design theory within science. "

    Then defend it within science.
    The Templeton Foundation gave you a chance and you ignored them. Why?

    "The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.

    "They never came in," said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned."

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    19:47
    6 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456: “Then defend it within science. The Templeton Foundation gave you a chance and you ignored them. Why?”
    The quotation you gave derives from a New York Times report in December 2005 – but it is false.
    Joseph Campana, from ResearchID.org, put the record straight on February 27, 2007
    “This false claim has been circulated around the internet, and even cited on Wikipedia, to promote a myth that members of the ID research community do not do research. The facts reveal that the media has badly misreported the alleged unresponsiveness of the ID research community and that ID scholars have indeed received funding from the JTF for scientific research, including research that is explicitly related to intelligent design.”
    The fact that you are still circulating mis-information is an indication of the problem design theorists face. It is over 4 years since Campana’s article – why are people so slow to update their understanding? Lack of familiarity with relevant sources does not go down well in science but so many scientists who speak out against ID show little evidence of reading what ID scientists actually say.

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    13:28
    7 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • jut1233456: “Again can you answer these two very simple questions?
    "Now if ID is a science as you claim it is, what is the hypothesis? how is it falsifiable? "

    I have already answered questions like this, and given examples (in the context of geology) as to how it can contribute to teaching. Furthermore, answers are not difficult to find – in books and on the internet. For a recent example, consider Casey Luskin’s article: “A Positive, Testable Case for Intelligent Design”.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/03/a_closer_look_at_one_scientist045311.html
    The short answer he gives to to your question is this: “if we can empirically know and understand the actions of intelligent agents, then we can make testable predictions about what we should find if intelligent causation was at work.”

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    13:43
    7 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • “if we can empirically know and understand the actions of intelligent agents, then we can make testable predictions about what we should find if intelligent causation was at work.”
    Well the intelligent agents we know (us), would never design something as inefficient as the the living organs we see. Light receptors wired in the wrong way around leaving a blind spot in mammals but the correct way in octopus, redundant vestigial organs which do little more than pose a risk of killing you, the squids rectum that passes straight through it's brain, the giraffes laryngeal nerve which take a loop around the Aorta instead of a more direct route, carnivorous whales having a multi-chambered stomach etc...
    If we compare the apparent design we see in the natural world to what an engineer would construct, we can only come to the conclusion that if life was designed, then the designer was a high school drop out.
    Evolutionary Biology on the other hand provides suitable explanations for all these examples and more.

    His idea still doesn't cover the fact that the appearance of design doesn't prove that there was a designer in the first place.

    As for the Templeton, so you're saying they are lying? After seeking grants no research was performed that passed their reviews, and led to them snubbing ID totally.
    ID is a political movement, not a science.

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    15:07
    7 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • By the way, what kind of evidence would it take to convince you that Intelligent Design is wrong?

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    15:35
    7 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456: "If we compare the apparent design we see in the natural world to what an engineer would construct, we can only come to the conclusion that if life was designed, then the designer was a high school drop out."
    I know this sort of language is widespread, but can you see that there is a legitimate scientific debate here. A blind evolutionary process results in "tinkering" design and this is how you are portraying the eye, the laryngeal nerve, etc. But if you think students should hear this analysis, why are you so resistant to the idea that an alternative perspective based on intellihent design is possible. I am prepared to argue on scientific ground that these structures are intelligently designed, and the "tinkering" view is flawed. It is not right that one perspective only is permitted in education (or in science generally).

    "As for the Templeton, so you're saying they are lying?"
    No, I am saying that the New York Times reporter put words in the mouth of the Templeton spokesperson. The people who are lying are those who refuse to be informed by the subsequent expose - it is convenient for them to perpetuate the falsehood.

    "By the way, what kind of evidence would it take to convince you that Intelligent Design is wrong?"
    By the way, this exchange is about the way creationism and design is handled in schools. Ultimately, my views are irrelevant - the goal is to provide a good education in science to students.

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    16:55
    7 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "I know this sort of language is widespread, but can you see that there is a legitimate scientific debate here. "
    No there isn't.

    "A blind evolutionary process results in "tinkering" design and this is how you are portraying the eye, the laryngeal nerve, etc. But if you think students should hear this analysis, why are you so resistant to the idea that an alternative perspective based on intellihent design is possible."
    Because one of those ideas is based on evidence, the other wishful thinking.

    " I am prepared to argue on scientific ground that these structures are intelligently designed, and the "tinkering" view is flawed. It is not right that one perspective only is permitted in education (or in science generally)."
    Then argue from a scientific ground. Submit papers detailing your falsifiable hypothesis to scientific journals or causes like the Templeton foundation and let the scientific process evaluate them. The guy you quoted above said that “if we can empirically know and understand the actions of intelligent agents, then we can make testable predictions about what we should find if intelligent causation was at work.”, referring to humans as intelligent designers themselves. I've pointed out several examples that an intelligent designer, such as an engineer for example would not consider an efficient solution, and indeed we do not see cameras which work on a similar basis to the mammalian eye, we don't detour electrical cables several times longer than they need to be etc...
    Interestingly enough, if everything was designed as is, then this designer created organisms which lay their eggs in other animals only to hatch and chew their way out of a still conscious individual, he created diseases which disfigure innocent children or even kill them before they have a chance to life, he created organisms which suck the life out of defenseless hosts, he created blood sucking insects which spread the most deadly disease we encounter today...how very kind and loving of him.

    "No, I am saying that the New York Times reporter put words in the mouth of the Templeton spokesperson. "
    Now it's a conspiracy dun dun dun!

    "By the way, this exchange is about the way creationism and design is handled in schools. Ultimately, my views are irrelevant - the goal is to provide a good education in science to students."
    No it's a valid question. If ID is a scientific theory which belongs in the classroom as you claim, then it must be falsifiable. What evidence would you consider enough to disprove ID. It's a straight question. If someone found a fossilized bunny in the Precambrian then I would be reexamining my views on evolutionary biology for example.

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    19:51
    7 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • OK Davyboy, I better understand you now.

    You work at MMU in textiles, were a physicist and actually seem to be immersed in the idea of design so hence your affinity for it. So I'm guessing that you have never taught school science and that you really don't understand what school science is all about.

    As for Templeton - interesting FAQ on their site.

    Does the Foundation support “intelligent design”?

    No. We do not support the political movement known as “intelligent design,” which denies large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge in evolutionary biology. As a matter of policy and in keeping with our legal status, we do not support or endorse political movements of any kind.

    So that sort of seals that one then. Even they don't see ID as scientific but political.

    Great bodyswerve on what you believe being 'irrelevant' I guess you really hit home there. Your beliefs, religious beliefs, intelligent design beliefs ARE IRRELEVANT because what we are talking about is science. So I guess we should take your stance, this deabte is at an end, as you say - beliefs are irrelevant and as ID and design is ust a belief with no accepted supported evidence in the mainstream science journals.

    Just out of interest - what sort of creationist are you? I just ask as some creationists don't seem very happy with you, seems you agree that 'macroevolution' is real - that'll upset answers in genesis from what I know.

    Given your links with the biblical creation society, why should we believe that your motivation for ID in science is anything less than a way of getting religion into science and the idea that goddidit accepted as the explanation for everything?

    At least science teachers encourage children to look for real answers and explanations and not just give up when the going gets tough!

    So, to be clear Davyboy, this is what you believe:

    1. The Bible is the written Word of God, and because it is inspired throughout, all its assertions are historically and scientifically true in the original autographs. To the student of nature this means that the account of origins in Genesis is a factual presentation of simple historical truths.

    2. All basic types of living things, including man, were made by direct creative acts of God during the Creation Week described in Genesis. Whatever biological changes have occurred since Creation Week have accomplished only changes within the original created kinds.

    3. The great flood described in Genesis, commonly referred to as the Noachian Flood, was an historic event worldwide in its extent and effect.

    4. We are an organization of Christian men and women of science who accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The account of the special creation of Adam and Eve as one man and one woman and their subsequent fall into sin is the basis for our belief in the necessity of a Savior for all mankind. Therefore, salvation can come only through accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.

    Unless of course you've changed your mind since you were secretary of the Biblical Creation Society??

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    10:20
    8 June, 2011

    Plato

  • jut1233456: I had pointed out that science literature regularly makes comments about bad design in nature, but they close the door to responses – explaining why it is not bad design. I was confident that you would see the inconsistency here and asked: “can you see that there is a legitimate scientific debate here."
    Your reply: “No there isn't.” and “Because one of those ideas is based on evidence, the other wishful thinking.”
    Well, you do not appear to have read any of our responses! I could pass on web links, but it looks as though we have explored the issue as far as we can. Let’s leave it to anyone reading these comments to draw conclusions.

    Regarding the Templeton Foundation, and the mis-information circulating with apparently no interest in checking the sources, I had written: "I am saying that the New York Times reporter put words in the mouth of the Templeton spokesperson. "
    You rep[lied: “Now it's a conspiracy dun dun dun!”
    The article correcting the mis-information was very thorough – going back to the Templeton spokesman. There are grants that were awarded to design-orientated scientists and these were mentioned in the article also. It is true that Templeton has since closed the door to design-based research projects, but that’s another chapter in the story. If there is a conspiracy, it is to refuse to accept that a mistake has been made and that the record needs correcting. Apparently, many of those closing their eyes to such new information are quick to say that science is self-correcting. They know that new information can lead to different conclusions. If you agree with this principle of self-correction, then you need to take the new information about ID on board.

    Unfortunately, there is a conspiracy. Every year has its examples. The most recent is Granville Sewell’s paper that was accepted after peer review by Applied Mathematics Letters. The conspirators were quite proud of the fact that they pressurised the editor to withdraw the paper from publication:
    “So what can one make of a recent attempt to publish a batch of 2LoT religious antievolution as if it were a genuine scientific contribution? E. Granville Sewell, a mathematician at the University of Texas at El Paso and "intelligent design" creationism (IDC) advocate, submitted a manuscript to Applied Mathematical Letters (AML) titled, "A second look at the second law". AML apparently indicated acceptance of the manuscript to Sewell, leading to gloating on an IDC blog. That in turn led to action by David vun Kannon from the "After the Bar Closes" forum, who wrote the editors at AML to point out the problem. AML responded to vun Kannon, saying that they were withdrawing the manuscript.”
    You can find out about this censorship at these links:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/journal_apologizes_and_pays_10047121.html
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/the_first_law_of_darwin_lobbyi044561.html

    I’ll return to the last point in your response when time permits.

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    16:31
    8 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Sewell's paper was withdrawn after it was pointed out that his paper was drivel, and the ideas he was claiming has been refuted in other peer reviewed scienctific journals. It's not unheard of for journals to retract papers later found to be complete crap.

    As the abstract from http://ajp.aapt.org/resource/1/ajpias/v76/i11/p1031_s1?isAuthorized=no
    points out
    "Quantitative estimates of the entropy involved in biological evolution demonstrate that there is no conflict between evolution and the second law of thermodynamics. The calculations are elementary and could be used to enliven the thermodynamics portion of a high school or introductory college physics course."

    The only controversy is the bullying of a journal by threatening them with lawyers.

    Nice to see you could find time to twist in the wind instead of answer a very straight question though.
    An answer to Plato's question would also be nice.
    "Given your links with the biblical creation society, why should we believe that your motivation for ID in science is anything less than a way of getting religion into science and the idea that goddidit accepted as the explanation for everything?"

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    21:05
    8 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Plato: “As for Templeton - interesting FAQ on their site. Does the Foundation support “intelligent design”? No.”
    Correct. They have changed their policy with time. For my comments on the words you quote, go here:
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2011/02/21/the_evolution_of_the_templeton_foundatio

    “Your beliefs, religious beliefs, intelligent design beliefs ARE IRRELEVANT because what we are talking about is science.”
    No. They are irrelevant primarily because what we are talking about is *education*. A teacher is not there to clone his/her belief system – and all teachers and all scientists have belief systems. Teaching is (or should be) evaluated on student outcomes: the development of study skills, the development of critical thinking skills and the ability to work intelligently with data.
    I advocate the teaching of evolutionary theory as long as it is done properly, helping students to recognise weaknesses as well as strengths. I advocate the principle of multiple working hypotheses – this is a good practice in every discipline and it helps students avoid being blinkered and stimulates critical thinking skills. I can teach about topics I personally disagree with – my personal views are irrelevant. The objective is to enhance the educational experience of students. My concern is that the petition is detracting from their educational experience.

    “Given your links with the biblical creation society, why should we believe that your motivation for ID in science is anything less than a way of getting religion into science [. . .]”
    I have links with several societies. To name one other, I am a member of Christians in Science, along with Michael Roberts, despite the fact that the leadership is solidly behind the theistic evolution approach. The confessional statement you quoted is actually that of the Creation Research Society, based in the US. The Biblical Creation Society is a UK group and the membership statement is that of the UCCF, the major Christian organisation working alongside university students. The text of this is here:
    http://www.biblicalcreation.org/more_about_bcs.html
    BCS has published a “Creation Manifesto” to articulate what “Biblical Creation” actually means:
    http://www.biblicalcreation.org/bcs_publications/manifesto_link.html
    But if you want to know what motivates me, and how I perceive the relationship between Christianity and science, you might wish to look at this book:
    http://www.biblicalcreation.org/bcs_publications/bcs134.html
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/CREATION-CHANCE-DESIGN-Guide-Evangelical/dp/0852345445/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307623911&sr=1-11

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    13:57
    9 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • jut1233456: “Sewell's paper was withdrawn after it was pointed out that his paper was drivel, and the ideas he was claiming has been refuted in other peer reviewed scienctific journals.”
    I am tempted to say that if you believe that, you will believe anything. Granville Sewell is no novice in writing on these issues: he is a Professor of Mathematics, author of several textbooks and has been writing informed papers on these subjects for some time. For anyone who is interested, here is a more popular analysis of the issues written for the American Spectator in 2005:
    http://spectator.org/archives/2005/12/28/evolutions-thermodynamic-failu#

    My motivation for ID in science derives from my concern for honesty, truth and integrity in science.

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    13:59
    9 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • more dribble, but you've still refused to answer a very straightforward question

    "What evidence would you consider enough to disprove ID."?

    As for Sewell, he may have excelled in Maths, but like Linus Pauling, excellence in one field doesn't translate to excellence in another. Sewell may be great at maths, but he sucks at applying his skills to Physics and Biology.

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    15:48
    9 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456: "What evidence would you consider enough to disprove ID."?
    I've already provided you with the response. Look back at what I've said about the broad categories of Law, Chance and Design. Design inferences are made on evidence. If it can be shown that Law or Chance are adequate to explain the phenomenon under investigation, then the design inference fails.

    This is actually a good reason for ensuring that design thinking is part of education, because otherwise Law or Design wins, not on evidencial grounds, but by default. A good example is abiogenesis research. Some researchers promote law-like explanations and others appeal to chance. But neither of these options come anywhere near explaining the data. Only the design inference is rational and coherent.

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    16:19
    9 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • " If it can be shown that Law or Chance are adequate to explain the phenomenon under investigation, then the design inference fails."

    So please tell me how the mountain of evidence on say for example, the evolution of the eye is inadequate.
    Are you happy to admit that the different types of eye could all have evolved through what you call "law and chance", and had nothing to do with design?

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    16:32
    9 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456: "So please tell me how the mountain of evidence on say for example, the evolution of the eye is inadequate."
    Yes, I can do this. But I'd like to remind you that these comments are considering educational issues. There is evidence against the evolution of the eye, and it is scientific evidence. I'm happy to interact at that level - and to make the point that students should be aware of this evidence and be encouraged to develop a critical mind in the evaluation of this evidence. Are you willing to accept this as the context for a discussion of the evolution of the eye - or am I going to be told that my arguments are religiously motivated so they don't qualify as science?

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    21:05
    9 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "There is evidence against the evolution of the eye, and it is scientific evidence."

    The enough twisting in the wind and reference the peer reviewed papers which detail this evidence. If that evidence doesn't exist, then it deserves no place in a SCIENCE classroom.

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    6:35
    10 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456: There’s plenty to say that is not in the peer reviewed literature, despite it being rational and evidence-based. However, I’ll not pursue this if the criterion is “peer-reviewed”. Your comment explains why there is so much pressure on editors to exclude design-orientated analyses from consideration – because as soon as they allow an article to be published, it undermines your case for excluding design thinking in education.

    However, there’s still scope for a good discussion of alternative hypotheses about the evolution of the eye. I’d start with Walter J. Gehring’s paper: Historical perspective on the development and evolution of eyes and photoreceptors (Int. J. Dev. Biol. 48: 707-717, 2004)
    http://www.ijdb.ehu.es/web/paper.php?doi=041900wg&a=f

    ABSTRACT: The development and evolution of eyes is an "old problem" in biology, which required a special treatment in Charles Darwin's "Origin of the species" (1882) under the heading of "Difficulties of the theory". Darwin postulated a simple and imperfect eye, as a prototype, which can vary and evolve under natural selection into more complex and perfect eyes. Based upon morphological criteria and the different modes of development of the different kinds of eyes, neodarwinists have postulated that the various eye-types are polyphyletic in origin and that the eyes have evolved independently in the various animal phyla. Recent developmental genetic experiments and molecular phylogenetic analyses cast serious doubts on this interpretation and argue strongly for a monophyletic origin of the eyes from a Darwinian prototype and subsequent divergent, parallel and convergent evolution leading to the various eye-types.

    Relevant quotes:

    “Based upon morphological and embryological considerations Salvini-Plawen and Mayr (1977) claimed that photoreceptors have originated independently in at least 40 but possibly up to 65 or more phyletic lines and they strongly adhere to the dogma “that the lens eye of a vertebrate and the compound eye of an insect are independent evolutionary developments”.” (p.708)

    “Since the evolution of a prototypic eye is a highly improbable stochastic event that is not driven by selection, the hypothesis of a polyphyletic origin of the eyes, arising 40 to 65 times independently, is extremely unlikely and incompatible with Darwin’s ideas.” (p.711)

    “The origin of photoreceptor cells indicated in Fig. 5 (at the top) is largely a matter of speculation.” (p.715)

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    16:20
    10 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • So yet again, it boils down to a massive conspiracy against ID. If you want something taught in science, then make it science by allowing science to judge your idea. Examples were given earlier in the discussion of ideas which were initially rejected, but then as more evidence came to light accepted, there is no reason ID couldn't achieve the same if it was a valid scientific theory.

    Let's just recap. You cannot find a single peer reviewed, scientific paper which casts doubt on the eye having evolved.

    The best you can find is a paper which questions whether or not the eye evolved from a single prototype, or several times independently of each other. None of this has anything to do with ID, nor does it bring doubt to the idea that the eye is a product of evolution.

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    18:06
    10 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456: “Examples were given earlier in the discussion of ideas which were initially rejected, but then as more evidence came to light accepted, there is no reason ID couldn't achieve the same if it was a valid scientific theory.”

    I have given you examples of the way perfectly logical and well-reasoned contributions have been buried, not because of the failure to address evidences, but because the “gatekeepers” are ideologically opposed to intelligent design. The issue is not with the data, but with the prevailing dogma.

    “Let's just recap. You cannot find a single peer reviewed, scientific paper which casts doubt on the eye having evolved.”

    Let’s just recap. These exchanges have reached the state I anticipated. My contributions are coming to an end, because I have said what I wanted to say and find that feedback comments are requiring me to repeat myself. I have tried to get you to think about these issues from the student perspective.

    Instead of being encouraged to follow the evidence wherever it leads, they are apparently only allowed to think along lines set by “peer reviewed literature”. The fact that early scientists freely acknowledged design concepts in their writings is consigned to a box marked “history” and said to be irrelevant for today.

    Students may respond to the paper I suggested with these words: “If the origin of photoreceptor cells is largely a matter of speculation and if it is a contentious issue whether that photoreceptors have originated independently at least 40 times or whether this took place just once, how can anyone claim that there is a “mountain of evidence” for the evolution of the eye? Furthermore, since the vertebrate eye provides so many indications of complex specified information, we do want to consider whether it is intelligently designed.” Are you going to appeal to the peer reviewed literature and say the question is inadmissible because there is no consideration of intelligent design in that literature? (I am not saying that teachers have to defend ID, but I am suggesting that they should be free to interact with questions like these in science lessons).

    Previously, I have commented on the way scientists have imbibed the philosophy of naturalism as an underpinning presupposition. This development has affected most of the science community, and many people cannot imagine doing things any other way. The problem is that we now face the hegemony of naturalism – dissent is not tolerated. Scientists who depart from naturalism are expelled; editors who publish papers with a different philosophical standpoint experience intense pressures; educationalists are required to conform to the naturalist agenda with the threat of being regarded as unprofessional if they fail to cooperate. Liberty is not tolerated – this is Big Brother thought control.

    Some years ago, Daniel Dennett captured the imagination of many by saying that Darwinism is a “universal acid” that “eats through just about every traditional concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view”. Dennett wrote as an advocate of atheistic naturalism, but his field of view was blinkered. The ideological revolution (in which Darwin played an important part) concerns the dominance of naturalism. Dennett was right about the universal acid concept but did not take it far enough: naturalism destroys everything. It destroys humanity: consciousness is an illusion, free agency is a mirage, morality is socially constructed, spirituality has evolved blindly. The acid of naturalism also destroys science, because there is no adequate philosophical foundation for rationality and logic and no rationale for an ordered, rational universe.

    A distinctive characteristic of naturalism is that its advocates rarely attempt the exercise of justifying their own philosophy. The secularist mindset is quick to decry other positions as superstition – fantasy – nonsense but deems it self-evident that its own stance is correct. This has been apparent in many of the comments from those hostile to intelligent design in nature. Educationally, this is indefensible. Furthermore, this situation is dangerous for the health of science.

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    18:23
    11 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • so either
    a) ID has been tested as science and found lacking both in peer reviewed literature, and in the supreme court which revealed that ID is little more than an attempt to get religion into the classroom.

    or

    b) There is a massive atheist, naturalist conspiracy in the scientific community to shut out ID and prevent it from overturning 150 years of scientific discovery. They, and the Roman Catholic church, Anglican Church, Michael Gove and just about anyone who doesn't share the same view as you is in on it.

    Occam's razor is a great tool. You're delusional. The only conspiracy occurring is the one detailed in the 'wedge' strategy and supported by the Dover findings.

    I'll leave you with
    http://tinyurl.com/3mtqcx2

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    20:19
    11 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • I can't believe this thread is still going. And I can't believe I've been sucked in.

    I'm no expert at refuting creationism, ID etc, but I have one question for David Tyler. Who or what designs your intelligent designer?

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    7:07
    12 June, 2011

    grahamjump

  • so either
    a) ID has been tested as science and found lacking both in peer reviewed literature, and in the supreme court which revealed that ID is little more than an attempt to get religion into the classroom.

    or

    b) There is a massive atheist, naturalist conspiracy in the scientific community to shut out ID and prevent it from overturning 150 years of scientific discovery. They, and the Roman Catholic church, Anglican Church, Michael Gove and just about anyone who doesn't share the same view as you is in on it.

    Occam's razor is a great tool. You're delusional. The only conspiracy occurring is the one detailed in the 'wedge' strategy and supported by the Dover findings.

    I'll leave you with
    http://tinyurl.com/3mtqcx2

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    21:14
    12 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • grahamjump wrote: "I can't believe this thread is still going. And I can't believe I've been sucked in."
    And I can't believe I'm still posting - I thought that my previous post was the sign-off.

    "I'm no expert at refuting creationism, ID etc, but I have one question for David Tyler. Who or what designs your intelligent designer?"
    I will respond, but I'm resigned to letting jut1233456 have the last word on the major thread. Graham, we are discussing science education, and science has no way of studying the intelligent designer or of answering questions like the one you have asked. On what evidence can we construct hypotheses and how can they be tested? So ID scientists do not attempt to respond to such questions. What ID contributes to science is a methodology for recognising design. The example I gave many days ago was that of an archaeologist finding an artefact and wondering whether the sharp edges and shape can be explained in terms of physics and chemistry (planes of weakness permitting shearing), or some chance fracturing event, or whether it was fashioned by an intelligent agent. Reaching a conclusion within archaeology is recognised as science - whether you agree with ID advocates or not, the methodology can still be used and students can understand better how a scientist gets a handle on designed features.

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    16:05
    14 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • the key difference being that we can also find evidence of a designer's existence with regards to archeology, and also replicate the creation of said artifacts, but there is no evidence a designer exists with the natural world outside of the faulty assumption that 'It looks like it was designed, therefore there must be a designer!'.

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    17:38
    14 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • Anybody who thinks Intelligent Design should be in British science classes, must also accept Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland as a case history of a girl who jumped down a rabbit hole. If we're talking about science we're talking about things that have empirical evidence to support them. Facts are not affected by opinions nor are they affected by the way people may want them to be.

    A scientific theory must have empirical evidence to support it - Intelligent Design has none - only a weak opinion, i. e. if it's complex it must be designed.

    A scientific theory must predict what we see in nature - Intelligent Design doesn't - how can one predict what an undetectable invisible being is going next?

    A scientific theory must be falsifiable - that is, if new data disproves it, or a better theory is devised, then the original theory should be abandoned. Intelligent Design isn't falsifiable because it's accepted without empirical data by people who believe it, and predicts nothing, thereby being of no use whatsoever to scientific research.

    Intelligent Design, therefore, fails to meet the criteria of a scientific theory on all three counts, and should never be taught as science.

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    7:35
    15 June, 2011

    Ian555

  • DavidJTyler

    Quote: '.......and science has no way of studying the intelligent designer or of answering questions like the one you have asked.'

    The only reason science has no way of studying your intelligent designer is because (a) he doesn't exist (b) he was designed by people like you to be 'metaphysical' so that he couldn't be studied. Name me one metaphysical thing that exists & tell me on what basis you say it exists.

    Quote: 'On what evidence can we construct hypotheses and how can they be tested? So ID scientists do not attempt to respond to such questions. What ID contributes to science is a methodology for recognising design.'

    I think I may have already mentioned that this is called circular reasoning. If you ARE 'recognising design' in your evidence ever, you aren't researching you are data trawling.

    Quote: 'The example I gave many days ago was that of an archaeologist finding an artefact and wondering whether the sharp edges and shape can be explained in terms of physics and chemistry (planes of weakness permitting shearing), or some chance fracturing event, or whether it was fashioned by an intelligent agent. Reaching a conclusion within archaeology is recognised as science - whether you agree with ID advocates or not, the methodology can still be used and students can understand better how a scientist gets a handle on designed features.'

    Within your so-called 'methodology' you have your hypothesis: ''A designer created this'', before examing one single bit of evidence. You have broken the fundamental idea that reseach LEADS to knowledge; you are openly 'data trawling' for anything to support your ideological point of view. In addition your hypothesis is not falsifiable and therefore is actually nonsense.

    Half-truths, an appeal to unreason and no evidence isn't science and never will be.

    Your ideas aren't based on science.
    Your ideas aren't based on evidence.
    Your ideas aren't based on logic.
    Your ideas aren't based on rational arguments.
    Your ideas have no basis in 'truth' as we understand it.

    Intelligent Design is a story; nothing more & nothing less.

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    9:46
    15 June, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • So what it boils down to is that Davyboy just wants the pupils to decide, So does he really think that they are equipped to see the nasty vicious, yet subtle lies that ID creationism tells? They fool loads of intelligent people.

    Wait a minute I have an idea for the next curriculum review that will solve all our problems:


    What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide.
    What I support is putting all mathematics on the table and then letting students decide.
    What I support is putting all spelling on the table and then letting students decide.
    What I support is putting all football rules on the table and then letting students decide.
    What I support is putting all elections for public office on the table and then letting students decide.
    What I support is putting all venomous reptiles on the table and then letting students decide.

    You just don't get it do you Davyboy. School science is not about letting kids exercise free choice, you may not have children, but their free choices are not all sensible. Yes we can teach them to think, but they also need knowledge and that should be agreed supported knowledge not crackpot ideas that are not science and not supported.

    So let's end this as

    Evolution 2: Intelligent Design Creationism 0
    (see the other long thread on creationism in schools to see evolution's first goal.

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    9:11
    19 June, 2011

    Plato

  • Plato - You are just making this up. I have written several times that my comments should be set in the context of existing syllabi (specifications). For example, this is from the 2012 AQA GCSE Biology 4411.

    Candidates should use their skills, knowledge and understanding of how science works:
    -to suggest reasons why scientists cannot be certain about how life began on Earth
    -to interpret evidence relating to evolutionary theory
    -to suggest reasons why Darwin’s theory of natural selection was only gradually accepted
    -to identify the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories
    -to suggest reasons for the different theories.

    Notice that the document is not interested in what the teacher thinks about these issues, but is concerned that candidates should demonstrate competence in the stated areas. All of the above topics can be covered with integrity by a teacher of creationist convictions and by a teacher with an ID perspective.

    It is not that David “just wants the pupils to decide”, nor is it “about letting kids exercise free choice”.
    What I am saying is that teachers need to be sensitive to pupil perspectives. If kids from a creation/design background get rough treatment (“nasty vicious, yet subtle lies”, “crackpot ideas”), research has shown that they suffer. If you are really concerned about education, rather than winning an argument, you should approach these issues with a more constructive attitude.

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    16:05
    21 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • Although if someone takes the time to find the latest AQA specification and read the section on evolution you will find the following

    "Additional guidance:
    A study of creationism is not required."

    And a more detailed explanation of what they want, specifically having Natural selection compared to Lamarck.

    I Shall not C+P the whole thing, but it's free to view here

    http://store.aqa.org.uk/sciencelab/AQA-BIOL-W-SP.PDF

    Regardless David is selectively quoting again, here's the second half of the text he's quoting

    "Their skills, knowledge and
    understanding of how science
    works should be set in these
    substantive contexts:

    • Fossils provide evidence of how much (or how little) different
    organisms have changed since life developed on Earth.

    • The theory of evolution states that all species of living things have
    evolved from simple life-forms which first developed more than
    three billion years ago.

    • Studying the similarities and differences between species helps us
    to understand evolutionary and ecological relationships.

    • Extinction may be caused by:
    - changes to the environment
    - new predators
    - new diseases
    - new competitors.

    • Evolution occurs via natural selection:
    - individual organisms within a particular species may show a
    wide range of variation because of differences in their genes
    - individuals with characteristics most suited to the environment
    are more likely to survive to breed successfully
    - the genes which have enabled these individuals to survive are
    then passed on to the next generation.

    • Where new forms of a gene result from mutation there may be
    more rapid change in a species."

    Notice how the document is explicit in which context the section mentioned in Davids quote must be mentioned.

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    6:36
    22 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456 – “Regardless David is selectively quoting again, here's the second half of the text he's quoting”.
    No this is not the case – I’m just sparing readers with too much information.

    Yes, these “substantive contexts” go with the previously cited learning outcomes. I have no shortage of comments relating to these points, but I really would like to stick with the major feedback comment I gave to Plato.

    The only contentious part of the text is the statement: “Evolution occurs via natural selection:”
    This is classic Darwinism and it is now considered of secondary importance by numerous specialists – some of whom have been identified in previous posts. This specification shows the hegemony of neodarwinism.
    The way this topic should be taught is covered by the earlier cited outcome: “-to identify the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories”. To limit this to Lamarkism is educationally stultifying.

    Here is some fresh air from James Shapiro in the introduction of his new book: “Evolution: A View from the 21st Century”
    http://www.ftpress.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1720625
    [if this link is a problem, try accessing via:
    http://www.ftpress.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=9780132780933]

    He is consciously critiquing Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism: “Conventional evolutionary theory made the simplifying assumption that inherited novelty was the result of chance or accident. Darwin theorized that adaptive change resulted from natural selection applied to countless random small changes over long periods of time.” And “His neo-Darwinist followers took the same kind of black-box approach in the pre-DNA era by declaring all genetic change to be accidental and random with respect to biological function or need.”

    Shapiro is advancing an informatic perspective (which is very interesting for ID scientists who have been working along parallel lines): “Genomes are sophisticated data storage organelles integrated into the cellular and multicellular life cycles of each distinct organism. Thinking about genomes from an informatic perspective, it is apparent that systems engineering is a better metaphor for the evolutionary process than the conventional view of evolution as a selection-biased random walk through the limitless space of possible DNA configurations.”

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    18:11
    22 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "No this is not the case – I’m just sparing readers with too much information."

    You mean anything that would dilute whatever point you were trying to make.
    Regardless you're quoting from the old specification, the more recent one (which I linked to) is far more detailed, and I presume you chose the old specification because it's more ambiguous.

    Now lets see
    "I have written several times that my comments should be set in the context of existing syllabi " followed by "This specification shows the hegemony of neodarwinism."
    Dear dear.

    From the 2012 spec
    "New species arise as a result of:
    ¦ isolation – two populations of a species become
    separated, eg geographically
    ¦ genetic variation – each population has a
    wide range of alleles that control their
    characteristics
    ¦ natural selection – in each population, the
    alleles that control the characteristics which
    help the organism to survive are selected
    ¦ speciation – the populations become so
    different that successful interbreeding
    is no longer possible."

    Note: God did it! isn't included.

    and just for amusement sake
    "I have written several times that my comments should be set in the context of existing syllabi "
    "Additional guidance: A study of creationism is not required."

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    21:10
    22 June, 2011

    jut1233456

  • jut1233456 – I had written: "No this is not the case – I’m just sparing readers with too much information." Your reply: “You mean anything that would dilute whatever point you were trying to make.”
    No, I do not mean that. I meant that further comments on the context would have been repetitive on my part.

    “Regardless you're quoting from the old specification, the more recent one (which I linked to) is far more detailed, and I presume you chose the old specification because it's more ambiguous.”
    No, I was citing the most recent document.

    “From the 2012 spec [. . .] Note: God did it! isn't included.”
    Have you forgotten my words to you earlier in these exchanges? ID is concerned with the science of making design inferences. It is not attempting to go beyond that because the methodology only gets as far as recognising intelligent design.

    "Additional guidance: A study of creationism is not required."
    I am not arguing for creationism to be required. I am arguing for the teaching of evolutionary theory to be better, facing problems more critically, not extrapolating observed variations to explain the origin of novel structures and biological innovation without good reasons, showing more evidence of critical thinking. In the course of doing this, creationism or ID may be raised by students as relevant – and I am arguing that teachers should be able to engage with these issues without being told they are being unprofessional. I also argue that teachers should have the liberty to raise these issues themselves if they consider it is educationally justifiable to do so. I object strongly to the “Big Brother” mentality that requires teachers to conform to a particular party line on such issues.

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    20:06
    23 June, 2011

    DavidJTyler

  • "Have you forgotten my words to you earlier in these exchanges? ID is concerned with the science of making design inferences. It is not attempting to go beyond that because the methodology only gets as far as recognising intelligent design. "

    Have you forgotten the Dover Trial
    "
    * For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child. (page 24)

    * A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants' protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. (page 26)

    * The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism. (page 31)

    * The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory. (page 43)

    * Throughout the trial and in various submissions to the Court, Defendants vigorously argue that the reading of the statement is not ‘teaching’ ID but instead is merely ‘making students aware of it.’ In fact, one consistency among the Dover School Board members' testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID because it was not being taught to the students. We disagree. .... an educator reading the disclaimer is engaged in teaching, even if it is colossally bad teaching. .... Defendants’ argument is a red herring because the Establishment Clause forbids not just 'teaching' religion, but any governmental action that endorses or has the primary purpose or effect of advancing religion."

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    7:07
    24 June, 2011

    jut1233456

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