Intelligent Design Failed

God Evolution CartoonWriting at the conservative religious philosophy site First Things, Stephen Barr sees the writing on the wall for “The End of Intelligent Design,” the pseudo-scientific attempt to get Creationism into the classroom.

What has the intelligent design movement achieved? As science, nothing. The goal of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world, and there is not a single phenomenon that we understand better today or are likely to understand better in the future through the efforts of ID theorists. If we are to look for ID achievements, then, it must be in the realm of natural theology. And there, I think, the movement must be judged not only a failure, but a debacle.

Very few religious skeptics have been made more open to religious belief because of ID arguments. These arguments not only have failed to persuade, they have done positive harm by convincing many people that the concept of an intelligent designer is bound up with a rejection of mainstream science.

[…]

The older (and wiser) form of the design argument for the existence of God—one found implicitly in Scripture and in many early Christian writings—did not point to the naturally inexplicable or to effects outside the course of nature, but to nature itself and its ordinary operations—operations whose “power and working” were seen as reflecting the power and wisdom of God.

So, intelligent design has not only been bad science, it’s been bad theology.  But other than that . . . .

FILED UNDER: Religion, Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. William d'Inger says:

    The Creationists are never going to give up. They’ll be back with new buzz words and loopy ideas. The sad part is having to debunk their foolishness every time. You’d think the public would have learned from the last time or the time before or the time before that.

  2. Franklin says:

    Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

    faith 2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

    ID fails to understand the meaning of faith, period.

  3. Boyd says:

    Is this something that Mr Barr has just figured out? If so, he’s many years behind the curve here.

    And Franklin, yours is the point I keep raising to those (limited to Christians, I suppose) who would look to their theology for proof of anything. As you say, many of the “faithful” have absolutely no concept of what “faith” actually means.

  4. Brett says:

    No shocker there, James. The Intelligent Design movement was never science – it could never be falsified, among other things, and its advocates tried to dodge this by attacking evolution. It was always just a creative way for creationism advocates to dress up their claims after outright creationism was rejected at the Supreme Court level, and that was exposed in the Dover v. Kitzmiller case (a good read on this is a book called Monkey Girl, which shows how poorly the ID arguments were constructed).

    Of course, I doubt it will die anytime soon, just like creationism is far from dying – it just fits certain needs for many people too well. Too many people still have a mental dichotomy where either the bible is literally true (including all the origin myths), or it’s all false, the universe is a dead, god-less place, etc. Many more are just ignorant of evolution.

  5. GS says:

    What about those of us who believe that evolution (or at the very least, selective adaptation) are completely plausible vessels through which a God might have enacted His creation? I’m not saying teach it in schools, but why the harsh reaction? What does it matter to you who my imaginary friend is? For someone older than I, with so much more experience and (presumably) so much more wisdom, I kind of expected more than a junior high mentality on the subject. I think it takes more faith to believe that one man, without even a modern microscope, solved the universe in the 1830’s, than it does to include God as a possible motivator in the equation. It’s just unscientific to not approach a problem from multiple angles. That’s all that most in the ID movement have been pushing for. You’ve got your weirdos, sure, but I think it’s similar to how you look at the one Michigan Militia guy at the Tea Party events and make your decision based on his crackpot sign or petition. Free your mind, Prof.

  6. Highlander says:

    James,

    Just out of curiosity ,are you a lapsed Catholic?

  7. James Joyner says:

    Just out of curiosity ,are you a lapsed Catholic?

    Nope, I’m an agnostic turned anti-theist.

    As to this issue, I’ve long thought GS’ position the most logical one. That precludes the problems Barr identifies in ID.

  8. Brian Knapp says:

    I think it takes more faith to believe that one man, without even a modern microscope, solved the universe in the 1830’s

    To whom are you referring? (Yes, I used ‘whom’)

  9. Brett says:

    What about those of us who believe that evolution (or at the very least, selective adaptation) are completely plausible vessels through which a God might have enacted His creation? I’m not saying teach it in schools, but why the harsh reaction?

    What harsh reaction? Some of the most proponent foes of creationism are “theistic evolutionists” with positions like the above, such as Ken Miller (Catholic) and Francis Collins (evangelical). They tend to believe that God worked his will through evolutionary processes in a subtle way.

    We’re just arguing against it being treated as science, which is what the ID movement people have been trying to do for years so they can get it taught in schools.

    That’s all that most in the ID movement have been pushing for.

    If the ID people want their theory to be taken seriously, then they actually need to turn it into a theory. That means a falsifiable model of intelligent design, including how it works, when it works, and how to tell if it is happening or not.

  10. Brett says:

    What about those of us who believe that evolution (or at the very least, selective adaptation) are completely plausible vessels through which a God might have enacted His creation? I’m not saying teach it in schools, but why the harsh reaction?

    What harsh reaction? Some of the most prominent foes of creationism are “theistic evolutionists” with positions like the above, such as Ken Miller (Catholic) and Francis Collins (evangelical). They tend to believe that God worked his will through evolutionary processes in a subtle way.

    We’re just arguing against it being treated as science, which is what the ID movement people have been trying to do for years so they can get it taught in schools.

    That’s all that most in the ID movement have been pushing for.

    If the ID people want their theory to be taken seriously, then they actually need to turn it into a theory. That means a falsifiable model of intelligent design, including how it works, when it works, and how to tell if it is happening or not.

  11. Brett says:

    Crap, double post.

  12. Douglas says:

    I know some people who believe in young earth. I don’t, they do. It’s a matter of faith for them, but I have NEVER heard any of them (when I actually ask, they are honest and say that they believe in an earth that is only about 10K or less years old, and I was honestly startled at how many I knew) try to push a view. Simply state what they take as a matter of faith.

    Nor have I ever heard any of them (the ones I know) patronize me for believing in the 4 billion year old earth (or there abouts) or demand my evidence to support it.

    You can have a great deal of agreements with creationists, which is often treated as a slur, while honestly disagreeing on the nature of creation.

    Are anti-creationists of the opinion that the earth never was created? (see what I did there? I took a hardcore stance on anti-creationists, just like they take on creationists.)

    Keep it out of science, other than as an aside, “Based upon many aspects of faith there is a belief that the earth is only blah and was blah, however we are gonna cover what we can measure.” There! marginalized in science with 2 phrases.

    and you don’t have to be a smug jerk about it.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    What about those of us who believe that evolution (or at the very least, selective adaptation) are completely plausible vessels through which a God might have enacted His creation?

    Dude, Occam’s Razor. If you can explain everything without assuming a God then there’s no good reason to assume a God. If you let go of a ball in your hand and it falls you can explain it with gravity, you don’t need to imagine a Ball-grabbing deity.

    I’m not saying teach it in schools, but why the harsh reaction?

    Because of the people who are demanding it be taught in schools and are in fact demanding that science be made subservient to their particular religious beliefs.

  14. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    If Darwinism is not based upon faith, reproduce it or face the FACT, it is not science any more than AGW is science. If not intelligent design, please explain, fully, the 2011 Ford Mustang GT. Why are not chimps driving them. What are the odds that life exists on a place where all the necessary ingredients to produce a 2011 Ford Mustang GT happen to exist, in abundance. Explain, please, in scientific terms why out of 4 billion years of history, only one creature is able to make a 2011 Ford Mustang GT.

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    If evolution is true shouldn’t Ragshaft have developed some measurable intelligence by now?

  16. Franklin says:

    A little over-the-top ZR, but getting better!

    What about those of us who believe that evolution (or at the very least, selective adaptation) are completely plausible vessels through which a God might have enacted His creation?

    God is powerful enough that He could have indeed created the Earth 6,000 years ago and made it look *exactly* as if it was created through normal planetary means plus evolution. In fact, He could have made the Earth 10 minutes ago and generated all of our memories before that. It just doesn’t seem likely.

    The main problem, as Mr. Reynolds pointed out, is the folks on the Texas Board of Education that are most certainly trying to teach it in schools. If you don’t support that, great, I’m on your side.

  17. Rick Almeida says:

    What are the odds that life exists on a place where all the necessary ingredients to produce a 2011 Ford Mustang GT happen to exist, in abundance.

    Significantly higher than they are in a place where those ingredients do not?

  18. Steve Verdon says:

    So, intelligent design has not only been bad science, it’s been bad theology.

    This has been my position all along. In fact, I’d argue the IDC may have had a negative impact in that young people who are taken in by it, then find out its completely empty may find thier belief in God seriously eroded. Nothing like having people you trust or look up to lie to you.

    Michael,

    If evolution is true shouldn’t Ragshaft have developed some measurable intelligence by now?

    Sadly no. Evolution doesn’t have to make any organism “smarter” or even “better”.

    ZR,

    If Darwinism is not based upon faith, reproduce it or face the FACT….

    “Darwinism” is based on the facts that organisms change at the genetic level.

    If not intelligent design, please explain, fully, the 2011 Ford Mustang GT.

    Oh, that is intelligent design, but the Ford 2011 Mustang GT is not a living creature. Also we don’t have to look at the end product and work backwards to deduce design either. We know it is designed because we know that humans design cars.

    What are the odds that life exists on a place where all the necessary ingredients to produce a 2011 Ford Mustang GT happen to exist, in abundance.

    The probability is 1. It is a surety. Next time pick something that does not already exist if you want a lower probability.

    Further consider your argument:

    What are odds of life existing in a place where all the ingredients for life exist. Damn high. All the ingredients are there after all. I’d find an argument for God or “design” much more persuasive if we had life in a place where said ingredients did NOT exist.

    In other words your argument is very much like saying, “What is the probability I’ll win this hand of poker given I have a royal flush?”

    Really, your arguments are how not to argue agaisnt evolution. Another is:

    When has a cat ever given birth to dog?!?!

    You think that the lack of this event is proof against evolution. It is actually weak evidence in favor. If it did happen it would turn evolution on its head.

    You guys have it backwards. As usual.

  19. Steve Verdon says:

    Dude, Occam’s Razor. If you can explain everything without assuming a God then there’s no good reason to assume a God. If you let go of a ball in your hand and it falls you can explain it with gravity, you don’t need to imagine a Ball-grabbing deity.

    Quite true, but I imgaine that Kenneth Miller would say two things,

    1. When he does science he doesn’t assume a ball-grabbing deity.
    2. His personal religious beliefs are not science.

    What you are talking about is a scientific principle not a religious one. Now I tend to share your belief and am largely and athiest (save when I drop something on my foot, “Goddammit!!!”), but I just don’t care what others believe when it comes to religion so long as it has no impact on me.

    In regards to guys like Kenneth Miller and the IDC issue I welcome them to the debate. I welcome them because they can connect to those who are religious are not informed of the science and are most at risk of being lured down the path of ignorance by the IDCers.

    In fact, I keep meaning to buy Miller’s book Finding Darwin’s God just to see what his views are.

  20. GS says:

    Michael Reynolds, dude,

    Nice attempt with the ol’ Razor. There are a number of non-scientific questions that I find answered by God. Again, if he is my imaginary friend (in your mind) how does that threaten you? More importantly, if I choose to apply God, and you choose to apply random chance, what’s the real difference? Have I been proselytizing?

    As to the harsh reactions, I find that strict atheists seem to be more interested in defining lines than most religious folk. You’d fall into that camp, given your immediate use of Occam’s. Did I at any point attack science or attempt to discredit evolution? Then, again, why are you so worried about my application of God? As for the Texas school board and like-minded fools, all I can say is that they are hardly representative of religious people as a group, any more than Bill Mahr is representative of all atheists (though I think in Mahr’s case, the argument could be made that he’s a whole lot closer to being a personification of what I like to call “angry atheism”). Maybe mommy and daddy took him to church one too many times as a kid. Maybe he came to the conclusion of a godless world organically. I don’t know, nor do I presume to. But to say that some people in Texas, Jerry Falwell, and Fred Phelps form some sort of referendum for Christianity is just silly. Especially given that they’re all Protestant. I’m Orthodox. There are differences betwixt churches, y’know, just as there differences between atheists/agnostics/deists and so on and so on. Bring more than a pre-existing philosophical argument if you want a real discussion on the topic.

  21. GS says:

    Oh, and thank you Mr. Joyner; we’re bound to disagree on some thangs, but I appreciate the logical approach to the world you bring to the blogosphere.

  22. GS says:

    Knapp,

    Whom is always fun. I find that a lot of arguments with those outside of the sciences lean heavily on Darwin as opposed to the discoveries made every day in biology. I think evolution is real, and most particularly the selective adaptation model. I think it is folly to not update the theory. For example, multiple organisms that created pathways for multiple lines of evolution is pretty much obvious, but some “angry atheists” read Origin of Species like the Bible, and insist that there could only be one line of proteins that created one creature that then magically spawned thousands of species of flora and fauna. That sort of thing. It’s acknowledging that the “random chance” camp has people taking things on faith and bad evidence as well.

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    GS:

    Nice attempt with the ol’ Razor. There are a number of non-scientific questions that I find answered by God. Again, if he is my imaginary friend (in your mind) how does that threaten you? More importantly, if I choose to apply God, and you choose to apply random chance, what’s the real difference? Have I been proselytizing?

    As to the harsh reactions, I find that strict atheists seem to be more interested in defining lines than most religious folk. You’d fall into that camp, given your immediate use of Occam’s.

    I’m sorry, I’m not getting this. Citing Occam’s razor marks me as “threatened” and a “strict atheist.”

    Setting aside the fact that I have no idea what a “strict atheist” is, (as opposed to what, a relaxed atheist?) I’m at a loss as to how you can draw any conclusion about me based on my citing of a commonplace.

    The idea that atheists (strict, lax, angry, mellow, stoned or whatever other taxonomy exists in your view) are more likely to draw lines than religious folk is quite amusing. The majority of Christian denominations draw a rather terrifying line: heaven on one side, eternal damnation on the other. I don’t think we atheists have anything comparable. Most atheists I know view religious belief as an intellectual failing not very much more serious than pairing halibut with Cabernet Sauvignon, or enjoying Celine Dion’s music.

    Certainly we never consider that you and your co-religionists should be boiled in hot, steamy lava while being anally raped by demons for all eternity.

    Of course maybe I’m just hanging out with a wimpy bunch of atheists. I must remember to check in with the Strict Orthodox Atheists denomination and see how they feel.

  24. sam says:

    What about those of us who believe that evolution (or at the very least, selective adaptation) are completely plausible vessels through which a God might have enacted His creation?

    Dude, Occam’s Razor. If you can explain everything without assuming a God then there’s no good reason to assume a God.

    I read Michael’s response, and something niggled at me but I had trouble putting my finger on what it was. And then I reread GS’s assertion, and it came to me. A little background. Frank Ramsey was a very good mathematician-philosopher in the early part of the 20th century. He formulated what has become known as “Ramsey’s Principle”. It goes something like this: In any metaphysical dispute between two diametrically opposed parties, one can usually find some third thing that they both agree with that is false.

    Now, what might this third thing be that is believed by the antagonists? Simple this: The world, and I mean the world in its entirety, in its being, not this or that particular piece of the furniture of the world, is explainable. In the end, the world is not susceptible of any explanation at all, it just is. The laws of physics, the laws of chemistry, and so on just are. Those who argue that God works through the laws of nature to effect his creation offer that as an explanation of the world. Against which is the argument that a detailed accounting of the laws of nature is the explanation of the world.

    But neither can explain the fact of the world. Not the invocation of a creator god because the mystery, and it is a mystery, of the fact of the world is simply transferred to God, and that’s no explanation at all. Nor can a complete accounting of the laws of nature explain the fact of the world–they are just a fuller description of the mystery itself.

  25. GS says:

    Michael Reynolds,

    All snark aside, if we’re just playing semantics here, then I’m happy to agree to disagree. That being said, I’m not sure how you really responded to anything I wrote. Regardless, I think Occam’s was a poor response to what I originally posted, and I’ll stand by that. Additionally, if you’re not an atheist, or if you prefer to avoid titles, I apologize. It makes little difference to me. Your understanding of Christianity is critically flawed, though. Might I recommend you to http://www.oca.org or perhaps http://www.goarch.org ? You’ll find that not all Christian denominations subscribe to the “saved or you burn” philosophy. Your sardonic description of my “strict atheist” wording, however, does seem rather odd when you paint Christianity with such a broad brush. Whatever. You seem like an intelligent enough guy, and I’m happy with what I’ve posted. Feel free to get the last word, as I think we’re pretty much done.

    Sam,

    I think you make some really good points. I truly don’t think that the world is strictly explicable, nor do I think that in our lifetimes the science will get to that point (if ever). I’ve always argued that making scientific “laws” that apply to anything beyond our own observable solar system is scurrilous at best. In short, liked the comment.

  26. Gustopher says:

    Given that we can observe natural selection and evolution in action — antibiotic resistant bacteria anyone? — it strikes me as silly that there are people who deny that it happens.

    Also, intelligent design gave us the poodle.

  27. john personna says:

    “Nope, I’m an agnostic turned anti-theist.”

    There’s a Terry Pratchett book in that line.

    (On more prosaic level, I’m not sure you are even in the Republican’s Big Tent, let alone the smaller one commonly used.)

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    GS:

    Don’t try to play a player. I was raised in the Lutheran church.

    The Roman Catholic denomination — by far the largest in the world and in the US — does subscribe to the “saved or you burn” theology. So do the Southern Baptist (though with some variation between congregations), Assemblies of God, Lutheran and other denominations which, when added up, equal far more than half of American Christians.

    I have no reluctance to call myself an atheist. I am one. I just didn’t get your taxonomy. Or the basis for your assumptions. Still don’t.

    Your objection to Occam’s is inexplicable. Can you explain why you have a problem with the fairly basic proposition that the simplest explanation that fits the fact is the preferred one?

    If not, if you prefer the mre baroque explanation for a given phenomenon, why stop with God? Why not toss in some fairies and leprechauns? I mean, if we can just assume things without evidence, and continue to assume them even in the face of contrary evidence, why not something more interesting and original?

  29. floyd says:

    ID is the result of allowing those who are woefully and willfully ignorant of spiritual matters to frame the argument as if all knowledge were scientific. This nonsense amounts to arguing with literal “half-wits”.

  30. anjin-san says:

    My ideas about God leave room for evolution. Perhaps God wanted to set something in motion that has a life and destiny of its own, not to create a universe set in stone, a design of strictly of his own making.

  31. GS says:

    Michael Reynolds,

    As I said, I was content to let it lie. You, sir, are a tool. As with everything I’ve directed at you, deduction is a fairly reliable tool when you’re willing to reveal such details as your childhood religious upbringing. That said, here goes.

    As far as Occam’s, I found it to be a very simple answer that didn’t fit what I had said. As I stated, there are non-scientific questions that the existence of God helps me to answer. Again, I don’t see why this bothers you so much. Using “the razor” as some sort of philosophical end-all seemed both glib and beneath someone of your intelligence (I’m reaching out here). It is a tool meant for very clear and definable questions, not ones that even science has yet to fully explain. For further explanation, I refer you to http://www.skepdic.com/occam.html

    Taxonomy? Really? I mean, technically, the word applies, but I wasn’t codifying the term in some peer-reviewed journal. “Strict atheist” was as applicable to any atheist set in their beliefs as devout would be to a religious person of the same mindset. You seem to prefer taking things to ludicrous extremes rather than having a real discussion. I forgive you. 😉

    Your (claimed) comprehensive knowledge of a variety of denominations is also faulty. I know of a number of factions within each of the churches you mention that believes in a forgiving God. The Holy Spirit (conscience, whatever you’d like to call it) means that one living a moral life of kindness and charity is destined for God’s grace. The Orthodox Church, which counts around 150 million members, falls into this camp. Hell, even the Catholics have purgatory. Again, I believe you’re imposing Fred Phelps on a mass of people who have little to do with that kind of theology. It only shows how closed your mind must be.

    Fairies and leprechauns? Really? You need to take a Valium and relax, sir. I’m not debating you on the science; I see the science as fitting nicely into my religion without needing to change the science itself. That should be enough to satisfy your lofty halibut-eating, French Canadian singer-hating crowd, no? And by the by, Halibut grilled in a soy marinade and topped with sesame ginger would be more fittingly paired with a Cab than with a white.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    You, sir, are a tool.

    No doubt, and I feel badly about it.

    As I stated, there are non-scientific questions that the existence of God helps me to answer.

    Such as?

    I forgive you. ;

    For being a tool? Or for asking you what “strict atheist” means?

    Your (claimed) comprehensive knowledge of a variety of denominations is also faulty.

    Actually I just said I’d been a Lutheran. The denominational info I cited is common knowledge.

    I know of a number of factions within each of the churches you mention that believes in a forgiving God.

    Dude, they all profess belief in a forgiving God, even the ones that tell me I’ll burn in hell for all eternity.

    The Holy Spirit (conscience, whatever you’d like to call it) means that one living a moral life of kindness and charity is destined for God’s grace.

    According to you. Not according to most Chrisitian denominations which cite the centrality of faith and not works.

    The Orthodox Church, which counts around 150 million members, falls into this camp.

    You of course make my point by having to reach all the way to a denomination that may be very worthy but is numerically insignificant in the US.

    It only shows how closed your mind must be. Fairies and leprechauns? Really? You need to take a Valium and relax, sir.

    Wait, you’re open-minded but deny the existence of leprechauns? Can you prove the non-existence of leprechauns? Sure an’ it’s the pity o’ the world, so tis, so tis, me laddie.

    As I stated, there are non-scientific questions that the existence of leprechauns helps me to answer. For example: “Who is always after me Lucky Charms?” And, “If I were to find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, which sort of stunted creature would I most likely find in close proximity?”

  33. tom p says:

    Given that we can observe natural selection and evolution in action — antibiotic resistant bacteria anyone? — it strikes me as silly that there are people who deny that it happens.

    Also, intelligent design gave us the poodle.

    Comment of the day.

  34. GS says:

    Reynolds,

    If people believe in leprechauns, that’s their business. As long as they don’t argue with the science itself, what do I care if they include leprechauns? And if you refer to the original use of Occam’s, you’ll find that the medieval and Greek logicians that forged the “Occam” argument would not have had a problem, nor applied “the razor”, to that particular situation either. That is what I mean when I say open-minded. Clearly, though you say it matters not, you have a problem with my inclusion of God in science. That would be closed-minded. Let me quote a little Boondocks for you. “There are known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, that is, there things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know”.

    Also, “common knowledge”? You can do better. It’s also “common knowledge” that many denominations don’t believe that. In fact, the Anglicans allow gays and womyn to priest it up. That would be in direct violation of a strict interpretation of the Bible. Your knowledge as a young Lutheran may have been consequential then, but is no longer current. Or, in terms you may prefer, is unsystematic and therefore unscientific. Your understanding of Christianity, even protestant Christianity, seems limited to Calvinism and the modern non-denominationals that use the Bible as subtly as a Mack truck. Both Catholics and Orthodox, which together equal or exceed the number of Protestants on earth, have always had large groups that object to the strenuous definitions of heaven and hell. I could go further into the Orthodox idea that Catholics and Protestants are wrong in thinking of sin and penalty as some sort of legal system, but I’ll digress from the theology. Suffice to say that I feel an active Christian who hangs around a number of other active Christians may have more relevant information on current theology than a childhood Lutheran.

    As far as the Orthodox Church goes, being the oldest continuous Christian church, and my own particular denomination, how could I not include them? It is the church I know the most about. Also, I’m not sure why it matters that the numbers aren’t huge in the United States. I thought we were talking science and philosophy here, not regional theological politics.

    For being a tool? Or for asking you what “strict atheist” means?

    For being a tool. I feel like I answered the question. It was simplistic terminology, yes. Happy, pappy? It still applies. As I explained, it doesn’t mean I think you’re reading from some Atheist Codex, but clearly, you’re not open to the idea of religion, thus making you a “strict” atheist, as opposed to say, an agnostic, or an atheist that asks questions.

  35. Grewgills says:

    Clearly, though you say it matters not, you have a problem with my inclusion of God in science.

    You can include God in your world view or in your conception of how things came to be, but you cannot include it in science and have science remain science.
    The problem with ID is that it attempts to cloak religion in the language of science and then force it into science and the science classroom.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    GS:

    Okay, it’s boring now. Your brain wanders around like a drunk at a carnival. I’m going to go talk to someone who can follow at least his train of logic.

  37. GS says:

    Grewgills,

    Eh? If I say I believe in God, and don’t argue with the science itself, then what’s the objection? Again, it seems like a semantic question, not a scientific one. When I say I include God, I don’t mean to say that I’ve added another ingredient into the recipe, merely that the existing science does nothing in my mind to disprove God.

    Reynolds,

    I tried that about three posts ago. All you have is your Occam’s (which I’ve demonstrated was never meant to be applied to the “God question”) and a variety of glib, condescending statements. You refute nothing, but you do have a talent for knobgoblinery. My brain wanders like a drunk at a carnival? You really are a tool, dude. Thanks for playing though. If you can’t understand that questions of morality and conscience, and the reason for their existence, might bring about one’s belief in a God, then you might need to check your own rhetorical skills. Also, just to be a tool in return, the grammatically correct way to phrase your parting shot would have been “I’m going to go talk to someone who can at least follow his own train of logic”. You’re welcome.

  38. tom p says:

    Sorry guys, as a confirmed aetheist, I am with GS on this one. I do not agree with him, but you are nit picking.

  39. Grewgills says:

    Again, it seems like a semantic question, not a scientific one. When I say I include God, I don’t mean to say that I’ve added another ingredient into the recipe,

    It was perhaps a semantic question as it doesn’t appear that you include God in science.

    merely that the existing science does nothing in my mind to disprove God.

    Nor will it ever be able to, which is why the existence of an unknowable designer rests outside the bounds of science.

    To be clear GS I don’t much care what your (or anyone else’s) religious beliefs are. What you chose to believe about evolution and God doesn’t much affect me so I don’t much care. The beef I have with the ID movement is their attempt to push their religious belief into the science classroom. So maybe this argument is semantic as well, because to my mind the ID movement are the people acting to have their beliefs conflated with science and put into the science classroom. If you simply believe that God has a hand in the process, but are not pushing to have that view conflated with science and/or taught in science class* then I don’t really see you as part of “the ID Movement”. Do you see yourself as part of an ID movement?

    * This seems to be your stance.

  40. Grewgills says:

    insist that there could only be one line of proteins that created one creature that then magically spawned thousands of species of flora and fauna.

    Remove the magic bit and there is quite a bit of evidence that this is the case. It seems extraordinarily unlikely that life would have separately evolved the same genetic vocabulary for one. The “handedness” of amino acids provides some evidence as well. I am unaware of any evidence that points away from the existence of a single common ancestor somewhere in the neighborhood or 4.5 bya. I would love to see any evidence supporting the idea of multiple initial lines of life that have survived to the present day. (Maybe something from a deep sea vent community?)

  41. GS says:

    Grewgills,

    No, I don’t think I fall into the ID movement, as I have a number of problems with what they push, and like you said, I don’t think that anything but the actual science should be taught in the classroom. My religion helps me, and religion in general has helped the world indirectly re: law, justice, and moral conduct. It doesn’t have to be applied to science, so I certainly agree with you there.

    As far as a single common ancestor, I don’t have a particular problem with that part of the theory as long as there is room for the idea of several strings of evolution/adaptation. As you say, deep-sea fissures and major drilling excavation would be required to get to the hard proof needed. Evidence to confirm either idea will take decades to achieve, as the technology just isn’t there yet. I do believe it is unscientific to stop asking the question until we have confirmation (certainly not pointing that at you, you don’t seem to disagree on the idea of constant discovery of new facts opening up fresh lines of thought). There is a ton of fossil evidence for transitional development of particular groups of plants and animals, but less fossil evidence re: trans-species development. I could be out of date on that, however, as I’m certainly not a life sciences major of any kind (Middle Eastern cultures and Islamic jurisprudence, particularly in Greater Persia and Central Asia, are my stock in trade).

    As far as the convergence of similar proteins in organisms, that could very well lend itself to the single common ancestor, or it could simply be that a single environment composed of certain gases/minerals etc. would force the development of species based on those proteins in order to be survivable. My simple contention is that it is unscientific to stop asking questions until we have confirmation. That certainly doesn’t mean that I disagree with the evidence, merely that we don’t have all the questions answered with certainty yet.