More Americans Believe in Devil than Darwin

Twice as many Americans believe in God and half again as many believe in a literal devil than the scientific theory of evolution, a new survey finds. Indeed, Darwin’s theory barely outpolls UFOs and witches.

More Americans Believe in Devil than Darwin

More Americans believe in a literal hell and the devil than Darwin’s theory of evolution, according to a new Harris poll released on Thursday. It is the latest survey to highlight America’s deep level of religiosity, a cultural trait that sets it apart from much of the developed world. It also helps explain many of its political battles which Europeans find bewildering, such as efforts to have “Intelligent Design” theory — which holds life is too complex to have evolved by chance — taught in schools alongside evolution.

The poll of 2,455 U.S. adults from Nov 7 to 13 found that 82 percent of those surveyed believed in God, a figure unchanged since the question was asked in 2005. It further found that 79 percent believed in miracles, 75 percent in heaven, while 72 percent believed that Jesus is God or the Son of God. Belief in hell and the devil was expressed by 62 percent.

Darwin’s theory of evolution met a far more skeptical audience which might surprise some outsiders as the United States is renowned for its excellence in scientific research. Only 42 percent of those surveyed said they believed in Darwin’s theory which largely informs how biology and related sciences are approached. While often referred to as evolution it is in fact the 19th century British intellectual’s theory of “natural selection.”

[…]

What is perhaps surprising is that substantial minorities in America apparently believe in ghosts, UFOs, witches, astrology and reincarnation. The survey, which has a sampling error of plus or minus two percent, found that 35 percent of the respondents believed in UFOs and 31 percent in witches.

The findings are depressing, at least on the surface. My hope is that the results are mostly a function of poor question wording.

Granting the selection bias, most of the religious believers I know — which is to say, most of the people I know — believe that evolution and natural selection are undisputed facts about how life in the material universe works. A goodly number of them, though, might disagree with a specific question on Darwin’s theory. They would almost certainly reject the idea that humans evolved from monkeys, which is what many erroneously think Darwin taught.

Belief in religious characters is relatively uncomplicated. One would say they believed in God or the devil even if they only had a vague sense of those things, owing to the cultural norms of a Judeo-Christian society. Similarly, even those of us who don’t believe in flying saucers and little green men from Mars might acknowledge that people see flying objects which they are unable to identify.

Image source: The Pinnacle

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, 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. Tano says:

    Being ignorant is one thing, and easily excusable. The tragedy in the US is the political movements determined to enforce and perpetuate ignorance.

    The study of biological systems, whether it be for medical applications, environmental understanding, nanotechnology, or other applications, will be a very large part of the intellectual focus of the 21st century. Evolutionary theory is the central organizing principle of biology, and to the extent that half our population is irrationally resistant to the idea, we are going to compete in this century firing on half our cylinders.

  2. just me says:

    I am curious about question wording myself.

    I know many religious believers that believe in God, leave room for miracles, faith and the like, but also believe evolution.

    There is that blurry middle-of people who believe both, and I can’t help but wonder how this is reflected in these kinds of polls.

  3. Bithead says:

    Hmmm.

    I have always viewed such questions in this manner;

    God creating a universe would make a big bang, wouldn’t it ?

    As to the creation of the earth and the heavens and so one in a seven day time frame… Entirely plausible. Consider; the Bible holds God to be a timeless being. Within that construct, then, what is the definition of “a day”?

    As to evoluton; Has man changed over the eons? Most certainly. Does this fact, of itself, negate the hands of an external force on that change process? Obviously, no.

    Tossing around the “ignorance” label on these issues seems to me particularly humorous, Given that the most important words a scientist can utter are “I don’t know”.

    And the fact is, we don’t.

  4. jainphx says:

    Lets see, big bang, what exploded and where did it come from. Something came from nothing and then exploded to create the universe. Then again there is so much evidence of evolution that has been found, please show it to us all. Every species on earth reproduces its own kind.

  5. David Nick says:

    Don’t let your dobber get down James…

    Your loyal reader/fan base still hope that you’ll get abducted by aliens (probably the illegal kind) so we can end the debate once and for all about life outside the beltway!

    😉

  6. Lerk says:

    The question is, who made the survey? I don’t live in the US but this result sounds too unbelievable to be true.

  7. Michael says:

    Bithead,
    I believe the “ignorance” label was not for those who believed in God, but for those who did not believe in evolution.

    Jainphx,
    It is far more complicated than that, and there are many competing theories about what existed and how at the initiation of the big bang. The fact that it happened, however, has such a quantity and quality of evidence that nobody disputes it. As for Evolution, “kind” is a human categorization, not a natural one. And though each individual produces its own “kind”, that offspring is also slightly different than it’s parent. Enough “slightly different” generations produce different “kinds”.

    Lerk,
    Speaking from within the US, I can assure you that it is entirely plausible, and not at all surprising to me.

  8. just me says:

    As for Evolution, “kind” is a human categorization, not a natural one.

    But even evolution fits into human constructs of what animals they think came first or evolved from what animals. At this point a lot of evolution has humans filling in the blanks. Even if it makes sense scientifically-how animals are scientifically grouped etc is still something created and developed by humans.

  9. Grewgills says:

    most of the people I know — believe that evolution and natural selection are undisputed facts about how life in the material universe works. A goodly number of them, though, might disagree with a specific question on Darwin’s theory. They would almost certainly reject the idea that humans evolved from monkeys,

    I don’t see how you can see the evidence for evolution and understand the strength of the theory yet reject its application to humans outside of compartmentalizing religious and other thought.

    which is what many erroneously think Darwin taught.

    It is the logical extension of his theory of natural selection and his later work in “The Descent of Man” makes it pretty clear what he thought on the subject of the evolution of man. The case has only grown stronger over the intervening years.

    Every species on earth reproduces its own kind.

    By type I assume you mean species. We have witnessed and in some cases induced speciation in plants, fruit flies, and bacteria.

  10. Michael says:

    Grewgills,
    I believe James was just pointing out the misconception that humans evolved from monkeys, when in fact theory and evidence say we evolved from apes. Unless I am simply over-estimating James and/or his religious friends, which I hope I’m not.

  11. Michael says:

    At this point a lot of evolution has humans filling in the blanks

    Not quite right. While we may be filling in our genealogical history with our best guesses, we aren’t filling in the theory itself with anything but scientifically verified hypotheses.

  12. Grewgills says:

    just me,
    All human knowledge is a human construct and is created and developed by humans. Do you negate all of human knowledge on this basis or just evolution?

    Math is also a human construct, created and developed by humans. All of our principles of engineering are also human constructs, created and developed by humans. Almost all of the things we rely on in our modern lives, including of course our current method of discourse, is based on science, math, and engineering principles created and developed by humans. This is not a reasonable criticism of evolution in isolation.

    Do you think that gravity attracts masses to one another or do you think that all bodies move towards their natural place or do you have an alternative explanation? What are your reasons for thinking one way or the other? Do you apply this same type of reasoning to your opinion of evolution?

    Michael,
    It is my understanding that when religious people say man did not evolve from monkeys they mean that man did not evolve from some earlier primate species. It does not matter as much to some that other animals evolve through natural selection because they were not created in God’s image. Accepting that man evolved from a “lower” primate is perceived to demean or diminish man and by extension God in whose image they believe we are created.

  13. Grewgills says:

    Bit,
    With our current understanding God’s “days” would each been of a different length of time.
    Day one was light and day two was the firmament. Here I guess we would have to interpret firmament as space. Light and space were more or less simultaneously created so that first day would have been quite short (less than a second).
    Now on the third day he creates the land and seas. I would interpret this to be the ones on Earth. So that second day would be somewhere between 8 and 10 billion Earth years.
    On the fourth day He created the stars and sun. This all happened prior to the events of day three, but maybe they just got these two reversed and days two and three were each somewhere between 2 and 8 billion Earth years depending on how you break it down.
    On the fifth day He creates the birds and sea creatures. If we include proto-bacteria as sea creatures then the span of time between this day and the beginning of our new day four is less than a billion years and day five begins about 4 billion Earth years ago ends with the creation of the birds about 150 million Earth years ago.
    Which leads us to the sixth day and the creation of the other animals, plants and man. This gives us a few billion years of overlap with day five and ends day six about 200,000 Earth years ago.
    So if we average out God day lengths we have another few billion years left on day seven.

    Alternately we could say that the Genesis accounts are allegorical rather than a literal account of the order of events. This is really the only way to square modern science and extant monotheistic traditions without some serious partitioning of thought.

  14. mannning says:

    GG, that is almost exactly what Dr.G. Schroeder postulated in “The Science of God”. Unfortunately, he sorta cooked the books by selecting quark confinement after the Big Bang as his starting point. Any other logical start would not fit the data. Schroeder is an avowed hater of Darwin’s theory.

    What I do not accept is the absolute fixation on natural selection to the exclusion of any competing theory, and to the persecution of any scientist that follows the data and not the theory.

    The tale of the bones is not a pretty, smooth, and illuminating path, contrary to what is being taught in our schools. If one has to say “oh, we will find out how that works later within Darwin’s theory” to buttress his theory, he is not being an ethical scientist.

  15. jainphx says:

    My point was that something had to exist to blow up,and who or what put it there or created it. Some one or some thing had to be involved, and I believe that some one is the Lord God. The Bible tells us that one day is like “to God” a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. Man tries to explain their existence by only guesses. NO man can be sure, and no amount of man made science can be sure.

  16. M. Murcek says:

    The always funny part of this “argument” if you have the temerity to call it that is that the pro-evolution people act as if they’d rather not live if “the majority” don’t believe what they do. Are they any less here if they arrived by means other than they “believe” in?

  17. Steve Verdon says:

    But even evolution fits into human constructs of what animals they think came first or evolved from what animals. At this point a lot of evolution has humans filling in the blanks. Even if it makes sense scientifically-how animals are scientifically grouped etc is still something created and developed by humans.

    Yes, but so is everything like meteorlogy, philosophy, mathematics, and chemistry not to mention…Christianity, and all religions when you get right down to it. The implied argument is rather nihilistic and rather a strange one for a religious person to be making, IMO.

    Grewgills,

    I don’t see how you can see the evidence for evolution and understand the strength of the theory yet reject its application to humans outside of compartmentalizing religious and other thought.

    Well, technically they are right in that we didn’t evolve from monkeys, but that we share a common ancestor with monkeys and other modern day primates. Okay, yeah sure that common ancestor probably looked more like a monkey than a modern human….

    As for the Big Bang, what existed before that, etc. it is all well and good to discuss it, but its relevance to evolutionary theory is precisely non-existent in that evolutionary theory takes the existence of the universe and even life itself as a given. That is, evolutionary theory is not a theory of origins of the universe or life, but of the diversity of life.

    NO man can be sure, and no amount of man made science can be sure.

    And this applies to those men who wrote the bible as well.

    The always funny part of this “argument” if you have the temerity to call it that is that the pro-evolution people act as if they’d rather not live if “the majority” don’t believe what they do. Are they any less here if they arrived by means other than they “believe” in?

    I’m very pro-evolutionary theory and I don’t care what you believe in…please feel free to live in a fantasy world if that is what you want to do.

  18. Paul says:

    NO man can be sure, and no amount of man made science can be sure.

    And this applies to those men who wrote the bible as well.

    Amen.

    I’d never go to a doctor using the medicine of 2000 years ago, or send messenger pigeons instead of email.

    Every species on earth reproduces its own kind.

    If you go back just 10 million years — a pretty short time in the history of the earth, assuming the generations in your family tree are spaced at an average of 20 years (which is probably way too high for most of the time), you would have approximately this number ancestors:

    82990311377619860000000000000000000000000000000
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    Putting aside that the number of unique individuals at that level of the family tree a lot smaller because of inbreeding, there has been plllllenty of time for very little changes bit by bit to add up.

  19. Grewgills says:

    What I do not accept is the absolute fixation on natural selection to the exclusion of any competing theory,

    ID, to which I assume you are referring, fails to meet the standards of a scientific hypothesis on at least two counts: testability and fruitfulness. For a hypothesis to ‘advance’ to theory requires testing which has not been done, largely due to the lack of a testable hypothesis. So, to sum up, the problem with your position is that there is not currently a competing theory and at this point there is not even a competing hypothesis.

    and to the persecution of any scientist that follows the data and not the theory.

    The scientists who are not following the data are Behe et al. His arguments about the ‘irreducible complexity’tm of the eye and flagella have been thoroughly refuted yet he continues to use them. Wikipedia provides a nice diagram and explanation of the evolutionary development of the eye. (If you want a more scientific cite I will provide one.) ASM provides a good and accessible breakdown of the evolutionary development of the bacterial flagella.
    The people who are being unscientific and are not following the evidence are the supporters of ID. Their real motive is apparently to move creationism back into the schools rather than to follow the evidence where it takes them.

    The tale of the bones is not a pretty, smooth, and illuminating path, contrary to what is being taught in our schools.

    The tale of the fossils (remember some are of soft tissue) combined with genetic analysis is remarkably smooth and consistent.

    My point was that something had to exist to blow up,and who or what put it there or created it. Some one or some thing had to be involved, and I believe that some one is the Lord God.

    As Steve has already said this is not the topic at hand, but here you go anyway. If God can exist without a creator it is certainly possible for something else, say a singularity, to do the same. Current science does not allow us to look back to the first instant or beyond and so can only speculate at what came before. Your speculation leads you to God, the speculations of others leads elsewhere none of us can prove which of those speculations is correct or incorrect. Is it repeated expansion and contraction, an initial instant born of an active vacuum, God, Cosmic Consciousness, Spaghetti Monster, we will never know; at least not in this life.

    Man tries to explain their existence by only guesses. NO man can be sure, and no amount of man made science can be sure.

    Hypotheses and theories are several steps removed from just guesses. You are right though that we can never be sure. New evidence can come along and invalidate any theory and new hypotheses will have to be formulated and tested. It has happened many times and will happen many more. We are left with the best explanations we can formulate with the current evidence.

  20. Michael says:

    My point was that something had to exist to blow up

    Again, it’s far more complex than that. The Big Bang wasn’t just existing matter exploding, it was the creation of our universe, including our dimensions of length, width, height and time. Most current theories don’t require anything to exist in our universe to trigger the big bang.

  21. Steve Plunk says:

    I can’t see how these findings would be depressing to anyone. Which belief is more likely to have an effect on a person’s day to day behavior? Belief in the devil and evil is part of our Judeo-Christian heritage that has served our society so well.

    The average person will see more evidence of the devil and evil in week than any evidence of evolution in a lifetime. Common people will be more likely to believe something they see evidence for on a regular basis. It’s not ignorance but priorities.

    Many forget the role of faith in all of this. Faith is believing in something without scientific evidence. Much of religion requires such faith. Science requires evidence through the scientific method. Two very separate ways of establishing what is truth. Because of the differences they are very compatible and not necessarily at odds with one another.

    Rather than live and let live both sides seem to want to discredit the other. I would like to see us move the other way and show respect for a persons beliefs.

  22. Grewgills says:

    I can’t see how these findings would be depressing to anyone.

    It is not that such a high percentage of Americans have faith in God or the Devil or believe in Heaven or Hell that is depressing to most who are upset with these results. They are depressing to me because they indicate a failing in our current and likely future science education and they show the efficacy of creationists in obscuring peoples understanding of evolution with faux science.

    The average person will see more evidence of the devil and evil in week than any evidence of evolution in a lifetime.

    That depends on what you qualify as evidence.

  23. mannning says:

    Of course, I disagree, GG. The fossil record is quite incomplete, there is proof of a staccato species development, and the Precambrian explosion of body types, which I recall is 34 (and only 34!) is not explained in any satisfactory manner whatsoever. Calling it “punctuated” is silly. That is simply a different name describing the events. Speciation is still an incomplete theory; but, of course, once a species appears, it breeds true.

    I did not refer to ID at all, although that is yet another good example of attempting to thwart the exploitation of a competing theory by the entrenched Darwinists.

    There are in fact several other theories of the origin and evolution of the Universe and life being worked on, one of which involves the so-called embedded “latent library” and “algorithmic library” approach to the origin and the evolution of particle, nuclear, atomic, and, especially, molecular structures in the Universe. Whether this supports or intersects Darwinism or not is at this time a very open question indeed.

    Natural selection itself has a huge number of knotty aspects yet to be explained adequately.

    Meanwhile we use Darwinism for its utility and explanatory powers as far as it goes. This should NOT limit alternatives from being explored, which was my point. I believe that the Darwinists are guilty of the same power of persuasion that we observed in the case of eugenics, where for years it was a “given”.

    Why would anyone simply close their minds to free and open scientific research?

  24. Grewgills says:

    manning,
    First, the theory in question is the theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated by Darwin and since modified. This theory does not address abiogenesis (several competing hypotheses on this) or the origin of the universe (one pretty good theory on this). These are entirely separate topics and theories on the origin of particles would not likely have much to do with evolution on the scale we are talking about.

    there is proof of a staccato species development

    And as previously mentioned we have witnessed speciation in a laboratory setting and it was consistent with current evolutionary theory.
    The fossil record provides considerable evidence, but it is not the only source of evidence.
    The fossil record has given us a number of opportunities to test the fruitfulness of evolutionary theory. We see 2 fossils, say a lung fish type animal and an early tetrapod, and hypothesize an intermediate stage and sure enough we find it.

    The “entrenched Darwinists” bit is silly. This leads me to wonder if you know any scientists and if you do, do you talk to them about any of this?

    If you think ID (or some other explanation for the origins of species) is a valid theory, then state its predictive and testable hypothesis. I have yet to see anyone do so.
    Behe et al are content to make, generally easily refutable, assertions about what they see as failings of the theory of evolution by natural selection and then state this as evidence of a creator. That is far from sufficient. At best, this approach could poke a hole in the current theory (they have yet to do so), it does not provide evidence in support of their assertions.

    Again, state the hypothesis and any evidence you see in support of said hypothesis and I will be glad to respond. At this point I would be happy with just the hypothesis.

    What are some of these knotty aspects that you feel are inadequately explained by evolutionary theory? Pose the questions and I will do my best to answer them.

    No one has said that other alternatives cannot be explored. Any one can formulate a hypothesis and set about testing it. The largest group of people claiming to do so have thus far done neither.

    Eugenics has absolutely nothing to do with this. Why bring it up?

  25. sam says:

    The future belongs to the Chinese, they not being saddled with our theologies.

  26. sam says:

    Actually, that last makes for a nice couplet:

    The future belongs to Chinese
    Not being saddled with our theologies

  27. mannning says:

    You are apparently in a tizzy over ID, GG. It seems to spark lots of words. Laughing! Let them work their area and come up with something beyond speculation, if that is possible. I am not defending their propositions or their tactics, but their right to address the area in whatever way they wish. Free speech, free research, and all that!

    In the end, something must be turned into a useful and testable theory there, or not. Perhaps all ID ever does is to spark impassioned defenses of evolution, and then again, perhaps it will have the accidental effect of reinforcing the current theory of evolution. Or, perhaps it will die out as yet another misguided experimental area.

    One might suppose that both the origin of the Universe and the origin of life and man have a common basis. A master plan, perhaps, with each part playing its role in the evolution of the Universe, life and man, and each bit of matter and energy carrying its segment of the plan coded into its structure as data or algorithm. There is certainly lots of room for information to be carried by various bits of matter. Self-organizing matter? I don’t know. And then some event actuates the data and algorithms.

    Pure speculation, of course, and it flies in the face of current scientific opinion. But this speculation tends to join the two divisions you mention as a far more fundamental way to structure the Universe, life and man, however imperfectly. There is even a hint there of purposeful design! Then, naturally, there might be a way to accept incremental changes in the architecture as the whole mess rolls along. Naturally? Natural selection? Or a variation on a plan? Or both?

    Laughing again!

    Regarding eugenics, I was referring to the mental attitudes of the majority of scientists, educators, sociologists, and leaders, etc. who fell into line at that time with the misguided theory, but had no true basis in first-hand knowledge themselves for doing so. Sound familiar?

    Read:
    “Nine Crazy Ideas in Science:
    A Few Might Even Be True”
    –Robert Ehrlich

    Who was it that said: ” If the majority of scientists agree on some proposition, it is most likely wrong!” Sounds like A.N. Whitehead.

  28. floyd says:

    I see no reason to get depressed, over a subject of little consequence such as evolution. When time has taken it’s course and those who have converted science into a religion of hate and intolerance hold sway, then we can all get depressed,or even alarmed!

  29. Grewgills says:

    manning,
    I responded to you in the way I did because your original comment mirrored the talking points of some very disingenuous people.

    What I do not accept is the absolute fixation on natural selection to the exclusion of any competing theory, and to the persecution of any scientist that follows the data and not the theory.

    There is not currently a competing theory and there is not persecution of scientists who honestly follow the data. You have not provided evidence for either of those original assertions.

    Regarding the persecution of competing speculation, people unused to scientific debate often perceive skepticism as persecution and it can feel that way if you are not prepared with good arguments for your position.

    Any one is of course free to come up with any idea to explain life the universe and everything no matter how ridiculous it might be. I object to it only when people try to force something that is not science into the science curriculum, I am saddened that there is such poor understanding of science in the US, and I am upset about the role of the former in the latter.

    Your later use of the word theory when perhaps you meant speculation sparked the rest.

    Ehrlich is right when he says ideas that may now seem bizarre may at some future time find considerable supporting evidence and become widely accepted. He is also right that most of those bizarre ideas will not amount to more than mental exercise.
    Speculation is great, consider the wildest possible explanations you can for the most mundane and most rare of occurrences, this is the beginning of the most revolutionary science; but it is just that, a beginning. Don’t expect the scientific community to give these speculations much weight until they have been formalized into a usable hypothesis and tested. This is not persecution it is the process.

    floyd,
    What on earth are you talking about?
    Do you think science will ascend to the position of Christianity in the US and then adopt its more unsavory characters?

  30. M1EK says:

    Just remember, folks, it’s the deal with the devil struck by Chamber-Of-Commerce Republicans like James with the religious fundamentalists that has caused this; and it’s going to be ALL of our children that suffer, not just the ones with ignorant parents.

  31. Steve Plunk says:

    Grewgills,

    Science education may indeed be lacking but since evolution has so little to do with a person’s day to day life why should we be concerned with who believes it and who doesn’t? Intelligent design or evolution, it doesn’t matter, my day will be the same. It appears some people want to use this issue just to discount competing views on controversies like stem cell research. The ol’ religious types are ignorant so don’t listen to them argument.

    All parties have a place at the table when it comes to these sorts of debates. It does not serve any us well to discount those who base their positions on theological grounds. Like I said, we owe our current success as a nation to those beliefs to some extent.

  32. Grewgills says:

    Science education may indeed be lacking but since evolution has so little to do with a person’s day to day life why should we be concerned with who believes it and who doesn’t?

    The same holds true for knowledge of history, economics, and many other topics; but accurate knowledge on these topics or at the very least willingness to be informed by those who are knowledgeable on these subjects is important when making policy decisions.

    All parties have a place at the table when it comes to these sorts of debates. It does not serve any us well to discount those who base their positions on theological grounds.

    Our current stem cell policy with regard to federal funding has been decided by fiat on what appears to be purely religious grounds. The religious are not excluded from the debate, they dominate it.
    Policy decisions should be made on rational grounds. Religious beliefs can and will be a large part of what builds someones moral framework, but religion should not intrude further than that into government policy decisions.

    Among other things theology deserves no place in determining what should or should not be in a science class room.

  33. M1EK says:

    Like I said, we owe our current success as a nation to those beliefs to some extent.

    We owe our current success as a nation to the wise decision by our Founding Fathers to keep religion at a healthy distance from the levers of public policy. You and yours have been trying to erode that ever since.

  34. mannning says:

    Chalk it up to my laziness that I have not gone back through the publications to tease out those aspects:
    if you confine yourself to natural selection, there is only the holes not filled in that theory, not a full-blown alternative theory; as to persecution, in my opinion skepticism about ID and the motives of those pursuing that subject has passed over into denial of publication, shunning, loss of jobs, passing over for tenure, and hence flat out persecution. The vitriol wasted on denouncing ID and what it stands for would fill the Indian Ocean. Note that I said vitriol, not mere skepticism, which any researchers into new territory face, by definition.

    I am in favor of excluding Creationism from the science classes, but I would have no objection to identification of the ID controversy for students to follow up on their own, since the later versions of ID do not champion Creation, per se.
    In fact, ID has been a favorite topic within the student population, especially in science clubs, because they do not get anything in class from their science teachers about the subject, and they are curious.

    The US education system is truly in trouble, and the hard sciences are perhaps the worst area. It is fortunate that first-rate brains are most often recognized from without the system and given special help, since they are, while not ignored by early teachers, quite usually left to their own devices in favor of the lower students.

    In VA we have Governor’s Schools that provide greater challenges to gifted students. It is often the parents that promote their child into trying out for the Governor’s Schools.

    I cannot say that the mass education system is doing more than an average job.

  35. Grewgills says:

    if you confine yourself to natural selection, there is only the holes not filled in that theory, not a full-blown alternative theory

    A first step in being taken seriously then would be to stop referring to ID as a theory.
    The second would be to provide evidence of the holes.
    The ‘holes’ most often trotted out are an incomplete fossil record and ‘irreducible complexity.’ Neither of those holds water. We do not need an unbroken chain of fossils for fossils to offer evidence in support of evolution. I have given one example of this above. This has been done over and over and the dating provides further evidence.
    I have shown the most popular two examples of irreducible complexity to be reducible.
    Please provide an example of what you think is a hole or some reason that either of the ‘holes’ addressed is still really a problem.

    ID is creationism dressed up with some scientific terminology, but even if it were not it doesn’t add anything of scientific value to the discussion. All its supporters do is look for something that they think might be unexplained (generally already explained) and then posit design as the reason. No way to test that mind you, just say we don’t know therefor it must be designed. That is not science. Why should one speculation about what might have happened with no testable hypothesis and no positive evidence be given more time than any other speculation about what might have happened?

    Science clubs are a great place to talk about any speculation about what might or might not be. This can have considerable value in the classroom as well. It is great fun to show snippets of scifi movies in the physics class and have students find all of the flaws and to figure out what would need to be overcome for it to work. Independence Day was great when discussing gravity.
    At this point ID can only provide a negative example in the context of a science class. Show the irreducibly complex structure, then reduce it and show how the different components are/were individually useful and how the structure evolved. Show the gaps in the fossil record and show were holes were filled with predicted fossils. I don’t think that is generally what people mean when they say teach the controversy though.

    in my opinion skepticism about ID and the motives of those pursuing that subject has passed over into denial of publication, shunning, loss of jobs, passing over for tenure, and hence flat out persecution.

    What scientifically valid papers have been passed over? Who has been shunned, lost their jobs, or been denied tenure unfairly because of their position on ID?

    The vitriol wasted on denouncing ID and what it stands for would fill the Indian Ocean. Note that I said vitriol, not mere skepticism, which any researchers into new territory face, by definition.

    At this point there is plenty of vitriol on both sides of the issue. The root cause is people trying to move their religious beliefs back into the classroom. When people moved to have this non-science removed from the science class they were met with plenty of vitriol. Religious disagreements often end up this way for some reason.

    while not ignored by early teachers, quite usually left to their own devices in favor of the lower students.

    It is challenging to teach to mixed levels, but there are bad outcomes from segregating too early as well. Magnet schools can be great and are a way to walk the fence between the two extremes. From my brief read the governors school program looks like a good tool and a fun job (small classes of gifted and dedicated students). Do they get a lot of volunteers, donated equipment and cheap lab time at local unis? (I know that’s the pitch, but is it what really happens?)

  36. G.A.Phillips says:

    THE BIG ARGUMENT:DOES GOD EXIST? BY John Ashton and Michael Westacott. its a good read that just plainly blows all of this Evokook garbage away.

    Example:

    Again, it’s far more complex than that. The Big Bang wasn’t just existing matter exploding, it was the creation of our universe, including our dimensions of length, width, height and time. Most current theories don’t require anything to exist in our universe to trigger the big bang.

    lol, just like the way a liberal comes up with his or her truth.

  37. jainphx says:

    Some refuse to see that, nothing cannot create something, all those fossil discoveries please show any that have not already been discredited. If as some say it took millions if not billions of years to evolve, there should be billions of transitory fossils available, where are they?

  38. Grewgills says:

    GA,
    First the argument you present to blow away evolution does not address evolution, it addresses the Big Bang Theory(poorly). There is a virtual mountain of evidence in support of this theory. Predictions made, hypotheses made based on this theory and those hypotheses tested. We have been able to look and calculate further and further back as instruments and computing power increase. As this progress proceeds new hypotheses as to what will be found are tested. It has thus far stood up quite well. There might be something around the bend that takes it down, but it hasn’t yet come and I seriously doubt that the book you cite will change that. As to what happened in that first instant and before, nobody knows and we might never know. A horizon where all of our measures lose all their descriptive power makes for quite some difficulties. That does not provide positive evidence in support of any other speculation.

    Re: Ashton and Westcott
    You have to believe in evidence specifically designed and carefully placed to fool human tools of knowledge was planted by a creator or similarly powerful but scientifically undetectable being in order to be a young earth creationist. Alternately, I guess you could simply ignore all evidence that is contrary to your assertion.

    I’m not sure why you lump scientists and liberals together other than your disdain for both.

  39. Michael says:

    Some refuse to see that, nothing cannot create something

    Well now that all depends on what you consider “nothing”, and what you consider “something”. No current theory about the origin of our universe assumes “nothing” before the “something”.

    all those fossil discoveries please show any that have not already been discredited

    Ok, there are literally millions of fossils that have been discovered, and maybe a few dozen that were misidentified or hoaxes?

    If as some say it took millions if not billions of years to evolve, there should be billions of transitory fossils available, where are they?

    Most did not become fossils, not every dead animal becomes a fossil you know. Of those that did, most of them are still underground. However, the very small portion that become fossils, and the small portion of those that have been dug up (read: millions), provides an astonishing historical description of species evolution throughout history.

    G.A.
    There are many conservative and even deeply religious physicists in the world, not everyone that thinks you’re an idiot is a Liberal.

  40. G.A.Phillips says:

    G.A.
    There are many conservative and even deeply religious physicists in the world, not everyone that thinks you’re an idiot is a Liberal.

    ya they are.

    Ok, there are literally millions of fossils that have been discovered, and maybe a few dozen that were misidentified or hoaxes?

    Not one shows a change from one to another except for the hoaxes but I’m the idiot.

    Well now that all depends on what you consider “nothing”, and what you consider “something”. No current theory about the origin of our universe assumes “nothing” before the “something

    except for the one about God.

    Most did not become fossils, not every dead animal becomes a fossil you know. Of those that did, most of them are still underground. However, the very small portion that become fossils, and the small portion of those that have been dug up (read: millions), provides an astonishing historical description of species evolution throughout history.

    lol like the 180 million year old T-Rex leg that still had flesh in it, that big ass chicken bone must have been pressure sealed, lol.

    Dude all your your talking about but is your faith in your faith so admit it.

  41. G.A.Phillips says:

    GA,
    First the argument you present to blow away evolution does not address evolution, it addresses the Big Bang Theory(poorly). There is a virtual mountain of evidence in support of this theory. Predictions made, hypotheses made based on this theory and those hypotheses tested. We have been able to look and calculate further and further back as instruments and computing power increase. As this progress proceeds new hypotheses as to what will be found are tested. It has thus far stood up quite well. There might be something around the bend that takes it down, but it hasn’t yet come and I seriously doubt that the book you cite will change that. As to what happened in that first instant and before, nobody knows and we might never know. A horizon where all of our measures lose all their descriptive power makes for quite some difficulties. That does not provide positive evidence in support of any other speculation.

    no you can not with any certainty you never will and yes it does and I already do and that applies to what your talking about more then what I am.

    Re: Ashton and Westcott
    You have to believe in evidence specifically designed and carefully placed to fool human tools of knowledge was planted by a creator or similarly po

    werful but scientifically undetectable being in order to be a young earth creationist. Alternately, I guess you could simply ignore all evidence that is contrary to your assertion.

    no just an open mind and I have never seen any that can stand on its two webbed feet.

    I’m not sure why you lump scientists and liberals together other than your disdain for both.

    sorry if I did, but is there not a difference between mad and men of science?

  42. G.A.Phillips says:

    Oh and the book I sited pretty much covers every thing about what I said and more much more. you can read the thoughts of some real scientists in there.

  43. Grewgills says:

    GA,
    When and if you are ever willing to engage in an honest discussion and provide actual evidence for your positions I will be happy to engage with you. Until then

    I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.

  44. mannning says:

    The problem with this discussion is several fold:

    1) the subject goes far too deep for many people to understand, as it covers much of science, sooner or later, as well as mathematics, philosophy, logic and proper argumentation;

    2)it evokes passionate stances as the “defenders of science”, the iconoclastic IDers, and the Creationists all jump in;

    3)there is a vast and rapidly growing literature on the various subjects that impedes prompt rebuttals of glaring declarations (from either side); and, I would say,

    4) is this the place to try to summarize all of Darwin, all of the ID challenges, and to probe the rationales that become clearer as you go deeper? For example, Darwinists would consider ID a challenge to their deepest beliefs, and would immediately be on the attack, which is very evident on line, in papers, and legally!

    The easy way to identify the intolerance of Darwinists is to see the expression: ID = Creationism. That is the standard attack. Unfortunately, What the majority of IDers say is that they are attacking Darwin’s theory as preliminary to formulating a new paradigm, and not trying to say: Complexity = God, but rather, Complexity = ?, and not necessarily (neo)Darwinism. Here I would cite Dempski, Johnson, Behe, Denton, Woodward, et al. I would also suggest that many of the supposed proofs from the Darwinists that this or that result from ID has been proven wrong is most often hearsay, incomplete, or fanciful. The hoaxes perpetrated on the public about evolution stand as Exhibit One.

    The issue of the Mousetrap example by Behe to argue for irreducible complexity has been attacked many times, but it still survives. The so-called co-option idea, where many functional groupings not originally meant to be combined, do combine, and thus create a higher-order grouping, omits the problems of how the rest of the elements not currently functional but needed for that higher grouping are formed. Thus the attacks are incomplete, and even specious, since they do not express the whole problem.

    The details of the primordial soup experiments, for example, were shown to be radically incomplete, “canned”, inconclusive, and unrealistic. Interesting, but useful?

    Our scientifically oriented posters need references. I will cite only one: “Doubts About Darwin” by Thomas Woodward, PhD, 2003, which is a fairly complete and peer-reviewed summary of the conflict between ID and Darwinism as of that date. One must read the whole book to get the story correctly. There are perhaps three or four more books on the subject that could be included, but Woodward draws from them all.

    An interesting quote:

    “The debate between the adherents and critics of Darwinism is not in the mathematical language of the physical sciences but in the framework of two competing narratives, as Woodward reminds us. On this basis, Darwinism and ID are both in the same arena. If Darwinism wishes to have the better claim for being science, it would have to be based on a restricted definition that mandates quantitative mathematical arguments as in the physical sciences. Because Darwinism fails this criterion, it would have to join the young-earth creationists and everybody else Darwinists would cast outside the pale of science.

    On the other hand,if science permits the narrative approach, then both Darwinism and ID fall once again in the same category.

    …the only basis for excluding one or the other from science is philosophical choice.”

    –Andrew Bocarsly professor of chemistry, Princeton University, and
    –Robert Kaita, principal research physicist, Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University.

  45. mannning says:

    To answer the question of equipping governor’s schools, they have excellent physics, chemistry, and computing labs to my knowledge, but I did not see their bio lab. I have personally contributed computers, printers, and various parts to the computer lab, as well as software (with licenses).
    It is a tinkerers heaven. The staff is exceptional.

    Volunteers I do not know about.

  46. Michael says:

    Not one shows a change from one to another except for the hoaxes but I’m the idiot.

    Unless you are going to claim that every fossil ever found was identical to every other fossil ever found, then every single one of them shows a change.

    except for the one about God.

    I haven’t heard a single religious explanation that didn’t assume that something (God) always existed. Unless you believe that there was some time before God existed, and that God came from nothing.

    lol like the 180 million year old T-Rex leg that still had flesh in it, that big ass chicken bone must have been pressure sealed, lol.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about, but as has already been pointed out, soft tissue can be fossilized too, not just bone. There are also cases of non-fossilized tissue being preserved due to low temperatures or lack or moisture. But I’m guessing you’re not talking about those.

  47. Michael says:

    The easy way to identify the intolerance of Darwinists is to see the expression: ID = Creationism. That is the standard attack. Unfortunately, What the majority of IDers say is that they are attacking Darwin’s theory as preliminary to formulating a new paradigm, and not trying to say: Complexity = God, but rather, Complexity = ?

    I have always heard it to be Complexity = non-natural or meta-physical. Either way takes ID our of the realm of science. If there is some variation of ID that allows for irreducibly complex forms to be created through natural processes, I’ve not heard of it.

    Darwinists would consider ID a challenge to their deepest beliefs, and would immediately be on the attack, which is very evident on line, in papers, and legally!

    Scientists of every variety are very defensive of their trade, and don’t like non-validated ideas being given the same weight of authority as the ones they have worked to validate. Relativity was rejected by most scientists, especially quantum physicists, until it’s predictions were validated. If/when ID’s predictions are validated by experimentation, then it can have some authority, but for now only evolution has found validating evidence.

    The issue of the Mousetrap example by Behe to argue for irreducible complexity has been attacked many times, but it still survives.

    It still survives as an ideology, but not as a theory. But so does young earth creationism, geocentrism, and many other provably wrong ideas. When it can stand as a theory, then that’s another story.

    The details of the primordial soup experiments, for example, were shown to be radically incomplete, “canned”, inconclusive, and unrealistic. Interesting, but useful?

    Abiogenesis is not evolution. Evolution starts with the assumption that life already exists, it doesn’t care how that came about.

    The debate between the adherents and critics of Darwinism is not in the mathematical language of the physical sciences but in the framework of two competing narratives

    Criticism of ID is usually centered around it’s lack of physical or mathematical predictions, and therefore lack of testability. Criticism of evolution is usually centered around past incorrect identification, a lack of some specific evidence, or evidence that cannot be explained by natural selection alone. Evolution, and natural selection, make testable predictions. There is even a great deal of math involved. To date, testing evolution through natural selection has always verified the theory. To date, no ID prediction has been validated.

  48. Grewgills says:

    For example, Darwinists would consider ID a challenge to their deepest beliefs

    It is not that it challenges beliefs, it is that it pretends to be what it is not. Legitimate challenges are welcome. Find a weakness in a theory point it out.* Challenge away, but if they are going to call what they do science there are things they need to do that they have not done.
    If you are going to call your proposal a theory you must first formulate and test a hypothesis, they have not done so yet continue to call ID a theory. That is simply dishonest.

    The easy way to identify the intolerance of Darwinists is to see the expression: ID = Creationism.

    The internal documents of the Discovery Institute pretty effectively demonstrated that what they are supporting is creationism with an alternate vocabulary. After Edwards v Aguilard references to a creator in “Of Pandas and People” were replaced by references to a designer. They coined the term, they are the primary people pushing this agenda, and their internal documents show their intent. They continue to deny this despite the evidence that shows they are not being truthful.

    The issue of the Mousetrap example by Behe to argue for irreducible complexity has been attacked many times, but it still survives.

    It survives only because people continue to repeat it despite each example given being thoroughly refuted. If one says something is irreducibly complex and then it is shown that the constituent parts served a function in earlier organisms then the “irreducible” has been reduced. An honest person confronted with this evidence would not continue to repeat the claim that these things are ‘irreducibly complex.’

    The details of the primordial soup…

    Abiogenesis ≠ evolution. The Theory of Evolution does not address the origin of life.
    There is not currently a solid theory for abiogenesis, rather there are several competing hypotheses. They have all been tested to various degrees, but have not given a complete picture, yet. A designer (creator), however is not the default position. Formulate a testable hypothesis for your (their) position and test it or don’t call what you are doing science.

    Woodward’s PhD is in communications. Why would I buy a book on science by someone with no credentials or apparent knowledge on the subject? When I ask for a cite I mean a cite of an expert on the field in question. Based on his PhD thesis in communications (this book), his area of expertise is spinning ID to convince people with little knowledge of science that ID is science. Hos professorship is in Bible and theology.

    The debate between the adherents and critics of Darwinism is not in the mathematical language of the physical sciences but in the framework of two competing narratives, as Woodward reminds us. On this basis, Darwinism and ID are both in the same arena.

    Absolutely not. The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is elegant and makes predictions that can be and have been repeatedly tested. The hypotheses tested are quantifiable at a minimum by presence absence of predicted result.
    I cannot stress strongly enough: You must formulate and test hypotheses if you want to call what you do science. Those hypotheses must be testable, predictive, descriptive, conservative, and simple. This is not optional, it is an absolute requirement. ID, young earth creationism, FSMism, or any other alternative to evolution thus far put forward fail completely on three, arguable all five of these.**

    …the only basis for excluding one or the other from science is philosophical choice.”

    No. One is include because it rigidly adheres to scientific principles and the other is excluded because it disregards those principles.
    Believe what you like, argue passionately for it if that is what you want, but don’t call it science unless you meet the minimum requirements.

    At this point many scientist are upset about the continuing attempts to call non-science science and to push it into a science classroom where it does not belong. The repetition of dishonest and disproven claims by the primary proponents of the ID movement have led some to become vitriolic in their responses. This of course plays into the hands of the ID proponents, as it lets them point to the vitriol and say, “Oh, what a give-away. Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That’s what I’m on about. Did you see him repressing me? You saw it, didn’t you?”

    _______________________________
    It sounds like the Governors schools are an excellent educational supplement. I hope they are getting the support it appears they deserve.

    * Thus far the two primary challenges are quite weak and were thoroughly dealt with over a decade ago yet they keep popping up unchanged like a bad case of herpes.
    ** based on statement of supporters rather than their non-existent hypotheses

  49. mannning says:

    You may take the latter part of your screed up with Bocarsly and Kaita, who appear to have the requisite qualifications to be called scientists. I am not in possession of their entire work on this subject, but it seems to fire up the juices! lol.

    You stated earlier that you had “reduced” both of Behe’s examples. If so, were your results published, were they peer-reviewed, or are you simply working off the back of an envelope? That is a significant claim that I would love to see verified. I assume you are talking about the flagellum and the cilium. Doing that fully would be a work of great importance.

    You appear to be setting up criteria for calling anything science in such a way that any fledgling area being investigated cannot be science until it passes your filter. Never mind that the area uses tools, methods, and rules of scientific work, if it hasn’t reached the predictive stage, it isn’t science. I wonder how many chemistry, physics, and cosmological areas first had to simply understand their area, formulate ideas, and try to figure out what they could do with the tools they have, what others have set forth and if they agree, and defer the predictive stage until more illumination has occurred.

    This filter I reject as being far too restrictive, and seemingly “designed” to exclude ID in today’s world. lol! Every scientific area started somewhere, often with little to work with, except the work of others, right or wrong.

  50. mannning says:

    There you go! Woodward is not “authentic”. Behe is not authentic, Dempski is not authentic, no one except one class of scientist is authentic, and you hold the list of those considered “worthy”. How very arrogant. You will go far with the Darwins. So tell me, do you hold a PhD in anything? If not, you are not worthy either.

  51. Grewgills says:

    You stated earlier that you had “reduced” both of Behe’s examples. If so, were your results published, were they peer-reviewed, or are you simply working off the back of an envelope?

    First, their work has not met the standard you ask for. Second, did you follow the links? One of the cites linked was the freely available precursor to,
    Pallen and Matzke 2006, “From The Origin of Species to the origin of bacterial flagella.” Nature Reviews Microbiology, 4(10), 784-790
    The above cite requires a subscription to read in full which is why I linked to the precursor.
    It is however not necessary to publish a peer reviewed article to counter every bit of crankery put out by the Discovery Institute. A simple point by point refutation of the type I linked to multiple times above is quite sufficient. I also linked to an article describing a peer reviewed article that showed the predictive power of evolution on the fossil record. Did you follow any of the links?

    You appear to be setting up criteria for calling anything science in such a way that any fledgling area being investigated cannot be science until it passes your filter.

    They are not MY criteria. They are THE criteria. No matter how fledgling an area of investigation until hypotheses are formulated it is nothing more than speculation. If it is not possible to formulate hypotheses it will never be science. The DI coined the term ID over a decade ago, they have a few scientists on staff, yet in all that time they have yet to even come up with a workable hypothesis much less test it. That should tell you something. Since they do have scientists on staff, there are at least some who know the definitions of the terms, yet they continue to call their speculation an alternate theory.

    Never mind that the area uses tools, methods, and rules of scientific work, if it hasn’t reached the predictive stage, it isn’t science.

    It may use some of the tools and some of the language, but it does not use the method or follow the rules.
    From any grade school text book the method is something like:
    1. Define the question
    2. Gather information and resources (observe)
    3. Form hypothesis
    4. Perform experiment and collect data
    5. Analyze data
    6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
    7. Publish results
    8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)
    They have not gotten beyond step 2 and that work has been shoddy, yet they want to be put on equal footing with a much validated THEORY that has stood up to long and serious TESTING. That is far from a reasonable demand.

    I wonder how many chemistry, physics, and cosmological areas first had to simply understand their area, formulate ideas, and try to figure out what they could do with the tools they have, what others have set forth and if they agree, and defer the predictive stage until more illumination has occurred.

    It is speculation, some of it scientifically informed speculation, but speculation none the less and they would freely admit that. That is the BEGINNING of the method. They move from there onto formulating a hypothesis that is at least theoretically testable even if current technology does not allow for testing. If they cannot do so they admit that it is, at least for the moment idle speculation. They would certainly not demand that their speculation be given equal weight to established theories. This is what proponents of ID have done.
    There is some disagreement as to the mechanism responsible for gravity. If I point to that disagreement and propose that the mechanism is invisible, undetectable fairies pulling objects towards each other; does my speculation deserve time in a classroom. I can define my question and read up on the lit and use lots of sciencey words. I can’t form a working hypothesis, because the fairies are invisible and undetectable, but that doesn’t mean that what I am doing isn’t science and deserving of equal weight to the theories of Newton or Einstein does it? Does it make a difference if I form a think tank with other IF (invisible fairy) supporters?

    BTW What tools do you (they) think they are missing in order to be able to test their as yet unformulated hypothesis?

    Every scientific area started somewhere, often with little to work with, except the work of others, right or wrong.

    and that initial speculation is not given equal weight to established theory. Some of it may prove worthwhile, some of it may one day be more than speculation, but until they can formulate hypotheses and test them it remains speculation and generally goes unnoticed. You and the DI apparently want to turn this system on its head and give equal weight to idle speculation and theory.

    Woodward is not “authentic”. Behe is not authentic, Dempski is not authentic

    Woodward, your one and only cite, is a theologian and his ‘qualification’ is a PhD in communications. He didn’t even have undergraduate work in the sciences. Further he has done no science and has demonstrated little knowledge of science. His area of expertise if PR and theology (in that order IMO).

    I did not say Behe was not authentic. I said he continuously repeated assertions he knew/knows to be thoroughly disproven. I further said that this is not honest.

    I did not discuss Dempski (Dembski). He seems to be best known for pirating a video from Harvard/XVIVO, removing the credits and replacing the narration that explains the development and function of the organelles with his narration saying that there is no explanation other than design. He repeatedly shows that video without permission or attribution but with dishonest narration at presentations where he is paid. That is not honest or legal.

    no one except one class of scientist is authentic, and you hold the list of those considered “worthy”.

    That one class of scientists I find to be of value are those that can effectively formulate and test hypotheses, honestly state the results of that work, and present it for review. I certainly don’t hold a list. I can however utilize a search engine and do the minimal research necessary to determine if the person named has met this minimal standard.
    A PhD is not required. Undergrads and even drop outs have managed to self educate and do good science. Quite a few people with only a bachelors or masters do good science or work on teams that do good science.
    As to my own education, my bachelors was in biology, my masters in limnology and oceanography and most of my research has been on hermatypic corals and their associated symbionts. A co-authorship on the effects of flow rate on corals is in progress. No PhD yet.

  52. Michael says:

    if it hasn’t reached the predictive stage, it isn’t science

    That’s it exactly. Science is repeatable, which requires making predictions about the outcome of tests. Without testable prediction of outcomes, it isn’t science.

  53. mannning says:

    One lil comment. Perhaps what we are dealing with is “intent” in this discussion. I believe intent to proceed in a scientifically rational manner, and to execute the beginnings of the usual trail, does count as science, speculative though it might be. This holds for efforts in general. One would have to have the plan of research in a given instance to agree or disagree that the intent is or isn’t science.

    Perhaps also, we are dealing with credentials. A “credentialed” scientist is accorded what he does in a new area the word “science”, while others are not, even if he isn’t at the H-T phase. So it is down to other’s interpretation of whether in this instance the intent and the credentials are present to proceed and be labeled science! Oh, yes, and speculative!

    Would you call a renown theoretical physicist a scientist, and his work scientific, even if he hadn’t done any test work on the matter at hand that he is working on? I would. Early Einstein is the example that comes to mind.

    I see you held off showing or referencing your reduction of Behe’s two constructs. I didn’t pose any criteria at all, I was merely asking whether your work was at that level. Apparently not, so it is your word only that it was so very simple for you. Very nice, if so.

    Well, if your tale about Dembski (I always want the p in there)is true in all respects, that isn’t proper. It doesn’t seem likely to me, without there being some mediating fact, such as having received permission, but from the wrong person. Speculation.

    Dr. Woodward wrote a history of the ID movement, using essential elements of the work of many top pro and con people in the ID vs E fields, and interviews and emails with them to verify what he wrote. He is an excellent, even-handed, science writer, and did due diligence with this work. Sneers were not called for, although they were fully anticipated.

  54. Grewgills says:

    Perhaps what we are dealing with is “intent” in this discussion.

    I am judging them by their actions, as those are much easier to see. If they intended to do so, why haven’t they? They have been pushing ID for a decade now and ‘creation science’ for years before that. Why no hypothesis after all that time? The obvious reason is that their proposed explanation is an undetectable creator.

    A “credentialed” scientist is accorded what he does in a new area the word “science”, while others are not, even if he isn’t at the H-T phase.

    Generally the person(s) looking into a new area does the background research, comes up with a general outline of what they are asking and how they will go about testing it, then writes that up and shops around for grant money to pursue it. From the beginning they are defining their question, making predictions, and proposing ways to test them. The literature review, while about science and often done by scientists, is not science in and of itself. Their speculations are about science, can be the seeds of science, and are part of the first step of the method.

    Would you call a renown theoretical physicist a scientist, and his work scientific, even if he hadn’t done any test work on the matter at hand that he is working on?

    I would call him a scientist and his speculations potential science. Odds are he would be involved in some phase of actual experimental work while doing this speculating. Alternately he could be doing work about science at that point as Michiu Kaku often does. This work is scientific in the ‘of or relating to’ form of the definition.

    I see you held off showing or referencing your reduction of Behe’s two constructs.

    On the contrary. I included links in my first post addressing this (December 2, 2007 | 06:54 am) and provided additional links in my next comment that addressed this issue on December 4, 2007 | 07:09 pm and a link to a peer reviewed article, at your request, in the last comment I made that addressed this topic. Even if I had held off, that would make them no less reduced and him no less dishonest for continually repeating these claims long after he knew them to be false. He was informed in detail no later than 1999 yet they remain a staple of his presentations.

    Apparently not, so it is your word only that it was so very simple for you.

    I never claimed to be the first or only one to reduce the ‘irreducible’ nor did I claim to do so without reference to any other source. I included cites from the beginning. What I referred to as simple was the Google search necessary to find sources that effectively destroyed his argument. Regarding the bacterial flagella, others did the heavy lifting. I did look further than simply reading a single source and I did some follow up. All when this first came to my attention some years ago and a few times since when I could not remember some of the particulars. Regarding the eye, I remembered the evolutionary development of the eye when his claim about it’s ‘irreducible complexity’ came to my attention and I did some follow up to verify that what I remembered was correct. Nothing beyond high school biology required there.
    I included cites so as not to add too much more length to already overlong comments, to show that these are commonly known and understood things, at least among biologists, and because convention requires cites for substantiation.
    If you are going to snark you should read the subject of that snark more carefully.

    It doesn’t seem likely to me, without there being some mediating fact

    His current excuse is that the DVD was not ready for sale so he downloaded it and someone else (unspecified) did the voice over on the video he downloaded.

    He is an excellent, even-handed, science writer, and did due diligence with this work.

    He is a writer with the specific agenda of promoting ID as science. An even handed science writer he is not.

    I see you have not addressed the proponents of ID calling it a theory when it most certainly is not.
    You also have not addressed the validity of their call for it to be taught along side evolution, when even with the most generous assessment it is not yet even a hypothesis much less a well tested theory.
    You have also failed to address the reduction of the supposedly ‘irreducibly complex.’
    These are core points.
    I am also still waiting for some of those “huge number of knotty aspects yet to be explained adequately” by natural selection that you asserted earlier.

  55. mannning says:

    I must have missed the fact that the cites were your work, not some other person’s, which would not have answered my question. So I will look at them. Maybe I just did not understand that your statement was not actually that you did a reducible act or two all by yourself, which you stated directly earlier. It is easy to Google whatever you like, of course. Would you say that you overstated your case earlier?

    Here again is the problem of this area. Every claim calls for more and more effort. There is most likely work that refutes the refuters, if one has any hope that Behe is an honest soul. There are possibly Behe refuters that are satisfied with their version of a refutation, and it passes common understandings, but perhaps does not probe deeply enough into the sub-molecular level. I will have to Google.

    Were I to be actively in this area, which I am not and do not intend to be, I would organize my piece of the effort quite conventionally, and would indeed wear the label “speculative”, and would refrain from claiming progress until there was something of substance to report. That others in the ID area have, or have not, approached the subject in my way would merely cost me time to analyze, and accept or reject what they are proposing, if it impinged on my area.

    Perhaps it is true that Behe or others needed money to continue their work, and could not find the funding, so they resorted to publishing to make a buck or two. Nothing wrong with that, unless they make false claims. Then, too, there is a huge difference between being simply wrong and being a charlatan. Or, being right!

    So you read the book and claim that Woodward is selling ID? Or is it that you read some Amazon reviews and adopted them? Oh my. You are fast on the draw, and rather biased. But, then, aren’t we all?

    Maybe I will have time later to address the rest of this stuff, but it is cutting in on other commitments just now.

  56. Grewgills says:

    I must have missed the fact that the cites were your work, not some other person’s

    Not what I said. The cites are of others for the reasons stated above.

    There is most likely work that refutes the refuters, if one has any hope that Behe is an honest soul.

    As stated previously the reductions of the ‘irreducible’ were shown to him by 1999 at the latest. He continues to use them today. Neither he nor anyone else presented a refutation of this in 2005 in the Dover case. Presumably he would have done so then if he had one, as it would have helped his side in the case. The DI would also have touted this victory if they had managed to do effectively do so. At this point I don’t have much hope that Behe is an honest soul. If you find something that purports to refute these reductions I would love to read it.

    Perhaps it is true that Behe or others needed money to continue their work, and could not find the funding

    DI apparently has a budget of several million a year and have been spending more on PR rather than science. They have given grants that I am aware of for hundreds of thousands of dollars to people that support their view. It has not resulted in a workable hypothesis for their position, nor has it resulted in much else. It doesn’t require a lot of money to formulate a hypothesis and devise ways to test it. Even if they did not have the money to carry out those tests, which apparently they do.

  57. mannning says:

    Well, Behe, in his newest book, has presented a much more sweeping argument than ever before. He rejects the attempts to use the TTSS as proving that the flagellum is reducible, and proceeds to use the malaria/HIV, microbes versus the human defenses to show a well-defined, statistically valid limit to random mutation/natural selection on both sides of these wars. These are the knotty problems I referred to earlier.

    That is it, basically, from which he draws the conclusion that you can’t get from one or two gene mutations per step over time to the flagellum at all.

    He agrees with much of the Darwin theory, common descent, natural selection and random mutation, but limits effectiveness of random mutation to small steps–too small to get where we want them to go in billions of years, even with heavy selection pressure.

    “Edge of Evolution” by M. Behe.

    I have not had time to do a critical review of his math, and have no background to critique his presentation of the difficulties with malaria and HIV. Nor will I have time now.

  58. Grewgills says:

    These are the knotty problems I referred to earlier.

    You previously said there were a huge number of these knotty problems. Can I assume that all but these two have been addressed to your satisfaction?

    He rejects the attempts to use the TTSS as proving that the flagellum is reducible

    He has apparently made a small change of tack on this, but the argument still fails. The peer reviewed article linked above effectively destroys any argument that its evolution is not possible.
    This still does not address the dishonest continued usage of the earlier argument years after it had been thoroughly dismantled.

    and proceeds to use the malaria/HIV, microbes versus the human defenses

    Here are some suggested reading re: malaria that pretty effectively destroys his argument. All 3 links are to peer reviewed articles published prior to his book.

    He agrees with much of the Darwin theory, common descent, natural selection and random mutation, but limits effectiveness of random mutation to small steps

    So he thinks a creator/designer is constantly stepping in and making the tweaks necessary to make these changes he believes are otherwise impossible and has been doing so throughout the history of life on earth. That’s a pretty big stretch.

    …a well-defined, statistically valid limit to random mutation/natural selection…
    I have not had time to do a critical review of his math

    Behe’s mathematical model makes several invalid assumptions:
    1. Evolution can be modeled in terms of an unchanging fitness landscape.
    2. The fitness landscape is a smooth surface and local maximum or minimum in any dimension is a local limit in all dimensions.
    3. The fitness function mapping from a genome to a point of the fitness landscape is monotonically increasing.
    4. The fitness function is smoothly continuous, with single-point base changes mapping to infinitesimally small changes in position on the fitness landscape.
    5. Only that single change of two base pairs can confer immunity
    6. The actual odds of that combination change are 10-20. (Odds of any single change is 10-9)
    7. complexity = probability
    8. all evolutionary solutions to all problems equally constrained (an analogy here would be calculating the likelihood of being dealt a royal flush and claiming that is the odds of winning any particular hand)
    There are more but I’ll stop there.

    In this book he continues to deny the possibility of speciation by means of natural selection even though it has been observed multiple times in a laboratory setting.

  59. mannning says:

    OK, I will look for these false assumptions you list later. Thanks for the heads-up.

    No further comments from here.

  60. mannning says:

    After reading the rest of Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution” and comparing the text with your claims, I reject your claims as being mean-spirited, calculating, and simply wrong. Further, since what you presented is so biased and faulty, I think your whole analysis will suffer the same problems and should be ignored as well.

    1. Evolution can be modeled in terms of an unchanging fitness landscape.

    Nowhere did Behe claim this.

    2. The fitness landscape is a smooth surface and local maximum or minimum in any dimension is a local limit in all dimensions.
    3. The fitness function mapping from a genome to a point of the fitness landscape is monotonically increasing.
    4. The fitness function is smoothly continuous, with single-point base changes mapping to infinitesimally small changes in position on the fitness landscape.

    This set of claims, 2, 3, and 4, is disingenuous bordering on outright lying. In the EOE, page 115, Behe was ILLUSTRATING the concept of simple versus rugged evolutionary fitness concepts for the lay reader, not claiming that the illustrations were more than that. In fact, the illustrations were used, with permission, from Gavrilets of Princeton University Press, 2004, to make the same general point. Thus these claims by you are false, fatuous and biased,

    5. Only that single change of two base pairs can confer immunity.

    No proof is offered that other pairs can confer malarial immunity without serious consequences.

    6. The actual odds of that combination change are 10-20. (Odds of any single change is 10-9)

    Unsubstantiated.

    7. complexity = probability

    Unsubstantiated.

    8. all evolutionary solutions to all problems equally constrained (an analogy here would be calculating the likelihood of being dealt a royal flush and claiming that is the odds of winning any particular hand)

    Unsubstantiated.

    There are more but I’ll stop there.

    It is well that you did.

  61. Grewgills says:

    1. Evolution can be modeled in terms of an unchanging fitness landscape.

    Nowhere did Behe claim this.

    He did not claim this, but his mathematical model assumed it. The same is true of 2,3,4,7, and 8.

    No proof is offered that other pairs can confer malarial immunity without serious consequences.

    Did you read my previous links?

    6. The actual odds of that combination change are 10-20. (Odds of any single change is 10-9)

    Unsubstantiated.

    I don’t see my cite for that number right now, but that 2 order of magnitude difference in his calculations is not nearly so important as the other assumptions that underly his math. I’ve grown bored of this, but if you really care I can find the cite later.

    I think your whole analysis will suffer the same problems and should be ignored as well.

    Whatever gets you through the night.
    I am far from alone in my judgement of Behe’s work. The articles I cited support my position. Are those authors also mean-spirited, calculating and wrong? Is it only Behe and the faithful few who are honestly looking at the evidence, or is there a simpler explanation? In science as in engineering KISS is the generally the best advice.

    The Dawkins review of his book in the NYT makes quite funny mincemeat of his argument about possible speed of evolution using canines as a ready example.
    Laboratory examples of speciation effectively do the same without requiring too much math. We have observed what he claims is mathematically impossible. That effectively puts the lie to it.

    Other excellent reviews can be found here and here. The second requires a subscription, but can be read without subscription here.

    I very much doubt that anything they say will change your mind. I am beginning to doubt that there is nothing anyone could say to change your mind on this issue.