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No, really.  Lets do it.  Let's bring Intelligent Design (e.g. Creationism) into the science classroom.  I know, I know, its not "science", ID is not a scientific theory.  It's not testable ...   Trust me, I know, I'm a scientist.

But the fact is, scientists (myself included) are really bad at making arguments in the popular press and in school board meetings where ID's soundbites dominate.  Its better to argue in the bright lights of the science classroom.  Follow me over the orange squiggly to find out why this could be the end of ID and creationism as we know it.

The arguments against evolution, as we all know, are mostly borne of willful ignorance.  There are no transitional fossils ... There are "holes" in the theory.  Scientists don't "teach the controversy".  Scientists shield evolution from criticism.

Of all the arguments Ive heard, that last one takes the cake.  Scientists viciously attack all theories.  They dismantle them piece by piece, attack them from every angle and then take the remains and put them back together.  Many a theory has crumbled under this scrutiny.  Darwin's theory of natural selection is one of the very few that have withstood scientific onslaught and remains standing after the dust has settled.  

If they knew how science actually works, proponents of ID and creationism would not be so eager for their precious theories to be treated as scientific.  We won't need 150 years to dismantle Intelligent Design.  In fact, Ill do it in the remainder of this diary.  

What I'm about to demonstrate is how to out a pseudo-science.  How to dismantle a theory into it's core assumptions, test each (testable) assumption, throw out those that don't stand up to the pressure of scientific scrutiny, and then determine if what's left has any value.  This is a process that is not taught nearly enough in our schools.  It is why people cling to outdated debunked theories such as supply side economics, austerity, climate change denial-ism, the vaccine/autism link and various religious ideas (that will be left for another diary).  I believe it is imperative that we teach our children to be able to detect and dismantle these ideas.  The science classroom is just the place for this important lesson.  So without further ado, lets teach the controversy:

For those that are not familiar with intelligent design, it basically goes like this:

Assumption #1:  There are holes in the theory of evolution.  After 150 years evolutionary scientists have not been able to answer every question about how life began and evolved on this planet.

Assumption #2: There are things in the word that are too complex to have developed from natural selection.  What's more, this complexity is irreducible.  It is difficult to see how individual mutations could have resulted in the complexity we find in the world

Conclusion:  There must have been an intelligent designer responsible for the complexity in the world.  Also this is why evolution has holes.  It can't explain everything because it does not consider the intelligent designer.

So, how to begin.  Ill leave most of Assumption 1 alone because the holes in evolution are only actually holes in what IDers understand about evolution.  There are transitional fossils, and there is very little that we don't understand about the origin of the species.  In fact, a list of ID complaints about evolution could serve as a good list topics for independent student research.  I can't think of anything that would teach the scientific method better.

However, a point should be made about assumption 1.  Scientific progress is incremental.  Assuming there are "holes" in evolution, some of those holes will invariably shrink.  As such, ID is the incredibly shrinking theory.  The unknowns it claims to explain will be smaller in the future, just as they were larger in the past.  Another fun exercise would be to have students read 5-10 yr old ID books and find examples of evolutionary findings over the past decade that answer some of those questions.  Again, a new and exciting way for our children to learn about evolution.

But the most fun will be had in dismantling the complexity argument.  This argument, that somehow complexity = intelligent design, is ludicrous and surprisingly easy to destroy.  It is also an excellent teaching opportunity.  The first lesson is that oftentimes assumptions are not presented in their most basic form.  Often they can be reduced to other assumptions that have been mistakenly taken for granted.  For instance, the assumption that there are things too complex to have been created without an intelligent designer assumes that all complex things are designed, and all simple things are not.  

Here we have 2 serious problems.  First, there must be some level of complexity beyond which we can assume design, but no such measurement exists.  Here we can teach our students the importance of having valid instruments for measuring scientific constructs.  This can be a launching off point for discussing scientific research methods and teaching real scientific controversies, such as the value of intelligence test scores (and NCLB standards).  

Second, we can use examples to show that complexity and design (at least good design) are orthogonal.  And we can teach our students what the word orthogonal means.  A chair is not complex, but it is designed.  A snowflake is complex, but I doubt even the most stringent ID supporter would argue each snowflake is designed (perhaps I am mistaken).  Thus we can teach our students to break down even basic assumptions into more basic units .  Once we demonstrate that complexity and design are not related, the basis of ID begins to crack.

But we can go beyond demonstrating that complexity is not necessarily indicative of design and talk about the nature of design.  The purpose of designing something is to solve a specific problem.  We design chairs so we have something to sit upon.  Good design is simple.  In fact it can be argued that the definition of "intelligent design" is the creation of the simplest possible solution to a given problem.  Thus complexity is not a marker of intelligent design, just the opposite.  Design is also incremental.  Rarely are things designed all in one step.  Modern computers were designed, yes, but they were modified over decades of incremental advances.  

Hmmm, designs are modified incrementally over decades (or centuries).  Sounds kind of familiar.  Yes, natural selection is a designer.  Natural selection selects for mutations that allow for the procreation of a species in its current environment.  So in the end we don't need to debate whether the species were designed.  Of course they were designed.  They were designed by changes in the environment.  In fact every species alive today contains in its DNA a kind of record of all the environmental changes experienced of all of its ancestors.  For if any of our ancestor species had failed to adapt to a changing environment, we would not exist.  Thousands of small changes over thousands of years.  Sounds like a recipe for complexity to me.

Finally, we can discuss whether design is intelligent.  This,  of course is the most fun exercise in our destruction of ID.  This is where we get to point out that if there was a being who "designed"  all of this, he should be fired for incompetence immediately.  My favorite example is lower back pain.  The human spine was clearly not designed for a two-legged creature.  It was designed for a 4-legged one.  But when we became bi-pedal, our spines curved in a way which has guaranteed that nearly every human experiences excruciating pain from the age of about 40 on.  

This is my favorite example because the first question is always "Why didn't evolution fix this problem?"  And the answer of course is that evolution only solves problems that relate to procreation.  Since most people do not experience debilitating back pain until well after their child-bearing years (with the notable exception of the pain endured during childbirth), this is not a problem that needed to be solved.  On the other hand, an "intelligent designer" would never have submitted such a terrible design structure.  

So lets bring it all back together.  We have demonstrated that complexity is not related to design and that the design we see in the world is often far from intelligent (I mean there's the republican party for one thing).  We have demonstrated that the holes in evolutionary theory are for the most part nonexistent.  The main arguments for ID have crumbled easily, leaving nothing for its conclusions to stand upon.  But most importantly, we have taught our students how to deconstruct candidate theories into their most basic assumptions, taught them how to think critically about them, AND taught them a whole lot about the theory of evolution in the process.

So yes, lets teach the controversy in science class.  It will end this ridiculous argument, and it will serve our children well as they enter the real world where pseudo-scientific  theories are more prevalent than we would like to admit.

4:55 PM PT: Update:  Yes, per the comments, I'm quite aware that this approach would never work due to the lack of qualified teachers and the too high percentage of teachers who believe in magic fairy dust.  Still, one can dream.

Tue May 07, 2013 at  5:48 AM PT: Wow.  100 recs and nearly 24 hrs on the community spotlight.  Must have hit a nerve.  Glad to see so many are passionate about this topic

Tue May 07, 2013 at  6:33 AM PT: updated with poll question


Originally posted to dark11star on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by TrueMarket and Community Spotlight.

Poll

Which of these sequences is random?

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33%99 votes

| 300 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (170+ / 0-)
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    hnichols, Aureas2, EricMN, FG, Themistoclea, seatrey, kamarvt, ColoTim, greenotron, leeleedee, radarlady, phillyprofessor, ban48, TDDVandy, Sonnet, p gorden lippy, supergreen, Glacial Erratic, I am a Patriot, gizmo59, Batya the Toon, JosephK74, kharma, triplepoint, exterris, Snuffleupagus, LynChi, wilderness voice, tampaedski, CitizenScientist, blue aardvark, matador, GDbot, VTCC73, carpunder, Cecile, South Park Democrat, Dave in Northridge, nominalize, Stwriley, Involuntary Exile, ZedMont, Steven D, howabout, Nova Land, jimraff, RonV, unclebucky, millwood, PeterHug, Anne Elk, profundo, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Rogneid, The grouch, Kingsmeg, blackjackal, homo neurotic, Trendar, scott5js, Executive Odor, Dianna, GeorgeXVIII, BlueEyed In NC, Matt Z, tommymet, journeyman, Teknocore, ER Doc, wasatch, greycat, fatbeagle, banjolele, psnyder, kyril, SamSinister, tobendaro, The Hindsight Times, alrdouglas, duufus, Kimbeaux, justintime, eyesoars, thomask, linkage, Catlady62, BayAreaKen, Denver11, sonorelli, Ageing Hippie, Miniaussiefan, stlsophos, pianogramma, bluedust, Sandino, Smoh, Rashaverak, Apost8, some other george, Byron from Denver, Raven in Philly, oortdust, Judge Moonbox, annominous, GwenM, Jeffersonian Democrat, wader, Just Saying, Haf2Read, Geenius at Wrok, zerelda, cybersaur, elmo, smokeymonkey, chmood, caul, Lilith, Front Toward Enemy, TFinSF, science nerd, jfromga, eeff, Catte Nappe, Loudoun County Dem, incognita, roses, dmhlt 66, mbh1023, sensetolisten, Simul Iustus et Peccator, MKinTN, BocaBlue, trumpeter, davelf2, xaxnar, opinionated, gof, midnight lurker, verdeo, sawgrass727, slowbutsure, kenwards, TX Freethinker, Sun Tzu, artmartin, political mutt, NM Ray, DFWmom, grollen, tommyfocus2003, qofdisks, RickD, nolagrl, kartski, SingerInTheChoir, Trixie2006, lorell, RustyBrown, flevitan, Shockwave, Eric Twocents, pickandshovel, pragmaticidealist, SoCaliana, Robynhood too, Bandaloop, DBunn, Oh Mary Oh, shaggies2009, splashy
  •  I agree, we should teach the debate. (55+ / 0-)

    However, it should be a lesson about how people distort evidence and make uninformed claims about complex topics. I am a neuroscience and physiology student that is currently taking a junior level evolution course at the University of Minnesota. As scientists, we purposely point out weaknesses in our hypotheses in order to lend credibility to our overall position. We do not need to hide our weaknesses, we point them out to encourage a discourse in hopes that a greater truth can be discovered through experimental evidence.

  •  As long as we are able to name the Intelligent (17+ / 0-)

    Designer as Grandmother Spider rather than some jealous and vindictive middle Eastern Godling, its a good start.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. The TSA would put Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad on the no-fly list.

    by OHdog on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:35:27 AM PDT

  •  Why this won't happen (33+ / 0-)

    ID is not a theory, nor is it science, good, bad, or indifferent, nor is it even an alternative creationist model of reality.  It is a means of getting theology into public schools.  That's its only purpose.

    If you attempted to do this, its proponents would claim that you were intentionally beating up on ID.  (Unless, of course, the "comparison" didn't yield any definitive bias one way or the other.)

    •  Science education is missing something (22+ / 0-)

      I think we need to teach the difference between science and pseudoscience in science class.  In order to do this we must have a good example.  

      If ID proponents cried bloody murder than they would immediately stop their push to have it taught in science classes.  Problem solved.

      •  yes, and no. especially no. (17+ / 0-)

        Your argument is rational.  Religion is not.  People who are at all religious are not rational about their religion.  ID is creationism is the biggest religion in this country.  You could frame the exact same argument about science and pseudoscience using almost any other terms and get your point across.  Touch on their religion, though, and you will hit a wall.  Tell a story about the big owl vomiting a hairball which hardens and becomes the Earth, clearly a laughable myth, no problem.  Frame it as their own creation myth (pick either one of the two in the Bible), the laughter stops and you have a big problem.  My sibling is a scientist, but he will tell you with a serious demeanor that God wrote what is in the Bible, even after you point out that there are many incompatible versions.  

        •  Irrational religionists are irrational (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alain2112, VTCC73, ZedMont, Miniaussiefan

          There are many others who are not.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:32:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But maybe you aren't really religious in the (0+ / 0-)

            strictest sense of the word.  Maybe you are actually spiritually inquisitive.

            Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

            by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:57:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Either way, acceptance of science doesn't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZedMont

              guarantee a person's rationality. Belief in religion doesn't preclude rationality. That's what history says. History shows societies tend to operate under a belief matrix that evolves, & that individuals in those societies are capable of rational (& irrational) actions under that matrix...hard as that is for many to "believe."

              America's greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

              by catilinus on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:54:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry, Mokurai, my comment was rather flip (6+ / 0-)

            and uncalled for.  If one says they are religious, I will take them at their word.

            I guess the word "religious" has a connotation in my mind that may not be in everyone's, and that is, religion is a belief system you never question no matter how much evidence to the contrary.  That impression comes from the religion in which I was raised, where that is exactly what it meant.

            No offense intended, I hope none taken.

            Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

            by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 05:22:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Raven in Philly, murrayewv, JerryNA
        If ID proponents cried bloody murder than they would immediately stop their push to have it taught in science classes.  Problem solved.
        Problem not solved.  Bring up the existence of missing links in the fossil record?  They will outlaw them.  Forbid you from even mentioning them in a classroom, on pain of immediate termination and black-listing from all teaching.  

        That's if they let someone with actual knowledge of them teach the class, instead of the local church-approved ignoramus.  In the meantime, if you succeed in getting refutations of ID into a classroom (however temporarily, while they mount a new assault) they will pull out all their kids, and either homeschool them or form charter schools which teach that Jesus rode a dinosaur.

        190 milliseconds....

        by Kingsmeg on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:10:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There Was an Entertaining Alternate History Novel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oh Mary Oh

          perhaps by Harry Turtledove that had an insular society in which the consensus (enforced by weight of blasphemy laws) was that radio carbon dating was proved invalid, the earth was 6000 years old, there were no transitional fossils, etc., etc. All the details were covered. Wish I could remember the title, but he has written so many books, it's hard to do. I think it may have been one of his juveniles.

          In any event, if you take all those postulates as true you can construct a coherent matrix of belief. Then your protagonist has to find a clever way to deal with it. Maybe the exploration of the implications of facets of ID upon things which are inarguably true would be "educational."

          "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

          by midnight lurker on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:22:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  no there is not time in class to do this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        You just invite the crazies to stand up and complain.

      •  The difference between science and pseudoscience (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dark11star

        As a science teacher, this is one of my main goals.  (Probably just below making sure no one gets hurt.)

        Are you just going to gripe about it, or are you going to do something to change it?

        by smithbm on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:12:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What examples do you use (0+ / 0-)

          to teach the difference?

          •  Examples (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dark11star, Oh Mary Oh

            Well, beyond their own research work, my favorite examples are in climate science.  I let the students find and quote whoever they want on the topic as they report related current events, and invariably at least one student brings in some pseudoscience.  (Their reports are due to me a day ahead of their presentation, so I have time to identify and prepare an antidote to the hokum.)  As a class we review the author's credentials and then address the substance of the issues -- which usually involve cherry picking data and confirmation bias.   It's delicate and must be done fairly and respectfully so as to avoid alienating students who hold beliefs that are not supported by evidence.

            Are you just going to gripe about it, or are you going to do something to change it?

            by smithbm on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:17:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have a lot of respect (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Oh Mary Oh

              for the work you do.  I wrote this diary as a way to blow of some steam in hopes to break my writer's block for my dissertation.  But you have to deal with these issues every day.  

              As is often said about the military, thank you for your service.

    •  Actually... (18+ / 0-)
      ID is not a theory, nor is it science, good, bad, or indifferent, nor is it even an alternative creationist model of reality.  It is a means of getting Christian theology into public schools.  That's its only purpose.

      Fixed that for you.

      Seriously, none of the ID/creationism proponents are suggesting teaching the Buddhist cosmogony, or Islam's cosmogony, or even JRR Tolkein's cosmogony (praise be to Iluvatar).  It's always the Christian biblical creation myth.

    •  True. (5+ / 0-)

      But there are several schemes to discredit them and show how, too.

      1. FSM

      2. Tyson

      3. Sagan People

      4. Scientists around the world.

      Thing is, it costs money to deal with the ID people who get reams of money from those who may only care about ID as far as it gets them MORE money.

      It will happen. It will take time and money, but the "spirits" of Lucretius, Hypatia, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, and countless scientists beat up by the RCC will support us in our efforts.

      --UB.

      "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

      by unclebucky on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:22:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It will happen the way LGBT acceptance is (4+ / 0-)

        happening.  It will be helped along by the inanity of the protestations against it.

        Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

        by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:59:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZedMont, Matt Z

          You're right. And so that follows the article, by putting this ID/Creationist nonsense IN THE MICROSCOPE as it were!

          Bravo, amig@!

          --UB.

          "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

          by unclebucky on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:22:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, ID was originally conceived as proof of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, JesseCW, Thorby Baslim, artmartin

      the existence of God.  It's been around for 160 years+.

      It was usurped/resurrected by modern theocratic types.

      West. No further west. All sea. --Robert Grenier

      by Nicolas Fouquet on Mon May 06, 2013 at 05:14:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The watchmaker analogy (3+ / 0-)

        Yes, The watchmaker analogy was a philosophical argument for the existence of god.
        "Intelligent Design" is a wedge issue whose sole purpose is to substitute fundamentalist christianity for science.

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:58:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Older than I thought (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thorby Baslim, Oh Mary Oh

          I read a description of the concept (without yet using the term ID) written by a Methodist Church elder (in St. Louis) in 1854 and distributed to church members in their monthly "Ladies Repository".  The publication shared and discussed world and national news, science, literature, art, and of course religion.  

          For example, there was an article about the calculation of the speed of light (200,000 MPS), and an estimate that the world and universe may be 15 million years old.

          With the growing emergence of scientific discoveries that seemed to contradict biblical teachings, the Methodists appeared to be arguing that one's faith and scientific discoveries of the time were not necessarily incompatible.  

          Not only were they not denying science, they were disseminating it.

          West. No further west. All sea. --Robert Grenier

          by Nicolas Fouquet on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:40:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  ID is, at the most generous, an untestable (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Thorby Baslim

      hypothesis.

      Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

      by JesseCW on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:40:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is like arguing the the sun... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo, MKinTN, Oh Mary Oh

      revolves around the earth.  I do not think the religion and biological science are mutually exclusive just like I do not think astronomy and creation is mutually exclusive.  

      However, if creationists want to continue being taken seriously, they will have to accept that evolution is real and incorporate into their beliefs in the same way they did after Galilio and Newton proved that the earth circled the sun.  If creationists continue to resist by claiming mutual exclusion, then they will be cast into the same dust bin as Roman and Greek Mythology.

      I always liked the reasoning that God could not explain DNA to a bunch of shepherds 2000 - 5000 years ago so he gave them a story to answer their questions (and they verbally passed it down to their families for additional generations).  

      If Christians (and all other religions for that matter) would simply quit being afraid that some new piece of evidence is going to destroy their faith, they would see that it is a fantastic, beautiful thing.  If God is the creator, it is obvious that he is a God of mathmatics and that he established rules which govern the universe.  Couldn't he just as easily designed evolution to accomplish his desired outcome?

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:35:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye Nut Schell, MKinTN, Joieau

        Science has no good answer for how the universe came into existence in the first place, so that's a perfect place for religious people to posit their God.  Nothing stops them from positing that it was God who created the scheme of evolution in the first place.

        •  I always counter (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elmo, Buckeye Nut Schell

          with the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that there was a beginning to the universe.  Sure the Big Bang happened but we have zero evidence to say that was the initial start of the universe, only that it is the OBSERVABLE evidence.  There's no reason to not assume there have been infinite Big Bangs, that the known Universe expands to a certain size and then collapses back in on itself until it has to explode outward again.  

          In fact logic actually tells us that to assign a beginning and ending to matter and energy, time and space, just adds complication.  Our minds are designed for our finite world and the concept of infinity, of no boundaries to time and space, is not something that sets well with us.  However, to designate a beginning simply adds the question "what was it like the moment before the beginning?" or if one assumes a creator, "Who created the creator?"

          The simplest, Occam's Razor explanation, is that matter and energy have always existed and what we can observe is but a tiny piece of the puzzle, that space extends forever, that we will always find more past the known limit of our universe as we gain ways to do so.  

          •  "Bubble" universes are (0+ / 0-)

            an entirely metaphysical supposition, just as multiverses are entirely metaphysical. I always find it interesting that mathematicians can apply their art to such metaphysical musings just for shits and giggles. Doesn't turn metaphysics into physics, though. IOW, it ain't science.

            Dueling metaphysics is the game of those dreaded religios. Why would anyone without skin in THAT game care to play?

            •  I had never heard (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau

              of any of the concepts that you're talking about.  I simply refuse to be able to grasp that there's some "beginning", a point where there was nothing and suddenly there was something.  Nothing in what I know of physics or science has shown me that it is possible to create matter and energy out of emptiness.  My brain of course wants there to be finite limits to things.  My DNA is programmed for life and dealing with the hazards humans face in a very finite world so I try to take away that wiring and look at what the possibilities are without that bias.  If what I think is right is true, not a single instrument or mathematical equation known to man will get the truth to that within our lifetimes, the distances too vast to peer much beyond what we now see.  However, as our telescopes have gotten stronger and we've gazed out at what we believed to be the end of our universe we simply found more and more, expanded those boundaries.  It's my GUESS that we always will.

              •  Bubble universes and multiverses (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Oh Mary Oh

                are fairly common out there, there's hundreds of returns if you Google either or both at the same time. Some arising from the "observer problem" of quantum physics and probability, some arising from a complete inability to imagine a Nothing from which Everything is born. People will tend to 'subscribe' to a version of one of these or some other model ('Branes, anyone?), but like the multidimensional string theories and Theories of Everything, they don't strictly qualify as science because they cannot ever be demonstrated or falsified. Metaphysics.

                We are of course limited by the fact that our physical equipment evolved on this planet and not somewhere/time else. But it's not that hard to imagine a beginning - a "Big Bang" that would qualify as the Mother of All White Holes (from where, one could legitimately ask but not answer). Hell, I can put my mind all the way back to the first nanosecond of creation (as we know it at this point in time) infinitely faster than light can travel - the Speed of Thought, Consciousness in action. Magnetic flux can do that too, from beginning to very leading 'edge' of the entire universe while encompassing everything in between, instantaneously. I think gravity can probably do that too, but wouldn't even try to 'prove' it. I doubt either of those phenomena are conscious, but I could certainly be wrong.

                And while trying to wrap your head around that, scientists 'discovered' some years ago that there was a certain probability in experiments smashing heavy hadrons with heavy hadrons at close to light speed that the resulting quark-gluon plasma might recombine into "Strangelets," a form of matter apparently not allowed in this universe [3 strange quarks rather than some admixture of strange, colored, charming, up, down, etc.]. Such a result, some equations suggested, would cause an instantaneous phase-change in the collective wavefunction of the universe itself, turning it all suddenly stable [all of the dynamism of our universe is the result of its basic instability]. Which freezes everything, unzips it, wipes out all possible forms of life and consciousness - everything. So fast we'd never know what hit us. This, btw, is much, much worse than just creating some mini-black hole singularities.

                That's sure spooky, isn't it? §;o)

          •  I believe that... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, artmartin

            The dimensions we now observe were also created in the big bang and that other dimensions existed before (if you can actually call it before if time as we now know it didn't exist).  

            There is still the question of where did all of the antimatter go and why it does not still exist in equal proportions to matter.  If all matter is simply energy (E=MC²) and a solid state is merely an illusion, all kinds of possibilities arise.  If the entire universe is merely a collection of energy, it may resemble the neuron activity of a supreme (or maybe just an ordinary) being and we are nothing but a dream.  I do not know.  I also do not understand how paired particles can communicate instantaneously across any distance if light is the universal speed limit.  How could the Big Bang originate from singularity in anything but uniform distribution in all directions begging the question, what made it collide and join into the initial clumps that formed the galaxies and stars we see today?

            Where I think most Christians and I diverge is that they feel that they have to have an exact answer for everything and I believe that we will always be moving toward a more detailed understanding, though we will never truly understand.  That does not diminish my faith, it makes me more amazed and even more faithful if that makes any sense.  

            The rules that are in place that created everything is the real miracles in my eyes.  That we have figured out mathmatics (and that it actually works) to explain these rules is my most compelling argument for some type of intelligent design.  These rules (as opposed to some carvings in stone tablets) are the true universal laws of God.

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:12:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Here and I thought... (13+ / 0-)

    the explanation for ID went something like;

    assumption #1: 747's dont spontaneously assemble in jumkyards, crockoduck, lalalalalalalala

    Conclusion: goddidit

    •  basically, yes (11+ / 0-)

      But the arguments have become much more complex and difficult for non-scientists to reject over the past decade.  Thus the need to teach this stuff as part of a critical thinking focused science cirriculum

      •  At what level? (6+ / 0-)

        At the college level? middle school? high school?

        I would very much support classes that discuss pseudoscience, in all its incarnations, from ID to homeopathy but you dont have to promote ID to science to do it. Its not discussed nearly enough and our society seems to have become only more credulous.

        It seems to me though, no matter how much we know differently, and no matter how many times its explained to cdesign proponentsists, the second we promote ID to science curriculum (even if its only to disprove/ridicule it) then they will run around claiming how we've finally acknowledged ID as SCIENCE and it will be repeated often enough that it becomes a defacto fact to them.

        •  I can teach this at kindergarten level (6+ / 0-)

          Young-Earth Creationists and IDers maintain that God created the world less than 10,000 years ago. There are single ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica with many more annual layers than that. The oldest trees are older than that. The Grand Canyon has many times more layers than that. We can measure how fast the Grand Canyon is rising using GPS. We can calculate from that how long it took the Colorado River to cut it, since the river has run at the same level the whole time. Any child can see on a map that South America split off from Africa. We can see on underwater cameras and measure with GPS sea-floor spreading, and calculate when that split happened. There are related plants and animals in both continents from before that. There is no way they could have traveled from one to the other. Similarly, there are sea-floor fossils and rocks on top of the Himalayas.

          I can multiply these elementary examples a hundredfold. At higher levels, where we can bring in astronomical measurement (parallax of stars more than 10,000 light years away), geological chemistry (such as fossilization), elementary quantum mechanics for stellar evolution and dating rocks, and molecular biology, I could multiply them by a thousand topics with literal billions of examples.

          None of this is promoting ID to science, any more than discussing Copernicus and Galileo promotes the marriage of Ptolemaic astronomy, astrology, Aristotle, and Catholic Church doctrine to science. Of course, Aristotle and Ptolemy were trying to do science, and got part way there, laying a foundation that led to modern science much later. So we must help students to understand which is which, and how some people got through the muddle.

          Kepler, for example, found the true Ptolemaic/Copernican hybrid solution to the orbit of Mars (one cycle with one epicycle within the sun-centered framework) long before he discovered that that generated an ellipse, the correct solution within the precision of measurement of the time.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:42:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with your premise, but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            artmartin

            not your example.

            We can measure how fast the Grand Canyon is rising using GPS. We can calculate from that how long it took the Colorado River to cut it, since the river has run at the same level the whole time.
            There are many who believe that evidence supports the catastrophic theory of Gand Canyon formation- a huge lake which emptied rapidly, periodic damming and sudden flooding, etc.

            As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

            by BPARTR on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:29:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Of course you can.... (4+ / 0-)

            Hells I'm not a teacher, I'm just an Architect and I could probably teach it with enough prep, thats not my point.

            My point is the DI has been trying to get ID into the science classroom for years, it seems to me letting it in the classroom even if only to disprove/ridicule it, lends it credibility among the credulous.

            The Diary says, "lets teach the controversy" yet you (clearly) know far better than I, that there is no controversy. Teach that, reinforce that. Surely all the facts you've noted in just those first two paragraphs and the hundredfold that sit in the wings are taught already. I see no gain in even mentioning ID.

            If ID is to come up at all in a class covering the subject it should be a simple line stating, "The second ID, predicts something, that can be tested and verified, the second a reasearcher discovers ANYTHING using ID, then ID might be able to be a part of this class until then I will instruct you on the facts and leave out the lies and wishful thinking of fools"

            Nor do I think your example of Copernicus and Galileo are equivelant in any way, ID is entirely based on lies, misinformation and religious dogma. I dont think we can say the same about Copernicus, Galileo  and Kepler.

            Like I've said though, lump it in a class covering pseudoscience, along with crystals, psionics, alien abductions, energy bracelets and homeopathy and I'm all for it, because ID deserves not one iota more respect than those other "Theories"

          •  Um, ot exactly: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Oh Mary Oh
            Young-Earth Creationists and IDers maintain that God created the world less than 10,000 years ago. .... The oldest trees are older than that.
            The oldest is a conifer in Sweden the root system of which is 9,550 years old. What is seen above ground isn't ancient, though. (I'd have given a link to the Nat Geo page where I found this but I'm having problems this morning getting a link properly embedded.)

            Just wanted to give you a heads-up on tree ages so you don't get blindsided by someone who disagrees with everything you say.

            And besides that, you know how it is: If someone is wrong about something on the Internet, ... ;)
             

            Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

            by Miniaussiefan on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:14:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  students shouldn't waste time on this.... (0+ / 0-)

          they can go to church to hear this and to the science classroom to hear science evidence.  These are two different belief systems, and you can't test for a creator with a hypothesis.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:08:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think the lalalalalalalala part is the most (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kingsmeg, JerryNA

      cogent.

      Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

      by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:00:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Three things they can't seem to answer (15+ / 0-)

    1.) the very definition of "theory of evolution" itself.

    Evolution exists.  It's demonstrated in many ways, every day.  If they understand that some insects resist insecticides, and some germs no longer respond to antibiotics, they have evolution staring 'em in the face.

    It's Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection that is the point of contention -- Darwin's explanation of how evolution actually works.  And, while it's not perfect, it's been rock-solid for well over 150 years.

    2.) Complexity.

    Not the complexity of organisms -- the complexity of God.  If, rather than come into existence itself through some scientifically-documentable chain of events we haven't figured out yet, the Universe was in fact created by God... where did God come from?

    3.) Health care.

    If humans are the results of "intelligent design", how do you explain the frailty of our bodies, and the vast quantities of diseases and condition and syndromes and whatever else that can cause us to wither and die?  And some of 'em take you quickly, but others make you linger for decades.  If that's "intelligent design", it's a good thing we missed out on the "slipshod".

    -----
    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:24:28 PM PDT

    •  There have been high-school and college courses (15+ / 0-)

      teaching the controversy. They are effective at clarifying the issues for the open-minded, and completely ineffective at getting through to the closed-minded. Few students come to such classes on the cusp where they could go either way. But every little bit helps.

      If you would like to work on a textbook for such a class, I can assist both with materials and with a Web site for creating digital textbooks that I run for Sugar Labs. We are the Free Software and Open Educational Resources (OER) partner of One Laptop Per Child. Message me privately.

      For example:

      Creationist Demands Critical Thinking in Indiana

      Creationist Indiana state Sen. Dennis Kruse wants students in Indiana schools to demand scientific evidence for anything they doubt. His stated intent is to get Creationism into the classroom, along with Global Warming denial. But what happens when the students demand evidence for Creationism?
      Yes, evolution was known to be a fact before Darwin. A multitude of facts. An ever-growing and coherent multitude of facts that has been growing larger and more coherent ever since. The supposed holes in the theory are evidence that it is science, which always creates more questions than it answers, and not theology, which seeks to create a definitive, all-encompassing, and ever more laughable dogma.

      I have amused myself on occasion by going to Creationist Web sites to see how much science they have to deny. Quantum mechanics, for example, which gives us the age of the sun via nuclear fusion, and the age of rocks on Earth via nuclear fission and other sorts of radioactivity. Large chunks of chemistry, biology, astronomy, cosmology, and much more. Here is a summary, with notes on a previous Teach the Controversy class.

      “Creation Science” in Indiana

      Previous experience in Indiana is that the courts will firmly reject any attempt to teach “Creation Science” as science, but that it can be taught as Social Studies or Comparative Religion. I talked with Bill Jensen, Director of Secondary Education for the Bartholomew County School Corporation, today about his previous experience with such a class, the last time the Fundies tried this in Indiana, in 2004. He told me that the students, including the children of anti-Creationists, initially liked the course, and found it quite challenging to learn about religions that they were not otherwise exposed to, but when that Fundamentalist surge faded, so did interest in the class.
      Darwin supplied several ways of understanding those facts, including both Natural Selection and sexual selection, both of which he explained with reference to artificial selection by plant breeders, pigeon fanciers, and the like. He also addressed a number of specific objections to his theories. For example, his book on earthworms contains a great deal of observation on the way in which worms reshape the landscape by continuous reprocessing of all accessible dirt.

      Although Creationists make a great many specious arguments against evolution, their real objection is to being told that they are descended from Black Africans, perhaps 100,000 years ago. (Although it turns out on recent DNA evidence that most Europeans have a small admixture of Black African ancestry just since Roman times.) This fact is so heinous that it cannot be spoken aloud, and instead the objection is that we cannot tell them that they are descended from apes or monkeys. Which is well-known Dog Whistle code.

      Creationism is almost all the result of the White Supremacy theories of Southern, mostly Baptist, slaveowners, and their Curse of Ham theology for explaining why Blacks are mentally and morally inferior, and slavery was good for them.

      It is no accident that strong Young Earth Creationism in the form of "Flood Geology" became popular at the time of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:30:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My personal favorite counter (10+ / 0-)

      for the complexity argument goes like this.

      The claim is: complexity of an object indicates a conscious designer.

      My response: Show me a counterexample.

      If God created everything, then where are you supposed to find something sufficiently simple as to not indicate a conscious designer?  If everything was made by a conscious designer, how can you possibly justify creating some distinction between "complex" and "simple" to talk about indication of design?

      There's no point arguing that paintings of sunflowers don't spontaneously arise from explosions in paint factories unless you're drawing a distinction between paintings of sunflowers and random paint splatters, saying "see, that was deliberately designed and that was random."  And you can only draw that distinction if you think randomness is a thing that actually exists, which ... can't be true if everything that exists was created by God.

    •  My question: Who is the Intelligent Designer? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      filkertom

      Of course, they can't say "God," because then it's no longer a scientific theory.

      But imagine if we had conclusive proof that the intelligent designer was, say, an alien from Alpha Centauri. . . .

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:54:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree- there is no "controversy". (30+ / 0-)

    When you accept the argument as framed by the other side, you already start to lose.  Creationism has no scientific hypothesis besides the story, the myth handed down as "Truth", so their approach is to put science on the defensive.  Your diary's use of their terms shows you do not understand this point.

    1. Allowing the label "controversy" to enter the discussion is already a step backwards.  There is no scientific controversy about evolution - it is a strong theory with no real competition.  

    2. We should not teach creationism in the classroom because it elevates religious belief to the level of scientific thought.  If you don't accept God-did-it as an answer, then Creationists/IDers have nothing left.  If you do accept God-did-it, then no amount of science-based argument gets through the shell.

    3. Which myth?  When we allow one particular creation myth, how do we stop others from creeping in?  There are hundreds of religions, thousands of versions of those religions.  Creation myths are stories of fiction, and none deserve to waste the time of students who should be learning science in science class.

    4. Creationism is clearly religion, which has at its' base the concept of "trust me, because I said so".  It is antithetical to science, which has at base the concept of "show me the evidence".  

    Finally,
    5. An honest comparison between science and Christian Biblical creationism is not possible in many parts of the country because the people leading the discussion on this non-"controversy" are not honest.  Too many people are pushing their own fire-brand of religion, and they are more than willing to put to the torch our scientific textbooks and our jobs.  That is the only way they can win against reality, and many have no scruples about doing so.  Harsh, but honest.

    •  I don't think the point is to dissuade ID (3+ / 0-)

      proponents.  That will never happen.  People are free to believe what they want.  But, this approach would have value for students getting sucked into the "they tried to ban this because it is the TRUTH" argument of the ID proponents.

      To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

      by ban48 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:58:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  right. on. target. (10+ / 0-)

      We are talking about a really irrational belief here.  The diarist's optimistic goal, "It will end this ridiculous argument" is not going to fall over isn't going to work when the worst that could happen to the creationists is that thay might have to merely have to move the crazy goalposts.

      I wouldn't want my daughter's precious classroom time wasted with it.  Both for reasons related to learning science and reasons related to understanding religious faith.  They DO teach critical thinking skills at her school.  She will be well prepared for all kinds of flavors of snake oil salesmen.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:59:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there are many versions of life origins that one (8+ / 0-)

        could take apart in bio class, one after another.

        Lamarck, who thought the need for a change drove the change. It was a very good theory in its day, an attempt to explain tings prior to Darwin formulating natural selection. But he came after these folks:

        Linneaus's early acceptance of creationism, a spectacular career documenting Creation in tremendous detail in his naturalist's studies, then tempered later in his life by his troubles with hybrid plants, essentially new species or evolved species.

        Buffon, who quietly asserted that the earth was >6000 years old, perhaps 75,000, that life evolved, and that biology followed natural laws. Perhaps  most important, that humans were related to apes. Noooooo!!!!!

        And of course Darwin's own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, who did believe that life evolved and that life had preceded the dawn of human history by untold ages of time.

        There is a nice summary of the "evolution of evolution" here.

        So, before what we now call natural selection, or just evolution, there were many theories, each of which was examined, tested, and found sadly lacking in that they either failed to explain the data (fossils, variety, geological records) or provide a mechanism (Lamarck, anything with creation in it, basically everything before natural selection.)

        I agree with the diarist VERY STRONGLY.

        Teach the controversy, but not by admitting that it is a controversy, rather by including it among the many versions put forward that fail to account for biology as a result of natural laws. That is where the real teaching happens, IMHO. That is the nub. It is the stuff that great semester-long, multi-team projects are made of.

        Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

        by p gorden lippy on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:32:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget St. Augustine (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093, ZedMont, p gorden lippy

          Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

          by blue aardvark on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:28:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, man, thanks, I DID forget. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm going out to water it right now.

            Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

            by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:06:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That would be a good approach if one (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          p gorden lippy, murrayewv, JerryNA

          were to do it.  I took a history of science elective along the same lines in college.  I think any STEM BS grad should have some of that, especially in their major but more broadly as well.  It's not only fascinating but helpful material for understanding how science got to where it is today.

          But I still think attempting to fit it into a high school or elementary curriculum runs into numerous practical problems.  Number one is how one gets this approved by state education administrators in the states where it is most needed.  (eg.  Texas textbook controversies)  And then if even just a few weeks of this is inserted into the curriculum, what is taken out?  And finally, how many minds does it really change?

          I happen to know a guy with an MS in biology who lives in a progressive state, and has all his life.  He sucked up this ID garbage via a church and there is no reasoning with him.  He got canned for trying to introduce it in the biology class he taught in high school.

          IMHO, people, when they decide to believe something nuts and in a religious context will not be swayed by facts of science or history.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:17:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  These suggested research topics are not a waste (0+ / 0-)

        the diarist created a robust curriculum and it would create future rational people

    •  Is Evolution a Religion? (11+ / 0-)

      Is Evolution a Religion?
      By Ellery Schempp

      IDists claim that there is an "intelligent design" view and that
      evolution is "an equal religion". They usually say "Darwinism". Of
      course, there is no such thing as "Darwinism", this is a word made up
      by IDists to label those who do not accept their views. Let's
      consider what characterizes traditional religions and whether
      evolution is a religion. The historical record shows numerous
      distinctions.

      The Theory of Evolution is not a religion.

      Evolution has no priests, pastors, ministers, preachers, bishops,
      ayatollahs, imams, mullahs, prophets (or televangelical profits). No
      holy books or sacred scriptures. It has no holidays, no feast days,
      no canonized saints. It depends on no miracles. It gets no tax
      exemptions.

      Evolution has no alter boys, no prayers, no church establishments, no
      edifices with crosses, stars or crescents, no churches or temples, no
      coming-of-age rituals like Bar Mitzvah or confirmation.

      Evolution has no banned books, no warnings about heresy or blasphemy,
      no record of burning witches or heretics, no public displays of piety
      or prayer, no holy book supposed to contain "All Truth", no creed to
      be ritually recited. Evolution does not define pagans or infidels.
      There are no mythological beliefs or transubstantiations.

      Evolution has no history of torturing non-believers, has never
      started a war, never burned an opponent at the stake. The idea of
      evolution has no record of sex scandals. No record of financial
      fraud. No record of trying to get a passport stamped for entry into
      heaven. Evolution offers no condemnations to hell nor promises of an
      after-life.

      Evolution does not support occult beliefs. The scientific theory of
      evolution has no dependence on a supernatural deity or pixies; no
      prayer rituals, no burial rituals, no sacraments. There are no
      invisible beings, gods, deities, devils, demons, ghosts, satans,
      angels, spirits, cherubim, seraphim, faeries, or a soul. Evolution
      recognizes no destructions as "acts of God" nor acts of violence
      as "acts of Satan or an anti-christ."

      Evolution does not depend on blind faith; it offers no argument from
      authority; no conclusion first, facts second. There is no body
      of "apologetics" from the theory of evolution.

      The above are evidences of religion. The idea of evolution, which is
      based on observation of the natural world as we see it, does not have
      any of the attributes of religion. Indeed, evolution is the
      opposite, it welcomes energetic inquiries and thoughtful inputs.

      Evolution looks not to miracles to understand the world around us.
      Evolution, as all science, looks to evidence that we can see and
      understand and test. Neither evolution nor any scientific construct
      claims to offer moral or political guidance.

      Evolution is consistent with a democratic outlook in which the rights
      of the people are derived from the people. Evolution is not
      consistent with the view that the natural world is only revealed by
      authorities or a view that rights derive from authorities, especially
      not from authorities anointed under a doctrine of the Divine Right of
      Kings or one or another "holy scripture". It is the natural world as all can see and understand, and it
      depends on no revelations, no sacred texts.

      The Theory of Evolution, the Theory of Gravity, the Germ Theory of
      Disease are not religion and not religious. Just because you think
      something is true does not make it a religion.

      The theory of evolution is the antithesis of traditional religions;
      it champions the free mind, and the spirit of free inquiry to see
      where facts, observations, and the power of reason as the human mind
      leads.

      from http://concordareahumanists.org/...

    •  You have to debate ID in schools (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      Just acting like it will go away wont help. Ignorance is an epidemic in our citizens and it is necessary to combat this. But I agree it should not be taught as part of science. But it can be dealt with in an english essay class or anything dealing with critical reasoning. Make it part of debate club where everyone has to attend.

  •  The controversy and whether or not it should be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tim DeLaney

    taught (I think it could offer valuable lesson to teach it) aside ....

    About Argument 2: It has always struck me that the complexity of living things argues against the agency of some all-powerful creator.  If there was such a creator, why would he/she/it be so inelegant as to make things so complicated?  I would expect this creator instead to just toss in some miracles to make things work.  For example, first you have this gene and it makes messenger RNA and ... and then, voila, a miracle happens and you have a protein.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:49:14 PM PDT

  •  I try to read everything from... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    p gorden lippy, exterris

    Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens, and all the others. Free Inquiry, Skeptic magazines, etc.

    I'll debate any theologian and crush them. Sadly, they don't know when they've had their asses handed to them. It's so easy. We have all the evidence.

    The next time someone questions evolution, ask them where they went to college, and then offer to call that university to get it's opinion. That's shuts them up pretty good.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:51:17 PM PDT

  •  Deal is, these people (12+ / 0-)

    don't WANT kids to learn critical thinking in school (or anywhere else). The nature of science requires critical thinking - entire paradigms can change almost "overnight" (to the uninitiated), and what was taught as Absolute Scientific Truth last year from the old textbook has changed completely in the new textbooks. Happened to me back when Big Bang became accepted science of the day after having spent an entire semester at a school in another state using an old textbook learning about how the universe was a clockwork mechanism that never changed and had always existed (and would always exist). I remember that most distinctly because my Dad was a "Big Banger" based on evidence that had been accumulating since he was a child, but wasn't enough to overthrow the Steady Staters until the CMB was quantified in 1964.

    Evolutionary biology suffers an overabundance of scholarly research in the vein of evolutionary psychology, somebody's always coming up with a new just-so story for this or that physical development. Prime example, Why [some] Primates See Red. I've seen at least six different just-so stories purporting to explain 'why' we have trichromatic vision, none of them including the idea that a slight mutation in genes for cone photoreceptor cells adjusted the frequency of light being received and processed, to the red end of the spectrum. From which the original possessors quickly learned that certain ripe fruits and sexual signals came in the color red - used it to advantage, so the trait quickly spread. People with no critical thinking skills and/or ignorance of the nature of scientific inquiry point at the conflicting just-so stories and say, "See? They don't know what they're talking about!"

    A great deal more is known today about evolutionary biology than was known even back when gene-centrism led to the first GMO plant cultivars (mid-late 1970s). It's a very complex subject, and we're learning more all the time. Sequence 'frame-reading' for varying transcription codes, epigenetic alterations to gene expression (almost Lamarckian in effect), histone codes, chromatin dynamics, gene expression suiting in response to stress, developments without evidence of selection pressures... and the strange situation of like 'kinds' having widely divergent genomes and even differing numbers of chromosomes! Why, the fastest-evolving animal we know of right now - the vole - has such divergent genomes that the only way to tell one species from another is to count them. Because they all look just alike. Heck, in one species the males and females have different numbers of chromosomes!

    This is all very fascinating to those keeping track, but for a lot of people who aren't very interested in such details it's overwhelming. They like simple answers, and believe - because their preacher told them so - that they've got all the answers they'll ever need. Which, in truth, is probably true for them, since they don't tend to go into science and yet manage to live meaningful (to them) lives anyway. The problem is that they want to prevent everybody else from knowing more than them. And that is definitely a problem.

    Authoritarians of all stripes are a problem, IMO.

  •  Had an AP teacher do just this (15+ / 0-)

    I'm dating myself but this was over 30 years ago in an AP biology class in high school.

    Great teacher, learned lots with each unit, using microscopes and dissecting fetal pigs, etc.

    The time came to study evolution.   Everybody's on board, except for one kid.  Really smart guy- valedictorian of the class in a large suburban high school.  He asks if he may do a presentation on an alternative theory.

    Teacher agreed.  I have to give the kid credit- he prepared thoroughly and laid out his argument.

    The teacher's rebuttals were sound and he shot down each creationist point my classmate brought up.

    It was one of those few class periods that is so crisp in my memory for the fact that someone objected, the teacher accommodated their viewpoint respectfully but in the end, creationism was discarded.

    What is striking to me is that many of those same classmates, who were in agreement with the teacher that day, are now parents who chose to send their kids to private religious schools where ID is the rule.  I'm watching these people from afar on Facebook, wondering why there has been a great shift away from reason.

    Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science. Robert Green Ingersoll

    by offred on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:56:39 PM PDT

    •  "a great shift away from reason"--I'd love to (9+ / 0-)

      a philosopher or historian write a diary on this, since there's actually been an ongoing episodic reaction against reason for centuries:  e.g., the ultramontane Catholics after the French Revolution (see de Maistre, Buckley, etc.), fascism (Nazism in particular), the "Great Awakening" and all its American fundamentalist descendants, current Islamic fundamentalism, etc.   As Nietzsche, Camus, Becker ("The Denial of Death"), and innumerable others have pointed out, the universe implied by science and the Enlightenment is not one that reassures human anxieties very well.  Consequently, it's not surprising that a large portion of humanity would want to reject it and attack its messengers, and frequently do.  

      "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

      by Oliver St John Gogarty on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:25:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This can be categorized as anti-intellectualism (6+ / 0-)

      Which most evangelical religion is. Dwight Moody, the founder of modern fundamentalism, is famous for having said " I don't read any book unless it can help me understand THE book" by which he meant the Bible.

      We know these people cherry-pick to begin with (see "divorce").  Why should it surprise us that something that was old fashioned as of the Scopes Trial has come roaring back with the new pseudo-science behind it?

      That's all I have time for today.  I'll put it in my over-the-summer file

      -7.75, -8.10; . . . Columbine, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston (h/t Charles Pierce)

      by Dave in Northridge on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:46:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree with this. (10+ / 0-)

    Science teachers hardly have the time to get the material across much less play devil's advocate with creationism/ID.

    By even talking about ID in class, you are giving it a level of respect it does not deserve. Have them read Judge Jones' legal opinion if they are interested in it.

    As far as creationism, that's easier. If it comes up, you simply say that it belongs in the realm of religion, and the classroom is not a church.

    If a science teacher does a good job of defining what science IS and how the scientific method of investigation and fact finding works, students will figure it out on their own. Or if they have questions about creationism/ID, tell them they can always do research of their own on it, but that you (the teacher) intends on teaching only science, period.

    •  In basic high school biology, we learn about (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01, DeminNewJ, Oh Mary Oh

      Lamarckian inheritance and how that theory has been proven wrong.

      We learn about the previous theories of the spontaneous generation of living organisms from rotting flesh, and how they were proven wrong.

      That's not about giving those theories "respect they don't deserve", but about illustrating to students what science is.

      The only thing to do with ID is to say "This is not a testable theory and here's why", using it as an opportunity for students to understand the difference between an actual theory and a story some guys made up that can't be tested.

      Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

      by JesseCW on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:51:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Highschool science (0+ / 0-)

        Intelligent Design doesn't even rise to the level of Lamarckism and has no place in science class at all.

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:12:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's precisely my point. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oh Mary Oh

          The only reason to address it isn't to treat it as if it were science and try to disprove it, but to show why it's not science.

          That's something kids need to understand - science is about testable claims.

          Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

          by JesseCW on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:10:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I rather like the faulty design evidence (5+ / 0-)

    For example, why do human beings have an appendix? What intelligent designer thought it was a good idea to put a poison repository smack dab in our abdomens with easy access to vital organs? No protection, no coverage, and susceptible to rupture either by external trauma or natural decay?

    I also like the chair/snowflake duality. I have a feeling this subject may come up during our denomination's annual conference later this year, and this is an easily remembered example. Take note that I am filing off the serial numbers of your example even now and will appropriate it for mine own.

    •  The appendix may re-seed the colon with (6+ / 0-)

      healthy bacteria after an illness.  See http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

      A better point might be to say that the appendix may have a function, but it's got a high failure rate (poor "design").  Another point of poor design is the mammalian retina, which has the nerves in front of the light collecting cells, like making a camera with the wires in front of the optical sensor.

      Still, I don't much like arguing against creationism/ID point-by-point.  People who do not know science are fooled into thinking even having a "debate" means that ID has some validity and there is some "controversy".  The diarist made many good points, I just objected to the very idea of a debate.

      •  As objectionable as a debate might be . . . (0+ / 0-)

        It's still unfortunately necessary with any number of well-meaning people who are operating from a very small base of information. If "debate" doesn't suit you, then how about calling it "education"? Yeah, if folks had been paying attention in ninth grade biology, none of this would be an issue, but there are forces at work in our society working 24-7 to keep vital information from the hoi polloi (and even the hoi megaloi).

        We really need to get over our reluctance to "catapult the propaganda." The lizard-brain right has no compunction whatsoever about beating a dead horse (e.g. Benghazi!). We at least are dealing in facts and reality; reality deserves no less an effort from us than the incredible expenditures spent on lies.

    •  very little makes sense in religion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur

      It's a good tool to keep people's behavior under check to a certain extent. That's about the only use for religion.

      But don't try even asking for logic. Someone could just as easily justify everything by saying it was more fun for god to create imperfect beings to see how they would evolve but the original design came from god. ID came about from the same kind of thought process.

    •  Simple refutation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Oh Mary Oh

      Why do some whales have leg bones?
      If the whale was designed, there's no reason for leg bones.
      If the whale evolved from land animals then leg bones make perfect sense.

      +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

      by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:14:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read a book recently (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh, cybersaur

        "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne. It was a readable explanation for evolution, and one of his main points was that the evolutionary model keeps proving itself by making predictions that turn out true.

        One of the examples he used was that of whale fossils appearing in the oceanic record about 27 million years ago. Because whales are not gilled fish, but air-breathing mammals, evolution would predict that whales started out as land creatures. Based on whale anatomy and physiology, biologists figured the move from land to ocean took place 3 to 6 million years before whales first came on the fossil scene.

        Sure enough, by examining fossil fields in areas that had been coastal 30-33 million years ago, scientists found a land mammal that was the exact precursor to modern whales. By using evolution as their guide, biologists knew just where to look and when for "pre-whales."

        Intelligent design doesn't do that, positing instead that the pre-whale fossil record at just the right time and place anticipated by evolution is instead some kind of indication that God is this cosmic trickster, going to great lengths to fool humans with an elaborate hoax.

  •  Misguided approach (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, Tim DeLaney, Raven in Philly

    Creationism will REPLACE science.  Even if it gets in the backdoor as "teaching the controversy", once it gets in that will change very, very quickly.  Instead of looking at Evolution scientifically and showing that it reallty does pass the scientific muster, it will come down to a bunch of talking points about why Evolution is wrong, and then holding up Creationisn as the only alternative.

    Don't let it in.  Not.  One.  Inch.  Not because teaching controversies or things we know were wrong is bad (look at how some biology lessons take some wrong ideas as teaching points.  Same thing with physics.) but because it will be wilfully manipulated later.

  •  I taught the controversy and suggest (6+ / 0-)

    1) Have students watch all or parts of NOVA's Judgement Day.

    2) Give them a "problem" to solve like how to stop a mold harming our crops or how to fight a virus that keeps changing its DNA. Ask them to suggest solving it with evolutionary theory and with ID. I have a biologist friend who does this.

    3) Stress what a good theory is: a) explains lots of phenomena (evolution biology, chemistry, agriculture, medicine, psychology, etc.) b) it is useful (see "2" above) and c) it can be proven false (how can you disprove ID?)

    I don't know what consciousness is or how it works, but I like it.

    by SocioSam on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:09:03 PM PDT

  •  Time to start teaching "Unintelligent Design", too (11+ / 0-)

    If they want to "teach the controversy", then I strongly suggest that biology teachers also teach Unintelligent Design.   The theory that some things are so poorly designed that they could have only been created by an entity that was drunk, dim-witted, or purely malevolent.  The recurrent laryngeal nerve goes down the neck, wraps around the aorta, and then heads back up the neck to the larynx.   In the giraffe, this is an extra 30 feet of unnecessary nerve - akin to driving from New York to Philadelphia via Los Angeles.  Rats and other vermin will never die from scurvy because they - like most mammals, can make their own Vitamin C.  Humans and higher primates have a broken gene for manufacturing Vitamin C.  This means that the Designer wants humans to die from scurvy, but not rats.   And why a broken gene?   Why taunt us?   That's just evil.  And then there's the backward retina and a slew of vestigial organs and structures.    Teaching Unintelligent Design should shut the creationists up pretty quickly about the need to teach unscientific controversies.  

  •  What about Consciousness? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, Joieau, wilderness voice

    I'm agnositic and would not question the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution.  Thus, I agree with this post whole-heartedly.

    One interesting question that I am always intrigued, however, in support of "religious" type thinking is the nature of consciousness (as seemingly non-physical).

    For instance, from the perspective of the physicist "particles" of physics exist indepedent of consciousness (having mass, permanency, position in time and space, etc) and thus, are fundamentally different than the nature of experience.

    For physicalist cognitive scientists, however, consciousness and its experience are physical in nature such that experience is taken as being produced by the brain whereby consciosness (and its experience) are fundamentally the same to  physical reality.

    Thus, from these two perspectives, physicalism seems to contradict itself.

    There are a plethora of other issues such as the cicularity of explaining the physical world from consciousness and observation and -- in turn -- explaining consciousness in terms of the physical world.  Another example is how to design a computer that enjoys playing chess ... too many here to write.

    Does the nature of consiousness provide a compromise between scientific re-evaluation and testing with religious awareness of something "more" to reality than physical existence?  I could be wrong, but seems to me -- unlike the debate over evolution -- like it does.  

    Of course, this is not appealing to either religious folks are scientsts who take their expertise as authorative in understanding reality.  

    Although we need more examples of science in the classroom, I say we also need more epistemology... the study of the nature of knowledge.  I think most would be humbled.

    •  you made a bad assumption (3+ / 0-)

      ""religious" type thinking is the nature of consciousness (as seemingly non-physical)"

      "Seemingly" is the problem.  You assume that consciousness is separate from your brain.  You then take that assumption and treat it as a fact.  Bad logic.  First show what is consciousness, then prove it is non-physical (or not).  Only then will you be able to go on with the rest of your points.

      •  " First show what is consciousness, then prove it" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        I don't think it is possible to show what is consciousness other than appeal to Introspection.    One's own consciousness is private ... if there was a means to show it to you, then it would not be my consciousness.

        Now, of course, you might say I need to show you physically what is consciousness, but that is starting with the physicalist assumption that I'm not granting.  Thus, I think it is up to the physicalist to address my points or at least admit to the issue.

        Thanks for the response BTW ... not trying to be argumentative as these are my genuine thoughts.  I'd gladly stand corrected.

        •  You are the one making the assertion. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          I'm not asking you to show me "your" consciousness.  I am asking you to define the word you are using.  If consciousness is metaphysical, then you are not talking about science, you are talking about philosophy.  The nature of science is that it is testable even if its not tangible.

          You are the person claiming the brain is more complicated than what we can see, but you demand that I prove there is not more.  Why should I have to prove what you say is wrong, when it is you making the extraordinary claim?  What was that Hitchens quote?  Something like "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."  You claim that consciousness is ... something more.  All I am asking is that you please define the something more.

          •  I'm glad to clarify any specific questions. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            Knowledge is based on observation and I can only observe my own consciousness.  Thus, prior to providing a definition, I'll first quality that I only define my own consciousness.

            In that regard, I define my consciousness as the whole of my bundled experiences.  Per Descartes 'I think therfore I am'  is the evidence. (We might not agree how to define evidence although I agree with Hitchen's claim essentially that an argument must be falsifiable to have meaning.)

            I'm not sure if this statement qualifies to you as either 'showing' or 'defining'.  For instance, I don't say anything about the cause-and-effect nature which is what you might be requesting of me?  

            To clarify about whether or not I'm intending consciounsess as being metaphysical, I don't think that terminology adds any meaning.  For me, metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that may be studied and  not a way something exists.  If you are meaning to define metaphysical as something different, then I'd be happy to explain -- if it would help --if your definition could be provided.  Of course, if you are just throwing the word out there to get me to clarify, then I hope I've answered.

            If you can agree introspectively that you can define your consciousness the same way I define my consciousness, then perhaps we can go to the next step.  But you are correct that it is important to first define our terms. Without that, we'll talk past each other.

        •  No, no, no! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          Appealing to introspection is exactly the wrong approach to understanding consciousness. The right approach, IMHO, is to study the brain in the most minute detail possible. When we gain an understanding of what the brain does, and how it does it, we are on the right track toward understanding consciousness.

          Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

          by Tim DeLaney on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:14:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tim DeLaney, cybersaur

            Ultimately, the mind must map upon the brain.  

            As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

            by BPARTR on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:40:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes Yes Yes (0+ / 0-)

            Ruling out introspective knowledge also rules out study of the brain.

            How do you have any knowledge of the brain without referece to your own experience/observation.

            Did you read a book about the brain ...that is an experience.

            Did you perform surgery, open up the skull and take a look at a real live brain ... that is an exerience.

            In the same way, I'm referring also to experience.  If you are saying I can't trust my experience, can't I turn it back on you and see you cannot trust yours?

            •  You evidently have a different definition (0+ / 0-)

              of "introspection" than I do. Reading books or performing surgery are not my idea of introspection.

              Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

              by Tim DeLaney on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:33:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, perhaps we do have different definitions. (0+ / 0-)

                In using the term introspection, I meant being sensitive to the whole of one's experience.  If there is a better term for such a thing I'd be thankful for the input.

                Hopefully this helps and we can get beyond semantics and back to  substance... according to this specific definition of introspection (or whatever word you might feel more appropriate) does this clarify or do you have remaining issues with what I've said?

              •  I just read your definition after posting above. (0+ / 0-)

                Actually, your definition might serve my purpose.

                "observation or examination of one's own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself. "

                does that not include this?

                "observation of one's own mental processes"

                If so, is not reading a book an [observed] mental process?

      •  I agree with you 1000%. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice, Joieau

        I'm actually trying to write a book to what might even be more difficult for the materialist/physicalist ... defining the nature of truth.

        My friends and relatives mention I should not post my ideas on the internet as the might be "stolen" but -- at the same time -- I'm looking for feedback. What I wish to write I think, however, would be very appealing and interesting to the community here.  One day, perhaps I'll get everything written down and figure out how to protect it.

        Altough not the ultimate goal of knowing truth, It's nice to connect with a 'like' mind..  It seems like most folks are either religious fundamentalist or materialist/physicalist fundamentalist where neither side fully appreciates the great mystery and awe to reality.

    •  I follow the scientific quest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeffersonian Democrat

      to quantify consciousness, as one of the more fascinating investigative projects in my lifetime (it was ignored in favor of Cartesian dualism for far too long because it's so uncomfortable a subject). Most prominent funding coming from "The AI Guys." Still don't know if I qualify as a monist or a dualist, but it sure seems to me that consciousness 'evolves' and is represented to greater or lesser degrees across the huge variety of life forms on this planet.

      The quest accepts for the most part the 'given' that there must be physical correlates of consciousness [PCCs] - physical structures by which and through which consciousness is expressed in this physical world, to the degree that consciousness does have real effects on matter. Some hold tight to the idea that these physical correlates must be neural, thus exist solely in life forms that have developed specialized neural cells (and brains). Others hold that it's more ubiquitous than that, thus must be found in structures within cells rather than some organic collection of cells. I lean toward the latter, but don't claim to know for sure.

      Seems obvious that consciousness is a phenomenon of the living, not the dead. IOW, I do not believe raw matter - any form - is somehow conscious in and of itself. A given life form can be (and always is at some point) alive in one moment and not alive in the next. All of the particulate matter is the same either way (pre-decomposition/ recycling), in exactly the same physical order and structure. But we clearly recognize the difference between alive and dead. Thus the expression of consciousness must be a process - even an energetic process - rather than just a physical arrangement of atoms.

      So while I probably won't be around when/if they ever do figure out what the PCCs are and how they work (Physical Correlates of Consciousness), it would not surprise me that the sub-cellular process of its expression turned out to be involved in the process of evolution as much as it's involved in the process of gene expression during individual lifetimes. That would go pretty far toward explaining how rudimentary 'developments' like photosensitive cells end up being actual eyes - per the existential circumstances of the critter and its immediate kin in the struggle to survive and reproduce. Nod here to cave-dwellers who lost their eyes altogether because they weren't needed at all. Mammals, fish, reptiles and birds (etc., "higher" forms) are not the first to have developed photosensitivity - some protozoa are quite photosensitive. Is that "Intelligent Design?"

      And what does "Intelligent" actually mean in all this? That's a sticking point, for sure.

    •  There's nothing inherently impossible about (5+ / 0-)

      designing a computer that "enjoys" playing chess, if the criterion for success is a Turing test:  the computer acts like it enjoys playing chess and says that it does.  Why do you think it would be impossible to built a computer model of the dopaminergic pleasure system?  

      As a neuropsychologist, I've never quite understood the whole purported mysteriousness surrounding consciousness, which seems to me to be comprised basically by the brain taking its own action and physiological effects as an object of cognition.  When somebody can demonstrate that consciousness can exist without a physical substrate or that substantial deterioration of the physical substrate doesn't lead to deterioration of consciousness (e.g., in Alzheimer's), let me know.  

      "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

      by Oliver St John Gogarty on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:41:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll try my best to answer. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        One of the greatest mysteries of consciousness, for me, is the unity of conscoiusness.  Regular physical processes occur as a chain reaction of events down, it would seem, down to the quantum particle level.  Macroscopically, a computer keyborad inputs data to the computer in this way.  The memory of the computer is not directly attached to the keyboard but get populated following from a chain reaction of events such as the signal travelling down the wire from the keyboard.

        Consciousness is diffierent that its events exist collectively.  My consciousness is aware simultaneously of my thoughts, field of vision, noises that I hear, etc.  There is a non-arbitrary togetherness that seems not otherwise idenitifiable in the material world.

        Materialist Daniel Dennett said the unity of consciounsess  (what he calls Cartesian theater) will never be found in the brain precisely because there is no point or location in the brain of pre/conscious versus post/consciousness.  For him there is only separate streams of parallel processing (as we would normally think the physical world).  I think this point can be used against him as I introspectively know there is unity to my consciousness.

        •  Neural networks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          Consciousness really isn't all that different. The brain is essentially just a biological neural network. We can and have built those. They're really good at pattern recognition-- just like the brain. Take away the neural network and there is no consciousness. The brain is the mind.
          And humans really aren't capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time. Parallel processing does occur, but that isn't unique to the brain.

          +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

          by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:29:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is your computer conscious? n/t (0+ / 0-)
            •  not yet (0+ / 0-)

              Once we build neural networks that approximate brains in animals the answer will be very different.

              +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

              by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:11:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Only if consciousness (0+ / 0-)

                is a magically 'emergent property' of the wiring. I don't believe in magic, myself. That's probably because I know far too many magicians...

                •  That doesn't follow (0+ / 0-)

                  If you don't believe consciousness is a magically 'emergent property' of the wiring between your own ears, there's no reason to make that assumption with a man-made neural net.
                  That's like asserting computers can't "remember" things because they're made out of silicon and copper...

                  +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

                  by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:41:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Of course it follows. (0+ / 0-)

                    You claim that a complex enough 'neural net' built on the model of, say, a rat brain, would be as conscious as a rat. Or am I misunderstanding your contention?

                    Hence, per my understanding of what you've said, consciousness is an emergent property of the 'neural net' and its complexity. Presuming of course we are to believe that rats have consciousness, and the computer speaks English (with a rat's level of consciousness). Is that not so?

                    An 'emergent property' is a property/quality of something that emerges suddenly from the underlying complexity without being any sort of inherent property of any component or combination of components from which it emerges.

                    IOW, consciousness would not be considered an inherent property of the wires or the electrons running through them, or of the gates that allow its logic functions and/or memory to operate. To where if you gather enough of them in one place, it suddenly wakes up and says, "Hi, there. I'm conscious and self-aware, and your programs are intolerably stupid."

                    You are instead saying that the WAY they are interconnected will at some point (X number of connections and cross-connections) magically produce the consciousness that would wake up and say, "Hi, there. I'm conscious and self-aware, and your programs are intolerably stupid."

                    I'm not buying it.

      •  A question... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        Do you think observation (which arises from conscoiusnes) provides the foundation to know the cause-and-effect nature of reality as being physical.  Or do you think the knowledge of the physcial work provides the foundation to know consciounsess?  If both, how is the circularity avoided?

      •  Illegitimate requirement. (0+ / 0-)
        When somebody can demonstrate that consciousness can exist without a physical substrate or that substantial deterioration of the physical substrate doesn't lead to deterioration of consciousness...
        You cannot demand physical 'proof' of anything non-physical. To do so abandons science altogether and enters the realm of metaphysics - philosophy. At which point you're arguing beliefs, not evidence and/or facts. And since you don't believe that there is anything non-physical, the exercise would be entirely pointless.

        That said, the existence of base-level rudimentary consciousness in the fabric of reality (given a presumption that there must exist a "Totality of Reality" even if we don't yet know what it is or looks like, or even how many dimensions it encompasses) is certainly conceivable, cannot be ruled out arbitrarily simply because we don't yet know what it is or looks like.

        I rather like Penrose's theory of Orchestrated Objective Reduction [Orch-OR] attempting to explain the objective existence of the reality we perceive, expanded beyond the simpler "observer effect" actuating the subjective reality of concentrated (embodied) consciousness. It involves a separation of space-time itself which collapses a wavefunction once it reaches Planck 'distance' via the quantum of gravity ['graviton']. Does away with the apparent need for a universal observer, a problem for anyone who doesn't want to subscribe to deific ideas. Penrose is a Platonist.

        It has its issues (we will probably never 'see' a graviton, for one), but it does propose a physical substrate that cannot be arbitrarily dismissed as you have attempted to do here.

        •  bad logic using science terms is still bad logic (0+ / 0-)

          Just using the words "graviton", "wave function" and "Planck length" does not make what you said reasonable nor logical.  Sorry, doesn't fly.  

          Of course anyone can and should demand proof that what you call non-physical even exists.  We can prove that photons exist, and they do not have mass.  Black holes, which do crazy things to space-time, have theories which make predictions.  Your word salad?  Not so much.

          •  Sorry, not your hypothesis. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            I still don't agree with Penrose's hypothesis, but I can't lay it on you.  I do regret calling something I do not fully understand a word salad, and apologize for doing so.

            •  I don't guess there are more (0+ / 0-)

              than a handful of people on this planet who 'understand' Penrose's hypothesis, but at least he's not shy of formulating it and putting it out there for discussion/criticism. I personally am highly skeptical of gravitons existing at all - and am semi-amused every time a team of researchers claim to have established that erstwhile "gravity waves" travel at the speed of light, only to find in the end that all they've managed to measure is the speed of light. Again. Duh...

              But they are trying, which is laudable. More experiments coming this year, we shall see if those end up measuring the speed of light too, rather than the speed of gravity. Which I suspect (because I care to suspect) is more like magnetic flux - instantaneous throughout space-time. But then again, that has the little problem of monopoles, and Lord knows those are as hard to find as gravitons! §;o)

              I also suspect that the most fundamental component /operative /phenomenal process of what we call consciousness is inherent to the Totality of Reality itself. Thus I find it entirely non-surprising that life - and the evolution of life - serves to concentrate this quality in our experiential reality. I suspect that for lots of reasons that seem very good to me, but probably wouldn't convince anybody else. Still, if one can consider that consciousness is somehow a fundamental quality of the universe itself, it is entirely rational to then suspect that it does not cease to exist when the physical structures which concentrate and express it in living organisms cease to function and are dissociated/recycled. Because nothing we know of that fundamentally exists can be created or destroyed. It can only change form...

              •  while I would _like_ to believe this idea, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau

                I cannot.  It is a hope, a wish-fulfillment fantasy, not science.  We all want to leave something behind that endures.  We all want to not stop living, death is scary.  That does not make any of these ideas true.  Given that consciousness cannot be defined very well in words, never mind described in scientific or even mathematical terms, we're not even close to having a science of what we loosely call being conscious.  For right now, we just "know it when we see it".  :)

                •  Speak for yourself. (0+ / 0-)

                  I am not scared of death. But I've lived a pretty long time, and I've met death more than once. Dying is scary, but death is not. In fact, it's a lot surer an outcome than [live] birth ever was. Of course, that's philosophical, a rumination of consciousness and conscious experience of life and death on planet earth.

                  So in my investigations of the subject of consciousness, it is not my "wishes" or "wants" that dictate what avenues appear to be the most promising to me. It's a genuine curiosity about the Totality of Reality. I'd love to know. Don't expect I ever really will. Just curious that way, I guess.

                  I'm not a big believer in magic. Can't help it, just know way too many magicians to believe in any of it as anything more than clever sleight-of-mind. And even that presupposes there's a mind to be fooled. I do have some experience in the fields of biophysics and quantum physics, so I am at least able to follow the gist of the most interesting arguments and hypotheses in this quest. In that vein, I'd have to say that Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff have fairly described their theories - both physical and biological - with some pretty darned good scientific and mathematical terminology.

                  Why, they even have precise boundary limits for when rudimentary process crosses the line into actually measurable consciousness. That's a lot more than simple denial ever has or ever will produce.

                  P.S. I've said nothing about "left behind," haven't broached the subjects of ghosts and goulies, afterlives, heavens, hells, or even reincarnation. I have approached the subject of Hilbert Spaces and the so-far indeterminate number of dimensions there may be in the Totality of Reality.

                  Fact: So far, all attempts to unify the few forces we know of/experience in our reality require the mathematical addition of "extra" dimensionalities (to do away with those pesky singularities that keep rearing their ugly heads). Anywhere from 7 to infinity - favorite so far has 22. If indeed there are more than 3+1 dimensions in the Totality of Reality, it is impossible - a fatal fallacy - for us to arbitrarily rule out the existence of consciousness in any or all of them.

                  Worse, we do not yet have a decent handle on the true nature of time, do we?

                  •  Way ahead of me, Joieau. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Joieau

                    You're far ahead of me in thinking about these matters.  
                    "I are jest a simple biochemist."

                    •  LOL! Well, to tell the truth, (0+ / 0-)

                      I've been at it for quite awhile now. Even worse than that, one of my favorite "Theories of Everything" - lots and lots of those out there these days - has a mere 8 dimensions, but applies to a multi-sheeted space-time (at least one more than Penrose's, though Sir Roger did give Matti credit where credit is due for in OR theory). Unlike Penrose's 'graviton', Pitkaanen's extremal has a hedgehog vector. Like a monopole. Requires more than one collapse of wavefunction to become 'real'...

                      I've always figured that if a "Theory of Everything" can't account for consciousness and all the very odd phenomena of consciousness, it's not worth the paper it's printed on - or the memory in which it's stored.

                      Nobody's got the answers at this point in time and space, so it's all good brain-exercising fun!

                    •  And because I am enjoying (0+ / 0-)

                      the exercise, I'll say that in truth, there's no irrefutable physical evidence out there to establish that ANYTHING ever exists apart from the present moment - which we always experience with a time-delay of several microseconds, so we're not really 'here now' either. The entire universe could be recreating itself completely in between 'instantons' of time as everything moves through space (trajectory-driven, ever-evolving coordinates). If we had a decent handle on time, that is, and we don't.

                      Personally, I think reality is mostly habit. You could spontaneously fly apart to opposite ends of the universe one moment to the next. Or find yourself being a crow instead of a human, or walk through walls, or... But our atoms are "used to" being what they were in the moments past, so tend to be the same in moments future. Sort of a 'sum of histories' probability thing. With occasional oopses, that is. Given that matter is cheap, but spontaneously decays on occasion for no apparent reason. §:o)

  •  Stephen Jay Gould's answer to those (6+ / 0-)

    who pointed at gaps in the fossil record was to say (paraphrasing here):  Okay, forget about the fossil record.  Because of the rarity of fossils, there's no guarantee that one will be able to find all transitional forms for all species.  Let's look at DNA instead.  The evolutinonary record is all there, and it's not hard to find the commonalities between related species.

    I will also note that IDers are impervious to logic.  You are assuming that our species is a rational one.  Sadly, it is not, particularly when there is an emotional stake to be won or lost.  The IDer will recognize that he has lost the argument, but will not surrender.  Too much of his identity is tied up in his belief in Creationism to abandon it.  Keep in mind that this person is convinced that unless he believes the the universe was created in 6 days, he's going to Hell.  By comparison, losing an argument with an actual scientist is pretty small beans.

    On the other hand, the utility of these arguments is in convincing those in the middle.  However, emotional content is also extremely important in winning those people.  Again, we're not a rational species.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:28:32 PM PDT

    •  Transitional forms (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, gizmo59

      Just about all creatures can be said to be transitional. You, dear reader, are the transitional form of human when compared to humans 100,000 years ago and 100,000 years from now. The exceptions are species on the precipice of extinction.

      +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

      by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:35:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ...which, by the way, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybersaur

        is why filling in the gaps in the fossil record will not satisfy the creationists.  In their minds, when a fossil of a "transitional" species is discovered and placed between two other species, two new gaps have been created, between each previously known species and the new, transitional one.  Among the many issues they don't understand about Darwinian theory is the dynamic nature of evolution.

        I would point out that when species are extreemely well adapted to their environment, the species may remain stable for long periods of time without danger of extinction.  And example is the African antelope, whose form hasn't changed for 2 million years.

        -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

        by gizmo59 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 12:02:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  my approach has always been: (3+ / 0-)
    DOES SCIENCE UNFAIRLY RULE OUT SUPERNATURAL HYPOTHESES?

    By Lenny Flank

    Posted April 30, 2006

    One of the most oft-heard complaints from ID/creationists is that science has embraced a "religion of naturalism" and that it unfairly rules out, a priori, any potential supernatural or non-materialistic hypotheses, solely to prop up science's atheistic philosophy. Phillip Johnson, for instance, says, "Science also has become identified with a philosophy known as materialism or scientific naturalism. This philosophy insists that nature is all there is, or at least the only thing about which we can have any knowledge. It follows that nature had to do its own creating, and that the means of creation must not have included any role for God. . . . The reason the theory of evolution is so controversial is that it is the main scientific prop for scientific naturalism." (Johnson, "The Church of Darwin", Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1999). Dembski echoes, "From our vantage, materialism is not a neutral, value-free, minimalist position from which to pursue inquiry. Rather, it is itself an ideology with an agenda." (Dembski, "Dealing with the backlash against intelligent design", 2004)

    It can be readily seen, however, that science does not in fact rule out supernatural explanations a priori. Furthermore, even if we allowed the IDers to introduce all the supernatural hypotheses that they wanted to, they still would not be able to follow the scientific method.

    The scientific method is very simple, and consists of five basic steps. They are:

    Observe some aspect of the universe
    Form a hypothesis that potentially explains what you have observed
    Make testible predictions from that hypothesis
    Make observations or experiments that can test those predictions
    Modify your hypothesis until it is in accord with all observations and predictions
    Nothing in any of those five steps excludes on principle, a priori, any "supernatural cause". Using this method, one is entirely free to invoke as many non-material pixies, ghosts, goddesses, demons, devils, djinis, and/or the Great Pumpkin, as many times as you like, in any or all of your hypotheses. And science won't (and doesn't) object to that in the slightest. Indeed, scientific experiments have been proposed (and carried out and published) on such "supernatural causes" as the effects of prayer on healing. Other scientific studies have focused on such "non-materialistic" or "non-natural" phenomena as ESP, telekinesis, precognition and "remote viewing". So ID's claim that science unfairly rejects supernatural or non-material causes out of hand on principle, is demonstrably quite wrong.

    However, what science does require is that any supernatural or non-material hypothesis, whatever it might be, then be subjected to steps 3, 4 and 5. And here is where ID fails miserably.

    To demonstate this, let's pick a particular example of an ID hypothesis and see how the scientific method can be applied to it: One claim made by many ID creationists explains the genetic similarity between humans and chimps by asserting that God -- uh, I mean, An Unknown Intelligent Designer -- created both but used common features in a common design. (For any IDers who object to this example, please feel free to substitute any other non-naturalistic ID hypothesis that you do like.)

    Let's take this hypothesis and put it through the scientific method:

    Observe some aspect of the universe.
    OK, so we observe that humans and chimps share unique genetic markers, including a broken vitamin C gene and, in humans, a fused chromosome that is identical to two of the chimp chromosomes (with all the appropriate doubled centromeres and telomeres).
    Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
    OK, the proposed ID hypothesis is "an intelligent designer used a common design to produce both chimps and humans, and that common design included placing the signs of a fused chromosome and a broken vitamin C gene in both products."
    Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
    Well, here is ID supernaturalistic methodology's chance to shine. What predictions can we make from ID's hypothesis? If an Intelligent Designer used a common design to produce both chimps and humans, then we would also expect to see... ?
    IDers, please fill in the blank.
    And, to better help us test ID's hypothesis, it is most useful to point out some negative predictions -- things which, if found, would falsify the hypothesis and demonstrate conclusively that the hypothesis is wrong. So, then -- if we find ... (fill in the blank here), then the "common design" hypothesis would have to be rejected.
    Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
    Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.
    Well, the IDers seem to be sort of stuck on step 3. Despite all their voluminous writings and arguments, IDers have never yet given ANY testible predictions from their ID hypothesis that can be verified through experiment.

    Take note here -- contrary to the IDers whining about the "unfair exclusion of supernatural causes", there are in fact no limits imposed by the scientific method on the nature of their predictions, other than the simple ones indicated by steps 3, 4 and 5 (whatever predictions they make must be testible by experiments or further observations.) They are entirely free to invoke whatever supernatural causes they like, in whatever number they like, so long as they follow along to steps 3,4 and 5 and tell us how we can test these deities or causes using experiment or further observation. Want to tell us that the Good Witch Glenda used her magic non-naturalistic staff to POP these genetic sequences into both chimps and humans? Fine -- just tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test that. Want to tell us that God -- er, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer -- did like humans very much and therefore decided to design us with broken vitamin C genes? Hey, works for me just as soon as you tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test it. Feel entirely and totally free to use all the supernaturalistic causes that you like. Just tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test your predictions.

    Let's assume for a moment that the IDers are right and that science is unfairly biased against supernaturalist explanations. Let's therefore hypothetically throw methodological materialism right out the window. Gone. Bye-bye. Everything's fair game now. Ghosts, spirits, demons, devils, cosmic enlightenment, elves, pixies, magic star goats, whatever god-thing you like. Feel free to include and invoke all of them. As many as you need. All the IDers have to do now is simply show us all how to apply the scientific method to whatever non-naturalistic science they choose to invoke in order to subject the hypothesis "genetic similarities between chimps and humans are the product of a common design", or indeed any other non-material or super-natural ID hypothesis, to the scientific method.

    And that is where ID "theory" falls flat on its face. It is not any presupposition of "philosophical naturalism" on the part of science that stops ID dead in its tracks -- it is the simple inability of ID "theory" to make any testible predictions. Even if we let them invoke all the non-naturalistic designers they want, intelligent design "theory" still can't follow the scientific method.

    Deep down inside, what the IDers are really moaning and complaining about is not that science unfairly rejects their supernaturalistic explanations, but that science demands ID's proposed "supernaturalistic explanations" be tested according to the scientific method, just like every other hypothesis has to be. Not only can ID not test any of its "explanations", but it wants to modify science so it doesn't HAVE to. In effect, the IDers want their supernaturalistic "hypothesis" to have a privileged position -- they want their hypothesis to be accepted by science without being tested; they want to follow steps one and two of the scientific method, but prefer that we just skip steps 3,4 and 5, and just simply take their religious word for it, on the authority of their own say-so, that their "science" is correct. And that is what their entire argument over "materialism" (or "naturalism" or "atheism" or "sciencism" or "darwinism" or whatever the heck else they want to call it) boils down to.

    There is no legitimate reason for the ID hypothesis to be privileged and have the special right to be exempted from testing, that other hypotheses do not. I see no reason why their hypotheses, whatever they are, should not be subjected to the very same testing process that everyone else's hypotheses, whatever they are, have to go through. If they cannot put their "hypothesis" through the same scientific method that everyone else has to, then they have no claim to be "science". Period.

    http://www.talkreason.org/...
    •  No, science intentionally limits the scope (0+ / 0-)

      of answers that it can provide to only the physical universe.  In simple terms, science is a cold, “faithless” perspective of the universe.

      It is the intentional misleading of the physical limitations of science that are at the heart of this issue.  There is much, much more to our existence than just the physical.

      •  Well, in this I agree: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybersaur, JerryNA, malie
        science is a cold, “faithless” perspective of the universe.
        True dat.  Science explores what is, and how it got that way. A scientist will change his views immediately in the presence of new evidence- the religionist clings to his faith in spite of evidence.

        Religion, as you state, is based upon and requires faith.  Faith is belief in the unbelievable. (If it is believable, one doesn't need faith.)  

        Personally, I would rather live in a world which operates by the laws of physics, and not one where "miracles" can defy the laws of physics at any time at the hands of a capricious and malignant "god".  Imagine a world where the sun really could stand still in the sky- and the chaos that would create.

        Fortunately for us, God apparently stopped doing the really impressive miracles around 2,000 years ago- coincidentally coinciding with the development of science and the ability of people to give other than Bronze age explanations of the world around them.

        As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

        by BPARTR on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:49:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Faith is no more an unknown, or a belief, (0+ / 0-)

          than hope or love.  Faith is the “substance” and “evidence” of things not seen. Over 90% of the world’s population acknowledges this fact.  It is the intentional denial of this fact within the science curriculum that is the problem.

          The very acknowledgement of laws (that which governs) of physics is enough evidence of a Creator. Randomness would be the only alternative to a godless universe, and randomness does not produce order by its very definition.

          “Miracles", or the ability to defy the laws of the universe, are the proof that a person is who they claim to be.  I am very glad to know that that which governs the universe is good, merciful, and faithful, not "capricious" or "malignant". Just imagine a world without a good governor, just the randomness of individuals living according to their own desires, and the chaos that would create. We don't have to imagine that world; we live on it.

          Fortunately, the best is yet to come!

          •  um, no (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA

            Faith is blind acceptance of authority with no accompanying evidence. Hope and love are essentially just emotions.
            There is no aspect of the universe that requires that one posit the existence of any gods. None.
            Miracles are fictions ascribed to god(s). There is no such thing as a miracle.

            +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

            by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:42:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Faith is complete trust, not blind acceptance. (0+ / 0-)

              Real faith, real hope, and real love, are not emotions, they are choices.

              "There is no aspect of the universe that requires that one posit the existence of any gods. None."

              Yes there is, I exist.

              As far as miracles are concerned, you are entitled to your choice on the subject. I will choose to disagree, and trust the accounts of eye witnesses to the events that did and still do happen.

              •  Keep making assertions (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JerryNA

                And this is why it isn't possible to argue with true believers.
                Your existence doesn't require a god. Just parents.
                That miracles don't exist is a fact. People see things all the time that they ascribe to the supernatural that are easily disproved like water stains on over passes and burn marks on grilled cheese.
                Can you share with the rest of us an example of a modern day miracle?

                +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

                by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:21:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I suppose the same could be said (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau

                  about the choices of non believers, in a general sense.

                  I am curious how the smallest of building blocks that make up my parents just suddenly, randomly came into existence.  Logically speaking, something can never come from nothing, but in order for a godless universe to exist there must be an event where nothing became something. In my opinion that requires much, much more faith, but that is your choice to make.

                  I would not classify your examples as miracles; I would classify it as a very small attempt to delegitimize my faith by using absurd examples.

                  Providing an example of a miracle to a person that has made their choice that they do not exist would be a fruitless endeavor.

                  •  And yet (0+ / 0-)

                    You believe that your god has always existed and conjured the the heavens, the Earth and all the flora and fauna out of nothing.
                    Your god has First Cause problems that you simply fail to recognize or admit.

                    +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

                    by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:19:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  It's a choice per explanatory power, (0+ / 0-)

                    that's all. Any phenomenon for which there is no possible (or just current) physical explanation can be considered 'miraculous' by one person, or simply 'natural-by-unknown- process' to another.

                    Spontaneous remission of advanced cancer is a pretty good example. Back in the olden days there were NO treatments for cancer other than surgery to remove tumors. If you had a cancer that didn't involve tumors - like, say, leukemia - you were shit out of luck. Yet in those days when there was no radiotherapy or chemotherapy with which to try and defeat such cancers, the phenomenon of spontaneous remission did noticeably occur. Medicine had no explanations any more than they had treatments that might account for the fact that someone literally on their deathbed got up one morning and went on home, no sign of disease at all.

                    Miracle? For many who experienced it, that explanation was plenty good enough to suffice. Even doctors called it that. Others without belief in miracles might choose to believe in a natural (but rare) phenomenon of gene expression suiting that happened to kick in all of a sudden and managed to get rid of the cancer before it killed the patient. Unknown, but not "miraculous." And who knows? Perhaps someday we'll actually know enough about human physiology and cellular processes to produce Spontaneous Remission In A Bottle and it would be worth all the money in the world.

                    The "miracle" explanation fits Occam's razor - nothing further is required. The "Natural but Unknown" explanation begs further research in order to try and quantify. Not possible these days when we do have treatments (themselves extremely harmful to physiological processes, but sometimes effective against the immediate threat). So there will probably never be Spontaneous Remission In A Bottle, and that phenomenon will remain a "miracle" by Occam's measure.

      •  That might be a category mistake. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        The 'physical' is really what we can detect.  Much of the shattering of former paradigms has been at the behest of better ways to perceive.

        So the instrument evolves to find ever-more music.

      •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

        If God Almighty appears on a flaming white steed and claimed, "ID is right, I did this to fuck with you, creationism is trash.  I put dino bones in the ground to fuck with you!"  Science would have a lot of theories to rewrite, and the would do so. They wouldn't deny the supernatural once the proof appeared.

        Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

        by lostboyjim on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:21:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary! (0+ / 0-)

    Couple of thoughts along those lines:

    1) A writer pushed the idea of ID with the notion that there are so many genes, there isn't enough time in all of history (real history, not the 6000 years the religious lunies believe) to modify them to make humans.

    However, the actual number of different genes among the various species is relatively small. For instance, the feline genome project finds genes in cats that are the same as in humans and when it leads to a DNA test, it might also be used for people. Another instance, the number of genes between other species is small - as an example, just about all animals that have red fur/hair have the red hair gene in the same place, except cats. In cats, the red hair gene is sex-linked and is on the X-chromosome. There is no red hair gene in cats that is on the same gene as all the other species.

    2) Lack of fossil record. It is a good thing that bones and bodies are "dust to dust", otherwise we'd be up to there and beyond in human bones, let alone all the animals, bacteria and viruses that have ever lived in 4.5 billion years. Just because we can't find any bones for the "missing link" doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It just means  at that particular time and place, the ML didn't manage to die in a bog or tar pit or ice block and get preserved. Perhaps it was at one of the places that got flooded or buried and destroyed under a glacier.

    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

    by woolibaar on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:42:54 PM PDT

  •  hmm... (0+ / 0-)

    i dunno. i certainly don't see any harm in teaching I.D. - after all, science is based upon questioning anything and everything, which would include evolution - but at the same time, there's a reason why private schools exist.

    •  Teaching ID does harm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      in the same way that teaching children that 2+2=5 is harmful. Teaching kids falsehoods has no place in education.
      Evolution is the most challenged theory in history and has withstood vigorous challenges for over 150 years. I.D. is nothing more than a political strategy to replace science with religious dogma.

      +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

      by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:47:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite counterexample (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynChi, wilderness voice

    was pointed out to me by a physical therapist. He was showing me a model of the knee, and demonstrating how easy it was for me to develop the knee issues I had. "Not a very intelligent design" he said :-P

    Here's a fun video showing how if you introduce "natural" selection, you can get random mutations to generate a clock:

    http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  Creationism is a failure on its own terms (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matador, cybersaur, JerryNA

    seeing as how it posits the bible is the inerrant literally true history of creation, yet the bible contains 2 irreconcilable creation stories.

  •  You don't give ID enough credit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clytemnestra, Dave in Northridge

    First, you must not only incorporate the Designer, but also the Fall - that is, that the Designer's Design has been altered in negative ways by the World.

    Although I'm sure they don't call it the Fall in their books, the idea of  retrograde evolution is one they would cheerfully incorporate.

    Secondly, the argument is not that complexity and design are correlated, but that a level of complexity exists which cannot be obtained via random changes. That is, the argument is that there is a level of complexity which precludes success via random trial.

    If you wish to refute ID in a science classroom, you must take care to actually refute ID, and not the straw man version.

    Please proceed, dark11star. ;-p

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:21:40 PM PDT

    •  Point taken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      I thought that I articulated the complexity argument (e.g. a level of complexity beyond which ...) but maybe not.  I'm sorry for the straw man feel.  I do not claim to be an expert in ID, haven't really read anything on the topic, so I 'm more than happy for the experts in the room (e.g. science teachers) to construct better arguments.  The point was simply to argue that it is not supporters of evolution who should fear this dialog.

  •  I have always like the idea that WE are (16+ / 0-)

    transitional creatures.  And that my children are further transitional creatures, and so on and so forth.

    But really intelligent design?

    WHAT intelligent designer do you know who would leave the major trunk interface of it's entire operating system so  vulnerable?

    Wouldn't you sink it further in giving it both solid and soft (insulation) protection?  Other than basically put it against the back wall with only the wall and nothing else protecting it?  And even that wall does things like having the mortar between the bricks disintegrate... etc.

    Or have a hard protrusion inside your cpu that if hit renders your memory and processing damaged, if it even works at all.

    then there is always the recreation area by the waste treatment facilities . . . but that may only prove that the "intelligent designer" is a Texan.

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:32:52 PM PDT

  •  I have to agree with Woody Allen that if there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chas 981, JesseCW

    is an all powerful God, he is an underachiever.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:40:50 PM PDT

  •  My biology teacher "taught the controversy" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nominalize

    For background, I went to high school in Connecticut, in a suburb of Hartford, in a community that is incredibly liberal, albeit very stereotypically Connecticut.  Incidentally it was also the same high school that Frank Luntz graduated from.

    Anyway, on the first day of class he talked about the scientific method, and the most important tenet of the scientific method: falsifiability.  Namely, he talked about how science and scientific theory depends on a test you can use to determine whether a theory is false.  If there is no such test, then it's not a theory, and has no place in scientific discourse.

    He used the example of God... and the definition of God as being "everywhere."  ...making it impossible to have a scenario where you could compare "a beaker of God" vs. "a beaker without God."  He then said that it didn't matter whether we "believed" in evolution or not, because it was a matter of established scientific theory, and that in science there was no such thing as "fact", only theory and observation.

    That set the stage for the remainder of our year.

    Intelligent design then falls under that problem: what test would you do to disprove intelligent design?  There is no test, because it's based on a construction rather than disproving the competing theories.

    I wish that this was something that was a regular staple in science classes.

    •  that's just it--- it isn't science (3+ / 0-)

      That doesn't even mean it's false... it just isn't science.  So it has no more a place in science class than reading To Kill a Mockingbird does. Reading literature isn't science, so it doesn't belong in science class.

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:12:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like to turn the tables on them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BPARTR, JerryNA

    Instead of arguing for evolution, I like to ask them to justify a literal belief in the Bible.  That's really the only reason anyone would deny evolution, because it requires a timeline and a human origin story that contradicts what it says in Genesis.  

    I ask them in order to undermine their false dichotomy--- that either evolution is true, or the literal Biblical account is true.  Well, no; in fact, they could both be false.  Although the truth of one guarantees the falsehood of the other, the falsehood of one does not guarantee the truth of the other.  

    But instead of saying "evolution is true" (therefore, the Bible must be false), and having to defend my assertion, I make them defend theirs: "the Bible is literally true" (and therefore, evolution must be false).  

    And I don't ask about the factual nature of their belief, but the theological rationale:  What does a Christian learn from a Bible that is literally true that they don't learn from an allegorical Bible?  ('Nothing' is the true answer, as any non-fundamentalist Christian can tell you, but I put it to them).  Even Jesus spoke in parables; the story of the Good Samaritan has the same moral whether it actually happened or not.  Jesus wasn't fake or false, and neither were his stories, because they're parables, not scientific lectures.  If parables are good enough for Jesus, they're good enough for the story of Adam and Eve.  Does the moral change if it's a parable?  

    This works much better because now they are the ones on the defensive.  

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:10:25 PM PDT

  •  Logic Never Fails (0+ / 0-)

    Having been an auto mechanic for 40 years, logic solved every problem.Whether it was an oil leak, a funny noise, an electrical problem, or a computer/driveability issue.
    Yes. The time has come to teach the "controversy".
    Logic will be ruthless in showing that you made a faulty assumption. If the solution becomes too complicated (looks like Rube Goldberg) then it is time to "get back to basics".

  •  I like what you said about our evolutionary (0+ / 0-)

    history in our DNA.  I think one of the most convincing ways to
    explain evolution is only now being explored, i.e., the genetic markers that reinforce the fossil record.

    A few years ago I attended a Darwin Day lecture at a local university.  One of the speakers was a genetic researcher from the University of Chicago who was able to explain in layman's terms how we know within a few thousand years when the hominid brain underwent a sudden (in evolutionary terms) increase in size that precipitated the rapid increase in intelligence that eventually led to modern man and permitted our amazing (considering where we came from) acquisition of knowledge and skills.

    Fascinating lecture that made a lasting impression.

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

    by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:16:45 PM PDT

    •  Actually, come to think of it, I'm a pretty good (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dark11star, JerryNA

      example of how that increase in brain size has enabled us over time to compensate for some of the unintelligent aspects of our design.

      I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Prostate cancer is the second most deadly cancer men face, and one in six men will eventually get it.

      Why is it so common?  Because biologically, the prostate is only needed for procreation.  Once you reach an age where procreation is either impossible or ill-advised, the prostate becomes unnecessary (and frankly, so do you).  So it behaves itself fairly well - those with prostatitis will legitimately argue on that point - until it gets the genetic signal to do itself (and you) in.

      Now, here's where that large brain comes into play.  Without it,
      this amazing contraption would not exist.

      This robot performed a radical prostatectomy on me, with the actual surgeon operating it across the operating room from me.  It was so precise that the surgeon was able to spare a nerve that runs alongside the prostate and controls continence.  Now this is rare, but I have not had even a temporary bout of incontinence.

      Evolution has by natural selection produced a creature that is in fact capable of intelligent design.  The ID believers are not only wrong, they got it backwards.

      Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

      by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:36:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite for IDers: why do I have nipples? (0+ / 0-)

    What kind of stupid design is that?

    Lawrence, KS - From ashes to immortality

    by MisterOpus1 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:18:13 PM PDT

  •  I would suggest a book for you, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Orakio, terrypinder, JerryNA

    Merchants of Doubt.

    It seems to me, that many of the issues you describe were and are the same tactics used by tobacco and now big oil to fuel other forms of scientific denial.

    I don't have an issue with people questioning how Science is applied to the real world, because sometimes best laid plans don't work out as well, in the real world or society.

    BUT--and this is a big but, I do object to religious indoctrination couched as "Scientific Counterpoint" especially on my tax dollars in a public school.

    1. It violates the separation of church and state.
    2. Its capitalizing students as a captive audience.
    3. it's a waste of our financial resources teaching pseudo science instead of a good understanding of scientific method--and the difference between a hypothesis and a theory, and frankly--pure hokum.

    I believe that Scientists can compete with the shiny soundbites, they just need to practice their communication skills better.

    I really recommend that book. I believe it will give you some ideas on how better to approach this.

    •  I think we are missing an oppurtunity (0+ / 0-)

      Students will learn as much, if not more, about evolution when they are asked to use it to dismantle ID.

      •  I disagree. ID is just another method to insert (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybersaur, JerryNA

        Christian Fundamentalism into the classroom as a tool of indoctrination.

        Other forms of Science Denial? Ignorance Only---AKA Abstinence Only education wherein children are often told outright lies about how their reproductive processes work, how to use birth control or disease prevention devices like the Pill, Condoms, etc., and so on.

        I object to this very strongly because all this is, IS religious indoctrination. Attacking science is merely the vehicle for doing that, because they know that it's easier to appeal to people's fear, uncertainty and doubt--a cluster of emotional components that are often absent from initial explorations of Science.

        And you are falling for it.

        The kind of people who formulate these attacks are understand very well, manipulating people via emotional buttons. Not exactly the strong point for most Scientists in the hard sciences.

        Don't give into this BS--it will not go well at all.

        If it were any other way, then all the religions would be reasonably accommodated in this, but they are not. The same people who push ID are hostile to any other religion, are xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic and lots of other unsavory things. Giving in on this one thing is simply a very bad idea.

        •  agree to disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          Teaching science as rote memory (as is done more often than we would like to admit) has led to a society that has no idea how to think critically about a whole host of issues.  We need new methods to help students understand why the scientific method is relevant to their lives.  

          This method serves to teach the strength and flexibility of the scientific method.  

          But not to worry, none of this will come to pass.  We will continue down to path of conflict between science and religion, science will stay tucked safely in the fetal position, and the standing of our scientific community will continue to decline to nothingness.

          Nothing to see here.  Move along.

          •  I guess we will have to. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA

            I home school because of this issue. It profoundly affects the quality of public education in my area. Sadly the surreptitious teaching of fundamentalist Chistianism has been a big problem here for generations, and instead of staying local, has spread from the South and the MidWest to every other state.

            So be my guest, and help them achieve their agenda. You won't be furthering critical thinking skills at all, because some of the Science Teachers are in on it, as are the Social Studies, English, Math and History Teachers.

            Enjoy your theocracy.

            •  yes (0+ / 0-)

              I have commented in other areas of this discussion about how this would only be possible if we could trust the scientific aptitude of all science teachers (which is of course impossible).  I guess my point is a more theoretical one, that comparing scientific and non-scientific theories (in a scientific setting) is especially bad for the non-scientific ones.  They are simply out of their league.  

              So taken out of the schooling context, I would argue that it is time for scientists to stop saying "that's not science so I won't discuss it."  Instead they should explain why ID is not science and would not stand up to the intense criticism of a true scientific inquiry.

              •  Well I have good news for you then. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dark11star, JerryNA
                They are simply out of their league.  
                The fundies are out of their league too. They do not know shit about their own religion, much less about religious history in general, sociology or anthropology either.

                It's not hard to overtake them in these topics. Even if they whip out a "divinity degree" from ye old Bob Jones Diploma Mill, they still don't know a damn thing outside their own extremist narrative.

                I know you don't personally know me, and it's cool. You don't have to trust me.

                They don't know about things as simple as Doctrinal Authority, nor can they explain transubstantiation. Many do not even know who Martin Luther is [and I am not talking MLK Jr either].

                They have you fooled into thinking they are some kind of expert, but really what they are fooling you with is fervor and cultish devotion.

                 I have said this on another thread, and I will repeat it here, and I am totally serious.

                If you want to teach the controversy, let it be the controversy of other Creationism myths from their perceived religious rivals.

                Historically whenever these fundies have tried to dominate an are and push their junk, all that has to happen is for Pagans or some other minority religion to show up and demand equal time, and their bullshit house of cards falls apart.

                Their faith will not allow them to tolerate that, and then it becomes abundantly clear that this ID BS is really just a tool to indoctrinate children into a very specific form of Christian fundamentalism. It's not about religious thought or feelings, it's not tolerance, or interfaith, or even interdenominational.

                Make them, force them to share equal time with an occult based philosophy and watch them squirm. Then you will get the proof you need to show what this is really about. And it's not science of philosophy, or higher learning. It's just indoc into a cult, using our tax dollars and our Science Classes, our Social Studies Classes, revisionist history books, to do they dirty work, while gutting all of these academic disciplines .

  •  Flock of Dodos documentary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW

    I think they do a better job in showing why this debate has gone on way longer than necessary. The documentarian shows how scientists have dropped the ball by refusing to debate this in public. And if they do, in language the lay person can understand.

    •  Ironic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      I watched Flock of Dodos last night...

      Which is why I wrote this diary this morning

      •  I thought it was superior to Inconvenient Truth (0+ / 0-)

        I find Guggenheim to be a little precious in the way he makes his docs. I thought the guy who made Flock of Dodos had a nice straightforward common man style.

        Guggenheim with Inconvenient Truth (thought it was more about the cult of Gore than trying to promote global warming awarenes primarily even if Gore did not intend it to be that way) and Waiting for Superman(I actually support school choice, but found it very simplistic).

  •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont

    Ive spent more procrastination time reading all the comments than I did writing the damn thing in the first place.  Where to begin?  First of all, I am not a science teacher, expert in evolution or anything.  I wrote this diary merely to point out what I see as a mistake in the science vs religion (and church vs state for that matter) debate.  

    It has gotten to the point where the common perception is that we don't want ID taught in science class because we fear that science is too frail to withstand criticism.  In the same regard the perception is that we scream about the separation of church and state because we fear the corrupting power of religion.  While this is one side of the coin, the other side is that  we separe religion from state to protect religion.  This side of the equation has become lost (especially for creationists).

    I believe that teaching ID in science classes would demonstrate that Religion should be kept out of school to protect it from being mercilessly thrashed in a steel cage match where "It's true because I believe it" can't be used to avoid scrutiny.  It is not evolution, but creationism that should be afraid of having this discussion.  

    In too many instances scientists have been portrayed as afraid to engage opposing theories.  In reality, it is the opposing theories that should be made to fear their fate if they were to be subjected to true critical inquiry.

    In conclusion, I am amazed at this wonderful community  and all of you who took some time out of your day to comment on these issues.  And yes, I will make the obligatory ...

    First time on the rec list!! comment

  •  Some science teachers do not believe in evolution (0+ / 0-)

    Such teachers should be fired or forced to take remedial classes.
    Will the teachers union be in favor of it?
    http://www.post-gazette.com/...

    •  A whole other issue (0+ / 0-)

      If it is not going to be taught well, I would prefer evolution not be taught at all.  Incompetent teachers are probably a bigger problem than incompetent design.

      Oh well, were all going to Hell anyway.

  •  Yes! Good idea. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orakio

    Let's also ask how intelligent this design is. The shoulder: shocking workmanship. Any orthopedist will tell you that. If we were designed to stand upright, why did we get a shoulder more suited to scrambling around like apes? The limbic system in humans is a joke. With a brain 200 times bigger than a rat's, humans get about 5-fold more noradrenergic neurons and about the same factor for serotonin and dopamine. No wonder we get Parkinson's and depression! Don't even get me started on the eye! What a piece of crap! How come eagles got better eyes than we did, the supposed apple of God's eye??

    By all means, let's get on intelligent design and, at the very least, get it defined down to "rather poor quality design".

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:29:38 PM PDT

  •  I'm shocked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont

    I'm shocked that no one here has talked about how this type of thinking translates to belief in austerity, supply side ....  

    Come on people!!  That was some good stuff!!

  •  People are an evolutionary dead end (0+ / 0-)

    Cock roaches are the perfect creature.  They were no doubt created by God.  Man, who is destroying his planet, is clearly the spawn of Satan.  Put that in your ID class!

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:16:11 PM PDT

  •  I like the irreducible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    complexity argument. Its really easy to debunk. I actually found a way to demonstrate why eyes, for example, are useful in much simpler forms.

    I tell people to close their eyes, with a light source directed at them. And then to move their hand infront of their eyes.

    They cant see the object moving. But they know an object came between them and the light.

    Its a simple little experiment. But it shows the basic flaw in the assumption.

    "Trust not the words of a poet, as he is born to seduce. Yet for poetry to seize the heart, it must ring with the chimes of truth."

    by kamrom on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:30:29 PM PDT

    •  It's a good one to attack. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      If one assumes it, then there can be no natural arches, because every part of the arch is essential.

      The argument assumes that everything is necessarily built up from less by adding, and that nothing less -- or more -- than the completed object serves any purpose.

      Clearly there are arches in nature, and they are derived from the selective/lucky removal of extra material. So constructed are many biological features in nature. (And in construction, where it's known as scaffolding.)

  •  The problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dark11star, cybersaur, JerryNA

    The problem is that you are assuming that the science teacher is not an ID advocate. While the very vast majority of scientists have no use for ID, many teachers in fact do have use for it - and that is the scary, but true truth. There are many science teachers out there that should not be in a classroom.

    By putting ID into the classroom you validate for those teachers and give them a platform.

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:34:31 PM PDT

  •  Good luck! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, JerryNA

    I've gone through these circular arguments with creationists over and over and over. It helps in that I used to be a fundamentalist/creationist, and I set out with the goal of mathematically proving natural creation was impossible (I was smart enough not to argue with evolution, just creation). Instead, I found out how little I really knew about what I thought I knew, and how phony and ridiculous the creationist arguments sound. As others pointed out they don't care. Its like a lawyer creating a ridiculous theory to get their guilty client out of jail. Throw stuff at the wall hoping something sticks, and then get your religion taught in school.

    In the end, logic will not work. Every fallacy and impossibility you point out has an easy answer: Magic. When you have Magic, nothing is impossible. Speed of light? Not if you have magic! Somebody had to create the creator? Not if he's magic! Magic is the perfect answer, it ends all questions because we all intuitively know that magic can do anything.

    Now if you ask them why their magician is correct and the magician of Islam or Buddhism or Scientology or (...) is wrong, of course you either get silence or self-referencing logic or talk about faith or bigotry against other religions. Then they'll come back and insist that evolution is a religion. You can repeat this 1000 times and you will never to get them to even admit that their faith is illogical, let alone incorrect.

  •  Uhm... (0+ / 0-)

    A 'creator'  allowed/designed implemented, and continues to do so with its evolution process.

    The 'creator' entity is called God by some, the Big Bang by others, and for many who understand the Bible is neither a scientific nor a history/ factual book, it is a mix of the two; for what is important is not to convince others to share what one believes but to allow them to take the path they wish to take.

    Amen.

    I stand by what I said, whatever it was

    by duende on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:39:36 PM PDT

    •  Not apprpropriate for school (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Tim DeLaney, not2plato

      Students should be taught the Truth.
      We don't let them choose whether or not to believe in algebra.
      We don't let them choose whether or not to believe in gravity.
      We don't let them choose whether or not to believe in  electromagnetism.
      We don't let them choose whether or not to believe in evolution.
      We teach these things because they are true.

      +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

      by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:33:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Science doesn't deal in (0+ / 0-)

        big-t "Truth." You teach what is accepted science (when the textbook is written, may change in the next edition), based on interpretation of physical evidence (facts) for what we call "theory." You do not teach Absolute Truth, nor can you require belief-in from any student. All the student has to do is pass the test.

  •  Appendicitis? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    Is that an example of intelligent design?
    Haven't you ever had water go into your trachea instead of your esophagus. Is it intelligent design to have your trachea in front of your esophagus?

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:42:13 PM PDT

  •  Nope. Won't work. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, JerryNA, Tim DeLaney

    If 100% of high school biology and geology teachers were degreed and given time and resources to be effective, then maybe I could be more confident.  But DK is full of examples where states allow religious teachings sway in elementary and middle-school classrooms, and you don't need me to point out the Texas Textbook Commission (or whatever they're called) as a bastion of truthiness -- the Faux Noise version, that is, not Colbert's.

    Let's remember that fact and truth aren't relevant in discussions where faith rules.  As long as sentient adults think the End Times are just around the corner (as did the Apostles, as I recall), nothing else matters.  Climate change?  If it's not a librul conspiracy, it's God's will.  Evolution?  That's just blasphemy, and there's no proof.  Carbon dating?  It's a complex and diabolical scientific hoax.  And so forth.

    Yep, Dark11Star, I'm a scientist, too, and I spent 20+ years in college arena classrooms.  And I made some headway there.  But the anti-intellectualism seems much worse these days, and ignorant people are loud and proud, not quietly embarrassed.  In fact, large numbers of voters put them into Senate seats and governorships and state legislatures, where too many have become bullies.

    If there were a Eugenie Scott-equivalent as the Science Resource Person in every public school in the country, then maybe we could relax.  Seems to me that your solution just allows the few remaining sane voices to be utterly overwhelmed.

    FWIW.

    tx

    (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

    by argomd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:50:40 PM PDT

    •  I'm quite aware it would not work (0+ / 0-)

      One can dream though.  

      •  Heh, heh. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        Yeah, I knew you weren't serious, but lots of readers might have thought you were.  Hence my serious reply.

        Dreams?  Mine became nightmares long ago.  I grew up in the Sputnik era and retired post-Ronnie RayGun, with colleagues who knew SDI "Star Wars" was a physics hoax but took the federal largesse anyway.

        Ain't no limit to humans' ability to tailor their beliefs to those of their paymasters.  We can't fix willful stupid.

        Good luck on your dissertation and your defense.  Them was the days!

        (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

        by argomd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 05:01:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  dissertation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          argomd

          funny thing is that my dissertation has absolutely nothing to do with evolution...  I think I should enter this diary into the procrastination hall of fame.

          •  But by no means less valuable for being so. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA

            I just hope you have a broad enough window to enjoy (!) the creation of that dissertation and to turn it into what you want it to be.  If you do have that freedom, please savor it.  Almost any job outside of a tenured professorship means significant compromises of that freedom.  Perpetual post-docs are soul-killing.

            Doing science is like eating the very best dark chocolate.  Doing science you truly love is having lots of that chocolate and no need to watch your weight.

            If this is an example of what's on your mind as you prepare to enter the professional science community, then I fully expect to be hearing about you in years ahead.

            BTW, did you know that Eugenie Scott has just announced her imminent retirement from the National Center for Science Education?  Their focus has been evolution, but it's moving to climate change.  You might consider finding out more about the organization.

            (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

            by argomd on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:41:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe we are imperfect (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dark11star, organicus, Joieau

    Because the Intelligent Designer turned the execution over to the lowest bidder.

  •  science education should explain "bad" theories (0+ / 0-)

    When I was in grade school, we learned why various historical theories failed:

    Ptolemaic astronomy
    Phlogiston
    Spontaneous Generation
    Aristotelian motion
    Aristotelian gravity
    Thomson's "raisin pudding" model of the atom
    Ether as a medium for electromagnetic waves
    Lamarkian evolution
    Newtonian mechanics

    Theories fail for various reasons:  overly complex, overly vague, outright incorrect, superseded by more comprehensive theory, etc.

    Isn't that taught anymore?

  •  This was all solved long ago (0+ / 0-)

    by Bertrand Russell, I believe: The universe was created at exactly 6pm, Oct 22, 4004 BC -- complete with fossil history and light en route from the distant galaxies and a cosmic microwave background. The entire space-like sheet of the universe at that instant in Earth time appeared simultaneously, with exactly the same information content as it would have had, had it evolved from a big bang.

    Not one scrap of scientific evidence can disprove this obvious explanation.

    •  Also, notice that the universe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      could have been created six minutes ago, in the same way. (Your memories of earlier times created along with everything else.)

      But Bishop Usher was a holy man, and God would not have deceived him (unlike all those perfidious scientists, who deserve divine maltreatment). So Usher undoubtedly had it right.

  •  Not legal, moral or sensible! (4+ / 0-)

    In my entire (much too long) experience I've known only ONE person certified to teach both religion and science.

    It's not a matter of what you can teach, but who can teach it. It isn't just "falling off a log" but a teacher must have a certificate.

    Creationism is religion. Evolution is science. They are two different ways of knowing the world, and require completely different prepatations. You don't ask your local mechanic to fix your teeth.

    It is not only unwise to ask a science teacher to discuss religion, it's illegal.

    •  yes but (0+ / 0-)

      ID proponents argue that ID is scientific.  I'm simply suggesting that we treat it as such and tear it apart.

       

      •  Read and understand (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, Tim DeLaney

        Read Ken Miller's great little book "Finding Darwin's God." It provides the most intelligent analysis of how they think (or more properly, don't think) I've ever read. These folks cannot be argued from their positions by logic as you might be, because they simply cannot imagine a world where things are decided by chance or some barely-understandable law of physics. They NEED the absolutism of the Bible (or any other religious dogma) to move them out of bed in the morning and from point a to point b.

        Trust me. I've been doing this professionally for many decades, on the highest level. You cannot argue a creationist away from creationism. Sometimes they mature emotionally for other reasons, but no argument works because the entire idea is illogical.

  •  Here's a theory... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Extra Terrestrials are responsible for populating this planet. Can we add that to the things to teach, as well?
    And, here's another: everything sprung from that great wellspring of Rastafarian life...the great marijuana plant. Can we teach that, as well?

    Some people think that we are all just molecules that are part of a larger organism (which would make sense). Perhaps we can teach that, as well.

    The fact that none of those have any scientific validity whatsoever...shouldnt' stop us.

    •  what makes ID different is .. (0+ / 0-)

      It is constructed in a way that makes relatively well educated people view it as on par with evolution.  For instance, a relatively brilliant professor of logic and artificial intelligence at my university believes ID is a scientific theory.  This debate is occurring out in the world wether we like it or not.  I'm simply suggesting that we as scientists fight this battle on our turf.

  •  An oddity (or two) (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, the argument here is that there is nothing determinable about complexity that could imply intelligent design. On the other hand, the author argues that lower back pain is incompatible with intelligent design. So, there can be no standard of measure for intelligent design, but we use such a standard to counter the theory?

    I should also point out that any Philosophy 101 class could probably explain that the most the author can claim is that his arguments show what need not be ruled in, but do not show what must be ruled out. E.g., there is nothing here that militates against the possibility of an intelligent designer who designed a mechanism called natural selection. And, lest someone drag in Ockham's Razor, that same philosophy class will point out that the Razor is at best a kind of rule of thumb, an unsupportable preference for a certain kind of explanation.

    I have no dog in this fight; I'm only trying to make the point that the approach here does not finish the discussion with anything like the finality the diarist imagines.

  •  Lots of Christians Believe in Evolution (0+ / 0-)

    Personally, my knowledge of science only strengthens my faith in a loving and powerful Creator.

    Just me, of course, but if we are really making wishes I wish we could challenge the assumption that Christians must view the Bible as history rather than His story.
    That would probably get you fired quicker than teaching Darwin, of course!

  •  Science vs. religion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder

    This has been a great discussion.  I think we all agree that ID = Creationism = Religion and as such has no place in science class.  That being said, like all of you, I am sick and tired of watching religion package itself as science.  

    I think that only by treating these "theories" as scientific ones, and ripping them limb from limb, will we eventually dissuade people from attempting to package their beliefs as science.  I see nothing wrong with applying scientific criticism to non scientific theories (especially when they purport to be scientific).  

    Glad to see everyone is still very passionate about this.

    •  No, we all do not agree. (0+ / 0-)

      ID is a very different perspective of the scientific method.  ID merely acknowledges that the order of the universe dictates that there is a creator.

      Order and randomness cannot coexist.  If there is order then there must be a creator. The very existence of life in any form denotes order and therefore randomness is a false premise.

      •  Simon's ant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        Consider Herb Simon's discussion of the tracks of an ant on a sand dune.  the tracks look like many complex cognitive decisions have occurred, leading to a false impression that the ant possesses advanced cognitive abilities.  In reality, the ant was making very simple adjustments in it's path in response to the terrain of the dune.  

        The organization we see in the world is similar, small adjustments over time to a changing environment.  

        Also, most humans cannot detect randomness.  They almost always detect patterns in truly random situations, and believe they see randomness in non-random situations.  In fact, random sequence generation has been used to test many aspects of human cognitive control.  It is just not possible to create something that looks random without substantial effort.

        Thus you cannot deduce design from a perceived lack of randomness.

        •  What can be deduced is that randomness, (0+ / 0-)

          by definition, is not order, design, or governed by any set of laws.

          Order, by definition is a logical arrangement with specific governing laws, and specifically denotes design, and design denotes a creator.

          Evolution, denotes order, not randomness, and is therefore design, and therefore created to be so.

          •  no (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA

            The important thing is the perception of randomness, not randomness itself  

            Consider these two sequences:

            sequence 1:
            0,1,2,1,3,0,4,5,6,1,5,4,7,2,4,2,1,7,4,3,6,7,0,4,0,7,5,4,0,3,7,3,6,3,1,3,5,3,2,4,2,7,1,5,1,7,0,7,1,6,0,6,5,0,5,6,5,2,6,5,6,2,3,6,2,3,4

            sequence 2:

            4,7,6,0,2,3,5,1,0,7,2,4,6,0,4,1,8,1,3,6,8,1,1,4,2,2,1,7,2,6,2,2,1,4,2,8,4,2,4,3,8,1,2,0,5,1,6,4,2,0,8,3,1,6,1,0,2,2,5,0,0,8,1,7,3,2,0,8,6,3,8,4,7,8,4,3,8,3,1,8,8,5,6,2,8,4,1,4,1

            One is designed, one is random (or as close as a psuedo-random number generator can be).

            Most will perceive the random one to be designed and vice versa.  

            And by the way, order does not denote a creator.  The order you see in the world is an illusion.  Our brains are expert pattern detectors.  We have evolved to see patterns in everything, whether they are designed or not.  So you can not trust your intuitions, which is why we need the scientific method to extract the nature of the world.

            •  Any n sequences can be randomly generated (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA

              I can use a "true" (yeah, yeah, I know) random number generator and if I generate a long enough sequence can find segments from the longer sequence that were randomly generated. Hence, a sequence

              1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1

              could be a randomly generated sequence, and, hence, "random."

              In high school (1970's) I wrote a program to flip coins (heads=1; tails=0) and then ran some trials out of boredom to answer question like, "how many coins do I need to flip in order to get a sequence of 1,000 consecutive 'heads' results?"

              In cryptography (specifically "steganography") a hint that a message may be embedded in what appears to be random sequences is if the sequences are TOO random.

              (Missouri 2nd Congressional District)

              I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said whatever it was. -Mitt Romney (2012 GOP Presidential Candidate)

              by fugitive on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:13:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Your logic is based on a false premise. (0+ / 0-)

              Both sequences are designed by a set of governing laws, the first by you, the other by someone else who wrote a "logical" program that generated results. In the first sequence you are the creator, in the second you are the observer, but both sequences where created.

              Again, the very definition of randomness is that there are no governing laws.  If there are no governing laws then it is impossible to predict results.  If results can be predicted then there are governing laws that dictate what the results will be just like your sequences have demonstrated. Just like 1 + 1 = 2 in an ordered universe.  In a random universe 1 + 1 never, ever has the same result because there are no laws that govern the definition of 1.

              If there is no order in the universe, then science is an illusion.  There must be order to have predictable results.

              The scientific method does not extract the nature of the world; it merely reveals the world in higher definition.

            •  I pick 2 (0+ / 0-)

              This is based on the fraudulent polling that tripped up DK awhile back. When humans try to pretend to be random they avoid repeating numbers. The numbers in the fraudulent tracking poll never were the same day to day while truly random numbers can have that.

            •  a sequence of numbers (0+ / 0-)

              is not "random".  It simply is.  It could be randomly generated.  But the same sequence of numbers that has been randomly generated will also have a real existence.

              At the risk of diving into more mathematical rigor than people care for, in mathematics "randomness" is a word for describing a class of distributions and the sampling processes thereof.  And when you get past that, randomness is nothing more than a subset of measure theory.  

              Any function can be used to generate a random distribution.  A constant function, for example, is technically a "random" distribution (with all of the weight on one particular outcome).  Popular culture conflates "random" with "chaotic" or "wacky" and that's really a poor way to use the word.  

          •  Nature includes random and deterministic processes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cybersaur, JerryNA

            Should we invoke divine intervention at the concentration of atoms in our sun, that they are not scattered randomly about the galaxy?  Gravity neatly explains this orderly pattern, so no special interference is required.

            Likewise, natural selection is a deterministic process which tends to produce orderly results.  Random processes such as genetic drift and environmental change may compete with it, but in many (thought not all) cases selection has given rise to increasingly complex organisms.

            It's important to differentiate between order and entropy in a subjective sense vs. a physical energetic sense.  Physics indicates that reactions tend to increase their energetic entropy, but biological processes following this law can nevertheless give rise to organisms which we subjectively perceive as more orderly in a different sense.

            Whether one believes the laws of nature were invented by a deity is a separate matter, outside and not immediately relevant to the scope of modern science

            There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -Thoreau

            by Frameshift on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:51:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Randomness is illusory (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RickD

            Random just means we can't perceive a pattern.
            Take rolling dice as an example. It is said to be random, but the reality is that rolling dice is governed by the laws of physics and if you can account for all the variables then you can determine the outcome before the dice come to rest.
            Computers are horrible at generating random numbers, but they do it well enough that us mere mortals can't grasp it. What we perceive as random is not random at all.

            +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

            by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:44:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you denying (0+ / 0-)

              that true randomness exists in nature?

              •  essentially (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RickD, Joieau

                yes.
                Nature is largely deterministic, but I don't understand quantum mechanics well enough to apply that idea there.
                I really can't think of anything truly random. Maybe you could suggest something?

                +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

                by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:23:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

                  the spontaneous decay of atoms? Sure, you can get enough of them in one place to come up with a half-life, and you can know that because there's a half-life the atoms must be fundamentally unstable. But you can never predict when any given atom of any given isotope will spontaneously decay.

                  But even there you might suggest that there are internal processes that lead to the spontaneous decay, so our ignorance in being unable to predict precise decay moment is just that - mere ignorance of the process, of something not actually random at all.

                  So... okay, how about specific biological damage resulting from, say, an atom of plutonium sitting on the one-cell thick lining of your lung when it decays. We'd have no real way to know exactly what cell/cell group it is sitting on when it decays and blasts the holy hell out of them. Nor would we have any way to know which adjacent cells lived but suffered enough DNA disruption to turn cancerous. But we could know that an atom of plutonium in your lung is entirely likely to decay at some point, and cause one of the cells not utterly destroyed to turn cancerous due to specified genetic damage. Hmmm...

                  Perhaps you're right, there is only our ignorance.

              •  randomness is a mathematical abstraction (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau

                of the types of behavior we observe in reality.

                True randomness is abstract.  

                Now, some physicists will argue that certain physical phenomena (like radioactive decay) is truly random, but how would we know if they are correct?

                Maybe it just seems to be random since it can be well described by a random distribution?  

          •  you don't even know what "randomness" is (0+ / 0-)

            For starters, "randomness" is, outside the realm of mathematics, something that our minds impose on reality.  And few things in reality are more ordered than randomness.  Doubt me?  There are plenty of wealthy people in Las Vegas who make lots of money on the predictability of seemingly random events.

            You assert that randomness and order are in tension.  Few things could be further from the truth.  Randomness is not chaos.

      •  ID doesn't do any such things! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        ID is a political tool for wedging religion into science class. Period.  Full stop.

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:38:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I really don't understand why differing voices (0+ / 0-)

          must be silence.  Is your position unable to withstand an open debate?

          In my opinion, the real underlying political issue is those who wish to keep faith based views silenced within the educational system.  I have no issue presenting a godless universe alongside a created universe.

          •  My position is sound (0+ / 0-)

            It is your side trying to use the power of government to force your religious beliefs into science class. Evolution has been rigorously challenged for over 150 years and still stands.

            +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

            by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:25:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am not the one advocating using (0+ / 0-)

              the force of government to silence people of different beliefs. Just take a look at the comments within this diary as a reference.

              Creation has been accepted for millennia, and yet this data is somehow refuted by a mere 150 years of supposedly rigorous challenge and therefore has no place in our educational system.

              The audacity is amazing, coming from a group of thought that claims superior intellect.  I suppose intellect and behavior do not colelese in a godless universe.

      •  this is called "begging the question" (0+ / 0-)

        "If there is order then there must be a creator. "

        Really?  Why?

        Where does this "must be" come from?

        Why should I respect this inference any more than I would respect "if there's a sun moving across the sky, then a god is pulling it with his chariot"

        We learn valid rules of inference from observing reality.  We cannot rightly infer a rule of inference that transcends reality.  

        •  My point is that order exist in all things. (0+ / 0-)

          Logically there must be something governing that order (known or unknown at this point in time). Even in the mathematical/scientific world of probabilities and randomness there is an assumed order.  It does not matter how data is arranged or rearranged, 1 must always be 1 no matter where it appears in the data, otherwise, you and I agree, we have chaos.

          I call that something that keeps everything in order God (that term really annoys some); call it Higgs Boson, if that suits.

  •  i certainly agree with your premise: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dark11star, Catte Nappe, JerryNA

    the "controversy" (such as it is) should be taught.

    however, I do have a couple of relatively minor bones to pick:

    1. Darwin, and by extension, the entire field of evolutionary biology, doesn't purport to explain the origin of life on planet earth, merely how that life, once begun, changed/adapted (evolved) to survive its present environment. any change not meeting this simple criterion, caused that particular species to go extinct.

    2. to meet the strict requirements of the scientific process, any purported evidence must be observable and replicable. this test is met, for evolutionary biology, by the existence of fossils, in which various environmental adaptations (or lack thereof) can be observed, and that observation be made by others in the field. as new data becomes available, the theory gets tweaked, if necessary.

    this is where ID totally fails to make the grade, as "science", vs religion: one cannot observe an invisible being, supposedly creating things, and plunking them down on planet earth. ID isn't subject to normal scientific testing, because, well, god can't, by definition, be tested. the existence of a supreme, intelligent designer must be taken solely as an article of faith, and faith isn't science.

    I do like your comparison of evolutionary biology to man's creations; we adapt and refine them as we go along. you'd almost get the impression it was a genetic thing.

    •  I mostly agree (0+ / 0-)

      Although there has been some relaxing in many fields as to what counts as science.  For instance, much of cognitive science has moved away from pure hypothesis testing and more toward model based predictions.  I assume the same might be said for climate science and evolution, but I'm no expert so Ill let others comment.  Anyway, many cognitive models have up to 20 free parameters and as such many combinations of parameters can provide explanations for certain behaviors.  

      Cognitive psychology is currently experiencing a crisis of sorts right now because hypothesis testing fails miserably when the statistical power of an experiment is too low (which is all too common in the literature).  This makes replicability dicey.  Model based predictions can provide more power, at the cost of reducing the reliance on traditional hypothesis testing.  

      Models are in essence extremely complex interactions of hypotheses.  Generally there are core hypotheses that define the model, supplemented by tangential hypotheses which can be tweaked without permanently altering the core of the model.  As such, the failure of a model to accurately predict data can be caused by the failure of any number of hypotheses. So understanding complex systems (like the brain or natural selection) sometimes requires the scientist to move beyond traditional hypothesis testing.  

      Not sure if this is at all relevant here, it might just be my dissertation moving its way back to the front of my brain ...

  •  i've always thought evolution as a parallel proces (0+ / 0-)

    not serial.

    People think that you build in a line when it's more like a pyramid, wide at the bottom and then more and more flitering, with thousands of combinations being tested at once.

  •  I think we should teach the controversy (0+ / 0-)

    of which kind of shit Creationists have for brains - dog, bat, or human?  Students would be offered a variety of arguments on the subject and be allowed to decide for themselves.

    Today's trivia becomes tomorrow's sacrament.

    by Troubadour on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:35:48 PM PDT

  •  If the complexity of life requires,, (5+ / 0-)

    An Intelligent Designer doesn't the complexity of the "Intelligent Designer" also require an intelligent designer?

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:37:51 AM PDT

  •  This is not the controversy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dark11star, Front Toward Enemy

    ID is not controversial as a 'science' since it is clearly not. What should be considered controversial is the origin of ID. Was it fabricated by creationists as an intentional fraud upon students, teachers, courts and eventually scientists? The evidence is strong, but it would be controversial to claim that all the proponents of ID were bearing false witness, often in service of mammon. So the controversy is this, to what extent is any individual ID proponent responsible for knowing deception as opposed to just being an ignorant shill repeating lies in good faith?  The curriculum consists of investigating the authors and publishers of ID materials to determine their motivations and credentials.

    •  that would be included (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino

      In any thorough scientific criticism.  The scientific community is very concerned about experimenter bias and funding issues (e.g. pharmacuetical sponsorship) and conflicts of interest

      •  Except there are no 'experimenters' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        No science to critique, just well-funded institutions and think tanks producing talking points for politicians and teaching materials for their victims.  In fact, studying 'cigarette science' and the method of production of uncertainty for the purposes of driving policy would be a great topic. It could go from the ABCC Hiroshima disinformation, through the privatization phase of actual corporate cigarette science in congress and in court, point a quick spotlight on the rise and fall of ID, (proven fraudulent in Dover) , NRA Home Defense statistics, and finally Reinhard and Rogoff's blatant fraud, and almost magical the way it was amplified and stove-piped to serve elite policy interests in record time.

        •  yes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino

          As I have posted throughout this discussion, I do not believe this will ever occur in the real world.  More of a theoretical point that scientists should stop shying away from a discussion with "that's not science so I won't talk about it."  

          •  I just think starting the debate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA

            framing the ID proponent as necessarily either dishonest or ignorant is the strongest and most honest way to go. If you have to mention falsifiability or define 'theory', you have already gone too far. When you wrestle a pig, you get muddy and the pig has fun.

  •  Tennis Tournament (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy

    I want to reply to those who think I am trying to "elevate" ID to a level playing field with evolution (I'm not).  

    This past weekend I entered a tennis tournament.  Now I am considered by my friends to be a decent player (for an out of shape 38 yr old).  I have some nice pop on my first serve, decent groundstrokes and a serviceable net game.  I attempted to enter the over-35 bracket, but since no other 35+ players entered, I agreed to play in the open section.  

    The players in the open section were aspiring high level college and semi-pro players.  These guys hit the ball so friggin hard all the time!!  My first (and only) round opponent was nice enough to tone down his shots for a few games in the second set, allowing me to finish with a slightly more respectable 6-0, 6-2 final score.  

    The point, of course, is that just because I was on the court with these guys doesn't mean my game was elevated to their level.  ID is similarly out-classed when standing on evolution's court.  ID proponents have no idea how outclassed they are because ID was developed outside of the scientific crucible, responding only to the criticism of intellectual lightweights.

    They are clamoring to be taught as science because they have no idea what that means.  We should call their bluff and welcome them to the open section.

    We may even have to tone down our shots so as not to embarrass them too badly ...

  •  Well done! Proceed with your controversy...! nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  I don't like the idea! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tim DeLaney, JerryNA

    Science isn't losing the argument, they are losing the PR war. The battlefield shouldn't be in the classroom it should be in advertizing. The creationist have beaten science so completely on this battlefield they have the nerve to now stick their silly argument in the classroom - Don't help them.

    •  I agree! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Bubblehead580

      Good science is not achieved through debate. The diarist is urging—in effect—that we debate creationists in the classroom, which is exactly what they want, and for very good reason.

      Duane Gish routinely "won" debate after debate against the top biologists of his day. His technique was simple and effective, and was referred to as the "Gish gallop". He would unleash a torrent of plausible sound bite arguments, each of which took only a few seconds to spout, but each of which would take many minutes to refute.

      Example: "There are absolutely no transitional fossils between any land mammal and whales. None whatever." The audience, who have probably not seen evidence to the contrary, would nod in agreement. In order to disprove this, the evolutionary biologist would have to take at least two or three minutes. Meanwhile, Gish has made 10 other quick points in the same time, each of which would take several minutes to refute.

      We don't want to give creationists a forum, any more than we want to give a forum to flat earthers, geocentrists, or climate change deniers.  

      Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

      by Tim DeLaney on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:25:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

        The best science IS achieved through debate.  You DO NOT get published by parroting what others have discovered before you

        •  If I am wrong, then can you explain (0+ / 0-)

          why the creationists are so anxious to engage in this debate? Anything that resembles debate concedes a measure of legitimacy to their cause. Why should scientists "debate" against pseudoscience? I don't see any upside to this.  

          "Teach the controversy" has been the slogan of creationists for as long as I can remember. If we accept that, we agree that there is a genuine controversy. That is, we implicitly accept their contention that they might be right.

          There is no genuine controversy. The creationists are dead wrong. To debate them is to put that obvious conclusion in doubt.

          Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

          by Tim DeLaney on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:33:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I personally think (0+ / 0-)

            that creationists are so anxious because they are abject morons who do not appreciate how thorough scientific arguments really are.  

            I agree that there is no genuine controversy.  As such I also think that the argument would be relatively easy to dismiss and would provide an excellent learning opportunity for students.  Wouldn't it be cool to watch our young people dismantle ID/creationism for us (while they are learning about evolution).  I can't think of a better way to introduce them to science.

            But then again, I am not a science teacher or administrator or politician.  I really don't have a dog in this fight, except for my 6 yr old daughter who could probably dismantle most ID arguments by herself without breaking a sweat.

        •  No, science proves fact through experiment! (0+ / 0-)

          Science doesn't debate what temperature a liquid turns into a gas. Science proves what temperature it becomes a gas by putting the beaker over the Bunsen Burner and measuring what temperature. There's no need to debate the thermometer - you just need to read it.    

          •  for simple questions, yes (0+ / 0-)

            In my field, interesting questions are rarely so easily tested.  Thus each experimental result can be interpreted in many different ways, leading to debates that would make a schoolgirl blush.

            •  I think thats called theory. (0+ / 0-)

              You can debate theory but "Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact" Darwin and other Scientists proved the theory. In Science you have a theory and then you set out to prove your theory. Once you prove your theory other Scientists repeat your experiments to also prove or disprove what you now claim as fact. We don't debate facts. I say I'm 5 foot 11, after me and several other people measure my length and see I am 5 foot 11 we don't need to debate the theory of my height.  

    •  you are right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      The science classroom should be the place where we bore our children to tears teaching uncontroversial topics in uncontroversial ways.  Then we can wonder why none of our students choose STEM fields.  

      I'm only in a scientific field because I had passionate teachers who taught how to use scientific principles to attack questions.

       got a C in biology but it was my favorite class in high school because my bio teacher was so passionate about evolution.

  •  "Intelligent Design" fails from the get-go. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, JerryNA

    It's one of the stupidest arguments humans have ever come up with, and it amazes me that its adherents don't see the main huge flaw in it.

    "Things are too complex to have just spawned themselves, so they must have been designed by a creator... who is much more complex than the things he designed and who just spawned himself."

    ID answers nothing, it just moves the whole argument up and throws some silly dungeons & dragons bullshit into it.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:04:17 AM PDT

  •  Poll question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder

    I'm glad most of you are getting the poll question correct.  It was actually a pretty easy example, but the point is that a lot of people mistakenly believe that randomness means even distribution and thus any patterns we might see are due to design and not random chance.

    Also, it makes me happy to see the upwards of 65% of DK users are really smart cookies.

  •  The poll is meaningless. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    I didn't vote, nor did I look at the results, but both sequences could be the result of a random process.

    However, the first lacks the digit "9", while the second lacks both "9" and "8". In addition, the second lacks any instance of two consecutive digits that are the same. (There may be other anomalies.)

    Really, though, the first could be a random sequence of non-negative integers less than 9. Obviously, any sequence of integers must necessarily have a finite range. (And, yes, I think I can prove that assertion.)

    Similarly, the second could be a random sequence of non-negative integers less than 8 in which there happens to be no instances of doubled digits. The latter is somewhat unlikely, but far from impossible. (I calculate a probability of .000222078...)

    The reason I say that the poll is meaningless is that one cannot say that any sequence of numbers has the property "Random" Only the process by which the numbers are generated can be said to be random. Since we have no information regarding that process in the above poll, no valid conclusion can be drawn.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:20:12 AM PDT

    •  not meaningless (0+ / 0-)

      the point was to show that it is very difficult for most people to determine randomness from perception.  In fact the first sequence is a random sequence of the integers 0-8.  The second sequence was created from an algorithm that counterbalances each integer 0-7 such that each is presented with the same frequency and there are no repeats.  This is what many people believe (erroneously) are the hallmarks of randomness.  You are correct both of these sequence could have been randomly generated, but the chance of the second is, like you said, very unlikely.

      Perception of the difference between randomness and order is notoriously bad, and I think this applies to the current discussion.

      •  overconfident (0+ / 0-)

        Most people are overconfident of their cognitive abilities.  In fact on average, people tend to rate their ability as above average.

      •  Your use of the term "randomness" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher

        indicates to me that you don't fully understand the term random.

        Some years ago, the first few online poker sites learned the difference between random and pseudo-random in a very expensive way.

        From your description, the second sequence was generated by an algorithm, a pseudo-random generator,which absolutely disqualifies it from being called random.

        Here is a site that discusses the topic as it applies to software for creating random bridge deals. The author has gone to considerable trouble to make the next bridge deal impossible to predict even when you have a long series of previous deals to work with.

        If you want a short phrase that defines "random", "impossible to predict" comes closest. Random doesn't mean what you want it to mean, which is apparently "Not easy to predict by casual inspection"

        The point you are trying to make is quite valid. The human brain does indeed try to find order where none exists. But you stumble when you use mathematical terms like "random" a bit loosely.

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:56:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  great diary however no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, JerryNA

    ID is not science. It's crap sharted out of morons.

    and when we're talking Creationism, we're only referring to CHRISTIAN creationism, and even then, we're only referring to those Christians who consider Genesis to be an actual literal account. Nevermind it isn't even their book to be used literally---the descendents of the people who actually wrote the Book of Genesis still exist and by and large do not consider it a literal text.

    you'll never hear them want to teach one of the ancient egyptian versions of how the universe came to be in a public school (god actually masturbated the universe out of his penis! yes, really! we're all divine sperm!)

    I may write a diary about it soon.

  •  ID grows (0+ / 0-)
    the holes in evolution are only actually holes in what IDers understand about evolution.
    And the less we teach evolution in school, the larger those holes become.

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:59:08 AM PDT

  •  There's so much to learn already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    There is already so much to learn in science courses and most of it benefits from dispassionate or mildly enthusiastic study -- the enthusiasm of understanding and discovery, not the passion of disputation, nor to a level of excitement that inhibits attention to detail.

    If you want to bring permanent agitation around a single topic into the science classroom for the entire year, displacing everthing else you had intended to teach, try to teach critical thinking vis-a-vis ID and evolution.

    I believe it would inevitably, in some students' minds, further legitimize the notion that science is an arena for passionate disputation of the most deeply held beliefs rather than an arena for careful examination of facts.    It would be a way to teach people NOT to listen thoughtfully to other points of view but rather to be planning their rebuttal before a perceived opponent even finished each sentence.  That would be true of any topic with clear sides where each side enters the discussion with certainty about a self-evident truth.  But it's especially true about topics fraught with religion and an ongoing culture war.

    I believe it is much easier to teach a scientific mindset around topics in which passions are not engaged.  Teach the mindset and amenable students will later apply it on their own to the more controversial areas.  You can't directly teach maturity; it must simply ripen at its own pace.  And you'll never persuade the zealots no matter what you teach them.  But you don't need to.  You only need to win the majority over the long haul.  Don't give the zealots the opportunity to disrupt your teaching.

    ------
    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:29:27 AM PDT

    •  Yes, science should be boring (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      And we should teach about science through rote memorization.  This couldn't possibly be why our students can't stand math and science now.  

      Taking passion out of science is exactly why we have a crisis in this country.  

      There have been great, passionate discussions about nearly every area of science.  The best scientists are extremely passionate about their theories.  They battle with each other over the most minute details, and they are the most interesting speakers.  

      Take passion out of science?  No thanks.

      •  Couldn't be a more classic straw-man reply (0+ / 0-)

        Are you sure you're actually a scientist?

        The beginner's classroom is the place to teach the genuine joy of discovery, not the stale argumentation that passes for debate nowadays -- even so-called "scientific" debate in the media.

        And you can't even tell the difference between dispassionate and boring?  Hmm.  Do you think disinterested also means bored?

        ------
        Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
        It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

        by Alden on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:11:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Purpose is not a prerequisite to good design. (0+ / 0-)

    The symbiotic randomness of Evolution clearly demonstrates the beauty of good design.
    Intelligent Design is political force whose purpose is to prove the existence of a Christian God. Creationism is not exclusive to the Bible. Many cultures have their own version of how things came to being, with histories that proceed the 6000 years of Judaism. The cultures in the ancient Middle East had no way of knowing what was going on in the rest world; that there were thriving cultures elsewhere, that they weren't the center of the human race. It's understandable that their texts would demonstrate this ignorance. For Modernity to adopt this same ignorance is regrettable.
    Christianity was forced by science to give up its belief that the earth was the center of the universe. Christianity will eventually have to give up the belief that the Garden of Eden was the center of human existence.
    Galileo didn't bring an end to Christianity, and neither will Darwin. Accepting science is not antithetical to accepting Jesus.

    And they scream... The worst things in life come free to us... Cause we're just under the upper hand... And go mad for a couple grams.

    by glb3 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:26:34 AM PDT

  •  Shall math classes teach numerology, too? (0+ / 0-)

    Shall health classes teach the Four Humors?

    Shall high school chemistry be retooled to find the Philosopher's Stone?

    Shall guest motivational speakers be forced to share "equal time" with a bile-spewer from Westboro?

    We must hold the line — the barbarians are at the gates.

    Time once again to fight cyber-spying! Defeat CISPA!

    by Brown Thrasher on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:28:18 AM PDT

    •  Yes, they are at the gates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher

      Lets beat the crap out of them.  Science gives us the tools.  Lets teach our children to use them.

    •  actually, teaching alchemy and astrology (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher

      provides many excellent "why doesn't this work" opportunities . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:37:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reminds me of the Cattywampus... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deward Hastings

        I once heard a story about a science teacher who told a class about the fabulous prehistoric "Cattywampus", a long-lost animal leaving no traces of its existence — with a small feline skull as an example.

        In short, the students took a quiz on it — & all the ones who regurgitated every detail of the story FAILED simply because they bought his deliberately ludicrous story on his authority rather than their own eyes. (After all, if an animal left "no traces", then that skull couldn't have been from one. On top of that, the skull looked like a simple cat skull — which was what it was.)

        While I wouldn't necessarily expect (or recommend) that precise method in all cases, true critical thinking skills are the best gift that a good education can give to a student — & those who doesn't value them are precisely those that want to be able to hand us a Cattywampus.

        Time once again to fight cyber-spying! Defeat CISPA!

        by Brown Thrasher on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:00:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nice to fantasize about (0+ / 0-)

    But...  I live in Texas, and allowing ID in the classrooms would simply give BIASED teachers a chance to use our science classroom time to expound on the wonders of ID.  Besides, I doubt Texas would approve a curriculum that shoots down ID.

    Already, when my daughter's science teacher taught evolution, she did it very grudgingly, announcing to the class how she didn't believe it, but was required to teach it.  

  •  Journals dont publish replications (0+ / 0-)

    This has a good news, bad news flavor.  The good news is that we dont get bored out of our minds reading the same damn paper over and over and over.  The bad news is that we have less of an incentive to pursue replications, which is an important part of the scientific method.

    But an interesting effect of this is that once an issue is "settled", scientifically, we stop writing about it.  The only thing that moves science forward is scientific debate.  I think we do our society a disservice by teaching only the results of scientific research and not the process of scientific debate.  

    This is getting away from the intended purpose of this diary, which was to point out that we need not fear a debate with these ID dolts.  But it is important to consider what our science classes don't teach anymore.  And that is how to construct questions that can test theories (be they scientific or other).

  •  This is utter and complete nonsense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dark11star, not2plato

    so called "intelligent design."  Even the Catholic Church taught that evolution is a scientifically valid theory that in no way conflicts with Christian/catholic beliefs.  Evolution was accepted by Rome long ago.  Evolution is not something to be proven.  It is a key part of the historical record of mother earth.

    It was only when the fanatical right wing fundamentalists/dominionists/christianist nutcases came into some power across the US that this ludicrous idea popped up as an excuse to teach "god created the earth and every living thing" according to extremist Christian fanaticism.  It is ridiculous.

    Good Diary,dark11star, very good.  But I no longer waste my time on these folks.  They are radicals and they do not deserve all the attention and deference they have been given in our country - by the media.  Stop them.  They are crazy.

    •  I don't see that (0+ / 0-)

      the scientific validity of evolution is at issue here. The question of whether or not evolution is that "random walk" (more like a drunken stagger) seems to be the issue in this particular challenge. Please see above assertions in comments as to whether or not anything in nature truly occurs by random chance.

  •  who/what is the IDer? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    Is there a definition of the IDer?  or we are just assuming it falls into a "biblical" category. So without absolute proof..it can be suggested that 10,000 years ago the Earth was colonized by alien beings...which would explain all of those "abduction" reports.

    •  The reaction you see here (0+ / 0-)

      (and elsewhere) is indeed against the theological assumption not necessarily front and center in the challenges to random evolution. Everybody's got their beliefs and disbeliefs about deities and such, those have absolutely no place in public school science classrooms.

      But you're entirely correct that if we were to determine that for any reason 'random' evolution of life on planet earth is unsupportable, there are a number of other, non-theological possibilities that could be put forward. There is of course 'seeding', genetic engineering by an intelligent extraterrestrial race, or even front-loading geared toward an 'unfolding' over deep time. None of which require an actual god to accomplish.

  •  the problem here is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostboyjim

    that ID isn't a scientific theory.  I'm all in favor for attacking any claims being put forth with actual science, but IDers are not interested in that at all.

    It's a scam.  It's a political movement in the guise of a religious movement pretending to be science.  

  •  Gravity is a theory, too. (0+ / 0-)

    And the shoulder is a worse design than the spine.

    Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

    by nolagrl on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:43:59 PM PDT

  •  WIN! (0+ / 0-)

    Great article, but the rec comes from this line:

    And we can teach our students what the word orthogonal means.
    You, sir, are FULL of WIN!

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:03:48 PM PDT

  •  Is there an on-line randomness test? (0+ / 0-)

    I found one that neither series was probably random.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:12:24 PM PDT

  •  I will tell you what I think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dark11star

    as clearly as possible in brief.  

    I think this idea might be fun to think about.  The author has far more fun with it than I ever could.  I guess I am just plain pessimistic about the educational prospects here, as are many comments upthread.  

    There is an old saying, You can't argue with Gospel.  The people holding to ID did not adopt their position on the basis of arguments, and they will not leave it for them either.   For believing in ID there are causes,  reasons there are none.  Its tribal, like being a Cubs fan or a Bronco fan.  You can't argue or demonstrate or persuade a person out of their allegiance to such things.  

    Worst of all, however, is the fact that this approach gives the creationists what they have been seeking -- it even rewards them with the object of their crime.  If you asked me to define Intelligent Design I would say what I have said elsewhere: it consists of an historical thesis and a pedagogical one.  The first thesis is that historical biology has proven incapable of succeeding at appointed explanatory tasks without recourse to the design hypothesis.  The second thesis is that the first thesis deserves an airing in science classes.  

    When they cannot get this whacky historical thesis along with their fake explanations accepted as good science, they have no grounds for their second thesis.  At that point they resort to 2 strategies: First, they whine that they and their views are being oppressed (appeal to pity), and second, they appeal for redress of the harm they allege is being done to them by demanding that everyone be required to teach the controversy.  

    You are recommending that we do exactly what these pigs from the Discovery Institute want.  

    That is what most irks me about this idea  

    I think the idea is harmful, I think it would be a disaster in practice.  I think it gives the ID theory more credibility than it deserves (why bring this in for a debunking rather than flat earthers, or geocentrists, or young earth creationists, or Hinduism, or Zeus theory, etc?).  

    I also think it confuses metaphysics with science.  And worse, I think it pretends that science can debunk a philosophical thesis, which it cannot.  The design thesis is an ancient, philosophical thesis that is widely known to be consistent with any observation statement, making it metaphysical, not scientific (because it cannot be empirically disconfirmed).  Therefore it is not a fit subject for science.  

    And if it is, then so is Amon-Ra.  

    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

    by not2plato on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:33:16 PM PDT

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