Thursday, October 25, 2012

Five Myths (?) About Intelligent Design Creationism

Melissa Travis writes for a blog called Hard-Core Christianity. Her latest post is: Top Five Myths Christians (and Non-Christians) Often Believe About Intelligent Design. It's interesting because it reveals the standard myths that Intelligent Design Creationists believe about themselves.

Here's the list of "myths" along with what Mellisa Travis has to say about them.
MYTH #1: Intelligent Design (ID) is just a fancy name for Creationism.

The true story: Intelligent Design theory is not a form of, nor is it synonymous with “creationism.” Rather, it is an over-arching scientific theory that disputes wholly naturalistic/materialistic accounts of the origin of the universe and the origin of life. As such it is an indispensable ally for those who espouse various creation models. ID makes NO CLAIM about the age of the earth.
FACT: Modern Intelligent Design Creationism evolved from the creationist movement in the 1980s as was proven conclusively in the Dover trial. Intelligent Design Creationism is not a scientific theory. Instead, its a hodgepodge of criticisms of evolution and of scientists and materialism. Just look at the posts on Evolution News & Views (sic) to see what it's all about. Count the number of posts promoting a "scientific" view of Intelligent Design Creationism as opposed to disjointed helter-skelter criticisms of evolution that often contradict each other.

There's no "over-arching" scientific theory in sight.
MYTH #2: ID has been dis-proven by the fossil record, which supports common descent.

The true story: ID does not rule out the theory of common descent, nor does it support it. It is true that some advocates of ID also doubt the integrity of the theory of common descent, but that question is completely separate from ID theory, strictly speaking. One of the leading scientists in the ID movement, biochemist Michael Behe, Ph.D., is comfortable with the theory of common descent. Other ID scientists are more skeptical of common descent, such as biologist Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.
FACT: It's true that this is a myth but as far as I know there's nobody who believes that myth. Intelligent Design Creationism is compatible with common descent taking place over 4.5 billion years of Earth's history and it's also compatible with an instantaneous creation of all species less that 10,000 years ago. They would make it compatible with the kitchen sink if there was a religious sect of kitchen sink believers that needed to be brought under the big tent.
MYTH #3: ID claims that the “intelligent agent” had to supernaturally intervene in natural history over and over again.

The true story: ID’s claim is much more modest. ID simply states that there are characteristics of the universe and of living systems that are BEST EXPLAINED by a designing intelligence. ID is not “interventionist” as many theistic evolutionists (and atheistic evolutionists) like to claim. The idea of a designing intelligence steadily and purposefully guiding the development of life at the sub-atomic level is compatible with ID, but that particular scenario is not required by ID, either.
Fact:The intelligent designer is supposed to have created various irreducibly complex structures, such as bacterial flagella and the vertebrate immune system. It's true that Intelligent Design Creationism encompasses the idea that all species were created at the same time in the recent past. I guess this isn't an example of an "interventionist" god. On the other hand, for those IDiots who believe in common descent, the only logical conclusion from their writings is that they believe in an interventionist god who made things appear at different times over the past several billion years.
MYTH #4: ID uses a disguised form of the “God of the gaps” fallacy.

The true story: ID does not say “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, therefore an intelligence must have done it.”
FACT: Yeah, that's pretty much what they say. This isn't a myth.
MYTH #5: ID research has not produced peer-reviewed literature.

The true story: There are more than 50 peer-reviewed papers that have come out of ID research. A list has been compiled HERE. An important article on this topic can be found HERE.
FACT: We could quibble about how many of those papers actually mention Intelligent Design Creationism and promote the "scientific" theory of Intelligent Design Creationism but what's the point? The basic fact is that the IDiots have not made any significant impact on the consensus views of scientists and their presence in the scientific literature is barely detectable.


95 comments:

  1. Re Myth #3: Life is best explained by a designing intelligence but the designer(s) didn't actually *do* anything? That's just word salad.

    One would think that, having shown (if they had, which they haven't) that life requires a designer, the IDists would get cracking on figuring out the details of who and when and how. I mean, isn't that what archeologists would do if they unearthed potsherds and building foundations at a previously un-explored site? Yet they seem strangely incurious on this point.

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    1. One would think that, having shown (if they had, which they haven't) that life requires a designer, the IDists would get cracking on figuring out the details of who and when and how.
      I heard some speeches by Behe at a religious college nearby, and that was exactly his argument for why ID isn't a science stopper. Well, if we found machines on Mars, we'd study into how they made them, and if possible, who they were. As best as I recall, that was his analogy.

      So, uh, Behe, I was kinda wondering why you're not studying how, and by whom, life was created/evolved. Could it be because you "already know" Who (or the ineffable not-Who, whatever gibberish you might spout), and how--the infamous poofing that you mentioned once?

      Yes, they like to mention "possibilities of ID" that they clearly know are meaningless, due to the fact that they're magical causes without identifiable effects--the latter being their only excuse for no really identifiable rational thinking behind life's forms and processes.

      Glen Davidson

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  2. I guess that makes them meta myths.

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  3. 'Myth' #1: Ms. Travis is either ignorant of, or lying about, the ID movement's more-than-amply-documented track record which demonstrates it to be the latest 'morph' of Creationism as it sheds progressively more of Creationism's blatantly Christian dogma so that the remaining, not-yet-discarded, Christian dogma will pass USConstitutional muster. It's true that ID doesn't have anything to say about the age of the earth, but (1) once you get past ID's foundational "somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something" notion, ID doesn't have anything to say about anything else, and (2) seeing as how there are Old Earth Creationists as well as Young Earth Creationists, ID's failure to say anything about the age of the Earth is hardly evidence that ID is not Creationism.

    'Myth' #2: Well, this is true, but not in any way that should offer comfort to ID-pushers. Yes, the fossil record doe not disprove ID—but only because absolutely no evidence whatsoever can disprove ID. 'Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something" is so overarchingly vague, so formlessly inchoate, that it's not even possible for evidence to support it. As to the notion that the fossil record supports common descent, yes it does.

    'Myth' #3: ID claims that nature, in and of itself, wasn't enough. This being the case, exactly how can ID's Designer not be SUPERnatural?

    'Myth' #4: This one is true. ID doesn't use a disguised god-of-the-gaps fallacy; rather, ID's foundational god-of-the-gaps fallacy is quite plainly evident.

    'Myth' #5: ID research? What "ID research"?

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  4. Even if the 50-paper count is accurate, when counting papers coming out of a research program, 50 means one of three things:

    1. It is a very young research program (does not apply to ID).

    2. It is a research program very few people care about (maybe applies to ID).

    3. It is not a worthwhile research program (definitely applies to ID).

    50 papers isn't really any different than 0 papers for what it says about ID.

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  5. Instead of bashing show us how Darwinian mechanisms could acommoplish it..... please I beg you for the evidence Larry... or maybe your just peeved about more data that verify the ENCODE claim.... yes must be that, your little just so story is collapsing, and will be remembered as the biggest hoax known to man because it fooled everyone. More science less yap yap please

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    1. You ignorant jackasses who pop in here asking for 'the evidence' are f*cking insufferable. Larry gives 'the evidence' all the time on this blog; the thousands upon thousands of published papers in the history of evolutionary theory give the evidence; the thousands of books written on evolutionary theory give the evidence; the thousands of blog posts across the Internet by evolutionary biologists give the evidence. Et-f*cking-cetera. Why don't you get off your lazy, moronic ass and read all the F*CKING SCIENCE out there, you piece of crap.

      'Give us the evidence' - good God in heaven, that is as sure a sign of an ignoramus as there can possibly be.

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    2. ROFL. It's the "Imminent demise of evolution" argument all over again.

      http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/demise.html

      KEEP THE FAITH BROTHER!!! *facepalm*

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    3. If you want evidence, here's some:
      Why Evolution is True and Why Many People Still Don't Believe It (Jerry Coyne, 2012)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW9G2YVtBYc

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    4. Evolution... let it roll in your mouth like a good red wine... Then ask what is evolution? If you mean that adaptations have been observed and there is evidence then why are we arguing? But brother show me how NSand RM got it right to make new body plans show me 1 paper with real evidence and I go away. Secondly there is enough evidence that shows when a protein's fold changes it becomes non-functional so how do non-functional proteins mutate and go from goo via the zoo to you, site the evidence and I'm on my way but untill then I'll keep on reminding you that you're living in Layla land

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    5. Don't know who's worse Jerry Coyn or Kent Hovind......

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    6. Then let me assist you in making a decision:
      http://www.durangobill.com/Patriot_Bible_University.html

      That's where Kent Hovind got his "doctorate dissertation", in a shed (to call it anything more would be an insult to diploma mills).

      I note here, however, that you're no longer asking for evidence.

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    7. That's where Kent Hovind got his "doctorate dissertation", in a shed

      Christ was born in a manger, for there was no room in the inn. Hovind got his PhD (Phoney Doctorate) in a shed, for there was no room at a real university. Then there was no room for him on a tenure track, so he's on a ten-year track.

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    8. Anonymous, there's no such thing as one piece of evidence that "proves" a complex phenomenon like body plan innovation. http://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/wheres-the-proof-evolutions-smoking-gun/

      However, here are four papers on the topic that you ought to read if you are serious about learning:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=eric%20davidson%20body%20plans

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    9. However, here are four papers on the topic that you ought to read if you are serious about learning:

      Good joke.

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    10. I'm feeling patient. Ask me about any particular irreducibly complex system* and I'll tell you about how we only didn't understand a Darwinian origin of it some thirty years ago.

      *Every good candidate has been researched quite a bit at this point, unless you're only claiming that a designer need be involved in one particular step of abiogenesis. I can convey these to you clearly enough that you simply won't be able to claim (or imply the claim via question) that Darwinian mechanisms couldn't produce these. Or at least not if you have a shred of intellectual honesty.

      If you're feeling insulted at that last bit take a moment to ponder the type of people I've run into. Think about why I would even have to doubt that quality in you.

      But anyway fire away.

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    11. Anonymous Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:49:00 AM

      Instead of bashing show us how Darwinian mechanisms could acommoplish it.....


      If Intelligent Design really is a better theory - in a scientific sense - than evolution, you should be able to tell us something about who these designers were and give a more detailed account than evolution of how these designers accomplished their project. If not, this is just bluster.

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    12. Mr. Spedding retorts:
      "If Intelligent Design really is a better theory - in a scientific sense - than evolution, you should be able to tell us something about who these designers were and give a more detailed account than evolution of how these designers accomplished their project. If not, this is just bluster."
      ---------------

      Yet we know that nature designs. So according to you we must know 'what' nature is before we can know 'how' nature designs?

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    13. ... and thus we are actually studying evolution. Not just complaining about the alternate theories.

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    14. Same Anonymous from Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:49:00 AM ?

      Come on, ask about a specific example already and I'll talk all about how a Darwinian mechanism could produce it.

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  6. Instead of bashing show us how Darwinian mechanisms could acommoplish it

    Hey, unnamed parasite, instead of trying to hijack selected research done by others, how about doing some of your own? Ah, I forgot. You have no idea how science works.

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    1. Its clear you don't because you believe in fairy tales, last time I checked it ain't no science

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    2. This must be another anonymous, since now she/he is criticizing creationism.

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  7. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, intelligent design creationists gotta troll.

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  8. Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

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  9. Fact.
    Id folk are not YEC folk. (They wish)
    YEC would love to claim ID leaders as our own as they have bvecome prestiges and famous and popularized opposition to many ideas in origin subjects.
    Discrediting iD by saying its YEC or close has given credibility to YEC. Cause and effect that helps undermine wrong ideas like evolution.
    THE DOVER TRIAL ain't a history lesson except a lesson in incompetent jurisprudence.

    Anyways once again the fossil is invoked as biological evidence for biological hypothesis.
    It's not biological evidence for anything. It's a special case of biological data points being woven into a biological statement of evidence.
    Everyone messes this up.

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    1. Id folk are not YEC folk.

      True. I can think of a few adjectives characterising ID, but I'd have to use those adjectives in their comparative form to describe YEC.

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    2. THE DOVER TRIAL ain't a history lesson except a lesson in incompetent jurisprudence.

      And your qualifications to assess Judge Jones' jurisprudence would be?

      How very interesting that nowhere in the country have the defendants' law firm in the Dover case, with all of their funding, found anyone willing to challenge that bit of "incompetence." Either the defendants' lawyers (the ones representing the ID side) know something you don't, or you know something they don't. Doesn't take me much time to determine which it is.

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  10. You guys did not even get the gist of my response, be that as it may. The fact that a professor of Biochemistry is belittling other views instead of giving us the science, clearly demonstrates that his view is a religious one exaclty like the people he accuses. Now how does attacking ID or creationism make his own view true?

    I guess that is above the average Darwin worshipper's scope of understanding, they are in fact also embracing a religion with 0 facts on its side, with only just so stories, conjectures, and speculation. Enjoy it for a while longer because as they say ignorance is bliss!

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    1. Based on 1 post of a blog that's been running this long?

      Your statement is demonstrably untrue. Here's the link to his chapter-by-chapter critique of Well's recent book.

      http://sandwalk.blogspot.de/2011/10/myth-of-junk-dna-by-jonathan-wells.html

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    2. I can critique your post all day long but it does not mean what I'm saying is true now is it? Who cares about Jonothan Wells anyway?

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    3. I guess that is above the average Darwin worshipper's scope of understanding, they are in fact also embracing a religion with 0 facts on its side, with only just so stories, conjectures, and speculation. Enjoy it for a while longer because as they say ignorance is bliss!

      Indeed. People who study it for many years still fail to grasp the emptiness of the subject, which is so clear to you and the authors of Creationist blogs. It only survives by bashing the opposition! Hahahaha.

      You don't think it possible you may be the blissfully ignorant one? 0 facts? People have been investigating this for 150 years and come up with nothing? Really?

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    4. anonymous said:

      "...belittling other views instead of giving us the science..."

      Instead of belittling other views, would you be kind enough to give us the science that supports your view, and will you state exactly what your view is?

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    5. So it is just a random troll. Let's all stop feeding it.

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    6. The Other Jim: So it is just a random troll. Let's all stop feeding it.

      Negative Entropy: This must be another anonymous, since now she/he is criticizing creationism

      Often, anonymous commenting is meant to confuse and deceive, and it bears no responsibility for those practicing it. For this and other reasons, which I outlined in a previous comment ( http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2012/10/is-it-true.html), I think progressive blogs and bloggers should encourage transparency by refraining to respond to anonymous comments.

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    7. Relgions do not have Facts; they have Faith. The modern theories of how evolution caused a range of different species has Facts and no Faith is required to accept it as correct. Ergo the theories of evolution (including the original Darwinian one) are not Religion, but Science. OTOH, Faith without valid Facts is a Religion and ID qualifies for that very well.

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  11. Hi Professor Moran, I have a quibble with your answer for Myth #3.

    In "The Edge of Evolution" Behe uses the metaphor of a physicist looking through a warehouse filled with different "possible universes" in spheres and discussed whether certain biological features may have arisen due to, "fine-tuned events". By this, Behe meant non-miraculous events which are immensely unlikely given current experimental data, but nevertheless did occur in ages past. The occurrence of these “finely-tuned events” would be due to the designer's foreknowledge of the way in which physical systems would play out in the world that he/she chose to create, rather than miraculous intervention.

    You mentioned the designer creating bacterial flagella as an example of how ID necessarily commits one to "interventionism", but in his table at the front of Edge, Behe includes “molecular machines” under the category “The Surprising Depth of Fine-Tuning of Nature for Life on Earth”.

    Maybe the point about “interventionism” that the author is trying to make is that one could, in theory, hold that both of these statements are true:
    1. Certain biological features possess characteristics which point to intelligent design.
    2. There is a seamless chain of physical causation in the history of life, uninterrupted by miracle/primary causation.

    Cale B.T.

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    1. @ Cale B.T.

      Critiques of Edge of Evolution are everywhere.

      Here's a start.

      http://ncse.com/rncse/27/1-2/review-edge-evolution
      http://sfmatheson.blogspot.de/2008/08/why-im-not-behe-fan-part-iib-abusing.html
      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/books/review/Dawkins-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
      http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2007/05/31/behes-dreadful-new-book-a-revi-1/

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    2. I was aware that many critiques existed and I'd already read Dawkins' NY Times review. Nevertheless, thanks for those links T.O.J.

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    3. Cale -

      In your "fine-tuned universe" example, you have not disproved undirected evolution, but only changed the venue. This is evident as soon as you consider the question: Where did the designer come from? Either you have undirected evolution at some point or it's "designers all the way down," i.e., a being intelligent and capable enough to be the designer just "poofing" into existence with no evolutionary history. Doesn't sound very scientific now, does it?

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    4. "This is evident as soon as you consider the question: Where did the designer come from?"

      Thanks for your comment, Jud. I have my own attempts at a solution to this objection. If you want me to try and lay them out to you, email calebt45[at]gmail.com and I'll try and get back to you in the next few weeks.

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    5. Your points 1 and 2 are inconsistent with each other.

      In fact they are an excellent description of scientists like Ken Miller who claims to accept a non supernatural explanation for the development of life but at the same time believes that his deity poofed a soul into a pair of our not too remote ancestors.

      What you are actually describing is the ability that we human beings have to compartmentalize and hold mutually conflicting ideas.

      And as Michael Shermer has pointed out in Why People Believe Weird Things, the smarter you are the greater you ability to rationalize your beliefs.

      Perhaps you could post a précis of your rationalization of the logical inconsistency of a designer and how you have managed to side step the problem of infinite regress without resorting the usual gambit of declaring by fiat that your designer is uncaused.

      Your attempt sounds far to exciting and momentous to be restricted to private EMAIL exchange, do not hide your light under a bushel, but share it with the world, and what better place than a highly popular blog on evolution.

      And please, for the love of god, leave Augustine out of it.

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    6. Thanks for replying, Steve.

      In my original comment I tried to defend a specific claim with regard to Professor Moran’s response to Myth #3. That is, contra Moran (and I hope I’m not misrepresenting him) one can, in theory, hold that both of these statements are true, without contradiction:
      1. Certain biological features possess characteristics which point to intelligent design.
      2. There is a seamless chain of physical causation in the history of life, uninterrupted by miracle/primary causation.

      So far, The Other Jim posted some links to reviews of Behe’s book and Jud posted an infinite regress problem. If the reviews demolish Behe’s ideas about the scientific data, then that might be a good reason why 1. is false. However, this doesn’t show that believing in 1. and 2. is contradictory.

      Similarly with the infinite regress problem Jud posed. If this objection is sound, this would be a good reason why 1. is false. However, this doesn’t show that believing in 1. and 2. is contradictory.

      Steve, you've asserted that believing 1. and 2. is contradictory and an example of compartmentalisation, but haven’t told me what the contradiction is. As the famous cartoon on miracles and science says “I think you need to be more explicit” :)


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    7. #1 sez ID has happened.

      #2 sez it hasn't.

      Pick one of them and run with it.

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    8. Certain biological features possess characteristics which point to intelligent design.

      ...“I think you need to be more explicit” :)

      How about being more explicit yourself?

      Which particular features?

      What do you understand by "intelligent design"?

      What exactly points to intelligent design?

      It isn't enough to declare something irreducibly complex or to compare a living system to a man-made machine, since we know that what ID-...s (insert your favourite suffix) call "irreducible complexity" may evolve stepwise without the help of any intelligent agancy, and we know that metaphors are only metaphors (and also that any similarity between products of human design and those of biological evolution is loose and superficial).

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    9. Cale B.T. says,

      In my original comment I tried to defend a specific claim with regard to Professor Moran’s response to Myth #3. That is, contra Moran (and I hope I’m not misrepresenting him) one can, in theory, hold that both of these statements are true, without contradiction:
      1. Certain biological features possess characteristics which point to intelligent design.
      2. There is a seamless chain of physical causation in the history of life, uninterrupted by miracle/primary causation.


      Here's a better summary of the two statements that you maintain are not contradictory.

      1. There are certain biological features that cannot possibly be explained by naturalistic, materialistic, processes based on random mutation (i.e. evolution is false). Therefore god(s) must have done it. (This is Behe's position.)

      2. There is a seamless chain of physical causation in the history of life, uninterrupted by miracle/primary causation.

      What you believe is that the bacterial flagella, for example, could not have arisen by naturalistic processes but, at the same time, it arose by a process that did not involve miracles and primary causation.

      Tell me more about this "third way."

      The two statements you described can't possibly be significant to you because they represent the standard scientific view. It's true that many biological features have the appearance of design ("point to intelligent design") but scientists know that this is deceptive. In fact, the "appearance" can be explained by evolution. Hence, statement #2 is true.

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    10. Now we’re getting somewhere!

      Hi Professor Gasiorowski. You asked me to be more explicit in three areas, the first being to pick a particular biological feature.

      In my first post I mentioned the bacterial flagellum. I’ve read Behe’s treatment of this particular example in Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution and some of the critiques. But, for all I know, as far as the scientific data on flagella goes Behe could be engaged in diligent research or abject kookery. I didn’t mention this specific case with the intent of defending or attacking it because I’m not adequately qualified to do so. I should have been clearer on this issue.

      Now I’ll try to answer Prof. Moran, Prof. Gasiorowski’s 2nd and 3rd request, and Steve’s objection:

      Prof. Moran wrote: “What you believe is that the bacterial flagella, for example, could not have arisen by naturalistic processes but, at the same time, it arose by a process that did not involve miracles and primary causation.”

      I think the view that I’m describing (but not advocating) isn’t making the claim that “[biological feature X] could not have arisen by naturalistic processes.”

      Rather, the claim is “If we extrapolate current experimental data into the past, it is unlikely that [biological feature X] would arise.”

      Consider this situation as a hypothetical:
      A. Evidence indicates that all living things are related by descent with modification, with the principal means of modification being mutation.
      B. Current day experiments suggest that mutation can’t achieve the modifications required by the scenario given in A.
      (Let me note here that I’m not here to discuss the scientific merits of either of the two preceding statements.)

      If both A. and B. are true and we hopped in our time machine and observed certain modifications taking place, we’d be seeing events which are “out-of-place” given what we know and might point to design, but they wouldn’t be miracles. The designer might ensure the coming to pass of such events via their foreknowledge of the way in which physical systems would play out. This scenario would be “naturalistic” in the sense that, as per 2., the chain of non-miraculous causation involved is continuous.

      I've got more to say but don't have time to write.

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    11. Continuous and monotonous restating of your original contradictory premises do not constitute "getting somewhere" and most definitely are in no sense an answer.

      Trying to distance yourself from your religiously motivated claims by using weasel terms like "describing (but not advocating)" and "hypothetical" is dishonest.

      You are not arguing in good faith.

      Your claims are what you desperately hope are true but are in no way supported by evidence or rationality.

      Delete
    12. Prof. Gasiorowski “So where is the explicit part?”

      I tried to explain that I’m not here to debate the scientific merits of a particular case. Why? Because I’m not a proponent of ID and don’t have the learning necessary to discuss the scientific data.

      Steve Oberski:
      “Your claims are what you desperately hope are true but are in no way supported by evidence or rationality.”
      “Trying to distance yourself from your religiously motivated claims by using weasel terms like "describing (but not advocating)" and "hypothetical" is dishonest. You are not arguing in good faith.”


      If you re-read my comments, there is nothing in them that implies I’m a proponent of ID, because I’m not. In my first comment, I wrote “one could, in theory , hold that both of these statements are true” . Furthermore, with regard to the bacterial flagella, what I said was “in his table at the front of Edge, Behe includes “molecular machines” under the category “The Surprising Depth of Fine-Tuning of Nature for Life on Earth”. As I explained to Prof. Gasiorowski in my previous comment, I mentioned the example of the bacterial flagella not to defend or attack it, but for the purpose of philosophical clarification. Your analysis here is mistaken.

      “#1 sez ID has happened.

      #2 sez it hasn't.
      Pick one of them and run with it.”


      The very point I’m trying to make is that this is a false dilemma. Behe thinks it’s a very real possibility that a designer might, via their foreknowledge, ensure that certain otherwise unlikely events come to pass. The relevant section in the Edge of Evolution is under the heading “No Interference”. (In my copy, it’s pages 229-232.)

      On this state of affairs, the finely tuned event(s) would be identified as designed (proposition 1.) but the chain of non-miraculous causation would be uninterrupted (proposition 2.)Thus, 1. and 2. aren't logically contradictory.

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  12. "The true story: ID does not say “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, therefore an intelligence must have done it.”"
    I find this comment really deceptive, especially in light of their response to myth #3. Of course they don't say "an intelligence must have done it", but they do say "an intelligence is the best explanation", which is still making a god-of-the-gaps argument, just without the certainty they say is the myth.

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  13. I went to the "Hard-core Christianity" website and saw that travis has closed comments on that post after receiving three responses. I figured that since she is so certain that ID is an "over-arching scientific theory" that maybe, if asked, she could and would measure the alleged CSI, FSCI, dFSCI, or dFSCI/O in a banana, and show her calculations.

    Hey melissa, if you're reading this, could and would you please demonstrate your extensive knowledge of "ID theory" and its 'scientific' tools by fulfilling my simple request? And if you really want to show your ID mastery and scientific prowess, also measure the alleged CSI, FSCI, dFSCI, or dFSCI/O in a frog, a dandelion, a mushroom, a fist sized chunk of granite, one scale from a moth's wing, a human being, all the alleged animals (combined) on the alleged ark, and a rat's whisker, and show your calculations.

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  14. ...it is an over-arching scientific theory....

    Its all so ironic because if you think about the charge that evolution is "just a theory" and everything that is wrong with that assertion from a scientific viewpoint...in fact ID is truly and precisely "just a theory" in that exact colloquial sense (i.e. it is merely an idea, a notion, an hypothesis). It cant even claim to be novel, as the idea has been around since genesis.

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  15. By golly - after 4 pings, the comments for her blog are closed.

    Better to not know the facts, I suppose.

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  16. That's a good point Shawn, and especially when considering the fact that "ID" is usually called an "inference" by its promoters, and "inference" is what I understand to be the 'official' label from the IDiots themselves. Occasionally one of the IDiot-creationists will call it a theory but not real often from what I've seen. And of course in reality it's nowhere near being a scientific theory, hypothesis, or inference.

    The IDiot-creationists desperately want science to give "ID" credibility by authorizing/sanctioning at least the label "inference", if not 'hypothesis' and/or 'theory'. Science is seen by them as an authority and it's one of two main authorities the IDiots really, really want the stamp of approval from. The other authority is the government.

    Think about why the IDiot-creationists push so hard to get that stamp of approval. They constantly push science and government for it and they use every trick and legal maneuver to try to get it. No one is stopping the IDiot-creationists from believing whatever they want or from doing whatever actual scientific research they want, but the IDiot-creationists keep pushing and pushing and pushing science and the government anyway.

    The IDiot-creationists claim that they are being oppressed and expelled but that's simply not true. They are oppressing and expelling themselves by not scientifically supporting their assertions. They keep claiming that if "ID" were authorized/sanctioned as a valid scientific "inference" it would change science for the better and lead to new discoveries and methods, but they never coherently explain or show how that would happen. They just keep repeating that
    "ID" should be authorized/sanctioned as a valid scientific inference and that if it were it would open 'new avenues of research'.

    No matter how many times they are asked for actual evidence, a working hypothesis, coherent explanations-definitions-demonstrations, or which 'new avenues of research' it would open they never come up with the goods. They are obsessed with their alleged designer-creator-god getting the credit (and worship) for life and everything else (except the bad stuff) and it's largely, if not mainly, if not only because they must boost their own self esteem, or more accurately self righteousness, by getting 'authoritative' approval from science and government which, to the IDiot-creationists, would justifiably condone, substantiate, and sanctify their personal, authoritarian thoughts and behavior.

    They aren't the kind of people who care about facts, evidence, truth, reality, or 'new avenues of research', they are only interested in being revered and worshiped and being in charge.



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  17. "The basic fact is that the IDiots have not made any significant impact on the consensus views of scientists and their presence in the scientific literature is barely detectable."

    Well, censorship and institutionalized prejudice/bias can explain this. The referees of the scientific journals will nearly always recommend that an article even remotely leaning towards ID is rejected no matter how strong the evidence or the argument. The fact that 50 or so articles have been published is quite remarkable in the circumstances.

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    1. Yes, that darn censorship and institutionalized prejudice and bias against bullshit, no matter how strong the stench, no matter how well disguised! Those evil scientists!

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    2. They're not "evil" as such, they're just like the authorities in any repressive state who have vested interests and power that they need to protect. This is why "regime change" within the scientific establishment is necessary in order to promote the freedom of inquiry and search for the truth.

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    3. Yes! Yes! Down with the establishment! ID-bullshit is good! Down with the repressive state! ID-bullshit is good! Down with the regime! ID-bullshit is good! Promote freedom of inquiry! ID-bullshit is good! Search for the truth! ID-bullshit is good! Down with vested interests! ID-bullshit is good!

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    4. sez moo moo: "The referees of the scientific journals will nearly always recommend that an article even remotely leaning towards ID is rejected no matter how strong the evidence or the argument."
      That's your opinion, and you are welcome to it. My own opinion is that no ID-pusher has yet managed to work up a decent ID-supporting scientific paper in the first place, let alone an ID-supporting scientific paper that includes any of this 'strong' evidence you speak of.
      So we have dueling opinions; is there any way we could determine which of our respective opinions is closer to the truth? Well, one way to do that would be to look at ID-supporting scientific papers which have been rejected, and look at the rejection letters they received. When the journals reject papers, they do, after all, explain the reasons for rejection in a letter to the author(s). And if the stated reasons for the rejection are bogus-y bullshit, that should be tolerably obvious after one reads the rejected paper in question.
      Now, ID-pushers like to make noise about how their 'alternative theory' is being brutally suppressed by a viciously intolerant scientific establishment that is dogmatically committed to Darwinism under all circumstances. But at the same time, ID-pushers are, for whatever reason, remarkably reluctant to provide any of the rejected scientific papers, or their accompanying rejection letters, which would provide cogent evidence in favor of the proposition that ID is being unjustly suppressed by its ideological opponents. This behavior is rather curious, if ID genuinely is a valid scientific theory. But as matters stand, the behavior of ID-pushers is a great deal more consistent with the explanation they're-whining-'cause-real-scientists-won't-treat-their-crap-like-it-was-real-science than the The-Man-is-keepin'-us-DOWN 'explanation' which is overwhelmingly favored by ID-pushers.
      So.
      You say the scientific 'gatekeepers' are unjustly suppressing all that spiffylicious Good And Real Science that ID-pushers are doing, Moo Moo? Fine. Can you cite any specific instances of ID-supportive papers that were specifically rejected for being ID-supportive, as opposed to being rejected because the conclusions didn't follow from the data, or the authors used invalid data-gathering protocols, or any of the myriad reasons that journals have for rejecting papers on any topic other than ID?

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    5. moo moo said:

      "They're not "evil" as such, they're just like the authorities in any repressive state who have vested interests and power that they need to protect. This is why "regime change" within the scientific establishment is necessary in order to promote the freedom of inquiry and search for the truth."

      I think you have the scientific establishment mixed up with the religious establishment.

      Tell me moo moo, who or what is stopping IDiot-creationists from inquiring into any damn thing they want? Who or what is stopping IDiot-creationists from doing scientific research and establishing their own "scientific establishment"? Who or what is stopping IDiot-creationists from searching for "the truth" or anything else? Where does it say that the "scientific establishment" MUST focus on searching for whatever the IDiot-creationists imagine would be supportive of their beliefs? And where does it say that the "scientific establishment" and/or the government MUST accept and sanction religious beliefs as being scientific? And exactly whose religious beliefs should science and the government accept and sanction as being scientific? Yours? jimmy swaggart's? sarah palin's? jesse jackson's? michael behe's? william dembski's? pat robertson's? deepak chopra's? The beliefs of some muslim, or some hindu, or some baptist preacher, or some IDiot in Massachusetts or Montserrat, or some spiritualist, or someone who stabs voodoo dolls with pins, or some satan worshiper, or some wiccan, or some mormon, or some scientologist? Whose exactly?

      And think about this:

      If a gung-ho, evangelical, fundamentalist bible thumper were to find a fossilized rabbit in Cambrian sediments (in situ) and left it there undisturbed and reported it to the "scientific establishment" and some paleontologists went there and extracted it and prepared it and analyzed it and came to the conclusion that it really is a rabbit from the Cambrian, do you think that scientific journals would reject an article about it? In other words, do you think that the religious beliefs of the discoverer or the religious beliefs of the paleontologists would have anything to do with whether the journals accept or reject the article?

      My point is that if there's actual evidence, scientists will pay attention to it, and if the evidence is strong they will really pay attention to it, no matter who produces the evidence and no matter how much it goes against currently accepted theories. No scientific theory is absolutely, positively immune to being heavily modified or even discarded but some are well enough 'established', based on scientific evidence, methods, research, and productive results, that to heavily modify or discard them would take very convincing evidence to the contrary. Just because some loud-mouthed religious zealots say that well established scientific theories should be heavily modified or thrown out in favor of their religious beliefs doesn't mean that well established scientific theories should be heavily modified or thrown out in favor of their religious beliefs.

      IDiot-creationists don't produce evidence, they just bash science (at least the parts they don't like) and baldly assert a bunch of non-scientific bullshit that is based on their religious dogma so as to push their religious/political agenda. If they had any actual evidence for their assertions they would establish their own "scientific establishment" and do actual scientific research, and if that research were productive in revealing "the truth" their "scientific establishment" would be taken seriously by whom you refer to as the repressive authorities.

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    6. I want to add some things to what I said above.

      If anyone (and I don't mean just IDiot-creationists) wants to show the "scientific establishment" that they have evidence or even just a good argument for something that goes against 'established' scientific theories, it's NOT a good idea to use deceitful, unlawful, poorly disguised tricks to try to get your religious/political agenda recognized as being scientific and your non-scientific religious crap accepted as a valid "textbook" to teach science in public schools.

      For example:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People

      http://ncse.com/creationism/analysis/critique-pandas-people

      http://www.textbookleague.org/53panda.htm

      Also see this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy


      It's also NOT a good idea to tell scientists (especially repeatedly for decades) that they're full of shit and accuse them of being amoral, Hitler-esque, evil, lying, fraudulent, power hungry, repressive, freedom stifling, inquiry stifling, research stifling, dictatorial oppressors (and a long list of other derogatory smears and even threats) and then expect them to not only listen but to eagerly accept and sanction your so-called "inference", whether that "inference" is based on a religious/political agenda or not. And if it is based on a religious/political agenda (which the so-called "ID inference" is) don't expect the "scientific establishment" to swallow or endorse it.

      Another thing is that IDiot-creationists constantly try to make it sound as though only inferences that are 'friendly' to or are based on religious beliefs are rejected by the "scientific establishment" but that is far from the truth. Inferences that would be considered unfriendly to or unrelated in any way to religious beliefs are often rejected (or at least not fully accepted) if they aren't supported by at least a testable hypothesis, coherent definitions, open and honest discussion, and reasonable interpretations of evidence (if there is any evidence). In other words, unproductive and/or nonsensical inferences will either be immediately or ultimately rejected whether they're friendly to or are based on religious beliefs or not.

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    7. Yes, the real problem is that while the central thesis of ID could be true, there is no evidence to support it except that relying on interpretations with which no knowledgable scientists agree. IDers want their suppositions accepted and taught in schools on the basis that they could be true. But of course, many strange things could be true for all we know. It would be a curious, insensible, and fruitless curriculum that spends time teaching all the things that could be true in this universe, and the topics covered would be limited only by the human imagination. There would be no or little time to cover those principles for which there is evidence.

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    8. Cubist says,

      So we have dueling opinions; is there any way we could determine which of our respective opinions is closer to the truth? Well, one way to do that would be to look at ID-supporting scientific papers which have been rejected, and look at the rejection letters they received.

      There's another way. We could look at all their books, blog postings, and magazine articles to see the evidence that's not being published in the scientific literature.

      I've done that and, although I may have missed a few things, I don't see anything significant that would make it into the scientific literature.

      That means that either the IDiots are hiding this evidence from us (hoping to get it published eventually), or there isn't any evidence worth publishing.

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  18. @Moo Moo

    Maybe you should look up all the papers which were published in the online journal Bio-Complexity, a journal which was founded by IDiots, all papers were written by IDiots and the papers were peer-reviewed by the same IDiots.
    Can you show me a single paper in this journal which actually deals with evidence in favor for ID? I´m talking about a paper which goes not like "evolution can't do this or that therefore ID" but papers which starts with a hypothesis rooted in ID-theory shows that the evidence supports the hypothesis.
    You won´t find any and the same is true for (almost; I have not checked every single paper) all the mentioned 50 papers.

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  19. @Everyone:

    If you think that scientists are willing to at least consider creationist/ID arguments so long as the proper methods are employed and evidence is presented, then you are wrong:

    Below, are comments that some creationist scientists have shared with me when they submitted their research to the journals:

    " There is no scientific debate about creationism versus evolutionary theory. There is a cultural discourse on this topic that does not have a foundation in science. It is very clear that you have an ideology that falls into creationism or intelligent design. We will not read or review your papers."


    "This work is based on traditionally non-scientific assumptions (creationism) and as such should not be further consider for publication."

    "The goal of the present manuscript seems to be to advance a creationist agenda rather than to improve scientific knowledfe. As such it must be rejected for publication here. It might seem a bit unfair to review the paper with only such a concise summary, although that is all that is required here."

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    1. Actually, moo moo, I will come along and ask you to back up your statement by telling us something more about the research that was dealt with in the way you present above. It doesn't make much sense to show us the contents of the rejection letters without giving us some idea about the contents of what was rejected.

      Twt actually has a good point. Broken clocks are right twice a day.

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    2. Fact: When the Templeton Foundation called for ID-pushing papers, no ID-pusher even bothered to submit any ID-pushing paper. If ID-pushers genuinely are doing good work in support of ID, why is it that the Foundation's call for papers went unnoticed?
      Fact: PCID (Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design), the ID-pushing journal of the ID-pushing International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, has not published any issues since November 2005. If real scientists' dogmatic rejection of IS is the reason for no ID-pushing papers in real science journals, what accounts for no ID-pushing papers in an ID-pushing journal?

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  20. moo moo,

    You're apparently ignoring a critical point:

    "...proper methods are employed and evidence is presented..."

    Please post the complete papers (or links to them) that the so-called "creation scientists" allegedly submitted, and name the journals that they were allegedly submitted to. andyboerger should be along any minute now to reinforce this request to back up your words (lol).

    I, and probably some others here, would like to see if the alleged authors of those alleged papers employed proper 'scientific' methods and presented 'scientific' evidence.



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    1. The papers have been resubmitted to other journals and we are awaiting the outcome. But the point is that they received initial rejections not because of the science presented but because they were seen as supporting a creationist perspective.

      The editors of the journals are increasingly aware that established scientists are increasingly less afraid of reprisals and retribution for submitting creationist/ID papers. No scientific theory can survive just by way of censorship and repression. Eventually, the "Berlin Wall" moment will come and science will be set free.

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    2. So you say, so you say.

      And if the alleged evidence is good and actually 'scientifically' supports a "creationist perspective", why bother with journals that you're convinced will reject the papers? Post the alleged papers (or links to them) on a site like this one or some other site where scientists and others can read them and openly and honestly discuss and/or challenge them. Even if they're eventually published in a scientific journal (even a very prominent one) that doesn't mean that the papers will be automatically or universally accepted by scientists. All scientific papers and all 'perspectives' (and especially ones that are alleged to be revolutionary) have to face the fire at some point, and they either withstand the heat or burn.

      For example (and keep- "proper methods are employed and evidence is presented" in mind as you read these:

      http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2012/07/rosie-redfield-at-evolution-ottawa-2012.html

      http://www.nature.com/news/study-challenges-existence-of-arsenic-based-life-1.9861

      http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/~redfield/PDF/RedfieldScience2011.pdf


      If you read up on that dispute you'll see that scientists don't automatically agree with each other. You should also notice that the NASA study and paper has nothing to do with promoting a "creationist perspective". It was published but that didn't protect it from being scrutinized and disputed. If anything, the NASA 'perspective' (which the NASA arsenic paper is obviously intended to be supportive of) is that there likely is life on other planets, and that goes against what most or all creationists would claim about the Earth being the only possible place where life has come about or can come about. Yeah, scientists scrutinize and/or dispute the work of other scientists, whether it has anything to do with a "creationist perspective" or not.


      ...and science will be set free."

      Set free to do exactly what that science can't do or isn't doing?

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    3. Moo Moo: The editors of the journals are increasingly aware that established scientists are increasingly less afraid of reprisals and retribution for submitting creationist/ID papers.

      Reprisals and retribution? The worst that can happen to them is the loss of credibility and reputation. The best journals reject most submissions anyway, even if they're 100% scientific, and they have little patience patience with stuff below the 100%. If a paper bears all the hallmarks of psesudoscience, reviewers won't even bother to give a detailed justification of the rejection, irrespective of whether the pseudoscience has a religious or ideological agenda or is just ordinary crank scholarship.

      Religious creationism is non-scientific by its very nature (science does not accept supernatural explanations because they can't be methodologically constrained or tested). Intelligent design could be scientific if you were able to identify or characterise the designer as a non-supernatural agency. Relying on vague and subjective notions like "characteristics of design" and avoiding the question of the designer and its methods make ID a non-starter.

      No scientific theory can survive just by way of censorship and repression. Eventually, the "Berlin Wall" moment will come and science will be set free.

      Yep. The Ancien Régime reviewers will be guillotined, the Journal of Archaeological Science will publish only articles by Erich von Daeniken and Michael Cremo to make up for the lost time, the New England Journal of Medicine will have a special issue on the medicinal power of prayer, Astronomy and Astrophysics will be renamed Astronomy, Astrology and Astrophysics, and the circle will finally be squared by brave new mathematicians unfettered by the repressive axioms of old.

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    4. Moo moo (justified and ancient?). One approach could be to collect the papers under a single banner. A Journal of ID Research should be within the reach of limited funds, perhaps with online publication, like many of the mainstream journals. There could be a pay-per-view policy (if finance is an issue) or open access (if you want maximum reach), or pay-to-publish with open-access (a la Biology Direct) if getting contributors to put their money where their mouths are was considered beneficial. The latter model would be particularly appropriate, and you only need 3 reviewers to agree to review. They don't even have to agree with the paper. Paper, reviewer comments and author responses are all published.

      In the imperfect world of human judgements, good papers are rejected, and bad ones published, every week. And there is undoubted prejudice against ID/Creationism, but not, I think, for the reasons you imagine. In my experience, ID proponents are usually weak in one or more areas of biology (me too!). That weakness is frequently a central plank of the particular theory being advanced. After a while discussing these matters, one tends to form a general opinion that one or another of the popular misconceptions is sure to lie within. No amount of discussion seems to shift this, and so eventually shortcut rejection saves a great deal of time.

      But using the above model, anyone with an interest could have a 'one-stop' location for publishing and perusing the best of ID research. Nonetheless, it would be as well to ensure that expert biologists are involved in the review process. Which leads to a Catch-22. How can you get it past them? Still ... if you're wrong about something, why would you want to?

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  21. @Piotr:

    Yes, creationist/ID scientists have been threatened with the loss of academic tenure, ostracism, or cuts in funding . Even editors of journals that consent to review and publish such articles can be persecuted and eventually forced to quit - as with Richard Sternberg. The scientific establishment is, by its nature, exclusionary. It is just like any other political or social elite with entrenched views and tenets. The likes of PNAS have declared their own evolutionist "crusade" against creationism - just as ask the editor-in-chief, Randy Schekman.

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    1. sez moo moo: "Even editors of journals that consent to review and publish such articles can be persecuted and eventually forced to quit - as with Richard Sternberg."
      Are you ignorant of the facts about Sternberg, or are you just lying?
      Fact: Sternberg wasn't forced out of a job, he resigned. As editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Sternberg gave that journal notice of his resignation six months before the publication of the Creationist-pushing article which is alleged to have sparked off a 'get Sternberg' campaign. Your claim that Sternberg lost his job as a result of 'persecution' just doesn't add up, moo moo.

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  22. Even editors of journals that consent to review and publish such articles can be persecuted and eventually forced to quit - as with Richard Sternberg.

    Why not, if they fail to follow the rules? Sternberg personally "reviewed" a paper he wanted to publish and we only have his word that there were other peer reviewers as well. He's refused to identify them and they have never spoken out for themselves.

    Creationism is rejected not by an exclusionary elite but by mainstream science. There are some sympathisers on the fringe, as usual in such cases. You will also find scientists who take dowsing, extrasensory perception and cold fusion seriously. Most don't, and with reason.

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    1. @Piotr:

      It is obvious you have never been through the peer review system yourself. Referees are supposed to be kept anonymous so they aren't harassed for their comments. An editor is under no obligation to reveal the reviewers he selected.

      Creationism and intelligent design is rejected by an exclusionary elite within mainstream science. But things are changing. I doubt most evolutionary biologists honestly believe that the intricate complexity invested in living organisms is the simply result of chance and necessity, accidence and environmental pressure. They are just afraid to openly admit it as that would be injurious to their interests.

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    2. It is obvious you have never been through the peer review system yourself. Referees are supposed to be kept anonymous so they aren't harassed for their comments. An editor is under no obligation to reveal the reviewers he selected.

      I've done anonymous reviews of scholarly articles many times as well as having my own articles peer-reviewed. I'm not afraid that I could be harassed for expressing my considered opinion. I would have voluntarily waived my anonymity any time if the editor who had ordered the review had been accused of making up a non-existent reviewer. I certainly wouldn't leave a colleague in the lurch like that, even if he wanted to be a martyr.

      I doubt most evolutionary biologists honestly believe that the intricate complexity invested in living organisms is the simply result of chance and necessity, accidence and environmental pressure.

      You misunderstand and mischaracterise the process of evolution (but that's to be expected), and of course you are completely wrong about "most evolutionary biologists" (but that's simply wishful thinking on your part, also expected). You also insult them by insinuating that they are hypocrites and craven conformists (but then insults from a fool only richochet on himself, showing clearly how ridiculous he is).

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    3. @Piotr:

      You misunderstand and mischaracterise the process of evolution

      Oh, please do enlighten me. What mysterious other mechanism is there to evolution other than chance (random mutation/drift) and necessity (natural selection)?

      The fact is that most evolutionary biologists acknowledge that there is a big gap in their knowledge but are unwilling to countenance the idea that anything other than naturalistic processes could be responsible. It is like finding some hieroglyphs in some sandstone and trying to work out how erosion by rain, wind or heat could have shaped the rock in such a way as to produce the hieroglyphs.

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    4. sez moo moo: "What mysterious other mechanism is there to evolution other than chance (random mutation/drift) and necessity (natural selection)? "
      'Chance' isn't a mechanism. At absolute best, 'chance' can be considered a descriptor for a general class of mechanics; as such, it makes no more sense to say that 'chance' is a mechanism than it does to say that 'electricity' is a mechanism.
      Likewise, 'necessity' isn't a mechanism, either.
      Thank you for mischaracterizing evolution in your attempt to demonstrate that you don't mischaracterize evolution, moo moo. This is the sort of bullshit which makes it very easy to demonstrate that ID-pushers are clueless about real science.

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    5. Cubist says,

      'Chance' isn't a mechanism. At absolute best, 'chance' can be considered a descriptor for a general class of mechanics; as such, it makes no more sense to say that 'chance' is a mechanism than it does to say that 'electricity' is a mechanism.

      Random genetic drift is by far the most common mechanisms of evolution (i.e. it causes a change in the frequency of alleles in a population). This is evolution by chance, or as I prefer to say it, evolution by accident.

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    6. sez. dr. moran: "Random genetic drift is by far the most common mechanisms of evolution (i.e. it causes a change in the frequency of alleles in a population). This is evolution by chance, or as I prefer to say it, evolution by accident."
      If you're arguing that random genetic drift is one of the specific mechanisms that can fall under the descriptor of 'chance', I won't argue, mostly because I think you're right about that. But just as the map is not the territory, so is a specific instance of a class not the same thing as the class itself, which is why I still say that "chance' is not, itself, a mechanism.

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  23. @Moo Moo. Natural selection is not "necessity". It's non-random, OK, but that's about it. I suppose you are deliberately alluding to Democritus, or Monod, or whoever else has circulated this slogan, but neither a classical quote nor a catchy book title are good substitutes for a correct definition. By trivialising the issue in this way you put up a straw man.

    Yes, biologists (like physicists, astronomers, linguists, historians and all other kinds of researchers) are aware of gaps in their knowledge and of not having a ready answer to every possible question. And yes, they only regard naturalistic explanations as worth looking for because super-naturalistic explanations have never worked for anything in science so far. Gaps are there to be filled, not to be worshipped. You said, however, that most biologists didn't really accept evolution in private -- they just had to pretend they did. That's simply a lie.

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    1. @Piotr:

      Natural selection denotes the necessity of reproductive fitness, and it follows that need is the mother of invention (in this case adaptation).

      I think you'll find that scientists are willing to consider non-naturalistic explanations when it suits them: "Dark matter" is a classic example. "Self-organization" is also a term used to describe ordering principles in Nature that are not easily reducible the laws of physics and chemistry.

      Btw, your Pubmed record came out blank:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Piotr%20Gasiorowski

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    2. So what? I'm not a biologist and I don't make a secret of it. I've read enough to know what I'm talking about without claiming to be an expert. In my discipline I also deal with evolutionary phenomena (in a non-biological domain), so I actually need those insights to understand them.

      Dark matter is as naturalistic as other matter. It has mass, for example. The fact that we don't know what exactly it is doesn't make it supernatural. Self-organisation is naturalistic too (unless you ascribe a mystical significance to it).

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    3. PS. Invention is usually teleological (goal-oriented), adaptation is not. Ancestors of birds did not invent feathers because they needed to fly. No organism says to itself "I gotta be fit". In fact, if it's alive at all, it's already quite fit to begin with (what else can it be, with an unbroken chain of billions of generations of ancestors behind it, every single of which has proved fit enough to survive)?

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    4. I see. So you are an evolutionary computational scientist?

      And I think you'll find that, according to evolutionary biologists, the ancestors of whales did direct their own evolution by jumping into the Indus river. That was an act of need in the sense of looking for new resources.

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    5. There is room here for other options.
      God did command biology to fill the earth and so the means to do so was given.
      One can imagine innate triggers being behind rapid and great adaptation.
      This YEC creationist believes marine mammals are from land creatures.
      So creatures finding a empty niche in the seas had their bodies DNA change to adapt to the seas.
      the great observation is people.
      Behold all the different looks of people who have these differences for important reasons back in the day.
      Yet surely it was quick change within a generation and not evolving generations.
      If you needed the change theres no time for immediate stages.

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    6. I see. So you are an evolutionary computational scientist?

      No.

      And I think you'll find that, according to evolutionary biologists, the ancestors of whales did direct their own evolution by jumping into the Indus river.

      No. I'll find nothing of the kind. This is another straw man. No biologits imagines evolution to work like that, with the possible exception of some neo-Lamarckians from the scientific fringe.

      That was an act of need in the sense of looking for new resources.

      No. Do you think that if they'd jumped up and flapped their hands instead, they would've learnt to fly? With such misconceptions in your head, no wonder you are a creationist.

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    7. Piotr

      Why did they not flap therir hands instead of jumping in the water? O yes its random.... unlucky whales they could have been flyers hey! Geez the noe-darwinist just so stories are metaphysical and is utterly stupid.

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    8. Re Moo Moo

      I think you'll find that scientists are willing to consider non-naturalistic explanations when it suits them: "Dark matter" is a classic example.

      Mr. Moo Moo is totally full of crap. There is nothing at all non-naturalistic about dark matter or dark energy. They have been proposed as possible explanations for the observed gravitational lensing of light by galaxies in the case of dark matter and the acceleration of the rate of expansion of the universe in the case of dark energy. As we sit here today, the composition of dark energy and dark matter is not known. Referring to them as non-naturalistic is nothing but a god of the gaps argument, which will be negated eventually, as have all other god of the gaps arguments (see Newton's argument for god's intervention to maintain the stability of the solar system and Laplace's refutation of it). Quite obviously, Mr. Moo Moo's knowledge of cosmology is as empty as his knowledge of evolutionary biology.

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  24. Geez the noe-darwinist just so stories are metaphysical and is utterly stupid.

    Did I tell you a story? I don't think so. This stupidity must be in the eye (and the brain) of the beholder.

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