Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Why "Intelligent Design" is Not Science

(An expansion of a comment I made on Cross-Currents, although I have no idea if they will publish it.)

Evolution is a scientific theory because it is falsifiable and makes meaningful predictions. ID is NOT a scientific theory because it meets neither of those requirements. ID consists entirely of criticizing evolution, as if disproving one makes the other true.

Imagine if I propose, as the Onion did, a theory of Intelligent Falling. I then go around criticizing the theory of gravity, saying for example that we don’t even know how gravity could work at a distance, that nobody has observed a so-called “graviton,” and that Einstein’s theory of gravitation doesn’t even mesh with quantum theory! (All of these criticisms are correct, as far as I know.)

Now I ask you, what are the odds that every thing on Earth just HAPPENS to be attracted to the center of the planet? Why that would be like throwing all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle at a table and having them miraculously form the completed puzzle! And what are the odds that gravity is just strong enough to hold the atmosphere but not so strong as to collapse the planet?! And what are the odds that it's exactly the right strength to let humans run and birds fly? I mean WHAT ARE THE ODDS?? Obviously, this can't just happen by chance! Therefore, I would conclude, there must be an intelligent being which makes objects be attracted to each other in just the right amounts. Hence, we should teach the theory of Intelligent Falling (IF) along with the theory of gravity.

I challenge you to demonstrate why we should teach ID but not IF.

63 comments:

CyberKitten said...

The biggest reason that ID is not a science is that the 'designer' is supernatural.

Science deals with the natural world, and looks for natural explanations of phenomena. Once you start 'explaining' things by pointing to unprovable supernatural agencies you leave science FAR behind...

Sadie Lou said...

I'm not sure that ID is suggesting teachers to TEACH ID as an alternative to evolution or merely present it in an objective controversy.
Example:
Here is evolution to explain where we come from
Here is ID to explain where we come from
You, a a student, need to evaluate which explaination you want to study and accept as truth...

CyberKitten said...

But not in a science class...........

Robert West said...

damn. hit the wrong key.As you say,
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?? Obviously, this can't happen by chance!" Yes,
it can but finite minds can't get it.The statement, "it can't by chance" is really a form of special
pleading that Creationists use in
appeals to chance.These two screwed up statements are not clear
--maybe I can get back to it but now I have a lab to run...

dbackdad said...

This may be a bit off topic, but I just read this article on Huffington Post and wanted JA's take on it:

Orthodox Creationism: It's Not Just for Christians Anymore

It was the first that I had heard that any Jewish Leaders seemed to support ID.

Sadie Lou said...

Why not in science class?
What do you fear will happen if a teacher says, "Look, here's what some believe. These people don't believe in evolution as a viable explaination as to how things happened, so here's what THEY believe *insert presentation of ID* now, decide for yourselves what is a plausable explaination."

I see nothing wrong with it.
I would see nothing wrong with evolution being presented in a Sunday School class either...

CyberKitten said...

Sadie Lou said: I see nothing wrong with it.
I would see nothing wrong with evolution being presented in a Sunday School class either...

Surely science should be taught in science class? ID isn't science... so it shouldn't be taught in science class... Is it really that difficult to understand? Do you want Numerology to be taught in Math class? Do you want the Illuminati version of history to be taught in History class...? Or is it just evolution you want 'questioned'?

Are you happy that atheism be taught in Bible class too? Why not just mix everything together.... I'm sure that'd be fun both for the kids and the teachers.... and wouldn't waste anyone's time at all...

RaisedWithHolidaysButNoReligion said...

The obvious answer to this, along with many other problems in education, is to let parents decide. If a parent want his child taught ID, evolution or any other theory, let them send their kid to a school that teaches according to the dictates of their conscience. The truth will out, of course, but only where there is freedom that allows all ideas even ones that may seem absurd to some or even most.

CyberKitten said...

RaisedWithHolidaysButNoReligion said: If a parent want his child taught ID, evolution or any other theory, let them send their kid to a school that teaches according to the dictates of their conscience.

But surely the parent is already teaching their children things like this @ home? I'm confident that Sadie (for example) is teaching her kids all about Gods creation....

Sadie Lou said...

Again, what are you afraid of? Is it the whole separation of church and state?
Here's the thing:
If my kids were required to read a fictional story in which the protagonist in the story was an atheist and then were told to engage in a discussion about the book--would my children be able to profess their religion in opposition to the theme of the story?
It is the same as ID. If evolution is being taught in school and if my children don't believe that's the way things went down--I would think the teacher would not be opposed to allowing my children to have a difference of opinion. To save everyone the hassle of having an awkward discussion: The teachers could present ID as an alternate opinion.
They don't even have to spend that much time on it. Look at it this way--there are wackos that believe the holocaust was a fake/didn't exist--a teacher isn't forcing the issue by telling their students there are people out there who think that; right?
I do teach my children about what the Bible says about creation and the Creator--I don't know if that qualifies as ID or not. I haven't read the whole ID statement yet.

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie Lou,

There's a big difference between telling children that "some people believe in ID" and teaching ID. The ID movement is trying to get ID taught as science. That is what I oppose. I don't want kids being told that ID is just as plausible as evolution, because the facts simply don't support it.

In fact your example of the holocaust deniers is perfect. You wouldn't mind the history teacher mentioning that some people exist, but you certainly wouldn't want them to just present it as, "Well some people believe that the holocaust happened and some don't," which is akin to what the ID pushers are trying to accomplish.

Jewish Atheist said...

dbackdad,

I'm saddened but not surprised. All the American religions' political affiliations have been shifting. It used to be that Catholics and Jews went liberal and Protestants went conservative, but now the right-wing Jews and right-wing Christians have joined forces with the right-wing Protestants. How quickly people forget their history.

As soon as the Jews made it, they started shifting right. As soon as the blacks make it, they start shifting right. (Most aren't there yet since there is still so much institutionalized racism.) When, 20 or 30 years from now the gays have made it, they'll start shifting rightward as well. Everybody's a liberal when they're oppressed. Some, when finally accepted as fully American, want to pull the ladder up behind them. Just look at the overwhelming opposition to gay rights among African-Americans.

oracle25 said...

The difference between the two theories is that gravity is observable, evolution is not.

There are no examples of life becoming more complex. There are only examples of DNA reshuffling itself to create resistances to different problems (this process hinders evolution.

If you want to try to argue this point with me I would be more than happy to prove you wrong (incidentally most evolutionists agree with this).

Furthermore, gravity is a product of the universe. The created universe. The theory of intelligent design states that all things in the universe (including gravity) are the product of a creator. I believe that your assessment of the odds is a good one. I mean really, what are the odds of this happening by chance?

But your argument does not hold up because you assume that this would be a separate theory.

Without gravity there could be no life here. If the gravity were much smaller we would be crushed, if it were lighter we would float off the ground, etc.

As to your remark about ID design being built only on critiquing evolution, I would have to disagree. True that atheist/evolutionary biased has forced us to disprove evolution before we are allowed to examine the scientific evidence without being laughed at (a unfortunate side effect to all great scientific theories). But ID design itself is based on proven scientific facts.

Jewish Atheist said...

There are no examples of life becoming more complex.

oracle25, every living thing on earth more complicated than a prion is an example of life becoming more complex.
But perhaps you meant that the actual example of life becoming more complex hasn't been observed before our eyes. You'd be wrong there as well. Any insertion mutation (or polyploidy, etc.) which produces viable offspring is an example of life becoming more complex. Many of these happen before our eyes in the lab.

Or do you mean an example of life becoming MUCH more complex, like an eyespot evolving into an eye-cup? Well, that would obviously take quite a while, usually much longer than we could wait in a lab. However, it does happen sometimes. Here's an example of a single-celled organism evolving into a colony that's in a whole different family of organism:

"Boraas (1983) reported the induction of multicellularity in a strain of Chlorella pyrenoidosa (since reclassified as C. vulgaris) by predation. He was growing the unicellular green alga in the first stage of a two stage continuous culture system as for food for a flagellate predator, Ochromonas sp., that was growing in the second stage. Due to the failure of a pump, flagellates washed back into the first stage. Within five days a colonial form of the Chlorella appeared. It rapidly came to dominate the culture. The colony size ranged from 4 cells to 32 cells. Eventually it stabilized at 8 cells. This colonial form has persisted in culture for about a decade. The new form has been keyed out using a number of algal taxonomic keys. They key out now as being in the genus Coelosphaerium, which is in a different family from Chlorella."

(cite: Boraas, M. E. 1983. Predator induced evolution in chemostat culture. EOS. Transactions of the American Geophysical Union. 64:1102.
via http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html)

Or you could look at dogs, which have been bred (i.e. evolved under human selection rather than natural selection) for various traits which could be considered "more complex," for example pointing, or distinct facial features.

interestedJew said...

JA--Jews are still overwhelmingly liberal, and that goes for Jews who have made it, too.

Jewish Atheist said...

interestedJew:

True, but not the Orthodox Jews. They're turning.

interestedJew said...

yes they are, but this is mainly because they misguidedly supported bush because of his pro-israel stance.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie... May I suggest you read the judges verdict of the recent Dover ID trial to see (in great detail) just why ID shouldn't be taught in a Science class. Take a few days as it's quite long & detailed. I'm pretty sure it'll answer most of your questions.

It's available for download @

http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf

Laura said...

I remember having this same discussion with Sadie on my blog back in August and I believe we reached the philisophical agreement that ID and other religious theories are important to discuss in other subjects - social sciences, history, philosphy - but they're NOT science. Problem is that our education budget deficits are squeezing out these subjects at an alarming rate. Why don't we place all this fervor into pushing for better funded education?

Sure all subjects are connected in some way, but not at the grade and high-school levels. Kids, especially grade schoolers, aren't mature enough to process information that is so laced with nuance. Hell, most ADULTS can't grasp the complexities of every day philisophical discussions for chrissake...

CyberKitten said...

Laura said: Hell, most ADULTS can't grasp the complexities of every day philisophical discussions for chrissake...

It's a great pity that Critical Thinking & Philosophy aren't taught in schools... then we wouldn't constantly be having the same discussion - we could just laugh at ID & move on..

oracle25 said...

JA: These are examples of DNA reshuffling itself, it does not become more complex.

Cyberkitten: Scientific facts are not decided by judges.


Laura: ID is as much science as evolution.

Polls show (polls taken by evolutionists and creationists alike) that 80% of Americans want creation theories taught in the schools that there tax dollars fund.

Moreover the supreme court ruled that teaching creation is not a violation of the separation of church and state.

CyberKitten said...

Oracle25 said: Scientific facts are not decided by judges.

He decided whether or not ID was a science - and decided (on the evidence) it wasn't.

Oracle25 also said: ID is as much science as evolution.

Only if you define science in such a way so that it allows supernatural 'explanations'...

Jewish Atheist said...

oracle25:

"JA: These are examples of DNA reshuffling itself, it does not become more complex."

Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed response to my well-researched comment. /sarcasm. How in the world is it not more complex? Take the DNA sequence GTTA. Have an insertion mutation. It's now GTTCA. Is that not more complex?

Eric said...

oracle25:
Polls show (polls taken by evolutionists and creationists alike) that 80% of Americans want creation theories taught in the schools that there tax dollars fund.


"Tyranny of the majority" a concept you just wanna forget? Who's creation story would we teach? Yours? Norse Mythos? Greek? Aztec?

And last I checked, public opinion can't change facts.

Foilwoman said...

Oracle25: An example of evolution at work: Vaccine resistant tuberculosis and evolving flu viruses. These minuscule life forms evolve to beat the medicines we design to treat them. Similarly, butterflies and moths whose environments have changed colors (birch trees to dark trunked trees) change color (white to dark) to increase chances of survival. Evolution in action.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Oracle is not looking for the truth. My take on him is that he has no understanding of evolution, no understanding of geology, he thinks that science is a conspiracy, and may even be scared to do real research.

Jack's Shack said...

Some people prefer simple explanations because they don't like to think.

oracle25 said...

JA, I'm sorry if my answer seemed small, I guess I just wasn't aware that anyone took those ideas seriously anymore. It really is sad the misconceptions that come with that type of thinking

A) In order to become more complex new information must be created.

B) There have been no instances of new information being created.

C) What happens is that DNA creates new combinations of preexisting genes. These are usually made to conform to obstacles, take the obstacle away and the genes move back to there previous state in the next generation. These types of combinations are what cause the different type's of Dog species. Basically, DNA is designed to take the path of least resistance. Every species experiences this, it's what makes you who you are.

Eric - True, public opinion does not dictate facts. I do believe though that the American public is very intelligent (I know, this is a foreign concept to you liberals) I believe that they know what is best for them (this is also what the founders believed). The public knows a bogus theory when they see it, this is why evolutionists are having a hard time persuading students to accept it. There just too smart for that.

Chana said...

I think it's obvious to all that ID is not science, whereas the theory of evolution is indeed a scientific theory.

Hence, evolution would be taught in a science class, and intelligent design in a philosophy/ ethics/ religious class.

If a school had both classes (say, a Jewish school) then it works out fine.

Laura said...

And Oracle proved my last point...

Oracle: Tell you what - you people get your Intelligent Design and you will support my campaign to have the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory of creation taught along side it... after all, it's all "science" right?

Chana said...

Foilwoman- I am an ignorant person, so forgive me (supplicates) however, is the word there "evolution" or "mutation"?

Just because something mutates in order to beat a drug doesn't mean it's proof for evolutionary principles.

Genes mutate all the time. That's where Down's Syndrome is from. That would hardly be considered evolution, would it?

And if it would, does that mean evolution isn't always positive?

Or is there no difference between words, and evolution and mutation are the same?

Jack's Shack said...

There just too smart for that.

Or may they are not. The majority used to think that the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.

Just accept that you come from monkeys like the rest of us.

Foilwoman said...

Chana: Evolution isn't always change for the better. Things mutate and die off. Things mutate in a way that is beneficial in one context (for instance, most large mammals in South America, pre-reconnection with North America) that are not beneficial in another. See the movie "Darwin's Nightmare (a good film, too) about how species that fail to adapt to new invasive species dying out. Most megafauna in Australasia did not survive human arrival (the aborigines or the Maoria), and many mammals in Australia/Tasmania/New Zealand that survived humans didn't survive the arrival of Europeans. The Dodo in Mauritania. Species evolve and survive or evolve and die. Most mutations are actually bad, but some are good, and here's the clincher: depending on the circumstances. No guarantees.

Darwin's theory of evolution (exemplified by specialized life forms in the Galapagos Islands) is that whether a life form that remains constant or changes, of the constant or changing form, the one better suited to survive.

A horrible example in our lives today would be sickle cell anemia. Two sickle cell genes is a crippling mutation. One sickle cell genes give some resistance to malaria. A handy trait is equatorial Africa, and handy enough that people survive with the trait despite the very real downside of having two such genes. Having the sickle cell gene is an advantage in the context of living in an area where malaria is rife, but otherwise, it's a definite disadvantage.

Contrast that with Tay-Sachs disease. No advantage. (And my doubter's brain says, completely off topic: And a loving god would invent this horrible disease so one can watch one's child die horribly, why?).

Mutation and constancy are both part of evolution. In the malarial tropics, having a sickle cell gene makes you more likely to survive, and at the same time increases the chances of survival of offspring with one such gene, but decreases the chances of survival of children with two such genes. In non-malarial areas, a sickle cell gene is a genetic disadvantage.

It's not either/or. Since environments change all the time (either because the environment itself actually changes -- such as a change in weather patterns, increased pollution, or invasive alien species -- or because creatures leave one environment and move to another).

Evolution is neither positive nor negative. The stronger tend to survive, but that doesn't mean creatures get increasingly stronger. It could be, in some environments, that creatures get weaker and a creature that could be relatively weaker ends up being the strongest because other species that were once "stronger" in certain environments died off.

For instance, most larger sharks were pretty immune from large scale predation until this century. They do not reproduce all that quickly. They may not survive human predation. We still can look like lunch to them when we're swimming (actually, we probably look like a bony-none-too-tasty snack except when surfing when we look like nice tasty chubby seals), and should not forget it, but unless we manage to obliterate ourselves, we'll probably cause the large shark's extinction pretty soon.

I would say to you, Chana, that evolution is value neutral, which is probably why it gets many devout religious people in such a tizzy. There is no paradise at the end of evolution. Sometimes, just a once fertile lake barren of all the foodstuffs that fed the people around it (again, see "Darwin's Nightmare" at a limited run theater near you).

CyberKitten said...

Chana said: Or is there no difference between words, and evolution and mutation are the same?

This is my understanding...

Life produces far more offspring than can possibly survive to repoducable age. If all the eggs from a cod survived, reproduced and survived we'd be able to walk across the Atlantic on the backs of fish in a few short years. Obviously this doesn't happen. Why not?

Most of the eggs never produce adults. That's because not all of them have the 'fitness' to survive in any particular environment... But those who are well adapted to their environment survive and breed. The difference between survival or being something else's lunch might be a mutation.

Mutations are random changes in DNA brought about by different processes. Some are advantageous, some are neutral but most are disadvantageous. Offspring with 'bad' genes are less likely to survive (for instance being an albino zebra is rather life threatening), offspring with 'good' genes (for instance better eyesight to spot predators quicker than your brothers/sisters) tend to survive long enough to breed whilst offspring with 'neutral' genes takes their chances.

This is called 'natural selection' - nature/the environment is 'selecting' those creatures that are well adapted to their environment and 'selecting against' those that are poorly adapted.

Mutation & the variation it causes is the raw material of evolution. The process of natural selection works on this raw material to produce creatures that are 'fitted' for their environment.

I think that's a fair explanation...

Eric said...


Eric - True, public opinion does not dictate facts. I do believe though that the American public is very intelligent (I know, this is a foreign concept to you liberals)


I won't be baited into a red-blue characterization. By your own admission public opinion has nothing to do with the facts. The public had a hard time accepting the sun as the center of the solar system for a long time, but they've since come around. Both an earth centered solar system and creationism make 'common' sense. From an earth-bound frame of reference a layperson can't help but conclude that the sun revolves around the earth. Similarly, without an appreciation of the time scales and genomic complexity involved, it's difficult for Joe Public to look at nature and not see design, as opposed to the product of rolling the dice an infinite number of times.

Foilwoman said...

Eric: Even if the ID proponents win this round (which I hope they don't) and ID becomes the "alternative" "theory" taught in schools regarding evolution, it will be like the Catholic Church's victory over Galileo. Galileo was forced to recant his theory (which it was, although based on scientific observation) that the earth moved around the sun and not vice versa. The Church changed neither Galileo's conclusions (as he left the tribunal, he was heard muttering "but it still moves" -- meaning the earth and its rotation and orbit) nor the underlying truth of his observations.

I wonder whether any of the anti-evolution/anti-biology crowd will put their own health where their mouths are and forgo any and all vaccines and medicines based on the premises that diseases mutate to gain resistance to vaccines and medicines (in an example of survival of the fittest at the viral and bacterial level). I hope they do get appropriate and scientifically sound treatment for their health, but I don't have much hope for any great doctors coming out of such a bunch if the evolutionary nature of such actions escapes them (and the hypocrisy of their actions is something to which they remain blind).

raisedwithholidaysbutnoreligion said...

I think that what we're all after in the end is truth. This is best served by letting theories battle it out in the marketplace of ideas.
In the past, it was (some) religions which opposed this. Now it is the athiests it.
Perhaps somebody lacks the courage of their convictions. Otherwise, why not let the absurd (such as the once-absurd idea that the Sun revolves around the Earth) die of its own accord?

David said...

JA, I agree with your conclusion that ID isn't science but I don't think it has anything to do with falsifiability. Evolution is a theory that accounts for data and is not observable in and of itself. It's not falsifiable either. One may demonstrate its inability to explain certain data but that alone wouldn't falsify evolutionary theory.

The reason ID isn't science is because it explains nothing. That evolution may have been guided by a divine hand, even if true, doesn't account for any data at all. It merely suggests an explanation for evolutionary theory's weak points.

CyberKitten said...

David said: Evolution is a theory that accounts for data and is not observable in and of itself.

Evolution has been directly observed many times. How do you think drug resistant bacteria keep emerging?

David also said: It's not falsifiable either.

Yes it is. Finding the skeleton of a fully formed mammal like a rabbit millions of years before mammals evolved would blow evolution completely out of the water.

Eric said...

I think that what we're all after in the end is truth. This is best served by letting theories battle it out in the marketplace of ideas.
In the past, it was (some) religions which opposed this. Now it is the athiests it.


As has been pointed out numerous times here and elsewhere, a theory in science isn't like a theory in a Nancy-Drew mystery. When the general public hears theory, they take it as a synonym for hypothesis. A theory in scientific parlance is " a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses";

A scientific theory therefore has already gone through what you would term "the marketplace of ideas". If evolution was still just a hypothesis, I'd have no issue with it being taught along other hypotheses.

CyberKitten said...

eric said: a theory in science isn't like a theory in a Nancy-Drew mystery.

Now THAT is laugh out loud funny... Thanks for that. Brilliant!

Jewish Atheist said...

oracle25:

Is it your position that insertion mutations (e.g. AGGT --> AGGCT) never happen? Do you think that they are never passed on to viable offspring?

If you don't believe those things, than how is it that you claim AGGCT is not more complex than AGGT?

Robert West said...

JA:
My compliments on your "challange"
It seems to have hit a nerve.
Cyberkitten is a trooper--my respects and that applies to 2 or 3
others."Creation Science" had to be
tossed out of public schools by the
Supreme Court and ID has now suffered a serious defeat in Dover
PA in Federal Court.That 139 page
decision made my day.But the response to your challange proves
what scientists have already concluded;Christian Fundamentalists
/creationist/ID people cannot be
debated because it boils down to a debate with ignorantpeople who have been threatened by Science
since the 19th century. I agree with Sam Harris that protestant
fundamentalists are as dangerous
to science, reason and freedom as
are Islamic fundamentalists and
just as repressive,dangerous and
deranged as the Jihadists who would
take us back to the 9th century IF
they had the power...
RW

Jewish Atheist said...

Cyberkitten: "David also said: It's not falsifiable either.

Yes it is. Finding the skeleton of a fully formed mammal like a rabbit millions of years before mammals evolved would blow evolution completely out of the water."

Excellent point. Finding a fossil of ANY organism from way before its ancestor's would falsify evolution.

I would add that finding an organism in a place and time which it could not have been (like finding a kangaroo fossil from 2000 years ago in North America) would also falsify evolution. There is nothing which could even in theory falsify ID. No matter what scientists discover, IDers can always claim Goddidit. That's a big reason why it's not science. (Using supernatural explanations is another.)

oracle25 said...

I believe such fossils have been found, I shall try to track down the information.

Of course I know for sure that they have found human footprints in billion (estimating) year old rocks.

CyberKitten said...

Oracle25 said: Of course I know for sure that they have found human footprints in billion (estimating) year old rocks.

Didn't the guy who did them admit they were fakes? I remember reading that somewhere.........

Foilwoman said...

Oracle25, you never responded to my earlier examples of evolution occurring while we watch. The footprints in rock were fakes, although there have, I believe been some obviously painfully made footprints in volcanic rock. But that rock is newer. Much newer.

raisedwithholidaysbutnoreligion said...

I honestly don't know much about the specifics of ID. I guess the problem I have with the way evolution is taught is that it seems to be shaded to say that if evolution is true, then everything is merely chance, and that humans are nothing more than random products of a process. This is a false conclusion with NO BASIS WHATSOEVER.

Surely, if God wanted to use evolution, or any other means, to create Man, He could do so.

All I'm saying is don't teach evolution as if it proves there is no God.

Again, I contend that those who attempt to stifle others in opinions that they may consider absurd, lack the courage of their convictions.

CyberKitten said...

Evolution only 'crosses swords' with a belief in God if you believe the literal interpretation of Genesis. If you think Genesis is just a story (one of many, many creation myths) then you shouldn't have a problem.

But you will get a problem if you believe in some kind of guiding hand or if you're a young Earther. That's when you're going to have real problems with evolution. If you're a Deist you'll have no problem at all.

As to evolution being random.. If I had a penny for everytime I hreard THIS 'argument'...

Evolution is NOT random. Mutations are random. Natural selection then selects (non-randomly) the 'best fitted' to survive in any particular environment. If evolution where a purely random process we'd still probably be gloop in shallow pools.... then again if physics were purely random there wouldn't be an Earth to evolve on.. probably.

Jewish Atheist said...

it seems to be shaded to say that if evolution is true, then everything is merely chance, and that humans are nothing more than random products of a process.

It isn't taught this way, and I agree that it shouldn't be.

Foilwoman said...

The theory of evolution as it was refined through observation over time says nothing about the deity. If the observations are incorrect, one can point out the errors. If one's understanding of the nature of god leads one to believe that god and evolution can't exist side by side, isn't it possible that the human fallibility could exist in the interpretation of Genesis (or any other religious doctrine regarding the birth of the universe.

If god does exist, that existence wasn't challenged by Galileo's discovery that the sun doesn't revolve around the earth. The understanding that the universe isn't necessarily centered on us doesn't make the Bible 'wrong'; just subject to different interpretation.

Foilwoman said...

Oh, and JA: I'm very clumsy. If I wore high heels and were running down a flight of stairs, I think I could be the visual aid used to teach IF.

faithfulthinker said...

raisedwithholidaysbutnoreligion(now known as faithfulthinker) said ...

it seems to be shaded to say that if evolution is true, then everything is merely chance, and that humans are nothing more than random products of a process.

JA replied

It isn't taught this way, and I agree that it shouldn't be.

Follows a quote by cyberkitten from a previous discussion:

People fought against the idea that the Earth revolved around the Sun & not the other way around. They're still fighting against Evolution because it means that we're just another species amongst many.

We need to accept the fact that we're just another animal, on an average bit of rock, revolving around a middling Sun in a nothing special Galaxy amongst billions of others.


Cyberkitten's comments tend to affirm my assertion that athiests like the way religion is taught because it favors their (religious) viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

From the previous post, please replace the word "religion" in the last paragraph with "evolution".

Sorry about that.

Jewish Atheist said...

faithfulthinker,

Cyberkitten's comments tend to affirm my assertion that athiests like the way [evolution] is taught because it favors their (religious) viewpoint.

Evolution is simply factual. I'll freely admit that my belief that there is no God is a mere belief -- I cannot prove it. However, evolution has as much evidence as any scientific theory out there -- we want it taught in science class because it's the unifying theory of biology. Virtually everything we know today about biology makes sense only in light of evolution.

Additionally, the majority of Americans who believe in evolution also believe in God, so clearly evolution doesn't inexorably lead one to atheism.

oracle25 said...

foilwoman said: You never responded to my earlier examples of evolution occurring while we watch. The footprints in rock were fakes, although there have, I believe been some obviously painfully made footprints in volcanic rock. But that rock is newer. Much newer.

A) Your right I never did respond to your claim of evolution. These arguments are ones that have been used for some time by evolutionists. In cases of bacterial resistances no new information is created (evolutionists admit this) and even in many cases decreases information. Such is the case with butterflies. Again no new information is produced.

B) I have not heard that the footprints are fake. Even if one was, however, such footprints have been found in Kentucky, Missouri, Utah, Arizona, and possibly other places.

Foilwoman said...

Oracle: (A) It's still evolution. The bacteria evolve to evade eradication by vaccine or medicine. Losing a chromosone or adding one, anything that changes the genetic chain is natural selection in process. No biologists posit that life must get increasingly complex (or increasingly perfect). Evolution is about organisms of all types struggling to survive. If they survive through simplification, so be it. Many species lose features through evolutions (whales lost their legs, for example, and many bats lost sight as they used echolocation) diminishment sometimes is just less, sometimes it's accompanied by other features, but any genetic change that increases or decreases chances of survival is an example of evolution. You are simply changing the definition of evolution to say that viral mutation isn't evolution. It is, except in religious circles, but you guys aren't the ones engineering (or intelligently designing) the new vaccines and medicines, and until you provide them for my kids like loaves and fishes, I'm going to vote for the people at NIH who do.

(B) Crop circles are fake. Those footprints are fake. The Mormon tablets were fake or non-existant. The Loch Ness monster photo was a fake. The Bigfoot photos were fake. Astrology's a fake. Numerology is a fake. The alien autopsy is a fake. None of these are worthy of debate. I'm not going to spend time explaining that urban legends and hoaxes are the untruths they appear to be. I wish God, if he exisited, could get some proponents with decent critical thinking skills. It really makes him look bad.

Sadie Lou said...

Foilwoman said...I wish God, if he exisited, could get some proponents with decent critical thinking skills. It really makes him look bad.

Obviously you don't spend a lot of time in Christian literature, either fiction or non fiction, because there have been great minds of the Christian faith since the beginning...

Foilwoman said...

Sadie Lou: St. Augustine, Paul Tillich, Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis, and many others are good or great authors who I enjoy reading. I don't see their equivalent in modern times, and would very much like to. No, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren just doesn't reach that level. Not even close.

I'm always looking for more interesting and thoughtful authors, however. I'd be happy to check out any you recommend. I certainly can't claim that what I've read encompasses the universe of what's out there, or that I know all of the current great religious writers that exist. I most definitely don't. So by all means, share.

Sadie Lou said...

No, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren just doesn't reach that level. Not even close.

I'm sorry to have to say this because I never like to attack a believer but PLEASE do not assume that all Christians read that fluffy fodder. Seriously. Here are some links to some Christians that my husband and I admire:

John Piper:
http://desiringgod.org/

excerpt:
http://desiringgod.org/library/fresh_words/2005/index.html
choose any one of those articles and I'm sure you'd be impressed.

Wayne Grudem

Wayne Grudem is a Protestant theologian and author.
Grudem holds a BA from Harvard University, a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. In 2001, Grudem became Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he was also the chairman of the Department of Biblical and Systematic Theology. Grudem is currently on the staff at Phoenix Seminary as Research Professor of Bible and Theology, Arizona.
Grudem served on the committee overseeing the English Standard Version translation of the Bible, and in 1999 he was the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He is the author of, among other books, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, which advocates a Calvinistic soteriology, the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, the body-soul dichotomy in the nature of man, and the complementarian (rather than egalitarian) view of gender equality.
Grudem holds Charismatic beliefs and is a member of the Vineyard Movement and one of its main apologists and spokespeople.

--Wikipedia
There's lots of external links on wikipedia. I've read a lot of his books too.

Beth Moore
http://www.lproof.org/mission.asp

R.C.Sproul
His study Renewing Your Mind--reminds Christians to think with a critical mind...
http://www.ligonier.org/radio/index.php

Those are just a few Christians I admire and love to read. I'm reading a fiction trilogy right now that I plan to do a review of soon on my blog. There a many news personalities that I love but the people I listed here are mainly authors/preachers...I hope you take the time to browse their websites.

Jewish Atheist said...

Foilwoman, I highly recommend Meditations from the Mat, by Rolf Gates. He's a Christian and a Yoga instructor and he's wise, open-minded, and compassionate. I'm thinking about writing about him for that "theist I admire" post I owe Sadie Lou.

If you want to read a nearly atheistic Christian, you might want to check out Spong. Or, for politics, check out Jimmy Carter's latest book.

Foilwoman said...

Sadie Lou & JA: Thanks. Next time I'm at McKay's (a great used bookstore in Centreville, Virginia where they give you credit for the books you turn in so you can "buy" new (to you) books without spending money, I'll check for these authors. I'll try the library, too, except I might be on their summary execution list for excessive overdue fines.

Sadie Lou said...

Sounds good. Keep us updated.