Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The False Beauty of Intelligent Design

Chana posts an ode to intelligent design from Sing, You Righteous by R' Avigdor Miller:
(Mr. Goodfriend is entertaining Eliezer and his younger brother Aaron on the back porch. Watermelon is being served.)

G. Last year I visited a farm in the South and I saw watermelons growing alongside the steps of the Negro workers' cottages.

Aaron. Why did they plant them near the steps?

G. They did not. In the evenings they had held watermelon feasts on their steps, and the slippery seeds had shot in all directions just as they do here. That is the purpose of their slipperiness.

A. Do you say that they are purposefully slippery? Is that not merely due to the moisture of the melon?

G. Rub the melon water between your fingers: it is not slippery. The seeds are coated with a slippery mucus which causes them to fly out under pressure.

A. Then why are only watermelon seeds slippery, but not orange seeds?

G. The watermelon seeds are palatable, and must therefore be protected by making them elusive. The orange pips are bitter and therefore need no protection. That is the purpose of their bitterness.

Eliezer. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture says so in one of its publications on the orange.

A. You say, Sir, that the bitterness is for the intentional purpose of protecting the pips. This implies that the orange tree knows that there are eaters, and therefore intentionally makes its seeds bitter. The tree, then, also knows that the eaters dislike bitterness.

Eliezer. And it implies also that the orange and the watermelon know that the future of their species depends on the protection of the seeds.

A. The biology teachers would be outraged at such language.

E. What else could anyone say, whether he wished or not?

A. If the melon is entirely purposeful, why is its flesh colored red?

E. When your mother makes ice cream, why does she color it? The color enhances the pleasure of eating.

A. You are now implying that the watermelon knows also that the eaters have eyes, and it knows that the eaters are not colorblind.

G. And it knows that the eaters relish sweets, for it sugars the flesh of the melon. You are also forced to admit that it knows how to mix starches and acids, colors and flavors, all in exact proportion, and cooks them in the sunshine until ready to eat.

E. A master chef!

G. It is superior to the best of chefs. The chef is supplied beforehand with all the materials; whereas the plant creates a masterpiece from nothing but water, air, sunlight and soil.

E. It is also evident that it is careful to waste no materials. The red color stops at the rind.

G. Yes. A colored rind would be misleading, for the eater might be tempted and cause himself stomach cramps. Only the edible part is colored.

A. Are you crediting the watermelon with so much intelligence? Perhaps its purpose is merely to produce seeds.

G. That in itself is enormously purposeful. But the seeds do not need the meat of the melon, for each seed is provided with its own store of food within its jacket. This food in the seed-jacket is colorless and unsweetened, for the seed does not need an attractive color or luscious flavor such as the watermelon-meat possesses.

E. The melon proclaims as clearly as could be that it is intended for eaters. The seeds of the fruits and vegetables are provided with their own supply of food, and the kind of food which they need, inside the seed. Therefore the meat of the fruit clearly has no purpose other than to be eaten.

A. And the color of the orange flesh?

G. It causes the eater increased enjoyment.

A. To say that the melon wishes to protect the eater against stomach cramps, seems too imaginative.

G. Do you not see that all unripe fruits are green? Why?

A. That is their natural color.

G. Then why do apples turn red when ripe, and not before? Why do oranges turn yellow only when ripe, and grapes turn purple? In ripeness they have various colors, but when unripe all are green. Why?

E. You can say nothing else: to protect the eaters from stomachache. The green warns them.

G. The green causes the fruits to be inconspicuous among the green leaves. The unripe fruit remains unnoticeable, in addition to remaining unattractive, as long as it is unfit for eating. The ripe fruit assumes a bright color in order 1) to make it conspicuous among the green leaves and 2) to make it attractive to the eaters.

A. You attribute very much intelligence to all plants.

G. Yes. The fruit tree knows 1) of eaters 2) who have eyes 3) which distinguish colors; and 4) who possess stomachs, and 5) who have the senses of smell and taste, and 6) dislike sour food but 7) relish sweets flavored by gentle acids, and 8) whose digestive systems are equipped with complex chemical processes with which the tree is familiar. The tree knows also that 9) the eaters possess teeth and 10) that they have no wings with which to fly.

She and Ezzie think this is the best thing ever.

I'm actually embarrassed for them. It's one thing to think that God had a hand in evolution; quite another to act like you've never even heard of Darwin!

If they liked that, I've got a video that will blow their minds:



For an elegant, readable, even beautiful explanation of the "intelligence" behind evolution, I recommend Richard Dawkins's The Blind Watchmaker or The Selfish Gene.

Evolution is way more beautiful and way more mind-blowing when you realize that it doesn't need some magic sky fairy to guide it.

55 comments:

Chana said...

Firstly, of course I've heard of evolution. Secondly, I have no problem with people who hold by the theory of evolution (evolution and the existence of God are not incompatible.)

However, I believe in God, and thus, however the world came to be, I believe God guided it toward that end. Why precisely that makes you embarrassed for me, I am unsure. Neither do I comprehend why you seem to find meaning in crusading against others religious beliefs. Why not be happy that you live your way, I live my way, and all is well? Much of what you write focuses on what *others* think or believe that you disagree with or find to be nonsense. Why spend time doing that? It seems odd to focus so much time on that instead of finding the areas in which we are compatible as human beings on this earth.

Off the Derech said...

Ah, R' Miller. The one known for saying, "Evolution isn't science, it isn't even a theory, it's simply an insanity!"

Holy Hyrax said...

Don't look now, but Chana MAY be that Nazi Garnel.

Off the Derech said...

How relevant HH!

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Yeah, anti-evolutionary and very early age of the earth theories are obviously of Christian origin, and don't necisarily represent the ideology of the author and early followers of the Hebrew bible..

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Chana: I think it's like a f--king popularity contest to them or something (so the more provocative the better etc)..

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Well, …getting back to the first comment I made (to rephrase): I’ve always believed that it’s a bit silly to “believe” in evolution” or not. It’s better to say; the evolutionary theory has perhaps less holes in it than anti-evolutionary theory (though that’s not totally clear either), yet whether it’s true or not represents nothing about the existence of the Deity or the veracity of the bible…

Jewish Atheist said...

Chana:

Firstly, of course I've heard of evolution. Secondly, I have no problem with people who hold by the theory of evolution (evolution and the existence of God are not incompatible.)

Are you saying you don't "hold by" the theory of evolution?

However, I believe in God, and thus, however the world came to be, I believe God guided it toward that end.

But your story makes it sound like God micromanaged the watermelon in terms of the slipperiness of its seeds, the color of its fruit and rind, etc., while evolution neatly explains the same process without divine micromanagement.

If Eliezer asked Mr. Goodfriend why apples fall from the tree, would Mr. Goodfriend say, "Well, if they hung in the air, it would be hard for people to reach them, and the apples know that, so they fall to the ground?" Or would he say, you know, gravity?

Why precisely that makes you embarrassed for me, I am unsure.

Because this is way beneath you.

Neither do I comprehend why you seem to find meaning in crusading against others religious beliefs. Why not be happy that you live your way, I live my way, and all is well?

1) If all was well, then maybe I wouldn't. But all is not well. You yourself admitted, for example, that you oppose some rights for gay people because of (and only because of) your religious beliefs. And kids are indoctrinated with this stuff. Do you know how many people I know personally who suffered because of it?

2) There are ten religious people out there crusading *for* religious beliefs for every one crusading against. Why is it ok for you to post this ID story but not ok for me to respond?

Much of what you write focuses on what *others* think or believe that you disagree with or find to be nonsense. Why spend time doing that? It seems odd to focus so much time on that instead of finding the areas in which we are compatible as human beings on this earth.

I think the free exchange of ideas is essential to humanity and human understanding. I think the more fair-minded debate, the better for everybody. Unless you're going to argue that we're all better off being deluded (which, to be fair, some people do argue) you should agree.

And I think it's doubly important that people argue against religions like Orthodox Judaism because Orthodox Judaism does such a thorough job of limiting argument within its sheltered walls. Those of you brave enough or independent enough to venture out into the larger intellectual world should be challenged, not coddled.

Why me? Why do I personally do it? Well, because I was once like you. I believed in the things you believe. And I now know that I was wrong then. It's because of people who chose to focus on other people's beliefs that I was able to grow intellectually and come (I think) much closer to a true understanding of the world.

I don't know, I just see a false belief or a bad argument and I can't help myself. Maybe it's just a quirk of mine. But I can't stand to see a smart person believe something I know to be wrong and not try to convince them of it.

None of that is incompatible with trying to find common ground as human beings and I've tried to keep that balance as best as I can. I don't run around alienating my Orthodox friends and family by being nasty to them. When we do debate, I always strive to fight fair and not make things personal.

I was condescending towards you and Ezzie when I said I was embarrassed for you, and for that I apologize. I've always treated you in particular, Chana, a little differently because you burst into the blogging world brilliant and inquisitive and compassionate and with a strong independent streak.

So when I say I'm embarrassed for you it's because I know you're so much better than this just-so story. You're smart enough to at least wrestle with Darwin. This story is for children or unsophisticated adults. There are a hundred better arguments for theistic evolution than this. This is just nonsense.

apikores said...

"The biology teachers would be outraged at such language"

Facepalm! I too am embarrassed for anyone who finds this stuff clever. Have these people not heard of natural selection?

Orthoprax said...

I used to constantly argue with creationists on the web, but I can't debate evolution with such people anymore. It's gotten to the point that I can no longer understand why people promote what seems to me purely a matter of ideologically-based ignorance. It's not that they disagree with evolution, they simply do not understand it.

Holy Hyrax said...

JA

Do you also feel embarrassed that she believes in God? What about the divinity of Torah? Is evolution something really worth putting on a pedestal that you would feel compelled enough to judge someone disfavorably over?

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

It's not the conclusion, it's the argument.

Ezzie said...

LOL - "so much better" is so much less condescending.

You miss the point. The Q is not "how" things got to be, it's *why* they did. Evolutionary theory doesn't explain *why* on all of these things.

Orthoprax said...

"Evolutionary theory doesn't explain *why* on all of these things."

Yes it does. Because these are traits that led to differential reproductive success. This is even more basic than how.

random said...

This is one of those ones were I side with JA. I can't read one of those creationist apologias without feeling an overwhelming need to nitpick them to death, but on this occasion I'll confine myself to just one.

The mucus covering of the melon side isn't to make it slip through your fingers - it's to protect it as it passes through the eater's digestive tract before emerging from the other end several miles away and wrapped in it's own nice fresh package of fertiliser. Creationists however for some reason do not feel that "it's all about poop" is an explanation that adequately reflects the grandeur of a micromanaging deity, so they come up with this sort of thing instead.

"For an elegant, readable, even beautiful explanation of the "intelligence" behind evolution, I recommend Richard Dawkins's The Blind Watchmaker or The Selfish Gene."

Let me add "The Ancestor's Tale" to that list, a tale of the history of life on earth that operates on such a vast scale that the dinosaurs get barely a couple of paragraphs. Dawkins is someone who, when he sticks to stuff he knows, really is almost as smart as he thinks he is. Unfortunately he thinks that being that smart in something makes him that smart in everything, with somewhat unfortunate results.

Shlomo (is that right? I'm relying on google translate to deal with the Hebrew) - Charles Darwin was an atheist and evolution is a product of the enlightenment, not Christianity.

"Evolution is way more beautiful and way more mind-blowing when you realize that it doesn't need some magic sky fairy to guide it. "

You know, I really don't mind you atheists thinking us believers are superstitious idiots. I'm not always that complementary about you guys, after all - I just wish the creationists would stop providing you with quite so much ammunition:-/

Sadie Lou said...

"You know, I really don't mind you atheists thinking us believers are superstitious idiots. I'm not always that complementary about you guys, after all - I just wish the creationists would stop providing you with quite so much ammunition:-/"

Random, I hear where you're coming from. This kind of assumptive reasoning on behalf of Creationists bothers me too. However, is it all that much different that some of Evolutionists' wackier theories?
For one, scientists have concluded that around 140,000 years ago in Kenya, there lived a woman called Mitochondrial Eve--named because today, every living human on Earth has her mitochondrial DNA in their body. Wow. Liberals and Atheists are also known to be big Science Fiction fans, too right?

jewish philosopher said...

Evolution is BS.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

random: Perhaps I was a bit too brief; I said the idea that evolutionary theory somehow refutes the existence of G-d or the veracity of the bible is of Christian origin, not evolutionary theory itself. And according to what I understand, Darwin himself was a Deist, and didn't see how the belief in "natural selection" made him "less religious" (in the same way that Galileo and Copernicus didn't see their theories as making them "less religious".

In other words; saying "evolution is correct, therefore religion is false" is just as absurd as saying "the world turns around the sun, hence there is no G-d". It is a matter to be dealt by scientists alone, and it's being proven correct or incorrect has no effect on religion. The same as the "age of the universe" and "big bang" issues; their truth or falsity means nothing in regards to whether there was a being who put initial matter into existence, or whether the traditions of the Hebrews are authentic...

(It is evident to me that most atheistic arguments are far too rooted in things which have nothing to do with G-d or religion. Like saying "G-d as represented in the bible is violent". "The religions are violent" etc; like I just said, these round-about points have no bearing on the existence of G-d or whether the religions are authentic.)

Orthoprax said...

"However, is it all that much different that some of Evolutionists' wackier theories?
For one, scientists have concluded that around 140,000 years ago in Kenya, there lived a woman called Mitochondrial Eve"

Hmm, Sadie, I wonder, can you explain to me how scientists came to that conclusion in the first place?

Random said...

Sadie,

Would be interested in why you think Mitochondrial Eve is so whacky. It's based on what is really a very simple idea - you've got two parents. And so have they, which means you've got four grandparents. Likewise for the grandparents, giving you eight great-grandparents, and so on.

Go back ten generations gives you a thousand ancestors. Go back 20, you're talking about a million. Go back 30 - a thousand million. Not just you, but me, JA and everybody else. At a very modest rate of 3 generations a century 30 generations is about a thousand years.

Now here's the thing - the total world population around the year 1000AD is estimated at only just over 300 million. Obviously an awful lot of those 1 billion are going to be the same individuals appearing hundreds of times, and just as obviously an awful lot of the people in my billion are going to be in your billion (hiya cousin:-)), although possibly not JA's and Chana's given the restrictions on intermarriage in Jewish tradition.

The further back in time you go, the more common ancestors you and I will have, and the fewer people there will be who do not share common ancestors with us. Eventually you are almost certainly going to come to a point where the number of potential ancestors are so large and the population at that time so small that there will have to be someone who appears in every single family tree of someone living today. All mitochondrial DNA does is provide a way of measuring when this is. It's got nothing to do with the biblical Eve, it's just a cool label to attach to the last common female ancestor.

BTW I've emailed you my new address, thanks for asking:-)

Shlomo, post-Christian I'd say because obviously if you're in the business of refuting the existence of god then you're not a Christian. But yes, that's a better way of putting it.

Holy Hyrax said...

Intereseting article

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/a-skull-that-rewrites-the-history-of-man-1783861.html

Sadie Lou said...

Wait, people (Believers and non Believers) actually believe in the possibility that we all stemmed from one female ancestor?
Wacky.
*wink*

apikores said...

Sadie,

I'm not sure if this is what you meant, but the existence of a common maternal ancestor is not the same thing as saying that at one time there was only one woman in existence.

Think of your maternal grandmother, for example. Let's call her Bessie and say she has three children and twelve grandchildren. Consider the set of these fifteen people, call it Set A. The most recent matrilineal common ancestor of Set A is Bessie, however Bessie was not the only person in existence when she gave birth. If you include more people in Set A then you'll have to go back more generations to find the most recent common ancestor. If you include all the people now living in Set A you'll have to go back to mitochondrial eve (by definition, she is the most recent matrilineal common ancestor to all living humans).

Do you still think this is a wacky idea? It is really just a definition, since any two (or more) people must share at least one common ancestor (if this were not so, that would really be wacky).

Orthoprax said...

Sadie,

"Wait, people (Believers and non Believers) actually believe in the possibility that we all stemmed from one female ancestor?
Wacky."

I don't know if you are being serious or not, but this idea is well founded in science and has good basis for being so. The onus falls to you to understand why it is taken seriously before you dismiss it.

A key distinction that you may not be understanding is that a single common ancestor is not equivalent to being a sole ancestor.

Sadie Lou said...

So much is lost in translation here. I'm generally a sarcastic, jovial person and it's not coming across by my words--I should know better by now.
Thanks, several of you, who have explained all this to me--really.
What I'm saying is that there are wacky ideas from both camps that require personal faith to accept as truth--because quite honestly, I have looked at both sides equally. I have only been a Christian for 10 years or so--I grew up in an agnostic household and I was pretty atheistic throughout high school and into my early 20s.
I've spent more time in my life being cynical towards Christianity, at this point, than accepting.
I'm not a collage graduate and I haven't studied science in depth or to any higher education--but I do know that both Evolutionists and Creationists have very powerful arguments and some not so convincing ones.
If Evolution was "all that" then there wouldn't be any debating. We would all be forced to believe it because of all the overwhelming facts-but I'm sorry--when it comes to how this earth we stand on was formed--nobody is acting sans faith.

lvnsm said...

I remember hearing a documentary in which a group of scientists mentioned about accident vs. design. They said that one scenario is that a group of proteins in a pool of liquid was struck by lightning and that started the proccess.
And the other scenario is that a Intelligent Designer made life.

Some people say that the cell started simple and became complex. However, the inviduals in the video mention that in order for a cell to work, it needs to have all it's parts. And so it was complex from the beginning. Therefore, even if something like electricity started the process of the proteins connecting, it wouldn't have become like this with all it's complexities in it

Here's the documentary
click here

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: I'm not a collage graduate and I haven't studied science in depth or to any higher education--but I do know that both Evolutionists and Creationists have very powerful arguments and some not so convincing ones.

Both Sadie? *Both*? Say it ain't so! I can't think of a singular Creationist 'argument' that could be called merely adequate never mind very powerful!

Sadie Lou said...

Cyberkitten,
You're not the last word on what's a powerful argument or not, though. If it was as black and white as you presume it to be-we wouldn't even be having these conversations.
Just because you've seared your mind against anything that you can't hold in your hand doesn't mean they aren't powerful arguments.

Orthoprax said...

Sadie,

"If it was as black and white as you presume it to be-we wouldn't even be having these conversations."

Does that really make sense to you? Do you also think the flat earthers and Holocaust denying parties are also onto something merely because they debate it?

Among the professional biology scientist-types, there is no debate of creationism vs evolution.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: Just because you've seared your mind against anything that you can't hold in your hand doesn't mean they aren't powerful arguments.

You mean just because I go with the compelling *evidence* rather than spurious nonsense?

Yup, that's me - part of the *reality* based community..... [laughs]

Sadie Lou said...

Orthopax--
"Among the professional biology scientist-types, there is no debate of creationism vs evolution."

You don't really believe that do you? I don't know how you can make statements like that-you don't know all the professional biology scientists types out there. I guess they don't teach science in Christian Collages too, right?
You labor under your own illusions.

Cyberkitten,
"You mean just because I go with the compelling *evidence* rather than spurious nonsense?

Yup, that's me - part of the *reality* based community....."

You mean, your own reality? Just because you pretend something isn't there doesn't make it so.
You reality based community is just fine pretending there isn't a white elephant in the room--if that's reality for you--so be it.
:)

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: You labor under your own illusions.

Oh... the irony.....

Sadie said: You mean, your own reality?

[laughs] Hardly! Evolution is pretty much cut and dried....

Sadie said: Just because you pretend something isn't there doesn't make it so.

You mean God? I certainly don't *pretend* He isn't there - but simply follow the (total) lack of evidence to conclude He isn't there - along with unicorns, ghosts and the plethora of other fantasy figures.

Sadie said: You reality based community is just fine pretending there isn't a white elephant in the room--if that's reality for you--so be it.

[Looks around room] Nope. No White Elephant in here.....

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Orthoprax: You know as well as I do that the likes of Einsten, Hawking and countless others are staunch Deists and Theists. If anything those who don't beleive in a creator are the minority, ..and even they are usually so due soley to socialogical and not physiological reasons..

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

For the record: Again, Atheists: I'm looking for refutations to 'primordial matter' argument (i.e. that original matter could not have brought itself into existence or have existed forever)..? (I've yet to hear something overwhelmingly convincing)..

Orthoprax said...

Sadie,

"You don't really believe that do you? I don't know how you can make statements like that-you don't know all the professional biology scientists types out there."

Are you serious? Please find, if you can for me, any kind of respectable scientific journal where any evolution vs creation debate is taking place between scientists. You will not find one.

"I guess they don't teach science in Christian Collages too, right?
You labor under your own illusions."

What some individuals do in their own homes is irrelevant to the point that there simply is no scientific debate. To find one would be akin to physicists debating geocentrism vs heliocentrism. Of course there may be the weird physicist at some Christian college who argues geocentrism in class, who knows?


Hashbar,

"Orthoprax: You know as well as I do that the likes of Einsten, Hawking and countless others are staunch Deists and Theists."

That is irrelevant in the extreme. The question of God (particularly the kind Einstein and Hawkings believe(d) in) has no bearing on the theory of evolution.

The Zombieslayer said...

First off, I do believe in evolution. Secondly, evolution has nothing to do with whether or not a God or Goddess or Gods exist. Darwin himself was a Deist and he was simply trying to figure out what God was thinking.

3rd, I really hate evolution vs creationism arguments because they're like abortion. They start off friendly, then they get heated. Then they resort to personal attacks. Then people start screaming and nobody's listening.

There's an old saying that says "God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason." I think it applies here.

If there was more listening and less name calling, this argument could be more interesting.

As I've said, I actually do believe in evolution, but it's NOT cut and dried. It's a mess. Tell me, for those who believe in evolution - are we or are we not related to the Neanderthals? Now, which is correct - we are homo sapiens sapiens and the Neanderthals are homo sapiens neanderthalis; or are we two completely unrelated species? Now, explain to me if we killed them off or interbred with them? Now, explain to me why they disappeared.

I challenge anyone who believes in evolution to answer all those questions. After you did, leave a comment on my blog to come back here and I'll explain to you how you're wrong.

After I explain to you how you're wrong, you will see why evolution is so confusing and so hard to sell.

Orthoprax said...

Zombie,

"Tell me, for those who believe in evolution - are we or are we not related to the Neanderthals?"

Of course.

"Now, which is correct - we are homo sapiens sapiens and the Neanderthals are homo sapiens neanderthalis; or are we two completely unrelated species?"

Unclear.

"Now, explain to me if we killed them off or interbred with them? Now, explain to me why they disappeared."

Also unclear.


Particular mysteries that fall within the multi-billion-year natural history of evolution on this planet are as relevant to the question of whether evolution happened at all as certain unknowns between the years 1939-1945 suggest that the Holocaust was a myth.

The Zombieslayer said...

Orthoprax - Well done. You didn't fall in my trap. I was hoping someone would.

Now, you see what I'm getting at? There is so much unresolved. A lot of good folks like to have resolution, and evolution is a new concept (in scientific time) with a lot of kinks to be ironed out.

So calling someone "ignorant" because they don't believe in evolution is downright lame. Evolution is confusing, and the more you study it, the more you realize there's work to be done.

I didn't further my studies because I'm a greedy bastard who is more interested in making money than spending my life worrying about whether or not I'll get a research grant.

Now, why bring up the Nazi Holocaust? What does that have to do with anything? And for the record, I strongly believe that people who call the Nazi Holocaust "The Holocaust" are racist.

It was one of several holocausts in the 20th century, but I guess it only counts if the people killed are white, right?

Sadie Lou said...

"You mean God? I certainly don't *pretend* He isn't there - but simply follow the (total) lack of evidence to conclude He isn't there - along with unicorns, ghosts and the plethora of other fantasy figures."

Cy, do you believe there are aliens or life on other planets?

Also, do unicorns, elves or gnomes make claims to be God? I think one would pay a little more attention to Christ Jesus, who claims to be the son of God and actually had some pretty powerful, revolutionary ideas about how mankind should live peacefully with one another.
Unicorns like fart rainbows and glitter-hardly noteworthy.

"Are you serious? Please find, if you can for me, any kind of respectable scientific journal where any evolution vs creation debate is taking place between scientists. You will not find one."

Oh! Key word "respectable"? That's why scientists aren't debating Creationism in your beloved, elitists magazines! Because if you want to be a respectable scientist-you won't mention the G-word. Is that right?


"What some individuals do in their own homes is irrelevant to the point that there simply is no scientific debate. To find one would be akin to physicists debating geocentrism vs heliocentrism. Of course there may be the weird physicist at some Christian college who argues geocentrism in class, who knows?"


WOW! Seriously, your disdain is showing.
You are extremely prejudice, you know that?
Collages such as Yale, Harvard and Princeton all stem from religious roots and were founded by men of faith--hardly home schooled roots. I bet the curriculum nowadays would make the prestigious founders roll in their graves.

Anonymous said...

And the uncultivated banana:

http://forums.gametrailers.com/thread/craziest-arguments-youve-heard/886970?page=2

Orthoprax said...

Zombie,

"So calling someone "ignorant" because they don't believe in evolution is downright lame. Evolution is confusing, and the more you study it, the more you realize there's work to be done."

They're not ignorant because they don't believe, it is because they are ignorant that they do not believe. If people don't demonstrate basic competency in understanding the theory then they haven't done the acceptable amount of homework before they can legitimately dismiss it.

"Now, why bring up the Nazi Holocaust? What does that have to do with anything?"

I bring it up as a similarly fact-wealthy series of events that a minority number of people still manage to "debate" and suggest as wholly untrue.

"And for the record, I strongly believe that people who call the Nazi Holocaust "The Holocaust" are racist."

I think that's retarded.

"It was one of several holocausts in the 20th century, but I guess it only counts if the people killed are white, right?"

I think this is far afield of the topic at hand, but I think the Nazi Holocaust is unique in a number of ways that permits it a unique designation.


Sadie,

"Oh! Key word "respectable"? That's why scientists aren't debating Creationism in your beloved, elitists magazines! Because if you want to be a respectable scientist-you won't mention the G-word. Is that right?"

Wtf? It's a scientific theory that rises or falls based on the evidence supporting it. God simply doesn't come up in that kind of debate. The reason it isn't debated is because the evidence is mountainous and the issue settled over 100 years ago. If the data was questionable then the evolutionary conclusions would be in vigorous debate - as we find for many topics within the field of evolution.

"WOW! Seriously, your disdain is showing.
You are extremely prejudice, you know that?"

Yes, I have much disdain for the modern proponents of geocentrism, creationism, astrology, homeopathy, and a thousand other forms of woo. It's not prejudice, it's post-judice. I have looked over what these types offer and have found them seriously wanting.

"Collages such as Yale, Harvard and Princeton all stem from religious roots and were founded by men of faith--hardly home schooled roots. I bet the curriculum nowadays would make the prestigious founders roll in their graves."

And? I don't even understand the relevance of this statement.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: Cy, do you believe there are aliens or life on other planets?

I think it highly likely that there is life on other worlds, yes. Why?

Sadie said: Also, do unicorns, elves or gnomes make claims to be God?

Not as far as I know. But then I'm not a big fan of classic fantasy.

Sadie said: I think one would pay a little more attention to Christ Jesus, who claims to be the son of God and actually had some pretty powerful, revolutionary ideas about how mankind should live peacefully with one another.

Claiming things and having ideas (revolutionary or not) doesn't exactly lend any credence to the existence of God.

Sadie Lou said...

Ortho--you said to Zombieslayer
"If people don't demonstrate basic competency in understanding the theory then they haven't done the acceptable amount of homework before they can legitimately dismiss it."

You judged me on this before you even knew if I had done an acceptable amount of homework by your standards or not.

Again, you cannot prove to me that there is not a single, popular, educated scientist out there that does not also believe in a creator.
I won't even ask if you have seen the documentary "Expelled". There are lots of them. As I have already said, there is a rocket scientist is is so well versed in Evolution he makes my head spin and HE is a believer. That's just one in my tiny town--odd are, there are tons of them and maybe they don't speak of it in their peer groups because they might get a lot of negative attention.

I brought up the collages in reference to what you said. If you're too lazy or rude to look back at what you said, then drop it. You were rabbit trailing anyways.
:)

Cyberkitten,
I just find it interesting that you find it likely there is life on other planets but there is no hard, concrete evidence of such.

"Claiming things and having ideas (revolutionary or not) doesn't exactly lend any credence to the existence of God."

I wasn't addressing the fact that Jesus' claims lend credence to God-I was saying that Jesus should not be lumped in with unicorns and faeries.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: I just find it interesting that you find it likely there is life on other planets but there is no hard, concrete evidence of such.

Because there is growing *circumstantial* evidence to support the idea.... which is why I said "likely" rather than "certain". As I know of no credible evidence however for the existence of God I find the possibility of life on other worlds much more believable.

Sadie said: I wasn't addressing the fact that Jesus' claims lend credence to God-I was saying that Jesus should not be lumped in with unicorns and faeries.

Oh, he probably existed as a man - but nothing more than that. The whole 'Son of God' bit though - that's what gets lumped in with the unicorns & faeries....

Orthoprax said...

Sadie,

"You judged me on this before you even knew if I had done an acceptable amount of homework by your standards or not."

Because odds are that you haven't in order for you to say what you've said. And based on the strange reference to mitochondrial eve, which I am also not sure if you understand.

It's not a matter of a standard of homework, it's whether you understand what you're rejecting or not.

"Again, you cannot prove to me that there is not a single, popular, educated scientist out there that does not also believe in a creator."

And? Not only is that a fallacy, but it's also irrelevant. I've been talking about creation*ism* which is entirely different than the existence of a creator.

It's as different as, say, believing in an afterlife and believing that hell is literally 500 miles below the earth's crust. One is a religious position and the other is scientific nonsense.

"There are lots of them. As I have already said, there is a rocket scientist is is so well versed in Evolution he makes my head spin and HE is a believer."

A rocket scientist is not exactly someone in a position to publish material in a biology journal.

"That's just one in my tiny town--odd are, there are tons of them and maybe they don't speak of it in their peer groups because they might get a lot of negative attention."

Is this the conspiracy theory of modern science? Scientists are held back from presenting devastating evidence in favor of creationism because of peer pressure? Please.

Imagine what it was like presenting the Big Bang to a cohort of static universe skeptics - it was wildly controversial and atheistic physicists were publically annoyed at the obvious potential religious implications of the theory, but the data supported it and now it's the dominant theory of cosmology. Peer pressure, pfft!

"I brought up the collages in reference to what you said. If you're too lazy or rude to look back at what you said, then drop it. You were rabbit trailing anyways."

I understand that the words you used were related to the words I used, but I do not know what relevance you think the origins of some ivy league universities were to anything we discussed.

Laughing Boy said...

Is this the conspiracy theory of modern science? Scientists are held back from presenting devastating evidence in favor of creationism because of peer pressure? Please.

Exhibit #1: Richard Sternberg. In this case the target of the attacks was not an ID-er or Darwin-doubter, but one of their own who dared to allow an paper on ID to be published. As such it more clearly exposes the power and paranoia of the scientific community elite.

For anyone who has doubts about popular evolutionary theory I also recommend The Blind Watchmaker. It's substantively thin and speculatively flabby, which is fitting for the topic and the author. After you read Dawkins you might want to look for Darwinian Fairytales to have your suspicions confirmed. The author of this book, the late David Stove, was a philosopher not a biologist, but then The Blind Watchmaker is really a "philosophical" book about biology so they are both in the same category; however, Stove is a better philosopher.

The Zombieslayer said...

Ortho - No, it's not retarded.

Now I'm convinced you're a racist. Flat out. There's no longer an argument.

Each holocaust was unique. The difference between the Nazi one and the others was the race of the victims, whereas the Nazi ones were white.

Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao, the Armenians, etc. All don't count, right?

You're a racist jerk, and I'm done here.

Sadie Lou said...

Ortho, see Laughing Boy's comment.

I'm out too.
There is no sense debating an individual who lacks humility and is condescending.
~S

Laughing Boy said...

Exhibit #2: Guillermo Gonzalez

Orthoprax said...

Laughing,

"Exhibit #1: Richard Sternberg. In this case the target of the attacks was not an ID-er or Darwin-doubter, but one of their own who dared to allow an paper on ID to be published. As such it more clearly exposes the power and paranoia of the scientific community elite."

As a matter of fact, this man is an ID-er and a signed dissenter of Darwinism, but that's beside the point. The paper he allowed to publish was of shoddy quality, was not appropriately peer reviewed and did not merit a place in the journal. His bias led to poor judgement and it is for this reason that he was sorely criticized.

"Exhibit #2: Guillermo Gonzalez"

Another specious case, but I'll let people come to their own conclusions. In any event, it's not my contention that peer pressure does not exist in science - or even that discrimination does not exist or that scientists never do nasty things to each other. It is my contention that if the facts were on ID's side, peer pressure would not be a serious issue keeping it down. The history of science is filled with stories of unpopular ideas overcoming adversity through sheer strength of argument and data.



Zombie,

"Now I'm convinced you're a racist. Flat out. There's no longer an argument."

You're nonsense on stilts. I'm not a racist.

"Each holocaust was unique. The difference between the Nazi one and the others was the race of the victims, whereas the Nazi ones were white."

The characteristic differences sits with the kind of organization of the genocide. From efficiency of thought in transportation, to public misinformation, to the industrialized factories of death all for the purpose of extermination - to the way the average bookkeeper took a banal role in the genocide. There is no historical companion for such well-orchestrated mass murder with such a wide societal help. Upon this, there is also the unique background of the Nazi ideology and the reasons for genocide which are similarly without parallel.

Personally, I don't give two hoots what you or anyone else wants to call it, and I don't lessen the horrors of less organized genocides, but it is unique and does deserve special historical attention.



Sadie,

"I'm out too.
There is no sense debating an individual who lacks humility and is condescending."

Are you playing the victim card? Alright...

We weren't 'debating' anything of real content anyway, so it's just as well.

Laughing Boy said...

The paper he allowed to publish was of shoddy quality, was not appropriately peer reviewed and did not merit a place in the journal. His bias led to poor judgement and it is for this reason that he was sorely criticized.

1. "Your" assessment is at odds with findings of the two federal investigations into Sternberg's case. 2. "Sorely criticized" is not an accurate representation of the reprisals he has suffered.

But if it's beside the point then it's beside the point.

More to the point then, by no means do I believe that ID, or more generally, any non- or anti-Darwinian theory, is being "kept down" by the heavy-hand of institutional Darwinism. Individuals may suffer, voices may be squelched, and the status quo may be aggressively defended, but Darwinism is terminally ill in academia and the scientific community, as surely as it was stillborn in the general population.

Unfortunately, the primary damage inflicted on society by Darwinism is not in the field of biology—where, despite its weaknesses, it has actually been quite helpful—but in other areas of thought, most acutely in moral philosophy.

Orthoprax said...

Laughing,

"1. "Your" assessment is at odds with findings of the two federal investigations into Sternberg's case."

Are you referring to the single report made by Rep. Souder (another ID sympathizer) as an individual and never admitted into Congressional record? And which's appendix clearly includes emails from Sternberg's superiors overtly saying not to penalize him for his views on evolution?

"2. "Sorely criticized" is not an accurate representation of the reprisals he has suffered."

Such as? Sternberg had always been planning to step down as the journal's editor—the issue in which he published the paper was already scheduled to be his last. Sternberg was never an employee of the Smithsonian: his term as a research associate always had a limited duration, and when it ended he was offered a new position as a research collaborator.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=six-things-ben-stein-doesnt-want-you-to-know&page=2

I hate documentaries. They are the worst form of data as anything they present is always biased, limited in scope and often misrepresented. You represent another example of how documentaries bamboozle their audience.

"More to the point then, by no means do I believe that ID, or more generally, any non- or anti-Darwinian theory, is being "kept down" by the heavy-hand of institutional Darwinism."

Ok.

"but Darwinism is terminally ill in academia and the scientific community, as surely as it was stillborn in the general population."

Um, what? Are you saying that you think non-Darwinian explanations for evolution are dominant among scientists? Seriously?

Laughing Boy said...

Are you referring to the single report...
No. By two I don't mean one. The other report was from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) from which I've pulled the following passages:

"During our initial investigations, OSC has been able to find support for many of your allegations. However, the SI is now refusing to cooperate with our investigation....it is clear that the underlying issues and the motivation for much of the actions taken against you involve the political debate between creationism (a belief in a god as creator) and evolution (neo-Darwinism)..."

"...the last e-mail cited sets forth a troubling summary of events were people had to be investigating your work activities beyond that which is done for other RAs. They are even inspecting what you have been checking out from the library. We are very concerned where this type of scrutiny can lead. Your job as a scientist is to ask the hard questions and make other scientists think about their positions. This type of scrutiny does not engender the correct atmosphere."

"... it is insightful that [denying your re-appointment] is openly stated between senior managers more than two years before you will be considered for reappointment...You could theoretically win many scientific accolades between now and then, and to these managers it may not matter. It seems that the merit of your work may have nothing to do with your position at the SI...."

...Rep. Souder (another ID sympathizer)...

By "ID sympathizer" do you mean "one whose opinions can be dismissed out-of-hand owing to their creationist agenda and attending ignorance"? If we ignore the genetic fallacy, wouldn't it be likewise true that the opinions of Darwin sympathizers are equally suspect?

I hate documentaries.

I hate morning news shows, Microsoft Word, and Mark Rothko paintings. I assume you think I learned of these cases from Ben Stein's "Exposed", but I've never seen the movie nor do I know much about it beyond it's general premise. So I do not, in fact, represent another example of the bamboozled documentary audience. I accept your apology. What sources of information do you consider to be always unbiased, unlimited in scope, and never misrepresented...besides Scientific American?

Are you saying that you think non-Darwinian explanations for evolution are dominant among scientists?

No. I'm saying that the Western scientific community's gag on non-Darwinian ideas is beginning to fail. My understanding is that in the East, Darwinism, or at least what Alvin Plantinga calls "The Great Evolutionary Myth", is not given any preferential treatment or held in particularly high esteem. I'm saying that a growing chorus of respectable voices are starting to publicly admit their misgivings about Darwinism. This will lead to a new generation of biologists who won't pledge allegience to Darwinian ideology, which in turn will lead to Darwinism going the way of Newtonian Physics.

"Evolution is facing an extremely harsh challenge," declared the Communist Party’s Guang Ming Daily last December in describing the fossils in southern China. "In the beginning, Darwinian evolution was a scientific theory... In fact, evolution eventually changed into a religion."

"Neo-Darwinism is dead," said Eric Davidson, a geneticist and textbook writer at the California Institute of Technology.

"The idea that neo-Darwinism is missing something fundamental about evolution is as scandalous to Americans as it is basic to the Chinese."

These quotes conveniently appear in one article: Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish by Fred Hereen who, as it turns out, has written for Scientific American, so he must be unbiased, huh?

Laughing Boy said...

Rather, Ben Stein's Expelled. I have visited the "Expelled Exposed" website which I found to be biased (Darwin sympathizers), of limited scope, and subject to misrepresentation.

Orthoprax said...

Laughing,

"The other report was from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) from which I've pulled the following passages:"

Ah, the report that made no official findings or conclusions and was not followed up after an only preliminary investigation. How meaningful.

"By "ID sympathizer" do you mean "one whose opinions can be dismissed out-of-hand owing to their creationist agenda and attending ignorance"?"

Only meant as a point of bias and thus to be suspect.

"What sources of information do you consider to be always unbiased, unlimited in scope, and never misrepresented"

None. But documentaries are among the very worst forms of media I know.

"This will lead to a new generation of biologists who won't pledge allegience to Darwinian ideology, which in turn will lead to Darwinism going the way of Newtonian Physics."

I don't know how you are using the term "Darwinian." If you mean it in the sense that it refers to a particular, outmoded and simplistic model of trait origins and selective pressures then I would fully agree with you that it's bound to find a more comprehensive series of ideas take its place. But if you are using "Darwinism" as a shorthand for the modern synthesis of evolution then I would say you are rather mistaken.

"These quotes conveniently appear in one article: Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish by Fred Hereen"

Yes, which is talking particularly about the problem that the Cambrian explosion poses to typical natural selective explanations. And, without reservation, I would agree that ordinary natural selection alone doesn't seem like a good explanation for the rapid expression of novel body plans - something else was going on in addition.

That doesn't mean intelligent design, it just means another mechanism at foot - something likely particular to that time and situation. And a number of proposals have been put forth already by real scientists attempting to understand what went on.