May 17, 2005

ONLY REVELATION NEED NOT EVOLVE:

The Evolution of Creationism (NY Times, 5/17/05)

The latest struggle over the teaching of evolution in the public schools of Kansas provides striking evidence that evolution is occurring right before our eyes. Every time the critics of Darwinism lose a battle over reshaping the teaching of biology, they evolve into a new form, armed with arguments that sound progressively more benign, while remaining as dangerous as ever.

Do you suppose the Timesmen are really fundamentalist enough to suppose that Evolution, by contrast, sprang fully-formed and perfect from Darwin's head?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 17, 2005 12:00 AM
Comments

"Do you suppose the Timesmen are really fundamentalist enough to suppose that Evolution, by contrast, sprang fully-formed and perfect from Darwin's head?"

That would mean they'd be in agreement with you, and somehow I think that's unlikely.

As for Revelation, surely there are enough different interpretations of it that, should the whole Apocalypse thing not come to pass, we can just opt for one of the other interpretations.

Posted by: creeper at May 17, 2005 10:49 AM

Precisely.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2005 11:16 AM

If one of the interpretations of Revelation falls away, doesn't that mean it needs to evolve?

Posted by: creeper at May 17, 2005 2:19 PM

They insist that they are not even trying to incorporate intelligent design into state science standards - that all they want is a critical analysis of supposed weaknesses in the theory of evolution. That may be less innocuous than it seems. Although the chief critics say they do not seek to require the teaching of intelligent design, they add the qualifier "at this point in time." Once their foot is in the door, the way will be open.

Do they have any idea how paranoid and ridiculous they sound?

The minority even seeks to change the definition of science in a way that appears to leave room for supernatural explanations of the origin and evolution of life, not just natural explanations, the usual domain of science.

science [n.](plural: sciences)

noun 1. study of the physical world: the study of the physical world and its manifestations, especially by using systematic observation and experiment ( often used before a noun )
2 branch of science: a branch of science of a particular area of studythe life sciences
3. knowledge gained from science: the knowledge gained by the study of the physical world
4. systematic body of knowledge: any systematically organized body of knowledge about a specific subject--eg. the social sciences
5. something studied or performed methodically: any activity that is the object of careful study or that is carried out according to a developed method

Creeper, would you like to take a stab at telling us why ID doesn't fit any of those definitions?


Posted by: Peter B at May 17, 2005 2:56 PM

Sure, Peter.

The dictionary definition you posted, though accurate, is a fairly wide definition of science; it includes social sciences, for example. When discussing ID vs. evolution, the general debate is about whether ID is to be taught in specific hard science classes, usually biology. Such classes are very much subject to the limitations imposed by the first definition, the study of the physical world, which excludes the supernatural.

I suppose one could try to argue that ID could fall under something as broadly/vaguely defined as "any systematically organized body of knowledge about a specific subject", but even that would require a pretty generous view, since ID barely consists even of that. Where is the systematically organized body of knowledge relating to the notion of Intelligent Design? Feel free to point me to such a thing if you know where it can be found. From what I've seen so far, ID consists of a few general arguments/puzzling questions such as irreducible complexity, and without much ado moves on to an Appeal to Incredulity or Appeal to Ignorance.

Actually, Peter, the more I look at these... just exactly which of those definitions do you think ID does fit?

Posted by: creeper at May 17, 2005 3:22 PM

creeper:

No.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2005 3:42 PM

creeper:

Scientists get to decide a lot of things, but they don't get to decide the meaning of the word: "science". There are philosophers (positivists) who argue that ethics is not part of philosophy, but thankfully few listen to them. Presumably a working definition of science means the study of the physical world and of physical phenomenon, and not just the study of those things whose cause and origin we can explain naturally or think we can.

I can understand the objection to teaching full-blown creationism in a science class or Genecis as science, but if all the kids are being taught is that there is a philosophical dispute as to whether all of physical reality can be explained by natural causes and what the two sides say, then of course that is a proper part of a scientific education---especially a compulsory one.

Posted by: Peter B at May 17, 2005 3:51 PM

"Scientists get to decide a lot of things, but they don't get to decide the meaning of the word: "science"."

Nor do they need to. ID doesn't fall under any of the definitions as it is. Even less so when the subject under discussion is one of the physical sciences.

"Presumably a working definition of science means the study of the physical world and of physical phenomenon, and not just the study of those things whose cause and origin we can explain naturally or think we can."

It seems to me that both of those exclude the supernatural, no?

"if all the kids are being taught is that there is a philosophical dispute as to whether all of physical reality can be explained by natural causes and what the two sides say, then of course that is a proper part of a scientific education"

Seems to me that that is a proper part of a religious education, not a scientific one. Certainly kids should be free to be exposed to both, but why drag philosophical issues into science class? Will it in turn be part of a religious education to point out at each and every turn that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God, the virgin birth, Christ's resurrection, the afterlife etc.?

Posted by: creeper at May 17, 2005 4:12 PM

What in the world is the matter with you guys? Are you so spooked by being swarmed by hoardes of Holy Rollers that you that you don't even want children exposed to the philosophical questions that drive and surround science? Do you honestly believe large numbers of American parents are plotting to teach the virgin birth in biology class and the loaves and fishes in physics? How about a little perspective here.

You may have conveniently forgotten, but there is no such thing as compulsory religious education in America. Teaching kids that the majority of scientists believe in natural evolution and a minority believe in some kind of design is not a religious education by any sensible definition, except perhaps in the old Institute of Atheism in Moscow.

Of course a scientific education includes philosophical questions. What do you call the scientific method? Oh, let me guess--a fact?

Posted by: Peter B at May 17, 2005 4:30 PM

How about a little perspective, indeed?

The little tykes cannot consider the philosophy of the material world until they have been exposed to it.

Maybe it doesn't happen in Canada, but here we have tots who tell their high school science teachers that women have 13 sets of ribs while men have 14, for obvious reasons.

I have had teachers tell me that even when they brought skeletons to class and had the tots count the ribs, they continued to insist that the women had 13.

There is no controversy in science --- no biologists doubt evolution, though they have plenty of debates about its details.

If you have first taught the kiddies what the substance of biological science is, then, when they've digested that, perhaps you can find time in amongst the driver's ed and recorder sessions to address the philosophy of science.

The peddlers of ID do not include any actual biological scientists, they do not conduct or publish research, they have no business in a science class.

There's a price of admission. No one is forced to pay it, but no one can barge in without paying, either.

On a practical level, the contentions of the IDers that they are not pushing a particular religion are dubious. Their other statements, many of which amount to Fundamentalist sermons, lead one to suspect that they are lying.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 17, 2005 7:38 PM

Yes, but there's no reason to teach your religion and not I.D., both of which pretend to science.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2005 8:05 PM

Harry:

Let's get serious and talk about freedom of thought and intellectual inquiry. You aren't fooling me with this syrupy talk about "tykes" and "kiddies", who you wish to indoctrinate with what the American Academy of Science insists is a fact. The issue is simple: Do you wish natural evolution to be taught to everyone in public school as a theory that underpins modern biology, about which there are dissenters, or do you wish it to be taught as revealed truth, which only the ignorant and stupid contest?

Posted by: Peter B at May 17, 2005 8:42 PM

Peter:

He wants it to be implacable, irresistible, and overwhelming. Kind of like the Red Army.

And what exactly is meant by "the philosophy of the material world"? If it is Darwin (and his followers), then sweeping away the ideas of everyone from Thales to Kant is certainly in line with the way the Soviets handled their history.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 17, 2005 11:39 PM

ID is the tacit admission by some fundametalists that they were wrong, that evolution exists.

Calling it "directed" is merely a device to save face.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 18, 2005 1:56 AM

"Yes, but there's no reason to teach your religion and not I.D., both of which pretend to science."

Going by the definition that Peter posted above, it is pretty clear that the theory of evolution is science, while the notion of Intelligent Design still has some way to go before it gets there.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 3:27 AM

Peter,

"You may have conveniently forgotten, but there is no such thing as compulsory religious education in America."

Not compulsory, but with all that church attendance, there's religious education aplenty. Religious gatherings are a perfect opportunity to tackle religious and ontological matters at their leisure.

"Do you wish natural evolution to be taught to everyone in public school as a theory that underpins modern biology, about which there are dissenters,"

If such dissent is not specific and on scientific grounds, then why should it be included? There are people who claim the Earth is flat or 4004 years old, and I don't much see the point in having them mentioned in science classes either.

As Harry said earlier: "There's a price of admission. No one is forced to pay it, but no one can barge in without paying, either."

"Of course a scientific education includes philosophical questions. What do you call the scientific method? Oh, let me guess--a fact?"

No, of course the scientific method is not "a fact". No need to be petulant, Peter. On the other hand, I don't quite see how you can characterize the scientific method as "a philosophical question" either. It merely describes the accepted methodology in the (hard) sciences.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 6:15 AM

Creeper:

The definition I posted is the dictionary definition, not something I just threw together for fun. Shall we make up our own definitions as we go along here?

What do you mean "has some way to go"? Are you saying ID is an infant science that just needs to grow up? To the (limited) extent that I understand it, both ID and natural evolution take a look at the same observed factual base and argue about what conclusions can or should be drawn from it. It's not as if the IDers have a different fossil record or a competing DNA code. If you think its conclusions are wrong, that's fine, but why would you not even teach it? Would you only include the theory you believe in in a course on political theory? Partial to Plato? OK, let's bury Aristotle.

You know where this all stems from, don't you? You guys were so determined to beat back the imaginary theocratic hordes of your nightmares that you bought this whole "evolution is a fact" nonsense without thinking critically and now you are so stuck with it you will censor in schools rather than admit it was a silly thing to say. We understand. The Church made the same mistake in the 19th century.

Posted by: Peter B at May 18, 2005 6:41 AM

Sorry, we are cross-posting.

The scientific method may be a methodology, but it is based on some pretty heavy duty philosophy on what testable and predictable reality is. It rejects intuitive and inductive proofs, not because they are wrong, but because they don't fit the paradigm of objective inquiry, which is also a philosophy. Creeper, you are arguing for scientism, not science.

Posted by: Peter B at May 18, 2005 6:53 AM

creeper:

I.D. fits all these elements:

science [n.](plural: sciences)

noun 1. study of the physical world: the study of the physical world and its manifestations, especially by using systematic observation and experiment ( often used before a noun )
2 branch of science: a branch of science of a particular area of studythe life sciences
3. knowledge gained from science: the knowledge gained by the study of the physical world
4. systematic body of knowledge: any systematically organized body of knowledge about a specific subject--eg. the social sciences
5. something studied or performed methodically: any activity that is the object of careful study or that is carried out according to a developed method

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 7:31 AM

Michael:

No, it's the attempt to fit Creation to Court decisions.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 7:32 AM

"The definition I posted is the dictionary definition, not something I just threw together for fun. Shall we make up our own definitions as we go along here?"

I didn't mean to imply that it was your own definition, nor do I think I implied that. And there is no need to make up our own definitions at all.

"What do you mean "has some way to go"? Are you saying ID is an infant science that just needs to grow up?"

At this point (from what I have seen) there is no organized body of knowledge or even argument to support the conclusions that ID presents. It is merely a series of potshots at the theory of evolution and an elaborate Appeal to Ignorance/Incredulity. "Evolution can't explain this or that, hence it must have been designed by a mysterious speculative entity."

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 8:18 AM

Orrin,

If ID posits a supernatural creator, then it does not fit 1 and 3. If it posits aliens are responsible for life on earth, it has offered no proof of such.

2 is a recursive definition, hence falls away if ID doesn't fit any of the others. Re. 4 and 5 - where is the systematic body of knowledge that supports ID? Where is the scientific research to support ID?

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 8:26 AM

Michael: "ID is the tacit admission by some fundametalists that they were wrong, that evolution exists."

Orrin: "No, it's the attempt to fit Creation to Court decisions."

If that is true, Orrin, then that is of course the reason why it doesn't belong in a science class - if it is an attempt to insert an explanation that relies on the supernatural.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 8:39 AM

Creeper:

Yes, there is an organized body of knowledge---the same one the darwinists rely on. ID is a rejoinder, arguing that different conclusions flow from the same objective facts.

And what is wrong with appeals to incredulity? Isn't that what ultimately kyboshed astrology? If it is perfectly acceptable for darwinists to engage in wild conjectures about where blue eyes and female orgasms come from without a shred of evidence, then surely it is perfectly acceptable as a matter of rational science to respond by pointing out logical or experiential improbabilties.

Posted by: Peter B at May 18, 2005 8:41 AM

creeper:

The Court is wrong.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 8:45 AM

oj:

Once one abandons the whiz-bang theory of human creation, the jig is up.

You have said, concerning North Korea, that for the U.S. to enter into bilateral talks with them would instantly legitimize their actions and positions, even as we attempted to get NoKo to back away from them.
Same here.
The people who are pushing ID have conceded defeat on the creationism/evolution front, and now are hoping to get tossed a bone.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 18, 2005 8:53 AM

Michael:

You slay me. Both Islam and Chrisianity are growing leaps and bounds and religion in the U.S. is clearly on the ascendant. There are even rumblings in dear old Europe. But you smile benignly and pat them all on the head as you declare victory. It reminds me of Hitler in his last months ordering phantom armies about to roll back the Allied tide.

(BTW, good to see you back. Where have you been?)

Posted by: Peter B at May 18, 2005 9:33 AM

Peter B:

Thank you, thank you very much.
Cali, in part. There was a task that I had to complete, and so I had to operate under Blogging Rule #1 for awhile, but things are back to normal now.

Religion and evolution are completely compatible, for the reasons that you point out.
There are those who seize upon evolution as a bludgeon to use against the Divine, but that's just a personal problem, unsupported by the theory itself, which only explains the how, not the why.
That point has been made again and again over the years by those arguing with Orrin over this topic.
Thus, even if every single person on Earth were highly religious, it's not a problem for evolution.

The contest has always been between religious fundamentalists clinging to a "Shazam !" origin, and evolution. By admitting that evolution exists, they cross the point of no return.
Now, we're just arguing over how God directed evolution, whether She was a micromanager, or outsourced a lot of the design work.

So far, ID isn't coming off too well: Slamming an Everest sized rock into the Earth at 100,000 miles per hour is supposed to be some kind of deft manipulation of evolution.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 18, 2005 10:56 AM

Michael:

Vice versa. Creationism has been banned. ID is the camel's nose.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 10:57 AM

creeper:

Which is why it doesn't.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 10:57 AM

Michael:

I don't see it, but I sort of feel the same way about darwinists---once they read random mutation into the equation, the game was over and it became just a historical description of everything.

Posted by: Peter B at May 18, 2005 11:07 AM

Peter,

Appeals to Incredulity, if taken at face value, would easily set back science by centuries or millenia - who for example, given only our immediate sensory experience, would be willing to take on board that there is a lot more space between atoms and molecules than there is space occupied by atoms and molecules? Yet who would question this today?

What is difficult to believe at first sight is not always wrong.

"If it is perfectly acceptable for darwinists to engage in wild conjectures about where blue eyes and female orgasms come from without a shred of evidence, then surely it is perfectly acceptable as a matter of rational science to respond by pointing out logical or experiential improbabilties."

If you want to compare ID to some of the speculative fringes of those who believe in evolutionary theory, you're welcome to it. That's pretty much where it belongs, and I note that such notions (the whys and wherefores of the female orgasm, for example) have not found their way into a high school curriculum either. At least not without significant additional research.

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to point out logical or experiential improbabilities and/or impossibilities. That's how science makes progress over time, by taking in criticism within the confines of its scope (excluding the Big Magic Wand wielded by a hypothetical being) and exploring accordingly. If you wish to make such criticisms with regards to the theory of evolution, then do.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 2:54 PM

We don't have to get all cosmic about it.

ID fails the basic test of practical science, which is look and learn.

Contra Orrin, IDers do not look. There is no research program in ID, no ID theorist has ever offered a testable hypothesis, or any hypothesis at all, for that matter.

Only one well-known IDer even claims to be a scientist and he is not a biologist. There is a price of entry, and ID refuses to pay.

That one ID scientist, Behe, has never, contra Orrin, offered any scientific proposal to explain any observed fact. His entire approach is to say, 'I don't understand how this could happen' (a true statement) and leap to the conclusion, 'Therefore, nobody else can understand, either.'

This is not science at all and it is childish as philosophy.

Behe was such a dunce that he hung his hat on the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagella. See Edis, 'Why Intelligent Design Fails' to watch Behe drowned in his own stupidity.

Pennock argues, rightly I think, that ID is not merely an attack on evolution but on the scientific method itself.

Orrin is almost the only antievolutionist honest enough to admit this, and we can appreciate if not admire his honesty.

His lack of hypocrisy is likely to earn his suspicious glances from the Christians, though.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 18, 2005 3:01 PM

Orrin,

If

Which is why it doesn't.

was a response to

If that is true, Orrin, then that is of course the reason why it doesn't belong in a science class - if it is an attempt to insert an explanation that relies on the supernatural.

Did you mean:

"It [being ID] doesn't belong in a science class"?


Fine by me.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 3:02 PM

creeper:

It doesn't rely on the supernatural.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 3:50 PM

Harry:

Yes, those are all the same criticisms that Darwinism is subject too. Either both are science or neither. I believe the latter.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 3:51 PM

Orrin,

"It doesn't rely on the supernatural."

So aliens then? Or a hypothetical ancient civilization?

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 4:08 PM

"Either both are science or neither."

Given the very plain definitions (as iterated earlier), it is clear that the theory of evolution is science, ID is not (though it may, given research), and Creationism just plain contradicts the physical evidence.

There is no "the theory of evolution and ID are in the same boat".

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 4:20 PM

Creation fits the evidence, but is onpenly faith-based. ID and Darwinism pretend to science though neither is.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 5:26 PM

Yes, aliens suffice.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 5:27 PM

"Yes, aliens suffice."

But of course!

... just try to get them past being a straw man, that's the trick.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 6:52 PM

Creationism (any kind of literal interpretation of Genesis) obviously does not fit the phyisical evidence, that much is clear.

... On the other hand, I suppose you could try to argue that some version of "Creation" (ignoring any semblance of a literal interpretation of Genesis) could fit the scientific evidence (along the lines of saying God mad a couple of horses, a couple of bugs, a couple of dogs, a couple of cats, a couple of homo sapiens full blown), but you'd have to concede that natural selection is perfectly valid (to make horses bigger, to make dogs into poodles, chihuahuas, German shepherds etc. etc.) and does account for a large number of things, including Darwin's finches (for starters).

Take your time.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 7:12 PM

God isn't bound by man.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 7:14 PM

Another lovely non sequitur, not that that comes unexpectedly.

God is very much bound by Man (or should that be 'the imagination and psyche of man'?), since God is himself a creation of Man.

Posted by: creeper at May 18, 2005 7:20 PM

So is Man. That's where Reason breaks down.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 7:22 PM

oj:

Creationists might believe that ID is a "camel's nose", but IMO they are in for quite a disappointment.
For starters, for that to work, Creaties must believe that high school kids are all scientifically-minded non-religionists, and that by teaching ID, they are introducing the concept of the Divine to those who were previously without.
However, the kids being taught are American kids, well acquainted with the concept of Christianity, even if they're non-believers. Further, very few of them are scientifically minded, or much interested in evolution. For them, it's just more history, or something to be studied until the test is past.
So, what they're going to hear is: "Evolution exists, and it's fairly random", and also "Evolution exists, and God is nudging every gene into a just-so place".

My $ 100 against your public a capella rendition of Billy Joel's For the Longest Time says that no more than 10% remember anything past "Evolution exists", and no more than 1% are previous non-believers who become convinced that God is personally directing evolution.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 18, 2005 9:17 PM

evolution does exist. The only question is whether it happens exclusively as a function of Nature or whether intelligence guides. If they even just learn that the issue can't be decided scientifically we've won.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2005 9:28 PM

Orrin,

As far as I understood, ID concerns itself with the origin of life, not with any evolution in the present day. Has any IDer posited that current evolution (say of the finches on the Galapagos islands) is actively guided by an intelligent outside entity?

"If they even just learn that the issue can't be decided scientifically we've won."

There is scientific evidence aplenty for natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow etc. There is absolutely no scientific evidence for an intelligent outside entity having an active influence on evolution. Until there is such evidence, the matter from a scientific perspective is not even a contest.

Incidentally, what do you think you will have won?

Posted by: creeper at May 19, 2005 3:40 PM

Actually, one aspect of ID is testable.

First we accept that there was a creator and that kids in school should be taught about it.

Then we pick from among our selection of creators, none of whom can be selected in preference to any other, either by scientific inquiry (as Orrin says) or any other way.

We teach the kiddies that a primordial brother and sister copulated and conceived a goddess who then generated humans.

Then we see how calmly the IDers accept this, which fulfills every aspect of their public program.

It might not, though, match their hidden agenda and I expect they would howl with anger.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 19, 2005 3:44 PM

The evidence is identical and Americans believe in the intelligence--you've lost.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 3:46 PM

Harry:

That's not scientific.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 3:47 PM

"The evidence is identical and Americans believe in the intelligence"

The evidence is far from identical, and there's a perfectly good place to commune and share a belief in a deity, and that's in church.

Posted by: creeper at May 19, 2005 5:08 PM

Of course it is. Everywhere you say Nature selected they say intelligence did. They're both faiths.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 5:19 PM

As far as I understood, ID concerns itself with the origin of life, not with any evolution in the present day. Has any IDer posited that current evolution (say of the finches on the Galapagos islands) is actively guided by an intelligent outside entity?

Posted by: creeper at May 19, 2005 5:46 PM

I don't think they address origins at all, just like Darwinism.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 8:28 PM

Darwinism doesn't address the origin of life, that's correct.

ID doesn't address origins? Then what is ID?

Posted by: creeper at May 19, 2005 9:01 PM

Darwinism. Just substitute ID anywhere you say NS.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 9:06 PM

I did not say the test was scientific, Orrin.

It is a legalistic approach.

And testable.

We could determine, by my test, whether the IDers are, in fact, as agnostic about who that creator is as they claim to be.

We know, from their non-ID statements, that all IDers are also Fundamentalist Christians.

Therefore, they are not likely to welcome just any old creator. (The one I proposed is the one believed in by 150 million Japanese.)

But we could put them to the test and see whether they are honest or not.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 19, 2005 10:00 PM

Harry:

You can test whether they are actually agnostic as to the intelligence in Intelligent Design by arbitrarily choosing one of your own and insisting that it alone be taught even though that is completely at odds with what they propose?

Despite the stiff competition, that's the least sensible thing you've ever said.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 10:30 PM

creeper: "ID doesn't address origins? Then what is ID?"

oj: "Darwinism. Just substitute ID anywhere you say NS."

That doesn't work at all because it's a recursive definition.

Intelligent Design argues that life on earth must have been designed because it is too complex to have come about by other processes. It is about the origins of this complexity, not about the ongoing development of these organisms. Did any of the IDers claim that the variations in, say, Darwin's finches can not be explained by natural processes and require a supernatural guiding hand? AFAIK, such critiques are reserved for the initial emergence of the eye, the wing, life itself, etc.

Posted by: creeper at May 20, 2005 2:29 AM

They're recursive theories.

There's nothing to explain about the finches, which haven't speciated.

Posted by: oj at May 20, 2005 7:28 AM

They are not recursive theories. For starters, ID isn't even a theory yet in the same sense that the theory of evolution is. And it can not simply be plugged in to replace natural selection.

ID poses the notion that life originated as an artificial creation by an intelligent entity. Darwinism and NS have nothing to say about the origin of life.

"There's nothing to explain about the finches, which haven't speciated."

They are a perfect demonstration of natural selection causing variation over time. Over a relatively short period of time, no less.

Posted by: creeper at May 20, 2005 8:30 AM

Web definitions for recursive
A function or a subroutine that calls itself.

You say N.S.. They say I.D. I say God.

Same difference.

Posted by: oj at May 20, 2005 9:41 AM

"You say N.S.. They say I.D. I say God."

In response to what?

That's where I think you got confused. They are proposed answers, but not necessarily to the same question - especially NS and ID, which have an area of overlap (eyes, wings), but also address mutually exclusive areas (NS addresses microevolution, for example, which ID AFAIK does not, and ID addresses the origin of life, which NS does not).

And saying "God did it" to just about anything answers precisely nothing.

Posted by: creeper at May 20, 2005 10:01 AM

Yes, that's the similarity.

Posted by: oj at May 20, 2005 10:51 AM

May I take it you're conceding the rest then?

Posted by: creeper at May 20, 2005 1:46 PM

Yes. All that matters is that all three are recursive and explain nothing. They simply assert different causes for the same things on the basis of faith.

Posted by: oj at May 20, 2005 2:31 PM

Still sounds like you're mighty confused as to what NS and ID actually address. Perhaps you're comfortable with the one-size-fits-allness of "God did it", but other areas and disciplines are a little more precise as to what they cover.

Posted by: creeper at May 20, 2005 3:02 PM

Not in Evolution they aren't.

Posted by: oj at May 20, 2005 4:25 PM

Are too.

Posted by: creeper at May 21, 2005 1:30 AM

The theory of evolution does not cover the origin of life, for example. The Intelligent Design movement, from what I've seen, does not cover microevolution. Maybe somebody out there thinks that the variations in the finches on the Galapagos Islands were brought about by a wave of God's magic wand, but they would most likely be Creationists, not IDers, since IDers believe in an unspecified creator and in order to maintain their pseudo-scientific cover don't invoke supernatural influences easily.

Posted by: creeper at May 21, 2005 1:48 AM

The variations within a species are natural and it was Darwin's genius to see that Nature could achieve the effects that man does. It is the tragedy of Darwinism that its adherents can't see that the theory is limited to this rather minor effect in nature.

Posted by: oj at May 21, 2005 7:50 AM
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