June 9, 2008

Medved Runs False-Flag Operation...

Hatched by Dafydd

I almost got snookered by Michael Medved today.

He had a guest, a mathematician named David Berlinski, who was flogging a new book titled the Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. It sounded pretty interesting: Berlinski argues that science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, which of course is a theme I have pounded on for many years now.

I was right in the middle of making an order through Amazon.com when Berlinski started speaking. He sounded plausible enough -- and I'm so much of a pushover when it comes to buying new books -- that I simply added the book to my currently open order.

But something stuck in my craw; I thought sure I had heard Berlinski's name before. So I looked him up in Wikipedia... and lo! Medved had failed to disclose a material fact about the author: David Berlinski is an evolution-denier and vocal advocate for so-called "intelligent design." He is even a member of the Discovery Institute!

Didn't Michael Medved think it relevant, in a book discussing science, faith, and atheism, to mention that his guest had a dog in that fight?

In a fit of pique at having been hornswoggled like that, I quickly deleted the Berlinski book and closed my Amazon order. But I also continued listening to see whether Medved would ever mention this fairly substantive and critical fact.

He never did during the entire interview, unless perhaps during the last five minutes (I received a phone call, so I cannot vouch for that final segment). The closest Medved came was late in the interview, when he gave an outro, just before a commercial break, saying that Berlinski had been in a movie about scientists who are "persecuted" when they "dare to challenge scientific fundamentalism." By that point, I already knew Berlinski's dirty, little secret; but had I not looked him up, I doubt I would have guessed from this capsule description.

In the next segment, Medved made clear that the movie in question was (you guessed it) Expelled, written by Ben Stein, Kevin Miller, and Walt Ruloff and narrated by Stein; I think I would have had an inkling by that point... but even then, Medved did not flatly admit that Berlinski was an IDist; he kept that up his sleeve. And Berlinski himself said nothing about it, either.

We have already dealt with Expelled in a two-post review/response; no need to explain again why I consider ID just the latest incarnation of Creationism:

I certainly do not argue that proponents of Intelligent Design should be dismissed out of hand when they opine on the question of faith and science. But it's rather sharp practice to conceal from listeners a salient fact about a guest that directly speaks to his credibility on the subject.

I recall an analogous incident from the sorry history of the Los Angeles Dog Trainer Times -- the newspaper Patterico loves so well; Friend Lee's calls this one of the "three strikes" that caused him to cancel his subscription in 1999 (I had canceled mine years earlier). When David S. Landes published the Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor, the Times selected a historian named Eric Hobsbawm to review this obviously free-market take on economics. Hobsbawm utterly trashed the book, the author, anyone fool enough to read it even on loan from the library, and in general, the entire school of economics that could produce such twaddle.

In the little blurb at the bottom of the review, the Times wrote, "Eric Hobsbawm is Professor Emeritus at the New School for Social Research in the Political Science department," or somesuch (despite the quotation marks, I don't actually have the review before me; this is from the collective memory of Friend Lee and me).

They could have added a longer description but chose not to:

Hobsbawm is a lifelong member of the Communist Party: He joined the Socialist Schoolboys, a junior branch of the German Communist Party, in Berlin in 1931, when he was 14; and the Party itself in England in 1936, when he was 19. He remained in the Party even through the Hitler-Stalin pact. He was a Stalinist who supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 (unlike his fellow British Communists, most of whom quit the party over it). And he was a frequent contributer to the Daily Worker and to the magazine Marxism Today until it ceased publication in 1991.

Some observers outside the Times might consider this relevant to the credibility of a reviewer who attacks a book on economics that is consciously styled after the writings of Adam Smith. And by the same coin, some of us consider it relevant that the guy who wrote the book about the intersection between faith and science is a Creationist. (However, so far as I can tell, Professor Berlinski was never a member of the Socialist Schoolboys.)

Color me annoyed -- but unsurprised.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 9, 2008, at the time of 7:19 PM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: levi from queens

Annoyed or not, Mr. Berlinski did once write a magnificent book upon the calculus (where neither design nor evolution ever appeared)

I have read this book aloud to a child of mine who seemed to get it.

Mr. Berlinski may be mistaken on one point, but it is folly to believe that somebody with whom you disagree on one point is deluded upon all.

The above hissed in response by: levi from queens [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 9, 2008 7:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist

Dear Dafydd,

For a guy who seems somewhat sensible on occasion I am amazed that you have fallen hook, line and sinker for the blatant propaganda linking ID with creationism. Before you go ballistic and ban me forever I ask that you do a little investigation.

We have a disagreement over evolution which is fine and good. As Senator Moynihan said" "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts".

Regards,
Roy


The above hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 9, 2008 7:41 PM

The following hissed in response by: Michael Babbitt

I saw David Berlinski on a book tour in Seattle. A member in the audience took him as a proponent for Intelligent Design -- as if he was on her side. He immediately asserted that he was not arguing for Intelligent Design as truth but that he held it was a path of inquiry worth pursuing and that many scientists take if as an article of faith that science can say anything about the existence of God. His basic argument is that scientists are too sure of their theories and the beliefs they hold, and that a healthy skepticism is needed on both sides. So if I take Mr. Berlinski at his word -- and his response to the woman who thought he was an ID brethren was quite clear -- he does not believe in ID just that ID is not given a chance in a climate of scientists who claim that science will be able to answere all those difficult questions of life: morality, etc. Berlinski claims to be an agnostic: 3 days a week, he believes; 3 days a week he doesn't; on the 7th day, he rests. So I think you overreacted to his association with the Discovery Institute.

The above hissed in response by: Michael Babbitt [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 9, 2008 9:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Roy Lofquist:

Before you go ballistic and ban me forever I ask that you do a little investigation.

I know that proclaiming martyrdom is the common coin of the ID realm, but you ought to know -- having read Big Lizards for some years now -- that we never ban people simply for disagreeing with us.

As to the suggesion that I do "a little investigation," friend, I have investigated more than you can possibly imagine. I have been studying and debating Creationists since long before "Intelligent Design" was born. In fact, on this topic, I go back to the mid-1970s.

And I very strongly suspect I have read more creationist and ID books written by proponents than you have read evolution books written by evolutionary scientists.

There is no "there" there: ID is not a scientific hypothesis; it's not a valid critique of science; and it has no more academic value than the philosophy of deconstructionism: both are charlatanism.

Michael Babbitt:

A member in the audience took him as a proponent for Intelligent Design -- as if he was on her side. He immediately asserted that he was not arguing for Intelligent Design as truth but that he held it was a path of inquiry worth pursuing and that many scientists take if as an article of faith that science can say anything about the existence of God.

Yes, that is the standard dodge that IDists use: They don't proclaim that ID is true (for which they have no evidence and frankly don't even try)... they just demand that it be treated as seriously as if it were real science.

Well, it isn't; it's on a par with astrology and those little "biorhythm" whiz-wheels.

On the second point, Berlinski is quite right: Science (at the moment) has nothing of interest to say about God, morality, or the spirit.

On the third point -- "a healthy skepticism is needed on both sides" -- that is true... however, "Intelligent Design" is unhealthy skepticism; in fact, it's not even skeptical, at least not about itself: ID and IDists are absolutist about their contrarian proclamations on evolution. Michael Behe, for example, insists that there are "irreducibly complex" systems that cannot arise through natural processes; but no matter how many times his irreducibly complex systems are reduced and shown to comprise smaller pieces that could very well have evolved naturally, he clings to them as if nobody had ever debunked them.

ID begins with its conclusion -- no macroevolution -- and tries to reason backwards to what must be true in order for evolutionary theory to be false. It's the opposite of science.

ID is not given a chance in a climate of scientists who claim that science will be able to answere all those difficult questions of life: morality, etc.

Making such a claim about the purpose of science immediately removes the claim-maker to the realm of pseudoscience... whether the claim-maker is an ID Creationist, like David Berlinski, or a past scientist turned science writer, like Richard Dawkins.

The science of evolution by natural selection is settled, as far as the macro theory is concerned; no serious working scientist in the relevant fields disputes it, although the details are always up for grabs. But it does (at the moment) not answer, cannot answer any question about which "morality" is the correct one.

The science of abiogenesis (the creation of life out of non-life, the origin of life itself) is certainly not settled, nor is it as advanced as evolutionary theory; but it's quite a vibrant field of study.

A number of scientists working on origins theory have made exciting and extraordinary discoveries ; they're closing in on a number of important questions -- such as which came first, metabolism or genetics; and how did the first self-reproducing cell form.

But they're attacking the question scientifically (which IDists say is not happening). Scientists, from biologists to chemists to mineralogists, are propounding very scientific hypotheses -- testable, falsifiable, etc. (which IDists claim don't exist). And they are conducting real-world experiments in every aspect of the puzzle (which IDists emphatically denounce as impossible).

I have investigated this field as an interested layman (my training is all in mathematics) for decades. I did not "overreact" to his association with the Discovery Institute, whose only purpose is to try, desperately and pathetically, to find a way to overturn evolution.

I know a Creationist when I see one.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 9, 2008 11:14 PM

The following hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr

I agree with your specific point, but don't see your furor over this author and/or book. And I don't see why you're expecting anything else from Medved.

Michael Behe, for example, insists that there are "irreducibly complex" systems[...] and tries to reason backwards to what must be true in order for evolutionary theory to be false.

Allow me to agree in detail. The 'irreducible complexity' claim is a good example of backwards reasoning (although in a slightly different sense than you claim). Evolution's claim (if I may anthropomorphise) is that complex structures may be put together with each added 'part' being simple and either immediately beneficial or irrelevant. Irreducible complexity tries to attack that by claiming that _removed_ parts result in non-functionality. The problem is that this is backwards: evolution speaks of addition and modification, while IC speaks only of subtraction. Proving that you can't remove elements doesn't prove that no evolutionary path exists: there could be a path that /adds/ an element, then modifies something else, then removes one of the other elements.

For an example that rebuts irreducible complexity without touching on intelligent design, consider a cast metal part. It's a single piece, so it's arguably irreducibly complex -- there's nothing that can be removed without removing the entire functionality. Yet it was formed by adding a mold part to a molten-metal part, then the molten-metal was changed to hard-metal, then the mold was removed. Now because you don't have the mold you have to admit that the part is irreducibly complex -- yet it DID come about originally by assembling and changing parts.

As I mentioned, this example refutes only one part of ID. I don't think it's a crucial part. But let this serve as a warning to people attempting to reason from goal to premises...

There's still a TON missing from evolutionary theory, and one could suppose that there might somewhere be a step that natural selection can't possibly account for. But that calls for a full-scale evolutionary research program, not a halt to research. The purpose of such a program would be to characterize the nature of mutation (to find what sort of changes can and cannot happen due to individual mutations), and then to examine history to see whether any other types of changes have ever appeared. Once we have that positive knowledge we could conceivably state whether some additional type of modification is required for some particular branching of the tree of life.

(Personally, I suspect there is -- but there are a huge number of other possible causes, ranging from other types of genetic modification such as chromosomal shuffling, to symbiosis, to intelligent design; I can't jump in and select one just because I like it at the moment.)

I do have a lot of sympathy for the ID movement, though; I think that some of them are pursuing interesting research programs. True, their reasons may be questionable, but their results are verifiable (or refutable). (But I refer to the subset that IS following reasonable procedures.) So long as I'm not required to contribute to research without practical application, I'm fine with that.

The above hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2008 8:03 AM

The following hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist

Dear Dafydd,

In response to my comment you wrote:
--
"As to the suggesion that I do "a little investigation," friend, I have investigated more than you can possibly imagine. I have been studying and debating Creationists since long before "Intelligent Design" was born. In fact, on this topic, I go back to the mid-1970s.

And I very strongly suspect I have read more creationist and ID books written by proponents than you have read evolution books written by evolutionary scientists."
--
Not only is "appeal to authority" one of the weaker kinds of apologia, it is also one of the riskier forms.

In this case you base your argument on your depth of knowledge by saying you go as far back as the mid-70's and that you have read far more than I.

Back at you.

Ernst Mayr is considered to be the foremost evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century. I first encountered his work in 1955. Granted, it was far beyond my comprehension at that time but I have returned to it over the years.

I read all of Dawkins' works as they were published. I have read most of the popularizers of evolution: Alexander von Humboldt, Justus von Liebig, Wilhelm Bölsche, Ludwig Büchner, Stephen J. Gould, Julian Huxley, Edward O Wilson, Daniel Dennett, Carl Sagan and others.

As to other points you made in the same response, there are a number of ad-hominem attacks that are unseemly at best. For example you say that I am claiming martyrdom. Where did that come from? You seem to have formed certain prejudices about people who are willing to entertain the ID arguments. Amongst these are that ID'ers are Young Earth Creationists, scientific apostates and less than scrupulous about personal hygiene. Bad form.

You make the claim that evolution is science and that ID is not.

First of all what is science? The definitions of science have changed over the past two centuries. The definition advanced by evolutionists is quite malleable. For example, evolutionists say that ID is not subject to experiment but that since evolution is of a nature that experiments are impossible then it get a bye. Likewise the assertion that ID is not falsifiable whereas the mechanisms of evolution, as yet unknown physical principles, are. You see, as they are unknown you can't disprove them, but we'll discover them eventually.

By this definition of science, which includes apriori axioms, you can exclude most any argument that you don't care for. For example, the axioms of Euclidean geometry preclude any mathematics that you learned beyond junior high school. (I guess they call it middle school these days and non-Euclidean geometry is post graduate stuff that only nerds study).

Most people view science as some sort of institution that promotes and thrives on intellectual curiosity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Technology is innovative because if you aren't you don't get to do it. Science is controlled by big education and big government.

Physics has been ham-strung for the last quarter century because "string theory" is the thing. If you wish to pursue a career in physics you have to do string theory because you can't get funding to do anything else.

Deconstructionism came to prevail in the soft sciences because proponents achieved a critical mass and became the establishment. You can't be a professor unless you buy the conventional wisdom.

Institutional studies are reactionary. Dog in the manger.

Evolutionists have allied with physicalists (physicalism being the underlying basis of leftist dialects) to launch a major assault on any who would question their authority. This whole kerfuffle is not about truth but about power. That's why I call it propaganda.

As always, Dafydd, thank you for providing an interesting and varied forum for discussion.

Regards,
Roy


The above hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2008 11:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Nathan

I know a Creationist when I see one.

Oh ID is creationism of a sort, it's just not necessarily theistic creationism, and it doesn't necessarily apply to anything beyond life on Earth (or some subset thereof).

I've always thought that ID would make a great premise for a science fiction novel: What if Earth had been seeded with genetically engineered life by a race of aliens that had themselves evolved naturally? What if they showed up again to find out how their experiment had turned out?

"Ha! The dominant life form has two legs!" Sprix chortled, waving his flagella in a manner that seemed to convey excitement. "Gintz was sure that they would have six. I win that bet!"

The above hissed in response by: Nathan [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2008 8:15 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Roy Loftquist:

Not only is "appeal to authority" one of the weaker kinds of apologia, it is also one of the riskier forms.

It wasn't an appeal to authority; it was a response to your own "Argument by Lofty Dismissal," the rhetorical equivalent of shouting "get a horse!"

You honestly don't recall writing, "Before you go ballistic and ban me forever I ask that you do a little investigation?" It's just above, the second comment in this thread.

[Y]ou say that I am claiming martyrdom. Where did that come from?

From your suggestion that I might ban you because you dared to speak truth to power, just as the IDists in Expelled pitched their terrible tales of suppression, oppression, and being silenced by the vast, impersonal forces of Big Science.

This indicates an unhealthy Martyr Complex. Knock it off.

In this case you base your argument on your depth of knowledge by saying you go as far back as the mid-70's and that you have read far more than I.

Back at you.

Ernst Mayr is considered to be the foremost evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century. I first encountered his work in 1955. Granted, it was far beyond my comprehension at that time but I have returned to it over the years.

This is a non-sequitur. First, I said I had been following this debate -- Creationism vs. Evolution -- since the mid-1970s... which is long before the current incarnation, "Intelligence Design" (ID) existed.

Second, I still believe I've read more Creationist and ID literature than you have read evolutionary biology. I base this upon the mistakes you make... and more precisely, upon the quality of those mistakes, which are generally whoppers that (a) could not be made by someone familiar with the scientific literature, even as a layman, and (b) bear a mysterious affinity to the claims made by Creationists in their writings.

One relatively minor example is citing the work of a brilliant scientist who was preeminent in the field -- in the early 1940s -- as "the foremost evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century."

I don't know how much consideration you gave to Francis Crick and John D. Watson, who unraveled the secret of DNA more than a decade after Mayr's heyday, earning themselves a Nobel Prize. Or Stanley Miller, who, along with Nobelist Harold Urey, showed around that same time that amino acids could be synthesized by natural processes.

The point is that Mayr's greatest contribution -- his redefinition of species -- is fascinating... from a historical point of view; but it has long been supplanted by more modern definitions (many of them) because it's no longer adequate.

And this points up the real problem with those who argue against evolutionary theory: They never seem to be up to date; they're always arguing from theories and evidence that are decades obsolete.

Here are more errors of anachronism; and bear in mind, I do not claim to be an expert or an authority... but I have read enough about this argument, even as a layman, to recognize a scarecrow when I see one:

You make the claim that evolution is science and that ID is not.

First of all what is science? The definitions of science have changed over the past two centuries.

Rather than being a black mark against science, this is one of its hallmarks: That it changes what it considers to be "science" on the basis of new evidence.

That is what distinguishes it from immutable philosophies and religions... such as Intelligent Design and other forms of Creationism. There is nothing wrong with philosophy and religion; but they should not be confused with science.

The definition advanced by evolutionists is quite malleable. For example, evolutionists say that ID is not subject to experiment but that since evolution is of a nature that experiments are impossible then it get a bye.

There are literally thousands of experiments conducted every year in biology, microbiology, mineralogy, chemistry, and biochemistry to prove or disprove some model related to evolution or origin of life. But IDists are not aware of this; they're stuck in their self-fabricated canard that "experiments [in evolution] are impossible."

Likewise the assertion that ID is not falsifiable whereas the mechanisms of evolution, as yet unknown physical principles, are.

Evolutionary theory is based entirely on known physical forces and principles; it calls upon nothing that is not already known and observed, if not always fully understood (because of the complexity involved).

Of course, this was not the case when Darwin first proposed the hypothesis -- a hundred and forty-nine years ago. The discovery and description of DNA was nearly a century in the future, and even the widespread understanding of Mendelian genetics was decades in the future when Charles Darwin published that work.

But to IDists, it's still 1859; they frequently refer to evolutionary scientists as "Darwinists" (as if it were some political cult, like "Stalinism"); and they often smirk that evolutionary theory invokes "unknown physical principles." Like what, for instance?

Physics has been ham-strung for the last quarter century because "string theory" is the thing. If you wish to pursue a career in physics you have to do string theory because you can't get funding to do anything else.

You don't think physicists can get funding for research in high-energy physics, chaos theory, astrophysics, planetary physics, superfluid physics, superconductivity, or for that matter, any area of physics that has immediate application to electronic design or bioengineering? Care to make a wager on that?

Evolutionists have allied with physicalists (physicalism being the underlying basis of leftist dialects) to launch a major assault on any who would question their authority. This whole kerfuffle is not about truth but about power. That's why I call it propaganda.

You don't think this sounds suspiciously like a Martyr Complex?

You didn't mention it, but:

  • IDists are also prone to pretend that evolutionary theory (ET) envisions billions of molecules "falling together randomly" to form the first cell; ET has never made such a preposterous claim.
  • IDists also insist that the eye and the bacterial flagellum are "irreducibly complex;" both claims were debunked years ago (the former by Darwin himself!)
  • They often assert, as if they knew what they were talking about, that "science has not even a single hypothesis about the origin of life itself;" I'm in the middle of reading a science popularization of dozens of such theories... each of which has some experimental evidence backing it up.

(And many of which are mutually contradictory -- which is another hallmark of real science; eventually, all but one model will fall under the relentless pressure of all those experiments that IDists insist have never occurred.)

That is why I concluded some time ago that "Intelligent Design" is not science; it's not even a good critique of science. It's just a complex pseudoscience like astrology.

And by the way, I'm not a "physicalist," which appears to be an early twentieth-century neologism for which we already had a perfectly good word: materialist.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2008 9:29 PM

The following hissed in response by: SteveC

So, would you dismiss Sir Issac Newton's books because he was heavily into Alchemy? Should teachers bring up this material fact before teaching the laws of motion so the students could weigh his works according to his unscientific beliefs? Or, more to the current point, if you had discovered that Berlinski was a atheist, would you have bought his book? You decry that Berlinski "had a dog in the hunt". I would think that anyone who writes a book would have a passion for the subject, one way or another. I think you may have overreacted because it was not your dog. So you know where my dog's tied, I'm a Christian who more or less believes in ID but does not think it is science or that it should be taught as such.

The above hissed in response by: SteveC [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2008 11:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

SteveC:

So, would you dismiss Sir Issac Newton's books because he was heavily into Alchemy?

No, because there is a huge distinction between believing in alchemy or astrology in the 1600s and believing in such pseudoscience in the 2000s. Back in Newton's day, what we now call "alchemy" was in fact the beginnings of modern chemistry... and Isaac Newton was one of its progenitors.

Can't you see the distinction? It's the difference between being at the very beginning of the scientific revolution, when people really didn't know that such nonsense was, well, nonsense -- and being four centuries into the scientific revolution, when such nonsense has been proved as such many, many times.

Or, more to the current point, if you had discovered that Berlinski was a atheist, would you have bought his book?

I don't care whether he is an atheist or a believer; I care that he believes that such silly nonsense as "Intelligent Design" is science, despite it having been disproved again and again. I care that he dredges up arguments for its scientific nature that cannot be made by anyone who actually understands science, even at a lay level.

Look at yourself: You believe that God created the world, but you don't claim that this belief is science, nor do you demand that we teach ID as science.

I have zero problem with that; I suspect you basically believe what Sachi believes: She believes that God created the universe with all its physical laws at the time of the Big Bang, and it has moved according to those laws ever since. She believes that since God is omniscient, He knew that this universe with those physical laws would result in the eventual evolution of intelligent life (here and possibly elsewhere).

So in that sense, she believes in "intelligent design" (note the lower-case)... but she does not believe in "Intelligent Design"... because that religious philosophy includes far more than what I just wrote: The main requirement to be considered an IDist is that one must utterly reject the idea that one species can evolve into another, or that the current species evolved from earlier, simpler species.

Science is not in any way incompatible with belief in God, even a God who created everything. But it is incompatible with the belief that "evolution of species cannot have happened naturally, so it must have been the direct hand of God."

That is my point, and that is the distinction between Berlinski and your Newton example.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 11, 2008 2:17 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

Seriouly, folks, there's no discussing this with Dafydd. None, period, zilch. This is his website, so why bother?

Calling ID "creationism" as Dafydd does is just his way of mocking the IDers and by extention, creationists. A form of belitting, or dismissing their arguments without having to confront them. Dafydd is a very clever writer and i'm sure he realizes this.

Again, its his website. He doesn't like IDers and he doesn't like creationists, why argue with him about it?

Do as I do and just realize that we aren't going to agree with each other all the time but 80% is pretty darn good. So I disagree so far with Dafydd on John McCain and ID. Not too bad, I think my wife and I disagree on more.

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 11, 2008 6:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: Nathan

Science is not in any way incompatible with belief in God, even a God who created everything. But it is incompatible with the belief that "evolution of species cannot have happened naturally, so it must have been the direct hand of God."

On a slightly more serious note, the evolutionist side of this debate, concerned with protecting scientific freedom from the encroachment of religion, consistently makes the mistake of assuming that the opposite of natural (i.e. occurring through the action of impersonal, natural forces) is supernatural. It is not. The opposite of natural is artificial (i.e. occurring through the action of an intelligent entity).

Given our ever increasing ability to modify the genetic structure of plants and animals, I think it is reasonable (and highly desirable) to ask how we might discern between life which developed naturally and that which had an artificial origin. That question is at the heart of ID, and I am a little concerned that, because much of the scientific community reacted so vehemently against ID, they will be prone to overlook it.

Cheers,
Nathan

The above hissed in response by: Nathan [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 11, 2008 11:11 PM

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