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Saturday, November 7, 2009

'Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?'


I came across this article while surfing the net last night. It was quite interesting......

"Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?" was the theme of a conference sponsored by the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and hosted by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.Michael Keas and William Dembski of Southwestern Seminary and Stephen C. Meyer, John West and Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute were among the featured speakers at the Oct. 23-24 conference. In another session of the conference, Jay Richards, a senior fellow with the Center for Science and Culture and coauthor of "The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery," corrected opponents of the Intelligent Design movement who claim that it is merely religion disguised as science.

  • Much of the erroneous ID critique is based on inaccurate definitions, Richards said, setting forth two basic assertions that ID proponents make. First, "the activities of intelligent agency are sometimes detectable." Commonly accepted fields of science are based on the assumption that scientists can observe the effects that intelligent beings have upon nature. Archaeologists, for example, put this into practice when they examine artifacts they believe to be manmade, and forensic scientists apply this principle when they attempt to trace the proof for intelligent causes in homicide cases.
  • Second, Richards said, ID proponents suggest that "nature exhibits the evidence of intelligent agency," something he said is "theologically minimal." Although ID proponents may observe signs of intelligent activity in nature, they cannot prove scientifically that the intelligent designer is the god of a certain religion, or that the designer is even supernatural, Richards said. Describing the nature of the designer belongs in the realm of philosophical and theological discussion.
  • "So notice how lightly it travels," Richards said. "Notice, there is not a doctrine of creation here. There is not a doctrine of God here. There is not a developed theology. There is not even really a developed philosophy at this point. There is just basically these two claims. "Think of Intelligent Design generally as a research program that seeks to ask questions like this, 'Does nature display objective evidence of design or purpose?' It uses publicly available evidence from the natural world. It also includes, usually, some type of theory of design detection so that we can determine whether something is designed or not."

Darwinists are just wrong when they state that ID is Creationism. By definition, it is not. They are merely dismissive of the topic rather than debating it with knowledgable people.

20 comments:

SmartLX said...

"Notice, there is not a doctrine of creation here. There is not a doctrine of God here. There is not a developed theology."

...said Richards, a doctor of theology, at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, to an audience of theology students and lecturers. There was a doctrine of creation and God there all right, and a theology developed to the utmost, permeating the walls of the building and every person in it. It's just that nobody mentioned it, because they knew outsiders would hear about it.

Whence do any of them think the design came, if not God?

Reynold said...

JD Curtis:
Darwinists are just wrong when they state that ID is Creationism. By definition, it is not. They are merely dismissive of the topic rather than debating it with knowledgable people.
 
At this point, the question becomes: Not how stupid are you, but how stupid do you people think the public is?

Ever hear of the phrase cdesign proponentsists?

Then there's all these little tidbits of information from a person who was actually at the trial:

Timeline of changes in Pandas and People text

Word-count graphs showing changes in Pandas text

Charts showing "Common Arguments and Themes" in Creation Science and Intelligent Design

"From 'Creation Science' to 'Intelligent Design': Tracing ID's Creationist Ancestry"


You know what they say: The truth hurts.

The interesting thing about the thread was that TC’s original proposal was that people who thought ID was a form of creationism were suffering from “worldview blindness” – immune to any counterevidence. Yet when some of the counterevidence to his position was raised, Thinking Christian first insisted that he was right, whatever the evidence showed, and then shut down the discussion.

I think this thread is an example of how the ID movement hurts its own potential supporters. Anyone who takes seriously the Discovery Institute’s pronouncements about “the” definition of ID and nope-no-way-its-creationism is being set up for a fairly painful and embarassing fall. Even if their confidence in their own position survives, think about how it looks to a neutral observer or someone new to the debate. Basically, TC had to argue “ignore everything that happened 2005 or before, ID is defined by the Discovery Institute’s current definition” – whereas I was able to roll out cdesign proponentsists and the rest. It’s quite a pickle they’re in, and avoiding the issue by ignoring it only works in press releases and very short news clips.

JD Curtis said...

Reynold, when ID is discussed, who or what do they (members of the Discovery Institute included) refer to as the "Designer"?

JD Curtis said...

I just found this link that explodes the fairytale of "vestigial" pelvic bones in whales...Link

Reynold said...

JD Curtis
Reynold, when ID is discussed, who or what do they (members of the Discovery Institute included) refer to as the "Designer"?
 
Read the wedge document. When they're talking among themselves or their consituents as opposed to trying to bs the general public, you know as well as I that it's the xian god.

Read the link I gave above. Why didn't you mention anything about what I had posted just before?

Hell, just read what you just posted! A bunch of ID people are speaking at a Baptist Theological Seminary!

As for the "fairytale" on "vestigial" bones in whales, or vestigial anything else for that matter, guess what?

Vestiges can be functional

It discusses Sarfati's dishonesty in dealing with the term "vestigial", and gives several points as to why he's wrong. Read up on that and on the sidebar to the right.

Sarfati's arguments are invalid for several reasons.

I skipped the first two:

Third, regardless of popular misconception, from the beginning of modern evolutionary theory a complete absence of function has not been a requirement for vestigiality (Crapo 1985; Culver et al. 1995; Darwin 1872, pp. 601-609; Dodson 1960, p. 44; Griffiths 1992; McCabe 1912, p. 264; Merrell 1962, p. 101; Moody 1962, p. 40; Muller 2002; Naylor 1982; Strickberger 2000; Weismann 1886; Wiedersheim 1893, p. 2, p. 200, p. 205). Sarfati's claim is based upon ignorance, and he of course provides no historical references showing that evolutionary biologists actually changed the definition.

At any rate, it seems the argument isn't about the pelvic bones of whales, but of something else

And for more about anatomical vestiges:
Note that the authour makes a distinction between "rudimentary" and "nonfunctional" in the paragraph below.

There are many examples of rudimentary and nonfunctional vestigial characters carried by organisms, and these can very often be explained in terms of evolutionary histories. For example, from independent phylogenetic evidence, snakes are known to be the descendants of four-legged reptiles. Most pythons (which are legless snakes) carry vestigial pelvises hidden beneath their skin (Cohn 2001; Cohn and Tickle 1999). The vestigial pelvis in pythons is not attached to vertebrae (as is the normal case in most vertebrates), and it simply floats in the abdominal cavity. Some lizards carry rudimentary, vestigial legs underneath their skin, undetectable from the outside (Raynaud and Kan 1992).

JD Curtis said...

I earlier cited whales Reynold. Go ahead, refer me to the best possible explanation re: rear-legs are vestigial on whales. This oughta be good.

JD Curtis said...

"How is it determined that a vestigial organ is a remnant of evolutionary ancestry rather than 1) an organ of unknown function at this time or 2) an organ of lost function within the same species?"

JD Curtis said...

I think I just found out why they were in Dallas Reyn. Check it out. Can I count on yourself and a friend attending? Will you be requiring the "box lunch" option? I'll see you there!

SmartLX said...

The best explanation of vestigial rear legs on whales is that whales are descended from land mammals. What on earth did you think it would be?

Ruling out unknown functions of apparently vestigial organs is easy: remove them, and see what breaks. In the case of the vermiform appendix (the plain old "appendix"), this is routinely done. Some people are even born without one.

The idea that a vestigial organ lost its function within a single species gets very unlikely when it is found to be apparently useless in other species as well, especially species thought to be closely related, such as chimpanzee appendices.

Reynold said...

JD Curtis
I earlier cited whales Reynold. Go ahead, refer me to the best possible explanation re: rear-legs are vestigial on whales. This oughta be good.
 
I already did! For christ' sakes, don't you read? It's in the links.

"How is it determined that a vestigial organ is a remnant of evolutionary ancestry rather than 1) an organ of unknown function at this time or 2) an organ of lost function within the same species?"
 
Read the damned links, please! That's what they're their for. Besides, if it was of "unknown function" then the finding of some whales with hindlimbs wouldn't be the case, they'd all have them!

I think I just found out why they were in Dallas Reyn. Check it out. Can I count on yourself and a friend attending? Will you be requiring the "box lunch" option? I'll see you there!
&nbps;
So you're admitting then that "the designer" is the xian god after all? Thanks to know, but that's old news.

But why in hell would I waste my time going to that?
 

JD Curtis said...

So you're admitting then that "the designer" is the xian god after all? Thanks to know, but that's old news.

Reynold, I think the conference that I cited was more geared toward Young Earth Creationism than Intelligent Design.

Ruling out unknown functions of apparently vestigial organs is easy: remove them, and see what breaks. In the case of the vermiform appendix (the plain old "appendix"), this is routinely done. Some people are even born without one.

You had to be aware of this "researchers at the 'Duke University Medical School' believe they have sufficient evidence to back up their theory, in that the appendix appears to help produce and protect the good bacteria in the intestines. The appendix, they say, acts like a "good bacteria factory" that "cultivates and preserves" good bacteria nutrition to help keep your body healthy." Link

People can live without their gall bladder also. I don't hear cries that it is a vestigial organ like the appendix.

SmartLX said...

The difference is that we've known for a long time exactly what the gall bladder does, and how people without one are disadvantaged.

It's interesting that the appendix might still be useful once in a blue moon when your intestines are flushed of bacteria. Apparently it preserves bacteria indiscriminately, good along with bad. That's why it can either save the "ecosystem" or destroy it.

There are plenty more examples of vestigial organs, such as the hind legs of baleen whales (not just a pelvis), the muscles in the human head which move the ears a tiny amount (left over from the ape days, when redirecting the ears actually helped) and the almost negligible wing-stubs of a kiwi. Are you prepared to say that a use for every one of them will eventually be found, or else their uselessness is confined to a single species?

JD Curtis said...

Do you really think that Pakicetus was related to whales? It was never proven to my satisfaction.

SmartLX said...

I was talking about modern baleen whales, blue whales for instance. They've still got little legs in there.

I'm not familiar with Pakicetus, because I usually use Ambulocetus when discussing the evolution of whales. Its place in the transition is more obvious.

JD Curtis said...

It's funny that you should bring up Ambulocetus because I was perusing a link yesterday that explained it's rear legs.

Reynold said...

People can live without their gall bladder also. I don't hear cries that it is a vestigial organ like the appendix.
 
Read the definition of vestigial please, and your "question" will be answered. Here's a hint: It has to do with "reduced" or altered function from what it originally had.

SmartLX said...

Thanks for the link, JD, but it ain't great.

The important thing isn't why it had legs, it's the fact that it had landworthy legs at all while sharing other characteristics exclusively with cetaceans, qualifying it as one. That's why the molar cusps and the particular type of middle ear are important: they're whale features, even if they're not well-known whale features like a blowhole. DR.com has no good reason to dismiss them as "not compelling" just because it doesn't compel them.

Ambulo's webbed toes are neither here nor there without a skin-on fossil, but even if its long toes were unwebbed they were great for swimming, especially since they flexed all the way down and behind. It's far less obvious when the skeleton is shown standing, so guess which position DR.com shows?

The site goes on to say that there's no basis for the claim that Ambulocetus swam in water. It doesn't mention chemical analyses of its teeth which showed signs of long periods in both fresh and salt water, or the whale-like nose structure that let it swallow underwater.

Honestly, if DR.com isn't going to look as far as Google and Wikipedia for evidence it claims isn't there, it's setting its readers up for a fall. Given that the site is by Adnan Oktar/Harun Yahya, I'm not surprised.

SmartLX said...

Wrong link for "flexed". Try this one.

JD Curtis said...

Reynold, I was addressing the "remove them, and see what breaks' comment by LX.

LX, I'll check out the link Re:teeth and get back to you.

Reynold said...

Reynold, I was addressing the "remove them, and see what breaks' comment by LX.
 
I know.