PDA

View Full Version : Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed


tiptap
04-09-2008, 08:14 PM
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Ben Stein Launches a Science-free Attack on Darwin
In a new documentary film, actor, game show host and financial columnist Ben Stein falls for the pseudoscience of intelligent design

By Michael Shermer

Editor's note: This story is part of a series "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Scientific American's Take."

In 1974 I matriculated at Pepperdine University as a born-again Christian who rejected Darwinism and evolutionary theory—not because I knew anything about it (I didn't) but because I thought that in order to believe in God and accept the Bible as true, you had to be a creationist. What I knew about evolution came primarily from creationist literature, so when I finally took a course in evolutionary theory in graduate school I realized that I had been hoodwinked. What I discovered is a massive amount of evidence from multiple sciences—geology, paleontology, biogeography, zoology, botany, comparative anatomy, molecular biology, genetics and embryology—demonstrating that evolution happened.

It was with some irony for me, then, that I saw Ben Stein's antievolution documentary film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, opens with the actor, game show host and speechwriter for Richard Nixon addressing a packed audience of adoring students at Pepperdine University, apparently falling for the same trap I did.

Actually they didn't. The biology professors at Pepperdine assure me that their mostly Christian students fully accept the theory of evolution. So who were these people embracing Stein's screed against science? Extras. According to Lee Kats, associate provost for research and chair of natural science at Pepperdine, "the production company paid for the use of the facility just as all other companies do that film on our campus" but that "the company was nervous that they would not have enough people in the audience so they brought in extras. Members of the audience had to sign in and a staff member reports that no more than two to three Pepperdine students were in attendance. Mr. Stein's lecture on that topic was not an event sponsored by the university." And this is one of the least dishonest parts of the film.

At the Crossroads of Conspiracy
Ben Stein came to my office to interview me about what I was told was a film about "the intersection of science and religion" called Crossroads (yet another deception). I knew something was afoot when his first question to me was on whether or not I think someone should be fired for expressing dissenting views. I pressed Stein for specifics: Who is being fired for what, when and where? In my experience, people are usually fired for reasons having to do with budgetary constraints, incompetence or not fulfilling the terms of a contract. Stein finally asked my opinion on people being fired for endorsing intelligent design. I replied that I know of no instance where such a firing has happened.

This seemingly innocent observation was turned into a filmic confession of ignorance when my on-camera interview abruptly ends there, because when I saw Expelled at a preview screening at the National Religious Broadcasters's convention (tellingly, the film is being targeted primarily to religious and conservative groups), I discovered that the central thesis of the film is a conspiracy theory about the systematic attempt to keep intelligent design creationism out of American classrooms and culture.

Stein's case for conspiracy centers on a journal article written by Stephen Meyer, a senior fellow at the intelligent design think tank Discovery Institute and professor at the theologically conservative Christian Palm Beach Atlantic University. Meyer's article, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories," was published in the June 2004 Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, the voice of the Biological Society with a circulation of less than 300 people. In other words, from the get-go this was much ado about nothing.

Nevertheless, some members of the organization voiced their displeasure, so the society's governing council released a statement explaining, "Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The council, which includes officers, elected councilors and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings." So how did it get published? In the words of journal's managing editor at the time, Richard Sternberg, "it was my prerogative to choose the editor who would work directly on the paper, and as I was best qualified among the editors, I chose myself." And what qualified Sternberg to choose himself? Perhaps it was his position as a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, which promotes intelligent design, along with being on the editorial board of the Occasional Papers of the Baraminology Study Group, a creationism journal committed to the literal interpretation of Genesis. Or perhaps it was the fact that he is a signatory of the Discovery Institute's "100 Scientists who Doubt Darwinism" statement.

Meyer's article is the first intelligent design paper ever published in a peer-reviewed journal, but it deals less with systematics (or taxonomy, Sternberg's specialty) than it does paleontology, for which many members of the society would have been better qualified than he to peer-review the paper. (In fact, at least three members were experts on the Cambrian invertebrates discussed in Meyer's paper). Meyer claims that the "Cambrian explosion" of complex hard-bodied life forms over 500 million years ago could not have come about through Darwinian gradualism. The fact that geologists call it an "explosion" leads creationists to glom onto the word as a synonym for "sudden creation." After four billion years of an empty Earth, God reached down from the heavens and willed trilobites into existence ex nihilo. In reality, according to paleontologist Donald Prothero, in his 2007 magisterial book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters (Columbia University Press): "The major groups of invertebrate fossils do not all appear suddenly at the base of the Cambrian but are spaced out over strata spanning 80 million years—hardly an instantaneous 'explosion'! Some groups appear tens of millions of years earlier than others. And preceding the Cambrian explosion was a long slow buildup to the first appearance of typical Cambrian shelled invertebrates." If an intelligent designer did create the Cambrian life forms, it took 80 million years of gradual evolution to do it.

Stein, however, is uninterested in paleontology, or any other science for that matter. His focus is on what happened to Sternberg, who is portrayed in the film as a martyr to the cause of free speech. "As a result of publishing the Meyer article," Stein intones in his inimitably droll voice, "Dr. Sternberg found himself the object of a massive campaign that smeared his reputation and came close to destroying his career." According to Sternberg, "after the publication of the Meyer article the climate changed from being chilly to being outright hostile. Shunned, yes, and discredited." As a result, Sternberg filed a claim against the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) for being "targeted for retaliation and harassment" for his religious beliefs. "I was viewed as an intellectual terrorist," he tells Stein. In August 2005 his claim was rejected. According to Jonathan Coddington, his supervisor at the NMNH, Sternberg was not discriminated against, was never dismissed, and in fact was not even a paid employee, but just an unpaid research associate who had completed his three-year term!

Who Speaks for Science?
The rest of the martyrdom stories in Expelled have similar, albeit less menacing explanations, detailed at www.expelledexposed.com, where physical anthropologist Eugenie Scott and her tireless crew at the National Center for Science Education have tracked down the specifics of each case. Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, for example, did not get tenure at Iowa State University in Ames and is portrayed in the film as sacrificed on the alter of tenure denial because of his authorship of a pro–intelligent design book entitled The Privileged Planet (Regnery Publishing, 2004). As Scott told me, "Tenure is based on the evaluation of academic performance at one's current institution for the previous seven years." Although Gonzales was apparently a productive scientist before he moved to Iowa State, Scott says that "while there, his publication record tanked, he brought in only a couple of grants—one of which was from the [John] Templeton Foundation to write The Privileged Planet—didn't have very many graduate students, and those he had never completed their degrees. Lots of people don't get tenure, for the same legitimate reasons that Gonzalez didn't get tenure."

Tenure in any department is serious business, because it means, essentially, employment for life. Tenure decisions for astronomers are based on the number and quality of scientific papers published, the prestige of the journal in which they are published, the number of grants funded (universities are ranked, in part, by the grant-productivity of their faculties), the number of graduate students who completed their program, the amount of telescope time allocated as well as the trends in each of these categories, indicating whether or not the candidate shows potential for continued productivity. In point of fact, according to Gregory Geoffroy, president of Iowa State, "Over the past 10 years, four of the 12 candidates who came up for review in the physics and astronomy department were not granted tenure." Gonzales was one of them, and for good reasons, despite Stein's claim of his "stellar academic record."

For her part, Scott is presented in the film as the cultural filter for determining what is and is not science, begging the rhetorical question: Just who does she think she is anyway? Her response to me was as poignant as it was instructive: "Who is Ben Stein to say what is science and not science? None of us speak for science. Scientists vary all over the map in their religious and philosophical views—for example, Francis Collins [the evangelical Christian and National Human Genome Research Institute director], so no one can speak for science."

From Haeckel to Hitler
Even more disturbing than these distortions is the film's other thesis that Darwinism inexorably leads to atheism, communism, fascism, and could be blamed for the Holocaust. Despite the fact that hundreds of millions of religious believers fully accept the theory of evolution, Stein claims that we are in an ideological war between a scientific natural worldview that leads to Stalin's gulag archipelago and Nazi gas chambers, and a religious supernatural worldview that leads to freedom, justice and the American way. The film's visual motifs leave no doubt in the viewer's emotional brain that Darwinism is leading America into an immoral quagmire. We're going to hell in a Darwinian handbasket. Cleverly edited interview excerpts from scientists are interspersed with various black-and-white clips for guilt by association with: bullies beating up on a 98-pound weakling, Charlton Heston's character in Planet of the Apes being blasted by a water hose, Nikita Khrushchev pounding his fist on a United Nations desk, East Germans captured trying to scale the Berlin Wall, and Nazi crematoria remains and Holocaust victims being bulldozed into mass graves. This propaganda production would make Joseph Goebbels proud.

It is true that the Nazis did occasionally adapt a warped version of social Darwinism proffered by the 19th-century German biologist Ernst Haeckel in a "survival of the fittest races" mode. But this rationale was only in the service of justifying the anti-Semitism that had been inculcated into European culture centuries before. Because Stein is Jewish, he surely knows that the pogroms against his people began ages before Darwin and that the German people were, in Harvard University political scientist Daniel Goldhagen's apt phrase (and book title), "Hitler's willing executioners."

When Stein interviewed me and asked my opinion on the impact of Darwinism on culture, he seemed astonishingly ignorant of the many other ways that Darwinism has been used and abused by political and economic ideologues of all stripes. Because Stein is a well-known economic conservative (and because I had just finished writing my book The Mind of the Market, a chapter of which compares Adam Smith's "invisible hand" with Charles Darwin's natural selection), I pointed out how the captains of industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries justified their beliefs in laissez-faire capitalism through the social Darwinism of "survival of the fittest corporations." And, more recently, I noted that Enron's CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, said his favorite book in Harvard Business School was Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene (first published in 1976), a form of Darwinism that Skilling badly misinterpreted. Scientific theorists cannot be held responsible for how their ideas are employed in the service of nonscientific agendas.

Questioning Darwinism
A final leitmotif running through Expelled is inscribed in chalk by Stein in repetitive lines on a classroom blackboard: "Do not question Darwinism." Anyone who thinks that scientists do not question Darwinism has never been to an evolutionary conference. At the World Summit on Evolution held in the Galapagos Islands during June 2005, for example, I witnessed a scientific theory rich in controversy and disputation. Paleontologist William Schopf of the University of California, Los Angeles, for instance, explained that "We know the overall sequence of life's origin, that the origin of life was early, microbial and unicellular, and that an RNA world preceded today's DNA–protein world." He openly admitted, however, "We do not know the precise environments of the early earth in which these events occurred; we do not know the exact chemistry of some of the important chemical reactions that led to life; and we do not have any knowledge of life in a pre-RNA world."

Stanford University biologist Joan Roughgarden declared that Darwin's theory of sexual selection (a specific type of natural selection) is wrong in its claim that females choose mates who are more attractive and well-armed. Calling neo-Darwinians "bullies," the University of Massachusetts Amherst biologist Lynn Margulis pronounced that "neo-Darwinism is dead" and, echoing Darwin, she said, "It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist." Why? Because, Margulis explained, "Random changes in DNA alone do not lead to speciation. Symbiogenesis—the appearance of new behaviors, tissues, organs, organ systems, physiologies or species as a result of symbiont interaction—is the major source of evolutionary novelty in eukaryotes: animals, plants and fungi."

Finally, Cornell University evolutionary theorist William Provine (featured in Expelled) presented 11 problems with evolutionary theory, including: "Natural selection does not shape an adaptation or cause a gene to spread over a population or really do anything at all. It is instead the result of specific causes: hereditary changes, developmental causes, ecological causes and demography. Natural selection is the result of these causes, not a cause that is by itself. It is not a mechanism."

Despite this public questioning of Darwinism (and neo-Darwinism), which I reported on in Scientific American, Schopf, Roughgarden, Margulis and Provine have not been persecuted, shunned, fired or even Expelled. Why? Because they are doing science, not religion. It is perfectly okay to question Darwinism (or any other "-ism" in science), as long as there is a way to test your challenge. Intelligent design creationists, by contrast, have no interest in doing science at all. In the words of mathematician and philosopher William Dembski of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a key witness in Stein's prosecution of evolution, from a 2000 speech at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Anaheim, Calif.: "Intelligent design opens the whole possibility of us being created in the image of a benevolent God…. And if there's anything that I think has blocked the growth of Christ as the free reign of the spirit and people accepting the Scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view."

When will people learn that Darwinian naturalism has nothing whatsoever to do with religious supernaturalism? By the very definitions of the words it is not possible for supernatural processes to be understood by a method designed strictly for analyzing natural causes. Unless God reaches into our world through natural and detectable means, he remains wholly outside the realm of science.

So, yes Mr. Stein, sometimes walls are bad (Berlin), but other times good walls make good neighbors. Let's build up that wall separating church and state, along with science and religion, and let freedom ring for all people to believe or disbelieve what they will.

Michael Shermer is Publisher of Skeptic (www.skeptic.com) and the author of Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design. His new book is The Mind of the Market.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=ben-steins-expelled-review-michael-shermer

banyon
04-09-2008, 08:22 PM
tiptap, do you think ID and evolution are inconsistent?

Mr. Kotter
04-09-2008, 08:39 PM
tiptap, do you think ID and evolution are inconsistent?

More to the point, tiptap, do you think the notion of a supreme being is necessarily mutually exclusive from evolution? :shrug:

banyon
04-09-2008, 08:55 PM
More to the point, tiptap, do you think the notion of a supreme being is necessarily mutually exclusive from evolution? :shrug:

Not to be contrary, but how is that "more to the point"?

Isn't a supreme being part and parcel of ID?

tiptap
04-09-2008, 09:14 PM
The third question to ask is there any scientific results from ID theory that we can see gains from as humans. It is this question that I do see as empty. As Adept states, only supernatural explanations exist for supernatural events. We do not get to scientifically investigate how it works.

Banyon, ID is not inconsistent technically. ID is put forth to debunk evolution though. ID is meant to allow the creation of KINDS (Baramins in the Creationist language) in novo. There is meant to be a demonstrated barrier that disallows evolution of new KINDS from OLD KINDS. They started out simply trying to say something in life is too complicated to evolve but every blood clotting, flagella or other suggested system has been found out to have precursors with biological activity on their own.

Mr. Kotter there are several arguments that leaves one admitting their is a supreme being. For example fo me that would be the President of US as the demostrated MOst powerful or in your terms supreme being.

Einstein has, as a follower of Spinoza's argument about god, asked the question whether god had any choice in making up the world. It is another way of saying that god and the natural world process were one in the same. Not that distant from Deism.

Taco John
04-09-2008, 09:29 PM
More to the point... Do you believe that angels exist?

Brock
04-09-2008, 09:31 PM
Do you reject Satan and all his works?

Mr. Kotter
04-09-2008, 09:37 PM
Not to be contrary, but how is that "more to the point"?

Isn't a supreme being part and parcel of ID?

Intelligent Design is specific paradigm.....a "supreme being" is more generic, and tolerated, in my view.

banyon
04-09-2008, 09:37 PM
Do you reject Satan and all his works?

And all his pomps?

banyon
04-09-2008, 09:38 PM
Intelligent Design is specific paradigm.....a "supreme being" is more generic, and tolerated, in my view.

move to strike as unresponsive

tiptap
04-09-2008, 09:46 PM
More to the point... Do you believe that angels exist?

Only in Anaheim

tiptap
04-09-2008, 09:46 PM
Do you reject Satan and all his works?

Yes

Taco John
04-09-2008, 09:53 PM
Ben Stein is making these "scientists" look like fools.

http://www.expelledthemovie.com/playground.php

Mr. Kotter
04-09-2008, 10:01 PM
move to strike as unresponsive


OVER-RULED, counselor. I understand his point. Proceed.

tiptap
04-09-2008, 10:04 PM
Ben Stein is making these "scientists" look like fools.

http://www.expelledthemovie.com/playground.php

And by this you mean he has demonstrated his better command of scientific understanding?

Taco John
04-09-2008, 10:07 PM
And by this you mean he has demonstrated his better command of scientific understanding?

No, by this I mean he reveals that they've taken in dogma rather than committed themselves to following the evidence.

When someone says "as a scientist, I'm hostile towards xyz counter-theory," they might as well be making a religious argument.

Taco John
04-09-2008, 10:08 PM
OVER-RULED, counselor. I understand his point. Proceed.

Your contribution to this thread has been meaningless thus far. Banyon didn't need a "more to the point." Your "more to the point" was inherent in his original statement.

tiptap
04-09-2008, 10:10 PM
So you take at face value that the merits of the arguments were not weighed.

tiptap
04-09-2008, 10:13 PM
After all Natural Selection is used everyday in Selective Breeding. Molecular Genetics is used in gene manipulation. Evolution has been used to design electrical circuits and to produce phamaceutical active materials. What exactly has ID produced?

tiptap
04-09-2008, 10:14 PM
ID is not a theory. It is an hypothesis. And each time it has been applied in a technical sense, which is what science moves on, it has failed.

Adept Havelock
04-09-2008, 10:15 PM
When someone says "as a scientist, I'm hostile towards xyz counter-theory," they might as well be making a religious argument.

Not if "xyz counter-theory" was predicated on something like "irreducible complexity", which is a concept that places itself outside the Scientific Method by virtue of being untestable. ;)

The only thing Ben Stein is doing is further discrediting the ID movement, and earning a few bucks. NTTAWWT.

ID is not a theory. It is an hypothesis. And each time it has been applied in a technical sense, which is what science moves on, it has failed.

Truth.

Taco John
04-09-2008, 10:26 PM
Not if "xyz counter-theory" was predicated on something like "irreducible complexity", which is a concept that places itself outside the Scientific Method by virtue of being untestable. ;)


In that case, black holes must not exist...

Taco John
04-09-2008, 10:27 PM
And what do you know... There is no such thing as peak oil...

Taco John
04-09-2008, 10:27 PM
Geez, what else doesn't exist since there is no known scientific test for it...

tiptap
04-09-2008, 10:31 PM
Black holes are a prediction from Einstein's theory of General Relativity. There are demonstration of mass curving space and light. Around something that othewise we can't see. So direct evidence isn't there. As opposed to ID which offers no theory for how it works only the claim, all found false, that we can't get evolution to explain the process.

Adept Havelock
04-09-2008, 10:31 PM
In that case, black holes must not exist...

:spock:

You really couldn't have picked a worse example.

The fact visible light cannot escape from a black hole does not render a black hole unobservable. Ever heard of Radio Astronomy? It's only been around for a few decades. ROFL

Furthermore, it can be mathematically proved. Voodoo like Irreducible Complexity, not so much.

edit- I see tiptap has already dealt with TJ's Astrophysical illiteracy. Thanks.

Stick to fringe economics TJ, and you won't embarrass yourself like that. ;)

Taco John
04-09-2008, 10:43 PM
Dogma.

There is no scientific test for black holes. Period.

Does it make sense that they exist? Sure it does. But we can't test for it.

Likewise, there is no test for peak oil. We just accept that it exists.

There is no test for several of the things that we take for granted. We just accept them because they "seem" scientifically sound.

Irriducible complexity can be observed in the same way that a black hole can be observed. But there is no way known to science to test for either of them.

Adept Havelock
04-09-2008, 10:46 PM
Dogma.

There is no scientific test for black holes. Period.




Don't you get tired of being wrong?

There are scientific tests for black holes. Tests which are proving or disproving a hypothesis. How's ID working out on that? Not well at all, it seems. That happens when it's a supernatural assumption. LMAO

The Tricky Task of Detecting Black Holes

http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/070221_blackhole_technology.html

Radio Astronomers Lift 'Fog' On Milky Way's Dark Heart; Black Hole Fits Inside Earth's Orbit

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040402073004.htm



Irriducible complexity can be observed in the same way that a black hole can be observed. But there is no way known to science to test for either of them.

Uh, no. Wrong again.

You would have a better and more scientific approach attempting to prove ID by proving the existence of that designer than the voodoo and handwavium theories of ID currently kicked around. It's perfectly valid philosophy, but don't insult my intelligence by trying to pretend it fits with the Scientific Method.

noa
04-09-2008, 10:57 PM
ID is like when lightning struck and early man didn't understand it, so he thought it was the gods.

Taco John
04-09-2008, 11:01 PM
Oh wow! You can post links too!?


Black Holes Don't Exist, Say Physicists
http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/06/black-holes-don.html

No More Black Holes
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/621/1?rss=1



Note: I don't subscribe to this theory. I don't know enough about the math behind them. The point is, it's all theoretical. We might as well be making calculations about the location of Santa's workshop. My snow-mometer tells me that it's somewhere to the north, as tales say his workshop is surrounded by snow.

'Hamas' Jenkins
04-09-2008, 11:07 PM
Dogma.

There is no scientific test for black holes. Period.

Does it make sense that they exist? Sure it does. But we can't test for it.

Likewise, there is no test for peak oil. We just accept that it exists.

There is no test for several of the things that we take for granted. We just accept them because they "seem" scientifically sound.

Irriducible complexity can be observed in the same way that a black hole can be observed. But there is no way known to science to test for either of them.

Say it with me:Gamma Ray Bursts

'Hamas' Jenkins
04-09-2008, 11:09 PM
Oh wow! You can post links too!?


Black Holes Don't Exist, Say Physicists
http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/06/black-holes-don.html

No More Black Holes
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/621/1?rss=1



Note: I don't subscribe to this theory. I don't know enough about the math behind them. The point is, it's all theoretical. We might as well be making calculations about the location of Santa's workshop. My snow-mometer tells me that it's somewhere to the north, as tales say his workshop is surrounded by snow.

This is why it's hard to take arguments with anyone seriously over the web. At no point does anyone ever seem to have the integrity to ever admit that they made a stupid statement and were flat out wrong. In real discussion, you can't skulk off to google for some hackneyed research in order to save face, you just look like an ass...well, maybe there isn't much of a difference here in that part.

Adept Havelock
04-09-2008, 11:23 PM
Oh wow! You can post links too!?

Black Holes Don't Exist, Say Physicists
http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/06/black-holes-don.html

No More Black Holes
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/621/1?rss=1

Note: I don't subscribe to this theory. I don't know enough about the math behind them. The point is, it's all theoretical.


Actually, the point is that those theories, like the ones I linked to all have one thing in common. They are all testable and subject to confirmation or denial by the Scientific Method. Irreducible Complexity is an assumption based on a supernatural explanation. Science is the search for natural explanations, and ID assumes one can't be found.. :shrug:

It is that assumption that puts ID in the realm of Philosophy instead of Science.

ID is like when lightning struck and early man didn't understand it, so he thought it was the gods.

Considering the attitude towards the Scientific Method (what they refer to as "Dogma", even though it is the very basis of Science) of many ID proponents, I'll offer another analogy. ID is the kid who comes over to another group of kids and likes the game they are playing. Unfortunately, due to his makeup he can't play. So he asks the kids to change the rules of the game so he can play too. The problem with that is when you change the rules of the game, it's not the same game anymore.

That might be OK when it comes to a kids game, but it really doesn't work with Science. ;)

This is why it's hard to take arguments with anyone seriously over the web. At no point does anyone ever seem to have the integrity to ever admit that they made a stupid statement and were flat out wrong. In real discussion, you can't skulk off to google for some hackneyed research in order to save face, you just look like an ass...well, maybe there isn't much of a difference here in that part.

Truer words have seldom been said. I find it curious too. I know I'm not happy about admitting when I've gotten something wrong, but I'll certainly do it. I don't really get some folks inability to admit an error. I suppose I'm not egotistical enough, and that's saying something as I know I'm quite the egotistical bastard. :eek:

Jenson71
04-09-2008, 11:34 PM
If a young boy was wearing makeup, I wouldn't let him play in my games either.

Adept Havelock
04-09-2008, 11:35 PM
If a young boy was wearing makeup, I wouldn't let him play in my games either.

I might not either, but I wouldn't kill him for it even if he directed his ID wiles at me. :p

tiptap
04-10-2008, 06:35 AM
Oh wow! You can post links too!?


Black Holes Don't Exist, Say Physicists
http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/06/black-holes-don.html

No More Black Holes
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/621/1?rss=1



Note: I don't subscribe to this theory. I don't know enough about the math behind them. The point is, it's all theoretical. We might as well be making calculations about the location of Santa's workshop. My snow-mometer tells me that it's somewhere to the north, as tales say his workshop is surrounded by snow.

The central characteristic of a "Black Hole" is the gravitational presence with the loss of information about the gravitational anomaly. This is not in dispute in either characterization of the "Black Hole." The presence of this Gravitational Well is seen by how it "curves" space and electromagnetic energy (light) and how other quite visible items like stars "orbit" the otherwise undetectable "Black Hole."

But the physicists doesn't state that anomaly is completely unknown. Because we can characterize it by it gravity effects continuously. Not a one time and then gone situation. A continuously observable effect. (As a side note all information isn't lost because of the gravity and in discovering "gravitons" we might get information that we now just don't have an idea how to resolve)

ID is a poof, it happen and there is no continuous observation of this. There are several miracles that would make it easy to believe in god. ID is akin to one of those for me. It is the Elijah magic barrel or the Jesus feeding the 10,000. If matter just continuously appeared a nuveau that would show a violation of energy being created. (As opposed to just good people offering donations in the barrels and baskets.) But to say that you missed the timing of the event, that it is a one time going on, means it isn't something we can study. And it isn't a option to entertain until ALL other explanation that we can study are exhausted. And when scientists have looked at ID explanations they have found evolutionary explanations that the unimaginative ID proponets were short sighted in exploring.

banyon
04-10-2008, 07:18 AM
ID is a poof, it happen and there is no continuous observation of this. There are several miracles that would make it easy to believe in god. ID is akin to one of those for me. It is the Elijah magic barrel or the Jesus feeding the 10,000. If matter just continuously appeared a nuveau that would show a violation of energy being created. (As opposed to just good people offering donations in the barrels and baskets.) But to say that you missed the timing of the event, that it is a one time going on, means it isn't something we can study. And it isn't a option to entertain until ALL other explanation that we can study are exhausted. And when scientists have looked at ID explanations they have found evolutionary explanations that the unimaginative ID proponets were short sighted in exploring.

ID (as I understand it) is just an argument by analogy, which is inductive reasoning. It doesn't require miracles or magic to sustain its persuasive force.

I agree it isn't really helpful in the scientific arena, but as an ontological argument it has been around for quite some time.

Amnorix
04-10-2008, 07:45 AM
In that case, black holes must not exist...


Not true. The theory is sound based on other theories that have been tested and so far have held true.

There has also been some indirect evidence that has helped support the existence of blackholes. I'm no expert, but I vaguely remember that because of the intense gravity of blackholes, the theory is that light that nearly went into it would be pulled more towards the purple end of the spectrum, and that this was observed in one particular location where a blackhole si believed to exist.

This is vague and pathetic, I know. I can be more specific if I had a book that is at home handy. Someone else may know what I"m talking about and be able to explain it better.

tiptap
04-10-2008, 07:47 AM
Which part of ID? On one hand you have complexity, a restating of the argument that the eye couldn't evolve because it requires preconception and assembling of the parts, all at once, to obtain biological activity. On the other hand having shown this impossible assemblage, you conclude that their was intervention. So what is happening is that one is always looking at what isn't understood completely and stating that because we haven't figured it out yet, it must be because it is beyond naturalistic processes.

So what has this hypothesis got us. Well it got a lot of evolution scientists to look at blood clotting, bacterial flagella and the eye. And when they turned their attention to these examples of complexity, it turns out that they all were assembled from already existing biologically active constituents. Evolution had already assembled building blocks that each of these biological systems could be put together. It is sort of like letters can be put together to make words, words to make sentences and so on.

It is true that we don't know the details of how life began. But that isn't because building blocks don't exist (atoms). Just the local situation that drove such events are not understood. And in face of this lack of information one get derision from ID like in this documentary. An answer for how life might have began was suggested involving crystals. And what was shown was a man peering into a crystal ball. (It is clear to a chemist that the properties of matter and in particular, crystals were unknown to Stein.) There is also mud layers explanations and others that have physical predictions. And as such each can be tested. As opposed to just throwing up you hands and saying god did it without doing the hard work in the first place.

banyon
04-10-2008, 07:52 AM
Which part of ID? On one hand you have complexity, a restating of the argument that the eye couldn't evolve because it requires preconception and assembling of the parts, all at once, to obtain biological activity. On the other hand having shown this impossible assemblage, you conclude that their was intervention. So what is happening is that one is always looking at what isn't understood completely and stating that because we haven't figured it out yet, it must be because it is beyond naturalistic processes.

I'm probably not the ablest defender of this theory and don't have a real stake in this debate, but the analogy is to other complex systems that through experience (induction) we know have been designed. Chaos (at least on the micro level) doesn't lend itself to randomly generating complex, functional designs over and over, which is what we see in nature.Other complex systems have a designer-ergo, the rest is deductive.

Amnorix
04-10-2008, 07:53 AM
Oh wow! You can post links too!?


Black Holes Don't Exist, Say Physicists
http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/06/black-holes-don.html

No More Black Holes
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/621/1?rss=1



Note: I don't subscribe to this theory. I don't know enough about the math behind them. The point is, it's all theoretical. We might as well be making calculations about the location of Santa's workshop. My snow-mometer tells me that it's somewhere to the north, as tales say his workshop is surrounded by snow.


First, your two links relate to the same people who said the same thing, so it's one source.

Second, at least scientists CAN test for them, and the theory will hold up, or not, on its own. There is no test for ID. It's just a speculative hypothesis. Not a scientific theorem.

Astrophysicists don't assume they know all. They don't assume they have all the answers. We're in the early phase of the golden age of astrophysics. Tremendous advances have been made in the last 20 years. We've probably learned more about the universe in the last 20 years than in the 2,000 before it, thanks to Hubble and advanced study.

ID is just an idea. Not provable or disprovable. Not subject to scientific method.

tiptap
04-10-2008, 08:29 AM
I'm probably not the ablest defender of this theory and don't have a real stake in this debate, but the analogy is to other complex systems that through experience (induction) we know have been designed. Chaos (at least on the micro level) doesn't lend itself to randomly generating complex, functional designs over and over, which is what we see in nature.Other complex systems have a designer-ergo, the rest is deductive.

Ok side bar on discussion of entropy. The assertion for earth (as opposed to the universe with the huge change in scale) is that there is no directionality, no order that could lead to increase complexity. That is the argument. So take a cube, a clear box, 1 meter cubed and put 10,000 1 cm diameter ball bearings. That would fill one face of the cube. And put it in a micro, zero gravity setting and shake it. The ball bearings would be randomly spaced after losing energy to the collisions with the sides of the cube. This is an example of random motion, entropy. It is a property of the geometry. It has no existence apart from the circumstances of the collection of interacting parts. There is no order. Only decreasing order. Entropy is not a property in and of itself. It arises from fundamentals. That is why you have to multiply entropy times temperature in order to get energy.

But put that cube on earth and suddenly all those balls end up in highly predictable, orderly positions. Yes tiptap, because of Gravity. Yep here is the first ordering force. Has gravity ever stopped on earth? And yet it provided density ordering and directional ordering and on. Well then there is Electromagnetic ordering forces. Here ARE fundamental forces as opposed to entropy. All of chemistry is based upon this. So are biological systems outstripping chemistry possibilities? No every step of a one celled zygote growing to an adult is highly directed chemistry. And the non deterministic part is that not all zygotes succeed to adulthood. And the form of the both the genotype and the phenotype are capable of change. Each of the individual steps that can offer change for genotype and phenotype can be demonstrated. The effect over millions of years is the fossil evidence. This is contrast to ID which offers NO process to test. Just the failures. While evolution shows the successes.

Amnorix
04-10-2008, 08:35 AM
And I imagine you know, TJ that the Theory of Gravity is also "just" a theory. Similar to black hole theory, though older and having been tested more often, etc.

Of course, perhaps you also don't believe in the "Theory of Gravity"?

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p67.htm

banyon
04-10-2008, 08:39 AM
But put that cube on earth and suddenly all those balls end up in highly predictable, orderly positions. Yes tiptap, because of Gravity. Yep here is the first ordering force. Has gravity ever stopped on earth? And yet it provided density ordering and directional ordering and on. Well then there is Electromagnetic ordering forces. Here ARE fundamental forces as opposed to entropy. All of chemistry is based upon this. So are biological systems outstripping chemistry possibilities? No every step of a one celled zygote growing to an adult is highly directed chemistry. And the non deterministic part is that not all zygotes succeed to adulthood. And the form of the both the genotype and the phenotype are capable of change. Each of the individual steps that can offer change for genotype and phenotype can be demonstrated. The effect over millions of years is the fossil evidence. This is contrast to ID which offers NO process to test. Just the failures. While evolution shows the successes.


I have no disagreement with you that ID is not falsifiable; that's why it isn't science. The predictable nature of the reactions you describe (the laws themselves) aren't erratic though, so that still lends some credence to the theory (though the persuasive force of the theory is certainly up for debate).

Otter
04-10-2008, 08:40 AM
Doh!!!

tiptap
04-10-2008, 09:42 AM
I have no disagreement with you that ID is not falsifiable; that's why it isn't science. The predictable nature of the reactions you describe (the laws themselves) aren't erratic though, so that still lends some credence to the theory (though the persuasive force of the theory is certainly up for debate).

Do you mean are there things that can't happen. Like two particles occupying the same space (truly impossible) or matter appearing violating conservation of matter (possible, without violating energy conservation, no), well yeah. And that is what ID is about. Let's say the eye was impossible biologically, chemically or otherwise. Then the irreproduceable parts that are essential, but naturalistically unattainable, have to be produced and the new part means new energy was created apart from the system. Now this fits quite nicely with God being the source for everything philosophically, but we don't see this continuously. If it was necessary originally, then the process is still necessary, the divine intervention should be in evidence all the time with each new eye. And if the system sustains that process naturally without intervention, that we continue to have eyes, then the component parts must be recruitable from the environment. And a naturalistic process has been pioneered by Natural Selection.

irishjayhawk
04-10-2008, 10:55 AM
What's this? An Expelled Thread that I haven't participated in.

TipTap, if you haven't already, you should check the Expelled thread in the main lounge. I have some posts cataloging the shenanigans the film has gone through.

irishjayhawk
04-10-2008, 10:58 AM
Also, I might add that Fox News panned it (http://austringer.net/wp/index.php/2008/04/09/flunked-not-expelled-not-even-fox-likes-it/).

Also check out www.expelledexposed.com It's the Science Academy's official repository.

irishjayhawk
04-10-2008, 11:01 AM
WOW. Just got into my feed reader and behold another TRANSITIONAL FOSSIL. I thought they didn't exist.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7339508.stm

What was lost tens of millions of years ago is now found.
A fossil animal locked in Lebanese limestone has been shown to be an extremely precious discovery - a snake with two legs.
Scientists have only a handful of specimens that illustrate the evolutionary narrative that goes from ancient lizard to limbless modern serpent.

Researchers at the European Light Source (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, used intense X-rays to confirm that a creature imprinted on a rock, and with one visible leg, had another appendage buried just under the surface of the slab.
"We were sure he had two legs but it was great to see it, and we hope to find other characteristics that we couldn't see on the other limb," said Alexandra Houssaye from the National Museum of Natural History, Paris.
The 85cm-long (33in) creature, known as Eupodophis descouensi, comes from the Late Cretaceous, about 92 million years ago.

How Eupodophis descouensi might have looked. The legs are far down the body

Unearthed near the village of al-Nammoura, it was originally described in 2000.
Its remains are divided across the two interior faces of a thin limestone block that has been broken apart.

Synchrotron-radiation computed laminography produces fine detail
A portion of the vertebral column is missing; and in the process of preservation, the "tail" has become detached and positioned near the head.
But it is the unmistakable leg bones - fibula, tibia and femur - that catch the eye. The stumpy hind-limb is only 2cm (0.8in) long, and was presumably utterly useless to the animal in life.
Current evidence suggests that snakes started to emerge less than 150 million years ago.
Two theories compete. One points to a land origin in which lizards started to burrow, and as they adapted to their subterranean existence, their legs were reduced and lost - first the forelimbs and then the hind-limbs.
The second theory considers the origin to be in water, from marine reptiles.
This makes the few known bipedal snakes in the fossil record hugely significant, because they could hold the clues that settle this particular debate.

The top picture is a synchrotron view of the visible snake leg
Synchrotron light in the bottom view illuminates the hidden limb

"Every detail can be very important in establishing the great relationships and that's why we must know them very well," explained Ms Houssaye.
"I wanted to study the inner structure of different bones and so for that you would usually use destructive methods; but given that this is the only specimen [of E. descouensi], it is totally impossible to do that.
"3D reconstruction techniques were the only solution. We needed a good resolution and only this machine can do that," she told BBC News.
EUROPEAN LIGHT SOURCE

Electrons are fired into a linac, or straight accelerator. They're boosted in a small ring before entering the storage ring. The superfast particles are corralled by a train of magnets. Energy lost by turning electrons emerges as intense light (X-rays).
NEXT
1 of 3
That machine is the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. This giant complex on the edge of the Alps produces an intense, high-energy light that can pierce just about any material, revealing its inner structure.
For this study, the fossil snake was clamped to an inclined table and rotated in front of the facility's brilliant X-ray beam.
In a process known as computed laminography, many hundreds of 2D images are produced which can be woven, with the aid of a smart algorithm, into a detailed 3D picture.
The finished product, which can be spun around on a computer screen, reveals details that will be measured in just millionths of a metre.
The E. descouensi investigation shows the second leg hidden inside the limestone is bent at the knee.
"We can even see ankle bones," ESRF's resident palaeontologist Paul Tafforeau said.
"In most cases, we can't find digits; but that may be because they are not preserved or because, as this is a vestigial leg, they were never present."
To modern eyes, it may seem strange to think of a snake with legs.
But look at some of the more primitive modern snakes, such as boas and pythons, and you'll see evidence of their legged ancestry - tiny "spurs" sited near their ends, which today are used as grippers during sex.

tooge
04-10-2008, 12:37 PM
As someone who his degree in Biology, I just wonder why cant it be as simple as this? The bible is the non literal interpretation the events outlining the beginning of time. However, because of the limited available knowledge of science at the time of its writing, a story consitent with what was known as possible was used as a metaphor for the actual events. Put simply, since at the time, nobody even knew of the existence of microscopic organisms and submolecular particles, the first creatures had to be Adam and Eve. Couldn't they simply be a metaphor for the first living cell (algae or whatever)? why is it soo hard for the different sides to see it could be both?

Adept Havelock
04-10-2008, 12:48 PM
As someone who his degree in Biology, I just wonder why cant it be as simple as this? The bible is the non literal interpretation the events outlining the beginning of time. However, because of the limited available knowledge of science at the time of its writing, a story consitent with what was known as possible was used as a metaphor for the actual events. Put simply, since at the time, nobody even knew of the existence of microscopic organisms and
submolecular particles, the first creatures had to be Adam and Eve. Couldn't they simply be a metaphor for the first living cell (algae or whatever)? why is it soo hard for the different sides to see it could be both?

This point has been addressed, more or less:

ID is like when lightning struck and early man didn't understand it, so he thought it was the gods.

and


Considering the attitude towards the Scientific Method (what they refer to as "Dogma", even though it is the very basis of Science) of many ID proponents, I'll offer another analogy. ID is the kid who comes over to another group of kids and likes the game they are playing. Unfortunately, due to his makeup he can't play. So he asks the kids to change the rules of the game so he can play too. The problem with that is when you change the rules of the game, it's not the same game anymore.

That might be OK when it comes to a kids game, but it really doesn't work with Science. ;)


ID isn't falsifiable, so it's not subject to the Scientific Method, and thus not part of Science. Nor should it be taught as such. Philosophy is fine (as that's what ID is), but please don't imply ID is subject to the Scientific Method, and thus on an equal level in Science discussion.

If I've misunderstood your statement, my sincere apologies for the error.

IMO, the trouble with getting "both sides to agree" is one side is insisting on changing the rules so they can play too.

tiptap
04-12-2008, 09:58 AM
It turns out that the "Expelled" documentary has a segment of a Harvard produced animation about cellular activity WITHOUT gaining permission for "stealing" the material. Dembski, in his lectures, also uses this pirated material. Though it is true they apply their own commentary. This infringement has been brought to the attention of XVIVO and Harvard University which has sought an injunction for that infringement.

You'd think that even if they didn't understand biology and evolution these lawyers would know a little about copywrite law.
Look at Dempski and Discovery Institute links at the bottom of the blog for the piece and its pirated use.
http://endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com/2008/04/expelled-expelled-for-plagiarism.html

Adept Havelock
04-12-2008, 10:17 AM
It turns out that the "Expelled" documentary has a segment of a Harvard produced animation about cellular activity WITHOUT gaining permission for "stealing" the material. Dembski, in his lectures, also uses this pirated material. Though it is true they apply their own commentary. This infringement has been brought to the attention of XVIVO and Harvard University which has sought an injunction for that infringement.

You'd think that even if they didn't understand biology and evolution these lawyers would know a little about copywrite law.
Look at Dempski and Discovery Institute links at the bottom of the blog for the piece and its pirated use.
http://endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com/2008/04/expelled-expelled-for-plagiarism.html

Nice to know they are just plain dishonest, in addition to being intellectually dishonest.

Guru
04-12-2008, 10:18 AM
ROFL

Logical
04-12-2008, 10:49 AM
ID (as I understand it) is just an argument by analogy, which is inductive reasoning. It doesn't require miracles or magic to sustain its persuasive force.

I agree it isn't really helpful in the scientific arena, but as an ontological argument it has been around for quite some time.If it was not of merit in an argument I doubt it would have survived this long as it is clearly hocus pocus science.

bigfoot
04-12-2008, 10:58 AM
Also, I might add that Fox News panned it (http://austringer.net/wp/index.php/2008/04/09/flunked-not-expelled-not-even-fox-likes-it/).

Also check out www.expelledexposed.com It's the Science Academy's official repository.


Like asking the NEA about support of school vouchers and home schooling.

Adept Havelock
04-12-2008, 11:05 AM
Like asking the NEA about support of school vouchers and home schooling.

A more accurate analogy would be "like asking a collection of Astrophysicists their opinion of Jean Dixon.";)

tiptap
04-12-2008, 11:30 AM
If it was not of merit in an argument I doubt it would have survived this long as it is clearly hocus pocus science.

Most ontological arguments do not necessarily (logically speaking) lead to the characteristics or historical presentation of Yahweh or any other specific god. For example ID arguments are easily covered by extra terrestrial sources as by Genesis source. (For science it simply moves the investigation of the origin of life off this world.)

I have already ascribed to the ontological argument that there has to be a most powerful being argument by stating the "stand in" for now known would be the POTUS. Again pointing to lack of direction or certainty apart from the a priori criteria of the characteristic of what the First Cause should be like. There are millions of a priori axioms that imply this existence. About any religion would qualify. It is different to look to nature and ask as Einstein does "What really interests me is whether God had any choce in the creation of the world."

Logical
04-12-2008, 11:43 AM
Personally I have always preferred the approach that God is represented by the natural order of things. Those are best represented by evolution, gravity, particle physics, the amazing intricacies of DNA, RNA and our biological ecosystem when it works as nature intended.

irishjayhawk
04-12-2008, 01:14 PM
Personally I have always preferred the approach that God is represented by the natural order of things. Those are best represented by evolution, gravity, particle physics, the amazing intricacies of DNA, RNA and our biological ecosystem when it works as nature intended.

So, essentially, irreducible complexity or the argument from chance?

irishjayhawk
04-12-2008, 01:15 PM
Like asking the NEA about support of school vouchers and home schooling.

:spock:

I'm genuinely confused. Are you referring to Fox News panning it or Science Academy's "response" to Expelled?

Logical
04-12-2008, 01:32 PM
So, essentially, irreducible complexity or the argument from chance?Definitely not irreducible complexity on the other hand I am not a proponent of chance either. I believe everything living evolved naturally. I am a huge proponent of real science and that eventually given enough time we will be able to explain all things scientifically. I appreciate the complexity theory of our universe.

irishjayhawk
04-12-2008, 03:21 PM
Definitely not irreducible complexity on the other hand I am not a proponent of chance either. I believe everything living evolved naturally. I am a huge proponent of real science and that eventually given enough time we will be able to explain all things scientifically. I appreciate the complexity theory of our universe.

So I guess I don't see your stance. Pro-science yet a "god" is inserted at some level. Where and why, if science given time will explain everything scientifically (Fwiw, I think so too.)?

Logical
04-12-2008, 04:02 PM
So I guess I don't see your stance. Pro-science yet a "god" is inserted at some level. Where and why, if science given time will explain everything scientifically (Fwiw, I think so too.)?It would be easier if you read some about Deism and then asked me some questions. If you are on the other hand thinking you will consider the righteousness of Atheism, work on someone else.

Here is a reference on Complexity Theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity_theory

and here is a beginners look at Deism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

irishjayhawk
04-12-2008, 06:41 PM
It would be easier if you read some about Deism and then asked me some questions. If you are on the other hand thinking you will consider the righteousness of Atheism, work on someone else.

Here is a reference on Complexity Theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity_theory

and here is a beginners look at Deism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

I don't know what the "righteousness of Atheism" is, but that wasn't my intention.

This is all I needed:
Deists believe that God's greatest gift to humanity is not religion, but the ability to reason.

whoman69
04-12-2008, 07:32 PM
And God said let there be light, and there was a big bang.

Logical
04-12-2008, 10:06 PM
And God said let there be light, and there was a big bang.
Is this some sort of droll humor, I am missing?

bigfoot
04-15-2008, 02:48 AM
So I guess I don't see your stance. Pro-science yet a "god" is inserted at some level. Where and why, if science given time will explain everything scientifically (Fwiw, I think so too.)?

and you(science) will be only "thinking God's thoughts after Him" (Kepler)

irishjayhawk
04-15-2008, 10:31 AM
and you(science) will be only "thinking God's thoughts after Him" (Kepler)

:spock:

irishjayhawk
04-15-2008, 10:52 PM
So the movie comes out Friday and guess what.

THEY PLAGIARIZED AGAIN!

http://endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com/2008/04/expelled-erv-finally-gets-angry.html

Make that 2 videos that are straight copies of other pre-existing videos. One from Harvard and one from, none other than, PBS.

whoman69
04-16-2008, 05:29 PM
And God said let there be light, and there was a big bang.

My point is that science does not contradict religion. The big bang theory nor evolution disprove religion, unless you take a literal interpretation of the bible which is a mistake. The stories in the bible are intended to be allegorical. The bible says that God created man in his own image. A literal interpretation would mean that we look like God. Exodus describes God as a burning bush. Nobody I know looks like a burning bush. The image of God is meant to say that God gave man a soul, the ability to reason, amongst other things. Literal translations of the bible always bring an unrelenting dogma. God created the world in seven days. How long is a day to someone who is immortal and omnipotent.

irishjayhawk
04-16-2008, 06:08 PM
My point is that science does not contradict religion. The big bang theory nor evolution disprove religion, unless you take a literal interpretation of the bible which is a mistake. The stories in the bible are intended to be allegorical. The bible says that God created man in his own image. A literal interpretation would mean that we look like God. Exodus describes God as a burning bush. Nobody I know looks like a burning bush. The image of God is meant to say that God gave man a soul, the ability to reason, amongst other things. Literal translations of the bible always bring an unrelenting dogma. God created the world in seven days. How long is a day to someone who is immortal and omnipotent.

I would agree but would add that while it doesn't contradict religion it definitely conflicts with religion. I say this because there have been, over the years, plenty of scientific and mathematical things that have conflicted or contradicted the Bible and other religious texts. In fact, it will continue to do so.

While one can reconcile the two, it takes the part of religion to do the shifting rather than science. And in that way, they are conflicting.