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The Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design 3315

Mime Narrator writes "An article over at Kuro5hin discusses the controvery over the Intelligent Design movement. The Dover, Pennsylvania school board recently adopted a policy requiring that high school science teachers teaching evolution tell their students that evolutionary theory, a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life time and time again, is flawed, and that intelligent design is a valid alternative. The ACLU, along with the AUSCS (Americans United for the Separation of Church and State), and 11 parents, are suing the school board, accusing the board of violating the separation of church and state. "
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The Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:09AM (#12406064)

    Honestly, just what is the deal with these fundamentalists? I have two issues with these people.

    One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct, what about all these fossils? Scientists have clear evidence of the evolutionary process throughout history via these fossils...where exactly did they come from if the planet is in fact only 6000-odd years old? I've asked creationists this question, and they've actually replied that they were placed here by God to test our faith. Now, I don't know about you, but I have a serious problem with this hypothesis. I for one refuse to believe that God would give us brains capable of rational, abstract thought, and then plant fake clues to punish those of us who had the gall to use those brains to attempt to understand the world we live in. Of course, this is the same god who told Abraham to sacrifice his only son to Him, and waited until the knife was actually descending to say "Psych!".

    Two, regarding the wider scope of Intellegent Design, why does that necessarily have to conflict with the established theory of evolution? This is like saying that a particular statue could not have possibly been carved by ancient man, because it is clear that it was in fact carved with a stone tool. Can't the ID folks consider the possibility that evolution is the tool God used to create us? Evolution does not disprove the existence of God.

  • Provable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:09AM (#12406073)
    Evolution has been shown to be very accurate throught the past century. Granted there might be small little holes in the theory, but Intelligent Design is swiss cheese comparatively.
  • by kikta ( 200092 ) * on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:10AM (#12406077)
    So, are we supposed to have a good academic discussion about where we stand on the issue or are we supposed to flame anyone who is a proponent of Intelligent Design?

    Because the summary seems predisposed towards the latter.
  • Intelligent design essentially reduces to this:

    Fact 1. The universe is extremely intricate and complicated

    Fact 2. We design things such as automobiles or aircraft that are intricate and complicated.

    Which leads to the conclusion:

    Conclusion 1: Everything that is intricate and complicated must have a designer.

    Conclusion 2: Conclusion 1 indicates that the universe requires a designer.

    Conclusion 3: God is that designer.

    (Western) Conclusion 4: This designer is the God as described in the Holy Bible.

    The real failure of the argument is in Conclusion 1. It amounts to saying "I have absolutely no idea why the universe is complicated, therefore God did it." When a person studies physics, Conclusion 1 becomes even more untenable. There are many very simple systems that give rise to very complex behaviour. Consider the Newton-raphson method for finding roots of a polynomial. The method goes "pick somewhere close to the root and then start iterating and the iteration will take you to a root". If you're brighter than I was at school, you might have asked: "Okay, but how can I guess where the root is mathematically so I can start the process." The answer is far more / [] ">complex than you think.

    And besides, if Conclusion 1 is true then surely God is intricate and complicated and thus needed a designer. To which the theist replies: "God doesn't need a designer, It's God". To which I respond: "If God doesn't need a designer, why does the universe? Why not just cut out God and proclaim that the universe is undesigned? And there in is the true failing of intelligent design.

    Another argument comes from the fact that the universe seems fine tuned to life. This a bit premature. First of all, we can't even show life is possible in our universe from first principles; that is, taking the complete set of the laws of physics and using it to simulate life at the atomic level on a super-computer. How can we be so sure life couldn't exist in some form with different laws of physics? My second objection is that we should expect life to depend heavily on physics. As an example, the proteins that deal with the replication of DNA are quantum optimised, the speed at which they move down the DNA is the minimum allowed by quantum mechanics. There is also evidence that the machinary uses quantum mechanical tunnelling to halve the error rate during copying. I'd argue that the fact that life depends so heavily the laws of physics being exactly right is a product of selection - there is a distinct advantage in exploiting the physics of the universe. In the begining of life, the instruments of life were probably a lot cruder.

    As an atheist, I am alarmed when people try to mark religious belief as science. I don't mind you having religious belief, but if the US wants to remain a technological super-power you've got to make sure your children are taught cold, hard science. By letting the cherrished beliefs of a few cloud the judgement of the youth on an entire nation, everbody loses out. As a scientist, I enjoy having the key theories questioned but it becomes annoying when such a throughly discredited theory as Intelligent Design is peddled again and again without the proponents bringing any new ideas to the table.


  • by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:11AM (#12406092)
    It's very funny to think that the neo conservatives go to war over oil - the compressed remains of million year old creatures, yet believes the world is young.

  • That's sweet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:12AM (#12406108)
    It just means there will be fewer well educated people from the state of PA. if the community feels they need to go back to the dark ages, they have every right to do so. when their children can't compete for jobs and are a laughing stock of the nation, they'll know who to blame.
  • by mmkkbb ( 816035 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:14AM (#12406121) Homepage Journal
    I for one refuse to believe that God would give us brains capable of rational, abstract thought, and then plant fake clues to punish those of us who had the gall to use those brains to attempt to understand the world we live in

    A belief that God would punish those who use their intelligence is contradicted by the Bible. Those with brains, talent, looks, creativity, etc. etc. who do not use their gifts are considered sinful.

    What would really be funny is if a fundamentalist who believed such about the fossils being a 'test' also complained about people 'picking and choosing' about which parts of the faith they believed in.
  • That's just silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by October_30th ( 531777 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:15AM (#12406124) Homepage Journal
    requiring that high school science teachers teaching evolution tell their students that evolutionary theory, a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life time and time again, is flawed

    I teach physics. Every theory in physics is most likely flawed. In fact, every theory in natural science is flawed. Should I have to point it out again and again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:15AM (#12406126)
    We'll say that in our classrooms when your ministers say "God is a theory, not a fact" on their pulpits.

    And fundies, just to pre-emptively shoot down your argument that taxes pays for these schoolbooks and so you shouldn't be forced to read that stuff, consider it a fair exchange for all of the tax exemptions that the church gets. Dollar for dollar, you guys are getting off EASY.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:15AM (#12406131) Homepage
    What's the difference?

    Seriously, it's apples and oranges. Intelligent design is not science. It's religion. It doesn't belong in a science class. It might be a nice idea, but it's not a real theory in the sense of the word as used by science.

    Intelligent design is not a viable alternative to evolution. It is a viable alternative to young-earth creationism, perhaps. But it's not something for which there is scientific evidence.

    Having a good academic discussion which debates the merits of Intelligent Design as a scientific theory would be on the same level as a good academic discussion that debates the merits of the Apollo's chariot model as a scientific theory for the observed motion of the Sun across the sky.

  • by FhnuZoag ( 875558 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:15AM (#12406132)
    Seriously, that's what the problem is. With most schools teaching science only as 'a body of facts', why should we be surprised how faith-based things like ID gain ground?

    We need to be teaching kids about the scientific method, the scientific process. Popper etc. The importance of skepticism and falsifiability.

    If they still have the impression that the fact that Evolution is a theory represent a weakness, not a decisive strength, then how can we win?
  • Give it a rest (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Potor ( 658520 ) <farker1@gmail. c o m> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:16AM (#12406135) Journal
    As retarded as ID is, I see no point in discussing it here on /.

    ID has nothing to do with science, and /. is obsessed with science.

    The extent of any intelligent conversation with ID must be limited to the above. Anything else is not only superfluous, but also in danger of ennobling those quacks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:17AM (#12406154)
    Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design? I'm guessing the insanely biased headline is a sign for all the slashdotters out there that this is simply a topic for attacking Christians? If I wanted to read threads about rabid antichristian seniment, I'd visit Fark.

    Bravo, Hemos.

  • by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:18AM (#12406155)
    I don't think it's possible to have a good academic discussion about it. You either believe that in the scientific principles (all theories must be falsifiable to be valid, and occam's razor.. roughly ;) ) and so think this is wrong, or you don't believe in that, and hence cannot be argued with via logic and so cannot have an academic discussion.
  • Re:Provable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:18AM (#12406161) Homepage Journal
    Just like religion. It's a bunch of made up bullshit with so many holes in it the only way someone can be stupid enough to believe is to call it "faith".

    It's sad really that people live their lives in fear of what will happen after death than how they can make the world a better place for everyone while they are alive. Religion is the root of all evil.

  • Two, regarding the wider scope of Intellegent Design, why does that necessarily have to conflict with the established theory of evolution? This is like saying that a particular statue could not have possibly been carved by ancient man, because it is clear that it was in fact carved with a stone tool. Can't the ID folks consider the possibility that evolution is the tool God used to create us? Evolution does not disprove the existence of God.

    Indeed, well stated. I like the using a 'book' analogy: If you understood everything there was to know about printing, binding and reproducing books, that knowledge and understanding still wouldn't tell you anything about how to write a good one.
  • Its not a theory (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:22AM (#12406206)
    Evolution is a fact, not theory, people seem to forget that virri evolve all the time (eg bird flu jumping to people, new shit like SARS ect.) people don't evolve as quickly for 2 reasons 1 we are far more complex 2 modern medicine keeps the weak alive.

    For example if a disease were to come along and wipe out most of the human race leaving only those few who were immune in the first place, that would be an evolutionary step because future generations would have an evolved immunity to that virus.
  • by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) * <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:23AM (#12406213) Homepage Journal
    One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct, what about all these fossils?

    Silly, God put them there on purpose to test the Faith of his children!

    Or was it Satan..?

    Anyway, the point is: Stop thinking for yourself!
  • ID isn't a theory (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:23AM (#12406216)
    The main problem I have with pushing ID in a science class is that it is not treated as such. For it to be a scientific theorem and not religion, it has to have the ability to be proven wrong. Evolution can be disproven but there is nothing in ID that cannot be argued away with the argument that "God put it there to test our faith." This argument belongs in a Theology or at best an English class.
  • by amorico ( 40859 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:24AM (#12406223)
    It seems that school boards often do this to reach some sort of compromise due to political pressure from religious groups.

    The idea that there can be some sort of fair time given in science classes to religious theories is flawed.

    If a religion posits that "number theory is only a theory", and comes up with some religious alternative, then should math classes give them equal time?

    What determines the validity of an alternative viewpoint? Popularity?

    Though it may seem otherwise, anti-intellectualism and the desire to subvert bodies of knowledge to preconceived notions is really no more prevalent than it ever was. That is the problem. Aren't we supposed to be advancing?

    I wish there were Secular Humanist [] organizations exerting more influence on our school boards.
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:24AM (#12406229)
    What I don't get is why these freaks can't just accept the idea that perhaps evolution is part of whatever "intelligent design" they believe in?

    If I can knock over a thousand setup dominoes by ticking over just the first one, then surely some "supreme being" can do the same on a more grand scale?

    Really, "intelligent design" is so incredibly beside the point here. Evolution has nothing to do with the big bang, which could have been created by anything. I'll even concede that religious people could be right on some minor level (that something outside of or concept initiated the beginning of life as we know it) - but that has nothing to do with evolution of life and the world around us after that point.

    This is like requiring that every person who takes driver's education be taught all about the life of Henry Ford, which has absolutely nothing to do with driving, driving laws and safety.
  • by haluness ( 219661 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:26AM (#12406256)
    my point is, Integgegant Design != God

    Good point. If we assume that the designer is not a God, how do we explain the evolution of the designers?

    The problem with ID as far as I can see is that it seems to violate Occams Razor. Now, theres no hard and fast rule, that the simplest theory is the correct one. But by including a designer I think ID is adding a whole lot of complexity based on assumnptions which don't seem to be very valid.

    The alternate approach is to admit that we don't know everything about how evolution works. Fine with me - it just means we have to do some more work to find out what its all about.

    Not pass the buck of onto some God figure

    (Thats always something that has bugged me a little about religion [I'm atheist]. People prefer to be able to blame/pass the buck of onto something/somebody else rather than just say 'I don't know'. But then again, thats their choice)
  • by jonathan_ingram ( 30440 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:26AM (#12406261) Homepage
    Dismissing Intelligent Design as not being science is the same as dismissing theories of a round world revolving around the sun as heresy.

    No, it isn't. One of the key factors (or, according to some people, the only key factor) which distinguishes a scientific theory from a superstition is the notion of testability and falsifiability. How can you test the doctrine of intelligent design? Don't say that it's not important -- if you can't test it, then it doesn't belong in science.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:27AM (#12406270) Homepage

    it is a theory people. Theory. It still has holes, giant unexplainable holes.

    This also describes gravity.

    General Relativity is a theory, in the same sense of the word as evolution is a theory. So is Newton's theory of gravity.

    We know Newton's theory of gravity is "wrong" because in places where it makes divergent predictions from GR, observations show GR to be right. Of course, Newton's theory is a limit of GR, and the fact that it is "wrong" doesn't stop us from predicting the motions of planets or of spacecraft.

    We know that GR is "wrong" because it makes nonsensical predictions in areas where it must be mixed with Quantum Mechanics (another well-tested and well-verified scientific theory). But, once again, it works extremely well where it works.

    So you could say that our theory of gravity is full of holes, giant unexplanable holes, and you would be right. But that doesn't mean that I can't succesfully predict that if I drop my keys, they are going to go down. It doesn't mean that I can't explain the formation of stars through the gravitational collapse of molecular clouds.

    We don't know everything, but we know something!

    In fact, although we can make far more precise predictions with our theory of gravity than we can with our theory of evolution, in some sense evolution is on less shaky ground than our current theory of evolution. After all, we don't have very strong evidence that the theory of evolution is wrong somewhere, but we do for gravity!

    You ID and Creationism. advocates need to get over this term "just a theory" that you use. It just shows ignorance. You need to realize that the popular use of the word "theory" (to mean "speculation") is extremely different from the scientific use of the word "theory" (to describe an explanation of natural processes which may be extremely well tested and well understood).


  • by jasondlee ( 70657 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:28AM (#12406282)
    There are ID scientists who are not Christians, so, yes, the Designer in ID can, in theory, be $DIETY. However, *Christian* ID supporters, by nature of our Christian faith (note: I'm not a scientist) believe this Designer is the God of the Bible and no other. You can't reasonably claim to be a Christian and believe otherwise.

    However, this whole line of question dodges and clouds the issues. The vast majority of /.ers, it seems, are not people of faith. So, rather than having an intelligent design about the merits of the *idea* ID (whether you believe it or not), the discussion turns into an attack on the *people* who believe it. "Those darn fundies!" "When are those crazy Christians going to give up?" *Rarely* is the *scientific* idea of some sort of designer (note the case) ever discussed rationally. And I think ID is a rational idea (faith aside). Our own scientific laws shows that everything comes from something. Where did this point of singularity come from? What created all that mass? Has it always existed? That would would violate one scientific "law" after another. But, if something, *has* always existed, is it matter, or an eternal god. *Either* choice requires a good deal of faith, and, I think, the idea of an eternally existent deity to make much more sense.
  • by Gaewyn L Knight ( 16566 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:29AM (#12406294) Homepage Journal

    If for no other reason than to make sure that your students have an understanding that not everything that is spoonfed to them should be 100% believed.

    God or no God... science or creationism... the biggest gift you can give a person is that of a flexible and inquisitive mind.

    Who knows... maybe someday one of your students will fix one of those flaws.
  • Or so such trollish moderation would indicate. Just because you don't agree with something, doesn't mean that the person posting was intending it to be a troll. A troll is a post designed to attract adverse attention - the parent was merely a logical transposition of the attitude displayed by ID'ists, not an attempt to inflame hatred.
  • by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:30AM (#12406303)
    gravity is just a theory as well. Dare you to jump off a building.

    The problem with ID is that it doesn't fulfil the two basic requirements of a science - It's not falsifiable (how do you proof it wrong?) and it doesn't follow occam's razor (why not just argue invisible unicorns created us?)
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:30AM (#12406304) Homepage Journal
    The The Dover, Pennsylvania school board's move to force SCIENCE teachers to teach their RELIGIOUS views is flamebait.
  • by anandrajan ( 86137 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:31AM (#12406314) Homepage
    Intellegent design does not mean it was God who did it. Does not say who did it just that some intellegance did it. This is a viable theory. Don't attack it based on how religious organizations use the theory but on it's merits

    I don't think you get it. It is not about whether evolution or intelligent design are viable theories or not. Evolution is falsifiable, intelligent design (ID) is not (or at least I haven't seen anyone show how it is falsifiable). Consequently, ID at best is philosophy masquerading as science.
  • by tez_h ( 263659 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:31AM (#12406316) Homepage Journal
    Hmm. Two questions. Would you view Newton's theory of gravitation a theory, or a fact? Now, would you view gravity itself as a theory or a fact?

    Evolution is a fact. The theory of evolution by natural selection is a theory, supported by cell biology, DNA analysis, geology, and probably all other hard science. It also makes localised predictions on the variation of alleles within a genome, as well as the traits of offspring generations of species (ones within a lab environment at any rate).

    Intelligent design produces no models, makes no predictions, and explains no currently understood phenomena. It is neither theory, nor fact.


  • The K5 article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:32AM (#12406328) Homepage Journal
    The article is actually pretty bad. I read it last week, and it makes some sweeping assumptions that it never proves. Most of it is just a rather ugly rant about I.D. until it gets into one software simulation topic, at which point the article switches gears and becomes far more technical (not more methodical, mind you, just more technical).

    It seems that the author knew about one specific area of research and set out to write an article that was beyond their capbilities.

    Too bad, as I.D. is a deeply flawed effort, but every attack against it that I've seen outside of the highly technical have been arm-waving affairs that can be easily shot down.

    Real problems with I.D.:
    • It applies Occam's Razor in reverse. That is, it starts with a conclusion, and for every complex question resolves that the simplest explanation is not to deviate from the conclusion.
    • Evolution is not linear. One thing that many people looking at existing species forget is that many of their traits are the result of FAILURES as much as success. An example of this would be marine mammals, which have many structures that are so different from other sea creatures that you could conclude that they could not have evolved naturally. And yet, when you factor in land-mammals the features of sea mammals are easily explained: they are the vesiges of a (as far as marine mammal evolution is concerned) failed attempt to adapt to land.
    • Evolution and design are seen as radically seperate topics because of the nature of the initial assumptions, and yet the idea that evolution could progress from some initially designed state is equally (im)plausible.
    • Evolution and natural selection are often conflated incorrectly
    These are just thoughts off the top of my head, and I'm sure that there are many other excellent examples.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:32AM (#12406334)
    The problem with Intelligent Design "theory" is that it's not really a theory.

    There's no description of the process, as there is with evolution. There's no observable current phenomena which can illustrate that process, as there is with evolution. There's no specific evidence that such a thing even happens, as there is with evolution.

    At best, you could call Intelligent Design a "conjecture" or perhaps a "hunch."

    Also, regarding evolutionary notions of the Descent of Man: It's not really enough to say "there are many flaws"... certainly not in this crowd. Kindly point a few of them out.

    Personally, I don't think either theory runs afoul of Hebrew/Christian concepts of God. After all, the scriptures don't say: "And The Lord made light." The say: "And The Lord said, 'let there be light.'" It almost makes it sound like the creation of the universe was pretty much the tacit act of allowing it to come into existance.
  • by Nate4D ( 813246 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:33AM (#12406336) Homepage Journal
    Scientists have clear evidence of the evolutionary process throughout history via these fossils...where exactly did they come from if the planet is in fact only 6000-odd years old?

    Honestly, I'm a Christian, and I've never met another Christian who spouted crap like "God put them there to test our faith". That's just flaming stupid.

    Most ID folks would say that the fossils got to be there exactly how you'd think they would - the animals died, and their bodies got trapped in the right circumstances to form fossils. It doesn't take that long for stuff to get petrified if conditions are right.

    I believe the traditional reply at this point is: "Fine, fossils can form relatively quickly, but the rocks you find them in can't."

    Not being a geologist, I wouldn't know. Some of the geologists present care to elaborate?

    Of course, this is the same god who told Abraham to sacrifice his only son to Him, and waited until the knife was actually descending to say "Psych!".

    If you're gonna quote the Bible, admit that you're not arguing against ID, you're attacking Christianity. The two are different (I know several ID people who are strongly anti-Christian, and a lot of Christians who don't like ID). And if you're gonna attack Christianity, understand what you're attacking before doing it (If you want to know what that whole sacrifice thing was about, read Hebrews 11:17-20).

    Can't the ID folks consider the possibility that evolution is the tool God used to create us?

    A lot do. Heck, I know Christians who think that evolution is the tool God used to create us. However, most IDers look at it with something like Occam's Razor in mind - why would God introduce that much extra complexity to his creation process? If you presuppose an infinitely powerful being, evolution seems like so much wasted effort.
  • Meh... as a faithful Roman Catholic that does believe in macro-evolution (micro-evolution does, in fact, happen in nature and we can prove it. We have NOT proven that all species have a common ancestor, but we have some pretty good evidence for it), I still don't think it's proven. I don't like theory should be presented as absolute fact.

    Presenting Intelligent Design (which I agree, was not thought out in an academic sense very well) as an alternative alongside teaching evolution is perfectly OK. Teach the kids the conflicting theories, let them use thier own intellect to sort it out.

    And frankly, this wouldn't contradict the first ammendment, which forbids the creation/enforcement of a state religion. Many different faiths (Christian and non-Christian, organized or not) believe in intelligent design. I know a couple athiests that have some caveats that make them disagree with evolution, but can come up with no alternative. The point is, teaching this theory is not advocating or prostheletizing any particular religions, but at the same time, it is allowing for rational intellectual discussion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:34AM (#12406353)
    I'll start by saying I am a christian so you know where I stand.
    Um, no. There are plenty of "Christians" who believe in the literal truth of the Biblical creation story and plenty of others who are comfortable with letting theology deal with why while science tries to answer how.
  • by jjr1 ( 691500 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:34AM (#12406360)
    I am utterly amazed every time I read a story about {insert random southern US town} removing teaching about evolution for teaching something that is entirely based on religion. If you don't believe evolution is perfect, raise other issues and addendums to the argument like punctatated equilibrium and hopefully a bright student will sit down with the evidence and figure out what they believe in. God is an imaginary friend for adults - Elmore Leonard
  • by Anderson Fortaleza ( 589352 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:35AM (#12406362) Journal
    "a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life time and time again" Is that a joke ? There's no theory yet explaining the origins of life, and we're pretty much FAR from it.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:35AM (#12406369) Homepage

    I'll start by saying I am a christian so you know where I stand.

    You lost me already.

    There are Christians and there are Christians. It's an extremely diverse religion.

    I am a Christian. However, I accept the evidence for evolution and believe (not in the faith sense, but in the same sense that I believe that a neutral Hydrogen atom has one electron) that all complex life evolved from simpler forms through a process of mutation and natural selection (which is well established, though not perfectly understood). I believe that the Universe is at least 13.7 billion years old, and that it was once extremely hot and dense. (Science right now can't really take us to the moment of the big bang, but it does take us back to a when the Universe was a soup of protons and neutrons and electrons that hadn't formed into elements yet.)

    All of that, yet I'm a Christian. So how can I know where you stand?

    I am also extremely angry when religions try to interfere with the progress of science, and when creationists (whether they call themselves that or intelligent design advocates) assert that science must be wrong when it disagrees with the Bible, or when ID advocates assert something like irreducable complexity simply because they don't have the imagination or intellectual capacity to imagine how something complex could have happened without the direct interference of a supreme being. I'm very angry when Christians assert that to be a Christian, you must believe the literal truth of the Bible, even though reading just the first few chapters of Genesis shows that the Bible contradicts itself and that any reasonable thinking person can't accept it all as literally true. I'm boggled that some Christians think that for something to contain wisdom and truth, it must be literally true-- is your view of God so amazingly simplistic? For heaven's sake, Jesus taught in parables! Make the connection, people! And meanwhile, stop trying to spread ignorance about science in our schools and set our children back into the dark ages by refusing to allow them to learn about the best understanding we have of modern biology!


  • by cpeikert ( 9457 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:36AM (#12406382) Homepage
    Dismissing Intelligent Design as not being science

    ID is not science for one simple reason: it is not falsifiable. That is, it does not provide any criterion under which we can say "ID is false."

    Every other scientific theory is falsifiable. It's the fundamental requirement of the scientific method.

    It is not "closed minded" to say "this is not science, because it doesn't even satisfy the main requirement of a scientific theory."
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:37AM (#12406404) Homepage

    I would say we don't know much about evolution or ID. But, to presume one over the other and attack the other side is both wrong for anyone.

    You don't know much about evolution.

    Humanity as a whole, however, does.

    You speak from ignorance. Your points are all well-taken, except that you assume that nobody else knows more about evolution than you. They do. Which means that your whole post is "wrong" by your own definition.


  • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:38AM (#12406406) Homepage Journal
    Ok, fine. Lay out for me some experiment I can do in which one of the possible outcomes disproves the existance of God or the theory of ID.

    If you want it to be accecpted as a scientific theory it needs to have a falsifiable test that we can run.

    The problem is, when we point to evidence that creationists or IDers disagree with, they say "God put it there to test our faith" or "It's the work of the Devil."

    Those are supernatural phenomina. You can't disprove them because they aren't falsifiable.

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:39AM (#12406431) Journal
    Intelligent Design is NOT a theory with real merits. It is a hypothesis with equal logical potential to what is presently the most likely theory.

    The difference being that there is a great deal of real evidence supporting Evolution and NO evidence supporting ID. In the world of science that is a relatively important distinction. So important, that without evidence, you can not call it science at all.
  • by hhghghghh ( 871641 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:41AM (#12406451)
    Go ahead, disprove Evolution. If Evolution is a crock of shit it CAN and WILL be disproved. Go ahead, disprove Creationism. Oh wait. You can never prove God doesn't exist, because maybe that's the way He meant it, and He IS all-powerful.. That's why one is a scientific theory, and the other isn't.
  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:43AM (#12406480) Homepage Journal
    We'll say that in our classrooms when your ministers say "God is a theory, not a fact" on their pulpits.

    I've been to a number of sermons of differnt christian sects which have included something along the line of, "you cannot prove the existence of God, only faith can demonstrate His existence to you."

    Please feel free to credit me in the new I.D. textbook ;-)

    Seriously, that's about the weakest attack on I.D. that I've heared, and the K5 article was pretty weak to start.
  • by Kineticabstract ( 814395 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:44AM (#12406485)
    For most Christians, this is not an issue.
    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. "Most"? 90% of the Christians I personally know tell me that the Bible is the literal word of God, and evolution is one of Satan's attempts to derail good Christians and keep them from the kingdom of Heaven.

    I know a lot of Christians.

    It's all well and good to re-interpret your religion in the light of modern-day knowledge... I'm all for that. But justifying your view by claiming that "most" of your demographic agree with you is loose science at best. From what I'm seeing, we're living in a society that is growing more conservative and backwards in its thinking about God and science, not the other way around.

    One last point - the Sunday school I went to as a child focused on the creation story as being VERY important. And it drew no distinction whatsoever between the old and new testaments in regards to validity or accuracy.

  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:44AM (#12406487)
    Jesus taught in parables!

    Thank you. It never fails to amaze me how many Christians believe that the Bible must be taken literally while Christ taught many of his lessons by telling symbolic stories.
  • by haluness ( 219661 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:46AM (#12406510)
    Isn't it kind of arrogant of us to think we know so much. Does a fly know how a car runs? Could it be that the who and the how is just beyond us?

    It would indeed be arrogant to say we know everything about everything.

    My point is, that since we do not know everything about everything, there a lot of unanswered questions. Rather than solve the unknowns by placing a designer what is wrong with saying we don't know and leave it open till furtehr evidence comes in?

    The immediate objection to this is that ID is an alternate view, so why not consider it? The problem with that is that the merits are very few.

    I don't think ID really provides an explaination in the sense of how some thing works or has come to be. It's always seemed to me to be a placeholder or stop gap measure, filling in a void which people are uncomfartable with. The fact that it does'nt seem to follow the scientific technique very well is another line of argument entirely.

    You mention: I do believe both sides should be taught on their merits and their questions

    In a science class, I would assume that the teacher is duty bound to teach the scientific method and things that come about from the scientific method. Certainly, the fact that some people thought the sun went round the earth should be mentioned but I would'nt expect a teacher to spend 1 class on that.

    But then again, we all know evolution has not been fully 'proved' and there are flaws. But is that an excuse to spend class hours on a theory that has not really been developed according to the scientific method? Evolution has holes and we don't know the full story - certainly true - but there are scientific ways to test aspects of evolution.

    Can we apply the scientific method to aspects of ID?

    I have no objection to a science teacher mentioning ID in a classroom, if only ot make students aware of other views. But to spend time on a theory that has not been developed on the basis of the scientific method and is more based on faith, would be a real disservice to the teaching of science and the inculcation of scientific thinking in students.

    (Just as a side note, Carl Sagans, 'A Candle in the Dark' is an amazing book)
  • by Airline_Sickness_Bag ( 111686 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:46AM (#12406514)
    But only science should be taught in the science class. And Intellegent Design is not a scientific theory.
  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:47AM (#12406530) Homepage
    How I wish that were a joke.
    Problem is, it's probably the truth!
  • You ID and Creationism. advocates need to get over this term "just a theory" that you use. It just shows ignorance. You need to realize that the popular use of the word "theory" (to mean "speculation") is extremely different from the scientific use of the word "theory" (to describe an explanation of natural processes which may be extremely well tested and well understood).

    I was totally in to your response as creative and well stated until this paragraph. To think that a person that believes in ID or creationism is incapable of understanding basic scientific philosophy or even incapable of being true scientists themselves is ignorant and offensive. Being dismissed as a lunatic for raging against mainstream science has plauged true scientists for centuries. Please accept that those of us who like the idea and hypothesis of ID are not low-IQ neanderthals but are in fact intelligent human beings. (Well, at least some of us.)
  • by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:47AM (#12406537) Journal
    So you're assertion is, in summary, that any theory, idea, or fairy tale that can't be disproved immediately has equal validity to any theory based on observable phenomena and deduction?

    true science is the scrutiny of all possibilities of that which we do not know

    I think this is highly debatable. If we took this approach we may as well use random guesses to explain things, because a guess is a 'possibility' in the sense that you describe. And by the way, starting your post with "Wrong." just makes you look dogmatic, not open minded.

    As for the 'first instant of life' argument - do you therefore dismiss gravity because you can't explain the 'first instant of gravity'?
  • by Shalda ( 560388 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:48AM (#12406539) Homepage Journal
    The problem that the ID people face is that Intelligent Design is irrelevant to the study of the issue. In fact, the only real question is are seemingly random mutations truly random or the work of some higher power? And the answer is, it doesn't matter. In understanding the important lessons of evolution all we need to know is that natural selection occours and that seemingly random mutations occour.

    So forget for a moment that extrapolation of evolution infers that humans are related to and share a common ancestry with monkeys. Intelligent Design is all about teaching religion. If you convince kids that an intelligent higher power exists, it naturally starts to put them on the path towards organized religion, and the hope of these people is that will mean Christianity. The point of posting this to /. is not so much for discussion as it is for the awareness of this foolishness and so that more enlightened individuals can get involved and put a stop to it.
  • Re:Provable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    Religion is the root of all evil.

    You're shortsighed. If you had studied more about history, you'd find out that fundamentalism was a reactionary movement against secular humanism and atheist darwinism.

    AND current rejection of religion (including yours, probably) is nothing but a reactionary movement against christian fundamentalism. But let's go further. Have you seen the increase in new age, psychics stuff, tarot, pseudoscience, UFO cults?

    It is another reactionary movement against the world's secularization. Because men cannot find happiness without spirituality, they're falling for cheap spirituality. Their parents already rejected more established forms of spirituality, so this generation's rejection against existing churches slowly becomes a tradition-based prejudice, as first-hand experiences are now lost.

    This is like a pendulum. Without finding a good middle, mankind is doomed to go from one extreme, to the other. Everytime becoming more and more radical. Be it in religion, philosophy and even in politics.

    No, religion is not the root of all evil. Man's stupidity and selfishness is.
  • by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:48AM (#12406542) Homepage
    These people should be flamed, shunned and generally made fun of in public. After all, they do upset small children.
    I think you may be alluding to the fact that generally, this is not considered good form for a debate. That's the problem, the Intelligent Design types are not interested in a debate on science, if they were, they would have dropped Intelligent Design a long time ago.

    The whole ID theory is complete bunk. It doesn't work scientifically and it doesn't work theologically. These people don't even have a basic understanding of the Intelligence they are trying to prove created life. If they did have a basic grasp of Christian theology, they wouldn't be sitting around trying to prove Intelligent Design and also wouldn't give a crap what science had to say on the subject. These are the same people that claim the US is founded on Christianity and the only valid law is God's law. They are no-nothing idiots who pollute the public discourse with illogical ramblings from time to time. Right now, they happen to have a megaphone, that does not make them any more correct or give them any better grasp on science.

    ID people should be given the same passing over, invisible treatment, as the scruffy guys with signs that say "Repent, The End is Near". So, to answer your observation: Yes, the summary is predisposed towards not having a good academic discussion with ID proponents. You can't have a good academic discussion with ID proponents, they've thrown academics out the window. Perhaps, give them a chance to see that they are not debating science, but after that, FLAME ON!
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:49AM (#12406551) Homepage

    Wrong. People love to think that evolution is the complete explanation of life as we know it, and want to teach that as "science" and as fact. However, we still have so little true understanding about the origins of life. Assumptions are made about the first instant of life, but it cannot be recreated in a lab.

    You're mixing your apples and your oranges up.

    Evolution doesn't explain how life started. It doesn't even address that. It explains how more life changes over time. It explains how more complex life may arise from simler life. It explains how one species may fade away in favor of another. But it says nothing about how it all started.

    It's also not a "fact", in the scientific sense of the word. It's a theory. Just like the theory of gravity. Facts are the basic observations, from which we build connections and understanding in order to put together a viable theory.

    Evolution represents our best understanding of the development of life. Modern biology does not make sense except in the context of evolution. It's a big topic that schoolkids aren't going to be able to fully understand in high school science classes, no more than they will fully understand Newton's theory of gravity (never mind General Realtivity). But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be taught, and that it shouldn't be taught as "the" answer.

    If we really want our kids to have a clue about science, we need to teach the process of science, and our best understanding today of how the natural world works. Insisting that creationism (whether you call it that or ID) be taught alongside evolution as a viable alternative is tantamount to insiting that you teach the Aristotlean "everything has its natural place" as a viable alternative to gravity to explain why things fall down.

    Is it closed-minded to teach kids in science that Aristotle was wrong? Is it closed-minded in science to teach kids that the world is round rather than flat? Is it closed-minded in science to teach kids that the Earth orbits around the Sun, and that the Ptolemeic model is wrong? No! Because all of those things represent our best understanding today of how the world works, and to teach the kids otherwise would be to trick them with false understanding. As far as science is concerned, Creationism is on the same level as all of those things. Evolution is what we should be teaching in science classes, because it represents our best understanding of how the world works.


  • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:49AM (#12406556) Homepage Journal
    I'm a Christian - raised Catholic in fact.

    That said, evolution is a science. You can test it. You can attemp to prove it wrong. Because of this it belongs in a SCIENCE class room.

    Intelegent Design and Creationism aren't sciences. You can't test them or prove them wrong because you're dealing with a "creator" that is omnipitant. As such, no test can be concocted that could ever prove the "theory" false.

    Thus Intelegent Design and Creationism are NOT sciences are thus do NOT belong in a science class room.

    If parents want to teach their kids about these ideas then they can do so outside of the public schools. I'll teach my children that the creation of the Universe is poorly understood if anything and that, ultimately, every event has a cause. At some point we come back to the fist event and God is the only logical cause of that event.

    But I realize that what I'm saying then is a question of faith, not science, and that no science can ever justify my faith. As such, I would not want that belife tought in the schools because not everyone belives what I do. I no more want them forcing their belifes on me and my family then they want mine on them and theirs.

    Fair enough?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:50AM (#12406559)

    I have spent years studying evolution and Intelligent design. I have determined (for myself) that ID is a much better answer. The Theory of Evolution has many holes which scientists and authors seem to forget about in their reporting of their studies.

    Radio-Carbon Dating has been studied an proven to be inconsistent and not accurate to the original ratios. These inaccuracies can have an error ratio of +/- a million years! A million years.... WOW.

    Okay, so we have fossils, which is understandable due to the passing of time. We have fossils of complete creatures, trilobytes, and whatever. But where are the transitional fossils that show how one creature evolved into another? If we have hundred of thousands of Trilobyte fossils, where are the fossils of the In-Between creatures that should have existed?

    Just a question to pose,,,

    Also, the comment, "Funny thing is, every person i've ever met who believed in intelligent design, where the LEAST intelligent people I have ever met...." is just plain ignorant. I have 3 University Degrees, I am a Mensa Member, And I do my own research into topics like these.

    Funny thing is, Most people I have met who use "Every" to classify people into a lower Intelligence category (or any catagory) tend to be part of that lower category themselves, or lower.

    It is a known that when people cannot defend thier own aruguements they end to lash out on the other party. How Lame is that people have to use words like "Every" or "Always" to defend themselves. Talk about Closed Minds.

    So, The entire public is supposed to be openminded to the Theory of Evolution, But they cannot be presented with other Theories to create and open forum and/or open mind?
  • by jonathan_ingram ( 30440 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:50AM (#12406561) Homepage
    Teach the kids the conflicting theories, let them use thier own intellect to sort it out.

    That may be acceptable if they *were* conflicting theories, but they're not. Intelligent Design doesn't even make a good hypothesis. It's a doctrine, a superstition, a faith... not a theory.

    And don't start saying 'they're both just theories'. I can't just think something up off the top of my head, and call it a theorem, just like I can't call any random mathematical statement a theorem. Science has standards, and ID doesn't meet them.
  • So then what you're saying is that string theory, multiple universe theory, the theory of evolution and a good deal many others are superstitions because they can't be tested?

    Let me just stick to evolution here. We as a species have been unable to cause evolution to happen. We cannot make a more advanced life form from a less advanced life form via mutation and natural selection. All we can do is make a life form that is the same species have more useful traits (that were previously recessive, or at least seldom seen, though still part of the genes).

    We haven't been able test evolution to determine if it's correct - and the theory is that this is because even for less advanced organisms this process takes far to long to observe.
    We can only extrapolate that it is true. The same can be said for intelligent design.

    So the two theories are on roughly equal footing at the moment as far as testability.

    As far as falsifiabilty, both can be falsified. It is important to note, though, that intelligent design actually covers more territory to be falsified, so is understandably more difficult to falsify completely.

    Evolution only states that once life happened, it became more complex through natural processes. Creationism actually covers the very natured of happening, which is a lot more ground. Incidentally, the Big Bang theory is about as hard to prove or falsify as the theory of Creationism.

    To disprove the existence of a creator, one would have to give contrary evidence that proves how all things were created. To disprove evolution, one would have to show that life became how it was a different way. The means of looking for either of these things is impossible at the moment.

    I do think you do have a point about testability and falsifiablity: anything you can't test or falsify you're taking on faith. There are a good deal more things that we take on faith than we realize. Science and philosophy used to be considered one discipline. I think we need to keep in mind how much they still are one.
  • by applemasker ( 694059 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:51AM (#12406574)
    John Calvert, one of the most popular proponents of ID describes the "methods" by which scientists can "detect" design in nature as:

    In summary, if a highly improbable pattern of events or object exhibits purpose, structure or function and can not be reasonably and rationally explained by the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry or some other regularity or law, then it is reasonable to infer that the pattern was designed. - the product of a mind. Based on the above it is reasonable to conclude that design is the best explanation for the complexity of the postulated ancestral cell.
    (see for yourself) []

    As William Saletan over at has observed, [] this argument is absolutely idiotic - "It offers no predictions, scope modifiers, or experimental methods of its own. It's a default answer, a shrug, consisting entirely of problems in Darwinism. Those problems should be taught in school, but there's no reason to call them intelligent design. Intelligent design, as defined by its advocates, means nothing. "

    Also, ID fails to account that human knowledge is constantly expanding. It may be true that we cannot presently describe some things by "the operation of the laws of physics or chemistry or some other regularity or law," but that does not mean that someday we will not be able to do so... but until then (and perhaps for some time thereafter) people will insist on calling it "intelligent design."

    Of course, appealing to the public's ability to engage in rational thought is another issue altogether.

  • by Fished ( 574624 ) * <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:51AM (#12406577)
    Look - as I read this sort of article (and the comments already posted) it is quite evident to me that most who are commenting have not made any effort whatsoever to understand Intelligent Design - and that this is true across the scientific community.

    Intelligent design is NOT creationism, although creationists often use it to bolster their arguments. Here are some differences.

    1. In creationism, YHWH created it all. In ID, there is an unknown, unseen designer who might be YHWH, but might also be Mongo Bongo, god of the congo. In evolution, it is assumed a priori that random mutation is the only factor.
    2. In creationism, it happened in 7 days, 6-10000 years ago. In ID, it happened over a period of 4.5 billion years by a process of gradual change. In Evolution, it happened over a period of 4.5 billion years by a process of gradual change.
    3. in creationism, the beginning, middle, and end of the argument is that "God said so in Genesis." In Intelligent Design, some significant questions about the ability of random evolution to create certain structures are raised. In evolution, ALL structures are assumed to be achievable by random mutation alone. (Consider this: for blood clotting to occur, one needs a dozen proteins to be present, none of which serve ANY OTHER PURPOSE in the absence of all of them. How could this evolve?)

    This is a very different animal from the Scopes trial, at least from a legal and theological perspective. What is at issue is not theology vs. science - i.e. church vs. state - but two competing scientific interpretations. That you may regard ID as a sort of reverse Lysenkoism is not so much relevant as the question of who gets to determine what is taught in the schools? Do you really want to declare that current scientific orthodoxy, whatever that changes into every five minutes, is what must be taught in the schools, without regard to the social consequences? If so, I urge you to consider the prominent role "science" and even "evolution" played in the Eugenics movement. It is wrong - even disasterous - to suppose that the fads of scientific orthodoxy should drive our social process.

    And, for what it's worth, I'm neither a creationist nor an Intelligent Design advocate - although I see some merit in the latter. I'm perfectly comfortable if Evolution turns out to be the case all along, because I believe in a God who can work through the random.

    "The lot is cast into the lap,

    but the decision is the Lord's alone. "

    Proverbs 16.33

    Now, you don't have to like ID - that's fine. But I would urge those ranting and raging to consider whether their oppositions to Intelligent Design is founded in a considered evalution kof the theory, or in a knee-jerk reaction against your perception of where it will lead?

  • Re:Proof (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CdXiminez ( 807199 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:53AM (#12406606)
    And that, funny as it may be, is exactly the reason why evolution explains what we see and intelligent design does not!
    So many things have multiple purposes or half-purposes shared with other organs, and changed purposes but the same origin in other species.

    Design starts with the goal and then defines the necessary parts to achieve it.
    Evolution throws anything at an environment and then keeps what works.
    The traces of the latter approach are clearly visible within all living things.
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:54AM (#12406611)
    90% of the Christians I personally know tell me that the Bible is the literal word of God, and evolution is one of Satan's attempts to derail good Christians and keep them from the kingdom of Heaven.
    Well, I hope you take a moment and inform them! Thomas Aquinas debated vigioursly the idea of inspiration, and how it applies to the bible. How does God work with inspiration?

    There can be a few ways, according to Aquinas - really the preeminent Christian thinker - he can dictate it or phsyically write it (aka, stone tablets). In Islam, the Prophet recieved dictation from God. Therefore, for them, their holy book and the parts shared with the Bible, are exacting literal. It is the literal word of God. Another theory of inspiration is that God speaks to a person, and the person runs from that point. It's a figuritive kick in the pants. The same way a beautiful painting might inspire a poet to write a lovely poem. Another theory - one that most Christians would agree with - is that God breathes motivation and direction to the instrument to communicate what he wants communicated at that time.

    From what I'm seeing, we're living in a society that is growing more conservative and backwards in its thinking about God and science, not the other way around.
    I disagre with you based on my own experiences, but I think we'll have to just disagree on this!

    One last point - the Sunday school I went to as a child focused on the creation story as being VERY important. And it drew no distinction whatsoever between the old and new testaments in regards to validity or accuracy.
    I think is a big problem with many, many Christians! Your education as a Christian shouldn't start and end as a child! The creation story is great for children! It is instructive about the nature of God, and can be easily understood by small minds. If you stop your education at that level, don't be surprised if you have a child-like understanding of God and Christian faith!

    I think really what we disagree about is who is a Christian. A Christian in demographic terms is a person who says he believes in Jesus as more than historical figure. For me, that's not a Christian.

    Believing in Jesus is not enough! People who stop their learning about the faith at sunday-school level are missing what the true essense of being a Christian is about.
  • by MSFanBoi ( 695480 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:56AM (#12406634) Journal
    Actually this isn't true at all. A recent survey showed that of all of America's Christians, over 30% believe that the Bible is factual. Meaning they believe all that in the Bible is the truth and to try to interpret it in any other manner is sinful. These are the people who start web sites trying to prove Creationalism (or whatever it's called today), and saying that dinosaurs, fossils, and whatnot, as was mentioned before, are all God's joke to temp us into doubting the Bible. All I have to say to the Fundemenatalists who claim all in the Bible is fact, that if Adam and Eve are the start of the Human race, they had two sons, one which killed the other and then took off. Where the heck did the rest of the Human race come from? I mean we are down to two males, one female, and according to the Bible incest is very wrong. So where did all the people come from? The Bible does not mention any other people, and the Bible is always right correct? So just where did all the people come from? Maybe we all are not really here...
  • by mehaiku ( 754091 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:56AM (#12406638) Homepage
    Atheism is a religion only if not collecting stamps is a hobby. Lack of belief in diety does not equal religion. Additionally, your quotes about an "atheistic view of evolution" isn't entirely correct. There are theists who believe that evolution is the means by which their preferred deities manage biology/life. Google for theistic evolution to learn more.
  • by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:56AM (#12406641)
    Of course, this is the same god who told Abraham to sacrifice his only son to Him, and waited until the knife was actually descending to say "Psych!".

    This is the same God who actualy went though with letting his own son, who was counted as a decendant of Abraham's son Issac, to die as a criminal and provide a randsom for the perfect life that Adam forfited. The recording of the event was created as a forgleam of what God would give up for mankind. Becouse of his faith and obediance, Abraham is the only person in bible history that is called "Gods Friend" (James 2:23)

    Can't the ID folks consider the possibility that evolution is the tool God used to create us? Evolution does not disprove the existence of God.

    There is nothing in the bible that says that animals cannot adapt to their enviroment. If that was true, all humans would be the same race unchanged by their enviroment. What is *does* say is that God created all the animals "according to their kinds" (Genisis 1:21,25). This pretty much rules out reptiles evolving into mammals, etc, unless you can find a way to reconsile that. My understanding of the fossal record seems to align itself with those scriptures, i.e., there are explosions of species and changes in those species, but hardly any links between the "kinds".
  • by Mmm coffee ( 679570 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:56AM (#12406642) Journal
    The basic hypothesis of intelligent design is that our genetic makeup was designed by a higher power, as such complexity could not have simply "happened".

    The basic hypothesis of evolution is that our genetic makeup was slowly grown and improved on by a process called "natural selection" over billions of years. Evidence for this hypothesis includes similar yet slightly differing species with abilities adapted to their different environments, a long and evolving fossil record, and the evolution of microorganisms witnessed both in the lab and the real world. I will specifically state HIV's growing resistance to therapudic drugs as an example.

    Hypothesis, test, and review. When the proponents of ID can show strong evidence that a god-like entity exists, then the hypothesis might be taken seriously. Until the results of the god-test are peer reviewed, it is the ID guys who are presenting a dogmatic defense of pre-concieved ideas, not the scientists.
  • by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:56AM (#12406644) Homepage
    Man, you almost had me... Right until here:
    You teach the fact, with respect for dissenting viewpoints, just like any other topic.

    Except that ID is not a dissenting viewpoint to anyone with any scientific background. No one in the scientific community actually believes that ID could be "the right answer." (And actually, quite a few Christians believe in a literal interpretation of the bible, they're called Southern Baptists []).

    There was a phenomenal Penn & Teller's Bullshit! on exactly this topic. I'll skip the details and go with the highlight reel.

    First off, the term 'evolutionary theory.' Evolution is a theory, and not a fact. Much in the same way that 'gravity' is a theory and not a fact. It's true! People have come up with corollaries and conjectures and lemmas that all expect gravity to be fact, but it hasn't been proven. It's been demonstrated, tested, peeked, poked, prodded and is generally accepted as fact. But it is still a theory. So when people talk about the 'theory of evolution,' as though it should somehow be less valid... In science, the term 'theory' doesn't mean wild guess. It actually means this is the best guess I have that fits with all the pieces that are available.

    Which brings me to my next point. In science, once a theory is widely accepted, it is rarely thrown out as completely wrong. One piece being incorrect generally doesn't invalidate the entire theory. The theory will be adjusted to accommodate the new information, and will be stronger for the change. This is in stark contrast to a literal interpretation of the bible. What Christian fundamentalists find so threatening about evolution is that a literal interpretation of the bible forbids it. To them, if evolution were valid, the book of Genesis couldn't possibly be correct. But because the bible is infallible (the word of God), that would threaten their belief in the entire book. They fear that their faith would fall like a house of cards.

    ID is nothing more than a sham to try to work around that pesky "separation of search and state" thing that our forefathers were bright enough to put into that pesky "Constitution." It's creationism with a new name to try to stay under the radar. And frankly, it isn't going to work.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:57AM (#12406647) Homepage

    As a Christian, do you agree that ID should be taught in schools, or that (at the risk of making it a loaded question) church and schools should be separate?

    ID should not be taught in science clases, any more than should any other religion's creations story.

    However, the whole creationism/intelligent design movement in the USA is certainly a valid and fascinating and even important topic for a sociology class. I don't know whether it belongs in high school or not (now that we've got all those annoying standardized tests that limit the freedom of teachers to discuss other interesting and important topics).

    Indeed, the Bible ought to be taught in schools-- as literature and (with caution) history. So much of the literature of western civilization makes allusions to the Bible that if you aren't at least passingly familiar with it as an extremely influential work of literature, it's hard to say that you've got a good liberal-arts education.

    What should not be taught in schools is religion as religion. The sort of stuff you get in Sunday School does not belong in our public schools. That's where church and schools should be kept separate.


  • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:57AM (#12406652) Journal

    So then what you're saying is that string theory, multiple universe theory, the theory of evolution and a good deal many others are superstitions because they can't be tested?

    That's just stupid. A lot of the work on stuff such as string theories which you mention is precisely to design tests so as to verify or infirm it. That's why we spend billions building particle accelerators and launching research satellites, etc.

    I.D., on the other hand, cannot ever have any tests. You can't test its predictions, since it doesn't predict anything. Or when it does, it's already proven wrong by mountains of evidence.

  • by pzampino ( 868845 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:57AM (#12406656)
    wow, with that kind of reasoning, ID adherents must be glad that you're arguing for evolution.
  • Based on my experience with very complex systems, such as computer opperating systems, I've come to the conclusion that as intelligent beings design ever more complex systems it becomes increasingly more difficult to design systems that don't have large flaws (bugs) that will keep the systems from working.

    I know I'll get troll-moderated for this, but:

    - Cancer - Aids

    Intelligent Design or millions upon millions of years of evolution and adaptation - either way, the design of life is far from flawless or without "bugs."
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:57AM (#12406659) Homepage Journal
    More disturbing than discussions of Evolution vs Intelligent Design is the fact that, as a society we seem to have lost track of what science really is. Calling Intelligent design "an alternative theory" displays a clear lack of understanding of what a theory is, and behind that, what science is.

    Quite simply, and I know I'll get flamed for some simple mistake in this explanation, science is:
    Studying the universe around us, trying to learn about it and how it works. One aspect of this i a theory. If you have an idea about what something is and how it works, that's a hypothesis. You take your hypothesis, and figure out further implications of it, and propose tests and experiments that can test it. You hypothesis needs to make predictions that were previously unknown, and can be verified by tests and experimentation. If a hypothesis survives some amount of this process, it "graduates" to be a theory.

    But the most important ingredient is an open mind. A hypothesis or theory may be rejected or modified based on experiments and/or facts, and a scientist should always be prepared to do that.

    The early Muslim empire was one of the most enlightened the world has ever seen. Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together prosperously and happily in the Holy Lands. Science was advanced as, "understanding God's works," and for Pete's sake, we still use Arabic numbers. Eventually religious conservatism took over. The US seems bent on following that path, today.
  • Not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:58AM (#12406663)
    "... that evolutionary theory, a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life..."

    While I believe in evolution, evolutionary theory does not explain the origins of life. It does explain the state of current life forms in existance today and how they may have gotten that way.

    We can demonstrate evolution in numerous experiments today, with plant life and animal life. So we know evolution is a viable theory. However, the theory of evolution does not address, nor does it try to address the origins of life. It only tries to describe what happened to the life after it existed.

    To those of Judeo-Christian Faith out there, evolution does not preclude God's act of Creation. It only describes how the process progressed after that initial creative force.

    The biggest hangup with evolution and faith is with the origin of man. Evolution does not state that man evolved from monkeys. It does observe that there are a lot of similarities with other primates and we do share a lot of DNA.

    But, evolution also allows for the similar traits to be caused by the environment. For instance, if an opposable thumb is advantagouss to grasping or standing upright in the brush is advantagous, then it is resonable from an evolutionary perspective that both humans and primates share these traits.

    DNA sharing is also used to show by some who misunderstand evolution that we came from monkeys. It is true we share something like 96% of our DNA with chimpanzees. But we also share something like 91% with dogs and over half with sea cucumbers. Evolution theory does imply that we would share DNA, but it doesn't comment on whether it comes from inheritance or adaptation. Obviously, using the thumbs thing, from above, there are only so many ways for DNA to create a thumb. Furthermore, the majority of shared DNA between all species has to do with cellular function and basic tenets of live. Evolution does not disallow for that and as a matter of fact predicts that it would happen.

    Even if it were somehow proven that man evolved from lower primates, it would not negate God's creation of man, but only further explain the how. At some point in time a pre-human gave birth to another pre-human that was a little bit closer to a human, that gave birth to another pre-human a little closer again, and on and on, until eventually a human is born and at which point God created man.

    Back to the original comment though. Evolution, in simplified terms, states that things evolve and adapt to their environment and those traits which give an advantage tend to win out and thrive, becoming new species. It does not, however, say how life began (it's origins, so to speak). That debate is left to the philosophers and theologians.
  • by readin ( 838620 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:58AM (#12406672)
    I find evolutionary theory completely plausible. Some difficult problems remain in my mind, like why the number of chromosomes differs from species to species, but I see no reason that they can't be solved eventually. We see the concept of evolutionary processes demonstrated all around us everyday, and earth is old enough for a lot of evolution to have occurred. As a scientific explanation, evolution works.

    However, as a source of all truth, science doesn't work. Science has a fundamental problem with a reliance on logic. Any arguments to prove logic are inherently circular and (by logic) cannot be trusted. Science further has a problem in that when it gathers evidence for one thing, it gathers evidence for many things. We don't use Occams Razor because there is reason to believe that simpler is more true, we use it for our own convenience. Perhaps most importantly, science assumes everything has a cause. When you look back at the creation of the universe and of time itself, you realize that causality must break down. Therefore there must be something or someone beyond science.

    In my own life I have seen enough evidence to believe in God and in his son Jesus. As part of that, I believe I am called to believe in Adam, Eve, the garden of Eden, etc.. I do not believe, nor do I expect anyone else to believe, that these ideas are easily compatible with science or much of the evidence we have found of dinosaurs, neanderthals, etc..

    However, evolution is only one explanation of the archaeological evidence. Another explanation is misleading clues placed by a god who puts a high value on faith. Another is that evolution was guided by god's hand until he created Adam and Eve.

    In short, I don't have a problem with believing in both. When trying to understand the behavior of men and women, both the fall of man and the evolution of man present valuable lessons. Both explain how men and women will react to situations. Both explain the world as it is. And neither belief precludes the other.

    As for what should be taught in school, no one can be well-educated in this day and age without understanding evolution. But the students also need to be told that when it comes to history, all science can do is show whether an explanation is plausible. It can never prove what really happened.
  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:59AM (#12406684) Journal
    I teach physics. Every theory in physics is most likely flawed. In fact, every theory in natural science is flawed. Should I have to point it out again and again?

    Indeed. I dare say that everything that is taught in science below...oh, about the advanced undergraduate level, at flawed. To use a less loaded term, I might suggest it's a useful approximation.

    In elementary school, you get your first taste of Newtonian mechanics. High school adds on some calculus to make it more useful, and maybe mentions this thing called special relativity. If you study physics at university, then you'll start getting hit with general relativity around what, third year? Quantum gravity shows up if you're lucky just before you graduate.

    In elementary school, you find out that acids and bases react, and that everything is made of atoms. You might get to make a little vinegar-and-baking-soda volcano. High school you get hit by perhaps a couple of different models of chemical bonding--all approximations. You probably won't solve the Schrodinger equation until you study university chemistry. The Dirac equation you might not run into at all.

    Now that we're starting to have access to genomic information for many different species, the stuff that computational biologists have been doing with evolutionary theory is just stunning. There are some really elegant and subtle results that have been generated. Do we try to explain all of this to a high school class? Nope--there isn't the time or necessity for a graduate-level dissertation on evolutionary theory. A useful approximation is provided, as it is in the rest of the sciences.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:00AM (#12406698)
    only the origin of species. Even Darwin said he had no idea how life started, but he had a pretty good idea about how species evolve --- after life got started.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:04AM (#12406750) Homepage

    So then what you're saying is that string theory, multiple universe theory, the theory of evolution and a good deal many others are superstitions because they can't be tested?

    Your listing evolution in with those other two is unfair. It can and has been tested, repeatedly. Not by lab experiments, but by predictions of what we might find in the fossil record. Astronomy works the same way -- we don't do lab experiments, we go out and look in the Universe. (And thanks to the finite speed of light, we're always looking at the past.) Yet there are predictions of future observations that have been borne out.

    So evolution isn't a superstition by any means, because it can and has been tested.

    As for the other two: lots of scientists would agree that it's philosophy rather than science. String theory is hot at the moment, and lots of Physicists don't think it's good science. Those who think that but understand something about it think that it's good mathematics, so it's still worthy. But is it science? Myself, I'm more on the fence. I can see that one day, string theory could well produce predictions that we could test, but they won't get there if they don't do the development they're doing now. So I want to see them continuing. String theory does show promise of explaining things that our current understanding of Physics at the extremes can't explain, so it's worth pursuing.

    As for the many-worlds interpretation--- that's a different matter altogether. That's a philosophical interpretation of how things in quantum mechanics work that you don't really need in order to employ the full predictive power of quantum mechanics. Maybe, perhaps, one day there will be predictions of the many-worlds interpretation that are different from other interpretations, at which point we could test it. But right now, it's really more a matter of how you like to think about Quantum Mechanics rather than a theory unto itself.

    So all three things you list are not comparable things, and they are all in very different states of being well-designed and well-understood scietific theories vs. being mathematics or philosophy.


  • Wrong.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnnyCannuk ( 19863 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:05AM (#12406757)
    Atheisim is simply a lack in belief in a god or gods. No more no less. Buddhism, Taoism and Confusianism are eamples of atheistic religions - that is, religions that exist and flourish, have entire sets fo ethics and philisophic underpinnings that do not have, or see a need for, an omnipotent creator or supreme being.

    The point of separation of church and state is to ensure that no one religion, including the atheistic ones take over.

    The school board is teaching a science class and is teaching the fact of evolution. Evolution has a tonne of evidence supporting it - evidence that continues to grow, not shrink. "Intelligent Design", on the other hand, has NO evidence supporting it and is simply the latest incarnation of Creationism - a belief based not on facts but on the creation myth of a particular religion, Christianity. As many posters have pointed out, ID takes a conclusion ("God created the Universe" or "We appear to be designed so there must be a designer" etc) and try to find evidence to support it (I can't give an example of this becasue apart from the sophistry of "Irreducable Complexity" ther is none). This is not the scientific method and thus not science.

    I would not want the Christian creation myth taught as fact in a science classroom, no more than I would want the Native American one taught, or the Autstailian Aboriginal one taught or the Buddhist one taugh. Like it or not they are not fact. ID can be taught in Comaprative Religion classes or Philosophy even, but not in science because it is not science.

    Now perhaps some day some real evidence supporting ID will come along. The beauty of science is, if that unlikey day ever comes along, science will re-evaluate and change it's stance to better fit the observable and experimentally verifyable facts. In this instance ID will become part of the science class then. Ironic that ID proponents don't do the same - despite all of the evidenced to the contrary the refuse to change their view and cling desparately to a myth.

    Whether you like it or not, teaching something as fact, based not on evidence but on a strong belief in the Judeo-Christian creation myth, is not science. Teaching this in a public school is the state actively endorsing as fact the mythology of a single religion - Christianity. This is a clear violation of the separation of Chruch and State. Would you like it if the school in question was teaching the "Earth was created by a Dream" Australian aboriginal myth or the Pagan\Ancient Greek version in science class? I doubt you would. And non-Christians don;t want your version taught as fact either.

    If you want ID taught as fact in a science classroom, prove it. Provide evidence. Until then, it belongs in mythology class.

    Philosphy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

  • by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:06AM (#12406769)
    He knew the gullible bint was going to eat the apple.

    Um... no.
    God gave mankind the gift of free will so that they could use that free will to obey him and thus show that they loved him as much as he loved them. After all, he did love them enough to give them life. That *one* tree that they were not to eat from was the *only* law that they had. They were perfect, and as such they would make no mistakes. They *chose* to disobey God. They decided they did not want to submit to Gods authority. That one tree was the only way that they had to prove that they were faithful to God. Without it, there would have been no opportunity to do so. They failed.
  • by SeanDuggan ( 732224 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:07AM (#12406784) Homepage Journal
    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. "Most"? 90% of the Christians I personally know tell me that the Bible is the literal word of God, and evolution is one of Satan's attempts to derail good Christians and keep them from the kingdom of Heaven.

    I know a lot of Christians. It's entirely possible that both of you are speaking truthfully here. I grew up in the Bible Belt, Southern Baptists and Fundamentalists and such, and they indeed hold that position. I now live in Newark, OH, which is majority Catholic. When back in Ashland, KY, I could have truthfully said that most Christians I knew believed wholeheartedly in Creationism. Here, I can truthfully say that most of them believe that God uses evolution much like any other tool. {furrows brow} And honestly, isn't the use of evolution by God the whole point of Intelligent Design? You're talking about fundamentalism as regards a policy which accepts evolution. Or are we talking about different values of "Intelligent Design"?

  • by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:08AM (#12406795) Journal
    Excuse the capitalisation, but there are two parts of the world that have these sorts of problems.

    1. Nutbag developing world theocracies: Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia
    2. The United States of America

    I would say on recent form I would rather have my education system run by the average developing nation than the USA. At least the China-Japan textbook dispute, for example, is easily understood in terms of racial and historical tensions. They're not, for example, trying outlaw logic and reason.

    Seriously guys. The joke's over. OVER. We're all getting very, very afraid of you. I'm starting to be a lot more comfortable with the notion that China and India may soon be superpowers. I'm actually *glad* Russia still has a massive arsenal of nukes: Putin may be a dictator-by-proxy, but AT LEAST HE'S NOT INSANE.

    Since the end of the Clinton era:
    - fundamentalists have begun winding back your education system to around the 700-800AD mark
    - 'faith based' programs have become legitimate government policy
    - it has become abundantly clear that the Whitehouse is controlled by a man who does not understand science but does fervently believe in a very particular type of capital-G God
    - you have waged war on two moslem nations
    - religious voters have become the dominant force in national US politics
    - Americans have apparently accepted on faith the ridiculous argument that there is 'no evidence' of global warming
    - America has closer ties to other religious-fundamentalist states (e.g. Israel, Saudi Arabia) than it's secular, liberal-democratic former allies in 'old europe'

    Now all this would be fine, except that the religious nutcases that seem to have taken over your country are made incredibly powerful by... why yes, by SCIENCE. That logical, agnostic, provable, testable system we all know and love. Well, those of us outside the US know and love, anyway. SCIENCE has made you rich. SCIENCE has made you powerful. SCIENCE has, unfortunately, given you the weapons to destroy the entire world or precisely targetted bits thereof at the press of a button. Could stealth bombers fly from Missouri to any point on the globe and deliver laser guided bombs based on the teachings of Christ? Why, no - that would be SCIENCE we have to thank for that.

    Let us take, as a comparison, Italy. A very religious country, by all accounts, rabid devotion to the Vatican, everyone in sight attending church regularly. Yet the Pope effectively outlaws contraception, but Italy's birth rate is startlingly low. Why? Perhaps Italians are so religious that they really do what they're told? Or perhaps Italians are religious but they understand the difference between faith and allegory on the one hand, and logic and reason on the other. They're not noted for their chaste ways, in any event, and I'm sure Durex and Ansell make hefty sales over there.

    So how about we cut a deal? I'll even give you two choices.

    1. You let your country go back to theocratic-totalitarianism, by all means. Hound down anyone who uses logic and reason to explain the world. Only, hand over everything that's been developed with science before you do so. Give up all those wonder drugs, all your DVD players that allow you to watch 'The Passion of the Christ', all your giant auditoriums with 100 metre high video screens where you go along to sing your Christian songs. We'll look after them in 'old europe' and the antipodes if you like, and you can burn each other at the stake until the cows come home (only the cows will probably be dead because you rely on science for farming these days).

    2. You forget the dogmatic crap and listen to the parts of the bible that actually matter, such as *turn the other fucking cheek, *do unto others, *beams and motes, *the good samaritan, *the FUCKING MONEYLENDERS IN THE TEMPLE YOU STUPID FUCKS. FUUUUUUUUUUCKKK!!!!!!!!!

    And if you're not a religious nutcase but you are in the U.S., don't fucking apologise. DO SOMETHING. You are to blame for letting these rabid fundamentalists take over. YOU have to stop them.

    Ok, I'll now be modded into oblivion, but I feel slightly better.

  • by VernonNemitz ( 581327 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:09AM (#12406797) Journal
    One problem is this:
    The claim "intelligent design is a valid alternative" is LOGICALLY FLAWED, and here is why:
    Answer this Question: "Was the Intillegent Designer intelligently designed?"
    If YES, then there is an endless recursion of intelligent designers.
    If NO, well then consider that WE HUMANS tend to think of ourseleves as intelligent designers. If a Universal Intelligent Designer could manage to exist without being intelligently designed, then why can't WE exist without being intelligently designed?
  • by Fished ( 574624 ) * <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:09AM (#12406805)
    The problem with ID as far as I can see is that it seems to violate Occams Razor. Now, theres no hard and fast rule, that the simplest theory is the correct one. But by including a designer I think ID is adding a whole lot of complexity based on assumnptions which don't seem to be very valid.
    Perhaps. However, I think that you are missing the point - an Intelligent Design theorist (and the only one I take particularly seriously is Behe) would say that a designer is necessary precisely because it is simpler to postulate a designer than to postulate the world we know coming about without one.

    Here we get into some deep juju, which I can't deny is speculative. However, it has always seemed to me that if anything had to simply exist - i.e. if something were to spontaneously come into being utterly ex nihilo - that matter, the laws of physics, the point that became the big bang, etc. were too complicated to be that something.

    To my way of thinking (and I have a fair background in academic theology although my specialty is New Testament) the best way to conceive of God is as pure, creative will. (I'm going to go ahead and say "God" here rather than trying to dance around it.) Out of that will - that ability to decide, if you will - everything else comes into being and is sustained in its being. God's will made the point that exploded in the primordial bang, and God's will made the laws of physics that made that explosion develop into our universe, and God's will made the peculiar set of circumstances [] that make it possible for other intelligentm, creative wills to exist.

    However, before all this, there had to be ONE thing to be "first". Occam's razor requires that that one infinitely improbable thing that was "first" be the thing most able to account for everything else. And I am convinced that the best account for this is a single, personal God.

    Seriously - you want me to believe that the simplest explanation is that sex, butterflies, and Picasso "just happened"???? I'm not there.

  • by Ill_Omen ( 215625 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:10AM (#12406810)
    so tell me, where did the Intelligent Designers come from? Through what process did they become Intelligent?

    Is it just turtles all the way down?
  • by cnelzie ( 451984 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:14AM (#12406856) Homepage
    These seem like possible first hypotheses. Not my belief but I don't see how you can _prove_ that the universe wasn't designed by transdimensional alien beings (a là Men In Black (the movie) at the end). Current physic-al theories breakdown at a temporally distant singularity after all.

    Possible first hypothesis - yes; but since they are incapable of being tested at this point in our technological development, they are incapable of becoming theories and thus lay in the realm of the metaphysical and are little more then fodder for philosophy majors.

    If at some point in the future we are capable of actually testing those hypothesis, then they can be worked up into theories.

  • by sbenj ( 843008 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:16AM (#12406878)
    There's a difference, I'd argue, between open-mindedness and "blind" open-mindedness. It's important to be open-minded, of course, but open-mindedness in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence is just the sort of perverse, bending-over-backwards-to-be-fair behavior that's often derided, and justly so, as political correctness in other contexts.

    The problem is not what other people believe, it's that a fairly large chunk of our society is willing to believe things that directly and clearly contradict physical evidence and to alter our political process and how we educate our childred to remove any references that might be upsetting to their view of the world.

    This is an old argument, but for the most part I think we'd agree that when you finish boiling down the evidence ID is simply religion (specifically, some Christian beliefs (that not all christians agree with, not trying for flamebait here, just noting the source)) in camoflouge.

    How can you live in a modern, technological society and ignore the evidence of your own experience? To give one example, If you go get an MRI or an X-ray you're benefitting from some of the same technology and body of knowledge that allows us to date fossils. How can a person stand up and denounce evolution in one minute, and in the next go get a chest X-ray? People who are unable to filter out this sort of obvious mental nonsense are driving our politics and our policies, and it's a scary thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:17AM (#12406884)
    God gave mankind the gift of free will so that they could use that free will to obey him

    Doesn't sound like He thought the concept through all that well.
  • Intelligence does not contradict the Bible, far from it. The best characters in the Bible are those that used moxie and intelligence to accomplish his or her goals through the will of God. In fact, if anything, the Bible encourages intelligent people to press on in the face of ignorance.

    Noah knew about the Flood and built the boat despite being mocked by his ignorant neighbors, who all died.

    David slew Goliath with a sling, when Goliath should have kicked his rear.

    Solomon was famous for his wisdom more than his military prowess. He wrote psalms, he made a beautiful temple. He did that cut the baby in half trick to get the true mother to reveal herself.

    Christ wasn't even concerned with brute force at all. His whole life was an example of sticking to your guns even if you know you are going to get crucified. In a sense, our Martin Luther King Jrs, etc, followed very literally in his footsteps - stick to what is right, even if they kill you for it.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:21AM (#12406928)
    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. "Most"? 90% of the Christians I personally know tell me that the Bible is the literal word of God, and evolution is one of Satan's attempts to derail good Christians and keep them from the kingdom of Heaven.

    Where do you live, anyway?

    Let's break it down, shall we?

    Catholics: Do not believe that the entire Bible is the literal word of God. Believe in Evolution.

    Lutherans (all major Synods in America): Do not believe that the entire Bible is the literal word of God. Believe in Evolution.

    Episocpals: Do not believe that the entire Bible is the literal word of God. Believe in Evolution.

    Methodists: Do believe that the entire Bible is the literal word of God, but most do not believe that Evolution contraticts it.

    Baptists: Mostly believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. Most (not all) Baptist denominations consider Evolution to be contrary to their beliefs.

    I think I hit most of the major ones.

    The thing about Fundamentalism is, it's fairly unique to the United States, and even then, it's fairly unique to the Deep South, and even then, it's fairly unique to only a handful of denominations.

    Another thing about Fundamentalism is, it's a relatively new trend, and is actually a sort of neo-Catholicism. I'll explain what I mean (if you will pardon a long-winded tangent)...

    Catholics believe that the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is the ultimate spiritual authority on all things related to God in the world. Each pope is selected by a council of bishops, and Catholic dogma teaches that God's Holy Spirit works through these men to lead them to select the right leader for the Church. This (and the fact that anybody even considered is somebody who has dedicated a lifetime to studying Christian theology) is where the Pope's authority derives from.

    Fundamentalists believe that the ultimate spritual authority on all things related to God in the world is the Bible. The Bible is not a single book, but a collection of many books. Which books were included in the Bible was determined by the Council of Nicea... a group of Church fathers, not at all unlike the groups that choose Popes these days, who came together to determine which Gospels, which letters, and which prophesy text(s) should be included, and which should be omitted. Fundamentalism rests on the idea that these men were guided by God's Holy Spirit to make the right choices. That (and the fact that they were about seventeen hundred years closer to the events in question) is where the Bible derives it's authority from.

    Sound at all familiar?

    Personally, I don't entirely embrace either idea, but if one is to take Christianity seriously at all, one should be loathe to completely dismiss the ideology of either sect... yet oddly enough Catholics and Fundamentalists often scoff at one another openly, and sometimes each question whether the other is actually part of the Christian Church.

    This tiresome division is one of the reasons why "non-denominational" Evangelical churches are popping up like wildflowers all over America. People have better things to do with their lives than fret over whether the folk in the church across the street are "real" Christians or not.
  • by jlehtira ( 655619 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:21AM (#12406929) Journal

    String theory and multiple universes are superstitions currently. There's work happening on both, but no sane man would really "believe" either. The theory of evolution or big bang however are "tested" by evidence. Both do a good job explaining how the universe came to be what it is today. Religion and ID don't. Instead of explaining anything they assume someone decided things this way. I might take ID a wee bit more seriously if it tried to explain WHY the creator made the world like what it is.

    Man-made evolution can be found in artificial intelligence labs. Check Avida [] for example.

    Now while some theories (like Newton's and Einsteins') are very solid and very tested, evolution and big bang are not. Still they're a good deal more than mere hypothesis (like ID).

    And, contrary to your belief, theories can be disproved without proving an alternative.

    Science is a way of sound assumptions, evidence and logic. It's not a complete explanation of everything, but it's the best one, a "best guess". It's not about faith as a scientist does not have to believe in anything. A theory is more than an explanation, it's a model. Every theory allows predictions, and a theory can be valuable even when its predictions are false. So we have this set of models which seem the most likely - there's no faith in it.

    Only a wise man knows how little he knows.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:22AM (#12406941) Homepage Journal
    That hypothesis makes the assumption that the Intelligent Designer is part of the creation and therefore had to be created Himself. That is not what creationists believe.
    Further, going one step lower, your argument could be used as a question to show that Legos don't have to be intelligently designed. They could just exist by themselves.
    Except of course, that Legos and the designers of Legos are part of the universe, whereas creationists contend that the creator created the Universe and is NOT part of it.
  • by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:25AM (#12406982) Homepage
    Easily solved. Just ask them if they think the admonishment against homosexuality in Leviticus ought to be followed. If they say yes, as fundies unceasingly do, then they clearly feel that the OT is still relevant and _then_ you can stone them.
  • MOD PARENT UP! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:29AM (#12407027) Journal
    This is a very important point that seems to have been neglected. I'm as strong as a Darwinian as they come but I've never seen it demonstrated that evolution is "shown to explain the origins of life" even once, let alone time and time again. The sad thing is that for someone to say this means that they clearly don't understand what evolution is about and the fact that they need to make this claim means that they are one of these people who has adopted Evolution as a religion rather than as a rational belief. We could use fewer of these people posting stories to /. not more, they're a bit of an embarassment.
  • by Tony ( 765 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:29AM (#12407033) Journal
    In creationism, YHWH created it all. In ID, there is an unknown, unseen designer who might be YHWH, but might also be Mongo Bongo, god of the congo.

    And the difference is...?

    In evolution, it is assumed a priori that random mutation is the only factor.

    Please try to understand evolution before making false statements like this.

    In evolution, ALL structures are assumed to be achievable by random mutation alone.

    This is incorrect. First, mutation is not "random." The driving force is genetic diversity within a population, filtered through natural selection. The process of genetic diversification is not fully understood, and this leads a *lot* of otherwise-intelligent people to assume there is something fundamentally wrong with the theory of evolution through natural selection.

    Secondly, the filtering via natural selection is hardly random either. There are definite driving forces behind the selection, but they are not "intelligent."

    Life is a structure of the universe, guided by nothing more than other expressions of mathematics within the universe. Claiming divine intervention in the creation of life is like claiming the mostly-elliptical orbits of the planets, or the statistical decay of subatomic particles, are proof of God.

    The platelet thing has been debunked so many times, I'm not going to repeat it here-- just look for "platelet behe." Or, here's a decent link [].

    But I would urge those ranting and raging to consider whether their oppositions to Intelligent Design is founded in a considered evalution kof the theory, or in a knee-jerk reaction against your perception of where it will lead?

    My problem with intelligent design is that it relies on something more preposterous than random chance: it presupposes a divine being guiding the universe. Our inability to fully understand something does not necessitate a divine being. The existence of God is about a quadrillion times more unlikely than platelets evolving, fer crying out loud.

    Finally, and I cannot scream this loud enough, ID IS NOT SCIENCE!!! There. I'd try to make it louder, but I'm in a library. ID enters into the argument with an agenda-- to "prove" the existence of God. In science, if God became a necessary part of the explanation, a scientist would think of certain necessary predictions based upon the existence of God, and design and perform experiments based upon those predictions.

    Since God cannot be tested for in the universe, God is outside the realm of science. For all I know, there is a divine hammer in the universe. But, since I cannot test for God, nor can I make predictions based upon the "knowledge" of God, it is outside science altogether.

    Saying "irreducible complexity is proof of Good" is just as cirular as saying, "The bible is proof of God." Just because we don't understand something doesn't mean God had a hand in it. It just means we're limited in either our knowledge or our capacity to understand.
  • by mbrod ( 19122 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:29AM (#12407040) Homepage Journal
    a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life time and time again

    The theory does not explain the origins of life. It is an observation of life interacting with its environment and the environmnet interacting with it.
  • by haluness ( 219661 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:31AM (#12407054)
    However, I think that you are missing the point - an Intelligent Design theorist (and the only one I take particularly seriously is Behe) would say that a designer is necessary precisely because it is simpler to postulate a designer than to postulate the world we know coming about without one

    Hmm, I suppose that this would be digression, but it seems that bringing in a God (and all the associated questions) is more complex than what we have now - a process that explains things. How does a God simplify things? It seesm to me to lead to more questions (and recursive ones too!)

    And I am convinced that the best account for this is a single, personal God

    This is one of things that makes me think ID is more faith than application of the scientific technique. Since you have a background in theology maybe you could answer a question I had posted elsewhere in this story: You mention a single personal god, but Hinduism has multiple gods. Are you then referring to ID as a Christian/Muslim (since these religions have 1 God) theory? Or is it religion independent?

    Occam's razor requires that that one infinitely improbable thing that was "first" be the thing most able to account for everything else

    One common thing I have seen in the comments in this thread, is that ID appears to try and explain 'life, the universe and everything' (finally an apt usage of a great phrase!).

    But evolution talks about life on earth. Since you mention 'infinitely improbably', remember that on geological time scales, there is effectively infinite time for a avriety of molecular interactions. If life did arise from the development of self reproducing proteins (I'm surely using the wrong terminology here) it might be improbably, but given the time scales, not infinitely so.

    you want me to believe that the simplest explanation is that sex, butterflies, and Picasso "just happened

    I don't think any of these 'just happened'. There were reasons for these things happening and a process for them to happen by.

    Sex - still unanswered, but lots of good reasons for it to happen (efficiency, variety in the gene pool etc)

    Butterflies - just one branch of the evolutionary tree

    Picasso - lots of social factors leading to his paitnings.

    None of these require statements on the lines of 'God made them and thats why'

    But as I have said, the biggest drawback of ID is that, as far as I know, it does'nt follow the scientific method, but feel free to correct me with some examples.
  • by famebait ( 450028 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:31AM (#12407055)
    Intellegent design does not mean it was God who did it. Does not say who did it just that some intellegance did it.

    That's just because they're not being honest. They all actually believe God did it. There's simply no other reason to adopt such a hackneyed theory to the extent that you feel you have to prevent eveloution from being taught in schools.

    Don't attack it based on how religious organizations use the theory but on it's merits

    It has no merits as a scientific theory, and the religious thing is the only thing it's ever used for, and its sole reason for existence.

    I'm not saying [evolution] isn't true but as it is stated and follwed, there are many flaws.

    No there aren't. It doesn't claim to be the comlpete and final answer, it claims to be the furthest and most likely we can see so far from available evidence. ID does not even come close to fulfilling that criteria.
  • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:33AM (#12407080) Journal
    The problem is this is being pushed as a religious idea and nothing more. There are a group of people who believe in ID AND believe that Aliens are responsible. The problem is they are not the ones pushing this idea, with no scientific backing, into schools. They are trying to teach ID as a THEORY. But it has FAILED the scientific process. These people PANIC because they feel the THEORY of EVOLUTION is being taught as FACT. So long as teachers are doing their job RIGHT (which is rare in public school), EVOLUTION is being taught as a TESTED THEORY, that has SCIENTIFIC backing.

    I am sure someone else would have mentioned this, but there is an episode of Penn and Teller's Bullshit on this that while obviously spending its time attacking ID'ers shows that most (if not all of them) are nothing more then religious fundamentalist. BTW, if you believe in creationism great. But I would recommend Index to Creationist Claims []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:33AM (#12407084)
    So, God created them, and didn't know what they were goign to do, because of free will?

    That makes no sense, it really doesn't. You can't create something, and give it something it did not have, calculate out what it's going to do, and be surprised when it does it.

    You're also bound by the very matter of the tree: Knowledge of Good and Evil. That means, that Adam and Eve didn't KNOW what good and evil was before eating from it, which means how are they supposed ot know they are disobeying God?

    Why didn't God KNOW what they did? Notice how he comes back and goes "Uh.. Why are you covering yourself? Who told you that you were naked?" And where's the Tree of Life that's guarded by the flaming sword??

    Don't you dare claim that it's Christ on the Cross - You can't choose to use vague symbolism where it's convinent, and then animately deny a "Period" of time in Ancient Hebrew can only be a Day.

    And what kind of entity would create something who's only sole purpose is supposed to be to worship them? I find the whole idea rather offensive.

    Not to mention the gradual change - first God walks among garden of eden - then God can't be seen nor touched - only talked to. Then God comes down and wrestles with Jacob... and then God can't be seen nor heard again, until he comes from a mountain and storm. It all changes - which to me is the watermark of People changing, and an ancient culture changing and debating there own view points.
  • by sbenj ( 843008 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:34AM (#12407093)
    Well, as an American, I'm not terribly happy about the America-bashing. Let's just say that statistically the people who have the beliefs you're describing are about 1/3 of the country, maximally, they've pretty much taken over our gov't, along with a fair number of sociopaths who are willing to use these people for their own aims (cough, cough, ...Delay... Frist... cough).
    Current issue of Harpers (not in the online vers, unfortunately, but one of the best things I've ever read on the subject, highly, highly recommended) provides a very good description of this, BTW.

    Bush was apparently right about one thing. He said at some point that fundamentalist regimes were going to be the new problem for the 21st century (or did one of his familiars say it? Hard to remember).

    Guess we just didn't think it would be us.

  • by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:35AM (#12407105)
    It doesn't matter whether or not the Creator is part of the Universe or not. If you can postulate that the Creator exists without cause, then you can postulate that the universe exists without cause. If the complexity of the universe requires a Creator, then the complexity of the Creator requires a MetaCreator as well. Talking about existing inside or outside of the universe is sophistry and doesn't address the real essence of the argument. Why would a complex entity outside of the universe not require an intelligent cause, but a complex entity inside the universe necessarily require one? Is the outside of the universe a magical place where complexity springs into existence without cause? Hardly sounds like a scientific theory to me.

    Note that I'm not arguing that Creationist don't make the argument you presented - they certainly do. But that argument is as flawed as the rest of their pseudo-scientific assertions.

  • by MilenCent ( 219397 ) * <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:38AM (#12407138) Homepage
    - Cancer - Aids

    Intelligent Design or millions upon millions of years of evolution and adaptation - either way, the design of life is far from flawless or without "bugs."

    Cancer: The problem there is, evolution doesn't optimize for the effeciency of individuals, but of the species as a whole. It's very possible that the flaw that allows for cancer (which seems to be present throughout most mammalian life) has other benefits.

    Aids: Unfortunately, this is an example of evolution's success -- it's an epidemic that's been spead to a large number of people, is it no From the point of view of the Aids virus, it's a success.

    Of course it could also be argued that, by killing the host, Aids denies itself further opportunity to spread. But it's a relatively new disease after all, give it a few millennia -- assuming it hasn't killed us off by then. But then, viruses aren't particularly known for their foresight.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:38AM (#12407139)
    Sorry, can't remember my login right now, and I don't want to make a new account.

    Anyway I notice people becomming insulting towards anyone who proposes a theory (regardless of religion) that is different from the Accepted Knowlege. The response is out of proportion and resembles the response of the fundementalist when religious dogma is challanged.

    I'd highly suggest that folks take a deep breath and try thinking with their brains rather than emotions. I listen to both sides of the arguement and I'll wait for God to answer when I die. But in the time we're waiting I'd suggest reading Kicking the Sacred Cow by James P. Hogan.
  • by joshmccormack ( 75838 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:39AM (#12407147) Homepage Journal
    If NO, well then consider that WE HUMANS tend to think of ourseleves as intelligent designers. If a Universal Intelligent Designer could manage to exist without being intelligently designed, then why can't WE exist without being intelligently designed?

    What you're talking about is philosopy and reasoning. If someone believes in Intelligent Design, this may not be through reasoning it out, it may be from faith.

    Your question also puts humans a little higher up than some others do - some consider the gulf in intelligence between them and their God to be so vast as to make comparisons like that meaningless.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:39AM (#12407151) Journal
    There are flaws in a theory and then there are flaws, I'm afraid. Evolutionary theory isn't complete, but then again, neither is any scientific theory. ID, on the other hand, isn't a scientific theory at all. It's sole argument is "somehow something somewhere is wrong with evolution." In fact, many of the professional IDers like Behe don't even claim evolution didn't happen, they just try to insert Goddidit into claims that bacterial flagellum could not have evolved. Even after they are shown that there are precursors, they still insist upon making the claim.

    In areas of research that do deal with Intelligent Design (forensics and archaeology), determining design can actually be quite tricky. I could walk through a field strewn with Mousterian tools, and not know it. But these sciences ask questions about the designer, who were they, what was their intent, where did they manufacture the object or event, and most importantly how did they do it.

    ID, in fact, intentionally tries to shove these questions under the table. It is nothing but Creationism in disguise, an attempt to get God in the classroom. It's a dishonest legal fiction, and most importantly, it isn't science.

    Don't believe me, go ask all the great ID advocates why they have no theory or no lesson plan, and why ultimately they want to push for teaching the weakness. When the Dover school board announced they were going to teach ID, mark how the professional IDers in the Discovery Institute backpedalled like nuts. They know they've got a pile of nothing, but they sure don't want a court to stomp them down.

  • by jejones ( 115979 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:42AM (#12407194) Journal
    If God didn't know that Eve was going to eat the apple, then he's not omniscient. It makes no sense to talk about someone having free will in the context of an omniscient being.
  • by tezza ( 539307 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:44AM (#12407214)
    I've seen a lot of Christians posting comments on this subject. I am Jewish, and have a different take.
    I would say that very few Jews are literalists. Many more Christians are literalists with the Old Testament than Jews are. This is absolute and also by percentage figures.

    Most Jews have accepted some of the wisdom from the teaching of Moses Maimonides [], the Baal Shem Tov, et alia. I will focus on Maimonides.
    He argues against literalism ["Finger of G-d" was a literal finger, Monty Python styley]. Most Jews are the same.

    Jews think most stories in the Bible are allegories []. Jews are certain to consider the creationist literal 7 days as an allegory. Many, including myself believe that G-d guided evolution.

    Who decided that Homo-Erectus [] wasn't erradicated by influenza? Evolutionary theorists would say luck. I would say G-d.

    Both would have a hard time proving it.

  • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:45AM (#12407232) Journal
    Without knowledge of good and evil there is no free will.

    They had no reason to listen to God over the Serpant even.
  • by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:46AM (#12407239) Homepage
    Are you not capable of reading? ingram just said, "humans and monkeys evolved from a common ancestor". Evolution didn't 'stop' for other primates, it made them into what they are today.

    You are making the usual Fundie/Creationist mistake of assuming that human beings are the pinnacle of evolution, that the human form is perfect and is what every molecule of DNA strives to be. Uh uh. Chimps and gorillas and the rest are as we see them because that's what worked out best for their ancestors. Evolution heads blindly towards local optima. The human form is actually astoundingly grotesque. The only things we've got going for us are our overdeveloped frontal lobes, vocal cords, social organization, and hands. Beyond that, we are physically weak, poorly armored and possessing of no natural weaponry which is _not_ compensated for by a fast or large breeding cycle, have mediocre immune systems, abyssmal tissue regeneration, nonexistant protection from the elements, terrible skeletal structure for bipedal movement (our knees point the wrong way and a segmented spine is absolutely the worst thing to make a load-bearing vertical column out of), have lousy digestive systems for our omnivorous diet, and are atrociously sense-deficient compared to other animals (practically no sense of smell at all).
  • by Harbinjer ( 260165 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:46AM (#12407250) Journal
    Free will does work with an omnipotent and omnicient creator works just fine.

    You're forgetting time. You think time occurs for God, just like us. WRONG! We experience time, and can only go one way, forward. But God can see everything that has, is, and will happen. You made the choice, God just knew which one you chose.

    Eve had the choice, she chose poorly, and God knew she would, but that doesn't mean she didn't chose.

    Saying we don't have free will because God is omicient, is like saying Abe Lincoln was pre-determined to make the Gettysburg address just as it is, BECAUSE its in our textbooks like that.

    If you lived at the end of time, and could see the whole past, you'd see what choices we all made, but does that mean that we didn't have free will to do so? NO, we did choose
  • by ( 807148 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:47AM (#12407251)
    I'm very angry when Christians assert that to be a Christian, you must believe the literal truth of the Bible, even though reading just the first few chapters of Genesis shows that the Bible contradicts itself and that any reasonable thinking person can't accept it all as literally true. I'm boggled that some Christians think that for something to contain wisdom and truth, it must be literally true-- is your view of God so amazingly simplistic?

    Excellent post, thank you. I'm a Christian, and I've been called a non-Christian by other Christians just because I don't believe the bible is literally true. It astounds me. If you ask me, it is a representation of our understanding of religion a few thousand years ago. Much like our understanding of science has greatly evolved, so should our understanding of religion.

    When it comes right down to it, Evangelicals will never deny a single word or give an inch because if one tiny bit is shown false, then the whole thing comes undone. They'll point to countless "proof" that they say "proves" the bible is true, whether they've actually read any of this for themselves or not. For that matter, it's usually surprising if they've actually read the Bible itself cover to cover... even though they claim it to be the factual word of God himself. A fewer percent still actually follow what is written.

    Personally, I believe we can't possibly know what religion is right. I honestly don't believe that any decent non-Christian human is any worse than any decent Christian human. Thankfully, this idea is starting to spread. There's so many diverse ways to be a good person and show faith and love, it should be appreciated, not scorned. I liken it to sports... No matter what team you root for, you're still there for the love of the game.

    What saddens me is when people get a theory in their head and they're convinced for life that it's the one and true choice. Evangelical Christians and Atheists alike. I've seen so many people look at religion, find a small issue, and suddenly become stone cold atheists for life. It's sad not because I think they're going to get some kind of ultimate punishment for making a judgment call, but because they're missing out on joy, love, and support just because they refuse to consider alternatives. They'll spend the rest of their lives trying to prove something they can't possibly prove, looking down on religions, and basically being no different than what they pointlessly despise.

    In short, a little bit of tolerance and understanding on both sides of the fence would go a long way. The Evangelicals need to open their hearts and minds to others, and Atheists need to consider the beliefs of others, and stop stereotyping everyone into the same groups.
  • by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:48AM (#12407268) Homepage Journal
    Evolution by natural selection of individuals differentiated by random mutation happens. It has been observed. Every time you buy produce at the grocery store, you have your evidence.

    Google "Lysenkoism" for more information.

    We may not know every minute detail, but you would be hard-pressed to convince me that evolution through the process of natural selection is merely plausible.

    That said, people are mischaracterizing Intelligent Design. Many ID adherents accept evolution but only on the micro-level (changes within a species). Most of the arguments fall along the "irreducible complexity" line of thought.

    That said...

    ID is still bullshit. To anyone who likes ID, I hate to break it to you, but the eye is not irreducibly complex. A bacteria's flaggellum is not irreducibly complex.

    In other news, infants are occasionally born with tails (vestigial traits).

    And of course the best way to identify a dogmatic idiot: If the individual brings up the Big Bang or abiogenesis, they don't understand what evolution is. The best part is when the bring up the old Miller experiments of life from non-living chemicals (abiogenesis). Yes, that experiment was fatally flawed. However, they consistently fail to mention Dr. Sidney Fox and his much more recent experiments.
  • by rgoldste ( 213339 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:51AM (#12407306)
    The Bible says that forbidden fruit came from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Until they ate that fruit, Adam and Eve did not know good and evil, hence they did not know that eating the fruit was wrong. Talking of them has having failed a moral test is nonsensical.

    And if they were perfect, and chose to disobey God, that means that perfection is found in disobeying God.
  • Occam's Razor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:51AM (#12407311)
    If you can postulate that the Creator exists without cause, then you can postulate that the universe exists without cause.

    Exactly. The only logical alternative to infinite recursion is to accept the existence of an universe without a creator.

    And the same goes for free will also. If you postulate the existence of some decision process inside your mind that isn't based purely on the interaction between material particles obeying the laws of physics you also fall into the infinite recursion paradox. If I have a soul inside me that governs my feelings, shouldn't this soul have a meta-soul inside it?

    Fortunately this last question will be solved someday, if Moore's "law" holds on for a few more decades. We already have a rather good understanding of the basic interactions between neurons and of some of the basic structures in the brain. To make a good simulation of an entire human brain would need something like one million computers and we still don't know what is the overall structure of the brain, so we aren't there yet. But someday in the next fifty years we will probably have a personal computer that mimics so closely a human being that people will assume naturally that it's as conscious of itself as we assume our fellow humans are conscious of themselves.

  • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:52AM (#12407320) Homepage

    That's one take on it. Another way to look at it is that since God is omniscient, he knows exactly what's going to happen in the future before the events even transpire. Therefore, he put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden knowing full well that Adam would eventually be tricked into eating it.

    I mean, think about it: if Adam and Even didn't know the difference between Good and Evil, then how could they be guilty of wrong-doing since they had no way of determining right from wrong--yes, God told them not to do it, but would they have known that disobeying God is wrong? Secondly, if one is incapable of making moral judgements for themselves, and had to always rely on the instincts and judgment of God, then does one really have Free Will?

    So an alternative interpretation for this Biblical allegory is that God put the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, not to test man, but to see man realize their Free Will through disobeying him and attaining the knowledge to make moral judgements themselves. The way we prove that we truly are faithful to God is then to exercise our own best judgement to arrive at the same decisions that God would have wanted us to make, without God actually commanding us to do so.

    But i'm just a Godless heathen who's going to Hell so what to I know?

  • by Denyer ( 717613 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:52AM (#12407324)
    You're saying God is neither omniscient nor omnipotent; ie, that He does not know what His creations will do.

    Which is a convenient failing for a supreme being to have if you're trying to prop up a belief system using the concept of free will.

    I've never understood why people would make the arrogant assumption that, if there is a supreme being, everything isn't going according to its plan.

  • by Inkieminstrel ( 812132 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:53AM (#12407339) Homepage
    Maybe for the sake of humanity and its free will, God chose to ignore His omnicience. That is to say, if He wanted to make humanity with a will that is truly free, in certain instances, He would have to not predetermine everything.

    C.S. Lewis in _The Problem of Pain_ suggests that God can do everything that is possible to do, but can't do what is a logical contradiction. So, God couldn't create a hot dog so big even God couldn't eat it. Nor could He make free will in a situation where everything was predetermined in such a way that people were prevented from making mistakes, because that wouldn't truly be free will. _The Problem of Pain_, btw, makes some great logical arguments and is worth a read by even non-Christians.

    Imagine it this way: I have sysadmin powers in my house, so I can know what's going on on every computer if I so choose. However for the sake of the freedom of my wife to make her own decisions, and for our trust relationship, I choose to not monitor things as such. It doesn't mean I couldn't, it just means I don't, and our relationship is healthier because of it.
  • The Kansas board of education [] is the one that made the famous ill-fated decision. The article we're discussing is about a decision made in Pennsylvania.

    Fundamentalism is not limited to the deep south!

    It's well-established that the chance to vote on gay marriage and abortion amendments is what brought out the midwestern voters, who are the ones responsible for this second, ill-fated term.

    So don't try to pin this on the south! We might be called the "bible belt", but fundamentalism runs strong throughout this country.
  • by Retric ( 704075 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:54AM (#12407360)
    What flaws do you find in evolution?

    No really I have studied it for a while and it works fine. Single celled to multi celled takes 1 billion years... Think about that 1 BILLION YEARS for life forms that be born have kids and have there kids have kids in less than an hour X millions of life forms in a cubic foot a water X 5280 X 5280 per cubic mile of water times who knows how many cubic miles of ocean.

    Evolution is nothing more than life keeping as many mutations going at the same time and then combining them as needed when your environment changes. Poisonous creatures don't just make one poison they make hundreds so there prey will not evolve protection vs. 10 or 20 of them and get away they would have to come up hundreds of mutations at the same time to get away. That's also why snakes use super doses of venom why pump a mice full of enough venom to kill a human well that keeps mice form evolving a little protection to get them though the times when they got a small but survivable dose and building up ect ect. Now you say why would the snake make so many poisons well he only needed one to start with and then when protection evolved to that he made a 2nd ect until he is making so many that the pray start to select agents the forms of protection that are not needed and it ends up with a balance where snakes can make so many more toxins than are need and it's stable that way (For a while now having those extra toxins are nor really needed... But as long as there in the DNA somewhere there "free" to come out as needed.)

    People say that there are these "huge" leaps that occur in evolution with no explanation but they seem to ignore the fact that whales have toes. Now if you ask yourself why whales have toes you can realize that evolution works by recombining existing pieces of it's self so things keep junk around because over time it's better to be able to adapt to change than become super optimized and stuck.

    Some ID people say look at this there is nothing like it that's useful for what it does and then you find 1 or 2 things that are like it but used for something else and you can see how most of these great leaps are really just minor changes that are from the ~3+ mutations in every life form that has ever lifted for billions of years. Even then some say you can't win the lottery 5 times in a row I say with enough games you would expect streaks of 100,000 games in a row.

    Evolution does can start with people a single amino Acid that can replicate, and mutate. That's all it takes to get the ball going. You don't need cell walls, you don't need DNA you don't need mitochondria for the fist life form you just need replication, there's nothing out there to eat you and nothing is competing with you for space until you cover the earth and your descendents start to duke it out.

    PS: As to knowing what your talking about have your ever written a program that uses evolution to find solutions to problems well some people have so humanity does even if you have only heard about doing this.
  • by MilenCent ( 219397 ) * <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:55AM (#12407365) Homepage
    Honestly, I'm a Christian, and I've never met another Christian who spouted crap like "God put them there to test our faith"....

    I have. ... That's just flaming stupid.

    I agree.

    The problem with Intelligent Design is that it's a transparent attempt to make the doubt of evolution seem scientific, much more than a credible theory. Instead of being built from the ground up as science first, it seems custom-built to get into classrooms by any means necessary. That's not just bad, it's evil. Evil, callous, cynical, manipulative, and dangerous.
  • Re:Wrong.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vjmurphy ( 190266 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:57AM (#12407384) Homepage
    And the reality is that all of us are atheists. As Stephen F. Roberts once said:

    "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:04AM (#12407474) Homepage Journal
    He knew the gullible bint was going to eat the apple.
    Um... no.
    Chief Wiggum: What IS your fascination with my forbidden closet of mysteries?

    So God created Man, man and woman he created them.
    And then he created Adam, and from one of Adam's ribs, he created Eve, and he had NO UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN NATURE at ALL and expected these ignorant children to have enough self controll not to eat the apple? AND in his omnipresence and omniscience he didn't know that the Morning Star was undermining his commandments, and he didn't put the blame only on him, in his endless love he kicked the kids out and let them fend for themselves.

    No contradictions anywhere in there, huh?
  • Complexity *does* spring into existence without cause.
    Entropy is forever increasing. We are moving toward zero complexity.
    Either entropy hasn't always been increasing, or the universe started with full complexity.

    I simply define the "Creator" as the complexity of the universe at t=0. I don't try to come up with intelligent creature with some sort of pseudo-existence that "built" the universe.

    If you make the argument that our perception occurs in the timewise direction of increasing entropy because that is the direction that supports causation, that's fine (who says which way is "forward" in time?). It just means that our perception of causality and the Creator are one and the same.

    I'm sure I'll get a thousand people saying "What an idiot," "Study some philosophy," "You premise is flawed," etc. I'm not going to argue with you, because I don't HAVE an argument; I have a definition. (And, btw, I have taken Honors Philosophy courses at Univ. of Del. Also, if you haven't studied Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulations, please do.)
  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:06AM (#12407502) Homepage Journal
    This whole issue arises because the central government presumes to dictate to parents what is best for their children to learn. So parents have to fight each other to get control of their own childrens' educations!

    Sure there are would-be JudeoChristian theocrats. But there are would-be Political Correctness theocrats. Finally, there are the Theocrats of Scientism -- the belief that Science should dictate how children are taught and how public officals should render policy.

    Now I happen to be in the Scientism camp but the thing that separates me from the theocrats of all stripes is that I don't insist that others have my religious beliefs crammed down their throats.

    Indeed, anyone who believes themselves to be scientific has a conundrum when it comes to applying state power to others:

    How dare they?

    Science starts and ends with humility toward our knowledge and its own limitations.

    The best we can ask of others is to allow us to pursue a scientific mode of living our lives -- we can never presume to tell them how to live theirs so long as they do not present a clear and present danger to our own scientific society.

    We can however, and indeed must if we are truly scientific, request that we be allowed to watch the process of their lives so we may learn from their experiments in living. However internally unscientific those experiments are, they are nevertheless scientifically valuable when brought to contrast with other such experiments.

  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:07AM (#12407509)
    You see, there's this theory that when you put your tooth under your pillow, you'll get money from the tooth fairy. It's a perfectly valid theory, right? After all, you aren't able to disprove this theory, are you? Can you find a way to disprove the existence of the tooth fairy?

    Well, The reason not to believe in ID is the same reason for not believing in the tooth fairy. There is absolutely no evidence for the tooth fairy's existence and there are much better explanations for how the money got under your pillow. Just because you can't disprove the tooth fairy theory, doesn't make it a viable option.
  • by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:08AM (#12407513) Homepage
    Actually, Southern Baptists in general believe that the bible is the literal word of God. Both the old and new testament.Just [] a [] few [] links. []

    Public school is really not an appropriate place for you to teach about the "wonders" of Christianity. Unless you plan on covering the negative impacts that Christianity had on the world as well. (For example, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the holding back of scientists through threat of excommunication, etc.) You would also need to cover (as the other poster suggested) the other important world religions. Christianity isn't even the *dominant* religion on the planet, in terms of number of believers.

    Are you planning on discussing the origins of Christianity as a pagan religion? Or how the religion evolved as a way to subjugate the newly conquered Roman masses? Or do you think that stuff should be glossed over because it's not really relevant to the conversation at hand?

    Discussing ID or creationism in school exactly violates the seperation of church and state. It is a religious view held by one group of church-goers that is not accepted by anyone outside of their religion. The actual text of the first amendment says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Teaching ID in schools is a not-so-subtle way of pushing impressionable children to find more answers at their local christian place of worship.
    I am stumping for a time and place in school for a reasonable discussion of what non-scientists believe. (Emphasis added)

    And herein lies our difference. I don't think that the public education system (grades K-12) is an appropriate place to discuss what anyone "believes." Talk about it in college. (Even state-funded college, so long as the class is optional). But keep it out of our public primary schools.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:13AM (#12407580)
    That Dawkins may falsify research or missionaries may resort to parlor tricks to gain converts are not not near the norm in science or religion.

    The evolutionary model is not at odds with faith based religion. The evolutionary model does not discount the existance of GOD. It is merely as consistant a framework for describing and predicting observation with regard to life, as has been built. The concept of refining models to describe and predict observation is the realm of science. I suppose one might apply this concept to religion and the existance of GOD. The problem is that one can not then turn and apply the resultant as a meta-model to evolution. There is no scientific proof of GODS existance, just as there is no proof of evolution. However, the model, built within the scientific framework, for evolution has as foundation a much more consistant framework of observation and prediction. There is no faith in science beyond that which is built upon constants of observation while religious faith leaves no room for doubt. Arguing one in the context of the other is apples and oranges.

    I've no problem with teaching religion. However, the fact that there are many different realms of religious faith requires that within a scientific framework, they all be taught. Outside of this, one might promote ones own faith through teaching, but because there is no consistant model that any one faith is the only one and true faith it can not be presented as a scientific master model for such concepts as evolution
  • By that logic, one shouldn't teach evolution as the origin of species; evolution does, in fact, happen in nature -- we can observe this. But teaching it as the origin of all life on earth is a philisophical discussion, and is not provable, at least with current data.

    Again, I'm quite religious, and believe that God worked by planting the seeds for life in the universe and used evolution to craft all species, but I wouldn't discuss that part in a science class. If I were teaching, I stick with the facts, and probably give nods to Darwin's "Origin of Species" as the biggest work that modern evolution theory sprung from, but would certainly not say that it factually provable that evolution is how all species came into being.
  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:17AM (#12407626)
    Cancer: The problem there is, evolution doesn't optimize for the effeciency of individuals, but of the species as a whole. It's very possible that the flaw that allows for cancer (which seems to be present throughout most mammalian life) has other benefits.
    Not necessarily. Cancer is largely irrelevant to (and immune from) evoloutionary forces because it typically does not affect creatures until after they are past breeding age. From an evolutionary standpoint, once you have passed on your genes and ensured the survival of your progeny, you are effectively irrelevant.

    The only evolutionary argument I can see for cancer or other late-life diseases is that an early death after the breeding/childrearing years gives the species a survival advantage by reducing competition for scarce resources. A population that dies young might have an evoloutionary advantage over one with better longevity: because short life allows the environment to sustain a larger population of breeders and juveniles, the short-lived population would be able to out-breed the long-lived one.

  • by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:18AM (#12407644) Homepage
    I do object to your use of the term "Creator". To me, it seems that the term implies some sort of intentionality and even personhood, and I don't believe that is what you're trying to convey.
  • by anomaly ( 15035 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:20AM (#12407682)
    Evolution as scientific theory of the emergence of species is reasonable and testable.

    Evolution does not speak to origins. By defintion, speculation about origins is philosophy.

    We cannot use science to speak of origins, because we cannot observe the event, document it and repeat it. Science can collect evidence and propose theories about it, but since these theories are untestable, it is not scientific to draw conclusions about origins in the guide of science!

    Get your naturalistic philosophy out of my science classroom, and I'll stop trying to get my theistic phiolosophy IN!
  • We don't know. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:22AM (#12407706)
    Which brings up the question that I never got answererd when in school, and I'm hoping someone here with an advanced degree can answer... Where did all the matter and energy in the Universe come from?
    We don't know where it came from.

    And since we cannot travel back in time, we will never know, for sure, where it came from.

    The most we can do is to work on various theories and try to test them to see if we can increase our understanding.
  • by Lifewish ( 724999 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:25AM (#12407741) Homepage Journal
    That hypothesis makes the assumption that the Intelligent Designer is part of the creation and therefore had to be created Himself. That is not what creationists believe.

    No, of course it isn't. They attempt to remove the whole "start of time" paradox by positing a timeless entity to start it off. This is actually fairly sensible, but it doesn't explain a) how a timeless entity can act to create something given that he has no time to move in, b) how we can assume that said entity is anything personal as opposed to some kind of automatic law of nature, and c) why said entity would stick around after creation to fiddle with the lives of some carbon-based fluff on one planet in a vast universe.

    Moving back to evolution:
    Further, going one step lower, your argument could be used as a question to show that Legos don't have to be intelligently designed. They could just exist by themselves.

    And if we had no evidence for the creation of lego (and particularly if we had some evidence for it being in some way self-generating) we'd have to accept that it was creating itself, without necessarily some supernatural being to kickstart the process. However, neither of these conditions holds.
  • by Dread_ed ( 260158 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:26AM (#12407760) Homepage
    Unfartunately, you are speaking from the perspective of someone who cannot speak with authority as to whether something is a mistake or not.

    By this I mean that evolution may have tried another way that seems to you to make more sense and it may have had problems that you are not forseeing, resulting in the present status of the creature in question.

    Remember that every faulty design that comes apart at 30,000 feet killing everyone on board was designed by an engineer.

    It is all a question of perspective. Unfortunately, ours is limited in the extreme. Humans are still trying to fathom out the biological mastery that our bodies perform instant by instant to keep us observing. Who knows, where we see an error or mistake evolution may have pulled out one of its greatest triumphs. Hard to tell when you're only human.
  • by Fished ( 574624 ) * <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:26AM (#12407766)
    This is one of things that makes me think ID is more faith than application of the scientific technique. Since you have a background in theology maybe you could answer a question I had posted elsewhere in this story: You mention a single personal god, but Hinduism has multiple gods. Are you then referring to ID as a Christian/Muslim (since these religions have 1 God) theory? Or is it religion independent?
    First of all, I wouldn't call my musings ID. While I've read a few books on ID, I'm by no means an advocate for it. As I've mentioned in another post, I'm comfortable enough with evolution that it simply doesn't matter to me.

    Having said that, I think that someone from a Hindu or Buddhist background would probably be more comfortable with Evolution than ID, since these faiths don't tend to emphasize the creative aspect of God. In Christian thought, the aspect of God that is most important is his role in the creation of the universe - if you will, the Christian God is a bit more transcendant than the Hindu gods individually. Hinduism (as I understand it) only approaches the Christian notion of "God" through pantheism, conglomerating all the "gods" into "God". (Qualification: I'm not particularly knowledgable of mainstream Hinduism, so would welcome correction on this point.)

    But as I have said, the biggest drawback of ID is that, as far as I know, it does'nt follow the scientific method, but feel free to correct me with some examples.
    Well, I'm not particularly qualified in science. However, the book I found most convincing from a scientific perspective was "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe. Basically, his argument is that, at the micro level, many cellular functionas are irreducibly complex - that they require a host of different parts to work, none of which do anything independent of the rest. So, how would all these parts have evolved gradually when each of them was useless without the others?

    Here's the thing. Behe (and most other true ID types) are not attacking evolution per se. He is attacking the notion that natural selection alone is a sufficient explanation for Life As We Know It. And he is founding that argument in scientific fact, asking the very legitimate question of how certain structures at the micro level could happen naturally. What I find unhelpful is the ranting and raving that goes on in the scientific community that refuses to actually address the arguments in anything resembling a systematic way.

  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:27AM (#12407769) Homepage Journal
    One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct, what about all these fossils?
    What about them? Nearly all of them are of invertebrates, yet the examples given of macroevolution are nearly always those based on dubious fragments of vertebrate fossils. Some in the scientific community are so obsessed with the prospect of finding missing links that they do things such as invent new hominid species based on a single pig's tooth.
    Two, regarding the wider scope of Intellegent Design, why does that necessarily have to conflict with the established theory of evolution?
    Because the evolutionists keep focusing on the theoretical transition from ape to man, and most Christians are not comfortable with the idea of god making millions of primates and finally declaring one 'man' and giving it a soul.
  • Re:Occam's Razor (Score:2, Insightful)

    by carlos_benj ( 140796 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:27AM (#12407778) Journal
    Exactly. The only logical alternative to infinite recursion is to accept the existence of an universe without a creator.

    Or an uncreated creator. Either way there has to be someone/something that does not owe its existence to someone/something else.
  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:27AM (#12407781)
    So then what you're saying is that string theory, multiple universe theory, the theory of evolution and a good deal many others are superstitions because they can't be tested?

    You are confusing "haven't been tested yet" with "can't be tested."

    "Can't be tested" in this context means "can't be tested, even in principle." There are oodles of ways we can test string theory, for example. It makes definite predictions about reality. If reality is not that way, string theory is false. It is unfortunate that string theory's predictions are for conditions that we don't know how to experimentally realize, which is why no one takes string theory very seriously (except string theorists, whom we keep around for their entertainment value.)

    In contrast, the proposition "The God of the Bible exists" is a something that the Bible itself says cannot be tested. God cannot be bid. End of story.

    With regard to evolution, there are all kinds of tests, from experiments on the spontaneous generation of amino acids to predictions regarding the degree of variation in adaptive vs irrelevant traits.

    For Intelligent Design the number of tests is exactly zero, and always will be.

    That's the difference between science and faith.

  • Infinity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:30AM (#12407817)
    "But it *would* have happened eventually, because in infinity, all possible things happen. "

    Clearly someone's been getting his logic from Douglas Adams. Adams was joking.

    Take the number 0. Add 2 to it. Add 2 to it again. Do this an infinite number of times.

    You'll only ever have even numbers. Just because a set is infinite does not mean it includes all possibilities. There's a whole branch of mathematics called transfinite mathematics that deals with this.

    Particularly, in the real world, doing some things changes the world so that other things can't be done. If Adam and Eve had said "Ok, we're not supposed to eat from this tree... let's chop it down to make sure we can't" then no matter how infinite the amount of time they lived, they couldn't have eaten from it.

    That said, this is the bible. There's about as much point apply proper transfinite mathematics to it as there is teaching a fish to whistle.
  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:33AM (#12407894) Homepage Journal
    Just because only two trees are mentioned doesn't mean that there were only two in the entire world. What is your point, anyway? They weren't penalized from eating from the "tree of life," that was theirs to use. It was the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" that was denied.
  • by Ledskof ( 169553 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:35AM (#12407911)
    Because there is nothing remotely close to proof for ID. The "evidence" is only assumed to be evident. ID does not help us build a larger model of understanding of the universe. It actually impedes the larger model. It also isn't this unspecific, religion unbiased ID that was mentioned. The ID talked about in schools is very specifically Christian.

    The idea of ID originated in a religious mind for the religious reasons of combating evolution founded work and to attempt to explain the origin conflicts in Christianity. On the other hand, the evolution founded work was done to further our understanding of the world around us. Of course it extends to our understanding of the entire universe.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:35AM (#12407916) Homepage Journal
    >What Christian fundamentalists find so threatening about evolution is that a literal interpretation of the bible forbids it.

    There's much more to it. The Christian fundamentalist idea of morality is that it comes from our creation by God. Turtles and turtledoves, wombats and housecats can't be moral or immoral because they're "just animals".

    When Christian fundamentalists hear that humans are animals descended from apes, they think they hear that humans are "just animals". Right and wrong don't apply to animals. They fear that the only basis they can imagine for morality is being destroyed.

    Remember that often-quoted Senator who blamed Columbine on the teaching of evolution? That's what he meant. I thought it was a hilarous non sequitur at first but it wasn't.

    You can't reason with creationists because reason doesn't work against fear. Try pointing out that you find humans to be awe-inspiring ("What a piece of work is a man!") and that you can believe in morals and even ethics if the universe is thirteen billion years old instead of six thousand.
  • by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:38AM (#12407948)
    1'st John 4:8: "God is love". I'm sorry, but your reasoning is flawed. You assume that living forever is miserable becouse this world full of evil and imperfect humans is miserable. You also assume that God is miserable, and created humans (and as extention all life, including angels) to share his misery. The fact is, that God is complete in himself. He does not need anyone else around to make him happy. His modivation for creating is love. He wishes to share existance with others out of love.
    You could spend a current lifetime studing one species of flower and still not know everything about it. Living forever we would be able to learn about Gods creation and never run out of new things. And, if after a few billon years we do learn everything there is to know about our world, or our plane of existance, God would undoubtedly create more things for us to learn about. Why would he do that for us? Simple. "God is love". The oportunities are endless.
  • Re:Occam's Razor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Viking Coder ( 102287 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:39AM (#12407960)
    42. [1]

    But seriously...

    Un+1 = P(Un)

    The universe at one time is equal to the laws of physics applied to the universe at some ridiculously small amount of time before then. Or something like that.

    We have some pretty good information about Un for really, really small values of n. What the universe was like at almost the very beginning. But we *can not* know anything at all about Un for values of n less than 0 - earlier than the beginning of the universe. That's essentially what you're asking for.

    In order to do that, you'd have to do two things - have a very accurate measurement of Un - understand what the universe is like now, and a very, very good understanding of P - the laws of physics. But there are two flaws - first, P does not preserve information - it gets lost as heat. As time goes on you can know less and less about what came before. Second, you have to use P in order to measure Un. You can't gain any knowledge about the universe except by using things allowed by the laws of physics. The laws of physics do not allow you to measure anything before the beginning of the universe.

    Therefore, we'll never know where all the matter and energy in the Universe come from.

    So, now what? I kind of view U0 as "God." It's the ultimate question, and we'll never know the answer. U0 is unknowable, in my belief.

    Some people posit a Creator, which I would call U-1. But the laws of physics don't allow us to gain any information about U-1. I don't know why those people are happier positing U-1, since it doesn't add any value. But I suppose it makes them happy. You try to ask about U-2, and they get all pissy - but all of their arguments about why U-1 exists apply *exactly* to U0, in my mind. U-1 and U0 (the Creator, and the Creation) are almost identical in my mind. I know for sure U0 exists (otherwise U1, and all the other Un wouldn't exist - and I believe in the Big Bang, rather than an infinite universe), but I don't really see the point in imagining a U-1.

    But maybe that's just me. [2]

    [1] Thanks, Douglas Adams. :)

    [2] I have no advanced degree in this stuff, but I'm guessing that's the kind of stuff those people would tell you.
  • by bombadillo ( 706765 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:40AM (#12407975)
    Entropy is forever increasing. We are moving toward zero complexity.
    Either entropy hasn't always been increasing, or the universe started with full complexity.

    I believe you are mis-understanding the laws of thermodynamics. The law is generally presented in it's simple form and only covers a closed system. You can do some googleing on more advanced explenations of Thermo dynamics.
  • by cynic pi ( 751990 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:47AM (#12408073)

    I would just like to point out that the high modded posts in this thread are an extremely intelligent discussion, and that perhaps after the students are being taught evolution, this exact discussion could happen.

    If there was actually intelligent discussion like this in High School I might have actually showed up more. And if we shield our children from this discussion, and others like it, then aren't we being complicit in their ignorance.
  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:49AM (#12408111) Homepage Journal
    It's always amusing to start a flame war over the crazy Christian fundamentalists again, but did anyone read the article?
    To understand the problems with Intelligent Design, first it is important to understand the theory it is attempting to oppose, evolution by natural selection.
    This is one tenet of evolution which is NOT disputed! Intelligent design only takes issue with macroevolution! The extinction of many species or variants of species within our lifetimes is proof enough of natural selection! This whole article is a pseudoscientific rant against a straw man.
  • by geekwithsoul ( 860466 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:54AM (#12408183)
    Ah, a sufferer of the "every issue has two sides and each deserves to be heard" sickness. In a past life, you were probably one of the people saying "Well, the Earth could be flat. Let's not presume we know either way." Or perhaps "It is possible that she's a witch, so let us burn her at the stake just to be sure."

    Your analogy of the fly and the car is wonderfully inept. To make it apply, you'd have to have a fly that could reason, conduct experiments, and have higher order thought. In which case, yes, it could know how a car runs.

    Humans don't know everything, but we have developed theories that explain pretty much everything about the physics of day to day life, and have a good handle on such esoterica as the age of the universe, the composition and behavior of subatomic particles, and the speed of light.

    There is nothing to "teach" about intelligent design, unless you think belief and faith can (or should) be taught.

    Let me guess, you were home-schooled, weren't you?
  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:55AM (#12408191)
    Europe and America separate at the rate of 4 cm/year

    Yup, and what do you call your "assumption" that this speed has always been linearly the same, along the couple of years that have passed ?

  • by llamaluvr ( 575102 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:58AM (#12408223) Journal
    a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life time and time again

    Evolution != origins. That's abiogenesis. Evolution doesn't care about the origins of life AT ALL.
  • by shani ( 1674 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:00PM (#12408261) Homepage
    Not all phenomena that cannot be falsified are necessarily supernatural.

    As an example, consider that Belgians serve their beer in glasses designed to enhance their flavour. Presumably this is because the way the liquid warms up, and the way it makes your mouth change shape, and the way that the smell comes out through the neck, and so on. Each type of beer has its own glass, designed for that particular brand.

    How can you test this scientifically? I don't think it can be done. You cannot ask someone to rate the test of differently shaped glasses without bias, because you cannot prevent them from knowing the shape of the glass that they are drinking out of.

    OTOH, this does not necessarily mean that the shape of the glass has no effect. Nor does it mean that it is supernatural. Rather, it means that there are things that fall outside of science.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:01PM (#12408278) Homepage
    I'll start by saying I'm a Christian who thinks speciation is an observable fact and than evolutionary theory explains the observation quite well, just so you know where I'm coming from.

    Intellegent design does not mean it was God who did it.

    ID makes zero sense unless the Intelligent Designer is a supernatural entity, a god if not the Christian God. Pretending otherwise, particularly when the advocate is a Christian who wants ID to be taught in schools, strikes me as the kind of disengeniousness that goes against what I've been taught about our religion. I have yet to meet a Christian ID proponent who wasn't implicitly assuming that the Designer was the God of Abraham.

    It could be God, it could be alians,

    How do aliens make any sense at all as the "Designers"? How did the aliens arise and become intelligent? If aliens could develop, become intelligent and powerful enough to traverse the galaxy and create new life on a lifeless planet, wouldn't that be evidence that intelligent life like us could have also arisen without any help from a designer? Saying "aliens could have done it" contradicts the fundamental premise of ID, which is that intelligent life couldn't have risen on its own!

    No, ID makes no sense unless "Intelligent Designer" is a synonym for God. ID proponents use "Designer" as a synonym for God, but are hoping that the rational non-Christian listener won't notice and accept it as a valid theory. It is that duplicity which pisses me off about ID.

    Now if you'll come out and admit that ID = God, then I'll say that I believe completely in ID, I agree whole-heartedly that God is the Intelligent Designer, and that I believe God used the laws of physics (which He created) as His CAD program to design us.

    But at that point you've done nothing more than say "Christianity and evolutionary theory are compatible", which I agree with, but doesn't motivate any changes to school curriculum. Since changing school curriculum to stop the spread of non-religious scientific thought is what all this nonsese is about, fundie ID proponents will not admit that ID = GOD.
  • by TrumpetPower! ( 190615 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:05PM (#12408340) Homepage

    God gave mankind the gift of free will so that they could use that free will to obey him and thus show that they loved him as much as he loved them. After all, he did love them enough to give them life. That *one* tree that they were not to eat from was the *only* law that they had. They were perfect, and as such they would make no mistakes. They *chose* to disobey God. They decided they did not want to submit to Gods authority. That one tree was the only way that they had to prove that they were faithful to God. Without it, there would have been no opportunity to do so. They failed.

    Er...not quite.

    Simply, you're forgetting which tree it was that they were told not to eat.

    That's right, it was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

    That Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the fruit of that tree, one can only conclude that Adam and Eve knew nothing of good and evil. Hardly perfect, wouldn't you say?

    But, wait, there's more!

    If Adam and Eve didn't know about good and evil, they were incapable--by God's own design--of knowing that it was an evil act to eat of the fruit of that tree. Incapable of knowing that disobeying God's direct order was evil.

    God then punished Adam, Eve, and all the rest of humanity for a crime that God had deliberately made them incapable of knowing was a crime.

    This, gentle readers, is the ultimate Catch-22.



    P.S. This incident is hardly unique. Read any of the so-called ``hard passages'' of the bible and substitute ``Joshua Gord of Topeka, Kansas'' for ``God'' and decide if those actions could, by any stretch of the imagination, still be considered moral or even tolerable. Especially read about the Flood, the Plagues, and the Crucifixion. b&

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:09PM (#12408393)
    Who is to say that they failed.

    If they "pass" the test, then nothing changes for all time. You just have the two of them living pointlessly in the garden for all time.

    On the other hand, if they "fail", they get to have sex and create life becoming more like god. And their children who -know- the difference between good and evil make real choices between them.

    The point of religion is to explore ethical and moral truths. Everything else are "just so" stories that fail miserably when confronted with any logic or hard data.

  • by Orodreth ( 679524 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:10PM (#12408401)
    Hey mods, I don't think your modding is biased enough. Could you make your collective worldview a little more obvious? kthx
  • Yes, their pride and arrogance caused them to make the tower.

    But that's not why God destroyed it. There's nothing in there about that. He destroys it because they're right, they can make a tower that reaches to the heavens, and then they could do anything they wanted.

  • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:15PM (#12408463)
    You just reminded me of the Penn & Teller Bullshit! episode about creationism. They have some very, very good points in there and it's well-worth watching.

    Any time you hear "intelligent design", you are really hearing people trying to masquerade religion as science - but as soon as they start trying to prove their "science", the whole thing falls apart. Science does not accept an "absence of evidence" as being proof for something.

    I mean, the whole bit about the earth being created in 7 days (6 if you don't count the siesta), noah having every one of billions of forms of life on his ark, etc. It's all pure bullshit that even the most simple, uneducated mind should be able to see-through with a moment's rational thought.

    But the problem is that they can't take the bible for what it is - a heavily edited compilation of stories based on numerous authors that suggests a moral guideline that people should use. They're petrified that if one part of the bible is found to be false, that their whole belief system will crumble. Maybe rather than basing their religion on poorly written pseudo-fiction, they should base it on something a little more concrete.

    And you want to talk about god being an asshole (again from P&T), just remember how he kills every first-born child in egypt, floods-drowns-kills everyone in the world except Noah, etc... Hell, that's millions of times worse than the worst war-crimes ever committed on earth, but since it's "god", it's OK?

    Pure Bullshit!

  • by refrain ( 151017 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:15PM (#12408471)

    As an American, all I can say is that you're being impatient. We've only had about 5 years of this wacko-fundamentalist crap here - it's only been 5 years since the end of the "Clinton Era". Give it some time. Most of the intelligent people here are working too hard to care about politics. Once things get a little too out-of-hand, you'll see those people at the polls again. It's just going to take a little while.

    Meanwhile, back in Europe, you guys were burning people at the stake for HUNDREDS OF YEARS. Oh, yeah, and your continent was filled with internacene warfare between Protestants and Catholics for like 400 YEARS. Let's see... there were the Crusades too. I don't remember any Americans being involved with that lovely affair. Isn't it nice that you guys don't do that stuff anymore?

    So, hey, relax. Give us a few years. We'll get our heads together again. I agree with you that it's not good that America's in bed with Israel and Saudi Arabia, and yeah, we SHOULD be more friendly with our historical allies in Europe. But please don't fly off the handle because our errant, democratic system of government produced some undesirable results for a decade or two.

    Meanwhile, take comfort in the fact that the U.K. and France and Russia and China have enough nukes to annihilate America. :)
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:16PM (#12408474)
    sad part is i know a lot about evolution.
    Anyone can claim that. Show some evidence.
    a lot they don't teach in schools.
    Ah, so now we're getting into the "secret wisdom" part of the game.

    You know, the part where you know things that mere mortals do not.
    i have read books on it, listened to speakers on it, had my questions answered on it, studdied it.
    You left off the bit about travelling to distant lands and sitting on mountain tops.
    I know a lot that is not common knowledge.
    Bingo! You have much to teach us mere mortals oh enlightened master.
    Why does a discussion of ID never bring up the merits or science but always turns it into a fight against evolution?
    Because "Intelligent Design" does not have any scientific basis.

    With evolution, it is easy to show how species diverge. With actual animals.
    Why not learn about ID before you judge it?
    I have. And there isn't anything that is scientifically demonstratable to it.

    If you believe otherwise, then please enlighten these mere mortals.
    By judging so quickly aren't you just the same as those christian fundamentalists that won't even look at evolution?
    Why do you assume that people who dismiss it haven't looked at it?

    I have and I see that there isn't anything to it.

    It simply attempts to cover any "holes" in evolution theory by claiming such "holes" must be because of an Intelligent Design.

    It becomes very easy to understand once you know the evolution of "Intelligent Design".

    It was too easy to knock the "Creationists" before, so they decided that they could hide "God" behind the phrase "intelligent design" and attempt to get it taught in schools.
  • by JasonBee ( 622390 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:19PM (#12408515) Homepage

    >So if I am not an atheist, if I dare to belive in higher structures invisible to us, will I be executed by the Holy Atheist Inquisition?

    Who said anything about killing or being killed? Everything always comes down to some kind of blasphemy punishable by death with you Faith Types.

    The argument a has always been about two different modes of thinking - one based on belief, and on based on reason. They are not mutually exclusive, but in practice they tend to be confused with each other. What some people on the science/epistemological-side find offensive is that empirical knowledge has been compared to creationist idealism - and made itse competitor. You have one group that takes their knowledge from interpreting the Bible/Koran/Baghavad Gita (which is fixed in scope), and the other that is taking their knowledge from watching how the world a sense they are letting nature and observation write their "book". That latter knowledge base is always re-writing itself due to eveolving knoweldge and discovery.

    How you have confused this as a form of anti-religion is beyond me. Science is a process, NOT a belief system. And the reason cretionists are being ridiculed more often than not is that they pick on silly things like the age of the earth when you could also be attacking things like the general theory of relativity. By framing your arguments as being science vs creationism you are avoiding the inevitiable. Scientific thinkers will always pick each other's hypotheses apart. If you want to at least debate scientists on the merits of creationist beliefs vs scientific knowledge, at teh VERY least play the game. If lack of "proof' is reason to discard evolutionary theory then lack of proof is what you're holding up as a replacement theory

    How bizarre...

    P.S. And if you're a little rusty on your history please remember that Galileo merely postulated that the SUN was the centre of the universe (solar system), upsetting biblical theory that the Earth was the centre of the Universe. He was nearly put to death for those "discoveries". Under that kind of a climate can you imagine any Christian Astronauts getting off the ground had Galileo's "scienctific" insistence not paid off?

  • by The Famous Brett Wat ( 12688 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:19PM (#12408519) Homepage Journal
    I, too, would love more philosophy in school. As someone who is only now, in my thirties, discovering the joy of philosophy (and getting perfect grades for the first time ever), I look back and think how much better school would have been for me if there had been the slightest hint of philosophy there.

    But that said, if we introduced philosophy into the curriculum, would we introduce only those viewpoints which were sympathetic to modern materialistic science? Only the empiricists and positivists? What about a bit of Feyerabend, the heretic? Feyerabend would really set the cat amongst the pigeons, since he insists that good scientific practice must be diverse. Feyerabend is absolutely pluralist about science, and offers loads of ammunition to those who want "both views" taught in school.

    On the other hand, if you're only going to introduce those philosophies compatible with the view, "evolution is the only scientific theory of origins", then what distinguishes this from outright indoctrination? Philosophy is supposed to be about the development of critical skills, not imparting dogma.

    Frankly I'm betting that philosophy will be kept well and truly out of the school system until the final overthrow of said system, since a decent dose of philosophy (involving several views that contradict each other and all make good points) encourages too much thought. God help us if students should start thinking for themselves, and not just act like willing sponges that soak up whatever fact-of-the-day is served to them. Think of the trouble it would cause! Think of how much more work teaching would involve if students had their intelligence nurtured, rather than being made to work according to the pattern of textbook-du-jour.

    Philosophy has no place in modern schooling. This is why we are reduced to arguments as to which view of science gets exclusive distribution rights in school. To acknowledge that there might not be one single true view of science would open pandora's box in regards to the teaching of science. The students would start asking those kinds of smart alec questions which undermine the teacher's authority, leading to massive control problems. As someone who made the bad political move of questioning authority in school (as a student), I think I have just explained my way to a clearer understanding of why there was, is, and will be no philosophy in school.

    So here's a point to ponder. I think that a goodly portion of the Slashdot audience thinks "critical skills are good, and we ought to encourage them in school". First up, note that my (somewhat cynical) description of the school process above suggests that school simply can not do this without bringing about its own destruction. In short, the students would become smart enough to realise that school is stupid, and revolt.

    But that aside, consider the following dilemma. What if it were demonstrated that teaching two conflicting views of science (both of them credibly defended -- not a "real man versus straw man" situation) produces students with better critical skills? If you're one of the many who've commented that "evolution == science, and !evolution == !science", then would you be willing to allow a pseudoscience into the science curriculum if it improved critical thinking in general? No doubt you would not if there were no benefit, but would you be willing to sacrifice the "purity" of science teaching if it fostered greater critical skills? If not, then what about teaching philosophy and including those philosophers that have the best arguments against modern science, like Feyerabend?

  • by sbenj ( 843008 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:23PM (#12408584)
    No one will ever be able to prove religion. No one will ever be able to prove evolution.

    There's a difference here, and it goes to the root of what science "is".

    Evolution, as a framework for understanding the world in a scientific and rational way, is always subject to proof or disproof by verification. ID is by definition above and beyond proof or disproof,as arguments about actions of a supreme being. By definition this supreme being can do things we can't, so we can't verify or disprove any assertions about his/her/its actions, because, partially, the whole point of dragging the supreme being into this argument is in response to, or an expression of our admission that we don't understand it.

    Science is by definition about things we can prove or disprove. A statement about which we can do neither is, again by definition, outside of the province of science.

    In otherwords, it's religion.

    It's one thing to say, and reasonable as well, that you have beliefs that are outside of the framework of pure and strict rationality. Pure ratinoality is in itself a pretty weak philosophy to life your life by, at least to me. It's quite another thing to argue that your desire for trans-ratinal beliefs should be afforded the same status as rational ones.

  • Their bible has Expansion Packs.

    All bibles that have something called the "New Testament" have expansion packs, so yours might be an upgraded version as well.

  • Meta Analysis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:31PM (#12408691) Homepage Journal

    Looks to me like a long-time successful meme (Christianity, 2k years old) competing with a new competitor (scientific method, 400 years old, but not recognized as a competitor until more recently.

    Basically, these systems are competing for core memory in the individuals and in societies.

    Both of them create a way of interpreting reality that provides different costs and different benefits to their adherents.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It will become very intense in the next few decades, I think, as the progress of science enables knowledge and technology to do things that were unimaginable even a hundred years ago.

  • by Retric ( 704075 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:32PM (#12408700)
    It's not a question of could there be a god but rather is there any reason to act like there is.

    Let's say we have somone named bob that's all knowing all powerfull and realy likes good mexican food. Now he could have created the world / space and time just to get good mexican food infact he could make infinatly many worlds just so he can get good mexican food but knowing this would it tell you anything about how to live your life?

    Knowing that something could creat our world just to eat one meal and then leaves it along for all time realy does not change you an anyway shape or form thus if you can't know god as you point out why try? You don't try and dig a hole to china knowing how far it is do you?

    Anyway, I can visualise things with more than 5+ dimensions just fine and I can look at the world and never say "there needs to be a god." so why should I treat anyone who things otherwise as anything other than a fool?
  • by googisgod ( 855166 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:33PM (#12408715)
    Look, let's face it. Science devolves into cosmology at some point. We can examine various subatomic particles and study them and write papers about them, but we can't prove how the original fundamental particles came into existence.

    Does that mean we can't study the particles we DO know about?

    The evolutionists who shout "religion!!!" at any hint of design are just as short sighted. Their claim is basically that random mutation and evolution MUST BE the thing that accounts for the existence of all life in the universe. Because they always bring up the "slippery slope" argument and say "well, if space aliens designed life on earth, then what designed the space aliens?"

    But I would ask- what difference does it make if the last 2 trillion generations of life were created by really smart engineers, and in the infinite distance we can never really know who or WHAT started the first spark of organization and life.

    And for the record, I think the concept of a God as written in the bible is 100% bullshit. I want to repeat that again- I THINK ALL ORGANIZED RELIGION IS PURE BULLSHIT. If you accuse me of being a bible thumper without re-reading this paragraph, then please go fuck yourself in the ass with a rusty nail and LEARN TO LISTEN.

    To ignore the possible branches of study that analyze life as a possibly designed structure, is pure folly. There are only two possible viewpoints of existence- either it had elements of design OR it is purely random. People that discount either possibility out of dogma are retarded and short-sighted.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:43PM (#12408839)
    Intelligent Design theory, in its true form, does not involve religion. It basically says, "Look, life forms employ efficient internal energy machines (mitochondria), auditory pattern matching systems (language/speech, birds that replicate sounds), complex light capture and processing systems (vision, ability to focus and adapt to light light levels and color balance, depth perception, motion detection, pattern recognition), wildcard foreign body detection and combat and antigen pattern propagation (immune system), self repair mechanisms (healing wounds), complex intersystem communications (nerves, hormones), various modes of locomotion, ...

    and the presence of these mechanisms *suggests* that *perhaps* life was designed, engineered, and mostly well planned. The chances of these mechanisms assembling themselves, even over billions of years, is slim. The fact that life has the capability to "fix" damage and combat previously unseen invaders, to me, indicates some degree of planning. (Teaching ID theory is very straightforward; it basically amounts to what you have just read. Don't attempt to identify the designing agent(s) -- it's unnecessary, we have no evidence, and you know the kind of controversy it leads to.)

    Now, religious folks catch wind of this new scientific-sounding theory and think, "Hey, let's use this as a wedge to drive our religious propaganda into schools!" So they put on their Intelligent Design coats and march forward.

    Ask them this: Why do you say there is a "Designer", singular? Couldn't there be multiple designers? Why do you capitalize Designer, He, Him, etc.? Do you believe this designer could have faults and is capable of making mistakes? Do you believe this designer worked entirely within the laws of matter and energy? The answers often indicate a religious bias in the ID proponent if he/she has such a bias.
  • Re:Wrong.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by runderwo ( 609077 ) * <{runderwo} {at} {}> on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:49PM (#12408916)
    I would not want the Christian creation myth taught as fact in a science classroom
    I think there's another problem here too. 'Technology' and 'science' are so often confused, that science classes are no longer about science anymore. For the most part, what we refer to as 'science' classes are just nature and technology classes - teaching students the answers to the questions that science has asked.

    A real science class would present the students with problems and show them how such problems are approached through the scientific method, because this is the essence of science. It would show them how to design scientific tests, which would give them an intimate understanding for what claims are within the scope of science and which are actually questions of philosophy or faith. And it would instill in them a distrust for conclusions which are presented without any empirical evidence.

  • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:56PM (#12409015) Homepage Journal
    God is not cruel or deceptive.

    highly unlikely.

    1. god is omnipotent
    2. being ominipotent, the creation, alteration or elimination of any state or states requires zero effort or time.
    3. given that any action requires zero effort or time, the choice between performing and action and not performing an action for god boils down to only a choice of will or desire, not ability or effort or any other constraint.
    4. thus, action and inaction are, functionally, the same for an omnipotent god.
    5. children starve to death every day.
    6. god does nothing to stop this startvation.
    7. this inaction to prevent said starvation is the same as a direct action to cause it.
    8. deliberately causing children to starve to death is cruel.
    9. god is cruel


  • by vorpal22 ( 114901 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:00PM (#12409066) Homepage Journal
    Creationism and intelligent design have about as much place in a science class as evolution and chemistry have in a religious studies course.
  • by phlegmofdiscontent ( 459470 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:04PM (#12409118)
    The other day, I was watching some news program (they all begin to blur after a while) where they were debating Creationism vs. Evolution. The man arguing in favor of Creationism said quite specifically that he believed "every word in the Bible". When anyone says something like that, they're immediately disqualified from any rational discussion, in my book. Maybe I'm a product of my upbringing. I went to a Catholic high school where we learned about the Bible and one thing I learned is that in the first chapter, there are TWO creation stories. If you take one to be literally true, then you cannot take the other one to be true since they're mutually contradictory. Logically then, they CANNOT both be true. This is in the first chapter, for Christ's sake, the contradictions continue throughout the entire book. Since a RATIONAL being cannot take the entire book to be literally true, then the conclusion must be that the Bible is merely an interpretation, opening up the possiblity that science may in fact be correct. After all, science does not disprove the existence of God, nor does it prove the existence of God. The two are mutually exclusive and therefore can coexist. I guess my point is that there is no point in arguing with a Creationist, since s/he is not rational.
  • by menace3society ( 768451 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:07PM (#12409151)
    Evolution doesn't explain how life started. It doesn't even address that. It explains how more life changes over time.

    That's pretty much religion hating science in a nutshell.

    It goes back to the idea of the Great Chain of Being, a philosophical concept developed in the Middle Ages to explain why a supremely powerful and good God could create a universe with error and sin in it. The idea is that evil is simply a *lack* of God's grace, the "privation" of God's goodness.

    Here's where we get into trouble. The Great Chain of being relies on the notion that greater cannot come from lesser, and that thing like the world, people, and even ideas like infinity cannot come from things of lesser stature--the world can't come from dust, people can't come from animals, and infinity cannot be conceived of from finite numbers alone. Hence, all of these things must come from something greater than they are, and that ne plus ultra of greatness is God.

    Evolution more or less rejects that claim, and consequently raises the possibility that *all* complex things evolved from simpler things. Suddenly, there's no need for a God to explain anything: if people can evolve from animals, then the world can evolve from cosmic gas and infinity can be invented/discovered through the negation of finitude. Where would God fit in now?

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:13PM (#12409236)
    Your argument would be valid EXCEPT that the American guy came from the same country you aforementionned. Especially for the crusade argument. Thee were no american yes, but there were their ancestor there. So please share the guilt. America (N&S) did not pop out of nothing in existance. The people came from Europe. Thus You can only start your comparison from the 17th century. As far as i can tell Burning on stakes occured hundred year ago in USA too. Should we also speaks of segregation which stopped only 50-60 years ago ? If we can say it really stopped... Frankly we can probably make a very long list of bad stuff which happenned on both side of the atlantic. Let us only compare the "now" and right now, we do NOT WANT to give you a few more year. You already had those 4 years ago. And you willingly (as a group) choose 4 more years of the same stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:14PM (#12409256)
    And the whole argument of "well why would an intelligent designer put in an appendix" or other excuses about vestigal organs means NOTHING.

    Who's to say life on earth wasn't built with some sort of object-orientated language? Maybe some parts were easier just to leave in the source code than build a new creature from scratch? Maybe it's easier to design a few core life systems and let evolution take its course, rather than sitting down at the chalkboard and designing all 180 billion species of insect/plant/animal life on a planet?

    It's like arguing that since my '92 Honda Accord broke down after 300k miles that clearly there couldn't be a designer, because the car wasn't perfect.

    True ID doesn't claim the designer(s) were perfect and infallable Gods. It just claims they might have been really good engineers.

    If humans within then next 1000 years mange to start creating primative life from scratch, what will the evolutionist do then? Will they still claim that all life in the universe must have happened due to random chance?

    I don't believe in God either, but it is pretty amusing to see people who would otherwise claim to be open minded shout down any suggestion that evolution may not be the entire answer.
  • by mbbac ( 568880 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:15PM (#12409271)
    We are fighting it. It's a slow process. We appeciate any assistance.

    Oh, and don't make us bring up The Crusades!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:15PM (#12409275)
    Ever asked a question to which you already knew the answer?

    Ever heard of a rhetorical question?

  • by jjoyce ( 4103 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:15PM (#12409276)
    Consider this a draft for the armies of religious zealotry in all its forms. When you want another generation of uninformed groupthinkers, you seek access to the one place where thoughts are still malleable: the school system.
  • by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:21PM (#12409348)
    Um, he asked for a non-handwavey rebuttal.

    Feel free to call anything I say as "handwavy". It's just an excuse to ignore what you don't want to hear.

    God needs to vindicate himself? To who?

    Humans are not the only creation. But even if they were, he would not have done anything diffrent. What he did was the right thing to do, and God cannot do anything unjust.

    If Satan was a perfect angel, how could greed have gotten the better of him?

    The same way it got ahold of perfect humans. They have free will. They entertained the idea of being independant from God, and it led them to make the choice to do just that.

    If God knows his plan was perfect, why does he have to justify himself to anyone?

    See point #1. Also, Gods *right to rule* was brought into question. Lets use an illustration.
    Lets say that you had children, maybe you do.
    Now lets say that someone who hates you calls the police and says that you are abusing them, and offers some very poor proof of it. The police, having the duty to protect children, might take them away from you. How do you prove that you are a fit parrent and that the accusation is false? Would you break into the foster home, take them, and run away to somewhere where they cant get to you? No. You would allow the whole mess to pan out until your innocence was proved.
    Sure, God could have wiped out Satan, and the first Humans and started over. But that would not have proven anything. As a God of Justice (God's four primary attirbutes are Power, Wisdom, Justice and Love) he could not do that.

    What will all this Jesus-sacrificing sturm and drang change?

    In order to balance the scales of justice, sometihng would need to be given that was equal to the value of what was lost. A perfect human life was lost (Adam), hence a perfect human life (Jesus) would have to be given to attone for that loss. That is the basis of the randsom sacrifice. We were all in captivity to sin until that ransom was paid. Hence we know again that God loves us, and his son Jesus does too.

    It's times like these that I'm glad I chose atheism. So very very very much simpler this way.

    Yes, it is simpler. You're born, you suffer for about 80 years, you die, your gone. Yep, very simple.
  • by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:28PM (#12409433)
    God did not create humans to suffer. You're blaming the wrong sprit creature. Being omnipotent does not mean he fixes our destiny. That conflicts with free will.
  • by UnrefinedLayman ( 185512 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:30PM (#12409455)
    The problem is that this opens the door to a host of other bullshit ideas. If we give credence to ideas that cannot be proven and outright defy proof then we will slowly slide into giving other such ideas weight.

    Would creationists object to the teaching of reincarnation in schools? On what grounds could they object? There are people who truly believe that reincarnation happens, but there is no evidence that links reality with that idea, just as there is no evidence to link creationism with reality.

    The reality is that the universe simply is. If there were a creator, that creator made the universe appear to be very old and very structured. For all intents and purposes, the nature of the universe is such that it presents itself to us as being this way. In other words, the universe is either very old and structured or its laws endowed by its creator make it appear to be something it is not. Which of these things can be proven?

    Schools are for teaching science and reason, not religion. The constitution explicitly says the government will not establish religion. Why do people insist upon having the government teach their children religion rather than church? Who is the better faith-leader: a committee, or a reverend?
  • by overunderunderdone ( 521462 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:37PM (#12409568)
    To the degree that there is any truth to what you are saying you are getting the situation exactly backwards. Evangelicals are ~30% of the population of the country. Religious conservatism is a large and powerful political block with significant political clout.

    Neo-Conservatives (strictly speaking) are a very small group of like-minded intellectuals with no political power base. They have *influence* through their ideas and the force of their arguments, but no *power*. The religious right as a political movement has the power in many places to get you elected or not. The neo-cons can argue to those with power (including but not certainly not exclusively the religious right) that you should or should not get elected.

    It's also worth noting that the political/intellectual movement most ardently opposed to the neo-conservatives is also closely aligned to the religious right. The title "paleo-conservative" was coined in self-conscious opposition to the neo-conservatives and Paleo-cons like Pat Buchannan while relatively weak politically have their strongest following within the religious right.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:39PM (#12409585)

    > Seriously - you want me to believe that the simplest explanation is that sex, butterflies, and Picasso "just happened"????

    Is it really any simpler to think there just happens to be a god that created sex, butterflies, and Picasso? All you've done is add a middle man... your 'explanation' leaves more to be explained than when you started.

  • Please... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:41PM (#12409632) Journal
    After reading the comments, I think I have a good advice for some of you: learn the difference between Theory [] and Hypothesis []. Figuring out which one is 'evolution theory', and which one is 'intelligent design theory', is left as an excercise for the reader.
  • by Atraxen ( 790188 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:42PM (#12409644)
    But really? Why comment? Both sides are inherently dogmatic - no one's going to change anyone else's mind via a comment here. I know my religious views (or the lack of - I refuse to specify) aren't about to change because of JoeBlow37's +5 insightful scythe of either side of the issue.

    More importantly to discuss - isn't this a great opportunity to begin PROPERLY teaching scientific process in the schools in a meaningful and relevent way? I'm a research chemist who works in an inner-city public school 2 days a week (thanks NSF!!!!) - I've been using this debate to demonstrate that all arguements should be supported (don't bother calling me contradictory here - I see the arguable dichotomy the evolutionists claim the creationists possess here and reject it - the point here is the dialogue), should attempt to address the point where they break down (for example: creationist - evidence demonstrating evolution at work; evolutionist - statistical inprobability of non-protected evolution), and should attempt predictive power (worthy of note - many creationists believe in the process of evolution, just not evolution-as-genesis).

    Comments welcome on the educational opportunities afforded by this discussion - but please, if you want to scream about your side/call me biased toward one side or the other/etc., for the love of god/not god, do it in someone else's thread! Otherwise, why comment?!?!
  • by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:47PM (#12409744)
    I'd love to see this. However, any teacher who explicitly takes on creationsim like this is very likely to lose his or her job. Creationist don't want creationism evalutated in a scientific light in the classroom. They want it taught as a plausible alternative to evolution, and no mention of it's inherent silliness discussed.
  • by FuzzyDustBall ( 751425 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:54PM (#12409832)
    Assumption #1: God gave us free will. (because he loves us)

    Assumption #2: God is omniscient.

    Since God already knows all our future actions, we no longer have free-will; al our actions are pre-determined. So humanity's free will and God's omniscience are mutually exclusive; you can't have your cake and eat it too.

    Im no bible thumper (I'm an agnostic) but your logic is flawed. God is omniscent meaing basicly everything happens at once now then and later are all the same. So in a sense everything has already happened in an omiscent beings eyes. So your statement is like saying everyone in the past didn't have free will because we know now what happend. They had free will at the time they made the choice.
  • by CloakedMirror ( 785242 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:03PM (#12409942) Homepage
    You were right until point four. Action and inaction are not functionally the same, since the outcome of each is different. Since you use a ladder-form of argument all points after that are pointless at best, and more likely flawed.

    But, even if I ignore that you have built your arguments in such a poor manner, your whole hypothesis is flawed. You pre-suppose two things...
    1. God is cruel because children starve.
    This is wrong from every angle. Did God not provide all of mankind with enough resources to provide food for all of us? It is our irresponsible, and greedy, use of the resources He gave us that causes starvation throughout the world. It is our exercise of free will that causes suffering in this world.
    2. Inaction to prevent said starvation is the same as direct action to cause it.
    If this is the case then you are responsible for the starving children of the world. God created us all to help each other. Your inaction causes the pain and suffering of starving children that is every bit as bad as what you accuse God of. You have the ability to do good, but you don't because in your mind there is nobody to hold you accountable. God does good, even though there is nobody that can hold Him accountable.
  • by d34thm0nk3y ( 653414 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:08PM (#12410010)
    I would just like to point out that the high modded posts in this thread are an extremely intelligent discussion, and that perhaps after the students are being taught evolution, this exact discussion could happen. If there was actually intelligent discussion like this in High School I might have actually showed up more. And if we shield our children from this discussion, and others like it, then aren't we being complicit in their ignorance.

    Of course they should have this conversation. In a philosophy course though, NOT a science course.
  • Re:Over-evolution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wyrd01 ( 761346 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:10PM (#12410031)
    Shouldn't evolution have, by the process of natural selection ,distilled life to its simplest formsuited for survival
    It would have, except those lifeforms live in a closed environment.

    All those simple lifeforms, that wanted to survive, were competing with each other for limited resources. If one lifeform gets a mutation or ability (Thought, planning, tool-use, etc...) that gives it an advantage over the others, then it gets more resources and is more successful.

    It is this constant oneupsmanship over millions and millions of years that results in the insanely complex creatures we have roaming all over this planet.

    Wyrd One
  • by Communomancer ( 8024 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:16PM (#12410098)
    But I don't dare take the close minded approach that if something isn't "testable" via the scientific method, that it doesn't or can't exist. Neither do I. But I do say that "it" doesn't belong in science class.
  • by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:25PM (#12410226)
    I'd imagine there's not all that much to *do* in a perfect garden, anyway, especially if you don't know about S-E-X.)

    Genisis 1:28

    It wasn't just the garden, they had work to do.
    They were told to fill the earth. That means sex.
  • by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:31PM (#12410302)
    no. we are in the 7th "day", the one he is resting from his massive creative works on. The saying one day is as a thousand years is just, well, a saying. It's meant to show that time is far, far diffrent for God. That makes sense concidering that time is only the way it is inside the universe, which is something God created. We could speculate about that for days.... :)
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:33PM (#12410328)

    > Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design?

    Any reason we shouldn't call a spade a spade?

    > I'm guessing the insanely biased headline is a sign for all the slashdotters out there that this is simply a topic for attacking Christians?

    So much for the Christian pretense that ID is science rather than religion...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:35PM (#12410345)
    "Why does everyone assume ID is about religion?"

    You might as well suggest communal ownership of property and then wonder why everyone keeps bringing up these Marx and Lenin guys. Ideas have histories. Perhaps you ought to look into the history of debate on ID. Then you might understand why everyone keeps bringing up religion.

  • by bani ( 467531 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @02:40PM (#12410399)
    opposition to Middle Eastern and other states that are perceived to support terrorism


    News flash:

    11 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia

    The current administration and neocons are staunch supporters of Saudi Arabia.

    I guess we can just chalk it up to a "perception problem" then.

    If you want to go after states which support terrrorism, go after Saudi Arabia , not Iraq.
  • by WinDoze ( 52234 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @03:17PM (#12410905)
    Evolution does not, and never did, attempt to explain the origin of life. It explains how it progressed once it appeared. That's it. If you're going to argue against the theory you should probably try to understand what the theory is all about first.
  • by skaffen42 ( 579313 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @03:23PM (#12410984)
    OK, so how about this?

    Let us pretend I am a really rich guy. Because I am also a really nice guy I allow a destitute couple to move into one of my houses. Pretty soon the husband starts abusing his wife. He keeps her locked up in the basement, beats her and refuses to give her food. She is slowly starving to death and in great pain.

    I see all of this happening, but I don't interfere. It is not me killing the woman, so I am not being cruel. Even though I can help her at any time by calling the police, I just sit and watch her suffer.

    So is it OK for me to just sit there and watch her die? I guess it is, because I am only doing what God would do in the same situation. And we all know that God is good...

  • by hesiod ( 111176 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @03:54PM (#12411414)
    > If your child is very sick and needs to get a painful treatment, does that mean that you are cruel?

    If you are a Christian "Scientist," treatment is not an option. But since you can manage to use a computer, I'll asume you are not one.

    Your hypothetical asks if you would trade suffering for a cure. The question was why would an uncruel god choose suffering AND death? Riches after life is great in theory, but if you want 6 billion people to believe you are all powerful and good , punishing them for being born in the wrong area is not the way to do it. I'm imperfect and I can figure that one out, yet your almighty can't get that simple concept through his dense fucking skull (assuming he had one)? We can only rely on what we see; I see needless suffering through inaction of man and, if you believe in one, inaction of a god.

    Allowing someone to suffer and die when you have do do the equivalent of "nothing" is cruel. No amount of handwaving and faith will change that.
  • by Retric ( 704075 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @04:07PM (#12411639)
    I said with out evidence. If you ask a 6 year old if there is a Santa they can think back and point out people talking about Santa, going to the mall and seeing Santa ect ect. But when was the last time you looked "God" in they eyes and said hi.

    Now some people says there is a god and others says there is not. But, if you assume your god is the only God feel free to point you evidence to the billions people that believe in god(s) but not you God.

    My father's first wife thought she could talk with god's only son. Yep, she spent years in an institution for believing the same thing many people do. Now why do I get to call her insane and people will agree with me (doctors and such) but people get upset when I call others with the same beliefs fools?

    I don't think you're a fool if you think the US is going to win more medals that China at the next Olympics. I don't think you're a fool if you think the US is going to win less medals that China at the next Olympics. But, if you're a 40 year old that believes in Santa then yea I will call you a fool.
  • Re:Nah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EllisDees ( 268037 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @04:30PM (#12412025)
    >Where in animal evolution did the eye develop?

    It has developed many times, maybe originally in something like this. []

    >Where are the fossils of non-vertebrate to vertebrate creatures

    right here. []

    >Where did gender come into play?

    Possibly 2.5 to 3.5 billion years ago. []

    >When did we evolve from chemicals to bacteria?

    We don't know, but this has nothing to do with evolution. It deals with what has happened to life since it began.

    >Micro-evolution is what is commonly accepted and should be taught, but where did macro-evolution come from

    There is absolutely no difference between 'micro-evolution' and 'macro-evolution'. They are exactly the same process, just on different timescales.

    >and why shouldn't valid alternatives be proposed with the condition that NONE currently meet the requirement of being proven scientifically?

    Maybe because there is no such thing as 'proven scientifically'. There is one theory that has so much supporting evidence behind it that nothing else even comes close to being in the same standing. ID is not a valid alternative, since it has *no* supporting evidence unless you consider incomprehension to be evidence.
  • by Dread_ed ( 260158 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @04:30PM (#12412028) Homepage
    "7. this inaction to prevent said starvation is the same as a direct action to cause it.

    The action that caused the suffering was perpetrated by mankind and is therefore wholly different in structure, content, and validity than if God himself had caused it. The reason? Mankind has free will and God has made provisions for the eternal lives of the children that are starving.

    "8. deliberately causing children to starve to death is cruel.

    MANKIND causes children to starve by his actions, not God. Therefore mankind is cruel, not God.

    In essence you have said that since God can clean up our messes easily he should do it even though he did not make them in the first place. You are also saying that God is responsible for the actions of mankind, and that mankind is not responsible for the contemporaneous repercussions of his actions. Please forgive me, but I do not want a God that hovers over the Earth waiting to wipe my ass for me when I soil myself, regardless of how many baby wipes he can conjure out of thin air or how softly he can rub my buttocks. Actions carry repercussions and people have to take responsibility for them, good or bad.

    Blaming God for the things that mankind does is an age old ploy. In fact, Satan does this many times in the Bible and with more subtltey and intillect than you have mustered in this attempt(no offence to your mental skills).
  • by RichardX ( 457979 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @04:57PM (#12412490) Homepage
    Gravity is just a theory, yet it's taught as fact in almost all schools.
    What about the alternative theory? That we're held to the planet's surface be the combined efforts of millions of invisible pixies called Clarence?

    Why not teach the Clarence theory alongside gravity?

    and don't even get me started on all this "The Earth is Round" stuff that kids get brainwashed by...
  • Flawed? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mike3k ( 574665 ) <mike3k@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday May 02, 2005 @04:58PM (#12412506) Homepage
    No scientist has disputed evolution. The only people who consider it flawed and dispute it are those who feel that evolution conflicts with their religious beliefs and refuses to reconsider those beliefs.
  • by Knight_of_BAAWA ( 880815 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @05:00PM (#12412544)
    As has been stated by many previously: why don't the anti-science, anti-reason, anti-logic, anti-thought, anti-reality people get it? Their myth is not something that should be taught in a science class.

    It doesn't matter how many people believe that there is a god. Doesn't matter how good it makes people feel. Doesn't matter how often they trot out the same refuted-to-death strawmen and blatantly false arguments. Doesn't matter that they can't grasp evolution. Their inabilities mean nothing. Evolution is a fact, and for people to want to have ID taught in "public" schools in any manner other than "ID is simply literalist xer biblical creationism dressed in new clothes in order to attempt to fool people into thinking that it's not really some superstition" is tantamount to pushing for phrenology, astrology, and flat-earthism to be taught. It's just that much junk.

    Keep ID in theology, where it belongs. I'm glad that many groups are stepping up to expose the fraud of ID and to keep it from being taught in schools. Truth is not democratic, despite what the ID people push. We don't get to vote that Bill Gates is male or that Douglas Adams wrote HHGTTG or that the Golden Gate Bridge is in California--truth isn't determined that way. But the IDers want people to believe that truth is determined by a political vote.

    They are sorely mistaken.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @05:07PM (#12412640)
    First, Evolution is a fact, and there is a theory that describes how it occurs. Similarly, gravity is a fact, and has a theory that describes how it occurs. Evolution is the change of allelles in a population over time; It is demonstrable by anyone with eight generations of Drosophilia fruit flies and the ability to note their eye colours - or anyone who has ever bred roses, or seen a brunette couple with a redheaded child. Evolution HAPPENS. Whether it does is not contested.

    Secondly, Intelligent Design (I.D.) is a notion that is both Wholly unscientific (It is not testable, nor falsifiable), and No Matter How You Slice It, originated as Religion - The people who created this notion did so as a way to make their religious notions seem scientific, by couching them in 'scientific' jargon.

    Most objections to the teaching of Evolution in a science class are based upon one of several reasons -

    A: The objector feels that religion conflicts with their religious notions. Well, we're sorry, but Galileo and Kepler's notion that the Sun, and not the Earth, was the focal point of orbit in our solar system went against someone's religious notions too.

    B: The objector feels that there is no way life could have arisen totally randomly, and will often use the analogy of a watch being assembled by a tornado. This is a horrible strawman of an argument; Evolution and life itself are highly structured and the change comes randomly, not the assembly.

    C: "I didn't come from no monkey." Ridiculous. The conclusions of the evidence are that all modern primates (and that includes HUMANS and other APES) had a common ancestor.

    D: Evolution is a secular humanist/atheist/homosexual/insert-group-objector- hates-here agenda to corrupt their children. Do I really have to show why this is ridiculous?

    E: A highly respected scientist has objections to the proposed method of evolution, and the objector feels this suffices to generalise it all the way to "Evolution is False". Pure hokum.

    That, in a nutshell, is the ENTIRETY of why there is a "debate" or "uproar" about the teaching of evolution in American schools - Ignorant religious fundamentalists who believe that Evolution contradicts their religion feel that it should not be taught in school.

    Perhaps we ought to teach that the Earth is flat, and that the Sun revolves around it, as well.
  • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @05:27PM (#12412891)
    If science texts have to give equal time to religion, perhaps the gov could require that all religious texts have a prominent notice that "God" is merely an unproven theory?
  • by ansak ( 80421 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @05:38PM (#12413017) Homepage Journal

    I have read the article and I wish to make two criticisms of it. Then I wish to point out the absolute lack of well-reasoned dialogue on this point.

    1. benna writes:

    The premise of Intelligent Design is that the universe is so unimaginably complex and perfect that it must have been created by an intelligent designer.
    Anyone catch the "gotcha"? What ID proponent is going to say that the universe is so "unimaginably... perfect"? This is a classic but cloaked "argumentum ad hominem - abusive": make ID'ers look like extremists so it's "obvious" to everyone that they're stupid before they even look at what is actually being said.

    2. benna also cites a lack of ID articles in peer-reviewed journals as evidence that nobody in the "real" scientific community believes in ID.

    This is a trifle circular. The tools used by those who oppose theistic explanations for the world (including ID) include belittling, caricaturizing, marginalizing, black-listing, not to mention monopolizing money and prestige to the exclusion of all other options from serious consideration. Faced with the scientistic forces arrayed these bodies of ideas, is it any wonder that nobody who wants to be taken seriously later will give articles with an ID point of view serious attention? This is less about ideas "winning or losing" in the scientific marketplace and more about ideas being sand-bagged and informally kept from being heard in that marketplace.

    If you don't believe this possible, look at what happened in a slightly different field to Immanuel Velikovsky when what he said didn't line up with accepted scientific orthodoxy in the fields Worlds in Collision and Ages in Chaos speak to -- whether or not you accept the contents of his books as reasonable alternative explanations.

    As to my subject line: it seems that very few people can make a dispassionate, deal-with-the-facts comment on this subject either in favour of or in opposition to Intelligent Design. It struck me that there are more than one kind of fundamentalism and many slashdotters who would sooner die than be called fundamentalists merely suffer from fundamentalism in a different direction.


  • Argument for ID (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:25PM (#12413611)
    First, most all the highest-mod'ed posts support the theory of evolution. Someone has to make the case for ID. So here goes.

    First, the theory of evolution does not have any special footing with regard to being a scientific theory. This is because the theory of evolution is not falsifiable. In other words no experiment can be done to falsify the following proposition: "Life on earth begain from an abiotic condition and developed into its present form via mutation natural selection."

    Second, the human form itself shows signs of intelligent design. One need look no further than Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian man. The essential message of this work is that in humans, reason governs form. This is at odds with the theory of evolution, which teaches simply that form follows function.

    third, the golden ratio occurs in the proportions of a wide spectrum of living creatures, including humans. It also occurs no less than 3 times within a single period of the DNA double helix. It is hard to see why mutation and natural selection would have produced this odd "coincidence", where again in the theory of evolution, form simply follows function.

    There are many other flaws and shortcoming to be found in the theory of evolution, so many that Francis Crick himself doubted that life could have arisen on earth spontaneously. Hence, he wrote a book called Life Itself, where he espouses his theory that life developed on earth by intelligently directed panspermia.

    In sum, the only posts I am seeing are basically closed-minded, knee-jerk reactions that ID is so absurd it's not even worth thinking about. I challenege anyone to come up with a comprehensive theory that does not involve intelligent intervention that explains the origin of the golden ratio in living systems (and not just flower seed or petal arangements -- you have to account for it in DNA as well.), the elegant geometry of the human form that involves the encoding of numbers such as pi, e, and the sqrt(2).
  • Absolutely! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leonbrooks ( 8043 ) <SentByMSBlast-No ...> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:00PM (#12415126) Homepage
    religious dogma has no place in a scientific inquiry
    I vote that we start by outing the religion called Atheism in the debate.

    No fair claiming that the religion of no god equals no religion.

    And no, you don't need to have robes or rosaries to be a religion any more than you need to have television advertising to be a software developer.
  • by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2005 @02:50AM (#12417396) Homepage Journal
    Regarding natural selection:

    Yes, technically he's correct. Natural selection is indeed an eliminator. However he fails to acknowledge random mutation. Random mutation adds diversity so you end up with more variations than you start with. Random mutation can be observed easily in drug-resistant bacteria. The ubiquitous undergraduate biology example of fruit fly genetics also comes to mind.

    Regarding radiometric dating:
    If you shake the hourglass, twirl it, or put it in a rapidly accelerating vehicle, the time it takes the sand to fall will change. But the radioactive atoms used in dating techniques have been subjected to heat, cold, pressure, vacuum, acceleration, and strong chemical reactions to the extent that would be experienced by rocks or magma in the mantle, crust, or surface of the Earth or other planets without any significant change in their decay rate.

    The uncertainties on the half-lives given in the table are all very small. All of the half-lives are known to better than about two percent except for rhenium (5%), lutetium (3%), and beryllium (3%). There is no evidence of any of the half-lives changing over time. In fact, as discussed below, they have been observed to not change at all over hundreds of thousands of years.

    The latter is the kicker. All radioactive decay follows the exact same decay curve with only a change in period (length of time). The proposition that this curve alters substantially after say a hundred thousand years is the equivalent to the proposition that the same physics that has sent probes to other planets and unleashed the destructive force of a split atom is fundamentally wrong. Not "I missed a question or two and got a B+" wrong. I mean it would be "I got a D because it was multiple choice and I got lucky" wrong.

    Regarding life on Earth:

    Just how "recent" are you talking? If you mean "less than 10,000 years," you are sadly mistaken. We've found structures made by humanoids that are at least 500,000 years old.

    There are aquatic fossils found on top of Mount Everest. Unless you also discount plate tectonics wholesale and/or expect that Mount Everest was the product of a few millenia of uplifting, why would aquatic creatures be found there?

    The only reason to believe that life has not existed on the planet for over a billion years is because it conflicts with the Bible. It is not because the evidence is lacking.
  • by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2005 @06:05AM (#12418085)
    Absolutely correct, compare Saudi Arabia [] with Iran [], although Saudi Arabia had their very first elections last week [].
  • In response (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anomaly ( 15035 ) <> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:03AM (#12430475)
    Let us be clear. My religious beliefs are not science. I never have claimed that they are.

    I believe that you are mistaken when you say that the tests I apply to my faith cannot be proven false. What if archeological evidence directly contradicted what is recorded in the Bible? What if the Bible was directly contradictory about substantive points of teaching?

    (Some may be quick to suggest that'the Bible is full of contradictions' but that is an uninformed position. Those supposed contradictions are apparent contradictions, and further study shows them to make sense in context.)

    If you discard the written accounts of Christ as unreliable, you must disregard those about EVERY other figure of antiquity. There are orders of magnitude better evidence for the Bible than any other work of antiquity. Do you believe in George Washington? Why would you suggest that the accounts about his existence are more reliable than those about Christ?

    there has never been a global flood that covered the whole Earth in water
    From a logical perspective, in order for you to say authoritatively that there 'has never been' something, you must have all knowledge about that thing simultanously. What records from the beginning of the earth are you using to assert that point? Also, let me ask you this. What causes fossil formation? Is it not a process where recently deceased creatures are covered with dirt/mud? Is it possible that the fossil record available in the cambrian explosion is a result of a generalized event which a) destroyed a large number of creatures, and b) covered them with watery mud?

Loose bits sink chips.