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Nobel Laureates urge rejection of intelligent design

September 15, 2005


— A group of 38 Nobel Laureates headed by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel have asked the Kansas State Board of Education to reject science standards that criticize evolution.

In a letter to the board released today, the group from several countries said Darwinian evolution is the foundation of biology.

" ... its indispensable role has been further strengthened by the capacity to study DNA," the group wrote. (See entire letter.)

The conservative majority on the State Board of Education have accepted science standards that were proposed by proponents of intelligent design, which holds that the complexities of life point toward evidence of a master planner. A final vote on the standards is expected in October or November.

The Nobel winners, however, said intelligent design cannot be tested as a scientific theory "because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent."

The Nobel winners also said science and faith are not mutually exclusive.

The signers of the letter from the New York-based Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity includes leading physicists, chemists and medical experts. Wiesel earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Friday's Journal-World.

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Brian Sandefur 12 years, 4 months ago

Yet another clear misunderstanding of what ID really is. It is not based on a belief in anything, and in fact doesn't require belief in anything. It is an inference drawn from biological data.

Also, how in the world has evolution's "indispensable role been strentgthened by the capacity to study DNA?"

DEKesler 6 years, 7 months ago

You are either ignorant or a liar. The Intelligent Design movement was not born in a laboratory filled with scientists honestly seeking to understand some enigma raised by the biological data. Rather, it is demonstrably a political movement created by theists who have wrongly concluded that the reality of biological Evolution is incompatible with their religious belief. A casual bit of research into the history will reveal the truth of my statements.

Regardless, there is not one single item of empirical evidence to support the teleological argument. Pretending it is science and calling it creationism or intelligent design does not help.

The study of DNA has allowed biologist to confirm and expand upon genetic relationship that were suspect. For example, it is not clear that the Fox is more closely related to the cat. Likewise, we now know that the bonobo chimp is the closest genetic relative to humans.

You can learn all about DNA and evolution with realtive ease. Don't be so lazy.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder when a poster replies six years after the original comment. Do you really believe the original poster will read your reply. I know I don't go back even a week. Oh well, that's just me. Good luck with your conversation. Continue.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

How can 38 Nobel Laureates be wrong? I hope the conservative monkeys on the Board of Education finally realize that religion does not belong in classrooms. It belongs in Mosques, Synagogues, Churches, etc.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 4 months ago

Nobel Laureates can be wrong, they can be just as political as anyone. Look at President Clinton. Not saying I agree with ID, but I think too much stock is taken into what Nobel Laureates say.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 4 months ago

How can 38 Nobel Laureates be wrong? Are you serious?

Do you know anyting about ID or the standards being proposed? Or are you just knee-jerk reacting without being informed?

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 4 months ago

Interestingly, Phil Skell, a member of the National Academy of Sciences (no small accomplishment) has recently written a paper about the place Darwinian evolution actually holds in biological discovery. It is available online at The Scientist. He writes:

"My own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming's discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin's theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.

I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin's theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss."

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

Just the typical redneck Kansan response....

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

not a troll....just height and hair challenged. ;o)

mikeyj 12 years, 4 months ago

Most scientists were founded by Christians (not to say Christianity and ID are married) who believed in Intelligent Design: Sir Francis Bacon (father of science), William of Occam, Leonardo da Vinci, Andreas Vesalius, Gregor Mendel, Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and George Washington Carver.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

good point mikeyj....I'm not saying that Christianity or any other religion cannot coexist with science. What I'm saying is that those scientists you mentioned did not at all integrate Intelligent Design into their works. They kept them separate.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 4 months ago

No one in ID integrates their religion into their work eight b_asinbeer. Hell some of them (leading the movement) aren't even "religious" (case in point is David Berlinski - agnostic).

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

Yes, they do integrate religion into science....ID is a religious conception. My biggest concern is that not everyone believes in ID (ie. christianity)....there are many religions who would think that teaching their view of science would be better than ID or any other way you look at science. Answer me this, would we be doing those people justice?

letsgetwise 12 years, 4 months ago

b_asinbeer--my biggest concern is that not everyone believes in ID (ie.christiianity)...etc...

You are correct. Not everyone believes we evolved either. So...if what I believes offends someone, and what someone else believes offends me...where does that leave us? Are we not all allowed to voice objections to each other's "theory"? Should evidence that proves something in any theory is incorrect not be allowed to be presented?

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

I understand what you are trying to say. But the thing with science is that it's full of theories and laws. You run tests that try to prove those theories. The good part about science is that the results have to be reproducible. If it is not reproducible, then the validity of the scientists' claims can be questioned. Same with far, majority of the research has shown that it does exist and guides a lot of things. We were also taught in primary school, as well as college courses, that science is something that is tested and theories can be made and dismissed. I don't remember ever having a teacher drill that certain things are facts...they presented us with evidence, and made conclusions about it.

Unfortunately, that cannot be done in religion as you may know. You cannot run tests if so and so exists or happened. That's why religion is about faith. You cannot (from my understanding and unless someone here proves me wrong) test intellectual design. I think that may be one of the bigger problems opponents of ID may find

MyName 12 years, 4 months ago

"Yet another clear misunderstanding of what ID really is. It is not based on a belief in anything, and in fact doesn't require belief in anything. It is an inference drawn from biological data."

ID is no such thing. It's not even a true inference as it offers no way to prove or disprove its ideas. ID is simply a statement that "Since X can't have happened because of evolution, then it follows that it happened through Y, instead".

This is the logical equivalent of saying that "because the sky cannot be blue, than I've proven unequivically that it must be green", which is fallacious in itself. Moreover, ID's method of "proving" that the sky must be green is not to offer competing pictures showing that the sky is green, but rather to claim that the pictures offered up by evolution, which show the sky being blue, are poorly developed.

Until ID begins to offer some hard evidence of a designer, or at least a framework to prove or disprove the existance of god, it's merely a religious tool masqerading as a scientific theory.

Cait McKnelly 12 years, 4 months ago

My daughter and I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday. "Kansas, where evolution has been outlawed and the monkeys are in charge." Let's hope those monkeys can evolve to reading something other then a black gold stamped book.

MyName 12 years, 4 months ago

I find it troubling too because it shows that many people in this state are unwilling to look at whether or not Intelligent Design is good science, and are just convinced that, because ID sounds scientific, it must be good enough to be taught in school.

And this is the kind of education system that the conservative board members apparently want us to have.

calvin 12 years, 4 months ago

It is so funny to me to read all of the posts of those of you who are so upset that intelligent design (which is not creationism, there is no such thing as creationism) be considered as a theory, but have no information to back up your support of the theory of evolution. Yes I am a Christian, but I would also agree that our state board of education is pretty much a useless board. Intelligent design is a theory just as valid as the theory of evolution, because just like ID there is no way to prove evolution. There are many examples found in nature that point to an intelligent designer. If you have the capacity to read something that challenges your belief read "Collapse of Evolution" by Scott Huse.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

Before intelligent design it was creationism. What will it be next year? This group of whatevers must have hired the Wal-Mart marketing team so that next year it may be called....? Sort of reminds me of Blue Sky Initiative or taxpayers bill of rights. When these kinds of titles begin surfacing it's time to look at all of the fine print only to discover it's a lot of crap until proven otherwise.

If Connie Morris, Kay O'Connor of Olathe, Pat Robertson,George W. Bush and Jerry Falwell are calling it science it's time to say no. I do not think of these folks as science scholars. Hell Connie Morris cannot add or subtract but she does know about fraud. The rest of the crew have some history of brilliant statements themselves.

MoreThanUltimate 12 years, 4 months ago

38 Nobel Laureates AND Nearly 100 Science Organizations (Statistic from National Science Foundation) see:

There is no debate among scientists, rather only a debate created by right wing pseudo-scientists that has NO scientific basis. ID is only an attempt to prove a non-scientific theory with negatives by finding any hole in evolution theory and attacking it. Yeah, that's my idea of science...NOT!

Hmmmm, who should I believe?

ID isn't supported by any CREDIBLE scientist. Those scientists that support ID are not recognized by the scientific community. In fact try and find any debate among credible scientists from any CREDIBLE science organization that supports ID and you might have a debate. The fact and point is THERE IS NO DEBATE. ID is not a science. ID theory is as scientific as phrenology and we all know how accepted phrenology is.

ID is for small minds that can't or won't grasp that the bible is nothing more than a collection of stories. Maybe the story of the creation of earth and man was an overly simplistic view that early man at that time could grasp. Could you imagine telling man at that time the knowledge we have now of the world around us?

Here is an idea... prove G-d exists first, then prove that ID is a valid scientific theory with scientific method.

Good luck!

calvin 12 years, 4 months ago

Merrill, I agree with you that none of the people you mentioned are science scholars. I don't think any of them claim to be (well, they might, they are a pretty stupid group) I also think that when you judge someone it does not help when you use the worst examples, as the group you listed are. My point was just to give the other side a fair shake. There is no more evidence that evolution should be shoved down students throats as truth then ID.

calvin 12 years, 4 months ago

More than, you apparently are not a member of the scientific community or you would know that it actually is a debate once you get outside of the void known as Kansas. In my graduate work at the University of Idaho in biology it was a common subject that was brought up, and many scientists on both sides of the aisle were brought in. And most of the scientists who supported evolution openly admitted that they had no more proof for their beliefs than people on the ID side had. And this wasn't twenty years ago, it was last year.

MoreThanUltimate 12 years, 4 months ago

Calvin, There may be a debate between those "scientists" that believe ID and scientists that do not. There is as I said no debate among those scientists that study evolution as to the validity of ID in any aspect. Sure evolution does not explain everything, nor is there proof beyond doubt. However, evolution best explains and best fits what we see in the world around us. ID does not even begin to explain anything, but does try to attack solid evolution theory with smoke and mirrors. Yes, I have been outside Kansas and I have actually attended two of the debates between both camps. If you listen and understand what is being said, IDers twist and omit scientific facts to prove their own theory. That is not science and that is one MAJOR problem of many with ID. So please don't infer that my knowledge is limited to "Kansas". I'm not even from Kansas... Thank G-d! :)

grubesteak 12 years, 4 months ago

Man I wish I was in school again. I'm a believer and don't have an opinion one way or the other on ID being taught in schools. However, I really could have used that whole "religion doesn't belong in schools" bit all the time and gotten myself out of a lot of history homework. That would have been sweet.

calvin 12 years, 4 months ago

More than U, you may not agree with me and I may not agree with you about the origins of life. We can disagree on that. But we both agree that its good not to be from Kansas!

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

As the bumper stickers say..."What's Next? Gravity?"

mustardseed 12 years, 4 months ago

Whats Next is Intelligent weather. Didn't anyone notice that Katrina destroyed New Orleans just days before the "Southern Decadence" festival? This is where gays, lesbians, and associates get together for a party. It is sanctioned by the New Orleans city government.
Katrina, a category 5 storm was designated a "500 year" storm. Why then did it happen just days before Southern Decadence? The chances are too small to leave to chaos, this was definitely INTELLIGENT WEATHER! Oh thank God, the Great One is reaking havoc against sinners - also hospitals, old age homes, poor people, the infirmed and animals.

Epicman 12 years, 4 months ago

This entire posting illustrates exactly how these debates get started in the first place. Mistranslation leads to misconception leads to controversy leads to an everlasting circular debate. Evolutionists believe they can browbeat Creationists into their way of thinking by burying them in technical jargon. Has this worked? For a fresh new take on how to educate others and possibly how to bring the sides together in agreement see another site at where this author/scientist has presented a way to put this useless debate to bed once and for all.

For years this debate has taken the same old tired form that goes absolutely nowhere but to continued activism based upon misconceptions. In case you are wondering - I am a scientist (Biologist) and a Christian who was once caught in the middle of this debate.

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