Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Speaker: Evolution not open to debate among scientists

Intelligent design is religiously motivated, nonprofit official says

February 1, 2006


The head of the National Center for Science Education said Tuesday there is no debate over evolution - at least not in the realm of science.

"There aren't any alternative scientific theories to evolution," said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the national nonprofit. "If there were any, obviously we'd be teaching them."

Scott spoke Tuesday at Kansas University's Natural History Museum to a crowd of less than 100 teachers, museum staff, and others. The lecture was titled "Teaching Evolution and Avoiding the Minefields."

A conservative majority of the Kansas Board of Education late last year adopted public school science standards, proposed by intelligent design supporters, that enable criticism of evolution.

Intelligent design proponents maintain the theory is based in science. William Dembski, a leading ID proponent, has defined intelligent design as "the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as a result of intelligence."

Scott said Tuesday that intelligent design is a religiously motivated, weak argument that simply is not science.

She outlined what she said were the main arguments and points of the opposition so that the audience could better fight the issue.

"Intelligent design is merely a subset of creation science," Scott said. "I think it's safe to say that intelligent design descended from its biological ancestor as a result of environmental pressures."

Intelligent design proponent William Harris, who did not attend Tuesday's event, said creationism often is connected to intelligent design, although it shouldn't be.

"By lumping them together, it's the easiest way to defeat it," he said.

Scott said evolution is often painted as a theory in crisis, but it is not in crisis in mainstream science. For one thing, she said, the number of scientists who accept evolution far outweighs the number who reject it.

"For every Ph.D., there is not an equal and opposite Ph.D.," she said.

Harris said Scott's statement that evolution isn't a theory in crisis is her opinion.

"It all depends on what you mean by evolution," he said. "The term evolution is extremely slippery and means many, many things. : Certainly parts of the theory are not in question at all, and some points are."

Scott said intelligent design proponents often emphasize concepts that science has yet to explain.

"There's always going to be something we haven't explained," she said.

While it may be easy to shy away from teaching evolution in schools and museums, Scott said, that is the wrong thing to do.

"If you don't understand evolution, you don't understand biology," she said.

Kathy McVey, a KU student studying to be a biology teacher, said she plans to teach evolution and not shy from the controversial subject.

"Evolution is a huge underlying theme of biology, and you can't leave it out," she said.

Heather Keeler, who teaches biology to sophomores at Olathe South High School, said changes to the science curriculum wouldn't alter the way she teaches.

"I don't feel comfortable with changing the definition of science," she said.


KWCoyote 12 years, 2 months ago

It's worthwhile for scientists to engage the public in this issue and confront the Christian con artists. There's a PR battle going on that affects publicly supported education and research. It would be appropriate for scientists to challenge religious people on their own territory of religion. Religion is enormously vulnerable to criticism on many grounds including philosophic reasonableness, factual/historical accuracy, benefits to followers and benefits to society. The scholarly liberal Christians who study higher criticism, demythologize the Bible and search for the historical Jesus can't be heard in the debate on evolution versus religion.

I found that one after another of the claims of Christianity proved false. The one good thing that should arise from Christianity, concern for one's fellow humans, is so downplayed by fundies that you scarcely see it. Christian nuts prove their intellectual dishonesty repeatedly, along with confusing imposing their will on others with concern for others.

Intelligent design, like creation science before it, is bad Christian theology. Conservative Christianity requires a hocus-pocus PERFECT creation in order to have the Fall From Grace of Adam and Eve which requires a Son-of-God Savior. Without a perfect creation, there can be no fall from grace and NO NEED FOR A SAVIOR. Intelligent design does not claim to produce the perfect creation that's the prerequisite for Jesus the Savior and Redeemer who sacrificed his life for our sins. For that reason, intelligent design is totally inadequate for shoring up conservative Christian theology.

The only real purpose of intelligent design is to try to bolster belief in God. Why? The 9-11 terrorists believed in God. The Palestinian suicide bombers believe in God. Eric Rudolph believes in God. Terry McVeigh believed in God. The priests who molest boys believe in God. The slave owners of the antebellum South believed in God. What good does it do to believe in God?

You don't need to believe in God to care about others. But countless people who believe in God and go to church, temple or mosque don't care enough about their fellow people to work for peace, help the needy adequately out of their own pockets OR THROUGH TAX-FUNDED GOVERNMENT SOCIAL SERVICES, try to assure that future will have adequate resources and a clean environment, etc.

Religion does not do the job of making life better for all. It's only a drug to make people feel better than their unchurched neighbors and provide a variety of ways in which to feel morally superior (by condemning and outlawing others, for example). Marx was right. Religion is the opiate of the working class.

If the rightwing morons would actually try to HEED their lord and savior and care for those in need instead of fighting science and trying to impose on others the folklore that comes with their religious tradition, they wouldn't be such smoking-in-hell hypocrites.

kung_pao_chicken 12 years, 2 months ago

KWCoyote, it sounds like your opinion is that Christians-religious people-rightwing morons should not engage in debate about any public issues and focus solely on "concerns for one's fellow humans." I'm always intrigued when folks who consider themselves to be "tolerant" attempt to shout down Christians who voice a different point of view. So much for the marketplace of ideas.

I did a quick internet search this morning and found a list of noted scientists who dispute Darwin's theory. Go to this URL:

bendaddy 12 years, 2 months ago

coyote makes an emotionally charged response to an analytical issue.

Stalin didn't believe in God, Hitler didn't believe in God, Chaiman Mao didn't believe in God, so athiests must all be murderers and loonies.

If the gaping holes in evolution were filled, it wouldn't shake my belief in God. However, the wider the voids grow as we learn more about molecular biology, the more "macro" evolution has to answer for. . .

hobb2264 12 years, 2 months ago

"What good does it do to believe in God?"

Good question...that is why belief in God is not enough. As Jesus said, "Even the demons believe." Faith is much more important because faith actually requires us to work to understand God and realize that we do not have all of the answers. Out of a true faith comes the works that you call "caring for others".

Unfortunately, Christians are put under an unfair microscope by people like you in our society. Anytime a person commits a heinous act in the name of "god", you say it is just another example of how all rightwing Christians are hypocrites. Have you ever taken the chance to notice how many good things are being done by Christians and other people of faith? Better yet, have you taken the time to help out the many Christian based volunteer services in this city and put your money where your mouth is?

Also, how is ID / creationism bad Christian theology? To say that God created the universe and all things in it is one of the core beliefs of Christianity. I will agree that ID / creationism is bad science, but to say that it is bad theology is silly.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Oh for Pete's sake.

The thread is three posts in and you've already brought in Hitler, Stalin, AND Mao?

You lose at the Internet, sweetcheeks. Google "Godwin's Law" and come back when you're ready to have an actual discussion.

On topic, I'd like to point out this statement:

" 'I think it's safe to say that intelligent design descended from its biological ancestor as a result of environmental pressures.' "

That, my friends, is what happens when biologists try to make with the funny.

ID belongs in a church or a philosophy classroom, not a science classroom. Evolution doesn't belong in church. Teach both, if you like, just not in the same context.

My prediction right now is that very few if any minds will change in this conversation.

BrianR 12 years, 2 months ago

The 9-11 terrorists, the Palestinian suicide bombers, Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, (maybe Terry, but we're not sure), priests who molest boys, slave owners, Hitler, Stalin, Mao all wore shoes too. Hmmmmm. Pretty suspicious, you might be on to something.

gr 12 years, 2 months ago

Please show that "evolution" (as what is intended by the word) is a science. No bait and switch of definitions.

You seem to depart from the "norm" of life evolving from from nothing, so maybe start with your definition of "evolution". If you go strictly with "documentation of change", I don't think Intelligent Design conflicts with it. Not sure what "documentation of change" implies, though.

dex 12 years, 2 months ago

any subject that "isn't open for debate" isn't science. too bad the "free thinkers" in kansas are trying to preach their educated guesses as gospel to the students.

dex 12 years, 2 months ago

personal attacks don't help to make anyone's point.

in fact, the sub-statement "isn't open for debate" impedes scientific progress.

central to the scientific method is the act of forming a hypothesis and testing that hypothesis. granted, evolution on a small time scale has been verified in the lab, time and time again. just how the galilean velocity addition rule in physics had been verified time and time again. but the galilean velocity addition rule is wrong! it doesn't work for speeds near the speed of light.

now, has the hypothesis "humans evolved over millions of years from self-replicating amino acids" ever been tested in the lab? no. we've gathered evidence, so a jury might find "beyond a reasonable doubt" that evolution is the way to go. but a jury that could actively ask questions and fiddle with the knobs and such could very well arrive at a different answer. we just don't know.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Dex, please note that "isn't open to debate" is what the LJW says, and does NOT appear anywhere in the article attributed to anyone with a scientific background. Don't use crappy headline writing to accuse scientists of something they do not in fact say.

There's plenty of debate over evolution. It's a vibrant and dynamic field of study, and apparently only the LJW thinks it's a done deal. None of us with degrees in actual scientific fields particularly think so.

Now, the speaker did say that there are no alternative scientific theories, which is true or not, depending on the criteria laid out for 'science'. ID doesn't get to be scientifically credible until it produces, well, some scientific credibility.

Changing the standards for accepted science doesn't give you a thousandth of the credibility that one, single, solitary peer-reviewed study published in a reputable journal (the sort of journal that, say, MIT or even KU would consider 'published' enough to put or keep you on a tenure track) would. Where is that study? Where is a single critical point for ID based entirely in peer-reviewed studies? Where is anyone who can debate and defend ID without ultimately being pushed to bring in the Bible as evidence? I've debated it forty or fifty times in the last year, and finally, at the last, everyone comes back to that book, which has been established as a historical reference, but not as a scientific one.

Bring me the head of a peer-reviewed publication on a silver platter, and then we can talk about credibility and scientific stability. Until some credibility is established (you know, like studies written by people with graduate degrees in actual science from colleges and universities recognized for their science programs, instead of someone with a Master's in Theology and a Doctorate of Creation Science from a college that doesn't even show up in Barron's?), ID proponents are just another set of fringers with a religious agenda, and they won't be taken seriously in the scientific community.

Wendt, you're getting hot under the collar again. You're not helping the cause when you do that. You know that, right?

fossilhunter 12 years, 2 months ago

I just taught an evolution class to 50 8th graders today. They were thoughtful, asked good questions and learned. It was a beautiful thing.

compmd 12 years, 2 months ago

i'm reposting this because I think I need to.

We have a finite number of stable elements, and there is obviously a finite quantity of these on earth. Of these finite elements, only a finite number of compounds can be formed. The possible ambient temperatures and atmospherics pressures on earth are bounded. It has been shown that energy is defined by discrete quanta. So, since all we have are finite sets then statistically there MUST exist a chance that a cell can be made randomly on earth. Also, this fact means that a cell can be artificially made. I couldn't come in here and say this and only back it up with science, because there are enough people that don't really believe in science. Is anyone here going to challenge mathematics too? If anyone here does not believe what I have shown here, I can tell you what math, physics, and chemistry courses the university offers that can help you understand this.

just because something has not been done does not mean it cannot be done.

KWCoyote 12 years, 2 months ago

I explained very clearly how ID and similar notions don't support conservative Christianity. If religious responders don't understand that, they don't understand the religion they give lip service to. If ID were somehow proven to be true, it would falsify Christianity and support Judaism and Islam.

Religion needs to be attacked on its own turf of theological claims and reasoning. If this were properly done, religion would be laughed off the world stage. Scientists should stop being so polite and gracious to people of misinformed faith.

Scientists in biology or any other field cannot assume that a mysterious Designer does magic tricks now and then, and that's the explanation for things they don't presently understand. Scientists know that gaps in understanding are closed by better understanding, not by the old joke of saying "and then a miracle occurs."

Besides, who designed the Designer?

dex 12 years, 2 months ago

badger: is the theory of evolution a scientific theory? where i mean "evolution" to mean, roughly, that "humans and all life on earth evolved over millions of years from self-replicating amino acids." i grant that it's plausible, if not downright probable, but still falls short of "science" on the basis that a proper test of the theory is impossible. parts of the theory are testable, and perhaps the parts are what should be taught. is a "science" curriculum meant to be a forum to list the current scientific theories? is it meant to teach the scientific method? hopefully both, but i don't see how one could simultaneously teach evolotion (as defined above) as science and do justice to the scientific method.

peer-reviewed or not, there're a lot of published papers even in fields that could be considered as "traditional" science (such as phsyics) but the claims made in those papers really aren't scientific (string theory is a big one) because of the lack of any possible ability to test the theory in whole.

biologists, mostly the popular ones but many professional "scientists" too, do a diservice to education when they wave around words like "fact" and "no debate" because many people who although may not be trained in critical thinking, can still tell that the evidence presented by biologists doesn't quite support their claims to the level of "fact." sort of like how i don't know anything about interior decorating or art, but i do know a disaster on one those "trading spaces" home remodelling shows when i see one, although i might not be able to articulate exactly what it is that makes a remodeling job "ugly."

Jamesaust 12 years, 2 months ago

Look, evolutionary change is the mechanism by which life (all life) on the planet came to be what is observed today. ID does not question that (a) it is a scientific theory - despite some of the silly statements made here - or that (b) it is accepted by the scientific community.

ID does claim, however, that ID presents a competing theory that does explain life.

This is false.

Upon examination, ID does not posit any scientific theory but is merely criticisms of evolutionary change, and concludes that if ID criticism is correct on each point then there must be a creator for life as we observe it in its present form. Having failed to assert a theory capable of disproof, it cannot be scientific. Needless to say, ID is not accepted by the scientific community as science.

There is no different "point of view" for ID but rather a refusal to adopt any view - just a faith-based conclusion. You can't even see Science from that vantage. Its not a sin to refuse to use one's God-given reason to question one's faith (whatever else it might be); it is a sin, however, to lie about the fact that one refuses to use one's God-given reason and one's motivations for doing so (or more accurately, for not doing so).

hobb2264 12 years, 2 months ago


I'm not sure what you are talking about. How does creationism / ID nullify Christianity yet support Islam and Judaism? All three religions follow essentially the same creation story. Also, whether you choose to believe it or not, ID does not subscribe to any one religion or creator (even though the biggest push for ID has been from Christians).

Since you appear to "know" so much about religion, and especially Christianity, I would have assumed that you knew that God does not need to be designed. God is beyond time, because He created time when He created the universe--the "uncaused first cause" if you will. Is this a scientific argument--no. There is not scientific data to back this up, and there never will be. There is no test that can be run to prove (or disprove) the existence of God--thus, we must rely on faith.

KWCoyote 12 years, 2 months ago

Those who think that ID supports conservative (or orthodox or fundamentalist) Christianity must have missed their catechism classes and a lot of Sunday School. This key paragraph from above (not Above) I will repost for your possible edification.

Quote: Intelligent design, like creation science before it, is bad Christian theology. Conservative Christianity requires a hocus-pocus PERFECT creation in order to have the Fall From Grace of Adam and Eve which requires a Son-of-God Savior. Without a perfect creation, there can be no fall from grace and NO NEED FOR A SAVIOR. Intelligent design does not claim to produce the perfect creation that's the prerequisite for Jesus the Savior and Redeemer who sacrificed his life for our sins. For that reason, intelligent design is totally inadequate for shoring up conservative Christian theology. End quote.

ID, as far as I know, nowhere claims that the process of design led to a perfect sinless world in which Adam and Eve were the only humans and would have lived forever except for falling into sin because of the temptation of the talking walking snake. After partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, according to Genesis, sin and death entered the world. That's why women suffer in childbirth, why men must work for a living, and why snakes crawl legless on their bellies. ID doesn't claim any of this, right?

That fall into sin is the justification for the coming of a savior. ID, like theistic evolution, presents the scenario of a gradual development of life on earth. As far as I know, ID does not propose that life on earth achieved perfection and then Adam and Eve messed it up, plunging all of creation into the darkness of sin . ID therefore denies the need for the services of a divine sinless Savior---unless one wants to argue that the Intelligent Designer made a sinful world and then condemned it because of its sinfulness.

Any conservative Christian supporter of ID who doesn't understand what I just said here must have dropped out of Sunday School in the second grade.

KWCoyote 12 years, 2 months ago

Hobb, you say God does not need to be designed. In other words, you are saying that ID is at its essence a religious belief, not a science.

You ought to be aware that Judaism and Islam don't require a savior to save their followers from their sins. If you knew a little more, you might know that rabbis at the time of Jesus believed that the creation story was only folklore, not literal truth. You might know that since Islam, like Judaism, doesn't believe in original sin and doesn't teach the need for a divine Savior, Muslims as well as Jews are free to believe the claims of science. But conservative Christians, because they must believe in the need for a Savior, therefore must believe in the Fall of Man and the perfect creation from which Adam and Eve fell and are obstructed by their faith from having an open mind about science.

Why do I have to explain elementary Sunday School and catechism lessons to people who thump the Bible and claim to be Christians? Why don't you know this stuff already?

gr 12 years, 2 months ago

wendt: "Take some classes. Lawrence is a town equipped with a University and High Schools. Take advantage of them. I repeat: Why does it fall to me to be the seventh grade science teacher for these evolution blogs? This sh*t is so basic...."

So, I ask you what your definition of evolution is and how it is supported with scientific "facts", you say, take some classes? Then, you try to lift yourself up as it's below your dignity, that you're some great scientist who can't stoop so low, that it's so basic...

If it's so basic, why can't you define it? You sure go on and on about stuff, but never once have I ever seen your definition of evolution (other than your own definition, parting from the majority, of what evolution is not - life spontaneously coming from nothing), nor facts backing them up. I don't think you know. You and I both know you are not a scientist.

Kaiser had a very good post you may have missed. One of the excellent things which may apply to you getting got under the collar follows:

"Simply stated there is no mathematical support for any other argument other then ID when it comes to biology. Also the fossil record conclusively rejects any kind of evolutionary paradigm because there is absolutely no trace of evolution in the fossil record. Ultimately science must win, but evolution is not science, it is faith that no other solution is possible."

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Dex said:

"biologists, mostly the popular ones but many professional "scientists" too, do a diservice to education when they wave around words like "fact" and "no debate" "

Please read the first paragraph of my post again, as you seem to have either missed it, failed to understand it, or ignored it. Allow me to paraphrase for you:

No one in the actual scientific community considers debate on matters evolutionary 'closed', and nowhere in this article is anyone cited as actually having said that. Clear? So, you want to go on trashing scientists on the ignorant and incorrect premise that they're saying there's "no debate", you can, but you're arguing a pretty irrelevant straw man and you just add to the evidence you've already presented that you maybe aren't putting forth a whole lot that's worth being taken seriously.

Your comparison of biology to interior decorating is novel, if naive. The thing is, what is 'hideously ugly' to you might be 'daring and nouveau' to my cousin Jane, 'avant garde' to your friend Joe, and 'kinda boring' to me. Decorating is a purely subjective thing, science much less so.

It's a straw man argument (reviewing your posts, I see you are fond of those; you put up enough straw men to keep all the crows ever hatched out of the state), and a weak one at that, to say that just because evolution doesn't present a unified start-to-finish agreed-upon whole, that the entire premise is not in accordance with the scientific method.

It is a fact that when certain pressures are applied, atoms will arrange themselves with nearby atoms into molecules.

It is a fact that when certain pressures are applied, molecules will combine to form a wide variety of substances.

It is a fact that amino acids are formed by molecules interacting under certain pressures.

These three facts are well-documented. In light of them, we have the hypothesis that atoms floating in a chemical soup might have been subjected to a specific set of pressures and formed amino acids. Though it's not a proven fact that they did, the hypothesis stands on a solid base of proven scientific fact. ID fails to put forth hypotheses based in a solid grounding of proven scientific fact; they always come back to the Bible.

You say "scientists" present things as absolute fact that aren't proven by the scientific method and reproducible experiment. What are these 'absolute facts' you see referred to as such with regard to the origins of life? Where have you seen the evolution-based theory of the origin of life presented by a member of the scientific community as absolute fact and beyond question? Or is that just another straw man?

Evolution is the best scientific explanation based on existing scientific knowledge. Currently, there's not another scientific explanation based in existing scientific knowledge, unless you redefine science. Might as well redefine 'life', so we can add a thousand other explanations while we're at it.

Miyagi_Rules 12 years, 2 months ago


Your basic description of Christianity is certainly correct; however, I think you're trying to make ID say more than it was intended to say. ID simply says that by looking at the natural world we see things that are made up of great complexities that cannot be the result of randomness and therefore may have been designed by some type of an "intelligent agent." Which means that ID is certainly not a scientific theory, but rather a bland theological tautology that fits nicely within a creationist worldview.

You're right in claiming that it does not "prove" the fall of mankind into sin, but why would it need to? The fall of mankind is a moral and spiritual fall that is separate from natural phenomena. As far as I know, ID makes no claim to proving that natural life is morally "perfect," just that it is "complex." Therefore, it is in no way incongruent with Christianity, Islam, or Judaism.

I'm fine with you not wanting it taught as science, I don't want it taught that way either, but it's fine theology.

gr 12 years, 2 months ago

badger: "you know, like studies written by people with graduate degrees in actual science from colleges and universities recognized for their science programs, instead of someone with a Master's in Theology and a Doctorate of Creation Science from a college that doesn't even show up in Barron's?), "

Would a Ph.D. from the University of California be a recognizable college or university who meets your specifications? How about Texas Tech University?

"(the sort of journal that, say, MIT or even KU would consider 'published' enough to put or keep you on a tenure track)"

Is this to mean only MIT or KU give their stamp of approval for an article supporting ID? Not very likely KU would give such approval. Doesn't mean it's not science, though.

hobb2264 12 years, 2 months ago


I'm going to agree with Miyagi. I'm not sure why you are arguing that ID makes any claims about a perfect creation, the fall of man or the need for a Savior. Since your entire argument is based on that point, you will need to explain this further.

devobrun 12 years, 2 months ago

Wendt, said: ""the hypothesis "humans evolved over millions of years from self-replicating amino acids" is your own hypothesis.

We evolutionists would say that no observer was present at the event and therefore we can't say what happened."

S.J. Gould said: "And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered. " Stephen J. Gould, " Evolution as Fact and Theory"; Discover, May 1981

Wendt, I think you are wrong. Gould was there at the event and he can say that it happened.

Tomorrow, I'm calling my venture capital guys to tell them that I have an idea to build humans on the basis of evolution. All I need is some money. This idea is gonna be big. If we start with flatworms and go to apes ...........

This may take a while. But the step from apes to humans is only about 10 million years, trivial in the big picture of things.

The science is right there in front of us. Bada bing baby, we'll be richer than Phil Helmuth.

KWCoyote 12 years, 2 months ago

Miyagi, an explanation of origins of life and humans that doesn't have a "fall of man" element cannot justify the need for a savior, and in fact DENIES the need for a son-of-god savior to die for our sins. That is to say, ID denies what Christianity is all about. That's why it's terrible Christian theology.

If one takes a bland liberal view of human society, doesn't worry about the problematic aspects of a presumably divine Designer making an imperfect sinful world in the first place and then complaining about his own creation, maybe one could make ID fit a liberal sort of theology. But if one is fundamentalist, orthodox or otherwise conservative in Christian theology, one can't make it fit.

If one takes a liberal view of theology to start with, ID isn't even needed. Ever hear of theistic evolution, the idea that as the dice of the atoms rolled and life evolved, God may have nudged a chemical reaction here and there in subtle natural-looking ways?

It isn't the liberals who are pushing ID though, it's the fundamentalists whose core beliefs include the claim of Biblical inerrancy including the creation stories.

dex 12 years, 2 months ago

badger: you and i must be familiar with different sets of biologists. i work with scientists and your "no one in the scientific community" claim is quite strong and in my experience, wrong.

your string of facts that you list doesn't replace the necessity of testing the theory as a whole. the history of physics is filled with examples of extending models farther than the available evidence and with a nearly equal number of theoretical failures in light of new evidence.

i don't know how i'm constructing straw man arguments. mostly i ask questions, guided by intuition that "evolution" as i defined it above is not science because there is no hope that that claim is falsifiable through any concievable test. what predictions does evolution, as i've defined it, make and what are the tests we could construct to test the validity of those predictions?

ID is silly, but that doesn't mean that evolution, as i've defined it, is science.

KWCoyote 12 years, 2 months ago

Miyagi wrote: "As far as I know, ID makes no claim to proving that natural life is morally "perfect," just that it is "complex." Therefore, it is in no way incongruent with Christianity, Islam, or Judaism."

That's precisely why it's incongruent with conservative Christianity. If you don't understand that, you don't understand conservative Christianity and the nature of the opposition to the teaching of evolution.

Miyagi_Rules 12 years, 2 months ago

KWCoyote -

I disagree, an origins of life theory simply needs to explain and provide evidence for the development of life (i.e. how it happened, what were the circumstances, are there any competing alternatives to rule out, etc.), which of course ID cannot do.

However, the standard you're placing on an origins of life theory is that it not only must provide the former but that it also must explain what that lifeform will "do" once it's developed. I don't see why that's necessary.

As far as theistic evolution goes, yes I have heard of it, and it's a nice middle of the road way to balance evolution and religion, but you're right it's not compatible with a biblical account of creation nor does it fit with Darwinian evolution, it's a different "theory" altogether.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

gr asked:

"Would a Ph.D. from the University of California be a recognizable college or university who meets your specifications? How about Texas Tech University?

Is this to mean only MIT or KU give their stamp of approval for an article supporting ID? Not very likely KU would give such approval. Doesn't mean it's not science, though."

Well, that would depend on what said Ph. D. is in and the context of the statement (the context determines the level of scrutiny to which a statement has been subjected).

As to your second question, I'll assume some ignorance of the notion of being 'published' in your field and explain it. Most colleges and universities require their staff to publish studies in peer-reviewed journals and periodicals to meet certain requirements for tenure. It's often referred to as 'publish or perish.' You have to do it to prove that you're still progressing and advancing your field. Schools have criteria by which they determine if a journal is a good enough publication for a paper or study that appears in it to count. These are commonly referred to as 'reputable journals.' I used KU and MIT because I was reasonably sure everyone had heard of those.

So, let's say you get your paper published in Joe-Bob's Journal of the Popular Sciences. You take that to your school, and they likely will tell you that because Joe-Bob's has poor criteria for peer review and a bad reputation, publication in that journal is essentially meaningless. On the other hand, if you get your paper published in Jim-Bob's Journal of Popular Sciences, your school may say to you, "Hey, Jim-Bob's Journal has really tough peer review criteria, and a good reputation in the field. We're sure glad you've decided to stay with the college these X years. Have some tenure!" (Yes, I know. I'm simplifying the process. Life will go on)

The schools don't decide what is science. Your peers decide if your study was properly conducted and your data correctly analyzed. They make sure you didn't just disregard great whacking lumps of data that didn't fit your hypothesis unless there was a real reason (like equipment failure), that you didn't forget to carry the 1, that you didn't mess up the chemical structure of an amino acid in your explanation. If they conclude the study was properly conducted, then it gets published and becomes part of the body of scientific knowledge.

I have yet to see a (why do I feel like I'm repeating myself? Oh, because I'm repeating myself and NO ONE has ever provided the very simple thing I'm asking for) a single study supporting Intelligent Design from someone with a scientific degree from a reputable school that has been peer-reviewed and published in a reputable journal. I ask and I ask, and all I ever get is misdirection and vague leading questions.

So, a Ph.D. from the University of California's not nothin', but without more information I can't say if it's really somethin'.

dex 12 years, 2 months ago

are there that many people here arguing that ID is science? whether evolution, as i've defined it above, is science is probably a more interesting question because evolution is thrown around as in all sorts of articles in peer-reviewed journals, small newspapers, and on various lamposts and bulliten that treat evolution as a default fact.

whithout honestly defining evolution or science there will be no progress in debate. nor will there be any progress if a definition of science is chosen more-or-less solely on the basis that the end result classifies evolution as science but not astrology, ID, creationism or whatever. does a consensus among scientist peers define science? i hope not. otherwise it is difficult to distinguish among the results that i can count on for the purpose of making predictions that may or may not have big consequences if i'm wrong and those results that are merely explanations that fit existing data.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, do please (I'll ask again) provide a reference for some of these claims of 'fact'. It's yet again a straw man to claim that there is this community of scientists out there claiming the evolutionary theory of the origin of life is a fact (I bet you and I do probably know different groups of scientists, dex, but you know what? I bet you still can't produce one the scientists you work for going on record anywhere with the notion that the theory is a proven fact), and then 'discredit evolution' because "It's not a proven fact."

Put up or shut up. Show me anywhere in a verifiable record (not just some yayhoo on a webposting who says, "I'm like totally a scientist and evolution is totally a fact!") like a published document, letter, journal, court testimony, press conference, newspaper article, magazine interview, ANYWHERE that a member of the scientific community (including your vaunted employers) says the theory of evolution is a fact.

Evolution is the best explanation for the set of data we have. It's the only one that stands the test of science. I'll explain my example again for you.

I provided three pieces of data considered to be scientific fact. Based on those three pieces of data, I ventured a hypothesis. My hypothesis stood the test of science because it was entirely based in accepted scientific fact. If I set up the experiment and the data agree with me, it can become fact that when certain chemicals are subjected to certain pressures, there is an X% chance that an amino acid will form. That fact will stand the test of science, and it lends strength to my original hypothesis.

If I couldn't prove that atoms could ever spontaneously become amino acids under anything approaching possible conditions on Earth, then that fact takes away from my hypothesis, and makes it weaker.

Since evolution deals with 'what happened' the closest we can come to proving facts about it is to prove that all facets of the hypothesis are possible. So we prove the amino acid formation. Then we subject the amino acids to testing, and we see if it's fact that under certain pressures, proteins organisms will form, and so on.

ID never stands the test of science, because if you pull out the notion of a 'designer' (not considered part of the accepted body of scientific knowledge), the hypotheses don't stand.

We can, eventually, prove that life could begin from just atom soup. We can never prove that it did without time travel, and I have never met a scientist who says "It's a fact" without prefacing it with, "It's my opinion" or "I believe." I've never met, read, seen, or heard one under any circumstances who says science has completely proven the manner of the origins of life.

So, these scientists of yours, has any one of them ever staked his reputation on stating that the evolutionary explanation for the origin of life is a fact?

Ember 12 years, 2 months ago

Evolution is the sum of it's parts, just like anything else that is living today. Saying the word 'ocean' is much easier than saying 'the combined mass of dihydrogenated oxygen'. We say air, instead of listing off the various components of our atmosphere.

Evolution is listed as a science because each of the founding priciples are true sciences. It is the algamation of all that information gathered into one specific word. Biology and Biochemistry are probably the two leading contributors to evolution.

Teaching it as a science is right. We weren't there for the first biochemical combinations to occur, but that doesn't mean that the rest of it shouldn't be invalidated just because of that.

No one alive saw Rome burn, yet we all, at least I hope all, agree that Rome burned. No one alive witnessed the destruction of Pompeii, but everyone agrees that Mount Vesuvius blew it's top and buried it. The same thing goes for evolution.

Religion, on the other hand, really doesn't have any concrete proof that anything in it ever happened. No one alive has ever seen the stone tablets the Ten Commandments were inscribed on, regardless of who did the inscribing. There isn't enough water on the planet to flood it to the point that everything not on the Ark was underwater. There isn't even evidence that Christ even existed, let alone was crucified. I can understand the nails rusting away, but wood can be preserved very easily, even with very ancient understandings of chemistry and preservation. If mummies can make it 6,000 years without being complete dust, where is the Cross?

This is why only those that have faith accept I.D., or any of it's cousins or ancestor concepts. 75 years ago, we had little or no understanding of DNA. Today, it's a science all on it's own. 75 years from now, the things we can't explain, we'll probably at least have a decent idea about, if not actually understand and teach it as a science of it's own.

Too much emotion is wrapped up in this topic, like several others. Most of the emotion comes from those with a religious viewpoint, regardless of how modest they are about it. But not all of it.

dex 12 years, 2 months ago

badger: scroll up a little bit. devobrun did my homework for me and quoted the legendary s.j. gould, in discover magazine. admittedly discover is not peer reviewed by a long shot, but gould was quite the scientist, eh?

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago

Hey Dex,

I think you misunderstood what SJ Gould said in Devo's post. I guess it is clear what you are trying to say with your last statement.

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry it is NOT clear what you are trying to say in your last post....

usaschools 12 years, 2 months ago

This is not a matter of opinion where everyone is right. Some people are wrong. Both the lack of a testable hypothesis and the history of the 'creation' of ID clearly show that it is not a theory based in science, but rather it is exclusively a faith-based theory. Those who disagree are wrong.

The politically correct notion of acknowledging everyone's beliefs as valid is extremely dangerous if we allow religion to be redefined as science, which it clearly and factually is not.

ID supporters who believe ID is science are wrong. Fact, not opinion.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 2 months ago

More on the Discovery Institute and their Wedge Document. The history of how that secret discovery institute document became public is revealed in this article:

And here is a fact, intelligent design theory has been with us since the early 90s. Since then they have not produced one shred of scientific evidence to support their claims. And IC is the foundation of intelligent design and IC is NOT an accepted scientific theory. IC is BAD philosophy ("golly, I can't figure it out so godditit").

All the intelligent design "theorists" do is gaze out a window and say "yup, god musta done it." and some of you loons eat it up.

There are no intelligent design theory labs, there are no intelligent design scientists, their are no intelligent design experiments going on in the world and there is no intelligent design research being done. The only activity in the intelligent design world is pr and propaganda. Dembski and Behe and Wells write books and make money off of misguided and misinformed dolts. THAT is what intelligent design is. It is a cash cow for a few quacks (Behe and Wells) and Christian opportunists (Dembski), pure and simple.

Show me some ID research going on anywhere in the world. Show me an intelligent design testing facility. Show me an intelligent design scientist, one who tests this theory. You can't because it is all a pipe dream and most of you have been duped.

They have not published one single peer reviewed article (in a legitimate scientice journal). The Discovery Institute claims a pro ID article in Readers Digest as a peer reviewed article. Holy cow man! ID is nothing but philosophy and bad philosophy at that. It is not science and does not belong in science class.

Had some of you monkeys paid attention in science class you'd have figured this out on your own and you wouldn't need me to point it out to you. Shame on you for being so poorly informed and so gullible.

A little skepticism goes a long ways, peeps. Read the article I linked to.

Have any of you been to William the theologian Dembski's intelligent design blog? What a joke:

Old Willy shows where a swami in India thinks ID is science. How cool is that?

glockenspiel 12 years, 2 months ago

Why won't this GO AWAY! Intelligent design is not mandated by the BOE. Evolution, like any sound theory should still be critiqued over and over again. Science doesn't happen without review.

Let it freakin go.

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago


Using creationist terms and ID arguments to criticize evolution is not science. The BOE has changed the definition of science and they are clearly trying to introduce their theism into science education. This issue will not go away.

glockenspiel 12 years, 2 months ago

ok Kodiac, show me where in the standard it says to criticize evolution using creationistic terms and intelligent design.

I'll be the first one to say that creationism (ID) should not be taught in science class. The opposisition to ID in the classroom won when the BOE did not include ID in the science standard. You're supposed to throw a party or something, not whine about how are kids are going to become stupid because they don't have the ablility to make up their own minds about things. This whole evolution debate is the best thing to happen to school children. Because of this BOE thing, evolution has become such an important issue that kids have discussed and debated evolution in schools and are now more educated about evolution. That being said, I'm sick of reading about it. Isn't there another fad we can talk about? What going on in American Idol? Please..something else...

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago


Jack Krebs has already gone through this in fine detail. He has given his website several times in his messages of which I know you were part of the discussion in that blog. I won't go through every single detail again but the BOE has put terms such as irreducible complexity in the standards which are clearly from creationists and ID literature. The standards also portray the cambrian explosion as a sudden beginning of life in meaning a creation event and things like that. What is getting tiring Glockenspiel is listening to you whine about how we cannot let this go and that our objections are meaningless. You either cannot read or you do not choose to go to the sources that we direct you to for further information. If you do not wish to talk about this any further Glock then stop coming here. It is not like you are forced to read these messages and/or forced to get on here on whine about it. If you don't want to discuss this topic, then don't read it. Don't tell others to change the subject if they want to keep talking about it.

gr 12 years, 2 months ago

badger: "Well, that would depend on what said Ph. D. is in and the context of the statement (the context determines the level of scrutiny to which a statement has been subjected)."

"So, a Ph.D. from the University of California's not nothin', but without more information I can't say if it's really somethin'."

Exactly as what I thought you thought. You come out and say, show me a scientist, one from a reputable university, but yet reserve your veto rights if he doesn't say as the way you believe.

"I have yet to see a (why do I feel like I'm repeating myself? Oh, because I'm repeating myself and NO ONE has ever provided the very simple thing I'm asking for) a single study supporting Intelligent Design from someone with a scientific degree from a reputable school that has been peer-reviewed and published in a reputable journal. I ask and I ask, and all I ever get is misdirection and vague leading questions."

I don't recall you asking for such before, if more than once. Others have. But, is there any doubt why no one has bothered? You qualify it, change your specifications on the fly, and when what you really want is an atheist proving God exists. It not probable, but more probable than life evolving to higher complexity.

By the way, I've posted several links "supporting Intelligent Design" from non-creation peer-reviewed journals. Maybe the key to your request is, "single study" - there are multiple ones.

"ID never stands the test of science, because if you pull out the notion of a 'designer' (not considered part of the accepted body of scientific knowledge), the hypotheses don't stand"

As I've asked others before, is Archeology science?

If one comes across an arrowhead, does not one immediately consider it was designed and had a designer? No one calls into question, why would someone design something that can kill, or why would someone make chipped and fractured edges. They don't consider the quality of the design to determine if it was designed.

Just like finding a monolith on the moon. Both the characters and the viewers of the movie, 2001, knew an intelligence designed it. The probability of the pattern of the object is too low for it to be a random occurrence. It had to be designed by a designer.

The same with an arrowhead.

The same with life with its DNA and RNA interactions to produce a cell with that information encoded in every cell. There are many dependent interactions of cellular processes besides ecological dependent interactions to conclude randomness caused it.

gr 12 years, 2 months ago


"You are aware that Intelligent Design / Creationism has no evidence to support it and have said as much in previous postings.

You have also declared that the goal of bringing Intelligent Design / Creationism into public awareness is to lead people to Christ.

People can review your posts and confirm this charge."

I have "declared" no such thing. I have not even implied it. You are grouping me with the fringes. I grouped you with what most say about life spontaneously coming from nothing and after you corrected me on it, I have refrained.

Intelligent design is not about God, but about recognizing design much the same way one recognizes an arrowhead is designed. The supporters may believe in God. However, they're willing to say the evidence doesn't prove God anymore than martians. Evolutionists believe life evolves to higher complexity. They try to bring God into the discussion, and since they don't believe in God, they say it's impossible to be designed. They are even unwilling to substantiate that life is not designed by specifying what design would require. If something is not designed, then there must be some requirements it fails to meet.

I never said I made you hot under the collar. I only commented on your state you agreed with another on.

Badger is a different person from you and may not agree with you. He made the statement. Let him answer it. Do you agree with his statement?

Crazyhorse 12 years, 2 months ago

The thing I find unfortunate about this whole debate is the fact that it owes its origins to what is essentially a faulty premise: belief in a god, gods or God is essential for moral behavior. The fact that there are individuals of widely varying backgrounds that believe or don't believe in such things and yet regardless of this behave morally is indicative, as Einstein said, that "morality is strictly a human affair". It's part of what we are. The people at the Discovery Institute and their followers are misguided, to say the least,if they actually believe that displacing Darwinism and undermininig scientific materialism will result in "cultural renewal" (assuming they are sincere in their stated intentions). It seems to me that the overall decline of our culture (if that actually is the case -- I'm not so sure about that in light of the more "moral" behavior of past generations) has a lot more to do with a belief in the sanctity of unfettered markets and an excessive emphasis on personal gain regardless of social cost (ironically, a position embraced in more couched terms by many conservative Christians, including those at the DI).

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago

uh gr,

Here is your statement from a previous message...

"What scientific facts or data do you base your belief system on? I base mine on the Bible. It is supported by science."

I think that pretty much declares and implies where you are coming from.

gr 12 years, 2 months ago

And, Kodiac, I guess the absence of statement is where you are coming from?

LarryFarma 12 years, 2 months ago

It is a myth that evolution theory is "testable," because macroevolution in progress cannot be directly observed. The only predictions that evolution theory can make in regard to macroevolution are predictions of likely future finds of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution --- for example, the fossil record is used to make predictions of likely future finds of "missing link" fossils.

And though there may be circumstantial evidence for macroevolution, there is no evidence that random mutation and natural selection were the sole driving forces behind macroevolution, and there is much evidence and reasoning (including irreducible complexity) that point to the contrary.

Also, many people do not understand that irreducible complexity is not and is not intended to be a scientific explanation for the origin of species -- IC is just a criticism of the Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian) theory that all species evolved solely by means of random mutation and natural selection.

fossilhunter 12 years, 2 months ago

Hey Wendt - Missouri now has a law in the works that makes Kansas look like a walk in the Jurassic Park. Check this out:

fossilhunter 12 years, 2 months ago

Wendt - If you get to the full version of the bill, it gets more interesting

You'll see that for every minute spent teaching evolution, you must spend at least the same amount of time teaching other possible theories or poking holes in evolution. Also, the state assessments must also spend equal time to criticisms of evolution as given to testing evolution.

LarryFarma 12 years, 2 months ago

Posted by wendt on February 3, 2006 at 8:20 a.m.

****To LarryFarma:

Irreducible complexity is an oxymoron. That should give you an indication as to it's validity as an explanation for anything.

There are many examples of theories regarding intermediate "links" that have proved to be correct with discovery of remains. Would you accept this as an example of "testability"?*

How is "irreducible complexity" an oxymoron? I don't get it.

As I said, predictions of finds of "missing links" are just predictions of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution.

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago

Hey Larry,

You need to go read up on design and information theory. Something that is irreducible is not considered to be complex. Another words, it is in its simplest form. You can't reduce it to a simpler form so it isn't complex. At least those are the formal definitions given by information theory and design. Complexity is reducible hence the reason why it is complex. I think that what Wendt is referring to.

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago

Also complexity is not defined the way the ID crowd (such as Dembski and Behe) use it. ID proponents are actually talking about funtionality not complexity.

Crazyhorse 12 years, 2 months ago

There is not one cited instance of IC (the clotting cascade, bacterial flagella etc.) cited by the neo-creationists that cannot be explained by previously characterized mechanisms of genetic change. The fact that people are still trying to use it as a means to discredit evolution really speaks to their failure, intentionally or unintentionally, to make themselves aware of counter-arguments to their ideas.

Crazyhorse 12 years, 2 months ago

Also, the hallmark of functional design is NOT complexity, but rather simplicity. The neo-creationists need to get to work justifying the existence of all kinds of uneccesary junk that does not appear to enhance the overall efficiency of many organisms (ex. heterochromatin) or serve any obviously useful purpose (nipples on men) before I'll be convinced that any of this stuff was consciously designed.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 2 months ago

Demsbki and Philip Johnson both believe in the Bible codes. What total rubbish. Will they try and have that "controversy" taught in public schools as well?

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