back to article UK Gov boots intelligent design back into 'religious' margins

The government has announced that it will publish guidance for schools on how creationism and intelligent design relate to science teaching, and has reiterated that it sees no place for either on the science curriculum. It has also defined "Intelligent Design", the idea that life is too complex to have arisen without the …

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  1. Stuart

    Good

    Keep this junk out of the science class rooms.

    Science is about things that can be proven, religion is dubious at best and down right silly at worst.

  2. Adam

    Some sense from Government

    A good, clear decision from the Government.

    Now they should take it to the next logical step, and remove religious schools from the state system. State funds should not be used to promote one religion over another. If parents want that, they can pay for it themselves in a private school.

  3. Dan Cooke

    V!

    hurray! one small victory for intelligence over ignorance.

  4. Chris

    About time

    Seriously, about time. Now we just need Bush to get out of office so the US can follow suit and we won't be poisoning the minds of our youth with this propaganda BS. There is plenty of other propaganda BS to fill their minds with!

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Bonfire of the Vanities

    Methinks Mr Rocks is being decidedly disingenuous whenever he says ..."He wrote: "Creationism & Intelligent design are...being used disingenuously to portray science & the theory or evolution as being in crisis when they are not..." ...unless he is referring of course to evolutionary theorists and scientists painting the picture to protect their integrity/credibility/tenures/reputations.

    They can be the most arrogant and closed-minded/one track minded of Pushy Bullying Opinion.

    And whether 'tis Scientfic or Religious or Technological or Scientological or whatever, the red lines are only being drawn by the old systems of thought because to admit to the possibility of another would be tantamount to an admission that what was believed before was a fraud ..... which may very well be deliberately perpetrated as a Global Conspiracy which could warrant it being thought of as a Masterful/Criminal Exercise, depending upon your own subjective reasoning either in support and acknowledgment of such a Scam as being probable and necessary or you could waste your time in pursuing and highlighting the greed and injustice such a See has condoned/manufactured.

    In either case, presently IT is not Fit for Universal Purpose ...which means that IT is missing a Global Opportunity.

  6. John Colby

    Some sense at last?

    Praise be that we are not following America's lead on this one.

  7. Dillon Pyron

    That's intelligent?

    A few years ago, my anatomy and physiology prof said "take the appendix. That's intelligent?"

    And now we have the "Creation Museum". Complete with man and raptor, living in harmony. I'm waiting for the raptor to gut the man.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hurrah!

    And huzzah!

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Relieved, but not reassured

    Nice to know that the Brits still have it when it comes to facing facts, but as long as the backwaters of southern USA harbor a strong level of scientific talibanism, I think that creationism will continue to be a nuisance in many a school curriculum discussion.

    The only danger to civilisation is ignorance, the only cure is proper education. We need to educate better, and more, before the idiots take complete control.

  10. Paul F

    More than half of Americans are Creationists

    So getting Bush out of office won't really help the US. I figure Science (and by extension, critical thinking) is something of a lost cause here in the States. *sigh*

    Oh, and I nominate the following as Best Run-On Sentence Ever.

    "And whether 'tis Scientfic or Religious or Technological or Scientological or whatever, the red lines are only being drawn by the old systems of thought because to admit to the possibility of another would be tantamount to an admission that what was believed before was a fraud ..... which may very well be deliberately perpetrated as a Global Conspiracy which could warrant it being thought of as a Masterful/Criminal Exercise, depending upon your own subjective reasoning either in support and acknowledgment of such a Scam as being probable and necessary or you could waste your time in pursuing and highlighting the greed and injustice such a See has condoned/manufactured."

    Do I hear the motion seconded?

  11. Karl Lattimer

    Not to give credence too but...

    I'm pretty chuffed that this has happened, its not a science however I have an interesting point to make about creationism and intelligent design.

    It seems to me that religious education (a lesson from which I was excluded in school) teaches more about the witch doctoring aspects of religion rather than the real theology behind the big questions. It seems more to do with religious tolerance than education.

    For instance, the main argument of most religions and with intelligent design is that God or some (intelligent) creator exists. This argument should be carried into the classroom, children should be given some information on the subject and debate the point in RELIGIOUS EDUCATION.

    I do subscribe to the belief that the universe is too complex to have just happened, but I don't believe that some deity has done it all, much in the same way as I think that just because some watery tart throws a septa at you doesn't mean you're the king of england.

    In all seriousness the points that should be raised in RE are as follows;

    Was the universe created by an intelligent being, or was it just that complexity grew from the chaos that existed before?

    -- It is within the realm of thermodynamics to state that entropy will grow to a maximum value where complexity begins within an enclosed system, thereby decreasing entropy within the system. It should also be noted that the level of complexity currently visible in the universe could be party to some form of governing intelligence however this doesn't mean that the existing intelligence within the universe is the same one that created it.

    Is religion a method of spreading peace and harmony, or xenophobia and hate?

    In the 90% of war which has begun with religious difference has religion offered any positive influence great enough to displace some of the negativity of war?

    And when the RE class has finished answering those questions, we become a secular nation :)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seconded and Thirded

    Reminds me of the old dilbert jargonator.

  13. Martin Benson

    More than half.....

    of Americans may be Creationists, but the trick is to employ more scientists as teachers and in positions of authority - eventually it'll change. And getting Bush out of office is a good start.

    (re...the best run-on sentence - I would love to second the motion, if I knew what on earth it was talking about....!)

  14. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    Intelligent Design analysed

    Intelligent Design actually refutes itself quite nicely, like this:

    If a complex universe like ours can only result from the actions of a designer, it follows that the designer must have pre-existed and has to be at least as complex as his creation. So, who designed the Designer?

    ....and the whole Intelligent Design thing disapears recursively up its own fundament.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tollerance

    Guess it only works if they believe what you do, eh?

    Personally I believe that the general best-fit theory of evolution should be taught, but I don't believe that this general anti-religious feel in the comments here should be passed on in the classroom.

    Most religions teach general well-being and strong family ties.

  16. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    Flying Spaghetti Monster

    So, does this mean Brits will not learn about the FSM in school? That's a big blow on Pastafarianism!

    Anyway, it looks like HM Government is redneck-proof ... unlike the US which has a coked-up redneck as prez to begin with.

  17. Dillon Pyron

    ID refuted

    "...and the whole Intelligent Design thing disapears recursively up its own fundament."

    Do not confuse science with belief. Science is provable (or disprovable). Belief is just that. It is because it is.

    After years of asserting his theory on black holes, Stephen Hawking has changed his mind and positted a new theory. That's science in action.

  18. Kevin Kenny

    It kinda took a while, actually...

    Karl,

    "I do subscribe to the belief that the universe is too complex to have just happened, ..."

    Not that I'm accusing you of being a theist or deist but this is one of the most common misrepresentations about how our (present - but let's leave that for another fun discussion) universe got here today. The whole 'just happened' thing is where people really don't have any concept of how much time the universe actually had to get to it's present state.

    The universe didn't 'just happen', it took somewhere around 14 billion years which is a bloody long time and way too much for most of our million year old evolved monkey brains to comprehend. Even just two minutes of thinking about it gives me the Total Perspective Vortex willies.

    Kev

  19. RW

    ID & Creationism defined as "religious beliefs"

    "...teachers [are expected] to be able to answer pupil's questions about 'creationism, intelligent design, and other religious beliefs' within a scientific framework."

    And that, mesdames, mesdemoiselles, and messieurs, is the key point in this article. Or so it seems to me.

    By categorizing these belief systems as *religious*, it puts them on a par with, say, belief in transubstantiation, a core RC belief denied by many (or all?) Protestant churches, and undoubtedly also denied by Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Moslems.

    Or to put it another way (I'm having a hard time verbalizing my thoughts), just as the particularist beliefs of "other" religions are not taught in science class, likewise ID&C are not taught there. There are, after all, many good Christians who do not believe in ID&C. What the current pope believes is uncertain.

    The other side of this coin is that evolutionary theory is implicitly defined as a scientific theory, not a "religious belief". This seems appropriate, given that there are no churches of St. Darwin, but more importantly because evolutionary theory has been developed in accord with the scientific method and must always keep itself on all fours with the observable real world.

    It would seem to me that a kid asking about ID&C in science class would present the teacher with a golden opportunity for discussion of the philosophy of science.

    I hope I'm making sense!

  20. Marc

    If intelligent design is out...

    I want to see the theory that we came from pond scum or apes out of the curriculum too.

  21. Richard Kay

    the selfish gene argument doesn't extrapolate to cosmology

    Attributing human motivations (e.g. selfishness) to a set of self-reproducing biochemical protein factory templates (i.e. DNA) isn't scientific as it isn't testable. In practice genetic selection pressure is equally likely to code for altruism particularly in respect of carriers of genes similar to your own, starting with blood relatives, including other members of your own species and ending up with all other species upon which we are interdependent.

    While it may be reasonable to extrapolate the natural selection idea to biology as a whole (Darwinism), this doesn't adequately explain either how biology got started in the first place or how the laws of science, including all the various constants (e.g. the speed of light or the charge on an electron) happen to be just right for life as we observe it to exist. That is unless you choose to believe that the laws of physics to be analogous to the result of infinite monkeys typing until one of them comes up with great literature (the infinite random universes hypothesis.

    Apart from an infinity of universes, this also requires a belief in the existence of randomness, which also can't be scientifically proven or disproven any more than God can be, and so is just as much a leap of faith as to believe in God.

    I fully agree that science and religion should be taught separately, but few who ridicule faiths which have been held for thousands of years have given much thought about what they themselves take on blind trust, often straining at gnats whilst swallowing camels.

    There is a massive gulf between Darwinism (a scientific and reasonable position) and the discredited atheistic fundamentalism preached by Richard Dawkins, which extrapolates evolution way outside biology where this theory belongs into areas of cosmology and human culture where it doesn't, and for which there is no scientific foundation. I personally don't want Dawkin's atheistic religious fundamentalism taught in schools as if it were science.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny how...

    The most intelligent people are quite comfortable accepting that humanity shares an ancestor with the great apes, whilst the least intelligent among us need to believe they are the spawn of a superbeing in whose image we are made. One would think the intelligent would have the greater arrogance and inflated sense of self, not vice versa.

    Maybe both parties are partially correct, and God does indeed exist. It's just that he looks like a chimpanzee.

  23. Michael Fletcher

    Old-school religion v atheism arguments

    Dear Richard Kay

    Do you think it would be at all possible to cram any further logical fallacies into one argument? Or is that why you started resorting to ad hominem attacks?

    In paragraph 2 alone, you imply that somehow evolutionary theory is supposed to explain abiogenesis (it has never claimed to), and then link that in the most beautifully schizoid way to the anthropic principle. Sweet.

    Your last paragraph shows your true colours wonderfully. Cheers for that.

  24. Chris Rimmer

    Science = provable?

    People who see science as proving things should be more careful about their beliefs. The empiricists believed that they were proving their theories by making observations, but it's worth reading a bit about Karl Popper who pointed out that science only disproves theories - it never proves them.

    All experiments are observations. Looking back, one of the best physics lessons that I had at school involved looking for Brownian motion. We were asked by the teacher to say what we saw through a microscope. Everyone claimed to have seen smoke particles being buffeted by the air. The teacher insisted, to everyone's initial discomfort, that all we had actually seen was shifting light patterns. We had simply interpreted it as smoke particles, knowing in advance what the expected "correct" answer was.

    We can produce theories that are self-consistent, and appear to explain observable phenomena, but it's important to remember that the theory isn't necessarily describing the truth. The great power of science is not in its ability to prove, but rather its ability to disprove a theory: any theory that cannot explain an observed phenomenon is shown to be untrue. And any theory that can predict phenomena successfully is just a good theory.

  25. David Deyo

    Critical Distinction

    There are days when I feel no small measure of shame at how we do things here in the U.S. The whole debate about teaching creationism in schools is just such a cause for shaking my head in dismay.

    But at least in the U.K. they've got their heads screwed on properly in this regard. The government has officially ruled that intelligent design is not science and has no business being taught in schools as science.

    As someone who has made a life's mission out of bringing my belief in both God and science into a workable harmony, I personally believe in a cosmology that is a variation of the intelligent design model. But I'm quite clear about the difference between what should be taught as philosophy and what should be taught as science.

    While it's true that science is a philosophy, not all philosophy is science. Intelligent design is philosophy, not science. As such, the ideas have no place in science class.

  26. Mathematicalscientist

    science is not a vote

    So science has ruled out the possibility of intelligent design or has it? Math is said to be the language of science, especially used in chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. Once you can prove a fact is not correct *then* you may dismiss it.

    We assume intelligent design is false, a higher power cannot exist? Why not? Couldn’t a higher intelligence have sculpted the “big bang”, evolution, etc. etc. well...yes.

    Descartes a famous mathematician tried to prove what existed and what didn’t. First he proved he existed (cogito ergo sum) even if he was just an intelligence imagining the world and everything in it. Next he set out to prove or disprove everything else existed. Sadly he failed, everything could be fake, like a dream.

    If it can’t even be proven that the screen you are reading this on exists (which I think it does) what is the point of dismissing intelligent design? Science may think it has eliminated I.D. as a possibility by *vote*, but mathematics cannot yet as math *is* truth.

    Where do I stand? I am a true scientist refusing to dismiss anything (as offensive as it may be to me or others) until completely proven to be false. Thus I believe in a higher power and in teaching *all* possibilities of our existence in schools. QED

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazing how many people are so happy, being ignorant of the facts of eminent truth

    Amazing how many people are so happy, being ignorant of the fact that religion was the knowledge prior to science which is based on theory and challenges to methods it can capture and predict, but where science being so young relative to belief and trust in eminent truth, has no more facts then the original knowhow, developed by the very first human-being to discover The Wind as an entity among homo-sapiens with animalistic drive only, special knowledge we have not yet shared with these happy sceptic fools.

    Deviation from the truth is more then 3800 years old, and why our holy forefathers as well as us who know today, are not applauding any Government seeking to serve its subjects and appease them while we are watching the erosion and not evolution of the blessed creation, in the image of the creating forces of the entity we refer to as Alohim.

    Yes, you can laugh, but the smile is on my face!

    Like money can not buy you happiness, and you will not be saved by modern tools or gadget or by following new trends for fame and glory, and accelerate the deviations process by implementing manmade changes; and like new fashion and/or diet as well as new medicine and including modern computers which can not talk or listen, in English or by ascii limitations, we are risking the poisoned minds of our children and next irresponsible generations, unless they are permitted and do capture the eminent truth of all, and grow to be sensitive to the despairing full glorious twin-rainbow, facts we know, like that there is no life outside from this special warm and wet planet, life we know, not some imaginary life form potentially found in space, a joke for us who know the ruth, truth science can not face or accept, as it will put them all on the unemployment lines....

    All I see, is one more step towards evil by the British Government, still creating havoc in the Middle East they have created by no Godly right they seem to take so freely, doing as the Romans did to your people and our people. Unlike us, you have not yet learned the wrong from The Romans and The Church, and I think Italy has!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All that needs to be said to that is.....

    .. a Dr. Bill Softky once said "The threshold for disproving something is higher than the threshold for saying it, which is a recipe for the accumulation of bull$&!+."

    If one thinks about it, this would explain the evolution of any form of religion, as we see them today.

    The same could also apply to politics as well....

  29. Tim Post

    Its only as bad as you spin it

    If you read this piece without intent of your own, you'll see some logic in it. Religion is the practice of filling in the blanks with facts-on-stilts derived from empathy. As we learn more, it (should) change.

    We honestly do not know _as_a_matter_of_science_ what to think. Patterns observed are strong indicators, but we don't know.

    The schools should differentiate between _right_ and _correct_ , one can change the other is an eventual state. Until its reached, they just care not to teach it altogether. I don't see a major problem with that.

    I don't feel that its _right_ given how strongly the evidence suggests one direction, but it might be _correct_ for them to have done this.

    To avoid needless resentment, I just won't form an opinion on the matter.

  30. Stuart Evans

    A Common Sense Triumph

    As a 31 year old father of an 8 year old, I find this news encouraging. I would rather my son view the world through questioning eyes, wishing him to form opinions and then test them through sensible observation, and/or trial and error. I want him to develop his sense of morality with help from his friends and family (because we are good people) and his social environment (because that's normal).

    I do not want him learning from a book with 200+ authors and no vaguely provable basis in fact. This is not religious intolerance this is just good old fashioned common sense. As his family, we're good people and have never needed an imaginary police force to tell us not to kill, steal, covet our neighbours’ asses etc.

    When my son's troubled, scared, hungry or in pain, I want him to know that he can come to us at any time or place and we will do everything in our power to help him. This will be real, concrete and quantifiable. Hopefully, this will prevent him from needing an invisible emergency service that doesn't actually work, or do any tangible good.

    I don't blame religion for the excesses of its followers; I blame their stupidity (an all too common human complaint). I don't think the curse of human stupidity should be encouraged in our young.

    Science is common sense, taking the nearest possible thing to proven, as fact. Religion is like believing in lord of the rings; comforting, but fairly daft if you think about it properly.

  31. Joe Bloggs

    Creationsm, Manifest Destiny and all that bosh!

    Mr Gregorie has brought up an old but nonetheless brilliant argument that puts a stake in the heart of Creationism and its pseudoscience spawn, Intelligent Design.

    More than two-and-a-half centuries ago, the great Scottish philospher, David Hume, showed that the Creation story collapses on its own due to the fallacy of infinite regression. The illogicality of a supreme being was further exposed by Bertrand Russell with his Celestial Teapot argument. Yet today, millions continue to cling to an old myth.

    It's not really a problem if people choose to delude themselves with fairy tales. Unfortunately, most of the major religions urge their followers to impose their beliefs on others and, if necessary, by force. To make things worse, the most powerful nation on Earth just so happens to have a fervently religious population who isn't shy about training their sights on "heathen" nations - preferably those with plenty of long-dead organic matter.

  32. umacf24

    Title

    The Reg should run more stories on this topic, because the astoundingly splendid kookiness of some of the comments. Check out:

    "Amazing how many people are so happy, being ignorant of the facts of eminent truth"

    "Bonfire of the Vanities"

    I still miss spam poetry. More please.

  33. alain williams Silver badge

    Just because it could be true does not mean that it is true

    "We assume intelligent design is false, a higher power cannot exist? Why not? Couldn’t a higher intelligence have sculpted the “big bang”, evolution, etc. etc. well...yes."

    That is quite possible. It is also possible that Ming the Mercyless is poised to invade earth and that our new prime minister will save us in a Flash. Possible but unlikely. We can go around the world and consider all of the creation myths, but which one do we choose ? Use your eyes and ears: what evidence do we have ? We will be left with a large number for which we have no evidence to disprove, so what do we do? Use that tool of rationalism: Occam's Rasor: classify the complicated as unlikely and choose the simplest explantions as most likely.

    Invoking a 'higher power' is always more complicated since it means that we need to explain the existance/origin of that higher power.

    "Thus I believe in a higher power and in teaching *all* possibilities of our existence in schools."

    Wow: there are a lot of creation myths out there - that would take a lot of time. However: you are right in that there is little rational basis in choosing the Jewish/Christian/Muslim myths over all of the rest down to, and including, the rantings of Ron Hubbard's scientology: none have any refutable, repeatable evidence or make predictions that are, realistically, repeatably testable.

  34. Chris

    I enjoy these kind of 'debates'

    Its just like a Microsoft v Apple. Windows v Linux. IE v Firefox.

    You're all the same kind of people with a different way of seeing the world but you each fanatically believe that the other is wrong that you kind of forget the point that life is for living.

    Its not what you use its how you use it.

  35. Andrew Wood

    Most Christians Would not argue this point !

    Creationism and Intelligent Design are not Science and most Intelligent Christians agree to this. They are Theology and should be presented as such.

    I think the big problem is Science lessons are presenting Evolutionary Theory as FACT when it clearly isnt. There is no emphasis on the fact that all science is based on theories they just haven’t been disproven yet.

    Granted there are many core theories that have stood the test of time so we can be pretty confident about them but many of the theories around evolution are based upon theories based upon theories going back hundreds of years that nobody has any interest in even trying to disprove. In fact students are discouraged from doing this. You could go far as to say that current day scientists theories depend on the faith and belief of those who came before them, sound familiar?

    Now Adams point about not teaching religion at all in school is not necessarily a bad one. Being taught a specific religion to the exclusion of others is going to cause a problem for followers of different faiths as would be trying to teach a little bit of it all. I do think it’s important that children know that different religions exist though so we can understand about the different cultures of the world and there still needs to be some coverage on issues of morality as this is often neglected by parents.

    Maybe Moral and Theological studies ?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re:Amazing how many people are so happy, being ignorant of the facts of eminent truth

    If there is a God, then why does he let a creation created in his own image to inflict centuries of pain upon one another?

    Wars have been (and still are) fought over whose variant is more righteous. Face it, religion should be about how one treats one's fellow human being , not about believing that no matter how bad one's life is conducted, a few prayers to a deity on one's deathbed will abolish a life of sin.

    It surprises me to say this, but, "Well Done to the UK Government".

    As for the poetry...

    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,

    And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,

    Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:-

    The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

  37. Michael Corkery

    Wow. Ten years ago I'd not have thought this necessary, but things have changed

    Kudos to the UK though for showing some balls, and putting Science ahead of superstition. People have to right to believe whatever they want to make life easier and all, but keep it out of schools, courts, and government please!

    Hopefully the rest of the EU will do similar - despite the risk of growing tensions with our more religious brothers and sisters to the east and to the west.

  38. Richard Campbell-Jones

    And the prize for missing the point goes to

    Richard Kay Quote "While it may be reasonable to extrapolate the natural selection idea to biology as a whole (Darwinism), this doesn't adequately explain either how biology got started in the first place or how the laws of science, including all the various constants (e.g. the speed of light or the charge on an electron) happen to be just right for life as we observe it to exist".

    Reminds me of the puddle of water that knew there was a god, beecause the hole in which it resided was just the right shape for it...

  39. Heath Kitchin

    kooks

    I am regularly amazed at the kooks that come out of the woodwork when articles like this come out on a forum that allows comments.

    To them I say: My invisible sky daddy is infallible and magical and loves you all despite your heathen "rationality".

  40. lantechguy

    It's different in the US

    Here in the US, schools are administered locally. Our constitution made no provision for a national educational authority and under the Tenth Amendment, the power to regulate education is left to the individual states. In fact, there are people who consider the existence of a federal department of education a violation of the federal constitution.

    In the UK, it's apparently possible for a single group of sensible government ministers to put creationism and 'intelligent design" in their place...outside of the science curriculum. In the US, nationally-based lobbies are able to argue this non-issue individually and interminably in the legislatures of each of the 50 states and the thousands of local school boards. There is no one national-level authority that can settle the question, so the attack on the science curriculum will probably go on indefinitely.

  41. LW

    Wonderful stuff all round, but this is the best:

    "I am a true scientist refusing to dismiss anything (as offensive as it may be to me or others) until completely proven to be false. Thus I believe in a higher power and in teaching *all* possibilities of our existence in schools. QED"

    Parody: "I am a true scientist refusing to dismiss anything (as offensive as it may be to me or others) until completely proven to be false. Thus I believe in a unicorns and in teaching *all* possibilities of unicorn existence in schools. QED"

    Fallacy: possibility does not entail probability.

  42. Jim

    Descartes...

    While "cogito ergo sum" is often put forward as a proof of existence, "I think therefore I am", I was always under the impression that Descartes was far less arrogant. My understanding is that Descartes did not prove his own existence but rather demonstrated that “All that I know if my existence is that I think”.

  43. Jim

    Science is a religion?

    Hmm, let's compare.

    Religion - You are told what to believe and also told that you must not, under any circumstances, question what you have been told.

    Science - You are told what to believe but you are allowed, and sometimes actively encouraged, to question those beliefs at any/every opportunity.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Help me understand this

    Darwin stated in Origin of Species

    "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down"

    This is when he understood a cell to be a simple blob of protoplasm. We've now found that there exists many complexities within these cells with functions that need to exist in their entirety. I've read/heard some really stretched arguements on how these complex parts can form "slowly and surely" and some are really stretched.

    There is always the question...what always existed? There has to have been something that always existed to have set these things in motion. The big bang? What existed prior to that.

    I have a new religion that teaches that nature is eternal, nature is the cause for life and ruler of life. Basically, nature is omnipresent, omniscience, and omnipotent. If you do not obey the laws set forth by nature, you shall surely perish. Nature naturally selects or in other words has set things in motion, the doctrine of predestination.

    You have one set of people who call nature God and attribute it's attributes to him.

    Another set of people who say that nature's name is not God, but simply nature.

    I prefer to believe in the god that I see, that is nature. Nature is eternal and I believe nature is intelligent enough to have designed a process where it can display all of it's glory. Nature is eternal and thus a god.

    This so-called evidence still takes faith. We've discovered so many new things in the past century that would make Charlie Darwin marvel, and yet he tought he had the answer. Who's to say we won't find something new in the next century that says evolution is a false theory and that nature does have an intelligence.

  45. Jim

    Re: Help me understand this

    Irreducible Complexity (what you described and as coined by Michael Behe) is flawed.

    The Mullerian 2-Step provides a mechanism whereby.

    1. A superfluous part is added to a system with no negative consequences.

    2. The system undergoes a change such that the part added in step 1 becomes necessary and its subsequent removal becomes catastrophic.

    See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ICsilly.html

    Do you understand now?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WE intelligently design things

    Human beings are children of God.

    As such, we have the innate ability to create, to design, if you will. To deny the existence of a being greater than us is the ultimate expression of human pride and ignorance. We claim that we seek truth and understanding through science.

    If that were so, then we could not possibly deny the POSSIBILITY of our earth being created by a person with greater intelligence than ourselves, WITHOUT PROOF. We claim we are scientific, in that we require proof to show the truth of an idea. Yet some will readily deny an idea without proof to the contrary.

    As our understanding of science and technology increases, is it not possible that we might one day reach the point where we are capable of organizing matter in such a way that we could create a planet, and through genetic manipulation, new life-forms to inhabit that planet?

    If we continue to progress technologically, what is to stop us? Nothing.

    God is real. We are his children. We have infinite possibilities. Intelligent design is not a myth. God is a perfected human who created our world, and WE are on trial to determine if we are pure enough to handle the kind of power that he has. The proof is in our actions. If we are pure of heart, it will show through how we live. If we are not, we won't be given the kind of power that he has.

    In response to an earlier comment, God allows his creations to hurt one another because God isn't the one on trial. WE are. God won't take away our free will.

    Evil people are allowed to do evil deeds so that they can be justly judged when the time comes. Much like the movie "Minority Report" has shown, it's unjust to punish someone for a crime they have yet to commit. By allowing evil people to commit evil deeds, he is able to justly judge and punish evil people when judgement day comes.

  47. BK

    The confusion continues

    In all seriousness, ID is not a religion. It is not neo-creationism. It is built on the idea that is already used in archaeology, geology and the SETI project that says that somethings due to their attributes carry with them the appearance of design. Design, for example, can be seen in the difference between a stone arch and the St. Louis Arch. If we didn't know it had been constructed, how would we be able to determine one is designed and one isn't? What about the pyramids? How do we know that they are designed as opposed to natural structures? We know because we have the ability to examine something and see the earmarks of design.

    ID builds on that premise that we can see when something is designed and takes it into other areas. The problem is that when it comes to bringing those principles into the area of biology, ardent evolutionists shiver and object. Why is that? It seems to me that if this is so blatantly wrong, the evolutionists should simply demonstrate that it is erroneous and be done with it. Of course, they haven't and they can't.

    Moreover, it is not religion. It makes no claims to be able to identify the designer. It doesn't claim the designer is God. It may be that the designer is some alien life form. It may be that the designer is some unknown intelligent force. Perhaps it is Gaia (which seems to be an acceptable religion among those of a scientific bent). To claim that it is "religion" merely because it points out that observations of nature reveal that something intelligent has been involved in design is simply ridiculous.

    Really, before attacking ID as non-science, it would be helpful to actually understand it. The people who attack it use language that demonstrates that they don't have a clue.

    Oh, and I should add that most of the arguments on this page mischaracterize religion. One that I thought kind of summed up religion was by Jim and read:

    "Religion - You are told what to believe and also told that you must not, under any circumstances, question what you have been told.

    Science - You are told what to believe but you are allowed, and sometimes actively encouraged, to question those beliefs at any/every opportunity."

    In fact, Christianity, understood correctly, applauds those who question what they have been told. Those who teach that Christianity is some type of leap to blind faith ascribe to a type of Christianity that is decidedly unbiblical. In contrast, at least in the area of evolution, science is apparently the place where you are told what to believe and also told that you must not, under any circumstances, question what you have been told. After all, ID raises questions about evolutionary theory, and apparently you can't raise those questions!

  48. Anonymous

    Creation Myths

    Here's an interesting article.

    http://www.livescience.com/history/top10_intelligent_designs-1.html

    Also highlights the fact that the Judeo mythology is just one among many.

    "We are all atheists. You just believe in one more God than we do."

  49. BK

    I Believe in One Fewer God than You Do

    That's a common statement by skeptics who oppose the work of thinking.

    http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2007/04/i-believe-in-one-fewer-god-than-you-do.html

  50. Rob Crawford

    Why does science bother "why not worship the pixies in my pants"

    I get so tired of the ID brigade, and their misrepresented and selective evidence.

    It's funny how they mention the 'irreducable' systems, but ignore the simpler predecessors that only have have some of the sub components of these 'irreducable' systems

    Where I come from people who suffer such selective vision (& memory loss) are often called dishonest

    Dear Richard Kay,

    As you say life as we observe it, so what can you not cope with a happy set of circumstances ? In another universe perhaps water & carbon arnt required for life

    If one of these variables (that all these ID & creationists insist on bringing up) had been different, perhaps another variable change (so far unlisted by the spirit of the universe people) would have counter balanced it? Perhaps other forms of life would have evolved, or the universe would have collapsed and another "big bang" would have to occur again with a better "roll of the die" ? How many rehersals have there been to get here ?

    Dear "Amazing how many people are so happy, being ignorant of the facts of eminent truth" and also "WE intelligently design things"

    I'm afraid your rambling nonsence dosn't appear to have a beginning, middle or end (or indeed any noticeable point). Therefore I assume you have nothing to contribute

    Dear "Help me understand this"

    Quoting "We've now found that there exists many complexities within these cells with functions that need to exist in their entirety." You should read more (or be more selective in what you read) as that is simply not the case. Same as the figures quoted by the ID 'experts' of chemistry of life are based on modern DNA sequences spontainously springing into existence. Rather than the much more primitive 'living molecules' that we are 'probably' decended from. Basically the ID people blatently misrepresent the mathematics.

    People seem to be afraid of the phrase "We don't know, Yet"

    Science tries to find out and is happy for questions to be asked. Religion simply says I have the answers but don't ask questions, or you are toast !

    Anything based on faith is broken beyond repair and will remain broken. In the case of science broken theorys are fixed or replaced

    Dear BK,

    You seem to be confused.

    Evolution (you could use the word environment) itself is the designer.

    You can certainly raise questions within science, however stupid questions are not appreciated. If you want to believe in Gaia, god, Shiva or whatever then thats your choice. But please don't insist that your personal belief (which has no more going for it than pixies in my pants) is on equial footing to something that has this trivial stugg like evidence.

  51. Rob Crawford

    Re: I Believe in One Fewer God than You Do

    Funny how religious don't do any thinking for themselves isn't it.

    They insist on others producing evidence but state that God dosn't like proof of his (or her) existence

    The defective story (intentional misspelling) is a perfect example.

    Assuming you mean Dawdins to represent Richard Dawkins ;) I think you would find that he would be the one looking for and at the evidence and the other two would be saying it dosn't matter as "he has went to a better place and god will punish the murderer if there is one"

    I suggest you spend less time listening to pastors who would contribute more to the world if they returned to washing cars or whatever they did before gaining their dubious qualifications.

    I got tired of those silly little parabels when I was 6 or 7 as they obviously misrepresent reality.

    Possibly you should read something which is a little more rooted in reality before posting again (I'd suggest something simple to start off with, in the UK we had ladybird books for age 4 & up)

  52. Colin Jackson

    Name Dropping

    Hey Luce, you got linked to on Richard Dawkins.Net. My two favourite websites :)

  53. Nigee

    perhaps hindus are right millions of gods are better that one

    A few hunder thousand years ago or whatever as our ancestors gained awareness with their increasing brain size they perhaps looked around at the totally inexplicable world around them and developed the idea of the supernatural as an explanation of it all (this is in the area of paleo psychology, a tricky subject for experimental science). This continued until a couple of hundred years ago when the scientific method reached the stage of starting to understand some of the physical aspects, and this knowledge has been accelerating ever since. It's only in the last few years that the full role of RNA has started to emerge and even a hypothesis that in may 'learn' and hence influence evolutionary direction (which would help explain the varying rates of evolutionary change in different species). Of course its also possible that the null hypothesis will prove correct and others will doubtless emerge. This growth in knowledge and understanding over the last couple of centuries means that 'belief' in the supernatural is no longer a tenable position as a rational explanatation of the universe.

    I'm very happy to have chimpanzees as very distant (but nearest surving non-homo sapien) relatives. However, I don't believe in the monkey god. I'm sad for those unfortunates that have a problem with this but the UK govt is totally right in giving their fantasies short shrift.

  54. Don Chamberlain

    A Watermelon Seed

    I'll start to be impressed with Science when they can make a Watermelon seed in a laboratory. Until then, I'll take Intelligence...

  55. Adam

    Block religious schools, not religious teaching

    Andrew Wood - I didn't actually say don't teach religion at all - it has (and still does) affected most peoples lives all around the world, in one way or another whether or not you follow a particular belief.

    However, religion should be taught in a balanced way, with just the facts about a religion and its belief system being taught - without the beliefs of a particular religion being taught as fact. Furthermore, no religion should be promoted above another, as does happen in faith schools.

    A balance, of course, has to be struck here. It is not possible to teach '*all* possibilities' as suggested somewhere above, which means some religions won't get taught at all. However, to start with the 3 monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism & Islam) and add in the more widely supported of the others - Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism (and perhaps something like Humanism for balance) etc would I think give kids a better understanding of what most people believe, and would hopefully improve tolerance between followers of different beliefs - something sadly missing in today's world.

  56. Stephen Silk

    Title

    I'll be impressed with Religion when it can produce a watermelon seed in a church. (Given the same constraints that are laid upon the scientists.)

  57. Stephen Silk

    The basic difference between Religion & Science

    Science has questions which cannot be answered.

    Religion has answers which cannot be questioned.

  58. LW

    yes, more

    "at least in the area of evolution, science is apparently the place where you are told what to believe and also told that you must not, under any circumstances, question what you have been told. After all, ID raises questions about evolutionary theory, and apparently you can't raise those questions!"

    Don't be facetious. ID doesn't raise any significant scientific questions about evolutionary theory; if it did they'd be most welcome. THAT is scientific method, and it is what is lacking from every organised religion I've ever come across.

  59. Rob Crawford

    More to be pitied than mocked

    ---

    By Don Chamberlain

    Posted Wednesday 27th June 2007 08:36 GMT

    I'll start to be impressed with Science when they can make a Watermelon seed in a laboratory. Until then, I'll take Intelligence...

    ---

    Tis a bit like saying I won't accept an MP3 player unless it unless it's created by divine intervention (and I don't mean St Jobs)

    That is a really silly statement and I'm afraid you really are to be pitied.

    Is there not enough wonder in the universe, without having to invent new ones, which serve no purpose except to promote ignorance ?

  60. Andrew

    The real problem with religion.

    ---

    By Don Chamberlain

    Posted Wednesday 27th June 2007 08:36 GMT

    I'll start to be impressed with Science when they can make a Watermelon seed in a laboratory. Until then, I'll take Intelligence...

    ---

    This is exactly the problem with religions. They choose to believe or disbelieve any notion as they see fit, depending on whether it falls inside their comfort zone.

    Science, on the other hand, has what's called "hypotheses" - these are taken on board, and quite enthusiastically, but if they are proven false or unworkable, they are dropped. The idea of God could be treated fairly as an hypothesis. Why not?

    But creationists will believe that Earth is 6000 years old or whatever, no matter that all the evidence *suggests* (for argument's sake) otherwise. They won't entertain opposing views for a second. That's the crunch. Is that really Intelligence at work, or dogma and politics?

    Science has suggested some crazy things in the past, and still does. But it is an evolving set of principles. As we learn more about the world around us, we recognise misconceptions of the past and move on. Much like growing up. That's intelligence.

    So Creationists rail at science for having no concrete proof of this or that. Age of the universe, etc. But do they have concrete proof who wrote the Bible? Or how old it is? Do they have concrete proof their Word is the Truth? Every religion thinks it is right, that is the nature of religion. So, no argument, no discussion, stalemate. And yet they want to be called a "science"?

    Science has simple requirements - commons sense, reason and willingless to learn. Creationism, I.D., all religions... they are static and require faith. Faith without question. It is not science.

    Anyway, if the Creator is Intelligent, and we are made in His image, then we have the ability to be Intelligent too. So what's the problem? As far as we know, we are simply an experiment the Intelligent Designer is conducting... as we try to create Artificial Intelligence, so may He be trying to do the same. And perhaps, like us, He is disappointed in the result so far. :)

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the watermellon boy

    This one is for the watermellon boy.

    Scientists take step to making synthetic life

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070628/sc_nm/genes_synthetic_dc_4;_ylt=AtXBxICxEMLmq6reclzh6b_0kPUI

  62. Rob Crawford

    Remember evidence isn't good enough only faith counts

    -----

    This one is for the watermellon boy.

    Scientists take step to making synthetic life

    -----

    Remember this dosn't count for 2 reasons

    1: It isn't a watermelon (nevermind a watermelon seed)

    2: it dosn't fit into his world view

    3; Bacteria don't exist because they are not mentioned in the bible

  63. Ray Silva

    Occam's Razor

    "We assume intelligent design is false, a higher power cannot exist? Why not? Couldn’t a higher intelligence have sculpted the “big bang”, evolution, etc. etc. well...yes."

    In science, and in math, you always seek the simplest solution. It's an issue of methodology. Any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating, or "shaving off," those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the explanatory hypothesis or theory.

    That's the reason for not engaging in speculations about transcendent 'higher powers.' In science it only leads to discussions and arguments that make no difference in observable predictions regarding natural physical phenomena. The only difference that injecting creationism into scientific discussions can have is to obfuscate and prevent science from proceeding, as the current U.S. administration has done.

    If you want to talk about God, you should do so where it makes a difference; for example, in discussions about ethics and moral principles. Brits should be well aware of the tragic history of having government impose moral law.

  64. Erik Aamot

    lack of evolution theory proof

    show me a species or even sub-species that has 'emerged' , outside of crossbreeding existing species ?

    we have 1000s of years of history, scientists has subjected trillions of fruit flies and billions of mice to radiation, chemicals .. all kinds of environmental stresses over the last 100 years ...

    yet have we observed even one *new* species or subspecies emerge among the 100,000s of organisms we've studied or 10,000s we've breed and experimented with ?

    now scientists can custom DESIGN DNA and will soon produce *new* life, new species .. opps , that is intelligent design .. hmmm

    'natural selection' was derived from the term 'selective breeding', Darwin assuming that selective breeding could lead to (improved and) possibly different subspecies .. it doesn't .. a toy poodle is the same species as a European or North american wolf .. big ears of corn are still the same plant as maize ..

    .. or show conclusively what part of the DNA changed and explain how, between 2 species that the Darwinists say are closely related .. that would at least be some evidence to support the notion that *new* species emerge from existing ones ..

    not trying to say Darwin or modern evolutionary theory is completely wrong or not a large part of the *truth* .. but is is partly based in the notion that somehow DNA spontaniously changes, successfully giving the changed organism an advantage, and in most cases with higher organisms, that the changed DNA can also breed with the existing *old* species to produce a *new* species

    not terribly far-fretched .. just show me where/when it's happenned ...

    That which exists outside of time, cannot usually be measured or observed within time-space ...

    Thought exists out of time .. you really can't tell me how big a thought is , how small, how it might effect the future .. yet we all "think" thought is 'real'

    thought is self-evident, outside of time ... meaning from our trapped perspective in time-space, it is eternal , has always been, and always will be and we can't prove that to be so 'scientifically'. or at least not yet :)

    maybe most peoples' narrow construct of what 'conciousness' and 'God' are is the problem here .. just not understanding that existing outside of time, means it's possible that 'thought' or 'creativity' might very well, in what we call the 'present', effect all time and events, and it doesn't really matter 'when' the intelligence and conciousness emerged, it became reality throughout all time.

  65. Chris Rimmer

    Re: Occam's Razor

    You have to be careful in using Occam's Razor in philosophical discussions. It's not telling you anything about truth. It's more of an aesthetic appeal to minimalism, and a way of cutting out unnecessary complexity, where "unnecessary" means that it adds nothing at the current time to the ability to predict outcomes of experiments. It's ideal for science.

    If Occam's Razor were saying that a more complex hypothesis is actually _untrue_ when a simpler hypothesis explains all observations under consideration, that would imply that general relativity was untrue before the 20th century, and only became true when observations started being made which challenged Newtonian mechanics. You could argue that case, but I doubt many people would.

    By the way, there have been several comments stating that religions do not allow questioning of what they teach. Can we either have those statements substantiated, or have an end to them please? In my experience, it's occasionally true, but not generally. And it seems to be equally common for secular groups to refuse to listen to people arguing "heresies" against what is commonly believed. Let's take an example from comments on stories in The Register: ignoring the facts for now, many Linux users just "know" that their operating system is more secure than Microsoft Windows, and will not listen to statements to the contrary. There will often be some grounds for believing it to be the case, but I'm convinced that it is often a matter of faith and dogma.

  66. Neil McDowell

    They're not banning anything

    I don't really see why you're all getting so excited. They're not going to teach Creationism in schools. So what. You can still go and look it up on Wikipedia (I was going to write in a library but don't want to look tragically old). Vast areas of human history are not taught in schools, English plainly isn't. I guess you can only fit so much into the curriculum and now that knowledge is gently absorbed rather than being beaten into you the pace has slowed, so more time is needed to teach the little b!"£$%ds to read, write and count to ten. Creationism has been snipped away in the same way complex calculus has been.

    Toodlepip

  67. Danforth

    RE: lack of evolution theory proof

    Erik Aamot wrote: "show me a species or even sub-species that has 'emerged' , outside of crossbreeding existing species? [...]"

    The AIDS virus is a good example to look up. Because the genetic code is relatively short (compared to a mammal, say) changes to the code become more significant and they tend to be expressed more easily. It's only had fifty-odd years and the variants have all arisen to fit the environment they find. The African variants spread more efficiently through heterosexual sex than the European one, for instance.

    "somehow DNA spontaniously changes..."

    Not such an amazing thing. Errors in the copying process and all that. If there was an intelligent creator behind the universe I'd expect replication to work better!

    "That which exists outside of time, cannot usually be measured or observed within time-space ..."

    Aye. A believer can always state their God is 'beyond' scientific understanding, that's why the argument rarely gets anywhere! I would however point out that a God who is above and beyond human understanding goes against what the Abrahamic faiths say about God taking an active and loving interest in his creation. If you believe in a God with whom you can have a personal relationship, you have to apply scientific reasoning to evidence of his presence and influence in the world. Scientifically speaking, anyway. :)

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science isn't very accurate

    There's a lot of insistence from anti-religionists that we not teach creationism in the schools because it may not be true. We should teach science because that's something we know to be true.

    I'm a firm believer in teaching science in the schools. There's a difference between science and truth though.

    In fact as one teacher said: "About half of what I teach you in this class isn't true. We just don't know which half yet"

    Science has consistently held to be true many things which were later proven inaccurate or completely untrue. Other things just fall out of vogue and cease to be taught.

    I think it's most important to teach the scientific methods and explain some of the theories that are out there. These theories can be useful even if they're not completely true or are inaccurate.

    I find it just as revolting to see people putting their blind trust in "scientific truths" as to see them putting blind trust in religion.

  69. Ian Turner

    Intelligent Design is Science

    More than 700 scientists and philosophers of science holding doctorate degrees from prestigious universities around the world have recently expressed doubts about the claims of Darwinian evolution. Instead of hurling personal abuse and wasting time in toppling strawman arguments, your contributors would be better employed by engaging with the scientific basis of ID as presented by its best exponents. In order to do so, I suggest they read the following:

    "Evolution - A theory in crisis" by Michael Denton (1984)

    "Darwin's Black Box - The biochemical challenge to evolution" by Michael Behe (1996)

    "Nature's Destiny - How the laws of biology reveal purpose in the universe" by Michael Denton (1998)

    "The Edge of Evolution - The search for the limits of Darwinism" by Michael Behe (2007)

    Denton, holding 2 doctorates, is Senior Research Fellow in Human Molecular Genetics at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

    Behe, holding 1 doctorate, is professor of Biological Science at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania.

    Neither writer is a right-wing evangelical fundamentalist. I understand that one is a Roman Catholic, whereas the second is an agnostic.

    Finally, for the benefit of Danforth, Behe deals with mutation of the AIDS virus in the last-mentioned book.

    Ian Turner

  70. LW

    *sigh*

    "More than 700 scientists and philosophers of science holding doctorate degrees from prestigious universities around the world have recently expressed doubts about the claims of Darwinian evolution."

    The content is not the issue - it may be incorrect, and can be changed, or even completely rewritten; this should be stated by any science teacher worth their salt. It's the process that matters, and it's the process that ID lacks, hence it has no place alongside currently understood scientific explanations of the universe. Arguments about the universe appearing to have been intelligently designed are philosophical, not scientific - and they are arguments that have been debated to stalemate long ago in philosophy of theology, in teleological arguments (essentially, intelligent design as an attempt at proof of God's existence).

  71. Ian Turner

    Yes Indeed - Intelligent Design is Science

    To LW

    Intelligent Design is an inference from nature's phenomena to the best explanation. For example, the fine tuning of physical constants of the universe is better explained by design than by fortuitousness. The rarity of an Earth-like planet in the universe (see "Rare Earth" by geologist Ward & astronomer Brownlee, also "Privileged Planet" by astronomer Gonzales) is also better explained by design than chance. Moreover, the extreme improbability of complex life arising randomly from inanimate matter, as demonstrated by Denton & Behe, so convinced world renowned philosopher Anthony Flew that he repudiated his lifelong attachment to atheism. None of these evidences are religion based.

    Darwinism, on the other hand, as manipulated by atheists, has a grim history of fraudulent claims. From Piltdown Man, Haeckel's embryos, Kettlewell's moths, redundant body organs, Galapagos finch beaks, to junk DNA, etc., its "proofs" and "predictions" have been falsified repeatedly. Even Darwin's abilities as a scientist are now being called into question (see "The evolution of textbook misconceptions about Darwin" by Paul Rees, University of Warwick, 2007).

    Try reading "Icons of Evolution - science or myth?" by biologist Jonathan Wells and "Darwinian Fairytales - selfish genes, errors of heredity and other fables of evolution" by philosopher David Stove. If these should prove too difficult for you, then begin with "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design" by Jonathan Wells, PhD. Happy reading!

    Ian Turner

  72. LW

    again

    "Darwinism"

    Using that term comes dangerously close to discrediting yourself, in this argument. The pejorative (and straw man) usage among ID proponents is an attempt to tie down scientific process to a single man's ideas, which is either disingenuous or ignorant. Avoid the term. To the point, and I'm repeating myself, Darwin's content is largely irrelevant. Whether he is right or wrong is largely irrelevant. Scientific process allows for this to be the case, so long as a "better" theory takes its place.

    As for ID being scientific - the moment you include an ontological investment such as "a higher power" as part of your reasoning, without any quantifiable evidence, you're on shaky scientific ground. It is one thing to say that the universe "is this way", it is a far greater thing to say that the universe "is this way because of some higher power", and such claims require very compelling proof (which design arguments do not provide). Scientific theories must be parsimonious in their acceptance of ontological predicates, and adding in a higher power/awareness/consciousness without any evidence is prima facie abhorrent to such principles. And as alluded to above, ID is not falsifiable, and it is also rarely presented by its proponents as being potentially false (note the distinction between these).

    With reference to your extensive bibliography, what most ID arguments come down to is an attack on some element of Darwin's body of work. If this is done in a scientific manner, it is, by definition, welcomed by science. However such criticisms are 1/ usually not scientifically rigorous themselves, and 2/ are then typically used fallaciously ("ignoratio elenchi") to discredit science as a whole. If you can guarantee me that the above don't succumb to such pitfalls I might be tempted to look into them.

  73. Rob Crawford

    Regarding fraud

    Mr Turner,

    If you are going to start into the realms of fraudlent claims, I'm afraid religion and by defination (un)intellegent design should really be quiet

    From healing, relics, miracles the list really does go on (ad infinitum)

    As for your reading list should I require scientific information I do not resort to books with titles like "Nature's Destiny - How the laws of biology reveal purpose in the universe". Then if I have a sore arse I don't go to a priest and get him to put his hands upon it.

    Why does the universe need a purpose, do you feel that insignificant ?

    Funny how that purpose always includes a omnipresent being, and the importance of those (alleged) humans who believe in that creator.

    Intelligent Design dosn't offer anything other than a comfort blanket to those who are afraid of the dark, and a lucritive income to those who promote it. After all have a look at something you don't understand, ignore (be ignorant of similar structures) and then write a book about it. (Should I mention missrepresent the maths used ?)

    Please use the term Evolution as you are obviously trying to make it a personality issue regarding Mr Darwin. Evolution is so far the only 'credible' explination, and ID certainly isn't (it's mumbo jumbo with a scientific mask)

    Any theory needs to be worked on and refined but you don't want that, you want a definitive statement to save you from thinking about things that you don't like.

    You are entitled to your opinion (even if it is wrong) but please don't misterpresent it as science

  74. Ian Turner

    ID is Science

    To LW & Rob Crawford

    Although it doesn't seek to explain how life arose in the first place, Darwinism claims that, having arisen, it evolved by random mutation and natural selection from the simplest organism to the most complex (i.e. homo sapiens) by an incredibly large number of tiny step changes. In The Origin of Species, Darwin invited any who might disagree with his theory to refute it. Nowhere did he stipulate that only those who denied the existence of a Creator had a right of reply. In fact, Bishop Wilberforce (who incidentally was an accomplished mathematician and vice president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science) presented arguments against the theory, which caused Darwin much concern. O, that Darwin's evolutionary successors were as open-minded to refutation as he was!

    You need to realise that the foundations of modern experimental science were laid, not by atheists, but by Christians. Names like Copernicus, Bacon, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Boyle, Bernoulli, Dalton, Faraday, Clerk-Maxwell, Mendel, Joule and Kelvin spring to mind but there were many others. More recently, Arthur Holly Compton (1927 Nobel Prizewinner for physics), Henry Fritz Schaefer (the inventor of computational quantum mechanics), Francis Collins (Head of Human Genome Project), and John Bryant (recent vice-president of the Society for Experimental Biology) have continued this tradition of Christian participation in science. So, it is a bit rich for atheistic evolutionists to seek to exclude their modern Christian counterparts.

    If you cannot even begin to look at the writings of modern scientists who profess religious faith, then why bother to heed the scientists named in the paragraph above? Moreover, what grounds can you possibly offer for refusing to read the works of agnostic scientists and philosophers of science like Denton and Stove, who also reject Darwinian evolution?

    Methinks, you need to think again.

    Ian Turner

  75. Rob Crawford

    Still nothing new then

    Up until the late 19th century how far did you get without being Christian, and prior to that how far did you get if your observations didn't agree with 'religious fact'

    Also if you have ever experianced hypnotism, you can see how powerful a force social compliance is. Wether it is suicide bombers, people damaging their eyesight watching the sun (waiting for it to leap across the heavens), or rioting at G8 summits.

    I notice (also) once again that no mention of advances of non christian faiths are mentioned.

    I personally will read almost anything and judge from there.

    However "the creator did it" is the equivalent of my young son saying "a big boy did it and ran away"

    Where is the creator "errr everywhere"

    Show me physical evidence of the creator "No he is very shy"

    Where did he/she come from "the creator was always there"

    Show him to me "I don't need to because I believe"

    Take the example of Behe and the flagellar motor, he made a bit of a fool of himself didn't he ? But hey, lets hide the mistake (or pretend it's not a mistake by ignoring it's incomplete operational precursors)

    Did you forget or ignore the other evidence that didn't fit ?

    I notice that the arguement of 'spontainious appearence of life" dosn't hold sway, yet the creator apparently did start off in that fashion (oh yeah "god is excempt from scientific study" it's rude to point that out)

    I also notice that life is always considered to have spontaiously in some sort of modern form, for ID probability calculations.

    No skewing of figures there then ! (yeah right)

    Thats a little disengenious (ok my spelling hasn't evolved) of the ID community.

    I remember 20 years ago with the creationists saying there wasn't enough sunlight, temperatures where incorrect and the athmosphere was too toxic to support life on the early earth.

    Funny thing is though since the communities id creatures around the 'black smokers' where discovered, the ID & creationist 'scientists' have 'forgotten' these statements.

    Tisk tisk, that a lie by omission God really wouldn't like that would he/she ?

    How about giving the world some evidence that stands up for itself, and dosn't get swept under the carpet when it becomes the scientific equivalent of a hair shirt ! So far we have had the eye, wings or the flagellar motor !

    I notice the less well educated creationists still use the same arguements that their 'thinkers' have dropped as they don't bother listening to anything they don't agree with.

    If nothing else evolutionists don't lose evidence down the back of the sofa, hoping that everybody else forgets about it.

    However the scientists evolve, they learn not to waste their time trying to educate the people who need educated most.

  76. Ian Turner

    ID is Science - 2

    Before the late 19th century agnostics/atheists (Spinoza, Hume, etc.) made valuable contributions to philosophy. They were never persecuted for their philosophizing by the Christian communities in which they lived. But the contribution in those days of fellow agnostics/atheists to the advancement of science was miniscule. Conversely, the hated Puritans and other Protestant non-conformists (e.g. Boyle, Hooke, Newton, etc.), who in 1663 consisted of not more than 5% of the population of England, occupied 62% of the membership of the Royal Society.

    Stanley Yaki, a historian of science, investigated the cultures of non-Christian civilizations like those of Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Islam, India, China, etc., to find out why science failed to develop there, and discovered they lacked one or more of the following characteristics that had allowed it to flourish in Christianity.

    Monotheism. This placed all nature under the control of one Judaeo/Christian God who governed by stable laws He had established. By contrast, the unpredictable behaviour of the Greek gods (e.g. Zeus, Apollo, etc.) made it very difficult for classical Greek science to mature.

    The ethical standards of the Judaeo/ Christian God. A spirit of inquiry, humility, honesty, truthfulness, accountability, and so on, essential in any scientific enterprise, is inculcated throughout the pages of Old and New Testaments. Pagan gods were unashamedly amoral.

    The Biblical work ethic. Labouring with one's hands was and still is an honourable way of earning a living. Ancient Jews, for instance, insisted that their rabbis should have a trade in addition to academic studies. For example, the apostle Paul, when a rabbi, had learned to be a tentmaker. So Christians saw nothing infra-dig about hands-on scientific experiments. Ancient Greeks, on the other hand, viewed manual work of any kind as fit only for slaves to carry out, hence, experiments were never attempted.

    Finally, I cannot prove the existence of God. Nor, for that matter, can anyone prove in the ultimate sense, the existence of chance. Computer program designers tell us that pure randomization is well-nigh impossible. Sooner or later, patterns begin to emerge. Just like a pack of 52 cards, no matter how well shuffled, will reveal patterns that experienced gamblers can detect (it was how Frederick Jagger broke the bank at Monte Carlo), any finite system, even one the size of the universe, may have patterns that cannot be detected within our current mathematical capabilities. Even chaos, as Richard Bird shows in his book "chaos and life", is orderly.

    Ian Turner

  77. Rob Crawford

    Selective amnesia (again it seems)

    I seem to remember more than a little astromomy, surgery, medical research, chemistry and maths going on in Greek Indian and Islamic worlds. Infact much more than occured in the Christian realm until the late 17th century.

    Infact it would be easier to say that the west rediscovered the work and claimed it for it's own.

    Ethics and old testiment of the judeo christian god, oh please don't be silly, those ethics have been used to justify murder, oppression and torture for a considerable time (and still are you listening Mr Bush)

    The majority of the royal society members (who actually contributed something other than their titles and money) where at odds with most of the establishments of the time. One members (whose name I have forgotten) spent years working out what size Noahs arc had to be to contain the animals and feed. I'm sure even a believer in ID dosn't believe in Noahs arc (surely)

    They where living within a different world view a time of ignorance (if you will) and they tried to make their theorys fit the view of the time. You could say that they where in the process of evolving ;)

    As for lack of persicution Galileo (and to a lesser extent Kepler) springs to mind (even though it had been known in the non Christian that the Earth wasn't at the centre of the universe). This was less than 50 years before the 1663 date that you quote.

    I tend to think there is a deliberate misunderstanding of random within the phrase random mutation. Nature and environment tends to weed out the canditates which are not fit for purpose, thereby giving the impression of design.

    Any stage magician depends on shuffling being grossly inefficant. It's approx 7 riffle shuffles (done properly) to give anything vaguely approaching randomness. Looking at a casino, thats 7 riffle shuffles per deck, then each sub assembly of decks needs to be shuffled together 7 times, then those sub assemblys need to ..... times

    Guess what casinos can't afford to do that on a constant basis, for them they just have to get it 'random enough' to make things difficult.

    As for roulette wheels, well any wheel has a bias if left to it's own devices (hence you get the wheels of your car balanced, it's a function of manufacturing cost and benefit.

    Pure randomness is hard to find (if not impossible), which is a lot to do with the laws of physics take care of that. Though chaotic randomness isn't a prerequisite for mutation, evolution or indeed the chemistry of life.

    In a way you kill your own unlikely random events theory, certain elements have an affinity for other elements (sodium & chlorine for example). From chemists I have spoken to regarding this they have all said that the building blocks for amino acids have an affinity with each other. Therefore making these building blocks more likely to occur.

    If you are looking for randomness I suggest PRNG generator for UK premium bonds system it isn't pure randomness (chaotic) system it provides enough randomness for allocating winners http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ERNIE#ERNIE

    Or are you going to say God did that ?

    I also see that the selective ignoring of discredited evidence is ongoing :)

    Being polite I think I have had to discover what many science communicators have discovered "it's not worth the bother" <sigh>

  78. Ian Turner

    ID is science -3

    In this closing contribution let me return to the article that first prompted the debate - whether the UK government should "boot intelligent design back into 'religious' margins." In earlier contributions I argued to the effect that government should do no such thing for the following reasons:

    Firstly, far from being a backwoods movement, ID is supported by a small but growing number of scientists and philosophers of science who hold doctorate degrees in relevant disciplines from prestigious universities around the world. Far from being fundamentalist, right-wing, evangelical, recent creationists, their number includes Christians, Jews, Muslims and religious agnostics. These 700+ are among ID's best proponents. The fact that ignorant people might believe the earth to be flat, or to rest on the back of an elephant, or to have been created less than 10,000 years is entirely beside the point.

    Secondly, ID is argued, not from the Bible or any other religious book, but from recent discoveries of science. These include (1) the finely tuned physical constants of the universe, (2) the rarity in the universe of a life-supporting planet remotely resembling planet Earth, (3) the extreme improbability of complex life arising randomly from inanimate matter and (4), a point I should have made earlier, the sudden emergence of a wide variety of animal body forms during the Cambrian explosion. These are matters for consideration in science, not religious education classrooms.

    Thirdly, I showed that Darwinism, the current scientific paradigm, has a long history of bungling and deception. In my lifetime, due to a false Darwinian belief in the existence of vestigal organs, children were being unnecessarily operated upon to remove tonsils, appendices, etc. Haeckel's wood carvings of embryos and Kettlewell's moths glued to tree trunks, that I referred to earlier, were deliberately constructed to mislead people into believing Darwinian evolution had greater scientific supporting evidence than was actually the case. The list of such misdemeanours is lengthy.

    Fourthly, I showed that the Christian religion has had a profound beneficial impact upon the development of modern experimental science. Science in the cultures of Babylon, Egypt, China, India, Judaeo/Christianity, Islam, etc., started from a fairly common knowledge base. But only in Judaeo/Christian culture did it develop: elsewhere it remained stillborn. And I cited Stanley Yaki to show why this has been so. Moreover, when science repudiates its Christian heritage it becomes a menace. For example, Darwin's book "The Descent of Man" placed in the hands of his first cousin Francis Galton led to the invention of the science of eugenics that began to be applied in the US with forced sterilizations of 90,000 American Indians, blacks and impoverished whites, and led directly to the gas chambers of Nazi Germany.

    Finally, Darwinian evolutionists left in full and undisputed control of university biology department and school science classroom have proved ithemselves to be bullies. Against their opponents they are master operators of slur and innuendo. You may have noticed this from the tone of some contributors to the website. I mentioned in an earlier contribution that more than 700 scientists and philosophers of science have publicly dissented from Darwinism. That number would have been greater but for the fact that aspiring dissenters were "leaned upon." Veiled threats of repercussions in employment prospects, etc., were sufficient to bring the more timid to heel. Some dissenting school teachers found themselves moved into teaching non-biological science subjects. Some dissenting academics like Guillermo Gonzalez (competent enough to author a standard textbook on astronomy published by Cambridge University Press) were denied tenure. The most blatant example of Darwinian bullying involved Sternberg, who holds two doctorates in life sciences and is employed by the world famous Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Though not himself a supported of ID, he fell foul of his employers by innocently allowing publication in the Institute's magazine of a peer-reviewed article on body forms that arose during the Cambrian explosion. It did not confirm Darwinian evolution. For this "crime" he was forced to resign as editor of the magazine, locked out of his office and denied access to his papers and specimens. The treatment meted to him was justly condemned by the US Senate.

    When all other methods of silencing critics have failed, Darwinian evolutionists have no compunction about using the machinery of state to achieve their ends. Painting Armageddon-style images of the awful future awaiting science if one of their tenets is questioned, they inveigle gullible parliamentarians into passing laws to counter the threat. Once passed, they increasingly resort to the courts to settle issues they are unable to win in university debating chambers.

    Readers should now see why the UK government is being pressurised into booting ID back into "'religious' margins." I rest my case.

    Ian Turner

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