I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What's in a name?

Right now there is a big dispute going on over the origin of the term "intelligent design." See here, here, and here.

So who cares what "intelligent design" is called? As Juliet said in the play "Romeo and Juliet," What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." And the corollary is that a skunk by any other name would stink as bad.

By making such a big stink over the term "intelligent design," the Darwinists are creating confusion in the English language by encouraging ID proponents to use some other term. Part of the problem is niggling questions like, "who is the intelligent designer?", "what does the intelligent designer look like?", and "who made the intelligent designer"?". Judge Jones' infamous Kitzmiller v. Dover decision has made a big contribution towards discouraging use of the term by ID proponents. The term "sudden emergence theory" has been proposed as a substitute for "intelligent design." IMO the term "intelligent design" was a poor choice because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer, but I use the term so that people will know what I am talking about. Yet another part of the problem is that the term "intelligent design" has been misused as a general term to describe all criticisms of Darwinism, including non-ID criticisms.

Today there is no universally accepted catch-all term that covers all scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of Darwinism, including ID and non-ID criticisms; the terms "creation science" and "scientific creationism"used to be such terms, but these terms were outlawed by the Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard (BTW, these terms also refer to creationist ideas in non-biological scientific fields, e.g., geology and astronomy). Part of the problem is that Darwinists have made a big stink over use of the terms "science" and "scientific" in referring to ideas that suggest creationism, but bad science as well as good science can be called "science" and "scientific."

Another example of a misused term is "judicial activism"; it used to simply mean a lack of judicial restraint, but the term has been so badly misused that we just don't agree anymore on what the term means. Judge Jones is definitely an activist judge because he showed no restraint in his Kitzmiller v. Dover decision; for example, he did not have to rule on the scientific merits of intelligent design and irreducible complexity, but he did. However, he asserted in the Kitzmiller opinion that he is not an "activist judge" and he later defined "activist judge" as meaning that the person using the term disagrees with the judge's decision! That is no definition at all. And I can think of much better terms -- many of them unmentionable -- to describe Judge Jones.

There is also the Darwinists' objection to the use of the term "Darwinism." "Darwinism" simply means evolution by random mutation and natural selection. The term "neo-Darwinism" is sometimes used instead.
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5 Comments:

Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

"O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet."

(Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 1.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Your Shakespeare-scholarship is pretty good, Larry. I just looked it up to check the context.

Darwinism might as well be called "Matthewism," after the wealthy farmer who first dreamed up and published a brief outline of the theory, in 1831: long before Darwin.

Patrick Matthew was a materialist, an atheist, and an imperialist, with little scientific education.
He understood artificial selection, though: and knew about variation, Malthusian population-pressures, and a fossil record showing great changes. He thought that his theory was a "self-evident fact" obvious "a priori," and requiring no verification.

It was Matthew who coined the phrase "natural process of selection" to describe the process which he tentatively outlined: which was the same as Darwin's. Darwin admitted that Matthew had priority when the farmer raised the issue in 1860, but said, probably honestly, that he had never read Matthew's book previously.

Perhaps because Darwinists want to think that Darwin was a great scientist and far beyond any farmer (who published nothing else in biology,) there is no mention of Matthew's name anywhere in the Britannica Online!

There's some (not very good) info on Matthew on the Internet, and a lot more in a couple of books by W.J.Dempster.

One Matthew, guiding a plow:
"By golly, I'm dreaming as how
All species arose
By chance, I'll suppose,
And selection! I know it all now!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 3:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

By whatever name it's called, Darwinism is the skunk that's been stinking up human thought and society since 1860 or so. Or at least Fred Hoyle thought the theory not only false, but vastly destructive:

"Whether Darwinism, with its philosophy that opportunism is all, was the cause of the Realpolitik that overwhelmed the world from 1860 onwards, or whether it was Realpolitik that spawned Darwinism, is hard to say, for the two went hand-in-hand, leading with mounting inevitability to two World Wars.."

(Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe, 1983, p.251.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 3:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Marta Becket said...

Jim, be sure to visit the Amargosa Opera House.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Marta Becket: Marta, I'm honored by your message. You're a fine artist and a very interesting person. I'd like to visit the Opera House, and I'll see if I can do so sometime.

Thursday, August 23, 2007 5:51:00 PM  

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