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.

Name:
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.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Darwinists try to dogmatize Texas science standards

I decided to drop the "a" because some people found "Darwinistas" to be offensive. It is against my principles to disparage anyone on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, etc..

A NY Times article erroneously titled "Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy" says,

DALLAS — Opponents of teaching evolution, in a natural selection of sorts, have gradually shed those strategies that have not survived the courts. Over the last decade, creationism has given rise to “creation science,” which became “intelligent design,” which in 2005 was banned from the public school curriculum in Pennsylvania by a federal judge.

The term "creation science" (sometimes called scientific creationism) appeared much longer ago than the last decade -- the term appears in the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education district court decision of 1982 and the Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court decision of 1987. Also, creationism did not directly give rise to "creation science" and intelligent design," because the latter two disciplines are based on scientific observations and reasoning and not on religious sources. Finally, the federal judge did not ban ID "from the public school curriculum in Pennsylvania" -- he only banned it from the Dover Area school district.

The article continues,

Now a battle looms in Texas over science textbooks that teach evolution, and the wrestle for control seizes on three words. None of them are “creationism” or “intelligent design” or even “creator.”

The words are “strengths and weaknesses.”

Starting this summer, the state education board will determine the curriculum for the next decade and decide whether the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution should be taught. The benign-sounding phrase, some argue, is a reasonable effort at balance. But critics say it is a new strategy taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, a way for students to hear religious objections under the heading of scientific discourse.

That's ridiculous -- it is like arguing that teaching evolution is an underhanded way of introducing atheism into public schools.

The NY Times article says,
.
The “strengths and weaknesses” language was slipped into the curriculum standards in Texas to appease creationists when the State Board of Education first mandated the teaching of evolution in the late 1980s. It has had little effect because evolution skeptics have not had enough power on the education board to win the argument that textbooks do not adequately cover the weaknesses of evolution.

How can the words "strengths and weaknesses" be a "new strategy" (as claimed by the article's title) if the words have been in the Texas science standards since the late 1980's? It is certainly not new in Texas.

The NY Times article says,

“Serious students will not come to study in our universities if Texas is labeled scientifically backward,” said Dr. Dan Foster, former chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

There we go again with that tired old familiar "scaring them away, denying us opportunities, making us a laughingstock" bogeyman again.

The NY Times article says,

Although the state education board is free to set aside or modify their proposals, committee members will recommend that the “strengths and weaknesses” phrase be removed, said Kevin Fisher, a committee member who is against the teaching of creationism.

“When you consider evolution, there are certainly questions that have yet to be answered,” said Mr. Fisher, science coordinator for the Lewisville Independent School District in North Texas.

But, he added, “a question that has yet to be answered is certainly different from an alleged weakness.”

Mr. Fisher points to the flaws in Darwinian theory that are listed on an anti-evolution Web site, strengthsandweaknesses.org, which is run by Texans for Better Science Education.

“Many of them are decades old,” Mr. Fisher said of the flaws listed. “They’ve all been thoroughly refuted.”

The Darwinists are not willing to just maintain the status quo, but are seeking to roll back the protections of critics and criticism of Darwinism.

“[A] question that has yet to be answered is certainly different from an alleged weakness”? If the question could be answered, it wouldn’t be a weakness. Also, an unanswered question about evolution is a flaw in the theory, so how could alleged flaws in evolution have "all been thoroughly refuted" if unanswered questions about the theory exist?

Also, the Darwinists have a double standard. They say of unanswered questions about Darwinism, “we don’t know the answers now, but we are working on finding the answers and we may find them someday," but they say that no new questions or revisions of old questions are going to be found in the future.

Yes, I remember reading intelligent-design and irreducible-complexity arguments many decades ago, but a lot of the evidence is of recent origin. Recent discoveries have shown that cells are not just amorphous blobs of protoplasm as previously presumed but contain remarkably complex nanomachines (e.g., bacterial flagella), biochemical factories (e.g., the blood-clotting cascade), and data-processing systems (e.g., genetic codes).

The NY Times article has stirred a lot of interest and controversy and articles about it have been posted on Evolution News & Views, Panda's Thumb, Uncommon Descent, etc. (see sidebar for links).

It used to be that Cornelia Dean wrote the Darwinist hatchet jobs for the NY Times. Now it looks like the NY Times has a new hatchet man (or, should I say, hatchet woman or hatchet person?), the author of this article, Laura Beil.

The story was also covered by the San Antonio Express-News.

Also, the National Center for Science Education reported,

Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science told NCSE, "What Bradley and his colleagues actually plan to do is damage evolution instruction by trying to get the new science standards to mention alleged but false 'weaknesses' of evolution, in order to weaken evolution content, confuse students and make them think science is less accurate and reliable than it really is about biological origins, and intimidate teachers to avoid or minimize the subject (as many of them do now in Texas)." With respect to Bradley's description of evolution as theory not fact, he added, "This banal canard is indulged in by every creationist who thinks he can get away with it. ... Evolution is a fact, if fact is defined as something for which so much reliable evidence exists that it would be irrational to deny it."

Wow -- so evolution is a fact. I guess that settles it, doesn't it?

Steven Schafersman wrote a long article about the controversy for Texas Citizens for Science.

A NY Times editorial says,

The Texas State Board of Education is again considering a science curriculum that teaches the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, setting an example that several other states are likely to follow. This is code for teaching creationism.

It has the advantage of sounding more balanced than teaching “intelligent design,” which the courts have consistently banned from science classrooms. It has the disadvantage of being nonsense.

"[W]hich the courts have consistently banned from science classrooms"? Only one judge ever ruled on intelligent design, Judge John E. Jones III in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

Darwinists’ paranoia towards all criticisms of Darwinism is stifling scientific inquiry. For example, the Florida Citizens for Science blog has banned me from discussing co-evolution there.

I discuss co-evolution in several articles in the "Non-ID criticisms of evolution" post-label group in this blog. This post label is also in the sidebar.
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26 Comments:

Anonymous Michael said...

"It's (EXPELLED) going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant..." PZ Meyers

The NY Times is very has very similar language when it comes to your typical militant atheistic blogger. Now they claim without any real evidence, that Creationists are using code words now. Talk about conspiracy theorists...lol...

In the medical field for example, drugs are always evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses on the human body and mind. So in this area of science, there is absolutely no problem. You will not see the NY Times claiming any conspiracy there...

Evolutionists tend to want to force their presumptions on life to people who believe in the existence of God. In so doing, they benefit from obtaining money and using billions of those dollars (from taxpayers) for the purpose of spreading their hypothesis. I mean what is the benefit for mankind of trying to find water on Mars that could support life? Would we really go back to the stone age if we ceased such wasteful spending on Mars and use it to solve things like the energy crisis?

Saturday, June 07, 2008 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous bobxxxx said...

Darwinistas? You're really fucking stupid Fafarman.

Saturday, June 07, 2008 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Quantum physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff, who isn't a creationist, a Christian, or evidently even a theist (but who definitely isn't a materialist,) has written a favorable review of the intelligent design book The Design of Life, by Dembski and Wells.

Mohrhoff writes "There's no doubt in my mind that specified complexity is the 'smoking gun' of some other-than-human intelligence at work, as the authors maintain." He finds some things in the book to criticize; but not many.

ID is so far from being a creationist plot, or a Christian conspiracy, etc., that anyone who isn't a materialist would find it congenial. And even some agnostics are involved in intelligent design.

Google "Mohrhoff" along with "Dembski" and "Wells", for the review.

Saturday, June 07, 2008 5:42:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

bobxxxx said...
>>>>>> Darwinistas? You're really fucking stupid Fafarman. <<<<<

Look at the list of "Recent Posts" at the top of the sidebar. The maximum allowed length of the titles in that list is very short and cannot be increased, so I try to keep my post titles short while packing as much punch into them as possible. "Darwinistas" conveys the idea that they are sort of terrorists. Of course, readers can see the full post titles by scrolling down through the posts, but I also want the titles shown in the list of "Recent Posts" to convey a complete meaning if possible. So I think I am being really fucking smart, not really fucking stupid.

Saturday, June 07, 2008 6:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

Comments deleted.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 5:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin said...

>>>An unanswered question about evolution is a flaw in the theory

Well, yes and no. The fact that there are some things not (yet) explained by a scientific theory does not mean that they are beyond the scope of the theory, and it surely does not mean that a concurrent theory is better at explaining. For example, there are lots of phenomena in my current research field (materials science) that are not understood (otherwise I'd be unemployed), but this does not mean they are unexplainable (and it would not be helpful to create the "theory of intelligent failure" if we observe material failure phenomena that are difficult to explain).

>>>Recent discoveries have shown that cells are not just amorphous blobs of protoplasm ...but contain remarkably complex nanomachines ... biochemical factories...

So what? Are you claiming that there is no way evolution can explain them? How can ID explain them? By simply saying "They were designed this way"?

>>>So evolution is a fact. I guess that settles it, doesn't it?

Considering the overwhelming evidence. yes, it is as much a fact as most other scientific theories you can rely on.

What's the overwhelming evidence for ID-type theories? Have design processes (even on a small scale) been observed? Is there a prediction it can make (for exampl,e if there is no evoilution, wouldn't this have drastic consequences for immunology)? Can it explain seemingly "bad design" (human retina is inverted, look at the ridiculous way the human lower body is constructed which makes us prone to hernias etc.)? What exactly can ID-type theories explain?

Sunday, June 08, 2008 5:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael wrote: "Now they claim without any real evidence, that Creationists are using code words now"

They have been -- and it was demonstrated in court (see Barbara Forrest's testimony in the Dover trial over the 'evolution' of Of Pandas and Peoples in the late 1980s, before and after SCOTUS rules creationism unconstitutional).

He added (not sure his point here): "In the medical field for example, drugs are always evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses on the human body and mind. So in this area of science, there is absolutely no problem. You will not see the NY Times claiming any conspiracy there..."

That is how science is supposed to work. Of course, problems arise when results are deliberately skewed and drugs approved despite contrary findings, in which case it's front-page news.

Michael also wrote, "Evolutionists tend to want to force their presumptions on life to people who believe in the existence of God"

Evolution does not negate the existence of God. There are prominent biologists (Ken? Miller, author of the most widely used (I believe) high school biology textbook, is a practicing Catholic) who believe in God. Even Pope John Paul II accepted evolutionary theory.


"In so doing," not sure what this connection is supposed to mean. Because they "want to force their ideas on life to (sic) people" they "benefit from obtaining money..."? This makes no sense. If anything, it's the opposite: they benefit from ... money (from taxpayers) to "force their presumptions on life" on people ... but of course, the reason that this is the case is because it's the only scientifically valid theory and so far the only one permitted under the constitution (even a Republican judge agreed).

Michael questioned, "I mean what is the benefit for mankind of trying to find water on Mars that could support life? Would we really go back to the stone age if we ceased such wasteful spending on Mars and use it to solve things like the energy crisis?"

This is specifically unrelated to evolutionary theory on earth. It is more a problem of physics and chemistry (and perhaps biology, should water and evidence of life forms on Mars be found). Liberals like Gary Treaudeau (sp) (the author of Doonsebury) questioned space investigation years ago (I have no idea if he's changed his mind). I would argue that there are benefits from the research, and if water is found then that means human travel to Mars is a bit more feasible (and colonization of the planet as well; see the Kim Robinson Stanley Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars sci-fi triology for an example of this, Ben Bova has a novel or two about the topic as well; as you can see, it is science fiction right now, but Robinson argues that Mars could be transformed in 100 years with currently existing technology. Not sure if he's right and it would certainly be expensive).

Jim Sherwood noted, "Quantum physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff, who isn't a creationist, a Christian, or evidently even a theist (but who definitely isn't a materialist,) has written a favorable review of the intelligent design book The Design of Life, by Dembski and Wells."

Of course, he's a physicist, not a biologist. He addresses the ideas as ideas. The arguments of Dembski and Wells are better addressed by biologists. From a logical point of view, their ideas may have merit. From the point of view of biologists with a thorough knowledge of the facts, their ideas aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

Jim Sherwood added, "ID is so far from being a creationist plot, or a Christian conspiracy, etc., that anyone who isn't a materialist would find it congenial. And even some agnostics are involved in intelligent design."

So you're forgetting the "Wedge document"? The whole purpose of ID is to overthrow the materialistic worldview that dominates science to replace it with the logos (JC himself). Of course, this is a logical fallacy (a sort of reverse Guilt by Association). To put it another way, let's take the apparently oft-cited creationist urban legend that Darwin "repented" and decried his theory on his death bed (didn't happen, but let's pretend for a second). Would this mean that his theory has no merit? No, even if it were true. Science is "true" based on the evidence, not the people who support it. Even if all those who supported evolution were atheists or agnostics (and not all are), that would not make the scientific theory less true. The truthfulness or truth value of science is derived from the rules of science, not from the opinions of those who support it.

Larry barfed, ""Darwinistas" conveys the idea that they are sort of terrorists"

But they're not terrorists. They are merely supported the argument that high school and college classrooms should have only good science in them. ID is not good science. It's not even bad science. It's not science.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 6:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry wrote, ""Darwinistas" conveys the idea that they are sort of terrorists"

Why does the -ista ending convey that? As a speaker and professor of Spanish and as a human being with a brain, I find the idea that an ending (that is simply equivalent to -ist in English) somehow delivers the connotation of terrorist repulsive. Of course, this blog is inherently repulsive as well, so it's not a surprise (that doesn't make it right, it just once again shows the host's stupidity).

Sunday, June 08, 2008 7:27:00 AM  
Blogger Bill C said...

It looks like Larry has fallen off the edge. He doesn't even abide by his new "rules" as to his censorship. Even Maxwell's equations have become too controversial. The bottom line is that he will censor anything for which he has no answer.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 9:13:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said (Sunday, June 08, 2008 7:27:00 AM) --

>>>>>>Larry wrote, ""Darwinistas" conveys the idea that they are sort of terrorists"

Why does the -ista ending convey that? <<<<<<

Well, I think that to a lot of native Engilsh-speakers, "-ista" connotes terrorism, as in "Sandinista." As I said, I try to keep my post titles short to squeeze them into the "Recent Posts" list in the sidebar, and I convey a lot of meaning here by just adding a single letter, "a."

>>>>> Of course, this blog is inherently repulsive as well <<<<<

If this blog were not repulsive to a lot of people, it would not have much purpose, would it?

Sunday, June 08, 2008 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Bill C barfed,

>>>>> He doesn't even abide by his new "rules" as to his censorship. Even Maxwell's equations have become too controversial. <<<<<<

You lousy dunghill, I said that ViU's statement about Maxwell's equations was not the reason why I deleted his comment, and that comment was in another thread.

Also, calling Maxwell's equations "simple" is controversial -- maybe even too controversial. Maybe even just plain wrong. If a comment here seriously asserts that the sun rises in the West or that bears don't poop in the woods, would I be justified in deleting that comment or should I just let this blog be cluttered up with crap?

You are a lousy hypocrite. You see nothing wrong with Fatheaded Ed's kicking me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule, yet you call my deletion of frivolous comments here "censorship."

Sunday, June 08, 2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Martin said (Sunday, June 08, 2008 5:27:00 AM) --
>>>>>> The fact that there are some things not (yet) explained by a scientific theory does not mean that they are beyond the scope of the theory, and it surely does not mean that a concurrent theory is better at explaining. <<<<<<<

They are flaws in the theory even if they are not beyond the scope of the theory.

>>>>>> So what? Are you claiming that there is no way evolution can explain them? How can ID explain them? <<<<<<

ID does not scientifically explain anything -- ID just attempts to show that evolution cannot explain them. ID is mainly just a criticism of evolution.

>>>>>> Considering the overwhelming evidence. <<<<<<

Evolution has a lot of evidence in its favor, but there is also a lot of evidence against it.

The Darwinists are contradicting themselves. First they say that there are no weaknesses in evolution theory, then they say that they are working on finding answers to weaknesses and may find the answers in the future. And by trying to remove the term "weaknesses" from the Texas state science standards, they are asserting that there is no possibility that weaknesses will be found in the future.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

I don't have time to answer, in detail, the generally false and uninformed assertions of Anonymous Ones who are still transfixed by the old, collapsing Darwinist Line. I'm putting some further information on my blogger profile (click on my name.) It has a link to My Web Page: my "channel" at YouTube; which has some videos that I find interesting, some commentary, and even a space for comments. Since space is limited, any and all comments will be severely moderated.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 1:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Transfixed One said...

< If a comment here seriously asserts that ... bears don't poop in the woods, would I be justified in deleting that comment or should I just let this blog be cluttered up with crap? >

Um, weren't you implying that bears poop in the woods? (What does the blog have to do with it?)

Besides, wasn't it established that some bears poop on icebergs (not having either woods or blogs for the purpose)?

Sunday, June 08, 2008 4:49:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said (Sunday, June 08, 2008 6:49:00 AM) --
>>>>>> Michael wrote: "Now they claim without any real evidence, that Creationists are using code words now"

They have been <<<<<<

The Darwinists are also using code words and expressions, e.g., "law," "fact," and "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology."

>>>>>He added (not sure his point here): "In the medical field for example, drugs are always evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses on the human body and mind. So in this area of science, there is absolutely no problem. You will not see the NY Times claiming any conspiracy there..."

That is how science is supposed to work. <<<<<<<

But no "weaknesses" of evolution theory are allowed. For example, my discussions about co-evolution were banned on Panda's Thumb and the Florida Citizens for Science blog. This blog's articles about co-evolution are under the post label "Non-ID criticisms of evolution" in the sidebar.

>>>>>>Michael also wrote, "Evolutionists tend to want to force their presumptions on life to people who believe in the existence of God"

Evolution does not negate the existence of God. <<<<<<<

It does to some people. People should not be told what their religious beliefs are supposed to be, as Judge Jones did in his Dover opinion:

Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

>>>>>> The arguments of Dembski and Wells are better addressed by biologists. <<<<<<

Wells has a Ph.D in molecular and cell biology from UC-Berkeley.

>>>>>Jim Sherwood added, "ID is so far from being a creationist plot, or a Christian conspiracy, etc., that anyone who isn't a materialist would find it congenial. And even some agnostics are involved in intelligent design." <<<<<<

Even an atheist who converted to deism, Anthony Flew, supports ID.

>>>>>> Science is "true" based on the evidence, not the people who support it. Even if all those who supported evolution were atheists or agnostics (and not all are), that would not make the scientific theory less true. The truthfulness or truth value of science is derived from the rules of science, not from the opinions of those who support it..<<<<<<

And even if all those who supported ID were bible-pounding holy-rolling fundies (and not all are), that would not make ID less true.

>>>>> But they're not terrorists. They are merely supported the argument that high school and college classrooms should have only good science in them. ID is not good science. <<<<<<<

The issue here is not ID -- the issue is whether the term "weakness" should be retained in the Texas science standards.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 7:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

>>>They are flaws in the theory even if they are not beyond the scope of the theory.

This means that they are possibly resolvable *within* the theory, i.e. the theory might be refined to exlain them. Or do I misunderstand what you mean here?

>>>ID does not scientifically explain anything

O.k., so then what's the reason for anybody wanting it to be taught in schools' science classes?
"Hey kids, here's an alternative to evolution. It doesn't explain anything, though?"

If there are flaws in evolution theory, it is o.k. to point them out, but it is nonsense to call the pointing to flaws a "theory" in itself - and as far as I know, ID proponents do call it a theory.

>>>First they say that there are no weaknesses in evolution theory, then they say that they are working on finding answers to weaknesses and may find the answers in the future.

I think what is meant is that there is no evidence of *fundamental* flaws in the theory - it still may contain some things that could be improved or refined.

>>>And by trying to remove the term "weaknesses" from the Texas state science standards, they are asserting that there is no possibility that weaknesses will be found in the future.

So should we discuss the weaknesses of Newtonian mechanics (just in case somebody finds some some day)?

>>>People should not be told what their religious beliefs are supposed to be

So the fact that some people claim that evolution negates a God (or makes a God extremely improbable) somehow makes evolution theory problematic?

Sorry, but the truth of the theory cannot depend on what some people (not all people) think it implies. If I were stating "ID to me proves that mass murder is legal" (no, I don't believe that, it's just adeliberately silly statement), does this discount ID?

>>>And even if all those who supported ID were bible-pounding holy-rolling fundies (and not all are), that would not make ID less true.

So the fact that some people conclude from evolutionary theory that there is no god discounts evolution, but the fact that some people who belief in ID are fundies does not make it less true? That seems to be a strange double standard.

Monday, June 09, 2008 4:48:00 AM  
Anonymous voice in the urbanness said...

Larry must have found my argument irrefutable. He has censored it without a trace and has misrepresented one of my previous statements.

Monday, June 09, 2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Martin said,

>>>>>>They are flaws in the theory even if they are not beyond the scope of the theory.

This means that they are possibly resolvable *within* the theory, i.e. the theory might be refined to exlain them. Or do I misunderstand what you mean here? <<<<<<

And as the King of Siam said in "The King and I," etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Martin, you are making this too complicated. All I am saying is that there should be open discussion about the weaknesses of scientific theories, including evolution. Instead, discussion of the weaknesses of evolution is treated as heresy and anathema. For example, I have been banned from discussing co-evolution on Panda's Thumb and the blog of the Florida Citizens for Science.

ViU driveled,

>>>>> Larry must have found my argument irrefutable. He has censored it without a trace <<<<<

No, dunghill, I deleted your comment for violation of the new rule against lying about objective facts.

Monday, June 09, 2008 1:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

The Darwin-fans continually talk about the "wedge document," which was produced by the Discovery Institute. So presumably they hold that the intelligent design hypothesis was originated by the Discovery Institute; or that the DI owns it?

Who told them that? Barbara Forrest, Eugenie Scott, PZ Myers or some other propagandist? In any case, that claim is pure garbage.

ID originated in the 1970's when it began to appear to some scientists that intelligence was apparently necessary to account for some features of terrestial life.

One of the first to propose the ID hypothesis was astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, who had been a lifelong materialist and atheist. In 1982 Hoyle wrote that "intelligent design," as he called it, is the best explanation for the first living cells on earth. At that time, Hoyle supposed that the intelligence involved is space aliens.

Monday, June 09, 2008 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

By 1990 Hoyle and his co-worker Wickramasinghe were proposing, in their book Cosmic Life-Force (1990), that the intelligence ultimately involved was a "cosmic intelligence" that "emerged naturally in the Universe;" that's on p.139, I believe.

And the Discovery Institute? It didn't even come into existence until 1993. And Hoyle never had any connection with it.

Beginning in the 1970's or early 1980's, some scientists who were Christians also developed an interest in intelligent design ideas. Some, but not all, were influenced by Hoyle. Nobody was the proprietor of such ideas; although it's hardly suprising that many Christians became interested. The Mystery of Life's Origins (1984) was an early book by Christians on ID. Yes, I've read it; and it does consider Hoyle's views.

Monday, June 09, 2008 2:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Hoyle's life-long materialistic and atheistic views changed under the influence of his ideas about the role of a naturally-emerging cosmic intelligence. He began to propose that the universe might conform to a "purposive scenario," in which intelligence plays some directing role. But he never became a theist, or even a deist.

As for the Discovery Institute, I think they've done fine work in publicizing scientific views on intelligent design. But I'm certainly not their apostle. I'm pretty liberal, they are very conservative. And if they prefer to construe the intelligence as something supernatural (i.e., "above nature",) I certainly don't have that inclination.

Monday, June 09, 2008 3:05:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Jim Sherwood said...
>>>>>>The Darwin-fans continually talk about the "wedge document," which was produced by the Discovery Institute. So presumably they hold that the intelligent design hypothesis was originated by the Discovery Institute; or that the DI owns it?

Who told them that? Barbara Forrest, Eugenie Scott, PZ Myers or some other propagandist? <<<<<<<<

"Who told them that?" Are you asking us or telling us? Barbara Forrest and Eugenie Scott in particular told them that -- and PZ Myers presumably told them that too. It's all guilt-by-association and conspiracy theories.

A large part of the Dover opinion was based on the book "Of Pandas and People." The name of the book appears 75 times in the opinion. The Dover plaintiffs subpoenaed everything connected to the book -- manuscripts, internal communications, etc., and even subpoenaed the manuscript of the book's successor, "The Design of Life." "Of Pandas and People" is not the only ID book and is not even the first ID book.

Monday, June 09, 2008 3:09:00 PM  
Anonymous PZ Mires said...

I know I'm the Mightiest Chief
Of believers in Darwin's belief!
My faith is so strong,
I think it's not wrong
To sneak and misshelve like a thief!

(My friend PZ Mires got that name because his head is still stuck in the mud of 19th century materialist and Darwinist notions. He's so enamored of mud, that he simply presumes that all critters, and humans, must have somehow cropped up out of mire by mindless, materialistic processes. So naturally he creeps into bookstores to hide ID books in places where the store owners don't want them to be put. He knows PZ myers, who said on his blog (July 30,2007), that he sneaks into bookstores and does the same thing. -- Jim Sherwood.)

Monday, June 09, 2008 5:44:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

I decided to change "Darwinistas" to "Darwinists" in the post title. See note below the title.

Monday, June 09, 2008 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Dogmatist Ate My Homework said...

In the Boston Globe today, I explain how scientists used to think that there was one big difference between E. coli and the elephant (and us) -- we get old and E. coli doesn't. But now it turns out that E. coli was not immortal after all.

Comments
#1

You've discovered the true origin of the flagellum! As bacteria aged, they needed support to get around so they grew the flagellum as a walking stick. Everything else, as they say, is history!

Posted by: Ian | June 3, 2008 7:55 AM

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 12:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Sherwood babbled, "ID originated in the 1970's when it began to appear to some scientists that intelligence was apparently necessary to account for some features of terrestial life.

"One of the first to propose the ID hypothesis was astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, who had been a lifelong materialist and atheist."

ID was proposed long before Hoyle. I forget the name, but it was at least 100 years before Hoyle! (If it wasn't around before then, it was coined shortly after the publication of Darwin's book, The Origin of Species.)

ID is merely the current tool of the creationists to get away from evolution. This is what the book Of Pandas and Peoples shows (for the record, it was used in the court case in large part because the school board members who adopted the ID statement also bought a number of copies of the book, copies they wanted placed in the classroom, if I remember correctly): the creationists changed their language from "evidence of creation" (or, more colloquially, "Goddidit") to "evidence of intelligent design."

I'm not familiar with Hoyle, but it wouldn't surprise me if his concept of intelligence was similar to Einstein's conception of God -- not a real person but a sign of organization through the laws of science. In that sense, Einstein would not be a theist in most senses of the word!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 10:34:00 AM  

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