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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.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Two new websites about evolution & religion

There are two big new websites about the issue of evolution and religion: faith + evolution, run by the pro-ID Discovery Institute, and The BioLogos Foundation. I will comment here about the BioLogos website because that website seems especially confusing and ambiguous.

The BioLogos website leans towards theistic evolution (The Questions):

1. How is BioLogos different from Theistic Evolution, Intelligent Design and Creationism?
BioLogos is most similar to Theistic Evolution. Theism is the belief in a God who cares for and interacts with the creation. Theistic Evolution, therefore, is the belief that evolution is the way by which God created life.

BioLogos defines "evolution" as follows:
.
2. What is evolution?
Simply put, the term evolution means a change over time. For example, one might say that laptop computers have evolved over the past decade. But when biologists use the term, they refer to the entire history of life on Earth.

IMO that is an incomplete definition of the term "evolution." The Latin root for "evolve" means "unrolling" or "unfolding," so the term "evolution" implies development, improvement or a pattern of change (e.g., the evolution of stars), as distinguished from random change.

BioLogos says,

Intelligent Design

Contrary to some interpretations, Intelligent Design, or ID, makes no specific theological claims.

LOL. Tell that to that stupid bozo Judge "Jackass" Jones!

BioLogos continues,

l Proponents of ID only argue that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."

BioLogos is quoting the Discovery Institute here. IMO the term "intelligent design" is unfortunate because it implies the existence of an "intelligent" -- possibly supernatural -- designer and because it implies that some living things were "intelligently designed" or are the result of intelligent causes. To me, ID is just the study of whether the combination of natural genetic variation and natural selection is sufficient to account for the complexity and diversity of living things.

This definition can be confusing because Theistic Evolutionists also believe an intelligent being created the world.

There is little difference between Michael Behe's ID and Ken Miller's theistic evolution, but Judge "Jackass" Jones ruled that the former is unconstitutional but the latter is not.

Theistic Evolutionists, however, also believe evolution by natural selection is the process God used to create. Although advocates of ID do not disagree that evolution is change over time, they deny the biological process of evolution by natural selection could account for the present complexity of life forms on Earth.

More than just natural selection is needed -- genetic variation is also needed. And many ID advocates do not deny the effectiveness of natural selection -- they only deny that natural causes are sufficient to produce the necessary genetic variation.
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28 Comments:

Blogger Olorin said...

“ ‘Proponents of ID only argue that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.’ BioLogos is quoting the Discovery Institute here..... To me, ID is just the study of whether the combination of natural genetic variation and natural selection is sufficient to account for the complexity and diversity of living things.”

Larry echos another famous sage: " ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’ “ Obviously, the Discovery Institute has no right to define intelligent design. All they did was invent it.

Instead of perverting their term, why don’t you coin your own? “Antievolution” would be a good choice. It could then join other famous scientific theories that lead to a deeper understanding of the universe, such as Antigravity, Antitrelativity, and Antipasto.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 2:11:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Olorin moaned,
>>>>>> Obviously, the Discovery Institute has no right to define intelligent design. All they did was invent it.<<<<<<

No, they did not invent it.

As I said, IMO ID was a poorly chosen term. It is usually associated with "irreducible complexity."

>>>>>>why don’t you coin your own? “Antievolution” would be a good choice. <<<<<<

No, that would not be a good choice -- it is too vague.

>>>>>> Antigravity, Antitrelativity, <<<<<<<

Can you give examples of well-known people who held those views?

No definition of ID could be as dumb as the term "intelligent design creationism."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 3:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

"No definition of ID could be as dumb as the term "intelligent design creationism.""

"intelligent design creationism" is not a definition. It is just a name for one of the many types of creationism. I fail to see what your point is here. To what do you object?

Friday, June 05, 2009 6:50:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Theobald said,
>>>>>> "intelligent design creationism" is not a definition. <<<<<<<

I never said that it is.

>>>>>> It is just a name for one of the many types of creationism. I fail to see what your point is here. To what do you object? <<<<<<<

Intelligent design is different from creationism. ID is based on scientific observations and scientific reasoning whereas creationism is based on religious sources. The Discovery Institute says,

Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.

Also, Francis Collins' BioLogos website says,

Intelligent Design

Contrary to some interpretations, Intelligent Design, or ID, makes no specific theological claims.

Friday, June 05, 2009 9:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

Please explain how you can have intelligent design without a designer. The ID supporters seem to find this difficult to address. Perhaps you will be an exception.

Saturday, June 06, 2009 7:04:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Theobald said,
>>>>>> Please explain how you can have intelligent design without a designer. <<<<<<<

I don't like the name "intelligent design" because it implies the existence of an intelligent or supernatural designer. Then people start asking questions like, "who is the designer?" "What does the designer look like?" "Who designed the designer?" To me, ID is just the study of the likelihood that all of the complexity and diversity of living things could have been created by an evolutionary process that was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection. BTW, I am beginning to think that under that broad definition of ID, my thoughts about coevolution fall into the ID category, though I have previously considered those thoughts to be in the category of non-ID criticisms of evolution. My thoughts about coevolution are summarized here.

>>>>>> The ID supporters seem to find this difficult to address. <<<<<<

The Darwinists also find this difficult to address. It's like the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Anyway, questions about a designer are irrelevant to the points that ID proponents are trying to make.

There is little difference between Michael Behe's ID and Ken Miller's theistic evolution, but Judge "Jackass" Jones ruled that the former is unconstitutional but the latter is not.

Saturday, June 06, 2009 8:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

"The Darwinists also find this difficult to address. It's like the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin."

It is not in the least comperable. The "Darwinists" don't need to address it. Only the supporters of "Intelligent Design".

From your description, you have more in common with the "Darwinists" than the creationists. It seems that the only question you have is whether evolution is driven by random forces.

Monday, June 08, 2009 8:03:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> The "Darwinists" don't need to address it. Only the supporters of "Intelligent Design". <<<<<<

Why should ID supporters answer the question when it is not part of ID? ID only addresses scientific questions and ignores questions about an alleged designer. Asking ID supporters questions about the designer is like asking Darwinists questions about how life originated from non-life -- the origin of life from non-life is not part of evolution theory.

>>>>>> From your description, you have more in common with the "Darwinists" than the creationists. It seems that the only question you have is whether evolution is driven by random forces. <<<<<<

That "only" question is a darn big question!

BTW, ID guru Michael Behe believes in an old earth and common descent. I have no positions about those things.

Monday, June 08, 2009 9:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

>>>>>> The "Darwinists" don't need to address it. Only the supporters of "Intelligent Design". <<<<<<

> Why should ID supporters answer the question when it is not part of ID? only addresses scientific questions and ignores questions about an alleged designer. <

Perhaps ID should drop the word Design then?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:02:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>Perhaps ID should drop the word Design then? <<<<<<

Well, then what's left? Just "intelligent"? What in the hell does that mean?

As I said, I don't like the name "intelligent design," so don't ask me to justify it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 8:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

> Well, then what's left? Just "intelligent"? What in the hell does that mean? <

Well it obviously isn't intelligent. Perhaps the whole term is meaningless unless you accept that it requires a designer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Well it obviously isn't intelligent. <<<<<

WHAT? YOU were the one who suggested changing the name to "intelligent."

>>>>> Perhaps the whole term is meaningless unless you accept that it requires a designer. <<<<<<

As I said, I don't like the term "ID," so please don't ask or expect me to try to justify it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

> WHAT? YOU were the one who suggested changing the name to "intelligent." <

False. I think that it needs a totally new name. In my first post I thought that I should also mention dropping the word "intelligent" also but I thought that would go over the heads of most of the readers on this blog. It appears that I was correct.

It looks like you are talking about an inevitable process rather than one that is guided by some "designer". Therefore it appears that both words are inappropriate.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> WHAT? YOU were the one who suggested changing the name to "intelligent." <

False. <<<<<<<

Wrong -- the statement is true, bozo. You said, "Perhaps ID should drop the word Design then?"

>>>>> It looks like you are talking about an inevitable process rather than one that is guided by some "designer". <<<<<<<

No, I only think that ID -- or maybe ID by another name -- should be the study of the likelihood that random genetic variation and natural selection can account for the complexity and diversity of living things.

Friday, June 12, 2009 12:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry you dunghill,

Theobald did not say that the name should be changed to "intelligent" and you are only showing your lack of intelligence by claiming that. It seems that you are constantly having problems with logic. Perhaps a formal course on the subject would reduce the number of instances of your complete humiliation?

Friday, June 12, 2009 5:45:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Theobald did not say that the name should be changed to "intelligent" <<<<<<

You stupid fathead, he proposed that "design" be dropped from "intelligent design," and that is tantamount to proposing that "ID" be changed to "intelligent." Duh.

Friday, June 12, 2009 6:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

> You stupid fathead, he proposed that "design" be dropped from "intelligent design," and that is tantamount to proposing that "ID" be changed to "intelligent." Duh. <

Not at all. A logical person would assume I meant that the name should be changed altogether. Perhaps "Systematic Creationism" would be appropriate?

Saturday, June 13, 2009 6:33:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> A logical person would assume I meant that the name should be changed altogether. <<<<<<

A logical person (e.g., myself) does not try to read minds, bozo.

>>>>>> Perhaps "Systematic Creationism" would be appropriate? <<<<<<

The courts did not like "scientific creationism" and "creation science." Anything with "creation" or "creationism" is out.

Saturday, June 13, 2009 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

> The courts did not like "scientific creationism" and "creation science." Anything with "creation" or "creationism" is out. <

Well then perhaps ID, as a form of creationism, should be left out of the science curriculum altogether. It could be included in history just as the monkey trials are today.

Sunday, June 14, 2009 7:07:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> It could be included in history just as the monkey trials are today. <<<<<<

The problem is, bozo, that a lot of ID concepts are too technically sophisticated to be taught by typical history teachers. You stupid Darwinists keep mindlessly repeating that same proposal over and over again like a broken phonograph record.

Monday, June 15, 2009 9:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You stupid Creationists keep mindlessly repeating that same mindless crap over and over again like a broken phonograph record.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

> The problem is, bozo, that a lot of ID concepts are too technically sophisticated to be taught by typical history teachers. <

Apparently it is too sophisticated for you too. You have been unable to support it despite numberous requests.

Calling people "bozo" or "dunghill" only demonstrates that you have no answer. You might has well censor anything you can't answer rather than just the majority of posts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:44:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Wrong, bozo. My statement that some ID concepts are too technically sophisticated to be taught by unqualified teachers is an original statement -- I have not seen anyone else say it. If you can find an instance where someone else said it, please let me know.

Also, some things bear repeating, and that statement is one of them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 3:32:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Theobald moaned,
>>>>>> The problem is, bozo, that a lot of ID concepts are too technically sophisticated to be taught by typical history teachers. <

Apparently it is too sophisticated for you too. You have been unable to support it despite numberous requests. <<<<<<<

You despicable dunghill -- there have not been "numberous (sic) requests," and if you had half a brain you could find many examples on your own. Here is an example -- a Panda's Thumb article on evolution of the immune system. Here is an excerpt --

Scientific Background
The annotated bibliography will not make much sense without a little background understanding of immunology. If you can understand this basic terminology, you should be well on your way to understanding the transposon hypothesis:

Adaptive immune system (AIS): The portion of the immune system that generates receptors that specifically recognize and bind to a particular pathogen. This system has “memory”, so that if a pathogen returns, it will be recognized much more quickly the second time around. Vaccines expose a person to a killed or weakened form of a pathogen, or key pieces of a pathogen. This “trains” the immune system to recognize common pathogens such as smallpox or polio, so that immunity can be developed without the person having to catch and fight off the actual disease. The adaptive immune response is restricted to jawed vertebrates (i.e., all vertebrates except lampreys and hagfish), and therefore evolved 450-500 million years ago in the common ancestor of cartilagenous fish (sharks and rays) and other “fish” (bony fish, including tetrapods). (Note: there is increasing evidence of different forms of adaptive responses in other organisms.)
Innate immune system: The portion of the immune system that uses general, nonspecific responses to fight pathogens. For example, a receptor molecule called TLR5 recognizes flagellin, the major component of bacteria flagella and a common conserved feature. The innate immune system is the first line of defense, and many of its features are shared between vertebrates and invertebrates
Immunoglobulins (Igs), also called antibodies: These are the receptor proteins of the immune system. They have a “Y” shape, where the top of the “Y” recognizes foreign molecules called antigens. The genes that encode immunoglobulins are composed of four basic kinds of segments: V (variable), D (diversity), J (joining), and C (constant). Vertebrates have hundreds of different copies of V, D, and J gene segments. Through a process called V(D)J recombination, different copies of these segments are spliced together, producing billions of different unique immunoglobulin receptors. Most of these receptors will not recognize a particular pathogen, but a few of them will, even if it is a completely novel pathogen.
Recombination Activating Gene (RAG): A RAG is a gene that codes for a RAG protein (the names of genes are italicized, and the corresponding proteins are not; sometimes PDF and HTML documents will be missing this formatting however). RAG proteins have the ability to recognize specific DNA sequences at two locations called Recombination Signal Sequences (RSSs), bring the pieces together, and cut the DNA at the RSS sites. DNA repair enzymes then repair the DNA and join the two segments, originally distant from each other, together. In the vertebrate immune system, two RAGs, RAG-1 and RAG-2, cooperate in this process.


Now do you really think this kind of stuff should be taught by typical parents or typical social studies & Sunday School teachers? Even biology teachers may have to go back to school to learn how to teach this stuff. In what other subject is there a proposal to have this kind of sophisticated stuff taught by unqualified people?

Thursday, June 18, 2009 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

> My statement that some ID concepts are too technically sophisticated to be taught by unqualified teachers is an original statement -- I have not seen anyone else say it. <

So what? Who said that it was not? I am not accusing anyone else of being dumb enough to say it.

> Now do you really think this kind of stuff should be taught by typical parents or typical social studies & Sunday School teachers? <

No. I don't think it needs to be taught at all.

> In what other subject is there a proposal to have this kind of sophisticated stuff taught by unqualified people? <

That isn't being proposed here. I am saying it shouldn't be taught in science classes if it isn't science. I am surprised that you feel that those championing ID are not competent to teach it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009 2:38:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> > My statement that some ID concepts are too technically sophisticated to be taught by unqualified teachers is an original statement -- I have not seen anyone else say it. <

So what? Who said that it was not? <<<<<<<

I think my comment that you quoted was posted in the wrong thread -- I couldn't find why I said that the statement was original. Maybe something to do with someone saying that I got the idea from the Discovery Institute or something like that.

>>>>>> I am not accusing anyone else of being dumb enough to say it. <<<<<<<

Not as dumb as Darwinists who want technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution taught by unqualified people.

>>>>>> No. I don't think it needs to be taught at all. <<<<<<

That is not an option -- parents and Sunday School teachers, for example, cannot be stopped from teaching these technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution. The question is, do we want these criticisms to be taught by qualified people or unqualified people?

>>>>>> I am surprised that you feel that those championing ID are not competent to teach it. <<<<<<

If ID is taught by ID experts, e.g., Michael Behe, Casey Luskin, Stephen Meyer, etc., there is no problem. But ID might be taught by people who are not ID experts.

These simple facts should not need to be explained to you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009 4:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Theobald said...

> Not as dumb as Darwinists who want technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution taught by unqualified people. <

Contrary to fact as usual. Evolution supporters don't claim to want ID taught at all.

> parents and Sunday School teachers, for example, cannot be stopped from teaching these technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution. <

Then let them.

> The question is, do we want these criticisms to be taught by qualified people or unqualified people? <

Hello! If those who oppose science are unqualified to teach or even support their positions, why should knowledgable people have to bail the incompetent out?

> If ID is taught by ID experts, e.g., Michael Behe, Casey Luskin, Stephen Meyer, etc., there is no problem. <

I have no objection to them teaching ID in mythology or history classes.

These simple facts should not need to be explained to you.

Friday, June 19, 2009 8:43:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Theobald says,
>>>>>> Evolution supporters don't claim to want ID taught at all. <<<<<<

Who in the hell are you to speak for other evolution supporters? A lot of evolution supporters say they don't mind having criticisms of evolution taught by parents or social studies & Sunday School teachers.

>>>>> Then let them. <<<<<<

No, when they are not qualified to teach it, let's discourage them from teaching it by having qualified science teachers teach it.

>>>>>> If those who oppose science are unqualified to teach or even support their positions, why should knowledgable people have to bail the incompetent out? <<<<<<

Wrong, doofus, ID proponents like Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells are qualified to support their positions. It is just that typical parents and typical social studies & Sunday School teachers are not qualified to teach some technically sophisticated ID concepts. And why do you think that all of these unqualified people support the criticisms?

>>>>>> I have no objection to them teaching ID in mythology or history classes. <<<<<<

You stupid fathead, previously you said that you think that ID should not be taught at all!

Give up already, bozo. You are just desperate. You can't make up your mind between proposing that ID not be taught at all and proposing that it be taught by unqualified people. You have already lost the argument. You are just wasting my time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009 9:02:00 AM  

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