More on ID

The NY Times has this follow up story on the controversy:

On Tuesday, the president’s conservative Christian supporters and the leading institute advancing intelligent design embraced Mr. Bush’s comments while scientists and advocates of the separation of church and state disparaged them. At the White House, where intelligent design has been discussed in a weekly Bible study group, Mr. Bush’s science adviser, John H. Marburger 3rd, sought to play down the president’s remarks as common sense and old news.

Mr. Marburger said in a telephone interview that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology” and “intelligent design is not a scientific concept.” Mr. Marburger also said that Mr. Bush’s remarks should be interpreted to mean that the president believes that intelligent design should be discussed as part of the “social context” in science classes.

Intelligent design, advanced by a group of academics and intellectuals and some biblical creationists, disputes the idea that natural selection – the force Charles Darwin suggested drove evolution – fully explains the complexity of life. Instead, intelligent design proponents say that life is so intricate that only a powerful guiding force, or intelligent designer, could have created it.

Intelligent design does not identify the designer, but critics say the theory is a thinly disguised argument for God and the divine creation of the universe. Invigorated by a recent push by conservatives, the theory has been gaining support in school districts in 20 states, with Kansas in the lead.

Mr. Marburger said it would be “over-interpreting” Mr. Bush’s remarks to say that the president believed that intelligent design and evolution should be given equal treatment in schools.

But Mr. Bush’s conservative supporters said the president had indicated exactly that in his remarks.

“It’s what I’ve been pushing, it’s what a lot of us have been pushing,” said Richard Land, the president of the ethics and religious liberties commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Land, who has close ties to the White House, said that evolution “is too often taught as fact,” and that “if you’re going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists.”

But critics saw Mr. Bush’s comment that “both sides” should be taught as the most troubling aspect of his remarks.

“It sounds like you’re being fair, but creationism is a sectarian religious viewpoint, and intelligent design is a sectarian religious viewpoint,” said Susan Spath, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Science Education, a group that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools. “It’s not fair to privilege one religious viewpoint by calling it the other side of evolution.”

You know where I stand on this issue, so I don’t really need to add anything. Intelligent Design in a religion class- fine. Intelligent design in a philosophy clas- fine. Intelligent Design in science classes? Not fine.

*** Update ***

Patterico has a thoroughly decent piece on the issue here. An excerpt:

When I was in 8th grade, my science teacher taught our class evolution. She said: “I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes here, but creationism isn’t science. Evolution is, and that’s what I’ll be teaching. Your parents can teach you creationism at home if they want to.”

I thought she was just right, and that’s what I’d want a teacher telling my child in 8th grade science.

On the other hand, when I was in college, I had a teaching assistant in our evolution class who told us that, if we simply learned enough about science, we would understand that there is no God. A couple of us in the class challenged the guy. Couldn’t a philosophically sound argument be constructed for the existence of God that is consistent with one’s scientific observations of the world? His answer was that if we thought that, we just didn’t know enough science. Once we learned as much science as he knew, we would understand.

I thought that guy was full of crap.

Excellent.






66 replies
  1. 1
    Defense Guy says:

    Hey, as long as you don’t teach that evolution, as the source of life is a provable fact, or even then bring up the source of life on earth, then fine. No problem. We can just ignore the subject of the source of life in science class, and leave that to philosophy, until the time that we are positive beyond doubt.

  2. 2
    Stormy70 says:

    Hey, as long as you don’t teach that evolution, as the source of life is a provable fact, or even then bring up the source of life on earth, then fine. No problem. We can just ignore the subject of the source of life in science class, and leave that to philosophy, until the time that we are positive beyond doubt.

    Ditto. The Origin of Life should be left alone in science class. Teach evolution all day long, but leave the origin of all life out of the discussion. It is not proven.

  3. 3
    Geek, Esq. says:

    The source of life is ultimately unknowable, in all likelihood. The role of a supernatural being can’t be disproven. Atheism is just another form of faith.

    However, evolution is as much a fact as gravity and plate tectonics, which are also nominally ‘theories.’

  4. 4
    tBone says:

    We can just ignore the subject of the source of life in science class, and leave that to philosophy, until the time that we are positive beyond doubt.

    If that’s the standard, we might as well burn all of the science books now, since there are very few things in science that we can be positive about beyond a doubt.

  5. 5
    Defense Guy says:

    However, evolution is as much a fact as gravity and plate tectonics, which are also nominally ‘theories.’

    Yes, but the danger and what the major problem is, is that the definition of evolution has been expanded to include the source of life on earth, despite the fact that this theory has and perhaps cannot be proven. The distinction must be made.

  6. 6
    Emma Zahn says:

    Growing up in the rural south a long time ago, I don’t remember evolution being taught at all in primary or secondary school science classes.

    We managed to learn the basic mechanics of biology and geology without discussing how or when the processes came to be. Evolution was something you might read about in the encyclopedia or in newspapers and magazines, but it just wasn’t discussed much at all because for most people it did not really matter that much. It still doesn’t. It is very important for the people who will pursue careers in some of the sciences but not particularly that important for other careers except in how it fits into a well-rounded education.

    I googled for biology curriculums yesterday to find out at what grade level evolution begins being taught. The first one I found introduced it at grade 4, the next at grade 6. Why on earth does a fourth or even sixth grader need to be taught the theory of evolution?

    Maybe its discussion should be deferred at least until high-school, sort of like PG-13 movies. Maybe then people could calm down a bit.

    ~

  7. 7
    ppGaz says:

    Hey, as long as you don’t teach that evolution, as the source of life

    The situation is worse than I thought.

    Apparently Stormy and D-Guy want a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy toward the biological sciences.

    Don’t talk about the origin of life … in a science class?

    What if a student asks about it?

    “I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to answer your question, Johnny.”

    “I’m sorry, Johnny, you’ll have to ask your Sunday School teacher.”

    Screw it. We already have two countries here. It’s fine with me if we just let the South secede and let ’em go. I’ll forget about the barbeque. Or maybe we can import illegal ignorant Southern aliens to come up and cook our barbeque.

    You guys wonder why we insult you? Simple. Common sense and reason don’t work.

  8. 8
    Walker says:

    His answer was that if we thought that, we just didn’t know enough science. Once we learned as much science as he knew, we would understand.

    Speaking as a scientist (actually a mathematician) who teaches at a university, this is the type of crap science students spout when they don’t take any humanities classes. Quine and the modern analytic philosophers need to be required reading for anyone with a degree in science.

    Unfortunately the wars between the humanities and the sciences at most modern universities mean this won’t happen anytime soon.

  9. 9
    Geek, Esq. says:

    Evolution, by definition, can’t be about the origin of life. Evolution is about the morphing of life into different forms of life.

    googled for biology curriculums yesterday to find out at what grade level evolution begins being taught. The first one I found introduced it at grade 4, the next at grade 6. Why on earth does a fourth or even sixth grader need to be taught the theory of evolution?

    From above:

    Mr. Marburger said in a telephone interview that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology”

  10. 10
    Defense Guy says:

    You guys wonder why we insult you? Simple. Common sense and reason don’t work.

    I always assumed it because you were a know it all ego driven personality, who is more comfortable insulting than discussing. This kind of bluster helps confirm it.

    What you want is an exception to the rule for evolution, based on what you are assuming is a link between small e evolution and evolution as the source of life. You call that science and expect no one to laugh at you.

  11. 11
    ppGaz says:

    What you want is an exception to the rule for evolution, based on what you are assuming is a link between small e evolution and evolution as the source of life. You call that science and expect no one to laugh at you.

    Bullshit. Find the post of mine which supports your assertion about “what I want.” Find a post of mine which makes any link between “evolution” and “origin of life.”

    On this blog, I’ve made a number of posts about what I “call science” and if you can find a better definition than mine, post it, or shut up. I’ve never said anything even remotely like what you are saying here. Not on this blog, or anywhere else.

    My definition of science comes primarily from the dictionary. What you would “bluster”, I suppose.

  12. 12
    John S. says:

    What you want is an exception to the rule for evolution, based on what you are assuming is a link between small e evolution and evolution as the source of life. You call that science and expect no one to laugh at you.

    Clearly, you do not understand what science actually is. Simply put, science is the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

    Intelligent Design Creationism will never be science, because it is impossible to observe it, identify it or experiment with it in order to prove what it theorizes. In contrast, evolution as a theory has been observed in nature, has been identified and has been experimented with extensively.

    To be sure, ID is a theory, but that is all it will ever be. It will never meet the standard for being science.

  13. 13
    Defense Guy says:

    Evolution, as the source of life is a theory and you can only assume that it will ever be anything but, so where is the difference?

  14. 14
    Geek, Esq. says:

    Evolution, as the source of life is a theory and you can only assume that it will ever be anything but, so where is the difference?

    The evidence for evolution as the changing of one life form to another through natural and explainable phenomena is overwhelming. As is the evidence for the theories of gravity and plate tectonics.

    The evidence for the origin of life is weak.

  15. 15
    demimondian says:

    Teach evolution all day long, but leave the origin of all life out of the discussion. It is not proven.

    Hey, Stormy, the Plame-Flame thread is here.

    The questions of whether abiotic generation of life can occur through mutation and selection is actually well-settled, too. Such a theory make certain predictions — what the early Earth looked like, what sources of energy there were, etc. — and all of these are refutable. Some of them are quite detailed, yet none have been refuted.

    What’s still under debate in the community is exactly what mechanical processes are needed to generate life in the observed time (half a billion years). There are a number of competing theses for that, but there is no clear winner. The lack of a clear winner hardly calls the basic theory into question.

  16. 16
    Geek, Esq. says:

    The questions of whether abiotic generation of life can occur through mutation and selection is actually well-settled, too.

    Ah, but the knowledge that something CAN occur does not imply the knowledge that it DID occur, does it?

  17. 17
    John S. says:

    Evolution, as the source of life is a theory and you can only assume that it will ever be anything but, so where is the difference?

    I can only assume your knowledge of scientific theories is rather slim. Evolution is the theory of the gradual process in which something changes into a different – and usually more complex – or better form over time. It makes no inference as to what the origins of life are, since it starts with the premise that the life is already there.

    So the difference is between what you seem to think the theory of evolution is, and what it actually is.

  18. 18
    ppGaz says:

    Evolution, as the source of life is a theory and you can only assume that it will ever be anything but, so where is the difference?

    You don’t undestand what the word “theory” means in a scientific context. What’s the difference between a hypothesis, and a theory?

    Do you go to a medical doctor? When she advises you or diagnoses you, do you argue with her that medicine is all just a bunch of theories? Or do you thank your lucky stars that she spent years getting a good education in science and therefore just might be able to save your life?

    I could say that you accept her treatment gratefully, and then go off to church where you can slap your knee and laugh at science, and then come here and talk smack about science, without a clue in the world what you’re talking about.

    I could say that, but that would be insulting, wouldn’t it?

  19. 19
    tBone says:

    Evolution, as the source of life is a theory and you can only assume that it will ever be anything but, so where is the difference?

    The difference is that scientific theories are testable and falsifiable. BS pseudo-scientific “theories” like ID are not.

    Science classes should at least touch on current scientific thinking about the origins of life, while making it clear that it’s far from a settled issue.

  20. 20
    Defense Guy says:

    The evidence for the origin of life is weak.

    And the proper place for science where the evidence is weak or questionable is philosophy. If there is a time when it moves to the provable stage, then it rightly becomes a science.

    All of the evidence regarding evolution, and there is a good amount, does not constitute proof that it is responsible for life on earth. Once again I think people want to assign the word evolution to be larger than we know it is at this point.

  21. 21
    Defense Guy says:

    I could say that, but that would be insulting, wouldn’t it?

    All you are is insults and ego, so I am not surprised.

  22. 22
    ppGaz says:

    All you are is insults

    Why don’t you answer the question? Unless you want people to say that all you are is insults.

    Do you go to a medical doctor? Do you argue with her that medicine is all just a bunch of theories? Do you then accept her treatment anyway?

  23. 23
    Defense Guy says:

    So the difference is between what you seem to think the theory of evolution is, and what it actually is.

    No, and this is why there is an argument in the first place. I have said that evolution does exist, it just can’t be said to be the proven reason for life on earth. That is the only realy place it smacks up against ID or creationism or what have you.

  24. 24
    Defense Guy says:

    ppGaz

    You can’t use an example of some other science to prove your point on evolution. So, if you are so certain you are correct, then tell me what the scientific basis is for teaching that life began by random chance, and that all life today can be explained by evolution from the first life?

  25. 25
    Thomas says:

    ‘Ah, but the knowledge that something CAN occur does not imply the knowledge that it DID occur, does it?’

    Well, we know something did occur–unicellular asexual life emerged.. There are plausible theories as to how this happened. There could also be really bad theories, say, for instance, Zeus blowing magic proteins into water vapor. The Creationist/ID crowd wants to say there is no difference between self-serving bullshit and actual scientific work. If it can’t be proven, with proof being akin to a religious conversion, then anything goes and it’s close-minded secular materialism to say otherwise.

    The bottom line is that they don’t want real science, warts and all, taught, ever. My objective scientific opinion is that it’s due to either being complete douchebags, or adopting the lame materialist vs. human morality worldview, which is pretty much the product of complete douchebags.

  26. 26
    ppGaz says:

    You can’t use an example of some other science to prove your point on evolution.

    (1) You still didn’t answer the question.

    (2) “Some other science?” Modern medicine is an amalgam of many sciences; it rests on a mountain of science in many fields. Science is science. The principles are pretty common across disciplines.

    (3) I have a $5 bill right here that says you cannot state what my “point on evolution” is. It’s yours if you can prove me wrong.

  27. 27
    Defense Guy says:

    The bottom line is that they don’t want real science, warts and all, taught, ever. My objective scientific opinion is that it’s due to either being complete douchebags, or adopting the lame materialist vs. human morality worldview, which is pretty much the product of complete douchebags.

    Way to expand a very narrow area of disagreement into an attack on science itself, douchebag.

  28. 28
    Defense Guy says:

    Tell me ppGaz, or as you so often put it STFU.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    I actually saw something interesting on Tucker Carlson’s PBS show (gad I never though I would being saying that much less watching) in April. It was a discussion with Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. He is a physician-geneticist and worked on the Human Genome Project but seemed from the show a deeply religious man. He was definitely not an ID fan and seem to have no problem with reconciling his faith with science. The site has a video and a transcript up if anyone is interest in hearing a man of science talk intelligently and sanely about science and faith.

    Intelligent Design vs. Evolution
    http://www.pbs.org/tuckercarls.....ge_63.html

  30. 30
    Geek, Esq. says:

    Well, we know something did occur—unicellular asexual life emerged.. There are plausible theories as to how this happened. There could also be really bad theories, say, for instance, Zeus blowing magic proteins into water vapor. The Creationist/ID crowd wants to say there is no difference between self-serving bullshit and actual scientific work. If it can’t be proven, with proof being akin to a religious conversion, then anything goes and it’s close-minded secular materialism to say otherwise.

    At some point, we’re still going to be causally ignorant. We can’t prove or disprove why certain molecules aligned themselves with each other to form unicellular asexual organisms. Could a deity or alien visitor from another galaxy have done it? If they want to believe that, sure. Nothing we can do to disprove it.

    However, we CAN disprove the creationist b.s. as it applies to the history of life after unicellular asexual organisms arrived on the scene.

  31. 31
    tBone says:

    then tell me what the scientific basis is for teaching that life began by random chance, and that all life today can be explained by evolution from the first life?

    TalkOrigins on abiogenesis. Knock yourself out, DefenseGuy.

  32. 32
    ppGaz says:

    Tell me ppGaz, or as you so often put it STFU.

    I’ve already answered your question, if you can call it a question. You’re too busy dancing around your own nonsense to pay attention. Too busy erecting strawmen. Try to pay attention.

    Answer mine. Do you go to a medical doctor? Do you argue with her that medicine is all just a bunch of theories? Or do you accept her treatement anyway?

    Can you state a definition of “science”? Can you state what my “point on evolution” is? I have $5 that says you can’t.

    Or are you just all bluster?

  33. 33
  34. 34
    KC says:

    Somewhere in the comments yesterday, I linked to crooksandliars.com which had a clip of O’Reilly discussing ID in classrooms. It’s worth watching if you see it. Oh wait, I found it.

  35. 35
    SeesThroughIt says:

    Wait, Bush has a science advisor? Next to being Ann Coulter’s fact checker, that must be the least rigorous job on the face of the planet.

  36. 36
    demimondian says:

    Geek, Esq. remarks:

    [However], we CAN disprove the creationist b.s. as it applies to the history of life after unicellular asexual organisms arrived on the scene

    Actually, and here’s why ID isn’t science, we can’t. Scientific theories are contingent truths, not a priori truths. Back in my science days, I had a mentor who used to remind me that “As a theorist, there’s only one thing you’ll ever be completely right about: that your theories will always be, at least subtly, wrong.”

    It’s a perfectly valid theory that “The fossils were put on Earth to challenge the faith of the faithful.” It’s not predictive, and therefore not falsifiable, but it’s a perfectly good explanation of the fossil record. As a purely pragmatic judgement, we have found that imperfect predictive theories are more useful in day to day life than such unfalsifiable just-so stories. Science is the study of the universe through refutable theories.

    Evolution through selection is a refutable theory. We accept it as a working scientific hypothesis because we have tried — quite hard — to refute its predictions, and have been unable to do so. We have not, and cannot, prove that it is correct. If intelligent design ever makes refutable predictions, then it becomes science. As, by its nature, it cannot do so, it is not science.

  37. 37
    ppGaz says:

    a clip of O’Reilly discussing ID in classrooms. It’s worth watching

    Well, it was entertaining. Classic O’Reilly. As soon as it appeared that a rational conversation was going to take place, Bill flipped the card and — rather deftly and quickly — constructed this “abortion” strawman, then employed it just long enough to use up the segment time and bail out of the segment before he was totally buried and made to look a fool.

    That said, right up until the point at which Bill flipped over the Scarlet A card, it was a rather bland and not altogether dysfunctional treatise on the subject. Less dysfunctional, say, than the conversation we get in here from the Don’t Confuse Me With Facts crowd.

    My favorite part was the suggestion that “balance” in curriculum means that every idiotic claim about everything should be presented in schools. Hey, it works in journalism …. why not education?

  38. 38
    Defense Guy says:

    TalkOrigins on abiogenesis. Knock yourself out, DefenseGuy.

    Interesting stuff, but it is primarily a FAQ on refuting arguments made by creationists. Since I am only asking why the theories of evolution should be elevated to the level that we know ‘enough’ to call them teachable as truth in a science class, the link only shows me that we know enough not to call the idea complete bullshit. Again, limiting the scope to only the source of life on earth.

  39. 39
    SeesThroughIt says:

    My favorite part was the suggestion that “balance” in curriculum means that every idiotic claim about everything should be presented in schools. Hey, it works in journalism …. why not education?

    I don’t know about you, but I’m going to fight to the death to demand that equal time be given to the Flying Spaghetti Monster creation story. It’s got the same factual basis as the Bible, only it’s entertaining to boot! It’ll teach the kids while they learn!

  40. 40
    ppGaz says:

    the link only shows me that we know enough not to call the idea complete bullshit.

    Now there’s an open mind! Bravo, DefenselessGuy!!

  41. 41
    Defense Guy says:

    You are a real class act ppGaz.

  42. 42
    ppGaz says:

    I don’t know about you, but I’m going to fight to the death to demand that equal time be given to the Flying Spaghetti Monster creation story.

    Well my state is always a leader in these areas. Right here in my town, we have a spaghetti restaurant that has spaghetti trees in the lobby waiting area. Here, visitors can see for themselves that spaghetti grows on trees and is harvested by plucky Italians.

  43. 43
    ppGaz says:

    You are a real class act ppGaz.

    Yes, I know. About time you showed some sense.

    And you are a real Ass Act, Defenseless Guy.

  44. 44
    Jody says:

    If I might (somewhat foolishly) inject myself into the ppGaz- DefenseGuy flame war, the reason why “evolution as the origin of life” is not science is the same reason that ID is not science – neither are falsifiable (sans time machine).

    But even here, I’m playing fast and loose with the definition of evolution to imply that it says anything about the origin of life. Rather, as Geek, Esq. said “evolution is about the morphing of life into different forms of life” and it says nothing about how or why life came to be.

  45. 45
    tBone says:

    Since I am only asking why the theories of evolution should be elevated to the level that we know ‘enough’ to call them teachable as truth in a science class, the link only shows me that we know enough not to call the idea complete bullshit.

    I don’t think abiogenesis should be taught as “truth” either – but students ought to at least be exposed to the current thinking on the subject, as long as it’s made clear that this is still a very murky area.

    And, again, there are very few things in science that are teachable as “truth.” Science is a continually self-correcting and self-improving process, and in a lot of areas the best it can do is say “given our current understanding, here’s the option that’s the least likely to be wrong.”

  46. 46
    demimondian says:

    Jody comments:

    [The] reason why “evolution as the origin of life” is not science is the same reason that ID is not science – neither are falsifiable (sans time machine).

    Ah, but that isn’t true. “evolution as the origin of life” is falsifiable. In fact, there was at least on famous case where it appeared to have been falsified.

    Lord Kelvin did a computation about the temperature of the middle of the Earth, and proved (correctly) that the heat generated by the collapse of the earth into a sphere would have entirely radiated out into space in a few thousand years. That was important, as he himself pointed out, because “evolution as the origin of life” depends on the Earth being many millions of years old, and thus abiogenesis was refuted “unless some other, unpredicted source of heat were discovered.”

    Twenty years later, the radioactive decay of Uranium was observed. But, between those two times, abiogenesis was treated as tentatively refuted due to “not enough time”.

  47. 47
    Defense Guy says:

    Jody

    I have been saying the same thing, and I am glad others can see it that way as well. I have no wish to supplant science with religion, nor stymie the scientific advancements that can be made with a completely open mind. I try to make it clear that I am only refering to life as it began, when discussing evolution vs ID.

  48. 48
    ppGaz says:

    there are very few things in science that are teachable as “truth.” Science is a continually self-correcting and self-improving process, and in a lot of areas the best it can do is say “given our current understanding, here’s the option that’s the least likely to be wrong.”

    Precisely, absolutely, exactly ….

    Which is how science is freed from dogma, and therefore empowered to make new discoveries and gain new knowledge.

    Which is why we teach science.

  49. 49
    Thomas says:

    ‘If I might (somewhat foolishly) inject myself into the ppGaz- DefenseGuy flame war, the reason why “evolution as the origin of life” is not science is the same reason that ID is not science – neither are falsifiable (sans time machine).’

    I think there are two types of falsifiability (?) here. One is that we can’t know what happened once however many billions of years ago. The other relates to whether a theory of abiogenesis can be reproducible, i.e. could it have worked. The second is definitely falsifiable. The first is not.

  50. 50
    ppGaz says:

    I try to make it clear that I am only refering to life as it began, when discussing evolution vs ID.

    Yeah, it’s hard to “make” something clear, when it isn’t clear in the first place.

    “Evolution” is not about the origin of life. Why you insist on making that false connection ……. nobody knows.

  51. 51
    ppGaz says:

    scientific advancements that can be made with a completely open mind

    You mean, like having an “open mind” to the idea that the earth was created in six days? Or that non-science should be presented in science classes? Explain yourself. Are those ideas off the table?

    Accusing science of being imperfect is not your best argument.

    One need look no further than the science of meteorology to find rampant imperfection. Blown forecasts are common.

    But faced with the imperfection of meteorology, would we want to tell students that the idea that thunder is the noise made by the gods in their heavenly bowling alley is something they need to consider for, you know, balance?

    You can’t prove that the adiabatic lapse rate is a passive factor in mesoconvective systems!!

    Maybe, but I ain’t teachin kids that the gods are making thunder, either. I’m teachin ’em that we are still studying thunderstorms, and here’s what we think we know so far. And inspiring them to be the ones to go out and try to get the next big discovery.

    If you’re okay with that, then you’ve just wasted a couple days of everyone’s time. If you aren’t, then you are the problem.

  52. 52
    Defense Guy says:

    ppGaz you are proving yourself to be ignorable, as my argument hasn’t changed one bit. The controversy today is about the origin of life.

  53. 53
    ppGaz says:

    The controversy today is about the origin of life.

    You mean, “your” controversy.

    Let me help you out: The origin of life is not known.

    ppGaz you are proving yourself to be ignorable

    My wife could have told you that. But she is smart enough to know that ID and creationism aren’t science.

  54. 54
    John S. says:

    The controversy today is about the origin of life.

    Then the discussion should not include evolution at all. To reiterate: Evolution is the theory of the gradual process in which something changes into a different – and usually more complex – or better form over time. It makes no inference as to what the origins of life are, since it starts with the premise that the life is already there.

    And seeing as how ID is being pushed as an alternative theory to evolution, that would mean that it doesn’t really speak to the origins of life either. If it does, then it isn’t an alternative at all. And now that you mention it, where did this notion of yours come from, exactly?

    The controversy seems to be that ID be taught along with evolution, not what the origins of life are. Can you indicate where you got this alternative concept of the controversy from, or are you merely attempting to redefine the premise of the poorly fabricated argument you have concocted?

  55. 55
    Jody says:

    Thomas: Your two examples are actually the same type of falsifiability. What you actually have are two different theories. The first is that abiogenesis occurs under conditions X, Y, and Z; the second is that life on Earth arose from abiogenesis (versus say a meteor that was carrying life).

    You are correct though that the first example is falsifiable while the second example is not.

    Demimondian: I’ve not heard that Lord Kelvin story before. I’ll have to look it up (I would want to check his math because I don’t think that radioactive decay alone would suffice.).

    However, even if the Earth were much younger than we thought, the general theory of abiogenesis would survive with the modifier of varying rates of speciation/population growth (this is a modifier that any theory that posited a young Earth has to include).

  56. 56
    albedo says:

    This whole flame war seems like a non-starter. Evolution deals with the development of life from an obscure point millions of years ago. It doesn’t purport to explain where the very first lifeform came from.

    Abiogenesis theory is still truly theoretical and has a long way to go, either to be proven or falsified.

    ID, although proferred as an alternative to evolution, is nonscience since it’s fundamentally unprovable.

    Creationism (in its 6,000 years/flood hydrology form) is bad science, as it’s demonstrably wrong – by carbon dating, radiometry, etc.

    Where’s the disagreement?

  57. 57
    jahyarain says:

    ok, let me straighten this out. it has been scientifically proven that God exists (everything came from nothing…big bang…something started it). where humans get mixed up is with a man-made religion, but even if you HAVE to go along with this superstition, that book says man was created in God’s image. it doesn’t say God wasn’t an amoeba or an ape. only She knows that. ;)

  58. 58
    Biff says:

    the reason why “evolution as the origin of life” is not science is the same reason that ID is not science – neither are falsifiable (sans time machine)

    Not everyone would define falsifiability as the essential property of a scientific theory. It’s a popular one, but by no means universally accepted.

    Let’s say we were discussing the origin of Stonehenge. Your theory is that they were built by local tribes in England for some religious/mystical purpose. My theory is that they were built by aliens as a gift to mankind, said aliens subsequently departing for parts unknown. Technically, neither of these theories is falsifiable sans time machine, but one is clearly more scientific than the other.

  59. 59
    John S. says:

    it has been scientifically proven that God exists

    Beg your pardon, but when did this occur? A philosophical proof isn’t the same as a scientific proof, and I don’t think an airtight philosophical case has ever been made to prove God’s existence, either.

  60. 60
    Defense Guy says:

    Can you indicate where you got this alternative concept of the controversy from, or are you merely attempting to redefine the premise of the poorly fabricated argument you have concocted?

    I am merely stating what I said at the beginning of the thread, and the position that I have held all the way through, that neither evolution (w/random chance) nor ID should be tought in a science class as the source of life on earth. I have not made anything up. The proper place for both is in a philosophy class.

  61. 61
    Kimmitt says:

    On the other hand, when I was in college, I had a teaching assistant in our evolution class who told us that, if we simply learned enough about science, we would understand that there is no God.

    Okay, I’m an outright atheist. But any TA of mine who even hinted at a statement like this would be looking at a departmental review, a reassignment, and a conversation which consisted of, “Explain to me why I shouldn’t be telling the Department Chair to give your position to someone with an ounce of sense.”

  62. 62
    Jody says:

    Biff:

    You are correct that not everyone buys falsifiability as essential to science (for those playing along at home, falsifiability is a condition that Karl Popper proposed for the hypothesis step of the scientific method).

    However, in your scenarios you’re conflating “more probable” with “more scientific”.

    For the definition of science as the process of applying the scientific method (which I believe is the definition that we’re both using as opposed to science as skill or science as the body of knowledge gained via the scientific method), both the alien theory and the locals theory fail (somewhat) at the experiment stage of the scientific method due to the inability (sans time machine) to construct a viable experiment.

    I say these theories fail as science at the experiment stage “somewhat” because should texts of some sort might be found on Salisbury plain that describe the construction of Stone Henge then an experiment rigorous enough for the standards of the soft science of archaeology could be constructed, namely reading the texts. If the text credibly represents observations of aliens constructing Stonehenge, then however improbable it might seem, it is correct to conclude that aliens built it. The same source document could be used in an experiment to test the theory of religious/mystical purposes (or the nonexclusive purpose of a calendar).

  63. 63
    Jody says:

    Big Bang proving God’s existence:

    I’m with John S. on that. While it does imply (in a non-mathematical sense of implication) a Deistic creator (aka a prime mover) when coupled with our anthropic understanding of cause and effect relationships, the Big Bang doesn’t prove the existence of God.

    Ultimately a belief in any God is predicated on Kierkegaard’s leap of faith.

  64. 64
    jahyarain says:

    Beg your pardon, but when did this occur?

    that there big ol’ bang you keep hearin’ ’bout

  65. 65
    Defense Guy says:

    Ultimately a belief in any God is predicated on Kierkegaard’s leap of faith.

    It is. Faith is the belief in the unprovable, it does not conflict nor contradict that which exists in the scientific, and provable world. It is a co-existence and we have learned, over time, to at least keep it non-violent.

    Some of us anyway. I suppose that’s something.

  66. 66
    Sojourner says:

    I googled for biology curriculums yesterday to find out at what grade level evolution begins being taught. The first one I found introduced it at grade 4, the next at grade 6. Why on earth does a fourth or even sixth grader need to be taught the theory of evolution?

    Because most parts of biology make no sense without an understanding of evolution. This is also true of some topics in chemistry.

    Are you concerned that 4th graders will be traumatized by learning about evolution? Or maybe they’ll go out and practice unprotected evoluation? Perhaps they could make evolution abstinence vows.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Comments are closed.