Bleedin\' C of A

Reading this excellent piece about evolution vs. ID from Slate got me thinking: I regard the culture of my society very highly when compared to any other, but we do have an unusually high percentage of religious people next to, say, Britain, and I regard religion as a failure of our rational faculties. Why does America, ordinarily so great, fall into the religion trap (thence into the George Bush trap, among other things)?

In other words, how did the Puritans become so influential? One reason I suspect is that since the United States never had a state religion, the failings of the state were never mingled in the public's eyes with its religion. This may be more of a case of the Church of England, for instance, not being allowed by the public to frame the debate because of their antipathy to their government, while American churches were given a much freer hand. It seems natural for all people to be dissatisfied with their governments (at least sometimes), and the closer another entity is associated with it, the worse for that entity. This thesis I'd like to hear more about, if anyone knows anything.

Another thesis is the fertility argument, made often in other contexts; still another is that the devoutly religious specifically sought out the United States, so it should be little surprise that this faction still exists. This isn't the most convincing, given the high percentage of mostly rational Founding Fathers and national figures for so long, but it might account for something.

Your thoughts?

P.S. Comment on the article: as the writer points out, evolution is a better explanation than religion, not simply a different one. If your scheme of how humanity got here excludes evolution by natural selection, it's wrong. It's that simple.

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Comment by Dave Peterson —

Comment by Dave Peterson — August 11, 2005 @ 2:59 pm
why wouldn’t it be reasonable to believe that there is overlap in the sub-components? I guess my disagreement here is that understanding or acceptance of evolution necessarily precludes an understanding or acceptance of genetics. Do you need to understand the history of transportation to understand how a car works or design a better one?

No, but it is the evolution of the sciences themselves. Though, yes, this was in response to something tangential to the main debate...

Comment by John T. Kennedy — August 11, 2005 @ 3:13 pm
Irrelevant.

If we find a machine embedded in the fossil record of the Jurrassic period do we have to have a theory of who built it to be persuaded that it is in fact a machine?

uhm. you missed the point of that discussion... and yes, the random rock formation arguement comment...

Jonathan Wilde - I'm not calling the skeptecism ignorant, but the arguements being made, or the lack of understanding of key elements, to which it is then viewed that the point of arguement is wrong.

Scott, Could you be

Scott,

Could you be persuaded that it was a machine without having a good theory of who built it?

Up yours, asswad.

Up yours, asswad.

Peoples, Please refrain from

Peoples,
Please refrain from calling each other "ignorant", "backwards", etc. I believe the theory of evolution as strongly as pretty much anyone, but I don't call people who are skeptical ignorant. Skepticism is a good thing. I think most people who are skeptical are that way because of poor teaching in schools. I didn't really know much about the theory till after I graduated college. Name calling won't convince anyone.

They say “Life evolved too

They say “Life evolved too fast, there are no transitional forms. See that proves there is a God. ( or a similar god like hidden intelligent power.)” Well it isn’t too obvious to me just how fast life would have had to evolve to fill in this gap. If life had evolved 20% slower would God no longer be needed? I think science disputes that there are no transitional forms.

I think if you can show how often any random gene may mutate and whether that gene will be for the better, worse or not matter, and then how long it takes for a gene pool to adopt that gene, then you should be able to say how long it takes to get from point a to point b through mutation. The History Channel had an interesting show last Sunday about the history of human evolution. One point they were talking about the comparing a Neanderthal's mitochondrial DNA with a modern human's. They said that two individuals of the same species should have no more than 8 differences per chromosome, yet the Neanderthal and modern man had 14 per chromosome. I guess using some statistics you could figure out how long it would take for a population to adopt 138 gene mutations.

Aren’t the various partial forms such as dinosaurs with feathers transitional? Define just how transitional the form has to be to eliminate the need to postulate God.

Here's the problem though: We have long stretches with no change and then a jump to another similar species with a long stretch and no change. There have been some intermediate species found, but given a short transition period, statistically they should be hard to find, and finding many along that quick jump would be very hard. It's more like going up stairs than going up a ramp.

If we find a machine

If we find a machine embedded in the fossil record of the Jurrassic period do we have to have a theory of who built it to be persuaded that it is in fact a machine?

Not irrelevant, I don't think. Having a theory of who built it would certainly make it more plausible that what we had discovered was an actual machine and not a fake or very coincidental formation of rock.

Comment by Dave Peterson —

Comment by Dave Peterson — August 11, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

While I agree that it “sidesteps” the scientific process in that one instance, I would be willing to bet that (on average) someone who comes from a Catholic school that teaches intelligent design would do better than someone who comes from a public school that teaches evolution for reasons wholely unrelated to that aspect of their education.

Ok, but this is a different point, one that, in essence, I agree with ;-)
except where modern biology and health science is concerned...

Call me an ID sympathizer. I don’t believe in intelligent design, I accept evolution. However, I am sympethetic to those who wish to accept it since I am, more skeptical of unfalsifiable sciences (I reject string theory on its completely unfalsifiable nature). So, given that I don’t accept the intelligent design answer, your criticisms of it directed towards me fall on deaf ears.

Gotcha! I still would like to see your proof that Evolution is an unfalsifiable science. String theory is far from unfalsifiable, sure, it hasn't proven itself yet (and as such, is only a mathematical theory), to outright reject it as a possibility because of this is, as South Park likes to put it, "just 'ignant".

The big difference is whether the cause and effect nature can be observed. The best way to do this is in laboritory conditions where the cause can be directly controlled and the effect can be recorded. It’s hard to do this with evolution.

Again, it depends on what part of the theories and hypothesis that make up the ToE you are discussing. If you mean that you can't trust to watch how a species behaves in the wild because their behaviour could change depending on variables, then you would also agree that all those National Geographic documentaries are uninformative and a waste of time and money. I'm beginning to seriously lack your understanding of how science and the scientific process work. Which means I can go little further to explain these things to you.

Comment by Dave — August 11, 2005 @ 2:32 pm
Another question I have is how do you ultimately determine right from wrong, morality and immorality without invoking God? I seems like there is a gap here too. Yet some of the strongest moralists are atheists.

I don't see how the concept of "don't kill", "don't cheat", etc. require God to understand. Sure, some people might need the threat of God and his wrath to abide by these concepts, but the idea that they are purely God driven ideas seems asinine.

Comment by nmg — August 11, 2005 @ 2:57 pm
Good god! Is there no refuge from willfully ignorant creationists, even here at the (usually enlightened) catallarchy?

My god is there no refuge from the willfully ignorant and irritating?!
(sorry, I had to, no one is allowed to insult another person will nilly like that, its just 'gnant.

and finally, please read
http://tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050822&s=coyne082205&c=2
it requires a login, but thats what
http://www.bugmenot.com/
is for...

Steve, "ok, but then who is

Steve,

"ok, but then who is the intelligence behind ID? "

Irrelevant.

If we find a machine embedded in the fossil record of the Jurrassic period do we have to have a theory of who built it to be persuaded that it is in fact a machine?

I've thought about the same

I've thought about the same basic question.

At the moment, my guess is that religion is a positive worth preserving -- perhaps still a failure of rational faculties -- but one with corresponding benefits, i.e. the installation of morality, comfort, giving people purpose, allowing for community building, etc.

"Another question I have is

"Another question I have is how do you ultimately determine right from wrong, morality and immorality without invoking God? I seems like there is a gap here too. Yet some of the strongest moralists are atheists."

Lots of people--perhaps even most--distinguish right from wrong on a daily basis without invoking God. If you're genuinely curious to see what can be done in meta-ethics without God, check out Erik Wielenberg's _Value and Virtue in a Godless World_. I think naturalistic accounts of ethics are on a sounder footing than the divine command theory, which suffers from the fact that the major monotheistic religions all think God has commanded actions that are immoral, like genocide and slavery.

BTW, empirical examination of reported behavior based on religious belief doesn't demonstrate a benefit of Christianity:
http://members.shaw.ca/tfrisen/morality/stats/chmorality.htm

Perhaps America fell into

Perhaps America fell into the "religion trap" as you say because it (Christianity in this case) offers more rationally compelling answers to life than does naturalism. That is, it has meaningful answers to the questions of origin, meaning, morality, destiny.

This discussion goes far beyond evolution vs ID. That said, I think a lot of the motivation for the ID movement was to take the focus off the Christian God. Ceation proponents were unable to participate in the "scientific community" because the community views them as biased, as if community isn't biased by its own atheistic worldview.

ID takes the focus off Christianity to some extent and looks to show through empirical and forensic evidence that we are not here by accident.

I will admit that ID probably does not belong in a biology class, but neither does evolution for that matter. As was mentioned in a previous discussion on this site, evolution has been so unable to handle scientific challenges that it has predictably grown into some vague, monolithic idea that offers no falisifiable conclusions.

Case in point: there is such a phenomenal lack of transitional forms in the fossil record that paleontoligists either shrugged their shoulders or, as in the case of Gould, proposed PE without any substantiating evidence other than species simply appeared (creation science predicted this all along). Had the scientific method actually been used, the hypothesis of evolution would have gone back to the drawing board, would it not? Weren't we told by Darwin and others that the transitional forms just had to be found? Now over 100 years later they still don't exist.

Where are the falsifiable conclusions?

Dave, the ToE does not apply

Dave, the ToE does not apply to individual species in and of themselves but the idea that all animals evolved from a small sample of single celled organisms. That said, genetic modification is something that without our knowledge of how animals are linked, and how their genetic traits are similar, we could not have. In fact, gene theory is very much based on concepts from the ToE.

You are right, I understand that for example knowing how a virus mutates and adapts allows us to treat that virus better. Let's not lose track though, since this debate is tangendental to the evolution vs. intelligent design debate. In that debate, there are things that the two do not argue on, Specifically speciation.

My concern isn't with genetics as much because I believe Watson & Crick could have discovered DNA without the broad theory of evolution and speciation (But could the Wright brothers have flown without Newton? I don't think so). I understand what you are saying that DNA research is a result of understanding of similarities of species through their evolution, but before the theory of evolution we knew that pigs, cows, dogs, cats, etc. all shared common biological traits (hearts, brains, intestines, spines, etc.), why wouldn't it be reasonable to believe that there is overlap in the sub-components? I guess my disagreement here is that understanding or acceptance of evolution necessarily precludes an understanding or acceptance of genetics. Do you need to understand the history of transportation to understand how a car works or design a better one?

Good god! Is there no refuge

Good god! Is there no refuge from willfully ignorant creationists, even here at the (usually enlightened) catallarchy?

nmg

I’m not entirely clear on

I’m not entirely clear on how a stringed instrument enters into the process.

Neither am I, I didn't say it was a fully developed hypothesis.

As organisms reproduce, they

As organisms reproduce, they mix their DNA and pass on a combination to their descendants--the descendants' DNA is a modified version of the ancestors', from the mixing, from transcription errors, and from mutations. The technique of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) allows DNA comparisons to be made accurately, and examining the differences can show lineal descent (both short term--paternity tests--and long term--how populations have migrated and intermingled over time). The presence of specific common features (such as "pseudogenes" in "junk DNA") can show common ancestry, just as common errors in transcribed documents can show a common source (e.g., plagiarism detected when a map-maker copies a nonexistent feature placed on an original map for the purpose of catching intellectual property thieves). This basic technique works in looking at family relationships of DNA, family relationships of documents (the field of stemmatics), and in the family relationships of languages themselves.

What's interesting is that the lines of evidence about population migrations from the DNA evidence (see National Geographic's recent project, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/), language change, historical documents, and archaeology converge on the same answers. This is one (of many) empirical refutations of the Mormon religion, BTW, since it claims that American Indians are descendants of the Lost Tribe of Israel, which is contrary to the genetic, archaeological, and linguistic evidence.

For 29 lines of evidence supporting common descent, see
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Another question I have is

Another question I have is how do you ultimately determine right from wrong, morality and immorality without invoking God? I seems like there is a gap here too. Yet some of the strongest moralists are atheists.

If invoking God fills the gap, you still open up another. If the answer to "what is right?" is "what God commands" you need another step to get from "is" to "ought": a reason we should do what God commands.

Which is where heaven and hell come in, I suppose, but don't those just open further questions? Why should we mind burning in fire for eternity?

Correct me if I am wrong but

Correct me if I am wrong but I think all intelligent design theories are “God of the gaps” theories.
The theory of evolution itself filled in the gaps in knowledge. In the 16th and 17 the centuries the existence of life was held as proof of God, because the science at the time could not conceive of any other possibility. People were quite happy that they could use reason to prove both the existence of God and to determine what was right and wrong. People like Newton and Locke were, at least in public, Christians. As later concepts developed the scientific basis for belief was progressively undermined. The gaps such as the existence of life no longer required postulation a God. Now latter-day seekers of scientific evidence of still look to the gaps. They say “Life evolved too fast, there are no transitional forms. See that proves there is a God. ( or a similar god like hidden intelligent power.)” Well it isn’t too obvious to me just how fast life would have had to evolve to fill in this gap. If life had evolved 20% slower would God no longer be needed? I think science disputes that there are no transitional forms. Aren’t the various partial forms such as dinosaurs with feathers transitional? Define just how transitional the form has to be to eliminate the need to postulate God. Of course none of this refutes the possibility of God either. Another question I have is how do you ultimately determine right from wrong, morality and immorality without invoking God? I seems like there is a gap here too. Yet some of the strongest moralists are atheists.

Viola! Universe as we know

Viola! Universe as we know it.

I'm not entirely clear on how a stringed instrument enters into the process.

Just a quick semi-serious

Just a quick semi-serious hypothesis: God just created a few simple mathematical relationships and applied it to some matter and energy. Viola! Universe as we know it. :cool:

On a more serious note, while reading Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker I was a bit surprised when things started looking like economics. It could be a case of things looking like nails for my hammer, but I don't think so. It makes perfect sense, in both cases we start with something extremely simple and very complex systems arise, as if guided by an invisible hand, so to speak.

And we arrive at another hypothesis, economics and evolution are not acceptable to many people because they posit the same thing - that something too complex for a single mind to grok just happens.

Well, yes, but replacing it,

Well, yes, but replacing it, or teaching ID along side of it, is throwing out the whole scientific process. Naturally this doesn’t mean much for the business man, but it does mean a lot to the field of science. Since our country is doing so poorly in math and science compared to other countries these days, this is just more fuel to the fire as to the dumbing down of America’s youth. Plus, the scientific method is also a process for logical evaluation of concepts. The level of thinking it requires to understand it is applicable to many other areas of life.

While I agree that it "sidesteps" the scientific process in that one instance, I would be willing to bet that (on average) someone who comes from a Catholic school that teaches intelligent design would do better than someone who comes from a public school that teaches evolution for reasons wholely unrelated to that aspect of their education.

ah! I’m now beginning to understand the ignorance behind ID supporters (I’d say no offense, but that would be empty…), and naturally, it all seems to be about symantics…

Call me an ID sympathizer. I don't believe in intelligent design, I accept evolution. However, I am sympethetic to those who wish to accept it since I am, more skeptical of unfalsifiable sciences (I reject string theory on its completely unfalsifiable nature). So, given that I don't accept the intelligent design answer, your criticisms of it directed towards me fall on deaf ears.

Next, all science, is based on observation! Observation of different forms of course, but observation of an occurance, an object, etc. You then write down what you think is the cause, then find ways to test your hypothesis, you observer the results. Its the scientific method.

The big difference is whether the cause and effect nature can be observed. The best way to do this is in laboritory conditions where the cause can be directly controlled and the effect can be recorded. It's hard to do this with evolution.

Comment by Dave Peterson —

Comment by Dave Peterson — August 11, 2005 @ 1:38 pm
Can you please cite some specific tecnologies or medicines that have arisen from this?

I’m not talking genetic modification, I’m talking the theory of evolution, survival of the fittest, genetic mutations, etc.

Dave, the ToE does not apply to individual species in and of themselves but the idea that all animals evolved from a small sample of single celled organisms. That said, genetic modification is something that without our knowledge of how animals are linked, and how their genetic traits are similar, we could not have. In fact, gene theory is very much based on concepts from the ToE.

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/faq/compgen.shtml
http://www.hhmi.org/genesweshare/e400.html
http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/06_01/Homophila_database.shtml

There’s a post of mine

There’s a post of mine being held for moderation which points to specific parts of http://www.talkorigins.org/ ; also check out genetic algorithms and artificial life.

Specific links por favor. I am not familliar with the website's structure :)

There is lots and lots of productive research in the evolutionary sciences, and it makes specific predictions and has had spinoff applications in medicine, agriculture, and technology (and I’m not even scratching the surface).

Can you please cite some specific tecnologies or medicines that have arisen from this?

I'm not talking genetic modification, I'm talking the theory of evolution, survival of the fittest, genetic mutations, etc.

Evolution has had a profound influence on my life for which I am mostly thankful. There’s the upright walking and opposable thumbs, for example.

Nothing like calculating the trajectory needed to escape gravity. You would still walk upright or have opposable thumbs if our attitude on the subject was "eh, we're here, who cares how we got here?"

On the down side, there’s the antibiotic resistant bacteria and the pesticide resistant vermin.

So, what you're saying is that we have been unable to harness the theory of evolution for our own good? :)

Evolution has had a profound

Evolution has had a profound influence on my life for which I am mostly thankful. There's the upright walking and opposable thumbs, for example. On the down side, there's the antibiotic resistant bacteria and the pesticide resistant vermin.

"And, I really am not trying

"And, I really am not trying to discredit or downplay evolution here, I just see it as a theory based purely on observation. It’s also untestable, thus its applications in direct application are limited.

And by all means, please correct me out there if I’m wrong."

You are wrong. There's a post of mine being held for moderation which points to specific parts of http://www.talkorigins.org/ ; also check out genetic algorithms and artificial life. There is lots and lots of productive research in the evolutionary sciences, and it makes specific predictions and has had spinoff applications in medicine, agriculture, and technology (and I'm not even scratching the surface).

I don't subscribe to ID, but

I don't subscribe to ID, but I am a Christian so perhaps I can offer some perspective. It is not accident that the United States (even in its current debased form) is a freer place with a better culture than other societies, and that is because of Christianity. John Locke was the created natural rights theory in Second Treatise on Government. The Catholic Church has been criticized for the crusades and the inquisition, but throughout history it has acted as a pro-liberty check on the power of monarchs. At one point in its history, soley because of its protestant beliefs, England diverted the resources equivalent to several medium sized nations in order to blocked all the ports in western africa and shut down the slave trade. Most of the early settlers of the US were Christians fleeing religious persecution from England. Christians led the abolitionist movement.

Meanwhile, as we've gotten more secular our rights are eroding. Kelo v. New London, Raich v. Gonzalez, the loss of all the Lochner era rights to private contracts, and the general erosion in gun rights and property rights. But compare America to the even more secular Europe and we're doing great. Unelected officials on the European Commission have tremendous power, the EU has the right to issue arrest warrents on its member nations soil and even certain forms of speech such as criticisms of homosexuality or Islam are illegal.

Is faith rational? Perhaps not. But once you put your trust in an absolute of God, then you lose the moral authority to undertake these utilitarian experiments in socialism. On a more personal level, I went from a liberal statist Democrat to a libertarian-leaning anti-gubmit' Republican after becoming a Christian.

Traditionally, the churches

Traditionally, the churches have been one of the primary places for people to turn for help when they've fallen on hard times. If the church is just another branch of the state...well...then you're most of the way there already.

It could also be that the churches actively opposed the expansion of state power. Or there could be something about religion in general or Protestantism in particular that makes people less receptive to expansion of the welfare state.

What's excellent about

What's excellent about simply asserting your conclusion without a single line of argument for it?

"But this is not a disagreement with two reasonable points of view, let alone two equally valid ones. Intelligent design, which asserts that gaps in evolutionary science prove God must have had a role in creation, may be—as Bob Wright argues—creationism in camouflage. Or it may be—as William Saletan argues—a step in the creationist cave-in to evolution. But whatever it represents, intelligent design is a faith-based theory with no scientific validity or credibility."

This mischaracterizes ID which in it's distilled form makes no claims about God at all.

I think I mentioned this

I think I mentioned this before, but virtually all ID proponents believe that God or gods are the designer. From the above wikipedia article:

Phillip E. Johnson, considered the father of the intelligent design movement and its unofficial spokesman stated that the goal of intelligent design is to cast creationism as a scientific concept:

"Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools."[13]

Another quote:

Intelligent design arguments are carefully formulated in secular terms and intentionally avoid positing the identity of the designer. Phillip E. Johnson has stated that cultivating ambiguity by employing secular language in arguments which are carefully crafted to avoid overtones of theistic creationism is a necessary first step for ultimately introducing the Christian concept of God as the designer. Johnson emphasizes "the first thing that has to be done is to get the Bible out of the discussion" and that "after we have separated materialist prejudice from scientific fact." only then can "biblical issues" be discussed. Johnson explicitly calls for ID proponents to obfuscate their religious motivations so as to avoid having ID recognized "as just another way of packaging the Christian evangelical message." Though not all ID proponents are theistic or motivated by religious fervor, the majority of the principal ID advocates (including Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, and Stephen C. Meyer) are Christians and have stated that in their view the designer of life is clearly God.

Of course, I should add I am

Of course, I should add I am not implying that their ideas are wrong because of why they are advancing the ideas (a form of ad hominem), but merely that the form of ID JTK alludes to is not a completely accurate picture of the ID movement. In any event, whether the designer was God or no, the identity of the designer is irrelevant to the main point that ID advocates are advocating pseudoscience.

Stefan, I'm addressing

Stefan,

I'm addressing arguments, not movements.

What has such a movement to do with whether ID is true or false?

Well, historically people

Well, historically people have frequently advocated certain pseudoscientific claims to advance religion. As an empirical matter I've found people motivated by religion to be more likely to make specious claims about natural phenomena than people not motivated by religion.

At any rate, I noted above that the identity of the designer is not important to the main claim that ID is pseudoscience. It still violates Occam's Razor, lacks empirical support, etc. Of course, the theory that aliens built the pyramids does make for good scifi.

On the discussion of

On the discussion of religion in America, you may have something there about seperation of church and state allowing the ability to accept the one more readily despite personal dislikes about the other.

This tends to bring to mind, to me, the time of the Reformation in the 16th century. Italians, even to this day, are primarily Catholic and I think it is not, necessarily, because of the closeness of the Catholic Church, but rather because I do not believe 16th century Italians viewed the Church in the same light that the reformers did. To a 16th century German I can easily see how the excesses and political connivings of the Catholic Church of the time would seem an outrage against the religion they were reading in the bible, and certainly it was. But the Italians, on the other hand, (certainly no less literate than their German counterparts in many respects) were so used to reconciling the idea that not only is the Pope God's Hand on Earth, so to speak, but also your third cousin twiced removed and I'll be darned if "family" isn't going to try and throw in a few favors here and there.

To Italians the Church just wasn't so staunchly defined because in many ways they recognized that the people in the church were really just human after all. So the "rules" were always a bit muddy. The same is true of Catholics here in New Orleans, where they've long had a strong European outlook much closer to the Italian mindset of religion. Something that used to throw me off when I was younger and had first moved away from here and gone to Catholic churches in other parts of the country where folks seemed to be a little less relaxed about their religion. And it was especially true in heavily Protestant areas where there was an almost open animosity towards the Catholic Church that I had never encountered before, especially since the Catholic Church I grew up in (meaning the priests, nuns and brothers that taught me religion) were all pretty much very tolerant of other religious viewpoints. Catholic dogma about non-Catholics being relegated to Hell or Purgatory was virtually non-existent in the religious classes I was ever in. Toleration and compassion were the order of the day here, at least. (Not that I consider myself Catholic anymore, mind you, I tend to be basically agnostic.)

Still, the protestant mindset has always been more prevelant in most parts of the States and maybe you're on to something about the more stark seperation of church and state allowing religious affiliation to grow more rigid since it can so easily be viewed from a viewpoint which brooks less criticism, at least to the practitioners of those religions.

I'm not a radical skeptic at

I'm not a radical skeptic at all. We apprehend reality through reason, not through weighing reputations.

But how exactly do we apply

But how exactly do we apply our reason? Is the scientific method a valid way of using reason to understand and predict the physical universe? Can we even say some ways of apprehending reality are better than others? Might it not be the case that, as some here have alluded, our ability to apprehend reality is limited, finite, and subject to occasional error? And finally, if person A is known to use a better and more reliable method for understanding reality than person B, isn't that some evidence for believing person A over person B, however small?

I’m not a radical skeptic

I’m not a radical skeptic at all. We apprehend reality through reason, not through weighing reputations.

My reason tells me that considering reputations and the beliefs of others helps me to apprehend more reality.

That would be fine and all

That would be fine and all Patri, except you've failed to use your reason to apprehend the reality that captains are the absolute monarchs on their ships. :end:

"If your scheme of how

"If your scheme of how humanity got here excludes evolution by natural selection, it’s wrong. It’s that simple."

My my. Making statements of absolute certainty. Who, again, belongs to a religion?

Personally, I regard absolute certainty as a failure of our rational faculties.

I'm not saying its impact is

I'm not saying its impact is non-existent, but aside from utility of visiting a museum there isn't a whole lot I can think of where it has made a direct impact on my life.

And, I really am not trying to discredit or downplay evolution here, I just see it as a theory based purely on observation. It's also untestable, thus its applications in direct application are limited.

And by all means, please correct me out there if I'm wrong.

Steve said "First, most

Steve said "First, most scientists are most definitley NOT athiests, so thanks for your biased and ignorant assumption."

You're correct--it's a mere 45% of U.S. scientists. 40% believe in a personal God, 15% are agnostic. Mathematicians have a higher percentage of belief in God, biologists lower.

http://clublet.com/c/c/why?DoesYourWorkImpactYourLackOfFaith
http://solon.cma.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf/contrib/clari.txt

Jason said "I will admit that ID probably does not belong in a biology class, but neither does evolution for that matter. As was mentioned in a previous discussion on this site, evolution has been so unable to handle scientific challenges that it has predictably grown into some vague, monolithic idea that offers no falisifiable conclusions."

Wow. That's some staggering ignorance, rectifiable only by making some effort to look at work being done in evolutionary sciences. A good place to start is http://www.talkorigins.org and perhaps reading a few books not written by creationists. At t.o, I'd start with:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/

Patri, Let's say a novel

Patri,

Let's say a novel economic argument arises that you for the moment can't wrap your head around. Milton Friedman takes one position on it and Hillary Clinton takes the opposite. MF says A, HRC says Not-A. You may well judge that MF is more likely to be correct. Fine. Having made that judgement do you now understand the reality underlying the issue any better? No, not a whit. To apprehend that reality there is no substitute for evaluating the arguments.

"MF says A" has no place in a valid argument for A because A is true or false regardless of what MF says.

Now can "MF says A" reasonably influence which arguments you're going to want to look at first? Sure.

Comment by Dave Peterson —

Comment by Dave Peterson — August 11, 2005 @ 12:09 pm
But Steve, I mean beyond that, even if intelligent design survived in private schools. As far as the theory of evolution goes, how many fields is evolution applicable? Could I be a successful businessman and believe in intelligent design? Absolutely. Could I be an astro physicist and still believe in it? Probably. It has some applications in medicine and biology, but beyond that it doesn’t posess much value in the same way that Newton’s laws of gravity do.

Well, yes, but replacing it, or teaching ID along side of it, is throwing out the whole scientific process. Naturally this doesn't mean much for the business man, but it does mean a lot to the field of science. Since our country is doing so poorly in math and science compared to other countries these days, this is just more fuel to the fire as to the dumbing down of America's youth. Plus, the scientific method is also a process for logical evaluation of concepts. The level of thinking it requires to understand it is applicable to many other areas of life.

Comment by John T. Kennedy — August 11, 2005 @ 12:15 pm
How would it be if I took the assertions of some average bonehead proponent of evolution and said “This is what evolutionary theory claims…”

ok, but then who is the intelligence behind ID? I see your arguement here (and have a side note at the end of this post), but there is a reason there are no athiests(to my understanding at least, though there is still the "Stargate" theory) that support ID.

Comment by Dave Peterson — August 11, 2005 @ 12:42 pm
I’m not saying its impact is non-existent, but aside from utility of
visiting a museum there isn’t a whole lot I can think of where it has made a direct impact on my life.

Most of modern medicine has roots in concepts drawn from the Theory of Evolution (again, its an encompasing theory, it includes other theories and hypothesis within it). Medicine's have been derived from usage on other animals, transplants of other animal parts, etc. are all based on science drawing from T.o.Evolution.

And, I really am not trying to discredit or downplay evolution here, I just see it as a theory based purely on observation. It’s also untestable, thus its applications in direct application are limited.

ah! I'm now beginning to understand the ignorance behind ID supporters (I'd say no offense, but that would be empty...), and naturally, it all seems to be about symantics...

First of all, its not based purely on what I will assume you mean by observation, many of the sub-theories/hypothesis underlying Evolution are based on scientific tests on currently living species. But of course much is based on observation. Hell, ALL of ID is based on "observation". "Oh, look, a sea shell! it has a pattern on it, it must have been created by an intelligent being!"(yea yea, a little overly sarcastic). So, observation alone is a poor arguement against, well, either ToE or ID.

Next, all science, is based on observation! Observation of different forms of course, but observation of an occurance, an object, etc. You then write down what you think is the cause, then find ways to test your hypothesis, you observer the results. Its the scientific method.

To say Evolution is untestable is ignorant. Think of all the modern medicine that derives from consideration come about because of Evolution. Before the theory, noone would have thought to use pigs as transplant donors for humans, medicines would not have been tested on animals, etc. It is the idea that all animals are biologicaly linked (some more so than others) that led to these tests and developments in medicine. While not a direct test, these are "tests" of the theory. Show me how to test ID, and I'll begin to think about considering it a science.
I'd also like to point out, that the "tests" of ToE are not necesarily the same as other scientific tests (like the refraction of light that led to particle-wave theory). Tests for ToE are more of a, i guess i can describe them as historical tests. I think A is linked to B through process X. I have no solid evidence for this, but what evidence I do have leads me to believe this. Either because C is linked to D through similar process Y, or because of some other type of understanding of A and B. Now, said scientist has something to work with, they can now go and begin to research how exactly process X works, and it might not be what he thought of how process X works, but maybe he's (or she's, blah blah) close, and he needs to modify a little, or maybe he's completely wrong, but now he knows that, and even if he doesn't know how X works, he knows his concept was wrong and a new process, process X_2 is developed to be "tested". In this example, the test is not a matter of setting up a candle and some paper slits, but examining how different life forms of increasing and decreasing complexity handle the process that X is meant to describe, or looking for fossil records to see if evidene can be found for how the process occured.

phew... thats a lot of writing, but hopefully we're getting somewhere.

Just to note, and as I've mentioned before, I do believe in God (and like I've said, that is a temporary belief, open to change), I do believe (currently) that he did create the universe, but I also believe he did not create all as we see it. I also believe, that if he does indeed exist, his existence will be proven through science, at some point in time, in which our understanding of the universe is such that his influence on it will be shown to us through what he has created. Life, I do not believe, is how he shows us his existence (nor is religion for that matter, because I do now, and will always believe, that religion is a mental disease).

Scott wrote: "Surely

Scott wrote: "Surely evolution has had similarly pervasive effects."

Indeed. I recently saw someone suggest that medicine labels should say "This product was developed using evolutionary science" as appropriate, and creationists could refrain from using such products.

Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams wrote a very interesting book called _Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine_.

Surely evolution has had

Surely evolution has had similarly pervasive effects.

You may not have used it

You may not have used it per-se directly, but it had direct impact on your life if you have ever flown in an airplane, talked on a cell phone, watched cable tv, etc.

I very seldom used Newton's

I very seldom used Newton's law of gravity in college or elsewhere, even considering the five or so majors I constantly switched between.

Three Rules A few days ago,

Three Rules
A few days ago, JohnL, inspired by VodkaPundit, wrote about three subjects to avoid at all costs: evolution, abortion, gun control. I wrote briefly on Ambient Irony's post on evolution, science, and ID, and it spawned another post and more...

The Puritans are not, and

The Puritans are not, and were not, the American folkway that resists evolution. Rather the opposite I would say. They, along with the Quakers to some degree, are the progenitors of blue-state America. Both groups believe in learning and experts.

Rather, the people who reject evolution are the cultural descendants of Scotch-Irish bordermen, the "don't tread on me" types. They have no use for authority telling them what to think. This sort of attitude is very helpful for old-time religion.

They have no use for

They have no use for authority telling them what to think. This sort of attitude is very helpful for old-time religion.

And for other things, I'd imagine.

Steve, "Intelligent Design

Steve,

"Intelligent Design most certainly makes claim to a God! It specificly states that anything that looks like it COULD be designed by an intelligence most certainly is. It then goes on to say that if this intelligence is not man, it must be of some supernatural being. Until we can prove that the “Stargate” theory of alien intervention is valid, God is all that is left."

No it doesn't.

How would it be if I took the assertions of some average bonehead proponent of evolution and said "This is what evolutionary theory claims..."

I've shredded some arguments of such proponents in these threads but I don't claim that those bad arguments are necessary to evolutionary theory.

Why do you think Britons are

Why do you think Britons are less religious? Do you have statistics?

And just because someone doesn't use the word "God" doesn't mean he isn't religious (only English speakers ever use the word "God" anyway -- except for the French who use the word to denote a dildo). If a religion is characterized by the belief in a superior entity before which you must humiliate yourself to be bestowed salvation, then all those who believe in Government are religious people. Replacing one superior entity by another one doesn't make people any less religious -- even if the new entity has a name longer than three letters.