ID Arguments

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Jan 11, 2002.

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    Idist
    I've recently become very interested in intelligent design (ID), e.g. the works of Phil Johnson, Mike Behe, Wiliam Dembski, etc.
    I was just wondering what you guys thought about it. In a lot of ways these guys are very anti-evolution...but when creationism comes up they seem to either ignore the topic or just come out and say that they accept that the earth is billions of years old. Mike Behe says that he finds common descent reasonable in Darwin's Black Box. Dembski believes in an old earth:

    I do not regard Genesis as a scientific text. I have no vested theological interest in the age of the earth or the universe. I find the arguments of geologists persuasive when they argue for an earth that is 4.5 billion years old. What’s more, I find the arguments of astrophysicists persuasive when they argue for a universe that is approximately 14 billion years old. I believe they got it right. Even so, I refuse to be dogmatic here. I’m willing to listen to arguments to the contrary. Yet to date I’ve found none of the arguments for a young earth or a young universe convincing. Nature, as far as I’m concerned, has an integrity that enables it to be understood without recourse to revelatory texts.
    That said, I believe that nature points beyond itself to a transcendent reality, and that that reality is simultaneously reflected in a different idiom by the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

    http://www.discovery.org/viewDB/index.php3?program=CRSC%20Responses&command=view&id=534

    ...but is less definite on common descent:

    More significantly for the educational curriculum, however, is that intelligent design has no stake in living things coming together suddenly in their present form. To be sure, intelligent design leaves that as a possibility. But intelligent design is also fully compatible with large-scale evolution over the course of natural history, all the way up to what biologists refer to as "common descent" (i.e., the full genealogical interconnectedness of all organisms). If our best science tells us that living things came together gradually over a long evolutionary history and that all living things are related by common descent, then so be it. Intelligent design can live with this result and indeed live with it cheerfully.

    But--and this is the crucial place where an ID-based curriculum will differ from how biological evolution is currently taught--intelligent design is not willing to accept common descent as a consequence of the Darwinian mechanism. The Darwinian mechanism claims the power to transform a single organism (known as the last common ancestor) into the full diversity of life that we see both around us and in the fossil record. If intelligent design is correct, then the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation lacks that power. What's more, in that case the justification for common descent cannot be that it follows as a logical deduction from Darwinism.

    Darwinism is not identical with evolution understood merely as common descent. Darwinism comprises a historical claim (common descent) and a naturalistic mechanism (natural selection operating on random variations), with the latter being used to justify the former. According to intelligent design, the Darwinian mechanism cannot bear the weight of common descent. Intelligent design therefore throws common descent itself into question but at the same time leaves open as a very live possibility that common descent is the case, albeit for reasons other than the Darwinian mechanism.

    What, then, are teachers who are persuaded of intelligent design to teach their students? Certainly they should teach Darwinian theory and the evidence that supports it. At the same time, however, they should candidly report problems with the theory, notably that its mechanism of transformation cannot account for the complex specified structures we observe in biology. But that still leaves Eugenie Scott's question, "What happened when?" There is a lot of persuasive evidence for common descent that does not invoke the Darwinian mechanism, notably from biogeography and molecular sequence comparisons involving DNA and proteins. At the same time, discontinuities in the fossil record (preeminently in the Cambrian explosion) are more difficult to square with common descent.

    To establish evolutionary interrelatedness invariably requires exhibiting similarities between organisms. Within Darwinism, there's only one way to connect such similarities, and that's through descent with modification driven by the Darwinian mechanism. But within a design-theoretic framework, this possibility, though not precluded, is also not the only game in town. It's possible for descent with modification instead to be driven by telic processes inherent in nature (and thus by a form of design).
    Alternatively, it's possible that the similarities are not due to descent at all but result from a similarity of conception, just as designed objects like your TV, radio, and computer share common components because designers frequently recycle ideas and parts. Teasing apart the effects of intelligent and natural causation is one of the key questions confronting a design-theoretic research program. Unlike Darwinism, therefore, intelligent design has no immediate and easy answer to the question of common descent.


    And somewhere I think read Dembski saying that ID even predicts common descent, but I couldn't find the article.

    Even Phil Johnson (who I think is a baptist), the father of the Intelligent Design movement, seems more anti-creationist than he used to be. Richard Dawkins recently asked him what he thought the age of the earth was:

    Q: Do you think the age of our planet is closer to 4000 million years or closer to 100,000 years?
    A: The former, but with the caveat that I have made no effort to investigate the subject personally and am merely accepting the current scientific consensus. In lectures, I tell the audience that I assume that the earth is about 4.6 billion years old. If Darwinists would like to have more time, however, I am happy to grant them 46 billion years, or 460 billion. Regardless of the time available, their system of evolution cannot work because it never gets started with the essential job of creating new complex specified genetic information. See my review of Paul Davies’ book on the origin of life.
    http://www.arn.org/docs/pjweekly/pj_weekly_010709.htm

    Now, these ID people are very smart scientists and very devoted Christians also. But they think that Young Earth Creationism and the Flood (and therefore, a literal interpretation of Genesis) are wrong. YECs I know seem to like the ID people, but they seem to avoid talking about what the IDists think about YEC.

    Here's some resources about ID on the web: http://www.arn.org http://www.discovery.org


    HELEN
    I am part of the ID movement as well as part of the YEC camp. A few of us do both! ID is NOT creation-oriented at all, so it is a much wider umbrella, involving a wide variety of non-Christians and especially of non-YEC creationists. We are a distinct minority.

    My personal contribution is in helping with some research, proof-reading stuff, and keeping up with what is going on at the ID conferences.

    ID approaches the natural world from the point of view of science. For this reason they do not step over the theological threshold as a movement, although obviously the different contributors often do on their own. Phil Johnsons' "Wedge of Truth" published a year ago spends the last chapters showing how the God of the Bible is the only logical answer, for instance. But ID includes people who do not accept that, and Phil is friendly enough so that his views don't bother them.

    But the thrust of the ID movement is to present the same criteria that we would use when looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, to determine whether or not it was designed or accidental, and apply that criteria to natural phenomena to see if there is indication of intelligent design or not.

    The two main tools ID has are called 'specified complexity' and what is now referred to as the 'Dembski filter.' Specified complexity refers to the idea that if something is complex by definition (and there are definitions here), and shows evidence that it is specifically purposed for one activity or function, then we need to look at it in light of a couple of other things. First, is this happening because of a natural law? If so, then ID will not assign the label 'intelligently designed' to it. An example here might be the lovely designs waves on a beach leave. Design, yes. But the waves and the sand were simply responding to the laws of physics and the patterns are what is left. Although the components parts, such as the laws may be considered to be intelligently designed, ID is looking for primary and immediate intelligent design. If what is being observed is not the product of a known law, then what are the chances of it happening serendipitously? A good example of that is rolling a hundred marbles across a wooden floor. There is a very good chance that somewhere along the line three of them will line up in a straight line. That cannot be considered intelligent design.

    But if it not there because of a known law, and if it defies the laws of probability, and if it demonstrates specified complexity, then it is certainly a candidate for the label of 'intelligently designed.'

    And this is where ID stops, philosophically. The designer is inferred but not specified. The purpose of the designer is never approached. Those are theological questions.

    Creation science comes at the issue from the other side. There is a paradigm which is accepted as presuppositional (God created everything. For Christians that means 'according to Genesis'), and data is interpreted within that framework. Thus the foundation for creation science is philosophical/religious, just as the foundation for evolution science is based on the philosophy of materialistic naturalism.

    So I like ID! I think it has something very valuable to offer simply because it is not based on the sorts of beliefs that both evolution and creation are. It is really interesting to me that the ID camp really does contain some non-theists and a good many evolutionists. I'm not sure what they do inside their heads when they reach the point of inferring intelligent design, but they sure are valuable people to have around -- keeps everyone else from going off the theological deep ends!

    One of the main criticisms I hear about the ID movement is that they are some kind of creationism in disguise. To me, that sort of comment smacks of incredible ignorance concerning what the movement is all about. The two systems come at natural phenomena from exactly opposite directions.


    IDist
    Thanks Helen! Perhaps you'll permit me a question...

    You said: And this is where ID stops, philosophically. The designer is inferred but not specified. The purpose of the designer is never approached. Those are theological questions.
    Creation science comes at the issue from the other side. There is a paradigm which is accepted as presuppositional (God created everything. For Christians that means 'according to Genesis'), and data is interpreted within that framework. Thus the foundation for creation science is philosophical/religious, just as the foundation for evolution science is based on the philosophy of materialistic naturalism.


    Perhaps I'm being too picky, but in that quote I posted of Dembski (who is definitely a Christian, I don't know if he's baptist like Phil Johnson) pretty much says that "I don't think Genesis is a science textbook" (that's not exact, I can't see my original post while typing here). You seem to imply that real Christians think it pretty much is, 'according to Genesis' as you say.

    So is Dembski not a real Christian, or are Christians free to not take Genesis literally?

    (at least, if the physical evidence seems to point against the literal interpretation, as the main IDists I've read seem to think, although they don't discuss it much)


    JIMMY HIGGINS
    The largest problem ID has is that it is not testable. If, in fact, it is true, that a god created the heavens etc... there is still no way to prove it.
    The second problem you'll run into is the god issue. Which god? Your god, islam's god, a hindu god, how about Zoroaster? Who's creation story? If one is going to teach the origins of the universe from a religious standpoint, it would be equally as ignorant as arrogent to choose only what christianity believes is the whole course of history.

    A problem that supporters of ID have is their continual belief that if you can't prove it, then it isn't necessarily so, however, our idea is just as good. Problem is, proving something to be true, believing something to be true, and supposing something to be true are not as closely linked as you'd think. Take molecular composition, FCC, BCC, etc... We have never actually seen the atoms in these positions, however it is widely accepted that they do exist in such a formation. Take bipolar compounds like water, or tetrahedrons such as sodium tetrachloride. We have never "seen" the actually shape they make, yet no one seems to dispute the shapes.

    ID followers make a poor distinction between what is believed to be true and what we may hypothesize is true. ID's feel that if it isn't proven then it is merely a thought. However, due to the ID's poor understanding of scientific responsibility, this is hardly the case. Take Einstein's "Theory" of Relativity. It's a theory, but the word theory has been bastardized by the unscientific. A word theory is rarely given to just a mere thought. A theory needs to be tested, as has Relativity, countlessly. Until all facets have been deemed true, does it become "Law".
    The Theory of Evolution hasn't been graced as easily with testable evidence. Evolution isn't testable with humans. The timeline is too long to test with. However, evolution gains legitimacy through past observation and fossil records. Granted certain "gains" in evolution have been proven false, however, to suggest that these instances outweigh the legitimacy of other gains is fool-hardy.

    That one finds it hard to believe that all life came from a unicelluar being is not justification for its dismisal as a fact. Einstein felt that way with blackholes. He felt that it was too hard to believe that blackholes could exist as his own theory disputed. However, they have been proven to exist.

    And this leads to the greatest paradox ID's create. How can life come from nothing? Atheists always will argue the counter. How can consciousness come from nothing? Life is indeed a wonderous effect. Whether created by some god or through nature is tough to prove. Even if it was through nature, it can still be assumed to have been a cycle of the mind of a god. However, this is all irrelevent because this isn't about science at all. This is about teaching Christian doctrine in school. For I hardly see Christian's calling for a Taoist or Islamic or Australian Aboriginal creation story of life. When christian's talk about Intelligent design being taught in school, they ARE ONLY TALKING ABOUT CHRISTIAN intelligent design. And then, how scientific is that, to only teach one religion in school? If religion is truly to be regarded as scientific, it must subdue itself to continuous scrutinization, the same thing science allows itself to be subjected to. I, however, don't see that in the future though. Religion will never allow itself to be scrutinized because of the fear that its foundation will be disturbed and its structure demolished, as many scientific ideas have fallen.


    JOHN PAUL
    The largest problem ID has is that it is not testable.

    Not according to the scientists who support ID.

    Is Intelligent Design Testable? http://www.discovery.org/viewDB/index.php3?program=CRSC%20Responses&command=view&id=584

    There are already disciplines in place that rely on design inference- archeaology is one, investigating an alleged arson or murder, would be two others and then we have SETI. So as we can see design inference is already part of our lives. Expanding that to the biological field should not be so difficult. As a matter of fact such a thing is happening:

    Approaching Biology from a Different Angle http://www.arn.org/docs2/news/approachingbiology041701.htm

    ID is the future of biology, whether you want to accept it or not.


    HELEN
    IDist -- you asked some questions:

    Perhaps I'm being too picky, but in that quote I posted of Dembski (who is definitely a Christian, I don't know if he's baptist like Phil Johnson) pretty much says that "I don't think Genesis is a science textbook" (that's not exact, I can't see my original post while typing here). You seem to imply that real Christians think it pretty much is, according to Genesis' as you say.
    So is Dembski not a real Christian, or are Christians free to not take Genesis literally? (at least, if the physical evidence seems to point against the literal interpretation, as the main IDists I've read seem to think, although they don't discuss it much)


    First of all, Christianity is a matter of Jesus Christ. I know Bill and consider him a brother in Christ. Phil, by the way, is Presbyterian. From my own personal point of view, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit takes each of us who belongs to Christ and moves us bit by bit toward the full truth of everything in Christ. So we may find ourselves differing now about various things, but I know we won't later. I am quite sure I am wrong about a number of things. But I know the Holy Spirit is causing me to become less and less wrong as I mature in Him. Bill, Phil (sound's like Dr. Suess... ) and the rest are the same, I know. Phil just had a major stroke last July and seeing the way the Lord has worked with him through his recovery has been a major testimony to an awful lot of people and a point of real spiritual growth for Phil. Bill's dealings with Baylor threw him back to prayer and trust in the Lord very quickly, and he has grown through that and that, too, has been part of his life's testimony. So for all of us, who are Christians, it's a matter of growing and learning more and more.

    As far as Genesis goes, I think every Christian references to it. In what way is often different, but the reference is sort of universally there.

    That's the personal Christian side of my response.

    Now, the ID side....the side without reference to faith. ID'ers are not concerned with Genesis as part of ID. It simply is not relevent. What is relevent is the mathematical and scientific investigation of phenomena and the use of certain criteria to define it. That's what ID does.

    ID uses the same methods forensic science does. In the same sense you don't ask forensic science to prove itself worthy through 'testing' the entire paradigm, you can't ask ID to do that. Archaeology is exactly the same. What these areas of work do is to look at the evidence and sift through it and try to reach logical conclusions based on prior knowledge and prior evidence (experience) within a scientific framework. You can disagree with that sort of method, but it is not a matter of testing. Hypotheses are what you test!

    For instance, if an ID proponent or writer said something like "this round pile of rocks shows intelligent design", that can be tested via the methods forensics or intelligent design or archaeology all use.

    1. Do the rocks appear in that sort of position as a matter of nature (law)? If the pile is at the foot of a mountainside and there is no discernable plan, purpose, or pattern to them, then the probably conclusion is that they were not intelligently designed in that formation.

    2. Is there a high probability of the rocks being like that? If the answer to #1 has been no, that there is something about those rocks that seems to indicate design or purpose, or even simply pattern, then this second question is fair. This is where we would look to experience and probability matters. If there is a high probability that these rocks could have fallen into this seeming pattern or any other seeming pattern simply as a matter of chance, then intelligent design is not considered.

    3. But if there is no natural law which explains this pile of rocks, and if the probability of them in this configuration is extremely low, then we can call in the concept of specified complexity. Is there a complex relationship among these rocks? If they are cemented together with mortar and there is a spray of water coming out of the middle and gathering in a small pool formed by those rocks, then we see complexity. Is the complexity specified? It appears so, yes, as the specification is to conduct water up to a certain place and then collect it for recycling in the pool.

    Now, when we look at a fountain, experience tells us that it was designed. Good or bad design is an entirely different question and involves certain judgments not even in the equation. The question was, is this pile of rocks designed to be the way it is here?

    So intelligent design is a method by which something can be tested. If you don't like the method, fine. But it will look at a flower, for instance, and ask, "did this come about by some natural law?" No. It did not. There is no natural law that demands a plant cell produce a cell of another variety and color and purpose. We see flowers at particular places on particular plants. Is a flower a high probability of what a plant cell will do? No, it is not. We don't see them popping up on leaves or bark. Is a flower complex? Yes, it is. It has a number of different internal parts which are interrelated to each other. Does the flower have a specific purpose? Yes, it does. Those parts work together to attract pollenizers and then produce a seed.
    This is specified complexity which does not fit the category of simply following a natural law (like gravity or thermodynamics), is unlikely to happen to a plant cell as a matter of chance, and exhibits specified complexity.

    Thus, a fair conclusion is that the flower is intelligently designed.

    That is what intelligent design is concerned with. Can we take the same criteria we use in other fields of science and apply it to nature?

    If not, why not?

    That's ID. It is not something you test. It is a method of testing you may or may not agree with. You can disagree with the testing done in forensics, too. That is a matter of your personal reaction. But the fact that it is a method of testing remains.

    Is it a strange 'bedfellow' with YEC? Yes and no, actually. If you consider ID as a very wide umbrella and YEC as a specific group inside that generalization that nature seems to be exhibiting intelligent design, then the fit is fine with YEC as a subgroup of ID. But if you are going to look at approaches to science, they tend to be different, as one approaches on a purely objective basis (much more purely, as a matter of fact, than evolution), and the other from the preconception that God created everything. In that sense they are very different. So it's all a matter of how one wants to look at it.

    Hope that helps. Eugenie Scott et al and the press have screamed that ID and creationism are the same and so some believe that. But they simply are not. If they were, probably at least 3/4 of the people who are involved in ID would disassociate from it quite publicly.


    JIMMY HIGGINS
    Re: John Paul’s linked article, {I]Is Intelligent Design Testable?[/I]

    I must remark that the article linked above was rather unsupportive to its own claims. Within itself, it stands tosay ID as a theory is falsifible, confirmable, and predictable. However, the article never really explains how, or worse yet holds the fate of other theories as proof of how the ID ranks as a scientific theory.

    In fact, I must say the article's take on how the ID argument is falsifible is humorous. The article proclaims that the inability of Darwin's theory to explain the Bacterial Flagellum is what is evidence of for ID. Somehow Darwin's own falsibility becomes ID's ability to be falisible, which is utter nonscence.

    I have yet to witness one committed Darwinist concede that any feature of nature might even in principle provide countervailing evidence to Darwinism. In place of such a concession one is instead always treated to an admission of ignorance. Thus it’s not that Darwinism has been falsified or disconfirmed, but that we simply don’t know enough about the biological system in question and its historical context to determine how the Darwinian mechanism might have produced it.

    Strangely, the same defense that theists use for why hardly any records exist on Jesus' Crucifixion or Moses' Exodus is not viable to the scientific community. Only their own.

    I move on to Confirmation.

    The article does accept that short-term gains in a species can and do exist. However, they argue the method in which these changes occur and completely deny any large scale changes. Then the article goes into a huge irrelevent tangent dealing with my second favorite movie of all-time, Contact.

    Although in the actual SETI program (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) radio astronomers look not for something as flamboyant as prime numbers but something much more plebeian, namely, a narrow bandwidth of transmissions (as occur with human radio transmissions), the point nonetheless remains that SETI researchers would legitimately count a sequence of prime numbers (and less flamboyantly though just as assuredly a narrow bandwidth transmission) as positive evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. No such conclusive signal has yet been observed, but I can assure you that if it were to be observed, Eugenie Scott would not be complaining about SETI not having proposed any “testable models.” Instead she would rejoice that the model had been tested and decisively confirmed.

    Not strangely, the author is so far off-base that I can barely contain my composure. If a signal that contain prime numbers were to be pumping through space, it is not failed logic to believe that it is extraterestrial. In fact, it would be obvious. However, the author omits the fact that when pulsars were first discovered, scientists believed that the signals were being sent by an alien race, because of the time precision of the signals being sent. However, this died off when it was learned that pulsars work better than clocks at keeping time. Now if we were to hear prime numbers, there would be no other reasoning for the signal than extraterestrial because no such signal could exists in nature. The author then goes on to say that if aliens were to blast mathematical equations well beyond our means, we'd dismiss it because of its complexity we could understand. However, such a conclusion is wrong. If there is a signal, there is a signal, and if it is chaotic, it is always chaotic and that is sign enough of contact. Just because they wouldn't have been able to understand it, doesn't mean the connection wouldn't be there.

    Worse yet, this is about confirmation. What the author is seemingly trying to say is:
    1) We see a process
    2) We don't understand it fully
    3) However, it is complex and complete
    Conclusion, it is a complex and complete process and must be from an Intelligent Designer. Rather than exposing ignorance to the subject, they make a hasty conclusion, just as people once did with disease being caused by demons etc... Rather than actually being a scientific find, the ID really is is a vault of unidentified processes that are complex. The ID confirms that 1) The complexity, and 2) the unknown origin of a process. There is NO ID testibility that will confirm an Intelligent Designer. This, the author decides to omit.

    Onward to predictability. The author saves the best for last here by claiming that ID is not predictable, but there is a good reason for it.

    But what about the predictive power of intelligent design? To require prediction fundamentally misconstrues design. To require prediction of design is to put design in the same boat as natural laws, locating their explanatory power in an extrapolation from past experience. This is to commit a category mistake. To be sure, designers, like natural laws, can behave predictably (designers often institute policies that end up being rigidly obeyed). Yet unlike natural laws, which are universal and uniform, designers are also innovators. Innovation, the emergence to true novelty, eschews predictability. Designers are inventors. We cannot predict what an inventor would do short of becoming that inventor. Intelligent design offers a radically different problematic for science than a mechanistic science wedded solely to undirected natural causes. Yes, intelligent design concedes predictability. But this represents no concession to Darwinism, for which the minimal predictive power that it has can readily be assimilated to a design-theoretic framework.

    The theory, or should I say, LAW of gravity is predictable. Take two objects. Drop them from the same height. Excluding wind resistance, the objects will land at the same time. This was proven on the moon. The Law predicts it! This is what science means by predictability. The author states, is predictable, but because the Creator is willing to change things on a whim, this will lead to unpredictability. There is NO predictability in ID because the theory itself allows for a wild card. Such a play in evolution would be used against itself by ID'ers, however, the ID'ers most favorite song must be 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

    The ID, as true as it might be, is not a valid scientific theory. It is a metaphysical theory because it relies on too much.

    1) Falsible? No. Can not disprove the existence of god.

    2) Confirmable? No. Can not prove the existence of god. All that ID can confirm is the complexity of life. This is hardly an estounding conclusion. It's been known for a while.

    3) Predictable? Certainly not. It is already inconclusive if a Creator exists. If a creator does exist, it is then impossible to predict what the creator will do. The article admits as much.

    Because all three fall out of touch with the ID, there is nothing the ID can give to science. Rather the ID will have to stay as a metaphysical ideal that can only be proven by the great creator itself, if it so chooses, which we can't even predict that it would.
     
  2. Administrator2

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    JOHN PAUL
    Methinks you should learn more about ID.
    ID says NOTHING about God.
    Yes it [the complexity of life] has been known and either ignored or attributed to purely natural processes (and the as yet unknown natural process). That is the point. Now it is time to come out of the closet and announce what we already know to be true. The apparent design is NOT illusory!

    3) Predictable? Certainly not. It is already inconclusive if a Creator exists. If a creator does exist, it is then impossible to predict what the creator will do. The article admits as much.

    You are confused as to what ID is for. Life itself is enough for me to infer something other than nature exists. If you have data to the contrary please share it. ID just attributes the apparent design in living organisms to some unknown designer. We deem that designer 'intelligent' because looking at the specified complexity involved it is beyond our comprehension. On the PBS series about evolution Dennett said this about the theory: "There is no way to predict what would be selected for at any point in time." Most of the evolutionary predictions I have read are, in reality, accommodations.


    JIMMY HIGGINS
    I simply critiqued what the article said. As for no mention of God, well what would the creator be then? The ID is firmly grounded with the need of a god and if there is no god, then the ID is dead! However, if there is a god, then the ID isn't necessarily true, still. God could have created evolution.


    THE BARBARIAN
    Incidentally, the notion that ID is used in archaeology is so much prune product. In fact, there's an entire branch of archaeology that specializes indistinguishing natural objects from primitive artifacts.

    Which is about as anti-ID as you could get.


    Idist
    OK, good. So it sounds like one can be a perfectly good Christian but not believe in a young earth, that all geologists have got their life's work horribly wrong, and that one doesn't have to take things like the global flood in Genesis literally.

    But I was looking around on other threads, and saw you say:

    Could God have worked through evolution? No, He couldn't have. It's not His character to bring about life through death and destruction. Life comes directly from Him. Death and destruction came because of us. To 'credit' Him with the very death and destruction we caused and then call it part of His creative act is to deny His character and His Word.

    Because this I have seen and know for true: that God is good and just and fair, and in Him there is no death. I have seen that He is trustworthy in His Word and that He has shown us this trustworthiness in the natural world around us.

    This I have seen, and this I know -- that the claims of evolution are the claims of men who deny God's character and His Word. That those who claim to believe in Him deny Him the ability to communicate clearly or be trusted absolutely. They have, in short, made up a deity they can be comfortable with, who fits their ideas of how things are.


    Are you really saying that death didn't exist before The Fall? None of the ID 'big names' would defend this, I don't think -- after all, fossil are dead animals, right? I think I've even seen fossils with fish caught in the act of eating other fish and things like that.

    So would you seriously accuse Phil Johnson & company of conceding this particular claim of evolution (death before the fall) and falling under your condemnation here:

    This I have seen, and this I know -- that the claims of evolution are the claims of men who deny God's character and His Word. That those who claim to believe in Him deny Him the ability to communicate clearly or be trusted absolutely.

    If it wasn't clear already, just to let you know where I'm coming from, I think YEC is worse for Christianity than atheism. I recently had a wonderful Christian prof in a geology class who was very clear about how being a Christian didn't mean that you had to throw your brain out the window.

    ...so in addition to trying to understand how one can maintain a belief in YEC, I'm really wondering how one can be a YEC and still support the ID movement, which seems to fatally undermine most of the things that YEC standard for (Genesis literalism, no common descent outside of the kinds, etc.)

    I saw a talk by Behe, and someone asked him what if he was wrong about how God (the IDer) had intervened in evolution. He said he'd happily go back to believing what he did before his discoveries, which was that God created through evolution.

    Doesn't that fundamental contradict you, Helen (& other YECs on the board, I'm not sure who's who yet)?


    Now, the ID side....the side without reference to faith. ID'ers are not concerned with Genesis as part of ID. It simply is not relevant.

    How could the age of the earth not be relevant to a debate about evolution?


    What is relevent is the mathematical and scientific investigation of phenomena and the use of certain criteria to define it. That's what ID does.

    ID uses the same methods forensic science does. In the same sense you don't ask forensic science to prove itself worthy through 'testing' the entire paradigm, you can't ask ID to do that. Archaeology is exactly the same. What these areas of work do is to look at the evidence and sift through it and try to reach logical conclusions based on prior knowledge and prior evidence (experience) within a scientific framework. You can disagree with that sort of method, but it is not a matter of testing. Hypotheses are what you test!


    OK, I can agree with this, but certainly in any forensic investigation determining "time of death" or "time of event" in the case of intelligent intervention, would be almost the very first thing you would do, right?


    Now, when we look at a fountain, experience tells us that it was designed. Good or bad design is an entirely different question and involves certain judgments not even in the equation. The question was, is this pile of rocks designed to be the way it is here?

    So intelligent design is a method by which something can be tested. If you don't like the method, fine. But it will look at a flower, for instance, and ask, "did this come about by some natural law?" No. It did not. There is no natural law that demands a plant cell produce a cell of another variety and color and purpose.


    I agree with you up to here -- you're not seriously arguing that mutations can't change the color of a flower, or even big changes in development of plants, are you? I saw just such things in biology class.


    We see flowers at particular places on particular plants.

    We've seen mutations change these positions too. It's not very hard, plants seem fairly tolerant of 'macromutations' (plants are kind of modularly organized anyhow, unlike animals).

    I guess what I'm getting at is that Behe would concede all of the above things are reasonable or at least possible via evolution; he focuses on a specific kind of structure, Irreducible Complexity, as evidence for (I think) occasional intervention over the course of evolution. It seems a very long way from YEC.


    Is a flower a high probability of what a plant cell will do? No, it is not. We don't see them popping up on leaves or bark.

    You do in the tropics...


    Is a flower complex? Yes, it is. It has a number of different internal parts which are interrelated to each other. Does the flower have a specific purpose? Yes, it does. Those parts work together to attract pollenizers and then produce a seed.
    This is specified complexity which does not fit the category of simply following a natural law (like gravity or thermodynamics), is unlikely to happen to a plant cell as a matter of chance, and exhibits specified complexity.
    Thus, a fair conclusion is that the flower is intelligently designed.


    Behe wouldn't say this, though, I don't think. Lots of plants are pollinated perfectly well without flowers, so it's hard to say that all these parts are necessary for function...


    That is what intelligent design is concerned with. Can we take the same criteria we use in other fields of science and apply it to nature?
    If not, why not?
    That's ID. It is not something you test. It is a method of testing you may or may not agree with. You can disagree with the testing done in forensics, too. That is a matter of your personal reaction. But the fact that it is a method of testing remains.


    I agree with this... but it seems to me that investigation of the age of something, either the time of death of a murder victim (forensic entomology, have you heard of that? Ick!), or the age of a certain geological formation, is the same kind of use of a method. You find a process that records the passage of time somehow, and measure how much change has occurred.

    Why do you think that this is invalid if you think that ID valid?


    Is it a strange 'bedfellow' with YEC? Yes and no, actually. If you consider ID as a very wide umbrella and YEC as a specific group inside that generalization that nature seems to be exhibiting intelligent design, then the fit is fine with YEC as a subgroup of ID.

    But if ID is really scientific, then it can't just pick and chose specific issues; the age of the earth is the big elephant in the middle of the room, isn't it? If the earth is young, evolution is wrong, full stop. Only if the earth is old do we need ID to figure out what evolved and what was created billions of years ago (as the Bible doesn't help us at all about what happened when in an old earth scenario).


    But if you are going to look at approaches to science, they tend to be different, as one approaches on a purely objective basis (much more purely, as a matter of fact, than evolution),

    ...and these objective ID people disbelieve in a young earth. Am I missing something?


    and the other from the preconception that God created everything. In that sense they are very different. So it's all a matter of how one wants to look at it.

    Well, all (or at least most) IDists believe that God created everything one way or the other, so obviously that doesn't have to mean a young earth.


    Hope that helps. Eugenie Scott et al and the press have screamed that ID and creationism are the same and so some believe that. But they simply are not. If they were, probably at least 3/4 of the people who are involved in ID would disassociate from it quite publicly.

    I guess I don't know the people personally like you do, since I've only recently read Behe & a few other books. But if the people involved in ID would dissociate from it if it believed in YEC, certainly YECs like you must feel weird being in that tent, right? I mean, the difference between regular evolution and evolution with a few interventions to create cilia and blood-clotting seems to me pretty small, theologically speaking.

    Doesn't ID undercut all of the harsh declarations (sort of like the one I quoted of you at the top of the thread) that YECs have been making for years and years?

    IMO maintaining against the evidence that the earth is 6-10,000 years old has probably created more atheists than Murray O'Hare. It has probably created ID also, as an attempt to make God scientifically respectable again & fix the damage of YEC.


    TGAMBLE
    Ken Miller points out:
    Let's suppose, for example, that a fellow scientist were to take Behe's challenge to evolution seriously, and attempted to show how a specific biochemical system composed of multiple parts could have evolved. A hypothesis for design, formulated in genuinely scientific terms, must be disprovable, and this is exactly the kind of evidence that might disprove it. Incredibly, Behe has intentionally insulated "intelligent design" from this and any other scientific test. How has he done this? In the penultimate chapter of his text, he lists some of the driving forces associated with evolutionary change, including natural selection, genetic drift, founder effects, gene flow, meiotic drive, and transposition (9). Behe states that all of these agents can effect change in biological systems, and admits that they may account completely for at least some of the biochemical features of a living cell. So, if our colleague were to show how these forces could have produced, say, the bacterial flagellum, would he be entitled to say: "I have disproved design?" Not at all, according to Behe. "The production of some biological improvements by mutation and natural selection - by evolution - is quite compatible with intelligent design theory." (10) In other words, any evidence for the evolution of complexity is dismissed in advance as being irrelevant to the problem of design. "Design" exists only when and where evolution cannot explain it! http://biomed.brown.edu/Faculty/M/Miller/Behe.html

    Lots of other reviews show why Behe's claims are simply wrong http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/box/behe.htm http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/bartelt_a_scientist_responds.htm

    Some of the really good reviews are: http://www-polisci.mit.edu/bostonreview/BR22.1/doolittle.html http://www-polisci.mit.edu/bostonreview/BR22.1/futuyma.html http://www.cbs.dtu.dk/dave/Behe.html

    So would showing that the bacterial flagellum could evolve really kill ID? I doubt it. They'd either claim that the scenario was highly unlikely or speculation or whatever. And if they did agree that it could evolve, they'd just choose something else to claim "impossible to evolve"!


    Do the rocks appear in that sort of position as a matter of nature (law)? If the pile is at the foot of a mountainside and there is no discernable plan, purpose, or pattern to them, then the probably conclusion is that they were not intelligently designed in that formation.

    It seems you're depending on probability to determine design or not. Yet the probability of the lottery would surely dictate that it was designed so the winner won.
    Take a deck of 52 playing cards and deal em out. the probability of that order is 52! (52 x 51 x 50.... x2 x 1) big number. Call it combination A. Shuffle the cards and do it again. Call it combination b. What is the probability of getting those exact combinations in that exact order? probably far less than what creationists claim for anything to do with evolution!

    A stadium that holds 50 000 people. What are the odds that people will be sitting in that exact order?
    Any event can be calculated as improbable (or impossible) after the fact.

    the real issue is whether or not it's possible at all and what kinds of evidence there is to show that it's possible. And what kind of predictions are made and confirmed to show that it's true. In the case of evolution, there is a vast amount of successful predictions and evidence showing that it's true.


    JOHN PAUL
    Incidentally, the notion that ID is used in archaeology is so much prune product.

    How do you figure that? ID is what archaeology is all about.


    In fact, there's an entire branch of archaeology that specializes indistinguishing natural objects from primitive artifacts.

    Right. Which is what ID is all about- figuring what is and what isn’t designed.


    Which is about as anti-ID as you could get.

    By this post it is obvious to me either you don’t understand what ID is or you are deliberately misrepresenting it.


    HELEN
    For whatever it's worth, I was at the Design and its Critics conference in 2000 when Ken Miller tried to refute the irreducible complexity of the flagellum. What he did was essentially embarrass everyone there who knew anything about cellular biology at all.

    He took what he felt was the original cell structure and blithely start moving proteins around. That is not something that happens in a cell! Proteins which are extra or old are dismantled by the cell and the amino acids recycled. Proteins don't just float or transfer to new areas of the cell and start doing 'something else'!

    Ken Miller started, saying:
    Step one: "A few nucleation proteins are localized near the cell surface.That requires simply a change or transfer in a cell localization sequence. Maybe they swap a gene with a protein.. it's immediately adaptive. The reason for that is that now microtubules go near the surface of the cell, they cause the cell membrane to grow out and bristle, it increases the surface area and it tends to protect the by providing it with bristles to keep things away.”

    Gives echinosphaerium as example.

    A cellular biologist got this far and responded as follows:

    When Darwinists spin their tales, they can often come across as being fairly persuasive by using two major tactics. First, always downplay the specificity and complexity of cell biology to make it seem like simple and significant changes are easily pulled off. If one makes this point with an air of confidence, those unfamiliar with cell biology can be misled.

    Secondly, there is a trick to such story telling. First, survey what is known in the biological world. Secondly, tell a story around what is known. And thirdly, tell the story to make it seem like the story is *predicting* the existence of what is known. If this is done carefully and skillfully, the audience is under the impression that the story teller is relying simply on the logic of his theory, allowing him to predict the existence of things in nature. And presto, wouldn't y'know, we find exactly what this theory predicts. Yet the story teller actually arranged the story around what is known to begin with.

    ... Millers' story has this type of slippery feel to it. But with only a small effort to take a closer look, I can't get interested to go beyond his first step as it collapses like a house of cards.
    Miller seems to be saying that all we need is a simple recombination in a gene/protein to cause microtubules to nucleate near the cell surface and form fibers that serves as processes that extend from the cell. He declares it "immediately advantageous" and cites an "example" from the real world - Echinosphaerium. What's wrong? Just about everything.

    First, I did a PubMed search using "echinosphaerium" and " heliozoan" (the phylum to which this critter belongs). In both cases, I got 15 hits going back to the 1960s. In fact, there doesn't seem to have been any serious research on these creatures since the 1980s. Why is this significant? Because Miller uses this organism as a supposed example to demonstrate how easy it would be to evolve such processes (known as axopodia). But we have no evidence that the evolution of the processes of this protozoan "requires simply a change or transfer in a cell localization sequence." Miller is blowing smoke (in fact, I can't find any sequenced gene from this organism!).

    Given that so little is known about this organism, Miller's use of it is suspicious. He can probably count on the fact that no one in the audience knows anything of detail about it, thus no one would dare challenge a confident use of this organism as "an example."

    Secondly, from the abstracts of the most recent research articles (in the 80s), the signs are the there that these axopodia are far more complex than Miller conveys. Consider the following abstract::

    "Using its microtubule-containing axopodia, a heliozoan
    Echinosphaerium nucleofilum feeds on various kinds of
    protozoans and small metazoans. The present study revealed
    that food capture and ingestion were carried out in 2 different
    ways or by a combination of them. The first one was by the
    rapid contraction of axopodia, by which the food organism was
    conveyed directly toward the body surface. After such a
    contraction, many of the microtubules which had been present
    inside the axopodia degraded and were replaced by C-shaped
    microtubules. Bundles of tubular bodies were also detected
    alongside the axonemal microtubules, especially following the
    use of glutaraldehyde fixative containing ruthenium red. The
    second method was by means of axopodial flow, by which a food
    organism attached to an axopodium was conveyed to the body surface
    along the axopodial surface without accompanying axopodial
    degradation or contraction. Subsequently the food organism was
    surrounded by several small pseudopodia to form a food vacuole;
    many filamentous structures (5-10 nm in diameter) were observed
    inside the pseudopodia. During the ingestion process many cytoplasmic
    extensions, including rosary-like filaments, were observed to protrude
    from the contracted axopodia and the cell body. Mottled dense
    granules were observed to be discharged from the axopodial surface
    just when the prey was captured."

    Finally, Miller's declaration that such a change would "immediately be adaptive" is again nothing but hand waving. He has not one shred of evidence to support this claim. Not one. Sure, his proposal sounds plausible expressed in such a vague and simplistic manner, but the reality of the cell often resists such vague and simplistic explaining. For example, when you suddenly nucleate microtubules in a novel location in the cell, might this not have an unforeseen and immediately disadvantageous effect as a consequence of disrupting the overall organization of the cytoskeleton? After all, things are connected in the cell.

    Look at it this way. There is a very good reason to think Miller's proposal is fundamentally flawed. To see this, what do you get if you mix a trait that is both easy to generate and confers immediate advantages? Answer - a ubiquitous trait. Thus, Miller's proposal leads to an obvious prediction - these heliozoan processes should be everywhere among protists, given they are so easily formed and immediately adaptive.
    Yet these processes are not ubiquitous and instead are found in only a small subset of closely related protozoans, suggesting they evolved only once (suggesting they are not easy to evolve). In fact, the more "highly evolved" flagellum is far more widely distributed than the "simple-to-evolve" axopodia of Echinosphaerium. This seems to clearly contradict the logic of Miller's explanation (although some imaginative darwinist could probably come up with an untestable ad hoc explanation to save the unevidenced original proposal).

    So what do we have? Miller presents and gives the impression that a simple change can result in an immediate adaptive trait relevant to the origin of flagella and even cites a living example as evidence.

    But the impression fades into irrelevancy upon superficial scrutiny. There is no reason to think the example Miller cites is relevant to his proposal, he has no evidence of such a simple change with immediate adaptive significance, and his own proposal leads us to predict what does not exist. It's just plain silly.




    THE BARBARIAN
    There's actually a great deal of evidence for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. http://minyos.its.rmit.edu.au/~e21092/flagella.htm


    IDist
    Helen,
    Getting back to Behe himself you apparently think that he's horribly, irrevocably wrong, like most scientists, on the age of the earth and on common descent, whatever he says about ID. Why defend someone who is already "wrong" on such points already.

    ... I'm very interested in this quote you posted...are other scientists starting to support Behe? I'd really like to show some people I'm debating on email that Behe isn't the only biologist professor going for ID.
    (I could use the help -- one guy on the list posted this 1995 article on the evolution of the eukaryotic flagellum (the one you're talking about, not the bacterial one Barbarian was talking about) and pointed out that Behe missed it in his literature review on the cilia/flagella: http://www.wkap.nl/oasis.htm/92837
    Acta Biotheoretica
    43 (3):227-240, September 1995.
    © Kluwer Academic Publishers

    Cilium: Origin and 9-Fold Symmetry
    Martino Rizzotti
    Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Padova, Via Trieste 75, 35121 Padova, Italy

    Abstract
    How the cilium appeared is still such a poorly defined question that current hypotheses range from a symbiotic spirochaete to a cellular eye. In this paper, the whole question is subdivided into a list of problems which are morphological, physiological and temporal. These problems are examined one by one, in order to analyse the most popular exogenous hypothesis of Margulis as well as other recent exogenous and endogenous hypotheses. To overcome fundamental topological and temporal difficulties, a new endogenous hypothesis is expounded, according to which the cilium derives from a cellular peduncle reinforced with microtubules. This hypothesis implies a geometrical rationale for the ninefold symmetry. In the last paragraph the consequences of the various hypotheses are compared.


    ...these guys are pretty sharp. So are the IDists, although none of them are YECs either, and agree with me that ID would be a lot better off if the YECs just admitted that they didn't have any legs to stand on and came over to the old-earth view of creation.
     
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    HELEN
    Hi Idist,
    I have put your post on a Word doc here it is so long and what I will try to do is simply erase as I go down and respond to things. This won't make for a particularly cohesive 'essay,' but it is one way I should be able to respond to everything!

    I think all people involved in every part of the debates around this issue recognize some element of common descent! The question is whether or not there were initially created distinct populations from which varieties arose or whether all of life has a common unicellular ancestor. The fact that there was an original 'equine' kind which led to other equine varieties, or 'canine' kind etc., is not disputed by anyone. The dispute is whether the beginning was the kind or it began far earlier and the kind was simply one of the results at a later date. I am hoping evolutionists here will forgive my use of the word 'kind,' and understand how I am using it.

    Yes, at this point I think Behe still is on the side of evolution as per more basic common descent that the biblical creationist would be. His work is not dealing with that, though. His work is dealing with his own field and the evident irreducible complexity he has seemed to find in several instances. This I support fully as both a YEC and a ID'er. Our differences in other areas we discuss at other times, as they are not related to the commonality we have with the ID movement. Perhaps this will make sense to you if I related it to politics. You can be a Democrat, for instance, and not agree with Clinton's sexual escapades. The question, "How can you support the Democratic party when Clinton is the way he is" would indicate that the entire Democratic Party is dependent upon Clinton's morality. It is not. In the same way, whether or not I agree with Behe's biblical point of view has nothing to do with his excellent work in his own field and the impact his book made regarding that particular subject. The concept of irreducible complexity is definitely a topic involved in the ID field. Now, if Behe were to proclaim himself a creationist and still claim some of the other things he believes about common descent, there might be a real problem involved!

    You asked if other scientists are supporting Behe. Yes, there are. Any of the YEC biochemists can be supporters, and there are others associated with the Discovery Institute as well. Some names you can use would include
    John Kramer, editor (I think, still) of the scientific journal 'Lipids' and research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, biochemist;
    Bob Hosken, University of Newcastle, Australia, biochemistry;
    George Javor, professor of biochemistry, Loma Linda University;
    John P. Marcus, University of Queensland, Australia, biochemistry; D.B. Gower, prof. emeritus University of London, England, biochemistry; and that is just some of the YEC's backing up the IC material of Behe's. The list of others and the list of biologists extends much further. Please keep in mind as well, that these are the people who are secure enough in their positions that they don't have to worry about losing grants or tenure or what have you now. There are an awful lot of men and women in the professional sciences who are not able to state their beliefs in this area or give public support because there is a growing history of people losing jobs, grants, promotions and the like for associating with ID or creation science.

    What is interesting is that most of those panning Behe are not in his field! Yet they still have the gall to say he is stating what he is out of "personal incredulity." Well, personal incredulity - first of all - in one's own field of expertise is something others should pay attention to. For instance, when cold fusion was claimed, it was those who were in the field professionally who first said, "Wait a minute…." And that 'wait a minute' was based on personal incredulity! Behe is incredulous, if you will, about something he works with everyday of his professional life. That is not to be taken lightly.

    Secondly, all the 'refutations' concerning the irreducible complexity of the flagellum, in particular, are, like the link Barbarian posted (and yes, I read it) all based on 'what if's' , and 'maybes'. As the author of the article in that link stated himself, in the second paragraph, "In this article I'll outline the construction of eubacterial flagella, it's relationship to other systems, and end with a speculative scenario for the evolution of eubacterial flagella." The article was quite informative when it dealt with known material. But speculation is only speculation, and until something is actually seen to occur in real life, it remains speculation. Speculation isn't bad! But notice the TITLE of the article is, "Evolution of the Bacterial Flagella," as though it has already been definitively figured out. That is deceptive right there. This is what I have seen with all those who disagree with Behe. They ALL run along the lines of "Boy is he a jerk! He doesn't know what he is talking about. Of course it evolved! Here is how it could have happened…." Anti-evolutionists refer to these scenarios as 'just so stories' for a good reason!

    As far as all the articles regarding the material Behe 'missed', what I think is being conveniently left out by those folks is that they came out after Behe's book was published in 1996!

    Here is what Mike Behe had said in his preface to "Darwin's Black Box" for those who are interested here:
    It was once expected that the basis of life would be exceedingly simple. That expectation has been smashed. Vision, motion, and other biological functions have proven to be no less sophisticated than television cameras and automobiles. Science has made enormous progress in understanding how the chemistry of life works, but the elegance and complexity of biological systems at the molecular level have paralyzed science's attempt to explain their origins. There has been virtually no attempt to account for the origin of specific, complex biomolecular systems, much less any progress. Many scientists have gamely asserted that explanations are already in hand, or will be sooner or later, but no support for such assertions can be founding the professional science literature. More importantly, there are compelling reasons - based on the structure of the systems themselves - to think that a Darwinian explanation for the mechanisms of life will forever prove elusive. (p.x, 1996)

    Did Behe miss the referenced article? I went back and looked at it and started laughing.
    I believe that by September of 1995 Behe had already completed his book and it had gone to the publisher. I don't see any reason why he would have been remiss in not knowing about one article, possibly initially in a different language, which came out a couple of months preceding his book!. Kluwer Academic Publishers are based, I believe, in the Netherlands. Yes, they have offices in the United States, but I sincerely doubt that a professor in Italy would submit to the U.S. offices rather than to those in Europe. I do not know what language the original article was published in. This might have a lot to do with the whole matter, eh? So while the critics are 'technically' correct that Behe is wrong, if you take a look at what actually happened, I don't think the criticism is just or fair. The other point I would make is that Rizzoti (and I have not read the article so I may very well be wrong) seems to be taking a previous complex system and simply adapting it hypothetically. It does seem to me that Behe was more concerned with actual origins than adaptations.

    My last point, as a YEC, is that I would not be in this position if I agreed with you that we 'have no leg to stand on.' I do not hold the YEC position based simply on faith that I have understood the Bible correctly, although I have nothing but admiration for those who do, like Wise. My decisions were made for other reasons, both historic and scientific. And if I thought my decision was incorrect, I would change it. As it is, I strongly feel that both geologic and genetic data give strong indications of a young earth at the very least. Historically, this position has been the standard from the earliest known times of Biblical history. Unlike many who seem to consider the ancients to have been just out of the cave, I think they were incredibly intelligent and had every reason to present what they believed to be fact as fact.

    After I came to this conclusion, I did find myself apologizing to God for not having believed Him in the first place, though! I was not one of those people who was to be blessed for believing without seeing. Maybe that was because I had had to change my mind about so much I had already been taught. In that sense, I guess I am still, as my husband puts it, 'a holy skeptic.' I'm not from Missouri, but it is still 'show me' where so much is concerned!
    Nor does that just have to do with evolutionists….


    EDGE
    Originally posted by Helen:
    Yes, at this point I think Behe still is on the side of evolution as per more basic common descent that the biblical creationist would be. His work is not dealing with that, though. His work is dealing with his own field and the evident irreducible complexity he has seemed to find in several instances. This I support fully as both a YEC and a ID'er.

    Seems to me that this is a pretty substantial difference vis a vis this message board. As near as I understand, which is probably not very well, Behe is basically an old-earth evolutionist who happens to think that all variablility was somehow coded into life at the first signs of life on earth. Are you saying that once you get your way, you will abandon him and shuffle him out the door along with evolution? Or will he undergo a miraculous epiphany?


    HELEN
    Edge: I appreciate the high estimation you have of my character, but Mike Behe has become a friend and I don't shuffle people out the door! He is one of a number of people who seriously consider whether or not life might have been front-loaded. I don't disagree with this idea, actually. I just think it is more limited than what some of them are proposing. Mike has been attacked by the very camp (evolution) he has stood for for so many years. Why? Because you folks don't like some conclusions he drew from his own field. So don't talk to me about 'shuffling someone out the door!" As soon as the standard evolutionary paradigm felt the slightest threat, attack! That is a real scientific way to handle it, for sure!


    EDGE
    Hmm, I didn't realize I was attacking Behe personally. Perhaps you were generalizing. Or maybe you are being defensive. I know that my own brother (staunch evolutionist and PhD in Biology) thinks Behe has interesting ideas, just that there is no solid evidence to support them. He has never said a bad word about Behe.

    But don't you think that his viewpoints on evolution are significant? Do you think he would ever support creationism? Wouldn't this be important to someone trying to form an opinion or learn about evolution? Don't you think that it is important to point out that ID is a third way and is not necessarily a creationist viewpoint? My point here is that so many creationist have espoused ID, seemingly as a back door to oust the reigning paradigm, that it has taken on a distinctly religious tone. What do you think will happen to this alliance?

    I guess another point here is that evolution-creation is a debate. Of course people and their views are attacked. Where serious science is done, Behe will be listened to. When he has solid evidence, perhaps he will prevail. JMO.


    TGAMBLE
    I have seen arguments for a young earth. They're laughably pathetic. All of them refuted many times! Not enough people on the earth, helium in the atmosphere, oldest tree is 4000 years old etc.
    There aren't any "highly respected" scientists who believe in a young earth. Merely quacks who work for ICR and AIG and deny the evidence because

    a) they have no choice, ICR and AIG require it and
    b) blind faith in the creation myth.



    THE BARBARIAN
    ID has put a great deal of effort into the political process, to the detriment of its scientific hopes.
    Granted, ID is a superior ideology to creationism, in that ID admits to common descent. Behe's ideas are clearly incompatible with YE creationism. If you go as far as Behe, you have just become a theistic evolutionist by the back door. The major difference between Behe and most scientists is that he thinks God has to tinker with creation to make it work.


    IDist
    Weird. It seems to me that both YEC & ID have "evolution skepticism" in common, and they have no problem debating evolution in all kinds of fields.

    Y'see, I'm just trying to figure out if there is a coherant alternative to evolution that I can actually believe in without twisting my brain in knots. I, at least, don't have the ability to split my brain into various pieces to keep the contradictions from interfering with each other.


    Perhaps this will make sense to you if I related it to politics. You can be a Democrat, for instance, and not agree with Clinton's sexual escapades. …

    This is a weird analogy! First, if the Democrats actually had endorsed Clinton's actual actions, that *would* have been a reason to condemn them.


    In the same way, whether or not I agree with Behe's biblical point of view has nothing to do with his excellent work in his own field and the impact his book made regarding that particular subject. The concept of irreducible complexity is definitely a topic involved in the ID field. Now, if Behe were to proclaim himself a creationist and still claim some of the other things he believes about common descent, there might be a real problem involved!

    I think what your Clinton analogy would be this: if a particular YEC had an affair, you rightly wouldn't let that impinge on his arguments.


    You asked if other scientists are supporting Behe. Yes, there are.

    Thanks for the list! Is there a good webpage (all the better to cite it!)?

    Yeah, the evolutionists are speculative. But to be fair, saying "IDdidit" is just as speculative, isn't it? And a lot harder to test because the ID movement is so vague about the designer. I'd be a lot less tentative about ID if they could say "3 billion years ago, X, Y, and Z were created, with M new parts and N reused parts"...or something like that.


    I believe that by September of 1995 Behe had already completed his book and it had gone to the publisher.

    Good point, at least if you're right about the above. I was just looking at 1995 vs. 1996 (when in 1996 did Behe's book come out?).

    Still, though, the only people I've ever seen bring up the above article were evolutionists. Behe has had plenty of chances (it's been 5 years) to address the article, either in an addendum in his book, or in a web article (like all the others he's written).

    I've seen 2 of his talks, 1997 & 1998 (one on TV), and he still prominently uses the "0" overhead when talking about the number of articles...so 1 is important, at least to the ID skeptics who feel Behe is pulling a fast one on everyone...


    Unlike many who seem to consider the ancients to have been just out of the cave, I think they were incredibly intelligent and had every reason to present what they believed to be fact as fact.

    Sure, they were smart. But they didn't have radioactive dating, did they? Not their fault, of course, it's just that it's hard for people like me to see what the ancients' opinion has to do with isochron curves and things.

    I guess what I'm asking is how you can be a YEC when very smart scientists like Behe, who are by no means friendly to evolution, and good Christians to boot -- a scientist who you quote regularly -- think you are completely off your gourd regarding the age of the earth.

    I mean, if the difference was between 4.5 billion, 4.6 billion, etc., that would be a 'minor' disagreement. But it's practically like a situation in which Behe says the earth is round and you say it's flat! Either ID or YEC is horribly wrong about something, and I just find it difficult for my inquiring mind to get around 'leaving this issue aside', as it were.

    I think ID would have a much better shot at getting widespread scientific consideration if cosying up with YEC weren't such a factor.


    HELEN
    Weird. It seems to me that both YEC & ID have "evolution skepticism" in common, and they have no problem debating evolution in all kinds of fields.

    Why should that be weird?


    Y'see, I'm just trying to figure out if there is a coherant alternative to evolution that I can actually believe in without twisting my brain in knots. I, at least, don't have the ability to split my brain into various pieces to keep the contradictions from interfering with each other.

    Good for you! I also found that life comes as a whole and not in pieces. The shortest way I can give you a pointer is to say that ID will point to the need for a rational alternative to evolution and the Bible will show you where to find Him. Still, neither is enough, actually, as Christianity is about a relationship with a living God who is here. It is not about anything made up or some 'tradition' that makes a person 'feel good about things.' So while I understand about you not wanting to twist your brain in knots, I also need to tell you that digging for the truth is not a lazy man's occupation!


    This is a weird analogy! First, if the Democrats actually had endorsed Clinton's actual actions, that *would* have been a reason to condemn them.

    You are right. The political analogy was bad. You did better yourself!
    Also, you might want to email the folks at Discovery Institute to find out if there is such a list. http://www.discovery.org/crsc/


    Yeah, the evolutionists are speculative. But to be fair, saying "IDdidit" is just as speculative, isn't it?

    I've never heard of "ID did it" - ID is a test method. What are you talking about?


    And a lot harder to test because the ID movement is so vague about the designer. I'd be a lot less tentative about ID if they could say "3 billion years ago, X, Y, and Z were created, with M new parts and N reused parts"...or something like that.

    Here is a picture I used on another thread - maybe it will help here, too. When investigators check someplace where a dead body is found, they look to see, first, if there has been a murder or if this was an accident. There are certain things they look for. If they conclude a murder took place, that doesn't say a word about who the murderer is. It most likely doesn't say anything about why the person was murdered, although guesses are made. That is the subject for the next investigators down the line. ID is like that. It endeavors to see whether or not something gives evidence of intelligent design instead of happening by accident. That is all it does. It cannot tell you how it happened or why it happened or when it happened. It can only tell you that by certain criteria, this particular thing gives evidence of being intelligently designed. Others have to take it from there. It is a very limited field in that sense.


    Still, though, the only people I've ever seen bring up the above article were evolutionists. Behe has had plenty of chances (it's been 5 years) to address the article, either in an addendum in his book, or in a web article (like all the others he's written).

    Feel free to email and ask him!


    I guess what I'm asking is how you can be a YEC when very smart scientists like Behe, who are by no means friendly to evolution, and good Christians to boot -- a scientist who you quote regularly -- think you are completely off your gourd regarding the age of the earth.

    First of all, Behe is, to the best of my knowledge, still very much an evolutionist! Secondly, I don't 'quote him regularly." I think the quote I gave you is the first time I have taken down his book for a long time. Thirdly, I was not aware that Mike thought I was completely off my gourd! I have running conversations with a number of the old-age folks in ID and out of it who are curious as to why I am a YEC. The discussions are quite respectful on both sides. So if you could let me know who thinks, in that group, that I am off my gourd, I would be happy to be in contact with them!


    I think ID would have a much better shot at getting widespread scientific consideration if cosying up with YEC weren't such a factor.

    They don't. That is a lie put forward by evolutionist apologists. I am aware of maybe ten or so of us YEC's in the entire movement. Most of the criticisms I hear about ID from the YEC camp are that they chicken out and don't identify the Creator. This does not go over well with a lot of people who don't realize that science really cannot deal with the non-material. It's just that good science doesn't deny it, either. And what ID is saying is that there is real evidence for that non-material reality and it is only bad science that denies that.


    TGAMBLE
    I got a reply to an email I sent Dr. Ken Miller. It states.

    Dear "Tim,"

    I'm amazed at just how worried folks in the Intelligent Design
    camp remain over the point-by-point rebuttal of Michael Behe
    that I gave at the Concordia Conference in Wisconsin more than
    a year ago.

    For anyone who is interested, you can watch another such
    rebuttal at the Counterbalance web site (where, for purposes
    of equal time) there is a video of Behe, too):
    http://www.counterbalance.org
    http://www.meta-library.net/perspevo/preskm-frame.html

    The "rebuttal" you posted on the "Baptistboard" list
    is comical. During my talk in Concordia I responded to the
    ID challenge of showing that steps required to evolve a
    flagellum were reasonable by showing that a few
    mutations could produce surface-localized tubule nucleation
    sites (entirely reasonable), and furthermore that merely
    having such sites could be favored by selection. That's
    why I brought up Echinosphaerium . . . to show that this
    intermediate stage in the evolution of a eukaryotic flagellum
    was reasonable. And so it is.

    As usual, the would-be refuters of such arguments pretend
    that I said something else, namely that we know enough about
    the molecular biology of this little beast to show exactly how
    it could have evolved into something else.

    Pretty standard for the ID folks, but also an indication of how much they fear
    any hint that Behe is dead wrong in his argument. Anyway,
    . . . . I will place a complete dissection of the Biochemical
    Argument from Design on my web site in a couple of
    weeks, and you're welcome to read through it if you wish.

    Sincerely,

    Kenneth R. Miller
    Professor of Biology
    Brown University
    ]
     

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