"Well at least Mooserider admits to being prejudicial and bigoted."
How is choosing not to read the equivalent to The Enquirer or the Weekly World News prejudice or bigotted? You might as well start reading books about a flat earth, the heliocentric universe, the crystalline spheres, or any other ancient and ignorant ideas. I mean, to be honest, at least the later of those had some math to back it up, whereas intelligent design doesn't even attempt to make any scientific approach whatsoever.
That said, let me address your concerns.
Firstly, 'bigot'. "Here's a basic definition: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion."
Now, seeing as intelligent design is indeed a belief, and not in any way science... you may have a point. Perhaps then I am bigotted against intelligent design. In other words, I would say that it is fair that I have utterly no tolerance for beliefs or scientific ignorance being passed on as science. It is dishonest to do so. Just as you might (I would hope) be bigotted with respect to passing off a book about the mythologies of astrology or Zeus as science.
Second, 'prejudice'. Prejudice means, of course, to pre-judge something... especially in the case where you don't know anything about the subject or person in which you are prejudice towards. Clearly this does not apply to my post, as I know very well what intelligent design is, its intent, and its motivation.
Regardless of how you feel about it, intelligent design is not science, but is a religious idea. This was also established in the courts as recently as 2000 (by a Christian judge noless). This book is all about intelligent design (obviously). Therefore, this book has no business being in the science section; no more so than a book on tarot card reading, Santa Clause, or creationism does.
Also, don't confuse my bias as being against religion. I have no issues with Christians or any other religion for that matter. In fact, the vast majority of those individuals who accept evolution are in fact Christian. Likewise, most evolutionary biologists are Christian. Clearly, Christianity does not imply a belief in intelligent design.
No one, not even Richard Dawkins in all the books he has written, has taken on the argument of the presence of digitally specified information within the DNA molecule.
Origin of Life researchers are at an impasse because they do not know how life first arose. They cannot account for how this central feature of life, the origin of how this information encoded in DNA, which certainly gives the appearance of design got there.
However, we do know from our knowledge of cause and effect and what we know from experience is that the only known cause of information rich systems is mind (intelligence). Therefore it is logical for one to infer that intelligence is the best explanation for the information we see in DNA.
The Design argument is alive and well thanks to this book.
Mindy, I have to disagree with "digitally specified information". While people like to think of the DNA as some physical mechanism that stores information, that's not a very accurate portrayal. The DNA itself is the 'information'. I know folks like Meyer and William Dembski like to twist information theory around to treat DNA as if it were a computer code, it's not. ANY arrangement can be used to imply information. If the objects are arranged differently, regardless of the cause for the arrangement, the implied information is different. This argument offers no specific support for Design as the cause.
Basically what you have here is a huge argument of disinformation. Dembski is a better example than the muddled thinking of Stephen Meyer. Basically it goes like this. Specific Complexity can only occur if the 'level of complexity' is above some imagined level. No one has proven this to be true, and not even Meyer attempts the math to support it. Dembski's math has been described by mathematicians as . . . well 'unsupported' is what they say when they are being polite. Dembski egotistically dismisses them; however one hallmark of science is it's repeatability by other scientists. If you postulate an idea that NO ONE else can understand and replicate, you are not postulating science.
You aren't making a logical supposition, but an emotional one. You want there to be a God, so you want external validation for that desire. But that doesn't make it logical. The Design argument is alive for the same reason, this book does nothing but put forth unsupported arguments. Your paying for it keeps Meyer going, not the supposed science.
Already did that and this book belongs in the speculative fiction section. It should never be placed under science. One thing you seem to not realize is that Meyer offers NO support for his ideas. Why do you think he publishes here instead of a science journal like real scientists. I know, I know, he claims some prejudice. Well many scientific ideas met resistance when first put forth. Real scientists don't whine, but buckle down and do the work. Meyer seems to have skipped that part of his science education.
Yes "ANY arrangement can be used to imply information." However, does it impart specified information? Looking at that question more closely, consider the complex and irregular, twisted and tangled chain of amino acids that composes the myoglobin protein. Anyone looking at it would say it is totally lacking in any kind of regularity. Yes, even that jumbled mess implies information, however, does it exhibit specificity? It certainly does.
The way I look at it is that I believe there is an innate intelligence that permeates throughout the universe and is responsible for the formation of DNA and life as we know it. If you want call it a belief in God, so be it. Why was DNA formed to allow the weak hydrogen to unzip and replicate itself? There are just too many "why" questions with respect to the intricacies of the cell and life's information processing systems.
There is a mystery here that remains unresolved with origin of life researchers. Even you cannot deny that. And the only best explanation that I could see involves some form of intelligence.
BTY, Even Richard Dawkins has been quoted as saying that "the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer like." Bill Gates goes even further saying "DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created."
Mindy, But what makes it 'specified'? Nothing anyone, including Meyer in this work, has managed to quantify it. It's a supposed marker to support an intelligent design, but it hasn't been supported by any work, and it certainly isn't supported by informational theory. Claiming something is specified is fine, but someone has to support an explanation, and so far no one has. It is a belief that has no evidence, no examples, no experimentation, and no support.
Yes, there are things about DNA we do not know, but if we relegate the answers to God, we might as well end any further study. How do you quantify or test for God? That is why science is naturalistic in its methodology. Your own explanation places limits on your imagination when you say the 'only best explanation'. This is called an argument from incredulity, meaning just because you do not believe an explanation, doesn't mean it is not true.
As for your Dawkins and Gates quotes, please look at the wording. Computer-like, like a computer program . . . these are terms used to describe and explain something. It's like saying the bacterial flagellum is like an electric motor. It's a basis for comparison, for explanation, for understanding. But no one is saying DNA is a computer program. We just lack appropriate referents to fully explain it. The only thing people really have been able to say is that DNA is incredibly complex, just like computer programs. That still doesn't require an intelligence in order to have formed. It's the desire for intelligence that makes people want to see it there.
Molecules have been seen to self-replicate, consume resources in that replication, and even evolve and take advantage of other resources. Interesting how sucgh things can happen naturally, without the need to being formed by an intelligence.
That's because "Signature" is published by HarperOne, which is a religious publishing house. In the normal world, when an author writes an actual science book, he has it published by a publisher of science books. But in the world of intelligent design creationism, Meyer chose to use a religious publishing house. There's a clue there, folks!
"The Design argument is alive and well thanks to this book"
And that is where it will forever stay... in a book that is for non-science folks, that are explicitly religious. As such, it belongs in the religion section. Intelligent design is not science in any way, and this is why it has produced nothing in the scientific arena. It is no coincidence that the religious and laymen community is infatucated with ID, but makes no appearance in a real science fields.
Let me point out a few more typical creationist BS arguments you brought up as well...
"Origin of Life researchers are at an impasse because they do not know how life first arose"
Evolution has NOTHING to do with the origin of life... that is a field of science called abiogenesis. Evolution describes how life deversifies, not how it started. And the science of abiogenesis is coming along well, yet is in its infancy. Also, it's a *real* science... you know, making predictions and testing them. Unlike ID, where it simply makes absurd claims and allows those baseless claims to stand on their own. Abiogenesis: science; Intelligent Design: Supernatural fairy tale that religious fanatics accept hook-line-and-sinker.
The other point is that 'lack of an explanation equals God did it'. This is absurd, to say the least. Because we do not currently have a full explanation for how something (such as how life arose initially), does not automatically mean some baseless idea (ID in this case) is how it happened. Intellectually that gets us nowhere... and is ridiculous to be honest.
Well, seeing as there is no such thing as 'Darwinism', and that it's a term dreamed up by creation-nuts and religious fanatics... then yes, you're right, it is science fiction.
However, the science of evolution... see, that's real science. You know... natural explanations that are tested, testable and peer reviewed; as apposed to the Intelligent design supernatural silliness.
This book belongs in the religious section of course... and has nothing to do with science.
"BTY, Even Richard Dawkins has been quoted as saying that 'the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer like.' Bill Gates goes even further saying 'DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.'"
Quote mining is an aweful thing, and nothing more than an appeal to authority anyhow. And we all know that both Bill Gates and Dawkins don't reject evolution in any way.
"The way I look at it is that I believe there is an innate intelligence that permeates throughout the universe and is responsible for the formation of DNA and life as we know it. If you want call it a belief in God, so be it."
That's just fine... there's no problem with BELIEVING that stuff.... but you must understand that it is not science. Those sorts of beliefs don't belong in a science section either.
My favorite Creationism-minded quote mine was during the Ben Stein Mockumentary "Expelled:". In he he supposedly quotes Charles Darwin:
"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed."
What Ben actually did was selectively remove certain passages in order to change hte meaning of Darwin's words. Here is the entire quote within the context of what Darwin was talking about:
"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil."
As you can see, the first supposed quote changes the meaning considerably. That is why quote-mining should be avoided. Here are some guidelines that I find help:
1. Is the quote being used in a way that incriminates the source of the quote? (i.e. An outspoken supporter of 2nd Amendment rights being quoted as saying something against gun ownership) 2. The usage of an ellipsis in the middle of the quote (i.e. "Despite what researchers learned of the links between cancer and smoking ... cancer was not caused by cigarette smoking alone.") 3. "Broken quotes" -- quotes which are split into smaller pieces and arranged like Frankenstein's monster, held together with narrative. (i.e. Senator Clinton said that she supports "withdrawing from Iraq" as quickly as possible because "Iran is a dangerous threat to be reckoned with.") 4. Poor or absent citation of source. Attributing the quote to someone by name, but not specifying the specific source of the quote. 5. A limited quote, not being expressed within the context of the original source.
I thought it was seperation of church and state, not God and science.
All attempts at expelling pro-God science in scientific circles is itself religion, as it dismisses before it disproves. I think it is fair to say most people know that there is an anti-God philosophy in science, just as there is anti-science philosophy in some elements of religion. As many aspects of science is based on non-repeatable experiments, shouldn't proponents of these disciplines (e.g. evolutionary theory) be placed in religion also? Or at least philosophy.
I think a modern definition of science is in order, and a lot of "scientists" are going to be very annoyed. If the best theory based on the facts is acceptable as "science" for non-repeatable events, then pro-creation science is decidedly valid.
I disagree there is an institutional bias against religion in science. The basic philosophy behind science is one of Methodological Naturalism, not a philosophy of Metaphysical Naturalism.
In Methodological Naturalism only natural causes are looked for to explain observable events. It DOES NOT say that only natural causes exist, only that natural causes are the ones that we can study, support based on evidence, and use to predict behavior in the future. It in no way implies or states that there is nothing beyond natural causation. It doesn't even address the issue.
A philosophy of Metaphysical Naturalism is based on the premise that all that exists is within the physical, or natural, manifestation of the universe. This is not the view of many scientists, or else you would have no scientists who are also members are various religious groups.
It's easy to confuse the two, the way I keep them separate is by looking at Intent. The intent of Methodological Naturalism is to confine explanations to the Natural world because we cannot accurately use, predict, or even understand references beyond it. It's intent is not to deny, but to focus science on what can be examined. The intent of Metaphysical Naturalism is to deny that anything outside of the Natural World exists.
Neither I, nor science, can prove or disprove the existence of the Supernatural. I think the current definition of science is just fine the way it is. It may need to be presented better in order for people to understand the philosophy behind it, but I think it's fine the way it is. Remember that during the Dover Trial (Kitzmiller et al. vs Dover PA Board of Education) when the concept of Intelligent Design was discussed, Professor Michael Behe, an Intelligent Design Proponent, stated that the only way Intelligent Design could be considered science is if the definition of science was expanded to include supernatural causation -- which would also make Astrology a science. Do you really want to go there?
"I thought it was seperation of church and state, not God and science."
Well, sort of. Science does not make any statements regarding God. But you need to understand that science is not biased against God, as you claim. Science is by definition is a search for NATURAL explanations, and god is by definition SUPERNATURAL. And therefore, science makes no claims for or against God. He/she simply doees not fall under something that science deals with.
There are lots and lots of people who believe in God (or gods for that matter), that also accept evolution. In fact, you may not be aware of this, but the vast majority of people who accept evolution are Christian! Likewise, the vast majority of evolutionary biologists are also Christian. So there are some well educated individuals who understand science, while also understanding that God is not something that falls into the realm of science.
Now, as for your false claim that evolution does not make any testable predictions, I would suggest reading up a bit on the subject. If you don't have the patience to read up on it, there are lots of great documentaries available on that topic as well. Even youtube has some great videos on this.
But, just to throw out a few examples... one prediction is that you would never find more recently developed animal fossils, such as humans, next to (or below) older animal fossils, such as a dinosaur or a trilobite. And this is of course true. This would not be the case with ID, where all creatures were created at the same time.
Another testable prediction evolution makes is that, since humans have one less chromosomal pair than our ape ancestors, there must had been a fusion of one of the pairs somewhere in the past. And sure enough, when biologists looked for this fusion, they found it in our DNA.
Phylogenetic trees are another testable prediction. There are many different ways to construct phylogenetic trees: embryology, comparative anatomy, genetics, the fossil record... all of these completely different fields of science. If evolution is correct, we predict that all of these phylogenetic trees should match each other, and of course they do. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylogenetic_tree).
Evolution predicts that animals would contain 'left-over' genes (called atavisms) from previous forms... for example, birds with genes for teeth, whales with legs, humans with genes for tails, etc. And of course we do find these genes, and they are even expressed still in some rare cases. If animals were created in the current forms, as ID/creationism claims, these atavisms make no sense as creatures would have only the genes that they need. But it does make sense under the umbrella of evolution, where all of these critters are related.
The fossil record is a very predictive thing under evolution, where ID supposes all the fossils would be mixed together. Evolution predicts that we would never find a half bird-half mammal fossil. Or that you would find a fossil bunny in the permian or cambrian periods. Or that we would never find a complex mammal fossil on remote islands, as those islands broke off from the mainlands long before they evolved. All of these things are true.
I could go on explaining lots and lots and lots of predictions that evolution not only makes, but has shown to be true. For you to make the blanket statement that evolution makes no testable predictions is a fantastically uneducated thing to say. My guess is that you're not simply lying, but rather just repeating what you've heard other ID/creationists say. But make no mistake, evolution has a list of testable predictions 200 years long... and it would take only one fossil bunny from the cambrian period to poke an enormous hole in evolution; to-date, this has not been done!
Firstly to T. Herrlich, I'd like to thank you for your considered reply. I am always appreciative of those who consider my contentions worthy of discussion.
In your message you identify that Methodological Naturalism is the philosophical foundation of science (if you have a direct reference in the literature I'd appreciate you passing it on to me, for the sake of interest). You also note that this can be easily confused with Metaphysical Naturalism, a philosophy that argues nothing exists beyond the natural domain.
Yet this is not strictly relevant to my comments. My contention is not based on a conceptual confusion between Methodological Naturalism and Metaphysical Naturalism (I would be happy to admit if this were so), but rather simply asserts that there is an obvious anti-God sentiment that exists in the domain of science, irrespective of whether it is strictly defensible; and has been there every since the proponents of Reason began their historic power struggle against Religion centuries ago.
Even if we are able to precisely define the nature of science, its inherent broad and flexible interpretation (if not application) suggests that it is easily subject to the foibles of personal perception and bias of the individual. Hence, if one felt that a belief in God is foolish, it would not be difficult to use the tools of scientific argument to ridicule the premises and inferences of intelligent design, even if it would be more "scientific" to provide evidence to the contrary. The divisive argument may be defended as science, but in this case (like religion) it is based on bias and personal belief alone.
To anti-God scientists the very idea of arguing the validity of God in scientific debate is to give the notion legitimacy, which is why such individuals won't enter into a reasoned debate. This is the bias I refer to that is inherent in the domain of Secular Science; it does not seek to disprove Intelligent Design with evidence, but rather ridicule it with the inference that the whole argument is preposterous and concludes that it is not worth the inherent legitimacy respectable scientific debate would give it. Take for example the first message in this discussion thread given by Mooserider that states, "Intelligent design is not science and should not be in the science section!" This is a typical emotional, biased, anti-scientific viewpoint that seeks delegitimise and disempower any argument that brings the reality of God's influence into the natural world. (Sorry to pick on you Mooserider - I'll get to your considered message soon, too).
While science by definition may engender the highest ideals in the pursuit of truth, I believe it can also be grasped and abused by ugly minded individuals to promulgate their own subversive agendas, such as marginalising the influence of God in the domains of science and education. Hence my desire for a new definition of science, or at least a rigid application of the current definition, will delegitimise pseudo-sciences such as evolutionary theory and hopeful give room for the development of a new and unencumbered science, one that is once again focussed on the pursuit of universal truth, regardless of where that pursuit may take us.
Paul Burnett says: That's because "Signature" is published by HarperOne, which is a religious publishing house. In the normal world, when an author writes an actual science book, he has it published by a publisher of science books. But in the world of intelligent design creationism, Meyer chose to use a religious publishing house. There's a clue there, folks! ***
He might have had this published by HarperOne because a non-religious orientated publishing house would not have published the book. Thank God for open minded publishers, religious or otherwise.
Main Entry: Dar·win·ism Pronunciation: 'där-w&-"niz-&m Function: noun : a theory of the origin and perpetuation of new species ofanimals and plants that offspring of a given organism vary, that natural selection favors the survival of some of these variations over others, that new species have arisen and may continue to arise bythese processes, and that widely divergent groups of plants and animals have arisen from the same ancestors; broadly : a theory of biological evolution -Dar·win·ist /-w&-n&st/ noun or adjective
Actually the word 'Darwinism' is not the accepted scientific field of study, the study is normally Biology or Evolution, or one of the sub-areas like microbiology . . .. The term originated in the late 1800's to differentiate the work of Darwin from Larmark's Larmarkism and Spencer's Spencerism. However the term is normally used is colloquially used as a pejorative here in the United States. You rarely find a scientist calling themselves a 'Darwinist'.
Check out Phillip E. Johnson's post (http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/wid.htm) which equates 'Darwinism' with another term 'microevolution'. Prior to the rise of the modern Intelligent Design Movement 'microevolution' was the study of evolution on micro-organisms. (Ref Dr. Kay, http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20071115/news_lz1e15kay.html). Currently it's used for within-species changes and macro-evolution for speciation points. To Biologists, it's all just evolution. In his paper Johnson also quotes theologian Charles Hodge when asked the question What is Darwinism? "After a careful and thoroughly fair-minded evaluation of the doctrine, his answer was unequivocal: "It is Atheism." "
Many biologists have offered the opinion that the term should not be used in scientific papers because the whole field of Evolution and Biology has passed Darwin by not only years of time, but a great deal of information. (Also check out Dr. livia Judson's column 'Let's get rid of Darwinism' (http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/lets-get-rid-of-darwinism/) It seems to be working. A review of PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) shows only 277 referneces using the term 'Darwinism' and over 240,000 using 'Evolution'.
However over in England it is common for a Biologist to refer to themselves as a Darwinist, possible because Darwin was British after all. But even reading books by Dawkins he tends to use Darwinism more as a philosophy of supporting modern evolutionary theories and not as a scientific field of study. You don't get a degree in 'Darwinism', you get a degree in Biology.
Bottom line is when you hear the term used today, here in the US, it is usually someone who is trying to denigrate the study of Evolutionary Biology. " . . . the term has been appropriated by religionists who need a straw dog to burn-a means to pigeonhole and dehumanize scientists and science teachers who don't fall into place behind the Biblical story of creation." (http://www.impactpress.com/articles/spring05/sullivanspring05.html) So far, after several years of blogging and responding to posts on places like Amazon and Topix, I have only heard the term used in it's negative connotation.