Paul Hughes

The evolving story of a hopeful skeptic.

November 10, 2012 Science , , , , , By Paul Hughes

A Threat To Legitimate Science

I was actually going to write about something else today, but a friend of mine (thank you, Brandon Bible) had posted a link on Charles DarwinFacebook to an interesting article at the Huffington Post. The article talks about how in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, Charles Darwin was promoted as a fictional write-in candidate against Representative Paul Broun (R-Ga.). Why would anyone write in a candidate who (obviously, since Darwin is dead) has no chance of winning? It was a “symbolic challenge” to create awareness regarding Broun’s claims that evolution,1 embryology,2 and the big bang theory3 are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”4 Now, almost all my readers know that I am a firm supporter of the above three as areas of scientific study, against which very little (if any) evidence has been unearthed able of disproving (or even discrediting) them. However, believe it or not, I am not going to spend the length of this post defending them. No, there is a problem much more immediately concerning that must be dealt with: Broun has a seat on the House Science Committee.

Now, in America we are all entitled to our own opinions—it is one of the things I love and respect so much about this country. I don’t have any problem with Representative Broun believing that the world is approximately 9,000 years old, and I don’t I have a problem with him believing that the world was created in six days “as we know them.” I have a problem with the fact that he believes those things and also has accepted a seat on a science committee when the things he believes have no basis in actual science. On what basis does he believe those things? He believes them on the basis of the bible, and the word of God. Not only does he believe those things, but he has condemned three areas of scientific study as being inherently evil!

Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School DistrictWhile I don’t believe that science and religion are exclusive, I do believe that when there is a lot of evidence for something and little-to-no evidence against that thing that it can generally be accepted as true. Interestingly, however, evidence for something isn’t what makes it science. The possibility of evidence against something is what makes a topic scientific. What makes God inherently unscientific is that it is impossible to find evidence against God’s existence. This was discussed and debated in the famous case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. The Dover area school district had changed its science curriculum to include the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution as the origin of complex organisms; it was challenged in court, and was found to be violating the Establishment Clause of the first amendment to the constitution (see my last blog post for information regarding the clause, albeit in a different, but still applicable, context). The judge ruled against the school district5 and said that Intelligent Design is not science on the grounds that I presented above—that science is the study of things that can be disproven, and that there was an intelligent designer is not disprovable.

I should add that there is a difference between a theory being “able to be disproven” and actual evidence existing that might disprove that theory (or principle, or law). Let us take the law of gravity. It is highly unlikely that we will ever find evidence against the law (which is why it was given the title “Law”), but it certainly would be disprovable. All that would need to happen is I would need to take this computer I’m typing on, lift it up, let go of it, and it not fall back onto the table—the law of gravity would be been disproven. Of course, that is unlikely to happen, but if it did, it could disprove the law of gravity. Similarly, the theory of evolution could be disproven if we found fossilized evidence of rabbits in the Triassic period; similarly, that is unlikely to happen.

Now the problem we are facing is that someone who believes that the bible teaches us “how to run all of public policy and everything in society” holds a seat of power in the American scientific community. Not only that, however, but he also refuses to look at the evidence for things which the educated scientific community at large has accepted. Note that in the video at the end of the Huffington Post article he mentions that “people told him about” the three topics, not that he’s read any scholarly writing about the subjects in question of any sort.

Unfortunately, the problem runs deeper than just Paul Broun—Congressperson Mo Brooks has said in an interview with Science Magazine,6

“… with respect to carbon dioxide emissions, there’s some good associated with that, to the extent that we have higher levels of carbon dioxide. That means that plant life grows better, because it is an essential gas for all forms of plant life.”

That is an interesting point, if a bit simplistic. Here is an article that deals with that exact subject. Mo Brooks also holds a seat on the House Science Committee, but worse than that, he is chairman on the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education.7 While the idea that Mo Brooks will be doing more research is one that gives me hope, the last two words in the title of that subcommittee frighten me: Science Education.

Thankfully, the above two people are not the only people on the committee. There are people who believe in the principles of science and the scientific method, and hopefully it will stay that way. But there are others who are not dissimilar from the above two people; there is an article on Mother Board regarding some of the other people on the committee; people who many of us might agree do not belong there. I don’t agree with a some of the sentiment put forward by Vice and its subsidiaries (such as Mother Board), but the article is worth looking over if you have the time. People like those mentioned above and in the Mother Board article threaten the legitimacy of scientific education, research, and funding in America—we don’t want to see our tax dollars going to work against so many years of great and helpful scientific accomplishment. It’s a problem.

7 to “A Threat To Legitimate Science”

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  1. Joey McCabe says...

    Hey Paul, cool stuff setting up this blog! Go you!! But of course I MUST comment on this. I would like to call attention to your point made in this quote:

    “What makes God inherently unscientific is that it is impossible to find evidence against God’s existence. This was discussed and debated in the famous case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. ”

    I find it interesting that you labeled God as inherently unscientific, when creationism is the word you should have used. WHile you are correct, that God is inherently unscientific, it doesn’t mean that creationism is inherently unscientific. I also noticed you conflated the terms Intelligent Design with creationism. This is also a mistake. Creationism usually consists of literal creation days, a personal God, and instant and singular acts of ALL creation. Intelligent design merely claims that SOME aspects of the universe and of life are best explained by intelligent causation. Notice that God is not on the list. That is because there is a range of possibilities, but any one of those possibilities are impossible to choose since most are out of the reach of science. Intelligent design is based off a positive argument for design and uses a design inference to judge against competing explanations. It is falsifiable and it’s testable, no matter what Judge Jones from the Dover case wants to think.

    As for your statement regarding evolution, it’s also interesting that you would say that finding a rabbit in the Triassic error would falsify evolution. IN fact, rabbits have been found in those layers, and other mammals as well. Clams are also found in the lower fossil levels. So what does an evolutionist do to combat this problem. Well, since evolution must be true, they create terms like stagnant evolution or they insert a plate shift in the continents. That way they can say the only reason we find a rabbit in this layer is because the plates overlapped and mushed them together. And stagnant evolution in relation to clams is a way of saying, :They exist today probably much unchanged after millions of years” Therefore, evolution with bias is unfalsifiable. Notice what one history problem had to say about the issue.

    “The renowned philosopher Karl Popper coined the term “demarcation problem” to describe the quest to distinguish science from pseudoscience. He also proposed a solution. As Popper argued in a 1953 lecture, “The criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability.” In other words, if a theory articulates which empirical conditions would invalidate it, then the theory is scientific; if it doesn’t, it’s pseudoscience.
    That seems clear enough. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Epistemologists present several challenges to Popper’s argument. First, how would you know when a theory has been falsified? Suppose you are testing a particular claim using a mass spectrometer, and you get a disagreeing result. The theory might be falsified, or your mass spectrometer could be on the fritz. Scientists do not actually troll the literature with a falsifiability detector, knocking out erroneous claims right and left. Rather, they consider their instruments, other possible explanations, alternative data sets, and so on. Rendering a theory false is a lot more complicated than Popper imagined — and thus determining what is, in principle, falsifiable is fairly muddled.

    The second problem is that Popper fails to demarcate in the right place. Creationism, for example, makes a series of falsifiable claims about radioactive dating, rates of erosion, and so on, while the more “historical” sciences, like geology and astronomy, pose theories that are more explanatory narratives than up-or-down (and therefore falsifiable) protocol statements of empirical bullet points. Any criterion had better at least replicate our common-sense notion of “science,” and so far no clear criterion has been able to do so. No wonder most philosophers have given up on the task. As the prominent philosopher of science Larry Laudan put it 30 years ago: “If we would stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like ‘pseudoscience’ and ‘unscientific’ from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases that do only emotive work for us.” Demarcation is distinctly out of fashion among philosophers today.”(Michael Gordon, Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Thanks For your time Paul!

    • paul says...

      Thanks so much for your response, Joey! I’m actually going to start toward the end of your post and work up, as I think that is a more logical way to go about discussing your points. You say that while a claim may be falsifiable in theory, the fact that the claim might not be falsifiable in practice makes Popper’s argument invalid. You’re confusing two things, however, when you say that. Whether we know if something has been falsified or not is not what makes it scientific. Whether we can come up with a theoretical example of something that *would* falsify is what makes it scientific.

      Let us take God, which we agree is inherently unscientific. You cannot falsify God’s existence. There is NO theoretical situation that would provide incontrovertible evidence that God does not exist; neither you nor I can come up with one. However, about *every* scientific theory, there can be proposed a hypothetical that would disprove the theory. That the hypothetical exists is what matters, not that were it to come up in reality would we be sure it had been executed effectively enough to falsify a theory. You’re right, a spectrometer might be “on the fritz”, which would make the evidence it provides against a theory unreliable at best—that doesn’t change, however, the fact that did we have a *perfect* spectrometer, and did that spectrometer provide evidence against a given theory, the theory would be falsified. The theory *is* falsifiable, given perfect conditions or, more likely, enough data. If we found fifty examples of rabbits in the triassic period (speaking of which, can you point me in the direction of that evidence?), along with fifty examples of australopithecines in he jurassic period, Darwin’s theory of evolution would be pretty well falsified. We have come up with a situation that would falsify evolution. That still leaves us with zero hypotheticals that can falsify God’s existence (making his existence, as you and I say, unscientific).

      Alright, now let’s move on to creationism. Is it scientific? There certainly are people who have come up with the tempting phrase “creation science,” but if you look up “creationism” in any encyclopedia or reference book, you would be hard-pressed to find an example that does not mention religion, God, or, let us say, an Intelligent Designer. All of the above are unscientific, for the reason that none of them are falsifiable. The same judge I mention in my post who presided over the Kitzmiller v. Dover case stated in his ruling that Intelligent Design *cannot* be separated from its religious (read: having to do with God) roots. Intelligent Design is not science, I’m afraid; it does not deal with an even remotely falsifiable idea and, if you read the literature by the ID folks like Michael Behe, you will see that they do not have a scientific agenda involving hypotheses, questioning, and experimenting to find the truth, regardless of what it is. No, they have a “wedge-strategy” agenda that involves bringing unscientific concepts back into the science classroom, coming up with a “science” that is compatible their religious ideology, and affirming God’s existence, none of which can be considered scientific.

      You say that Intelligent Design Theory is testable and falsifiable? Please help me to understand, because in my research, the closest they’ve come to science is saying “This process is irreducibly complex and cannot be explained by currently known scientific phenomena.” What they say next is not, “Therefore, we are going to try and figure out how it came to appear as such using scientific methods and principles.” No, what they say next is “Therefore, it must have been created by a supernatural hand. We should not investigate further.” How is that science?

      It’s always a pleasure debating with you! I look forward to more of your input. :-)

      – P

      • Joey McCabe says...

        Hey Paul. So I have many problems with what you said haha. Let me start with the first point about evolution being falsificable. What would happen if one really did find a fossil rabbit in a Precambrian rock? Evolutionists would simply say that the rock must have been misidentified. It can’t be Precambrian because it has a fossil mammal in it. Rocks are classified by the kinds of fossils they contain. If a rock has a fossil rabbit in it, it can’t be Precambrian by definition. Therefore, your falsification criteria is impossible.

        Also, I can image a perfect situation where someone knows everything there is to know about the world. And that person tells me there is no God. Therefore, I just told you a possible(admittingly implausible) way of which God’s existence is falsified. Therefore, God is scientific after-all!| Also, if your statement were true, why would famed evolutionists like Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennet write books about why God most likely does not exist and then use evolution as the reason for why? It’s because God’s existence is irrelevant to the claims made me creationism. They are two different things. Creationism makes claims about the age of the earth that are testable and falsifiable. It also helps us determine whether God’s creative acts are front loaded or whether he plays an active role in creation. Meaning, Did God make everything in the beginning with the ability of change, or is it separate acts of creation. Both falsifiable claims even though God’s existence is unfalsifiable.

        For me though, I don’t think that falsification is what makes science science. Especially when it’s historical sciences like evolution. I believe the fruitfulness of a theories predictions is what constitutes it as science. I believe in evolution, but only to a point. It’s one thing to say that after throwing a few bricks into a pile one might create a small stack of bricks, but it’s completely different from saying that if you did it long enough you could build a brick house. No one in their right mind would believe that. Truth of the matter is macro-evolutionary change has NEVER been documented in labs. And where it might seem like it has, INTELLIGENCE played a vital role.

        You are still conflating the terms creationism, creation science, and intelligent design. Intelligent design does NOT postulate an identity for the designer, because it can’t! The science itself doesn’t allow for a conclusion like that right now. I don’t know if you are reading the right literature but i was stunned to see just how falsifiable ID really is, and Michael Behe even gives the criteria for falsification to his theory in his book! If it could be shown that an irreducibly complex cellular mechanism could be produced by an act of chance or necessity, it would falisfiy ID.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

        I think you are misunderstanding ID in a significant way. ID is based on a design inference. There are three types of causation today for known objects in the universe. Chance(Rolling dice), Necessity(the dice dropping on the table via gravity), and Intelligence(The existence of the dice). The product in question in this case would be the information present in the DNA molecule. This actually doesn’t even negate evolution per se but understanding this argument can help to understand the extrapolation i will make a little later. DNA located within a cell tells a cell how to build itself, and where to go, and what to do. This is called information.

        So the ID advocate takes the information and asks first CAN chance explain this information in the cell. Do to the particular ordering of the parts of the bases within the DNA molecule, the probability that the bases would order themselves in a specific way in which to replicate far exceeds the probabilistic resources in the entire universe(probability theorists call this…impossible).

        Next the ID advocate asks can this information be explained by necessity? Unfortunately for the evolutionist, it can not. Natural selection can not be invoked as an explanation in this case because natural selection only starts AFTER the DNA bases are in place. SO both chance and necessity are discounted as “best” explanations.

        What other known cause though is there for information? INTELLIGENCE! Computer code is quite similar if not almost the same as the specific arrangement of parts in the DNA molecule. Since intelligence is the only known cause for information. And DNA has information contained within that can neither be explained by chance or necessity, the best explanation for its existence is intelligent causation.

        Now on to the testablility part. Michael behe while using the design inference in regard to the flagellar motor said that the motor could not have developed from simpler precursors in a gradual step-by-step fashion. Behe’s Critics such a Kenneth Miller challenged him on this assumption saying that the type-3 secretory system has functions similiar to the flagelar motor and therefore provides a possible means by which the Flagellar motor evolved from. Now if Miller is correct, the type 3 secetory system should be OLDER than the Flagellar motor, since the motor is evolved from it. Behe says that it should be younger and that the flagellar motor is the aboriginal system. The results are that behe was correct! The flagellar motor genes are OLDER than the secretory system genes and therefore can not be invoked as a possible evolutionary precursor.

        But the research doesn’t stop there! ID continues to create more research questions such as…is the type 3 system a result of degenerative evolution, or is it a separate act of design? If it were the first, we would expect to find homologous genes. As it is, Behe found that most of the genes are nonhomologous and therefore concluded that these two systems are most likely separate acts of design! More research is necessary though against these two design hypothesis.

        ID is all about top-down design inferences. Things made for a purpose, and all exhibiting functionality. It also attempts to explain the information in the genes necessary for different life forms. This is where ID can be extrapolated and used against the theory of evolution. What evolution doesn’t do is quantify its explanations with numbers. Now that we know how things change and how genetics work. Numbers need to be used to explain the causal accuracy of the claim that(using an extremely lucid example) cows evolved into whales. Genetics tells us that in order to turn a whale into a cow 50,000 changes would be necessary. it’s been documented that “cows” evolved into “whales” over a period of ten million years. NOT ENOUGH TIME TIME given the known mutation rates that we find in labs today. ON the other hand….Henry Fords model-T turning into a BMW is best explained by intelligent causation. Since intelligence is a known cause of quick changes using homologous structures…Intelligence can also be used to explain a “cow” turning into a “whale” over a relatively short period of time. It provides a better explanation, right now, of the evidence.

        So I feel I have done enough to show why this comment here.., ““Therefore, it must have been created by a supernatural hand. We should not investigate further.” How is that science?” is false. ID proponents are constantly doing research. And ID does not deal with the supernatural and it is most definitely science!

        • paul says...

          Thanks for responding once again! Sorry it has taken me so long to respond this time—I’ve been improving the website in general the past couple days so I haven’t had the chance to reply. In any case, here it is. :-)

          “Rocks are classified by the kinds of fossils they contain.” Umm… no. Rocks are dated using radiometric dating, of various sorts—sorts of dating that are entirely independent of the fossils contained within the rock. If it were not so, how would anything have been able to have been dated ever? There are all sorts of radiometric dating, used for various amounts of time (for example, carbon dating only goes back a certain number of years before all measurable amounts of the radioactive material has decayed, so they use other methods for pre-anthropic periods). My point stands.

          “Also, I can image a perfect situation where someone knows everything there is to know about the world. And that person tells me there is no God. Therefore, I just told you a possible (admittingly implausible) way of which God’s existence is falsified.” Right. Implausible. My examples included equipment that functions properly OR (more likely) vast amounts of data. Both situations that are admittedly entirely plausible.

          “Creationism makes claims about the age of the earth that are testable and falsifiable.” Exactly. They have been falsified using radiometric dating. And yet they argue that it is still not falsified! Is it falsifiable or not?

          “Meaning, Did God make everything in the beginning with the ability of change, or is it separate acts of creation. Both falsifiable claims even though God’s existence is unfalsifiable.” How are those claims falsifiable? What is the possible hypothetical in which the claim “God made everything in the beginning” is falsifiable? Unless you’re going back to your “admittedly implausible” way in which God’s existence is falsified…

          “It’s one thing to say that after throwing a few bricks into a pile one might create a small stack of bricks, but it’s completely different from saying that if you did it long enough you could build a brick house. No one in their right mind would believe that.” You’re correct—no one in their right mind would believe that. Because that isn’t how natural selection works. Natural selection is not the random selection of particles thrown together to hopefully make an organism. The only moment that chance plays a role is in the replication of DNA (which has been quite proven to be fallible, giving evolution its power). From there, natural selection takes over.

          “Truth of the matter is macro-evolutionary change has NEVER been documented in labs.” Right, because it takes more time than we have had since natural selection was discovered by Darwin. What we do have is immense fossil records. For example, the fossil record that covers every reasonable gap between Homo Sapiens Sapiens and Australopithecus.

          “Intelligent design does NOT postulate an identity for the designer, because it can’t!” Never said it did, although if you read the ID literature (which, in all fairness, clearly you have), you’ll see that, as the judge in the court case ruled, it is inseparable from religion (which involves God, who is unfalsifiable).

          As for the YouTube clip, proving the the flagellar motor could have evolved via natural selection would not, in fact, falsify the entire ID argument, as Behe pretends it would. It would falsify one of their examples (albeit, their most effective one) that is “evidence” for ID. Behe makes the simplistic claim that if scientists are unable to grow a flagellar motor via natural selection, then natural selection would still not be falsified, and therefore natural selection is more unfalsifiable than intelligent design. What? What about the example I gave earlier regarding rabbits in the precambrian (or whatever period you want that is pre-complex-mammal—I may have misspoken regarding the Triassic). Evolution is still perfectly falsifiable, even though his one example of a situation in which evolution would not be falsified is, well, correct.

          “There are three types of causation today for known objects in the universe.” Wrong. Natural selection is the fourth, and you have admitted that natural selection exists on the micro-evolutionary level, which is enough to admit that it exists, which is enough to say that there is a fourth type of causation. You should check out my blog post about the argument from design (the first post) which deals with that exact problem with an analogy to the forces that act to pull objects together in the universe. Originally there were two—gravity and electromagnetism. It has since been discovered that there are four, when you include the nuclear strong an weak forces. To limit yourself by saying “There are three types of causation today for known objects in the universe,” as if to say that no others could be discovered is unscientific. It is saying we know everything about causation in the universe, and nothing will ever change how many there are. In fact, as I said, one has been discovered, and it is called natural selection—but now I’m repeating myself.

          “So the ID advocate takes the information and asks first CAN chance explain this information in the cell.” Again, chance plays a very small role in the natural selection process.

          As regards your point regarding the flagellar motor, you’re right—we don’t know how it evolved. But which is more likely: that it was created using a natural process that we have proven to be existent? Or that it was created from nothing by an intelligent designer? I guess you may respond by saying “The second,” but to me that is like saying, before we have technology to prove that the nuclear strong force exists, “How are the protons and neutrons bound together? We don’t know, therefore and Intelligent Being must be holding them together at all times.” No, of course not. What is more likely is that there is an interaction that we as of yet do not know about—that interaction being the nuclear strong force. “It must have been created from nothing” is a scientific cop-out. How about “we have yet to uncover the mystery,” rather than “we don’t know everything, therefore everything that we don’t know must be explained by a supernatural (or intelligent, or whatever) being.”

          “Genetics tells us that in order to turn a whale into a cow 50,000 changes would be necessary. it’s been documented that ‘cows’ evolved into ‘whales’ over a period of ten million years. NOT ENOUGH TIME TIME given the known mutation rates that we find in labs today.” But… let’s face it, we have the genetic evidence to infer (your word) that it happened. We know natural selection CAN act very quickly (see Nilsson and Pelger’s research on the possible track of the evolution of the complex camera eye here).

          “And ID does not deal with the supernatural and it is most definitely science!” If you say so…

          – P

          • Joey McCabe says...

            Alright Paul this is going to be a HUGE response, so I will label your paragraphs via numbers and provide my explanation to each point you’ve made. Let’s start with paragraph 2 since that is where your rebuttal starts.
            2: This paragraph fails on two levels. A, because carbon dating, radiometric dating, and isometric dating are all iffy in their establishments of time. B, While it may be true that some rocks are dated that way, fossils trump dated ages. Notice what one article in Science news said, “Scientists had formerly dated both the limestone and sandstone to be about 1.1 billion years old, but the shells in the limestone indicate that layer is only about 540 million years old.” They disregarded the age BECAUSE of the fossils.
            Other times it’s the opposite way, rocks are use to date fossils…it’s NUTS. So much assumption, so much room for error, so much speculation. It’s crazy that people can actually just take some of these results without objection.
            3: Probably a bad example on my behalf, but my point is really that you can’t apply falsifiability to all things. The world would fall into a paradox. Here is what a blogger has to say about it, ” For instance, I would have to falsify the belief that all true knowledge must be falsified. Or I’d have to falsify the law of non-contradiction, meaning all of it could potentially be wrong, when it couldn’t be potentially wrong. ”
            4 and 5: I’m going to skip these because I don’t wanna bog down this post with something different than what I’m talking about. Creationism and Intelligent design are different fields of study.
            6: “The only moment that chance plays a role is in the replication of DNA (which has been quite proven to be fallible, giving evolution its power). From there, natural selection takes over.” DNA is the molecule in question in regards to my post! You cannot invoke natural selection as a causal explanation for the DNA molecule because natural selection ONLY starts AFTER all the complex specified information to replicate is there all ready!
            7; “For example, the fossil record that covers every reasonable gap between Homo Sapiens Sapiens and Australopithecus” Can you perhaps define reasonable? I ask the question for this reason. Let’s say that humans did evolved from an ape like ancestor millions of years ago. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? How many changes does it take to go from “ape” to “human”? I would probably quantify it in the range of thousands, comparable to the whale analogy I gave in my last response. I just went to the museum of natural history and saw the human evolution exhibit, and I noticed maybe 12 or 14 “transitional” skulls up there.
            Let me continue by give you an illustration. Say I brought over a puzzle to your house…a 20,000(best guest prolly more) piece puzzle! As we sit down to start working on it, I open the box and I dump out 14 pieces. Then I tell you, “Okay tell me what this puzzle is a picture of, and you have these 14 pieces to do it with.” You would look at me like I was crazy. I do the same thing to evolutionists. There is nothing reasonable about having 14 transitional fossils on display when there can and should be 20,000 thousand! Now, I am not unrealistic here, I don’t expect nature to be able to preserve every specimen. BUT, I would need much, much more that 14 fossils to legitimize human evolution past the point of a hypothetical. If you had 500 fossils, than I would probably shut my mouth.

            Then let’s take this puzzle one step further….I tell you at the beginning that each piece fits accordingly in a particular section of 1,000 piece boxes. At this point, any reasonable person would assume I had layed out the puzzle myself and divided it into 1000 piece boxes and took one piece from each box to give to you. Let’s apply this to our evolutionary “transitionals”. Out of 20,000 fossils, scientists just happen to come across a perfect lineage of transitions of almost equal space. Doesn’t that sound a little fishy to you? For me, I assume instead that evolutionary bias has lead to scientists making false claims in regards to these fossils. The same thing happen with horse transitional fossils. It was once the hallmark of evolution, showing a clear line of transitions until archaeologists started finding more and more fossils and then it broke up the line so quickly that now its being taken out of text books! You see my point I hope. I spent a lot of time on it haha. moving on..
            8: “You’ll see that, as the judge in the court case ruled, it is inseparable from religion” This claim is FALSE…its falsified by me and many others. I am not religious and I believe the explanations put forth by this scientific field are more deserving. I read the transcript from the Jones trial…it was interesting to see a judge who knows nothing of philosophy or science make a choice about whether ID is science or not. Specially since the ID lawyers and scientists gave such a strong case. It still amazes me that Judge Jones ruled against the Dover school district! What is interesting to know is that ID advocates didn’t want ID taught in schools. They were heavily against it actually.
            9: Yes it would, and if it didn’t, it certainly would be a huge blow against ID theory. Falsification like you just recognized is not demonstrated by one false claim…it’s demonstrated by many! Behe uses the flagellar motor as an example, but the overall falsification criteria for one of the biggest predictions of ID is, as Behe puts it in his book, “If it could be demonstrated that ANY irreducibly complex molecular machine could be produced by chance or natural selection, Intelligent design would be hit a huge blow against it”….as it is…there has never been a paper demonstrating this.
            10: “Wrong. Natural selection is the fourth” Incorrect, natural selection falls under the casual property of necessity. Other things that are included within necessity causation are gravity. inertia, physical laws, and as you mentioned, the four forces for keeping an object together.
            “To limit yourself by saying “There are three types of causation today for known objects in the universe,” as if to say that no others could be discovered is unscientific” You are putting words in my mouth here Paul…notice the use of the word “today” when discussing the types. Meaning, as of today, there are three! On top of that, you made an equally unscientific claim by saying, “It has since been discovered that there are four, when you include the nuclear strong an weak forces” Here you are saying there are only four! But of course I know personally that you meant “as of now” there are only four. ID makes similar claims, research doesn’t really just stop, ID is a living science, and I provided a great example in my last response!

            Also , the reason an ID advocate would not use intelligence as a reason for an atoms or objects ability to stay together is because other plausible alternatives are evident all over. What other things in the universe cause things to keep together? Glue, tape, nails, …all possibilites. Non-intellignet forces cause things to stick together and therefore a nuclear charge is a better explanation. Intelligence is only invoked as a causative explanation when other causes are not plausible. There are no other plausible causes for the creation of new information or for the specified complex information in the DNA molecule. There is only one….Intelligence! Therefore, RIGHT NOW, until one is found, Intelligence is the best explanation.
            11: Again, natural selection can not be invoked as a causal explanation for the existence of the complex specified information in the DNA molecule for reasons provided above.
            12: Finally! “But… let’s face it, we have the genetic evidence to infer (your word) that it happened. We know natural selection CAN act very quickly (see Nilsson and Pelger’s research” No…it does not infer that! The genetic evidence infers that it did NOT happen. And natural selection most definitely does not act quickly, unless you are comparing it with the age of the universe! I find it interesting that you also used Nilsson and Pelgers research to demonstrate your point. Notice what Biologist David Berlinski had to say about the paper, “Nilsson and Pelger’s computer simulation is a myth. In a private communication,. Nilsson has indicated to me that the requisite simulation is in preparation…What [they] described was not the evolution of the eye, but of an eyeball, and they describe it using ordinary back-of-the envelope calculations.” I read the paper itself and have two problems with it myself. One, it was a computer simulation. In order for the results to work a target phrase was inserted into the computer along with an overly simplistic lens at the beginning. The problem is…this is completely unanalogous with nature! There are no target phrases in natural selection. Natural selection does not select with the intent to improve later. I can’t, it’s an unconscious and undirected process and does not contain foreknowledge in that way. The second reason, all the changes were initially acted upon by intelligent causation! Active information was inserted into the computer by intelligence and caused the lens to develop in the computer situation. That is ID theory in a nut shell! The paper fails to demonstrate natural selections power, but positively supports the id thesis that only intelligence can create new information or complex biological structures..

            IN conclusion, it is a bit evident that you have taken much of you knowledge of ID theory from its opponents. I would suggest sitting down and reading some of the literature yourself. When you really do the research you realize how cool ID science really is.

  2. Creation Today, on Evolution - Part I - Paul Hughes says...

    […] how life came from non-living matter) does not mean that an answer does not exist. As I said in a comment on a previous post, not knowing an answer and automatically blaming the unexplained on God is not science—it is a […]

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