Is Intelligent Design Creationism?

by Luke Muehlhauser on November 5, 2009 in Design Argument,Intelligent Design

intelligent_geography

Tom Gilson of Thinking Christian recently wrote an interesting series asking “Is ID Creationism?

Many scientists have said that ID is merely old-school Creationism “thinly disguised” with “a fake mustache.” Gilson says this is a mistake. But perhaps scientists can be forgiven. After all, consider how the term “intelligent design” was born. In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that “creation science” could not be taught in public schools because it advances a particular religion. That same year, a Creationist textbook called Of Pandas and People had been published using terms like “creationism” over 150 times. But after the defeat of Creationism in court, the editors replaced every instance of “creationism” with “intelligent design” and every instance of “creationists” with “design proponents.” In one case, part of the original term, “creationists,” was left behind by the editing process, rendering “cdesign proponentsists”:

The basic metabolic pathways (reaction chains) of nearly all organisms are the same. Is this because of descent from a common ancestor, or because only these pathways (and their variations) can sustain life? Evolutionists think the former is correct, cdesign proponentsists accept the latter view.1

That the editors merely replaced “creationism” with the new term “intelligent design” is abundantly obvious when one compares various drafts of Of Pandas and People (originally called Biology and Creation):

Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Biology and Creation 1986, FTE 3015, p. 2-10)

Creation means that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent Creator with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Biology and Origins 1987, FTE 3235, p. 2-13)

Creation means that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent Creator with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1987, creationist version, FTE 4996-4997, pp. 2-14, 2-15)

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1987, intelligent design version, FTE 4667, p. 2-15)

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact – fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1989, 1st edition, published, pp. 99-100)

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact – fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1993, 2nd edition, published, pp. 99-100)

So at its origins, it is quite true that Intelligent Design was merely Creationism “thinly disguised” with a “fake mustache.”

But is this still the case, or is Intelligent Design now a very different thing than Creationism? Nick Matzke points out that:

Chunks of Pandas are currently on the Discovery Institute website. The authors of Pandas include DI fellows Stephen Meyer (VP of the DI, director of the DI’s Center for Science and Culture, organizational head of the ID movement), Michael Behe, Dean Kenyon (YEC), and Nancy Pearcey (YEC). Dembski and Wells coauthored a new edition. Phillip Johnson, Dembski, Behe, etc. all endorsed the old edition of Pandas in print, and Behe defended Pandas as “intelligent design” in court. Shouldn’t I take their word about what is ID over your opinion?

And yet, the definition of ID in Pandas is identical to the definition of creationism in earlier drafts of the book, except for the creation/design switcheroo.

In response, Gilson repeatedly (1, 2) accused Matzke of committing the genetic fallacy. But this is incorrect. A genetic fallacy (please read that page, folks!) is given when someone argues that “X is believed for non-justifying reasons, therefore X is false.” But Matzke never argued that ID is false because it was believed for non-justifying reasons. He argued that Intelligent Design is Creationism thinly disguised because the term originated by simply replacing the term “creationism” with “intelligent design” as a textbook, and because the leading proponents of ID endorsed the original version of that book and still endorse the current version.

Gilson thinks that even if Intelligent Design and Creationism meant the same thing at the beginning, they do not mean the same thing today:

There was a time when “suffer” and “allow” meant the same thing… Same with ID and creationism. [But] it’s time to catch up with history and deal with what the terms mean today.

So what is the difference between Intelligent Design and Creationism today? One difficulty is the many meanings of “Creationism.” In the broadest sense, Creationism just means that “The universe was created by a being.” Even Aristotle was a Creationist in that sense. On that point, ID and Creationism agree.

But during most of the 20th century, the term Creationism had a more specific meaning in America. It often entailed Biblical young earth beliefs and a rejection of common descent. But ID does not entail such beliefs or a rejection of common descent.

So it depends what you mean by “Creationism.” The moral of the story is to follow Socrates’ advice and define your terms before you argue with someone.

Here’s how I like to think of Creationism and Intelligent Design. I tend to use “Creationism” to refer to theories informed by the Bible or Christian (or Muslim) theology. For example, a theory including a 6,000 year old Earth is obviously Creationism.

In contrast, I tend to use “Intelligent Design” to refer to modern attempts at natural theology, which are not dependent on scripture or doctrine. The method of natural theology is to make an inference from observations of public, natural evidence to the existence of some kind of Designer or First Cause. This method does not allow you to assume any properties at all about the Designer that cannot be inferred from the observations of public, natural evidence.

Of course, we all know that the major proponents of Intelligent Design are motivated by their pre-existing Christian beliefs. And so was William Paley, who wrote Natural Theology in 1802. But for the purposes of their arguments, natural theologians do not smuggle in any assumptions from scripture or doctrine. They only allow themselves to defend their inferences from observations of evidence we all agree on – for example, the complexity of biological systems.

Remember, “intelligent design” and “creationism” are just words. They mean whatever we say they mean. But for clarity’s sake, I have a proposal:

Intelligent Design: the assertion that certain features of the natural universe are best explained by an intelligent cause.

Creationism: the theory that God created the universe, as dictated by some religious doctrine or scripture.

Under this proposal, it is quite possible (and common) for someone to accept Creationism but argue for intelligent design. Indeed, it may be unlikely that someone would defend intelligent design without first personally accepting Creationism. But one may argue for intelligent design without any reference to Creationism.

  1. See here. []

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{ 147 comments… read them below or add one }

Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 7:09 am

That same year, a Creationist textbook called Of Pandas and People had been published…

Not quite. As you note later, the book was not published until 1989, and the “creationism” terminology appears in pre-publication manuscript drafts.

BTW, I own and have read Of Pandas and People. Aside from the question of whether ID is creationism, the “scientific” content of that book is pure crap.

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 7:13 am

Intelligent Design Conference starts today

Marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” the conference will feature speakers from the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, including scientists and authors Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, David Berlinksi and John G. West.

Oh look, a conference on ID and it has actual scientists and authors. I am convinced that ID is real science, and has nothing to do with religion.

Shepherd Project Ministries is sponsoring the “Legacy of Darwin” Intelligent Design Conference…

I’m sure that it is a mere coincidence that this purely secular scientific event, like so many similar events, is sponsored by an evangelical organization. They’re big on promoting science.

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 7:19 am

For example, a theory including a 6,000 year old Earth is obviously Creationism.

It is very odd that the “Intelligent Design movement” takes no position on such important scientific issues as the age of the Earth and the age of the universe. That is, it would be very odd if ID was actually science. If however, ID was a political attempt to circumvent existing legal precedents outlawing the teaching of “Creation Science” in public schools on grounds of separation of church & state, and ID was attempting to spread a “big tent” including all forms of Creationism in order to increase their clout, it would make perfect sense.

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 7:19 am

Recently, at Panda’s Thumb:
More evidence for the increasing YECiness of ID

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 7:21 am

From Eugenie Scott of the NCSE:
The Creation/Evolution Continuum

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Ben Abbott November 5, 2009 at 8:33 am

Good points.

Regarding the central point of inclusion in the science classroom;

Neither creation science or ID will qualify as science until a falsifiable hypothesis is posited and tested to confirm the understanding of the natural phenomena described by the hypothesis.

Asserting that certain features of the natural universe are best explained by an intelligent cause, does not do that. Even if it could be proven (not asserted) that certain features are *best* explained by an intelligent cause, it is not science. Science is not about what ought to be (or is best). It is about explaining observable natural phenomena, in a testable way, using observable natural phenomena.

To qualify as science, ID has the task of falsifying that the phenomena of life could have originated and/or evolved via natural phenomena. This a must because positing a natural creator does not explain the origins for the creator.

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IntelligentDasein November 5, 2009 at 8:35 am

The worst part is that the DI’s theories have all been completely disproved and they avoid this by appealing to that constitution rather than publishing their world in scientific journals (which they refuse to do).

The DI itself is a Christian Organization in disguise also. (Not just because Bill Craig is a fellow). Their IDEA website said that the designer is the Christian God and the Center for Science and Culture used to have biblical art on its website. Dembski himself has been teaching at Baptist seminary schools.

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bobxxxx November 5, 2009 at 8:40 am

Tom Gilson of Thinking Christian?

A Christian who thinks? Bullshit. If the moron and liar for Jeebus, Mr. Gilson, could think, he wouldn’t be a Christian.

Intelligent design, which are nothing more than fancy words for god-did-it magic, is of course creationism. The dishonest assholes who work for the Discovery Institute are all creationists, and by the way Gilson if you’re reading this, you’re also a creationist (which is another word for idiot).

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 8:46 am

Luke: This is a pretty fair opening essay, and I’m glad that you’re validating my original hope that you were an honest seeker of truth. I don’t agree with everything you wrote, course, but I agree with your most important point: There IS a distinction between Creationism and Intelligent Design. Usually, in my previous discussions with Darwinists, if they tell me that “I.D. and Creationism are the same thing,” I have to reluctantly end the debate. Why? Because they are not even familiar with the most basic terms in the debate.

I do want to point out though that when people say the “Pandas” book is a smoking gun that ID = Creationism, they’re allowing their bias to influence their judgment. Why? Because they’re playing semantic games. In the early 1980s, the word ID hadn’t been invented yet; the word “Creationism” was a general term to denote that mind (intelligence) was a better explanation for the origin and diversity of life than the mindless, random form of evolution advocated by Darwinists. While I appreciate the history lesson, in the year 2009, the terms Creationism and Intelligent Design mean separate things (as you noted). Today, Creationists believe the account of life found in the Bible. I.D. is an outgrowth of the Scientific Method. I.D. looks at the evidence we’ve accumulated, and makes judgments based on that. It is separate from Creationism. I hope – thanks to you – that more Darwinists will appreciate that.

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bobxxxx November 5, 2009 at 8:47 am

“The DI itself is a Christian Organization in disguise also.”

Right. Thank you. The Discovery Institute is most definitely a Christian creationist organization, and of course the lawyers who work there have never discovered anything.

I consider the lying shitheads at the Dishonesty Institute to be no better than Muslim terrorists, and their never ending attempts to destroy America’s science education is causing more harm to this country than terrorism. If it was up to me every one of those Disco Institute liars would be put in prison for treason. Actually if it really was up to me, they would be treated the same way we treat the Taliban in Afghanistan – hunt them down and kill them.

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bobxxxx November 5, 2009 at 8:53 am

“I.D. looks at the evidence we’ve accumulated, and makes judgments based on that.”

Bullshit. ID creationists couldn’t understand scientific evidence if their lives depended on it. All they do is spread lies about evidence, and the only thing they accomplish is they prove how hopelessly stupid they are.

By the way, Todd White, invoking magic (what you call intelligent design as if calling that makes it less childish), is not doing science.

One more thing, Todd White, why do you help the Disco assholes spread their lies? Do you work for them, or are you just one of their gullible customers? One thing for sure, you don’t even know what science is, and you’re not qualified to talk about it. Why don’t you keep your intelligent design magic bullshit in your church and just shut the fuck up about what you know nothing about.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

Todd White: “Usually, in my previous discussions with Darwinists, if they tell me that “I.D. and Creationism are the same thing,” I have to reluctantly end the debate. Why? Because they are not even familiar with the most basic terms in the debate.”

Todd, consider that by using the word ‘darwinists’, and exacerbating it by making it a proper noun by using a capital “D”, you’re guilty of what you object to.

In short: If you yourself are an honest broker, and want a conversation, then cut it out.

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bobxxxx November 5, 2009 at 9:06 am

“Because they’re playing semantic games. In the early 1980s, the word ID hadn’t been invented yet; the word “Creationism” was a general term to denote that mind (intelligence) was a better explanation for the origin and diversity of life than the mindless, random form of evolution advocated by Darwinists.”

Wow, Todd, you are a total asshole.

A few points for your tiny defective brain:

They are called “biologists”, not “Darwinists”.

Natural Selection, which is one of the most important mechanisms of evolution, is not random. Do you understand why? Do you understand anything?

Why do you call magic “intelligence”? Who do you think you’re fooling? Do you seriously believe biologists are going to stop laughing at your stupidity if you give the magic you believe in a different name?

ID had not been invented yet in the early 1980′s because the Supreme Court decision that said “creation science” is not science was made in 1987. Shortly after that decision, some fucking asshole creationists (people like you) renamed creation science to intelligent design. In 2005 a Federal Court ruled that intelligent design is not science.

Tell me, Todd, when are you stupid pieces of shit going to start letting biology teachers do their jobs? When are you traitors for Jeebus going to start respecting our Establishment Clause? Also, when are lying pigs like you going to leave the Dark Ages and join the 21st century?

I can answer the last question. You will never leave the Dark Ages until you drop dead, and on that day the world will become a slightly better place.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 9:12 am

Bobxxx: I can’t keep my “magic bullshit in my church” because I don’t belong to a church; I’m not a Christian.

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Josh November 5, 2009 at 9:15 am

Bob,

I agree with almost everything you’re saying, but damn man. Tone it down just a bit.

Luke,

You make the assertion that ID and creationism are, in principle different, but creationism and ID are in fact clearly very much the same. The same decades old arguments in favor of creationism are trotted out by ID advocates (albeit with a fancy shiny “scientific” coat of paint).

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 9:16 am

Hermes: It’s not clear to me what’s objectionable about the term “Darwinist.” Darwinists are people who advocate Darwinism in the same way Christians advocate Christianity, conservatives advocate conservatism, etc, etc. “Darwinist” is a clear, factually correct term.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 9:19 am

Bob: As I wrote to Luke above, I make it a policy of not debating with people who think ID and Creationism are the same thing, so before I am tempted to challenge your assertions, may I ask where you stand on that issue?

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 9:28 am

Todd White: “It’s not clear to me what’s objectionable about the term “Darwinist.” Darwinists are people who advocate Darwinism in the same way Christians advocate Christianity, conservatives advocate conservatism, etc, etc. “Darwinist” is a clear, factually correct term.”

Earlier, and I quoted, you wrote;

Todd White: “Because they are not even familiar with the most basic terms in the debate.”

Your reply now shows that you are either at worst disingenuous in your use of “darwinist”/”Darwinist”, or unaware of the “basic terms” used in the discussion.

Now that you’ve been informed, my question to you is which were you? Unaware or disingenuous?

For reference, take a look at the results from doing a search on the following;

darwinist -darwinism

http://www.google.com/search?q=darwinist+-darwinism

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 9:30 am

Congratulation, Bob! You made my “Quote of the Day”…

http://mustardseednovel.blogspot.com/2009/11/quote-of-day_05.html

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Tony Hoffman November 5, 2009 at 9:44 am

Bobxxx,

Your entries read like a troll trying to give theists ammunition for the case that one cannot carry on reasonable discussions with non-theists. Why would anyone trying to promote reason use such abusive language when it can so easily be cited in a way that undermines your points?

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Lee A. P. November 5, 2009 at 9:50 am

Despite somehwat similar virtiol, bobxxx and I are not the same poster. I draw the line at wishing for the deaths of people and I’m sure bob really does not mean that. Virtually everthing else he says is correct.

Though some forms of ID can be divorced from Christian creationism, the vast political power behind the ID movement is from the band of merry shit heads at the Discovery Institute.

If Todd was really serious about ID being divorced from creationism then he would admonish the Discovery Institute ever chance he got. But without the Disco boys behind them, the IDers don’t have anything else. There is no real “science” to ID. This is either because ID is bankrupt as an explanatory scientific hypothesis or because of an overwhelming conspiracy involving evil darwinists over the past 150 years acting as a malevolent monolithic whole.

Tom Whites blog post does not even make sense though. He posts a picture of Iraqi terroists about to behead Jewish-American Nick Berg. Not americans hunting Afgani terrorists like bobxxx suggests.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 9:55 am

Todd, while I wait for your reply to my earlier comment, I have another one to add to your queue…

Todd White: “Bob: As I wrote to Luke above, I make it a policy of not debating with people who think ID and Creationism are the same thing, so before I am tempted to challenge your assertions, may I ask where you stand on that issue?”

Not supporting or rejecting Bob’s comments, I have a question for you;

* If you consider that to be a good standard — to not talk(?) with anyone who doesn’t share your specific word usage and/or preconceptions — do you think similar comments from others who you may not agree with would also be a good standard?

If that is an acceptable or even preferred way to act, would you think that the same moral rule of thumb should apply to everyone or just in this narrow situation? If just this situation, how did you come to that conclusion or is this merely a preference?

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Justfinethanks November 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

I suppose if believing that Darwin had some pretty accurate ideas about the origin of biological diversity and complexity makes me a “Darwinist,” then I guess I’m also an “Einsteinist,” a “Bhorist,” a “Lyellist,” a “Keplerist,” a “Mendelist,” etc. Basically, take every scientist who made breakthrough observations into the nature of the natural world, add “ist” at the end, and that’s me. Strangely though, creationists don’t slap those other labels on me. I have yet to be accused of “promoting” Keplerian astronomy.

Honestly, if creationists want to divorce their vision of the world from observable reality just to preserve their religious beliefs, they should go all out. This guy did, and I bet he’s happier for it.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

Justfinethanks, love the link. Looks like that guy is serious unlike those POsErs over at Landover Baptist (http://www.landoverbaptist.org)! Maybe he should apply for a grant from DI?

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Justfinethanks November 5, 2009 at 10:35 am

Just a grant? If I were him I would apply to be a DI fellow. Considering that they are fine with including YECs like Paul Nelson in their ranks, he should fit right in.

DI fellows get to make much more than a working scientist makes, without having to do any actual scientific research. It’s a real gravy train for the anti science crowd.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 10:36 am

Lee: “Tom Whites blog post does not even make sense though. He posts a picture of Iraqi terroists about to behead Jewish-American Nick Berg. Not americans hunting Afgani terrorists like bobxxx suggests.”

TW: First of all, it’s Todd. But more importantly, the photo DOES make sense. Bob is comparing I.D. proponents to Islamic terrorists – people who gleefully murder innocent people like Nick Berg. Is that a fair description of I.D. proponents? I think not.

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Justfinethanks November 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

Oh, and everyone who is interested in evolution (and the work that REAL scientists do) should check out the three part series that NOVA is running on human evolution: Becoming Human. The first part already aired, but you can watch it here.

As with all science, it is thrilling to learn how much we have learned in just the last couple decades, as well as the mysteries yet to be solved.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

Hermes: I don’t think it’s unfair of me to ask why you find the term “Darwinist” objectionable. Does the term “Darwinist” NOT mean “someone who supports Darwinism?”

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 10:50 am

Justfinethanks, I am corrected. There would be a homogenous blending of your YEC and Paul Nelson. My only question is since the YEC you pointed to didn’t list his/her name, maybe they are already a DI fellow?

That said, looking at the YEC’s web site, that one seems to be one imaginary animal short of an imaginary menagerie.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 10:56 am

Herm: “If you consider that to be a good standard — to not talk(?) with anyone who doesn’t share your specific word usage and/or preconceptions — do you think similar comments from others who you may not agree with would also be a good standard?”

TW: That depends. I’d need an example.

Herm: If that is an acceptable or even preferred way to act, would you think that the same moral rule of thumb should apply to everyone or just in this narrow situation? If just this situation, how did you come to that conclusion or is this merely a preference?”

TW: As it pertains to this situation…If someone states “ID = Creationism” and then I explain to them what the difference between them is (as I did above), and then they’re still stating “ID = Creationism” it’s not unfair to me to say, “You are so obviously biased regarding this matter than I will kindly take my time and energy elsewhere.” I think that’s an appropriate policy on my part (although I bend it on occasion).

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 10:59 am

Todd, if you don’t like the blending of the terms “creationist” and “intelligent design” and “creation science” for some reason, suffice it to say that you should not do the same yourself. “Do unto others …” as it were.

If you still require an explanation, though the link I provided should have given you some idea about how the term is used and by who, then I have to ask the same from you for your aversion to the conflation of ID and creationist and creation science.

Tell me you are just kidding around and do not have to have these details explained to you. You did not need to explain the differences of ID … to me. I already know the meaning of ‘basic terms’ and I expect you do too.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 11:07 am

Hermes: You’re boring me and confusing me at the same time (which is a pretty lethal combination). You still haven’t answered my request to explain why the term “Darwinist” is objectionable, and until that happens, I see no reason why I should stop using it.

I’ll offer you a fig leaf, though: If you don’t want me to use the term “Darwinist,” what term would you suggest in its place?

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Justfinethanks November 5, 2009 at 11:15 am

Todd White: If you don’t want me to use the term “Darwinist,” what term would you suggest in its place?  

Well, if it were me, I would prefer it if creationists called me “an acceptor of mainstream science,” as in “I disagree with people who accept mainstream science.” It’s a tad cumbersome I grant, but it’s a lot more accurate. Because the viewpoint I’m advocating is nothing more “Mainstream science has a fairly accurate vision of the natural world.”

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 11:54 am

Todd, you’ve had multiple examples of less prerogative words that are technically accurate. You’ve used some phrases as well that would substitute.

For reference, here’s what some people wrote to conservative Christian columnist Andrew Sullivan;

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/10/is-darwinist-a-loaded-term-ctd.html

Hopefully, this will be enough to allow you to understand the meaning of ‘basic terms’ and we can continue to not annoy each other.

What do you think? Will you not use “Darwinist”/”darwinist” now that you know it is incorrect as well as a prerogative term? I’d like your assurance on this so that I can see I am dealing with someone who has honor and integrity and is not asking for special treatment for them and them alone.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Herm: For the sake of being a nice guy, if you honestly find the term “Darwinist” offensive, I will not describe your views in that way.

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ildi November 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm

What is so hard about using the term evolutionary biologists?

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Todd White: In the early 1980s the word ID hadn’t been invented yet

I have in my possession a book published ~ 1908 which uses the terms “Intelligent Design” and “Intelligent Designer.” It is also quite clear that the Intelligent Designer the author has in mind is the Christian God.

Usually, in my previous discussions with Darwinists, if they tell me that “I.D. and Creationism are the same thing,” I have to reluctantly end the debate.

So if your opponent will not concede your conclusion at the start, you won’t even participate? @$%@% you. That does not even merit a polite response.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Reginald: You seem like a charming fellow. I’m sorry we couldn’t have a discussion. One thing I’ll correct you, on, though… I don’t “require my opponent to concede my conclusion at the start.” I’m willing to educate him on the distinction between Creationism and I.D., but if – after doing that – he’s still swearing at me (cough, Reginald, cough), I don’t see why I should feel obligated to continue the discussion.

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majinrevan666 November 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm

There is a debate today on ID between William Lane Craig
and Dr. Francisco J. Ayala.

7 pm EST.
Will be streamed here:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/indiana-university—november-5-2009

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Reginald: “I have in my possession a book published ~ 1908 which uses the terms ‘Intelligent Design’ and ‘Intelligent Designer.’ It is also quite clear that the Intelligent Designer the author has in mind is the Christian God.”

TW: I’m open to that possibility, and if that’s the case, maybe I should change my words slightly. Rather than “invent I.D.,” I should say “popularize I.D.”

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Why the term “Darwinism” is inappropriate: The theory of evolution by means of natural selection is only one (very important) piece of modern biology. In the mid-20th century, evolution (aka “Darwinism”) was combined with genetics (which, curiously, is never labeled “Mendelism) in “The Modern Synthesis. A couple decades later this juggernaut was further enhanced by the birth of molecular biology.

The reason Creationists like Todd White prefer to use the term Darwinism (other than their general ignorance and stupidity) is a misguided hope that if they can discredit Darwin, the person, that it will discredit his theory as well. Thus today we find an abundance of character assassination occurring as Creationists attempt to blame Darwin for eugenics, racism, the Holocaust, etc.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Just to be clear, by “popularized I.D.,” I mean, building a critical mass of awareness about a paradigm that was distinct from traditional Creationism.

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Todd White: TW: I’m open to that possibility, and if that’s the case, maybe I should change my words slightly. Rather than “invent I.D.,” I should say “popularize I.D.”

“Possibility”? The existence of said book is a FACT, not a possibility. That you make sweeping claims about the history of ID without knowing of such things is your flaw, not mine.

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Reginald Selkirk November 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I have just one more bit of advice for Todd White: stop digging.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Reginald: It’s ironic that you bring up Mendel because the Darwinists opposed Mendel’s work for decades. From Wikipedia:

“At first Mendel’s work was rejected, and it was not widely accepted until after he died. At that time most biologists held the idea of blending inheritance, and Charles Darwin’s efforts to explain inheritance through a theory of pangenesis were unsuccessful. Mendel’s ideas were rediscovered in the early twentieth century, and in the 1930s and 1940s the modern synthesis combined Mendelian genetics with Darwin’s theory of natural selection.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel

Even now, no one has given me a good reason why the term “Darwinist” is “inappropriate” (for reasons I explained in my original post on this topic), but – like I said – for the sake of being a nice guy, I won’t use the term.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Reginald: Sorry, but you don’t have a lot of credibility with me right now, and since you don’t name the book or anything, I can only say, “I’m open to the possibility.” If I was a betting man, I’d bet a few dollars that you’re right, but you also could be misinformed or even lying.

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Fortuna November 5, 2009 at 2:10 pm

In Todd’s defense, in British English the term “darwinism” is sometimes used to refer to the theory of evolution; it’s not considered a loaded term the way it can be in North American English.

Speaking of which, in case it isn’t clear by now, here is the reason why we often take exception to being referred to as capital-D “darwinists”.

It’s because oftentimes the unmistakable intent is to paint us as adherents of a religious doctrine, as people who accept Darwin as a prophet and his writings as a revelation. This is triply objectionable; it mischaracterizes the nature of Darwin’s work, our epistemic stance, and it ignores the fact that the modern-day theory of evolution encompasses a great deal of content that doesn’t depend on Darwin’s research.

So, to adress this question a little more specifically;

Does the term “Darwinist” NOT mean “someone who supports Darwinism?

I’d have to say that there are a couple of things wrong with the question itself. Firstly, there is no capital-D “darwinism”. Second, we don’t “support” the theory of evolution in any meaningful sense I can think of; it’s quite well supported in terms of being the most powerful explanation available. Using the term “support” makes it sound like we’re promoting it as a lifestyle or something.

To see how truly weird it sounds, try thinking about how odd it would be if I insisted on referring to you as a “Mendelist” who “supports Mendelism”. *

* Tip of the hat to Justfinethanks. Also, this example assumes that you acknowledge the mechanisms of heredity, which I’m guessing is safe.

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Fortuna November 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

It’s ironic that you bring up Mendel because the Darwinists opposed Mendel’s work for decades.

Ignoring your irritating use of “Darwinists”, what is it, exactly, that’s ironic about Reginald’s bringing up Mendel?

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Fortuna: I appreciate that you directly answered my question (the first person so far). You wrote…

“We don’t ‘support’ the theory of evolution in any meaningful sense I can think of; it’s quite well supported in terms of being the most powerful explanation available.”

Yes, I think we’ve getting closer to the nub of the matter. Consider if I said the following…

“I don’t ‘support’ Christianity in any meaningful sense I can think of; it’s quite well supported in terms of being the most powerful explanation available.”

That’s bizarre, right? Well, that’s how I feel about your comment (although in fairness, I think you just haven’t really thought about how it comes across to people like me).

Bonus: These days, the vast majority of Christians would never make the statement I just did; they’re mostly tolerant of other people’s faith – even though they’re 100% convinced that Christianity is true. That’s probably one of the reasons they wouldn’t object to the term “Christian.” It’s just a logical way to distinguish those who accept Christ from those who don’t. The same applies for Darwi – I mean…whatever y’all want to call yourselves ;)

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Fortuna: “what is it, exactly, that’s ironic about Reginald’s bringing up Mendel?”

TW: Because it shows that even back in the late 1800s, the “Darwhatevers” had a hard time accepting new ideas that didn’t fit their paradigm. Obviously, it’s even worse today.

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lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for the link, majinrevan666.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Also, I still haven’t heard a suggestion for what we should substitute the term “Darwhatever” for.

The term “Evolutionary biologist” (per Ildi’s suggestion) is fine in terms of describing someone who actually IS an evolutionary biologist. But I assume not everyone in this room is in that profession.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Actually that’s not fair. Justin suggested “an acceptor of mainstream science.” As he pointed out, though, it’s a “tad cumbersome.”

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 2:46 pm

majinrevan666, thanks for the Craig v. Ayala link. Much appreciated.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Todd White: “Herm: For the sake of being a nice guy, if you honestly find the term “Darwinist” offensive, I will not describe your views in that way.”

Sorry, not good enough. If you want special considerations from everyone, you should be willing to do so for everyone as well. If not, then you are coming up short morally and ethically.

For your consideration (from the link you probably did not bother with);

————————-

I’m sorry, but I have to come to the defense of the reader who claimed that “Darwinist” is a term whose only real meaning and utility is as an epithet thrown at thinking people by religious extremists. The reader may have been a bit strident in making the point, but he or she is absolutely right that there is no such thing as a “Darwinist” any more than there is such a thing as an “Einsteinist,” “Newtonist,” or “Crick and Watsonist.”

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm

More from: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/10/is-darwinist-a-loaded-term-ctd.html

————————

There are only people who believe in the foundational discoveries of modern science, and people who do not. Believing in science is not a matter of belonging to a partisan camp, it is simply acceptance of a method for advancing knowledge that has proven itself to be perhaps humanity’s greatest innovation. The use of the term “Darwinist” suggests that one who believes in natural selection is taking a side in a debate, when in fact no such debate over the validity of natural selection exists in any meaningful sense within the scientific community. I am sure your use of the term was not intended to be pejorative, but don’t think it’s being “touchy” to point out the problem with using it, since, consciously or unconsciously, it impacts the way people think about the so-called “debate” over evolution.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm

More from: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/10/is-darwinist-a-loaded-term-ctd.html

————————

I think you’re being overly touchy yourself in your response to your interlocutor (“Is Darwinist a Loaded Term?”). The simple fact is that one can head off to websites hosted by the likes of Ray Comfort, Human Events, Vox Dei, and other, less respectful sources of internet-based religious dialogue and see “Darwinist” used as shorthand for “atheist,” as though atheism requires the replacement of Christian (or Jewish, or Muslim…) ideology with a central pillar based upon the theory of natural selection. One cannot deny that, for the vast majority of atheist-theist dialogue, “Darwinist” is used as a pejorative by theists. That you don’t intend to use it so is admirable; that you seem to be ignorant of the taint the word carries in such discussions is naive at best.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm

More from: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/10/is-darwinist-a-loaded-term-ctd.html

————————

The problem is not (just) that it’s a pejorative – although it is. The problem is that the modern theory of evolution has rejected or far surpassed many of Darwin’s own ideas about his theory. The core truth remains, but the use of the term implies that the credibility of evolutionary theory comes from the person of Darwin rather than from 150 years of peer-reviewed research. I’m not a biologist but it’s been my impression that this term is absolutely detested throughout the scientific community, as if the modern laws of physics were called Newtonism. This isn’t mere touchiness.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Hermes: I honestly don’t know what else to say; I’m sorry you feel that way.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Todd White, I ask you now, again, if you have a better understanding of what I meant when I wrote the following to you earlier;

——————-
What do you think? Will you not use “Darwinist”/”darwinist” now that you know it is incorrect as well as a prerogative term? I’d like your assurance on this so that I can see I am dealing with someone who has honor and integrity and is not asking for special treatment for them and them alone.
——————-

Todd White, do you have that honor and integrity or not?

Claiming lack of knowledge of what the ‘basic terms’ mean is not an excuse at this point. It would be on par with Ray Comfort’s tactic of backing down when shown to be mistaken on one point, yet repeating the mistake at a later date to a new audience. That is: it would be a demonstration of a character flaw.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Hermes: I have enough “honor and integrity” to say that I can’t go beyond the compromise I suggested earlier.

To ask me to accept that “Darwinist” is an “incorrect term” would be a violation of Reason and Reality – and Reason and Reality are my only 2 absolutes.

Again, I don’t know what else to say. You seem like a decent guy, though, so I’m disappointed that we couldn’t resolve this matter in a more satisfying way.

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ildi November 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

To ask me to accept that “Darwinist” is an “incorrect term” would be a violation of Reason and Reality – and Reason and Reality are my only 2 absolutes.

Too funny!

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Fortuna November 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Todd White;

Yes, I think we’ve getting closer to the nub of the matter. Consider if I said the following…

Ok then.

“I don’t ’support’ Christianity in any meaningful sense I can think of; it’s quite well supported in terms of being the most powerful explanation available.”

That’s bizarre, right?

For a Christian, no, not as such. I’d think you’d pretty well have to say something like that to qualify as a Christian, rather than as someone who simply thinks Christianity is neat.

(although in fairness, I think you just haven’t really thought about how it comes across to people like me).

Not being a mind-reader, I can’t really know that in advance anyway. All I can do is try to communicate to you that acknowledging the theory of evolution as the best explanation available is not a matter of what one might prefer to “support”.

It’s just a logical way to distinguish those who accept Christ from those who don’t. The same applies for Darwi – I mean…whatever y’all want to call yourselves ;)

Well, since acknowledging science is not a religion in and of itself, I can guarantee you we won’t be calling ourselves capital-d “Darwinists”.

Because it shows that even back in the late 1800s, the “Darwhatevers” had a hard time accepting new ideas (Mendel’s laws of inheritance) that didn’t fit their paradigm.

This statement would be accurate if you’d said that “scientists had a hard time accepting new ideas”, period. Mendel’s laws of inheritance fit the paradigm just fine.

Obviously, it’s even worse today. 

That’s not obvious. What scientists have a problem with today, wrt. ideas that don’t fit the evolutionary paradigm, is that they’re unsupported and in many cases unfalsifiable.

Your remarks to Hermes disappoint me. I got the impression that you understood why “Darwinist”is inappropriate as a descriptor.

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lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 3:08 pm

I’ve never had a problem with being called a ‘Darwinist.’ Perhaps it implies too much emphasis on the man rather than the theory of common descent by natural selection as it has developed in accord with the evidence, but it is useful to distinguish ideas as ‘Darwinian’ rather than, say, ‘Lamarkian.’

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Todd White, you have evidence before you. You have multiple people attesting to those details plus references off-site you failed to examine when presented, instead sticking with your errant preconceptions.

Yet, you expect special considerations while giving none to others — and claiming you have integrity at the same time.

WWJD?

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ildi November 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm

lukeprog: I’ve never had a problem with being called a ‘Darwinist.’ Perhaps it implies too much emphasis on the man rather than the theory of common descent by natural selection as it has developed in accord with the evidence, but it is useful to distinguish ideas as ‘Darwinian’ rather than, say, ‘Lamarkian.’  (Quote)

I think you may have missed your calling in the diplomatic corps.

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

“Too funny!”

Ildi, isn’t it though?

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Fortuna: I read through your post, but at the risk of repeating myself, I just don’t know what else to say on this matter. I think I’ve made my position pretty clear.

“A is A.”

“Darwinists support Darwinism.”

If you find the term “inappropriate,” I said that – in a spirit of kindness – I wouldn’t use the term.

But to do as Hermes suggests – that I should say that “Darwinist” is an “incorrect term” – is something I could never do. It’s something out of the movie “1984,” or something. Seriously.

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Fortuna November 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm

lukeprog;

True. Perhaps I should specify that it’s my personal opinion, for the reasons I’ve pointed out above, that I and some others take exception to its use as a term for people who don’t contest modern evolutionary biology. Especially when it’s used in contexts that imply that such people have chosen their stance arbitrarily.

Your mileage may vary, though.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Hermes: “WWJD?”

TW: I don’t know. I never met the guy.

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Paul November 5, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Let me propose some slightly different definitions:

Intelligent Design: the theory that God created the universe.

Creationism: the theory that God created the universe, as dictated by some religious doctrine or scripture.

YEC Creationism: the theory that God created the universe some 6000 years ago. As dictated by some religious doctrine or scripture.

I think this is far more accurate to common usage.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Fortuna: I understand your perspective, and that’s precisely why I offered not to use the term for those (like you) who object to it. It sounds like you’re OK with my compromise, whereas Hermes still finds it objectionable.

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Fortuna November 5, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Todd White;

It’s not so much that I object to it, or find it inappropriate.

I find it inappropriate as a descriptor, especially in contexts where it is being used to imply that evolution is equivalent to a religious doctrine. Which is, like, 95% of its use on the internet.*It fails to describe the position we hold, and is inappropriate in that sense; it’s not that it hurts our poor little feelings.

*That stat is totally not made up.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Fortuna: “I find it inappropriate as a descriptor, especially in contexts where it is being used to imply that evolution is equivalent to a religious doctrine.”

TW: I don’t think evolution is the equivalent of a religious doctrine.

Fortuna: “It fails to describe the position we hold, and is inappropriate in that sense.”

TW: See, again, that’s something I have to disagree with. It goes back to my “A is A” argument above. To say that “Darwinism fails to describe the position we hold” strikes me as along the same lines as 2+2=5.

Sorry to be a stickler, but on some level, this has actually become a very interesting and revealing debate. Our inability to find a consensus on defining the most basic terms shows what a major epistemological gulf exists between your side and my side.

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Fortuna November 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm

“A is A.”

“Darwinists support Darwinism.”

The only problem, as I see it, is that most of the time on the blog’o'nets, Darwinism is being used to mean “a cult based on The Origin of Species“, and “Darwinist” is being used to tie people who acknowledge evolutionary biology to said cult. It’s a kind of equivocation. A does not equal A in that context.

If you are using the term “Darwinist” in the British English sense, the sense that Luke, myself and you (I gather) feel is accurate, then power to you. Just be aware that you are apt to be misinterpreted around these parts of the internets; most of the time, it’s used to mean “someone who believes in evolution on Darwin’s personal authority”.

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Jeff H November 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm

If I could add to this discussion…I think that typically “-isms” are used for ideologies and philosophical viewpoints. Liberalism, for example, is a political ideology. Creationism is a religious one. Evolution, on the other hand, is a theory based on evidence, and thus it doesn’t really fit into the mold of “-isms”. Perhaps it’s just my brain that isn’t functioning properly right now, but I can’t think of many other scientific theories that are referred to as an “-ism”.

In this sense, then, we can certainly say that Social Darwinism is an “-ism”. It’s definitely an ideology. But most proponents of evolution find Social Darwinism abhorrent. In the same way, naturalism is certainly a philosophical viewpoint, and while methodological naturalism does become a presupposition in the scientific method, that does not really mean that all theories based on the method then also deserve “-isms” as well. It’s perfectly fine to call a biologist a methodological naturalist, but calling him a Darwinist then bleeds into the realm of ideology, which is at the very least something that biologists are quick to distance themselves from. Perhaps it is, indeed, an ideology (though I think the arguments for this are pathetically weak), but I’m sure you should be able to understand why a person who believes their viewpoints to be based on evidence would want to prevent the idea that they are simply following an ideology.

For this reason, I’d say that Darwinism is a pejorative term. I think it’s also at least typically common courtesy to refer to your debate opponents by the term that they prefer. Even though “ignoramus” might be a perfectly valid term for one’s opponent, it’s not generally received well.

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Todd White November 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Fort: ”The only problem, as I see it, is that most of the time on the blog’o’nets, Darwinism is being used to mean “a cult based on The Origin of Species.”

TW: I don’t think you are part of a cult.

Fort: “If you are using the term ‘Darwinist’ in the British English sense, the sense that Luke, myself and you (I gather) feel is accurate, then power to you.

TW: Yes, that is what I was doing.

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lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I read the terms ‘Darwinist’ and ‘Darwinian’ in scientific and philosophical literature all the time, and it’s obviously not being used pejoratively there…

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Hermes November 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Luke, not when I see it. It’s almost always meant as Jeff H, Fortuna, and others have pointed out. The term is loaded when used by creationists or ID supporters, and is meant as a method of framing the conversation using their loaded assumptions. I recommend not using the term or accepting it yourself for those reasons. Consider it to be euphemistic language for the ID/creationists and not intended to be accurate.

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Anthony November 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm

On the issue of the term “darwinist” I agree with Jeff H and I would add that it is typically used as a term of derision by antievolutionists. It is also because the modern theory of evolution has gone so far beyond Darwin. For myself, evolutionist is fine.

When I was a Christian, I was both YEC and ID. My own experience during those years is that most IDers are typically old earth and young earth creationists. I have seen very few within the movement that hold to common descent, although Behe claims to hold to it.

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ildi November 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Fortuna: This is Todd’s definition of Darwinism (from the Nov 2nd thread):

I would say that Darwinism encompasses four main ideas: (1) life can be produced “by chance” in a soup of chemicals, 2) life can come from non-living matter, 3) random genetic mutations and environmental pressures can explain the creation of new species, and 4) there is a logical evolutionary continuum (known as “common descent”) between all species – most controversially, between apes and humans.

Makes the whole argument of who’s a Darwinist here a bit moot, doesn’t it?

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drj November 5, 2009 at 7:12 pm

In the major religious traditions, the concept of idolatry is huge. Few things are more dangerous than being wooed by a false god or belief system.

I think that concept ends up having a very deep seated psychological effect on the believer – an effect that can be (and is regularly) leveraged. The rhetorical strategy behind the use of “Darwinist” (with a capitol D), is to play on this whole psychological condition that the fear of idolatry puts in the believers mind.

Give them the impression that its a false god or belief sent by the evil spirits, or the devil or whatever and you don’t even have to level the accusation explicitly. In fact, it almost makes it less effective if it is said explicitly – but just oh so subtly pain the picture and the believer will make the connection all on their own. A mortal enemy is born. This is exactly what the term “Darwinist” is meant for.

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drj November 5, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Anyways back to the topic… while it can at times be tempting to think that the conflation of ID and creationism is a genetic fallacy, I don’t think it is the case. To concede that it is, is exactly what they are hoping for. It’s their strategy to distance themselves from the damning Wedge Document. It’s what they have to do, given the movements history. They must hope that we all don’t notice that the movement is run by all the exact same people.

If the cdesignists had actually made it a point to conduct research, or in any way shape or form support their claims with anything other than school board lobbying and pop-science books filled with nothing but speculation and pontification, one might have a point. One might say there is a legitimate, serious belief that should be evaluated outside the context of its dubious origins.

But its very clear that the pretend scientific jargon of the ID movement is little more than window dressing. Its a costume designed with just enough effort to muddy the waters for the layman (the primary targets of the sales pitch), but no more.

And woe to those laymen who are perhaps a little overconfident in their capacity to dispassionately evaluate complicated scientific evidence.

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Joshua Blanchard November 5, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I agree with the post.

This issue seems to me like a good case of people talking past each other. Intelligent Design as a movement can be traced historically to Creationism, and its proponents are overwhelmingly correlated with religious agendas (with colorful exceptions like David Berlinski). But Intelligent Design as a concept is quite clearly distinct from Creationism.

Critics who talk about “Creationism in disguise” should be clear about exactly what they are alleging. And ID proponents who cry foul should be clear about the purely conceptual nature of the difference; they should admit the criticism with respect to themselves as persons.

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faithlessgod November 6, 2009 at 4:11 am

I would say that Darwinism encompasses four main ideas: (1) life can be produced “by chance” in a soup of chemicals, 2) life can come from non-living matter, 3) random genetic mutations and environmental pressures can explain the creation of new species, and 4) there is a logical evolutionary continuum (known as “common descent”) between all species – most controversially, between apes and humans.

This is one massive straw man. Darwin’s theories were to do with 1 or 2, he knew nothing about 3 “random genetic mutations” and 4 was not a logic thesis but empirical and evidence based theories of descent with modification and common descent.

Todd is clearly a crank I don’t no why anyone is bothering playing up to his doggerel.

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Hermes November 6, 2009 at 5:42 am

Joshua, I agree though without support for ID beyond assertions of ‘it just too complex!’ they have no argument let alone anything scientific. And that’s the issue. Science. It’s not science. It’s just an idea with nothing strong backing it except for some fervently religious people who assume the conclusion before doing the investigation. That’s not the fault of the critics of ID. That’s the fault of the people who promote it.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 6:08 am

Todd White: TW: Because it shows that even back in the late 1800s, the “Darwhatevers” had a hard time accepting new ideas that didn’t fit their paradigm. Obviously, it’s even worse today.

As already mentioned, evolution and genetics were reconciled in the 20th century. It appears you are not paying attention.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 6:14 am

Todd White: Actually that’s not fair. Justin suggested “an acceptor of mainstream science.” As he pointed out, though, it’s a “tad cumbersome.”

So is “person who doesn’t believe in wacky 9/11 trufer conspiracy theories” and “person who does not accept the prevailing scientific position that the earth is not flat.” Sane and mainstream is by its nature more difficult to describe than belief in such discredited carp as Creationism.

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Hermes November 6, 2009 at 6:25 am

faithlessgod & drj; good posts.

I’m not surprised by the lack of give and take from the ID crowd even though they have a weak position at best. They are attempting to do a Hail Mary pass, so bluster and assertion is all they’ve got in their favor. What they forget is that reality is relentless, yet what they propose has no support in reality. The best they can do is say ‘I do not believe it!’.

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Tony Hoffman November 6, 2009 at 6:26 am

Joshua,

But Intelligent Design as a concept is quite clearly distinct from Creationism.

Which is why the two terms are used — to specify which group one is addressing. If I use the term Tory Colonials, it does not mean that I think all Tories are Colonials. Hence, ID creationism (a subset of ID), and hence Tory Colonials. The term is, I think, to be preferred by those who honestly espouse ID a a philosophy, as it distinguishes them from those who are attracted to the idea through religious fundamentalism.

I think that ID creationism (small c) is redundant, as I think that ID entails some kind of creation.

That being said I think quibbling over what each side gets to call the other is a foolish exercise. If theists want to call me a Darwinist I’m perfectly happy to let them do so, as I think it displays more of their biases, ignorance, and projection about how they accept their own beliefs than it does mine. (For example, does anyone think that when an Ayatollah refers to the U.S. as “The Great Satan” that the U.S. is more or less diminished than the one who reveals his thinking by using such words.?)

So call me a Darwinist all you want. The term as it’s normally, pejoratively used (dogmatically adherent and idolatrous, etc.) does not apply to me, and even though it might make you feel better I am confident it does not make you look so good.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 6:26 am

lukeprog: I read the terms ‘Darwinist’ and ‘Darwinian’ in scientific and philosophical literature all the time, and it’s obviously not being used pejoratively there…

When used by someone competent in evolutionary biology, I would expect the term “Darwinian” to mean evolution involving selection, and “non-Darwinian” to mean neutral drift, which does not involve selection. See for example:
Simple evolutionary pathways to complex proteins
by Michael Lynch, Protein Science 2005, 14:2217-2225, DOI 10.1110/ps.041171805

in which Lynch notes that the Behe & Snoke paper of the previous year [Protein Science (2004), 13:2651-2664, DOI 10.1110/ps.04802904] challenged the likelihood of “Darwinian processes” to account for observed population genetics, when the computer model used in that paper was actually non-Darwinian (i.e. Behe & Snoke literally did not know what they were writing about).

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Hermes November 6, 2009 at 6:41 am

Reginald, does that mean that Behe is actually doing research — getting his hands dirty — or is he still philosophizing within his own head?

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 6:44 am

Faithless: I’m talking about the Darwinian paradigm of 2009, not what Darwin wrote in 1859.

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faithlessgod November 6, 2009 at 7:00 am

Woops I meant to say “Darwin’s theories were nothing do with 1 or 2″

Something wrong with the comment systems, ignore the previous typos!!

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faithlessgod November 6, 2009 at 7:14 am

Faithless: I’m talking about the Darwinian paradigm of 2009, not what Darwin wrote in 1859.

Then your label is entirely misleading. You are referring to evolutionary biology. Your list is still highly inaccurate.

(1) life can be produced “by chance” in a soup of chemicals,

First this is not studied in evolutionary biology, second none of the proposed abiogentic mechanisms make the claim that life can be produced by “chance”.

2) life can come from non-living matter,

This is confused. All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of? Life can come from living-matter? What on earth does that mean? Again this is nothing to do with evolutionary biology,

3) random genetic mutations and environmental pressures can explain the creation of new species,

Again this is not evolutionary biology, which is based on non-random natural selection, molecular biology, gradualism, speciation and so on to explain new species.

4) there is a logical evolutionary continuum (known as “common descent”) between all species – most controversially, between apes and humans.

I already answered your error here in my previous response to this.

So you are still addressing a massive straw man. If you are genuinely and honestly seeking the truth of the matter here you would stop perpetuating misleading labels and arguing against straw men. It is up to you.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 7:22 am

Faithless: It’s not clear to me why I should have to explain and justify myself to you when you’re saying nonsensical things like “your label [Darwinism] is entirely misleading.” It’s not misleading for all of the reasons I’ve explained in this thread. If someone else in this thread who has already established credibility with me wants me to elaborate on those 4 points, I’ll do it. Until then, I’m going to be selective in terms of my time and energy.

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lukeprog November 6, 2009 at 7:44 am

Hermes: the ID crowd… are attempting to do a Hail Mary pass

Yes, that’s it exactly!

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Tony Hoffman November 6, 2009 at 7:48 am

Todd: It’s not clear to me why I should have to explain and justify myself to you when you’re saying nonsensical things like “your label [Darwinism] is entirely misleading.” It’s not misleading for all of the reasons I’ve explained in this thread.

I agree that you have made it abundantly clear as to why you choose to use the term “Darwinism,” but I do wonder if you have mislead yourself in this regard. I suggest that you continue to use the term as long as you are comfortable with faithlessgod’s summation of what that entails in discussions like these. It’s entirely your choice, of course.

Todd: If someone else in this thread who has already established credibility with me wants me to elaborate on those 4 points, I’ll do it.

Todd, you seem to have entered the fray, and remain here, with a sort of inoculation to argument based on, ironically, the genetic fallacy; if you determine that someone is saying that “ID and creationism are the same thing” they are disqualified from debate, and now, if someone hasn’t “already established credibility” with you their criticism would not be valid.

An argument is an argument regardless of who puts it forth. That should be about as basic as it gets.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

Tony: I didn’t say their “criticism wouldn’t be valid;” I said I choose not to waste time and energy on them.

I’m not here to argue with blockheads; I’m here to have a rational, good-faith dialogue. If somebody shows they can’t engage in that type of dialogue, I don’t feel bad about ignoring them.

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Tony Hoffman November 6, 2009 at 8:31 am

Todd: I didn’t say their “criticism wouldn’t be valid;” I said I choose not to waste time and energy on them.

And you would choose not waste time and energy on them because…? If their criticism is valid, and you are interested in ” a rational, good-faith dialogue,” why would you choose not to engage their argument?

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 8:43 am

Tony: I see what you’re getting at, but at the end of the day, I really don’t think it’s unfair me to say that – because there is only so much time and energy that exists – I should ration those resources and give them to people who have demonstrated the logic and character necessary for healthy, enjoyable debate.

Having said that, if you’d like me to address Faithless’ points, I will do it.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 8:44 am

Todd White: I’m not here to argue with blockheads; I’m here to have a rational, good-faith dialogue.

When were you planning to start?

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 8:48 am

Reginald: That made me laugh. Thanks.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 8:49 am

Hermes: Reginald, does that mean that Behe is actually doing research — getting his hands dirty — or is he still philosophizing within his own head?

Do you consider writing and running a computer model to be “research”? Behe and other ID proponents have criticized precisely that approach – when it is engaged in by others.

Anyone who takes computer modeling serious should acknowledge that you can model anything – literally anything. Computer science spawned the term GIGO. The problems with Behe’s model, as adequately pointed out by Michael Lynch is that a) Behe’s model does not do a good job of modeling known phenomena, i.e. it is a poor model of the real world and b) Behe’s interpretation of his own model is also poor. BTW, even though the distinction between Darwinian and non-Darwinian processes was pointedly made to Behe & Snoke in 2005, Behe persists in his statements that his model said something about Darwinian processes.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 8:53 am

Todd White: Faithless: I’m talking about the Darwinian paradigm of 2009, not what Darwin wrote in 1859.

You seem to be inconsistent in this, since you have stated that it is “ironic” for someone born in the mid-20th century to speak contrary to positions which were abandoned before he was born.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 8:55 am

Reg: “You have stated that it is ‘ironic’ for someone born in the mid-20th century to speak contrary to positions which were abandoned before he was born.”

TW: I did not state that. Sorry.

Tony, let’s put this in the evidence pile for reasons I’m selective in terms of who I communicate with.

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faithlessgod November 6, 2009 at 8:57 am

Toad White

Faithless: It’s not clear to me why I should have to explain and justify myself to you when you’re saying nonsensical things like “your label [Darwinism] is entirely misleading.”

Argument from ignorance, an avoidance. I made it quite clear what was problematic with your label, and the mere fact that you had to respond as you did confirms that.

It’s not misleading for all of the reasons I’ve explained in this thread.

This is a mere assertion – where is your argument and evidence to back this up. It is why you were forced to produce a definition of Darwinism in the first place that I was responding to and still you have avoided answering any of my challenges. Because you cannot?

If someone else in this thread who has already established credibility with me wants me to elaborate on those 4 points, I’ll do it.

Until you respond to my challenges on your mistaken and inaccurate assertions, you have yet to establish any credibility.

Until then, I’m going to be selective in terms of my time and energy

In other words you cannot answer my challenges and so stoop to avoidance and ad hominems. This is the tactic tactic of someone is defeated but won’t admit it. We can all read between the lines, I accept your admission of defeat.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

…And now Faithless has resorted to name-calling. I suppose that was inevitable. Needless to say, I won’t be responding to his newest post either.

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Tony Hoffman November 6, 2009 at 9:09 am

Todd,

Having said that, if you’d like me to address Faithless’ points, I will do it.

Yes, I would like that.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 9:17 am

Todd White: Reginald: It’s ironic that you bring up Mendel because the Darwinists opposed Mendel’s work for decades.

Reg: “You have stated that it is ‘ironic’ for someone born in the mid-20th century to speak contrary to positions which were abandoned before he was born.”

TW: I did not state that. Sorry.

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Justfinethanks November 6, 2009 at 9:28 am

Reginald Selkirk:
BTW, even though the distinction between Darwinian and non-Darwinian processes was pointedly made to Behe & Snoke in 2005, Behe persists in his statements that his model said something about Darwinian processes.  

(Quote)

This is a huge part of what makes ID unscientific to me. Sagan pointed out in a famous quote that scientists abandon ideas after discovering discomfirming evidence all the time. A good example came in that “Becoming Human” series when scientists abandoned the idea that “Lucy” represented the last common ancestor between chimps and humans after the “molecular clock” showed that our LCA had to have appeared millions of years before Lucy. It was as simple as that: evidence presented, idea abandoned. The end.

ID creationists never do that. No matter how much evidence is thrown Behe and Dembski, they refuse to change their ideas. When have they ever said, “You know what, that idea I had was completely wrong. Never mind.”

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Justfinethanks November 6, 2009 at 9:33 am

Todd White: …And now Faithless has resorted to name-calling.I suppose that was inevitable.Needless to say, I won’t be responding to his newest post either.  

(Quote)

Wow I’ve never seen such demanding standards for an internet debate. Let me try: “I will never debate ID creationists. If they can’t understand proper science, they aren’t even worth talking to.”

I’m so freaking noble.

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Lee A. P. November 6, 2009 at 10:06 am

Todd, why don’t you come clean with your angle. What are you? Jewish? Diest? Muslim. Liberal Christian? You have a religious agenda clearly and clearly you are keen to keep it secret so as to prove that youare “just about the science” though you have done nothing thus far but to spout typical ID platitudes.

A lot of creationists use the term “Darwinism” to literally mean, “one who worships Darwin”. But I agree the whole semantic argument is not important.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 10:48 am

Reg: I already addressed this issue. From yesterday…

Fortuna: “what is it, exactly, that’s ironic about Reginald’s bringing up Mendel?”

TW: Because it shows that even back in the late 1800s, the “Darwhatevers” had a hard time accepting new ideas that didn’t fit their paradigm. Obviously, it’s even worse today.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 10:50 am

Lee: Todd, why don’t you come clean with your angle. What are you? Jewish? Diest? Muslim. Liberal Christian?

TW: I believe in God but I’m not a member of any organized religion. And what, pray tell, is your angle? I presume atheism?

Lee: “You have a religious agenda clearly and clearly you are keen to keep it secret.”

TW: Nope. No secret. See what I just wrote above.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

Tony: You owe me. See below…

Point One

FL: “First this is not studied in evolutionary biology.”

TW: Wrong.

FL: “none of the proposed proposed abiogentic mechanisms make the claim that life can be produced by ‘chance’”.

TW: Then what was it? Design?

Point 2

FL: “All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of?”

TW: Matter plus consciousness.

Part 3

FL: “this is not evolutionary biology.”

TW: The summary I gave is accurate. Sorry.

Point 4

FL: “I already answered your error here in my previous response to this.”

TW: I’m not aware of any errors I’ve made.

Done. I just wish I had the last 10 mins of my life back.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

Todd White: Reg: I already addressed this issue. From yesterday…

TW: Because it shows that even back in the late 1800s, the “Darwhatevers” had a hard time accepting new ideas that didn’t fit their paradigm. Obviously, it’s even worse today.

Paradigm, shmaridigm. I have trouble accepting ideas that run counter to all available evidence.

And since your statement about irony was prompted by my mention of Mendel, and I am a Mendelist; indeed I have never been an a-Mendelist, your statement still makes no sense. But then I have come to expect that sort of thing from Paleyists like yourself.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 11:16 am

Reg: “I have trouble accepting ideas that run counter to all available evidence.”

TW: So do I.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

Todd White: FL: “none of the proposed proposed abiogentic mechanisms make the claim that life can be produced by ‘chance’”.

TW: Then what was it? Design?

Try a mixture of chance and selection. Your attempt to insert your alternative as a null hypothesis is noted, and stupid.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 11:31 am

Guys, I’m out.

I’ve been commenting on this website for a few days and all I get is name-calling, projection, semantic games, and misinformation. In fairness, a few people (like Luke and Josh) seem knowledgebale (and mostly) open-minded. But overall, this just ain’t worth my time.

If you need to reach me, you can do so on my website.

Later.

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drj November 6, 2009 at 11:45 am

Todd White: Guys, I’m out.I’ve been commenting on this website for a few days and all I get is name-calling, projection, semantic games, and misinformation.In fairness, a few people (like Luke and Josh) seem knowledgebale (and mostly) open-minded.But overall, this just ain’t worth my time.If you need to reach me, you can do so on my website.Later.  

(Quote)

Nope

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Hermes November 6, 2009 at 11:50 am

Reginald Selkirk:
Do you consider writing and running a computer model to be “research”? Behe and other ID proponents have criticized precisely that approach – when it is engaged in by others.

Reginald, thanks for the clarification.

To address your question; by itself, absolutely not. It could be a useful tool, but if not applied to the real world, it’s as useful as a shrink wrapped hammer.

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faithlessgod November 6, 2009 at 11:59 am

Todd White: Guys, I’m out.I’ve been commenting on this website for a few days and all I get is name-calling, projection, semantic games, and misinformation.In fairness, a few people (like Luke and Josh) seem knowledgebale (and mostly) open-minded.But overall, this just ain’t worth my time.If you need to reach me, you can do so on my website.Later.

drj: Nope

:-) :-) :-)

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Hermes November 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Faithlessgod, excellent response to TW. I think you drank his milkshake.

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TK November 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Honestly, all the equating of ID with creationism seems extremely unfair. I agree with Todd; it does reveal perhaps a bit of ignorance on the part of some “evolutionists”.

You see, creationism is (or at least can be) a scientific theory. The creationists have done a little bit of work to provide a scientific framework for their theory. The ID theorists have done absolutely none.

YEC makes testable, falsifiable predictions. For example, YEC requires that signs of the Earth’s age all point to it being less than 6,000 years old. It also requires that geology, population genetics, human demographic trends, ecology, etc. point to a global flood 4,400 years ago which cataclysmically reshaped the earth bottlenecked most variation in most species.

These are two sets of testable predictions YEC makes. YEC is a scientific theory. (These predictions just happen to be completely and utterly wrong.) Of course, as soon as the YEC theorist invokes “God made it look that way” to fill the failures in his theory, it ceases to be scientific.

ID makes absolutely zero predictions, jibber-jabbering from the Discovery Institute aside. The theory of evolution also makes plenty of predictions, none of which have been falsified.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 2:14 pm

For those interested in the history of Intelligent Design Creationism, as contradicted by Todd White:
The evolution of the atmosphere as a proof of design and purpose in the creation, and of the existence of a personal God;: A simple and rigorously scientific reply to modern materialistic atheism
by John Phin
The Industrial publication company (1908)

Oddly, depending on their needs, Paleyist ID proponents may insist either that ID is new science uncovered in the last 20 years, or that it is a philosophical argument dating back at least 2400 years. Religious crackpots never were big on consistency.

And then there are quotes from ID proponents themselves acknowledging the emptiness of ID, such as this 2005 quote from George Gilder, co-founder of the Discovery Institute:

Boston Globe, 2005
‘I’m not pushing to have [ID] taught as an ‘alternative’ to Darwin, and neither are they,” he says in response to one question about Discovery’s agenda. ”What’s being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there’s a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content.”

No content? So then it’s not an actual belief position, but merely an attack on evolution. The most obvious explanation for that is the jettisoning of positive claims following the Edwards v. Aguillard decision in order to circumvent existing legal precedent on the teaching of Creation Science.

Another quote, from YEC Paul Nelson, Fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in 2004:

Touchstone Magazine, via The Panda’s Thumb
Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.

Once again, if ID is not a theory (which is frequently contradicted by ID proponents), then what is it? Cdesign proponentsists should find out before they advocate ID in the public space.

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lukeprog November 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Todd, I don’t blame you. This thread has been insane.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm

TK: Honestly, all the equating of ID with creationism seems extremely unfair. I agree with Todd; it does reveal perhaps a bit of ignorance on the part of some “evolutionists”.

Honestly, I am not ignorant on this topic, and I feel that sufficient evidence has been presented by lukeprog and others in this thread to justify the link between ID and Creationism. To review quickly and incompletely: “smoking gun” quality evidence in the mansucripts of Of Pandas and People that the switch from “Creationism” to “Intelligent Design” was a global cut-and-paste brought on by the Edwards v. Aguillard decision, that ID lacks the content one would expect from an actual belief position, that many leading ID proponents are Creationists, including YECs like Paul Nelson and Dean Kenyon, that many ID events have been held in religious buildings and sponsored by religious organizations, that Discovery Institute funding comes from religious sources who openly stated they thought they were funding a religious cause, that numerous examples could be supplied of persons transparent in their equation of ID as the politically correct substitute for ID.

You can’t just hand-wave away all that with a blithe accusation of ignorance.

The rest of your post refers specifically to YEC as though it is the entirety of Creationism. IF that were so, the Y and E would be redundant.

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Reginald Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm

lukeprog: Todd, I don’t blame you. This thread has been insane.

I choose to differ. I do blame Todd for the insanity in this thread.

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Tony Hoffman November 6, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Todd: Tony: You owe me. See below…
Todd: Point One
FL: “First this [that life can be produced “by chance” in a soup of chemicals] is not studied in evolutionary biology.”
TW: Wrong.

Todd, when challenged, you have merely repeated your earlier assertion. I don’t believe I owe you for this, as repeating yourself is just wasting my time.

FL: “none of the proposed proposed abiogentic mechanisms make the claim that life can be produced by ‘chance’”.
TW: Then what was it? Design?

Nature is filled with patterns that occur naturally. Sand accumulates where the ocean meets land, for instance. To be unaware of these kinds of phenomena makes you appear ignorant. Displaying your ignorance does not make me feel as if I owe you.

Point 2
FL: “All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of?”
TW: Matter plus consciousness.

Really, plants and other organisms without a nervous system are conscious? Or are they not living organisms, all evidence to the contrary. Do you even have a definition for consciousness, and way of determining that organisms have it, or are you one of those people who “just knows” which organisms possess (an undefined) consciousness? If so, how do you know that plants, and bacteria, and worms, and mollusks, and insects, etc. are conscious, and not viruses (or are they)?
All those biologists, all those centuries, coming to a rough agreement that an organism is “An individual living thing that can react to stimuli, reproduce, grow, and maintain homeostasis. It can be a virus, bacterium, protist, fungus, plant or an animal.” And they forgot to mention consciousness! Thank goodness you were able to swoop down and set faithlessgod, and me, and the biological community straight on this one in just 3 words.

Part 3
FL: “this is not evolutionary biology.”
TW: The summary I gave is accurate. Sorry.

Ah, the false assertion. How to repay you I cannot imagine.

Point 4
FL: “I already answered your error here in my previous response to this.”
TW: I’m not aware of any errors I’ve made. Done. I just wish I had the last 10 mins of my life back.

Oh, yeah, it was your time that was being wasted with that facile exercise.

Todd, you have revealed yourself to be a troll. Arrogant, uninterested in debate, refusing to engage in valid criticism, dismissive, abusive, misrepresenting, and later pleading for more attention.

It’s too bad. I’m always looking for an honest theist whose website I can visit to have my views challenged. I haven’t been to your website yet, and I think that you’ve given me all the evidence I need to keep that fact intact. Thanks for the favor. If I can return in kind some time, I’ll do what I can.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Tony: I’m sorry you’re disappointed, and I can assure you the feeling is mutual. But why should I be spending 90% of my time clarifying dumb misinterpretations of my previous comments?

For example, let’s take a look at your latest post.

FL: “All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of?”
TW: Matter plus consciousness.

Tony: Really, plants and other organisms without a nervous system are conscious?

No, Tony I did not say that. The original question was “what else CAN they be composed us?” The key word is “CAN.” “CAN” does not imply “ALL.”

For many people, I would reluctantly be willing to spend 10-30 mins clarifying these points if I got the impression they were sincere and open-minded, but now you’re calling me a “troll” “pleading for attention.”

Honestly, Tony, if you were in my shoes, would you put up with such gratuitous name-calling and misrepresentation?

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lukeprog November 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Reginald Selkirk: I choose to differ. I do blame Todd for the insanity in this thread.

I did not say any particular person caused the insanity. I just said it was insane… :)

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Hermes November 6, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Reginald, thanks for the details. Quite informative.

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Tony Hoffman November 6, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Todd,

You chose to dispute faithlessgod’s statement that “All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of?” with the reply “Matter plus consciousness.”

If you had given previous evidence of wanting to carry on a discussion, I would be more wiling to accept that that is what you intended to convey. But the antecedent to “they” is “All living organisms.” I am a native speaker of English, so your response should be correctly read as “All living organisms can be composed of matter plus consciousness.” That is the only reading that you left us with, and it seems clear to me that I could, as I did, read your meaning to be that a plant (living matter) can be composed of matter plus consciousness.

This is not a “dumb” misrepresentation on my part. This is a reading of what is written. If your intention was to be clear, I’d suggest that you spend a little more time clarifying what it is you meant to convey, as a 3 word (non) sentence can only be read for the little information it contains, not that which you wish it did.

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Tony Hoffman November 6, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Btw, yes, insane. We’re all freaks.

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Tony,

I’ll say 1 nice thing and 1 critical thing.

First, the nice thing.

Given your explanation, I’ll retract my term “dumb misrepresentation” and substitute it with “hasty misinterpretation.” Why “hasty?” Because it seems you were so eager to criticize me (“the troll”) that you assumed that “CAN” must mean “ALL.”

Now, the criticism.

Even after I already *explained* that point, you write…

“I am a native speaker of English, so your response should be correctly read as ‘All living organisms can be composed of matter plus consciousness.’”

No. That is not the correct interpretation.

The original transcript (which you don’t site) is…

FL: “All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of?”
TW: Matter plus consciousness.

“CAN” is not “ALL.”

Consider…

FL: “All cars have a radio, what else can they have?”

TW: “A CD player.”

I would bet that even a high-school drop-out would understand that I don’t mean that ALL cars have a CD player; it means they CAN have a CD player.

Why – when the topic is “mainstream science” – does everyone’s brains turns to mush? ;)

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Todd White November 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm

To elaborate on the car/consciousness analogy…

When FL says, “All living organisms are composed of matter,” he is implying that nothing else is possible. In the form of the car, only radios are possible. Thus his question, “What else CAN they have?”

And I answer, “CD players.” In other words, radios aren’t the ONLY form of electronic equipment a car can have. They also CAN have “CD players.” That doesn’t mean they ALL have CD players; it means I reject the idea that radios are the only type of electronic equipment a car CAN have.

God, my head hurts.

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Reginal Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Todd White: Guys, I’m out.

Todd White lies again.

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lukeprog November 6, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Reginal Selkirk: Todd White lies again.

Or maybe he changed his mind?

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Reginal Selkirk November 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Creationism, Minus a Young Earth, Emerges in the Islamic World

Various forms of Creationism, including Hindu Creationism, catalogued at Wikipedia

If I were to accept TK’s equivalence of Creationism = YEC, or the slightly less restrictive equivalence of “Creationism is based on the Bible” put forward by others in this thread, I would have to consider these other documented forms of non-Judeo-Christian Creationism not to be Creationism. That would be silly, so I don’t.

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Tony Hoffman November 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Todd White,

Your comments are becoming more bizarre.

First I wrote:

Me: You chose to dispute faithlessgod’s statement that “All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of?” with the reply “Matter plus consciousness.

To this you replied:

Todd White: The original transcript (which you don’t site) is…

FL: “All living organisms are composed of matter, what else can they be composed of?”
Todd White: Matter plus consciousness.

Which I didn’t cite? What? That’s exactly what I cited in my previous comment, word for word. “Which you don’t site…” is simply false.

Then you go on to say:

Todd White: “I am a native speaker of English, so your response should be correctly read as ‘All living organisms can be composed of matter plus consciousness.’”

You are correct that that is how I understood your statement should be read. I had pointed out that is a bizarre thing to say. It would appear, from that sentence, that you believe plants can be conscious.

Todd White: “CAN” is not “ALL.”

I agree. I never said otherwise. Why do you think I believe that can and all are synonomous?

FL: “All cars have a radio, what else can they have?”

TW: “A CD player.”

I would bet that even a high-school drop-out would understand that I don’t mean that ALL cars have a CD player; it means they CAN have a CD player.

Your new sentence above is not analogous to the quote you claim I misinterpreted. “Composed of” and “have” are not synonyms. Do you think they are synonyms, or that I wouldn’t notice the word swap?

Why – when the topic is “mainstream science” – does everyone’s brains turns to mush? ;)

So you close a comment in which you claim that I did not cite the relevant passage (false), imply that I indicated or believe that that “can” and “all” are synonyms (false), provide a false analogy in which you swap the words “composed of” for “have,” and at the end you proclaim yourself to be the only one whose brain hasn’t turned to mush.

If you care to tone down the disparagement and self-congratulation, and address those points where criticism is focused on your arguments’ premises, then I’d be happy to discuss whatever points you bring up. But if you keep this up I’ll start to ignore your comments and focus discussion somewhere it can be productive.

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Reginald Selkirk November 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Even more evidence that Intelligent Design is a front for Creationism:

Kansas Evolution Hearings
In 2005, the Kansas Board of Education, which at the time was controlled by Creationists, held a series of hearings on their proposed revision of standards for the state K-12 science curriculum. They invited a number of “expert witnesses” on Intelligent Design to testify. The hearings were boycotted by “mainstream” (i.e. real) scientists, but attorney Pedro Irigonegaray cross-examined the “expert witnesses” to put on the record their views on the age of the earth, common descent of all known life on Earth, and specifically common descent between humans and other apes. With a some exceptions, the answers fall into two categories: evasion; and Creationism, most often of the Young Earth sort. Complete transcripts available at the link.

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Reginald Selkirk November 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Even more evidence that Intelligent Design is a front for Creationism:

In testimony given at the Dover “Intelligent Design” trial of 2005, Scott Minnich acknowledged that his Intelligent Design arguments about the bacterial flagellum were identical to Creationist arguments about the bacterial flagellum published before the Intelligent Design re-branding took place, and before Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box.

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Reginald Selkirk November 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm

During the Dover Intelligent Design trial, the Intelligent Design Creationist school board members were defended by the Thomas More Law Center, whose mottos is The Sword and Shield for People of Faith.

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lukeprog November 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Reginald,

Yup, ID was born as Biblical Creationism in a fake moustache.

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Jake de Backer November 8, 2009 at 2:20 am

I always liked the rebranding of ID to: “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo”.

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Todd White November 9, 2009 at 8:28 am

Tony: “If you care to tone down the disparagement and self-congratulation, and address those points where criticism is focused on your arguments’ premises, then I’d be happy to discuss whatever points you bring up. But if you keep this up I’ll start to ignore your comments and focus discussion somewhere it can be productive.”

TW: I’m reluctantly willingly to recommence a dialogue with you, if you wish.

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