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December 21, 2005

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» Boy, they *really* don't get it from The Panda's Thumb
Ive got about 30 minutes to kill, so I might as well give some general thoughts on the IDists reactions to the cataclysmic Dover decision.... [Read More]

» Supernatural Causation and the Argument that ID is not a Science from Daily Phil
In his “Dovers Darwinist Judge Rules Against Competing Theory of Intelligent Design,” Jonathan Witt, a fellow at the Center for Science and Culture, the think tank that has become the intellectual center of the current Intelligent Design (h... [Read More]

» More Reactions to the Dover Decision on Intelligent Design (with special attention to the unfortunate intervention by Professor Alschuler) from Leiter Reports
This blog has a rather lengthy compendium of links pertaining to yesterday's court decision. The New York Times, meanwhile, has run a pleasingly direct editorial:Judge Jones's decision was a striking repudiation of intelligent design, given that Dover'... [Read More]

» The Court's Contempt from Cross-Currents
Prof. Albert Alschuler of the University of Chicago is blogging his reactions to the ID decision (as noted by Michael Hobson). Most of the Dover opinion says in effect to the proponents of intelligent design, “We know who you are. You’re Bible-thump... [Read More]

» "The Forbidden Preference" from Discriminations.us
Albert Alschuler, a highly regarded law professor at the University of Chicago, is no radicalrightchristian, but he is very critical of Judge Jones's opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which threw Intelligent Design out of the Dover, ... [Read More]

» "The Forbidden Preference" from Discriminations.us
Albert Alschuler, a highly regarded law professor at the University of Chicago, is no radicalrightchristian, but he is very critical of Judge Jones's opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which threw Intelligent Design out of the Dover, ... [Read More]

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Kali

"It is painfully obvious that evolution (whether it be macro or micro) is falsifiable in this respect. So, what evidence would, in principle, speak against macroevolution? Discoveries of fossils that are out of place--e.g., fossils of bunny rabbits that date to the Pre-Cambrian."

That is a historical observation, not a prediction of the Darwinian theory of evolution. If this is the standard for falsifiability, then the Law Fairy's nuclear reactor theory meets it. If the standard is that a theory is scientific only if it's *predictions* are falsifiable, then neither Darwinism (at least in the case of macroevolution) nor Law Fairy's nuclear reactor theory meet the standard.

Jay Byrd

"The only real distinction between my hypo and the facts in this case is that the evidence that some people named George are dirty animals going to hell is better than the evidence that mysterious alien beings created every life form that ever lived on earth for the past 4 billion years ...."

It's even worse than that -- the equivalent to the ID claim would be that the fact that Harry rolls around in the mud and doesn't bathe is inadequate to explain why he's dirty.

The Law Fairy

Debs:

"Let's say for the sake of argument that my religion says that people named George are going to hell because they are dirty animals. I have every right to believe that. And I have every right to tell people my belief."

Ah. Because THAT'S not a straw man. Brilliantly done.

tnadelhoffer --

pseudonymous, actually. But, hey, let's not niggle over unimportant little things, right?

I'm not sure who you think my "ilk" is. It's certainly not the Fundies -- which you would know if you'd paid attention to one of my earlier posts. For me personally, I'd be happy with a responsible presentation of science. One that doesn't make it into its own religion. Yes, science works. Yes, we have derived a lot of gains in this world from the scientific method and its application. But can science tell us why we are here? Can it tell us who we are as people? No. And you can't ignore that fact that our understanding of our own origins is somehow going to affect the way we view ourselves. I personally would be happy with a lively discussion about the various flaws in evolutionary theory and the fact that we don't know for sure what happened if we couldn't witness it, and this is only our best guess. But the fact is that in most schools, the students who bring up these questions are ridiculed by the students whose parents have bought into scientific arrogance. Their beliefs are belittled and their parents have a harder time raising them to believe what they think is right. You give me government funding for schools that teach other beliefs, and fine, go ahead and mandate evolution-only education. But the fact is that, the way things stand, such a discussion is not supported in the classroom environment. If we could change things, that would make ME happy. I can't speak for others -- though you seem to be able to -- but as for ME, that's what I would like.

And calling someone an idiot just because you think they're wrong is just plain immature.

maurile

Kali wrote, regarding fossil rabbits in the precambrian: "That is a historical observation, not a prediction of the Darwinian theory of evolution."

No, it is prediction about the future. The prediction is that, on future digs, we will not find any fossil rabbits in the precambrian strata.

A future dig may falsify that prediction.

maurile

Law Fairy, you should read Judge Jones's opinion. It appears you haven't. If you don't want to read the whole opinion, there is an excellent summary of the entire case here:

http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/05-12-20.html

Deborah Spaeth

Fairy

"It doesn't matter whether people in Kitzmiller testified that it was unscientific: until we make a law that says courts are the arbiters of science"

So, here we have a creationist apologist who claims to be a lawyer but who doesn't seem to have heard of Daubert or Kumho Tire.

Pay attention, Albert. These are the habitual dissemblers you're getting into bed with when you spit on Judge Jones.

Here's our Fairy friend in court defending the pharmaceutical company that put cyanide in its aspirin tablets: "You see, Your Honor, these mysterious alien beings turned the aspirin into cyanide for reasons that we aren't privileged to know. And I'm going to put Father Dominic on the stand, an expert on these sorts of occurances that I flew in from Lourdes, to testify to the likelihood of this fact. I'm sure you have no objection to this use of the court's time."

Amos

The Law Fairy: "Judge Jones ruled that the school board couldn't make a scientific determination about ID because it was religious."

No, there was no "because" in his reasoning. He found on both, that it was not science and that it was religious, independently. He decided that the board members couldn't really even explain what ID was; they only knew that it supported their religious preferences.

maurile

I wrote: "It is possible to formulate a version of ID that is purely scientific (i.e., a testable, falsifiable theory)"

Jay Byrd responded: "Actually, maurile, that isn't possible."

Sure it is. I'll propose a testable, falsifiable version of ID myself:

My scientific version of ID predicts that creatures were designed intelligently, and therefore we will find no instances of stupid design in nature.

For example, the fish that live in dark caves will not have vestigial, non-functional eyes. That would be stupid.

Also, humans will not have muscles attached to the coccyx that, in other primates, are used to flex the tail but (since the human tail bones are all fused together) would be non-functional in humans. That would be stupid as well.

I've got lots more.

That is a testable, falsifiable version of ID. It is also, of course, false. But false theories are still theories. We still refer to the aether theory, the flogiston theory, etc. They were testable and falsifiable, and therefore, scientific. So is my own version of ID.

Kaiser Soze

Jagshemash

God forbid that our poor little children might lose faith in evolution...a fate worse then death I be sayin. Who do they think they are to try to stop us from proving God doesn't exist? Don't they know that we have the right to stop people from hearing criticism of evolution, a right given to us by the almighty constitution.

Why those no good lying horn swagglin no goodniks, there just awaitin to sneak in to our poor precious children the thought that atheism isn't true, how horrible, how dastardly, how wrong.

So beware my people, the times they are a changin. From now on we'll have to be vigilant and fight for our rights to um...uh...tell kids that God is a fairy tale. We cannot allow a religious voice in our schools.

The poor precious children, who will save them from God, who will bring them to our savior, who will shine the light on the highest of the high the most revered pontificalistiness...Darwin (peace be upon him)..the most righteous magnifico and most blessed of rapturous orgasimification?

Oh when will that day come when I can once again rejoice in the knowledge of my immenent eternal death? When will I find that blessed joy?

All curses are to be bestowed on the cheaters and liars who want to stop the divine message of death.

Goodbye. Chenque!

http://groups.msn.com/EarthComesAlive/

Amos

Kali: "That is a historical observation, not a prediction of the Darwinian theory of evolution."

Is it not a real prediction when scientists predicted that there must be a chromosome fusion in human DNA, because other primates have more? We did find that fusion.

All known DNA can be thought of as a survived falsification for evolution and common descent.

Deborah Spaeth

Law Fairy

"But can science tell us why we are here? Can it tell us who we are as people? No."

Even more devastating, science can't tell us whether bunny rabbits are cuter than kittens.

Given these shortcomings, it boggles the mind why the Constitution requires the government to promote science but forbids the government from establish religion which, among other incontrovertible achievements, has made fetus-worship, vegetable-worship, and anti-gay bigotry acceptable again.

"the fact is that in most schools, the students who bring up these questions are ridiculed by the students whose parents have bought into scientific arrogance."

That's a funny way of putting "scientifically literate", Fairy. Sort of a bigoted dishonest way, actually.

Remember the Dover pastor who lamented, "We are being attacked by the educated intelligent segment of the culture"?

That was hilarious.

"calling someone an idiot just because you think they're wrong is just plain immature."

Whatever, Fairy. I don't "think" you're wrong. I've proven that you're wrong and anyone who can't recognize that fact by now is, well, an idiot.

Too bad for them. Federal Judges, generally speaking, don't have much time for idiots. Or liars.

tnadelhoffer

Dear Fairy,
First, I assumed that the reason people choose pseudonyms is to remain anonymous--but that is neither here nor there. Second, I did not call proponents of ID "IDiots" (not my phrase--but an appropriate one nonetheless) because I think they're wrong. I called them "IDiots" because their claim that ID is science is, in fact, idiotic in the strict sense of the word (i.e., completely devoid of wisdom or good sense). Hence, their suggestion that their legal efforts are not a thinly veiled attempt to sneak creationism past the Supreme Court is equally idiotic (i.e., laughable).

There are a number of people with whom I disagree and a number of beliefs and theories that I think are wrong. Indeed, my own mother believes in God--but I do not think she is an idiot. If, however, she thought that my children (her grandchildren) should be taught in a public school that "god did it" is a legitimate scientific explanation--then I would, lamentably, be forced to conclude that she, too, is idiotic after all. Luckily, she is a reasonable Christian who thinks the school board in Dover went off the deep end.

Typical Creationist

Maurile

"For example, the fish that live in dark caves will not have vestigial, non-functional eyes. That would be stupid."

Yes but that is a loss of infermation and so is diffirant from what evolutoinists say happened. The fish still has gills for lungs and can breath water so that is very inteligent in fact! You have to admit this.

Also your exampel don't explain why sharks haven't grown legs and taken over the earth.


Jay Byrd

"My points about "supernatural" and "scientific" were made in reference to this quote from maurile, way back in the first comment"

I'll grant you that -- but saying that what maurile wrote equates "religious" and "unscientific" commits a fallacy of affirmation of the consequent. There are many ways to be unscientific, and invoking the supernatural as an "explanation" is just one. That you find maurile's comment "interesting" is consistent with your lack of knowledge and understanding of science, and scientific epistemology. Science is all about causal explanation; its purpose is to allow us to make correct predictions. "supernatural" is by definition noncausal and nonexplanatory. It's a bit sad that there's any need to mention this; the point hammered home by the famous "a miracle happens here" New Yorker cartoon should be clear enough without it.

"And calling someone an idiot just because you think they're wrong is just plain immature."

Another strawman -- that's not why people say it, it's because of a demonstrated failure to reason. And making such a blanket claim about the developmental level of anyone who uses a certain word is itself somewhat immature. "Mommy, mommy, he said a bad word!"

Kali

"No, it is prediction about the future. The prediction is that, on future digs, we will not find any fossil rabbits in the precambrian strata. A future dig may falsify that prediction."

Shouldn't a scientific theory be falsifiable based on a positive (what will happen) rather than a negative prediction (what will not happen)? If we use the latter standard for falsifiability, basically any theory can claim to be scientific simply by listing improbable or impossible events consistent with their theory (e.g. Maurile's examples above).

The Law Fairy

Deborah:

Wow. Who made you hate creationists so much? Were you abused as a child? I'm very sorry for whatever they did to you to make you so angry and bitter.

By the way, I'm not a creationist. I'm agnostic about the origins of life. I just think that there's a decided bias in our culture toward what "science" can tell us. I'm not saying that this bias is unreasonable. I'm saying that when it clouds our judgment to the point that anything we can't prove scientifically is regarded with a suspicious eye, this is troubling. It has nothing to do with kittens or bunnies, unless you think that's why we're here.

Maybe you don't care if there's something deeper behind life. But for some of us these kinds of issues matter. And the Constitution gives me and others the right to live my life like it matters. When publicly funded schools try to teach my children a theory that affects what they think about whether or why or how it matters, they're arguably infringing on my religious freedom.

And the idiot comment was actually in reference to tnadelhoffer's calling people IDiots. But, hey, if you want to jump on the ad hominem wagon, knock yourself out. Hopefully the reasonable people here will see your vitriol for the pathetic bitterness that it is.

tnadelhoffer: you know what happens when we assume...

Saying something is idiotic is different from calling someone an idiot, though both have elements of immaturity to them. It's far more effective to show someone what is so "idiotic" about an idea and let them come to the conclusion themselves. And you fail to show what's this rational dividing line between believing in something and thinking that it should be taught. It seems to be that some things are okay for people to believe, but they shouldn't lead other people to believe them -- but isn't that tantamount to saying they're free to believe it a little bit in their private time, but it's not okay to believe it so much that they think it's a truth others should be exposed to?

maurile

Kali wrote: "Shouldn't a scientific theory be falsifiable based on a positive (what will happen) rather than a negative prediction (what will not happen)?"

No, but any negative can be rewritten as a positive. All the fossils we find in the precambrian strata will be non-rabbits.

"If we use the latter standard for falsifiability, basically any theory can claim to be scientific simply by listing improbable or impossible events consistent with their theory (e.g. Maurile's examples above)."

Not true. For example, the traditional version of ID is still unscientific since it doesn't make any falsifiable predictions. No possible observation or experimental result is inconsistent with it.

Jay Byrd

"Sure it is. I'll propose a testable, falsifiable version of ID myself:

My scientific version of ID predicts that creatures were designed intelligently, and therefore we will find no instances of stupid design in nature."

Ahem. You have offered no scientific theory. You have offered a meaningless claim -- because its terms are undefined -- that "creatures were designed intelligently", and offered a "prediction" that is merely a value judgment which essentially restates the claim -- at most it makes one prediction, but provides no decision mechanism for determining whether the prediction is accurate; "that's stupid" is not a scientific observation.

I suggest that you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory
before offering up such silliness.

Deborah Spaeth

Fairy

"Wow. Who made you hate creationists so much? Were you abused as a child? I'm very sorry for whatever they did to you to make you so angry and bitter."

I'm laughing my ass off, Mr. Pathetic Amateur Psychologist.


maurile

Jay Bird, obviously I was giving the shorthand version. A more elaborate theory could be devised that specifically defines "stupd" in an objective way.

The point is that it is possible to make falsifiable predictions based on the notion that we were intelligently designed.

The IDers don't do this (because any such falsifiable predictions would be immediately falsified). But it is possible.

In the same way, I can make a scientific version of Young Earth Creationism that predicts that, the next time we date the earth using isochron dating methods, we will get a result of just 6,000 years or so.

Obviously, this prediction would be false. But the fact that it's falsifiable means that it is one step ahead (scientifically speaking) of the more traditional, non-falsifiable versions of ID and creationism.

Jay Byrd

P.S. Another reason why your "theory" is absurd, which is critical to the issue over ID, is that it begs the question. Even if "There are no instances of stupid creatures" were true, that would not entail intelligent design. By your lights, "All humans were cleverly designed to have nipples" is not only a scientific theory, but a correct one. Which is clearly ludicrous -- the fact that we have nipples is not *explained* by the handwaving assertion of "intelligent design". As I noted, ID is silent on exactly what it must be vocal about: the nature of the designer -- what is needed is a *causal* explanation that yields predictions.

Deborah Spaeth

"When publicly funded schools try to teach my children a theory that affects what they think about whether or why or how it matters, they're arguably infringing on my religious freedom."

Sure. And they're arguably infringing my right to own a firearm.

News flash: you lost.

Show some grace and get over it instead of lying about Judge Jones, his decision, "intelligent design", whether courts can decide what "science" is, and all the other baloney you've posted here.

"Maybe you don't care if there's something deeper behind life. But for some of us these kinds of issues matter. And the Constitution gives me and others the right to live my life like it matters."

Sorry, but the Constitution does not confer upon you the right to have your religious beliefs CODDLED whenever those beliefs are contradicted by facts.

See my hypothetical above if you still don't understand this.

The National Weather Service isn't required to say "This high pressure area may bring much-needed rain OR -- for you religious folks out there -- an intelligent weathermaker may bring much-needed rain."

Right? You agree? It's the same deal, Fairy. Where's the lawsuit against the National Weather Service for promoting "materialist" ideas about weather?

"It's far more effective to show someone what is so "idiotic" about an idea and let them come to the conclusion themselves."

I agree. That is why you're presence here is so helpful for demonstrating what a bunch of lying idiots creationists are.

Kaiser Soze

Jay Bard you said:

"Science is all about causal explanation; its purpose is to allow us to make correct predictions."

I tell you what, "science" is in the eye of the beholder, education is in the mind of the beholder. "Science" is subjective, truth is objective, and our minds are stuck in between. Anytime someone wants to define science in a fascistic sense, true science is automatically the loser. True science is in the search for THE truth, fascistic science is in the search for A truth.

Science without a strong philosophical basis in freedom of choice is no science at all, it is anti science, it is science's retarded inbred cousin.

The desire to forcibly remove an avenue of investigation in the name of science is in reality a betrayal of science, a traitorous affair. If in the name of science fascism is given the freedom to reign supreme, what then of your bleating hearts? What then of your cry for intellectual honesty? All dashed on the rocks of hypocrisy's turgid mire. The bloated self delusional pride of Icarus leads surely to his own self defeat as surely as the minds of the simple tell them they know everything they need to know. But what of it? We have better things to do then worry about integrity, this is a war, a war against God. We will fight till our own God consumes us. What then of our travesties?

Kali

"No, but any negative can be rewritten as a positive. All the fossils we find in the precambrian strata will be non-rabbits."

That "non" still makes it a negative, in terms of making predictions.

"Not true. For example, the traditional version of ID is still unscientific since it doesn't make any falsifiable predictions. No possible observation or experimental result is inconsistent with it."

The traditional version of ID predicts that we will not find a gradual-step-wise explanation for the irreducible complexity of the blood-clotting system. Does that make it scientific?

Little Boy

The criterion "falsifiability" has been tossed around quite a bit by both sides in this debate. Evolution is not falsifiable, say ID proponents. ID is not falsifiable, say the evolutionists. Without a theory being "falsifiable", there is no way of telling whether it is false or true--at least that is the assumption.

Yet is the falsifiability criterion itself subject to falsification? Is it empirically testable? If not, then doesn't faith in the criterion constitute a pre-scientific assumption which, though the entire scientific enterprise is based upon it, is itself sub-empirical or supra-empirical i.e metaphysical? I'm not simply being paradoxical for the sake of it--I think both sides in this debate rest the bulk of their respective cases on this criterion. So far, it has not proved very useful for "proving" the rightness of evolution or ID except to those already-convinced.

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