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December 23, 2005

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» 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)... Read more here and here. [Read More]

» http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/12/the_dover_court.html from The Panda's Thumb
Albert Alschuler wrote: The Dover court is wrong, however, when it says that anything that implicates religion also endorses it. Alschuler is talking about a part of the endorsement analysis presented by Judge Jones where J... [Read More]

» Alschuler's confusions from The Panda's Thumb
Albert Alschuler wrote: The Dover court is wrong, however, when it says that anything that implicates religion also endorses it. Alschuler is talking about a part of the endorsement analysis presented by Judge Jones where J... [Read More]

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maurile

Kaiser Soze wrote: "maurile your comments attack ID proponents when in fact it was a school board which attempted to do what they did. They called in ID proponents to help in their court case when they were sued."

That is somewhat backwards. The ID proponents, in this case the Thomas More Law Center, had looking for a test case for years. They convinced the Dover School Board to be the test case, promising to provide a free legal defense when it was inevitably sued.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that's how it happaned. The Dover school board didn't act by itself and then turn to the TMLC for help afterwards.

AlanDownunder

In my Australian state's jurisdiction, lawyers must certify in any civil action that they have a tenable case and if it is found they didn't have one they are susceptible to an order that they pay their opponent's legal costs rather than their (misguided) clients.

Does PA have anything similar? I ask because there's no doubt that TMLC should be wearing the costs order in Kitzmiller rather than the Dover Area School Board or the misguided board members - even if their brethren at the Harmony Grove Community Church might be inveigled into passing the hat around.

Kaiser Soze

Neveretheless serious ID proponents were not really part of it. The Dover school board was already looking for ways to introduce "creationism" into the curriculum for years. the two meeting and working together was a confluence of interests.

The TMLC is a Christian organization devoted to Christian causes. From Burt Humburg & Ed Brayton:

"The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), founded by conservative Catholic businessman Tom Monaghan and former Kevorkian prosecutor Richard Thompson, was itching for a fight with the ACLU from the time of its formation in 1999. Declaring themselves the “sword and shield for people of faith” and the “Christian Answer to the ACLU,” TMLC sought out confrontations with the ACLU on a number of fronts, from public nativity and Ten Commandment displays to gay marriage and pornography. But the fight they really wanted, it seems, was over evolution in public school science classrooms, a fight that would take five years to occur.

TMLC representatives traveled the country from at least early 2000, encouraging school boards to teach ID in science classrooms. From Virginia to Minnesota, TMLC recommended the textbook Of Pandas and People (Pandas) as a supplement to regular biology textbooks, promising to defend the schools free of charge when the ACLU filed the inevitable lawsuit. Finally, in summer 2004, they found a willing school board in Dover, Pennsylvania, a board known to have been searching for a way to get creationism inserted into its science classrooms for years."

The TMLC is not cognate with Intelligent Design proponents, in fact the leading ID propenents did not testify at the trial because they were at odds with the TMLC.

Just because the TMLC is looking to use ID as part of their overall strategy for their promotion of their religious agenda doesn't mean that they typify the ID movement or agenda.

In your post you blamed ID proponents for what went on in Dover as if there is a monolithic cabal of ID advocates who are all of the same mind as the TMLC and the other Christian organizations who have ID as a plank in their social/political platform.

Those people are easy targets and it is those people who the evolution activists like to point out as being representative ID proponents.

Still at the end of the day what went on in Dover says a lot about how the church and state issue is viewed by many people. Clearly the inclusion of a few paragraphs into a schools curriculum about evolution not being an infallible doctrine is not what was meant to be protected against in the constitution. In fact promoting evolution as an infallible doctrine is in essence promoting a single religious belief over all others. Even though some people claim that evolution is compatible with religious beliefs, that still doesn't change the fact that evolutionary theory as presented does in fact make a theological argument. That argument is that "nature" is the supreme cause of our existence and it is "nature" which guides and shapes our existence as humans.

Evolution is essentially nature worship, nature is the pantheistic deity which can perfrom countless miracles, the impossible is made possible by the almighty nature, behold the glory of nature. All other concepts of the origins and diversifications of species are not allowed to be spoken of if they swerve away from nature worship.

vkrishna

Paul Baer,

You state: "under this theory, the theory of evolution by natural selection itself is not a "reasonable theoretical explanation", since it makes no detailed and clear quantitative predictions about aspects of physical phenomena."

Actually evolution (and natural selection) does very much make clear predictions. To take an example Mendel's experiments clarified the process of natural selection at a genetic level, which implies, for example, the ability to predict the chance of a particular genetic disorder appearing in a given community. For example doctors are able to explain the possibilities of occurrence of certain genetic disorder in potential offspring to couples.

Other predictions of Darwin's theory have been observed much after he proposed his theory, in terms of speciation or the development of new species. Your contention is wrong therefore, that evolution does not make any predictions.

Finally, you state:
"Modern philosophy and sociology of science has made it fairly clear that there is no simple "demarcation" between science and non-science, and no unitary "scientific method." Science as we know it is an extraordinarily diverse and historically contingent set of practices, beliefs and institutions."

I may be ignorant and naive, but I am not aware of such philosophical work. I also do not understand what you mean by science being a "diverse and historically contingent set of practices, beliefs and institutions." To my mind, scientific understanding which is accepted to be true is not a question of practices or beliefs, it is rather a statement of fact to the extent to which said facts have been verified. E.g Newton's laws are not a matter of belief-in the regime they are valid, they govern how objects move. If you throw an object into the air, it returns to the ground, and this return can be estimated pretty well given the knowledge of how it was thrown. And the object will always follow the same pattern *each* time if thrown in an identical fashion.

There is a difference between the process of science and a scientific consensus. When work is done on a scientific problem, it is usually with the implicit understanding that the work in question could be wrong. A consensus begins to be reached only when a verifiable (experimentally and theoretically) explanation which addditionally makes further predictions is provided. If the predictions are not borne out, the explanation is no longer regarded as viable. This does not mean that there are no people who may continue to believe in the (unviable) explanation. Such a belief usually is not taken seriously. A famous example is the refusal of Einstein to accept the validity of quantum theory. Quantum mechanics continued to gain acceptance inspite of his and many other prominent physicist's beliefs, because they could not come up with a better, testable explanation.

AlanDownunder

Professor Alschuler,

Please elaborate on your de minimus exemption to the establishment clause with particular reference to ID.

What percentage of ID is science, not religion?

What elements of ID does that percentage represent?

Is that a fair percentage for a Constitutional provision?

Is there really a de minimus percentage at all?

If so why?

If not, what is your advocacy?

AlanDownunder

Professor Alschuler,

My 03:09AM post (your time) should have quoted your advancement of a de minimis position. Here it is:
"The court and both parties in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District battled about whether intelligent design was science or religion. None of them showed any interest in the right answer – a little (or a lot) of both. "

I'm assuming you disagree with the stare decisis. If not, and it's about how a correct decision includes problematic obiter dicta, I agree with you that the dicta you quoted in Part I and in your reply to me in this Part II is too wide (unlike the Court's order). Certainly, ID can still be mentioned in schools any number of ways and I believe it should be.

Contrary to a respectable argument elsewhere in these replies, I believe 9th grade science teachers should be at pains to teach the difference between methodological naturalism (science) and philosophical naturalism (atheism) and the nature of scientific theory. A discussion of ID would illustrate and illuminate that distinction. Teachers of 9th grade should consider themselves grievously remiss if any of their students depart them believing that any science - including biology - is either atheistic or ultimate complete truth, or that ID is scientific.

Jeffersonranch

This is judicial overreach. This issue belongs to th community. If they like or don't like, change the board. The courts do not belong here.

John Timmer

The original blog post states the problem clearly:
"As I see it, the most important issue posed by intelligent design is neither microevolution nor macroevolution but Darwin’s explanation of how it happened. Is a mindless process driven by random mutation adequate to explain all life forms, or might the process of creation have a purpose? "

Science does not deal in purposes. If this is your problem with evolution, then you do not have a valid scientific issue with it.

And, incidentally, i'm a biologist, and i can look at complex life forms and not view them as the products of design.

Solidsmirk

I'm in.

George W. Bush

Jack00, I don't agree

Andy

"If a peacock’s tail were brown and blended nicely into the background, the tail’s colors would illustrate how random mutation allows genetically fortunate birds to elude predators.  The colors would show natural selection at work.  And when the male peacock’s tail is iridescent and multi-colored and stands out against the background, the tail’s bright colors signal the hen that the cock is resistant to parasites and desirable as a mate.  The bright colors thus show natural selection at work.  In other words, heads I win, tails you lose.  Show a Darwinist an anomaly, and he will devise a story that fits it to his theory.  As long as he can do that, the theory of natural selection cannot be falsified.  New bits of evidence can merely shift the plausibility of this theory in one direction or the other."

Sorry, but that's not how the theory works. In looking at the peacock, you have to consider a number of factors. 1.) How many things in the natural environment of the peacock are brown vs. multi-colored? How long have they been there? 2.) Who are the natural predators of the peacock? Can they differentiate colors? How long have they been in the environment with the peacocks?
3.) Can the peacocks differentiate colors? Can multi-color vs. brown feathers be proven to be a significant factor in the peacocks' reproduction?

Once you have considered all of the above, you then compare the peacocks with other animals in similar circumstances. Natural selection could be easily disproven if you could find that with the same environmental factors, different species in different locations will repeatedly evolve completely different characteristics.

On the other hand, when you compare the peacocks' tails with the color patterns of north American seed birds (cardinals, orioles, etc.), you see many of the same environmental dynamics coming into play. Show a Darwinist an anomality, and he/she will look to similar life forms in similar environments and will choose the explanation based on observable and repeatable patterns, not just on whatever theory is easist to propose. ID, alas, does not do this.

Now for a change of train-of-thought. Prof. Alschuler: you reason that as ID is not an explicit violation of the establishment clause, the Dover judge ruling in the Kitzmiller case is wrong (am I correct with this assumption?) If so, does it follow then that the Dover school board would have had the right to insist that science faculty members "read from their scripts"? If so, what about the teachers' academic freedom rights? (I'm referencing Cary v. Board of Education, a Federal Appelate court ruling from a different circuit than the Dover case; Cary seems to be just following the lead of Tinker v. Des Moines and applying it to faculty members.)

Could a teacher then be removed from the school for refusing to mention ID and the Pandas book in class? If not, would you then argue that the judge's decision in Dover was wrong for lack of standing: a teacher should have been able to challenge the ruling, not parents of the students (despite the obvious parallels to Epperson v. Arkansas, which I assume you refute as per your post above)?

Finally, do you believe that it is only a matter of time before ID becomes significantly entrenched as a standard subject matter and thus allow its introduction on the basis of Justice Breyer's opinion in the Perry Ten Commandments case?

Kaiser Soze

Andy you wrote:

"On the other hand, when you compare the peacocks' tails with the color patterns of north American seed birds (cardinals, orioles, etc.), you see many of the same environmental dynamics coming into play. Show a Darwinist an anomality, and he/she will look to similar life forms in similar environments and will choose the explanation based on observable and repeatable patterns, not just on whatever theory is easist to propose. ID, alas, does not do this."

Yes they feel that they are making a reasonable assumption, but when looking at it from a rational point of view what they are doing is nothing more then begging the question (circular reasoning).

The big problem with assuming that the way an animal (or plant) looks like, is based on the environment and other animals in the environment, is that evolution is based upon the idea of random mutations. Therefore the environment cannot influence the way an animal looks because mutations are random. Evolutionists say that "sure mutations are random and unguided, but natural selection leaves the mutations which benefit an animal (or plant) and weed out the mutations which harm an animal (or plant)".

In essence we are being asked to believe that random mutations produce the most amazing works of art, creating beautiful color coordinated designs of exquisite beauty. Not once, not twice, not 10 times, not 100 times, but millions upon millions of times. Mutations create magnificent designs of the peacocks tail, beautiful colorful birds like the macaw, butterflys, tropical fish, flowers, fruits, trees, animals etc. The whole panoply of color coordinated designs of beauty in the natural world is the product of random mutations? What are the odds of that?

Why is the natural world overwhelmingly beautiful? Why is symmetry and color coordination the rule instead of the exception? How can mutation change a single celled creature into a towering Sequoia or a T Rex, or a Parrot or a Whale, or a Mango tree or a Watermleon?

Let's see if I got this straight...umkay?

In the beginning there was some dirt and water and some sunlight. The dirt and water somehow or another built a cell with DNA and RNA and all of the amazingly complex systems which make up the simplest form of life. It's vastly more complex then a computer, yet by mixing dirt and water a cell somehow or another popped into existence.

Then that cell instead of dying, began to replicate. Eventually there were many of these cells. Occasionally there was a mutation to the DNA, and the cell occasionally kept a mutation because it aided it in it's survival.

Fast forward millions of years and we have apes and ants, bees and bananas, cows and cobwebs, deer and dandelions, dolphins and sharks, octopi and jellyfish, tigers and giraffes, boys and girls and ice cream and cake? and it's all due to one celled creatures mutating?

No one has ever seen such mutations but we are assurred that they happened enough times in the past to create the millions upon millions of species of life around us?

There is no trace in the fossil record of animals mutating from one species into the next, the evolutionists conveniently leave this simple fact out of their boorish explanations of how mutations turn amoebas into horses.

And they say ID is crazy.

http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/

John Timmer

Kaiser Soze-

Read up on Stickleback evolution - part of Science magazine's breakthrough of the year - to see how single mutations can aid a species' adaptation to a new environment.

Read up on mosasaur evolution to learn about a new transitional fossil discovered just this year.

I have no doubt that, reading a site called "darwinism refuted", you can "learn" that these situations have not been described. However, reading peer reviewed scientific literature will give you a very different picture.

Albert Alschuler

Reply to Andy -

1. The peacock's tail has been a problem for Darwininan biology from the beginning. As one biology text puts it, "The peacock's tail almost certainly reduces the male's survival: the tail reduces maneuverability, powers of flight, and makes the bird more conspicuous; its growth must also impose an energetic cost." Similar problems are posed by the apparently disfunctional ornamentation found in many species.

Darwin was aware of the anomaly. His answer was "sexual selection." The attractiveness of the ornamental tail to the hen more than makes up for its heavy costs.

This answer was an obvious nonstarter. If even a few peahens had been attracted to peacocks with small brown tails, the principle of natural selection says that their offspring would have had higher survival rates. Over time, the superficial peahens who fell for the flashy guys would have died off (hooray, hooray). Peahens today would favor adaptive plain brown peacocks. The revenge of the bird nerds!

Enter Amotz Zahavi in 1975 with the "handicap principle." The peacock's tail is attractive to the peahen precisely because it is maladaptive. A male who can survive despite the fact that he's carrying around a maladaptive tail must be a helluva guy -- that peacock must be extraordinarily resistant to parasites or something. Other biologists have shown that, just as you look like hell when you're sick, peacocks infested with parasites are in fact less brightly colored, and peahens really do prefer brightly colored peacocks. Q.E.D. Evolutionary biologists believe that they have fully answered the problem of the peacock's tail. It is indeed heads-I-win, tails-you-lose.

2. The issue posed by the establishment clause is, as the Dover court said, what message teaching ID conveys to students or, perhaps, the larger community. Who's responsible for conveying that message -- the school board or the classroom teacher -- doesn't seem to matter. The question of the board's authority to tell teachers what to teach (or of the teachers' academic freedom) is a challenging first amendment issue, but it's distinct from the establishment clause issue.

Paul Baer

To Vkrishna:

The example of Mendel's peas says nothing about Darwinian evolution.

You claim that "Other predictions of Darwin's theory have been observed much after he proposed his theory, in terms of speciation or the development of new species." I suspect that this can be backed up, but I'm interested in your examples. In particular, I suspect that none of the predictions of Darwinian evolution are "precise and quantitative"; but rather more have the shape that "more complex organisms will appear later in the fossil record than less complex ones."

On the other hand, I gave no examples for my claim about "Modern philosophy and sociology..." My favorite is Jerry Ravetz, "Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems," but the work of Imre Lakatos (I can't cite the precise books) is also well known in this genre.

The general point should be obvious, however. In anything more complex than physics or chemistry (e.g., biology), any but the simplest experiments are confounded by complexity, and what counts as evidence "for" or "against" a hypothesis has to do with social conventions regarding the interpretation of statistics in circumstances of multiple causation.

Similarly, the fact that the premises of, say, Freudian psychiatry have been treated as "scientific" and included inside the medical profession, while (say) astrology is not, is prima facie a matter of sociology, not science. And don't even get me started on economics!

By the way, in case it's not clear, I'm a whole-hearted supporter of evolutionary theory and an opponent of teaching ID as an opposing theory. But the reason is not because one can prima facie make an argument that ID is "not science" based on criteria of, for example, "non-falsifiability."

Kaiser Soze

John you wrote:

"Read up on mosasaur evolution to learn about a new transitional fossil discovered just this year."

You need to understand the problem before you can claim there are solutions. If I claim that a chimp is a transitional form between a gorilla and a human, then I am not understanding what is meant by saying there is a lack of transitional species (alive or in the fossil record). Claiming that the Dallasaurus you refer to is a transitional creature is no different then saying a a chimp is a transitional form between a human and a gorilla.

The theory of evolution tells us that mutations happening in existing species gradually transform those species into new species. What we should see everywhere amongst living things today and in the fossil record is this transformation going on. But we don't. Darwin was aware of this and called it a "fatal blow" to his theory. He believed that in the future as more discoveries of fossils were made that the process of species transformation would be found in new fossils. But he couldn't understand why the current situation of all species being static (we don't find species in the process of undergoing transformation from one species into another )is the way it is.

But after the discovery of well over a billion fossils no evidence has been discovered of actual transitional forms. So evolutionists like to pretend that they discover them.

What do we mean by transitional form?

Evolutionary theory tells us that mutations cause one species to transform into a new species. For this to occur there needs to be a growth or change in a species body plan. New organs and new limbs have to gradually develop through mutation or disappear through mutation.

The reason a chimp is not a transitional form between a gorilla and a human is because all 3 are distinct species. If we could find gorillas developing distinctly human organs and limbs, like a human hand or a human spine, or human skin, while still remaining a gorilla, then that would be a transitional form i.e a gorilla showing the process of mutation into a human.

Transitional forms are supposed to show the process of mutation of one species into another. If a creature or plant manifests mutations which are developments towards new organs and new limbs, etc, then that is a true transitional form. A gorilla mutating into a human by the gradual development of mutations is what evolution demands to be seen. Not only in the fossil record, but in living species. Not just a few, but everywhere and in huge quantities.

If evolution is an ongoing process then we should see all species undergoing evolution by gradual change through mutations. We should find living things in abundance with partially formed body parts, partial limbs, partial organs etc.

But we don't. We find just the opposite. There are no fossils nor living things which show this process of mutation, show the gradual mutating process from one species into a new one. Paleontologists have been aware of this problem for a long time. Stephen gould tried to solve this problem with his theory of "Punctuated Equilibrium". That theory states that small populations of animals or plants undergo a rapid change. This theory was an attempt to explain why we don't see transitional forms in the fossil record. The changes occur so quickly that the number of fossils showing the tranformation would be small. That's why we can't find those fossils. His theory was ridiculed by biologists and he later claimed it to be a theory which was full of problems.

If you want to become educated on this topic go to:

http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/natural_history_1_01.html

http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/myht_of_homology.html

http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/equilibrium.html

John you also mentioned the stickleback fish as "proof" of a single mutation giving a creature an advantage for survival. That is an erroneous example. It is an example of circular reasoning and tautology. What is seen is variations within the gene pool of stickleback fish. To claim that it is mutation which caused these variations is much easier to do then to actually prove that mutations caused these variations. The circular reasoning comes in when we see stickleback fish with variations and then we say it was mutations which caused these variations because evolutionary theory tells us that variations are caused by mutations. There is no proof that mutation caused the variation, it is taken as a given, it is therefore a tautology to claim that a single mutation helped a stickleback fish evolve an advantage.

John Timmer

RE: transitional forms.

Kaiser Soze repeats a creationist canard that's so old, it has a special section in the Talk Origins FAQ:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.html

It includes further reading for those genuinely interested in this topic. I'll assume Soze is not, and not bother further.

Kaiser Soze

None of those examples are transitional forms. It is not I who say these things, it is the paleontologists, evolutionists. Mindless evolutionist activists want to claim that any species which appears to them to be similar to other species are transitional forms. But they are not. Transitional forms are supposed to be creatures or plants in between one known species and another. Since they cannot find any they want to make an argument based on homology, which is a discredited argument. This is not science for them, it's dogmatic religious faith. No amount of proof can dissuade them from their faith in the almighty power of evolution. This is what honest evolutionists have to say:

"The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, (must) be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory."

Darwin, C. (1859)The Origin of Species (Reprint of the first edition)Avenel Books, Crown Publishers, New York, 1979, p. 292

"The fossil record flatly fails to substantiate this expectation of finely graded change."

Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982)The Myths of Human Evolution Columbia University Press, p. 163

"The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism:

1) Stasis - most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;

2) Sudden appearance - in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and 'fully formed'."

Gould, S.J. (1977)"Evolution's Erratic Pace" Natural History, vol. 86, May

"[T]he absence of fossil evidence for intermediate stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution."

Gould, S.J., 1982 "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?"Evolution Now: A Century After DarwinMaynard Smith, J. (editor)W. H. Freeman and Co. in association with Nature, p. 140

"Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism ... and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record."

Mayr, E., 1991One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary ThoughtHarvard University Press, Cambridge, p. 138

"What one actually found was nothing but discontinuities. All species are separated from each other by bridgeless gaps; intermediates between species are not observed. ... The problem was even more serious at the level of the higher categories."

Mayr, E., 1982 The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and InheritanceThe Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p. 524

"We are faced more with a great leap of faith that gradual, progressive adaptive change underlies the general pattern of evolutionary change we see in the rocks than any hard evidence."

Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982)The Myths of Human EvolutionColumbia University Press, p. 57

"With the benefit of hindsight, it is amazing that palaeontologists could have accepted gradual evolution as a universal pattern on the basis of a handful of supposedly well-documented lineages (e.g. Gryphaea, Micraster, Zaphrentis) none of which actually withstands close scrutiny."

Paul, C. R. C., 1989 "Patterns of Evolution and Extinction in Invertebrates"Allen, K. C. and Briggs, D. E. G. (editors), Evolution and the Fossil Record Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C., 1989, p. 105

"[W]ell represented species are usually stable throughout their temporal range, or alter so little and in such superficial ways (usually in size alone), that an extrapolation of observed change into longer periods of geological time could not possibly yield the extensive modifications that mark general pathways of evolution in larger groups. Most of the time, when the evidence is best, nothing much happens to most species."

Gould, S.J., 1988"Ten Thousand Acts of Kindness"Natural History, Vol. 97, No. 12, December, p.14

"Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded ... ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information ...."

Raup, D. (1979)"Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology" Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 50 (1), p. 24, 25

"A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is. This probably comes from the oversimplification inevitable in secondary sources: low-level textbooks, semipopular articles, and so on. Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved. In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general these have not been found yet the optimism has died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks."

Science July 17, 1981, p. 289

"The known fossil record is not, and has never has been, in accord with gradualism. What is remarkable is that, through a variety of historical circumstances, even the history of opposition has been obscured. ... 'The majority of paleontologists felt their evidence simply contradicted Darwin's stress on minute, slow, and cumulative changes leading to species transformation.' ... their story has been suppressed."

Stanley, S. M., 1981The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of SpeciesBasic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p. 71

"Since the time of Darwin, paleontologists have found themselves confronted with evidence that conflicts with gradualism, yet the message of the fossil record has been ignored. This strange circumstance constitutes a remarkable chapter in the history of science, and one that gives students of the fossil record cause for concern."

Stanley, S. M., 1981 The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of SpeciesBasic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p. 101

"The opportune appearance of mutations permitting animals and plants to meet their needs seems hard to believe. Yet the Darwinian theory is even more demanding: a single plant, a single animal would require thousands and thousands of lucky, appropriate events. Thus, miracles would become the rule: events with an infinitesimal probability could not fail to occur .... There is no law against day dreaming, but science must not indulge in it."

Grasse, Pierre-Paul (1977)Evolution of Living Organism Academic Press, New York, N.Y., p. 103

"To propose and argue that mutations even in tandem with 'natural selection' are the root-causes for 6,000,000 viable, enormously complex species, is to mock logic, deny the weight of evidence, and reject the fundamentals of mathematical probability."

Cohen, I.L. (1984)Darwin Was Wrong: A Study in Probabilities New York: New Research Publications, Inc., p. 81

"Micromutations do occur, but the theory that these alone can account for evolutionary change is either falsified, or else it is an unfalsifiable, hence metaphysical theory. I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what has happened in biology: ... I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens many people will pose the question: How did this ever happen? ..."

S. Lovtrup, S. (1987)Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth London: Croom Helm, p. 422

"The occurrence of genetic monstrosities by mutation ... is well substantiated, but they are such evident freaks that these monsters can be designated only as 'hopeless.' They are so utterly unbalanced that they would not have the slightest chance of escaping elimination through stabilizing selection .... the more drastically a mutation affects the phenotype, the more likely it is to reduce fitness. To believe that such a drastic mutation would produce a viable new type, capable of occupying a new adaptive zone, is equivalent to believing in miracles .... The finding of a suitable mate for the 'hopeless monster' and the establishment of reproductive isolation from the normal members of the parental population seem to me insurmountable difficulties."

Mayr, Ernst (1970)Populations, Species, and EvolutionCambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, p. 235

" 'Survival of the fittest' and 'natural selection.' No matter what phraseology one generates, the basic fact remains the same: any physical change of any size, shape or form is strictly the result of purposeful alignment of billions of nucleotides (in the DNA). Nature or species do not have the capacity for rearranging them, nor adding to them. Consequently no leap (saltation) can occur from one species to another. The only way we know for a DNA to be altered is through a meaningful intervention from an outside source of intelligence: one who knows what it is doing, such as our genetic engineers are now performing in their laboratories."

Cohen, I.L. (1984)Darwin Was Wrong:A Study in ProbabilitiesNew York: NW Research Publications, Inc., p. 209

"The essence of Darwinism lies in a single phrase: natural selection is the creative force of evolu-tionary change. No one denies that selection will play a negative role in eliminating the unfit. Darwinian theories require that it create the fit as well."

Gould, Stephen J. (1977)"The Return of Hopeful Monsters" Natural History, Vol. 86, June/July, p. 28

"It is fair to say that Darwin simply assumed that gradual improvement was possible in general... Darwin's assumption, I will try to show, was almost certainly wrong. It does not appear to be the case that gradualism always hold. In some complex systems, any minor change causes catastrophic changes in the behavior of the system. In these cases ... selection cannot assemble complex systems. Here is one fundamental limit to selection."

Kauffman, StuartAt Home in the Universe, p.152

"The Modern Synthesis is a remarkable achievement. However, starting in the 1970s, many biologists began questioning its adequacy in explaining evolution. Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern only the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest. As Goodwin (1995) points out, "the origin of species -- Darwin's problem -- remains unsolved."

Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, and Rudolf Raff (1996)"Resynthesizing Evolutionary and Developmental Biology," Developmental Biology 173, Article No. 0032, 1996, p. 361

"Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century. Like the Genesis based cosmology which it replaced, and like the creation myths of ancient man, it satisfies the same deep psychological need for an all embracing explanation for the origin of the world which has-motivated all the cosmogenic myth makers of the past, from the shamans of primitive peoples to the ideologues of the medieval church. The truth is that despite the prestige of evolutionary theory and the tremendous intellectual effort directed towards reducing living systems to the confines of Darwinian thought, nature refuses to be imprisoned. In the final analysis we still know very little about how new forms of life arise. The "mystery of mysteries" - the origin of new beings on earth - is still largely as enigmatic as when Darwin set sail on the Beagle."

Denton, Michael Evolution: A Theory in CrisisBurnett Books, 1985, p.358

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

Lewontin, Richard "Billions and Billions of Demons"New York Review of BooksJanuary 9, 1997, p. 28

Deborah Spaeth

Paul Baer

"Modern philosophy and sociology of science has made it fairly clear that there is no simple "demarcation" between science and non-science, and no unitary "scientific method."

If so, then modern philosphy and sociology of science is a pile of bullcrap.

Too bad the Supreme Court doesn't feel the way that you do. You see, Paul, in the real world people don't have twenty years to debate whether something is "really really really science" or not.

In the real world, people just ask simple questions like: "What does your theory predict? Can it be tested? Have you done any of those tests?"

And when all those questions come up "no" then the decision is straightforward: junk science.

By the way Paul, I have an infinitely diluted solution of sucrose that I mixed under the full moon last week when Saturn was in the 2nd house and the Sasquatch was mating.

I've tested it scientifically and it will cure any illness you suffer from including old age for the next 150 years.

Interested? Phone me at 1-800-GET-CLUE.

Deborah Spaeth

Paul

"Similarly, the fact that the premises of, say, Freudian psychiatry have been treated as "scientific" and included inside the medical profession, while (say) astrology is not, is prima facie a matter of sociology, not science. And don't even get me started on economics!"

Freudian psychiatry was practiced by the medical profession because doctors and patients believed that it worked.

Have you noticed that not even the ID peddlers believe that their "theory" can be proven by research?

Read Judge Jones' case and stop flapping your foul post-modern mouth. The stench is making me gag. Next thing you know you'll be citing Steve Fuller and praising the glories of yesteryear when white dudes were "inspired" to do great science by their devotion to the One True God.

Deborah Spaeth

Alschuler

Q.E.D. Evolutionary biologists believe that they have fully answered the problem of the peacock's tail.

This is an appalling misrepresentation of the facts. No biologist will claim that any such evolutionary question is "fully answered," just as no chemist will claim that all questions about the structure of carbon are "fully answered."

Perfesser, you are a lying sack of doo-doo.

Take your propagandist garbage back to the 1930s and shovel it on the German Jews.

That's where your kind of "discourse" belongs.

You don't care about the weight of facts or evidence or anything else as long as that spotlight shines on your diseased rictus. Like your cheerleader Kaiser Soze, you're content to just push your ideological garbage as far as it goes and damn the consequences.

Controversies sell books after all.

Some very serious issues were raised about your veracity in this thread and in your previous thread and I see no attempt to address those issues straight-on and in a forthright manner as one would expect a mature honest human being to do.

So what kind of human being are you, Perfesser?

Deborah Spaeth

Jeffersonranch

"This is judicial overreach. This issue belongs to th community. If they like or don't like, change the board. The courts do not belong here."

Ooo, big talkin' here. You'd change your tune if they voted in one of those uppity Negroes, though, wouldn't you?

You and Perfesser Alschuler can travel back to 1920 when everything was really simple and nobody blabbed if you beat the crap out of your daughter when she got pregnant.

Those were the days, weren't they?

I seem to remember that evolution was a hot topic with the fundie types back then, too.

Funny how that works.

Of course, in the meantime, science has accumulated a gigantic mountain of data that confirms the predictions of evolutionary theory.

And lo and behold, religious fanatics and preachers are still lying about science and telling us that their children are going to turn into doomed atheists unless we spoonfed them some garbage about "mysterious alien beings" and their "intelligent" designs.

Get a life, sickos. Judge Jones sat and smelled your garbage for a good long time and he wrote about this sham honestly.

He did the right thing. Try to follow his lead. Or is it more important to worry about pleasing one's preacher than writing an honest legal opinion?

AlanDownunder

I still can't work out whether Prof Alschuler believes Kitzmiller was either wrong or correct but with some dodgy obiter. Can anyone else, or the Professor himself?

Deborah Spaeth

AlanDownunder, see where the Professor writes

"The exclusion of ID from science “by definition and by convention” becomes particularly unfair when ID and natural selection provide competing explanations of the same phenomena. The court, however, insists that the perception of a conflict between natural selection and intelligent design is a “contrived dualism.”"

Contrived dualism = false dichotomy and this is certainly true. And this fact was pointed out in the previous thread and ignored by our pathetically dissembling Professer.

Let's spell it out for the Professor again, shall we?

Evolution is a scientific theory for explaining the mechanism by which the diverse organisms that have lived on our planet for the past 4 billion years evolved (only clueless idiots insist that life on earth has not changed over this time period).

Evolution doesn't invoke deity-like beings who have intervened continually for the past 4 billion years to "design" and create new species of animals for some unfathomable "purpose."

So-called "intelligent design" theory necessarily invokes such deity-like beings. Reasonable people know this to be the case because beings with the power to manipulate the DNA of every living thing that ever lived on earth for the past 4 billion years and not leave any detectable trace of themselves are deity-like.

But here's the rub and here's where the Perfesser gets his pants pulled down and we all laugh at his microscopically tiny wee-wee.

If we can invoke the existence of deity-like beings to explain "gaps" in our understanding of the mechanisms by which life on this earth evolved, why must these deities need to be acting "intelligently" to accomplish what they've done?

It's no less "scientific" or "valid" or "logical" to argue that these deities simply used the earth as a toilet for the past 4 billion years and, without any purpose or design whatsoever, defecated every species of living thing that ever lived on the earth.

This is Enterocraftic Theory and it is just as valid as ID theory but has at least two advantages: (1) it accounts for the seeming "unintelligence" of many "designs" that we observe in living things and (2) it accounts for why there is such a great diversity of microbial fauna.

And that reminds me, you can see up above the Perfesser demonstrating his remarkable ignorance and arrogance about biology when he writes

"“Macroevolution” or “speciation” is somewhat more problematic. Setting aside the strange world of microbes,"

Yo, Perfesser, the "strange world of microbes" represents beyond any doubt the most diverse and historically successful group of organisms from 4 billion years ago to the present.

Now that you can see how deeply imbedded your head is inside your butt, Perfesser, try pulling it out.

The magic words you're looking for begin with, "I'm sorry."


ivy privy

-----------
If you discovered the intelligent designer of every life form on the planet (including you), what would you call him? Probably not Uncle Zeke.
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Your comments are considered blasphemy to adherents of Uncle Zekism.

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