Facts and false equivalence – reporting on evolution disputes

October 5, 2009

greatestshow_jacketBritish biologist Richard Dawkins, one of the leading voices of the “neo-atheist” movement, has taken the latest book-sized shot at the “intelligent design” movement. You can read my interview with Dawkins’ here about his new book: “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.”

For a scientist of Dawkins’ caliber, intelligent design is a barn-door sized target. In a nutshell, it maintains that life is so complex that it must be the work of a creator. Its boosters claim their view is based in science and not influenced by religion, but it is widely seen as a thinly-veiled attempt to give a scientific gloss to creationism. That claim to science is the key here — most religions believe that God created the world, of course, but they state this as an article of faith and not a scientific fact.

On this blog, we often report on issues related to science and religion. We have to remain agnostic on the biggest question of all — does God exist? — and take fundamental dogmas as the starting point for each faith. This sometimes strikes readers as strange or biased. Some think it already shows a prejudice against belief. But just imagine what would happen if we took sides on teachings such as the resurrection of Jesus or the divine origin of the Koran. We would not be practicing journalism anymore, but some kind of theological analysis or deconstruction, and our readers would not be getting the information they want about religion news around the world.

That said, we can’t just take everything on faith alone.  As journalists, we have to stick to facts on the ground. It’s hard to question some beliefs, but we can hold people responsible for what they profess. For example, if a Catholic priest has an affair with a woman, that violation of his vow of celibacy makes his affair different from one between two lay people or two non-Catholics. And if he is prominent enough, like the charismatic Miami television preacher Father Alberto Cutié, it’s worth reporting. The same applies to Islam. The scriptures of most if not all religions can be vague and sometimes seemingly contradictory, so Reuters cannot say whether the phrase  “Islam is a religion of peace” is true or false. But we can report if a Muslim known to preach that belief is found to be involved in some violent activity. In both cases, we don’t question the basic tradition or belief but we hold the believers responsible to it in their actions.

darwinm-portraitWhich brings me to the question of evolution. While preparing this post, I had a lively Dallas-to-Paris email exchange with Religion Editor Tom Heneghan about how we cover an issue in which two sides are so opposed.  We agree with how we’ve been doing it so far, but setting outour approach in words took some consultation. Here’s our view of the issue.

(Photo: Portrait of Charles Darwin, 12 Feb 2009/Gordon Jack)

All serious scientists accept evolution as a fact because of the overwhelming and verifiable evidence that supports it. Much of this evidence is laid out in Dawkins’ new book and a book published earlier this year by University of Chicago scientist Jerry Coyne called “Why Evolution is True.” I regard the latter, by the way, as more readable, especially for a layman. These came out now because this year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th of the publication of his major work “On the Origin of Species,” which originally laid out the case for evolution by natural selection. They have also come out because the authors are clearly irritated by the intelligent design movement.

How does that play out when we report about evolution? For example, when we write about the wildlife of Madagascar, we usually include a background paragraph saying something like: “Madagascar separated from the rest of Africa tens of millions of years ago and so its species evolved in isolation from its mother continent.” In a story about its lemurs, we don’t write: “Scientists say Madagascar broke off from Africa tens of millions of years but some people, taking the Bible as their reference, believe it can only be 10,000 years old and that its lemurs were made in their current form by a supernatural creator.” That would create a false equivalence between the two views. The scientists have empirical evidence for their view of these natural phenomena but the religious view is based on scripture and does not stand up to empirical analysis. This is a case of comparing apples and oranges.

Does this mean we have taken sides and are not being balanced? Hardly. In fact, we would lay ourselves open to that charge if we did give equal credence to arguments such as intelligent design. For instance, some boosters for intelligent design, trying to get their perspective taught alongside evolution in U.S. public schools despite repeated defeats, have shifted their approach and argued that for the sake of balance it is necessary to “teach the controversy” between evolution’s supporters and skeptics. But the world of science sees no serious issue to discuss, just a false equivalence created by campaigners trying to claim the seal of scientific approval for arguments that do not stand up to empirical testing.

creation-museumSo why do we “report the controversy” if we think one side has no case? We do it because creationists are numerous and politically and culturally influential in parts of the United States. They’re challenging science teaching in some states and opening museums that claim to prove evolution never happened. We also do it because their influence is spreading to other countries, most notably to Muslim countries through the work of Islamic creationists like Harun Yahya. And we do it because their arguments, flawed though they may be in the eyes of science, challenge scientists, religious leaders, philosophers and other thinkers to refine their arguments for whichever view of mankind they support. These are serious adult questions and attempts to wedge them into high school biology lessons miss the mark by a mile.

(Photo: Ken Ham, president of the group Answers in Genesis, at a creation museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, 26 May 2007/John Sommers II)

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160 comments

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Those who have a faith-based worldview should be able to go happily through their lives, revering whatever holy books or teaching that they choose. There are no handholds there for science or naturalists to grab hold of.Once those same people float a pseudo-scientific system like Intelligent Design, now there are many handholds to be grabbed and twisted; and they should be.

Posted by Justin Rose | Report as abusive

It seems simple to me, belief in a god is one thing, but denial of solid facts is completely separate issue. I am demanding that the medical establishment stops pussy-footing around and reclassifies the behavior of people like Ken Ham as nothing more than delusional. As it is, the medical definition of delusion automatically precludes religious faith!Science has a hard enough time making progress as it is without deluded minds, poisoned by hate of atheism or naive religious belief, teaching their (frankly) idiotic ideas to the ignorant bystanders.The time has come to take a stand for truth and that can only begin when we can openly classify to the these folk as either mentally ill or bare-faced liars.

Posted by Marc Draco | Report as abusive

“All serious scientists accept evolution as a fact because of the overwhelming and verifiable evidence that supports it.”Before we can define anything as ‘fact’ we need to first define it, then cite the proof. Evolution is a broad term, not like ‘gravity’ which it has been fallaciously compared to. As currently defined, it is several things. Broadly speaking, it is biologic change over time. Geneticist Douglas futuyma has defined it thusly:“Biological evolution … is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.”But do observable empirical means verify it as fact? One of the longest ongoing series of experiments has been the ongoing reproduction of fruit flys. Although reproductive isolations have occurred, no new species in the ontological sense of a new species (new body design) has been observed. They are still drosophila, in essence a falsification of macroevolution by heritable, mutational alterations.Antibiotic resistance is an observed example of Futuyma’s “changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population”, and there are many more, too numerous to list here, that have acted to enhance a populations survival. These are changes within a species, or microevolution, defined by a Russian entomologist, and reinforced by Stephen Gould and others.Macroevolution, defined in short as the process whereby all biologic life arose, has been unsuccessfully tied to microevolution, being purported to be due to the accumulation of small changes leading to novelty, complexity and radically new species. Unsuccessful in that it cannot be demonstrated. Proof is ‘offered’ by the phylogenetic progression known colloquially as the Tree of Life. Progressions are observable, but actual phenotypic change at that level is not.And here is the crux of the enigma, and the reason why evolution cannot be considered to be ‘fact’ as presently defined. Speciation at the macro level has not been empirically observed, nor is the ‘primary’ purported mechanism of change, natural selection of random mutations acquired over vast time to produce novelty, been proven. It remains hypothetical. ID, rather than a refutation of evolution, is merely an alternative hypothesis regarding a mechanism for the acquisition of novelty and complexity, a form of genetic engineering. In my view, they have functioned synergistically to achieve the beauty and wonder that has unfolded over vast time.So what, dear friend, IS the method of genetic alteration at that level? Intelligent Design is one possibility, and is empirically demonstrable, contra to claims to the contrary, and thus remains on the table as investigative. It is also tenable that the agencies for change existed ‘within’ the natural universe, thus mitigating the supernatural requirement and ‘scientific method’ disclaimer. You are correct regarding Biblical accounts as non-sequiturs, and that if ingrained within science, would be damaging to objective inquiry. But the real threat to science is the consensus, but highly subjective view, that evolution as presently formulated is ‘fact’, and that ID is pseudoscience. Dogma has no place within the sacred halls of objective, investigative science.

“Intelligent Design is one possibility, and is empirically demonstrable,”Why lie? You gave absolutely no reason to believe that today’s disingenuous and unfalsifiable ID is at all demonstrable, you merely stated a falsehood.Paley’s ID was testable, and it failed, especially (but not exclusively) when Darwin showed that nothing has any marks of design, but only those of evolution. Of course Darwin could only discuss a small number of life’s characteristics in his time, however the predictions of evolution (no marks of design (save of our own) while life will be constrained by evolutionary processes) have been borne out by all of the evidence. And no, Behe’s acceptance of evolution answers nothing about that, since accepting the conclusions of nonteleological evolution while denying the science of the same is not an intellectually honest response to the evidence.So we’re back to the usual, the IDist merely tells falsehoods, explains absolutely nothing, and attempts to create a false equivalence.What I don’t often find journalists doing is labeling the claims of IDists as the total lies that they are. Sure, there are liability issues involved (threats of defamation lawsuits have a chilling effect on speech and print), but they really could point out just how dishonest ID is in general, without accurately but expensively stating that Dembski et al. are attempting to deceive people, and succeeding too often.Glen Davidsonhttp://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

LeeBowman said “Speciation at the macro level has not been empirically observed, nor is the ‘primary’ purported mechanism of change, natural selection of random mutations acquired over vast time to produce novelty, been proven.”Every fossil is an empirically observation of macro evolution? As a matter of fact, there is no difference between Macro and Micro Evolution.. Its as if you are saying…well, I believe in stairs but not staircases.Primary purported by whom? Is it a major one, yes. Has that major one been shown to produce novelty…yes. Look at any bacterial species that has evolved to decompose xenotropic compounds, like polychlorinated biphenols.ID is not science, because it does not make predictions that can be tested. Id is nothing more then a God of the Gaps theory. (look, I can use the common talking points as well!!!)

Posted by Jake | Report as abusive

Davidson:”Why lie? You gave absolutely no reason to believe that today’s disingenuous and unfalsifiable ID is at all demonstrable, you merely stated a falsehood.”I’ll state it again, this time as a prediction: Re-design of a species by genetic engineering is now possible, ‘BUT’ with increased data, and subsequent algorithmic analyses, will reach the level a method of radical morphologic ‘redesigns’ of a species. This will validate one method of speciation, intervention in the embryonic process by an intelligence. I further predict that HOX genes will hold the key.In the meantime, please show us where radical speciation (and please, not allopatric, sympatric, parapatric, or hybridization) has taken place by random processes.

Jake:”Macro and Micro Evolution.. Its as if you are saying…well, I believe in stairs but not staircases.”A common but somewhat blasé analogy, since in the case of stairs, they are simply repetitions duplications.In the case of stepwise improvements to a progeny, each would add new or improved functionality rather than be deleterious, would need to offer a reproductive or survival advantage, and would need to become fixed in the population by a procreative act. Even then, the trait could become recessive and eventually lost.The likelihood on ‘one’ species event happening according to that process is highly unlikely, let alone all of them.

LeeBowman states that “micro” evolution doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Intelligent Designer tinkering with cells to cause “macro” evolution.That’s true. Similarly, one year’s “micro” growth in the height of Mt. Everest doesn’t rule out the possibility that the Intelligent Worldbuilder created Mt. Everest in a flash of pink smoke. After all, we’ve never “empirically observed” the formation of a mountain range, have we?However, while we don’t have documented evidence of the intermediate stages between flat ground and the current Mt. Everest, we do have the genetic and fossil record showing us the intermediate stages of the formation of species – from early life to current life.So while I can’t deny Lee’s logic when applied to the magical creation of Mt. Everest, I’m afraid his logic crashes and burns in the face of the evidence for evolution.It is my sincere hope that some day people like Lee Bowman will find the wisdom and serenity to accept that they can still have faith even if science doesn’t validate it for them. And then maybe they’ll keep their particular magical beliefs out of my child’s science classroom.

Posted by RickK | Report as abusive

Ed, if only all reporters grasped the situation as well as you do. It’s frequently not in the readers’ interest to present two sides of an issue as if they’re equally supported – sometimes, one side is just wrong, as in the case of the IDers.However, at the end you seem to conflate coverage of the science itself, with coverage of political controversies about that subject. You can report that there are two opposing views about what we teach kids, because probably a majority of Americans support the ID side. As long as you don’t treat ID as if it’s scientifically valid, scientists will be thrilled with your coverage.

Posted by Curt Cameron | Report as abusive

The attack on intelligent design reminds me of that old saw about the guy who always asks if “you are still beating your wife?” The underlying purpose is not to right wrongs but to disparage.Lets face it. Intelligent design is, if you allow a further mixing of metaphors, a dead horse. Why continue to flog it?The answer, I think, is not about enlightenment, but to further castigate religion, sell books, and to feed the frenzy of the militant atheism faithful. If the idea were to enlighten, then dialogue and working towards an understanding would be called for.Perhaps it is time to ask why Mr. Dawkins wants evolution to be a creation myth in a mano-i-mano competition against intelligent design. Don’t we deserve science, not sectarian combat?

Posted by Stephen Friberg | Report as abusive

Reporting should qualify statements with “current scientific theory” because most things taken as fact are actually theories to be later disproved in light of new knowledge/evidence/understanding. For example Black Holes are only theoretical constructs no actual evidence of Black Holes has been found.

Posted by Tina | Report as abusive

Evolution is not a fact. It is a theory.”Theory” meaning that it is a cohesive explanation for the development of life, based on scientific observation and analysis of physical evidence.The huge piles of evidence supporting evolution are facts. They are real and physical things. Evolution is the most likely conclusion that arises from these facts.Religion, creationism and Intelligent Design are not theory or science. They are based on assumption. They are not based on observation or physical evidence. They rely on circular reasoning. They are not subjected to the scientific method.You can not equate theology and science. Because they are not equal. One is the product of groundless faith. The other is the product of physical fact.The attempts to equate the two are the efforts of theists alone. Having realised that they can not meet the burden of proof, they realise their belief is irrational and unprovable.So they do the only thing they can do. Try to drag science down to their level, by accusing it of irrationality and unprovability.Their hope that this false dichotamy is enough to prevent the steady loss of all but the most fundamental theists from religion.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Like hell we haven’t seen empiric evidence of evolution within the past 1000 years. In fact, a person need only look at their own great grandfathers, for instance, and see how short they were in comparison to most of the people today. That is a marked point highly visible to everyone who cares to check it out.In fact, height is only one difference that is measurable–if someone chose to examine their whole history, many differences would become clear. We sometimes take for granted our native intelligence, but our brains have adapted over time to hold more and more information. It would be difficult to a person born earlier than the 20th century to understand automobiles, computers, cell phones, televisions, and medical progress, just as it will be difficult for most of us to understand what will be the norm 100 from now. Evolution is going on every minute, though it is difficult to see it as we are living through it.

Posted by hyphenate | Report as abusive

RickK – Your use of the terms ‘flash’,'pink’ and ‘magic’ are telling. I’ve never alluded to the so-called ‘poof’ scenario, so please don’t imply that, since I don’t hold to instant creation events. Rather, the evidence points to a gradual process, consisting of both adaptive evolution, an embryonic process which is likely ‘designed in’ to aid in survival. I predict that a subset of that process produces diversity (to produce species variety), and so that specific phyla don’t all look the same. That doesn’t eliminated extinctions, which simply add to creative challenges.There are certainly evolutionary processes, but ‘adaptive’ ones, and ‘within’ species. Extrapolating these functions to the mechanisms that produce speciation events is understandable, since the alternative would be intervention, a no no. You have alluded to ‘reality’ in another post, and I completely agree. But one of the most difficult things we face is the way to perceive it. Design proponents are typically accused of skewing reality to satisfy a ‘faith based’ agenda, and in some cases I personally know that to be true.But with me it is absolutely NOT the case.”It is my sincere hope that some day people like Lee Bowman will find the wisdom and serenity to accept that they can still have faith even if science doesn’t validate it for them.”My conclusions are based on an objective ‘analysis’ of the facts (same data), viewed from an engineering standpoint, which includes statistical probabilities, analyses of synergistic systems that need to co-exist to function, repair and metabolic replenishment systems that co-exist with end-use functional systems, geometric placement of ligament, tendon and muscle tissue, to name a few. Most are structures and systems that would never follow from random copying and folding errors. The evidence is design. Period. In sum, I have no objection to purely natural processes, which would in fact give me ultimate freedom to do as I please. But the evidence is contra to that position, and based purely on an objective analysis of the data.By now you you will have read my 10:42 post, so I need not repeat it. These, my friend, are valid points to consider when conflating micro- with macroevolution. The basic problem with analogies is that they are seldom valid comparisons. Accumulated footsteps or stair treads simply don’t cut it, due to the reasons given above.As I’m sure you know, you never make it through grad school if you don’t accept evolution in its ‘accepted’, consensus synthesis. Nor will you hold a job, or achieve tenure if you elect to teach. That in itself is telling with regarding to ‘agenda.’ So if success with the establishment is more important than considering a valid alternate hypothesis, and bucking the tide to pursue it, I understand completely. Similar to Pasteur’s initially rejected germ theory, we may some day see that hypothesis become validated, and by someone with the guts to act on his/her own, and do the appropriate research to validate it. And yes, regarding “wisdom and serenity”, I would wish the same for you.

Reporters should watch what they say when they are reporting. When they use generalized statements they are saying things very detrimental to all sides by implying false information.He wrote “All serious scientists accept evolution as a fact.” This implies that those who do not believe evolution are not serious scientists, and by extension we should not take their work seriously. The problem with this notion is that the creationists have made many contributions to science.Take for example the MRI, it was invented by Dr Raymond V. Damadian. He is also creationist, but according to this author he was not a scientist and as such we should not take his work seriously. It could then be inferred that that this author would not trust anything that comes from this psudoscientific instrument. This would be a logical interpretation of what he wrote but people are not logical so maybe he ignores or is ignorant of the MRI’s past.Some other famous creationists include Faraday, Joule, Maxwell, Pasture, and this list goes on and on.. From before Darwin to the present day. This is why you never hear the question “What has creationism given us?” You only hear the question “What has ID given us?”Another problem that needs to be addressed in the articles that are published is the Straw-man Fallacy or misrepresenting the other person’s position and then preceding to refute it.An example of this is also found in this article “taking the Bible as their reference, believe it can only be 10,000 years old and that its lemurs were made in their current form by a supernatural creator.” Now this is the creating of the straw-man. If the author had bothered to check the link in his story about ID and visited the website of the museum he mentions (it is owned by Answers in Genesis, the largest creationist group in the US and therefore it can be used as the mainstream view of the creationists) he would find that this statement is not believed by ether group.Then he commits the second part of this fallacy by stating ” The scientists have empirical evidence for their view… but the religious view… does not stand up to empirical analysis.” Now that he has already given a false position to the “religious” he can then easily say there is no evidence for it, because not even his opponent is looking for the evidence that he wants to see!When reporting on the Creation vs ID vs Evolution debate reporters need to be careful about what they write. By misrepresenting the position of the people they write about they harm everyone involved as well as show that they cannot keep their own opinions out of their story. Or it shows the laziness of the reporter in not wanting to find out the position of those involved in the story. It only strengthens the cry of the ID and Creationists that they are being persecuted and repressed if lies are put into press.Reporters need to make sure that they are doing their job and checking what people believe when reporting on beliefs. They also need to make sure that they do not take sides in what they say. It is sad to see an organization like Reuters spreading such easily seen lies in its articles. This only serves to make readers lose respect for the writers. It can be then be a tool to convince others that evolution must be wrong, otherwise why would they be so afraid of us to lie about us? and other statements like that. So please do your jobs and leave the preaching to the priests.

Posted by J | Report as abusive

“Most are structures and systems that would never follow from random copying and folding errors.”Evolution is a combination of random permutations, natural selection and massive time scales. The concept that this can lead to complex systems is perfectly rational.Your assumption that something which is complex must be a design. Just because something is complex, is not evidence of design. It is only evidence of complexity. When you assume something is a design, you are assuming a designer. Meaning you are assuming what you are supposed to be proving.This is the reason why Intelligent Design (AKA Creationsism) is not recognised as theory or science.Intelligent Design operates on the assumption that a complex system is designed, when there is no direct evidence this is the case. It is an argument from ignorance, not based on evidence. It’s interpretation of observations are not grounded.It is important to allow contrasting scientific theories to be taught alongside one another.But Intelligent Design is not subject to the scientific method. It cannot be proven by evidence, because it doesn’t rely on evidence to begin with. Meaning it is not a scientific theory, and hence does not need to be treated as if it were one.

Posted by Noah Idea | Report as abusive

@ LeeBowmanYou contrasted ID with Germ Theory. And claim that ID might be confirmed by “someone with the guts to act on his/her own, and do the appropriate research to validate it”.But ID simply operates on one premise. That life was designed. How can any research validate such an assumption? The assumption is not based on any direct evidence. So what evidence could ever prove that the assumption is true? Anything you care to name?This is why ID is not a scientific theory. It is a mere attempt to give theism the appearence of science, and failing terribly because it cannot comply to the required standards of modern scientific thought.And because ID cannot be proven or tested, it cannot even be called a hypothesis in the scientific sense. More evidence that it is not science at all.Which leaves it as nothing more but a mockery of science, being peddled as “science” to those who do not understand the meaning of the term. And that makes it trickery, something which doesn’t reflect well on theism at all.

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

Anon wrote, “The huge piles of evidence supporting evolution are facts. They are real and physical things. Evolution is the most likely conclusion that arises from these facts.”At least you didn’t use the term ‘overwhelming’, but yes, the data is vast and diverse. Part of the difficulty in gaining an accurate assessment is that evolution has more than one meaning, or function. But by extrapolation, varied functions have been put together as one. Rather than degrees of change, micro- and macro- are distinctly different functions as I’ve stated.”Religion, creationism and Intelligent Design are not theory or science. They are based on assumption.”- Religion(s) are based on supposed revelations, commandments and historical data. They include rituals, ceremonies and scriptural tenets to be followed by followers.- Creationism is a general term for opposing evolution, either YEC (mostly) or OEC, with varied takes on phylogenetic progressions, and theistic regarding ‘creative events’. Today, there are varied degrees of Biblical literalism involved.- Intelligent Design has been conflated with Creationism, as has been the case in isolated incidents, which have been heavily focused upon. Kitzmiller v. Dover is the favorite example, although neither the Judge nor the School Board defendants were ID literate. Both Judge Jones and William Buckingham have admitted this in interviews and in testimony. While design proponents are largely religious, the tenets of ID are neutral to an intervening god, and solely address the evidences for and against design.The false dichotomy referred to by Anon is actually a trichotomy, as I stated above. In a Venn diagram, all three would have some common ground, and this is the dilemma we face. Not a pretty picture. My own views are not set in stone, and may change with new evidences. But the additions to the data I’ve seen over the last ten years have strengthened the case for ID, in my opinion.

Posted by LeeBowman | Report as abusive

There is no evolution and the science world will accept this fact sooner or later.The matter we see around is composed of atoms that are composed of quarks which are investigated in terms of quantum electrodynamics that has given a world view that is entirely different from what Dawkins and materialists are imagining. While atoms are quanta and in fact virtual particles that are created and annihilated in an instance by borrowing energy from the future, we are face to face with a totally new paradigm. In this worldview, the quarks cannot be ascribed with any ability of conscious choice or selection as they are made up of energy only. What we conceive of matter is the emptiness in the atom that has no color other than what we interpret in our minds.Now let us come to the question on how to proceed with this evolutionary debate. Other than the evidence in hand from the macro world that mutations are 99,9% harmful to any organism as seen in historical data and laboratory tests; that mutations cannot be favorable in all the accumulated millions of steps when for instance building an eye; that in fact organs like eye are irreducibly complex since without the lens, there is no need for the retina, without the retina, lens has no reason for existence; natural selection cannot add new information on the genetic makeup coded on the DNA by using the nucleotides in a totally novel way to encode a new specific organ or function etc. etc. The list may go on and on.Dawkins is living in an imaginary world of his own, and he does not have the courage and ability to see the facts that there is only story telling and wishful thinking in evolution.Creation is totally apparent with countless data since the Big Bang that proves the universe is created out of nothing in an incredibly fine tuning.The sooner is the better for him to wake up to the fact…

Posted by Mert Sonay | Report as abusive

I stand by my statement. Intelligent Design is based on nothing but assumption.It takes the fact that a system is complex, and makes a baseless assumption that complexity equals design. There is no evidence or observation that this is the case. And the assumption can not be proven or tested.Hence I most sincerely doubt that any “data” has strengthened the case for Intelligent Design. Because Intelligent Design does not require data as a factor in its reasoning.If anything, the data discovered by scientists have either clarified or altered the current thinking of evolutionary theory. But that data has certainly not had any bearing on the truth or likelihood that the universe is “designed”.Nor have you attempted to address the fact that Intelligent Design is not subject to the scientific method, which acts as a fatal flaw to it being considered “science” at all. Except by people who are not scientists, or those who pretend they are.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

@ Mert Sonay.You rely on the argument known as “what is the use of half an eyeball”. And like many religious arguments used by theists, it is based on faulty logic.You assume that the eyeball is a static design and hence irreducable. You fail to understand the theory of evolution, and how it applies to complex organs such as eyes.Current evidence indicates that the first eyes were no more then basic nerves, which detected changes in light. As creatures developed, those with better ability to determine light were more likely to breed. And hence more likely to pass their genetic information to the next generation.Over incredibly large time scales, those creatures with more able sight detection would have succeeded in a hostile world. Eventually their sensory nerves improved to the point where they could determine depth, colour and eventually sight as we know it. The final result over millions of years are the complex organs we now refer to as eyes.Evidence indicating this can be found by:-The fact that most creatures have developed some form of visual sensory perception.-That even creatures in very different branches of biological development have developed similar sensory organs.-That fossel records confirm that as creatures became more complex, their sensory organs likewise increased in complexity.So it is true that the components of the eye cannot operate alone. But we can see, quite clearly if you ignore my pun, how eyes developed to the form we possess today.When you were informed of arguments against evolution, the theist who informed you evidently had little understanding about evolution. Or for that matter, biology.I fear that when you refer to “countless data” supporting creationism, you are in fact refering to the countless assumptions that creationism makes in attempting to present a cohesive argument. And when someone takes the time to look at these assumptions, creationism falls apart.In addition, universe physics has little to do with evolution. And while universal data certainly exists as to the possible origins of the universe, none of that data directly indicates the existance of a deity.So when you refer to such things as “proof” of creationism, you are wasting your time. Creationism and ID remain baseless beliefs. Just like theism.

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

Let us ask wishful thinkers the following:- Let us place a huge gallon of protein on soil- Let it rain for months and years on this gallon- Let the lightning strike it hundreds of times- Let us wait and wait for millions of yearsNow:What will we expect to see where we left this gallon of protein after 100 or 200 or 400 millions of years?a-Rabbitsb-Giraffesc-Horsesd-Butte rfliese-Nonef-All the aboveIt is really fun to discuss evolution fantasy!!!

Posted by Tuna Berkman | Report as abusive

On the biggest question of all, does God exist, an answer may exist with a new interpretation of the moral teaching of Christ spreading on the web. Quoting a review of The Final Freedoms:”Using a synthesis of scriptural material from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha , The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Nag Hammadi Library, and some of the worlds great poetry, it describes and teaches a single moral LAW, a single moral principle, and offers the promise of its own proof; one in which the reality of God responds directly to an act of perfect faith with a individual intervention into the natural world; correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries. Intended to be understood metaphorically, where ‘death’ is ignorance and ‘Life’ is knowledge, this experience, personal encounter of transcendent power and moral purpose is the ‘Resurrection’, and justification for faith.”"Here then is the first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged. This new teaching delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition, that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable and ‘extraordinary evidence’ based truth embodied in action. For the first time in history, however unexpected, the world must now measure for itself, the reality of a new moral tenet, offering access by faith, to absolute proof for its belief.”Thus a paradigm shift in the very nature of religion and ‘Faith’ is getting under way. After reading the material, it would be a great mistake to underestimate just how profound this is. Revolutionary stuff for those who can handle it. Free copies of the manuscript are available from a number of links including: http://www.dunwanderinpress.org

Theory of evolution cannot give explanations to complex organs:- How did the nerve originated at first- Cells have no “eyes” to see light, how did the this first nerve cell detect that there was light- Light is electromagnetism and penetrates the eye as photons to be detected as electrical stimulus at the retina, how did this nerve cell comprehend the structure of light as electromagnetism (even man succeeded in doing this a few decades ago)- In terms of evolutionary vocabulary, the nonfit should be eliminated, so an eye with no ability for sight is useless, has no function and should be eliminated- This means only complex, intact eyes would benefit a certain individual- Which gives the conclusion that eye cannot have evolved anyhow through graduation- And eye is definitely created in its current form but with different varieties in various species all around the worldThanks for making me think over and be convinced on creation once again.

Posted by Mert Sonay | Report as abusive

@ Mert Sonay”How did the nerve originated at first”All living entities react to stimulus. As organisms become more complex, this ability to react is known as a ‘nerve system’.”Cells have no “eyes” to see light, how did the this first nerve cell detect that there was light”Organisms react to stimulus. Cells react to stimulus. Light is a stimulus. Sooner or later, a cell that reacts to light strongly would exist.”In terms of evolutionary vocabulary, the nonfit should be eliminated, so an eye with no ability for sight is useless, has no function and should be eliminated”You are confused. Eyes didn’t just snap into existance. The first eyes were simple nerves capable of light differentiation, which was better then no light differentiation at all. These first eyes provided an advantage over no eyes. Natural selection and genetics did the rest.”This means only complex, intact eyes would benefit a certain individual”Incorrect. Even a basic nerve capable of detecting light, is better then having no sight at all. The simple eyes came first. The complex eyes came second.”Which gives the conclusion that eye cannot have evolved anyhow through graduation”Only if you reach the conclusion through bad reasoning, which you have done.”And eye is definitely created in its current form but with different varieties in various species all around the world”Proof that sight is something that benefits the organism. Hence sight is something that is likely to increase chances of survival, which makes it more likely that those with better sight will pass on their genes.”Thanks for making me think over and be convinced on creation once again.”Perhaps you should read a basic textbook on evolution. You seem to have problems with basic theory, which shows in your posts.

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

Lets get some things out of the way:-The bible is not proof of creationism or ID, because there is no proof the bible is true.-Just because something is complex, is not proof it was designed. Only that it is complex.-Just because the universe began (which itself is not proven), is not proof a deity began it.-Just because evolution has gaps in evidence, does not mean creationism is any more likely to be true.-Creationism and ID are is not based on evidence. It is based on assumptions that are NOT capable of being proven or disproven. Hence it is not science.So please, theists, do not waste everyone’s time by trying to argue any of the above points. Your false logic will be pointed out.

Posted by OhMan | Report as abusive

LeeBowman says re Dover: “neither the Judge nor the School Board defendants were ID literate.”Perhaps. But Michael Behe was ID literate when he said a definition of science that includes ID would also include astrology. The Discovery Intitute (Meyer and Johnson) were ID literate when they put into writing their “Wedge Strategy” to use ID as a means of paving the way for introducing the Christian God back into school science classrooms. And the authors of “Of Pandas and People” were ID literate when they did a text search-and-replace to convert all instances of “creationism” to “intelligent design”.So given all these published examples, it is a perfectly valid starting assumption that ID is promoted by, funded by, and kept alive by a desire to promote Christian (and Islamic) faith.Lee, do you support the goals of the Wedge Strategy? Do you think “Pandas” is an effective protrayal of Intelligent Design.LeeBowman says “Creationism is a general term for opposing evolution”Actually, “Creationism” is a term that covers any belief that life was created by a supernatural being.LeeBowman says: “There are certainly evolutionary processes, but ‘adaptive’ ones, and ‘within’ species.”OK, you didn’t like my implication that you support “magic” for “macroevolution”. So, was the branching of humans from the great apes a natural adaptation, or intervention from the Designer? Was the fusing in human chromosome 2 a natural event, or did the Designer do it?How does “Design” enter a cell or an embryo or the DNA to support changes between species?Do you support the concept of “irreducible complexity” of certain features? If so, how does the Designer make an “irreducibly complex” feature? Does he/she/it tweak physics just enough to cause just the right mutations to occur? Or did the Designer plan the whole thing out when he/she/it created the first proto-cells?In short, what is the proposed mechanism of Intelligent Design?LeeBowman says: “The likelihood on ‘one’ species event happening according to that process is highly unlikely, let alone all of them.”So the changes that separate Homo erectus from Homo sapiens required intervention by the Designer? Or are they the same “species” by your definition?What about the 3-mutation change observed in the Lenski experiment, that led to a completely new ability in E. coli?Or are you basically saying that any change that we’ve observed is adaptive, but any we haven’t observed must have required the Intelligent Designer?

Posted by RickK | Report as abusive

Where is this designer? What does the designer look like? Where does the designer live? How does design occur? When did the design occur? What does the designer do when he’s not designing?I haven’t heard any answers to these questions.

Posted by cheese | Report as abusive

RickK wrote, Perhaps. ” … Michael Behe was ID literate when he said a definition of science that includes ID would also include astrology.”Do you really think that someone with a PhD in biochemistry accepts astrology?! Come on … Ever hear the term “leading the witness”. Read the actual testimony leading up to that concession, and you will see that Eric Rothschild used typical prosecuting attorney tactics. From day 11, PM session:Q “But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?”A “Yes, that’s correct. And let me explain under my definition of the word “theory,” it is — a sense of the word “theory” does not include the theory being true, it means a proposition based on physical evidence to explain some facts by logical inferences. There have been many theories throughout the history of science which looked good at the time which further progress has shown to be incorrect. Nonetheless, we can’t go back and say that because they were incorrect they were not theories. So many many things that we now realized to be incorrect, incorrect theories, are nonetheless theories.”[ ... ]Q “And I asked you, “Is astrology a theory under that definition?” And you answered, “Is astrology? It could be, yes.” Right?”A “That’s correct.”Q “Not, it used to be, right?”A “Well, that’s what I was thinking. I was thinking of astrology when it was first proposed. I’m not thinking of tarot cards and little mind readers and so on that you might see along the highway. I was thinking of it in its historical sense.”Behe never said that he accepted astrology as a ‘valid’ theory, just one that was considered by some to be science at one time. Behe was too accommodating, not realizing that his words would be twisted and mischaracterized as an endorsement ad infinitum.The ten year old Wedge document was an internal paper, written by Phillip Johnson to encourage members to oppose abject materialism. It was never established as policy, nor did it say anything about injecting the tenets of Christian religion into science; just to limit the effects of hard materialism. For anyone wanting to read it and its rebut, search “wedge document” and “so what”.Regarding Pandas and People, the 22 year old edition that was edited to remove references to ‘creationism’ may have had endorsement by certain ID proponents at that time, but has no relevance to the present day ID concept and tenets.” … was the branching of humans from the great apes a natural adaptation, or intervention from the Designer? Was the fusing in human chromosome 2 a natural event, or did the Designer do it?”While not as major a branching as birds from reptiles which certainly required intervention, there was likely intervention in the divergence of humans as well. These incremental changes over time could have been the work of surrogates to a higher entity, or a higher entity itself. ID doesn’t currently address the question of who and when. The fusing of chromosome 2 is evidence for common ancestry, which I fully accept, and was likely a natural event.”How does “Design” enter a cell or an embryo or the DNA to support changes between species?”When we look at binary software code, it’s difficult to discern its function(s). We have programs to convert binary to text for clarification. When we are able to do the same with DNA code, we may have answers to how genetic changes were made. The alterations over time appear to have been ‘cut and try’, which doesn’t fit monotheistic religious views, but may well be valid. The goal is to go where the evidence leads, regardless.”Do you support the concept of “irreducible complexity” of certain features?”Yes, but with revised definition. Rather than a top-down “removal of any parts causes ceased functioning”, and “either all, or a subset of its components are necessary for it to function properly”, I prefer more of a bottom-up definition, “the arrival of its present structure and function would not occur through random (although selected) incremental alterations, unless each alteration offered a survival or reproductive advantage. Cooption of functions is allowable in some instances, although further research is need to validate the cooption premise).”"If so, how does the Designer make an “irreducibly complex” feature? Does he/she/it tweak physics just enough to cause just the right mutations to occur? Or did the Designer plan the whole thing out when he/she/it created the first proto-cells?”It’s not “tweaking physics”, any more than catching an object before it hits the ground is ‘tweaking physics’ by circumventing gravity. The ‘tweaking’ would be of the genetic code, possible altering the HOX gene coding, is one prediction. TE accepts front loading of all life, including humans. I accept front loading for replication and adaptation functions, but not all of the coding that followed. I feel that any alterations were a combination of directed and natural causes.”What about the 3-mutation change observed in the Lenski experiment, that led to a completely new ability in E. coli?”Interesting work, but of limited relevance to ID and IC. Did the three mutations occur simultaneously? It has been noted that new E. coli abilities (increased fitness by out-competing ancestral strain) has also given way to an added weakness (increased sensitivity to osmotic stress). There issome evidence that adaptational evolutionary changes can weaken and/or reduce information content in some cases.” … are you basically saying that any change that we’ve observed is adaptive, but any we haven’t observed must have required the Intelligent Designer?”I’m saying that they are totally different functions. While adaptive changes may contribute to a radically different species, it would be a minor component. And many adaptive alterations are only temporary anyway (finch beaks returning to normal size, et al).Bottom line. There is evidence that this planet is a kind of biologic workshop, and that we have an active role in it. And don’t forget that like it or not, you are more than a collection of phenotypic DNA constructs.Cheers

“I’ll state it again, this time as a prediction: Re-design of a species by genetic engineering is now possible, ‘BUT’ with increased data, and subsequent algorithmic analyses, will reach the level a method of radical morphologic ‘redesigns’ of a species. This will validate one method of speciation, intervention in the embryonic process by an intelligence. I further predict that HOX genes will hold the key.”Quite obviously you either know nothing about predictions in science, or you’re dissembling yet again.You need to predict something using “ID theory” if you can ever come up with a theory about a magical being. Predicting that humans might eventually be able to make life, or to cause speciation, has absolutely nothing to do with any sort of prediction that god made life in the first place.An honest IDist would also admit that there would be tell-tale marks of design (rationality, purpose) in life that we design, at least at first (at some point we might be able to fake evolved life, as IDists imply that god did). Of course you’re ignoring such details, because they aren’t convenient for ID and its endlessly dishonest avoidance of actual science.Regardless, the fact that we could make life, or cause speciation, is as meaningful to ID as that we can make diamonds is proof that diamonds were “intelligently designed.” You evince no knowledge of science, Bowman.”In the meantime, please show us where radical speciation (and please, not allopatric, sympatric, parapatric, or hybridization) has taken place by random processes.”Sorry, pseudoscientist, evolution isn’t about random processes, or rather, it is about both random and non-random events occurring.And we have exactly the same evidence you accept for “microevolution” in favor of “macroevolution” and of speciation, the similarities and dissimilarities in DNA sequences, as well as the phenotypic results of those genotypes. You’ll have to reinvent science (the whole point of ID, to make it utterly meaningless, I know) in order for that not to be completely adequate evidence.Glen Davidsonhttp://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

I’m amazed that among all these comments critical of ID, not any of you will attempt to answer one of the biggest challenges to evolution, staring you in the face.Instead of scoffing, attempt to explain any possible natural process, that brings a flagellum motor into existence, by small darwinian steps. Don’t be vague, like everybody else, use specifics example that could plausibly mutate, so that natural selection can act on it. Don’t quote an article, I’ve read them all. They explain miracles by using words like ‘homologies’, yet don’t explain how you can have over 3 simultaneous advantageous mutations, let alone the hundreds necessary for even 1 novel protein. ID is guilty of using Darwin’s own yardstick, to critique his theory. Why don’t you Evolutionist stick to science and explain the many faults with it. Explain the motor, and ID will go away, like a miracle. Roll your sleeves up and do the work, instead of contributing to this constant ding from armchair science wannabes.

Posted by Joe Jensen | Report as abusive

Seriously folks.-ID relies on speculation, not actual evidence.-ID cannot be proven or disproven using the scientific method.-It assumes complexity is proof of design, when it isn’t.So it isn’t science. So why do ID supporters keep trying to beat a dead horse?And even if you argue the legs of a mountain for why evolution isn’t ironclad, this STILL doesn’t change the fact that ID isn’t science.@ Lee Bowman.Rather then wasting forum space on long winded yet flawed arguments, address the following points:1. Is Intelligent Design capable of being proven or disproven by scientific process?2. Why do you feel that complexity is conclusive proof of design, and what scientific evidence do you lead in support?Short answers would be welcome.

Posted by OhMan | Report as abusive

The Curse of Darwin:”That those who support evolution are cursed forever to be confronted by theists who have bad reasoning and logic, and not even a basic understanding of what they are arguing against.”"And that no matter how many times you point out their failure in reasoning, logic or understanding, there will always be another theist who will argue the exact same flawed argument tomorrow.”

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

LeeBowman demonstrates the handwaving required to make ID sound plausible.When I ask how the Intelligent Designer actually introduces “Design” to an organism, LeeBowman objects to my suggestion that the Designer is “tweaking physics”. Lee says: “It’s not “tweaking physics”, any more than catching an object before it hits the ground is ‘tweaking physics’ by circumventing gravity.”Um… Lee… I’M not a Divine Designer. Stopping a ball is different than supernaturally intervening to Intelligently Design a new species. Stop dodging the question and tell us how you think your Designer caused the branching of birds from reptiles. How did the higher being “direct” the change? Did he adjust DNA? Or did he supernaturally force a “surrogate” to adjust DNA? How did he do EITHER without circumventing physics?Evolution, being a scientific theory, proposes a mechanism – a demonstrable mechanism. If ID is science, what is its mechanism?LeeBowman says: “The fusing of chromosome 2 is evidence for common ancestry, which I fully accept, and was likely a natural event.”Lee, that was a major step in speciation. Why is that a natural event, but other speciation events NOT natural? When does your Intelligent Designer intervene and when doesn’t he?RE Behe and astrology. Read the testimony, Lee. You quoted it.Attorney: “But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?”Behe: “Yes, that’s correct.”To broaden the definition of science to accept Intelligent Design is to broaden it so far as to admit astrology.There’s no two ways about it, Lee. Astrology and ID have equal scientific merit.And I have no idea whether Behe believes his morning horoscope or not – nor do you. His degree means nothing with respect to what he believes. Kurt Wise has a PhD in geology from Harvard, and he believes the Earth was created 6000 years ago in a literal Genesis creation. Why should Behe have any more credibility than Kurt Wise? Both invoke divine magic. The only difference is that Kurt Wise’s divine designer doesn’t waste time in trial and error, doesn’t pussyfoot around. :-)An active supernatural agent creating life is creationism. You, Behe and Wise all believe that life was created by an active supernatural agent.Regarding the Wedge Document, LeeBowman states that it doesn’t say anything about injecting Christianity into science.That’s simply false. Here are quotes from the Wedge Document:”Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”"Governing Goals: …To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”"Five Year Objectives…5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:…Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s) Darwinism”Now, that sounds to me like a plan to use Intelligent Design to promote the Christian God as the creator of life. And that document was written by Johnson and Meyer, the founders of the Discovery Institute – the largest, most active organization promoting Intelligent Design. Meyer himself publicly acknowledge this was a Discovery Institute document.As LeeBowman so clearly demonstrates – “Intelligent Design” cannot be defended without sacrificing honesty.

Posted by RickK | Report as abusive

In response to Glen Davidson to start off with is “GET YOUR OWN SPECIES”!! Instead of re-designing or to put it another way “AGAIN”-designing a already designed species.

Posted by DAVID | Report as abusive

Evolutionary storytelling requires that you act by their rules. Any other reasoning or analysis out of this “evolutionary world” is out of the question. This is total a dogmatic approach.1- In order for a living entity to react to a stimulus, that living entity should possess all the required structures to be considered a living entity. Let us consider this entity to be the cell:- How did the first cell originate- Cell is a giant universe in micro level- How did the first mitochondria originate- How did the cell nucleus originate- How did the DNA originate- How did incredibly complex chromosomes originate- How did the cell wall originate- How did the first amino acid originate- How did the first protein originateThen we may start asking how did this cell react to certain stimuli?

Posted by Mert Sonay | Report as abusive

@ Joe JensenTheists ask for the following to prove evolution:-Every step of development from simple molecule to single cell, to multicell and complex organs.-Every mutation, both random and those resulting from natural selection.-Every single fossil step, in the history of biological development.-Every single gap in the branching evolutionary system of biological organisms.And they say these things must be provided, before they will conclude that evolution is a cohesive theory which explains biological development.But those same theists will believe a religion. Even though they have absolutely NO ACTUAL EVIDENCE AT ALL that their deity, in fact, actually exists.Those things that theists ask for from evolution will be explained in due time. But considering the galling double standards theists have for reasoning or logic, they are not worth working to a schedule for.

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

Here is some clarification why mutations cannot bring about any favorable features in an organism.Please ask these to Dawkins, he keeps writing fantasies but cannot come face to face with creationists. I wonder why he is running away:- Mutations are breaks or displacements in an organism’s genetic code, or DNA, as a result of radiation or chemical effects.- Mutations also damage the nucleotides (the molecules that make up DNA, expressed by the letters A, T, G and C).- Mutations take place at random. They are unconscious and totally coincidental events that impact on perfect structures.- 99% of mutations are harmful and 1% have no effect. Not even one single beneficial mutation has ever been observed.- It is therefore IMPOSSIBLE for mutations to make organisms more developed and perfect in the way Darwinists maintain.- The changes caused by mutations can only be of the kind suffered by people at Hiroshima, Nagasaki or Chernobyl; in other words, death, deformation and disease.- Mutations have no ability to add a life form’s DNA any new information that does not already exist.- Mutations can add no information of fins to the genetic structure of a bird, for instance. Mutations are merely breakages and displacements in an organism’s genes. Breakages or displacements in a gene cannot bestow any new information on that gene.

Posted by Tuna Berkman | Report as abusive

- “ID relies on speculation, not actual evidence.”ALL theories rely on speculation to a degree. But no, there are features of bioforms that can be quantified and substantiated:Irreducible complexity, but by the expanded definition I have proposed. If it can’t be built by random mutations (even though selected upon by NS), then ID is an alternative. It’s been said that ruling out one doesn’t prove the other, but can you propose an alternative process?- “ID cannot be proven or disproven using the scientific method.”Neither can NS of RM for past speciation events. Nor can the Big Bang be empirically tested. Both depend on inferences from existent phenomenon (infrared shift, velocity and direction of galaxies, etc). The scientific method as stated has its limits for complex, forensic, and multifaceted theories.- “It assumes complexity is proof of design, when it isn’t.”We’re talking ‘specified’ complexity. A snowflake is unspecified, an eye is specified, since it contains multiple co-dependent systems, metabolic replenishment systems, and repair mechanisms. All are required for optimal function; none coopted from another organ by accident (exaptation); and therefore have the distinct appearance of having been designed.” 1. Is Intelligent Design capable of being proven or disproven by scientific process?”Yes, to a degree. 1) Establish methods to speciate in vitro, 2) Rule out alternatives by statistical methods, and by the failure to replicate speciation by natural processes. 3) There may be other ways. We will see.” 2. Why do you feel that complexity is conclusive proof of design, and what scientific evidence do you lead in support?”I’ve addressed that previously.You say ID is a “dead horse”. Consider that it may simply be resting, awaiting tinkerbell to awaken it. Of the tinkerbells sitting in biology classes, somewhat frustrated by the militant stance opposing ID, or even it’s mention except to denigrate it, one may be a future Nobel laureate.

“Stopping a ball is different than supernaturally intervening … “ID doesn’t specify supernaturality, a religious concept. If done supernaturally, and this is a nebulous and undefinable term, why did it take that long? The investigative assumption at this point is that it was done through natural processes, but directed at various points. The designer(s) are not likely biologic entities, due to their limitations, but within the natural universe nonetheless.My objection was to your implication that it was done by ‘magic’ (a supernatural event), which I have never stated or implied.”Lee, the fusing of chromosome 2 was a major step in speciation. Why is that a natural event, but other speciation events NOT natural? When does your Intelligent Designer intervene and when doesn’t he?”The fusing of chromosome 2 was a natural, embryogenic processes, and definitely NOT a step in directed speciation (to form an intentionally altered species). And if the embryo development process required constant intervention, that would be one heck of a housekeeping chore. The process is automated. Species modifications would be infrequent events, would they not?You quote mined Behe, leaving off the rest of his remark ” … And let me explain under my definition of the word “theory,” it is — a sense of the word “theory” does not include the theory being true … “”An active supernatural agent creating life is creationism. You, Behe and Wise all believe that life was created by an active supernatural agent.”Again a false assumption, since ID makes no prediction that the design agency is supernatural (either ‘magic’ or outside the natural universe, take your pick). Stop putting up straw men to knock down, but I fully understand. We hear similar remarks continually, ad naseum.And finally, yes the Wedge document had religious overtones, but it said nothing about teaching religion in science classes. It’s irrelevant anyway, since DI doesn’t set science standards. Further, their current stated purpose AND their definition of ID is secular. The fact that the designer(s) could be a supernatural god is irrelevant. ID merely proposes directed intervention in the progression of life forms, nothing more.

@ Mert SonayCurrent evolutionary theory is that molecules were concentrated in primordal soup, forming the very first initial biological systems. That is the theory I currently agree with.The actual means by which this led to single cell life is still under debate. But there are theories, which are even now being developed.I am not going to waste forum space documenting the lengthy explaination of these theories. The information is easily accessable on the web, and you know that.But the belief that life was created by a designer or deity is not grounded. There is absolutely NO actual evidence of it being true or even possible.Instead of arguing the gaps in evolution, you should consider the fact that creationism (And ID) are nothing but one huge gap.I now ask *you* a simple question:1. What actual scientific evidence exists that indicates the existance of a designer?2. Can the existance of a designer be proven or disproven by the scientific method? If so, what would this evidence be?Please limit your answer in length, for consideration of other readers. Be warned. If your answer contains faulty logic or baseless assumption (eg. arguments from ignorance), these things will be pointed out.I await your reply.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Harun Yahya is doing a great job really. He and his team has dedicated their life to – waking up mankind – on the fallacy of evolution, and the fact of creation.Here are some of his websites that you may refer for further information:Darwinist Panichttp://www.darwinistpanic.comDarwin ’s Lost Causehttp://www.darwinslostcause.comFoss il – Museumhttp://www.fossil-museum.comAmbers Deny Darwinhttp://www.ambersdenydarwin.comTra nsitional Form Dilemmahttp://www.transitionalformdilemm a.comQuran Denies Darwinismhttp://www.qurandeniesdarwinism .comDarwinists Ask Ushttp://www.darwinistsaskus.com

Posted by Melis Tanocak | Report as abusive

Faith is not something difficult to attain, God has created numerous examples and creations on earth that will eventually lead a “thinking” person to belief in His Marvelous Creation.- Big Bang is a very utter example of how the universe originated- The origin of the cell is never explainable by evolutionists, they tell you to look at their explanations, but you never find any- Mutations are 99,9% harmful to any organism so they can never be expected to bring about continuously favorable features in an organism- Natural selection, let us come to nature consisting of trees, water, air, winds, lightnings, etc. These have no consciousness and have no intelligence, but merely consist of the 92 elements on the periodic table. How is it possible to ascribe the intelligence in the brain’s composition for instance to these forces?- Natural selection only selects the fast runner, higher jumper, swift hider etc. but this nature, cannot encode new genetic information by using the 4 nucleotide alphabet on the DNA. Can any human being do that? No.I can write here lengths of facts that show how evolution – is definitely and obviously – in an impasse. Please be factual, not prejudiced. These are open ideas for a critical mind, but one needs to be free of any pressures on the mind to give sincere answers to these questions.These and many others that make one think while pondering on the universe and what is created in it, give countless number of facts and evidence that lead a person to a superior intelligence and mind, that is God.Man is created and has a very short life on earth, he is given an incredible body with immense information inside. Right from his birth, he is not left to chance at all, he breathes properly, sees properly, eats properly with no difficulty. He has his bones, organs, nerves all intact to provide him a life, and these are all considered to be given. Yes then looking on the earth all fruits and vegetation also meat is already there once again. These are all given, as well as the universe and galaxies in their fine tuned orbits.These are all “given” by God, these all include immense and marvelous “intelligence” of God, not the dust or dark matter or electrons or atoms possess this intelligence. Man thinks he has great capacity and superiority in nature. How many scientists have spent their lives only to understand the atom? But we have not completely understood it yet? How many scientists have spent their lives to understand the cell? But we have not completely solved its mysteries. It is very apparent that the entire universe with the entire information inside of it, is the Mind of God and we are having great joy in witnessing His Wisdom through science. Yes, science is this, and it should definitely develop to discover more of what is already there but what we have not yet grasped. This cannot be done by losing time in trying to fool people and deceive them that there is a chance behind all this. Chance is a word made up in an attempt to form a new false deity to lead people astray from rather belief in God.God is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and all in between.

Posted by Mert Sonay | Report as abusive

@ Leebowman-You assume that complex organs snapped into existence as complex organs, meaning they are irreducible. The ‘what use is half an eyeball’ theory looks at biology the wrong way. Simple organs came first, and gradually became complex organs.This information has been provided earlier in the forum postings. I won’t waste forum space repeating them in detail.-If something is not evidence of evolution, this doesn’t have any relevance to whether ID is a rational alternative. As you seem an educated fellow, you are no doubt aware that ‘Argument from ignorance’ is not good debating practice.-Once again, you believe that complexity is proof of design. I have asked for a basis for this assertion, and you have shown none. Except for the mentioned ‘argument from ignorance’.-The applicability of the scientific method is not debatable.The big bang is testable, based on the evidence that exists in the universe. We can make a hypothesis on the laws of the universe, and we can test this with the available evidence. In this way, our hypothesis can become theory.In the same way Evolution is testable. We can take the evidence which exists, and form conclusions on this evidence. As further evidence is found, our conclusions are either confirmed or altered to fit the available evidence.But Intelligent Design is not testable. It assumes that complexity is proof of design. Everything from that point onward is an argument from ignorance.All scentific theory has some assumptions. But these assumptions fit with available facts. They do not use an assumption as their single core basis of reasoning, and assume it to be true until all other possibilities are removed.ID can either be provable by the scientific method, or it is not science. You cannot excuse ID from the burden of scientific standards.Once again I ask the question:”What conclusive scientific evidence will indicate that Intelligent Design is true, or that complexity is proof of design?”.If your answer involves an argument from ignorance, or assumes the existance of a deity, I will not bother replying.

Posted by OhMan | Report as abusive

@ Mert SonayYou have failed to answer my questions, which I felt were quite reasonable.So rather then answer your questions, I will simply point out the logical failings in your post:1. Faith is not proof that something is true.2. The big bang is only evidence the universe began. It is not evidence that a deity was involved.3. The fact something is complex, is only evidence that it is complex. Not that it was designed.4. The fact that evolution has different theories for why the very first life began, is not proof a deity exists.5. The fact you do not understand mutation and natural selection is not proof a deity exists.6. The fact that humans are intelligent is proof of intelligence. It is not proof that a deity was the reason.7. The fact that you feel something is true, is not proof that something is true.8. The fact that we do not understand the universe, is not proof a deity exists.9. DNA contains all the biological information which makes up a biological form. If you do not understand how this fits with natural selection, it is not my job to educate you.10. If you are going to assert a deity exists, you need actual evidence proving this assertion. Otherwise your assertion is no more then faith (see step 1).Each of these things represents a logical failure in your reasoning. Unless you can fix these failures, you essentially disqualify yourself from participating in a logical debate.If you choose to reply, and the reply involves any of the above logical failures, it will be pointed out.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

@Melis:Harun Yahya???You mean the fellow that uses pictures of FISHING LURES as proof against evolution? Not only that, but he uses pictures taken without permission (ie, stolen) from a fishing supply website?http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/ho ax/weblog/permalink/the_fishing_lures_of _faith/You mean the Harun Yahya that offers a 10 trillion lira prize for a fossil of a transitional species?http://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpr ess.com/2008/09/29/harun-yahya-offers-ei ght-trillion-dollar-prize/Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar) offers nothing resembling science – just creationist propoganda.http://sciencereligionnews.bl ogspot.com/2008/10/dawkins-shreds-harun- yahyas-atlas-of.html#He has no credibility whatsoever.

Posted by RickK | Report as abusive

@Tuna BerkmanYour post is almost entirely wrong.You said “Mutations are breaks or displacements in an organism’s genetic code, or DNA, as a result of radiation or chemical effects.”Those are only some of the reasons for mutations, there are many others. If you are an average human, your DNA has around 100 mutations – genetic differences from either of your parents. And mutations can also involve additions of genetic material through gene or chromosomal duplication.You said: “99% of mutations are harmful and 1% have no effect.”Tuna, that is absolutely, unequivocally false. Most mutations are completely neutral. For example, YOUR genetic mutations are almost all completely neutral.And MANY are beneficial. Lactose tolerance, near immunity to HIV, resistance to certain cancers, resistance to heart disease are all beneficial genetic mutations found in select human populations. The Lenski E. coli experiment provides a shining example of how mutations ACTUALLY work – 2 neutral mutations followed by a beneficial mutation resulted in a never-before-seen strain of E. coli developing the ability to consume citrate. Natural selection then led to that superior, mutated strain taking over the whole culture.You said: “It is therefore IMPOSSIBLE for mutations to make organisms more developed and perfect in the way Darwinists maintain.”Well, your premise was wrong so your conclusion is wrong. We have well documented cases of beneficial mutations leading to changes that improved organisms’ competitive advantage.You said: “Mutations have no ability to add a life form’s DNA any new information that does not already exist.”Again, completely false. What mutations can do, they can undo – what they can undo, they can do. They can add or subtract or change. There are plenty of examples of gene duplication or non-fatal chromosomal changes leading to additional genetic “information”.Your post sounds like it came word for word from a creationist website. You should instead try learning genetics from the website of a university biology department.

Posted by RickK | Report as abusive

“The fact that the designer(s) could be a supernatural god is irrelevant. ID merely proposes directed intervention in the progression of life forms, nothing more.” -LeeBowman.No, Lee. It’s entirely relevant. How can a theory claim an action occurred without naming the agent that performed the action? That’s like saying we know a murder occurred, but the identity of the murderer is irrelevant. If there was intervention in the development of life, then some thing had to do that intervening, and the fact that you don’t know who, what, when, why, or how that intervention occurred leads me to believe that you’re full of it. Evolution may not be a perfect explanation, but it offers a mechanism (natural selection) that can be observed and quantified, and theory is being refined all the time. Your (fill-in-the-blank) that intervenes in life processes cannot be observed, cannot be quantified, and cannot be used to make any predictions about the future. ID only looks backward; it cannot look forward.

Posted by cheese | Report as abusive

Fried, and hold the cheese: ;~)”No, Lee. It’s entirely relevant. How can a theory claim an action occurred without naming the agent that performed the action?”Likewise, how can a theory claim to identify a designer if it disavows design?”That’s like saying we know a murder occurred, but the identity the murderer is irrelevant.”Was it murder or accidental death? We FIRST must determine that. If accidental, what would be the relevance of attempting to identify the murderer?”If there was intervention in the development of life, then some thing had to do that intervening, and the fact that you don’t know who, what, when, why, or how that intervention occurred leads me to believe that you’re full of it.”And just ‘how’ would I know that? Once design is established, THEN we can address questions such as who, when and of course why. Like any forensic study, it is done stepwise.But in the case of a ‘life’ designer, surrogate, design team or multiple designers over vast time, placing the ‘who’ question first is putting the cart before the horse. IOW, the only thing available to propel that cart would be scriptural accounts and philosophic assumptions. Better to address the designer question first, to avoid the pitfalls of presupposition, rather than investigative science.Creationists fit the sequence you propose (the wink wink nod nod scenario), but from a scientific approach, you FIRST investigate the earmarks of design based on empircal and statistical evidence. Determining and testing a workable method would help to validate intervention; successful modeling via random mutations would tend to falsify it. No hard evidence is likely to be found for either ID or natural causation, just inferences.”Evolution may not be a perfect explanation, but it offers a mechanism (natural selection) that can be observed and quantified … “Sorry friend; it does NOT.”Your [designer(s)] that intervenes in life processes cannot be observed, cannot be quantified, and cannot be used to make any predictions about the future.”Nor can the purported selected mutations be observed, although there is a slim possibility that those mutations left a mark in the genome that can be later quantified chronologically. I sincerely doubt that, however. If doable tho, worthy of a Nobel prize.”ID only looks backward; it cannot look forward.”Same for BOTH forensic hypotheses.

LeeBowman said: “ID doesn’t specify supernaturality”Please stop the doublespeek. You said an intelligent agent is actively directing biological processes to introduce “Design” and irreducibly complex features.So please explain how that invisible, undetectable agent acting on the inside of a cell is a “natural” being.If “Design” cannot be the result of natural, random mutation guided by natural selective forces, then “Design” is not introduced “naturally”, right?Supernatural = outside of nature.As for Behe – he’s stated openly that (1) science should be expanded to accept supernatural causation, and (2) he believes the Intelligent Designer is the Christian God.Finally, re the Wedge Strategy. Lee said it has “religious overtones”. OH COME ON!Quote from Wedge: “Governing Goal… To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.”For the record – a “governing goal” is not an “overtone”. There aren’t any non-religious interpretations of that goal. Lee, one might think you learned doubletalk from Bill Clinton. Can we agree on the definition of “is”?The Discovery Institute, the leading organization promoting Intelligent Design, wants to change science to allow for supernatural expalantions, and wants to teach that version of science to our kids. You deny this, Lee? You truly feel this is not a goal of the DI?

Posted by RickK | Report as abusive