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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Judge rules against 'intelligent design'
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01/13/2006 12:30:59 PM · #1
Originally posted by milo655321:

Just in case anyone is interested, Dr. Kenneth Miller, cell biologist, lead plaintiff’s witness in Kitzmiller and author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientists Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, gave a fantastic talk last night at Case Western Reserve University entitled The Collapse of Intelligent Design summarizing the recent trial and current efforts by certain anti-science factions around the country.


Not to keep harping on this, but the above-referenced Dr. Miller was a guest on The Colbert Report last night. He was good humored guest and played well off of Stephen Colbert's on-screen persona. For those with Comedy Central, the episode should run again this evening (6:30 EST) or the segment should be available later today on Comedy Central's website.

Miller is currently working on another book and I wouldn't be surprised to see him as a future guest on The Daily Show to promote it.
01/11/2006 07:28:54 AM · #2
The funny thing is, any believer in a God, would have to believe in intelligent design.

I guess the whole point is , as civilization starts, the homo sapien has a need to

1: explain and create a life after death to give purpose to life
and
2: explain natural phenomena and occurences.

Unfortunately, Judao-christian religion explains most things in a no more sophisticated manner than pagans who felt if they did not sacrifice virgins, the crops would die. The old testament is littered with wrathful God B.S.

Anyway, I guess I can be labelled as agnostic, and science isn't perfect, but here is a simple truth;

You have to smoking strong weed to think that the earth started a few thousand years ago, and that we are not relatives, at least cousins to monkeys. The earth is not flat, is not the center of the universe, and yes, praying for your sports team or your grandmother in the coma is really wasted energy.
01/11/2006 06:32:25 AM · #3
Just as food for thought, those who haven't had kids in public school in a while (or yet) can peruse my state's curriculum for science from grades K through 12 H E R E.. I'm a certified science teacher (my first certification, actually...I taught middle school science and theatre arts before becoming a counselor) and science instruction is near and dear to my heart. Because we HAVE to teach all the things you see listed on every link in that page, there is little time to be able to devote to anything else (sadly). Those items on that page are what is tested every year on our state achievement tests. I'm not saying the curriculum is right or wrong, just offering it for you guys to look at so you know what kinds of information is taught in classrooms today(at least here in Texas).

As far as waiting to introduce theoretical concepts (either one, even in high school) until basic literacy skills are acquired, well...most state education systems operate on the (sometimes incorrect) assumption that those skills are previously mastered and move on at breakneck speed, getting all the curriculum in before the big test in February or April. Those who can, get it. Those who can't, well, they fall further behind because the next year's curriculum just adds to what was presented previously.
01/11/2006 05:43:38 AM · #4
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Look at the average High school graduate in the USA. Many can not spell and simply do not understand fractions. They know nothing about geography and they are even at a loss on how to spell. So my point is why are we wasting time teaching theories that require a basic education to comprehend.


This is getting away from the topic, but it strikes me that this is exactly what most school systems do already: they introduce all subjects to students at a time and level of complexity that is appropriate for their maturity. I am not sure that you would want to exclude any subject in its entirity at any stage, but certainly a focus on the basics at an early age is probably appropriate. The UK government has spent a lot of money and instituted a testing system designed to focus on literacy and numeracy (with limited and mixed results, depending on who you listen to). However, it would be odd (and educationally limiting) not to teach children any science just because it gets complicated at a later stage. Certainly, I remember fondly some of the explosive experiments that we carried out at a young age in the chemistry lab!

If your point is that we should not teach children the theory of evolution or big bang until they are old enough to "understand the debate", I have a fundamental problem with the idea that there is a realistic debate to be understood.

I would agree that children are very impressionable as regards religion, and would personally prefer not to see parents indoctrinate their children with any specific religion (though I recognise that this is a matter of personal preference and not something that should/could be prohibited). Conversely to your point, I would argue that children ought to be exposed to all religions at an early age and understand religion as a personal preference rather than as an absolute truth. Given our multicultural society, expecting to isolate them from different religions is, in any case, a rather optimistic idea. By promoting greater understanding of religion and religions, we might alleviate some of the religious intolerance that besets the world today.
01/11/2006 05:00:21 AM · #5
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

There's NO contradiction in teaching scientific "theory" as fact in the schools. If we DIDN'T do that, how would we ever create knowledgeable scientists to further refine theory through experimentation?

R.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am referencing the lower schools. What point is gained by knowing about theories of creation if you can't not spell, write or talk and how can you go into the upper education without a foundation in mathematics?


I'm not sure I understand this thinking. Perhaps I don't know what you mean by "lower" and "upper". If you mean we shouldn't be teaching physics and biology in the 5th grade, I guess that's arguable. I'm not personally aware that we ARE in any significant sense, but I haven't had kids in school for a while.

If you are saying we shouldn't be teaching this stuff to high-schoolers, I think that's way misguided. Kids in their teens are fully capable of understanding this stuff, and they need to be introduced to it. Not everyone goes to college. I don't think the fact that our schools are doing a poor job of teaching basic skills can be used as an argument that they shouldn't be teaching anything else until they get that par nailed.

Robt.
01/11/2006 03:15:39 AM · #6
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

There's NO contradiction in teaching scientific "theory" as fact in the schools. If we DIDN'T do that, how would we ever create knowledgeable scientists to further refine theory through experimentation?

R.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am referencing the lower schools. What point is gained by knowing about theories of creation if you can't not spell, write or talk and how can you go into the upper education without a foundation in mathematics?

Creation myths of innumerable variety (although often of surprising similarity) existed for thousands of years via the oral tradition route -- that's one reason so much is cast in poetic terms -- as an aid to memorization. Writing and mathematics only came to full fruition when kings invented taxes and had to develop a method of keeping track of who'd already paid up ...
01/11/2006 01:42:39 AM · #7
Matthew:

Your good post covers a lot of ground. There is a disconnect of what I thought you would assume.

There is nothing wrong with teaching scientific findings. Our very lives have been improved by the great work, discoveries and applications of these dedicated researches. The fact that we do not understand the essence of some phenomena does not mean that we can not harness its forces and virtues by studying its behaviour. We do this with electricity and a myriad of other entities.

My argument with the schools is that the lower schools should not teach theory but rather behaviour. But before this, the lower schools should concentrate on English, Mathematics, History and geography. How far can one go into quantom theory without a solid foundation in numbers? The argument is simple, teach the basics in the lower school and then the science with all its theories in the higher school.

About Religion: This is another subject that belongs in the higher schools. The lower school children are not ready to comprehend anything outside of their religion because if they are under its influence, they are not good candidates to evaluate the scope. The same applies to other creation theories.

Now about the coherent compilation. Look at mankind and notice that no other species comes close. Look at roads, the cities, the research and then the books. So, there must be some class of species readily available that somehow trails us. Where are they? Let us suppose that major upheavels have changed the face of the planet earth. Still, we can not find anyhting close but merely some traces without great volume. A short story. I once purchase a heavy tome: The Dawn of Civilization. After I read its 600+ pages, I left it on the couch and my beagle crapped on it. No better critic. lol

Look at the average High school graduate in the USA. Many can not spell and simply do not understand fractions. They know nothing about geography and they are even at a loss on how to spell. So my point is why are we wasting time teaching theories that require a basic education to comprehend.
01/10/2006 06:19:24 AM · #8
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

A coherent explanation does not equal the truth of the content. Let us take two examples that scientist need to grapple with: Gravity and Electricity: We can say that gravity is a force exercised within a distance to an object within the magnetic force. This does not describe gravity. Electricity: we can dissect its apparant properties and call it the flow of electrons via a conductor. We can observe laws of resistance and the flow and inhibition and the storing in capacitors:

But all of the above does tell what these forces are. In describing their attributes we say that magnetism, electricty and gravity do certain things but then outside of their recognition we know little of the actual force itself.


You misunderstand the use of the word "coherent". I do not mean that the theories are coherent in their presentation, but that many thousands of scientists have collected many thousands of tons of evidence and conducted many thousands of experiments, and none of it contradicts the basic theory. All of the evidence is coherent.

As for electricity, we understand pretty well how that works. Why should we not teach our understanding? And gravity has little to to with magnetism (though ironically magnetism has a lot to with with electricity!). While we understand a lot about gravity, its implementation within quantum physics is a current challenge for physics (its introduction brings with it a refinement of quantum theory). However, there is a current hypothesis that requires the existence of a particle called a graviton. Billions of dollars are being spent on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, which will come online in 2007. One of the pieces of equipment is designed to detect gravitons, if they exist. If they are detected, then it is more evidence that the hypothesis is correct. If not, then evidence that the hypothesis needs to be reconsidered.

Originally posted by graphicfunk:

My end conclusion is that schools should not be teaching either theory: whether spiritual or physical on the origins since much remains unexplainable. Coherency does not yield wisdom or understanding. It is a simply an orderly manner in which to present ideas and facts but very far from true understanding.


I am appalled that you should suggest that these theories should not be taught in schools. Are you seriously suggesting that we simply omit a hundred years' worth of experimental data and analysis and thousands of tons of evidence from lessons just because it does not sit comfortably with some religions?

I am also appalled that you suggest not teaching students about aspects of religion: there is already a gulf of misunderstanding on the subject of comparative religion that desperately needs remedying. However, we should teach people to understand religious creation stories (and many other aspects of the various religions) in the context of religious education classes and/or history classes.
01/09/2006 04:45:44 PM · #9
Graphicfunk has a point. I don't think, personally, that scientific theory should be left out - the younger a peson is introduced, the better they learn - but I totally agree that the basics should be leaned upon much more. We're getting high school students who can neither read at level, write at all, and often, can barely speak intelligently. Without a solid, basic foundation, what's the point of even trying to teach them physics, theory, or evolution...words that many would not be able to even spell.
01/09/2006 04:42:28 PM · #10
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

There's NO contradiction in teaching scientific "theory" as fact in the schools. If we DIDN'T do that, how would we ever create knowledgeable scientists to further refine theory through experimentation?

R.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am referencing the lower schools. What point is gained by knowing about theories of creation if you can't not spell, write or talk and how can you go into the upper education without a foundation in mathematics?
01/09/2006 04:39:27 PM · #11
Originally posted by OdysseyF22:

Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Posted by Legalbeagle:
There are theories that embrace all of this evidence, explain it coherently without resorting to the supernatural, and continue to hold true in the light of new evidence and testing: evolutionary and big bang theory.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A coherent explanation does not equal the truth of the content. Let us take two examples that scientist need to grapple with: Gravity and Electricity: We can say that gravity is a force exercised within a distance to an object within the magnetic force. This does not describe gravity. Electricity: we can dissect its apparant properties and call it the flow of electrons via a conductor. We can observe laws of resistance and the flow and inhibition and the storing in capacitors:

But all of the above does tell what these forces are. In describing their attributes we say that magnetism, electricty and gravity do certain things but then outside of their recognition we know little of the actual force itself.

My end conclusion is that schools should not be teaching either theory: whether spiritual or physical on the origins since much remains unexplainable. Coherency does not yield wisdom or understanding. It is a simply an orderly manner in which to present ideas and facts but very far from true understanding.

Out of curiosity, what should they be teaching in schools then? I mean, they have to teach something. Personally, I'm against religion, and you're against both religion and the accepted science, so....what's left? Not trying to pick a fight, I just feel that we have to teach the kids something about their world and the things that happen on it, and I don't know what else would prove useful/logical/acceptable...


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thank you for asking. Our schools are in terrible shape because the graduates can hardly engage in mathematics, their spelling is terrible and big gaps in biological knowledge. Let the lower school handle the stlaple knowledge and then have the higher schools present more advance topics like scientific theories, literature and higher mathematics.

Message edited by author 2006-01-09 16:40:47.
01/09/2006 04:38:13 PM · #12
There's NO contradiction in teaching scientific "theory" as fact in the schools. If we DIDN'T do that, how would we ever create knowledgeable scientists to further refine theory through experimentation?

R.
01/09/2006 04:31:46 PM · #13
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Posted by Legalbeagle:
There are theories that embrace all of this evidence, explain it coherently without resorting to the supernatural, and continue to hold true in the light of new evidence and testing: evolutionary and big bang theory.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A coherent explanation does not equal the truth of the content. Let us take two examples that scientist need to grapple with: Gravity and Electricity: We can say that gravity is a force exercised within a distance to an object within the magnetic force. This does not describe gravity. Electricity: we can dissect its apparant properties and call it the flow of electrons via a conductor. We can observe laws of resistance and the flow and inhibition and the storing in capacitors:

But all of the above does tell what these forces are. In describing their attributes we say that magnetism, electricty and gravity do certain things but then outside of their recognition we know little of the actual force itself.

My end conclusion is that schools should not be teaching either theory: whether spiritual or physical on the origins since much remains unexplainable. Coherency does not yield wisdom or understanding. It is a simply an orderly manner in which to present ideas and facts but very far from true understanding.

Out of curiosity, what should they be teaching in schools then? I mean, they have to teach something. Personally, I'm against religion, and you're against both religion and the accepted science, so....what's left? Not trying to pick a fight, I just feel that we have to teach the kids something about their world and the things that happen on it, and I don't know what else would prove useful/logical/acceptable...
01/09/2006 04:27:28 PM · #14
Posted by Legalbeagle:
There are theories that embrace all of this evidence, explain it coherently without resorting to the supernatural, and continue to hold true in the light of new evidence and testing: evolutionary and big bang theory.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A coherent explanation does not equal the truth of the content. Let us take two examples that scientist need to grapple with: Gravity and Electricity: We can say that gravity is a force exercised within a distance to an object within the magnetic force. This does not describe gravity. Electricity: we can dissect its apparant properties and call it the flow of electrons via a conductor. We can observe laws of resistance and the flow and inhibition and the storing in capacitors:

But all of the above does tell what these forces are. In describing their attributes we say that magnetism, electricty and gravity do certain things but then outside of their recognition we know little of the actual force itself.

My end conclusion is that schools should not be teaching either theory: whether spiritual or physical on the origins since much remains unexplainable. Coherency does not yield wisdom or understanding. It is a simply an orderly manner in which to present ideas and facts but very far from true understanding.
01/09/2006 04:06:19 PM · #15
Eloquently stated, Beagle.
01/09/2006 02:50:03 PM · #16
"Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

A great saying.

Works of Science, like the coin of tribute, should belong in the classroom of science.

Works of God, like the coin of tribute, should belong in the classroom of God.

There are schools and there are churchs, both have rooms in them. Use them, do not mix them.

01/09/2006 05:47:51 AM · #17
I agree with some of what graphicfunk has said: it is impossible to know with certainty how the universe was created and how life was initiated (noting that these are separate questions). But I think that this message needs a little refinement in the context of this discussion.

It is possible to identify with a reasonable degree of certainty the transitions that the first life on Earth underwent to result in the organic world we see today. There is also a reasonably large amount of evidence as to how the universe developed in its earliest moments to result in the physical world we see today. There are theories that embrace all of this evidence, explain it coherently without resorting to the supernatural, and continue to hold true in the light of new evidence and testing: evolutionary and big bang theory.

I do not think that anyone has suggested that science can explain "why" these processes occured, or what subjective spiritual qualities life may contain. In the absence of any identifiable reason or purpose, a god is as good a reason as any (though also no better).

It is also open to anyone to apply a refined or a new theory that better explains existing or new evidence, and indeed the existing theories are regularly refined. In this context, fresh thinking is to be welcomed where it can cast a new light on the existing regime.

However, where this debate started was whether any time should be given to proponents of intelligent design, and in particular if it should be taught in schools as a science? A theory that embraces none of the facts as we understand them, makes no predictions and provides no useful context for more detailed examination of life and biology. As its redeeming feature it does not conflict with the subjective and varied beliefs of certain religious fundamentalists and some sci-fi fans. The answer must still, surely, be "no"!
01/07/2006 10:02:45 AM · #18
On a lighter note: there seems to be two major school in the pursuit of answers to the riddle of creation. Some believe that something always existed and took the direction it did to yield life but the process incubated without any sense of guidance. They attempt to use scientific findings to support their case. Their evidence is rather scanty because the big questions are not answered.

The second group attributes a God to all the forces, namely, they combine these forces and knight them God. To them there is a reason for existance. They see a purpose in their behaviour and they see some purpose in the creation.

The former see a pattern but this pattern is self perpetuated and runs on automatic pilot. There is no guidance except the direction which is the result of natural law.

Now, these two groups observe the same phenomena and interpret it 180 degrees out of phase. Neither group can prove its position. The two groups accept premises which are based more on belief than on fact. One group believes that things are the result of natural law but shy away from the first cause. The other group believes in a higher force they call God but they too shy away from the first cause. The two groups have explanations but both explanations fall short.

The two groups rest with confidence in their beliefs and one tries to up the other by stating that their beluefs are based on scientific fact while the other state that their belief is inborn and that they have a soul.

Which group do you want to identify with? At first it seems that the group based on scientific fact is the way to go. Here you live a life that has no initial attachment to a creator. You have no soul and your very life is mere internal and external natural law permutations. You have no need to thank anything but natural law for your existance, yet no point in doing. You need not say thank you that you are alive another day. In other words, this is not a humble heart. You really fail to see the miracle of creation. You see a miracle is a negation of natural laws. The element or practice of prayer is not present because it is not required.

The spiritual group believe that they are the end result of a God. They believe in a soul and they believe in thanking this force that created them.

As you are aware the spiritual group is divided into those that join a religion and those that only accept the premise of spirituality.

Yet both groups and their divisions can not prove their case. before you can even prove these matters you need to understand what life is and this remains a mystery.

So you see both groups can only put together, to the best of their abilities, what fits into their models and run with it.

Message edited by author 2006-01-07 10:05:08.
01/07/2006 07:28:05 AM · #19
Originally posted by jsas:

Which is taught as a fact, when the only fact we have is that we breathe in and we breathe out...nuf sed by Me.
Amazing - English classes are taught on the basis that it is a fact that Shakespeare wrote some plays, History classes on the basis that it is a fact that the US used to be inhabited by Red Indians, Latin classes on the basis that it is a fact that there used to be a Roman culture and language, Geography on the basis that rock formations take millions of years to develop, etc etc - it is not as if anyone can actually go outside and observe those events taking place. The alternative view, that God made everything just five minutes ago with an inbuilt history to intrigue us, is equally valid and ought to be taught in each of those classes. After all, the only thing each of us *know* is "I am".
01/07/2006 01:31:41 AM · #20
Originally posted by scalvert:

I'm just working from the only evidence available. If a being is non-corporeal, then there are apparent conflicts with Adam's rib, fashioning people from clay, burning bushes and other tangible acts in the physical world, not to mention forming humans in his image. As for reproduction, did we not just celebrate a notable birthday?


Please note that I am NOT arguing the validity of any particular religious model or depiction of God here. The above is utterly irrelevant to what I say.

R.
01/06/2006 11:04:24 PM · #21
Originally posted by shamrock69:

Originally posted by jsas:


I know what you mean Intelligence and Design do not belong in a school...I mean let's just put in more monkey bars..


When too many of our high school students lack the ability to read or do simplistic math, i don't think they need to attempt to teach "religion" in a public school system.


I am agreeing with you in my simple way the school system is a joke. We worry more about their emotions than whether they can spell, add or even read. I was also taking a shot at evolution. Which is taught as a fact, when the only fact we have is that we breathe in and we breathe out...nuf sed by Me.
01/06/2006 10:51:52 PM · #22
Originally posted by jsas:


I know what you mean Intelligence and Design do not belong in a school...I mean let's just put in more monkey bars..


When too many of our high school students lack the ability to read or do simplistic math, i don't think they need to attempt to teach "religion" in a public school system.

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 22:53:46.
01/06/2006 10:41:54 PM · #23
Originally posted by shamrock69:

Now the governor of Texas is proposing that intelligent design be taught in our school system. I'd prefer that they get the basics down first before adding "pop" classes...


I know what you mean Intelligence and Design do not belong in a school...I mean let's just put in more monkey bars..
01/06/2006 10:07:27 PM · #24
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by scalvert:

My contention was that a sentient being could not have created the first life because the being itself is sentient (i.e. alive), thus life already existed.


There is life without sentience, clearly: bacteria are alive but are not sentient. I have no problem accepting the idea of sentience without life. What does it mean to be "alive" anyway? This is a slippery slope. We are getting closer and closer to being able to create computers that "think", i.e. are "sentient"; would these computers be "alive"? It's a classic theme in the fiction of science.

Douglas Hofstadter, a remarkable intellect, has done much work in this area. Have you read his 30-year old Pulitzer prize winner "Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid"? I cannot recommend it too highly :-) He's moved on quite a ways from that, but the groundwork is fascinating. I spoke with him 18 months or so ago when he visited here (he was a classmate of my sister's) and we were discussing his current work on the nature of sentience/intelligence/consciousness. His thinking is that this is born in, or found in, the capacity to reason from analogy (I am oversimplifying grotesquely here). It can't seem to be pinpointed or "mapped". I pointed out to him that this "unmappable, unlocatable something" might correspond precisely with what we have heretofore called the "soul", and that if we DO succeed in "creating" a machine with true consciousness we will arguably have created a machine with a soul.

The very controversial scientist Julian Jaynes, in his "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Brain" makes a compelling argument that human beings have only recently (as in, "within historical time") actually evolved what we now call "consciousness", and he uses text-based analysis of, among other things, the Iliad and the Odyssey to make his point.

Robt.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A fascinating book that creates a spiral for the reader to climb. I loved it and even though it is big, I wish it were bigger.
01/06/2006 10:05:25 PM · #25
Again: the real answers are evasive. My stand is not that of the agnostic, agnostics are like moderates sitting on a fence waiting to be convined one way or the other. The one thing I can say with dead certainty is that the more we learn, the less we know. yes, some of us take pride in our intellectual achievements and defend our positions because somehow we feel privileged but such is vanity. But our new knowledge has given rise to a new myriad of questions which remain unanswered. I tremble the moment I think I have unveiled a universal truth. I then run it to the trashing machine and while i see another answer of something, I see now a new set of questions and many i know have no answers.

Look, it all depends how we deal with knowledge. No one can feed me truism that I will accept. To accept without proof is to go on faith and while faith is good, it leaves a vastness of uncertanties. The fact of the matter is that the secret to life can not be found in one branch of learning. We can learn by rote certain dictums and repeat them but it does not mean we understand. The moment we think we understand we fall prey to our vanity. What it means is that we seek and seek but no man has died with the truth revealed. It can not be distilled into paragraph, book or thesis. The web spreads too wide.

Like you and all involved here, I enjoy such explorations, but not one of us have seen the top side of the elephant. Not one of us is so enlightened. We all still employ faith in our daily life because otherwise we will never cross the street. We accept teachings and while much makes sense much remains faith because we are unable to prove every premise. We use logic and yet we are not disturbed when logic meets a dead end. We simply disengage and follow a different path.

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