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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Judge rules against 'intelligent design'
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12/20/2005 04:12:48 PM · #1
Great news!

Story here: //www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/12/20/intelligent.design/index.html

To quote judge Jones;

"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions," Jones writes.
12/20/2005 04:17:17 PM · #2
I wonder if I will ever be able to understand this issue while wading through the dogma involved.

Proponents of Intelligent Design feel that proponents of Darwin's theory are conspiring against God.
Proponents of Darwin's theory feel that proponents of I.D. are conspiring against Science.

And guys like me stop caring so much and believing anyone who is "absolutely sure" that they are correct.
12/20/2005 04:38:08 PM · #3
If you wish to learn more, Wikipedia is always gold; Intelligent design

Also, I don't see anyone saying they are absolutely sure. If you look at the quote from the judge in this case I posted, he says it pretty well I think.
12/20/2005 04:50:52 PM · #4
Originally posted by thatcloudthere:

Proponents of Intelligent Design feel that proponents of Darwin's theory are conspiring against God.
Proponents of Darwin's theory feel that proponents of I.D. are conspiring against Science.


Imho, science is just as much a religion as Christianity, with its miracle works and promises of salvation from earthly suffering. It seems to cause even more fanaticism among its adherents. One thing, though - it doesn't tell you to love your neighbour. This part has been replaced by the gospel of WMD.
12/20/2005 05:13:07 PM · #5
Sorry, MM...I haven't read the article yet, but I did go to the Wikipedia page. Just reading through the discussion and debate there (I often read those more than the articles) I am even more convinced of the dogmatic approach that pro-evolution and pro-ID folks take to discovering truth.
12/20/2005 05:26:19 PM · #6
As a man who distinctly wears both hats (devout Christian, man of science) I have to say I approve of the ruling, although I wish it didn't fall under "separation of church and state". I don't think ID espouced any particular religion, but I also don't think it falls in the realm of "science".

That being said, anything which encourages the youth of our country to take a skeptic's approach to new information is good. Ask those hard questions about evolution, your church, those emails you keep getting from your friends, that offer from the nice Nigerian. Getting to the point where you are not afraid to ask the "dumb question" is probably one of the best lessons you can ever learn.
12/20/2005 05:30:53 PM · #7
Originally posted by DrAchoo:



that offer from the nice Nigerian.


that made me smile. ;)
12/20/2005 07:24:21 PM · #8
Originally posted by Didymus:

Imho, science is just as much a religion as Christianity, with its miracle works and promises of salvation from earthly suffering.


Nonsense. Science is not a religion; it is a method for investigating the natural world. It promises neither miracle works nor "salvation", but its methods have advanced our knowledge allowing for the development of modern technologies and modern medicine. There is nothing supernatural or miraculous about technology or modern medicine.
12/20/2005 07:33:14 PM · #9
Originally posted by milo655321:

Originally posted by Didymus:

Imho, science is just as much a religion as Christianity, with its miracle works and promises of salvation from earthly suffering.


Nonsense. Science is not a religion; it is a method for investigating the natural world. It promises neither miracle works nor "salvation", but its methods have advanced our knowledge allowing for the development of modern technologies and modern medicine. There is nothing supernatural or miraculous about technology or modern medicine.


Science can be proven and it is universal.
12/20/2005 07:52:01 PM · #10
Originally posted by louddog:

Science can be proven and it is universal.


Scientific theories are never "proven", but always open to revision based upon new data. Lines of evidence are used to support scientific theories, but the theories themselves should always remain open to falsification. I do, however, agree with your "universal" assessment based on the central concept of uniformitarianism.

Hmm ... gee, do I sound pompous enough?
12/20/2005 07:55:30 PM · #11
I think what milo may be saying is that science owns its own fair share of shamen who will promise the world and point at "science" to support their claims. I could start a list here, but I'm sure I'll step on some toes somewhere, so I won't.

So while Science is cold, hard, and reproducible, "Men of Science", come in all flavors...
12/20/2005 07:57:05 PM · #12
Originally posted by milo655321:

Originally posted by louddog:

Science can be proven and it is universal.


Scientific theories are never "proven", but always open to revision based upon new data. Lines of evidence are used to support scientific theories, but the theories themselves should always remain open to falsification. I do, however, agree with your "universal" assessment based on the central concept of uniformitarianism.

Hmm ... gee, do I sound pompous enough?


I was agreeing with you. Theories by definition are not proven, but science such as chemistry, physics, geology... are all proven facts and they are facts where ever you go. Thus, not a bit like religion.
12/20/2005 08:12:40 PM · #13
Originally posted by louddog:

I was agreeing with you. Theories by definition are not proven, but science such as chemistry, physics, geology... are all proven facts and they are facts where ever you go. Thus, not a bit like religion.


Agreed. Sorry, I just get nervous when I see the words "proof" or "prove" and "science" in the same sentence, because it's usually used incorrectly.
12/20/2005 08:29:18 PM · #14
Originally posted by milo655321:

Originally posted by louddog:

I was agreeing with you. Theories by definition are not proven, but science such as chemistry, physics, geology... are all proven facts and they are facts where ever you go. Thus, not a bit like religion.


Agreed. Sorry, I just get nervous when I see the words "proof" or "prove" and "science" in the same sentence, because it's usually used incorrectly.

say that to a mathematician & you'll be beaten with a protractor ..
12/20/2005 09:29:14 PM · #15
Originally posted by ralphnev:

say that to a mathematician & you'll be beaten with a protractor ..


Well, of course, like I said, "usually" incorrectly ... like they say, proofs are for math, logic and alcohol.
12/20/2005 11:23:35 PM · #16
More than once I have been told by a real 'gung-ho' Christian that "Darwinian evolution is impossible!". The conversation then always continues like this:

Me: Isn't God all powerful?
Gung-ho Christian: Of course He (sic) is!!
Me: Then NOTHING is impossible, now is it?

You should see some of the dirty looks I get...............
12/21/2005 01:34:18 AM · #17
The fringe of accepted science always gets more nebulous and populated by more varied theories that require larger leaps of faith for explanation. To me the lines between science and faith get fairly blurred at times.

Science will never fully explain the natural universe.
12/21/2005 01:49:31 AM · #18
Left up to me I find the cause of our existance a little too elusive for the naive scientific community. I would leave out such pretentious theories because they have a tendency to be replaced by other theories.

When scientist can change the property of the atom: that is make water by rearranging their formation, learn to curb storms and control the weather, then they will show me something.

Meanwhile, why even include any type of teaching that remains a theory. With all the resources we have we should have proved evolution a fact, but we can't and we won't. Another upheaval will render this experience null and void and cover us all with sediment. A new generation will arise and will begin the search all over again.
12/21/2005 05:16:37 AM · #19
Originally posted by milo655321:

Originally posted by Didymus:

Imho, science is just as much a religion as Christianity, with its miracle works and promises of salvation from earthly suffering.


Nonsense. Science is not a religion; it is a method for investigating the natural world. It promises neither miracle works nor "salvation", but its methods have advanced our knowledge allowing for the development of modern technologies and modern medicine. There is nothing supernatural or miraculous about technology or modern medicine.


That's the viewpoint of the priesthood. Priests, unlike their parishes, generally have no illusions about the religion they preach. For the simple guy in the street brain surgery remains a miracle and nothing's gonna change that. The simple guy hears every day, how science, with a little bit more time and a trillion dollars of the taxpayers money, is soon going to solve all the problems of mankind, pollution, starvation, diseases, anything you want. Seldom mentioning that it was the science that screwed up the planet in the first place. Science promises bliss in the future and the simple guy believes. He believes in the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Science speaking through the mouths of its priests.

Oh, it's religion alright. :-)
12/21/2005 05:35:21 AM · #20
I was amused by the quote reported by the BBC, where the judge accused the ID proponents of "breathtaking inanity"...

//news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4547734.stm
12/21/2005 06:14:16 AM · #21
Originally posted by Didymus:

That's the viewpoint of the priesthood. Priests, unlike their parishes, generally have no illusions about the religion they preach. For the simple guy in the street brain surgery remains a miracle and nothing's gonna change that. The simple guy hears every day, how science, with a little bit more time and a trillion dollars of the taxpayers money, is soon going to solve all the problems of mankind, pollution, starvation, diseases, anything you want. Seldom mentioning that it was the science that screwed up the planet in the first place. Science promises bliss in the future and the simple guy believes. He believes in the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Science speaking through the mouths of its priests.

Oh, it's religion alright. :-)
People may not understand the detail (with increasing knowledge, specialisation and compartmentalisation of knowledge become a practical necessity). But there is no excuse for not understanding the basic precepts.

An easy way of understanding what "science" is, is to think of science as resulting in scientific discoveries. The discovery of information does not make promises or solve problems. It does not ruin the planet or promise solutions.

Research is carried out by people. Option one is to divine the matter by reading holy books, sacrificing animals and observing the stars and interpreting them to suit (religious method). Option two is to look at the properties of the world around you, come up with a theory about how and why it is that way, and concoct a test that would show your theory to be true or false. And if your test shows true, then that is an indicator that your theory is accurate (scientific method).

Your accusations about damaging the world relate to industrialisation and developmental technology: these may employ science, but are not a result of it. If you prefer to seek holy deliverance from our planetary ills, then please do so. But please allow the rest of us to employ some people to find some solutions that appear to actually work.
12/21/2005 06:29:32 AM · #22
Originally posted by MadMordegon:


To quote judge Jones;

"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions," Jones writes.


To me, it seems there are two competing theories, neither of which has been proved or disproved. The judge, however, deems it within his competence and authority to assert that one of those theories will eventually proved correct and the other will not. The judge considers himself qualified to rule on the origin of species.

I'm deeply convinced that human education should include many different, competing, even conflicting views on the world. Scientific, religious, agnostic etc. I am positively scared at the thought of judges telling our children what they should know and what they shouldn't. It's just one step away from burning books and two steps away from burning the authors.

How would it sound if I rephrased the above quote a little?
"To be sure, Intelligent Design theory is imperfect. However, the fact that such a theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in science into the classroom or to misrepresent well-established propositions based on empirical observations,"
12/21/2005 06:41:51 AM · #23
Originally posted by Didymus:

How would it sound if I rephrased the above quote a little?
"To be sure, Intelligent Design theory is imperfect. However, the fact that such a theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in science into the classroom or to misrepresent well-established propositions based on empirical observations,"


One problem with this approach is that ID either explains everything (it was made by someone, probably God) or nothing. Science does not pretend to explain everything, but provides a process by which we can reach an understanding of the probable processes involved in any physical field.

Evidence for ID is little more than questioning of the validity of scientific experiments that support evolutionary theory and the making of certain propositions that evolutionary theory may not explain very well (I say "may" because those propositions are often explainable, but require a technical understanding that most people do not have). Therefore there are no "well-established propositions based on empirical observations" in support of ID.

ID does not use the scientific method, and cannot validly be taught in science classes. No one is banning ID from being taught as part of religious education, but it does not follow the scientific method requisite to being included in a science class.

Message edited by author 2005-12-21 06:43:50.
12/21/2005 07:44:23 AM · #24
Originally posted by legalbeagle:


An easy way of understanding what "science" is, is to think of science as resulting in scientific discoveries. The discovery of information does not make promises or solve problems. It does not ruin the planet or promise solutions.

Research is carried out by people. Option one is to divine the matter by reading holy books, sacrificing animals and observing the stars and interpreting them to suit (religious method). Option two is to look at the properties of the world around you, come up with a theory about how and why it is that way, and concoct a test that would show your theory to be true or false. And if your test shows true, then that is an indicator that your theory is accurate (scientific method).

Your accusations about damaging the world relate to industrialisation and developmental technology: these may employ science, but are not a result of it. If you prefer to seek holy deliverance from our planetary ills, then please do so. But please allow the rest of us to employ some people to find some solutions that appear to actually work.


Thanks for showing me the easy way to understand what science is, although I think I had a pretty good idea already. What you are saying here is that science as such is not guilty of anything, it's the misuse of the fruits of science that does the damage. Well, that's a nice little whitewash, relieving science from responsibility before mankind. I don't think it should be relieved. As you say in the next paragraph, science is practiced by men and those men should be just as much responsible for their actions as anybody else. Maybe more so, intellectually superior as they are (intellectually superior in scientific sense, unfortunately very seldom on a broader scale).
Before the first hydrogen bomb was tested in the 50s, the calculations about the risk of igniting a chain reaction in the ocean were inconclusive - the suckers went and tested it anyway.

You are almost correct, saying that "The discovery of information does not make promises or solve problems. It does not ruin the planet or promise solutions." No, the discovery itself does not. But those discoveries are more often than not driven by the needs to solve real or imaginary problems and science, in order to be granted access to required resources, must first make a promise to solve those problems. Large part of sceintific research done today is to find remedies to problems that science (or the use of scientific knowledge) has created in the past. Medical science is spending trillions to fight the diseases brought about by the technological civilization made possible by science in the first place.

If your child is allergic to chocolate then you as a responsible parent should not give give him a candy bar and tell him not to eat it. You know he will eat it, it's impossible to avoid that. If you then say you can't be held responsible, because you told the child not to eat the candy, then you're not really a mature, responsible parent.
So should science think carefully about possible consequences of its acts. Instead, what science does is to sell any discoveries it makes to industrialists, to get more funding to do more research, ad infinitum. It's a closed end cycle. Uroboros. No, scientists are just about the most irresponsible people. The rest may dodge responsibility, but they would at least recognize it. Scientists (with a few rare exceptions) don't even have a faintest idea that such responsibility should exist. Morally, a scientist is as responsible as a 3 year old.

Now, your second paragraph.
If you understand religious world view as limited to studying the Bible or sacrificing animals to Baal, then we're talking about different things. For me, religious world view is a non-atheist world view (well, there are also the agnostics, but let's leave them alone for now). Personally I don't subscribe to any particular religion (resp. worship), I'm a deist for lack of a better description. I think all religions have a tremendous value for humanity for giving billions of people hope, comfort and purpose in life. (The atheist world is very cold for a soul.) At the same time I definitely don't consider the Scriptures as complete and accurate historical truth. They were written by people, for the people, and thus represent the authors' interpretation of the world as they saw it. The books certainly have great historical value, helping us to understand better where we come from, but no more than that.
Having said this, I also have many questions that science can not answer for me. The equation does not balance. Why do we exist? Why does anything exist? How did information first appear in the Universe? Does Universe have a purpose? etc. You may believe science will be one day able to asnwer these questions. I believe it won't. We both then believe in something sans proof. You believe in the power of science. I believe there exists a power (maybe within, maybe without our Universe, I don't know) that set the Universe going and supplied it with a set of initial conditions to please itself. I don't think this substance or power (let's call it God, for simplicity) has any particular interest in mankind or Solar system or our Galaxy, for that matter. So, am I religious? I'm certainly not an atheist.

As for the hypothesis->experiment->proof cycle of science, then this is all very fine on a small scale, but really fails when things like evolution or creation or the origin of the Universe are concerned.

You're also saying that industrialization and science are two entirely separate things. I believe it's a chicken and egg thing. Initially, science stood next to philosophy. Then, as it was discovered that scientific knowledge can produce better weapons and ploughs, industry started to employ science more and more until, finally, science has changed camp, leaving philosophy behind and teaming up with industry. Philosophy may be sweet to the heart, but industry pays the bills. This is a very close marriage between industry and science. They're inseparable. Industry, with its money and greed, inseminates science.

One cannot put the blame for the damage done to the plane on industry alone; without the brains of science, industry would never have become able to damage the planet to the scale we can observe today. And vice versa - without the support of industry, scientists would have ever remained stargazers.

Has science really solved any problems? I don't think so. Not any problems it hasn't caused itself.
Has science made mankind happier? A small minority, yes. A vast majority, no.
12/21/2005 08:26:03 AM · #25
Originally posted by Didymus:

I don't think it should be relieved. As you say in the next paragraph, science is practiced by men and those men should be just as much responsible for their actions as anybody else. ... So should science think carefully about possible consequences of its acts.
This was my distinction: science is a procedure practiced by people (scientists). Of course you can blame scientists for looking to discover things for unethical ends, or for applying science using unethical means, but "science" can only be blamed to the extent that you use the word very vaguely.

A better way of expressing it would be that people are driven by the needs to solve real or imaginary problems and may make decisions and use the tools available to them unethically. I think that statement would apply in relation to religion just as equally as to science. It is just that religion relies on other tools, such as holy books etc. Modern deism may rely on a less tangible set of tools than established religions, but it can be applied ethically or not, and in accordance with our observations of the physical world or not.

Equally, people are capable of some astonishingly positive action, and both science and religion are capable of achieving those results.

Originally posted by Didymus:

Having said this, I also have many questions that science can not answer for me. The equation does not balance. Why do we exist? Why does anything exist? How did information first appear in the Universe? Does Universe have a purpose? etc.
There are of course limits to what science can explain. It is fundamental to the scientific method that there be something observable or measurable to be tested. Ethical issues, moral issues and beliefs cannot be proved or disproved scientifically (though they can be based upon scientifically ascertained information, and can be considered rationally outside the scope of religion).

Originally posted by Didymus:

As for the hypothesis->experiment->proof cycle of science, then this is all very fine on a small scale, but really fails when things like evolution or creation or the origin of the Universe are concerned.


Why? We can observe evidence of each. We can hypothesise as to what further evidence we might expect to see in certain circumstances, and design equipment and experiments and carry out research to test the hypothesis. If all of our experiments are consistent with our hypothesis, and we cannot conceive a coherent and rational alternative, is there not some justification for believing the hypothesis to be accurate (subject to future discovery)? This is in no way similar to the moral/ethical/belief issue discussed above.

Originally posted by Didymus:

Has science really solved any problems? I don't think so. Not any problems it hasn't caused itself.
Has science made mankind happier? A small minority, yes. A vast majority, no.


How far back in history are you suggesting that we should revert to find happiness? Science is nothing more than a more reliable process for discovery than used previously, when intuition and belief were relied upon. Humanity has been on a voyage of discovery for 60 million years. Are you really advocating a return to prehistory?

Message edited by author 2005-12-21 08:31:30.
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