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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Death of Darwinism
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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Sorry, I've lost track of who's who, having not posted for a while. mdijon's the Swedenborgian, right? And Foaming Sheepdog's in favour of gay marriage, whilst KenWritez is a librarian in London who is convinced by Usher's initial creation timing of 9.30, and opposes anyone who goes with the 9.15 theory? And weren't you in "The Equaliser" at some point?

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt

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Barnabas62
Host
# 9110

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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Unsurprisingly, the Discovery Institute plan to fight on.

Is it me or does that press release seem slightly irked in tone? [Killing me]

Spot on. The press release really doesn't show much by way of argument about the judgment, and the reasons for it. I am awaiting (keenly) any obs from the White House (as I said in the Hell thread). It really does look like a very wise and very good judgment. And, apparently, the judge is a Republican and Bush appointee.

I would quite like to hear from Faithful Sheepdog at this point.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
And Foaming Sheepdog's in favour of gay marriage,

This does not represent my views, but if the ship-name cited is intended to be a reference to me, please confirm that the modification of my ship-name is an inadvertent mistake rather than a personal attack.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
And Foaming Sheepdog's in favour of gay marriage,

This does not represent my views, but if the ship-name cited is intended to be a reference to me, please confirm that the modification of my ship-name is an inadvertent mistake rather than a personal attack.

Neil

I think dyfrig was being facetious, FS.

C

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arse

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Justinian
Shipmate
# 5357

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quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
Man, that judgement's a work of art.

mdijon, how, precisely, is Christ served by lying under oath about the reasoning behind a decision at least 5 of the 6 people who took it didn't really understand?

Christ is served by exposing the ID lobby for the liars they are - and thereby helping to minimise the future impact of said lobby misusing his name.

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My real name consists of just four letters, but in billions of combinations.

Eudaimonaic Laughter - my blog.

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Callan
Shipmate
# 525

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Originally posted by Dyfrig:

quote:
Sorry, I've lost track of who's who, having not posted for a while. mdijon's the Swedenborgian, right? And Foaming Sheepdog's in favour of gay marriage, whilst KenWritez is a librarian in London who is convinced by Usher's initial creation timing of 9.30, and opposes anyone who goes with the 9.15 theory? And weren't you in "The Equaliser" at some point?
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:

quote:
This does not represent my views, but if the ship-name cited is intended to be a reference to me, please confirm that the modification of my ship-name is an inadvertent mistake rather than a personal attack.
Um, mdijon isn't, AFAIK, Swedenborgian, Kenwritez isn't from London or a librarian (and subscribes to the 9.25 timing of the creation of the world, not the 9.15 or 9.30 [Biased] ) and, sadly, I did not spend the 1980s burning round New York in a Jag, beating up bad guys.

So I think you can take your conflation with Foaming Draught and advocacy of gay marriage in much the same spirit. Dyfrig was pointedly getting stuff wrong as a JOKE because he'd got the wrong end of the stick viz-a-viz mdijon's remarks.

If he'd been serious he'd have spelt Ussher properly. [Razz] [Biased]

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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Are only Swedenborgians ironic?

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Barnabas62
Host
# 9110

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Dyfrig

Shame! I thought yours was a really neat post. Comizzes.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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So can we close this thread now? ID's had its day in court, Behe and pals had every chance to wheel out their best shots, and an impeccably Republican, Lutherian judge has pronounced in burning letters a hundred feet high that it is warmed-over creationism without a scientific thread to its name (I know we all know that. It just feels so good to type it again).

There are even signs that some of the big ID guns are wavering over dropping any pretence to the contrary, which would do ID the world of good. It could turn into a ministry and concentrate on preaching, all the while doing some science in the hope of actually producing some data - although I don't think their heart is in that. They don't expect to find anything either.

Meanwhile, "Darwinism" (more properly, evolutionary theory) goes from strength to strength; barely a week goes by without some very interesting new finding or development related to evolution hitting the mainstream media. This week, a proposal for a new class of antibiotics based on some of the body's own immune system mechanisms has come under fire because of predictions of what would happen if bacteria therefore evolved better defences (conclusion: very scary stuff indeed).

I think it is safe to conclude that Darwinism is not dead.

R

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I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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But the horse is. Therefore, I guess the thread will be kept open.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
...This week, a proposal for a new class of antibiotics based on some of the body's own immune system mechanisms has come under fire because of predictions of what would happen if bacteria therefore evolved better defences (conclusion: very scary stuff indeed).

...

Bacteria have changed over time as a result of antibiotics, rendering the antibiotics less effective. This is why doctors are reluctant to prescribe them (resulting in the deaths of family members in the prime of life for two friends of mine in the last two years).

However, they are still bacteria, just different.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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Microevolution, rather than macroevolution, I guess.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Callan
Shipmate
# 525

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Originally posted by Rex Monday:

quote:
So can we close this thread now? ID's had its day in court, Behe and pals had every chance to wheel out their best shots, and an impeccably Republican, Lutherian judge has pronounced in burning letters a hundred feet high that it is warmed-over creationism without a scientific thread to its name (I know we all know that. It just feels so good to type it again).
Wouldn't that be like closing a thread on World War II after the Battle of Stalingrad? Or a thread on Marxist-Leninism after 1956? It's fatally wounded but it will struggle on for a bit. People have egos and money invested in this after all. Cynically one might even hope that it keeps going for a few more years. After all, deploying right wing activists and funds in a losing battle keeps them out of mischief on other fronts.

quote:
There are even signs that some of the big ID guns are wavering over dropping any pretence to the contrary, which would do ID the world of good. It could turn into a ministry and concentrate on preaching, all the while doing some science in the hope of actually producing some data - although I don't think their heart is in that. They don't expect to find anything either.
I don't think they ever did. The whole ID enterprise was based upon bamboozling American culture into believing that evolutionary theory was flawed and inherently anti-Christian. It's preferred weapons were PR, tame journalists and litigation. It chose its field of battle and, ironically and appropriately, it was thwarted in its own chosen arena. As the judge observed, ID was not about promoting critical thinking, it was about formenting a revolution against evolutionary theory. Like plenty of other unsuccessful revolutionaries the Discovery Institute and its fellow travellers mistook their own wishful thinking for a collapsing dynasty.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
...This week, a proposal for a new class of antibiotics based on some of the body's own immune system mechanisms has come under fire because of predictions of what would happen if bacteria therefore evolved better defences (conclusion: very scary stuff indeed).

...

Bacteria have changed over time as a result of antibiotics, rendering the antibiotics less effective. This is why doctors are reluctant to prescribe them (resulting in the deaths of family members in the prime of life for two friends of mine in the last two years).


Yes, I had a scare when it looked as if my son had acquired such an infection in a puncture wound in his leg. All was well in the end, but there were a lot of worried doctors.

The frightening part of the idea of using antibiotics based on the human immune system is that any resistant bacteria won't just be safe against the antibiotics, but will also be able to counter our existing defences much better than before. This may not be a good idea.

quote:


However, they are still bacteria, just different.

That's the joy of evolution: everything is something else, just different. Birds are still dinosaurs, just different. We are still fish, just different (really - you can trace the reason we have four limbs positioned where they are to the places on a fish where fins work best). The idea of common descent explains so much that it really can link us and, say, earthworms in a consistent and useful system of definition.

Enough small changes makes a big change.

R

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I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
... We are still fish, ...


Sure.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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corvette
Shipmate
# 9436

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quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
........... This week, a proposal for a new class of antibiotics based on some of the body's own immune system mechanisms has come under fire because of predictions of what would happen if bacteria therefore evolved better defences (conclusion: very scary stuff indeed).

Um, we reclassify them and as a result they evolve better defences??? they care about our opinions that much? i don't get it [Hot and Hormonal]
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Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
... We are still fish, ...


Sure.
"but different". You missed that bit. It might help.

R

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I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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Rex, I don't think it's such a concern. Firslty, the antibiotics you're talking about I guess are based on defensins ..... or perhaps some other part of the innate immune system. This is quite a small part of host defence - and many bacteria have various strategies for getting round different bits of host defence - so resistance here would not be ground breaking.

Secondly, the bacteria are exposed to these survival pressures anyway - have been for millions of year.... so I doubt anything very scary is in the offing here.

Famous last words, I know, but then one can always say that.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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the_raptor
Shipmate
# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Rex, I don't think it's such a concern. Firslty, the antibiotics you're talking about I guess are based on defensins ..... or perhaps some other part of the innate immune system. This is quite a small part of host defence - and many bacteria have various strategies for getting round different bits of host defence - so resistance here would not be ground breaking.

Secondly, the bacteria are exposed to these survival pressures anyway - have been for millions of year.... so I doubt anything very scary is in the offing here.

Famous last words, I know, but then one can always say that.

Yes it is potentially scary. Our immune system relies on a broad spectrum of defences, so synthesizing one and using it in mega-doses will mean any resistant bacteria will be the only ones left. Then we move onto another defence, and again only the resistant bacteria are left. Eventually you use all the defences of the immune system and have bacteria that are immune to all of them.

The reason why single vector antibiotics is a bad idea is because it changes the environment that the bacteria live in. Naturally some of the non-resistant bacteria might be better survivors and thus keep the resistant strain in check. So when you wipe them out the resistant strains have no competitors.

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Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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No, not really.

Firstly, using bigger doses would generally make resistance less likely to emerge.

It's chronic low exposures that are dangerous.

Secondly, most of our immune response is adaptive (antibodies, lymphocyte responses).... and of the innate immunity, a lot depends on neutrophil/polymporphs.... a little bit left over, which is probably very early in evolutionary terms, are the kind of molecules someone might want to use as a blueprint for antibiotic design.

The dangers described already exist, exist for antibiotic use in general.... and it is acceptable to use single antibiotics in most situations. There are a few well-worked examples where combination therapy prevents resistance (TB, malaria, leprosy) - perhaps the list should be expanded, but using multiple antibiotics without clear rationale will likely increase the spread of resistance, not reduce it.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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The season for peace and goodwill has now past but let me begin by wishing this thread a Happy New Year. Judging by some shipmates’ lack of attention to the facts and the sloppy logic of their arguments, their posts are going to need all the best wishes they can get.

I have now read the Dover Court judgement in full, twice, all 139 pages of it. For those who haven’t read it – and that appears to include some posters on this thread - the text of the judgment will be found here. All page numbers below relate to this judgment.

The Dover School Area District Board (“the board”) implemented a new educational policy that effectively mandated the teaching of Intelligent Design (see pages 1 and 2 of the judgment). The plaintiffs considered that this policy violated the first amendment of the US Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

As a result, a court action was raised by a group of concerned parents (Kitzmiller et al) against the new policies of the board. As is now well known, the court found for the plaintiffs, finding that the ID educational policy of the board was unconstitutional and constituted an “establishment of religion” as understood in present American legal terms.

In the light of these facts, let us examine the various comments made by previous posters commenting on this court judgment.

quote:
Callan said:
Unsurprisingly, the Discovery Institute plan to fight on.

Is it me or does that press release seem slightly irked in tone?

Perhaps that irked tone is because Callan has blatantly ignored the facts and thus misrepresented the Discovery Institute’s (DI) position. The DI were not a party to this court case in any shape, size or form, nor were they in a formal legal advisory role to the Dover School Board during the court action. Accordingly they receive only passing mentions in the judgment.

The DI did have some contact with the Dover School Board in 2004, and did provide some legal advice to them at early stage before the court action became inevitable. The board ignored their advice and implemented its own policy instead. Once the matter came to court, the DI provided the judge with an Amicus Curae brief (Friend of the Court), as did others (page 7)

The nature of the legal advice provided by the DI is now in the public domain – see here. They have consistently recommended that the teaching of ID ideas should not be mandated by law (as was proposed at Dover).

In particular, at an early stage they explicitly advised the Dover School Board not to implement the particular policy that they did. This policy required school biology teachers to present ID concepts in the class-room. This policy was compulsory, and not merely concessive. Sadly the board chose to ignore the DI’s advice and ploughed straight ahead into a legal disaster.

quote:
Rex Monday said:
The school board witnesses got a particularly harsh beating -- but that's what happens when you get up on oath and demonstrate that you are clueless and deceitful by lying to the judge about things you don't understand.

The judgment specifically levels accusations of lying against two named members of the board, Alan Bonsell and William Buckingham. These men clearly played a dominant role in the development of the new policy. This included raising funds in a local church for the purchase of the ID sympathetic textbooks (and then concealing this fact from the court). These men deserve their “harsh beating” in the judgment.

As for the remaining four members of the board who supported the new policy, the judge does not specifically accuse them of lying, but he certainly does accuse them of gross naivety and of a woeful lack of understanding of the new ID policy that they had voted to implement.

Personally, I find the judge’s statement here to vindicate some of the comments I have made much earlier on this thread. It is clear to me that many people with essentially YEC views and thinking have adopted the language and vocabulary of ID without understanding the underlying concepts of ID and the fundamental differences from YEC views. This certainly happened at Dover.

quote:
Karl Liberal-Backslider said:
What this shows, wonderfully, is that when an intelligent layman, who has a prior commitment only to finding out the truth of the matter, is presented with the scientific evidence for what has been the mainstream scientific model for a century and more, and has that compared with religiously motivated misrepresentation, twisted interpretation and even barefaced lies, it rapidly becomes clear that the scientists are almost certainly rather closer to the truth.

Although the judgment clearly does not express any support for the technical ideas put forward by the expert witnesses for the defence (Behe, Minnich and others) and considers them refuted by others in the scientific community, the judgment vindicates the personal integrity of these expert defence witnesses completely:

quote:
From page 137:
With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors.

Karl’s generalized and unrestricted comment about “bare-faced lies” therefore contains the very twisting and misrepresentation that he complains of.

quote:
Justinian said:
Christ is served by exposing the ID lobby for the liars they are - and thereby helping to minimise the future impact of said lobby misusing his name.

Here the thread reaches a real low point. In the light of the evidence I have presented above regarding the highly restricted nature of the allegations of lying that have emerged from this court case, I consider that Justinian’s generalized and unrestricted remarks about the “ID lobby” being “liars” constitutes a prima facie breach of commandments 1, 2, 3 and possibly 8.

Please would the host adjudicate on this issue.

quote:
Rex Monday said:
So can we close this thread now? ID's had its day in court, Behe and pals had every chance to wheel out their best shots, and an impeccably Republican, Lutherian judge has pronounced in burning letters a hundred feet high that it is warmed-over creationism without a scientific thread to its name.

Sadly the “impeccably Republican, Lutherian (sic)” judge does not agree with you about the foreclosing of the discussion.

quote:
From page 137:
Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed.

As for your assertion about “warmed over creationism”, the judgment is singularly disappointing and sorely lacking on this point. Consider the following statement in it:

quote:
From page 35:
The sole argument Defendants made to distinguish creationism from ID was their assertion that the term “creationism” applies only to arguments based on the Book of Genesis, a young earth, and a catastrophic Noaich flood; however, substantial evidence established that this is only one form of creationism, including the chart that was distributed to the Board Curriculum Committee, as will be described below.

So from this we learn that it is now possible to be a “creationist” without any reference at all to Genesis, Noah and the flood. [Eek!]

So what is the “substantial evidence” that this is so? The judgment cites an unreferenced document of unknown provenance, and with no other arguments or evidence presented, we learn that the various sub-species of “creationism” are as follows:

quote:
From page 106:
“Young Earth Creationism (Creation Science),” “Progressive Creationism (Old Earth Creation),” “Evolutionary Creation (Theistic Creation),” “Deistic Evolution (Theistic Evolution)”

Since the document cited linked ID concepts and personalities to Progressive Creationism (Old Earth Creation), that was good enough for the judge to conclude that ID was a sub-species of “creationism”.

However, on this peculiar logic, those who subscribe to some form of theistic evolution are therefore no less “creationists” that the most ardent members of Answers in Genesis (AiG) and the Institute of Creation Research (ICR).

These loose statements render the very term “creationist” meaningless and hence useless for enlightening the discussion. As a result the judgment frequently commits the logical fallacy of equivocation. The judge’s sloppy language on this point contrasts strongly with the very carefully documented way in which he has laid out his legal methodology regarding contested constitutional issues.

quote:
Callan said:
It's preferred weapons were PR, tame journalists and litigation.

On the contrary, the preferred weapons of ID are logic, reason, the laws of science and the known facts of the universe. I am sorry that you are unable to see that.

quote:
Callan said:
It chose its field of battle and, ironically and appropriately, it was thwarted in its own chosen arena.

Actually no, the Thomas More Law Centre (TMLC) chose to make the mandatory teaching of ID in Dover School into a legal test case over certain American constitutional issues. The Discovery Institute strongly advised both the TMLC and the Dover School Board against doing this, but nevertheless both chose to plough ahead regardless.

quote:
Callan said:
As the judge observed, ID was not about promoting critical thinking, it was about formenting a revolution against evolutionary theory.

In the context of the judgment, the new ID policy of the Dover School Board had to be understood on the one hand in the light of the board members’ public statements, decision-making processes and policy intentions, and on the other hand in the light of the American constitution.

Those statements, decisions and intentions were on record, and the record clearly showed that they were heavily religious in tone rather than educational and/or secular. That evidence alone would have been sufficient to have the new policy ruled overtly religious.

In the light of this it is not surprising that the judge found for the plaintiffs and ruled that the new policy was unconstitutional. I cannot disagree with this part of the judgment at all. On this point it is well documented and well argued.

However, where the judge has erred very badly indeed IMO is in going beyond the strictly USA constitutional issues of public education policy. He has attempted to use his court judgment to decide highly controverted issues of science and philosophy that have been discussed openly at least since the time of classical Greek thought.

The very factors that fuel these ongoing controversies are heavily grounded in human self-awareness and human rationality. A constitutional court in Pennsylvania is not going to change any of that.

quote:
Rex Monday said:
That's the joy of evolution: everything is something else, just different. Birds are still dinosaurs, just different. We are still fish, just different (really - you can trace the reason we have four limbs positioned where they are to the places on a fish where fins work best).

I suggest you speak for yourself. I am not a fish, nor have I ever have been a fish, but as a boy I use to love fishing. Does that count?

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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Ah, there you are.

quote:
Sadly the “impeccably Republican, Lutherian (sic)” judge does not agree with you about the foreclosing of the discussion.

I merely said what the judge said - that ID is not science, but creationism under a different banner. ID is perfectly at home in philosophy or history of religion classes. Perhaps you could point out where I've said otherwise?

quote:
These loose statements render the very term “creationist” meaningless and hence useless for enlightening the discussion. As a result the judgment frequently commits the logical fallacy of equivocation. The judge’s sloppy language on this point contrasts strongly with the very carefully documented way in which he has laid out his legal methodology regarding contested constitutional issues.
Alas, no. There are plenty of ways to define or categorise different sorts of creationist thought: some are clearly anti-scientific, others coexist well with current science. None is science. That's all Judge Jones is saying. ID is clearly creationism, and is not science - despite the efforts of the IDers to avoid answering any questions that might further define exactly what sort of creationism it is (age of the earth, common descent, nature of fossil hominids, nature of the creator, etc). It's not possible to make ID vacuous enough to let it escape its creationist nature.

quote:
On the contrary, the preferred weapons of ID are logic, reason, the laws of science and the known facts of the universe. I am sorry that you are unable to see that.
Unfortunately, ID is as incompetent to wield those weapons as a toddler is to pilot a nuclear submarine. My chosen weapons to fight crime are a skin-tight leotard and the super-power to turn evil-doers into splendid cream buns. Doesn't help that in my case, one is frankly ridiculous and the other utter fantasy.

quote:
I suggest you speak for yourself. I am not a fish, nor have I ever have been a fish, but as a boy I use to love fishing. Does that count?
Depends. Was it this kind of fishing?

Anyway, since you're back, a few questions for you. How badly do you think Behe's admissions that ID was no more science than astrology, that there are effectively no peer review publications that demonstrate ID, and that he hasn't actually bothered to keep up with research in those areas which he claims demonstrate ID, have harmed ID? How about the total absence of data produced by the defendents? And how about that absolutely categorical history of revision of the Panda book?

Reality: ID is creationism. It is not science. We have a hundred-plus page judgement on the back of a 40 day trial, a model of clarity (I'd be tempted to call it crystal clear, but that phrase has a chequered history on this thread) which has seen Dembski close down his blog, Santorum run for the hills and the Disco Institute launch an absolutely unforgivable piece of character assassination on Judge Jones, presumably because they're stuck for anything else to do.

ID is creationism. There is no science there. Official.

R

--------------------
I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
However, on this peculiar logic, those who subscribe to some form of theistic evolution are therefore no less “creationists” that the most ardent members of Answers in Genesis (AiG) and the Institute of Creation Research (ICR).

I don't consider the logic there to be "peculiar". I've no problems whatsoever with my views being covered by the general description of "creationism". I believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I don't, however, consider that those beliefs have any place being taught in a science lesson.

I also believe that the best description of how God created is found in the theories of mainstream science. Those theories should be taught in science lessons; the only time other things should be taught is in attempting to instill an understanding of how the modern understanding came about (eg: the "plum pudding" model of the atom within the context of teaching how the nuclear model was developed).

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
I merely said what the judge said - that ID is not science, but creationism under a different banner. ID is perfectly at home in philosophy or history of religion classes. Perhaps you could point out where I've said otherwise?

My comment about foreclosing the discussion was made in response to your earlier comment on this thread:

quote:
So can we close this thread now?
Even if you were being serious, which I doubt, I think that is a forlorn hope. You seem very willing to accept the judgment as it stands without examining the quality of its arguments and the correctness of the facts within it. Do you really think a court in Pennsylvania is going to settle an issue for the rest of the world?

quote:
Alas, no. There are plenty of ways to define or categorise different sorts of creationist thought: some are clearly anti-scientific, others coexist well with current science. None is science. That's all Judge Jones is saying. ID is clearly creationism, and is not science - despite the efforts of the IDers to avoid answering any questions that might further define exactly what sort of creationism it is (age of the earth, common descent, nature of fossil hominids, nature of the creator, etc). It's not possible to make ID vacuous enough to let it escape its creationist nature.
“Creationism” is a useless word. You are defining it to mean whatever you want it to mean. It adds nothing but fog to the discussion. Even Ken Miller, a witness for the plaintiffs and a committed Darwinian, admitted that as a theistic believer he was a creationist in the broadest sense of the word.

quote:
Unfortunately, ID is as incompetent to wield those weapons as a toddler is to pilot a nuclear submarine. My chosen weapons to fight crime are a skin-tight leotard and the super-power to turn evil-doers into splendid cream buns. Doesn't help that in my case, one is frankly ridiculous and the other utter fantasy.
I don’t recommend the skin-tight leotard. At your age you’ll look ridiculous, rather like your argument at this point.

quote:
Depends. Was it this kind of fishing?
Yes, rod and line angling, but sadly bass always eluded me. However, I did catch a lot of whiting, pollack and mackerel.

quote:
Anyway, since you're back, a few questions for you. How badly do you think Behe's admissions that ID was no more science than astrology,
Don’t misrepresent Behe, he said nothing of the kind. We are going to fall out very fast (again) if you cannot cite witnesses correctly. If I remember correctly, the cross-examination was about Behe’s understanding of the word “theory” and his answer was about how loosely the word is used in the scientific world. On that point he is clearly correct.

The word “astrology” was brought up by the lawyer cross-examining him. No doubt a loose definition of the word “theory” allows all sorts of things to claim the word as their own, including astrology, but Behe is far from being alone in his loose verbal usage here.

ID concepts are based on far more than silly semantic games about the word “theory”. This canard is testimony to a verbal trap by a clever lawyer who did not have the means to refute Behe’s scientific position, so attempted to discredit him in other ways.

quote:
that there are effectively no peer review publications that demonstrate ID,
It all depends on that word “effectively”, doesn’t it? Personally I would argue that the AVIDA paper in Nature very clearly demonstrated the truth of certain ID concepts, despite the authors’ intentions to do completely the opposite. A paper doesn’t have to refer explicitly to ID by name to have some bearing on this subject.

In plain terms the judgment is factually incorrect about the lack of peer-reviewed publications discussing ID concepts. This list at the Discovery Institute sets the record straight.

Perhaps you can tell me who peer-reviewed Darwin’s Origin of Species? Many new scientific ideas are found in books before they make their way into the peer-reviewed journals. In any event, there is a case that the peer-reviewing process establishes an orthodoxy, stifles dissent, and actually acts against genuine scientific discoveries.

quote:
and that he hasn't actually bothered to keep up with research in those areas which he claims demonstrate ID,
Now you’re making very personal comment about Michael Behe. How do you know that he hasn’t kept up with research in ID related areas? Have you seen an audit of the books and journal papers he has read and the conferences he has attended? Are you personally competent to comment on what counts as cutting edge biochemical research?

For the record Behe’s book still sells very well and I believe he is presently working on a follow-up. Given his current high profile name and establishment disfavour, I suspect that he has his finger well on top of his subject. He would be a fool to do otherwise.

quote:
have harmed ID?
The court judgment has clearly stopped the Dover School Board in their tracks, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Frankly, understanding ID properly requires much more mathematics and philosophy that most 15 year olds are likely to have, but the good news is that college students in America have an ever increasing interest in ID issues.

So, I seriously don’t think this court decision has harmed ID at all. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Judge Jones decides the law in Pennsylvania and some will be happy to rely on him for their opinions on contested scientific matters. Fortunately, many others will investigate these matters for themselves and then make their own minds up.

quote:
How about the total absence of data produced by the defendents?
At heart ID is the rational and empirical detection by humanity of the action of an intelligent agent. Since you do not accept there is any validity or merit to ID ideas at all, there is no possible biological data that could be produced that would keep you satisfied. So your point here is a red herring.

The case for the defence was managed by the Thomas More Law Centre (TMLC). Some of the big names associated with the Discovery Institute who were slated to appear as witnesses (Dembski, Meyer, Berlinski et al) withdrew at an earlier stage because they lost faith in the way the TMLC was conducting the case. So perhaps also that defence was not well conducted.

quote:
And how about that absolutely categorical history of revision of the Panda book?
The publishers of that book were forbidden by the judge from giving evidence in the court, so the full story could not be given. The editorial history reflects the fact that the USA Supreme Court (I think) clearly defined legally what it meant by “creation science” some 20 years ago or so. The book was edited at the time to reflect the fact that it took a different stance from that considered as “creation science” by the Supreme Court.

It is a normal practice when considering the history of a document to see an editorial change as reflecting a conscious change of meaning and content. That is how lawyers and judges look at the final form of legislation in the light of earlier drafts. Those editorial changes enable them to be clearer about the intentions of the law makers, especially on matters on which the final draft may be ambiguous.

quote:
Reality: ID is creationism. It is not science. We have a hundred-plus page judgement on the back of a 40 day trial, a model of clarity (I'd be tempted to call it crystal clear, but that phrase has a chequered history on this thread)
Sadly, the judgment does not deserve the high accolades you give it, but I do think the judge reached the right verdict in respect of Dover School Board’s mistaken attempt to mandate the teaching of ID. Given the hotly controversial nature of the subject and the widespread misunderstanding about what it involves, a policy of compulsion was a foolish mistake in political terms.

quote:
which has seen Dembski close down his blog,
You are seeing conspiracy theories everywhere. So, tell me, have you worked out who shot Kennedy yet? And have you seen Elvis lately? [Smile]

Dembski’s main scientific work is at his Design Inference Website which is staying open. He personally will still be blogging occasionally at Intelligent Design the Future. He has already written a string of books and his peer-reviewed opus magnum, The Design Inference, is just now out in an affordable paperback. I don’t think he will be going away just yet.

quote:
Santorum run for the hills
Who is he? I actually know nothing about the man. For all I know he may be a person of integrity and honour hounded out by uncouth and violent enemies.

quote:
and the Disco Institute launch an absolutely unforgivable piece of character assassination on Judge Jones, presumably because they're stuck for anything else to do.
I believe that the Discovery Institute described him as an “activist judge” with “delusions of grandeur”. In my opinion that was a fair comment based on the extent to which the judge went well past what was legally necessary to settle the particular constitutional issue in Dover, based on his excessive confidence as expressed below:

quote:
From page 63 of the judgment
…the Court is confident that no other tribunal in the United States is in a better position than are we to traipse into this controversial area.

I have to admire the judge’s chutzpah, if not his discretion. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. However, I think he made the right basic call in his judgement with respect to the Dover School Board, although his judgment also makes several errors of fact and commits numerous logical fallacies. If this case should ever go to appeal (which looks unlikely at present), he will be vulnerable on those grounds.

quote:
ID is creationism. There is no science there. Official.
Actually the judgment only applies to Pennsylvania, even within the USA. Here in the UK I prefer to do my own thinking. I can afford not to worry about American constitutional niceties and I’ll make my own mind up about what is science or not.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Barnabas62
Host
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Faithful Sheepdog

I have grown to admire your tenacity. While I understand your defence of the DI, I would also be grateful for your opinion on the those parts of the judgment (bottom p68- top of p69) which refer to the DI and the Wedge Document. Has the DI commented on the accuracy or otherwise of that part of the judgment? We discussed the significance of the Wedge Document earlier in the thread and here is an earlier comment by me. The damage is now obvious.

Here is a key quote from the judgement
quote:
..the Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science”. (my explanation; IDM = Intelligent Design Movement)
I reiterate my earlier view that you (and maybe other proponents of ID) have underestimated the damaging effect of the Wedge Document and its "ad hominem" aggression. Until this aim is repudiated, proponents of ID will be hamstrung by it. In fact, given your tenacity, I would have thought it was now in your interests to repudiate it. What do you say?

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
You seem very willing to accept the judgment as it stands without examining the quality of its arguments and the correctness of the facts within it.

I've read the judgement through a few times now. The quality of the arguments and the correctness of the facts seem pretty good to me, and the writing has an exceptional clarity by American legal standards (I've seen some stinkers).

quote:
“Creationism” is a useless word. You are defining it to mean whatever you want it to mean.

Nonsense. Creationism means a belief that the universe was created by an external act rather than coming to be by itself. That's pretty unambiguous, wouldn't you say?

quote:
Even Ken Miller, a witness for the plaintiffs and a committed Darwinian, admitted that as a theistic believer he was a creationist in the broadest sense of the word.

Absolutely. And creationism, no matter what flavour, is not science and is not to be taught in science classes. ID is creationism, therefore it is not science. That seems very clear to me, and to the judge, and to nearly everyone (Christian and not) with whom I've talked about the decision.

The logical reasons why ID is not creationism were presented during the trial. They were found to be utterly inadequate - and as a by-product, thoroughly documented as such.

quote:
Don’t misrepresent Behe, he said nothing of the kind. We are going to fall out very fast (again) if you cannot cite witnesses correctly. If I remember correctly, the cross-examination was about Behe’s understanding of the word “theory” and his answer was about how loosely the word is used in the scientific world.

There's no need to misrepresent Behe. He was talking about his own use of the word theory -- which is not the way it's used in mainstream science -- and admitted that under his own definition astrology would be as rigorous as ID. From the New Scientist report of that part of the trial:

quote:
Because ID has been rejected by virtually every scientist and science organisation, and has never once passed the muster of a peer-reviewed journal paper, Behe admitted that the controversial theory would not be included in the NAS definition. “I can’t point to an external community that would agree that this was well substantiated,” he said.

Behe said he had come up with his own “broader” definition of a theory, claiming that this more accurately describes the way theories are actually used by scientists. “The word is used a lot more loosely than the NAS defined it,” he says.
Hypothesis or theory?

Rothschild [prosecuting - RG] suggested that Behe’s definition was so loose that astrology would come under this definition as well. He also pointed out that Behe’s definition of theory was almost identical to the NAS’s definition of a hypothesis. Behe agreed with both assertions.

We're dealing with whether ID is science or not. Behe's choice of definitions that lie outside normal scientific use is important. Likewise, Behe's inability to name a single peer-reviewed paper in court -- while being encouraged to do so -- is important.


quote:
ID concepts are based on far more than silly semantic games about the word “theory”. This canard is testimony to a verbal trap by a clever lawyer who did not have the means to refute Behe’s scientific position, so attempted to discredit him in other ways.
Behe had plenty of opportunity to point this out. He had a defence lawyer to help him. His science didn't stand up to scrutiny. At some point, you'll have to accept that. And if you read the court transcripts, you'll have to accept that the prosecution was entirely up to speed with the science.


quote:
Personally I would argue that the AVIDA paper in Nature very clearly demonstrated the truth of certain ID concepts, despite the authors’ intentions to do completely the opposite. A paper doesn’t have to refer explicitly to ID by name to have some bearing on this subject.
I never could understand how you could impute intelligent design to a mechanistic analogy of biological evolution - nor why if that was the case, you had any problem with evolution as it stands.

quote:
In plain terms the judgment is factually incorrect about the lack of peer-reviewed publications discussing ID concepts. This list at the Discovery Institute sets the record straight.

That list is not what it purports to be - which is why, I'll wager, it was never raised or tested in court. How can the Disco Institute claim that inclusion of an article in a book edited by Dembski qualifies something to the equivalent status of peer review, for example? And as has been pointed out elsewhere, even allowing for the most generous analysis of the DI's claims for that list, the number of papers represented over the time covered would shame even the smallest research department at a rural university. In any terms, even the most generous, it is scientifically negligable - and if you ask for the same standards as you'd expect from someone composing a CV in support of a job application at a university, it's negligable in every respect.

As I said, Behe was unable to name a single paper to the court which qualified as a properly peer reviewed publication in support of ID.

There is only one conclusion.

quote:


Perhaps you can tell me who peer-reviewed Darwin’s Origin of Species? Many new scientific ideas are found in books before they make their way into the peer-reviewed journals. In any event, there is a case that the peer-reviewing process establishes an orthodoxy, stifles dissent, and actually acts against genuine scientific discoveries.

Which ones, in particular?

quote:
Now you’re making very personal comment about Michael Behe. How do you know that he hasn’t kept up with research in ID related areas?
I recommend a look at the transcript of the trial, especially Day 12, where Behe says that he hasn't read any of really quite a long list of publications about the evolution of the immune system because he doesn't need to. I won't paraphrase him exactly, because it's quite an involved Q&A (and shows that the plantiff's lawyer is entirely in command of his brief, btw), but Behe's saying that he's so sure that his conditions for evolution cannot be met that there's no point in him reading the literature.

This is not good science.

quote:
Given his current high profile name and establishment disfavour, I suspect that he has his finger well on top of his subject. He would be a fool to do otherwise.
He certainly looked foolish in the courtroom.

quote:
I seriously don’t think this court decision has harmed ID at all. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Judge Jones decides the law in Pennsylvania and some will be happy to rely on him for their opinions on contested scientific matters. Fortunately, many others will investigate these matters for themselves and then make their own minds up.
There most certainly is such a thing as bad publicity!

quote:
At heart ID is the rational and empirical detection by humanity of the action of an intelligent agent. Since you do not accept there is any validity or merit to ID ideas at all, there is no possible biological data that could be produced that would keep you satisfied.
If it's science, then the data can be presented and independently verified. There is no data. There are no papers. There is no science.

quote:
The case for the defence was managed by the Thomas More Law Centre (TMLC). Some of the big names associated with the Discovery Institute who were slated to appear as witnesses (Dembski, Meyer, Berlinski et al) withdrew at an earlier stage because they lost faith in the way the TMLC was conducting the case. So perhaps also that defence was not well conducted.
It would have to be spectacularly badly conducted if a key witness was unable to provide data, papers or scientific argument after all these years of the DI claiming the opposite.

quote:
The publishers of that book were forbidden by the judge from giving evidence in the court, so the full story could not be given.
I think you'll find both the defence and the plantiffs opposed the publishers' motion for intervention, which was in any case made at a very late stage and would have had considerable procedural implications. It's not a matter of the judge forbidding this, it's him deciding not to make an exceptional case of admitting them against the wishes of all other parties. In any case, the documents were merely evidence, and the publishers were not parties to the case, and the defence was free to present whatever it liked to explain that evidence.

quote:
The editorial history reflects the fact that the USA Supreme Court (I think) clearly defined legally what it meant by “creation science” some 20 years ago or so. The book was edited at the time to reflect the fact that it took a different stance from that considered as “creation science” by the Supreme Court.
Really? Which parts of the book differed from that, then?

quote:
A policy of compulsion was a foolish mistake in political terms.
It held up ID to the most rigorous examination of the facts that it has been exposed to. That's a good thing, even if you feel it was a mistake.

quote:
[Dembski's] peer-reviewed opus magnum, The Design Inference, is just now out in an affordable paperback. I don’t think he will be going away just yet.
Peer reviewed, eh? Tell me, what is the mechanism for peer review of a book? Which organisation was responsible?

quote:
and the Disco Institute launch an absolutely unforgivable piece of character assassination on Judge Jones, presumably because they're stuck for anything else to do.
quote:
I believe that the Discovery Institute described him as an “activist judge” with “delusions of grandeur”.
No, I was referring to John West's deliberate misquoting of Jones' description of work he did earlier in his career to save a man from Death Row. As far as I know, Jones has no record of judicial activism, and this was an attempt to misrepresent him in order to generate one.

quote:
...although his judgment also makes several errors of fact and commits numerous logical fallacies. If this case should ever go to appeal (which looks unlikely at present), he will be vulnerable on those grounds.
Nonsense. Merely disagreeing with you is not committing a logical fallacy! Given that the court can only decide on the evidence presented to it during the trial, which errors of fact and logic are in the decision? So far, you've just provided excuses from outside the trial - ones which, if the judge had included them in his consideration, would certainly have raised doubts about his conduct.

R

--------------------
I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I have grown to admire your tenacity. While I understand your defence of the DI, I would also be grateful for your opinion on the those parts of the judgment (bottom p68- top of p69) which refer to the DI and the Wedge Document. Has the DI commented on the accuracy or otherwise of that part of the judgment? We discussed the significance of the Wedge Document earlier in the thread and here is an earlier comment by me. The damage is now obvious.

I beg to disagree that the “damage is obvious” What is obvious to me from pages 68 and 69 is the court’s very sloppy treatment of the Discovery Institute (DI). The DI were not a party to this case and were not required or invited to give evidence in court.

In particular, they were not asked to explain what they meant by the Wedge Document, or even whether it represented current DI policy, since it is now in fact out-of-date. As a result of this the judge has sadly bought into the gross misrepresentations of certain vested interests.

Compare the following nuanced sentence from the Wedge Document:

quote:
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.
with the crude interpretive gloss that the judge has given it at the top of page 69:

quote:
The IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian Science”.
The judge does at least manage to get the quote correct in the footnote to page 69, but the crude gloss remains in the main text. Consider also the judge’s next statement near the top of page 69:

quote:
The IDM [Intelligent Design Movement] seeks nothing less than a complete scientific revolution in which ID will supplant evolutionary theory.
where the word “complete” will not be found in the Wedge Document, and again the whole sentence is a crude interpretive gloss on a much more nuanced statement from the DI.

Notice also that the judge confusingly conflates the DI with something called the Intelligent Design Movement. At this point in the judgment he is factually incorrect again – ID predates the DI, and has always been bigger than the DI.

In these comments the judge ceases to be a judge and becomes a political commentator instead. His comments also reveal his limited knowledge of the philosophy of science. That may of course reflect the inadequacy of the evidence given in the court, something that has already been mentioned on this thread.

In the history of the philosophy of science, the phrase “scientific revolution” has been used by some of the most respected writers such as Thomas Kuhn (“The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” is his best known book, which popularised the phrase “paradigm shift”, I think).

So, in using the words “scientific revolution” there are absolutely no implications of violent political upheavals or the forcible establishment of a right-wing theocracy or any other improper behaviour. There is nothing in the Wedge Document at all to suggest that. It is a figment of some people’s paranoid imaginations.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Here is a key quote from the judgement

quote:
..the Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science”. (my explanation; IDM = Intelligent Design Movement)
I reiterate my earlier view that you (and maybe other proponents of ID) have underestimated the damaging effect of the Wedge Document and its "ad hominem" aggression. Until this aim is repudiated, proponents of ID will be hamstrung by it. In fact, given your tenacity, I would have thought it was now in your interests to repudiate it. What do you say?
I have noted your viewpoint but I remain unchanged in mine that there is nothing in the Wedge Document that I need to repudiate. As the Wedge Document itself says:

quote:
Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.
The Wedge Document therefore proposed in a democratic and pluralistic USA context a program of reasoned persuasion by means of scholarly research, journal articles, conference papers, popular books and media appearances. The fact that some people find this program such a frightening thought says a lot more about them than it does about the DI.

You may also want to ask yourself why none of the DI’s detractors has ever contacted the DI to ascertain if their views and intentions are being correctly understood. This thread has already seen numerous factual inaccuracies about the DI by people who should know better. There is absolutely no excuse for the foolish hysteria that the Internet conspiracy theorists have whipped up.

The DI has now itself commented extensively on the Wedge Document here. This document was only posted on December 19th 2005, so it is very new. In it they explain the history, purpose and meaning of the Wedge Document. It turns out it was originally a fund-raising proposal that dates from 1999 or earlier, so I was not far off when I called it a Public Relations Strategy.

I suggest that you read the DI’s explanations and then consider whether they and the Wedge Document have been fairly represented in the court judgment or in any of these shipboard discussions.

Neil

--------------------
"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
Creationism means a belief that the universe was created by an external act rather than coming to be by itself. That's pretty unambiguous, wouldn't you say?

That’s not how the word is defined in the dictionaries, or used in the popular media, or even at the Panda’s Thumb blog. I stand by my view that it is an equivocal term often used with pejorative overtones, and that it serves to obfuscate rather than clarify.

That is why ID opponents are so desperate to paint ID supporters as “creationists”. It is a ruse to avoid discussing the substantive issue at the heart of this debate. It also deflects attention away from the philosophical outlook always implicit (and sometimes all-too-explicit) in ID opponents’ views.

quote:
Absolutely. And creationism, no matter what flavour, is not science and is not to be taught in science classes. ID is creationism, therefore it is not science. That seems very clear to me, and to the judge, and to nearly everyone (Christian and not) with whom I've talked about the decision.
A good exercise for you would be to present your ideas and views without once using the word “creationist” and “creationism”. That would force you to think about what it is you are really trying to say in language that is clear, unequivocal and uncontested.

quote:
The logical reasons why ID is not creationism were presented during the trial. They were found to be utterly inadequate - and as a by-product, thoroughly documented as such.
The trial was actually about the constitutionality of the actions of the Dover School Board. A Pennsylvania court can rule authoritatively on the American constitution on Pennsylvania. It cannot be binding on anyone else.

quote:
There's no need to misrepresent Behe. He was talking about his own use of the word theory -- which is not the way it's used in mainstream science –
Here I disagree with you completely. The word “theory” has all sorts of usages among scientists, ranging from the icily precise to the hopelessly fuzzy. But semantic quibbles like this are the stuff of cynical lawyers out to make disguised ad hominem attacks.

quote:
and admitted that under his own definition astrology would be as rigorous as ID. From the New Scientist report of that part of the trial:
I suggest you concentrate on Behe’s technical ideas and stop worrying about how he uses the word “theory”. There is a whole class of mathematical functions that is perfect for describing Behe’s ideas in a mathematical form. I suggest you do some research on Heaviside Step Functions. Have you ever heard of them?

quote:
Because ID has been rejected by virtually every scientist and science organisation, and has never once passed the muster of a peer-reviewed journal paper, Behe admitted that the controversial theory would not be included in the NAS definition. “I can’t point to an external community that would agree that this was well substantiated,” he said.
Take careful note of that word “virtually”. There is no argument here, only political cheer-leading. Of course ID is a minority viewpoint at present in the west, although whether that would be the case globally is a good question. The big question is, will it be a minority viewpoint in the west of the future?

I note that you also repeat a factual inaccuracy again about peer-reviewed journal articles. Meyer’s paper on the “Origins of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” was published in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington and was fully peer-reviewed.

Perhaps you would like to tell this thread about the subsequent harassment, bullying and abuse directed at the editor of that journal? And perhaps you would like to speculate about how that example may have influenced other journal editors considering articles from ID-sympathetic sources?

quote:
Behe said he had come up with his own “broader” definition of a theory, claiming that this more accurately describes the way theories are actually used by scientists. “The word is used a lot more loosely than the NAS defined it,” he says.
Hypothesis or theory?

Who appointed the NAS semantic guardians of the English scientific vocabulary? I think it would be very interesting to compare their formulations with those of other writers from an earlier historical period. I would be surprised if their views stand up on a historical analysis.

quote:
Rothschild [prosecuting - RG] suggested that Behe’s definition was so loose that astrology would come under this definition as well. He also pointed out that Behe’s definition of theory was almost identical to the NAS’s definition of a hypothesis. Behe agreed with both assertions.
This trial did not have a prosecutor since it was not a criminal court prosecution, but a civil court action about American constitutional law. The word you are looking for is “plaintiff’s lawyer”.

quote:
We're dealing with whether ID is science or not. Behe's choice of definitions that lie outside normal scientific use is important. Likewise, Behe's inability to name a single peer-reviewed paper in court -- while being encouraged to do so -- is important.
Behe’s language semantics in relation to the wider scientific world was not the subject of the trial. That is an irrelevant smoke-screen. What matters is the content of his scientific ideas.

quote:
Behe had plenty of opportunity to point this out. He had a defence lawyer to help him. His science didn't stand up to scrutiny. At some point, you'll have to accept that. And if you read the court transcripts, you'll have to accept that the prosecution was entirely up to speed with the science.
Actually, I prefer to spend my time reading the writings of the original authors rather than court transcripts involving semantic games played by cynical lawyers. I am quite confident in my own ability to judge whether Behe’s science “stands up to scrutiny”.

quote:
I never could understand how you could impute intelligent design to a mechanistic analogy of biological evolution - nor why if that was the case, you had any problem with evolution as it stands.
The fact that you do not understand my point about Avida is very revealing indeed, since the whole program is awash with intelligent intervention from start to finish. I’m just amazed that so many people can’t see it.

You are also using the word evolution in a very equivocal sense (again). With such fatal imprecision in your language, I am not surprised that you do not understand ID concepts at all or the perspective of ID sympathisers such as myself.

quote:
That list is not what it purports to be - which is why, I'll wager, it was never raised or tested in court. How can the Disco Institute claim that inclusion of an article in a book edited by Dembski qualifies something to the equivalent status of peer review, for example?
I suggest that you get your facts straight. Your inability to do this fatally undermines your credibility and renders any subsequent opinions worthless.

Dembski’s book The Design Inference (based on his PhD thesis) went through a comprehensive peer review process at Cambridge University Press (CUP). I suggest you read his own account of the peer review process involved here (scroll down to section 2).

Dembski even volunteers the fact that of the three peer-reviewers acting for CUP, two supported publication and one did not. How much more honesty do you want?

quote:
And as has been pointed out elsewhere, even allowing for the most generous analysis of the DI's claims for that list, the number of papers represented over the time covered would shame even the smallest research department at a rural university. In any terms, even the most generous, it is scientifically negligable - and if you ask for the same standards as you'd expect from someone composing a CV in support of a job application at a university, it's negligable in every respect.
Here you have shifted your ground markedly. Previously you were complaining that there were no peer-reviewed writings. Now that you have been given evidence that are in fact some, you then complain that there are not enough. This is just irrelevant whinging.

quote:
As I said, Behe was unable to name a single paper to the court which qualified as a properly peer reviewed publication in support of ID.
That may be true in the context of Behe’s own specialist interests, although as we now know it is not true when considering science overall. I suggest that you contact Michael Behe and put that question to him again without the constraints of courtroom theatrics. He may have had a chance to reflect further on it. His forthcoming follow-up book may also shed some light on this.

quote:
There is only one conclusion.
I am happy to do my own thinking and I reach my own conclusions.

quote:
Which ones, in particular?
See this paper at ISCID by Frank Tipler for further discussion on this point.

quote:
I recommend a look at the transcript of the trial, especially Day 12, where Behe says that he hasn't read any of really quite a long list of publications about the evolution of the immune system because he doesn't need to. I won't paraphrase him exactly, because it's quite an involved Q&A (and shows that the plantiff's lawyer is entirely in command of his brief, btw), but Behe's saying that he's so sure that his conditions for evolution cannot be met that there's no point in him reading the literature.
You presuppose that the publications in question are relevant to the questions raised against Behe’s scientific ideas. Nobody can possibly read everything even in one’s own technical field. He is perfectly in order to assign priorities to his reading as he thinks fit.

quote:
This is not good science.
That is a nonsensical statement and does not logically follow from any evidence cited in respect to Behe. You are simply indulging in the behaviour you have complained about in others, namely character assassination.

quote:
He certainly looked foolish in the courtroom.
That’s your opinion. I do not share it.

quote:
There most certainly is such a thing as bad publicity!
Perhaps, but in respect of ID concepts and ideas this trial has no doubt piqued many people’s curiosity. Now that the trial has finished perhaps some people will wish to examine these concepts and ideas for themselves. That can only be a good thing.

quote:
If it's science, then the data can be presented and independently verified. There is no data. There are no papers. There is no science.
You forgot to add that ID is a right-wing conspiracy to establish a theocracy. [Smile]

quote:
It would have to be spectacularly badly conducted if a key witness was unable to provide data, papers or scientific argument after all these years of the DI claiming the opposite.
On that point you may actually be correct. I think there ought to be a query against the competence of the defence conduct. The issues of interest to the TMLC are very different to those of the DI.

quote:
I think you'll find both the defence and the plantiffs opposed the publishers' motion for intervention, which was in any case made at a very late stage and would have had considerable procedural implications. It's not a matter of the judge forbidding this, it's him deciding not to make an exceptional case of admitting them against the wishes of all other parties. In any case, the documents were merely evidence, and the publishers were not parties to the case, and the defence was free to present whatever it liked to explain that evidence.
You are right about the procedural issues relating to the trial, but this may be an example of the poor defence strategy employed by the TMLC. Given the central role of the book in the Dover School ID policy and the subsequent judgment, court evidence from the publishers would have been very useful indeed.

quote:
Really? Which parts of the book differed from that, then?
I haven’t read that particular book so I cannot say. Remember it is aimed at children, not adults.

quote:
It held up ID to the most rigorous examination of the facts that it has been exposed to. That's a good thing, even if you feel it was a mistake.
The mistake I referred to was made by the Dover School Board in implementing a compulsory educational policy about a controversial subject that they did not understand. They ignored the advice from the DI and ploughed ahead to an expensive legal disaster.

A court of law is not the place to establish hotly contested issues of science and philosophy, especially with cynical lawyers playing semantic games. You are quite mistaken if you think that Judge Jones has settled this issue once and for all.

quote:
Peer reviewed, eh? Tell me, what is the mechanism for peer review of a book? Which organisation was responsible?
With this kind of comment you just demonstrate that you haven’t done your homework and you lose all credibility. Full details are in the link I posted earlier.

quote:
No, I was referring to John West's deliberate misquoting of Jones' description of work he did earlier in his career to save a man from Death Row. As far as I know, Jones has no record of judicial activism, and this was an attempt to misrepresent him in order to generate one.
As far as this thread is concerned, I’m only interested in the content of the judge’s written judgment. All these other issues from his past professional and private life are irrelevant. Whether he is “impeccably conservative [and] Lutherian” (your words) or otherwise is not the issue.

quote:
Nonsense. Merely disagreeing with you is not committing a logical fallacy! Given that the court can only decide on the evidence presented to it during the trial, which errors of fact and logic are in the decision? So far, you've just provided excuses from outside the trial - ones which, if the judge had included them in his consideration, would certainly have raised doubts about his conduct.
I never claimed that disagreeing me constitutes a logical fallacy. A logical fallacy refers to the flow of the argument and the logical basis on which a conclusion is reached. Note that an illogical argument may still reach a correct conclusion, even if the argument is faulty.

It is on that basis that I think the judge made the right decision in respect of Dover School Board, even if some of his argument is questionable or downright faulty. I have already mentioned some errors of fact in the judgment.

As for errors of logic, the fallacy of equivocation is all over the judgment, joined on pages 8 and 9 with have a classic example of the fallacy of the excluded middle, as follows:

Fundamentalist creationists oppose “evolution” (meaning of evolution completely undefined at this point in the judgment).

IDists oppose “evolution” (fallacy of equivocation enables the judge to make another factual incorrectness – actually ID per se only opposes unteleological concepts of evolution aka the Blind Watchmaker hypothesis of Dawkins et al. Behe accepts common descent as a description of natural history.)

Therefore IDists are fundamentalist creationists.

As an argument it is stunningly inadequate and an exceedingly unfortunate start to the judgment. Fortunately the parts dealing with the specific actions of the Dover School Board are much better.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Laura
General nuisance
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There's really no cause to criticise for going out of scope a very good and well-respected judge who did a good job in a difficult situation just because you disagree with his conclusions on so-called Intelligent Design theory. And I think he pretty much had to rule on the scientific aspects, given the case and the way it was presented.

In this case, the fact that the (former) school board members were recognized clearly as pushing ID for religious reasons, and lying about it (nice Christian witness there), was what I think really pissed off the judge and rightly so.

It is an additional benefit that Behe was shown to be the nonsense peddler he is. Generally debates like this do better out of court, but I think there was a benefit conferred this time in having them on the stand. I'm a huge fan of free speech for this reason.

I generally stay away from this thread, because the issue is so annoying that even engaging in the debate skews my blood pressure, mostly because of FS's persistent and inexplicable repeated endorsement of "scientists" who, however well intentioned they may be, seem not remotely to understand what science demands. But I can't let you be horrible about the judge in this case without commenting.

[ 03. January 2006, 15:56: Message edited by: Laura ]

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Laura
General nuisance
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Sorry -- just read back and Rex Monday said it much better. But I thought it was an extraordinarily well-reasoned decision and one that will, thanks be to God, as a consequence be widely used in other courts where this issue arises.

Anyway, I have no problem with debate about whether God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster drives evolutionary change in philosophy or religion classes, where it belongs.

[ 03. January 2006, 16:00: Message edited by: Laura ]

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Eliab
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# 9153

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I've just read the judgment, and it certainly looks to me to me an excellent one. The Judge sets out very clearly the actual and intended meaning of the proposed ID disclaimer and leaves very little room for argument that the purpose here was wholly religious and not scientific.

What I'm less convinced about is whether a disguised religious motivation is always and necesarily going to be part of the ID movement. Doesn't the suggestion that it is by nature (not just in this particular cultural manifestation) a form of creationism imply that the question "was this designed?" applied to a living thing is forever outside the realm of science?

I can see that for an organism, like, for example, man, where a scientific explanation is offered of its origin, the claim that "it may look like that, but in fact the FSM created it" is untestable and thus unscientific, but I don't think it follows that all claims of design are necessarily unscientific. If, for example, we were aware of the possible existence of an advanced (human or alien) bio-engineering technology, and discovered a new species in an area that might have been exposed to such technology, wouldn't it be legitimate, in principle, to ask whether the thing evolved or was 'created'? If ID sets out and explores the sort of things we should look for to test a design hypothesis in such a case, isn't it possible for ID to be valid science?

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I've just read the judgment, and it certainly looks to me to me an excellent one. The Judge sets out very clearly the actual and intended meaning of the proposed ID disclaimer and leaves very little room for argument that the purpose here was wholly religious and not scientific.

What I'm less convinced about is whether a disguised religious motivation is always and necesarily going to be part of the ID movement. Doesn't the suggestion that it is by nature (not just in this particular cultural manifestation) a form of creationism imply that the question "was this designed?" applied to a living thing is forever outside the realm of science?

I can see that for an organism, like, for example, man, where a scientific explanation is offered of its origin, the claim that "it may look like that, but in fact the FSM created it" is untestable and thus unscientific, but I don't think it follows that all claims of design are necessarily unscientific. If, for example, we were aware of the possible existence of an advanced (human or alien) bio-engineering technology, and discovered a new species in an area that might have been exposed to such technology, wouldn't it be legitimate, in principle, to ask whether the thing evolved or was 'created'? If ID sets out and explores the sort of things we should look for to test a design hypothesis in such a case, isn't it possible for ID to be valid science?

Design is already part of science - archaeology wouldn't get very far if it couldn't tell a designed item from a natural one! Likewise, forensic science has to tell natural events from artificial ones, accidents from design. There's nothing inherently unscientific in any of this - and in the future, areas such as SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) hope to be able to extend such ideas in further fruitful ways. I dare say that we'll have to deal with the problem of deciding whether a particular pathogen was designed or naturally evolved too, which won't be fun.

Where ID stands apart is in having no basis for its claims that can be demonstrated. Those claims are that currently known biological systems are so complex that they could not have evolved through natural selection, and that this means that they must have been the creation of an intelligent designer.

The problem with the first part is that evolutionary scientists cannot follow the logic nor see the evidence that the IDers claim to have.
ID's leading lights, Behe and Dembski, certainly have their fans - just not among anyone who understands information theory or evolutionary biology.

The problem with the second part is more serious, in that it leads inevitably to a supernatural designer -- if nature is incapable of creating what we see using the laws of physics and observable processes, then there's no other way for such a designer to exist.

Positing a supernatural designer is religious, therefore ID is religious.

Saying that there was a _natural_ designer, as someone like Erich Von Daniken was prone to imply, would be a design idea that would be perfectly scientific (if evidence, predictions, etc, were forthcoming!).

R

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I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

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Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
[QB]
quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
Creationism means a belief that the universe was created by an external act rather than coming to be by itself. That's pretty unambiguous, wouldn't you say?

That’s not how the word is defined in the dictionaries, or used in the popular media, or even at the Panda’s Thumb blog. I stand by my view that it is an equivocal term often used with pejorative overtones, and that it serves to obfuscate rather than clarify.


Which is why the inclusive definition was so exhautively given. What word would you use instead?

quote:


That is why ID opponents are so desperate to paint ID supporters as “creationists”. It is a ruse to avoid discussing the substantive issue at the heart of this debate. It also deflects attention away from the philosophical outlook always implicit (and sometimes all-too-explicit) in ID opponents’ views.


Nonsense. It is entirely apt. If there's anyone trying to deflect attention away from the heart of the debate, it's people who claim that ID's implication of a supernatural creator is not religious.

quote:
Absolutely. And creationism, no matter what flavour, is not science and is not to be taught in science classes. ID is creationism, therefore it is not science. That seems very clear to me, and to the judge, and to nearly everyone (Christian and not) with whom I've talked about the decision.
quote:
A good exercise for you would be to present your ideas and views without once using the word “creationist” and “creationism”. That would force you to think about what it is you are really trying to say in language that is clear, unequivocal and uncontested.


ID directly implies a supernatural cause for biological entities. It is thus religion. Unlike the Disco Institute, I do not pretend that the idea of non-materialistic science has any meaning. If you could define what that science would look like, now THAT would be a start. Nobody else has managed it.

quote:
The logical reasons why ID is not creationism were presented during the trial. They were found to be utterly inadequate - and as a by-product, thoroughly documented as such.
quote:
The trial was actually about the constitutionality of the actions of the Dover School Board. A Pennsylvania court can rule authoritatively on the American constitution on Pennsylvania. It cannot be binding on anyone else.


Your answer has nothing to do with my original statement.

quote:
There's no need to misrepresent Behe. He was talking about his own use of the word theory -- which is not the way it's used in mainstream science –
quote:
Here I disagree with you completely. The word “theory” has all sorts of usages among scientists, ranging from the icily precise to the hopelessly fuzzy. But semantic quibbles like this are the stuff of cynical lawyers out to make disguised ad hominem attacks.

If you're going to dismiss everything I say as 'semantic quibbles', then what can I say in return? You don't seem prepared or able to engage with vital aspects of the issue of whether ID is science. I would think that the exact concept of theory is very important here, as ID has so many philosophical implications.

quote:


I note that you also repeat a factual inaccuracy again about peer-reviewed journal articles. Meyer’s paper on the “Origins of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” was published in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington and was fully peer-reviewed.

Perhaps you would like to tell this thread about the subsequent harassment, bullying and abuse directed at the editor of that journal? And perhaps you would like to speculate about how that example may have influenced other journal editors considering articles from ID-sympathetic sources?


With pleasure. That was where the departing editor broke with the written rules for accepting papers for the publication by avoiding part of the editing process, was it not? It can hardly be called peer-reviewed if the rules were tweaked especially to get it past some of the filters. Unsurprisingly, the journal owners were not happy when they found this out, and that the resultant paper was of a much lower quality than they would have expected.

I expect that's why Behe was unwilling to quote that (or any) paper in court as an example of peer review.

quote:
Behe said he had come up with his own “broader” definition of a theory, claiming that this more accurately describes the way theories are actually used by scientists. “The word is used a lot more loosely than the NAS defined it,” he says.
Hypothesis or theory?

quote:
Who appointed the NAS semantic guardians of the English scientific vocabulary? I think it would be very interesting to compare their formulations with those of other writers from an earlier historical period. I would be surprised if their views stand up on a historical analysis.

Bizarre. Are you saying that ID can only function as science if we go back to the point where science and the supernatural were seen as equivalent? That's certainly in keeping with Behe's concepts of theory. However, there is a reason that science and the concept of theory has moved on from that point - some aspects of a Behean early modern mindset just don't hold up against empiricism.

Demonology was once a perfectly respectable scientific theory, for example, based on the scientific treatment of people's reports of demonic activity. It was only when those reports themselves were investigated and no way of finding proof found that demonology failed - ironically enough, because it made unfalsifiable claims that could not be tested in court. The lawyers killed it.

In the end, things like demonology, astrology and alchemy didn't survive the rigorous application of empiricism while astronomy, chemistry and physics did. ID belongs in the former mindset, and I'm pleased to see you implying that. I'm also glad to see that you feel the nature of theory is in fact important, rather than a mere 'semantic quibble' which is how I somehow misread your earlier statement.

quote:
Rothschild [prosecuting - RG] suggested that Behe’s definition was so loose that astrology would come under this definition as well. He also pointed out that Behe’s definition of theory was almost identical to the NAS’s definition of a hypothesis. Behe agreed with both assertions.
quote:
This trial did not have a prosecutor since it was not a criminal court prosecution, but a civil court action about American constitutional law. The word you are looking for is “plaintiff’s lawyer”.

Quite right. Thank goodness we're out of the woods of semantic quibble and dealing with important matters, eh? OK, one last quibble - that's "The phrase" I was looking for, not "The word". Tricky thing, logos. Perhaps Dembski has something to say about it.

quote:
We're dealing with whether ID is science or not. Behe's choice of definitions that lie outside normal scientific use is important. Likewise, Behe's inability to name a single peer-reviewed paper in court -- while being encouraged to do so -- is important.
quote:
Behe’s language semantics in relation to the wider scientific world was not the subject of the trial. That is an irrelevant smoke-screen. What matters is the content of his scientific ideas.
Sorry, I misunderstood you again. When you took me to task earlier for saying that creationism meant a belief in a creator instead of sticking rigidly to a particular dictionary definition, I thought you were saying that it wasn't content of my ideas that mattered but my language semantics. Could you point out where you covered the content of my ideas? Thanks.

quote:
Behe had plenty of opportunity to point this out. He had a defence lawyer to help him. His science didn't stand up to scrutiny. At some point, you'll have to accept that. And if you read the court transcripts, you'll have to accept that the prosecution was entirely up to speed with the science.
quote:
Actually, I prefer to spend my time reading the writings of the original authors rather than court transcripts involving semantic games played by cynical lawyers. I am quite confident in my own ability to judge whether Behe’s science “stands up to scrutiny”.


Blimey! Sorry, my mistake again - I thought you wanted to discuss the court case! I also made the mistake of confusing you with the person who said

quote:

Don’t misrepresent Behe, he said nothing of the kind. We are going to fall out very fast (again) if you cannot cite witnesses correctly. If I remember correctly, the cross-examination was about Behe’s understanding of the word “theory” and his answer was about how loosely the word is used in the scientific world.

and might thus have actually read the transcript and care about citing witnesses correctly.

I'm at a loss now. If you're prepared to claim the judge made errors of logic and fact but are not prepared to actually discuss the court transcripts then we are both wasting our time. Alternatively, if you are unable to remember whether you read the transcript or not, we're still on a hiding to nothing.

We might as well stop here. Sorry for wasting your time.

R

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I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

Posts: 514 | From: Gin Lane | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
There's really no cause to criticise for going out of scope a very good and well-respected judge who did a good job in a difficult situation just because you disagree with his conclusions on so-called Intelligent Design theory.

I think it will be up to other lawyers and judges to decide whether this judge was legally justified in going out of scope to the extent that he did. If you bother to read my posts, you will find that I have criticised him for his factual errors and for the illogical arguments in his consideration of ID theory. I have not attacked him on a personal level simply because I disagree with his conclusions.

quote:
And I think he pretty much had to rule on the scientific aspects, given the case and the way it was presented.
Based on my distinctly limited understanding of American law, this was not the case. The best part of the judgment is where the statements and actions of the Dover School Board are laid out and dissected. They clearly show a religious motivation for the policy change and that was enough for the court to find for the plaintiffs.

It would have been no different if the policy change had been, say, a proposal to modify the English literature syllabus to study the King James Bible. If the intention had been to study it as a landmark of 17th century English Literature for secular education purposes only, that might have been acceptable to the court. But if the intention had been to study it as the sacred devotional writings of the Christian Church, that presumably would have been unacceptable.

quote:
In this case, the fact that the (former) school board members were recognized clearly as pushing ID for religious reasons, and lying about it (nice Christian witness there), was what I think really pissed off the judge and rightly so.
Yes, this part of the judgment was very well done and I agree with his conclusions. But please note that the judge only made allegations of lying against two named members of the board. He does not charge the remaining members of the board with lying.

quote:
It is an additional benefit that Behe was shown to be the nonsense peddler he is.
Have you actually read the judgment? The judge commended Behe for his bona fide endeavours whilst not accepting any of his conclusions.

quote:
Generally debates like this do better out of court, but I think there was a benefit conferred this time in having them on the stand. I'm a huge fan of free speech for this reason.
I take it you realise that it was the Dover School Board who were the defendants in this case, and nobody else? A court of law decides the law. It is not the place to decide contested scientific and philosophical issues.

quote:
I generally stay away from this thread, because the issue is so annoying that even engaging in the debate skews my blood pressure, mostly because of FS's persistent and inexplicable repeated endorsement of "scientists" who, however well intentioned they may be, seem not remotely to understand what science demands.
This is a discussion board. This issue is in the headlines. I take an interest in this subject. I like to post. I present a different point of view. Get used to it.

quote:
But I can't let you be horrible about the judge in this case without commenting.
I haven’t been horrible to the judge, although I did agree with one personal criticism made by the DI. I have done him the credit of reading his judgment in depth twice and now I am taking issue with some of his arguments. That is what some other judges will do in due course. Unlike some on this thread, I am discussing the issue, not the people.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Louise
Shipmate
# 30

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quote:

Demonology was once a perfectly respectable scientific theory, for example, based on the scientific treatment of people's reports of demonic activity. It was only when those reports themselves were investigated and no way of finding proof found that demonology failed - ironically enough, because it made unfalsifiable claims that could not be tested in court. The lawyers killed it.

It was indeed killed off in practice by judges and lawyers who realised that there was just no way in practice of getting reliable proofs of the crime of witchcraft (and hence they gradually began to refuse to try alleged cases of witchcraft) but it took a long time for them to come to that conclusion and the deaths of thousands of innocent people first. One of the big problems with it was once you brought the supernatural into it, it drove a horse and cart through reason and justice. It was impossible to disprove accusations, you would get this sort of thing:

witness - 'But my wife couldn't have been at the Sabbath in the next parish that night - she was in bed with me and up at dawn the next day to milk the cows.'

lawyer - 'Ah the Devil took her there in spirit, leaving a double in your bed and whisked her through the air and back in time for milking - the learned Bodin and Del Rio in their works speak of such cases'

People who think unfalsifiable supernatural claims are fine in science, certaily wouldn't want to meet them in a courtroom being admitted against them.

L

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Laura
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# 10

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
There's really no cause to criticise for going out of scope a very good and well-respected judge who did a good job in a difficult situation just because you disagree with his conclusions on so-called Intelligent Design theory.

I think it will be up to other lawyers and judges to decide whether this judge was legally justified in going out of scope to the extent that he did.

I am a lawyer, and one pretty familiar with US constitutional law.

ETA: And I have read the decision. I enjoyed it thoroughly. A gripping page-turner.

[ 03. January 2006, 20:46: Message edited by: Laura ]

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Faithful Sheepdog
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# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
I note that you also repeat a factual inaccuracy again about peer-reviewed journal articles. Meyer’s paper on the “Origins of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” was published in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington and was fully peer-reviewed.

Perhaps you would like to tell this thread about the subsequent harassment, bullying and abuse directed at the editor of that journal? And perhaps you would like to speculate about how that example may have influenced other journal editors considering articles from ID-sympathetic sources?

quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday:
With pleasure. That was where the departing editor broke with the written rules for accepting papers for the publication by avoiding part of the editing process, was it not? It can hardly be called peer-reviewed if the rules were tweaked especially to get it past some of the filters. Unsurprisingly, the journal owners were not happy when they found this out, and that the resultant paper was of a much lower quality than they would have expected.

Rex Monday, this is not the Panda’s Thumb.

Your comment above is a disgusting misrepresentation of what actually happened to Richard Sternberg, the former editor of that journal. Do you understand the necessity of checking out your facts before posting? Do arguments and evidence mean anything to you? Are you capable of doing anything other than indulging in spiteful smears and character assassination?

Here is Sternberg’s own detailed account of the reviewing procedures that were followed for that paper and what then transpired to him for publishing it. The account makes it very clear that the paper was fully reviewed in accordance with the journal’s normal procedures.

Since you cannot possibly know what reviewing procedures Sternberg was supposed to follow at the journal, or whether he did or did not follow them, I submit that there is no basis whatsoever for your allegations. In other words, you are blowing smoke and flying kites, and that is putting it politely.

You allege a “break of written rules”, an “avoiding of editorial standards” and an “especial tweaking of filters”, a clear attack on both his professional competence and his personal integrity. I am not a lawyer, but based on my knowledge of UK law, your offensively incorrect remarks are potentially libellous.

I suggest you apologise for yet another factual misrepresentation on this thread and then withdraw your remarks before they get the Ship into hot water. There will be no further interaction between us until this is done.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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quote:
Originally posted by Faithful Sheepdog:
I am not a lawyer, but based on my knowledge of UK law, your offensively incorrect remarks are potentially libellous.

I'm sure a Host or Member Admin will be along shortly to address other parts of your post.

I can say that I am a lawyer, and even under the more draconian UK standards, this sort of criticism is considered fair comment and not generally considered libellous. It's not in any case as bad as the Discovery Institute's campaign of vilification against the Dover judge, some of which is actually fabricated.

But thanks for your concern for the Ship.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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FS:

I suggest you take up your concerns with the Council of the Biological Society of Washington. Their statement on the affair can be found here:

http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html

and which, as it is a public statement, I feel justified in posting in toto.

"STATEMENT FROM THE COUNCIL OF THE BIOLOGICAL
SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON

The paper by Stephen C. Meyer, "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories," in vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239 of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, was published at the discretion of the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history. For the same reason, the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity. The Council endorses a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml), which observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting ID as a testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity. Accordingly, the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings.

We have reviewed and revised editorial policies to ensure that the goals of the Society, as reflected in its journal, are clearly understood by all. Through a web presence (http://www.biolsocwash.org) and improvements in the journal, the Society hopes not only to continue but to increase its service to the world community of systematic biologists. "

As for libel, I'll leave that to the hosts and admin to determine.

R

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I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

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Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by Rex Monday, citing the BSW:
Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process.

Compare this short BSW comment with Sternberg's detailed accounts in the link given above. According to Sternberg there was no formal procedural requirement for an internal review by an associate editor separate to Sternberg. However, the paper certainly did receive the three normal external reviews before publication as well as being discussed informally on several occasions with other colleagues in the BSW. Before the paper was published an internal review within the BSW concluded that all was well with the review process.

As Sternberg puts it:

quote:
The Meyer paper underwent a standard peer review process by three qualified scientists, all of whom are evolutionary and molecular biologists teaching at well-known institutions. The reviewers provided substantial criticism and feedback to Dr. Meyer, who then made significant changes to the paper in response. Subsequently, after the controversy arose, Dr. Roy McDiarmid, President of the Council of the BSW, reviewed the peer-review file and concluded that all was in order. As Dr. McDiarmid informed me in an email message on August 25th, 2004, "Finally, I got the [peer] reviews and agree that they are in support of your decision [to publish the article]."
I will leave the Ship to make up its mind who is telling the truth here. It is a quality in short supply in Rex Monday's post, that's for sure.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Barnabas62
Host
# 9110

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Faithful Sheepdog

Thanks for your comments on the Wedge Document. I also noted that the DI comment on the Wedge Document was published just one day before the Dover judgement was published - and to date the DI has not commented in detail on p 68-9 of the judgement. I wonder why. Perhaps they have something in preparation - though I could not find anything on the website.

So I will be interested to see if the DI does indeed publish any specific criticism of the judge's handling of the Wedge Document in the context of the judgement . Your own arguments re p68-9 are a different matter. After making every possible allowance for them, you have not persuaded me that the judge's use of Wedge Document extracts/interpretations in the judgement is unfair to either ID or the DI, in the specific context of the judgment.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Posts: 21397 | From: Norfolk UK | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
TonyK

Host Emeritus
# 35

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Host Mode <ACTIVATE>

Faithful Sheepdog

You have been around the Ship long enough to know that personal attacks are not allowed on this Board.

While it is perfectly acceptable to try to produce evidence to contradict another shipmate's assertions, specifically calling Rex Monday a liar and alleging that his comments are libellous moves your posts from discussion to personal attack.

Consider your knuckles duly rapped!

Host Mode <DEACTIVATE>

Yours aye ... TonyK
Host, Dead Horses Board

Posts: 2717 | From: Gloucestershire | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Faithful Sheepdog
Shipmate
# 2305

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Very well. I accept the hostly admonishment and withdraw the implied accusation of deliberate lying against Rex Monday. I apologise to him accordingly.

I stand by my earlier comments that he has repeatedly posted numerous factual inaccuracies regarding ID personalities and publications.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Barnabas62
Host
# 9110

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<tangent>

On Sternberg, this letter from the Office of Special Council should give all of us some pause for thought. It was not highlighted in Faithful Sheepdog's earlier link - but it is a quite remarkable document in support of Sternberg's assertion that he had been wronged.

I can think of no reason why the Office of Special Counsel should have any axe to grind on this case. And given the decision that they did not have jurisdiction to pursue the matter, there is also no obvious reason why the counsel should have provided so much information to Sternberg.

Given the admirable ability of regular contributors to this thread to digest lots of info, I would be interested if others, like me, tend to side with Attorney James McVay in concluding that the evidence re Sternberg's treatment is disturbing.

This has nothing to do with the merits of the Meyer article. It does however suggest a certain aggressiveness of approach to heterodox views by members of the Smithsonian Institution and its Natural Museum of Natural History.

If the e-mails contained in the McVay letter had been found in the annals of the Discovery Institute over a "mirror-image" controversy, I wonder what the reaction would have been. "Research Associate victimised for anti-creationist paper" is my best guess.

<end tangent>

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Posts: 21397 | From: Norfolk UK | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Rex Monday

None but a blockhead
# 2569

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
<tangent>

On Sternberg, this letter from the Office of Special Council should give all of us some pause for thought. It was not highlighted in Faithful Sheepdog's earlier link - but it is a quite remarkable document in support of Sternberg's assertion that he had been wronged.

I can think of no reason why the Office of Special Counsel should have any axe to grind on this case. And given the decision that they did not have jurisdiction to pursue the matter, there is also no obvious reason why the counsel should have provided so much information to Sternberg.

This has nothing to do with the merits of the Meyer article. It does however suggest a certain aggressiveness of approach to heterodox views by members of the Smithsonian Institution and its Natural Museum of Natural History.

If the e-mails contained in the McVay letter had been found in the annals of the Discovery Institute over a "mirror-image" controversy, I wonder what the reaction would have been. "Research Associate victimised for anti-creationist paper" is my best guess.

<end tangent>

Well, I don't know the answers to any of those questions. I know that the counsel was supposedly a political appointee and that there is currently a great deal of bad feeling between the US administration and many scientists, so there's one possible reason he would be supportive of Sternberg against an establishment institution.

I also know that organisations go to great lengths to get rid of individuals connected with them that cause them embarrassment and that academic politics can be the most vicious sort going.

It is impossible to tell for sure from the various parties' published accounts exactly what happened, except there was a vexacious and heated dispute. People will have to make up their own minds.

What isn't in dispute is that the paper was published. Having read both it and critiques of it I agree with the board that it was poor quality science and not in keeping with the journal.

R

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I am largely against organised religion, which is why I am so fond of the C of E.

Posts: 514 | From: Gin Lane | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Louise
Shipmate
# 30

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Barnabas,
I found this interesting reading about the Office of Special Counsel's conduct in this case.

quote:
The OSC claims the Smithsonian Institution essentially retaliated against Sternberg for publishing a pro-intelligent design article in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. But here's the catch: The Office of Special Counsel confesses 1) that it has no jurisdiction here; 2) that it hasn't heard the Smithsonian's full side of the story; and 3) that it doesn't want to consider the scientific merits of the argument against Sternberg. Nevertheless, it has produced a lengthy one-sided brief in his favor, which has understandably drawn Sternberg great publicity.
There also seem to be some very serious questions about the Office of Special Counsel, raised by the Congressional watchdog body, the Government Accountability Office which indicate that it's not as reliable a source as first appears.

It doesn't look like this case has had a proper legal hearing at all and I'm not sure the OSC is a reliable source. If any of our US attorneys who are better informed are looking in - perhaps they could comment? I'd be interested to hear.

cheers,
L.

--------------------
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Barnabas62
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Thanks very much, Rex and Louise. Nothing will take away the taste of those scabby and aggressive e-mails but the links put the OSC in context. It is odd that such a long letter should have come out despite the absence of jurisdiction - I thought I saw an indignant attorney, but maybe there were other reasons.

This is an intense battleground of ideas and a straightforwardness about the truth of things seems to have already become a casualty of the war.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Posts: 21397 | From: Norfolk UK | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Louise
Shipmate
# 30

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Yes, it's a morass. I'm only too aware that I'm not any sort of expert on American politics or American law so I value it when more knowledgeable shipmates drop in to comment.

cheers,
L.

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Faithful Sheepdog
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# 2305

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
On Sternberg, this letter from the Office of Special Council should give all of us some pause for thought. It was not highlighted in Faithful Sheepdog's earlier link - but it is a quite remarkable document in support of Sternberg's assertion that he had been wronged.

Barnabas62, thank you for following up some of the links I provided and for making your own enquiries. This issue has some surprising twists and turns. It never ceases to amaze me what turns up.

As for the posts above by Rex Monday and Louise, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that both want to examine the OSC rather than looking closely at the behaviour of the Smithsonian Institution that prompted the OSC to get involved in the first place. Neither of them has condemned the abusive treatment dished out to Sternberg and I find that contemptible.

As a general background resource on the issue of adult bullying you may like to study this extensive website to get some further understanding of the abusive treatment dished out to Sternberg as understood by an authoritative secular source that, so far as I know, has no ID sympathies.

quote:
I can think of no reason why the Office of Special Counsel should have any axe to grind on this case. And given the decision that they did not have jurisdiction to pursue the matter, there is also no obvious reason why the counsel should have provided so much information to Sternberg.
The OSC did their job well as far as I can see. As a sort of American Ombudsman (the UK term) they are supposed to represent the interests of someone in a position like Sternberg’s. Unfortunately Sternberg was on some kind of freelance contract that gave him less legal rights than a full employee. Hence the OSC had limited jurisdictional scope to force cooperation from the Smithsonian Institution.

It would appear that after some initial cooperation, the Smithsonian Institution declined all further cooperation, perhaps because the information coming to light was so damaging to them. Why decline cooperation otherwise with an official government body?

quote:
Given the admirable ability of regular contributors to this thread to digest lots of info, I would be interested if others, like me, tend to side with Attorney James McVay in concluding that the evidence re Sternberg's treatment is disturbing.

This has nothing to do with the merits of the Meyer article. It does however suggest a certain aggressiveness of approach to heterodox views by members of the Smithsonian Institution and its Natural Museum of Natural History.

I certainly agree with you that this evidence is “disturbing”. Sternberg’s treatment was just a small sample of the nastiness dished out in certain circles to anyone with the least hint of an ID sympathy. This is not science; it is a powerful ideological orthodoxy punishing the heterodox. Sadly you will find more of this if you go looking.

As for my ability to keep up with this subject, the positive side of being stuck at home with ME/CFS is that in my better patches I have had a lot of time to read and study on issues that are of interest to me.

quote:
If the e-mails contained in the McVay letter had been found in the annals of the Discovery Institute over a "mirror-image" controversy, I wonder what the reaction would have been. "Research Associate victimised for anti-creationist paper" is my best guess.
That puts it in a nutshell (except that I would change the word anti-creationist to anti-ID theory). The double standards are palpable and stink to high heaven.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

Posts: 1097 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Barnabas62
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A bit of Googling found out the following.

1. Meyer's paper is available online and here it is.

2. Here is an initial criticism.

Many contributors to this long thread may have seen both of these (and other related links) and I apologise if I've missed earlier links and this is "old hat". As it was easy to do, I thought there might be some value for newer contributors and lurkers to see what lay behind Sternberg's difficulties.

I found Meyer's review essay relatively easy to read and interesting. The initial criticism seems to me to land some pretty effective blows on the credibility of the review essay - and I can see reasons for Rex Monday's scepticism over the quality of the essay. I just think it is a pity when people "play the man instead of the ball". It never impresses me. None of this looks like a sackable offence in any case, nor sufficent grounds for a witch-hunt of the unfortunate and possibly unwise Sternberg.

Anyway, I'm off to find out more about the Cambrian, armed with loads of references! That looks like a fun project for a retired old codger like me.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Posts: 21397 | From: Norfolk UK | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged



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