October 16, 2004

Odds and ends from here and there

Edward Sisson has this to say (in "Darwin or Lose," a shortened version of his essay in Uncommon Dissent) in Touchstone's Darwin's Last Stand special issue,
"In this debate, the advocates of unintelligent evolution have assumed much the greater burden. They have asserted that they have proven that no life form – not one – required the aid of a designing intelligence to come into being. Blind and purposeless material processes alone were required. This claim is the foundation for their demand that only theories of unintelligent evolution be taught in school."
This bald mischaracterization of science, the role of science, and the appropriate burden of evidence is followed with the colon-twisting irony of,
"We who observe that debate must understand how the science establishment has deformed the debate: first, by applying an advocate's attitude to the facts; second, by assigning and defining the burden of proof challengers must meet; and third, by engaging in personal attacks on the "other side's" scientists, which includes applying different rules to themselves and the challengers."
and then later on this,
"I submit that it is to promote deference to scientists that the scientific establishment makes and distributes in our schools "Darwin's acid," an acid that corrodes the allegiance of students to any other class of truth-pronouncers except scientists."
And all this time we thought it had to do with a passion for biology. Who knew? Oh, and, "truth-pronouncers?"

From the pamphlet cover (entitled "Seeking Objectivity in Origins Science") for the latest DDD conference,
"The Problem: Mainstream science is using a little known "Rule" to censor the evidence of design and the inference to which the evidence leads. The Rule is called "methodological naturalism." It declares design inferences invalid by definition and not by any objective evaluation of the evidence. If effectively provides the naturalistic hypothesis with a monopoly on the scientific explanation of origins. Our children are being subtly steered away from a design inference towards a belief that we are merely "natural objects" which just "occur."
Can't you just feel the shivering umbrage dripping from the notion of being a "natural object?" It's a wonder some can entertain the concept of apes as common ancestors without fainting.

Noticed this in a review on Amazon,
"In Thomas Woodard's excellent new book, "Doubts about Darwin," he recounts the history of the modern intelligent design (ID) movement. He focuses on pivotal people such as Michael Denton, Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe and William Dembski and some of their ground-breaking books such as Denton's "Evolution: A theory in Crisis" and Johnson's "Darwin on Trial.""
Just wanted to comment on "ground-breaking." As ID is little more than a retread of Paleys long since buried ideas, doesn't this phrase reverse the common meaning, suggesting that the breaking is coming from six-feet-under?

Saw this Raup quote on ARN,
"Readers will also find the 50 pages of research notes, bibliography and index extremely helpful for doing further reading and research. And be sure you don't miss this footnote on the bottom of page 83: "In my October 2000 interview with David Raup, he said, reflecting on the Campion meeting: ‘Phil Johnson's work is very good scholarship and, of course, this has been widely denied. He cannot be faulted; he did his homework and he understands 99 percent of evolutionary biology.'" This is an incredible statement from one of the leaders of the scientific establishment when the party line has been to try and marginalize Johnson as a lawyer who doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to evolutionary biology."
Although comments by others (Dembski) have suggested that David Raup was initially comfortable with ID (he supposedly thought that it would be useful for keeping evolutionary biologists honest) I have difficulty believing he would have gone this far, but since I am not familiar with the context I cannot be sure. All I've found so far is this from an article about P.J., "He does remember, however, that David Raup intervened at one point and stated that while one could certainly disagree with Johnson's conclusions, he had gotten the science right." I'd sure like to hear Raup's take.

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