Obey No1kinobe


This conversation is closed.

Is intelligent design science and should it be taught in public schools?

Most definitions of modern science describe a methodology of finding testable explanations of the universe or similar.

I often hear evolution is a theory not a fact. A scientific theory explains the facts and is verifiable or demonstrable. Evolution is one of the most validated theories around.

I propose ID is not science. It is not verifiable and its challenges to evolution. For example the arguments about irreducible complexity have been debunked e.g. a subset of components of the bacterial flagellum are used by some bacteria inject harmful proteins into other cells. There are so many transitional forms scientists argue whether some of them are birds, reptiles or mammals.

To allow ID into science you would need to change the definition of science and drop the testable requirement. This would enable astrology, alchemy and crystal healing alongside astronomy, chemistry and physics.

I also hear the argument why not include all sides of the debate. Scientifically there is no debate. Philosophically, this is akin to suggesting alchemy be taught alongside chemistry, or Greek mythology as history.

I propose it should not. This does not stop parents teaching their kids any religious dogma they choose within the law. But it is not science and religious beliefs have no place being taught in public schools.

Closing Statement from Obey No1kinobe

ID is a form of creationism promoted by the Discovery Institute and supported by many evangelical Christians. The Institute defines it as "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Evolutionary theory is the foundation of modern biology. Whether you want to believe it or not explains the development different species and genetic similarities between species. Essentially gene frequency changes due to natural selection, from less adapted to more adapted. At some stage the divergence of one group may get to the point where they can not interbreed successfully with other related groups or their ancestors ie they become a new species. This is a gradual process, supported by much evidence in the fossil record, DNA and gene analysis.

The key argument for ID is irreducible complexity which proposes the bacterial flagellum, immune system, blood clotting could not have evolved or developed from something similar. They need all the parts to do anything. In all cases it has been proven that these are reducable. They could have evolved.

ID is basically, life is complex, hard to explain, so it must be designed. Read the comments and Í hope you see there is a sound argument that ID has tried to bypass scientific consensus. It is a discredited hypothesis except for those who want to believe. Also, you start to get into mythology when you try and describe and explain the creator for which there is nop verifiable evidence.

While there is no scientific evidence for design, we can not scientifically say the universe isn't. That is a philosophical question. If you value the truth then science can inform faith. We can respect religion except where it is wrong. The universe is not 6,000 years old. Life evolved. We should not make special exceptions to promote falsehoods in schools. Our children deserve better. If our growing understanding makes some beliefs obsolete, so be it

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    Aug 17 2012: Fortunately ID is not taught in Denmark or England (and I don't think in any other European public schools).

    This because of the simple fact that it is not a scientific theory.
    And just because some people call it a theory, does not make it so.

    Religion is taught here, also covering religious beliefs of creation.
    But it does not belong in a science lesson.
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      Aug 17 2012: Thanks Sophia. Do they teach about religion in general or teach one religion as being true?
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    Aug 17 2012: I agree with your point of view

    ID is not science.
    It can only be thought as an example of bad science and how people can twist their mind in order to fit some assumptions they cannot let go.

    If you wish to have some good arguments:

    I think all these kind of debates boil back to a fundamental misunderstanding of uncertainty.
    Uncertainty is quantifiable (any kind of gambler knows this). Something that is likely to be true needs to be treated as such, as everything that is unlikely to be true.
    Current evolution theories fit for over 99%, ID is an inconsistent theory and has a worse fit.
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      Aug 17 2012: I tend to agree. Thanks for the link Christophe.
  • Aug 15 2012: I highly recommend seeing a documentary called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" featuring Ben Stein (it's available on Netflix). It's quite fascinating and points out that assumptions about evolution or intelligent design are booth foolish. There are a lot of holes in both theories (although arguably more in ID). A quote comes to mind, "We don't just use illusions to hide the facts. Sometimes we use them to explore the facts." The film advocates teaching ABOUT intelligent design (not teaching that it's right) alongside evolution. Science should be the one area that welcomes questions. I disagree that there is no debate scientifically. Yes, species evolve, but that's doesn't completely solve the mystery of the origin of life. No one knows what happened before the Big Bang or what caused it. In the conclusion of the film, Stein says, "What I'm asking for is the freedom to follow the evidence WHEREVER it may lead." There are still so many questions. Nobody is in the position to claim that ID is absolutely wrong or absolutely impossible. ID doesn't have to be a religious debate. If there was some sort of intelligence before life, perhaps it was completely different from what we think of as God. Einstein, for instance, did not believe in a deity but believed that "some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe." I'm not saying his belief is correct either, it's just an example that Intelligence doesn't equal God. I don't propose that schools teach there is a Creator, but I also don't propose that we treat evolution theory as the end-all. It's an incomplete answer. It may be more compatible with other theories than we realize. Without freedom of thought, how can we make innovative discoveries? Young minds should be encouraged to look at facts from various angles and be encouraged to find answers to the unanswerable.
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      Aug 15 2012: Hi Natalia,

      I'll have to check out the film.

      I'm with you on the origins of life being a work in progress. Probably a few billion years ago so a tough cookie.

      I tend to separate abiogensis from evolution at least in my head. My understanding is evolution is well established once we have multicelluar life, but it all gets more murky the further back we go.

      Agree with following the evidence whether it may lead. I'm not so attached to evolution or any theory that if something better came along, fine. ID is not something better.

      I realise ID could also be by aliens, but that pushes the question back to where did they come from. Also it is the discovery institute and other religious groups pushing ID with the objective of getting alongside evolution theory in science any way they can. For them it is all religious, not what is the best theory.

      Most the stuff I have read and heard makes different conclusions about ID. The examples of irreducible complexity proposed have been found to be reducible and so on. In the end an intelligent agency, lets call it god for example, is unverifiable. My understanding is ID currently they don't have anything compelling. If the ID proponents come up with something better, it is likely to be something we have no explanation for currently rather than positive evidence of design.

      I'm fine with the debate in Science land as appropriate. My understanding is ID is not at a point where it is appropriate to teach as science. If it improves and gains more weight, evidence etc or even is found to be superior to evolution then so be it, it should then be taught. But it is not at the point yet and I see no need to pander to a special interest religious group for high school education if ID doesn't meet reasonable criteria at this time to include in the curriculum.

      I agree about teaching a balance of open mind and critical thinking. I don't think ID which is currently a half baked pseudo theist argument is the best example to include today.
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        Aug 15 2012: Hi Obey.
        "Expelled" is a must see!

  • Aug 16 2012: Obey: intelligent design is a testable theory. For example, scientists at the Biologic Institute are doing studies from an ID perspective on the origin and role of information in biology, functional and design constraints, and design patterns and hallmarks. At the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, they study the role of design using information sciences. As they put it:
    "What if patterns best explained as the product of intelligence exist in biological systems? In that case, the intelligence in question would be an unevolved intelligence. For most persons, such an intelligence has religious connotations, suggesting that it as well as its activities cannot properly belong to science. Simply put, intelligent design, when applied to biology, seems to invoke ‘spooky’ forms of causation that have no place in science. Evolutionary informatics eliminates this difficulty associated with intelligent design. By looking to information theory, a well-established branch of the engineering and mathematical sciences, evolutionary informatics shows that patterns we ordinarily ascribe to intelligence, when arising from an evolutionary process, must be referred to sources of information external to that process. Such sources of information may then themselves be the result of other, deeper evolutionary processes. But what enables these evolutionary processes in turn to produce such sources of information? Evolutionary informatics demonstrates a regress of information sources. At no place along the way need there be a violation of ordinary physical causality. And yet, the regress implies a fundamental incompleteness in physical causality's ability to produce the required information. Evolutionary informatics, while falling squarely within the information sciences, thus points to the need for an ultimate information source qua intelligent designer."

    Should ID be taught in public schools? Consider this: are students in science class taught to critically think? Or are they spoonfed ideas?
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      Aug 16 2012: Thanks Andrew. No issue teaching critical thinking. In fact I would support it.

      Is ID versus evolution the best way to teach critical thinking?

      Why pick this topic? What are the motives?

      Why not start with the basics, and use faith based beliefs for examples. I'm not suggesting that is the best way, just turning it around.

      When ID or some other theory is found to better explain what we observe, and it has scientific consensus then it should be taught in science.

      ID seems to look for things that are hard to explain and promote a creative intelligence as the cause. I guess they failed with irreducible complexity so moving on to something else. I've heard some arguments information. Maybe they will come up with something better. Good on them.

      IC if proven might indicate abrupt creation in some body part and biological functions. It actually does not mean this happened in conjunction with evolution for everything else.

      The intelligence argument seems even weaker if your end goal is to show humans were created as are. The outcome is there is a possibility an intelligence helped set up some biological information systems. This does not deny the bulk of evolution. Its almost guided or assisted evolution. If I may paraphrase - some parts of reality are so complex maybe they were created that way.

      I'd need more than the quote above to be convinced of the assertion "points to the need for an ultimate information source an intelligent designer"

      A single cell is remarkably complex. How did it get that way. Maybe it was created. The operation of a single cell is incredibly complex maybe a supernatural intelligence is driving these cell processes and all other processes in nature and the cosmos we find hard to understand.

      Seems like a fancy argument from ignorance.

      Why isn't there evidence of an actual gods rather than arguments that they may be responsible for things that are hard to understand for our limited brains?
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      Aug 17 2012: Most scientists who discovered the law we use to make scientific deductions are know by name and can take credit for their work. To my knowledge no entity has come forward to claim the work of Scientific design. Let the creator speak or let the subject die. I'm sure if such a creator could create all we accept as reality that creator could speak to us about it.
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        Aug 17 2012: Some would say the creator has spoken in an old collection of books or through the words of prophets or god incarnate.
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          Aug 17 2012: Some say the earth is flat and we never set foot on the moon. I think I'm done with this questions and point you to read my last post.

          It's been enjoyable conversing with you. See you around with a another question perhaps. If you would like to discuss more on the topic you can email me at my address listed in my profile.

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      Aug 18 2012: Thanks for the comments JM
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      Aug 18 2012: If intelligent design doesn't mean a spooky creator in the sky then it's merely moving the question of how life arose and how species formed.
  • Aug 16 2012: The Discovery Institute (a misnomer if ever there was one) was set up after "scientific" creationism was ruled by the US courts to be religion, not science, and therefore could not be taught in public schools. It's explicit goals are religious and political, not scientific, as is clear from the "Wedge Document" which is freely available on the internet. The concept of Intelligent Design is based on a series of false premises, most significantly that if evolutionary theory can be falsified, the "explanation" of an "Intelligent Designer" (which is a rather dishonest euphemism when it is clear that they mean God) must be responsible.

    The claims of ID for scientific legitimacy were tested in the US courts in the Dover v. Kitzmiller trial. The evidence showed clearly that it is little more than "scientific" creationism repackaged (look up "cdesign proponentsists") to evade the US constitution, and that has no more claim to scientific legitimacy than astrology.

    However, it is the behaviour of the creationists trying to promote ID which is why I think we should oppose it. They lied under oath about the source of funding for "Pandas and People" - a "textbook" promoting thinly disguised "scientific creationism" . Michael Behe, one of the principal figures in the ID movement dismissed the scenario published in several scientific papers for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum as "unconvincing" whilst admitting that he had not even read them. William Dembski, the supposed intellectual heavyweight of the ID movement responded to the ruling on the trial by releasing a video of the judge to which he had added farting noises.

    Some Discovery Institute fellows have perfectly respectable track records of research and publication. They must know that their arguments cannot be tested and have no validity as science, yet persist in promoting them as science.

    I don't think that ID should be taught as either religion or science. I don't think that we should teach lies as truth.
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      Aug 16 2012: Very succinct yet thorough argument. Thanks.

      I guess some creationists think scientist twist the facts to support their theories. I agree there is interpretation and many theories will get superseded. Yet the more we know the more it looks like all creation myths are just made up. If one were right, it's surprising that it doesn't easy fit the facts, that it needs convoluted explanations to account for what is observed or ignore evidence.

      Why did god make it so tricky that people need to lie to try and get their theist science accepted as science.
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    Gail .

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    Aug 12 2012: I used to be strongly against religion in school. But I'm beginning to change my mind. Banning any kind of learning is a bad thing. So I think that ALL religions and all creation myths be taught in a class called 'WORLDVIEWS OF THE WORLD". Evolution would be reserved for science class, because it is a science.

    In this way, children could see that the invisble noodly appendages of the flying spaghetti monster could have created the earth, but because he was inebriated at the time, he made some mistakes. But, he declared, all is good, so a mistake is good. Next they could learn about an invisible God who sits on a throne with a lightening bolt ready to strike at you, and how he created the earth, then destroyed everything on it, and will come back and throw all evil people into hell. Then they could learn about Thor and about Pangu and Pele and all of the rest of the creators of the universe and the children of these gods.

    We cannot make an informed choice if we do not have enough information to make an informed choice. Children are no different. Require them ALL because education is about education, not political or religious agendas.

    Keep prayer out though. That really crosses the line
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      Aug 12 2012: Great minds think alike : )

      Cheers for remembering "Spaghetti String Theory" too...
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      Aug 14 2012: Hi Gail, I also support teaching about religions in public schools, but not indoctrination in any particular brand.

      I expect the approach you suggest would end up being dialled back.

      In fact I think objectively teaching about religion as a human cultural construct it might even be vetoed in some places, even if it was framed in a way that acknowledged the value many attribute to particular dogmas and highlighted the value of freedom of religion in a society and the good and the bad.
  • Aug 19 2012: two more thoughts...

    6. I am not sure I can say if ID SHOULD be taught in public schools or not. That depends on what exactly is taught, how it is taught, and what is the goal of public schools in the first place. I do think a beneficial conversation for children and communities to have would be "given a definition of ID and using scientific methodology, do you think ID is accurate as an explanation?"
    7. I can see, deeper in the thread, you addressed some of what I brought up including your working definition of ID. Sorry for the initial oversight.
  • Sam Iam

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    Aug 18 2012: No, and no it should not be. Duh. Why is this question still being asked?
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    Aug 18 2012: I would like to add that I, myself, believe in Darwin's theory. I think the Intel Designer advocates can be extreme and equally narrow-minded in their cause as much as fans of the Richard Dawkins Club. Whatever the case, I just hope neither side is trying to hijack anyone's mind or belief system.

    Santa Claus may not be real to adults but the power of myth and story hasn't caused innumerable child defects or psychological disorders to children in disturbingly epic proportions. They grow out of it (some sooner, some later) and appreciate imagination and fairy tales as Jungian playgrounds of sort. I believe Intelligent Design advocates will also or at least I hope so.
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      Aug 18 2012: Hi Charles. I get the point of not trying to indoctrinate, either way

      Just trying to ensure science gets taught in science. This is a long way from communist or atheist indoctrination.

      I doubt they will grow out of it unless they grow out of the core beliefs or something else is invented to try and get their beliefs into schools.

      Even though ID has been scientifically debunked, believers still cling to it. In one of the trials the main proponent of irreducible complexity was presented with dozens of peer reviewed scientific papers debunking his claim that the immune system was irreducible and could not have evolved. He told the judge that this was not sufficient evidence for him. He just ignored it. WE see this with radiometric dating etc. It is the dogmatic religious mindset. The bible must be true.

      When ID was raised with me initially I didn't have an answer. I was skeptical, but did not have enough information to completely debunk the IR bits. So I went looking to understand it. Now I have a better understanding and it is not a scientifically robust hypothesis.
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    Aug 18 2012: The picture is not a self-portrait of me in this life but one of my alter-ego, for sure.

    As Tibetan Buddhist (or how about just a Buddhist or even better...just a man in general) and per practice and free will, I do not believe in a Creator designer (as worded). I believe that evolution is reliable, inspiring so much gratitude and appreciation for the world we live in and all its bounty. It's truly unfortunate that many people miss this focal point.

    I do think science should be taught just as standalone science in schools unless the class is specifically a scientific-intel design curriculum, which is really delving into the social science or social studies stage. However, I also would like to see Intel Design as another class that would give students an opportunity to challenge both sides of the coin, if you will. Again, science will not suffer and evolution will remain on course if Intel Design advocates pitch their tents on the same academic camp ground.

    Schools have gay-lesbian-bisexual-homosexual education awareness, and the preliminary worry by anti-gay or homophobic groups was that such programs would (1) turn entire campuses into gay congregational centers, (2) straight students would be brainwashed into gayness, and (3) ideas as absurd as the school mascot and football team switching to pink uniforms and colors etc... What we generally have found is that gay-awareness does this: raise awareness, promote sensitivity and diminish hate crimes by not condoning violence. If a student chooses a gay option it's either an inherent thing or experimentation; not an awareness program. Therefore, the brainwash argument is invalid. And assuming that pink is strictly a gay color or somehow weakens an athletic program is just a reflection of homophobic hysteria.

    As such, I don't think people should be Intel Designerphobic. I'm not. You either disagree or agree. Whatever the case may be, public schools should be open forums for open debate.
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      Aug 18 2012: Thanks Charles.

      I'm not sure legitmising ID by teaching it alongside science, or raising the debate in science classes is the same thing as awareness education about sexuality.

      The attack on science, particularly evolution is about undermining science that doesn't agree with a particular type of creationist belief. Have you heard about the stickers and statements undermining evolution. To the evangelicals this is a spiritual war and evolution is a foundation for evil.

      I'm all for debate but I'm not naive enough to believe that teaching the controversy in science class is about open mindedness. Its about putting unscientific debunked religiously inspired as an equal legitimate alternative, or maybe a superior one depending on the teacher, to the best scientific theory we have to pretend there is some science behind creationist views. Its teaching a bit of answers in genesis in classrooms. Its teaching disguised religion under the cover of open debate.

      Lets debate it. Fine. Lets debate it in professional science. Lets debate it in public. But don''t let religion sneak into science class if it has no scientific merit. That's my view anyway.

      I'm not sure school classrooms are the right place for deciding what is science and whether something found to be religious and non scientific should be taught in schools. I probably wouldn't have such an issue if ID was discussed as an example of trying to bypass the scientific consensus process and the fact that it's key claims are debunked, but I guess it would not be taught that way. Maybe it is a good topic for debate in constitutional studies or social studies in regards to the threat and strategies of christian evangelicals to undermine the seperation of church and state.

      Anyway, we disagree, but I appreciate the thoughtful comments and debate.

      In Aus we don't have official seperation. So more of a worry. Also from outside the US the tea party and evangelicals and dominionists and some politicians are a little scary.
  • Aug 18 2012: Most certainly,

    Like every literature has a term, an appointed time, relative to social intercourse. I think we write our own codes as we go along, and we should hope our unborn generations don't add dogmas and worship to our failures. However I wouldn't be surprised - lol

    I often cannot fathom why our societies put so much effort and TRUST into long gone people yet deny those valid enough here and now. It is this conduct that's limiting our societies.

    Enjoy the day
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      Aug 18 2012: I second that.
      Have a god one.
    • Aug 18 2012: The awakening has begun. More religious beliefs are evolving into spiritual principles. I can't help myself with the puns, sorry.
      I am living proof that a brainwashed sheep can fight the system and the machine and tear down the programming built up against him. It is an endless task. It will last me to the end of my days. But I do attribute my kindness to the teachings of Jesus. I always felt good about him and his deeds. Did read a book called "The Shack" that almost sent me running for church. Excellent book. But that's all these are, are books. Books that men made, and therefore in the context of un-provable subject matter, should be read as fiction and enjoyed and allowed to inspire people.
      • Aug 18 2012: Hi Jeremy

        I'm sure it must be an intrinsic battle to make that shift. As for the wisdom of Jesus, I believe he should be, in character, an exemplar to his following. He stood up for human rights and that's all I need as truth from any man who risks his life for society. However it's sad that over the millennia his cause was distorted into what it is today. The same with sages like Martin Luther, Ghandi and the like, they supposed a system of government and tried their utmost to uplift society.

        Books are boons for us to reflect upon and hopefully not repeat the failures of past societies, and if we turn them into 'holy' then we fail to reflect.

        Here's a saying I live by - the pain we carry as a society, is the love we withhold from each other.

        Great ruins lie on this planet as evidence of this withholding love from each other. That is the essence I get from our history. I leave out the fancy trimmings.

        Peace in wisdom will get us there
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    Aug 17 2012: I'd like to say this in closing.

    We are actively working to create life in the laboratory. One day we will create a living cell after the knowledge to do so is complete. We may design dna and program it to create a cell wall, the medium inside and the particles that power and sustain the cell. We may even program it to divide and reproduce.

    If we do it will be done under laboratory conditions where the proper environment and nutrients are always present. To release such a device into the normal earth-like environment it will need some system of propulsion to compete with other life forms. We may have to create a flagellum to help it compete and survive.

    What we call evolution could simply be the conditions offered by our planet that enable and force organisms to change to suit varying environmental conditions. If the earth-like conditions did not exist, evolution might not exist.

    There are bacteria that have not evolved at all since they obtained a certain form. It may be that their form allows them to survive in the earth-like environment with no need to change. I don't believe that what we call evolution is a force that promotes change. I think it is simply the environment that is responsible. In a more fixed environment, like Mars or Neptune, perhaps, evolutionary processes may not exist. It may be that any life we create and put into those environments may never change, but still survive.

    ID -Intelligent Design- may be a process that allows for religious dogma to evolve and catch up with the scientific world or meld with it into a more scientific mind-set. After all, it was Religion that gave rise to Science and not the other way around. It may be that religion is simply locked in a mindset, because of the "old books" and ID is the process that will eliminate that mindset, allowing religion to progress along scientific lines or die away as unpractical.

    Evolution is not of itself a force that causes change. It is the environment that promotes the activity.
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      Aug 18 2012: Thanks very much JM.

      I also think it likely we will be able to create life one day from non living matter. If it is DNA based it will be subject to natural selection.

      I note we are already playing around the distant edges of this when we manipulate DNA. We are modifying life.

      I'm not sure if religion gave rise to science. If we go back a step, perhaps it is our curiosity, our competitiveness etc that gave rise to both once our brain had evolved to a suitable point.
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    Aug 17 2012: Your point is well taken No....., so lets give it a go with the seniors to start with and see if they can handle it. Perhaps by arguing the point in high-school the subject will be ridiculed by kids and send the red-faced teachers packing. I put my money on the students.

    Science has written off ID as a non-science when I don't see where they actually make that claim. Their claim is that "perhaps" evolution is not pure science and should not be taken as such. I have to give them that argument because evolution is not a pure science, based on infallible scientific premises. It is described in different ways by different scientists. There is no formula for evolution. There is no evolutionary Mathematics that resolves the issue.

    Current genetic research is decades, if not longer, behind answering the question concisely.

    While I don't believe in God in the normal sense of main stream dogma, I do believe that there are some device-like structures in living organisms that perfectly mimic machinery we use everyday. The flagellum of a bacteria for instance. It looks very much like a mechanical device that is powered by energy and propels the bacterium along its way.

    When I see the progress and direction that genetic research is taking mankind, I can only suggest that there will be a day when we will create life in a manner of our choosing in the Laboratory. This would make us creators of a sort. If it is possible for humans to do perhaps it has already been done by other more intelligent beings of the type we may call Gods.

    The question comes to mind more often than not. Anyone who dismisses something as religious based; ergo; it's nonsense, misses the point that much of science was created and organized by the religious order that included some very smart priests and priestly scholars. Religion has indeed dictated and created the scientific method we use today.

    It is the duty of science to examine all possibilities, instead of creating scientific dogma.
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      Aug 18 2012: Hi JM, evolution is a theory that tries to explain the facts by proposing natural selection resulting in better adapted etc etc.

      Not all science is physics formulas.

      It makes predictions and retrodictions and these are born out. Things like you expect to see a progression from simple to more complex. We see this in the fossil record. It predicts we would see remnants from ancestral forms - like humans have a redundant egg sack in the womb during fetus development. Why would a creator design an egg sack. But this is what we expect if we evolved from reptiles that do lay eggs.

      There are also complex genetic calculations and predictions etc etc. But I take your point it is not Newtonian physics. F=ma. But when you get down to it, what is force, what is mass. Now you start to get more descriptive.

      I take your point of what if there is supernatural agency. I guess we haven't found a need for it yet. I also note this supernatural agency is incredibly subtle and elusive, no real evidence of its existence or what it is. almost like it didn't exist.

      It is natural we compare or use the language of familiar and more easily comprehensible items to describe the more difficult and complex things. But perhaps we need to be careful how we use the metaphors for man made items and biological constructs. Our eyes are effectively camera eyes (there are several different types of eyes actually, we just evolved with the fish/reptilian ones). Usually we can tell the difference between a man made camera and a biological one (wait till nano tech develops).

      Why wouldn't we expect some similarities in what has adapted to give functionality that enhances survival and what we build. Birds wings have light bones. We don't build aircraft wings out of lead. While we might add decoration we usually don't add stuff like vestigial limbs in whales, and egg yolk sacks in humans.

      I agree science should assess all possibilities on their merits, learn, improve update.
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    Aug 17 2012: From participating in this debate and thinking about some of the comments have had a couple mini insight, minsights.

    1) Firstly that if examples of irreducible complexity (IC) had not been debunked, we would have a situation where we don't know how this biological constructs came about and some sort of intelligent input would be a possibility or other yet to be determined explanations. Even if you suppose an intelligence helped make the bacterial flagellum etc it is still a leap of faith and counter to other evidence that the rest of it did not evolve. You essentially at best have assisted evolution.

    To take a few instances of IC and say this is proof for all life being created more or less as the "kinds" we see today is very poor logic. Do the supporters of ID agree with this conclusion?

    2) Is it okay to teach stuff in public schools that may offend religious beliefs? This is a tough one for me. I guess if we deleted everything from the sciences and humanities that offended all the different religious sensitivities there would be a lot taken out. What a dangerous precedent. If only science or history or literature that everyone agrees with is taught, if anything that is objected to we probably are left with math and PE.

    I can appreciate that while I see science as objective as humans can be, others don't. In fact some see organised science almost as an organised religion influenced by the devil.

    Where to draw the line on this is a tough one depending on your viewpoint. Any thoughts?
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      Aug 17 2012: Thank you for the picture comment. This was my first impression.

      ID, In my Opinion, is just a guess at something that could or not be true. Of course, we have no proof of any kind, scientifically or otherwise. So it is simply a guess based entirely on normal or common logic.

      I'm impressed with the flagellum studies that show the mechanical functions of the bio-construct that propels bacteria in a fluid medium. I really can't answer how such a device came into being along evolutionary lines. But, then again, no one really knows the interaction of a natural environment and the evolutionary process. They know even less about a creator who could fashion such a process. We can put bacteria under a microscope and see how it works. We can't put a creator under any tool I know of that will induce us to scientifically decide that a creator exists or has influence on how nature develops.

      Further along in the comments section, I express my feelings that I have nothing against teaching ID in schools, as long as it follows school rules and the teachers are qualified. There in lies the rub. How do you qualify those teachers? What studies will you use? Where is the science that implies or logically deduces that such an idea is practical?
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        Aug 17 2012: could be. why.

        love your picture.
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        Aug 17 2012: Thanks for expanding JM. The first time a Christian showed me the irreducible complexity argument, including the bacterial flagellum, I could not explain how it could evolve. Heck I can not explain lots of things that seem to happen naturally. So I recognised it as a variant of an argument from ignorance, but a very clever one.

        Professional biologists have shown how subsets of the flagellum exist in biology and have function ie that it is reducible. So it is not something that had to be created. The argument fails.

        We all have different limits where our understanding of how things work ends. I see the tree of life, the fossil record, and DNA evidence of common ancestory, the shared physical traits, the imperfect design and evolution makes sense. I don't know anything but religion that would stop a well educated person seeing that humans are mammals that eat other living things, and defecate, and rut, and give birth and breast feed etc.

        But ask me how a fertised egg can end up as an adult human, I don't really know. How do our cells and bodies work in detail. What is the stuff of matter. Is it just concentrated energy. What is gravity, how does it work.

        But just because my human super smart but limited primate brain does not have all the answers is not an excuse to say god did it.

        Creationism and gods live most comfortably in the gaps of our understanding. Where did the universe and humans come from and how? Evolution answers part of the question. Some theists live with this. Others have literal biblical beliefs and can not. IF fact evolution is seen by some as some diabolical evil plot and foundation for a world view that threatens theirs. They are half right.

        I agree with your point that saying god did it doesn't answer where god came from or how it did it, which is usually answered by god is eternal and all powerful so he can. How do you know that. I read it in an old book and was taught this in church, and the same book say jesus ressurected, so its true.
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    Aug 16 2012: It is interesting that adaption gives the appearance of design for the environment.

    Some of the predictions of evolution include a progression of simple to more complex forms. We see that in the fossil record. Also adaptation is not as perfect as design. You expect to see flaws and evidence of ancestry. Like remnant rear legs in whales from when their ancestors were land mammals. Like the hair that grows on human babies in the womb from hairy ape days. Like the unused yolk sack with human babies in the womb from reptilian days. Like the appendix, prostate, sharing an eat/breathe pipe and problems giving birth to human babies optimising brain development versus a pelvis used for walking. Not great design. Entirely inconsistent with evolution.

    Why would a creator/designer trick us with this evidence of evolution?
    • Aug 17 2012: "It is interesting that adaption gives the appearance of design for the environment."

      Yes it is interesting, I think there is more wisdom in this observation than is initially apparent. Adaptation itself may very well be a sign of the greater intelligence that people are speaking to when they infer a "being" in charge of shaping nature. Maybe we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater when we say there can't be an intelligence responsible for evolution. The very nature of genetic procreation seems to mirror the dual nature of everything in our universe. Intelligence also mirrors this, as almost every choice we make can be refined to "either this or that", with knowledge being the limiting factor. The choices we call "intelligent" are the ones that work, for the most part. We are here debating this, so the choices made by our DNA must be somewhat intelligent over a huge span of time.

      We tend to think very locally regarding events that require a long time to unfold. And because of our human perspective we unconsciously anthropomorphize everything as well. I hope we find evidence of life on another planet sometime soon, perhaps then we can compare its emergence there and develop some juicy new questions to ask.
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        Aug 17 2012: Great point Adrinn.

        The more I have learnt about biology and the universe in general we seem to have one word, intelligence, that covers a lot of ground.

        At one end you have brain based problem solving "intelligence" , that we can IQ test in humans or evaluate in different animals. This intelligence is associated with a more or less consciousness and awareness of the surroundings.

        At the other extreme is the more subtle "intelligence" in nature that pattern seeking animals like us can detect in the non conscious entities. A tree is not going to debate plato with you but can respond "intelligently" to the environment.

        Actually there is a continuum of consciousness and intelligence I guess. Cells, Plants, basic animals to more complex animals.

        I guess the many theists would disagree with a definition of intelligence or intelligence designer as some impersonal, unconscious (in the brain sense), natural force or process.

        We really are getting to the edge of straight forward primate brain capability.

        For me personally, there could be something deistic, or something not really a being, or just some poorly understood complex natural phenomena. In regards to this phenomena having characteristics of being created in our image in some way, and revealed precisely through a particular religious tradition, I find that possible but virtually absurd.
        • Aug 17 2012: I think it's well known by those possessing critical thinking skill that "Classic ID" is not in fact science testable, it is group think philosophy. Philosophy is quite valuable though, since it is partly the philosophic nature of human beings that drives us to seek the testable facts we discover. I think religion should be taught alongside philosophy and other social fields. One caveat, the injustice of imposing ones' subjective belief system on others should also be taught.
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      Aug 17 2012: rubish. read the article again.
  • Aug 16 2012: Dogma is not science. Whether we should be attempting to brainwash our children in school environments is entirely another question and it is deserving of its own debate.

    There are debates on TED as to whether science is faith-based and (by extension) no more deserving of our attention than many religious beliefs and thereby extending the argument to religion being somehow equal to science and therefore as valid as science and requiring to be taught in school as a worthwhile subject on the general curriculum.

    Intelligent design is not testable and therefore not subject to falsification. Without the means to test the intelligent design proposition, it will be held out (by vested interests) as an axiom. This would mean our children being required to accept the proposition uncritically and that does not sit on all fours with the notions which underpin education.

    Demanding uncritical acceptance is tantamount to coercion and it is wholly unacceptable for educational establishments and proponents of ID to demand this special status for the insertion of intelligent design into the school curriculum.
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      Aug 17 2012: Thanks Jeff. I recall some of the debates about science, religion, belief and faith.

      While science is a human process and all the failings that implies it is not dogmatic in the way religions are.
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      Aug 17 2012: "There are debates on TED as to whether science is faith-based and (by extension) no more deserving of our attention than many religious beliefs and thereby extending the argument to religion being somehow equal to science and therefore as valid as science and requiring to be taught in school as a worthwhile subject on the general curriculum.
      In some countries, religion is taught as fact; the Muslim religion for instance. Perhaps if we allow ID which is not a religion but an argument based in somewhat scientific terms, to be argued in school, we can put an end to the argument or at least prevent it from evolving into a type of religion like Islam.
      • Aug 17 2012: I choose my words with care.
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    Aug 15 2012: NO. I do not think that they will teach the other programs in churches, synagogues and mosques. Schools are public and the only place where cutting edge science is taught. We should teach our best to our children. They can learn dogmas in the other hours of the days and weeks. And do not think they will not be so compelled.
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      Aug 16 2012: Hi Debra I hope our schools teach the best science we have.
      I suggest theories with a scientific consensus based on testing and evidence such as evolution that are found to predict the facts should take precedent over hypotheses that have not met the scientific hurdles.
      If ID was the best theory then it should be taught, but it is not.
      Thanks for the input.
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    Aug 14 2012: Hello Obey,

    I agree with you, to a certain extent. I believe that all public schools shouldn't teach ID, but if it is a religious school, then I find nothing objectible in that aspect, as long as the religious school also adds normal scientific curricula with ID.

    If I'm not mistaken, are you proposing to deestablishing religious schools as well as the concept of ID being taught in public schools?
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      Aug 14 2012: Hi Derek, I support freedom of religion, and while I find religious indoctrination of children abhorrent, I see religious schools as part of that freedom.

      I'm talking about state run public schools, tax payer funded as a part of principle separation of church and state. There is a compelling rationale for the separation of church and state. While this upsets the religious majority it actually supports religious freedom and protection of minorities and does not prevent the exercise of faith except under state instruments.

      So I disagree with Peter that parents should get to decide whether a public/state school religiously indoctrinates

      Apologies if that was not clear.
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        Aug 15 2012: Ah, I usually seek clarification, so I won't take any blind step forward.

        I do agree, there should be a seperation of church and state. Especially in schools.

        I believe there is a time and a place for all things, like religion is best kept in religious institutions and not spread through other institutions.

        Yes, majority will always win, but one must examine the minorities as well. It only makes sense to keep the ruling at a national level or governmental level.

        No need for apologies Obey because I have not been offended and clarifications should always be seeked.
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    Aug 14 2012: Hi Obey,
    The theory of evolution is more than a theory, but everything that is taught in evolution is not all fact. The idea that we are a cosmic accident implies that evolution has no guiding force. I don't agree with that.

    On the other hand, Intelligent design follows the premise that some higher power is running the show from some remote vantage point, and that such higher power is distinct and separate from what has been created. I don't agree with that either.

    Irreducible complexity is just as ludicrous as Aristotle's crystal spheres. But like Aristotle's crystal spheres, it carries the weight of the believers.

    The idea of a separate God that is apart from reality is part of the problem. The idea that quantum fields are deaf, dumb, and blind is just as big of a problem. There is a universal common denominator to all that exists. It is apparent in atomic structure, which is the basis of all that comes into existence through upward causation. So is the universe following some sort of plan? Maybe not in every detail, but certainly in the overall progression. That is the only thing that I would support if it was to be taught.
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      Aug 14 2012: Hi Roy. In science a hypothesis with the status of being an established theory is something more than colloquial use of the word.

      I guess people are free to believe in the hand of a creator or similar in the origin of the universe and life in accord with what is basically theorised, verified, observed etc i.e that we did evolve, or people can reject the best of current science.

      So people are free to inject the supernatural into the gaps or super impose it on the natural explanations.

      As for purpose and meaning and guiding force and that there is some mystical causation and spiritual type essence to stuff, spirits etc I have wondered about whether science is throwing the baby out with the baby water, but my current thinking is unless there is something scientifically verifiable it does not fit in the realm of science, it fits in the anything could be space, or philosophical, metaphysical speculation.

      If there was compelling evidence of a guiding hand I guess it would show up, but so far, say our evolution, there is nothing I know that indicates it is not simply natural processes, natural selection, adaptation etc or that there is something that clearly indicates what some believe i.e. a guiding hand. This does not prevent people believing in a guiding hand if they want, but there is not enough there scientifically to propose it, in my view.

      The process of evolution via natural selection, as I understand it, while not having predetermined outcomes is not entirely random. Better adapted individuals on balance will survive to pass on their genes at a higher rate leading to changes in the gene pool and at some point an individual may not be able to reproduce with its distant ancestors or other subgroups. You don't really get a child as a different species to its parents.

      It's a tricky one. I hope it is not just my view that most likely their is not a guiding hand, but rather there is not the objective evidence or rationale to support including this in the hypoth.
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        Aug 14 2012: You misunderstand my reference to a guiding hand. The use of the term is similar to a person who drives with a lead foot. We know that his foot isn't actually made out of lead. So what do I mean by a guiding hand?
        The shaping forces of nature in action is the guiding hand. I don't interject a supernatural force into the gaps. I acknowledge that the gaps may all have a cause and that they are probably scientifically verifiable. But let's say that we could explain everything by science. Does that prove that there is no intelligence other than in the finished product?

        We know that quantum fields are what is doing the creating. Are they deaf, dumb, and blind as random mutations imply? I ask the question because in my childhood, I experienced something that went way beyond what I was currently being taught. And when I learned of quantum fields, I was able to put the two together. Was that itself pure random chance? Or is there more to this thing called nature other than that it merely exists? I have had too many experiences that tell me that evolution is reductionism in reverse and that what we observe doesn't tell the whole story.

        I am not trying to interject a religious fundamentalist viewpoint. I am only saying that we are not the only intelligence here. Our intelligence is derived from the source. How could there have been a communication between me and the source if there is no awareness at the source level? If we could explain what consciousness was, I might know the answer. Until such time, I refuse to close the door to something I don't understand because I would have to deny a part of my experiences in doing so.
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          Aug 15 2012: Hi Roy,

          Even if a particular topic is well understood in terms of natural explanations e.g. why feet don't burn when fire walking, lightening, or gravity, or earthquakes, or epidemics, that does not prove some other intelligence might be involved.

          But I suggest just because you can not disprove a claim, this does not prove the claim. In fact if there is no evidence, if it is unverifiable, its actually a very weak claim.

          As to your QF experiences, they are unique as far as I can tell. I can not explain it. Could be random chance, 1 in a billion. Could be something more. I wonder why just you? How can you be sure it was communication from something other. The brain moves in mysterious ways. As biological machines our brain/mind/perception systems are imperfect resulting in odd experiences.

          I understand you are far from traditional religious fundamentalism.

          But we'll have to disagree in regards to there being intelligence similar to ours without a brain. My view is there could be but I have no reason to think there is. I'm quite comfortable that the materialist position, and while not sure and open to new information, I'd put my money on this.

          I don't close the door to these unproven ideas, but I can't see anything through the door that indicates there is something more or what human interpretation comes closest.

          I guess we have a intuitive and incomplete scientific idea or description of what consciousness is and does and how it works. Its different to the unconscious. The architecture and process of consciousness seems to be in the brain, linked to our senses and urges, kind of like a watcher. It changes modes when we sleep. I think it often observes and tries to regulate instinctual or unconsciously determined preferences or instructions to our body and other times when can decide to move our arm etc consciously.

          Our mind/brain is pretty cool, but I see not reason to think it is more than a physical brain based construct. And this does not make life 0
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        Aug 15 2012: Hi Obey,
        There are many ludicrous religious claims based on false perceptions. It is a problem that religion itself warned about through the character Satan; beware the power of deception. Unfortunately, religious advocates don't know what this character represents, and can't see deception in their own teachings.

        Getting back to your original question, Intelligent design, as it is taught today, is not science because it is based on some supernatural force controlling the cosmos. Science is about recognizing repeatable patterns and seeking ways to present them for all to see and understand. Intelligent design presupposes that creation didn't follow an upward progression, but was spontaneously created by some all knowing God. Such a claim has no scientific basis.

        If intelligent design were to be taught in schools, it would have to divorce itself from the supernatural and focus on the patterns of nature, going back to quantum fields. It would have to also reject any claims which are based on faith and treat them as hypotheses in need of verification. And such verification could not come from religious writings, since all religious writings are based on associations in need of reflection to discern what they are telling us. From what we see today, religious advocates can't agree among themselves about what religious writings mean, as is obvious in the number of alternate churches that all teach their own spin on what scripture is meant to say. That can't even be considered bad science. It is no science at all.

        Although parts of evolution may still be a theory, there are many verifiable facts that are indisputable. Intelligent design is trying to put a wrench in the gears to get people to see the religious side of things. Although I don't deny that there is a religious side of things, it has no place in the science class.
  • Aug 12 2012: No. And No.
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    Aug 12 2012: If religion can be taught in public schools than why not ID?
    However my position is clear.....religion shouldn't be part of curriculum of kids at any level......let parents take care of that if they really care too much....
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      Aug 12 2012: Actually, that's what is shocking in America. Religion, cannot be taught in schools, at least not public schools. You have to be relatively wealthy to pay for a private school that teaches your child religion here. On the other hand, it sneaks its way in.

      Many people have been trying to get religion taught at our public schools for generations, but they never succeed, so they try "abstinence only sex education", and "intelligent design". Abstinence only sex education, is of course, no sex education whatsoever. They teach this in a few states in the south, with very high teen pregnancy rates as the result.

      "Intelligent design", is the new attack. "Well you teach them evolution, teach em my side to"... "Well what is your side sir?"... "Well... God and the baby Jesus, and six thousand years, and... Poof! It was"...

      It makes me curious sometimes though, and I wonder how you would feel about this Salim... You think we could sneak a "Religion as Literature", or "Comparative Religion" class in there? Or is that too indoctrinating the other way?
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        Aug 13 2012: Hi David
        It's not shocking but rather very good news to me that religion is not part of public school in US. Well my post was biased with my experience of the curriculum of my own country. Influence might have come from my unconcious mind , which is aware that one of the intersting law suit of the history happened in US that was about Darwinism.......so thought wrongly about public school curriculum in US......thanks for correcting me....

        About your question , what I feel, that would be a smart and effective way of indoctrination ......raw religion is much better than that disguised form........
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          Aug 13 2012: Good answer, I think you may have swayed me a bit on that. I didn't mean shocked in a bad way, by the way. I just think many people assume that The United States teaches religion in school, because they hear we are so religious.
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        Aug 13 2012: Thanks David...
        No I didn't , I just joked with your shock as was sure about kind shock you are talking .....:)

        Being an outsider to US , when each dollar bill proudly declare such believe , outsiders can be easily mislead....what do you think ?
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          Aug 14 2012: Oh ya, I imagine we do a good job of making people think we're a bunch of backward religious zealots. Luckily we all use debit cards now : p

          One other thing about the US very few people understand, is that if asked the question "Do you believe there is a creative force which sparked the beginning of the universe", you'll get something like 90% of people who you can then say are "theists", or "religious", or "believe in god"... depending on how far you want to exaggerate.

          Traditional "god in the image of man" results drop to like 50%. Then if you ask a question about attendence at an actual religious ceremony... it drops to like 20%. Many Americans identify with a faith simply because they don't want to talk to everyone around them, about how their beliefs in god are nowhere near concrete.
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      Aug 14 2012: Hi Salim and David, I suggest teaching about religion should be fine, but not indoctrination.

      I guess in the US teaching about all religions equally would be inflammatory or likely to be abused by the religious majority or loudest voices, so perhaps better to steer away.

      Its a shame but reflects the religious militancy in the US always looking to establish their form of Christianity in schools and government.
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    Aug 12 2012: Requirements for ID to even be considered- 1) a designer and a method of design, evolution already has 5 different processes which can cause change.
    2) A good explanation for bad design, i.e hayfever and solar urticaria, cancer, disease in general
    3)explanation for suffering and cruelty- there is a wasp that paralyzes caterpillars then lays it's eggs inside the caterpillar lets the caterpillar go whilst the eggs devour it from the inside out.
    IDists just don't realise how science works. For something to be science it has to explain more than a previous theory. ID just asks more questions than answers. Who created the creator?
    So yea, not science, creationism with fancy terms.
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      Aug 14 2012: Hi Stewart,
      1) ID Fails
      2) ID ignores or makes excuses
      3) as per 2

      There are apologetic arguments of rationales for 2 and 3.

      My considered view currently is that the problem of evil and the dog eat dog universe points strongly to a naturalistic evolutionary direction but does not disprove a supernatural creator or guiding hand. It's just this being may be, lets say uncaring at the least to create such a universe where all animals we know survive by eating other living things, with disease and parasites etc.

      I have heard that because god made the universe and god is all good, then it is not bad or evil by definition, but free will introduces evil. The explanatory link between freewill and disease is pretty weak in my view.
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        Aug 15 2012: Isn't it such a circle argument that too, the universe isn't evil but free will lets us create evil, who gave us free will? God of course, and then the circle continues.
        We're on the same lines, we can't say there is no creator, just that it isn't a nice creator.
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          Aug 15 2012: Agree, for the Christian scenario at least.
  • Aug 12 2012: Only in the United States is this an issue. So it's not science , and its believers are not good religious models
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      Aug 14 2012: Thanks George.

      FYI, we have some issues in Australia and New Zealand with religion in state schools
      Religious instruction classes
      Government funded School Chaplains (why not qualified counsellors???? to win votes)
      Evolution and Creation were taught in year 12 biology in New Zealand

      No formal separation in these British outposts and still have a Queen in another country as head of state and head of the Church of England. Pity we didn't have our own revolution.
  • Aug 19 2012: Hello,

    I hope this hasn't already been addressed farther down the thread, but here are my thoughts on that above, at the moment.

    1. I think your proposition that "ID is not science", is valid so far as everyone agrees on terminology. You open with a definition of science as a "methodology of finding testable explanations". You don't seem to define intelligent design explicitly but I am assuming (correct me if I am wrong), that it is an "explanation of the universes origins and more specifically of the beginnings of life as we know it, which posits the presence of a being who is capable of creating as such." So, simply by definition, you have two different things: 1. a methodology of finding explanations (and I would add, testing them) 2. an explanation. Because an explanation is not a methodology, your statement, "ID is not science", is valid.
    2. You seem to wander from the above into an argument regarding the validity of ID as an explanation without defining it.
    3. Intelligent design is a term with a wide range of definitions which may include ET as a accurate explanation of genetic diversity. Depending on the definitions, ID may include a being that created the driving forces that ET behaves within.
    4. I propose you use science(a methodology) to evaluate ID (a possible explanation).
    5. Please let me know if you would like my thoughts on applying science to the evaluation of ID and ET as explanatory theories.
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    Aug 19 2012: I entirely respect your point of view, and you make good points. This was engaging, and I truly hope similar types of rational and productive templates of argument provide better models of discussion for the Intelligent Design community (i.e. in some cases the dogmatic extremists). At the top tier of ID, I think one of their strongest proponents is Stephen Meyer and his Of clues and causes: A methodological interpretation of origin of life studies. However, the teach the controversy approach is still philosophy knocking on the front door of science and that's an illustrative example of muddling fine lines. Very much like the last dtich attempts by World War II kamikaze pilots, the Intelligent Design thrust will not stop until ....well, until they run out of planes. Planes in this case representative of recycled ideas, Watchmaker analogy, etc.
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    Aug 18 2012: Yes! Intelligent Design should be taught in schools----I've always wanted to build my own android!
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      Aug 18 2012: I heard a while back that a search for intelligent design in scientific literature revealed most intelligent engineering design books, so you might be on to something.
  • Aug 18 2012: It will be a swell day when the law recognizes the dogmatic indoctrination of children by their parents of spurious arbitrary beliefs as a form of child abuse that it is.
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      Aug 18 2012: Thats a tough one George.

      I personally believe it is abuse of the rights of the child.

      But I'm not sure if making it illegal is the right thing. It would be almost impossible to control anyway.
  • Aug 18 2012: for obey no1kinobe
  • Aug 18 2012: then yes my friend then they must change to the word science because it doesn't have the right definition because it describes everything as science. Also they should go into making science more compatible with little kids like in 4th or 5th .Grade also so they should make ti more easy to topic because it is just to tough for the human mind to think about and it is very hard to explain. So yes they should do that
  • Aug 18 2012: Look. Public education is in the toilet. I send my kids to school well beyond what their peers are doing. Whose fault is that? Other kids might feel slow or dumb around them because they learned to write and spell before preschool. My daughter sat on lap through three semesters of online classes and paid attention. She has an intrinsic comprehension of math, she speaks French and Spanish and picks up other languages very fast. She'll be tall enough to advance a class and not stand out. These are the concerns of Academics.Let's be honest, if the Greek god system hadn't divided the Greek government, we'd all still be heathens. The need for unified religion was a desperate act to maintain control over the Roman Empire that was about to fall the same way Greece did and at the hands of the same gods. So God sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for all us sinners and save the Roman Empire from ruin? I kinda doubt that last part...just google the word "Vatican" and there is something nasty attached to it.
    Anyways, I have worshipped everything I could to find that thing that I was missing. All it took in the end was worshipping a woman who blessed me with two kids that saved my life and filled that empty spot. My cup runneth over!
    I don't think the Vatican even support creationism anymore...didn't they open up to the idea of Alien beings? Oh yeah. Yup! It's okay to believe in aliens now, because the Vatican says so. Gosh I hope there are no Catholics in here...what am I saying - they mourn their faith. (Shut Up Kevin Smith and get out of my head with your Dogma!)
    Anyways, for those "believers" out there who have to cling to a man's robe to feel connected to God - you're groupies. Don't get offended! Most people are. We are social groupies! And for those of you who think you have a right to shove your ideals down my kids throat, you better watch yourself...intelligent design is something people do, and I designed these kids to be very intelligent. ;)
    God Bless ya!
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      Aug 18 2012: Thanks for the comment J.
      Catholic and Anglican higher ups accept evolution.
      They don't talk about it much.
      The Cardinal of Sydney made of fool of himself on TV with Dawkins trying to explain when a spirit might have been injected during the process of evolution.
      We don't need a magic spirit to have a human soul and magical life
      Sometimes its the people in our life that make a difference.
      Maybe nearly always.
      I'm going out to fill my cup.
  • Aug 18 2012: Absolutely and therefore I perceived that those 'activist' spoke against those capricious gods - the Yahwehs so to speak. I fully agree with what you saying.

    I think regarding womens rights - there is a huge disparity between Muslims vs Islam. Like if one reads surah Talaq it presents clearly the rights of women which is in favor of women. The rest all falls into the category of dogma.
    Dogmas are the greatest 'evil' known to mankind. They are tools of mass Social destruction and painstakingly slower than any nuclear attack. We live in sadly conscious times. Belief systems have nefariously totally enslaved the consciousness/awareness of many. Thus for those aware, it's imperative to enlighten truth, albeit the ridicule and contention one is faced with. So your sage words regarding many concerns and ills of humanity should be met with discernment. :-)
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      Aug 18 2012: Shane I agree dogma is dangerous.

      The koran may have been quite enlightened at the time, but I suggest we have moved past this in this West and relying on a medieval book, no matter how advanced at the time is a handbrake on development.

      I guess if people pick the good stuff out of whatever religion or some secular viewpoint we'll all be better off.

      I had a bit of spiel there against the yahweh of the bible. But there is just so much good material. I don't know how people can read this and not think badly of this tribal war god. And then we get hell and eternal damnation in the NT.

      f there is a god and she loves us, that would be nice. In the meantime I guess it is up to us to figure things out and try improve the human condition, maybe be nice to other species and pass on the planet to our kids in at least as good shape as we got it.

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    Aug 18 2012: Intel Design (ID) should be taught or at the least "discussed" in schools right alongside with evolutionary theory (ET). The focus should be point-counterpoint, comparison-contrast, pro-con, etc. Time can and should be spent arguing about the central issues rather than haggling over definitions and labels. The ultimate goal is to walk away from a rational argument with positive notes that can lead to individual acceptance or denial of ID and ET; not fundamentalist tones of divisiveness that pit camps of opposing theories against each other. I mean, c'mon, don't we already have bipartisanship and politics in general for that? Embracing the negative value of "us versus them" thinking in academic arenas does not advance science, does not promote ID any better than a jalapeno suppository encased in a cooling spearmint capsule designed for pain relief.

    Let's not be afraid of ID and ET. Let's argue to not argue but to reason and respect perspectives, viewpoints, and rational conceptual framework. It might certainly take some time before everyone agrees that the world is not flat and even more time before society abandons the need to crucify modern Galileos but in the present time let's throw them both in the mix. If an Iguana wants to believe that it can thrive on the North Pole as a car insurance spokeslizard, and a bulimic Elephant believes it can describe three blind men...then let it be so.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it until my rocketship lifts off from the studio set where they filmed the moon landing.
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      Aug 18 2012: Hi Charles. Who is the picture of? Not a self portrait I guess.

      Thanks for the opinion. Do you believe in a creator designer? Or do you think evolution about as proven and reliable theory as you get.?

      I have to disagree. School science is to teach science not to give quackery the respect of being included alongside consensus science.

      Are you okay teaching one form of religious explanation as an alternative to science in a US public school.

      I suggest it is a dangerous precedent to let public relations and political lobbying decide include whatever religious mumbo jumbo the majority or most motivated want, bypassing the testing and peer review and consensus forming every other piece of science has to go through.

      Next they will be teaching Earth and the universe is less than 10,000 years old. There goes geology and cosmology and history. Then the flood. Then you might as well call it an evangelical Christian education.

      IF you don't think evangelicals won't hijack education if you give them a chance your more trustworthy of their motives than I am.

      Why should an exception be made for ID just because science shows we evolved and this highlights literal creationist faith based beliefs are wrong.

      All children get 10-12 years school education. Its should not be diluted or confused by creationism in disguise.

      I suggest college philosophy or religious studies might be a better place to discuss it. OR actually via peer reviewed scientific paper if they stopped focusing on the PR and politicing and did some science.

      Don't be fooled by teach the controversy.
  • Aug 18 2012: I suppose you're right in saying its a big call - I should have phrased it differently. Self recognition toward achieving integration can be broken into many areas of intolerances that needs change. What I'm saying is it rests upon an individual rather than a collective or organized solution.

    Regarding the messengers messages. It is my observation that religions messengers did not intend disunity, or any soothsayer or sage for that matter. It was the waywardness of people and hierarchies who misled the people instead. I use the appellation messengers because that's all they were - they delivered a message prescribing codes of conducts relative to their societies at the time. But with scrutiny we can read the history shows they were nothing more than modern day activists. The common find is they were accused of treason and sedition and often exiled or 'crucified'. We see that monarchs and rulers were threatened by those who intended to bring knowledge of freedom of some sort. There was no dogma to their 'political' cause, it came long after their deaths. Clearly then religion and dogma was organized by 'whoever' to imbue apathy for some purpose of economic enslavement, and the FACT that none of the religions actually carry out the initial intent - which is bring positive to people rather apathy - they fail their founders. This is where as you point out religion supports slavery, kill homosexuals etc...it the peoples and the hierarchies but not the messenger who brought this about. For instance Islam - in Quran it teaches the rights of all women and does not preach inequality. And that Mohamed freed the first slave - Bilal. If one looks at the writings of Bahaulla, we can see that the Baha'is also don't accordingly follow it. Same with Jesus, Buddha and so forth. It seems it was a one man fight for the rights of people and the rest decided to fight each other due to dogmas.

    Evidently religions don't work - never will. A philosophy is different from religion
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      Aug 18 2012: Hi Shane. Thanks for the clarification.

      I agree some aspects of religious belief may promote good for all.

      Certainly not the foundation god for the Abrahamic beliefs, Yahweh in the old testament. HE personally killed hundreds of thousands that are annotated in the bible. This does not include the unspecified killed bu him when destroying cities and the virtual global genocide of the great flood. All men woman and children drowned by their creator except for one family.

      Read exodus, numbers, kings, etc etc.

      Then there are the millions listed killed on the orders of Yahweh. More genocide. More orders to kill everything living. Much of the OT is about the creator of the universe taking the side of a chosen people . Even Jesus just focused on his fellow Jews. All 12 disciples were Jewish. It was only after he died that Paul got involved. You read about them making it up as they go about whether to allow gentile believers and whether they needed to get circumsized. Bizzaire. The new testament also endorses slavery. Love your neighbor is great. Pity this didn't seem to include slaves. How hard would it have been for the almighty to command someone to write explicity it is not good to own people.

      Its not all bad but I think there is problem with the source material. Not just human interpretation and political control etc.

      If you think the koran isn't sexist I disagree. Women are to be obedient. Menstruation is a harmful thing. A male has two shares of a women. A woman is worth one-half a man.

      Men are in charge of women, because Allah made men to be better than women. Refuse to have sex with women from whom you fear rebellion, and scourge them.

      Believing women must lower their gaze and be modest, cover themselves with veils, and not reveal themselves except to their husbands etc.

      You can't have sex with married women, unless they are slaves obtained in war.

      What a moral exemplar.

      The bad is always mixed up with the good if you look to the source material
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    Aug 18 2012: I couldn't Agree more. You are putting into such simple words something that seems so hard to understand to humanity.
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    Aug 18 2012: To summarise ID as I understand it:

    Biology is complex, really complex. That bacterial flagellum is really complex. I don't know how all this happened, it is just so complex, therefore it must be designed. Therefore there must be a designer.

    And in the background you already presuppose the answer because god made the universe and adam and eve in 6 days.

    Actually you don't just need a designer, you need a builder as well. Maybe they can be one and the same. In which case creator may be a better word.

    This is a false dichotomy. Another answer is we don't know. Another is evolution. If you require evidence for every detail of evolution I suspect double standards because scientifically there is no material evidence of a creative intelligent being. No understanding of how it created life as is. It just spoke it and it happened. How is that science.

    This argument may also assume complexity is always evidence of design. Snowflakes are complex but not designed. The patterns on sand dunes are incredibly complex but not designed.

    Some argue painting are complex and have designers. So are buildings and watches. Therefore everything complex or just the tings that suit are argument must have a designer. Its like men have 2 legs. Women have 2 legs, all women are men. It's stretching a metaphor to far.

    In the case of ID the designer is just a metaphor. Inexplicable by any scientific method. As are the processes of this creative design.

    God of the gaps stuff. Arguments from ignorance. Special pleading. False dichotomy etc. If any thing ID belongs in philosophy class to be unpacked by first years for all it's fallacies.

    The most plausible scenario of ID is probably Aliens seeding life on earth that evolved as per the evidence. Then you need to explain the aliens. No they are eternal having overcome the aging process in a previous big bang. Don't ask how they came about in the earlier big bang. It's a mystery, I know so because it is written down in my comment.
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      Aug 18 2012: Why should someone be required to demonstrate that something doesn't exist ? The burden of the proof relays on whoever is affirming that something exist. Or can I say now that gremlins are having a huge party all over Bogota and it is your problem to demonstrate that they are not? While you do it (if you can at all-you may perfectly not be able to demonstrate that something so absurd is not true-) is it true?
      But even if we have to look for evidence, look att the world objectively:all evidence indicates that there's no creator, designer, god or however you want to call it, but that this is rather a random evolutionary process where there is no justice, fairness or perfection . The strong ones survive and the weak ones dissapear and thats all. Just read tomorrow's newspapers.
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        Aug 18 2012: gremlins pixies elves angels gods godesses
  • Aug 17 2012: ID is not logical it will required incest to procreate past the third generation. All major ID call for a God to create a pair of human and leave them to multiply. They also says incest is a sin, so logically how can these gods be intelligent?
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      Aug 17 2012: I thought this comment was very clever. Thanks Oliver:)
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      Aug 17 2012: You guys need to read the bible otherwise you wouldn't have posted,which is perfectly all right but the answer is in Genesis.
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      Aug 17 2012: Unfortunately if someones god mandates incest, or slavery, or genocide then it is not evil or sin. Because they define whatever god does or says is good by definition. Circular argument, which is illogical.
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        Aug 18 2012: I was referring to Olivers statement which was too broad and references parts of the christian bible set too far apart,if one is to use material based upon a book then one should know it as best as they can unless it was an offhand comment due to vague curious interest which is perfectly all right,well it looks like he was referring to the christian bible.

        You're response above is broad in itself,ID proposes an answer brought about by microbiologists that some were religious and some were not at a time in the early 90's,a far cry from today's science which still can't tell us how lefthand amino acids were able to self assemble,not even a Mandelbrot system can bring about such a result,bacterial like structures found in meteorite fragments suggests possible life but it doesn't mean it is,it's like trying to tell me that a galaxy we see today at the extreme limit of our detection is actually there in it's proposed real time co-ordinates.

        Rent the movie "The tree of life" with brad pitt,it has to me the most beautiful visual representation of what most believe today how it all got started, for the evolutionists.
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          Aug 18 2012: I saw the Tree of life. A bit slow for me but touching and a wonderful sequence on origins.
  • Aug 17 2012: You have to be kidding to ask such a question.
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    Aug 17 2012: Let the creator of intelligent design speak and take credit for the work of reality. If she can create reality I'm sure she can speak.

    As to the idea that religious beliefs should not be taught in school, I disagree. There is plenty of room with all the other nonsense that is being taught, most of it, certainly, not science based. Science need have no fear of being displaced by dogma any more than apples will be mistaken as oranges.

    Children and youth are smart. They can determine fact from fiction and woe to those who they believe teach fiction when facts are more appropriate.

    Many dogmas are taught in school today.

    If science is displaced, by dogma then mankind is doomed. But, unless something very smartly happens soon, we are doomed anyway. All come to the end and must face their mortality. What does it matter to the dead what goes on with the living?

    I believe if Intelligent design were given a niche in the school system, it would either flounder or enhance the work of science. Science is not so fragile that it will fall apart under mediocre scrutiny. Intelligent design will have to follow the rules as applies to any body of knowledge it cannot turn schools into prayer rooms.

    I say give them a shot and let's see where it goes. It might be great inspiration or very funny entertainment for our children. Kids are smarter than you think. Newton was a kid once. So was Einstein. So was I.
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      Aug 17 2012: Hi JM, I would point out that younger children are relatively credulous and do not have the critical thinking ability of say high school seniors.

      It may be data mining but it seems progress has slowed when theology has decided what is science - Galileo, Middle East, some states of the US.

      ID hasn't convinced the scientific community, and if it does based on scientific merit so be it. I'm not so sure it is benign if it gets into classrooms as legitimate scientific alternative when currently it isn't. It sets a dangerous precedent that any religious inspired nonsense can be taught if you mobilise public and political support.

      Also, we have religion instruction classes in public schools in Australia. Generally taught by volunteers from one well resourced Christian organisation. Students of other denominations, faiths or none can opt out but essentially the state becomes a vehicle for religious indoctrination which I disagree with in principle, and believers of one sect get their beliefs reinforced backed by the same authority that teaches maths and science, and minorities are subject to this or essentially ostracised and sometimes ridiculed. It is divisive.

      In the US it fails the lemon test i.e. a church going republican judge judge nominated by Santorim and appointed by bush found it to be religious. If you want to give up the separation of church and state that has protected minorities and freedom of and from religion so easy, I guess that is your opinion.

      We had a friend from Texas stay with us recently and go to talking about life the universe and everything. When it came up that I was not a Christian, or believer of any sort, she asked where did we come from. She had the most warped view of evolution. Part of this was poor education. I think our kids deserve better in science education. If they want to teach about ID in social studies fine.
  • Aug 16 2012: Obey:
    "Regarding: Shouldn't parents decide what their children are taught?"
    "So I suggest no Parents should not have absolute authority to choose what is taught."

    But, parents should be free "to teach whatever they wish, want or think is right", right?
    Now I am not as smart as the average cell but isn't "creating something in 6 days", actually a form of evolution?

    Isn't time necessary for evolution, whereas creation is instantaneous? I thought it was.
    Anyway, why isn't all this an "ever-advancing creation?" for every thing is created in some manner and at some point manifests itself in whatever form it is in, and then it evolves, for whatever length of time it evolves over.

    Neither science nor religion can or will prove their claims.
    But, I am against forcing anyone to be taught religious beliefs, doctrine or dogma against their will, knowledge or against the will of their caretakers, without real proof of religious claims.

    So, ultimately, I believe children should be taught the truth as it is known and proven, and religion, unfortunately for them, has no proof. Religion says there is more than the material. Science says there is more than the material.
    Personally though, I want an emotional orgasm, not a scientific one.

    IF ID Is true, then why isn't it true throughout? Everything? It certainly isn't and the range between what might be intelligent beauty and absolute stupidity is enormous. Too big to accept that it is ID, unless of course the ID are the first two letters of the word, IDiot.
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      Aug 16 2012: Hi Random. I think parents should have more freedom to teach what they choose in their own home.
      But children are not property and I don't support Parents having absolute right freedom to treat their children any way they want.

      I'm personally against religious or atheist indoctrination of children. We seem to agree? To me it is a form of abuse. Although I'm not at the point where I would outlaw this.

      Creation can be either instantaneous or over some period of time I guess. An all powerful god could have rolled all 6 days into an instant if he choose. Just then the story would not be so poetic. An all powerful and all knowing god can do anything it wants any way it wants.

      I'm not sure what you mean by science not being able to prove its claims. Do you mean just in regards to long past events. Or because of the limitations of our perception etc. Science claims a rock will accelerate at 9.81 m/s/s with some adjustment for air friction. And this happens repeatably. The reliability of science when applied has resulted in the computer you are using to make this comment.

      Not sure what you mean by science says there is more than material. I think science works by testing things. If a supernatural claim can not be tested, there is not much it can offer to science and vice versa. Perhaps reason might come to conclusions about many mutually exclusive supernatural claims. They can't all be right. But they can all be wrong.

      I don't find not having a belief in god has reduced my joy in life. Actually feel better in some ways compared to when tried to believe while starting to realise it was all bunk.
      • Aug 16 2012: HI Obey.
        I believe science and religion are both wrong. In some way, about something very important. I don't know what that is. To my mind, they are both seeking to prove, explain, reveal or in some way show they are correct about the same issue; namely how this unique-verse came to be and what followed or is following, who we are and the future in some way as well.
        What both have failed to do, is to prove that.
        My experience with religion and religious people has "proven' to me however, that the main purpose of religion is the total annihilation of the human spirit. And my experience with science is that it's main purpose is the annihilation of the human species.
        Other than those two things, I find there to be what I call the three M's in life: mystery, magic and meaning, and science at times acts much like a bleach, taking these all out. Not much to enjoy once they have bleached it. Thus, why I want an emotional orgasm and not a scientific one.

        Neither side really seems interested in building a bridge between them, which I have imagined many or most people would like. Humanity would seem to be in great need of a bridge being built. But each side only wants to win the argument outright. That really doesn't work for me.

        There is empirical evidence that nothing, is, and that nothing works, and that something truly miraculous (not necessarily in a religious sense), comes from that nothingness. But, I'm running out of characters.

        Science is always telling us that the material isn't what it seems or appears to be. And that is true. A steel beam is really electrons flying around one another at incredible speeds. It isn't as dense as we think or observe, and if you hit it with your fist, you don't actually hit it. You hit the field created by the electrons. So in a way, science and religion can find agreement but choose not to.

        Certainly God doesn't exist but I am just as certain that certainly something just is. Zero comes before one.
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          Aug 17 2012: Thanks Random. I enjoy reading your perspective.

          Re the steel beam I guess it has density (mass/volume), but is only solid because our eyes didn't evolve to see things as small as electrons, even if that is biologically possible.

          In a way our understanding of the universe is limited by our senses and our brains ability to process and interpret and communicative this, enhanced by the limits of our technology, from the hubble telescope and microscope to the electron microscop, haldron collider and Hubble telescope and all the data collecting and computing power at our disposal.....but still limited by our brains ability to conceptualise and put this into words.
      • Aug 16 2012: Obey: You said:
        "But children are not property and I don't support Parents having absolute right freedom to treat their children any way they want."
        But, I didn't say "treat them any way they want to, but I said teach them what they want to."

        So, by this do you mean that you want to force or reprogram people to believe and behave the way you think they should?
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          Aug 17 2012: I'm not sure all teaching methods and content is appropriate.
          You could teach your kids to do all sorts of nasty stuff.

          I'm saying its complex. Give me an example of something parents might do or teach and how they do it and I will give you my view.
    • Aug 16 2012: Is it absolutely necessary to define creation as instantaneous? Could we all consider evolution as creation slow motion?

      Here we are on Earth many multi-millenia from the beginnings of things and we debate the beginning as though we are rather settled in our opinions.

      Is there room in the mind of each of us for possibilities?
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        Aug 17 2012: I hope there is Mark.
      • Aug 18 2012: The "big"bang" if you will was the highest influx of energy and radiation the universe has ever seen. Einstein revolutionized science with Relativity by changing the way people percieved molecules, Mass accelarated fast enough can be converted into energy, whereas energy slowed down can become mass again. The universe was like an explosion of energy which expanded outward simontaneously in all directions and kept going much like a perpetual shockwave. We know from Newton's law of motion that an object in motion will remain in motion unless another force acts upon it. As the initial release of energy is consolidated to a consistent momentum, remnants of "energy" which was "too slow" to be kept at a certain amplitude of accelaration became MASS as the ENERGY SLOWED. That "mass" is what we know to be the stars, suns, dust, galaxies, nebulas and all other universal debris. The Universe however, is still "in motion" after the initial explosion because there is no force to act against it and so its momentum progresses onward. What does that mean for us? the initial point of origin where the "big bang" occurred is forever getting farther away from our current point or "Location" in the universal plane

        The universe expands outward to infinity and is always moving AWAY from its epicenter, which does exist somewhere at some point in "time" (the more the 'Universe' expands, the more time passes), but our existence on earth is constantly getting FURTHER away from the epicenter. why? because the epicenter is a constant that cannot be reached ever because 1. we are traveling too fast to cover the distance necessary; the velocity needed to accelarate to that degree of motion would obliterate your very being. 2. Essentially, you would have to accelarate "Backwards" through space (time) FASTER than the 'universe' was moving "forward" (in all directions) which is faster than the speed of light. our 'existence' is the 'rate of decay' between the origin and infinity...
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          Aug 18 2012: Thanks Alexa.
          Its amazing to think about it when you go big, small and old.
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      Aug 17 2012: Rubbish
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    Aug 16 2012: Why ID is Bunk:

    The key argument for ID is irreducible complexity is that some biological mechanisms could not have evolved. If you removed some components they would have no function and be useless. They propose the only explanation for this is abrupt creation by an intelligent creator.

    The poster child is the bacterial flagellum. A little biological motor that propels cells. Its a complex little beasty. However, you can remove half the parts and you have the biological device used by some bacteria such as the bubonic plague to inject toxins into other cells. Disproved.

    Another was blood clotting. We have found many animals that have simpler clotting mechanisms with components missing and they clot just fine. The theory developed was checked the biological evidence and confirmed. Disproved.

    Human immune system. Since this was proposed as something that could not have evolved there have been dozens of peer reviewed papers and even books written showing reducible complexity.

    MAybe they have or will come up with more complex bits and pieces that we don't have explanations for. Even if a creator formed the first life, there is still evidence of evolution. Maybe god helped in a few places, but there is still evidence for evolution.

    IF the test is for science to have answers for everything or there must be a god, well that's a pretty poor understanding of science and the value it provides even with our partial understanding of the universe. We test medicines on mammals because we are a mammal. We share a common so much physiology.

    The development from a fertilised egg to an adult human is amazing. Some think this could not have evolved. In fact how does it work now we have human. I din't understand, god must grow every baby.

    Anyway, even though ID has no compelling evidence, it still sticks in the heads of those who want to believe there is a credible scientific alternative or challenge to evolution when there isn't. So they have succeeded in that at least.
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    Aug 16 2012: I have heard some Christians say acceptance of evolution is based on a foundation of presuppositions. They accept that their interpretation of the facts was presupposed on believing the bible. They argue evolutionists have the same level of presupposition and interpret accordingly.

    There is something in this, but it maybe assumes all scientists have a materialist view.

    In my case I was a born again evangelical Christian when evolution and creationism were taught at high school. My presuppositions were biblical. I even saw this as a spiritual battle, we even prayed about it. Yet I could not deny that the evolution argument was more compelling, it more easily fit the facts. The convoluted bible based arguments I was giving seemed contrived in my heart of hearts.

    I suggest that presupposing a particular biblical religious view is correct is narrower than science looking for the best fit natural explanation. Our scientific progress in the West since we dropped supernatural explanations has been phenomenal. Compare this to the puny output of Muslim science under fundamentalist control.

    Natural explanations seem to be more effective and have worked for everything so far. Unfortunately for theists effective theories like evolution make predictions that are testable and then the results of these are found to fit the data.
    E.g. that one pair of chromosomes in humans must have fused with another if we descended from primates because we have 23 pairs and other primates have 24. We have now found a fused chromosome. Why would god make it look like we evolved?

    Good scientists don't ignore the bits that don't fit their theories. Christian scientists often do if it contradicts the bible, or look for another more convoluted explanation. I don't know how many times I have heard where are the transitional forms, and you show them and they ignore the possibility they are transitional forms.

    Following the data naturally is less narrow that trying to conform to the bible.
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    Aug 16 2012: Regarding: Shouldn't parents decide what their children are taught?

    Perhaps parents should have a say but not without limits, especially in public schools.

    If parents in a Muslim or Catholic area wanted it taught in history that the Jews were to blame for for all manner of the worlds ills, should they be able to do this?

    Should the majority get to decide if a completely Christian or Hindu or Muslim fundamentalist perspective be taught in public schools?

    So I suggest no Parents should not have absolute authority to choose what is taught.

    However, I recognise that to some some aspects of science are counter to religious beliefs and may be threatening to students or parents personal beliefs. From some theist perspectives, as Peter raised, science and particularly evolution (maybe geology, astronomy, physics etc if you are a YEC) are seen as part of a spiritual war.

    This is quite a tough issue. Maybe to some, science is just as bad as having some other religion pushed down your throat. I hope we don't have to remove every thing in science that is an issue to any religious or spiritual view. In the end I think science is the best explanation we have with good reasons, because science is based on the evidence and technology works, and this is not based on any particular subjective faith based view.

    Need to think about this one.
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    Aug 16 2012: Some of the comments did cause me to pause and consider - what if there are some supernatural events and phenomena. I'm not quite settled on this issue but current thinking:

    This might involve rewriting the definition of modern science - the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. Science does so through the use of observation, experimentation and logical argument while maintaining strict empirical standards and healthy scepticism. Scientific explanations are built on observations, hypothesises and theories.

    In the US one board of education changed this to "more adequate explanations" rather than natural explanations so that ID could be included i.e. it allows for supernatural explanations.

    One problem with this is that many supernatural explanations are not testable. They provide a dead end. They will stop enquiry

    Allowing the other side of natural explanations includes alchemy, magic, and any form of supernatural religious and pseudo scientific beliefs etc. In court it was pointed out that this definition could allow astrology based to be considered

    Now if we ever find evidence of supernatural phenomena, this should be reported and debated. But to allow supernatural explanations in science without evidence is dangerous. The result may depend on which religion has the most power.
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    Aug 16 2012: Regarding "ID is not religious"

    Well the courts found it is. In the US, ID failed all 3 tests in regards to not establishing religion. Teaching ID was lacking a legitimate secular purpose given low scientific value. Teaching ID was determined to primarily advance religion. Teaching ID involved excessive entanglement of government and religion.

    ID is religion or creationism disguised as science in my view. IF you don;t believe me the proponents of ID stated:

    - It is implausible that the designer is a natural entity
    - ID requires the ground rules of science to be broadened so that supernatural forces can considered
    - The project of ID aims to change the ground rules of science to allow for the supernatural

    ID was developed from creation science. The early drafts of ID text books were found to have mentioned creation and creator throughout. These were simply changed from creator to intelligent designer and creation intelligent design.

    Some still claim ID is a purely scientific movement. Yet they are supported religious based groups and focus on Public Relations and political lobbying rather than research and publishing papers and the general scientific debate required to achieve scientific consensus.

    Evolution opponents and ID proponents are generally religiously affiliated. If Christian websites are anything to go by there is an “ongoing war between creation and evolution”. The key groups supporting ID see scientific materialism as denying human freedom and dignity etc.

    Evolution seems to be singled out because it contradicts literal religious creationism.

    The motives and the content are religious.
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    Aug 16 2012: Regarding: Why not teach the controversy:

    After creation science was deemed religious and banned from schools in the US, it got a make over and was renamed intelligent design and bolstered by a hypothesis of irreducible complexity.

    Rather than do what all other theories have to do and achieve scientific consensus, write peer reviewed papers, do the testing etc, ID sought to bypass all this hard work and examination and get into schools by PR and political lobbying.

    This was challenged and in court the claims of irreducible complexity were proven to be false. ID was also found to be religious.

    Failing to get in as legitimate science the ID practitioners could have gone away and worked on the science. Instead they ramped up the political and PR activity and shifted to the " Why not teach the controversy" approach

    Why should ID be a special case where a weak hypothesis gets put alongside a theory that has scientific consensus? Why pick on evolution only? What is the motivation?

    Putting ID alongside a scientific theory creates a binary choice, a false dichotomy. It tells students you have choose an intelligent designer i.e. a creator God or reject god and choose science. This is not a choice schools should be forcing on students. It ignores the complexity of the subject. E.g. Many find a belief in god perfectly compatible with science including evolution. In fact the creationist view promoted by ID is one particular type of theist belief.

    It just aims to undermine evolution through a back door rather than scientific processes. This is a dangerous theist science precedent.

    Big picture, it is seeking to indoctrinate children in public schools rather than teach the best science. Do we want public schools to teach one particular theistic view in public schools? Should we? Should religious beliefs and presuppositions outweigh legitimate scientific enquiry? Where does lead us. Galileo? Muslim theocracies? Back to the dark ages.
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    Aug 16 2012: Please forgive the shotgun approach. Some of the comments below were getting down to 3 indents so I have responded up here.

    Regarding “evolution is a theory not a fact” - This is correct, but seems to put down theories. In science theories are a higher level of understanding than facts. Theories explain facts.

    It was mentioned that gravity is a fact. Actually Gravity is also a theory not a fact. The facts relate to observations of acceleration towards the centre of the earth and movement of planetary bodies. The hypothesis of gravitons which are excitations of gravitational waves is still tentative because the interactions of single gravitons may be too weak to be detected. By some of the logic we see in related topics this means that invisible intelligences may be pulling on down and holding the planets in place and this should be taught in schools alongside the theory of gravity.
  • Aug 15 2012: Considering the diversity of religions and denominations there are differences of belief in the God concept. Namely Pantheon Gods, Panstheism, Panentheism, Monotheistsm, Polytheism and so forth. With all these variants where does an institution begin to divulge a suitable - for - all concept? How willing are religious skeptics - meaning those religion who are not in agreement with other religions - that they would endorse a teaching that is incongruent or contradicts their philosophy? Need I answer the obvious...

    Therefore it is sagely prescribed, to those aware, to not imbue contention, especially when it involves one's beliefs.
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      Aug 16 2012: Good point Shane. Some are happy to have their religious views taught, but wouldn't like others.

      Its seems to be part of the power of religion that people believe they have the absolute truth that can not be improved on and it comes from this or that book written hundreds or thousands of years ago.
      • Aug 16 2012: The reason the world remains hindered toward achieving unity in diversity, it's because of loyalty to label so to speak. Clearly only one solution exists for integration - dont promote a belief on the other even in the slightest - perhaps be silent, especially in schools, work places etc or it will reach a point where society will have to drop all labels completely.

        As we can see, there are around 11000 religions including denominations on planet earth - who's right and who's wrong? How is it possible to integrate without bias? When do we stop generalizing each faith when it perpetuates negation? Since all claim a God then, is this what God intended - disintegration? I don't think so. Once we recognize all messengers messages, we will see its one and the same, expressing social conduct. Religious people are obligated to achieve their prescribed remedies - that means integration, unity and respect.

        These are the many haunting questions to be discerned. I think it's time humanity earth worked towards advanced maturity or we will end up as our forefathers. There are great ruins as reminders of once what was an advanced civilization but now the boons of destruction. They've certainly failed as societies to achieve integration.

        Integration will only be possible when one intrinsically recognize our part in these hinderances.
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          Aug 18 2012: Hi Shane. I tend to view our tribalism from an evolutionary perspective. We evolved in small grousp with certain inter and intra group dynamics that still are a factor today.

          Its a big call to say only one solution exists for integration. Some others - maybe we physically and socially evolve to be more tolerant. Maybe we genetically engineer ourselves to reduce or remove the tribalism. Etc. In the short term maybe teaching the benefits of reasonable tolerance. I don't think we should tolerate all behaviour even if it is religiously inspired. There are limits.

          Agree about not teaching any of the thousands of religious beliefs as fact in schools. The thing I struggle with a bit is that for some believers they see modern science as conflicting with their beliefs.

          What do you mean recognise all religious messangers messages? Do you mean to suggest they are all equally valid, even the one that say women are worth half a man, or to kill homosexuals, or support slavery, or genital mutilation?

          The issue with many forms of religious belief is part and parcel is that you have the absolute truth. The others are wrong. Of course being human some choose to believe all religious expression, or the not bad bits, are linking to the same divine. For me it is just evidence of the naturalistic human condition.

          I suggest if we recognised all the religious dogma are just man made we might be better off. That won't happen any time soon. Perhaps freedom of religion (within limits of the rights of others) and the separation of church and state is the best we have come up with so far.

          Agree people are the problem.
  • Aug 15 2012: The issue I've always wondered about Is ID reducint God to some sort of trickster a little god or giant like Loki I mean if the Bible is so carefully prepared for the faithful why would so many false clues be in nature?
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      Aug 15 2012: Hi George, I agree. If a deity wanted to give us a clear message you think it would be clearer and more obvious something special, align with the evidence, and not contradict itself. All the religious scriptures I'm aware of look man made and products of their time.

      I'd have been impressed if the message was zapped to earth 2000 years ago on a titanium alloy with some technology far beyond human capability which would indicate some sort of superior intelligence and technology at least.

      Even the 10 commandments were on stone tablets. Not very impressive. Easily man made.

      In fact in regards to the bible, the new testament was written decades after JC is supposed to have died and cobbled together a few hundred years later. Not great planning if a god was involved.

      Apparently before JC, there was animal sacrifice to deal with sins or make offerings to god, God got angry when he gave us free will and we used it, got fed up and killed nearly everyone, god basically ignored most of humanity in favour of the hebrew tribes, sent the messiah, who was actually part god but most of the chosen folks didn't think he was the messiah, the messiah only had chosen folk disciples, only after he died did they consider including gentiles, the other 99%. And the Christians ended up persecuting the chosen folks for 1700 years. And not one verifiable miracle of the type we heard happen in the OT.

      Not only is god a bit tricky or uninterested and not a great planner.

      Maybe even a bit evil, if this is all we get to point us in the right direction or he will punish us eternally.
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    Aug 13 2012: For my American friends ...
    By any measure the US has a very high percentage of believers. Apparently only 5% or so opposed the idea of a day of prayer, while 46% would classify themselves as Creationist. Many on TED lament that you have to be a believer to get anywhere in politics in the US.
    It puzzles me why, in a democracy, God has been banished from your schools. Did all these believing Moms & Dads really go out there & vote to remove God from the schools ?
    This has always puzzled me; can you guys explain it ?

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      Aug 13 2012: Of all people you should know that people make irrationnal choices. Even democracies should interfere with some of its people's ideas.
      School is mandatory for this same reason.
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      Aug 14 2012: hi peter

      religious people are not banned from public schools. they are free to believe and practice and indoctrinateoutside the state shpere just not at the public expense. seperation of church and state protects minority beliefs from majority.

      is a state school really the place for religious indoctrination and reinforcement.

      Does the majority get to decide what religious teaching and practices are indoctrinated at state schools.

      If you want schooling to indoctrinate religion go to a religious school.

      i would support teaching about all religions in himanities curiculuum. but not indoctrinatong or reinforcing beliefs even if majority view of parents.

      Peter, do you support religious indoctrination and scheduled prayers and all things Christian in state schools. Do you want to make state schools religious Christian schools? Is that what you really want?

      Don't you have enough freedom of religion outside of state schools?
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      Aug 14 2012: Religious folks make it sound like it is a form of persecution not to be able to embed religious activities and indoctrination in the formal school programme.

      I have no issue with religious or non government groups organising a day of prayer.

      It is an issue if state instruments such as schools start promoting/establishing religious activity.

      Would you like your children surrounded by teaching promoting a religion other than your own, teaching Buddhist prayer or meditation or metaphysics as fact? That is an abuse of the authority teachers have in my view.

      Australia does not have a constitutional separation of church and state. The head of state, the Queen is also the head of the church of England. Australian schools have religious instruction classes to pander to the religious vote. They are opt out. I find it completely backward that Australian state schools have religious indoctrination. Meanwhile my daughter wastes her time in the library and is ostracised for not talking part (her choice to opt out by the way– I don’t force my beliefs on her. My wife believes in a god).

      Are you happy with indoctrination at any cost? Establishing and embedding your majority religious practices in schools and government. Do you really think Christian prayers and indoctrination as part of the official programme in state schools is appropriate?

      Teach whatever religious dogma you like in your church, mosque, synagogue or temple, but our public schools should be sanctuary for children free from any religious indoctrination or officially sanctioned practices.
    • Aug 14 2012: The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
      free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the
      right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress
      of grievances.

      This was incorporated into our constitution in 1791, just after the constitution was adopted. The clauses regarding religion were then seen as necessary because of the very diverse and very strong religious beliefs of the citizens at that time. Many of them had risked their lives crossing the Atlantic for the specific purpose of escaping from religious persecution. Since that time, not much has changed with respect to the diversity of religious beliefs in the USA and the article has remained unchanged. The courts have interpreted it to mean that public schools must avoid even the slightest establishment of any religion, even saying a prayer on school grounds or during a school sponsored event.

      So yes, the believing Moms & Dads of our forefathers went out and voted for this amendment, and there has been no serious attempt to remove or change it.

      IMO, complete separation of church and state is necessary to the functioning of a democratic form of government.
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        Aug 14 2012: Thanks Barry
        Just reading the declaration, it seems to me that Congress should keep it's nose out of religious matters. Ie not pass any laws in that area. The courts seem to disagree with me. So that answers that dilemma for me..
        It just seems weird. Parents are ultimately in charge of their children's education. No matter what they believe, they obviously believe it to be best. In the UK historically we have been Christian. That was what folks believed, & consequently that was what they taught their kids; both at home & at school. Today, we are moving away from that, & what is taught in school is a reflection of that.
        Most countries teach what the majority of the parents believe. Whether it be Darwin, or Budda.
        To me, as an outsider, it seems that the constitution says 'to make no law...'; & the court has made a law banning religion from schools. It would be good for us all if governments would get back to keeping the peace, & taking out the trash. Then the parents could make a go of bringing up the children.

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          Aug 14 2012: Hi Peter, I guess letting government/state instruments promote a religious viewpoint, practices, prayer etc is essentially breaking the establishment clause. So the courts need to get involved to ensure the establishment clause is upheld.

          Parents are in charge of their kids upbringing, what school, what family indoctrination, etc. But that does mean they get to override the constitution or choose what is taught as science.

          Even in the UK and Australia where there is no simple constitutional separation of church and state there has been a trend over centuries towards this. I believe it is a good thing.

          The best societies to live in do not allow the tyranny of the majority. Minority rights and freedoms including not having some particular religious view rammed down everyone's throats at public schools seems a good thing.

          So if you lived in a majority muslim area and the parent voted to have muslim prayers 5 times a day and muslim religious instruction in a state school where you send your kids, how would you like it.

          I hope you can appreciate the benefit to all of keeping the establishment of any particular religion out of government and state schools.

          Religion is not banned. You can send your kids to a religious school, or home school, to sunday school, bible camp, it is just state schools are neutral territory.

          It's not religious persecution, its part of the cost of religious freedom provided by seperating church and state.

          Just because other countries have sharia law and are muslim theocracies or teach buddhism as fact does not mean this is the best approach and the the West should revert.
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        Aug 15 2012: Hi Obey.
        What you may be losing site off is that many see evolution, not as science, but as a very divisive humanist religion. I do not labour the point, as it upsets people, but if you try & view the problem from that worldview, you may see the problem.
        Science should be factual. DNA Cells etc, how they work, how to carry out experiments, how to treat disease; all good wholesome stuff. Comment as to how it all arrived is not necessary; because we cannot be sure of the truth of it. Simple really.

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          Aug 16 2012: I guess some theists see evolution as a cornerstone of materialism and a direct contradiction of literal biblical beliefs.

          It is convenient for them to characterise it as a humanist religion. Just like some say a lack of belief in god, atheism, is a religion.

          I guess the former is to undermine the status of a scientific theory and probably reflects having a biblical world view and seeing evolution as the work of the devil and being in some spiritual war.........

          The later is perhaps to try and level the playing field and maybe shift the burden of proof and equate religious faith with a position based on a lack of evidence for religious claims and everything we know pointing towards no interventionist gods.

          Are you saying science should not look at the past or try and understand it but only focus on the here and now? So because it gets harder the further in the past things are we should ignore them? Why not, after all we have all the answers in the bible. No need to look for evidence to verify them.

          Lets forget about dating rocks, investigating fossils, and looking through space into the distant past.

          Lets just assume all the species (alright kinds for you) have always existed more or less as they are and ignore that whales and dolphins bone structure etc indicates their ancestors were once land animals etc.

          Some belief if there is a god it would support us seeking the truth with an open mind.
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        Aug 16 2012: Hi Obey.
        I think we need to shed our religious hang-ups and concentrate on the science. Materialism is not the lack of belief in a god. Materialism is making matter itself a god. Matter + Time can accomplish anything. That is a belief.
        If we stick to evolution, we have lots of evidence for Micro, & none, that I am aware of, against. However we have no direct empirical evidence of Macro, & a lot against. Therefore it is belief & not strictly science. All the ID & Creationist crowd are asking for is for pure science to be taught. Anything that is conjecture should be labelled as such.
        It is very convenient to turn the debate towards perceived biblical foolishness. This is a straw man, it is truth & honesty in science that is at stake. We are being told that macro is a verifiable fact. When we ask for verification we are told we are too dumb to understand. Scientists who dare to voice doubt are sacked. This is not good!

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    Aug 13 2012: Hi Obey.
    Apparently our wise UK government has bowed to humanist pressure & banned the teaching of anything that would contradict evolution in the science class in all state schools, and the proposed new 'free' schools. This has got to be the first time a scientific theory has been protected like this, one has to wonder why?
    This could well backfire though as I know how I react to something that I have been banned from knowing. It will become the most popular subject in the playground.

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      Aug 14 2012: Hi Peter, I translate that to mean the UK government have decided to teach science and not creationism in schools.

      The religious position is like saying we shouldn't protect chemistry from alchemy, they should be taught side by side. Why should the periodic table and atomic theory be protected.

      If some decent science comes along that improves on evolution or Newtonian physics etc it should replace current thinking. Why pick on evolution? But there is no scientific controversy about evolution. Just a religious one.

      Creationism is not science.

      If were created as is science would support this.
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        Aug 14 2012: Hi Obey.
        Science should stand or fall on merit. Most of science is being questioned all the time; that is how it progresses. To artificially protect one theory from contradiction is a bad reflection on that theory, & bad for science in general. If this were to catch hold, science would be no more. All we would have is a list of doubtful " Facts".

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          Aug 14 2012: i agree. no issue if better science comes along.

          id is not a credible scientific proposition.

          protecting science from religious based non science is fine.

          i suggest creationists are attacking science deliberately and have a starting point that the bible is correct and ignore misinterpret etc.

          again if it was obvious we were created and the universe was 6000 years old that what scoence would find. the evidence for evolution is overwhelming if you start with an open mind.
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          Aug 14 2012: I think it is a real problem if you start by believing everything in the bible is a fact. To do this you have to assume the whole thing is to be taken literally, everything happened as stated, supernatural events, and also that the bible itself, every book cobbled to together, every word in the original language is exactly as god wanted it.

          Starting with the belief that the bible is inerrant means rejecting things like DNA as evidence of our genetic links with other animals, rejecting the scientific interpretation of the fossil record, rejecting the idea of adaptations leading gradually to distinct species etc etc

          At the same time you have to come up with elaborate explanations all unverifiable to fit the bits of science you agree with or are difficult to reject.

          Think of all the supernatural convolutions for a literal 6 day creation of the universe, of humans starting from adam and eve, of the great flood etc etc.

          Even the least bit scepticism and the whole literal inerrant belief system comes crashing down.

          The most amazing supernatural manifestations are described in the old testament, lost in antiquity unable to be verified. The claimed resurrection, healing, walking on water etc in the new testament were more human scaled and still unverifiable and not supported by any evidence.In fact they didn't bother to write any of it down at the time Jesus was alive.

          In my life there have been no stunning old testament style manifestations of any gods. In fact as human have started leaving better records there has been nothing of consequence that could not be natural processes or human driven in the last 100 years. Actually Yahweh has been pretty quiet for at least 1,000 years.

          So not only is god invisible and intangible, he doesn't do anything overtly unarguably supernatural at a time and in a manner it can be reasonably verified.

          Why believe the whole thing is inerrant? How many assumptions to accept this?
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          Aug 14 2012: Also Peter, I guess If aliens came to earth they would note our biological similarity with other primates.

          They would note that there are no modern human fossils alongside the dinosaurs.

          They would note millions of different supernatural beliefs.

          They would find no reasonable evidence of any gods.

          They would note our tendency to hallucinate, trance, cognitive bias, our tribalism, and other physical, intellectual, and perceptual failings.

          I note many theist scientists and laypeople have no issue accepting evolutionary theory is the best we have currently and that ID is scientific bunk. It is the absolute attachment to biblical literalism that is the problem I suggest.

          I don't get why you don't get that just because you want something taught that supports creationism, it doesn't have to pass a few scientific hurdles first. If it stood up it should be taught. Equally if I proposed something equally weak as ID it should not be taught as science even if I got a million signatures.
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        Aug 14 2012: Hi Obey.
        If ID is not science, then why should science fear it ? If evolution has empirical backing & ID doesn't then there's no contest; what's the problem ? One day we may have a better theory of gravity, but if we enshrine gravity in a no-tamper law, then we will be left with an obsolete theory. I just don't get it; unless of course evolution does have something to fear & true believers are closing ranks.

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          Aug 14 2012: Hi Peter,

          When I get a chance I'll provide some more thoughts on how ID fails as science and scientific hypothesis.

          ID is out there, it just doesn't cut it in a way that it deserves to be taught in science.

          If evolution was a more speculative hypothesis, if there were equal contenders then maybe the top contenders should be highlighted appropriately. But my understanding is that is not the situation.

          E.g. In regards to abiogenesis, currently there are no well established theories. Scientifically there are speculative ideas, we have some pointers but none of the these should be taught as a well establish theory in my view.

          Nothing is exactly enshrined or untouchable in science. However some theories work so well to explain the facts, testing etc that it takes more than what we have seen from ID to challenge them.

          There is no substantial scientific debate in regards to the core of evolution theory, and ID to date does not warrant mention in biology classes, just as any other weak untestable hypothesis with little scientific merit.

          What creationists are suggesting is because they disagree, because the best scientific theory undermines their literalist beliefs, is that their weak alternative view should be taught alongside the prevailing science.

          It is similar to teaching a systematic system of astrology alongside probability theory.

          All hypothesises should be looked at in professional science according to their merits. If they stack up they progress and perhaps should be part of school education.

          If they are currently crackpot science with all their key positions undermined they don't deserve to be taught in schools.

          The theory of evolution is there to be challenged. If someone came up with something substantial that turned biology upside down there might be a nobel prize in it.

          ID falls short completely.

          Are you proposing we should teach any crackpot hypothesis religious or other special interests want alongside current scientific understanding?
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          Aug 14 2012: Peter, good debate by the way. While I disagree, I'm getting a lot out of considering your views.
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        Aug 15 2012: Hi Obey.
        I enjoy the banter.
        I don't think the point is ID. Forget ID for a minute. The law would undermine ANY dissent from the core Darwinian position. This is unhealthy; every theory has it's day, some last, some don't, but we should never protect them from genuine criticism. This is the very thing that folks complain about religion. Even I , zealous & all that I am, am willing to consider that maybe the bible is wrong. Many hold to Darwinian evolution as a fact that can never be questioned. That sounds more like religion than science.
        ID merely points out that some structures are so complex that they must originate in a very smart mind. To me this is the elephant in the room, it's so obvious. Complex things could well have been made by a superior intelligence, one cannot argue with that. Statisticians have calculated that anything with less than 1 in 10^20 (or something) of happening; will never happen. So, on present Maths, most of the evolution scenario can be calculated as impossible. Abiogenesis is one of those, & yet we insist "It must have happened". No it didn't have to happen, & our own science says categorically that it's impossible. We may do it in the lab, but that is not free of intelligent design.

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      Aug 14 2012: Nothing wrong with protecting the most attacked part of science from religious fundamentalism
  • Aug 13 2012: No, it is not science. It is a reality and a belief. Revelation confirms and affirms design.

    No, it should not be taught in schools if the intent is to include in science. Yes, it should be taught in schools as part of philosophy courses and even included in debate classes.

    Science deals with discovery and use of material realities. Intelligent design is a theory mankind has come to accept for origin and justifying purposes for life.

    A lot more could be said. Let it rest there for awhile!
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    Aug 12 2012: Science embodies a way of testing and verifying results empirically. We cannot change the definition of science for political or instrumental reasons.

    I don't think there is a problem with teaching the creation myths/stories/folklore of different cultures as part of social studies curriculum, provided multiple cultures are represented and there is no message that they are actually scientifically accepted explanations for the origins of life or the world or the spots on the leopard.
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      Aug 14 2012: I agree Fritzie. Religions etc are part of our historical and cultural heritage and diversity. Also important in current day politics and society and law etc
      The different attempts to explain life the universe and everything would add value to education in my view also.
      I guess some religious folks wouldn't like their religious beliefs lumped in with all the others and viewed from a secular perspective. Also a danger of being hijacked to reinforce this is god X's country, or this is the land god gave us etc.

      With my daughter when she asks about this stuff, I give my views and why and highlight other people have other views including faith based one and that there are some things we don't know for sure and that it is up to her to decide what makes sense for her. Some sort of introduction or framing that is not completely dismissive of religious beliefs and their importance to people, but that does look at the equally and objectively is fine by me.
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    Aug 12 2012: Second.