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Is it reasonable to teach Intelligent Design in physics or statistic classes to seniors in high school?

The purpose of permitting ID to be taught to seniors should be to attempt to find a well-reasoned explanation for intelligent life. What is necessary to permit ID to be discussed “legally”(separating church and state) in the class room is to divorce ID from any religious affiliation e.g. the Bible.

For our universe to originate by chance is about on a par with winning the Power Ball lottery a 1000 times in a row without ever buying a losing ticket! When you factor in all the conditions necessary for intelligent life to exist, it appears the universe is “fine-tuned” to support life e.g. if the force of gravity is off by one part in 10^36 in the range of all forces (the most powerful is the strong force), life does not exist. If the mass of a proton is off a tiny amount only blue giant stars can form; they can't support life.

The scientific explanation for our universe is that there are an infinite number of universes and this one originated by chance. Since we cannot observe, measure or replicate extra universes is this any more reasonable than ID?

Humanity is a pioneer in this universe; after the “Big Bang” 13.8 billion years ago, it takes a first generation star to explode to make heavy elements and a second generation star like our sun to corral those elements to support life on a planet. It takes 3.8 billion years to get from life to intelligent life.

We will be billions of years more evolved than civilizations growing up around third generation stars. By the time our sun becomes a red giant, we can take the moon, Mercury, Mars and Venus (for raw materials) and go into orbit around Jupiter; we will then extract hygrogen from Jupiter for fusion energy that will serve us until the universe ends.

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    Jun 10 2013: "Reasonable"? Is it reasonable to teach, as undisputed, scientifically confirmed fact that all life on earth is the result of random selection of beneficial mutations over eons of time from a common ancestor which had no knowable beginning or cause? Is it reasonable to teach as undisputed, scientifically confirmed fact that the entire Universe came into existence when, billions of years ago, when nothing existed, Nothing exploded for no knowable reason or cause and resulted in Everything coming into existence? Compared to those curricula would it be "reasonable" to teach that the Universe is the result of a sentient mind causing physical reality? Sure it would be reasonable. In fact it is most unreasonable to make it illegal to even mention the idea.
    • Jun 10 2013: The Discovery Institute is the leading organization promoting the consideration of ID, but what they say is instructive, "As a matter of public policy, the Discovery Institute OPPOSES any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education."

      According to Monton, the go on to say, "does not support theocracy".
    • Jun 10 2013: Hi edward my friend.

      We don't teach "as undisputed, scientifically confirmed fact that all life on earth is the result of random selection of beneficial mutations over eons of time from a common ancestor." We teach that natural selection over random mutations is one mechanism proposed for evolution, not that it is the one and only way in which things have evolved. We teach that a universal common ancestor is a current conclusion from the available data. Those two things, natural selection and universal common ancestry, are separate things, by the way. One is a mechanism for evolution, the other a current conclusion from data about evolution.

      We don't teach "as undisputed, scientifically confirmed fact that the entire Universe came into existence when, billions of years ago, when nothing existed, Nothing exploded for no knowable reason or cause and resulted in Everything coming into existence." Actually we teach that it is proposed, based on this and that pieces of data, that the universe originated, probably from a very small singularity, that once proposed people found this and that other clues confirming that the universe was truly very small and hot. The age of the universe is another matter. It is calculated from other pieces of data, not the same as those leading to the big bang. Though I would think that many aspect of both the age and the big bang might be quite well supported by the data.

      We don't mention religious beliefs. They are based on nothing but faith, and thus have no place in a scientific curriculum. Would you truly like it if I talked about religions in a science class to kids in elementary, middle and high school?
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        Jun 11 2013: A kid coming out of an American public secondary school has been inculcated, in the classroom, with an exclusive view of the Universe and life. BB Physics and Evolution Biology are the only explanations ever heard coming from a teacher's mouth, or read from a school board approved textbook. Ask any HS graduate what they learned about where the Universe and life came from. It's all they are allowed to hear in the classroom. This post is asking if it is reasonable to censor any other possible explanation. We are not driven by reason now, but by a systematic denial of the very possibility of the Universe and life being the creation of a mind. Censoring such a concept is not reasonable. I'm certain this horse is dead, Entropy. Let's put the whips away. Keep learning my friend!
        • Jun 11 2013: I'm worried more that the average high schooler lacks basic writing skills, a sound grasp of the English language, the capacity to make change without consulting a computer, and, the fact that social media has not led to greater socialization, just more bullying, etc. Is having 200 friends on face book any substitute for having two or three close friends?

          Maybe we should switch to more on line classes and allow the brick and mortar schools to gradually become extinct i.e. truly home schooling will experience a rebirth once parents begin to realize how much time is spent not learning in the class room.
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    • Jun 9 2013: But the problem is not about prejudices from the start. We came all this way after eons of learning. The big bang is not a prejudice, it's a scientific proposal, while creationism and it's subset ID are backwards superstition. Treating backwards superstition as if it was "equal" to a scientific proposal is unfair to our history as humanity and to the eons of work involved in developing the scientific method for learning about the universe.
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          Jun 10 2013: ID can not be tested, a central part for obtaining truth. It could be true, but so could anything.
    • Jun 9 2013: Nope, backward superstitions are backward superstitions. I would not consider that santa will bring me presents, and that does not mean that I am "prejudiced." I just have learned my lessons. We humanity should learn our lessons and grow up too. There is no way in which backward superstitions, based all on anthropomorphizing natural phenomena and our story-telling imaginations (as beautiful and poetic as they can be), could be true. It's not about prejudices, it's about putting things in their proper perspective. Those backward superstitions have my full respect as cultural phenomena, as monuments to human imagination, but I shall never grant purely imaginary beings the stature of a scientific finding. Not now, not ever. I know that scientific theories get revisited, corrected, and improved. I did not say that they could not be wrong, but their foundations are very different to those of gods and Olympus and angry volcanoes who demand virgins going into their fiery bellies.

      Also:
      http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm
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          Jun 10 2013: If you're going to teach religion the big bang theory has no place there and if you're going to teach science religion should have no place there. (ID is a pseudoscience, a religion masked as science.)
    • Jun 10 2013: "That you as a person don't accept ID and creationism as fair counterparts to Big Bang, doesn't make it unfair."

      Of course not, and that was not my basis. My basis is that the merely imaginary is not at the same level as scientific work. My basis is that we should grow up already and boldly say what has to be said: fantasies are fantasies are fantasies. Leave them next to other fantasies, talk about them in the proper setting for fantasies.

      "You as a fierce believer of the truth of the big bang theory should be glad if teachers want to compare them to alternative theories or religions"

      First I wonder what part(s) of my comment could be taken to mean that I am a firm believer in the big bang theory. I can't be, since I have little knowledge about it. I know some of the scientific data leading to the idea of the big bang, but that's about it. Therefore I neither believe it, nor disbelieve it, let alone "firmly." I just accept that it is a scientific model based on scientific data. What I don't accept is that scientific models are comparable to backwards superstitions.

      But I think that now I got your point. Teaching the way you suggest in a religious setting is up to the religious setting. I wouldn't do so in public school though. It is still unfair to humanity to pretend that background superstitions are equal to scientific advances.
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    Jun 24 2013: I will gladly teach ID to my senior physics classes when someone shows me an experimental result that supports it as a theory.
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      Jun 24 2013: Peter,
      Use the same experimental results that support the theory that there was a ball of matter? that exploded into what is now our universe.
      What a minute, there are no experimental results, just mathematical calculations.
      So, if we were to recalculate the origination of the universe factoring in a positive value for a plan or direction or algorithm or or or giving raise to the known universe, would that work for you?
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        Jun 25 2013: Hubble
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          Jun 25 2013: if you are speaking of the telescope, that only peers into what happened after the big bang and provided verification of the math. it didn't show the little chunk of whatever before it exploded or how it got there.
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        Jun 25 2013: Not the telescope Mike the man for whom it is named. He made the measurements before the theory existed. The theory came about to explain existing observations. Then the maths was deciphered to see if the physics theory would agree with the observed phenemenon. If you have a look you will find that the science "establishment" faught agianst the whole idea for many years.
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          Jun 25 2013: OK, The man. Same analysis. His observations created or proved the math. OK. But, there still has not be an observation of the little chunk etc.
          What am I trying to say. We have no real idea of the composition of that chunk of stuff. Was it pure energy or my favorite... matter squished so hard together that there was no space between the protons or electrons or neither.

          We don't really know how it got there or if it included some script how it was to go after it blew up or did it really blow up or just maybe ooze out. All we know for sure is that after 14 B years we are part of an expansive universe of which 25% is matter and the rest is in the dark... There are some forces that we can barely explain and some that are also in the dark. The best we got is some measurements of celestial movement with which we were able to make some math calculations to generate some theories. Can't ask for anything more positive then that!
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        Jun 26 2013: We know it wasn't protons and electrons etc as we already have neutron stars that are made of protons and electrons squished together and they're not as dense as whatever is in a Black Hole. If you squash neutrons then you are left with a mass of quarks that takes up much less space as the three individual quarks that make up a neutron are many times smaller (and lighter) than the neutron. There are experimental results from CERN that show this if you want to look.
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    Jun 19 2013: Fine-tuning of the universe is a jaded subject.

    Think of it. There are billions of men and women in the world. What is the probability of your specific father meeting your specific mother? What is the probability that this event would have resulted in your birth and not the birth of any of the 7 billion other people? Moreover, what is the probability of this event happening in your hometown out of all possible places? Mind-boggling, isn't it? Yet, there you are, as sure as the sunrise. What can we make out of this fact? Not much, really. But we can enjoy a conversation about all these perplexities of life.

    Whatever the chances of winning a lottery might be, it is a certainty that someone will win it if it's played long enough and enough people participate. Do you know of a single lottery played for any reasonable period of time which nobody has ever won? And this remarkable event happens over and over and over with remarkable certainty. The probability of life on any given piece of rock is almost zero. But if you consider the number of rocks in the universe and consider that this lottery is played for 13.8 bln years, the probability of winning turns into a certainty.

    When event is happening, the possible alternatives are irrelevant. It's best to focus on "what is" rather than on "what might be" or "what ought to be".
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    Jun 10 2013: When Einstein came up with his special theory of relativity, it took a long time before anyone accepted it. When he tried to incorporate Gravity into his theory (General Theory of Relativity), it took a long time before it could be proven and, therefore, accepted by the Scientific community.

    Einstein did not write this Theory for the minds of general people. Most if not all would never understand it. He wrote it specifically for the Scientific community. He knew, if he could convince them, than most of the general population would accept it and teach it in schools.

    ID asserts itself as a scientific theory but has not offered any evidence that it is a plausible, scientific theory. It is religion, pure and simple. It is not science.

    I don't want my grand-kids learning anything, declared to be Science, that is not scientifically proven. They can get plenty of Imaginary probability at the movies or on Youtube.

    Let's say we accept the idea that most mechanisms in the biological world have a strong sense of intelligent design.

    What would be the next offering from ID as a scientific field of study?

    It would be to study these mechanisms and understand how they work

    We are already doing this. ID does not offer any avenues of pursuing knowledge that are not already supplied by the scientific method. It offers no change to these methods. It can't stand alone on it's own merits as a scientific theory that should be pursued in a manner that is not already in force and being taught in schools.


    It's only food for thought, not food for truth.

    All ID really does is split the Religious world apart. On one hand, God is a super intelligent alien and less of a God as taught in Religious Organizations. It Diminishes God as a supernatural being.

    It doesn't hurt the Scientific world at all. Because science creates the opportunities to become like God by altering or coming close to creating things we see in the Universe, God is only a bit smarter than we are.
  • Jun 9 2013: Richard,

    It would seem that you have been reading the wrong literature. In any event, the probability that we would be here is 1, since we are already here. Now, I know that you are talking about prior probabilities. However, I would have to ask what is the foundation for such calculations. It seems like on the one hand, you accept the idea that the constants, the values of some main forces known to physics, could have been different, and therefore, unfriendly to life and unfriendly to intelligent life. Why would you accept such idea, that constants could have been almost anything else, yet deny the idea of multiverses? We cannot observe, measure of replicate universes with different constants. We only have what we have. So, why should we accept the constants being "fine tuned," but reject the multiverses? Why would we apply a different standard to each idea? Just so that you can claim that our universe is very unlikely? Furthermore, if our universe was very unlikely it would follow that more likely universes would have to exist, wouldn't it?

    There's more to say about the assumptions behind those probabilities, for example, whether other combinations of constants would work. But, since the argument for fine tuning fails from the start, I see no reason to visit them. I think that the main problem is philosophical: one of making too many unwarranted assumptions.

    In order to teach anything in science classes, such a thing has to go through what everything in science goes: scientific validation. ID-ers try to get their disguised religion taught via laws, which betrays their actual intent: to teach creationism instead of science in public schools. Their scientific and philosophical failures are exemplified in the "fine tuning" and other probabilities games that they play. Check the ID arguments carefully and you might soon learn to notice their unwarranted assumptions and fallacious thinking.
    • Jun 10 2013: As far as "every thing in science goes (through): scientific validation." When I was in high school I was taught, "the ontology recapitulates the phylogeny"; it is my understanding now that this is false. I was also told that the moon might have come out of the Pacific Ocean---now we have plate tectonics and know that this was a specious idea---but given serious consideration by top scientists.

      Maybe ID should not be taught in schools but be left to philosophy classes in college; as other readers point out students in physics classes should be taught physics. But which physics? Should we only teach Newtonian mechanics which we know approximates the truth because it breaks down when relativistic considerations come into play? One of my sayings is that the approximation of the truth is a lie, yet we teach Newtonian mechanics in high school with nary a reference to relativity. Do physics students have an accurate understanding of gravity in high school?

      My personal preference is that there may have been a massive number of universes that just bounced i.e. underwent the Big Crunch and underwent another big bang until this universe, which could support life, emerged. Now that it supports life, life will keep it open for an eternity. Is "dark energy" the "force"? :) If it is may the force be with you!

      The most important finding in astrophysics in the future, in my opinion, will be conclusive proof that the Big Bang had "structure" i.e. that something existed before the Big Bang. In other words I predict in our lifetime that we will see clear evidence of a bounce, and, with it, the recognition that if one bounce occurred, others would be likely. Then it just becomes a mindless throwing of the dice before a universe appears that can support life. Then the question becomes, "Who throws the dice?"
      • Jun 10 2013: I'm sorry but I doubt that you were taught that "ontology recapitulates phylogeny," since that did not make it into the textbooks, let alone with such absolutism. I was taught that some scientists had proposed that the moon might have come from a collision of some asteroid with our planet, not that the moon came from the pacific ocean. I was taught that the idea that it came from the pacific ocean was en vogue for a time long ago but that it was discredited, but that it inspired the idea that maybe that collision, and that such collision was the most supported hypothesis. What does plate tectonics have to do with the moon? Are you saying that plate tectonics is false? If so you are quite misinformed.

        But let us suppose that you were taught such things. Does that mean that we have to teach fallacious hypotheses like ID, or that we should make sure that what goes in is consistent with scientific validation?

        In physics we teach the state of affairs in theories and such. I don't know where you get your information, but I have taught science at the high-school level, and we don;t teach things as final truths. Students want to hear about the big questions, and we teach them what is best supported by the data, but we don't tell them that such are all final words on the matters. That would be as much a disservice to scientific education as teaching such fallacies as ID.

        Your personal preference might be such multiverses with multi-chunches, but such idea would have to be presented as mostly speculative. Anyway, we digress.

        I hoped that we would find evidence that the universe will bounce back, but it seems like the latest news is that this expansion is going to go forever. But whatever structure that could be found. I see no reason to think that someone is throwing any dice.
        • Jun 10 2013: I most certainly was exposed to that phrase in biology class in 1966---maybe my biology teacher just wasn't up-to-date with the refutation. You suggest I read the "wrong literature", I suggest you read books like that by Monton; you seem to read only literature in opposition to ID. I dislike the whole concept of religion and would never consider my willingness to consider the possibility of ID as religious dogma.

          ID specialists are very inventive; they have invented a whole new journal where the authors undergo "peer review", so this is a hallowed "peer-review" journal. Should I accept what they write because it is a peer-review journal? Have you read any of the their papers?

          You say "...fallacies as ID." What ID devotees want is that ID be presented as what it really is---a circumstantial evidence model awaiting validation through the standard scientific method. I reserve judgement until all the data is in. One key element of ID is irreducible parts; my gut tells me this is not a valid argument. However, when a scientist with the stature of Crick goes on the record calling the origin of life, "almost a miracle", that is hardly a refutation of ID.

          Scientists who appeal to what I call the "God of Chance" offer only speculation about how the Big Bang occurred. As you must know the physics breaks down once you get to what? About 1x10 to the -45 seconds. Depending on whose math you believe black holes with their singularity are real; others argue that the math is wrong and that with the right math, you get a collapse to a neutron star.

          Do you think we should expose students to black holes, string theory, the multiverse, extra dimensions, the false vacuum, etc.?
      • Jun 10 2013: Hi Richard,

        Check my comments. I make my own points. I don't quote from any books against ID. I have read what the IDers present in their blogs and videos. I have found that most of their stuff is repackaged arguments against science from classic creationist propaganda. They use the very same tactics. My opinions and judgements come from my own background in the sciences, and from interacting with IDers and their writings themselves.

        I know that the IDers are very "inventive." I have read their "peer-reviewed" articles and when they don't suck they are meaningless. Should you accept what they write? Read them and make your own mind. Make sure you also read actual scientific papers.

        I truly don't care one bit if IDers want to present ID as "a circumstantial evidence model awaiting validation through the standard scientific method." They have nothing going for it but fallacious thinking combined with scientific illiteracy.

        How many times should I ask you to check what Crick actually said in context?

        There's no god-of-chance. That's creationist parlance all-in-all. It is based on a false dichotomy perpetuated by creationists. Why do you think that it is either pure chance or gods? Why can't nature have properties that make it work the way it works just because that's how it works? Gravitation is not chance, magnetic fields are not chance, et cetera. yes. several processes involve some random processes, but such processes are not the whole thing. Scientists don't think that everything is just chance.

        Do you really think that current and still in-the-works scientific stuff, like string theory and multiverses, are at the same level as ID? I repeat, you should read from reputable scientific sources. IDers have misinformed you enough.
  • Jun 9 2013: It seems to me that this whole discussion is ignoring the elephant in the room.

    There are limits to human knowledge.

    Suppose, whenever this subject is raised in school, we get extremely intellectually honest, and just say that no one knows how the universe began, and there is absolutely zero evidence regarding what might have occurred prior to the existence of this universe. In all probability, we will never be able to empirically confirm any hypothesis for the origin of this universe. Every hypothesis for the origin of this universe is essentially just speculation about the unknowable.

    Even if science finds a way to initiate new universes, that would not necessarily confirm that this universe was initiated in the same manner.
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    Jun 28 2013: what is the probability of a being existing that can create universes.

    what is the probability it would create a universe exactly like this.

    its impossible to calculate.

    id is one big fallacious argument from ignorance. it should only be used as an example of faultu logic in philosophy or religious studies of how not to thibk and the flaws of religious thinking.
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    Jun 24 2013: To me it's not really a reasonability question. Rather it's an aesthetics question.
    Everette Hill's position in this debate is interesting to me but I stand on a different hill looking at her, if she doesn't mind the pun :)
    Einstein said : Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. To me the idea that the Universe got 'help' during creation or that it is an intelligent design with a 'purpose' seems to me simpler than the simple. If I have to wonder and imagine when something cannot be explained with certainty, the idea of ID (whether or not a veiled creationist story) is just not appealing to me. Rather that it all emerged from nothing without any so called intelligent intervention leaves more space in my imagination to befilled with rational explantion in future, if not now.
    The reasonability of teaching issues particularly in light of US laws etc. are too local for a foreigner like me.
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      Jun 24 2013: I understand you are leaving space in your imagination for a more rational future explanation about the origin of the universe. That's a little confusing, wouldn't be more rational to imagine all explanations?

      Further, I am not sure that the Intelligent Design is all that simpler then simple. If there was ID, then the who, when, what, why and where issues come into play. No sir. Not simpler at all.. At least not for me.
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        Jun 25 2013: It is certainly confusing Mike because you are looking for reason in imagining things where I am imagining a possible reason.

        Actually the possibility that partcles emerging out of nothing, then condensing to form elements and the elements congealing to form living cells and then living cells making out few ounces of grey matter in human head and that grey matter developing a mind and that mind reflecting back on a possible purpose of it all is far more interesting to me. Someone intelligent doing it for purpose is a spoiler. :)
        I respect your idea of simplicity. Mine is different.
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    Jun 12 2013: Your question boils down to CAN ID BE TAUGHT. The answer is yes: Intelligent design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court's Edwards v. Aguillard decision, which barred the teaching of "Creation Science" in public schools on the grounds of breaching the separation of church and state.

    However, it really is still a rose by any other name. The battle will aways be there from science purists and athiests of any and all degrees. There have been religious and scientific groups that are playing well together .... and some that do not and never will play nice.

    We could change names ... open minds .... ignore ..... play nice ... etc .. However, egos would never allow that to occur. There must be a fight to prove that WE are right and THEY are wrong. To bad.

    Bob.
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      Jun 12 2013: That is one way of looking at Intelligent Design. Another interpretation could be that Theologian wanted to address 'creationism' in their spectrum and keep it out of the science arguments of how the universe came to be.
      Intelligent design can be determined under scientific principals. It could be determined if there was or was't.
      For example. Some studies have shown the rate of motion of the expanding universe is relatively constant.
      That was not an expected finding. Then there is dark matter. Matter without mass? Why? Again, not an expected result. If they can find out about it, determine what it effect in the evolution of the universe. Was it there by accident or was it there to effect something like the constant rate of motion of the known mass of the universe. Some have theorized that there was a previous universe that collapsed and the mass of that universe exploded into this one. Did those folks facing the inevitable put all the info into the mix so our universe had what it needed to get us started? Was that the intelligent design?
      I have no idea about any of this stuff. Because there is so many unanswered questions, can we categorically deny any alternative?
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        Jun 12 2013: When you put it like that, evolution and ID have possibilities of both being right. The prior existence could have designed a universe that does evolve. All possibilites, but evolution is still very valid.
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          Jun 13 2013: I haven't made myself clear. It's not evolution and ID. It's just evolution... not the Darwinian kind, but the universe coming into being kind. Our best guess is that there was a big bang and the universe started to form until it is what it is today. Did it just happen? Or where there some plans involved which is the ID position.
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        Jun 14 2013: Mike you seem to be unaware that ID has been largely debunked where it is testable.

        Dark matter, expanding universe, is following the evidence as per science.

        Where is the evidence for a designer? Either the designer itself or evidence of its handy work?

        Saying life and the universe is complex is not evidence.
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          Jun 14 2013: Hi Obey,
          And I'll make the argument that because the universe is expanding at a mathematically precise rate is it the sign of an intelligent designer. Otherwise, if it was just accidental the math would be chaotic if at all discernible.
          The universe and life maybe complex but it follows very define mathematical formula.
          We know that almost everything we've learned seems to follow math. Astrophysicists
          use formulas to predict events and they happen. Strange!
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        Jun 15 2013: Math/Physics is a tool to model reality or abstract concepts. To count, measure or calculate numerically.

        We can use math to for physical calculations such as how long it takes for an object to hit the ground when dropped from a certain height. And it is repeatable.

        The fact that the laws of nature are not changing all the time is not evidence of a designer. What you suggest it simply an argument from ignorance.

        Why would a universe without the hand of a designer be in constant flux? Do you know of other universes where this is the case?

        Why is matter made from atoms. Why are atoms the way they are. Why is gravity the strength it is. Why is there gravity. If we don't know we don't know. Maybe we will never know.

        Not understanding why something is the way it is is not an reason to plug in a supernatural god.

        This is just god of the gaps all over.

        And it really explains nothing. How did god make the universe the way it is and why. You are just guessing. And why is the universe creating god the way it is. How did the universe creating god come into immaterial existence (oxymoron) and why is it the way it is and not changing all the time. God must have a designer right or it would be chaos ?

        I can do Newtons calculations in my sleep. Not any stranger than there being a universe in the first place.
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      Jun 12 2013: Also from the perspective of separation of church in state.

      ID is just a way to sneak in an unjustified alternative compatible with certain religious beliefs.

      They fear that science undermines some aspects of there beliefs, because it does, because the evidence does. It doesn't mean a committee of other dimensional beings did not make everything look 13 billion years old and evolved, or that there are 12 of them standing beside me. But overall it requires a great deal of supernatural speculation, or accepting a theistic or deistic belief based on a naturalistic interpretation of the evidence. Like the Catholics and Anglicans accept much of science these days they just belief in lots of unverifiable stuff as well.
      • Jun 12 2013: The major problem with permitting ID to be taught in school is the "slippery slope" problem. As my dad has said, "You don't know how to use a tool unless you know at least three ways to abuse it." I am sure that religious zealots will undoubtedly try to slip in references to the Bible either intentionally or unintentionally and we will be right back to the teaching of religion in school.

        Maybe ID should be left to college students.
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    Jun 11 2013: # E. Driven
    So, if I understand your post, scientist are looking at the universe looking for patterns, etc. Signs of how the universe got made.
    Hmmm! isn't that what I have been saying all along?
    We can all except that the universe is out there. How did it do that. Well, there was this here explosive or a very rapid expansion of gases and stuff flew all over forming galaxies, nebulas, stars of various sizes, shapes and whatever, etc. etc.
    So, was it a blind shot... the 12 monkeys with computers typing shakespeare or is it the result of God as identified in the five books of Moses.
    I don't know and neither does anyone else. At least, I don't think anyone knows for sure.
    As far as a guess, I lean more toward Moses then the monkeys.
    Cosmologists should be looking for patterns, and everything else to understand how it all came about.
    That's science.
    As far as guessing goes, I'll acknowledge the monkeys if you could see your way to at least a 1 % chance that there might have been, not a major input, some small inclining of Intelligent Design.

    PS I still think it would be a fun exercise for a school... If a class is too much, at least put it out as a subject for the debate club.
    • Jun 12 2013: "Hmmm! isn't that what I have been saying all along?"

      Nope. You keep insisting that if it's nor random it is intelligences. I keep saying that such is a false dichotomy. That I see no reason why such things as gravitation could not be completely natural even though it is not mere randomness. There's absolutely no reason to think that because something is not random it is therefore due to plans and intelligence. Not one.

      You introduce a worse false dichotomy:

      "12 monkeys with computers typing shakespeare or is it the result of God as identified in the five books of Moses."

      Man, so you truly think that the only gods to consider under your first false dichotomy is some god from the abrahamic religions? There's many imaginary beings in human culture Mike. The biblical ones are just a few compared to every gods ever imagined, and not truly among the best ones to imagine.

      I repeat, it's not 12 monkeys. It's whatever way in which nature works. If it has both random processes and then processes that are not random, like gravitation and magnetism, for example, then that's all we can say. Inferring gods out of patterns that clearly say "this is the way things work" is far from confirming intelligences. The intelligence that you infer from patterns is no different from old tribes thinking that volcanoes were angry gods. Pure and imaginary anthropomorphism.

      The only way I could come close to 1% that intelligence might have been involved is if we found evidence for such a thing. For as long as there's nothing but fallacious thinking akin to what those old tribes did, I remain out of it.
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        Jun 12 2013: You had me properly chastised until you spoke.of nature with random processes and not random processes gravity and electromagnetism. So, forget Intelligent design. It's nature. You know the old adage, 'you can't fool mother nature.'
        Gravity et. el. are complex forces that extend across the universe. So, you would have to agree that nature is a sentient being to have created these processes.
        As I see it our lack of understanding is semantics not dichotomy.

        I have always said that I don't know the answer to how the universe came to be.
        I have a problem to believe that is was just a random set of circumstances that came together at just the right time, in just the right way to create all that is the known universe and all the unknown.
        People who are the experts in Creationism tell us that it is a theological matter and not a scientific explanation of the universe. So, it's not creationism and not just one big accident (I think).
        What I have always said that the answer is not 0 and it's not 100, it's in 1 through 99.
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          Jun 12 2013: "When you add everything in the universe up, you get 0" -Michio Kaku

          We can have positives be cancelled out by negative forces such as dark energy, antimatter, and gravity. So why exactly would a god create nothing from nothing?
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          Jun 12 2013: Hi Mike, I also don't know how it got started and why the foundational things are the way they are. Or even why water is a polar molecule so we get snowflakes.

          Why in some senses is a difficult one.

          I guess what science is pointing to is what we see now didn't happen overnight and the universe is complex.Everything we understand really well in nature doesn't seem to need agency.

          Once there was stuff and gravity, I don't find it that difficult to conceptualise the first generation of stars creating heavier elements that formed planets etc etc.

          When you just happen to be the one born with some disease or struck by lighting, assigning meaning to it is so human, but maybe there is no intent. Stuff happens.

          A lot that happens in nature is not planned. Why are these particular water molecules in this cup of water. The probability of this particular combination of water molecules being here is minuscule. Yet here they are.

          I guess with the stuff we don't kno or theists ignore or refute you can inject a god or any number of supernatural explanations. Maybe the universe was created by ghosts from a previous big bang. There is just as much evidence for this as there is that yaweh or allah or bob (a relatively unknown godling) or the dragons of creation did it.

          so theists can believe what they like. I guess the point is there is little reason to believe if the truth matters to you.

          Our incredulity at the universe, our ignorance, our inability to comprehend the quantum and cosmic, our hyperactive agency detection is also not evidence or a good reason to believe in gods and goddesses, often defined in ways that may be impossible to exist, or know, or verify.

          Not being able to disprove that there is an invisible universe creating dragon in my kitchen is not a good reason to believe.

          Actually most theists who lived must be wrong, as there are so many mutually exclusive god concepts. Also the answer may be there are no gods. Everything is pretty pointing to this,
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    Jun 11 2013: Richard Moody Jr. stated: "While somewhat out of place in this forum, I do suggest as you do that any intelligence, no matter how advanced, can "know" everything. What follows is that if knowledge is power such an entity cannot be all powerful.

    Richard, what if, what we perceive as complex, becomes in the knowing, as a simple thing? What took Issac Newton a long time to figure out is taught in one class of Physics. All knowledge builds upon other knowledge, until we see clearly the lesson. If a whole Universe can resolve from the creation of a single hydrogen atom, how complicated is the act of creating the atom in the first place? We don't know yet. But, I don't think it is beyond our reckoning

    I think that knowledge can be power, if there exists a path where thought, which has no weight and occupies no space, can have an impact on matter, space-time, and energy.

    Perhaps, one day, we will be able to project our thoughts to one another. After that it should be a small leap to pushing things around with our minds. We will need no prosthetic devices to develop our thoughts in reality.

    Maybe we won't need reality any more.
    • Jun 11 2013: As I approach senility it is scary to me the mixing of reality and fantasy; been there done that. With the advances made in special effects we could duplicate with absolute fidelity the visions of prophets. Consider The Revelation of Saint John the Devine. Maybe John's visions were caused by millions of viewers watching a movie of John's visions!

      One test I've never heard tried is to have an identical twin on the ground and one in space; then have them shown different cards used as a standard test of ESP to see if: A)They correctly identify the same card, & B)Whether it is simultaneous or whether there is a time delay.

      It is an interesting prospect to believe we will communicate with telepathy and have telekinetic powers in the future.
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        Jun 12 2013: Gee Richard. I think I lost you somewhere.

        Such things as you talk about are far in the future. We don't have such activity taking place around here that I can see or know about.

        I'm not talking about Hollywood special effects in movies or science fiction books. Maybe this stuff is a bit over your head. I should probably quit commenting on this subject. I don't want any to think I'm some kind of head wrangler or twisting them up to the point of senility.
        If your interested in some real heady stuff, have you read "Chariot's of the Gods", or the book of Daniel?

        You don't smoke pot do you?
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    Jun 10 2013: Just curious , what is the difference between , creationism (as described by religion ) vs ID ?
    Why ID need to attached with Physics or Statistics? Why not with Biology or say Philosophy ?
    • Jun 10 2013: The difference is that the overwhelming majority of scientists reject Creationism; some like me reject the religious (usually the Biblical version) view of ID and favor one that is testable, and, if successful, would stand apart from Creationism.

      Your suggestion that ID would more appropriate for biology classes or philosophy classes is a good suggestion.

      Right now I see only circumstantial arguments in favor of ID, not scientific evidence; what Monton provided was a test of ID that many scientists would agree was a valid test of ID. Until or unless ID provides testable predictions, unambiguous data in support of ID, etc., it does not constitute science.

      What Ed Long suggests is that we should entertain many divergent views that were discredited. Should we teach our students how science has been constructed? I present in an article in press called, "Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Science" a dozen or more instances where scientists have corrupted/violated the scientific method. Should we teach that science is created by humans and that they have a variety of motives many of them not particularly noble?
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        Jun 10 2013: Richard, to assume the ignobility of man will continue forever is a far reaching leap of faith.

        We may overcome our selfishness and come together in a form of scientific unity that would rival the accommodations in heaven itself. Who among us can predict the future?
        • Jun 10 2013: Interesting about predicting the future. We need only consider the loss of civility over the past 40 years (roughly coinciding with the computer revolution) to suggest, if anything, we are becoming far less noble. Consider the fact that we have to invent a phrase to describe the systemic loss of civility on the internet, flaming, to describe an obnoxious behavior, or the recognition that bullying has been raised to an art form on the internet.

          From this morass of lost civility, "we may overcome our selfishness and come together in a form of scientific unity that would rival the accommodations in heaven itself." The data suggests otherwise.
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        Jun 14 2013: Hi Richard
        Thanks for your thoughts.
        I have no disagreement about encouraging divergent views , ideas, thought unless it is threat for others. In the education system of my country students has to study Religion as one of their subject up to 10th standard. Up to 8th standard it's mandatory for all students. So coming from that background inclusion of ID does not sound too crazy for me :)

        However I am just giving an example what happens when kids (I know your suggestion is not for kids) when they study science & religion side by side in school. My younger son who is studying 2nd standard , asked me few days back "whether Adam , was modern person like us or he was someone like prehistoric human being living in jungle "? It was real difficult question for me , as I didn't want influence his thinking process with my thought process too much.

        Yes, I agree there are scientists who manipulated scientific methods to establish their hypothesis or theories....interestingly science has got that beauty of catching them up and discarding them due to their dishonesty.
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      Jun 10 2013: Hi Salim.
      Creationists take the bible as the Word of God. As such it is infallible & can be trusted as a reference book for science.

      ID proponents do not reference the bible at all. Their view is that the natural world is entirely too complex to have come about by the presently popular chance & natural selection. For instance, the coding in DNA is so complex that a 'mind' is the only possible source.

      Of course, if the ID guys are right, then we have to hunt around for the source of the intelligence. This has been deemed 'religious'; but is beyond the remit of the current ID movement.

      :-)
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        Jun 10 2013: "...the coding in DNA is so complex that a 'mind' is the only possible source." ~ Peter Law

        Peter, All that is in the Universe can be attributed to the creation of a single atom, hydrogen. It requires one other attribute, gravity. Gravity is inherent in the atom Hydrogen so it clumps together, forms a sun. The conversion of hydrogen takes place due the combination of hydrogen, held tightly together with gravity.

        Form this simple interaction, all the elements of the Universe are created. How these elements associate with one another, according to the separate attributes, is a simple matter of chemistry, which is well within the grasp of the mind of humans.

        It's really not that complicated. It becoming more apparent within the confines of science that RNA was the first bio-molecular configuration that can easily be put together by both energy and the elements under the right environmental conditions. It's really not that complicated. Water, a supposed creation of God, is easily chemically created. Light (energy), also considered a God creation is produce by modem men in huge amounts.

        It appears that everything attributed to the creation skills of God, can and are being created by Humans. Does this imply that human beings are capable of possessing the same creative skills as a God? Does God have to be omnipotent and all powerful? Is it possible that we can share Godlike power alongside a God of creation one day?

        Is it possible, under the light of ID that God is nothing more than an alien species, perhaps similar to Humans and possesses a super science which enables these/this being to produce the power of creation, one where a simple hydrogen atom can be created our of still smaller particles we know little about, in sufficient quantities to create a whole Universe?

        Considering the Hydrogen atom, how the Universe came to be is not a complex question, nor how chemicals interact with one another. It's a question of who created and how, the first atom.
        • Jun 10 2013: One of my fantasies is that humanity could evolve for a billion years. What could such a civilization do? Could it reach backwards in time and tweak the starting conditions of a universe that could support life? The computer simulation model makes sense to me because I have witnessed a "miracle"; unfortunately it could only be recovered by hypnosis. I observed a primitive chess computer with the transient ability to see 15 moves ahead in seconds play both sides of the board for 80-100 moves. This intelligence provided me a simple mechanism to see how far ahead it was calculating. It is my belief that, briefly, I communicated with an intelligence far superior to ours. The impression I got at the time was that this intelligence looked at the programming, learned chess in a matter of seconds and took over the board.

          Part of my belief in ID is that I have witnessed this "miracle". It has no logical explanation because the odds against it being do to chance are about on the same level as those estimates of the fine-tuning arguments in physics.
        • Jun 11 2013: While somewhat out of place in this forum, I do suggest as you do that any intelligence, no matter how advanced, can "know" everything. What follows is that if knowledge is power such an entity cannot be all powerful.
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          Jun 11 2013: Hi John,
          Not sure why you brought up God ?

          On the subject of hydrogen; perhaps you can help me. On earth hydrogen obeys the gas laws. Simply put, it expands to fill the space allocated to it. Is there a different gas law in outer space? Why should hydrogen implode under it's own gravitational pull in space, when it does the exact opposite on earth ? Surely in the relative vacuum of space it would disperse all the more rapidly, especially if motivated by a Big Bang?
          Always wondered !

          :-)
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        Jun 14 2013: Thanks Peter for your reply.
        Yes , that's the point where religion and ID converges.....I mean in the quest of knowing the "source of intelligence" that's what I feel.
        Have a good day :)
    • Jun 10 2013: ID is creationism repackaged to look as if it were science.
      • Jun 10 2013: Yes it was repackaged as ID; that part I reject as obfuscation. However, that still doesn't alter the belief of those in favor of ID who say it should be divorced from religion (as far as I am concerned).
        • Jun 11 2013: That's just pretence. They have a religious agenda and it shows. If they didn't then they would divorce their methods from those used by their prior generations of creationists. They would renounce the straw-men of scientific findings, and they would stop blaming everything on Darwin and materialism. They would not be behind almost every attempt at putting laws in place to allow for their religious viewpoints to be taught in science classes. If they were about science, they would do science and let it run its course.
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        Jun 11 2013: It is an attempt to package ID to serve as a platform for the presentation of Creationism.

        The attempt merely evolves into an evolutionary explanation, expanded with the idea of extraterrestrial origins.
  • Jun 10 2013: If we only teach what has been scientifically researched and proven to be true, we can eliminate a whole bunch of science topics that have been proven wrong and only teach what is "right" at the moment.

    ID provides a point/counter-point argument that brings up good discussion in class about what is accurate and correct based on what we know and don't know. Last I checked, we still teach flat earth theory, the sun revolving around the earth, and various other historical theories that are know to be wrong. Shoot, the new discoveries of the atom mean that what was taught not long ago is now wrong based on new information.

    Why can't we discuss the changing views of these issues and state them as such?

    That is the point of school after all right? To cause you to think? To force you to come to grips with issues you might not otherwise wrestle with and make intelligent decisions about them. Why can't there be a little bit of mystery and intrigue left in the world?
    • Jun 10 2013: "Why can't we discuss the changing views of these issues and state them as such?"

      We can and we do. As long as there's scientific data and actual scientific work about them. ID is just creationism disguised as if it were science. I have used ID in university courses. I would ask the students to identify the flaws in such and such, and most of my students, I am proud to report, catch such problems quite quickly. Should we do that in science class in high-school and earlier? I don't think that creationists would like that. Here, an example from the creation-whatever international: What are the flaws in this argument? Why is this not considered science? Why is this considered poor science? Is evolutionary theory really what this paragraph describes?

      Excellent as aids to see if the students understood the scientific theories, to see if they understand logic, but not very good for ID and other forms of creationism.
      • Jun 11 2013: This is the kind of discussion I was thinking was appropriate for the high school students. It is a real world discussion which can be addressed appropriately in a class setting.
  • Jun 9 2013: You just cannot divorce ID from its religious affiliation, just as you cannot divorce a child from his mother... but let's say you could, I can't see a different goal than religious indoctrination, because the moment you open the possibility of an intelligent creator behind the universe you stop talking science and start talking religion.
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    Jun 9 2013: Ideally we should teach Physics in Physics class. That would include all that can be tested & verified. No comment need be made about god, or evolution, as all you would get would be the teacher's worldview.
    This would allow much more class time for productive work & arm the students with more useful knowledge. I'm sure that those who are interested can access the Origins arguments in their own time; but real knowledge is what they will need to earn a crust & move industry forward.

    :-)
    • Jun 10 2013: Don't worry Pete, evolution is not taught in physics, but in biology. Nothing to do with world-views though. It's all about the science.

      It worries me when I read someone say that students should only learn "useful" science. Should we drop art from school? Should we not nurture our student's curiosity?
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        Jun 10 2013: Nah ! I wouldn't teach Art in the Physics class either. OK in the Art Class though. :-).
        My daughter is a professional violinist, useful subject, you can make a good living at it.

        :-)
  • Jun 9 2013: Absolutely not. The reasons are obvious.
  • Jun 8 2013: It seems that would only be reasonable if the teacher did so as a comparison. Physics I could potentially see, and even biology, as alternative theories to what is normally taught (i.e. Big Bang and evolution). However, statistics I could not see; by incorporating intelligent design in a math based class, it seems it would only be to try to push students towards intelligent design.

    The problem with teaching any sort of intelligent design in schools is not the separation of church and state. ID does have its points, and is just as much of a theory as any other. Yet, adding it to curriculum would force schools to start teaching many other theories as well. Then, there would always be radicals who want to push for teaching creationism, which at some point definitely could cross that line of church and state.
  • Jun 8 2013: You make a very interesting argument, but you are not telling the whole story.

    Intelligent Design is a hypothesis with no supporting evidence. The probabilities you state are not evidence, just interesting possibilities that raise questions that have no answers yet. I would have no objection to including Intelligent Design in a list of hypotheses to explain the origin of the universe. That list would also include:
    infinite universes,
    at least one other hypothesis involving multiple universes,
    this is the only kind of universe possible.

    When discussing Intelligent Design, both the positive and negative aspects should be discussed. My favorite example is the human reproduction system, which appears miraculous. However, for millennium it was also the primary cause of death among women. If this universe was the product of an intelligence, the purpose of that intelligence is an open question. It is possible that this universe is a computer model and everything that each one of us is experiencing is the result of a computer program.

    The rest of the story is everything that we do not know, particularly about physics. We do not know, for a fact, that it is possible for a universe to exist with physical constants that are different from the constants in this universe. We do not know, for a fact, what the chances are that this universe would come into existence; it might be 100%.

    If you are looking for a well reasoned explanation for intelligent life, you might be disappointed. It is very important to understand and teach both what we know and what we do not know. Unanswered questions are just questions, they are not evidence of anything. If science can not yet provide a well reasoned explanation for intelligent life that meets your approval, you, personally, can jump to any conclusions that suit you. But in school, we should teach only what we actually know, and question what we do not know.
  • Jul 8 2013: Mike - Look at the original context and permit a little poetic license, if you will. Scientists editing a religious text makes no more sense than a religion trying to edit a science text. The question is about teaching intelligent design which is a religious concept not a scientific one. As for the historical debate about Jefferson's editing of the Bible; that's pretty well settled by looking at his edited Bible which still exists.
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    Jul 8 2013: Obey,
    We've down this road a hundred miles and I have no idea why you keep ignoring what I say. Are you implying that I have some motive that you are attuned to or will you just react to what I say, not what you think I might feel.
    Unless you are super psychic and can read my mind, how can you possibly even begin to know?
    This is not about what you believe or I believe, it's about a fun subject that I think bright high school kids would love to bite into....
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      Jul 8 2013: mike im just not supportive of discovery institute id being taught in schools.

      less issue with your motives and more generic outlook. i guess you dont believe humans were created as is as per evangelucal id.

      i still have issues with teaching speculative plausibiliries but much less if in the appropriate context and spirit of open enquiry.

      im also not sure how it could be innoculated or seperated from religious thinking. im not public high schools are the right pkace for debate with religious motives or connection.

      a well informed debate would show what a nonsense id is, but again high school isnt the place.

      id from the evangelical push is designed to support creationism and undermine welldemonstrated science ie evolution.
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    Jul 7 2013: Mr. Moody,
    This conversation had a great start but soom deteriorated into a verbal fistfight over beliefs. It seems that many would believe anything but....

    I am mixed about "beliefs". I know everyone has them (I think) and they are not subject to change. The thing that I found saddening, is the reluctance for some to allow that others may have different beliefs or maybe no beliefs one way or another. Such righteousness would warrant sainthood if they so believed.


    Your concluding paragraph does bode well for the future of humanity if we don't allow artificial life come to realize they don't need humanity to survive and prosper.

    I believe that Intelligent Design could be presented in such a manner that could eliminate the religious implications others find so objectionable. It could be presented as an unproven plausibility in the creation of the universe, an idea that could be worthy of debate if nothing else.

    I have read recently that the Roman Church has asked to be left out of this controversy, basically using the "render unto Caesar" argument.

    Can ID be proved? Not that I can see, but I can't see everything.
    As it currently stands, we can barely prove a big bang.
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      Jul 7 2013: im not sure why you feel this was a verbal fist fight.

      also no issues with people having different beliefs.

      where we differ is on the status of those beliefs relative to evidence logic and reason. and what should be taught in school.

      id is fallacious and even debunked in key claims.

      we also differ on whether religious belifs should be taught or snuck in under teaching the controversy.

      some of us dont support teaching this fallacious and religiously driven agenda in schools.
      do you realise your idea of id may be very different from disciver y institute id. they dont just say an intelligence might be behind what we observe. id includes a lot of nonsense counter to evokution for which there is compelling evidence via fissils and dna whether it was guided or planned or jyst natural.

      surely the standard for school curriculums is not whatever a vocal religious grouo velieves and wants.

      is high school education there to teach every unverifiable belief that a lobby group o wants.
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      Jul 8 2013: some beliefs change. some slowly. some suddenly. some dont.

      i was a born again christian in my youth. now i have different beliefs.

      even my views as an atheist have refuned over the years.

      this is not a conversarion about beliefs. its about what should be taught in school.

      unproven plausibilities framed by evangelucals dont meet the standards in my view.

      im more open to less religious view but still wonder how proposibg some magical agency to explain gaps in individualunderstanding or that of our species belongs in school.

      high school does not need to pander to vocal proponents of different unproven plausibilities.

      no issue if id was discussed in religious studies as part of the clash between religion and science and how religions havevadaotedvand respondedvto science.

      a small part of avprogram lookibgvat the evolution of religions andvtheir impacts. or part of a logic, philosophy, critical thinking, pschology or political studies course. no problem in proper context. just not as a an evangelical special interest to undermne science.
  • Jul 6 2013: Intelligent design should be included in textbooks when reputable scientists are allowed to edit the Bible and sermonize in churches.
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      Jul 7 2013: I am not sure that they aren't or they haven't.
      • Jul 7 2013: I haven't seen or heard of a Bible which has been edited for scientific accuracy. Thomas Jefferson simply deleted the suspect passages.
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          Jul 8 2013: Why would someone edit a history book for scientific accuracy? Would an Historian edit a scientific book for historical accuracy? Was it really Jefferson's intention to edit a bible? That has been subject to historical debate.
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    Jul 3 2013: mike as to your scenario below, how did the intelligent aliens and their universe come to be.

    dont you need another intelligence to explain them if being logically consistent.

    this is a key flaw in the intelligent design argument. in addition to there being no evidence to support it you just push the question back. you then need a intelligent designer for the designer of our universe. infinite regression unless at some point intelligence happened without agency. which as far as we can tell is what seems to have happened in our universe.

    who designed your designers.
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      Jul 3 2013: Obey,
      If we can't agree that there is a plausibility, however remote, that there may have been some cognitive influence in the creation of this universe, what would be the point of speculating on the origin of the origin?
      This whole conversation is all speculation, We know almost nothing of the origin of this universe. All we almost know is that there is evidence of some particles and gases that could have come as the result of a very rapid expansion of some material.
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        Jul 3 2013: mike i have repeatedly stated there could could some agency.

        but you seem to refuse to admit any intelligence used toexplain our universe and life alsso needs an explanatio.

        that you just answer a question witg another question.

        do you agree.

        what expkains your alien creators. how did they come to be.

        it is infinite regressiob unless you accept at some point intelligence happened witgout help.
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          Jul 4 2013: As I've also said, all is plausible. True creationists will tell you that God has always existed and always will, Cosmologists have speculated that something that exploded into what became the universe. I say that... if... there was a cognitive influence in the creation of this universe, the creationist may have insight. Now, would God be as the creationist describe or an entirely different entity that may even defy description or understanding.
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        Jul 5 2013: and i would say my pink dragon universe creators are just as likely an explanation as your aliens or any creationist stories because we have no evidence of the existence of any creative agency, no information as too its nature just pure speculation.

        and explaining something with an unverifiable specilative agency akin to magic explains nothing.

        also that science has reasonable expkainations for 95% of what id covers. and that not being able to disprove some invisible untestible agency is a poor reason to guve it credence as a possiblity.

        and if you open the door to unverifiable speculations then an intelligent agency is just one of many possibilities equally plausible.

        our universe could have resulted fron the fart of some mindless other dimensional entity. just as much evidence of its existence and nature, and how the creation was achieved as any id proposal.

        the overall logic seems to circlar. our universe exists sova universe creator must exist. but then assume the creator doesnt need an expkanation or creator to avoid infinite regression. thats called special pleading and is a falkacious argument.

        high schook educationshould not be based on obvious fallacies and selective speculative explanations that suit religious indoctribation.
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          Jul 5 2013: Isn't it a point in all our conversation, the best cosmologist have no more an explanation for the origin then my "Don't know, could be" and your pink thingy
      • Jul 5 2013: No, it is not a point of this conversation that the best cosmologists have no more of an explanation for the origin than your "Don't know, could be" and OBs pink thingy. That's just you and your lack of understanding/knowledge about how these cosmologists arrive(d) at their explanations. Again, theirs are based on evidence, knowledge, research. Yours is mere fantasy. There's a huge difference even if you're either unable to understanding the difference (for whatever reasons, among them not knowing about the scientific procedures and/or evidences), or unwilling to understanding the difference.
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          Jul 5 2013: I must be typing my responses in bulubulu.
          Most of my readings on the origin of the universe has been following some of the most renown cosmologists. I have a pretty good understanding on what they say they think they know and what information still eludes them. I have read no reports on an understanding of the material that formed the big bang. Only that there were gases and particles ejected. That these materials came together to form complex chemical and physical changes employing unexplained forces and undetermined processes that came to be our entire universe, seen and unseen, complex life forms and sentient creatures
          All I ever said was that if someone was to say positively there was 'help" in this creation, I would probably say "yep, I can see that'
      • Jul 6 2013: It's not that your responses are in bulubulu, but that your responses insist on misinformed ideas about what cosmologists propose and how they do so. Here, for example, you say you have read enormous amounts of what cosmologists explain, yet you say things that I know to be false, and physics and cosmology are not my areas of research. For example, the big bang is not proposed to start as "gases and particles ejected", and physicists do know what kinds of forces and processes would produce complex chemical and physical changes after the formation of the first subatomic particles.

        Sure, they do not know a lot of things, and on that they are working very hard. Still, their work is far from being equivalent to your fantasies. I repeat: No matter how many things cosmologists still don't know, no matter how wrong many or most of their proposals will be proven to be, there's a huge difference even if you're either unable to understanding the difference, or unwilling to understanding the difference.
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          Jul 6 2013: E.D.
          Are you kidding me? What was the last sentence of my previous post. I've said a thousand times in a thousand ways that I don't know what happened before the big bang. In fact, there are a few cosmologist theorized there was no bang.
          And there has been some info developed at the quantum level that has given some insight into the creation of the universe, but it's only insight.
          Again, I have no knowledge, insight, guess or imaginary premonition as to the origin of the universe. However, if tomorrow, a complete scientific discovery as to the origin of the universe was published and found universal support among all academia, and... in the findings were indications of ..... well, I wouldn't be all that surprised.
      • Jul 6 2013: We must be each talking different dialects of bulubulu, because I read you saying one thing here, another there. So I rather stop. We will get nowhere. Have a great weekend Mike.
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        Jul 8 2013: im a dont know as well.

        i suggest acknowledging we dont know and accepting anything unverifiable could be is a bit different to deciding to teach special interest speculative falsehoods and fallacies in schools.
        the gaps in our scientific understanding are not support the god argument.

        science is a lot better at explaing stuff then speculative agency.

        lightning no agency

        disease no agency

        earthquakes no agency

        yet you say agency for the universe is plausible. how so?. isnt it just a possibility like any other unverfiable speculaion about life and the universe.
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    Jul 2 2013: E.D.
    You keep addressing creationists as somewhat of low intelligence, dysfunctional, non scientifically attuned.
    Do you really want to go there?
    • Jul 2 2013: Creationist tend to be dysfunctional and scientifically illiterate. Show me how those things I mentioned are not demonstrations of scientific illiteracy. Show me how the difficulty to understand the difference between knowledge-based and mere imagination is not related to being dysfunctional at least at some intellectual level?

      I add that besides those tendencies some creationists also tend to be intellectually dishonest.

      Here's my bet: you will commit the mistake of thinking that a list of creationists with an education/"credentials" demonstrates that the tendency for creationists to be dysfunctional at some level and scientifically illiterate is false.
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        Jul 2 2013: No, such a list would be too easy...
        It's the level of your intolerance that is disappointing. I have given you a number of opportunities to back off your venomous comments about creationists and you almost gleefully jumped to dish out more. Why? Did some creationist take your candy when you were a kid? Your comments are almost at that level.
        l can appreciate that you don't believe as they do. So, what. It's not the end of the world. And you shouldn't really care what someone else believes. They probably don't care about what you believe
        Just saying...
        .
    • Jul 2 2013: Oh, thanks for giving me the opportunity to back off. But I like calling a spade a spade. It's not intolerance. I used to be truly angry at how charlatans lie to creationists to make a living out of them, their ignorance and their trust in them (after all, why would a true believer lie to them, right?). But years of interacting with them have shown me that most of them get what they want and thus deserve (most of them. there's a bunch who deserve way much better). I would not care at all what most of them believed if they kept it to themselves. But many make a living out of lying to children, many keep trying to make of science a joke, many come right here to lie about what I do and what and how I accept what I accept. I used to not care and to think that Dawkins was going way too far. Now I understand why Dawkins goes that way. Creationists themselves convinced me that Dawkins and other gnu-atheists had good reasons to do what they do.

      But, of course, you would think that it's just a matter of different beliefs. What else could it be. Right?

      Darn creationists stealing my candy! (I hope I didn't say that out loud.)

      P.S. What exactly would make my comments about tendencies among creationists venomous rather than conclusions out of experience?
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      Jul 8 2013: my iq didnt change when i stopped believing in a religious view. however my critical thinking and understanding of religions had improved.

      if the jehovahs winesses are right then 99.9% of us are wrong.

      must be some poor thinking if most peoples religion reflects where they were born.

      all these conflicting breligious beliefs. cant all be right.

      a lot of mutually exclusive belifs does not inspure confidence in the processes that led to these different beliefs.

      surely you can see something wrong here.
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    Jul 2 2013: Obey,
    Absolutely, and there are evangelicals that believe the universe happened in 6 days just 6000 years ago. There is a museum, I understand that has dinosaurs and man sharing the same cave...whatever. Ok and there is your story of pink whatevers... I was sort of trying to stay with plausible scenarios. There are cosmologists that think there was a previous universe. There are some that think there are multiverses. But, what can we actually prove. Most of our science on the universe is based on geometrical calculation of what little we can see. Much of your nature that did it all is not much more valid the any other causation. So, if you are looking for proof, I would suggest, like me, you keep an open mind. I have no idea what happened and I am not ruling out much... maybe the 6000 years and those pink things.
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      Jul 3 2013: hi mike what makes your universe creating intelligent aliens any more plausible than my universe creating intelligent dragons. in fact your speculation had more unsubstantiated detail around their motivation.
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    Jul 1 2013: ED
    I guess the either/or means that you are saying it's your way or nothing, which is not much of a conversation, but... I try..
    Define sentient. Consciousness? Perceptiveness, Self Analysis, ...
    Another scenario... OK
    Peoples of a previous universe see that their universe is coming to an end, so they put a series of plans or patterns or algorithms (think universe DNA) into a form that survives the end of their universe and this form
    explodes in a big bang and the creation and evolution of this universe is... preprogrammed.
    I can make as plausible a case for this story. It is no more far fetched then the currently accepted theory all those cosmologist are calculating on hundreds of blackboards
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      Jul 2 2013: Hi Mike I can also come up with dozens of speculative scenarios not backed by any evidence. A committee if invisible pink dragons designed the universe. Hey we don't even need agency in there once you open the door to speculation. This universe could be the result of some other dimensional mishap. Anything you want.

      Being able to imagine various scenarios is not a great argument in favour of pushing ID is it?

      Your example also highlights an issue you seem to avoid. Where did the peoples (or god) in the previous universe (other dimension) come from that you use to explain this universe.

      We should also recognise that the key proponents of ID are evangelical creationists with their own agenda to subvert science, undermine the separation of church and state etc etc
    • Jul 2 2013: What Obey said, plus:

      I find it preposterous for you to say that your speculation is "s no more far fetched then the currently accepted theory all those cosmologist are calculating on hundreds of blackboards." Are you seriously serious? You speculate a bunch of beings who can do and plan universes and that is as plausible as work based on facts and calculations based on those facts?

      Your kind of reasoning is exactly why I wonder what proportion of students would be able to understand the basic philosophical and scientific problems behind such a thing as ID. My interactions with others here at TED has shown me that not being able to distinguish between something based on knowledge and something based on mere imagination is way too common. Surprisingly more common than I would have expected anyway.

      P.S. I explained to you one basic problem: putting the cart before the horse. Your answer did not show that you understood the problem (or that you read the explanation). How much better should I expect from students?
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        Jul 2 2013: Am I reading what you are really meaning to write?
        Let's see. Cosmologists are doing calculations based on known geometrics to come to the conclusion that it is plausible that there may have been a previous universe. Blah, blah,blah that it is plausible that there are multiverses.
        Does plausible scenarios mean to you and Obey (no offense Obey) it is the absolute, no questions asked thing that happened. 100%., because it means to me it's just a plausible scenario... nothing more.

        I have never said there was any evidence that there was intelligent design.

        I have only ever said that if it was proved that there was some kind of ID, I would not be that surprised....I could see where it could have happened.

        You know what is preposterous...The statement "We don't know how the universe came to be, but it wasn't that" ... "because there is no evidence"

        There is no evidence for any cause of how the universe came to be save some stuff we think were gases and particles that could have come from some sort of an explosion.
    • Jul 2 2013: Mike,

      You're reading what I am really wanting to write, but you misinterpret it. Plausible scenarios in science are not mere imagination, but calculations and ideas backed up by facts. What you have been suggesting is not plausible scenarios in any scientific sense, they're mere imaginings far from being as valid as those proposed by scientists. That does not mean that what scientists are now proposing is 100% certified truth, but that what they are proposing is based on much more and much better than "let's us imagine some beings whose universe was about to collapse and thus decided to create another universe, and therefore ours resulted." They might still be wrong, but your mere imagination still does not compare.

      Even if your mistaken and misrepresented evidence for how the universe came to be was just "some stuff we think were gases and particles that could have come from some sort of an explosion," thinking that your scenario is just as plausible as one developed out of such evidence would still be preposterous.
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    Jul 1 2013: E.D.
    I am going to presume that subjects at this level would be presented to students who were capable of studious study and evaluation of all the materials that could be made available.
    In my HS history class, we were divided into debate teams as Federalists and Non federalist to debate and convince the rest of the class that the Bill of Rights was a critical addition to the new Constitution. I don't think students today are any less capable then those in my day. and could handle it in either class.
    I doin't see the creation and evolution of the universe as a philosophical class. Where is this subject matter taught?
    • Jul 2 2013: Creation is not science Mike. Therefore it does not belong in science class. Also, creationism's incarnation as ID has basic philosophical problems that are much better addressed in a philosophy class. Perhaps philosophy of science. But not science class. There we would teach about facts versus mere imagination, for example. Or the logic behind some guy thinking that some advanced piece of physics has middle school conceptual simplification level problems. Or the logic of some guy thinking that such well established things like evolution have middle-school conceptual simplification level problems. The logic that leads people with little to no knowledge to think that they know better than scientists when it comes to what these scientists do. The problems inherent in a person being incapable of understanding that using arithmetics in a problem requiring advanced calculus will not really lead them to finding problems with advanced physics. Understanding fallacies and their construction. The big problem of distinguishing mere rhetoric from proper reasoning ... long et cetera.

      Such a course would be a lot of fun, but creationists would not like it one bit. I insist though that maybe too many students would not understand any of it.
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    Jul 1 2013: Obey,
    According to stories told me by a Rabbi friend who into this stuff, It seems the elders recorded certain things happening and after making some cause and effect connections; and not having the science to attribute the problems correctly, decided it was a divine providence. not to eat pork, have circumcision, etc. Then people seemed to live longer and more productive lives.
    And I am sure it would take the threat of the wrath of God to keep me from eating a BLT.
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      Jul 2 2013: Mike, I think it most likely religious texts are completely man made with no divine inspiration, so no issue in principle with thinking a bit of social engineering took place. In fact I think it likely. Just a bit sceptical about claims to know details about what happened 2500 or so years ago during the drafting process.

      I'd miss shellfish.

      I wonder if prohibitions against homosexuality and killing adulterers were also bronze age social engineering.
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    Jul 1 2013: In spite of all this bickering back and forth on who said what and to whom . In the words of my good friend the Rabbi, 'God help us all'.. I still think it wouldn't hurt to develop a syllabus to flesh out a intelligent design scenario and bring it to students to discuss or debate... just saying...
    • Jul 1 2013: Oh, I'm actually quite tempted to figure out how many students would realize the problems of such a suggestion, and how many would be left perplexed and with no means of understanding why such suggestion fails. But I don't think that it would be proper for a science curriculum. More of a philosophy one. Creationists would not like it thought. They want the suggestion to be taken as a serious possibility, rather than it's philosophical and scientific problems be openly discussed. I still wonder if many students would be able to understand those problems.
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      Jul 2 2013: Hi Mike,

      I’m all for open debate and discussion in the appropriate forums. However, I’m a bit wary of including ID in high school programmes even under the auspices of free speech and debate for a few reasons.

      Firstly it is being pushed primarily by Evangelicals as rebadged creationism. ID is being used as a way to circumvent science and sneak creationism into public schools. I support the separation of church and state and ID crosses the boundary for me into the religious and supernaturist sphere that should be carefully considered before injecting into public schools.

      I’m not sure high school is the appropriate forum for debating topics such as life the universe, meaning, subjective belief systems etc. Freedom of speech needs to be balanced against the separation of church and state.

      Secondly, I might be reasonably comfortable with someone open minded such as yourself moderating a discussion on ID. However, having heard of how well established science such as evolution and geology and cosmology gets undermined by evangelical teachers and school boards, I would be concerned the discussion would be heavily biased.

      Thirdly, ID is fallacious unscientific nonsense that hardly deserves oxygen IMO. It’s based on arguments from ignorance with special pleading. Some of the positions based on ignorance such as irreducible complexity have already been debunked by biologists. Yet they keep trotting it out because it suits their purposes. Scientifically, evolution is the best explanation we have for the diversity of life and is well supported by observation, there is no good reason to undermine it IMO.

      What is the objective of having this debate in high school. Is this reasonable and appropriate for this forum? Of all the topics why this one?

      If it was to be discussed, I suggest part of a philosophy class as an example of fallacious logic or perhaps religious studies as part of a discussion on the threat to secular education from religionists. Or psychology.
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    Jun 30 2013: OK, Obey, let's go with that,

    Math guys that do chaos tell me that even the most chaotic situation there is pattern.
    Patterns are considered an indication of sentience. SETI astronomers listen (their computers do) for patterns in random radio signals from space.
    Then there is you.
    You see the universe (if I understand) evolving from natural forces....patterns of actions and interactions.
    So what is nature? An agency that creates patterns? We seem to agree that there is a pattern to universe..
    You imply that you are not sure, but the rational of an agency seems obviously flawed. You seem so positive .
    I am not.
    Could there be a God in heaven creating all the heavens and earth as the religious tell us?
    Could it be that there is nature through some series of actions and reactions evolved the universe as we know it?
    Could it be that some Deity designed nature to evolve the universe as we know. And that Deity is so far removed from mankind's conception it is impossible to consider or accept?
    I don't know.
    What I know is I find the "pattern thing" confusing... could there be?
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      Jun 30 2013: What intelligence made the intelligence. And what intelligence made the one the made the one that made our universe. Its a set up for infinite regression if it is assumed patterns always need intelligence behind,

      Not all patterns need intelligence I guess, like the patterns of a crystal or snow flake.

      I'm pretty sure there is no good reason or evidence to believe at this point. If new information comes along that shows gods exist or are moire likely too, I'll shift accordingly.
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        Jul 1 2013: OK, fair enough.

        By the way, Crystalline formations and snowflakes are all products of physics and related math. No accidents there. Damn, that sentient pattern thing again.
        • Jul 1 2013: Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience. Patterns do not mean sentience.
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          Jul 2 2013: why assume matter and energy following the laws of physic has anything ti do with sentience.

          seems the same flawed argument over and over.

          there is some order in thevuniverse therefore intelligence. not necesarily.
    • Jul 1 2013: "Patterns are considered an indication of sentience."

      No they're not. SETI actually has a very hard time determining which kinds of patters would actually indicate sentience, with the main problem being that there's lots of patterns in nature due to the way things work. SETI scientists actually have a very hard time researching what kinds of patterns would really indicate intelligence. For example, someone might propose Fibonacci numbers. However, these easily arise in nature. Other scientists have thought of prime numbers. If I remember correctly, these are not produced naturally, or at least they are not readily produced, and therefore they might (might!) indicate intelligence, but, as I said, scientists have a very hard time figuring out which kinds of patterns would indicate intelligence precisely because there's lots of natural phenomena that produce patterns.

      It makes no sense that patterns should indicate sentience. It's is nonsense to think that it's either intelligence or mere randomness.

      I truly can't understand why this is so hard to get across. Mike, do you care at all about understanding this? That patterns indicate intelligence is nothing but your assumption. An assumption is not proof of anything but that you have an assumption.
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        Jul 1 2013: I guess I didnn splian it.
        But you did very well, Thank You.

        SETI people are hard pressed to hear an intelligent signal through all the static out there, you guessed it even static has recognized patterns. That's what the chaos guys predicted. It's the old 12 typing monkeys writing Shakespeare story..
        Here is my point, your point is that there is no possible intelligence behind the universe, it's creation and its evolution. I say I am not so sure. You say it's all nature and natural outcomes. I say that there are complex patterns involved. that could mean sentient expression. You say there is no proof of sentient influence. No evidence. I say we barely got evidence of the creation of the universe let alone how it came about. You say I have an assumption, I say I am not ruling out any possibility, I say you have an assumption that there is no sentient influence on our universe.

        Say, maybe nature is really God in disguise.

        Do you really want to keep talking about something I never really said?.
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          Jul 1 2013: Mike

          Entropy is not saying there is no sentient life as far as I can tell.

          ED is just saying a pattern does not confirm an intelligent agent is responsible.

          The regular pulse of a neutron star does not confirm intelligence. The consistent vibration of electrons does not confirm intelligence is responsible. Actually some form of intelligence helps identify these patterns.

          We can generally distinguish between patterns in nature and artefacts from intelligence. A house is different from a tree. The roar of a star may be very different from an alien TV transmission.

          You seem to be suggesting that all patterns humans identify may have some intelligence at its source. Pattern = intelligence. Seems a bit circular. Do you have evidence of an intelligence being behind the complex patterns in nature? I haven't heard or seen any yet. Just the assertion that intelligence may be necessary to explain this complexity.

          I guess it would be hard for something like an alien TV transmission to be picked up here on earth with all the other electromagnetic noise going on.

          I actually would not be surprised if there was or had been other sentient life on some distant world. But there does not seem to be sufficient evidence yet.

          I don't have enough information to make a call how likely it is. If life evolved in another of the 100 billion other galaxies we may never know.
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        Jul 1 2013: Obey and Entropy,
        One more time, I am not saying that all patterns are the extended efforts of Deities.
        I am open to some of the complex patterns, order of execution, chemical, biological interactions that have been described occurring in the creation and evolution of the universe being developed, created, designed, whatever, by sentient beings. No assertion, just an openness to the possibility.
        Maybe it is me. I am not that knowledgeable. What I don't know I don't want to speculate. To say that there is no proof it happened doesn't necessarily mean it .didn't happen.
        So, if you want to take the position that this is a truth until someone proves you wrong. OK, you got it.. Allow me to take the position that I don't know what the truth is and I am open to all points of view.
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          Jul 2 2013: Speaking for myself I am open to the possibility too.

          However, you do seem to be pointing to order and patterns in natural processes as suggestive of an intelligence. One point we are making is that it is not necessary to assume agency to explain any order or patterns in nature, and there is no evidence pointing to any agency existing or acting in anyway.

          Another key point of difference is perhaps how likely you see the possibility. To me it is pretty close to the possibility of gods being responsible for lightening and disease and floods and earthquakes. Just as much evidence for gods in the origin of life and the universe as there is for gods being responsible for people winning lotto.

          Another point of difference is how logical and satisfying or not we find the intelligent agency as an explanation. The position is full of fallacies. Answering some patterns with something that has no evidence that it even exists, no reliable information on how it was done is akin to saying it was magic. That the universe must be explained by agency but the agency doesn't need as explanation is poor logic.

          You don't seem to have addressed this issue. You just plug in the possibility of a mysterious intelligence and end of story. It answers and explains nothing. You have just shifted the question back from universe and life, to universe and life creator. Why stop there? Because you want to stop there.

          Finally I see parallels between the comfort of agency with human cognitive mechanisms such as agency assumption that may be useful for survival but not for understanding complex issues.

          How do you determine which patterns might be from an intelligence and which are not. It seems to be very speculative and intuitive, not reasoned.
    • Jul 1 2013: But Mike, if you keep saying things like "snow flakes! Those sentient patterns again!" you cannot but be interpreted to be saying that patterns equal sentience/intelligence. It's been like this all this time. You keep saying things that betray your "openness" to mean: if pattern therefore intelligence, or if non-random therefore intelligence. If you don't want to be "misinterpreted" then don't do that.

      "I say you have an assumption that there is no sentient influence on our universe." Nope, all I am saying is that patterns and that some natural phenomena are not random, do not mean that there's intelligence behind them. But I can go further. Our intelligence could not exist if nature was mere randomness. Every intelligent being we have come across could not possibly have existed if nature was mere randomness. Therefore to suggest that for nature to have patterns it would need an intelligence behind would be putting the cart before the horse. Where would then the patterns necessary for that intelligence have come from? Another intelligence? Then where would the patterns necessary for that other intelligence have to come from? Another intelligence? Is it turtles all the way down?

      Therefore, the suggestion that for nature to have patterns it needs an intelligence behind does not help understand anything about how nature works and is a contradiction of terms. It suggests that intelligence is independent of the very nature where it arises, which is preposterous.
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        Jul 1 2013: E.D.
        You keep going to a either.... or situation. It's not.
        But as I read your comments, it could be construed that nature is sentient?

        What I have said these many times is that with all the complex patterns and all that occurred in the creation and evolution of our universe, I would not be surprised to learn that there was a sentient being involved.
        I would have to ask, is there a scenario that is just as plausible as the current scientific explanation of the creation of the universe? Which basically is about 14 B years ago, there was an explosion of unknown origin; the resulting expanding gases and materials formed into stars and galaxies even generating bio mass that formed in to a rich variety of life forms on this planet and even maybe others, all by means and methods referred to as nature.
    • Jul 1 2013: Either/or in what sense? I don't think it's an either or situation but after analyzing the problem. Then it becomes evident that proposing something like intelligent design is nonsensical. In other words, I didn't start by wanting ID to be preposterous, I analyzed the idea and found it to be preposterous. Please read again.

      You might think that nature is sentient if that makes you happy. I could barely argue against such idea because it could be a matter of semantics, and therefore depend on how each of us defines "sentient." But if somebody went further than that and proposed that nature makes decisions, grants some of us eternal life, sends others to eternal torment, and worries where we put our genitals, then I would have something to say against that proposition.

      Is there a different scenario than the current one? The current one is far from complete, so yes, there must be other scenarios that would make sense of the data. A lot is yet to be understood. Physicists talk about the need to develop brand new research areas in order to get a better picture. Some find string theory, for example, ridiculous, while others seem to be finding answers using such theoretical framework. We will see.
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    Jun 29 2013: Obey,

    OK, but again, I didn't say there was an intelligent design to the formation of the universe. I said I was open to the possibility. You seem to have a dismissive point of view on the possibility of God, Supreme Beings, etc
    I can't be sure
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      Jun 30 2013: I'm open to the possibility in generic sense.

      Obviously it is highly unlikely any of the thousands or millions of contradictory religious interpretations have it right. i havent seen any compelling evidence that a universe creator might care whether we circumcise children or should cover up women. we seem to agree on this.

      I can understand the human instinct to assume agency. I just don't see anything much supporting the idea. Just like everything we have reasonably worked out does not need gods.

      While we don't have every detail worked out regarding the origin of the universe and life, I see no hard evidence of a creator, everything we know reasonably points to natural processes. But I leave the door open to some agency.

      The logic people use to arrive at some agency being necessary or likely is a bit flawed in my experience. I've never heard a compelling argument. But maybe one day I will.
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        Jun 30 2013: I had an instructor who once said that he wasn't sure if there was a God in heaven. But he was going to keep his options open. If he died and all went black, it would be as he expected. But, if he was taken to a glorious place that only could be described heavenly, he didn't want to be seen as...
        Well, you get the idea...
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          Jun 30 2013: What if the god in heaven preferred athiests,. What if the god in heaven sent everyone to hell for kicks. What if the god in heaven ignored us all. What if the god in heaven sent everyone to heavan. l. Why assume a god is nice, or will pick favourites.

          We have about zero information on any god, so no idea what might please it, or anything about it.

          Any god worthy of worship will treat people like me just fine.
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        Jun 30 2013: Yeah, but if at death you found yourself with a kind, forgiving and generous God, wouldn't you feel a little foolish, there is one thing about being a doubting Tomas (old story) but to being down right rejecting...
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          Jun 30 2013: i havent rejected absolutely.

          i have used the brain i have to the best of my ability. no shame in that.

          why assume an afterlife even if some deistic creator.

          perhaps i should not step on cracks or wear red bwcause there is the possibilty of a creator being not liking that.

          it seems ridulous to me to give credence to speculations such as this. simikar to the flawed pascals wager. we have no reliable information on what a god might want. it might as well not exist. we might as well work out what a giod life might be based on the reality we reasonably kbow exists, not speculative cultural memes or possible red hating gods.

          perhaps shame on any god that wants us to believe in it, perhaps with consequences, and yet provides no compelling evidence or reason that it exists.
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          Jun 30 2013: by the same logic i should circumcise my kids not work saturdays follow the ruleslaid down by every god, just to avoid the possibilty of upsetting any that might exist.

          actually im even open to zeus existing. just no proof. hopefully he wont be upset when i meet him in hades.

          now im really worried. maybe their is one thing a creator expects me to do, but i have no idea what, or even if the creator exists.
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        Jul 1 2013: OK, I hear what you say about religion, but most of the "rules: you have alluded to where made by man in his effort to address his God. I read both testaments of the bible. There are only a few passages that are attributed to the words of God. I am working on an english translation of the Koran and I am looking for similar words.
        By the way, you alluded to the rules of the circumcision. That was a medical thing. But if as a father some 2000 years and, you were told the foreskin of your son had to go, it would take God for you to agree to that. However, the ancients figured out the without the big bite, boys could get infections that lead to sterility and even cancer. So, it became a command of God. There are a dozen stories of man invoking God in a number of his undertakings.
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          Jul 1 2013: Mike, just to reiterate, I am open to some creator. Just no reason or evidence to support a belief in my opinion.

          I'm not sure why that position would upset any creator. Based on the information we have on the nature and wants of a creator, zero, it is just as likely the creator would be upset I wore red socks.

          I suggest it is ridiculous to factor in some possible offence in some possible afterlife to some possible god, with no evidence whatsoever for any of these posibilities, on your position on whether a god exists.

          What ancients are you talking about. Do you have evidence that they identified cancer risks and deliberately built into scripture. It would not surprise me if that was the case. Same with not eating shelfish. How do you discern what is from god and what is man made. Or what was genuinely thought to be from god and what was deliberate social engineering.
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      Jun 30 2013: Mike I would add that while I understand the human tendency to assume agency behind complex or poorly understood phenomena, I'm not sure why more people don't see how odd it is to say something is just to complex to happen naturally so some unexplained agency must have done it.

      Why not apply the same logic to the agency. If life and the universe can not happen naturally, how can a universe and life creating agency evolve naturally. If the agency doesn't need an agent as a cause, why should the universe. The uncaused cause is just a special pleading fallacy.

      It just seems odd to me that people with no commitment to any religious view can't see how saying an unexplained agent did it really explains nothing.

      I'm not sure what I'm missing. But it seemed obviously flawed
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      Jun 30 2013: mike are you suggesting all patterns humans see must have agency behind them?

      i see patterns in sand dunes. i see faces and animals in clouds. there is regularity in the movement of planets, moon, eclipses, gravity is predicable so there must be agency?

      im not personifying nature or assigning agency. nature as in naturalistic not supernaturalistic.
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    Jun 28 2013: Obey,
    As I have said there are two scenarios (at least) a random coming together of energy to form matter and even into bio forms or a specific plan or order that would permit the coning together of energy etc. or some combination of both. Understanding that there will possibly never a full explanation of the circumstances as to the origin of the universe, I got to think that there has to be some plan, an intelligent design if you will, because it would just be too improbable that all those chemical and physical interactions leading to what we have could hap[pen in just 14 B years.
    Now, was there a God who put all this together down to the fact that you were born with blue eyes, That's the other extreme.
    What really amuses me, it that so many state with such finality there is no God creating the universe, it was just nature...
    ... a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.
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      Jun 28 2013: Hi mike, I suggest most people have no idea how improbable the natural development of the universe is. Maybe it was inevitable, and had to have the properties it has. How do you know it could have been different. Are you comparing this one to other universes.

      Its an argument from ignorance.

      And again how much less probable would it be for a universe creating being to pop into existence.

      We took 14 billion years to evolve and we are a long way from creating universes. Yet your alternative is some highly developed and powerful being. Can't you see how ludicrous it is.

      I'm not stating there is no god. There could be billions of them in some other dimension. Who knows. But isn't there development more improbable than the universe itself.

      What intelligence is behind this intelligence.

      I suggest you are doing the modern day equivalent of assuming agency for things you don't fully understand, like blaming gods for disease, lightning, earthquakes, there is no reason an intelligence has to be behind it. And if there was, explain what is behind the intelligence. You plug a gap with an even greater mystery.
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        Jun 29 2013: Let's me understand what you are saying... my argument is from ignorance and yours is not.
        I never compared this universe to any other.
        This universe according to best science took 14 B years to get to this point and we have only been evolving for about 50 K if you are talking about homo sapiens...
        I never said that God created all this including your eye color is 'the' means of this universe.
        I never claimed that there billions of other universes and maybe Gods that existed there.
        You have made a number of assumptions and then give a conclusion based on what? Things that were never said.
        So, there are only two explanations, you didn't read my comments carefully before you responded or i didn't correct a number of typos before I hit submit...
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          Jun 29 2013: I'm saying I don't know. I'm admitting I am ignorant about key details of the origin and nature of the universe.

          You are answering your incredulity at the existence and nature of the universe with some magic intelligence. You have no evidence this thing exists. No evidence of how it did it. Just asserting that a magic universe creating being could create a universe. And that you are more comfortable that an agency could be behind it. I could say that gravity is improbable so gods must be responsible.

          You are making claims about probability, based on what.

          how does an intelligence exist before time and space?

          How did it make the universe.

          I'm not arguing a micro manager god. Even the most generic deistic god. How is it different to saying it was magic?

          I didn't say you said there were billions of universes. What is your probability figure based on. Are you saying this universe could have turned out different. I'm asking what is your basis for asserting a low probability.

          Maybe my comment is unclear. I'm no it misinterpreting you.

          My position is not an argument from ignorance be causing I am not asserting things that I do not know. You are making claims akin to gods explaining disease, out of ignorance. How do you know your two options are the only generic options. How do you know it is possible for an intelligence to exist outside time and space. How do you know some natural state existed prior to our universe, or infinite other options once you open the door to something different from our current universe.

          Is that clearer?

          Looking at the universe or a snowflake and asserting this couldn't happen naturally, there must be agency is an argument from ignorance until you demonstrate some reason or evidence for your position. You seem to be saying you cant understand or accept it could happen naturally.
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        Jun 29 2013: So, I made some typos.
        Let me restate what I think I said or what I wanted to say.

        Our universe is about 14 B years old, according to best the guess it evolved from a small source of compressed ball of energy. It exploded sending particles and gases and and that over time formed into stars and elements and eventually into bio mass and life forms. Are we good so far?
        So, the question begs, how did this happen?

        Some say it was a natural order of things that caused the universe to evolve as it did.

        I don't really know what is meant by "the natural order of things"

        Some say it was God that created the universe as told in the book of Moses.

        Here is something interesting, the order of the evolution of the universe by the natural order of things seem to similar to the order described in the book of Moses. A coincidence I am sure.

        What do I say... I have no idea.
        It seems to me that all the reactions needed to go from particles and gases to the universe as we know and don't know would have to be number to large even to imagine.
        But, if there was in that little ball of stuff, there was algorithm or plan or design .that would cause the universe to evolve in a certain manner to become what it has become....
        I could accept that idea as a possibility.

        So if this position makes me... what?
        .
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        Jun 29 2013: Wait a minute, I think I know what it makes me, it makes me accepting of other ideas and possibilities without saying " I don't know, but you are wrong"
        Sorry, Obey, I rather be a believer in magic then burdened with an attitude of pompous superiority
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          Jun 29 2013: Hi Mike

          Thanks for looking for the common ground.

          I’m not sure what there was before the big bang. I’m not sure about the compressed ball of energy. But I agree the science shows about 13 to 14 billion years ago there was an expansion from a point. We have evidence of the background microwave radiation. We can look back in time with hubble 12 or so billion years to young galaxies. We see stars forming.

          Where we start to disagree is where you say intelligence was needed. There could be some other dimension magical being, or a whole committee of universe creators involved in some minimal but crucial way as you describe. I can’t disprove invisible virtually non existent beings. We don’t know if it is possible for something like this to exist, but we have equally have no way of disproving them.

          When you start to assert one or more intelligences are necessary this is where you get into the argument from ignorance or incredulity field from a logical argument perspective. I am open to the possibility, but I see no reason or evidence that they are needed. It could be gravity and the laws of physics just did their thing impersonally.

          There is no evidence or reason showing a need for preprogramming etc.

          I’m not trying to come across as superior. It’s the language of logic, of fallacies. No problem stating a possibility, but to assert a need without the required basis, just human comprehension struggling with complexity. I’m not saying you are any less smarter or wiser than I. Just in this one case your logic is fallacious just as the assumption of agency throughout the ages for things humans don’t nderstand.
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          Jun 29 2013: So Mike which bits in particular do you think are impossible without agency? What evidence to support this?

          My general theme without specifics is...

          Sometimes this position seems like some agency required for your parents to meet and procreate, and then their genes to combine in the near impossible combination that is you rather than some other potential sibling. yet here you are. Others may claim is was fate or the will of god etc, with only an argument from ignorance or incredulity.

          The odds of a particular snow flake existing are also near impossibly small. Yet they will form into patterns governed by the physics.
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    Jun 25 2013: P M ( pardon me for not trying to type out your name)

    OK, I think i understand. Something from nothing is more mentally challenging then something from something.
    But it's harder to discuss. .
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    Jun 25 2013: Most of the cosmologist I have heard all have differing ideas on how the universe came together and most have a blackboard full of formulas to prove their hypothesis. So did it all happen? Obviously. Was there a plan or was it all a random chance? Lot's of theories, no one knows for sure.
    If we go with random, it is really odds that defy the imagination. If we go with a plan, then there is the who, what, when where and why questions. I don't know one way or the other and i am not sure anyone else does either. But i can't dismiss a plan, just because there is no current theory or it offends some sense of belief. There was a cause to all this.
    i just want to keep an open mind.
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      Jun 28 2013: Hi mike why assume the basic nature of the universe is random if no creator. Maybe this is the only way it might exist. Maybe matter has to back as it is, and energy and gravity.

      Why is it not equally random that a creator would choose a universe like this. If all powerful it could make anything anyway it wants.
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    Jun 22 2013: Hi Obey, John, Mike, Richard, Brendan,

    A must-read for anybody discussing evolution, what may happen in the future of our humble species, what we create, develop what we create, how this evolves... Should probably be a must-read for seniors in high-schools as well, whilst others "theories" (which are but stories, nice, but stories) are told as stories, not taught.

    Homo Evolutis - Juan Enriquez, Steve Gullans.

    Really informative, inspiring and... entertaining as well!
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      Jun 22 2013: I think I saw this on a TV sci-fi show where the Captain of the space ship was fighting the Borg. A single minded bio-robotic humanoid. Now, I guess this is within the realm of possibility. If it does go this way, I hope each mechanical man can have his own personality. Wouldn't it be a boring world if we were all alike.
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        Jun 22 2013: Aah, yeas, the "We are the Borg"... I'm sticking with "We are homo evolutis and we're so imaginative and clever that we remember the lessons and threats of 'we are the borg' and will consider them when evolving ahead."
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    Jun 22 2013: Brendon
    I am sorry, but I am not sure I have said that ID was a theory. I did say it was a plausible alternative to the evolution of the universe. Currently, the evolution of the universe is attributed to natural causes affected by known effects such as gravity.

    All I have said it could be taught or not. And it would be a great topic for a debate.

    I am not going to make more out of it then what it is. Now, if you were to ask if I thought there could be a plan on how this universe came together, I would say, " I could believe that"
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      Jun 23 2013: Yes, it's a great topic for a debate. If you're talking about intelligent design, in most cases people try and talk about intelligent design as creationism but with a sugar coated name and I thought that's where you were going with it. And yeah I agree it's a plausible alternative in the way that you put it. There's still nothing that we're 100% sure of started the big bang, and all suggestions are welcome.
  • Jun 22 2013: Mike,
    Let me add a few more scenarios to your latest posting. I just read a new physics magazine, it said there seems to be more than one dark holes in the "multi-verse." Therefore the Big Bang theory shouldn't be treated as a unique happenstance anymore. It follows that stars like planet earth where life could be developed could exist in much larger numbers and in various stages of maturity for human development. So the probabilistic calculation in Richard's model has to be changed. In other word , the probability of such development (of human populations) could be much increased. Also, we really have no idea how these meteorites which could carry life forms could be from another "universe".
    The question of verification of these theories is likely impossible. First, we are not really sure that we can "see" the other "universes" by our technology of telescopes in space. Furthermore, even if we are sure of the existence of such planets, it just takes too long for us to send a spaceship (to escape the gravitational pull of our "universe") to get there and come back or to send a photo to us. And of course, none of us can live that long to complete such trip, at least thousands light years away. But that doesn't disprove the evolution theory though.
    So it looks like we couldn't have a definite "evidence" for scientific proof.
    Just like Alonso said, you can't say that some scientific reasoning is not likely, or can't be realistically proven, then the other, or any alternative hypotheses must be taken as all legitimate.
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    Jun 21 2013: OK,
    How about this scenario... there is a universe that is collapsing, sentient beings in this universe see that there is no survival of the pending disaster want to save their civilization. So, understanding the finality of the end, the only solution is to put the "seeds" of their universe into the quantum realm with the hope it would survive.
    The collapse comes with such force all the space within each atom is reduced to almost zero. The resulting mass is so dense and so unstable it explodes. But, as its particles are forced out, locked within is the seeds of regrowth. As the new universe evolves the encoded plan is fulfilled.

    Far fetched? Has anyone got a more "scientific" explanation of the origination of the big bang?
    And wouldn't this be an explanation of Intelligent Design?
    And could it be discussed with the same veracity as: "There was this big bang of stuff and flew out and created the universe and everything in it following natural laws, like the law of gravity.
    .
    I've always wondered, who voted on the law of gravity and how it signed into law

    I think if not in a class, at least one helluva debate topic....
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      Jun 21 2013: Well if you're going to teach intelligent design in that perspective is it not the same as the big bang? What exactly varied?

      Also, laws are things we observe, not come up with. The highest thing we can declare are theories.
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        Jun 21 2013: One more time, ID is a plausible alternative to the evolution of the universe. The most commonly accepted explanation is that the creation of the universe was a natural phenomenon that came after the big bang. Some people don't want to teach ID, so don't teach it. Some don't believe it could even be possible, so don't believe it.
        I think it would be a great topic for youngsters to have in a class, if only to learn about ID in order to debate about it. I am not talking about major shifts in cosmology or the thinking of S. Hawkins...
        Unless he wants too....
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          Jun 22 2013: That's just not how it should be taught. Intelligent design is not a theory, there is no theory. It's purely just a thought. You can't just look at a tree and declare that someone made it. Intelligent design has already made a conclusion without any evidence. Science is supposed to work by evidence and then conclusions.
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    Jun 19 2013: John,

    Actually, the second...the one I made light of But, I go with Sagan. The numbers of probabilities is so great.
    To say that the just right situation on this planet created all we are and no where else, I am betting the odds.
    According to the sci-fy writers, mans coming face to face with another intelligent being would be traumatic, but I think it would be fantastic.
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    Jun 19 2013: Richard, I think, it could make sense to teach evolution of ideas in design and technology classes. Things that we traditionally think of as "created" do not seem to have a "creator", but rather have "evolved" from ideas and technologies of previous generations. This video made me think of this: http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html
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    Jun 14 2013: We could argue that there is no other Intelligent creatures in the universe capable of what to us would appear to be supernatural. What are the probabilities of that?

    But, let's just pose a question: " 2 billion years from now, if we don't destroy ourselves, how intelligent might we be?"

    What might we be capable of?

    Our children are born without much in the way of knowledge. We guide them and lead them to understand their world and reality. We prepare an environment for them to live in and be safe. How much knowledge to we have to impart to them to bring them to our level of understanding? How much do they learn on their own? Is it possible we could do this without them seeing us or being aware of our interaction?
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      Jun 15 2013: John I'm not sure how humans will evolve.

      We have had 400 years of modern science and look how far we have come.

      Imagine our technology in another 400?

      I would not be surprised if we might be changing our genes and DNA ourselves not relying on natural selection, no more cancer etc,
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        Jun 15 2013: Obey No1 kinobe. My reply to Mike applies to your comment as well. You two guys are pretty open minded and smart.
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      Jun 15 2013: I do hope you are correct in your assessment of our future. A recent study by British researchers claimed that the IQ has fallen since the 1850's. OK, it was a story. But when you look at the accomplishments in science and engineering from before the age of technology and what we are doing today, it would seem that man is turning to technology instead of his brain. My concern is that in the future smart computers and robots will figure out that they really don't need humans to clutter up their world.
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        Jun 15 2013: Well, its not really a prediction of the future. It was more of a question to make you think. I did not properly word it I guess.

        Let me put it this way. I'm a computer programmer. That is how I see the world. I took a course at Udactiy on Introduction to Evolution and Genetics. My purpose in studying Genetics it so I can get access the to data base where there are hundreds of years of data that we don't have computers fast enough process the information and discover all the information that lies there.

        Only recently has the Supreme court ruled that the human gene cannot be patented. This is just the first step. Organizations have patented many biological genes, making research into parts of the genomes impossible (at least here in the US.)

        I believe that DNA is programmable. I'm not certain to what degree this is possible but I think it may be possible to alter this code, in varying degrees.

        So, I ask myself, is it possible to program a human being through their DNA to have something similar to what we might call, a destiny?

        I spent a lot of time at the Discovery Institute reading. That place is nothing but a political mouth piece and I feel sorry for anyone who would take anything they read there seriously. I could write every thing I read there using a computer program. I believe it is all computer generated.

        Every story starts out the same, builds up your expectations of some revelation and then ends the same way, not revealing any information at all. It's programmed Rhetoric. There is no research into ID going on there. It is a conservative think tank and they tell you that up front. They use ID as a vehicle to further their political purposes on the simple minded.

        It does not, support the idea of ID, it misrepresents it by using it for political purposes. It's a sham.


        I was trying to get you guys up to think about the idea of programmed destiny. Are we just a form of robot? A smart, self-aware, biological robot.
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      Jun 19 2013: There are two schools of thought on sentient beings in our universe. Carl Sagan postulated that with the vast number of stars and adjoining planets, there would have to be intelligent life in our universe.
      A more recent theory says that there is only one smart cookie in the jar and it is us. Further, we should get off our duffs and fly to the stars and spread intelligence through out the universe. I pity the universe.
      Did I hear a rock star quoted..."there is intelligent life in the universe, just not here."
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    Jun 13 2013: I still think that the subject would be a great subject for discussion in an advanced class.
    If those of you so firmly believe that such a discussion would somehow divert promising young science students... I want to assure you that our young people aren't that gullible. Maybe one will become that researcher who determines once and for all if there was Intelligent design or not in the creation of our universe.
    Right now the best we can do on the subject goes from... "God did it" to " I don't know" to " Hell no, it could never happen"! I got to think the answer is in there somewhere.
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      Jun 13 2013: The difference is that in school, we teach facts. Theories present facts, theologies present faiths. Mandatory teaching of things that have no factual evidence are not right in the classroom. Intelligent design has too many gaps that are filled with "do not doubt god." For an advanced class, however, only if the class is solely based on intelligent design or theology studies. Devotion to intelligent design shouldn't be mandatory.
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        Jun 14 2013: Really, only facts are taught in schools?
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          Jun 14 2013: Tell me something taught in a mandatory curriculum that is not fact.
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        Jun 14 2013: Brandon,
        Do you really want to go there?
        Last chance!
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          Jun 14 2013: Oh boy.. I'm prepared to eat my words. Feed me
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        Jun 14 2013: In public schools :
        English, History, Music, Art, Biology, Physics, Civics just to name a few that have various levels of factual content. In fact, there is conjecture in every course taught.
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          Jun 14 2013: I would have to disagree.. I don't think any of these are wrong to teach.
        • Jun 19 2013: Mike, can you please tell me the conjecture taught in physics classes?
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        Jun 14 2013: Not wrong to teach, they are subjects that a not fully factual in their basis.
        Would it be wrong to address another theory in a class that is discussing theory, because someone says this is a factual theory and the other is not... and both theories are being addressed. I think that's funny. Two opinions who think each has the 100%, absolutely, positively correct position on the subjects.
        You're probably both wrong.
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          Jun 15 2013: Multiverse is a theory... M-theory is one, there are many theories. However intelligent design is not one. There is literally no scientist that has theorized it. For now it is still just a belief.
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        Jun 19 2013: Brendan, not all ideas represent facts or are based on facts. Language is not a factual subject. Literature does not study facts - mostly fiction. Both are required in school curricula. Mathematical "facts" are not facts of reality. They are abstract ideas.
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        Jun 19 2013: Facts are not the only thing that matters. There are also emotional experiences. Just teaching facts is rather pointless. What's important is the ability to make sense out of facts and emotions - interpret them. Theories don' t seem to present facts. Facts present themselves. Scientific theories interpret facts. So do theologies - different facts in a different way.
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      Jun 14 2013: I would support discussion in the appropriate forum.

      I'm not sure high school is the right place to be debating which aspects of science conflict with religious sensibilities.

      Also ID = creationism which is religious and doesn't belong in secular schools.

      The appeal to open debate etc seems to be a way to sneak in a religious viewpoint rejected by science.

      Science doesn't work by popular or religious opinion does it?

      If there was a religious studies class that taught about all religions creation myths, then fine and you wouldn't even need to try disguise it.

      Also if the parents want to teach their kids about creationism and talking donkeys and a god that drowned everyone, then they are free to indoctrinate their kids.
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      Jun 15 2013: Evolution is science, and only science should be taught and learned in science classes.
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    Jun 12 2013: My point has always been, that with the complexity of all the universe, most of which is way beyond our understanding, there is just too much consistency, that has come out of chaos. Chaos math guys tell us that there is consistency in chaos... OK, but in all our universe with all that it means, there is the time factor, 14 B years or 6 days as our creationist friends say.... I can't see that as sufficient time.
    The only plausible answer is that our universe got help. I don't know how, or who, or even why, but that is the only thing that makes sense to me.
    • Jun 12 2013: I like this line of thought Mike. I ultimately don't know how things came about. The organization of the chaos is mind boggling, especially on the level we see on the planet. Ultimately, we can't "prove" either theory. Why can't we allow for alternating views, regardless of which is right or wrong?

      At the end of the day, we are standing here and can't explain why. Arguing over how we got here is a bit silly. Scientifically speaking, it is a challenge to wrestle with and a good conversation, but ultimately, it doesn't change the fact that I stand here today. Why couldn't there be a higher power out there helping us out? It add a bit of mystery to the universe.

      In the end, it is not something I spend a lot of time dwelling upon.
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        Jun 13 2013: How did we get here? I'd like to recommend the book "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss since you seem so misinformed of origins. It is a very possibility that you can get something from nothing, and a catalyst is not required. And maybe you really should dwell more time on it before concluding your reasoning.
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          Jun 13 2013: Krauss is good but his book is about a plausible theory. I have a plausible theory, we all have plausible theory's.
        • Jun 13 2013: You assume in error. I am very aware, and knowledgeable, about the theories that exist as to the beginning of our existence as a species. I am also aware that science can not prove one theory over another at this point. There is evidence supporting one theory over another, that would be accurate to say. However, it is still a theory. Evolution is not scientific Law, which has very specific guidelines, it remains a theory. Plausible? Sure, of course it is and science is generally supporting that theory with evidence over ID. No question. But still a theory.

          My thought is simple, why can't we leave a little to wonder and the imagination? In this thread, there appears to be no room for the "maybe". No matter how small.

          I would put forth that I am here today. I know how I generally got here, but I don't know how I evolved from single DNA strands banging together in some historical ooze. Nor do I know if a higher being put forth some "magic" that sparked the existence of what now existis. At the end of the day, I have about 80 years to exist. To spend a great deal of time worrying about how humans came into existence is for those scientists who make it their life work. Me, I prefer to leave it at wonder, and not trouble with it while I spend my life living.
      • Jun 14 2013: Everett, you stated:

        "I am also aware that science can not prove one theory over another at this point."

        Very true- science has never been about "proving" definitively. Science is about first coming up with ideas, which, depending on the type of idea, will be considered either a hypothesis, a theory, or a law. Once you have an idea, you then choose those which have the best evidence to support them and those whose predictions are best confirmed.

        "There is evidence supporting one theory over another, that would be accurate to say. However, it is still a theory. Evolution is not scientific Law, which has very specific guidelines, it remains a theory. Plausible? Sure, of course it is and science is generally supporting that theory with evidence over ID. No question. But still a theory."

        A scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted on the same exact basis- amount of evidence, not absolute proof. Neither a theory nor a law can have or will ever have absolute proof- that is not what sets them apart. What them apart is in the type of statements they make and in the expansiveness of the statements. A law states a singular property of Nature- Energy is conserved, F=ma, Entropy never decreases, etc etc.
        A theory on the other hand does not state, it explains and describes, and is therefore focused on much more than a single property of Nature. The theory of evolution explains and describes how life came to be so diverse using the concept of decent with modification (notice the theory of evolution says NOTHING about the origin of life- that is left to the abiogenesis) , the theory of relativity describes a universe in which the law that the speed of light is constant holds, etc.
      • Jun 14 2013: "My thought is simple, why can't we leave a little to wonder and the imagination? In this thread, there appears to be no room for the "maybe". No matter how small. "

        Imagination is of central importance in the sciences. How do you think Einstein came up with his ideas?
        The thing is, imagination is not enough. You can say "maybe" all you like, but if you want to present your ideas as more than mere speculation to be taken lightly, you must present evidence, or at least a sound mathematical argument in those cases where experimentation is not immediately possible.
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      Jun 14 2013: Hi Mike

      I also don't fully understand how a fertilized egg develops in a apple or a rabbit or a human. But I suggest this is not sufficient reason to assume invisible agency at work arranging the molecules and cells etc.

      I really can't imagine an atom, or what an electron is and the forces that hold it together. But I suggest this is not sufficient reason to suggest a god is helping.

      Previously people did not have germ theory, so they thought gods or evil spirits were responsible.

      I suggest your line of thinking is a bit similar to this. Agency assumption is pretty human.

      Not being able to grasp the complexity of the universe or having a full explanation that your human mind can accept is not a reason to believe in gods. I guess what you are proposing is either an argument from ignorance or an argument from incredulity.

      I can't grasp or accept it so a god must have done it.
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    Jun 11 2013: I am still at a loss as why this is a bad idea for discussion in an advanced AP course as an intellectual exercise. I mean we are talking about a subject as expansive as the universe. What better. I don't think that such a discussion would change the world or cause the sun to nova. And if I was in such a class at that age, I would have loved it.
    • Jun 11 2013: This is a copy of my reply to Scott Armstrong:

      High school students are students, still learning about the world and how to think about these questions. They are not equipped to make up their own mind about matters of physics, statistics and history. Teachers are responsible for teaching the truth. The truth is that we have absolutely no way of knowing what happened prior to the initiation of this universe. We have zero knowledge about what caused this universe. When that has been explained to the students, a lively discussion about possible causes would be interesting, providing it is understood that all such discussion is pure speculation.
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    Jun 11 2013: Your probability argument is probably bogus.

    its a bit like the argument that a god must have guided all your ancestors to breed so that you might exist.

    Do you know what the probability is that your parents met and had you. That you didn't turn out with the DNA of other potential siblings. It is infinitesimal. Yet here you are.

    Even just the odds of your parents meeting and procreating might be 1 in how many.
    Lets be conservative and assume they lived in a town with just 10 people of the opposite sex of the appropriate age. Say a 10% chance your parents meet and procreate.
    10% for both pairs of grand parents. 1/100
    Then 10% for your four pairs of great grand parents. 1/10000

    So just going back 3 generations with ridiculously conservative probabilities of meeting and procreating, the odds of your parents and their parents and their parents meeting so that there is a chance someone you might be born is 1/10,000,000. This is ignoring the incredibly small odds of each child/parent having the genes they do.


    Also how do you know the odds of this universe existing? What are the alternatives? Do we know of other universes that are different to this?

    Re the appearance of fine tuning, could it have been any other way? Do we have reference points? If the tuning was different then things would be different. We might not be here. Why the universe is all about humans. It only seems to revolve around us, like we assumed the sun did, that the earth was the centre of the universe but it is not.

    I honestly don't know enough about the status of the multiverse hypothesis and whether there is compelling evidence to support it. I assume it has some basis in our physical understanding.

    Even it was just pure speculation by a 5 year old, it would be just strong a position as say this god did it, or that, or a committee of 10 billion, because they are all arguments from ignorance.

    How do you know that millions of more advanccivilizations have developed and died out b4 us?
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      Jun 11 2013: I am still uncomfortable with your finality.

      I was a builder. I helped create buildings for people. We put toilets in the buildings. Could I tell you who was going to use that toilet? No. of course not, but I knew there would be a need someday for someone to use the toilet.

      I am the Intelligent Designer... stay with me... Do I know that your grandparents would meet and procreate and your parents would meet and procreate... No. Didn't know, don't care. I just designed a system that somewhere, someone would procreate.

      Now, what if the designers who created this blueprint because their universe was at an end and they don't exist any more. Preposterous? Anymore so then 14 B years ago, there was this bang and stuff happened?
      That's my thoughts
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        Jun 12 2013: I was mainly referring to the argument about the probability of things being exactly as they are now are so small this suggests some agency.

        The examples are about showing that the probabilities of things in nature or the material world with an element of randomeness are are often small, but in most cases there is no good reason to assume a guiding hand.

        You are talking now of a more deistic concept. Non interventionist universe creators setting things in motion.

        What is the probability they would make a universe that looks like this. What is the probability this type of being exists compared to some sort of natural event or process. How?

        Subjecting this idea to the same incredulity as you do to the possibility of universe without some god like agency behind it you end up in a worse mess. Now you have even more to explain, based on a speculation based on ignorance not evidence.

        Thirdly I suggest it is more preposterous to assert or suggest a supernatural agency when there is no evidence of anything of the sort in anything in the universe we have looked at and can test. Everything else is natural. The best science we have around the origins of the cosmos is not pointing to any magic causes.

        It is also preposterous in my opinion for the reason highlighted by your hypothesis that it was a some hidden and unknowible designers with an intent based on their universe being at an end.

        You are proposing a complex speculative hypothesis with agency and even claiming to know their intent. Is there any reason to believe this? IS there any evidence for this. No.

        It is only possible because you can not disprove it. Preposterous indeed.

        And enlightening because it is a wonderful parallel to theist beliefs claiming a specific agency with some intent based entirely on speculation, no evidence and not subject to testing.

        There are unlimited unverifiable explanations whose only strength is they can not be disproven. Speculate fine. Asserting these is a little preposte
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      Jun 11 2013: "Probably bogus" Obey no1 kinobe? That's pretty inductive.
      Can't you spread some real butter on the bread instead of Margarine?
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        Jun 14 2013: I use margarine as less saturated fat, except for real cooking
  • Jun 11 2013: Isn't intelligent design just a cover for creationalism?
    • Jun 11 2013: ID was inspired by creationism, but is now beginning to become a distinct entity apart from creationism. Many scientists look at the natural world and see support for intelligent design. As indicated below the definition of science may change and that under this new definition, ID might be considered science.
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      Jun 11 2013: Yes it is.
      Creator and Intelligent designer are interchangeable.
      My understanding is creationism is considered religious and is not allowed to be taught in US schools due to the constitution prohibiting the government establishing religion

      ID is an attempted way around this.
      Basically trying to undermine science, evolution and support a creationist view.
      Evidence included draft manuscripts with creator prior to swapping to intelligent designer
      It also failed the religious test in US court cases.

      It also fails as science. It is basically an argument from ignorance, sometimes feigned ignorance.
      E.g. ID proponents claim some aspects of biology could not occur with out some agency.
      They assert things like the bacterial flagellum, immune systems etc are irreducibly complex. That they could not evolve. That precursors with some of the parts have no function. Proven false by biologists. E.g. Some of the components of the bacterial flagellum make up other cellular parts with other function e.g. injecting. Ie potential precursors exist. And even if they don't they may have in the past.

      Its essentially saying some magic being must be responsible for life rather than natural processes, natural selection etc which is well established and also the bits where we don't have well established theories backed by evidence.

      Its like saying is life is so complex, a designer must have done it. It doesn't answer how the designer did it, or provide evidence for the existence or nature of the designer. Not that scientific. In addition to being a fallacious argument from ignorance, it is also a false dichotomy. Once you open the door to unexplained speculative causes for which there is no evidence and may be supernatural there are as many other possible causes as you can imagine.

      Why not a committee of designers, designed by another designer
      Why not our universe being the outcome of some random even in another dimension.
      OR the result of an unconscious dream of some magical being etc
      • Jun 11 2013: We must separate "creator" from creationist; while a creator can loosely be defined as any process that allows life to exist or the universe to exist can be called a "creator". However, I reject the Creationist argument for irreducible parts as a red herring. The Bible is a poor source for science so I reject any ID argument that depends on the Bible.

        Until or unless we can create a singularity in the laboratory, it is not observable, measurable or reproducible, thus it is not science. The origin of the universe remains a mystery offering considerable room for speculation. According to the "old" definition of science maybe some day we can replicate the starting point of the universe; at this point a singularity rises to the level of science. Under my new "definition" of science appealing to singularities would be scientific right now.
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          Jun 12 2013: I suggest a creator is not a process by most definitions. It implies a person or agent.

          We agree on the irreducible complexity being bunk it seems.

          I understand what you mean about not being able to observe or replicate the early stages of this phase of the cosmos.

          However I guess the scientists are basing their models working back from what we observe and the phyical laws etc. E.g. the radiation from the big bang has been detected. They galaxies are observed to be moving away from each other it. There is sound science behind the age of the universe. Also we can look through hubble and see things that happened billions of years ago.

          Its not complete speculation. There are aspects we can test or look to verify via observation, if not repeat the actual event itself.

          We haven't known about pluto as long as it is predicted to take to orbit the sun. We can not test a full orbit in a lab but we can make reasonable deductions . We can not reproduce the life cycle and demise of our local star, the sun, but that does not mean we can not make reasonable scientific deductions.

          Sure its not the same as dropping a weight and seeing how long it takes to hit the ground, but we can still do science without being able to reproduce every natural phenomena in its entirety.

          Whereas there is absolutely nothing we can model or look to for purely supernatural claims.
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      Jun 11 2013: cintelligent designism
    • Jun 12 2013: Look for cdesign proponentsists.
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    Jun 11 2013: With regard to information there is a prevailing sense that whatever is not Science is Religion. How about a better name than "Religion" for the many gaps where Science has not yet proclaimed itself to have total, or near-total understanding? Should Science be allowed to label everything they are unable to understand and conform to some Theory as "Religion"? I don't think so. In fact, it seems arrogant and unscientific to say "Everything we have not been able to explain is not now, and never will be, Science! The necessary implication is, "We know all the Science, so if we don't know something it can't be Science." Let's allow for yet-to-be-understood-Science. Maybe we could call it "Hidden Truth", or "Undiscovered Beauty". Science ain't omniscient.
    • Jun 11 2013: One of the basic assumptions that anti-ID devotees make is that the definition of science is immutable. What if we simple alter the definition of science according to the following new guideline?

      Science is any endeavor that can reasonably be inferred from observations, measurements or replication of the natural world.
      • Jun 11 2013: Your definition does not apply to ID. ID has done nothing to establish itself as a reasonable inference rom observations, measurements or replication of the natural world. At best, and forgetting what they truly do, it would be a very wild guess whose only basis is scientific illiteracy and fallacious rhetoric.
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      Jun 11 2013: G'Day Sir,
      You may also refer to it as a blind fixation on a singular point of view. In true science, the results of the experiments lead to the conclusion not the other way around. But, if you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure that there was no I D in the evolution of the universe, well then, case closed. No discussion. Why would someone continue on with this conversation.
      Myself, I am not sure. Have all the variables been examined and discussed. Is there another point of view that could shed some light on the subject? Again, I don't know.
      • Jun 11 2013: "In true science, the results of the experiments lead to the conclusion not the other way around."

        Agreed. So where are those experiments leading to the conclusion that intelligence is involved in anything about the origins of the universe or of biological entities? Where the data demonstrating the existence of intelligences around the times proposed? Where anything other than some fixation that intelligence must have been involved if they can deny enough scientific understanding to make such wild guesses?
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          Jun 13 2013: I looked. You are right, there haven't been any announcements of research on intelligent design by a major university or similar research facility. There maybe some small functions out here, but....
          What I did learn is that most of them are not so much looking for how it happened but just what all did happen. Maybe, we are just premature. Maybe in a couple of hundred years, when we pretty much figure out what happened, they could look
          more into how and why. And who too!
      • Jun 12 2013: This will address your comment and that of Entropy Driven above. First: "Myself, I am not sure. Have all the variables been examined and discussed. Is there another point of view that could shed some light on the subject? Again, I don't know." That is my view, also.

        As far as Entropy Driven's comment, I would invert the question. What experiments, observations or measurements would you accept as consistent with ID?
    • Jun 11 2013: My friend edward,

      I don't label anything that is not science as religion. But ID is religion 100% just disguised behind science sounding parlance. No scientist that I know labels everything that is not science as religion. That ID is creationism in disguise is a well established fact. I did not suddenly decide that it was religion. I have read their crap, and their crap is classic creationism blaming Darwin and materialism for everything they don;t like, and then filled with such fallacious rhetoric as building straw-men of the sciences they don't like, and misinformation. I cannot be faulted for the disingenuous tactics of the IDers.
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        Jun 11 2013: Very well. I will not hold you accountable for actions you have not committed. I do hope you are not insinuating that no one is guilty of the grave epistemological blunder of classifying all information as either Science or Religion/Metphysics/Spirituality. There is a category of undiscovered Truth. Should we incorporate the idea of a cosmology/cosmogony based on the idea of generation and operation of the Universe by a rational, intelligent mind/being into the curriculum of our public schools?
      • Jun 11 2013: We have to agree to disagree. I agree with Ed that "there is a category of undiscovered Truth." I reject religion so that when you quote what ID proponents are promoting, it is not what I am promoting i.e. open discussion of the topic without pigeon-holing it as religion. Maybe that is what ID proponents are doing---and I reject it, but endorse a discussion of ID as something other than religion.

        The slope is slippery, though, and open to abuse by "overly" religious teachers, so the suggestion of it being part of the debating club might be more appropriate.
    • Jun 12 2013: Talking about "the idea of generation and operation of the Universe by a rational, intelligent mind/being" in science would be wrong for as long as there's no scientific data leading in that direction. It would be fine for something like philosophy, but the consequences could be disastrous for religions, and that could, inadvertently, put the governments in the position of promotion of anti-religious views. I think such curricula would not please religious people one bit.

      By the way, I have to insist. Metaphysics is not the same as religion. Metaphysics is not spirituality either. Both religion and spirituality might affect your metaphysics, but metaphysics is neither.

      Sure, some people might go all the way to divide everything into either religion or science. That does not mean that such is the majority. Yet, your cartoon is still very far from any reality that I live within the scientific community.

      Of course theres a category of undiscovered truth. Otherwise we scientists would be out of a job. How many times should I say that we know that we don't know everything? There might be things we will never know. That still is very far from giving any credence to ID. ID is still creationism in disguise. It still has no scientific anything for it. I said it many times already: if they want ID in science class, they have to go through science, not through courts, not through rhetorical fallacies, not through political discourse, not through misinformation about the sciences: they have to go through science and let it take its course. Why is this so hard to understand?
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    Jun 11 2013: Why are we still talking about creationism?

    The conversation is should we teach (or how about contrast and compare) random evolution in the establishment of our universe and a planned evolution of an intelligent design.
    With the sad state of affairs in our current public education, I am not sure that it would be useful. In an AP class or similar advanced education program, I believe that the subject would provide a great exercise in mental agility to consider all the ramifications of our universe and how it came to be.
    There is no need to inject a religious connotation (creationism) into this conversation. I would point out that religion either the belief in or the belief not in are beliefs. And lest I remind you, belief is a matter of opinion. We can not prove or disprove beliefs.
    I am not sure if the universe came about as a series random acts or was there some plan by someone or something that laid it all out. I've read all I could, considered all possibilities and came to the conclusion... I can't hazard a guess. The is one thing that makes me lean toward the I D side is that I can't fathom the number of random combinations it would take to make all this happen.
    • Jun 11 2013: Mike,

      How many times should I repeat that the random versus intelligence is a false dichotomy? If we scientists thought that the natural world is pure randomness we would not be looking for patterns, laws, and other inclinations in nature. That's not how scientists view reality. The either pure randomness or pure intelligence is a false dichotomy established by creationists as a rhetorical device to convince those who do not understand science enough. But this fallacious rhetoric does not help us communicate with each other, does it?

      As per considering intelligence to be involved. It is not that we deny the possibility a priory. It is much more that we know that just saying that an intelligence was involved is not enough, we need at least two ingredients before going there:

      1. Evidence that there is/was intelligences around with enough technology to do the deed.
      2. Establish whether natural processes could not do the deed.

      As humanity, we have been fooled into thinking that volcanoes were angry intelligences with no other reasoning but thinking that destruction could only come from human-like anger. A natural inclination because we are so familiar with our own behaviours than with the bigger, and smaller, scale natural world. But that was far from scientific. It was imagination gone wild.

      In science we do propose hypotheses, often educated ones, sometimes very wild ones. As such, people and scientists are free to think that maybe ID. However, it does not become science until there's clear scientific work pointing to intelligence rather than merely guessing intelligence out of scientific illiteracy and religious inclinations. I have said it many times here: if ID wants to get into the classroom, they better start doing science instead of their rhetorical, political, and legal actions. They should do science and let it take its course.
      • Jun 12 2013: Let us discuss these two observations,
        "1. Evidence that there is/was intelligences around with enough technology to do the deed.
        2. Establish whether natural processes could not do the deed."

        We have gone from inventing the wheel to landing a man on the moon and countless other accomplishments in just 10,000 years. Can we really put limitations on an intelligence 1 billion more advanced than us?

        That we cannot provide evidence of this process may simply because we lack the technology to do it; in the mean time we have circumstantial evidence (at least according to some scientists).

        Why would you say that natural processes have to be ruled out as incompatible with ID? I would suggest the opposite. If the natural world is a by product of ID wouldn't you predict that it would have certain properties that are consistent with ID e.g. the "fine-tuning" argument.

        Frankly, what concerns me more about ID is what kind of cruel monster would build into the whole system survival of the fittest? Nature is savage and brutal when viewed through the lens of survival of the fittest. What could be worse than the predator/prey relationship? Maybe when Christ referred to the wolf lying down with the lamb he was implying the end of the predator/prey relationship.
        • Jun 12 2013: "Can we really put limitations on an intelligence 1 billion more advanced than us?"

          Do you have any evidence that there's an intelligence "1 billion more advanced than us"? Maybe we lack the technologies to find the evidence, but then why put forward such things as ID in the science curriculum is we have no scientific access to such speculation? When will this be clear to you? Hey, volcanoes produce fires bigger than ours, therefore their fires were intelligently produced! Hey, we can't put limitations on an intelligence much bigger than ours! Therefore we should teach that volcanoes have intelligently produced fires! See the problems yet?

          The IDers don't even have "circumstantial" evidence. They suffer from science illiteracy and promote religious agendas, not evidence.

          I did not say that natural processes have to be ruled out as incompatible with ID. i said that we should be able to establish that natural processes could not have done whatever is been used as "circumstantial" evidence for ID. There's a big difference. I know we can produce fire. Before blaming people on that forest, I should first establish if people was there around making little fires, and that the fire was not produced by something like lighting hitting inflammable materials. And here at least we know that there's intelligences that could make such fires!

          The fine-tuning argument is fallacious. I have explained why to you already.

          What concerns me about ID is that it relies on people's ignorance and scientific illiteracy combined with very poor philosophy.
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          Jun 12 2013: richard extrapolating out from what we have achieved to universe creation is not really evidence of universe creators is it.

          Also I suggest universe creation is an entirely different category to any thing a biological creature such as humans have been able to build. We have always made stuff from other stuff. Not stuff from nothing, and nothing that remotely points to universe creation.

          Then you come back to the argument maybe we don't have the capability to detect real evidence of this universe creators. Exactly. Maybe we should wait to we have evidence before we give credence to any of the supernatural type arguments.

          Once you accept any explanation as a meaningful possibility because it can not be disproven or proven, then just about anything goes.

          We don't have the capability to detect dragons from other dimensions that play chess and create universes when bored. So they can not be ruled out for the same reasons.

          But where did the dragon creators come from? We also can not rule out that they were created by some other supernatural agency and so on and so on.

          Finally you are saying the universe creator might have created the universe the way it seems to be, with natural laws and processes. Isn't that rather circular?

          My invisible friend bob told me that is exactly what he did. He made the universe yesterday looking exactly how it did yesterday, complete with memories and the appearance it was older and built in natural processes.
  • Jun 10 2013: The TED Translator Jimmy Strobl stated, "ID cannot be tested, a central part for obtaining truth." Not so according to Monton. He gives a specific case where, for example, a pulsar could be demonstrated to communicate in Morse Code. Then this communication becomes a discussion of science and the pulsar provides a blueprint to perform a set of experiments that result in test results that appear to be miraculous---I think you know where this is going. The blanket statement that ID cannot be tested is not universally accepted.
    • Jun 11 2013: It doesn't matter. ID will not be teachable science for as long as instead of science those guys dedicate their lives to promoting the idea instead of actually doing science. To get into the science classroom, it has to go through scientific validation. ID at best would be an idea. Even if we forgot that it is mere creationism in disguise, it just has nothing scientific going for it.

      Show me that pulsar and I will start thinking of a pulsar manipulated by some intelligence. That would not tell me that the universe was intelligently designed though. But show me that pulsar. Show me the tools used by a proposed designer of life. Show me the labs. Show me the methods a designer used to build the universe. Show me that a designer could exist outside the universe and have the power to build it with whatever constants the designer wanted it to have. Show me how physics constants can be manipulated by designers. Show me that no natural phenomena could produce a universe such as ours too. Don't rely on fallacious thinking to do any of that. Show me the evidence. Don't just tell me that a designer "is a better explanation." It is not if you can't show evidence for a designer in the first place.

      I repeat, if somebody wants something in science, they better start doing science rather than propose designers because they can't figure out a natural answer out of their scientific illiteracy.
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        Jun 11 2013: Just a quick question? What if I could show you everything that you've asked to see. Would you believe that there was an Intelligent Designer that caused the universe to evolve as it has? Or (as I would bet) would you accuse me of some hocus pocus to fool you.
        Why do I think that there is no science here, but... wait for it... you have religion. Not like most religions, but the religion that holds there is no God.
        • Jun 11 2013: If anybody could show us the evidence for everything I am asking for, then ID would already be in the classroom Mike. My opinion would not matter one bit. I add that I am not one to deny reality. If there's evidence, then I am wrong no matter what my preferences could be. But I need evidence,not the current fallacious rhetoric, politics, and science illiteracy shown by the IDers. Rhetoric works well with the uneducated, but it won't work with me.

          What about you? How many times will it take before you understand that the either random or intelligence is a false dichotomy?
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      Jun 11 2013: Richard,
      You got to give credit... Jimmy is correct. I D can't be tested. However, neither can the big bang. How did they come to the conclusion that there was. Arithmetic. Advanced maybe, but arithmetic. It went something like this.
      Galaxies, nebula, various and a sundry cosmic matter seem to be moving. Well, they measured the movement, calculated the beginning point and determined about how long it had all been going on. they went on to find that all that material came form about the same place at about the same time, it must have been all together and exploded to give the energy to move all that matter all that way. So, out of that explosion, things combined and other things were formed and and and.... here we are today some 14 billion years later, sentient beings on a small planet, by a nondescript star at the trailing end of a mediocre galaxy...
      The odds of all this coming together is astronomical. But,
      have we the same problem with I D, the universe came into being the same way, using the same arithmetic. But, we add a plan. The odds go way down. Questions of who, what, when, where and why, mystifying
      aren't they.
      • Jun 11 2013: That depends on how you define testing. The supposition is that we presently lack the capacity to test ID, and, therefore, it can never be tested. Do we know what our capabilities to "test" in the future will be? In the future will we be able to exhibit "god-like" powers? We already know how to duplicate the energy of the sun. If we evolve a billion years can you be certain we will never be able to test the origin of the universe?
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          Jun 11 2013: I know my scientific illiteracy is showing, but, the question comes to I D or no I D.
          But, if we apply this strict "science" standard to everything, we would have never known that OJ was innocent of killing his wife. There was no science to prove or disprove it. There would have been no trail and therefore no verdict.
          But, that is not what happened, we came to a conclusion based on the most likely scenario with out conclusive scientific proofs. It happens all the time.
          So, in my debating literacy, I leave it to be judged. Is there enough evidence to support consideration that there maybe Intelligent Design in the creation of the universe?
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      Jun 11 2013: Too me it appears as if ID sprang out of ideas of miracles as being the transformation of the unknowable into knowable terms. When you try to apply this method to every miracle mentioned in the bible, it fails. So, the method is untrustworthy.
      • Jun 12 2013: An interesting concept---I like to think of Genesis as God the Punisher. Humanity suffers mightily so we must have done something terribly "wrong". Misery begat the concept of God the Punisher.

        What could be worse than disobeying God (Adam) or steering a noble Adam down the wrong path (Eve)?
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          Jun 12 2013: Interesting personal inflection Richard. I never took you for the Religions type, though I don't see where anything I said had anything to do with God. My focus is on Creationism, Intelligent Design and Evolution -not in a biblical sense.

          Genesis is OK, but wouldn't focusing on Genesis, a Judo-christian ideology, be an injustice to religion as a whole? Some religions don't have a Genesis story along the same lines. Some eastern religions talk about a group of people who came from another Galaxy and fought over the earth. After winning the battle, they created men to serve their purpose. A current resurrection is taking place in India, where they talk about aliens visiting the earth to collect some resources. They became engaged with humans and even Bombed a city (currently being investigated by archaeologist) for one of the kings in the local neighborhood. They taught men how to fly in their aircraft, etc.

          None of this religious stuff is static anymore. Lots of activity springing up involving religion, Archeology, Palaeontology, etc. around the Planet. If your going to comment on it, you need to keep updated.


          Your not trying to slap some kind of label on my head are you?
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    Jun 10 2013: Richard Moody Jr. Stated: " Interesting about predicting the future. We need only consider the loss of civility over the past 40 years (roughly coinciding with the computer revolution) to suggest, if anything, we are becoming far less noble...

    There have been times of peace between people much further back than 40 years. How do you account for that? Peace is obtainable, other wise we wouldn't fight about it so much. The fact we contend with one another amounts to a testament that we all think it is a possibility. WWII did come to an end.

    Richard there is no reply function to your last statement so I can't reply to it. You need to move it up into the general discussion area. sorry.
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    Jun 10 2013: Creationism vs Intelligent design vs Evolution.

    Evolution is a post Creation process. It requires some elementary attributes before it can be introduced into the idea of reality or the question of how did the Universe, as we perceive it, come to be.

    Intelligent Design must be introduced after the Idea of Creationism is defined.

    All that is required for a Universe to come into being is a sufficient supply of hydrogen atoms be collected together within a framework of space-time and the process proceeds according to a
    pre-defined, equation of interactions. The understanding of this interactive process is easily within the grasp of the intelligence of most humans and does not require God like super intelligence to describe.

    Putting Intelligent design and Evolution aside, we are looking at the single idea of Creationism, which is: how did the first atom become and how was space-time formed to contain it? Are the two a continuum of the same thing?

    This is the starting point of a proper discussion on this issue. All other implications about Intelligent Design and Evolution are successors to any discussion on Creationism.

    So, what would be a good definition for Creationism?

    I would offer it is the simple act of bringing reality, as we perceive it, into existence. Is it possible to define this event within the confines of Science? I don't think so. Is it possible to define under the confines of Religious thinking? I don't think so.

    So, what form of thinking should we use to define that act of creation?

    The word continuum is a curious word but it only means that something can exist as a cause of itself. That is, the Universe (substance) is inter-bound with the field of energy and motion that contains it. You can't have one without the other. Substance causes the field of energy that contains the substance. Like a magnetic field exists as a product of the substance that is magnetized. It is a condition of existence between the field and the magnet.
    • Jun 10 2013: You can respond here, John, to my previous comment you couldn't respond to in another post (I have had the same problem once a reply has been replied to twice).

      Creationism means to me the Biblical account of Creation and a literal reading of Genesis. Intelligent design was inspired by Creationism; as I indicated I reject Creationism but am ambivalent to Intelligent Design. Here is, perhaps, the best definition of ID given in Monton's book, "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain global features (as opposed to building the pyramids) of the universe are BEST EXPLAINED (i.e. not the only explanation) by an intelligent cause, or that certain biologically innate features of living things are BEST EXPLAINED by the intentional actions of an intelligent cause which is not biologically related to the living things, no an undirected process such as natural selection."

      I would add than any intelligent being that wished to permit the universe to arise by "chance" could do so.
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        Jun 11 2013: Thank you Richard.

        If you read this definition, it undermines Religion. It leaves open the idea that Meteorites, or Intelligent Space beings could have started life on this earth. This is in direct contradiction to all the main stream religions that believe in the one God Theory: that is, God created the earth and life on this planet and made man into an image of himself and gave man Dominion over the Earth.

        It is precisely why I say that you have to proceed from Creationism when trying to understand the framework of an idea that reveals, so called, divine creation.

        ID as it is being taught today, is more of a replacement for the Theory of Evolution. But, as I stated, Evolution cannot occur unless the elements, with their attributes were create first.

        So, the real question is and always has been, how did the Universe come into being and we already know, and it is an intelligent conjecture, that a large quantity of hydrogen condensing into Suns, and those Suns, creating the elements and exploding them into space can create a Universes such as we live in.

        As to life.... either God created it and the whole Universe or Evolutionary forces, which are a condition of the environment, or a Meteorite with per-existing life, created life on this earth.

        The question of where the idea of life and Universe came from is up for grabs, in today's modern world. It is no longer the sole property of the Vatican, the Jews, or Islam or ancient Eastern Religions.
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    Jun 10 2013: Yes!
    I agree that the possibility of our universe; all that's in it; all that it means did not just happen. It is too calculated, well thought out if you will. I have maintained that if cosmologist are correct that some mass or whatever exploded into a big bang and began the creation of our universe that all the plans, algorithms, materials, whatever need to be all the universe is, was in that little ball.

    So, is our universe a culmination of a well thought out series of events or it was just the best roll of the dice ever.
    So, can we absolutely positively say it was just a random series of events? No, not really.
    Can we say that it was a couple of guys sitting around a bar some 14 B years ago talking about starting a universe with living entities.... that's a stretch.
    What about biblical creationism. Most major religions hold biblical accounts as theological treaties. Basically saying that scientists can search for and prove whatever they can search for and prove.
    Now, Could God have created all this as it is noted in the bible, et el. OK.
    We can no more prove or disprove scientifically the existence of God then we can prove or disprove anything about the beginning of our universe.
    Now some will say that there is no God and no intelligent design because they don't believe in such. This belief is opinion regardless of all the "scientific" proof offered. Others believe that there is a God and everything happened about 6000 years ago in between two rivers in Iraq. Again, belief is opinion regardless of the eternal damnation they can muster.
    As far as educating in high school on the origins of the universe, why not. Both points of view can be presented as unresolved scientific theory. The matter of biblical creationism could be added not as a religious treatise but rather another point of view on the subject. Teaching is about exposing students to ideas, not just "facts".
    • Jun 10 2013: I was going to answer this, then I remembered that calling a spade a spade is vitriol.
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        Jun 10 2013: I think you can if you try. I have faith in you.
    • Jun 10 2013: We have a sad state of affairs in education in New York; we spend the most on education but rank only 30th in competence; the problem with teaching controversial topics is that they compete with student's precious few hours in the class room. Think of how many undergraduate careers have foundered on the hard reality of where jobs are available e.g. many of the social sciences prepare students to be teachers---and precious little else. I found philosophy in college fascinating, but how many philosophy majors find jobs in their field?

      The biggest problem teaching ID is, in my opinion, that it does little to prepare the student for college and even less towards a career---it is all a question of where we should focus our educational systesm---like it or not we can steer students towards STEM or health care---or we can steer them towards retail or fast food restaurants.
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        Jun 10 2013: A valid point. Our education system leaves a lot to be desired. It's a whole other conversation on where the public education system failed. It seems that the year after I graduated, it all went to hell.
        My kid brother says that you could write a book on what he didn't learn.
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    Jun 9 2013: Hell no. If they teach it when I get to that class, I'm confronting the school board.

    And there is not a just a lottery chance that we got here. The Multiverse theory applies that there are infinite universes, so it is just an inevitability that we are here, and that there may well possibly be another universe with me typing the opposite.

    Of course there are many theories to how we got here though. That's the beauty of scientific discovery.
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    Jun 9 2013: do you mean teach or indoctrinate?

    delivering a curriculum is always, unfortunately, open to political and religious agendas.

    for me, there should always be debate, allowing students and young people to make up their own mind so it should be discussed, but without bias on the part of the teacher.

    this is, of course, an ideal and not likely to be applied to real schools.
    • Jun 11 2013: High school students are students, still learning about the world and how to think about these questions. They are not equipped to make up their own mind about matters of physics, statistics and history. Teachers are responsible for teaching the truth. The truth is that we have absolutely no way of knowing what happened prior to the initiation of this universe. We have zero knowledge about what caused this universe. When that has been explained to the students, a lively discussion about possible causes would be interesting, providing it is understood that all such discussion is pure speculation.
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        Jun 11 2013: i think you underestimate the faculties of young adults. suggesting that high school students are ignorant blank sheets of paper that need the 'truth' to be taught to them does sound like indoctrination.

        I'm not sure why people are expected to make up their minds about anything. Especially about something as irrelevant as how it all started.

        religion and the psuedo-science that has sprung up around it is something to be discussed at home, not in schools but that's my opinion and many people feel the same about sex ed.
  • Jun 9 2013: You can separate church from state but you can't separate church from ID. It is a religious discussion...this has been established by the US Supreme court on a number of cases
    There are other "natural" reasons why Higgs is the power that it is and dark energy has the power levels that we see and these do not require the creation of an infinite deity who has manipulated the creation of our universe. I am referring to the multiverse hypothesis. ID is only thinly disguised religious creationism and has no place in a science class no matter how disconcerting you find the multiverse hypothesis.
    • Jun 9 2013: An interesting book by Bradley Monton, "Seeking God in Science An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design" covers the trial where ID was struck down. Here is a key part of that trial:

      "Jones (US Federal judge Jone E Jones III was the presiding judge in Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Are School District , et al.), in support of his demarcation criterion of methodological naturalism, cites the definition of science from the prestigious National Academy of Sciences"

      "Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from the confirmable data---the results obtained through observation and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based upon empirical evidence are not part of science."

      Just after this quote, Jones says that, "This rigorous attachment to 'natural' explanations is an essential attribute to science by definition and convention." But as Monton points out, "But in fact the NAS definition never makes reference to 'natural' explanations--there is no restriction to naturalism at all in the definition."

      Monton then provides an experimental test of supernatural causation.

      We might take heed of the advice of Larry Laudan, "If we stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like 'pseudo-science' and 'unscientific from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases which do only emotive work for us."

      From Monton, "If our goal is to believe truth and avoid falsehood, and if we are rational people who take into account evidence in deciding what to believe, then we need to focus on the question of what evidence there is for and against intelligent design." "But sometimes it is more important to be intellectually honest than to do what it takes to stop people from doing something you don't like."
      • Jun 9 2013: So, you are basing your argument for ID in a science classroom on the definition of "natural"?
        To my understanding, ID has never produced any evidence for a supernatural creation, it only speculates because the ID proponent does not know or can not imagine an evolutionary solution to some biological device.
        Strip the lawereeze away and ID is still creationism that falls back onto religion for its answer, not science.
        • Jun 9 2013: I am a firm believer that the earth is about 4.5 billion years ago; I don't think the argument of irreducible components is a viable concept, but the mere existence of a universe that would support life is improbable.

          Even the cowinner of the Nobel Prize, Crick, co-discover of DNA offers the following opinion, "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going." And Crick, I believe, is referring just to the limitations imposed by biology and doesn't even address the "fine-tuning" required of physical contants.

          Gordon, are you claiming that Crick is a Creationist?

          I have stripped away the "lawereeze" and I reject your argument that it falls back into religion. I am a deist who rejects the teachings of religion who thinks that ID is an hypothesis that needs testing; I don't accept it or reject it, but retain an open mind.

          Where people get in trouble with evolution is the absolutism of Darwinian Evolution; check the literature, there are excellent examples of Lamarkian Evolution in certain restricted circumstances. To the best of knowledge (I may be wrong here) there has never been a case in the laboratory where one species e.g. fruit flies has ever evolved into a new species no matter what environmental conditions are used. We have had thousands(?) of generations of fruit flies yet no matter how many environmental insults they are subjected to do they never evolve into another species.

          Evolution is obviously right (I think that evolution is the hardest of hard sciences), yet how come we find it so difficult to create through means available to Mother Nature, new species?
      • Jun 9 2013: Richard,

        I would be very careful with any quotes taken from creationist web sites. I would not dare say anything about what Crick thought without the proper context for that quote, if that quote is at all accurate. I am used to finding that quotes by creationists mean very different things when looked at in their context.

        Crick was certainly not a creationist, and I bet that, if he wrote those words, what followed was an explanation about how that conundrum could be solved.

        Oh, after googling a bit I found that his sentence followed your quote:

        "But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions."

        I am not saying that such is the end of it. Both of us would have to read much more before jumping to conclusions. My point is just that isolated quotes tell nothing of what some scientist thoughts were on these issues.
      • Jun 9 2013: Richard.
        If you are going to quote Crick, please do it honestly. The actual quote is
        "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going. But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions. The plain fact is that the time available was too long, the many microenvironments on the earth's surface too diverse, the various chemical possibilities too numerous and our own knowledge and imagination too feeble to allow us to be able to unravel exactly how it might or might not have happened such a long time ago, especially as we have no experimental evidence from that era to check our ideas against."

        On your second reference to Lamarkian Evolution, you probably also know that it is a disproved theory which was created before DNA was discovered. Genes are the only way that traits are passed on from one generation to another. For those not familiar, Lamarkian evolution assumes that an elephant stretching its trunk during its life would cause its offspring to have longer trunks.

        Fruit flies are not raised to evolve, and not allowed to evolve, they are used to study genetic changes from a common starting point. In fact, fruit flies have evolved again and again in genetic experiments, the progeny is always destroyed afterwards.
        • Jun 11 2013: Me bad! My minimal understanding of biology is showing!
        • Jun 11 2013: I merely quoted the part Monton provided; it certainly does not look good either for the author, out of apparent deception to quote a partial quote, or me for believing it was not taken out of context.
      • Jun 10 2013: Richard,

        You are a bit uninformed about fruit flies. They have speciated in the lab. There has been other examples of new species arising either in the lab, or in islands observed since their formation and colonization. There is no such thing as any absolutism about Darwinian evolution. Evolutionary theory today has phenomena other than natural selection whose importance in the evolutionary process has been validated, such as random genetic drift, endosymbiosis, or horizontal gene transfer. Truly man, stop reading ID literature and start reading reputable resources.
      • Jun 11 2013: Richard
        I missed your reference to Bradley Monton.
        Although not a "hack" (he has a PhD in philosophy from Princeton and is currently an Associate Professor at Colorado), he makes several logic mistakes in his book.
        First he uses the genetic fallacy (dismissing something due to its origin rather than substance).
        Secondly he clearly believes the Discovery Institute propaganda and ...
        Thirdly he seems to believe that the lack of a compelling argument against a given premise is equivalent to evidence in its favor

        If you are interested in the other side of the argument you can check out information on Robert T. Pennock as a spokeperson against teaching ID in the science classroom
  • Jun 8 2013: There is no such thing as super-nature. If there is a natural way to explain intelligent design which stands up to reason then it is fair game to put forth as a contingency. Speculation about the mathematic improbability of life is no case for super-nature. Evidence abounds that after the beginning, all of everything is of one consistent nature. Thus, if there is no divine intervention after inception of the universe and we can't explain what happened before inception, there can only be intelligent design in nature. Is there? Nature sure seems to be a design. But the nature of the universe as we know it is that we don't matter to it. It's on its own trajectory and will soldier on if we're all doomed by self-extinction or cosmic event.