Intelligent Design Exposed

May 7, 2008

NCSE: Eyeing ID

Filed under: Expelled,Exposed,Uncategorized — idexposed @ 3:55 am
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Expelled ExposedWhile legislatures focus on antievolution bills, a new video at Expelled Exposedhelps students see how evolution works.

Oakland, California, May 6, 2008 As attacks on evolution education remain in the news, with proposed antievolution legislation in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri in the headlines,
a new video rebutting the basic premise of intelligent design creationism is now available on http://www.ExpelledExposed.com.

“Creationism Disproved?” is the third in a series of short videos commissioned by the National Center for Science Education, a non-profit organization that defends the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The video focuses on the evolution of the eye a favorite target of creationists.

“It’s common for creationists, especially ‘intelligent design’ creationists, to claim that complex structures like the eye or parts of the cell couldn’t have evolved step by step,” explains NCSE’s
executive director, Eugenie C. Scott. “It’s a tired objection indeed, Darwin himself anticipated, and refuted, the argument. But opponents of evolution continue to insist that such structures had to
be assembled all at once.”

Ken Dill, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco featured in the video, adds: “In fact, complexity can evolve through small steps. We can infer the evolution of a very complex organ, like the eye, by looking at intermediate stages preserved in animals alive today. And just as a baby’s eye is built up step by step over nine months in the womb, the eye evolved in small steps over millions of years.”

Noting that the latest advances in science have only confirmed Darwin’s insights, Josh Rosenau, a biologist at NCSE, observed, “Scientists recently traced the evolution of a protein crucial to vision by comparing the genomes of many species, showing that the molecule, opsin, existed in the common ancestor of hydras, jellyfish, flies, fish, and people. Other researchers have traced the evolution
of genes critical to the growth and development of eyes in different branches of the tree of life. All those lines of evidence match the predictions of evolution.”

Louise S. Mead, a biologist and teacher who heads NCSE’s outreach to educators, hopes that students and teachers will use the video to dispel a common misconception about evolution. “Evolution can be
tough to learn and tough to explain, even independently of the prevalence of creationist misconceptions,” she explains. “Videos like this can help students see things in a new light.”

The National Center for Science Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The NCSE maintains its archive of source material on
the history of creationism at its Oakland, California, headquarters.

On the web at http://www.ncseweb.org.

NCSEs other website, http://www.ExpelledExposed.com, is a resource for journalists, teachers, and curious moviegoers who want the full story behind the creationist movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Contacts:
Eugenie C. Scott, scott@ncseweb.org, 800-290-6006
Josh Rosenau, rosenau@ncseweb.org, 800-290-6006
Louise S. Mead, mead@ncsewb.org, 800-290-6006

Office of Special Counsel raided

Filed under: Uncategorized — idexposed @ 12:25 am

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has been raided

Bloch’s agency is a little known one that is charged with investigating whistleblower complaints, Hatch Act violations, and the like — but who is himself being investigated for retaliating against whistleblowers and politicizing his office. The Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general has been conducting that investigation since 2005. The feds are apparently investigating whether Bloch tried to obstruct that investigation by deleting his hard drive, among other things.

Remember that the OSC is the same agency which investigated the Richard von Sternberg affair. It would be interesting to see if emails can be recovered related to this incident as the conclusions by the OSC seemed to be at odds with what the emails from the Smithsonian people actually showed.

May 5, 2008

Gambler’s Ruin is Darwin’s Gain

Joe Felsenstein, Professor of Genome Sciences and of Biology and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and of Statistics has a guest posting on Panda’s Thumb titled Gambler’s Ruin is Darwin’s Gain in which he exposes the vacuity of the Intelligent Design comments by Young Earth Creationist Salvador Cordova.

So yes, the mathematics of Gambler’s Ruin speaks to the issue of natural selection—but it confirms its effectiveness.

(The other issue raised by Cordova, that of interference between mutations at different loci, is the well-known Hill-Robertson effect. If the loci have more than a tiny amount of genetic recombination between them, the interference largely vanishes. Cordova and the other commenters there have forgotten this.)

PZ Myers at Pharyngula observes similarly in a posting titled ‘squish’

That’s the sound you should hear when Joe Felsenstein takes on an idiotic claim by Sal Cordova. Would you believe that Cordova claims that Kimura and Ohta’s classic 1971 paper “shatters the modern synthesis”? That’s what he claims, on the basis of his poor understanding of the mathematics of population genetics, which is ridiculous on the face of it. So it’s very satisfying to see one of the big guns of population genetics take him down with one brief explanation: contrary to Cordova, the principle he’s describing confirms the effectiveness of natural selection.

Flunked, Not Expelled: Expelled Enjoined

Filed under: Expelled — idexposed @ 12:37 am

Wesley Elsberry reports that Premise Media has been enjoined from further distribution of its Manufactroversy “Expelled”.

There was a hearing in the Yoko Ono copyright infringement case this past week, and Premise Media has been enjoined against further distribution of “Expelled” until the case is settled next hearing on May 19th.

That means that theaters that already have a copy may continue to show it, but no further prints may be sent out to other theaters, and no CD or DVD versions may be distributed, either.

May 4, 2008

When logic and reason are abandoned

Filed under: Religion,Uncategorized — idexposed @ 8:54 pm
Tags: , ,

Fellow Christian, William Wallace, has a posting titled inappropriately “Applied Darwinism in NAZI Germany” in which he explores the links between Darwinism and the Holocaust.

In an earlier posting, William Wallace had argued that Darwinism was an essential component to the Holocaust, suggesting that the Holocaust would not have happened were it not for Darwinism.

Probably realizing that such a position was hard to defend, William Wallace chose instead to argue a strawman argument [1] namely that there are links between Darwinism and the Holocaust. However, such a position also opens up Christianity to a similar argument namely that there are links between Christianity and the Holocaust. In fact, these links seem to be much stronger than the tenuous links between Nazism and Darwinian theory.

William Wallace quotes:

Bourgeois social theory is primarily concerned with the individual. It is thus essentially determined by pity, or compassion, or the Christian love of one’s neighbor or similar conviction. Our Socialist ideas and actions have nothing whatsoever to do with such notions. Our starting-point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked — those are not our objectives. Our objectives are entirely different. They can be put most crisply in the sentence: we must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world.—Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels(Burleigh 1991 p. 69, see also USHMM 2008)

However, in Burleigh p. 69 we do not find this extended quote but rather the following

Our starting-point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked — those are not our objectives. Our objectives are entirely different. They can be put most crisply in the sentence: we must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world.

Source: Burleigh, Michael (1991) The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945 Cambridge University Press p. 69

Sloppy quoting of primary and secondary sources at best. Of course nothing Goebbels says here really establishes a link between Darwinian theory and Nazism, only a superficial argument could be presented.

Worse, Wallace seems to conclude from this that there is a link between Darwinism and Nazism. However, the concept of ‘healthy people’ and eugenics is one which precedes Darwinism and in fact, unless one can identify a selectable trait for being Jewish, arguments linking Darwinian theory to the Holocaust seem rather tenuous.

As Wikipedia explains

In Sparta infants were examined at birth and if they were extremely deformed, cachectic or sickly they were placed in the Apothetae [22](Greek language, Αποθέτας), meaning “depository” as Plutarch describes. This was a chasm under Taygetus.[2]

In fact, Hitler himself referenced the Spartan

The abandonment of sick, puny and misshapen children by the Spartans was more humanitarian and, in reality, a thousand times more humane than the pitiful madness of our present time where the most sickly subjects are preserved at any price only to be followed by the breeding of a race from degenerates burdened with disease.

The Jewish Anti Defamation League also opposes linking the Holocaust to simplistic and politically motivated causes

Anti-Evolution Film Misappropriates the Holocaust

New York, NY, April 29, 2008 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement regarding the controversial film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called

intelligent design theory.

Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler’s genocidal madness.

Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

And of course, using quotes from the same person William Wallace ‘quote-mined’ we can establish:

“The idea of sacrifice first gained visible shape in Christ. Sacrifice is intrinsic to socialism. … The Jew, however, does not understand this at all. His socialism consists of sacrificing others for himself. This is what Marxism is like in practice…. The struggle we are now waging today until victory or the bitter end is, in its deepest sense, a struggle between Christ and Marx. Christ: the principle of love. Marx: the principle of hate.

or

I take the Bible, and all evening long I read the simplest and greatest sermon that has ever been given to mankind: The Sermon on the Mount! ‘Blessed are they who suffer persecution for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’!

how these quote mines can paint a very different picture and yet, they are all relevant to understanding the complex roots of the many causes that lead to the Holocaust. And yet, Stein et al want to trivialize this by claiming that Darwinism was a necessary component.

[1] “It appears that those who claim Darwinism had nothing to do with the holocaust will have to battle the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.” William Wallace

Augustine on Science and Religion

Filed under: Religion,Uncategorized — idexposed @ 8:53 pm
Tags: ,

Augustine (A.D. 354-430) in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim) provided excellent advice for all Christians who are faced with the task of interpreting Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge. This translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

Source: Saint Augustine on Science and Scripture

Definitions: Design and Complexity

Filed under: Intelligent Design,Uncategorized — idexposed @ 6:56 pm
Tags: , ,

Many Intelligent Design proponents, seem to be unfamiliar with the simple fact that Intelligent Design is a straightforward argument from ignorance.

The problem is that ID proponents have used equivocating language which has led to much confusion amongst its followers. I cannot blame Crowther for taking serious the claims of his DI fellows, but claiming that ID is not an argument from ignorance is merely begging the question.

While it is relatively straightforward to reach the conclusion that ID is an argument from ignorance, it does require some careful analysis of how various terminologies are being (ab)used and confused by ID proponents.

Design Defined

So what is the design ? Simple, it is the “set theoretic complement of regularity and chance” or in other words, that which remains once one has eliminated known processes. Note that ID provides no positive argument but merely refers to our ignorance as ’designed’. This of course does not mean that a ‘designer’ may not be hiding in the gap we have just created, it’s just that historically science has been extremely effective in closing these gaps.

Complexity

So what about the complexity argument? We see complexity in the world around us and ’invariably this complexity can be traced to a designer’? What’s wrong with this argument? Well, for starters, complexity in ID – speak is nothing more than the negative base 2 logarithm of our ignorance. In other words, IFF we can explain something then the complexity disappears. So why would ID use such equivocating language? One explanation is that the term complexity hide the true meaning of the argument which is the typical argument from (im)probability. We are all familiar with the creationist argument that ‘X’ is too improbable to have happened by pure chance alone? It is trivially simple to multiply probabilities to obtain a small enough probability as Dembski has shown in his non-sensical calculations of the probabilities involved in protein formation.

To recap: ID’s argument is that we see a lot of things that we cannot yet explain. To conclude ’thus designed’ is not different from our ancestors assigning earthquakes, solar eclipses and other unexplained events to deities.

So next time you hear an ID proponent argue that ID is not just about ignorance, ask them how they explain the bacterial flagella. And the silence that follows indicates how ID has failed and will continue to fail to contribute in a positive manner to scientific understanding.

So perhaps Crowther can enlighten us: How does ID explain the bacterial flagella? Oh, I forgot, ID is not in the business of answering such pathetic requests

Must be hard to be communications director with so many ID proponents making such silly comments.

January 1, 2008

Dembski: “Pathetic” Comment

Filed under: In their own words,Intelligent Design,Scientific Vacuity — idexposed @ 7:04 pm

William Dembski wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: ”Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

Source: William Dembski Organisms using GAs vs. Organisms being built by GAs thread at ISCID 18. September 2002

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