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Author Topic: OSC's latest - Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design
kit_r
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Orson Scott Card could clearly do with a little training in library science, because the poor chap apparently doesn't have the requisite knowledge to complete a literature search.

If he did, this article would be a lot more interesting, and would include a realistic summary of the work that was in fact inspired by Behe's claims (already quite a lot), and the further work that OSC feels should be done on the topic.

To quote: The fact that they refuse even to try to explain is, again, a confession that they don't have an answer.

The fact that OSC refuses to even try to find or read the explanations that have been published is either a proof of the terrible limitations of library science, or a confession that he is not interested in doing so.

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Wayward Son
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May I remind everyone that, although Mr. Card does slam “Darwinists,” he is not advocating the teaching of Intelligent Design in his essay. Specifically:
quote:
Make no mistake: Not just the fossil record, but virtually every close examination of biology at every level reveals utterly convincing evidence that evolution takes place, has always taken place, and continues to take place. There is also plenty of evidence that natural selection takes place.
quote:
Here's the only correct answer to the Designists:
7. Yes, there are problems with the Darwinian model. But those problems are questions. "Intelligent design" is an answer, and you have no evidence at all for that. . .
Intelligent design uses the evil "must" word: Well, if random mutation plus natural selection can't account for the existence of this complex system, then it must have been brought into existence by some intelligent designer
Why? Why must that be the only alternative?
Just because the Darwinian model seems to be inadequate at the molecular level does not imply in any way that the only other explanation is purposive causation.
There might be several or even many other hypotheses. To believe in Intelligent Design is still a leap of faith.

Although he equates Intelligent Design with “Darwinism”—the religious faith in evolutionary theory—he still classifies ID as being “not science.”

Furthermore, his summarizing statement is completely for evolution:

quote:
Evolution happens and obviously happened in the natural world, and natural selection plays a role in it. But we do not have adequate theories yet to explain completely how evolution works and worked at the biochemical level.
I don’t think anyone can object to this statement. I would add that these areas of how evolution works at the biochemical level are the current areas of research, but that is just echoing what Orson said earlier on:

quote:
When somebody -- anybody -- asks hard questions of a theory, then the scientific answer is never "shut up and go away." The scientific answer is, "Let's see if we can find out."
All in all, Card is more criticizing the way some defenders of evolution defend evolution, rather than advocating creationism or ID. Basically he is saying, if you want to defend science, stay with the science and don’t use bad rhetorical devices.

Now I believe that he over-emphasizes the misdeeds of evolutionary defenders and ignores when they do “do it right,” but he is correct that these things do happen. Just look at the comments about him in response to this essay and this. The personal attacks on him that have nothing to do with current essay are disgraceful. I bet you can find an example of each of his points about “Darwinists” in on these alone.

It seems to me that Mr. Card found most of his information about “Darwinists” from creationist/ID advocates, but that does not mean that there is no merit to what he says. And because he overly criticizes “Darwinists” does not mean he is advocating ID.

Let’s keep this in perspective, folks.

[ January 24, 2006, 10:46 AM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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kit_r
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Wayward Son: You're right that there is merit in what he says; some 'defenders of evolution' are way off course. However, he is tarring far too many people with the same brush by claiming that 'defenders of evolution' in general 'don't even try to explain' because 'they don't have an answer'. It's a misrepresentation...

He could have done a much better job in this article by proving that he's read the material that has been published on both sides, at least in the pop-sci incarnation, instead of painting a picture that shows ID advocates purely as misunderstood victims of the scientific community, trivialised and ostracised unjustly for their beliefs. He might then have pointed accurately to specific examples of theories that the scientific community refuse to answer, which might have been constructive - it would probably have goaded somebody into researching it, for one thing.

Instead, he is referring to an unspecified group of 'radical Darwinists' who supposedly refuse to engage with several unspecified but eminently reasonable ID objections to the theory of evolution (the objections he has used as examples have actually been addressed). He's essentially asking that this is to be taken on faith. Then he conflates this group with scientists in general.

The article might have been a useful opportunity to put across a reasonable viewpoint, instead of squandering that opportunity on caricatures. It's a shame.

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Wayward Son
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I agree, kit_r, that he has "tarred" too many defenders of evolutionary theory with too wide a brush in his essay. I have criticized it myself several times in this thread alone.

But what some seem to be saying (although I won't take the time to review quotes to back this up--if I'm wrong, me culpa), is that Card is advocating ID as a science. It seems plain that he is not. He, in fact, is calling ID a faith, not science.

He is also calling some aspects of evolutionary theory faith and religion, too, but he still labels the basics of evolution as science.

So although I do believe we are justified in criticizing his essay, we should be careful to only criticize what he actually wrote and apparently advocates. Calling him an "ID supporter" is a bit of a stretch from this essay.

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Bliss
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Wayward Son, you make a good point. Although Card endorses Behe, Card stays outside of the ID camp. Still, it would do him some good to read some rebuttals to ID.

Behe: Complex systems could not have emerged naturally, therefore they were designed.

Card: Scientists don't know how complex systems could have emerged naturally, so let's keep an open mind.

Scientists: Um, actually there are plausible mechanisms for the emergence of complex systems.

[ January 24, 2006, 12:59 PM: Message edited by: Bliss ]

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javelin
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Exactly, Bliss, but you might want to state Card's position as follows:

quote:
Card: Scientists don't know how some complex systems could have emerged naturally, so let's keep an open mind.
And the scientists, therefore, would be:

quote:

Scientists: Um, actually there are plausible mechanisms for the emergence of many of the complex systems. And we are working on the rest.


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Bo Grimes
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Card writes:

quote:
Yes, there are problems with the Darwinian model. But those problems are questions. "Intelligent design" is an answer, and you have no evidence at all for that.
This article in general is one of the most cogent and succinct pieces I have seen that outlines in general the philosophical issues. It's not meant to, nor could it, be a point-by-point scientific treatise, but, rather, it presents the basic rhetorical power struggle and suggest why it's an important concern to the non-scientific public.

In most every aspect I find myself in agreement with Card, but I wonder about the quoted argument above. It seems that we have been saddled with this notion that warranted belief can only be predicated upon induction and the scientific method and their conception of what constitutes 'evidence.'

Even so, to accept those conceptual frameworks, one can still think that complexity is evidence for design. Frost, and not in way that had God coming off looking kind, wondered:

"What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small."

Do we not, daily, accept complexity as evidence of design? To take the Watchmaker further, which of us, if on a Star Trek mission, would think, were we to stumble upon an uninhabited and lifeless planet in an uncharted quadrant that had structures made of wood and mud, that nature had just produced them?

Of course closer examination would likely produce more evidence (writing, skeletons, etc.), but our first assumption would be "Those were not produced naturally"-- acknowledging the fact that this is how we use language to deify ourselves. Of course if there is no design our actions are as natural as any other and what we produce is produced, if effect, by nature.

What is to say that closer examination with new scientific theories, models and technologies might not produce more 'evidence' of design. That's not quite the same as saying there's "no evidence at all," is it? Doesn't Card think that Darwin (and Newton) once had evidence for their theories and laws? And yet, if Newton's evidence was incomplete and the universe doesn't quite work like the evidence suggested, does that mean he wasn't warranted in his beliefs?

It really isn't a case of "no evidence" but at what point do we consider evidence enough to warrant belief and are we willing to change that belief in light of new evidence or falsification. Evidence does not equal proof and proof does not equal knowledge.

It seems that science will never be able to falsify either claim: that there is no designer or that there is a designer, so to the extent that anyone tries to apply induction and empiricism conclusively, by itself, to this issue s/he is making a category mistake.

That's not to say we can't use the evidence, only that the empirical evidence can never, alone, constitute warrant for belief. Therefore, the religious person who says "I believe in design" should be taken to me "This plus this stuff over here is enough for me to believe," and the atheist who says "I don't believe in design" should be taken to mean "This plus this other stuff over here is enough to convince me."

"This other stuff over here" will vary based on person, culture, education, disposition, outlook and other factors, but in both cases it's there, make no mistake about it. The atheist biochemist who doesn't believe is using non-scientific factors in addition to scientific factors to reach his atheistic conclusions the same as the theistic biochemist.

The problem with the Darwinist is they insist this isn't true. Ignoring Popper and Hume and Kuhn, ignoring neuropsychiatry and linguistics, ignoring sociology, history and anthropology, they cling to the conviction that they have absolutely verified each and every truth-claim they hold with the infallible filter empiricism and reason.

Card is wrong. There is scientific evidence, as one subset of evidence, that both a designer exist and that a designer does not exist. Each of us takes an amalgam of evidence and decides if there's warrant for belief, but as the proposition "a designer exist" can not even be falsified with the scientific method, science should not make the claim.

Scientist should look at the science of scientist like Behe and challenge it scientifically and leave the conclusions to each of us. Likewise, the Designist should challenge the science of Darwin and leave the conclusions to the individual. I understand that to be what Card is saying; however, that's not quite the same as saying "no evidence at all."

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Bliss
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javelin, I'm talking about mechanisms by which complex systems in general can evolve. I think you're talking about specific evolutionary paths, which, of course, will never be addressed for every complex organism.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Yes, there are problems with the Darwinian model. But those problems are questions. "Intelligent design" is an answer, and you have no evidence at all for that.
What I believe Mr. Card is saying is that there is no scientific evidence for ID. In other words, no evidence that is accepted by scientific standards.

Science does not claim that a designer does not exist. It simply states that there is no conclusive scientific evidence to back such a claim. Complexity alone does not indicate a designer, as computer-generated fractals demonstrate.

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Bo Grimes
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Wayward Son:

quote:
Complexity alone does not indicate a designer, as computer-generated fractals demonstrate.
To be true that should read, "complexity alone does not necessarily indicate a designer" which was my point. Surely if one won't accept a watch as evidence of a watch designer when it was in fact designed, I shouldn't accept that there is no designer because fractals aren't designed, right?

It works both ways. That there are cases of both seems to indicate that it is "reasonable" to suppose that there might be a designer, but not proof. Complexity can and often does "indicate a designer," just not conclusively so. These distinctions are important.

Further, who is to say that a designer didn't design the universe to produce Fibonacci numbers, phi, pi, e and yes, even fractals according to designed mathematics? How would you know? You can't. You can not argue that because you can't perceive the design it's not there anymore than I can argue that it is.

It's like pain. I can say I'm in pain. I don't have to prove it to you. You'll decide if you think it's true or not, but not based on any science. I can further say I am in pain because I just banged my thumb with a hammer, and you can then have more evidence, but, again, no proof. It's possible I have some neuropathy in that finger.

Likewise, you can look at fractals and the lack of a perceived and understood design and decide there is no designer, but not on the basis of science. What one does is use the evidence to make a decision, to assign meaning. The militant Darwanist want to insist that the scientific evidence proves there is no design, but they, like the Designist, assign meaning to that evidence on non-scientific grounds.

Once again, there is evidence for both. My issue was with Card's assertion that there is no "evidence" when he apparently meant there is no empirical proof. The processes by which humans move from sense data and evidence to knowledge and from knowledge to belief is not a binary process whereby the input of empirical data correlates to Truth. It's murky and messy, even for Darwinist.

Card trys to stop the process short by saying there's no evidence when he can only properly assert there's not enough evidence to warrant belief for him. There may be enough evidence to warrant belief for me. If I am the one in pain, I have warrant for belief that I am in pain that you don't. Each of us has other factors besides the scientific, as I said in my other post, by which we make warranted belief decisions. It's outside the realm of science and anyone who trys to use science alone to prove a non-scientific belief is mistaken in his approach.

But again, that's not the same as saying there is no scientific evidence for a non-scientific belief. It's only one component of total evidence for most people, but it is evidence. To say it's not evidence is to argue that evidence isn't evidence unless it's proof.

If a jury convicted a defendant based on scientific evidence (fingerprints, ballistics, etc) and other non-scientific evidence (motive, means and opportunity) plus a lof of "this other stuff over here" (see previous post)) and later new scientific evidence is produced (DNA) did they not have any scientific evidence to warrant convection the first time?

Of course they did, but they only used that scientific evidence as one subset of total evidence. The point is that there is scientific evidence for both, but it does not demand and can not demand either belief or disbelief in a designer.

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Bliss
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quote:
Originally posted by Bo Grimes:
To be true that should read, "complexity alone does not necessarily indicate a designer" which was my point.

What differentiates the cases in which complexity alone indicates design from cases in which it doesn't? The degree of complexity?

quote:
Surely if one won't accept a watch as evidence of a watch designer when it was in fact designed, I shouldn't accept that there is no designer because fractals aren't designed, right?
Has anyone claimed that watches aren't evidence of watch designers? And has anyone said that you should accept that there is no designer because fractals aren't designed?

quote:
The militant Darwanist want to insist that the scientific evidence proves there is no design, but they, like the Designist, assign meaning to that evidence on non-scientific grounds.
Can you name a Darwinist who insists that scientific evidence proves there is no design?

[ January 24, 2006, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: Bliss ]

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valkyrie
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okay wait...

help me understand here.

Creationism says that the world was created like it says in the Bible, 6 days, Adam and Eve, etc, a few thousand years ago.

Intelligent Design is... what? a philosophy? a critique?

quote:
Creationism is identified by its reliance upon religious scripture and doctrine, rather than empirical evidence. By contrast, the theory of intelligent design, as developed in Pandas, relies upon scientific data and does not address religious or doctrinal questions. Pandas infers design using observations, uniform experience, and empirical experimental evidence: "If experience has shown that a certain class of phenomena results from intelligent causes and then we encounter something new but similar, we conclude its origin also to be from an intelligent cause."

...

Pandas clearly states that the scientific theory of intelligent design cannot address questions about the ultimate nature of the intelligent cause: "But what kind of intelligent agent was it? On its own, science cannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy." "We should recognize, however, that if we go further, and conclude that the intelligence responsible for biological origins is outside the universe (supernatural) or within it, we do so without the help of science." Because it does not delve into questions surrounding the supernatural, Pandas does not violate methodological naturalism.

That's from a long article by John G. West. On the Discovery Institute's site.

It's such an odd concept!

I mean, suppose one day a genetic biologist turns around from his microscope and says "Aha! I've broken the code! Life on earth is the product of a great plan! I don't know by who or how but there is evidence here that this was all planned out."

What is the functional difference between someone or something planning life out in all its phases and metamorphoses, its phyla and its kingdoms, and life just spilling over its own sides in a fractal rush of expansion into all its different forms?

[Confused]

I mean it. Is there a difference? What would it be? Assuming that, as this fellow West says, that the intelligence behind the design is not (or at least doesn't have to be) God?

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Wesley R. Elsberry
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"Javelin",

quote:

Dr. Elsberry decides that this definition isn't good enough and posits the following:

I posited no such thing. The definition I documented was clearly and properly cited as coming from the affidavit of Dean H. Kenyon, expert witness advocating "creation science" for the state of Louisiana in the Edwards v. Aguillard case. What the quoted sentence above shows is called spin.

quote:

Let me put something as straightforward as I can - when someone is writing an essay, and misuses a label, that sucks. But when they define that label by providing context, then pretending they mean something else is either, as one poster here has said, "Ignorant or dishonest". If Card says that Creation Science, in the context of his essay, is about putting a scientific veneer over the Genesis account (for those who don't know, he means the book of Genesis, in the Christian's Bible), then guess what? That's the terms you need to accept, in order to understand the point of the essay.

If you want to say that he's wrong, that the label means something else, that's fine. But you can't go from there and say "point A is wrong because, according to my definition of the label he gave, it doesn't logically follow". That's often referred to as sophistry.

Validity for a deductive argument means that assuming that the premises are true, the conclusion follows. Soundness is the property of a deductive argument whose logic is valid and whose premises are true. (Those who wish to brush up on this distinction can head over to this page.) Sophistry resides in pretending that only discussion over validity should occur, and that discussing soundness is a dirty trick. For deductive propositional logic, yes, Virginia, it does indeed mean that if someone makes an unsound argument because they rely on a false premise, then the conclusion does not follow. This is not disputable.

Personally, I think that arguing over whether Card made a valid, even if unsound, argument that "creation science" differs from "intelligent design" is a huge waste of time, and if that is all that can be countenanced here then I see no point in going further. I'm arguing about the soundness of Card's argument, that is, not just about whether his structure of logic passes inspection, but also whether the premises he uses hold up to scrutiny. As I have documented in previous posts, Card's premise concerning what "creation science" was does not match what has been established in various court cases.

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Lifewish
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Bo Grimes:

quote:
Do we not, daily, accept complexity as evidence of design?
No, we accept complexity in the absence of a natural explanation and (usually) in the presence of a known designer as evidence of design. This acceptance must be revised if we discover a natural explanation.

For example, if we'd lived on a space station all our lives, we'd consider a bunch of objects carefully placed against one wall to constitute evidence of design. If we then came to Earth and dfound out about gravity, we'd no longer consider the mere fact that all the objects were lying on the floor to constitute design.

Any further discussion of this is probably going to require a definition of "complexity", which is by no means trivial. The question boils down to: which of a rock, a snowflake and a diamond is most complex and why? There are valid reasons for choosing any of these objects.

Valkyrie:

quote:
Creationism says that the world was created like it says in the Bible, 6 days, Adam and Eve, etc, a few thousand years ago.
Biblical Literalist Creationism says that. Vedic Creationism actually says that the world is several trillion years old. Flying Spaghetti Monster Creationism says that we're all touched by His Noodly Appendage. Creationism isn't one philosophy or model, it's a big tent of people who are convinced that there's something wrong with origins science but strangely can't put it into a coherent enough form to pass scientific muster.

quote:
What is the functional difference between someone or something planning life out in all its phases and metamorphoses, its phyla and its kingdoms, and life just spilling over its own sides in a fractal rush of expansion into all its different forms?
The functional difference is that one makes predictions, whereas the other doesn't (there's no reason why the Someone should decide to behave in the same way tomorrow). Feel free to stick with it anyway, but don't present it as science without either positive evidence of the Someone or very strong negative evidence against the lack of Someone.
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Ignatz
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Remind me never to buy any of Mr. Card's books, because he's a pompous ass, and not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. I'm about halfway thru his article, and a couple things stick out.

1: The premise that the Intelligent Design people are legitimate scientists is just plain wrong. Okay, they did some research that turned up some flaws in the Theory of Evolution. That, in and of itself, is fine. Such things have broadened and deepened our understanding of evolution, making the theory mor accurate as time goes by. The Theory of Evolution as it is today is considerably different than it was when Darwin first postulated it. Where the IDers depart from being scientists is in their insistance that the holes in evolution can only be explained by some sort of deliberate explanation. That can't be proved by testing or by observation, so it ain't science, it's philosophy. It's fine to believe that if you want, but don't try and legitimize it by calling it science. Also, I highly suspect that most (probably all) IDers have their foregone conclusion and try and bend the data in order to support it, which is just plain bad science.

2: IDers harp on some nitpicky little flaws in the science of evolution. According to Card, there's nothing wrong with that. Real scientists harp on some little flaws in the science of ID, and according to Card, they're sniping. Sounds like hypocrasy to me.

3: Card points out that physicists don't get bent out of shape by non-Einsteinian physics. However, they'd probably get bent out of shape if someone tried to gussy up a religious agenda with the trappings of physics and try and call it "science". However, physics doesn't touch on any of the tender points of the culture war in this country, so it doesn't attract a lot of attention from the Religious Right. Evolutionary science touches on the origins of the human race, contradicts the literal stories in the Bible, therefore the Religious Right feels threatened by it. Hence, Creationism and it's slicker offspring, Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design makes an effort to be more scientific than Creationism, but when it postulates the need for deliberate intervention in the development of species, it ceases being science, and therefore has no place in publicly funded classrooms.

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Wayward Son
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At the conclusion of his essay, Mr. Card does say that ID is not science, and that evolutionary theory is proven. So points 1 and 3 do not really apply.

There has also been a great deal of discussion on this site whether Mr. Card was referring to all evolutionists with his term "Darwinists," or just those that rely on rhetorical devices instead of reason. So point 2 is in dispute.

Finally, it is the general consenus of this board that Mr. Card's fiction is much, much better than his political writings. (After all, he won two Hugos and Nebulas in a row.) So I wouldn't boycott his books for that reason--you might miss some actual good writing. [Smile]

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Tom Curtis
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Ignatz:

quote:
Okay, they did some research that turned up some flaws in the Theory of Evolution. That, in and of itself, is fine. Such things have broadened and deepened our understanding of evolution, making the theory mor accurate as time goes by.
This is in fact false. No original research by ID protagonists that I know of has in any way contributed to a legitimate critique of evolution or Darwinism. The two most famous pieces of ID "research", Dembski's Specified Complexity and Behe's Irreducible Complexity are based on no more than smoke and mirrors. I have indicated the fundamental flaw with Behe's argument in a post in page 2 of this thread. It is the most fundamental, but not by any means the only flaw. Dembski's argument is even worse.

Other ID "research" that turns up flaws in evolution fall into two categories - those that grossly distort the known evidence to give a semblance of conflict with evolutionary theory when no such conflict exits. Jonothan Wells is the master at this, and Stephen Meyer gets into it in a big way as well. And those that report research done by evolutionists that pointed out flaws or limitations of the then current theory, but which have been incorporated into the current theory. Typically ID "discovers" the research decades after it was conducted.

Waywardson:

quote:
Finally, it is the general consenus of this board that Mr. Card's fiction is much, much better than his political writings. (After all, he won two Hugos and Nebulas in a row.) So I wouldn't boycott his books for that reason--you might miss some actual good writing.
Although he is one of the best science fiction writers I have read, you can be sure I will not be buying any more of OSC's books. I have a moral objection to funding charlatans. If he wishes to indulge in uninformed rants against Darwinism that is his business - but he will not do it with money recieved from me. I would certainly recomend that others take this attitude as well.
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RedViolin
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Quote:
“Although he is one of the best science fiction writers I have read, you can be sure I will not be buying any more of OSC's books. I have a moral objection to funding charlatans. If he wishes to indulge in uninformed rants against Darwinism that is his business - but he will not do it with money recieved from me. I would certainly recomend that others take this attitude as well.” -Tom

Tom, does that also mean that you won’t buy the Washington Post (or any other newspaper) either? Because they have opinion columns in them, and you may not agree with their opinion, and yet you payed money for them to write it. So, is it that you only pay money to hear people tell you what you already believe in? You won’t open your mind to hearing other points of view? Suddenly, when someone wants to express their point of view, they are a “charlatan” who wants to “indulge” in a “rant” as opposed to just an author who wants to express his own beliefs and place more possibilities in this world? For example, I do not believe in abortion, but does that mean I won’t read amazing books published by an author who just so happened to support abortion and expressed this viewpoint in another, unrelated writing? I read everything from neo-liberal genetics to cultural anthropology, and I may or may not agree with them, but I am not going to call anyone a “charlatan” just because they hold fast to something and wish to tell others about it.

[ January 26, 2006, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: RedViolin ]

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Tom Curtis
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Redviolin, I continuosly seek out the opinions of those that disagree with me, and have probably read more ID books and articles than anyone else discussing this topic other than other informed Darwinists such as Wesley Elsberry, Ed Brayton and Nick Matzke. It is true that I hamper myself in that I won't buy ID books as a general rule, except second hand, so I only have about 10 or so ID books in my personal library supplemented by 10 or so ID books borrowed from various libraries, and literally hundreds of ID articles read on the web.

Here is the standard I employ. If someone disagrees with me but has obviously made an effort to understand the issues, and to think about them clearly, then I love to get hold of and read their material. Some of my favourite authors are people I violently disagree with.

But if someone simply writes an essay which is essentially a rant in favour of prejudice, being backed neither by an attempt to become decently informed on the topic, nor to think about it clearly, then I am not interested; and I am not going to pay for it. If that someone is trading on fame in another field to get their ill informed rants published, I will stop any financial support of them in that other field as well.

And that is what Card has done. His essay was grossly ill informed, having used entirely sources from just one side of the controversy, and without bothering to check their claims by even doing a google search, or asking at his local university. If he doesn't bother to research his opinion, his opinion is effectively worthless. If by publishing that opinion he passes it of as a valuable contribution to the debate, he is a charlatan. And I will not give financial support to charlatans.

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Kent
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Tom,

He was writing to the ID audience trying to tell them that ID doesn't belong in schools. He writes for the Rhinotimes which is a conservative rag and basically got ID'ers on his side at the first by taking their side. You act as if he is writing for the New York Times rather than a provincial paper with a tiny circulation.

So what if his opinion is effectively worthless? He wasn't writing to you anyway, he was writing to conservative religious folk who have less of an understanding than he does. Why do you care so much? Why don't you boycott his web sites too?

[ January 26, 2006, 03:12 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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javelin
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And how many names do you have, anyway?
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Kent
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Enjoy the silence . . .
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Tom Curtis
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quote:
He was writing to the ID audience trying to tell them that ID doesn't belong in schools. He writes for the Rhinotimes which is a conservative rag and basically got ID'ers on his side at the first by taking their side. You act as if he is writing for the New York Times rather than a provincial paper with a tiny circulation.
I frankly fail to see what the circulation of the paper he wrote for has to do with it, and still less do I see how his pandering to a conservative group improves the situation. Unless perhaps you are suggesting that had he been writting for a different audience his message would have changed? That he was hypocritical, in other words, as well as a charlatan?

What is more, you are wrong about his message. Although he says that ID doesn't belong in schools he goes on to write eight more paragraphs aimed primarilly at arguing that Darwinism should not be taught in schools. As such he is an innovative creationist - he is recommending a return to creationist strategies first tried in the 1920's

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Kent
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No, you are wrong about his message; and a zealot.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Unless perhaps you are suggesting that had he been writting for a different audience his message would have changed?
Yes. I'm sure it would have. This makes him an effective demagogue.
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Kent
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Exactly TomDavidson! No one is saying he isn't pandering, but what he believes is not what Tom Curtis is asserting.
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Kent
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Oh my, there is a great post under general comments by Teleologist stating that The ID movement isn’t the same as ID . Now this should definitely clear things up.
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent:
Oh my, there is a great post under general comments by Teleologist stating that The ID movement isn’t the same as ID . Now this should definitely clear things up.

Troublemaker [Smile]
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Everard
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If we want to talk about design, lets please not talk about ID, which is a very specific psuedo-scientific claim, that, while not identical to the ID movement, was created by creationists in order to further the ID movement. ID is not a generic philosophical position. Its a proposed scientific hypothesis. Just as it is innaccurate to say that evolution is a general philosophy, and so we shouldn't talk about evolution as being related to social darwinism, or buddhism, so too we should not talk about ID as being related to other design philosophies.
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MattP
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What is the specific proposed hypothesis of ID (the purportedly non-religious scientific concept) then? What authority defines that hypothesis?
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Tom Curtis
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quote:
No, you are wrong about his message; and a zealot.
Well, yes, I do admit to being zealous for science, and thank you for the compliment. Of course, you intended it as an insult, which shows how screwed your thinking is that you think only apathy is worth listening to.

As regards to Cards message, I pointed to eight paragraphs clearly carrying the message I ascribe to him. You think instead that two odd sentences more correctly reflect his view. That is, you can only hold your belief about what his message was by studiously ignoring what he wrote.

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Kent
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Tom Curtis, I am an idiot and have no logical arguments that can defend my statements; yet you are wrong. Welcome to Ornery!
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Tom Curtis
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It appears, Kent, that we have established our various natures. While I am zealous without being dogmatic; you it appears are content to be dogmatic without being zealous.
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TomDavidson
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*laugh*

No, not really.
You're zealous and pompous, Tom, while Kent is puckish and shallow.

Dogma doesn't really come into play in either case.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
As regards to Cards message, I pointed to eight paragraphs clearly carrying the message I ascribe to him. You think instead that two odd sentences more correctly reflect his view. That is, you can only hold your belief about what his message was by studiously ignoring what he wrote.
It is quite clear that Mr. Card considers creationism (and the ID movement) as faith, not science, from the essay. He also equates "Darwinists" as being faith-based, too.

However, he also made it clear that he considers evolution as being scientific, and the only thing worth teaching in schools.

In the end, he is advocating science as we understand it today. The fact that he appears to be denigrating "Darwinists" is beside the point. He still supports evolutionary theory.

Do you really object to that?

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Tom Curtis
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quote:
It is quite clear that Mr. Card considers creationism (and the ID movement) as faith, not science, from the essay. He also equates "Darwinists" as being faith-based, too.

However, he also made it clear that he considers evolution as being scientific, and the only thing worth teaching in schools.

In the end, he is advocating science as we understand it today. The fact that he appears to be denigrating "Darwinists" is beside the point. He still supports evolutionary theory.

Do you really object to that?

Card equating Darwinists as being faith based does not make it so. Darwinism is a research program - in the sense of Imre Lakatos - in biology. It includes a number of claims. Briefly these are, common descent, the existence of random mutation and natural selection as a mechanism introducing adaptive variation into life; and the sufficiency of random mutation and natural selection to account for all ADAPTIVE variation in life. As a theory Darwinism makes certain predictions, although the precise predictions made depend on auxilliary hypothesis, most notably those relating to mechanisms of inheritance, mechanisms of introduction of new variation, mechanisms of development, and ecological relationships.

Because it can be used to make emperically testable predictions, and because those predictions are made and tested (to the tune of several thousand scientific papers each year), Darwinism is a successfull emperical science, and is far and away the most successful research program that has ever existed in biology.

Despite this, and appropriately, Darwinism is not universally accepted in the biological community. Around 20%, as a ball park figure, of biologists reject the third claim of sufficiency, whereas less than 1% would reject either of the other two claims. This figure has fluctuated since the origin of Darwinism, but has never dropped below around 10%, and since the modern synthesis, has never risen above 30%. But of those who have rejected the third claim, they have not all agreed about each other as to the extra mechanisms needed. Alternative paradigms since the modern synthesis have had a shelf life of between 5 to 10 years before new research has resoundingly confirmed Darwinism, or a new synthesis has been proposed showing the alternate "paradigm" to fit comfortably within Darwinism and to not challenge Darwinisms central claims at all as was previously supposed. In many cases the supposed alternative was predicted by Darwinists in previously ignored passages of their works.

A typical progression is described by Wallace Arthur in his preface to "The Origin of Animal Body Plans". "At the beginning of this endeavour, I rebelled against my neo-Darwinian background. By the time the first draft was three quarters written, however, I had become clear that I was still a neo-Darwinian after all - albeit one who is highly critical of the extreme 'nondevelopmental fringe' of that tradition." What begins as revolution ends as revision simply because Darwinism is such a powerfull and emperically successfull research program.

If you were to cut Darwinism from science education because you thought it was no emperical enough, to be consistent you would need to cut the rest of biology as well. Or, a similarly well established example, you would have to stop teaching that the sun was powered by fusion reactions as being faith based rather than emperically based.

This Darwinism as I describe it is Card's target. As he wrote at Hatrack River:

quote:
I do the unforgiveable: I separate evolution (which is obvious) from the belief in natural selection as a sufficient explanation of evolution, which has problems (problems that were partly addressed by serious scientists with the punctuational model, etc.)
It is the sufficiency of natural selection he wants excluded despite its strong emperical confirmation because of the pseudo-problems presented by designists. And he wants to characterise the acceptance of Darwinism as faith based despite its long history of confirmation in the face of robust emperical challenge. The first is a misdescription, the second an undermining of science education.

Understand that given the current state of confirmation about Darwinism it would be appropriate to teach the controversy about Darwinism in schools - but the real controversies. The directed mutation controversy, the developmental biology controversy, the symbiotic origin of organelles controversy, and so on. Perhaps one could be discussed each year. But the controversy would have to be taught, ie, both the evidence for and against, and the way scientists adress such controversies. What I object to is the ID program of teaching their pseudo-problems but refusing to teach the Darwinist responces. And I also object to Card's proposal that we should ignore the science of Darwinism because he finds the philosophy of ID more congenial, even if he retains sufficient integrety to recognise that ID isn't science.

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OrneryMod
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Ok folks lets all take a step back and curtail the name calling. I don't want to lock this thread but I will.

OrneryMod

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friskymike
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I only logged on to state my feelings right now, I won't be back. Peoples opinions on this topic are too deeply entrenched for them to be truly rational; so I won't even try and argue them. I just wanted to say that Enders Game and sequels were some of the most engaging books I ever read...

...However after reading the author's poorly concieved, irrational and just plain ignorant view on ID and what he calls "Darwinism", I have lost all respect for him. I will never be able to enjoy rereading them or any of his further books now.

Thanks a bunch [Frown] [Frown] [Frown]

(edit: spelling)

[ February 10, 2006, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: friskymike ]

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Denton17
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I'm a college student who goes to Stony Brook University. I Have studied MANY different areas. Sociology, Psychology, History, and Biology (others as well but unimportant to the point) What i do know is that the Behe's ID is wrong in almost every step of his biochemestry areguments. Saying that it is nearly impossible for what has happened to happen, Evolution and Natural Selection as Darwin started many years ago has progressed ALOT. Science has already mapped out pretty much where, how, and when different species came around, including humans. To summerize 3 years of chemestry, biology, biochem, genetics, and evolution, the answer is Mutation. Mistakes made from the copying of DNA. It happens every second in the body in cells. 99% of the mutations are either useless, or acually harmfull. So they don't survive, and the mutations that DO actually work, they survive, and thrive, if better than the original of course. Multiply this by Billions of years of mutations and you have today.

I'm sorry Mr. Card. And other "ID" believers, science has pretty much figured out things.

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DaveS
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[Deep breath…here goes]

I think this is on point, but I don’t want to divert this thread. My question is to ask what the real purpose of the ID movement is. The ID movement, spearheaded by Phillip Johnson and the Design Institute, has made it a jihad to bring “science” back into compliance with scripture and verse, but I think there’s a deeper personal issue that underlies the political one. It may not be the only issue, but this one alone is an indication why anti-evolutionism will never go away. Some background first.

We are in the midst of an academic and community focus on evolution in my local community. I’ve attended several of the events relating evolution, science and religion. Carl Zimmer (NY Times science reporter) gave a talk in which he discussed the lines of common descent of venomous snakes (and other venomous animals). He explained that most (all?) snake venom is derived from transposed genes originally responsible for digestive enzymes. He talked about other evolution issues, as well, and then took questions. One was “Do you believe in God?”

A week or so later the author of “The Beak of the Finch,” Jonathan Wiener, talked about how he came to write the book and what the finch study says about observable evolution, and then took questions. A woman who understands and accepts the reality of evolution asked a convoluted question that can be boiled down to “Why? What is its purpose?”

Lastly, I heard Daniel Dennett talk about his latest book, “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.” He argues there should be a rigorous study of religion (and memes) by evolutionary biologists and other scientists. One of the questions he says should be asked (in a scientific way) is whether religious adherence confers genetic fitness. That is a great question, because it implies an as yet undiscovered underlying biological basis for religion and memes.

I think the first questioner wanted to know if science had expelled God from reality. The second questioner needed to know whether or not we are here solely to participate in a dance of randomness and survival “skills.” Part of her question (as I recall) involved whether evolution would mean that her children would live in a better world. Dennett’s thesis is that memes of religion are a survivability issue innate to our species, social darwinism in the literal sense.

At long last, my question to you is do you think that ID and/or Creationism are themselves expressions of evolution in action? In other words, is religion a social mechanism that was invented by humans that improves our chances of breeding and passing along our genes?

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