Conservatives find creative way to push creationism in school.

The following is a complete reprint of an artice written by John Brice for The State News and was originally published on April 15th, 2004.  It’s being reprinted here with John’s permission and remains copyrighted by The State News.

I wanted to reprint the article for a couple of reasons, first it’s a good summary of the goals of the movement to have Intelligent Design Creationism taught in our public schools, of which Michigan is one state that is considering such a move. But the main reason I wanted to reprint the article is that it includes an argument against teaching IDC in schools that I hadn’t considered previously myself and which I’m willing to bet many IDC proponents also haven’t considered before. Namely, what IDC could potentially imply about the nature of the Designer it claims is necessary. It’s a good read and I appreciate John allowing me to reprint it in whole.

    Conservatives find creative way to push creationism in school

    Our public schools are under attack from religious warriors crusading to inject creationism into science classes. The most recently evolved variant of creationist propaganda is known as Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC) and has been constructed with the goal of slipping into science curriculums by masquerading as a science. To pull off this feat of deception, a nebulous and unnamed “designer” replaces traditional concepts of God.

    By carefully avoiding direct mention of God or any Judeo-Christian concepts, IDC attempts to circumvent church/state separation concerns. Beneath the sly ruse, however, is the clear implication that the “designer” is God. That’s why religious conservatives are so fanatical about promoting the inclusion of IDC theology in public schools.

    In October 2002, I wrote a feature article, “The Creationist Holy War,” for infidels.org. I discussed some reasons why including IDC in the nation’s science curriculum is damaging to both science and traditional religious beliefs. The fact that IDC is damaging to science is self-evident to the scientifically educated and has been widely discussed; however, the latter assertion is less well recognized and worth reiterating here.

    IDC is merely a modernized version of the “Argument from Design.” This flawed philosophy often takes the following form: Imagine you find a watch imbedded on a sandy beach. You observe the intricate construction. If any part had been placed randomly, in any other location, the watch would not function. Blind natural processes could not possibly have produced an item of such specific purpose and complexity; thus, it must have had a watchmaker.

    Next, the analogical leap. Creationists claim an examination of man and nature demonstrates the necessity of a God, just as an examination of the watch demanded the existence of a watchmaker. IDC adds the assertion that if any characteristic of man or nature is judged “irreducibly complex,” meaning that it couldn’t have evolved naturally, it’s proof of a designer. It’s an example of a fallacy called “Argument from Ignorance.”

    As an aside, God, paradoxically, seems to qualify as irreducibly complex. Could God have evolved naturally from “deity precursors?” God is supposedly perfect, without limits of power and knowledge. It would seem that such a being, in accordance with the principle of irreducible complexity, would prove the existence of a “Deity designer” and that designer must have a designer, ad infinitum.

    If there is to be any discussion of a creator in our public schools, it’s a safe bet the Judeo-Christian image of God would be preferred by most. This image, stubbornly difficult to extract from scripture, is of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent deity. Interestingly, such a being is not at all what IDC would elicit in the minds of our nation’s youth – quite the contrary. To understand why, we need to return to the analogy of the watch and watchmaker. Perhaps the watch can reveal something about its designer.

    Let’s suppose, after a comprehensive examination, we learn the watch is constructed from recycled parts left over from other machines, and some parts don’t seem to have a purpose at all. The watch keeps inaccurate time and has a very short working life before it begins to seriously malfunction and finally fail completely.

    Numerous inferences about the watchmaker are possible. Perhaps he didn’t try to make a good watch. Or, conceivably, he made the best possible watch with the materials available. Incompetence is a possibility. It’s also plausible that, for some unknown reason, the watchmaker intentionally built a faulty and poorly designed watch. In summary, we can say the watchmaker is either lazy, had a tight budget, was inept or intentionally produced a flawed product.

    As with the Argument from Design, let’s expand this watch analogy to the natural world. The watchmaker becomes God, and the watch becomes mankind and nature. Can this analogy tell us anything about God?

    Obviously, humans are significantly flawed. We are made of “recycled” biological material; our genome reveals abundant examples of reused DNA, seemingly borrowed from earlier forms, as well as a large amount of redundant and “switched off” genetic code. Humans have vestigial behaviors and anatomical structures (goose bumps, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.); moreover, much of our anatomy is designed poorly for optimum function (knees, lower back, eyes, etc). Equally obvious, we are not built to last. Human beings inexorably degrade and fail over time, often in a painful and miserable decline. Therefore, assuming we are evidence of design, what judgment can we make about God?

    Our hypothetical deity fares no better than the watchmaker; God may be inept, lazy or simply doing his best with the materials at hand. Each of those conclusions, however, is incompatible with traditional depictions of God.

    Alternatively, God purposefully designed our imperfections. Under this possibility, God has the dubious honor of being directly responsible for cancer, Ebola, anthrax, HIV, birth defects, Alzheimer’s Disease, parasites, chronic pain, plagues, natural disasters and death. God would have specifically and purposefully designed a nearly infinite number of horrors and torments in both man and the natural world.

    This possibility turns God into a malevolent monster rather than a loving creator. Mainstream religions grapple with this “problem of evil” by attempting to deflect blame away from their deity. Original sin, Satan, and the “gift of free will” are fashionable, yet horribly flawed, efforts to remove culpability from the Almighty. However, IDC offers no attempt whatsoever to redirect blame; it places the responsibility for all suffering and all design flaws squarely on the shoulders of the designer.

    Educated Americans value the separation of church and state for many reasons. Central among these is an antipathy toward government defining God for all. If government requires IDC to be taught in public school science classes, it will be promoting the concept of a sadistic or flawed creator. Coupled with the fact that IDC is not a scientific theory, theists should be as outraged as scientists with the prospect of neo-creationism being imposed on our children.

    John Bice is an MSU staff member. He can be reached at bice@msu.edu.

332 thoughts on “Conservatives find creative way to push creationism in school.

  1. An interesting article.  Yes, Argument from Design tends to be circular, since it assumes knowledge of what’s designed in the first place, which is what it then purports to prove.

    The issue of how one addresses the flaws of the material world, or the Problem of Evil, or whatever, isn’t something new brought up by IDC, of course.  For that matter, it’s certainly something that would have come up in the past when Creationism (baldly) was taught.

    Though of course in that context, it would have been coupled with the religious arguments—sin, the Devil, free will, etc., which address it (to what degree of success depending on the observer, of course).

    The Watchmaker hypothesis, or IDC, or whatever they’re call it these days, fits better into an 18th C Deism mold, which many of the Founding Fathers believed in.  That’s probably not the target concept the IDC proponents want, either—a distant watchmaker who built the whole mess and now sits back and watches it work.  After all, watchmakers don’t intervene to manually make the works go, or change the mechanism’s workings in answer to the gears’ prayers, or anything like that. 

    The writer’s final point is correct.  The more that the government gets involved in formally proposing and defining God, the greater the problems that ensue.  After all, governmental social tinkering is hardly an unmitigated success.  And, as we can see in Europe (and in Latin America), when the Church becomes an arm of the Government, then when the Government changes (or gets discredited or gets thrown out), the damage redounds to the Church, too.

    Bad business all around.  And I say that as someone who believes in a Designer and Creator, but who’d never want to have that taught in schools as an alternative (or rival or even analog) to evolution and current scientific cosmology.

  2. Les, do you know the status of the two bills in the MI legislature? I haven’t seen much, if any, news on the subject lately.

    The article is excellent, and I’m adding it to my anti-creationism tool kit. Unfortunately, the subject seems to cause many otherwise intelligent people to lose all grasp of logic, so blunt instruments are the only tools that have any significant effect.

    did

  3. You know, I was in the middle of writing a long entry about how the Watchmaker metaphor is so stupid in the first place, but I ended up losing inspiration for it because I don’t think I really need to explain it.  The article took a pretty good angle at it too.

    All I can say, though, is that Creationist beliefs are stupid and completely without any grounding whatsoever.  Watches don’t have an evolutionary chain leading up to an end result; so long as you’re speaking in terms of use, not complexity.  Watches and time-keeping instruments have always held the same use over time, despite their growing levels of complexity.  Humans, however, started out as any other animal, and then found their own niche as sentient beings capable of using their environment completely to their advantage.

    Watches are tools.

    It’s apples an oranges, to use the cliche.  In short, Creation “theory” is bullshit.  If anybody wants to argue with me at length about it, my screen name on Instant Messanger (AOL) is JoshMan3D.

  4. Actually, I think intelligent design is a pretty nifty theory. It can even be modified to overlap with evolution - making God the long-ago creator of the ‘syntax/grammar’ of evolution (and of natural laws and such). You could believe in both at the same time (with the above limitations on Gods character). Obviously thats not what IDC proponents want

    As an aside:

    The ‘why would God be this cruel to his creations’-question is probably one of the oldest questions in religion. I could think of a number of answers, many obviously not first created by myself (and don’t believe in any of them - as I have stated recently, I’m an agnostic):

    a) God IS cruel and vindicative or at least uncaring and/or impulsive. Why shouldn’t he be? Most ‘pagan’ Gods where thus. And in a more serious vein, there are enough humans like that, so why should God be different? Because he is more powerful? There’s lots of cruel, powerful people in the world, maybe more than cruel, weak ones. Because he is wiser? Would a God *have* to be wiser than we are? Or only more powerful? Even if he was wiser, why should that automatically make him kind and just?

    b) God is testing his creations. Maybe in the whole of the universe, in the life of our eternal or at least *very* long-lived souls, maybe there all the pain that the most wretched life here on Earth causes is only a pinprick of pain, no more the chinned knees you get from learning to walk.

    c) We are too insignificant. Far from being the pinnacle of creation, we just happened (see ‘syntax’, above) or were an afterthought. Or are not ‘worthy’ yet in our stage. Maybe the universe is so full of better and more succesful life that we are not really important. Not exactly a fitting modus operandi for a Christian-type creator either.

    In my mind, b) makes the most sense when trying to reconcile monotheistic faiths with reality. Also, I do *not* think that the ‘free will’ argument is that flawed. If God kept helping us or protecting us from ourselves (even in ways totally benevolent for all) it would still be interfering. A bit like an eternally over-protective parent. And if there’s a heaven to await everyone who is reasonably good at heart, there’s no permanent harm done in allowing free will and the resulting chaos.

    And now, I’ll go to bed. Because I *have* to get up early tomorrow and free will is not going to help me much there

  5. I thought evolution couldn’t exist cause it violate this little fellow

    Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God…

    And if that *is* the case, would you accept that god has been evolving to.

    And out of your three points, if we are in His image, what do you think would happen to one of us who had absolute power? how does that saying go… something about corrupting absolutely… So I think you would have to lock in A. God is cruel.

  6. Or….. D: God doesn’t exist, and we’re on our own.  Seems a lot simpler to me.

  7. did, I’m afraid I’ve not heard anything more on them lately myself. I plan on tracking down where they stand soon, though.

  8. Xade - not all Christians need to take the bible literally. ‘In his image’ could mean a lot more than just ‘looks like him’ - maybe it means ‘being able to think’ or ‘having a conscience’ or simply ‘being alive’.

    Or he could have ‘stacked the deck’ so that we had to evolve.

    As to option option ‘D’ - you are right, JoshMan3D. D is for default, and is what I believe. But I was trying to explain under what circumstances ID could make sense.

  9. Great article. 

    I believe that lower-mid level grades should only focus on science which we know to be true.  (Tested and proven.)  I have no problem with multiple theories being presented at higher grade levels.

    I grew up in a fanatically religious environment and thrived on debate.  One of the things I loved to torture my father with was this…

    Suppose an omnipotentent being created dinosaur bones and footprints just to amuse humans?

    Twenty years later they still pray for me daily.

  10. Yes, theory should be taught in science class.
    Creationism should be mentioned in Mythology 101 where it belongs.

    Actually, it looks to me like a whole lot of people need to be taught exactly what -science- is!

  11. The problem with teaching Creation as a theory is the fact its not even a theory - there’s no tests even REMOTELY proving that it’s right, and what’s more shocking is the plethora of fake “evidence” out there to prove that it is.  As Les has said before, it’s really more of a hypothesis; I wouldn’t even give it THAT much creadit.  If the definition of hypothesis is an EDUCATED guess, then I could never consider it as thus.

    The Big Bang is a theory.  Relativity is a theory.  To put Creationism in the same field is an insult not only to science, but to the rest of our society.

  12. Teaching of theories and/or hypothesi encourage free thought regardless of the amount of ‘hard’ evidence presented.  Obviously this can be taken to the extreme.

    I would categorize Relativity as a theory,
    Big Bang as a hypothesis and
    Creationism as speculation with the definition of speculation as the following:

    1.  A hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence)

    2.  An investment that is very risky but could yield great profits

  13. Theory and hypothesis are basically synonyms, no need to differentiate here. The goal is to explain something. What is important is how the theory/hypothesis holds up under the scrutiny of the scientific method.

    Creationism fails miserably where the Big Bang, Relativity, and Evolution remain the most likely explanation for the observed data.

  14. I wouldn’t consider the Big Bang to be a mere hypothesis, though, considering the evidence that points towards it.

    I’m not going to go too far into the subject itself, but I’ll use an example that we use to determine what’s happened in our universe’s past.  Looking into a powerful telescope or radio telescope is the equivalent of looking back in time, considering the speed of X-rays, light, and gamma rays and how long it takes to travel such an incredibly long distance.  We can only see so far back into the universe because at a certain point, there are little to no stars.  In the same area, we see a huge amount of radioactivity, remnants of what we think to be an enormous explosion.

    And what would this explosion be?  Why, the Big Bang, of course!  This is why it’s widely considered a theory, for not only is it an educated guess, but it has a lot of evidence pointing to it too.  There is the issue, however, of the galaxies moving faster and faster away from each other (as opposed to slowing down from gravitational pull, or even staying at the same speed due to lack of kinetic energy, as the laws of physics would normally prove), but that’s an entirely different confusing matter (along with dark matter, antineutrinos, and the like).

    I’m not opposed to learning the whole “speculation”, as you call it, of Creation, but presenting it in a scientific envirionment, like a SCIENCE class, for example, is not just stupid; it’s bullshit.  It’s more of a subject for Theology or Social Studies.

    And Spocko?  Theory and hypothesis are DEFINITELY NOT synonyms.  A hypothesis is a guess using a reasonalbe amount of background knowledge as a solution to a problem (typically in an experiment).  A theory requires repeated evidence from tests and experiments to be considered thus.  That’s why some would consider Creation to be a hypothesis - but then again, it can’t be tested, cannot be proven wrong, and therefore is not one.

  15. All my sources treat theory and hypothesis as generally synonymous (one dict even lists them as synonymns) - my point is that there is no need to pick nits about it. Creationism, ID, and IC, for that matter, are easily squashed ideas shown in the light of science and do not rate being called theory or hypothesis.

  16. True, Spocko.  However, English has a nasty habit of using words in multiple senses.  Theory and hypothesis, in the English language alone, are both considered educated guesses.

    However, scientifically (and this is established in clear if you take any laboratory science class), theory and hypothesis are defined differently, in the way I mentioned before.  It’s a little nitpicky, yeah, but that’s just how they refer to it, as to categorize the validity of new ideas in the science world.

  17. It would seem that such a being, in accordance with the principle of irreducible complexity, would prove the existence of a

  18. Yes I do know the precise meaning - I did caveat with “basically” and “generally” BTW. I’m just saying theory and hypothesis strive to explain reality and can be proved or disproved. I think we got off track a bit here.

    VernR - you’re right about those right-wingers, they don’t give a damn about what is theory, hypothesis, or fairy tale as long as they keep Pat Robertson’s flock votin’ red ;o)

  19. Glad to see this thread continue.  I agree with the point that ID and creationism warrant no instruction in science courses.

    Social studies does seem like an appropriate place to introduce the concept.

    I do stand by big bang being a hypothesis though based in this definition:

    “A tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena.”

    Exposure to various thoughts is always a good thing but when it is being mandated in such a way that this bill has laid out, well… that’s just scary.

  20. In physics and other science disciplines, the words “hypothesis,” “model,” “theory” and “law” have different connotations in relation to the stage of acceptance or knowledge about a group of phenomena.

    An hypothesis is a limited statement regarding cause and effect in specific situations; it also refers to our state of knowledge before experimental work has been performed and perhaps even before new phenomena have been predicted. To take an example from daily life, suppose you discover that your car will not start. You may say, “My car does not start because the battery is low.” This is your first hypothesis. You may then check whether the lights were left on, or if the engine makes a particular sound when you turn the ignition key. You might actually check the voltage across the terminals of the battery. If you discover that the battery is not low, you might attempt another hypothesis (“The starter is broken”; “This is really not my car.”)

    The word model is reserved for situations when it is known that the hypothesis has at least limited validity. A often-cited example of this is the Bohr model of the atom, in which, in an analogy to the solar system, the electrons are described has moving in circular orbits around the nucleus. This is not an accurate depiction of what an atom “looks like,” but the model succeeds in mathematically representing the energies (but not the correct angular momenta) of the quantum states of the electron in the simplest case, the hydrogen atom. Another example is Hook’s Law (which should be called Hook’s principle, or Hook’s model), which states that the force exerted by a mass attached to a spring is proportional to the amount the spring is stretched. We know that this principle is only valid for small amounts of stretching. The “law” fails when the spring is stretched beyond its elastic limit (it can break). This principle, however, leads to the prediction of simple harmonic motion, and, as a model of the behavior of a spring, has been versatile in an extremely broad range of applications.

    A scientific theory or law represents an hypothesis, or a group of related hypotheses, which has been confirmed through repeated experimental tests. Theories in physics are often formulated in terms of a few concepts and equations, which are identified with “laws of nature,” suggesting their universal applicability. Accepted scientific theories and laws become part of our understanding of the universe and the basis for exploring less well-understood areas of knowledge. Theories are not easily discarded; new discoveries are first assumed to fit into the existing theoretical framework. It is only when, after repeated experimental tests, the new phenomenon cannot be accommodated that scientists seriously question the theory and attempt to modify it. The validity that we attach to scientific theories as representing realities of the physical world is to be contrasted with the facile invalidation implied by the expression, “It’s only a theory.” For example, it is unlikely that a person will step off a tall building on the assumption that they will not fall, because “Gravity is only a theory.”

    ID or Creationism don’t even come close to a ‘Theory” and NEVER will.
    They are at best a Hypothesis.
    Funny thing ID & Creationism are really what I would call a Hypothesis of mysticism or Mythology as they most certainly have NOTHING to do with Reality of how and why we are here, no more than Zeus & flying unicorns.

    Here is “The Scientific Method” of which neither Creationism nor ID could EVER make it past step 2
    and the difference between step 2 “hypothesis” and step 5 “Theory” is HUGE.

    http://phyun5.ucr.edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node6.html#SECTION02121000000000000000

  21. nunyabiz - that was indeed sickening, these putgodback fools really need to go back to their American History class

    deadscot - since we’re talking about the Big Bang, then it IS important to differentiate between theory and hypothesis. The Big Bang is considered a theory and not just an hypothesis because the amount of evidence for it is pretty good…

    1. We can observe radiation left over from the Big Bang in the form of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and even see fluctuations in that from which it is believed the galaxies formed.

    2. The expansion of the universe implies that at some time in the past everything must have been a lot closer together and hotter, which sounds a lot like the Big Bang to me!

    3. In GR (General Relativity), there is a theory called the singularity theory which can be used to prove that there must have been a singularity (ie. a Big Bang) at some point in the past for every possible way we know to describe the Universe.

    (sorry I can’t remember who I’m quoting here)

    PS. Bill O’Reilly doesn’t “believe” in the Big Bang, it’s just bullshit. What an idiot!

  22. Just to clarify, nunyabiz (and by the way, great explanation of the definitions): the only difference between a theory and a law is that a law is something that has never been and is assumed impossible to be contradicted.  Like Newtons laws of physics, for example.  Theories are explanations for certain things, but are not necessarily laws yet, as there are still instances where they could be contradicted and have not been fully tested yet.

    And as for that site that you showed us: not only was it sickening, but they added MUSIC.  Or rather MUZAK, crappy elevator crap, composed by some guy so incomprehensibly religious he had to make music WITHOUT ANY words (or creativity).  These are the people who are practically destroying this country - it scares me to see how many signatures they actually have…

  23. Thanks for that link.  I needed to lose a couple of pounds.

    Why is it so necessary for these people to feel the need to impose their belief systems on others?

    It’s easy to see here that you can enter differences of opinion, discuss it walk away more learned for your time.

    Based on nunyabiz’s thread I began to ponder just what a final exam in Physics would look like for the ID/creationism course?

  24. I just read the Humberg article and was impressed by his knowledge of the scientific process.  Scientists NEVER know anything, that’s why they do experiments!  We learn to live with that uncertainty while we carry out step-wise explorations into the unknown.  Each experiment gives an answer, but opens the door to more uncertainty and more experiments.  That’s what makes it so much fun!
    SG

  25. I read a quote a long while back which pretty much sums up my feelings on this topic (but cannot remember who said it):

    Believe the man who says he seeks the truth. Doubt the man who says he’s found it.

    Science can live with the fact that it does not know things and that todays truths may be proven incorrect tomorrow. I don’t think religion can exist without their absolute “truths” being inviolate. For me that is why IDC is not science, there is no possibility it can be wrong in the minds of those who believe in it.

  26. Bad news SG. This morning the NY Times ran a piece titled U.S. Is Losing Its Dominance in the Sciences
    Foreign advances in basic science now often rival or even exceed America’s, apparently with little public awareness of the trend or its implications for jobs, industry, national security or the vigor of the nation’s intellectual and cultural life.

    The authors base their premise on several measures: prizes awarded, the number of articles published in blue chip professional journals, and the number of patents granted.

    Through the 90s the U.S. won the lion’s share of the Nobel. Recently our share has fallen to 51%, the rest of the prizes going to Britian, Japan, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and New Zealand. This list doesn’t include China—yet. However, with their investment to scientific research we can expect to see China on the list sometime in the near future.

    Based on reading and listening over the last few months, it appears to me that we face two major threats for a good part of the twenty first century. One threat (current) comes from theistic fundamentalists (TFs). The other threat (future) will come from China’s endeavors in science and commerce. To meet these threats we need curious, well educated people in all sectors of our society who beleive in one of Admiral Rickover’s maxims—knowledge is power. (And, oh yeah, also believe in ***Dave’s truth thing.)

     

    Foreign TFs want to kill us or convert us, while domestic TFs want to convert us to their beliefs while disarming us intellectualy. Unfortunately the radical right, through various means, is content to dumming down the majority of our population. In fact, they prefer it that way.

    Yeah, put intelligent design in our high school curricula. 

    From an earlier visit to the ICR web site, I recall having seen reference to some sort of refereed journal of creationism—can’t recall the name. I could find such a reference just now. That must be disappointing to the to the many members of the world scientific community who are eager to contribute articles on the results of their research.

  27. I was going to write about that NYT article myself today, but I hadn’t quite formulated what I wanted to say about it. I don’t necessarily consider the rise of other countries in the sciences to be a bad thing per se, but I do think it says some bad things about the state of science education and importance in the U.S. currently. I’ve still not completely formulated my thoughts on the issue yet.

  28. Les, I agree with you and one of the points in the raised in the article. The more people in the brainpower bank, the better for humanity in general. However, as the article points out, one downside for us is that wealth derived from off-shore patents will remain off-shore.

  29. Hi All:  Actually, anybody in academia has known about this for years.  Part of the problem, for sure, is the dumbing down of the US population.  I remember a recent (informal) poll taken by David Letterman who found that most people didn’t know that it takes a year for the Earth to move around the Sun!

    Another part of the problem is the dismal pay scale at our universities.  If you want do do research, you have to start as a “post-doctoral fellow” right out of graduate school.  The salaries range from 20K to 30K for a more advanced fellow.  Who’s going to work for that price?  They only get away with it because the job is classified as “training”, which allows the low salary.  We can’t get Americans to work for that price, usually it’s Chinese, or more recently, Southeast Asians.

    As you say, this problem has been going on for a long long time, and now it’s being noticed in the reduction of Nobels, and other prizes.
    SG

  30. And if you are an American scientist who wants to be on the cutting edge, making discoveries, not wasting your talents - might you not consider going to work in China or Britian or any place not so bogged down in superstition as to stifle your abilities? I would.

    If the (foreign) terrorists want to destroy America they will need to get in line behind the Fundamentalists.

  31. SG and Eric.

    You guys are right on. Today’s NY Times carried an editorial titled Losing Our Technical Dominance

    Here is the last paragraph.
    [list]Although this is hardly a time of crisis for American science, common sense suggests efforts to head off further erosion. The administration seems misguided in planning to cut research funds in real terms for 21 agencies in coming years while increasing only the research concerned with defense, domestic security and the space program. The administration should ease the security-driven visa restrictions that keep away foreign students and scientists. Most important, the decline in the number of Americans training to become scientists and engineers suggests the need to reinvigorate science education in the public schools. Manpower trends can take a decade or two to reverse.[/list]

    The writer didn’t pick up on the problem with career opportunities in universities.

  32. hi,

    I’ll share with you not a well known fact, namely, the spiritual world (including your spiritual souls) is more real than the world you currently live in.

    How do I know this, you may well ask?

    Because the statistics prove that you will die as I too also will die.  That’s a pretty convincing statistic, not to mention the bible tells us so.

    Sadly, you people at present do not understand the nature of sin……which explains all your condescending mocking remarks about the “ills” of this world….namely….diseases, sickness, war, violence….etc….etc…etc…etc…

    Can I pose this question?

    Do you know anyone that prophecy declared (hundreds of years earlier) that they would be crucified and rise from the dead on the third day ?  Anyone in human history ?

    Jesus Christ was crucified, dead and buried and He did rise on the third day as prophesied !!!

    You mere mortals seriously think with all your light-headed head knowledge can challenge Jesus Christ !!!  You think you do…..but be rest assured, He will call you to account for every word you speak when your spirit leaves your dead body.

    Please, don’t kid yourselves.

    You all need to repent and accept Christ Jesus into your heart this very day to save your soul.

    Hallelujah……

    Praise the most High…Jesus the Christ

    sincerely

    A. Banks

  33. I read most of the posts to this subject. I think ID should be taught; as a theory is just as logical as any other. What I like about ID is it at least hints at a ‘why’ issue where the others suggest just a cold randomness to existence. Emotions (E is for energy …motions) are real enough and it would be NICE if creation had place and use for them, as well as idealism, et al.

    At the same time I’m a bit nervous with christianity comandeering ID for it’s own purposes and limited explanations per the above, “Accept Jesus or be damned.” Now I really have no problem with Jesus, only mainstream interpretations of who he was and what his life was about, that fundamentalist like to bludgeon us with. I think the solution that surely won’t satisfy all, is to teach comparitive religion in grade school. That way kids would have exposure to the different ideas extant.

    Clearly the geological record doesn’t reflect mainstream biblical time-tables, Dr. Dino notwithstanding. Most of the time this world is wrapped in ice, (100k - 250,000 years) followed by brief warming cycles where civilization flourishes (10,000 - 25,000+? years) …followed by catstrophes—comets/asteroids crashing in leaving big holes, melting of ice caps, super-volcanoes like Yellowstone, covering US with 6 feet of clay ash, cloaking the earth in darkness to the next ice age. Maybe this happens when men become too wicked/ big for our britches and maybe prayer can stay such events.

    Dinosaurs may well have been genetic experiments. We’re almost to the point of being able to make designer life now. Anyone see the glow-in-the dark rabbit some guy made by adding a gene from a deep seas shrimp?

    I think we’re co-creators WITH the Creator, and life as eternal spirits IS OUR evolutionary leap. To suggest there is none seems to me the height of hubris. Man surely isn’t the sharpest knife in the cosmic drawer. Most posters are still operating from intellectual positions and have a lot more study and homework, not to mention life experiences to process. This much I can say—God answers prayers when your heart and head are in the right place, and that alone really demolishes scepticism.

    Yes, bad things happen. God made Kali, the recycler.

  34. I read the first two sentences of the previous comment and thought I’d respond with a logical argument, but then I read further… No point.  Thrival, what about crop circles? Don’t leave them out…

  35. Yeah, that was my conclusion as well. Any time spent on this one would be a waste. I about snorted my milk when I read the bit about ID being “just as logical” as any other theory.

    If you have a closed head injury perhaps…

  36. Milk isn’t meant to be snorted; that isn’t its purpose or yours. I actually know more than I let on. God has shown and proven Himself to humble and sincere persons throughout history. If you don’t have reason or inclination to persue and discover that Intelligent Design is a fact then I guess it leaves you out of it. To say you have yet to experience something in no way proves it doesn’t exist, and no one else’s proof will ever satisfy you.

  37. Communion wafers aren’t meant to be snorted; that isn’t their purpose or yours. I actually know more than I let on.  Evolution has shown and proven its reality to humble and sincere persons throughout history. If you don’t have reason or inclination to persue and discover that Evolution is a fact then I guess it leaves you out of it. To say you have yet to experience something in no way proves it doesn’t exist, and no one else’s proof will ever satisfy you.

  38. Funny, you don’t sound all that humble based on your last reply, Thrival. Though it could just be a bad first impression.

    To say you have yet to experience something in no way proves it doesn’t exist

    Indeed this is true, but that’s no reason to assume it does exist either. Does anyone else find it ironic that so many proponents will criticize Evolution on the basis that “no one has ever seen it happen” or “no one experiences it” only to turn around and defend the idea of God with an argument like the one above?

  39. Well it’s not good to judge people on first impressions, or even second ones, as merely reflects the biases and the prejudices of persons so judging with inadequate information.

    To know something doesn’t necessarily bespeak a lack of humility. It just might look that way to those who don’t.

    God proves himself to those who are open and willing. When that happens, you are beyond mere belief and into the realm of knowing. No one can put you there but you, and what people think about you for it is quite meaningless. Also just because you choose to measure God with an inadequate yardstick doesn’t mean he’s obligated to shrink himself to fit just to please you/make you happy.

    There is the appearance of evolution because changes take so long. Then again they don’t have to. Reason is that ‘nature’ is spiritual art and ‘they’ are practicing constantly. Despite anything I’ve said, I by no means presume you are educable or that it’s my job.

  40. thrival typed on his computer: There is the appearance of evolution because changes take so long. Then again they don’t have to. Reason is that ‘nature’ is spiritual art and ‘they’ are practicing constantly.
    Uh, am I missing something here, or does this not mean anything at all?

  41. Forgot to mention. If evolution were happening (without God) a person would still have to ask why things keep improving (?) themselves. I mean that alone would indicate “a purpose.” (But that’s just a practical observation, not a rhetorical arguement, babbling of or twisting of words.)

  42. No, thrival, God “proves himself” to you when you spend so much time convincing yourself that he exists that you imagine you actually see signs.  Self-hypnosis is all well and good, but it should be practiced in private and not forced on others as a mass delusion.

  43. thrival,

    Things aren’t necessarily improving they’re simply responding to environmental conditions.  As for why they’re doing it, if they don’t they end up dieing.  So the things that survive are the ones that have traits that allow them to deal with current environmental conditions.  This isn’t all that mysterious to me, nor all that indicative of purpose or design.

  44. Spiritual survival means you live forever—that’s REAL evolution, for those able to cognize it. OK you’re not improving and your existence has no purpose. I can accept that.

  45. Thrival returns and tries to come across as semi-coherent with…
    Well it’s not good to judge people on first impressions, or even second ones, as merely reflects the biases and the prejudices of persons so judging with inadequate information.

    So far I’d say my first impressions of you are turning out to be correct as each successive reply you leave just seems to confirm them. We all judge each other based on first impressions colored by our biases and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s whether or not we close our minds to revising that impression as we learn more about someone that’s important.

    To know something doesn’t necessarily bespeak a lack of humility. It just might look that way to those who don’t.

    It’s not the knowledge, it’s the presentation. Smugness isn’t synonymous with humility.

    God proves himself to those who are open and willing. When that happens, you are beyond mere belief and into the realm of knowing. No one can put you there but you, and what people think about you for it is quite meaningless. Also just because you choose to measure God with an inadequate yardstick doesn’t mean he’s obligated to shrink himself to fit just to please you/make you happy.

    Weren’t you just saying that judging people based on first impressions full of your own biases and prejudices is a bad thing to do? Yet here you seem to presume to know my past and how open and willing I may have been to God. You assume, based on my current status as an atheist, that I was always once so or if I wasn’t then I must not have been sufficiently open and willing to have God prove himself to me.

    Unless you’ve spent some considerable time reading through the archives here (which I doubt) then you have no clue about whether I was once a believer or how open and willing I may have once been. You don’t know if I once believed to “know God” as you claim to do now or how sincere my belief happened to be. Or how concerned I may have been over what other’s thought of me for my belief.

    You don’t know any of that, yet you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong. That’s not humility. That’s arrogance.

    There is the appearance of evolution because changes take so long. Then again they don’t have to. Reason is that ‘nature’ is spiritual art and ‘they’ are practicing constantly.

    So much for coherency.

    Despite anything I’ve said, I by no means presume you are educable or that it’s my job.

    Then why bother speaking up at all? Just to say, “Neener neener neener! I know something you don’t know! I know something you don’t know!”

    Honestly, I seriously doubt you have much of anything to teach me based on your comments so far.

    Forgot to mention. If evolution were happening (without God) a person would still have to ask why things keep improving (?) themselves. I mean that alone would indicate “a purpose.

  46. Gosh you folks generate/sling SO much crap in such a short period of time, you should have a firetruck follow you around.

    Your first mistake is thinking I care a whit about what you think. You’ve yet to make a case why I should, which has nothing to do with my humility. I mean you’ve already asserted that your droning existences, beyond survival for its own sake, has no purpose. So why would I worry what any of you think. YOU’RE the ones who demonstrate true hubris.

    Secondly, true principles have nothing to do with your history or your personalities, which is only the limited filter you’ve acquired, coloring everything else that you think you know. You demonstrate red herring tactics to divert any point being made that would establish meaning or purpose, but that’s understandable because by your own assertions, your lives don’t have any, likewise your arguements.

    God has his own timetable for proving himself, personally and collectively, not just when you think he ought.

    And you wouldn’t need me to teach you anything if you’d overcome your own inertias because the information has always been extant, only that some people expect it to fall into their laps.

    Creation (and destruction) are occurring right now. Significance will always escape those unprepared to recognize it. Quit whining. You sound like bleating jack-asses who won’t proceed or back up.

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