Saturday, August 13, 2005

Creation theory wins support

Here is an article in yesterday's (Friday, 12 August) The West Australian which says that the Western Australian State Education minister Ljiljanna Ravlich said she was "open to the idea of intelligent design being taught alongside the theory of evolution"! Also, the Education Department's Director-General Paul Albert did not rule it out. It even more significant in that Ms Ravlich is the opposite political party (Labor Party) to the Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson (Liberal Party), which are roughly analogous to the USA's Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

An important point also is that the Roman Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey said that "intelligent design ... should be taught alongside evolutionary theory in science lessons." As I had previously said, State schools are under strong competiton from private religious schools (of which Catholic schools are a large segment) in Australia, and if the latter start teaching ID (i.e. the controversy) in their schools, there would be strong pressure from the State schools to do likewise.

There is also a reasonably good summary of ID which it says is from Wikipedia, although it does not seem to be actual quotes from that encyclopaedia, but the journalist's summary of it.

There are more aricles and letters to the editor in this same yesterday's paper and another article, a column and letters in today's paper(!) on the same subject of teaching ID, which I will scan and post.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol)
"Problems of Evolution"



THE WEST AUSTRALIAN FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2005 9

News

Controversial intelligent design view of the origins of life moves step closer to the WA school curriculum

Creation theory wins support

ANNE BUGGINS and BETHANY HIATT

WA school students could soon be taught that evolution may not provide all the answers to the origins of life.

The push to teach the controversial theory of intelligent design in schools has gained momentum, with both Federal and State education ministers opening the way this week for the subject to be included in the school curriculum.

On Wednesday, Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson said that intelligent design had enough merit to be taught in classrooms but should not replace scientific lessons about the origins of life.

Yesterday, State Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich said she was open to the idea of intelligent design being taught alongside the theory of evolution.

"I think people are entitled to their views and I don't have a problem with both views being expressed," she said. "I think evolutionary theory is well established, though some people would argue against it."

She said whether intelligent design was presented as a theory or fact was a matter of perspective and teachers should be able to exercise their own judgment on the presentation. Education Department director-general Paul Albert said he had not yet formed an opinion on the theory. "Clearly the department needs to look at the theory to see whether or not it does have a place in the curriculum," he said. "We would need to be assured there is substance to the theory and it's not just a fad."

Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey said intelligent design, while not itself demanding belief in a creator, nevertheless sat comfortably with Catholics and should be taught alongside evolutionary theory in science lessons.

"Intelligent design is a far more elegant description of historical changes than an entirely evolutionary approach, and it therefore should not be ignored in the classroom," he said.

"The problem in our society is that the theory of evolution has been installed in our education system and is defended by too many educators as the sole scientific approach to the existence of the universe and the appearance of the many forms of life. "One result is that too many students are unable to protect themselves from the conscious or subconscious assumption that human life has no purpose or meaning."

WHAT IS INTELLIGENT DESIGN?

o A theory that claims there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained without attributing their design to an intelligent agent: Put simply, it is a big idea that some say helps explain why we are here.

o Proponents argue Darwin's theory of evolution is wrong because life is so complex there must have been a higher intelligence involved.

o Fans say there are gaps in Darwin's theory, which attempts to explain the development of life through processes such as natural selection and random mutations.

o The intelligent design movement is sweeping through United States schools where it is being taught in tandem with Darwin's theory.

o To its critics, who include scientists, it is a religious belief and properly belongs in a religion or philosophy course. They say it does not hold up as a scientific theory because its claims cannot be scientifically tested.

SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

[...]

© 2005 West Australian Newspapers Limited All Rights Reserved.

6 comments:

John A. Davison said...

Speaking of testing claims,the Darwinian scheme has been tested to death and failed every one of them. Intelligent Design is fundamental to both ontogeny and phylogeny as should be obvious to anyone familiar with machines of any sort. An undesigned machine is unthinkable except of course for those that worship the Great God Chance.

While I am always hesitant to apply logic to evolutionary matters, I have offered the following question up for response. It goes this way. Since creation required a Creator, when exactly in the course of that creation did the Creator or Creators hand over the reins to that portion of Nature that had up to that point been created? Like my challenge concerning any two extant species for which it can be documented that one is ancestral to the other, this one has gone unanswered as well. My one word answer to this one is NEVER. My three word answer to the other challenge is THERE ARE NONE at least to my certain knowledge.

Phylogeny, as ontogeny now demonstrates, did not result from external causes and the search for such causes has been in vain.

"If you tell the truth, you are certain, sooner or later, to be found out."
Oscar Wilde

"Meine Zeit wird schon kommen!"
Gregor Mendel

"Everything is determined... by forces over which we have no control."
Albert Einstein

Stephen E. Jones said...

John

[…]

JD>Speaking of testing claims,the Darwinian scheme has been tested to death and failed every one of them. Intelligent Design is fundamental to both ontogeny and phylogeny as should be obvious to anyone familiar with machines of any sort. An undesigned machine is unthinkable except of course for those that worship the Great God Chance.

Agreed.

JD>While I am always hesitant to apply logic to evolutionary matters, I have offered the following question up for response. It goes this way. Since creation required a Creator, when exactly in the course of that creation did the Creator or Creators hand over the reins to that portion of Nature that had up to that point been created?

Christianity claims that God never did, "hand over the reins". For example, Jesus said that not even a sparrow could die without God willing it:

Matthew 10:29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father."

That means God is fully in control of natural selection (for example).

JD>Like my challenge concerning any two extant species for which it can be documented that one is ancestral to the other, this one has gone unanswered as well. My one word answer to this one is NEVER. My three word answer to the other challenge is THERE ARE NONE at least to my certain knowledge.

Well I have now answered it. But of course presumably John won't *accept* the answer (which is another matter entirely).

I have also pointed out in another post, "Universe 'too queer' to grasp: Dawkins" (http://makeashorterlink.com/?J2CA12B9B) that in my Progressive Creation model (expanding on Davis' three-fold division model), God can create: 1) supernaturally not through existing materials or natural processes (ex nihilo creation); 2) supernaturally through existing materials but not through natural processes (de novo creation); 3) supernaturally guiding existing materials and proceses (special providence); 4) not supernaturally through existing materials and natural processes (general providence); and 5) a combination of any or all of the above.

How God *did* actually create in any particular case is to be decided by which of 1) - 5) above best fits the evidence.

Of course those who don't accept that there is a God (or that God does not intervene supernaturally in the world), can only accept the naturalistic equivalent of 4), irrespective of the evidence and they will have no option but to make the evidence fit the Procrustean bed of their naturalistic philosophy.

And, as I have pointed out in my post "Daniel's 70 `weeks': Proof that Naturalism is false and Christianity is true!"
(http://makeashorterlink.com/?J1D916F8B), Daniel in his prophecy of the 70 `weeks' (Dan. 9:24-27) in 539/538 BC predicted that the Messiah would come in 69 `weeks' (i.e. 69 x 7 = 483 years) from 458/457 BC. That is -458/457 + 483 +1 (there being no year zero between 1 BC and 1 AD) = 26/27 AD, the very year that Jesus (the only claimed Messiah who went on to found a world religion). This proves beyond any reasonable doubt: 1) that Naturalism is false; and 2) Christianity is true.

So if John (or anyone) is working on the assumption that: 1) that Naturalism is true; and 2) Christianity is false; then he (they) is (are) simply *wrong*. Moreover, he (they) is (are) wrong on the most important thing that he (they) *could* be wrong on (see tagline).

I am happy to discuss with John (or anyone): 1) the problems of evolution for my first book, "The Problems of Evolution"
(http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html); 2) explain and defend my Progressive Mediate Creation position, which will be a subject of my second book,
"Progressive Creation"
(http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pc00summ.html); and 3) explain and defend design, which will be a subject of my third book, "The Design Argument"
(http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/da00cont.html).

But otherwise, having spent ~11 years debating on C/E lists with metaphysical naturalists (those who wrongly assume that Naturalism is true and Christianity is false), and getting nowhere with them (our diametrically opposed starting assumptions meaning our arguments just pass by each other like ships in the night), I am not prepared to waste any more time responding to arguments that are based on those two false assumptions: 1) Naturalism is true; and 2) Christianity is false. In those cases we will just have to agree to disagree.

[…]

Steve

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"What is the most important event in recorded history? ... Christians should be able to give a confident answer to the ultimate question on the premise that the Gospels, summarized in the introductory verses of the Gospel of John, tell the truth. The incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, is undoubtedly the most important event in the history of mankind if it actually happened as the Bible says. One may not know all sorts of things and be none the worse for it, but if God really lived on earth as a man and said and did the things that the Gospels report, then not to know these sayings and deeds, or to disregard them, is to be missing the one key that is capable of unlocking everything else. That is why it is of supreme importance that the good news must be made available to everyone, whether or not they choose to believe it. The most devastatingly negative judgment must be made of any educational system which insists, as the schools of most nations do now, that students should not be taught the information they need to give an informed answer to the question posed by Jesus: 'Who do you say that I am?'" (Johnson P.E., "The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate, InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2002, pp.172-173)
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/index.html
http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
------------------------------------------------------

Stephen E. Jones said...

That should have read:

"Daniel in his prophecy of the 70 `weeks' (Dan. 9:24-27) in 539/538 BC predicted that the Messiah would come in 69 `weeks' (i.e. 69 x 7 = 483 years) from 458/457 BC. That is -458/457 + 483 +1 (there being no year zero between 1 BC and 1 AD) = 26/27 AD, the very year that Jesus (the only claimed Messiah who went on to found a world religion), was baptised and began his public ministry. This proves beyond any reasonable doubt: 1) that Naturalism is false; and 2) Christianity is true."

My apologies.

Steve


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"The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9:24-27 is one of the most remarkable long-range predictions in the entire Bible. It is by all odds one of the most widely discussed by students and scholars of every persuasion within the spectrum of the Christian church. And yet when it is carefully examined in the light of all the relevant data of history and the information available from other parts of Scripture, it is quite clearly an accurate prediction of the time of Christ's coming advent and a preview of the thrilling final act of the drama of human history before that advent. Daniel 9:24 reads: "Seventy weeks have been determined for your people and your holy city .... There is no doubt that in this case we are presented with seventy sevens of years rather than of days. This leads to a total of 490 years. ... Daniel 9:25 reads: "And you are to know and understand, from the going forth of the command ... to restore and ... build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince ... will be ... seven heptads and sixty-two heptads." This gives us two instalments, 49 years and 434 years, for a total of 483 years. Significantly, the seventieth heptad is held in abeyance until v.27. Therefore we are left with a total of 483 between the issuance of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. ... As we examine each of the three decrees issued in regard to Jerusalem by kings subsequent to the time Daniel had this vision (538 B.C., judging from Dan. 9:1), we find that the first was that of Cyrus in 2 Chronicles 36:23: "The LORD, the God of heaven.... has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah" (NASB). This decree, issued in 538 or 537, pertained only to the rebuilding of the temple, not of the city of Jerusalem. The third decree is to be inferred from the granting of Nehemiah's request by Artaxerxes I in 446 B.C., as recorded in Nehemiah 2:5-8. ... It should be noted that when Nehemiah first heard from his brother Hanani that the walls of Jerusalem had not already been rebuilt, he was bitterly disappointed and depressed-as if he had previously supposed that they had been rebuilt (Neh. 1:1-4). This strongly suggests that there had already been a previous decree authorizing the rebuilding of those city walls. Such an earlier decree is found in connection with Ezra's group that returned to Jerusalem in 457, the seventh year of Artaxerxes I. Ezra 7:6 tells us: `This Ezra went up from Babylon,... and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him" .... After arriving at Jerusalem, he busied himself first with the moral and spiritual rebuilding of his people (Ezra 7:10). But he had permission from the king to employ any unused balance of the offering funds for whatever purpose he saw fit (v. 18); and he was given authority to appoint magistrates and judges and to enforce the established laws of Israel with confiscation, banishment, or death (v.26). Thus he would appear to have had the authority to set about rebuilding the city walls, for the protection of the temple mount and the religious rights of the Jewish community. .... This would account for Nehemiah's keen disappointment (as mentioned above) when he heard that "the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire" (Neh. 1:3, NASB). If, then, the decree of 457 granted to Ezra himself is taken as the terminus a quo for the commencement of the 69 heptads, or 483 years, we come out to the precise year of the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah (or Christ): 483 minus 457 comes out to A.D. 26. But since a year is gained in passing from 1 B.C. to A.D. 1 (there being no such year as zero), it actually comes out to A.D. 27. It is generally agreed that Christ was crucified in A.D. 30, after a ministry of a little more than three years. This means His baptism and initial ministry must have taken place in A.D. 27. A most remarkable exactitude in the fulfillment of such an ancient prophecy. Only God could have predicted the coming of His Son with such amazing precision; it defies all rationalistic explanation." (Archer G.L., "Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1982, pp.289-291)
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
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John A. Davison said...

My God is the God of Spinoza and Einstein You are correct. I reject your explanation. There is no evidence that God exists but it cannot be denied that one or more Gods did exist. That which must have been supernatural in its origin became what we now call natural. My private fantasy is that the Big Front Loader (as I call it or BFL for short) was consumed by the task of creation. There is nothing in the Bible that has any application to any field of science. It is only a handbook for ethical behavior.

"Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics and it springs from the same source...They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres."
Albert Einstein

"Of all the senseless babble I have ever had occasion to read, the demonstrations of these philosophers who undertake to tell us all about the nature of God would be the worst, if they were not surpassed by the still greater absurdities of the philosphers who try to prove that there is no God."
Thomas Henry Huxley

Of course there is, as I have suggested, one more interpretation, namely, that there was a God and there no longer is one or any need for one.

"Everything is determined... by forces over which we have no control."
Albert Einstein

"The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and science lies in the concept of a personal God."
ibid

"Let us not invoke God in realities in which He NO LONGER HAS TO INTERVENE. The single absolute act of creation was enough for Him."
Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, page 166 (his emphasis)

I am not at all certain about a single act of creation.

Ergo the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. It remains in complete accord with everything that we REALLY know about both ontogeny and phylogeny.

Stephen E. Jones said...

John

[…]

JD>My God is the God of Spinoza and Einstein You are correct. I reject your explanation.

"Spinoza" and "Einstein" were both pantheists, i.e. their `god' was the Universe:

"pantheism, n. (from Greek pan everything, theos God) is a theory that regards GOD as residing in everything, rather than being set above or alongside the world. A modern example of this is SPINOZA's equating God with the world as a whole. On such a view there can be no creation of the world, since that would mean God creating himself."
(Vesey G. & Foulkes P., "Collins Dictionary of Philosophy," HarperCollins: Glasgow UK, 1990, p.214)

They were thus effectively atheists , denying a personal-infinite God who is distinct from the Universe:

"pantheism ... (Gr. pan- all + theos god) n. the doctrine that the world as a whole, nature in the widest sense, is identical with God. This identity thesis can be read in two ways. in one way, it can be understood as a religious doctrine to the effect that the world is divine. Many great religious mystics have been pantheists in this sense. In another way, it says that there is no God over and above the world as a whole, and it can be understood as an atheistic doctrine. Spinoza and Hegel have been so interpreted."
(Mautner T., "pantheism," in "The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy," [1996], Penguin: London, Revised, 2000, p.407)

In fact *any* view which denies Theism, "the doctrine of an extramundane, personal God, the creator, preserver, and governor of all things", is in that sense anti-Theism or Atheism:

"As Theism is the doctrine of an extramundane, personal God, the creator, preserver, and governor of all things, any doctrine which denies the existence of such a Being is anti-theistic. Not only avowed Atheism, therefore, but Polytheism, Hylozoism, Materialism, and Pantheism, belong to the class of anti-theistic theories. Atheism does not call for any separate discussion. It is in itself purely negative. It affirms nothing. It simply denies what Theism asserts. The proof of Theism is, therefore, the, refutation of Atheism.. Atheist is, however, a term of reproach. Few men are willing to call themselves, or to allow others to call them by that name. Hume, we know, resented it. Hence those who are really atheists, according to the etymological and commonly received meaning of the word, repudiate the term. They claim to be believers in God, although they assign to that word a meaning which is entirely unauthorized by usage. ... Language, however, has its rights. The meaning of words cannot be changed at the pleasure of individuals. The word God, and its equivalents in other languages, have a definite meaning, from which no man is at liberty to depart. If any one says he believes in God, he says he believes in the existence of a personal, self-conscious being. He does not believe in God, if he only believes in `motion,' in `force,' in `thought,'' in `moral order,' in `the incomprehensible,' or in any other abstraction. Theists also have their rights. Theism is a definite form of belief. For the expression of that belief, the word Theism is the established and universally recognized term. We have the right to retain it; and we have the right to designate as Atheism, all forms of doctrine which involve the denial of what is universally understood by Theism."
(Hodge C., "Systematic Theology", [1892], James Clark & Co: London, Vol. I, 1960, reprint, pp.241-242. http://www.dabar.org/Theology/Hodge/HodgeV1/P1_C03.htm)

So, as I said, you and I will just have to agree to disagree. Our starting assumptions are so different that there is no point us discussing anything that depends on them (which in these topics of Creation, Evolution and Design, is just about *everything*). Our positions must pass by each other with no contact, like ships in the night.

JD>There is no evidence that God exists but it cannot be denied that one or more Gods did exist. That which must have been supernatural in its origin became what we now call natural. My private fantasy is that the Big Front Loader (as I call it or BFL for short) was consumed by the task of creation. There is nothing in the Bible that has any application to any field of science. It is only a handbook for ethical behavior.

Daniel's prophecy of the 70 `weeks' alone proves Christianity is true and therefore that you are *wrong*.

But that is your choice of Pascal's Wager. If you are right that Christianity is false, we will both die and we will never know that you were right and I was wrong. You would have gained nothing and I would have lost nothing. But OTOH, if I am right that Christianity is true, we will both die (unless Jesus returns first), but we will both know that I was right and you were wrong. You would have *lost everything* and I would have *gained everything*:

"Yes, but you must wager. There is no choice, you are already committed. Which will you choose then? ... Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win you win everything, if you lose you lose nothing" (Pascal B., "Pensees," 418, [1670], Krailsheimer A.J., Transl., Penguin: London, Revised edition, 1966, p.123)

As always in my debates with atheists (including all those who deny that theism is true), I am content to leave it at that.

[...]

JD>Of course there is, as I have suggested, one more interpretation, namely, that there was a God and there no longer is one or any need for one.

See above on your Pascal's Wager.

[...]

JD>"Let us not invoke God in realities in which He NO LONGER HAS TO INTERVENE. The single absolute act of creation was enough for Him."
Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, page 166 (his emphasis)
>
>I am not at all certain about a single act of creation.

Thanks for the quote which I had previously overlooked (see tagline).

But Grasse's contradicts himself. If there is a "God", who did at least one "act of creation", then the twin supporting metaphysical pillars of evolution, Materialism (matter is all there is = there is no God) and Naturalism (nature is all there is = there is no supernatural) are false for starters. And then Grasse's "He *no longer has to intervene*" is just begging the question. If God (who Grasse admits exists), intervened once (which Grasse also admits), then there is no principled way to rule out in advance (since Materialism and Naturalism are false) before looking at the evidence, whether God intervened at other strategic points in natural history.

Steve

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"Giard (1905), himself a shrewd scholar but blinded by a foolish anticlericalism, went so far as to abjure Lamarckism and write, "To account for the wondrous adaptations such as those we observe between orchids and the insects that fertilize them, we have hardly any choice but the bare alternative hypotheses: the intervention of a sovereignly intelligent being, and selection." ... Giard's concept, which is that held by many atheists and freethinkers, gives a singular and belittling idea of God. The Almighty, obliged to remodel and retouch His own handiwork all the time, is baffled by obstacles His omniscience failed to detect. He is not even a demigod, but a mere pawn, a vague deity designed for crooked- thinking scientists. Nature has its laws. The determinism of the things that flow from first causes suffices to explain the phenomena occurring in the material universe, whether it be made of inert matter or of living things. Let us not invoke God in realities in which He *no longer has to intervene*. The single absolute act of creation was enough for Him." (Grasse P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," [1973], Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, pp.165-166. Emphasis in original)
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/index.html
http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
------------------------------------------------------

John A. Davison said...

Stephen

I am not a betting man. I am a hard headed bench scientist who accepts that which can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt and nothing that can't survive that rather simple criterion.

I am amazed that you can claim that I am wrong about anything because of what Daniel once said, especially since we don't even know who Daniel was. At least I don't. Maybe you are right of course but forgive me if I remain unconvinced.