Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Creationist DVD faces school fight

Here is an unwebbed article (with links added) that I scanned from yesterday's "The West Australian" (my State's main daily), on the ID movement's video, "Unlocking the Mystery of Life." A similar story appeared in The Melbourne Age newspaper. This may be the biggest news story on ID to date in Australia!

I won't comment on this article, because I am immediately following it with a post here of a letter to the editor which I have just sent, responding to an opinion piece today by a columnist criticising ID (and the DVD), and a short editorial supporting ID's "teach the controversy" position.

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



The West Australian
MONDAY, AUGUST 8, 2005 3

New science or religion debate has split the United States - now it's Australia's turn

Creationist DVD faces school fight

SYDNEY

A Sydney-based group is gathering support from educationists, churches, politicians and scientists to distribute a DVD on the controversial theory of intelligent design to every Australian high school for inclusion in the curriculum.

Intelligent design, which is supported by US President George Bush, an evangelical Christian, argues that Darwin's theory of evolution is wrong because life is so complex there must have been a higher intelligence involved.

To its supporters, the theory is a hard science which should be taught to high school students in their ordinary science class.

To its critics, who include most scientists, it is a religious belief and properly belongs in a religion or philosophy course.

The evolution-intelligent design debate has split the US in recent years but has gained significant support. Mr Bush says schools should teach both evolution and intelligent design side by side.

The Campus Crusade for Christ Australia, which claims to have 130 staff, is pushing the theory here.

Its chief, Bill Hodgson, has been busy meeting scientists to try to convince them that intelligent design deserves support in schools.

The Crusade has had one big coup so far - the inventor of the bionic ear, Professor Graeme Clark, says he is impressed with the arguments. Monsignor Peter Elliott, who oversees religious education for the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese, also says he is a "great supporter" of intelligent design.

The group has presented a copy of the DVD, Unlocking the Mystery of Life, to Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson.

Already, more than a thousand copies have been circulated in Australia, with its Christian distributor Focus on the Family saying most have gone to university students and churches.

The Campus Crusade for Christ has been operating in Australia since 1967, an offshoot of the founding group in the US. With a mission to spread the gospel, it originally had a university focus, but has extended its reach to high schools and the wider community.

Mr Hodgson said the plan to distribute the DVD to schools was in the early stages. His group was talking to interested people to see if there was a groundswell of support to make it available as a curriculum resource for high schools. The Australian Education Union firmly believes teachers have "an absolute commitment to scientific principle and evidence", national president Pat Byrne said.

"There shouldn't be any confusion between science and religion," she said.
"Within the context of religion, students are exposed to different religious views, different religious theories. It needs to be very clear that that's what this is - a particular religious theory."

(c) 2005 West Australian Newspapers Limited All Rights Reserved.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

If 'Intelligent Design' is science
as opposed to theology - just
explain to me how come most biology
from Darwin on has been discovered
by people who don't see it that
way. How many ID creationists have
nobel prized in biology ? How many
of them head up research teams in
oil companies. How much have they
contributed to useful biomedical
technique ?
Pull the other one - it plays
jingle bells.

Ivan Sayer BA (TAS)

Stephen E. Jones said...

Ivan

Thanks for your comment.

[…]

IS>If 'Intelligent Design' is science as opposed to theology

As I said in my letter to the editor [http://makeashorterlink.com/?D1094289B], "if the proposition that there is *no* design in nature (as Darwinism maintains) is scientific; then the counter-proposition that there *is* design in nature must also be scientific. It is fallacious [special pleading] for Darwinists to claim that the `no' answer to the question-is there empirical evidence for design in nature?-is science, but the `yes' answer to the same question is religion."

IS>- just explain to me how come most biology from Darwin on has been discovered by people who don't see it that way.

The only way that this "argument from success" could be resolved would be if a controlled experiment had been run in "biology from Darwin on" with equal numbers of ID and anti-ID scientists, equal public funding and all other things being equal, and then see if design was a more fruitful hypothesis than non-design.

IS>How many ID creationists have nobel prized in biology ?

There is no "nobel prized [sic] in biology". And there was no such thing as "ID" until the 1980s. How many Nobel prizewinners believed in design and/or creation I don't know, but the answer might be surprising.

I know there were at least two Nobel laureates in physiology and/or medicine, neurophysiologists Sir John Eccles and Sir Charles Sherrington (see tagline) who believed the human soul was a supernatural creation.

IS>How many of them head up research teams in oil companies. How much have they
contributed to useful biomedical technique ?

I would be interested in the results of your survey.

[…]

IS>Ivan Sayer BA (TAS)

Steve

------------------------------------------------------
"Similarly, Oxford University professor of physiology Sir Charles Sherrington, a Nobel Prize winner described as `a genius who laid the foundations of our knowledge of the functioning of the brain and spinal cord,' [The British Medical Journal, March 15, 1952] declared five days before his death: `For me now, the only reality is the human soul.' [Popper K.R. & Eccles J.C., "The Self and Its Brain," Springer-Verlag: New York NY, 1977, p.558] As for his one-time student John C. Eccles, himself an eminent neurophysiologist and Nobel laureate, his ultimate conclusion is the same. `I am constrained,' he said, `to believe that there is what we might call a supernatural origin of my unique self-conscious mind or my unique selfhood or soul.' [Ibid, pp.559-600]" (Strobel L.P., "The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Toward God," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 2004, p.250)
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...

Ivan

How many Darwinians have Nobel Prizes? I will answer that for you. None. And what professed Darwinians ever contributed anything of scientific value? I will answer that also. None. Ernst Mayr, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, all glued to their endowed chairs have never contributed anything substantial or even tangible to the understanding of the great mystery of organic evolution. Quite the contrary, they have inhibited all such progress by providing ready made explanations for phenomena that are not even any longer occurring. They have done this by producing many meters of library shelf science fiction aimed at an indiscriminate semipopular audience while at the same time carefully avoiding any reference to real evolutionists such as Leo S. Berg, "Nomogenesis," Richard B. Goldschmidt, "The Material Basis of Evolution," Pierre Grasse, "Evolution of Living Organisms" and Otto Schindewolf, "Basic Questions in Paleontology" and the many other critics of the Darwinian fairy tale. Collectively we simply do not exist.

Right now I have 11 terminal and very challenging unanswered posts at SciAm Perspectives alone. That has always been the Darwinian way, except of course for forums like ARN, EvC, Panda's Thumb, Pharyngula, Uncommon Descent and a host of other forums where, unable to offer responses, the managers have deleted me until I tire of seeing it happen or more often confer lifetime banishment, the reward I most cherish. I also especially enjoy "The Crankiest," an appelation in response to my unpublished "An Evolutionary Manifesto: A New Hypothesis for Organic Evolution."

More revealing, like my many illustrious predecessors on whom I have so heavily relied, no mention is made of my several papers in the contemporary literature just as they were ignored in the evolutionary literature of their day. It is all so very characteristic of the most tested and failed hypothesis in the history of science. The Godless, aimless, purposeless neoDarwinian scandal is now enjoying its death throes. I am delighted to be able to contrribute to that process by resurrecting the great critics of the past without whom my own contributions could never have been made.

"A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself."
Robert Burton

"No sadder proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men."
Thomas Carlyle

War, God help me, I love it so!
General George S. Patton

Anonymous said...

Steve Jones said
IS>- just explain to me how come most biology from Darwin on has been discovered by people who don't see it that way.

The only way that this "argument from success" could be resolved would be if a controlled experiment had been run in "biology from Darwin on" with equal numbers of ID and anti-ID scientists, equal public funding and all other things being equal, and then see if design was a more fruitful hypothesis than non-design.

Just tell me: Was Mr. Darwin, or
was he not, the product of an
intelligent designer. If not
the intelligent designers appear
to be losing control, a serious
matter, if so then the experiment
has been controlled.

Ivan Sayer

david said...

O dear. This ID debate is realy quite amazing.
The pieces I have read have typically been a misrepresentation of Science, something that is incorrectly understood by the author, and I can only put it down to brash naivete.

Most reasonable people would check their facts first, before publishing.

That misinterpretation's shortcomings are then pounced on as proof that something else exists.

One case in point is a pdf available for download on one of Perry Marshall's sites.
http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/atheists_riddle.htm
He is the whiz at Google Adwords but he runs the argument that increasing disorder by random mutation does not produce a good adword. He even has a programmed mutator to sequentially subvert his adword scrip!

The model of mutation and natural selection is effective as an explantion of success in a changed environment.
Therefore to look at the actual model his adword would have to cope with (like) changing from English to Turkish so Mr. Jones becomes Jones.Bey
Now that is a bit different isn't it. which one will get there, the one that mutates or the one that doesn't?

And the model in perspective of real life is expressed as a population that has a lot of variations, and in that way it copes with changes over time.
To me that doesn't require a more complex thing to explain it.
Now you can believe that God created society if you like, it doesnt worry me.

But if you religeous ferver extends to trying to teach pseudo science to my childen, because you can't win an argument with an adult and that is another story.

Cheers

David

Anonymous said...

Somebody said
IS>If 'Intelligent Design' is science as opposed to theology

As I said in my letter to the editor [http://makeashorterlink.com/?D1094289B], "if the proposition that there is *no* design in nature (as Darwinism maintains) is scientific; then the counter-proposition that there *is* design in nature must also be scientific. It is fallacious [special pleading] for Darwinists to claim that the `no' answer to the question-is there empirical evidence for design in nature?-is science, but the `yes' answer to the same question is religion."

Sorry wrong. Darwin himself was
agnostic. There are atheists who
believe in his theory and believers
like me who believe in it. It
is religion-neutral. The fact
that an astronomer thinks
astrology is a bllsht does not
make him an astrologer. The same
goes for a chemist who makes
light of alchemy.

Salut Ivan Sayer
Somebody said
IS>- just explain to me how come most biology from Darwin on has been discovered by people who don't see it that way.

The only way that this "argument from success" could be resolved would be if a controlled experiment had been run in "biology from Darwin on" with equal numbers of ID and anti-ID scientists, equal public funding and all other things being equal, and then see if design was a more fruitful hypothesis than non-design.

So, to be fair to the flat
earthers we must spend as much
on them as on the space shuttle
You know as well as I do that
that isn't going to happen.
If it did every household would
have a different cosmology and
be holding out their hands.
Besides - nobody pays me to
believe in Darwin. I read him
and am convinced - not that this
is 'absolute truth' - but that
it is a reasonably close approximation
to some of the stuff I know
happens. Yes there's plenty it
doesn't tell you - but the two
words 'intelligent design' don't
tell you a whole lot either.

Ivan Sayer

Now, can you tell me, was
Mr. Darwin, or was he not
intelligently designed ?

Ivan Sayer

Anonymous said...

Somebody, quoting me said
IS>>How many of them head up research teams in oil companies. How much have they
contributed to useful biomedical technique ?

>I would be interested in the >results of your survey.

No - why do I owe it to you to
research your beliefs? Surely
if you wish to change my mind
you have to present the
evidence to me ?
In point of fact I can, after
a life in schools and unis
remember very few professionals
who supported ID - even though
a good number of them were
religious believers.
Now, tell me, was Charlie
Darwin intelligently
designed or not ?
Ivan Sayer

Anonymous said...

Well, there it is then,
we have two questions that the
ID faction have to avoid
answering.
1) How much has ID contributed
to medical biology ?
2) Was Charles Darwin
intelligently designed.

Ivan Sayer