Friday, October 21, 2005

Ban design theory in class: [Australian] scientists, etc

Here is the start of a major counter-attack in today's (Friday 21 October) media by Australia's peak science organizations against intelligent design (ID). My comments in square brackets.

Ban design theory in class: scientists, The Australian, Leigh Dayton,  October 21, 2005 A COALITION of more than 70,000 Australian scientists and science educators has condemned the teaching in science classes of "intelligent design" - a creationist-like theory of the origin of life. In an open letter published today in major newspapers, including The Australian, the group says it is "gravely concerned" that intelligent design is being taught in schools as an alternative to evolution. "It's important scientists take a stand on this because intelligent design is nothing more than creationism dressed up in a tuxedo," says Mike Archer, dean of science at the University of NSW and the driving force behind the letter. "It's the same mishmash of theology and science." The letter urges governments and educators to oppose the teaching of intelligent design in the nation's science classes. Federal Science Minister Brendan Nelson declined to comment. But a spokesman said that while Dr Nelson believed parents and teachers should decide whether or not intelligent design was taught, it was not a "replacement" for evolution. Evolutionary theory - first proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859 - explains the diversity of plants and animals as the result of natural selection. It is based on observations of the natural world and can be tested. By contrast, intelligent design theory - refined by the conservative Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington - contends that life is too complex to have emerged without divine intervention in the form of an "intelligent designer". . ... [It is simplistic to give the impression that "more than 70,000 Australian scientists and science educators" have "condemned the teaching" of ID "in science classes. If it was put to a secret ballot of the 70,000+ members of those science organizations, the result might be that a substantial minority (if not a majority) would agree with ID being taught alongside evolution. I saw Professor Archer on a national TV science show called Catalyst last night. He did not disclose to the audience that he is an Honorary Associate... of Rationalist International, which is comprised of "freethinkers and secularists and strong atheists, whose agenda is to "strive for the secularization of politics, society and educational system. Again it is simply false that "intelligent design is nothing more than creationism dressed up in a tuxedo" as (for starters) creationism is based on the Bible and ID is based solely on the evidence of nature. As I have said, this constant peddling of misinformation by the scientific elite will backfire on them as the public increasingly discover for themselves that ID is just a scientific theory that seeks to test whether the Darwinist claim that there is no design in nature:
"Paley's argument is made with passionate sincerity and is informed by the best biological scholarship of his day, but it is wrong, gloriously and utterly wrong. The analogy between telescope and eye, between watch and living organism, is false. All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.5. Emphasis original)
is true. If it is scientific to make the claim that there is no evidence of design in nature (as Darwinism does), then it is also scientific to make the counter-claim that there is design in nature!]

Scientists, teachers protest intelligent design, ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation], AM, Friday, 21 October , 2005 ... Reporter: Jennifer Macey TONY EASTLEY: It's called "Intelligent Design" and its a theory that's been introduced into the curriculum of some Christian schools in Australia, and it's got Australian scientists hot under the collar. ID, as it's known, teaches that certain forms of life are so complex that they must have been created by an intelligent designer. It's an alternative explanation to Darwinism and the theory of evolution. In an open letter published in today's major papers, more than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators have condemned the teaching of intelligent design in school science classes. Jennifer Macey asked Professor Mike Archer, the Dean of Sciences at the University of New South Wales, why he felt the need to publish the letter. MIKE ARCHER: We see this as a kind of an insidious effort by creationists to try to get what is not science taught in science classes. It's an attempt that's been going on for centuries to undermine growing understanding of science and have it replaced with religious belief systems. And intelligent design is just another more sophisticated way of dressing up creationist views and trying to run them again into science classes where they do not belong. JENNIFER MACEY: Well what's wrong with the intelligent design being taught at schools. Evolution theory is also not conclusive? MA: Evolution has, it's a model actually, it's not even a theory, it consists of thousands and thousands of different theories, all of which are testable, all of which put forward explanations for some aspect of the natural world that can be checked against other explanations competing to explain the same thing. So it's testable, it's examinable. In many cases it's falsifiable. You can find out if it's right or wrong. In the case of intelligent design, what it's predicated on is the assumption that there are gods explaining parts of the natural world - curiously not all of it - but that this is a proof of the existence of intelligent designers, i.e. gods. Now the problem of that is, is not only it's not science - you can't test that, you can't test that existence of a god in an explanation for something in the natural world, but it's also kind of bad theology. Now, you're making God vulnerable by saying, well this was caused by God and then suddenly 10 years later we discover it isn't, it's an evolutionary natural process. JM: If intelligent design was taught in religion classes and philosophy classes alongside of science, would you have a problem with that? MA: I'd have less of a problem with that, but most theologians have put this stuff aside. Even the Catholic Church is coming out and saying you really shouldn't read the bible as God's laboratory notebook. It shouldn't be read literally, there are allegories all through it, Jesus talked in parables, the bible is about interpretation. JM: Are you concerned that it is being taught in some schools in Australia and that the Federal Education Minister doesn't have a problem with it being taught at schools? MA: My concern is to whatever extent this has happened, it opens up a horrible door where we could be teaching astrology instead of astronomy, we could be doing flat earth and fork bending, water divining instead of real hydrology research, all of the silly things frankly that have been tested and falsified are then going to demand equal time in the science classes, and the whole thing then degenerates into absurdity. So we really do have to maintain rigour here. The Australian educational system is an excellent one. It just occasionally has to watch its back door when stuff like this from America tries to sneak in.  ... [I must say it is interesting (to put it mildly!) to hear Prof. Archer admit that "Evolution ... it's not even a theory", considering that "The head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science says that intelligent design `is not even a theory'"! And the problem with "Evolution ... consists of thousands and thousands of different theories, all of which are testable" is which one of the "thousands and thousands of different theories" of evolution is being tested at any one time? If one fails, then another of the "thousands and thousands of different theories" of evolution can always take its place:
"The central illusion of evolution lies in making a wide array of contradictory mechanisms look like a seamless whole. There is no single evolutionary mechanism-there are countless. Evolutionary theory is a smorgasbord: a vast buffet of disjointed and conflicting mechanisms waiting to be chosen by the theorist. For any given question, the theorist invokes only those mechanisms that look most satisfying. Yet, the next question elicits a different response, with other mechanisms invoked and neglected. Evolutionary theory has no coherent structure. It is amorphous. It is malleable and can readily adjust to disparate patterns of data. Evolution accommodates data like fog accommodates landscape. In fact evolutionary theory fails to clearly predict anything about life that is actually true." (ReMine W.J., "The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory," St. Paul Science: Saint Paul MN, 1993, p.24).
So how is evolution itself "testable" and "falsifiable"? If the answer is that evolution itself is not "testable" or "falsifiable", then on what principled, non-circular criteria is evolution deemed to be science but ID deemed to be non-science? Again, it is simply false for Archer to claim that ID is proposing "the existence of ... gods." I must say it is touching to have an atheist like Prof. Archer being concerned that ID is "making God vulnerable"! Speaking of "degenerates into absurdity" that is what Prof. Archer is doing in claiming that if ID is "taught in schools as an alternative to [not replacement of] evolution", that will "open... up a horrible door where we could be teaching astrology instead of astronomy, we could be doing flat earth and fork bending, water divining" etc. How? For an associate of Rationalist International, Prof Archer sounds decidedly irrational on this issue!].

'Intelligent Design' scorned, NEWS.com.au/AAP, Darrin Barnett, October 21, 2005 AUSTRALIA'S scientific community has fired its first broadside in a looming war over a controversial theory of evolution known as intelligent design. The theory proposes that evolution alone cannot explain complex biological processes and that a God-like creator must be behind them. Advocates claim intelligent design differs from creationism as it uses science to back its claims. In the United States, President George W Bush has started a debate by suggesting intelligent design should be taught in the classroom as part of the science curriculum. Intelligent design is not currently taught in science classes in Australian schools. A coalition of more than 70,000 Australian scientists has rejected the theory as scientifically untested, suggesting it is instead aimed at debunking the theory of evolution and lacks any credible evidence of its own. In an open letter entitled Intelligent design is not science, the group calls on all schools not to teach the topic as science because it fails to qualify on every count as a scientific theory. "As Australian scientists and science educators, we are gravely concerned that so-called intelligent design might be taught in any school as a valid scientific alternative to evolution," the letter says. "While science is a work in progress, a vast and growing body of factual knowledge supports the hypothesis that biological complexity is the result of natural processes of evolution." The coalition of scientists rejects the assertion that some living structures are so complex that they are explicable only by the agency of a superior force. They say intelligent design's central plank of a theological or philosophical notion of supernatural intervention is a belief which cannot be observed, tested, validated or falsified. "They are free to believe and profess whatever they like," the letter says. "But not being able to imagine or explain how something happened other than by making a leap of faith to supernatural intervention is no basis for any science: that is a theological or philosophical notion." To allow the theory to be taught as science would make a mockery of Australian science teaching and throw open the door of science classes to similarly unscientific world views such as astrology, spoon-bending, flat-earth cosmology or alien abductions, the letter said. Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson said in August he believed parents should have the choice whether they wanted the theory taught in schools, but not to the exclusion of the established theory of evolution. He has since said the theory might be more at home in philosophy of science or religious classes - but not in the science classroom. The theory is currently being tested in US courts to see whether it can be incorporated into science classes. . ... [If the only "hypothesis" allowed is "that biological complexity is the result of natural processes of evolution" then by definitition whatever is discovered would "support" that "hypothesis"! It is no surprise in a one-party dictatorship if the only party in the `election' wins, nor if in a one-horse race, the one horse in the race `wins'! In fact, Mayr let the cat out of the bag when he admitted, "That evolution has taken place is so well established that such a detailed presentation of the evidence is no longer needed":
"Also, there is no longer any need to present an exhaustive list of the proofs for evolution. That evolution has taken place is so well established that such a detailed presentation of the evidence is no longer needed." (Mayr E., "What Evolution Is," Basic Books: New York, 2001, p.xv).
The fact is that if a scientist tried to falsify evolution itself, he would be regarded as a `creationist', not to mention "ignorant, stupid or insane ... or wicked":
"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." (Dawkins R., "Put Your Money on Evolution", Review of Johanson D. & Edey M.A,, "Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution", in New York Times, April 9, 1989, sec. 7, p.34)
and drummed out of science. It is also false to claim that "Intelligent design is not science ... because it fails to qualify on every count as a scientific theory." The fact is that demarcation criteria of what is, and what is not, "science" have failed in that: 1) they rule out as "science" fields that would be regarded as science, but are difficult to test and falsify, like string theory, brane theory, multiverse theory, astrobiology, etc, and 2) they rule in as tested and falsified the very fields they were supposed to keep out, such as astrology, flat-Earth theory, etc. It would be more impressive if Prof. Archer stated up-front his principled, non-circular criteria on which he claims ID "fails to qualify on every count as a scientific theory". As for "supernatural intervention is a belief which cannot be observed", First, ID is not claiming that the designer was "supernatural" (as opposed to natural) but that the cause was intelligent (as opposed to unintelligent):
"There is an important contrast to keep in mind here. Science, we are told, studies natural causes whereas to introduce God is to invoke supernatural causes. This is the wrong contrast. The proper contrast is between undirected natural causes on the one hand and intelligent causes on the other. Intelligent causes can do things that undirected natural causes cannot. Undirected natural causes can throw scrabble pieces on a board but cannot arrange the pieces to form meaningful words or sentences. To obtain a meaningful arrangement requires an intelligent cause. Whether an intelligent cause operates within or outside nature (i.e., is respectively natural or supernatural) is a separate question from whether an intelligent cause has operated." (Dembski W.A., "Introduction: Mere Creation," in Dembski W.A., ed., "Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, p.15)
"There's an important contrast to keep in mind here. Science, we are told, studies natural causes, whereas to introduce God is to invoke supernatural causes. This is the wrong contrast. The proper contrast is between *natural causes* on the one hand and *intelligent causes* on the other. Intelligent causes can do things that natural causes cannot. Natural causes can throw Scrabble pieces on a board but cannot arrange the pieces to form meaningful words or sentences. To obtain a meaningful arrangement requires an intelligent cause. Whether an intelligent cause operates within or outside nature (i.e., is respectively natural or supernatural) is a separate question entirely from whether an intelligent cause has operated." (Dembski W.A., "Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1999, p.105)
"There's an important contrast to keep in mind here. Science, according to Ruse and Scott, studies natural causes whereas to introduce design is to invoke supernatural causes. This is the wrong contrast. The proper contrast is between *undirected natural causes* on the one hand and intelligent causes on the other. Intelligent causes can do things that undirected natural causes cannot. Undirected natural causes can explain how ink gets applied to paper to form a random inkblot but cannot explain an arrangement of ink on paper that spells out a meaningful message. To obtain such a meaningful arrangement requires an intelligent cause. Whether an intelligent cause is located within or outside nature (i.e., is respectively natural or supernatural) is a separate question from whether an intelligent cause has acted within nature. Design has no prior commitment to supernaturalism. Consequently science can offer no principled grounds for excluding design or relegating it to religion." (Dembski W.A., "Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999, p.259. Emphasis in original).
Second, that the designer "cannot be observed" does not mean that the design "cannot be observed." That archeology and SETI cannot observe the designer of an artifact, or of an extraterrestrial message, does not mean they cannot reliably infer design. See above on "degenerates into absurdity" on Prof. Archer's continuation of his list: "astrology, spoon-bending, flat-earth cosmology or alien abductions" of what could be taught if "intelligent design is ... taught in schools as an alternative to [not replacement of] evolution".]

Intelligent design not science: experts, Sydney Morning Herald, Deborah Smith, October 21, 2005 Intelligent design is as unscientific as the flat Earth theory and should not be taught in school science classes, a coalition representing 70,000 scientists and science teachers has warned. Yesterday they expressed "grave concern" that the subject was being presented in some Australian schools as a valid alternative to evolution. Proponents of intelligent design claim that some living structures are so complex they are explicable only by the action of an unspecified "intelligent designer". But the scientists and teachers say this notion of "supernatural intervention" is a belief and not a scientific theory, because it makes no predictions and cannot be tested. "We therefore urge all Australian governments and educators not to permit the teaching or promulgation of intelligent design as science," they say in an open letter to newspapers. "To do so would make a mockery of Australian science teaching and throw open the door of science classes to similarly unscientific world views - be they astrology, spoon bending, flat Earth cosmology or alien abductions." The signatories to the letter include the Australian Academy of Science, the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies and the Australian Science Teachers Association. The coalition was brought together by the executive of the faculty of science at the University of NSW, led by its dean, Professor Mike Archer. The president-elect of the Australian Science Teachers Association, Paul Carnemolla, said concern had been sparked by the strength of the intelligent design movement in the US, which has the backing of US President, George Bush, and the availability of slick American DVDs presenting the concept as science. Australian science teachers were not opposed to it being taught in religion or philosophy classes. "But we felt it was important that, as scientists and science educators, we made it very clear to students and parents where we stood on this issue." At Pacific Hills Christian School in Dural intelligent design is taught in science classes. The school's principal, Ted Boyce, said he was not persuaded by the Australian scientists' and teachers' stance and it was appropriate to teach it as an alternative explanation for the origin of humanity. "We believe it is as valid to do that as to teach evolution. It would be unacademic and unscientific not to do so," Dr Boyce said. The chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O'Doherty, said intelligent design was likely to be discussed in science classes in many Christian schools and this was beneficial for learning. It was a complex issue, he said. "The idea that there is an unexplained scientific hole in evolutionary theory … is a debate some scientists are having. To have that discussion in class is good and leads to questions like: how does scientific method work and what is science?" The Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, alarmed scientists earlier this year when he said schools should be able to teach intelligent design, but he later clarified his position, saying it should be restricted to religion or philosophy classes. Australian Nobel laureate Peter Doherty told the Herald recently that intelligent design had no place in science classes. .... [The funny thing is that on all the usual demarcation criteria of what is, and is not, "science", e.g. testability, falsifiablity, etc, "flat Earth theory" would qualify as "science", albeit falsified! And if there is no "valid alternative to evolution", then how could evolution itself ever be falsified? As for ID "makes no predictions and cannot be tested", here is one made in 1984 in the book that started the ID movement, that "We would predict that this practice [of failing to acknowledge that origin of life experiments "owe their success to the crucial but illegitimate role of the [intelligent human] investigator"] will prove to be a barrier to solving the mystery of life's origin":
"Over the years a slowly emerging line or boundary has appeared which shows observationally the limits of what can be expected from matter and energy left to themselves, and what can be accomplished only through what Michael Polanyi has called "a profoundly informative intervention." [Polanyi M., "Life Transcending Physics and Chemistry", Chemical Engineering News, August 21, 1967, p.54]. When it is acknowledged that most so-called prebiotic simulation experiments actually owe their success to the crucial but illegitimate role of the investigator, a new and fresh phase of the experimental approach to life's origin can then be entered. Until then however, the literature of chemical evolution will probably continue to be dominated by reports of experiments in which the investigator, like a metabolizing Maxwell Demon, will have performed work on the system through intelligent, exogenous intervention. Such work establishes experimental boundary conditions, and imposes intelligent influence/control over a supposedly "prebiotic" earth. As long as this informative interference of the investigator is ignored, the illusion of prebiotic simulation will be fostered. We would predict that this practice will prove to be a barrier to solving the mystery of life's origin." (Thaxton C.B., Bradley W.L. & Olsen R.L., "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," [1984], Lewis & Stanley: Dallas TX, 1992, Second Printing, p.185. Emphasis in original.)
and so it has for the last over twenty years!]

Don't teach design theory: scientists, The [Melbourne] Age, David Rood, October 21, 2005 AUSTRALIA'S scientific community has united to oppose the teaching of "intelligent design" in schools, saying it would open classrooms to unscientific views such as spoon-bending and alien abductions. In a letter to newspapers, a coalition of 70,000 science researchers, academics and teachers have called on Australian governments and educators to stop intelligent design being taught as science. "To do so (teach intelligent design) would make a mockery of Australian science teaching and throw open the door of science classes to similarly unscientific world views - be they astrology, spoon-bending, flat-earth cosmology or alien abductions - and crowd out the teaching of real science." Intelligent design argues that life is too complex to have evolved solely through the evolutionary theory of natural selection, so there must have been a higher intelligence involved. Critics have labelled the theory a front for biblical Creationism. In recent months, intelligent design has won the backing of US President George Bush and Catholic Cardinal George Pell. "We don't want a simple dogmatic teaching of evolution," Sydney Archbishop Pell said in a recent speech. "We would want (teachers) to talk about the enormous, significant problems in the evolutionary history and these are freely admitted by people who study these things." Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson has also given the theory his qualified support, saying it should be taught in schools alongside evolution, if parents wished. In August, The Age revealed that Campus Crusade for Christ, a Christian group that operates in Australia's universities, was seeking support for the distribution of a DVD about intelligent design to every Australian high school for inclusion in the curriculum. The open letter - signed by groups such as the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Science Teachers Association - argues that intelligent design, unlike evolution, does not qualify as a science. For a theory to be considered scientific, the letter says, it must be testable by experiment or observation, the results should be able to be reproduced and the theory should explain more than is already known. "But not being able to imagine or explain how something happened other than by making a leap of faith to supernatural intervention is no basis for any science: that is a theological or philosophical notion," it says. The executive director of Focus on the Family Australia and an intelligent design supporter, Colin Bunnett, said comparing the theory with spoon-bending and aliens was extreme and puerile. Intelligent design was asking scientific, not hypothetical, questions about the theory of evolution, he said. "Please Mr Evolutionist, give us your answer as to how it happened and if you can't then how are you proving it?" Mr Bunnett said. "If you can't explain it … are they not then taking a step of faith to say evolution is the answer." Focus on the Family is the Australian distributor of the DVD on intelligent design. ... [So how is macroevolution, "testable by experiment or observation" and "the results ... able to be reproduced", when, Neo-Darwinism co-founder Dobzhansky admitted that, "These [macro]evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible"and "Experimental evolution deals of necessity with only the simplest levels of the evolutionary process .... microevolution":
"Mutation is a basic physiological process which is studied experimentally, with the aid of physical and chemical methods. On the other hand, it is manifestly impossible to reproduce in the laboratory the evolution of man from the australopithecine, or of the modern horse from an Eohippus, or of a land vertebrate from a fishlike ancestor. These evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible. It is as impossible to turn a land vertebrate into a fish as it is to effect the reverse transformation. The applicability of the experimental method to the study of such unique historical processes is severely restricted before all else by the time intervals involved, which far exceed the lifetime of any human experimenter. ... Experimental evolution deals of necessity with only the simplest levels of the evolutionary process, sometimes called microevolution." (Dobzhansky T.G., "On Methods of Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology, Part I, Biology," American Scientist, Vol. 45, No. 5, December 1957, p.388).
And, to paraphrase Gould's "paradox of the visibly irrelevant", `if you can see it happening, then it isn't evolution':
"The paradox of the visibly irrelevant. As a second reason for overstating the centrality of such cases in our general understanding of evolution, many commentators (and research scientists as well) ally themselves too strongly with one of the oldest (and often fallacious) traditions of Western thought: reductionism, or the assumption that laws and mechanics of the smallest constituents must explain objects and events at all scales and times. Thus, if we can render the behavior of a larger body (an animal or a plant, for example as a consequence of atoms and molecules in motion, we feel that we have developed a `deeper,' or `more basic,' understanding than if our explanatory principles refer only to large objects themselves and not to their constituent parts. Reductionists assume that documenting evolution at the smallest scale of a few years and generations should provide a general model of explanation for events at all scales and times so these cases should become a gold standard for the entire field, hence their status as front-page news. The authors of our two studies on decadal evolution certainly nurture such a hope. Reznick and colleagues end their publication on Trinidadian guppies by writing: `It is part of a growing body of evidence that the rate and patterns of change attainable through natural selection are sufficient to account for the patterns observed in the fossil record.' Losos and colleagues say much the same for their lizards: `Macroevolution may just be microevolution writ large and, consequently, insight into the former may result from study of the latter.' We tend to become beguiled by such warm and integrative feelings (for science rightly seeks unity and generality of explanation). But does integration by reduction of all scales to the rates and mechanisms of the smallest really work for evolution-and do we crave this style of unification for science in any case? I think not, and I also regard our best general reason for skepticism as conclusive for this subject-however rarely appreciated, although staring us in the face. These shortest-term studies are elegant and important, but they cannot represent the general mode for building patterns in the history of life. The reason strikes most people as deeply paradoxical, even funny-but the argument truly cannot be gainsaid. Evolutionary rates of a moment, as measured for guppies and lizards, are vastly too rapid to represent the general modes of change that build life's history through geological ages." (Gould S.J., "The Paradox of the Visibly Irrelevant," Natural History, December 1997/January 1998, Vol. 106, No. 11, pp.61-62).
As for, "the theory should explain more than is already known", ID does that, at least in the sense of opening up a whole new avenue of investigation, where evolutionary theory has bogged down, e.g. the origin of life: On the latter, it is ironic to see Paul Davies attacking ID, when he himself has said that in the origin of life, "there remains a huge gulf in our understanding. ... a major conceptual lacuna. ... we are missing something very fundamental about the whole business. ... a fully satisfactory theory of the origin of life demands some radically new ideas":
"When I set out to write this book I was convinced that science was close to wrapping up the mystery of life's origin. The dramatic evidence for microbes living deep underground promised to provide the 'missing link' between the prebiotic world of biochemical soups and the first primitive cells. And it is true that many scientists working in this field confidently believe that the major problems of biogenesis have largely been solved. Several recent books convey the confident message that life's origin is not really so mysterious after all. However, I think they are wrong. Having spent a year or two researching the field I am now of the opinion that there remains a huge gulf in our understanding. To be sure, we have a good idea of the where and the when of life's origin, but we are a very long way from comprehending the how. This gulf in understanding is not merely ignorance about certain technical details, it is a major conceptual lacuna. I am not suggesting that life's origin was a supernatural event, only that we are missing something very fundamental about the whole business. If it is the case, as so many experts and commentators suggest, that life is bound to arise given the right conditions, then something truly amazing is happening in the universe, something with profound philosophical ramifications. My personal belief, for what it is worth, is that a fully satisfactory theory of the origin of life demands some radically new ideas." (Davies P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood, Australia, 1998, pp.xvi-xvii).
and intelligent design is a "radically new idea..."!

The bottom line is that this attack by "more than 70,000 Australian scientists and science educators" will make a lot of Australians sit up and take notice of ID, on the basis that if the science establishment are worried by it (as they have never been so worried before) and have to resort to such "extreme and puerile" arguments, then there must be something to ID!]

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

5 comments:

Stan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stan said...

Sir:

Are you aware that Google is puting an ad at the top of your page. The ad is for www.defconamerica.org. The ad states,
"Intelligent Design isn't
Say no to bad science! Learn how Intelligent Design lies
www.defconamerica.org"

It seems that Google is taking its stand. By the way, I do have print screen image of it should you want it.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Stan

Thanks. I have not noticed it. However, I have no problem with an avertisement on my blog page which argues against ID. Unlike the Darwinists, ID (and me) does not believe in the censorship of opposing ideas.

Stephen E. Jones

Stan said...

Mr. Jones,

Right you are about censorship. I do get tired of the misrepresentation of the ID theory, though.

If only the Darwinists would address the scientific issues with scientific evidence. They think people are so gullable, so unquestioning of their "supposed" intellectual aristocracy.

I do pity the high priests of darwinism. They cannot give up their religious "house of cards". To do so, would mean the loss of academic power and prestige, and to ask the next question.

Oh, well.

The Evil Atheist said...

Hmmm. My comment seems to have not shown up - that is odd.
I said that the last paragraph was entirely erroneous. I compared to the hypothetical situation, 'what if a politician said he favoured teaching Holocaust "revisionism" in class, and was mailed a letter signed by tens of thousands of angry historians'? That doesn't mean that they are afraid the "truth" about the Holocaust will come out. It more likely means they think that the position is wrong.