Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject

Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

(Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

(Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate's kneecap.)


Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn't mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the "naturalistic" explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.

Intelligent Design advocate: AAAAH! THE PAIN!

Scientist: Frankly, I personally find it completely implausible that the random actions of a scientist such as myself could cause pain of this particular kind. I have no precise explanation for why I find this hypothesis implausible --- it just is. Your knee must have been designed that way!

Intelligent Design advocate: YOU BASTARD! YOU KNOW YOU DID IT!

Scientist: I surely do not. How can we know anything for certain? Frankly, I think we should expose people to all points of view. Furthermore, you should really re-examine whether your hypothesis is scientific at all: the breaking of your kneecap happened in the past, so we can't rewind and run it over again, like a laboratory experiment. Even if we could, it wouldn't prove that I broke your kneecap the previous time. Plus, let's not even get into the fact that the entire universe might have just popped into existence right before I said this sentence, with all the evidence of my alleged kneecap-breaking already pre-formed.

Intelligent Design advocate: That's a load of bullshit sophistry! Get me a doctor and a lawyer, not necessarily in that order, and we'll see how that plays in court!

Scientist (turning to audience): And so we see, ladies and gentlemen, when push comes to shove, advocates of Intelligent Design do not actually believe any of the arguments that they profess to believe. When it comes to matters that hit home, they prefer evidence, the scientific method, testable hypotheses, and naturalistic explanations. In fact, they strongly privilege naturalistic explanations over supernatural hocus-pocus or metaphysical wankery. It is only within the reality-distortion field of their ideological crusade that they give credence to the flimsy, ridiculous arguments which we so commonly see on display. I must confess, it kind of felt good, for once, to be the one spouting free-form bullshit; it's so terribly easy and relaxing, compared to marshaling rigorous arguments backed up by empirical evidence. But I fear that if I were to continue, then it would be habit-forming, and bad for my soul. Therefore, I bid you adieu.

UPDATE (22 Oct.): If you're a creationist or IDiot [0], and you're suddenly possessed by the urge to comment on this post, please don't bother. I know what you're going to say. When I was an undergrad, I read talk.origins for a while, and I have seen every single creationist argument under the sun. I spent many an hour watching people knowledgeable about evolution debating creationists: patiently debunking the same tired arguments over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, responding in good faith to arguments that were clearly disingenuous, dumbing down their writing style to a second-grade level so that creationists could understand (and even then creationists wouldn't understand), and even copying and pasting from FAQs because creationists were too lazy to open up URLs in their web browser. All to no avail.

So, you may think you're going to blow me away with your amazing show of rhetoric, but believe me, I have seen it before, and you're wrong. The thing that you're about to write is not only wrong, but transparently, stupidly, embarrassingly wrong, so wrong that it makes me wince inwardly with shame at the fact that you're a member of the same human race that I am. What you're about to write is evidence that you haven't bothered to read the FAQs, or comprehended a single book on evolutionary biology that's not written by one of your crackpot creationist pseudo-intellectuals. So don't bother writing what you're going to write. Just go away.

[0] Really, creationists and Intelligent Design advocates are the same thing, just like a clown and a clown carrying an umbrella are really the same thing.

UPDATE' (22 Oct.): Two further clarifying points, since this page unexpectedly got linked rather widely (more...).

First, I stand by the position that the above post is the only debate on Intelligent Design that's worthy of its subject. Now, in a democratic society one must, in the public sphere, sometimes engage in good-faith debate with people or ideas that do not deserve it --- with ignorant or dishonest people, with bad ideas --- and indeed, there are legions of people with backgrounds in evolution who are doing exactly that. Call me an asshole if you want, but don't you dare claim that my post is somehow representative of evolution advocates. For literally decades, evolution advocates have responded to the abuse and astonishing mendacity of creationists/IDiots with patience, careful explanations, and copious fact-checking.

Nevertheless, I'm not one of those people. I'm never going to debate Intelligent Design seriously in this forum. This is a personal weblog, the Internet equivalent of my front yard, and under normal circumstances it's only read by myself and a handful of my friends. If I'm having a barbecue in my front yard with some friends, and we make derisive noises about Intelligent Design, then Intelligent Design advocates who overhear and venture into my yard can expect to be viciously mocked. They should not expect to be taken seriously, any more than anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists or flat-Earthers can expect to be taken seriously, in my yard. If someone believes in Intelligent Design, I believe (s)he's either a nutball, or simultaneously ignorant and too lazy to take elementary steps to remedy their ignorance. Were I writing for an Op-Ed page or teaching in a classroom, I could muster all kinds of reasoned argument against ID, but I'm not, and I won't.

Second, there seems to be a distressingly common misperception among non-ID advocates that ID's somehow valid in its own (non-scientific) sphere of debate. But that, too, is a load of crap. ID is not a generic theological or philosophical argument for the possibility of a designer. ID is a specific intellectual/political movement that explicitly seeks to establish scientific grounds for rejecting the possibility of evolution without a designer. If ID were simply a theological or philosophical argument, there would be no way to introduce it to school science curricula. But that's one of the ID movement's stated primary objectives. People get confused by this, because ID's methods are so fundamentally unscientific, but always remember that ID calls itself science.

Let me repeat that: ID calls itself science. ID calls itself science. ID calls itself science. And therefore, ID must be judged by the criteria of science, not philosophy or theology.

And as science, ID is absolutely the pits. It is a fundamentally non-scientific argument that calls itself scientific (note my use of the the restrictive subordinating conjuction, "that", instead of "which"). Therefore, it's a contradiction in terms to say that ID is "valid" when considered nonscientifically.

UPDATE'' (23 Oct.): Perhaps I should have foregone all the above and simply linked to Samuel Johnson's refutation of Bishop Berkely (via MonkeyFilter).

UPDATE''' (23 Oct.): IDiots, unsurprisingly, seem to lack basic reading comprehension skills. What part of "Just go away" do you not understand? If I read one more comment claiming there's no evidence for evolution, then I'm just going to delete it, period. No, I'm not going to point you to evidence. If you're too lazy to type the words "evidence evolution" into Google and hit Enter before you post such an outrageous claim, then I don't believe I have any obligation to respect your desire to defecate into my comment box.

UPDATE'''' (24 Oct.): Well, it had to happen. Godwin's Law strikes again. Unlike Usenet, however, blog technology permits threads to be closed for comment, and I've done that here. Go post on your own blog, kiddies.


  1. That is f*cking hilarious. Great, absolutely great.

  2. Outstanding! Excuse me Dr. Behe, could you come here a moment?

  3. I remain uncovinced. Could you run through that demonstration again?

  4. Bravo!

    (Came here from Pharyngula)

  5. I'm imagining how the story ends.

    Scinetist-Man twirls his cape over his shoulders, and flies out the windows, while the speaker announces
    "Once against Science-Man saves humanity"

    /Soren Kongstad

  6. Logic, intellect and sound reason; this blog is obviously the design of a higher power.

  7. But what does this demonstration tell us about the existence of MIDGETS and DWARVES?

  8. ...polishing up my baseball bat now!

  9. You guys are truly amusing.

    This is what you have all come to?
    Sad, yet funny.

  10. I am thrilled to find another proponent of the Baseball Bat Theory of argumentation.

    I have found it to be very useful in debating the existence of reality with my philosophical and buddhist friends over the years.

  11. You are clearly going to have the best dissertation defense ever. Just put the bat on the table before you start. Don't mention it, don't indicate it, pretend it's not even there.

    I'll bet you'll be out of there in record time.

  12. Well, the mistake you're all making is assuming that he wrote this. I don't have any evidence that he is; for all we know, this page was put here as-is, in such a manner as to appear that it was written, but an argument this clever seems much too complicated and well-designed for a human to have spontaneously come up with, so I think we have to resort to Divine Inspira... wow, this is a seductive way to argue!

    (I am pointing as many people as I can to this page.)

  13. Well, the weakness of this anecdote is being glossed over...

    1.) A wound is a very poor example of the claim for design. According to Aristotle, form and function are integral parts of "design." The purpose of a knee (the bending of a leg for walking) is clearly designed. It is silly to point to the destruction of such as potentially designed.

    2.) The actions described are not the "random actions of a scientist", as the scientist claims. Rather, they were actions guided by intelligence for a purpose. This works against his entire argument.

    3.) "How can we know anything for certain?" This is not a Creationist/ID stance. Creationists are not nihilists or "post-modernists", so this example is fallacious.

    4.) Taking what we want from great thinkers like Aristotle and Descartes - that is, their "science" and "scientific method" -
    while trying our hardest to dismiss the rest of their solid reasoning as "metaphysical wankery" just doesn't add up. It's academically/philosophically dishonest. "Modern Science" has a practical purpose behind it's theories, and it has age-old motivations for proving what it *needs* to prove (namely, that we are subject to nothing but ourselves). Simply abandonding metaphysical dilemmas and ignoring them begs more questions that scientists are willing to admit. Read Aristotle's Physics. It is profoundly clear reasoning on the nature of "things", and better yet, he didn't have to "answer to Darwin."

    Nice try, it was a funny attempt despite all its flaws.

  14. Your example of design is the knee??!??!

    It's the most vulnerable joint in the body. It has almost no protection against being torqued in ways that will damage it. If someone designed the knee, I say, get the lawyers ready for one MAJOR lawsuit!

  15. Jacob:

    1) It is just as silly to point to biological complexity as "designed", given what we know about its frequently ad hoc and misdesigned features. Plus, I could easily argue that the wound has function in this context (exercise left for the reader).

    2) Natural selection is not purely random either. If you read creationist literature, you will frequently hear the claim that evolution is a "random" process, a claim which is then used to marshal all kinds of ridiculous arguments about the improbability of evolution.

    3) Actually, a pretty radical form of skepticism was recently invoked by at least one Op-Ed writer, who wished to argue that although all the evidence points to evolution, we should nevertheless refrain from making the claim that this proves anything about evolution. Although the writer's careful not to explicitly endorse creationism, it seems clear that he has creationist sympathies. Now, it's strictly true that all the evidence for evolution doesn't "prove" anything, but the op-ed's impact relies on a slippage between the philosophical (or mathematical) and colloquial meanings of the word "proof". It would be equally true to assert that we cannot prove that we exist at all --- but the SF Chronicle would not print an Op-Ed claiming that we don't know whether we exist or not.

    4) I didn't intend to dismiss all philosophy. As a philosophical position, skepticism is prefectly respectable. But we're not talking about the airy debates of philosophy here; we're talking about real-world actions, with very serious consequences for our nation's future. When it comes to life-saving medical research or the growth of our biotech industry, frankly, Aristotle and Descartes and all other philosophers can kiss my ass, because the progress of biological science doesn't really depend on their ideas.

  16. To Anonymous, re: MIDGETS and DWARVES:

    Clearly, Snow White was doing more with the Seven Dwarves than singing cheery songs and taking apples from mysterious old women.

  17. Jacob... you're really, really going to have to do better than this. A few examples:

    1) 'It is profoundly clear reasoning on the nature of "things"...'

    Clear, maybe. Right? Another issue entirely.

    2) "How can we know anything for certain?" is neither a post-modernist nor a nihilistic question. And, frankly, the account here is pretty consistent with the kind of selective radical skepticism deployed by many, but not all, ID proponents.

  18. somehow it's not surprising that listening to creationist arguments made you want to wield a baseball bad.

    for another example of creationist reasoning about what would seem to be irrefutable, you might want to study the new theory of Intelligent Division at

    no broken kneecaps, but funny nonetheless.

  19. S/b "Cog... you're really, really...." My bad. Still, should've been clear from context.

  20. This is one quite humorous take on the ID argument, and I like it. I like it not because it is necessarily the best argument against ID, but it is just too damned funny to ignore.

  21. I've got an Louisville Slugger around here someplace...

  22. I was experiencing an odd sense of deja-vu while reading this, until I remembered that the main protagonist in "Dead Air" by Iain Banks used this same argumentative principle in a debate with a revisionist nazi claiming the Holocaust never happened.

    Way to drive home a point.

  23. I find your pseudo-hillarious rant to be rather usual of those who think that all must be determined. With that being the case, I implore you to actually read the books on ID rather than whatever it is that you do.. surf the web???.. So, with that being said, it is my hope that with such interest in life that you appear to have, I trust that if you give credance to a primordial stew that accelerated DNA A,T,G into a string of life within a cell membrane, if you can actually conceive this is possible then why not ID. Thank you and hava a good day.

  24. If you want to prove the existence of the world from a scientific standpoint... show me how the Laws of Thermodynamics in regard to matter being unable to return to it's pre-transient state allow for matter to exist and conform as we have it today from nothing. To do so is to argue that matter is eternal, and we all know that just isn't so. There can only be one other reason, and that is a Designer.

  25. The major problem I see with this argument is that you could very easily reverse the roles, change the dialoge a bit and have it work just as- if not more effectively. The tenuousness of the arguments is being covered up by a clever story, which is a great way to be compelling, but not a great way to be convincing.

  26. To anon #1:
    I find your barely literate rant to be typical (that's the word we use in
    English) of someone who disagrees but can't refute the argument. Trying to insult him by accusing him of "surfing the web" means nothing, especially with the wealth of information about ID available on the web. Papers, dissertations, etc... anthing you want, except actual scientific support. Oh, and the reason I can believe in evolution but not ID is because there's scientific support for one and not the other.

    To anon #2:
    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "pre-transient," but as far as I know evolution has not been shown to break any laws of thermodynamics. Since you seem to have discovered that it does, however, I would recommend publishing your findings in a scientific journal (that's what people do when they make a scientific discovery) because, if you are correct, you will take the scientific world by storm. Have fun with that!

    To anon #3
    No, actually, I don't think you could reverse the roles and have it work as effectively. The whole point is that the scientist used the other side's reasoning, and the Intelligent Design advocate disagreed. I don't think, if an ID advocate whacked a Scientist on the knee, that the Scientist would ignore the scientific method or its achievements in favor of supposing that he was designed to be injured that way.

  27. Eric,

    I have no idea what "anon #2" means by pre-transient, though I suspect that he or she does not know either. Nevertheless, it seems likely that anon #2 is trying to use the classic creationist argument that the origin of the universe could not have happened naturally because it violates the first law of thermodynamics (energy cannot be created or destroyed). Basically, if matter/energy cannot come from nothing, the universe must have been "created".

    See http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF101.html , which is where I plagiarized the above from.

    Anon #2, here is a complete list of arguments by creationists, though I'm afraid I could find no definition for the pre-transient state of matter.


  28. go get em

    although your scientist should be warned that since ID and the evolutionary theory are arguing from different assuptions neither is going to get very far in convincing the other.

    Sometimes I think we should just say: "Look, I believe in an objective reality verifiable by the experimental method and you believe in...a book, sorry, THE BOOK, and never the twain will meet. I'm off down the pub, bye."

    easier all round

  29. It's just funny as hell, take it at face value

  30. Yeah pretty funny - wish Dr. Behe could be present during such an exchange... Scary times, these are.

  31. "Jacob" has been addressed by others already, but I think it's worth drawing attention to the way he first dismisses the question "how can we know anything for certain" as "nihilism" or "post-modernism" and then proceeds to hold up Descartes as an example of a "great thinker."

    We can thus know one thing for certain: Jacob has never read a single page of Descartes.

  32. "I trust that if you give credance to a primordial stew that accelerated DNA A,T,G into a string of life within a cell membrane, if you can actually conceive this is possible then why not ID."

    This is a popular misconception among ID advocates. I've not seen anyone claiming that a universe created in an instant by God (for the creationists) or some... other... omnipotent being (for the ID crowd) is impossible.

    Sure, an omnipotent being could magically create a universe. It is not impossible. but it is not testable. Science deals with observation of the physical world. It's possible that aliens seeded the earth, but until we have some evidence, it is not scientific theory, it is only an idea.

    ID advocates do not despair! All scientific theories started as mere ideas. Once you get it fleshed out and can say how it can be proven / disproved, then we can put in in science class.

    D Beaulieu from Canada

  33. Of course now the IDers will use this post as proof that the 'DarwinNazis' and 'Evilutionist' are all violent psychotics.

    No, it's called 'humor'...and like in court, you're the butt of the joke.

  34. I am intrigued by your views and would like to subscribe to your newsletter

  35. Ummm ... except that the Scientist in this story is the Intelligent agent who Designs the splattered kneecap, folks. So, in this story, the exploded kneebone does imply an intelligence behind it's condition and that intelligence -- superficial at it may be -- does indeed reside in the Scientist. So I guess that this story is meant to seemingly debunk I.D. while in fact, advancing it. Nice job.

  36. Anonymous, that distant whooshing sound you just heard was the sound of a point sailing way, way over your head.

  37. My only regret is that I had seen this AFTER I had argued against teaching intelligent design in a publicly funded science classroom.

    The fact that certian I.D. advocates can ignore the fact that I.D. is not testable, while Evolution is, and has been tested.

  38. Speaking of knees being a horrible design, the canine knee is a wonderful example because of one major thing that causes problems but need not even exist--cranial tibial thrust. Do a search for "TPLO" and you'll see why.

    And if you think the organisms around you must be designed because of their "form and function" (I won't go even down the rat hole of definitions), I'll argue that evolution does, in fact, design things bit by bit. It tends to choose the features in an organism that help it to live, and more specifically, to reproduce. Now, what evolution ends up "designing" are often things that barely work--just enough to get by and be better than the other guy. This seems to make more sense of the organisms in our world than intelligent design when you consider the problems in knees, the structure of the human eye, human back troubles, and tons of other things. These things all work, but an intelligent designer could have made them much, *much* better (and in terms of eyes, you don't have to look far to see a better example--the cephalopod eye has a much better structure; because of the way their eyes evolved they were lucky and got the non-idiotic variant).

    Oh, and if I somehow ever meet a so-called intelligent designer, I'm going to take out its kneecaps (or the nearest approximation) with a baseball bat for not designing my the canine knee correctly... I had to pay good money to fix both knees in my one dog, which a person who has taken a high school physics class could have designed right in the first place. The veterinary surgeon that did the fixing was surely more intelligent that any so-called intelligent designer.

  39. Note to Jacob:

    You're quite right of course. But the blog's author wants it both ways - he wants his silly post, yet he wants it to be accepted as a valid demonstration of his point. Anyone who disagrees can, of course, "kiss his ass".

    If you're looking for an honest discussion, Jacob, there's as good a clue as any: Go elsewhere. (As will I.)

  40. A fun post. I don't know what mr. snitch's problem is.

    I think the point of the post was to show the ID argument is patently ridiculous when applied to anything directly observable. The ID argument is, as some other poster said, an example of "selective radical skepticism".

  41. Brilliant... Loved it.

    Unfortunately, any debate with "people of faith" is impossible. The very core of their stance is that it does not have to be proven, that there are things that must simply be taken "on faith". Therefore, no possible arguement will be effective - because they are not interested in facts, logic, or proof. Believe me, I've tried.

    Thanks for the chuckle! I think I'll go find a bat.

  42. To all of you anonymous dickheads:

    This is fucking brilliant. Get over it.

    The only question I have is whether the bat was corked, which of course would be cheating.

  43. If there is no Creator... why would someone want to live, when this physical place is all there is to live for? Is the point of life to do whatever we want, whenever we want, have as much "fun" as we want? Then why does your conscience prick you so?

  44. Well, I'm convinced. I guess I'll have to give up my atheism and science and put on my Ignorance Cap and join the rest of the morons. Show me a classroom so I can really mess with our kids!

  45. Anonymous, Why do you insist there has to be a "point" to life? If there IS a point, then why are you Anonymous?

  46. > why would someone want to live, when this physical place is all there is

    Try some new glasses. E.g. science glasses. Or perhaps just open your eyes (& brain).
    You would then see the vastness, richness & beauty of this physical place. But beware. Upon closer inspection, the wonders of natural reality can be overwhelming and drive you nuts...

  47. Why the kneecap? Wouldn't any good evolutionist use a method that removes the ID Advocate from the gene pool?

  48. Yes! I will have to use some of these arguments the next time the subject comes up. And maybe a good, sound *slap* in the face... since bats are not intelligently designed and difficult to stuff in my man purse.

  49. Some sad anonymous drone wrote: "If there is no Creator... why would someone want to live, when this physical place is all there is to live for? Is the point of life to do whatever we want, whenever we want, have as much "fun" as we want? Then why does your conscience prick you so?"

    This has to be the very epitome of narrowmindedness. Phew! What a sad, gray life he must lead.

  50. To there being no point in life if there is no creator...
    Apparently an "intelligent designer" was not kind enough to grant you any measure of the term intelligent. The reason for living is to find enjoyment within reason, and so that your offspring would be able to surivive without the difficulties we do now. Wait... what was that? Offspring being able to survive! The reasoning you have for living as being able to go to a "better place" is laughable, at best. While others might argue with me on this, we are, basically, a heightened state of animal, mostly by the right we figured out how to use our opposable thumbs in order to dominate the world. The original people who conceived an ID were those who had no ability to define what made the world as we know it and came up with what made sense to them. The need for reproduction is an act of evolution, as our genetic coding pushes us to continue on our particular strain.
    And what, exactly, is to say that an "intelligent designer" wouldn't have simply given us the potential to become what we are now, and let evolution occur? It would certainly free up their time to do things more entertaining then bother with human beings. For all we know, there could be a Celestial Golf Course where he and other possible Higher Powers are laughing at us right now.

  51. Your conscience pricks you because, being evolved from monkeys (shut up, nitpickers!), we are social animals, and boundless self-interest usually has repercussions in a social context. Witness the recent research into the economics of primate socialization, where one monkey will often "selflessly" help another monkey to retrieve a reward unavailable through the efforts of a single monkey. When he is able, the "rewarded" monkey will share, to ensure future aid.

    Human morals are the simple result of being social animals reliant on the group. Does this mean that you can "do as thou willst"? ...only if you don't want any of my banana. It's like that old joke: "Why do you take two baptists fishing? ...because if you only take one, he'll drink all your beer".

  52. Nitpickers....lmao. I love you guys!

  53. lazyweb request: someone turn this script into a video NOW!

  54. wow. this is so clever. i can't believe how smart this is. it is really making me laugh. wow. look. we're evolving into really clever people. wow.

  55. Your article made me smile, but further fuels my observation, that people in this country are so obsessed with their own point of view; judging that their point is always morally, ethically or intellectually correct (Simply, always right) as opposed to realizing, understanding or compromising that we only hold parts of the answer that are uniquely intertwined with religious, scientific and cultural beliefs, and unique because we live on a little planet called earth.

    ID is not a fact. How can it be? There are personal experiences, belief based emotions, historical proven events. But alas we have no recorded proof of the designer

    Evolution is not a fact. How can it be? There are facts within in evolution that we can agree on through scientific method, sexual selection, genetic traits and micro theories are but a few. But as one famous person who titled a book “The theory of Evolution” said, what he could not prove was Macroevolution.

    One person though, that has been greatly miss quoted and exploited by both sides yet revered by all peers of our time was really a pantheist, an Akim’s Razor type of guy; Einstein. His understanding at the intricacies of life and it’s gift to us, has some sort of past, present and relative future, and that it is logically somehow in synch, except that these series of events must have been triggered by something far greater than us.

    With this knowledge in hand it is hard not to smile because at the end of the day it looks like two kids arguing in the playground.

    With all Kudos though there are moments of relief when you read articles by Gerald Schroeder who advocates the relationship needed between the scientific and the religious community.

    We know throughout history that two heads are always better than one.

    Everything in moderation including moderation (who would be a hypocrite then?)


  56. So who designed the Designer, and why must there have been only one?

  57. You have failed to prove your conclusion. I strongly encourage you to do some follow up experiments to test your thesis. Gather more believers in Intellegent Design and re-try the theory. Perhaps have more controls such as hitting the head, back, or chest with a baseball bat. For further controls, experiment with moltov cocktails, acid, and chainsaws.

    The Right Left

  58. Brilliant....the best way to support your argument is to curse and get violent. Sounds like evolution to me. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. It's not even funny. It's ironic that at the end the scientist acknowledges his soul. How scientific.

  59. If I misunderstood evolution the way creationists misunderstand it, I would not 'believe' it either...

    ** Evolution is not a fact. How can it be? **

    THAT evolution occurs IS a fact... HOW evolution occurs is what we are still figuring out...

  60. "it seems likely that anon #2 is trying to use the classic creationist argument that the origin of the universe could not have happened naturally because it violates the first law of thermodynamics..."

    Hmmm. I always thought it was the Second Law that they used. Essentially arguing that life, being an ordered thing, can not arise from a chaotic mixture of amino acids.

    Of course, that immediately causes trees to vanish in a puff of illogic, since they apparently create order from the disorder of dirt and air...

    ...aha! There's the hole in their logic - defining the system to be smaller than it is.

  61. Awwww. I think I love you!

    I pity those poor creationists, you know. Judging by the comments here, they do rather lack a sense of humour and have stunning ability to completely miss the point even if that point is extremely large and pointy and/or a baseball bat. Just as back in the olden days women had the choice of a short career in either nursing or schoolteaching, now those who lack a certain subtlety of wit have the choice of becoming pious zealots or just pious. Unfortunately this career is often long and stupid and only encourages TV executives to keep on producing season upon season of Everybody Loves Raymond.

    Exactly what part of "It's NOT SCIENCE" do creationists not understand?

  62. Better read not as an argument against design per se; more an argument for naturalism and the scientific method, which the ID-iots are so keen to undermine.

    And it is a brilliant, wonderful argument.

  63. **Exactly what part of "It's NOT SCIENCE" do creationists not understand?**

    Yeap... the ID'ers keep claiming that scientists are close minded about ID... what they do not get is that as soon as they come up with experiments which have the SLIGHTEST oder of scientific method, THEN there will be something to take seriously... it really annoys me that they seem to feel that all you have to do to have SCIENCE is to say the words "It is science...it is science... it is science" over it while waveing the bible...

  64. Not being a big supporter of ID, I do find it humourous that everytime is see violent and hateful remarks, it is coming from the "evolutionists". Way to win a crowd guys. Even though you may have facts, try being a little nicer... people are more receptive that way.

  65. I too have been using a variant on this approach for years, against the proponents of extreme forms of post-modernism.

    I've been calling my approach "The argument from Brick Meets Face".

    I'm sure you can imagine the details.

  66. The intelligent design argument falls quite flat on its face, although I do feel it is a bit misunderstood and generalized. If the impatient fucks could find some physical evidence of genetic manipulation from some higher power(not even necessarily an omnipotent being or 'god'), then it could be taught in schools. In fact, if they were to find such proof, it would obviously have to be taught in schools, since empirical evidence determines the worthiness of what we teach our children in science. Their desire to teach their opinions is equatable to someone wanting to teach Darwinism before it was empirically proven.

    I am admittedly uncertain, however, that evolution is taking place at the same level it once did, seeing as though human progress hinders our natural environment. I would love to see a study on how humans affect the rate of evolution amongst lower life forms. If anyone has any suggestions on where to find such research, please post.


  67. It's funny, but the same story is told in an Ian Banks book.
    Dunno if this was 'inspired' by Banks or If its a case of paralel development.

  68. SibGyp - what is the scope of the word "evolution" when you say "that evolution occurs is a fact"? Nobody, including ID advocates, argues against "microevolution." Has any scientist either observed macroevolution or evidence in the fossil record of macroevolution ever occurring. As far as my research indicates, NO. Do you have better sources that you can identify?

    Macroevolution is just as much metaphysics as some of ID's claims are.

    Can the "spooks" determine when some ramble of code has a real message in it? You bet. Does the blogger who started this page believe he added some value to this world by creating and reorganizing information? You bet. Are the scientists who study information and the corruption and correction of passed information just idiots - I think not, or else we wouldn't have the Internet. Why is it certain portions of science have no problem accepting and identifying the presence, or lack, of design within systems and strings of text (i.e. the CIA, NSA, etc.) and other "intellects" within science deny intelligence?

  69. Alan:

    Forget the lower forms, humans are having an effect on human evolution. Every child who doesn't die from influenza or polio, and goes on to have children of their own, represents a man-made selection. Every person who has plastic surgery to make themself more attractive to potential mates is influencing selection. As soon as man was consciouly aware of -- and able to influence -- the factors that guide selection, we have been the intelligent designer of our own evolution. While this argues in favor of an intelligent designer, I suspect it's an argument that won't be supported by the same people who support ID.


    "Spooks" finding messages in code are indeed finding evidence of intelligence. What ID proponents point to is not necessarily design, but order. When a snowflake exhibits symmetry, that is clearly order. But does it indicate intelligence or design? Did some intelligent designer choose to make that particular snowflake that particular shape? Or is it possible that a designer put rules in place that allow that snowflake to grow the way it did? If not, why not? If that is possible, is it possible a designer put the rules in place for the universe, rules that allowed man to evolve? If not, why not? If the designer put the rules in place, science is the study of what those rules are and how they operate. Science doesn't address the question, "Who wrote the rules?"

    It's a great question, but it's not science. In the same way that a cooking class doesn't have to address the biochemical operation of taste buds. You can learn the rules to bake a cake without knowing how taste buds work. You can build an airplane without knowing who made gravity. Science is all about, "What are the rules?" Religion is about, "Who made the rules." Let's keep the questions in the right arena.


  70. Okay, look, people, Evolution is bare-bones (hahah) simple.

    1) In a population, a portion of individuals will die before mating. Those individuals who, by inheritence are more suited to their environment, or against predation or competition, are more likely to survive to mate.
    2) In times of crisis, extreme mutation may make the difference between dying with the rest of the population, and surviving by a narrow margin
    3) individuals with "survival" traits will pass on these traits to a portion of their offspring
    4) over time, the genetic drift between the survivors and their ancestors will become so great as to prevent interbreeding

    It's not rocket science. We understand a) survival b) genetics c) statistics
    You don't need anything else for evolution to "just happen".

    As for "gross" evolution, you have to realize that once you pass the threshold from single-cellular to multicellular--which, by the way, took two and a half BILLION YEARS--you'll have enough built-in complexity that simple gene damage or combination can cause wild fluctuations in form or function, and all it takes is for one lucky bug to outsmart a predator, and mate, for his many children to outsmart the entire predator population.

    You don't need God to move the world forward. Competition for resources does that for you.

  71. Evolution is evolution... the change in the frequency of genetic componants over time...

    The mechanisms of evolution are what will effect the 'speed' at which it occures... the fact of human intervention being the mechanism does not make the chnges any 'less' evolution.

    So... when the ID'ers claim that evolution does not exist because we can only actively see it working within the 'lower' life forms, they are speaking out of ignorance (willfull or otherwise) as to what evolution is.

    As to 'micro' and 'macro' evolution... these terms are a false dichotomy... these terms are used as a shorthand in disussions between evolutionary biologists to intentionally oversimplify a concept for the sake of conversational ease, but were taken by the creationists and made into some big picky-wicky, again based on an ignorance of the very complex subtext evlutionists include when they use them.

  72. Thank you! This was hilarious. I really think the ID advocate needs to have a second demonstration though!


  73. Thank God for you!

  74. Robert writes: Has any scientist either observed macroevolution or evidence in the fossil record of macroevolution ever occurring. As far as my research indicates, NO.

    I love this sort of claim, because it so amply demonstrates that IDiots don't know jack, and yet believe that they do. It's as if somebody were to write: "Has anybody ever observed the existence of Chinese people, or evidence that Chinese people exist? As far as my research indicates, NO." The claim's completely absurd and anti-factual, and yet they think they're making some kind of devastating point. In fact, all they're revealing is the surreal and oceanic depth of their ignorance.

    James: It's funny, but the same story is told in an Ian Banks book.

    You're the second commenter to say this. The funny thing is that I'm a big fan of Iain Banks, but apparently this story's found in Dead Air, which I haven't read. On the other hand, if I decided to uncloak my identity, I could point to a post I made on Usenet in 1999 (before Dead Air was written, and in fact before I read any of Iain Banks's books) where I made roughly the same argument. I think it's actually a relatively common idea.

  75. I am sorry that so many assumptions were made as to me believing in ID maybe I worded things wrong, or maybe people only read what they wanted to?

    I believe in the need for science but I also through science believe that there is something greater than us (plural)

    My observations lead to my own conclusions that people zealously spout dogmatic opinions instead of accepting (not neccearily respecting)each others hypothesis,or theories.

    When there is enough information maybe I will side. But until then I am going to try to get along with and learn from as many people as I can, enjoying thier cultures, beliefs and knowledge.

    Hopefully that has cleared things up and I feel saddened to see so mush anger in what has been written.


  76. i don't leave random comments - but this is the best blog post i have read in a while - with a sufficient rant at the end, to boot!

    i spend hours and hours per week in class and lab in an undergraduate setting learning about evolution, and i find it unfuriating when some of my friends believe evolution to be "false."

    have you read much from Stephen Jay Gould? you'd like "An Earful of Jaw." anyhow, thank you for improving the internet.

  77. While I don't know if someone's addressed this to a satisfactory extent, as I've not the patience at present to examine all eighty-five comments, I think it a necessary risk to take to present this point.

    The point is made to those who say that because the scientist is an intelligent being who chose to cause the injury, this story furthers the theory (while, in the word's true meaning, not really a theory, but we all know what I mean) of ID. This would mean those including Jacob and the user posting on the 20th at 6:51.

    The gist of it is this: you're missing the point.

    Why do I say this? Well, while this is intended to criticize ID, it is not arguing the validity of the theory itself, there being an intelligent designer. What it is intended to criticize is the basis for this 'theory'. This story points out the illogicity of following a theory with no proof, as opposed to a theory supported by some manner of scientific evidence. In this case, ID is being compared to the argument that the scientist didn't break his kneecap, and evolution to the argument that he did. The arguments behind the former are completely frivolous-and I mean the kneecap argument there, I'm not saying a word about whether or not I think ID valid.

    Now, that's the part all of us can see. The part that gets some of us confused is that both the I-didn't-break-it theory and the argument behind it are both entirely stupid, but the story only intends to poke fun of the argument for it (well, not quite, but I'm getting to that), not the theory itself.

    The story does poke fun at creationism itself, yes-intentionally? Probably? Directly, no. Once again... "the story only intends to poke fun of the argument for it, not the theory itself." Its central thrust is not "There is no intelligent designer", but "Your reasons for believing in an intelligent designer are wrong."

    To say it one last time, while it is being said to criticize intelligent design, it does so only by criticising the validity of the arguments for it. Thus, no argument can be made that it supports creationism, as it doesn't directly argue against it.

  78. Perfect.
    While some people might use the perfection of this post and the fact it must have been designed to disprove evolution (because if the post and the internet and mousetraps couldn't evolve biologically, surely critters can't either) I would consider this post has 'evolved' from years of putting up with dipshits dressing creationism up as a science so they don't get ignored. Well, not ignored as fast anyway.

    Oh, did someone say "wedge document" the one that shows ID's original motives?

    If ID were actually scientific, they would be trying to advance their theories in academic circles rather than sneaking it into classrooms and contaminating children's minds. That's the bit that pisses me off, not the attack upon the scientific method, not dressing up faith as a pseudoscience...it's the mindset driving these people, telling them it is ok to force and trick other people to believe as they do.
    Haven't they ever considere that anyone else could be right? (pride, one of the big seven)
    Can't they stand to see another approach (science, not blind faith) be better respected? (envy, also one of the big seven)
    Do they need to spread their beliefs into every mind, convert every person, claiming everyone for their little cause? (greed, another one of the big seven)



  79. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  80. Mad props! Like many others, I wish I could 'debate' all of the other IDers in this manner. Brilliant post!

  81. The real issue is this. Have you lied, stolen or used God's name as a curse word. If you have, you're a liar, thief and a blashphemer and guilty of punishment. Whether you believe in God or now will not matter when you stand before Him as a transgressor of His law. A good judge can't overlook the penalty for your lies, lust and hatred. Jesus paid the price for your transgression on a bloody cross but you need to accept His gift. It's your only chance.

    Oh, and intelligent design versus evolution? On judgment day, who'll really care? Don't let self important opinionated people determine your eternal fate. Don't discuss this silly topic. Today is far more important than 6,000 (or 6 million) years ago... :)


  82. An above comment re the designer of the knee getting sued raises an excellent satirical plan. Let's get someone to sue the "Intelligent Designer" for bad knees, aging, cancer, weak heart valves etc... and bring the case before some religious judge.

  83. If the religious right can force ID to be taught in science classrooms, then I think that all religious organizations should be forced to teach evolution in their classroooms. If you can teach religion in school, then you can teach science in church.

  84. I buy both evolution and ID. But I am far more facinated with ID, and here is why...

    On a macro level, such as looking at a human, the design is not all that intelligent. In fact great arguements can very easily be made that "we" have numerous poorly designed parts. Certainly we can't believe in an almighty "God" that created us, if we ourselves have the intelligence to know we are poorly designed. What is intelligent about a system that doesn't have redundant backups for its most critical functions?

    However, on a micro level, such as cells and DNA, and protiens and such, we are absolutely miraclulous. Consider this question...

    "How does the body know to stop growing something?"

    With reason you can buy how a body "starts" growing - cells and DNA are responsible here. But how do things know when to stop? How do cells know you have two eyeballs and therefor don't need to start growing a third. They figured it out and stopped at two. How do cells know that you now have a complete spinal cord and can stop dividing to make more?

    It is the above questions that keep ID alive for me. Evolution is great. It is logical and rational. Is it the truth? We may never know for certain. We may never know about ID either. But nothing has explained why things stop growing and that is where the real intelligence lays.

  85. A Christian put me on to this argument. I do have one question.

    Would this experiment work with a cricket bat? I dont own a Baseball bat, but I do have a double scoop Grey and Nichols Cricket bat.

  86. If you want to prove the existence of the world from a scientific standpoint... show me how the Laws of Thermodynamics in regard to matter being unable to return to it's pre-transient state allow for matter to exist and conform as we have it today from nothing. To do so is to argue that matter is eternal, and we all know that just isn't so. There can only be one other reason, and that is a Designer.

    Rofl. Just rofl.

  87. Religious people are very strange. On the one hand they say: "Everything must have been designed by the creator because it is so complex", but when you ask them who created the intelligence that created all the complexity they just come up with some lame statement like, "God just is.", or "God is eternal.". Oddly, they never seem to address the idea that it is far simpler to imagine a universe that "Just is", rather than the extra layer of complexity that their concept of god represents.

  88. "...DNA A,T,G..."

    It hurts me that nobody bothered to correct this yet. There are typically four nucleotides that compose DNA; A, T, G, and C.

  89. :D

    Hahaha, yes!

    Nicely done. You might want to re-write it to include one or two of the other arguments cretinists use at some point.

    It's fantastic as it is though!

  90. Bwahhhaaaaa, the maroon who wrote "The actions described are not the "random actions of a scientist", as the scientist claims. " is so indicative of the IDiots that so miss the irony of the whole thing.


    Evolution is ALSO NOT RANDOM. It's IDiots and Creationuts that claim this, not scientists.

    Do you get it now? Do you? Huh? Thought not. MORON!!!

    A random mutation may figure in the equation once in a while, but it is not the one driving force. The succession of traits is so not random.

    I wish the freaking IDiots would try to use their brains once in a while and actually learn something of the process they like to so cluelessy go on and on and on about.

    LOVE this blog. Thank you thank you thank you for bringing it into existence.

  91. To the guy who wants to know how the cells know how to stop growing. It's mostly been explained in Scientific Journals using preety technical concepts and vocabulary. Most of it isn't entirely known. The interactions of proteins, DNA, and systems of cells are still largley a mystery. But a great deal is known about how cells grow and how they stop growing thanks largley to cancer reasearch. After all cancer is exactly what happens when cells loose their ability to stop growing and replicating.

    The fact that "the above question keeps ID alive for me" as you put it immediatly concedes the point that you have absolutley no intrest in finding the answer. Ideas should not survive based on our preferance for them, rather they should be based on evidence. If you understood the scientific method in the slightest, you wouldn't settle for anything less. Your current relativistic standpoint is popular because it saves you the difficulty of realizing that ID is incompatible with evolution.

    ID IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH EVOLUTION. If ID had a scientific theory it would go something like "life is complex, therefore a desighner of an intelligent nature must have precisly aranged the complexity."

    Three main flaws right away are:
    1)no evidence is provided for exsistence of designer.
    2)evidence that life is sufficiently complex to warrent a designer is not given.
    3)the assumption of intelligence of the designer is not measurable (quantifiably or qualitatively).

    Lets ignore these first three problems ang go onto two arguments that can be derived easily.
    1)If designer is intelligent then things must be designed to perform a certain function. If this is true then why do organisms change at all, even on a generational scale. Why would reproduction be based on the 'genetic lottery' system we currently have. Human 'Intelligent Designers' do not make products this way, we instead come up with a design for a model and proceed to manufactur the exact same model for as long as their is a demand for them.
    2) From the above argument we can gather that since creatures do vary from generation to generation and if they were Inteligently Designed, that means that the designer must have intended for creatures to be modified over time. Generational variation is the first step to the evolutionary process.

    At this point its not very hard to see that Intelligent Design, following the scientific meathod and simple logic makes no testable claims that are not already incorporated into evolutionary theory. Therefore it can be disregarded by the scientific community because there is nothing further to test about the real world.

    It can also be disregarded because of the first three flaws this theory contains are unprovable portions. The parts that can be proven already exsists in some form in other theories. Therefore this theory presents no new evidence for how the world opperates, and has no value to the scientific community.

    There I just treated ID as a real theory and proved it uterly useless, everybody should be happy. And if their not they can go outside and play hide and go FK themselves.

    Im coming down off of a 24 hour coffee binge and just can't stand this idiocy anymore, this post just poured out of me.

  92. same anonymous as above.

    I just realized i switched arguments midstream, which makes for a fairly interseting if not hard to understand. The last point I think is made but I kind of abandoned the ID is not compatiable with evolution thing halfway through.

    Damn coffee and all its glory.

  93. i agree it is funny, and not that i care, although i am a proponent of the intelligent design theory, but it's hard to believe you can have that much confidence in a theory that has absolutely no proof to back it up such as evolution. alas, by proof i do not mean lack of evidence against it, in which case you can theorize anything and it is right until it is disproven(ie:black holes, dark matter/energy, the big bang, evolution, etc). i would submit to you that there is a much higher probability(statistically) that there was some kind of intelligence behind the forming of this infinitely complex universe then an infinite amount of cooincedences bringing it all together just so. i guess common sense and solid evidence are not a factor if you believe evolution, only mass appeal. oh well, to each his own i suppose.

  94. The thing that bugs me about ID is that it is touted as part of a valid religion. I'm Lutheran and I think Christianity is about faith not the worship of the words someone with faith used to try to describe their faith. These guys are closer to the Taliban than my Christianity. I get of sick of being lumped in with these nuts.

  95. It's tough to debunk an "it's just is" argument since they provide so little "facts" that are debunkable. Since the ID crowd is trying to make a scientific argument for their religious beliefs, you've made a great point by focusing on only the scientific justications.

    Hey, people can BELIEVE anything they want, but that doesn't make it science.

  96. Clown: spooky.
    Clown carrying an umbrella: comedy GOLD!

    I can't believe you'd contend they're even remotely the same thing.

  97. Anonymous "proponent of the intelligent design theory":


    This sort of thing (combined with all sorts of experimental evidence) is what puts evolutionary theory on par with the theory of relativity, in terms of being science. Evolutionary theory has a sound mathematical model, which gives it heapings of testability.

    Now, I don't understand much of the biology, and as a lowly grad student in mathematics, I am but slowly gaining an understanding of the math; but here's what I do know. It is in the very field of dynamical systems that it was discovered that there exist purely probabilistic systems which undergo modification by repeated application of one simple rule can result in the spontaneous creation of order. (For example, do a websearch of "The Chaos Game.")

    I'll stop here, before this becomes an episode of Numb3rs.

  98. Both your post and the flurry of comments that followed were greatly amusing! (your post was generally more coherent, though). Thanks!

  99. This has become quite a discussion! I noticed it's markedly viscious on the part of the evolutionists. What do you expect to result from an anecdote using violence as the illustration? Then again, what is "violence" when it's just the fittest struggling to survive? Go at it!

    I have to say I agree that ID is not "science", and it does appear foolish for claiming so. It is a metaphysical claim. That said, it is no more scientific than any other claim that fails to show evidence of origin (i.e. - the Big Bang, etc.).

    I've posted a few quotes from scientists that might be of interest to you all. I don't know about this "front yard", but more maturity and rationality is expected in mine.

  100. Between "ignorant and dishonest" and "vicious", I'll take vicious every time.

    Your quotes are either deceitfully taken out of context (like Dawkins's and Lewontin's) or simply content-free nonsense that deceitfully pretends to be authoritative (like Jastrow's and Denton's). Of the quotes that aren't flat-out misappropriations, there's only one bona fide biologist on the list, and he's been thoroughly debunked. This is, of course, par for the course for creationists.

    In short: You're a dishonest man. Coming into my yard and bald-facedly spreading deceit is the height of incivility, far worse than merely calling people names. You should not be surprised if people hold you in contempt for the way you behave.

    (Let's not even get into the fact that the quotations of people who call themselves scientists are largely irrelevant to the validity of a scientific theory, or the scientific method. Scientific authority doesn't derive from some process of scriptural quotation or exegesis.)


    I am replying to the guy who replied to me (Brian Parry) about cells knowing how to stop growing.

    I think we both agree on the point that it is not completely known how cells stop growing. Yes a an individual cell lives and dies in a cycle dependent on many things. But at some point the building of a spinal cord stops or goes into an equilibrium of spinal cord cell life and death. I think that is fascinating and it is not completely understood.

    Your sentence:

    "The fact that "the above question keeps ID alive for me" as you put it immediatly concedes the point that you have absolutley no intrest in finding the answer."

    Seems backwards to me. I think that because ID is kept alive means I am still searching for the answers. I haven't closed any doors. So you have my intentions wrong here. You also suggest that ideas should not survive based upon our preference for them. This is exactly opposite. Preferences keeps ideas alive. If you are disinterested in an idea it will die for you. That doesn't mean the idea is wrong or right. For my own interests I was trying to find a part of ID that made it interesting enough for me to investigate. This is not a conclusion on ID or evolution. Stop being so absolute with your assumptions about me.

    I am well educated on scientific method and don't conclude that ID is incompatible with evolution. Certainly they butt heads a lot, but one does not completely rule out the other. Truth is relative upon time, education, politics, and religion. So I tend to stack up evidence and see what makes most sense for me. Evolution does that. ID doesn't, but it has some very interesting unanswered questions.

    In the end, I think making absolute statements such as "There I just treated ID as a real theory and proved it uterly useless, ..." is close minded and ignorant. No one has all the answers to this battle and their is no harm done if I want to amuse myself by learning everything I can. It is certainly more productive than telling someone to believe what I say or go FK themselves.

  102. Brian: If you're genuinely interested in how cells stop growing, get a textbook on developmental biology and learn about it, and then read some journals to learn about the most recent developments. Developmental biology has made great strides in investigating this question, in part by using concepts from evolution. ID has made no contributions to the field of developmental biology, and does not even pretend to have done so, so I don't know where you get the idea that it has any bearing on the question.

  103. Yeah! Baseball bat logic ftw!

    No, seriously. Intelligent Design is a failed attempt to say: "As a devout Christian who takes everything in the Bible literally, I am going to argue the same bullshit that I have been arguing for years and years, but only CLAIM that its different." I am not disregarding the potential existance of a God. The book of Genesis is metaphorical, if anything.

    Humans evolved from apes through the process of natural selection and through many other ways. The apes that humans evolved from became what they were from more primitive life forms in the same way that humans became humans.

  104. Here is the comment that I posted earlier that Cog conveniently deleted:

    I made no particular claims about the quotes I provided. I just posted them for everyone's perusal.

    Calling me dishonest really serves no purpose. You provide no evidence of my dishonesty other than your unsubstantiated claims about the quotes I provided (with references to the original context). Ad hominem attacks, though typical, don't serve to address the issue at hand.

    Also, I said nothing about scripture, nor did any of the quotes provided. This issue can be addressed metaphysically, philosophically, geologically, biologically, etc., and it can be argued entirely independent of the Bible. Aristotle's Physics dealt with this very thing, sans "scriptural quotation or exegesis." Referencing the Bible it would be as simple as citing Genesis 1:1 and saying "Yes, I believe that." That's faith. There's more to this. The only dishonesty I see is the straw man you've set up to avoid dealing with what is actually being said.

    Par for the course.

  105. Is deleting comments an example of honest discourse?

  106. Jacob, Cog didn't delete your post as I just read it. Maybe you are just a little too paranoid.

  107. Here is what I do not get. If the main argument for ID is that life is too complex to have formed from a natural process and thus must have been designed by an intellgient designer, wouldn't the intelligent designer be more complex than us. If that is so, then wouldn't an even greater intelligent designer have been needed to create our intelligent designer. And thus an even greater intelligent designer to create that intelligent designer...and so on...and so on...and so on...

  108. No, I did delete it, and I'd delete it again if I didn't think that Jacob's enough of a windmill tilting goofball to come back and spam this forum until I let it through.

    I reserve the right to delete any comment from this forum for any reason if I think it doesn't advance the debate at all. Truthfully, I'd delete a lot more comments if I weren't too busy; Jacob's just happen to be particularly logic-free. For example, consider his misunderstanding of ad hominem: ad hominem would be if I said, "Jacob is a liar, therefore his post is deceitful." What I said was the exact converse: "Jacob's post is deceitful, therefore Jacob is a liar."

    Why should I invest the effort to demonstrate in detail why Jacob's quotes are wrong or deceitful? Why do ID advocates think they're entitled to have their deceit met with good-faith intellectual labor on the part of others? This is like a salesman who shows up at your doorstep offering to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. You slam the door in his face, and he stands on your stoop hollering about how you should write a research paper proving that he doesn't own the bridge or else you're being unfair. What, exactly, makes such a person believe (s)he's worthy of such effort? What breathtaking arrogance must such a person possess?

  109. I'm sorry, but I love you

  110. I am really enjoying this and laughing at some of the evolution people. Like I have mentioned in previous posts I am a fence sitter understanding what I can from both sides and definitely giggling at the blind stubbornness that there just might be a maybe?

    Being a pain in the ass! Can I ask? If evolution occurs at a somewhat steady pace, how do we account for the explanation of the Cambrian explosion? “the jump in the increase of phyla in a short period of time? Terrestrial time.”


  111. You want to know why we resort to violent degrading comments? Well...maybe you should try work a stint as a researcher, take a few months to design an experiment to reveal a result that nobody has ever seen, painstakinly repeat the experiment over and over to be at least 95% sure that the result didn't occur by chance, do more experiments, make sure all of those didn't occur by chance, publish your results to add to the knowledge of hundreds of thousands of researchers worldwide that have been performing this underpaid, unglorified work for decades, all in the pursuit of truth, trying to piece together a theory that explains the mountain of evidence you all have accumulated. Then maybe you'll understand the beauty of something like evolution, a "theory" that explains with unparalleled precision the reality around us, and then you can have someone walk up to you and say that they don't believe in evolution because "a dog will never turn into a cat." And then you too will want to knock the molars out of their mouth with a glass ashtray.

  112. P: The reason you're laughing is that you're ignorant and lazy.

    In the post above, I link to the talk.origins FAQs. Now, here, you bring up the Cambrian explosion --- but there are numerous documents in the FAQs that address the Cambrian explosion. In short, I pointed you to a resource where you could have educated yourself, and yet you show up here mouthing a creationist talking point that's been discussed in depth in that exact resource.

    The height of ignorance: you claim that the Cambrian explosion somehow causes problems for evolutionary theory. The height of laziness: you refuse to do a simple Google search or poke around in the very website that I provided. Typical of creationists, and a perfect example of why we don't take you people seriously.

  113. to people saying that the story doesnt make any sense because it supports the wrong views, or whatever it was i saw being spewed earlier:
    the ID POV (taken to extreme, i admit) would be that the ID advocates leg had magically come into existance broken, along with all memories of it becoming broken, etc.
    the evolutionists POV would be that it had become broken by natural evolution of the situation. (ie. ID advocate pisses scientist off, scientist breaks his leg = natural evolution of situation).
    therefore, when the ID advocate claims the evolutionary solution to be real, he's shooting himself in the foot.

    how is this hard for people to understand?

  114. P: news flash: there's such a thing in the universe called Wikipedia:

    "The Cambrian Explosion has recently been a controversial topic regarding the history and evolution of life, with the idea posited that the Burgess Shale preserved such a wide variety of life and that the "Cambrian Explosion" was actually a slower radiation of animal forms than previously thought. The idea of an "explosion" of life in the Cambrian period is still being debated."
    -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian_explosion

    I don't understand why people like you like to criticize Those Closed-Minded Evolutionists(tm) when you can't even understand the basics of what the Evolutionists(tm) are saying. Nobody is saying, "All of you must mindlessly accept evolution as fact! Anyone who dares to question evolution is obviously an idiot! End of story! Period!" What they're saying is that if there's to be any criticism of evolution, the criticism should be a _scientific_ one. And this "Creation Science" gobbledygook is profoundly _unscientific_: it's completely untestable and unfalsifiable.

    Well, truth must be taken in moderation I guess. A slight dose of bull is good for your soul.

  115. Koko, Krusty and BozoMon Oct 24, 02:58:00 AM PDT

    Clowns are NOT creepy! I will not tolerate such slander, Clowns Rule!

  116. Greetings all

    I am a Year 12 student in Queensland, Australia. I have rigorously studied numerous theorems, scientific and otherwise, regarding the emergence of life on earth. Just today in our Biological science class we watched a video made by the Intelligent Design proponents themselves. This video was entitled "Unlocking the mystery of life" and I suggest to anybody who wants a more coherent understanding of ID to watch it.

    Having watched this video in detail and then discovering this blog soon after, I was rather astounded at how little the author of this blog knew about the ID argument. Sure, there are holes in it, just like any other theorem, but what I want to know is how that suggests that the theory itself utter codswallop. It simply does not. Why, if that were the case, then every theorem ever devised to account for the origin of life would too be rubbish.

    I am a fencesitter. I have no religion whatsoever. I have read copious mountains of texts regarding innumerable theorems and anecdotes. I have read Darwin's The descent of man , I have read Johnson's Darwin on Trial. I still haven't made up my mind. What I know, however, is that it is imprudent and largely unwise to laugh at or dismiss any theory or argument before you yourself have devised an alternate theory that could explain the topic in question. To howl at the intelligence (note the pun) behind the arguments like some bellicose anti-ID Nazi is nothing but mere stupidity. Come up with a reasonable alternative and then maybe I could respect your unassailable plight to rid the world of pseudoscience. And, for those of you who haven't realised it, the evolutionary theory is also based on faith and has many holes in it. Does that make it bullshit? To me it doesn't, but to you it might. Just think twice before you make a judgement regarding the validity of a scientific or non-scientific anecdote; remember that, until we find a hole in the space time continuum and visit the start of life on earth, it is impossible to rationally prove anything.

    It is adviseable that you take a step back and consider what you believe, and consider what it is that makes your system of belief superior to everyone elses.

  117. If there is an intelligent designer why did he design so many idiots?

  118. Ah, this is very sad. In Ancient Greece, when people saw a lightning they used to assume that it was caused by a divine force (namely Zeus). You can trace this line of thinking to the very beginning of mankind. Whenever there was no explanation for a physical phenomenon, man always turns to some kind of God to find his answers. As the years went by though and the tools to observe and understand the universe became more and more complete (mathematics, physics, astronomy, etc etc), we have been able to provide SCIENTIFIC and irrefutable answers to such phenomena, and we now KNOW that lightening is nothing more than electric current ripping the skies. It is very sad that some people seem willing to reverse this progress and return to where we were thousands of years ago. Ignorant and afraid. Fear has been religion's weapon in many of the crimes that have been comitted against humanity in its name. The ability to control people's minds and the capacity to make them afraid of the unknown is what drives religion forward. Any kind of religion. You cannot intimidate a well informed man/woman. You cannot control him. Religion wants the majority of the people to remain uneducated and, therefore, afraid and easy to manipulate. A "divine" phenomenon can be conveniently interpreted in any way we like. You can't do that with scientific facts - they know it and they hate it. I am glad that scientific knowledge is so well proven and documented today, otherwise it would be extremely feasible to have a 2nd Dark Age - especially with Bush's administration in power...

  119. First of all, Queensland student, a theorem is a mathematical sentence which has been proven from axioms, which are fundamental sentences assumed to be true. I believe the word you are looking for is "theory," unless you are stating that you were doing research into mathematical physics or mathematical biology.

    Second of all, no one says ID is false! The complaint about it is that it is not scientific! In science, there are procedures that are followed. These usually involve making observations, testing these observations, et cetera. For an idea to be scientific at all, it must be testable! In this way, the statement, "Rain is leprechaun pee," is more scientific than intelligent design, because we can look for those leprechauns, and if we don't find any, we can conclude that rain is likely not leprechaun pee. (However, if, upon learning of such negative results, someone stated, "We just can't *see* the leprechauns," that would be ad hoc reasoning, and would be an unscientific idea, being untestable.)

    To be fair, we cannot observe dark matter correctly; however, we can observe its effect on regular matter, so it's possible that the suggestion of something we can't see is scientific, as long as there's a way of testing its existence. If you can provide a similar way around the unobservability of the Designer, then by all means, tell us.

  120. Yes ! You have hit the only debate on ID that is worthy of its subject indeed. Tell the IDiots what they are ! Do not argue with them !

  121. Anon: If you're watching ID videos in biology class, then you're in a terrible school. Also, you don't seem to understand the difference between "theory" and "theorem", which doesn't speak well of your education in general.

    Johnson's Darwin on Trial has been thoroughly debunked. Why you think a lawyer is just as qualified to theorize about evolution as a biologist, I don't know. I suppose you'd let a car mechanic perform surgery on your brain --- after all, everybody's equally credible about every area of expertise.

    The reasonable alternative to Intelligent Design is called evolution. Your claim that we can't "rationally prove anything" about events in the past is exactly one of the ridiculous arguments that's satirized in the post above.

    Lastly, you have called me a Nazi, and therefore I invoke Godwin's Law and close this thread.