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Richard Dawkins Open to Intelligent Design ::: The God Debates

You should go out and buy “Expelled” on DVD for a nice Christmas present.

If you want to know why even Dawkins can’t keep from postulating intelligence, start listening to Michael Behe.

Or just watch this.

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19 Comments

  1. Angela S says:

    Have you seen Expelled? I saw something about it and really wanted to watch it, but I never got around to it. I was interested what other people thought about it, though.

  2. Matt says:

    Expelled has been pretty much shown to be full of mistakes, made by rather dishonest people. I recommend looking up http://www.expelledexposed.com

    On the other hand, the Dover Trial showed Behe really to be rather wrong about just about everything he’s ever done – especially the rather odd area known as ‘irreducible complexity’.

  3. theophilogue says:

    Thanks Matt, for exposing us (no pun intended) to that website. I’ve already seen it, and listened to critiques of Behe. Scientists, however, are still divided over his views so it’s not as black and white as you might think. You could accumulate quotations from those who disagree with Behe in the scientific field and think this proves his views are “wrong,” but then again, you could accumulate views of others in the scientific field who critique those critiques and come to the conclusion that all the criticism is bias. It all depends on what your presuppositions, it seems, as to what conclusion you come to about the evidence.

  4. Matt says:

    I don’t believe opinion is all that divided about Behe’s ‘views’; it’s pretty much an open and shut case that he’s really rather wrong about the entire ‘irreducible complexity’ thing and ID in general. Again, I point to the Dover Trial where Behe’s work was shown quite clearly to be based on ignorance and an utter failure to do any sort of research as just one example of Behe’s scientific incompetence.

  5. theophilogue says:

    Matt,

    If you think it’s an open and shut case, your probably not reading broadly enough. There are scientists who believe the Dover Trial ruling was based on a faulty understanding of ID. Scientists are making these arguments, not bloggers.

    For example: http://www.discovery.org/a/2879

    Many people, however, believe like you do, that it’s an open and shut case.

  6. Jorg says:

    The only people believing that the Dover ruling was based on a “faulty understanding of ID” are Discovery Institute fellows, including Casey Luskin (more on that–and a link!–below). There are a.an obvious conflict of interest and serious bias in their presentations, b.on many occasions a complete lack of understanding of the subjects involved (especially in Luskin’s case; he seems to have an unfortunate tendency to mangle everything and does not appear to have a clue about much of anything at all), and c.as in cases of Leary, DS and other purported “experts”(including Wells, Meyer, Behe himself and Dembski), much hand-waving and direct lies.

    For a brand new debunking of DI’s claims on the “misinterpretation” of evidence at Dover trial, see http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/01/02/smoke-and-mirrors-whales-and-lampreys-a-guest-post-by-ken-miller/

    Meanwhile, my own two cents are that the case *is* open and shut. behe’s specific claims have been shown to be incorrect, and ID has no leg to stand on, philosophically. And of course “Expelled” was a bad joke: I would not waste money on it; the dishonesty of the producers and, apparently, everyone involved, is of monumental proportions.

  7. Jorg,

    Thanks for jumping into the discussion.

    Your approach to this discussion appears as bias to me as perhaps mine do to you. Not because of your position, but because of your reasoning.

    Behe and Dembski are not on the list of “fellows” at the Discovery Institute: http://www.discovery.org/fellows. Yet, even if it were just the guys at Discovery Institute … If they are scientists, then there is a conflict among scientists about Intelligent Design and Evolution. If the case is so open and shut, why is Ken Miller still trying to respond to criticism of the Dover ruling? Clearly the debate is still raging among the experts and will continue for some time.

    Perhaps the case is open and shut to you and others, but for the scientific community, it remains a matter of hot controversy on a technical level.

    Bradley

  8. Matt says:

    I don’t think it can be labelled a ‘matter of hot controversy’ when someone (in this case Ken Miller) takes a few moments to point out how hopelessly wrong ID proponents are.

    There would be controversy if there were even remotely amounts of evidence for both sides and roughly equal numbers of people were debating the big issues. In reality, however, the ID movement is incredibly small and they literally have no evidence for their case.

    The only reason the Discovery Institute and other people flogging the dead ID horse get any response at all is that scientists generally don’t like it when people go about spouting their own ignorance and trying to use it as a justification for the damaging of the teaching of actual science.

  9. theophilogue says:

    I wish your words would demonstrate more sensitivity to how your line of argument might be frustrating to an ID proponent who is a scientist.

    For example, how would you critique the soundness of an argument like this: “I don’t think it’s a matter of controversy when Michael Behe points out all the flaws of Ken Miller’s Dover analysis in just a few moments to show how hopeless the anti-ID rhetoric is.”

    Is this a legit way to reason?

    Bradley

  10. Matt says:

    Of course it’s not, since Behe’s supposed analysis has been shown to be completely baseless as someone has already linked to.

    Face it, no one has been able to produce any evidence to support ID that has been able to stand up to even casual scrutiny let alone in-depth analysis. It’s a dead horse, people should stop flogging it.

  11. theophilogue says:

    I’m not talking about the substance of Behe’s arguments, but the logic of your own statements.

  12. Matt says:

    There’s nothing wrong with them. I stated that ID proponents have been able to produce no evidence to support their case.

    Which is easy to refute if the evidence actually existed, all you’d (or any ID proponent) would have to do is point out ID evidence which hasn’t been shot down. It’s not exactly rocket science.

  13. Angela S says:

    If I may, I’d like to address that, Matt. You see, that’s the wonderful thing about faith in an intelligent designer. If He made Himself (whomever He may be) so easy to prove, then where’s the faith and trust in that? It’s easy to believe something that’s right in front of your face, but not so easy to believe something that you cannot see. I can, however, provide a little evidence for you about the difficulty in macroevolution being true.

    Here is a list of scientists both modern and historical who believe in Intelligent Design, or Creationism: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/default.asp

    Recommended watching: The Intelligent Design Movement: How Intelligent is it? , featuring Dr. Georgia Purdum

    Evidence: read this –> http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/510.asp

    Monotremes (mammals that lay reptile-like eggs and suckle their young) such as the duck-billed platypus – Scientists initially considered the platypus to be ‘primitive’, but then they discovered the incredibly complex electrolocation techniques the animal uses to find food. To evolutionists this made it a ‘highly evolved animal and not a primitive transition between reptiles and mammals.’ And ‘In reality, there is nothing in the fossil record to indicate that the platypus was ever anything other than a platypus. It is not a living ‘transitional’ form. It is a truly unique creature, and one that continues to baffle those who insist on making it fit into an evolutionary tree.’ (See Link) http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v24/i2/platypus.asp

    “Molecular biologist Dr Michael Denton, writing as an agnostic, concluded:
    ‘Alongside the level of ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even our most advanced [twentieth century technology appears] clumsy … . It would be an illusion to think that what we are aware of at present is any more than a fraction of the full extent of biological design. In practically every field of fundamental biological research ever-increasing levels of design and complexity are being revealed at an ever-accelerating rate.’3” http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v20/i3/answer.asp

    Dr Werner Gitt, Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology, makes it clear that one of the things we know absolutely for sure from science, is that information cannot arise from disorder by chance. It always takes (greater) information to produce information, and ultimately information is the result of intelligence:
    ‘A code system is always the result of a mental process (it requires an intelligent origin or inventor) … It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required.15
    ‘There is no known natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this.’16

    The website http://www.answersingenesis.org is a great compilation of resources for the debate between the possibility of evolution vs. an intelligent designer. I don’t confess to be an expert by any means, but these scientists do. I recommend you check it out. Also, you may have information that counters these claims, which I’d love to see. I appreciate your intellect and willingness to use your brain to think through the harder questions in life. Thanks for the stimulating conversation!

  14. theophilogue says:

    Matt,

    I’m losing my confidence that you understand. Whether the things Behe and others present is evidence or not is precisely what is a matter of debate. Therefore, for you to point to a critical critique of Behe and blow the victory horn is premature and makes you look hasty.

    Other scientists and intellectuals have found Behe’s arguments to be very scientifically sophisticated and even persuasive. But as soon as they do, you would classify them as ignorant of science even if they interact with all the scientific evidence and demonstrate competence. I get that.

    That no one has provided any legit basis for ID is a matter of popular opinion, and I’m glad you have expressed your point of view.

    The debate is not over among scientists. The case may seem open and shut to those who want to see it that way, but the scientific literature tells a different story. This debate is not going away, like it or not. And the debate is not just between Christians Bible thumpers and atheists but among sophisticated and Combridge/Harvard/Berkly/etc. trained scientists.

    Bradley

  15. Matt says:

    I can, however, provide a little evidence for you about the difficulty in macroevolution being true.

    And that peer reviewed, independently verified evidence is where exactly? It certainly doesn’t make an appearance in your entry.

    Here is a list of scientists both modern and historical who believe in Intelligent Design, or Creationism: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/default.asp

    And that is meant to prove what, exactly? Here’s a list of scientists who support the Theory of Evolution … and it’s just those named Steve. Guess what, they still vastly outnumber your list. http://ncseweb.org/taking-action/project-steve

    Recommended watching: The Intelligent Design Movement: How Intelligent is it? , featuring Dr. Georgia Purdum

    Seen it, full of inaccuracies and has been generally ridiculed a lot because of it’s silliness.

    Evidence: read this –> http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/510.asp

    Read it, doesn’t prove a thing especially since this argument has long been debunked. I suggest you look into the anthropic principal. To put it simply…
    Imagine a shallow hole in the ground. It rains. Water fills the hole. Now if that water could think, it might think to itself something along the lines of … “This hole is shaped perfectly for me, it must have been made for me!”
    That water, of course, would be horribly wrong … just like that rather silly ‘fine tuning’ argument is wrong.

    but then they discovered the incredibly complex electrolocation techniques the animal uses to find food.

    And it is irreducibly complex because…?
    Here’s a hint; not one irreducibly complex system has been found in biology anywhere in the world. I assure you, the first person who locates one would be up for so many awards that he would not be able to move for their weight.

    As for the rest of the platypus nonsense, I suggest you read here (which fully explains the origins of the platypus species):
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/the_platypus_genome.php
    All fully referenced and supported by evidence and research. Unlike AiG’s contents.

    “Molecular biologist Dr Michael Denton, writing as an agnostic, concluded:

    That boils down to an argument from incredulity, which is a well known debate fallacy.
    It should also be noted that Denton has rejected the concept of intelligent design.
    “Denton now accepts common descent and disagrees with the “intelligent design” advocates who conjecture the special creation of biological groups, regularly criticizing them for ignoring the overwhelming evidence (Denton 1999).” ( http://www.talkdesign.org/cs/meyers_hopeless_monster )

    Dr Werner Gitt,

    His argument has long since been dismissed by the scientific community as mere pseudo-science. Gitt has never had any credibility. For a more detailed deconstruction of his work, I suggest here: http://www.toarchive.org/faqs/information/gitt.html

    The website http://www.answersingenesis.org is a great compilation of resources for the debate between the possibility of evolution vs. an intelligent designer.

    AiG has long since been discredited as a source which is dishonest to say the least, repeatedly refusing to update contents when research comes out and continues to publish demonstratively false proclamations.

    The debate is not over among scientists.

    Yes, it is. Care to ponder on the number of scientists who support the Theory of Evolution against those who don’t? That Project Steve link I provided above might give you the slightest clue. Generally speaking, the only people who don’t support the Theory of Evolution are simply ignorant of the available evidence (which is a supportable case, since it is clearly apparent every time a scientist has bothered to debate a creationist).

  16. theophilogue says:

    Michael Behe says, and I quote, “I have responded in the past to the most interesting objections to ID. They can be found (along with other writings by myself) at http://tinyurl.com/8zm22s. Feel free to post any or all of them on your blog. Included is a response to objections to my argument on blood clotting. Ken Miller’s most recent bloviation (the link to which your correspondent refers) has nothing new in it. Best wishes.” (personal e-mail correspondence)

    Bradley

  17. Matt says:

    I suggest you check your spam filters, as my last comment hasn’t appeared and contained links to URLs for requested information.

    As for Behe’s response, as you have posted it, again he seems to be rather mistaken. Luskin posted a rather … unique interpretation of events at the Dover trial based on the claims by Behe (in two texts he contributed to directly) about blood clotting. Luskin claimed that Miller misrepresented Behe’s work, based on a claim that Behe didn’t write specified parts of ‘Of Pandas and People’.

    Miller since came back, as shown in the links previously linked to, that Behe did indeed write both and then broke down all the evidence which shows that Behe is incredibly wrong about blood clotting (amongst many other things).
    Both Behe and Luskin have thus far failed to directly respond to this criticism of Behe’s work, providing no evidence to counter the flaws and mistakes found in Behe’s claims.

  18. theophilogue says:

    Matt,

    Thanks for telling me to check my spam filters. There were three other comments besides your that needed to be let through the filters too. That’s the first time I’ve ever checked my spam; I didn’t realize it was that easy to get your comments blocked. Thanks!

    Bradley

  19. Angela S says:

    I don’t pretend to be an expert at this. You have obviously devoted a lot of time and effort into the research of this topic, and you are excellent at arguing your own point (much better than I am). Honestly, I never really thought that I’d convince you of otherwise. I couldn’t name one person who was won over to belief in God because they lost an argument. I’ve looked into your blog, and I am convinced that no matter what evidence I present to make my point, you would present your counter evidence that “debunked” my claim. As you pointed out, there are far more scientists supporting your cause than mine, and with that big of a majority on your side, you can make science say anything (probably a statement you will strongly disagree with, and you’ll sound a lot smarter than me in your reply, but I stick by it).

    If I were studying this subject from an objective point of view (which is impossible, cause I’m not, but bare with me), the thing that would strike me about your point of view is that it seems that many of the people who believe in evolution started that way because they did not believe in God. They let that be the basis for their research, assuming that there HAD to be another explanation. However, some of the most well respected Creation Scientists (which you don’t respect, and I get that, so you don’t have to tell me again) came to their conclusion because after looking at all of the evidence in front of them, they could do nothing but believe that there is a God who created the world. Ken Ham of AiG would be an example. (Go ahead and start your complete destruction of his character and what a bogus “scientist” he is). …It also interests me that you are so set on disproving ID. You aren’t just content with “knowing” that your answer is right (obviously from my point of view you have to add the quotation marks because I couldn’t consent to you knowing something that I don’t believe is truth), but you have to also vehemently oppose any other possibilities, with more emotion than is usually given to a scientific debate. Why are you so dead set on proving us wrong? Why is it so important to you? Because if we’re right…. (I know, you addressed that on your blog, you don’t need to point me to it). There are souls to be saved from my point of view, but what about yours?

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