News, views & miscellany

Old news makes the front page of the NY Times. It’s been widely reported in blogland (in fact, I’ve mentioned it here and here) that a couple of well-known anti-intelligence scientists have complained about being mislead by the makers of the upcoming movie Expelled, starring Ben Stein. Apparently the Times just heard about it and rushed it to the front page, but they (Cornelia Dean) left out the good parts. Go Times!

If you think it’s embarrassing to be an American… just take a look at the Council of Europe. I’ve posted about this before, but after seeing this on Uncommon Descent I just had to mention it again. Dembski’s right… this sounds as Orwellian as you can get.

On the “this should be a great book” front: Greg Boyd gives (following a completely hilarious response to this) us the table of contents of his work-in-progress, Revolting Beauty: A Theology and Practical Guide for Kingdom Revolutionaries. It looks interesting. Let’s hope he drops some more hints in upcoming posts.

13 thoughts on “News, views & miscellany”

  1. “Iโ€™m guessing that in spite of your attitude, youโ€™re looking for answers.”

    Nope. I’m simply laughing at your silly “non-answers”. For example:

    “I do believe that there are sources of knowledge outside of the cause-and-effect world of science.”

    What does that even mean? Yes, humans have discovered communication and books, etc. So the past knowledge of humans can be handed down over the years. But such knowledge is not outside of the “cause-and-effect world”.

    “presents neither method nor means to address philosophical or theological issues”

    And why should anyone actually care about such silly things? Such issues are useless and not even helpful for ethics or morality. What “decisions” do you make based on philosophical or theological issues? Do you really think you are making good decisions in that way? Do you make decisions based on a fear of hell or a fear of the police?

  2. onein6…, I don’t know why you keep coming back. You don’t ever seem to completely read the posts or take the time to grasp the discussion that is going on.

    But, I’m guessing that in spite of your attitude, you’re looking for answers. I’m hoping that you read the theology posts, too.

    and, while I’ve said this before, let me try again: science is a limited subset of knowledge, and presents neither method nor means to address philosophical or theological issues, it can only analyze what it sees. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a fact.

  3. “if the Creator God invented the rules for the Universe but exists outside of the universe”

    And you wonder why scientists want to define science in a way which excludes such a religious idea?

  4. Mike, You call Dembski snarky, then send me that link to Panda’s Thumb? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And, by the way, O’Leary identifies herself as a journalist, not a scientist. And for that matter, she doesn’t consider herself to be an IDist.

    I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an IDist, either. I’ve never supported the claim that you can prove God by scientific means. I do believe that there are sources of knowledge outside of the cause-and-effect world of science. Science is wonderful, so far as it goes. It seems that your definition of a “real scientist” is one who will refuse to consider any knowledge other than what he can see through his electron microscope. My definition of a real scientist is someone who looks at all of the possible meanings of what he sees through his microscope.

  5. Whoops, believe it or not, I forgot something. The multiverse and the branes have new support from the fact that cosmologists have discovered radiation that emanates from a time before it could have been created (300,000 years after the big bang.) Highly interesting. I wonder how this will shake out.

    And then, there is this furtherance of my points at Panda’s thumb.

    Cheers, Mike

  6. Hallock actually is fairly typical, except that we had a hell of a librarian and a heck of a school secretary. People that taught us to think. Alden’s sister Betty and I used to hang out in various Christian youth groups, and she has quite an intellect. Must run in the genes. (Wait, that’s too materialistic for you, isn’t it?)

    I use the phrase real scientist because he actually does the work, and has a track record to show for it. Guillermo Gonzales did some work, and had a minor track record, but were he went wrong was by taking his ID faith and trying to make it science. What I mean by real scientist is not being taken in to think the religious among us can have it both ways.

    We have scientific means of studying the universe; and those are the only things we have to rely on to objectively demonstrate how things work. By saying that God is both outside of nature and doesn’t have to follow the rules he is supposed to have set up, and then turning around and saying we can develop a reliable method for proving his existence.

    If the folks over at the DI think that they can do it, fine. People are watching and waiting. But the best they have produced so far are attacks on outdated versions of “darwinism.” People that are working in the field have gone beyond that which they protest. Behe’s last is not only based on a misapplication of statistics, it also fails to address the areas of genetics which indicate that we carry genes for thousands of generations which never get expressed, and when they do, they can be either useful or deleterious. That’s the main fault with “Edge of Evolution.”

    What has Dembski produced other than snarkiness? O’Leary? Nothing. They are happy to chime in on new discoveries, such as the recent revelation that predecessor species to humans were co-habitants rather than one being the successor of the other, but they were attacking the all ready discarded picture of evolution as a chain of being. Evolution looks like a tag cloud more than a straight line. Scientists have said this since the 1950’s, but they used that to say that the ascent of man had been disproven. And you still take them seriously, and chime in when they say they are being persecuted for being religious?

    If you apply the logic you are so proud of you must admit that at least to an atheist who is saying Show me and I will believe, that that doesn’t show very well. ID is Bad Witnessing. And, Quixote, the claims of inquisition and neo-McCartyism betray that you are buying into it as well.

    When scientists are dishonest they get caught. By scientists, and they are disgraced, and it is a hard road to get back to respectability. If they fudge their results, they should know that someone else is going to check out their claim. Cold Fusion. Dog cloning, etc etc etc. As far as universities go, yes it is a constant struggle for scientists to fight the politics that prevent them from getting their research done.

    Intelligent Design needs to prove something, or it is going to continue to get “expelled.” The same as any other extraordinary claim, it requires extraordinary evidence. And its evidence is weak, and can only be held through faith. And that is what you are asking a cosmologist to do, especially in your current rebuttal to Dawkins. I haven’t commented on that yet, because I am waiting to see where you are taking it.

    The cause of the Big Bang is as yet uncertain, because we have “only” been able to gather evidence as far back as planck time (which is pretty amazing, wouldn’t you say?) The disputes over multiverses, branes, expanding or contracting universes (which is contraindicated by the discovery of dark energy) and so forth are there because the mathematics work. It is possible that we may never have the answer because of the fact that the current matter of the universe was created at the time of the Big Bang. But that doesn’t mean that we should throw up our hands and say “Well, our best guess is God.” Even if we did, what version of God do you think we can rely upon to be accurate?

    Dembski is even afraid to touch this one in his work, relying instead on the Design Inference.

    Anyone can be a “real scientist” but in order to be considered a real scientist, they must produce results that can be verified. This is why the Council of Europe wrote their statement, this is why Plait values ID as much as he does astrology, this is why I value it as much as I do alchemy.

    ID’ists need to stop complaining and claiming persecution when their goal is to be taught as if they had actually demonstrating something. Until then, it ain’t science. It’s regurgitated Paleyism. And I apologize to Paley, who was brilliant, but didn’t have the advantages of modern science.

  7. Apparently Hallock MN is not your typical small town on the northern plains.

    Think “Walden,” only flatter. Or, perhaps Lake Woebegone…

  8. I’ve enjoyed following the ongoing chat between you two. Apparently Hallock MN is not your typical small town on the northern plains. (Something in the water, perhaps?)

    I note Mike’s phrase “real scientist.” It’s positively loaded with presumption and, I might add, sets itself up for a scrutiny it cannot endure if by it he implies an unbiased and objective. The historical record is replete with examples, not merely of theological stubbornness, but of “scientific” dishonesty. Perhaps he should replace the phrase “real scientist” with something like “spokesman for the New Inquisition” or maybe even “Neo McCarthy, Inc”?

  9. “Bad Astronomy” may be aptly named… ๐Ÿ˜‰ and could also be named “bad logic.” Phil assumes, of course, that nothing exists outside of his rather limited cause-and-effect world. Again, back to the beginning: if the Creator God invented the rules for the Universe but exists outside of the universe, He doesn’t have to play by those rules. That’s like the Monopoly Top Hat piece yelling to one of the players, “hey, you can’t go to get more Mountain Dew, you’re in jail!” (This would apply, I think, to multi-verse scenarios as well… who’s to say what rules apply in another universe, and what’s to keep them from crossing over into ours?)

    Remember the cave.

  10. I just can’t believe that you still trust the ID people; they have never produced anything substantial to prove their point, and when called on it they claim persecution and orwellianism. The anti-intelligence meme is cute, but here is a great article by a guy who has been debunking pseudo-science for years (and is a real scientist.)

    http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/09/27/the-supernatural-does-not-exist/

    Intelligent design is not science, and I don’t see why religious people are so invested in it. It has no substance. There is no there, there. The Council of Europe hit it dead on, and I wish that we had such gutsy people here.

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