It is simply pointless to try to conduct a debate concerning (science) vs. (denial of science).
The scientific denialists are obviously not going to be swayed by any science-based argument.
Therefore the discussion will devolve into a unresolvable impasse between those who look for evidence to test theories based upon the predictions made by those theories vs. those who will do their best to distort any and all facts in order to mold them to fit their preexisting belief system, while conveniently ignoring any facts that are too sturdy to yield to their whim.
The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)
That seems to be the position of the Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement, as articulated in what is known as the "Wedge Document" at the center of the "Wedge Strategy" which boils down to an organized plan of re-branding creationism as a secular science to help it gain favor with respect to public education, realizing once and for all that the separation of church and state seems to be (unfortunately, in their opinion) an insurmountable obstacle.
The wedge strategy in terms of the intelligent design (ID) movement, refers to the plan by the Discovery Institute to re-brand creationism in a "scientific" cloak. This plan was outlined in their Wedge Document.
One part of the Discovery Institutes's strategy is the slogan "teach the controversy". It deliberately tries to make opponents look like they are against teaching "all" of science to students. This, of course, only works with people who don't understand the issue. Dr. Barbara Forrest, of the NCSE, has described creationists wedge strategy as a "Trojan horse," likening it to a computer virus. She says "A Trojan horse is a proposal to 'teach the controversy' about evolution that appears to have some useful or benign purpose (e.g., to promote critical thinking), but really masks the plan to teach intelligent design creationism." And "In this case, the Trojan horse and the public school system become the Discovery Institute's entry vehicle for teaching a religious belief in the public school science class."
She continues to add, "Remember the ID creationists' main goal: to disguise their creationism so that users of the system (parents and children) and federal judges do not realize what the ID movement is up to.
The wedge document clearly shows that the Discovery Institute intended ID to further their religious ideals.
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wedge_DocumentBecause of the nature of this document some have claimed that it must be a hoax; this is most definitely not the case. The Discovery Institute has not only acknowledged authorship of the document but has also defended its content. A scan of the original document is also available in PDF format. The introduction to this document also appeared on their website in 1996, as archived by archive.org.
The story of how it came into the public domain can be found in this Seattle Weekly newspaper article.
Although the Discovery Institute acknowledges the authenticity of the document, they want to dismiss the supposed Wedge Document "conspiracy theory" as a "pseudo-intellectual urban legend":
“”It is in the context of our concern about the world-view implications of certain scientific theories that our wedge strategy must be understood. Far from attacking science (as has been claimed), we are instead challenging scientific materialism -- the simplistic philosophy or world-view that claims that all of reality can be reduced to, or derived from, matter and energy alone. We believe that this is a defense of sound science.
However, many of those who use the Wedge Document to criticize the Discovery Institute maintain that it demonstrates the existence of no conspiracy beyond that which the document itself clearly spells out. They further maintain that reading the document is the best way to understand what it says. The full document can be found below.
Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 08-20-2013 at 04:16 PM.
Cold, hard fact: That our universe had a beginning was a correct prediction of theism, an an incorrect prediction of atheism.
Prior to the Big Bang, atheists had asserted that the universe was eternal, no beginning, and infinite, unlimited in size. By asserting this, atheists made the universe their God. It was the very root of existence, timeless and uncreated. This was their explanation for the universe's existence: "It's just always existed."
The Big Bang destroyed all of that, leaving atheists outraged and fighting science tooth and nail. They've spent the better part of a century concocting
excuseshypotheses for how our universe could both have a beginning and still be eternal/infinite. That's what the infinite multiverse and cyclic models are all about; an attempt at defaulting back into the, "it's just always existed" answer for the question of existence. The universe is their God and needs no explanation.
It's nice to see that Slick continues to prove me correct.
Appeal to motive - Wikipedia
Discovery Institute's “Wedge Document”: How Darwinist Paranoia Fueled an Urban Legend - Evolution News & Views
My favorite part...
It's a pro-Christian conspiracy! ...headlined by a Jew and agnostic.At the time the “Wedge Document” was being used by Darwinists to stoke fears about Christian theocracy, the Chairman of Discovery’s Board was Jewish, its President was an Episcopalian, and its various Fellows represented an eclectic range of religious views ranging from Roman Catholic to agnostic. It would have been news to them that they were all part of a fundamentalist cabal.
The rest of the article goes on to dispel the myths fruitcakes like (ir)rational wiki spread as a cheap substitute for good argumentation. For one thing, nothing in the document implies that I.D. is a retelling of Genesis, or that I.D. is Biblical creationism. What it does is make factual statements (the huge positive impact theism has had on Western culture) while defending theism, Christianity and otherwise. Again, as a nonreligious theist, I agree with them.
I applaud the wedge document. It explicitly challenges scientific materialism, which is basically the injection of atheism into science. Why wouldn't theists fight such a thing? I'm of the belief that God-deniers ruling science has lasted long past it's sell-by date, so I encourage anything that challenges it.
I think the nature of existence, the rationality, logic, and comprehensibility of it all, especially the existence of consciousness and intelligence (two traits which I believe are fundamental to existence), clearly points towards the latter being the most likely explanation.
"Race" to 19th century naturalists simply meant distinct populations within a specific species. Neither the human race nor human evolution are discussed at all in On the Origin of Species.
The "races" mentioned in Darwin's book include, pigeon, finch, mollusk, and pig breeds. Any claim that the subtitle is "racist" toward humans is totally absurd and would only be made by someone who has never studied the work in question, even cursorily.
For the sixth edition of 1872, Darwin shortened the title to simply "On The Origin of Species" because he felt that his original subtitle was misconstrued, not as being racist, but as meaning "survival of the fittest", a phrase he greatly disliked.
Darwin may have been a bigot-- I don't know--- but for evidence you would have to point to something he wrote about human racial and ethnic groups, something not even remotely discussed in "Origin of Species". (The only allusion to human evolution was a comment in the afterword that he hoped that his work might lead to a day when "light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history")
Personally I would guess that like all of us, Darwin was no saint. He certainly had some goofy ideas that are recognized as utter nonsense, like "pangenesis". Some have surmised that if Darwin had been able to read German, he would have read and grasped Gregor Mendel's theories and Mendel's gene theory would not have been forgotten, only to be rediscovered and embraced decades after Mendel's death (and long after Darwin's as well).
Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 08-20-2013 at 08:23 PM.
You're more than welcome to argue it. Gravity and thermodynamics are classified as scientific laws, evolution is not. There's quite the major reason why two of them are classified one way, and the other isn't in that category.
It's pretty hard to argue they're equal, when actually they're not.
Last edited by Since86; 08-21-2013 at 09:06 AM.
The language is actually fairly arbitrary. For example the idea that some diseases, particularly infectious diseases, are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria & viruses is called the germ theory of disease. It's not called the germ law.
Yet germ theory of disease is pretty central to all of modern medicine, wouldn't you say? Or is it fine if your surgeon omits the scrubbing up step, because he wants to wait until it is referred to as a law?
I see the theory of evolution in a similar context and broad relevance. There is essentially not much substance to many major sub-fields of biology without evolutionary concepts, including ecology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, infectology, just to name a few.
Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 08-21-2013 at 11:33 AM.
We can directly observe the effects of gravity. Pick something up. Drop it. Watch it fall. Gravity proven beyond any and all doubts in three seconds.
What observation does belief that simple organisms can evolve to higher organisms via an accumulation of random mutations produce that's on par with the observation above?
There's no reason to go off on a tangent about germ theory. The validity of evolution isn't on the same level as gravity, thermodynamics, and geometry. Maybe one day, but not today.
Why is there no reason to talk about germ theory? I think he makes a good point in noting it's a theory that is treated like a law even though it's not called a law.
So if you can't witness it happening in a 5 minute experiment, then it is inconceivable? Speciation does take longer than can be observed in an afternoon. So does most events in astrophysics or even relativity, for that matter. It's not an invalidating weakness.
And I assume you'll insist we ignore all of palentology and geology, ignoring that distinct and accurately dateable geological strata show related but speciated forms, discernable even with a glance!
Yet science has still provided evidence to suit your "Show me macroevolution while I stand here on one foot" demands.
A few examples of macroevolution that HAVE been observed in nature or reproduced in a controlled environment:
A new non-crossable plant species (a type of fireweed), was noted in the lab following breeding experiments that resulted in a doubling of the chromosome count from the original stock (Mosquin, 1967).
Strains of fruit flies have been found to lose the ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring in the lab over a 4-year span ... i.e. they became two new species when parts of the group are subjected to different environmental pressures. (See Dobzhansky et al.)
The Faeroe Islands lacked any mouse population. A foundational species was accidentally introduced on the island and bred to fill the many niches, leading in about 200 years to at least 4 species that are incapable of interbreeding, with many distinct characteristics.
I hear you... these are different species, but they aren't HIGHER. The only difference is the vastness of time.
One powerful aspect of any theory is to make specific predictions wherein technology not yet developed but on the horizon will confirm or refute the prediction.
an example: When it was first noted that apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes but humans have 23, the question rose from creationists "How could they be related? This is impossible!
The prediction: Humans have a chromosome that arose from the fusion of two chromosomes in a human-ape ancestor.
Fast forward 40 years to the human and chimp genome projects. Chromosome 2 in all humans is the result of the joining of two chromosomes that have exact homologues in the chimp. The decoding of the genomes revealed that human chromosome 2 has a stretch of non-functioning telomere coding in the exact place it should be if the two chromosomes had joined in the human line from the common ancestor with the apes, and there is also non-functioning coding for a centromere in the exact location where the extra centromere would be as it occurs in one of the homologous chimp chromosomes, as well as a functioning centromere in the same location as in the other homologous chimp chromosome.
Now the hunt is on to find DNA in fossilized common ancestor species to show when the chromosome fusion occurred. There are estimates out there based on acquired mutations in the corresponding chromosomes over time. So it's yet another precise prediction made based on evolutionary theory.
Making testable predictions that are both verifiable and falsifiable is central to science, and why ID is not in the realm of science.
Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 08-21-2013 at 12:20 PM.
With all due respect, your ignorance is not a valid rebuttal. That you're ignorant of Darwin making racist statements does not mean Darwin did not make racist statements.
"At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla."
--Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
Of course, we don't have to stop with racism. There's sexism, too!
"The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence in whatever he takes up, than can a woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands."
--Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
But really, what's so surprising about any of this? The cold, hard truth is Darwin's ideas make racism and even sexism scientifically valid. The backbone of Darwin's idea is inequality; we are NOT created equal. Why should that not apply to human races any more than any other members of the animal kingdom? Political correctness? Different environments favor different traits, so the different races of humans, evolved through the ages in different environments, would not be equal, bar some incredible coincidence.
You asserted that the subtitle of "On the Origin of Species" is blatantly racist.
You must also think that the writer of the theme song of the Flintstones was blatantly homophobic when he penned the line "We'll have a gay old time!" Guess what, "gay" didn't mean then what it means to us now. Exact same thing- race in the the context of discussing pigeon, finch, mollusk, and pig breeds in that 1859 work has nothing to with human races. The book had nothing to do with human races.
Yes, Darwin wrote a later work called the Descent of Man dealing with human evolution. You realize that it is a different work, don't you?
You have been exposed as a fraud, pure and simple. Your ignorant remarks (since you started throwing insults out there) make it clear that you have not read a single page of "On the Origin of Species" nor do you even know its subject matter, yet you uphold it as a threat to humanity! Oh the hypocrisy!
Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 08-21-2013 at 12:33 PM.
So then wouldn't that be admitting that it's not really about whether or not it's called a law or a theory, but rather the merits of the facts themselves? And in turn, doesn't that mean that pointing out that it's a theory means basically nothing?
and he, an outspoken abolishionist, decried it as a horrible path we were taking as a society, to exterminate diversity!
He strongly opposed the polygenism theory, developed by scientific racist discourse, which postulated that the different human races were distinct species that were likely separately "created".
boiled down for you, if Darwin were saying it today: Dark skin, different hair types, different heights, it's all a trifle. Minor variations. We are all one human species with the same evolutionary ancestry. Deal with it, bigots!Although the existing races of man differ in many respects, as in colour, hair, shape of skull, proportions of the body, &c., yet if their whole organisation be taken into consideration they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. Many of these points of difference are so unimportant or of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races. The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of man.
Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 08-21-2013 at 02:45 PM.
Germ theory is completely independent to itself. Why it's a theory and not a law has absolutely nothing to do with why evolution is a theory and not a law. That's why there's no point in bringing up germ theory.
Gravity, thermodynamics, and calculus are observable and they can be replicated. They stay constant throughout each observance and replication, which is why they're called laws. Evolution is not observable, nor is it replicatable, and that's why it's a theory. The laws of gravity, thermodynamics, and calculus are very narrow. They break down to specific equations that can be mathmatically proven. Evolution cannot.
Of course germ theory is its own thing, but the idea here is that even though we don't call it a law everybody basically accepts it as true and factual despite 'only' being a theory. Therefore pointing out that evolution is a theory doesn't really do anything to change anybody's mind one way or the other.