Responses to creationist piece in Boston Globe

Last week Discovery Institute resident creationist Stephen Meyer managed to get a pro-intelligent-design letter piece published in the Boston Globe. It was the usual nonsense, with the added fillip that Meyer quoted Jefferson’s “design” view against evolution, though Jefferson died decades before Darwin published The Origin.

Yesterday there were two responses, one by Harvard linguist/psychologist/evolutionist Steve Pinker, the other by Owen Sholes, an associate professor of biology at Assumption College.

And over at Recursivity, Jeffrey Shalit calls Meyer a liar.

h/t Jason Rosenhouse and SLC.

70 Comments

  1. Hempenstein
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Excellent letters, both. Anyone who knows anything about Jefferson should know that he was an amateur scientist himself, experimenting with crops at Monticello, recording daily temperatures, etc.

    Meyer’s notion that he would have held to creationist tradition in the face of so much evidence to the contrary is one of supreme arrogance.

    • Gaga
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      the letters are excellent, but the comments are disheartening :\

  2. newenglandbob
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I read these yesterday and was happy to see the nonsense put in its place by the prestigious Steven Pinker as well as a professor at a catholic college.

  3. Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Did they ever find out whose autograph was on the DNA?

    Oh that Dr. Meyer, he’s such a sleuth.

  4. Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    If this is all the response allowed in the paper, it’s highly inadequate.

    Everything should be exposed, from the fact that Meyer is a shill for the IDiots, to the fact that the DNA code is in many ways very unlike a computer code. Its stochastic activation and basic evolvability is what would be expected from evolution, not from an intelligent coding agent.

    Not that the letters aren’t welcome and fairly good at exposing Meyer’s nonsense.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  5. Notorious P.A.T.
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “Martin Luther once said, ‘What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.'”

    That’s for sure.

  6. Josh Caleb
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I read Meyer’s letter and both responses and I didn’t hear any sound rebuttal, rather only the sort of whining Meyer might have predicted. You have to give it to Meyer that he is at least structuring an argument, using reason, citing the author of “separation of church and state” principle, etc. To deny this, it seems, betrays a priori commitments of a sort that are roundly decried when the tables are turned.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense. Read 1. above.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        is it possible that the “supreme arrogance” might be in reading into Jefferson’s “amateur science” a fully materialistic perspective? Or conflating “creationist tradition” with Jefferson’s obvious view of intelligent causation or minimal deism?

      • Hempenstein
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        (I’m not sure where this will wind up, given where the Reply tabs end, but hope it winds up where I want it to.)

        Josh-
        The distance between amateur and professional science was far shorter than it is now. Also, put the first decade of the 19th century in perspective. For instance, how many elements were known? I’m not sure here but I think the number is somewhere around 20 at 1800 (just looking now, one online source puts the number at 28). How many amino acids were known? (As of 1806, anyway, the number is one – asparagine). The first chemical synthesis of an organic compound did not come till 2yrs after TJ’s death (urea, 1828).

        Jefferson’s Rotunda at the University of Virginia included a chemistry laboratory, and you can still see the small brick fireplace/oven that was part of it there. So yes, the sense one gets of Jefferson is of someone thrilled with gathering evidence and distilling a conclusion from it – an individual sufficiently materialistic to support John Danley’s comment below.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        “the sense one gets of Jefferson is of someone thrilled with gathering evidence and distilling a conclusion from it – an individual sufficiently materialistic to support John Danley’s comment below”

        its a good thing then that we needn’t rely on our (possibly biased) perceptions of Jefferson merely from his scientific endeavors, in that he left us a written record of his thoughts which seem to erase such certainty of his materialsim…

    • Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      So much white noise that I need to buy industrial foam earplugs.

      If Jefferson knew about Darwin and modern physics he’d be leading an intellectual jihad against the Discovery Mental Institution.

    • hempenstein
      Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Jump to 18.

  7. Posted July 21, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    It was an op-ed, Jerry, not a letter. That’s a small distinction, I know, compared to your earlier confusedly calling Meyer a young-earth creationist“. But words have meanings. We use different words to refer to different things. Meanwhile I see you’re still referring to Meyer as a “creationist.” If you want to hold intelligent design in as much contempt as you do Biblical literalist creationism, that’s fine, but at least show us you can make proper distinctions in writing, calling a thing by its correct name.

    • Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      By the way David, as long as you’re casting stones, look at the glass house you and Stephen inhabit. Meyer lied, as Shalit demonstrates, and you’re blaming Coyne for not remembering which moron wrote which bit of rot.

      You know, if you IDiots actually had science, you’d almost certainly agree on the age of the earth. As it is, various theological positions are held by the IDiots, which makes it hard to keep track of theological idiocies.

      Coyne actually fixes his mistakes, you guys only repeat and compound your nonsense.

      But as to the term “creationist,” Meyer is directly appealing to the “authority” of Jefferson for his IDist prejudices, and Jefferson does not hesitate to use the term “creator” where ID dishonesty substitutes “designer” in order to try to distance itself from creationists. Note this from the very letter Meyer used in his article:

      So irresistable are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful agent, that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed through all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to a unit, in the hypothesis of an external pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis. [bolding supplied]

      In this he echoes Paley and other early proponents of design who frankly called the “designer” the “Creator,” indeed, as Jefferson also did in the Declaration of Independence.

      Why would such believers in a creator not be called creationists, as they often have been? The mere fact that IDiots attempt to legally void the fact that they are pushing creationism by calling it “design” and by labeling the creator the “designer” changes nothing about the fact that it is creationism.

      Both Klinghoffer and the DI claim Paley and other IDists as proving that ID isn’t a new idea, either. Yet despite the fact that Paley’s ID was considered creationism of at least some kind, they demand that we not call the descendent of such creationism “creationism.” Meanwhile, David on his blog calls us “Darwinists” and “Intelligent-design bashers,” as if we haven’t argued reasonably while he ignores our arguments.

      Glen Davidson
      http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

    • Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      One should not be expected to hire a copy editor to adjudicate between fantasy and refined make-believe. In the end, incidental implications do not justify a bogus principle. It’s like trying to pick up a turd from the clean end.

    • Origin
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Intelligent Design is creationism. I assume everyone reading this blog already knows, but for the sake of posterity: ID was invented in response to Creationism being banned in public schools. It started as a clever political move, but has since attracted many adherents from the most credulous cuckoos the American bible-belt has to offer.
      You are being dishonest Klinghoffer. Coyne was mistaken(and corrected himself) when he referred to Meyer as a young-earther. You know damned well that this doesn’t mean he isn’t a creationist. There are plenty of positions that involve the miraculous intervention of the Christian deity besides young-earth, 6-day creationism, and Meyer(alongside his DI cohorts) clearly holds one of them.

    • Loc
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      David Klinghoffer:

      calling a thing by its correct name.

      How about delusional? Liar? Fraud? Hypocrite? Any of these fit the description?

  8. Jeffrey Shallit
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    David Klinghoffer:

    Who decides on the “correct” names for things? You?

    I say, if it walks like a creationist, and talks like a creationist, it’s a creationist.

  9. Joshua Slocum
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    David Klinghoffer –

    No one of reasonable intelligence is going to indulge and perpetuate the misleading brand name you want the world to adopt. You are advocating creationism, pure and simple.

  10. Dave D
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I mentioned this on the globe’s comments but I’m mixed on the bio professor. I mean DNA does contain information and provides a mechanism to process that information so simply stating out of hand that it doesn’t count as software is just wrong. Actually Glen on this page did a better job explaining it than the bio prof did. (The information, IE software, that DNA contains isn’t written or designed. It was built up using a feedback mechanism. Similar techniques have been used to generate algorithms a computer, further demonstrating that there’s more that tenuous link between the 2 fields.) The problem is that bad explainations especially where parts of what he says are clearly wrong only help the creationists. (To be blunt the fact that nature managed a digital information system like that does not prove design. I say that because nature also managed to cobble together at least a few nuclear reactors but they definitely couldn’t have been explained by creationism since they’re millions of years old.)

  11. Josh Caleb
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    it seems that epistemically distinguishing ID from creationism is a bitter pill for some to swallow… likely because, not only do materialists *like* to conflate the two, but they *must* conflate the two. For if ID is NOT grounded in a religious text… well then… there goes the separation of science and religion argument and… (puzzled look) where exactly would it come from? surely not scientific evidence! Thus, there is an a priori commitment to insisting ID=creationism. So its understandable, from a materialists perspective, I guess, to insist so; as long as you know the reason why.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 22, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      You statements are nonsense, Josh Caleb. A religious judge has ruled in court case after court case that creationism and ID are exactly the same and that ID is an attempt to hide creationism. Your statements are blowing smoke.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        It’s your prerogative to base your opinions on the authority of a judge, others actually think through the issue carefully for themselves.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        The judge based it on the trial which included experts who not only thought carefully but backed up what they stated with evidence, unlike you, who just has an opinion without evidence.

        It is known as an informed opinion which is unknown to IDers and creationists and, apparently, you.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        thank you. Informed opinion is what I was looking for.
        Tell me, what informs *your* opinion to suggest that ID relies upon religious texts or authorities?

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Tell me, what informs *your* opinion to suggest that ID relies upon science?

        Where is the peer reviewed papers? Where is any kind of evidence? Where did all the dogma come from except changing the word ‘creation” to “intelligent design” in older creationism crap?

  12. Interested Layperson
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I am a layperson who was generally aware of so-called “intelligent design” through reading the newspapers and, more recently, through reading “intelligent design” websites.

    It seems obvious that “intelligent design” is simply an effort to skirt the requirement of separation of church and state. “Intelligent design” keeps the essential aspect of creationism, i.e. that a conscious God created the various species, while discarding those aspects (such as a specific link to Genesis) that would automatically prevent it from being introduced into a public school classroom. For opponents of such an effort to call it “intelligent design” would be simply playing into the political maneuvering of those who would mislead the public. The fact remains that “ID” is meaningless non-sense that has no place in a science classroom.

    I don’t have much of an education in science, alas. So I suppose I am exactly the kind of audience these “intelligent design” charlatans are trying to convince in their propaganda campaign to win votes and public opinion polls. But these people’s shenanigans are so transparent, it is painful. It makes me angry, not because I have any personal investment in this controversy, but because I don’t like having my intelligence insulted. Unfortunately, my fellow citizens’ credulous acceptance of this silliness is making America the laughingstock of the world.

    • KP
      Posted July 22, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget that the blatantly creationist textbook “Of Pandas and People” was found to have simply been re-formatted with the words design/designer to replace creation/creator. If you are unfamiliar with this do a search on the transitional form known as “cdesign proponentsists.”

  13. KP
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Not to mention all the YECs that have hitched their wagons to the ID horses… I met one recently who proudly touted having read “Darwin’s Black Box,” but who seemed confused when I pointed out that Behe accepts the age of the earth and common descent, for the most part.

    Makes me wonder, Klinghoffer, whether you so vigorously defend the age of the earth when giving ID presentations in fundamentalist churches.

  14. Gingerbaker
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The relationship between creationism and intelligent design” I think “cdesign proponentsists” sums it up pretty well.

    • Posted July 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but see, it was intelligently designed into something completely different. None of those pesky constraints of scientific evolution, this is a matter of god miraculously changing creationism into science.

      That’s how they can claim continuity with creationists like Jefferson, while saying that it’s not about god any more, it’s just plain science. In other words, they get to interpret it any old way they want, and anyone who disagrees is just mean.

      Glen Davidson
      http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  15. Josh Caleb
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I think its clear that many creationists have transitioned their ‘branding’ from Creationist/YEC to ID. But I would also think it to be clear that after such a transition, and in order to back their claims of distinction from creationism, they would have to 1. disallow references to religious texts 2. renounce their dogmatism on young universe and 3. restrict their identification of the postulated intelligent agent. Those changes in their argument would naturally follow their claims to be distinct from creationism, a religious doctrine. The question is, have they done so? If so, then why do so many continue to flog the dead horse about ID equaling creationism? See post 11 for my suspicion.

  16. Dan L.
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    it seems that epistemically distinguishing ID from creationism is a bitter pill for some to swallow… likely because, not only do materialists *like* to conflate the two, but they *must* conflate the two.

    False on both counts. It’s not a bitter pill at all — it’s an intellectual exercise that any atheist who has thought about her beliefs should have performed at some point or other.

    The problem is not that the two must be conflated, but that there’s actually no way to separate them. This is partially because you and your ilk do whatever is possible to confuse the terminology.

    For instance, does only adherence to the Christian creation myth count as creationism? Or does adherence to any of the major creation myths count? What about minor variations thereupon? (e.g. 6000 vs. 10,000 year old earth)

    Does ID make any specific predictions that differentiate it objectively from such creation myths? This is the most important part. How is it that we can use experiments or observations to decide whether or not ID is the same as creationism? After all, if creationism is religious but not scientific, and ID is scientific but not religious, there must be some verifiable way of distinguishing the two. Provide such a means, and I will believe that it’s even possible for ID not to be a religious principle.

    I have a feeling it’s been explained to you many times why god hypotheses can’t be scientific in the first place, but here’s a chance to go ahead and prove us wrong. Show me the science part of ID and I’ll believe ID can be scientific.

    • Josh Caleb
      Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      To summarize:
      “epistemically distinguishing ID from creationism” is “an intellectual exercise that any atheist… …should have performed at some point or other”
      I would completely agree with you, thanks, I think.

      “no way to separate them” “do whatever is possible to confuse the terminology” “some verifiable way of distinguishing the two”
      Let me try to be more clear (as opposed to confuse). Creationism is epistemically grounded in religious authorities or religious texts, thus making it “religious”. ID is epistemically grounded in logical inferences and empirical evidence of molecular structures, not religious texts or authorities.

      It is this very distinction Jefferson makes, himself, in his writing: “I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition.’’
      It was on empirical grounds, not religious ones, that he took this view.

      What religious authorities or texts does ID refer to as evidence?

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Creationism is epistemically grounded in religious authorities or religious texts, thus making it “religious”. ID is epistemically grounded in logical inferences and empirical evidence of molecular structures

        Absolutely false. ID has never been based on ANY evidence.

        Also, Jefferson had no knowledge of any of this, so your conclusion is based on a false pretense.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        ID proponents NEVER use structure of the bacterial flagellum or information content of DNA or other molecular data to base their claims! Absolutely FALSE! A bunch a LIARS, LIARS, LIARS!!!

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        (chuckle)
        also, Jefferson cited his view of the macro-world/universe as the grounds of his opinion, not molecular biology, you are correct. I was absolutely wrong.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Josh, you finally got something CORRECT: ID proponents are a bunch a LIARS, LIARS, LIARS!!!

        IDiots have never proved anything. Everything they speculated upon has been thoroughly trounced, such as irreducible complexity. They live by the lie and they die by the lie.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        note to self: IDers are liars.

  17. Dan L.
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    its a good thing then that we needn’t rely on our (possibly biased) perceptions of Jefferson merely from his scientific endeavors, in that he left us a written record of his thoughts which seem to erase such certainty of his materialsim…

    The point, which you would have to be either a moron or willful ignoramus to miss at this point, is that Jefferson did not have a philosophical alternative to design to explain complexity. He was dead before such a philosophical alternative was formulated for the first time in the history of mankind. We simply don’t know what he would have believed had he understood the concept of evolution, and so it’s disingenuous — intellectually dishonest in fact — to present Jefferson as an authority on the evolution/ID question that came down on the side of ID. He was never even exposed to such a debate, and by implying that Jefferson had taken sides in such a debate, Meyer is essentially lying.

    • Josh Caleb
      Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      “you would have to be either a moron or willful ignoramus to miss at this point, is that Jefferson did not have a philosophical alternative to design to explain complexity”

      Its possible that it would take a “moron” to suggest that Jefferson was ignorant of Epicurus and Lucretius and other thinkers who espoused just such “philosophical alternatives” to design. Meyer even mention this in his piece, did you even read it?

  18. hempenstein
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s no surprise that Jefferson has been put in the crosshairs to quote-mine for some suggestion that he endorsed creationism, and of course it’s all a political gambit:

    Given that Jefferson is the widely-regarded architect of separation of church and state, upon which the Dover decision hung, any ability to capitalize on his writings to twist the Separation concept might give the IDiocracy a leg up for the next legal go-round.

    But since Josh et al want so desperately to hang on Jefferson’s selected words, let’s not forget to also look at what he left (or didn’t leave) behind materially. Specifically, the University of Virginia. Despite having come from William and Mary, where there was and still is a chapel, there was no chapel in the original plan for UVA, or as originally constructed. Why? Jefferson saw it as a Separation issue. (The chapel there now was built in the late 1800s at the clamorings of the faithful.)

    Let’s also remember that Jefferson is widely mentioned as a prominent figure in the Age of Enlightenment, when much of the earlier mumbo-jumbo began to be thrown off.

    Nice try, but the gambit won’t fly.

  19. Posted July 22, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Josh Caleb failed thus:
    “Tell me, what informs *your* opinion to suggest that ID relies upon religious texts or authorities?”

    Here’s two things:
    1)The Wedge Strategy:
    http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html
    “We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

    2)the demonstrated historical lineage of a modern ID text (“Of Pandas and People”) from revision of patently religious creationist tracts. (see: Dover)

    So you and your contemptible intellectual fraud heroes at the DI can *bite it*, Caleb.

    • Josh Caleb
      Posted July 22, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      ouch, hurt my feelings why don’t you. “bite it”? really? “bite it”??
      lol

      1. “science consonant with Christian convictions” I totally agree that ID is consonant or consistent or in agreement with Christian theism, that’s kind of the point. But to turn that around to mean that ID derives its arguments from the Bible or other religious texts is clearly indefensible.
      2. “religious creationist tracts” really? tracts count as religious authorities? I wasn’t aware. Point for Mr. Sullivan, I guess I’ll have to “bite it”…

  20. Posted July 22, 2009 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Really, have you no shame, Caleb?

    Apparently not, as you brazenly try to spin proof positive that ID aspires to promote ‘Christian theism’ over ‘scientific materialism’, as somehow *not* indicating a rhetorical and polemical foundation in ‘religious texts or authorities’.

    Religious creationists tracts from which the ‘Pandas’ book evolved were themselves arguments for literal reading of the *Bible*, you weasel.

    A group that professes to believe that man was ‘created in the image of God’ (did you even *read* the Wedge site?) cannot profess to be free of appeals to religious authority in its claims about the natural world.

    Moreover, the Wedge Strategy patently shows that IDers aren’t interested in scientific research except to promote their professed anti-materialist agenda. It is ‘science’ in the service of ideology, not the search for understanding how the natural world works. It is no better than Lysenkoism.

    • Josh Caleb
      Posted July 22, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      ID being consistent with biblical creationism does not mean ID specifically promotes biblical creationism any more than it promotes Hindu creationism.

      ID simply frees the creationist from relying upon religious text for the basis of argument since they are rarely persuasive with materialists. This is precisely why ID leverages molecular evidence and logic rather than religious texts. So promotion of any specific religion is never linked with ID, rather the undermining of materialistic thinking. This much is true.

      This is also what Jefferson agreed with: he saw evidence for design “without appeal from revelation”, meaning without reference to the Bible… which is the distinction ID makes as well.

      And any brief reading of science history will demonstrate that “theistic ideology” actually promoted understanding of how the natural world works rather than undermined it.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 23, 2009 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        This is precisely why ID leverages molecular evidence and logic rather than religious texts

        What a joke. There is no evidence and no logic to ID. You are delusional.

        Jefferson can not agree with something fabricated 200 years after his death.

  21. Josh Caleb
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    NewEnglandBob,
    Surely you know the difference between agreement with a specific (modern iteration of a) movement and a conceptual agreement.
    Any grade schooler can see that Jefferson was not specifying allegiance to the modern ID movement, that is not the claim. His writing nonetheless suggests an argument for design “without appeal from revelation” but rather based on his empirical observations of the universe; the exact claim the modern ID movement is making, albeit with more advanced, molecular data.

    This you call a “joke”, the rest of the rational world calls it a good argument. You can continue to call me irrational with no evidence and delusional, (“hmmm, who can I belittle and casually dismiss today?”) but the facts speak for themselves.

    Ad hominems make you and your position look weak, it would be prudent to refrain.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 23, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Apparently you do not know the difference, since your argument is pure speculation. You have no argument to stand on, and you look just as foolish as creationist Stephen Meyer and the other Discovery Institute liars for Jesus. Therefore, you should refrain from posting or you can speed up you passing into the fictitious rewards of your claimed next life.

      • Damian
        Posted July 23, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Josh Caleb:

        Not only is there mountains of evidence that ID was born out of the court cases which explicitly barred creationism from schools, given its religious roots and motivation, but there is little evidence that ID is even remotely interested in science, at all. Sure, ID proponents attempt to cloak their language in scientific terms, as well as a degree of scientific reasoning, but in the end, are their arguments any good, and have they actually produced any new and useful science?

        I would say that the answer to both is a categorical, no. I am yet to see an argument for ID that hasn’t been soundly trashed, either by showing that its reasoning is specious, at best, or utterly fallacious, at worst. And not only that, but where is all of the new and useful science? What other scientific discipline produces precisely zero science, and fails to even attempt to argue its case in the peer-reviewed literature? I’m sure that you will come up with all sorts of excuses for why that is the case, but it is the case, nonetheless. And this is over more than a ten year period, as well, and you wonder why we refuse to take you seriously!

        One of the reasons for that, in my opinion, in opposition to the usual excuse about persecution, is that ID does not have a sound methodological basis. What exactly is its purpose? If it is simply to show that there is a designer, why is it so often placed in opposition to evolution (in other words, even if there were a designer, it would still have gone about its work in the way in which evolution describes)? And why haven’t its proponents even attempted to defend a mechanism which describes — even crudely — how this supposed designer supposedly goes about his work?

        But if it is supposed to take the place of evolution, well, then I’m slightly baffled. Not only would it be necessary for ID to explain the millions of individual facts about the natural world that M.E.T currently does, but how exactly would it differ? Are you, as an ID proponent, suggesting that scientists have gotten some of it wrong, all of it, or what exactly? And what use would the inclusion of a designer be? I can just see it now: “Fantastic, we have personally concluded that a designer is involved, so now let’s get back to working on this molecular phylogenetic analysis. How would ID change anything, in other words?

        One final point. Michael Behe admitted under oath that changing the definition of science to allow ID to be considered as such would also allow astrology in, as well. That is the level that we are talking about here, as admitted to by one of ID’s best qualified proponents.

        Carry on.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Damian!
        (you forgot to call me and IDiot, delusional liar! poor form! I see Coyne has called many of his cronies out for this practice… props Coyne.)

        for once, a respectable comment I feel challenged to respond to! I’ll prepare my answer and get back to you.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        on second thought, after reading Coyne’s recent advice about his own blog. I’ll refrain from that (tangential) answer and re-assert the argument that is in question on this thread, namely: the legitimacy of Meyer’s appeal to Jefferson’s writing as a parallel approach to arriving at the inference to design, not on the grounds of religion, but after observation of the natural world.
        No substantive rebuttal has been made. Simply saying it was made “pre-Darwin” does not address the grounding of Jefferson’s claim, regardless of scientific progress.

  22. Josh Caleb
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    more ad hominems AND wishing I would die… tough crowd! lol

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 23, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      no, oh dense one – YOU are the one who worships dying to get into a future fictitious life, not me.

      Jefferson was a Deist which anyone who can read and looks at his writings can see very clearly. He rejected your Abrahamic god.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 23, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        …um yeah, that’s the point. Neither ID nor Jefferson reference the “Abrahamic god”, that’s why Jefferson wrote “without appeal to revelation”…
        yet both make argument for design on empirical grounds.

        What were the grounds on which Jefferson makes his comment about design: his religion or his observation of the natural world? Answer the question!

  23. Doc Bill
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Undereducated Josh wrote: “more ad hominems”

    If Josh spent half as much time studying as he does flapping his gums this would be a more interesting discussion.

    Pay attention, Josh. This is an ad hominem argument:

    “Josh is clearly wrong because he is an undereducated, willful moron.”

    This is an opinion followed by an insult:

    “Josh is clearly wrong.
    Josh is a moron.”

    See the difference? An ad hominem attacks the argument by attacking through the individual.

    On this thread your argument has been clearly demolished, and then you’ve been insulted.

    Personally, I think that speculating about what a person dead for 200 years might think about a cultural argument is about as useless as a can of instant water.

    • Josh Caleb
      Posted July 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      sorry, my network was down, I couldn’t demolish… I mean, reply to your comment.

      No, you idiot, an ad hominem is any attack “to the man” rather than a critique of the content or structure of the argument. How stupid and illogical and delusional are you? People don’t even have to be making an argument to commit ad hominem, you worthless liar!

      (all ad hominems)

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Wrong Josh Caleb. You do not understand ad hominem. It is only an attack on character. If it is an attack on what someone says then it is not ad hominem.

        Your statements above are ad hominem because it is not based on what he said.

        You have no valid arguments.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Someone please tell me who is delusional here!

        Josh Caleb said:
        “an ad hominem is any attack “to the man” rather than a critique of the content or structure of the argument.”

        NewEnglandBoob said:
        “Wrong Josh Caleb. You do not understand ad hominem. It is only an attack on character. If it is an attack on what someone says then it is not ad hominem.”

        Please, please, PLEASE tell me what the difference is between what I said and what you said???

        unless by “your wrong” you meant, “Yes, I agree with you”

        lol, you guys are so FUNNY!

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Apparently Josh Caleb you do NOT understand the difference of an attack on someone’s character (which is NOT based on evidence) compared to an attack on what someone says (which is evidence).

        Therefore, there is NO HOPE for your understanding simple human discourse. You display extreme ignorance.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        NewEnglandBobFAIL

        haha

        I have hope for you. Lets chat over a beer sometime, we’ll get out all your anger issues… it’ll be fun.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Josh, once again, you do not comprehend, so you disseminate and divert from the issue. It is a simple distinction.

        I have no anger at you, I laugh at you and am embarrassed FOR you because you do not comprehend how silly you look here.

        I would never have a beer with you for two reasons:

        1. I do not like beer. The last beer I had was 41 years ago. I drink vodka and rum drinks.

        2. I choose my friends carefully and associate only with those who can hold an intelligent conversation.

    • Doc Bill
      Posted July 23, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Wrong, wrong, wrong! Are you joshing?

      Get it right, please!

      “Doc Bill is wrong because he is an idiot, disgusting, miserable liar who shortchanges Girl Scouts selling cookies.”

      Your “arguments”, Joshing, are derided because they are wrong, invalid and make no sense. Nitpick all you want about the definition of the word “is”, you Clinton lover, but you’ll make no more progress.

      Seriously, I suggest you spend as much Internet time as you can on Wikipedia or Talk Origins educating yourself. Of course, if you actually do that and learn something then you’ll be incapable of arguing with us because you will have become us.

      Good luck.

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        “Your “arguments”, Joshing, are derided because they are wrong, invalid and make no sense.”

        =assertion without proof. You haven’t touched the argument with a 20 foot pole!

        the argument is that Jefferson made an inference to design without reference to religion, rather based upon observations of the natural world. This approach parallels ID theory.

        One of you please answer this question: What were the grounds on which Jefferson makes his comment about design: his religion or his observation of the natural world? Answer the question!

        Stop stating opinions about my argument if you never address the argument!

  24. Posted July 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Caleb weaseled:
    “ID simply frees the creationist from relying upon religious text for the basis of argument since they are rarely persuasive with materialists.”

    But in actuality, ‘frees’ means ‘provides cover for’.

    The Discovery Institute’s attempts to cover its living roots in Christian creationism with a veneer of science fail as both science and veneer.

    From their pathetic recourse to argument from authority of Thomas Jefferson, it looks like we can add ‘history’ to that list of fails too.

    • Josh Caleb
      Posted July 24, 2009 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      yeah, beat the dead horse (named Red Herring) of ID=creationism a few more times, then ignore the argument, I love the tactic ALL of you take.

      Answer my question above.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        ok, Josh, you are trolling. If you want to defend intelligent design, do so, and give evidence. The courts, and all rational observers, have recognized that ID is a form of creationism (witness Barbara Forrest’s deconstruction of Of Pandas and People in Dover).

      • Josh Caleb
        Posted July 24, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        I’ll admit post #11 and following was tangential to the thread topic. I’ve tried to get back on topic, which is Meyer’s argument in the article.
        Your followers on this blog like to flame about creationists rather than address the topic, so I won’t claim responsibility for the initial diversion.
        I’m about done “trolling” on this blog, none of your followers bring any substantive critique, rather they seem to prefer to name call and sneer. Admittedly, fun to expose for a little while, but of no lasting value…

  25. Posted July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to apologize for calling Josh Caleb a ‘weasel’, as that could be construed as an insult to Mustelids…not my intent at all.

    Posters here ‘flame’ about creationists because, as the evidence presented to you (and at Dover) showed, IDers are overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, merely creationists engaging in tactical camouflage of their religious agenda.


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