Gilder: ID Dingbat

The New Zealand Herald — I see that the Creationists have managed to hijack the debate in, of all places, New Zealand thanks to religious propaganda doled out by the Discovery Institute in Washington State. Futurist and Forbes stock picker George Gilder is one of the “fellows” behind that organization, by the way. It seems to be modeled after the Hudson Institute and other well-run social agenda religious right-wing organizations.

The debate also has been simmering in New Zealand. Chief proponents of intelligent design here include Investigate magazine editor Ian Wishart and Auckland University School of Engineering associate professor Neil Broom, author of How Blind Is a Watchmaker?

The argument was rekindled last week when 500 New Zealand schools received unsolicited DVDs and workbooks from the Christian-based Focus on the Family organisation.

The material comes via the Centre for Science and Culture (CSC), a division of the Discovery Institute, a religion-based conservative think-tank in Seattle. It criticises Darwinism and promotes the idea of an “intelligent designer” outside the laws of nature to explain the intricate complexity of living organisms.

“Intelligent design people will tell you it doesn’t mean there was a God. It just means something intelligent designed it. I’m much more comfortable saying God’s there and he made it,” says Michael Drake.

The principal of Carey College looks pleased with his answer. It avows his faith. Drake exudes the unshakeable rightness, some might say smugness, of a committed Christian.

The private school in Panmure teaches a literal interpretation of creation found in Genesis alongside the teaching of evolution. Drake believes in a young Earth – one that’s about 6000 to 10,000 years old because that’s what you get if you add up all the begats in the Bible.

Questions of carbon dating are not a problem. “It’s perfectly possible to say God created the world at a point in time and at that point in time it [the Earth] was fixed with so many carbon 14 and so many ordinary carbon molecules – why not? God is God.”

And, according to these folks, he’s apparently a prankster. Seems like a sacreligious assertion to me.



  1. ~ says:

    The difference between an actual scientific theory and a faith-based theory is that scientific theories have evidence, faith-based ones have none.

    Eg: I say the atom is the smallest thing in the universe. I write all my friends and tell them so. It’s printed in every book, and everyone knows it’s true.

    Oopsies. Someone split the atom. Guess I was wrong about that. Science evolves (pardon the pun) with this new evidence, and new theories, based on this new fact, emerge.

    But with a faith-based theory not only is there no evidence supporting it, but it’s impossible to dispute.

    I say there’s life after death. In fact, I say we all turn into igaunas after death. There’s nothing you can ever do to prove or disprove this theory. Want that taught in schools too?

    Christians (and other faiths) have this “my faith is better than your faith” mentality. Such ridiculous, egotistical thinking leads to wars.

    Have your faith. Have your places of worship. Have your beliefs. But don’t mistake those as science, and understand that your faith-based beliefs are just one of many. To shove your brand down my throat just pisses the non-Christian population off.

  2. Adam says:

    Here is the problem with Intelligent Design “Theory” (Beyond the fact it isn’t “science” rather justification for Magic and supernaturalism).

    The entire argument for ID hinges on the statement “I can’t conceive “X” can happen naturally”. Whether or not science has an explanation for “X” rarely matters as the person making the statement is arguing their own ignorance, and must be open to scientific education so they can “conceive “X” happens naturally”, but since they’re arguing it happens Magically it’s a waste of effort.

    The Religious problem with ID is it creates a “god of the gaps” where God explains things that science can’t. There was once a time God was attributed to Earthquakes, Tornados, etc and we have explanations for all of that now and scientific knowledge grows every day. This creates a “diminishing God” problem for those that seek natural proof of their faith. (Not a winning position to be in IMOHO).

    Creationist (and Intelligent Design is a Creationism), are trying to unit under an “umbrella” theory to combat evolution. There are so many schisms inside the creationist camp (New Earth, old Earth, Intelligent Design, “Day-age”, etc Creationist), That ID is viewed as an umbrella strategy to get everyone behind one banner. since the ID “theory” is the science can’t account for everything so God must have made/designed it, Creationist as a whole can get behind it.

    But here is the problem your average person does not understand, EVOLUTION IS A FACT. It’s a Fact organisms evolve over time. The “Theory of Evolution” is our “theory” as to why this occurs. This whole chest beating of “evolution is only a theory and shouldn’t be taught as fact” shows a complete mis-understanding of evolution.

    But then the entire argument for Intelligent Design hinges on arguing one’s ignorance and saying “I can’t conceive of that so I’ll attribute it to God and close the debate”. Conversely when science sees something it can’t conceive Scientific process says “I can’t conceive that, but I will try and figure out why it occurs”.

    Very very pointed difference.

    FWIW though, Intelligent Design folks love to talk about analogies to mousetraps and machines as arguments for an intelligent designer. What they don’t realize is that the body of evidence shows many designs are faulted and show inefficiencies that would say organisms were designed very dumbly or “just good enough”.

    So arguing that God has “intelligently Designed” organisms invites critiques of God’s capability given the number of evolutionary failures and systems that work poorly.

    I for one think it’s small-minded to tie ones faith to natural events or allow my concept of the divine to be tested by science or put up for criticism like that.

    But hey, while we’re at it, why not Intelligent Design for the weather? There is more evidence that God creates weather in the Bible than there is that he evolves organisms. Science doesn’t totally understand weather either, and certainly can’t predict it totally. Heck people pray for weather or call bad weather an “Act of God”. Why has Intelligent Design not attacked meteorology yet? or is that the next target?

  3. ardan says:

    I find it amazing that people that claim to be open minded, like evolution believers, are so afraid of any other theory. Evolution is full of holes and breaks several laws of nature for it to be true. Why do you scorn anyone who questions it, should we all just believe everything that some Scientist tells us.

    People that believe in evolution should question it also, if you seek the truth. Remember Scientest are the ones that told us the world was flat….

    Mr Dvorak, you should be more open minded before comdenming others for not being open minded….

  4. Rob Barac says:

    Can creationists spell “Dark Ages”?

  5. Jim W says:

    Try a google search for the following (one serach for each line)

    scientific adam
    Flagellum motor and creation
    evidence of creation

    read the first four or five links of each, and ask yourself if there is no sceintific basis for an intelligent design theory at lest equal to an evolutionary one

  6. Eric Phillips says:

    For me, the bad part of creationism is that it takes away the question that science is built on: why? Scientists ask that quesiton all the time, and their search for the answer has led to technology, cars, longer life, air conditioning (which, after the hurricane took my power away I will never take for granted).

    With religion as the answer the why question need never be asked. Everything is neatly explained with a simple word. If creationists and religion had their way we would be in the dark ages, never discovering anything because there would be no scientific curiosity.

    While I don’t bash religion, I do bash those who are closed minded. I’m sure Galileo would agree.

  7. The Infidel says:

    Hey could you tone down the Christophobia. I thought those on the left were supposed to want diverse opinions.

  8. Rick says:

    DNA proves intelligent design.

  9. Sounds the Alarm says:

    Actually ardan Philosopher’s were the ones to postulate the world was flat theory – I believe it was Pythagoras. Aristotle, often called the first scientist proved a spherical earth by placing a large pole in the ground and then literally backing up until markings on the pole started to disappear. He then calculated the size of the earth from those observations. Please next time use this wonderful information device called the internet to check your facts.

    Its extremely easy to prove evolution in controlled experiments using bacteria. You grow bacteria on a Petri dish. Next you use and anti-biotic to kill as many as you can. Next you take the survivors and let them grow. Repeat. Because of the very fast reproduction cycles of the organism, you can in a reasonable time evolve strain resistant bacteria – you can then prove they are different by DNA sequencing the first generation and then DNA sequencing the strain resistant one. You will notice when aligning the two sequences that the strain resistant one is very different on a base pair by base pair basis.

    Evolution is ability of all life to change according to the environment it finds itself in. Adaptive speed it is a function of the number of generations per unit time, i.e. faster you reproduce the quicker you can adapt in conjunction with the rate of environmental change, thus the faster the environment changes the more pressure to evolve to adapt. Bacteria when put in a changing environment can adapt quickly. People more slowly. If the environment changes too quickly – species wide death.

    BTW – this technique was first used to do early bio-warfare experiments. Its how the drug resistant strains of Anthrax were developed.

    Many anti-evolutionists often attempt to refute evolution by saying things like “where are the super monkeys” or where are the half dino, half birds. To which you proudly say two things. For number 1 – your talkin’ to him bub. For number 2 – Archaeopteryx.

    Now one of you good intelligent Christians out there use the same REPRODUCABLE scientific method to prove “intelligent design”. If you can’t do as I have asked then you are believing in something because of your faith – and that is NOT science, its called religion.

  10. Pat says:

    Ardan

    Sound made some very good counter arguments. I have just two questions for you.

    “Evolution is full of holes”. OK, could you tell me what holes? Maybe just name a couple, please?

    “…breaks several laws of nature for it to be true”. Could you tell me what “laws of nature” are broken?

    Your answers will enlighten me and help me to understand where Evolution goes wrong.

  11. meetsy says:

    Heck, I don’t mind that the intelligent design included the ability for Darwin to note the evolving species. I do mind the single god theory, though. Okay, enough of the “art in heaven” stuff…what about the energy around us that is EARTH?
    There are more belief patterns than JUST missionary Christianity you know. Get off your backs and look around.

  12. Thomas says:

    Ardan,

    > I find it amazing that people that claim to be open minded,
    > like evolution believers, are so afraid of any other
    > theory.

    So, if someone proposes that we accept that a Flying Spaghetti Monster (http://www.venganza.org/) created the universe should we be open minded and accept that too? Should we teach our children in science classes that a space alien attacked the earth and hid our souls in volcanos?

    There is a difference between being open minded and being gullible. To accept that “intelligent” design is science is to be gullible.

  13. raddad says:

    I would just like to hear a reasonable explanation from someone why the dinosaurs are extinct, from the giant herbivores and carnivores down to the smallest, they are all gone. Meanwhile alligators, crocodiles, Komodo dragons, turtles, horseshoe crabs and other fossil record animals have survived. What natural disaster would have eliminated this entire group of very successful animals (some of which lived in the oceans) while sparing the others? It doesn’t make sense. I realize that birds might have evolved from dinosaurs, but evolutionary change doesn’t eliminate the original animal or group of animals.

    Likewise, the creationists have no reasonable explanation. The argument that they drowned in the flood doesn’t make sense. There is no mention of whales being in the ark, but they seems to have done fine. Why wouldn’t ocean-going dinosaurs have done as well? The argument that they were eliminated by God or Satan or whomever is a cop-out. Show me where such an action is recorded.

  14. Sounds the Alarm says:

    raddad – please see post #9.

    Most theories on species extinction don’t take into account species geographic isolation. In one of your examples the komodo dragon, it is found on only one island in the pacific. Plus its a fast nasty hunter/killer of a wide variety of species – this is a big plus ion the survival column. Geographic isolation is one answer to your question.

    As to why a derived species survives when the originating one dies, current thought is that usually its because the derived species and the originating one are both competing for the same resources. Since by the derived species was selected because of environmental pressures, that means:

    1) the originating species is already in decline due to the environmental pressures that caused the selection of the derived species.

    2) derived species usually compete for the same resources as the parent, therefore pushing the derived species further over the edge.

    Some parent and derived species do exist – namely in primates families, I’m sure there are others, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

    Hope this helps – we have only been studying this for about 100 years in earnest so the specific mechanisms (species extinction for example) are still various theories that need testing and culling. The basic mechanism i.e. the general theory of evolution – that all species have the ability to adapt to changes on environment is still sound and holds up however, and more important can be proved in laboratory experiments (again see my post #9 above).

  15. Rick says:

    Evolution among same species does take place. Creating resistent bacteria in a lab only proves evolution among like species. It also proves intelligent design because it was caused by a source of intelligence.

  16. Sounds the Alarm says:

    I would agree except the origional set of strain resistant were created by accident by misuse of antibotics in the 70’s and 80’s.

    NOT intelligent design, wouldn’t you agree?

    Nice try though – shows a bit of thought.

  17. ardan says:

    Well it seems that no one but anti-Christians read Dvorak’s site.

    Since I question that we as a society should accept Evolution as a fact and also look at other options I should be compared to the morons that invented the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” and be blasted by the board.

    That is Ok, Evolution is full of holes and you are afraid to admit it, it is based on assumptions, assumptions that change every year. Dinosaurs came from lizards, no from birds, no (insert here tomorrow’s story). There is no proof of all the “missing links” monkeys to man, hippos to horses etc. Why would evolution stop in the current age since it has been going on from millions and millons of years. Evolutionists tried to silence opponents. They claim to be scientists but instead of following the principles of science should as questioning, discussion, and challenging of existing theories, they follow the principles of ideology – silencing and destroying opponents whenever possible. If evolution was true the lunar dust found by the moon landings would have been miles deep instead of the 2 inches they found. If the big bang started everything by pressure and spinning till it exploded then why do some space objects spin one way and one another. I am not a scientest but there are scientest that disagree with the evolution theory, they have been laugh at for not accepting the standard theory, Not necessary that creation is true only that evolution should be questioned. There scientific research is available at several sites around the internet, not that a evolutiist would bother looking. Evolution says that a rock plus lots of time (insert as much time as needed) will result in a woman driving an SUV.

    I am not trying to prove creation to anybody, if you don’t beleive in GOD then I can’t prove it to you. I am only saying that Evolution has major problems that beleivers don’t want to admit….

    If enough monkeys sitting at typewriters for long enough would write the full works of Shakesphere…..

    This is a scientific process?

  18. Thomas says:

    Ardan,

    You have made it abundantly clear that the US education system specifically with respects to science have failed with you.

    You show yourself to be completely ignorant when it comes to current scientific knowledge, the scientific method, logical thinking and critical thought. My recommendation would be to first learn how science finds truth. Learn about the requirements for a scientific theory such as that said theory must be falsifiable and thus testable among other things.

    For the specific questions you posed, I recommend going to Talkorigins.org (http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-mustread.html). All of the problems you mentioned have answers in science.

    > I am only saying that Evolution has major problems that
    > beleivers don’t want to admit….

    This is a common false argument and is another indication of your lack of scientific and logical understanding. It fails to recognize that even if the various theories of evolutionary mechanics were proven false (that evolution happened is a fact), it does nothing to substantiate that claim that “intelligent” design is science nor that their theories are valid.

  19. Sounds the Alarm says:

    ardan,

    First evolution applies to living organisms that have the capability to change – a rock is not in the category. As to missing links – and I will only give one link here – there is Archaeopteryx, which is clearly half bird half dino. or often called a transitional organism.

    As to the moon – gravity and early asteroid collisions account for the compaction of the “dust”. There were many early NASA models of the moon where in lab conditions they were able to prove that the soil on the moon would be compacted enough to support a LEM – and they were right, weren’t they?

    You may not believe this, but I am a Christian (not a fundimentalist though). I actually believe that the Lord expresses his will through tools like evolution – although I would rather call it natural selection – and molecular biology (which provides the building materials for such changes). This is a form of the intelligent design. I believe these tools were provided by Him for us to learn and understand so we can use them to continue Christ’s mission to the sick and the poor and the down trodden and the mentally ill etc.

    However – this form of intelligent design is my belief – not fact.

    The basic mechanism of evolution works – i.e. change the environment for an organism and effect change on the organism in the environment.

    You are correct that related theories are not yet proven – such as the mechanism of species extinction – and they are currently full of errors – “holes” as you say. This will no doubt change as our understanding changes.

    Why are so many Christians afraid of faith as it applies to their beliefs? No where in either book of the bible does God say – “prove I exist beyond a shadow of a doubt”. He instead says have faith and believe.

  20. ardan says:

    I can see that dvorak and his left wing followers are the only ones that come to this blog. Anyone that doesn’t agree with you is called stupid, uneducated or fools and run off. Liberals that cannot argue their points call people names.

    Thomas called me “completely ignorant ” and “US education system” .. ” failed with you”. I would put my IQ and my educational background against yours any day…. But see you don’t know me but yet you say I am ignorant, based on fact, no, based on that I don’t agree with you…

    No need to reply I will not be coming back to this site, Dvorak and his followers can have this sad onesided bias site.

  21. Thomas says:

    Ardan,

    You are judged on what you say. You claimed that people discount ‘intelligent” design out of fear. This is false. They discount it because it does not qualify as science.

    Questioning the prevailing mechanistic theories of evolution is perfectly acceptable. However, to question either that evolution did not happen or that “intelligent” design ideology is science is to argue from a stance of ignorance.

  22. Rick says:

    Back to the bacteria that was accidentally created originally in a lab in the 60’s or 70’s. Even though it was created accidentally, it was in fact “created” in a controlled environment by an “intelligent” designer. Even though the desired effect was not achieved. Correct ?

  23. Thomas says:

    Rick,

    Design requires intent. Since the bacteria were created by accident, there was no intent and thus no “design” involved. In addition, the designers of the experiment simply designed *what* was to happen, not *how* it happened. In order for it to have been designed, the *how* would have to have been defined ahead of time.

  24. Rick says:

    There was an intent. It’s just that the desired intent, was not achieved. Instead a hybrid bacteria was created. I admit that the bacteria adapted due to exposure to the antibiotics,(evolution among same species).But the process was still hosted by an intelligent designer. It was all conducted in a controlled environment and introduced by an intelligent source. The two elements (bacteria and antibiotics) did not come together on there own. Once the effect was noticed then the super bacteria from that point on was intelligentlly designed. I believe there is proof of evolution (ie. horse to race horse ) among same species only. But I also believe there is evidence for intelligent design as well (ie. DNA ).

  25. Thomas says:

    > It’s just that the desired intent, was not achieved.

    That’s not design; that’s happenchance. What you are suggesting is that maybe life was designed “by accident.” Then, how do we tell which life was created by intentional design, which life was created by accidental design and which life was created by random events? It is not logical to claim something was designed and then claim it happened by accident. They are mutually exclusive.

  26. Rick says:

    Thomas, I haven’t given up. I’m still thinking.

  27. Miljenko Pandakovic says:

    Science = cgs measurable, always
    Non-cgs = scholastics of any color
    Sapienti sat!

  28. Peter says:

    The Nova special was great. I highly recommend people read it.

    Anyone who thinks that ID is anything more than a way to get creationism taught to children in public schools does not understand how science works, or does not care.

    I spent over 5000 hours in a fundamentalist church growing up don’t believe a word of it. I’m not anti-Christian. I do have enough experience with them to know that Christians have a serious problem in dealing with people who don’t believe their story.

    Whatever.


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