Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design


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"'Evolution' is what we think happens "

Change 'think' to 'know'.

Why? When enough scientists think some theory makes sense it's called knowledge and so we "know" it. This doesn't change the fact that we "think" it.

Fine, but what I object to is the implication that evolutionary theory is highly speculative. It's not, the evidence is overwhelming.

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William, The thing I like most about the article is the method: Q: Are you for A? A: No. Accusation: Then you are for B. Q: Are you for B? A: No. Accusation: Then you are for A. Final answer: Wrong

Fine, but what I object to is the implication that evolutionary theory is highly speculative. It's not, the evidence is overwhelming.

No, of course not. When scientists "think" a theory has merit it is usually for a good reason - that's more or less the modus operandi of science :D I'm sorry if I implied otherwise.

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Government employee? Nope... I have worked for the government at the federal level in the past.

I apologize profusely and stand corrected: ex-government employee.

Bob, I know you're an intelligent guy. I won't argue with you. But I have to sweep my side of the street, for the record:

I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence. Every morning, the state mangles reason and justice to perform simple tasks that private actors ( a ) would not undertake because the project is stupid; or ( b ) could do faster, cheaper, and better than government; or ( c ) are implicitly required to do anyway, since the state has no competence except that which is supplied by private contractors. All the U.S. politicians and bureaucrats combined could not repair a flush toilet. Defacto Anarchy

:D

I've seen government from both sides. I've seen the waste and the problems from the inside as well as out. It's a big stretch to paint me as an ex-goverment employee when I've spent the vast majority (95%) of my career in private industry.

"Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did."

Why? Is this impossible?

"No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence."

I'd be the first to say that waste is a problem, but going this far doesn't make sense. I've personally delivered government work on time and under budget.

"I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. "

Well, my goverment recently cut taxes. That succeeded in people keeping more of their money.

Bob

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I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence.

You defy people to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome, and then, two sentences later, you give examples of how government succeeded in achieving its intended outcomes? You're kind of odd, Wolf.

J

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Requoting the whole sequence so it's easier to track...

[my emphsis]

Or, more precisely, individual freedoms are generally curtailed somewhat for the collective good of the species. This is not a political statement, it's a scientific one. It's factual.

Hello? And here I'd thought you were talking about "selfish gene" theory. Are you aware that Dawkins, who coined that name for the theory, has been one of the staunchest critics of any idea that evolution occurs on the level of "survival of 'the species'"?

Mesuspects that you are drawing political conclusions from a misunderstood scientific theory.

Ellen

___

Yes, the "good of the species" is what I said, but you're right, that's not really the case. Let's see if I can clear that up, but keep it simple.

The ideas I'm trying to express come from evolutionary ideas, biology, and game theory combination research. We, again, are gene replicators. We are most successful at replicating genes when some of our actions are non-specificically altruistic, meaning not necessarily expecting reciprocity. We also know (or evidence suggests) that this type of behaviour is hard-wired as a result, or as a cause, however you might look at it. "For the good of the species" is not accurate, but simpler. Let me change that to "non-reciprocal, non kin-based, altruistic behaviour".

Bob

Rewording accepted. ;-)

Btw, I knew that what you had written was the "good of the species" (in full, you wrote "the collective good of the species"), not "survival of 'the species.'" I was using the sort of phrasing typically found in arguments against the species level (or for that matter, the group level) being the locus of evolution.

I'm not up myself on "game theory combination research." I'd appreciate a link to a source summarizing the current status of this research, if you have such a link easily available.

Ellen

___

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I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence.

You defy people to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome, and then, two sentences later, you give examples of how government succeeded in achieving its intended outcomes? You're kind of odd, Wolf.

J

I don't follow you, Jonathan. Help me understand what you said. Graft is the intended outcome?

W.

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I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome.

Rural electrification? That leapt to mind for some reason. Didn't most communities basically build their own electrical systems, and run them as a >gasp< municipal service? And the >gasp< state extended the lines? Or am I being all Canadian?

No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence.

The Golden Gate Bridge? The Manhattan Project?

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Excuse the garbled extract. It was a Canadian nonprofit org:

Throughout Canada, small town residents receive water service fraction its full cost, thanks provincial taxpayers, most them urbanites, who pay up 90% capital cost small town water works. large cities like Toronto Vancouver, residents pay full cost their water service. When urban taxpayers don't pick up bill rural services, urban consumers generally do. Bell Canada other telephone companies are required law overcharge their city customers benef their rural customers. year, hidden overcharge customers metropolitan areas amounts $1-billion. electricity, provincial laws stipulate city customers overcharged keep prices down rural residents. So, too, with natural gas pipelines, with cable service, with almost every infrastructure service that's extended into low-density areas.

In variations on these schemes, government directs Canada Post overcharge city customers benef rural ones, Air Canada provide service unprofitable, small city destinations allowing extract monopoly fares along lucrative routes between big cities.

The enormity subsidies propping up rural small town residents rivaled only enormity subsidies buttressing businesses these areas. None figures above, example, include staggering subsidies provided farmers, single biggest drain on country's productivity. According study released yesterday Urban Renaissance Institute, every dollar prof farmers earned over last decade, federal provincial governments provided $3.76 subsidies. Ontario's agricultural sector received $6.60 subsidies every dollar farm profit, much paid province's urban consumers form higher prices basic foodstuffs such milk, eggs cheese. Canada's other resource-based rural industries – forestry, fishing mining – are heavily subsidized drains on nation's economy. Industries metropolitan areas, on other hand, tend profitable, provide some subsidy money governments ultimately transfer low-density areas.

http://www.urban-renaissance.org/urbanren/...;ContentID=2192

Yep, socialism. "In the traditional market structure of the electricity industry, generation, transmission and distribution of electricity are owned and managed by vertically-integrated monopolies. This form of market structure, which still prevails in much of Canada today, was widely adopted because the electricity supply industry was regarded as a natural monopoly." National Energy Board

GG Bridge has never paid for itself, nor the bus service that Marin commuters use to cross it every day. Manhattan Project? Now, there's an argument for intelligent design. God created atoms so we could -- uh -- blow up women and children mo betta.

Ayn Rand had the right idea. The guiltiest of men are the natural oligarchs, who abdicated their leadership of an anarcho-capitalist revolution. Instead of giving Harry Truman the atomic bomb, it could have and should have been developed in a laboratory at Galt's Gulch.
Defacto Anarchy

Not trying to pick a fight, William. Foursquare against socialism, that's all. Peace.

W.

Edited by Wolf DeVoon
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I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence. Every morning, the state mangles reason and justice to perform simple tasks that private actors ( a ) would not undertake because the project is stupid; or ( b ) could do faster, cheaper, and better than government; or ( c ) are implicitly required to do anyway, since the state has no competence except that which is supplied by private contractors. All the U.S. politicians and bureaucrats combined could not repair a flush toilet. Defacto Anarchy

:D

The Panama Canal. On time, under budget. It was a project as grand and complicated as the Apollo Program, but it was done without "NASA".

Teddy R. provoked a revolution in Panama to get the land grant and sent the Navy down to enforce it.

A Man, A Plan, Panama. The Man was Teddy Roosevelt, a protosocialist.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence. Every morning, the state mangles reason and justice to perform simple tasks that private actors ( a ) would not undertake because the project is stupid; or ( b ) could do faster, cheaper, and better than government; or ( c ) are implicitly required to do anyway, since the state has no competence except that which is supplied by private contractors. All the U.S. politicians and bureaucrats combined could not repair a flush toilet. Defacto Anarchy

I agree with your sentiment Wolf, but I think you over-generalize. One could argue that no single instance of private action ever succeeded in achieving it's intent too. There are always factors that arise that we can't know about ahead of time. I believe that the government's have grown too large and incompetent but that does not mean the government should not be involved in any activities except public defense. Why do you think "socialism" evolved in the first place? I suspect it develops when you have large discrepancies in the wealth of different classes of people. This leads to social unrest and instability, civil war, etc. Can you imagine a "business" taking action redistributing wealth? It is the nature of business to make money - as much as possible, not to look out for the long term sustainability of our social structure. Perhaps you can explain how a private business can deal with this issue?

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I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence. Every morning, the state mangles reason and justice to perform simple tasks that private actors ( a ) would not undertake because the project is stupid; or ( b ) could do faster, cheaper, and better than government; or ( c ) are implicitly required to do anyway, since the state has no competence except that which is supplied by private contractors. All the U.S. politicians and bureaucrats combined could not repair a flush toilet. Defacto Anarchy

I agree with your sentiment Wolf, but I think you over-generalize. One could argue that no single instance of private action ever succeeded in achieving it's intent too. There are always factors that arise that we can't know about ahead of time. I believe that the government's have grown too large and incompetent but that does not mean the government should not be involved in any activities except public defense. Why do you think "socialism" evolved in the first place? I suspect it develops when you have large discrepancies in the wealth of different classes of people. This leads to social unrest and instability, civil war, etc. Can you imagine a "business" taking action redistributing wealth? It is the nature of business to make money - as much as possible, not to look out for the long term sustainability of our social structure. Perhaps you can explain how a private business can deal with this issue?

Socialism comes from envy and power lust.

--Brant

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I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence.

You defy people to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome, and then, two sentences later, you give examples of how government succeeded in achieving its intended outcomes? You're kind of odd, Wolf.

J

I don't follow you, Jonathan. Help me understand what you said. Graft is the intended outcome?

W.

Yes, I think that graft is often the intended outcome, as are the other things you listed -- delay, confusion, cost overrun, or outright disaster -- along with the resulting empowerment of politicians and the control of everyone else.

It's true of past government projects and it will be true of future ones. The intended outcomes of the current political agendas of, say, universal, government-run health care and environmental regulations are not to improve health care and fix environmental problems.

J

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Requoting the whole sequence so it's easier to track...
[my emphsis]

Or, more precisely, individual freedoms are generally curtailed somewhat for the collective good of the species. This is not a political statement, it's a scientific one. It's factual.

Hello? And here I'd thought you were talking about "selfish gene" theory. Are you aware that Dawkins, who coined that name for the theory, has been one of the staunchest critics of any idea that evolution occurs on the level of "survival of 'the species'"?

Mesuspects that you are drawing political conclusions from a misunderstood scientific theory.

Ellen

___

Yes, the "good of the species" is what I said, but you're right, that's not really the case. Let's see if I can clear that up, but keep it simple.

The ideas I'm trying to express come from evolutionary ideas, biology, and game theory combination research. We, again, are gene replicators. We are most successful at replicating genes when some of our actions are non-specificically altruistic, meaning not necessarily expecting reciprocity. We also know (or evidence suggests) that this type of behaviour is hard-wired as a result, or as a cause, however you might look at it. "For the good of the species" is not accurate, but simpler. Let me change that to "non-reciprocal, non kin-based, altruistic behaviour".

Bob

Rewording accepted. ;-)

Btw, I knew that what you had written was the "good of the species" (in full, you wrote "the collective good of the species"), not "survival of 'the species.'" I was using the sort of phrasing typically found in arguments against the species level (or for that matter, the group level) being the locus of evolution.

I'm not up myself on "game theory combination research." I'd appreciate a link to a source summarizing the current status of this research, if you have such a link easily available.

Ellen

___

Searching on pubmed is where I start.

I was reading more of this a while back but here's one (2004)...

"Emergence of cooperation and evolutionary stability in finite populations.Nowak MA, Sasaki A, Taylor C, Fudenberg D.

Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA. martin_nowak@harvard.edu

To explain the evolution of cooperation by natural selection has been a major goal of biologists since Darwin. Cooperators help others at a cost to themselves, while defectors receive the benefits of altruism without providing any help in return. The standard game dynamical formulation is the 'Prisoner's Dilemma', in which two players have a choice between cooperation and defection. In the repeated game, cooperators using direct reciprocity cannot be exploited by defectors, but it is unclear how such cooperators can arise in the first place. In general, defectors are stable against invasion by cooperators. This understanding is based on traditional concepts of evolutionary stability and dynamics in infinite populations. Here we study evolutionary game dynamics in finite populations. We show that a single cooperator using a strategy like 'tit-for-tat' can invade a population of defectors with a probability that corresponds to a net selective advantage. We specify the conditions required for natural selection to favour the emergence of cooperation and define evolutionary stability in finite populations."

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William: "First, Reese equivocates on the word "theory." In the context of biology, a theory is not a hunch, guess or speculation. It is not a hypothesis. It is a comprehensive and integrated explanation that ties together observation and allows experiment. Other examples of theories in biology are the germ theory of disease, the cell theory of organisms, and so on. Theories are frameworks which undergird the actual work and fruit of biological studies. Without the theory of evolution, for example (and its extensions in DNA theory and population genetics, epidemiological theories, etc), where would be our abilities to immunize against influenza? Evolutionary theory undergirds the life sciences, Michael. Reese wants to excise it from science education.

"Secondly, ID is not a scientific theory. It does not explain, make predictions, knit together sciences in a coherent framework."

William, this is the crucial point. It is by consistently blurring language that Reese tries to make it appear that evolution and creationism inhabit the same intellectual category and that both are "merely" theories.

The profound anti-intellectualism of his article is appalling. His statement about evolution vs. creationism: "I just simply don't know and frankly don't think it matters whether we know or not" -- has to put him in the first rank of the smug, unthinking Babbits of the world, who don't want to be troubled with knowledge or information. Besides, he's not telling the truth: it clearly matters to him a lot. He has a very firm opinion on the subject -- that is, that creationism must be taught in schools as the alternative "theory " to evolution, which is why he took the trouble to write his article. If the conflict between creationism and evolutionism doesn't matter, why be concerned with the issue? Why write an article dedicated to obfuscating the differences between the scientific status of the two?

Barbara

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(snip)

The profound anti-intellectualism of his article is appalling. His statement about evolution vs. creationism: "I just simply don't know and frankly don't think it matters whether we know or not" -- has to put him in the first rank of the smug, unthinking Babbits of the world, who don't want to be troubled with knowledge or information. Besides, he's not telling the truth: it clearly matters to him a lot. He has a very firm opinion on the subject -- that is, that creationism must be taught in schools as the alternative "theory " to evolution, which is why he took the trouble to write his article. If the conflict between creationism and evolutionism doesn't matter, why be concerned with the issue? Why write an article dedicated to obfuscating the differences between the scientific status of the two?

Barbara

The camel wants to get its nose under the tend. That is the Intelligent Design strategy.

After the decline of "Creation Science" (an oxymoron of the first order) we saw the sequence as they have played it out:

1) Evolution is only a theory (equivocation on the meaning of the word theory - one wonders if they would dare pronounce gravity a theory...)

2) So now, they say, we have two theories. It's not right to take ONE THEORY and teach it, to the exclusion of the other one. Especially when the GOD-FEARING PEOPLE SUPPORT THE SECOND ONE. AND WHEN THE COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED BY ... (I won't repeat the silly claims here - we've all heard them.)

In parallel, there are attempts to rebaptize Creation Science as Intelligent Design (witness the famous textbook alteration episode which has been discussed by so many with global substitution of terms).

In the background, the pitch to the fundamentalists has been that ID is in fact just Creation Science by another name. While the pitch to the courts is the contrary.

Dishonesty, ignorance, yes. Actually, while I agree that Reese is smug, I believe that he is hardly unthinking. I think he knows exactly what he is doing. He's working the strategy...

Bill P (Alfonso)

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He has a very firm opinion on the subject -- that is, that creationism must be taught in schools as the alternative "theory " to evolution, which is why he took the trouble to write his article.

Barbara,

This is not accurate according to Reese's article. Here is a quote:

I see no reason to include any discussion of evolution or creationism in secondary schools.

You claim that Reese wants creationism taught in schools and he said in his article that he did not. What is the basis of your claim? I cannot find it in the article. Is he involved in a movement or something? I do not know his other work.

Michael

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He has a very firm opinion on the subject -- that is, that creationism must be taught in schools as the alternative "theory " to evolution, which is why he took the trouble to write his article.

Barbara,

This is not accurate according to Reese's article. Here is a quote:

I see no reason to include any discussion of evolution or creationism in secondary schools.

You claim that Reese wants creationism taught in schools and he said in his article that he did not. What is the basis of your claim? I cannot find it in the article. Is he involved in a movement or something? I do not know his other work.

Michael

Michael -

I agree that your quote is accurate. My response was based on observing what he does say - - - evolution is a theory, creation is a theory - don't teach theories in school --- and imputing a motivation and behavior to him which I have seen to be very strong in so many others. I may have been incorrect in his case. I wouldn't be at all confident of that, however. The question is . . . why is he writing this? Is his real agenda just to say "don't teach the foundation of modern biology and science in schools?" Or is it to do a levelling of the playing field, with the final result being . . . "well, if you want to teach evolution, then you have to teach ID also to be fair."

Admittedly, I don't know his real intent. But his stated position - teach NEITHER evolution NOR creation --- as a solution to the problem, is ridiculous and robs us of a lot of core and significant science. Hence, I have conjectured a motive. In that I may be in error - but if so, the bigger question remaining is "why did he write the darn column?"

Bill P (Smiling sheepishly that he has DARED, on a WWW-site with Ayn Rand's picture in the upper left corner, conjecture about someone else's REAL motivation for an action being other than the one they have explicitly stated)

Edited by Bill P
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The question is . . . why is he writing this? Is his real agenda just to say "don't teach the foundation of modern biology and science in schools?" Or is it to do a levelling of the playing field, with the final result being . . . "well, if you want to teach evolution, then you have to teach ID also to be fair."

Bill,

I don't think his agenda is either. I think he stated his agenda quite plainly in the article:

I am against banning any idea, theory, speculation or body of guesses.

. . .

I believe in the separation of church and state. I also believe in the separation of science and state.

All I did was take him at his word. I, too am against banning ideas. And I, too, want the state separate from religion and science. (I believe that this is the case, also, with Reese's critics on this thread. At least I cannot think of anyone who is in favor of banning ideas or thinks the government should advocate religion or engage in science. Well... I have detected some who don't mind government money for scientists when the kind of scientist is their kind, but I will not make an issue about it.)

Judging from the posts, I notice that taking Reese at his own word is extremely difficult for most everybody to do. You came right out and asked what his "real agenda" was. Others did not do that, but the presumption that Reese did not mean what he actually wrote, but meant something else instead, was strongly insinuated in their posts.

This makes me curious about why. I am not criticize/bash-curious either. I am honestly curious. People I respect and admire are involved.

I personally think Reese was arguing against a biased kind of thinking where the bias leads to misidentification, power struggles, etc., and arguing against indoctrinating children with it. The issue happened to be evolution and creationism in this instance. But it could have been any number of other issues.

Michael

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Michael,

I've never read anything else by Charley Reese, so I lack information about his motives beyond the few hundred words in his article. If he has something up his sleeve, such as requiring that public high schools teach "intelligent design," I'm not discerning it from this one op-ed.

So, sure, I'll take him at his word when he says he wants to separate church and state--and science and state. I'll happily assume, till I see evidence to the contrary, that he genuinely wants to get the government out of schooling.

Which means I'll also keep taking him at his word when he says stuff like this:

There is nothing wrong with a person believing that a dinosaur evolved into a canary, but there is also nothing wrong with someone believing that God created the first man and woman. I've never seen any physical evidence to support either belief, and one is no more improbable than the other. The only fact is that some beliefs have to be accepted on the basis of faith, and that goes for evolution as well as creationism.

It's not all that difficult to distinguish the sincere pursuit of knowledge from the itch to make laws controlling other people's attitudes and behavior.

Yet Reese seems to assume that anyone who thinks that evolutionary biology is important, or that the evolution of life forms is a fact, is perforce a wannabe technocrat, bent on crushing out religious belief via government intervention.

I respectfully submit that the case against entangling science with government will be much more effectively made by those who have some notion of what science is, and why it is valuable.

Robert Campbell

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The question is . . . why is he writing this? Is his real agenda just to say "don't teach the foundation of modern biology and science in schools?" Or is it to do a levelling of the playing field, with the final result being . . . "well, if you want to teach evolution, then you have to teach ID also to be fair."

Bill,

I don't think his agenda is either. I think he stated his agenda quite plainly in the article:

I am against banning any idea, theory, speculation or body of guesses.

. . .

I believe in the separation of church and state. I also believe in the separation of science and state.

All I did was take him at his word. I, too am against banning ideas. And I, too, want the state separate from religion and science. (I believe that this is the case, also, with Reese's critics on this thread. At least I cannot think of anyone who is in favor of banning ideas or thinks the government should advocate religion or engage in science. Well... I have detected some who don't mind government money for scientists when the kind of scientist is their kind, but I will not make an issue about it.)

Judging from the posts, I notice that taking Reese at his own word is extremely difficult for most everybody to do. You came right out and asked what his "real agenda" was. Others did not do that, but the presumption that Reese did not mean what he actually wrote, but meant something else instead, was strongly insinuated in their posts.

This makes me curious about why. I am not criticize/bash-curious either. I am honestly curious. People I respect and admire are involved.

I personally think Reese was arguing against a biased kind of thinking where the bias leads to misidentification, power struggles, etc., and arguing against indoctrinating children with it. The issue happened to be evolution and creationism in this instance. But it could have been any number of other issues.

Michael

Michael -

Understood. My skepticism of him is probably, at root, most strongly linked to what I can only call an anti-science bias on his part. To dismiss as of no significance the scientific issues seems, to me silly. Or - and hence my conjecture - a cover for being a shill for creationism.

All of this is made difficult, of course, by the failure to separate education and state.

Bill P (Alfonso)

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(snip)

Yet Reese seems to assume that anyone who thinks that evolutionary biology is important, or that the evolution of life forms is a fact, is perforce a wannabe technocrat, bent on crushing out religious belief via government intervention.

I respectfully submit that the case against entangling science with government will be much more effectively made by those who have some notion of what science is, and why it is valuable.

Robert Campbell

Good post, Robert.

Bill P (Alfonso)

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Judging from the posts, I notice that taking Reese at his own word is extremely difficult for most everybody to do.

Really? Is that what it looks like from on high -- up there in the majestic heights where the air is objective and the vision is 20/400? I respectfully suggest you grant a little linguistic charity to those who reject Reese's stance. It could be that they have some rational, clearly-stated objections to several lines of argument that he raised -- that they are not some addled bunch who can't read properly.

You know, look at Reese's own words some more -- " My main conflict with the evolutionists is that they wish to assert their theory as fact and to employ government power to ban discussion of creationism and intelligent design on the grounds that they are unscientific or, worse from their point of view, religious."

Reese's conflict is with the evolutionists (like who, particularly, we don't know). His beef is with some murky group of bad people who want to do bad things to religion, like, um, keep it out of science classes.

Take him at his word -- "I see no reason to include any discussion of evolution or creationism in secondary schools."

This is stupid. As several here have pointed out, evolution is part of biology. If there is a biology class in high school, there will be evolution in the class. The entire struggle with creation science/intelligent design has been to keep religion out of that class. The evolutionist's struggle is to keep religious anachronisms out of science class. If Reese is not talking about the legal struggles to keep this crap out of science classes, what the hell is he referring to?

I personally think Reese was arguing against a biased kind of thinking where the bias leads to misidentification, power struggles, etc., and arguing against indoctrinating children with it.

Like where? Like in the struggle in the courts (by parents, in the Dover case) to keep the religious crap out of science? Like somewhere else? If we take you at your word, Michael -- "I take him [Reese] to be criticizing those intellectuals who clamor to make laws."

Which intellectuals, for heaven sake?

Michael are you not understanding the objections of Laure, Robert, Barbara, Bob and myself? We take the plain import of Reese's article and talk about the actual real-world drama that surrounds evolution, creationism, intelligent design. You talk about indoctrinating children, and power struggles . . . as if there were a pointless and ugly dispute happening, with two nasty sides doing unspecified nasty things. I ask you -- what power struggles are you referring to? In your earlier posts you referred to "the behavior of people who bash each other" and "crusaders on both sides of the ID debate try to use the issue to bash the other."

Who, Michael? Who are you talking about? You further write that you have seen this unseemly spectacle happening with "strong passion and name-calling on both sides."

Where, Michael? What is it that you are referring to in the struggle to keep religious cant out of science classrooms?

Are power struggles unseemly or inelegant or somehow intrinsicly icky and to be avoided? If there has been misidentification, is it not Reese who misidentifies 'science' and 'evolutionists' by equivocation, or by the religionauts who misidentify ID as science? If educating children is 'indoctrination' across the board, there is nothing particularly insidious about standard biology.

The issue happened to be evolution and creationism in this instance. But it could have been any number of other issues.

In another situation, what if there was a power struggle, and bias and other icky things between say, Deborah Lipstadt and, oh, David Irving. And it ended up in court, as with ID in Dover. Should we then perhaps in a history class, lay out the 'other side' of the Holocaust theory? You know, 'cause Lipstadt was bickering and all, and called names and all . . . so . . . it's icky and they both should be ashamed.

Bosh.

With respect, Michael, Reese wasn't talking about any other issue but the struggle to keep religious crap out of science classes. That's what he has a problem with. He has a problem with the NCSE and Dawkins and Hitchens and Dennett and the parents in Dover and the science side. He takes the side of the religionists with a weak and ill-referenced op-ed (as he has taken the side of religionists in other articles in his archive). Those who oppose his kind of murky, ignorant, fallacious argument don't deserve the snideness of your remarks about 'most people' here having a hard time reading.

Foul ball, your Majesty.

Edited by william.scherk
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I respectfully submit that the case against entangling science with government will be much more effectively made by those who have some notion of what science is, and why it is valuable.

Robert,

I agree with this. I even agree that Reese is limited as a science and religion analyst.

But I am not convinced that Reese lacks familiarity with science from his essay. It is obvious that he holds no value for the theory of evolution. So he certainly would not be an ideal proponent to those who value it. I get the feeling that people don't like his attitude, not his knowledge. But they claim that it is his knowledge and claim that he said what he didn't. I find this very curious. (I'm serious.)

One good thing about Reese, by extension of his own logic. He would never be a person to make any laws, one way or the other.

:)

William,

Come on. We all have read major debates in the news and on public forums about ID (and on TV and radio). Heated debates with all kind of highly qualified people on both sides. And you still ask "who," where," etc.? That is not a question. That is intimidation. Even so, you wanted a scientist, so I gave you one of the granddaddies. That scientist didn't work for you, though, and you still ask "who?". There are oodles more out there and you know it. We may disagree with their views, but there is no need to pretend that they do not exist and ask "who"?

btw - I was not being snide. When a guy writes one thing (very clearly, in fact) and people say he didn't mean that, he meant something else instead, it is not snide to notice that this person is having a hard time taking the author at his word. Where is the snideness in that?

And puhleeze remember that I stated that I think scientific theories should be taught in science class and that I have mentioned very clearly where I disagree with Reese. Puhleeze do not eliminate my own words and make it sound like I endorse his every nuance. I don't.

However, I still like his spirit of not accepting a people-imposed dichotomy and facing down intimidation from both sides. It reminds me of me.

:)

Michael

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But I am not convinced that Reese lacks familiarity with science from his essay. It is obvious that he holds no value for the theory of evolution.

I finally got around to reading the essay. I'd say his ignorance is obvious from a number of touches. Here's a blatant example pertaining specifically to evolution:

I see no reason to include any discussion of evolution or creationism in secondary schools. There is a large volume of facts biology students need to learn without wasting their time on theories that have no practical value. It's like teaching molecular physics to students studying auto mechanics.

Modern biology is thoroughly interpenetrated by issues of evolution. Even teaching the classification scheme, as it's structured today, requires reference to evolutionary lineage. What, I wonder, does he imagine that biology with all reference to evolution eliminated would consist of?

Ellen

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