Saturday, January 08, 2005

Icons of ID: (Cambrian Explosion) And the Wedge continues

The Discovery Institute continues to ignore the advice of Richard Colling

Prof. Richard Colling:
In his new book, “Random Designer,” he writes: “It pains me to suggest that my religious brothers are telling falsehoods” when they say evolutionary theory is “in crisis” and claim that there is widespread skepticism about it among scientists. “Such statements are blatantly untrue,” he argues; “evolution has stood the test of time and considerable scrutiny. [1]”

Sharon Begley in Tough Assignment: Teaching Evolution To Fundamentalists, Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2004; Page A15

On October 11, 2004, the Grantsburg School board passed the following resolution

Motion C. Erickson/D. Ahlquist to revise the Science Curriculum Resolution (from June 2004) as follows, “When theories of origin are taught, students will study various scientific models/theories of origins and identify the scientific data supporting each.” Motion carried 6-0.

After receiving letters from more than 300 educators and 43 deans of Wisconsin Universities, the board revised their position

“ Students are expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information. Students shall be able to explain the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory. This policy does not call for the teaching of Creationism or Intelligent Design.” Motion carried 6-1. Ahlquist opposed.

The DI released the following press release titled "Wisconsin School Board Adopts Improved Policy Endorsing Fully Teaching Evolution, Not Creationism". It is good to realize that the DI staff seems to include Intelligent Design in 'Creationism'. Truth in advertising I'd say...

Cooper noted that there are now hundreds of scientists who are raising criticisms of modern evolutionary theory, also known as "neo-Darwinism."

"If scientists can debate neo-Darwinism on scientific grounds," he asked, "what's wrong with students learning about some of these debates in biology class?"

Especially when ID proponents and Discovery Insitute Staff are presenting these criticisms as if there is a fundamental problem with evolutionary theory or that neo-Darwinism is flawed when in fact in most cases these scientists are arguing the opposite.

And the Wedge continues, sadly enough the victims seem to be once again science and religion.
The only hope is that students will learn what is wrong with ID proponents' portrayal of these supposed 'criticisms'. Imagine however the cost to science and religious faith... Imagine the impact of finding out that contrary to ID claims irreducibly oomplex systems can evolve? Imagine the impact of finding out that contrary to ID claims the design inference is fundamentally flawed? Imagine the impact of finding out that contrary to ID claims "No Free Lunch" theorems do not support a design inference? And imagine the cost of students finding out that contrary to the claims by ID proponents, the Cambrian period is not a problem for neo-Darwinian theory?

Valentine, an expert on the Cambrian explosion, author of "On the origin of phyla" and often quoted by ID proponents who suggest that the Cambrian explosion is a problem for neo-Darwinian theory writes:

The title of this book, modeled on that of the greatest biological work ever written, is in homage to the greatest biologist who has ever lived. Darwin himself puzzled over but could not cover the ground that is reviewed here, simply because the relevant fossils, genes, and their molecules, end even the body plans of many of the phyla, were quite unknown in his day. Nevertheless, the evidence from these many additional souces of data simply confirm that Darwin was correct in his conclusions that all living things have descended from a commmon anscestor and can be placed within a tree of life, and that the principle process guiding their descent has been natural selection.

Valentine On the Origin of Phyla 2004: Preface

Imagine the 'surprise' when it is shown that intelligent design has no viable scientific theory to explain evolution? Imagine the surprise when children are told about the findings by Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols is the author of Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic philosophical quarterly , 2003 , vol. 77 , no 4 , pp. 591 - 611,

In my argument against Intelligent Design Theory I will not contend that it is not falsifiable or that it implies contradictions. I’ll argue that Intelligent Design Theory doesn’t imply anything at all, i.e. it has no content. By ‘content’ I refer to a body of determinate principles and propositions entailed by those principles. By ‘principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue. By ‘determinate principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue in which the extensions of its terms are clearly defined.
I’ll evaluate the work of William Dembski because he specifies his methodology in detail, thinks Intelligent Design Theory is contentful and thinks Intelligent Design Theory (hereafter ‘IDT’) grounds an empirical research program. Later in the paper I assess a recent trend in which IDT is allegedly found a better home as a metascientific hypothesis, which serves as a paradigm that catalyzes research. I’ll conclude that, whether IDT is construed as a scientific or metascientific hypothesis, IDT lacks content.

or Patrick Frank?

Patrick Frank is the author of "On the Assumption of Design]", Theology and Science, Volume 2, Number 1 / April 2004, pp. 109 - 130.

Abstract: The assumption of design of the universe is examined from a scientific perspective. The claims of William Dembski and of Michael Behe are unscientific because they are a-theoretic.


Finally, the argument from the unlikelihood of physical constants is vitiated by modern cosmogonic theory and recrudesces the God-of-the-gaps.

Is it worth it? It's a great opportunity for the truth to get out though.

Send your comments to Grantsburg Board of education members

David Ahlquist
David Dahlberg
Christine Erickson
Russell Erickson
Cindy Jensen
Eric McKinley
James Sundquist

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