People who read the regular blog posts but not the comments may not be aware of activity on old posts, which is why I'm starting a new thread. This is a continuation of a discussion with Lena, who first dropped in on a post from last November
, in which we were talking about the new trailer for "Expelled." I'm resetting the thread mainly so that the conversation doesn't get lost to history.
Kazim; I understand that there are people who believe in both evolution and God. However, current biology textbooks do not include references to the possibility of intelligent design; I am not aware of any biology or science textbook in mainstream public schools or universities that references the concepts of intelligent design.
That's right, they don't. And do you know why? Because "intelligent design" isn't a scientific concept. It hasn't been accepted into the scientific lexicon; it hasn't achieved mainstream penetration into scientific journals. It isn't testable, and with rare exceptions, it is almost universally regarded as nonscience by biologists everywhere.
Could this change someday? Sure it could, but schools don't have the authority to make that change. Textbooks on science are written BY scientists FOR schools, not the other way around. If this were going to change, it would be by a major shift in the way that biology is understood. And while I understood that there are a lot of popular books, speakers, and 80's movie stars who are gung-ho about Intelligent Design, it's only fair to point out that this has barely registered at all in the scientific community. That's why ID isn't taught in schools.
You can argue that belief in God is the realm of religion, but really, we're not talking about God. We're talking about Intelligent Design - people don't have to believe that is was a God that was the designer, do they? Teachers would never have to say who created the universe, just that there was evidence of design. It is atheists who make the assumption that intelligent design would be identifying God as the designer; why is that?
That's an easy one to answer. It's because ID comes at the tail end of a long history of deceptively trying to slip creationism into schools under false pretenses. In the case of Kitzmiller v Dover of 2005, one of the findings was that the major book being used to promote ID, titled Of Pandas and People
, was really just a modified version of an earlier creationism textbook. The editors went through the text and did a search-and-replace operation to eliminate all references to "creationism" and replace them with "intelligent design" and so forth. But they didn't do a very thorough job -- in one place, the word "creationists" was sloppily replaced by the words "cdesign proponentsists."
A number of years before that, something called the Wedge Document
was unearthed, explicitly stating that rationale behind the existence of the whole "intelligent design" movement was to, and I quote, "replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God."
I don't see why any of this should come as a surprise to you. You're a theist, and so far as I can tell, the main reason you're complaining about lack of ID in schools is because you think that failure to teach ID is tantamount to atheism. Have I missed something?
Certainly there are people out there who might have a different idea of "who" that creator or designer was? There are seriously people who believe space aliens created the earth, but in our society you don't hear public outcry against them.
Yes, you do. Those people are crackpots. They don't come out as regularly as do cdesign proponentsists, but when they do, they tend to receive about the same level of ridicule. Their views are not taken into account as part of mainstream science either.
Do you really think, Kazim, that if the vast majority of people who advocated ID'ism were believers in space aliens, that schools would have a hard time with it? I doubt it.
I do. It would have to have serious research and peer-reviewed publications backing it up before it could even be considered as part of a curriculum. Any teacher who made a unilateral decision to ignore the standards and start teaching about our alien designers would meet with the exact same kind of resistance that creationists experience now.
The search for alien life is actually accepted science. NASA spends unbelievable amounts of money to make machines to search for organisms on Mars. The belief in "alien" life is one that is no longer a subject relegated to science fiction, yet there do not seem to be people who object to including this new "evidence" in textbooks.
The SEARCH for alien life is accepted science. The factual claim that there actually IS alien life is not. Even Carl Sagan, who was in many ways the intellectual father of SETI, was very careful never to say that he conclusively believed that any aliens have been found, because he didn't. It is a tentative hypothesis, remaining open to discussion until such time as evidence can be found. In the meantime, the search for hypothetical alien life has led to all kinds of real advances in science, such as improvements to radio telescopes, signal processing technology, and distributed computing algorithms. No such achievements can be pointed to in the search for intelligent design.
I still think teaching ONLY evolution in schools is advocating atheism.
And I still reply that you are objectively wrong, because evolution is not an atheist subject. Again, 11,000 clergymen and the pope aren't atheists.
You and Martin keep telling me to go back to any basic biology or science textbook, and I have. You've said that I didn't adequately understand cosmology or the atheist viewpoint, so I've researched them further.
I find no mention of the possibility of design in the Big Bang theory. The Big Bang cosmological model asserts that the universe expanded from dense matter, but never explains how the matter came into existence, so even if someone DID believe in God and evolution, or a designer and evolution, there is no indication in your "accepted" theories of origin.
Children who go to public school and are presented with only one possibility for the origin of the universe will accept that possibility, because they're given no alternative. There is scientific evidence for the existence of God, it just isn't welcome at school.
No there isn't. Find me some. As soon as there is any kind of genuine, concrete scientific evidence for "a designer," it might be considered as part of a school curriculum. Until that time, not so much.
I don't just have a problem with biology textbooks, by the way. The textbook industry in general is a revenue-driven business that survives through sales. I read history from other countries because it yields some surprising bits of information that are not in our textbooks in America. Textbook writers leave things out for convenience, for sales, and for political reasons. It bothers me that our children are taught what is politically correct simply because it is what is popular.
I agree. There are lots of things to dislike about the current textbook selection process, especially here in Texas.
On the other hand, what you are demanding kind of comes down to a different question, and it's this: Do you allow that there should be SOME kind of standards for what goes into science and history books? If so, who is responsible for those standards? Is it elected officials, or scientists? Or may any person, regardless of credentials, propose changes to our textbooks? What about flat earthers? What about astrologers? What about holocaust deniers? Do you think that science standards should be set strictly based on what the latest people to win an election think?
If you object to the amount of time our posts have taken up ( I think it has been what, three weeks now?)
I don't care. I'm a slow poster, but I can keep enjoying this all year, if you need. :)
If atheism and the supposed unveracity (yes, it is a word) are such important topics for you and your colleagues that you dedicate enough of your time to be a part of a show and a website, than what is the problem with continuing to converse with me?
There is no problem. I don't disagree with your principles in fighting for what you believe is right. I just think it's only fair to point out that the mainstream scientific literature is squarely against you, and not just a little bit.
Even if the conversation has strayed off the main topic ( and it hasn't; the conversation has broadened because it is a broad topic) then what would be the problem with actually laying down the case for evolution for me, since it is either a part of your job or at least a serious hobby?
Earlier, you complained about the volume of stuff that you were being asked to read. I don't like to just bog down people with links. People spend their entire careers studying and understanding the evidence for evolution. If you asked me to teach you calculus, it would take more than just some argumentative blog posts.
However, if you're serious about understanding WHY evolution is recognized as solid science, you might start here:29+ Evidences for Macroevolution
I don't do this for a living, but if you have any questions about those pages then I'll do my best to answer them.
I said before that I would be willing to provide scientific sources for the case for creation after you ( or Martin) were finished laying out your case. I haven't done it yet because I've received no indication from you that you are finished.
The only thing I would ask, to begin with, is what you would consider to be a "scientific source" and why.
Though you said you have read the Bible, Kazim, the foundation of this discussion was not the Bible. I said I'd find documented sources outside the realm of religion, but I did mention one Bible verse:
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." (1 Peter 3:15)
I'm still asking if you're willing to do something comparable, from an atheist perspective. You've given some explanation, I'm just listening and commenting occasionally on a few things that I have questions about.
I think I'm doing that. It's just taking a while. As long as you're patient enough to give me some time to finish each post, I'm here.
Lena said: How does evolution qualify as a well established framework for explaining observed facts?????
Maybe you should browse that link I just posted first.
Kazim, you said you wouldn't expect anyone to individually refute everything on that website anymore than you would attempt to refute everything on answers in genesis.
I'm just asking that, when we make claims or references, we give specific examples. Martin disappeared shortly after that post without satisfactorily explaining or referencing WHAT geological, archeological, or paleontological evidence. Please don't take this as antagonistic, but look at it from an outsiders viewpoint. Consider, when you have questions for believers about the Bible or related topics that they give a broad, sweeping statement and don't satisfactorily explain the statement. I admitted that I did this same thing at the beginning of the conversation, as well, but that I was determined to do a better job with specifics. I'm just asking for the same thing from your camp.
We sometimes "tag team" responses, because there's only so much time to participate in every thread. I'm pretty sure that Martin is still reading, but he's decided to let me take over the participation. I think I'm a bit better read than he is on evolution -- and I don't mean that as a slight, since Martin is a very smart guy with a lot of expertise in other areas that I respect.
Martin, if you're still out there, about leprechauns: I never said I didn't believe in leprechauns. The question is not whether or not I believe in them, the real question is, can YOU prove they don't exist?
No, we can't prove that leprechauns don't exist. So, DO you believe in them?
So what if "my" specific religious beliefs" don't reconcile evolution and the Bible? Isn't that what this discussion is about?
Not really. This discussion was about what's appropriate to teach in school. And the thing is that, as per our constitution, public schools can't actually care about pandering to anybody's specific religious beliefs. Otherwise, they might have people lobbying them to teach that the sun goes around the earth.