Thursday, September 13, 2007

Excellent flier on ID Creationism

Theres a flier thats been (reportedly) going around Norman recently, due to Dembskis impending visit. Its really good! I mean, their answers are all Creationist apologetics, complete with the 'list of dissenters', but they got the questions right! I can fix the answers, and I bet you all can help me out too!

1. ID is not true because there are no “real scientists” who support it.

There certainly are a handful trained scientists that support ID Creationism, like Michael Behe. However, there are no scientists that A) use science appropriately to support the claims made by ID Creationism, B) use ID Creationism to make useful statements about the world we live in.

For instance, a common ID tactic is to 'Pub Jack'-- Hijack publications and research performed by other scientists, and proclaim it supports Creationism. The authors of these papers are shocked when they find out their hard work has been used to support a political agenda they do not agree with. Why are ID Creationists not doing their own research? The New York Times reported that the Templeton Foundation (who have previously given awards to Mother Teresa , Billy Gram... and William Dembski) asked Intelligent Design Creationists to submit research proposals for funding.

They did not receive one application.

If trained, tenured scientists are unwilling to publish scientific work to support ID Creationism, why should we believe them?

2. ID is not true because it is not published in peer-reviewed journals.

That is a big part of the problem. In science, whenever you have a new idea, a controversial idea-- you publish your research for other people to read. They can test your ideas either by repeating your experiments, or trying out your ideas on their research. If you really are right, success! A recent example of this would be 'siRNA' and 'epigenetics'-- two really weird ideas that ended up being true!

Unfortunately, its not as easy as it looks. It takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get the scientific community to take your idea seriously, with good reason. If scientists were not challenging and communicating with one another, time and money would be wasted on wild-goose chases, instead of getting real results.

But ID Creationists are not content to play by the same rules as everyone else in science. They think they deserve special treatment.

Because performing research and convincing others of their findings is too hard for Creationists, they have used unethical means to 'publish' their articles. They think its 'fair' to stack reviewers in their favor, sneak publications in the 'back door', or make conclusions that their data does not support. Would that be fair if a pharmaceutical company did that? If science supports ID Creationism, why are these back-door shinanagans necessary?

Publishing in peer-reviewed journals is also not the complete story of 'peer review.' A measure of the quality of your work is how big of an impact you have on the scientific community. Though ID Creationists have had a few papers published, they have had no effect on the scientific world. If ID Creationists are right, why is no one else using their ideas? Why is everyone still using an evolutionary framework to study cancer, infectious diseases, design new drugs, etc, if evolution is wrong?

3. ID is not true because it is a “God-of-the-gaps” argument.

ID is a god-of-the-gaps argument, and worse.

For instance, Michael Behe states in one of his books that a parasite, malaria, became resistant to drugs because his God intervened. Not only did Behe ignore the science and math of his claims, he also ignored the theology. What does this information imply about Behes God? An evil thing that mindlessly and mercilessly kills men, women, and children? Many people do not share Behes vision of an evil, unloving god.

4. ID is not true because it is not fully naturalistic.

No one complains about naturalistic science when its says we should generate electricity to power our computers, not wait for Thors lightning bolts. No one complains about naturalistic science when it says mental illness is not caused by demons, but is a natural biological phenomena and can be treated by medications. No one complains about naturalistic causes when a doctor insists that a miscarriage was not caused by a witches curse.

Yet ID Creationists insist that in this one specific case-- evolution-- naturalism isnt good enough. What have they offered us in return? What diseases have ID Creationists treated? Have they designed crops using The Designers Principles to feed the world?

No. That is work done by naturalistic scientists.

Many people think there is 'something more' to the Universe, but ID Creationism is not it.

5. ID is not true because it is against naturalism

ID Creationism is fundamentally against science, not just 'naturalism'. This was stated very clearly in a leaked document called 'The Wedge Document.'

Michael Behe admitted under oath in The Dover Trial that the Creationist definition of science would have to include astrology. Do you want your doctor diagnosing your illness with astrology? No? Then why should we exchange a system that has served us so well (naturalism) for one that served us so poorly in the past (supernaturalism)?

6. ID is not true because there are finches on the Galapagos Islands that undergo cyclical variations in beak sizes, moths that are black and can hide from birds on dark colored trees, and insects and bacteria that “evolve” resistance to pesticides and antibiotics. (i.e.: ID isn’t true because “evolution” is FACT!)

Creationists like to pretend there is a magical difference between 'micro' evolution and 'macro' evolution. What prevents 'micro' money (pennies) from adding up to 'macro' money (dollars)? Nothing.

This is a wonderful opportunity to point out that this is a Young Earth Creationist claim. If Intelligent Design isnt 1920's Creationism in a different suit, why do they use 100 year-old claims?

7. ID is not true because I consider myself an intelligent person, and although I haven’t read any ID publications or really studied it very much, intelligent people agree that ID isn’t true. Intelligent people I know (who may or may not have studied ID) laugh at advocates of ID, and I hate being laughed at…

This is not an unreasonable claim. I trust my mechanic to fix my car because I dont know how. I trust my dentist to fill my cavities because I dont know how. I trust scientists to do their jobs well (explore the universe) because I dont know how. Whats important to know is that there are people watching mechanics, dentists, and scientists to make sure they are doing their jobs well.

Additionally, if I dont trust my mechanic, I can learn about cars myself. If I dont trust the findings of a scientist, I can read his/her original research myself. If I dont understand some words he/she uses, I can look them up myself. If I REALLY dont believe a scientist, I can see if I can repeat their experiments myself. Scientists are double checking one another every day.

But it is unreasonable to expect everyone to be an expert in everything. We cannot rediscover the chemical structure of water every day.

Once again we must ask, why cant Creationists convince anyone else theyre right? Why wont they do the science to prove it to everyone? That would stop the laughing real quick.

8. ID is not true because it is religion

9. ID is not true because it is religiously motivated.

10. ID is not true because it has religious implications.

This is the most disingenuous claim of ID Creationists. In front of a general audience, they proclaim that anyone and everyone follows Creationism. "Why, the Designer could be an ALIEN!" Yet behind the doors of radical Christian groups, they laugh at anyone who believes that line. ID Creationism was born in 1987, when a judge ruled Creation Science was religion. The Creationist textbook, 'Of Pandas and People,' changed all 'Creation Science' references to 'Design Proponents.' There is even an infamous mesh of both words, when copy/pasting didnt go as planned-- 'cdesign proponentsists'.

Creationism is a mockery of science and faith.

Excellent hand-out, Creationists!


Tyler DiPietro said...

Excellent post! Very succinct rebuttals, and using obviously loaded presentations of anti-IDC positions, no less! When life gives you lemons...

Russell said...

Why don't you post the actual flier so we can see your responses next to theirs? It would be quite respectable of you. :)

ERV said...

Russell-- Nope! Cant do that. However if you click around a bit, Im sure you can find it.

And I will never be dealing with Career Creationists 'respectfully' ever, ever again. Ive learned my lesson, thank you very much. Whats the phrase? Casting pearls before cottage cheese?

Israel Barrantes said...

Amazing post. I'm compiling a list of papers on epigenetic research that -arguably- support ID.

Too bad that there is no counter- attack, as Russell suggested. Perhaps a poster with these Anti-ID Commandments (sic) would be a great move...

Ian said...

Russell, here's a clue: you can get to the flier in two clicks from the main page of the blog.

And yes, I can confirm that the flier is going around Norman - I got one together with an invite to Dembski's "Faculty Luncheon".

Freelancer said...

Great Post

If you already haven't you should check out PZ's Post
with the BBC Doc on the Dover Trial.
Parts 2 & 3 have Behe looking distinguished and sage-like in front of a roller coaster, Demski playing with dice in a nondescript coffee shop like a hybrid of Rain Man and Napoleon Dynamite, and then followed by Dawkins expressing disbelief and frustration at Biology being the only Science hounded by "yapping terriers of ignorance". It's gorgeous. Made my day.

Juha said...

About the Templeton's request for ID-research. One IDeist did submit a paper, Henry Schaefer:

The paper's name is Quantum Chemistry in Counterfactual Universes. I haven't read it, but I doubt any ID-research, as such, was done.

SteveF said...

Actually with regards to your response to 6, you might find the following to be of interest:

"Whether macrovolution is reducible to microevolution is one of the persistent debates in evolutionary biology."

Sorry if the link doesn't come out properly, I'm not too good at this formating lark. If not, the paper is:

Grantham, T. (2007) Is macroevolution more than successive rounds of microevolution? Palaeontology, 50, 75-85.

Jon said...

Really good post Abby.

Anonymous said...

I just took a look at the actual flier and I think you really fail to deal with some of the arguments made within it. Is this the place to point these out, or is this were we all just praise you for a good job?

Let me know...,

If this is a forum to discuss such shortcomings, I can submit a few instances where you really fail to take note of a good point and miss an actual opportunity for fruitful discussion.

ERV said...

Anon-- If this is a forum to discuss such shortcomings, I can submit a few instances where you really fail to take note of a good point and miss an actual opportunity for fruitful discussion.
Are you used to censoring your comments? How sad. This isnt UD-- youre free to post whatever you wish, as long as its not illegal or spam.

Iron Soul said...

I'm going to have to steel some of your analogies for my own use. *Clean safe power generation by praying to Thor* and * micro-money to macro-money* Those are keepers

Bill said...

I just took a look at the actual flier, too, and it reads like Creationist 101.

You could make enough menudo to feed a city with that much tripe.

I like how the flyer touts Behe as an ID scientist when Behe hasn't done a cilia's worth of research in decades, and absolutely NO research on ID. Unless, of course, one considers a trip to Mt. Rushmore as research.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill, have you published in Protein Science recently?

How silly...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote Hey Bill, have you published in Protein Science recently?

How silly...

The Behe&Snoke Protein Science paper tested no ID-based hypothesis. What Behe&Snoke found in that paper was that if one disables all evolutionary mechanisms except random point mutations, complex structures due to combinations of mutations nevertheless occur in geologically plausible time frames. See the Panda's Thumb analysis here: