Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dembski and the Special Creation of Humans

Okay, I lied. I said I would post up Dembskis plea to 'quantum mechanics', but Im going to have to hunt through the tapes to find it.

So Im afraid youll have to make do with a 20 year old (are you 21 yet Logan??) getting Dembski to admit that humans were specially created. I think Logan got him to answer 'Yes or No?', but for some reason the recording stopped (it was at 2 hours at this point).


Logan-- My question is, recognizing that you said 'Evolution does explain some of it, it just has limits', do you yourself believe that we evolved... from apes, and fish, and amphibians, and so on?

Dembski-- My own view, is that I take a very pretty limited view of evolutionary change... The Design Metaphor, I take it seriously... it seems to me that reDesign... eh...

...

... Is a very difficult problem. It doesnt work very well. Particularly with something like a house for instance... instead of redesigning something else, its better to start from scratch...

Now how much of Design was there?

...

... Im...

...
...its...

... there... how much evolution has taken place... Weve got people who believe in Special Creation, youve got Michael Behe who says we have a universal common ancestor. Im somewhere in the middle. And I... uhhh... for theological reasons I would say humans are special created... but its uh... its...

...

... uhhh...

Its not where... in terms of... (rambles on, cant understand him over coughing in crowd, something about how 'creation' isnt where all the *action* is in ID-- its all in calculating probabilities????)
--------------
  1. Logan isnt a bio major, give him a break on the 'evolved from amphibians' ;)
  2. That part is slightly muffled, but I swear to god, Dembski says it is easier to design a house from scratch than to take old plans and redesign them. Not only does The Omnipotent Dembski know more about biology than biologists, and cosmology than cosmologists, and computer science than computer scientists, he knows more about architecture than architects. The Issac Newton of Architecture Theory, if you will. I have to admit, hes right. I mean, you never see anyone take an old house and remodel it. Or add rooms to a house. Or turn porches into sunrooms. And no two houses look the same. Its hard to tell houses are even houses, theyre all so different. Sorry guys, Point 1 to Dembski.
  3. Those pauses were real, and long. That exchange took just over 2 minutes. Read it out loud to yourself. If we're generous, half of that exchange was dead silence. Sit in silence for one minute. Thats how hard Dembski had to think to answer a straight forward, elementary school science question.
  4. Behe is Discovery Institutes 'black friend.' The DI 'Fellows' believe in Special Creation like True Christians. Sure they travel about the countryside, giving presentations to churches on how Darwin caused the Holocaust and abortion blah blah blah cause humans are 'just another animal'... but theyve got nothing against common descent!!! Look, theyve even got a LUCA friend!! Michael Behe, the token friend.

20 comments:

Logan said...

Yeah, I'm 21 now (last Thursday).

I'm aware that amphibians are considered a "crown group" or something like that, meaning that only modern amphibians are considered "amphibians." Early tetrapods. Temnospondyls. Whatever. The quagmire of taxonomy.

Ian said...

Belated happy birthday Logan!

Tyler DiPietro said...

Damn, Dembski should get into software design with his engineering know how. They've been going about it all wrong with open source projects and commercial licensing. Reinventing the wheel is always preferable to building on extant concepts. I'm sure he can conjure some mathbabble to definitively demonstrate that post-hoc modification can't generate Complex Specified Information.

Israel Barrantes said...
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PsychoAtheist said...

Dembski is going downhill fast. What's the bet that any future 'presentations' by the good Dr Dr will be confined to religious establishments?

Doesn't he seem lost without his posse of fawning sycophants?

Torbjörn Larsson said...

I lied.

*blink*

[Oh, I'm still not certain what it means. But can I at least have fun with it?

Btw, considering LiLo's boobs, maybe I should add another *blink*. Or does that make two? Oh dear, and here I though lies and boobs were simple to handle.

..., yes, ERV, we can keep up the boob jokes for ever. Guys are fairly simple too.]

Israel Barrantes:

a house has no thermodynamics to discuss.

And that, boys and girls and Arnie, is why AGW is an increasingly hot topic. :-P

Okay, cheap OT shot. I believe I get what you mean. Laying construction and drift energy processes and budgets aside, a house have different constraints that decided its origins, mainly acting as a shelter. (Though I bet cell walls originally were selected for pretty much the related function.)

What I don't get is what you mean with "evolution is better explained from a lower energy consumption rule (principle of parsimony)"? Cells organize by dumping entropy and so waste energy elsewhere.

I don't exactly think they necessarily maximize entropy production, living on the edge of chaos and/or evolution and all that jazz. (Though we could perhaps live in a universe that maximizes global entropy production.) But I'm fairly certain that they don't minimize energy consumption. What am I missing, and what is the connection to parsimony? It sounds interesting.

Israel Barrantes said...
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Torbjörn Larsson said...
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Torbjörn Larsson said...

Israel,

Thanks! No, you didn't say anything about optimization. I didn't realize you were directly comparing against creationism.

And yes, it was an interesting idea, novel for me. I have to think on this as I can't see how free energy is minimized connected to evolutionary changes.

Dustin said...

Okay, I lied.

Shameless tease.

Israel Barrantes said...
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Annyday said...

We have genetic evidence supporting it.

Even if you deny X, Y, and Z mechanisms of evolution and instead postulate magic-mystery-'design' as a mechanism, why the fuck do we just so happen to share so many genes with apes? Denying common descent is so far from science it's not even pseudoscience or quackery.

Dustin said...

Dear Billy,

Fuck off.

Love,
MYH16

vhut said...

Was this the place that Dembski denied primates as a common ancestor of humans? Or was it elsewhere?

ERV said...

Vic-- Yup! I totally missed recording the last part where Logan asked for a yes or no answer to humans evolving, and the answer was no, but I think the Special Creation part was even more important, and probably very important to NCSE.

386sx said...

I still don't get why anybody would believe that some "thing" that says it is a god... is a god. Just take its word for it? But it's worse that that of coarse. People are taking the word of other people that something that says it is a god, is a god. Of course it's all about being indoctrinated into those beliefs. Duh! :P

Frank J said...

Dembski says:

"Weve got people who believe in Special Creation, youve got Michael Behe who says we have a universal common ancestor. Im somewhere in the middle."

Uh huh. So is Carl Woese "in the middle" according to Dembski. And I'm sure Dembski would admit that Behe "knows the relevant science" better than himself.

My usual take is that Dembski is continuing his word games, and not letting any honest belief slip. I'm sure that he at least strongly suspects that Behe is right about common descent (note the frequent use of the word "universal"). The "theological" basis for "special creation" may mean no more than "the unnamed designer inserts a soul."

Frank J said...

Vhut,

Dembski only said that humans and other apes didn't "evolve" from a common ancestor. Like Behe, he probably thinks that it was some in-vivo "saltational" event. But because their target audience is mostly Biblical literalists, they choose their words carefully.

Logan,

How can you have turned 21 Last Thursday if the Universe just began then? Remember, ID can accommodate all the results of that as well as of "Darwinism." ;-)

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Israel Barrantes:


The idea of thermodynamics and evolution comes from that old influential Schrodinger book, What is Life.


Thanks. IIRC that book has impressed biologists somehow. Now I can get to the bottom of this.


And, for example, the RNA world theory of the molecular evolution of biological information, is based on those TD facts.


IANAB, but my impression is that the RNA world is based on two evolutionary and two biochemical facts (which in turn comes from the evolutionary observations):

1. RNA is the core enzyme in the ribosome.
2. RNA is enough for replication as shown by viruses.
3. RNA can act as an enzyme.
4. DNA is stabler than RNA.

So it seems RNA came before DNA and proteins.

James Hanley said...

articularly with something like a house for instance... instead of redesigning something else, its better to start from scratch...

If I may differ, marginally, I think Dembski was not talking about renovating houses, but about turning other types of building into houses.

Of course that actually creates a stronger proof of how wrong he was, as it is common for old buildings, like barns and fire stations, to be turned into houses, and even more common for old houses to be turned into office suites!

Far more"complex" than simply renovating a house, and so far more of a blow against Demski's silly analogies. Much like Dennet's neat refutation of Gould's silly spandrels.