Evolution and Intelligent Design: November 2005 Archives



Click on the picture for the full-size version. They've got Robby Steinhardt's photo above the Phil Ehart blurb, but otherwise this is pretty funny. One of the people on the discussion list where I found this spoke of Phil looking more and more like Robby every day!

What's funniest to me about this isn't intentional. It's that the members who would be most likely to favor ID aren't even in the current lineup, which is the group the picture shows. What follows close behind is that Kansas actually does have lyrics that deal with intelligent design. Then there's the fact that Kerry Livgren now thinks of Dust in the Wind as expressing the main theme of Ecclesiastes. It's not as if that song is contrary to Christian teaching, except in a couple of details ("nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky?" as if either would last forever anyway).

What's a little disappointing is the insinuation that intelligent design is about religion and the suggestion that it has anything to do with opposition to gay marriage. I'd guess that Kerry Livgren does oppose gay marriage, and I know he encourages all to become Christians, but this isn't about Livgren's current views and how he'd adjust the song in light of them. It's about how Dust in the Wind could be adjusted to sound like the ID proponents. Those would have been more important to put in the last box with those who prefer Foreigner to progressive rock. It's also a little unfortunate that ID is being held up against evolution, given what I argued in my last post on the topic. Good humor is good humor, but it still needs to be evaluated for its philosophical presuppositions.

It's occurred to me that a common complaint against intelligent design is a huge mistake. In particular, it misrepresents the ID movement. That's no surprise to regular readers of this blog, who should have been explose to numerous misrepresentations of the ID position by now. This one isn't a stupid mistake, though. I can understand why people might make this mistake, but it's a mistake nonetheless and a philosophical one.

I've seen ID opponents make the complaint that ID requires special creation even if the people making ID arguments claim otherwise. By special creation here, I don't mean the creation of the universe to begin with. Any theist will believe in special creation in that sense. Special creation here means miraculous intervention to create certain biological elements that we don't have explanations for at this point. Immediately, I already see one problem with this. Intelligent design requires no such thing, because some intelligent design arguments have nothing to do with biology. Some are about fine-tuning of the cosmological constants. But even leaving that issue aside, I think this misunderstands those who endorse the biological ID arguments, including most notably Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Philip Johnson.

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Blogs4God has President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789.

More Ethan pictures: Sam took him outside to play with the fallen leaves.

Proto-Kaw (the band Kerry Livgren of Kansas has reformed based on an earlier incarnation of Kansas that never released anything until this decade) has a new album coming out in February, called The Wait of Glory. We had the pleasure of seeing them and meeting them all this summer, and it was one of the highlights of the last decade for me. The lyrics for the Wait of Glory are up now. I can't wait to hear it. Everything I've heard is that it's even better than their last album Before Became After, which was one of Livgren's best works.

For some really perverse fun, see A Night at the Roddenberry. [Hat tip: The Gnu]

Speaking of the Gnu, he has a response to a few of Scott Adams's comments on Intelligent Design (see Abednego's post). I think his point about Crick and Watson is particularly interesting.

I've been on a bit of a blog hiatus due to work and some outside projects for my church (particularly, working on editing some material for a couple of books). I'm going to try to find a little more time to post -- although there's no guarantee I'll be successful -- but let me start off by pointing out a couple of interesting (and funny!) posts on Intelligent Design by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. See here and then the follow-up, here. If nothing else, I think these ought to highlight that (a) it's not very productive to go around misrepresenting other people's views, and (b) it's concievable that scientists could be wrong about evolution.

Adams also has a third post, here, on what he means by someone "credible" on the topic of intelligent design and evolution. He says credible experts are those who don't have financial or career incentives, or preconcieved notions. Well, it's a bit easier to meet the first two criteria than the latter. Pretty much any scientist who comes out in favor of intelligent design at a secular university has a financial and career incentive NOT to do so. I suppose in the interest of fairness you could argue that those who come out in favor of evolution at Christian schools have financial and career incentives to the contrary, but I'm not sure that's true anymore. Regardless, on the third point, I really haven't met many (any?) people who don't have preconcieved notions of one sort or another. So maybe Adams is right and no one is credible. I would point out, however, that a lot of people have turned their back on their preconcieved notions. Michael Behe himself, for example, began with the notion that Darwinian evolution is right and can do all that's claimed for it.

My own take on scientific evidence in general is that I try to avoid believing things just based on credibility or say-so. That's why, for example, I'm undecided about whether I think global warming is for real or not. I hear lots of noise on both sides, and it's pretty much overwhelmingly accepted in my area of science that it's real, but I've never yet had someone lay out the evidence in favor of global warming in a way that I find compelling; nor have I heard someone lay out the evidence to the contrary in a compelling way. My opinion is that when the evidence is really as compelling as people say it is, they should be able to explain it to me in a way that I'll agree that it's compelling. So, in the meantime, I'm really not sure -- all I've got to go on are "expert opinions", and I don't find those that convincing. After all, there have been an awful lot of Nobel prizes awarded to people who flew in the face of expert opinion.

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Christian Carnival XCIV is at Wittenberg Gate. Dory is in need of future hosts, so if you're interested follow her link at the top of the post. The Bible Archive is doing a series on Genesis. I especially want to direct your attention to his nice post on what Genesis 1 does say. All the debates about how to interpret the days and whether it's consistent with evolution easily distract from what the passage is about to begin with, and Rey brings our attention back to that. If you want to see his summary on those other issues, it's here, but why is our focus so often not what the focus of the text is? Walter Snyder has a good explanation of how it is that Bible publishers can justify charging royalties for the use of what is God's word (and thus should be free). [Hat tip: ESV Bible Blog] Belgium declares names and titles to be no longer capitalized. Well, I guess it's just politically incorrect names and titles. Actually, they've just singled out 'christ' and 'jew'* just to show how arbitrary they can be. Or is this arbitrary? [Hat tip: Sam] *Well, for 'Jew' it's only when the reference is religious rather than ethnic; if ethnic, it's still capitalized.

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