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Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in Creationism, featured | 68 comments

ID’s 5 Year Plan – 16 Years Later

In 1998, the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, created a document that was something of a manifesto, plan of action, and rally cry all rolled into one. It was written under the supervision of DI Co-founder and Vice President of the CRSC, Stephen Meyer (whom we’ve discussed before). It’s called The Wedge Document (PDF).

The document opens with this

The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West’s greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.

Which shows that the people of the Discovery Institute have no knowledge of reality or their own preferred religion.

Later in the opening, they say

The Center seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies…

I have previously taken Meyer (and other creationists) to task for using ellipses incorrectly. So before you get the pitchforks and boiling oil after me, I’d like to point out that this phrase, as I have posted here, is also centered in the page in larger text (as magazines do sometimes.

I mention this just to show you what we’re dealing with. I am reminded of the Artilleryman from War of the Worlds. The gulf between his dreams and his ability was vast. Just as the difference between the ID’s goals and accomplishments are vast, as we shall see.

The governing goals are as follows

  • To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
  • To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

Anyone who thinks that Intelligent Design isn’t about religion just needs to read this. To be fair, there is another document by the DI called, The Wedge Document – So What (PDF). That document was published about 7 yeas after the Wedge Document (and about a year after the Wedge Document was used against ID in the Kitzmiller trial).

It’s a spin job. But feel free to read it. The supporting documents and statements, even in recent publications, support the original statements of the Wedge Document.

OK, let’s talk about the 3 five-year goals of the DI.

To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory. [ed. italics in original]

Well, it’s been 14 years and Intelligent Design is deader that last week’s meatloaf. It’s not only not accepted as an alternative, it’s a laughing stock. I know of two minor blogs and one major blog that only still exist because real scientists like to go and tweak the noses of the creationists.

There have been a few books published that have been soundly decimated by everyone. Just read the Amazon comments for the books. You can easily see after a few posts who both supports the ID notions and has no idea about science at all.

I will freely admit that some people seem to be doing something in ID sponsored labs. Of course, none of their work seems to make in peer-reviewed journals and none of it comes out and says, “This supports intelligent design.”  It’s mainly attempts to show that evolution can’t do something. Usually something that there is already evidence that evolution can and does do.

The Sensuous Curmudgeon regularly reviews the tax documents of the Discovery Institute (2010, 2011, 2012, for example). They continue to spend less than 10% of their revenue in scientific research and more than 75% on “Production of public service reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute’s own publications in the field of Science and Culture.” and “Production of public service reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute’s own publications in the field of Technology.”

So, that one is a complete fail.

To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural sciences.

I will admit to not understanding this one. Design theory is a well understood concept in many fields of human endeavor. Every field has a design theory. Architects always put the sink, stove, and fridge in an easily accessible triangle pattern. That’s a design theory.

But this is special. This, I suppose, means “Intelligent Design Theory”. Which, as we see in the goals means “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”

I admit to being curious about what a theistically designed house would look like. I thought about this for a while, then I realized that Feng Shui actually is a design theory for architecture. It’s meaningless and certainly doesn’t have any evidential support. on the other hand it still has more adherents than Intelligent Design and it actually has schools, an actual theory, and a much longer history than ID.

Before any of that second bullet can happen, there actually has to be a design theory. “God did it” is not a theory.

So that’s a fail.

To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

The “goals” are utterly ridiculous. If I wrote goals like this for work, I’d be fired.

There are major debates in life issues (health care, abortion, women’s rights, etc) and there are major debates in education (funding, place of assessments, common core). There is a fair bit of talk about personal responsibility.

And none of it has anything to do with the Discovery Institute.

There are, however, plenty of legal issues. The DI promotes various bills in state legislature that are intelligently designed to get around the idea of creationism and instead “Teach the Controversy” (which doesn’t exist) or “think critically about evolution” (which science teachers should do anyway).

These bills are called, in my circles, Dover Traps. Named after the town of Dover, Pennsylvania were Intelligent Design lost huge. Judge Jones, a conservative Republican nominated by George Bush himself, ruled that ID was religious in nature and therefore unable to be taught or promoted by schools.

These are called Dover traps, because the bills may eve be passed into law (as in Louisiana), but there is no possible way that they will survive a legal battle. While the bills, give “permission” to teachers to teach creationism, they open the door to the school being sued. Note that the Discovery Institute will not be sued. Nor will the state legislature who passed the bill into law, but the school district itself will be sued. And it will lose, costing the school millions of dollars that could be spent actually teaching children.

The Kitzmiller trial cost the small school district just over one million dollars in legal fees and damages. Though the lawyers for the plaintiffs said that was accepted, but the actual judgement should have been over two million dollars.

In every case, and there have been several since Dover, Intelligent Design has lost.

Complete fail.

Finally, there are some five year objectives in the Wedge document. Very quickly…

1. A major public debate between design theorists and Darwinists (by 2003)

First of all, science is not settled on the debate floor. No one would care if there was a debate, except for a few days entertainment pointing out all the mistakes made by the creationist.

2. Thirty published books on design and its cultural implications (sex, gender issues, medicine, law, and religion)

As far as I can tell, this is a big zero. There have been several books published by creationists since 1998, but not 30. And none of them, of which I am aware, talk about any of those issues. Although, some do mention religion and some mention law, but only in the context of making laws.

3. One hundred scientific, academic, and technical articles by our fellows

Well, I guess if you count blog and forum posts, then that counts. Peer-reviewed scientific/academic articles, there have been less than five in 14 years. If one is generous, then we could count the various “conferences” that are sponsored by the Discovery Institute, attended by DI fellows, and have only DI fellows as speakers. Of course, a bunch of those have been at churches. Two, IIRC, have been at hotels run by major universities, so that the DI can claim the event was held at “Cornell University” for example. Of course, they don’t mention that it was in the ballroom of a hotel that they had to pay for and Cornell University couldn’t have cared less who was there as long as they paid the bill.

In trying to find a list of the “peer-reviewed” papers the DI claims to have published, I found this article posted on the CSC (renamed to the Center for Science and Culture) website

In 2011, the ID movement counted its 50th peer-reviewed scientific paper and new publications continue to appear.

So, even using their own (probably overly generous) estimates, they are almost half way to their five-year goal after only 13 years.

They list all 50 papers in the article. Of those that are “peer-reviewed”, they include 7 that are published in their in-house “journal”.  Although, if you are publishing about ID, who better to review the articles that other ID supporters.

The list includes good old A.C. McIntosh, whose work I reviewed here. An amazing case of an energy engineer who publishes about biology in a journal dedicated to “Ecodynamics in particular aims to relate ecosystems to evolutionary thermodynamics in order to arrive at satisfactory solutions for sustainable development.”

It’s also amusing to look at some of the journals that have accepted their work. I think my personal favorite is this one: Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology. 

Another interesting point is that the list says things that don’t actually appear in the article. For example this article: Michael Sherman, “Universal Genome in the Origin of Metazoa: Thoughts About Evolution,” Cell Cycle, Vol. 6(15):1873-1877 (August 1, 2007).

The claim in the CSC website is

The article suggests that microevolution is at work, but that Darwinian macroevolution cannot be credited with major innovations: “Furthermore, genetic evolution in combination with natural selection could define microevolution, however, within this model it is not responsible for the emergence of the major developmental programs.” This is an evolutionary model, but it challenges the sort of unguided and random evolution inherent to neo-Darwinism, and supports an intelligent design model.

But if one actually looks at the paper…

The success of this or analogous experiments would provide strong support for the hypothesis of Universal Genome.

This isn’t a paper that comes to a conclusion. It’s actually describing an experiment that would attempt to show that front-loading is correct. Of course, the experiment hasn’t actually been done yet.

I’ll note that in looking up these papers, I found at least one (usually more than one) response to the article from actual scientists.

Continuing with the list…

4. Significant coverage in national media

This is followed by a couple of bullet points, all of which are complete fails. “PBS show such as Nova treating design theory fairly.” for example.

Let me explain. We all treat design theory fairly. We say exactly what it is and what value it has. The fact that it is crap with zero value isn’t our fault. It’s the DI’s problem. Just look at the litany of failures in their own goals.

5. Spiritual and cultural renewal:

And four more bullet points, none of which have to do with science, but do have to do with religion. “Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s) Darwinism” for example.

1. [sic]Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory

As soon as you can show it’s science, then you can teach it in my classes. And yes, the list starts over at “1” here. I don’t know why.

Louisiana is the only state to pass such a bill, though many, many states try every year.

2. Scientific Achievements

This is where they go completely off the wall and this is only one where I will list the “scientific achievements” they hope to make in five years (14 years ago).

  • … [ed note; unreadable] active design movement in Israel, the UK, and other influential countries outside the US
  • Ten CRSC Fellows teaching at major universities
  • Two universities where design theory has become the dominant view
  • Design becomes a key concept in the social sciences
  • Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory

Which of those are scientific?

As of today, August 2014, the ID movement has ONE professor at a major university. It’s only because he, Michael Behe, got tenure before coming out as an ID proponent. He doesn’t actually teach classes (A commenter says that he does teach classes and my memory of the arrangment of the Discovery Institute and Behe appears to be faulty) and his entire department has signed a statement saying they disagree with him.

The only universities which might teach design theory are religious universities.

If design had anything useful to provide any science, then it would be used. No one has found anything at all.

And, who could forget, all the laws to promote creationism.

ALL SCIENCE SO FAR!

So, in fourteen years, the Discovery Institute has managed to meet none of it’s five year goals and objectives.

I wonder why…

  • http://blogs.forbes.com/johnfarrell/ John Farrell

    On the other hand, they did manage to hire David Klinghoffer away from National Review. A net plus. (for NR that is.)

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      True. They also managed to snag that polymath Casey Luskin. Who (according to himself) is a lawyer, biochemist, and geologist.

      No one agrees with him about any of that, but it must sound good.

  • nobodobodon

    “To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural sciences.”

    I don’t think they’re looking for other theories popping up in other academic disciplines. I think they’re looking at much larger “spheres”. They key word in that sentence is “influence”.

    Look back at the second sentence of the Wedge document: The “influence” of “in God’s image” can be seen in arts and democracy and human rights and Western Civilization or whatever.

    So, what they want to see is the world at large change for the better, as a result of more people accepting ID. That’s extremely subjective, of course, but I think it’s pretty easy to call that one a fail, too.

  • Void Walker

    It’s shocking that people like Rex (eeew) make the claim that, as proponents of ID, they are non religious (or, at least, that their “designer” need not be a God), when you critically examine the formative moments behind the rise of ID. How the fuck can anyone deny the religiosity underpinning this movement? Oh….wait. These same people deny evolution. Yeah, I guess that makes sense now.

  • RexTugwell

    As of today, August 2014, the ID movement has ONE professor at a major
    university. It’s only because he, Michael Behe, got tenure before coming
    out as an ID proponent. He doesn’t actually teach classes and his
    entire department has signed a statement saying they disagree with him.

    Behe is teaching at least 3 courses with 2 biochem courses at the graduate level for a total of 9 credits. He’s also giving the only graduate level seminar required for all biological sciences graduate students called Responsible Conduct of Science. It seems you have some editing to do again, Smiley. Let’s see how long it takes you to make the correction this time. The clock is ticking.

    I guess this makes you a liar and guilty of shoddy research just like Meyer.

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      And your evidence for this is… I’m curious, because I’m looking at his page on the university website and I don’t see anything about the courses he’s teaching.

      Of course, you may be write. I’m basing this on fairly old information when Behe was being paid by a grant from the Discovery Institute to “research” ID and didn’t have to teach courses. That was 3-4 years ago. I assumed that it was continuing. Really, who in their right mind would take a biology course from someone who rejects biology?

      But OK, provide me the evidence and I’ll change it.

      As far as teaching Responsible Conduct of Science… wow. That’s quite a stretch. If they really do that, then they ought to have some serious feedback from students about that.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Interesting. I didn’t realize one could list translations of one’s book as separate entries in a vitae. http://web.archive.org/web/20080225174321/http://www.home.duq.edu/~lampe/BeheCV2.html

        “On October 10, 2005 I took a look at Behe’s expert testimony for the Kitzmiller et al. vs. Dover Area School District trial on teaching ID in the public school classroom currently underway in Harrisburg, PA. In his expert testimony Behe lists a much longer curriculum vitae than the one I used above. It contains 56 items, instead of the 17 I found initially. None of this latter material was cited in the science citation search I used or appeared in my PubMed search. I must say, the longer list is highly unusual. Among the “extra” 39 publications there are:

        translations of Darwin’s Black Box into 7 different languages (each cited as a new item);

        two web-based articles;

        9 letters, critiques, or essays in conservative political or religious magazines (Crisis, First Things, American Spectator, National Review, and The Weekly Standard);

        one poster abstract;

        at least 6 more book chapters in overtly religious books;

        lots of other book reviews, letters, etc. One quickly loses track in here.”

      • RexTugwell

        So I catch Smilodon in a lie and what does he do? He doubles down by trashing Behe even more. Absolutely priceless…and shameless. I suppose atheists by nature have no self respect so it doesn’t bother Mr. Retreat too much. So Smiley, any luck finding Behe’s course load yet? If not, you’re a worse researcher than Meyer.

        tick…tick…tick.

        Smilodon in Retreat: Lies and Shoddy Research – Round 2
        – Behe has been teaching continuously for at least the past 13 years – both spring and fall semesters. Your “information” about Behe not having to teach courses is as worthless as the rest of your current article.
        – no one looks at a faculty webpage and concludes that that professor doesn’t have a course load for the current semester.

        “someone who rejects biology” – that’s just about the dumbest thing you could say Smiley but I’m sure you’ll continue to surprise me in the future.

        Finally, if and when you write your book and it sells well enough to be published in 7 languages then you and the obscure Prof. Lampe can criticize Behe. Until then, you’ve got to find a publisher. However, based on sales of 13 Reasons to Doubt that might be a bit difficult.

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          You havne’t provided any evidence for your claim. I very well might be wrong.

          But as someone who supports and promotes Meyer’s lies and seems to have no problems with it. I don’t trust you.

          I looked at the Lehigh university website and found no course listings for Behe. You made a very specific claim. Show me.

          Again, I remember reading about the DI paying Lehigh a ‘grant’ to pay for another professor to teach Behe’s course load so he could concentrate on ID work. I may have been mistaken. It happens. But I haven’t seen any evidence to contradict it from you.

          • RexTugwell

            You’re a liar and do shoddy research. (Hmmm. That sounds familiar). You can’t even find the class schedule on a university website. I’m pretty sure the freshmen could find it.

            Some skeptic! Believing everything and anything pulled out of the ass of the Darwin rumor mill.

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          Very well, I can’t find my claim that he doesn’t teach classes. So I edited it.

          Happy?

          Now run along. Since you can’t seem to disagree with anything else.

          • RexTugwell

            Oh I disagree with a lot but I think I’ve already shown how unreliable you already are with providing accurate information about the ID movement.

  • SmilodonsRetreat

    So, Rex,

    Other than Behe’s teaching status, we’re agreed that everything else is accurate. And Behe’s teaching status really has nothing to do with ID at all… except for the fact that him teaching an “ethics of science” course is about the funniest thing I’ve read in years. If I were a student there, I’d demand he be removed from that course.

    But aside from that, everything I said about ID is accurate.

    Thanks

    • RexTugwell

      No, we are NOT agreed. Nice try though.
      “Other than Behe’s teaching status, we’re agreed that everything else is accurate.”
      Yeah, sure. You completely get Behe’s teaching status wrong because of your shoddy research but your readers are expected to believe everything else you spoon feed them.

      I’ve shown you to be a liar and an unreliable, hyper-biased commentator on all things ID. Do you still stand by your statement that Behe is the ONE professor the ID movement has at a major university? Yes or no?

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        There are fellows teaching at other universities, but they don’t do anything with ID, that I have found. Including publishing in the list of paper previously provided by the DI.

        Of their 39 fellows, there are 7 that are currently teaching science at a regular university.

        Of those 7, only Behe has actually a published paper purportedly about ID. Let’s be clear the others are conference proceedings and organizations that are about ID specifically. In other words, they are not making inroads into regular science about ID.

        Sure, there are professors at universities, even in science, that get money from the DI (assuming that’s what being a fellow means). Looking at their publication list though, they are not supportive of ID in any way. So, if you want to count anyone who mentions the word “design” and is listed as a fellow of the DI (which, I note in at least one case, is not mentioned on the professor’s vitae).

        Of course, if you really want to go that route, then you must accept that Intelligent Design is a fundamentally religious concept. Indeed, on the DI list of fellows, they specifically list all the religious work that they do as well as any science work.

        In conclusion.
        1) Behe is the only biology professor at a major university that specifically promotes intelligent design in his work.
        2) There are many other professors on the list of DI fellows in various fields including law, history, theology, nuclear physics, and engineering of various stripes. None of these have anything to do with biology.
        3) There still aren’t 10 professors in major universities. So that’s still a fail.

        I guess it all depends on your point of view.

        Now, run along. Nothing to see here, but religion trying to be injected into science and and complete failure of ID.

        • RexTugwell

          So DI is your only source for ID-friendly professors? Really, Smiley, just how opaque is the little bubble in which you live? Thanks for yet another example of lies and shoddy research. Are you sure you and Meyer weren’t separated at birth?

          For being a complete failure, you sure are obsessed with ID.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Yes, Rex. When I deal with a Discovery Institute pledge, I use Discovery Institute sources.

            Tell you what. Instead of all this playing around, why don’t you just produce the evidence that ID even exists. Then we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

            But you can’t, cause there isn’t any.

            What this is really all about, in every case, is the attempt to put RELIGION into SCIENCE classrooms. The DI and Behe, Dembski, and Meyer don’t care about science. They want religion to be prominent. They want religion taught instead of science in science classrooms. Which, is clearly illegal.

            It’s stated very clearly in this document. Sadly, there’s as little evidence of a deity, as there is for ID.

          • RexTugwell

            My condolences guys. I just read that Victor Stenger has assumed the new role of worm food last week. At least he knows whether there’s evidence of a deity or not. Happy Labor Day!

          • Void Walker

            My, how Christ-like of you.

            I’m still waiting for you to put on your big boy pants, stop being such a little coward and engage me…

            …but I realize that you’re a timid little twat, so yeah.

          • RexTugwell

            Don’t be silly, Void. Do I strike you as a shrinking violet? I’ve had plenty of debates in my time; many face-to-face. However, I’m quite content here keeping Smilodon honest and ensuring that you remain a glittering example of a “happy” atheist. Yeah, it’s pretty funny when someone has to write a book to remind atheists that they’re happy.

            Sorry but it’s more fun watching your lame attempts at baiting me.

          • Void Walker

            Actually, I’m not a fan of PZ anymore. His blog has gone downhill….

            It’s just sad that you’re so afraid of a little debate. Hell, I’d give you my email if you’re frightened of being humiliated in public. But alas….no dice. Your faith must really, really be weak. That’s rather sad…

            I actually pity you.

          • RexTugwell

            Well, Void, my faith isn’t nearly as weak as yours was. After all, I’ve read SiTC and I’m still a theist!

            No need to pity me, my friend. Just chalk my cowardice up to the random, quantum fluctuations in my brain.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            That’s because you are perfectly happy promoting lies that support your religious beliefs. There’s plenty of evidence that Meyer did the same thing in SitC as he did in DD.

          • Void Walker

            Nope, wrong again (as always).

            My faith was incredibly strong. In fact, I’m willing to bet that I know more about the bible than you do (I read it through about 4 times; still have 5 notebooks filled with….well, notes).

            The thing is, sometimes we have to grow up and abandon silly little fairy tales with no credibility. I was confronted with mountains of evidence against my faith, and struggle as hard as I could, nothing could be gleaned to save my faith. In the end, I suffered ulcers, cried a lot, and prayed (non stop) that I was wrong, and the bibble-babble was right. This, of course, was a futile effort on my part.

            Now, about you. I’m assuming you are, in fact, a grown man? You’ve made a few people by engaging in COITUS with you wifey? Do us all a solid: let your kids think for themselves. Clearly you’re incapable of doing as much, and I shudder to think of more Tugwells scampering around the world, desperately fighting to maintain their unsubstantiated dogmas. The world needs fewer morons clasping their fairy tales for one more gush of dopamine, and more rational, clear thinking individuals who aren’t you.

            But lets face it: you’re cemented in your ignorance…

            Still waiting for a chance to humiliate you via debate. Probably gonna be waiting until I’m a bloody skeleton.

          • RexTugwell

            I’m doing exactly that i.e. letting my kids think for themselves. They’re all getting a good science education and learning to think critically. My high schooler is studying genetics, astronomy and physics. The only difference is they’re not fed a steady diet of infinity-of-the-gaps or chance-of-the-gaps and don’t have a chip on their shoulders like some people I know.

            No, ours is a house of love and laughter and as a father I would be a compete failure if my kids ended up like the Three Stooges here at Smilodon in Retreat.

            btw, don’t call me a moRon!!!!!!!!

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            So, you’re going to point all the mistakes and lies that Meyer has written in his book to them?

            I can get you the links to all the mistakes and lies Meyer did in SitC as well.

            How about all the mistakes and lies from other ID and creationist sources?

            That’s the truth right? You accept those lies because they support your beliefs.

          • RexTugwell

            I’ve shown you to be a liar and a shoddy researcher. You failed in your review of DD (time to let it go) and you never read SiTC. So….

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            You’ve shown me to make mistakes. Fair enough. I corrected them, once you got around to explaining yourself.

            However, Meyer has been repeating the same mistakes for (in some cases) over a decade… even after having been told numerous times that those mistakes are wrong. Hos own ID compatriots even show that he is wrong.

            That’s called lying. It’s a problem for ID and it’s a problem for you. Really? This is the best argument that ID has? Sure, I guess when you ignore significant amounts of research and then misquote actual scientists, it looks pretty bad for evolution. But when you actually read what Meyer has ignored (as I have shown) and shown the actual quotes (as I have done), it really shows what he is.

            You support him… which shows what kind of person you are. I hold no illusions about that. And your opinions of me and my work is essentially meaningless.

          • Void Walker

            Thinking critically…you mean, like you (moron)? God of the gaps (moron)? Shoving your head up meyer’s bum (moron)? Clinging to a belief in your invisible bff (moron)?

            Um….if you raise them to think “critically”, by your own definition, they’re already as fucked as you….*cough*…..moron.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            All right, let’s all step away from name calling.

            Thanks

          • Void Walker

            He makes it so bloody hard…

            I’ll cease with my rudeness though.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Yeah, I know. So righteous and indignant… except about things that support his personal ideas. The very picture of personal bias. (Not an insult, documentable fact).

          • Void Walker

            I also find it hilarious that he thinks himself an authority on evolution….and he’s primarily read a noted crank (Meyer) who has been creamed on a number of occasions.

            I appreciate that you stick with people like him, in spite of their ignorance. You’re definitely a science educator, Smilodon. I wish there were more like you.

            (here comes a comment from Rex….wait for it… “Void, you and Smilodon should stick together LoL!”)

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            That reminds me, I definitely should ask you this.

            1) What things most helped you understand evolution?
            2) What things did you/do you most want to understand about evolution?

          • Void Walker

            Glad you asked!

            1) Richard Dawkins (the Ancestors Tale was a starter for me), Jerry Coyne (Why Evolution Is True), and Talk Origins.

            2) I’m by far most interested in A: *Specifically* how mutations add new information, from one organism to the next (the actual process of mutation; how individual genes undergo structural change), and B: The evolution of more complex central nervous systems, and what fueled such large-scale changes (an example being the expansion in cranial capacity between homo sapiens sapiens and H. erectus).

            My knowledge of evolution grows daily, and I take any opportunity to converse with a much more knowledgeable individual.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Thanks. I’ll note that. For #1 I meant what facts or bits of knowledge (genetics, fossils, etc) rather than authors. Sorry about that… too busy to write clearly.

            For #2, I’ll add it to the list. Though the CNS may be a little beyond my scope. I do plan to talk about mutations.

            I wasn’t planning on bringing up “information” as that’s mostly a red herring that generally doesn’t add much to the conversation. I know that some researchers are actively looking into the information content, but I think it would just confuse my target audience.

          • Void Walker

            To correct 1): I’ve mostly studied the fossil record (especially the Cambrian explosion), human evolution, developmental biology, etc.

            As for “information”, I’ve always found that label a tad misleading. Oftentimes, ID proponents use it in the same context as digital information or linguistically derived information, when it’s actually quite dissimilar from that (as I understand it). What would the key demarcation be between the aforementioned information (computers, language) and genetic “information”?

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            In terms of pure information, nothing. But if ID people use that, then they must accept that a simple insertion mutation is adding information.

            So, IDiots talk about information and pretend it’s real information, but what they really mean is “Meaning”. It’s not new information because the insertion mutation breaks the gene. But pure math (what information is) doesn’t care about the meaning of the data, just the information content (see Shannon Information). This is part of the reason why, for Shannon Information purposes, a 20 minute video of someone speaking has less information than 20 minutes of white noise. The random nature of the white noise cannot be as easily compressed as the speaker (which has pauses and uses the same words frequently).

            So IDiots switch between information as a mathematical concept and meaning (i.e. the proteins that genes generate) freely within their discussions.

          • RexTugwell

            I see Smiley has stepped away from the name calling for all of about 3 hours. You guys are too much! You’re killing me! But please don’t stop on my account. I’m looking forward to more.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            blah blah blah. Just keep on not supporting ID and you’ll be fine.

            Oh, I’m sorry are you someone who thinks that something, somewhen, did something to make something related to the universe or life or some parts of life happen?

            Given that you have absolutely no evidence for that belief. Then you are an ID supporter. Since you can’t actually provide evidence for ID, then you are… well… you know.

            But go ahead, show us in Darwin’s Doubt where the evidence is? Oh yeah, you failed to do that. You pointed me to chapter after chapter, all of which were filled with wrong information, quotemines, and mistakes. Who failed?

          • Doc Bill

            Every day is worse for Meyer as new discoveries keep pouring in. Recent geological studies have pushed back an increase in oxygenation of the ancient atmosphere by 60 million years, more of a refinement than a revelation. Also, new discoveries at the Burgess Shale II outcrop are pouring in with a nice stem-ish chordate that the Disco Tute intentionally mangled to make it look like an out-of-place fossil – hint, it’s not! Meyer is like the King Canut of misdirection but the facts keep rolling in despite his commands for them to retreat.

            “I see no ships,” a famous one-eyed admiral once said.

          • RexTugwell

            Void, since computer science was one of my undergraduate degrees, I’m gonna do you a solid and answer your question. Genetic information is stored, retrieved, processed and translated by the cell just like a computer would treat digital information.

            Consider the following digital code:
            01001000011000010010000001001000
            01100001001000000100110101100001
            01100100011001010010000001111001
            01101111011101010010000001101100
            01101111011011110110101100100001

            If you take the time to translate the above binary code, you will have used the same intelligently designed information processing that cells have used for billions of years to turn a sequence of A,C,T & G into a protein. Here are the parallels and you’ll see that they are certainly not dissimilar.

            hard drive = DNA
            bits = nucleotides
            bytes = codons
            ASCII table = codon table
            letters = amino acids
            words = proteins

            One of these information processing systems was intelligently designed and the other one we use every day. Which one is which? It should be easy to see why some infer ID from biochemistry.

          • Void Walker

            Rex, I asked a *scientific* question. I asked it to a *scientist*. Getting an “answer” from you is akin to asking a 4 year old to explain string theory.

            You’re really cute, though.

          • RexTugwell

            And Smiley is a scientist because he has a “science” blog? You’ve got some pretty low standards, Void.

          • Void Walker

            No, he’s a scientist because he actually knows his science. His knowledge is in depth and comprehensive. You, on the other hand, are using ID as a means of lending credence to your faith.

            See, that’s why I want to tackle the core issue with you: your *faith*. Your Christianity is the primary reason you subscribe to ID, you know this, but deny it at every turn. Some Christians turn to William Lane Craig, others turn to the old “I can FEEL Christ in my life” retort. For you, ID is the glue that’s holding your belief system together.

            I do feel, however, that were we to properly engage the core tenets of your faith that we could remove your head from your bum. But I don’t have much faith in that, unfortunately.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Except of course that the DNA/RNA code can also directly affect things in the cell (i.e. it’s not JUST bits and bytes, it’s also the processor).

            Except of course that proteins can change how the DNA is stored, organized, and expressed.

            Except of course that the codon table is highly repetitive, such that some major changes to the “hard drive” don’t actually affect the “words”.

            Except of course that different “letters” can have differing effects depending on where they are in the “words”.

            Except of course that you can often replace “letters” without changing the “words”.

            So, other than all of that, it’s exactly like a computer system.

          • RexTugwell

            Wow! I knew there’d be hairsplitting to avoid the obvious but man-o-man…that was masterful.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Interesting, so is anything I said untrue?

            You have a couple of questions before you sir. Will you avoid answering them?

            1) How many bits to describe DNA?
            2) Is anything I said about your claims of DNA untrue (explain why and support with evidence)?
            3) Where is the evidence of the designer?

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Just out of curiosity Rex, how many bits would you use for DNA-based information?

          • Void Walker

            Also, you didn’t even answer my question. I’ve known that genetic information is stored in cells since I was 10.

            Instead of answering my question directly, you step up to the ID pulpit, obfuscate, and utterly derail what was a sensible inquiry into “see! Dis iz complex so Jesus maded it!”.

            My god, man. You’re hopeless.

          • RexTugwell

            You said that digital information was dissimilar to genetic code. I showed you that you were wrong. Deal with it.

          • Void Walker

            Um….no, you didn’t.

            You failed to present a direct correlation, with concrete examples, to substantiate your claim.

            Care to try again little guy?

          • Void Walker

            Oops….Doc Bill already took you to task.

            It doesn’t take much to show what an ignorant little boy you are, though…

          • Doc Bill

            Since chemistry was one of my undergraduate degrees, I”m gonna do you a solid and answer your question. Genetic information is in no way stored, retrieved, processed and translated by the cell just like a computer would treat digital information.

            Notice in Wexy’s childish representation there is no CPU. Unless I missed something in my computer science classes, I do believe the CPU is ESSENTIAL for processing the instructions, ADD, MOV, XOR, etc. Where’s the CPU, Wexy, you great computer scientist you? Hmmmmmmm?

            Also, in computer code there is no difference between “data” and “instructions,” ain’t that right, Wexy? So, how does that work in the cell?

            Also, a computer goes through code step by step, one instruction at a time. Does a cell do that, Wexy? Hmmmmmmm? Inquiring minds want to know. (Oh, and please don’t be the pedantic prick I know you are and point out parallel processing, RISC and look-ahead. Yawn, been there and it doesn’t help your analogy.)

            Also, computers run off a clock. Where’s the clock in your analogy, Wexy?

            Let’s see, which system can self-replicate? Not the computer. Which system runs on diffusion gradients and stochastic processes? Not the computer. (Oh, and bits as nucleic acids is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read, even from Rex. I realize thinking is a challenge for old Rexy but this is really the dumbest most moronic “analogy” I’ve ever seen.) Anyway, which system can process foreign “bits”, that is, something other than A,C,G,T,U? Not the computer.

            Please, Wexy, don’t try to fix this mess. I already broke a rib laughing at your trash and I need some time to heal. I’m just glad you’re not a mechanical engineer or the cell would be like a little factory.

            Oh, wait, that’s the Disco Tute’s analogy.

          • RexTugwell

            Golly, Bill, now that you mention it, there are no display screens either in the cell!!!! I guess you’re right and I’m wrong.

            Doc, thank you for helping me refine my thoughts on the similarities between cellular information and computer code. You’re becoming a very useful idiot for me.

            The hard drive more specifically would be the sugar phosphate backbone of the DNA. The operating system of the cell is the regulatory genes and other non-coding segments. Let’s not forget the logic gates in the dGRNs – AND, OR, NOR, XOR.

            I can see by your hysterical response and laser-like level of hairsplitting that you really don’t have a clue how to answer the argument.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            A refined anaology is still an analogy and has no actual bearing on reality.

            We could argue about whether the backbone is more of a harddrive than the nucleotides, but it is still meaningless.

            Your analogy is wrong. You can fiddle with some minute details all you want. It’s still not correct.

            How many bits?

          • Doc Bill

            You still left out the clock. That’s an essential part of the computer. I was writing about how a computer actually works, something you seem to be oblivious to. Wex wite code. Put in black box. Turn handle. Get error. Error bad. Wex cwy!

            You’ve got two problems, Tuggy. First, you don’t know anything about how an actual digital computer works. That’s obvious. You’re like a person who rents a car as opposed to an automotive engineer, to mix metaphors. Second, you don’t know anything about cellular biochemistry. That is astoundingly, remarkably, starkly, blatantly obvious. Yet you have the temerity to attempt an ill-founded analogy between two subjects about which you are insanely ignorant. Bravo for trying! Really! Worst train wreck I’ve seen in a while.

            Splitting hairs? Ha! With your clumsy, ham-fisted, backwoodsy analogy it was more like splitting wood! You wrote the stupid thing and now you’ve gone back and redone it, sort of, kind of.

            Seems like I not only answered your childishly stupid argument, I crushed it under my jack boot and ground its components into the pavement.

            Come on, Tuggy, get your hand out of your pocked and give us the factory analogy. It’s a lot better, actually. Too bad you took a fall-back degree or you’d know that.

          • Void Walker

            Dear god man, don’t crush him TOO hard! I won’t have a walking bulls-eye to mess with anymore!

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            There is, of course, another point. Even if genetic code is similar to computer code (it’s not), but it is arguably digital (though, Rex has a LOT more work to do on that score)…

            IT STILL DOESN’T MEAN THERE *IS* A DESIGNER.

            It just means that some things that are designed look like things that may or may not be designed. Curiously, a bridge looks a heck of a lot like an arch between two coastal cliff faces. Some would argue that the coastal cliffs are designed as well. But that also doesn’t show any evidence that there is a designer or that they were actually designed.

            I can trivially show how the global temperature of Earth has increased as the population of pirates has fallen. That doesn’t mean that pirates are the cause of global warming.

            This is just a bait and switch. Until ID proponents show positive evidence that a designer actually exists, then all of this is just speculation.

          • Doc Bill

            Right, Void, name calling is my job!

          • Void Walker

            I suppose I’ll leave name calling up to you, Bill. You’re better at it than I am, and watching you toast Rex is always fun.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Rex has an open invitation to After the Bar Closes (as do you Void). I’ll even make him his very own thread.

            I bet he doesn’t last 12 hours before running away.

          • Void Walker

            Now that sounds like a dandy time…. (ominous music begins to play)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

    One other (minor, Rex) mistake: Louisiana is not the only state to pass a DI inspired law, Tenessee also passed one in 2012:

    http://ncse.com/news/2012/04/what-next-tennessee-007307

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      OK, I give.

  • Doc Bill

    To my knowledge, ID is not taught in any university or college, public or private or religious. When you get right down to it there’s nothing to teach. I suppose you could read one of Dembski’s books out loud in class, but that would only demonstrate the concept of a circular argument.

    Clearly the Tooters have failed in their 16-year quest to achieve their 5-year plan, but that’s not important. What’s important to the Tooters is to give the illusion of progress much like Luskin gives the illusion of having all the credentials he flaunts. This keeps the donations coming in to keep the gravy train on the tracks. The Tute doesn’t have any products. They don’t manufacture or sell anything (not much, anyway) enough to pay their salaries. They don’t take in contracts so they have no revenue other than the nickels and dimes sent in by sympathizers and a couple of large donors. Something close to 90% of the money they take in goes to “overhead” and a teeny, tiny amount goes to Biologic for supplies and green screens.

    By creationist standards the Tute is really small potatoes. Old Hambo pulls in tons more money than the Tute and he’s batshit crazy. Even the ICR sells on-line degrees for about $12,000 a pop and you know the overhead is small for that kind of operation.

    • Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

      $12,000 for a degree in thereisabookism ?

      A bargain at twice the price !

      • Doc Bill

        IKR? I thought diploma mills wewe cheap, like 20 bucks, but, no! The ICR skins ‘em real good.