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The Problem of ID’ers and Creationists

August 6th, 2008 | by Paul Merda |

Thomas Huxley, “Darwin’s Bulldog”, had this to say about criticisms:

“Two things must be obvious: in the first place, that every man who has the interests of truth at heart must earnestly desire that every well-founded and just criticism that can be made should be made; but that, in the second place, it is essential to anybody’s being able to benefit by criticism, that the critic should know what he is talking about, and be in a position to form a mental image of the facts symbolised by the words he uses. If not, it is as obvious in the case of a biological argument, as it is in that of a historical or philological discussion, that such criticism is a mere waste of time on the part of its author, and wholly undeserving of attention on the part of those who are criticised.”

Isn’t that the problem with detractors of Evolution?  They don’t even understand what it is they are criticising… 

From: Science Blogs/Laelaps

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  1. 17 Responses to “The Problem of ID’ers and Creationists”

  2. By Cranky Liberal on Aug 6, 2008 | Reply

    Can I get an Amen??

  3. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 6, 2008 | Reply

    Michael Behe, Ph.D. in Biochemistry in the field of sickle cell anemia from University of Pensylvania, post-doctoral work on DNA structure at the National Institutes of Health…doesn’t know what he’s talking about? Seriously? I’m not saying he’s right but he’s no know-nothing certificate awardee from Podunk Bible College.

  4. By Cranky Liberal on Aug 6, 2008 | Reply

    Um actually Craig yeah pretty much Michael Behe doesn’t know anything and every one of his arguments has be resoundingly shot down by people in his field. Every single one.

  5. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    I’ll at leat give Behe his due, but the fact is that only 44% of American buy Evolutionary Theory and I am fairly certain that the other 56% criticise it without actually understanding it, at all. They grab onto a few talking points from their preachers/preists and run with it without considering the evidence one bit.

  6. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    I am fairly certain that the other 56% criticise it without actually understanding it, at all.

    Tit for tat, then, I will give you your due. I think that’s fairly accurate account. Those who dis evolution have, often, quite wrong notions of what is involved. They’ve read Genesis 1. Why read Darwin or later evolutionary theorists? Since the former MUST be correct, the latter CANNOT be correct. So we get people saying evolutionary theorists posit that homo sapiens descended from apes. No, they don’t. They posit, I believe, that man descended from a common ancestor of both man and ape, present day apes having taken a different evolutionary path from that common descendant species than did man.

    Now as a matter of substance, there’s not much difference. The main point the poorly informed evolutionary critics raise is accurate: evolutionary theorists posit that man descended from “lower” species, probably much more ape-like than man-like but there’s just no better way to delegitimize one’s opinion than by basing one’s criticisms of something on mis-statements of basic facts.

    In short, the quote in the post is sound, I think.

    Therein lie the difference between critique of evolutionary theory from bona fide scientists such as Behe and those from most critics of evolutionary theory: perhaps it is true that every one of Behe’s arguments have been shot down. My point was, though, that evolutionary theorists recognized the NEED to shoot Behe’s arguments down precisely because he was not a know-nothing certificate awardee from Podunk Bible College but a scholar working in the field.

  7. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    Criticism is science is necessary even when the critic is wrong… It is how all progress in the field is made. If it wasn’t for the critics keeping the “prevailing” wisdom in check we may still be talking about how phlogisten is the substance in everything that burns.

    Yes, Craig they posit that Homo Sapiens and Apes have a common ancestor. But if you go back far enough, all life on the planet likely has a common ancestor. It’s just unlikely that science will find all of the links back to the very first cell. Though Biology/Geology has gone back 3.5 billion years to the first set of cells, its just not possible to tell which were first and whether or not several species of single celled bacterium lead to life in its different forms.

  8. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    If it wasn’t for the critics keeping the “prevailing” wisdom in check we may still be talking about how phlogisten is the substance in everything that burns.

    You mean it’s not? ;-)

  9. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    LOL!

  10. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    http://anthropology.si.edu/humanorigins/ha/a_tree.html

    The tree of human evolution…

  11. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    or this one…

    http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Primates.html

  12. By Lisa on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    Paul do you also believe that scientific studies have shown how the earth’s temperatures have gone through drastic changes over millions of years?
    Formations in rocks show that temperatures warmed up significantly in order to thaw out from the ice age.
    Do you also agree that volcanic eruptions also contribute to climate change? And also that temperature increases have shown to be caused by the release of methane gases form the ocean floor?
    I am curious to see if you are open to all these scientific studies or is it all caused by humans and therefore human have the ability to alter the climate?

  13. By Cranky Liberal on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    Yeah but see Craig my argument against Behe is that his scientific argument is flawed and offers no legit evidence to back up his claim. I don’t care if he wants to believe one way or the other, but I’m not giving him scientific credibility if his science is wrong.

    His most famous argument in favor of Intelligent Design is “irreducible complexity” as offered in his book Darwin’s Black Box. Unfortunately for Behe, scientists have driven stakes through the heart of this argument. Several times items he has claimed to prove irreducibly complex have in fact not been so.

    Listen if Behe can show real scientific evidence and back up his claims the way every other scientist does, then I have no problem with it whatever the conclusion. As you say if it wasn’t for the critics…. but a critic still has to produce valid criticism and back it up, something that Mr. Behe despite his lofty PhD has failed to do.

  14. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    Formations in rocks show that temperatures warmed up significantly in order to thaw out from the ice age.

    “…in order to…”? How about, “…resulting in a…”? “…in order to…” assumes a purposeful intent while “…resulting in a…” assumes nothing. It allows for the possibility of some purposeful agent but is neutral regarding such an actor. I doubt that you can find a single scientific study that supports that “temperatures warmed up significantly in order to thaw out from the ice age.

    nit-picky, I know, but you’re talking to someone who comes from a non-theistic place. Learn to speak his language.

  15. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    Lisa,

    I have not once said that all of the temperature increase we are seeing is cause by humans, but we are cetainly part of the problem. The fact is, that if temperatures rise too much humans in general will have a tougher and tougher time maintaining 6 billion people on this planet. This is why we MUST do something to curb it, otherwise, we may end up on an endangered species list ourselves. Yes we have the ability to shape our environment, more so than any other species which is why we have reached 6 billion people in the first place. For 10,000 years we maintained a pop of 100,000,000 until the industrial age and then modern medicine allowed us to proliferate…

  16. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    Agreed Cranky one! I didn’t say Behe was right, I merely stated that science needs to be kept honest by people who at least somewhat know what they are talking about. And yes Behe is wrong… Not only is the irreducible complexity arguement balderdash, but why on would an intelligent designer leave vestigial structures in modern animals, such as hind limbs in snakes and hip bones in whales??? Not to mention the human appendix and tonsils. Doesn’t seem very intelligent to me. In fact the vestigial structures present in some animals are further proof of Evolution by Natural Selection.

  17. By Paul Merda on Aug 7, 2008 | Reply

    Lisa,

    Just one more thing…

    The fact is that CO2 levels have increased steadliy over the years we have been burning fossile fuels. It is also a well known fact that CO2 has a higher specific heat (meaning that it can store more energy) than N2 or O2. Over the past fifty years especially, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere graph almost exactly like the increase in temp. So basically we are taking carbon that has been sequestered in the ground in the form of oil, coal and Natural gas, oxidizing it to form CO2 (burning it for energy) thus increasing overall temperature. It really isn’t that hard of a concept to understand which is why I get so flabbergasted at the resistance of people to the idea that we ARE having an effect…

    Incidentally that’s also why biofuels are better since we take carbon from the atmosphere, grow plants with it, and use the plants to make biodiesal and ethanol. No change in the amount of CO2 we would be putting in the atmosphere then… Simple really.

  18. By Lisa on Aug 8, 2008 | Reply

    Of course Paul no matter what we do is going to take time and dedication and being these ar all good ideas what we need is the leadership and the investment to get the ball rolling.
    We are starting to see the beginning of it but it will take alot being biofuels will raise costs in other areas.
    Simple to say yes.

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