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The Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the mixing-things-that-shouldn't-be dept.

3315

Mime Narrator writes "An article over at Kuro5hin discusses the controvery over the Intelligent Design movement. The Dover, Pennsylvania school board recently adopted a policy requiring that high school science teachers teaching evolution tell their students that evolutionary theory, a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life time and time again, is flawed, and that intelligent design is a valid alternative. The ACLU, along with the AUSCS (Americans United for the Separation of Church and State), and 11 parents, are suing the school board, accusing the board of violating the separation of church and state. "

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Another giant step backward... (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406064)



Honestly, just what is the deal with these fundamentalists? I have two issues with these people.

One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct, what about all these fossils? Scientists have clear evidence of the evolutionary process throughout history via these fossils...where exactly did they come from if the planet is in fact only 6000-odd years old? I've asked creationists this question, and they've actually replied that they were placed here by God to test our faith. Now, I don't know about you, but I have a serious problem with this hypothesis. I for one refuse to believe that God would give us brains capable of rational, abstract thought, and then plant fake clues to punish those of us who had the gall to use those brains to attempt to understand the world we live in. Of course, this is the same god who told Abraham to sacrifice his only son to Him, and waited until the knife was actually descending to say "Psych!".

Two, regarding the wider scope of Intellegent Design, why does that necessarily have to conflict with the established theory of evolution? This is like saying that a particular statue could not have possibly been carved by ancient man, because it is clear that it was in fact carved with a stone tool. Can't the ID folks consider the possibility that evolution is the tool God used to create us? Evolution does not disprove the existence of God.

Re:Another giant step backward... (1, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406092)

It's very funny to think that the neo conservatives go to war over oil - the compressed remains of million year old creatures, yet believes the world is young.

Re:Another giant step backward... (1, Offtopic)

wheany (460585) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406158)

I predict that this story will have 1833 comments before the it leaves the front page.

Re:Another giant step backward... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406096)

Yeah that's... Long.

Pop quick, hot shot: There's a bomb on a bus... Wait, no, that's not it. Okay, lets try this again...

Pop quiz, hot shot: How did life first begin? Where did all the matter come from?

Re:Another giant step backward... (1)

ivano (584883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406280)

errr...we don't know. But this doesn't automatically assume that the ID is correct. One of my biggest peeves is if ID is correct then please make a testable hypothesis that shows it is "more" correct than natural selection. If people can do it for different hypotheses of Big Bang theories, why not for something as fundamantal as this. It's not just a question of interpreting the same data differently (eg fossils) but also seeing which theory can explain everyday events. If ID is better then we should be able to create better drugs etc than we do now. It's not that difficult to determine which one is better as a theory.

But then the conclusion will be that maybe none are right.

Ciao

Re:Another giant step backward... (4, Insightful)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406121)

I for one refuse to believe that God would give us brains capable of rational, abstract thought, and then plant fake clues to punish those of us who had the gall to use those brains to attempt to understand the world we live in

A belief that God would punish those who use their intelligence is contradicted by the Bible. Those with brains, talent, looks, creativity, etc. etc. who do not use their gifts are considered sinful.

What would really be funny is if a fundamentalist who believed such about the fossils being a 'test' also complained about people 'picking and choosing' about which parts of the faith they believed in.

Re:Another giant step backward... (4, Interesting)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406180)

"looks" is considered a gift which if not used is considered sinful?
Is this correct in the gist of it?

Seems almost opposite to various other faiths, where women cover themselves almost completely.

Re:Another giant step backward... (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406251)

Come to think of it, I don't think "looks" is mentioned in the Bible. I consider it that way though. :)

Fair enough... (4, Funny)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406136)

Just so long as I'm equally entitled to conjecture that the Bible was placed here by Satan to test our faith in him (the true Lord).Don't think they should have a problem with that, do you?

Re:Fair enough... (1, Interesting)

acebone (94535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406277)

Parent is not a Troll - it's a logical question

Of course applying logics to test religion will often be considered trolling by those who believe

I for one cannot believe that God would... eh... hang on - I do not even believe in God (or any other sentient omnipotent being)

Re:Another giant step backward... (5, Funny)

intnsred (199771) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406153)

Honestly, just what is the deal with these fundamentalists? I have two issues with these people.

Only 2?!

Oh, I forgot. It's Monday. You must be pressed for time. :-)

Re:Another giant step backward... (4, Insightful)

Asprin (545477) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406166)


Two, regarding the wider scope of Intellegent Design, why does that necessarily have to conflict with the established theory of evolution? This is like saying that a particular statue could not have possibly been carved by ancient man, because it is clear that it was in fact carved with a stone tool. Can't the ID folks consider the possibility that evolution is the tool God used to create us? Evolution does not disprove the existence of God.

Indeed, well stated. I like the using a 'book' analogy: If you understood everything there was to know about printing, binding and reproducing books, that knowledge and understanding still wouldn't tell you anything about how to write a good one.

It's all a wind-up. (2, Funny)

The Dodger (10689) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406171)


One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct, what about all these fossils?
God put them there for a laugh. He's sittin' up in Heaven laughin' his ass off at us all getting all wound up about it. Kinda like when I tell socialists that poor people shouldn't be allowed to vote.

I for one refuse to believe that God would give us brains capable of rational, abstract thought, and then plant fake clues to punish those of us who had the gall to use those brains to attempt to understand the world we live in.
Yeah, but he's also the same God who put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and said "Right, here's the deal. You can eat anything you like, anything at all in the whoooooole Garden. Except from this tree here. Every other tree - fine. This tree - no."

He knew the gullible bint was going to eat the apple. He never had any intention of letting mankind stay in the Garden of Eden. He just wanted to be able to say "Gotcha!".


D.

Re:Another giant step backward... (1)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406179)

One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct, what about all these fossils? Scientists have clear evidence of the evolutionary process throughout history via these fossils.

As Bill Hicks put it:

Creationist (re fossils): They were put here to test our faith.
Bill: I think you were put here to test my fucking faith.

intelegant design != God (1, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406185)

I'll start by saying I am a christian so you know where I stand.

Intellegent design does not mean it was God who did it. Does not say who did it just that some intellegance did it. This is a viable theory. Don't attack it based on how religious organizations use the theory but on it's merits

In the same way evolution, based on the science, has many holes and flaws. I'm not saying it isn't true but as it is stated and follwed, there are many flaws. But, for all I know they could be flaws in our logic as people

In the end, my point is, Integgegant Design != God. It could be God, it could be alians, it could be somethign we havn't thought of.

Re:intelegant design != God (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406238)

It's like first day of a college course and the professor singles out someone to speak their mind about a subject and let them embarrass themselves in front of the class...

Re:intelegant design != God (5, Insightful)

haluness (219661) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406256)

my point is, Integgegant Design != God

Good point. If we assume that the designer is not a God, how do we explain the evolution of the designers?

The problem with ID as far as I can see is that it seems to violate Occams Razor. Now, theres no hard and fast rule, that the simplest theory is the correct one. But by including a designer I think ID is adding a whole lot of complexity based on assumnptions which don't seem to be very valid.

The alternate approach is to admit that we don't know everything about how evolution works. Fine with me - it just means we have to do some more work to find out what its all about.

Not pass the buck of onto some God figure

(Thats always something that has bugged me a little about religion [I'm atheist]. People prefer to be able to blame/pass the buck of onto something/somebody else rather than just say 'I don't know'. But then again, thats their choice)

INTEresting IDEAS! THose thoughts nevr occurred2me (-1, Troll)

u-238 (515248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406188)

oh shush up slutty mcfatkins

its sad to think people pay subscription money so you could write trite claptrap,

measly karma whore

Evolution does not disprove the existence of God (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406193)

I didn't think that evolution was supposed to disprove the existence of God.
That is like saying the 'theory of kindly parents' disproves the existence of the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy may enlist parents to replace teeth with money or the parents may ring up the tooth fairy whenever (s)he is needed. It is notoriously difficult to prove a negative, but which is the most likely situation?
I would like to see the religious people refer to their 'Theory of God'.

Re:Another giant step backward... (0, Flamebait)

Viperion (569692) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406203)

Fossils came from the catastrophic, world wide flood described in Genesis 7:17 through 7:24. (Reference) [bible.org] And if you study fossilization, I believe that you would find that the catastrophic answer makes more sense (I am not a Geologist or Palentologist, however.)

Two, ID is a broad and varied ideology. Some ID proponents do claim exactly what you claim.

I find it interesting that you can draw some fairly accurate parallels between Galileo and some modern day ID proponents. Science's foundation is the questioning of established ideas, not the dogmatic defense of them. C'mon, people, take your evolutionary blinders off for a moment, and examine the two theories critically, instead of spasmodically twitching whenever anyone mentions ID.

Re:Another giant step backward... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406262)

ID isn't a theory. It's a wild-ass-guess. And it has been examined by the scientific community; it took about 1 minute.

Re:Another giant step backward... (4, Insightful)

cyranoVR (518628) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406213)

One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct, what about all these fossils?

Silly, God put them there on purpose to test the Faith of his children!

Or was it Satan..?

Anyway, the point is: Stop thinking for yourself!

Re:Another giant step backward... (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406229)

What I don't get is why these freaks can't just accept the idea that perhaps evolution is part of whatever "intelligent design" they believe in?

If I can knock over a thousand setup dominoes by ticking over just the first one, then surely some "supreme being" can do the same on a more grand scale?

Really, "intelligent design" is so incredibly beside the point here. Evolution has nothing to do with the big bang, which could have been created by anything. I'll even concede that religious people could be right on some minor level (that something outside of or concept initiated the beginning of life as we know it) - but that has nothing to do with evolution of life and the world around us after that point.

This is like requiring that every person who takes driver's education be taught all about the life of Henry Ford, which has absolutely nothing to do with driving, driving laws and safety.

Re:Another giant step backward... (3, Informative)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406239)

One, if a literal interpretation of the Bible is correct

Very, very, very few Christians believe that the bible is literally correct. If the Bible says "and the mountains sang with joy", does that mean that they grew wind pipes and sand a song? No. The Bible deals in metaphor, and a huge percentage of Christains believe so.

Scientists have clear evidence of the evolutionary process throughout history via these fossils...where exactly did they come from if the planet is in fact only 6000-odd years old

Scientists have clear evidence, but you should be clear. It is not perfect. Anomolies that are currently unexplained do pop up from time to time.

Of course, this is the same god who told Abraham to sacrifice his only son to Him, and waited until the knife was actually descending to say "Psych!".

Depends on which faith you subscribe to. Many Christians follow a line of teaching that describes the Old Testament like you would a work of fine literature. Instructive. The Old Testament, especially the The Law or pentateuch, are considered to be of value only for historical reasons: they applied only to prepare the Chosen people for the coming of Christ. So the story, for example, of Abraham and creation were preperations for the coming of Christ. This is why, for example, even devout Christians do not keep kosher while devout Jews do: the period of preperation and sacrifice ended when Christ was recognized as the saviour.

This is important. For many Christians, the creation story is unimportant. It is part of the Old Testament, and to be regarded as a piece of historical - aka old - literature. It is useful in establishing tradition, and in learning how our ancestors lived, but otherwise, it is not The Word Of God.

Even for the gospels - the New Testament - we have four recognized versions.

For most Christians, this is not an issue. Evolution is a thoery that seems close enough to fact. Creationists will argue against the merits of Darwinian evolution all day, and will be right. The working theory of evolution is based on Darwinian thinking, but it didn't just stop there. It is highly refined, and able to empiraclly observed.

However, the real issue is, what do we teach? You teach the fact, with respect for dissenting viewpoints, just like any other topic. If you are discussing the birth place of a famous person, and there exists some doubt about the location, most decent textbooks discuss the question. Evolution and counter-evolutionists should work the same way. There are holes in the most complete theory of evolution. They should be addressed. You can point out it is a theory that is not able to entirely proven, like a mathematical equation might be.

You are right to say evolution doesn't disprove the existence of God.

Provable? (2, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406073)

Evolution has been shown to be very accurate throught the past century. Granted there might be small little holes in the theory, but Intelligent Design is swiss cheese comparatively.

Re:Provable? (2, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406161)

Just like religion. It's a bunch of made up bullshit with so many holes in it the only way someone can be stupid enough to believe is to call it "faith".

It's sad really that people live their lives in fear of what will happen after death than how they can make the world a better place for everyone while they are alive. Religion is the root of all evil.

Please mod up? (0)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406214)

how is this a Troll?

Evolution is intelligent design (5, Interesting)

Kim0 (106623) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406076)

By this, I mean that the process of evolution is a thinking intelligent process. Or to state it another way: Evolution is intelligent.

This means that all signs of evolution also will be signs of intelligent design, simply because evolution is a form of intelligence.

So, instead of the intelligence reciding in the metaphysical head of a super
natural being called God, it resides in DNA and their interactions with the
world through life and death.

All this according to the Kolmogorov Complexity definition of intelligence.

Intelligence is the process of rationally building and testing theories about
the world, and then using those theories for useful stuff. DNA is mutated,
recombined, merged through sex, and otherwise changed. These changes are
hypotheses about the world, in the form of new life forms trying to survive
there. Thus life forms which do not reproduce are falsified hypotheses. The
useful stuff is survival.

As for those people preaching intelligent design:

They are all religious, and do not know what theories or evolution are. They
just pretend and believe they know. Remembering this, they are easily exposed,
as long as you yourself really know what theories and evoution are.

Kim0

Re:Evolution is intelligent design (-1, Flamebait)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406116)

I think it's clearer just stick to the usual definition of "intelligent design" - i.e. God made adam and eve literally and we didn't come from apes.

Otherwise you are redefining the terms and arguing from there - not the clearest way to argue.

Re:Evolution is intelligent design (1)

Kim0 (106623) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406234)

>Otherwise you are redefining the terms and arguing from there - not the clearest way to argue.

So, I am redefining the term "intelligent design" by pointing out that evolution can design intelligently.

Kim0

Re:Evolution is intelligent design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406266)

No it can't. It's just search.

Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (2, Insightful)

kikta (200092) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406077)

So, are we supposed to have a good academic discussion about where we stand on the issue or are we supposed to flame anyone who is a proponent of Intelligent Design?

Because the summary seems predisposed towards the latter.

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406101)

Intellegent Design is equivilent to saying the world was created magically.

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406114)

"good academic discussion" and anything involving "creationism" or "intelligent design" are mutually exclusive.

ID-proponents wouldn't know a good, academic discussion if they evolved from it.

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (5, Insightful)

rknop (240417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406131)

What's the difference?

Seriously, it's apples and oranges. Intelligent design is not science. It's religion. It doesn't belong in a science class. It might be a nice idea, but it's not a real theory in the sense of the word as used by science.

Intelligent design is not a viable alternative to evolution. It is a viable alternative to young-earth creationism, perhaps. But it's not something for which there is scientific evidence.

Having a good academic discussion which debates the merits of Intelligent Design as a scientific theory would be on the same level as a good academic discussion that debates the merits of the Apollo's chariot model as a scientific theory for the observed motion of the Sun across the sky.

-Rob

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (0, Flamebait)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406184)

Intelligent design is not science. It's religion. It doesn't belong in a science class.

Wrong. People love to think that evolution is the complete explanation of life as we know it, and want to teach that as "science" and as fact. However, we still have so little true understanding about the origins of life. Assumptions are made about the first instant of life, but it cannot be recreated in a lab.

Fact is, we will probably never know for sure. However, true science is the scrutiny of all possibilities of that which we do not know. Dismissing Intelligent Design as not being science is the same as dismissing theories of a round world revolving around the sun as heresy. It's base, uninformed, and - wait for it - close minded.

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (5, Insightful)

jonathan_ingram (30440) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406261)

Dismissing Intelligent Design as not being science is the same as dismissing theories of a round world revolving around the sun as heresy.

No, it isn't. One of the key factors (or, according to some people, the only key factor) which distinguishes a scientific theory from a superstition is the notion of testability and falsifiability. How can you test the doctrine of intelligent design? Don't say that it's not important -- if you can't test it, then it doesn't belong in science.

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (5, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406155)

I don't think it's possible to have a good academic discussion about it. You either believe that in the scientific principles (all theories must be falsifiable to be valid, and occam's razor.. roughly ;) ) and so think this is wrong, or you don't believe in that, and hence cannot be argued with via logic and so cannot have an academic discussion.

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406267)

I seem to be predisposed towards that the earth is almost a sphere.

For most thinking people that assumption is not considered as being subjective.

Re:Summary = [-1, Flamebait] (1)

DoubleWhopper (871075) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406281)

It's flames, friend. Not just for Intelligent Design advocates, but for any idea that has a hint of conservatism. Slashdot, the harbor for open-minded geeks, is remarkably intolerant of such people and ideas.

Degenerate, mind warping scum. (2, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406085)


"Intelligent Design" is nothing more than an effort by christian mythologists to keep their invisible man relevant. I'd like to ask these ID kooks just what god it is that developed all that they propose? Certainly they aren't speaking of Hindu gods or Egyption gods, they're pushing their own brand of myth on hungry minds. Any teacher that propagates that rubbish should have their teaching credentials revoked as they aren't putting the best interests of the students first.

The "christian taliban" will stop at nothing to keep the money flowing to the coffers, perpetuating the ignorance for another generation is the only way to guarantee it.

Hee, my "Friends/Foes" mail should be entertaining tonight. :)

Re:Degenerate, mind warping scum. (1)

haluness (219661) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406144)

I'd like to ask these ID kooks just what god it is that developed all that they propose?

This is a very good point. Would ID'ists accept Hindu versions of creation? Buddhist versions? Muslim versions?

Or is ID only valid for Christian gods?

Re:Degenerate, mind warping scum. (2, Insightful)

jasondlee (70657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406282)

There are ID scientists who are not Christians, so, yes, the Designer in ID can, in theory, be $DIETY. However, *Christian* ID supporters, by nature of our Christian faith (note: I'm not a scientist) believe this Designer is the God of the Bible and no other. You can't reasonably claim to be a Christian and believe otherwise.

However, this whole line of question dodges and clouds the issues. The vast majority of /.ers, it seems, are not people of faith. So, rather than having an intelligent design about the merits of the *idea* ID (whether you believe it or not), the discussion turns into an attack on the *people* who believe it. "Those darn fundies!" "When are those crazy Christians going to give up?" *Rarely* is the *scientific* idea of some sort of designer (note the case) ever discussed rationally. And I think ID is a rational idea (faith aside). Our own scientific laws shows that everything comes from something. Where did this point of singularity come from? What created all that mass? Has it always existed? That would would violate one scientific "law" after another. But, if something, *has* always existed, is it matter, or an eternal god. *Either* choice requires a good deal of faith, and, I think, the idea of an eternally existent deity to make much more sense.

Indian Creation Myths (1)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406204)

Well, maybe not Myths...

I agree. We should have a whole chapter dedicated to each of the gods of creation- how Zeus came about, whom birthed whom, etc. Better still, limit it to a single chapter that encompases every single creation myth by every religion- then cut it down to 35 pages that a normal chapter is. Maybe even less with graphics.

I for one would appreciate learning about our Native American's thoughts on creation. I wish I had learned; I probably would have prefered them to learning about how the fault of all man kind's problems can be laid down at the foot of a seductive woman.

But then one day I woke up and said "Huh, this doesn't make sense anymore" and haven't looked back.

Re:Degenerate, mind warping scum. (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406220)

The "christian taliban" will stop at nothing to keep the money flowing to the coffers, perpetuating the ignorance for another generation is the only way to guarantee it.

Oh come now, there hasn't been a militant Christian theocracy created by young fundamentalist students in a few centuries.

Re:Degenerate, mind warping scum. (1)

PooR_IndiaN (876413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406246)


"christian taliban"

Think, atleast for a moment, before you use two words so fundamentally different in the same sentence. Media stories of the taliban are rather soft, and, trust me, you would not want to know what it's like under the taliban

Why was parent moded up? (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406254)

This is moded up as interesting?

This is clearly attacking something he does not agree with. Would this not be flamebait?

Just because you don't agree with Intellegant Design does not mean it's not a theory with real merits. And to tie it to a God. Your on /. and you should have seen pleanty of sci fi movies where the intellegant design was alians. Mod the parent down.

Next by Hemos: Man Travels by Train! (5, Funny)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406087)

C'mon, first "Load List Values for Improved Efficiency", now "Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design" (strikes again, yawn)?

What next? "Serious Doubts About Pyramid Schemes"? "Scientist Uses Paper to Wipe Ass"?

Re:Next by Hemos: Man Travels by Train! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406219)

"Scientist Uses Paper to Wipe Ass"

Paper? What the hell am I doing with these three seashells then?

Re:Next by Hemos: Man Travels by Train! (1)

radja (58949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406225)

ofcourse, no self-respecting scientist would use paper. the preferred solution is a live budgerigar. more absorbant than paper, selfcleaning and 100% organic.

Don't call it pseudoscience because it isn't (5, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406089)

Intelligent design essentially reduces to this:

Fact 1. The universe is extremely intricate and complicated

Fact 2. We design things such as automobiles or aircraft that are intricate and complicated.

Which leads to the conclusion:

Conclusion 1: Everything that is intricate and complicated must have a designer.

Conclusion 2: Conclusion 1 indicates that the universe requires a designer.

Conclusion 3: God is that designer.

(Western) Conclusion 4: This designer is the God as described in the Holy Bible.

The real failure of the argument is in Conclusion 1. It amounts to saying "I have absolutely no idea why the universe is complicated, therefore God did it." When a person studies physics, Conclusion 1 becomes even more untenable. There are many very simple systems that give rise to very complex behaviour. Consider the Newton-raphson method for finding roots of a polynomial. The method goes "pick somewhere close to the root and then start iterating and the iteration will take you to a root". If you're brighter than I was at school, you might have asked: "Okay, but how can I guess where the root is mathematically so I can start the process." The answer is far more http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/newton / [slashdot.org] ">complex than you think.

And besides, if Conclusion 1 is true then surely God is intricate and complicated and thus needed a designer. To which the theist replies: "God doesn't need a designer, It's God". To which I respond: "If God doesn't need a designer, why does the universe? Why not just cut out God and proclaim that the universe is undesigned? And there in is the true failing of intelligent design.

Another argument comes from the fact that the universe seems fine tuned to life. This a bit premature. First of all, we can't even show life is possible in our universe from first principles; that is, taking the complete set of the laws of physics and using it to simulate life at the atomic level on a super-computer. How can we be so sure life couldn't exist in some form with different laws of physics? My second objection is that we should expect life to depend heavily on physics. As an example, the proteins that deal with the replication of DNA are quantum optimised, the speed at which they move down the DNA is the minimum allowed by quantum mechanics. There is also evidence that the machinary uses quantum mechanical tunnelling to halve the error rate during copying. I'd argue that the fact that life depends so heavily the laws of physics being exactly right is a product of selection - there is a distinct advantage in exploiting the physics of the universe. In the begining of life, the instruments of life were probably a lot cruder.

As an atheist, I am alarmed when people try to mark religious belief as science. I don't mind you having religious belief, but if the US wants to remain a technological super-power you've got to make sure your children are taught cold, hard science. By letting the cherrished beliefs of a few cloud the judgement of the youth on an entire nation, everbody loses out. As a scientist, I enjoy having the key theories questioned but it becomes annoying when such a throughly discredited theory as Intelligent Design is peddled again and again without the proponents bringing any new ideas to the table.

Simon

Re:Don't call it pseudoscience because it isn't (4, Interesting)

rknop (240417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406173)

"I have absolutely no idea why the universe is complicated, therefore God did it."

Exactly. It's an argument through ignorance. It's just like many other things in the past which weren't explained by science, and have since been been explained by science. Well, not really, becasue we already do understand how complexity can arise from evolution, so it's even worse than that.

As an atheist, I am alarmed when people try to mark religious belief as science.

As a Christian, I am too.

-Rob

Re:Don't call it pseudoscience because it isn't (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406247)

Without flaming you....

As a Christian, do you agree that ID should be taught in schools, or that (at the risk of making it a loaded question) church and schools should be separate?

Re:Don't call it pseudoscience because it isn't (1, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406198)

Conclusion 1: Everything that is intricate and complicated must have a designer.

Conclusion 2: Conclusion 1 indicates that the universe requires a designer.

Conclusion 3: God is that designer.

(Western) Conclusion 4: This designer is the God as described in the Holy Bible.


Psst...you forgot one:

Conclusion 5: Profit!!!!

Re:Don't call it pseudoscience because it isn't (1)

mostlyalmighty (591787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406200)

It is also a logical fallacy to say that facts one and two imply conclusion one.

Re:Don't call it pseudoscience because it isn't (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406212)

I agree on your thinking on so-called "Intelligent Design," but I believe that atheism (while possibly correct) is itself a faith. How could one account for an omniscient, omnipotent god who does not wish to be found? Consider a fiction story that you write. Having created that "universe," you are its "god." If you didn't want the characters to be able to prove your existence, they would never be able to. One major benchmark for how much I respect someone's beliefs is how readily they admit "...but I might be wrong."

Er (1)

Leperous (773048) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406095)

Huh? Where's it flawed, except for the part where we haven't seen anything macroscopic in front of our eyes? (which we haven't expected to see in the ~150 years since this theory was first postulated). Why can't it happen, and why the hell do these stupid creationists keep eschewing very grounded scientific theories just because they think the Bible is literal truth, even though it doesn't claim itself to be?!

"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along." (-1, Troll)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406105)

"In other news: The ACLU and 11 parents have successfully sued Slashdot for relating evolution to a theory."

Seriously though - although there are going to be hardcore people who post how wonderful and complete and all-telling evolution is, it is a theory people. Theory. It still has holes, giant unexplainable holes. Intelligent design is simply stating that certain things in life - like DNA - are simply too complex to have been formed by some amino acids randomly millions of years ago. It doesn't necessarily propose a God figure, but SOME intelligence behind our design.

I for one welcome intelligent design as an alternate theory. Evolution has never sat right with me.

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406140)

oy. Evolution is NOT a theory - natural selection is. And that has been fine tuned with neo-darwinism anyway, to give a more complete explanation for the mechanisms behind evolution.

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406264)

Dumbass:

"In common parlance the word "evolution" is often used as a shorthand for the modern synthesis of evolution, including the theory that all extant species share a common ancestor." - From Wikipedia entry on Evolution [wikipedia.org]

Evolution IS, and has always BEEN a theory.

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406147)

I for one welcome intelligent design as an alternate theory. Evolution has never sat right with me.

So because it makes you feel good it's better?

It doesn't necessarily propose a God figure, but SOME intelligence behind our design.
Next question : how did that intelligence get to be?

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406150)

Actually, as a biologist, I can tell you, they're tiny, technical holes, not giant unexplainable ones.

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406167)

Perhaps you should change your nick to:

IAmTehDumb

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (1)

haluness (219661) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406175)

It doesn't necessarily propose a God figure, but SOME intelligence behind our design.

Having alternate theories is all very nice - but the the problem with ID as an alternate theory is it is recursive and infinitely so. If there is some 'intelligent design' behind our existence, there is a designer. So how does the designer come to be?

The only way I can see out of this is to have an arbitrary stopping point, viz., a God figure.

After that, the flames start :-/

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (1)

Kim0 (106623) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406182)

Look at this:

jnvÇ=ïÆT&ð;¥¾KÃü?xG/U4ÌJñ5î90o9B2ÁEiØÆØ

Definitely complex.

It was generated randomly.

Random stuff is complex. Therefore, randomnes could have made complex stuff.

Kim0

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406187)

It still has holes, giant unexplainable holes.

As opposed to Intelligent Design, which simply answers all questions with "God"? That's more Simpsons that sound thinking.

Frink: Yes, over here, m-hay, m-haven... in episode BF12, you were battling Barbarians while riding a winged andalusia yet in the very next scene my dear, you're clearly atop a winged arabian! Please do explain it!
Lucy Lawless: Uh, yeah, well whenever you notice something like that.. a wizard did it!
Frink: Yes, alright, yes, in episode AG04..
Lucy Lawless: Wizard!

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (2, Informative)

Xrikcus (207545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406199)

Yes it is a theory, by the scientific definition, in the same way that ID does not qualify as a theory, it is merely a hypothesis. Theory in science does not mean "unproven", remember.

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (1)

Elkboy (770849) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406218)

The bible and christianity are full of gaping holes, logic and otherwise. I don't hear anyone proposing teaching islam or buddhism as alternate religion just because you don't have all the answers.

Also, you say "unexplainable" holes. You must mean "unexplained" - as in so far unexplained, or unexplained like previous holes that are now filled. Big difference.

Re:"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along (4, Insightful)

rknop (240417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406270)

it is a theory people. Theory. It still has holes, giant unexplainable holes.

This also describes gravity.

General Relativity is a theory, in the same sense of the word as evolution is a theory. So is Newton's theory of gravity.

We know Newton's theory of gravity is "wrong" because in places where it makes divergent predictions from GR, observations show GR to be right. Of course, Newton's theory is a limit of GR, and the fact that it is "wrong" doesn't stop us from predicting the motions of planets or of spacecraft.

We know that GR is "wrong" because it makes nonsensical predictions in areas where it must be mixed with Quantum Mechanics (another well-tested and well-verified scientific theory). But, once again, it works extremely well where it works.

So you could say that our theory of gravity is full of holes, giant unexplanable holes, and you would be right. But that doesn't mean that I can't succesfully predict that if I drop my keys, they are going to go down. It doesn't mean that I can't explain the formation of stars through the gravitational collapse of molecular clouds.

We don't know everything, but we know something!

In fact, although we can make far more precise predictions with our theory of gravity than we can with our theory of evolution, in some sense evolution is on less shaky ground than our current theory of evolution. After all, we don't have very strong evidence that the theory of evolution is wrong somewhere, but we do for gravity!

You ID and Creationism. advocates need to get over this term "just a theory" that you use. It just shows ignorance. You need to realize that the popular use of the word "theory" (to mean "speculation") is extremely different from the scientific use of the word "theory" (to describe an explanation of natural processes which may be extremely well tested and well understood).

-Rob

That's sweet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406108)

It just means there will be fewer well educated people from the state of PA. if the community feels they need to go back to the dark ages, they have every right to do so. when their children can't compete for jobs and are a laughing stock of the nation, they'll know who to blame.

Proof (4, Funny)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406120)

No intelligent designer or engineer would put a waste pipe across a recreation area.

Re:Proof (1)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406230)

Imagine then, as an engineer, the logical place to put the anus would be as far as possible from the mouth and recreational zones - methinks taking a dump from the middle back (or front) whilst uncomfortable, would at least give the creator a chuckle or two.

That's just silly (5, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406124)

requiring that high school science teachers teaching evolution tell their students that evolutionary theory, a theory that has been shown to explain the origins of life time and time again, is flawed

I teach physics. Every theory in physics is most likely flawed. In fact, every theory in natural science is flawed. Should I have to point it out again and again?

said it before and I'll say it again (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406126)

We'll say that in our classrooms when your ministers say "God is a theory, not a fact" on their pulpits.

And fundies, just to pre-emptively shoot down your argument that taxes pays for these schoolbooks and so you shouldn't be forced to read that stuff, consider it a fair exchange for all of the tax exemptions that the church gets. Dollar for dollar, you guys are getting off EASY.

OKAY! (2, Interesting)

u-238 (515248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406127)

why the fuck?

here's a revelation:

DON'T GIVE THEM ATTENTION

http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/klee/misc/sla shdot.html

Not Enough Philosophy in Science (5, Insightful)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406132)

Seriously, that's what the problem is. With most schools teaching science only as 'a body of facts', why should we be surprised how faith-based things like ID gain ground?

We need to be teaching kids about the scientific method, the scientific process. Popper etc. The importance of skepticism and falsifiability.

If they still have the impression that the fact that Evolution is a theory represent a weakness, not a decisive strength, then how can we win?

Re:Not Enough Philosophy in Science (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406178)

As a philosopher, I could not agree more. Of course, I would prefer more courses on metaphysics, but what is the philosophy of science, more than applied metaphysics?

I just don't get it. (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406134)

How can anyone who's looked at the evidence believe this stuff? It doesn't require giving up faith in the deity of your choice, either. (After all, atheism is unprovable.) What next, equal time in schools for the geocentric hypothesis, since that's alluded to in the "Bible," too? Really, people. Use some sense...

Give it a rest (3, Insightful)

Potor (658520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406135)

As retarded as ID is, I see no point in discussing it here on /.

ID has nothing to do with science, and /. is obsessed with science.

The extent of any intelligent conversation with ID must be limited to the above. Anything else is not only superfluous, but also in danger of ennobling those quacks.

pick your site. (0)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406275)

I see no point in discussing it here on /.

I agree on a different bases: pick your site: k5 of /. You should discuss it one one, not the other. choose k5 for your monthly well balances articles, and /. for your daily quotem of troll articles.

I get totally confused if /. articles make ik to k5 and vice versa.

It'll never end. (2, Interesting)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406138)

I have a coworker, a man I deeply respect, who has told me he has lived his life by listening to an inner voice that guides him.

That, in itself isn't bothering. He's a story about how he was living semi-nomadic, moving from job to job, and when it came time to move south he went to take a position doing radio towers (he'd done it every year). This year, however, his 'voice' told him to skip it.

The crew that ran the towers was killed when a freak gust of wind knocked them off. The owners brother, who was filling in because they were short handed, was killed as well.

Which makes you not wonder why a repeated event like that would lead someone to believe there is a higher power granting directions to you.

He also went on to tell me he believed in the great flood and that the bible talks about life on other planets, and how those aliens came to earth and impregnated our women to form the scourage that was wiped clean with said flood.... but like I said, I respect the man deeply.

I just don't agree with him.

Re:It'll never end. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406274)

I have a coworker, a man I deeply respect, who has told me he has lived his life by listening to an inner voice that guides him.

"Caaaaaaaaarl. Caaaaaaaaarl. Kiiiiiiiiiiill your coooooooooooo-wooooooooooorkers..."

Separation of Church and State (-1, Troll)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406152)

Coming off of a month-long IP ban, but what the hell...

I too disagree with the Dover school board's decision (I actually live rather close to there), and I understand the merits of keeping religious beliefs out of our government processes.

However I'm puzzled by this "separation of church and state" clause that, as far as I know, exists NOWHERE in any of this country's founding documents.

Various groups have used this imaginary clause in their personal vendettas against organized religion to wipe it from all public view. I don't think the ACLU and other groups who often invoke "separation of church and state" have much constitutional ground to argue from.

If these groups want a constitutional amendment that outright forbids a government entity from even mentioning organized religion, then fine. But for now, the establishment clause (which essentially holds that government cannot establish an official religion) does not say what these groups think it does.

Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406154)

Pseudoscience of Intelligent Design? I'm guessing the insanely biased headline is a sign for all the slashdotters out there that this is simply a topic for attacking Christians? If I wanted to read threads about rabid antichristian seniment, I'd visit Fark.

Bravo, Hemos.

European school (4, Interesting)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406156)

I spend my high school time (12-18) at a catholic school in Europe.
In biology we spent a lot of time learning about evolution. When those classes where over, the teacher said he was obligated (well, don't know by who actually. School or govn.) to mention intelligent design. It took him no more than two minutes, and the entire class had a good laugh.
At the time I was surprised that he had to mention it, though.

Oh puhhleese! (1, Funny)

Golobarti (733832) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406157)

Everyone knows that the world was created ~4000 years ago in 6 days, complete with dinosaur fossils thrown in to mix up the heathens advocating the theory of evolution. Anyone claiming otherwise is jeopardising his/her immortal soul and will be chained to a computer running Windows(TM) with no friendly Microsoft tech support to explain the shortcomings of the hardware that causes the BSOD's...

Just ridiculous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406160)

Go and read Inherit the Wind. All the arguments against evolution were thoroughly debunked decades ago.

Yes, there are things in this world that are not (yet) explained by science. That doesn't mean that a supernatural force was involved, just that we have more to learn and discover.

Most people, if asked, could not tell you how a TV, car or computer works. That doesn't indicate a supernatural influence, just that these people are ignorant.

Open mind? (-1, Troll)

miknight (642270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406176)

Isn't this just promoting an open mind? All this talk about how creationism == loony bin reminds me of how poor Galileo must have felt.

Re:Open mind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406244)

You're confusing the roles here. In this case, the creationist's minds are closed. The creationist opinion was actually the ruling one for quite a number of centuries and Darwin was more like Galileo.

Also, your mind should never be so open that your brain falls out.

A rational debate (2, Interesting)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406190)

Greg Graffin (of Bad Religion fame) has been working on a project to survey academic opinion on biological origins. You can check out some of the process here:

http://www.cornellevolutionproject.org/ [cornellevo...roject.org]

I have a copy of the dissertation itself...I might scan it and post it in the name of free exchange ideas, although it would be somewhat dishonnest.

ID people are not (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406191)

I've discussed with many a creationalist and intelligent design nut jobs.

Funny thing is, every person i've ever met who believed in intelligent design, where the LEAST intelligent people I have ever met....

Religions are for the weak minded simpleton cattle of the general society who have no concept or clue how the universe works, so it of course much easier to just say 'god did it'.

Its not a theory (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406206)

Evolution is a fact, not theory, people seem to forget that virri evolve all the time (eg bird flu jumping to people, new shit like SARS ect.) people don't evolve as quickly for 2 reasons 1 we are far more complex 2 modern medicine keeps the weak alive.

For example if a disease were to come along and wipe out most of the human race leaving only those few who were immune in the first place, that would be an evolutionary step because future generations would have an evolved immunity to that virus.

Futurama said it best (1)

portwojc (201398) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406209)

When you do things right people will wonder if you've done anything at all.

ID isn't a theory (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406216)

The main problem I have with pushing ID in a science class is that it is not treated as such. For it to be a scientific theorem and not religion, it has to have the ability to be proven wrong. Evolution can be disproven but there is nothing in ID that cannot be argued away with the argument that "God put it there to test our faith." This argument belongs in a Theology or at best an English class.

Compromise doesn't always work (4, Insightful)

amorico (40859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406223)

It seems that school boards often do this to reach some sort of compromise due to political pressure from religious groups.

The idea that there can be some sort of fair time given in science classes to religious theories is flawed.

If a religion posits that "number theory is only a theory", and comes up with some religious alternative, then should math classes give them equal time?

What determines the validity of an alternative viewpoint? Popularity?

Though it may seem otherwise, anti-intellectualism and the desire to subvert bodies of knowledge to preconceived notions is really no more prevalent than it ever was. That is the problem. Aren't we supposed to be advancing?

I wish there were Secular Humanist [secularhumanism.org] organizations exerting more influence on our school boards.

Atheism also a religion (-1, Troll)

schroedogg (596283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406231)

The original intent of separation of church and state was to ensure that there would be no state mandated religion. That's what happens in communist countries where there is an official state church and any who wish to have religion must believe as the state church or they are persecuted. Look at China and the former Soviet Union.

Atheism is then as much a religion as Islam, Christianity, and others. I find it ironic that the ACLU in fighting for separation of church and state is actually fighting against it by trying to keep the atheistic view of evolution at the core of our science curriculums. Intelligent design is such an open ended idea that it could even include the possibility of evolution that started with a creator. By requiring teachers to suggest that the atheistic view of evolution is not 100% fact, the school board is actually trying to uphold the idea of separation of church and state.

While they're at it... (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406236)

I'd like them to start teaching my alternatives [virginia.edu] to Schwarzschild metrics when they're discussing general relativity theory in their high school physics class.

Intelligent Design is Atheistic (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406241)

If you are going to use logic that Intelligent Design is likely because it looks that way, you'd have to admit, by the same logic, that is almost infinitely more likely to have be created by a non-entity species than to believe some sort of God did it. Just because it looks like God doesn't make it so. Using science, they draw the wrong conclusion, because of the millions of products humans manufacture. They also all look to be designed, but nobody jumps to the conclusion that God made my stapler.

It's not only not-science, but an extremely flawed Philosphy.

Religious Beliefs dictate programmer quality (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12406252)

Best Programmers - C, ADA, LISP
------
Pure Atheists
Christian/Muslim/Hindu Fundamentalists
Orthodox Jews

Average Programmers - C++, PERL
------
People who believe in God(s) and attend services on major religious holidays.

Poor Programmers - VB, JAVA
------
Agnostics

The difference between theories (2, Informative)

mo26101 (518770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12406257)

With Intelligent Design, the proponents start with a conclusion and try to find a way to get the facts to fit the conclusion. With Evolution, the proponents are taking the facts and trying to find a conclusion that fits the facts.

The theory of Evolution is not perfect, but as a theory based in the scientific method, it is able to change as we learn.
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