What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

Apparently a couple months ago, the Council of Europe decided to blast intelligent design in favor of materialism (see the full report here).  Thank God this was tabled, as reported by the Discovery Institute in August (see here).

Yahoo news reports that the vote is back on, however.  The CoE even goes so far as to say that intelligent design is a “threat to human rights.”  There’s a good takedown of this here, but I do want to add my two cents.

Apart from the Machiavellian tactics of trying to outlaw dissenting views, we also see some horrendously fallacious thinking.  The truth or falsity of a claim does not rest on whether it is good or bad for society.  Materialists make this argument quite often – just bring up Hitler on an evolutionist site and you’ll see what I mean.  Yet, they try to employ that tactic against ID.  ID is wrong, you see, because it would be bad for society.  This is ridiculous, and not just because it is fallacious thinking.  The only thing that ID would be bad for would be their materialism.  We should be seeking the truth, not seeking to protect materialist philosophy.

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13 responses to “What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

  1. Europe, of course, has some history in the difficulty of debunking genuinely bad and stupid ideas, however. There are laws against denying the Holocaust in many European nations. Some things are just so stupidly incorrect that Europeans see no use in even tolerating people flapping on about them.

    Intelligent design has zero support in science. While one would think any fool could see that, a lot of people appear unable to. They push to include it in schools. To stop such rampant stupidity, European governments are poised to act.

    From the general tone of your post, it’s not clear that you see the difficulty with claiming ID as science. In the U.S. we’re allowed to believe any fool thing we choose, but not allowed to insist others must follow us. Europe has a less magnanimous view towards stupidity. Given their experiences in the 20th century, should we blame them?

  2. We should be seeking our individual truth.

  3. professorsmith

    Mr. Darrell,
    It is indeed wrong-headed to try and deny the holocaust, but it is similarly wrong-headed to try and stifle free speech. Also, the way that the CoE is going about it is way over the top. It’s pretty clear that they have no intention of giving ID science a fair hearing and are only clinging to Darwinism out of some emotional need.

    Also, I disagree with you that ID science has zero support. There are many scientists that would disagree with you; the DI has found hundreds of them, and those are only the ones that feel comfortable enough to come forward in the current academic climate. Intelligent design has been demonstrated, so we know it can lead to the type and breadth of diversity of life on this planet. Evolution, beyond the micro scale change level, simply has not been conclusively shown.

  4. Pingback: ID Science catching on in Ireland « Professor Smith’s Weblog

  5. Pingback: Still Not Good for the Gander « Professor Smith’s Weblog

  6. It is indeed wrong-headed to try and deny the holocaust, but it is similarly wrong-headed to try and stifle free speech. Also, the way that the CoE is going about it is way over the top. It’s pretty clear that they have no intention of giving ID science a fair hearing and are only clinging to Darwinism out of some emotional need.

    No, they see stupidity as a genuine threat to education and to science. They’re not clinging to Darwin in any fashion. They’re trying to prevent tommyrot from getting a toehold. That’s not censorship — it’s high academic standards. You have a First Amendment right to hold stupid ideas and be stupid, but there is no First Amendment right to an audience for stupidity.

    This is not a free speech issue in any way, shape or form. It’s an academic standards issue — high standards and evolution, or no standards with intelligent design?

    Also, I disagree with you that ID science has zero support. There are many scientists that would disagree with you; the DI has found hundreds of them, and those are only the ones that feel comfortable enough to come forward in the current academic climate.

    Well, I would invite you to check with those “hundreds.” I spent a couple of weeks telephoning and e-mailing them, and I could not find a single one who seriously disagreed with Darwin’s theory. Several pointed out that the statement they signed for DI does not deny Darwin in any way. Several of them asked that their names be removed from the list once they realized how DI was claiming their signature as opposed to evolution.

    So, if you think that tiny handful of scientists, mostly engineers as I recall, seriously oppose Darwin, you’re unfamiliar with the statement, and with the work of the people who signed it.

    More telling, not a single one of those people has ever published an article promoting a hypothesis of intelligent design that might lead to a theory, nor has any of them published anything to call into question any part of Darwin’s theory. Talk is cheap; data rule. Do any of them have any data? No.

    End of story.

    Intelligent design has been demonstrated, so we know it can lead to the type and breadth of diversity of life on this planet. Evolution, beyond the micro scale change level, simply has not been conclusively shown.

    Well, faith and begorrah! If you know where intelligent design has been demonstrated, why haven’t you published the paper?

    On the other hand, speciation — evolution beyond the micro scale — is demonstrated quite regularly, and on display at your local supermarket.

    What is it you claim to be professor of? It’s not biology or any other science. What is it you profess?

  7. professorsmith

    Mr. Darrell,
    Although I appreciate comments at this blog, I would ask that you please refrain from making personal attacks. Comments calling others “stupid” are unacceptable. Thank you in advance for conducting yourself in a more appropriate manner in the future.

    Now, to address your other claims…

    ID has been demonstrated, and it is easy to show. Breeding of both plants and animals have been happening for centuries…longer even. This is an example of intelligent design. Further ID science papers have been written, as the Meyer paper illustrates. That materialists have successfully turned the academic climate into a Spanish Inquisition-type of atmosphere against ID proponents, however, doesn’t make things easy for us. Once the playing field is truly open, then we will see more and more ID papers coming to the fore.

  8. Noting that you have a Constitutional right to be a Zoroastrian does not mean I have called you a Zoroastrian. Nowhere did I make a personal attack. I regret you misread my comments.

    I also regret you didn’t answer my questions.

    I especially regret you fail to show any hint of a demonstration of intelligent design being demonstrated. Plant breeding is, as Darwin noted at great length, merely humans substituting artificial selection for natural and sexual selection; such processes rely on the reality of evolution in all other respects.

    Meyer’s paper offers nothing to verify ID. It poses no hypothesis of ID, and it offers no data to support ID. It suggests no experiments that might show support of ID. Asking for data is far from a Spanish inquisition. I would ask you to explain why it is that cold fusion, an idea considered thorougly debunked, could have a hundred times more papers supporting it than ID has papers.

    It is false to claim the playing field is not open. Creationists have been making these false claims for years. Twice now we’ve gotten them into federal court where such claims are not waved away, and twice creationists have failed utterly to present any evidence to support a bias in science journals. As the judge noted in the Arkansas trial 26 years ago, instead of bias by scientists, the evidence shows that there is no research by creationists, and nothing submitted to journals to reject. Change the name to ID, and it’s still true — in fact, every ID paper ever submitted to a science journal has been published. Both of them.

    ID is vacuous. I resent claims of bias to cover the failure of ID to either pose research questions, or do research, or write about research. It’s a form of dishonesty that, while subtle, is still wrong.

  9. By the way, Einstein’s revolutionary papers were published in 1905 — it took him about a year to get them all together and submit them to journals. The confirmation of his radically different gravity ideas came in an experiment conducted in 1919, which Einstein had proposed in 1905.

    “Intelligent design” has been with us since 1987, 20 years. As of yet, there is not any hypothesis, no proposal for an experiment to confirm or deny it, and of course, no experiment done by IDists to test the idea. Einstein’s universe-shaking stuff took 14 years to confirm — how long should we wait before we pronounce ID dead? It’s already been longer than 14 years. If Einstein could change the universe in 14 years, how long will it take ID to even ask a question?

  10. professorsmith

    Mr. Darrell,
    I will take you at your word that you did not intend to make a personal attack.

    I will disagree that I did not answer your questions, however. Artificial selection is a form of intelligent design. It’s doubtful that we would have mustard or cauliflower without an intelligence behind the process. Meyer’s paper shows that intelligence is necessary to explain the observations that have been made. This is, obviously, open to further data and interpretation as is any science, but the observations so far do not support Darwinism. Also, I feel that you are misinterpreting my comment on the inquisition. It’s fine to ask for data, and ID science needs to provide more; I even have a post on that. But, threatening those who try/do provide that data is rather inquisitorial, don’t you think?

    The trial in Arkansas has nothing to do with ID; this is a red herring.

    Lastly, regarding your claims about Einstein, perhaps you should apply the same microscope to evolution. Evolution certainly has not been confirmed to the level of Einstein’s theories, and it’s been far, far longer. This is, of course, another red herring. Einstein did not face the same political climate that exists today where suppression of findings is the norm. Also, the truth or falsity of an idea is not judged by how long it takes to form that idea or to test it.

  11. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Ed Darrell,

    Actually, Einstein’s 1905 paper dealt with special relativity, which says nothing about gravity. His papers on general relativity appeared in 1915-16. So we are looking at a very short period of time (4 years) between publication of a theory and its first experimental confirmation.

    But I think a more relevant example would be that of the Big Bang. Creationists are fond of the Big Bang and, furthermore, they like to accuse mainstream scientists of resisting that idea on philosophical grounds. They mention Einstein, Eddington, and Hoyle as examples of such dissenters.

    So it’s worth to examine this case closely. The first theoretical solution of Einstein’s equations showing an expanding (or contracting) Universe was found in 1916 by de Sitter. It was a rather radical idea but de Sitter suggested ways of verifying it by looking for red and blue shifts in optical spectra of galaxies.

    Einstein’s objections were not based on theological grounds (he mentioned God at every opportunity, even though he wasn’t an orthodox
    believer). Rather, he didn’t like the idea of an unstable Universe. His solution in the form of the cosmological constant was devised to remedy that problem. Ironically, it didn’t fix it: the Universe could be made static but it would still be unstable, sort of like a ball on top of a hill. Besides, an expanding Universe would have to have an age and Einstein’s theory (and further works) did not have any predictions for what that age could be. So the theory would be incomplete and that’s probably what bothered Einstein most.

    Whatever objections of Einstein or anybody else, in 1929 Hubble announced the results of his measurements pointing to an expanding
    Universe along the lines of de Sitter. Hubble’s interpretation of the data was accepted very quickly. In June of 1930 Einstein gave a
    lecture in which he derived the age of the Universe from Hubble’s measurements. In January of 1931 he went to Mt Wilson to congratulate Hubble in person.

    Even the skeptical Eddington accepted the expansion of the Universe by 1932, a mere 3 years after Hubble’s work was published!

    This is but one more example of how science works. A theory must be confirmed by experiments.

  12. The Arkansas trial was precisely on intelligent design, and one of the key issues was the ID/creationist complaint that science journals are biased and so do not publish ID/creationist papers. The defendants were completely unable to provide any evidence to support the allegation.

    Same thing in the Pennsylvania trial: Defendants argued science journals are biased, but could not provide an iota of evidence.

    Contrary to your claim, especially with gravity, I’d note that evolution is much, much better known and tested than gravity. We only recently learned that gravity is carried on a particle, gravitons, and only last year the speed of gravitons was determined. But no one has ever seen one. We can’t measure them directly (the project to measure a gravity wave is still hoping). No one can manipulate them.

    In contrast, we know well that evolution is carried in genes, we can manipulate them in several different ways. We can engineer the genome of a bacterium to make it manufacture human enzymes and hormones.

    Every step of evolution has been observed hundreds of times. We know evolution much better than we know gravity.

  13. professorsmith

    Mr. Darrell,
    Again, Arkansas had nothing to do with ID, and your revisionist history is not appreciated. The case you are referring to,McLean vs. Arkansas, was about Creationism, which is quite distinct from ID science. It is simply a red herring for you to continually bring it up, and false for you to continually try to link ID to Creationism.

    I’ve already talked about the trial in Dover and don’t feel any need to rehash that. Simply put, it was about the school board trying to force their religion and mistakenly believing that ID was some sort of way of doing that. As I said before, it just shows that they were ignorant of what ID is.

    And, are you really going to claim that evolution is better understood than gravity? That claim is so ridiculous, I don’t even feel the need to respond to it.

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