10th Anniversary of Dover

Wesley Elsberry reminds us that the tenth anniversary of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District is fast approaching. In his inimitable low-key but hard-hitting style, he writes:

Because religious antievolution since the Epperson v. Arkansas case has mostly adopted the strategy of deception, I see the time since Dover as confirming that as the approach. After Epperson, the proponents of creationism could have used a strategy of cultural resistance via Sunday school and church. Instead, they seized on phrasing in the Epperson decision’s dissenting opinion that of course science of whatever variety could be taught in public school science classrooms, and decided that they would use a subset of the old arguments they used to promote creationism, and claim that those were science. The history of the antievolution movement since then has been a process of iterative cloaking of intent as the courts prove time and again capable of discerning the sham. (‘Sham’ is the phrasing used in the Edwards v. Aguillard decision in 1987.)

Given that view of history in mind, it is easy to see that the application of the deceptive strategy is still the primary focus of the antievolution movement. The intent is to get as many of the old, shabby, awful arguments from creationism mentioned in public school science classrooms as if they had never been refuted.

Given that our legal system has recourse for teaching sectarian religious doctrines, but not for teaching bad science*, this looks to be a process that will continue. ‘Intelligent design’ as a commonly accepted, given the benefit of doubt notion is dead, but the arguments that comprised IDC go on under new names, sowing confusion and mistrust of the scientific endeavor.

*There are some provisions for removing incompetent teachers, but applying them is usually difficult and uncertain of achieving good results.

link

I remember the events building up to the Dover trial as it coincided with a period of illness and treatment that meant I had plenty of time on my hands to surf the net and, having come across “Intelligent Design” by accident, I was able to follow events and personalities quite closely. Since then, I’ve predicted (wrongly and prematurely) the demise of the movement. That puzzles me. The strategy to get alternative ideas to evolution taught in public schools has pretty much failed. Seems to me that ID proponents need to look at two options. Develop another strategy for bypassing Church-state separation or actually put some effort into developing ID into a genuine scientific hypothesis with entailments and predictions. Otherwise, why go on?

196 thoughts on “10th Anniversary of Dover

  1. Frankie: Of course all claims require evidentiary support,

    Except, of course, your claims about intelligent guided mutations. They don’t require any evidence at all, do they. After all, you believe it despite having no evidence don’t you?

  2. Frankie: There isn’t any way to test the claim that humans evolved from some other type of animal.

    There isn’t any way to test the claim that humans were designed is there?

  3. OMagain: Your “support” seems to be referencing authorities that I already know don’t agree with you. Odd.

    I can see straight through you though.

    When you present some evidence I’ll let you know how convincing I find it. Yet so far when I asked you for evidence for your claim that mutations are intelligently guided you said “McClintock and James Shapiro”. That’s evidence is it? No, it’s not. It’s an appeal to authority, an authority that would laugh at your claims.

    Well OM, transposons carry within their sequence the coding for two of the enzymes it requires to move around. Then there are mutations that happen when and where they are needed.

  4. OMagain: Odd how in the 20 years since that was published nobody has bothered to do so. Have any thoughts as to why that might be?

    It’s been done.

  5. Frankie: Well OM, transposons carry within their sequence the coding for two of the enzymes it requires to move around.

    Therefore ID!

    Frankie: Then there are mutations that happen when and where they are needed.

    Fer’instance?

  6. OMagain: There isn’t any way to test the claim that humans were designed is there?

    There are ways to tell if living organisms are designed. And there is no way to test your position’s claims.

  7. OMagain: Fer’Instance?

    The BF cannot be explained by NS and drift- no one knows how to test such a claim. AND the BF meets the criteria for design- namely several different components that form a function that is different than the components.

  8. Frankie: Yes, the evidence says that today’s humans evolved from human ancestors. There isn’t any way to test the claim that humans evolved from some other type of animal.

    You can’t be serious! Molecular phylogeny is the latest piece of consilient evidence to confirm evolutionary theory. ToE has entailments that would, if falsified, force us to reject or modify it. So far confirming evidence keeps piling up.

    ID has no theory and therefore nothing to test. It is not even wrong! 😉

  9. Frankie: I told you what the difference is.

    No you didn’t you tried to explain their relation ship. What’s the difference(s)? If you don’t know just be honest and say so.

  10. Alan Fox: r

    There isn’t any evolutionary theory and phylogenetics confirms a common design. You have no idea if mutations can produce the transformations required.

  11. Frankie: The BF cannot be explained by NS and drift- no one knows how to test such a claim. AND the BF meets the criteria for design- namely several different components that form a function that is different than the components

    Utter garbage, I especially like how evolution “no one knows how to test” but design “meets the criteria”. 😀

  12. Richardthughes: No you didn’t you tried to explain their relation ship. What’s the difference(s)? If you don’t know just be honest and say so.

    If a GA is an EA then there isn’t any differences, cupcake. There could be if the EA is not a GA.

  13. Richardthughes: Utter garbage, I especially like how evolution “no one knows how to test” but design “meets the criteria”.

    More equivocation. No one knows how to test unguided evolution, cupcake. And design does have testable criteria- both counterflow and work are testable attributes as is Behe’s criteria.

  14. Frankie: There are ways to tell if living organisms are designed.

    They are designed. By the environment!

    And there is no way to test your position’s claims.

    Find a Cambrian rabbit – or any other out-of-place fossil. Show where molecular phylogeny disagrees with morphological cladistics rather than confirming it beautifully

  15. Alan Fox: They are designed. By the environment!Find a Cambrian rabbit – or any other out-of-place fossil. Show where molecular phylogeny disagrees with morphological cladistics rather than confirming it beautifully

    Then find a way to test your claim that the environment designs. Also your position cannot explain the existence of rabbits.
    And cladistics and phylogeny can be used to support a common design.

  16. Frankie: There isn’t any evolutionary theory

    This is just slly!

    …and phylogenetics confirms a common design.

    Oh really! How does that work?

    You have no idea if mutations can produce the transformations required

    I can’t list every mutation and other evolutionary event that led from LUCA to all the extant* organisms now (and previously) on Earth. Doubt we will ever get close. Doesn’t mean the basic concept is wrong, just incomplete.

    ETA *tautology

  17. Frankie: You say, in your own words. Who are you to question anyone?

    Oh I’m sorry Frankie. I know this trick. You’ve talked about EA and GAs but you’ve been unable to tell us the difference. Don’t come to me for help. It appears you’re using phrases you don’t understand. You can of course simply prove me wrong by describing the difference(s) in your own words.

  18. Frankie:
    How can we test the claim that NS and drift produced a bacterial flagellum?

    First step would be to propose an evolutionary model with a plausible pathway. Oh wait! Nick Matzke already has.

    Find a Cambrian rabbit.

    ?

  19. Frankie: ID because neither NS nor drift can explain it and it matches the design criteria.

    Actually, invisible pink unicorns are a better fit to the data. At least we know what *they* look like (or would if we could see them).

  20. Frankie: No one knows how to test unguided evolution, cupcake. And design does have testable criteria- both counterflow and work are testable attributes as is Behe’s criteria.

    If nobody knows how to test it, then how can you test “guided evolution”? As I’d imagine they are very similar.

  21. Frankie: There are ways to tell if living organisms are designed.

    This is big news! Have you let the rest of the ID people know?

    What living things have you determined to be designed, and how?

  22. Frankie: How can we test the claim that NS and drift produced a bacterial flagellum?

    How can we test the claim that a designer produced a bacterial flagellum?

  23. Richardthughes: Frankie, you’ve failed the reverse turing test, Patrick can write a bot smarter than you.

    Even fiifthmonarchyman can write a smarter bot – or at least one with a larger repertoire of stock phrases. 🙁

  24. Richardthughes,

    Our side has a model and testable entailments whereas your side doesn’t have either.

    Awesome! Can we see this model and entailments? Clue: ‘not by chance” isn’t a model.

    According to the founders of intelligent design creationism, they’re in here somewhere:

  25. Frankie: In what way is it a failed argument? And in what way is unguided evolution a better argument? Please be specific as epigenetics supports Spetner, as does the works of McClintock and J. Shapiro

    Nothing supports Spetner. I read the book and wrote a detailed review of it back in 2002, and it hasn’t gotten any better for him since. My review took up 12 pages of a Word document. Here’s a few highlights from back then:

    Page 6:
    Spetner:

    It turns out that neither Darwin’s theory of evolution, nor the more modern versions of it proposed to this day, are good enough to lay to rest the Argument From Design.

    Here’s an example of frame-shifting for rhetorical effect. We have a theory of evolution vs an argument from design. In a scientific sense, a theory can only contradict another theory. The Argument from Design is not a theory — it has no objective content. It is philosophical in nature. No theory alone could ever lay it to rest. Anyone wanting to hold to it can always find examples to support it, even though such examples would have no relationship to the principles behind evolutionary theory. Yet they will always have rhetorical effectiveness for those who subjectively desire reasons to reject the evolutionary ideas. On the other hand, even an acceptance of evolutionary mechanisms doesn’t necessarily contradict the argument from design, since it can always be assumed that those mechanisms are merely devices used by God to achieve His designs. Therefore, putting these two ideas in opposition to one another accomplishes nothing more than comparing fruit to baskets. It corrupts the discussion before it has even begun.

    Page 16:
    (Discussion about the relationship between actual populations and Malthusian growth)
    Spetner:

    Populations are kept in check not by the extrinsic forces of mass starvation or disease, but by intrinsic forces built into the animals themselves.

    This statement is misleading, and reveals a deep misunderstanding of the interactions between populations and their environment. While it’s true that populations don’t normally hover about the brink of mass destruction, this is not incompatible with Malthusian economics (which is, in essence, what population theory is). … In nature, food resources are normally regenerated at a relatively steady pace, and predation and disease are constant influences. The actual behavior of populations when expanding past their optimum levels is chaotic, and depends on many external factors. Some species, such as snowshoe hares, experience quasi-periodic booms and crashes in their numbers, a true example of an unstable reaction to environmental pressures. Other species may display remarkable stability in their populations, maintaining a population that is directly proportional to the abundance of some particular resource. Even in a population that is at an optimum level, the individual members are often not at an optimum level of fitness. … In summary, then, the actual behavior of populations in nature does not violate the principles observed by Malthus, but supplements and modifies them with numerous external and internal controls, all of which are capable of having evolved over time. Spetner errs in identifying this as Darwin’s error. A population that is not in crisis is still subject to forces of competition and natural selection.

    Page 20:
    Spetner:

    Mutations are usually harmful to the organism. They are never useful, and are often lethal.


    Spetner has fallen into the same trap that other creationists struggle within, supporting his arguments with falsehoods and ideas that have already been proven wrong.

    Page 24:
    Spetner:

    So let’s make a pact now that I forgo the hedging phrases and you are to understand that almost all my statements may have rare exceptions.

    This is an incredibly presumptuous claim!!!! On this admission, which he at once confesses and then wants to dismiss, rests the entire failure of Spetner’s thesis! In other words, to his upcoming claim that “mutations don’t produce new information”, there are rare exceptions. To his claim that “mutations are never useful”, there are rare exceptions. Yet, as he has already admitted, even a rare advantageous mutation will become amplified through selection until it becomes common — even dominant. And even a rare increase in information, if it accompanies a useful feature, may soon become common within the population. In evolution, the beneficial exception becomes the rule. That is the very essence of the theory. To ignore or gloss over that central fact will derail any attempt to overcome evolutionary theory.

    And so it went. Spetner’s book is full of howlers, of which the above is only setting the scene. His epigenetics claims ranged from mundane to pure fantasy. There was nothing there that contradicted normal evolutionary processes, except in Spetner’s imagination.

    My takeaway to the whole thing was presented as,

    “There are a number of lessons to be learned from this book. One of the main lessons that was brought home to me on reading it was that, no matter what one’s level of intelligence or educational attainment, the ability to objectively judge facts and interpret events is seriously clouded when a social, political, or religious agenda takes precedence over the valuation of knowledge for its own sake. Spetner has an agenda. It shows. It hurts his credibility.

    I was trying to be gentle.

  26. llanitedave,

    And even a rare increase in information, if it accompanies a useful feature, may soon become common within the population. In evolution, the beneficial exception becomes the rule. That is the very essence of the theory. To ignore or gloss over that central fact will derail any attempt to overcome evolutionary theory.

    The ‘some-therefore-all, few-therefore-none’ fallacy, as I call it. There’s probably a better name. A proportion can be generalised to guarantee or prohibition of a result depending on the point being pursued or denied.

  27. Mung,

    Nice own goal there Richardthughes. By that logic the genetic code is a code.

    So what? Are you going to actually make an argument based on all this discussion of definitions?

  28. Mung,

    Nice own goal there Richardthughes. By that logic the genetic code is a code.

    Oh no! Why, that would lead to … er … er … things being exactly as they were.

  29. Alan Fox: I like that approach! Thanks for posting this. Saves so much time for those of us not already familiar with Spetner.

    Thanks. I don’t see him cited too often, but there’s not much in his argument to separate him from Dembski or the rest of the ID crowd. Just another arm-waver.

  30. petrushka: I don’t think adding to a coding sequence should be construed as increasing information.

    Silly petrushka,

    There are no coding sequences. Not without a code.

    How do you explain your sudden change of heart?

Leave a Reply