Saturday, December 31, 2005

Jewish Community Heats Up with Intelligent Design

If Judge John E. Jones thought he could speak the last word on the question of teaching intelligent design in public schools, apparently not everyone agrees. Here are a couple of links, one revealing that the controversy about intelligent design has become hot in the Jewish community (even before Judge John E.Jones' inanity), and one with some followup analysis to the Dover, PA, court case.

(I) Jewish community heats up with Intelligent Design controversy

Here is a link for a great read with a couple of quotes

Moshe Tendler, an influential Orthodox rabbi and Yeshiva University biology professor, urged a crowd of Jewish scientists and intellectuals to spread the word that Darwin was wrong. "It is our task to inform the world [about intelligent design]," he implored. "Or the child growing up will grow up with unintelligent design.... Unintelligent design is our ignorance, our stupidity."

Speaking about the arguments of Intelligent Design advocate William Dembski: "His words make sense," commented Annale Fleisher, a seventeen-year-old senior at Miami Beach's Hebrew Academy. "Saying life comes from evolution is like saying a library was made by someone spilling a bottle of ink."

(II) And for the Discovery Institutes take on the legal aspects of the Dover Decision, here is another link with a couple of quotes:

Dr. John West: “Unlike the ACLU, we want students to learn more about evolution, not less ... they also need to learn about some of the scientific evidence that challenges parts of the theory.”

DeWolf: “… But our governmental structure provides for a multiplicity of voices, including the United States Congress, state boards of education, and legislatures, whose views are quite different from Judge Jones' about the value of teaching the controversy. To borrow from Mark Twain, the reports of the death of the controversy have been greatly exaggerated."


At December 31, 2005 11:59 AM , Blogger Repack Rider said...

Since the Theory of Evolution makes no statement on the origin of life, I would like to thank you for providing this example of the profound ignorance of those who attempt to refute it:

"Saying life comes from evolution is like saying a library was made by someone spilling a bottle of ink."

In science a "theory" is the highest level of certainty that science permits.

In order to meet this standard, a scientific theory must explain the observations. We have many documented examples in nature and in the lab of one species evolving into another, so that process must be explained, and the theory of evolution does so while ID does not.

A scientific theory must also be capable of making predictions that can be tested. For example, when Darwn presented his theory, he said that in order for it to be true, there must be a physical substance that passed heredity from one generation to the next. This profound prediction of DNA took nearly 90 years to prove true, but it is a good example of how a theory inspired research that not only supported it, but led to entirely new branches of science. When Lynn Margulis posited her profound theory on how prokaryotes became eukaryotes, she was ridiculed, but she said that if she was right, there would be DNA in mitochondria. Of course her prediction was correct, and MtDNA is now a powerful research tool.

Finally, a scientific theory must be falsifiable, which means that there must be some event which, if it took place, would show the theory to be false. For example, if a dog gave birth to a cat, that would certainly show that the theory of evolution is false.

ID rests not on any research, but on two assertions, the "god of the gaps" and the argument from personal incredulity. The first of these suggests that if the Theory of Evolution cannot explain every speciation found in the fossil record, then a deity must have stepped in. Of course this is ridiculous because it would require every possible organism to be found in the fossil record, and ignores the fact that gaps are closed quite often with new discoveries.

The argument from personal incredulity says that if one can't personally understand how something took place, then god must have done it. This attitude would effectively end any research, since unsolved mysteries would be consigned to "god did it."

ID does not rely on the results of research but depends on on attacking the well-supported ToE while providing nothing to take its place. ID does not explain the observations of evolution, it is incapable of making predictions or suggesting research, and it is not falsifiable. Therefore it does not meet the minimum standard of being taught as science, and should not be permitted to intrude into scientific education.


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