Expelled! Religious Biologist Barred and Banned for his Views on Evolution!

Listen now, to the cautionary tale of Richard Colling, a biology professor with over 27 years of experience… and yet, unfortunately for his career, also a man of deep faith. For daring to take an unorthodox view on evolution, this modern-day Galileo… nay Newton… nay Einstein… was barred from teaching biology at his university. His book was blacklisted. His reputation was tarnished.

Where will it end?

And just what were his heresies? What view so shocked the dogmatic line on evolution that he had to be severed and silenced? Why, Colling merely dared to suggest that “there is simply no argument that rebuts evolution, and that the evidence is overwhelming..” And just like that… the creationists at Olivet Nazarene University decided that enough was enough, and shut him down. His protests that he believed fully in a Creator God, and that this faith could be reconciled with science instead of abandoned, went unheard.

Whatever happened to free speech?

Sarcasm aside, Intelligent Design propentists (sic) would really, really like you to believe that religious people are persecuted in academia for believing in a Creator God. Ben Stein’s upcoming anti-evolution film Expelled! is, judging from the intro clip, is pretty much based on this premise.

And yet, there are a lot of scientists out there who are simultaneously well-respected and openly religious. And while they sometimes argue with their more atheistically-inclined colleagues over philosophical matters, these fights never seem to rise to the level of threatening anyone’s job or even impacting anyone’s opinion of the quality of their science. In fact, most religious scientists are unapologetic allies with atheists in the fight against “cdesign propentists” of all stripes. How can this possibly be if the iron, atheistic hand of Darwinism rules all?

Well folks: it’s because you’re being lied to.

And as Richard Colling can attest, it isn’t belief in God that actually matters in these debates. That’s a complete red herring for both sides of the issue. You can believe in God all you want in mainstream academia and get along fine, as long as your scholarship holds up.

But believing in God just isn’t good enough to keep you from being treated as one of the enemy by intelligent creationists. It’s only sticking to a particular anti-evolutionary orthodoxy, a very narrow window of theology, that counts. And if you can’t do that… well then, you might end up being viewed as the next “intellectual terrorist.”

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26 Responses to Expelled! Religious Biologist Barred and Banned for his Views on Evolution!

  1. What a truly sad story. Dr. Collings seems like someone with something to offer to both the scientifically minded as well as people of faith. He certainly seems like someone I could get along with.

    A big part of the problem is that organized religion simply won’t–or can’t–accept the idea that science, not religion, has and will continue to teach us what we know about the universe. As long as the church (using this term generically here) doggedly denies this, it will continue to lose credibility among the educated.

    Where will it end, you ask? It will end with people becoming so disillusioned with the church that organized religion will become a thing of the past. I realize there are those who would welcome this, but it would come at a steep price.

    If organized religion is going to have any chance of surviving and remaining relevant in the 21st century, it must relinquish to science that which is the proper purview of science, and confine itself to the subjects of faith and morals, in which it can credibly participate.

    Of course, (and I’m going to say this to save you the trouble) the church has a long way to go on those two subjects as well, but that’s a subject for a post of my own. My only point here is that organized religion should just get the hell out of the scientific kitchen, lest it ultimately embarrass itself out of existence altogether.

    -smith

  2. Bad says:

    That is, by and large, already the position of the Catholic Church at least, though of course they still can’t help dabbling here and there from time to time. :) But on the whole, Catholicism has gained a pretty healthy respect for science in the modern age, and its probably not a complete coincidence that some of the most prominent religious scientists and opponents of ID are Catholic.

  3. Jason says:

    The story is a sad one…But I’m also not convinced that science and faith need/should stay in different realms. I personally know a few Christian scientists who are motivated by their faith to engage in scientific research in a truly academic manner – and on science’s terms, too. Unfortunately, I think Dr. Collings was a victim of a Christian institution which has consistently misunderstood and misused the Bible and the faith. Those who tend to be the most militant regarding Young Earth/Intelligent Design Theory are the peoples who tend to resist hardcore, serious Biblical scholarship – those who are often considered to be “anti-academic.” They ignore the signs present within the Hebrew text of Genesis 1 that offer clear signs of poetic structure and stylistic liberty. Is that to say that God is not capable of creating all that exists in 6 24-hour periods? Not at all. Rather, the original languages give absolutely no evidence that the Biblical authors thought of the creation event in such a literalistic way.

    Although I do disagree with your worldview, I greatly appreciate the civility with which you discuss these topics.

  4. Bad says:

    I think it’s 100% legitimate to speak of science and faith in way you first mention: that one’s religious faith gives context to why they personally care about and are excited by scientific study, as well as how they interpret the findings of science as deepening their understanding of their religious narratives. Professor Collings certainly seemed to fit that mold, but unfortunately at the wrong institution. Secular institutions, ironically, would have been far more interested in and supportive of his theological ideas, in part because they have no particular religious credo that ones theology must adhere to.

    While I agree with you about the major disconnect between YEC-type evangelicals and serious Biblical scholarship, I don’t really find it plausible that the early authors of the Bible, nor the early readers of it, saw the story in a non-literal way. That’s in part because nearly all peoples at the time held to some form of “recent and narrative creation” event idea, and if the authors of the Genesis story didn’t, that would be extremely notable and different. And yet, there is no hint of that: instead we have a creation story that’s perfectly characteristic of what most people imagined was the case, just as many people prior to the Greeks believed that the Earth was flat, the sky was a dome, the Earth had corners, or rested on pillars, or what have you. These may have been ideas that people of the day found inspiringly poetic and to be described in florid language, but there is little reason to believe that they also didn’t think that they were basically true. Whether that’s a theological problem, of course, depends largely on whether one still thinks that it’s true (as seemingly a near majority of American believers do), suspects that it isn’t but is committed to literalism, or has no particular concern about literalism.

  5. Stephen says:

    The substrata of what I see is really being highlighted here are belief systems. The more one feels his or her belief system is being jeopardized, the more violent will be the defense. What is at stake is the need to hang on to ones own belief system as a anchor in a world in which one feels very insecure and inadequate on one’s own and without it. The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying, “If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But can you survive without it?”

    Belief systems are a primary cause of division among individuals and nations. The defense of belief systems is threatening global efforts to join together as a family of many nations and threatening our very existence by our inability to do so. Knowledge is the one common denominator that we all have that can clear the way forward to a common understanding of what is required to establish an intelligent peace. Unfortunately, even science, or I should say scientist, often hold their own unrecognized belief systems that can affect and even effect research and outcomes.

    Until we become aware of our beliefs, more often than not subconscious, and why we hold on to them, we will be in a defensive rather than a cooperative mode, and we will continue to sabotage efforts to use our magnificent intelligence to solve our common dilemmas.

  6. Bad says:

    Unfortunately, even science, or I should say scientist, often hold their own unrecognized belief systems that can affect and even effect research and outcomes.

    Just to be a little contrary here: the whole idea of science STARTS with recognizing the existence of human error and bias: that’s the whole reason that the scientific method, peer review, free inquiry, and so forth, exist. If humans were in infallible or perfectly objective, we wouldn’t need such methods in the first place. That doesn’t make the scientific/skeptical take on things the “right” “belief system” (especially since they strive not to be belief systems at all): but it is a very strong argument for them being better methodologies than pretty much anything else we have available when dealing with belief systems.

  7. mike says:

    The issue as I see it, lies in the definition of evolution… That word can have as many different meanings as the words “love,” “spirituality” or dare I say it… “God.” From what I’ve read from the producers of the Expelled movie, they’re not implying that Evolution is false or that they don’t believe in any of it. What they appear to be focused on is a particular brand of Evolution that is best described I believe, as “Neodarwinian Evolution,” which without going into extreme detail, for the most is fueled and driven by purely Atheistic views. This by the way, is for the most part the most common form of Evolution taught in our schools today. There is clearly an agenda attached to this theory that infringes upon the constitutional separation of Church and State because if you look at the definition of “Religion” Atheism most definitely falls under the category of a religion and therefore the current form of evolution being taught in our schools today is completely illegal. Not only is this theory illegal, it is suppressive, bigoted and worst of all guilty of the very thing it accuses I.D. theorists of… it is clearly holding back the advancement of Science in America. This is a clear example of the pot calling the kettle black.

  8. Bad says:

    Neodarwinism is fueled by the realization that the new field of genetics could be synthesized into evolutionary theory: which for many decades after Darwin’s death was somewhat rootless, lacking evidence of an underlying mechanism or model of heredity. It was not an atheist plot. It is driven by scientific views, and by the evidence. Neodarwinism is evolution then: there isn’t any other “evolution” on the table to talk about. The only other kind is the kind that was discussed before genetics was discovered, and the producers of Expelled are not talking about that.

    The attempt to tie atheism to it is an attempt at guilt by association, not a valid criticism of the field. Just because science cannot deal with untestable supernatural claims does not make it “atheistic” in the sense you are using it (that’s a form of equivocation, in fact, a logical fallacy). Nor does the fact that it conflicts with some religious beliefs make it anti-religious. And while I think it nonsense to call atheism a religion, I quite agree that teaching kids in public schools that there is no God, or whatever, would violate SoCaS. But who is advocating that? It’s a complete straw man. Not even the hottest atheist firebrands like Dawkins advocate that.

    Not only is this theory illegal,

    I’ve already shown that it is not, and others have done an even more conclusive debunking of this idea. Courts, even the most conservative, have almost never ever taken it seriously. It’s simply laughable. If you want to complain about evolution, ok, but this argument isn’t going to get you anywhere.

    it is suppressive, bigoted

    Just because you can spew a bunch of accusations doesn’t mean that you can back them up, and in this case you haven’t really even tried to. Evolution isn’t a person and doesn’t have opinions, so it makes no sense to cal it “bigoted” or “suppressive” in any case. That, by the way, is known as the pathetic fallacy (i.e. the fallacy of ascribing emotions and opinions to things that don’t have them, like objects and concepts). If you want to argue that biologists are suppressive and bigoted, well then: let’s see your evidence. Let’s see if that is really the case, or if your claims are built out of misrepresentations, exaggeration, and so on: all the things I fully expect will compose the case made in Expelled (and judging from the 7 minute clip, looks like I’m dead on)

    and worst of all guilty of the very thing it accuses I.D. theorists of… it is clearly holding back the advancement of Science in America.

    How is it holding it back? Can you provide examples of productive discoveries that ID folk have made in biology using their methodology? Creationists employing creationism? If not, this claims rings pretty darn hollow.

    This is sort of what I mean about Expelled: it provides all sorts of carefully couched accusations about what evolution is and isn’t, but it doesn’t even try to sustain justifying any of those claims, or delving into the reality of why ID gets so harshly criticized… and whether or not that criticism is ultimately deserved.

  9. mike says:

    Let’s first see if we can’t agree that Atheism is actually a religion as defined by dictionary terms if nothing else. See just a few definitions below from various sources that clearly define a religion to be any conscientiousness group’s COLLABORATIVE VIEWS on our existence, a deity or any form of fundamental belief system. Note that even the definition of Atheism its self in #3, clearly defines it’s own practices to revolve around a philosophical view of whether or not a god or “gods” exist.

    1)
    Dictionary.com on Religion:
    a. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe…
    b. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects…
    c. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices…

    2)
    Wikipedia on Religion
    – a set of myths or sacred truths held in reverence or believed by adherents

    3)
    Wikipedia on “Atheism”
    – a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods[1] or rejects theism.

    4)
    Merriam-Webster on Religion
    – archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
    – a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

  10. mike says:

    Part 2:
    Is Neo Darwinian Evolution “Suppressive and Bigoted?”

    Yes, and here is why I believe that. Neo Darwinian Evolution suppresses, excludes and condemns ANY theory that even hints at the possibility of a designer and allows only theories that suggest we can and do exist apart from or without the need of any form of designer/creator assistance. Just as clearly as I.D. scientists are looking for evidence of design, Neo Darwinian Scientists look for ways to prove design is not necessary for explaining life. The key here is that under current Scientific “laws” Neo Darwinian Evolution has a stranglehold on what is and is not allowed to be considered Science simply by virtue of the re-defining of the term “Science” which is clearly supported by Atheistic perspectives (Religion). There is a clear support of Atheistic views and a purposeful exclusion of views that include external intelligence involvement.

  11. mike says:

    Part 3:
    Is Neo Darwinian Evolution standing in the way of Scientific advancment?

    Put Part 1 and 2 together and you have your answer. If only one view is permitted and has the power to suppress all others, how could advancement be possible?

  12. mike wrote: “Let’s first see if we can’t agree that Atheism is actually a religion as defined by dictionary terms if nothing else.”

    Actually, most atheists would say that those dictionary terms for religion DON’T describe atheism at all. The loaded word in all those definitions is “belief”, which is a word of enough ambiguity that it means different things to different people. To quote wikipedia, though,

    “Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise (argument) to be true without necessarily being able to adequately prove its main contention to other people who may or may not agree.”

    The key difference between atheists and the faithful is the latter part of that definition. The faithful ‘believe’, without any real evidence or proof, in an essentially anthropomorphic creator. Atheists, lacking that evidence, do not accept the existence of that creator. The atheist position is based on the lack of evidence, while the theist position is belief in spite of the lack of evidence.

    To try and make the difference more clear, if I told you I ‘believe’ in a God who looks like Senator Ted Stevens and works his wonders through a series of invisible tubes, you would probably be skeptical. Would you consider your skepticism to be a religion?

  13. Bad says:

    Mike, I think you’ve pretty much disproven your own argument pretty well with your definitions without me having to jump in too much: you just don’t seem to see it. Atheism is the lack of belief in gods: there is no particular set of views of beliefs that holds it together: no beliefs about the universe, not much of anything other than not believing in god. There are no collaborative beliefs between atheists: all that ties us together is that we are not believers, which isn’t even itself a belief: just the common lack of a particular one. What we are, what we do think, differs dramatically from person to person on virtually every subject under the sun: including our opinion of religion! Even you defined, wrongly, atheism as only including those atheists that affirm the statement “there is no god,” then you still wouldn’t have a religion: you’d have a single philosophical claim in common. You might as well call dualism a religion by the same logic, or liking sushi a religion.

    I think part of the problem that you cannot see how weak your argument is, is that you can’t seem to see outside the mold of religion: you try to fit everything into that schema, whether it fits or not. In this case, it doesn’t.

    If you still think that atheism is a religion, then you might as well think that not playing sports is a sport, or bald is a hair color. Your arguments are pretty much in the same mold as those claims.

    And your Part 2 characterization of the issues of science are exactly the sort of dishonest spin on things that Expelled seems to be taking. What you aren’t telling readers is that science is by nature only capable of considering claims that can be confirmed or disconfirmed by evidence. Even if we extend that definition to include things that are only testable in theory rather than in a practical sense (like string theory), then we still don’t reach the point where “and then something happened magically with no explanation” work as science. This isn’t some mean barrier set up to exclude religious beliefs. It’s just a basic practicality. Your side seems to get by completely ignoring this reality and pretending it’s all discrimination against their beliefs. But when it comes time for them to explain how they can actually test their claims, or offer any research, they quickly change the subject.

    What ID folks and, apparently, yourself, want to do is cheat: try to bring in claims that are wholly untestable, that face no particular rigor of passing muster against evidence whatsoever. It’s like you want to play a game of tennis, but you want the rules to be that there is no out of bounds and no net for you, even though there is for everyone else that’s playing. Yes yes: if we imagine a being that can do anything, anything that was done, it could have done. But where does that get us? Does it tell us how something happened? Does it suggest ways to find out more specifics? No.

    And as some sciencebloggers have pointed out, when people start to get all obsessed with ID, it appears that their ability to generate research dries up. Not because of persecution: because ID doesn’t suggest any particular path to finding anything out. It’s a science-killer, not an alternative way to do science.

    And you have pretty much failed to put Part 1 and Part 2 together.

    The people who agree that evolution is a sound theory, and the only one supported by the evidence, are biologists in general, not only atheists in specific. That includes countless religious biologists and other scientists: all of whom are perfectly happy to say that they think there is a designer. They just don’t agree that handwaving a designer as a magical unexplained solution to any mystery makes for good science. It provides no testable research program, and by claiming to be able to explain anything at all, explains nothing at all. That makes science a secular activity no different than math or history: not one that promotes or demotes atheism or religion in particular.

  14. mike says:

    Bad… Sounds like it’s hard for you to discern the definitions… I’ll try and help you. What the definitions CLEARLY say is not that a religion has to believe in God… simply that it have a view or perspective that its followers all agree to with regard to a deity. In fact in some of the definitions the group doesn’t even have to be united with regard to a deity of any kind but that they have “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects…” Atheists are clearly united in their lack of belief that a deity, God or gods exists. That clearly defines the definition of “a fundamental set of beliefs and practices agreed upon by a number of persons.” Sorry you’re having trouble recognizing that but your inability to see that won’t change the truth. Atheism is just another Faith and religion. They meet together the way churches do. They have their own web sites the way religious organizations do. They even have their own promotional items that they sell promoting their beliefs… (ie: t-shirts, hats, posters, bumper stickers, etc…) They are clearly just another religious group. It just so happens that their faith revolves around the united belief that the world is Godless. They have no proof of that… only their faith.

    In part 2 it is you who is failing to acknowledge truth. There is enormous evidence pointing to intelligent design in all of nature but this evidence is being suppressed by a very small but powerful minority of elite atheist scientists, philosophers and authors, with the excuse that the findings don’t follow strict scientific guideline requirements. I.D. is a science that is in search of new scientific findings… not a religious movement. Darwin knew nothing of the inner workings of a cell when he proposed his theories. If he knew what we know today about the millions of tiny little machines, all working together on tight deadlines and schedules to transport vital information up and down the microscopic fibers of a DNA strand, with countless numbers of working parts within each machine that when put together resemble the design of a modern day outboard motor, (which man only figured out how to design and build in the last century), I doubt highly that he would be as sure of his theories that life can be explained by various forms of evolution caused by random chance, mutations, etc. etc. etc… I happen to believe he was smarter than that and would abandon his own “beliefs/theories” and instead dug deeper to learn more and discover further truth. I doubt he would fear being wrong as much as he would want to know more. No matter how YOU want to look at it… current laws are standing in the way of advancement in science and the voices that raise the most protest against any form of “Intelligence theories and evidence” are those of atheistic beliefs. If you were a scientist who did happen to believe in a designer or creator… You would want to look for that evidence and compare it to all other findings. And what would be so wrong with that? How could any form of research that looks for new evidence be considered a hindrance to advancement? It’s pretty obvious where the suppression and road blocks in Science lie and they clearly are not represented by the study of I.D.

  15. mike wrote: “I’ll try and help you. What the definitions CLEARLY say is not that a religion has to believe in God… simply that it have a view or perspective that its followers all agree to with regard to a deity.”

    What??!! Religion is no longer about believing in God??!! That seems to be so at odds with what I heard at Sunday school as a kid. I don’t recall them saying, “Oh, if you don’t believe in God, you’re still religious.” By your odd attempt at defining faith, everyone on the planet is religious. You’re trying to play semantic tricks to make an invalid point.

    Anyway, who cares what the dictionary definition of ‘religion’ is? I don’t think it’s saying what you think it’s saying, but even if it did, Merriam-Webster is not the absolute arbiter of what is or is not religion. Quite frankly, I doubt they thought about their definition as carefully as you’ve obsessed about it.

    Your argument has been made and rejected by people over and over again. It’s an attempt to degrade the notion of objective observation by equating “belief in something without any proof of it” to “disbelief in something that there is no proof of”. By your terms, people who don’t believe in elves, fairies and leprechauns are unified by their ‘religious belief’ in the nonexistence of such things. (I call it ‘the church of antielvairichans.’)

    “Atheism is just another Faith and religion. They meet together the way churches do. They have their own web sites the way religious organizations do. They even have their own promotional items that they sell promoting their beliefs… (ie: t-shirts, hats, posters, bumper stickers, etc…)”

    So fans of the Chicago Bears are worshipping them? They meet together at games, they have web sites supporting the team, and they even have promotional items. But then again, every organization in existence meets those qualifications.

    “It just so happens that their faith revolves around the united belief that the world is Godless. They have no proof of that… only their faith.”

    Again, it’s not ‘faith’ to not believe in something that has absolutely no physical evidence for it. Disbelief in the flying spaghetti monster, for instance, is not a matter of faith – we know damn well that it was invented by a guy with a sense of humor and a B.A. in physics. Is it ‘faith’ to believe that my car can’t fly? I have some pretty damn good reasons for believing it can’t, but hey, it might just take off any second!

    Your attempts to tie the words ‘religion’ and ‘faith’ to ‘atheism’ to an injustice to all those words. Yeesh.

  16. mike says:

    Skull-whatever you call your self… I really couldn’t care less whether you agree with me or not. Your denial that Atheism is as much a Faith based belief system as any religion, is as annoying to me as my views are to you. Your comparison to Football fans was clever but irrelevant and rather childish really. Whether or not anyone agrees with me that Atheism is a religion is really the least of my concerns. What I really care about is the control atheistic views have on science and its advancement. But there’s a reason this is called debating. It allows for both sides of an argument to be heard. In most cases there are no winners but each side gets an opportunity to be heard… Now we both have been heard. I highly doubt there is anything more either of us could say to persuade the other. Anyone else reading this can draw their own conclusions. Enough said on my part but carry on your self if you like. I’m out. Ciao.

  17. Bad says:

    What the definitions CLEARLY say is not that a religion has to believe in God… simply that it have a view or perspective that its followers all agree to with regard to a deity.

    No, that’s not all that they say. The Latin root of the word, religio means “reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety, the res divinae.” This is a pretty good discussion of the issue of defining religion: the problem is getting a definition that actually specifies something in particular, rather than using it as you are: in such a broad sense that it could encompass virtually anything at all.

    It seems simply mad to say that atheists share a “religion” when we have nothing in common other than what we DON’T have in common: belief in god. And in some ways it demonstrates how utterly obsessed you are with your own beliefs: you can’t seem to even imagine that others cannot share them without thinking that the failure to share them is itself some sort of giant affirmative step.

    That clearly defines the definition of “a fundamental set of beliefs and practices agreed upon by a number of persons.”

    No, in fact by that definition atheists are even more clearly not a religion: we have no common beliefs (unless lack of belief is itself a belief, in which case you are arguing something as silly as saying that no apple is a type of apple) and very certainly no common practices. We have literally nothing necessarily in common at all.

    They meet together the way churches do.

    Really? I must not be a member of the atheist “Faith” then because I don’t do this, and virtually no atheist does this.

    They have their own web sites the way religious organizations do. They even have their own promotional items that they sell promoting their beliefs… (ie: t-shirts, hats, posters, bumper stickers, etc…)

    The fact that some atheists do this does not demonstrate that atheism is a religion unless you also mean that Bruins fans are members of a religion, or Republicans are a religion.

    It just so happens that their faith revolves around the united belief that the world is Godless. They have no proof of that… only their faith.

    Well, again, you have things rather wrong. Most atheists do not have faith or beliefs about how no gods exist. Quite the opposite: we LACK faith that any DO exist. Lacking your faith is not itself a faith, I’m afraid.

    In any case, this debate is pretty pointless. If you wish to define atheism as a religion, then as I’ve said, the definition that you are using for “religion” becomes so broad as to be completely meaningless. But whatever: you can define words however you want, as long as you are upfront about them. What you can’t do with changing definitions, however, is prove anything by doing so: that would be the logical fallacy of equivocation.

    Honestly, I’m still not sure what you hoped you could prove by such a re-definition. What’s the point? It would still make no difference, because evolution does not require or promote atheism, or even have any reason to mention gods pro or con at all. This is why your super-duper knockdown argument that evolution cannot be taught as science in public schools gets laughed out of court again and again.

    There is enormous evidence pointing to intelligent design

    So you say. But then some people think that there is enormous evidence for Bigfoot. Or for Astrology. Claiming that there is enormous evidence and producing it are two very different things.

    I.D. is a science that is in search of new scientific findings… not a religious movement.

    The idea that evolution, which is acknowledged as scientific fact by people of virtually all faiths and no faith, is a religious enterprise, but ID is not, despite virtually every single ID proponent saying that the designer is their god and that their project is to glorify their god, is pretty darn silly.

    Darwin knew nothing of the inner workings of a cell when he proposed his theories.

    Ah, the old “cells are machines” gambit. Sorry, but this is just another argument from ignorance: the cell looks really really complex to you, so it couldn’t possibly have evolved. And you can’t be bothered to provide positive evidence for design, or lay out any particular testable mechanism for it… so you seem to think that just claiming that something can’t evolve is enough to prove your case.

    But of course those wonderful cellular systems all seem to fit into an evolutionary hierarchy and pattern darn them. While we cannot explain how some of them evolved at present, this is largely because we have very little in the way of historical record of their existence through time: cellular machinery is one of the very oldest parts of living things on the planet, most of it developing long before even multicellular life. What you and folks like Behe have continually failed to show is that the evolution of these things is actually implausible. And the fact, which you guys generally fail to mention, that all these structures vary greatly species to species, and that these variations fit into the exact same hierarchy of evolutionary heredity that every other trait does, is perfectly compatible with the idea that they evolved, and, frankly, rather puzzling if they were designed (though of course, a designer can do anything, so it could have simply decided to be puzzling).

    Darwin, by the way, was a deist and at most an agnostic towards the end of his life, not an atheist. Some of the most outspoken opponents and exposers of ID are religious Catholics and Jews.

    No matter how YOU want to look at it… current laws are standing in the way of advancement in science and the voices that raise the most protest against any form of “Intelligence theories and evidence” are those of atheistic beliefs.

    You say this, but what is it worth? Homeopaths and people that worship “crystal power” and astrologers say the same things. They are convinced that they possess awesome insights into reality that, maddeningly, mainstream science refuses to confirm (and in many ways disconfirms). So there is only a barrier to advancement here if your ideas are really genuine advancements. And you’ve thus far failed to make that case at all: failed to provide a testable theory that advances knowledge, even in theory, much less in practice.

    You would want to look for that evidence and compare it to all other findings.

    You’re getting ahead of yourself. You can’t claim that something is evidence for ID and then just look around the world and keep going “hey look, more and more evidence for ID!” That’s not research at all. All it is is characterization based on an assumption that the vast majority of scientists, religious and non, agree is unfounded in the first place. You first need to prove your assumption… but you can’t even begin to do so, because doing so would require getting into specifics, and the whole ID movement is premised on avoiding doing just that.

    And what would be so wrong with that? How could any form of research that looks for new evidence be considered a hindrance to advancement? It’s pretty obvious where the suppression and road blocks in Science lie and they clearly are not represented by the study of I.D.

    We’ve been waiting for one of your guys to produce ID “research” for a decade now. What’s the holdup? You guys have millions of dollars worth of foundation and book funds and potential pocketbooks worth of investment you can dip into even if big bad scientists won’t fund your research directly. So where’s the lab work? What’s the holdup? Why not even a single OUTLINE of an ID-methodology experiment explained, even just in theory? Why instead do you guys just go from church to church sermonizing about godless materialism and then turn around and claim that ID is a purely scientific endeavor? Or perform experiments solidly in the evolutionary paradigm, claim that they prove, but then have to admit on the witness stand that they actually support the evolutionary conclusion and have no real bearing on ID?

    How come Dembski, supposed mathematical maven, has published virtually nothing at all on math or information theory, whether in or out of the ID paradigm, since he started on this path? His case for ID involves claiming all sorts of new laws (including a 4th law of thermodynamics!), all of which would, if they worked out, be gold material in math and information theory journals quite apart from any discussion of ID. The math itself would be noteworthy. And yet, almost nothing doing. So what’s going on? Why can’t we see the math?

    Why instead do you guys generally pull this trick:

    But there’s a reason this is called debating. It allows for both sides of an argument to be heard. In most cases there are no winners but each side gets an opportunity to be heard… Now we both have been heard.

    Sorry, but real science doesn’t allow the debate to EVER end. And yet, “cdesign propentists” always seem eager just to find quick publicity for their views and then flit off to other venues, rather than stick around to see if their views can really stand up to critique or argument. No wonder most people are convinced that that ID is a PR scam rather than a real scientific enterprise.

  18. mike said; “Skull-whatever you call your self… I really couldn’t care less whether you agree with me or not. Your denial that Atheism is as much a Faith based belief system as any religion, is as annoying to me as my views are to you.”

    Tsk tsk tsk. Mike proudly assumes that I was writing to try and convince him of the error of his ways. I assumed he was a lost cause from the beginning. I simply don’t like false and conspiratorial claims about science and atheism to be passed along without challenge. And what is annoying isn’t an argument I disagree with, but one so poorly reasoned. Speaking of which…

    “Your comparison to Football fans was clever but irrelevant and rather childish really.”

    Irrelevant? Mike claimed atheism is a religion because it has meetings, web sites and promotional items, promoting their beliefs. This is completely silly and proves nothing, because every group has those things, including scientists, Republicans and, yes, football fans. Pointing out the silliness of someone’s arguments apparently qualifies as childish.

    “Whether or not anyone agrees with me that Atheism is a religion is really the least of my concerns. What I really care about is the control atheistic views have on science and its advancement.”

    If that’s the least of Mike’s concerns, he sure spent a lot of time talking about it! As far as the “control” that atheism has on science, if a scientist can provide some sort of real evidence that there is a God controlling everything, scientists will be happy, nay, enthusiastic, to see it! Nothing excites us more than a huge new scientific paradigm. The catch is that we actually need some shred of evidence that the paradigm is true. The notion that we’re suppressing proof of God is untrue and just silly. Speaking of which…

    “Just as clearly as I.D. scientists are looking for evidence of design, Neo Darwinian Scientists look for ways to prove design is not necessary for explaining life.”

    Both statements are vaguely correct, but not in the way Mike thinks. All scientists are looking for non-supernatural explanations for natural phenomena, that’s pretty much the definition of science. As stated above, though, we’ll change our conclusions if new evidence arises. The IDer, as nicely summarized in the above quote, already has their conclusion and won’t ever change it: there is a God, and he did create the world, and they’re going to keep looking for evidence to prove that view no matter how fruitless the search. Coming to conclusions first, without evidence, and then seeking to validate them against all evidence to the contrary is not science. Darwin, a good scientist, spent years on the Beagle making observations that led him inevitably to evolution.

    Well, enough said on my part, too!

  19. Bad says:

    Come on folks, use the blockquote tag. So much easier to read. :)

  20. Come on folks, use the blockquote tag. So much easier to read. :)

    Oh, fine! My problem is that I inevitably close it off improperly and end up with an entire post in blockquote…

  21. mike says:

    ugg… I’m kicking myself for responding yet again but your twisting of my own statements deserve at least one more response.

    Question for bad and skull… Can you prove scientifically, using your own guarded set of rules of science, that God in fact does NOT exist? No, of course you can not. Therefore what you believe relies on your own faith that such a being does not exist. You can’t prove it any more than I can prove that it does. Both perspectives require a belief system based on nothing but our own gut instincts and blind faith. Both our beliefs are with regard to our views on deity. So we can play word somatic games all day long but in the end, yours is every bit as much a religion of faith that God does not exist as mine is that he does. Only difference really is that I don’t deny my faith or religion and you do.

    Now to the silly point that both of you made utilizing sports teams… Do those teams exist? Yes… How do we know this? Because we see them, we can touch them (if we were allowed to be close enough to the players to do so), they each have families and histories and proof they were born and exist in this world so they require no further proof or even an ounce of blind faith in order to believe they are in fact real. So that is what makes your comparison silly, simple, irrelevant and childish. Your attempts to make me look foolish only reflect your own foolishness.

    As for the Atheist group meetings… You obviously are unaware of the countless numbers of conferences and atheistic social networks that exist. There are even countless numbers of Atheist Dating services. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and the like are regularly scheduled guest speakers at Atheist events and conferences and they are taking place all over the world on a daily basis. You can read about them in their newspapers or for free on line every day. You can read how they are desperately seeking the day when all “God believing religion” is banished from the world when they believe the world can then reach a kind of zen like utopia. They talk about such things openly. Their agenda and vision of the world is more similar to Islamic terrorist ideals than any other religion in the world. Because you are unaware of these meetings or the fact that you do not attend them does not mean they don’t exist. More than 90% of the American people believe in a God but less than half of them attend a church service of some kind on any sort of regularity. That does not make their faith any less a religion any more than your absence from atheistic meetings makes Atheism less a religion of faith. You can adhere to your beliefs from the comfort of your own home… nice and cozy.

    With regard to offering an opinion and then leaving… Bad’s comment that real science sticks around to duke it out is hilarious. This takes us back full circle to the real argument. Real science is controlled by a select few who won’t even allow open debate. Anyone who attempts to stray off the course they have so carefully crafted is shot down, damned, ridiculed, fired, rejected and accused of being “unscientific” and “unintelligent.” You smug posers of science sit around on your computers all day impressing yourselves with your own ignorant slams against anyone who dares to think for themselves. You think your intelligence gives you the right to trash those who believe differently than you do and you hide behind the “current” laws your kind have created in science to protect your own beliefs. That makes you big men doesn’t it. Oh so smart… oh so much wiser than the rest of us ignorant hillbillies. The truth of the matter is… if you really wanted to advance as scientists or HUMANS, you wouldn’t close the door to new ideas and research. When I.D. scientists point to the things they find and believe reflect intelligence, allow your minds a break from your closed little boxes and examine the evidence with them. What would be the worst that could happen? You might learn something new or worst case scenario… you might start to believe design is apparent? Oh my, wouldn’t that be awful?

  22. Bad says:

    Can you prove scientifically, using your own guarded set of rules of science, that God in fact does NOT exist? No, of course you can not. Therefore what you believe relies on your own faith that such a being does not exist. You can’t prove it any more than I can prove that it does.

    You’ve made a rather grotesque logical error here. You are assuming that I need to “believe” anything in regards to this question. I do not. You are the one making claims about a god. I am not convinced by those claims. Not believing your claims is not itself a belief, no matter how hard you try to torture the terminology.

    What you are doing is simply setting up a very common false dichotomy: either you must believe God exists, or you must believe that no gods exist. But I believe neither. I do NOT believe IN the existence of a god. That’s not the same thing. In doxastic logic, it’s the difference between B~X and ~BX. These statements are not equivalent, and you thinking that they is a major confusion.

    So that is what makes your comparison silly, simple, irrelevant and childish. Your attempts to make me look foolish only reflect your own foolishness.

    And yet, you’ve failed to offer any argument against them other than calling them childish. They are perfectly valid counter-examples, however. People can come together in groups for lots of reasons and common experiences. Either you are willing to call them “religions” or you aren’t: but you can’t make a special case for non-believers just to suit your own rhetorical ends. Yes, some atheists gather in groups and talk about common experiences. But not all, and there is no central credo: there is sometimes a common experience of, for instance, being discriminated against in public life. There are sometimes common anti-religious ideas and criticisms. But is being a minority a religion? Then there is a “religion” of being black. Is having criticisms of common claims a religion? Then being a Republican is a religion.

    But of course, you recognize that calling those things religions would be absurd. And so you must run away from the logical conclusions of your own argument, covering your tracks with charges of “childishness.”

    Their agenda and vision of the world is more similar to Islamic terrorist ideals than any other religion in the world.

    Now that’s a laugh. Atheists have the temerity to GASP talk! And argue that some ideas are unfounded or even harmful! And thus, suddenly, they are advocating near genocide!

    Back in reality, most atheists are far bigger and more consistent advocates of the freedom of belief than most believers. Confusing criticisms and a hope that those criticisms will be successful with militant Islam is beyond ridiculous: it only shows how hysterically intolerant you are to any criticism of your beliefs.

    Because you are unaware of these meetings or the fact that you do not attend them does not mean they don’t exist.

    I am perfectly aware of them. But I don’t need to have anything to do with them to be an atheist, because they are not inherently what atheism is. Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Many, if not most, atheists don’t even spend much time thinking about their lack of belief, let alone talking about it. And yet you want to call these random people “religious” for something they don’t even give any thought to? Don’t you see how bizarre that is?

    With regard to offering an opinion and then leaving… Bad’s comment that real science sticks around to duke it out is hilarious. This takes us back full circle to the real argument. Real science is controlled by a select few who won’t even allow open debate.

    This is, of course, pure nonsense. Scientists have again and again and again debated the ideas of ID people and explained why they find them to be bogus. This debate is going on all the time right now.

    What you’re mad about is that you guys keep losing the debate, because you never produce any real science to back up your assumptions and claims.

    he truth of the matter is… if you really wanted to advance as scientists or HUMANS, you wouldn’t close the door to new ideas and research.

    Science advances primarily by chucking out bad ideas. Your model of science seems to be that we must must focus exclusively on your idea despite the fact that it fails muster over and over. That’s not how it works. You can have as many tries as you like, but you can’t claim that you’ve provided new ideas and research when you’ve offered no new research or even a plan about how to go about conducting any. Nor when you repeat the same ideas that have been debunked over and over.

    When I.D. scientists point to the things they find and believe reflect intelligence, allow your minds a break from your closed little boxes and examine the evidence with them.

    Again and again scientists have looked at these claims, and they’ve found them unconvincing at best, wildly dishonest at worst. This includes religious scientists who ALREADY believe in a creator god! Not EVERY idea works out. We have been open: very open, to the possibility that there could be useful evidence of design. But it’s failed to work out. You don’t agree of course, but we have to draw the line somewhere when ideas don’t pass muster. Otherwise we’d still be “teaching the controversy” over orgone energy, the aether, astrology, and so forth.

    Read Kenneth Miller’s “Finding Darwin’s God”: he describes how he, a believer then and a believer now, was exciting to learn about creationist claims and ID… but then when he looked at them, they didn’t pan out at all. And heck, every single one of the people who discovered, for instance, that the earth was old were to begin with young earth creationists. Your big conspiracy of atheists just doesn’t pan out in the reality.

    You smug posers of science sit around on your computers all day impressing yourselves with your own ignorant slams against anyone who dares to think for themselves. You think your intelligence gives you the right to trash those who believe differently than you do and you hide behind the “current” laws your kind have created in science to protect your own beliefs. That makes you big men doesn’t it. Oh so smart… oh so much wiser than the rest of us ignorant hillbillies.

    Sounds like you have an awful big chip on shoulder. Unfortunately, a chip on the shoulder isn’t a very good substitute for evidence or argument.

  23. mike says:

    I won’t go any further with regard to what constitutes a religion. If I were I’d have to begin to agree with you that yes, even a sport can be as much a religion as Catholicism or Atheism is to others. For that matter so could sex, drugs and rock and roll. But that is to the extreme of the point I’ve tried to make and you don’t accept so fair enough, I’ll drop it. But I must say your clarification that it’s not just that you don’t believe God exists but rather that you don’t believe “IN” God was quite entertaining. Thanks for making that clear… “crystal” ;-)

    With regard to my comment on the growing numbers of Atheists discussing the Utopian world without God believers, I never mentioned their plans for Genocide but since you brought the subject up, there have been countless numbers of Atheists and Neo Darwinists who advocate such things. One example in particular was the suggestion to release a virus into the world to eliminate 90% of the population so as to start with a clean slate so to speak, breeding and cloning a superior race. This isn’t sci-fi fiction this is a growing train of thought among Atheist groups world wide. Hitler attempted this of course but more recently the kid-murderers at Columbine, sporting their Darwin shirts, clearly outlined their learned thoughts and beliefs on this very subject and what many people don’t know is that their true intentions that day were not simply to shoot a few people but to blow up the entire school. They wanted to kill everyone including taking out as many of the emergency responders as they could before their own inevitable deaths. Lucky for most that day they were poor bomb makers and their true plans, lead by their Atheistic belief system failed. Atheist groups advocate euthanasia and abortion as a way to control the population. The devaluing of human life mindset is a direct result of a system that believes and teaches humans are irrelevant freak accidents that genetically evolved with no more importance or significance than a slug. There are volumes of books written about the ideas of Atheists have for controlling and breeding a better human race. This is nothing new but of course you won’t want to admit to any of it. Instead you ironically accuse ME of being intolerant! Ha… that’s a laugh. Last I checked, my faith values human life… All human life including the Atheist. But you go ahead and play your spin games and try to make me look like the close minded, intolerant militant.

    Your attempt to say that because Atheist scientist will openly debate an I.D. scientist makes them open to new ideas is laughable! That is the funniest thing you’ve said yet. Yea I’ve watched numbers of those debates, have you? No matter what the I.D. apologist puts forward the Atheist will hide behind the LAWS of science that were written by like minded individuals. They have no problem admitting they can’t explain the origin of life but suggest the intelligence that is evident in nature may have come from intelligent beings from outer-space who evolved as well. They’re willing to accept we may have been designed by Martians but NOT by a supernatural Creator. It’s the most hilarious nonsense I’ve ever heard and yet they spew this stuff out with the arrogance of one who truly believes they have the wisdom of the ages. They condemn a creationist for believing a God created man without testable evidence of such, but they attribute the same evidence of intelligence in nature to Spok out there somewhere on planet moron. Yea I’ve watched some of those debates. My sides hurt from laughing so hard.

    Chip on my shoulder? My friend… the chip lies squarely on yours and those in your camp. I’m only calling a spade a spade. It’s not my views that have highjacked and altered science and the educational system. All I can say in closing is that this matter is in no way, shape or form settled.

  24. Bad says:

    But I must say your clarification that it’s not just that you don’t believe God exists but rather that you don’t believe “IN” God was quite entertaining. Thanks for making that clear… “crystal”

    If you don’t get the distinction, or see the importance of the distinction, then trust me: you are missing out on a pretty darn important element of logic, science, and the burden of proof. A lot of your misplaced rage over these issues may well stem from your misunderstanding of this very key point.

    Lucky for most that day they were poor bomb makers and their true plans, lead by their Atheistic belief system failed.

    Again, if you understood the issue outlined above, you’d understand that talking about an “atheistic belief system” is like talking about a “non-chess player belief system.” What people don’t share in common is not a very good basis on which to group them together under the banner of things they do believe.

    There are volumes of books written about the ideas of Atheists have for controlling and breeding a better human race. This is nothing new but of course you won’t want to admit to any of it.

    There have been lots of horrible people proposing all sorts of horrible things, whether they are religious or not. Religion doesn’t make people into monsters or saints, and neither does the lack of it. It’s sort of odd that you mention Hitler, of course, because he was in no sense an atheist, and in fact his regime exploited a long tradition of antisemitism rooted in traditional European Christianity: referencing God’s will for Germany and so forth far more than even religious politicians today. Read Martin Luther’s “On the Jews and their Lies” and you’ll find a virtual blueprint for the Holocaust. A better choice would have been Mao or Stalin, though things aren’t so simple there either.

    But this is neither here nor there. I haven’t proposed any of these things, nor would I ever. Neither have any of the major figures talking about atheism today, nor any of the major defenders of science. And since I share precisely zero moral beliefs in common with someone like Stalin of the Columbine kids, I’m not quite sure what the point in citing them is.

    Last I checked, my faith values human life… All human life including the Atheist.

    That’s very nice of it, thanks! I value human life as well, so hopefully we can get along swimmingly.

    It’s the most hilarious nonsense I’ve ever heard and yet they spew this stuff out with the arrogance of one who truly believes they have the wisdom of the ages.

    I don’t need to claim special wisdom to be able to spot bullshit. :)

    And most of your complaints seem based on a poor understanding of what it is that scientists are objecting to in ID, or what they mean when they talk about things like panaspermia.

    They condemn a creationist for believing a God created man without testable evidence of such, but they attribute the same evidence of intelligence in nature to Spok out there somewhere on planet moron. Yea I’ve watched some of those debates. My sides hurt from laughing so hard.

    It would have been better if you said that your brain had hurt from thinking too hard. Anyone can laugh and sneer at people whom they view as enemies. Again, this isn’t the same thing as providing any sort of coherent response to what they’ve argued.

    It’s not my views that have highjacked and altered science and the educational system.

    Thankfully, no, that time is over.

    All I can say in closing is that this matter is in no way, shape or form settled.

    Of course not. But then, that’s the ethic of science: all matters remain open pending further evidence. But that doesn’t mean that you can just chuck the requirement of evidence altogether. Either you guys come up with a theory that provides testable lines of research and possible disconfirmation or you’re just going to get turned away again and again. Over and over I’ve asked you for some explanation as to how ID could work as science, and you’ve provided nothing. Young-Earth creationism has collapsed into absurdity the face of the evidence, even most creationists now concede that microevolutionary change happens (which is basically giving the whole game away), and many ID proponents concede that common descent is true. It seems all you guys ever do is make a bunch of claims about how your beliefs are “evident” and do nothing else except ever so slowly modify your views to look more and more like evolution.

    But isn’t it odd that this debate on the supposedly scientifically compelling idea of intelligent design has now morphed into “creationism” and touting the virtues of your religious beliefs? Do you see why people have such a hard time believing that the ID movement is anything more than a PR scam for pushing religious beliefs as science?

  25. What you are doing is simply setting up a very common false dichotomy: either you must believe God exists, or you must believe that no gods exist. But I believe neither.

    So, with all due respect (and I mean that sincerely) wouldn’t that make you an agnostic, rather than an atheist? You seem to be saying that you do not believe God exists, nor (and this is the interesting part) do you believe that no gods exist. That’s agnosticism.

    I’m not trying to be a smart-ass here. I’m genuinely curious.

  26. I guess I’m not getting a reply to the above comment. :(

    Too bad, I really was interested in your answer.

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