Sunday, August 28, 2005

Have Darwinists “Jumped the Shark?"

William A. Dembski's site Uncommon Descent has a post with this title today. I thought it was worth mentioning because I've taken an interest in this the Intelligent Design vs. Darwinian evolution debate...and I love the term "jumped the shark." He contends that Darwinian evolution is being naturally selected out of the gene pool, so to speak, because it fails to pass certain tests proposed in ID theory. But first, a little history on shark jumping:

From Wikipedia:

The phrase 'Jump the Shark' refers to a scene in a three-part episode of the American television series Happy Days first broadcast on September 20, 1977. In the "Hollywood" episode, Fonzie — wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket — jumps over a tank containing a shark while on water skis.

Many have noted the shark episode as the moment when they realized the show was no longer worth watching, when it became impossible to maintain a certain
suspension of disbelief.

Dembski believes that we're witnessing the "final episodes" of evolution as we know it today.

Let me say for the record, I've not made up my mind yet on these topics. From what I've read so far, I think both theories leave more questions than answers. To find out more yourself, start here and here for (fairly) unbiased reviews of both schools of thought.

While I continue to process these theories, I know this for certain, though. Liberals hate Intelligent Design. And for that reason alone, I'm forced to give it thorough, thoughtful review.

However, thoughtful is about the last thing you'll see ID opponents bring to the table on-line.
Anymore, I run into this type of intellectual transaction instead of informed debate:
=========================================================

ID proponent: Does Darwinian evolution have an answer for Irreducible Complexity?

ID opponent: Piss off, you God loving fascist. Keep your hate out of my schools. F*ck You!

ID proponent: I think you’re missing the point. See, can evolution explain the "Cambrian explosion," in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a common ancestor...?”

ID opponent: Shut up or I’ll shut you up. Why don’t we all worship noodles - we could be
Pastafarians!! Ha ha - ignorant creationist…

ID proponent: Who said anything about God?

ID opponent: You did, you Jesus Freak!


=========================================================

I think Darwinian defenders have to do better than this type of adolescent refutation of ID. They don't seem to be, though, which gives credence to “jumping the shark” theory.

Please post any links or comments for or against. I'll read them all. (Comments with name calling instead of logical discussion will be deleted - that's right, censorship.)

12 Comments:

Blogger Bohemian Like You said...

This comment placed here for the same purpose that a bartender puts a couple of his own dollars in the tip jar at the beginning of his shift. Comments beget comments.

8/28/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous ray b. said...

Evolution happened. It's happening right now. We have to keep upgrading our pesticides 'cause the bugs keep getting use to what we have tried killing them with. Doctors are now trying to prescribe less less anti-biotics because Americans were given too many and becoming resistant -- making super germs.

Evolution happened. It's happening right now. Liberal views in the U.S. (tolerance, compasion, seeing the world as it is - complicated) are outlasting older conservative viewpoints (racial prejudice, homophobia, fairytales like the Bible...).

Didn't you hear that Elton John song? The New York Times said God is Dead.. what was that??, "Levon."

8/29/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Just Charlie said...

Well no serious ID proponent questions "micro"evolution as it has been termed. What is questioned is what we do not and have never observed. Bugs indeed become better bugs, more immune to pesticides and such, but bugs do not become spiders or frogs or whatever one might suspect a bug should turn into. If you have such evidence, I've been looking for it.

8/29/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Like You said...

Ray,

I think what you're referring to is adaptation. I don't dispute that. In fact, adaptable systems indicate good design.

You're response mentions homophobia and intolerance - again, I don't think it advances your argument or that of Darwinian evolution.

Other than that - it's fine!

8/29/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

I suppose my views have the potential to offend everyone... I believe that it is possible that we evolved very much like the Darwinists believe we evolved... and I believe that, if that is the case, it was because God chose to use that method to create us. The problem with Darwinism is it focuses on the "How" without the "Why." Scientifically, it may be valid... but it's a shabby basis for any kind of life-philosophy. There is more to life than simple biological processes. That's evident, and not only to us Christians. Pre-Christian Europeans like Plato and Aristotle had that figured out, too.

8/29/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous ray b said...

Darrell wrote:

"The problem with Darwinism is it focuses on the "How" without the "Why." Scientifically, it may be valid... but it's a shabby basis for any kind of life-philosophy."

All of that may be true -- but do we want Intelligent Design taught in public schools? At the most it may belong in a comparative religious studies class but certainly not in a biology science course.

Intelligent Design is a dressed up version of Creationism. It's just another attempt by the far right to take the U.S. back to some fairytale time in our history (a "Father Knows Best" world that never really existed) that they are more comfortable with.

I'd really like to know what far right initiatives that Bohemian and Darrell will not support. If Conservatives in the state you live in were able to get state legislatures to ban all abortions, make organized school prayer a reality, insist (by law) that no homosexuals could teach in school and that public school teachers would have to teach Intelligent design or creationism, would you go along with all of that? Would you be for laws where women who had abortions were sent to prison?

Would you be in favor of laws allowing teachers to carry firearms? Would you be in favor of laws banning the minimum wage?

What about Embryonic stem cell research -- would you be willing to sign a document saying that you or any member of your family could not benefit from any cures from stem cell research because you oppose such research (if you do oppose it).

Where do you guys draw the line?

8/30/2005 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Like You said...

Ray,

Darwinian evolutionists are having a hard time coming up with answers to some foundational questions.

The more Libs try to link irreducible complexity to homophobia or slavery or [insert knee jerk reactionary hyperbole here], the stronger ID is made.

Darwinists have nothing to fear from the truth, do they?

8/30/2005 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Chuck Wade said...

I think it's amazing how well ray is making bohemian's point. When speaking with any liberal about this issue it becomes not a discussion about creationism v. evolution, but a discussion about how the "right wing fundamentalist is trying to kill all gays", I mean where did that even come from? Ray said: "Evolution happened" then again he said "Evolution happened" to which my answer is "prove it."

8/30/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger One with a heart to serve. said...

What I find amusing and satisfying is that as we, as humans, gain more knowledge (which, I suppose, some would call evolution), evolution loses its credibility. Evolutionary "facts" are being disproven BY SCIENCE, and yet neither science or philosphy have been able to disprove Creationism.

Evolution is merely a state supported religion based on faith, not fact.

You may say 'Creationism is the same' GOOD, say it, and demand that both have equal time in our education system. This is the only fair way to do it.

(sidenote) As for Ray's comment on Liberals and their characteristics:

Tolerance? Liberals are tolerant of nothing. If they were tolerant, they wouldn't protest everything under the sun. They would simply tolerate others' views and opinions.

Compassion? Maybe if you are a whale, or have four feet, or leaves growing from you.

Seeing the world as complicated? Yeah, thanks to liberals and evolutionists, who have spent their lives trying to complicate it.

Anyway, the point is, evolution should be taken out of science category, and placed in the comparative religion category as well, for it is a matter of faith. If those who subscribe to evolution thought about it for, oh ten minutes or so, they would see that it takes a whole lot more faith to believe in the claims of evolution than in the claims of God.

8/30/2005 11:29:00 PM  
Anonymous ray B. said...

As for the homophobia ribbing I apologize -- it's my knee jerk reaction...

Regarding evolution -- here's my response (from this site www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/essays/creationism.htm):

1. There is enormous variety in the plant and animal kingdoms. Some species of plants and animals have much more complex organic structures than other species.

2. All living things must come from at least one living parent (i.e., life does not arise spontaneously out of non-life).

3. The simplest forms of plant and animal life were on earth long before the more complex forms (as confirmed by the geological succession of fossils).


One popular answer to the case for evolution sketched out above proposed by anti-evolutionists is the argument that geological features like the Grand Canyon were created by divine intervention in a matter of days, so that we have no right to infer that the fossils in the higher layers were not also created at the same time as those in the lower layers. That, of course, may be true, but such a claim, which appeals to miraculous metaphysical intervention or some unspecified physical process (in violation of the known laws of physics) rather than to known physical processes, is not scientific.

And from this site
www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/essays/creationism.htm:

The Design Argument, however, is not logically compelling simply because (as Immanuel Kant pointed out over two hundred years ago), one cannot conclude anything firm about non-physical beings (like God) on the basis of physical evidence. This would be (to use a trivial modern example) rather like making firm conclusions about a stranger's character on the basis of the numbers in his credit card. Even if we have trouble accepting the fact that random changes (even with a process of selection in place) could produce something like the human eye, the complexity of that structure is not a sufficient reason for making firm conclusions about metaphysical things.

That said, one has to concede that many scientific activities routinely lead some people to religious or spiritual insight. It's probably no accident that many great modern physicists have had profoundly mystical or religious sensibilities and have seen in the wonderfully eloquent and complex designs revealed by their scientific investigations encouragements for a leap of faith. But such mystical experience requires that leap of faith—it does not arise logically and compellingly out of the scientific design, nor is its validity logically confirmed by the existence of such design.

8/31/2005 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Larry Arnhart said...

Conservatives are making a big mistake by adopting the rhetoric of "intelligent design." Charles Darwin is not the enemy but the friend of conservatism, because Darwinian science supports the conservative view of human nature as imperfectible (in contrast to the Left's utopian commitment to human perfectibility)

I have argued this in my new book DARWINIAN CONSERVATISM. The book includes a chapter on "intelligent design." I agree with the ID people that we should debate the difficulties with Darwinian theory. But the problem with ID is that it doesn't offer a positive scientific theory. Exactly when, where, and how did the Intelligent Designer create all "irreducibly complex" mechanisms in the living world? IDers refuse to answer, because they prefer a purely negative rhetoric of attacking Darwinian science without offering any scientific alternative.

Another problem is the assumption that Darwinism is morally and politically corrupting. In fact, Darwin argued for a "moral sense" rooted in evolved human nature. Moreover, all of the major principles of conservative thought--the importance of family life, private property, and limited government--can be sustained by Darwinian arguments.

A blogging website on my book can be found at darwinianconservatism.blogspot.com

9/09/2005 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Like You said...

Thanks Larry - I'll check out your blog.

I think there are many in the ID movement who are answering the questions you pose. I won't speak for them but I know that Behe, and Dembski answer them specifically.

Don't you think that Darwinism leaves as many questions unanswered?

9/09/2005 09:16:00 PM  

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