Has anyone seen the movie Expelled: No Intellegence Allowed? - Page 8 - Mothering Forums
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#211 of 227 Old 12-08-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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So if Stein's presentation of ID is simplistic, where can one find a fair representation? I haven't found one yet that has been fundamentally scientific. The 2005 court ruling came to the conclusion that ID is religion and that is after incredibly motivated stakeholders made their case. So I hold that ID is religious thought and therefore does not belong in the science classroom. Can someone challenge this idea either in their own words or point me to someone who does make the case well?
There are a few scientists who write on the subject, like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer. I have never read them so far, so I could not comment on their value, but some people find them worthwhile.

Regarding ID being "religious thought" rather than scientific, I came across this comment in a book review. It does not deal with ID as it relates to evolution, only to the origins of the universe. Put this way, it does seem reasonable that "matter before mind" has no logical advantage over "mind before matter."
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"Science" for me is distinct from "religion" in that in science there are no gospels. The ID hypothesis -- that mind came first and matter came second as the product of mind --("idealism") is not a gospel, it is just a hypothesis -- just a theory -- just a model regarding the possible nature of the world. The opposing hypothesis, that matter came first and mind came second (materialism) is also just a hypothesis about the nature of the world. My vision of science is that of dicipline of investigation without gospels.
While Religion has its gospels, Science (as I see it) does not. The fact that the ID hypothesis has been expelled from the science section (and that I have yet to find any religion in these books) suggests to me that that the materialist hypothesis is now operating as a materialist gospel and that science's internal religious corruption (material-ISM) is being unfairly projected onto the ID hypothesis. Of course it is possible that many will claim that the materialist hypothesis should be gospelized and that real science requires gospelization and (subsequent removal of ID) at this basic level. This of course is not my vision of "science." My vision of science is that of a discipline of inquiry that encourages free debate and eschews all gospelization.
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#212 of 227 Old 12-08-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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Has anyone read "Signature in the Cell" by Stephen Meyer or seen "Unlocking the Mystery of Life"? As unimpressed as I was by Ben Stein's movie, I'd like to learn more. I'm adding Unlocking the Mystery of Life to my Netflix queue.
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#213 of 227 Old 12-08-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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There are a few scientists who write on the subject, like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer. I have never read them so far, so I could not comment on their value, but some people find them worthwhile.

Regarding ID being "religious thought" rather than scientific, I came across this comment in a book review. It does not deal with ID as it relates to evolution, only to the origins of the universe. Put this way, it does seem reasonable that "matter before mind" has no logical advantage over "mind before matter."
A couple of thoughts about your quote (which is very thought provoking!) It seems to me that the distinction it is making has a home in philosophy, but not in biology. The evolotionary biologists in _Expelled_ make very clear that evolution is about what happened after life appeared on earth. What happened before is not the subject of biology and can't be unless more is learned.

The other is that there is a gulf of difference between a hypothesis and a theory. Evolution really is what happened/ is happening and Darwin was the first scientist who noticed it. Darwin came up with the theory of evolution by travelling the world and then putting the pieces together like a detective. He came up with an explanation for what he was seeing. All scientifically performed studies since have affirmed evolution. The field of genetics which didn't even exist in Darwin's time (Darwin knew nothing of genes nor or recessive and dominant traits) has affirmed evolution. It is not a mere hypothesis. Because evolution is real, the theory will be added to, be made more complex, but as with heliocentrism, gravity and germ theory, it is here to stay. Because it is relatively new compared to heliocentrism, it is still controversial.

In Dawkins' new book he likens what biology teachers and professors are up against to a history teacher who is excited to teach about the art, culture and history of the Roman empire, but has a gaggle of students in class who roll their eyes and insist that the Roman empire never existed.

Or can you imagine if history teachers had to teach Holocaust denial out of "respect" for all views? I think this would actually be just the opposite of respect for students. In all fields students deserve to learn the truth. The philosophical questions you bring up are deeply interesting and should absolutely be discussed in philosophy and religion classes. But they don't belong in biology because they are not biological questions.
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#214 of 227 Old 12-08-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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A couple of thoughts about your quote (which is very thought provoking!) It seems to me that the distinction it is making has a home in philosophy, but not in biology. The evolotionary biologists in _Expelled_ make very clear that evolution is about what happened after life appeared on earth. What happened before is not the subject of biology and can't be unless more is learned.
// The philosophical questions you bring up are deeply interesting and should absolutely be discussed in philosophy and religion classes. But they don't belong in biology because they are not biological questions.
No, they do not have anything to do with biology, but
(a) scientists do feel free to make statements about the origin, or likely origin, of the physical universe, and do not consider it a religious or philosophical discussion on their part; so it is unfair to label any disagreement with their ideas as automatically disqualified; and
(b) the questions pertain to the main theme of Expelled: fair treatment of those whose opinions deviate from current thinking. The question of when scientific theory crosses the line into dogma can be applied to any branch of science.


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Or can you imagine if history teachers had to teach Holocaust denial out of "respect" for all views?
Can I politely suggest you might want to rethink using that particular metaphor?
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#215 of 227 Old 12-08-2009, 04:18 PM
 
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the questions pertain to the main theme of Expelled: fair treatment of those whose opinions deviate from current thinking. The question of when scientific theory crosses the line into dogma can be applied to any branch of science.
Watching the movie, I got the impression that the real main theme was that science leads to atrocities such as Nazi death camps, and the 'fair treatment' or 'freedom of speech' line was only used to get more people on board with the real agenda of the movie - to get religion in science classrooms.

Otherwise, I would have expected to see more of the science of ID in the movie and less black and white footage of concentration camps.
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#216 of 227 Old 12-08-2009, 05:37 PM
 
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No, they do not have anything to do with biology, but
(a) scientists do feel free to make statements about the origin, or likely origin, of the physical universe, and do not consider it a religious or philosophical discussion on their part; so it is unfair to label any disagreement with their ideas as automatically disqualified; and
(b) the questions pertain to the main theme of Expelled: fair treatment of those whose opinions deviate from current thinking. The question of when scientific theory crosses the line into dogma can be applied to any branch of science.



Can I politely suggest you might want to rethink using that particular metaphor?
When scientists do talk about the origin of life, it is usually when they are directly questioned (like Stein did to Dawkins after lying about his purpose) and they make clear that they are speculating. Evolution, on the other hand is not the product of speculation, it is the product of finally noticing after centuries of Platonic essentialism preventing their doing so the reality of biological history. Even in the movie, the scientists make clear that they don't know and that it is not part of evolutionary theory. Maybe someday it will be, but I doubt we will see it in our lifetime.

Evolutionary theory is the exact opposite of dogma. It is the result of intense questioning, of more than a decade of trying to disprove it (yes, within the field of biology) and it is simply a description of reality. Biology deparments are entirely within their right to deny tenure to someone who asks unscientific questions. Why would they want a colleage on staff for the rest of their tenure who doesn't understand her own field? It just doesn't make any sense.

Finally, if _Expelled_ is asking for fair treatment, why didn't it grant it? I am only half way through, (watching it about 20 minutes at a time this week as I find time) but I am pretty sure that Stein did not interview (or at least it didn't make the final cut) the departments from which these people were sacked. The only thing I've seen so far is anti-ID people unfamiliar with the cases speculating. Wouldn't fair treatment offer rebuttal from people involved like the _Frontline_ on Intelligent Design did? It doesn't look to me like Stein has any interest in finding the truth of the matter. I am just getting started, but I do intend to follow each case he presents to find out why each person was fired.
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#217 of 227 Old 12-08-2009, 11:09 PM
 
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I don't think so. There is not just "one" argument, to begin with. Essentially what you are asking for is the history of philosophy.

To begin at the beginning, you could look at Plato. Many start with The Republic which is very readable, but tends to get mistaken for simply political philosophy. Aristotle's Metaphysics would be excellent, but is not the most easily accessible work, dense and using a lot of specialized language.

Maybe something more modern, like Descartes would be suitable. Meditations on First Philosophy is considered his most important work by many. It is short and much more modern in tone than the ancients. But of course it is just one book, and the history of philosophy is rather like a long discussion between different thinkers, each building upon the other.

One text I can recommend on the ancients is An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy, by Hilary Armstrong. It begins with the pre-socratic materialists and describes in a lot of detail the emergence of the understanding of the immaterial with Plato. It covers up to Augustine, and perhaps slightly beyond that.
I like philosophy (it was what created the scientific method, after all) it tends to be more in the business of "speculating" as opposed to "demonstrating" or "proving".
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#218 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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Evolutionary theory is the exact opposite of dogma. It is the result of intense questioning, of more than a decade of trying to disprove it (yes, within the field of biology) and it is simply a description of reality.
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The other is that there is a gulf of difference between a hypothesis and a theory. Evolution really is what happened/ is happening and Darwin was the first scientist who noticed it. Darwin came up with the theory of evolution by travelling the world and then putting the pieces together like a detective. He came up with an explanation for what he was seeing. All scientifically performed studies since have affirmed evolution. The field of genetics which didn't even exist in Darwin's time (Darwin knew nothing of genes nor or recessive and dominant traits) has affirmed evolution. It is not a mere hypothesis. Because evolution is real, the theory will be added to, be made more complex, but as with heliocentrism, gravity and germ theory, it is here to stay. Because it is relatively new compared to heliocentrism, it is still controversial.
I still think the charge of treating evolutionary theory as dogma stands.
I am not too familiar with any of the sciences, and I am not sure what these studies are which have affirmed evolution, but I do not think it would be accurate to say all scientific evidence supports evolution, or that no evidence works against it. When contrary evidence is found, it is usually classified as an aberration or as not yet explained, and set aside.

There was the fossilized modern human leg bone discovered next to Australopithecus remains, in the same stratum and apparently of the same age. There were the dinosaur footprints crossed by a series of footprints identified as those of a modern human. The first example was simply ignored; the second one, after being acknowledged as unmistakably modern human footprints for many years, are now dismissed as mere accidental impressions. These are just two of the more extreme examples.

Please note, I am not arguing that modern humans coexisted with dinosaurs. What the examples do show is that there is some very serious flaw either in the identification of species, or in the dating of fossils. These examples should be a warning to scientists to examine their methods and their assumptions. Instead they are ignored, because we already know the "facts."

Also working against current evolutionary theory is the fossil record, which tends not to show gradual emergence of new species, but a sudden appearance; and the earliest fossils, which produce examples of all the animal phyla at the same time. Scientists keep searching for a pattern in keeping with the existing theory, instead of looking at what the actual evidence might tell them.

The same applies to evidence that evolution might occur in a different way than believed, or which would suggest that something has been overlooked. I am thinking of things like blind cave animals, which not only become blind and colorless after a few generations in total darkness, but have young who are also blind and colorless. Their genetic makeup changes, even though their survival is not affected. Then, when removed from the cave and brought back into the light, they become sighted and pigmented again within a few generations, and pass these characteristics on to their young, contradicting what is assumed about the way evolution works genetically. This kind of phenomenon was studied in the past by a few scientists, but their work was dismissed because it disagreed with what is "known" about how evolution works, instead of examined objectively.
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#219 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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I am thinking of things like blind cave animals, which not only become blind and colorless after a few generations in total darkness, but have young who are also blind and colorless. Their genetic makeup changes, even though their survival is not affected. Then, when removed from the cave and brought back into the light, they become sighted and pigmented again within a few generations, and pass these characteristics on to their young, contradicting what is assumed about the way evolution works genetically.
Can I get a link on that?
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#220 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 02:21 AM
 
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There was the fossilized modern human leg bone discovered next to Australopithecus remains, in the same stratum and apparently of the same age. There were the dinosaur footprints crossed by a series of footprints identified as those of a modern human. The first example was simply ignored; the second one, after being acknowledged as unmistakably modern human footprints for many years, are now dismissed as mere accidental impressions. These are just two of the more extreme examples.

Please note, I am not arguing that modern humans coexisted with dinosaurs. What the examples do show is that there is some very serious flaw either in the identification of species, or in the dating of fossils. These examples should be a warning to scientists to examine their methods and their assumptions. Instead they are ignored, because we already know the "facts."
Every single case of this that I have tracked has been a hoax. Every single one.

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The same applies to evidence that evolution might occur in a different way than believed, or which would suggest that something has been overlooked. I am thinking of things like blind cave animals, which not only become blind and colorless after a few generations in total darkness, but have young who are also blind and colorless. Their genetic makeup changes, even though their survival is not affected. Then, when removed from the cave and brought back into the light, they become sighted and pigmented again within a few generations, and pass these characteristics on to their young, contradicting what is assumed about the way evolution works genetically. This kind of phenomenon was studied in the past by a few scientists, but their work was dismissed because it disagreed with what is "known" about how evolution works, instead of examined objectively.
How in the world does this contradict evolution? Yes, it may contradict something Darwin said because he knew nothing of genes and recessive/dominant traits, but I don't see how it contradicts the idea of natural selection at all. In fact it seems to me to affirm it. Which scientists' work was dismissed?
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#221 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 02:33 AM
 
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Someone mentioned this site early in the thread. You can click on the names of the people "expelled" and get more of the story. Most of them weren't really even fired.

I wonder why no one in Stein's crowd goes through the paces in evolutionary biology, gets tenure and then sets the world straight? If evolution were disproved and replaced with a better theory, there would be plenty of fame and funding to follow.
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#222 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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Also working against current evolutionary theory is the fossil record, which tends not to show gradual emergence of new species, but a sudden appearance; and the earliest fossils, which produce examples of all the animal phyla at the same time. Scientists keep searching for a pattern in keeping with the existing theory, instead of looking at what the actual evidence might tell them.
Here is a good PDF of a journal article which explains the science behind the Cambrian Explosion. It is short and readable. It is aimed at science teachers who need to deal with creationist arguments. It has some great questions for critical thinking at the end like why don't *any* of these species still exist if they were the product of intelligent design?

http://www.springerlink.com/content/...g/fulltext.pdf
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#223 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 10:22 AM
 
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I like philosophy (it was what created the scientific method, after all) it tends to be more in the business of "speculating" as opposed to "demonstrating" or "proving".
Strictly speaking, this is the opposite of what is actually the case. It is quite possible to have a philosophical, logical, or mathematical proof. But in science, it is impossible to have a proof. This is because philosophy works by both inductive a deductive reasoning, while science uses inductive reasoning.

Additionally, science at it's heart is based on philosophical principles and assumptions, like the law of non-contradiction. It cannot, therefore, be more "sure" than they are.

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#224 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 01:58 PM
 
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It is quite possible to have a philosophical, logical, or mathematical proof. But in science, it is impossible to have a proof.
But philosophy and logic (and probably mathematics too, I don't know) rely on unprovable axioms, do they not? In which case the proof is only as good as the axiom. I don't see how that is any more certain than a scientific proof, which relies on and is only as good as its evidence.
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#225 of 227 Old 12-09-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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But philosophy and logic (and probably mathematics too, I don't know) rely on unprovable axioms, do they not? In which case the proof is only as good as the axiom. I don't see how that is any more certain than a scientific proof, which relies on and is only as good as its evidence.
Yes, it ALL relies on unprovable axioms. But within that, you can make a logical proof, for example. It doesn't matter if the system is "real".

OTOH, one simply can't make a scientific proof. We can say of the earth orbiting the sun - we have seen this, it seems to be happening now. We can offer an explanation (gravity). We can suggest that this same process goes on backwards and forwards in time, and throughout space.

BUT - we cannot show that our observations of the world are "real" - whereas with a logical proof it doesn't matter. We cannot absolutely connect our explanation, gravity, with the observed phenomena, whereas with a logical proof the conclusion is necessitated by the premises. And we cannot actually know that the force or gravity or other "laws" apply throughout time or space, whereas if you accept system the logical proof than the rules are always applicable.

Of course, if we depended on those kind of proofs to live, we would live very limited intellectual lives, and would probably die of starvation anyway.

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#226 of 227 Old 12-10-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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Here is a good PDF of a journal article which explains the science behind the Cambrian Explosion. It is short and readable. It is aimed at science teachers who need to deal with creationist arguments. It has some great questions for critical thinking at the end like why don't *any* of these species still exist if they were the product of intelligent design?

http://www.springerlink.com/content/...g/fulltext.pdf
It is an interesting article. The thing is, I was not making creationist claims when I brought up the Cambrian Explosion. I was using it as an example of things which do not follow the usual outline of how organisms evolve. The article's main intent does not seem to be finding or expressing the truth about the Cambrian Explosion, but making sure creationist arguments are effectively discouraged.
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Every single case of this that I have tracked has been a hoax. Every single one.
There have been a number of "footprint" hoaxes perpetrated, so I had trouble tracking down the one I was referring to. I think it is now being described as the footprints of a small, three toed dinosaur rather than a hominid.
The fossilized, apparently human femur, though, was discovered by Richard Leakey's team, and I very much doubt Leakey would be involved in a hoax intended to cast doubt on evolution.
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How in the world does this contradict evolution? Yes, it may contradict something Darwin said because he knew nothing of genes and recessive/dominant traits, but I don't see how it contradicts the idea of natural selection at all. In fact it seems to me to affirm it. Which scientists' work was dismissed?
The example of blind cave animals does not actually contradict evolution; it does contradict some well established ideas about how evolution works, and how physical traits are passed on.
Animals find their way into a completely dark cave. Over many generations, they lose their eyesight and their pigmentation. Some even no longer have eyes. What we often hear is, they no longer had any need of eyes or skin colour in complete darkness, so those traits were lost.
Logically, this should not happen. Animals are not supposed to evolve away from a characteristic when it is not needed, only when it affects their survival or their ability to reproduce. It should certainly not disappear from their genetic code.
First, there was no real survival advantage in being blind or albino, even in a dark cave. The only attempt at explaining this oddity, that I know of, came from a scientist who suggested the animals who kept their eyes might be more likely to injure them by bumping into cave walls. There is certainly no reason cave animals would, as a group - fish, salamanders, crickets, etc. - all lose their colouring.
Second, these changes, including genetic changes passed along to the next generation, seem to have occurred in response to the animals' environment. In complete darkness, they developed a gene for blindness or eyelessness, and for lack of pigment. The conventional explanation is that changes in environment affect survival. This does not apply to cave animals, who would survive just as well in the dark if they had eyes and colouration. If environment actually affects the development of hereditary traits (apart from survival issues) that affects evolutionary theory at a basic level.
Paul Kammerer was a nineteenth century scientist who did some work in this area. He found he could cause amphibians to produce young with different colouration, within a few generations, according to the colour of the parent animal's environment. He is not considered a shining light of the scientific community, but it is interesting how furious he made scientists who followed standard evolutionary theory, and how anxious they were to shut him up.
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#227 of 227 Old 12-10-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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Evolutionary scientists are not furious or anxious. They are not in cahoots, there is not multi-generational conspiracy theory. They are simply exasperated by criticism that comes from an imcomplete understanding of what they are criticizing. The are tired of being asked to consider non-scientific questions. Richard Dawkins new book _The Greatest Show on Earth_ is all about why evolution is now as much a fact as gravity theory and heliocentrism.

The deal with evolution is that it is not perfect. In fact the imperfections of evolution are just more evidence that there is no intelligent designer. Ever wonder why we have hiccups? The answer is fascinating and it is because of evolution. Why *do* cave dwelling animals have eyes? Why do bat wings look so much like a grotesque version of a hand? Why don't whales have gills? Why do ostriches have wings?
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