September 29, 2013

"Utterly unqualified partisan politicians will look at what utterly unqualified citizens have said..."

Begins a criticism of [guess what] that could work pretty much across the board as a criticism of representative democracy.


AJ Lynch said...

Didn't the White House just promote a celebrity chef to chief govt nutritionist for the Let's Move program? How is that any different?

America's Politico said...

No, the govt. will not shut down. It is a way for people to keep jobs (TV reporters can appear to be important; politicians can show that they are needed in Washington; etc.)

The deal will be reached late Monday evening, around 10-11 PM Eastern.

You heard it here first. Do not believe. YOUR GOVT. will not shut down.

Mark O said...

Progressives hate freedom. They love order.

EDH said...

How much evolution theory is taught in high school biology anyway? Is it even tested on achievement exams?

Shouldn't there be decades of data on the success rates for private parochial school students exposed to creationist or ID theory entering the scientific fields?

David said...


(Freedom of expression has definite limits, if you are an American left winger.)

Sam L. said...

Oooooooh! It's/there's a Boogeyman! Or Boogeywoman! Or BoogeyLGBT! (Well, maybe not in Texas, but it would be sexxxxxist to omit one.)

Paul Zrimsek said...

Parents are worried that their children will not be able to compete for jobs that require scientific backgrounds.

If these parents really believe that their eligibility will depend on what the kids were taught in high school, everything science knows about the heritability of IQ suggests that their fears are well-founded.

Freeman Hunt said...

Conflating "creationism," which suggests young Earth creationism, with intelligent design, which bears no resemblance to young Earth creationism apart from the involvement of intelligence in creation, is misleading. Their arguments are different, their methods are different, and their conclusions are different.

ID is more like a terrestrial SETI project.

The Godfather said...

You noticed, I assume, that it's not just evolutionism at issue here. The neanderthals also question climate change! Why don't they just shut up and let their betters teach their kids?

cubanbob said...

While I admit creationism is a bit way out there at least it's nowhere near as harmful as some of the stuff that is being taught under the cover of political correctness.

Hagar said...

Read Dick Feynman's chapters on the highly professional and scientific selection of public school text books as practiced in the very enlightened and highly educated State of California in his "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!"

n.n said...

Both creation and evolution are articles of faith underlying disparate philosophies. Neither should be taught as a scientific discipline. Neither offers a practical value to the positive progress of human welfare.

On the other hand, evolutionary principles are scientific fact. They are elements of an evolutionary process, which can be observed and reproduced. It is a process which mortal beings have limited influence and control over.

It's ironic that people who cleave to the philosophy of evolution are more likely to reject evolutionary principles when it is inconvenient to their lifestyle, including for reason of material, physical, or egoistic benefit.

The evolutionists, in their campaign to marginalize their competing interests, should recognize that their tactics are sponsoring corruption. They should curb their lust for power, moderate their egos, and be wary of corrupting science, thereby reducing its potential to improve the human condition.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Freeman:Conflating "creationism," which suggests young Earth creationism, with intelligent design, which bears no resemblance to young Earth creationism apart from the involvement of intelligence in creation, is misleading. Their arguments are different, their methods are different, and their conclusions are different.

Actually, they are not any different.

ID proponents do no science of their own, like creationists. The "designer" every ID proponent has in mind is the God of Abraham in every case of which I am aware, just like creationists. They have advanced no test that detects design, nor tried to implement any such test, nor tried to specify the parameters of any such test. They spend 100% of their time and effort on advocacy and politics, mostly school boards and church groups, and 0% on science, like creationists.

Because they ARE creationists. Some are young-earth, some are old-earth, some are Christian and some are Jewish and some are Islamic. Just like creationists. They all agree that the God of Abraham is the Designer, but they do not agree on when He intervened, how often, or in what way, just like creationists.

ID is different from SETI and anthropology in this way. SETI makes explicit assumptions about the abilities, intentions, and limitations of the creators of the signals SETI intends to detect--they are trying to send a message that will be intelligible to beings like ourselves, and they are using the EM spectrum to do so.

Anthropologists assume tools were made by humans for well-known human purposes, and so it is easy to say from the form of an object what a human might have wanted to do with such a thing, and easy to judge if a human was able to make it.

ID carefully avoids making any of these explicit, because they MEAN the God of Abraham, and so they cannot make any deductions about what might have been designed.

For all we know every rock and snowflake is an individual special creation by a "designer" with mysterious intentions and unstated abilities and limitations. Until you state the intentions, abilities, and limitations, you cannot deduce design from evidence.

Just like creationists, ID has two arguments: "God of the Gaps" and the Watchmaker. They have given up publicly saying "God said so in the Bible", even though each of them believes that to be true.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Incidentally, on the representative democracy issue, I'm agin it. However, I have no desire to live in a technocracy run by Top Men. There are far too many Top Men in places of power where no one got to vote on them. The people who came up with No Child Left Behind and the people came up with Common Core are the same set of Top Men.

My ideal society would have government offices filled by lot, like jury duty. Somewhat like the Republic of Venice but more broadbased.

Advantages: Government would look America (12% black, 50% female, etc.) A percentage of them would be criminals or crazy, but so is a percentage of our current government. Most of them would not be all that bright, much like our current government.

But they would not be able to entrench themselves as a political class. We are not good at electing leaders. We bitch about them but we keep voting for them. We think our own guy is all right, it's the other guys that are the problem. And the bacon our guy brings home is for good worthy things, not like the pork barreling those others do.

We've tried representative democracy, and we are complaining that we cannot get people who represent us. Well, it should be like jury duty and it should suck, and then it WOULD be representative.

Freeman Hunt said...

Gabriel, that's the popular cant about ID, but it's not true.

First, they're not all Jews, Christians, and Muslims. There are also ID people who hypothesize that design is the work of alien life. There are agnostics and deists.

Second, it is untrue that they're not involved in research. Here is a sample.

There's no more "God of the Gaps" than there is "Evolution of the Gaps." Evolutionary theory is rife with Just So Stories.

And none of that's to say that I don't believe in evolutionary theory. I do. But I do think that pure natural selection is, so far, incapable of explaining everything we're seeing, especially in molecular biology. I think that another or other natural processes will be found to explain these things, but I see no rational reason that the hypothesis of intelligent design should not be explored.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Freeman: First, they're not all Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Kindly name one of them. The DI fellows who espouse ID are all Christians and Jews. David Berlinksi claims not to be an ID proponent, only a critic of evolution, and he claims to be an agnostic.

Evolutionary theory is rife with Just So Stories.

Except that these "stories" tell us where we can find fossils, and we do in fact find them there. ID predicts nothing, because God's intentions and methods are mysterious, and for any of the ID proponents to suggest one would mean arguments among the creationist community that could not be resolved. It's "don't ask don't tell" creationism.

Evolution has been observed in nature and in the lab, as well as from evidence in the fossil record.
Not one act of intelligent design has ever been observed, unless it was done by humans. ID proponents cannot say what evidence of intelligent design should look like or how we would know it was happening. They cannot say when or how often these interventions happened and they cannot say what form these interventions might taken, so no one knows evidence what to look for.

Second, it is untrue that they're not involved in research.

Take the trouble to read the citations, rather than cite the Discovery Institute uncritically.

First, note that the vast majority are published in BIO-complexity. This is a journal started by the Discovery Institute specifically for their own papers.

Secondly, you will find that not one of the papers published outside DI's house journal contains any original research. Rather, these are papers that try to make a case for intelligent design using research done by other people. We call those "review articles". They are not scientific research.

But I do think that pure natural selection is, so far, incapable of explaining everything we're seeing, especially in molecular biology.

Based on what? Do you do any of this research? Then you can say what sort of chemical pathways you are talking about. If not, then all you have is God of the Gaps. You can't imagine how it could have evolved by natural selection, fine. But if you wish to prove that it could not have, that would requires a great deal of scientific work to establish, not mere assertion. (And yes, you can prove a negative scientifically--for example James Clerk Maxwell proved in the nineteenth century that Saturn's rings could not be liquid if Newtonian gravitation is assumed.)

But ID proponents invariably move the goalposts. First they say no evolutionary pathway exists. Then biologists propose a possible pathway, using organisms that currently exist, and the ID proponents retreat to "they didn't prove it actually did happen that way"--but they moved the goalposts. At first they said it was impossible and so only ID could explain it, but once it was proved possible you don't need ID. If a possible pathway exists, then evolution can do the job. If natural forces can do the job, you can't prove design without specifying the intentions, capabilities, and limitations of the designer.

Which ID proponents can't do, because ID is specifically tailored to avoid court challenges so they can't mention God. But they can't help it, they do all their fundraising from religious groups. It's like they don't think there's an Internet.