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Vatican Rejects Intelligent Design? 2345

Posted by Hemos
from the tell-that-to-kansas dept.
typobox43 writes "A Vatican representative has expressed a defense of the theory of evolution, stating that it is "perfectly compatible" with the Genesis story of creation. "The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator"." Of course, it'd probably be best if fundmentalists actually talked to, say, the rabbis who wrote the whole thing down. The Orthodox rabbis I've spoken find it amazingly amusing that people take the creation story as literal truth, rather then a story about YHWH's power.
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Vatican Rejects Intelligent Design?

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  • by TurdTapper (608491) * <[seldonsplan] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:01PM (#13970299) Journal
    Of course, it'd probably be best if fundmentalists actually talked to, say, the rabbis who wrote the whole thing down.

    How exactly is that going to happen? Since this was all written down thousands of years ago, how is someone going to talk to those rabbis? WABAC perhaps?
  • by MoxCamel (20484) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:01PM (#13970302)
    Dear Scientific and (non-fundamentalist) Religious community,

    Normally I would espouse a policy of "attacking the message, not the messenger." But in the case of ID, the problem is the messenger. Intelligent Design proponents no more believe in their so-called theory than any other critically thinking human. ID is simply fundamentalist's latest attempt into having evolution taught in highschool science classes. They have been knocked back time and time again on this issue, and now are trying to beat science at its own game. It doesn't even have to be a good or sound "theory," so long as they can repeat the mantra that it is a theory, long and loud enough for it to stick.

    As long as we (including the Vatican) formulate our arguments on ID as a theory, even to debunk it, the fundamentalists maintain their foothold. In this case, we need to attack the messenger, not the message. ID is political propoganda, nothing more. To address it as anything else is to give undue power to its proponents.

    (oh, and this story does not belong in the Science category)

    Mox

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:07PM (#13970357)
    ...It threatens Materialism.
  • by thewiz (24994) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:08PM (#13970364)
    I was raised to be a Roman Catholic and even went to an all-boys Catholic school. Funny thing is the priests taught us evolution in science class. In theology, they taught us that the story of Genesis was a euphemism that was used by the writers of the Bible to explain how the universe came to be because they didn't understand the universe as we do today! (and, yes, we still have much to learn ourselves)
    There is nothing incompatible between religion and science since, as a newspaper columnist pointed out recently, science is about HOW we came to be here and religion is about WHY we are here. Unfortunately, the rise of the televangelists and other people who claim that a literal reading of the Bible is the only way to understand it miss some of the points that the stories try to make. For example, the story of the loaves and fishes isn't about Jesus "magically" making more bread and fish appear to feed a crowd. The story is about Jesus leading by example, giving what little food he had to the crowd and the each person in the crowd adding what little they had to it to feed everyone. Showing that being charitable is the way to encourage others to do the same is the "miracle". This is the kind of stuff I learned in Catholic school.
    I also find it funny that so many evangelicals are willing to believe Jesus did "miracles" (aka magic) but don't want their kids reading Harry Potter books because magic is "Satanic".
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:09PM (#13970380) Homepage Journal
    The problem, to put it bluntly, is one of PR. If we go after ID'ers personally (which normally I'd be all in favor of, because they're jackasses) then they'll scream "persecution," and that works very well. Maintaining an aura of dignified debate unfortunately gives the false impression that ID is worthy of either dignity or debate (all it's really worthy of is laughing dismissal, a la astrology or flat-Earthism, of course) but looks better in the press.

    Note that the ID'ers aren't really bothering to challenge evolution scientifically any more, because all their dumb arguments were debunked long ago. Instead they're working through the court of public opinion. Like it or not, the defenders of science have to do the same.
  • by Ironsides (739422) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:10PM (#13970399) Homepage Journal
    How exactly is that going to happen? Since this was all written down thousands of years ago, how is someone going to talk to those rabbis? WABAC perhaps?

    If I recall corectly, the Pentateuch was writen by Moses as dictated to him by God. This includes Genesis. The great flood is supposed to have happened around 2,200 BC from what I can find, so year, we'd need a WABAC to ask him. Or maybe a phone booth.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:10PM (#13970401)
    #1. Show how ID is not scientific because it cannot be falsified.

    #2. Because of #1, the people who try to push ID as an "alternative" "scientific theory" should be identified as fundamentalists intent upon using the classrooms to push their own religious beliefs upon students.

    There's nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist and believing in ID.

    There is a LOT wrong with trying to use the classroom to indoctrinate students with those fundamentalist beliefs.
  • by SisyphusShrugged (728028) <me AT igerard DOT com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:11PM (#13970412) Homepage
    As an intelligent Christian I find these fundamentalists to be annoying and damaging to the reputation of christianity.

    Intelligent design is illogical and unneccessary, as the ed said, the Genesis story is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY! (Unless you genuinely believe that women are created out of a rib, somehow)

    Please fundamentalists, stop damaging everyone else who is actually able to accept the scientific logical explanation for life on this planet and still believe that the idea of an cunctipotent entity that follows more the strands of deistic tradition ( a la Benjamin Franklin) is possible.
  • by Crosma (798939) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:11PM (#13970416) Homepage
    So... you're saying that evolution should contain references to God to appease people who believe in Intelligent Design? You cannot be serious. ID is a tool created by ignorant fundamentalists to stop the advance of science. Its supporters can't stand that science is replacing superstition, so they're trying to do something about it.
  • that would make this article pertinent how?

    I'm not sure I get your point. One of the most powerful religious organizations in the world has reiterated its commitment to separation of faith and science. I'm not a Catholic, and I consider this to be a rather important statement which will hopefully make some Christians rethink the scientific validity of "intelligent design." Since there are more than a few Christians around the globe, I'd say this has ramifications beyond the Catholic Church.

    Maybe if we're lucky, some influential Hindus and agnostics will make their own similar declarations.

  • by Red Samurai (893134) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:13PM (#13970433)
    They didn't exactly REJECT intelligent design, they just brought up a few points backing evolution. Geez...
  • by karzan (132637) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:14PM (#13970453)
    There is nothing wrong with believing that a higher power, an intelligent being, or whatever, guided the process of evolution, or designed life on Earth, etc etc. It is a perfectly legitimate religious belief.

    Just as it is a perfectly legitimate religious belief that the son of God appeared on Earth and died on the cross, and a perfectly legitimate religious belief that Mohammed ascended to heaven from a rock, and a perfectly legitimate religious belief that the world is supported by a (invisible) turtle.

    However none of these are scientific theories, and none of them ever can be. The reason is that they cannot be tested, they cannot be confirmed or falsified. You can always point at anything and say 'Wow, that's incredible--it must have been designed by God'. Science does not work that way. For something to be a scientific theory, it needs to be useable in scientific practice. Religious belief is not.

    I do not challenge the legitimacy of your religious beliefs. But they are in a totally different domain from evolutionary theory, which is a scientific theory. Evolutionary theory must be evaluated on the basis of scientific standards (peer review, independent testing, attempts to falsify, etc), while religious ideas must be evaluated on the basis of religious standards (faith, direct spiritual experience, etc). Do not conflate the two and everyone will be happy.

  • by John Nowak (872479) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:15PM (#13970460)
    Because one is a *scientific* theory, and one is a fairy tale?
  • It's not a tautology. It's actually a fallacy. Guess which one? ;)

    It's also open to an infinite regression, which, just as in coding, is a sure sign that there is something wrong with your logic.
  • They can't be merged because evolution is science, and intelligent design is mere philosophy, and BAD philosophy at that.

    -Without having any need to hypothesize a designer, you shouldn't be doing that.
    -David Hume had the last word a couple CENTURIES ago about the first cause, which is pretty much what intelligent design boils down to.
    -Behe and a couple others are wrong about their thinking, and every example they give which requires a designer can be explained completely within evolutionary theory, without a designer.
    -Everyone who is saying that science and religion are compatible are completely misunderstanding both religion and science. For example, Jesus said "Blessed is he who believes without seeing". That statement is the precise and exact opposite of what science is. I don't think that you could have said it more clearly. I find it remarkable that the Bible is very fuzzy on so many parts, but Jesus' statement on belief is one of the few places where the Bible is really very clear, and nobody seems to pay any attention to it! Religion and science are opposites to each other, and Jesus said so.

  • by d-rock (113041) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:19PM (#13970520) Homepage
    Actually, I think you're taking a very different stance than most ID proponents in the US (I recognize that ID is a grey aread like everything else). What you're stating here is mostly what the Vatican is saying. Where you're headed is starting to bleed into cosmology/big-bang theory, since as far as I know Darwin (and more modern analyses) don't discuss about where matter came from, but rather how life changed from the very first organism into the multitude of species we have today (both micro- and macroevolution). Most ID I've heard has tended to be things like "God invented the eyeball"...

    Derek
  • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker.gmail@com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:19PM (#13970525) Journal
    Intelligent Design is the idea that God manipulated and brought upon evolution. Creation theory is the litteral interpretation of Genesis. The Vatican is supporting Intelligent Design with this announcement not rejecting it.
  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:20PM (#13970536) Journal
    The problem isn't what the Theory of Evolution is, it's what Intelligent Design isn't. It isn't science. The one fundamental assumption of science is that the universe is consistent and guided by a set of rules. This has yet to be proven false. Even though some parts of quantum physics are pushing it.

    ID allows for inconsistencies from the meddling of an all powerful supernatural omnipresent being in unpredictable ways. This is the fundamental challenge that religion has against science. With sciences assumption that everything is governed by a particular set of rules this leaves no room for god. Other than in the deist manner of which god set forth the creation of the universe then walked away. Basically saying god created the laws that will govern science physics etc... but then left them on their own to see what might happen.

  • by shine-shine (529700) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:21PM (#13970547)
    This is just precious. After all, much of the scientific research in the past was done under the umbrella of the Church, and it was never a problem. There's faith (e.g. God made the Universe), and there's science (e.g. the Universe started from the Big Bang, and life evolved as a consequence), and there's no problem holding to both at the same time, if one wants to.
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:21PM (#13970554) Journal
    As long as we (including the Vatican) formulate our arguments on ID as a theory, even to debunk it, the fundamentalists maintain their foothold. In this case, we need to attack the messenger, not the message. ID is political propoganda, nothing more. To address it as anything else is to give undue power to its proponents.

    Not necessarily so.
    There are people who genuinely believe in it. They treat the Bible literally in many places where they really shouldn't. In many countries they aren't catholic, so they will most likely ignore the voice of Vatican. But there are countries (like Poland, where I live) where the voice of the Pope is the final oracle of truth, and the extremist catholics are very strong, in politics too. So finally there is hope they WILL stop fighting the theory of evolution and follow the voice of Vatican once again, in the right direction this time.
    I just wish same voice came in matters of anticonception, homosexuality, birth control, possibly even limited support for abortion or euthanasia...
    Mayor of Warsaw has forbidden prevent the gay parade in the city. In the name of morality and God. Now he is president of Poland. I'd be really happy to see the Pope set him straight...
  • by sterno (16320) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:23PM (#13970564) Homepage
    Intelligent Design seems to operate on the oz theory that since we can't see behind the curtain we should take what we see in front of the curtain on face value. Of course, throughout history, we've seen this story repeat time and time again. We find something we don't understand, somebody attributes it to the divine intervention, then we figure it out. Once it's made clear that there is an explanation these people run to find the next unsolvable mystery only to see it get solved too.

    Of course given the infinite mystery of the Universe, this is going to continue. If somebody feels that an intelligent designer is the only plausible explanation for the order of the universe, then they'll continue to see it there whether it exists or not. Personally what I've never understood about the logic is this:

    If the apparent order of the universe necessitates a creator, then what created the creator since presumably the creator would be of an even higher level of order? If the creator doesn't need a creator, then why does the universe need a creator?
  • Exactly! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:24PM (#13970580) Homepage Journal
    The fundies do NOT know who those rabbis where, but knowing that they can't talk to them, they don't even try to talk to those rabbis who have ACTUALLY studied the Genesis, or read the writings of the first christian bishops and martyrs on the subject.

    In other words, the fundies are taking a text they did NOT write, and they claim to be the only ones who know the correct interpretation (i.e. claiming to be something equivalent to a Pope). Under what basis? With what authority?

    As a catholic, I think the Vatican's statement has exposed the fundamentalists' fanatism regarding the Holy Scriptures: The ID proponents are not only going against science, they're also going against the Church that represented christianity for more than 15 centuries - that ought to say something.
  • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp@nospam.freeshell.org> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:26PM (#13970596) Homepage Journal
    Intelligent Design proponents no more believe in their so-called theory than any other critically thinking human.
    Okay, I'm getting a bit sick of this. "So-called theory" is charged language (flamebait); it's a theory. When we're not in the realm of pure math (and we're not), a theory is a conjecture used to explain a phenomenon. Testability is not a necessary condition for it to be a theory. AFAIK intelligent design isn't testable, but it does explain a phenomenon.

    ID is simply fundamentalist's latest attempt into having evolution taught in highschool science classes. They have been knocked back time and time again on this issue,

    You make ID sound like a new thing recently proposed by fundamentalist politicians. This is not the case; the idea has been around for as long as I can remember (admittedly, that's only about two decades, but still...), and has long been held as a possibility by Christian scientists (not to be confused with Christian Scientists who go around suing everybody).

    The fact that politicians are now making use of it is a new thing that has brought it to public attention. The fact that the theory has been around as long as it has leads me to believe that there are lots of people who believe it to be true. Otherwise it would have died out entirely. Is it possible that you are not fully versed on why they believe this? I'm willing to concede that point myself.

    and now are trying to beat science at its own game

    You're basically implying that Christian leaders have basically been ignoring science in the past, and are only just now seeing its usefulness. This is certainly not the case. Until recently, the majority of the scientists in the world were monks; science has always had a very high position in Christian theology.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:27PM (#13970608)
    > I don't see why the two theories can't be merged.

    No reason astrology can't be merged with astronomy either.
  • by Golias (176380) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:28PM (#13970628)
    Unlike some of the haters here, I believe you are sincere.

    That said, you're way off base.

    and evolution comes alogn and says that matter is eternal: we've been in an unending cycle of compression and expansion of matter for eternity

    Oh, and way out of date, too. That theory has not been the most popular model for a long time now. Even formor advocates of it, such as Stephen Hawking, have abandoned it in favor of the "Big Bang" theory.

    See... that's what scientists do. They adjust their theories based on available fact.

    Your notion, that the universe was designed, will never change or falter, no matter what facts come along to disrupt it. That makes it religion. Not that religion is a bad thing at all. I'm a believer myself. The point here is that science can not rely on tradition, dogma, or scripture. That which can not be demonstrated or falsified with raw fact alone is completely outside the scope of science.

    In other words:

    "Things evolve." That's science. We can see it happen, we can see evidence that it has happened.

    "Things were designed to evolve by a loving God." That's religion. Until a peer-reviewed journal submits a valid proof of the existence (or non-existence) of God, science is, and must remain, mute on the subject.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:28PM (#13970629)
    Why does it make sense to say "God has always been around" instead of "Matter has always been around"? Regardless of the truth of either of these statements, the second at least involves things we can see. The former does not. If you find it impossible to believe that the universe didn't have a creator, why don't you find it impossible that your creator didn't have one either?
  • by teh Wang (777509) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:28PM (#13970635)
    So why do they spend so much time and effort praying to dead saints?
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:29PM (#13970647) Journal
    Because ID isn't a scientific theory. At best it's simply a "somehow something somewhere is wrong with evolution." In science an argument from incredulity or invoking the supernatural does not a theory make. Now individuals are free to consider God a part of the puzzle, and there are many theistic evolutionists out there who think that God was a guiding force, but when they go into the lab, they understand perfectly well that you can't falsify that claim, and thus it is not science.
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:29PM (#13970654)

      Science \Sci"ence\, n. [F., fr. L. scientia, fr. sciens, -entis,
              p. pr. of scire to know. Cf. {Conscience}, {Conscious},
              {Nice}.]
              1. Knowledge; knowledge of principles and causes; ascertained
                    truth of facts.
                    [1913 Webster]

              2. Especially, such knowledge when it relates to the physical
                    world and its phenomena, the nature, constitution, and
                    forces of matter, the qualities and functions of living
                    tissues, etc.; -- called also {natural science}, and
                    {physical science}.
                    [1913 Webster]

              3. Art, skill, or expertness, regarded as the result of
                    knowledge of laws and principles.
                    [1913 Webster]


    Believe what you will, but science is something specific and well defined. Nobody should question your right to believe in Intelligent Design, because the freedom of belief and worship is a basic human right. Intelligent Design, however, is not by any strech "science" and thus should be left out of science class.
  • Hear hear (Score:2, Insightful)

    by samjam (256347) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:30PM (#13970660) Homepage Journal
    Well said.

    I find the attemps of the so-called pro-science lobby to ridicule the ID argument in the form of the flying spaghetti monster very unscientific and cowardly. I realise that it helps them laugh, and helps them pursuade themselves that they personally have a sound basis for their own beliefs even though they have taken as little effort to validate them as they think the "religious fundamentalists" have for theirs.

    [Idiots please note: I didn't call the FSM theory unscientific I'm just referring to the attempts to ridicule-away-from-discussion using this example; so don't tell me "thats the point" because its a very weak point and badly done]

    Concepts of "irreducable complexity" and "observed organisation" (i.e. Paley's Pocketwatch) deserve serious consideration, and to say "OK then I'm going to believe in something ridiculous like the FSM then, to save me having to answer difficult questions" is to miss the point and to resort to throwing insults and saying ID are all idiots. You may believe that, but it's hardly science, and only Bush-level on the debating scale. It's as bad as the Vatican resorting to yelling "Heretic". How soon the tables turn. now the ivory towers think themselves the purveyors and verifiers of truth.

    So what if we can't tell if the ID designer was a FSM or something else, thats not the point either. But when you meet the designer you can check for yourself if flying and spaghetti are major characteristics.

    I prefer to refer more reverently to the creator.

    Sam
  • by djward (251728) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:31PM (#13970670)
    But, if you take it literally as written, how do you resolve the conflicts between various passages without some amount of interpretation?
  • by Surt (22457) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:31PM (#13970675) Homepage Journal
    I'm afraid there is a lot of mixing going on. Many fundamentalists are in fact involved in pushing the ID agenda in the schools, in an effort to help them encourage kids to discredit evolution and be more favorably disposed to a literal reading of Genesis. So while you may not favor ID, it is inaccurate to claim that fundamentalists in general do not support it.

  • by AvitarX (172628) <(me) (at) (brandywinehundred.org)> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:32PM (#13970685) Journal
    I would think you would use gaps in the fossil record to claim that clearly there was no intermediate (how big a gap is valsification, I do not no).

    You would try to demonstrate that there is not selective process (except any creationist I know believes taht species can change, just not dramatically and even split necisarily, fruit fly experiments demonstrate how quickly an isolated group can speciate, it is harder to show a hot to cold blooded example in fossil records since it is hard to determine)

    You would find examples of "impossible" evolutions (oppsosable thumb, some beattle that squirts hot liquid).

    These are all examples I have heard, I do not agree with them.

    I think part of the difference is not just that it is falsifiable, but that it explains things. ID does not explain how anything happens, it says it is impossible and therefore was a series of miracles. Evolution says it is a matter of lucky bithdefects. We can make predictions based on Evolution, we cannot on ID.
  • by user9918277462 (834092) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:32PM (#13970689) Journal
    ID propagandists must be attacked in the same way that, for instance, white-supremacist/neo-nazi/neo-fascist ideologues are attacked. In many ways, who cares if they scream about persecution? They are nutjobs hell-bent (no pun intended) on dismantling the basis of rational, secular civilization and all the advances of modern science. I don't care what your religion is or what you choose to believe, but when you try to force your worldview on me or society as a whole, I will attack you with whatever tactics I have at my disposal.

    This is not a game, in other words.

  • by Microsift (223381) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:33PM (#13970706)
    The problem with ID, is that eventually raises the question: If the world cannot be the result of millions of centuries of randomness, how can God, an omnipotent, omniscent, omnipresent entity, possibly exist?
  • by blinder (153117) * <blinder@dave.gmail@com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:34PM (#13970710) Homepage Journal
    If we go after ID'ers personally (which normally I'd be all in favor of, because they're jackasses)

    wow. quite possibly the most telling thing i've ever read. don't agree with someone? go after them personally.

    yeah... what mode do you like? do you stop at verbally assulting someone... or do you take it up a few notches? i hear physical violence is good for that. of course... why stop there... maybe you should just kill those who disagree with you?

    nice to see such an evolved world view.

    p.s. i'm not an id supporter.

  • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan@g3.14mail.com minus pi> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:35PM (#13970736) Homepage Journal
    ID People don't want to talk about the intelligent designer. They say things like, "You can't look at a watch and tell things about the watchmaker!", and other absurdities.

    If they talk about "God" as the Intelligent Designer, they give up the game and lose. So they talk about the Intelligent Designer as some sort of force we don't need to understand anything about to understand Intelligent Design. It's an absurd argument.

    This whole thing was taken care of by Socrates quite some time ago (well, Plato, in Apologia). Socrates asks, "Who believes in Equestrian Phenomena, and does not acknowledge horses?" The answer of course, is no one. "Who believes in human phenomena, and does not acknowledge humans?" Again. "And who believes in divine phenomena, but does not acknowledge gods?" Answer: Intelligent Design proponents.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:35PM (#13970737)
    no, no, keep going, get to the part about how the temple was used for animal sacrifice, and how when the messiah comes and the temple is rebuilt, judaism will once again become a temple religion and the animal sacrifices will recommence. You know how there is only one true G-d, and He is just waiting till animal blood will be shed in His name again! Oh, not all primitive like those darn pagans, oh no!
  • by jsebrech (525647) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:36PM (#13970748)
    For me, I have faith in the Bible because (by faith) I have chosen to believe it is God's literal word.

    Tell me, what version of the bible is the literal and entire truth, and why is it only that version and no others?
  • by kin_korn_karn (466864) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:36PM (#13970750) Homepage
    They've always been there, but they are by nature quiet and thoughtful people. The apocalyptic rantings of the zealots are forcing them to speak up.
  • by Surt (22457) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:37PM (#13970756) Homepage Journal
    Why not just open yourself to the holy spirit, and let that guide you like those who wrote the bible, rather than trust that no man since two thousand years ago has been able to introduce corruption into the text of the bible.

    If you don't believe the text of the bible can be corrupted, I'd be happy to demonstrate otherwise.

    You should put your trust in god, not the bible.
  • by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:37PM (#13970762) Homepage
    So if you take all of the Bible literally, how do you handle things that we KNOW aren't accurate? Like "floodgates of heaven" to explain rain? Or a value of pi that's exactly three? The fact that the Bible pretty explicitly supports a geocentric universe, if you don't allow for any interpretation?

    The way I see it, you can't refuse to allow any interpretation. If you do, the book is clearly wrong and therefore it's all suspect. So unless you're really keen on ignoring reality, you need to ask how *much* interpretation to allow. You might disagree with other people on where to draw the line, but that's a very different beast from saying that the Bible is literally true, no interpretation allowed.
  • Re:Sorry, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mark_in_Brazil (537925) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:38PM (#13970769)
    The fundimentalists stopped listening to Jews in A.D 33
    It is with great sadness that I agree with you. If only they listened to the Jew who died around that time, whose teachings they claim to follow, but cheerfully ignore as they do things that would horrify Him.
  • Before the Bang (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:40PM (#13970803)
    Even if you believe the big bang theory and subsequent evolution, there is still some theological issues to solve. Such as who put the matter there to begin with, why did it go bang, why are we ascensioned beings.....

    I don't think science really has solved the why to anything. Only the how.
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndersOSU (873247) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:41PM (#13970822)
    In my opinion the reason that evangelicals often label themselves as non-denominational is so that they can speak with all the authority of their non-existing church.

    While I'm glad that the Vatican is reaffirming its position that evolution is not heretical, this isn't new. JPII wrote a cautious endorsement of evolution years ago.

    Addditionally the fundies aren't going to care what Rome says anyway, and they couldn't care less if they're going against the longest tradition of Christianity - they might even see it as a badge of honor.

    The best thing that could happen from announcements like these is that people stop assuming that being a Christian automatically means you are a young earth creationist. And maybe if were lucky some uninformed Kansasians (what the hell do you call someone from Kansas anyway?) realize that you can see the Bible as True, without it being a historic fact. I mean you would think that if they can wrap their brain around fully man and fully divine they could handle True but not fact...
  • THe people pushing ID are Fundies.

    This article is about Catholics.

    The editorial is about Jews.

    Shocker that this place would get mixed up by different religions.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:45PM (#13970874)
    > ntelligent Design is an alternative to the origins of life, not the continuing processes since that have shaped our world.

    That's not at all what the leading ID "theorists" claim. They claim that certain things could not have evolved, and that therefore "sometime, somewhere, somebody did something" to "design" those unevolved things. They say nothing about the origin(s) of life.

    Your post is a good example of the fact that ID means whatever anyone wants it to mean.
  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:50PM (#13970950)
    For the umpteenth time, Intelligent Design and creationism are not the same thing.

    There are certainly many creationists who hold to intelligent design. However, there are creationists who regard the whole ID movement as missing the point.

    Intelligent design argues (or attempts to argue) from scientific evidence, that evolution is not a sufficient explanation for different species without some sort of guiding force. Creationism argues that evolution is not compatible with Genesis.

    These are very different things. There are people in the Intelligent Design community (e.g. Michael Behe) who are not fundamentalists and who would feel no need to defend Genesis as a literal account of the origins of the earth. It would be possible (although I have to admit I can't name a case) for someone of any religious persuasion to hold to Intelligent Design. The Intelligent Designer doesn't have to be the Christian God, nor does it even need to be a God at all. It could be little green men.

    The assumption that intelligent design and creationism are the same thing is little more than a smeer campaign that allows people to completely bypass the arguments (which, whether they are faulty or not are not religious arguments) that ID proponents make in support of their position. The way the scientific community has attacked ID is sickening: it is almost always founded in ad hominem (circumstnatial and otherwise) attacks rather than actual criticism of their arguments.

    For what it's worth, I am an ordained minister, but I am not a creationist. If anything, I regard the whole debate as irrelevant--no matter what your account of human origins, God's status as creator is secure in my book. But let's do try to understand the terms we throw around.

  • Re:Not prayer. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:51PM (#13970969)
    There's a difference, which apparently was important enough to behead people over. Just sayin'.

    That kind of reminds me of the episode of "Bless Me, Father" when they had a joint eccumenical service with the local Anglicans. Pardon me for forgetting character names:

    Minister: It's so wonderful to see Catholics and Protestants praying together.

    Priest: Oh, no no no. We were not praying together at all! For us, worshipping with Protestants is forbidden. We were not praying with you - you were praying with us.

    Minister: That's a very subtle distinction.

    Priest (with a mischievous grin): I'm glad you can appreciate it.
  • by Grab (126025) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:51PM (#13970976) Homepage
    You need to get the words right according to their real meanings. "Hypothesis" means a wild-ass guess that might just match the data. "Theory" means a hypothesis that has been confirmed to match the data, and therefore can be used as a model to predict further events. A hypothesis can be disproved by failing to match existing data. A theory can be disproved by new data.

    Evolution is a theory. Not only can you show it matching the data, but you can also use it to predict what'll happen in future. If someone gets new data then it might be disproved, but to date it's looking good.

    ID is a *hypothesis* though. It's been 100% disproved with existing data. No example given by the ID crowd has stood up to scrutiny.

    It's a nice idea that we could just ignore ID and it'd go away. Unfortunately it has significantly more political capital in the US than science does, and quite possibly more financial capital too. Ignore it and you're screwed - their PR machine will kill you. ID proponents have carefully assessed how best to fight science, and have come up with PR through with appeals to religious beliefs and claims of being discriminated against by the scientific community. By fighting them and *beating* them on their own ground, we leave them without a leg to stand on.

    What ID *doesn't* have is correctness by any standard of measurement. However, ID proponents complained loudly that science wouldn't take them seriously or measure their claims according to scientific principles. Great, so let's do it. By proving without possibility of doubt that ID is a religious stance and not a scientific one, we can force the courts to refuse to allow schools to teach it as science. The court case currently on the go is doing pretty well on this - so far they've forced the main "scientific" ID proponent to admit that if ID is science then astrology is also science, which is a bit of a result.

    On a separate front, ID proponents claim that evolution equals atheism and so is also a religious position, hence ID is no better or worse than evolution. The Catholic church have neatly busted the wheels off their wagon on that one, which is nice. Unless they can prove the Pope is an atheist, they're screwed on that front too.

    Grab.
  • by AJWM (19027) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:52PM (#13970982) Homepage
    'where did the matter come from' pops up, and evolution comes alogn and says that matter is eternal: we've been in an unending cycle of compression and expansion of matter for eternity

    See, here's a prime example of the idiocy of ID proponents. Evolution says nothing of the sort, evolution is concerned purely with biology. It's cosmology that talks about the origins of the universe (and the matter in it), and the Big Bang theory says nothing about what (if anything) may have been around before said Big Bang. (Some other theories do say such things.)

    If somebody doesn't know the difference between cosmology and biology, why should anyone listen to their opinion about either?
  • by Zathrus (232140) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:55PM (#13971022) Homepage
    I believe in the literal translation of the Bible.

    I presume that you mean that you believe that the Bible is the literal word of God -- the rest of your statements support that. Using the word "translation" there is a bit confusing because...

    If we say that it is open to interpretation because it only has some nice stories, then what parts do we follow and what parts are just there as example?

    So you're reading the original Hebrew and Greek texts? Because anything else is an interpretation. Or do you think that one particular translation (into language of your choice) is the correct and ordained one? If so, which?

    And if you do read the original Hebrew and Greek texts... well, first -- congradulations. Second, how do you understand them? See, the problem is that the ancient dialect of Hebrew that was used was a bit... ambiguous. It did not capture the entirety of human language, and was essentially the equivalent of modern day shorthand. In modern translations the exact same source word can be translated to wildly different English words.
  • by bazmonkey (555276) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:55PM (#13971023)
    ...has had the curse/fortune of having spent the last 1600 or so years being the largest single Christian denomination. Acting as the source of true interpretation of their religion (inspiried by God and such), they've often talked themselves into horrible situations, like rationale for taking money to pardon sins (which is over now), purgatory, limbo, and various scenarios involving unbaptized babies, people who sinned since their last confession, Africans unexposed to Christianity, etc. It also, however, has tempered them in matters such as this.

    Since I've been alive (ok, it's only 22 years, but still), Catholicism's view has been that the better part of Genesis, Revelations, a few other events, and various numerical figures (read: 700-year old men) that simply don't make sense, are poetic in nature, fable-like, or simply misread (saying a man lived 300 years may have simply meant that it was another 300 years before another noteworthy person came around important enough that a person considered this group of people as the family of such-and-such as opposed to the original guy, for example). At least since Vatican II, the Church has been somewhat cooperative regarding matters of science, and really does try to make sense in the context of matters of fact.

    Especially in America, we don't often realize that Fundamentalism is for the most part a very recent, very American phenomenon. People who believed what the Bible said 400 years ago simply didn't know better, they weren't fundamentalist. It's a modern occurence that, given convincing, sensible, objective scientific knowledge, a person consciously chooses to believe otherwise.

    It's something to watch out for, especially with a dominant conservative faction in place, whose members take their cues from the oft-Fundamentalist right. At least for 2 1/2 more years, these people comprise the loudest voice of our country.

    In anticipation of any replies, no, I'm not Catholic anymore. As much as the Church has tried to mesh their thoughts and ideas with that of logical reality, evolution blessed me with a brain, and I'd rather mesh those thoughts myself.
  • by pauljlucas (529435) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:56PM (#13971034) Homepage Journal
    I mean for goodness sakes, its a FSKING THEORY (both of them). Now, the good thing about Darwinism is that there is alot of evidence to suppor that theory.
    First, "Darwinism" is an imprecise label. Darwin discovered evolution (a fact). As a possible explanation of how evolution (the fact) works, Darwin also proposed natural selection (a theory). Natural selection isn't the only theory that attempts to explain evolution: punctuated equilibrium [wikipedia.org] is another.

    This is precisely analogous to gravity (the fact) and Newton's mechanics (the theory). Newton's theory has since been replaced by Einstein's general relativity (another theory), but at no time did gravity (a fact) stop being true.

    Intelligent design isn't a theory since it (a) makes no predictions, (b) can never be tested, and therefore (c) can never be falsified. By not being a legitimate theory, it has no place in a classroom, especially a science classroom, and most especially in a country where the government supposedly has a seperation of church and state.

    If you want your kids to be exposed to religious ideas, send them to Sunday school.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:56PM (#13971035) Homepage Journal
    " he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator"."

    How is this a rejection of intelligent design. The universe had a creator. It was designed.
    This statement only moves the argument about intelligent design to the cosmic vs the biological level.
    I believe in a creator of the universe but I have to say that it is very strange logic to call this a rejection of intelligent design. It is at best a defining of it.
  • by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:59PM (#13971089)
    How do you deal with things like Leviticus 11:19 where Moses says that Bats are a type of bird?

    Or for that matter, if you literally have to believe that the "Bible" is perfect, which one do you mean? Because there have been many, many versions with misprints, including the first Vulgate Bible, that had so many errors that it was recalled because it was making people question how a Bible could be the perfect word of God but have typos?

    Which version of the Bible? Over the years many books have had verses changed and redacted. The catholics and the protestants have different books. The book of Job was (intentionally) mangled so badly in the King James Version that it is literally WRONG. As in, it was intentionally changed for political reasons to remove the actual actions and motivations of Job, because he questioned GOD HIMSELF and got away with it. If you can question God, this brings up two points, namely that you don't need an intermediary to talk to God, and secondly, If you can question GOD'S authority, that de facto gives you the right to question any authority.

    I'm not trying to trash on your faith, that's good that you have something to believe in that gives your life purpose and makes you want to be a better person. I just don't see how you can fall back on the Bible being the literal word of God, it just can't be, there's too many problems. I had the same mindset for a long time, all or nothing. I had to throw that away to keep my faith. If you believe in God, I assume there is a reason. I know there is a God because I received irrefutable proof. What I don't have proof of is the literal truth of the Bible, and in fact I have proof of the contrary. Maybe you have had an affirming experience like this, maybe you haven't. You might be afraid that you know a lot less about God than you are comfortable with if the Bible is not literally true. Looking the other direction is not faith, it's blindness. Real religion is as tough as real life.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:00PM (#13971098)

    Just out of curiosity, if the "Orthodox" rabbis consider the first 11 chapters of Genesis to be merely a story about YHWH's power, how do they deal with the rest of the Pentateuch?

    I'm only somewhat well read on the subject of judaism and may be off base in what I'm about to say. Pretty much anyone who studies the history of the bible, torah, koran, etc. quickly realizes that they are dealing with something that is based upon collected works, written by different authors at different times, and translated imperfectly. Further, due to the contradictions contained in all these works it is obvious that interpreting them literally means that the work is wrong, in one or more instances. This leads most intelligent people to view the works less as a matter of "chapter 1 is wrong, so why should we believe chapter 4" and more as a matter of, "chapter one has beautiful imagery and is a great parable for understanding, while chapter 4 is very down to earth and provides useful guidelines for everyday life, as well as some outdated dietary advice." I know a lot of people don't view things that way, but I am suspicious of the motives and/or intelligence of anyone who looks at such a work and tries to interpret it literally. Most of the jewish sects I've read about are very into tradition, which helps define them as a culture, but few of them literally interpret those traditions as orders from on high.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:01PM (#13971102) Homepage
    Regardless of how you feel on evolution, creation, the bible, etc, this argument sounds like telling people just to follow their consciences and not worry about what the law says. After all, laws were created based on the consciences of various people, so why look at the law when you have your own conscience to follow. Of course, that would lead to chaos.

    Do you really want a world where morality is defined as whatever the Holy Spirit tells somebody to do? Nobody could hold up or condemn the behavior of another person since there would be no way of knowing whether the Holy Spirit really did tell them to kill somebody. Right now when people make that claim religious leaders typically debunk it on the grounds that the documents that this action was inconsistent with God's behavior as it is revealed in that religion.

    Your solution seems to fix the problem with every religion having different teachings on some topics with every religion not having any teachings on any topics...
  • by Rydia (556444) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:02PM (#13971129)
    Actually, most text is meaningless if taken literally. Taken literally, the butter battle book is all about people who really like bread. And somehow Bloom got a sex change and then another real quick sandwiching one chapter in Ulysses. Literal meaning is often the worst interpretation, because authors speak in metaphor and allegory, not just writing.

    That aside, there are really good reasons to take the bible as allegory. For one, it was written waaaay post hoc, during the babylonian exile, after being handed down by oral tradition. Then there's the added fact that the tone for almost all of the bible, excluding the books of the prophets, IS allegory. They go right out and say it. Jesus' stories, legends of the exile and all that. Aside from disparate fundamentalist groups, this is accepted and widely taught.
  • by operagost (62405) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:07PM (#13971192) Homepage Journal
    The whole JEDP hypothesis approaches absurdity once higher criticism methods lead to every word in a passage being attributed to a different author. It starts resembling the garlands of epicycles Copernicus used in an attempt to make perfect circular orbits fit his particular model of the solar system.
  • by Coryoth (254751) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:10PM (#13971226) Homepage Journal
    Intelligent Design seems to operate on the oz theory that since we can't see behind the curtain we should take what we see in front of the curtain on face value...We find something we don't understand, somebody attributes it to the divine intervention, then we figure it out.

    It goes further than that. Intelligent design relies on linguistic "sleight of hand" and distraction in the very construction of their arguments. It is akin, in many ways, to the various "logical proofs of the existence of God" - it's all about slipping some subtle hidden assumptions into your definitions while railing on about a set of largely indisputable axioms to distract from this slieght of hand.

    For Intelligent Design so much hangs on definitions or, more importantly, the lack thereof. Proponents spend a lot of time pounding the table and making arguments, but here are a few terms they use that are really never properly defined: "Intelligent", "Irreducible", "Design", "Complexity". You'll note that almost all their arguments hinge on vague, implicit, and imprecise definitions of these terms. There is much effort spent of verbal distraction to make sure you never really notice that, for instance, complexity is not really defined or measurable, or that intelligence is impossible to clearly delineate from unintilligent in any meaningful way. What does designed even mean in the manner it is used by ID proponents? How do we measure the degree of design?

    Jedidiah.
  • by virg_mattes (230616) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:12PM (#13971250)
    You post demonstrates the problem with crossing logic and faith, and goes to the heart of why ID is seen more as an attack on science than a rational alternate. Simply put:

    > The real problem people have with God, and why humanists love evolution and atheism, is that if God exists, He made us.

    This doesn't follow. The Christian version of the story says so, but to assume that means it's universal, or that it must follow by logic, is a fault.

    > And if He made us, then we have a duty to respond to Him.

    Even if the first part is right, again, this doesn't follow. And again, you extend the Christian version of the story to be "The Story" and just expect everyone to take it as a given.

    This is why people chafe when you claim to understand what drives atheists and humanists. It shows in your writing that you have difficulty grasping anything outside your faith (take that as insult if you must) and so it colors your perspective badly enough to be wrong. I'm an atheist, and I'm not an atheist because I feel guilty about not responding to God or because I subscribe to "eat, drink and be merry..." at all. I recognize that I have a responsibility to the society I live in that extends beyond my own life. To make it most personal, my descendants will need to live in the world I help create so I must do what I can to make their world a better place. I believe in no god, because I reflected on it and that's what I came to. Like any other following of faith, it guides my perception, but one thing it doesn't do, that your faith seems to, is forbid me from seeing other points of view. Notice I don't say that people who believe in God do it just because of reason A or situation B, because I realize that faith is a very complex, very personal thing. You should consider that before you preface comments with, "The real problem people have with God, and why humanists love evolution and atheism...", because so far you haven't shown that you understand that that's a bad idea.

    Virg
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by operagost (62405) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:13PM (#13971258) Homepage Journal
    Put your straw man away. There are about a hojillion websites that point out fundamentalist's fondness of the KJV as being based on the its use of the majority texts (textus receptus). Compare the consensus achieved by the TR-based KJV as opposed to the NIV, which is essentially based on two texts: one was left to gather dust in the Vatican for centuries; which the other is full of corrections, leaves out huge parts of Genesis in its original form, includes apocryphal texts not even accepted by the modern RC Church, and was found in a rubbish heap where nuns had wisely placed it for disposal.
  • by operagost (62405) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:17PM (#13971300) Homepage Journal
    Hackers and OSS advocates must be attacked in the same way that, for instance, white-supremacist/neo-nazi/neo-fascist ideologues are attacked. In many ways, who cares if they scream about persecution? They are nutjobs hell-bent (no pun intended) on dismantling the basis of democratic, capitalistic civilization and all the advances of modern economics. I don't care what your political stance is or what you choose to believe, but when you try to force your worldview on me or society as a whole, I will attack you with whatever tactics I have at my disposal.

    Your post goes right along with my theory that everyone believes in freedom of expression-- as long as it's their own expression.

  • by thewiz (24994) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:29PM (#13971436)
    I believe in the literal translation of the Bible. I believe that the Bible is God's words (penned by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit) and thus must be followed because it is what God wants for us.

    Did you ever think that God had the foresight to realize that the men He chose to write the Bible wouldn't understand something as complex as evolution? Have you ever considered that a being, supposidly one who is omnescent and infinite, would realize that He had to explain things to His followers in a way and with words and concepts they'd understand? If you really believe that ALL of the Bible is absolutely true, I invite you to go teach a tribe in the deep Amazon quantum mechanics without giving them the requisite college education first.

    I'm as Christian as you are, but I really wonder about people like you who seem to think God meant for this universe to be static and unchanging. I don't know if you've noticed, but this whole universe is about learning and growing; He wants us to become more than we currently are, not stagnate. Questioning your faith and what is written in the Bible is perfectly acceptable as it deepens your faith and understanding of what He wants for us and of us.

    Try using the mind God gave you to understand His word. Also realize that He gave us all free-will and He wants people to believe in Him of their own free-will, not to be mindless slaves.
  • The problem isn't what the Theory of Evolution is, it's what Intelligent Design isn't. It isn't science. The one fundamental assumption of science is that the universe is consistent and guided by a set of rules. This has yet to be proven false. Even though some parts of quantum physics are pushing it.

    On a similar note, a slightly different explanations of science is that it explains the world around us as best it can, using only what we can see.

    ID requires something we can't see. It isn't science. It may be right. Science just can't address things we can't observe. Whether we were programmed into a great computer, created by bored aliens, or zapped into being by god, unless there is conclusive evidence, science has to ignore all those suggestions. If science resorts to explaining phenomena with an unobservable explanation, then all of science would go out the window, because everything could actually be secretly controlled by fairies and invisible alien robots, and gods.
  • by nickname225 (840560) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:32PM (#13971480)
    There is a big difference between a bookshelf and a person - the bookshelf actually owes us nothing and if it fails to hold the books it is our fault - not the bookshelf. A person cannot obtain an obligation without his agreement - plain and simple. Whether god or my parents created me - I was not a party to the decision and can obtain no obligation as a result - on the other hand the active parties can obtain obligation as a result of their own actions - thus my parents and god (if he existed) own a debt to me for forcing life upon me unasked. It is a simple concept - we obtain obligation only from our own actions...
  • Re:Hear hear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by |/|/||| (179020) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:34PM (#13971504)
    I'm afraid that you have a profound misunderstanding of what science is. Seriously, listen up. Science is not a belief system. Science does not claim to know the truth, nor even to be able to know the truth. Do you realize that? Let me repeat one more time -- science does not claim to know the truth, or even to be capable of knowing the truth. In fact, according to our current knowledge, it's impossible to know any absolute truth about the universe.

    So, when you say things like, "now the ivory towers think themselves the purveyors and verifiers of truth" you are fundamentally wrong. The universe itself is the only purveyor and verifier of truth. That's the whole point of science -- to query the universe about its own truths. We come up with theories that try to describe truths about the universe, but the physical universe itself is what decides which theories we keep and which theories we throw away. If a theory can't be decided on by examining the physical universe, then we don't even consider it.

    I realise that it [FSM] helps them laugh, and helps them pursuade themselves that they personally have a sound basis for their own beliefs even though they have taken as little effort to validate them as they think the "religious fundamentalists" have for theirs.
    Wrong. FSM is satire, and has nothing to do with validating anyone's beliefs. In fact, the point is the exact opposite -- it's to discredit the beliefs of ID proponents. Let's put FSM aside, though, because I don't find satire very useful for a real discussion. Agree? It's much more useful to look at the real issues, like "irreducible complexity." Irreducible complexity is completely worthless. I'm not flaming here, I'm being serious -- and I'll back that statement up.

    Think about what "irreducible complexity" means. According to IDers, it means that something is so complex that it could not have arisen from natural processes. Remember that in science, the physical universe is the ultimate truth. Also note that that "natural processes" are all of the processes that exist in the physical universe. Put this all together and you get a conjecture that says that this "irreducibly complex" entity cannot exist according to the physical laws of the universe. Not the laws as we know them, but any physical laws of the universe. IDers don't say, "Gee, this looks like it's too complex to exist, therefore we musn't have a complete understanding of the universe." No, they say, "this must be the product of supernatural intervention." In science, that's going out of bounds. IDers can go there if they want, but it is NOT science and should NOT be confused with science. In science, there is no supernatural. There is only the reality that we observe. No faith required.

    You don't have to be a scientist, and you don't even have to understand why a woldview that's entirely based on physical observations is useful. But please, try to understand the fundamental difference between science and religion, and why science cannot allow the two to mix and still be science.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:35PM (#13971516)

    Ah yes, the Intelligent Designer who didn't realize that Adam would need a mate.

    The Intelligent Designer knew Adam would need a mate but Adam did not. If you ever have kids you'll realize that they have to learn some things on their own but you can be there to help them along the way.

  • by heinousjay (683506) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:37PM (#13971546) Journal
    So what you're saying is that evolution isn't a satisfactory explanation because there isn't enough proof to make you believe it, but that a creator (be it god or whatever) with absolutely no proof of existence whatsoever is fine in your view?

    Can you rationalize this one?
  • by electroniceric (468976) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:41PM (#13971596)
    I respect your right to believe what you like about ID, both as a thinking person, and of course from a freedom of person perspective.

    But I have two reasons to find Intelligent Design troubling. First its primary use has been not to try to "falsify" or find and resolve problems in various theories of human origins, but rather to posit that a particular explanation of human origins (i.e., a biblical one) is the right one and also that it cannot be proven or disproven by science, thereby calling biblical explanations of human origins scientific without subjecting them to empirical tests conducted in the manner of scientific inquiry. This is why the scientific community finds ID as science troubling: it is used to postulate the veracity of an untestable theory.

    If Intelligent Design is in fact science, what experiment could possibly be conducted that could disprove the notion that some parts of biology are irreducibly complex and could not have occurred naturally? In other words, what kind of evidence would convince you that ID was incorrect? Philosophically there are no settled truths in science, only theories that nobody has been able to prove wrong. In practice of course, things that have been verified extensively are often taken as settled truth, but it is scientifically valid to ask questions of the laws of gravitation, or cell division, even algebra. Evolutionary biology and science in general is built on these kinds of questions - by attempting to find evidence that cannot be adequately explained by a particular theory, and then attempting to formulate a theory that incorporates the new evidence and the old ones.

    I don't happen to have an opinion on whether a Creator started the universe, or interceded in some way, and of course I think that's an interesting question. Inasmuch as you're saying that the direction of evolution has leaned towards but not verified the notion that a Creator could not have cause human life, I think there's a legitimate argument to be had about what science has or has not spoken to.

    It's also fine to say that you believe that science cannot describe the origins of life of the universe (or more importantly, the question of why we came to be, and what it means), but in that case, ID is again not a scientific theory.
  • by mhollis (727905) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:48PM (#13971657) Journal

    I am a former Kansan. Grew up in the Kansas City area and was taught in one of the best school districts in the country at the time, as measures in SAT and ACT scores. I live in the East and work in NYC. And I'm horrified about what I see the Kansas Department of Education doing, which is to attempt to redefine the word "science" as used within the State for educational purposes to allow "hunches" "conjecture" and the non-observable to be used in the expression of "scientific theory."

    Twice, Kansans have elected these fools to control how education would be run in the state. I don't know what promises were made during the election but I'm sure the teaching of Creationism, "Creation Science" "Intelligent Design" and Designer-ism was a hidden agenda of those who ran.

    Only problem is that the voters in Kansas didn't realize what these fools would do once they got into office, based on what they did last time they ran things.

    The Vatican has a long record of being anti-science that Pope John-Paul II tried to "clean up" a bit. There were the excommunications of Copernicus and Galilleo, burnings at the stake of "witches," prohibitions of the use of cadavers to explore the mystery of the human body, delaying the course of the development of modern surgery and so on. I still have problems with the prohibition of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS and bishops who order priests to deny communion to any person who is a politician in the United States who does not think Roe v. Wade ought to be overturned (singling out Democrats and ignoring Republicans, like Giuliani who are Pro-Choice).

    This is simply more of the same. The Vatican is trying to support science in a new way so that they can appropriately repent for past sins.

    Now, come the Fundamentalists in the US who feel that any compromise is sinful. I should mention here that I recently saw an interview with one of their number who stated that Evangelicals don't have a Pope and so are less potentially "harmful" than the Catholics. What he didn't say (and what the reporter failed to ask about) is that in 2000, the Southern Baptist Convention changed their philosophy on the interpretation of Scripture from one where the scriptures were to be interpreted on the basis of the acts and words of Jesus Christ to one where the scriptures are to be interpreted on the basis of the dictates of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Exactly how does this differ from the Pope putting on a certain hat and declaring himself "infallible."

    Nowadays, in order to be a good Christian, you have no "wiggle room." You either believe the way you are told, or you have sinned in the eyes of a small group, in the case of the SBC, or in the eyes of the Pope, both of whom subscribe to a "top-down" dictation of proper belief.

    Where does this leave the average Kansan -- or American?

    "Science" doesn't suffer from having the wrong definition. Science began to be developed some 6,000 years before Christ in Ionia by philosophers who saw that there could be logical explanations for everyday things that did not include the gods of the Persians or the gods of the Romans. Plato and his pupil Aristotle initiated a reaction to that by retreating into the perfection of the mind. Christianity picked up on that, transferring that to the Divine. But all the while, there was science. Science survived because it was heuristic. You could perform an experiment and state a hypothesis and repeat the experiment to assure yourself that the hypothesis held true. When a hypothesis was widely accepted, it graduated to the status of a Theory -- but nothing could be said to be cast in stone, in case observable events proved these understandings wrong.

    Sir Isaac Newton's theories of gravitation were completely shattered by Einstein. Nonetheless, we still regularly use Newton to explain things because Einstein's theories are harder to describe.

    These fundamentalists have initiated another definition of the word "Theory" which casts doubt on the

  • by Will2k_is_here (675262) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:56PM (#13971755)
    That depends on how you interpret the Bible. "100% accurate and inspired directly by God" can mean if the Bible says it, that's what happened (eg. 6 day creation, global deluge, four corners of a flat Earth), or it can mean that it merely carries truth, but not all things are to be interpreted in a literal sense.

    And the Bible does not bluntly say Moses wrote those books. "The laws of Moses" is a common phrase, but that doesn't imply that the version contained in today's Bible is a direct translation of what Moses wrote but merely originates from what Moses wrote.
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:02PM (#13971827)
    don't agree with someone? go after them personally

    Don't get it do you? It's who they are (personally) that we're talking about here. The ID crowd is made up of individual persons (no matter how much they act like idealogical sheep). The irrational, superstitious nonsense they spout is spouted by them as individual people whether or not they also say it as a group to make it sound more credible to their fan base.

    The comment you're complaining about referred to people who are willing to close their eyes to what's right in front of them, to willfully turn off their capacity for logic and reasoned pursuit of causality. He called them, "jackasses." You refer to that as "verbal assault," while I prefer the common usage (outside the livestock world):

    jackass
    Pronunciation: 'jak-"as
    Function: noun
    1 : DONKEY; especially : a male donkey
    2 : a stupid person : FOOL

    And, indeed, "fool" is exactly the right word for it. Because the only other possible interpretation of the motives for the ID proponents is one of malicious deceit. They know it's BS, but they are pounding that drum loudly because it's the nearest they think they'll ever be to having the leverage required to get religion back into public schools. They're willing (ironically) to be liars so that they can preach Christian (no other!) truth in a public educational framework. Filtering out the ones that think like that, the only ones left are those that have been fooled into actually believing the mythology. It doesn't matter why they were fooled, but the mechanism that, as they grow up, allowed them to let go of Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny just never quite completely kicked in when it comes to other imaginary powers. Oh well.

    I feel sorry for them, but I truly don't care what they think. I do, though, care when they attempt to corrupt science classrooms and squash critical thinking in young people. It's embarassing, really, but it's also damaging to the intellects that will eventually grow up and run the country. Leave them alone! If those kids become adults and feel then like they want to regress back to the dark ages and imagine that all-powerful beings are running the universe, then so be it. But at least give them a chance to go into the world with a clear head. Calling someone a jackass for wanting otherwise is hardly "verbal assault." It's calling it like it is, and the truth is never an assault (though it may feel like one if you've been closing your eyes to it for most of your life).
  • by hellfire (86129) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `vdalived'> on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:02PM (#13971828) Homepage
    The main difference between intelligent design and Religion is that intelligent design is being packaged in a way to pass itself off as science. The vatican admits what religion is, and is perfectly willing to say that Evolution is science. They then say that God gave man science, and established the rules of science, and acknowledge that this belief is creationism. There's a clear line between evolution and creationism there.

    Intelligent design is in fact trying to blur those lines so children ask the wrong questions about Evolution. Questioning an established theory is great, as long as you ask the right questions.
  • Re:Listen to a Jew (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:06PM (#13971886) Journal
    For goodness sakes, you can't even get the facts straight. Your whole post is like some sort of textbook definition of a strawman. Let's set the record straight:

    The Big Bang is based upon key evidence, mainly nucleosynthesis, the blackbody radiation and the red shift of distant galaxies. It states, in simple terms, that the Universe was once very dense and very hot, and that it began to expand and cool. Thus far, every observation has confirmed this, and thus, as theories go, it is very well supported.

    Second of all, the Earth is, by best measurements, about 4.5 billion years old, and life has existed for at least 3.5 billion and possibly 3.9 billion years. I have no idea where your 600 million year number comes from.

    As to why it matters, well, in part, people are inately curious. The other thing to always remember about science is that any line of research, no matter how lacking in immediate utility it may seem, can ultimately lead to progress of a very tangible kind. Early researchers into electricity could do little more than make interesting parlour tricks and make frog's legs twitch. All Newton could do was explain the motion of the heavenly bodies. All 18th and 19th century physicists could do was attempt to explain the structure the matter. And yet these discoveries, no matter how little they may have helped people at that time, have lead us in a few short centuries to harness nuclear power, to build computers, to use the properties of matter at the smallest level for reliable high speed communications and countless other technological developments.

    So who is to say that understanding how energy behaved at the earliest moments of the Big Bang won't be of great use to us at some point in the future? Who is to say that understanding how organic molecules can produce self-replicating systems may not at some point lead to a whole host of techological breakthroughs.

    Science matters because it, unlike any other explanatory system previously developed, actually works. It can actually produce results, allow us to understand nature, to predict it and to harness it.

    The alternative is simply to declare "Hey, we're here, what does any of it matter" which is nothing more than a recipe for stagnation and decay.

  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Run4yourlives (716310) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:16PM (#13972009)
    Are you saying that in order to believe in God I need to chuck all observable logic out the window?

    Seriously, such stupidity does little good to anyone. To say that a book that has been in the pocession of mankind for about 2000 years (longer for the scripts in question) and translated into all sorts of languages, including the one you read it in (unless you read hebrew) is infalible to the point of expecting the literal definition is idiocy.
  • by ranton (36917) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:18PM (#13972025)
    Presenting multiple theories will not "broaden" the scientific minds of our children if we present them with unscientific theories. If I went into a math classroom and started saying that 2 + 2 = 5, that does not broaden the minds of the students. It confuses them, and makes the job of the teachers harder. It would produce students with problems in learning and using mathematics.

    If you present propoganda like ID in science classrooms, it will confuse children. Average people have a hard enough time understanding what a theory is already, we do not need to confuse them further. The very fact that ideas like intelligent design are even being humored by our society goes to show that we need to improve how science is taught in school, not go backwards.
  • by FuzzyDaddy (584528) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:25PM (#13972099) Journal
    According to Jewish tradition, it has been 5766 years since the creation of the world. Hence the year on the Jewish calender is 5766.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:26PM (#13972108) Journal
    I think you're missing the GP's point, which was the line between Intelligent Design and Creationism.

    Namely, creationism is a religious belief. No one can argue with your right to believe in it, but because it is inherently religious, and in the US at least there is separation of church and state, it cannot be taught in public schools as a fact.

    Intelligent Design is a facade creationists hide behind to try and make creationism sound "scientific" and shoehorn it into the public school curriculum. It is not, in and of itself, a belief you get from the Bible - if it were, there's no way you could get it into the curriculum. No matter how strongly you believe in creationism, it's disingenuous to twist that around into something called "Intelligent Design" so that you can now claim that your religious beliefs are not religious, but scientific, and get them taught in public schools.

  • by afidel (530433) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:26PM (#13972113)
    Creationism isn't competing with Evolution. One is a theory based on evidence, the other is a religious view based on belief. One is taught in a science class, the other can be taught in a comparitive religions class. I think that all children should be exposed to comparitive religions, the world would be a much better place if we did. Unfortunatly the same people who preach Creationism will often be the ones who scream the loudest if we tried to expose their children to different views on religion.
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:31PM (#13972174)
    My bad on the "earth is flat" example. But I think everyone got where I was headed with that.
    I was not suggesting that the scientific process should come to a halt because we can much more easily invoke the phrase "the Bible says so". I would just prefer people to use the label of "not scientifically proven" instead of "crazy people believe that". (but I guess Copernicus had to put up with that label too)
    Speaking of soundly proven, almost-universally accepted theories, why is evolutionary theory let off the hook with the "billions of years" excuse? If that theory had been first posted on Slashdot, I think it would have received the following treatment:

    1. Primordial puddle of goo
    2. Random mutations
    3. Billions of years
    4. ???
    5. People!

    I personally like Michael Crighton's illustration paralleling evolution with billions of years of wind blowing over a junkyard producing a working 747. Mutations of species are better explained as a DESIGNED feature, not as the origin of species.

    Lastly, I think God only would have been lying had He told us that the true measure the age of the earth is by radioactive decay or divergence of galaxies, etc.

  • by jotok (728554) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:36PM (#13972223)
    This is actually a really telling point.

    Ask any fundie if the Bible is the sole authority on matters spiritual and temporal, and they'll say, why, of course it is.

    Then ask them to find the chapter & verse IN the Bible where it says that.

    Problem is, it doesn't. It is a TRADITION that is passed down. So they give authority to tradition as well as scripture, while claiming to only trust scripture.
  • by The_Sock (17010) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:39PM (#13972261) Homepage
    Evolution is a theory to explain what has happened. It isn't a proven fact nor is it even supported a tremendous weight of evidence. There are many scientific examples of data that contradict the theory of evolution that are not explained. So to have it presented the way it is is "forcing your world view" on us. It would be best to present multiple theories and state that is what they are. Broaden the minds of our children instead of closing out competition.

    Evolution is a theory in the scientific use of the word. That is, a hypothosis that has been tested and has evidence to support it. In evolution's case, mounds of evidence. Would you care to elaborate on the many scientific examples of data that contradict the theory of evolution? Becasue the evidence supporting current evolutionary theories (not the same as Darwin's anymore... they've grown as our knowledge of the world around us has grown) has grown to the point where to ignore it means to ignore reason. It's not really a debate anymore, it's one side with facts, and one side with earplugs.

    If there was more then one theory (scientific use of the word again here) that adequately explained the way species change, adapt, become new species, and how life arrived in it's current form, then I would be all for it, but currently there is not.

    6 day, young/old earth "Theories" have no evidence to support them. ID offers nothing except the addition God did it(untestable conjecture) to an existing theory. If you want something taught in public school science class, pony up with a real theory, backed by real evidence.
  • by WhiplashII (542766) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:45PM (#13972321) Homepage Journal
    I don't really disagree with you, but I would caution you - a common failing in science (if not THE common failing) is that scientists regularly discount data that doesn't match their expectations, until the evidence is overwhelming. That's why new, incredible theories such as QM and relativity are often looked down on as junk science early on.
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Paladin128 (203968) <aaron&traas,org> on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:49PM (#13972366) Homepage
    Then why was it OK for Mary of Bethany to do what she did? We believe that the whole of the mass -- not just the tabernacle and the ciborium and the chalice (the said vessels you claimed) -- should be elaborate and beautiful as we can reasonably expect to manage. So the vessels, the altar, the vestments, the thurible, the pews, the windows, etc. should be a testament to God's greater glory. In addition, they help as worship aids for the congregation; to overwhelm and lift the self into a sense of other-worldliness. The mass should be more lavish and beautiful than the stuff we experience elsewhere, so we might know that God's heavenly kingdom in all its majesty is far greater still.

    Also, in terms of tradition, this was the trend as soon as our Christian ancestors could worship in the open. Certainly, adornments were less lavish while we were relegated to worship in the catecombs. God doesn't expect us to give him perfection in this respect; that would be impossible. We believe he does want us to give what we reasonably can in our station of life.

    Pax vobiscum,
        Aaron
  • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan@g3.14mail.com minus pi> on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:53PM (#13972402) Homepage Journal
    "The Intelligent Designer doesn't have to be the Christian God, nor does it even need to be a God at all. It could be little green men."

    No. This is a philosophical problem called "First Cause". This is what will happen. You will say it was little green men. I will say something like, "And where did they come from?", and you will say something like, "Oh, the little green men before them." And I will say, "And where did THEY come from?" and you will say, "The little green men before THEM". And then at some point, we will reach the end.

    Intelligent Design is an absurd argument that rests on assigning the complexity of origins of one thing (say, for instance, very complicated molecules) to the infinately more complex and unlikely appearance of something that could have created these things (say, God). The reason we must have God as the intelligent designer is the simple reason that God gives us the clever property of having always existed and very nice things that solve the issue in the Argument of First Cause. Not nicely, mind you, because there IS no way to solve that issue nicely (Where did GOD come from? etc).

    Intelligent Designers are very clever creationists in sheep's clothing. This is not a difficult thing to understand. They don't want to talk about God, because as soon as they do, they give up the game.

    There is no science in Intelligent Design. If you can name one paper in a recently published, reputable scientific journal (i.e., peer reviewed) with new empirical data (not simply a review article of previously published hogwash arguments, but NEW EMPIRICAL DATA), that is derived from the viewpoint of intelligent design, I will stand corrected.
  • by letxa2000 (215841) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:53PM (#13972405)
    Every time someone has a different opinion than you, you scream trolling.

    Not every time. Just when they are. You were not trolling. The other two people were. I think you can see the difference in the content of each post.

    And with beliefs such as yours, it is no woner that you have alot of differing opinions with alot of people.

    Actually, they don't differ with all that many... Except on Slashdot. Then they usually clash violently. That's what happens with a conservative Christian (NOT fundamentalist!) hangs around in a liberal, atheist stronghold.

    Just because both religion and science have a different explanation for life does not mean both belong in a science classroom. All it could mean is that they both may belong in a class discussing the origin of life. But as for a science classroom, only science's theories should be discussed. As soon as another theory for the origin of life is found it will be discussed in classrooms right next to evolution. But no such theory exists.

    Like I said, I would agree with you on virtually every point except on the origin of life. This is a place where religion and science intersect. I wouldn't be opposed to taking evolution out of science class and taking creationism/ID out of social studies and putting it in a single class called "The Origin of Life." That'd be fair. But I doubt it's going to happen. And to pretend that evolution is the only prevalent theory to the origin of life is to close your eyes to reality.

    Religion's explanations should stay in sunday school classes and private religous schools where they belong.

    What if those religious explanations are right? What if science is spinning its wheels by not accepting to even look at or consider a "larger picture" on this one issue?

    What if science could eventually prove the existince of God? I don't pretend to know how that could happen and I don't feel like getting into a philisophical debate, but what if science eventually did that as a result of considering evolution as well as as how that might fit in with some religious beliefs that supposedly explain the origin of life? As it is now, science automatically shuts down as soon as someone mentions God. It artificially limits the potential expanse of science.

    In the end, there is only one truth. I wonder if science will actually dare to find it or if it will avoid perhaps the single most important truth in the universe on philisophical grounds? Science, to some, IS a religion. And THAT is a problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:54PM (#13972412)
    When those who believe in Evolution present it and mandate it as a fact in schools, it is an affront to those who believe in Creation

    "No, it is in fact not. Evolution isn't a belief, but a matter of observed fact, and as such we should teach it in school. Evolution as the method at which humans appeared on the planet is a scientific theory based on the observed realities. As a scientific theory it should also be taught in school, in science class. ID and Creationism are, along side with Astrology, belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, belief systems with no basis in any observed reality. As such they should be taught in school too, but not in science class."

    That's funny, I have never heard of any observed instance of an animal or plant changing into a totally different animal or plant over generations. I HAVE heard of adaptation, but not fundamental change from one thing to another..... I think you're confusing macro and micro evolution. Just because adaptation has been proven, doesn't mean that macroevolution is true, nor has it EVER been observed or proven

    Your religion of Evolution requires more faith than my Christianity does.
  • by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:58PM (#13972446) Homepage Journal
    You're just trying to be a tool.

    I used a number of textbooks (math, economoics, history) in elementary, middle, and high school that rounded values to make them more understandable. I've read a number of non-fiction works that while are extremely accurate, are written in such a way to make it easier to understand and more artistic. That says nothing about the accuracy of those books, since they were written for a specific purpose.

    More interestingly, I have a version of the periodic table on my wall that doesn't quite include all the elements that are on current versions. Does that mean I shouldn't take the previous version literally? The numbers are wrong? No... it just means that the data, although 100% accurate, isn't 100% complete.

    Nice try, though.
  • by sfurious (111612) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:00PM (#13972465)
    The side effects of contraception in general

    Do you have anything to back this up other than correlation? A *lot* of things other than contraception changed in the past 70 years...

  • by gothzilla (676407) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:13PM (#13972608)
    The second you insert an omnipotent being into the equation you eliminate the ability of science to deal with it. That's why creationism is not science and is not a theory and should not be taught in school as science. Science is the study of observable phenomena. An omnipotent being is not observable so it cannot exist in anything even remotely resembling science.
    Your argument proves this point very well.
  • Re:Hear hear (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:16PM (#13972634)
    An eye is probably the worst example you could pick of "all or nothing" design. It's easy to find examples of various levels of vision across the animal and protist kingdoms. Start your exploration with the eye spot on a Euglena and end with certain animals such as hawks and eagles that have even better vision than humans, and you'll find a perfect, unbroken continuum of functionality as you move up the scale.

    In the end, what you call "complexity", irreducable or not, is just an arbitrary and heavily-biased value judgement. God, if he/she/it exists, is way too interesting and magnificent to fit in the pages of your puny Bible.
  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:21PM (#13972693) Journal
    The funny thing about this is that religion is probably an evolved behavior [uconn.edu], supported by identical twin studies [guardian.co.uk] showing correlated levels of religious feeling of identical twins separated at birth. There are also physiological [concord.edu] findings that are localizing spiritual feelings in brain.
  • by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:31PM (#13972794) Homepage
    " You're just trying to be a tool."

    No, I'm not. But thanks for presuming to tell me what I am thinking. It definitely helps further the discussion, doesn't it?

    You're making a straw-man, here. On several levels. First of all, I'm not saying that the entire Bible is wrong, just that you need to interpret it. There's just reasonable way to read it, otherwise. But once you allow for that point, you have to accept that there will be some debate about *how* to interpret it and where the line is drawn. I'm making no attempt to draw that line, merely saying that it's a debateable point.

    And no one should be taking your high school textbooks, or any other of those boosk, as the literal word of god. Unfortunately, the claim under discussion here is that the Bible is exactly this and that there is no room for interpretion. (Including allowing for things to be written in more poetic terms or in ways that are metaphorical to help with comprehension.)

    And the fact that the period table on your wall lacks elements in no way contradicts atomic theory in any way. At worst, it means that the theory was incomplete when the chart was created. More likely, the chart was simply not expaned to include all of the possible elements that the theory predicts but we've never seen. That in no way compares to a chart that has incorrect information on it, which would be the legitimate comparison.

    So, that having been cleared up, would you like to try again. This time, with a reasonable argument rather than name-calling and straw-men?
  • by feyhunde (700477) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:35PM (#13972836)
    Of course, there is no proof that this will do any good. In particular, the extreme right-wing Catholics of the Mel Gibson variety, like many fundamentalist protestants, have already given up on the pope

    Which by definition of Catholic as in union with the church makes Mel Gibson technically a protestant since he reject's the pope's authority over the church. I hate when they say rogue Catholic groups. You can say the same thing about Lutherans.

  • by hey! (33014) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:36PM (#13972848) Homepage Journal
    I have an aquaintence who is the pastor of the evangelical church in town. He's a very brilliant man, with a DD and a MD. He also believes in ID.

    We had a spirited debate on this, and this is what I said to him: "Brad, I think it's a very bad idea to mix religion and science. Religion is about faith, and science is about doubt. If it cannot be doubted or negated it's by definition not science. If it is subject to testing it is by definition not faith. This Intelligent Design stuff gives both sides a raw deal, because it introduces faith into science and doubt into religion."

    He didn't have anything to say to this, but he looked thoughtful. As a person highly trained in both fields, I think he was attracted to tying them up together in a neat package. He's a really wonderful man, but I think it would be a shame if as pastor he set a bunch of people up to lose their faith; and it's often the literalists who do lose their faith when confronted with the inconvenient factual findings of science of biblical scholarship.
  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:38PM (#13972862) Homepage Journal
    Silly people. The book of Genesis is largely derived from the Epic of Gilgamesh [wikipedia.org]. So if some "Rabbis" (if you want to call Moses a "Rabbi") wrote it down, it was probably copied from some Sumerian legend.
  • by QMO (836285) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:42PM (#13972903) Homepage Journal
    I have heard (over and over and over) that Intelligent Design has no place in science class because it is not a scientifically testable theory.

    I tend to agree.

    Why do these same people never object to the non-existence of God being claimed (or assumed) in science class. Undirected Chance (specifically as an opposite of ID) is (if possible) even less scientifically testable than Intelligent Design, and yet it is claimed or assumed regularly in science classes with little outcry from these same people.

    It would not be out of place in a science class to mention (once or twice) that SCIENCE currently can't answer whether there is Intelligence behind the workings of the universe, ignore the topic otherwise, and avoid assuming either idea.

    Apology, just in case: If any of the slashdot posters that decried ID in science class (because it's scientifically untestable) also decried non-ID in science class (for the same reasons) previous to this post, please show me where, 'cause I missed it, and I'm sorry.
  • by xmod2 (314264) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:53PM (#13973029)
    In the past, whenever a people couldn't explain something, be it rain, the harvest, the seasons, they attributed it to a diety. Man, I'm sure glad those days are behind us.

    Oh wait.
  • by iocat (572367) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:00PM (#13973111) Homepage Journal
    ID doesn't argue that evolution doesn't happen; it argues that some elements that "evolved" were so improbably they must have been intelligently designed. Like, God was like "man it would sure be cool if the eye existed," and sort of slightly intervened to enable the "guided evolution" of the eye.

    That's a fine conjecture, but it doesn't seem any more fine to me than "dude you have no clue how long a million years is, never mind tens or hundreds of millions, and given your total lack of perspective about time, it's not surprising that the eye seems like it never could have evolved on its own to you. To others, it doesn't seem weird at all, and doesn't suggest the existence of ID."

    To me, the most irritating part of ID is people want to use it a "proof" that god exists, when the whole deal with god -- at least as I was taught -- is that there is no proof, and no need for proof. That's why it's called "faith."

  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:03PM (#13973134)
    Intelligent Design is an absurd argument that rests on assigning the complexity of origins of one thing (say, for instance, very complicated molecules) to the infinately more complex and unlikely appearance of something that could have created these things (say, God).
    Like many others who attack ID, you are illegitimately broadening the scope and beating up on a straw man. The only question in scope here is the question of species formation. Creation of the universe, etc., while many ID proponents certainly have strong opinions on it, is not part of the core theory, any more than it's part of the core theory of darwinism.

    Consider this: can you not agree with evolution and support steady-state, Big Bang, or just "God made it"? The question of species formation is completely distinct from the cosmological question.

  • by tdelaney (458893) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:08PM (#13973173)
    You've never heard of "writing by committee"?
  • Re:Hear hear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by |/|/||| (179020) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:08PM (#13973178)
    you don't seem to know what irreducible complexity means.
    Hold on, let's get to the root of my misunderstanding, so we can sort this out. I said that irreducible complexity is the claim that certain things are too complicated to have arisen as a result of natural processes. You then said that, "Irreducible complexity is applied to natural selection, not any physical process." This is kind of confusing, because the theory of evolution does describe (or attempt to describe, you could say) a physical process.

    Then you say that, "Irreducible complexity is simply the claim that evolution does not allow for the development of organs or molecular machines that are all or nothing." OK, so you're saying that irreducible complexity implies that the theory of evolution is not sufficient for explaining the existence of certain physical entities.

    Pretty weak, as I see it. Not only is that claim debatable (many of the examples touted by ID proponents have been explained by showing that the constituent parts of the complex organ were useful on their own) but it does not offer an explanation of its own. Saying that evolution is insufficient without offering an alternative is just saying that we need to study evolution more. Irreducible complexity on its own does not point to something else that we can look into.

    This, of course, is where "intelligent design" comes in. ID purports to offer an alternative explanation for the development of biological life, and to explain irreducible complexity at the same time. ID is not, however, a scientific explanation. It is an explanation, but it is not a scientific explanation. It passes the buck to an entity outside of the observable physical universe, which just is not allowed in science.

  • Re:Exactly! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fupeg (653970) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:12PM (#13973215)
    Taking the bait...
    First you say
    I believe one of the worst idea's to come out of the Catholic Church is that the Pope determines what is heretical and not God and His scriptures. History has shown that men can be corrupted so I have difficulty putting so much trust in a man.
    but then you say:
    My beliefs do not come from elected men in man made hierarchies of power. My beliefs come from and are supported by the scriptures.
    I find this incredibly amusing. You say that men can be corrupted, so don't trust them. Sounds good. Then you say that everything you believe in comes from scripture. Well who do you think wrote the scriptures? Men. Oh I know, they claimed to be just writing down the word of God, but a Pope or a priest or, for that matter, a serial killer, could say that they or simply telling you the word of God. So how is it wiser to trust a book written by men, especially when you don't even know exactly what men wrote it? And of course you're not even reading what was originally written. Obviously it's been translated as well as copied, re-copied, etc. Even if you really believed that the men who wrote the original text were definitely writing the word of God directly, there have been countless other intermediaries since then. Enumerable opportunities for one person or another to change what was written, either for bad reasons or by honest mistake.

    Here's an idea: Trust your brain and nothing else. You're right that you shouldn't just believe something because the Pope says you should. You've got to make up your own mind. Logic and reason -- these things are your best bet. Here's another quote I liked:
    If you can subjectively dismiss any part of the Bible because it doesn't agree with your beliefs or agenda then why would any of it be true?
    That is a good point. So don't subjectively dismiss things. Try being objective instead.
    What is the algorithm used to determine which passages are fact and what is fiction? Is it mere opinion? How can something be true yet not accurate? If it is inspired by God it is perfectly conceived unless God isn't perfect. If it isn't perfectly conceived how can any of it be trustworthy?
    So if you read something, it cannot be trusted unless you believe it came directly from God? Clearly you have to be able to deal with information that did not come from God. If you know something didn't come from God, then surely you use your reason to determine if it makes sense or not. This is a good test. You should apply it to everything, including things that you have been told are directly from God. That includes speeches by pontiffs and books like The King James Bible.

    Contrary to some popular beliefs, there's nothing wrong with examining evidence yourself. There's nothing wrong with testing a hypothesis. There's nothing wrong with listening to the ideas of others, but being critical of those ideas. If somebody's ideas don't make sense, there's nothing with rejecting them as being wrong. Let free will and reason empower you.
  • by terjeber (856226) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:17PM (#13973257)

    Why do these same people never object to the non-existence of God being claimed (or assumed) in science class

    I have never met a science teacher that spent time in class claiming the non-existence of God. Why would he? It is not part of the curriculum. On the other hand, the non-existence of God is the only scientific attidute towards God. Science has to assume the non-existence of God for the same reasons it assumes the non-existence of Santa Claus. There is no data indicating eithers existence.

  • by HorsePunchKid (306850) <sns@severinghaus.org> on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:25PM (#13973345) Homepage
    The idea already has a name, actually. Read about the "God of the gaps [wikipedia.org]".
  • by prefec2 (875483) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:28PM (#13973376)
    Your logic is flawed.

    Lets say an almighty God, speaks to a primitve creature. then this God has three possible ways of doing so:
    1. Talk to it in a language which can be understood by that creature. (type 1)
    2. Talk to is in God-Language, which would not be understandable by that primitive creature. (type 2)
    3. Make the creature intelligent enough to understand him/her.

    A language is, semantics, syntax and meaning of words. So we are able to describe things around us. But these languages have to be expanded with new words to describe new things, because otherwise we are not able to handle it.

    So if the language is of type 1 of my own hierarchy, then the language is not capable of transmitting the facts of the universe took 7 trillion years (or more or less) to form, because I wouldn't be able to express the numbr to the guy 6000 years ago. And even if I could write it down, he would understand.

    So God made him such an intelligent guy, you could say. Ok, lets see. Then this guy is intelligent enough to understand the fabric of space, and the creation of the universe and now he wants to tell this to his friend. A, shit, his friend is still this dumb fool, the guy was some lines above.

    Now God in his great power make him intelligent too, so he can understand the thing about the univers, life and the rest. Lets say they tried to told it to the women around them too. So we use induction and can conclude, we knew and we know exactly how the universe came into existance and we know exactly how it works.

    But in fact we don't know, so God must have stopped with his make people intelligent program somewhere in the past. Or he didn't started at all.

    To the point: God can make a language, which is so simple (e.g. only a few facts) that a shepherd can understand it and transmit the fact of the creation of the universe.

    Lets say, this is possible, he is the almighty remember. Now we know, the bible is not written in the language, it is written in Hebrew and Greek. And by all means, these are human languages which are not more expressive than any other spoken or dead human language.
    (See language theory for reference.) So we reached the same point again. Somebody writes Gods words down in an inferior language. And so they messed up.

    But as God is not an idiot, he knew this, so he used methaphors ot explain. So we know, there was an initial creational task, done by him. And on the other hand isn't it possible that God created natural laws just in a way that evolution and the rest could happen in the way we knew today?

    Greetings
          Reiner

  • Re:Hear hear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by |/|/||| (179020) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:35PM (#13973468)
    I love how this forum is full of people ready and willing to unite against ID and call ID proponents everything from fascists to fundamentalists to horrible people who should be silenced at all costs.
    Well, some people may come off that way because they're angry, but I think you can agree that my post did none of the above. I'm merely pointing out that ID proponents are not very good at separating science from religion, if (as you claim) that's what they're trying to do.

    Irreducible complexity is the idea that something is too complex to have arisen by purely natural processes (evolution), not that it is too complex to exist.
    OK, I'll accept that definition. I don't think it has any bearing on my conclusions, though. By your definition of IC (I'm tired of typing that out!) some things are too complex to be explained by evolution (note: I've never seen an example that wasn't explained by evolution under scrutiny). However, IC does not give an alternative explanation. Without one, it just implies that we need to refine evolutionary theory -- it doesn't offer an alternative.

    Now ID comes along and gives that alternative explanation -- a supernatural creator (please don't go on a tangent about "natural" creators like aliens or something - that just moves the debate to how the aliens developed in the first place). Supernatural creator == not science. It's an explanation, but it's not a scientific explanation, and that's my point.

    Ultimately, the hate I see here comes from a deep misunderstanding of our perspective
    I think I can see your perspective just fine. Can you see mine?

  • by amightywind (691887) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:53PM (#13973640) Journal

    These are all great studies. They come to real conclusions. But the methods used to arrive at the conclusions are empirical in nature. You just strengthen my argument. There is no governing dynamic theory that these studies apply beyond basic statistics.

    Compare these findings with...

    • Quantum mechanics (Useful Explanation=A, Predictive Ability=A)
    • Newtonian mechanics (A-, A-)
    • Weather prediction (A, C)
    • Climatology (C, D)
    • String theory (B, D)
    • Earthquake prediction (B, D)
    • Microeconomics (B, C)
    • Evolution (B+, D)

    Can you dispute evolution's position on this list?

  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:53PM (#13973641)

    Erm...evolution is not predictive because it depends on the actual environmental state. Since you can't really predict environment and its state in the long term, you can't predict how a species might evolve in reaction to that state.

    So does Physics. Just because you can't predict the exact result of a hard break in 8 ball pool doesn't make it non-predictive.

  • by feijai (898706) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:55PM (#13973653)
    The whole JEDP hypothesis approaches absurdity once higher criticism methods lead to every word in a passage being attributed to a different author. It starts resembling the garlands of epicycles Copernicus used in an attempt to make perfect circular orbits fit his particular model of the solar system.
    I guess you got modded 5:Insightful for use of the terms "garlands" and "epicycles".

    Historical biblical scholarship is not the same as literary criticsm. Literary criticism is largely an attempt to gain insight into the mind of the artist, and it is mostly ego-driven baloney. The goal in scholarship, when lacking definitive evidence, is to produce a hypothesis which is the most plausible, straightforward explanation given known (indefinitive) evidence. And so far as I understand it the evidence for JEDP, while not definitive, is a helluva lot stronger than that for the single-author hypothesis (or other major ones). Evidence includes: linguistic and statistical analysis of the text; historical events and the need to jibe with them; numerous repeated stories in the text which can be grouped off with other repeated stories to make internally consistent groups (which are inconsistent with other groups); and an awful lot more. And the trend is bad: generally speaking as new evidence has come to light, it has weakened the single-author argument.

    Strikingly, it's the God-wrote-it or Moses-wrote-it-under-God's-direction groups that have constructed epicycles like Copernicus: heap upon heap of crapola attempting to apologize for the mounds of inconsistencies between their theory and the text. At some point the whole house of cards will come crashing down.

    It's also striking that you used epicycles to justify your position, as Copernicus is not the one most famous for having to need them. No, that was Ptolemy, and by extension, the Catholic Church. Strange how religion starts needing to build these weird constructions when faced with even a small chunk of damning data.

  • by Will2k_is_here (675262) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:20PM (#13973971)
    It's a legitimate question. Why hasn't there been any new revelations since the time of the original publishing? When was the Bible last updated?

    Yeah, it's a legitimate question. The answer is the Bible is a complete text in itself so requires no additions. We have the complete story described for us:
    1. God intended us to be in perfect harmony with him - a personal relationship with this god
    2. Man is now sinful and was cut off from this intent by Satan
    3. Jesus allows a way to reconciliation with God provided we accept Jesus as that pathway for a "reconnection"
    4. The day will come when Satan will be destroyed and the intended harmony will be restored for us permanently (provided you agree with and have done point 3).
    There is nothing new to "reveal".

    The Bible isn't a story of historical events where God intervenes from time to time and all of sudden sometime after 100 AD he stopped. It's a story of the above 4 points and everything else in there is filler (and I use filler in the positive sense, those stories/letters and the like help describe those points).

    I personally haven't listened as I don't believe.
    You probably have always been "hearing" but you haven't always been "listening". Like when you show up for class but zone out and miss the whole lesson.
    God's presence is revealed to us a little differently from the way it was revealed in the Old Testament/Gospels. How do you listen to God today? One method is to "listen" to this post. Again, he is talking directly to you! Are you listening?
  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:49PM (#13974312)
    "In modern translations the exact same source word can be translated to wildly different English words."

    Such as, for an actual example, whether Mary was a "virgin", or just a "young woman". The first version sounds much more miraculous, so if I were wanting to inspire future generations, I'd go with that translation.
  • by trurl7 (663880) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:51PM (#13974331)
    Original poster here. In light of some comments, I feel I should clarify something: my statement "Ladies and Gentlemen: There Is No God" was meant along the lines of an exhortation - an emotional appeal.

    As posters have pointed out, neither I, nor anyone else, has proof that God does or does not exist (the "big-rock" argument is quite nice, but I think would ultimately fail as a conclusive "proof"). However, that's not the point I'm trying to make. The first point is that claiming a belief in God, from a practical standpoint (remember: the claimer can't prove God exists!), is equivalent to schizophrenia (inability to distinguish real and imaginary things). The second point should, perhaps, be elaborated on:

    As a self-aware creature, Man owes a responsibility to that self-awareness. Being a true human being, being Man, means, effectively, the same thing as being an adult - accepting final responsibility for your actions. Thus, if humans decide to start a nuclear armageddon, god's not going to step in and stop the rockets. If humans decide to turn the Earth into a biohazard wasteland, god's not going to hand us a new planet. Final responsibility is ours - we can't shoulder it off on god. That's being an adult.

    Conversely, saying "I believe in God, so he'll forgive me", is the whining of a small child who's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. The excuse that "God's mercy is infinite", and "it'll be better in the afterlife", or "God wants me to do this", are the symptoms of humans with stunted development - like children who refuse to grow up. And unless a given person can throw off this yoke of belief, he will forever be denying his own heritage, his gift as a self-aware rational creature.

    As should be obvious, it is "belief" I disagree with, not existence of God. I think Man should stand firmly on his own feet, and admit that he's out there clawing his way to survival by his own efforts. Then, and only then, can humanity look in the mirror and say "we are adults". Trying to have "faith" is perhaps compatible with this, but I find that hard to believe.

    Ultimately, consider this - suppose God really does exist. What does he want from his creatures? To see them forever sniveling and making mud pies, or does he want to one day regard his creation and look proudly at their achievements, to admire them for the adults they've become? Isn't that the goal of a parent? (Cause let's face it, guys - thus far our actions, especially motivated by religion are the equivalent of bullying little children, lieing, and torturing insects.) Whether God exists or not, belief in him stunts the development of Man. If God truly exists, then perhaps denying this existence is the ultimate act of faith, for it allows you to become worthy of being His (or Her) child by your own efforts. And if God truly does not exist, then you'd look really stupid bowing to a figment of someone's imagination. Either way, rejection of belief in God is, I believe, fundamental to an individual becoming an adult socially, and humanity becoming an adult species as a whole.
  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:01PM (#13974434) Journal
    ...God gives us the clever property of having always existed and very nice things that solve the issue in the Argument of First Cause. Not nicely, mind you, because there IS no way to solve that issue nicely (Where did GOD come from? etc).

    Or you can rephrase that, "where did the energy for the Big Bang come from?"

    This question ("Where did God come from") is out of the realm of science, obviously, but I look at it this way: time itself is a property of the created universe. Therefore, if God created the universe, there is no such thing as "before" God. He is not on the timeline; he drew the timeline. He is the fundamental fact of the universe.

    If you don't believe that, fine, but it's a question of faith, not science. And if you don't answer the question with "God," you still don't have a neat way of saying what caused the events that brought the laws of our universe into being, or how events can happen without space-time.
  • by benjj (302095) on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:07PM (#13974501) Homepage
    But the methods used to arrive at the conclusions are empirical in nature... There is no governing dynamic theory that these studies apply beyond basic statistics.

    I might be wrong, but isn't that statement meaningless? All scientific theories are empirical - how else are they formulated and tested? What is a "governing dynamic theory"? What is the "governing dynamic theory" of weather prediction?

    All these studies apply statistical techniques that are based around the theory of evolution. I don't understand what else you are driving at to try and deny this. I also don't understand your criteria for grading theories from A to D. On the face of it it seems absurd.

    I suspect your problem is that Newton can make simple testable predictions for the movement of objects. If this is the case then you problem is not with physics but with the whole of biology, which deals with complex systems and so things are more messy (although in turn, the predictions are arguably more impressive when correct).
  • by MarkCollette (459340) on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:40PM (#13974782)
    If we say that it is open to interpretation because it only has some nice stories, then what parts do we follow and what parts are just there as example? This leaves a wide door open for man's imperfect interjection of man's own beliefs.

    Since Jesus taught almost exclusively in parables, one would think that would answer your question of whether to follow a literal interpretation or an allegorical one.

    Plus, Jesus made a point of superceding all those anal little rules with two very simple yet broad and interpretable ones. ( http://www.bible.com/bible/Bcommand.html [bible.com] )

    So, I'm sorry, but if you want to call yourself a Christian ( ala Jesus Christ ), then you pretty much have to deal with these questions of interpretation, and ditch the literal cop-out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:42PM (#13974804)
    Hey -- irregardless of whether his arguments have merit or not, he is NOT making a case for or defending ID. Please: don't let your rhetoric descend to the level of that of the fundies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @08:05PM (#13974991)
    Strawman - n. a weak or sham argument set up to be easily refuted

    I think Cheshire's application of the word is correct. He's referring to your argument concerning textbooks rather than the posted link concerning PI. Your argument entirely misses Cheshire's original point.

    I used a number of textbooks (math, economoics, history) in elementary, middle, and high school that rounded values to make them more understandable. I've read a number of non-fiction works that while are extremely accurate, are written in such a way to make it easier to understand and more artistic. That says nothing about the accuracy of those books, since they were written for a specific purpose.

    Cheshire's overall point is that the Bible cannot simply be taken literally and is in need of interpretation. The textbooks that you refer to fall under the *exact* same problem, therefore coinciding with Cheshire's whole point. You cannot take such textbooks literally, otherwise you might believe that PI is exactly 3.14.

    The problem is that if such books are in need of interpretation, how does one know when one's interpretation is correct? You are already looking at such books as the absolute authority for information. Where else can you go to for answers? Fortunately with textbooks, you can always ask a teacher/professor. No such luck with the Bible.

    Now, if you wanted the point of your 2nd post to be about taking the Bible literally, perhaps instead of repeating the same point you gave in the original post (you know, the one that someone provided a perfectly legitimate response to?), you could have given a different example of how the Bible should interpreted properly.

    The reason Cheshire repeated it is because you appeared to completely miss it the first time around. The fact that you did not know what "strawman" referred to thereby shows that you completely missed Cheshire's point yet again.

    I'm not going to argue whether or not the posted link is legitimate. The logic is iffy, but I think its a silly point to belabor, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. The problem is that that Bible is filled with all sorts of similar problems, including inconsistencies and self-contradictions. Its great that someone can properly respond to the issue of PI, but this was just a single example of a larger issue. Going on about how PI was properly addressed does not accomplish anything.
  • by mrdaveb (239909) on Monday November 07, 2005 @08:16PM (#13975062) Homepage
    A preacher I know once told me that the Bible doesn't have to be literally true for us to have faith in God. He believed that those who hinge everything on the absolute truth of every word of Scripture are those who really lacked faith. They need something outside themselves to justify what they believe.

    This just doesn't make sense to me. Surely your faith is effectively a belief of what is written in the Bible? If not the Bible, then where are you getting it from? From other people who got it from the Bible. To then brush over all the gaps and contradictions, make allowances and pick and choose the parts which are still 'relevant today'... just what is it that people are believing? At what point is there an argument for calling this disregard for rational thought a psychosis?
  • Re:Hear hear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by |/|/||| (179020) on Monday November 07, 2005 @08:20PM (#13975096)
    Your ideas are consistent within your own world, but the problem is that you've redefined science. Let me quote:
    Quite the opposite, it means we are free to study our origins and the laws of the universe without having to either conform to a naturalistic explanation or throw out the data.
    Right there is the fundamental misunderstanding. Science only studies that which is naturalistic. If you want to explain the origins of the universe scientifically, you can't consider the supernatural. If you do, you're not doing science. ID proponents can redefine science if they want to, but that doesn't mean that the "science" that they're doing is the same as what real scientists are doing.

    If we can't explain something, saying that it was "created" is not a useful explanation. It would be far more useful to say "we don't know." Not only does this keep the subject flagged for further study, but it prevents us from basing later theories on an untestable assumption. Maybe it was created, and maybe not. The truth is, if we can't explain it based on the observable universe, then it's just an unknown. Making stuff up is not the solution.

  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Monday November 07, 2005 @08:21PM (#13975101)
    That's not true.

    AZT for example is known to block reverse transcriptase. It's kind of cool actually - normal cells store their genes as DNA and convert to RNA which is passed out to ribosomes - little nanomachines that build proteins based on the RNA 'program'. The HIV virus is a retrovirus and retroviruses store their genes as RNA and need a special enzyme, reverse transcriptase to convert it to DNA to be inserted into your cells.

    I guess the problem is that drugs like AZT probably mess up other enzymes too causing side effects, and aren't 100% efficient against reverse transcriptase. Even worse, reverse transcriptase has such a high bit error rate as it copies that HIV can mutate quickly, and some of the viable strains are very resistant to AZT.

    But it's not as if people aren't trying to attack the virus itself. I've stressed the software parallels a bit because of this site, but they are striking - ribosomes for example even look like Turing machines with the RNA as the tape. But unlike software, you can't (yet) make something which will block the viral enzyme 100% and have no effect on any others. At least not last time I looked.
  • by Pfhorrest (545131) on Monday November 07, 2005 @09:04PM (#13975416) Homepage Journal
    This is the problem of the "First Mover" so often discussed in philosophy, and what it comes down to - and what other philosophical problems about the limits of the universe, i.e. the extent of space - is that eventually you have to base your explanation on SOMETHING infinite and all-encompassing.

    Say for example you've got some finite universe. Ok, what's at the edge, a sign saying "space ends, mind the drop"? And what's past that? It seems, and there is something beyond that. Is that thing infinite then? If not, you can keep repeating this question forever...

    Or say you wrap your finite universe into a closed loop, so there's no edge. Except, now you've added dimensions to the finite ones you already had - are they finite or infinite? If you wrap that up into another loop, you've added more dimensions... and so on and so on infinitely. Infinite dimensions.

    The same thing works if you use an "information", "simulation" or "dream" model, which is what your notion of God seems to fit into. God is something informationally beyond our universe, inaccessible to us except as He imposes himself into our universe the same way our universe is inaccessible to our computer programs except as we input data into those systems. The problem here is... simulations within our computers are finite. Our computers themselves are finite systems. But is our universe? Yeah? Ok then, is God's universe finite? If so, is the one outside of HIS finite? And so on...

    At some point, you either have to say there's an infinite stack of nested "universes", an infinite number of looped dimensions, or just an infinite universe. You could say that the layer just above "ours" is the infinite one in the "stack" view of things, and call that "God", but that's not very useful to our explanation of anything, it doesn't add any new information for us to explain our universe, so by Ockham's razor, why bother postulating that?

    Atheistic philosophers have used this to support the notion that God does not exist, or rather, that there's no reason to support any notion of God's existence and so by default we should not believe in God. I, however, side with people like Spinoza, in noting that an infinite universe - just our natural universe, if continued infinitely, nothing supernatural required - has all of the properties we normally attribute to god. Omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, un- or self-caused, un- or self-defined, infallible, invulnerable... an infinite universe meets the textbook definition of God (albiet without any specific personal characteristics attributed to it). So why postulate some God beyond the universe? Nature, the Universe, God - all the same thing. Elegant, harmonious, and infinite.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @09:29PM (#13975589)
    I frequently see posts like this highly moderated... because it is a feel-good, works well for both sides of the debate sort of approach. That is great but I think that it is a bit difficult to say that one should put one's trust in God and not the Bible, since the Bible is supposed to be His holy word and is really the only direct communication line from God. How exactly do you let the Holy Spirit guide you if it is not somehow (even if through the mouth of a pastor) based on information taken from the Bible? What does it mean otherwise? How do you not know your ideas are a figment of your imagination? Where do your morals come from then? The Bible is supposed to be the authoritative source for all of this, for Christians.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@D ... com minus painte> on Monday November 07, 2005 @09:37PM (#13975638) Journal

    Its been done lots of times - heck, I remember reading about how you can do this at home, back in the late '60s, in one of the popular science articles. Usual cautions about making sure to wipe everything down with lysol, how to make yourself a glove box, hyow to culture samples in petri dishes, etc.,

    Like I said, this is so old its NOT news.

  • by Shelled (81123) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:59PM (#13976090)
    Though my beliefs are diametrically opposed, I can greatly respect a man who put that much work into his devotion. So unlike today's lazy TV Christianity.
  • by zombieSlug (929369) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @12:07AM (#13976401)
    Evolutionary theory has plenty of predictive power. Here are just a few examples;

    * Darwin predicted, based on homologies with African apes, that human ancestors arose in Africa. That prediction has been supported by fossil and genetic evidence (Ingman et al. 2000).
    * Theory predicted that organisms in heterogeneous and rapidly changing environments should have higher mutation rates. This has been found in the case of bacteria infecting the lungs of chronic cystic fibrosis patients (Oliver et al. 2000).
    * Predator-prey dynamics are altered in predictable ways by evolution of the prey (Yoshida et al. 2003).
    * Ernst Mayr predicted in 1954 that speciation should be accompanied with faster genetic evolution. A phylogenetic analysis has supported this prediction (Webster et al. 2003).
    * Several authors predicted characteristics of the ancestor of craniates. On the basis of a detailed study, they found the fossil Haikouella "fit these predictions closely" (Mallatt and Chen 2003).
    * Evolution predicts that different sets of character data should still give the same phylogenetic trees. This has been confirmed informally myriad times and quantitatively, with different protein sequences, by Penny et al. (1982).
    * Insect wings evolved from gills, with an intermediate stage of skimming on the water surface. Since the primitive surface-skimming condition is widespread among stoneflies, J. H. Marden predicted that stoneflies would likely retain other primitive traits, too. This prediction led to the discovery in stoneflies of functional hemocyanin, used for oxygen transport in other arthropods but never before found in insects (Hagner-Holler et al. 2004; Marden 2005).

    and

    # Bioinformatics, a multi-billion-dollar industry, consists largely of the comparison of genetic sequences. Descent with modification is one of its most basic assumptions.
    # Diseases and pests evolve resistance to the drugs and pesticides we use against them. Evolutionary theory is used in the field of resistance management in both medicine and agriculture (Bull and Wichman 2001).
    # Evolutionary theory is used to manage fisheries for greater yields (Conover and Munch 2002).
    # Artificial selection has been used since prehistory, but it has become much more efficient with the addition of quantitative trait locus mapping.
    # Knowledge of the evolution of parasite virulence in human populations can help guide public health policy (Galvani 2003).
    # Sex allocation theory, based on evolution theory, was used to predict conditions under which the highly endangered kakapo bird would produce more female offspring, which retrieved it from the brink of extinction (Sutherland 2002).

    And

    # Tracing genes of known function and comparing how they are related to unknown genes helps one to predict unknown gene function, which is foundational for drug discovery (Branca 2002; Eisen and Wu 2002; Searls 2003).
    # Phylogenetic analysis is a standard part of epidemiology, since it allows the identification of disease reservoirs and sometimes the tracking of step-by-step transmission of disease. For example, phylogenetic analysis confirmed that a Florida dentist was infecting his patients with HIV, that HIV-1 and HIV-2 were transmitted to humans from chimpanzees and mangabey monkeys in the twentieth century, and, when polio was being eradicated from the Americas, that new cases were not coming from hidden reservoirs (Bull and Wichman 2001). It was used in 2002 to help convict a man of intentionally infecting someone with HIV (Vogel 1998). The same principle can be used to trace the source of bioweapons (Cummings and Relman 2002).
    # Phylogenetic analysis to track the diversity of a pathogen can be used to select an appropriate vaccine for a particular region (Gaschen et al. 2002).
    # Ribotyping is a technique for iden
  • by schuttsm (929356) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @12:09AM (#13976408)
    Good comments...As a fundamentalist, I wrestled with these issues until I took Hebrew and really began to see Genesis for what it is. I would like to read that book, seems interesting and if I believe something that isn't true, then I will drop it like a hot rock. Here's my thought on what you said: Genesis is a polemic (attack) against the Egyptian creation myths for several reasons: 1) Note what the author calls the sun and the moon. "Greater Light" and "Lesser Light". He doesn't even use the Hebrew word for Sun and Moon. The reason is because in ancient Near Eastern culture: "Sun" = 'Sun God' and "Moon" = 'Moon God'. He didn't use that name because he wanted to distinguish them. 2) There is no fighting to begin creation. YHWH doesn't fight with any other gods because there are none (Judeo-Christianity is monotheistic by the way; Ancient Egyptian culture was polytheistic). 3) Man is the pinacle of Creation in Genesis, he is an afterthought in the pagan cultures of the day. As for the 2 creation stories, it can easily be reconciled by the fact that one is focusing on the Creation of the entire world, whereas the second focuses on the creation of the Garden of Eden and man. Hope that keeps ya thinking...I would welcome debate.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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