Templeton on ID

I’ve criticized the Templeton Foundation in the past for their endless attempts to blur the line between science and religion, supporting some of the most dubious research in cosmology and physics. To be fair to them, at least they are not promoting Intelligent Design, something they make clear in a statement released on Monday. The statement challenges a front-page Wall Street Journal story that referred to Templeton as a supporter of ID. Evidently one of the main pieces of evidence that the Wall Street Journal gave for this was Templeton’s support of IDer Guillermo Gonzalez as part of their Cosmology and Fine-Tuning Research Program.

So, if you’re interested in seeking funding from Templeton, you’d be aligning yourself with an organization controlled by right-wingers that wants to bring religion into science, but they’re not IDers. If you decide to go for it, it looks like Dec. 1 is the day when fq(x), a Templeton funded program run by highly reputable physicists, will announce how to apply for money from them. If you just want to extract money from Templeton for something completely flaky, I’d suggest considering another new program they are funding, Science and Theology Advanced Research Series (STARS), devoted to research “on the ways science, in light of philosophical and religious reflection, points towards the nature, character and meaning of ultimate reality.” It appears that, if you play your cards right, you can get a free winter break in Cancun, as well as grants of $20,000 in walking around money and multiples of $100,000 to look into this ultimate reality thing.

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43 Responses to Templeton on ID

  1. Wolfgang says:

    Peter,

    > So, if you’re interested in seeking funding from Templeton, you’d be aligning yourself with an organization controlled by right-wingers

    would this be (currently) also true of every researcher who seeks government funding in the US ? The last time I checked the US government was “controlled by right-wingers”.

  2. woit says:

    Wolfgang,

    Very good point. Even worse, I think the US these days is “controlled by right-wingers who want to bring religion into science”. At least the Templeton people don’t go around starting wars.

  3. They say they don’t promote ID… But just look at that .

    Staune is in the board of advisors of the Templeton Foundation .

    He is the director of the UIP (université interdisciplinaire de Paris) which received funding from the Templeton foundation. On their website they promote a little documentary I’ve seen on the french tv which was clearly anti-darwinian (apart from being utterly stupid). So they don’t promote ID, they promote anti-darwinism and let others do the dirty work…

  4. Geoff says:

    Why the air of ridicule?
    It’s a private foundation
    They don’t claim to be a source for basic science funding
    Issues of “this ultimate reality thing” actually matter to people, even scientists.

  5. woit says:

    My main concern about Templeton is about having a very well-funded foundation trying to inject religion and pseudo-science into science, especially into theoretical physics. The anthropic landscape pseudo-science is already a big problem for theoretical physics, and the fact that it is being promoted and funded by Templeton is part of the story.

    There’s a nearly infinite amount of idiocy about religion, science, “ultimate reality” out there and in general I’m not about to waste my time discussing it here, unless it happens to come into contact with mainstream theoretical physics research, which is unfortunately what is happening with Templeton recently.

  6. Is String Theory intelligent design?

    Or unitelligent design?

    For the tax payers who fund the indecipherable smorasborg of snarky, condescending crap, it would appear to the latter.

  7. DMS says:

    The situation is some areas of physics is beginning to be a lot like the situation in economics( see Peddling Prosperity by Paul Krugman). The funding (and media prominence) given to supply-siders (called charlatans and cranks by Greg Mankiw), who are basically frauds(unlike conservative economists) dwarfs the money from fed. govt. sources in economics.

    Looks like we will see something similar happening in parts of physics that areas that they want to control/shape public perceptions for religious or ideological reasons(cosmology and ID). Their share of the overall funding is only going to get higher thanks to the reckless economic policies currently being pursued.

    Obviously, they have been very successful in economics: most think tax cuts, especially for the rich, are the cure for all economics problems. One shudders to think what will happen if they have similar success with cosmology and evolutionary biology. It is sad that there will be physicists, perhaps even some prominent ones judging by recent events, who will gladly take this Faustian bargain.

    DMS

  8. Tony Smith says:

    The Templeton statement described by Peter said in part:
    “… the Templeton Foundation refuses in its programs to blacklist scholars based on their ideological positions. … Blacklisting is ethically inappropriate in academic contexts. The Foundation believes that proper academic adjudication of important and controversial issues is not by censorship but rather by open scholarly debate and consideration of positions and arguments on the merits or lack thereof. Research scholarship does not proceed by processes of censorship and inhibition of debate. …”.

    As one who is blacklisted from posting on the Cornell arXiv, I am happy to see that there exists an influential institution that opposes blacklisting.

    Tony Smith
    http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/

  9. Joao Leao says:

    The statement from the Templeton Foundation is perhaps worth reading to the end in order to understand why such unwarranted
    “confusion” could have arisen in the mind of the WSJ reporter:

    Indeed, it should clearly be recognized that some perspectives that scholars associated with the ID movement have brought to scholarly attention involve matters of very considerable public importance. ID scholars have been prominent critics of the abuse of evolutionary biology today by prominent philosophical interpreters arguing for modern science to be considered as if it provided a clear coherent scientific foundation for philosophical atheism. (Which it most certainly is not: such grandstanding does science a grave disservice in the United States). They also have most unfashionably, but importantly, brought to attention the catastrophic abuse of evolutionary biology by Nazi intellectuals in the 1930’s and 1940’s in support of racist “master race? eugenics, leading clearly and directly to the justification of genocide against the Jews.
    If this is not an endorsement of ID what exactly is it? Darwinism uncheked leads to either nazism or “philosophical atheism”!? Ho-oh! Which could be worse, I wonder? My guess is that the ID guys and the Templetons are here to prevent such “abuses” to which science is so “prone” and unwilling to denounce… (Give me a break!)

  10. James says:

    Re-read their statement carefully. It is not an endorsement of ID. It says that some of the ID proponents’ critiques of the abuse of evolutionary biology have merit. It does not say that their proposals to correct the abuses have merit.
    This evaluation seems quite accurate: the combination of philosophical reductionism (never questioned) and evolutionary biology is used as a foundation for atheism. The place to address this abuse is not evolutionary biology, as we all agree; but instead is the philosophical assumptions used to interpret it. We never bother to teach our kids anything about philosophical questions, we just let them absorb the Zeitgeist. Kids need at least a little introduction to the big questions.
    So let’s fill that gaping hole and introduce them to the debates about meaning. Just not in science class, even though evolutionary biology makes a great example for discussing a couple of the important concepts.

  11. Templeton does not seem any worse than the Quantum Mind 2003 conference that Roger Penrose and the University of Arizona co-hosted. There were things like Hindu cosmology and Jungian Psychology at that conference as well as physics. It was fun watching Henry Stapp show up and do a little debate with one of the Hindu cosmologists who quite enjoyed it and her family took pictures afterwards. The world could use more of that. I don’t think Penrose and the U of A are particularly right wing. Here’s a nice Henry Stapp quote:

    “Pauli`s idea of a regulative principle lying beyond the mind-matter distinction is intertwined with the Jungian concepts of archetypes and synchronicity. Synchronicity refers to the occurrence of representations of archetypes in meaningful coincidences that defy causal explanation … behind the process of nature that we already know and understand there lies another, which acausally weaves meaning into the fabric of nature.”

  12. Joao Leao says:

    To James:

    I hate to nitpick but the sentence refers “some perspectives that scholars associated with the ID movement have brought to scholarly attention” leaving open whether what they (Templeton) applaud is part of the ID dogma or of the ID critique of Evolution, which is already telling. In either case putting atheism and genocide in the same basket (=abuses of Evolution!) seems quite OK for Templeton . Is this what you teach your kids? It sounds much less like a big question than an already-made-up answer…

    To John:
    I am not sure whether Templeton funded the Quantum Mind conference or the “Toward A Science of Consciousness” conferences in Tucson, but I doubt they did since they don’t take credit for it in their Web pages. But I don’t think that these are quite the same thing! Unlike Jung, Pauli, Penrose or Stapp, who may have dabbled in mystical speculation on the side, Templeton has a lot of money and an agenda which is not so benevolent or amusing, namely the eradication of secular humanism.

  13. Actually to me secular humanism seems at best silly and at worst spiritually draining, kind of like creationism seems at best silly and at worst scientifically draining. One of Peter’s links mentions CTNS and the “about us” for CTNS sounds quite fine in a Tucson conference kind of way:

    “CTNS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to research, teaching and public service. The central scientific focus of CTNS is on developments in physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, and genetics, with additional topics in the neurosciences, the environmental sciences, and mathematics. With regard to the theological task, CTNS engages in both Christian and multi-religious reflection. The Christian theological agenda focuses on the various doctrinal loci of systematic theology. The multi-religious agenda attends primarily to theological issues arising from the engagement between the sciences and religious traditions such as Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and indigenous spiritualities. This engagement is best reflected in the work done in the Science and The Spiritual Quest Program (SSQ). ”

    CTNS seems partnered with the Vatican Observatory which is run by the Jesuits who are quite liberal overall. The Jesuits also operate telescopes at the University of Arizona. I not only don’t see a problem, it actually sounds interesting though as a disclaimer I should mention I’m Catholic.

  14. Nigel says:

    Tony:

    The Templeton statement on ‘blacklisting’ is meaningless. Open debate sounds very nice, and was promised also by Britain’s Prime Minister who stated we were going to war to defend liberty.

    When people wanted to raise the issue of liberty in Iraq during the last Labour Party conference, the Government used its power over the police to have an old member held under the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ to prevent free speech. He was lucky compared to the guy who was repeatedly shot in the back until dead ‘by accident’.

    Templeton will have to turn similarly paranoid when it runs into the real world. The whole point of ‘blacklisting’ seems to be accusing people of terrorism or being unethical, without foundation.

    They will simply take the moral high ground like religion, Tony, and when you start asking questions or providing ideas they’ll fabricate some irrelevant excuse to suppress you, saying you’re a cowboy.

  15. Nigel says:

    Hitting the delete key is not just a string theorist or religious problem, either, as Quantoken says:

    ‘Peter is one of those few scientists “in the circle” who is able to speak out about something wrong with the state of theoretical physics research nowadays. For that I admire him. But while he sees problems with the establishment theories. I am a bit take back that he is NOT willing to look at some alternative approaches and make some judgement.’

    http://quantoken.blogspot.com/2005/03/dont-become-scientist.html

    (Of course, if Peter does look at alternatives, he steps outside of the circle. Quantoken’s GUITAR is a bit like Eddington’s claim to have predicted the ratio of proton/electron mass from a quadratic containing 10 and 137, without explanation. Eddington defended himself saying modern physics is based on guessed equations!)

  16. Joao Leao says:

    To John:
    Catholic, huh? It figures. The Catholic Church has had a less inimical attitude towards science than the fundamentalist protetstant hordes, at least since that pesky Giordano Bruno affair, and such. Yes, and you are right, jesuits have even, on occasion, made significant scientific contributions, say, as in Boscovitch, Lemaitre or Pat Heelan. Yet these were pursued as part of genuine scientific inquiry goals, not as a “theological task” or “a spiritual quest program” as your CTNS (Catholic TempletoNS?) puts it. Unlike the good brothers, these novel “spiritual sponsors” are about getting scientists to peddle religion for money. Considering the latest financial drainage that Catholic Church is currently attending to, I would estimate the prospects of the CTNS in this crowding field at worst, as you would put it,… silly!

    My disclaimer: I find all religions equally objectionable and uncalled for in what concerns scientific matters. Now let us get back to the One True Church of String Theory!

  17. island says:

    Eddington defended himself saying modern physics is based on guessed equations

    Dirac did a much better job defending large numbers, and he was thoroughly convinced that nature provided these numbers in a meaningful manner that theory should explain.

    He had the same kind of belief about higher structuring in nature that Einstein had.

    It’s a good thing that we got so much smarter than them… so fast.

  18. Stan says:

    Have a look at this statement from the Discovery Institute. Note the following sentence:

    “The Institute does not favor requiring that students learn about the scientific theory of intelligent design.”

    A new tactic, perhaps?

  19. island says:

    That’s only for high school students, not higher-education.

    The DI has never endorsed teaching ID in high school, because they don’t think that they can win a First Amendment challenge, and they are afraid that losing would have the effect of legally ruling Intelligent Design a form of religious creationism, and greatly diminish any possibility of the movement ever achieving its goals set forth in their “Wedge” strategy.

    The ding-bats that *were*on the Dover school board had to revise their original statement to meet the state educational guidelines to include Darwin’s “alleged” feelings about the random nature of speciation in order that they had some basis by which to challenge his theory.

    Kansas went to Oz with Dorthy… surely, they’re in violation of the constitution and every federal educational guideline in existence.

  20. Bryan says:

    “The Institute does not favor requiring that students learn about the scientific theory of intelligent design.?

    A new tactic, perhaps? -Stan

    Stan, this whole thing is just weird to us in Britain. As a Catholic I see no contradiction between ID and evolution. ID was taught in religious education classes and evolution in biology. It must be a thing peculiar to America that there are rows on this. Brother John, a monk, taught us evolution as integrated in biology. I think he glossed over the differences between ID and evolution by an analogy to modern physics where wave theory and particle theory were taught on alternate days, and the two are not really contradictory, but complementary! Thus, you use ID when thinking religiously, but evolution when thinking scientifically. America only has problems because the religious fanatics try to corrupt biology.

  21. Bryan says:

    String theory fanatics only get into trouble because they try to brainwash the whole of physics before they have any empirical evdence they are right. If string theory was a small backwater of crackpotism, people like Peter would leave it alone. Religions only become dangerous when they try to destroy scientific integrity.

  22. island says:

    Religious fanatics are the only ones that recognize goal oriented design in nature, while ideologically motivated evobiologists anti-fanatically knee-jerk react to deny that any such evidence is even possible, citing multiverses and uncertainty as their chaotic anti-gods of choice.

    Ya’ll are gonna love me for this, but I see ID as necessary for it’s anti-political relevance, since honesty in science has absolutely nothing to do with the debate whatsoever.

    One of the most respected members of the evolutionary biologists community, Lynn Margullis, called these anti-fanatics “neo-dawinian bullies”… which illuminates that this is no normal dispute among peers. That was a direct shot at the exact form of “anti-fanaticism” that runs rampant throughout the field and comes about as a reactionary response to the constant barrage of BS from creationists fanatics that would wrongly hold up evidence for design in nature as evidence for intelligent design.

    Lynn said what she said as the honored guest speaker at the last evolutionary conference.

    … or could this be an IDist…?

    The problem with neo-Darwinism is that Random changes in DNA alone do not lead to speciation…

    The problem with neo-Darwinism is that Random changes in DNA alone do not lead to speciation. It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist. I am definitely a Darwinist though. I think we are missing important information about the origins of variation. I differ from the neo-Darwinian bullies on this point.
    -Lynn Margulis

    The only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way.
    -Richard Dawkins

    Not just any universe would be one in which Darwinian evolution would work. For example, if a tiny reduction in the early cosmic expansion speed would have made everything recollapse within a fraction of a second while a tiny increase would quickly have yielded a universe far too dilute for stars to form, then such changes would have been disastrous to Evolution’s prospects.
    -John Leslie

    Don’t be so sure any of them on the side of science.

  23. CWB says:

    Ah, yes random mutations alone do not cause spectiation. I don’t think anyone claims that – there are such things as natural selection and genetic drift.
    I don’t think anyone is saying that there is no design in nature, that would be stupid, the arguement is that there is no reason to believe the unsupported IDist position that some vast hyper-intelligent being created life.

  24. Alexander Hellemans says:

    To CWB:

    What do you mean by “design in nature?” Is that not the ID position? There are even weaker ID forms, derived from Teilhard de Chardin’s idea that evolution is a fact, but it is directed, and was always directed towards the appearance of man. This form of ID has recently raised its head in France, with the help of the Universite Interdisciplinaire de Paris (wich is funded by the Templeton Foundation).

  25. The idea of Teilhard de Chardin (a Jesuit) has a modern home in the person of Alexander Wendt.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Wendt

    It is also consistent with the transaction models of Andrew Gray, Tony Smith and Chris King where the probabilities for the transactions are for worldlines extending far into the future.

  26. island says:

    Ah, yes random mutations alone do not cause spectiation. I don’t think anyone claims that

    No, that’s false.

    What do you mean by “design in nature?” Is that not the ID position?

    Yes… idists hold up evidence for design in nature as evidence for intelligent design, which it cannot be without direct proof, and that’s all that needs to be said in order to rebut the point, since design can be perpetually inherent to the energy of the universe.

    http://www.anthropic-principle.ORG

    Design in nature usually gets twisted around by neodarwininans to refer to patterns that fall accidently from what is assumed to be a random process and they reach to unprovable theoretical speculation in order to support this belief… so they’re equally religious in this respect, since this is origins science that we’re talking about… not speculative cutting-edge theory 101. Empiricism rules this debate, and so crackpot theories about multiverses and whatnot are not valid arguments against the implications for “specialness” that Brandon Carter, Robert Dicke and Fred Hoyle found in the constants of nature.

    Neodarwinians aren’t scientists… they are ideologically motivated antifanatics.

    Further reading:

    Schneider, Eric D. and James J. Kay, 1994. “Life as a manifestation of the second law of thermodynamics.” Mathematical and Computer Modelling 19(6-8): 25-48. http://www.fes.uwaterloo.ca/u/jjkay/pubs/Life_as/lifeas.pdf

    Schneider, E.D, Kay, J.J., 1994 “Complexity and Thermodynamics: Towards a New Ecology”, Futures 24 (6) pp.626-647, August 1994

    Schneider, E.D, Kay, J.J., 1995, “Order from Disorder: The Thermodynamics of Complexity in Biology”, in Michael P. Murphy, Luke A.J. O’Neill (ed), “What is Life: The Next Fifty Years. Reflections on the Future of Biology”, Cambridge University Press, pp. 161-172

    Kay. J. 2000. “Ecosystems as Self-organizing Holarchic Open Systems : Narratives and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” in Sven Erik Jorgensen, Felix Muller (eds), Handbook of Ecosystems Theories and Management, CRC Press – Lewis Publishers. pp 135-160

    Fraser, R., Kay, J.J., 2002. “Exergy Analysis of Eco-Systems: Establishing a Role for the Thermal Remote Sensing” in D. Quattrochi and J. Luvall (eds) Thermal Remote sensing in Land Surface Processes, Taylor & Francis Publishers (UPDATED 1 August 2001)

    Kay, J.J., 1991. “A Non-equilibrium Thermodynamic Framework for Discussing Ecosystem Integrity”, Environmental Management, Vol 15, No.4, pp.483-495

    Kay, J.J., Schneider, E.D., 1992. “Thermodynamics and Measures of Ecosystem Integrity” in Ecological Indicators, Volume 1, D.H. McKenzie, D.E. Hyatt, V.J. Mc Donald (eds.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecological Indicators, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Elsevier, pp.159-182.

    Kay. J., Regier, H., 1999. “An Ecosystem Approach to Erie’s Ecology” in M. Munawar, T.Edsall, I.F. Munawar, (eds), International Symposium. The State of Lake Erie (SOLE) – Past, Present and Future. A tribute to Drs. Joe Leach & Henry Regier, Backhuys Academic Publishers, Netherlands, pp.511-533

    Kay, J, Allen, T., Fraser, R., Luvall, J., Ulanowicz, R., 2001. “Can we use energy based indicators to characterize and measure the status of ecosystems, human, disturbed and natural?” in in Ulgiati, S., Brown, M.T., Giampietro, M., Herendeen, R., Mayumi, K., (eds) Proceedings of the international workshop: Advances in Energy Studies: exploring supplies, constraints and strategies, Porto Venere, Italy, 23-27 May, 2000 pp 121-133.

    Kay, J., 2002, “On Complexity Theory, Exergy and Industrial Ecology: Some Implications for Construction Ecology” in Kibert, C., Sendzimir, J. (eds), Guy, B., Construction Ecology: Nature as a Basis for Green Buildings, Spon Press, pp.72-107.

    Kay, J.J., 1984 Self-Organization in Living systems, Ph.D. Thesis, Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 458p.

    The Physics Behind the Large Number Coincidences
    Scott Funkhouser; arxiv.org/abs/physics/0502049

    Anthropic interpretation of quantum theory (2004)
    Brandon Carter; arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0403008

    Big Bang riddles and their revelations
    Joao Magueijo, Kim Baskerville; arxiv.org/astro-ph/9905393, published in the millennium issue of Phil.Trans. of the Royal Society

    The Anthropic Cosmological Principle John D. Barrow,Frank J. Tipler; Oxford University Press – ISBN: 0192821474

    Eliminating the `flatness problem’ with the use of Type Ia supernova data Arthur D. Chernin; arxiv.org/astro-ph/0112158

  27. CWB says:

    By design in nature I mean patterns – not design as in something that was created by any sort of intelligent being. For instance evolution is a process by which things can be “designed” – in a sense but design, or the presence of patterns does not neccesarily mean an intelligent designer.

    And Island, where do you get this assertion:

    Ah, yes random mutations alone do not cause spectiation. I don’t think anyone claims that

    No, that’s false.

    Perhapes you have some obscure little reference but I’ve never heard biologist advance the position that evolution is only the mutation of genes and nothing more. To me it seems like your asserting biologists have abandoned natural selection.

  28. CWB says:

    No I do not accept the idea of “evolution with direction”, by design I mean pattern and form.

  29. island says:

    You mean… no, you refuse to recognize evidence for evolution with direction.

    Are you a string theorist?… cause they don’t much care about evidence either.

  30. island says:

    And Island, where do you get this assertion:

    Ah, yes random mutations alone do not cause spectiation. I don’t think anyone claims that

    No, that’s false.

    Well, it you’d read what was written you’d know, since it was a credited direct quote of a statement made by Lynn Margulis when she was the honored guest speaker at the last evolutionary conference… this past summer.

    Not that it’s any big secret, you can also find it in books and about a million other places:

    http://www.biology-online.org/2/14_gene_pool.htm
    Mutations are random occurrences which change the genome of an organism. They greatly increase genetic diversity, where advantageous mutations are favoured by natural selection and disadvantageous ones are phased out.

  31. CWB says:

    Mutations are random occurrences which change the genome of an organism. They greatly increase genetic diversity, where advantageous mutations are favoured by natural selection and disadvantageous ones are phased out.

    Well that’s basically what I’m saying. There you have natural selection acting on populations in which genetic mutations have created advantages and disadvantages. Neo-Darwinian Evolution was just the marriage of genetics with the old natural selection based theory of evolution. Genetics provided a framework in which to understand how characteristics can be inherited and how new features in organisms can arise. This is the first time I’ve ever heard a non-Creationist claim that evolutionary biologists think that biological diversity is a result of the purely random process of genetic mutation. That’s a very standard creationist claim – they totally disregard the more or less deterministic process of natural selection.

    As for evolution with direction, that’s the stance of many biologists who are also religious but I don’t think that would be something you’d want to include in a formal scientific theory. I think your claims of ideology on the part of biologists is unwarrented.

    No, I am not a string theorist.

  32. island says:

    Well that’s basically what I’m saying.

    And I made no creationist claims, but, like Lynn, I believe that we are missing important guiding information about the origins of variation. Lynn’s approach is symbiosis, which she’s had enough success with to get her the medal of science, (which is commonly called the U.S. Nobel Prize), for her ‘outstanding contributions to the understanding of living cells, their structure, and their evolution, as well as for her extraordinary abilities as a teacher and communicator of science to the public’.

    Her son’s approach, (Dorion Sagan), as well as mine, (independently derived), is that we are driven to higher orders and enabled by the second law of thermodynamics, but mine includes an entropic interpretation of the weak anthropic principle via the life-practical environment in an expanding universe that has an increasing negative pressure component. In case you don’t know it, and independent derivation serves as hard supporting evidence.

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/edit/archives/2004/09/30/2003204990

    http://www.intothecool.com/

    James Kay was instrumenatal in the above, arrived at in conjuntion with Eric Schneider before he, (very unfortunately), died at a young age, and Dorion Sagan stepped-in.

    “Many” biologists are also religious”…

    No, actually, a very small minority may be, but “for some reason” evobiologist like to pretend that this is not the case. Why is that?… like I don’t already know.

    I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve been called a creationist by evolutionary biologists at the mere mention of the anthropic principle, and I’m an atheist, but this clearly defines the preconceived prejudice that runs rampant throughout the field.

    There is no denying this fact to me as I have too much personal experience with evolutionary biologists to believe that you aren’t in willful denial of these facts, and Lynn does not call them Neo-Darwinian bullies because she is having a normal dispute with her peers. Lynn’s statement was clearly a direct shot at exactly the kind of antifanaticism that I speak of.

    It’s not entirely their fault, because creationists constantly provoke them, but that does not justify the willfully ignorant nihilistic “devil’s advocate” approach to the manner that they will interpret evidence. Rather, they refuse to recognize said evidence while citing speculative and unproven cutting-edge theory in order to *explain-away* any implied significance.

    In point of supporting fact, there is a big movement in the field right now to quit using mechanistic terminology to describe mechanistic function and systems in nature in order that they can hide from this evidence.

    But of course they deny this, since it’s strictly a matter of interpretation, they can simply rationalize their way to the denial of my interpretation. Denial is very big with them, as they remove the layers of the onion until they can claim that there’s nothing there.

    These people are not honest scientists, and are led by the mentality of liberal extremists like H. Allen Orr, so do not be fooled by the fact that they are technically “in the right”… where the ID debate is concerned, because evidence for “design in nature” does not and cannot prove that there is an intelligent agent involved without **direct** proof, so hiding from the evidence is completely un-necessary and only hurts their position while furthering their lack of credibility.

    I know the game too well… it’s about downplaying the significance while selectively ignoring any and all evidence that runs contrary to their motivations.

    I don’t buy your denial… from experience.

  33. Island, multiverses with transactions looking far into the future is actually an arguement for your “specialness”. A single particle going one way instead of another to avoid annihilation is a form of intelligence and looking into the future. Extend that to a large spacetime scale and one could get your “specialness”.

  34. island says:

    Keep talking like that and Peter’s gonna send us packin!… 😉

    … but he also doesn’t like us to discuss our pet theories here, so please click on my name and goto my website and see about half-way down why I think that multiverses aren’t necessary, because I don’t believe that anybody ever proved Einstein to be wrong in the first place.

    This article and the three that are attatched to it that were made to the spr group also illustrates the point:

    http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2005-06/msg0069755.html

    The ball is not in Einstein’s court… in other words, and the significance of the implications of the anthropic principle increases by orders of magnitude if the universe if finite and bound.

  35. CWB says:

    But what do you want here? You want biologists to throw away the theory of evolution for what exactly, Intelligent Design? Do you want them to include “guidance by a superior being” as part of biological evolution?
    I don’t understand what you’re upset about.

  36. CWB says:

    I don’t see how Intelligent Design is useful science, actually I don’t see how it’s science period.

    Also, I am not a biologist.

  37. island says:

    I want them to fight the battle on the right front, which is the ludicrous distance that you have to go in order to attain scientific plausibility for something like alien intervention, which is the actual “science” IDists hide behind.

    Distance to plausibility kills it as a comparible and viable theory, and there is no valid reason to fight the battle based on the denial of evidence for goal oriented design in nature, so it won’t be a matter for interpretation, which, you would likely lose in court, unless you can prove what the motivations behind it were… even though that’s not a valid arguement as far science is concerned.

    My understanding is that the physics derives that punctuated equilibrium is analogous to a *near* static flat universe, whereas a big bang convolves characteristics forward in the same manner and by the exact same mechanism, so why would I want to be foolish enough to throw the “writing-on-the-wall” theory of evolution away?

  38. island says:

    As far as I can tell… The TOE… is the ToE.

  39. Tony Smith says:

    With respect to discussion of how IDers and Evolutionists etc stand on the issue of whether speciation can be fully explained by random mutations, what about epigenetic inheritance, such as described by Gail Vines in an article at http://www.ifgene.org/vines.htm ?

    Could such epigenetic inheritance be embraced by Evolutionists as just another scientific process that supplements random mutation ?

    Could such epigenetic inheritance be embraced by IDers as a way that a purposeful design could influence evolution ?

    Could such epigenetic inheritance be a common ground embraced by both Evolutionists and IDers, so that they could “just get along” with each other ,
    or do they hate each other so much that they don’ t ever want to see any common ground ?

    There is a wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetic_inheritance
    but please bear in mind that some wiki contributors have axes to grind, and it is not always useful to take a wiki article on a controversial subject at face value without looking closely (in great detail) at the history of that article.

    Tony Smith
    http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/

  40. CWB says:

    I think the fight against ID is based mostly on the fact that it’s creationism in disguise and that it doesn’t have any hard science behind any of it.
    Now, you’re upset that biologists don’t accept goal-oriented design in nature? I think this is more of a philisophical position than one that has any real applications to biology.

  41. CWB says:

    With respect to discussion of how IDers and Evolutionists etc stand on the issue of whether speciation can be fully explained by random mutations

    Why do people keep leaving out natural selection and genetic drift? Those are extremely important to evolutionary development, genetic mutation isn’t everything you know.

  42. CWB says:

    Could such epigenetic inheritance be a common ground embraced by both Evolutionists and IDers, so that they could “just get along” with each other

    No, IDers won’t be happy until Evolution is vanquished. Take a look at the “Wedge Document”, the goal of the ID proposed by the Discovery Institute is to be used to discredit science and allow supernatural (particularly Christian/Biblical) explanations to be used in scientific theories. They really don’t give a damn about advancing human knowledge or solving scientific problems.

  43. woit says:

    I’m closing this thread, since I’d rather people carry on the Evolution/ID debate elsewhere. There are many, many much more appropriate places for this. This was a posting about Templeton, its policies and funding of theoretical physics, not about evolution vs. ID.

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