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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  February 2007

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE February 2007

Subject:

Re: dealing with creationism and intelligent design and intelligence

From:

Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 27 Feb 2007 14:13:53 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (198 lines)

Actually, you have a good strategy here.

We should write an extension to Intelligent
Design based on the Bible about how the earth
does not go around the sun, and append it to all ID proposals.

I am still interested in Clarence Darrow's
deconstruction of Genesis, at least in the movie
version of the Scopes trial, "Inherit the Wind,"
when he asks, if there were just 4 people in the
world and Cain was expelled from the Garden of
Eden, where did he find his "wife" -- "and Cain
went forth and took a wife ..."

There are many such contradictions, but that has
always stuck in my mind more than the others, as
it is perhaps a bow to evolutionary theory or
could be construed as such. No other explanation
(other than incest) makes sense.

Mitchel


At 01:47 PM 2/27/2007, you wrote:
>Another point to consider regarding Michael
>Balter's proposal is: Why single out evolutionary theory for this treatment?
>
>Virtually every fact presented as current
>scientific understanding has engendered
>controversies at least as well-founded now as
>ID. For instance, first graders are generally
>taught that the earth goes around the sun, but
>they are not offered reasons to believe this,
>rather than Ptolemaic theory. Later on, what
>evidence is given to high school students to
>believe, say, that atoms are mostly empty space,
>or that DNA is the genetic material, or that it
>occurs in double helix form rather than in Linus
>Pauling's once- proposed triple helix?
>
>Even science majors in college and graduate
>school are not encouraged to seek evidence for
>every single fact or theory they are taught.
>Were they to do so, they would never obtain
>their degrees. So singling out the incredibly
>well-supported, magnificent and complex theory
>of evolution to put up for debate with puny ID,
>seems in and of itself to be a direct bow to
>religion. (The Bible also describes the sun
>suddenly standing still, so even Copernican
>theory should be controversial on this basis.)
>
>
>Best,
>
>Michael
>
>On Feb 27, 2007, at 6:52 AM, Mandi Smallhorne wrote:
>
>>"...when your opponents are more like
>>professional magicians than serious
>>researchers." LOL! Love it, great little simile!
>>Mandi
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>Phil Gasper
>>To:
>><mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]
>>Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 4:39 AM
>>Subject: Re: dealing with creationism and intelligent design and intelligence
>>
>>Agreed that Kitcher's chapter on the
>>epistemology of science (I think it's called
>>"Believing Where We Cannot Prove") is one of
>>the book's strong points, although rather vague
>>when it comes to criteria of theory choice. It
>>is one of the few accounts of scientific
>>evidence and confirmation that is neither
>>painfully oversimplified, nor inaccessibly
>>technical. These days, though, I just copy that
>>one chapter and use it in conjunction with
>>articles that deal with the recent debate,
>>including the Orr article you mention below.
>>
>>I teach this material in philosophy of science
>>classes, where it's essential to "teach the
>>controversy," but Kitcher's book actually
>>provides one of the best arguments against
>>trying to do this in biology classes,
>>particularly high school biology classes.
>>Essentially it comes down to what's the most
>>important thing to do when time is limited and
>>when your opponents are more like professional
>>magicians than serious researchers. I don't say
>>that Kitcher's arguments are decisive, but I
>>have my students weigh what he says against
>>arguments like Michael's (which was also made
>>by Neil Postman in The Nation back in the 1980s).
>>
>>Incidentally, while Kitcher would agree that
>>science is uncertain, he wouldn't characterize
>>it as non-objective, at least if that is taken
>>to mean incapable of getting closer to the
>>truth. See his more technical book, The Advancement of Science.
>>
>>--Phil
>>
>>At 8:04 PM -0500 2/26/07, Jon Beckwith wrote:
>>>Phil- What I really like about Kitcher's book
>>>is how it simultaneously deals with "creation
>>>science" (and even ID, although it wasn't
>>>called that, there were arguments of the ID
>>>type at the time) and science. Stating right
>>>off the bat that "science is an exercise in
>>>believing what we cannot prove" , but
>>>effectively goes on to delineate what
>>>distinguishes science from things like
>>>creation science etc. I use it in a course I
>>>teach and it is really effective in that
>>>sense. That is, I almost am using it more to
>>>give a more accurate picture of science than
>>>students have absorbed- its weaknesses as well
>>>as its strengths (which can be the same
>>>thing). I really liked H. Allen Orr's (an
>>>evolutionist) article on ID a couple of years
>>>ago in the New Yorker. I was really excited
>>>by Michael's article as I have been suggesting
>>>teaching both evolution and creation science
>>>together (e.g. a la Kitcher) as a way to
>>>achieve the two goals- exposing the
>>>non-scientific nature of the ct\reationists
>>>arguments and "exposing" the wonderful
>>>non-objectivity and uncertainty of science.
>>>
>>>Jon
>>>
>>>
>>>At 03:38 PM 2/26/2007, you wrote:
>>>>Kitcher's book is titled Abusing
>>>>Science--it's good for the most part
>>>>(although the chapter on science and religion
>>>>is weak, and Kitcher himself has subsequently
>>>>conceded that his "plea for peaceful
>>>>coexistence [between science and religion]
>>>>... was too facile"), but it was written in
>>>>1982 and is out of date (the young earth
>>>>creationism that is his main target is only
>>>>one among many creationist views now being
>>>>advocated). I've suggested to him that he
>>>>should reissue it with his 2002 essay on ID
>>>>theory ("Born Again Creationism", reprinted
>>>>in In Mendel's Mirror) as a postcript.
>>>>However, the best (meaning philosophically
>>>>most sophisticated) monograph on these issues
>>>>is still Robert Pennock's Tower of Babel
>>>>(MIT, 1999), although I have several specific
>>>>disagreements with it. The best collection is
>>>>Pennock's Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics (MIT, 2001). --PG
>>>>>>On the issue of creationism., ID and
>>>>>>evolution, I strongly recommend the book
>>>>>>"Use and Abuse of Biology"m MIT Press, by
>>>>>>Philip Kitcher- a philosopher at Columbia-
>>>>>>an older but timeless book plus his recent
>>>>>>article in his book "In Mendel's Mirror" Oxford Univ. Press.
>>>Jon Beckwith
>>>Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
>>>Harvard Medical School
>>>200 Longwood Ave.
>>>Boston, MA 02115
>>>
>>>Tel. 617-432-1920
>>>FAX 617-738-7664
>>>e-mail <mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]
>>>website <<http://beck2.med.harvard.edu/>http://beck2.med.harvard.edu/>
>>>
>>>Recent books and articles:
>>>My book, a memoir entitled: Making Genes,
>>>Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science,
>>>Harvard University Press, 2002.
>>><http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/BECMAK.html>http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/BECMAK.html
>>>Articles:
>>>Copies conformes ou copies qu'on forme ? J.
>>>Beckwith. Sciences et Avenir Hors-SÚrie #149, p.71 (2006)
>>>Should we make a fuss? A case for social
>>>responsibility in science. F. Huang and J.
>>>Beckwith, Nature Biotechnology. 23:1479-1480 (2005).
>>>Whither Human Behavioral Genetics, J. Beckwith in Wrestling with
>>>Behavioral Genetics: Ethics, Science, and
>>>Public Conversation, eds. E. Parens, A.
>>>Chapman and N. Press. Johns Hopkins University Press (2005)
>>
>>
>>
>>__________ NOD32 2083 (20070227) Information __________
>>
>>This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
>><http://www.eset.com>http://www.eset.com
>>

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