Re: [asa] Behe on "intervention"

From: Nucacids <>
Date: Wed Mar 04 2009 - 23:23:27 EST

Ted: "That's politics. It always seems to find a way to muzzle the truth."

Yeppers. But it's more than politics - it's human nature.

Most people think that listening and understanding are easy and come
naturally. But that depends on how people listen and what they are trying
to understand.

Those interested in truth might naively expect their audience to listen with
the intent to understand the actual arguments that are being made. We'd
like to think people will focus on what we are trying to focus on.

But in reality, most people listening are focused on something else - where
is the speaker going? That's what absorbs them. It's like trying to watch
a movie and anticipate its ending. Is the speaker going to take me to a
place I don't want to go or is he going to take me to where I am at? In
other words, is the speaker (or writer) Safe or Unsafe?

The Safe vs. Unsafe judgment is key and the brain tries to answer this as
soon as it can.

If the speaker is relatively unknown, the listener does not know if the
speaker is safe. The brain is on Yellow Alert. Thus, the listener listens
for keywords or familiar arguments that will tell them whether they should
raise the shields or lower them. These key words/arguments are supposed to
fill in the blanks for the needed safe vs. unsafe judgment. However, we
know from psychology that people tend to perceive what they expect to see.
So, if key words tap into a previously held stereotype about a position that
is deemed dangerous, it's Red Alert, shields go up and the stereotype takes
control, dictating to perception from that moment on. Disconfirmation bias
sets in (lock on phasers!) and at this point, the speaker will not be able
to communicate his position. He has become the Enemy.

Of course, if the keywords and familiar-sounding arguments are judged to be
safe, to reinforce what the listener already believes, shields go down and
the only thing the speaker has to do is present him/herself well. We like
speakers who speak well for our positions because they speak well for us.
He is one of Us.

Politicians use focus groups to find the keywords and arguments to raise or
lower the shields, depending on their objective.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 5:58 AM
Subject: [asa] Behe on "intervention"

> David Campbell, in commenting on something John Walley had said, wrote:
> "Behe accepts common descent but claims that miraculous intervention
> was required at certain points."
> I do not believe this to be accurate. David (and John), please note this
> paragraph from Behe's recent book:
> "But the assumption that design unavoidably requires "interference"
> rests mostly on a lack of imagination. There's no reason that the
> extended fine-tuning view I am presenting here necessarily requires
> active meddling with nature anymore than the fine tuning of theistic
> evolution does. One can think the universe is finely tuned to any degree
> and still conceive that "the universe [originated] by a single creative
> act" and underwent "its natural development by laws implanted in it".
> One simply has to envision that the agent who caused the universe was
> able to specify from the start not only laws, but much more." (*The Edge
> of
> Evolution*, p. 231)
> The view Behe articulates here seems identical or very close to that
> articulated by Owen Gingerich in "God's Universe." The main difference,
> insofar as I can find it, would be that Behe does want to say that
> *science*
> requires a design inference, while Gingerich says that the design
> inferences
> goes beyond science while being strongly supported by science. Thus,
> Gingerich calls the former "ID, capital I and capital D," and the latter
> (his approach) "id, small i and small d". My own view on this is similar
> to
> Gingerich, not Behe. A lot of people in both camps are making a lot of
> noise about this difference, perhaps more noise than is warranted. I have
> myself tried to make sure that my own perspective is clear to anyone who
> cares, mostly b/c of the politics of this issue: if people are going to
> drop
> my name into a conversation (which happens from time to time, though I'm
> hardly a household name such as Behe or Dembski), I want to ensure that
> the
> views attributed to me are actually mine. No surprise there.
> ****
> Now, I will go in another direction. I'm no longer responding to the
> discussion of Behe.
> When I kept to my "id,not ID" position over on UD a few months ago, I was
> thrown out (with insults) by a certain moderator (whose ongoing
> association
> with UD isn't winning them any friends) for being obstinate for not
> admitting what was obvious to him. That's politics--and personalities,
> which are always a part of politics. On the other hand, when I argued an
> id
> position (without explicitly identifying it as such, vis-a-vis ID) before
> the CS Lewis Society in Oakland last year, many in the audience believed
> that I was endorsing ID -- I know this b/c I asked for a show of hands, in
> connection with a question I was responding to. I articulated the
> difference, which made sense to the audience (so it appeared), and moved
> on.
> That's also politics--but of a different sort.
> Very often on this list, frankly, I find politics intrudes into the
> discussion of this issue, preventing us from seeing some points as
> carefully
> as we might. In some cases I wonder whether it's b/c people like small
> differences of opinion too much (am I in this category myself?), but in at
> least a few cases I wonder whether there is some genuine vehemence that
> could arise out of many different experiences. (Just to be clear about
> this: David, I'm not connecting your post in any way with this, not in the
> least. That isn't who you are. My comments here go well beyond my
> clarification of Behe's position.) YEC, ID, and TE can (any or all of
> them)
> be hot-button topics for quite a few people. Just last evening, e.g.,
> after
> a great presentation by Karl Giberson about the excesses of six leading
> spokespersons for scientific atheism, in which hardly a word was spoken
> about TE, some members of the audience raised confrontational
> questions/points against TE, ignoring 59 minutes of a 60 minute talk to
> object to an opinion that Karl inserted into an answer to a question.
> Although I suspect those folks really appreciated, even enjoyed, his
> skillful presentation of what's wrong with Dawkins and company, their
> buttons had been pushed and they reacted. Too bad--they probably went
> home
> with a negative overall impression. Ken Ham had obviously convinced them
> that real Christians don't believe in "evolution" (which was used as a
> synonym for an old earth and for atheism, even though both of those things
> predate Darwin), and "evolution" is what they caught wind of, and they
> weren't happy despite agreeing with nearly everything the speaker had
> said.
> That's politics. It always seems to find a way to muzzle the truth.
> Ted
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Received on Wed Mar 4 23:23:42 2009

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