RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe) - offlist

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Thu Apr 30 2009 - 10:06:02 EDT

Hi Gregory:


Sometimes having a discussion with you is like feeding a pet alligator, you
never know when you are going to be part of the meal. You wrote:


>ID-theists, as Mike Gene has just recently displayed on this list, give God
all of the responsibility. What's your problem with this?<


Take any genetically-caused disease, Huntington's disease, for example.
It's kind of like Parkinsons combined with Alzheimers. It is often late
onset so that usually carriers are beyond the years where they produce
children before they show signs of the disease. Children of a carrier have
a 50-50 chance of developing the disease. This is from Wikipedia:


"It is a neurodegenerative disorder named after the American physician
George Huntington who accurately described it in 1872, and has no current
cure. HD prevalence, per country, is up to 7 people in 100,000 (in
populations of Western European inheritance), but can be much higher in
localized regions. Physical symptoms of the disorder can begin at any age,
although the mean is 35 to 44 years of age. Less commonly, onset is before
age 20, and the condition, classified as juvenile HD (also known as
akinetic-rigid HD or Westphal variant HD), progresses faster with slightly
different symptoms. In 1993 genetic testing was made possible with the
discovery of a single causal gene, the first non-sex linked dominant disease
gene to be found. Consequently counseling for HD had to be developed and
became a model for other genetically dominant disorders. The test can be
performed before the onset of symptoms, at any age-even pre-birth, which has
raised various ethical issues and heated debates.


The disease runs strongly in families: it is inherited dominantly so
offspring from an affected person have a 50% risk of suffering it, and an
individual will often experience several generations of family members
suffer from the disease in their lifetime. The exact way HD affects an
individual varies, even between family members, but there is a
characteristic progression. The earliest symptoms are a general lack of
coordination and an unsteady gait. As the disease advances uncoordinated,
jerky body movements become more apparent, as does a decline in mental
abilities and behavioral and psychiatric problems. Physical abilities are
gradually lost until full-time care becomes necessary, and the decline in
mental abilities generally results in dementia. Although the disorder
itself is not fatal, complications reduce life expectancy to around twenty
years after diagnosis.


The mechanism of the disease is not fully understood, but a number of
factors have been identified. A mutation in the Huntingtin gene causes the
production of an abnormal form of the protein huntingtin, which in turn
produces cellular and anatomical changes in the brain. There is no cure for
HD, although there are treatments to relieve some of its symptoms."


Now that you know what it is, Gregory, give me all the reasons you believe
God caused it.


Dick Fischer, author, lecturer

Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham




-----Original Message-----
From: Gregory Arago []
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 3:41 PM
To: Dick Fischer
Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe) - offlist


Hi Dick,


If you'll please excuse my thrift with words, your argument is absurd. If
you wish to take the side of ID and to study the mosquito, then by all means
go and do it. As it turns out, my elementary school mascot was called a
'mosquito' so I've been one of them and I'd gladly submit to your
investigations. As it is, your suggestion is not genuine because you dismiss
'intelligent design' (ID) as a philosophical assumption that contests with
your own.


Your main point is meaningless because the idea of 'intelligent design'
actually *does* apply to everything that was created. The IDM had 10 billion
or so choices of living organisms (due to their focus on biology) with which
to make their poster-example and they chose the bacterial flagellum as the
best example. If you can do better Dick with the mosquito, why not do it?
You'd be a heck of a lot more famous and known than you are today for your
scholarship. Otherwise, the argument is simply not in your hands to make
because you speak for no one and have no authority.


ID-theists, as Mike Gene has just recently displayed on this list, give God
all of the responsibility. What's your problem with this? Really, is it all
just rejecting the American politics and culture war mentality? I'd like to
know, given that I am not in America. ID-agnostics, of course, don't exactly
know who or what is responsible, but they may still believe in something.


I think if you heard someone calling your scholarship "disingenous at best
and dishonest at worst" you'd be pretty offended. But I guess you've
forgotten that these happen to be living, breathing people on the other side
of your unphilosophical criticisms and also, that they are educated at some
of the finest universitites in America. So, in a sense, you are showing
first a lack of compassion and second an expression of derision for the
decorated institutions that graduated the scientists and scholars who are
now promoting 'intelligent design.' But I guess Harvard and Michigan
graduated a unibomber, so you are vindicated in your critical folly!


And I'm pretty sure you have almost no authority (which, as a fair
admission, neither do I) on the topic of pattern recognition or specified
complexity, Dick. Yet you seem to feel no qualms at all about slamming them
as 'non-scientific' based on what - a silly MN philosophical assumption? I
could learn more insightful thoughts than this speaking to amateurs than to
a professional historian.



--- On Wed, 4/29/09, Dick Fischer <> wrote:

From: Dick Fischer <>
Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
Cc: "ASA" <>
Received: Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 6:54 PM

Hi Gregory, you wrote:


>Why don't you write more about 'good, theistic naturalists' and drop the
sarcasm, Dick? Otherwise it might appear that you are indeed defending
'evil, atheistic naturalists' on 'purely scientific grounds'. Some balance
would be helpful here.<


I need that tongue-in-cheek sign, Gregory. At the last, brief, face-to-face
talk I had with Mike Behe I brought up my suggested poster child for ID -
the mosquito. Here is a prime example of a creature that is just as
impressive in every respect as the bacteria flagellum and everyone can see
it with the naked eye. Who has seen a flagellum? The mosquito is
especially equipped for what mosquitoes do, bite their victims and spread
diseases that often result in death.


She (only females drink blood) has a nice light body and she can beat her
wings virtually soundlessly so she can light on your flesh without your
noticing it. She has a needle-sharp nose that can penetrate your skin
without tripping your nerves. Then the neat part. She has a chemical
additive in her saliva that keeps the blood from coagulating and clogging
her nose up. Now, how did an anti-coagulating chemical become part of her
biological repertoire? TEs can answer that


So here's what I'm getting at. If you are going to claim one biological
feature of an organism as a sign from God then claim them all. If you feel
there are some things that need to be brushed under the carpet then you
probably have a bad theory.


>You are being outmanoeuvered philosophically and displaying nothing of your
knowledge of history in the discussion, which could surely help. I don't see
anything other than ideological piggybacking going on now with your tack and
the tone is also doubtful, as Iain indicated. Your position is a strong one,
historically, but trying to merge it with 'TE' or 'MN' would seem to be a
detriment to it rather than a benefit.<


Hey, you all can feel free to maneuver in there if you want. There are not
a lot of bashful people on this list.


Science and history have similar elements. Data and evidence are applicable
to each. But history just is, or was. Jon Meecham won a Pulitzer Prize for
his book on Andrew Jackson. No personal interviews took place with anybody
who ever knew him. So he had to glean his material from books, articles,
personal letters, etc., just as I had to do. Then put the material in order
and make it interesting. Neither he nor I laid our hands on every
conceivable document. There are time constraints. But what we both owe our
readers is honesty in our work.


Let's say you wanted to do an article about Henry Ford and you had this
quote: "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get
the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as
well as from your own." On the basis of this quote you might have the
impression that Henry sought to find out what people wanted and that their
wants and needs mattered to him. That could be the cornerstone of your
article, "Henry Ford Cared." But after your article is nearing completion
you also discover that when he it was suggested to him he offer his cars in
various colors as his competitors did, he retorted, "Any color - so long as
it's black."


Now you have choices. Consider it an anomaly and publish your article
without mentioning it. Change your article to something like, "The
Complicated Henry Ford." Decide to not publish anything. But a person's
own honest and integrity bears upon that decision. How much more should it
be a factor when we are dragging the God of the universe into the argument?


The point I'm trying to make is that ID as I see it is disingenous at best
and dishonest at worst. Christians need to be consistent and honest with
the material. If God designed the flagellum then he designed the mosquito.
If the mosquito is an accident of nature then so is the flagellum. If good,
functioning, workable "designs" are due to God's handiwork, then who or what
is responsible for the flaws, defects and failures? Give God all the
responsibilty or none of it.


Dick Fischer, author, lecturer

Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham




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Received on Thu Apr 30 10:06:33 2009

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