Re: [asa] ID question?

From: dfsiemensjr <>
Date: Sat Oct 17 2009 - 17:26:39 EDT

Imagine that four guys sit down at a table with a pack of cards. One
picks the pack up and begins to deal them. At the fifth round, one of the
guys says, "There's something fishy. Every card I've gotten is a heart."
One of the others says, "Yeah, all I've gotten is clubs." The third chap
says, "Mine are spades." The dealer picks up his cards and reports, "I
have nothing but diamonds." It seems obvious that somebody gimmicked the
deck. But can the guys at the table determine whether it was deliberate
or just an unusual outcome of an honest deal? It seems to me that they
cannot decide without tracing the deck back and determining the bona
fides of everyone who had access to the deck. Just observing the outcome
won't do it, and perhaps all the information they can gather does not
lead to a definitive conclusion.

Looks to me as though our observations of a sequence of evolutionary
events, as closely as we can now determine them, does not tell us whether
the changes were determined by intelligent forces from without or
internal natural changes. The changes, so far as empirical observations
can determine the source, are equally compatible with direct divine
intervention, constant divine supervision, and a series of purely natural
events. One has to call in extra-empirical assumptions to bolster
whatever claim one makes. All the empirical can tell is is the nature of
the natural changes, whether an insertion or deletion occurred, etc. ID
insists that they know it was intervention, at least some times.
Dave (ASA)

On Sat, 17 Oct 2009 01:51:04 -0700 (PDT) John Walley
<> writes:
This is the impasse between ID and TE. To the extent that this is in
error, TE's tend to err on the side of upholding the integrity of
science. It appears to me that ID tends to err on the side of upholding a
philosophical or theological ideal. I don't disagree with that ideal but
as I have said before I don't believe it is scientific so I don't see how
we can make such an issue out of a subjective belief. Further, I don't
think there is any conflict between these two positions so I reject the
positioning of them as being mutually exclusive as Behe does here.

His personal beliefs aside, Darwin was at least partially right in the
fact that randomness does contribute to evolution. While it may not
explain all of evolution you have to at least concede that much to be
allowed to sit at the table of science and to have your views taken
seriously. And Eugenie Scott and NCSE serve a valid purpose in policing
this. Behe and ID need to at least acknowledge this much about Darwinian
evolution to ever regain the public trust that they are not just
theocratic science deniers.


From: Schwarzwald <>
Sent: Fri, October 16, 2009 11:24:12 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] ID question?

Heya John,

Personally, I'm coming to Behe's defense because the claim that Behe is
'anti-evolution' is simply unfounded. It seems like some people are
sensitive on this topic to the point where any criticism of evolution -
even if it's specified as Darwinian evolution, even if it's based on
interpretations of data and research, even if it's admitted these are
(strong) inferences rather than logical proofs - must be balanced out, in
the next breath, by a public declaration of faith in at least some kind
of evolution. Otherwise, suspicions start to mount. That, I think, is an
exaggerated response.

In other words, I just don't share your impression. I also don't share
what I take to be this feeling that it's very, very important for Behe to
balance out his criticisms of darwinian evolution by praising evolution
in the broad sense. Then again, I think that this obsession with
evolution (by many, spanning various views and faiths) needs to come to
an end anyway.

On Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 8:45 PM, John Walley <>

This is exactly right. Behe does make claims against Darwinian evolution.
I asked the same question before, is there another form of evolution that
Behe is more comfortable with? If so, he didn't mention it in the video
that I recall.

I know he has spoken and written other things in other places about
evolution but in this video he does come across as being against
evolution. Its not like it was heavily edited either and made to look a
certain way nor was he responding to a strict set of questions. He could
have said anything he wanted and made any point he wanted and left any
impression he wanted but this is what he chose. Why is everyone then
apologizing for Behe and saying this is a mischaracterization of him?


----- Original Message ----
From: "Dehler, Bernie" <>
To: asa <>

Sent: Fri, October 16, 2009 10:06:11 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] ID question?

Hi Cameron-

" Please find me one statement, anywhere in Behe's work, where he says
that he is "against evolution", or else do the honourable thing and
withdraw your comments."

  If you watch the video- he said repeatedly that "Darwinian evolution"
couldn't do such and such. What other kind of evolution is there? Is he
saying there's another kind of evolution that he accepts? If so, what
does he call it?


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 10:08 AM
To: asa
Subject: Re: [asa] ID question?


Your remarks about Behe are incorrect. They are not only unsupported by
references to his works; they show an almost complete misunderstanding of
his position. It is not Behe who is in a "muddle".

Such a high degree of misunderstanding suggests a lack of familiarity
Behe's writing. And this reminds me that you still have not answered my
earlier question: which books and essays of Behe have you read entirely

Please find me one statement, anywhere in Behe's work, where he says that
is "against evolution", or else do the honourable thing and publically
withdraw your comments.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dehler, Bernie" <>
To: "asa" <>
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 11:39 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] ID question?

> Hi Bill- you apparently see the ID debate as "guided vs. unguided
> evolution" but I see it as "evolution vs. special creation." ('Special
> creation' being creation by fiat.)
> This is what I think I'm starting to see in the current origin's debate
> culture: Because evolution has been proven by pseudogenes, people want
> shift the argument from "did evolution happen" to now "is evolution
> guided." I think this is the current crisis for OEC's. But I think
> reject evolution, so if they want to now accept it, even as
> they still have to leave the camp and come over to TE. The OEC camp
> always be there, and it is only for those who reject evolution, guided
> not.
> I think some OEC's are attempting to make a switch from "evolution is
> false" to "evolution is maybe God-guided" and appeal to Intelligent
> to save face (like a ploy to straddle the fence of accepting both
> science and simultaneously rejecting/accepting evolution).
> Behe is a perfect example of this muddle, by apparently rejecting
> evolution (in some aspects) and accepting it for human common descent.
> Therefore, Behe is neither for or against evolution. Creationists
> generally like to separate evolution into micro and macro. When Behe
> he accepts common descent for humans, that is macro evolution. So here
> have Behe accepting micro/macro evolution yet still against evolution
> other things. I guess he needs to define another category of
> so he can accept micro and macro, but reject this third thing/part of
> evolution.
> ...Bernie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Powers []
> Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 4:14 PM
> To: Dehler, Bernie
> Cc: asa
> Subject: Re: [asa] ID question?
> OK. I've got to say something about this.
> Bernie, you apparently believe something like:
> Intentional/Design theories fail because they have not been able to
> demonstrate that unguided evolution could not have done it.
> This is a rather strange way to do science, and only the kind of game
> a bully would employ. Is there any kind of evidence that it could be
> "unguided evolution" could not do that?
> What a more civilized approach would be is that evolutionary mechanisms
> were clearly defined so that what is likely and what is not might be
> become clear. This would entail, for example, temporal stochastic
> equations. Is the abrupt arisal of species a problem for unguided
> (whatever one means by that) evolution or not? It doesn't seem to me
> evolutionary biology is prepared to even address the question
> intelligently.
> How can there be honest theory comparison when the theory is so vague?
> ID can also be required to be more explicit. It needs to describe in
> detail a story, which is nothing more than evolution offers. The story
> would describe, for example, what are the minimal capabilities and
> required for a Guide to act.
> Comparing an explicit evolutionary mechanism and a guided one could be
> fruitful. For one, the guided story is one that could be possibly
> employed by human agents. The process of putting it together permits
> dialog between the two. One supporting a guided mechanism might argue
> that such and such step was entirely unlikely given available
> In ths same the unguided advocate might argue that such and such a step
> might be accomplished without guidance, and here's how.
> In developing explicit guided mechanisms and paths, perhaps new
> definitions and understanding of what is guided and what is not will
> arise. For now it is vague.
> As far as I can tell there is no good evidence available to distinguish
> guided from unguided evolution. I don't see why "pseudogenes" are any
> better off in this regard. They appear to adopt a position that you
> oppose: an argument form ingnorance. Just because we know of no
> that a "pseudogene" would exist does not imply that some "reason" might
> later found. So all that can be said is that no "reason" is known YET.
> Sound familiar? What is more, unless you know God or all putative
> designers better than I do, I don't see how you (or anyone) can say
> "pseudogenes" were not intentional.
> The argument begins to look like Antony Flew's Invisible Gardener. One
> might ask what is the difference between and invisible Gardener and no
> Gardener at all, or what is the difference between an invisible
> (guided evolution) and no designer at all (unguided evolution). But I
> take from Flew's argument something different from what he intended.
> his argument suggests to me is that given the evidence provided I have
> reason to prefer a Gardener or none at all.
> Frankly, I think, if one must proceed along these lines, that the
> better supports a guided universe. The only argument offered in Flew's
> case to prefer no Gardener at all is Occam's Razor. But I take this to
> an epistemological criterion, and see no reason for it to bind
> Indeed, if it did, it would argue for a Gardener.
> bill
> On Wed, 14 Oct 2009, Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>> William Paley used the 'watchmaker analogy' to demonstrate the idea of
>> intelligent design. We can just tell, by looking at nature, that
>> are obviously designed by God by fiat, such as man, because of their
>> complexity.
>> Darwin creates a stir with an alternate hypothesis of man's creation
>> biological evolution instead. It is a competing hypothesis.
>> has now won, for explaining the biological creation of man, because of
>> DNA evidence like pseudogenes.
>> So my question: Isn't Behe's 'moustrap' irreducible complexity the
>> EXACT situation? It is basically saying since we don't know how it
>> have evolved, therefore it was intelligently designed (by God or
>> The only difference is that Behe goes into great detail trying to
>> how it can't be done by known "Darwinistic evolutionist" mechanisms,
>> Paley could have (and maybe did?) done the same thing (explaining
>> known science of his day could not explain evolution for humans).
>> I would like to know what is so different about Behe, compared to
>> Paley has a 'complexity' argument with the watch, and Behe introduces
>> irreducible complexity, but both are proposing ID because known
>> can't explain it... yet.
>> It is interesting to me that Paley's argument for the biological
>> of man is not discarded because it is wrong with the idea of
>> but because the evolutionary process has evidence "beyond a reasonable
>> doubt." So complexity may still be a valid way to detect ID, yet in
>> case, it turned out wrong as science accumulated more facts. It could
>> the same with irreducible complexity. A valid way to detect ID, yet
>> disproven in the future when more facts become available.
>> But what is the evidence to prove irreducible complexity? It seems
>> the only evidence is "evolution can't do it or explain it... yet."
>> ...Bernie
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