Friday, September 30, 2005

Gov. Rendell Supports Teaching Evolution, Not Intelligent Design, in Science Class

Gov. Rendell's spokeswoman Kate Philips said that he is committed to the idea of teaching evolution in science classes. Rendell "believes that (intelligent design) is more than appropriate to be taught in religion classes, but has no room in science classes in public schools."

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Precisely the conclusion of the court in McClean vs. Arkansas.

Witt.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous John P said...

Well, Rendell is a lawyer, anything else would seem contrary to his education.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Rev. Bill McGinnis said...

INTELLIGENT DESIGN CAN BE TESTED SCIENTIFICALLY: HERE'S HOW.

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - LoveAllPeople.org


HTML page at http://www.loveallpeople.org/intelligentdesign1.html

We can compute the mathematical probabilities of combined events in the real world, and see if they reasonably could have happened together by chance. If so, then no Intelligent Design is indicated. If not, then Intelligent Design is indicated.

Science frequently uses mathematical probabilities in order to arrive at its conclusions. They are a standard part of scientific research. You can be scientific without necessarily conducting experiments. If you don't believe this, then search the Internet for http://www.google.com/search?&q=science+mathematical+probabilities and see what you get.

But first, before we do any computations, we need some background . . .

"Intelligent Design" is primarily a concept of philosophy, not of science or religion. It is a broad view of the universe and everything in it, with the fundamental belief that there was some sort of intelligent entity which somehow guided and controlled the creation and development of the entire universe, according to an Intelligent Design.

The Greek philosopher Plato clearly outlined what we now call "Intelligent Design" in his dialogue,"Timaeus," where he refers to a "creator," who exists outside of time and who created all of the material universe, at the beginning of time according to a plan. (see http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/tmeus11.txt. Skip the translator's lengthy introduction and go directly to the text of Plato, beginning with the words "First then, in my judgment.") Plato, as you remember, was a philosopher, not a religious leader. And Intelligent Design is primarily a concept of philosophy, not of religion or of science.

Yes, most religions do have a belief in some kind of Intelligent Designer who created the universe at the beginning of time; but they differ on many things beyond that point. The religion of Atheism, however, denies that there is any sort of Intelligent Designer, because that would clearly suggest a God, which Atheism does not accept.

Maybe this Intelligent Designer was the Judeo-Christian-Islamic "One God;" and maybe not. Intelligent Design does not specify which, if any, god(s) were involved; only that some sort of Intelligent Designer was in control.

A believer in Intelligent Design would say, as I do, that all the processes which Science tries to understand, and all the laws governing the universe, were created by this Intelligent Designer. For what purpose, if any? Who knows? Intelligent Design does not say. What does the Intelligent Designer want from us, if anything? Who knows? Intelligent Design does not say.

Science is only a means of understanding that which was created by Intelligent Design. Science is not an end in itself. It is not the responsibility of Intelligent Design to follow the methods of Science, but the responsibility of Science to understand and explain that which was created by Intelligent Design.

Now, back to the calculations of scientific probabilities . . .

In Probability, if an event is certain to occur, it has a probability of 1. If it is certain not to occur, it has a probability of 0. If it has a fifty-percent chance of occurring, it has a probability of .5. So the chance of getting a "head" in any one coin toss is .5. To find the probability of multiple events happening together, we multiply all of the individual probabilities together. So the chance of tossing two heads in a row is .5 times .5, or .25; and the chance of tossing five heads in a row is .5 X .5 X.5 X.5 X .5, or .03125, or about three percent.

Look now at the world, and see if it could possibly all have happened by chance. Look first at the earth itself, with its perfect atmosphere to sustain life; perfect temperature for life; perfect cycle of night and day; perfect cycle of seasons; perfect soil for growing crops; fish to eat in the rivers and oceans; animals to eat on the earth; perfect amount of water for drinking, provided by an amazing water-supply system, with built-in purification; beautiful flowers and other things for our pleasure; trees for shade; breezes for refreshment; just the right nutrients in the food we eat; natural remedies in the plants, to cure our diseases;a perfect built-in clean-up system, using rain, rivers, oceans, and clouds; and on and on and on, without end.

The odds that all of these things could come together at the same time by chance is about one in a million zillion, whatever tiny amount that might be. So even if we do not consider the staggering complexity of biological life, it is statistically impossible that our earth simply happened by chance, or by any imagined combination of pre-existing natural processes.

Surely King David of Israel was right when he wrote two times in the Bible, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." (Psalms 14:1, Psalms 53:1 KJV)

Blessings to you in the name of the One God, Who created all things.

Rev. Bill McGinnis <><
bmcgin@patriot.net



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2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intelligent Design can not be tested scientifically.

Dear Reverend,

While you are essentially correct about the approach, you vastly under estimate the amount of knowledge required to calculate reliable probabilities. Especially when you start getting down to the molecular biology where quantum theory determines the probabilities.

Your cheap attempt of muliplying .5 times itself repeatedly may be valid for the case of flipping coins, but that calculation has only the most basic ideas in common with what a "real" sort of calculation might look like.

In other words, you still haven't rigorously defined irreducible complexity in any meaningfull way. And without that, you can not test ID.

You are right though. The test must be able to tell the difference between something that has been designed and something that has not. However, you have not provided anything that comes close to being able to do this. Common sense notions are not sufficient, because our common sense has been proven wrong in matters such as these. Outside common, every day problems, common sense is a hindrance, leading us down paths that are often just plain wrong.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous GayBoy said...

OK, GayBoy has a question. Well, first, he has to point out the stupid, obvious contradiction of Rev (sic) Bill... " INTELLIGENT DESIGN CAN BE TESTED SCIENTIFICALLY" then "Science frequently uses mathematical probabilities" (well, dude, no it doesn't...) and "Intelligent Design is primarily a concept of philosophy, not of science...". So, it isn't science. Good.

But what I really want to know is why these idiots, Rev (sic) Bill, Everyman, etc... who have their own blogs and websites, won't allow for US to comment on their sites. If you visit their sites, they don't allow any comments at all (let alone anonymous comments). They come here and freely spew nonesense, but somehow seem afraid to allow US to go to the sites they have and allow US to comment to there. (in other words, their sites are one way discussions, but we allow free discourse)

What are they afraid of?

GayBoy says, "hmmmmm!"

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that the self creation life is a low probability... but again, it is a matter of probability. Reverend, although I respect your attempt to explain the improbability of the assembly of the earth as we know it, it is not an impossibility. Also, science doesn't claim the earth just happened to become the way it is all at once. You cannot say becuase it is improbable, that it just didn't happen, and that's the point of science--you have to test it and prove it. God may have created the earth as we know it today, but science can't just take that on faith alone.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

Said the Right Rev'rend William McGinnis
"Probability rules this ID biz!"
    But his credulous wonder
    Caused logical blunder
And his conclusion?  'Bout firm as air is.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Reverend,

quoting your logic lead to:
Look now at the world, and see if it could possibly all have happened by chance. Look first at the earth itself, with its perfect atmosphere to rise storms; perfect temperature like hot summers and cold winters; perfect cycle of night and day like they are lasting monthes in poles; perfect cycle of seasons rising to the necessity to warm or cool houses and thus wasting energy; perfect deserts preventing growing crops for billions people; perfect amount of water for drinking in deserts, provided by an amazing injurious water-supply system, poisonnous flowers and other microbes and viruses for our pleasure; wine leaves for shame; wind for tornadoes; just the wrong dose nutrients in the food we eat so that we need artificial suplly; artificial remedies in our drugs because our health is threatened by microbes; and on and on and on, without end.

The odds that all of these things could come together at the same time by chance is about one in a million zillion, whatever tiny amount that might be it is not zero so that the logic is ill founded. So even if we do not consider the staggering bitterness of biological life, it is statistically not impossible that our earth simply happened by chance, or by any imagined combination of pre-existing natural processes. But it is clearly impossible that it simply happened by the will of any human loving deity...

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It interesting to ponder that evolution predicts that organism will adapt to their environment, which implies the perfect equlibrium that the previous poster presents as incredulous.

There is considerable evidence that for every time in Earth's history that the environment changed, organism that couldn't adapt went extinct and those that could would fit nicely within the new environmental parameters.

Rather than improbable, it's actually inevitable and predicted by evolution theory.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not random chance, evolution is all about non-random success.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I consider myself as an accomplished hyper-darwinist with a reductionist and selectionist view as to how evolution happened/happens, I would tend not to be as confident as the two previous posters about selection and non-randomness in the course of evolution.

Off course, the selection part of the process is completely non-random and is largely dismissed by evo-deniers (largely due to their misunderstanding the science), but natural selection is certainly not the only mechanism for evolution to occur and although being probably its main component, is not the only one. Life, despite being wonderfull, is clearly not that perfectly tuned and fitted as might first appear.

This might be off the current threat nevertheless, but a usefull remind...

4:52 PM  

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