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← Intelligent design should not excluded from the study of origins (sic)

Intelligent design should not excluded from the study of origins (sic) - Comments

c_mullark's Avatar Comment 1 by c_mullark

It is nice (in a sadistic sort of way) to know that it is not only my country (United States) that has to deal with this sort of idiocy.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:38:00 UTC | #418939

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 2 by mordacious1

It is an all too common error to confuse intelligent design with religious belief. While creationism draws its conclusions primarily from religious sources, intelligent design argues from observations of the natural world.

Hahahaha...ID has been shown to be creationism in a cheap suit. Just look at the Dover trial. What a wank.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:44:00 UTC | #418943

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 3 by mixmastergaz

Intelligent Design has nothing to do with religion, claims "former science teacher" who neglects or somehow overlooks mentioning the fact that he's a preacher!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:45:00 UTC | #418945

Needabayern's Avatar Comment 4 by Needabayern

I agree that alternatives need to be taught but only when those alternatives can be backed up as science. Personally, I still have a nagging feeling that the original seeding of life on Earth came from fragments of tannin that escaped from the celestial teapot, orbiting the sun. I would like this to be taught in school but understand I have a lot of work to prove this to be a worthy theory. Back to the lab for me....

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:50:00 UTC | #418949

RobiFerentz's Avatar Comment 5 by RobiFerentz

I pity the children who were taught by this man. One can only imagine the mountain of garbage they must climb out of to understand science as it is if this man taught his beliefs as science fact.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:52:00 UTC | #418953

VDubster's Avatar Comment 6 by VDubster

Ignorance is bliss, no wonder the theists are so happy!!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:54:00 UTC | #418954

hairybreeks's Avatar Comment 7 by hairybreeks

I had heard of this British Council survey before, but wondered what was actually in it. A bit of Googling found it:

Worth looking at (and filling in)

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:55:00 UTC | #418956

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 9 by Dr. Strangegod

Eh, whine whine, gnash gnash, you lose.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:59:00 UTC | #418962

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 8 by Jos Gibbons

This article is wrong twice (thrice if one included an omitted verb) before it even starts.

Intelligent design should not excluded [sic] from the study of origins
It excludes itself by not studying anything. Name one piece of original research IDiots have done from which we learned something new, for which we needed an interest in testing or applying design hypotheses.
Complex biological systems have not been explained by neo-Darwinian processes
Yes, they have, always by showing that the little parts have their own functions that gradually come together. Taking into account the fact that things can get new functions as time passes, no genuinely irreducibly complex (i.e. unevolvable) things have ever been found. In fact, we can often correlate our hypotheses of the sequence of intermediates not only with experimental tests of what is better than what, but also real organisms being such intermediates, either in the fossil record or in modern living things, given our knowledge of how they are related. Actual testable predictions are made this way.
Now let's see whether the article itself is any better.
near-complete ignorance of intelligent design
We know your whole argument - some functions work only with all the parts, making design a more viable explanation than selection. We also know how to refute it - by identifying older functions, then doing real science to back it up. (cdk007 has illustrated this with videos on the bombardier beetle, the bacterial flagellum and one or two others, and it's all linked to the original research.) It's YOU who has a (near?) complete ignorance of how natural selection actually works.
It is an all too common error to confuse intelligent design with religious belief. While creationism draws its conclusions primarily from religious sources, intelligent design argues from observations of the natural world.
Name one alternative to design by a God ID embraces. It doesn't embrace the Raelians, so it excludes alien designers. Who else is there? A later complaint about a materialist focus proves you insist on a non-materialist designer, which pretty much has to be God.
And it has a good pedigree. A universe intelligible by design principles was the conclusion of many of the great pioneers of modern science.
(1) Weren't we talking about biology? Now he's switching to cosmology? Creationists, self-identifying or otherwise, frequently jump between sciences.
(2) Pioneers of modern science using the argument from ignorance were simply either too unimaginative or ignorant for the conversation we're having today. A modern graduate student who has studied general relativity knows more about gravity than the theory's inventor, once the greatest expert on the subject, Albert Einstein. Only religions take old opinions seriously without updating with new evidence. Science does not.
the origin of life, the integrated complexity of biological systems and the vast information content of DNA
Those last 2 boil down to the same thing and were both well-explained ages ago by natural selection. Abiogenesis is harder, but anyone whose understanding of it is more detailed than "simple molecules to cells" knows that we have viable explanations for pretty much all the incremental intermediate steps, sometimes so numerous that our problem is knowing what happened historically rather than marrying the topic with the known laws of nature. There is nothing in organisms suggesting it won't work.
the observation everywhere else that such information only arises from intelligence
That's not true. Most complex modern inventions are "designed" not with intelligent people, but by getting a computer simulation to impersonate Darwinian evolution to make a gradually improving population of solutions. They quickly outperform anything humans can develop, just as computers are our superiors in chess. No-one has yet found a challenge such technology cannot master as well as genius, just as no-one can find an unevolvable but real biological adaptation.
There is a tendency in school science to present the evidence for evolution as uniformly convincing and all-encompassing, failing to distinguish between what is directly observable – such as change and adaptation over time through natural selection – and the more hypothetical elements, like the descent of all living things from a common ancestor.
Not being directly observable does not make something less well evidenced, a common misunderstanding of science. Common descent is extremely well supported by the evidence. I will give one brief example to which no critic of evolutionary science has ever even tried to respond. Given three species A,B,C, they come in 3 pairs AB,BC,CA; so, if without loss of generality the most recent example of a most recent common ancestor of some two of them is an ancestor of A and B, either it is also an ancestor of C - in which case the relatedness of the 3 pairs is equal - or not, in which case BC and CA are equally closely related and AB even more so. Thus, given 3 species and the percentage dissimilarity of the DNA for each of the 3 pairs, they'll either be 3 identical values or 2 identical ones with the odd one out being lesser. Several alternatives imaginable on other hypotheses exist, all of which would refute common ancestry, and none of which have ever been observed, while the 2 which fit common ancestry have both been observed many many times.
I believe current government guidance is wrong in denying intelligent design the status of science.
Never mind what you believe; IS it wrong to deny ID that status? Only if it IS science. Is it? It should persuade scientists of that opinion first the same way as everything else - success in peer review. No anti-evolutionary publication post-Darwin of research for peer review has ever even been attempted; these people aren't interested in that game. It is they, not scientists, who are guilty of a conspiracy that keeps anti-evolution ideas out of the scientific consensus. Cold fusion advocates also have nothing to bring to the table in terms of evidence, but they don't claim a conspriiracy is stopping them - they're so much more honest than that.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:59:00 UTC | #418961

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 10 by alaskansee

Whoa! Check out the comments below the original article. Negative and cutting to the last one! Makes us folk seem mild mannered.

It gives me great pleasure that this voice of insanity was met with such a loud reasoned reply.

And also what a terrible title? Is it some sort of "newspaper grammar" or is he as cunning a linguist as he is a science teacher?

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:01:00 UTC | #418965

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 11 by Rodger T

Dear oh dear, will the stupidity never end?

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:09:00 UTC | #418971

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 12 by Dark Matter

I have already commented on this article in one of the other threads but I'll reproduce what I said there:

I think that this comment from Steve60 hits the nail on the head:

"This is a worrying article. A teacher should not have this attitude. Apart from being out-of-date regarding his knowledge of abiogenesis and the generation of information in the genome, Noble has serious misunderstandings about science and how it should be taught.

Firstly, it is unacceptable to teach students that it is hard to know how we will ever understand about something. Students don't need to know about Noble's personal opinion about how hard something is. Science isn't about subjective opinions.

Secondly, why should the views of the majority of the public matter in any way? This is science teaching, not lessons on public opinion. We would not teach the public opinion on quantum mechanics, or chemistry, so why in biology?

Noble reveals his ignoble agenda with this statement:

"If you insist that intelligent causation is to be excluded in the study of origins then you are teaching materialist philosophy, not science."

Intelligent causation is not excluded in the study of origins because of a certain materialist philosophy. It is excluded because intelligent causation is a conclusion, not an hypothesis. But what anyway is "non-materialist intelligent causation"? It can only mean one thing - "God did it".

Noble wants religion taught in science classes. No thanks."

I have always wondered how those who dismiss materialism can claim to have any acquaintance, understanding or knowledge of the so-called "non-material" to be even able to make statements of "objective" fact about the material in the way that Alistair Noble does in a deeply muddled article.

I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard our opponents argue that "we believe in Blind chance" or that "our outlook merely makes life random and meaningless" without really understanding why this is, in itself, supposed to be a "bad" thing.

If there is something called "meaning" then it is surely one of the human races most noble achievements in allowing us to cope with and catagorise our sensory data.

And at the level of the sub atomic, the basic building blocks of matter, blind chance entirely rules and can only be properly understood in terms of probabilities or probability functions.

Again, why is knowledge of this so utterly terrifying to those who must see purpose in absolutely everything?

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:10:00 UTC | #418973

Peej's Avatar Comment 13 by Peej

This is dumb, so very dumb.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:11:00 UTC | #418974

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 14 by crookedshoes

Woah, woah, people....I am a staunch evolutionist and a biology teacher....I teach ID right alongside of Evolution. Kind of like teaching Lamarckian views next to Darwinian views. Here's how it works, while I introduce the Unit on Evolution I mention that ID exists and is patently wrong and i tell the students why. I then teach evolution for 4 weeks. I also mention evolution so frequently during other units of the school year that my students notice if I do not mention it for a day. To summarize: ID gets it's due (two sentences) alomngside Evolution which gets the rest of the 90 minute a day periods for 184 days. THAT IS EQUAL TIME.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:37:00 UTC | #418997

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 16 by Szymanowski

How was this armpit of an article published in the Grauniad? Is it that media 'equal time' thing, again, where accuracy and rationality has to be balanced with stupidity and ignorance?

Woah, woah, people....I am a staunch evolutionist and a biology teacher....I teach ID right alongside of Evolution. Kind of like teaching Lamarckian views next to Darwinian views. Here's how it works, while I introduce the Unit on Evolution I mention that ID exists and is patently wrong and i tell the students why.

That doesn't seem to be what Mr Noble is proposing!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:39:00 UTC | #419002

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 15 by God fearing Atheist

7. Comment #437406 by hairybreeks


The survey is now open to the public in each of these countries and can be completed by visiting the survey online [hairybreeks link]. Over the coming months, this survey will create the largest data set ever gathered on the public’s understanding of evolutionary theory.

Oh please!

The MORI poll probably surveyed according to demographics and all the other normalising tricks to attempt to get an accurate population figure from a very limited sample.

An internet poll does no such thing. It "self selects" from those most interested in taking the survey (for political reasons?).

I shall invoke the old data processing phrase - GIGO - "Garbage in, garbage out"

it should be:-

this survey will create the largest, most useless, and probably most dangerous, data set ever gathered on the public’s understanding of evolutionary theory

I add "most dangerous" because we all know how the IDiots love to quote mine. Fuck knows what this online survey will "find", and fuck knows how it will be (mis)used. And It will probably be (deliberately) confused with the first MORI poll.


Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:39:00 UTC | #419001

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 17 by Nunbeliever

Well first of all! Where have this man been for the last five years? He seems to be totally ignorant of the discussion that has been going on for the last five years. This article is just VERY old news. I can't get how the Guardian allowed this obsolete piece of crap to be published.

But, actually that does not matter. Because you should ALL stop reading after the subtitle.

Complex biological systems have not been explained by neo-Darwinian processes

BUT, neither can INTELLIGENT DESIGN! ID explains exactly NOTHING. The theory of evolution can't explain every possible detail for the time being. But in comparison to ID it is PERFECT. If a person makes a logical fallacy in the subtitle. Well, at least I do not bother reading the rest of the article. Ironic that this moron has the surname "Noble"...

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:41:00 UTC | #419003

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 18 by mordacious1

14. Comment #437447 by crookedshoes

Mentioning that ID is stupid, is not teaching it, which is what the wank in the article wants to do. I'm surprised that you don't have irate parents calling for your firing, unless you're at the uni level.


Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:42:00 UTC | #419005

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 19 by Mark Jones

It's worth pointing out that this man has been a consultant to some august organisations, and:

He currently works as the Field Officer of The Headteachers’ Association of Scotland -

It's a matter of grave concern to me that a man with the views outlined in this appalling article is involved in the educational welfare of our children. The article betrays a very low standard of critical thinking.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:44:00 UTC | #419006

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 20 by God fearing Atheist

Just so everyone knows, the author, Dr Alastair Noble, is a five star godbotherer:-

EDIT: Snap! - 19. Comment #437456 by Mark Jones

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:45:00 UTC | #419007

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 21 by Carl Sai Baba

"Stupid: It's Not Just For Texas Anymore.®"

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:47:00 UTC | #419008

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 22 by crookedshoes

I have been in trouble a few times for my tendency towards arguement...I really try not to enter into inane discussion and spend my Biology time on Biology. I also shy away from the "stupid" label...My comments were hasty and weak attempts at being funny. As for ID, well, not mentioning it can portray the wrong message as well. I try to pint out it's shortcomings in passing and have only been approached by irate parents on a handful of occasions (some of which I welcomed).

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:49:00 UTC | #419009

BlueCollar8theist's Avatar Comment 23 by BlueCollar8theist

Is the public being ignorant of a profoundly ignorant idea like Intelligent Design such a bad thing? I rather like it that way!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:51:00 UTC | #419011

GodsDontExist's Avatar Comment 24 by GodsDontExist

"based on near-complete ignorance of intelligent design"

um, intelligent design IS complete ignorance!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:02:00 UTC | #419016

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 25 by Dark Matter


"How was this armpit of an article published in the Grauniad?"

If you have read the Grauniad then the answer should be immediately obvious - it is because that "newspaper" is no more than a reactionary refuge for useful idiots, apologists for oppression, patronising paternalists, middle-class elitists lecturing the "lower" classes, accomodationists for utter stupidity and the more unpleasant elements of the unreformed left.

It is little better than the Daily Mail and a reminder that the Internet putting "Newspapers" out-of-business wouldn't be necessarily be a bad thing.

The sooner the better, if articles like this are anything to go by.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:06:00 UTC | #419018

genes4all's Avatar Comment 26 by genes4all

"I was assured by an adherent of ID that the reason why America didn't sign the Kyoto Protocol is because, "when all the oil runs out, well god will just create some more won't he!"

I had to re post this comment from one of the sane people who shot this article down in flames.

It amde me laugh all afternoon.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:17:00 UTC | #419021

genes4all's Avatar Comment 27 by genes4all

Apologies for spelling,bit dislexic folks

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:19:00 UTC | #419023

Logicel's Avatar Comment 28 by Logicel

Nunbeliever: Ironic that this moron has the surname "Noble"...

His middle initials are I.G.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:24:00 UTC | #419025

keddaw's Avatar Comment 29 by keddaw

A simple addition of "THE" sorts this whole thing out:

...proposals for science education are based on THE near-complete ignorance of intelligent design.

Like astronomy teaching is based on the near-complete ignorance of astrology.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:28:00 UTC | #419029

Galactor's Avatar Comment 30 by Galactor

Alastair Noble is a signatory of the Discovery Institute's scam to have people believe that evolution is a theory in crisis.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 18:38:00 UTC | #419039