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#1 JudyV

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 02:04 PM

Back in June, Adam Nagy said this:

I think this presentation fits nicely here because Ken Miller is Eugenie Scott's religious right hand man.

JudyV has restated numerous times how much Ken Miller is a great contributor regarding the truthfulness of evolution and the falsehood of creation as science. Now this video is long but it is worth dissecting by someone who wants to see what prominent evolutionists focus on in their arguments. Through the strawmen and the bogus concepts any person interested in this topic should be able to watch this and see the problems:




I really think Kenneth Miller deserves his very own thread. I apologize if there has already been a recent topic about him that I've missed.

I think Dr. Miller is a good speaker who is able to get his point across with gentle humor, and none of the sarcasm I'm so famous for around here. But that's not why I like him.

Here's an excerpt I've transcribed from the youtube video which I especially like. It starts at around the 10:00 mark, and I've edited it a little, and edited out a tangent, but otherwise I've tried to stay true to the gist of it. I transcribed it to make it easier for all of you to rip it to shreds, instead of what I usually see, which is unsubstantiated arguments about strawmen and bogus concepts and the like. Enjoy:

About 4 years ago a county in Georgia thought that the new biology books they had bought were so dangerous in their treatment of evolution that they needed warning stickers on them.  I thought you might be interested in what textbook was so dangerous and so outrageous that it needed a warning sticker so I thought I might bring you a picture, and there’s the book [on screen is a copy of Dr. Miller’s own Biology textbook].  And this is the warning sticker:

“This textbook contains material about evolution.  Evolution is a theory not a fact, regarding the origin of living things.  This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

When this sticker went on the book, I was called by a reporter from the Atlanta Journal Constitution who said, “What did you think of that sticker on your book?”  I had talked to enough reporters to realize that she was trolling for a quote.  She wanted to write an article that said “Author Outraged” or “Author Slams Board” so they could say that a Northeastern liberal Ivy League author was outraged at what Cobb County was doing to his books, and I decided to have a little fun, and I said, “No, I like the stickers.  I think the stickers are great.  They just don’t go far enough.”

Now what do I mean by that?  The book does have material about evolution, but a biology textbook has material about a lot of topics.  Why single out evolution?  “Evolution is a theory.”  It certainly is, but when you say it’s a theory, not a fact, it makes it sound like theories and facts are opposite things.  As if, we’re really sure of facts, but we’re not so sure of theories.  In fact, theory in science is a higher level of understanding than a fact, because what theories do, is they explain facts; they unite them.  As I pointed out to this reporter, if you went to the University of Georgia, and you studied atomic physics, you’d take a course in atomic theory.  There is no time in the future when they will change the name of that course to “Atomic Fact.”  Because that’s not what atomic theory is about.  Atomic theory is a system of explanation that explains tens of thousands of facts about the nature of matter.  And that’s what evolutionary theory is like too.

But when you get right down to it, the sentence that bothered me the most was actually the third one.  You know what that third sentence says to a 14 year old?  It says “We are certain about every single thing in this book….except evolution.”  So you don’t need an open mind to study biochemistry, we don’t have to critically consider ecology, or cell biology, or human physiology.  In reality, if I had a chance to rewrite the sticker I’d rewrite it like this:

“This textbook contains material on science.  Science is built on theories, which are strongly supported by factual evidence.  Everything about science should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”



#2 Adam Nagy

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 06:35 PM

I don't get it. So what is the argument? Either way let's not teach known lies and let's let classrooms talk about origins issues openly. I personally like the idea of teaching evolution where things are now in history but I want people to teach more of it.

From what I understand Ken Miller did remove Ernst Haeckel's embryo drawings, to which I say; Great job, Ken! You did it reluctantly but you did it.

Now we need to deal with the other icons of evolution taught uncritically through ad hoc interpretations.

As far as evolution being like other theories which are strongly supported by factual evidence. I don't think so. If this were true there wouldn't be such an effort to slander people who teach the controversy and label them with motive mongering.

How would you feel if for supplemental study a teacher recommended joining a forum, just like this one, for research purposes. The textbooks favor evolution so tell the students to join a creationist forum and see how well what they are taught about evolution was actually taught openly, critically and with all the available data. Tell them to see if they can pin point pieces of data that are valid, yet excluded from the textbooks. Have them decide if the way evolution is taught is actually critical as advertised.

Above all else and first and foremost, known lies must be removed from the textbooks.

#3 CTD

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 10:11 PM

Above all else and first and foremost, known lies must be removed from the textbooks.

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You fundies are just prejudiced against the truth-averse. Can't you see how unfair it is to go around spouting deceitaphobic statements like this?

#4 Arch

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 12:17 AM

Hey Judy,

Really like the presentation. A touch long, but quite informative. Particularly liked the part with the irreducible complexity and the blood clotting. It doesn't matter how many parts of the system you remove, it still works at some level. Very interesting. Exactly what evolution would predict. Either that or there is an incredibly smart (or deceptive, I'm not sure) designer out there ;)

Regards,

Arch.

#5 jason777

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 01:58 AM

Hey Judy,

Really like the presentation. A touch long, but quite informative. Particularly liked the part with the irreducible complexity and the blood clotting. It doesn't matter how many parts of the system you remove, it still works at some level. Very interesting. Exactly what evolution would predict. Either that or there is an incredibly smart (or deceptive, I'm not sure) designer out there ;)

Regards,

Arch.

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Yes,he is very clever.He knows how to use satan to get what he wants done "The fulfillment of his prophecies".

"Even the wicked fulfill his purposes."

"Fools the Lord puts to shame."

#6 jason777

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 02:12 AM

As I pointed out to this reporter, if you went to the University of Georgia, and you studied atomic physics, you’d take a course in atomic theory.  There is no time in the future when they will change the name of that course to “Atomic Fact.”  Because that’s not what atomic theory is about.  Atomic theory is a system of explanation that explains tens of thousands of facts about the nature of matter.  And that’s what evolutionary theory is like too.


The dishonest part is the fact that he did'nt tell the reporter that evolution is not a theory.All theories have been tested emperically and can be observed and repeated (e.g. Atomic theory,gravity).

No one has ever seen a dinosaur evolve into a bird,which makes evolution an unempirical philosophical theory,that contradicts thousands of pieces of data and scientific laws.

A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an analytic structure designed to explain a set of empirical observations.


Theories whose subject matter consists not in empirical data, but rather in ideas are in the realm of philosophical theories as contrasted with scientific theories. At least some of the elementary theorems of a philosophical theory are statements whose truth cannot necessarily be scientifically tested through empirical observation.


Ken can equivocate terms all he wants,but he is'nt fooling anybody around here.

#7 jason78

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 02:25 AM

No one has ever seen a dinosaur evolve into a bird,which makes evolution an unempirical philosophical theory,that contradicts thousands of pieces of data and scientific laws.

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No one has ever seen deuterium fuse into helium either. What's your point?

#8 CTD

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 02:37 AM

No one has ever seen deuterium fuse into helium either.  What's your point?

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No one has ever seen green unicorns fly from the moon to Saturn either. What's yours?

#9 JudyV

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 05:08 AM

I don't get it. So what is the argument? Either way let's not teach known lies and let's let classrooms talk about origins issues openly. I personally like the idea of teaching evolution where things are now in history but I want people to teach more of it.

From what I understand Ken Miller did remove Ernst Haeckel's embryo drawings, to which I say; Great job, Ken! You did it reluctantly but you did it.

Now we need to deal with the other icons of evolution taught uncritically through ad hoc interpretations.

As far as evolution being like other theories which are strongly supported by factual evidence. I don't think so. If this were true there wouldn't be such an effort to slander people who teach the controversy and label them with motive mongering.

How would you feel if for supplemental study a teacher recommended joining a forum, just like this one, for research purposes. The textbooks favor evolution so tell the students to join a creationist forum and see how well what they are taught about evolution was actually taught openly, critically and with all the available data. Tell them to see if they can pin point pieces of data that are valid, yet excluded from the textbooks. Have them decide if the way evolution is taught is actually critical as advertised.

Above all else and first and foremost, known lies must be removed from the textbooks.

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To me, that's the beauty of scientific research - it's open to correction. I admit, scientists have been known to hang onto beloved theories for far longer than they should. However, in the end, the correct interpretation usually wins out.

Personally, I feel that it would be harmless to have high school students participate on creationist forums. It would also be harmless to teach them about the controversy that is occuring in many states today regarding religionists trying to push their supernatural beliefs into science textbooks. Kids are pretty smart, they would be able to figure out that creationism and ID are just religion trying to masquerade as science.

Adam, if you were to design a science curriculum, what would you teach in biology class about the origins of life? What would your lesson plans include?

#10 Adam Nagy

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 05:22 AM

Adam, if you were to design a science curriculum, what would you teach in biology class about the origins of life?  What would your lesson plans include?

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That's a good question. First, I'm not sure origins even has to be in the textbook itself but as a conversation that is inevitable in the classroom as motherhood questions fall out as the discussions of how things work move towards; where do they come from? It would be perfect to explain exactly where things sit socially, politically and historically.

As the teacher I would and should feel free to explain to the students my own beliefs and my religious convictions, not for my benefit but for the students benefit to be able to be objective with why I believe what I believe.

If everyone did this it would be great. The problem arises when people like Ken Miller compartmentalize reality by pretending that science can make no conclusions that are supernatural. The scientific method may not be able to test the supernatural but it is more than capable of inferring it.

Ken Miller is actually a horrible front man for evolution but I can see why he's a darling because he holds religious views. This is a great paper tiger to bandy about so people who don't think past the surface can believe that someone has actually reconciled their faith in the Biblical God with their faith in evolution. When there is nothing further from the truth.

I would teach the students how people ignore conflicts in their belief by separating reality as if it can be separated to avoid dealing with contradictions in their own lives.

I could go on and on. Let's not convince students that we're teaching them to think critically when they are being indoctrinated. Pretty simple.

#11 JudyV

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 12:49 PM

That's a good question. First, I'm not sure origins even has to be in the textbook itself but as a conversation that is inevitable in the classroom as motherhood questions fall out as the discussions of how things work move towards; where do they come from? It would be perfect to explain exactly where things sit socially, politically and historically.

As the teacher I would and should feel free to explain to the students my own beliefs and my religious convictions, not for my benefit but for the students benefit to be able to be objective with why I believe what I believe.

If everyone did this it would be great. The problem arises when people like Ken Miller compartmentalize reality by pretending that science can make no conclusions that are supernatural. The scientific method may not be able to test the supernatural but it is more than capable of inferring it.

Ken Miller is actually a horrible front man for evolution but I can see why he's a darling because he holds religious views. This is a great paper tiger to bandy about so people who don't think past the surface can believe that someone has actually reconciled their faith in the Biblical God with their faith in evolution. When there is nothing further from the truth.

I would teach the students how people ignore conflicts in their belief by separating reality as if it can be separated to avoid dealing with contradictions in their own lives.

I could go on and on. Let's not convince students that we're teaching them to think critically when they are being indoctrinated. Pretty simple.

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Yeah but like what kinds of stuff would you teach them? About biology I mean, not history or conspiracy theories?

#12 winner

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 12:58 PM

Back in June, Adam Nagy said this:
I really think Kenneth Miller deserves his very own thread.  I apologize if there has already been a recent topic about him that I've missed.

I think Dr. Miller is a good speaker who is able to get his point across with gentle humor, and none of the sarcasm I'm so famous for around here.  But that's not why I like him.


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Yeah, I like the way he taught. He is a professor. And I really love to debate with him between Theory of Evolution and Interrelation Theory..

#13 Adam Nagy

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 01:02 PM

Yeah but like what kinds of stuff would you teach them?  About biology I mean, not history or conspiracy theories?

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Where do you want to start?

I think the science textbooks would be great if you taught the biology based on how living systems work, ecology, symbiotic relationships, microbiology, reproduction, anatomy, etc. etc. etc. without even touching the origin issue. Just take the topic out. If you want to stay as religiously neutral as possible then answer any question about where all of this came from with; "We can't empirically confirm such questions, though there are a variety of beliefs extrapolated from the current evidence but we won't be talking about that in this class."

Now what if someone said; "Well, what do you believe?" I would say; "I won't spend a lot of time on this, and this answer does not fall under the heading of scientifically demonstrable but no origins claims do. However, I believe that my religious conclusion is the most consistent with the data that's why I believe it. Just know that others disagree and I hope that you seek the truth first above your own desires. Would you like to hear what I believe?"

How's that for honest?

If you could remove the chapters on evolution and make the statements that assume evolution unassumptive, you could turn most current science textbooks into great educational materials with little to no worldview imposed at all.

#14 Adam Nagy

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 01:21 PM

Yeah, I like the way he taught. He is a professor. And I really love to debate with him between Theory of Evolution and Interrelation Theory..

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Hi Winner,

Welcome to EFT.

Do you have a link to this debate?

#15 winner

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 01:27 PM

Hi Winner,

Welcome to EFT.

Do you have a link to this debate?

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Thank you.

No, I really love to have a debate with him, between Interrelation Theory and Theory of Evolution..

#16 JudyV

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 02:01 PM

Where do you want to start?

I think the science textbooks would be great if you taught the biology based on how living systems work, ecology, symbiotic relationships, microbiology, reproduction, anatomy, etc. etc. etc. without even touching the origin issue. Just take the topic out. If you want to stay as religiously neutral as possible then answer any question about where all of this came from with; "We can't empirically confirm such questions, though there are a variety of beliefs extrapolated from the current evidence but we won't be talking about that in this class."

Now what if someone said; "Well, what do you believe?" I would say; "I won't spend a lot of time on this, and this answer does not fall under the heading of scientifically demonstrable but no origins claims do. However, I believe that my religious conclusion is the most consistent with the data that's why I believe it. Just know that others disagree and I hope that you seek the truth first above your own desires. Would you like to hear what I believe?"

How's that for honest?

If you could remove the chapters on evolution and make the statements that assume evolution unassumptive, you could turn most current science textbooks into great educational materials with little to no worldview imposed at all.

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Would you talk about Noah's Ark?

#17 Guest_Keith C_*

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 02:22 PM

If everyone did this it would be great. The problem arises when people like Ken Miller compartmentalize reality by pretending that science can make no conclusions that are supernatural. The scientific method may not be able to test the supernatural but it is more than capable of inferring it.

It is not clear to me what you mean by 'but it is more than capable of inferring it.'.

When an experiment produces the same result each time, then I think the assumption is that it is nature which is responsible, even when we may not yet understand how nature produces that result.

When an experiment produces a very unexpected result, which can not be reproduced, then there is scope for declaring that one result the result of divine intervention, provided that random errors etc can be excluded.

I think an experiment to infer supernatural influence would be some form of random text generator, with a monitor program set up to record the output and to signal when the output was the first chapter of Genesis. This would satisfy Dembski's 'complex specified information' [provided Genesis is sufficiently long] and the remaining output, and the text generator, could be checked to ensure absence of bias or fraud.

#18 winner

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 02:36 PM

I think an experiment to infer supernatural influence would be some form of random text generator, with a monitor program set up to record the output and to signal when the output was the first chapter of Genesis.  This would satisfy Dembski's 'complex specified information' [provided Genesis is sufficiently long] and the remaining output, and the text generator, could be checked to ensure absence of bias or fraud.

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I think that supernatural should not be allowed in science. But the biblical God is not supernatural in the origin of both univrse, life and species since He had acquired physical form when He created the universe and earth, as we defined it in the Bible. So, our science of today is just getting rid of some hilarious and illogical faith-based religions and fantasies.

But this, of course, not include the biblical God if we talk about supernatural.

#19 Adam Nagy

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 07:36 PM

When an experiment produces the same result each time, then I think the assumption is that it is nature which is responsible, even when we may not yet understand how nature produces that result.

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I think the philosophical naturalist finds one of their major logical flaws when they blend mechanism and agency into one definition. Knowing how things work doesn't say much to why they work or what set them in motion. The idea that solving one can necessarily resolve the other is a lack of understanding in my book.

Yes. I know that people had ideas where they personified natural processes. I don't feel obligated to defend every religious concept because I am a Christian and not a Hindu or a Buddhist or a pantheist or every other religious expression that falls apart upon its own pronouncements. This is one of the main reasons that I embrace Christianity so boldly because of the shortfalls in other beliefs. There have been bad gaps in people's thinking but there are other gaps that science can't speak to but the right theology can. I know, it sounds crazy. :P

A computer program can run the same way every time, that doesn't mean that it demonstrates that it's origin is from a thoughtless undirected process without intentionality.

#20 Adam Nagy

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 07:49 PM

Would you talk about Noah's Ark?

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I don't see why Noah's ark has to come up in a biology classroom but obviously if my beliefs came up as YEC and the students asked, I wouldn't hesitate to affirm that I do indeed believe that the flood account was historical. If they think I'm crazy, great. That means they'll pay closer attention to what I say making the class more interesting. If biology class is actually focused on biology and not origins, I would see no need to spend excessive time on the issue because it is irrelevant to the attributes of biology that we can observe, test and demonstrate.




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