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  • Just to be clear this conference had nothing to do with Cornell University. A bunch of Creationists / IDers rented some publicly available space in a building on the Cornell campus to have their "conference". In a rather dishonest but oh so typical Creationist manner they've been flaunting Cornell's good name for this pseudoscience gathering ever since.

      • When did Cornell get a good name?

          • It must hurt, when you base your identity around a belief, only to discover new ideas. You sound like you are striking out at the people with those ideas. Why do you take this personally?

              • Some of us just think that lying about a connection to Cornell U. when all you did was rent space there is a pretty despicable thing to do. Most of us actually. But I suppose to a few lying for Jesus is still acceptable.

                What's really funny was that many Creationist websites touting this "scientific" conference had the Cornell U. logo prominently displayed until Cornell's lawyers made them take it down. Big Red didn't look too kindly on having its name associated with such pseudoscientific riff raff.

                  • What makes something "pseudoscience"?

                      • "pseudoscience" is when the advocates claim it is a science but don't actually use the scientific method to verify their claims. Case in point: anthropological global warming.

                          • It's not difficult to prove global warming, there's plenty of observational evidence. There may be debate on the 'anthropological' part but the consensus is clear.

                              • There is actually very little clear observational evidence of warming.It is all localized (not global) or it is is heavily massaged computer generated data. It also does not match the derived hypotheses (which are also heavily massaged computer models). Even then the "warming" shown is small and within the margin of error.

                                "Consensus" is not science.

                                  • National Geographic says 30 out of 33 glaciers in South America are rapidly retreating. Satellite data shows massive ice loss in Greenland. The Danish, Russian, Canadian and American military's are gearing up for operations in an ice free arctic as well as extracting hydrocarbons from under the arctic ocean. Glaciers are retreating in the Himalayas, and Kilimanjaro will lose it's glacier in the next 50 years. In northern Canada the Inuit are being forced to move their communities because of rising sea levels and increased erosion at a cost of billions of dollars to the Canadian government. Pipelines are breaking because the permafost on which they were built is no longer 'perma'. It is the areas where warming is not evident that are localized.
                                    As for the cliche 'Consensus is not science' ... how about 'the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet'.

                          • Yes, and if there is a Creator Who created CORN..... that Creator is very offended that evolutionists use that good name in connection with Cornell....... your argument makes just as much sense.

                              • What nonsense. Evolution is a phenomenon of nature and is accepted as such by every scientist working in relevant fields. Even creationists accept that it occurs, though they disingenuously pretend otherwise by referring to it as "adaptation" or promoting the flat falsehood that there is a difference in terms of process between micro- and macroevolution.

                                There is no evidence whatsoever for "intelligent design" creationism. All their arguments are based on attempting to falsify evolutionary theory rather than offering any testable hypothesis. Their supposed falsifier "irreducible complexity" was **predicted** on the basis of evolutionary theory almost a century ago. Whether by ignorance or deliberate deception, ID "theorists" rather studiously ignore this fact.

                                But then the whole ID movement is founded on deception. When "scientific" creationism was shown to be nothing more than religious dogma pretending to be science, they invented ID by removing explicit references to religious belief whilst retaining the same shoddy and dishonest arguments, and promoted it as science. Just look up "cdesign proponentsists" for the smoking gun.

                                The fact that some at least of the fellows of the Discovery Institute (and there's a misnomer) have perfectly respectable track records of scientific research and publication must mean that they know that ID has no merit as science, yet they persist in promoting it as science.

                                Personally, I think that this is very dishonest. Evidently creationists disagree and think that the use of deceit to promote their cause is acceptable. Bearing in mind that these are the people claiming the moral high ground, I consider that hypocritical.

                              • It's also worth noting that Mr. Marks has quote-mined David Baltimore above to give the false impression that Baltimore supports ID. He does not. The quote comes from an article Baltimore wrote in 2000 after the human genome was first sequenced. The entire passage in context is

                                "Modern biology is a science of information. The sequencing of the
                                genome is a landmark of progress in specifying information, decoding it
                                into its many coded meanings and learning how it goes wrong in disease.
                                While it is a moment worthy of the attention of every human, we should
                                not mistake progress for a solution. There is yet much hard work to be
                                done.

                                It will take many decades to fully comprehend the
                                magnificence of the DNA edifice built over four billion years of
                                evolution and held in the nucleus of each cell of the body of each
                                organism on earth."

                                The entire Baltimore article is here

                                http://www.nytimes.com/2000/06...

                                  • "four billion years".......I think evolution scientists need a lot more time than that..... a lot more time to get any level of information to arise from nothing. It's as if they have started from a conclusion (There is no kind of creator or Creator responsible for what exists in the universe)......and then fill in the blanks the best they can. My advice is.....take all the time you can, good luck with that.
                                    Now, I admit I start with the conclusion everything was created....... and I see what I consider "evidence" of creation everywhere.... my belief just doesn't need an ever-increasing amount of time to make it work.

                                      • The oldest known geochemical evidence for life on Earth was from the ~3.8 billion year old Isua Formation:

                                        Manfred Schidlowski, Peter W. U. Appel, Rudolf Eichmann and Christian E. Junge
                                        1979 "Carbon isotope geochemistry of the 3.7 × 10^9-yr-old Isua sediments, West Greenland: implications for the Archaean carbon and oxygen cycles" Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 43, 189-199

                                        Rosing, Minik T. and Robert Frei
                                        2004 "U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of >3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis" Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 217 237-244

                                        The end of the late great bombardment was ~4 billion years ago.

                                          • Your comment really doesn't need a response but you seem to have missed the irony in it. The argument you have for your own belief cancels out the argument you have for the totally inaccurate assumption against your belief.

                                            I'm not sure what grade of science class I learned this in, but it doesn't work that way you think...

                                            The steps of the scientific method are to:
                                            -Ask a Question
                                            -Do Background Research
                                            -Construct a Hypothesis
                                            -Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
                                            -Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
                                            -Communicate Your Results

                                              • I think, 'scientists did progress just, in medicine'.

                                                • Horton, I don't think you know what quote-mining means. The entire quote does not contradict what Dr. Marks was using it for. He was merely saying that the study of biology is the study of information. Dr. Baltimore's quotation supported that. There's no quote-mining involved.

                                                    • The evidence supports ID. I don't really care what David Baltimore thinks.

                                                      That said, you need to understand one thing. If someone who doesn't support a position can support something in a position they don't back, that's pretty good for the position you oppose.

                                                      There is no rule you only have to quote people who agree with you about everything.

                                                        • "The evidence supports ID"
                                                          It does?
                                                          I have a bad back because it's structure is a shoddy compromise between walking on all fours and walking upright. Is that evidence for ID?
                                                          The passages which carry air to my lungs cross the passage which carries food to my stomach, leading to a risk of choking on food. Is that evidence for ID?
                                                          The retina of my eye is wired up in such a way that the nerve cells run into the eye rather then from the back of the receptor cells (as is the case in cephalopod eyes) and come together to form the optic nerve and create a blind spot. Is that evidence for ID?
                                                          There are numerous instances of biological systems which, if considered in terms of design, are simply badly and unintelligently designed. There is a perfectly good explanation for this, which is that they have evolved in that way because evolutionary processes set constraints on possible outcomes.

                                                          ID "theory" can be sumarised as
                                                          "A possibly supernatural intelligent designer using possibly supernatural methods has interfered with evolutionary processes at some unspecified time in the past to create biological systems which are "irreducibly complex" for unknown reasons"

                                                          Setting aside the fact that irreducible complexity was **predicted** on the basis of evolutionary theory almost a century ago - which renders the whole argument void from the outset - what potential observation or measurement could falsify this assertion? A dog giving birth to a cat would falsify evolutionary theory. It wouldn't falsify ID. Neither for that matter would pink unicorns appearing over Times Square dancing a quadrille, or a whale turning into a bunch of petunias.

                                                          To have any validity as science, an hypothesis has to be testable. ID cannot be tested because it sets no constraints on possible outcomes. To promote it as science is at best ignorant, at worst deliberately deceptive.

                                                            • You could also summarize ID as some features in nature are best explained by design. No, it does not exclude evolutionary forces.

                                                              All of your items have been dealt with elsewhere which anyone can access via Google but I'd like to comment on one thing you said.

                                                              "I have a bad back because it's structure is a shoddy compromise between walking on all fours and walking upright. Is that evidence for ID?"

                                                              Well, my battery in my phone doesn't last forever because they didn't want the phone to weigh 2000 pounds. So that's not automatically evidence against design because engineering has to deal with constraints from multiple variables all the time.

                                                              You would show there isn't design if you could actually show natural laws and/or chance could do the same thing. Actually show, not the hand-waving it has to be true because naturalism is the only option of Darwinism.

                                                              And if ID isn't science, then Darwinism can't be science. Because ID would be how you would falsify Darwinism. They stand and fall as science together.

                                                                • "You could also summarize ID as some features in nature are best explained by design. No, it does not exclude evolutionary forces."

                                                                  It doesn't exclude anything, and as it's proponents specifically refer to possible supernatural intervention, there is no potential observations or measurement which could not be "explained" by "design". That's why it can't be tested, and that's why it has no value as a scientific proposition.

                                                                  And no, my items have most certainly not been "dealt with" elsewhere: creationist apologetics merely evade the issue whilst offering arguments which are in many cases utterly ludicrous and which assume the ignorance of their target audience of creationists on basic biology. Your analogy of a mobile phone falls neatly into this category, as human backs could be better designed without compromising other elements of our anatomy. Any good designer could do so with a bit of thought.

                                                                  "You would show there isn't design if you could actually show natural laws and/or chance could do the same thing"

                                                                  ..such as this. Why on earth would that preclude "design"? Is GIMAID (God...I mmean an Iintelligent Designer) incapable of designing something in accordance with "natural law"?

                                                                  "Actually show, not the hand-waving it has to be true because naturalism is the only option of Darwinism."

                                                                  Naturalism is not only a fundamental assumption of science, it is the assumption which makes science possible. It is the assumption that the universe behaves in a consistent and coherent manner, which is what allows hypotheses to be tested. Reject science if you want, but to claim on the one hand that your pet "theory" is scientific whilst on the other demanding that science be redefined so that it can be called scientific is downright disingenuous.

                                                                  "And if ID isn't science, then Darwinism can't be science. Because ID would be how you would falsify Darwinism. They stand and fall as science together."

                                                                  If by "Darwinism" you are referring to the assumption of naturalism of all science, you are claiming that science isn't science. Perhaps you will understand that this is a ridiculous assertion, perhaps not.

                                                                  If by "Darwinism" you are referring to Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, that only forms one element of evolutionary theory which has developed considerably over the past 150 years. His original formulation was incomplete and flawed in some areas - something Darwin himself discussed in some detail in his later writing. Most modern evolutionary biologists have not read Darwin's publications because the field has moved on so much that they are of only historical interest.

                                                                  If by "Darwinism" you are referring either to this or evolutionary theory in general, you are demonstrating nothing other than an ignorance of the nature of science. Even if it could be demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that evolutionary theory cannot account for a particular biological system, the alternative - in science at least - is not to invoke the intervention of a possibly supernatural "intelligent designer" using possibly supernatural methods, but to say "I don't know. How can I find out?" . It's worth adding that contrary to the evasions and outright falsehoods of ID proponents, they have **not** demonstrated that any biological system could not have originated by evolutionary processes. It was rather telling that during the Dover v. Kitzmiller trial Behe dismissed as "unconvincing" dozens of academic papers describing possible evolutionary pathways for the origin of that poster child of the ID movement, the bacterial flagellum without even bothering to read them. I don't consider that ethical or honest, but perhaps you do.

                                                                  Science exists not because of what we know but because of what we don't know. It's a tool for findings answers to questions of how the universe works. If in the face of falsified hypotheses scientists abandoned science in favour of woolly "explanations" using deliberately undefined terms (such as "design") and which include the possibility of the supernatural, it would get nowhere.

                                                                    • "Well, my battery in my phone doesn't last forever because they didn't want the phone to weigh 2000 pounds. So that's not automatically evidence against design because engineering has to deal with constraints from multiple variables all the time."

                                                                      This is evidence of man's imperfection.

                                                                      Doesn't that also mean this is evidence of a creators imperfection?

                                                                        • I believe the standard answer is that humans are in their present degraded state eg. we don't live 900 years like Methuselah, because of the 'Fall' or because the 'vapour canopy' that existed before the flood protected us from harmful radiation. You can't win an argument with a zealot; they don't believe in facts.

                                                                          • It's not evidence of perfection or imperfection. It's an illustration that to get optimal function you have to make compromises. Every good engineer understands this.

                                                                            An engineer has choices.

                                                                            A designer who forfeits one option in order to acheive a certain benefit is neither good or bad, but being practical.

                                                                            To say that a good God cannot exist because there is bad design is thus not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one. An argument that doesn't consider the design implications, rather, the metaphysical implications first, is bound to make certain guesses where no guess is warranted. I.e., "there is bad design, therefore there is a bad designer."

                                                                            It should be the other way around:

                                                                            "There is a way to get a more functional human being scientifically without any design compromises and still acheive the desires and goals of the designer, and I can prove it."

                                                                            But of course, in order to prove that, one must already possess the mind of God.

                                                                              • Again, what omnipotent creator would need to make compromises? This creator could just deem that something worked and have it be so. Like I said: if the creator is constrained, the creator is imperfect, limited, restricted; What would/could omnipotence be constrained by? The creator could only get something to work if everything happened a certain way? It seems like an omnipotent creator would just make it however it wants and everything would operate accordingly.

                                                                                It would most likely also still make complete sense and be practical; because the creator said so.

                                                                                I also said: I'm pointing out that the design in nature does not appear intuitive or intelligent; what works in some cases holds one back in other cases. I did not say that "God does not exist because there is bad design", I said that there is no apparent "all-knowing" intelligence to the design of the universe. There are no "bad designs" in nature, truly, as the reasons behind a failed design were very well justified until a certain point (i.e. the size of the dinosaurs worked great for them... until it didn't). This trial and error type of refining seems to be at play in nature all the time and unless it is the creators goal to see its creation adapt and sometimes survive on luck, this alludes that there is no "goal" in the design of life other than survival.

                                                                                "There is a way to get a more functional human being scientifically without any design compromises and still acheive the desires and goals of the designer, and I can prove it."

                                                                                One would think that an omnipotent creator would know what the final goal would be and would design a creation to fit the role from the get go, i.e. no blind spots in the eyes, backs that worked well to support weight, etc. No need to know the mind of God, only to realize that a perfect being would already know what the best design would be. Can you do anything to prove that the current state of human beings is the "desired" state for us to be in?

                                                                                Some may argue that the Christian Bible shows we used to be perfect and became imperfect through sin, though this seems ridiculous; what god would knowingly create something without knowledge of the difference between good and evil and then give that creation access to a source of knowledge when the creation can't distinguish that it would be wrong in defying the wishes of the creator in the first place? How did they know that not listening to God was wrong if they didn't know what "wrong" was? This all leads in circles.

                                                                                Most of this depends on what level of science one is willing to accept and how literally one follows religious text.

                                                                                  • While it is true that a perfect creator could just create that which is perfect:

                                                                                    "If the crearor is constrained, the creator is imperfect, limited, restricted."

                                                                                    Your conclusion does not follow from your premise.

                                                                                    If the creator is constrained, he/she/it can chose to be so, in order to acheive a higher purpose. Thus, the creator is not actually constrained, but self-limiting. In fact, you place more constraint upon a perfect creator by insisting that he must create that which is also perfect. A perfect and unconstrained creator can do anything that pleases him/her/it.

                                                                                    A perfect creator could choose optimal design by allowing imperfections along the way as a means to an end that is not known by the creator's subjects. Perhaps this way, his/her/its subjects will in the end be perfect.

                                                                                    Again, you are assuming to know the mind and/or characteristics of such a creator. Darwin made the same mistake, and in so doing, he was making a religious argument, not a scientific one.

                                                                                      • "If the creator is constrained, he/she/it can chose to be so, in order to acheive a higher purpose. Thus, the creator is not actually constrained, but self-limiting."

                                                                                        When, pray-tell, does something get the power back, once it has limited itself? It is not real limitations; it is schizophrenia.

                                                                                        "In fact, you place more constraint upon a perfect creator by insisting that he must create that which is also perfect. A perfect and unconstrained creator can do anything that pleases him/her/it."

                                                                                        Well, my theory is perfect too and it says your theory doesn't exist. I wish we could all pretend to have the high ground, but then this also means your perfect god that limited himself is part of the universe; your god is not present in this universe, as far as any experimentation allows. You are splitting hairs and calling it a win.

                                                                                        "A perfect creator could choose optimal design by allowing imperfections along the way as a means to an end that is not known by the creator's subjects. Perhaps this way, his/her/its subjects will in the end be perfect."

                                                                                        Perhaps there is a teapot around the planet Mercury. Perhaps you think you can simply pray to "it" and "it" will reward you. "It" could be literally anything at this point.

                                                                                        "Again, you are assuming to know the mind and/or characteristics of such a creator. Darwin made the same mistake, and in so doing, he was making a religious argument, not a scientific one."

                                                                                        I just showed that you're the one who is assuming things. Darwin probably did make mistakes, now tell me, do you not? He was not mistaken about our lineage, you are. There is plenty of proof, maybe one day you'll join me in understanding it.

                                                                                          • "Well, my theory is perfect too and it says your theory doesn't exist."

                                                                                            I can see that this discussion has perhaps angered you a bit.

                                                                                            I don't think it unreasonable to allow that a perfect creator has the freedom to create either that which is perfect or that which is imperfect. That is not an assumption, it is logical. To insist that a creator must create that which is perfect is to place a constraint on a creator that you otherwise know nothing about.

                                                                                            "Your god is not present in this universe, as far as any experimentation allows."

                                                                                            See, this is a falacious statement. You cannot know the limits of experimentation. You cannot know that a god is not present anywhere in the universe. Even if there were no evidence in existence anywhere in the universe, an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

                                                                                            I believe that there is plenty of evidence for God's existence. But the question of His existence goes beyond questions of evidence and is grounded in philosophical principles of reason. In other words, it is first of all falacious to state: "Therere is no god."

                                                                                            Stating: "God is" is not only rational, but the fundamental understanding behind both the order, constants and informational properties of the universe, as well as the cause/effect relationship behind the physical workings of the universe. This is why when "Big Bang" cosmology was first introduced it was theists who seemed to grasp. At last we found a hint that there was some kind of finite Genesis.

                                                                                            God is the necessary first cause that resolves the problem of infinite causal regresses. Otherwise the universe is absurd, and we can get something from nothing.

                                                                                            "Perhaps there is a teapot around Mercury."

                                                                                            Perhaps there is a very weak analogy that materialists like to throw around when they have nothing else to throw.

                                                                                              • "I can see that this discussion has perhaps angered you a bit."

                                                                                                Nonsense, I'm frustrated with you, not angry.

                                                                                                "I don't think it unreasonable to allow that a perfect creator has the freedom to create either that which is perfect or that which is imperfect. That is not an assumption, it is logical. To insist that a creator must create that which is perfect is to place a constraint on a creator that you otherwise know nothing about."

                                                                                                I never said anything about creating perfect or imperfect things, I said when does your god get his powers back once he has sliced his mind from it and limited himself? Does everything run on auto-pilot while he glides around the universe? Does he not have to split his mind in order to be limited but perfect? How can something exist in contradiction? The thought breaks down and becomes indefensible.

                                                                                                "See, this is a falacious statement. You cannot know the limits of experimentation. "

                                                                                                It is not fallacious; We know the limits of mans experimentation and are not assuming anything passed them, you are. You are assuming that because we have a perceivable limit to knowledge that you can apply anything beyond that to your god's actions; I have never once seen a proper justification of this.

                                                                                                Within the bounds of human understanding, I do not see your god.

                                                                                                "Even if there were no evidence in existence anywhere in the universe, an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

                                                                                                You're quite full of catch phrases. "The absence of presents does not disprove Santa".

                                                                                                "I believe that there is plenty of evidence for God's existence. But the question of His existence goes beyond questions of evidence and is grounded in philosophical principles of reason. In other words, it is first of all falacious to state: "Therere is no god.""

                                                                                                I believe you're wrong. It is not, no argument has been validified epistemically to back up your theory of God; and it certainly hasn't been constructed for your personal church's version, whichever one it may be.

                                                                                                "Stating: "God is" is not only rational, but the fundamental understanding behind both the order, constants and informational properties of the universe, as well as the cause/effect relationship behind the physical workings of the universe. This is why when "Big Bang" cosmology was first introduced it was theists who seemed to grasp. At last we found a hint that there was some kind of finite Genesis.

                                                                                                God is the necessary first cause that resolves the problem of infinite causal regresses. Otherwise the universe is absurd, and we can get something from nothing."

                                                                                                More about what you "believe" ad nasuem.

                                                                                                "Perhaps there is a very weak analogy that materialists like to throw around when they have nothing else to throw."

                                                                                                Perhaps there isn't, that's not a very effective way to reply. You have no proofs other than your redundant "perhaps God is perfect" pitch that doesn't sell to anyone with critical thinking skills.

                                                                                                  • "I never said anything about creating perfect or imperfect things....."

                                                                                                    "Well, my battery in my phone doesn't last forever because they didn't want the phone to weigh 2000 pounds. So that's not automatically evidence against design because engineering has to deal with constraints from multiple variables all the time." Geoffrobinson

                                                                                                    "This is evidence of man's imperfection.

                                                                                                    Doesn't that also mean this is evidence of a creators imperfection?"

                                                                                                    Robert,

                                                                                                    Yes, perhaps you didn't say it directly, just implied that when a creator creates imperfect things, it's an indication of the creators own imperfection.

                                                                                                    But it doesn't follow.

                                                                                                    "I said when does your god get his powers back once he has sliced his mind from it and limited himself?"

                                                                                                    Why would a god need to "get his power back?"

                                                                                                    Can an all powerful creator not choose to create that which is imperfect? Are you saying that he cannot?

                                                                                                    I don't see why you're frustrated over this. I perceive that a god who is unlimited such that he can author the laws of physics and create the universe, and therefore is transcendent, could have created a universe where batteries last forever, but he chose not to. If he does not have that choice, then he is hardly transcendent and hardly god. He decided the universe would operate according to entropy.

                                                                                                    I don't think there's anything there that proves that he exists, but what you're suggesting is hardly an argument against such a god.

                                                                                                    "You are assuming that because we have a perceivable limit to knowledge that you can apply anything beyond that to your god's actions; I have never once seen a proper justification of this."

                                                                                                    I have never assumed that. What I do understand is that you are talking about the "limits of experimentation," i.e., empirical knowledge, not all knowledge. You may know or perceive that there are limits to man's experimentation, but I doubt if you know precisely what those limits are.

                                                                                                    I believe the entire universe is evidence that a transcendent God exists. I can believe this rationally yet still understand that there are limits to what I can know empirically, and be curious about cause/effect relationships without invoking God's action.

                                                                                                    "I believe you're wrong. It is not, no argument has been validified epistemically to back up your theory of God; "

                                                                                                    Validated? Really? Validated by whom? You're not going to try and make an appeal to authority here, are you?

                                                                                                    No argument needs to be "validated." An argument needs to be valid, yes, but that's a whole other ballgame.

                                                                                                    Look, this is probably not the place to begin a discussion on arguments for God's existence, so I will now refrain. Suffice to say we haven't even scratched the surface.

                                                                                                      • "This is evidence of man's imperfection.

                                                                                                        Doesn't that also mean this is evidence of a creators imperfection?"

                                                                                                        By this I am pointing to the fact that man needs to fit within the confines of reality in order for things to work; he has limitations. Why would a god need/want/bother to work within limitations unless there was only a few ways to do something correctly/functioning with a purpose?

                                                                                                        "Robert,

                                                                                                        Yes, perhaps you didn't say it directly, just implied that when a creator creates imperfect things, it's an indication of the creators own imperfection.

                                                                                                        But it doesn't follow.

                                                                                                        "I said when does your god get his powers back once he has sliced his mind from it and limited himself?"

                                                                                                        Why would a god need to "get his power back?"

                                                                                                        Can an all powerful creator not choose to create that which is imperfect? Are you saying that he cannot?"

                                                                                                        This argument is about a creator being "constrained"; what creator must abide by constraints in order to create something to "acheive a higher purpose" [sic] when the creator is perfect at the time it is creating it and mustn't truly abide by rules? The creator could just say "everything works this way to achieve my higher goal" and it would then be so, with no real constraints.

                                                                                                        You said, "Thus, the creator is not actually constrained, but self-limiting." but when does the limit truly get imposed upon perfection?

                                                                                                        Anything that I could imagine to be a god would be able to create imperfect things, most definitely. However, that isn't my argument, my argument is; how can something be perfect and imperfect at the same time? If God is therefore limited and must abide by rules, yet at the same time doesn't abide by rules, this seems to cancel the notion that your god is limited and the sense seems to blur and become inarticulate when one considers infinity. The creator would not be truly "limited", so it would still be able to do as it wishes, resetting anything and everything at will (a good argument for asking why this god would go through the trouble of starting this universe, give us these compulsions and then force us through a gauntlet of nature and selection driven mainly by hope and then for the sole purpose of living for eternity with it in love and peace when it could have just skipped all the other stuff and gone straight to the living in peace, but I digress).

                                                                                                        This argument is about a creator being "constrained"; what perfect creator must ever abide by constraints in order to create something?

                                                                                                        This disassociative personality you propose as a savior from destruction when prayed to allows for insane acts of cruelty for an unverified limit that defies logic because one must die to find true justification in it.

                                                                                                        You do not "know" what "created" the universe. You do not "know" if it's perfect, you speculate it. This is circular argument in it's clearest example.

                                                                                                        "I don't see why you're frustrated over this. I perceive that a god who is unlimited such that he can author the laws of physics and create the universe, and therefore is transcendent, could have created a universe where batteries last forever, but he chose not to. If he does not have that choice, then he is hardly transcendent and hardly god. He decided the universe would operate according to entropy."

                                                                                                        So, then which tribe of Christians is correct in your eyes, now? You don't know what "He" is. You have only speculation that "it" loves you; well "it" loves to torture children who don't worship certain specific human deities, doesn't "it"?

                                                                                                        You may find a level of anger in me over this subject, yes, but I am not angry at you; and you do not understand my frustration.

                                                                                                        "I don't think there's anything there that proves that he exists, but what you're suggesting is hardly an argument against such a god."

                                                                                                        Back to the "God is an It" argument. You treat the lack of confirmation as confirmation. I treat the absence of confirmation as indication of error and get back to studying and contemplating. (Perhaps the difference between you and me is that I have never been content with "God did it", I desire to know just how; all warnings aside.)

                                                                                                        "I have never assumed that. What I do understand is that you are talking about the "limits of experimentation," i.e., empirical knowledge, not all knowledge. You may know or perceive that there are limits to man's experimentation, but I doubt if you know precisely what those limits are."

                                                                                                        I'm talking about what we can perceive and make our most definitively agreed observations within the bounds of epistemic rules. You are talking about the area of speculation known as "not knowing" and claiming your god might dwell there. Need I remind you again?

                                                                                                        "I believe the entire universe is evidence that a transcendent God exists. I can believe this rationally yet still understand that there are limits to what I can know empirically, and be curious about cause/effect relationships without invoking God's action."

                                                                                                        Believe in one hand and spit in the other; which fills faster?

                                                                                                        The limits of knowledge seem to be infinity, unbounded. If there is no bound on God then there is no true bound on anything and all exists between arbitrary parameters that you give human names to. Once one considers infinity suddenly deciding "hey, I need humans to worship me for a purpose" your theory of perfection grinds to a screeching halt.

                                                                                                        "Validated? Really? Validated by whom? You're not going to try and make an appeal to authority here, are you?""

                                                                                                        Are you upset now?

                                                                                                        I will make an appeal to authority; as I said before, I'm speaking of the conglomeration of human knowledge and you're speaking of speculation beyond that; I like to stay with tried and true methods as best can be known, you rely on faith to assume a human being was right when he told you his god is yours.

                                                                                                        "No argument needs to be "validated." An argument needs to be valid, yes, but that's a whole other ballgame."

                                                                                                        I said validified, you're not even arguing against me anymore. Validated would entail that confirmation came from outside the subject; by saying validified (simple past and past participle; validified) I am implying that a host of people agree upon observations in the past and we call it human knowledge. No one has made a good argument for the existence of god that everyone can truly agree on; and your theory seems to place your god in infinity.

                                                                                                        "Look, this is probably not the place to begin a discussion on arguments for God's existence, so I will now refrain. Suffice to say we haven't even scratched the surface."

                                                                                                        I have a blog, you're welcome to voice your opinion in a sensible way, frankly and forthright, please. Again, I'm not angry.

                                                                                                          • Robert,

                                                                                                            Thanks for taking the time to address my points. I think our disagreement lies in our assumptions about what a perfect god would be like.

                                                                                                            I believe the God that exists is unlimited in what He can do. It stands to reason then that He is unlimited in what He chooses to do. He can choosee to make imperfect beings, or perfect beings.

                                                                                                            Given the universe we live in, He chose to create a finite universe. He cannot, however, create a thing that defies logic, such as a square circle. This does not inply limitation, but absurdity. A reasonable creator would not create what is absurd, neither could He.

                                                                                                            Now the point where we seem to depart is with eternal things. I don't believe actual physical infinites can exist. They fall sqarely in the category of square circles. However, if a god exists who created the universe, such a god cannot be finite. Such a god must be infinite, eternal. And in creating, such a god creates that which is finite. Such a god could cause that which is finite to enter the infinite. This would occur as in having a finite beginning but no end. But such a thing would not then be infinite.

                                                                                                            I'm not certain that such a god could have created an eternal physical universe. It seems to me impossible, but I will not place that limit on such a god. It seems to me that an eternal universe would be an extension of God, and we would have pantheism as the most logical belief system. I reject pantheism as being illogical precisely because I think it preposterous that infinite physical things exist. Try traversing a physical infinite, for example.

                                                                                                            So if we address the initial problem, you have stated that a god who creates imperfect things/beings would be imperfect. I stated that it does not follow. You then stated that man who creates imperfect things is therefore imperfect, and it would be the same for a perfect god.

                                                                                                            Well, it's not the same. A perfect god is infinite/eternal and if He creates things at all, they are less than such a god. Otherwise, such a god would not be transcendent. He could be affected by what He created. A finite nature implies imperfection.

                                                                                                            There is really no contradiction here. I know it's a problem, but I fail to see how you have rendered it without a resolution.

                                                                                                            I still hold that we don't get anything from nothing: not even universes (no matter how many of them there may be). As such, belief in a sovereign eternal Creator is the most logical position one can take. One can still do science without ever needing to invoke a "god of the gaps," because a reasonable God has determined the universe to be the way it is: finite, with limits, imperfections and whatnot but it is a universe that reflects the infinite, however imperfectly.

                                                                                                            And so (whether you actually are implying it or not), I seriously question this notion that is common among materialists that those committed to monotheism cannot do science very well due to their commitment to supernatural forces. Such a charge is preposterous, I hope you realize. The sciences as we know them evolved out of Western monotheistic sensibilities, because Christian Europe believed that if God is reasonable, His creation must operate reasonably and not absurdly.

                                                                                                            So please, spare me the teapot analogy. I've heard it more times than I care to, and it has been sufficiently addressed.

                                                                                                            As for validified,

                                                                                                            You stated: "no one has made a good argument for the existence of god that everyone can truly agree on."

                                                                                                            It sounds like you are making an appeal to consensus. That is a very dangerous avenue to trek.

                                                                                                            There are literally thousands of arguments for the existence of God. Some of them excellent, and some of them not so good. That you have heard all of them I somehow doubt. That not all humans can agree on them is debateable. Perhaps if all humans were aware of and understood them, they would; but even if they would not, the argument is irrelevant as to whether God exists. It's not a question that can be answered empirically where you test a hypothesis and theorize on the most acceptaple and reasonable cause, given parameters and what have you. The question is much more fundamental.

                                                                                                            Besides, it would seem that if consensus were any indication that a proposition were true, with more people on earth believing in some sort of god than not, the indicators would seem to be against you.

                                                                                                            Do you still think a proposition needs to be "validified" in that way? If so, I would say that God has most definitely been validified.

                                                                                                            I prefer to stick with issues of validity, warrant and sound parameters, no matter who agrees or does not. I believe that's how any philosophy (including science) is established.

                                                                                                            There are philosophers who discuss arguments for the existence of God. Sometimes consensus is reached within certain schools of thought; sometimes not. Peer review exists in these quarters as much as it exists in the empirical sciences, and some arguments become more favored than others.

                                                                                                            But see, as much as I view all of this as reasonable and necessary, a good argument should be able to stand on its own merits regardless of its support among the intelligentsia. I believe that's also a beginning principle in logic, and why appeals to authority, and related appeals to consensus are a mistake. We appeal to authority rightly when the authority in question has made a good argument that adheres to good reason. Agreed? But that's not really an appeal, but an acknowledgement. We're not saying "it's true because so-and-so said it's true," rather, "this is what so-and-so said, and here's why it's true."

                                                                                                            As this relates to the existence of god, I could go on all day. I have quite a number of really good arguments for god's existence on my shelf, and quite a lot of really, really bad ones, and the bad ones I only fortunately get the privilege of reading once, because nobody apparently acknowledges them. You see how it works?

                                                                                            • First, at this point you've moved beyond detecting design or not and are engaging in philosophy.

                                                                                              Secondly, it doesn't necessarily imply imperfection because there could be goals and constraints you know nothing about. The goals which can't be discovered by science necessarily.

                                                                                                • "First, at this point you've moved beyond detecting design or not and are engaging in philosophy."

                                                                                                  Not really, I'm pointing out that the design in nature does not appear intuitive or intelligent; what works in some cases holds one back in other cases.

                                                                                                  "Secondly, it doesn't necessarily imply imperfection because there could be goals and constraints you know nothing about. The goals which can't be discovered by science necessarily."

                                                                                                  Hm, yes, the "mysterious ways" argument. Any goal that includes causing the suffering of the thing that was created seems quite malicious, I don't care how its spun.

                                                                                                  Also, if the creator is constrained, the creator is imperfect, limited, restricted; What would/could omnipotence be constrained by? The creator could only get something to work if everything happened a certain way? It seems like an omnipotent creator would just make it however it wants and everything would operate accordingly.

                                                                                        • Essential reading.....a trillion trillion years or more - http://idvolution.blogspot.com...

                                                                                        • Anyone reading this short item in National Review should compare it with the short essay by the Editors of Biological Information: New Perspectives. http://www.worldscientific.com...

                                                                                          There is a pattern revealed of ID creationists reworking the same tired misrepresentations dressed up in new science-lite mathiness. The Editors wrote, "The first section of this volume is devoted to precisely this concern. Keying off of research on evolutionary search, No Free Lunch theorems, and Conservation of Information, this section attempts to provide the theoretical underpinnings for a full-fledged theory of biological information."

                                                                                          Keep in mind that one of the core developers of search algorithms using "NFL theorems," David Wolpert wrote, "William Dembski's treatment of the No Free Lunch theorems is written in jello" http://www.badminton.rso.wisc....

                                                                                          "Like monographs on any philosophical topic in the first category, Dembski's is written in jello. There simply is not enough that is firm in his text, not sufficient precision of formulation, to allow one to declare unambiguously 'right' or 'wrong' when reading through the argument. All one can do is squint, furrow one's brows, and then shrug."

                                                                                          Indeed, if it were not that ID creationists are using their subterfuge of being scientists to sneak creationism into public schools we could all just shrug.

                                                                                          • "Yet we all agree that a picture of Mount Rushmore with the busts of four US Presidents contains more information than a picture of Mount Fuji."

                                                                                            Can you please how your work here?

                                                                                            How much information is contained in an image of Rushmore and how is it measured? What are the units of measure?

                                                                                            Same question for Fuji.

                                                                                              • What contains more information: a 300 page book full of writing from edge to edge on every page, but containing nothing but gibberish, or a paragraph explaining the properties of helium?

                                                                                                It depends on what you mean by information. If you simply mean Shannon information, then the book contains more information than the paragraph. But if you mean information specific to a function, then the paragraph contains more information than the book. True, the book might contain precisely zero information. But it still illustrates the idea that specified functional information can be quantified. I can tell you that a certain person is 54 years old, but neglect telling you their name or gender. Now assuming that you don't already know the person in question, I have given you a certain amount of information that is less than if I had told you her name, "Sarah."

                                                                                                If then information can be quantified in this manner, it stands to reason that it can also be enumerated in units in the same manner as Shannon information is measured in units.

                                                                                                Whether Dembski, Marks, et al.. have done this is an entirely different discussion, but let us not discredit the whole premise of placing a numerical measurement on specified functional information simply because we don't like the conclusions of those utilizing such methods in their arguments.

                                                                                                The only arguments I've seen here from the materialists are attacks on character, appeals to authority (related to science truth as consensus), and red herrings. Which indicate to me that Dembski, Marks, Behe, Meyer, et al... are onto something. That you don't like it, and therefore should seek to silence them by questioning their credentials, or screaming "it's religion and not science" is inconsequential to the real question: is it more reasonable to hold that physical forces arranged matter into complex living organisms without any primary intelligent front-loading, given enough time and energy, or that an intelligence, working through the laws of physics, either through front-loading or some other non-materialistic means, created complex living organisms? Both of these proposals are legitimately scientific, while at the same time, both have metaphysical implications.

                                                                                                • While you are at it, can you please calculate the information in the following stones that portray human images:

                                                                                                  http://astro.wsu.edu/worthey/a...

                                                                                                    • To be relevant in a discussion of theory that pertains to the phenomenon of "intelligent cause" you must now provide code for your most Occam's razor simple intelligent system, which includes an easy method for detecting and charting behavior in a way that makes it easy to reliably conclude one way or the other, like I just did.

                                                                                                        • That was not a coherent expression. Re-phrase please.

                                                                                                          • Moving the goal posts; he does not have to match your theory with a counter theory to be able to point out your theory's flaws.

                                                                                                              • I'm showing why some who thought they had control of the Theory of Intelligent Design are actually as powerless as the Discovery Institute against what was born on Planet Source Code and is now only a controversy to those who want to talk about early religious forms of ID, instead of what modern experimenters are now using to learn beginner level cognitive science from. The theory being so good that evolutionary biologists are all stirred up by its religious implications only adds to the science changing fun of it all.

                                                                                                                I like to develop new technologies to benefit science. In this case the problem has to do with science journal "publish or perish" science where models and theory like this do not fit in by not being associated with an academic institution, no official title, software not on an academically connected website, etc., where science is best off by the academic system having to pay attention to what has been happening in an already very neglected area of science and education. Neither the theory or I benefit from someone with ID Lab code to share needing to try affording an expensive media event and months or years long paper writing project just to publish it somewhere others like myself might someday find it.

                                                                                                                Years of trying to brush off all of this with religious talk has caused an epic case of top-down "science denial" that very much shows, in a place like this. Regardless of how insignificant it seems from the top of the ivory tower scientific reality is where any science at all is being spoken. Some in academia are therefore increasingly challenged by a non Discovery Institute model and theory that has to play for keeps. It's not possible to make this Theory of Intelligent Design go away. So checkmate...

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                                                                                                                  • "I'm showing why some who thought they had control(1) of the Theory of Intelligent Design are actually as powerless as the Discovery Institute against what was born on Planet Source Code and is now only a controversy to those who want to talk about early religious forms of ID, instead of what modern experimenters are now using to learn beginner level cognitive science from."

                                                                                                                    Who are these modern experimenters that are testing your theory? I don't see anyone using the Gaulin model for anything. You're quite unpopular, go spin another yarn into your ball of lies.

                                                                                                                    "I like to develop new technologies to benefit science."

                                                                                                                    As far as I've seen, you haven't developed any new technology. What new art or skill or tool have you invented? Don't try to pander your bug program off as a new technology, it would be a misnomer, it's not like you invented coding, you just used an existing language to define your own parameters which is not an invention of anything.

                                                                                                                    "In this case the problem has to do with science journal "publish or perish" science where models and theory like this do not fit in by not being associated with an academic institution, no official title, software not on an acadmically connected website, etc., where science is best off by the academic system having to pay attention to what has been happening in an already very neglected area of science, and education."

                                                                                                                    You're not associated with an academic institution for good reason; the people who you contacted and tried to pitch your theory to read it and rejected it. Did the professor at FSU ever respond to you? Was it civil? Does any serious person consider you to be correct or accurate about anything? You would burn the world before you would consider the feedback of educated peers (I used that term very loosely, you are quite below just about anyone in academia, I've met freshman undergrads more enlightened than you).

                                                                                                                    "Neither the theory or I benefit from someone with ID Lab code to share needing to try affording an expensive media event and months or years long paper writing project just to publish it somewhere others like myself might someday find it."

                                                                                                                    What are you rambling about? "to share needing to try affording"? Gibberish. I can't tell if you're angry at other ID proponents for not backing you up and giving you funding or what. Also, who would need to afford to pay you to write a paper? Didn't you already have your manifesto typed and ready to go? It's 40 pages of more garbled nonsense, it feels like it takes years just to decipher it, I've seen cryptograms easier to read.

                                                                                                                    "Years of trying to brush off all of this with religious talk..."

                                                                                                                    Nobody is trying to brush it off, they are doing it. Who else links to you? Who else references you? Who else other than yourself even likes your ideas?

                                                                                                                    "...has caused an epic case of top-down "science denial" that very much shows, in a place like this."

                                                                                                                    Further highlighting your incapacity to properly write English, your use of quotes around "science denial" would imply sarcasm, defeating what you wished it said. Also, you have a highly over-inflated opinion of your own work, especially if all the people in the top universities reject you (and as far as I can tell, no one in your camp accepts you either). This is very telling of your lack of qualification, as well as your theory's.

                                                                                                                    "Regardless of how insignificant it seems from the top of the ivory tower scientific reality is where any science at all is being spoken."

                                                                                                                    Inane ramblings of a delusional mind.

                                                                                                                    "Academia is therefore increasingly challenged by a non Discovery Institute model and theory that has to play for keeps."

                                                                                                                    Yes, again with everyone rejecting you. You must be the "sane man" in the "insane world" (notice the proper use of sarcastic quotes).

                                                                                                                    "It's not possible to make this Theory of Intelligent Design go away. So checkmate..."

                                                                                                                    You do enough damage to your reputation every time you write (if one could call that writing), nobody has to try and keep you down as you do yourself regular injustice. Though, you are quite regularly censored as I've said before, because misinformation and pseudo-science are harmful to children.

                                                                                                                    Also, since you're speaking as if your theory is truly unassailable (though you can't answer my refutations, you just continue to grandstand), the Theory of Evolution (at use, in practice and taught openly on a daily basis) will also not be going away any time soon.

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                                                                                                                    • The peer-reviewed journals already made your pseudoscience go away, by rejecting it outright. So checkmate...

                                                                                                                      Oh, and it's not a theory. Not even close.

                                                                                                                • And this is my oar in that same water:

                                                                                                                  https://ayearningforpublius.wo...

                                                                                                                  It seems Mr. Horton is one who is very heavy on the insults but empty on the substance. Where does Mr. Horton address and counter any of the specifics from this conference? Nowhere, and don't expect it from this crowd either.

                                                                                                                    • When the Creationists/IDers publish any positive evidence for their claims in the mainstream scientific literature let me know. Self published books pandering to ignorant laymen just aren't very convincing.

                                                                                                                        • Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design - http://www.discovery.org/a/264...

                                                                                                                            • Sorry but the Discovery Institute isn't a credible source. They're the Christian conservative think tank that's been the driving force behind rebranding Creationism as ID and getting it sneaked into public schools in the U.S. Most of the people named in the OP article are members of the DI. Basically they're an organization of professional liars. If they told you water was wet you'd better put your hand in yourself to check.

                                                                                                                                • Still shows the peer reviewed papers.

                                                                                                                                    • It shows mainly books and conference proceedings which, contrary to assertion on the page the are not peer-reviewed in the sense scientists use the term, and a small handful of papers none of which are informed by any testable hypothesis of "design", but are supposed falsification of evolutionary theory. In science, the default position in lieu of a robust explanation is not supernatural intervention, but "I don't know. How can I find out?"

                                                                                                                                      It's worth adding that far from being the gold standard of scientific publication, peer-review is an imperfect system to regulate the **minimum** standards for scientific publication. Passing peer-review does not automatically confer authority on a paper, it gets it published so that it can be read and critiqued by other scientists. Most such papers sink without trace, many are torn apart and refuted because they draw too many conclusions from incomplete data, and a small number are uncovered as frauds when attempts are made to replicate the results. In science, getting a paper published is only part of the process. Far more important is how well it stands up to the detailed scrutiny of the scientific community.

                                                                                                                                      That creationist (which includes of course ID proponents dishonestly concealing their religious agenda) "papers" fail to meet even this minimal standard shows how shoddy their "research" is, not that there is a global conspiracy of "evolutionists" to hide anything.

                                                                                                                                        • Not ones with positive evidence for ID. Just more DI lies like "the blue sky supports ID because the Designer likes blue!"

                                                                                                                                  • So, can you calculate the relative amounts of information in Mount Rushmore and Mount Fuji, as Marks asserted in the main article?

                                                                                                                                    Also please identify the units of information, This is an insult-free request for substance to document the claim that Marks made in the main article.

                                                                                                                                    I've made this request several times but am repeatedly ignored.

                                                                                                                                    • While I happen to believe that our current state is a result of a COMBINATION of evolution and ID, assuming that this differs from the Timothy Horton in these comments, I must say that I'm finding myself in agreement with most things Mr. Horton says. To infer a connection to Cornell is misleading. Implying Baltimore concurs with ID (without clarificaion) is also misleading. If someone's argument cannot stand alone on its own merits, then that is truly a weak argument. There are many solid reasons suggesting Intelligent Design is of merit. This article did not share even just one of such reasons. Hopefully the free, self-published book does.

                                                                                                                                        • Didn't anyone bother to click on the link to the book? It is not "self-published", it is published by a leading scientific publisher:
                                                                                                                                          http://www.worldscientific.com...

                                                                                                                                            • Furthermore, the organizer was a Cornell professor, where was he supposed to hold the conference, and what is misleading about mentioning it was held at Cornell? No one ever claimed it was sponsored by Cornell University. And quoting Baltimore saying "Modern biology is a science of information" was in no way misleading either, how does this imply Baltimore is an ID supporter?

                                                                                                                                                • Sanford *was* a professor at Cornell, he retired in 1998 and has only an honorary connection with the school. The originally scheduled publishers of the book, Springer, were also lied to and told it was a Cornell sponsored conference, not a private meeting of Creationists. They cancelled the book when they found out they had been the victim of flagrant dishonesty.

                                                                                                                                                  That the people pushing this anti-science woo have to resort to lies and deception to sell the produce tells you all you need to know.

                                                                                                                                                    • In case anyone wants to know the true story:

                                                                                                                                                      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2...

                                                                                                                                                      I don't believe anything Timothy Horton has said so far about this conference is accurate.

                                                                                                                                                      • No, the fact that there are so many like you who are so intent on disparaging anyone who questions the Darwinian orthodoxy, rather than addressing the actual issues, tells you all you need to know.

                                                                                                                                                        In my scientific field, as in all others, there will always be minority groups that have different perspectives or theories than the mainstream. If I don't agree with them, I won't base my work on their theories, and I may write a negative review if I happen to be a reviewer of a paper that I don't feel is well substantiated. But I feel no need to question their right to hold conferences or publish their work, or impugn their integrity for doing so. Usually, minority views don't pan out and eventually go away. Sometimes, they end up becoming, or at least influencing, a new mainstream. Either way, there is no sense in forcibly silencing anyone who has a different view, assuming one actually is interested in going wherever the evidence leads.

                                                                                                                                                        What is even the relevance of "university sponsored" anyway? Universities don't (at least in general), "officially" endorse specific viewpoints or theories, nor should they. They are gathering places for the free exchange of ideas. Universities routinely host all kinds of events - academic, political, cultural, religious, and no one takes that to mean any "official" endorsement. Many are hosted by individual faculty (including retired or emeritus faculty). Does the fact that the Hoover Institution is at Stanford mean that the Stanford administration and all faculty officially endorse everything Condoleezza Rice says or does? Of course not. Does that mean she is dishonest to say the Hoover Institution is at Stanford? Of course not. If I present a paper at a conference at Cal Tech, does that mean all the faculty there officially endorse my approach? Of course not. Does that make me dishonest to mention the location where I presented the paper? Of course not. Does the fact that there are Sunday services at Harvard Memorial Church mean the Harvard administration and all faculty officially endorse that religion? Of course not. Is it then dishonest to say there is a Harvard Memorial Church? Does the fact that Columbia University invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak mean Columbia University officially denies the Holocaust? When universities invite politicians for commencement addresses, is that an official endorsement of their candidacy? You are trying to create a meaningless red herring.

                                                                                                                                                        It's unfortunate, but not surprising, that Darwinists so often take the low road. Given how little we can actually show Darwinian mechanisms to accomplish, by experiment or by simulation, relative to its grandiose claims that it can create Isaac Newton's brain from primordial soup, if I were a Darwinist, I'd rather attack opponents' right to exist rather than defend my ideas also.

                                                                                                                                                        Fortunately, there is an increasing number of scientists, even among those who don't advocate intelligent design, who are at least honest about the failed state of current Darwinian theory. From www.thethirdwayofevolution.com :

                                                                                                                                                        "The vast majority of people believe that there are only two alternative ways to explain the origins of biological diversity. One way is Creationism that depends upon supernatural intervention by a divine Creator. The other way is Neo-Darwinism, which has elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems. Both views are inconsistent with significant bodies of empirical evidence and have evolved into hard-line ideologies. There is a need for a more open “third way” of discussing evolutionary change based on empirical observations."

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                                                                                                                                                          • So you're another one who has no problems with the Creationists/IDers lying to the public about who sponsored the conference, lying to the potential publisher, and still lying to this day to push their woo. Wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                            If they have anything of scientific value let them submit it to professional journals for proper peer review. They won't because they know their religiously based woo won't pass muster in a million years. So they lie. They lie continually, they lie prodigiously, and they lie because they must.

                                                                                                                                                              • They didn't lie to the publisher. As I described, your whole red herring about "sponsorship" is meaningless. Springer backed out because people at Panda's Thumb who had no business being involved threatened to organize a boycott of Springer. Again, I've seen plenty of seemingly bad papers in my field, but I have never seen a need to threaten a boycott against a publisher that published a paper I didn't personally like.

                                                                                                                                                                The papers at this conference were peer reviewed. Apparently your definition of "proper" peer review means "by people who have an agenda against them". Was the peer review with a representative sample across the whole field of evolutionary biology? I assume not, but the same is true of countless conferences. Conferences in, say, quantum computing have their papers reviewed by others in quantum computing. They don't send them out to a bunch of people who hate quantum computing, so that they can all be rejected. Does this mean that a paper published in such conferences should not be viewed as having as wide of acceptance as a paper published in, say, Science? Sure. But it's absurd to act like it is a crime to have a conference that isn't necessarily endorsed by everyone in the field, when this is done all the time in other fields.

                                                                                                                                                                  • I was one of the founding members of "Panda's Thumb." And as awesomely groovy and powerful as we are, I don't think anyone with a half a brain could imagine that Springer was worried about a boycott.

                                                                                                                                                                    What I do recall was that the editor assigned this book for Springer Verlag was seriously angered to learn they had been lied to about the "conference" and how it was organized and presented to the publisher. Nick Matzke posted about it on Panda's Thumb, and within 24 hours Springer Verlag had taken down their pre-publication announcement. The "symposium" had been held in the Statler Auditorium in the School of Hotel Administration. It was rented, and Cornell University had nothing to do with the program. This was not the way the book had been promoted to Springer-Verlag. They were justifiably angry.

                                                                                                                                                                    The original list of papers was submitted prior to the "symposium." Interestingly, some participants withdrew their papers.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Creationist "peer review" - a bunch of YECs sit around and say "yep that looks like a good smear of real science!"

                                                                                                                                                                        No one is stopping IDers or Flat Earthers or Geocentrists from having all the woo conventions they want. We in the scientific community just won't tolerate the lying about them to gain traction with the lay public while bypassing all proper scientific methodology.

                                                                                                                                                                        It's the nonstop dishonesty of the DI's propaganda machine that's the issue, not anyone's right to believe in woo.

                                                                                                                                                                        • Did anyone at PT threaten to boycott Springer? I wasn't aware of any threat.

                                                                                                                                                                          Also, the general introduction describes the papers as "peer-edited", not "peer reviewed".

                                                                                                                                                              • mother nature is not capable of intelliagent design you see in genes an the dna in all living things

                                                                                                                                                                  • Not so. See these articles on RNA precursors to DNA:

                                                                                                                                                                    Ekland, EH, JW Szostak, and DP Bartel
                                                                                                                                                                    1995 "Structurally complex and highly active RNA ligases derived from random RNA sequences" Science 21 July 1995: Vol. 269. no. 5222, pp. 364 - 370

                                                                                                                                                                    Burckhard Seelig and Andres Jgschke
                                                                                                                                                                    1999 “A small catalytic RNA motif with Diels-Alderase activity” Chemistry & Biology, Vol 6 No 3

                                                                                                                                                                    Reader, J. S. and G. F. Joyce
                                                                                                                                                                    2002 "A ribozyme composed of only two different nucleotides." Nature vol 420, pp 841-844

                                                                                                                                                                    • I would like to ask David Baltimore how the 'DNA edifice' evolved when DNA preceded evolution as everyone knows. Neo-Darwinism assumes DNA. This kind of sloppy rhetoric is what makes it impossible to take these kinds of comments seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                        • DNA was a late addition to evolution.

                                                                                                                                                                          Davis, B.
                                                                                                                                                                          2002 "Molecular evolution before the origin of species" Prog Biophys Mol Biol. May-Jul;79(1-3):77-133

                                                                                                                                                                          Gerald F. Joyce
                                                                                                                                                                          2002 "The antiquity of RNA-based evolution" Nature 418, 214 - 221

                                                                                                                                                                          Mulkidjanian, Armen Y., Dmitry A Cherepanov, Michael Y Galperin
                                                                                                                                                                          2003 "Survival of the fittest before the beginning of life: Selection of the first oligonucleotide-like polymers by UV light" BMC Evolutionary Biology 3:12

                                                                                                                                                                          Woese, Carl
                                                                                                                                                                          2002 “On the evolution of Cells” PNAS Vol. 99 13:8742-8747, June 25

                                                                                                                                                                          • "do not believe the traditional Darwinist explanation of natural selection of random mutations"
                                                                                                                                                                            Of course not... Darwin did not have the basic knowledge of DNA back then. The Big Bang Theory is actually Christian in nature. God spoke... and BANG!... it happened.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Folks, don't feed the Timothy Horton troll. He's been booted off Cornelius Hunter's blog for his lying ways!

                                                                                                                                                                                He's just here to scribble graffiti and agigate onlookers.

                                                                                                                                                                                Gary Hurd and his cohorts at PT are corralling the wagons, desperate to save their domination of the grant monies and what semblence of prestige they still yield.

                                                                                                                                                                                They won't go quitely, that's for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                Kudos to people like Robert Marks, Bill Demski, MIchael Behe, Cornelius Hunter, Scott Minnock, Johnathan Wells, and a host of other intelligent bloggers and commenters who are taking on the establishment head on, making headway, and in the process, pissin' off a bunch of entrenched interests.

                                                                                                                                                                                When you see smoke coming out of their nostrils, ears and mouth, you know fire is not far off.

                                                                                                                                                                                So reach for your firefighting gear, starting digging those information trenches, spray those inferences to best explanations over swathes of their burning territory.

                                                                                                                                                                                "Mark' my words. We will take back the theory of evolution from the hands of the 'chancers' and put the intelligence back into evolution as it was intended with the original definition of evolution: 'a rolling out (of pre-existing rudiments)".

                                                                                                                                                                                We will put evolution back in its rightful context,Thorton, Hurd, et al. You can be sure of that!

                                                                                                                                                                                • Archaeologists have long assumed that any complex lock-in-key stone formation must be the result of intelligent design. Now biologists are increasingly believing that complex lock-in-key molecular formations must have the same cause.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • In fact, archaeologists do not "assume" construction without a well established criteria. Tool marks, clearly imported materials, and typically a well documented association with known artifacts are a minimum.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I address this in my chapter of "Why Intelligent Design Fails: A scientific critique of the new creationism" (2004 Rutgers University Press). It was also featured as part of Mike Behe's cross examination during the Dover "Panda" trial in 2005 which found teaching ID creationism in public schools an unconstitutional injection of religion into government.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Show me a case of complex interlocking stones that is natural in origin.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • In the case of Mount Rushmore, the signs that direct you to it are pretty good indication that an intelligent designer created the formation and that an intelligent designer created the sign that directs you to the intelligently-designed Mount Rushmore.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Just a comment on the word "religion" in your last line. I think those who so ardently espouse the theory of evolution as the only true explanation of life as we know it are in fact following a religion...one google definition says religion is "a particular system of faith and worship"..... they themselves are its gods, determining right and wrong by whatever whims the god has that day. The faith is in evolution itself, or perhaps what seems to be evolutionists' fervent disbelief in a God or Designer. I think evolution is more likely the worship part. Something written almost 2000 years ago seems oddly relevant - Romans, Chapter 1. It describes our situation here - I see complexity in all living systems and praise my Creator..... you see complexity in all living systems and praise...... yourself, I guess. I worship God..... you think of yourself as.......god, I guess. Whoever makes the rules is god. I believe my Designer made the rules for me......you believe you make all the rules for yourself, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • What nonsense!
                                                                                                                                                                                                Evolution is a phenomenon of nature. It requires no more faith to accept that it occurs than it does to accept that gravity exists. It is defined by those who coined the word in terms of changes to the genetic make-up of populations of organisms over successive generations. Read a basic text-book on the subject, not the deceptions and misrepresentations of creationists. Contrary to their flat and blatant falsehoods, there is no confusion in the science of biology over the definition of the term, and no difference in terms of process between evolution on micro- and macro- scales.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Evolutionary theory is an explanation for how evolution proceeds. As is the case with all theories in all fields of science it is held to be provisional and subject to revision or rejection if that is what the evidence demands. It is testament to the theory that it has been exhaustively tested for 150 years and still stands as one of the most robustly supported in any field of science. It no more rejects God than any other scientific theory. No scientific theory incorporates divine intervention. That is the nature of science.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Nobody worships evolution or evolutionary theory. Referring to evolution as a religion is nothing other than a lie of creationists in an attempt to hide the fact that their beliefs have no validity as science in spite of the fact that they promote them as science.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Many scientists, including many evolutionary biologists believe in God. Many others don't. That has nothing to do with how they carry out their scientific investigations. They don't claim scientific support for their religious beliefs because they understand science and unlike creationists are honest.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Snake and spider venom are proteins that have to have the correct configuration of amino acids to work. That's because they act as either enzymes or enzyme inhibitors on their prey. They have anywhere from 20 to 100 different amino acids. The odds that any single snake or spider could produce such a compound, and deliver it to prey and not itself, far exceeds the number of genes in all the snakes and spiders that have ever lived on this Earth. And that's even assuming they've been around for a billion years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Please show your probability calculations that let you determine those long odds you are crowing about. Be sure to provide evidence to justify any assumptions you may make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • And these are all related to digestive enzymes that have close analogs in bacteria, yeast, and fungi. So never in the history of the world did a "single snake or spider" ever need in a magical instant flash to produce these chemicals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is why anyone with some degree of scientific training in chemistry or biology realizes what a pathetic joke creationism is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • This is why anyone with some degree of scientific training in chemistry or biology realizes what a pathetic joke creationism is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or just anyone who chooses to accept the real world, rather than believe in fairy tales for adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't understand why this is even still being debated. Evolution literally has tons' worth of evidence, and creationism/ID has no evidence. It's not like both arguments have equal merit. Ricky Gervais said it well: "You can have your own opinions. But you can't have your own facts."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • My goodness. I never thought this simple column would garner such interest. Maybe I can help.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I have published hundreds of papers. Some of them are really good. Among these are a bunch of compelling peer reviewed conference and journal ID papers. You can find the list on EvoInfo.com.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. In the comments about my column in Human Events, addressing the contents of the book would be more fruitful than name calling, throwing zingers or repeating tired old anti-ID clichés. Such shallow exchanges are typically done by those lacking the intellectual capacity to engage in intelligent debate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. If you find any religious or faith content in the BINPS book, please let me know. Our intent was to exclude this or any extended philosophical content from the book and I would like to know if any slipped through. What you will find, I hope, is interesting science, engineering and mathematics. This is what our discussion needs to be about.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Lastly, anyone claiming a conference held on a campus is always sponsored by the university probably has little experience in organizing conferences. Thanks for listening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • 1) Yeah, me too. My favorite though was in "Why Intelligent Design Fails."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2) A "concern troll" from you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3) You ID creationists only admit your exclusively religious motivation when accidentally honest. For example when DrDrDrDr D wrote, "Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory." (W. Dembski “Signs of Intelligence,” 1999, Touchstone magazine). How about the ID Godfather, Phil Johnson, "Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools." American Family Radio (10 January 2003).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4) The big conferences I helped organize were all at big hotels. We didn't need to pretend we were university sponsored. I never participated in a conference at a university campus that was not enthusiastically supported by the host university. Again, we never had to pretend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              By all means stick around and try to defend your losing position. I count three people commenting extremely well qualified who will be glad to show you your mistakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • As you demand here the contents of the book have been fruitfully addressed - even without it being published back in March 2012. It could be easily anticipated from the list of contributors what the content of the volume would be because they repeated the same often refuted arguments again and again before. Readers may judge if addressing the content of the book is not exactly what happened here, here and here. Or can you point out what could actually be wrong with the discussion of e.g., Granville Sewell's ideas on the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Do you think he is right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • You had more credibility when you posted as "Galapagos Finch" over at UD. The scientific quality of your ID nonsense was the same there though. Think you guys will ever grow a pair and submit this ID horse hockey to any mainstream scientific journals?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So whose idea was it to lie and say your conference was sponsored by Cornell? John West?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Marks' #2 up there is an encyclopedia-worthy example of projection from the fellow who posted under the "Galapagos Finch" pseudonym. One would have to go a long way to find a more puerile and mean-spirited interlocutor than "Galapagos Finch". But now he has some concern about tone, and we all should listen up about that. Maybe Marks' zinger-within-a-denunciation-of-zingers about intellectual capacity is thus simply a self-assessment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The #3 item is nothing exceptional. Ever since 1968's SCOTUS ruling in Epperson v. Arkansas, religious antievolutionists have tried to assert that their arguments are science. The "oppositional dualism" that is adopted as de facto philosophy of the movement means that attempting to disestablish evolutionary biology is taken to *be* positive evidence for creationism, so advocates can easily spend time dissing evolution such that on the one hand they deny that they are engaging in religious activity, and on the other (in the exclusive audience of the faithful) they boast that they are bringing souls to Jesus thereby. The courts have consistently labeled this activity a sham, and I think the readers here are just as perceptive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps the reader thinks I exaggerate. Sid Galloway, a conference participant, posted this about the conference: "The BINPS at Cornell University was a purely scientific conference, with no public elements of religion in the presentations or discussion. However, there was a great deal of fruitful private dialogue involving philosophical, theological, and teleological implications among presenters and attendees during our free time. The coordinators' decision to eliminate any public religious content was understandable given their sincere commitment as a group to trace only the "science" evidence to its best and most logical conclusion"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Note the distinction between public appearance and private assignment of meaning. You don't have to be Umberto Eco to unravel this stuff. The goal is still to deceive a court somewhere about what is happening, therefore subterfuge remains the order of the day (and of the decades intervening between 1968 and now). The command to ignore everything happening behind the curtain is just as funny here as it was in "The Wizard of Oz", and should be just as futile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dr Marks, It's a nice opportunity that you reviewed the comments to your article.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am hoping you can address one point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You said: "Yet we all agree that a picture of Mount Rushmore with the busts of four US Presidents contains more information than a picture of Mount Fuji."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This seems to go to the nub of the matter. Michel Behe has also used this example at the Dover trial. Nevertheless, there are natural objects that seem to contain information. For example, in one of my earlier comments, I linked to a natural mountain that is clearly recognizable as a portrait of John F. Kennedy. Does the Kennedy mountain contain more or less information than Rushmore?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And how would we know? What units of measure are we using to make this determination? I assume the unit of measure for information in your line of work is "bits" but that doesn't seem at all appropriate for the information in the Rushmore and Kennedy mountains.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Since this concept of information appears to be essential to Intelligent Design, quantifiying and measuring biological information would appear to be critical to the success (or lack thereof) of the theory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I, for one, would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this and I really look forward to your response-prehaps in a second column for Human Events?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • I found the assertion that "a picture of Mount Rushmore with the busts of four US Presidents contains more information than a picture of Mount Fuji," to be stupid. If I have two photographs of anything that are of the same size, and point density, they have the identical "information" when represented in a digital string. A photo of a page of text from a phone book has no more "information" than a photo of a mountain.