by Denyse O'Leary
Sometimes, when the wind is changing, all you can do is note the straws flying past. Here is a handful.
- Here are the sort of silly Darwinists who are quite convinced that they have the
truth. And people wonder why there is an intelligent design controversy.
- Scientific literacy claims
According to poli sci prof Jon Miller's
But the number of people who believe Darwinism is not increasing.
Approximately 28 percent of American adults currently qualify as scientifically literate, an increase from around 10 percent in the late 1980s and early 1990s ...
- Coincidences (?) In evolution
There are amazing coincidences in evolution. But are they really coincidences?
- Usage note: "Darwinism"
Now and then, I get hassled by people claiming that Darwinists do not use the term "Darwinism" to describe themselves. As I have said elsewhere, I think that this view stems mainly from anxiety about the social changes that are resulting from the failure of materialist ideologies. People look for anything and everything that might reassure them that nothing is really happening, and seize on petty matters that the can inflate into a an "issue." Well, here is a conference to be held in September 2007 at the University of Leeds called Darwinism after Darwin: New historical perspectives. The thing that blows me away is, what's wrong with the term?
- Ray Kurzweil, the guru of conscious computers , now prophesies an intelligent universe. He thinks that intelligent beings like ourselves will take over the universe and indue it with intelligence.
Coming, as I do, from a publishing background, I find myself thinking, but ... what if some prior intelligence (Intelligence? God?) holds the copyright on our efforts? We cannot act as though we are not republishing the original material.
- Darwinism vs. traditional religions and philosophies
According to Wesley V. Hromatko, D.Min, preaching to the First Unitarian Church at Sioux City, Iowa, on March 6, 2005
, poet Robert Frost discovered Darwin in high school and "to his motherâ€™s horror called himself a Freethinker." (Lawrence Thompson, Robert Frost: The Early Years 1874-1915 (NY, Chicago, & San Francisco: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966), 118f.) Remember that when someone assures you that Darwinism does not have that effect.
- An ID-friendly scientist friend (I seem to have a lot of those, so either they're more numerous than some believe or I live long or wrong) writes,
Things ARE changing. If someone has said to me, even late in my PhD work, that a seminar such as the following would occur within less than a decade of my defense [about a decade ago], I would have been incredulous -- especially in light of the co-sponsorship of the UW-Madison zoology and philosophy departments.
Trees do bear fruit, if one is patient.
My friend references an attempt to accommodate non-materialist science. It was always there. It was always fruitful. It just wasn't popular with or funded by materialists.
It seems apparent that Dawkinsâ€™ creative intellect is spent. He is no longer either willing or able to wrestle with big ideas. Now, as Oxford Universityâ€™s unfortunate â€œCharles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Scienceâ€, he is doomed to the life of a pedestrian science popularizer (he spends pages in The Ancestorâ€™s Tale explaining radioactive dating to those who donâ€™t know protons from neutrons), although an admittedly entertaining one given to frequent, superficial rants on religion and politics.
and I have thought the same myself. Dawkins' recent "anti-God" crusade cemented the impression.
- ID guy as concert pianist: Free music download
Gil Dodgen, one of the ID guys, blogs with Bill Dembski at Uncommon Descent, and also makes available wonderful music from his days as a concert pianist, before he became a better paid software engineer. Sigh.
- Allow school choice, says Cato Institute
The free-market Cato Institute believes that the solution to a number of battles, including the entrenchment of Darwinist religion in biology classes, is simply to allow more parental choice. As Cato spokesman Neal McCluskey's study, quoted in Bob Unruh's story at WorldNet Daily says,
Public schooling forces everyone to pay for a single official system that does not â€“ and indeed cannot â€“ reflect the public's diverse and often conflicting views. The inevitable result of this system â€¦ is endless social discord over what is taught, ...
Well, yes, of course. Thirty years ago, I tended to be against school choice because my mental picture of the people who would want it was that they were attempting to impose nonsense. I have learned since. Now that Darwinism has become the linchpin of a materialist religion, promoted using tax dollars through the publicly supported school system.
This book is about why organisms work well, or to put it another way, why they seem to be â€œdesigned.â€
Before I elaborate, I should mention two things the book is not. First, it is not about Intelligent Design (ID). Although I touch upon ID obliquely from time-to-time, I do so not because I endorse it, but because it is mostly unavoidable. ID theory is essentially warmed-over natural theology, but there is, at its core, a serious point that deserves serious attention. Before your hackles rise too much, let me hasten to say that the serious point is not the one that ID enthusiasts would like it to be. ID theory would like us to believe that some overarching intelligence lurks at the heart of the evolutionary process: to say the least, that is unlikely. Nevertheless, how design arises remains a very real problem in biology. This would be a good point to note the second thing the book is not: it is not a critique of Darwinism, which, as Dr Seuss might have put it, is about as true as any thought that has ever been thunk.
Which brings us back to what this book is about â€¦
My thesis is quite simple: organisms are designed not so much because natural selection of particular genes has made them that way, but because agents of homeostasis build them that way. These agentsâ€™ modus operandi is to construct environments upon which homeostasis can be imposed, and design is the result.
 The Glunk that got Thunk from Dr Seuss (1969). I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!
Turner's comments are interesting chiefly because if he is arguing against natural selection, he is arguing against Darwinism. Natural selection is the engine that drives Darwinism. Presumably, he avoids attacks by Darwinists by resorting to this subterfuge.
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
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