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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quick posts: Recent events/finds in the intelligent design controversy

■ Intelligent design is of interest only to Jesus-hollering American theocrats, right? This cluster map of hits on a Portuguese language ID- friendly blog has picked up hits widely across Latin America, even from Cuba. I hope no one goes to prison over that. Many journalists are still in the infancy of twenty-year sentences for telling something other than lies. But that’s materialism when it gets to power.

■G.K. Chesterton debated Clarence Darrow,
Ostensibly the defender of science against Mr. Chesterton, he obviously knew much less about science than Mr. Chesterton did; when he essayed to answer his opponent on the views of Eddington and Jeans, it was patent that he did not have the remotest conception of what the new physics was all about. His victory over Mr. Byran at Dayton had been too cheap and easy; he remembered it not wisely but too well. His arguments are still the arguments of the village atheist of the Ingersoll period; at Mecca Temple he still seemed to be trying to shock and convince yokels.

That is all so 2006! I get posts here and elsewhere all the time from persons who announce that they know better than I do and that I cannot have read the materials that persuaded them to join the cult, that I am a fraud, a fool, or a pseudo-journalist. Demographically, the number of yokels is down, which may be part of the reason why most people don;t just take their word for everything.

■ Business school prof Clayton M. Christenson and Press Institute prez Andrew B. Davis argue that newspapers are not doomed.
Newspaper companies have only begun to scratch their innovation potential. To succeed, they have to learn to look at markets in new ways. They must invest to create new capabilities and rethink the way they work individually and collectively.

Trouble is, their thoughts sound like biz school buzz. Nowhere do they address the problem that on key issues these days, people are increasingly better off to find trustworthy sources on the Net.

■ ID guy Jonathan Wells reviews a new book claiming to explain embryo development according to Darwinian evolution, using a hypothesis of "facilitated variations." (The Plausibility of Life by Marc W. Kirschner and John C. Gerhart):
If a century of embryology has taught us anything, it is that we can fiddle with these mechanisms all we want in a mouse embryo, and there are only three possible outcomes: a normal mouse, a deformed mouse, or a dead mouse.

Despite the dubious nature of their theoretical proposal, Kirschner and Gerhart imply that anyone who continues to be skeptical of Darwinian evolution is close-minded. In particular, people who think that intelligent design might provide a better explanation for some features of living things are dismissed as ignorant, religiously motivated, and covertly seeking ways to evade the law. Like many of their fellow Darwinists, Kirschner and Gerhart ultimately resort to personal insults.

But remember, materialism, like the Party, is right, so any thesis that upholds it is better than any criticism of same by definition.

Baby hippo orphaned by tsunami turns 130-year-old tortoise into stepfather
Exhausted, confused and extremely frightened, Owen immediately ran to the safety of a giant tortoise when we released him in Haller Park. Mzee, our 130 year old tortoise, just happened to be nearby and he was very surprised by Owen's odd behavior cowering behind him as a baby hippo does to its mother. Mzee quickly came to terms with his new friend and even returned signs of affection.
Here are some touching photos. But remember, the unfeeling reptilian brain does not permit affection of this type.

■ From the newsletter of the Center for Naturalism, in case you thought that the war between naturalism/Darwinism and intelligent design has no political implications, note this brief review of Lee M. Silver's Challenging nature: The Clash of Science and Spirituality at the Frontiers of Life
Silver describes how beliefs in the soul and the sanctity of the natural order affect policy in domains such as abortion, cloning, genetic engineering, biodiversity and the environment. In each case, purists with religious or spiritual agendas attempt to limit the scope of intentional control, which can rule out what many might consider legitimate options, such as terminating an unwanted pregnancy, conducting stem cell research, or designing more resource-efficient varieties of grain and livestock. ...
An argument for death for the littlest among us ...
Are you looking for one of the following stories?

My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy.

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being granted tenure at Baylor after a long struggle - even after helping in a small way to destroy the Baylor Bears' ancient glory - in the opinion of a hyper sportswriter.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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