Intelligent Design Is Only Theology, IDIOT

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Someone mentioned the idea of handing out flyers outside screenings of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, so I drew up a list of bullet-points that I'd like to include. Of course, it's too long for a flyer, but maybe it might give someone ideas or they might pick out a few of them.

I intend to annotate this with hyperlinks to relevant online documents and other media. If you can suggest links, please do. I'm particularly interesting in a video of one of Stephen Meyer's lectures: in the Q&A at the end, an evolutionary biologist makes a fool of Meyer by describing a half-dozen precursor structures to the rotary bacterial flagellum beloved by cdesign proponentsists.

This post is dedicated to the public domain. Do with it as you wish.

The List

  • Evolution is an empirically observed phenomenon, like gravity, not “just a theory”. In common language: evolution is a fact.
  • Just as “port” has a specific technical meaning with respect to computers (nothing to do with boats or wine), “theory” has a specific technical meaning in science: it does not mean “conjecture”, “speculation”, or “guess”.
  • Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is a scientific theory which explains the observed phenomenon of evolution in nature.
  • Darwin's theory has been rigourously tested by real biologists for over 150 years, greatly enhanced in detail by generations of scientists, and has not been contradicted or found wanting.
  • According to the United States District Court judgement in Kitzmiller vs. Dover, “ID is not science” (p.64) and “ID is creationism re-labeled” (p.33).
  • ID is part in the leaked “Wedge Project” of the Discovery Institute, which seeks to subvert science education by smuggling Biblical Creationism into schools using ID as the "thin end".
  • The ultimate goal of the "Wedge Project" is to have a right-wing Christian theocracy in power in the United States. They are known by opponents, only half-jokingly, as "The Christian Taliban".
  • The Discovery Institute is a "respectable" front organisation for the Christian Taliban.
  • Evolution by natural selection is one of the fundamental theories in biology. It is extremely well-corroborated by experimental and other evidence, more than any other theory in biology. It is one of the most successful theories in all science.
  • ID is a sugar-coated version of Biblical Creation, a fundamental dogma of the Christian Taliban. It is not corroborated by any experimental or other evidence.
  • A very simple lab experiment, taking only a few days, using a kit developed for schools costing less than $100, clearly demonstrates the phenomenon of evolution and corroborates the theory of evolution.
  • ID/Creationism is not corroborated by any experiment, simple or otherwise. No ID proponent has ever conducted a single experiment to test their "scientific theory".
  • Agreement with experiment is a necessary characteristic of a scientific theory. ID/Creationism is not science.
  • The appearance of the antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”, like MRSA,  from their non-resistant ancestors are examples of evolution in nature which have happened entirely in living memory.
  • ID/Creationism does not explain the appearance of superbugs in living memory, nor the development of species on a longer timescale. It has no explanatory power whatever.
  • Explanatory power is a necessary characteristic of a scientific theory. ID/Creationism is not science.
  • There are approximately 120,000,000 fossils which support evolution by natural selection, and extensive DNA evidence. No fossil or DNA evidence contradicts evolution. All of the available evidence supports evolution.
  • There is no fossil evidence or DNA evidence which supports ID/Creationism.
  • Being supported, not contradicted, by all of the available evidence is a necessary characteristic of a scientific theory. ID/Creationism is not science.
  • All examples of Behe's ”irreducible complexity” proposed by the ID/Creationist movement have been comprehensively debunked by real evolutionary biologists. Ken Miller on ID (39:37 - 50:17)
  • Leading ID proponents have been publically humiliated both in Federal Court and at their own public lectures (03:45+) by evolutionary biologists' explanations of the evolution of bacterial flagella.
  • In science, truth is not determined by counting votes. Having “100 scientists” who support ID/Creationism is irrelevant to the truth value of the “theory”.
  • As a joke to poke fun at such specious head-counting, Project Steve lists over 875 scientists, all named Steve, who support evolution and reject Creationism.
  • There is no “controversy” outside the Christian Taliban: evolution is a superbly well-corroborated and useful theory. Intelligent Design is sugar-coated Creationism, a religious dogma without any of the characteristics of a real scientific theory.
  • ID/Creationism is rejected by most scientists, all reputable journals, and all reputable universities because it is not science. It is not a “conspiracy” for science to exclude theology from science: everything that is not science is excluded from science.
  • Although the Christian Taliban oppose any science which contradicts a literal interpretation of the Bible, including archaeology, geology, anthropology, and biology, they particularly despise evolution.
  • Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a propaganda film of the Christian Taliban produced to undermine the real science of evolutionary biology and promote religious dogma as science.
  • Expelled uses time-honoured techniques of propaganda to associate modern evolutionary biology, which the Christian Taliban call “Darwinism”, with the Nazi Holocaust.
  • No historian outside the Christian Taliban supports this mendacious slur on biologists, Darwin, or the memory of the Holocaust victims.
  • The real scientists in Expelled (Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers) were tricked into participating in the film.
  • Ironically, even though he is thanked in the credits, PZ Myers was expelled by armed security from a pre-release screening on the instruction of producers and no ordinary film critics have been allowed to review it. Afraid of criticism? Hypocrisy, much?
  • The “inside a cell” computer animation (with the "tight-rope walking" motor protein) is a direct reproduction of an Harvard educational animation made by XVIVO Inc. for Harvard University. For educational reasons, it omits and simplifies the real activity inside a cell. In reality, the inside of a cell is crowded and messy. Real motor proteins do not plod along steadily like “little men”.
  • Science teachers who teach their own religious dogma, ID/Creationism, instead of science deserve to be fired.
  • Professors who teach their own religious dogma, ID/Creationism, instead of science do not deserve tenure.
  • Reputable science journals are right to publish only scientific articles and reject theological speculation.
  • University science departments should prefer candidates who publish real scientific research in real scientific journals over candidates who publish theological speculations in pretend science journals run by the Christian Taliban.
  • The central messages of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed are lies.
  • Ben Stein is a lawyer, actor, and comedian. He is not a scientist and he is unqualified to evaluate scientific theories. Indeed, he is so profoundly ignorant that he thinks that intelligent design explains “why the planets don't just fall down” (@2:40).
  • Ancient peoples each had their own creation myth. Biblical Creation is the creation story of the nomadic Jewish tribes of bronze-age Palestine. It cannot replace the cornerstone theory of modern biology.

Help

  • I can't remember for the life of me where I read about an ambitious project to put 120,000,000 fossils into a single online database.
  • Subtlety and impact are enemies. You may think some of the straight-talking is "too straight" like "evolution is a fact", but I owe that one to Dawkins, so take it up with him :o)

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2 Comments

You're using the term "evolution" without defining it throughout your list. Do you mean "gene frequencies change over time in response to variation and selection mechanisms" or "all life on Earth is related and descended from a single protocell that arose spontaneously?" The first obviously empirically observable, but it's not in dispute by anybody. Do you think the second is an "empirically observed phenomenon?"

I think the latter is a conjunction of three assertions: "all life on Earth has a common ancestor" (syn. "related"), and "the common ancestor is a single protocell", and "the protocell arose spontaneously". The first is part of what I understand to be "evolution" and it is clearly attested to by evidence. At a guess, there may be an evidenciary gap between simple self-replicating molecules that can be produced in a lab and the early iron-fixing bacteria that are well known. Where, between these two, your "protocell" fits, I've no idea. I don't think anyone contends that anything so complex that it could legitimately be termed a "protocell" popped into existence, or that there was only one, though.

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