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Date: 2008/02/26 16:50:00, Link
Author: rpenner
Now, I'm not a professional biologist or expert in biological molecules (despite over 30 days of sinus discharge) but I would like to ask Kevin a question, since he would seem to prefer questions than pointed explanations and empirical details.

Why is this movie taking so long from the appearantly completed version being shown around the country to it's rumored April theatrical release? Are you waiting for original animation, additional on-site footage or clearance? Is "Bad to the Bone" going to be replaced with an AC/DC song to match Stein's costume?

Why are schools being (promised to be) paid to get children to see this film, that being the opposite of the usual Hollywood strategy and children being the opposite of the typical documentary audience?

Is Ben Stein still attached to this project? The movie website only has two posts from Stein on the purported blog. Generally spokespersons get paid to, um, speak. Did Stein write his own lines in the trailer? Reminding us of his association with Nixon, doesn't seem to put him in the modest, trustworthy, or likeable catagories. (Wasn't it Nixon who created the modern Federal Holiday which in many people's minds takes the place of the actual dates of Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays? I ask because one of the movie's producers seems to blame this on evolution, not Nixon.)

Good luck, I hope to see the movie someday.

Date: 2008/02/26 19:08:22, Link
Author: rpenner
Quote (ERV @ Feb. 26 2008,18:22)
New guy wins.

You are too kind.

I spend most of my time on the completely crank-polluted http://forum.physorg.com/ and trying to code up the interface to my personal anti-woo site, but you might have spotted me on Science Blogs.

Date: 2008/02/27 14:23:20, Link
Author: rpenner
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
The way I see it, one reason ID is so controversial is that it argues mind precedes matter in the form of a creative intelligence;
Does ID propose that one or more creative minds existed before matter? (Christian, Islamic, Classical Greek, etc.) Creationism asserts that, but for a scientific theory to assert that as a postulate, at a minimum it has to be written down. No one, not even Philip E. Johnson has seen it written down.

How many minds are we talking about? (Malaria and ID, parasitic wasps and ID imply the hypothetical mind(s) is/are not at all concerned with human or other suffering.)

Define intelligence. Should we expect to be able to infer anything about the level of this intelligence and its goals from the human eye having a blind spot, and the octopus eye not having a blind spot? Or what about the proximity of esophagus and trachea causing us to be able to choke to death on small things?

Define creative? What is the manner and operation of this creative power of this matterless mind? What signature does it leave behind?

What is the motivation for ID? What empirical basis even suggests that this creative intelligence exists or existed? Gravity, human evolution, and electromagnetism had hundreds of years of empirical evidence whose generalization resulted in the first theories.
 
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
whereas classic evolutionary theory says that mind is a product of matter.
I dispute this. Observation shows that non-human intelligence is associated in certain patterned material systems (rats in mazes, problem-solving crows, signing apes, to a very limited extent computers). In all known cases, allowing what amounts to surgical insertion for the largest cases, 100 grams of Semtex is sufficient to disrupt these patterns in matter such that the intelligence is damaged or rendered unavailable. Therefore the generalization which all science subscribes to is that intelligence requires patterns in matter. Obviously, demonstrating that this generalization is wrong would be world-wide news, but it is a necessary prerequisite to the postulate that such a non-material agent is actually responsible for human evolution.    
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
Intelligence is one of the last things to appear on the scene.
According to the paleontological history of Earth, which is distinct from evolution, intelligence on Earth nearly certainly began in or before the Cambrian period. But if you mean ISO committees, KISS engineering rules, Baconian scientific methodology and it's successors, which is to say human-level intelligence, then you are probably correct. Can ID succeed if the hypothetical agent(s) cannot be demonstrated to have super-human intelligence? (For thousands of years, even without a comprehensive theory of heredity, humans have been evolving their livestock and food crops, but being a non-biologist, you probably think 250 gram potatoes and orange carrots are natural.) What are the attributes of the agent(s)?
 
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
But when confronted with the question of how life began, many evolutionary theorists allow that perhaps Panspermia had something to do with it.
Correct. When there is no evidence, theoreticians invent more hypotheses and experimentalists look for more evidence. Panspermia (life on Earth started off world) can best be refuted by finding life off-planet and demonstrating it has low biochemical similarity to life on Earth.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
This theory is broadly accepted as a scientific possibility
Which is to say a hypothesis in an area where the experimentalists have very little hard data.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
even though it also posits that mind came first and matter—at least the highly organized arrangements of matter we call living things—second.
No it doesn't. It says life arose somewhere else in the first 10 billion years of the universe and spread to Earth. Matter came first.
 
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
So my question is, why is one theory so controversial and the other not?
Neither is a theory. ID is controversial because it was intelligently designed by humans to replace the unconstitutional creation science which was intelligently designed to replace unconstitutional creationism. Panspermia is a hypothesis in an area where we are ignorant and may be strengthened or weakened if life is ever found on Mars or elsewhere in space.
 
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
What if you stripped away all of the religious and political baggage from ID?
It's a little unfair for you to propose this while showing your film around to groups of ministers and excluding the mainstream press. But what if DI would shut up and the makers of ID textbooks would at least wait until there was a testable theory of ID proposed instead of just recycling creationist textbooks?  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
Would the theory be more acceptible then?
Philip E. Johnson says there is no scientific theory.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
And wouldn’t ID and Panspermia become nearly indistinguishable?
I have already indicated tests which would, depending on outcome, strengthen or weaken the case for Panspermia. Please tell me if the same tests would strengthen or weaken ID? Would any tests weaken the case for ID? What is the theory of ID?  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
After all, both argue that perhaps the best possibility for explaining how life began is a higher intelligence that seeded it on earth.
Panspermia (generic) is not a "best argument" but one hypothesis of many. Panspermia (aliens did it) has far less support. Panspermia (aliens did it on purpose) has far less support. But if any of these were in fact true, they predict that there would be evidence to find to support the theory. If ID (a god did it) is true, would there be any evidence to find? Why did this agent wait 10 billion years? Does that imply the agent's creative powers have strict limits?  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
We can argue all day about what the nature of that intelligence really is.
First you have to have a theory of ID. Then you can explore what the agent(s) can and cannot do. Then you can find evidence if the agent(s) actually exists/existed or if the biological evidence is consistent with the idea of even minimal intelligence. But such a theory of ID is not what is represented in the textbooks. The public face of ID is a story about human evolution, so talking about the origins of life and not the origins of species is a canard.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
But that’s beside the main point: Do we need intelligence to explain things like the origin and diversity of life or not?
Yikes, you agreed with me.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
Classical evolution says no, ID and Panspermia say yes.
Panspermia and empirical evidence, does say no about the diversity of life. The most discussed form of Panspermia says no about the origin of life.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
Two different answers to the same question.
As I noted above, you asked a complex question and failed to correctly describe Panspermia. Even in the case of Panspermia (aliens did it on purpose) or the very weak version of ID which you propose, human evolution is completely left up to naturalistic processes.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
I fail to see how one answer is scientific and the other not.
Neither rises to the level of a scientific theory -- they are just proposed patches of guesses to cover a gap in human knowledge. They aren't comprehensive like a theory needs to be, and they make no claims which would potentially prove them wrong, which theories need to have.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
That being said, I’m sure someone is going to go off about the scientific method and how the IDers aren’t serious scientists,
Well they do seem to do everything ass-backwards.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
that they’re a bunch of liars, etc.
With respect to the DI, that is given.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
But once again, that’s beside the point.
For me, it is beside the point, since I don't appeal to their goodwill and authority. But you seem quite credulous of people who have said in court that if their ID is science then so is Astrology and Water Dousing.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
Never mind their methods or their ethics.
Exclude the contents of the null set from consideration. Gotcha.  
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,10:40)
Is the question the ID community is asking scientific or not?
What question are they asking? If you mean "Do we need intelligence to explain the origin of life on Earth?" then science is ignorant of that answer. Opinions vary, but in all cases the scientific opinion would shift on the basis of evidence. If you mean "Do we need intelligence to explain the pattern of diversity of life on Earth?" then the answer is strongly no. All ID completely fails to explain this pattern. If you mean "Do we need intelligence to explain human origins?" Then the answer is even more strongly no.

One of the tactics of the pseudoscientist, and we have a lot of them in this world, is that they thrive on ignorance while actual scientists pursue evidence. Pseudoscientists desire the respect of science and emulate its form, but tend to use garbled logic, obscure or made-up references and try to force their opponents to defend the cutting edge of knowledge. For ID we have seen them retreat from human origins to the Cambrian explosion to the origin of the Metazoans to the origin of life itself. Actual science drove them to the edges of human ignorance just like good money drives out bad currency in economic theory.

Date: 2008/03/07 16:54:30, Link
Author: rpenner
Maybe it is just "premiering" in Grand Rapids, with official opening in the rest of the country the next week. They clearly have spared no expense: I had no idea that forcing academics to compete in a meritocracy required documentary footage of Nazi Germany.

Anyway, more Expelled Blog fun is coming up on March 8 from "Guest Lecturer" -- no idea who it is -- their site seems sticky and broken right now.

Date: 2008/03/07 16:56:50, Link
Author: rpenner
Sorry - it looks like it's dated March 6, not 8. 23 comments filed but I can't read the post "Ben Stein Smart Bombs Darwinian Bunker" yet.

 

 

 

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