Academic persecution of ID proponents

Clearly you are not familiar with cultural behaviors among the apes.

The vast majority of biologists, including every Christian one, disagrees with you. Your attempt as someone who professes to know next to nothing about biology to tell biologists what their realm of knowledge is really all about strikes me as … quixotic.

There is a difference between mathematically random and ontologically random. Biologists use the first definition, but you are using the second. Perhaps you were unaware of the distinction.

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What does that mean?

What do matches have to do with fitness?

No, you need to provide those things. If you claim to be able to measure CSI, then you should be able to calculate those properties for any given sequence.

Also, it sounds like you are setting up a Sharpshooter fallacy.

I am just using the former. I don’t care about ontology. Only math and physical data.

Can you expand on what you mean here?

I would say it lies on the side of a field that claims to be a rigorous, quantifiable theory. If the field cannot generate basic probabilities after 150 years, it cannot really claim the mantle of rigor and quantification.

I beg to differ, Eric. You used the term random in an ontological fashion when you made the claim that the theory of evolution is intrinsically dysteleological.

My claim, and that of all the Christian biologists I know and most of the secular biologists I have read, is that the theory of evolution is not dysteleological and does not posit ontological randomness.


“you’ve spent much more time with John West and others at the DI than I ever have” - EricMH

Come again? Weren’t you a participant at the DI’s summer program for students in Seattle too, as I was? If so, then it would seem to make sense that you were with “West & others at the DI” just as much as I was. I met several and ate lunch with a few of them; didn’t you?

You spent a week with the DI’s leaders, then have since been active working with Marks & Ewert. Dembski kinda disappeared for a couple of years, but he’s not leading the DI these days, just a fixture of the IDM. He is your “colleague”, EricMH. What’s this about “you’ve spent more time with IDists than I have” talk? Are you hesitating your allegiance?

“trying to contact them through me is unlikely to produce any new insight than you’ve already received.”

Well, I’ve been distinguishing “them” (DI leaders) and “you” so far, EricMH. Since you are making claims, e.g. about “human design”, that they are not. I like them as “nice people” and expect you are decent too. Nevertheless, from a scholarly basis, neither you nor they have developed a coherent or meaningful “human design theory” based on the “Intelligent Design theory” of Thaxton, Johnson, Meyer, Behe, Dembski, et al.

And I take that a step further saying simply: it’s not possible to create an ID theory of human design (because ID theory is a theory of Divine Design, not human design) & any attempt to do so should be abandoned. You have feigned otherwise, but never actually delivered, and frankly I don’t wish to challenge you to do so, as it does not seem you are qualified or the right person in the IDM to make the attempt. Design theory, design studies, design history, design thinking; these things all already exist.

ID theory is the unwanted guest in Academia (return to OP again) because it exaggerates & tries to swallow too much into its ideological overlay, blurring the meaning of “intelligence/Intelligence” along the way. In short, our shared belief in Divine Creation should not be impacted whatsoever by “ID theory”, at least not once a person already believes in the Creator.

This “sociological level” is the level at which I observe the IDM, in addition to the ID theory qua “theory” people are making claims about, EricMH. I’m not someone seeking to validate ID theory as a “strictly scientific” theory about the origins of life and information, as the DI envisions it. You are aware of that major difference between us, right, as you seem clearly in validation-at-all-costs mode pro-ID theories?

“the appearance that I’m some sort of DI shill”

Well, to be fair, you do receive a salary from the DI currently to work for the Bradley Center & post somewhat regularly at Mind Matters website, do you not? I’ve never called you a “shill”, and don’t prefer such low language even for opponents. If you may accept this humble observation on my part as a sociologist watching the conversations you are involved in at multiple locations, you sure do repeat a lot of what the DI has already said, and look up to IDists above many other highly qualified scholars, scientists and thinkers. Most people outside of the DI don’t do that.

“I’ve barely had any interaction with the majority of the people at the DI.”

Thanks for being open about this. I find it fascinating, as someone who studies social movements, how the ID Movement attracts & retains its followers. The summer program is one of the Discovery Institute’s key projects to “spread the word” about ID theory to the next generation. Were you aware of this, EricMH?

You sat in lectures with and met many of the leaders of the DI at the summer program you attended. To me, that counts as having more than “barely had any interaction” with IDists. It would certainly appear that you do know and communicate with quite a few IDists personally, along with working collaboratively as a colleague with IDists on “ID theory”. Frankly, you appear every bit the “revolutionary” that the DI’s summer program expected to be generating; you and Winston.

“I’ve tried discussing philosophy and such with him, but it is a dead end”

Yes, and the same is true for Egnor, Axe, Gauger, Behe & Ewert frankly; either a dead end or extremely low level wrt philosophy. I recommend that you do really need to look beyond IDism, the IDM & DI authors (incl. Meyer, Richards & Nelson, a trio of IDist philosophists) for discussing actual philosophy, not something meant mainly for an introductory course in information apologetics for engineers and computer scientists. For real. It will change your life positively, I entreat you, EricMH.

NB: You wouldn’t have to and will not be asked to give up the RCC. Instead, you will simply feel compelled to ditch IDist ideology after having seen the facts that reveal it as such too clearly to forget. I’m quite sure you would discover at least something about what I mean by that if you contact Meyer &/or West and ask the questions indicated above. Does it interest you?

Reporting by experience of having spoken with those who went through it, once a person drops over-the-top IDism that they are taught by the DI, they discover that their felt need of trying to argue for topics like “Academic persecution of ID proponents” swiftly ends along with it. That’s why I put my finger on this particular button when it passed by at BioLogos EricMH. You do yourself no favours when you invite persecution - “just a poor boy” - for embracing ID theory, despite the many strong and convincing arguments by Abrahamic monotheists against it, leave aside the atheist/agnostic critiques.

As it is, after you slagged your own ID theory partner in Bob Marks, please be aware that I’ve been trying to discuss philosophy and social sciences with you occasionally for a couple of years now. So far, that’s been a dead end. Don’t necessarily feel bad about that, EricMH, given your field of training/education, though you can work to grow on that if you choose; it was differently, but largely the same with John G. West at the DI’s summer program. He was not simply willing to listen to or learn anything other than the ideology in his head: “IDism rules!” … except shutting down the summer program for ID theory in social sciences and humanities and adding an apologetics “scientism studies” section in its place, speaks loudly against IDism in action.

Again, why not at least write an email to Meyer & West asking them their thoughts? What would be the harm in that? You work for them, why should they not address your honest question to them? It would give both you and everyone else here an answer to that “important question” that we at least have agreed about so far. Can you contribute to that progress in conversation between us, EricMH? Why not give it a try?

Simple asks to Meyer & West: 1) small-id vs. Big-ID, & 2) human design vs. Divine Design. I’m sure the results would be fascinating, EricMH. And as you know this is not a site where your opponents are atheists or agnostics, so your report would likely be met with a respectfully different response than you are used to arguing with about ID theory among the latter. What’s to lose in writing that email to them, EricMH?

I don’t have any questions along those lines. I already explained the main problem I saw, and now Mind Matters addresses the problem of the distinction between human and evolvable intelligence. Problem solved.

I only mean it in a mathematical empirical sense. If you read anything more into the term that’s on you. Nothing more I can do here.

I read your statement that the theory of evolution is inherently dysteleological. I also read your statement that the supposed dysteleology is the result of the theory’s incorporation of randomness.

I asserted that mathematical randomness does not imply dysteleology. So far, you have not disputed that assertion. Instead, you have asserted that you used the term random in an entirely mathematical sense.

This clarification of your intent would seem to lead to an agreement that the theory of evolution is indeed NOT dysteleological. However, you have entirely avoided speaking to that substantive issue of teleology vs. dysteleology which lies at the heart of our conversation.

Please start communicating clearly about this important substance.

  • Tell us clearly whether or not you believe that the use of mathematical randomness in a scientific theory must necessarily imply that the theory is dysteleological.

If you cannot be clear about the central issue of the relationship between different kinds of randomness and teleology, I see no point in continuing this discussion.

Thank you.


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A distinction without a difference.

Sounds like you’ve switched your tune somewhere during this thread.

Now you say:

“I don’t have any questions along those lines.”

The “lines” meaning: 1) small-id vs. Big-ID, & 2) human design vs. Divine Design.

Yet previously you wrote:

“Especially your distinction between small and big ID, I think is an important distinction and you raise an important question”

Sorry, but I don’t understand what’s changed in your mind from a few weeks ago. So, it’s “an important question”, but one that now “you don’t have”, even a curiosity, to ask Meyer & West, your own employers / colleagues at the Discovery Institute? Please make an effort to clarify yourself, as it’s hard to follow the conversation otherwise.

Is it because you think Meyer & West have already provided a clear answer to 1) & 2) somewhere? I don’t think either of them has in anything I’ve read by them. If you do, please be a good chap and send a link to their answer(s). I haven’t seen an answer from them, and I have seen them both asked that “important question” and avoid answering.

Why not help us all out by finding out (since really, it’s not much of a reach or difficult for you to ask), instead of obscuring the conversation? Or is the intentional obscuring of conversations and discussions by IDists just a standard part of the persecution complex in the IDM that you bring upon yourselves?

“Problem solved.”

ROTFL. Only in your own mind it seems. No persecution required.

“the problem of the distinction between human and evolvable intelligence.”

The notion of “evolvable human intelligence” sure must throw you folks for a conceptual-psychological loop then, eh? = P

The field can generate basic probabilities. The problem is that you and other ID supporters still don’t understand what a Sharpshooter fallacy is.

Coding sequence come in three-base codons. Constraint on the three bases is very different, with the largest effect coming from how likely mutations to the different bases are to be nonsynymous.

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