A New Deal for Intelligent Design?


(Guy Coe) #108

Not a friendly guy? : )

(Paul A Nelson) #109

Michael Denton once told me in a letter that his view of biology was “pure Aristotle.” He and I have spent enough time together (drinking alcohol, let’s be honest) that I know he sees organismal teleology as perfectly real and discoverable. Hence he can justifiably claim the label of “design theorist.”

Nonetheless – you knew that was coming – I disagree with Michael about whether his conception of teleology actually works. This is doubtless more than you want to read, but it’s relevant:


Discovery Institute fellows are not monolithic in their opinions.

(Guy Coe) #110

Not even megalithic, or even necessarily neolithic, @pnelson !

(George) #111


It would be nice to have something definitive from the literature that clearly states that “Darwin” is no longer attached to the modern theory of Evolution.

I think your logic is perfectly fine. But it would be “best practice” to have some definitive science manual referenced, or some other authority.

(George) #112


Let’s be realistic. We can’t just ask to drop the line “this is too complex to have been produced by natural processes” - - instead we need to reference God, as well as the probabilities that Behe is implicitly assuming:

"the probabilities for natural processes to produce Event A are so low, it is likely that God’s guidance would be necessary to have this happen on schedule".

After a while, even Behe may realize that between Genealogical Adam (which accepts God’s guidance) and his reference to probabilities (which eliminates the “impossible” rhetoric) - - the typical I.D. framing of his position is no longer the same, or even as dramatic!


Einstein’s name is still attached to relativity, yet we just call it the theory of relativity. Do you ever hear the phrase “Einsteinian physics”?

As for articles, here is one that I have always enjoyed:

80 Years of Watching the Evolutionary Scenery, by Ernst Mayr

If you happen to read it, I think you come to appreciate how many different scientists have contributed to the theory. Darwin may have come up with the basic kernel of the theory, but it is so much more today. Ernst Mayr was old school, so he may still call it a Darwinian paradigm, but even Ernst Mayr sees just how much more it is than one person.

Getting 4 scientists to agree on where to go to dinner after a presentation is a 30 minute ordeal. At least in my experience, scientists tend to rip up “best practices” manuals as soon as they see them. The best practice is to listen to the scientists and hear what they have to say.

(George) #114

If the whole plan is to squeeze ID into the public school systems, they can’t give up the science.

If they insist they are not politically oriented, they must give up the science rhetoric, and pursue their agenda in the churches instead of the schools.

(George) #115

@John_Harshman (and @nwrickert )

It would be studied the same way that Christians study I.D. … in the churches and gatherings of religious people… NOT in the public schools.

PeacefulScience.Org is fine with including teleology with Evolution … but not for use in the Public Schools.

(George) #116


You would be more convincing if YOUR way was successful in getting Creationists to stop calling what we promote Darwinism.

Work on the little successes… and you gain credibility. Right now you are just sea-lioning. :smiley:


You can lead a horse to water . . .

How so?



Thanks for the link to the roundtable discussion! Absolutely fascinating! I’m going to read it very closely. Could you ever tell us whether Denton considers himself a theist or deist, or what? lol. I might guess that the answer is he believes in the God of Aristotle and Plato, but I’d love to actually hear a real answer.

(Paul A Nelson) #119

Couldn’t say (because I don’t know, and he and I have never discussed it). Was Aristotle a theist? Denton’s views really don’t fit into any of our familiar 20th c. categories.

(George) #120


Ha! I have no idea. But what I was getting at is some people have a pretty definitive term for the current model… excluding the use of the word Darwin. And the more definitive we can be, the more confident our audience can be.

Your approach is a little loosey-goosey for the prevailing circumstances.


Yes, this is why Nagel gets stressed trying to argue for teleology without God. Because Aristotle didn’t do that.

(John Harshman) #122

Oh, my. The word that comes to mind is “codswollop”. But apparently different sorts.

(John Harshman) #123

Are you absolutely sure that he said “Christian”? It would make more sense if he said “creationist”. And those aren’t the same thing, you know.

(Guy Coe) #124

@John_Harshman Yes; he even specifically referred to the Ussher dating scheme that claimed a “biblical” date for creation at 4004 B.C., seemingly unaware of the fact that very few contemporary Christians hold that position. “If you honestly think the universe has only been around since then, you may leave my classroom now.” I didn’t agree with that date, of course, but was instantly aware of his prejudice.
Of course they’re not the same thing!

(John Harshman) #125

So he was seriously confused as well as being on untenable constitutional ground. Now I just have to wonder who this person was.

(T J Runyon) #126

I’m not in a place where I can read that article. How does sternberg describe his view?


Hahaha. As a thorough-going Neo-Platonic and Pythagorean view that underlies science. He accepts evolution and common ancestry. He’s a structuralist like Denton.

I can’t really find any major differences between him and Denton other than Sternberg other than he connects his views more intimately to Plotinus, etc. than Denton.

He used to work with Jim Shapiro, and his big thing was arguing that junk dna wasn’t so junky afterall. Shapiro and he split ways when Sternberg grew tired of constant ridicule for his nuanced views and took money from the DI for research.

One difference between him and Denton is that he might be waiting for more adequate natural explanations for how we got from the doglike creature to a whale. I don’t think he thinks that any current explanation is adequate but he’s also made clear he doesn’t think God just intervened to do it either. I think Denton might accept more current explanations from evo-devo, etc.