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Critique of Intelligent Design

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Title Author Date
minor quibbles in "Why Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial and ..." Kettenring, Thomas May 25, 2005
Hello!

I just read "Why Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial and the "Intelligent Design" movement
are neither science--nor Christian."

I think it's really excellent but found some small mistakes.

1. "The best modern example of this is the fact that the entire edifice of Newtonian physics was found by Einstein to be wrong--"untrue"--even after engineers used it successfully to land manned spacecraft on the moon."

This sounds as if Einstein worked after 1969 (when manned spacecraft landed on the moon). Of course the Theory of Special Relativity was finished in 1905, the Theory of General Relativity in 1915, and as far as I know both
theories may well have been used by NASA in 1969, 14 years after Einstein's death.

2. "rhiphistidian" should be "rhipidistian".

3. 8a. Selective use of evidence
Johnson claims that evolutionists select evidence. All you do as a response to this is demonstrating that Johnson does it himself. Showing that Johnson does it himself is fine but has the drawback of not refuting his claim.
That's an instance of the fallacy "ad hominem tu quoque" (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/tuquoque.html). Does he quote any evolutionists selecting evidence? If no, you should mention that his claim is empty and not testable. If yes...well, that would be more work. Someone would have to find out if the claim is true. If there is no time for that, I think the whole "selective use of evidence" part should be dropped.

4. The same fallacy appears for "vague and untestable statements". But under 11c, there are examples of Johnson wrongly ascribing vague and untestable statements to evolutionists, so all that is needed here is a cross-reference.

5. Under 9. you say that Johnson refused to provide you with any information. But under 6a, you say that "Johnson reluctantly supplied me
with a transcript of this speech". Sounds like a contradiction to me.

6. "Second, since any group sharing a single common ancestor is by definition a monophyletic group" should be "Second, since any group sharing a single common ancestor exclusive to them is by definition a monophyletic group"

But, as I said, these are minor quibbles. Great work! The best is the paragraph under 10 starting with "It is useless to try to explain science to someone who isn't interested in what the facts have to say." Would you please allow me to quote that paragraph in EvoWiki, on the page about Johnson (http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Phillip_E._Johnson, which is still pretty empty)?

 

Title Author Date
Questions to Mr. Brian Spitzer (part 1) Farennikova, Anna Mar 02, 2003
Dear Sir,

My name is Anna Farennikova and I live in Belarus (part of former USSR).
I am twenty four and I majored in library and information science. I am a Christian and read Darwin on Trial several years ago. I am interested in apologetics and the next topic for our discussion is Evolution and ID.
I was impressed by Darwin on Trial and was going to base some parts of our discussion on this book. However, after reading your article on Darwin on Trial, I understand that I cannot use a lot of the points Pr.
Johnson had made in view of what you wrote.

You said that Johnson was criticized for "pretending that the personal views
of a few inflammatory scientists are the consensus view of the scientific community". I feel like I cannot lead that discussion group until I learn
and understand, no matter whether I agree or disagree, the consensus view of the scientific community on some questions that I have, since Johnson's conclusions cannot be trusted. Just to clarify - the goal of
these questions is for me to form an accurate opinion and have definitions
provided by evolutionists themselves and not creationists. I do not intend
to write back lengthy letters in support of creationism. My goal is understanding true evolutionists, what they really believe in. So here are my questions.
1. What is a widely accepted by true scientific community definition of evolution that I can quote to participants of my discussion group and use for my personal research?
2. Do you agree or disagree that in essence evolution, according to its widely accepted definition by true scientific community, is based on materialistic philosophy? Why or why not
3. Are there any scientists of the ID movement or scientists who are theists or Christians and not participants of ID movement whom scientific communities actually respect?
4. If such scientists exist, have they said or suggested any theories, ideas or issues that evolutionists have found valid or worthy to research? Which ones? (you don't have to explain, just name them so I can
start researching).