Home| Letters| Links| RSS| About Us| Contact Us

On the Frontline

What's New

Table of Contents

Index of Authors

Index of Titles

Index of Letters

Mailing List


subscribe to our mailing list:



SECTIONS

Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes

Counter-Apologetics

Serious Notions with a Smile

Miscellaneous

Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site

Discussion

You can read and reply to the existing discussion threads related to the article, or create a new thread:

Your name *:
Your email *:
Security question *: 14 + 8 =
Related article(s):
Subject *:
Message *:
     Length: (max.: 3000 characters)

 

Title Author Date
theory of evolution Adali Jul 25, 2006
i have reservations to this illogical theory

 

Title Author Date
Mark Perakh's "A Presentation Without Arguments" (Part 2 of 2) Pehnec, Steve Oct 25, 2002
(Continued from Part 1)

In scholarship, as in courts of law, the burden of proof lies with the advocate of an idea. ID proponents have never offered up a single shard of supportable evidence in favor of their claims. In fact, they don't even try to establish the burden-of-proof because they believe they don't need to.

Instead, their approach is that of criminal defense attorneys, to establish "reasonable doubt" in the minds of a jury (or a school board, or the U.S. Senate). As such, their primary strategy has been one of attempting to refute the well-established Theory of Evolution, before juries of non-experts, as if ID was the defendant in a criminal case.

(One has to wonder what subconscious urges may have given rise to this strategy?)

Such attempts often hinge on the presentation of "facts" in the form of shoddy scholarship, misleading half-truths and premeditated deceptions. While such tactics may work in a court of law to gain the uninformed sympathies of jurors and judges, the rules of evidence in the courts of scholarship are much more rigorous and unforgiving of unsubstantiated claims; in this arena, where the jury is expert, such puerile attempts fail miserably.

In an academic setting, if an advocate's thesis has been refuted by counter-example, that thesis must be revised or abandoned. If a cherished argument has been shown to be unsound, a better argument needs to be formulated. If the favorable evidence is too weak (or non-existent), the advocate should acknowledge this and either reconsider or move on. **

These rules add up to an expression of the intellectual integrity that is expected of all those involved in academic pursuits. ID proponents ignore or, rather, choose to thumb their noses at this requirement.

And yet, the Santorum amendment went through the Senate like grapes through a goose. Is this how the Congress intends to reform public education in America?


*,

** Thanks to Philosopher of Science, Philip L. Quinn, for his insights into intellectual integrity. See Quinn, Philip L., "Creationism, Methodology, and Politics", in BUT IS IT SCIENCE? Michael Ruse, Ed., Prometheus Books (Amherst, New York), 1996, pg. 397.

Steve Pehnec is an operations consultant and instructor of applied physics working in the international oil & gas industry. He resides with his wife in Lander, Wyoming. His main interest outside of his profession is looking out for the quality of his grandchildren's education.

 

Title Author Date
Mark Perakh's "A Presentation Without Arguments" (Part 1 of 2) Pehnec, Steve Oct 25, 2002
In support of this article, here is one of my own as published in the Casper, Wyoming Star Tribune in July 2001.

A P E R S P E C T I V E

The Non-Sense Of The Senate

On June 14, 2001, the US Senate passed its version of an Education Bill (The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, S1). Part of that bill was an amendment, #799, proposed on the previous day, by Senator Rick Santorum (R) of Pennsylvania. The amendment was accepted with only 8 dissenting votes being cast against it.

The Santorum amendment was presented as a "Sense of the Senate" resolution. It reads as follows:

"It is the sense of the Senate that:
"(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and
"(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why the subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject."

Speaking in support of his call for this innocuous-sounding resolution, Sen. Santorum quoted, without introduction, a Mr. David DeWolf. After a little digging and with a little help, I found out who this man is. I also found out that a Mr. Phillip E. Johnson suggested the actual language used in the resolution. Who are these gentlemen?

As it turns out, they are fairly well known advocates of "Intelligent Design Theory", which happens to be the latest guise assumed by Creationists in their attack on the teaching of Darwinian Evolution. Neither of these men is a scientist, nor a philosopher, nor a theologian; they are professors of law at Gonzaga University and the University of California Law School at Berkeley, respectively. *

The Santorum Amendment is nothing less than a stealthy attempt to open the door to the teaching of Creationism in our public schools. (Senator Brownback of Kansas praised it.)

Numerous and irrefutable arguments have been made to demonstrate that Creationism is not science but religion. The courts have consistently agreed.

I'd like to look at the controversy differently, however; I'd like to assume, for the length of this column only, that Intelligent Design (ID) really is a legitimate scientific theory, acceptable for inclusion in a high school science curriculum. How does it measure up, academically?
(Continued)