Intelligent Design question

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So now the question becomes, "How does DNA encode information?"
Andy, that is a superb question. :biggrin: Thanks. I'd like to tag along with what you have already shared and introduce what Nature Education (1) has on "DNA Is a Structure That Encodes Biological Information":

What do a human, a rose, and a bacterium have in common? Each of these things — along with every other organism on Earth — contains the molecular instructions for life, called deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Encoded within this DNA are the directions for traits as diverse as the color of a person's eyes, the scent of a rose, and the way in which bacteria infect a lung cell.

DNA is found in nearly all living cells. However, its exact location within a cell depends on whether that cell possesses a special membrane-bound organelle called a nucleus. Organisms composed of cells that contain nuclei are classified as eukaryotes, whereas organisms composed of cells that lack nuclei are classified as prokaryotes. In eukaryotes, DNA is housed within the nucleus, but in prokaryotes, DNA is located directly within the cellular cytoplasm, as there is no nucleus available.

But what, exactly, is DNA? In short, DNA is a complex molecule that consists of many components, a portion of which are passed from parent organisms to their offspring during the process of reproduction. Although each organism's DNA is unique, all DNA is composed of the same nitrogen-based molecules. So how does DNA differ from organism to organism? It is simply the order in which these smaller molecules are arranged that differs among individuals. In turn, this pattern of arrangement ultimately determines each organism's unique characteristics, thanks to another set of molecules that "read" the pattern and stimulate the chemical and physical processes it calls for.

Please read on . . .
http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dna-is-a-structure-that-encodes-biological-6493050
1. "Nature Education is a new division of Nature Publishing Group :biggrin:devoted to facilitating high quality, innovative, accessible science education in all countries of the world. Nature Education is currently focused on bringing together high quality content, a global community of faculty, researchers, and students, and technology-based learning tools to provide a new and powerful kind of science learning experience."
http://www.nature.com/scitable/about
 
  • #27
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Oh--I know ID has no place in school.
Dear OP, many of us have known that the Intelligent Design Theory was debunked long ago. The American Association for the Advancement of Science Board of Directors on 10/18/02 made a Resolution:

on Intelligent Design Theory

The contemporary theory of biological evolution is one of the most robust products of scientific inquiry. It is the foundation for research in many areas of biology as well as an essential element of science education. To become informed and responsible citizens in our contemporary technological world, students need to study the theories and empirical evidence central to current scientific understanding.

Over the past several years proponents of so-called "intelligent design theory," also known as ID, have challenged the accepted scientific theory of biological evolution. As part of this effort they have sought to introduce the teaching of "intelligent design theory" into the science curricula of the public schools. The movement presents "intelligent design theory" to the public as a theoretical innovation, supported by scientific evidence, that offers a more adequate explanation for the origin of the diversity of living organisms than the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution. In response to this effort, individual scientists and philosophers of science have provided substantive critiques of "intelligent design," demonstrating significant conceptual flaws in its formulation, a lack of credible scientific evidence, and misrepresentations of scientific facts.

Recognizing that the "intelligent design theory" represents a challenge to the quality of science education, the Board of Directors of the AAAS unanimously adopts the following resolution:

Whereas, ID proponents claim that contemporary evolutionary theory is incapable of explaining the origin of the diversity of living organisms;

Whereas, to date, the ID movement has failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that ID undermines the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution;

Whereas, the ID movement has not proposed a scientific means of testing its claims;

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the lack of scientific warrant for so-called "intelligent design theory" makes it improper to include as a part of science education;

Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS urges citizens across the nation to oppose the establishment of policies that would permit the teaching of "intelligent design theory" as a part of the science curricula of the public schools;

Therefore Be It Further Resolved, that AAAS calls upon its members to assist those engaged in overseeing science education policy to understand the nature of science, the content of contemporary evolutionary theory and the inappropriateness of "intelligent design theory" as subject matter for science education;
http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml
Also from the AAAS from 2002:

AAAS Board Resolution Urges Opposition
to "Intelligent Design" Theory in U.S. Science Classes

The AAAS Board recently passed a resolution urging policymakers to oppose teaching "Intelligent Design Theory" within science classrooms, but rather, to keep it separate, in the same way that creationism and other religious teachings are currently handled.

"The United States has promised that no child will be left behind in the classroom," said Alan I. Leshner, CEO and executive publisher for AAAS. "If intelligent design theory is presented within science courses as factually based, it is likely to confuse American schoolchildren and to undermine the integrity of U.S. science education."

American society supports and encourages a broad range of viewpoints, Leshner noted. While this diversity enriches the educational experience for students, he added, science-based information and conceptual belief systems should not be presented together.

Peter H. Raven, chairman of the AAAS Board of Directors, agreed:

"The ID movement argues that random mutation in nature and natural selection can't explain the diversity of life forms or their complexity and that these things may be explained only by an extra-natural intelligent agent," said Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden. "This is an interesting philosophical or theological concept, and some people have strong feelings about it. Unfortunately, it's being put forth as a scientifically based alternative to the theory of biological evolution. Intelligent design theory has so far not been supported by peer-reviewed, published evidence."

In contrast, the theory of biological evolution is well-supported, and not a "disputed view" within the scientific community, as some ID proponents have suggested, for example, through "disclaimer" stickers affixed to textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia.

"The contemporary theory of biological evolution is one of the most robust products of scientific inquiry," the AAAS Board of Directors wrote in a resolution released today. "AAAS urges citizens across the nation to oppose the establishment of policies that would permit the teaching of `intelligent design theory' as a part of the science curriculum of the public schools."

Please read on . . .
http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id.shtml
 
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I would risk a guess that Shakespeare work - as much more ordered - has much less information.
"Random" doesn't necessary mean "less ordered".
 
  • #29
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"Random" doesn't necessary mean "less ordered".
Ok, I'll bite... Please explain.
 
  • #30
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I'd like to add a few items to this topic. :smile:

From Nature Education:
Are Mutations Random?

The statement that mutations are random is both profoundly true and profoundly untrue at the same time. The true aspect of this statement stems from the fact that, to the best of our knowledge, the consequences of a mutation have no influence whatsoever on the probability that this mutation will or will not occur. In other words, mutations occur randomly with respect to whether their effects are useful. Thus, beneficial DNA changes do not happen more often simply because an organism could benefit from them. Moreover, even if an organism has acquired a beneficial mutation during its lifetime, the corresponding information will not flow back into the DNA in the organism's germline. This is a fundamental insight that Jean-Baptiste Lamarck got wrong and Charles Darwin got right.

However, the idea that mutations are random can be regarded as untrue if one considers the fact that not all types of mutations occur with equal probability. Rather, some occur more frequently than others because they are favored by low-level biochemical reactions. These reactions are also the main reason why mutations are an inescapable property of any system that is capable of reproduction in the real world. Mutation rates are usually very low, and biological systems go to extraordinary lengths to keep them as low as possible, mostly because many mutational effects are harmful. Nonetheless, mutation rates never reach zero, even despite both low-level protective mechanisms, like DNA repair or proofreading during DNA replication, and high-level mechanisms, like melanin deposition in skin cells to reduce radiation damage. Beyond a certain point, avoiding mutation simply becomes too costly to cells. Thus, mutation will always be present as a powerful force in evolution.
http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/genetic-mutation-1127
From the National Human Genome Research Institute:
How are DNA sequences used to make proteins?
DNA's instructions are used to make proteins in a two-step process. First, enzymes read the information in a DNA molecule and transcribe it into an intermediary molecule called messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA.

Next, the information contained in the mRNA molecule is translated into the "language" of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. This language tells the cell's protein-making machinery the precise order in which to link the amino acids to produce a specific protein. This is a major task because there are 20 types of amino acids, which can be placed in many different orders to form a wide variety of proteins.
http://www.genome.gov/25520880

Please be aware of the following:
"Importantly, modern proponents of Intelligent Design, the latest version of creationism, have exploited biologists’ use of the language of information and blueprints to make their spurious case, based on pseudoscientific concepts such as “irreducible complexity” and on flawed analogies between living cells and mechanical factories." Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boundry (Why Machine-Information Metaphors are Bad for Science and Science Education- 06/2010 - 2010: Springer Science+Business Media)
 
  • #31
Evo
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Great posts ViewsofMars!
 
  • #32
Intelligent design is creationism, calling it intelligent design is just a stalking horse to say 'this isn't a religious issue'.

Religion is defined primarily as, "a strong belief in supernatural power or powers that control human destiny", or as, "an institution to express belief in divine power".

Taking the first of these two, let's examine the word supernatural.

Supernatural is defined primarily as, "not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material."

By the definition of supernatural, it is possible to therefore infer that a being of non-supernatural nature could exist with intelligence and the means to design our universe. If the possibility of such a being actually existing is plausible, and if it does in fact exist despite our failings to unveil it, then it's obvious that it is only by the short reach of our potentially flawed perception, can't see something as real as you or I.

This is clearly intrinsic of all things we believe to be true or untrue, as history shows us that through its course, humanity has held many things as fact or fiction that we now know to be extremely incorrect in the modern sciences (i.e. the earth is flat) and it was not until a way was discovered through the enlightened perception of a few to prove or disprove these now outdated ideas.

I'm not saying there's some big guy sitting on a leather couch that put a bunch of atoms into a primordial easy bake oven and out we came, I'm just saying the possibility is there, and therefore, it's possible to conceive of this without calling it religion.
 
  • #33
Evo
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Religion is defined primarily as, "a strong belief in supernatural power or powers that control human destiny", or as, "an institution to express belief in divine power".

Taking the first of these two, let's examine the word supernatural.
No, you don't understand. Intelligent Design is make believe nonsense created by a couple of creationists, Micheal Behe and Stephen Meyer. There is no guessing, it's all very well documented.

Defining science

The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge of the natural world without assuming the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural, an approach sometimes called methodological naturalism. Intelligent design proponents believe that this can be equated to materialist metaphysical naturalism, and have often said that not only is their own position scientific, but it is even more scientific than evolution, and that they want a redefinition of science as a revived natural theology or natural philosophy to allow "non-naturalistic theories such as intelligent design".[128] This presents a demarcation problem, which in the philosophy of science is about how and where to draw the lines around science.[129] For a theory to qualify as scientific,[n 28][130][n 29] it is expected to be:

Consistent

Parsimonious (sparing in its proposed entities or explanations, see Occam's Razor)

Useful (describes and explains observed phenomena, and can be used predictively)

Empirically testable and falsifiable (see Falsifiability)
Based on multiple observations, often in the form of controlled, repeated experiments

Correctable and dynamic (modified in the light of observations that do not support it)

Progressive (refines previous theories)

Provisional or tentative (is open to experimental checking, and does not assert certainty)

For any theory, hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it must meet most, and ideally all, of these criteria. The fewer criteria are met, the less scientific it is; and if it meets only a few or none at all, then it cannot be treated as scientific in any meaningful sense of the word. Typical objections to defining intelligent design as science are that it lacks consistency,[131] violates the principle of parsimony,[n 30] is not scientifically useful,[n 31] is not falsifiable,[n 32] is not empirically testable,[n 33] and is not correctable, dynamic, provisional or progressive.[n 34][n 35][n 36]

Critics also say that the intelligent design doctrine does not meet the Daubert Standard,[132] the criteria for scientific evidence mandated by the US Supreme Court. The Daubert Standard governs which evidence can be considered scientific in United States federal courts and most state courts. Its four criteria are:

The theoretical underpinnings of the methods must yield testable predictions by means of which the theory could be falsified.

The methods should preferably be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

There should be a known rate of error that can be used in evaluating the results.

The methods should be generally accepted within the relevant scientific community.

In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, using these criteria and others mentioned above, Judge Jones ruled that "... we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents".http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design#Origin_of_the_concept
And to put the nail in the coffin, The Wedge document.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy
 
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  • #34
Andy Resnick
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Religion is defined primarily as, "a strong belief in supernatural power or powers that control human destiny", or as, "an institution to express belief in divine power".

Taking the first of these two, let's examine the word supernatural.

Supernatural is defined primarily as, "not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material."

By the definition of supernatural, it is possible to therefore infer that a being of non-supernatural nature could exist with intelligence and the means to design our universe. If the possibility of such a being actually existing is plausible, and if it does in fact exist despite our failings to unveil it, then it's obvious that it is only by the short reach of our potentially flawed perception, can't see something as real as you or I.
This is all irrelevant to the issue of teaching ID as part of a *science curriculum*. ID is not subject to scientific reasoning, therefore it is not science and should not be taught as such.
 
  • #35
I am not a teacher, but if I were, I do believe I would address the issue of ID on day one and only on day one.

"Some people hypothesize that our observations of nature are to various degrees controlled by an unseen and powerful designer. This is an acceptable hypothesis, but at this point in human technology cannot be further verified using the scientific method. This hypothesis is therefore left to the philosophical studies and will not be discussed in science class this year."

Sort of a non-confrontational.

Great answers everyone, btw.
 
  • #36
I generally don't rely on Wikipedia alone: If anyone can write to it, then any amount of information could be incorrect, and if I don't know what I'm reading about to a deep extent, then I could be filling my head up with all sorts of fallacy.

Intelligent Design - a theory that rejects the theory of natural selection, arguing that the complexities of the universe and of all life suggest an intelligent cause in the form of a supreme creator (dictionary.com)

Intelligent Design - the idea that the world is so complicated that it cannot have developed by chance, and must have been made by a God or some other intelligent being (dictionary.cambridge.org)

Intelligent Design - the theory that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by a designing intelligence (merriam-webster.com)

Of these three only Cambridge acknowledges that ID could be at the hand of a God, but also leaves room for a non-supernatural being as an option for a non-religious path of study.

While I do agree that we don't know enough about ID to teach it in schools, I don't wholly agree that it has no place in science as an alternative to Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Then again, it is to my understanding that Darwin himself was a Theist, and believed ID as a first cause, but not as a God who governs. Here's an excerpt from a letter he wrote to Asa Gray, a Presbyterian with whom he discussed his theories.

"With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me.— I am bewildered.– I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see, as plainly as others do, & as I [should] wish to do, evidence of design & beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe & especially the nature of man, & to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.— Let each man hope & believe what he can."

And here is an article from the Center for Science and Culture that may shed some light on what some scientists are thinking about concerning ID.

Edit by Mentor: Removed crackpot link to the Intelligent Design website.
 
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  • #37
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Great posts ViewsofMars!
Evo, thank you. Very kind of you. Bye the way, you can call me "Mars" since a very famous scientist gave me that nickname. Also, "Views" means observations. :wink:


I am not a teacher, but if I were, I do believe I would address the issue of ID on day one and only on day one.
Shadowofman, I have to disagree with you. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences plainly stated in 2008 the following:

Evolution and Creationism in Schools

The pressure to downplay evolution or emphasize nonscientific alternatives in public schools compromises science education.

Despite the lack of scientific evidence for creationist positions, some advocates continue to demand that various forms of creationism be taught together with or in place of evolution in science classes. Many teachers are under considerable pressure from policy makers, school administrators, parents, and students to downplay or eliminate the teaching of evolution. As a result, many U.S. students lack access to information and ideas that are both integral to modern science and essential for making informed, evidence-based decisions about their own lives and our collective future.

Regardless of the careers that they ultimately select, to succeed in today’s scientifically and technologically sophisticated world, all students need a sound education in science. Many of today’s fast-growing and high-paying jobs require a familiarity with the core concepts, applications, and implications of science. To make informed decisions about public policies, people need to know how scientific evidence supports those policies and whether that evidence was gathered using well-established scientific practice and principles. Learning about evolution is an excellent way to help students understand the nature, processes, and limits of science in addition to concepts about this fundamentally important contribution to scientific knowledge.

Given the importance of science in all aspects of modern life, the science curriculum should not be undermined with nonscientific material. Teaching creationist ideas in science classes confuses what constitutes science and what does not. It compromises the objectives of public education and the goal of a high-quality science education.
http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/InSchools.html
and

Intelligent Design

"Intelligent design" creationism is not supported by scientific evidence.

Some members of a newer school of creationists have temporarily set aside the question of whether the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe are billions or just thousands of years old. But these creationists unite in contending that the physical universe and living things show evidence of "intelligent design." They argue that certain biological structures are so complex that they could not have evolved through processes of undirected mutation and natural selection, a condition they call "irreducible complexity." Echoing theological arguments that predate the theory of evolution, they contend that biological organisms must be designed in the same way that a mousetrap or a clock is designed — that in order for the device to work properly, all of its components must be available simultaneously. If one component is missing or changed, the device will fail to operate properly. Because even such "simple" biological structures as the flagellum of a bacterium are so complex, proponents of intelligent design creationism argue that the probability of all of their components being produced and simultaneously available through random processes of mutation are infinitesimally small. The appearance of more complex biological structures (such as the vertebrate eye) or functions (such as the immune system) is impossible through natural processes, according to this view, and so must be attributed to a transcendent intelligent designer.

However, the claims of intelligent design creationists are disproven by the findings of modern biology. Biologists have examined each of the molecular systems claimed to be the products of design and have shown how they could have arisen through natural processes. For example, in the case of the bacterial flagellum, there is no single, uniform structure that is found in all flagellar bacteria. There are many types of flagella, some simpler than others, and many species of bacteria do not have flagella to aid in their movement. Thus, other components of bacterial cell membranes are likely the precursors of the proteins found in various flagella. In addition, some bacteria inject toxins into other cells through proteins that are secreted from the bacterium and that are very similar in their molecular structure to the proteins in parts of flagella. This similarity indicates a common evolutionary origin, where small changes in the structure and organization of secretory proteins could serve as the basis for flagellar proteins. Thus, flagellar proteins are not irreducibly complex.

Evolutionary biologists also have demonstrated how complex biochemical mechanisms, such as the clotting of blood or the mammalian immune system, could have evolved from simpler precursor systems. With the clotting of blood, some of the components of the mammalian system were present in earlier organisms, as demonstrated by the organisms living today (such as fish, reptiles, and birds) that are descended from these mammalian precursors. Mammalian clotting systems have built on these earlier components.
Please read on . . .
http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/IntelligentDesign.html
It is important to remember the following:

Definitions of Evolutionary Terms

Adaptation:
The adjustment or changes in behavior, physiology, and structure of an organism to become more suited to an environment. According to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, organisms that possess heritable traits that enable them to better adapt to their environment compared with other members of their species will be more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass more of their genes on to the next generation.

Chromosome:
A double stranded DNA molecule that contains a series of specific genes along its length. In most sexually reproducing organisms, chromosomes occur in pairs, with one member of the pair being inherited from each parent.

DNA:
Deoxyribonucleic acid. A large biological molecule composed of subunits known as nucleotides strung together in long chains. The sequences of these nucleotides contain the information that cells need in order to grow, to divide into daughter cells, and to manufacture new proteins. Changes in DNA result in mutations, which may be beneficial, neutral, or deleterious to the organism. If these changes occur to DNA in sperm or egg cells, they could be passed onto the next generation.

Evolution:
Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another. It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.

Fact:
In science, a "fact" typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances. However, scientists also use the term "fact" to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples.

Fossil:
A remnant or trace of an organism of a past geologic age, such as a skeleton or leaf imprint, embedded, and preserved in the Earth's crust, usually in stratified rock.

Hypothesis:
A tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation. Scientific hypotheses must be posed in a form that allows them to be rejected.

Genomics:
A recent branch of genetics that studies organisms in terms of their complete genetic material, including genes and their functions.

Macroevolution:
Large-scale evolution occurring over geologic time that results in the formation of new species and broader taxonomic groups.

Microevolution:
Changes in the traits of a group of organisms within a species that do not result in a new species.

Mimicry:
In biology, mimicry is the superficial resemblance of one species of organism to another species or to a natural object in its surroundings. Some kinds of mimicry result in a selective advantage for concealment and protection from predators. Another type of mimicry enables protection to the mimic through its resemblance to another species that is toxic or in some other way dangerous.

Mutation:
A change in the sequence of one or more nucleotides in DNA. Such changes can alter the structure of proteins or the regulation of protein production. In some cases mutations result in the organism possessing these altered traits to have a greater or lesser chance of surviving and reproducing in a given environment than other members of its species.

Natural selection:
Differential survival and reproduction of organisms as a consequence of the characteristics of the environment.

Paleontologist:
A scientist who studies fossils to learn about ancient organisms.

Protein:
A large molecule consisting of a chain of smaller molecules called amino acids. The sequence of amino acids and the molecule's three-dimensional structure are coded by the instructions in DNA and determine a protein’s specific function in cells or organisms.

Population:
A group of organisms of the same species that are in close enough proximity to allow them to interbreed.

RNA:
Ribonucleic acid. A molecule related to DNA that consists of nucleotide subunits strung together in chains. RNA serves a number of cellular functions, including providing a template for the synthesis of proteins and catalyzing certain biochemical reactions. The structure of RNA is determined by the sequence of nucleotides on DNA.

Science:
The use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process.

Sedimentary:
Rocks formed of particles deposited by water, wind, or ice.

Selective breeding:
The intentional breeding of organisms with desirable traits in an attempt to produce offspring with enhanced characteristics or traits that humans consider desirable. This process is also known as "artifical selection" (compare with "natural selection").

Speciation:
The evolutionary processes through which new species arise from existing species.

Species:
In sexually reproducing organisms, species consist of individuals that can interbreed with each other.

Survival of the fittest:
A term that refers to the survival of only those organisms best able (fittest) to obtain and utilize resources, resulting in the evolution of organisms that are best adapted to the environment. Darwin used metaphorically to describe "natural selection." The phrase was invented by the 19th century philosopher Herbert Spencer It has been misapplied through history to explain and justify social and economic inequities in human populations ("social Darwinism") or as a method for improving the human condition through selective breeding (eugenics). Survival alone is insufficient for evolution— it's reproduction— passing on of genes that really counts. Most modern biologists no longer use this term when describing or discussing natural selection.

Theory:
A plausible or scientifically acceptable, well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena and predict the characteristics of as yet unobserved phenomena.

Trait:
A physical or behavioral characteristic of an organism.
http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/Definitions.html
Evolution Resources from the National Academies.
http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/ScienceAndReligion.html

Adding more from the National Human Genome Research Institute:

February 12, 2009, marked the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and the 150th year since publication of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species. The renowned 19th century naturalist made observations on plant and animal life that set science on a new course, introducing evolution as the unifying concept in all of genetics and biology. Students of U.S. history will note that the date is also the 200th birthday of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) observed Darwin's life and accomplishments at events at the NIH's Bethesda campus and at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Hear what geneticists at NHGRI have to say about Darwin's ideas, science and legacy.
http://www.genome.gov/27529500
Watch Darwin at 200: How Geneticists View Him Today by listening and watching this video from The National Human Genome Research Institute:
http://www.genome.gov/Multimedia/Flash/videoPlayerCC.cfm?videoID=Darwin200

Have a wonderful day everyone. I'm heading out to collect seashells at the beach today. Yippee! lol.
 
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  • #38
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This is all irrelevant to the issue of teaching ID as part of a *science curriculum*. ID is not subject to scientific reasoning, therefore it is not science and should not be taught as such.
I'm confused on what there is to even teach about it. To teach something, you must first know something about what you're teaching, so I'd love to see how these people are teaching something they don't know anything about themselves.
 
  • #39
bobze
Science Advisor
Gold Member
647
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I generally don't rely on Wikipedia alone: If anyone can write to it, then any amount of information could be incorrect, and if I don't know what I'm reading about to a deep extent, then I could be filling my head up with all sorts of fallacy.

Intelligent Design - a theory that rejects the theory of natural selection, arguing that the complexities of the universe and of all life suggest an intelligent cause in the form of a supreme creator (dictionary.com)

Intelligent Design - the idea that the world is so complicated that it cannot have developed by chance, and must have been made by a God or some other intelligent being (dictionary.cambridge.org)

Intelligent Design - the theory that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by a designing intelligence (merriam-webster.com)

Of these three only Cambridge acknowledges that ID could be at the hand of a God, but also leaves room for a non-supernatural being as an option for a non-religious path of study.

While I do agree that we don't know enough about ID to teach it in schools, I don't wholly agree that it has no place in science as an alternative to Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Then again, it is to my understanding that Darwin himself was a Theist, and believed ID as a first cause, but not as a God who governs. Here's an excerpt from a letter he wrote to Asa Gray, a Presbyterian with whom he discussed his theories.

"With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me.— I am bewildered.– I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see, as plainly as others do, & as I [should] wish to do, evidence of design & beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe & especially the nature of man, & to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.— Let each man hope & believe what he can."

And here is an article from the Center for Science and Culture that may shed some light on what some scientists are thinking about concerning ID.

Edit by Mentor: Removed crackpot link to the Intelligent Design website.
ID cannot generate a testable hypothesis and is therefore, not scientific. You can summarize science in 3 basic steps;

1. observation
2. Hypothesis
3. Testing

In ID you make an observation "Such and such structure is very complex". You make a hypothesis "Such and such structure is too complex for me to believe natural selection could have created it, therefore it was designed".

Now test that. You can't because you would need to falsify any "natural" hypothesis which could explain that structure, whether you can think of it or not.

Its bad science and bad religion. And not only that, but its "go too device"--Irreducible complexity, has been refuted time and again and has (pretty irrevocably) been shown to be nothing but an argument from ignorance. Or in other words, because you aren't smart enough to figure out how NS designed something, doesn't mean NS isn't smart enough to design it.

By the way its pretty obvious that http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/11/missing-link-cd.html" [Broken] (ID proponents) are really just re-branding creationism (please read the link). And are doing so to subvert the normal scientific process and trying to legal gain entry into the science classroom. If "their idea" is so scientific, surely it can stand up to even light scientific scrutiny? After all, evolution by natural selection has stood up to 200 years of scrutiny by the best biologists.
 
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  • #40
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Evo, thank you. Very kind of you. Bye the way, you can call me "Mars" since a very famous scientist gave me that nickname. Also, "Views" means observations. :wink:
Was it Sir Patrick Moore? That would be awesome. He's a legend. Being given a nickname by Sir Patrick Moore is the science equivalent of being Knighted. Only it means a lot more.
 
  • #41
I'd like to make mention at this point, that I do not actually believe the theory of ID to be accurate. However, I cannot, as a person who is always striving for further knowledge, completely turn a theory out of thought as completely wrong or irrelevant simply because it's been disproven in the past. All scientific fact was once based on theory, some of which were disproven dozens of times before turning out factual results in their favor. The fact that some "scientists" are completely unwilling to explore the unknown is a sign that we are much too comfortable with what we think we know. This a fundamental problem with many scientists nowadays, especially the "new atheist" variety, and it's quite frankly, disturbing to me. The basic distrust or downright contempt of Philosophy coupled with an overly enthusiastic endorsement for science is a scientistic attitude in similar taste to bigotry.
Overplaying the epistemological power of science while downplaying or negating the notion that science fundamentally depends on non-empirical (a.k.a philosophical) assumptions to even get started is also "bad science". It makes one not a scientist, but a tool. If we don't question things despite the chance of failure, or worse, cast out new thoughts and ideas for fear of unraveling what we think we know, however correct we perceive our beliefs to be, how can we ever know if what we think we know is actually right?
Some legends say that when Pythagoras designed his theorem that he sacrificed twelve oxen in celebration, but when someone developed the postulate that the square root of 2 is irrational, every effort was taken to suppress this theory, even going so far as to drown the man who developed it.
It's important to consider that nothing may be set in stone. Who knew we could create synthetic elements that don't exist in nature, until it was done? Who knew that light could be stopped before it was done? Who knew that one day we might be able to actually use a lightweight rocket fuel like the one used in Star Trek Voyager before a group of scientists created an antihydrogen atom? We didn't, and the day we stop exploring possibilities is the day we'll never know.
 
  • #42
Evo
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I'd like to make mention at this point, that I do not actually believe the theory of ID to be accurate. However, I cannot, as a person who is always striving for further knowledge, completely turn a theory out of thought as completely wrong or irrelevant simply because it's been disproven in the past.
It's not a theory, it's religion. It does not qualify as a theory because it doesn't meet the minimum scientific criteria. If you read the posts that have been made for your benefit, that should clear up your confusion.
 
  • #43
bobze
Science Advisor
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I'd like to make mention at this point, that I do not actually believe the theory of ID to be accurate. However, I cannot, as a person who is always striving for further knowledge, completely turn a theory out of thought as completely wrong or irrelevant simply because it's been disproven in the past. All scientific fact was once based on theory, some of which were disproven dozens of times before turning out factual results in their favor. The fact that some "scientists" are completely unwilling to explore the unknown is a sign that we are much too comfortable with what we think we know. This a fundamental problem with many scientists nowadays, especially the "new atheist" variety, and it's quite frankly, disturbing to me. The basic distrust or downright contempt of Philosophy coupled with an overly enthusiastic endorsement for science is a scientistic attitude in similar taste to bigotry.
ID, as has been pointed out, isn't a scientific theory. Nor do scientific theories at some point, turn into fact. This is a pretty common misconception. Facts are observable natural phenomena in science and are a dime a dozen. Knowing a "fact" in science doesn't do anything for the purpose of science, and that is to understand our world.

Does knowing the sky is blue, tell you about how the world works? Does knowing that allele frequencies change over time tell you about how the world works? Does knowing that photons striking a plate produces a current, tell you how the world works? No, to do that you need a theory, an explanation of the fact or observable phenomena.

The problem isn't with scientists or "atheist scientists", the problem is with lack of education and creationist clap trap spread around again and again. Scientists have considered creationist claims, many times over in the past--Guess what? They've been found wanting.

Science isn't a democracy of ideas, however pleasant that sounds to our socially conditioned sense of political correctness. Sciences is a cut-throat weighting of ideas. Ideas which lack explanatory power, or are falsified are tossed out and science moves on.

Creationist/IDist problem is they are unwilling to let go of old ideas, despite their falsification or the discovery of new or better data.

Look how almost any creationist argument starts out--With some quote (normally out of context for good measure) of some old scientist. They then hold that quote up as if it is meaningful in light of where science is now.

This observation I have made over and over again. People who don't understand science generally equate how science works with religion.

In religion, we take (at face) ancient inerrancy. The wisdom of the "elders" (be that Jesus, St. Thomas Aquinas or Budah) to be the best. In science we have no such disposition. Old scientists and ideas aren't inerrant, nor would we expect them to be, but a great many people seem under the impression this is the case.

That scientist don't entertain the "young earth-moon system based on half a century old dust measurements" or "the irreducibly complex bacterial flagellum" has nothing to do with their religions or their "closed-mindedness". And everything to do with better data, better ideas and the falsification of old ideas.

Overplaying the epistemological power of science while downplaying or negating the notion that science fundamentally depends on non-empirical (a.k.a philosophical) assumptions to even get started is also "bad science". It makes one not a scientist, but a tool. If we don't question things despite the chance of failure, or worse, cast out new thoughts and ideas for fear of unraveling what we think we know, however correct we perceive our beliefs to be, how can we ever know if what we think we know is actually right?
Some legends say that when Pythagoras designed his theorem that he sacrificed twelve oxen in celebration, but when someone developed the postulate that the square root of 2 is irrational, every effort was taken to suppress this theory, even going so far as to drown the man who developed it.
It's important to consider that nothing may be set in stone. Who knew we could create synthetic elements that don't exist in nature, until it was done? Who knew that light could be stopped before it was done? Who knew that one day we might be able to actually use a lightweight rocket fuel like the one used in Star Trek Voyager before a group of scientists created an antihydrogen atom? We didn't, and the day we stop exploring possibilities is the day we'll never know.

Again, this is special pleading on your part. Scientists aren't afraid to question, I'm not sure what scientists you hang around with....

What scientist do do however, is understand the fundamentals of their respective fields of study. Including why, old ideas are left by the wayside. Creationists and Neo-creationists however, set no such strident academic goals for themselves, as evident in their writings. Where they, time and again fail to address fundamental mistakes in their arguments and works.
 
  • #44
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Does it have to be exclusively religion? I thought some ID theorists didn't believe supernatural entities but rather more advanced species (extraterrestrials) that designed us.
Actually if you think about it, how can you say that it doesn't have to be supernatural entities. Let suppose for the sake of argument that we discover an alien race far advanced who designed and seeded everything on earth ... doesn't it logically follow, since they are even more advanced, that they too had a designer...and what about their designer's designer, who was that? Eventually you run out of planets and MUST then believe that the designer of the first race was supernatural. How can you avoid it? It's just the ID folks way of trying to slip past the censors who want to keep religion out of school.
 
  • #45
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I refuse to debate people here on this topic. I would hope that participants would further explore and learn from the websites I’ve earlier presented.

Once again, from Evolution Resources from the National Academies (From Science, Evolution, and Creationism, National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. 2008 National Academy of Sciences):

Is Evolution a Theory or a Fact?
It is both. But that answer requires looking more deeply at the meanings of the words "theory" and "fact."

In everyday usage, "theory" often refers to a hunch or a speculation. When people say, "I have a theory about why that happened," they are often drawing a conclusion based on fragmentary or inconclusive evidence.

The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.

Many scientific theories are so well-established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics). Like these other foundational scientific theories, the theory of evolution is supported by so many observations and confirming experiments that scientists are confident that the basic components of the theory will not be overturned by new evidence. However, like all scientific theories, the theory of evolution is subject to continuing refinement as new areas of science emerge or as new technologies enable observations and experiments that were not possible previously.

One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed. For example, the theory of gravitation predicted the behavior of objects on the moon and other planets long before the activities of spacecraft and astronauts confirmed them. The evolutionary biologists who discovered Tiktaalik predicted that they would find fossils intermediate between fish and limbed terrestrial animals in sediments that were about 375 million years old. Their discovery confirmed the prediction made on the basis of evolutionary theory. In turn, confirmation of a prediction increases confidence in that theory.

In science, a "fact" typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances. However, scientists also use the term "fact" to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.
http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
Also from the Evolution Resources from the National Academies (From Science, Evolution, and Creationism, National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. 2008 National Academy of Sciences):

Compatibility of Science and Religion

Science is not the only way of knowing and understanding. But science is a way of knowing that differs from other ways in its dependence on empirical evidence and testable explanations. Because biological evolution accounts for events that are also central concerns of religion — including the origins of biological diversity and especially the origins of humans — evolution has been a contentious idea within society since it was first articulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in 1858.

Acceptance of the evidence for evolution can be compatible with religious faith. Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth’s history. Many have issued statements observing that evolution and the tenets of their faiths are compatible. Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.

Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience. In science, explanations must be based on evidence drawn from examining the natural world. Scientifically based observations or experiments that conflict with an explanation eventually must lead to modification or even abandonment of that explanation. Religious faith, in contrast, does not depend only on empirical evidence, is not necessarily modified in the face of conflicting evidence, and typically involves supernatural forces or entities. Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science. In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways. Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist.
http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/Compatibility.html
I think one of the main issues with the Intelligent Design Movement is simply that proponents of that movement will not accept Charles Darwin's contributions to science.

Was it Sir Patrick Moore?
No. He is more like the James Bond type. :!!) He's also a Brit.

I couldn't find any shells at the beach today, but I did manage to wade in the water and dig my toes into the sand. Beautiful!
 
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  • #46
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and the day we stop exploring possibilities is the day we'll never know.
And that's what ID does. The answer to everything is "God did it". Or "the Intelligent Designer did it" to be specific.
 
  • #47
R I'm not saying there's some big guy sitting on a leather couch that put a bunch of atoms into a primordial easy bake oven and out we came, I'm just saying the possibility is there, and therefore, it's possible to conceive of this without calling it religion.
It's also possible that we are all in a simulation or you are just dreaming about reading this - but you aren't going to get very far if you are allowed to write "because a magic being says so" to every question "why?"

That's the problem with all the 'equal time' for creationism proponents.
It's to write 'because God says' to an answer in 1st grade but where do you stop?
12Grade, your engineering finals, when asked by the board of inquiry why you chose the strength of the beam in the collapsed bridge ?
 
  • #48
Andy Resnick
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I'm confused on what there is to even teach about it. To teach something, you must first know something about what you're teaching, so I'd love to see how these people are teaching something they don't know anything about themselves.
Come again?
 
  • #49
ID cannot generate a testable hypothesis and is therefore, not scientific.
This is the point I was trying to make. And my previous disclaimer would only be necessary if someone were to bring up the concept in class.

In other words, "you can believe what you want, but in this class we will be studying real science".
 
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  • #50
Borek
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In other words, "you can believe what you want, but in this class we will be studying real science".
"Oh, so you believe in God of mathematical equations."

That's what I was told by a catholic priest back in mid eighties, when I was young and didn't think discussing things with some people is a waste of time.
 

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