Is Intelligent Design Theory a Valid Scientific Argument?

  • Thread starter rachmaninoff
  • Start date
In summary, the speaker at the "Intelligent Design Theory" talk presented the classic I.D. arguments with lots of quotes from "scientists" and claimed that evolution was nonsense. When challenged on his use of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the speaker responded with a confused explanation about Gibbs free energy and Hemholtz energy. The audience included bible-nuts and there were no biology or physics professors to defend the scientific perspective. The student persisted in challenging the speaker and ultimately walked out feeling embarrassed. However, others in the audience may have been influenced by the student's challenges. It's important to stand up for science, even if it's uncomfortable.
  • #1
rachmaninoff
I just walked out of the "Intelligent Design Theory" talk at my school (the one the other thread was about). It was entirely BS. All the "classic" I.D. arguments presented in the same way as always. Lots of quotes from "scientists" saying "evolution is clearly nonsense" - made up the BULK of the lecture. Every other breath was nonsense and shear idiocy. Then when it came to the questions/discussion, I immediatly jumped on his use of the 2nd law of thermodynamics - which he'd said "proved" increase in complexity was "impossible". I chose this point, as he has a PhD in physics (maybe he'll be reasonable?). I pointed out the distinction beteen local/global disorder, that dEntropy was clearly positive on the large scale, the T difference between the sun and the Earth was basically a heat engine that could do work, etc., etc... his response, was to quickly utter "well, there's Gibbs free energy, and Hemholtz energy and Enthalpy..., and well what you get is, you know, like how you can boil water at constant temperature and pressure? That's not an equilibrium is it? Well the Earth is at a quasi-equilibrium, so you're wrong" - and he pointed at the next speaker. I swear that's almost verbatim what he said. Oh god I persisted, I pulled the discussion back to that point THREE times, each time he became more and more slippery, and embarrasing me more and more. First he smiles and says, "you're smart, are you a physics major? What are you studying?" trying to lure me into calm, then bursting off another round of BS ("well, if you just do the canonical transformations of the equations, work through the algebra... Next Question.") God I was so persistent. I'm in the South of the USA, there were bible-nuts all over the audience. None of the physics or biology professors choose fit to attent. No one to defend me. How am I supposed to argue one-on-one with a physics PhD? I kept contradicting him, "no that's not true! Because..." and it was quite embarrasing, him keeping his cool while I was hyper-excited. I didn't "walk out" on his talk, I practically crawled out. I feel so horrible.
 
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  • #2
Hey, at least you still have your brain. AT LEAST YOU STILL HAVE YOUR MIND!
 
  • #3
We're proud of you rachmaninoff!
 
  • #4
i saw this one fox trot cartoon where the brainy kid is looking at one of his textbooks & complaining that it was much too heavy, the print was too small (or something) etc etc & finally he said "this biology text needs more intelligent design!" lol :smile:
 
  • #5
Hey, don't feel bad. I'm glad you persisted! You should be proud you had the guts to challenge him. That's the hardest time to stand up for science, when there's nobody there to back you up. It's a shame a few biologists didn't attend to present some challenges as well. The audiences attending these things need to start hearing the challenges. Who knows, maybe you got through to just one or two audience members, or at least started to cast a little doubt in their minds to get them to consider the scientific side.

He didn't embarass you, he embarassed himself. That's why he was so quick to jump to the next question, because he knew you had called his bluff.

So, be proud you had the courage to speak up! :smile:
 
  • #6
Thank You, rachmaninoff. I really, really appreciate you doing that.

It sounds like quite a scary talk. God. And the believers in the room, well they won't understand anything about the disagreement, but they'll happily walk away thinking that the guy proved them right... he should be ashamed.
 
  • #7
I think you had better run to confession!

Doing what you think is right often sucks. Might as well get used to it. :biggrin:
 
  • #8
pattylou said:
It sounds like quite a scary talk. God. And the believers in the room, well they won't understand anything about the disagreement, but they'll happily walk away thinking that the guy proved them right... he should be ashamed.
oh the irony.
 
  • #9
Wow, thank you all for this support. I think I've recovered my good humor already. I'm still astonished that someone awarded this guy a doctoral degree. Really, I can't believe it. Oh well.

For your amusement, another funny excerpt from the very end:

(guy with a PhD in physics): ...of course minimization of energy and maximization of entropy are the same thing...
(a student [me]): NO THEY'RE NOT!...
(PhD): ...Of course they are!
(student): (speechless)
(PhD): Next question!
(student): (walks out)
 
  • #10
pattylou said:
It sounds like quite a scary talk. God. And the believers in the room, well they won't understand anything about the disagreement, but they'll happily walk away thinking that the guy proved them right... he should be ashamed.

Man, everything seems to scare you doesn't it :smile: :smile:
 
  • #11
Reminds me of a bumper sticker; "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes."
 
  • #12
Skyhunter said:
Reminds me of a bumper sticker; "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes."
That's great!
 
  • #13
Moonbear said:
That's great!

What about those people who will blatantly contradict structural engineers on the 9/11 conspiracy. I think there needs to be a qualifier to the effect of "...except if you're an idiot".
 
  • #14
I sympathize, rachmaninoff. I'm Christian (she said, ducking her head) and I've heard that old Second Law argument trotted out time and time and time again. People who know my background generally nod a lot while I'm talking, but I've noticed that it never affects their opinions.

Still, it's a battle worth fighting.
 
  • #15
Good work, lad. I'm betting that at least a handful of other science buffs were in the crowd, and if mention of your 'embarrassment' is made by the weirdos you'll find some support.
 
  • #16
Pengwuino said:
Man, everything seems to scare you doesn't it :smile: :smile:
Aaackk!

(Oh. Thank god. It was just an oversized penguiin.):wink:
 
  • #17
Ahem, don't mock the great French monument like that!
 
  • #18
Maybe some school teacher should use I.D. teaching to get it banned:

"Yes, God created the trees and the skies. He created Satan, then cast him into hell. He tried to drown us and knocked down the tower of babel. But He says He forgives you for starting that fight. He invented the cancer cells in your aunt's brain, small pox and bird flu. Now, drink your milk."
 
Last edited:
  • #19
Do I detect a slur against the lactose-intolerant?:-p
 

Related to Is Intelligent Design Theory a Valid Scientific Argument?

1. What is Intelligent Design Theory?

Intelligent Design Theory is a controversial scientific theory that suggests that certain features of the universe and living organisms are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than natural processes.

2. Is Intelligent Design Theory considered a valid scientific argument?

This is a highly debated question among scientists. Some argue that Intelligent Design does not meet the criteria of a scientific theory because it cannot be tested or falsified. Others argue that it should be considered a valid scientific argument because it offers an alternative explanation for certain phenomena.

3. What evidence supports Intelligent Design Theory?

Proponents of Intelligent Design point to the complexity and apparent design of the universe and living organisms as evidence for an intelligent creator. They also argue that certain biological features, such as irreducible complexity, cannot be explained by natural selection and therefore require an intelligent cause.

4. Why is Intelligent Design Theory controversial?

The controversy surrounding Intelligent Design stems from the fact that it has been heavily promoted by religious groups who view it as a way to introduce creationism into schools. Critics also argue that it is not a scientifically testable theory and therefore should not be taught in science classrooms.

5. How does the scientific community view Intelligent Design Theory?

The majority of the scientific community does not accept Intelligent Design Theory as a valid scientific argument. It is not considered a scientifically rigorous theory and has been rejected by numerous scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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