Your Destiny: Two Clicks, One Choice

THIS morning, dear reader, we offer you a rare opportunity to choose your path through life. The road ahead is forked, and you can travel one way or the other — but not both. To make your choice you must click on one of the two links we’re presenting. Here they are:

Choice one: This leads to an excellent article by Lauri Lebo. If you don’t yet know who she is, the next two indented paragraphs will fill you in.

During the forty-day trial that led to the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Lauri was a reporter for the York Daily Record, the local paper for the site of the trial. Lauri’s byline was the brand name for superbly written, in-depth news stories from the courthouse.

Lauri and her work were prominently mentioned in the NOVA documentary, Judgment Day. She is also the author of: The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-town America.

Lauri’s latest is at the website Religion Dispatches, where we read: Still Trying to Get Creationism into Science Classes.

Lauri is responding to a post by David Klinghoffer titled “Dear Lauri Lebo, Please Help Me Understand Your Conspiracy Theory,” That’s the one about which we wrote: Klinghoffer: “What, me worry?” Early in Lauri’s article she says:

[I]t occurred to me that next month marks the fifth-year anniversary of Kitzmiller v. Dover, the landmark case in which parents successfully sued a Pennsylvania school district for requiring that the theory of intelligent design be taught in local science classes. So, I figured since I’m being called out and all, this would be as good an opportunity as any for a nice retrospective piece on the Discovery Institute. (And, well, Mr. Klinghoffer did ask me to help him understand.)

There’s nothing we can say about Lauri’s article except this: If you don’t read it, you’re an imbecile!

Choice two: Your Curmudgeon understands that there are those who, instead of reading Lauri’s article, prefer to go through life brain-free and unburdened by the restraints that reason imposes on what we can believe. The traditional way to accomplish that condition is by using drugs, but for those who want another way, we heartily recommend something we found today at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).

What we’re recommending is Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design: What is the origin of the digital information found in DNA? There you can watch a video by Discoveroid “Senior Fellow” (i.e., incurably full-blown creationist) Stephen C. Meyer.

Meyer is important. As you can see here: Discovery Institute: Their 2007 Tax Return, that year the Discoveroids paid Meyer (their Vice President) $102,500, plus expenses. Also, as we reported here, he was one of three creationist “experts” who were on the 6-member panel selected by Don McLeroy to testify before the Texas Board of Education regarding standards for science education. Before that, Meyer was a central figure in the notoriously shabby peer review controversy.

So there you are, dear reader. The decision is up to you. You may choose to click on either Lauri’s article or Meyer’s video. Your fate is in your hands.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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21 responses to “Your Destiny: Two Clicks, One Choice

  1. Aurie Lebo: Thorough, insightful, and informative.

    Stephen Meyer: Confused crackpot, bad haircut.

  2. Tomato Addict says: Stephen Meyer: “Confused crackpot, bad haircut.”

    Hey! My hair looks like that.

  3. Surprise, surprise, he doesn’t have an answer to his question.

    Oh, yes, he does say that “intelligent design” is involved somehow. (Whatever “intelligent design” is, but let’s not worry about that right now. Or whatever the origin of the digital information in intelligent design.)

    But what is the origin of the digital information?

    How does it come about?

    What does it come from? What is the result?

    When and where does that happen? Is it still going on?

  4. Was it Meyer or Luskin who wrote a piece on the scientific, fancy-schmancy, definition of DNA information?

    It’s not Shannon Information (which has a definition and can be measured) because that’s Mere Information.

    It’s not Kolmogorov Information (which has a definition and can be measured) because that’s Mere Information, too.

    Rather it’s Complex Specified Information because that information is both complex and specified. It’s complex because it has complexity, rather than mereness, and it’s specified because it’s not unspecified.

    It can be measured, too, using a complexly specifiable measuring tool thingie but that’s a topic for another book that, I believe, Paul Nelson is working on.

    Therefore, Designer(tm).

    Any questions?

  5. Gabriel Hanna

    Demsbki’s test seems to be:

    first, is it ordered (low probability)?
    second, is it the result of natural law?
    if not, then it’s designed.

    So a snowflake isn’t designed, because natural laws do that all the time–but the very point in contention is that evolution by natural selection is a natural law that produces complexity. You can only attribute to design, even if you follow Dembski, by FIRST proving that evolution by natural selection could NOT have done it.

    Otherwise you have to say that God might be creating individual snowflakes, it’s the same argument.

  6. Yes, they say that if X is of low probability and is not due to natural regularity then it’s designed.
    But do they say that otherwise it is not designed?
    Can’t intelligent designers design things which are of high probability?
    Is there any example of a thing (even hypothetical) which they would agree is not designed?

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    @TomS:

    I have repeatedly asked people who believe in design, how they can prove something was NOT designed without knowing the intentions and abilities of the designer.

    For instance, I didn’t design the platypus. I don’t have the ability. In addition, my motivation would have been to make it even more hilarious than it is. We can rule out me as the Designer, but when you don’t say what did the designing you have no way to tell it wasn’t designed. And that’s why it’s not scientific.

  8. Gabriel Hanna

    Another example; you find a flake of rock with a sharp edge. Could it have been designed? Yes, by a human who wanted it to cut things with and didn’t have the inclination or ability to use a more sophisticated tool. It certainly was not designed by a bear to open beehives. We can say that because we know that a bear doesn’t have the ability or the need or the desire to create such a tool. Because we all know all about bears and humans, we can say a lot about whether something was designed or not. But how do you say, “well, it was designed by SOMETHING for SOME REASON in SOME WAY” and still be doing science?

  9. Paul Nelson will explain it all in his upcoming book, My Dinner with The Designer ™ .

  10. Just read Lauri’s post. Two words: Oh, SNAP!

  11. Meyer’s right, if you give him his premises.

    Of course every code, and the information in it, has been created by intelligence, so long as we exclude the ones that have existed long before intelligent life (our level, anyhow) is known to exist.

    I’ve always wondered if this was retroactive, though. Suppose a Boltzmann brain saw DNA a billion years ago, but no intelligence to create it. Did it properly decide that codes never come from intelligence in our universe?

    As I’ve explained elsewhere, I’ve looked at DNA and the information in it and saw no indications that intelligence was involved. Thinking like a Stephen Meyer, I decided that no codes are produced by intelligence, therefore I pirate all of my software. Why shouldn’t I?

    I’ve been reading Meyer’s plodding book, which keeps attributing widely and long known information to specific ID “scientists” like Dembski (it’s really weird to hear how Dembski came up with pattern recognition as a strategy). What he especially misses (or ignores) is that sometimes you simply are entitled to no conclusion as how an event occurs, and the most obvious fact of all, that you cannot evoke a cause not known to exist at the time the event happened.

    Using his “logic,” in the fifteenth century I would simply have to conclude that all cubes found in the ground are due to intelligence–because the only causes of making cubes that we actually knew about at that time involved intelligence. For him, there’s no waiting for the process of discovery, just conclude intelligence and be done with it.

    Indeed, were other humans as dimwitted as to accept his arguments, we’d never have concluded that anything happened without some specific intelligent god or other entity making it. His is not a “science” of discovery, it is all about concluding a designer wherever a specific cause is not known.

  12. Another example; you find a flake of rock with a sharp edge. Could it have been designed? Yes, by a human who wanted it to cut things with and didn’t have the inclination or ability to use a more sophisticated tool.

    So…how can you come to such a conclusion, when there’s obviously a code-making intelligence that has already acted on earth well before humans ever existed, Meyer’s “designer”?

    Obviously I’m laughing at such absurdities, because with Meyer’s logic we simply could no longer conclude that the marks of intelligence we see around us were necessarily the work of humans. With God coming in and tampering with everything, intelligence is no longer something that has uniquely evolved, it is something that can always act, without such pesky details of having to have evolved, eaten, left fossils (if it has a hard skeleton), or having done anything at all except create life. Yet if making life is all that it had to do, well, how do we know that it didn’t write the manuscripts attributed to da Vinci, and the writings in Eygptian tombs?

    Not only are you correct to note that Meyer’s “explanation” is no explanation, other than that “God did it” (when we boil away the claptrap), but there’s nothing to keep God from doing what we attribute to humans, or perhaps in the future, to evolved aliens. Find intelligently-produced artifacts on the moon, al a 2001: A Space Odyssey. Well, that could as easily be god as anything, so why even think about what might have produced it (god being unknown)?

  13. Curmie wrote> Hey! My hair looks like that.

    Then get a haircut. Hurry. Please!

    >Yes, they say that if X is of low probability and is not due to natural regularity then it’s designed.

    I hate when they get away with this low probability crap. It’s not any sort of probability at all, just meaningless arithmetic. For it to be a probability would require defining the set of all possible events, and in this setting such a task is impossible/ridiculous. In more formal terms, there is no meaningful hypothesis on which you can define a sample space to calculate probability and test a hypothesis.

    Ignoring the last paragraph, and generously allowing that it is a (*cough*) probability, there is no justification to call it a low probability. I work with very small probabilities all the time, but I don’t stop with calculating just one and say “job done”. The point-probability of a single combination of events is meaningless until you add up all the probabilities of all combinations of events for and against the hypothesis (the one they don’t have). Its Hindsight Bias at its worst.

    Oh my … I seem to have ranted again. Sorry about the mess. 😕

  14. Tomato Addict says:

    I hate when they get away with this low probability crap.

    Outside of pure physics, like dropping an anvil held over your foot and predicting the outcome, everything is improbable. When Obama was born, what were the odds of his becoming President? But there is he. That doesn’t mean the time traveling overlords have intervened to change events.

  15. Gabriel Hanna

    Outside of pure physics, like dropping an anvil held over your foot and predicting the outcome, everything is improbable.

    If I win the lottery, it MUST have been rigged. After all, the odds against me were millions to one….

  16. > That doesn’t mean the time traveling overlords have intervened to change events.

    More that that. We can’t calculate probabilities about events without hypothesizing the nature of the TT-overlords and their intervention. We’ll never get that sort of hypothesis from the Discoveroids.

    AND we might have evolved to have 6 fingers instead of 5, with everything else identical. Both are valid events that allow us to be here having this discussion (but in one I’m a much faster typist). The probability that “we are here” is the sum of the probability of those events, and of any other events that lead to “we are here”.
    Actually doing that sort of calculation, even with a properly defined hypothesis, is ridiculous. The evolution of life has too many variables and branches to define the problem in that way. No credible scientist even tries to make that sort of argument; Irreducible complexity is crap.

    Of course, the calculations become much simpler if you subscribe to a retrospective anecdotal account of Creation handed doing from a bunch of bronze age goatherds. (No offense to goatherds intended.)

  17. The time-traveling overlords are experimenting with the appearance of the blog. Is it horrible, or what?

  18. It’s OK. You’ve almost got me convince to switch my blogs to a white background.

  19. Tomato Addict says:

    You’ve almost got me convince to switch my blogs to a white background.

    Why? I kinda like your background. It looks like a close-up of toe-nail fungus.

  20. >It looks like a close-up of toe-nail fungus.

    Well at least my toenail fungus is better than Stephen Meyers’ haircut. 😉

    Probably smarter too.

  21. retiredsciguy

    Curmy says Tomato Addict’s blog’s background looks like toenail fungus.

    I’ve got toenail fungus. I know toenail fungus. Curmy, that blog’s background is not toenail fungus. Not yellow-brownish enough.