Intelligent Design Question

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by mathman, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    What's the problem with your knee?
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  3. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Of course I am stalking you. I want to have your babies.

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  5. Buckaroo Banzai Mentat Registered Senior Member

    But then if a mysterious designer or an infinite chain of mysterious designers with their mysterious ways is an valid, scientific explanation, a mysterious "energy" that mysteriously creates design, somehow, without being intelligent, is a vallid and scientific explanation as well. Maybe better, more parsimonious, because doesn't assume an unnecessary trait, intelligence. All that's necessary is to "somehow" design/adaptation/phenomena-to-be-explained appears.

    Then we have this theory of everything. A sort of mysterious energy that's somehow responsible for phenomena in general. If there's a gap in "orthodox" explanations of the phenomena, there's space where this "energy" theory can fill in.

    I can't tell why that's any worse than "ID".

    I think ID isn't unscientific because we can't study the intelligent designers. In fact, we could, if we assume that there was "intelligently designed designs" in the natural world. More or less like if we found artifacts somewhere we can examine for what they're made, their purposes and thus the designers intentions and etc. It's not like we find a point of an arrow and then the designer of the arrow point is just a philosophical, religious, personal question.

    ID is unscientific, at least as the way it's been recently proposed because it can't be tested. And if we can think of something that would refute ID, it always does, but ID defenders always will come with some sort of ad hoc.

    For example, if there's an ID of living beings. Is very reasonable to expect that "chimeras" would abound. Even if we accept universal common ancestry. But somehow, not only there are the natural lineages, but all known genes are always distributed along them in a way that never conflicts with either vertical or horizontal genetic transmission, while we could expect that genes, at very least, would appear anywhere thy would be useful, not restricted by the known natural means of transmission.

    For example, there are fishes in both poles which have similar "anti-freezing" proteins in their blood (or something like that); if they're designed by the same designer, one would reasonably expect that there would be the same protein coded by the same gene in both cases, since the genetic code is the same for both fishes, that would work.

    But that's not what happens. If I recall correctly, there are similar proteins, coded by similar genes. Convergent evolution fits well with the fact, and doesn't require nothing unknown and mysterious in his/their purposes.

    I don't know the actual ad hoc used by ID defenders for this sort of thing, but I can invent several myself, and it's all "valid" since no one knows if there's an ID. Could be that there are poly-ID-ism and each protein and it's respective gene is owned and patented by a different ID, or group of IDs.

    Or could be that there's just one, but the manufacturing process is "visual", through the phenotype/functionality, not by creating the sequences. More or less like person could create two versions of similar web pages, through different softwares and will have different source codes for similar designs and functions, since the page was designed by "visual edition" and the source code is generated automatically.

    And if I don't like common ancestry, it can be just like genetic templates; or a common "theoretical" ancestry, that didn't actually happen biologically.

    And anyone can fantasise whatever suits one's own taste.

    I think a clear reason to reject ID is that's unfalsifiable, as many things that anyone can invent to "explain" lots of things.

    The big picture of evolution is clear: modified descent originates new species.
    There are no evidence that the modification in the lineages is orthogenical/teleological.

    And isn't every bit of everything that's perfectly explained in all its details, there's plenty of space to create hypothesis to explain things, but they need to be falsifiable to be worthwhile.
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  7. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2005
  8. c'est moi all is energy and entropy Registered Senior Member

    mysterious, heh? ... seems like some sort of trick to make it seem improbable, I'd say

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    Maybe yes,for you as an unsignificant small thing in the universe, this is all mysterious. You are part of a generation of scientific revolution now lasting like hardly a few centuries, yet you feel confident enough to rule out anything "mysterious". I'm sorry, not argument there.

    This is a bad analogy. Are you suggesting that archeologists know the intention of the artifacts they find? I know they don't. I am one

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    All we (they) can is think of possible explanations. It can never be an exact science in that way.

    I'm not here to defend the ID adepts, but I do know, that evolutionists are very good at this as well. They don't make any clear predictions and can accomodate nearly any situations. Nothing is a real problem to them. In one publication, a certain problem will be handled in a certain way, while another evolutionist will state something completely different (like, 'this would be a fundamental proof against evolution theory', whilst the other guy solved it by saying, 'it's no problem at all we could explain it'). I can give you many examples. Most of their arguments are based on discussions with creationists - originally, as we all know, darwinism was not conventional. This is part of the problem as well cause you get flawed logic all over the place. Arguments against creationism are not necessarily pro- evolution.

    Now this is discussion of contents. That's different than the above. I'm not gonna go defend ID here.

    I wouldn't call convergent evolution a strong evidence in favour for darwinism.
    If one kind of configuration (macro or on genetic level) is the best possible, explaining why it evolved seperately more than once, then there should be a lot of configurations around that failed. Convergent evolution is just a term. It has nothing to do with facts. Facts would be explaining the observed phenomenon adequately and in detail. You can't just say that it firs with the facts. It's a circular reasoning.

    I understand your criticism. It's a problem. But not only for ID. As I said already, you can observe the same shit within evolutionist's literature. It's not my problem though. Just wanted to point out that human beings are bad at science. They're better at preaching

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    I've encountered the same problem with evolutionism. Too bad they're totally disformed in their thinking by attacks of creationists. Evolutionism was born under attack, and will remain so. This makes quality interaction hardly possible for people like me. Somehow, you gotta be part of one group. Science and religion go hand in hand, and always will. Just a matter of accent.
  9. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    In anthropology and biology, the term Evolutionism is nowadays used specifically for historical theories or beliefs developed in the 18th and 19th century that organisms are intrinsically bound to improve themselves through progressive changes which are heritable. This idea was applied to cultures and societies as well as to living organisms. The term evolutionist is still used more widely and can refer to proponents of the theory of evolution through natural selection which has superseded the earlier biological theories, but particularly in the U.S.A. this term is used by opponents of the theory to bolster their claim that evolution theory is a belief rather than a science, and so this usage is often avoided by the scientific community. The terms are still used for theories about the development of cultures and civilisations.

    So, let's go back to the basics:

    1. Evolution is not a belief. It is a theory.

    2. No peer reviewed paper supporting ID has ever been published. How hard can it be if it is so obvious and worthy alternative to the theory of evolution. Could it be that ID is actually a belief and peer reviewed papers do not publish beliefs.

    3. The existence of homologous and analogous forms no hindrance to the theory of evolution. They support the theory. Does it support ID? who knows, because as you said yourself you are not going to defend ID. I know why of course. Because it is impossible. First of all you have to pin yourself down if you are going to defend it. You can't do that because the only interest of ID proponents is to sow doubt on the theory of evolution. Therefore they will never specify their own views because it will be easy to kick over any ID theory. Therefore it's best to keep it vague and not commit oneself.
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I am not an expert in comparative biology, in fact know little about it, but there are cases where many different creatures seem to have exactly (well almost so) the same genetic sequences. For example, say 80% of A is the same as B. Likewise B matches exactly 75% of C etc. Also for reasons developed well before anything about genes was even known, the evolutionists that were working "knew" that A was an "offshoot" of B and B was an "offshoot" of C etc. For me this is strong evidence that the pre genetic knowledge of "evolution" is correct. (but in a few instances, the gene data show they had the evolution chain wrong.)

    Also "convergent evolution" does have many "failures." Despite being very sensitive, wavelength responsive, etc, the human eye is one. (You know retina is behind blood vessels and layers of processing nerves - "built backwards" - from an optical point of view.) The octpus has evolution's "convergent evolution" of an eye better designed with he retina in front of the blood vessels etc.) Also of course, there are dozens of different eye designs - Nature found many different ways to gain information from more distant points than are possible by touch using radiation from the sun (and even warm bodies of potential meals like the pit viper's primative, but very effective "failed eyes.")

    Almost every imaginable eye / radiation detector exist, even one where the eye is fixed but the small retina can be moved around internally to look in different directions! Some are lens less (pin hole cameras) Some have one lens. Some, like spoiders, several. Others, like flies, very many, etc. All told there are probably 1000 "failures" in eyes known. You are simply wrong to say there are not "failures"

    (Or do not know what you were trying to say. If that is the case, give me an example of whatr you mean by a "failure." What would you consider a failed eye?)

    Quasi "convergent evolution" is not just "term" but is a fact. (There is slightly divergent evolution also - sometime in the not too distant past, one of the human retinal pigments diverged a little. I forget which but one of the three, but now humans come with two distinct, but very similar, absorption curves retianal pigments - two sub species if you like, but fortunately not obviously different so they can go to the same schools etc.

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    Also it is a fact that in creatures that have indeed evolved from a common prior one, Nature has usually kept the old designs, which could be because an ID used the best one, I agree, but in view of 1000 failures in eyes alone, either there were a 1000 independent IDs, each with his/her idea as to what is "best," or the trial and error process at the heart of evolution has a lot of support outside of the fossil record also.

    You said: "Facts would be explaining the observed phenomenon adequately and in detail" and I agree. When this is done, as I have tried to briefly illustrate with "eye facts and failures," the evolution position is strongly supported.
  11. leopold Valued Senior Member

    what other forces in nature are there? if god exists it would have to be un-natural force. is that a valid assumption?
  12. Buckaroo Banzai Mentat Registered Senior Member

    The problem isn't just being "mysterious".

    Is that if something totally unknown is proposed as an explanation of a fact, supposedly an effect, any other unknown thing can be as well.

    Like an "designing energy", or "designing principle" of the universe. It doesn't need to be intelligent. It just have the effect of creating design, however it works.

    It's even better than ID because we can use all the "there-are-design" arguments and at the same time accepting all the "the-design-isn't-intelligent" ones.

    But isn't so appealing to monotheists because wouldn't be some sort of super-powerful watchmaker who keeps constantly adjusting the hours, intervening, in its poorly working clock.

    But they can infer at least something about the designers. For example, that weapons of the different tribes or cultures are made by different tribes or cultures to attack each other and defend from each other.

    But seems okay if designer designs weapons for both preys and predators.

    Well, it could be analogue to an neutral designer of weapons selling to enemy countries, anyway. Or could be that he just like some biological destruction derbys...

    I surely won't say that anything any evolutionist says is good because it's evolution. But I think that the discussion between evolutionists is far away from the discussion about nothing between defenders of different creationisms.

    I didn't quite understand what you think that would be a real explanation, or how darwinism isn't evidenced by convergent evolution...

    But forget darwinism, anyway, however convergent evolution happened, or "convergent but slightly different creations".

    The point is that analogue convergence is what is expected from different lineages adapting - by darwinism or however - to similar environments.

    Different from all the homologies between unrelated lineages that we could see if there was a designer who is not restricted by lineages to make his inventions.

    If intelligent evolution/design were to be defended there, all we cold say that the ID is doing is forcing some pattern of mutations. Or increasing the rate of mutations in order to the right ones be selected. But it doesn't quite requires intelligent guidance, and why add stuff that is totally inutile to explain? Things that would be "Occam razored".

    Sometimes, darwinists can be just like ID defenders for some stuff, just saying "there was this X incredible adaptation, which is the better possible so it happened by natural selection". When in many times natural selection can have just an "weak" role in this specific thing.

    Two examples: I've seen evolutionists saying that the hexagonal shape of the holes in beehives is the better possible because permits the optimal size of whatever; better than squared holes or triangular holes. But doesn't mean that these variations ever came to exist and were selected against. If multi-"cell" beehives evolved from single-"cell" beehives built tightly closed to each other, the automatic tendency would be to form hexagonal shapes. More or less like vacuum packed sausages, I guess.

    Other thing was of birds losing their teeth as it would make the animal less heavier and more easier to fly. But then any bird wouldn't be able to fly before eating one or two moths. If teeth weight was the problem, perhaps just slightly bigger wings would solve. Toothless birds more probably are the only ones we see because all of them descend from a bird that were once adapted to an herbivorous diet, or that loose the teeth for any reason more probably related with the diet, anyway.

    It's nearly saying "he did it"; but yet there's the huge difference that natural selection is an actual mechanism.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2005
  13. c'est moi all is energy and entropy Registered Senior Member

    I'm far from being an expert either. I was more interested in the epistemological dimension of this debate.

    Similarities in genetic make-up could equally point out to a designer who used the same sequence a lot, simply because it works well, soothed him ... who knows. Indeed, "who knows?" is then considered to be unscientific ... and needs to be Occam razored (nice use of the term Danniel

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    ). I'm not convinced about the logic in this. An ID theory should have some clear concepts about the intentions of the designer(s) based on the available data. I recall a book of someone, but it's at home and I forgot author and title. but anyway :d he did make it precise and had a nice case to fight for. He did make some mistakes in regard to simulation models.

    I define 'failure' as in 'not surviving'. So none of these examples constitute failure for me. Mutations are random - most of them harmless (I think - and I also recall that I may had a course in which was said that this was one of the benefits of junk dna-sort of buffer), some beneficial and some harmfull. Those who are beneficial at a given time will remain. The problem to point out exactly how this operates is because the term "fitness" is not easy to measure. Still, there should be a lot of creatures who didn't make it due to harmfull mutations. Where are they in the fossil record? That was my point.
  14. c'est moi all is energy and entropy Registered Senior Member

    Wouldn't a failed eye be an eye which misinterprets incoming signals? A 'designer' mistake in the lens, or even in the biochemical processes involved?

    My point was: it's just an observation. So it offers no explanation.

    indeed, trial and error. and ERROR
    Seeing the exact same features around the world develop independantly implies indeed that apparently, not many configurations made it. There must be many errors. If not, what about trial and error

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    It is not often done, as far as I know. As I said before, much of the evolutionists reasoning is circular due to its history. Too bad. It has nothing to do with evolution. It's human reasoning that must use the tool adequately. Evolution can't do it itself

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  15. c'est moi all is energy and entropy Registered Senior Member

    Then following your line of argument, you would never judge someone in court on the basis of indirect evidence?

    Who doesn't say there is such a force in nature? No one can explain the origin of life. It's against many many odds for it to occure. It should be an obvious thing for it to evolve out of ... matter. We are the ones who have created the barrier between matter and "life". Maybe this demarcation problem is nonexistant in nature. Always remember that in reality, there are never problems. Everything merely happens. It is our conceptions of reality that face problems because they are always based on a fragmentary "look". We were obviously not designed nor evolved to explore reality to the core. That's my opinion.

    But where are the designers? Has anyone of us seen them making these tools? It's indirect proof, sustained by current observations and logic inquiry.

    Sidenote: Maybe, if we would be more advanced, there would be an archeology of planets, and you could dig up or withness remains of biological warfare on a huge scale.

    See trial and error post above.

    I have yet to see anyone explaining in detail how irreducible complex systems arise. It is again a pitty that this concept comes from an "outsider" (Behe) and is not seriously taken. It should be. Whether there are no such systems (i doubt that) or there's something wrong.

    but it's all ad hoc explanations

    bad science as well
  16. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    I suggest you put Ophiolite on ignore. I've read several of the posts where Ophiolite criticized your assumptions and statements and, in my opinion, they were spot on. There were several of your posts that I also found disagreeable but refrained from criticizing out of an overall desire not to waste the time.

    There simply is no evidence that Ophiolite is "stalking" you and there is ample evidence that you are simply crying over it because of personal paranoia and/or frustration at not being able to appropriately refute his logical criticisms.

    If you don't like his comments, put him on "ignore." They will go away.
  17. Buckaroo Banzai Mentat Registered Senior Member

    Not, I don't think that's implied. But ID is more or less like saying that a demon or a ghost did the murder or the stealing, or that the murder is just inherently mysterious, and we don't have means to really know how that really happened so one can be guilty or innocent just as we like it to be or not, then we invent some sort of "explanation" that gives the result we want.

    Because the indirect proof of a totally unknown mechanism is just anything we just arbitrarily attribute to it, what we are trying to explain.

    My theory to "explain" cats: cats somehow, some when, came from Mars. The "indirect proof" is that there are cats. Just by coincidence - or maybe not, they're just what we'd expect from terrestrial life. But I think that lots of people had this gut feeling that cats are somewhat odd. And also there was the cults to cats in ancient Egypt. This is also indirect proof. Egyptians had pyramids, what could be a better indicator than that? Conventional zoology isn't a satisfactory explanation to cats, as we didn't actually witnessed that they first arose on Earth. I'll not propose to know exactly how, when or why cats came from Mars, just that they did it.

    Yes, unknown things can exist. But anyone can invent some thing that is just inutile and impossible to be tested, and just "explain" things because it's in the definition of that thing.

    ID explains complex features of the organisms.

    Three (or maybe twelve) Intelligent Designing "guys" explain the complex features of organisms

    "Designing unintelligent energy" which is omnipresent in the universe explains complex features of the organisms.

    "Designing unintelligent energy" which is heterogeneously present in the universe explains complex features of the organisms.

    "Designing unintelligent energy" which emanates from Earth's core explains complex features of the organisms.

    "Genetic resonance fields" explains complex and simple features of the organisms.

    Or "unknown mechanism X" explains any given phenomena.

    The indirect evidence is the phenomena it "tries" to "explain". Because the "mechanism" is defined as something that causes this given effect.

    I'm not arguing here against indirect proof, but that, assuming that ID is indirectly proven or worthy of being considered, then there would be some indirect clues to the nature of the designer(s), wouldn't be just a religious/personal opinion. See the "multiple designers theory".

    The problem isn't indirect proof at all, the whole macroevolution, among other things, is proven this way. But an "unknown mechanism that somehow would produce exactly what is expected by common descent without actually being" is also equally "proven" in the same standards of considering the design of adaptations as indirect evidence for an intelligent designer or "energetic design".

    I think it's that funny the basis of all creationisms, the analogy of adaptations with the product of a mind, can also be beaten with the analogy of natural selection operating as a mind. Our inventions don't come from nothing, all of a sudden. We usually "symbiotize" and ensemble known stuff in different ways and then mentally test the hypothesis of how it would work in the real world, in a not so far from random way.

    It's not random at the point of picturing a transatlantic over wheels if we're trying to develop a car, but the random variation in biology isn't also things like a variation of a panther having a blue whale body over panther legs.

    When something really good comes out in our minds then we do the prototypes. Then adjustments in the prototypes, then eventually the real thing. Later, someone will come up with a new improvement, also figured in the same way it was done earlier, and then the invention evolves.

    In nature all that happens in a dynamic way, rather than being mentally tested. It's pretty similar in the sense that both the mind and the analogue to mind create design, but the result of each other are not yet indistinguishable.

    Because nature will work with with is already present in a lineage, and can't revert the processes and start all over again because it got a new and better idea. The "ideas" are done instantaneously and tested immediately. So natural selection will left a "trail" that can be followed in most of the cases, and is far more restrict than what would be possible with a real mind that does the mental simulation prior to building the prototypes and giving the new model to be implemented in the "line of production".

    Yeah, it's not the best possible, but I prefer a doctor saying that perhaps someone died from some heart disease or whatever, even if he or she isn't 100% sure, just the best (even dull) guess, than saying it was by "intelligent murdering" - which in this case wouldn't be an human intelligent murderer, but something else, or "he died from magic".
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Not always true. It took smart people to invent "string theory" but I guess this reply belongs in the Physics and Math forum.
  19. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Given my own jaundiced view of string theory [it's crap like this that gives the word theory a bad name] I would have to say they may have been intelligent, but they were not smart, practical or wise.
  20. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    How do you know this, and show us your calculations to show the odds.

    Indeed, that is what it looks like.

    We are the ones who have created the barrier between matter and "life".
    We? Which we is this? Perhaps the religious people who claim that the soul is the basis of life, and not matter? We eat matter to live do we not?

    Near enough.

    When will you know whether we have reached the core or not?

    Indeed, observations and inquiry. Yet the ID crowd have not observed anything at all, and expect us to take them seriously?

    Obviously you have been looking at the wrong places. Please browse the talkorigins website, and
    they should give you enough to go on.

    The idea will be taken seriously when it is shown to have merit. At the moment it has not yet even been shown to distinguish true and false positives.
  21. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Ophiolite, the latest New Scientist has an attempt by the String theory founder to explain why the theory is not such a silly thing after all. I shall attempt to understand what he is saying.
  22. mathman Valued Senior Member

    19th century version of ID (Washington Post oped column)

    Intelligent Design' Deja Vu

    By Douglas Baynton

    Saturday, December 17, 2005; A23

    School boards across the country are facing pressure to teach "intelligent design" in science classes, but what would such courses look like? Thankfully, we need not tax our imaginations. All we have to do is look inside some 19th-century textbooks.

    The one science course routinely taught in elementary schools back then was geography. Textbooks such as James Monteith's "Physical and Intermediate Geography" (1866), Arnold Guyot's "Physical Geography" (1873) and John Brocklesby's "Elements of Physical Geography" (1868) were compendiums of knowledge intended to teach children a little of everything about Earth and its inhabitants.

    These textbooks seem also to have been intended to provide solace for the existentially anxious. All of them offered in one form or another the reassurance that "Geography teaches us about the earth which was made to be our home." Earth by itself "could not be the abode of man," advised one. "Therefore, two indispensable agents are provided -- the sun and atmosphere." The entire vast history of the planet was summed up as the "gradual formation by which it was made ready for the reception of mankind." The lay of the land had been thoughtfully arranged for our benefit: "As the torrid regions of the earth require the greatest amount of rain, there are the loftiest mountains, which act as huge condensers of the clouds." Because the breezes that blew down mountainsides cooled the inhabitants below, the highest were located in the hottest parts of the world "for the same reason that you put a piece of ice into a pitcher of water in summer, rather than in winter."

    Evidence of design was found in aesthetics as well. Behold "how greatly the scenery of mountains ministers to our love of the beautiful and sublime," one book counseled, "and how much would be lost in this respect if the surface of the earth were a monotonous, unbroken plain." Wherever we look we see "a beautiful world, which was made for the enjoyment and benefit of the whole human family."

    What is wrong with such comforting thoughts? For one, if you've concluded that the world is designed for humans, there is no compelling reason to stop there. Why not a world made not just for your species but also for your race, your nation, your moment in history? For example, the designer's partiality toward the temperate zones was demonstrated by the fact that they were blessed with the useful animals, while "the fiercest Carnivora, as the lion, tiger, and jaguar . . . have their homes within the torrid climes of the globe." Too bad for the people of the torrid climes.

    Another book explained that all the plants and animals that lived and died for eons did so precisely because humans, during their industrial era, would need the coal. The author observed that "the wisdom of this Plan is further recognized in the fact that the coal is found, mainly, in those parts of the earth that are best fitted for human habitation -- in the United States, Great Britain, Western Europe, British America, and China."

    Of course, these observations contain germs of truth. The presence of useful animals affects social development. Mountains modify climate. Design arguments, however, reverse such practical explanations, replacing natural causality with supernatural predestination. In doing so, useful answers that open up further questions are replaced by answers that are emotionally satisfying but intellectual and practical dead ends. After all, once you know that mountains exist because they were meant to exist, what is left to do but to sit in your armchair and meditate on the wisdom of their design?

    Two textbooks laid out the very terms of the current controversy. Brocklesby's "Elements of Physical Geography" told readers in 1868 that "the physical phenomena of the world reveal in their harmonious action a unity of plan and purpose, and display in an infinite variety of ways the 'Power, Wisdom and Goodness of the Almighty Designer.' " By 1901, the Rand-McNally Grammar School Geography instead maintained that the study of geography ought to reveal "a connected chain of causes and results, every link of which presents a problem to stimulate investigation and awaken rational thought."

    There is our choice. The details have changed, but the fundamental habits of thought at issue have not. Do we want children to learn what is currently known and, more important, what remains to be discovered, about the physics of planetary motion? Or rather should they learn that "As the earth is round, only half of it can be lighted at once. In order that both sides may be lighted, the Creator has caused the earth to rotate"?

    The writer is an associate professor of history at the University of Iowa. He will answer questions about this column on Monday at 2 p.m. on

    © 2005 The Washington Post Company
  23. valich Registered Senior Member

    I don't ever recalledthat I ever liad on any post. And we have taken the quarrel to "private dimenensions." If you've read some of Ophiolites and Inverts posts on other thread, you'd be aware that he was stalking, and they have been warned by the admininstrator to stop doing so else he will be suspended from these forums. Also, I never said stalking was physical threatening - so you are the "liar" - but he has done both, and the adminstrators and I know this.

    Please continue without any further worthless interuptions.

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