Monday, June 25, 2007

Ambiguity about Atheism at UD

(Reminded by this post) Okay so I just started up blogging here, and William Dembski, ID proponent, gave this blog a plug on his website, Uncommon Descent:
It will be interesting to see how the National Center for Science Education Selling Evolution deals with the growing number of non-religious ID proponents.

It is heartening to see Dr. Dembski give the non-religious supporters of ID a thumbs-up. However, only a few posts later, he turns right around:
The European Council for the Advancement of Atheism

The Council of Europe may justly be renamed as “The European Council for the Advancement of Atheism.” To believe in a God who acts in the world (aka theism) henceforward constitutes “religious extremism.” It will be interesting to see at what point advocacy of ID is regarded in Europe as a “hate crime” against … science? … society? … humanity?
Oh, your’re wondering what this is all about. Check out the following report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the CU (

In case you read through the long passage quoted, it said nothing about atheism. Instead, it labeled Intelligent Design as nothing but a creationist (hah) movement. I'll admit, ID has its roots amongst a group of Christians, however it codifies ideas that are distinct from religious concepts. Here you have two nonreligious bloggers already, writing about ID from a non-religious perspective. Something that Dr Dembski finds encouraging. And more will come.
However, what I don't understand is the apparent duplicitousness. Moments after patting William (Brookfield) on the back, Dr. Dembski uses the "atheism" label to insult the albeit misguided Council of Europe. In my opinion, you can't have it both ways.
I would like to take this moment to note that belief in a creator-god does not equal belief in Intelligent Design. This is a fact that I know Dr. Dembski agrees with. You can believe in a god and be against ID - you can even believe that this god interacts with matter in this universe, however, religious anti-IDists (or religious darwinists) will say that the actions of this god are supernatural, and thus not verifiable scientifically. Thus, a philosophical topic. You can be non-theistic and also be a supporter of ID.
So to call them atheists because they don't care for ID is not only logically unfounded, emotionally charged and stereotypically-based, it works against every effort that Dr. Dembski and other IDists have tried to make to show that ID is not a religious idea but instead a scientific one. And it also alienates those who you seek to attract to your fold.
So what do you think, readers, should the anti-atheist rhetoric be thrown out of the ID movement of is it here to stay? Allow me to suggest that if the polls are to be trusted, then religious darwinists outnumber the nonreligious by at least 3 to 1. Think about that.
(Before everyone jumps on the numbers, I'm assuming 10% of the population is non-religious, and that 40% of the population in one form or another accepts darwinism. Now you can cook the numbers and suggest that only atheists truly accept darwinism, but I'm going off of the polls that allow religious people to agree with evolution without neccessitating that they abandon their religious beliefs in answering the questions.)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

2007 Shift Report - "Evidence of a World Transforming"

"We are living through one of the most fundamental shifts in history — a change in the actual belief structure of Western society. No economic, political, or military power can compare with the power of a change of mind. By deliberately changing their images of reality, people are changing the world."

— Willis Harman, Global Mind Change

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Repost: An Atheist in support of ID

This was the first post that I made on, and so I thought it would be fitting to repost it here so a wider audience could read and consider it.

In the scientific debate over the origins and patterns of life over the years, it is often claimed that evolution is propped up by atheists, and ID is propped up by theists alone. There are theists in support of evolution, but what about atheists who support ID? I'm one.
I wanted to get this right out there, seeing how this is a new community and I plan to contribute as much as I can to shape the discussion. Over the next month, I hope to elaborate more on my positions (and lack of positions) on Evo/ID issues, but the first one I wanted to bring up for everyone's mutual digestion is the pidgeon-holing of the debate into religious terms.
First, I would like to object to the statements made by non-believers that ID amounts to nothing more than a religious argument dressed up in scientific language. Information theory, biochemistry, and engineering - these are hardly religious concepts. Fields such as Archaeology can conclude that design has taken place, in the case of human artifacts, but the keep-away-from-biology wagon-circle that they put up to design detection methods reveals that they are afraid of theism leaking into biology. Why?
ID proponents are currently mostly religious, and currently mostly Christians. This is to be expected because of the origins of the theory. If ID was formulated in Saudi Arabia, we would be debating the islamic origins of ID, and if it was invented in Atheist/Communist China, the debate would be of a whole different flavor.
What could be some of the causes of this? For one thing, religious beliefs are strongly correlated with interest in ID. Many religious groups, people, and churches promote ID within their organizations and communities. Many people conflate the designer(s) with their notion of a god, and give their support to it for the wrong reasons. In this, a lot of ID supporters are guilty.
Its the same thing as when atheists believe in evolution because they believe it eliminates the need for a god.
The issue should be the evidence for or against particular theories, and not the theological (or political) implications of those theories. It is difficult to keep the debate on scientific terms, and both sides can be blamed for that.
What are we to do as ID supporters? For one thing, I think we should stop painting ID with supernatural colors. This wins supporters in some groups, but creates enemies in others. Just as evolution has no bearing on whether or not there is a god, neither should ID. Many pseudo-ID groups (such as Reasons to Believe) have latched onto the Designer notion and proclaimed that it is the Christian God, and this harms the movement's scientific mission.
Religious and non-religious scientists alike should find this notion attractive. For instance, just as there are immensely complicated, fine-tuned, and beneficial systems in cells that may have been designed, there may also be simple systems, sub-optimal, and even malicious systems in cells that may have been designed. For theists that believe in a benevolent, omnipotent and omniscient God, such systems may be ignored because they do not fit into their theological presuppositions.
Sub-optimal, simple, or malicious design may be wrongly attributed to evolution or the break-down of a more perfectly designed system, or even ignored. I have heard Michael Behe describe his personal view of the Type-III Secretory System in that it was designed - a structure that helps bacterial pathogens kill eukaryotic cells in diseases such as the bubonic plague. Many theists are loathe to consider the TTSS as being designed because it seems to be a malicious design. If a scientist created such a thing and unleashed in upon the world, we would declare them a terrorist. So many people conclude that it must have been a flagellum that broke down to the structure that we see today to avoid the theological issues that come with their assumption that the designer(s) must be benevolent.
Perfect design is also assumed, and this leads to strong arguments against design, and weaker-than-possible arguments for design. Anti-IDists bring up cases up sub-optimal design as an argument against ID, and the usual response from ID supporters is to try to explain how it must be optimal somehow, and this can lead to laughable rationalizations. But couldn't there be cases of structures in biological organisms that meet the characteristics of being designed, but are sub-optimal or inefficient? Only when you assume that the designer(s) has/have/had perfect knowledge and ability will the design be assumed to be perfect in all aspects. (For instance, if the flagellum did break down to produce the TTSS, and if the designer was believed to be an all-knowing deity, wouldn't it have still foreseen that and you would be compelled to conclude that the flagellum should have been designed in another way as to prevent that breakdown? Again, assumptions are in play.)
If we can conclude that the entity or entities (theological presuppositions also lead people to describe the Designer in s singular and also capitalized) that did the designing was/were intelligent, then we can learn about other aspects of it or them. (notice how many describe it as a "he" as well) For example, how intelligent? How knowledgeable were they of natural law, how much could they predict about the future? What can we surmise that they did not understand when structures within biological organisms were being designed? If you cringe about the prospect that the designer(s) could have had less than perfect knowledge about the universe, then you are assuming that this is a deity, which is your own theological assumption that you bring to the table.
I've given a few examples here, and I hope to elaborate on this some more over time. I've pointed to a few aspects of the language that we use to describe ID and how this gives fuel to the Trojan Horse of Creationism fire that gets tossed onto ID. I think that if you tie your notion of a creator-god to the design we find in biological systems, then there are difficult questions that will do more harm to (and might be considered blasphemous to) your religious beliefs than any notion of biological evolution ever could. So there is good reason to separate ID from your religious beliefs as well.
You many not agree with me, in which case we could continue the dialogue over the coming weeks, months, years, and however long it takes for ID to become accepted and not discriminated against for imagined theological reasons. You might want to attack me for not being religious, but remember, theists and atheists alike believe in evolution, despite the lack of evidence, because they agree on scientific grounds. I'm an atheist, so you would think that I should believe in evolution by default. But there is much that we do not understand in this universe, and evolution does not help us understand the most complicated aspects of biology, and it is a poor substitute for a real scientific theory. That's something that I think we can all agree on, and to stave off any anti-atheist attacks I may get, I would like to say that if this is to become the important scientific movement of this century, it has to be about the science, and nothing but the science. Let's leave our theological assumptions at the door.
Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Enter the Klone


I'm EJ Klone, and I thought I would say a little hello to everyone. I've been lurking around the science blogosphere, commenting here and there, absorbing it all in, and asking a few questions. I then found myself on, writing a few posts, which got me mixed reviews. You see, when I told everyone that I supported Intelligent Design, as an atheist, folks gave me props. But then when I question the idea that the designer(s) of biological organisms is/are supernatural, I was roundly criticized.

William Brookfield noticed my posts, and invited me on to his blog, here, and his recent attention reminded me of his offer. So here I am now, ready to shake a few foundations.

You see, I think there's a huge nugget of wisdom in this design concept, and I think it has the potential to reshape the way we view everything in much the same way that Darwin did in his day. But more so.

However, if ID is going to be the scientific framework that it should be, the ID community is going to need to shake itself of its presuppositions. Let me give you a short list of what's to come, and try to think about how ID has come to approach each of these issues:
  • Singular designer vs multiple designers
  • Supernatural designers vs natural designers
  • Design flaws vs design perfection
  • Intentional design vs accidental design
  • Same designer(s) for living organisms and the universe itself?
  • Common descent vs common design - are these even mutually exclusive categories?

And together, we shall put an end to this uber-Darwinian magical nonsense. Hope you'll stick around for the show!

Thanks, one and all for your interest!

Wow! Thank you William Dembski for making my site famous :) (or infamous if you prefer)

This site is a proposed International coalition of non-religious ID scientists/scholars/supporters. I have put out this blog looking for others like me, who are interested in origins science, but are not at all religious.
It is not appropriate to exclude anyone from science on the basis of religion. It is not my intention with this site to exclude the religious. However, it does seem necessary at this time to establish a loose coalition of non-religious ID proponents in order to stand up for academic freedom of inquiry for *all* scientists (religious and non-religious alike).

Unfortunately there have been lots of inaccurate statements on various blogs about this site and my ideas. As a general rule of thumb it is always good to avoid spin and go to the source to find out what is actually being said.

For instance this commment posted by Posted by: Oleg Tchernyshyov June 16, 2007 10:14 PM : at "Stranger Fruit"

"Brookfield is also the author of a delightfully silly paper
In Search of a Cosmic Super-Law: The Supreme "Second law" of
Devolution. One of the highlights of this work is a
suggestion to replace the 2nd law of thermodynamics with
Murphy's law. I am not kidding."

I am not proposing the replacement of the 2nd law of thermodynamics with Murphy's law. I am proposing that both the Second Law of thermodynamics and the Second law of Black hole dynamics be treated as laws of information loss. I am proposing that the entire universe be treated -- not as a material universe/structure -- but as an information structure -- and that this model in turn will provide a new map of the core of a black hole singularity -- a model in which the core's area (surface) is directly proportional to the entropy.