Saturday, December 11, 2010

Evolutionist Keith Fox debates ID proponent Michael Behe

For some reason, discussions like these are rare.  And I can't say that's the fault of Intelligent Design advocates in their willingness to debate these issues openly in public forums.  It seems to be the evolutionists who are either insecure in their defense or not wanting to give "creationists a platform" that keeps them from debating.  Imagine if ID'rs and Creationists ruled the scientific establishment and evolutionists were in the minority (this probably was the case in the not-so-distant-past).  If ID'rs and Creationists refused to "debate" and "give evolutionists a platform," what would you conclude about them?  Especially if all these closed-minded creationists published books, appeared on TV, traveled around the world giving lectures, but refused to interact with those they criticized; what would any reasonable-minded person conclude about such persons?  Yeah...I was thinking the same thing.

While he is not an atheist, KEITH FOX strongly opposes ID in such a way that you really couldn't tell the difference.  And thankfully, Dr. Fox is one of the brave few (perhaps because he's a professing Christian) who chooses not to avoid ID'rs as if they're lepers.  And to be even more thankful, JUSTIN BRIERLEY is brave enough to regularly host such interactions.  In this discussion, Fox and Behe engage one another in a fast-paced hour long dialogue on the feasibility of ID and irreducible complexity.  Both sides were respectful to one another and really covered some ground.  This is one of the few ID discussions (perhaps because they are so few) that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the subject.

You can find the mp3 HERE and the itunes podcast feed HERE.

26 comments:

Vas said...

Should holocaust deniers be given equal, or any time at all? Why should this be any different?

They've had their day(s) in court and they've failed, miserably (possibly because "irreducible complexity" does not really amount to anything i.e., God "did it" is not science).

Vas said...

I just find the debate over ID to be a big waste of time because it takes away from what we actually know of evolution and it creates this false dichotomy between religion and evolution ( although many Christians believe in evolution ).

Mike Felker said...

Vas, if holocaust carries even a fraction of the popularity and influence that ID has, whereby a growing number of scientists are accepting it in addition to the number of books, websites, organizations, etc. that are out there on the subject (both for and against), then yes, i'd say let's debate the issue.

And to say that ID amounts to "God did it" is to completely and totally misunderstand the argument.

If its such a big waste of time, then perhaps evolutionists should stop spending so much time and money trying to "refute" it? Yet, evolutionists continue to write books, appear on TV, travel on speaking engagements, make websites, blogs about a subject that is a "waste of time."

Also, how does ID take away from what we "know of evolution?" Are you suggesting that evolution not be questioned?

Vas said...

What "growing number of scientist" are accepting ID? I'd say the number amount only enough to classify it as a fringe.

There exist a number of people that question The Holocaust, a number of which reside in Europe. I'm sure a quick google search will provide more than enough websites, books and even seemingly intellectual and powerful people that insist it's all made up.

If ID argues anything scientifically, I'd like to hear it i.e., what scientific argument does ID postulate?

Many books are written on how Jesus was based in myth X, nibiru and Indgeous peoples calendars but I'd equally call all of those a waste of time as well. There is money to be made off the evolution vs ID, religion vs atheism, so it's to be expected that many people are going to capitalize off of that.

I'm not saying evolution shouldn't be questioned, but attempting to shove intelligent design into a classroom as an alternative (when it postulates nothing) does not make one bit of sense.

Mike Felker said...

Vas, if there are holocaust deniers, then I would see every reason to engage them in debate, just as there are those who deny the existence of Jesus. Historians who deny the existence of Jesus are scarce to none, but Christian apologists are completely willing to engage them. I believe this shows a confidence in our position, whereas the evolutionists' unwillingness to engage creationists and ID'rs shows a complete lack of confidence; otherwise, they wouldn't be spending so much time talking about us, writing books, traveling, etc.

As far as what ID argues scientifically, that's why I posted the debate for you to listen to and make up your own mind on the issue.

As far as ID in the classroom, I have no interest in that. What i'm interested in is whether ID is true.

I'd very much like to hear your answer to my question: if ID is such a big waste of time, then do all these evolutionists spend so much time and money on it? And wouldn't this include yourself?

Vas said...

I'm not arguing over there being a need to debate, I'm just calling it a waste of time taking into consideration that most holocaust-deniers arguments rely on semantics e.g., the number of Jews killed being "exact". At what Pontiac does beating a dead horse do anyone any good? To even entertain their arguments is a bit too much as it may actually make it seem as if their arguments have any substance to them i.e., historians have better things to do than argue (waste their time) with holocaust-deniers.

You're right, those historians that actually deny the existence of Jesus are almost: none, but there are plenty that continue to write books on Jesus being based off a myth and I consider those to be a waste of time also, as they do not do anything but confuse and take away from what we can know with some certainty about Jesus. How many arguments frm atheist have you been involved in that included some of those books or fringe-historians as evidences? See my point?

I have no listened to the above debate, but I'd be willing to bet if any It went beyond the "irreducible complexity" argument that you'd have something to share.

If ID had any truth and made scientific claims I do not see how you would not want it in the science classroom.

I couldn't tell you why so many evolutionist and Christians included "waste" so much time and money. What I'm doing here could be regarded by others as a waste of time, but to me it's entertaining, a way to pass time and understand where you and others are coming from.

I do not agree with there being any lack of debates because evolutionist are scarred, there's at least a dozen a month, and if you're askin why scientist (known biologist) are not out there debating: why should they? They probably have better things to do with their time (e.g., research).

Mike Felker said...

Vas, I understand what you're saying and you're completely entitled to see debating ID as a waste of time. So perhaps the issue is not so much with you but with those who spend countless hours and dollars on an issue that is a "waste of time." Its simply a double standard.

Of course, I don't want to promote the beating of dead horses. But I think the ID/Creationist debates are from from a dead horse. I can count on one hand the number of ID/Creationist debates that exist in public/moderated format. And given that new research and evidences are constantly being brought forward in the scientific community, this means that ID'rs/creationists will continue to present new arguments than previous.

The reason I don't have "something to share" is because Behe could say it much better than I can. And since this isn't a field that I have any expertise in, all I can do is listen to both sides and come to my own conclusions.

But if I had to share something, it would be that I find information theory quite compelling as it relates to ID. That is, it is basically common sense to suggest that information comes from an intelligent source. To suggest an exception would place the burden of proof on the evolutionist. And as far as I could tell, Dr. Fox offered no examples of such when Behe presented the argument.

As to your last comment, I don't expect all biologists to engage ID. Most could care less and probably know little about the debate. My point is that evolutionists who practically make a career out of ID/Creationism, need to be more willing to debate. Dawkins is the prime example of this.

Mike Felker said...

And one last thing; there is no way that ID'rs and Creationists are going to be convinced of the other side when the other side sits in silence. So until evolutionists are willing to step of to the plate and engage us in open debate and dialogue, most of us are probably going to remain convinced of our position.

If it were the case that Creationists were in the majority but were unwilling to engage evolutionists, I wouldn't blame evolutionists one bit for not changing their beliefs, much less refrain from attributing a lack of confidence to the Creationist position.

Vas said...

My issue is that time could be better spent, doing research (and apparently it is, because some people in those fields will not bother to be bothered by the false dichotomies being created).

Exactly what counts as "public/moderated format"? I'd say that depending on what is included under that definition it could be rather limited to what you're willing to accept, or perhaps other debates remain unnoticed...

But, Behe himself has not even postulated a scientific argument in support of ID? I've heard the argument that supernatural occurrences are not needed to explain the architect but I've only seen that come from people that try to argue that ID does not invoke "God" and that the architect could be the very "intelligent alien race" that R. Dawkins entertained in Ben Stein's documentary.

So, what I'm asking is what evidences do we have in support for ID? Anytime I've asked, or sought out these answers from those who support ID the only thing I've received is a lecture on the "errors" in Darwinism or some argument about how there exist a conspiracy to silence anyone with a difference opinion (one of the main points of Ben Stein's documentary that when researched was untrue).

How do you understand "information theory" as it relates to ID?

How does the other side sit in silence? There are a number of debates both written and oral that are archived on the internet and very easy to find.

The Apologetic Front said...

Vas, I would say "public moderated debates" would include something like a University setting with two or more opponents, including a cross-examination section, and a moderator. Perhaps i'm used to seeing this in a theological setting whereby the outcome is usually extremely productive and helpful. In very few cases i've seen this for creation/evolution. I would include Kent Hovind's debates as an example of this, but i'd hardly recommend him to anyone. But his format is along the lines of what I find to be helpful, except he rarely had cross-examination sections in his debates.

Behe's arguments are "scientific" in the sense that it is testable, falsifiable, and subject to the scientific method. As to whether it is valid, that is something you would have to decide for yourself (as you seem to have already done). ID does not postulate a need for "God." If this weren't the case, you wouldn't have agnostics and atheists (like David Berlinski) defending ID. All ID suggests is that intelligent design is the best explanation for some biological systems in light of what we know about biology, design, information, etc. And yes, this could include an "intelligent alien race," as ID has little to say about the identity of the designer.

My perspective is that God is the designer, but my reason for this is theological/philosophical. So its not like i'd be able to use the scientific method to prove that "God did it" even though to even do science, you must presuppose God.

The evidence for ID as I see it lies in information theory and irreducible complexity. The basic argument goes as such: in all known testing and experience, information and specified complex systems always arise from an intelligent source. When the same is discovered in biology, it is only reasonable to conclude the same given what we already know through experience and testing.

And to falsify this theory, it would only need to be shown that evolutionary mechanisms can account for these things through examples and testing.

When i'm referring to "sitting in silence," I'm referring to all the Richard Dawkins' out there who refuse to debate with those they have made a career out of criticizing.

The Apologetic Front said...

Vas, I would say "public moderated debates" would include something like a University setting with two or more opponents, including a cross-examination section, and a moderator. Perhaps i'm used to seeing this in a theological setting whereby the outcome is usually extremely productive and helpful. In very few cases i've seen this for creation/evolution. I would include Kent Hovind's debates as an example of this, but i'd hardly recommend him to anyone. But his format is along the lines of what I find to be helpful, except he rarely had cross-examination sections in his debates.

Behe's arguments are "scientific" in the sense that it is testable, falsifiable, and subject to the scientific method. As to whether it is valid, that is something you would have to decide for yourself (as you seem to have already done). ID does not postulate a need for "God." If this weren't the case, you wouldn't have agnostics and atheists (like David Berlinski) defending ID. All ID suggests is that intelligent design is the best explanation for some biological systems in light of what we know about biology, design, information, etc. And yes, this could include an "intelligent alien race," as ID has little to say about the identity of the designer.

The Apologetic Front said...

My perspective is that God is the designer, but my reason for this is theological/philosophical. So its not like i'd be able to use the scientific method to prove that "God did it" even though to even do science, you must presuppose God.

The evidence for ID as I see it lies in information theory and irreducible complexity. The basic argument goes as such: in all known testing and experience, information and specified complex systems always arise from an intelligent source. When the same is discovered in biology, it is only reasonable to conclude the same given what we already know through experience and testing.

And to falsify this theory, it would only need to be shown that evolutionary mechanisms can account for these things through examples and testing.

When i'm referring to "sitting in silence," I'm referring to all the Richard Dawkins' out there who refuse to debate with those they have made a career out of criticizing.

Vas said...

The evidence for ID as I see it lies in information theory and irreducible complexity. The basic argument goes as such: in all known testing and experience, information and specified complex systems always arise from an intelligent source. When the same is discovered in biology, it is only reasonable to conclude the same given what we already know through experience and testing.

And to falsify this theory, it would only need to be shown that evolutionary mechanisms can account for these things through examples and testing.


How do we go about falsifying that intelligent source which Behe --although he distances, or at least tries to himself from creationism -- believes is God (Behe himself says ID does not say anything about what Methods The Designer used to, Design i.e., anything can happen)

Behe's argument in regards to irreducible complexity is that it's so complex it couldn't have come about any other way .. i.e., God did it.

The reason you won't find many scientist willing to engage in a debate with ID/Creationist is because they do not want to promote the idea that there exist a controversy .. i.e., why SHOULD we expect scientist to debate an issue that is really a non-issue .. again, my earlier point about Historians, Jesus and those who perpetuate the myth that Jesus was based on a Myth .. should we expect the majority or even a significant amount of biblical scholars to go out of there way to debate these "mythers" .. should the lack of debate with this fringe group suggest that biblical historians are "scared"? Not at all, they have better things to do ..

Dawkins has debated creationist in the past, I wouldn't exactly define him as being silent on the issue although he now refuses to debate them (possibly for the reasons listed earlier).

Mike Felker said...

Vas, to falsify the actual source of the intelligence, you would need to delve into the philosophical/theological defense offered. In the case of ID, it is not the point to establish the identity of the designer, whether it be aliens or something supernatural.

Here's an example of how one could falsify ID. There was a day when it was thought that supernatural forces caused lightening and storms. And yes, this was a claim without evidence, but a claim nonetheless. This claim was clearly falsified when it could be shown that storms were caused by natural forces. Thus, all that would need to be shown is that information or a claimed irreducible complex thing can be accounted for with evolutionary processes.

Behe's argument in regards to irreducible complexity is that it's so complex it couldn't have come about any other way .. i.e., God did it.

As i've stated before, this is not Behe's argument. His argument is a positive one that is based upon all known tests and experience.

Your expression of "historians shouldn't be expected to debate those who hold to Jesus myths" is not the case. Biblical scholars do go after these beliefs in public debate. Think about the silliness of the Da Vinci Code. The views expressed therein are absolutely ridiculous; yet, biblical scholars (even Bart Ehrman) wrote volumes of books and engaged in heated debate against those who would advocate these views. And yes, if Dan Brown were out there challenging scholars to debate his views, but they all refused, then I would definitely conclude that biblical scholars are insecure in their beliefs. But it turns out that Dan Brown was the one unwilling to accept the challenges.

So no, biblical scholars do not have "better things to do" when it comes to new ideas being expressed in the public and especially those that grow in popularity.

Mike Felker said...

Vas, to falsify the actual source of the intelligence, you would need to delve into the philosophical/theological defense offered. In the case of ID, it is not the point to establish the identity of the designer, whether it be aliens or something supernatural.

Here's an example of how one could falsify ID. There was a day when it was thought that supernatural forces caused lightening and storms. And yes, this was a claim without evidence, but a claim nonetheless. This claim was clearly falsified when it could be shown that storms were caused by natural forces. Thus, all that would need to be shown is that information or a claimed irreducible complex thing can be accounted for with evolutionary processes.

Mike Felker said...

Behe's argument in regards to irreducible complexity is that it's so complex it couldn't have come about any other way .. i.e., God did it.

As i've stated before, this is not Behe's argument. His argument is a positive one that is based upon all known tests and experience.

Your expression of "historians shouldn't be expected to debate those who hold to Jesus myths" is not the case. Biblical scholars do go after these beliefs in public debate. Think about the silliness of the Da Vinci Code. The views expressed therein are absolutely ridiculous; yet, biblical scholars (even Bart Ehrman) wrote volumes of books and engaged in heated debate against those who would advocate these views. And yes, if Dan Brown were out there challenging scholars to debate his views, but they all refused, then I would definitely conclude that biblical scholars are insecure in their beliefs. But it turns out that Dan Brown was the one unwilling to accept the challenges.

So no, biblical scholars do not have "better things to do" when it comes to new ideas being expressed in the public and especially those that grow in popularity.

Vas said...

What "positive" argument has Behe made? During this interview he seemed to ignore research presented by Fox.

Mike Felker said...

I don't remember Behe ignoring anything, so perhaps you could state specifically what that was. The positive argument is that specified complex systems and machinery as well as information always come from an intelligent source. This is far different from arguing, "we can't explain it, therefore God musta dun it."

If all known experience and testing shows that information and complex systems come from an intelligent source, why should biology be the exception?

Vas said...

It happens when Behe quotes from a research study that does not agree with his conclusions and Fox called him out on it.

The "it's so complex that it must have had a designer" argument does not make any predictions, it's a statement based off what Behe perceives to be a "gap in evolution".


If all known experience and testing shows that information and complex systems come from an intelligent source, why should biology be the exception?


If that was the case Behe would have numerous amounts of Peer reviewed ID papers to back up his claims, so yes the claim that "it's too complex" to have come about any other way is essentially "God did it", and according to Behe we cannot speculate on how the designer, designed (or at least ID does not).

The Apologetic Front said...

I don't recall Behe being called out on the research that didn't agree with his conclusions, but i'll grant you that point either way.

Again, "its so complex that it must have had a designer" is not the argument. The argument is based upon specified complexity, which all known experience and testing shows to come from an intelligent source.

As to speculating on how the designer designed it, this is something that ID proponents are open to venturing into and perhaps future research will present some answers.

Vas said...

Behe's wrote an entire book about "irreducible complexity", and in that book he says that the bacteria flagellum is so complex it requires a designer is essentially "God did it". This is relevant because this is what was being argued.

ID's other claim "specified complexity" is bad science (and math). Here is a rebuttal from 2 people in the field (PDF)

http://www.google.com/m/url?client=safari&ei=LAAITbGBJJDsrQOq-sCqAg&hl=en&oe=UTF-8&q=http://www.talkreason.org/articles/eandsdembski.pdf&ved=0CBoQFjAD&usg=AFQjCNEuq0nRAYqBk7eXk2pcPcFi2RgJCQ

So we have Behe who argues from what he perceives to be a lack of an explanation (or rather an assumption) or Dembski whose argument relies on bad maths.

The only thing this "debate" has given evidence to is that Behe loves to paint himself as the maverick scientist who's being persecuted for his beliefs.

The Apologetic Front said...

Vas, i'd have a hard time believing that you read Behe's book and concluded that his argument is, "God did it." But if you've read books like "Darwin's black box" and "Signature in the Cell" and aren't convinced, there's probably very little I could say to add weight to the arguments.

Vas said...

Have you read his book? Have you read peer-reviewed papers ( bacteria ) that contradict his findings?

There is a reason IDers have nothing peer-reviewed. It's just bad science.

Vas said...

Unfortunately this blog isn't updated frequently, but Steven does a good job at showing the semantic --and deceitful-- games IDers play.

Vas said...

The blog:
http://theshipwreckoftime.blogspot.com/

The Apologetic Front said...

Yes, i've read his book and no, I haven't read the peer-reviewed papers. This is an issue that I take interest in, but is far from my main focus in my studies and so I don't have the time or education to understand technical science papers.

By the way, if you're interested, Behe just published a peer reviewed paper. I glanced at it, but its too technical for me.

I'll check out that blog as well.