Cancellation of Darwin film creates uproar

Cancellation of Darwin film creates uproar

DEBATE: Alliance claims it was censorship; science center says no.
By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer
Updated: 10/08/2009 10:51:02 PM PDT

As the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s landmark book on evolution approaches, a brouhaha has erupted in Los Angeles County over a planned series of events exploring the conflict between his theories and “intelligent design” advocates. A group that favors “intelligent design” had planned to premier a new documentary film at the California Science Center in Los Angeles later this month, but the center later canceled the event.
The group claims the cancellation was an act of censorship, made after the center was pressured by the Smithsonian Institution, but the center chalked it up to a contract issue, without elaborating.
Coined “The Darwin Debates: A Forum for Dialogue,” the nonprofit American Freedom Alliance had planned to premier a new Illustra Media documentary, “Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Explosion,” at the California Science Center on Oct. 25.
The Los Angeles-based alliance describes itself as a “nonpolitical, nonpartisan, movement of concerned Americans which identifies threats to western civilization.” Those threats, according to the group include “the Islamic penetration of Europe” and “the growth of radical environmentalism.”


What exactly is intelligent design and how is it different than creationism.

What is intelligent design?
Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system’s components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.

Is intelligent design the same as creationism?

                                      No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural. 
                 Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case. 
                                                               **Is intelligent design a scientific theory?**

                                      Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.

Is intelligent design a scientific theory?

No, its not a scientific theory. How do you disprove it?

Intelligent Design is an evolutionary development of creationism. When the US Supreme Court struck down creation science (Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987) it was replaced by Intelligent Design as a way to make creationism look ‘sciency’ enough to be taught in a science class. This failed at Dover. One of the pieces of evidence at Dover was a perfect example of a transitional in the evolution of creation science to ID. In a draft of a new ID textbook, which had been converted from a previous creationist textbook, the words “cdesign proponentsists” were noticed. Someone had incompetently replaced “creationists” with “design proponents”.

ID is creationism in a cheap lab coat, trying to look ‘sciency’. ID is not science because it cannot be falsified. Darwin was able to tell how evolution could be falsified. ID has so far been unable to tell us how it could be falsified - they have no description of anything that could not have been designed.


That could end up being true as the whole universe was designed by God.

However, don’t let the evo’s here dissuade you from following the developments in ID.

The language of DNA is very perplexing. Language, codes, maps and instructions come from a mind.

I would agree with that. ID is not currently science and is not ready to be taught in science class. However, it is possible that it may become science in the future, once it has done the work of science: hypotheses, predictions, experiments, observations etc. It is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, there is a risk in becoming science - you might have to change some cherished beliefs that turn out to be incorrect. So far ID has been unwilling to take that risk.

The language of DNA is very perplexing. Language, codes, maps and instructions come from a mind.

All known human codes etc. have indeed come from a (human) mind. DNA is only called a code by analogy; there is a great deal more chemistry in DNA and its translation into a protein than there is in any human code. You cannot base a scientific conclusion merely on analogy.


The vehicle used to transmit the language is not the issue. Ink is a chemical and used to transmit language.

Discovery of Complex, Precise DNA Language Points to Intelligent Design of Life

oronto, May 24, 2005 ( - Science, seen as the enemy of religious faith for over a hundred years, is now becoming the believer’s best friend. As scientific discoveries continue, the recourse to Darwinian Evolution is becoming more improbable as attested in a recently published article on DNA by Mario Seiglie in the May edition of “The Good News.” Mr. Seiglie’s article, which compiles evidence from various scientific sources, presents the amazing reality that our DNA is, in essence, the carrier of an intricate and complicated language that could not possibly have come about by random chance. Mr. Seiglie writes that “As scientists began to decode the human DNA molecule, they found something quite unexpected—an exquisite ‘language’ composed of some 3 billion genetic letters. “One of the most extraordinary discoveries of the twentieth century,” says Dr. Stephen Meyer, director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash., “was that DNA actually stores information—the detailed instructions for assembling proteins—in the form of a four-character digital code” (quoted by Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator, 2004, p. 224).”

To put it into layman’s terms “the amount of information in human DNA is roughly equivalent to 12 sets of The Encyclopaedia Britannica—an incredible 384 volumes" worth of detailed information that would fill 48 feet of library shelves!”


Statistical linguistic study of DNA sequences

The same way one disproves random mutation and natural selection.

Gallileo concluded (prematurely, but by analogy) based on his observations of the motion of the Jovian moons, that earth had a similar motion around the sun. He didn’t prove it in his lifetime, but analogy was leading in the right direction.

A rocket takes a satellite to orbit. On the way, it experiences various forces (gravity, atmospheric drag, wind) that could throw it off course. The guidance system detects when it isn’t pointed in the right direction, and commands the thrust vector to adjust so that it stays on course. But since all of the hardware of a rocket boils down to chemistry, and its movement through the atmosphere boils down to physics, therefore it isn’t designed?

And after Dover, ID evolved again, adopitng new slogans like “critical analysis,” “academic fairness,” and “teach the controversy.” The problem for them is that there is no controversy. It is a “manufactroversy” – a manufactured controversy to insinuate creationism once again into the classroom. And sadly, it’s all so unnecessary – look how many Catholic schools and universities teach evolutionary biology peacefully alongside religion and theology classes.


Wrong again - Intelligent design is not recent. It goes back thousands of years and an understanding of the intelligibility of the universe. What is recent is attempts to empirically formulize it.

Why don’t you stick to arguing it over its merits or lack thereof?

And if the evidence leads to an intelligent creator (aka God) back in the classroom so be it. What Catholic would have an issue with this? Don’t we want truth to be taught to our kids? Or just some of it? Who draws that line?

Well, there is a controversary or we wouldn’t be having this discussion. And it is necessary because many of the folks teaching evoloution are also teaching atheism. Atheism isn’t science.

There is also a controversy about whether the world is flat or spherical, as the existence of the Flat Earth Society would attest. And there is a controversy about whether the earth orbits the sun or the sun orbits the earth, as Robert Sungenis would testify. The question is how much of our educational time and budget should be allocated to teaching such controversies. If .03 percent of biologists think evolution is controversial, should we be allocating .03 percent of classroom time and budget to such discussion?


No Catholic would have an issue with God as the author of nature. That is taught in my sons’ elementary school, in religion classes, not in their science classes.

Science class should be about empirical science, agreed. Philosophy belongs in philo class.

How about a public school? Why isn’t God acknowledged as the author of nature there?

OK, you say there is no controversy among biologists about evolution. And I’m not arguing the merits of evolution one way or the other. I’m not a biologist. But there is a controversy about atheism posing as science. I think we need to be clear about what controversy we’re talking about.

ID is science because it involves the same type of observation an archaeologist would use to determine a piece of dried cly from a shard of pottery or a triangular rock from an arrowhead. If a complex, obviously mechanical object were found on Mars, the only possible conclusion would be that an Intelligence made it and left it there. Even though no other traces of that Intelligence were found.


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