Intelligent design/creationism and climate change

What is it with the intelligent design (ID) people and climate change?

I can understand the attacks they make on evolutionary science. After all, that is meant to be there reason for existence.

But why the attacks on the science of climate change? This seems to be organised and consistent. There must be a reason for it.

Washington post op-ed

Last Friday the Washington Post published an opinion piece/commentary (Climate panel on the hot seat) attacking the findings of climate science. Not a scientific commentary, but a political attack. After all, it was written by H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). This is a free-market think tank which represents the interests of big business, including oil companies like Exxon. The NCPA has received $465,900 from ExxonMobil between 1998 & 2006 (further details at Exxon secrets wiki).

Naturally the NCPA wants to discredit the science of climate change, and current policy recommendations, because they conflict with the interests of their sponsors.

Inevitably these sort of op-eds get picked up and repeated by the climate change deniers and their media, including their blogs.

But why the ID people?

The internet trail

Within hours the Washington Post opinion article was repeated by Bill Dembski’s Uncommon Descent blog (Climate Panel on the Hot Seat). Then quickly by Christian News New Zealand– a local web site promoting ID (Climate panel on the hot seat).

Why are the evolution deniers taking in the laundry of the climate change deniers? I have yet to see any reciprocity here. The Climate change deniers aren’t publicly doing the ID laundry.

I can speculate. Here are some possibilities:

  • Both the ID people and the climate change deniers have a conscious tactic of attempting to discredit scientific findings? Probably natural as their positions generally are discredited by scientific data.
  • Both sets of deniers use the reinterpretation research method – searching for evidence they can reinterpret to fit their preconceived prejudices? They seem to consciously use this method to misrepresent scientific findings and to mine for quotations that can then be used, out of context, to support their views.
  • They both have the same backers – Christian fundamentalist with deep pockets who are unhappy about modern science and modern society?

I’m not discussing the science behind climate change here – after all, neither do the ID people or climate change deniers.

I’m just intrigued about the links between these two groups and the apparent commonality of their motives.

Related articles
Scientific dissent from . . . science?
Intelligent design and depression
A respectable man with a dangerous theory
Who are the “dissenters from Darwinism”?
Dissenters from Darwinism in context
Intelligent design and the threat to Christianity
Religious opposition to “intelligent design”
Intelligent design and scientific method

75 responses to “Intelligent design/creationism and climate change

  1. The reason is that both evolution theory and global warming theory are driven by non-scientific political/ideological agendas where critics aren’t given a fair hearing. The “settled science” is anything but settled in both.

    The chance vs. design argument in the origin and diversification of life will probably go on forever. It’s been going on at least since Aristotle was alive. It’s always been based on the “appearance of design” which one side says is because it IS designed and the other says it’s an illusion of design. The illusion side has had an upper hand for quite a while but that’s changing in recent decades. The reason it’s changing is because illusions of design usually disappear when the object in question is examined in closer detail. Like the famous “Face on Mars” was revealed to be illusory when more detailed pictures of it were taken. Now that we can examine living cells in detail at the molecular level the so-called appearance of design has only become more stark. Further detail didn’t make it go away. Compounding this is that science so far hasn’t been able to demonstrate that chance & neccessity can do anything more significant than rearrange what’s already there. It can adapt but it can’t really create or it least it can’t be observed creating anything novel like new cell types, tissue types, organs, and body plans. The capability of chance & neccessity in evolution writ large remains a speculation but it’s being billed as fact to a gullible audience.

    Anthropogenic global warming based on a carbon-dioxide boogeyman is also speculation based on computer models that can’t predict the climate next week no less next year or next century. The data is riddled with bias and questionable corrections. The model outputs predict things that don’t match observations. Yet it’s peddled as “settled science”. The difference between evolution of life and evolution of climate is that climate changes happen a lot faster – on the order of decades instead of millions of years. Anthropogenic global warming I’m quite confident is a house of cards that we’ll be able to watch collapse. The emperor is wearing no clothes and the next inevitable cooling trend that comes along will expose it as a politically driven sham. I’m old enough to recall the decades before global warming became the hot item. From about 1940 to about 1980 the earth was cooling. In the later stages of that cooling period we started hearing about a civilization shattering ice age from the scientific community. Then the climate trend reversed (as it always does) and after 20 years of warming out come the alarmists again talking about civilization shattering heat. Spare me. The earth’s climate cycles between warmer and cooler and always stays within narrow bounds where life goes on. It’s been friendly to life for billions of years even as the sun’s output increased some 10% over all that time. It was actually much warmer for much longer in the more distant past. The happy thing about the warmer times is that the earth’s biota blooms like there’s no tomorrow when it’s warmer, wetter, and CO2 levels are high. Plants don’t grow well on glaciers and they grow faster with higher CO2 concentrations. If by some miracle mankind does manage to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere it’s going to have the net effect of lowering food crop production. Growing seasons will get shorter and plants won’t grow as fast during the growing season. Feeding 6 billion hungry mouths is already a problem. Ask yourself what’s going to happen if food crop production falls by 20% over the coming decades. Can you spell “mass starvation?” Adding insult to injury the greenies have managed to divert a substantial fraction of U.S. grain production to use as biofuel feedstock. That’s already causing havoc with the food supply. Further insults on the food supply is the price of fuel. As more draconian (read expensive) measure are enacted to reduce the amount of CO2 produced by energy generation it becomes more expensive to grow and distribute food. It’s insanity. Mass hysteria that can cause some really big problems in the boneheaded reactionary responses. All based on faulty computer models and hatred of oil producers. If it weren’t for “big oil” billions would starve to death. Common sense and a firm grip on reality are in shorter supply than oil reserves.


  2. Dave, I’m interested, what’s the hypothesis that is being put forward for the design argument as a counter to modern evolutionary theory?


  3. Thanks DavScot. Your first paragraph gives me some sort of answer. As I said, I wasn’t interested in specifically debating the science (although I would comment that ‘settled science’ is not science. Science is very dynamic by its nature). I am trying to understand the motives.

    So you see the motives as a response to “non-scientific political/ideological agendas where critic aren’t given a fair hearing.”? Of course this is your characterisation. But you lump evolutionary biology and climate science into this basket.

    Are there any other aspects of science you include with this? Neuroscience? Current investigation of the brain, mind consciousness? Cosmology? Earth science?

    I am trying to understand the common aspect you are reacting to.

    Is there something in general about the scientific approach (which, of course underlies more than just evolutionary biology and climate science) that you are reacting to?


  4. I agree with Dave, good job.

    The reason Creationist don’t believe in Global Warming is because both Evolution and Global Warming have very little science behind them, but rather a lot of dogma. They are replacements for Religion, it is something that non-religious people can believe in.

    Who care that the oceans AREN’T rising and the Polar Bears AREN’T dying and the ice caps AREN’T melting. Pay no attention to the actual empirical data, just go with the mantra.


  5. Thanks Elmer. You seem to confirm that it is “natural” for creationists to also be climate change deniers because they see science in the areas of evolution and climate change as being dogma.

    Do you stop there? Or are there other areas of science you also see as dogma?

    Do you thinks there something about the scientific inquiry which predisposes it to dogma?

    I have asked the same question of Dave but not yet had a reply – I am genuinely curious.


  6. No, that is probably pretty much it.

    All the other areas of science pretty much just focus on actual science.

    Here is an example of what I’m talking about.
    After spending 5 years and millions of dollars on research they discover that the emperical data doesn’t mach up with the theory,
    but undaunted they press on that of course Global Warming still exists and the data must just be wrong.


  7. Thanks Elmer.
    I gather then you are quite happy about current research into brain science, neuroscience, consciousness, etc?
    I wonder about this because they seem to be issues Denyse O’Leary campaigns on as part of her intelligent design campaign.


  8. I don’t know who that is actually.

    I do know that recent scienctific discovery fits the intelligent design theory.

    The fact that all blue eyed people come form one ancestor 6000 years ago fits the Biblical timeline.


  9. So with my brown eyes where does this leave me? Or the bible? And isn’t that an evolutionary change?


  10. They haven’t come up with the brown eyed timeline yet.

    But a few years ago the Human Genome Project discovered that all mankind came form one couple less than 20,000 years ago.


  11. Hey, but you claimed “Evolution and Global Warming have very little science behind them, but rather a lot of dogma. They are replacements for Religion, it is something that non-religious people can believe in.”

    Now you are referring to evolutionary science and genetic mutations and the human genome research as authoritative evidence.

    How do you decide which science is genuine and which is dogmatic religion?


  12. You’re saying that there is no science in Intellegent Design, I’m saying there’s no science in evolution.

    You should watch this movie:
    Intelligent Design – Unlocking The Mysteries


  13. “… mankind came form one couple less than 20,000 years ago.”



  14. It was a press release from the Human Genome Project in 2000 it was on page 17 of the Minneapolis StarTribune. I thought it would create quite a stir in the scientific community. But it just went away and I can’t find anything on that anymore.

    However, National Geographic has picked up on it with this site. They say DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from one group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago.


  15. By the way here is a good documentary about the lack of scientific evidence for Global Warming.


  16. You are aware that they are not saying ‘the first human’, right?

    Just like a branch of a tree, any particular branch of any family’s ancestral tree can fail to thrive. Resulting in a dead end.

    Which is why the link above has a section marked 200,000 BC for first humans…..


  17. If you look at all the map before 60,000 years ago they ar all prehuman. Neandrethals and such.


  18. Hi Elmer,

    There’s a bit of a trick for young players in the genetic studies you’re talking about. Although it’s true that you can trace back all Y-chromosome sequences in the world today to one man that was alive in Africa about 60 000 years ago but there is nothing to suggest he was the only person alive at the time. In fact, if you employ the same methods used to retrace the journey of the Y-chromosome to the mitochondrial DNA (termed mitochondrial eve by kiwi evolutionary biologost Allan Wilson) you find the most recent common ancestor lived 140 000 years ago (adam and eve missed each other by 80 000 years!). Worse yet, if you look at some genes with very stable variants, like MHC and blood type genes, you’ll find a most common recent ancestor that existed before humans and chimps split into two species! The wiki article on mtEve has some useful background on these studies

    More to the point. These analyses are based on things, molecular clocks, carbon dating and phylogenetic methods that creationists frequently object to. Does you willingness to jump on these studies mean you accept that these are scientifically sound techniques?


  19. Nope –

    Qafzeh Cave
    The dozen-odd remains found at Qafzeh and dated to some 100,000 years ago are the first known evidence of modern humans in the Near East. The dates precede known Neandertal occupation of the area, proving that humans were not descendants of the Neandertals, but, at least for a time, their contemporaries


  20. Carbon dating is very inaccurate, plos what happened to those people, their strain did not continue. But my whole point is that there is scientific data to back up the Creationist theory, including genetics. Of course National Geographic the main source of evolutionary theory will take this data and somehow spin it to fit their theory.


  21. “…scientific data to back up the Creationist theory..’

    Which you haven’t shown or made any connections with. Blue eyes @ 6000 years, Human Genome Project @ 20,000, Nat Geo @ 60,000…

    You’re conflating issues with the blue eyes article – that is a mutation, not genesis; the HGP isn’t cited anywhere and I’d doubt you could really come up with anything with that date that supports a biblical creationist pov; and you are picking an arbitrary date in the Nat Geo site.

    And then we have = ‘Of course National Geographic the main source of evolutionary theory …’ which is nonsensical.


  22. Elmer,

    I’ll have to inform the universities they’re being outdone by National Geographic! It think it will be quite a surprise.

    Carbon dating, and other dating methods, are the basis upon which the molecular clock is set. Even if there was some molecular clock evidence that everyone on earth is descended from two people 6000 years ago by your standards it wouldn’t be scientific evidence for biblical literalism (which seems like a bit of strange plan anyway, since Genesis 1 and 2 disagree before you even start looking at nature).

    The problem isn’t that the people that where alive at the same time as Y-Adam and mt-Eve died out, it’s just that those particular genes can be traced back to someone else. Think about your family. Since the Y-chromosome goes down the patrilineal line we know that you got yours from your paternal grandfather. You have three other grand parents and you certainly have genes from them but the Y-chromosome tells us nothing about them. Trace a pedigree back far enough and there will be a point for any gene everyone on earth gets their copy from. For genes like mtDNA and Y-chromsomes that point is pretty recent (actually a prediction of evolutionary theory since time to ‘coalscence’ is proportional to population size and only half of the population has these genes and then they only have one copy as opossed to two for most others…) and you get the dates we’re talking about. For others, in which Natural Selection has kept multiple copies (like say immune system genes where having a broad set of genes is an obvious advantage) that point will be right back before we split with chimps (I’m pretty sure chimps have the same ABO blood type genes we do).

    I’m afraid there is no evidence back up creationist theory, this is just another case in point.


  23. DNA proves “scientifically” that all of mankind has one common ancestor from Africa 20,000 ago. There are no other people.


  24. I’m sorry 60,00 years ago, the original story said between 20,000 and 60,000 years ago.


  25. I don’t understand the surprise of me mentioning that National Geographic is a large purveyor of evolutionary theory. They have funded 3 generations of Leakeys for instance. I’m a subscriber and in pretty much every issue there is something related to evolution. I think the Smithsonian is also a large source, which of these 2 is larger I don’t know. I know most of academia is locked in as well, its just that they don’t publish national magazines.


  26. As far as “mitochondrial Eve” goes, there are 2 explanations, either the Bible Story is right, or the other women’s DNA that were lving at the that time has become extinct.


  27. Maybe they are afraid that anyone who studies climate change will become aware of the effects the canopy of water vapor that Young-Earth Creationists posit would have had, and that whole worldview’s utter implausibility will become common knowledge even moreso than it already is…


  28. I think there is a link between Global Warming and Creationism. There are things that can’t be explained by Evolutionists and Global Warming theororists, for instance: frozen Woolly Mammoths with tropical vegetation hanging out of their mouths found in the Arctic and Antarctic

    One creationst theory is that the earth was struck by a large ice meteor approximately 4,500 years ago which instantly created the poles, froze Woolly Mammoths in their tracks, this is what also caused the great flood by the way, and the glaciers have been retracting ever since.


  29. As far as “mitochondrial Eve” goes, there are 2 explanations, either the Bible Story is right, or the other women’s DNA that were lving at the that time has become extinct.

    No. It’s just that mtDNA doesn’t tell us the whole picture. Take your family again, you have your mtDNA from who got her’s from her mum her got her’s from her mum – your great grandmother. If we looked at your mtDNA we could only trace it back to your great grandmother. But that doesn’t mean you other 7 great grandparents didn’t exist!

    Again, even if DNA did ‘prove’ scientifically that we all descended from one couple very recently that would be from the same set of tools that tell us chimps are our closest living relatives, that all life on earth is related and that the earth is more than 4 billion years old. You can pick and choose when you want to accept “science” and when you don’t.


  30. Elmer you say: “You’re saying that there is no science in Intellegent Design, I’m saying there’s no science in evolution.”

    Well, the fact is that every scientific bit of information you quote (or misquote) is coming from evolutionary science.

    There is no such thing as intelligent design science in the normal way that science is done – that is by testing and verification of hypotheses and theories. See my post : Intelligent design and scientific method. (Re-interpretation science as advanced by the ID people is not real science).

    However, you confirm for me that, in your mind, climate and evolutionary science are bogus. However, to fit this model you have to be very selective in the information you (mis)quote.

    Now, for me the interesting question is: What are you motives for this?

    Fortunately for humanity, real science doesn’t work that way. That is why we do have some very good confirmed information on climate and evolution.


  31. This is a really interesting discussion! Thank you for bringing up this topic, Ken!

    Thank you for the link to the NPR story, Elmer, because if you actually read it, you’ll see that it contradicts what you are saying. For example, sea levels are rising: “Instead, sea level has risen about half an inch in the past four years.” And the answer for the lack of warming in oceans might be coming from the melting glaciers: “Willis says some of this water is apparently coming from a recent increase in the melting rate of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica.” If you add cold water to warm water, guess what, the temperature of the mixed water doesn’t increase! The water level increase was during the same time that Willis’ robots did not detect any warming in the oceans.

    Just because one piece of the puzzle doesn’t quite fit, we cannot throw out the whole theory. This is how science work: we make a bold statement – called a hypothesis, tied together with other hypotheses into a theory – that explains the evidence as best as we can. New evidence and even (seemingly) contradictory evidence appears, the theory is adjusted. Something like also happened after 9/11 when it became clear that the water vapor from airplanes counteracted global warming’s effect. Again, just because a theory is changing, is being adjusted to accommodate learning & new information, doesn’t discredit the whole theory. We don’t know everything and we certainly don’t know everything all at once.

    I suspect underneath the rejection of evolution & global warming lies fear: the fear of abandoning something that gives meaning & purpose, i.e., the belief in a god. Both theories are fairly fundamental & important, so they make easy targets because people have at least heard about them. And it’s easy to make fun of because with a little twisting you can argue that our uncles don’t look like monkeys and it doesn’t look like the ocean waters are rising (you cannot see a half an inch increase if you’re living in the Midwest of the U.S., for example…). And there’s also the fear of the unknown, not knowing, not having all the answers. Scientists thrive on mysteries, that’s what drives science. But some people prefer to have answers and often sciences doesn’t have all the answers. That’s not easy to accept if you feel uncomfortable with uncertainty.


  32. David, yes “mitochondrial Eve” does not prove we all descend from one couple, but it does not disprove it either. For instance if there were more than one ancestral mother for the entire population, that would be a problem for the creationist.


  33. Rachel, yes I did read the article and it does mention the rise in sea level and that is inconsistant with their theory that a warming ocean would expand there bye making the seas rise. But because the oceans are getting cooler they expected seas would go down.

    But they fail to take into consideration the record amout of sea ice that we are currently exeriencing and that water expands when it freezes and displaces more water which would explain the increase.

    As far as your comment on fear, this brings up another connection I think between Creation and Global Warming. People who believe in Global Warming for the most part don’t believe in God. They think that man is all powerful and in control of planets destiny. And people tend to worship what they fear.


  34. sorry for all the typos


  35. The data seems rather consistent to me: ice is melting, thus adding cold water to the seas preventing a rise in sea temperatures yet causing an increase in sea levels. As for the increase in sea ice please see the debunking of that myth.

    I don’t “believe” in Global Warming – belief requires absence of facts. The facts are consistent with the theory that the earth is warming due to our behavior. Do we know everything there is to know about what’s happening to our planet? No, of course not. That’s not how science works: it does not deal in absolutes; it does not try to uncover The Truth.

    And I don’t think we control the planet’s destiny – you can do a lot of stupid & self-destructive things without being in control. We also have the weapons arsenal to blow up earth a few times. Does that make us all powerful? No. Putting global warming/evolution on the same level as religious ideas is just absurd. Yet, that’s what keeps happening – bringing us right back to Ken’s original question: why? What is it about us humans that makes us blind to reality where we cling to myths and supernatural forces? What is so threatening about evolution, for example, that some are determined to deny it no matter how absurd that denial is? Global warming denial is a bit better to understand: as long as we deny that, we don’t have to do anything.

    (You might consider using Firefox, Elmer, it has a built-in spell checker, which has saved me many times from some embarrassing typos).


  36. I agree with you on us blowing up the planet, mankind can and has done horrible things, but emitting CO2 is not one of them.

    We all emit 1/2 ton of CO2 every year just by breathing, an adult blue whale emits 87 tons of CO2 by breathing and there are 5,000 blue whales in existence, plus there are over a 100 varieties of whales. Again God comes back into the picture, I as a Creationist don’t believe that God would create a system where breathing could destroy the planet. And it doesn’t, he designed a beautiful symbiotic relationship between man and plants called Photosynthesis, where plants take that nasty CO2 and convert it into Oxygen for us to breath. Without CO2 nothing wood be green.

    Then people like Al Gore who think that man is in control of everything, feel guilty for having such a large house and driving a huge car, so they offset their guilt by paying someone to plant a tree out in the woods. But nature doesn’t work that way, instead the grass will grow twice as fast as normal right where the CO2 is. So Al will maybe have to mow his grass twice a week instead of just once. Meanwhile out in the CO2 starved woods a new tree is now competing for that little bit of CO2 that some passing deer might exhale.

    About the consistent “facts” have you watched The Great Global Warming Swindle?

    As to what is so threatening about evolution, besides being not true it is responsible for every etrocity of the last century.


  37. Elmer: “People who believe in Global Warming for the most part don’t believe in God.”

    Interesting claim. I would like to see more evidence for this. I realise that many Chrsitians deny evolutionary science (about 40% in New Zealand) but would be interested in you assessment of what proportion of Chrsitians deny the findings of climate science.

    By the way, Elmer. No one, surely, suggests that breathing would destroy the planet (or that climate change will). The planet is not under risk – just the survival of some of the species on the planet – even humans.

    The concept that living species are quite capable (by their very activity) of changing the composition of the atmosphere is not new. We would not be here as an oxygen-breathing species if the atmospheric composition had not been changed in this way before. That very change was required before we could have evolved as a species.


  38. My claim about Christians and Global Warming is purely anecdotal.

    My concern is that CO2 is now considered a pollutant, but there would be no life without CO2.

    Creationists have no problem with photosynthesis, the plants were made on day 4 we were made on day 6. As an evloutionist how would you explain something as complex as photosynthesis coming into being by chance?


  39. Science doesn’t attribute evolution to chance – that’s what is required by special creationism. Suddenly every molecule comes together to form a developed organism. As Darwin said of this theory:
    did they “really believe that at innumerable periods in the earth’s history certain elemental atoms have been commanded suddenly to flash into living tissue?”

    That is really very silly. Forcing an infinitely impossible action by commandment!

    We have come a long way since then. And really, your depiction of climate science is also very silly. You and other creationists would know nothing about photosynthesis if it weren’t for humanity’s ability to discover how reality works using the methods of modern science. The same methods behind evolutionary and climate science.


  40. science is the discovery of the beauty of creation


  41. Science isn’t silly though. It doesn’t use biblical methods. It relies on evidence, hypotheses, testing, theory and more testing in practice.

    That’s why creationism has long been discarded.

    Climate change is assessed the same way – not by relying on an assumption of what a god might, or might not, have done. That approach was also discarded ages ago.

    However, enough about science. You have at least given me some insight into the motives for belief in creationism and climate change denial.


  42. My son & I watched the fascinating Nova show about the trial in Dover, PA called Intelligent Design on Trial. One comment by Phillip Johnson, the UC Berkeley law professor who devised the idea of the Wedge Strategy, seemed to fit in nicely with the original question Ken posed: “The Darwinian story, when it became accepted, had a huge cultural impact, and if that story were discredited, then the cultural impact would be reversed, and there would be cultural changes in the other direction as well.” So by denying evolution, by denying global warming, we can roll back the clock and get back to the “good old days” that never were. I think this sentiment shows two things: fear of the consequences of accepting reality and political attempts to prevent progress. I think it really ultimately is an attempt to prevent us from reaching some logical conclusions: like humans are animals, we’re rather destructive, and everything is interconnected. Maybe it’s also a fear of taking responsibility for our own actions.

    These are all hypotheses, of course, it would be fascinating to see some actual studies on why people who are supporting creationism and denying global warming tend to be the same type of people (and often are the same people).


  43. Why do you only watch anti-creationist shows?
    Are you afraid of hearing the other sides arguments?

    Here is a pro intellegint design documentary.


  44. As to why it seems that the same people that deny Evolution also deny Global Warming, its because they are truth seekers. They don’t just go with what the mainstream is saying, they actually dive into the data and decide for themselves.

    “Whenever there’s any sort of weather event that can be linked into the global warming orthodoxy, it’s put on the front page. But a fact like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is virtually never reported, which is extraordinary.” – Op-ed in The Australian


  45. Elmer, I am well aware of how to seek truth – a lifetime in scientific research has helped there.

    Evolution deniers certainly are not interested in data or evidence (or deciding for themselves). That is why they have no credible research or publication record. I am always interested in data supporting new ideas – it’s just impossible to find any in this case.

    Might I also suggest that if you want to find evidence on climate change science go to the literature and articles by the scientists involved in the research. Op-ed pieces are not a reliable source of information. In fact, they are a well-recognised source of misinformation.

    And, yes, I am well aware of the NZClimate Science Coalition but I wonder how they feel about promoting the same articles as the ID sites like Uncommon Descent.

    Thats the real question I pose in this post.


  46. You mean like this study?

    That 19,000 scientist have now signed onto.

    That’s over 7 times more than the reported 2,500 IPCC “Scientists”.


  47. Are these 19,000 also supporters of intelligent design/creationism?


  48. Probably not, but their minds might be open to it when presented with the evidence.


  49. And what about the minds of those scientists who have come to different conclusions based on evidence?

    Do you define openness or closedness on the basis of agreement with your own prejudices?


  50. Then have you read the IPPC technical assessments?


  51. Ken,

    First of all, if you click on “Global Warming” in the categories at Uncommon Descent it will bring up dozens of articles I’ve written in the last two years. Many, especially the earlier ones, talk about the science instead of the politics. I bet you didn’t know that the lead climate researcher at NASA, Hansen, who also a scientist/author in the IPCC reports, has several peer reviewed articles implicating “black soot” as “forcing factor” with equal or greater impact than CO2. Black soot accumlates on light colored surfaces (particularly permanent snow/ice cover where it just gets darker every year through surface melting). It handily explains why the higher latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere are heating up, why northern glaciers are melting, while the Southern Hemisphere is getting colder. You see, black soot is produced primarily by dirty industrial smokestacks, slash and burn agriculture, diesel engines, and using wood for heating and cooking. The carbon particulates in the smoke from these sources only travel a few thousand kilometers from the source where they finally settle out on the ground. The primary sources for this dirty smoke is not the United States. Way back in the 1960’s with the Clean Air Act we began cleaning up our smoke and by 1980 it was largely free of carbon particulates. Europe did no such thing and neither did Asia or Africa. Those areas are belching out all the black carbon and unsuprisingly it doesn’t travel more than few thousand kilometers from the source. The CO2 models predict more warming as altitude progresses, warming more or less equally distributed around the world (CO2 doesn’t settle out to the ground) but what the data actually shows is the most warming is at ground and most warming is at higher northern latitudes. The data fits black carbon as the cause. The problem is that most of the world wants to make the wealthy, powerful United States of America into the scapegoat. They can’t make the USA a scapegoat with black carbon – they can only do it with CO2. China last year became the largest producer of manmade CO2 in the world, by the way. China is also exempt from the Kyoto Protocol as are all other “developing” nations. Isn’t that just precious?

    The linkage between Darwinian evolution and global warming is that both are abuses of science to gull an uninformed trusting public into supporting socio-political agendas. I love science and don’t want to see it abused this way. I’m not at all religious. I target evolution and global warming because these two issues make any other lesser issues pale in comparison. Science is usually quite good at honestly arriving at the best explanation based on observation, experiment, deduction, and inference devoid of socio-political ramifications of those explanations.

    That said, yes it would be great if we can find ways to stop burning so much fossil fuel. There are lots of good reasons to do that. Lowering the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere simply isn’t one of those reasons. Extending the time we have to develop alternative energy sources before the economically recoverable oil is used up, is the best reason for conserving fossil fuel. If lots more people were vegetarians that would help. Eating farm-raised meat for nutrition is hideously wasteful of natural resources. Us eating corn instead of feeding it to livestock makes the same corn go a lot farther. Diverting so much corn to production of ethanol by using government subsidies to make it more attractive for farmers to sell corn to ethanol producers is the most bone-headed move of all. It does nothing to reduce CO2 production (although that isn’t really a problem) but it is raising the price of corn all over the world and causing a lot of additional starvation.


  52. Ken,

    re; intelligent design

    I suggest two books as essential reading if you want to know the science and engineering behind Intelligent Design. Granted the great majority of ID proponents are motivated by biblical beliefs and there’s no end to how much that annoys me. While not 100% convinced that evolution occurred over a period of hundreds of millions or billions of years through descent with modification from one or a few common ancestors I’m 99% convinced of it. Science is always tentative. There’s always room for doubt. As I said I’m not a religious person. I’m a retired computer systems and process control design engineer. The analogies between certain nano-molecular systems in living cells and the automated factories that we built in the last several decades (I retired in 2000 from the R&D division of Dell Computer Corporation who pioneered factory automation in assembly and configuration of personal computers) are so deep they’re mind boggling. Just about everything we (human intelligent design engineers) invented in the way of information processing and factory automation was anticipated in sub-cellular machinery found in all living things. The combination of DNA and ribosome, for instance, resembles nothing so much as what’s called a “pick & place” machine that robotically assembles printed circuit boards from much smaller components as directed by abstract codes contained in a computer program. Another analogous system people might be more familiar with is a computer controlled milling machine in which computer programs (analogous to DNA) direct a machine that cuts metal into specific shapes (analogous to the ribosome).

    Intelligent design rests on just on a few assumptions:

    1) intelligent agency exists in at least one instance in the universe (humanity) proving the universe can produce instances of intelligent agency (a part of nature)

    2) complex machines with many interdependent parts serving a purpose and all abstract codes that serve to specify the construction and operation of such machines are, in all cases where the origin is known, are produced by intelligent agency

    3) no demonstrably capable source other than intelligent agency can produce the machines described above

    Ergo, the best explanation for the origin of any such machine or codes where the origin is unknown is intelligent design. That may not ultimately be the correct explanation but as of right now it’s the best explanation based on the evidence we have to work with.


  53. Oops – forgot the two books you should read:

    “The Edge of Evolution” by Mike Behe
    “The Design Matrix” by Mike Gene

    Both are available on Amazon and both are, in my opinion, devoid of religious presumptions. Both authors readily accept the evidence of an old earth and common ancestry. The so-called “overwhelming evidence” of “evolution” is in fact overwhelming evidence of an old earth and common ancestry. There’s no real evidence that chance & necessity was the mechanism behind the origin and diversification of life except at the fringe of evolution commonly called “micro-evolution”. Behe’s book in particular explores the limits of micro-evolution using real world observations of extremely well-studied rapidly replicating/mutating organisms, primarily HIV and the parasite that causes malaria P.falciparum. Gene’s book focuses on the deep analogy between what human engineering has produced and the nano-molecular machines in living cells. The thing about deep analogies is they’re good predictors. When many known features of two systems exhibit the same properties (analogous) it’s a good bet that they’ll be similar in as yet unknown ways. We can predict that features of our inventions can be improved by things we find in living cells and we can predict that features of our inventions will be found in living things. Gene makes some predictions after exploring the analogy in depth.


  54. Ken,

    “Science doesn’t attribute evolution to chance”

    It certainly does. There is a true dichotomy here – chance or design. Intelligent Design takes the position that both chance and design are potential mechanisms taking part in the origin and diversity of life. The modern synthesis, or neo-darwinian evolution, axiomatically rejects design. If there’s a third mechanism in addition to chance and design feel free to be the first person in the world to describe it and I shall stand corrected.

    The axoimatic rejection of could be a big problem for evolutionary scientists in the future. Suppose some catastrophe wipes out all records of human activity. Science starts over and reinvents the Darwinian mechanism. Fossil hunters of the future dig up the bones of canine familiaris. They find everything from Chihuahas to Great Danes. Would they even classify them as the same species? Doubtful. They further find that all the different dogs appeared in the fossil record over a span of just 20,000 years. Would they be able to identify the cause as artificial selection? Not if they a priori reject the presence of intelligent agents in the past. And what are they to make of all the geneticially engineered plants that we have today? Would they be able to identify the cause as intelligent agents tinkering with DNA? Not if they axiomatically reject design.

    Rejection of design as a possible mechanism in the origin and diversification of life is an unsupportable axiom or dogma driven purely by philosphical naturalism – everything has an explainable natural cause. Science is really, or at least in the past, based on methodological naturalism – investigation is done by material methods. What really doesn’t make sense is that intelligent agency is known to exist in one instance in the material universe. That should, in any undogmatic view, make intelligent agency an investigable natural cause. Why is it rejected? Lack of evidence of other instances of intelligent agency? Lack of evidence is not proof of lack. If it were we’d be forced to abandon the notion that chemicals somehow self-organized into living machines because there is no evidence that it’s even remotely possible. Meanwhile something we know is not just possible but can actually be observed in once instance, intelligent agency, is roundly rejected. That just doesn’t make sense.


  55. DaveScot,

    Intelligent design rests on just on a few assumptions:

    1) intelligent agency exists in at least one instance in the universe (humanity) proving the universe can produce instances of intelligent agency (a part of nature)

    2) complex machines with many interdependent parts serving a purpose and all abstract codes that serve to specify the construction and operation of such machines are, in all cases where the origin is known, are produced by intelligent agency

    3) no demonstrably capable source other than intelligent agency can produce the machines described above

    So if you point to a process that you believe to be ‘irreducibly complex’ and a valid explanation is found for how that apparent complexity got there without the intervention of an intelligent agency does the whole theory go out the window or do the goalposts just get moved?

    Does intelligent design (in the absence of positive evidence of a designer) exist only at the margins of our knowledge?

    Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there was an advanced alien civilisation who intervened at some stage in the evolution of life and go us over a hurdle that would have otherwise been insurmountable. It might have been a bit of DNA-fiddling or the planting of special food crops. This hypothesis is entirely possible and I’d say that most scientists would agree in principle. First of all you should find the evidence in life that look like there’s been some intervention (in ID’s case it might be the bacterial flagellum) and exhaust every possible natural explanation before jumping to the conclusion that it was a supernatural event. And, yes, this means actively searching the stars for this alien civilisation as a possible natural explanation.

    What I dislike about the ID approach is that they generally want to jump straight to a supernatural explanation without having even tried to find natural explanations, alien or otherwise. If it weren’t for this flawed methodology I’m sure the scientific community would be quite supportive.


  56. Damian,
    Just quickly, I don’t think DaveScot is using the ‘irreducibly complex’ kind of argument to make his case for ‘intelligent design’. In other words, he’s not trying to ‘reduce’ the ‘designers’ involvement to occasional moments of ‘intervention’, but rather seems to be suggesting the possibility of ceaseless, constant involvement in the ‘natural’ process…

    I just say that because it appears that you are using the ‘irreducibly complex’ scenario to critique him, and to me it seems incongruent to do that if he’s not making that specific argumental move…

    Just a side comment… Go hard. 🙂



  57. …however, having followed the link to ‘uncommon descent’ I can see why you went immediately to the ‘bacterial flagellum’ example! (banner image)


  58. Dale,
    If you look at the three key points that I quoted from DaveScot I struggle to see how you could have interpreted otherwise. I know that what you have suggested is in fact your view of how it works but his points seem to be specifically angled at “complex machines”, “interdependent parts” and so on.

    Perhaps you can clear this up for us DaveScot.


  59. DaveScot,

    Have yoau heard about Ben Stein’s new Movie coming out tomorrow on Intellegent design called Expelled?


  60. Elmer – get real. DaveScot is one the the people most active in promoting this propaganda documentary!


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  64. To person who cites the “Man on Mars” as being “settled” as being just a natural phenomenon – you are probably right – I think that Man on Mars image is nothing … and yet you are a complete moron for citing this example. I will explain why below.

    No – the vast majority 90% of scientists and engineers and technicians and other workers who have done the real work – data collection and data analysis – are in agreement that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is real and serious.

    A news item just came out that blew headlines off of newspapers and news feed across the world recently: AGW is worse than predicted in 1997!

    Same for biological evolution. No real researcher denies the fact and theory of biological macro-evolution.

    If you wish to choose a topic for which most scientists are NOT in agreement: pick USOs, UFOs, the Alien Hypothesis, and crop formations. Most scientists don’t get funded to study these, so most know nothing about it. Many of them are arm-chair speculators and debunkers. But, many scientists, police officers, medical doctors, and military personnel do accept the Alien Hypothesis for many crop formations and UFOs.

    There is not quite as much evidence for Bigfoot and there is to support the Alien Hypothesis. But, there is still quite a bit of good hardcore physical research, often done by the few who have gone out in the field. Their paid job titles are irrelevant to the work they do.
    Go to Bigfoot Field Research Organization to read the blogs of expeditions.

    However, lowest on the scale of evidence is the theory that outlawing meat (to protect animals – as I support) and outlawing gas cars and mandating building electric only cars will “hurt” the economy. No – it will help those who deserve it. It will rightfully punish those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
    The free-market extremists have been coddled and saved by reverse socialism = corporate welfare for centuries. They have no concept of the meaning of what real loss of freedom means – such was the kind of confinement vegetarian animals (pigs, chickens, cows, turkeys) feel in factory farms and fur farms (minks, foxes) and laboratories (birds and mammals of all types).


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  67. Can someone please give me 3 reasons why a person who is against climate change and pro-intelligent design would find science dogmatic.

    Here are two that I came up with:

    1) When expressing personal beliefs (religion/spirituality) they are instantly dismissed and these stories are not taken seriously.

    2) They also feel that is dogmatic because public schools (well majority) do not teach ID or actively try to dispute GW.


    I’d appreciate all the help anyone can give and I openly welcome views from both sides of the fence as well straddlers.

    You can email me directly as well!

    Thank you


  68. Possibly such a person will claim pro-science arguments are dogmatic because:

    1: it’s a form of self defence. They have nothing to counter the scientific arguments so want to discredit them instead – by labelling them dogmatic. Of course with a technical subject a critic easily gets into this position because they just may not have the level of knowledge required to analyse things properly.

    2: the pro-science arguments themselves may be presented dogmatically. Often supporters of a science position do come crops as arrogant or dogmatic because they may be frustrated with having to deal with what they consider obvious or the critic is just to poorly informed to enable a more equal discussion.

    3: there is just a huge barrier to proper discussion because the critic may be a taking up a scientific position based strong ideological or political positions rather than evidence. A belief in a god and strong conviction that evolution leads to immorality. A belief in a right wiring conspiracy theory and a strong conviction that greenies are really communists wanting to impose a new world order. Such a critic will therefore be very selective in their evidence and cherry picking and can easily see a more open minded person, or a person using alternative evidence, as dogmatic.


  69. Creepy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    More compelling evidence that the bible is a death cult.


  70. More compelling evidence that the bible is a death cult.

    They are out there. Taking time out from yapping on about creationism to warn us against “the green dragon”.

    Religious Right on Dangers of Environmentalism


  71. Oh, the blatant hypocrisy on display in that video…


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