See Alternate ID theory: Flying Spaghetti Monster,

CNN’s Larry King assembled a panel to discuss the issue of Creationism’s new approach to their unverifiable claim that God, known as “the Biblical god” by some members of the panel, created life and the universe.  Slightly different in character, Creationism’s new nomenclature is “Intelligent Design.”  The strength of its new name is that it enables the pooling together, there being strength in numbers, those who pretend to imply that its adherents and diverse anti-evolutionists object to its being defined as a personal god.  With such a ploy they pretend to separate themselves from Creationists who insist that God created life and the universe and that the universe does not have an eternal existence.
The panel: consisted of Pastor John Macarthur, President of Masters College; Dr. Barbara Forrest, PhD., South Eastern University; Deepak Chopra, Founder of Chopra Center; Senator Sam Brownback; Representative Christopher Shays; Dr. Jay Richards of Discovery Institute.
I transcribed their discussion, including some grammatical errors and excluding some unessential utterances while maintaining the intent and feelings of each of the panelists.  In a few instances, however, when they talked over each other, it was very difficult to achieve an accurate transcription.
I’m aware that the main point of the discourse is whether Intelligent Design should be taught in public school science classes.  My purpose for presenting the total of this discussion is to show what I consider to be the weakness in such a format in bringing clarity to the issues and to suggest that missing from the discussion were two fundamental issues, that are not ever discussed or taught in the public schools and that are crucial to resolving the issues, i.e., 1) the source of our beliefs and 2) the uses and abuses of language.
Rather, like so many TV productions, it accomplished little more than airing the differing points of view and being more entertaining than educational.  Even Dr. Forrest’s voice of reason distinguishing science from blind faith, the core of whether Intelligent Design should be taught in science classes, fell on deaf ears as to whether Intelligent Design had any evidential foundation.  It was not a format for the philosophical discussion needed to examine exactly what evidence is and the relationship of language to what can properly be accepted as evidence.
The very nature of the discussion denied Dr. Forrest the opportunity to show how deep is, and will ever be, the divide between science and theistic religion because of the abuse of language.  The public watching such a program will be little swayed by the arguments they heard, particularly since our culture is a theistic-religion saturated one in which our so-called educational institutions have failed miserably in teaching our students to be able to distinguish between verifiable and unverifiable (i.e., untestable), language.
 I shall be inserting, occasional, bold italicized bracketed short responses when I feel the need to “enter” into the discussion.  But lengthy critiques will follow some of each speaker’s comments.


Larry King:  John Macarthur, do you believe that the world is only 5000 years old?

 Macarthur: Oh no, but I wouldn’t necessarily say 5000, but I would say I doubt that it’s more than 10,000 years old.

            [Macarthur reveals his blind faith in the Biblical account.]

 King: So all this other proof of millions of years and cavemen don’t mean a thing.

Macarthur: Well I think there may have been cavemen but I don’t think millions of years have been proved.  

[To quote the eminent authority, Joseph Campbell, on mythology, “The little toy-room picture of the Bible is for children . . .” and “ . . . not even for them any more.”  “Children nowadays, if parents allow them to go to schools with enlightened teachers, are no longer told, “God did it.”

King: You don’t think any of that has been proven.

Macarthur: Right.

King: Dr. Forrest, your concept -- how can you, out and out, turn down Creationism since, if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?

Dr. Forrest, laughing.   Larry, Creationism has long ago been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, and so this is an issue that long ago should have been settled.  We shouldn’t be debating this.

King:  Should it be taught at all?

Forrest:  No, not as science.  Creationism is a religious issue.  If it should be taught at all, it should be taught within that context.  But it should never be presented to children in science because it isn’t.  It’s a religious belief.

King:  Deepak, is it a faith issue?  

Deepak:  It is a faith issue.  I certainly agree with her.  I think we have to look at the scientific evidence that says the universe is 13.8 billion years old; the planet is only 3.8 billion.  Human beings have been around for 200,000 years in the form that we know them.  But hominids have been around for a long time.  Having said that, there is evidence in science that there is creativity in the universe that consciousness may not be an emergent property -- that physics and matter may be an emergent property but consciousness conceives and governs and constructs and actually becomes what we call mind and then body and then the physical universe. 

          [I know of no reputable scientist making a claim to having such evidence.  Moreover, it is one thing for Deepak to make such a contorted claim and another to present evidence to support it.  It appears, rather, that the basic evidence of Intelligent Design is, “It must be.”  Surely, if “acts of God,” such as the destruction caused by Katrina, are evidence of the consciousness of an Intelligent Designer, students should be apprised as to where to lay the blame for such horrors.
           Moreover, Deepak seems to be ignorant of or deliberately ignoring the kinds, limitations, as well as the scope of consciousness that exist through out the spectrum of physical forms of life.  Surely he would not equate the consciousness (the "mind," i.e., its "brain" functions) of a worm's awareness of its environment with that of an ant, a termite, a rat, a snake, a bird, a dog, an ape, an elephant, a child, an Einstein.  
           Why is it not obvious to Deepak that the different consciousnesses are as much emergent qualities, dependent upon the kind, amount, and structure of the physical brain as is the emergence of water, i.e., liquidity and translucency, is from the synthesis of the gasses, two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen?

King:  Senator Brownback, what is your definition of Intelligent Design?

Brownback:  Well, if there is intelligence involved in the overall creation -- but Larry, I don’t think we’re at the point of teaching this in the classroom.  I think what we passed in the United States Senate in 2002 is really what we should be doing and that is that you teach the controversy, teach what is fact is fact and what is theory is theory, and you move from that proceedings rather than from teaching some sort of a different thought.  In this, really, I think that that’s the area where we should really concentrate on at the present time -- is teaching the controversy.

           [He avoided answering the question.  He gave, instead, a typical political response, offending no one, but not seeming to understand the absurdity of such a controversy.]

King:  All right -- giving the students both sides of the issue fairly presented?

Brownback:  Yes and as I said teach what we know is fact to be fact and teach what is theory as theory and have a robust discussion.  I like one of the commentators I read recently saying that, “I think we should all relax a bit about this and -- and have a good robust debate about what we really do know -- what we don’t know but is theory and try to proceed together and move together in a very thoughtful and very careful fashion. 

           [But the “side” offered by proponents of Intelligent Design” is predicated upon the existence of an intelligence that cannot be tested or verified to exist.  The senator does not seem to understand that Intelligent Design is not a theory.  Rather, it is an untestable claim.  For a claim to be, also, a theory, there must be accumulated many facts that can be subjected to a methodical testing and examination process by other members of the scientific community throughout the world.  Advocates of Intelligent Design have no "side," supported by evidence and facts, to offer “fairly.”] 

King:  Congressman Shays, why do you disagree with your party’s president on this?

Shays:  Well, while Rome’s burning, we’re eating grapes.  I mean the thought that we would have a debate in the Senate about Creation and scientific evolution and that we would focus on this issue blows me away.  You know, God has every place in government.  But religion doesn’t and this is the introduction of religion into government.  We have hugh problems to deal with (such as) the energy crisis.  Hundred-dollar-a-barrel oil is going to be something we’re going to have to deal with and we’re debating this issue in the senate and that’s -- laughing -- outrageous.   

           [Shays is offering a personal testament of Blind faith in the existence of theBiblical god unclearly stated but is aware of the absurdity of the controversy and justifiably implies that congressional discussion of the issue abrogates the principle of separation of church and state and that this is an issue of science vs theistic religion, not a scientific inquiry to be taught in public schools.]

King:  Dr. Richards, as Vice President of Discovery Institute, how would you counter what Congressman Shays just said.  Why is this important?     

Richards:  Well, I think it’s important to -- to focus, Larry, on what the topic is, Intelligent Design.  Intelligent Design isn’t the same as traditional Creationism.  Intelligent Design theory is just to say more or less like what Deepak Chopra said actually.  It is evidence of purpose and design in the universe.  Whether you look at the laws of the physics or the nano technology [?]inside cells.  Design theorist say; “That’s evidence for Intelligent Design.”  It’s not Creation theory and it’s certainly not a religiously based argument.  It’s based on the evidence of science.  [?]  And so the debate is different interpretations of science.  And what the Senate did and Senator Brownback described is they encourage what we call teaching the controversy of the Discovery Institution and that just means teaching the controversy over the Darwin’s theory of evolution specifically -- the evidence for and against it but don’t require teaching Intelligent Design.  We think that should be allowed.  We understand that’s what the president said.  Yes, these topics ought to be allowed but remember the president also said, “It wasn’t the job of the Federal Government to dictate curricula to the local school districts.”  So, we agree with them on that as well.

     [Dr. Richards does not seem to understand that he has no testable and verifiable facts upon which to formulate a theory and that in the absence of such facts, Intelligent Design is not a theory.  This is attested to by his statement, “Intelligent Design isn’t the same as Traditional creationism,” which implies that it is the same as some kind of Creationism.
Obviously, by "different interpretations of science," he means "different interpretations of what 'evidence' is.  His is an untestable set of interpretations of events that he misconstrues because he is oblivious to his abuse of language.  He obviously sees consciousness in the wind’s twirling of the different designs of leaves on the trees as was so believed in the polytheistic age of pre-scientific man before theologians whittled God down to one entity --  though there is some question as to whether they succeeded in achieving that.
The shape, i.e., “design” (sans intelligence and purpose), and activity, i.e., process, are inherent characteristics of everything in the universe.  As Aristotle made clear, one cannot separate form and activity from matter except as mental abstracts.  Nature is the mother of infinite possibilities of forms of matter, i.e., material designs.  There is no such condition as shapelessness or rest requiring purpose to press things into motion.
      Complexity such as exists in DNA is not deliberately achieved as if there were consciousness inherent in each ”simple” and quantum component that coalesces with other “simple” and quantum components IN ORDER TO CREATE a complex DNA molecule.  Such coalescence is a natural result of the permeative characteristic of all matter in the universe, Newton’s “interaction of matter with matter.  Paraphrasing the 18th century philosopher, David Hume succinctly stated he had never seen a planet created.
Dr. Richards fails to distinguish shape as a design from the activity of designing, which is in fact a form of human artful imitation of shapes, colors, designs we find in nature, or coalescing such shapes into a more complex design as even primitive man was capable of.
As to purpose, clearly not all shapes, i.e., designs have purpose.  The “design” of an acorn has more to do with whether or not it becomes an oak tree.  More often it becomes fertilizer for the soil.  For that matter the process of an acorn becoming an oak tree is not evidence of its purposely becoming an oak tree.   And if the soil does not have the necessary ingredients for enabling it to become an oak tree in the right atmospheric conditions, it does not consciously become or even unconsciously become an oak tree.  The permeative ground of consciousness is helpless to do anything if the necessary physical conditions are lacking.   Dr. Richards apparently is not aware that his “conscious” universe is bombarding his body constantly with neutrinos and cosmic rays and that at any time a possible collision with one of more of his genes may cause a distant descendant of his in the far future to evolve a second head.]

King:  Dr. Richards, if there’s Intelligent Design, who designed the Intelligent Designer?

Richards:  Well, this is one of the sort of popular, I -- I-- I – well, you know, I call it a popular -----

King:  Well, how do you respond to it?

Richard: Yeah, well -----

King:  Who designed it?

Richards:  Well, put it this way, Larry.   

King:  Who created it?      

  Richards:  Ya, we can tell that Mount Rushmore is sculpted.  Right?  Ah -- you can tell there was intelligence behind it.  The fact that you can ask the follow-up question about the origin of the designer doesn’t contradict the initial claim that we can detect intelligence.  That’s all Design theory does.  It focuses on these clear indicators of intelligent agency; just like a detective does or anyone would do in which you detect an activity of a causal agent. 

     [Dr. Richards neglects to indicate what “clear indicators” are not results of human intervention.  Yes, we can determine that an intelligent agent created Mount Rushmore as well as houses, automobiles, bridges, need I go on, because we have abundant evidence, as history attests, that there were physical intelligent beings doing it.
According to all available evidence, to create something implies that you have raw material out of which to create something new.  According to all available evidence, nothing can be created out of nothing.   According to all available evidence, there is no evidence of any entity creating, out of nothing, consciousness, a star, a galaxy, a Solar System, a tree, a worm, or a baby in a womb, a stem cell, an atom, a quark, a string, or a quantum particle of any kind, not to mention countless other objects not created by man but emerged in nature.  I’d be interested in what would be the “clear indicator” of Intelligent Design in the growth of dandelions in the wild.
       “Let there be light” is a far cry from evidence that light was created.  Moreover, if I were the Intelligent Designer creating this universe, I doubt that I could have done worse than the presumed Designer of this universe with all the things going wrong on earth.  Woody Allen had it right when he declared “God” to be an “under achiever.”  If “God” had had His wits about him, certainly the extensive extinction of species would not have occurred and He would have nuked Satan at the outset to prevent all the evil occurring that believers blame on his “fallen angel.”
Dr. Richards does not seem to be able to distinguish between the existence of a thing and the manner in which it came to exist.  He clearly does not understand, for instance that the existence of Earth verifies only its existence, not how it came to exist.  Science however, is quite capable of describing, offering verifiable facts, how it highly probably came and other things come to exist without intelligent intervention.]

King:  All right -- How, John Macarthur, do you react to Intelligent Design as opposed to Creationism as Dr. Richards separates them?

Macarthur:  Hell!  I think Intelligent Design is the only possible scientific [?] position to hold.  Because we have intelligence in the universe, it has to come from somewhere.  Because we have complexity, it has to come from complexity.  [?]  The silver bullet, Larry, is DNA.  Before an understanding of DNA, there was a lot of confusion and a lot of belief in evolution.  It was like the Emperor’s new clothes.  It was really naked, but they thought it was dressed up.  DNA has, I think spells the end of traditional natural evolution which initially says complexity comes out of simplicity.  It can’t happen.  The Silver bullet is not a single example of reproduction leading to an increased amount of genetic material necessary to produce a more complex organism -- has never happened. 

       [The Pastor is prone to the use of convoluted expressions.  To his expression that intelligence, “has to come from somewhere,” aside from the observable fact that it comes from a particular kind of functioning matter, a brain, the implication of his remark is that it must exist (the must be fallacy) somewhere outside the brain or else a human brain could not acquire human intelligence.  In like manner, to be consistent, he must believe, also, that monkey intelligence must exist “somewhere” for a monkey intelligence to inhabit a monkey brain and on and on for all forms of animal-species intelligence.
He may know the Bible, but obviously understands little about science if he believes Intelligent Design is “scientific.” His uses of words show a clear lack of understanding of how man uses and abuses language.  He obviously was never properly, as most of us weren’t, educated in the relationship of meanings to symbols.  He synonymizes them not understanding that symbols do not have inherent meanings.  Meanings are in brains, not in black ink on paper or the sounds of someone else's voice.  We give symbols the meanings we were given to give to them by our society: parents, teachers, clergymen, dictionaries, etc.  And many, too many of the meanings we “attach” to symbols lack evidential support.
Complexity comes from a conglomeration of simplicities -- wholes that are constituted of parts which themselves are wholes.  I suspect that the pastor’s schooling included very few courses in science where it is quickly learned that such terms as ‘complexity’ and ‘simplicity,’ ‘wholes’ and ‘parts’ are relative terms.  Each and every object in the universe, in comparison with some other object, is either a complex (more parts) or a simple (fewer parts) object.  In other words, a larger complex object is composed of lesser complex objects.  There is no evidence, yet, that there is an ultimate indivisible particle.  If the pastor would bother to refer to a good dictionary, he would discover that one of the definitions, i.e., uses, of the term, ‘simplicity,’ is “consisting of fewer parts.”
Darwin never, nor any biologist I know of ever, said, “Simplicity comes out of complexity.”  What evolutionists do say is that genes can be caused to mutate.  Our bodies, for instance are constantly being bombarded by cosmic rays and neutrinos.  Any impacts upon genes might cause a mutation enabling or even retarding fitness for survival.  If so, of course, the creationist would argue that that was the will of the Intelligent Designer.  Whatever happens in the universe, the creationist exclaims, without evidence or possibility of evidence that "It is the will of the Intelligent Designer."  The pastor has a tendency to use words that put together, don’t make sense.] 

King:  As someone related to religion, though, you can’t prove Adam and Eve.  Can you?

Macarthur:  I don’t think you can prove Adam and Eve except you know somebody was there to begin. 

King:  You believe it.

Macarthur: [avoiding answering the question and changing the subject.]  Well, we’re talking about two different things.   Intelligent design is the only rational [?] way to view the universe.

King:  Does it ponder you-----

Macarthur:  Somebody intelligent made it.  Religion can’t tell who that intelligence is.

King: Does it ponder you who made that intelligence -- who created the creator?

 Macarthur:  Well, I said, “The Bible as the source,” -- the authoritative [?] source that tells me it was God, and something or someone has to be eternal and the Bible says it is God who is the Eternal one.

             [Macarthur has been thoroughly indoctrinated and is ignorant of the fallacy of circular reasoning: God "wrote" the Bible and says he's God.  His arguments are based on naiveté, blind faith, lack of understanding abuses of language, the ‘has to be” fallacy, and changing the subject.  In the year 2005, he blindly believes, the men who, with no scientific training, claim God spoke to them revealing His wishes, even though the various chapters of the Bible, very frequently, contradict each other!  Moreover truth cannot be obtained merely by a consensus, or a vote, of those who wrote the Scriptures on the bases of their unsupported convictions.]

Deepak interrupts:  See, when he says that, he’s denying all of biology, all of anthropology, all of theology [?], all of astronomy, all of cosmology, all of evolution, all of chemistry, and everything that we have known – uh –that we have learned. 

Now, I do agree with Dr. Richards who says that there is evidence that we need to understand Darwin’s theory a little bit better.  All of you know it’s a little -- 150 years old.  So how do we explain simultaneity in the universe?  How does a human being think thoughts, play the piano, kill germs, remove toxins, and make a baby -- all at once.  [?]  How DNA, which is very intelligent, [?] emerges from inorganic chemicals, I mean who designed the creator? -- If you think of the creator in human terms, which is the human imagination, then you’re in trouble. 

But, you know, in quantum physics they refer to the field of infinite possibilities as acausal, which means without cause -- non-local beyond space and time.  Infinitely correlated -- interrelatedness and when you start to understand the very fundamentals of nature are acausal they’re beyond time, they’re without -- they’re transcendental, then you have a different idea of the creator. 

        [Deepak’s approach is more subtle and deceiving.  It is obvious that he does believe in “a creator” but doesn’t like the term, ‘God.’   He seems “to want his cake and eat it too.” If Deepak had studied Einstein carefully, he might have understood Einstein’s denial of simultaneity.  As well, Ernest Nagel, my former professor of Logic at Columbia University, and others, point out that the interpretation of Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics being acausal was wrong.
The issue of “cause” on the quantum level depends on how you define “cause,” i.e., how we use language.  It can be shown that quantum mechanical states are predictable (based on the knowledge of present states) and the causality principle is valid if we agree to recognize these states as probability and transformation functions.  Deepak is not up to date on his studies.  But let’s assume a lack of causality.  How does that point to an Intelligent Designer?  His answer, like Macarthur’s is “there must be.”  That is hardly a scientific proof.
As to his remark, the “DNA . . . is intelligent,” The DNA doesn’t have a brain with which to be intelligent.  What can he mean?  When we speak of human intelligence, biologist are aware that it is a term we use to refer to a complex of different kinds of intelligences: reading intelligence, writing intelligence, math intelligence, social, intelligence, musical intelligence, and many other intelligences, not every one of which all of us possess.  Certainly intelligent “lower” animals don’t as human beings do.
Fundamentally, intelligence is one of our abilities to adapt to our various environments.  How intelligent one is depends on the extent and kind of one's adaptable abilities. There are forms of life that adapt through chemical, magnetic, even electrical  sensitivities.  Perhaps this is the kind of “intelligence” the DNA possesses.  However, it is questionable whether every kind of adaptability may be construed to be intelligence.  Surely, no one would equate such adaptability with human intelligence or consciousness.  Is Deepak suggesting that the DNA is aware of its own intelligence because it adapts so well, most of the time, to its environment?
He rightly accepts the findings of science but insists that science fails to recognize aspects of the universe as evidence of intelligence and purpose.  He claims to recognize that evidence in the nature of DNA, I presume RNA also, in consciousness, thinking, awareness, human activities in general and the like.
Deepak often uses words, asks questions, and utters convoluted statements that make little sense.  It isn’t enough to drop words and ask questions without offering some method of inquiry by which they can be tested, answered, and verified.   One needs to understand what words uttered and questions asked make sense to utter and ask and to recognize when unanswerable questions are being asked.  For example, centuries ago Aristotle cautioned that to speak of beginnings and endings is unintelligible.  Apparently, even then, he recognized process, i.e., change, as the underlying condition of all existence.
Deepak is not satisfied with accepting what happens and knowing the natural circumstances under which it happens.  He wants to know “why” water emerges when two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen are brought together under conditions including temperature and pressure.  He wants an answer to every quantum aspect of change in the universal process much of which, like string theory, is still only mathematical theory.  He does not recognize that his are unanswerable questions implying that some intelligence is the underlying cause.
Countless questions, of that nature can be, and have been, asked since the dawn of man. One might just as well ask, “Why are there stars in the sky?” or, for that matter, “Why is there a sky?”  Obviously, for those who believe in Intelligent Design, the answer is: “Because some intelligent agent put them there."  They claim that science can’t answer such unanswerable questions but don’t understand that Creationists, now in disguise, can’t either -- knowledgeably.  Anyone can give AN answer to any question, and in fact often does -- failing to understand the absurdity of the answer.
If science could answer every question, meaningfully, epistemically, there would no longer be a need for scientific investigation.  For Deepak, apparently, consciousness, like ether, is an underlying characteristic of the universe, out of which man’s consciousness, self-awareness and everything else “emerge.” Does he consider the countless forms of conscious life whose source of consciousness lack the necessary physical (and chemical?) substances necessary for self- awareness to emerge?
From his point of view, an Intelligent Designer could have given those forms of life self awareness without the necessary physical and chemical components since, as Intelligent Design theorists attest, consciousness permeates every “point instant” in the universe.  Moreover, why is it that Deepak and Richards never deign to explain the events in the universe that comprise the total of intelligence?  I assume by the Intelligence to which they refer, they would deny any lack of even an iota of intelligence.  Why, then, in their claims, is there such a lack of reference to events in the universe that a truly absolute intelligence would never, in his right brainless consciousness, create?]

King:  Dr. Forrest, is this discussion important or as Christopher Shays writes -- ah -- says, are there a lot more important than this?

Dr. Forrest:  Oh, my goodness, there are so many more important things to discuss than this, Larry.  It’s amazing that we are having this discussion in the 21st century.  And there are a few things that I think the American people need to know about the Intelligent Design issue.  This is not about science.  Dr. Richard’s advisor at the Discovery Institute, Phillip Johnson says that this is about religion and philosophy.  It’s not really about science.  There really isn’t a scientific controversy to debate.  

I’d also like to point out that Dr. Richard’s associate, at the Discovery Institute, Dr. William Dembski, has said that Intelligent Design is simply the Logos of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of Information Theory.  This is just as Biblically based as the early traditional type of Creationism. 

And one more thing, another of Dr. Richard’s associates, Paul Nelson, pointed out in an interview just one year ago, that they don’t have a theory of biological design at the Discovery Institute.  They simply don’t have a theory.  And in order to have a theory and in order to do research, they would have to have a theory.  He admitted, very candidly, that they don’t have any.  And there is not one iota of scientific data that the Discovery Institute has produced to support what they say.  This is not about science.  This is about religion and political power.

            [Dr. Forrest would have done well to instruct Dr. Richards, Deepak, and the pastor of the differences among “theories,” “claims,” and “stories” (like the creation story).  Without testable facts, one cannot have a theory.  One has only claims and stories acquired from “must be(s),” deep untestable convictions, sheer imagination out of whole cloth, uninformed teachers, clergy, theistic institutions, parents, friends, etc.  The task of convincing those who believe in Intelligent Design, Creationism, theism, and all other supernatural, metaphysical, and transcendental concepts is so vast it would first require cleaning out the mess in their brains to make room for objective thought starting with a complete understanding first of the source of their beliefs followed by a through analysis of the effects of our uses and abuses of language in forming our beliefs. ] 

King: Before Dr. Richard responds, Senator Bromback, how do you respond to, “If we have separation of church and state and this is about religion, why is it even being discussed at the Federal level?”

Brownback:  Well -- the discussion took place at the Federal level several years back, and I do agree that we need to discuss issues like energy and immigration, at this point.  Congress just passed the energy bill, and I hope we’ll pass the immigration bill this fall.  But the reason for this discussion was in the No-Child-Left-Behind-bill.  It’s where it took place there, and there it passed.  The measure passed in the Senate by a large majority with votes on both sides of the isle.  Senator Kennedy, Senator Santorum, proffering the amendment say we should teach more information but that it shouldn’t be required, and, you should teach facts and you should teach what’s theory.   But it -- it wasn’t that we should teach Intelligent Design.  It was really more a critique at the -- at the -- holes, at the issues associated with Darwinian Evolution.  And I think that’s a good robust discussion that we should be having and it’s something we have all across the country.  But we are focused on other issues in the Congress.

            [If the members of congress had been educated properly, instead of having been merely schooled, they would have learned, in their science classes and in Critical Analysis classes, if our educational authorities had the foresight or will to offer the latter and if it was properly taught, a thing or two about the lack of inherency in linguistic symbols and about unverifiable language.  And if they were not puppets of the conservative extremists and if they had any backbone they could or would have avoided this latest rehashing of a public “Scopes trial” and a further abrogation of the principle of Separation of Church and State which has already been weakened by the Bush-supporting Supreme Court.]     

King:  Congressman Shays?

Shays:  I’ve been listening to this debate and thinking, “I believe in God.  I believe in the first chapter of the Bible as the explanation for creation.”  I start hearing people tell me what they think should be taught in the schools and I -- I feel like, in a way, I’m almost in the Middle Ages and Copernicus and Galileo, the Earth is round, and it does go around in the Solar System and Religion’s belief says no it doesn’t.  And we have this same kind -- and you can’t take it out of the context of what we’ve been debating.  We have literally had a hard time passing, in the House, stem cell research.  That could have untold benefits -- ah -- because some people, with religious belief, don’t want us to move forward with what is sound science.  I think God gave us the intellect to discern between science and religious dogma.

            [It is clear that Congressman Shays knows the difference between believing and knowing.  It would be wonderful if everyone had such knowledge.  Theistic religion should be private.  It is a family’s right, as both Dr. Forrest and Congressman Shays have indicated.  Our government and the Supreme Court of this nation have failed in their duty to protect us from the infiltration of theistic concepts into politics and our daily lives.  They are, “inch by inch,” undermining the principle of Separation of Church and State: "under God, in the flag salute, "In God we trust," on our money, Theistic presentations at the openings of Congressional meetings, and more.  They have forgotten or are ignoring the events of history that drove so many of our ancestors to these shores, when theistic religion and the state in foreign lands were one and the same.  As a consequence we are again being subjected to the divisiveness, terrorism, wars, and closed minds, caused by the incessant indoctrinating practices of institutional proselytizing.

King:  Dr Richards, isn’t that a good point?

Richards:  Certainly, but again, the question is what’s the evidence of Nature -- ah -- arguments and evidence for science have theological implications on all sides.  Probably the world’s best-known Darwinist, Richard Darkin, said -- Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.  So he was arguing the theological point based on a scientific theory.  That doesn’t mean that Darwin shouldn’t be discussed in public schools.  In the same way, Intelligent Design obviously has theological implications.  A lot of people like to talk about the supposed motivations of design theory.  But whether somebody is a Christian, a theist, an atheist, the evidence in the arguments is what matters.  And that’s what we’re hoping people will start talking about and not the supposed religion’s motivation that Dr. Forrest talks about or this discussion as if the debate over Intelligent Design is simply a debate between science and religion.  It’s a debate about the evidence of science and its proper interpretation.  And that’s a legitimate public debate.

          [My, my!  How disingenuous or confused is Dr. Richard!  “Intelligent Design theory” does not “have” implications of theology.  It is theology!  To argue in favor of atheism is hardly theological.  It is, in fact, anti-theological.  Moreover, there is nothing expressed in language that is not subject to turning into an argument about the claimed existence of his Intelligent Design.  The very words I’m printing in THIS sentence can be used to argue that they have theological implications because it could be argued that I would not be printing them except for Richards’ Intelligent Entity (Creationism’s God?) permitting me to do it.
  Richards is employing, here, the same subtle and suspect method of argumentation that he uses for defending the Intelligent Design belief.  In other words, for Richards, nothing in this universe can escape the intervention of his Intelligent Design.  Being totally lacking in any possibility for evidence, it is not a verifiable or falsifiable argument.  In fact, I can only conclude that these Johnny-come-lately “thinkers” have resurrected, in phoenix fashion, the Trojan Horse of history in order to undermine the methods and integrity of science in the pursuit of truth and knowledge.  As Dr Forrest rightfully states, these are philosophical, not scientific questions.
It certainly is true that evidence is what matters -- if there were some testable evidence for Intelligent Design.  But Intelligent Design is only a different name for Creationism’s God shorn of anthropological attributes!  Whom does he think he’s fooling?  Dr. Richard’s implication that Intelligent Design is some kind of Creationism, if not traditional, is clear evidence that the so-called “evidence” for Intelligent Design is identical to the so-called “evidence” for the existence of “God.”  He should ponder, in depth, Larry King’s question that exposes the absurdity of attributing all existence to an unverifiable eternal Intelligent Designer.  Perhaps he has not studied Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in which Juliet, in soliloquy, comments, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet, . . . . ”]

King:  John Macarthur:  Do you want to -----?

Dr. Forest:  May I respond to that?

King:  Just one second.  John do you want -- Adam and Eve taught in the public school? 

Macarthur:  I don’t particularly care whether Adam and Eve is taught in the public school because I’m not sure that the persons teaching or mandated to teach it would be able to teach it correctly [?] or with conviction, and I don’t believe that public education is -- ah -- to be a forum for teaching Biblical Christianity.  But, I do believe that individual teachers who teach in science or in any other discipline that integrate with science must admit the fact that evolution is a poor explanation for the scientific data.  When it comes to origin.  Nobody was there.  We can’t reproduce it.  It’s not repeatable, so you -- it’s a faith based -- even the evolutionist is putting faith in the eternality of matter, or some natural element.  It’s all faith at that particular point.  We choose to believe in a god who has revealed himself in scripture and his account of creation. 

          [“Correctly,” apparently for the pastor, is to proselytize.  Moreover, evolution is a never-ending process of collecting evidence, as is all science.  For Macarthur to call it a poor science says more about him than about Evolution.
It is unfortunate that the pastor’s schooling was lacking in the multitudinous meanings man has attached to the term, ‘faith’ particularly “faith in the absence of evidence,” faith in spite of evidence,” and “faith based on evidence.”
There is a mountain of difference in having blind faith in the existence of a non-material unknowable god “present” everywhere in the universe and having faith, i.e., trust, in the available evidence, corrective on the basis of new evidence.  And if there has to be something eternal, then, at least we have evidence that matter/energy exists and no evidence that it never did exist.   And since all truth and knowledge is probable because evidence is always open ended it is highly probable that matter/energy always existed.  It is the height of irrationality to believe that this vast universe could emerge out of nothing.
Throughout the history of man, there has never been any evidence that matter/energy, in any of its countless forms has emerged or been created out of nothing.  Moreover, the pastor should realize that his words, “When it comes to origin, nobody was there,” strongly suggest that it cannot be verified that Adam came into existence in full form and Eve out of his rib.  To the pastor’s credit, however, is his indirect admission that he also cannot verify the Biblical god’s existence, when he confesses that he CHOOSES to believe in the Biblical god.]  He does not understand that he is unable, having been conditioned, not to do so.

King:  Doctor Forrest.

Forrest:  Oh well, Dr Richards was talking about making the issue one of evidence.  But they don’t have any evidence.  That’s the problem.  Ah -- Before you can make an issue about -- about -- ah -- a scientific debate about evidence, you must produce the evidence.   And, so far, the Discovery Institute Creationists are batting zero.  There is not a scintilla of scientific evidence to support what they say.  So, when we argue this is a scientific issue we’re really missing the point.  This is an argument about whether or not public schools should be venues for promoting the religious ideas of the Discovery Institute in violation of both the pedagogical standards of teaching and in violation of the constitution.  This is not about scientific evidence because they have none to produce.

Phone question.

Isn’t it the responsibility of the teacher to present all ideas on how the world and all life began?  And I feel like God created science.  He created her -- uh -- you know, why put Him in a religious category?  Just look in the mirror if you want evidence.  Why leave Him out of science?

King:  Barbara.

Well -- the reason that science is taught the way it is is because it reflects the methodology of science.  Scientific methodology simply cannot reach God, if you put god into a science class as a scientific explanation, you simply are confusing children about the nature of science.  There’s nothing wrong with people adopting a religious -- a comprehensive religious view to understand [?] the world.  But, there’s a great deal wrong with introducing that as a scientific explanation to children in a science class.  That’s the role of the church and the role or the family.  It’s not the role of the science teacher.  They have enough to do teaching science, as it should be taught. 

          [Dr. Forrest's phrase, "cannot reach God," implies that God is reachable but not by science.  I’m aware that she was placed in an unfortunate situation with such a sophomoric question.  Moreover, her reply should have been stated in a truthful manner, rather than give the impression that teaching what cannot be verified does no harm.  It would have been better if she had said, “I know that the concept of God is a very important part in the lives of most of us, however, the method of science is required to show evidence for all its conclusions.  Science, and anyone else to date, has never been able to find evidence of a god.  Consequently, no one, including science, has ever been in a position to speak authoritatively, with evidence, about a god or gods.”]

King:  Shouldn’t everyone agree with that, John?  Don’t you agree with that?

  Dr. Richards asks, “Can I follow up on that?”

King: All right.

Richards: I certainly agree with that as well.  Ah -- the question being debated and discussed -- public -- is not, really, should all ideas be discussed in the science classroom.  Obviously, we can’t talk about everything.  The question is first, "Should Darwin’s theory of evolution be taught openly and honestly?"  And as far as I can tell, no one has explicitly disagreed with that uncontroversial point.  The strongest evidence for and against it -- it ought to be taught in the science classroom and that this other question about Intelligent Designed, at least in the Discovery institute, we do not think it should be required.  Contrary to what Dr. Forrest said previously.  People can verify that on our website at discovery.orb.  We think people should be free to talk about this, and frankly I don’t think that it can be suppressed.  It is now very much a public discussion evidenced by the fact that we’re talking about it on your show tonight. 

            [Dr. Richards has a knack for “muddying the water.” Dr. Forrest was not accusing anyone of wanting science to teach “all ideas in the classroom.” She was accurately describing the methodology of Science.  Moreover, people, especially scientists, have always talked about aspects of evolution that seemed questionable.  To advocate, “the evidence against it [Darwinian Evolution] ought to be taught in the science classroom,” should not be taken to mean that there is such evidence against such “sticks and stones” sciences.  Scientists have, for centuries, been openly aware of the fact that there are aspects of every branch of science that have yet to be clarified and are fully aware of the limitations of science in general.
However, there is no reputable biologist who does not accept Darwinian Evolution as highly probably correct, however more has to be discovered, as is any other data in the scientific arena.  Dr. Richards should use his words more carefully so as not to cast aspersions on a theory that is supported by facts too numerous to count even if all the facts are not yet known as is the case in all science.]    

King: Deepak, do you agree with that tonight?

Deepak:  Yes, I think that we should leave terms like ‘God’ out of it.  We should.  I think, where I disagree with -- ah -- one or our panelists, Barbara, you know, consciousness is a very legitimate pursuit in science and it should be.  After all, who is this person?   You know, science is only focused on the observed, never on the observer.  I think it’s time for science to begin to address the question, “Is consciousness an epiphenomenon of is it the ground of being that created the universe?” as a scientific pursuit.  And that’s a very legitimate pursuit.

           [Consciousness as “the ground of being that created the universe,” is hardly “a scientific pursuit.”  What could possibly be considered evidence for such an idea?  There is no evidence for consciousness in the vacuum of space.  According to available evidence, there is no evidence of consciousness BETWEEN two brains, unless, of course we postulate short wave lengths being emitted from one brain to another or, according to present day technological experiments, a TV set, etc.   Science has studied and is still studying the observer and his brain adnauseam!
Deepak does not seem to understand that “mind,” i.e., consciousness, is a FUNCTION of the brain, (no brain, no consciousness) as motion is a function of the arm, not THE arm.  To look for consciousness as a ground of being, is as absurd as to look for motion as the ground of being as does the philosopher, Samuel Alexander.
In any legitimate understanding of language, there must first be some “thing” to be in motion.  Of course, if one has some special and unique definition for such a term other than is commonly understood, it is incumbent upon one to clarify and verify it.  Most such linguistic problems are caused by masters of hypostatization, which, it seems, includes the members of the Discovery Institute.
Fundamentally, consciousness emerges from the sensitivity, i.e., attraction and reaction, of matter to matter.   Such sensitivity gives emergence to countless kinds of non-conscious substances as well as to consciousness and many different kinds of consciousness.  Witness the variety of animal consciousnesses on earth that have emerged from different complexes of diverse kinds and quantities of matter.  Consciousness, per se, is not an empty vessel.  Consciousness is not separable from something to be conscious of.
           It would be interesting to have the nature of the consciousness of the Intelligent Designer described to us in detail so that we could understand how this ubiquitous  whatever could be extended in a manner so as to create such a diversity of consciousnesses on earth, not alone throughout the vastness of the universe.]

Barbara interrupts:  But that is not appropriate in a high school science class.

Deepak: Yes -- maybe so, maybe so.  I think we can think of evolution in terms of meta-biology -- the evolution of our consciousness -- and the evolution of the consciousness of our consciousness.   What’s the source of thought?  Where is creativity? 

            [Referring to evolution as meta-biology is quite a stretch; metalanguage, perhaps.  As to the source of thought, creativity, consciousness, and consciousness of our consciousness, they are emergent attributes, explained quite clearly in a study of Emergent Evolution.
Emergent attributes are observable in countless numbers of events in the universe such as the emergence of liquidity from hydrogen and oxygen and other substances.  To ask, “HOW does it emerge?” is to ask a verifiable scientific question.  Without matter, there’d be no liquidity.  Without matter, there’d be no consciousness, thought, etc.  To ask, “WHY does it emerge?” is to ignore the “law” of parsimony and to imply an unverifiable cause, as the proponents of Intelligent Design are so prone to do.]

King, addressing John Macarthur:  Why are you smiling?

 Macarthur:  Quoting Deepak derisively, “The evolution of our consciousness and the evolution of our conscious-----

 Deepak interrupts: of our consciousness-----

Macarthur interrupts: of our consciousness-----

Deepak interrupts: yes, because we are aware of our awareness, there’s no other species-----

Macarthur interrupts: ya, but I -- right-----

Deepak interrupts:  that is conscious of its awareness-----

Macarthur interrupts:  You, you just can’t-----

Deepak interrupts: I don’t expect you to get it.

Macarthur interrupts:  No, I get it. You just can’t get away from the idea-----

Deepak interrupts:  Yeah, that the Bible is-----

Macarthur interrupts:  That we are-----

Deepak interrupts:  the whole-----

Macarthur interrupts: that we are------  

Deepak interrupts:  truth-----

Macarthur interrupts:  Now, wait a minute, that we are God in some universal sense and that there is no other god than us and in some collective consciousness, we are God.  And that’s where we find ourselves. 

             [Now the “truth” is revealed, ever so convolutedly.   Macarthur thinks he and I and consciousness and every creature, lower animals included, apes especially, with consciousness, are gods.  We gods do seem to be a contentious lot.  But if we are gods, why do we need God with a capital G?]

Deepak interrupts:  If you have some image of God, God being infinite cannot----

Macarthur interrupts:  You’ve said so in your book.  

           [The discussion becomes partly garbled.]

Deepak interrupts:  Of course I’ve said that in my book.  But you have misinterpreted it.

King:  Maybe the only thing we know, Congressman Shays, is that we don’t know.

Shays, laughing in frustration, well -- as I’m listening to the dialogue, I’m praying for inspiration.  You know, the bottom line is, I think our founding fathers got it right.  We -- each -- has to sort this out on our own.  And we don’t want the government starting to impose what should be taught, or not taught particularly in the Federal level.

Unknown voice:  Absolutely

Macarthur:  I would just like to encourage the congressman because at the very beginning, he said that he believes in the Genesis account and I think----

Shays interjects:  First chapter.

Macarthur continues:  First chapter -- sure -- uh -- stick with the first chapter -- six days of creation, God -----

Shays interjects:  created.

Macarthur continues: That’s what the Scripture says.

Shays: and made everything perfect.

Macarthur with the discussion heating up:  That’s right.  And then The Fall -- you’ve got to get to chapter three sooner or later.

Shays.  Well, I don’t want to get to chapter three.

Macarthur: Well – you haff to.

Shays:  Well -- that’s the problem, and that’s my point -- that’s my point!

Macarthur:  I want to know why he’s a congressman if he isn’t there to help reduce the affects of what happened in chapter three, which is the chapter of The Fall.

Shays: No -- but see -- this, Larry, this is the key point.  I believe in God deeply and already now, I’m being questioned.  And that’s the danger because the gentleman who just spoke has his religious view and questions mine.  You are going to raise such a hugh challenge if we start getting in this debate because it’s intolerant and I think that’s what this discussion is leading to.

Macarthur:  I -- I just need to defend myself.  I certainly didn’t intend -- I -- you said that you believe in Genesis.

Shays: in One.

Deepak interrupts: That’s why he’s a congressman.

Macarthur: and I just said you should stick with the conviction of Genesis One and you have the Creation account right there.

King:  Garbled by Richard’s interruption.

King: Yeah.

Richards:  Well -- you -- know, we’re having a sort of deep theological philosophical dispute and I -- I certainly don’t think the kind of pursuit is appropriate for public school science classroom.  So I agree with Mr. Shays.  I do think that when you talk about the origin of the universe and the origin of life, there’s going to -- inevitably going to be philosophical implications.  And so, the best thing you can do is to teach the strongest evidence for and against the sort of leading ideas on these questions.  Certainly the leading idea in biology is Darwin’s theory of evolution.  So teach it fairly and honestly and openly, and then let teachers be free if they want to talk about Intelligent Design responsibly to do so.  But you can do that without getting into these sort of rarified theological disputes. 

             [Darwin did not deal with the emergence of life but, rather, the evolution of life AFTER it appeared in the universe.
             The physical origin of the universe and life is a scientific problem.  The Intelligent-Design origin of the universe and life is a philosophico-theistic issue.  If Richards is recommending that philosophy should be taught in the public schools, I’m 100 per cent in agreement with him providing it is done on a level of language the students can understand, especially including the study of the uses and abuses of language. This, of course, would require what I’ve advocated for over 50 years, i.e., the certification of philosophers for teaching on the pre-college level.  However, The Supreme Court, then, would have to judge whether discussing anything theological in the public Schools would be constitutional.  But consider this, it is one thing to PROSELYTIZE theological concepts and another to EXAMINE theological language.  Let us not forget that it is a responsibility of ever teacher to address the issue of language being abused -- whatever kind of language it is.]

King: garbled by Barbara’s interruption.

Barbara:  Actually you can’t.  Intelligent design is a religious idea.  You inevitably wind up talking about religion, as we are now.

            [It is unfortunate that our abuse of language fails to distinguish between “religion” and “theistic religion” and even what the term 'religion' "means." ]

Macarthur:  you inevitably wind up talking about who is the Intelligence.  Obviously, you’re going to get there [?] but I agree with the fact that that’s not what science does because science can only observe what happens, what’s repeatable, what’s observable; and creation and origin is outside of that.  It does lead you there but science doesn’t offer the answer.

            [Nor does Intelligent Design or any other hypostatized entity.  An origin is a beginning and, I repeat, as Aristotle cautioned, to speak of beginnings and endings is unintelligible -- there is only process.  Macarthur, without realizing it, has just admitted that “God” is beyond being able to be verified.

Science does considerably more than “only observe what’s repeatable.”  As to whether science leads you to “creation and origin,” that depends on your use (or abuse) of the terms.  It is the abuse of those terms that “creates” believers in unverifiable gods and proponents of Intelligent Design.  A simple examination of how we abuse language will show that no one believes in A god.  Throughout the history of man, beginning with cavemen, for Macarthur, Adam and Eve, through the polytheistic age to some extent still with us, ALL believers have believed and believe in their many different CONCEPTS of various gods.  Surely it requires very little intelligence to distinguish between a god and a CONCEPT of a god if one is willing to exert the mental effort.]


It is outrageous that the proponents of Intelligent Design first, distance themselves from Creationism and second, insist that Intelligent Design is a scientific inquiry into, as they describe it, the fact that Evolution has not explained all the issues of the advent of life and the universe.  No science has.  But science certainly has given us some understanding of how the world works while theistic religion has only one answer:  "God made it out of nothing."

Clearly to maintain such a position blazingly exposes their ignorance of the nature and methods of science, and the vacuity of their theistic claims from a linguistic point of view.  Such "thinkers" are blind to important facts of biology acquired over the centuries and to open-ended investigative and self-corrective characteristics of all branches of science.  When they make appeals to the authority of other scientists, who believe, as they do, in an unverifiable and unknowable God, Creationism, and/or Intelligent Design, they do not realize that such scientists, though they may be quite expert in performing the experiments, the  technologies, and manipulating the language of science, lack a fundamental understanding, if I may resort to metaphor, of the "soul" of science.  They are akin to MDs who know what medicines to prescribe but credit their gods for curing their patients.  

They are the monkeys on the backs of the scientists and philosophers who have long been, and still are, concerned with these ancient questions only now being “re-discovered,” i.e., filling new bottles with old wine, by proponents of Intelligent Design.  I can only conclude, if I may repeat myself, that these Johnny-come-lately “thinkers” have resurrected, in phoenix fashion, the Trojan Horse of history in order to undermine the methods and integrity of science in the pursuit of truth and knowledge for, implied in their tactics is the thesis that science cannot be trusted in such a pursuit.

Astounding beyond comprehension, however, is their use of the term, 'Intelligent' in describing the entity that they claim created the universe.  It is an insult to our meager intelligence that such a nomenclature would be attributed to "Him," ("Her,"? "It"?).  Surely, some one of our species could have counseled "Him" in regard to his incompetence considering the convulsive nature of the universe and the monstrous legacy of suffering and evil "He" foisted upon us.

Long before Darwin, his contemporary, Alfred Russell Wallace, their predecessors, including J. B. Lamarck, and their opponents wrote of their differences as to how living species evolved, the concept, if not the term, was born at least a half century BC.  Even as the Greeks were creating their gods in the image of man, there were thinkers pondering not only the evolution of species but especially Emergent Evolution, an issue to which proponents of Intelligent Design give little attention or even recognition, that investigates both the appearance of life and the evolution of all things out of which life does or does not emerge.  The following philosophers were among the first to ponder the problem:  For Thales (circ 600 BC), it was water; Anaximenes (circ 550 BC), it was Breath; Anaximander (550-500 BC), it was an indefinite something; Heraclitus (circ 500 BC), fire; Democritus ( born 460 BC, atoms. 

  As the centuries accumulated new terms emerged, some naming what can be verified, others what cannot.  And near the end of nearly twenty-five hundred years of philosophical and scientific thought and research, on the issue of evolution, we can now add “Intelligent Design” to the long list of terms that name unverifiable sources and causes for the existence of the universe, its morphing content and events: ‘vitalism,’ ‘spirituality,’ ‘elan vital,’ ‘animism,’ ‘teleology,’ ‘agency,’ ‘Directive Power,’ ‘psychic attribute of matter,’ ‘purpose,’ ‘Creationism,’ ‘creator,’ ’consciousness,’ and of course ‘God,’ ‘gods,’ ‘spirits,’ ‘demons,’ and too many more to cite here.

One would think that for all the opportunities for schooling and education available, in the year 2005, we would no longer be subjected to the nonsense imposed upon us by theological institutions and those who refuse to study the subject matter that would disabuse them of such centuries-old ignorance.

It would be easy to place the blame on our schooling institutions, our teachers, the authorities in charge of them, our political leaders, and parents.  In truth the blame lies with those who, understanding the problems, enabling our students and citizens to graduate from our institutions well schooled, have little inclination to become involved in changing the status quo to guarantee that everyone be well educated.  But, even that is understandable because those with the power to bring about change in our schooling systems turn a deaf ear to us whistle blowers.

  For more years than I care to count, I, and great thinkers in the past, to whom I owe a debt beyond description, have tried to apprise “educators” of the problem.  Our voices in the wilderness do not have the power of political influence, money, or the attention of the media given to the entertainment industry.  Perhaps one day our citizenry will wake up to the conclusion so many of us have reached decades ago.  Even though our SCHOOLING system may be top notch, worthy of an occasional A, it receives my grade of  D- for EDUCATION.

 I shall repeat:  

                            Until our teachers are required to emphasize
 the sources and methods
                                                used to instill our beliefs, 

                            Until our teachers are required to emphasize
 the difference between verifiable
                                        and unverifiable language, 

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that no symbol has an inherent meaning,
                                        that words do not HAVE meanings
                                      until we give them the meanings that,
                                     generally, we were told to give to them, 

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that all meaning is in a physical brain
not in symbols, not in words,
                                             not in black marks on paper,
or sounds from people's mouths,

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that knowledge is experience
                                          but experience is not knowledge,
                                                nor is it physical reality,

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that truth and knowledge
                                                     are only probable
                            and dependent on language and available evidence,   

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that though much is possible,
                                                                it is
                                  not the case that ANYTHING  is possible,

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that every declarative sentence
                                           is preceded by an unspoken IF,

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that every claim to truth and knowledge
                                                 is preceded or ended
                                    with an unspoken (sometimes spoken)
                             ACCORDING TO AVAILABLE EVIDENCE, 

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that recognizing the “level” of language
                                                         being used
                                          is crucial to understanding
                                 the meanings we attribute to language,

                            until our teachers are required to emphasize
that education should never
                                                            be equated
                  with schooling, proselytizing, indoctrination, and rote learning

                              until our teachers are required to emphasize 
the extent of our abusing language,
                                              and will spend considerable time
                                                     explaining how we do,

   we shall, despite all the progress of mankind, be subjected to more of the horrific man-made problems, we are so efficient at creating, and to the centuries-old unverifiable theistic epistemic nonsense that has diluted our thinking processes from the dawn of man, and will continue to do so far into the unforeseeable future.


In Newsday's Parade, October 30, 2005, Lyric Wallwork Winik, writes, " McCain quoted Darwin to us -- about the richness and diversity of life on Earth -- then said: 'I don't see why that magnificence excludes religious faith from its interpretation.'  Similarly, he said, those who want 'to protect the theory of evolution' need not deny a religious person's 'perception [read conviction] of divine purpose.'  The two sides can find common ground, he concluded, by 'letting the facts of evolution speak for themselves and letting the faithful see [read imagine] [my italics], the hand of God in nature.'"    

The unintentional abuse and poetic use of language here, on the part of Senator McCain, is quite evident to those who study the uses and abuses of language.  On the one hand, the theory of evolution, being much more than mere perception, is predicated upon diligent study, scientific knowledge, and an arduous and lengthy history of  research of facts.  Faith in intelligent design, based on "perception," i.e., "'see' the hand of God," on the other hand, is predicated upon sheer blind belief, lack of evidence or possibility of evidence, and a need to believe that was instilled with a religious, theistic, social, and schooling form of Pavlovian conditioning from the day of berth.  McCain's comment utilizes a misuse of the term, 'perception' and abuses the terms, 'common ground' and 'see' implying a common ground that does not and cannot exist. 

  Addenda: 11-27-05

(New Twist To Old Debate)

It is unfortunate that those who discuss issues like “IntelligentDesign” skirt around them as if they are skating on thin ice.  It’s as if in fear of examining the fundamental issues that clearly expose the abuses of language, that cause the uninformed to accept absurd ideas as fact, they would bring a theistic anathema raining down upon their heads.

If an end to the discussion of “Intelligent Design” is ever to be arrived at, it will first require recognition that “Intelligent Design” is NOT a theory.  It is an unverifiable and unfalsifiable BELIEF.  Consequently, nothing can knowingly be said about it.  That is to say that anything said about it is epistemic gibberish, as is also the case in references to an incorporeal unknowable god.  Of course, to such a claim, some believers in Intelligent Design will respond, “But we are not claiming the intelligent designer is God.  Our claim is specifically that the universe is so complex there MUST BE an intelligent designer of some sort, perhaps even an extra-terrestrial alien.”

It does not occur to these proponents that to deny that their Intelligent Designer might be other than the biblical god of Creationism, places them in an even more tenuous position than if they’d stuck by their god.  Are they so fickle and lacking in loyalty that they are willing to discard their god for an unknowable intelligence?  Moreover, how are they to explain the habitat of this new creator of complexity?  Did he create the universe or only its complexity?   If the latter, what is the origin of the non-complex universe?  And, what is the origin of the Designer?  All of the weaknesses of argument for the presence of the biblical god apply equally to their Intelligent Designer.   A “Must Be” argument has no more persuasive power than does a “He Always Existed” argument that is based upon a total lack of reference to evidence in the observable, verifiable sense of the term..

That any intelligent person presumed to have been educated, would make such claims, is astonishing beyond belief.  The existence of a universe full of complexity verifies ONLY that the universe is complex.  By no stretch of cognition is it evidence that some intelligent agent made it in a complex state rather than leave it simple.  It requires only a little education to learn that ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ are relative terms.  Not to understand that, shows one’s ignorance of our “complex” uses (read: uses and abuses) of language.

The theory of evolution is founded on sound verifiable and falsifiable evidence.  Moreover, as is the case in all the hard sciences, if one were cognizant of their methods, one would know that evidence is open ended and that new evidence can possibly show formally discovered facts to be in error.  That there are unanswered issues in the theory of evolution attests to the fact that it is a credible science subject to self-correction upon the presentation of new evidence.  The belief in a “must be” intelligent designer does not and cannot subject itself to either evidence or self-correction.  It is an unverifiable and unfalsifiable mishmash of beliefs.  It has always been understood in the history of ideas that science begins with ideas.  It is the role of science to discover the facts that best support those ideas.  

The advocates of Intelligent Design seem only now to be discovering that fact.  It is disingenuous of them to ignore this in every case as if it applies only to the theory of evolution.  It is obvious that they are determined to undermine the one aspect of science that most threatens their unfalsifiable beliefs despite the fact that the basic methods of acquiring knowledge related to all the “sticks and stones” sciences are also threatening their unfounded beliefs.

 The reason for such epistemic-nonsense discussions, like this one, lies at the seat of government and our schooling institutions for failing to place emphasis on such uses and abuses of language under the guise of an abrogation of the principle of Separation of Church and State.  We do not hesitate to question many kinds of false beliefs.  But religious and theistic “authorities” have succeeded in conditioning us to believe that religious and theistic beliefs are sacrosanct.  Consequently, every culture has been contaminated with the concept that the language of religious and theistic beliefs must be forbidden to be discussed openly and objectively in the public schools.  In other words, the educative pursuit of truth and knowledge in such matters must be avoided at all cost because the political advocates of such a unique concept of education would be voted out of office by the unenlightened.

As John Cunningham, in the Newsday article, “New Twist To Old Debate,” 11-27-05 advises, “What you’re supposed to do is to attack theories all the time. . . .  If you believe any of your theories, you’ve turned science into a religion,” and “One of the worse things to say to a curious intellect is to say their [sic] belief is wrong.”  Cunningham should have gone on to say that scientists’ beliefs, in matters of science, are probabilistic, subject to evidence, not absolute as are the beliefs of the advocates of Intelligent Design.  

If Cunningham is referring to the cautious use of language, he has a point.  However, if he is to meet his responsibility to show the student his belief is wrong with a gentle and objective use of words, for instance, “Evidence does not support that belief.”  In not doing so, he is neglecting his responsibility to teach the student the importance of seeking evidence in support of beliefs.  Moreover, as in the case of the belief in Intelligent Design, when he refers to it as a theory, he is failing to teach the student the difference between theory, which always involves a supportable complex body of evidence and a belief, i.e., a claim, totally devoid of any POSSIBLE evidence.  He should be teaching his student the difference between open-mindedness as opposed to closed-mindedness to evidence.   Moreover, it is his responsibility, also, to teach the student that acceptance of ideas, i.e., beliefs, founded on the total lack of possibility for evidence is, in fact, gullibility.  Extreme fear of being impolitic, however truthful, about unfoundable ideas undermines the educative process.  

The principle of “Separation of Church and State” is so broadly interpreted that it forbids an examination of language that is deemed to be conflated with “religious beliefs.”  No one is forbidden to examine metaphoric language conflated with “reality” as used in mathematics, science, poetry, art in general, etc., so long as it is not religious or theistic. 

Perhaps scientists should reconsider their position in which they teach only what science is and give the students, a strong intimation of what science is not, as, in my opinion, they have a responsibility to do.  If they would, students would enter the world of hard knocks far more educated, in the true sense of that term, than they have in the history of schooling.  I suspect, then, the advocates of Intelligent Design would create an aggressive uproar and insist that science revert to its present method of teaching.



© 1997 by Pasqual S. Schievella