Jul 022006

Rabia’s Account

Hannah’s Account

We went over the first six chapters of Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker tonight; most of us, irrespective of our views on the evolution/design question, came to the conclusion he presented very little in the way of real arguments. The entire book reads more like a rhetorical exercise than any cogent justification of the assertions that are very freely made.

we might not be able expect much in the way of interesting arguments from Dawkins


  9 Responses to “Ivy League Students Diss Dawkins”

  1. Sal, you were personally involved with IDEA, so you know what the environment is like. It seems that some of these students are in the IDEA club. This does appear to be a respectful course on the ID/Evo controversy. I commend Cornell for putting this course together compared to Mirecki’s Trojan Darwinian course, especially after Pres. Rawlings’s attack on ID. I am impressed with these student’s cogent arguments against Dawkins farce selection. I just hope their academic careers will not be adversely affected as a result of their criticism of Darwinian orthodoxy. (a la Prof. Myers and Prof. Provine)

  2. I do hope no careers are affected. Hannah is a triple major in Chem, Physics, Math…not biology, so she is mostly safe.
    I don’t know about Rabia. I’m not worried about professor Provine (unlike Myers), Provine seems to place a high value on fairness and freedom to disagree.


    FYI: In my browser, the side bar on the right is blocking my view of my comments as I type them in. I’m using internet explorer.
    I point this out since I don’t want something like this to discourage visits to our humble weblog.

  3. Prof. Provine invited Hannah Maxson (founder and president of the Cornell IDEA Club) to make a full-class-hour presentation in his evolution course last fall, and has treated her and Rabia with the utmost civility and respect in our summer seminar course on evolution and design at Cornell (for which I am the professor and he is an honored guest). In the past, Prof. Provine has invited Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, John Stanford, and several other creationists and ID theorists to make presentations in his evolution course, and has debated Phillip Johnson on many occasions. I cannot speak for PZ Myers, but Will Provine is the most considerate, gentlemanly, and honest person I know, and I’m proud to be associated with him.

  4. Hi Dr. MacNeill,

    Thank you for your testimony of Prof. Provine’s character. I apologize for my ignorant presumption of how Prof. Provine might act. I am glad to hear Prof. Provine is such a fair minded gentleman. It is a rare commodity on both side of the ID-Evo debate. We cannot expect our opponents to agree with the strength of our arguments, but allowing both sides to be heard is the best that we can expect. Again I apologize for suggesting that Prof. Provine might use his position at Cornell to retaliate against ID proponents. I will not make that mistake again.

  5. Hi Sal, I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog down here in Atlanta Georgia and just wanted to know what you make of this.

    From Hannah’s post:

    “And though we might not be able expect much in the way of interesting arguments from Dawkins, Prof. Provine has promised us a sound defense of evolutionary theory.”

    What do you make of this promissory note from Provine? I’ve been reading and haven’t heard a knockout proof of darwinism yet. But what do I know? I’m not a biologist.

  6. Thank you for the kind words and welcome!!!!

    How in the world did you find our weblog? It’s amazing!

    I am a creationist (I can say that on this weblog), but at this time creationists do not have an air tight case against common ancestry. This weblog (pro-ID creationists) is something of a counter part to TelicThoughts (pro-ID “evolutionists”).

    I think Professor Provine can make a very good argument for common ancestry. Many IDers (like Behe, Dembski, Davison, Denton, etc.) accept common ancestry. I do not (and neither does Paul Nelson nor Jonathan Wells).

    IDers are generally divided between 3 views:

    1. special creation

    2. evolution that was pre-programmed by an intelligence into the first living creatures, and then unfolded over time.

    3. ID is indicated in the creation of the universe but not life

    The problem is people have different meanings for the word evolution. If by evolution, one means common ancestry, then there are lots of pro-ID evolutionists. If by evolution, one means common ancestry and Natural Selection as the main mechanism, then most IDers are not evolutionists.

    To disprove common ancestry is a very deep, deep topic and would span many pages of information. However, I think the professor who could make a good argument for ID and special creation would be Cornell geneticist John Sanford.

    I think Professor Provine will do well.


  7. Oh, by the way, I think Natural Selection will never be proven as the primary mechanism for creating complexity in life. There are alrady many non-ID biologists who privately dissent.


  8. When I was in high school learning about evolution, my biology teacher told us (this was in public school) that evolution was a load of **** and that she was required to teach it. I figured that the reason why such a silly theory was even mentioned was so that teachers could explain the origin of life in a way that was politically correct (ie: didn’t mention God or a New Age force or whatever). I didn’t think about it much at all and totally forgot about it until I was 19 or 20 years old. I am currently a student studying politics, although I am much more interested in procrastinating, skateboarding and making music. Every now and then I would pick up a magazine in a bookstore to kill time. I was shocked to read about how scientists were reducing human behavior into a mechanistic system with the sole goal of “promoting one’s own genes”. Love was being ridiculed (and reduced to just chemical flucuations within a three-pound hunk of meat) in the pages of national geographic and other magazines. From time to time I’d read about how “scientists discover that the soul does not exist”. This stuff troubled me because it was being printed in very reputable magazines and it totally contradicted everything my parents (one of whom is a doctor) have told me. It also flew in the face of all common sense. Anyways, after an arguement with a fellow student about evolution (RM+NS) being able to account for every life form we see today, I’d had enough. I began frantically reading tons of information on the subject (bits and pieces of weblogs, forums and large chunks of books). I reckon I found your website through “CreationEvolutionDesign” weblog by Steve Jones. I think that most people (Americans) don’t really care that much about this debate because they realize darwinism is a fantasy dreamed up by atheist scientists who want to be able to explain how we got here. Since these scientists cannot fathom a metaphysical influence of ANY kind, they peddle all this stuff. Anyways (let me just throw this last line in here), once liberals recognize that darwinism’s “might makes right” morality will actually favor and fuel the plight of totalitarian dictators as well as greedy upperclass businessman, then they will, to quote the rapper Snoop Dogg, “drop it (darwinism) like it’s hot”. Unfortunately for the Richard Dawkinses and Daniel Dennetts of the world, the majority of regualar, unbiased people will always gravitate towards something that makes sense (teleology) rather than nonsense (randomness). If random mutation were actually so clever, then why aren’t people mutating into X-Men? Why aren’t people developing bullet-proof skin? Why aren’t we evolving as a species period? Okay, let’s just add the magic father time to the mix….and pretty soon there will be human species that can fly and shoot lasers out of their eyes. I’m a skeptic when it comes to such things.

  9. oh and by the way – my biology teacher never mentioned random mutation (it was probably in the book, but not many students were that interested at the time, I think my classmates were too busy studying members of the opposite sex) as a creative force. This is probably why I was shocked to hear this being touted as a creative force. Anyways I must go – I think my arm is mutating due to a genetic error!

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