This Month in Intelligent Design – June 2011

Intelligent design news and discussion for the month of June, 2011.

I thought it would be best to wait until a month had passed to start doing TWiID again, mainly because:

  1. I think whole anthropochronological divisions are beautiful, in a rather frivolous way, and
  2. Not many overtly, over-the-top exciting ID things happened in June that warranted immediate attention by my loosely serious writings.

As such, this will be a slight departure from the usual TWiID style you might be used to. Instead of going into detail on only three or four pieces put out by the intelligent design movement, I’ll briefly to semi-briefly touch on a large number of them: in essence, all the vaguely interesting ones. But don’t worry, the regular weekly schedule will be back from next week.

So, on with the show!

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These Weeks in Intelligent Design – 18/05/11

Intelligent design news from the 28th of April to the 18th of May, 2011.

Finally! It’s back again, your fix of ID news and discussion. To make up for my three-week-long absence, this post will cover five of the top ID blog posts from the past three weeks. Lucky for me then that it hasn’t been an especially busy time for the ID community during my break – otherwise I’d have a much bigger job on my hands.

Anyway, enough grovelling, let’s get into it.

Today’s posts are about Osama bin Laden and junk DNA, Oxford University and evolutionary mathematics, dissent in the evolutionary ranks, enzyme evolution, and, of course, junk DNA.

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This Week in Intelligent Design – 05/04/11

Intelligent design news from the 30th of March to the 5th of April, 2011.

Sometimes, keeping up with the intelligent design movement can feel like a full-time job. Other times… not so much. While some of the output by the Discovery Institute and its related organisations is somewhat novel, most of it is simply rehashed ideas from a limited pool. This week was a fairly good example of the latter. We had copy-and-paste arguments for the positive nature of the design argument, as well as an unsurprising plug for a blatantly religious debate, not to mention many, many posts on Uncommon Descent about- well, I don’t really know. The words just tend to blend together after a while, forming a soup of pseudo-philosophy and rhetoric.

The only really “novel” thing this week was something to do with April Fool’s Day… and it wasn’t novel in a good way.

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Jack Scanlan’s position on theism: [UNKNOWN; SEARCH NOT NECESSARY]

Screw The Guardian, I’ve really made it as a blogger now: David Klinghoffer mentioned me (twice!) in a recent post on Evolution News & Views, the Discovery Institute’s main blog, on the supposed link between ID and agnosticism. Of course, I’m pleased (in a masochistic-ish kind of way), because this is something I’ve been working towards for a few years now, but I can’t help but feel a little let down by the context in which I was mentioned.

You see, David took my Panda’s Thumb-crossposted article on my thoughts about the possibility that intelligent design isn’t based upon theism but dualism and twisted my words a little:

At Panda’s Thumb, Jack Scanlan stirred up a huge number of comments for the site with the revelation that ID seems to imply not theism but dualism, the notion that there’s a separate realm of the mind and of ideas that may interact with the physical world and influence or direct it but is not reducible to material terms.

Unfortunately for David, the thesis of the post was that ID assumes dualism, not that it implies it. I thought this was fairly clear – after all, the title of the piece was “Does intelligent design have a dualistic assumption, not a theistic one?”, can it get much clearer? – but, well, apparently not. To restate my main point, which David apparently missed, ID proponents seem to use language that assumes that any product of a mind (“information”) is the product of a non-physical cause and hence is not materialistic. This would mean that even my alien civilisation “sci-ID” hypothesis would be non-materialistic, as the aliens have minds, which must be non-physical under dualism.

I don’t support dualism – I’m not a dualist. And this brings me squarely to my second mention in the EN&V article:

Intelligent design offers the hope, by the refutation of materialist science, that “something is out there,” whatever it might be, capable of granting genuine purpose to our existence. An agnostic like James Kirk Wall or a — I don’t know what exactly — like Jack Scanlan should easily appreciate this. [Emphasis mine]

Come on. My PT post has four links to this blog, where, on the About page, I clearly state that I am a “a philosophical naturalist, agnostic atheist and scientific skeptic”. Am I that insignificant a person that I don’t even warrant a quick check? A quick Google search? The first six hits on “Jack Scanlan” are all me, most of which link to this blog or my Twitter account, which states that I am an atheist right at the top…

Oh well. I guess I’m a nobody blogger who David only mentioned because I seem to, somehow, support his position that ID implies dualism. Maybe I’ll get a more intellectually rigorous mention next time.

This Week in Intelligent Design – 22/03/11

Intelligent design news from the 16th of March to the 22nd of March, 2011.

So, another week of intelligent design! The Discovery Institute was fairly quiet this week, with only five posts published on Evolution News & Views, a below average result, but quite a bit of it was pure gold. Well, for me, anyway. The fact that I do this every week means that I must be getting some entertainment out of it, right? I hope so – I don’t see myself as the masochistic type…

But anyway, this week’s three posts are on ID research (and rhetoric), revisiting the concept of biological “mistakes” as evidence against ID, and ID proponents in academia and the “Dissent from Darwin” list. Let’s get into it!

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This Week in Intelligent Design – 15/02/11

Intelligent design news from the 9th of February to the 15th of February, 2011.

Last week’s TWiID was conspicuously absent, as you might have noticed. But don’t worry, you didn’t really miss much – the Discovery Institute and its affiliated blogs seem to be on a post-holidays slowdown, probably because their real jobs are catching up with them. Hang on, do ID proponents even have real jobs, or do their jobs consist of being part of the ID movement? If the latter, how much does it pay? If I were a man with little to no morals, I’d be handing in my CV – I suspect it would be rather easy to fake your way into their ranks and make easy money pretending to think ID is valid and evolution is not.

But enough about my harebrained, get-rich-exploiting-a-wealthy-anti-science-movement schemes. What happened this week in the intelligent design movement?

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This Week in Intelligent Design – 01/02/11

Intelligent design news from the 26th of January to the 1st of February, 2011.

Well, I got Part 1 of my 2010 wrap up done, but it’s time to stop looking in the (relatively) distant past and focus on what just happened. Come on, no time for idle chatter, even if it is one-way! There’s work to be done.

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This Week in Intelligent Design – 11/01/11

Intelligent design news from the 5th of January to the 11th of January, 2011.

Yes, I know, I haven’t posted the 2010 annual review of the intelligent design movement yet. But it’s taking much longer than I fully appreciated – I have to search back through all the Discovery Institute’s blog posts and pick out only the notable ones, then filter them by category and month, then write funny and serious things about them… It’s a nightmare. But I’ll get through it.

Anyway, onto what really matters at the present time – the last week in the intelligent design movement.

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This Week in Intelligent Design – 21/12/10 (5th anniversary of Kitzmiller vs. Dover edition)

Intelligent design news from the 15th of December to the 21st of December, 2010.

It’s the 5th anniversary of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover decision this week, a seminal court case that provided legal precedent to rule the teaching of intelligent design unconstitutional in the United States. The York Dispatch has written a retrospective piece, including interviews with some of the key voices in the trial – I recommend you check it out.

But what about the ID proponents? Surely they’re feeling bitter, reminiscing over their defeat with a mixture of anger and… anger? Or what about…

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This Week in Intelligent Design – 14/12/10

Intelligent design news from the 8th of December to the 14th of December, 2010.

As per usual, the intelligent design movement hasn’t been churning out articles of particularly good quality lately – hence my laziness with last week’s (nonexistent) post. Trust me, you didn’t miss anything important. But then again, is the aim of this segment really to highlight important information that all skeptics and science-lovers should know, or is it merely entertainment? That’s a question for you philosophers to work out. As for the rest of us, why don’t we get started?

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