Category Archives: Science And Society

The Non-Science Of “Intelligent Design”

Need I say more?

The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.

“They never came in,” said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.

“From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don’t come out very well in our world of scientific review,” he said.

The article also claims that even evangelical colleges are getting disillusioned.

[Via (admitted conservative) John Derbyshire]

Blogger John Farrell has a suggestion for Dr. Behe.

[Monday morning update]

More thoughts on the sterility of Intelligent Design as science:

If we continue with Behe

In Defense Of Science

As usual (on this subject, that is), I agree with John Derbyshire:

Malraux (I think it was) said that there are two reasons to be a socialist: You may love the poor, or you may hate the rich. There are similarly two reasons to get worked up about I.D.: You may love science, or you may hate religion.

My entire and sole motivation in writing against I.D. has been love of, and reverence for, science, and indignation that people should claim a place for their theory at science’s table when they have done no science whatsoever to back it up, and plainly have no intention of doing any, and when their fundamental premises are not merely unscientific, but willfully anti-scientific.

A Conceptual Breakthrough?

Alzheimer’s may be a third form of diabetes.

“Insulin disappears early and dramatically in Alzheimer’s disease. And many of the unexplained features of Alzheimer’s, such as cell death and tangles in the brain, appear to be linked to abnormalities in insulin signaling. This demonstrates that the disease is most likely a neuroendocrine disorder, or another type of diabetes,” says researcher Suzanne M. de la Monte, professor of pathology at Brown Medical School, in a news release.

If so, that might provide some clues to treating it.


I’m watching (in the background) The Wizard of Oz. I just noticed that when the wizard hands out the diploma to the scarecrow to give him a brain, the scarecrow says (apparently as evidence of his newfound knowledge) that “…the sum of the squares of the sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square of the other one.”

The problem being, of course, that it’s not true, at least not in Euclidean geometry. Pythagoras’ Theorem applies to right triangles, not isosceles triangles (triangles with two equal sides).

But then, perhaps the movie was making a subtle statement that having a diploma and spouting intelligent-sounding nonsense is all that constitutes smarts…

Math Is Hard

And not just for Barbie. This article says that math problems are getting too big for our brains.

Well, that’s one of the thing that transhumanism is for. This part bothers me, though:

Math has been the only sure form of knowledge since the ancient Greeks, 2,500 years ago.

You can’t prove the sun will rise tomorrow, but you can prove two plus two equals four, always and everywhere.

This begs the definition of the words “knowledge” and “prove.” Two plus two can be proven, I suppose (inductively from one plus one equals two), but only within the confines of the mathematics that you’re using. It’s not “sure” or “knowledge” in any absolute sense.

What they really mean is that some of the tougher mathematical problems are not amenable to classic deductive analytical proofs, but are more reliant on brute-force computations, possible now because we have machines that can perform them in a useful amount of time.