Thursday, November 15, 2007

PBS Embarrassment: The Kitzmiller Trial Was Not About Intelligent Design

Two lessons I learned from the PBS NOVA show "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design":

1. The people of Dover, Pennsylvania are good people.

2. The Kitzmiller trial was not about intelligent design.

Here is why:

Bill Buckingham does not understand intelligent design.

Brian Rehm does not understand intelligent design.

Tammy Kitzmiller does not understand intelligent design.

Lauri Lebo does not understand intelligent design.

The producers of NOVA do not understand intelligent design.

Ken Miller does not understand intelligent design.

Alan Bonsell does not understand intelligent design.

Judge John Jones really does not understand intelligent design.


The real significance of the case? Judge Jones's false beliefs about intelligent design are unconstitutional.

More comments to come . . .


At November 16, 2007 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ID = Religion.
Do you understand now?

At November 16, 2007 2:48 PM, Anonymous John said...



At November 16, 2007 4:02 PM, Anonymous Travis said...

I watched the PBS/NOVA episode. Everyone on the ID side have been screaming how biased it was. This is probably true. However, no one has taken a point by point critique on how its arguements against I.D. are flawed. For instance, Behe's arguement was tackled as well as a host of others. Can you take their arguements and address them point by point?

At November 16, 2007 5:14 PM, Anonymous Lawrence said...


LOL, indeed.

I don't know if the first comment was intended as serious, but it certainly proves my point.

At November 16, 2007 5:20 PM, Anonymous Lawrence said...


You can probably find a critique to the points made in various places. A point by point critique of an over the top one-sided TV show is not worth any one's time. I do not think it is the best means of debate.

PBS could have had many more ID positions presented if they would have allowed a recording of the interviews to insure accuracy. Why did they refuse to allow each side to record the interviews?

Go to Behe's Amazon blog if you want to see some reasoned debate on the science.

At November 16, 2007 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Lawrence. I'm not looking for a rigorous debate. Just something that gives a page for each major point that attacks I.D. The reason being is a lot of my friends are naturalistic evolutionalist and I would like to have a little content when the question, "Hey Travis did you see the NOVA special?" comes up.

At November 16, 2007 8:00 PM, Blogger Matteo said...

The fact that they continue to put up prejudiced smokescreens rather than addressing genuine ID arguments directly, in such a way as to display the faintest glimmering of understanding and knowledge of what they are arguing against, is a very telling sign. If they are still doing this at this late date when ID has been actively on the scene for more than a decade, having published more than a dozen excellent books spelling out the gist of the IDea in the interim since Johnson and Behe first published, then they simply do not have an effective counterargument. The ignorance and caricature still on display show that the Darwinist establishment has not advanced one iota since 1996 in its ability to argue against ID. As far as I can tell, having followed the debate in detail since '96, ID has won the argument. Darwinism runs on inertia alone, and it's all over but the shouting. Too bad it will take another generation for the dead hand of materialist orthodoxy to loosen its institutional grip.

But really, if this kind of junk is their strongest answer, they might as well just tattoo big 'L's on their foreheads and be done with it.

One thing I've noticed, especially in looking at book reviews and associated "discussions", is that IDists can afford to say, "Read Dawkins, Dennett, et al. Read the IDists. Make up your own mind as to who has the better argument," while in contrast the Darwinists heap bitter and venomous denunciation on any ID work, doing their utmost to dissuade anyone from reading it. It is patently obvious: the very last thing the Darwinists want someone to do is to read ID literature on its own merits.

The whole thing is ludicrous, and for the losers (by preemptive forfeiture) of the argument to continue to "pee on my back and tell me it's rain" just adds to the absurdity. Well, let 'em enjoy their institutional power and dishonest bullying tactics while they last. I'd far rather have the truth.

At November 16, 2007 8:36 PM, Blogger Forthekids said...

LOL...Great post Lawrence. I swear I was thinking the exact same thing while watching the flick.

At November 17, 2007 7:53 AM, Anonymous Travis said...

"prejudiced smokescreens rather than addressing genuine ID arguments"

Can I have some detail on this?

At November 17, 2007 12:31 PM, Blogger Matteo said...

If you want detail, I've already said how to find it:

"Read Dawkins, Dennett, et al. Read the IDists. Make up your own mind as to who has the better argument."

ID books I recommend are: Darwin On Trial by Johnson, both of Behe's books, Icons of Evolution by Wells, both of Denton's books, The Design Revolution by Dembski, God's Undertaker by Lennox, Evolution Under The Microscope by Swift, and many others. Read freely of any books, web posts, articles, etc, by the Darwinist side that you care to look at. Evaluate for yourself whether or not you are encountering "prejudiced smokescreens that don't really address genuine ID arguments".

It takes more effort than reading comment boxes, but I think it's worth it.

John Stuart Mill had some very good advice for evaluating arguments:

"He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side to which he feels most inclination. Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. This is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of, else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty. ... So essential is this discipline to a real understanding of moral and human subjects, that if opponents of all important truths do not exist, it is indispensable to imagine them and supply them with the strongest arguments which the most skillful devil's advocate can conjure up."

At November 17, 2007 1:10 PM, Anonymous Travis said...

Thanks for the response. So far I have read Behe's "Darwin's black box" and some of Demskie. I have read Dawkins, "Blind Watchmaker". Because of other interests and lack of free time I was wondering if someone could give a brief resonse on the scientific arguments presented in the NOVA episode. If anyone here as well has other interests and lack of free time I completely understand if no one fulfills my wishes.

At November 17, 2007 1:29 PM, Blogger rcochran said...

"...the very last thing the Darwinists want someone to do is to read ID literature on its own merits."


It terrifies them.

At November 17, 2007 2:28 PM, Anonymous Lawrence said...


As has been noted elsewhere, much of the evidence for evolution at trial and in the show missed the point. ID proponents are not "anti-evolution" as they are portrayed. They acknowledge that at least microevolution is proven to occur, and that there is some evidence for macroevolution. They only say that some aspects of the biological world are better explained by design than by known natural causes, like random mutation and natural selection.

Did anyone at the trial give a full, complete, plausible account of how the bacterial flagellum could have come about solely through random mutation and natural selection? I think not.

Which arguments in the show did you think undermined ID arguments?

The more important point is that these are the questions scientists should be asking, and it is only happening because ID proponents are asking them, and saying the answers are not obvious. For this, the scientific community ridicules them and wants to ban them from scientific discourse. Is this how science should operate?

At November 20, 2007 2:13 AM, Anonymous BobC said...

I'm not sure if my first try to post this worked, but if it did work you can delete this which is my 2nd try.

Hello Mr. Selden. Nice blog you got here. This is my first visit. Science is not my career but I have been studying evolution for several years now. It's a hobby of mine and I love evolution. The amount of evidence for it is unlimited and the amount of information about it is unlimited and rapidly growing, so I will be learning about it along with the biologists probably for the rest of my life.

Besides being interested in evolution, I'm also interested in why so many people deny it. I think part of the problem is there is a lot of misinformation being spread about it. There is big business in this country called "Lying for Jesus". The worst professional liars work for the Discovery Institute. As you probably know they promote the idea that evolution has holes that they want to fill by invoking what they call Intelligent Design (ID). Behe invented the term Irreducibly Complex which means if something is taken apart the parts are useless, therefore it's likely the thing was designed. Because admitting the designer is God would be the same as admitting ID is a religious belief, they refuse to identify the designer. In fact they usually refuse to even talk about the designer as if that had nothing to do with intelligent design. The problem is they are not fooling anyone. Even their supporters admit the designer is God. Everyone knows, even the discovery institute liars know, invoking Intelligent Design is the same as invoking the supernatural or God. Supernatural is just another word for magic. The Discovery Institute, even though they will never admit it, are invoking magic. That's not science, it's a religious belief, and anyone who denies it's religious is a liar.

I suggest if anyone likes the idea things were intelligently designed, they should at least be honest about it and call it a religious belief.

At the Dover trial everyone on both sides had the opportunity to talk about their evidence all they wanted to. The evidence presented for evolution was massive and the trial turned out to be an excellent biology class. There was also strong evidence presented that proved intelligent design was invented to disguise invoking God to look like science.

You said about the Dover judge "A big element in his decision was that intelligent design is essentially the same thing as creation science, and that proponents of the former are the same as proponents of the later, and are just pretending to be different. He repeatedly notes similarities, some of which are quite accurate. However, when it comes to differences, he quickly dismisses them with little analysis."

The similarities of ID and creationism were all the judge needed to make his decision. There can't be anything even close to religion in a public school, and of course it would defy all common sense if a real scientist invoked God (or designer or whatever you want to call it) to solve some problem. You see, invoking Intelligent Design is called "giving up". If a person invokes ID, he is saying he can't figure out the solution to some problem. He invokes ID only when he is ignorant of the solution. This is why Intelligent Design is often called the Philosophy of Ignorance, and science is called the Philosophy of Discovery.

If you ever have an hour to kill, please check out this video. Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks about the role of intelligent design in the history of science.

At November 20, 2007 10:13 AM, Anonymous Lawrence said...


You have all the standard Panda's Thumb falsehoods and half truths down pat.

Because admitting the designer is God would be the same as admitting ID is a religious belief, they refuse to identify the designer.

This is simply false, and it would be easy for you to learn the truth. You obviously don't care about the truth.

Behe, Johnson, Dembski all agreed on this: Science can detect design. Science cannot identify the designer. They freely admit whenever asked that they believe the designer is God, but not on the basis of science, and not on the basis of ID.

"They refuse to identify the designer" is simply false. This disregard for the truth is what is causing your side to lose all credibility. And you are hypocritical as well, when you accuse others of dishonesty.

Do you ignore evidence of design because some people believe the design comes from God? Do you deny its existence? Do you ban discussion of such evidence?

If you do, that is simply bad science. Good science tries to account for all the evidence.

At November 20, 2007 1:10 PM, Anonymous BobC said...

They admit, when asked, they believe the designer is God. In other words, when they invoke intelligent design, they believe they are invoking God. Then they claim ID is not religious. I said they are liars and I stand by my statement. Their claim ID has nothing to do with any religious belief, even though they admit they believe the designer is god, is not the only thing they lie about. They claim there's holes in evolution, they claim random mutations, natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, and other natural explanations of evolution are not good enough to explain the diversity of life and that's lying.

"Do you ignore evidence of design because some people believe the design comes from God? Do you deny its existence? Do you ban discussion of such evidence?"

You can discuss anything you want. It's a free country. But when you invoke a designer it's not science. I don't think you will ever admit it, but claiming something has evidence of design is equal to saying it was magically created. Please don't be insulted, but magic is not science, magic is childish stupidity. Invoking a designer is the same as invoking magic, and that's something the disco liars will never admit.

How can there be evidence of design? If something looks designed that's not evidence for anything. Every single time Behe claimed something is Irreducibly Complex, he has been proven wrong. The trial had massive evidence against his Irreducibly Complex garbage. Behe knows about all this evidence against his claims, but he keeps repeating the same lies anyway.

I have had some contact with people in the Discovery Institute and I found out not only are they liars, they are also thugs. They make good money off their gullible supporters and they will do anything to keep the easy money coming in. For them this is a business, and it's an extremely dishonest business.

"Do you ignore evidence of design because some people believe the design comes from God?"

Are you implying some people don't believe the design comes from God? If you are, somebody is being dishonest.

The disco thugs claim who the designer is doesn't matter. How convenient for them. They don't have to talk about the designer. That would be like a biologist who claims he doesn't have to talk about natural selection. That's who the real designer is, natural selection.

"Do you deny its existence?"

Some people claim there's an invisible man who lives in the sky. They might call it something else, but whatever they call it, I don't believe in it. In fact in my opinion this idea there is something somewhere magically creating things, either now or in the past or both, is childish stupidity and it's pure insanity. The god belief has been good for nothing but violence, genocide, and massive ignorance about science. People use god as an excuse to not think. For example, the ID thugs use God as an excuse to not figure out how something evolved. That's lazy and it's boring.

"If you do, that is simply bad science. Good science tries to account for all the evidence."

Here you claim not considering the idea god magically created things is bad science. I'm sorry to tell you, but you don't even know what science is. I suggest you find time to watch the video I recommended. It's obvious you would benefit from watching it. Also, you would benefit from visiting the PBS website and watching their TV show about the trial again, this time with an open mind, and willing to learn something.

I'm sorry if you think I sound rude. That's just the way I am. I believe in speaking honestly, and I don't avoid saying things that must be said, just to avoid offending anyone.

"You have all the standard Panda's Thumb falsehoods and half truths down pat."

I rarely visit Panda's Thumb because I think they are boring. There's too many theists there. One of my favorite places I go to educate myself about evolution, besides the books I read, are the many dozens of blogs written by scientists, real scientists, not like the fake disco scientists, at

Speaking of books, I am currently reading a book by a biologist and professor of genetics called "The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution" by Sean B. Carroll. I highly recommend it, and if you never read the book, I suggest you should at least look at the very educational readers' comments on

Just one more thing. Many or most people are more likely to trust people who they already agree with. I found out the hard way this is often a terrible mistake. I am warning you that you are the victim of liars. If you don't want to believe me, you are risking wasting your life. The good news is you don't have to believe me. All you have to do is study the evidence for evolution. If you do the hard work of understanding it, you will figure out on your own there is no need to invoke magic to explain anything. You will figure out on your own, the people who claim there's evidence for design are liars, they're lazy, they don't know what they're talking about, and they are boring. You will find out real science is thousands of times more interesting than the boring "the designer did it".

At November 20, 2007 4:51 PM, Anonymous Lawrence said...


Sorry you can't see the clear distinctions, but it seems that you don't want to. Your statement was patently false, and you refuse to admit it.

I am curious to see your answers to my
plausibility survey
. Would you mind taking it? Thanks.

At February 03, 2008 1:52 PM, Blogger Michael said...

REAL SCIENCE works like this:
1. Make observations without any preconceptions (for example, grass does not grow in deserts)
2. THEN come up with a testable hypothesis (grass needs water to survive)
3. Test the hypothesis, examine all opposing evidence (grow some grass then deprive it of water, try to grow some using other liquids)
4. IF the overwhelming weight of evidence supports the hypotesis, it THEN gets the status of a THEORY (grass needs water to survive and grow).

Science works NO OTHER WAY. It has no agenda. It searches for an unbiased way to explain why things are the way they are.


Unfortunately Intelligent Design is NOT science and has no business being introduced as science, because it does not follow the above scheme. If you are looking to REDEFINE the way science is conducted, well good luck.

ID starts with a belief then goes to find proof of it. Poking holes in evolution or pointing out the miniscule few examples in the theory of evolution (when compared to the overwhelming supportive evidence) where the theory does not seem to fit, IS NOT EVIDENCE THAT ID IS VIABLE OR THAT EVOLUTION IS NOT.


At February 06, 2008 5:15 PM, Anonymous Lawrence said...


Looks like you do not understand ID either. Maybe you should read something written by one of its proponents.



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