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Re: [M & B] Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Testability by Kyle Butt, M.A.!

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  • Charles Weston
    At least two straw men or whatever from the Harrubites at AP: 1. Evolution does not deal primarily with the origin of life. 2. The SETI project searches for
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 15, 2010
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      At least two straw men or whatever from the Harrubites at AP:

      1. Evolution does not deal primarily with the origin of life.

      2. The SETI project searches for intelligence in this universe.

      Charles Weston

      --- On Mon, 2/15/10, rlbaty50 <rlbaty@...> wrote:

      From: rlbaty50 <rlbaty@...>
      Subject: [M & B] Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Testability by Kyle Butt, M.A.!
      To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Monday, February 15, 2010, 10:23 PM







       









      (This week from Apologetics Press)



      http://www.apologet icspress. org/articles/ 2778



      Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Testability

      by Kyle Butt, M.A.



      As modern science has acquired the ability to see deeper and deeper into the natural world, problems with the waning theory of evolution continue to plague its proponents. A multiplicity of natural, biological systems exhibit complexity that could not have arisen through natural, evolutionary processes. In response to these findings, the Intelligent Design movement has begun to gain major footholds in academic circles. In a nutshell, intelligent design suggests that many natural systems are too complex to have evolved.



      In an attempt to discredit intelligent design, supporters of evolution have made and repeated one primary line of attack. They posit that intelligent design is not scientific because it cannot be tested. The writings of those who bring this accusation against intelligent design are legion. In an article titled, "UNLV Teachers Dismiss `Design' Theory," the author quotes Stanley Smith, professor of the Department of Biological Sciences, as saying: "[S]cience includes hypotheses that must be tested and proved or discarded." Smith then stated: "All science follows the scientific method, in which we make observations in nature, create testable hypotheses as to why we see patterns that we do and then conduct experiments that test those hypotheses" (as quoted in Thomas, 2005). Smith further quipped that intelligent design does not meet this criterion. Associate professor of biological sciences, Steven de Belle, commented on intelligent design as well. He
      stated: "`It is not science. The defining feature of the scientific method is lacking in ID,' which includes making observations and testing hypotheses" (Thomas, 2005).



      In an article describing the University of Kansas decision to teach a course on intelligent design as religious myth, Paul Mirecki, the chair of KU's religious studies department, and teacher of the new course, commented on intelligent design in this way: "Creationism is mythology... . Intelligent design is mythology. It's not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not" (Gendall, 2005).

      In his article titled "Scientific Theories More Than Guesses," Jonathan Hoffman wrote: "Thomas Harrington correctly pointed out that a scientific theory is testable and falsifiable. What he failed to state, however, is that `intelligent design' does not meet these criteria" (2005).



      Here, then, is the alleged situation. Evolution is scientific because it is testable and falsifiable, and has been tested and confirmed. Intelligent design, on the other hand, is not scientific because it cannot be tested and cannot be falsified, and therefore should not be viewed as science. In order to sort this out, it would be appropriate to see just how testable and falsifiable the theory of organic evolution really is.



      Every evolutionary scientist must recognize that the fundamental tenet of organic evolution is the idea that life arose from non-living material substances such as chemicals. This idea, often referred to as spontaneous generation, certainly is a testable idea.



      Ironically, however, biological scientists have been testing this idea for centuries and have discovered that life in this Universe does not and cannot arise spontaneously from natural processes.



      This fact is well-known and admitted even by evolutionary scientists.



      George Wald wrote in Biological Sciences: "If life comes only from life, does this mean that there was always life on earth? It must, yet we know that this cannot be so. We know that the world was once without life—that life appeared later. How? We think it was by spontaneous generation" (1963, p. 42). David Kirk noted: "By the end of the nineteenth century there was general agreement that life cannot arise from the nonliving under conditions that now exist upon our planet. The dictum `All life from preexisting life' became the dogma of modern biology, from which no reasonable man could be expected to dissent" (1975, p. 7). And Martin Moe stated:



      > A century of sensational discoveries

      > in the biological sciences has taught

      > us that life arises only from life,

      > that the nucleus governs the cell

      > through the molecular mechanisms of

      > deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and that

      > the amount of DNA and its structure

      > determine not only the nature of the

      > species but also the characteristics

      > of individuals (1981, p. 36).



      According, then, to every piece of experimental data that has been collected, life in this material Universe does not arise from non-living chemicals. Thousands of experiments have been designed and executed, each of which verifies this fact (for more information see Thompson, 1989). And yet, the general population is being led to believe that evolution is scientific because it is experimentally testable and falsifiable? If, by scientific, it is meant that, regardless of the outcome of the experiments, the theory will be maintained, then by all means evolution is scientific. In reality, the origin of life according to organic evolution has been tested and disproved. Therefore, if the foremost precept of organic evolution is untestable (at the least) and has been satisfactorily disproved (at the most), how can its advocates maintain that it alone belongs in the science classroom?



      Is intelligent design scientific and testable? Can intelligence be tested and verified? In reality, intelligence in the Universe can be tested and verified. The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project is a classic example of the testability of intelligence. Basically, millions of dollars were pumped into a project to detect codes or messages from outer space that would indicate intelligence. Those involved in the project recognized that mathematical patterns, codes, languages, algorithms, and various other "fundamental laws" would be accepted as evidence that some type of intelligence did exist. The premise that can be surmised from the SETI program is that intelligence could be recognized and distinguished from non-intelligent, natural explanations; the required criteria for this recognition being some type of code, mathematical sequence, physical patterns, etc. Such codes have been found in biological systems such as DNA and living
      organisms (see Butt, 2005).



      Another example of testing for intelligence would be that of the IQ (Intelligent Quotient) test designed to measure intelligence scientifically. Countless tests have been designed to assess the amount of intelligence possessed by individuals. Web sites that discuss such testing often use words and terms for their tests such as "scientifically valid," "intelligence testing," "developed by Ph.D.s," etc. (see IQtest Home Page). From such admissions, it can be inferred that intelligence is measurable and testable. If a person could take the different aspects of IQ tests that verify intelligence and apply them to things that are studied in the natural world, then intelligence could be tested and verified. In essence, that is exactly what has been done in intelligent design books such as Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box and William Dembski's Intelligent Design.



      W.R. Thompson, in his introduction to the 1956 edition of Darwin's Origin of Species, stated it perfectly when he said:



      > It is...right and proper to draw

      > the attention of the non-scientific

      > public to the disagreements about

      > evolution. But some recent remarks

      > of evolutionists show that they think

      > this unreasonable. This situation

      > where scientific men rally to the

      > defense of a doctrine they are unable

      > to define scientifically, much less

      > demonstrate with scientific rigor,

      > attempting to maintain its credit with

      > the public by suppression of criticism

      > and elimination of difficulties, is

      > abnormal and undesirable in science

      > (p. xxii).



      In truth, proponents of evolution know that it cannot withstand open criticism.



      Furthermore, they know that evolution cannot be tested nor is it any more scientific than intelligent design; in fact, it is less so.



      Therefore, in order for them to keep it ensconced in textbooks, they must suppress criticism of it and not allow its varied and numerous flaws to be considered critically.



      The situation that has arisen due to this irrational adherence to evolution is nothing short of "abnormal and undesirable in science."



      The next time someone demands that evolution is testable, ask for the experimental evidence that confirms that life came from non-life and observe the tell-tale silence that speaks the truth.



      REFERENCES



      Behe, Michael J. (1996), Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: The Free Press).



      Butt, Kyle (2005), "The SETI Project, Falling "Floppy Discs," and A Major Missed Implication, " [On-line], URL: http://www.apologet icspress. org/articles/ 361 .



      Dembski, William A. (1999), Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).



      Gendall, Michael (2005), "Religious Course Stresses Mythology," [On-line], URL: http://badgerherald .com/news/ 2005/11/29/ religious_ course_str. php .



      Hoffman, Jonathan (2005), "Scientific Theories More Than Guesses," [On-line], URL: http://www.alligato r.org/pt2/ 051129column. php .



      IQtest Home Page (2005), [On-line], URL: http://www.iqtest. com/ .



      Kirk, David (1975), Biology Today (New York: Random House).



      Moe, Martin A. (1981), "Genes on Ice," Science Digest, 89[11]:36,95, December.



      Thomas, Laurel (2005), "UNLV Teachers Dismiss `Design' Theory," [On-line], URL: http://unlvrebelyel l.com/article. php?ID=880 .



      Thompson, Bert (1989), "The Bible and the Laws of Science: The Law of Biogenesis," [On-line], URL: http://www.apologet icspress. org/articles/ 2004 .



      Thompson, W.R. (1956), "Introduction, " Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (New York: Dutton: Everyman's Library).



      Wald, George (1963), Biological Science: An Inquiry Into Life (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World).



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    • Todd Greene
      ... Lie #1: The theory of evolution is waning . The Imminent Demise of Evolution: The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism by Glenn R. Morton
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 21, 2010
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        --- In Maury_and_Baty, "rlbaty50" <rlbaty@...> wrote:
        > (This week from Apologetics Press)
        >
        > http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2778
        >
        > Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Testability
        > by Kyle Butt, M.A.
        >
        > As modern science has acquired the ability to see deeper
        > and deeper into the natural world, problems with the
        > waning theory of evolution continue to plague its
        > proponents.

        Lie #1: The theory of evolution is "waning".

        The Imminent Demise of Evolution: The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism
        by Glenn R. Morton
        http://home.entouch.net/dmd/moreandmore.htm

        Additionally, as with ALL areas of science, there are outstanding questions - which is precisely why scientific research is conducted, in order to continue to explore more and more details of the areas being studied. (This is WHY science "has acquired the ability to see deeper and deeper into the natural world." Kyle is apparently to obliviously uncomprehending to realize the implications of his own words!) Indeed, in the very process of scientists learning about the natural world, they open up new areas to be investigated. This is what science does! This is the purpose of science.

        Quite to the contrary of being a "plague" to science, outstanding questions, exploring further details, is exactly what DRIVES science and what science THRIVES on. Only uncomprehending numbskulls such as Kyle Butt would pretend the opposite (as driven by the anti-science attitudes motivated by their fundamentalist religious beliefs which they cling to despite having been falsified by scientific discoveries).

        > A multiplicity of
        > natural, biological systems exhibit complexity that
        > could not have arisen through natural, evolutionary
        > processes.

        As asserted by Kyle, an assertion that rests squarely on the popular fallacy that 'If scientists don't know X, then God did it."

        > In response to
        > these findings,

        What findings?

        > the Intelligent Design
        > movement has begun to gain major footholds in academic
        > circles.

        Lie #2: The intelligent design movement has begun to gain major footholds in academic circles.

        In fact, the intelligent design movement has only gained ONE foothold in "academic circles", and that was a minor one (at Baylor University, a school in Texas affilitated with the Baptist Church).

        | In October 1999, William A. Dembski, a leading
        | "intelligent design theory"" (ID) proponent, established
        | the Michael Polanyi Center, an ID think tank, at Baylor
        | University. After months of controversy, an external
        | review committee recommended that the center's ID
        | research be conducted under the auspices of Baylor's
        | Institute for Faith and Learning. Correctly noting that
        | Polanyi himself would not have endorsed ID, the committee
        | also recommended that Polanyi's name not be associated
        | with such research. Shortly after the committee issued
        | its October 2000 report, Dembski's conduct resulted in
        | his being relieved of his duties as director of the
        | center.

        Additionally, there has never been any *scientific research* supporting intelligent design in any professional peer-reviewed science journal.

        > In a nutshell,
        > intelligent design suggests that many natural systems
        > are too complex to have evolved.

        Now we observe that Kyle betrays his own words. Kyle previously asserted that complexity "could not" have developed through biological evolution. But here he at least admits that intelligent design merely "suggests" this.

        Typical creationist, sloppy, two-faced, and deceitful in his rhetoric.

        > In an attempt to discredit intelligent design, supporters
        > of evolution have made and repeated one primary line of
        > attack. They posit that intelligent design is not
        > scientific because it cannot be tested.

        Actually, while they posit - and have demonstrated time and time again through analysis of what intelligent design proponents have written, analysis that has also been presented and backed up in court (the 2005 Kitzmiller case in Pennsylvania) - that some of the concepts of intelligent design are untestable, scientists have also pointed out and discussed a number of examples where intelligent design claims are scientifically wrong. It depends on the specific argument and claims being made by intelligent design proponents as to whether or not it is scientifically untestable.

        > The writings of
        > those who bring this accusation against intelligent
        > design are legion.

        As is typical for critics of any pseudoscience.

        > In an article
        > titled, "UNLV Teachers Dismiss 'Design' Theory," the
        > author quotes Stanley Smith, professor of the
        > Department of Biological Sciences, as saying:
        > "[S]cience includes hypotheses that must be tested and
        > proved or discarded." Smith then stated: "All science
        > follows the scientific method, in which we make
        > observations in nature, create testable hypotheses as
        > to why we see patterns that we do and then conduct
        > experiments that test those hypotheses" (as quoted in
        > Thomas, 2005). Smith further quipped that intelligent
        > design does not meet this criterion. Associate
        > professor of biological sciences, Steven de Belle,
        > commented on intelligent design as well. He stated:
        > "'It is not science. The defining feature of the
        > scientific method is lacking in ID,' which includes
        > making observations and testing hypotheses" (Thomas,
        > 2005).

        And the fact that intelligent design proponents are not conducting and publishing any actual scientific research that supports their ideas backs this up.

        > In an article describing the University of Kansas
        > decision to teach a course on intelligent design as
        > religious myth, Paul Mirecki, the chair of KU's
        > religious studies department, and teacher of the new
        > course, commented on intelligent design in this way:
        > "Creationism is mythology.... Intelligent design is
        > mythology. It's not science. They try to make it
        > sound like science. It clearly is not" (Gendall, 2005).
        > In his article titled "Scientific Theories More Than
        > Guesses," Jonathan Hoffman wrote: "Thomas Harrington
        > correctly pointed out that a scientific theory is
        > testable and falsifiable. What he failed to state,
        > however, is that 'intelligent design' does not meet
        > these criteria" (2005).
        >
        > Here, then, is the alleged situation.

        Of course, it is not merely "alleged". It is a factual matter that intelligent design proponents have not produced any actual scientific research supporting their ideas. Additionally, this fact was presented in the pivotal Kiztmiller case in 2005 in Pennsylvania. Intelligent design proponents had ample opportunity to present examples of such research, and failed to do so.So note - again - how the creationist Kyle Butt enjoys using deceitful language in his rhetoric.

        > Evolution is scientific
        > because it is testable and falsifiable, and has been
        > tested and confirmed.

        As demonstrated by literally hundreds of scientific research articles published each and every year in the professional science literature.

        Yes, evolution really is part of science
        http://creationism.outersystem.us/creationism/evolutionisscience.html

        > Intelligent design, on
        > the other hand, is not scientific because it cannot be
        > tested and cannot be falsified, and therefore should
        > not be viewed as science.

        Indeed, intelligent design proponents AGREE that this is so (even while they engage in their typical creationist tacts of talking out of both sides of their mouth and saying otherwise at different times) - which is precisely why they routinely argue for CHANGING the definition of science for the very purpose of accommodating their beliefs (also documented in the Kitzmiller case, by the testimony of intelligent design proponents themselves).

        > In order to
        > sort this out, it would be appropriate to see just how
        > testable and falsifiable the theory of organic evolution
        > really is.

        In other words - typical creationist - Kyle is going to tell lies based on pretending that the hundreds of scientific research articles published in the professional science literature every year don't exist.

        > Every evolutionary scientist must recognize that
        > the fundamental tenet of organic evolution is the
        > idea that life arose from non-living material
        > substances such as chemicals. This idea, often
        > referred to as spontaneous generation, certainly
        > is a testable idea.

        Modern scientific concepts of abiogenesis are not about "spontaneous generation".

        In other words - typical creationist - Kyle is going to attack evolution based on using straw man rhetoric, and thereby misrepresenting scientific research.

        > Ironically, however, biological scientists have been
        > testing this idea for centuries and have discovered
        > that life in this Universe does not and cannot arise
        > spontaneously from natural processes.

        Completely false. Abiogenesis research today *began* in only a preliminary way in the 1950s, with the preliminary research of Stanley Miller and Harold Urey at the University of Chicago.

        Miller–Urey experiment
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment

        > This fact is well-known and admitted even by
        > evolutionary scientists.

        No, it isn't, as just pointed out. Typical creationist - loves to spout claims based merely on his own unsubstantiated and false straw man claims.

        > George Wald wrote in Biological Sciences: "If life
        > comes only from life, does this mean that there was
        > always life on earth? It must, yet we know that this
        > cannot be so. We know that the world was once without
        > life - that life appeared later. How? We think it was
        > by spontaneous generation" (1963, p. 42).

        However, the term "spontaneous generation" as used by Wald is *not* anything like the idea of spontaneous generation accepted in the 1800s and before.

        > David Kirk noted:
        > "By the end of the nineteenth century there was general
        > agreement that life cannot arise from the nonliving
        > under conditions that now exist upon our planet. The
        > dictum 'All life from preexisting life' became the dogma
        > of modern biology, from which no reasonable man could be
        > expected to dissent" (1975, p. 7). And Martin Moe stated:
        >
        >> A century of sensational discoveries
        >> in the biological sciences has taught
        >> us that life arises only from life,
        >> that the nucleus governs the cell
        >> through the molecular mechanisms of
        >> deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and that
        >> the amount of DNA and its structure
        >> determine not only the nature of the
        >> species but also the characteristics
        >> of individuals (1981, p. 36).
        >
        > According, then, to every piece of experimental data
        > that has been collected, life in this material Universe
        > does not arise from non-living chemicals.

        Except for the facts that (1) prokaryotes - the most primitive single-celled organisms - were the only living things on earth for almost two billion years. "The oldest known fossilized prokaryotes were laid down approximately 3.5 billion years ago...." "The oldest known fossil eukaryotes are about 1.7 billion years old."

        Eubacteria and Archaebacteria: the oldest forms of life
        http://www.bacteriamuseum.org/cms/Evolution/eubacteria-and-archaebacteria-the-oldest-forms-of-life.html

        A genomic timescale of prokaryote evolution: insights into the origin of methanogenesis, phototrophy, and the colonization of land
        http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/4/44/abstract/

        Which is exactly what is expected by the idea that the first living organisms developed by natural processes.

        > Thousands of experiments have been designed and
        > executed, each of which verifies this fact (for
        > more information see Thompson, 1989). And yet,
        > the general population is being led to believe that
        > evolution is scientific because it is experimentally
        > testable and falsifiable?

        Of course, typical bait-and-switch creationist rhetoric, abiogenesis is an area of scientific research distinct from the research on the evolution of already existing biological organisms. So note - again - the deceitful rhetorical tactics of the creationist Kyle Butt, as he pretends that since abiogenesis is an outstanding issue in science, therefore all the scientific research about the biological evolution of already existing organisms doesn't exist.

        > If, by scientific,
        > it is meant that, regardless of the outcome of the
        > experiments, the theory will be maintained,

        This is the creationist falsely pretending that scientists behave like creationists behave.

        > then by all
        > means evolution is scientific.

        Of course, it happens to be a fact that evolution is scientific, as demonstrated by the hundreds of scientific research articles about various areas of evolution published in the professional scientific literature every year. While it is creationism that not only has no such track record, but in fact has all kinds of scientific discoveries showing that creationist claims are wrong - and that young earth creationist claims are the most egregiously wrong scientifically. (Kyle Butt is a young earth creationist.) Note that young earth creationists maintain that the universe and the earth have not been in existence for more than about 6,000 years or so, regardless of the fact that the outcome of the relevant research in astronomy and geology has manifestly proved that young earth creationism is horribly wrong - thus demonstrating that when people like Kyle use sarcastic remarks like "If, by scientific, it is meant that, regardless of the outcome of the experiments, the theory will be maintained, then by all means evolution is scientific" in their rhetoric the only proper response is to ridicule their blatant hypocrisy and self-projection.

        > In reality, the origin of life according to organic
        > evolution has been tested and disproved.

        In reality, abiogenesis research is ongoing and has produced fruitful areas of research.

        > Therefore, if the
        > foremost precept of organic evolution is untestable
        > (at the least)

        But it isn't untestable. Which is precisely why scientists are DOING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH on the subject.

        Duh.

        > and has been
        > satisfactorily disproved (at the most),

        If Kyle really believes this, then why are he and other creationists so desperately opposed to scientific research on the subject???

        > how can its advocates maintain that it alone belongs
        > in the science classroom?

        Investigating issues using the scientific process belongs in the science classroom.

        Duh.

        Kyle's rhetoric is based on supposing that learning about relevant scientific research that has already been done about outstanding questions and issues and doing further scientific research on those outstanding questions and issues isn't part of science.

        Which is just plain stupid.

        > Is intelligent design scientific and testable? Can
        > intelligence be tested and verified? In reality,
        > intelligence in the Universe can be tested and
        > verified. The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial
        > Intelligence) project is a classic example of the
        > testability of intelligence. Basically, millions of
        > dollars were pumped into a project to detect codes or
        > messages from outer space that would indicate
        > intelligence. Those involved in the project
        > recognized that mathematical patterns, codes,
        > languages, algorithms, and various other "fundamental
        > laws" would be accepted as evidence that some type of
        > intelligence did exist. The premise that can be
        > surmised from the SETI program is that intelligence
        > could be recognized and distinguished from
        > non-intelligent, natural explanations; the required
        > criteria for this recognition being some type of
        > code, mathematical sequence, physical patterns, etc.

        Yes, precisely! Intelligent design proponents - if they were genuinely serious about SCIENTIFIC research on the subject - could be engaging in genuine scientific research to try to back up some of their ideas. So why aren't they doing it?

        > Such codes have
        > been found in biological systems such as DNA and
        > living organisms (see Butt, 2005).
        [snip]

        Lie #3: Ideas about intelligent signals such as those looked for in the SETI program are the same as what has already been found in DNA.

        Of course, they have not. Which is precisely why intelligent design proponents have not been published scientific research about it in the professional science literature - and is also why they are correctly described as pushing pseudoscience for pretending that their rhetoric of word games and misportrayals and attempts to change the very definition of science precisely because many of the concepts they based their beliefs on are scientifically untestable (i.e., are not science, and in principle cannot be scientific due to the very nature of their concepts) are "science", and using such rhetorical shenanigans for the purpose of riding roughshod over the First Amendment so they can push their religious beliefs down kids' throats in public school science classes.

        That's all I have time for to comment on the vacuous nature of Kyle's rhetoric, full of word games and lack of substance as is so typical of creationist rhetoric.

        - Todd Greene
      • rlbaty50
        ... That seemed to be a pretty good analysis and I appreciate the time you took to post it upon your announced return from a month off. Did you happen to move
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 21, 2010
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          --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Greene" <greeneto@...> wrote, in part:

          > That's all I have time for...

          That seemed to be a pretty good analysis and I appreciate the time you took to post it upon your announced return from a month off.

          Did you happen to move far?

          I am still hoping that you will, sooner rather than later, find the time to post your first negative to McDonald's first affirmative.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty
        • rlbaty50
          ... As was recently announced, Baylor is where Ken Starr (of Pepperdine and Bill Clinton fame) is going to be taking over; if things don t change. Many have
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 21, 2010
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            --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Greene" <greeneto@...> wrote, in part:

            > (T)he intelligent design movement has
            > only gained ONE foothold in "academic
            > circles", and that was a minor one
            > (at Baylor University, a school in
            > Texas affilitated with the Baptist
            > Church).

            As was recently announced, Baylor is where Ken Starr (of Pepperdine and Bill Clinton fame) is going to be taking over; if things don't change.

            Many have indicated elsewhere that, with all the troubles Baylor has had in recent years, Starr is not the man to take over; he's not even a Baptist yet (or is he)!

            Sincerely,
            Robert Baty
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