Monday, July 19, 2010

Another response to poor Rory

Here is Rory's response to my post called "In response to a comment". His response was:

"Dear Ted,

Thanks for your comments and rebuttal. We can agree to disagree.

If you read my article, you probably noted that The Wall Street Journal article I quoted said:

“Scientists ... often change their minds when they see new evidence. I was reminded of this a few months ago when I saw a survey in the journal 'Nature'. It revealed that 40% of American physicists, biologists and mathematicians believe in God — and not just some metaphysical abstraction, but a deity who takes an active interest in our affairs and hears our prayers: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Jim Holt, Science Resurrects God, The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 1997, Dow Jones & Co.

This was based on a poll published in Nature by Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham, "Scientists Are Still Keeping the Faith," Nature 386 (1997): 435; and Larry Witham, "Many Scientists See God's Hand in Evolution," Washington Times, April 11, 1997, p. A8. Edward J. Larson is an American historian and legal scholar. He is University Professor of history and holds the Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University, he was formerly Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law and Richard B. Russell Professor of American History at the University of Georgia.

The Nature article can be referenced on Nature's site at Scientists are Still Keeping the Faith.

I also quoted Science, which is the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States. Its August 1997 issue featured an article entitled Science and God: A Warming Trend? which said:

“The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life — such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars — also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.”

Science Digest reported:

"Scientists who utterly reject Evolution may be one of our fastest-growing controversial minorities ... Many of the scientists supporting this position hold impressive credentials in science."

Larry Hatfield, “Educators Against Darwin,” Science Digest Special (Winter 1979), pp. 94-96.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, the leading nonprofit science advocacy group, says:

"The growing strength of the movement to discredit evolution and promote the teaching of intelligent design and other non science-based views of biological diversity in public science classrooms is of great concern. Please see the UCS position statement on this alarming trend."

Ref. Science, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Regarding your comment on 'quote mining', this a typical accusation by those who simply don't want valid but revealing information exposed that damages their position, but have no other rationalization to dismiss it. The definition of 'quote mining' includes distortion of intended meaning of those quoted, which does not occur in this case. It is perfectly valid to quote anyone as long as intended meaning is conveyed accurately. There is no quote mining, distortion or misinformation in the article.

I hope people will take the time to check the sources I quote, which will simply verify I quoted them accurately. It's pretty obvious from the abundance of quotes that the context and conclusion is clear, and there is no possible distortion. These kinds of false accusations come with the territory on this issue, unfortunately.

The considered testimony of many eminent scientists I quoted remains clear and consistent, and should not be lightly dismissed.

Best Regards,

Rory, you really don't want people to research your quotes, do you? Because in doing so you make a case that opposes your premise. Intelligent Design is junk science and there is no increasingly large percentage of today's scientists believe in an intelligent designer of the universe and life. Well here is a little fun. I know I enjoyed it, but I am not sure you will.

1. Your quote " 40% of American physicists, biologists and mathematicians believe in God" . . . so what? I don't care if 100% believed in God -- that is a long distance from supporting Creationism or Intelligent Design as scientific theories. Just ask the over 13,000 clergy members who have signed a letter supporting Evolution and the teaching of Evolution to our children. These clergy folks believe in God and still support evolution, what do they know that you do not?

Here are a couple of quotes and references for you:
From the Christian Clergy Letter (
"We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. "
From the Rabbinical Clergy Letter (
"As rabbis from various branches of Judaism, we the undersigned, urge public school boards to affirm their commitment to the teaching of the science of evolution. Fundamentalists of various traditions, who perceive the science of evolution to be in conflict with their personal religious beliefs, are seeking to influence public school boards to authorize the teaching of creationism. We see this as a breach in the separation of church and state. Those who believe in a literal interpretation of the Biblical account of creation are free to teach their perspective in their homes, religious institutions and parochial schools. To teach it in the public schools would be to assert a particular religious perspective in an environment which is supposed to be free of such indoctrination."
From the Unitarian Clergy Letter (
"While most Unitarian Universalists believe that many sacred scriptures convey timeless truths about humans and our relationship to the sacred, we stand in solidarity with our Christian and Jewish brothers and sisters who do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. We believe that religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts."
2. Your second reference actually says pretty much the same thing . . . there is some percentage of scientists who believe if God. Again, SO WHAT? At no time does this reference support some dramatic increase in the number of those scientists. It also does not support your contention of Intelligent Design -- yet you seem to think it does. Just a reminder the title of your original piece was "Intelligent Design vs. Evolution — The Miracle of Intelligent Design" So far you haven't seemed to provide any support. Don't worry, it gets worse.

3. Have you ever read the Science Digest? I have. I read it in the 60's and 70's and you know what? If you wanted the latest on Bigfoot or UFO's, that is the magazine for you. It was not a scientific journal, but more interested in the junk-science to increase circulation for decades. That's not to say all of Science Digest was junk science, but it was rarely a reference for a serious scientist. It's certainly not one used often in support of actual scientific research. Did you know it's been out of print since the late 80's? It made an effort to renovate its image, but it was too little, too late. Here is a review of the 1980 revamping -- still not something a scientist would use very often: You might also look at Pub Med and see how often Science Digest was listed? After 50 years in print it was listed 36 times in Pub Med, and only works from the last few years of it's life. Pretty pathetic for a science magazine. In contrast over 4000 for Scientific American.

4. Please learn to read for comprehension. In the link from the Union of Concerned Scientists the phrase "movement to discredit evolution". Since when does a 'movement' imply a group of scientists who now believe in God? What the article was addressing is the political and marketing campaign by groups like the Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis (AiG), Access Research network (ARN), and Institute for Creation Research (ICR). These groups have been attempting to discredit evolution. Look at the membership for those groups and you will find very few scientists -- lots of philosophers and lawyers, but few scientists. If you dared to do your own homework you would have also discovered that the majority of members have a theistic issue with science, not a scientific one. The only reason it has become an issue for scientists, like the UCS, is because of the success they have had with school boards, politicians, and the popular press. What the UCS has not had to comment on was any actual scientific work . . . because there has not been any! You certainly failed to reference any in your little paper. Instead of discrediting evolution, why aren't you and your philosophical compatriots spending time supporting ID with real work? Are you unable, unwilling, or incapable of doing so?

5. As for quote mining -- One of the ways you can identify a quote-mine is when you see a quote taken out of context. Have you actually read "A Brief History of Time"? If you did then taking a quote in an attempt to convince anyone that Dr. Hawking is a supporter of ID is ludicrous! How about Richard Dawkins . . . are you serious? Even the quotes you lifted don't show any support for ID, only that the biology and chemistry work is hard . . . well luckily scientists aren't afraid of hard work. Can you say the same? You haven't even done the homework on the quotes you mined -- or did you just copy these from some creationist website and let someone else do the work for you? Try reading "The God Delusion" or "The Blind Watchmaker" instead of mis-using quotes -- you might have learned something -- like:
"Natural selection is sufficient to explain the apparent functionality and non-random complexity of the biological world, and can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, albeit as an automatic, nonintelligent, blind watchmaker."
And Francis Crick, so you ran out of living scientists you have to bring one back from the dead. I guess it's easy because it's hard for them to refute you. Well here is a quote from his 1988 work, What Mad Pursuit,
"Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved."
But this wasn't the first time Dr. Crick was so used. Just a few years ago a part-time soccer coach in California tried to get the approval to teach a 'philosophy' class called "The Philosophy of Design". The class consisted of having the students was 25 videos put out by Creationist organizations. When it was suggested that her curriculum was a little to far to the evangelical right she added several speakers -- including her husband -- an evangelical minister, and Dr. Francis Crick. Dr. Crick was to offer a counterpoint. One small problem, he had died a few years earlier. The class was canceled after the lawsuit was settled! Can't you people leave the man alone! (

Your quote of Hoyle was even more fun. You do realize that it was from a book called "Evolution from Space " -- well you should realize it since you mentioned it in your little article. But did you do more than copy to quote from some creationist website? Have you actually looked up the source material? This is one of the publications in which Sir Fred put forth the hypothesis of Panspermia -- that the building blocks of life came from outer space in for form of organic molecules in comets. So attempting to use him to support ID is nothing more than a quote-mine, as I already pointed out to you -- but you failed to take the hint. You also called him an 'evolutionist' which is a lie. He was a Mathematician and an Astronomer. What, did calling him an 'evolutionist' give his words a greater impact? Like I said, you aren't much of a researcher, are you?

6. The rest of your 'paper' is still a poor exercise of scholarship. You imply the appearance of design is the fact of design and you mis-used the quotes from other people to sell your idea. As a college paper in any class but a Creative Writing class you would receive an 'F' mainly because you failed to support your premise. In Creative Writing you might squeak by with a 'C' but only if the professor gave you extra credit for the creative use for your quotes. I would still flunk you because the original portion of your paper was pretty minimal.

Yes, we can agree to disagree. but my advice is to keep Creationism, and its latest incarnation Intelligent Design, far from the science classroom. Right now it is not a scientific premise because of the lack of any scientific support. If that changes in the future, then it can be re-evaluated -- but until the actual work is done, it does not belong in science class.

I doubt you liked reading all this , but I had fun anyway. You might look at your own motivations. Your interest in ID does not seem to stem from an interest in science, but because of your theological leanings. Look at thelast line of your little paper or the first line of your own description:
"If you have not already done so, don't wait, but reconcile yourself to Christ now."
"Rory Roybal is the author of Miracles or Magic?, and has over 10 years of experience leading in-depth church and home Bible studies."


  1. Dear Ted,

    Thanks again for your comments and 'sympathy' =), which I am fine with. I am familiar with most of the material you reference.

    Much of your reasoning seems to be based on the idea that majority opinion is correct, or likely to be correct. However, if majority opinion was always right, the world would be flat.

    The merit of an idea is not necessarily in accord with what percentage of group x currently believes it, including scientists. In fact, the majority of new scientific discoveries were almost never welcomed at the time, because they opposed prevailing scientific and public opinion.

    There is another flaw in the basis for much of your reasoning, which is the quote mining allegation again. I never indicated staunch evolutionists are supporters of ID, and as you say that would be ridiculous (otherwise they wouldn't be staunch evolutionists, would they?). The article consistently refers to these scientists as seeing appearance of design, not that they believe in a living, intelligent, and conscious Creator.

    However, the fact that so many leading scientists consistently observe appearance of design is very significant, even though they (and you) may lightly dismiss it as illusion, and deny the existence of God despite what they clearly observe.

    We may agree to disagree now, but one day we will agree that the appearance of design was not an illusion, but obvious reality that was denied because of an a priori commitment to materialism, as certain evolutionists have honestly admitted.

    Kind Regards,


    P.S. I also dislike the limit on responses.

  2. Oh, and about Sir Fred Hoyle being an evolutionist ...

    Sir Fred advocated panspermia as you say, rejecting the idea that life originated on Earth, but promoted the idea that life 'evolved' in space (hence his work Evolution from Space), and also believed in biological evolution on Earth once life arrived from space.

    So, Sir Fred may not be a 'purist' evolutionist from a conventional (neo-) Darwinist perspective today, but he was an evolutionist nonetheless. Of course, many of today's evolutionists have unfairly discredited Sir Fred as an evolutionist because his ideas sound too much like ID for their inflexible naturalistic comfort zone.

    Cheers, Rory

  3. Rory, no moving the goal posts. Your original reply to one of my posts said "an increasingly large percentage of today's scientists believe . . ." You tried to support it with your own paper on Intelligent Design (ID). Remember?

    So I went looking to substantiate your contention and found no support for it. I then looked at your paper and found it was also lacking in any support for ID. I also questioned your use of quotes and references from out of print digest known mainly for it's junk science claims.

    Finally I questioned your own motivations -- which are strictly a narrow evangelical strip of Christianity. You have little interest in actually understanding scientific theories, only finding other peoples words that might sound like they are against it. Look, grab your Bible and look at the cover. Does it say Biology Textbook? No, so quit thinking it is one. Read up on St. Augustine and see what he says about people who resist knowledge in defense of their religious views.

    So after a couple of long, well supported posts [if I do say so myself] of my own, how do you address this? Your move away from your original contention and change the discussion away and don't bother to actually address my concerns with your work.

    Look, when you quote folks like Dawkins and Hawking in your ID paper you are attempting to use their words to support your contention. You can claim otherwise, but then why bother having them in your paper. You were quote-mining and you know it. You took their words out of context to support an idea their work disagrees with. Let's quit mincing words and call it what it is . . . a lie. Next you are going to quote Ben Stein's mockumentary claiming that Dawkins supports ID -- without taking into account the question he was actually asked -- that Stein so creatively edited. I am less than impressed.

    As for Hoyle, if you want to apply a label to him, you might try and call him and anti-abiogenesis-ist. He was dead set against chemical evolution. But the reality is he was an astronomer and mathematician and his work had little impact on evolutionary theory. The reality is even if his idea of Panspermia is true, he only shifted the location for Abiogenesis, he never presented anything that said it didn't happen, only voiced an opinion that it didn't happen here.

    Many scientists have not observed design -- they have comments on the appearance of design when explaining the biochemical and biomechanical mechanisms they are studying. You know when someone says "it looks like a little motor', that doesn't mean it is a little motor, only that by so describing it gives a frame of reference to anyone reading their work. Bottom line is the appearance of design is not the same thing as being designed and NO ONE has been able to offer support otherwise. The DI supposedly has been trying for 20 years and no success. ICR and ARN have been making claims for years and so far nothing. If you have some evidence to support your contention, I am all ears -- but quit using other peoples words taken out of context, it's dishonest. Let's see the evidence.

    The only commitment scientists have is to the truth -- because dishonest scientists don't last very long -- just ask the guys who 'discovered' cold fusion. Better yet ask Casey Luskin and those other fellows at the DI -- ask what their standing is in the scientific community and you will find it pretty low. It is not because people don't want to hear it -- it's because they are unable to support it. Read the criticisms and remove your bible-colored glasses and you will see the same thing. It's not majority rules, it's he who has the evidenciary support rules -- and that is why Darwin's work is still viable and usable today. It's also why ID is considered junk-science.

  4. While you are at it, look up "Continental Drift" and you will find that it was considered junk science in its day -- but technology became available nearly 60 years later to confirm it. Science is much more adaptable than your religious beliefs. Why is that?

  5. Well said Ted! Nice reply to the Rory comments in this thread... refreshing.

  6. Hi Ted,

    I didn't move goal posts. I answered your contention with references and you dismissed my answer. I disagree with your contention and justifications for them also. Shocking. It seems like you have moved the goal posts on the position of Sir Fred Hoyle, however, who was an evolutionist. He has been disavowed by Dawkins et. al. simply because his ideas sounded too much like intelligent design for irrational atheist zealots.

    Your comments have done nothing to counter the fact that many leading scientists consistently observe appearance of precise design and purpose in the universe and life, regardless if they believe what they see, or instead refuse to believe it and irrationally decide it is an illusion because of blind faith in naturalism. No quote mining here at all, since I said many times throughout the article that these scientists see appearance of design, but do not believe what they see.

    My point was that these leading evolutionist scientists observe appearance of design and reject the conclusion of ID and Creation anyway, a fact, not that they are advocates of ID or Creation which is ridiculous. At this point you are just being argumentative, since your allegation of 'quote mining' is proven false. It appears you just don't like this information clearly exposed, so will say anything to try to discredit it whether true or not. You have questioned my motives and now even say I lied, but what of your motives? When you resort to vacuous ad hominem attacks like this, it simply discredits you and your position.

    Regarding my motivations being primarily theological, I freely agree, but 'theological' does not mean 'illogical' or unscientific, though you may not be willing to divorce the idea of 'science' from an a priori belief in 'naturalism'. My motives are to glorify God and edify others, and the latter because I believe eternity as at stake on an individual basis for each one of us based on what we believe on this vital issue, including you and me. Hypothetically speaking, if you believed as I do, would you not at least try to help others, or would you comfortably and selfishly remain silent, allowing others to go their way uninformed and unwarned into eternity? From my perspective, it's not about me, but about others.

  7. (continued)

    Your assumption that I haven't read Augustine is presumptuous and mistaken. I've read much of Augustine and other 'church fathers', so know their views on this issue clearly, do you? Evolutionists often misleadingly cite Augustine for a defense of long age ideas (true 'quote mining'), but some of his writings in 'City of God' and elsewhere reflect a more balanced picture of his views. Have you read writings of other historic church leaders on this, or are you just indirectly 'quote mining' Augustine to support your position? 'Special creation' and the literal creation week interpretation is the overwhelmingly dominant view in the history of Christendom.

    Regarding scientists, they are not holy priests inherently more devoted to truth and able to discern it than anyone else. They have biases and perspectives just like everyone that color how they view evidence. The idea of the scientific method is to produce as much objectivity as possible, but the issue of origins cannot be rigorously tested by observation or repeated so is outside the realm of pure science. Science can tell us how things work according to defined laws, but cannot tell us the origin of "designed laws", as even Darwin acknowledged. Science can tell us how our universe works, but cannot tell us why it exists.

    If you're not open to changing your mind, then I'm not trying to change it. I learned long ago we can only change our own minds. For my part, I wish you the very best, but for your own good as well as your loved ones, hope you will reconsider sooner than later. You ask for more evidence, but you already have an abundance of evidence -- you are just not open to believing it, against all odds. You ask me to remove my Bible-colored classes, but I have not always worn them, so know what it's like to not wear them. I ask you to remove your naturalist glasses, so you can behold the obvious truth of a Creator, and personally reconcile yourself to Him, as He has lovingly and graciously done for you.

  8. Rory wrote: "Regarding my motivations being primarily theological, I freely agree, but 'theological' does not mean 'illogical' or unscientific..."

    Epic FAIL my friend.... epic fail.

  9. Rory, you are still wrong to characterize Sir Fred as an evolutionist. Fred Hoyle was well known as a lifelong Darwin, Darwinism and evolution critic. I think you just like calling him that because what he was not was a supporter of one of your pet religious notions.

    I never said scientists have not seen the appearance of design in nature. But you seem to miss their explanations. Let's try an analogy -- pour water in a round bowl and the water takes the shape of the bowl, correct? Was the water 'designed' with such a shape? No? Why not, sitting there in a bowl it certainly looks like it was a match made in heaven (pun intended).

    Of course if you poured the water in another bowl, the shape of the water would be different. That's something easy to test. But for the time the water is in the bowl, the fit is perfect.

    Life evolved in a bowl, we call the bowl the Planet Earth. The appearance of design is exactly like the water taking the shape of the bowl. We were shaped by the environment we evolved in and so the appearance of design is just that, appearance. It’s just something harder to test because we haven’t tey visited another ‘bowl’

    You insist on a top-down view that requires a designer, your version of God, and cannot accept the complete lack of evidence. The bottom-up view is what the theory of evolution is trying to teach you -- but you refuse to see it.

    The reason scientists, real scientists, reject intelligent design is simple. No one has offered evidence to support such a world view. They offer philosophical words, metaphysical concepts, and spend more time attacking evolutionary theory than attempting to support their own ideas. Look at your own paper – have you offered anything other than philosophy and out of context quotes? Why should anyone take your paper seriously! Intelligent Design has not yet earned a place in the science classroom and if its adherents continue with the same tactics, it will never be anything more. Add in the political machinations seen in many States, all you have done is created antipathy for your cause.

    I also never said a believer cannot be logical or scientific, but your own words show that you are neither. Quote-mining is a disreputable tactic and just like any other run-of-the-mill creationist you attempt to place my use of St. Augustine in the same light -- yet my use of his words was well within the context he used them. Therein lays the difference.

    Such humilty -- "My motives are to glorify God . . ." No, that is not true. If it were you would allow other people to believe as they wish -- not as you believe. You are a narrow-minded person who wishes to drag other people into his personal belief system even if you have to misrepresent science and scientists to do so. I hope your version of Jesus is proud because there are many other Christian religions that would not agree with you.

    I look forward to meeting my maker and I am proud of the life I am living and plan on continuing to live. If God wishes to have words with me, then I will stand there and accept it. But like many other Christians in the world I believe to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children is wrong! I support, and I believe God will support, human minds capable of critical thought that actually think! I see the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of God. God will never call me to task for not using my mind! I do not believe you can say the same because for you there is only one tradition and the hell with anyone who refuses to believe as you do! Your own words betray you. Who are you to determine someone else's way into eternity? You are just a modern version of a snake oil salesman.

  10. one last comment for you, Rory.

    I do help others. I help them open their eyes to the wonder of the world around them rather than blind themselves as you have blinded yourself. I encourage the use of their minds for something other than keeping their eyebrows from meeting their hairline. I give then real information rather than Biblical stories dressed in a lab coat. When I hear a lie or mischaracterizations I shine the light of day on it and refuse to let someone like you get away with it. If that makes you uncomfortable -- Good!

    Scientists are not priests and everyone I know would laugh at your characterization. But by following the methodology that they do, they continually find the truth in the world. As they learn and teach us new things, they open up a world of wonder and exploration. No they are not priests, they are something better. The scientific community isn't perfect, but the results of their work is useful and usable and repeatable -- without needing to invoke a deity. That's the part you cannot stomach. You can call my comments attacks, but then honesty doesn't seem to be one of your strong suits.

    Let's summarize, shall we. Your original post was ""Actually, an increasingly large percentage of today's scientists believe in an intelligent designer of the universe and life, and this is now an established one way trend. To understand this turn of events, including perspectives of many leading scientists, see Intelligent Design vs. Evolution — The Miracle of Intelligent Design."

    So far you have not produced any evidence supporting your contention and the items you have raised have been found to be out-of-context quotes, quotes from pseudo-science magazines, and religious zealotry that is not shared by the majority of Christians or any other major religion.