Monday, March 19, 2007


I thank everyone for their encouragements, critiques, and suggestions on this - and the final draft is available on my Google account.

I have also received suggestions that I didn't take, not to mention a touch of flack as to the wording.

So let's recap:

  1.  Yeah, yeah, I know that Intelligent Design isn't a philosophy: it's nothing more than a PR machine: yes, I do know that it's Paley's Watchmaker re-framed. Anyone familiar with my writings knows this, so gimmee a break, willya? This was an effort to be gracious: we're trying to keep it out of the science classrooms. What it does elsewhere isn't really the pivotal concern.
  2. Yes, philosophy and science are in a symbiotic relationship of sorts: but the average Joe Schmoe doesn't know this, does he? (or Joann Schmoe, if you're gonna give me grief on the PC thing.) The point is, that they're usually taught in separate classes in the middle- to high-school levels, are they not? That can wait till college. What kids are learning is fundamentals. Basic cornerstones. Mixing and matching can wait.
  3. Yes, there are philosophers that make a living at philosophy: I'm not slamming them, or trying to infer some pejorative about the field. Pick ten random people on the street, and ask them for a list of ten philosophers. I'm betting that most'll fum-fah, or have no answer. Maybe one will mention Socrates. Yeah, it sucks: yeah, it means our educational system is deficient. The whole point of this tract is to appeal to Everyman.
  4. I received some suggestions about points we argue over here on the blogosphere - I glossed over them because

A.  I want to keep it simple,

B.  I'm operating on the premise that most of said readers haven't a clue about the ongoing debate outside a vague mention on the news,

C.   I'm trying to keep it down to one page, and

D.  Being overly pedantic will simply suck the life right out of it.

I'm still open to constructive criticism:  just please bear in mind that this is aimed at a specific demographic, one that is probably severely uninformed as to the controversy of the subject. Talking points that we're achingly familiar with are likely completely foreign to the uninformed.

Anyways, here it is:

Whether or not you as an individual appreciate or agree, or have philosophical or religious reservations over the theory of evolution – the fact remains: it’s a reality, and no amount of dispute or debate can change that.

Here are the FACTS about this so-called ‘theory’:

DID YOU KNOW - That evolution is a science, that deals with categorizations based on observation - that it is not a philosophy, religion, dogma or doctrine?

DID YOU KNOW – That evolution is the backbone of modern biology?

DID YOU KNOW – That prior to Darwin’s Origin of the Species, one hundred percent of the scientists in the 19th century believed in the creation theory – in the 21st century, it is now one percent?

DID YOU KNOW – Without this ‘theory’, we wouldn’t have the benefit of modern medicine: items such as antibiotics, flu shots, or a multitude of other life-saving procedures? That the constant evolution of flu viruses is why there are new flu shots every year?

DID YOU KNOW – Most modern agriculture relies heavily on evolutionary ‘theory’? This includes crops as well as animal husbandry.

DID YOU KNOW – That the ‘failure of evolutionary theory’ has been incorrectly predicted as far back as 1871?

DID YOU KNOW – That without evolutionary ‘theory’, most forensic labs would be unable to function? That’s right – forensic criminologists would be unable to do things like rebuild the bodies of victims, or use DNA to tell suspects apart.

DID YOU KNOW – That evolution has had a widespread, positive impact on our quality of life, longevity, health, as well as leading to a better understanding of the world around us?

DID YOU KNOW – That Pope John Paul II recognized the theory as correct science in 1996?

The concept of INTELLIGENT DESIGN is a fine philosophy – that is for people to decide for themselves. But a philosophy is just that – only philosophy. Science deals with facts, with reality, with the measurable impact on our daily lives. And until this philosophy contributes measurably to the way we live our lives, it must and should remain in a philosophy class, not in a scientific lab or classroom.

Because philosophy doesn’t save lives. It doesn’t vaccinate our children against the flu, or teach the surgeon to wield a scalpel. It doesn’t lead us to the perpetrator of a heinous crime, or protect our children from the ravages of disease.

Science does.

Science is not something we vote on - if it works, it works, and no amount of argument can change that.

For more information visit the following website's:






I'm all up for a neat graphic, but for the life of me, can't seem to find (or think of) one that's appropriate.

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karen said...

I can jsut see that under windshield wipers in church lots now!
Hard to argue with the facts.

Blake Stacey said...

I don't get why you call Intelligent Design a "fine philosophy". In its current form, ID is a propaganda campaign, and we all know it. Why pull any punches? As far as actual philosophy goes, ID is a revamped version of Paley's argument in Natural Theology, and Hume had already poked holes in that nonsense before it had hit the bookshelves.

Carlie said...

I would ABSOLUTELY go putting those everywhere I see tracts. A few suggestions:

I'd say that the failure of evolutionary theory has been incorrectly predicted since 1871.

I'd also add that the pope recognized it as "correct science", or something like that. Recognized doesn't mean accepted.

I'd also add something stronger about antibiotics/viruses - something like "The constant evolution of flu viruses is why there are new flu shots every year".

At the end of the philosophy paragraph at the end of the tract, I'd add a simple "Science does."

Is that the title that would show on it? I don't know that I'd use "anti-evolutionists", maybe "creationists" or "Intelligent Design advocates".

Any catchy graphics?

Don't mean to snipe, though - I love it.

JimV said...

My suggestion, FWIW, would be to include references where people could verify your statements. Otherwise, given a choice between unsupported creationist cant and your tract, many people will continue to believe what they prefer to believe. They may do so anyhoo, but at least you will have done your best.

rbnigh said...

I can't help but wonder, though, about your distinction between science and philosophy. "Science deals with facts" you say. But philosophy deals with 'what are facts?'. You really can't have one without the other. Really, whether we chose to understand the world in terms of evolution or 'science' or in terms of a Creator god, is more a matter of values and aesthetic preference than 'facts'. That's what makes it so difficult.

beepbeepitsme said...

And don't forget that scientists spend large amounts of their time, trying to demonstrate that their conclusions might be wrong.

No other information gathering model is so deliberately critical of itself.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Blake, thanks for stopping by.
I was trying to avoid playing the finger-pointing game. Talking smack about the opposition is a bad gambit - I was trying to avoid pejoratives as much as possible. WE all know it's a propaganda machine, but the general religious public? They don't. Best to be gracious in that. Most folks have no clue who Hume or Paley were. Again, trying to avoid data-overload. Was going for the short & sweet.

Krystalline Apostate said...

I've implemented some of your suggestions. Thanks. Graphics? Hmmm...I'll cogitate on that.

My suggestion, FWIW, would be to include references where people could verify your statements.
Duly noted. Shooting for a quick simple 1 pager, but that's not a bad idea.

But philosophy deals with 'what are facts?'.
No, philosophy actually deals w/the 'why'.

Krystalline Apostate said...

But philosophy deals with 'what are facts?'.
A little more on this.
Philosophy & science classes are taught separately. Why? Because they're 2 distinct endeavors. Science deals w/the material world, philosophy w/the metaphysical 1. Science w/the cold hard facts, while philosophy wrestles w/the angst of existence.
You don't teach the theory of relativity in gym class, any more than you'd teach English literature in shop class.

Zac Hunter said...

Pretty snazzy for the most part. You know my pedigree is in philosophy, so excuse me if I seem a little touchy on this point: I think it is too polemic to resign philosophy to a fruitless endeavor. I absolutely understand the point you are making. And pointing out that is is a philosophy is also a good idea. But to completely pit science and philosophy against each other is a step in the wrong direction. Consider that some of the leading researchers in evolutionary theory are philosophers (Dan Dennet and friends). Philosophers are setting the research platforms for the evolutionary biologists, so they play a crucial role in this debate, as well as the industry. They also work hard to distance themselves from "theology" Don't forget evolution was the brain child of 'natural philosophers'

I just think that when composing a tract, one should avoid the pitfalls of overtly polemical rhetoric. We agree it should be informative, and you have to cast the opposing view in some light, but pitting evolutionary science against philosophy is bordering on a straw man.

And remember, philosophy might not save a life in the way a vaccine can, but a philosophy could be responsible for actions that lead to saving lives. Philosophy can encourage or deter that surgeon from using said scalpel.

My 2 cents: I would just rework the last section. The bullet points in the beginning are VERY effective. Well done. That and I don't think Intelligent De3sign is even a 'fine philosophy' Its based on pretty poor inferences and is not taken seriously by most philosophers.


Zac Hunter said...


"Science deals w/the material world, philosophy w/the metaphysical"

Thats a false dichotomy for sure. I don't think you would read any of Dennet's books and exclaim he is dealing with the 'metaphysical' Philosophy is clearly more than just musings on ethics and the ultimate nature of reality. We are talking about the logical implications of theories. Is functionalism versus behaviorism a probable cognitive architecture? Is it logically possible that a turing machine could process semantics? This is not lofty, disconnected armchair fluff. This is the stuff biologists, scientists and engineers go out and test for.

I really think this is a bad line to pursue in your tract. Rhetorically is just feeds on some of the same prejudices against academia that reinforce incredulity against evolution.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Zac - do note I qualified it as 'this philosophy', not ALL philosophy.
& again, I agree that's a piss-poor philosophy at best - doesn't even count as 1. I was making a distinct effort NOT to slam the other side (which is very hard to do).
There's about 8 different definitions of the word, to boot.
Streamlining it for the average Joe is gonna be tougher than I thought.

Chris Bradley said...

As far as I know, a lot of philosophy is very much about real world things -- including science! My own education is in philosophy of science and epistemology.

What counts as criteria of knowledge is of demonstrable concrete use to scientists, and always has been. Today, working scientists use a lot of terms and ideas that were invented by philosophers.

Additionally, philosophy has traditionally been one of the places where new sciences emerge from. F'rex, a lot of philosophy of mind stuff is being materially implimented in the search for artificial intelligence. (Indeed, pretty much all of computer science has a fairly deep debt to philosophy; computers operate on formal logic systems invented by philosophers -- Turing, himself, was a logician.)

Other fields that are currently being influenced, heavily, by philosophy include linguistics and psychology.

Philosophers often work hand in glove with scientists.

I wish philosophers had enough chutzpah to work that way with legislators and the government. They could use a good dose of logic, reason and the like. But that's a sort of seperate gripe, hehe.

Krystalline Apostate said...

I hear all that, Chris.
What we're looking at here, & attempting to contravene, is an invasion on the mid-school to HS level. Because let's face it: that's where the fundies are striking 1st.
It's been eons: do MS & High Schools teach philosophy classes? Do the science teachers teach philosophy in biology classes?
There's a level of maturity involved (I'd guess) before you cross disciplines, no? Probably in college?
I do martial arts: I learn ONE art, to do it very well, before I cross-train in another. Fundamentals are EVERYTHING, regardless of what discipline is studied.

Sadie Lou said...

My 2 cents: I would just rework the last section. The bullet points in the beginning are VERY effective. Well done.

I agree with Zach on this point. Good job on the bullet points.
Are you serious about passing these out?

Krystalline Apostate said...

I am serious about passing these out - actually, I expect to make fliers available to anyone who wants to download, print, & distribute.
1 poster pointed out that it may do no good. However, some people do read the fliers tucked in on their windshields.
Churches are a good idea - or PTA meetings, or creationist events.
It's simply advertisement.
I've taken a bit of flack here - using the phrase 'fine philosophy' (when I'm on record as being firmly against creationism), or even suggesting that philosophy is a distinctly separate discipline (AFAIK, it's taught separately, I think, which is why I make the distinction).
My effort here was to appeal to the average layman, most of whom don't realize that they're intertwined - nor is it necessary (IMHO) to make that distinction, as Joe Schmo on the street, if approached w/the question, would likely blink & say, "What?"

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

I would add that most scientists would love to discover the earth is real young and that evolution is false, but to date there hasn't been one piece of scientific evidence or study that contradicts evolution. In fact, if evolution were false, there would be many ways to falsify it. And don't forget, any scientist that could come up with evidence to falsify evolution would become more famous than Jesus Christ.

Ric said...

I like it. How about adding something debunking the whole "micro-macro" cannard?

Krystalline Apostate said...

BEAJ, ric:
Thanks for the suggestions. However, I'm trying to make it as short 'n simple as is possible.
but to date there hasn't been one piece of scientific evidence or study that contradicts evolution.
I think that's inferred from bullet six, in re: the 'failure prediction'.
How about adding something debunking the whole "micro-macro" canard?
That should be covered w/an addition of websites to explore (talkorigins, etc) that I'll list/add on the flier.
I'm running on the assumption that this'll be the reader's 1st intro, & that most of them don't know the internal conflicts between sides.

Mesoforte said...

I can't wait to distribute. ^_^

Zac Hunter said...

Regradless of any editing, I would proudly hand these out. And let me tell you, I have access to a LOT of copiers at my office. I am only nitpicking my bias, as usual. I am excited to add this to my arsenal of "What is a Freethinker" non-tracts from the FFRF.

David said...

t does appear as if the anti-evolutionist are slowly changing the public perception of the evolutionary position as can been by the material this atheism article cites.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Hey, David, thanks for that hysterical article from Conservapedia. I've read it before, but it still elicits laughter.