Welcome to our first-ever installment of Meeting of Minds, a carnival of posts about intelligent design. We have plenty of submissions, so stroll along the well-set smorgasbord, pick whatever takes your fancy, and sit down at one of the long-tables to enjoy your morsels. Invite your friends and make sure they invite their friends. No one should leave with an empty mind.
By the way, if you'd like to host the next banquet, just send me a line.
To head it all off, I'll unashamedly link to a post submitted by one of my colleagues, Mike Gene, about ID 101. So, what's at the basis of intelligent design? According to Mike, a very simple question.
Prothesis writes about the argument that ID will water down research. He describes developmental research for making stem cells, and responds to the claim that ID investigators couldn't have performed the research.
Paul of Exiled from GROGGS has a post about the theological implications of the Privileged Planet. He speculates whether a universe that is both fine-tuned to the existence of life and conductive to scientific discovery is "the only way in which a god who was external to the universe and involved in creating it could signal its presence to the life without intervening directly".
Davis, one of the philosophers running tu quogue, writes about the budding field of cognitive science, which, although strictly speaking isn't encompassed by ID, is nonetheless concerned with the "teleological concepts" that this blog is dedicated to exploring. Davis looks at a technique called Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), describing some of its limitations:
"An FMRI takes a snapshot of the brain, looking to where blood flows when a subject is encountering various external stimuli. … If a subject is given a picture of a horse to look at while undergoing an fMRI, the frontal lobe may flair, in fact specific voxel's [an area of roughly 3-5 cc] in the lobe may have more blood flow than others, but key neurons in other regions may be neglected. If one neuron in the back of the brain is key in connecting the visual cortex to the frontal lobe, it is overlooked by the fMRI's scan. In fact, there may be 500 different neurons active and essential to the process that is involved in observing the picture, spread throughout the brain, that are ignored. Size is still the limit with this technique, but size may have little to do with brain activity in response to different stimuli. As with the internet, it only takes one node to bring about activity to thousands of other nodes, but that node [will] be ignored. "
"RLC" has a Viewpoint, and is offering a point-by-point response to an open letter signed by local biology instructors. For example, adressing the claim that ID requires a supreme being, he writes: "If scientists ever succeed in creating living organisms from scratch in a laboratory no one would suggest that it would follow from that accomplishment that those scientists are "supreme beings", regardless of what the scientists may think of themselves. "
Finally, Tom Graffagnino has posted what he himself describes as a "light-hearted 'ode' poking a bit of fun at Mr. Dawkins" and other naturalists.