Thursday, December 29, 2005

Some comments on "ID is just disguised creationism"

1) I don't know if ID is vaguer that C, it's just a weaker claim. It could turn out that ID is supportable by scientific evidence while C is not.

2) I saw a DI post that claimed that Creation was understood differently by the authors of "Of Pandas and People" than it was in the Edwards decision.

3) I always thought that it didn't follow from the fact that creationists were advocating an unbelievable theory that the criticisms and difficulties they raised for evolution were worthless. In other words, if you raise all sorts of serious problems for a theory, these problems cane be serious indeed, but without an alternative, theory change is not called for. Changing from C to ID changes the alternative. The change may not be an adequate or acceptable change, but the claims are different, and the "disguised creationism" charge obscures this obvious fact.

4) Behe, I thought, accepts Common Ancestry, which, last I checked, was an absolute no-no in creationist circles.

5) We are taught in introductory logic classes to distinguish between claims about propositions from claims about people who hold those propositions. Failure to do that is called the ad hominem fallacy.

Evolutionists really dislike their ID opponents, apparently. But it's important not to defend a position you think true with bad arguments. I thought Overton's decision was based on a highly questionable philosophy of science. I suspect the same of Judge Jones.


Jim Lippard said...

1. I agree that it's also weaker, though I continue to maintain that it's vaguer--I think that's intentional on the part of ID advocates, to make a smaller target, allow for a bigger tent of supporters, etc.

2. Got a reference?

3. I agree with your first two sentences--but an alternative needs to have testable claims and be supported by evidence to be a real alternative. Further, the vast majority of the specific objections raised by creationists and ID advocates are bad, erroneous, or misleading objections.

4. Some people call themselves creationists yet accept common ancestry, though you're right that that's relatively rare, and is not consistent with *special creation*. (See, e.g., Stephen Jones:
I believe you are correct that Behe accepts common ancestry.

5. Mostly agreed, but not all ad hominem is fallacious--there is such a thing as genuine expertise, and there are also pretenders to expertise. Unmasking pretenders is a legitimate and beneficial action; demonstrating that a source is unreliable gives reasons not to rely on that source, and that sort of ad hominem is not fallacious.

BTW, Evan Fales has written up a critique of Jones' argument about ID not being science on the basis of supernatural causes. I think Fales is correct that there is no reason to assume a priori that supernatural causes are not measurable/observable/testable. There are other reasons that ID is not science...

Victor Reppert said...

For 2, see the link given under the "history of intelligent design" post

Jim Lippard said...

I haven't looked at your link yet... but speaking of people who hate their opponents, check out what John West of the Discovery Institute says about Judge Jones:

(And then compare to the in-context quotation here:

Jim Lippard said...

I read the DI version of the history of "intelligent design." It seems to argue that Dean Kenyon holds a view other than YEC, and only participated because it wasn't advocating YEC. But if that's the case, then why did he make YEC arguments in his biology classes (with discredited arguments like the moon dust argument)? And I'm pretty sure his co-author, Percival Davis, is also a YEC. And another contributor of content to _Of Pandas and People_ is Nancy Pearcey, who is a YEC (she was a regular contributor to the _Bible-Science Newsletter_). Many of the reviewers were YECs.

Jon Buell of FTE is apparently an old-earther, but he and his organization have never criticized YEC, and has worked closely with YECs. FTE is explicitly a religious organization (as documented in the Dover case, despite Buell's denials, saying that all of the paperwork creating the organization was somehow a mistake).

On Kenyon's class: