Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One-sided academic freedom?

It sure looks like it here, at Ball State.

194 comments:

im-skeptical said...

"Ball State University and the drive to expunge scientific discussion of intelligent design"

There is no scientific discussion of intelligent design. DI's strategy is to eliminate scientific discussion and replace it with the decidedly un-scientific ID, or at the very least to confuse the issue so that people will confuse their religious inspired mumbo-jumbo with science. It's all part of their wedge strategy to subvert education in science.

Give me a break.

ingx24 said...

If ID isn't science, then neither is materialism. If asserting that there is a creative intelligence behind the universe is unscientific, then so is asserting that all there is is matter and that there is no God nor any kind of non-physical mind or soul. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Crude said...

If ID isn't science, then neither is materialism. If asserting that there is a creative intelligence behind the universe is unscientific, then so is asserting that all there is is matter and that there is no God nor any kind of non-physical mind or soul. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Agreed. And frankly, this is the (likely unintended) best side-effect of the ID movement: it highlights inconsistency.

I am more than happy to say that ID explanations are not science, and that speculations about the efforts and activities and existence of powerful designers are outside the scope of science. But that means Behe and Dembski are locked out of the lab alongside Dawkins and Coyne. Science is metaphysically and theologically neutral - from physics to evolution. To pretend otherwise is an abuse of science.

That's the price that needs to be paid to both regard ID as non-scientific (rather than merely a currently unpopular theory) and be consistent. I'm willing to pay that price. I suspect many Cult of Gnu atheists would choke rather than pay it - because they don't really care about science to begin with.

im-skeptical said...

"If ID isn't science, then neither is materialism"

Materialism isn't science. Science is science, and ID is not. When those hucksters start following scientific method, when they produce falsifiable hypotheses based on actual research and empirical data, then they can say they deserve equal billing with genuine scientific theories in our educational institutions. They are phonies, and what they do is not science. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Let them do what scientists do. Until then give me a break.

LadyAtheist said...

You're taking the Discovery Institute's whiny petulance seriously? Really? Pop on over to my blog for another take on it. I read the whole letter and I researched the details behind it. They are liars and they have no case:

http://ladyatheist.blogspot.com

Crude said...

When Skep tries to evaluate evidence, keep in mind he regarded this guy as a reliable source about Catholic history. He got his degree in First Result I Agree With On Google studies. ;)

The price of claiming ID is not science shall be judging the theological, metaphysical and philosophical ramblings of Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins and the rest as non-science. Instead of 'science shows nature is not designed', they'll have to amend this to 'science cannot determine the presence or lack of design in nature'.

Time to pay the piper, gents. ;)

Papalinton said...

'One-sided academic freedom'? Hardly and only from the Discovery Institute's perverse perspective. Academic freedom means freedom from superstitious supernatural claptrap. There are countless numbers of specially reserved places for the peddling of woo. They are called churches.

The stupidity of IDiots is they think the county or state legislature is synonymous with the laboratory in which they imagine the best of scientific processes and discoveries are legislated into existence. Only one conclusion can be made of IDiots. Intellectual miscreants at best.

As the courts have determined, ID is an unsubstantiated religious belief not a scientific system. Period. Dead, buried and dusted.

If anyone wants to squander their college years studying ID, knock yourself out. There are many appropriate fields of study available in which ID is suitably posited, particularly in the religion-based institutions which specialize in woo-ism. But it ain't science . Full stop.

Papalinton said...

"Instead of 'science shows nature is not designed', they'll have to amend this to 'science cannot determine the presence or lack of design in nature'."

This is a somewhat mischievously truncated, short-sighted and improvident view of the explanatory strength of science in demonstrating how and why nature functions as it does. It is in truth a response that relies altogether on a particular and narrow teleologically-riven definition of 'design' fantasised as an activity of intentional tinkering by some as yet inexplicable super-being, a putative live ethereal, formless, incorporeal, conscious entity with a predilection for handing out miracles and lottery tickets and providing convenient car spaces to deserving believers in crowded parking lots.

Yes there is design in nature, in the sense of consistency, of discernible order, of laws of nature that can be deduced from observation. But nature is full of order just as it is of disorder and entropy and not by some purposeful design. Nature has order in the sense of consistent and predictive laws. It has equal disorder as exampled in the stochastic nature of dark energy matter, or of weather and precipitation and fractal dimensions of coastlines. As I read somewhere, "The fractal geography of a coastline - such as that of Britain - shows more and more detail the closer we zoom into it. If we ask "How long is the coast of Britain," the answer is that it depends on how closely you look at it, or how long your measuring stick is." HERE
That is a given. And in this properly basic scientific understanding of the word 'design', Gods need not apply.

In contrast, teleology and intention-soaked 'design' is simply an anthropomorphic projection of human traits ascribed to a God. The irony here is that if there is a god it can only see the world through the eyes of humans. And that is what science is confirming, bit by bit, piece by piece, incrementally. With each new scientific advance theology retreats.

There is no price to pay by the Cult of Gnu for they never subscribed to the theological nonsense of ID. Behe and Demski are locked out the lab on their own volition because their conclusions are not scientifically founded nor derived from scientific methodology. Behe's mis-concept of Irreducible complexity fits neatly with other religious claims and is cut from the same cloth as the claim God made Adam whole, fully embodied by breathing on some dust. This was the unquestioned belief up to the great seminal work of Charles Darwin. The idea that god creates through evolution is a very recent epochal shift in religious thinking. It remains even today a juxtaposed proposition, some have made the transition to Old Earth creationism and evolution [Reppert and perhaps crude] while the vast majority of American Christians proudly display their ignorance adhering [like shit to a blanket] to the creation myths of the Old Testament.

No ID is dead and buried. And the religious nut at Ball State has been properly guided and mentored away from drivel. Academic freedom does not entail derelict irresponsibility

BenYachov said...

Just a side note as I don't wish to hijack this conversation.


Paps,

A lefty Atheist Commie from Australia like yourself must be real pissed-off right now?

Want to switch countries?

Nah just kidding. How about we switch leaders instead?

There continue. I just HAD to do that.

BenYachov said...

I love this Tony Abbott fellow! WHAT A GUY!!!!


QUOTE"Unlike David Cameron, Abbott does not subscribe to the liberal consensus. The affluent and well-educated folk of Sydney and Melbourne are full of scorn. Abbott is 55, married with three daughters, religious, broadly pro-life and anti-gay marriage; in other words, a neanderthal! He believes in individual enterprise, family values and respect for tried-and-tested institutions."END QUOTE

Australia! Lovely country? Time to break out the Crocodile Dundee movies I have in the basement.

Really we Americans will give you a million dollars for him & we will throw in Obama for free!(Suckers!)

OK I've had my fun. Back to the blog.

mattghg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
im-skeptical said...

"When Skep tries to evaluate evidence, keep in mind he regarded this guy as a reliable source about Catholic history."

crude still can't read and comprehend. Rather than looking at the material I linked, he only looks at the site it came from. It was a list of items quoted directly from the Vatican, intended to show that they have historically wanted to keep knowledge from common people. Now, crude may not like the guy who put it together, but the words are authoritative church doctrine or canon.

So now crude tries to set himself up as arbiter of what is science. Trouble is, crude is a scientific ignoramus.

BenYachov said...

Skept,

I know about that guy Crude linked too. Most Catholics with a passing knowledge of Apologetic know he is just slightly above Jack Chick.

What are you going to for an encore? Argue with a Jew by pointing to Michael Hoffman's "citations" from the Talmud that "prove" Judaism defends pedophilia or the PROTOCALS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION?

BTW you are no genius in the area of science. You are about at the level of Paps.

BenYachov said...

Really Skept a YEC anti-Catholic 7th day Adventist is your source?

Pathetic!

B. Prokop said...

"the words are authoritative church doctrine"

Sorry, Skep, but you have no idea what that expression means. And your linking to that hilarious paranoid conspiracy-theory nutcase website proves it.

Will we next see you linking to UFO-enthusiast "The Truth is Out There" websites?

im-skeptical said...

"Most Catholics with a passing knowledge of Apologetic know he is just slightly above Jack Chick."

So you deny all those quotations from popes, from canon law, from the Catholic Encyclopedia? Just the ramblings of a bunch of nut cases? Maybe you're right.

"BTW you are no genius in the area of science."

Says another scientific ignoramus. I don't claim to be a genius. I know much more about science than a bunch of self-professed philosophical know-it-alls that I see in this forum.

RD Miksa said...

Good Day to All,

Here is an article that I recently wrote concerning the topic of ID that is not only directly relevant to this discussion, but which also argues that if Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is considered to be a science, then ID must be considered so as well.

The article is titled: "Supporting Scientific Dogmatism: The Dangerous Designs of the Neo-Darwinists"

And here it is:

With the recent publication of Stephen C. Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, the topic of Intelligent Design (ID) is once again in the news. And, given this fact, it is thus an ideal time to discuss a subject that is directly related to the ID controversy: namely, the strong dogmatization of science education within Western society.

Now, it has been well known for some time that Western academia has a not insubstantial left-leaning bias—see, for example, Dr. George Yancey’s book Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Education for evidence of this fact—but the sciences have always been seen as a bastion of hard objectivity, where the truth is sought out regardless of the cost, and where the evidence is followed wherever it leads. Yet the ID movement, that annoying thorn in modern science’s side, shows us that this is not the case. Whether it is from ID’s ideas being immediately rejected without reason, to ID’s theories being dismissed by scientists because they are allegedly religious in nature (even though ID is about as much of a religious view as Islam is a race), to the outright marginalization of any scientists who even dabble in ID theory—just watch the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed for a few examples highlighting this truth—the fact is that ID ideas cannot even be safely mentioned within the halls of Western academia, let alone taught there. So why is this the case?

After all, ID—whether true or false—is as scientific as neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is. ID, for example, follows the same “inference to the best explanation” approach as other historical sciences do, and just as neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory does. ID is an empirical discipline, and is based on observations from the natural world. ID papers have been peer-reviewed, and have been accepted in the scientific literature. ID does not employ “gaps” reasoning, but builds its case on what we know intelligent agents can do, thus making a rational inference to intelligent causation (even though "gaps" reasoning is itself a scientific practice). ID ideas, such as irreducible complexity, are eminently falsifiable. ID theorists have made successful predictions based on their theory, such as the prediction that so-called junk DNA would in fact not be junk. ID’s methodology, when employed in non-biological domains, such as forensics, archaeology, or SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), is seen as quite scientific and rational. ID even meets the criteria of methodological naturalism, for ID makes no claim as to the identity of the designer, thus meaning that the designer could be a natural being. And finally, ID is even compatible with evolutionary theory, given that the design may have been front-loaded at the start of the cosmos or might have only happened at the beginning of life itself, thereby letting evolution take over from there. ID, therefore, does indeed meet all the criteria which would normally be used to define something as scientific, so why is it that ID is a verboten subject, whether in the science classroom or otherwise?

Continued....

RD Miksa said...

Continued...

The answer, of course, is that ID is seen as intimately linked to a conservative, right-wing, religious agenda. Forget the fact that many ID proponents are neither religious nor conservative—and forget the fact that many of ID’s opponents are militant, proselytizing atheists—it just is the case that today’s Western academia appears unable to stomach any ideas that might lend support to the religious or conservative side of the culture wars. It cannot risk seeing its secular beliefs challenged, discussed, or potentially defeated in debate. And one need only look at some recent cases to see the truth of this fact. For example, in the “Introduction” of their book What Darwin Got Wrong, atheists and definitely not ID proponents Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini relate the fact that many of their colleagues privately told them that even if what Darwin believed concerning the mechanisms of evolution was substantially wrong, they should nonetheless not disclose this fact in public for to do so was to align themselves with the “Forces of Darkness.” And in the “Afterword and Reply to Critics” in the paperback version of their book, the authors state the following concerning the reception of their work: “…the critical responses…have not been edifying; mostly a howl of reflexive Darwinism, with very little attention paid either to the structure of the arguments or to their repercussions.” The authors conclude that while they hoped a rational discussion could be had on the weaknesses of neo-Darwinian theory, and while they still hope that such a discussion might be possible in the future, they are substantially less hopeful of this fact given the shrill responses to their book. Next is author Bradley Monton and his book Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. In the book’s “Preface,” Monton relates how a prominent ID opponent responded to a draft of his book, essentially saying that ID is part of the hugely consequential culture wars, and that to try to be unbiased towards ID—as Monton was trying to be—only served to support the “wrong” side of that war. Finally, we can think of the reception received by prominent philosopher Thomas Nagel’s book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. In a tweet concerning the book, psychologist Steven Pinker claimed that the previously brilliant Nagel had suddenly become a shoddy thinker. Simon Blackburn, reviewing Nagel’s work for the New Statesman, claimed that “if there were a philosophical Vatican, the book would be a good candidate for going on to the Index [the List of Prohibited Books].” And Mark Vernon, writing for The Guardian Newspaper, awarded Mind and Cosmos the distinction of being the most despised science book of 2012. One has to wonder whether such denunciations would have been thrown against Nagel’s work had it simply supported the standard neo-Darwinian paradigm rather than challenging it.

Continued...

RD Miksa said...

Continued...

So it seems that even the sciences now idolize ideology over impartiality. Thus, rather than learning critical thinking—which is what an ID debate would foster—or seeking out that which is potentially true—which ID very well might be—Western academics, and ID opponents in particular, appear to be pursuing dogma over education. Indeed, they seem to be supporting and solidifying a type of scientific dogmatism that cherishes conformity over inquiry. Yet far from ID being an educational or civilizational danger—as many of its opponents claim it is—it is the lack of learning about ID, as well as the lack of learning about other controversial topics, that is the true danger to Western civilization and education. Truly, it is this educational conformism and dogmatism, supported as it is by those so vehemently opposed to ID, which imperils both science and society. For when the pursuit of ideological purity trumps the seeking of truth, poor results always follow. So, regardless of where you stand on the ID issue, let’s at least thank Stephen C. Meyer, as well as other ID proponents, for indirectly renewing the debate concerning a very interesting and important topic: the dangerous, and growing, dogmatization of modern science.

Take care,

RD Miksa

BenYachov said...

>So you deny all those quotations from popes, from canon law, from the Catholic Encyclopedia?

A text without a context is a pretext.

The following is an actual quote from the Talmud I cite from memory.

"a girl 3 1/2 years old is married by intercourse".

Now taken at face value that seems to say it's ok to marry three year old girls(it doesn't actually & I will spare you the long explanation).

But I've seen many a White Supremacist, Neo-Nazi, and Radical anti-Vatican 2 so called "Traditionalist Catholic" cite the above and similar to "prove" that "authoritative" Jewish documents approve of Pedophilia.

It's bullshit.

So how are you any better here? Did you look up the citations & read them in context? I think not.

I know the Church has never forbidden the pursuit of Scientific knowledge. They have forbidden knowledge of the Occult, non-christian spiritual knowledge, & knowledge of people's personal lives.

Come to think of it Paps used a similar tactic as you. I smacked him down just as hard.

>I know much more about science than a bunch of self-professed philosophical know-it-alls that I see in this forum.

I think grod, TOF, Crude and Bob have forgotten more science then you have ever learned.

You believe in proof texting?

How smart can you be?

Paps level I think.

Ilíon said...

RD Miksa: "Here is an article that I recently wrote concerning the topic of ID that is not only directly relevant to this discussion, but which also argues that if Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is considered to be a science, then ID must be considered so as well."

If "methodological naturalism" doesn't entail or imply "philosophical naturalism", then likewise, "methodoligocal designism" doesn't entail or imply "philosophical designism".

If science (in contrast to 'Science!') can be performed on a basis of "methodological naturalism" without entailing or implying that "philosophical naturalism" is the truth about the nature of reality, then likewise, science can be performed on a basis of "methodological designism" without entailing or implying that "philosophical designism" is the truth about the nature of reality.

And yet, the 'Science!' fetishists, who claim -- when it suits them -- that "methodological naturalism" doesn't entail or imply "philosophical naturalism", are forever up in arms over any suggestion to employ "methodological designism" in science. Their *actions* rather give the lie to their claims, no?

im-skeptical said...

"Whether it is from ID’s ideas being immediately rejected without reason, to ID’s theories being dismissed by scientists because they are allegedly religious in nature (even though ID is about as much of a religious view as Islam is a race), to the outright marginalization of any scientists who even dabble in ID theory"

No, no, and no. Their material is dismissed by the scientific community because it isn't science. It doesn't follow scientific method. It has nothing to do with all the complaints you see in "Expelled". It has to do with what is real science vs pseudo-science.

B. Prokop said...

The Atlantic is reporting that uber-atheist Dawkins just dissed anyone who didn't go to the "right" school. To wit (in an imaginary conversation with The Bard):

"Who are you? And how did a humble country boy like you become the greatest genius, and part creator, of our beloved English language. Might you have been even better if you’d studied at Oxford or Cambridge?"

Oh, the horror! The horror!

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

You said:

"No, no, and no. Their material is dismissed by the scientific community because it isn't science. It doesn't follow scientific method. It has nothing to do with all the complaints you see in "Expelled". It has to do with what is real science vs pseudo-science."

First, if you read a little further in to my article you would realize that I address the issue of how ID is science by any objective criteria. The portion you quote was an introductory opening.

But since you brought up the subject, please go ahead and answer these questions, which will thus establish your knowledge, consistency, and rationality in this particular field:

1) Please define the scientific method?

2) Please provide the objective criteria that differentiate science from pseudo-science?

3) Please explain how and why ID does not meet one of these required criteria of 'science'?

4) And finally, please explain how and why neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory does meet those scientific criteria, but ID does not?

I await your answers.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear llion,

I am in full agreement with the overall thrust of your comment, and while I endorse the idea of methodological naturalism as being a requirement of science only for the sake of argument, it is demonstrably the case that methodological naturalism is actually fatal to the scientific enterprise as a truth-seeking tool if it is applied consistently.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Crude said...

Bob,

The Atlantic is reporting that uber-atheist Dawkins just dissed anyone who didn't go to the "right" school.

Considering Dawkins is currently being called on the carpet - by atheists - over his pedophilia comments, the man's got bigger problems onhand.

The funny thing is, those comments are nothing new. I remember pointing them out on this site repeatedly, only to have Cult of Gnu diehards defending their beloved master to the hilt.

Perhaps they'll still defend him now. In fact, here's someone railing against him - no doubt an eeeevil theist:

Should we be giving pedophiles the idea that a “mild touching up” is reasonable behavior? It’s just a little diddling…it does no “lasting harm”. Christ, that sounds like something out of NAMBLA.

Damn those theists, attacking Dawkins the Pure, the Rational!

Wait, wait. That may not be a theist. Steady on, folks, steady on... ;)

Ilíon said...

RD Miksa: "... it is demonstrably the case that methodological naturalism is actually fatal to the scientific enterprise as a truth-seeking tool ..."

But, modern science *isn't* a "truth-seeking tool"; modern science is a tool for the manipulation and control of the natural world -- truth is utterly irrelevant.

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

You'll probably know who said, "Man's control over nature is simply another way of saying Man's control over other men", or something like that. I can't remember where I saw that.

im-skeptical said...

Scientific method:

Observe phenomena or behavior.
Formulate hypothesis to explain what is observed.
Make predictions of what will happen under various conditions as a consequence the hypothesis.
Conduct experiments or gather more empirical data and analyze to confirm the predictions.

Example of evolution hypothesis: after seeing that animal fossils of different ages appear to show a line of descent, predictions were made that intermediate species would be found in strata of an intermediate age. That is exactly what has happened numerous times.

Example of ID hypothesis: none. They make no testable predictions. Furthermore, the whole basis of ID is that they start with their "theory" and go backwards from there. The scientific method isn't to go out in search of bits of evidence to confirm the hypothesis you already hold. That only leads to ignoring important evidence that doesn't make your case. In science, you need to formulate a hypothesis from the observed evidence that is the BEST explanation of EVERYTHING you observe, and then work on confirming or disconfirming it. If there is any evidence that doesn't fit your theory, you have to explain it or change your hypothesis.

Evolution has long since been raised to the status of to theory from the original hypothesis, which means that it has stood up to all scrutiny and testing. ID was postulated by theists for the purpose of subverting science, and they are having some success with people who don't understand what science is, but not with the scientific community.

B. Prokop said...

"The scientific method isn't to go out in search of bits of evidence to confirm the hypothesis you already hold."

Does this mean that the people at CERN who were searching for (and discovered) the Higgs-Boson particle were not following the scientific method? And how about astronomers today looking for dark matter and dark energy... are they not following the scientific method?

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"ID was postulated by theists for the purpose of subverting science, and they are having some success with people who don't understand what science is, but not with the scientific community."

I have no great interest in defending ID'ers (some flack they get is deserved, some is just rank, shallow ideological bias), but there is an incomensurate difference between Evolution theory and other theories, such as say, QM. The main component of Evolution theory is an *historical* claim. Historical claims are claims about concrete particulars, not universals; history is not a science in the broad Aristotelian sense. And the historical component of Evolution theory is not even History properly speaking, for history relies on written records, and all you have is the pile of debris that the whimsical demiurges Time and Death, have chosen to preserve. So when one speaks about "predictions" of Evolution theory, it can only be in some attenuated, analogical sense.

So while it is entertaining, in a sad, ironical kind of way, to read your naive and shallow understanding of what science is and how it proceeds, pawned off of some brochure directed at high-school level kids, do not expect anyone with even a modicum of knowledge, that has actually set foot in a lab and gone through the motions from theory to experiment, to take it seriously.

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

Wrong on both counts. Those things were postulated based on what has been observed. They use particle accelerator experiments to look for evidence of particles that behave in the predicted way. They are using scientific method. I'm not aware of experiments relating to detection of dark matter, but that doesn't mean they can't make predictions of how things should behave. ID does not make such predictions.

ingx24 said...

im-skeptical,

Sorry to burst your bubble, but ID actually does start from observations: the observation that biological organisms appear to be designed. And it does make falsifiable predictions: it predicts that certain biological phenomena will not be explicable in evolutionary terms.

ID was postulated by theists for the purpose of subverting science, and they are having some success with people who don't understand what science is, but not with the scientific community.

I could easily make the case that evolution was postulated by atheists for the purpose of subverting religion. Evolution was initially postulated to defeat the design argument for theism, not because the evidence favored it. In fact, the evidence in Darwin's own time was if anything against common decent, not in favor of it - it was propagated by people like Thomas Huxley for the purposes of destroying religion at all costs.

Now, is what I just said true? I don't know - I read it somewhere a while back, quite possibly from a biased source that may have taken their quotations out of context. But the same applies to your claim that ID is a religiously-motivated attempt to destroy science at all costs: you read it from a quite possibly biased source, with the quotations from ID theorists possibly taken out of context, and accepted it as fact because it fit your anti-religious agenda.

im-skeptical said...

"So when one speaks about "predictions" of Evolution theory, it can only be in some attenuated, analogical sense."

Well, it's hard to predict what things will be like a million years from now and test those predictions. But we can certainly predict what we expect to find in the geological record.

"So while it is entertaining, in a sad, ironical kind of way, to read your naive and shallow understanding of what science is and how it proceeds ..."

Bla, bla, bla. The babbling of a theist who thinks his gods and ghosts trump scientific evidence. Why don't you tell us all how science really works?

ingx24 said...

grodigues,

Isn't the Aristotelian sense of "science" different from the sense in which we think of it today? If so, you're committing the fallacy of equivocation.

im-skeptical said...

"the observation that biological organisms appear to be designed. And it does make falsifiable predictions: it predicts that certain biological phenomena will not be explicable in evolutionary terms."

What about the observation of the fossil record? Should they just ignore all that? And what about the observation that biological phenomena ARE explicable in evolutionary terms? More babbling from someone who has been taken in by these con artists.

ingx24 said...

For the record, I'm agnostic about whether biological life was designed. I'm also undecided about whether ID is "real science" or not. But I think it gets a lot of unfair treatment: people assume without argument that ID can only be religiously motivated, and that it not only does not deserve to be taken seriously, but that it needs to be suppressed and censored to protect scientific integrity. I am sympathetic to the idea that ID isn't real science and falls under the domain of metaphysics, but this is a double-edged sword for materialists: if claiming that biological life was designed or that evolution was guided counts as non-scientific metaphysics, so does the claim that biological life was not designed, or that evolution is unguided, or that God does not exist, or that the physical is all there is. If science is not in principle capable of supporting theism, it is also incapable in principle of supporting atheism or materialism.

B. Prokop said...

Skep,

I am actually in partial agreement with you as regards ID. For despite the fact that I solidly believe the universe, and especially life, to be the product of conscious, purposeful design, I do not consider ID to be "science".

But so what? I have discovered entire continents of Truth in various ways other than via the scientific method. There is much that I have learned about reality from reading, for instance, Hesiod's Theogony, or by listening to Vaughan William's Job, or by meditating at the center of a 5000 year old stone circle in England. That these methods are a-scientific does not make them unscientific. Nor does it make them less valid paths to Truth.

You really need to learn to have more than just one tool in your toolbox. The scientific method teaches us many things to be sure, but they're not always the most important things.

Yes (and I know I'll take some flak from others on this site for saying this), ID is not science. But neither does science disprove ID! If it isn't silent on the issue, then it ought to be.

im-skeptical said...

"But the same applies to your claim that ID is a religiously-motivated attempt to destroy science at all costs: you read it from a quite possibly biased source, with the quotations from ID theorists possibly taken out of context, and accepted it as fact because it fit your anti-religious agenda."

You are wrong. They have made public their "wedge" strategy, and the purpose is clear. They intend to subvert scientific education.

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

"You really need to learn to have more than just one tool in your toolbox."

When did you ever hear me say that science is the only way to know things? What I have been saying all along is that science works, and it answers questions much more effectively than theism.

"But neither does science disprove ID!"

When did you ever hear me make that claim? What I have been saying is that ID is not science. And the scientific theory of evolution really does provide a comprehensive explanation of how life forms come about, that fits with everything we have been able to observe, unlike ID.

grodrigues said...

@ingx24:

"Isn't the Aristotelian sense of "science" different from the sense in which we think of it today? If so, you're committing the fallacy of equivocation."

You would be correct if either (1) the Aristotelian sense of science is narrower or (2) it does not subsume the modern sense. But rather the reverse is true; the sense in which science, modern empirical science or MES, is taken in a contemporary setting is narrower than the Aristotelian sense.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"The babbling of a theist who thinks his gods and ghosts trump scientific evidence. Why don't you tell us all how science really works?"

This "babbling" theist neither believes "in gods" nor in "ghosts" nor in anything that trumps "scientific evidence". I suspect that what really pisses you off, is that the your whole schtick "Science is on my side! Theists are ignoramuses in scientific matters!" is not only demonstrably false, the situation is quite often the reverse.

BenYachov said...

I'm afraid Skept like Paps is as always moved by kneejerk lefty politics.

ID is for him an opposing political theory & tool of the Right & he can't break out of that mentality.

Now Bob, Crude, Grod and myself don't buy into ID & we can between ourselves think of a host of Thomistic objections to the whole enterprise.

But that doesn't mean we can't also recognize for the most part the anti-philosophy fundie Gnus have a lot of terrible inconsistent polemical arguments. We can still reject ID but we do so on better grounds then the Gnu's kneejerk "It doesn't line up with Science (i.e. meaning Positivism)" meme.

Mercifully there are Atheist Philosophers who know better than the average Gnu.

Nagel and Monton come to mind.

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Politics of the left and the right have nothing to do with ID (or even with atheism, for that matter). There are atheists like Vladimir Lenin and others like Ayn Rand. Just as there are Christians like Rick Santorum and Daniel Berrigan. The full political spectrum is present on both "sides" (which is one reason I have sworn off politics in these discussions).

Skep,

First you claim you never said that science disproves ID ("When did you ever hear me make that claim?"), and then in the very next breath (so to speak) you write this:

" The scientific theory of evolution really does provide a comprehensive explanation of how life forms come about, that fits with everything we have been able to observe, unlike ID."

Which is it? That reads to me like you're saying that "science" disproves ID.

Now I say with complete confidence that the theory of evolution is irrelevant to the veracity of ID. From my experience of running a quarter billion dollar government development program, I can assure you that design is very much an evolutionary process.

Ilíon said...

I-pretend-to-understand-modern-science: "{Darwinism] has long since been raised to the status of to theory from the original hypothesis, which means that it has stood up to all scrutiny and testing."

What an amusingly droll 'Science! fetishist.

"Evolution" has *never* undergone scrutiny and testing -- or, rather, *all* rational scrutiny and honest testing of 'modern evolutionary theory', aka Darwinism, shows it to be irrational, self-contradictory, and false -- not that that has ever given the 'Science! fetishists pause, for their God-hatred *requires* that the world be the result strictly of mindless forces.

Hell! *I* can show "evolution" to be false -- using nothing but:
1) logic, available to anyone;
2) 'modern evolutionary theory', itself;
3) and facts that evolutionists will admit to -- until they realize the implications of those facts in the context of 'modern evolutionary theory'.

There are pages at the Panda's Thumb website claiming to refute me -- without naming me, of course -- though, being DarwinDefenders, they misrepresent the medical/physical facts, and the argument ... and, when they need to do so, even 'modern evolutionary theory' itself.

B. Prokop said...

Now HERE is a link to a discovery that will cause both sides in the ID debate to sit up and take notice!

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Ilíon said...

... [further thought] ...

Just to give the casual reader a taste of what I mean about the intellectual dishonesty of DarwinDefenders in their habit of saying anything and its opposite in their defence of their "theory" of "ItAllJustHappenedForNoParticularReasonAtAll", here is the fowl atheist arguing against a really strange "hypothesis" that Homo sapiens is actually a hybrid between an ape species and a pig species.

Now, the point here is that ol' PZ makes use of the gist of my evidential argument against 'modern evolutionary theory' (*) to demonstrate the biological impossibity that we humans are the result of hybridization between apes and pigs. Well, and fine.

But, suddenly, that very same argument -- along with the data supporting it -- is "invalid" whem it is used to demonstrate the falsehood of Darwinism.

(*) When I write 'modern evolutionary theory', I *mocking* it -- I'm pointing out that, in much the same way that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire, so, too, 'modern evolutionary theory' is neither particularly modern, nor evolutionary, nor a scientific theory.

Ilíon said...

"Now HERE is a link to a discovery that will cause both sides in the ID debate to sit up and take notice!"

Nothing in the world can compel DarwinDefenders to "sit up and take notice" (with ot without the "!") ... for to begin to do so is to begin to doubt the truth of 'modern evolutionary theory', and they really, really, really need "ItAllJustHappenedForNoParticularReasonAtAll" to be true.

B. Prokop said...

The South Park clip on Ilion's link is the best part!!!

ingx24 said...

Yep, just as I thought - Ilion is an *actual* example of a science-denying, evolution-denying, Christian fundamentalist creationist. Figures.

I wonder if his "refutation" of evolution is as amusing as his "proof" that materialism and atheism are the same thing. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"Which is it? That reads to me like you're saying that "science" disproves ID."

Sorry if you don't understand my words. I'm not having anything "both ways".

"Science is on my side! Theists are ignoramuses in scientific matters!"

Your words, not mine.

"There are pages at the Panda's Thumb website claiming to refute me"

There is also the whole body of scientific knowledge that refutes you.

B. Prokop said...

Playing devil's advocate here, because I do not consider ID to be science, let's take a look at Skep's definition of the scientific method, vis a vis ID:

Observe phenomena or behavior.

OK, so ID proponents look at various systems and subsystems within living organisms. So far, so good. No conflict with Skep's definition.

Formulate hypothesis to explain what is observed.

Well, ID proponents have hypothesized that certain observed features are "irreducibly complex" (IC). Once again, right in lockstep with Skep's notion of what science is supposed to be.

Make predictions of what will happen under various conditions as a consequence the hypothesis.

Let's see now, ID proponents have predicted that we'll find more such examples of IC within nature. Dammit, but that ID train just keeps rolling on down Skep's "science" track.

Conduct experiments or gather more empirical data and analyze to confirm the predictions.

And voila! A fully-formed, irreducibly complex example of a gear, for heaven's sake, is found in some obscure insect, confirming the prediction that more such features will be found.

So according to Skep's own definition, ID is science!

im-skeptical said...

"So according to Skep's own definition, ID is science!"

Not even close. They fail at step 1. They fail to observe anything but what they already see as the answer: intelligent design. That is not an observation at all. That's not science.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"Not even close. They fail at step 1. They fail to observe anything but what they already see as the answer: intelligent design. That is not an observation at all. That's not science."

Facepalm.

This is hilarious.

B. Prokop said...

I realize that was very trollish of me, but I just couldn't help myself. But in my defense, I was following the scientific method, to wit:

1. I observed Skep's behavior in other exchanges on this site.

2. I hypothesized that Skep was unable to see irony if it leaped up and bit him in the nose.

3. I predicted that he would rise to the bait, given the proper stimulus.

4. I conducted an experiment with my last posting, and confirmed my hypothesis!

'Nuff said!

im-skeptical said...

"This is hilarious."

What is hilarious is the way people like you adhere stubbornly to ancient ideas that have no bearing on our understanding of how things work in the real world. The Thomistic worldview is based on fundamental assumptions that have no basis other than blind faith. No evidence to back them up, unless you insist on seeing things that are conjured up by your own mind, and call that evidence. Grodrigues, you keep saying the things I believe are "demonstrably false", but you are just spouting words. You never demonstrate anything.

Ilion imagines that his right-wing theism-addled mind is the perfect specimen of logical thinking, and that it is not he who just needs his his worldview to be true. He's dreaming.

Bob thinks because he uses a telescope and hangs around with some professors, he knows a lot about science. I'll run rings around you in my sleep. I learned more about science in high school than you have ever shown me. What I see is a pretender. Nothing more.

B. Prokop said...

But I don't pretend, Skep. I've admitted several times that I rely on others for what expertise in science that I have. No pretense there at all. You can accuse me of a lot of stuff, but pretense ain't one of them!

Now you on the other hand pretend to be skeptical, which, in the immortal words of Grodrigues, is "demonstrably false". (And we have demonstrated it - multiple times.)

Crude said...

Grod,

This is hilarious.

The funny thing is, guys like Skep think they're actually helping their cause. "Guys I'm ANGRY and I say SCIENCE a lot. Look at me! I'm helping!" When the fact is, any atheist thinker actually in command of their knowledge would take one look at his ramblings, grit his teeth, and murmur "Will you please sit down and shut the hell up, you ignoramus?"

But he can't help himself, because really - if he was swift enough to understand arguments, science, and evidence, he wouldn't take the positions he holds to begin with. ;)

BenYachov said...

>The Thomistic worldview is based on fundamental assumptions that have no basis other than blind faith.

**Double face palm!**

No it's based on Moderate Realism, the classic principle of sufficient reason, & classic Aristotelian logic.

You are thinking of Fideism which is hundreds of years later than Thomism & formally condemned by the First Vatican Council.

Skept is giving Paps a run for his money in the stoopid dept.

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Linton isn't stupid. Far better for him if he were, because the (increasingly likely) alternative is that he's willfully ignorant, i.e., he chooses to reject truth and embrace error.

Or you can be more charitable, and say he's possessed. That at least moves a portion of the culpability away from Mr. Wilson, and onto the already damned.

Crude said...

Skept is giving Paps a run for his money in the stoopid dept.

I pointed out that he wasn't exactly bright a while ago, and some people thought I was being too mean. I notice that rallying to his defense on the view that I was *wrong* didn't make much of an appearance, but mean all the same. Oh well. ;)

He's like Linton, with a key difference. Linton plagiarizes because he knows he can't comprehend what he's talking about. Skep lacks even that much self-awareness.

Though I still love the fact that a Cult of Gnu atheist unwittingly quoted a freaking Jack Chick style website as an authority. I don't know how he's going to top that.

im-skeptical said...

"You are thinking of Fideism"

Nope. I'm definitely referring to Thomism and the whole worldview that goes with it, based on logic built upon absurd assumptions that are simply not true, and only seem to be true if you have already bought into the worldview. It's self affirming, circular thinking.

BenYachov said...

If anything Skept fits BenYachov's Definition of a Fundie.

A Fundie is a person who dogmatically believes in his invalid arguments even at the expense of his valid truth.

B. Prokop said...

"Nope. I'm definitely referring to Thomism"

Nope. You're referring to fideism.

The fact that you can't distinguish between the two demonstrates that you haven't the least clue of what you are talking about.

But far worse, the fact that you can't admit it makes everything else you say utterly unreliable. You can't be trusted to know anything that you claim you do, when you demonstrably claim to have knowledge where you don't.

BenYachov said...

>I'm definitely referring to Thomism and the whole worldview that goes with it,

Looks like Fideism to me & nothing like Thomism or are you also confusing Thomism with Catholicism?


>based on logic built upon absurd assumptions that are simply not true,

How is the assumption our senses tell us something true about the world absurd? Also how can you concretly demonstraight that it's absurd since you need your senses to analysis data in the first place?

Without Moderate Realism you can't have real Science.

>and only seem to be true if you have already bought into the worldview. It's self affirming, circular thinking.

Yes you would know about that wouldn't you?

grodrigues said...

@Crude:

"Though I still love the fact that a Cult of Gnu atheist unwittingly quoted a freaking Jack Chick style website as an authority. I don't know how he's going to top that."

Here, im-skeptical, in response to BenYachov, posted this (in part only):

"Not all metaphysics is Thomist metaphysics. I said you should expand your own horizon, because I think you really don't understand a lot of things outside the ancient Thomist view of things. Other metaphysical views are indeed more representative of the reality of our world.

Here's an example: http://www.megafoundation.org/CTMU/Articles/Supernova.html

The whole Aristotelian bit with its act and potency, its essentialism, etc, just doesn't work as a way of understanding our world. It is completely out of touch with science, and therefore, not in harmony with modern ways of thinking. It needs to be refreshed with an injection of scientific thinking from the past few centuries, or it will remain forever an anachronism."

Take a gander at the article and see what im-skeptical thinks is a good example of "metaphysical views are indeed more representative of the reality of our world", and presumably, more "in harmony with modern ways of thinking" and refreshed "with an injection of scientific thinking from the past few centuries". Among the accomplishments, the author claims to have dissolved the paradoxes of "of ex nihilo creation and quantum nonlocality" and solving "the mind-body problem for good".

note: in the interests of fairness, im-skeptical says a little bit later that "I never said it represented my views.". You can read the whole thing, if you have the stomach for it; I will let you decide what to make of his excuse.

And then we have to hear im-skeptical saying about Thomism that is "based on logic built upon absurd assumptions that are simply not true, and only seem to be true if you have already bought into the worldview. It's self affirming, circular thinking". Hilarious, I say.

last note: if you are wondering how I came up with this, the answer is that I have archives of all my posts arranged in an easy to search way and a decent memory for this particular sort of crap.

Crude said...

Grod,

You must have one hell of an interesting archive. :)

Take a gander at the article and see what im-skeptical thinks is a good example of "metaphysical views are indeed more representative of the reality of our world", and presumably, more "in harmony with modern ways of thinking" and refreshed "with an injection of scientific thinking from the past few centuries". Among the accomplishments, the author claims to have dissolved the paradoxes of "of ex nihilo creation and quantum nonlocality" and solving "the mind-body problem for good".

Gosh, it's almost as if he skims sites rather than comprehends them, and that his ability to estimate whether or not a scientifically valid claim is being made amounts to "Is it being said by someone who seems like an atheist? Are they throwing around a lot of sciencey words?"

Papalinton said...

What is hilarious are the believers of supernatural superstition attempting to instruct non-believers of supernatural superstition what science is and is not. A bit rich and presumptuous really.
These are the same folks that claim without a shred of humility and embarrassment that a 3-day old putrescent corpse physically sat up, yawned and stretched, as one does after being butchered, then went in search of his mates for a bit of lunch, a tad of libation and a chin-wag. These are the same folk that tell us with a straight face they would rather believe in a story with a talking snake, hydrophobic walking, revivification, and bodily levitation than confront the reality that these are simply folkloric accounts with no evidential credibility of any kind. They are myths, therefore mythemes of a bygone era of human ignorance, a time riven with spirits, gods, nephilim, seraphim, satans, devils, curses, and other things that go bump in the night; christian ju-ju at its zenith.

The great [?] 'scholarship' [use of irony here for the woo-meisters in case it is missed] of contemporary christian apologetics, together with their hangers-on like crude, and Yachov and Prokop is how they so wish to make their branding of religious woo meaningful in today's ever increasing and rightly skeptical community. They are trying so hard, almost wishing against wishing itself, to accomplish two irreconcilable and singularly fruitless tasks: [1] to accommodate mythic scripture into an old earth theology, [2] and in the spirit of that accommodationism try to tell us that the revelations through mystical superstitious supernatural woo is compatible with the revelations of science as co-equally valid explanations. All I can say is, pull the other leg.

And like every religion that preceded them Christianity will inexorably traipse the same evolutionary path. The lessons of history are clear and unequivocal. However, and perhaps a little depressing, what we do know through science, psychology, sociology, anthropology and a raft of other investigatory fields of research about the human condition is there ill always be a genetic, evolutionary predisposition towards agency detection in the most mundane of co-incidences, even when we know that no agency exists as an explanation. There will be many that will not receive the education sufficient to contain it. The global religion of the future may well have already been spawned by our great creative juices and we have yet to recognise it. It will be very interesting to see what shape, form and type of supreme being evolves to meet the challenges of the future. Perhaps Deepak Chopra has already flagged the kind of spectral intelligence that will inevitably subsume the christian Jesusgod. No? ;o)

But science will just plug on its way discovering all that can be discovered and explained and through those discoveries tangentially expose the miasma of the current panoply of religious woo for the explanatory frauds they are.

Done and dusted really. Tribal religion? Nowhere to hide anymore despite the efforts of Meyers, Demski, Feser et al.

BenYachov said...

>What is hilarious are the believers of supernatural superstition attempting to instruct non-believers of supernatural superstition what science is and is not. A bit rich and presumptuous really.


Well at least Paps is up front in embracing his stupidity.

BenYachov's Law: Reasoning is a learned skill. Just because you deny the existence of god(s) doesn't automatically make you rational.

So all I have to do in Paps' fantasy reality is deny Jesus as my Lord and Personal Savior & I will by osmosis instantaneously acquire Scientific competence and acumen?

So actually studying Science and doing actual experiments or learning the Philosophy of Science isn't really required at all?

So Bob doing Astronomy & grod acquiring a professional knowledge of Math and doing lab experiments or TOF learning Hard Science so he can write his Hard Science Fiction novels doesn't count at all since they all believe in God?

But a gym teacher down in Kangaroo land(who just elected an awesome PM. Offer is still open to trade him for Obama) by denying god(s) knows more.

Of course! That makes more sense then believing someone returned from the dead.

That should be obvious to anyone.

Lastly Paps there is this bridge over in Brooklyn a dozen miles from where I live. I'll sell it to you for $3,000 down. It's a steal. What do you say?

BenYachov said...

>Nowhere to hide anymore despite the efforts of Meyers, Demski, Feser et al.

Yet what happen to the progressive secular liberal guy who ran your country?

Oh that's right. He's out of the Job. You can always hide in DC or Detroit or Chicago.

Just saying.:-)

Crude said...

So all I have to do in Paps' fantasy reality is deny Jesus as my Lord and Personal Savior & I will by osmosis instantaneously acquire Scientific competence and acumen?

This actually hits the nail on the head.

Cultists of Gnu seem to honestly think that just by virtue of their being atheists, they automatically are not only honorary scientists, but intrinsically know more about science, science's limits, theology, philosophy, and whatever else, /just because they are Cult of Gnu atheists/. The very idea that, say... a theist may know *more* than they do about a given subject (or worse, actually be smarter than them, either generally or in a particular field), is almost alien. It's tough to even admit as a live possibility.

So when Linton plagiarizes and lies about his knowledge, or when Skep starts linking to hilarious joke 'sources', the very source of why they made the mistake they did is filtered out. Why, they're atheists! Atheists are smart! Atheists like science! Ergo, they're good at science and reasoning, ergo, they can't have any flaws in their worldview. (Forget that none of these things follow from the premises. But that's the reasoning.)

By the way, I notice none of them too my Dawkins pedophilia bait. Man, remember those days when folks would fight to the hilt that Dawkins' views on that were totally reasonable? It's a bit different now that PZ Myers is comparing his writings to a NAMBLA member, atheists are writing petitions to protest Dawkins' words, and he's also on the outs with the vestiges of the Atheism+ splinter cult movement. They don't know which way the wind is blowing, so best to keep their heads down. ;)

B. Prokop said...

I'd like everyone to take note of the really major concession Mr. Wilson has just made in his latest posting. He is no longer claiming that atheism is the unstoppable wave of the future. He is now predicting only that some new as yet unknown religion will take over from Christianity, but that Man will remain a theistic being.

Boy, what happened to all this inevitable March of Progress we'd been hearing about for so long? You may be right, Ben, and he's feeling a bit down due to the recent election results Down Under.

Papalinton said...

"By the way, I notice none of them too [sic] my Dawkins [sic] pedophilia bait."

I'll bite.

Dawkins was asked [to paraphrase] who would he like to meet from the past?

Dawkins response: "Sorry to be boringly predictable, but Shakespeare. Who are you? And how did a humble country boy like you become the greatest genius, and part creator, of our beloved English language. Might you have been even better if you’d studied at Oxford or Cambridge?"

A delightfully jocular rejoinder from one of the greatest thinkers of today to one of the greatest literary masters of the past. When read in context this is the only conclusion that one can draw with any sense of fairness or decorum. But of course Crude is a christian and therefore nothing outside the Christmyth bubble merits fairness and decorum unless and until it is deemed part of that Christian spume.

No matter how Crude might try to milk this somewhat silly article for all it's worth his effort's remain simply pious religious-inspired malignity with the expressed intent of egregiously impugning another's character. But that's not unexpected. Non-believers in Christian shamanism have long felt the full brunt of christian 'tough love'. It is par for the course.

And funnily enough Dawkins progresses from strength to strength. Feser? What's a Feser?

BenYachov said...

>and funnily enough Dawkins progresses from strength to strength. Feser? What's a Feser?

A....MIGHTY.... FORTRESS....IS....OUR.... DAWKINS!

A....BULWARK....NEVER....FAILING!

Yeh I know that is Lutheran but sue me I liked watching Davy and Goliath as a boy.

Nature abhors a vacuum. You throw out God you leave a God sized hole in yourself you will have to fill.

To get away from the old German rebel Priest & back to being a Catholic. To paraphrase St. Sir Thomas More's words to Richie Rich.

"It doth not profit a man to gain the whole world if he looses his soul. But for Dawkins?".

Crude said...

A....MIGHTY.... FORTRESS....IS....OUR.... DAWKINS!

A....BULWARK....NEVER....FAILING!


No kidding, Ben. ;)

There's Dawkins, struggling mightily to explain his long-standing 'Hey don't get so worked up about mild child sexual abuse' attitude, being regarded as a guy who sounds like a NAMBLA member even by one of his fellow cult leaders.

Again, that leaves his followers in quite the dilemma. Will they defend their mighty leader's apologetics on behalf of "mild" child predators, becoming even bigger intellectual pariahs than they are? Will they turn on him, like Myers, and risk backlash?

Or will they ignore it altogether, and hope it passes.

There's that old saying, there are no atheists in foxholes. I don't know about that - but there's certainly no Cult of Gnu members in foxholes. Not because they've converted, but because when one of their leaders takes too much heat, they don't go to war for either side.

They draft-dodge. ;)

RD Miksa said...

Good Day to All,

I see that a number of individuals have already explained to Skep how ID meets the very criteria of science that he lays out. And this is precisely why I readily admit that IF something like neo-Darwinian evolution is considered scientific, then ID must be considered scientific as well.

To me, the funniest part of this whole "is ID science or not" discussion is that ID is, at its most basic level, absolutely no threat to naturalism. In fact, without any logical inconsistency, a naturalist could easily be a proponent of ID. And in addition to this fact, what also makes this discussion humorous is that it is more than possible to admit that ID is science even if ID is considered to be utterly false. Indeed, a person could easily contend that ID is false, and yet still hold that ID is science.

This is why, when looked at from a purely objective, truth-seeking perspective, I don't understand the great uproar that ID causes. Ultimately, it is such a benign idea, that is, in and of itself, of so little threat to naturalism or science, that apart from the alleged cultural ramifications of supporting ID, there is absolutely no objective reason for why the naturalist should consider ID to be unscientific.

Yet the fact that so many naturalists--kind of like Skep--oppose ID while simultaneously butchering the ideas behind ID and also showing an utter lack of objectivity concerning it, says more about them than it does about ID.

Papalinton said...

"I'd like everyone to take note of the really major concession Mr. Wilson has just made in his latest posting. He is no longer claiming that atheism is the unstoppable wave of the future. He is now predicting only that some new as yet unknown religion will take over from Christianity, but that Man will remain a theistic being."

No, that is a purely apologetical exegesis and has nothing to do with what I wrote. My comment made it very clear that while ever the human species remains uneducated, unschooled and untaught on how best to contain and discipline our intellect about the inherent genetic predisposition we all have for detecting agency where there clearly is no agent, colourfully summoned up in things as such as poltergeists, ghosts, gods, devils, ethereal spirits and other supernatural entities supposedly able to enact physical disturbances against the laws of physics and nature manifested[?] in apparent miracles, revivification of putrescent corpses and other things that go bump in the night. Such ignorance, superstition and unjustified belief will remain a persistent and debilitating feature of the human condition. If we do not constrain, control and govern our unchecked proclivity for conjuring these agents, these false positives which are a product of our earlier evolutionary-developed species survival skills, we will be forever manacled to the primitive superstitious religious impulse in spite of our own best interests.

The real concession here is that if we do not apprise the religio-head of the folly of god-drenched superstitious supernaturalism it seems likely we will forever repeat the mistakes of the past with every new religion that has been concocted. Mormonism and Scientology come to mind of the most recent incarnations of supernatural superstition.

Mormonism could not have been conceived without the Christian mytheme. Christianity could not have been conceived without Judaic mythology. Mithraism, the cult of the god Mithras, which became popular among Roman soldiers of the later empire, is historically known to have been the main rival to Christianity in the first three centuries CE. And Judaism could not have been conceived without its antecedent Babylonian, Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythologies. These are known facts. The evidence for their culturally-derived origins is undisguised and undisputed.

Christianity is but one of the almost incalculable manifest expressions of our species evolutionary-instilled penchant for misguided false positive agency detection. Those that believe otherwise are woo-meisters.

Papalinton said...

Miksa
"I see that a number of individuals have already explained to Skep how ID meets the very criteria of science that he lays out. And this is precisely why I readily admit that IF something like neo-Darwinian evolution is considered scientific, then ID must be considered scientific as well."

Which universe do you live in?

It was a plain and simple decision. ID is not science. Evolution is science. Period.
"A six-week trial over the issue yielded “overwhelming evidence” establishing that intelligent design “is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory,” said Jones [judge presiding], a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago." READ the rest of the NBCNews article HERE

Christians must learn to desist from lying and misrepresentation of known events. It is unbecoming.
Now quit the dark arts of Christian scholarship before you hurt yourself.

Papalinton said...

"There's that old saying, there are no atheists in foxholes."

Jesus H Christ on a bike. Get real. Everyone knows the old adage 'There are no atheists in foxholes' isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes. And as Darrell Plank, well known American computer game developer for Microsoft, noted:
"Every Christian who tries to escape the path of a speeding bullet with fear in his eyes is an example of a 'foxhole conversion' to atheism ... There are a hell of a lot more of those conversions than there are of atheists to Christians."

And on a side note one could not pass up the opportunity to share the truth in this most astute observation: "Immortality is a belief grounded upon other mens sayings, that they knew it supernaturally; or that they knew those who knew them that knew others that knew it supernaturally." Thomas Hobbes

Case closed. Slam dunk.

Crude said...

Hey guys, did you know Richard Dawkins had a cameo on Family Guy?

Check it out. It's amazing how accurately they represented him and his views. ;)

Crude said...

RD Miksa,

To me, the funniest part of this whole "is ID science or not" discussion is that ID is, at its most basic level, absolutely no threat to naturalism. In fact, without any logical inconsistency, a naturalist could easily be a proponent of ID.

Glad to see someone else making this point. It's usually a dead giveaway when anyone identifies intelligent design with an explicitly theistic or non'-supernatural' (whatever that means) argument, that they're either BSing or haven't been paying attention. At least as far as the ID of Behe, etc are concerned. Whether one agrees with it or not, that much is clear.

I say that as someone who doesn't think ID is science. But then again, I think 'naturalism' is bunk, including the methodological form.

B. Prokop said...

I decided to explore the site Victor linked to at the head of this thread, and I discovered this interesting item, HERE, which, as an aside to the primary discussion about free will, describes Jerry Coyne's proposals for "reforming" our judicial system to do away with the concepts of guilt and innocence, good and evil, and punishment. What struck me most was that this was all predicted in C.S. Lewis's novel That Hideous Strength, in which the N.I.C.E. took control of the British court system, and subjected criminals to openended extrajudicial social engineering. Quite frightening, really.

And now it is being proposed in all seriousness - and not in a dystopian novel, but in the Real World. And the gnus tell us we have nothing to worry about. It's all going to be a bright, shiny, squeaky clean atheist utopia!

Well, my suggestion is that, if you have not yet read Lewis's novel, do so immediately. This is definitely one book I wish weren't so damn prophetic!

Ilíon said...

"... as an aside to the primary discussion about free will, describes Jerry Coyne's proposals for "reforming" our judicial system to do away with the concepts of guilt and innocence, good and evil, and punishment."

Dawkins made the same (ahem) arguments and proposals some years ago; which I examine here.

"Well, my suggestion is that, if you have not yet read Lewis's novel, do so immediately. This is definitely one book I wish weren't so damn prophetic!"

Or, for the short version, read his essay: 'The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment'.

B. Prokop said...

Well. I haven't seen that before. Sort of explains why Dawkins has gone all "understanding" over pedophiles, and why he thinks it's no Big Deal.

This as actually fascinating to watch. It's kind of like that giant bronze statue in the movie Jason and the Argonauts, where first the cracks appear, then it starts to totter ever so slightly, then shudder horribly, only to finally crash with a redounding thud.

Ilíon said...

"Well. I haven't seen that before. Sort of explains why Dawkins has gone all "understanding" over pedophiles, and why he thinks it's no Big Deal."

If there is no such thing as right and wrong, then it follows that no action is wrong (or right). If there is no such thing as free will, then it follows that no one can choose to do other than he does, and it follows that no one is to blame (nor deserves praise) for what he does.

But, of course, on one -- not Dawkins, not Dennett, not Coyne -- believes either of these claims, NOR the implications of them. And, as I showed, Dawkins admitted in public writing that he himself doesn't believe what he's trying to convince others to believe; and even if he hadn't put that down on paper, his actions since show that he doesn't believe it.

And, in fact, these very arguments show that these fellows don't believe what they themselves are saying. For, notice: all such arguments are premised on the truth that people *can* choose to believe and act differently than they have in the past. Notice, further, these arguments rely upon a hidden premise -- which cannot be acknowledged without giving away the store -- to wit: that it is morally wrong to punish people as though they were moral agents. Yet, the argument(s) explicitly state(s) that no one is a moral agent -- and, if there were true, then it cannot also be true that it is morally wrong to punish people as though they were moral agents.


Think about this --

If one were to ask a Dawkins or a Coyne, "So, are you saying that it's morally wrong to punish people as retribution for their actions?", he can't come right out and say, "Yes", even though that's the attitude/belief he wants his audience to adopt. And he can't come right out and say, "No", because his (ahem) argument is convincing only so long as he can convince his audience to adopt the hidden assumption that it *is* morally wrong to punish people retributively.

As he's explicitly saying that there is no such thing as morality, not such thing as right and wrong, he can't answer the question either way. So, he'll weasel something like, "Well, that's not what I'm saying."

Most people won't think to keep pushing his "logic" by next asking, "So, are you saying that it's *not* morally wrong to punish people as retribution for their actions?" Again, he can't answer the question directly, for that would be to give the show away. Likely, he'll try something like, "Well, as I have been explaining, there is no 'free will', and so no such thing as 'right' and 'wrong'. So, really, your questions are category errors."

Most people will be nonplussed (which is likely the intention), and will clam up. But, if the person presses on, he may say, "Ah! I think I see. It's like you liking chocolate ice cream best of all and me liking vanilla ice cream best of all -- either answer is as good as the other, for the issue isn't about what is 'true' or 'correct'?"

Thinking that he's finally dodged this line of questioning, Coyne or Dawkins may answer, "Exactly! Questions of 'right' and 'wrong' are irrelevant; they don't actually apply."

To which the questioner ought to respond, "So, your 'flavor' is 'don't punish people retributively', and my 'flavor' is '*do* punish people retributively' -- and it's all good!"

Papalinton said...

"What struck me most was that this was all predicted in C.S. Lewis's novel That Hideous Strength...."

It's a novel, Bob, a novel. 'Dr Strangelove' was also a novel. And so was Orwell's '1984'.

Crude said...

Regarding Dawkins on morality - I believe Dawkins stated that Sam Harris changed his mind about 'objective morality'.

Now, if only someone could change Dawkins' mind about "mild pedophilia"...

Victor Reppert said...

Can someone kindly explain to me who died and made some federal judge in Pennsylvania the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not science?

Do people realize that if there hadn't been a personnel change on the Dover school board, the case would have gone up the court system, and there is some evidence that if it had made to the Supreme Court, some justices were likely to overturn the case?

Crude said...

Can someone kindly explain to me who died and made some federal judge in Pennsylvania the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not science?

Yeah, that's the amazing thing, isn't it? The number of people who will say 'ID isn't science - look at how this judge ruled!', sans argument, is a sight to behold.

B. Prokop said...

Here's a interesting suggestion:

William Lane Craig ought to come out and say he's going to refuse to debate Dawkins until Dawkins stops apologizing for pedophiles!

"It's a novel, Bob, a novel."

So there you have it, people. No sense in trying to tease any meaning out of, say Hamlet, because after all, "It's just a play." And forget about learning anything about humanity from The Iliad, because "It's just a poem." And Heaven forbid we delve a wee bit deeper into the mystery of existence by reading Moby Dick, because "It's just a novel."

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"I see that a number of individuals have already explained to Skep how ID meets the very criteria of science that he lays out. And this is precisely why I readily admit that IF something like neo-Darwinian evolution is considered scientific, then ID must be considered scientific as well. "

Sorry. You're still wrong.
1. They don't observe the vast majority of things relevant to the question their field tries to answer. It' not good enough to just look at things of their choosing and say, "these things appear to be designed", while passing over mountains of evidence that point to the opposite conclusion. You have to talk all evidence into account. They don't.
2. The so-called hypothesis pf irreducible complexity is just a speculation. There is no way of quantifying, measuring, or testing it. How do you know something is irreducibly complex? Just because they say it is? What about all the things they said were, only to be shot down by real scientific evidence? Furthermore, how does this "hypothesis" explain what is observed better than evolution? It doesn't
3. "ID proponents have predicted that we'll find more such examples of IC within nature" That's a prediction? They can't even describe unambiguously what is irreducibly complex. This is utterly meaningless. How do you test it? You can't. Compare that to the example i gave, (which is just one of many quantifiable, testable predictions that come from evolution. They predicted exactly which strata they would find certain examples in, and the predictions held true.

4. "And voila! A fully-formed, irreducibly complex example of a gear" That's not an experiment. It's not a test of the hypothesis. That's not verifiable. Things are not irreducibly complex just because they say so.

They need real empirical data (not just "that looks irreducible"). They need a real hypothesis. They need real measurements (jot just some vague notion of CSI). But most of all, they'll never be conducting science as long as their "theory" is the starting point their investigations. Real scientists let the evidence lead where it will, and develop theories to explain the evidence. IDists start with their theism (or "intelligent designer") and look for evidence to confirm it. That's not science. Period.

"This is why, when looked at from a purely objective, truth-seeking perspective, I don't understand the great uproar that ID causes."

Maybe you should learn what science is. Please don't be another scientific ignoramus.

Crude said...

William Lane Craig ought to come out and say he's going to refuse to debate Dawkins until Dawkins stops apologizing for pedophiles!

Ahahaha. That would be awesome. And vastly more intellectually warranted.

The only problem is that Craig would love to debate Dawkins. Still, I imagine if Dawkins ever tries to debate again, this may come up.

ingx24 said...

im-skeptical,

Something is "irreducibly complex" when the failure of even one part to function causes the entire thing to fail. The argument is that, if some organic structures are irreducibly complex, they cannot have been developed gradually over time, as it will only function (and therefore can only be selected for) when it is fully-developed. This may or may not be a good argument, but it is certainly not "this looks too complex to be made by accident; it must have been designed". Try ACTUALLY MAKING AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR OPPONENT'S ARGUMENTS before attacking them. It just shows you have no idea what you're talking about.

Crude said...

They can't even describe unambiguously what is irreducibly complex.

What is Michael Behe's definition of irreducible complexity, Skeppy?

Quick! Google! OH SHIT, that's an ID website! Keep scrolling down until you find an atheist giving an unsourced explanation of how Behe defines irreducible complexity!

Be sure to only skim that webpage, so when it inevitably turns out that his next post is about how lizard humanoid aliens are controlling the US government, I can find it and point it out, laughing.

Gotta follow the script you've established. ;)

im-skeptical said...

ingx24

"Try ACTUALLY MAKING AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR OPPONENT'S ARGUMENTS before attacking them."

I'm afraid you're the one who doesn't understand. Don't you think this has all been addressed before? Have you ever read "The Blind Watchmaker"? Can the IDists prove that anything is irreducibly complex? No, no, and no. Did you even read what I said? Just claiming something is irreducibly complex does not make it so. It's bullshit. It just shows you have no idea what you're talking about.

Crude said...

Don't you think this has all been addressed before?

Then address it. Start by defining irreducible complexity as Behe states it.

Just claiming something is irreducibly complex does not make it so.

But you said they can't even unambiguously state what is or isn't irreducibly complex.

Come now, Skeppy. Let's see that definition - how Michael Behe defines irreducible complexity. Then all of us - people who have actually read enough about ID to become familiar with the actual arguments - will be able to evaluate if you even understand what you're talking about, before we move on to your actual arguments.

Surely you have some... right? ;)

im-skeptical said...

crude,

Your incessant trolling does nothing to impress people. And you might seem a little more intelligent if you occasionally made the effort to understand my words.

Let me ask you something. Can you name something that is unambiguously irreducibly complex? Tell me exactly what makes it irreducibly complex and tell me how you (and the rest of the world) would know this.

If you can do that, I'll answer your questions. If you can't you're just farting into the wind.

Crude said...

Skep,

Your incessant trolling does nothing to impress people.

Actually, I get some people to laugh at my targets, and I put up some damn good arguments at times too. I'm also congenial and fair with civil atheists and agnostics.

Demonstrably. ;)

Let me ask you something. Can you name something that is unambiguously irreducibly complex? Tell me exactly what makes it irreducibly complex and tell me how you (and the rest of the world) would know this.

If you can do that, I'll answer your questions.


Wait a second.

I asked you to define irreducible complexity, as one if its most well known proponents defines it.

You refuse to answer my question unless... I answer the question in advance.

This is the point where I note, once again, that you're not half as clever as you think you are. In fact, you're pretty slow. ;)

Further, I don't defend ID as science - I'm on record as thinking it is, whatever its value, not science. So your question to me is moot.

Mine, however, still stands. Define irreducibly complexity as Behe sees it. You've cast your judgement on it, you've attacked it. But strangely, you seem allergic to defining it.

But wait, I know what's coming: you won't define it, because you don't know. Your knowledge of ID is as far as "ID is BAD" and "Atheists call ID religion, so it must be!", and that's it. Worse, you know that if you do define it, then I'm going to engage you in argument - and that has never gone well for you.

Now follow the script, Skeppy. Refuse to define it, sling insults, and run away. Or surprise me, define it, and we'll move on to the discussion portion of the exchange.

My bet? You're sticking to the script. It's never worked, but at least it will let you cut your losses. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"Now follow the script, Skeppy."

I have no obligation to you. If you want to have some discussion with me, fine. Please show me you're not a troll. Otherwise, piss off.

Crude said...

I have no obligation to you.

He says, while following the script to the letter. ;)

BenYachov said...

Skept's coyness here tells me he doesn't know just like he doesn't have a clue what philosophy is or science or Thomism.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep,

I was going to write a long reply to you, but before I do, let me ask you a quick question, and I ask that you please answer it honestly and truthfully:

Honestly, is there any argument or fact that would EVER convince you that ID is science?

Note that I did not say that you had to be convinced that ID is true, but only that it is science even though--let's say for the sake of argument--that it is actually false.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Crude,

Not to make you rehash old comments/posts, but can you please--if you have the time or desire, that is--refresh my memory as to why you reject ID as science.

The reason I ask is because I cannot see any legitimate reason to do so IF something like neo-Darwinian evolution is counted as science. Thus, my acceptance of ID as scientific is conditionally based on the fact that other theories are considered scientific and I cannot see any legitimate differentiation between the theory that is accepted as science and ID.

So I am interested in your reasoning about this issue.

Take care,

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

RD,

Don't tell me you're asking crude for information on what science is. He has no idea what he's talking about. Try listening to some people who do.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html

Crude said...

Skeppy,

Still waiting for you to even define what IC is according to Behe. I mean, in vain - I know you can't, because you have no clue what ID is.

But I'm more than happy to keep reminding everyone how you're ducking the challenge. ;)

RD Miksa,

The reason I ask is because I cannot see any legitimate reason to do so IF something like neo-Darwinian evolution is counted as science.

Well, this is going to hinge critically on what you mean by neo-Darwinian evolution. If by that you mean, say... 'claiming that X came about due to no intention or design on the part of a powerful agent, but rather exclusively by mindless processes', then sure - I think neo-Darwinian evolution of that variety is not science either.

I could go on about this for a while, with various arguments, but the core view is that I think science, as science, is completely incapable of determining the presence or lack of 'intention' of powerful agents in purported artifacts. I believe some arguments can be made - philosophical, theological, metaphysical, and just plain common sense arguments - and they may be good and powerful. But science, they ain't.

I want to emphasize, though, that 'ID isn't science' isn't the same as 'ID isn't valuable'. Use the old example of the abandoned spaceship on a planet. Science can't tell you it was made by a mind. It can't even tell you the damn thing is a spaceship. So much the worse for science. Philosophy, common reasoning, analogy, etc, can tell you that.

Let me know if you have more questions.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Crude,

Very interesting. It thus seems to me--and correct me if I am putting words in your mouth--that your rejection of ID as science hinges, in large part, on a hesitancy to accept an "inference to the best explanation" methodology as scientific. However, please correct me if I am mistaken in this assessment.

Now, in light of your answer--and if you will permit me--I would like to ask a number of quick follow-up questions:

How would you then classify certain disciplines/practices like forensics, archeology, or SETI?

All of these are normally seen as scientific in some sense, and yet they all attempt to determine the activity of intelligent agents via empirical observations, and through an "inference to the best explanation" process.

Thus, would you consider such disciplines to actually be a type of philosophy rather than science?

Either way, I would be interested in your thoughts on the matter.

I should add that I myself am not overly wed to the idea that ID is science--for I care about truth more than whether something is science or not--but the reason that I see ID as being a science is because ID seems strongly analogous to a discipline like archeology (or SETI), and to me, archeology (or SETI) is at least in some important sense a scientific discipline, thus making ID in some important sense at least partially scientific. ID, furthermore, readily meets all the criteria of what normally identifies something as "science", and thus I am hard-pressed to perceive ID as unscientific.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Crude said...

RD Miksa,

Very interesting. It thus seems to me--and correct me if I am putting words in your mouth--that your rejection of ID as science hinges, in large part, on a hesitancy to accept an "inference to the best explanation" methodology as scientific. However, please correct me if I am mistaken in this assessment.

Not a problem. And, that's in the ballpark. It's more that, 'Not every kind of valid reasoning is scientific reasoning.' I can accept inferences to the best explanation within a scientific discipline. Inferences to explanations which make reference to (positively or negatively) the mental operations of (typically) very powerful agents? I'm not quite so sure of that.

Thus, would you consider such disciplines to actually be a type of philosophy rather than science?

Yes, I'd bite the bullet and say those aren't really scientific disciplines. They have valid reasoning going on at work, they're reliable (or can be, given a particular question). They may make use of actual science, even. But I'd say they are not science.

For the record, let's say I have a BA in political science. Would you call me scientifically trained? Does that even pass the smell test?

I should add that I myself am not overly wed to the idea that ID is science

Let me add that, if someone insists that science is in the game of design detection after all - if they regard the existence and activities of powerful agents as 'scientific questions' - then I likewise have no problem with, for consistency's sake, then insisting that ID is science after all. You don't get to say that inferences to the acts and work of intelligent agents is science - but only if the result is negative.

I also think Judge Jones' decision was moronic. I'm not ID hostile, but I just disagree about the categorization of ID as science. I've actually spoken with a good number of ID proponents, positively, and I think ID as an argument fills a valuable role - consistency on that topic defangs Cult of Gnu science abuses, in either direction.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Crude,

You said:

"Let me add that, if someone insists that science is in the game of design detection after all - if they regard the existence and activities of powerful agents as 'scientific questions' - then I likewise have no problem with, for consistency's sake, then insisting that ID is science after all. You don't get to say that inferences to the acts and work of intelligent agents is science - but only if the result is negative."

Reading this, I thus see that we are in complete agreement about the principle of the issue, but while you hold that "design detection" is not scientific, I contend the opposite, and I do this because I see so many scientists and philosophers of science claiming that "design detection" is scientific (just take SETI, for example). But if, like you say, the "design detection" disciplines (like archeology) suddenly were not considered science, then I would have no problem in agreeing that ID is also not a scientific discipline. And since the demarcation question of what is and is not science is still an unsettled issue (and very likely will never be settled), then I can see how ID could fall on either side of the "science/not science" divide.

But for me, at this point in time, and given what is normally accepted as science by the scientific community, I simply contend that ID meets the criteria of what is today considered to be science.

Good discussion, thank you.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Crude said...

Anytime, RD.

Papalinton said...

Why do religio-heads continue promulgating scientific myth? ID is no and has never been considered scientific, not only through the courts [the Dover School Board Trial] but even within science circles itself. In order not to be misinterpreted or its institutional reputation tarnished for the stupidity and the religious intransigence of one of its own [unfortunately it seems] tenured staff [Michael Behe] Lehigh University has been obliged to publicly inform that the bizarre ideas held by Dr Behe are not and never have been those of the staff of the science faculty nor the university.

Read the international disclaimer here

Believers must cease and desist in lying and misrepresenting events and information.

Papalinton said...

What was so interesting about the Dover School Board trial is the key expert witnesses for the defendants, all of them Discover Institute hacks, William A. Dembski, Stephen C. Meyer and John Angus Campbell ratted out on Michael Behe and fellow IDiot Miniche during the trial and refused to take the stand.

THIS ARTICLE is a pretty good historical account of the 'scientific discovery' of IDiocy.

ID? Dead, buried and dusted. The End.

Crude said...

RD Miksa,

I also wanted to say - you should really consider expanding your blog entries. You have a very thoughtful, thorough and methodical style of discourse and inquiry - it'd be a worthwhile endeavor for you to place more of your arguments and observations in an online and accessible site, and maybe spread the word around.

My two cents, anyway.

im-skeptical said...

"But for me, at this point in time, and given what is normally accepted as science by the scientific community, I simply contend that ID meets the criteria of what is today considered to be science."

You can define science any way you like, and then say that ID meets YOUR definition of science. But scientific method is all about how it's done, not what kind of questions they are trying to answer.

Crude said...

But scientific method is all about how it's done, not what kind of questions they are trying to answer.

...Except the very questions you're trying to answer are going to determine whether or not the scientific method can or can't apply.

Thanks for following the script by the way, Skep. It helps establish you as someone who, for all his nattering about 'science!', doesn't know a thing about science. Or philosophy. Or really, much else other than 'how to google for webpages you like, then paste links to them, and pretending that makes you knowledgeable'.

As for Linton, well... we all know why he's an empty suit. Plagiarism to feign knowledge is quite a thing.

I never get tired of that reminder. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"...Except the very questions you're trying to answer are going to determine whether or not the scientific method can or can't apply. "

Ah, yes. The everlasting refuge of the purveyor of woo: Science isn't allowed to intrude upon my cherished beliefs. Except when it suits my purposes.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

A few questions for you:

1) Is archeology a science?

2) Is forensics a science?

3) Is SETI scientific?

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, then you will be hard pressed, in principle, to argue that ID is not science, for ID uses the exact same methodology as those disciplines do. Now you might still claim that ID is wrong, but that is not the point. ID could be utterly wrong and still be scientific. The point is, however, that it would be a double-standard to claim that one of the above disciplines is in principle scientific, and then to claim that ID is not.

And, as I said earlier, the reason I find this whole "ID is not science and can never be science" stance strange is that at its core, the theory of ID (not necessarily its proponents) is politically neutral, is entirely compatible with naturalism, and its methodology is readily accepted in numerous other fields that are considered in some way scientific (once again, take SETI, for example). So the sheer contempt and hatred of atheists against this paltry little idea called "ID" is not only irrational, but it borders on the down-right insane.

Truly, I want to understand: what is so threatening about ID that it simply must be refused the mantle of "science"?

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Crude,

I greatly appreciate your kinds words and your endorsement. I have a few major projects in the works right now, and I am planning to start posting some of my work on-line in the near future. And as I am a covert lurker on your blog, I will be sure to let you know when I do so.

Thank you again for your comments. They are truly appreciated.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Crude said...

Ah, yes. The everlasting refuge of the purveyor of woo: Science isn't allowed to intrude upon my cherished beliefs.

No, you slow, slow person. It's called the demarcation problem. Here's a little quote:

The demarcation problem in the philosophy of science is about how to distinguish between science and nonscience,[1] and more specifically, between science and pseudoscience.[2][3] The debate continues after over a century of dialogue among philosophers of science and scientists in various fields, and despite broad agreement on the basics of scientific method.

It's not even primarily a 'religious' issue, Skep. But seeing as you're as pig-ignorant of science as you are of philosophy, it's no surprise a topic that deals with both baffles you.

Now answer my question, or go back to playing internet stormtrooper for Dawkins, apologist of pedophiles. ;)

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"for ID uses the exact same methodology as those disciplines do."

No, they don't. They use the terminology and jargon of science, not the methods. Virtually the whole scientific community agrees with me on that. Please read the material I pointed to. That will give you some idea of the problems with ID "science".

"Truly, I want to understand: what is so threatening about ID that it simply must be refused the mantle of "science"? "

If they want to do science, let them do science. Then the scientific community will stop saying that they are not doing science. I keep trying to tell you, and you refuse to listen. They don't follow scientific method. The question of what is science has nothing to do with the subject matter. But these people want to dress up their religious woo with scientific-sounding jargon, and pass it off in the public schools as real science, thereby subverting education. That's what the threat is.

Crude said...

Skep's response through this entire thread:

"I hate ID! ID sucks! I can't tell you why though. Here, go check these links elsewhere I don't understand! I know a lot of scientists dislike ID, so it can't be science! I hate ID! I know a lot about science, you can tell because I dislike ID!

Wait, you want me to explain what irreducible complexity is?

I gotta go, my mom's calling."

Ilíon said...

VR: "Can someone kindly explain to me who died and made some federal judge in Pennsylvania the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not science?"

Who died and made federal judges the ultimate arbiters of *anything* ... including the meaning of US Constitution, on the one hand, and the meaning of marriage, of the other? Who died is the Congress -- and the People -- for they acquiesced to the judicial (totalitarian) power-grab.

"Do people realize that if there hadn't been a personnel change on the Dover school board, the case would have gone up the court system, and there is some evidence that if it had made to the Supreme Court, some justices were likely to overturn the case?"

Do people imagine that DarwinDefenders care about that? They’re like leftists – or two-year olds -- all that matters is getting their way, no matter how they get it, and to not get their way is always wrong, Wrong, WRONG, no matter the reasoning or mechanism by which they were denied it.

Ilíon said...

ing(énue)24, the hypocrite: "Try ACTUALLY MAKING AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR OPPONENT'S ARGUMENTS before attacking them. It just shows you have no idea what you're talking about."

One might add: “Try ACTUALLY MAKING AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR [OWN] ARGUMENTS before attacking [the persons whose conclusions you hate]. It just shows you [don’t give a damn about] what you're talking about.

Ilíon said...

Does one not find it interesting (if not quite up to the level of Spockian 'fascinating') that certain hypocrites are condemning 'I-pretend-to-noes-Science' for behavior that they themselves fondly exhibit when it suits them?

Ilíon said...

RD Miksa: "The reason I ask is because I cannot see any legitimate reason to [judge ID as “un-scientific”] IF something like neo-Darwinian evolution is counted as science. Thus, my acceptance of ID as scientific is conditionally based on the fact that other theories are considered scientific and I cannot see any legitimate differentiation between the theory that is accepted as science and ID."

Exactly.

One might also point to –
1) the belief/assertion there is an Oort Cloud;
2) the belief/assertion there is ‘dark matter’, and which comprises the majority of the universe;
3) the belief/assertion there is ‘dark energy’, which permeates all of space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the universe.
4) the belief/assertion there is a “multi-verse” and/or an infinity of universes – entities that, should they actually exist, cannot in principle be observed … for to observe “another” universe is, definitionally, to mis-label a part of *this* universe.

Oddly, ‘Science!’ fetishists, such as ‘I-haz-Science!-on-my-side’, really, really, *really* love that last one, which is the epitome of unscientific.

Papalinton said...

Crude knows he has no more dry powder for his religious blunderbuss. What crude thinks is the totality of philosophy is in truth a bend of neanderthalic illogic construed through the prism of the aberrant and quirky niche of medieval Feserism.

And his science is of about the same provenance.

Can you imagine what kind of science would have emerged had Aquinean Scholasticism been the basis of its research methodology? A possible biochemical equation:

C+H2+O2+N+Ca+God=Free will

And what of this equation:

Ba+2Na→ BaNaNa
This This accompanying video would have been surely included in a biology science class. Remember these people in the video are bona fide clear-thinking everyday Christians explaining the origin of the banana from a Christian scientific perspective. Crude is one of those Christians.

Ilíon said...

Oh, my! 'I-haz-Science!' has invoked the Holy Talk Origins website. Game over (all you stoopid cretards, so there)!

Yet, as even the Holy TalkOrigins website informs us: "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. It unites all the fields of biology under one theoretical umbrella. It is not a difficult concept, but very few people -- the majority of biologists included -- have a satisfactory grasp of it. ...

Goodness! One the one hand, "evolution" is the "cornerstone of modern biology", as it "unites all the fields of biology under one theoretical umbrella" -- plus, "evolution" "is not a difficult concept" -- but, on the other hand, it turns out that "very few people", including "the majority of biologists" -- you know, those people who get thie livings from the practice of biology, of which nothing at all is understandable unless seen through the lens of "evolution" -- actually understand "evolution".

Ilíon said...

RD Miksa: "And, as I said earlier, the reason I find this whole "ID is not science and can never be science" stance strange is that at its core, the theory of ID (not necessarily its proponents) is politically neutral, is entirely compatible with naturalism, ..."

Actually, it's not; and the DarwinDefenders correctly realize that acceptance of "the life we observe *looks* designed because it is designed" as being scientific is the death of "the life we observe is the result of no design, plan, or foresight ... and possibly no cause" as being scientific.

Certainly, it may look on the surface as though ID and naturalism are compatible, and there are a number of atheist/naturalists who imagine it is, but ultimately, "ID ... is entirely compatible with naturalism" only by means of incoherency and redundancy. An ID-as-naturalism is as pointless as both "undirected" panspermia and "directed panspermia", for none answer the questions they purport to answer. Rather than addressing the very real issue which prompts "undirected" panspermia and "directed panspermia" and ID-as-naturalism, in the first place, they simply shift it to some other place and time, where it remains unaddressed.

ingx24 said...

One might add: “Try ACTUALLY MAKING AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR [OWN] ARGUMENTS before attacking [the persons whose conclusions you hate]. It just shows you [don’t give a damn about] what you're talking about.”

This describes *you* to a tee, actually. Nice projection.

B. Prokop said...

HERE is a link to chief SETI astronomer Seth Shostak admitting that SETI is not science (at six minutes into the video).

But more interesting to me (and to this discussion) is that immediately afterwards, he defines for the audience what the scientific method is, and then makes this astonishing statement:

"Some science works like that. Actually, no so much, but some does."

!!!!!!!

Ilíon said...

^^ Aren't they just so endearing when they stamp their little feet: "Pay attention to me! Play with me!"

grodrigues said...

@R. D. Miksa:

caveat: I have not read a single piece written by an ID'er, and while I have all sorts of doubts about the cogency of Evolution theory, I am also fairly ignorant of it, and what's more, the subject, of itself and abstracted from its potential connections with other subjects, interests me very little.

There are two main components to Evolution theory: a properly scientific one, e.g. the study of the causal paths leading to variation of genotype, and a set of Historical claims. It is crucial to notice that History is not a science, neither in the contemporary sense of the modern empirical sciences nor in the broader Aristotelian sense, because it deals with particulars, not with the essences of things, their powers and dispositions. The usual methods of proof in the empirical sciences (induction, testing of hypothesis by making predictions, etc.) have little to no relevance to historical claims, precisely because its proper subject.

There are two subtly, but crucially different general lines of argumentation that get labeled as ID.

(1) Show that the causal mechanisms responsible for the data (e.g. the variation of genotypes) do not, or cannot, explain what they purport to explain. This is regular, proper scientific work, even if some ignorant boneheads claim otherwise. One could mount then the following argument:

a1) natural causal processes c1, c2, ... cannot account for phenomena p1, p2, ...

a2) the operations of Intelligence can account for p1, p2, ...

a3) barring any superior defeater, it is reasonable to conclude that p1, p2, ... are the products of Intelligence.

The problem with the above argument, even if a1) is successful, is that there is a serious gap between a2) and a3). Something more is needed to close it, and ID'ers do indeed make such a *positive* claim.

(2) The starting point can be the very question you pose to im-skeptical: Archaeologists, in sifting through a pile of debris, *must* be able to recognize human artifacts as opposed to the chance workings of nature. Nobody doubts they are successful. So if Archaeologists have successful criteria to recognize the products of human intelligence, it should be possible, at least in principle, to come up with such criteria to recognize the operation of intelligence in nature. And this is what ID'ers purport to have. And this is also where things get iffy.

The first thing to notice, is that Archaeology is not a science according to the above definition, and the same is true of ID: rather, it is an historical discipline (e.g., such and such are the products of intelligence as opposed to the regular workings of nature) and should be treated as such. Whether ID'ers claim that or not, I do not know and do not care. To relabel an historical claim as a scientific claim is simply an error and betrays a confusion between the different levels of human knowledge and their proper subjects.

More important however, is that there is a fundamental difference between Archaeology and ID, both viewed as Historical disciplines: Archaeology deals with artifacts, ID deals with natural substances. The difference between an artifact and a natural substance is crucial (at least on AT metaphysical grounds). As a corollary, comparing ID to Archaeology cannot do the work you expect it to do; furthermore, it seems to me that the *positive* part of ID -- and here I am open to correction -- crucially relies on this conflation of natural substances with artifacts and thus, it is flawed from the get-go.

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

Typo once again on my part. Chief SETI astronomer Shostak's quote should have read, "Some science works like that *. Actually, not so much, but some does."

* I.e., uses the scientific method

Ilíon said...

Grodrigues: "The problem with the above argument, even if a1) is successful, is that there is a serious gap between a2) and a3). Something more is needed to close it, and ID'ers do indeed make such a *positive* claim."

Are you forgetting the modern science isn't about truth? Nor is it about strictly deductive reasoning.

Furthermore, even as a matter of strictly deductive reasoning, there is no gap in the argument *as stated*

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Some science works like that [I.e., uses "the scientific method"]. Actually, not so much, but some does."

It's a well-known fact -- well, not to 'Science!' fetishists, of course, they must be very careful in what they allow themselves to know, but to other people -- that there is no such thing as "THE scientific method".

ingx24 said...

Furthermore, even as a matter of strictly deductive reasoning, there is no gap in the argument *as stated*

Seeing as you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in the past that you have no idea what a deductively valid argument looks like, I think we can safely ignore your contributions here.

grodrigues said...

@Illion:

"Furthermore, even as a matter of strictly deductive reasoning, there is no gap in the argument *as stated*"

What I mean by a gap is not deductive invalidity, but the gap hidden in "It is reasonable", etc.

Ilíon said...

"... but the gap hidden in "It is reasonable", etc."

There is no gap. "(Therefore,) it is reasonable to conclude" != "(Therefore,) it is true that"

im-skeptical said...

grodrigues,

Pretty good discussion, but I would say that archaeologists would probably disagree as to whether archaeology is science. They certainly do formulate hypotheses about how people and cultures lived in the past. Those hypotheses are based on evidence, and they can be testable, at least to some degree. Science generally does not seek to prove a hypothesis. Rather it seeks to test it rigorously, and disprove it with evidence that would show the hypothesis to be invalid. Confirmation of the hypothesis can always be denied when any evidence, properly vetted, shows that it is false. That is what archaeology does. That is not what ID does. Please note that the tenets of ID have been broadly disconfirmed , and that the theory of evolution hasn't.

Regarding the ID argument you presented, not only have thy utterly failed to confirm a1, they have also utterly failed to confirm a2.

Ilíon said...

ing(énue)24, the "projectile reasoner":Seeing as you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in the past that you have no idea what a deductively valid argument looks like, I think we can safely ignore your contributions here.

Translation: "I hate your conclusions; therefore, you cannot reason. My "refutations" of your conclusions are self-defeating, being incoherent and/or self-contradictory (and you've been so unkind as to call my attention to the fact); therefore, you cannot reason"

B. Prokop said...

"Science generally does not seek to prove a hypothesis. Rather it seeks to test it rigorously, and disprove it with evidence that would show the hypothesis to be invalid."

Would you agree then, Skep, that SETI is not "science"? For it most definitely has begun with a hypothesis (i.e., "We are not alone."), and has proceeded from there to spend megabucks on searching for evidence to prove this hypothesis (with no success whatsoever), whilst studiously ignoring any and all evidence to the contrary.

In fact, this is an even more interesting case of a double standard than the special treatment given evolution. For while there are mountains of evidence in support of evolution (but NOT for Darwinism), there is absolutely nothing to support SETI, other than the argument from numbers. (I've got to figure out what that would be in Latin.) I can't count the number of times I've heard a SETI enthusiast use as his "killer argument" something like, "Well, they just gotta be out there. Look how many stars there are in the universe!"

Ilíon said...

"there is absolutely nothing to support SETI, other than the argument from numbers. (I've got to figure out what that would be in Latin.) I can't count the number of times I've heard a SETI enthusiast use as his "killer argument" something like, "Well, they just gotta be out there. Look how many stars there are in the universe!""

Argumentum ad drakianimus?

B. Prokop said...

Well, there is the term argumentum ad numerum, but that's usually a synonym for argumentum ad populum (which is something else entirely).

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

I'm not particularly familiar with what SETI does. I've never heard anyone state with conviction that "We are not alone." Rather, they use a probability argument to make a case that there are likely other intelligent creatures out there. But if stated as a hypothesis, I's day that it is not based on evidence.

On the other hand, there are many who positively aver that we are alone - that the universe was made just for us. It would be in keeping with the scientific method to disprove that claim with evidence. I think that's what SETI is trying to do.

Ilíon said...

I'm-a-'Science!'-fetishist: "Science generally does not seek to prove a hypothesis. Rather it seeks to test it rigorously, and disprove it with evidence that would show the hypothesis to be invalid."

Scientists, on the other hand, being, after all, just humans, almost never search for evidence that would falsify the hypotheses they love, and when they do accidentally find some, they almost always find a way to explain it away ... or just plain ignore it.

And, clearly, given what "science" "does", the astronomers who (once they had the instrumentation to be able to do so) sought to use stellar parallax to establish heliocentrism as the correct hypothesis were not engaging in "science".

Forthermore, given what "science" "does", the rest of us are rationally required to laugh everytime one of these positivist 'Science!'-fetishist tries to play the "'Science!' Says" card.

Ilíon said...

But, it's not *just* the numbers of stars to which the SETI enthusiast appeals when he wants to come acoss as all scientifical and stuff, but to the so-called Drake Equation. Hence my poor attempt to make a superlative.

ingx24 said...

Translation: "I hate your conclusions; therefore, you cannot reason. My "refutations" of your conclusions are self-defeating, being incoherent and/or self-contradictory (and you've been so unkind as to call my attention to the fact); therefore, you cannot reason"

Think again, dipshit. You have done *nothing* - *zilch*, *nada* to show that my refutation of your blatantly question-begging "argument" fails. You have not even addressed it; you have simply resorted to name-calling. You *can't* address it, because you *know* that I've soundly defeated your "argument". Face it, Ilion - your pattern of "reasoning" is to come up with a conclusion first, call anyone who disagrees with your conclusion "intellectually dishonest", and then desperately piece together a (clearly fallacious) "argument" for your conclusion when someone demands that you provide one. You are not a truth-seeker; you are an ideologue and a sophist, and you are one of the most immature and unjustifiably arrogant people I have ever met. If you're anywhere over 11 years old, you seriously need to see a psychiatrist. Only, you won't, because you're a science-denying far-right-wing fundamentalist Christian who is so arrogant and cock-sure in his science-denial that you think evolutionary theory is not just wrong, but *clearly* wrong and easily refutable. If a psychiatrist tried to reason with you, you'd probably just get up and start screaming and whining that his science is bullshit and that he's "intellectually dishonest" for disagreeing with you on anything. You're fucking delusional, you have no ability to reason properly, and you're dangerous to yourself and others. You act like a fucking 11-year-old who's been brainwashed by his parents' fundamentalist beliefs and is going on the internet trying to preach to everyone about how wrong they are for not sharing your beliefs. And the worst part? You don't even *know* how arrogant, delusional, and immature you are, because you're too arrogant and dogmatic in your belief that you're right and everyone else is wrong that you won't even *listen* to other people. You'll probably just dismiss this reply with your usual immature, name-calling "responses" that usually more or less amount to "I know you are, but what am I?".

Grow the fuck up or get the fuck out of here and stop poisoning this blog with your bullshit.

im-skeptical said...

"Scientists, on the other hand, being, after all, just humans, almost never search for evidence that would falsify the hypotheses they love, and when they do accidentally find some, they almost always find a way to explain it away ... or just plain ignore it."

Again, you show your ignorance of science. You are describing ID to a tee, not science.

"And, clearly, given what "science" "does", the astronomers who (once they had the instrumentation to be able to do so) sought to use stellar parallax to establish heliocentrism as the correct hypothesis were not engaging in "science"."

You are too dim to realize you just gave a perfect example of science at work. They showed that the heliocentrism hypothesis was wrong, and the abandoned it.

RD Miksa said...

Good Day to All,

Please note that I will indeed try to reply to everyone who replied to me, but before I do, I just wanted to post this general comment which I hope will be illuminating.

The reason that I am quite interested in the topic of ID is because my actual employment is as a police officer with a semi-specialization in forensics, and my past employment was as a military intelligence officer. Now both these professions are, in large part, about “design detection” and are focused on the ability to distinguish between intelligent causes and natural causes. And unlike many of the people who engage in the ID debate, my experience in this area comes from two fields (the military and policing) where if you are wrong in your “design detection,” then real flesh-and-blood soldiers could get killed or innocent citizens could be going to prison for crimes they did not commit. So please understand that for me, this debate is more than just academic, and it has very serious real-life consequences.

Now, in light of all this, I ask all of you to think about this example:

Example: Say that I, as an Intelligence Officer, receive a number of surveillance photographs of a certain area of the battlefield. This is my empirical evidence that I observe and examine for a possible concealed enemy defensive position. Based on my observations, and via an “inference to the best explanation” process, I then formulate the hypothesis that the position is indeed a concealed enemy defensive position rather than just being a natural feature of the terrain. I then test my hypothesis by either sending out reconnaissance to confirm whether it is an actual enemy position or not, or I test my hypothesis by directing electronic warfare assets to see if any radio transmissions are coming from that location. Then, in light of the evidence provided by the recon or the electric warfare assets, my hypothesis either receives more empirical support or less, and I thus review my original hypothesis and either revise it or keep it.

Now, in light of this example, the dilemma for the anti-IDer is the following: if you DENY that the process practiced above is at least in some sense scientific, then I contend that you will be hard-pressed to explain why, for this process follows the scientific method and it meets all the criteria that it normally takes for something to be considered scientific (testability, falsifiability, etc.). But if you AGREE that the process practiced above is at least in some sense scientific, then I contend that you will be hard-pressed to explain why ID is not at least in some sense scientific, for ID follows the same process of reasoning as the one outlined above.

And a similar example could be given with police forensics as well.

So no matter what your stance is about ID, you need to personally address the dilemma presented above in order to have a coherent view about what is and is not scientific.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Ilíon said...

I-enjoy-showing-myself-a-fool: "You are too dim to realize you just gave a perfect example of science at work. They showed that the heliocentrism [sic] hypothesis was wrong, and the abandoned it."

Let's see -- I'm stupid, but 'I-pretend' is intellectually dishonest. So, which is worse, objectively speaking?

In any event, the geocentric hypothesis was abandoned in favor of the heliocentric hypothesis long before there was much, much less decisive, evidence in favor of heliocentrism.

And, the astronomers certainly *were* looking for evidence to support heliocentrism.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

You said:

“Pretty good discussion, but I would say that archaeologists would probably disagree as to whether archaeology is science.”
Exactly, which is why you should be careful about categorically stating that ID is not science.


You said:

“They certainly do formulate hypotheses about how people and cultures lived in the past. Those hypotheses are based on evidence, and they can be testable, at least to some degree.”

Which is exactly the same thing that ID can do. They observe some empirical object. They then assess it and hypothesis that the object is, for example, irreducibly complex. They then test that hypothesis by running various experiments to disconfirm the hypothesis of irreducible complexity.


You said:

“Science generally does not seek to prove a hypothesis. Rather it seeks to test it rigorously, and disprove it with evidence that would show the hypothesis to be invalid.”

Which matches up perfectly with what I said about devising tests to disprove the idea of irreducible complexity.


You said:

“Confirmation of the hypothesis can always be denied when any evidence, properly vetted, shows that it is false. That is what archaeology does. That is not what ID does.”

Please explain why?


You said:

“Please note that the tenets of ID have been broadly disconfirmed , and that the theory of evolution hasn't.”

Super, but just because ID has been disconfirmed—for the sake of argument—does not mean that the ID hypothesis was not a scientific one. You do understand that a hypothesis can be both disconfirmed and still be scientific? You also understand—I hope—that I am not arguing that ID has been confirmed, but rather that even if it has been disconfirmed (again, for the sake of argument), this fact does not render it unscientific.

Take care,

RD Miksa

B. Prokop said...

I've never heard anyone state with conviction that "We are not alone."

Well, I have - more times than I can count.

For an interesting discussion on the subject, see THIS. Also, check out Shostak's attitude on the video I linked to earlier.

And by the way, the reason I highlighted the embarrassing quote in that video was because I would like to make the point that the percentage of scientists actually following the scientific method is probably the same as the percentage of Christians who live in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount - i.e., close to zero. Scientists remain imperfect human beings, and fall short of their ideals as often as anyone else.

im-skeptical said...

RD,

IDists have no testable, falsifiable hypothesis. They use complex specified information (CSI) as a determinant of what is or is not designed by intelligent agents. There's no way to quantify or measure CSI. How do you test what you can't even measure? That's what I was referring to when I said they can't unambiguously identify what is irreducibly complex. They have not provided a way of saying "this thing is irreducibly complex and that thing isn't" by quantifying the CSI levels. They are blowing smoke. Furthermore, just about everything they have held up as examples of irreducible complexity has been shot down by facts and evidence. They used to eyes as their big example. But there are creatures with lower levels of visual function, and even some with simple photo-sensitive organs. A shining example of evolutionary development. Now they are touting the discovery of beetles with "gears". I haven't heard about this, but I can easily envision how such a ting could evolve (starting from friction-driven members) How can anyone say it is irreducibly complex if we can see a clear path for evolution? That gets to the heart of ID science.

im-skeptical said...

Sorry for my typos. If anyone can't follow what I said because of my bad typing, please ask for clarification.

Bob,

"the percentage of scientists actually following the scientific method is probably the same as the percentage of Christians who live in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount - i.e., close to zero."

That's easy to say if you take the work of an individual in isolation. But there's more to it than that. Individuals contribute to a larger process that really does follow scientific method. That's why we have peer review. That's why we have scientists or researchers working on different sides of the same question. There's no denying that they may have an agenda to make their case, but the overall process has no agenda. Note that in like heliocentrism, ID should have been dropped long ago. Anyone who continues to cling to it, spouting untestable hypotheses, cannot rightly call himself a scientist.

B. Prokop said...

Disclaimer here - I don't give a hoot about ID as such, since I regard the Entire Universe as the product of intelligent design, and here we are quibbling about little bits of minutiae within it.

That said, I fail to understand how Skep can say that ID proponents "can't unambiguously identify what is irreducibly complex". I've read several definitions of the term. Has he not seen them? The most common one I've come across goes something like "a biological construct fulfilling a defined purpose which consists of several subcomponents, none of which have any independent utility to the organism in isolation from the rest."

Now can we get past the objection that the term IC is undefined?

RD Miksa said...

Dear grodrigues,

You said:

“caveat: I have not read a single piece written by an ID'er…”

I appreciate this admission. Such honesty is rare.


You said:

“One could mount then the following [ID] argument:

a1) natural causal processes c1, c2, ... cannot account for phenomena p1, p2, ...

a2) the operations of Intelligence can account for p1, p2, ...

a3) barring any superior defeater, it is reasonable to conclude that p1, p2, ... are the products of Intelligence.

The problem with the above argument, even if a1) is successful, is that there is a serious gap between a2) and a3). Something more is needed to close it, and ID'ers do indeed make such a *positive* claim.”

I would modify this slightly. I would say that IDers would contend that the operations of intelligence are either the best explanation that accounts for p1, p2, etc. and thus that it is more rational to hold to the ID explanation than to any other explanation (and the conditional / comparative aspect of this claim is critical), or the ID proponent would argue that intelligence is the ONLY thing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that can account for p1 or p2, and thus ID is the only rational position to hold. Now, with these modifications, the problems/gaps from moving from your A2 to your A3 that you contend exist are overcome and nullified. At least this is my impression.


You said:

“Archaeologists, in sifting through a pile of debris, *must* be able to recognize human artifacts as opposed to the chance workings of nature. Nobody doubts they are successful. So if Archaeologists have successful criteria to recognize the products of human intelligence, it should be possible, at least in principle, to come up with such criteria to recognize the operation of intelligence in nature. And this is what ID'ers purport to have.”

My point exactly!


You said:

“The first thing to notice, is that Archaeology is not a science according to the above definition, and the same is true of ID: rather, it is an historical discipline (e.g., such and such are the products of intelligence as opposed to the regular workings of nature) and should be treated as such. Whether ID'ers claim that or not, I do not know and do not care. To relabel an historical claim as a scientific claim is simply an error and betrays a confusion between the different levels of human knowledge and their proper subjects.”

Here, I conditionally agree with you. If you contend that archeology is not science, then ID is not science. I have no disagreement with this. My disagreement is with people who claim that archeology is science but then simultaneously claim that ID is not.

More to follow…

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"They observe some empirical object. They then assess it and hypothesis that the object is, for example, irreducibly complex. They then test that hypothesis by running various experiments to disconfirm the hypothesis of irreducible complexity."

I disagree with this. That's what they want you to believe, but they are blowing smoke. What testable hypothesis do they have? How do they test it?

I'm willing to listen to evidence. I contend that IDists do not test their theories in a meaningful way and that they ignore disconfirming evidence. Please show that I am wrong about that.

RD Miksa said...

Dear grodrigues,

You said:

“More important however, is that there is a fundamental difference between Archaeology and ID, both viewed as Historical disciplines: Archaeology deals with artifacts, ID deals with natural substances. The difference between an artifact and a natural substance is crucial (at least on AT metaphysical grounds). As a corollary, comparing ID to Archaeology cannot do the work you expect it to do; furthermore, it seems to me that the *positive* part of ID -- and here I am open to correction -- crucially relies on this conflation of natural substances with artifacts and thus, it is flawed from the get-go.”

Here, in claiming that comparing ID to archeology cannot do the work that I expect it to do, I actually think that you are mistaken. Let me explain why.

Suppose an archeologist enters a cave which is believed to never have been entered by an intelligent being before. Suddenly, the archeologist finds two scratches together on the wall of the cave. OK, nothing surprising at that. But then suppose that the archeologist sees a space by the two scratches, and then sees three scratches together. And then a space, and five scratches together. And then another space, and seven scratches together. And then another space, and eleven scratches together. And then another space, and thirteen scratches together. And then another space, and seventeen scratches together. And so on and so forth for all the first one hundred prime numbers. Clearly, such an archeologist would immediately conclude (and so would anyone else) that the best explanation (if not the ONLY reasonable explanation) for that sequence of prime number scratches was that an intelligence designed those scratches rather than them being the product of natural forces.

Now, by an analogous example, consider a scientist examining the nucleo-bases (G, A, T, and C) of a strand of DNA. Suppose that that scientist suddenly sees the following: Two A nucleo-bases followed by one T nucleo-base. Then three As followed by one T. Then five As followed by one T. Then seven As followed by one T. Then eleven As followed by one T. Then thirteen As followed by one T. Then seventeen As followed by one T. And so on and so forth for all the first one hundred prime numbers.

Now why would the archeologist be rational in seeing design as the best explanation but the scientist would not? The two examples are, at their core, essentially identical, so I see no reason why design could not be attributed in both cases. And thus, archeology is, at least in some way, analogous to ID.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Ilíon said...

RD Miksa: "I would say that IDers would contend that the operations of intelligence are either the best explanation that accounts for p1, p2, etc. and thus that it is more rational to hold to the ID explanation than to any other explanation (and the conditional / comparative aspect of this claim is critical), or the ID proponent would argue that intelligence is the ONLY thing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that can account for p1 or p2, and thus ID is the only rational position to hold."

Yep. Contrary to the (false) shreaking assertions of the 'Science!' fetishist, the IDists turn to intelligent agency as a cause only as a last resort when it is no longer plausible and/or rational to posit "chance" (*) or "necessity" as the cause.

(*) And, because they're not really so different from the 'Science!' fetishists, they studiously decline to understand that "chance" can't cause anything, that to appeal to "chance" as a cause of an effect is literally to speak non-sense of an effect without a cause.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

You said:

“I'm willing to listen to evidence. I contend that IDists do not test their theories in a meaningful way and that they ignore disconfirming evidence. Please show that I am wrong about that.”

First off, who cares if IDers do not test their theories and ignore disconfirming evidence? The question is not whether they do so as individual people, but whether ID theory itself—irrespective of the actions of its proponents—can be tested. And it is obvious that it can (see below).

In fact, before we continue—and for the sake of argument—let me concede that ID proponents are all liars, cheats, and deceivers of the worst kind, who never follow the evidence where it leads. Furthermore, let me also concede—again for the sake of argument—that ID has been disproven beyond a reasonable doubt. Finally, let me also concede—again for the sake of argument—that naturalism is true and that God does not exist.

Thus, with all these concessions accepted for the sake of argument, let us just pretend that we are only looking at the question of whether ID is testable and falsifiable as an academic exercise for intellectual stimulation. Nothing of practical consequence depends on the answer. Doing this little thought experiment should hopefully clear our head and make us think more objectively about the topic.

Now, to show how something like irreducible complexity or “design detection” is testable and falsifiable, let me proceed by way of an analogy.

Two Detectives arrive at a scene. Upon arrival, they observe a woman who has fifty knife wounds to her body and a bunch of knives lying around her. This is all the evidence that there is. Now one Detective, employing ID reasoning, forms the following hypothesis: all my uniform and repeated experience tells me that when a person has fifty knife wounds to her body (analogous to irreducible complexity), the cause of those knife wounds is always an intelligence (either a murderer or suicide). Natural processes, beyond a reasonable doubt, could never cause such a thing to occur. Thus, this first Detective concludes, the best explanation (or the ONLY reasonable explanation) of my observations is that an intelligent being caused this event to occur. But the second Detective, by contrast, forms the following hypothesis: this is a freak accident that is totally natural. The knives have very rubbery handles. As such, they fell out of the knife block and they continued to bounce off the ground until they accidently inflicted fifty knife wounds to the female, and then she accidently and naturally died from those knife wounds. Now, this natural explanation is at least logically possible, so it could happen.

Continued...

RD Miksa said...

Continued...

But now, note that the ID explanation is easily testable. First, it is testable via the method of multiple competing hypotheses (seeing which hypothesis has the most explanatory power, explanatory scope, etc.); and this is the method of testing so often used by archeologists, forensics, etc. But second, the ID explanation is also EMPIRICALLY and DIRECTLY testable in two ways: positively and negatively. From a positive perspective, we can empirically demonstrate how an intelligent agent can inflict fifty knife wounds on another person, thus empirically confirming that the ID hypothesis is possible. And from a negative perspective, and in order to try to falsify the ID hypothesis, we can repeatedly test the naturalistic hypothesis to see if it is indeed possible for a number of knives to repeatedly bounce off the ground in a way that they can cut a person fifty times. If this could be shown, then the ID hypothesis has been strongly disconfirmed, and the naturalistic explanation would thus show itself to be eminently possible, if not probable. In such a situation, and barring any other factors, Occam’s Razor would lead us to prefer the natural explanation over the ID one. And therefore, the ID hypothesis would have essentially been tested and falsified.

And now, with this above example in mind, realize that reasoning about something like irreducible complexity in living organisms follows the exact same pattern and is testable in exactly the same way. There is little difference between these two examples. And thus, ID is indeed both testable and falsifiable by any objective standard.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Bob,

"I don't give a hoot about ID as such, since I regard the Entire Universe as the product of intelligent design, and here we are quibbling about little bits of minutiae within it."

While I don't much disagree with your sentiment above, I think there are two issues here that SHOULD make us give a hoot about ID and the question of whether ID counts as science. First, since the truth is valuable in its own right, then if ID is indeed science, then that truth about ID should be accepted and defended. Next, even if the whole universe is designed, it is nevertheless possible that things within the universe have been specifically designed as well, and thus knowing the truth of whether specific things are designed or not is important as well.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep,

"Now they are touting the discovery of beetles with "gears". I haven't heard about this, but I can easily envision how such a ting could evolve (starting from friction-driven members)."

Yes, except easily "envisioning" something is not the same as actually explaining it. A "just so" story will not do.

In fact, think back to my example about the scene with the woman and the fifty knife wounds to her body. Do you really think it would be enough for the second Detective to "envision" how the knives could just bounce up and cut the woman fifty times? Of course not! He would actually have to show that this is really possible, not just provide a 'just so' story of how he thinks it is possible.


You said:

"How can anyone say it is irreducibly complex if we can see a clear path for evolution?"

Because mentally imagining a clear path for evolution and actually empirically demonstrating that clear path are two very different things!

Take care,

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"And now, with this above example in mind, realize that reasoning about something like irreducible complexity in living organisms follows the exact same pattern and is testable in exactly the same way. There is little difference between these two examples. And thus, ID is indeed both testable and falsifiable by any objective standard."

OK, so if you think that testing ID is as simple as the vague analogy you supplied (and I certainly don't agree with that), then go ahead and give a more concrete example. First of all exactly what is the testable hypothesis, and second, how do you go about testing it?

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep,

Man, no offence, but it does get tiring doing all the work for you. But because I have some spare time today, and because I am feeling generous, and because maybe this discussion will indeed lead somewhere, here is one more kick at the can.

Consider the quintessential example that IDers’ use of an irreducibly complex system: the bacterial flagellum.

Now remember that we are already conceding that ID is false and thus that the bacterial flagellum is not designed. But the question is, would it be in principle possible to test whether or not the bacterial flagellum is designed or not?

Now, here is my previous example—essentially word for word—but used for the case of the bacterial flagellum.

Two scientists examine bacteria for the first time. Upon examination, they observe the bacterial flagellum in detail. This is all the evidence that they are looking at. Now one scientist, employing ID reasoning, forms the following hypothesis: all my uniform and repeated experience tells me that a bacterial flagellum overwhelming appears to be the product of design, and it is analogically comparable to an out-board motor which I know is something that is designed, and it furthermore appears to be irreducibly complex for the removal of any one part of the bacterial flagellum would cause the whole thing to cease functioning as a flagellum or as anything else that was useful to the bacteria. In addition, the first scientist assesses, all my experience tells me that unintelligent processes, beyond a reasonable doubt, could never cause a thing like the bacterial flagellum to come into existence given its apparent irreducible complexity. Thus, this first scientist concludes, the best explanation (or the ONLY reasonable explanation) of my observations about the bacterial flagellum is that an intelligent being somehow created the flagellum. But the second scientist, by contrast, forms the following hypothesis: the bacterial flagellum was formed by totally natural process and in no way would need to be designed to come into existence. Now, this natural explanation is at least logically possible, so it could happen.

But now, note that the ID explanation is easily testable. First, it is testable via the method of multiple competing hypotheses (seeing which hypothesis has the most explanatory power, explanatory scope, is the most in line with our background knowledge, etc.); and this is the method of testing so often used by archeologists, forensics, etc. But second, the ID explanation is also EMPIRICALLY and DIRECTLY testable in two ways: positively and negatively. From a positive perspective, we can empirically demonstrate how an intelligent agent could create a bacterial flagellum from scratch, thus empirically confirming that the ID hypothesis is possible (and the fact that we design out-board motors all the time shows us that this is possible). And from a negative perspective, and in order to try to falsify the ID hypothesis, we can repeatedly test the naturalistic hypothesis to see if it is indeed possible for a bacterial flagellum to come about without design. Or we could show other bacteria that are at different stages of developing something like a much simpler and easily constructed flagellum—even if this proto-flagellum was being used for something else at the time—which would then provide some evidence against the hypothesis that the flagellum was irreducible complex. So if these things could be shown, then the ID hypothesis would be strongly disconfirmed and the naturalistic explanation would thus show itself to be eminently possible, if not probable. In such a situation, and barring any other factors, Occam’s Razor would lead us to prefer the natural explanation over the ID one. But this then means that the ID hypothesis would have essentially been TESTED and FALSIFIED.

And thus, ID is indeed both testable and falsifiable by any objective standard.

Now, what do you disagree with here?

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

Here are some questions for you (and I asked these before, but you failed to answer):

1) In your view, is archeology a science?

2) In your view, is forensics a science?

3) In your view, is SETI a scientific enterprise?

Direct answers please.

Thank you.

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

"Direct answers please."

Funny you should evade direct answers to my questions while demanding the same from me.

In answer to your questions I don't consider archaeology or forensics to be basic sciences. They are investigative tools that rely heavily on science. Basic sciences (in my view) answer fundamental questions about how things work. SETI, as I said before, could be a scientific endeavor, but I don't know enough about it.

Now, as to your example of ID as science, you didn't answer my questions. Instead, you gave a specific investigation, more along the lines of a forensic investigation. A hypothesis of ID would have to be broader than one specific type of organism. How would Behe formulate his "irreducible complexity" as a testable hypothesis, or how would Dembski formulate his "CSI" as a testable hypothesis?

Then, there is the matter of testing. Your example was of a single organism, not of the general theory of irreducible complexity. And like most of the things IDists hold up as examples of irreducible complexity, it has indeed been put to the test. Here is a decent discussion of why it is bunk.

http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

So, if the ID community can only come up with specific cases like that, and those cases continue to get shot down, they need to produce a general theory of ID (or hypothesis), start providing ways to quantify and measure it, and put that theory to the test, which they have utterly failed to do. For example, it seems like CSI would be eminently suitable as a basis for assigning hard numbers to things (since it is quantitative in nature), so where are the numbers? Why haven't they followed through with their own ideas? Unless and until they do that, they don't have a leg to stand on.

B. Prokop said...

"Now they are touting the discovery of beetles with "gears". I haven't heard about this"

Skep, it's not ID proponents who are "touting" this discovery. It's just a news story that's out there.

And if you haven't heard about it, go to the link referenced above (in the posting at September 13, 2013 9:55 AM).

Miska,

You write, "truth is valuable in its own right, then if ID is indeed science, then that truth about ID should be accepted and defended". I'm not sure whether the classification of ID as science or not-science can be called a "truth". No more than the definition of, say, boxcar, can be called a truth. It's just a definition, and such things can change over time, whereas the Truth cannot. So I remain unconcerned as to how we classify ID.

But more importantly, my apathy towards this is based on an important principle (which I have expounded upon numerous times on this website). Which is, there are many methods of arriving at Truth, and science is only one of those ways (and by no means even the most important one). So in my book, labeling something as a-scientific (as opposed to unscientific) is no negative thing.

im-skeptical said...

One more comment on the flagellum example: if you wan to insist the it is still a scientific question, even though it failed to pass the test, OK that's fair. But please note who's doing the science. It's not the IDists.

grodrigues said...

@R. D. Miksa:

"Here, in claiming that comparing ID to archeology cannot do the work that I expect it to do, I actually think that you are mistaken. Let me explain why."

The chain of reasoning of the archaeologist goes like this:

a) We observe phenomena p (e.g. a pattern of scratches in a cave wall).

b) From our knowledge of the natural processes operative in cave walls (erosion, boulder hits, cavewall-eating funguses, whatever) the chance of natural causes producing such a pattern is vanishingly small.

c) On the contrary, the pattern of scratches on the wall is strikingly similar to the patterns of scratches that human beings demonstrably make (e.g. in writing).

d) Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that human beings produced the pattern of scratches.

Now let us try the parallel case of DNA. As far as I can understand you, it is supposed to go like this:

a') We observe phenomena p (e.g. DNA code).

b') From our knowledge of the natural processes the chance of natural causes producing p is vanishingly small.

c') On the contrary, phenomena p is strikingly similar to the artifacts produced by human intelligence (say, programming code).

d') Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that an intelligence produced the DNA.

My beef is with c'). If we leave it aside for the moment, then the argument can be recast in the general form (1) in my previous post. It may or may not be successful (I am not competent to judge the evidence), but it is not invalid. It is an inferential argument, with all the attending weaknesses, and it proves too little -- but then again, if ID'ers only purport to "detect intelligence", there is nothing to complain about.

But what can we make of c')? As far as I can tell, what is doing the work is to treat DNA like an artifact. But an Aristotelian-Thomist will fiercely deny that natural substances are artifacts. The pattern of scratches that an archaeologist unearths is an artifact; it counts as *writing* only in relation to the habits and purposes of human beings. And because it is an artifact, a product of human *art*, it has certain features that makes it recognizably so. But the parallel c') fails; there is no such thing as human-designed DNA. Emphatically, programming code is an artifact while DNA, as it occurs in living beings, it is a part of wholes with specific causal powers and specific, *inherent* (as opposed to extrinsic) ends. We have very little idea of what powers nature has to, to use the apt phrase of Aristotle, "educe form out of matter"; and Paley-style design arguments are predicated on a mechanistic conception of nature, in which there are no natures with intrinsic telos, not in the robust AT sense anyway. So what are you appealing to?

If you want to take the direction of *intrinsic* teleology as having an ultimate explanation in Mind, then the argument is metaphysical, deductive not inferential, and is Aquinas' Fifth Way with corollary that God creates in a totally different way that human artificers do. If you want to take the argument as a reductio against the naturalistic conception of nature, then it is also a metaphysical argument and evidence as marshaled by ID is largely irrelevant. If you want to take the argument in the direction that there is something in the *essence* of life that precludes it being entirely the product of natural causes, then once again, the argument is metaphysical (life is not the subject matter of Biology, rather living things are), and its target is abiogenesis not Evolution per se (and an Aristotelian-Thomist like D. Oderberg has argued strenuously in that direction). If none of the precedent, then it is either subsumed in the general form (1) or I would reject it for the *metaphysical* reasons briefly explained.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

You said:

“Funny you should evade direct answers to my questions while demanding the same from me.”

What question was that?


You said:

“In answer to your questions I don't consider archaeology or forensics to be basic sciences. They are investigative tools that rely heavily on science.”

What does this even mean? Are you then claiming that they are in some sense science, but not a “basic” science (this is what your statement implies)? Furthermore, how can they rely heavily on science without themselves being, in some important sense, scientific? And if they are in some sense science, and if ID is analogous to these disciplines, which it must certainly is given that they use the same methods as ID does, then obviously ID is also in some important sense scientific. Maybe—as per your definition—it is not a “basic” science, but, even by your definition, it would still be some type of science.


You said:

“Now, as to your example of ID as science, you didn't answer my questions. Instead, you gave a specific investigation, more along the lines of a forensic investigation. A hypothesis of ID would have to be broader than one specific type of organism.”

Skep….think! I was hoping that you would obviously use the one example as a template in order to see how the ID hypothesis could be extrapolated to a more general idea. But instead, I will again do the work for you (see below)


You said:

“How would Behe formulate his "irreducible complexity" as a testable hypothesis…”

Easy.

The ID ‘irreducible complexity’ hypothesis: when all my uniform and repeated experience informs me that an organism or a part of an organism overwhelming appears to be the product of design, and when such an organism or part of an organism is analogically comparable to a system that is known to be designed, and furthermore when this organism or part of an organism appears to be irreducibly complex given that the removal of any one part of the structure would cause the whole thing to cease functioning, then that organism or part of the organism is the product of intelligent design rather than natural processes, and furthermore, natural processes will be unable to create such an organism or part of an organism.

The test of the ‘irreducible complexity’ hypothesis: First, the ‘irreducible complexity’ hypothesis is testable via the method of multiple competing hypotheses (seeing which hypothesis has the most explanatory power, explanatory scope, is the most in line with our background knowledge, etc.); and this is the method of testing so often used by archeologists, forensics, etc. But second, the ID hypothesis is also EMPIRICALLY and DIRECTLY testable in two ways: positively and negatively. From a positive perspective, we can empirically demonstrate how an intelligent agent could create a organisms or parts of organisms, thus empirically confirming that the ID hypothesis is possible. And from a negative perspective, and in order to try to falsify the ID hypothesis, we can repeatedly test the claim that natural processes cannot produce the organism or part of the organism in question. So all this then means that the ID hypothesis could easily be TESTED and FALSIFIED.


You said:

“Then, there is the matter of testing. Your example was of a single organism, not of the general theory of irreducible complexity.”

Hypotheses are, in large part, tested via specific examples. The specific examples then provide a weight of evidence that either confirms or disconfirms the hypothesis. And note that only one example of ID is needed to substantiate its claim.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

You said:

“One more comment on the flagellum example: if you want to insist it is still a scientific question, even though it failed to pass the test, OK that's fair.”

There we go….progress! Skep admits that it’s fair to contend that ID cases can be considered scientific questions.

Next step, to show that numerous ID cases have not “failed” the test.


You said:

“But please note who's doing the science. It's not the IDists.”

Ummm, obviously the ID proponents are doing science, as are their opponents. If, as you conceded above, the question of whether or not the flagellum was designed is a scientific question, then those that offered the hypothesis that it was designed were doing science, at least in part, and so were those individuals who were claiming that the flagellum was not designed.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear grodrigues,

You said:

“…but then again, if ID'ers only purport to "detect intelligence", there is nothing to complain about.”

But this is indeed all that ID claims to detect. Anything else requires philosophical argumentation to augment the bare bones ID claim.


You said:

“But what can we make of c')? As far as I can tell, what is doing the work is to treat DNA like an artifact. But an Aristotelian-Thomist will fiercely deny that natural substances are artifacts. The pattern of scratches that an archaeologist unearths is an artifact; it counts as *writing* only in relation to the habits and purposes of human beings. And because it is an artifact, a product of human *art*, it has certain features that makes it recognizably so. But the parallel c') fails; there is no such thing as human-designed DNA.”

Ahh, I think that I see our misunderstanding. I am not saying that DNA itself is an artifact (as you define it), but rather that an intelligent agent could place an artifact inside DNA so that it would have certain features that would make it recognizable as an artifact. Indeed, just as an intelligence could use a sequence of prime number scratches on a wall to make it obvious that an intelligence made those scratches, so to could an intelligence place a sequence of prime numbers in DNA to create an artifact that would be recognizable as an artifact, and thus as a product of intelligence.

I am not saying that this has been done or shown to be done, but rather that it is at least possible, and thus “design detection” in biological organisms, of a comparable sort as is done in archeology, is at least in principle possible.

Take care,

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"we can empirically demonstrate how an intelligent agent could create a organisms or parts of organisms"

Really? We can design living organisms or their organs? So If you wanted to design something like the motor flagellum (without using an existing one) how would you do it?

"we can repeatedly test the claim that natural processes cannot produce the organism or part of the organism in question. ... And note that only one example of ID is needed to substantiate its claim"

So there could be one example where you can show that natural processes can't produce it? How?
It has been shown repeatedly that natural processes can produce these things. But let's assume they come up with one that stumps the real biologists and evolutionary scientists for the time being. Does that prove that ID is true? I don't think so.

I can think of a way to produce something like the motor flagellum: artificial selection. Let evolution do the work, and select for the traits you want to have developed. But that's not exactly intelligent design.

Papalinton said...

Give it a break Miksa. Only you and William A Dembski are supporters of IDiocy. It doesn't have a place in the law and it doesn't have a place in the sciences. Attempting to peddle a religious concept outside theological circles simply does not cut it Even the majority of faith-heads on this blog don't subscribe to such obvious nonsense.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

"we can empirically demonstrate how an intelligent agent could create a organisms or parts of organisms"

You said:

“Really? We can design living organisms or their organs? So If you wanted to design something like the motor flagellum (without using an existing one) how would you do it?”

Ummm…we ‘can,’ like “we can do it!” Not that we have done it yet, but we CAN do it. Can: “used as an auxiliary to indicate the possibility, opportunity, or likelihood: my trainer says I can win the race if I really work hard.” As in, if we wish to support the ID hypothesis through testing, we can demonstrate that is possible to create an organism.”

And, as an aside, we have plenty of experience with intelligent agents producing irreducibly complex things, but no experience with purely natural processes doing so.


You said:

“So there could be one example where you can show that natural processes can't produce it? How?”

Well, I admit that it is actually impossible to categorically demonstrate that a natural process can’t produce a thing, but that does not mean that this cannot be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. After all, it is logically possible that wind blowing through a junk yard could create a functioning 747 plane, but it is beyond a reasonable doubt that it could not. Or, to use my own example, it is logically possible that some knives could bounce off the floor repeatedly to accidently cut a person fifty times, but it is beyond a reasonable that they could not.


You said:

“It has been shown repeatedly that natural processes can produce these things.”
Questionable. Most explanations provided are nothing more than “just-so” stories and massive extrapolations based on meager evidence. But this is a side point.


You said:

“But let's assume they come up with one that stumps the real biologists and evolutionary scientists for the time being. Does that prove that ID is true? I don't think so.”

Yes and no. By itself, the lack of an explanation provides evidence for ID and against its opposite, but it does not necessarily “prove” it in and of itself. But then the IDer presents positive arguments and evidences to show that the ID hypothesis is the most rational one to hold, and so his case for ID is positive and not just negative.

Furthermore, remember that ID is a provisionally held position. When discussing it, you must differentiate between what is rational to believe and what is true. All the evidence may point in ID’s favor, thus making ID rational to believe, and yet it still might be false. And thus, if new evidence arises, the ID position may no longer be rational to believe. And this is another way in which ID is similar to other sciences.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Crude said...

I can think of a way to produce something like the motor flagellum: artificial selection. Let evolution do the work, and select for the traits you want to have developed. But that's not exactly intelligent design.

Putting aside for a moment that artificial selection isn't the only method available in principle...

Yes, as a matter of fact - it is intelligent design. At that point, you've replaced natural selection with artificial selection: you are selecting particular organisms for a preferred trait. You even see this discussed among actual ID proponents, whether in the form of evolutionary front-loading or direct interventions.

Critics of intelligent design are never going to be taken seriously until they demonstrate a willingness to actually read what ID proponents are saying - and, just as importantly, actually familiarize themselves with the science.

If you want to be ignorant of science and ID, Skep, that's your prerogative. But you can't both be ignorant, yet at the same time act as an authority. One or the other - not both.

Crude said...

RD Miksa,

Well, I admit that it is actually impossible to categorically demonstrate that a natural process can’t produce a thing, but that does not mean that this cannot be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is another area where people show their ignorance of intelligent design claims. The goal is not to show that such and such a thing cannot possibly have evolved in principle. At best, it's to show that it's extremely unlikely to have evolved according to known evolutionary processes.

It's a provisional statement, as you said: that there may be relevant processes out there which can produce a bacterial flagellum is open. Also, it's an open possibility that there may be relevant processes which can produce an LCD TV. In the meantime, the ID proponent is going to infer that their LCD TV was made by an intelligent agent - even if they've never been to a factory, and don't know the process.

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"And, as an aside, we have plenty of experience with intelligent agents producing irreducibly complex things, but no experience with purely natural processes doing so. "

We have plenty of experience with intelligent agents (human) designing things that are known to be designed. We have NO experience of humans designing biological organisms. Just modifying existing organisms by manipulating their DNA. Nobody has ever designed a creature or an organ starting from a batch of chemicals. The fact is they are far more complex than anything we are capable of designing (at least with our current technology). So to say that they appear to be designed is a lie. They appear to be far more complex than anything that has ever been designed. It's a real stretch to infer that they must have been designed. Nature does produce this complexity. And it does it without any designer or intention. That's what we observe, if we're being honest.

Crude said...

Just modifying existing organisms by manipulating their DNA. Nobody has ever designed a creature or an organ starting from a batch of chemicals.

We have no experience of nature creating anything 'starting from a batch of chemicals' either. Only - wait for it - modifying existing organisms via DNA changes. ;) Of course, in both cases, we also modify the descendants, and we're working with already existing processes and structures. Nothing that is created from scratch.

The difference being, what we've actually observed nature doing 'from scratch' with regards to such changes absolutely pales in comparison to the actual, demonstrated efforts of designers.

Designers: 1. Nature: 0.

The fact is they are far more complex than anything we are capable of designing (at least with our current technology). So to say that they appear to be designed is a lie.

So yours is an argument that is crucially predicated on limitations of human technological capability? Talk about a suicidal argument - you may as well be back in the 1920s, saying that only 'nature' can put something on the moon. Not man.

Further, your argument is 'something that looks really, really technologically advanced and complicated is indicative that it wasn't designed at all'? Uhh. You may want to think that one through again.

Designers: 2. Nature: 0.

Nature does produce this complexity. And it does it without any designer or intention. That's what we observe, if we're being honest.

As pointed out, we do not observe 'nature' producing this complexity from scratch. We observe, at best, the continuation of established biological and chemical processes - 'altering of DNA', which you derided designers over, except what we've observed nature accomplishing 'on its own' in this manner is utterly inconsequential - especially when compared to what /designers/ have accomplished. And, unlike with nature, we have observed this.

Finally, considering that the very question of whether or not nature's operations are, in fact, the product of a designer - whether following the plan of an omnipotent creator since the origin of the universe, or being guided moment to moment, or otherwise - is exactly what's under question, and what we're attempting to infer. But we never observe 'unguided nature' in that sense. We may infer it - or in your case, really hope it's true - but there is no 'observation of the lack of design' directly. The best you can hope for is to see technology operating with no literal hands on it at the time: but this doesn't work with human designers (I don't need little men moving things in my computer for it to be designed and following instructions), much less with supremely powerful ones (who, whether God or gods running simulations, don't need to set foot in their creation at all to accomplish anything).

Designers 3, nature 0.

You're going to need to rally evidence of unguided nature creating what you say it's creating to get anywhere. Hint: it's not possible to 'observe non-guidance' in the relevant sense, and guidance can be remote, or pre-orchestrated. At best, you get an inference. Another hint: we can, however, see design - and we infer it, even when we don't really know what the point of the design is. Things may be ultimately non-designed, but you're going to have to climb quite a ladder to get to the inference you need.

This is where you'll want to retreat into agnosticism on the subject rather than certainty at the lack of design, by the way. And you'll have to put up quite a fight to even keep that ground.

B. Prokop said...

One of my favorite lines by (self-identified atheist *) science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke was along the lines of "A single cell is not only more complex than an automobile - it's more complex than the entire automobile industry." (Don't remember the exact wording, but you get the gist.)

Yes, nature is sometimes inconceivably complex. But don't you think it strains one's credibility to believe in spontaneously arising self-replicating automobile industries? By accident?

* Clarke on occasion identified himself as an atheist, but he was known to deny it as well. I don't think he really knew what he was, as far as that goes.

im-skeptical said...

"Yes, nature is sometimes inconceivably complex. But don't you think it strains one's credibility to believe in spontaneously arising self-replicating automobile industries? By accident?"

It strains credibility to think that anything so complex has ever been observed being designed, as is the claim of the IDists.

Crude said...

It strains credibility to think that anything so complex has ever been observed being designed, as is the claim of the IDists.

Nope. What ID proponents do is identify what they purport to be general traits of objects that are heretofore exclusively associated with the work of designers, as opposed to simple 'nature' - whatever that may be.

I assume when you walk into a Best Buy, you don't look upon their new products - many of them far more complicated than they were in previous years - and instinctively find yourself baffled at what nature is able to create. Or perhaps you think it's best to remain agnostic, until you see the Playstation 4s being created for yourself?

Nor do ID proponents claim to have 'observed seeing something so complex being designed'. They find a feature in common between two items, one they argue is associated with design, and reason from there.

And remember: artificial selection is just another instance of design.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

You said:

“Nobody has ever designed a creature or an organ starting from a batch of chemicals. The fact is they are far more complex than anything we are capable of designing (at least with our current technology). So to say that they appear to be designed is a lie.”

This literally sounds insane. It is almost like saying that if I found something like a Boeing 747 in the middle of a junkyard, then I should conclude that it appears to be designed because we are capable of designing such things. But, by contrast, if I found something like an interstellar spacecraft in the junk yard, then I should conclude that it does not appear designed, because it is far more complex than anything we are capable of designing. Or, to use another example, if an isolated Pygmy tribesman suddenly saw Mount Rushmore, he would be rational to conclude that it was designed because he could envisage someone designing like that. But if the isolated Pygmy tribesman was suddenly transported to another planet and suddenly saw someone like Mount Rushmore but 10 kilometers high, 20 kilometers wide, and made out of diamond, then the Pygmy should conclude that it is not designed because it is way too complex for his knowledge. I hope you can see how this idea makes little sense.


You said:

“They appear to be far more complex than anything that has ever been designed. It's a real stretch to infer that they must have been designed.”

So let me get this straight. A proponent of irreducible complexity claims that when something is very complex and also needs all its parts together to function at all, then this is a sign of design; so complexity is a key part of detecting design. Yet you are claiming that biological organisms are far more complex that anything human beings have ever designed and which they know to be designed. Your assessment of this fact is to then claim that this astronomical complexity counts against those organisms being designed, and that it makes it more difficult to infer design in this case. Seriously? That is backwards.


You said:

“Nature does produce this complexity. And it does it without any designer or intention.”

And now you are just begging the very question that is under discussion. An utterly fallacious move!


You said:

“That's what we observe, if we're being honest.”

Actually, we don’t observe it at all. At best, we infer it. And furthermore, the interesting thing is that in principle, we CANNOT infer anything more than agnosticism about whether something was not designed (for a designer could cover his tracks or use natural processes to achieve his design aims), thus making the thing appear un-designed), but we CAN positively infer that something was indeed designed. So no, if we’re being honest, than that’s not at all what we observe.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Crude,

“Nor do ID proponents claim to have 'observed seeing something so complex being designed'. They find a feature in common between two items, one they argue is associated with design, and reason from there.”

Well said. And furthermore, this whole business about needing to ‘observe something so complex being designed before one can attribute design to something similar to it’ is just insane.

Indeed, it’s like saying that if an isolated Pygmy tribes-man who had never seen anything from the modern world suddenly went swimming and observed a sunken ship from World War II, then he would be irrational to think that the ship was designed because it would be so much more complex than anything the Pygmy had ever seen to date. Yet this is obviously absurd! He would immediately see it as designed, and he would be more than rational in doing so.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Good Day to All,

This will likely be my final post about this topic, but in it, I aim to clearly demonstrate the in principle viability, religious-neutrality, and scientific nature of ID. To do this, consider the following information (from Wikipedia – Entry on “Craig Venter”):

“In May 2010, a team of scientists led by [Craig] Venter became the first to successfully create what was described as "synthetic life". This was done by synthesizing a very long DNA molecule containing an entire bacterium genome, and introducing this into another cell, analogous to the accomplishment of Eckard Wimmer's group, who synthesized and ligated an RNA virus genome and "booted" it in cell lysate. The single-celled organism contains four "watermarks" written into its DNA to identify it as synthetic and to help trace its descendants. The watermarks include:

1.Code table for entire alphabet with punctuations;
2.Names of 46 contributing scientists;
3.Three quotations;
4.The web address for the cell.”

Now, with this in mind, let us consider this thought-experiment. Imagine that humanity somehow wipes itself out almost completely in some type of cataclysmic event. All human records and information is totally lost. The only people that survive are a few back-water English-speaking country folk with utterly no scientific knowledge and barely any education. They have no idea about any scientific facts or any real technological knowledge. But slowly, from this small English-speaking group, the world is repopulated. The new inhabitants of the world begin to slowly re-investigate the world. Then one day, a scientist somehow stumbles on the single-celled organism (or its descendants) that Venter synthetically modified above, and this scientist thus observes an organism with the four watermarks described above written into its DNA.

Now, given this discovery, the following questions arise:

1) Would not such a scientist be rational to conclude that the best explanation for the existence of these DNA watermarks was ID rather than natural causes, even though the same scientist may never have seen the DNA of any other organism before? Of course he would be rational to conclude that ID was the best explanation. Given such a discovery, it would be insane for him to do otherwise. And so, at least in principle, ID is viable and design is empirically detectable.

2) Would not such a scientist be engaging in a religiously-neutral act by making this discovery and by confirming ID as the best explanation of the watermarks? Of course he would, for how is it in any way religious to claim that Venter’s cell is intelligently designed? It simply is not.

3) Would not such a scientist be engaging in science when he made this discovery? It seems difficult to argue that he would not be, for what would make his practice suddenly unscientific just because he found these watermarks and ascribed them to ID?

4) Finally, would not such a scientist be readily able to assess that the specific organism was intelligently designed even though he could not identify the designer? Of course he would be able to do so, for assessing that something was designed is separate from discovering who the designer was.

So, from this thought experiment, I think it is clear that ID is in principle viable, scientific, religiously-neutral, and more than capable of being legitimately separated from the question of who the designer is.

In essence, this example demonstrates that the in principle objections to ID simply fail. ID may indeed be false, but that does nothing to negate its potential viability, scientific methodology, and religious-neutrality.

Take care,

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

RD,

As for your thought experiment, we have to go where the evidence leads. If there is evidence that something in the DNA was the product of an intelligent designer, so be it. There would no doubt also be evidence that that designer existed. There would no doubt be some additional information that tends to confirm a hypothesis of design. There is no such evidence in biology as we know it. There is ample evidence that it was in fact accidental. So many things that should have been done better if they were designed. So many things that serve no purpose, but are remnants of earlier stages of evolution.

The evidence is there, if you care to take an honest look at it. It all points very clearly in one direction. Ans it's not toward intelligent design.

Crude said...

If there is evidence that something in the DNA was the product of an intelligent designer, so be it. There would no doubt also be evidence that that designer existed. There would no doubt be some additional information that tends to confirm a hypothesis of design.

Which is exactly what ID proponents argue does, as a matter of fact, exist. A provisional indication of design based on the facts we have at hand.

There is no such evidence in biology as we know it. There is ample evidence that it was in fact accidental. So many things that should have been done better if they were designed.

Woah now. 'Should have been done better if they were designed.'?

Now you're making several mistakes at once.

A) You're assuming the intentions of the designer, and claiming those intentions are not met.
B) You're assuming the skill level of the designer as well, such that things 'should have been done better'. (Relevant to what goal?)

So many things that serve no purpose, but are remnants of earlier stages of evolution.

C) You're assuming that if one thing is designed, all things must be designed - or at least all things must show evidence of design.
D) You're, again, assuming the intentions and purposes of the designer without warrant.

The evidence is there, if you care to take an honest look at it. It all points very clearly in one direction. And it's toward intelligent design. ;)

Ilíon said...

Do you all know *why* St.Chuckie avoided use of the word 'evolution', using instead the clumsy locution “descent with modification”? It is because the term ‘evolution’ already meant exactly the opposite of what he wanted the history of life to be -- ‘evolution’, especially in biology, already meant “progress/development toward a goal”, which is to say, the term already meant exactly the opposite of random/unplanned/undersigned/goalless.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary -- “evolution (n.) 1620s, "an opening of what was rolled up," from Latin evolutionem (nominative evolutio) "unrolling (of a book)," noun of action from evolvere (see evolve).

Used in various senses in medicine, mathematics, and general use, including "growth to maturity and development of an individual living thing" (1660s). Modern use in biology, of species, first attested 1832 by Scottish geologist Charles Lyell. Charles Darwin used the word only once, in the closing paragraph of "The Origin of Species" (1859), and preferred descent with modification, in part because evolution already had been used in the 18c. homunculus theory of embryological development (first proposed under this name by Bonnet, 1762), in part because it carried a sense of "progress" not found in Darwin's idea. But Victorian belief in progress prevailed (along with brevity), and Herbert Spencer and other biologists popularized evolution.”

im-skeptical said...

So Darwin was intelligent enough to avoid the woo-infested terminology of the day that would have made his theory sound like just another bit of religious malarkey. These days, the word 'evolution' no longer carries that connotation.

grodrigues said...

@R. D. Miksa:

Sorry for the late response, but in case you are still interested:

"I am not saying that DNA itself is an artifact (as you define it), but rather that an intelligent agent could place an artifact inside DNA so that it would have certain features that would make it recognizable as an artifact. Indeed, just as an intelligence could use a sequence of prime number scratches on a wall to make it obvious that an intelligence made those scratches, so to could an intelligence place a sequence of prime numbers in DNA to create an artifact that would be recognizable as an artifact, and thus as a product of intelligence."

This answer is completely baffling. First, "I am not saying that DNA itself is an artifact", then "but rather that an intelligent agent could place an artifact inside DNA so that it would have certain features that would make it recognizable as an artifact", so what gives? Second, you are just pushing the problem one level back: now it is not the whole DNA that is recognized as designed, but certain features within it that betray intelligent tampering -- in other words (and this is the Third point), you are actually making the problem worse, because know you do not even prove that DNA was designed, but only *tampered* with. Fourth, you are playing a game similar to the one played by e.g. deniers of the Shakespeare's authorship: hunt for cyphered messages in the sonnets so as to reveal the real identity of the author. Are you aware of the immense hurdles such general strategy faces? Even if successful, still the only way I can see to make it successful is to recast the argument it in the general form (1) I mentioned above.

RD Miksa said...

Dear grodrigues,

Let me quickly re-post something that I posted above, but which I think illustrates my position quite clearly. After that, I will address each your points in a separate post.

Here is the earlier post that illustrates my position concerning the scientific viability of ID:

Good Day to All,

This will likely be my final post about this topic, but in it, I aim to clearly demonstrate the in principle viability, religious-neutrality, and scientific nature of ID. To do this, consider the following information (from Wikipedia – Entry on “Craig Venter”):

“In May 2010, a team of scientists led by [Craig] Venter became the first to successfully create what was described as "synthetic life". This was done by synthesizing a very long DNA molecule containing an entire bacterium genome, and introducing this into another cell, analogous to the accomplishment of Eckard Wimmer's group, who synthesized and ligated an RNA virus genome and "booted" it in cell lysate. The single-celled organism contains four "watermarks" written into its DNA to identify it as synthetic and to help trace its descendants. The watermarks include:

1.Code table for entire alphabet with punctuations;
2.Names of 46 contributing scientists;
3.Three quotations;
4.The web address for the cell.”

Now, with this in mind, let us consider this thought-experiment. Imagine that humanity somehow wipes itself out almost completely in some type of cataclysmic event. All human records and information is totally lost. The only people that survive are a few back-water English-speaking country folk with utterly no scientific knowledge and barely any education. They have no idea about any scientific facts or any real technological knowledge. But slowly, from this small English-speaking group, the world is repopulated. The new inhabitants of the world begin to slowly re-investigate the world. Then one day, a scientist somehow stumbles on the single-celled organism (or its descendants) that Venter synthetically modified above, and this scientist thus observes an organism with the four watermarks described above written into its DNA.

Now, given this discovery, the following questions arise:

1) Would not such a scientist be rational to conclude that the best explanation for the existence of these DNA watermarks was ID rather than natural causes, even though the same scientist may never have seen the DNA of any other organism before? Of course he would be rational to conclude that ID was the best explanation. Given such a discovery, it would be insane for him to do otherwise. And so, at least in principle, ID is viable and design is empirically detectable.

2) Would not such a scientist be engaging in a religiously-neutral act by making this discovery and by confirming ID as the best explanation of the watermarks? Of course he would, for how is it in any way religious to claim that Venter’s cell is intelligently designed? It simply is not.

3) Would not such a scientist be engaging in science when he made this discovery? It seems difficult to argue that he would not be, for what would make his practice suddenly unscientific just because he found these watermarks and ascribed them to ID?

4) Finally, would not such a scientist be readily able to assess that the specific organism was intelligently designed even though he could not identify the designer? Of course he would be able to do so, for assessing that something was designed is separate from discovering who the designer was.

So, from this thought experiment, I think it is clear that ID is in principle viable, scientific, religiously-neutral, and more than capable of being legitimately separated from the question of who the designer is.

In essence, this example demonstrates that the in principle objections to ID simply fail. ID may indeed be false, but that does nothing to negate its potential viability, scientific methodology, and religious-neutrality.

More to follow....

RD Miksa said...

Dear grodrigues:

You said:

“This answer is completely baffling. First, "I am not saying that DNA itself is an artifact", then "but rather that an intelligent agent could place an artifact inside DNA so that it would have certain features that would make it recognizable as an artifact", so what gives?”

Take the four watermarks that Craig Venter had placed in the DNA of the organism that he synthetically modified. Those four watermarks would be a designed “artifact” within the DNA itself. So that is the difference. The DNA might be a natural, but an “artificial signature” could be placed inside it to make it clear that at least some part of it was designed.


You said:

“Second, you are just pushing the problem one level back: now it is not the whole DNA that is recognized as designed, but certain features within it that betray intelligent tampering-- in other words (and this is the Third point), you are actually making the problem worse, because know you do not even prove that DNA was designed, but only *tampered* with.”

Not necessarily. The whole strand of DNA could have been designed, and at the same time, the designer could have left an artifact (such as his name) embedded in the DNA to make it clearly recognizable that it was designed. Indeed, this is what Craig Venter and his team did; they synthesized a strand of DNA, thus designing it, but at the same time they added the four watermarks to the DNA to make sure that it would be recognized as synthetic and designed. So, both the DNA could be designed as well as the “artifact” embedded in the DNA.

At the same time, what you write is also true. It could be the case that the DNA has only been tampered with, but this would not mean that we could not recognize the tampering as having been designed by an intelligent agent. Indeed, if any one of us observed the four watermarks left behind by Venter in the DNA of the organism that he synthesized, we would immediately recognize them as having been designed.


You said:

“Fourth, you are playing a game similar to the one played by e.g. deniers of the Shakespeare's authorship: hunt for cyphered messages in the sonnets so as to reveal the real identity of the author. Are you aware of the immense hurdles such general strategy faces? Even if successful, still the only way I can see to make it successful is to recast the argument it in the general form (1) I mentioned above.”

Again, not necessarily. As the Craig Venter example shows, if we observed the four watermarks that Venter left in the DNA of the organism, it would be immediately and obviously clear to us that those were specific “artifacts” that where intelligently designed into the DNA of the organism. There would be no question as to that fact. The message would not be in any way cryptic or unsure. Rather, it would be as plain as the light of day that those four watermarks were designed.

At the same time, if, for example, we found a sequence of “A” nuceo-bases of DNA that were arranged in such a way that the “As”, with just one “T” in-between them, formed the first one hundred prime numbers, would there be any reasonable doubt that such a sequence was intelligently designed into that strand of DNA? Of course not.

Thus, both these examples demonstrate that detecting design in biological systems is at least, in principle, possible, and that there is nothing unscientific about doing so.

However, at the same time, please note that I am not saying that anything like this has been discovered yet, but rather that it is in principle possible, and so there is no valid objection to the claim that design detection in biology is not only eminently possible, but also completely scientific.

Take care,

RD Miksa