Re: Tit for Tat?

From: Steve Petermann (
Date: Thu Sep 11 2003 - 16:07:27 EDT

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    Keith wrote:
    > However, science should not be taught as though all ideas or theories are
    > equally valid. They are not.


    > ID proponents have not provided the scientific community with any coherent
    > model that can be independently tested. They have no scientific research
    > program. In effect there is no real ID scientific theory. Their
    > are essentially just attempted critiques of the current evolutionary
    > paradigm -- most of which have been shown to be severely flawed. Teaching
    > ID as a serious challenge to modern evolutionary models would be to
    > misrepresent the status of evolution as a well-supported unifying theory,
    > and to misrepresent the status of ID which is at present primarily a
    > philosophical and political movement.

    I'm not sure all would agree with your assessment of ID, but I think what we
    find in the ID situation is something of a new challenge for science.
    Standard science has not had to deal with the possibility an outside causal
    agency making itself felt in this reality. Also since this supposed causal
    agency would be intelligent and not some predictable regularity, that even
    compounds that problem. Science as science does not entail exclusion of
    such an agent but how is science to deal with it? Clearly the standard
    scientific method will not suffice. If scientists, however, take seriously
    not only the religious ideas of intelligent design in evolution but also
    those on divine agency(i.e. providence), how are scientists to approach this
    issue? From what I have seen recently in the ID literature, many ID
    proponents are taking seriously these challenges. Whatever emerges of this
    new "scientific method" it will certainly lack some of the certainty it now
    enjoys. However, since doing science entails some metaphysical presumptions
    anyway, perhaps doing science that is a little less certain with a little
    more faith is not that bad thing after all.

    However, because this new type of "science" may be in its infancy, is it
    appropriate to do more than mention it in passing to students and their
    parents when talking about evolution. How much more can be asserted? Not
    much I would suggest. As you suggested students need to be appraised that
    not all theories are equally compelling.

    However, for those religious folks that are concerned about having a well
    reasoned faith that embraces science, perhaps ID concepts and divine action
    concepts support their choice to operate on faith, based on their own
    religious intuition.

    Steve Petermann

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