Re: Public perceptions of science: was Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Sun Sep 11 2005 - 17:48:46 EDT

Hi everyone,

I'd like to suggest a more conciliatory approach to moderate the
recent rancor on these two threads.

Loren Haarsma from Calvin presented to following paper at the ASA
meeting this summer as part of the ID "vs" TE symposium:

Loren, I think, masterfully set the right tone for a productive
debate. Dembski followed him prepared, of course, to argue that ID is
"scientific" and when Loren didn't come loaded with that particular
critique was surprisingly, in my experience, conciliatory himself. He
even admitted that theistic evolution is a plausible Christian position.

I created a web version of Loren's handout and paper and he gave me
permission to put it on the ASA web site. If you would like a Word
document version, you can get it directly from Loren's web site at
Calvin at

I am in Loren's "explainable" or "partially explainable" camps when
it comes to most of the ID examples from biology (flagella, origin of
life, other irreducibly complex systems). I'm quite content to argue
against ID on the basis of plausible scenarios rather than
demarcationist arguments.

For what it's worth, in my opinion as a biologist (and otherwise),
the recent arguments that biology is not science are just pompous
physical science arrogance. From the information about joining the
ASA: "Science is interpreted broadly to include anthropology,
archeology, economics, engineering, history, mathematics, medicine,
political science, psychology, and sociology as well as the generally
recognized science disciplines." I've long disagreed with Moorad on
this and it's just putting your head in the sand to say otherwise.
Most people say that biology is not a physical science, but a unique,
autonomous scientific discipline, biological science. Most people
will, however, categorize biology as a natural science (notice that
natural does NOT equal physical in these characterizations). Natural
science is conventionally contrasted with human or social sciences
(please, don't make the joke about, if science is in your
discipline's name, it's not science). We really must abandon these
demarcationist arguments and be willing get to more substantive
discussions asking whether or not the claims are correct not whether
or not they match up with someone's rules of the game.


Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
Received on Sun Sep 11 17:53:26 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Sep 11 2005 - 17:53:27 EDT