Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: <>
Date: Fri Nov 25 2005 - 19:57:28 EST

Pim Van Meurs wrote

> I am working on a larger posting addressing this excellent paper but let
> me point out that Intelligent Design is nothing more than the "null
> hypothesis" and can thus not even compete with 'we don't know'. In fact,
> we have seen in the past how a 'we don't know' position were used to
> propose evidence of a deity, only to be replaced later when our
> ignorance decreased.

I'm getting a little lost here. I would see most of the problems with
application of the "design inference" (in matters of experimental
science) to be that of establishing proper probabilities.

Ignoring the common (and useless) rhetoric from the ID group,
I'll go back to "The Design Inference". Although the last chapter
gets a little into the direction Dembski was intending to go, within the body
of the book, the basic model was something like this: (1) __find__ a correct
probability function (2) set a lower bound on the odds that are
reasonable to expect. The examples therefore centered on
card games (etc. ) where the odds can be predicted without dispute.
Even "honest" gambling parlors can make money off of these odds
and I suspect with a high degree of reliability.

The major problems seem to appear when this is applied to empirical
problems where not all the information is know with certainty. I don't
quite see what you mean by vacuity. People use probability theory all
the time, and the issue should be which model is to be used and how
accurately it reflects what we observe in the world. Quite understandably,
probability models immediately raise suspicions (as they should), but that
does not make them vacuous.

by Grace alone we proceed,
Received on Fri Nov 25 20:00:11 2005

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