Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: <>
Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 00:42:22 EST


Thank you for clarifying your point. I basically can agree, although
perhaps I might still encourage selection of a less goading word. :-)

Your main point is then, that ID basically says, well, it's not A, and it's
not B, and it's not C and it's not..... Since the possibilities in biology
are almost limitless, and we can always be sure of surprises, such an
approach is doomed. Moreover, because the final conclusion is effectively,
"God did it and that's that", we still don't have any "how", and the "how"
is what science can deal with and test. Finally, because there is no "how",
there is nothing further to test either, nothing more to learn, and
nothing to add to scientific progress.

I suppose the reasoning behind ID is that if you get stuck, only one
conclusion is left, but that isn't the way science works either. Even if
we were stuck somehow, which I cannot think is the case right now,
we can never be sure that every possibility has been addressed. (Don
also points this out.)

I think the only place where one could really test the design inference
in a scientific way is if one had two probabilistic models to compare.
For a trivial example, let's say a coin flipping experiment described by a
distribution and a sine function (from 0 to pi). Although the sine function
does have some very remote similarities over the range from 0 to pi,
a Gaussian or Poisson would be a far better approximation. Extrapolated
to empirical sciences (a big stretch indeed), one might be able to compare
two economic models or something of the sort. But I'm really belaboring
things because ID never proposes a model that extends beyond "God did it,
I believe it, and that's that".

I am Christian, and I believe that God's hand was somehow in all this: that
existence does have purpose. However, this is a matter of my faith and it
be arrogant to think I should be able to prove my faith with science. There
would be no need for faith anymore. I think this is really the big problem
Creationism and ID. They basically want to come in with the "Do you feel
you reprobates?" God does not instill faith in us by the point of a gun. By
Grace yet again, our own hearts must repent and turn to his salvation.
should I reject God because __I __ don't like how the world and life was
If anything, evolution really adds profound emphasis to David's realization:
is man that you care about him?". We would be better to have our face to
the ground fearing to look to heaven, than to proudly boast that we deserve
anything whatsoever.

by Grace alone we proceed,
----------------------------------------- wrote:

> By vacuity I mean that ID does not add anything to our scientific
> understanding. For instance in the design inference, design is that
> which remains when chance and regularity have been eliminated. This
> however does not add any more to our understanding of a particular
> system than if we were to replace the 'design inference' with a 'we
> don't know'.
> Without any further constraints, the Explanatory Filter does not present
> much of anything scientifically relevant beyond having eliminated chance
> and regularity hypotheses, but this does not depend on the ID hypothesis
> itself. In other words, elimination of hypotheses cannot give scientific
> content to ID beyond what regular science already offers. In other
> words, we have to look at the conclusion drawin by the EF, namely that
> what remains should be considered 'design'.
> Finding the correct probability function is but one problem of false
> positives, finding relevant hypotheses of chance/regularity is another
> one. In other words, despite Dembski's claim that the EF is free from
> false positives, we do not really know, and have no way to establish,
> how common such false positives are.
> So now we have a 'design inference'. How can we compare this hypothesis
> with the already existing hypotheses or even the hypothesis of 'we don't
> know'? Let's assume that the probability for known processes is smaller
> than 150 bits, does this mean necessarily that the design hypothesis
> (whatever that may be) has a probability larger than it's competitors?
> We don't know because the probability of the design inference is never
> calculated, because it is inferred from the failure of 'competing
> hypotheses'. So why does the design inference deserve such a position?
> Why should we not accept 'we don't know' until we have independent
> evidence or a real hypothesis to be tested?
> Of course, the answer is that such a position would make the Design
> Inference utterly useless for testing supernatural events.
> In the limited ID relevant research, it already is self-evident that the
> design inference at most can lead to tests of existing scientific
> hypotheses and that ID never presents an independent hypothesis of its
> own, other than by arguing that the failure of other hypotheses,
> combined with a vague concept of specification can only be explained by
> intelligent design.
> Does such a position help us understand why? According to Behe we know
> that the designer wanted to design the object, and we know that the
> designer had the ability to design the object (Kitzmiller testimony).
> Even the former assertion is not clear as we know that intent may not be
> needed for something to be 'designed'.
> So ID does not give us much of anything that helps explaining the
> 'designed' object. Nothing about, how, why, by whom (motive, means and
> opportunity), no independent evidence (eye-witnesses), no alibis...
Received on Sat Nov 26 00:43:59 2005

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