Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 02:35:42 EST

I am also not really certain about your 'argument'. Science is all about
empiricism. The problem is that ID has nothing much to contribute
scientifically at all.

"It is generally regarded as the heart of the modern scientific method,
that present theories should be based on our observations of the world
rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a
posteriori inductive reasoning rather than purely deductive logic.

Empirical is an adjective often used in conjunction with science, both
the natural and social sciences, which means the use of working
hypotheses which are capable of being disproved using observation or
experiment (ie: ultimately through experience)."

Hope this helps clarify.
But if you can provide us with some examples where ID actually
contributes to our scientific knowledge in a non trivial manner, I am
still awaiting such evidence. But an approach which is purely
eliminative, hence based on our ignorance, has typically little to

One my argue that ID helps refute scientific hypotheses and thus is
scientifically relevant but in that aspect ID is nothing different from
science. For ID to be scientifically relevant rather than vacuous it
needs to present some data which does not follow from other approaches.
Replacing ignorance with design is not such an example.

ID surely may qualify as a theological position, as it mostly does. But
to argue that ID has much of any scientific relevance, well, requires a
little bit more.


Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> This is the age-old rationalist complaint against empricism. You can't
> supply me with a competing rationalistic scheme, so you don't qualify.
> Imagine, a theory for studying biology that does not include the
> mechanism for how life came about? Unacceptable. Meanwhile the
> elephant is still in the room.
>> False positives are incredible fatal to the ID argument but the ID
>> argument is vacuous for various other reasons. Since ID is basically
>> the set theoretic complement of regularity and chance, it does not
>> present ANY mechanisms, methods, explanations for a particular
>> 'designed' system. In other words, ID explains nothing. When ID
>> attempts to explain observed data, it has to start making assumptions
>> about the designer(s), but there are no foundational principles that
>> describe the interest, motivation, capabilities of said designer(s).
>> One can at most draw the 'circular' conclusion that the designer
>> could design system X because he designed it or that the designer
>> wanted to design system X because he designed it.
>> Let's look at Behe's testimony in the Kitzmiller trial in Dover
>> Q: It does not identify who the designer is, correct?
>> A That s correct. Let me just clarify that. I m talking about the
>> scientific argument for intelligent design based on physical data and
>> logic, yes.
>> Q You believe it s God, but it s not part of your scientific argument?
>> A That s correct.
>> Q It does not describe how the design occurred.
>> A I m sorry?
>> Q Intelligent design does not describe how the design occurred.
>> A That s correct, just like the Big Bang theory does not describe
>> what caused the Big Bang.
>> Q Does not identify when the design occurred.
>> A That is correct.
>> Q In fact, intelligent design takes no position on the age of the
>> earth or when biological life began.
>> A That s correct.
>> Q But think it was — the earth as billions of years old or 10,000
>> years old.
>> A That s correct.
>> Q It says nothing about what the designer’s abilities are.
>> *A Other than saying that the designer had the ability to make the
>> design that is under consideration, that’s correct.
>> Q It sounds pretty tautological, Professor Behe.*
>> and
>> A Well, as I think I said in response to the question, we know the
>> designer had the ability to make the design. So, but beyond that, we
>> would be extrapolating beyond the evidence, so we can t say more than
>> that.
>> Q And we know nothing about the designer s limitations.
>> A Well, we have to infer what we have from the data, and the data
>> tell us that a designer can make a certain object. It does not say
>> what the designer might not do. our everyday world somebody who makes
>> some simple object might be able to make a more complex one or so on.
>> Q Intelligent design says nothing about the intelligent designer s
>> motivations?
>> *A The only statement it makes about that is that the designer had
>> the motivation to make the structure that is designed.*
>> Q How can intelligent design possibly make that statement, Professor
>> Behe?
>> A I don t understand your question.
>> Q How can it possibly say anything about the intelligent designer s
>> motives without knowing anything about who the intelligent designer is?
>> And so on. The designer designed because he was motivated to design
>> it, he had the ability to design it because he designed it, but we
>> don’t really know much of anything….
Received on Sat Nov 26 02:36:38 2005

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