Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: Cornelius Hunter <>
Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 03:10:17 EST

Fortunately people like Isaac Newton and John Ray didn't agree with you.
Rationalism failed in theology and in teh experimental sciences, but it has
continued in the historical sciences. Behe injected the Big Bang into the
testimony for good reason. The lawyer didn't get it (or didn't want to get
it), but the BB is an example where empiricism has broken through in the
historical sciences, despite stiff resistance. It violated the axioms held
by many cosmologists, but the evidence was too strong. I guess the lawyer
should have just said it is vacuous. You wrote:

"I am also not really certain about your 'argument'. Science is all about

Sure, empirical methods are used *within* the naturalism paradigm in the
historical sciences. Rationalism comes into the picture in determining the
paradigm. ID is rejected not because of the empirical evidence (though of
course it may fail on the evidence). You criticize IDs for not supplying
ultimate answers. You want ID to hypothesize about the how's, where's and
why's of how the species arose (as evolution does). But ID does not provide
these -- it is more focused on the experimental sciences. It is a different
way of doing science (eg, not constrained to naturalistic descriptions of
origin), not a new rationalistic scheme.

>> 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.
> Huh? I point out that ID has nothing to contribute to science and you
> complain that the lack of a rationalistic scheme is somehow irrelevant.
> As far as the origin of life, is your argument that our ignorance somehow
> is evidence for design? Or can we accept that there are many instance
> where we clearly 'don't know'.
> Of course, evolutionary theory does not have to deal with the origins of
> life. Which does not mean that science has not proposed plausible
> pathways.
> Remind me what ID has contributed to our scientific knowledge? Not much I
> guess...
> See, how scientifically vacuous ID really is?
> My complaint is really simple: What does ID have to contribute to our
> scientific knowledge Cornelius? So far you have contributed nothing much
> relevant to resolve this issue.
> Pim
>>> 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 03:11:39 2005

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