Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 12:03:02 EST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Todd Pedlar" <>
To: "Pim van Meurs" <>
Cc: "Cornelius Hunter" <>; <>
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 10:47 AM
Subject: Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

> Pim van Meurs wrote:
>> Cornelius Hunter wrote:
>>> 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.
>> Again you are conflating various arguments. BB succeeded because it
>> presented another testable, positive explanation of the data. ID does
>> nothing of the kind, it merely relies on negative evidence to conclcude
>> that our ignorance is evidence of something called 'design'. It was
>> exactly the empirical evidence which led the BB to become an accepted
>> theory.
>> So again, BB was not scientifically vacuous as it was a real hypothesis,
>> not the null hypothesis.
> Not sure that I want to get into this at this point, but here goes. I'm
> not a proponent of intelligent design, nor an opponent, although I am
> sympathetic to the perspective those in the ID camp have on the viability
> of the science done. As has been noted, the difference lies not so much
> in what ID will do (ID folks are found among geneticists, physicists and
> organic & biochemists), as in what ultimately grounds them with respect to
> what science can claim. What I do want to see is fair treatment of those
> who are in the ID camp, which I'm not sure always happens.
> A question here to start, Pim.
> In what sense is the BB testable? I assume what you mean is that BB puts
> forth a picture that should give rise to certain effects - and that those
> are testable in that those effects can be searched for in the data. It's
> hard to go beyond this, however, and say that BB is 'proven' - only that
> it is the most consistent theory that explains the data we
> see today, and should win the day in any discussion about cosmology
> because of that empirical strength.
> As for ID and the claims that all it is is the "null hypothesis". It's
> not as though science has never done what ID does before - that is, taken
> a look at the prevailing theory that attempts to explain the data
> observed, and claim that the theory fails on that count. Isn't it fairer
> to claim that ID is simply saying to macroevolutionists
> that the evidence is lacking for the claims made about origins? Isn't
> that the crux of the matter? ID folks generally seem to me to be happy to
> accept adaptation/microevolution and the claims made and applications of
> genetics and biochemistry. What is rejected is the tying together of
> evolutionary pathways back to the dawn of time. Perhaps in part what they
> see is a lack of predictive power for THAT part of biological theory - a
> perspective with which I am thoroughly sympathetic. What predictions
> (testable or otherwise) are made based on the theories of
> macroevolutionary development?

Todd - Nice to see you here. I taught in the physics dept at Luther, most
recently in 83.

What more can you say of any scientific theory than that "it is the most
consistent theory that explains the data we
see today"? ID, OTOH, doesn't explain any data except by saying "a designer
did it." If IDers would indeed be content to say that there are some
aspects of biological development that evolutionary theories haven't
explained, it would be a different matter. But they aren't.

Received on Sat Nov 26 12:06:37 2005

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