Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 14:40:02 EST

Cornelius I simply do not recognise your references to the history of
science. You are drawing false parallels.

What are you arguing about?

Michael
----- Original Message -----
From: "Cornelius Hunter" <ghunter2099@sbcglobal.net>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 6:01 PM
Subject: Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

> Pim and George:
>
>
> Pim:
>
>
>>
>>> 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.
>
> This history of science helps here because these attacks on ID are similar
> to the rationalist's attacks on the 17th century moderate empiricists. The
> BB doesn't tell us why this event occurred. It doesn't have a mechanism
> for the cause. This is what you complained ID lacked. Regarding
> testability, the BB is testable in the same sense that design theories are
> testable. Nor are design theories based on negative evidence (John Ray did
> not study botany using negative evidence). Here we are with the evidence
> screaming "design" and we're told this must not be science.
>
>
>>
>>> You wrote:
>>>
>>> "I am also not really certain about your 'argument'. Science is all
>>> about empiricism."
>>>
>>> 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.
>>
>>
>> I criticize ID for providing no answers at all. ID is rekected because it
>> adds no scientifically relevant explanations to our knowledge. I am not
>> even asking for 'ultimate answers', I am asking for any scientifically
>> relevant answers.
>
> Of course it does. It allows us to follow the data instead of *requiring*
> purely naturalistic theories of origin (evolution). We do not have to
> force fit the data into an unproven theory of origin which restricts our
> scientific approach. If you do not think this can lead to good science you
> are simply ignorant of the history of science. You would exclude, for
> instance, all of the pre Darwin life science work. The problem is not that
> merely allowing for, rather than requiring, naturalistic theories of
> origin is bad science. The problem is it violates so many peoples
> rationalist axioms about what must be true.
>
>
>
>>
>>> 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.
>>>
>>
>> Again, this is the claim of ID but it fails on the simple observation
>> that it adds nothing to scientific knowledge. If 'a different way of
>> doing science' means that rather than call our ignorance for what it is,
>> and call it 'design' then ID is simply vacuoeeus. It does not even allow
>> a competition with the 'we don't know' position.
>
> This is a mischaracterization for reasons stated above.
>
>>
>> ID may not want to constrain itself to naturalistic descriptions of
>> origins but it is exactly this which makes it scientifically vacuous.
>
> Again, this ignores the vast body of scientific work done outside of
> naturalism.
>
>
>
>> Poof is just not a very competing explanation to explain that which we do
>> not yet understand.
>
> This is a strawman. ID doesn't make this claim. In fact it allows for
> evolutionary processes. It just doesn't require naturalistic origin.
>
>
>
>> Gap arguments never have been very scientific and more than once gaps in
>> our knowledge have been filled later,.
>
> You are requiring ID to be a historical science, even though IDs have
> repeatedly explained this is not what ID is about.
>
>
> even
>> though deities were more than once invoked to explain natural
>> occurrences: Examples are countless and include natural disasters
>> (earthquakes, volcanoes), natural phenomenon (thunder/lightning, comets,
>> eclipses), illnesses and even local floods.
>
> This is irrelevant. No serious modern scientist has made this kind of gap
> theory. I'll let you have the last word (unless you have something new to
> say).
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> George:
>
>> Your interpretation of what happened with the BB is wrong. It was not a
>> triumph of empiricism over rationalism but a defeat of one theory, which
>> had some observational support, by another which turned out to have much
>> more observational support.
>
> Of course the BB was a triumph of one theory over others, that is obvious.
> The point is that the BB, unlike its competitors, did not flow from axioms
> that were held about the universe. Let's not play dumb about the
> metaphysical resistance the BB encountered.
>
>> Theory is the bridge which enables us to use the results of what you call
>> "experimental science" to what you call "historical science," & therefore
>> blurs any fundamental distinction between the two. Cosmology, & in fact
>> all of astrophysics, is an excellent example.
>
> You are begging the question. Yes, there is no fundamental distinction
> between the historical and experimental sciences, and theory is the
> bridge, IF naturalism is true. If the Burnet-Leibniz-Kant. model of how
> God creates is true (or something like it is true), then yes, there is no
> fundamental distinction. But that is the question at hand. Is this model,
> or something like it, true?
>
>
>
>> 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."
>
> Of course design theory explains data. True, the typical focus of design
> theory is not in providing ultimate answers, and a historical theory of
> origins. It is more focused on the experimental sciences.
>
>> 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.
>
> It is the evolutionists, not the IDers, who are holding to a dogmatic
> position. One might think that if evolutionary theories haven't explained
> biology then alternatives would be allowed. But this is not the case for
> naturalists. As Kant explained, naturalism is not a theory or good idea --
> we must hold it to be a fact. Likewise today's evolutionists hold that
> evolution is not a theory, but a fact (it would be perverse to say it is a
> theory!). Of course these claims are based on a priori axioms
> (rationalism) as opposed to the empirical evidence.
>
>
>
Received on Sat Nov 26 15:25:23 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Nov 26 2005 - 15:25:23 EST