Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: Peter Cook <pwcook@optonline.net>
Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 20:35:57 EST

Pim,

I would be interested in more details behind your statement that detection
of design can indeed be 'scientific'.

Pete Cook
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pim van Meurs" <pimvanmeurs@yahoo.com>
To: "Cornelius Hunter" <ghunter2099@sbcglobal.net>
Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 2:33 PM
Subject: Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

> Cornelius Hunter wrote:
>
> > Pim and George:
> >
> >> 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.
>
>
> Aha, so it was not really meant to argue against what I said as much as
> to help understand a largely unrelated topic namely the BB.
>
> > The BB doesn't tell us why this event occurred. It doesn't have a
> > mechanism for the cause.
>
> It has some ideas but the problem is that such a 'cause' would be
> invisible to science due to the Planck time limit. In other words, we
> can look back quite far in time but never all the way to the BB, let
> alone, to before the BB
>
> > This is what you complained ID lacked.
>
> Nope. Lacking a mechanism is but one of the many potential failings of
> ID. My complaint is that ID lacks most of anything, hence the term
> scientifically vacuous.
>
> > 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.
>
>
> Your continued creation of strawmen is worrisome Cornelius. We are
> discussing Intelligent Design which is based on the set theoretic
> complement of chance and regularity. Design theories are not testable
> because they explain nothing. Detection of design can indeed be
> 'scientific' but the route chosen by ID has rendered itself fully
> vacuous. So let's not confuse these simple observations.
> Perhaps Cornelius can explain to us how ID 'theories' are testable?
> Especially when such a 'theory' is, not surprisingly, lacking?
>
> >
> >
> >>
> >> 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.
>
>
> You seem to believe that including the supernatural somehow enhances
> scientific understanding? Since science can never prove nor disprove the
> supernatural, how can it be a scientific theory? Science 'requires' a
> natural (not necessarily naturalistic) explanation of the data. It may
> fail and all it can conclude is 'we don't know'.
>
>
> >>
> >> 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.
>
>
> No reasons were given that I see as relevant. Could you please elaborate
> because merely stating it does not mean much. Explain how ID is
> scientifically meaningful?
>
> >
> >>
> >> 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.
>
> Such as? Come on Cornelius... Show us the examples of how ID is
> scientifically relevant....
>
> >
> >
> >
> >> 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.
>
> This is too funny for words. Of course it should be a given that
> whatever part of ID includes evolutionary processes is not part of my
> criticisms but the inclusion of such processes is not because of
> anything ID has contributed. It merely has to accept that evolutionary
> theory is quite succesful. So how does ID explain the flagellum? It does
> not, it merely states that the designer must have wanted to design it
> and had the ability to design it.
>
> Poof...
>
>
> >
> >
> >
> >> 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.
>
>
> Indeed, which is why it is so vacuous scientifically. ID gives us
> nothing that helps further our scientific knowledge. Note that science
> does not reject an intelligent designer a priori, even ID proponents
> accept this. What science does reject is being able to detect or reject
> the supernatural. ID claims that it can do better here but so far beyond
> its claims, it remains extremely vacuous in this area.
>
> >
> > 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).
>
>
> So now ID is suddenly limited to 'modern scientists'? Is history somehow
> now less relevant because it undermines your position? Come on
> Cornelius, even today gap theories exist. Look at the flagellum or the
> Cambrian explosion both of which become less relevant to ID every time
> new knowledge and data are added. Today's gap arguments by ID are not
> much different from the gap arguments made in the past.
>
> All because ID confuses the concept of naturalism and methodological
> naturalism.
>
> But still no evidence that my claim that ID is scientifically vacuous is
> incorrect.
> What knowledge has ID added that we did not have before? That the
> supernatural remains a possibility? That was never an issue
> scientifically... So what does ID really have to offer scientifically?
> So far the evidence clearly suggests that it is nothing
>
Received on Sat Nov 26 20:30:03 2005

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