Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
Date: Sun Nov 27 2005 - 00:59:34 EST

Moorad,

You must know that not all of us share your definition here. By your
definition, biology, psychology, sociology, etc. aren't sciences. And
you have fully admitted such. Most of us, and the ASA in general,
reject that definition. With your way of thinking the debate about ID
is over by definition. Such demarcationist claims are useful only in
shouting matches (and perhaps courtrooms).

I highly commend to you Loren Haarsma's discussion from the summer
ASA meeting. The video of Loren's talk is available now from the ASA
web site.

TG

On Nov 26, 2005, at 7:58 PM, Alexanian, Moorad wrote:

> The subject matter of science is data that can, in principle, be
> collected by purely physical devices. Design in an inference from
> the data that attempts to integrate other types of knowledge
> accessible to man. For instance, God is not part of the subject
> matter of science. However, humans can act as “detectors” of
> abstract concepts, thoughts, and existence other than the purely
> physical. Humans can detect self and consciousness, which are
> nonphysical. A human can infer the consciousness and the self of
> other humans. The ability of humans to detect the essence of being
> is in some measure their ability to detect God. Therefore, the
> inference of design is an ontological attempt to relate the
> creation with its Creator.
>
> Moorad
>
> From: Peter Cook
> Sent: Sat 11/26/2005 8:35 PM
> To: Pim van Meurs; Cornelius Hunter
> Cc: asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design
>
> 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
> >
>
>

________________
Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
Received on Sun Nov 27 01:02:51 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Nov 27 2005 - 01:02:52 EST