Re: Judge Jones sided with the Discovery Institute and ruled against the Dover school board policy.

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Wed Dec 28 2005 - 12:30:11 EST

The idea that ID may work better as a meta theory of design has been looked at by the author of "Vacuity of Intelligent Design" and for the seem reasons why ID fails to be scientifically relevant it fails to be a metascience. But I understand that ID needs more and more time, despite being behind the Wedge time line.

See R. Nichols, Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic philosophical quarterly , 2003 , vol. 77 , no 4 , pp. 591 - 611

<quote>In my argument against Intelligent Design Theory I will not contend that it is not falsifiable or that it implies contradictions. I’ll argue that Intelligent Design Theory doesn’t imply anything at all, i.e. it has no content. By ‘content’ I refer to a body of determinate principles and propositions entailed by those principles. By ‘principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue. By ‘determinate principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue in which the extensions of its terms are clearly defined. I’ll evaluate the work of William Dembski because he specifies his methodology in detail, thinks Intelligent Design Theory is contentful and thinks Intelligent Design Theory (hereafter ‘IDT’) grounds an empirical research program. Later in the paper I assess a recent trend in which IDT is allegedly found a better home as a metascientific hypothesis, which serves as a paradigm that catalyzes research. I’ll conclude that, whether IDT is construed as a scientific or metascientific hypothesis, IDT lacks content.</quote>

Funny that if the Judge sided with the Discovery Institute that the DI is resorting to namecalling when describing Judge Jones' ruling. Unless the DI agrees with Jones that ID is not science, it's hard to argue that the Judge agrees with the DI. Nice spin though.

Design has already gotten 10 years to make itself 'useful' and failed to show even a hint as to how ID could become a 'research program'. Not surprising, when you realize that ID is all about a negative argument.

Dembski, when asked to present some details as to how the 'design' happened was clear

<quote>As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.</quote>

Also the comment that 'directed evolution' is an oxymoron shows that the poster has little familiarity with the scientific and philosophical background in this area. For instance check out the work by Ayala or Ruse. Direction or teleology in evolution is all but inevitable. There is so much wrong right now with the concept of Intelligent Design that I doubt it can ever recuperate from its decision to base its argument on one of ignorance.

As for forensic biology, design inferences are quite common here but have little to do with the approaches chosen by ID. This conflation of ordinary and rarefied design has managed to confuse many an ID proponent and it is time to point out that ID is not about detecting ordinary design. After all, we all know how motive, method, opportunity play important roles in forensics.

The so called "legal analysis" at misses the point and shows unfamiliarity with the case law. For instance the author argues that the judge went too far in arguing that ID is not science since the mere behavior of the Dover Board should have been sufficient, However due to the changing nature of the legal landscape in the area of the establishment clause, courts, especially in the 3rd circuit have offered a two-pronged analysis. As Judge Jones himself points out, ruling on ID being a science is essential for dealing with the establishment clause. Even the DI seems to agree in their amicus brief when they argue that since ID is a science, the primary effect of teaching ID cannot be religious. In order to address this argument, the court had to look at the validity of the claim that ID is science.

I am not sure why Janice 'loves it' but the vacuity of the arguments should have make her love more tempered or measured.

----- Original Message ----
From: Janice Matchett <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 8:57:05 AM
Subject: Judge Jones sided with the Discovery Institute and ruled against the Dover school board policy.

  Love it! ~ Janice :)

 Linked from:

 Dover Ruling December 2005

 "....Judge Jones sided with the Discovery Institute and ruled against the Dover school board policy. No promotion of biological design in public school science classrooms.

 A better approach, in my opinion, is to allow biological design to flourish as a metascience as Dr. Robin Collins suggests here. As a metascience, biological design will receive the time and support it needs to mature and flourish.

 Scientists make wonderful pragmatists and lousy philosophers. Philosophical arguments about science will not convince them to switch away from their current research paradigms. In order to gain traction and acceptance, design based research programs need to produce more discoveries, more break throughs and more cures. Research grants will follow, and so will more scientists.

 One interesting area to keep a close eye on is the oxymoronic research area known as directed evolution. It may prove to be an interesting testing ground of paradigms (design -vs- chance). I hope to post more on this interesting subject as I learn more about it.

 A second area where I think design based programs may yield superior results is in forensic biology. Just a hunch.

 Once biological design gains traction in the scientific community, and I have every reason to expect it will, then you will see a more interesting trial than the one we witnessed in Dover.

 Update: Some legal and philosophical analysis of the case from an expert over at Through A Glass Darkly.


Received on Wed Dec 28 12:31:39 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 28 2005 - 12:31:39 EST