Re: Gingerich-Behe-Hall

From: Don Nield <>
Date: Mon Feb 13 2006 - 00:27:53 EST

To Gregory and George:
I suggest that we should leave the social sciences out of this
discussion for the moment. Neither Behe nor Dembski is a social scientist.
It seems to me that Behe and Dembski have adopted an indefensible
position. Behe insists that the moleular structures not only look like
machines but actually *are* machines. (Denton now says that they are not
machines). Having made that move, Behe must now, in order to do science,
explain not only how those machines are planned but how they are
manufactured. But he refuses to say how they are manufactured. That
means that he is not doing science. What he is doing is vacuous -- he is
ignoring the requirements of a proper scientific explanation. Dembski
depends on Behe's argument and so is effectively in the same
indefensible position. And the answer to Gregory's question is that at
the level of molecular biology being discussed by Behe, the science is
inevitably mechanistic, despite what Behe and Dembski may claim.

Gregory Arago wrote:

> Sorry, George, if you felt I was pushing your analogy map too far.
> Surely you are correct about the testimony indicated at Dover.
> Likewise, Milli Vanilli probably had a serious misunderstanding of the
> music industry at the time also.
> Further, you wrote: "All scientists who are Christians believe that
> _every_ phenomenon they study is the result of "intelligence" - & then
> they get to work and try to figure out the mechanism (in a broad
> sense) by which "intelligence" has caused that phenomenon."
> Does this mean that science is inevitably mechanistic (in a broad
> sense) or primarily about figuring out mechanisms? Dembski says
> 'intelligent design' is not a mechanistic theory. Is this a mere
> avoidance tactic?
> In social sciences, for instance, the issue of mechanism seems less
> significant, given that studying human beings (and their
> decisions/actions) who are part of nature can be undertaken without
> appeal to mechanics. Maybe this explains why there is no distinction
> in 'intelligent design' between human-made things and non-human made
> things. The absence of involving a mechanism lessens ID's explanatory
> power?
> With curiosity,
> Gregory
> */George Murphy <>/* wrote:
> Of course when I said that Behe was well on his way to becoming
> the Milli Vanilli of science I didn't mean that there would be a
> one-to-one mapping. The part of Behe's testiomony at Dover, as
> given in Pim's post, to which I was reacting was as follows:
> OK, says Rothschild, what ARE those mechanisms? Behe: Well,
> actually, I donít have any mechanisms, but I know that thereís an
> intelligence involved. Rothschild: Wait a minnit! Isnít ďan
> intelligence involvedĒ a *conclusion* that one would draw AFTER
> investigating the mechanisms? How can a scientist start by
> assuming his conclusion and then doing no research to defend it?
> Behe: Well, itís obvious thereís an intelligence involved, so the
> mechanism must have involved the application of that intelligence
> somehow. Rothschild: OK, then, what IS the mechanism from whose
> investigation you concluded an intelligence. Behe: I donít NEED
> any mechanism, because I know the answer before I start.
> This is shows a serious misunderstanding of both science & (since
> "intelligence" of course = God) theology. All scientists who are
> Christians believe that _every_ phenomenon they study is the
> result of "intelligence" - & then they get to work and try to
> figure out the mechanism (in a broad sense) by which
> "intelligence" has caused that phenomenon.
> Shalom
> George
> <>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Find your next car at *Yahoo! Canada Autos* <>

Donald A. Nield
Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Science
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
ph  +64 9 3737599 x87908 
fax +64 9 3737468
Courier address: 70 Symonds Street, Room 235 or 305
Received on Mon Feb 13 00:29:35 2006

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