Re: [asa] Lets move beyond straw men and uninformed opinion

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Mon Dec 04 2006 - 18:46:10 EST

I agree that ID has been bound to philosophy from its foundation, rather than have ID survive on its own. Irreducible complexity, which is a form of specified complexity are interesting arguments as they attempt to identify design without having to propose a competing explanation. It suffices to eliminate (any and all) known (and unknown) processes and what remains should be called design. Remember that design is not necessarily pointing to an intelligent designer(s) but rather it can refer to any process, including natural selection as its designer. In other words, ID does not resolve the issue of apparant versus actual design, despite the often confusing language which suggests similarities between design and Intelligent Design, complexity and information. Combine the shakey foundation of ID with a mostly ignoring of relevant critical arguments against ID and we come to realize how ID has become scientifically vacuous. IC similarly may be a sound argument but as with specified complexity it does not provide much of a basis for design, all it does is identify certain processes as being unlikely. As to Meyer's paper, we seem to agree. Of course, the self evidence religious nature/foundation of ID does not necessarily render it scientifically irrelevant, it's the absence of scientifically fruitful claims which has rendered ID scientifically vacuous and thus what remains is its religious foundation. And that's why the court ruled against ID as it did in the Dover decision. Behe and Dembski's ideas were interesting when they were proposed, although Muehler seems to have addressed IC ina 1934 paper and complex specified information has been identified to be not much different from an argument from ignorance based on the concept of analogy and ignorance. ----- Original Message ---- From: David Campbell <> To: Sent: Monday, December 4, 2006 3:13:28 PM Subject: Re: [asa] Lets move beyond straw men and uninformed opinion To me, the biggest problem with scientific credibility for Behe and Dembski is their failure to effectively dissociate themselves from the Wells/Johnson/etc. conspiracy theory version of ID. However, I don't find the irreducible complexity, specified complexity, etc. arguments very sound, and as noted above some of Dembski's comments in other contexts have problems (he has admitted this himself). The Meyer article is both rather weak on merits and blatantly out of place in J Biol Soc Wash. Although it is within the theoretical scope of the journal (biology), in fact the journal is basically a taxonomic outlet, with practically all the papers being along the lines of "Two new species of the genus Ittybittium (Mollusca: Gastropoda)" or "A review of the genus Io". My father, who doesn't follow the ID controversy closely but who was looking for taxonomy articles, saw the Meyer article and wondered what it was. The arguments were standard ID claims that evolution can't explain things, often misrepresentative of the cited sources that Meyer was supposedly summarizing as a review article. In particular, articles claiming that their results did not follow the conventional evolutionary expectations were invoked as evidence against evolution. However, in reality those articles were proposing alternative evolutionary explanations that do not affect the overall big picture of evolution. -- Dr. David Campbell 425 Scientific Collections University of Alabama "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams" To unsubscribe, send a message to with "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

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Received on Mon Dec 4 18:46:33 2006

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