Re: [asa] Denyse's advice

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 11:33:56 EDT

On 5/4/07, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> Q And using your definition, intelligent design is a scientific theory,
> correct?
>
> A Yes.
>
> Q Under that same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your
> definition, correct?
>
> A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which
> focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There
> are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be
> incorrect which nonetheless would fit that -- which would fit that
> definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one, and so is the ether theory of
> the propagation of light, and many other -- many other theories as well.
>
>
First off, let me stipulate a few things so that we are clear.

1. Michael Behe does not believe in astrology.
2. Michael Behe does not consider astrology "good" science either in the
past or currently.
3. Belief in ID does not require or even suggest belief in astrology. That
is, belief in supernatural causation is not indicative of being
superstitious.
4. The judge did not conclude any of the above.

What is being discussed is whether the loosening the definition of
scientific theory to not insist on testable hypotheses, where Behe replaces
his personal opinion for the NAS definition, not only takes in ID as science
but also astrology. I also violently disagree with his characterization that
his "loose" view of scientific theory is representative of the larger
scientific community. Judge Jones was good to call him on it. In another
post, David, you alluded that the Judge did not understand the history or
philosophy of science. Fine. But, your beef really is with the NAS because
all the judge did was adopt their view -- which I believe is altogether
appropriate for a trial rather than appellate judge (or law professor like
yourself). David, you failed to include the preceding context in the
testimony. As as the old saw says, a text without a context is a pretext.
Therefore, I will provide it for you:

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm288> Now, you
claim that intelligent design is a scientific theory.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm289> Yes.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm290> But when
you call it a scientific theory, you're not defining that term the same way
that the National Academy of Sciences does.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm291> Yes,
that's correct.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm292> You don't
always see eye to eye with the National Academy?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm293> Sometimes
not.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm294> And the
definition by the National Academy, as I think you testified is, a
well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can
incorporate facts, laws, inferences and tested hypotheses, correct?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm295> Yes.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm296> Using that
definition, you agree intelligent design is not a scientific theory,
correct?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm297> Well, as I
think I made clear in my deposition, I'm a little bit of two minds of that.
I, in fact, do think that intelligent design is well substantiated for some
of the reasons that I made clear during my testimony. But again, when you
say well substantiated, sometimes a person would think that there must be a
large number of people then who would agree with that. And so, frankly, I,
like I said, I am of two minds of that.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm298> And
actually you said at your deposition, I don't think intelligent design falls
under this definition. Correct?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm299> Yeah, and
that's after I said -- if I may see where in my deposition that is? I'm
sorry.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm300> It's on
pages 134 and 135.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm301> And where
are you -- where are you reading from?

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm302> I'll be
happy to read the question and answer to you. I asked you whether
intelligent design -- I asked actually on the top of 133, I asked you
whether intelligent design qualifies as a scientific theory using the
National Academy of Sciences definition.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm303> What line
is that, I'm sorry?

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm304> That's
133, line 18.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm305> Is that
going -- question beginning, "Going back to the National Academy of
Science?"

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm306> Yes. And
you first said, "I m going to say that I would argue that in fact it is."
And that's 134, line ten.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm307> Yes.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm308> Okay. And
I said, "Intelligent design does meet that?" And you said, "It's well
substantiated, yes." And I said, "Let's be clear here, I'm asking -- looking
at the definition of a scientific theory in its entirety, is it your
position that intelligent design is a scientific theory?" And you said,
going down to line 23, "I think one can argue these a variety of ways. For
purposes of an answer to the -- relatively brief answer to the question, I
will say that I don't think it falls under this." And I asked you, "What
about this definition; what is it in this definition that ID can't satisfy
to be called a scientific theory under these terms?" And you answer, "Well,
implicit in this definition it seems to me that there would be an agreed
upon way to decide something was well substantiated. And although I do think
that intelligent design is well substantiated, I think there's not -- I
can't point to external -- an external community that would agree that it
was well substantiated."

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm309> Yes.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm310> So for
those reasons you said it's not -- doesn't meet the National Academy of
Sciences definition.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm311> I think
this text makes clear what I just said a minute or two ago, that I'm of
several minds on this question. I started off saying one thing and changing
my mind and then I explicitly said, "I think one can argue these things a
variety of ways. For purposes of a relatively brief answer to the question,
I'll say this." But I think if I were going to give a more complete answer,
I would go into a lot more issues about this.

<http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm312>So I disagree
that that's what I said -- or that's what I intended to say.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm313> In any
event, in your expert report, and in your testimony over the last two days,
you used a looser definition of "theory," correct?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm314> I think I
used a broader definition, which is more reflective of how the word is
actually used in the scientific community.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm315> But the
way you define scientific theory, you said it's just based on your own
experience; it's not a dictionary definition, it's not one issued by a
scientific organization.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm316> It is
based on my experience of how the word is used in the scientific community.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm317> And as you
said, your definition is a lot broader than the NAS definition?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm318> That's
right, intentionally broader to encompass the way that the word is used in
the scientific community.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm319> Sweeps in
a lot more propositions.

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm320> It
recognizes that the word is used a lot more broadly than the National
Academy of Sciences defined it.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm321> In fact,
your definition of scientific theory is synonymous with hypothesis, correct?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm322> Partly --
it can be synonymous with hypothesis, it can also include the National
Academy's definition. But in fact, the scientific community uses the word
"theory" in many times as synonymous with the word "hypothesis," other times
it uses the word as a synonym for the definition reached by the National
Academy, and at other times it uses it in other ways.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm323> But the
way you are using it is synonymous with the definition of hypothesis?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm324> No, I
would disagree. It can be used to cover hypotheses, but it can also include
ideas that are in fact well substantiated and so on. So while it does
include ideas that are synonymous or in fact are hypotheses, it also
includes stronger senses of that term.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm325> And using
your definition, intelligent design is a scientific theory, correct?

A <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm326> Yes.

Q <http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html#day11pm327> Under that
same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your definition,
correct?...

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Received on Fri May 4 11:34:22 2007

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