Re: [asa] Denyse's advice

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 13:52:10 EDT

On 5/4/07, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> *What Behe's definition does do is to make astrology science while the NAS
> definition does not. This raises the question of the usefulness of Behe's
> definition in light that it included what everyone agrees is not science. A
> definition is useful both by what it admits and what it denies and this is
> why I believe the NAS definition is superior. Thus, I don't believe the
> judge erred here. *
> Saying "what everyone agrees is not science" just begs the question,
> Rich. Who is "everyone?" How do they "agree?" What do you mean by
> "science?" What you really want to say is that most reasonable people agree
> that astrology is *false *and that a definition of "science" should
> exclude what is believed to be false. In that case, the best definition
> would be *"Science is the true description of the natural world*." But
> that obviously isn't a workable definition, because many things asserted by
> science are not known for certain to be true.

By everyone I mean both sides including ID. To see that this is true see the
force of the propaganda of well you need to teach astrology in science
class. If everybody didn't agree that astrology was not science the best way
to diffuse the propaganda is to say, "So?". When I use the words "not
science", I mean "not science" and I don't mean false. Everyone does not
agree that astrology is false, see how often horoscopes show up in
newspapers. I believe Behe's definition of scientific theory is better than
your proposed one because it is even broader than Behe's overly broad
definition. I would substitute Science is a tested description of the
natural world. To say it's true is to claim too much.

Isn't a more pragmatic approach to set aside most of these demarcation
> questions, and simply to say something like this: *"The court declines to
> enter into the broad philosophical debate about the demarcation of
> 'science.' Whether ID is or is not "science" in some sense of that term,
> and the merits of ID as a scientific or non-scientific theory, are
> not issues properly before this court. The court agrees, however, that, as
> a practical matter, lines must be drawn concerning what public schools with
> limited resources can teach in science classes. The line drawn by the
> National Academy of Sciences appears to be a practical one that is accepted
> by many working scientists. When a local school board proposes materials
> for a science curriculum that seem to fall outside that line, it is
> appropriate for the court to carefully examine the motives for that
> decision. Where, as here, the record demonstrates convincingly that the
> decision is religiously motivated, the court may overturn the school board's
> decision on constitutional grounds." *

That sounds reasonable to me. I would add there needs to be some limits on
how the court judges motives because it risks violating the separation of
powers of elected representatives versus unelected judges.

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Received on Fri May 4 13:52:23 2007

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