[asa] astrology, ID & science

From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 14:52:30 EDT

(Can we drop the "Re:[asa] Denyse's advice" subject line?)

I think a lot of this discussion misses what should be the point. Grant for the sake of argument that "science" can be defined so broadly (in a Wissenschaftliche sense) that it includes both astronology & ID. In that case I would argue that while astrology is (from the standpoint of 2007) simply bad science, in 1 important way it's better science than ID. Astrology makes predictions about what will happen in the world. They're wrong, but it can make predictions. ID doesn't - or to be more precise, the only predictions it makes are that in certain situations science can't go any farther than it already has gone. It is not just bad science but sterile science.
 
Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: Rich Blinne
  Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
  Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 1:34 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Denyse's advice

  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.

  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."

  On 5/4/07, Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com> wrote:

    On 5/4/07, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com > wrote:

      But most significantly, the resulting spin was grossly unfair because it suggested Behe's definition would render astrology a workable, useful and perhaps true view of the world today and that it might therefore be taught in public schools if Behe's views about ID as "science" were accepted. This is what the judge' opinion suggests, and that is exactly how anti-ID advocates have spun it. But iIt is NOT what Behe testified to. He was clear that astrology as a useful and workable theory has long since gone by the boards; that astrology has been soundly falsified. The place where Behe would demarcate "science" might not be the best one; it might not be the demarcation which most working scientists would make; it might not be the right one for public school curricula; but it is manifestly unfair to suggest from this testimony that Behe would open the doors to the teaching of astrology as a legitimate scientific theory today.
       

    I agree the spin is unfair and I believe both you and the anti-ID crowd are reading too much in to the judge's opinion here. 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.

    If there is an error -- and I will accept that there is based on your legal expertise -- is the assumption only science proper can be taught in a science class. It seems to me that the philosophy of science is appropriate, also. If you treat ID as philosophy and the NAS definition becomes too restrictive for that use. In my opinion, this makes the judge's analysis as correct, but moot. It's also example where ID the movement warps ID the school of thought. By insisting on being "science only" they pushed the judge into the corner to look at ID as a scientific theory and he ruled the obvious that it is not.

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Received on Fri May 4 14:53:26 2007

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