Re: [asa] astrology, ID & science

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 15:05:06 EDT

Interesting, George, but I had exactly the same thought - that astrology had
a better case to be defined as science in that it makes testable
predictions. The only "predictions" that ID makes is that something
can't/won't happen by evolution - and that's not testable except by waiting
an infinite amount of time.

Iain

On 5/4/07, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:
>
> (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/ <http://web.raex.com/%7Egmurphy/>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
> *To:* Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
> *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 15:05:23 2007

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