RE: [asa] astrology, ID & science

From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 15:07:44 EDT

Astrology cannot be a science since its subject matter cannot be reduced
to data that can be collected, in principle, with purely physical
devices. How does one correlate the physical interaction of the universe
on a person and use that to make future predictions? There is no such
theory or detectable effects.

Moorad

 

________________________________

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 2:53 PM
To: ASA list
Subject: [asa] astrology, ID & science

 

(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 <mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com>

        To: Rich Blinne <mailto: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 15:08:23 2007

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