Re: [asa] Demarcation was Re: thinking was prosecutors and not that of the judge

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Mon May 07 2007 - 11:16:01 EDT

Rich Blinne wrote: Finally, the lack of understanding of
> what scientific consensus is caused again by failing to understand that
> all modern scientific theories need to be testable.

Well written Rich. Not to rain on your parade but Popper did say
negative things about the theory of evolution to the effect that too
many observations of biological life in nature can be made to fit into
the theory
and thus it is also not properly falsifiable either. Thus he said in
essence that the theory of evolution is not (yet) properly science (at
the time he was writing). As a none specialist in any of the related
areas my
impression from what I have read is that this defect has been at least
somewhat if not fully remedied by later development of the theory and

Until yesterday I had thought that ID denied common descent. I was
googleing for something unrelated and found this on UcD:


Shermer attempted to discredit intelligent design by arguing the
evidence for common ancestry. Shermer really shined when he cited the
writings of Evangelical Christian and renowned scientist Francis
Collins. He said Collins’ defense of Darwinian evolution in the book The
Language of God was one of the best ever written, and Shermer read
almost verbatim from chapter 5 of Collins’ book. That was a brilliant
move by Shermer (especially before a crowd sympathetic to Dembski), but
the move was brilliantly repulsed when Dembski reiterated, “ID is not
inherently against the idea of common ancestry”. Thus Dembski
neutralized Shermer’s best argument.

If a proposed scientific theory denies common descent (either as not
being always true or as not true in some cases) then if we could in
theory find all fossils that showed all the intermediate steps then that
theory would be falsifiable. Of course any theory that demands a "for
all" over large periods of time would be very poor theory and not useful
for much. Hence my argument that ID was science but poor science. I
will have to give it up in light of the new understanding.

IMHO Dembski brilliantly also removed any claim that ID is science even
poor science, at least for me. However, I still feel that we should not
play the demarcation game too much wrt ID and just dismiss their claims
out of hand without trying to refute their assertions.

Maybe someone else knows of something testable that ID predicts then it
would be interesting to know what it is. Even the "for all" sort or of
the "never" will be explicable sort would be somewhat interesting. As
best I can tell Behe's assertions about irreducible complexity in the
cases he mentions in his book are being cast into more and more doubt,
so one more assertion that feature X is irreducibly complex is not very

Dave W

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Received on Mon May 7 11:16:37 2007

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