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

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon May 07 2007 - 13:09:11 EDT

Quite honestly, I don't see why the focus on "predictions" is all that
crucial. Is an accurate historical description of a natural phenomenon not
"science" unless a "prediction" can be derived from that description? Why?
What if the description is of a remarkable, one-off, incredibly improbable
event or series of events?

I can see that the social utility of "science" might relate to predictive
ability. But even then, I can't see why a merely historical description
lacks any social value at all -- it may have value just because it's
interesting to some people, or because it helps us place other beliefs in a
broader context. Or, some merely historical descriptions may have social
value because they negate predictions based on mistaken notions of history.

If evidence were produced that conclusively falsified an existing paradigm,
that would have enormous social value even if that evidence was entirely
negative and resulted in no predictions about what should replace the
existing paradigm. Human knowledge advances when false beliefs are proven
false as well as when new, more accurate beliefs replace the false ones.
That doesn't always have to happen concurrently, it seems to me.

None of this is to say ID has proven Darwinism false, but it seems to me
that the "no predictions" meme is overstated in terms of simply demarcating

On 5/7/07, PvM <> wrote:
> IDers have claimed that ID 'predicted' that Junk DNA is not all junk.
> Of course there are several problems with this a) they claim that Junk
> DNA was a Darwinian prediction when in fact it was an observation
> presented in support of neutral evolution b) evolutionists already had
> discussed potential roles for Junk DNA and finally c) there is no
> logical foundation for ID to have made this 'prediction'.
> Remember that ID is based on inferring design based on complexity and
> specification. Since Junk DNA has no specification, how can it lead to
> a prediction. But at a deeper level, ID does not propose ANY
> foundation for it to make positive predictions about anything. That's
> because ID is inherently a negative argument. When creationists argued
> that Junk DNA must have function, their 'prediction' was in response
> to claims by scientists who showed how pseudogenes were better
> explained by evolutionary processes. While ID is unable to state 'our
> designer would not design junk', one could make an argument that God
> would be far more tidy in his 'design' of humans and note waste all
> this space with Junk. But that requires us to assume something about
> the intentions of the designer and as ID points out, it cannot make
> such inferences.
> In other words, ID is totally unable to present ANY positive
> prediction beyond 'well science will never be able to explain X,.
> let's called X designed'...
> Ryan Nichols has discussed the problems with ID in "Scientific
> content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory"
> The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 2003 ,vol. 77 ,no 4
> ,pp. 591 - 611
> <quote>
> Before I proceed, however, I note that Dembski makes an important
> concession to his critics. He refuses to make the second assumption
> noted above. When the EF implies that certain systems are
> intelligently designed, Dembski does not think it follows that there
> is some intelligent designer or other. He says that, "even though in
> practice inferring design is the first step in identifying an
> intelligent agent, taken by itself design does not require that such
> an agent be posited. The notion of design that emerges from the design
> inference must not be confused with intelligent agency" (TDI, 227, my
> emphasis).
> </quote>
> On 5/7/07, Dave Wallace <> wrote:
> > 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
> > interesting.
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Received on Mon May 7 13:09:42 2007

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