From: PvM <>
Date: Sun Jun 03 2007 - 19:58:30 EDT

But the stickers and other attempts to undermine the teaching of
evolutionary science under the guise of 'teach the controversy' and
"critical thinking" is just another shameful example of the vacuity of

ID's proposal is not intended to improve critical thinking skills but
is a backhanded attempt to get the scientifically vacuous concept of
ID in through the backdoors, even though ID contributes nothing
non-trivial to critical thinking skills. If ID were interested in
critical thinking it would not limit its attempts to biology curricula
now would it.

However Judge Jones recognized this attempt for what it truly is.

<quote>Moreover, ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific
scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by
advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught
in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a
canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but
to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with

Now I fully agree that the US educational system has suffered from not
teaching evolutionary theory in many instances, and thus the 'teach
the controversy' may help educate the US people about the fact of
evolution and its theory(ies).
I wonder how surprised they will be when ID cannot and is not even
mentioned as a scientific alternative... Despite claims of IDists, it
will quickly become clear that ID is scientifically fruitless.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson stated is as follows

<quote>Another practice that isn't science is embracing ignorance. Yet
it's fundamental to the philosophy of intelligent design: I don't know
what this is. I don't know how it works. It's too complicated for me
to figure out. It's too complicated for any human being to figure out.
So it must be the product of a higher intelligence.

What do you do with that line of reasoning? Do you just cede the
solving of problems to someone smarter than you, someone who's not
even human? Do you tell students to pursue only questions with easy

There may be a limit to what the human mind can figure out about our
universe. But how presumptuous it would be for me to claim that if I
can't solve a problem, neither can any other person who has ever lived
or who will ever be born. Suppose Galileo and Laplace had felt that
way? Better yet, what if Newton had not? He might then have solved
Laplace's problem a century earlier, making it possible for Laplace to
cross the next frontier of ignorance.

Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a
philosophy of ignorance. You cannot build a program of discovery on
the assumption that nobody is smart enough to figure out the answer to
a problem. Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the
source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes. We
know when and where they start. We know what drives them. We know what
mitigates their destructive power. And anyone who has studied global
warming can tell you what makes them worse. The only people who still
call hurricanes "acts of God" are the people who write insurance

I think that very well summarizes ID.

On 6/3/07, David Clounch <> wrote:
> Robert,
> Please note that if you spend ten minutes in any school district's
> curriculum committee you will learn that critical thinking skills are part
> of the foundational requirements of American science education. They are not
> a creationist conspiracy, and were not invented by the Discovery Institute.
> I cannot imagine an educator diss-ing critical thinking skills unless there
> is malevolent intent. Sigh.
> Thank you for your consideration Robert. I will wait for your personal
> feedback and turn the rest of my email off for a week or two.
> Best Regards,
> David Clounch
> On 6/3/07, David Clounch <> wrote:
> > Robert,
> >
> > I would like to thank you for feedback that is actually dignified. I
> expected a dignified discussion here. That is what ASA members will
> produce.
> >
> > Sadly, yesterday, another thread degenerated into something else.
> >
> > I've seen various definitions of the term scientism.
> >
> > [0] One of them is "the injection of religion into science". I'm
> pretty sure I got that from Walter Hearn's book. But try as I might, I
> cannot find it today. Maybe in a few days. At one time I had collected 6
> separate definition sources, and posted them on my blog. Alas, I cannot find
> that material today. Perhaps at a later time? When I use the term I really
> do mean just the injection of religion into science. It doesn't matter
> whether the religion is theistic or non-theistic. The effect is still
> injection of metaphysics.
> >
> > Let me just say that what I am actually looking at is the underlying
> philosophical mistake that brings forth scientism. Perhaps scientism is not
> the right term for that mistake. But then what is? (See definition 5
> below.) I'm sorry, but you have not convinced me that Zimmerman did not
> make this mistake. But don't despair. I am willing to be open minded.
> >
> > Meanwhile, to better define scientism:
> >
> > [1] Here is one reference from wikipedia:
> >
> > "Michael Shermer, for example, self-identifies as scientistic and defines
> scientism as "a scientific worldview that encompasses natural explanations
> for all phenomena, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and
> embraces empiricism and reason as the twin pillars of a philosophy of life
> appropriate for an Age of Science."[6]
> >
> >
> > [2] Here is a dictionary definition:
> >
> > 2 : an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science
> applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences
> , and the humanities)
> >
> > [3] MSN encarta says:
> >
> > 2. reliance on science for answers: the belief that science alone can
> explain phenomena, or the application of scientific methods to fields
> unsuitable for it
> >
> >
> > [4] Here is a definition from public broadcasting:
> >
> > "Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching
> knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the
> world and reality. Scientism's single-minded adherence to only the
> empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientifc worldview, in much the
> same way that a Protestant fundamentalism that rejects science can be seen
> as a strictly religious worldview. Scientism sees it necessary to do away
> with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, as
> the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In
> essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access
> to the truth."
> >
> > [5] From the Skeptics Dictionary:
> >
> >
> > Scientism, in the strong sense, is the self-annihilating view that only
> scientific claims are meaningful, which is not a scientific claim and hence,
> if true, not meaningful. Thus, scientism is either false or meaningless.
> This view seems to have been held by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Tractatus
> Logico-philosophicus (1922) when he said such things as "The totality of
> true propositions is the whole of natural science..." He later repudiated
> this view. This 5th definition is perhaps the origin of the idea that when
> you inject religion (metaphysics) into science (even non-theistic
> metaphysics) then you get a claim that itself isn't science, or at least
> isn't meaningful. It sort of dovetails with Hearn's meaning (if I
> understand Hearn correctly).
> >
> > We could go on and evaluate various definitions.
> >
> > So, if you are correct, the Clergy letter is actually rejecting scientism.
> And rejecting the idea that science is the absolute and and only justifiable
> access to the truth". Is my understanding here correct? Complementary
> ways to truth means both science and religion can be (and are)
> simultaneously true? Is that correct? If so, I stand corrected about the
> Clergy letter.
> >
> > Does this mean PvM is actually arguing against the basic position of
> Michael Zimmerman? Is that true?
> >
> > Now, I hope you can see why the fourth definition (above), if embraced
> by a group of ministers, is problematical. It is not possible to believe
> in an ultimate cause that is supernatural (which is the essence of
> Christian thought) and simultaneously adhere to the idea that science, in
> its limited scope, is "the absolute and only justifiable access to the
> truth". The latter is anti-Christian in effect. It is, as far as I can
> tell, basic atheism. I would be very happy to learn that the Clergy letter
> is a mere rebuke of this. Sorry, I did originally not read the letter that
> way.
> > I haven't seen the PvM's of the world attacking Zimmerman, or laughing
> behind his back. Maybe its been going on the whole time. Can you perhaps
> point me to it, that would be helpful.
> >
> > Thank you,
> > David Clounch
> >
> > PS, There is still the question of whether the ID movement is injecting
> religion into science.
> > Making a non-scientific claim about science is the same sort of
> philosophical mistake made by definition 5 above. The claim is that
> science supports the preferred intelligence. Science must always be
> mangled so as to support the preferred intelligence. In PvM's worldview
> science must always be mangled to deny the preferred intelligence. Is this
> not the same mistake?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On 6/3/07, Robert Schneider <> wrote:
> > >
> > > David,
> > >
> > > Having read the Clergy Letter (and those signatures are not "supposed"
> but actual) I am hard put to see the statement as "scientistic." In fact,
> the primary focus of the Letter has to do with a stance on biblical
> interpretation and a particular relationship between religion and science. I
> read the letter as affirming the integrity of science and the integrity of
> religion. "Scientism" is the position that only science offers the way to
> truth. The Letter states that both religion and science are complementary
> ways to truth.
> > >
> > > I know personally some of the persons who signed that Letter. They are
> practicing scientists or persons trained in the sciences who are ordained
> priests and ministers of several denominations. They would hardly be taken
> in if the letter intended to endorse scientism.
> > >
> > > BTW, Michael Zimmerman is now Dean of Arts and Sciences at Butler
> University in Indianapolis, a Christian Church, Disciples of Christ
> foundation.
> > >
> > > Bob Schneider
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 6/2/07, David Clounch < > wrote:
> > > > Phil said:
> > > > "In effect, they were insisting that theists must hold to the purity
> of science while they were overlooking their own injection of non-theistic
> metaphysics into science. "
> > > >
> > > > I have to ask. Isn't the "injection of non-theistic metaphysics into
> science" really scientism in action?
> > > >
> > > > This Iowa group of signers may have that problem. If they do, it is
> easy to see an immediate establishment clause problem emerging.
> > > >
> > > > Another group that has the problem would be the petition circulated by
> the (former) Dean at UW Osh Kosh, who supposedly gathered the signatures of
> 10,000 Christian ministers. Just asking ministers to make a statement on
> science seems (to me) to constitute a religious act. Doesn't it? But
> there is also no disclosure of the underlying injection of naturalistic
> metaphysics into that petition's statement. One is left wondering if many of
> the ministers would have signed had they realized what lies beneath?
> > > >
> > > > So, two cases of scientism? Hmmm. If so, it would seem to be raining
> scientism these days. I would think everyone would be worried about it. My
> personal view is some are afraid to allow the position that the ID movement
> is committing scientism (and that this is the real achilles heel of ID).
> They simply don't want to ask the question. Why? Because to do so would
> expose their own (anti-ID) position to the exact same set of questions. And
> everyone would then realize that there is indeed non-theistic metaphysics at
> play. Better to just pretend scientism doesn't exist.
> > > >
> > > > I object. I think the world needs clear demarcation criteria for what
> is science versus what is scientism. You see, its got to be more than just
> Phil, or anyone really, merely claiming that non-theistic metaphysics was
> injected. We all have to *know* if this is what is going on in these
> political statements according to objective standards. If we don't know,
> then the nation's public policy is guaranteed to be wrong.
> > > >
> > > > Thank you,
> > > > David Clounch
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On 5/31/07, <> wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > However, it seems to me that one could easily take the view that
> > > > > > "natural phenomena" covers all events in space-time that are not
> caused
> > > > > > by something outside the continuum eg super natural. In such a
> view the
> > > > > > resurrection while occurring in space-time is not a "natural
> phenomena".
> > > > >
> > > > > But clearly they didn't mean to allow this kind of interpretation,
> because if they did then it exposes the scientific process to the counter
> claim that certain events in history were not "natural phenomena," including
> the appearance of bacterial flagella or priveleged planets, because an
> intelligent designer may have caused these things from outside the
> continuum. That is exactly the sort of claim that they were intending to
> deny by their statement.
> > > > >
> > > > > Also, this interpretation reduces their statement to the
> tautological claim that "all things that are not supernatural are natural."
> That kind of tautology is not at all helpful in defining the "method" of
> methodological naturalism. So clearly they didn't mean this.
> > > > >
> > > > > > You could well be right in your conclusion of duplicity, but I'd
> like to see
> > > > > > some other evidence that philosophical naturalism was what was
> meant
> > > > > > before coming to that conclusion.
> > > > >
> > > > > Like Rich, I think they were just sloppy and not purposely
> deceptive. But I think that kind of sloppiness is inexcusable in a
> statement that was intended to protect the purity of science against
> metaphysical intrusions. In effect, they were insisting that theists must
> hold to the purity of science while they were overlooking their own
> injection of non-theistic metaphysics into science. I think this statement
> is very telling in the same sense that a Freudian slip is very telling.
> > > > >
> > > > > Phil
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ________________________________
> AOL now offers free email to everyone. Find out more about what's free from
> AOL at .
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >

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Received on Sun Jun 3 19:58:50 2007

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