Re: [asa] ID is scientifically vacuous

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Mon Jun 18 2007 - 16:16:02 EDT

'Vacuous' is a rather coarse term on this topic, one
that does not seem to do justice to 'advances' in the
philosophy of science that bring to account the
pluralism of contemporary science. There is no single
scientific method (just as there is no single
evolutionary theory) - this type of thinking simply
cannot be sustained any longer. Thus, ID could be
considered scientific, i.e. to be using scientific
methods in one sense, while in another sense it is not

The demarcation game is not ultimately more important
than the fact that ID could seemingly make fruitful
contributions to knowledge, OR, that it could
stimulate thinking about science and its role in
society that break free from previous paradigmatic
committments and preconceptions. The provisionality
(i.e. Burgy's 1 below) of scientific theories
necessitates that what counts as the best explanation
today may not in fact be the best explanation
tomorrow. IDT's potential for pattern regonition,
specifications, bio-mimetics, bionics, etc. should not
be easily discarded based on the challenge of
information theory and studies in complexity, to which
ID advocates can attempt contributions, just as much
as anyone else. These fields are not 'conquered'
already by a paradigm such as neo-Darwinian evolution.

Here is a relevant quote on this topic: “While IDT may
appeal to those who believe in divine creation, its
knowledge claims, and their evaluation, are couched in
terms of laboratory experiments and probability theory
that do not make any theistic references. Of course,
this does not make the theory true but (so I believe)
it makes it scientific.”

And further, “IDT is well placed to demonstrate how
operating with religiously inspired, design-based
assumptions has led to hypotheses whose empirical
validity have been accepted even by those not sharing
those assumptions." (2007)

These quotations would seem to support Burgy's notion
that ID is not philosophically vacuous. Of course, for
those who discount the value of philosophy, it is
quite easy to resort to 'not-science' accusations and
claims that ID is 'scientifically vacuous,' from one's
ivory tower of specialized science. The funny thing
is, however, that charge cannot be maintained without
actually getting outside of 'science' itself for an
exterior reference point. Here philosophy of science
seems to hold an important playing card that physical
or natural scientists themselves do not (for the most
part, aside from those who have dug deeper into
philosophy as the years pass) possess.

No comment now about ID's theological value or lack


--- Carol or John Burgeson <> wrote:

> Someone wrote "ID is scientifically vacuous.
> I provisionally agree, with the observations that:
> 1. It MIGHT become otherwise given future
> developments. In a conversation
> with Phil Johnson a few years ago, I suggested that
> this would be ID's
> greatest challenge; he agreed.
> 2. I am unconvinced that it is PHILOSOPHICALLY
> vacuous.
> As to whether (or not) it has any theological value,
> I am on the fence.
> Burgy
> To unsubscribe, send a message to
> with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the
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Received on Mon Jun 18 16:16:50 2007

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