Re: [asa] ID is scientifically vacuous

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Wed Jun 20 2007 - 13:29:25 EDT

There will be no further comments by me on this thread
in dialogue with Pim after this message. Already
someone has stated they will trash any messages from
him without readiing them. I am inching toward the
same conclusion. My reason for doing this: it is not
the place at ASA for someone to simply mock and
tarnish IDT's as if they them-self were a more
righteous scientist than others (especially when one
doesn't want to quote scientifically-minded Christians
instead of anti-theists on topics such as 'altruism').

Though IDT's may not be making significant
contributions to science 'at this point,' first, it is
wrong to suggest that they cannot EVER make
contributions (which was Burgy's first point), and
second, I doubt that Pim himself has made any
contribution to science that rivals what the IDM has
tried to do/is trying to do. Many books, for example,
have been published about ID, IDT's, the IDM, science
and religion and arguments to and from design over the
past 5 or so years.

Let me repeat then, what I have asked Pim already:
Pim, could you point us to papers, articles or
publications that you have contributed to what counts
as scientific knowledge? This will help us to evaluate
the authority of your supposed scientific knowledge.

A few responses to the previous post (which no one
seems to want to comment on...I wonder why?):

"ID has failed to contribute in ANY of the areas in
which ID proponents have hypothesized and speculated
that it could contribute." - Pim

If one considers the fact that ID has raised peoples'
interests in the dialogue between science and
religion, then yes, here it has contributed. More
people are interested than before ID and the IDM.

As for "religiously inspired, design-based
assumptions," these have been plentiful throughout the
history of sciences. Some of the most well-known
scientists in history have operated with religiously
inspired, design-based assumptions. This does not mean
they used a Johnson-Behe-Dembski-DI-type of
Intelligent Design (or intelligent design) theory. But
it is ridiculous to ignore that what is behind (and
really, within, e.g. I. Newton's case) science can
affect science too.

"historically speaking they [philosophers] have failed
many times already" - Pim

Let's not paint all philosophers and all philosophies
as 'failures' so quickly! What a hoot for a
non-philosopher to tarnish philosophy, the love of
wisdom, so condescendingly. As if, for Pim, natural
science (e.g. physics and oceanography) held a trump
card over what counts as socially important knowledge.
Philosophers, be gone...until we desperately need them
once again (and then, will they come?).

The fact that Pim calls Fuller and Woodward 'poor
souls' is really a bit over the edge judgmentally -
imo, ASA is simply not the place for this kind of
language. Yes, I'm a junior here, but such talk seems
to belong elsewhere.

"I am willing to defend the position that ID's
approach is inherently unreliable and fails to be able
to compete with the null hypothesis of 'we don't
know'." - Pim

So really, what is argued here is that 'nothing is
better than nothing,' which is apparently exactly what
Pim is peddling (though admittedly, I have gained from
some of the clips and articles he's gathered from
others). How can ID FAIL to compete with 'we don't
know'? It HAS offered a variety of positive
conclusions, in a variety of disciplinary fields. Many
of these fields neither Pim nor I are trained in and
therefore it is presumptuous to offer such certain
rejections of the proposed positive contributions ID
can/could or even sometimes does make to knowledge.

For me, I am somewhat glad for the IDM in the sense of
raising public awareness about science and religion
discourse, that it is willing to call into question an
accepted paradigm, a 'normal science', especially one
that for many people has snugly comforted their
atheistic or anti-theistic worldview, i.e. the abuse
of Darwinian evolution as an instrument for erasing
the possibility that our universe and the human hearts
that live in it are designed, created, inbreathed,
made in the image of a Creator, our Creator.

That Pim appears not to see this connection between
science and religion discourse and in some cases the
positive value of IDT's and the IDM shows that he
prefers rather to speak to 'just the science' (with a
bit of Augustine sprinkled in sometimes), as if HIS
SCIENCE were the only science that really counts. In
such a position, the statement that "ID is
scientifically vacuous" is really itself almost a
vacuous statement, rather attached to the personality
proclaiming it than to a neutral and objective survey
of the actual state of affairs.

Perhaps the playground rule should be reminded to Pim:
"If you can't say anything nice, then don't..."

Gregory A.

"I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the
seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding
a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary,
whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered
before me." - Isaac Newton

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Received on Wed Jun 20 13:30:17 2007

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