Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: PvM <>
Date: Sun Aug 19 2007 - 22:59:58 EDT

On 8/19/07, John Walley <> wrote:
> This excerpt proves my point. Here Korthof concedes the limitation of random
> mutation to produce meaningful complexity in life like Behe says and instead
> turns the debate to put the onus on Behe to provide a theory of design, and
> then launches into a philosophical and theological debate on what God would
> or would not do. Korthof is equally lacking a theory of evolution to produce
> complexity if random mutation doesn't work.

some problems with this argument: First of all, Korthof explains the
difference between finding limits for the sake of limits versus the
process of finding limits to increase our understanding. Behe is doing
little to take his claimed 'limitations' to increase our
understanding. In fact, little of Behe's arguments seem to be
Furthermore, I am somewhat at odds about your comment 'if random
mutation does not work'. Surely you must be familiar that random
mutation is a concept which is often misunderstood and furthermore,
random variation is but one of the Darwinian aspects.
When combined it is trivial to show how complexity can be produced.

> Behe is "driven by theological notions" but Korthof and the others are
> driven by naturalistic notions. Why does Behe have to produce an alternative
> to dismantle random mutation but Ken Miller and others dismantle irreducible
> complexity without offering any alternative? Why is one good science and the
> other "scientifically vacuous"?

FIrst of all Miller and others do offer alternatives, Behe basically
argues, based on flakey grounds that some system could not have arisen
by Darwinian processes, and that this does should count as evidence in
favor of intelligent design. There is however no reason for Behe to
take that final step, other than perhaps his theological presumptions.
If Behe wants to make his claims scientifically relevant he has to
show limitations and constraints, which would require him to go do the
road of theology, a road ID is desperately trying to avoid.

> I appreciate that Korthof below is gracious enough to offer that readers of
> Behe may find new insights. I think that because his rebuttal is entirely
> non-scientific, he like Coyne are both in this category, since they are now
> forced to take on the possibility of something besides naturalism producing
> life, thus these subjective, pejorative comments like "Great Mutator" and
> "bioterrorist".

The existence of this great mutator is nothing new to Behe's
arguments, it is a logical outcome of Behe's claims. There is no
reason however to take the claim that something besides 'naturalism'
is needed. In fact, ID proponents have done little to nothing to
support such a conclusion.

> It is appropriate that this thread is title "Arrogance" and "dogma". It
> should be obvious to all that there is a shifting double standard applied to
> ID and not mainstream science. The truth is that there is dogma on both
> sides, and both sides are just as guilty of appropriating the imprimatur of
> science for their dogma.

Other than the fact that one side has science on its side, the other
side, just pure ignorance. It's as much a double standard as the one
for a young earth, or other scientififcally irrelevant concepts.

> To be clear, I am not defending Behe's insistence on Design and I agree he
> crosses the line from science to faith there, but Darwinism has been on the
> other side of that line along. It is to Behe's credit that he is redrawing
> the line commensurate with what the science actually shows and doesn't show.

Is he really redrawing the line? Seems that he is attempting to swing
it across, while ignoring the scientific nature of his claims being
one of irrelevancy. What does science show and does not show? Behe
gives us no guidance as to how he reaches his conclusions here.

> This is what ID has contributed including Wells, by showing the limitations
> of the strict Darwinist dogma and the double standard shell game they hide
> behind to defend it.

Wells and ID have done little to show that science is erroneous,
instead they take some irrelevant claims and present them as a
strawman, only to knock them down.

As long as people confuse science with dogma, ID will continue to make
its waves, and continue to remain scientifically without any content.
If the best ID has done is to expose some strawmen then it seems to be
much ado about nothing.

> John
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of PvM
> Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:57 PM
> To: AmericanScientificAffiliation
> Subject: Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is
> the new enemy of
> Oops make that "The Edge of Evolution". So much new 'materials' coming
> from the ID movement that it sometimes becomes confusing.
> Gert Korthof's review is quite interesting
> <quote>It is possible that some readers will find new facts or
> insights in The Edge of Evolution. It depends on the reader. However,
> let this not distract us from the fact that the book does not deliver
> a theory of design, but instead discusses the limits of evolution.
> That is remarkable for someone who calls himself a proponent of
> intelligent design. Yet, design dominates Behe's thinking, but it
> easily escapes our notice that a crucial logical step is without
> justification. Behe has given no reason for the main claim of his book
> that the other side of the edge of evolution is the domain of design.
> Indeed, why would a designer act according to design principles
> determined completely by our 21st century knowledge of the world? On
> an even deeper level it is unclear why a god would create anything at
> all. One reason for the absence of a design theory is that one cannot
> know what a designer would do or would not do, effectively closing of
> any knowledge about the designers goals and methods. How can one
> search for proofs under such conditions? The lack of positive
> knowledge of design and designer forces Behe to focus exclusively on
> the limits of Darwinian evolution. Another reason is that you can't
> construct a theory on broken natural laws. That Behe still managed to
> write an ID-book must be explained by the fact that he most certainly
> has a theological theory - in his head. Driven by theological notions,
> but prevented by a self-imposed restriction to talk about it, Behe
> persistently searches for proofs of God in nature at all costs. The
> final result is a clumsy, inefficient DNA-manipulator who needs
> billions of years to create a human being and is a bioterrorist who
> excels in making human life as miserable as possible. There could be
> no greater incompatibility between claims that 99% of life was
> designed and common descent. Common Descent is based on genetic
> continuity in the history of life on earth and ultimately based on
> unbroken natural law. Design, as Behe describes it, is based on the
> discontinuity of the tree of life (broken natural law). Therefore,
> design and common descent are incompatible. It is either design of
> common descent. It is logically impossible to hold both.
> </quote>
> The key part is "Driven by theological notions, but prevented by a
> self-imposed restriction to talk about it," since it is this which
> renders ID scientifically vacuous. After all, if one is unwilling or
> unable to describe the powers and limitations of the designer, it can
> explain anything and thus nothing. In fact, by arguing for limits to
> evolution, Behe is increasing the scientific status of evolutionary
> theory. For Behe, these limits are the end of the research, for
> science they form the beginning.
> I always enjoyed Ruse's writings where he pointed out how history and
> constraints are what guide evolution and give it a teleological
> notion.
> On 8/19/07, PvM <> wrote:
> > Let's for the moment not get carried away from the issue here which is
> > whether or not some ID proponents actually do science.
> >
> > So far, ID's approach remains without content, as it refuses to admit
> > the necessary side assumptions for ID to have scientific relevance,
> > unlike forensic science which is based on many positive assumptions
> > which have been tested, and verified.
> >
> > ID has nothing to offer in this area.
> >
> > On 8/19/07, Alexanian, Moorad <> wrote:
> > > Forensic scientists do not do science; they use the results of the
> experimental sciences to do their detective work. One can say the same for
> evolutionary theory. One can easily show the good science done by
> experimental physicists, chemists, biologists, geneticists, etc. What good
> science has evolutionary theory done?
> > >
> >
> > I am not sure why some are taking Wells' Icons of Evolution seriously
> > as somehow positive contributions to science. As to the case of
> > malaria, a simple reading of the many refuttals of Behe's claims
> > should say enough about the level of his claims. It's the nitpicking
> > of details which make ID so irrelevant since it fails to take these
> > cases into consideration.
> >
> > I am not very impressed by Behe's Explore Evolution especially since
> > it fails to deliver the rhetoric of the press releases that
> > accompanied it.
> >
> > Behe's level of math is almost as earth shattering in my opinion as
> > Dembski's calculations of the probability of a protein arising by
> > chance. Sufficient to make people believe that there is some real
> > data, but insufficient to really defend the premise.
> >
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Received on Sun Aug 19 23:00:16 2007

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