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

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Tue Aug 21 2007 - 06:15:07 EDT

Peter, I am in very close agreement with you.

First I am glad that like Habermas* you accept the Big Bang cosmology, which points to the age of the universe being some 13 billion years old, fitting in with geological calculations on the age of the earth as 4.6 billion and the rest of geochronology. ( I assume from this Habermas rejects the so-called findings of Snelling and those connected with the RATE project.)

Second Fine Tuning arguments derive from those cosmologists who reject Multiverse arguments and again start from a 13 billion year old universe.

Third I find the Kalam argument fairly convincing but not 100% so would go further than Flew

However I have yet to find one argument emanating from ID, as cosmology and fine tuning do not, which are not totally unconvincing whether arguments for Irreducible Complexity IC which boil down to "We cant explain it, so God did it by intervening" (as argued by Plantinga), or Dembski's mathematical arguments.

I am glad that you accept all the arguments for billions of years and thus reject all the typical YEC arguments against as that means we are in close agreement


*I am trying to work out how Habermas can accept a 13by old universe when his university Liberty insist that all staff must believe in a young earth. Has he now left Liberty for doctrinal reasons?
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Peter Loose
  To: 'PvM' ;
  Cc: 'Alexanian, Moorad' ; 'James Mahaffy' ;
  Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 9:41 AM
  Subject: RE: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of



  Perhaps those who are so dismissive of the Intelligent Design argument might care to reflect on the interview conducted between Prof Gary Habermas and Prof Antony Flew. A pertinent extract is reproduced below.


  The full interview is here:



  HABERMAS: You very kindly noted that our debates and discussions had influenced your move in the direction of theism. (11) You mentioned that this initial influence contributed in part to your comment that naturalistic efforts have never succeeded in producing "a plausible conjecture as to how any of these complex molecules might have evolved from simple entities." (12) Then in your recently rewritten introduction to the forthcoming edition of your classic volume God and Philosophy, you say that the original version of that book is now obsolete. You mention a number of trends in theistic argumentation that you find convincing, like big bang cosmology, fine tuning and Intelligent Design arguments. Which arguments for God's existence did you find most persuasive?


  FLEW: I think that the most impressive arguments for God's existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. I've never been much impressed by the kalam cosmological argument, and I don't think it has gotten any stronger recently. However, I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.








  -----Original Message-----
  From: [] On Behalf Of PvM
  Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 3:35 AM
  Cc: Alexanian, Moorad; James Mahaffy;
  Subject: Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of



  Responses to John Walley and Moorad




  <quote>The very same points you make against ID can be similarly be

  made against evolutionary theory. Just as design is an "observation

  of fact", some may say that evolutionary theory is also an observation

  of fact. However, neither observation of fact can be incorporated into

  a theory in order to make predications. In fact, the observation of

  design is more palpable and real than the "observation" of common

  descent. The former is an obvious observation of fact whereas the

  latter is a very tenuous inference from presently existing



  Design is an observation based on lack of evidence that known

  hypotheses can explain something. ID fully lacks predictive

  capabilities because it lacks content. Evolutionary theory in fact has

  successfully made predictions. In fact, ID, which is based on our

  ignorance can hardly be compared to evolutionary theory. Your claims



  Surely you are jesting.... Or just playing silly games. Well at least

  philosophers do contribute to something :-)


  On 8/20/07, John Walley <> wrote:


> This argument just plays the trump card of

> methodological naturalism and the strict redefinition

> of truth to exclude anything non-scientific. But since

> truth is not limited to just science, this is the

> intellectual equivalent of YEC's dismissing an old

> earth because it contradicts their interpretation of

> the Bible.


  Your knee jerk reaction seems to have ignored my arguments and instead

  you move the goalposts to an argument about methodological naturalism.

  So let's return to the original argument lest we, in good ID

  tradition, want to end up discussing strawmen and knock them down.


  Note: Few scientists would reject that science may not be able to

  address truth, in fact, truth is such a meaningless concept in science

  that I wonder why people use this term. Truth may be a useful concept

  in some theological viewpoints but since theology is inherently

  subjective, I find it to be of limited use in describing the world

  around us in terminology that any and all can accept.


  So, back to the argument which is simple and has nothing to do with

  truth or methodological naturalism but with the fact that ID is

  scientifically vacuous, without content, because it refuses to

  constrain its designer. In the rare cases where it claims to be making

  successful predictions, such as junk DNA, ID reaches out to

  theological notions to make its claims, which of course opens up the

  discourse to such questions as to why would a designer be constrained

  in such manner?

  In other words, ID is scientifically vacuous because it lacks a

  methodological foundation to make its claims. Calling something we do

  not understand designed, is a meaningless application of terminology,

  similar to calling something we do not understand 'complex'. It allows

  for easy conflation and equivocation and confusion and serves no other




> If you constrain science to be only methodological

> naturalism then science is impotent to explain many

> key questions of life like what existed before the Big

> Bang or for that matter how did we get here if not by

> random mutation?


  Again you seem to be arguing your usual strawman of 'random mutation'.

  Surely you are familiar with evolutionary theory?

  And even if you are right, that science is unable to explain many key

  questions, this 1) does not make science irrelevant 2) this does not

  mean that there are other ways to determine what existed before the

  big bang.



> There is a reason why methodological naturalism is

> distinguished from naturalism in general. Science has

> historically been more than just what be can be known

> by experiment, it was a search for truth.


  A meaningless concept and in fact, I'd argue contrary to what science

  is all about.


> Further this strict definition of science is measured

> out dishonestly as Behe is on a very short leash but

> Darwinists are free to speculate all they want about

> evolutionary mechanisms without any more evidence than

> Behe or sometimes in the face of contrary evidence.


  And so we continue down the road of your strawman with more irrelevant

  accusations. Behe is not held on a very short leash, rather he has

  constrained himself to be on such a leash. Darwinists speculate not

  based on wishful thinking but based on known processes as to what may

  have happened. All Behe does is speculate as to what may not have





> I appreciate the value of methodological naturalism in

> science and agree we have to constrain science to what

> we can test but that does not constrain truth. It is a

> logical deduction for a Christian to infer Design in

> life just like for an atheist it is logical to infer

> naturalism. But this doesn't make either one of them

> science or truth.


  Exactly, so lets take atheist and christian viewpoints out of the

  equation since they are neither science nor 'truth'.


> Behe's theological notions are no different than the

> naturalistic notions of his critics. To insist that he

> add a theological basis to his arguments so they can

> be discredited is the equivalent of dismissing all

> scientific arguments of non-Christians because they

> don't meet the ideological criteria of the church.


  It's is Behe who has chosen a position in which he can either argue

  from a scientifically vacuous position or can add a theological basis

  which would open up his arguments to the usual criticisms. It's not my

  fault that Behe has chosen this route. Surely you must realize that me

  pointing out these flaws do not make these flaws less relevant.


> Eugenie Scott does this by being quick to bring in the

> debate the faith of her opponents but she is quick to

> dismiss the relevance of her own faith or lack of it.


  Total non sequitur. Have you no arguments?


> Both sides contain points of valid science and

> generous helpings of non-science as well as we saw

> from Korthof.


  What valid points of science do you believe ID has to offer? To

  suggest that there are only two sides ignores the simple fact that

  such a false dichotomy has no place in these discussions.

  Science exists regardless of faith and many people of faith have no

  problem reconciling their faith and science, just like many atheists

  have no problem reconciling their viewpoints with science. However,

  science exists regardless of the invalid arguments by atheists or

  religious people.


  My arguments as to why ID is scientifically vacuous are based on ID's

  foundations and its inability to make any non-trivial predictions

  since it lacks a foundation to constrain the designer. As such it

  cannot even compete with the null hypothesis of 'we don't know'.


  If the arguments why this is the case are still unclear, I am more

  than willing to do a 'deep dive'.



> John



> --- PvM <> wrote:


> > ID's scientific vacuity is a simple fact. Since ID

> > refuses to add a

> > foundation which would have to be inevitably

> > theological, ID remains

> > scientifically irrelevant.

> > That ID proponents do not do good science may be

> > related to ID's

> > scientific vacuity but again it mostly is an

> > observation of fact.

> >

> > ID's status and the status of research by ID'ers

> > also does not depend

> > on the status of other areas of science.

> >

> > surely you understand this?

> >

> >

> > On 8/20/07, Alexanian, Moorad <>

> > wrote:

> > > You are constantly harping on ID proponents for

> > not doing good science. I ask you what good science

> > is being doing by proponents of evolutionary theory.

> > By that, I am not accepting as an answer, say, a

> > biologist who is doing solid biology and is a

> > proponent of evolutionary theory.

> >

> > >

> >

> > To unsubscribe, send a message to

> > with

> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the

> > message.

> >




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Received on Tue Aug 21 06:17:02 2007

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