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

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Aug 21 2007 - 10:38:04 EDT

Surely, the order and regularity observed in Nature is a constant that does not form part of any theory but is assumed by all. Human rationality makes sense of the workings of Nature and it is not far fetched to suppose that the laws operating in Nature have a source other than Nature itself. Evolutionary theory may be the best working hypothesis that scientists may have but this should be so indicated. Forensic scientists may make the best predictions from the available data but they do not venture into the area of indicating how the entities in their investigation came into being. Similarly for evolutionary theory. If the basis of it is pure physicalism, then it must be wrong since one would be going beyond the confines of science, which will not explain all that there is.



From: PvM []
Sent: Mon 8/20/2007 10:34 PM
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 10:39:01 2007

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