Re: [asa] Expelled and ID

From: Dennis Venema <>
Date: Wed Apr 23 2008 - 18:05:40 EDT

The notion that onešs science is skewed by onešs viewpoint seems to be an
increasingly popular one ­ and a view I find confusing. Yes, an individual
scientist might have a bias ­ but the data is the data ­ and the experiments
are open to repeating by anyone who wishes. The fact that scientists from
hugely diverse backgrounds (ethnic, religious, socio/economic) participate
in science will weed out bias of opinion/interpretation that doesnšt have a
basis in evidence.

Compare this with ID, which is pushed by a very un-diverse crowd (mostly
white, male, north american Christians / theists), and produces no testable
predictions, let alone evidence to speak of.

On 4/23/08 2:45 PM, "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <> wrote:

> Why is there not objectivity to methodological naturalism? What is demanded is
> an empirical test, something which is in principle repeatable. I will grant
> that there is no a priori demarcation that can determine what can be tested.
> The fact is that physical measurements were first made and testable theories
> presented. Galileo and Kepler used geometry, which was changed to the calculus
> by Newton to allow more subtle measurement and prediction. Later various
> individuals found ways to work out other relationships. What was once deemed
> the sole ability of living things was shown to occur within test tubes. I note
> that there are still individuals who refuse to recognize string theory as
> science because it has not been possible to perform certain empirical tests.
> Others claim that there are tests, just not the supertests requiring galaxy
> size cyclotrons.
> To prevent one response, I note that there is no such thing at unconditional
> objectivity. It is subjects that observe.
> Now, if someone can produce an empirical test for design that has not been
> produced by human agency, one that is not question-begging, ID can claim a
> place among the sciences. As it is, it's sole claim to testability has been
> that the writer has not been able to figure out how something came to be. But
> other individuals keep coming up with at least steps that explain part of the
> gap in understanding.
> Empirical testing is not the only approach to understanding. Indeed, almost
> the whole realm of philosophy is immune from such tests. The one philosophical
> theory I think of that fails on empirical grounds is Schopenhauer's pessimism.
> It requires that negatives mount up without limit during life, whereas the
> fact of human existence is that bad things tend to be forgotten more than good
> things. But that the usual sole test for philosophical theories is consistency
> means that there are several that stand, and such things as solipsism that
> cannot be disproved even though nobody who will communicate with us is a
> solipsist. I note additionally that one of the common failures of fiction is
> internal inconsistency, though we do not demand that all fiction match the
> observed world.
> Dave (ASA)
> On Wed, 23 Apr 2008 17:07:07 -0400 "David Opderbeck" <>
> writes:
>> George C. said: Science is a realm to itself, one that is based on
>> objectivity.
>> I respond: This is surely overstated. The criterion of methodological
>> naturalism, for example, is not an "objective" one. It represents, rather,
>> a human judgment about the pragmatic bounds of the human enterprise our
>> culture labels "science." It may or may not be a reasonable demarcation
>> line for its own purposes, but it isn't an "objective" line. Which means
>> arguments over whether ID is "science" ultimately are meaningless. Who
>> cares, except for the culture warriors who want to fight about public school
>> curricula? The interesting question is whether anything ID says is "true."

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Received on Wed Apr 23 18:06:53 2008

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