Re: [asa] ID: Neither Science nor Religion

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Tue Jul 01 2008 - 09:44:16 EDT

Hi PvM,

"I need not be an ID advocate to be able to understand their
motivations, their scientifically vacuous concepts and what I have
come to see as theologically risky position."

But Gregory makes a good point - you have the perspective of an *outsider.*
I'd add that it is the perspective of an outsider who clearly demonstrates
hostility toward ID. This means you are likely engage in both confirmation
and disconfirmation bias as part of your "understanding." When it comes to
demonizing ID proponents, confirmation bias will come into play, as your
mind will seek out incidents and writings that work to confirm your
previously held negative stereotypes. When it comes to disconfirmation
bias, you will employ hyper-skepticism toward all aspects of the ID concept
(otherwise, you'll see yourself as lending some support to something you are
hostile toward).

For example, as an outsider, what method do you use to understand someone
else's motivations? Motivations, after all, are subjective. As for
evaluating concepts and arguments, as an outsider, do you probe in a way to
truly understand or just enough to play the role of debunker?

"ID proponents have defined themselves and their positions quite well and if
others want
to reuse the same name for a different concept then they are inviting
confusion."

What ID proponents are you talking about? Are you talking about Bill
Dembski or Krauze? Michael Behe or me? Jonathan Wells or Joy? Paul Nelson
or Bilbo? Philip Johnson or Albert de Roos?

You come to the table as an outsider, *reacting* to public figures and media
sensationalism. I come to the table as an insider, knowing other fellow
travelers who, for years, do not conform to your stereotypes.

The confusion stems from people trying to create a caricature out of our
social reality, as if all ID proponents are carbon copies of the select few
voices who find themselves in the newspapers because of their focus on the
culture wars. Let me briefly explain something.

What kicked off the ID thing was Michael Behe's first book. But it had two
different, parallel effects. On one hand, Behe himself became involved in
the socio-political show, where the Wedge efforts culminated in the Dover
trial. Whether or not Behe intended his book as simply one step in the
Wedge does not matter, as the book, like many books, had other side effects.
In this case, it also independently sparked an internet subculture of people
who were intrigued by the concept of design in biology, but did not buy into
the socio-political agenda. To this day, this subculture, which was never
part of the Wedge, remains. It is a subculture that is truly diverse in a
political and religious sense. It is also diverse when it comes to specific
positions about ID. The whole notion of painting this entire subculture as
being no different from the DI is not only ridiculous, but misleading.
Social reality is far more complicated than a sound bite.

There is a simple, and ethical, way of eliminating the confusion. If
someone wants to publicly criticize or condemn "ID proponents," or "ID," don't
paint with a broad, vague brush. Be specific. Inform the reader who you are
talking about rather than bait the reader to fill in the blanks with their
own stereotypes.

It always amazes me when I have to tell scientists and academics not to
stereotype. You would think such highly educated people would already know
the anti-intellectualism inherent in stereotyping.

"Now I am thrilled that Mike (and Greg) have come to agree that ID is
not scientific, a minority position amongst ID proponents,"

Come to agree? I know that this has always been my position from the start
and I seem to recall the same thing holds true for Greg. Did you come to
the opinion that we "come to agree" because of stereotype or was it a
subtle, intentional attack?

"although we have to be careful with the term ID and not confusingly apply
it to
two very different concepts."

This is an ironic piece of advice given that most ID critics are not careful
at all when attaching the term 'creationist' to all sorts of different
concepts, now are they? Why the change in heart?

"However, I disagree with Mike's suggestion that ID is not religious"

Like I said in the OP, Ironically, while many on the ID side are
uncomfortable with the "ID is not science" position and comfortable with the
"ID is not religion" position, there appears to be perfect symmetry when it
comes to the critics, who are uncomfortable with the "ID is not religion"
position and comfortable with the "ID is not science" position.

" but rather more like a police investigation, when in fact ID has no
similarities to such an analogy."

Here you need to read the essay you respond to. The bit about the police
investigation is part of a list introduced as follows: I have previously
fleshed out different aspects of *my views/approach* But why read when
stereotypes save time, eh?

"Let's see where the 'path of the future' may lead rather than proclaim
victory against reality. As ID proponents have clearly stated, "Design
theorists are no friends of theistic evolution.""

See? This is just what I am talking about. You take a quote from one
person, Bill Dembski, and put it in the mouth of 'ID proponents.' Why do
you stereotype like this?

"Is that all? How do you intend to achieve such a nobel goal?"

Giving people a chance is actually a very modest goal. To achieve it, I
simply make my arguments public.

"Perhaps you should chose a less confusing name for what you propose
since 'design' is taken as representing our level of ignorance."

Confusion stems from reliance on stereotype and intellectual laziness. If
one applies critical thinking, no confusion will exist. If you are
confused, it is because you have chosen stereotype over critical thinking
Of course, since stereotype is far more useful than critical thinking when
it comes to propaganda and rhetoric, I suppose I can understand why some
would choose to abandon critical thinking and then blame others for their
own confusion.

- Mike Gene

>> Commonly applied is just that - commonly applied. In other words, more
>> popular. In other words, easier to run across due to media attention and
>> socio-political rabble-rousing. But as someone who has extensively used
>> the
>> internet to interact with numerous ID proponents over the last eight
>> years,
>> I can inform folks that "commonly applied" also means stereotype. I have
>> met many people over the years who consider themselves supportive of ID,
>> yet
>> who would not conform to the common, pop media stereotypes of ID. After
>> all, ID itself means different things to different people.
>
> And thus the concept of ID becomes nebulous almost to a level of being
> useless.
>
> Hey Greg, good to hear from you again
>
>>Do you see, ASA, the problem of what happens when a person opposes
>>'natural' to 'supernatural' and to nothing else? It is used as a >weapon
>>by some as much as others would use it to teach and enlighten. Pim uses it
>>to ridicule 'intelligent design,' not as a way of uplifting >the divine!
>
> Indeed, ID should be ridiculed for is vacuous positions on science and
> its shaky and dangerous theology, and not to mention its attempts to
> introduce religious concepts back into science and science education.
> The founders of ID have been quite clear and while we have witnessed a
> recent whitewashing of history under the concept of 'teach the
> controversy', it is clear that there is no real controversy in science
> as to evolutionary theory.
>
>
>>As it turns out, PvM speaks merely as an 'outsider' - who is he to tell
>>intelligent design advocates who they are and who they are not, >what they
>>believe and what they don't? It would be like telling someone they are not
>>a Boston Celtics fan, they are even not a Boston >Celtics fan, when
>>really, they do cheer for B.C.! Pim is not an 'insider' to ID, and hasn't
>>show the courage to publicly declare himself >(cheering for Darwinian
>>evolution) as Mike Gene has just done in this thread speaking for both TE
>>and ID.
>
> What some may see as courage other may see as simple unfamiliarity
> with the historical facts of the ID movement. Now I understand that
> some may wish that the founders of ID had been more careful in hiding
> not just its religious motivations but also had refrained from
> defining design the way they did and yet, this is what happened. I
> have no reason to express my explicit support for evolutionary theory,
> as a scientist I have to accept the solid foundation of the science
> involved. I am not sure what you mean by Darwinian evolution, as this
> is a somewhat dated concept which fails to recognize the decades of
> exciting research, hypotheses and theories that form the foundations
> for evolutionary theory.
> I need not be an ID advocate to be able to understand their
> motivations, their scientifically vacuous concepts and what I have
> come to see as theologically risky position. ID proponents have
> defined themselves and their positions quite well and if others want
> to reuse the same name for a different concept then they are inviting
> confusion.
>
> I understand Gregory's obsession with ID and the human social sciences
> and yet ID has made claims that it does belong to the scientific realm
> and I intend to treat it as such while the so called social sciences
> seem to be struggling with the concept. Mike is free to explain his
> definitions of ID and I am surely free to explain to Mike why I
> disagree with his statements.
>
> Now I am thrilled that Mike (and Greg) have come to agree that ID is
> not scientific, a minority position amongst ID proponents, although we
> have to be careful with the term ID and not confusingly apply it to
> two very different concepts. However, I disagree with Mike's
> suggestion that ID is not religious but rather more like a police
> investigation, when in fact ID has no similarities to such an analogy.
> Let's see where the 'path of the future' may lead rather than proclaim
> victory against reality. As ID proponents have clearly stated, "Design
> theorists are no friends of theistic evolution. "
>
>>
>>
>> As for me? I'm simply offering people a chance to move beyond the
>> superficial analysis and uncover an intellectual world that goes a little
>> deeper than something you would read in a newspaper.
>
> Is that all? How do you intend to achieve such a nobel goal? After
> all, what may seem to some, less informed, as superficial analysis
> actually goes to the heart of the argument regarding ID namely that ID
> as formulated by the mainstream proponents, in fact, those who started
> the movement and defined the concept, is a scientifically vacuous
> concept which is founded in religious motivations and concepts. I have
> no problem with the latter, after all different people find
> 'salvation' in different manners however I do object to the scientific
> lack of relevance of ID and its attempts to undermine science
> education in this country and beyond for theological reasons.
>
> Perhaps you should chose a less confusing name for what you propose
> since 'design' is taken as representing our level of ignorance.
> So what do you have to offer that you believe will achieve your promises?
>
>
>
> --
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Received on Tue Jul 1 09:44:56 2008

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