Re: [asa] The Myth of the Rejected ID Paper (science stoppers and OOL)

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Fri Jul 04 2008 - 17:35:48 EDT

Hi Pim,

I don't disagree entirely with your remarks in the below, except to say
that I think that you more demonstrate the weakness of ID rather than
it's status as a "science stopper".

What I'm thinking is that ID theorists have tried - and I mean really
tried - to construct a viable argument in support of the view that the
bacterial flagellum (to cite the favored instance!) did indeed go
"poof". I really think this cannot be fairly denied.

So ID theorists demonstrably haven't just announced "irreducible
complexity" and walked away. They don't, in other words, just take
"poof" as the end point of their discussion, but attempt to demonstrate
that "poof" really is a meaningful hypothesis.

In this regard while they may well have started with ignorance ("we
don't know") they have attempted to demonstrate impossibility ("not
naturally possible").

The real issue, as you correctly point out, then becomes whether this
move from ignorance to impossibility has been successfully made.

I would have suggested that the answer, at this point, is "no" - but I
also would have suggested that this "no" comes AFTER a fair degree of
effort on the part of ID theorists. Hence my feel that while ID is
probably not a sustainable position it is not, in my opinion, correctly
described as a science stopper. Scientifically unfruitful, perhaps, but
a "science stopper"?

Here I'd throw in the observation that even the most prominent ID
theorists such as Behe and Dembski don't seem to have abandoned science
in favor of golf - rather they have bent their scientific endeavors in a
different direction. If that direction doesn't involve pursuit of
evidence which might overturn their theory then I don't really think
they can be criticized. One holds a theory because it seems to one to be
the best explanation of the evidence and the job of disproof falls to
those who feel otherwise. I don't think it quite fair to blame ID
theorists for not doing somebody else's research.

Blessings,
Murray Hogg
Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology

PvM wrote:
> The problem is that ID does stop with identifying areas which escape
> our present day understanding and rather than provide evidence that ID
> has a better explanation, ID falters because in order to take the next
> step it has to show that its explanation can compete with ignorance.
> Look for instance at the bacterial flagellum which was identified by
> ID as 'designed', 'irreducibly complex' etc. While ID has to avoid any
> research that would help explain how the flagellum came about, which
> would cause the concept of design to collapse, science has made leaps
> forward in showing how once the veil of ignorance is lifted. exciting
> new homologies and other likely pathways are found that help explain
> the origin and evolution of what once was believe to be an
> unassailable evidence for 'design'.
>
> For instance, when I pointed out the lack of scientific relevance of
> ID, Collin responded that the paper by Wells clearly should fall in
> that category and yet nothing relevant to ID was proposed other than
> 'it looks like a turbine so let's explore where this leads'. In other
> words, nothing much different than matching something to our common
> day knowledge to generate new hypotheses. But nothing here has any
> relevance to the concept of ID really. It does not matter if one holds
> to methodological naturalism or not, ID under any scenario remains
> scientifically irrelevant or vacuous, even if one were to allow 'poof'
> as a valid explanation. How does 'poof' compete with 'we don't know'?
> ID does not give us any answers.--

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Received on Fri Jul 4 17:36:29 2008

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