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

From: PvM <>
Date: Fri Jul 04 2008 - 18:24:00 EDT

On Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 2:35 PM, Murray Hogg <> wrote:
> 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.

What is this viable argument other than 'science cannot explain x'?

> 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.

How is it a meaningful hypothesis that can be differentiated from 'we
don't know'?

> 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 flaw is that lack of probable natural pathways is no evidence in
favor of ID. It at best reinforces the 'we don't know' status

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

Even if the step has been made, it has no relevance to the concept of ID.

> 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"?

I have seen no evidence of ID to pursue science to better understand
the flagellum. At best they ignore research to further their arguments
that the flagellum contains tens of proteins with no viable

> 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.

No, I am blaming them for doing research relevant to their own
position. Pointing out areas of ignorance is hardly helpful to science
and certainly should not be seen as furthering an ID position.

If all that ID has to contribute is to point out areas of ignorance in
our understanding then it is at best trivially contributing to science
through ignorance but as it provides no way to resolve if our
ignorance holds any future for ID. Sure. ID has chosen to equivocate
design with ignorance and can thus hold on to the claim that 'design'
is a scientific possibility but 'design' will always be a possibility,
it's what one can do with this that makes a difference as to whether
or not ID is relevant to science and contributes in a positive manner
to our understandings. As such ID has and will continue to fail as
long as its position is that our ignorance should be called 'design,
wink wink'.

Explain to me what positive knowledge ID has contributed to our
understanding of the bacterial flagellum and compare this to what
science has contributed. Both started from the same position of
I'd love to see such a comparison done where ID proponents fill out
their collums

> 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 18:24:30 2008

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