Re: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...

From: PvM <>
Date: Sun Jul 06 2008 - 16:27:27 EDT

I agree that Dembski and all have attempted to formulate ID in a
manner they believe would make it workable and they have failed as ID
is based on an approach of elimination which does not allow ID to
compete with our ignorance.
That this requires efforts hardly makes ID itself scientifically with
content or even a non-science stopper. What you need to ask yourself
is if an exercise in futility makes ID more or less relevant as a
Their output shows that they are indeed dealing with a simple claim of

On Sun, Jul 6, 2008 at 1:00 PM, Murray Hogg <> wrote:
> Hi Pim,
> It doesn't matter much what ID theorists claim, one only has to look at
> their output to determine whether they are content with a simple claim of
> ignorance.
> Indeed, the quotations you cite from Nelson and Johnson are sufficient to
> prove the point: whether one agrees with the science or not, working out a
> "fully fledged theory of biological design" would require the same level of
> effort as a fully fledged theory of biological evolution.

And yet ID has done exactly zero work in this area because it really
does not rely on knowledge but rather the denial of knowledge and
experiments by stating that "X could never have evolved". However, any
attempt to understand "X" will undermine our ability to comprehend its
origins. Let's assume that "X" was in fact designed, how would ID ever
reach such a conclusion when science through hard work has reached
many such design conclusions when it comes to criminology, archaeology
etc? It's because science manages to constrain its designer, allowing
time, opportunity, capabilities etc to guide towards plausible
scenarios which can compete against each other. ID as it is formulated
now refuses to deal in competing hypotheses, methods etc.

Remember when Dembski was asked to do this?

<quote>As for your example, I'm not going to take the bait. You're
asking me to play a game: "Provide as much detail in terms of possible
causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian
position." ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it's not ID's task to
match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If
ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for
certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method
of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But
there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems
that is what ID is discovering.

William A. Dembski Organisms using GAs vs. Organisms being built by
GAs thread at ISCID 18. September 2002</quote>

ID may indeed have attempted to resolve the problem of detecting
rarefied design but has chosen a foundation which has caused it to
remain focused on that which we do not know, rather than that which we
do know to reach a design conclusion. Ask yourself how does the ID
explanation for the bacterial flagellum compare to the scientific
explanation? Even in spite of the many short comings and unknowns in
the scientific scenario(s), ID has nothing at all to offer.

> The issue with Dembski (and other design theorists) is NOT whether they have
> succeeded in demonstrating improbability, the issue is whether they have
> ATTEMPTED to go past it. Which they have.
> As for the question, "what has Dembski contributed to our understanding of
> the bacterial flagellum?"...
> You might recall the old story about Edison who, having failed for the
> umpteenth time to find the right "formula" for a lightbulb, was asked if he
> was discouraged. His response, "No, I've found one more way how NOT to do
> it".
> Ask yourself: up to that point, what did Edison's experiments contribute to
> our understanding of the lightbulb?
> Science is done by, and advances through, even those whose efforts fail.

So how has science advanced here since ID has contributed nothing.
It's not that ID has failed, it's the fact that ID cannot and has not
been applied in any meaningful manner. Edison's experiments were clear
contributions which applied knowledge and experiments, ID so far has
nothing to show in this area. Nothing. And yet, the most claimed
example of ID, the bacterial flagellum, despite almost a decade of
time having passed had led ID to exactly contribute zero while science
has continued to improve our understanding. One may see ID's
'contribution' to science as exactly that, contributing nothing, in
otherwords, it's a scientifically vacuous concept. The next question
becomes why it suffered this fate and the answer is clear: it is based
on an approach which cannot compete with our ignorance. Extending the
concept without addressing this basic foundational flaw will result in
a lack of scientific relevance.
Remember, ID has done NO experiments NO theoretical applications of
its concepts when it comes to so called 'designed' systems. While it
may be tempting to compare Dembski's work to Edison, Edison's work has
been full of progress as it was founded in the pursuit of positive
knowledge, not the 'see it did not work, why should we bother to look
further' approach chosen by ID. To more accurately describe ID, it
would look like the detractor of Edison's work, pointing out how each
failure shows more evidence of the futility of pursuing a failed
paradigm when in fact, as we all know, Edison's work brought him
closer and closer to the invention of a workable concept.
In other words, ID has no similarities to how scientific efforts
historically have advanced. Even alchemy led to useful knowledge, ID
on the other hand has to avoid such knowledge.

So the conclusion is that ID, by focusing on a foundation of the
concept of design which cannot compete with our ignorance, has
remained unable to contribute in a non-trivial manner to scientific
understanding, other than that it has been wrong about our ignorance
being a reliable placeholder for something to be called 'design'.

By doing so, ID has provided the impression that there is a scientific
future for ID, undermining both science education, science itself and
of course theological faith by suggesting that faith should be allowed
to be proven and disproven using a scientific method. This is a
two-edged sword in which the lack of ID being able to support its
claims about the bacterial flagellum should lead to the conclusion
that 'design' has been disproven. Of course we all know that the
meaning of design has little or no similarities to what we envision it
to be and while this level of equivocation was useful to advances ID's
religio-political motives and goals, it also has placed faith in a
precarious situation where people like Dawkins are provided with the
tools to disprove the existence of 'design' which many have come to
understand as the existence of God.

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Received on Sun Jul 6 16:27:57 2008

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