Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sun Apr 26 2009 - 08:01:20 EDT

Hi John, I'll have to make a short answer to this post before getting back to the other longer post from Jon in the earlier thread. The main points, however, still remain.
Here, you write:
"I think MN serves a valid purpose in science even for believers. At the heart of this debate, the ID camp has its issue with MN and what we currently consider science and non-science...You [Cameron] have crossed MN and are no longer on scientific ground. You have lost all credibility with non-believers and with believers who respect MN which would include most TE's." (my bolding)
What does it mean to 'cross MN'? Simply to not believe in it as a valid philosophical assumption? Goodness knows there are many religious persons who would rather be holistic than divisive using the silly ideology of MN, which clings to an outdated philosophy of science. What happens to all of the human-social sciences if MN controls 'science'?
John, have you read Feyerabend and Lakatos? Doing so would start to help you get up to date...and then there is still much more in the contemporary philosophy of science and likewise in the sociology of science, which reveals many things about the 'pseudo-mysterious' behaviours/actions/systems of the 'new priests' i.e. the natural scientists of our day.

What 'valid purpose' does MN serve, other than to discredit YEC and to try to discredit ID, the latter which is wise to the MN pseudo-philosophy?
And who really cares if Cameron is not always 'on scientific ground' IF he is at the same time still speaking the truth? Science has no monopoly on 'truth,' does it John? You seem to elevate 'science' way out of proportion to reality, though let me say that I don't blame you for this given that we live in 'a scientific age,' which is what it has been called by many people. How could you possibly put 'science' in a balanced perspective with philosophy and theology given this bias of our epoch (and being an American - the most scientific nation - citizen especially amplifies this tendency toward 'scientism')?
Let's get serious about MN, John. I'll soon open another thread about this, but for now we can ask two things: 1) is science limited *only* to natural things? and 2) are any scientific methods of study (i.e. methods which are possible to consider 'scientific') possible to apply to humanity? If you answer affirmatively to the first and negatively to the second of these questions, then a lesson in philosophy of science is direly called for on your behalf. If you accept the second or reject the first, then at least you're not entirely lost for navigation in the contemporary conversation. Cameron is obviously well ahead of you in this area, John, and yet you claim that he is the one who has 'lost all credibility.' This is a strange and rather ironic situation!
Surely there are some responsible philosophers of science out there that ASA could recruit to educate its participants!

--- On Sun, 4/26/09, John Walley <> wrote:

From: John Walley <>
Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
To: "Cameron Wybrow" <>
Cc: "AmericanScientificAffiliation" <>
Received: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 5:46 AM


I will attempt to respond to your questions below:

1. I have always accepted the Mt. Rushmore, Easter Island, and John Loves Mary
on the beach as being valid examples of detecting human design in nature.
However I think we cross the boundaries of MN when we try to extend this to
detecting divine design. We have no way to know what the criteria for divine
design would be. Case in point would be irreducible complexity. Is that divine
design? I am not sure. It is not conclusive at the very least. And it is
entirely possible that God hid Himself in His creation to avoid detection just
like He hid Himself from the unbelieving in His parables and miracles and signs
and wonders. In fact it is consistent with His hiding Himself to avoid your
divine design detection so the short answer to your question is no I don't
think we can scientifically detect design and have emperical proof. I think the
evidences of divine design in nature are the same as His other miracles, they
are subjective and valid only in the eye
 of the beholder. You are kicking against the pricks to state otherwise in my
opinion. Jesus said of the pharisees that He could rise from the dead and some
people still wouldn't believe and He was right. It is naive to think that
you have stumbled upon some proof more powerful than that. And I think it is
futile and counterproductive to even pursue it. That is how we got YEC,

In fact, working backwards from why YEC doesn't work, it is easy to see
that its entire genesis was due to this desire to have a nice tidy packaged
systematic theology that proved their belief system and effectively removed the
need for faith. I think that is the same mistake being made by proponents of
strong ID. Again, I agree ID reveals God's fingerprints in nature but only
to believers, not to school boards and court districts and secular and
unbelieving cultures, and it is a mistake to try to make it so.

2. I have repeatedly said I believe it is reasonable, rational, logical, even
obvious to infer a designer and even a Designer in the universe, just that it is
not a scientific inference because this would fall afoul of MN and I think MN
serves a valid purpose in science even for believers. At the heart of this
debate, the ID camp has its issue with MN and what we currently consider science
and non-science.

3,4 & 5. No. See above. You have crossed MN and are no longer on scientific
ground. You have lost all credibility with non-believers and with believers who
respect MN which would include most TE's.



--- On Sat, 4/25/09, Cameron Wybrow <> wrote:

> From: Cameron Wybrow <>
> Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
> To:
> Date: Saturday, April 25, 2009, 9:42 AM
> Dear John:
> Thanks for your gracious manner of disagreement in the post
> below.
> I am not sure that you and ID are far apart. You accept
> the notion of intelligent input. You question how far
> science can go in establishing that the designer is God. Is
> that correct?
> Let's see if we can isolate exactly where your doubts
> begin.
> 1. ID says that we can establish at least the fact there
> is design, i.e., that chance is not a sufficient explanation
> for certain biological phenomena. Do you reject this idea
> even in principle, or are you open to the possibility of
> design detection in this very limited sense? (Note: Being
> "open to the possibility" leaves you free to
> reject any particular argument put forward by design
> theorists, if you think it's weak. It requires only
> that you allow that such arguments might be valid, and
> therefore should not be rejected by TEs out of hand.)
> 2. Most ID proponents would say that design implies a
> conscious designer (or something with an instinct
> approaching consciousness) -- e.g., a human being, an
> intelligent alien, a beaver, or God. But even this,
> strictly speaking, is not required by ID theory. For
> example, Aristotle's God does not appear to be conscious
> of the universe, even though he is in a sense the cause of
> its existence and of the end-seeking tendencies of the
> various things in it. So, do you accept that it is
> reasonable to infer the existence of something
> "intelligent" in the universe -- if only in a very
> broad sense of "intelligence?"
> 3. The majority of ID proponents would say that, in the
> case of living things (as opposed to beaver dams), the
> designer is, as Aquinas says "what men call God".
> (And Aquinas means a generic God there, not the God of
> Christian revelation.) But this identification, though
> quite plausible, and natural for Christians (most ID people
> being Christian), is *not* part of the theory proper. Do
> you accept that ID has made a proper distinction here,
> between inferring a designer on the basis of nature, and
> identifying the designer with God on philosophical,
> religious or other personal grounds?
> 4. *All* ID proponents agree that, even if the designer is
> indeed God, design theory can establish nothing whatsoever
> about the nature of God *other than what is implied in the
> design itself*, i.e., that God is extremely intelligent, and
> powerful. Do you agree that ID people have been very
> cautious in inferring only a minimal natural theology from
> design in nature? Have you ever seen any of them trying to
> infer anything more? If so, what, and where?
> 5. *All* ID proponents agree that the knowledge of God
> arrived at by design theory does not contain the truths of
> special revelation, and therefore is not salvific.
> Therefore, faith is still required for salvation. Do you
> agree that ID has been very careful in acknowledging that
> knowledge of design is not saving knowledge?
> Think about these questions. You may be closer to being an
> ID proponent than you think. At the very least, you may be
> less hostile to ID (when it is properly formulated) than you
> thought you were.
> Cameron.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Walley"
> <>
> To: <>; "Cameron Wybrow"
> <>
> Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 9:56 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
> >
> >
> > Cameron,
> >
> > I agree with your two paragraphs below but the problem
> is that the
> > evidence for how God interacted with evolution in His
> creation is vague.
> > That is the best we can do from the evidence. In
> contrast ID may be razor
> > sharp in where it draws the line but that is
> unsupported by science. I
> > think most TE's here would say that this
> demarcation eludes scientific
> > verification. I accept that input conclusion but it is
> a matter of faith
> > and not science in my opinion.
> >
> > Thanks
> >
> > John
> >
> > The problem with TE (at least in most of its
> formulations) is that it is
> > simply unclear about the extent of the
> complexity-building powers it
> > allows to chance. To read TE writers, the cause of
> mutations etc. is sort
> > of chance, and sort of God's action, and sort of
> neither, and sort of
> > both -- that's what TE sounds like, to an
> outsider seeking theoretical
> > clarity. It sounds vague.
> >
> > ID, on the other hand, is razor-sharp in clarity on
> that point. It draws
> > a line in the sand. It says that chance is simply not
> sufficient. It
> > says that there must be an input of intelligence. The
> input might be
> > before the Big Bang, with no further inputs necessary
> (front-loaded
> > naturalistic evolution). It might be at one or more
> points after that
> > (intervention, quantum-concealed or otherwise). ID
> does not specify. But
> > it says that the input is necessary.
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Received on Sun Apr 26 08:01:59 2009

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