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

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Tue May 26 2009 - 23:03:52 EDT

Hi Randy,

"If there were a natural intelligence directing the origin and
development of life, then such a natural being must have existed at least 4
billion years ago and continued to exist until rather recently if not today.
They must have had the ability to do nanotechnology manipulation at the
biochemical level. Yet, not a trace of such natural beings with such
intelligence has ever been found. I would suggest that it is a rather
reasonable conclusion that if such beings ever existed, they would have left
a trace of their existence."

This critcism only works if we assume a natural intelligence directing the
origin *and
development* of life. If we adopted a more modest position, one where a
natural intelligence
seeds the planet with the first cells, there is no reason to think we should
be able to find independent
evidence of such designers.

-Mike

----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:30 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

> Cameron wrote:
>> b. On what grounds can one say, regarding the formation of the first
>> cell, that
>> "from a scientific perspective, it's pretty clear that no natural
>> intelligence was involved"? Do you mean: "Science has *proved* that no
>> natural intelligence was involved?" Or "Science *assumes* that no
>> natural
>> intelligence is involved"? If the former, please give me the titles of
>> books or articles where this proof can be found. If the latter, what
>> justifies science in making that assumption?
>
> Neither. The term "proved" is too strong and "assumes" is too weak. It's
> just simple
> logic. If there were a natural intelligence directing the origin and
> development of life, then such a natural being must have existed at least
> 4
> billion years ago and continued to exist until rather recently if not
> today.
> They must have had the ability to do nanotechnology manipulation at the
> biochemical level. Yet, not a trace of such natural beings with such
> intelligence has ever been found. I would suggest that it is a rather
> reasonable conclusion that if such beings ever existed, they would have
> left
> a trace of their existence. I will be the first to recant if you can
> provide
> any indication that such intelligent beings existed at any time in the
> past
> 4 billion years.
>
>>You won't find books in the library like this, Randy. And the question
>>is,
>>why not?
>
> I do find books on geocentrism and young earth and astrology and all sorts
> of things. Anyone can publish. The fields that people think have
> metaphysical implications are the ones with the largest number of
> "alternative" books. There is no conclusion to be drawn about the validity
> or lack thereof from the scientific perspective.
>
>> Speaking as a scholar who has read a more than an average amount of the
>> history of science, including original sources by people such as Galileo,
>> Gilbert, and Darwin, I have some idea of what scientific methodology
>> requires, and I know that
>> people who advocate a theory are expected to provide evidence for it.
>> They can't simply make grand speculative claims and then sit back and
>> defy
>> the world to disprove them. It is not enough for Darwinians to say that
>> no one can *disprove* the possibility of the unguided evolution of the
>> flagellum, and that a Darwinian explanation for it may be found "some
>> day".
>
> Perhaps a scholar of reading history of science and a physicist with
> decades
> of experience doing and managing world-class research can cooperate in
> coming to a better understanding of what scientific methodology entails.
>
> An overarching theory gains acceptance when it provides an explanation for
> a
> vast array of observations that were not understood from alternative
> perspectives. (The pertinent set of authorities is the group of
> researchers
> actively publishing in the relevant peer-reviewed journals. Some
> contributors to this list do not like that system but that's the way
> science
> works today). In essence, the theory needs to:
> --explain a wide spectrum of observations better than any other theory
> --make successful predictions of new observations
> --be falsifiable but not be falsified
> --be useful in providing a framework for fruitful further research
>
> Once a theory is predominantly accepted and is a fruitful paradigm for
> further research, it becomes more and more difficult to mount a challenge
> to
> the theory as a whole. Any specific area in which the theory has not been
> worked out in detail is a great thesis project for an aspiring grad
> student,
> and not a failure of the theory itself. In other words, the theory needs
> to
> be applied and worked out in detail but the primary concepts are
> essentially
> settled. Seemingly intractable problems are typically held in abeyance for
> further research.
>
> Well known examples are the theory of gravity, electro-magnetic theory,
> theories of special and general relativity, theory of superconductivity,
> and
> on and on. Each of these has areas that are still unresolved. For example,
> the theory of gravity has lots of unexplained areas, including the "action
> at a distance" and the quantization issues. The formation of galaxies is
> an
> interesting unresolved case. Instead of throwing out the theory of
> gravity,
> one postulates non-baryonic dark matter instead.
>
> The theory of evolution meets the above criteria in a most incredible way.
> The range of observations explained, the remarkable predictions that have
> come true, the lack of falsification despite the most stringent efforts,
> and
> the robust productivity of research, all over 150 years of close attention
> are truly amazing. It's no wonder that the theory is considered by
> practicing scientists to be a "fact" for all practical purposes. No
> alternative theory has come even close.
>
> But, you say, it hasn't explained the path from Point A to Point B. That
> path might be going from a pre-flagellum molecule to the flagellum
> molecule,
> or pre-malaria resistance to that resistance, or whatever. These are
> possible areas of future research, at most. Furthermore, you state,
> following Dembski's lead, that the burden of proof lies with the advocates
> of the theory and not with the challengers. And the publicity mavens of DI
> proclaim the imminent demise of the theory of evolution if such a detailed
> path is not provided. No, that's not consistent with scientific
> methodology.
> So many observations have been explained by evolution that any example not
> yet explained will most likely be explained in the future. It is not
> rational to hold a gun to the head of the evolutionist and demand that all
> of these areas have a detailed explanation or else the theory must come
> crashing down.
>
> No, despite Dembski's insistence, the burden of proof is rightly on those
> who would claim that the theory itself is flawed if there is a lack of
> explanation from point A to point B. Unfortunately, many publicists at DI
> confuse the status of "...have not explained..." with "...cannot
> explain..."
> The first is controversial enough but the second is what an ID advocate
> needs to show. Over the last 15 years or so, a typical exchange on
> irreducibly complexity could be summarized as follows:
>
> ID: Molecule A is irreducibly complex and could not have evolved by known
> incremental evolutionary processes
> Critic: Here is a possible path for an evolutionary process with known
> mechanisms (e.g. scaffolding approaches) which could explain the evolution
> of molecule A.
> ID: No, you have only shown a possible path, a "just-so" story, but have
> not
> demonstrated that this is what actually happened.
>
> Note that this exchange has moved from a claim to "cannot explain" to
> "have
> not explained." But even a possible "just-so" story is enough to dispel
> the
> claim of "cannot explain" even if the actual path turns out to be
> different.
>
> The point is that a robust, successful theory like evolution, gravity,
> superconductivity, and the like, is relatively impervious to charges that
> details have not yet been explained. The track record of success is such
> that there is confidence that future research will be successful. The onus
> properly lies with the critic to show that no such explanation is
> possible.
> Futhermore, the theory would and should be relatively immune (i.e.
> continue
> to be used) until the time that an alternative theory comes along to
> explain
> both the new data and all the old data. In other words, you don't throw
> out
> all the successes of a theory because some details can't be figured out.
> Odds are that new information will tweak the theory a bit or help us
> understand the flaw in the analysis.
>
>> Why do none of the scientists on this list raise any of these critical
>> questions about Darwinism? Why does it have to be a religion
>> scholar/historian of ideas such as myself, or a sociologist like Gregory
>> Arago? Where are the vaunted critical faculties of scientists in
>> evidence
>> here? Where is the celebrated scientific skepticism about grand
>> speculative claims? Where is the demand for details, for quantification,
>> for precise mechanisms, all of which are hallmarks of good science? Why
>> does Darwinism get away with so little questioning, when its detailed
>> explanatory power is so very limited?
>
> Very simple. Because the scientists are doing science the way it should be
> done.
>
> Randy
>
>
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Received on Tue May 26 23:04:12 2009

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