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

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
Date: Fri May 29 2009 - 08:24:43 EDT

No, Mike, I didn't intend to imply that. It seems to me that directed
panspermy just moves the discussion to a different part of the universe and
time but doesn't explain or assist us in any other way that I know of.

Randy

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nucacids" <nucacids@wowway.com>
To: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>; <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

> Hi Randy,
>
> Yes, I think directed panspermy, a hypothesis once raised by Crick and
> Orgel, is more modest than proposing the designer also continuously
> intervened during the subsequent 3 or so billion years of evolution.
>
> As for "Poof!", are you saying that if directed panspermy is true, what is
> entailed in this truth is the ability to discover and identify the
> designers? How so?
>
> Mike
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>
> To: <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 7:05 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
>
>
>> Mike, do you really find the alien approach more modest? Maybe organic
>> molecules hitched a ride from Mars on an asteroid but the asteroid didn't
>> need rocket technology to leave this earth again without a trace.
>>
>> Maybe we should invent a new name and concept. "Poof! the magic agent,
>> lived
>> by the sea...." Thanks to Poof! we know how we got from point A to point
>> B,
>> from non-life to life, from basic organic molecules to irreducibly
>> complex
>> molecules. No trace of Poof! can be found except in the results of
>> Poof!'s
>> actions. But at least in contrast to that totally inadequate theory of
>> evolution, we now have a detailed path to depend on. I wonder why those
>> obstinate scientists don't believe in Poof! They must be biased and just
>> don't want it to be true. The evidence is there for all to see.
>>
>> Randy
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Nucacids" <nucacids@wowway.com>
>> To: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>; <asa@calvin.edu>
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:03 PM
>> Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
>>
>>
>>> 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
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
>>>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>>>
>>>
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Received on Fri May 29 08:25:04 2009

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