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

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Fri May 29 2009 - 08:55:57 EDT

Hi Randy,

Okay, but that's a different argument. I'm just pointing out that a lack of
evidence for the designer is meaningless in certain contexts.
Anyway, I think a seeding hypothesis does explain/assist in several ways.
But that's another topic.

Mike

----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

> 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 08:56:05 2009

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