Re: [asa] historical versus experimental sciences

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Sun Aug 23 2009 - 13:20:54 EDT

I comment on this exchange below:

>>> David Clounch <> 08/23/09 11:49 AM >>>
Cameron said:

Right away, that makes him a good deal more perceptive than many Darwinians,
who still tout the party line of Eugenie Scott and Judge Jones that ID is
not science (except when they run joyously through all the arguments to
prove that it is falsified science, thus contradicting their premise).

I cannot count the number of times on this list (and elsewhere) people have
stated that ID cannot be tested and isn't science. It is almost as if they
are chanting a mantra. But if the NCSE people have argued that ID is
falsified science then why are so many anti-IDers unaware of this?


Ted comments:

David, the use of both logically inconsistent claims about ID is really an old story. It goes back at least as far as the Arkansas creationism trial in the 1980s, when Michael Ruse convinced the late Judge Overton that "creationism" (which was clearly defined in context as YECism) is not science, b/c it's not scientifically testable. The late neo-orthodox theologian, Langdon Gilkey, also convinced the judge that "creationism" is religion. The judge connected those dots and ruled that "creationism" can't be taught in public school science classes. A very clear precedent, which the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller v Dover case modeled in a Harrisburg courtroom a few years ago.

However, not long after the Arkansas trial, Ruse's fellow philosophers, esp Larry Lauden, read him the riot act for a bad piece of courtroom philosophizing. "Creationism" is testable, they said, and it's been shown wrong numerous times. Thus, it shouldn't be part of biology classes not b/c it isn't science, but b/c it's just bad science. Very different conclusion.

You really can't have it both ways.

As for ID, my own view (not shared by TDI or most ID advocates) is that ID is a talking point in philosophy of science, not science per se. I've defended that numerous times here and elsewhere and won't reprise that here. The other part of my view (not shared by the NCSE or most ID opponents) is that ID can be discussed in public school science classes, as an example of differences of opinion in the philosophy of science. Note: this is not at all the same thing as "teaching ID as a scientific alternative to Darwinian evolution" (I put those words in quotes to make sure that they stay together, if anyone anywhere comments on my view). I don't believe it is such an alternative, nor has it ever been such IMO. Thus, IMO (not that of an attorney, obviously), Judge Jones' decision is irrelevant to whether or not anyone could do this, since it doesn't violate what he said can't be done. This could perhaps have been a potentially winning hand in the Dover trial, but no one ass!
 ociated with the defense was interested pursuing it. The attorneys and their key witnesses all think that ID is science.



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Received on Sun Aug 23 13:21:46 2009

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