Re: [asa] Atheist finds God thru Behe's books....

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Wed Oct 14 2009 - 10:02:55 EDT

>>> Rich Blinne <> 10/13/2009 10:59 PM >>> writes, among other things, this:

The reason why scientists insist on rigor is that it produces adequate
explanations while those whom try to "expand" the scientific method to get
around the rigorous requirements -- in part to explain why they don't end up
in peer-reviewed journals -- in the end produce less adequate explanations.
So called adequacy is a way to get the camel's nose in the tent. For
example, ID proponents want to use abduction rather than induction, cf.
Chapter 7 Signature in the Cell. The reason why induction is superior for
scientific study is that through the process of falsification errors in the
original "adequate" explanations can be removed or "inadequate" explanations
can be reconsidered. In general, MN is used because it's easier to produce
falsifiable propositions but as I will show MN is not necessary in order to
be in bounds of tightly-demarcated science. ID fails demarcation not because
it considers the natural effects of the supernatural but because it isn't
empirical and inductive.


Ted comments.

As you probably know, Rich, I am not numbered among the persuaded when it comes to standard arguments for ID. I might disagree with you here, however, on the significance and legitimacy of abduction as part of the process of drawing scientific inferences. I do not have a copy of Meyer's book, which I have not yet read, so I do not know the specific context that relates to your concern. Perhaps I would agree more if I did, but perhaps I would not. My belief about the importance of abduction in the history of science would not likely go away from seeing any specific instance of how it is being used.

Indeed, I would say, without abduction we probably would not have a lot of really important scientific theories, starting with heliocentrism. The problem with Aristotelian and Ptolemaic views was precisely too much induction and too little abduction: what you see is not what you get, not what really obtains in the universe. You have to go well beyond induction to get there. The hypothetico-deductive method gets a lot of its power from abduction--though (as I am sure you will point out) the hypotheses need to make testable predictions before they can be accepted (I'm told that part of Meyer's book is devoted to just this).

Furthermore, Rich, with regard to ID and abduction/induction, I'm struck by the emphasis that Mike Behe places on the latter, not the former, when he presents his case for ID to various audiences. He's well known for having a slide of a duck, as in "in-duck-tion," to help him make the case that the inference to design in nature is highly inductive: if it looks like a duck (and there's consensus that nature *looks* designed), then maybe we ought to call it one.


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Received on Wed Oct 14 10:03:22 2009

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