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

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Wed Oct 14 2009 - 14:42:34 EDT

On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 8:02 AM, Ted Davis <> wrote:

> 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.
Here I am not talking about abduction as an aid to hypothesis generation but
abduction as a means to judge alternative explanations. Take Behe v. Lenski.
Behe assumed that the multiple mutations were statistically independent
causing him to underestimate the mutatiion rate since he erroneously squared
it. Lenski on the other hand tested that hypothesis and found it to be
incorrect. That combined with the avoidance of peer review that shows the ID
conception of science vis-a-vis the highly-demarcated one is much more error

From what I can tell ID avoids the testing part because it smacks of MN but
by doing so it deprives science of much or all of its power. It's the
testing that provides the self-correcting nature of science. Sometimes there
are problems that cannot be done this way. So, scientists along with
everybody else don't just do science but also engage in theology or
philosophy because there is no other choice. In control theory there is a
concept of a closed loop and an open loop. Science when done correctly is a
closed loop. Other epistemological frameworks tend to be open loop and thus
require even more rigor than mainstream science. ID combines the worst of
both worlds being mostly open loop and less rigorous to boot. Theistic
scientists who are critical of ID do not say that systems such as ID is
advocating are not valid. Rather, they say that the systems are not science
and have the potential because of it to reinforce the errors and biases of
the proponents more often than science might. Because of this there should
be more peer review of ID and not less. It should have been as Philip
Johnson originally proposed: first do the peer-reviewed research, then
popularize it and then push it politically. In reality it went completely
the other way.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Wed, 14 Oct 2009 12:42:34 -0600

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