Re: [asa] Re: On the Barr-West exchange and ID/TE

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 12:16:11 EST

On Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 9:23 AM, Schwarzwald <> wrote:

> Heya Rich,
> "To date there has been no scientific evidence for teleology"? The whole
> line of reasoning I've heard from one Christian ID critic after the other is
> that there can be no "scientific evidence for teleology" to begin with,
> because questions of design, guidance, purpose and teleology are outside the
> proper scope of science.
> Your battery of quotes, as seems to be the trend as of late, address
> questions I did not ask, and concerns I have no interest in. I'm not asking
> for the Pope John Paul II's views, and I expressly stated that platitudes
> about how "God can exist and evolution can be true" are of zero interest
> here.
> Are you saying now that design, guidance, and teleology is a question that
> "science" *can* address? If so, Rich, I'd absolutely *love* to hear how. I
> have repeatedly said that I reject the ID movement's claim that science can
> address this question, but that the hypocrisy from many opponents forces me
> into a position of great sympathy with them.
> So, let's hear it. Are questions of divine design, guidance, and teleology
> ones that science can address and rule on? If so, how? And if not, then when
> can I expect the NCSE, Ken Miller, and other self-appointed defenders of
> science to say that for all they know, evolution can be guided and
> purposeful, and the natural world can be rife with teleology - but such
> questions are outside the scope of science?
> Or is there a whole lot of hypocrisy and - let's call it by those most
> genteel term possible - deceptive PR talk going on here?

Given the state we are in right now with no scientific evidence for
teleology we have a number of extra-scientific interpretations on "purpose":

Atheistic evolution: No purpose. Full stop.

Theistic Evolution: Sees non-scientific evidence for purpose. But because
a) there has been no scientific evidence for so long and
b) theological reasons
we don't expect to see scientific evidence for purpose because it's the
hidden will of God.

Theistic Evolution/ID Synthesis: Sees non-scientific evidence for purpose
and because of that we expect to see scientific evidence, but we just
haven't found it yet. Goody. If I find this I will win a Nobel Prize.

Intelligent Design Movement: Sees non-scientific evidence for purpose.
Instead of waiting for category 3 to show fruit seeks to redefine science in
order to import non-scientific evidence as science evidence.

Of these, only category 4 is being actively opposed by the scientific
mainstream and labelled as "not science". Everybody -- no exceptions --
makes extra-scientific conclusions presumably based on the scientific
evidence. For those conclusions to be considered scientific in the broad
sense the extra-scientific statement needs to be grounded in -- or at the
very least compatible with -- the scientifc evidence and category 4 fails
even with this more generous interpretation of the word scientific.

At it's base the reason why so many here oppose ID is not the search for
scientific evidence for design. It's the pretending scientific evidence
exists when it doesn't -- in opposition of one of the base principles of the
ASA, scientific integrity.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Tue Nov 17 12:16:44 2009

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