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

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 12:37:29 EST


I asked you if questions of "design, guidance, and teleology is a question
science *can* address", with the additional questions "If so, how?" and "If
not, then why won't the NCSE, Ken Miller, and the rest of the science
defenders state explicitly that for all they know, evolution and nature can
be rife with teleology, guidance, and purpose"?

Your response? Again, mostly evasions. I'm starting to see a pattern here.

But at least you're apparently saying that detecting "design, guidance,
purpose and teleology" in the natural world is a scientific question.
Wonderful, let's run with that.

I asked how. And I'm waiting to hear it: What would "scientific evidence"
for "purpose" or "teleology" even *look like*? To say nothing of guidance
and design at the level of an omnipotent, omniscient deity - much less

Second, your additional options don't get you off the hook. If you're saying
that there is no scientific evidence for "purpose" (and frankly, my response
is that trying to find "scientific evidence" for "purpose" is a joke - it's
not within science's scope, and I defy you to tell me how it could be), but
that evolution can nevertheless be guided and purposeful ("Theistic
evolution"), or that it's possible to find evidence in the future (option
3), then this means that "science" not finding evidence of "purpose" is
inconsequential -- because there are other types of knowledge (theological,
philosophical) and scientific knowledge is incomplete anyway (option 3). In
which case I'm back to asking you: When can I expect the NCSE, Ken Miller,
and the rest of the "science defenders" to say "Well, for all we know,
evolution and nature can be guided, designed, and purposeful, and the world
can be rife with teleology - but science is incapable of ruling on this

As it stands, you're accusing ID of "pretending scientific evidence exists
[for design, guidance, purpose, etc] when it doesn't". Even assuming that's
true (TEs love to make hay of fine tuning, etc), I'm putting it aside. But I
hope you have one hell of a persuasive account of how "purpose" can be
scientifically discovered, because otherwise I'm going to accuse you of
"pretending science is capable of ruling on questions of design, guidance,
purpose, etc" as far as God is concerned, when it is manifestly incapable of
doing so.

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 12:37:45 2009

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