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

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 14:24:21 EST


No, I don't think we agree here.

First of all, you say "I didn't say there is no scientific evidence for
purpose". Let's go back and read your last post, with my emphasis added.

"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."

Right there, you're saying that there has been no scientific evidence for
purpose "for so long".

Now you're telling me that, well, purpose is completely inscrutable to
science, but maybe teleology isn't. Except you don't think there can be any
scientific evidence for teleology. Unless maybe someone is clever. But your
reasoning there is theological, not scientific - and you can't answer my
question of "What would scientific evidence for purpose or teleology even
look like?", because you apparently have no idea. I'll have to go find
someone who thinks it's possible for there to be such evidence. But you
apparently knew enough of what scientific evidence for teleology (and, at
least until now, purpose) would look like to flat out tell me that no such
thing has been found (implying, therefore, that science is capable of
finding such). Which one should expect, because the only way to purpose and
possibly teleology is from revelation (and special, not general, revelation
at that).

You're all over the map there.

But go ahead, be all over the map. I'm sticking to my guns: You said there
was no scientific evidence for teleology, and you strongly implied that
science should be capable of finding evidence for teleology (and yes,
purpose) if such existed. I denied science can do this, and asked what such
a scientific discovery would even look like. You have no answer. So I'm
calling on you to either admit science - certainly the "science" that Ken
Miller and the NCSE defends, that lovely gem called "methodological
naturalism" - is incapable of ruling on the question of design, teleology,
purpose, guidance, etc.. or at the very least have you plead ignorance and
admit that you don't even know enough about the relevant details to answer.

What's more, you have yet to answer my question about the NCSE, Ken Miller,
and other "defenders of science". Should they admit, in the interest of
making it clear just what science can and cannot rule on, that science
(certainly 'methodological naturalism') is incapable of discerning the
presence or lack of teleology, purpose, guidance, or design in evolution,
and it's entirely possible that evolution is wholly guided and purposeful,
and the natural world is rife with teleology - but science itself is
incapable ruling on these questions? If you think they should, then why have
they (as far as I am aware) not? And if you don't think they should, then
why not?

As for the IDM, I won't even comment on your view of them right now.

> I think we agree here. Depending on the phase of the moon and cosmic rays I
> bounce between category 2 and 3. Personally, I don't think you can find
> scientific evidence for teleology but I am not going to preclude somebody
> who is really clever coming up with something. So, you'll have to ask those
> who think it's possible what the scientific evidence would look like. Note,
> though, my reasoning here is more theological than it is scientific. Thus,
> my ambivalence to the whole ID enterprise -- at least the non-culture wars,
> non-ideological part.
> BTW, I didn't say there is no scientific evidence for purpose. I said there
> is no scientific evidence for teleology. They're different. The former is
> completely inscrutible to science. In other words, what ID is trying to do
> is a legitimate scientific enterprise but their and our greater goal of
> proving purpose is beyond science even if they end up succeeeding in their
> lesser goal of teleology. Still, they should stop pretending that they have
> already succeeded with their lesser goal because they tarnish all Christians
> who are scientists. It's the pretending more than anything else that gets
> the scientific community upset.
> Here's another example. In engineering parlance, there's a requirements
> specification and a functional specification. You can sometimes reverse
> engineer the latter but not the former. In the early 1980s the Rochester MN
> division of IBM was concerned that other companies were copying their
> Winchester drives. So, they put a useless curved piece of plastic just
> outside the platters. Other companies dutifully copied it. The other
> companies understood the teleology but completely whiffed on the
> purpose. The only way for you to know the purpose was to do what I did and
> talk to the engineers. In the end, the only way to purpose -- and possibly
> teleology too -- comes from Special and not General Revelation. (This is the
> theological reason I mentioned above.)
> Rich Blinne
> Member ASA

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Received on Tue Nov 17 14:24:45 2009

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