Re: "Bashing, choice & lamarkism" was "conservation..."
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 09:54:08 EDT

In a message dated 8/25/99 6:29:38 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> Personally I believe that if the scientific establishment refuses to
> compromise on "methodological naturalism" and keeps trying to shut out
> Intelligent Design, then science will split into two, with "methodological
> naturalism" and Intelligent Design being competing paradigms.

Good; in many ways, this is exactly how science normally operates, with two
or more labs competing to explain a phenomenon by researching their own
paradigms. Whichever paradigm turns out to best explain the evidence is then
accepted as the best explanation. If ID is a legitimate scientific theory,
then let it prove itself in the only way that matters in science: let it
provide better explanations than "methodological naturalism". If this
requires the split that Steve spoke of, so be it, but then ID will have no
more excuses.

> Since the
> majority of science funding comes directly or indirectly from the general
> public and since the majority of the general public are favourable to
> Intelligent Design, a large part of the funding going to materialistic-
> naturalistic science will be apportioned to Intelligent Design.

Maybe, maybe not; my experience with scientific funding tells me that both
groups would receive more or less equal amounts of money, if for no other
reason than that new funding organizations dedicated specifically to ID or
"methodological naturalism" research (as opposed to groups that now support
specific fields or types of research) will be created to pick up any
perceived slack. And since most funding comes from Federal tax dollars (the
use of which the public generally has no control over), "methodological
naturalism" will probably still receive most of this Federal money.

> If materialistic-naturalistic science wants to avoid this *disaster*
> it had better learn quickly to not keep shutting out ID.

Not only would Steve's scenario not be a disaster for "methodological
naturalism", it would probably vindicate it as the best way to explain the
universe. And ID is not being "shut out" despite Steve's paranoia. Any
scientist can conduct any research program using any philosophical
assumptions he or she pleases. What counts in science is results, not
philosphical assumptions, and as Steve has tacitly admitted, so far ID has
produced no results that would require the scientific community to take it
seriously. Steve is fond of declaring ideas and concepts "irrelevant" based
on the flimsiest of evidence, but in science relevance is determined by
success in research. The most irrelevant ideas are those that have no
evidence to support them, that cannot generate any research programs and that
cannot be tested. At present, ID fits this description perfectly. And it
will remain irrelevant until it acquires some supporting evidence and/or
starts to develop research programs based on testable hypotheses.

Kevin L. O'Brien