RE: "Bashing, choice & lamarkism" was "conservation..."

John E. Rylander (
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 16:48:11 -0500


I especially liked this last post of yours, which is perhaps another way of
saying I very much agree with it. :^>

It's easy for me to IMAGINE a successful scientific theory that rejected
methodological naturalism (suppose, e.g., a very simple fundamentalist
theology were right, and a psychologically tiny amount of faith could
demonstrably, repeatably, and ideally quantifiably move mountains at will,
etc.), so I have no IN PRINCIPLE opposition (MN-based or otherwise) to ID.
(Indeed, I think it'd be pretty cool. :^> )

But ID just hasn't yet delivered anything IN FACT like the results necessary
to challenge the highly successful a posteriori presumption in
methodological naturalism's favor. (Maybe it's partly a priori [via a defn
of science], but certainly not incorrigibly so, except wrt some atheists.)
Maybe someday it will so deliver. But, despite claims about the
implications of irreducible complexity, it surely hasn't just yet.

Exactly as you suggest, the focus of IDers, or at least those who are
thought leaders in the movement, should be on the things that will win the
day: simpler theories and superior predictive results.

This gives IDers (at least perceptive ones) what -they- want -- freedom to
try their hand at non-MN science -- while still requiring what the
scientific community wants: superior results before extremely successful
theories and principles are discarded by the scientific community as a


> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of
> Sent: Thursday, August 26, 1999 8:54 AM
> To:;
> Subject: Re: "Bashing, choice & lamarkism" was "conservation..."
> 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