re: Michael Palevitz

From: Susan Brassfield (
Date: Mon Jan 31 2000 - 14:36:51 EST

  • Next message: Susan Brassfield: "re: Behe by Palevitz"

    Stephen quoting Dembski:

    >"Intelligent design is not scientific creationism cloaked in newer and more
    >sophisticated terminology. Intelligent design makes far fewer commitments
    >than scientific creationism, carries far less baggage and consequently has
    >far less chance of going wrong.

    of course, no one but the choir that he preaches to believes this to be the

    Dembski continues:

    >Intelligent design is a strictly scientific theory devoid
    >of religious commitments.

    Intelligent design does not adhere in any way to the scientific method and
    has a serious commitment to the supernatural. In fact "supernatural
    intervention" is what "intelligent design" is code for. Since the
    supernatural (being outside nature) cannot be scientificly verified it
    can't be anything *but* religion. And, of course, outside creationist
    circles, intelligent design is a big yawn. It doesn't lead to new knowledge
    and doesn't explain anything.

    >Unlike scientific creationism, intelligent design does not prejudge
    >such questions as Who is the designer? or How does the designer go about
    >designing and building things?" (Dembski W.A., "Intelligent Design", 1999,

    that's only true if you don't look at who is excited about "intelligent
    deisgn" and who isn't. All but a few people pushing intelligent design were
    fundamentalist Christian creationists five minutes ago. To everyone else
    it is utterly transparent creationism and no amount of asserting the
    contrary will make it so.

    >AK>Palevitz misses the point. Behe isn't being coy or disingenuous.
    >If Palevitz (a professor of botany at the University of Georgia), is a
    >scientific materialist-naturalist (which he seems to be), then it is not so
    >much that he "misses the point", but that within his metaphysical framework
    >he cannot possibly get the point. Because it is inconceivable to a scientific
    >materialist-naturalist that there really could be a God who is real, Palevitz
    >must assume that anyone who is seriously arguing for the actions of God in
    >natural history *must* be effectively a scientific creationist in disguise!

    you are making the assumption that since he is a scientist he MUST be an
    atheist. And you reveal yourself by your choice of language. Don't you mean
    Palevits doesn't believe that *any* of the gods are real? Only the middle
    eastern religions have "a" god.

    >>AK>He knows that science can't look for God. But science can make
    >>observations about intellegence and create tests for it. He is making the
    >>observation that certain mechanisms in life have unknown origins. The most
    >>similar mechanisms with known origins were intellegently designed.
    >>Therefore, it
    >>is not such an illogical leap to concider that these life mechanisms were
    >If anything it is "illogical" to *deny* that "life mechanisms" could possibly
    >be "designed"! Why should things *appear* to be designed, if they are not
    >in fact designed?

    to whom do they appear designed? That is the question. If something is
    designed it must appear designed to *everyone* from any religion. So far
    things only "appear" to be designed to people with a religious axe to
    grind. The appearance vanishes if someone adheres to a religion not founded
    in the middle east or who is without a religion.

    >AK>Perhaps the designer is an alien. Perhaps a type of organization of
    >>energy that sustains intellegence but is unknown to us, however could
    >>have evolved in a purely naturalistic universe, decided to play around with
    >>carbon. Science fiction, speculation...of course. But the inference of
    >>design in nature is not an unscientific observation and does not
    >>automatically lead to the God depicted in the Bible..
    >Agreed. See Dembski above. ID is agnostic about the identity of the
    >Designer. Another design theorist, Mike Behe points out that science does
    >not need to know the identity of the designer, to know that something was

    Uh . . . in that case, why is it that Dembski and Behe are such darlings of
    the religious right? Why aren't they constantly invited to speak for UFO
    societies? If ID is agnostic, why does the religious right want to have
    anything to do with it? If not, why is it being misrepresented? Glenn
    Morton noticed the dishonesty in this area and as a Christian it really
    bothered him. I think it was the main reason he left the list.

    Stephen quoting Behe:

    >"How then will science "officially" treat the question of the identity of the
    >designer? Will biochemistry textbooks have to be written with explicit
    >statements that "God did it"? No. The question of the identity of the
    >designer will simply be ignored by science. The history of science is replete
    >with examples of basic-but-difficult questions being put on the back burner.
    >For example, Newton declined to explain what caused gravity, Darwin
    >offered no explanation for the origin of vision or life, Maxwell refused to
    >specify a medium for light waves once the ether was debunked, and
    >cosmologists in general have ignored the question of what caused the Big

    What on earth is he talking about? Is he counting on his audience not
    knowing that these things are under investigation? You *bet* science would
    want to know the identity of the designer. Perhaps creationists would like
    to dismiss that little detail. It would make this claptrap easier to sneak
    into schools. But nobody is fooled, except those who want to be fooled. The
    "god" question is a key feature of Intelligent design or Stephen, Johnson,
    et al. would not give it a moment of their time.

    Behe continues:

    >Although the fact of design is easily seen in the biochemistry of the

    by Behe and people with a religious reason to do so.

    >identifying the designer by scientific methods might be extremely

    actually impossible. The "designer" is an article of faith, not fact.

    >In the same way, Newton could easily observe gravity, but
    >specifying its cause lay centuries in the future.

    design is not the equivalent of gravity. Gravity can be demonstrated to the
    satisfaction of people who do not adhere to any of the middle eastern

    >I do think that Christian theists can build on basic ID to mount further,
    >more specialised arguments for the existence of God, even the Christian
    >Trinitarian God, but this is Natural Theology, and is beyond the scope of
    >basic ID.

    and beyond the scope of science. It is *religion.*

    >AK>It should not be dismissed by the scientific establishment purely
    >>because theists will use it as evidence that God exists.
    >Agreed again. But it is precisely because they *are* "the scientific
    >establishment" that design is "dismissed ... because theists will use it as
    >evidence that God exists"!

    why should "naturalists" care? Why should scientists care? If you want to
    use the existence of gravity, hydrogen atoms or bermuda grass as proof that
    gods--or a specific god--exists, why on earth would science care? Nah,
    you've got to use this goofy argument "they don't want the gods to exist"
    because ID isn't *science*.



    For if there is a sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing
    of life as in hoping for another and in eluding the implacable grandeur of
    this one.
    --Albert Camus

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