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Judge Jones Discussed at 3quarksdaily

In light of Judge Jones coming to Southern Methodist University today and tomorrow, for what seems to be an unbalanced discussion of ID, I thought I would add some clarity to the affair with these remarks by Nick Smyth  from the blog 3quarksdaily pertaining to Jones’s poor reasoning in his 2005 Kitzmiller decision as to what constitutes science:

For any formal definition of science, it either excludes too much, or includes too much, or both. It is enough to say that today, even those writing anti-pseudoscience manifestos concede that it is not possible to give a complete definition of what constitutes science or pseudoscience. Rather, they tend to revert to weak, vague and totally indefensible “ballpark” definitions that are designed to exclude specific targets. Judge Jones’ 2005 ruling in the Kitzmiller creationism case is a recent example:

ID [Intelligent Design] fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. (Jones 2005, 64)

It’s hard to properly describe how bad this ruling was, how incredibly vulnerable it is to logical and factual attack.

Take, for example, the second and third requirement. If we banish everyone who has either (2) seriously employed a false argument, or (3) has had some position refuted, it’s hard to imagine that there will be many scientists left to speak of. These requirements are patently absurd.

The first requirement doesn’t fare much better, for its meaning turns on the definition of “natural”, and to my knowledge no-one has been able to define this term meaningfully without resorting to the claim that “nature” is the stuff that natural science talks about. Circularity looms.

However, even if we can define these terms responsibly, this “ground rule” is of questionable historical validity. For example, we are going to have to explain why Newton’s acceptance of alchemical principles and Kepler’s devout mysticism don’t disqualify them as scientists.

This is a serious problem. It’s fine to talk about science in a loose and squishy sense, as a historical phenomenon or as a diverse, loosely related set of practises or what have you, but once you start denying someone else social and political power on the grounds that you are scientific and they are not, you’d better have more to say than simply “your theory is supernatural”. Otherwise, you will quickly be reduced to claiming that you just know science when you see it, and well, isn’t that just the sort of maddening claim that those pesky “pseudoscientists” love to make?

by Nick Smyth
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118 Responses to Judge Jones Discussed at 3quarksdaily

  1. Clive

    The point of methodological naturalism, as Johnson pointed out within months of Lewontin’s notorious NYRB article, was to impose materialism a priori by the by implication back door.

    Psychologically, we don’t tend to see implications as clearly as direct statements.

    But, since we know that intelligence is an empirically known, characteristic causal factor, we can in fact infer on evidence to explanation by ART not just nature. For instance, in the very declarations that try to impose meth nat, the relevant scientists, philosophers and judges put up contextually responsive complex digital text.

    In the case of Judge Jones’ declaration above, we have 482 ASCII text characters, well beyond the 143 character threshold where by the search resources of the entire cosmos could not scan as much as 1 in 10^150 of the available configs. The learned judge (or his ACLU mentors) probably produced the text in a matter of at most hours.

    In short, these gentlefolk are being self-referentially inconsistent.

    Reductio ad absurdum.

    GEM of TKI

  2. Take, for example, the second and third requirement. If we banish everyone who has either (2) seriously employed a false argument, or (3) has had some position refuted, it’s hard to imagine that there will be many scientists left to speak of. These requirements are patently absurd.

    If the author finds these arguments absurd, he has only himself to blame–he invented them out of whole cloth. Kitzmiller does not hold that science excludes anyone who has “seriously employed a false argument,” or “has had some position refuted.” It would be more accurate to say that it holds that ideas that have been refuted are not sound science. This is “why Newton’s acceptance of alchemical principles and Kepler’s devout mysticism don’t disqualify them as scientists.” What’s relevant is that alchemy and mysticism aren’t science. (Whether alchemy might have considered science been before its principles were disproven is a question I can’t answer.)

    The first requirement doesn’t fare much better, for its meaning turns on the definition of “natural”, and to my knowledge no-one has been able to define this term meaningfully without resorting to the claim that “nature” is the stuff that natural science talks about. Circularity looms.

    I find that very few critics of Kitzmiller take the time to read the opinion. Mr. Smyth should do so. The Kitzmiller court looked to ID’s own words to determine its stance on the nature of nature. See, i.e., pp. 29-30:

    Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700). Second, Professor Minnich testified that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened so that supernatural forces can be considered. (38:97 (Minnich)). Third, Professor Steven William Fuller testified that it is ID’s project to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural. (Trial Tr. vol. 28, Fuller Test., 20-24, Oct. 24, 2005). Turning from defense expert witnesses to leading ID proponents, Johnson has concluded that science must be redefined to include the supernatural if religious challenges to evolution are to get a hearing. (11:8-15 (Forrest); P-429). Additionally, Dembski agrees that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. (Trial Tr. vol. 5, Pennock Test., 32-34, Sept. 28, 2005).

  3. Science can be neither legislated nor adjudicated.

    Also ID does not require the supernatural.

    Dr Behe testified to that.

    Dr Minnich also testified that ID does not require the supernatural.

  4. kairos: Surely you’re thinking of ontological naturalism: nature is all there is, and all basic truths are truths of nature. As opposed to methodological naturalism: an epistemological view that is specifically concerned with practical methods for acquiring knowledge, irrespective of one’s metaphysical or religious views. It sounds more like a technique than a value judgement, well, to me at least. :-)

  5. I am especially sick of Darwinists who claim ID is disqualified as science because it refers to the supernatural. As Smyth says, that also rules out Newton and others. But more than that, ID does not automatically refer to the supernatural. It simply refers to intelligence being the only known force, system or activity capable or producing complex specifed information. This is not a supernatural belief if you consider human intelligence to be “natural”.

  6. I am especially sick of Darwinists who claim ID is disqualified as science because it refers to the supernatural. As Smyth says, that also rules out Newton and others.

    Well, it rules out alchemy. Insofar as Newtonian physics are methodologically naturalist, it doesn’t bear on them at all.

    But more than that, ID does not automatically refer to the supernatural. … [It] is not a supernatural belief if you consider human intelligence to be “natural”.

    Tell it to Behe, Minnich, Fuller, Johnson and Dembski.

  7. Learned Hand,

    What is your philosophical criterion for what constitutes as natural and supernatural?

  8. Clive,

    I’d have to think about it. Off the cuff, I’d say that “natural” causes must be, at least in principal, detectable, quantifiable, and predictable. Perhaps repeatable, too, but I’m uncertain there. I’d probably exclude intelligence as a “natural” cause, but again, I’ve never really thought about it.

    In the context of the above criticism of the Kitzmiller court, what matters is the definition of “natural” applied by Behe, Minnich, Fuller, Johnson, and Dembski. I think the excerpted statements speak for themselves.

  9. Learned Hand,

    In the context of the above criticism of the Kitzmiller court, what matters is the definition of “natural” applied by Behe, Minnich, Fuller, Johnson, and Dembski. I think the excerpted statements speak for themselves.

    The delineation between supernatural and natural is not spelled out. The statements speak for themselves only in so far as they speak to someone’s pre-conceived notions and philosophy of what constitutes natural and supernatural. So I’d like to know what you think constitutes the difference.

  10. Insofar as the topic is the Kitzmiller court, which seems to be the subject of your post, the court took ID proponents at their word when they explicitly tied ID to supernaturalism. As a practical matter, I think I’d do the same. IDists often and stridently assert that abiogenesis cannot be attributed to natural causes. I think that’s fairly dispositive as to ID’s position on naturalism.

    Insofar as you’re asking about my personal position, as I said, I haven’t put much thought into it. As I consider it now, I wonder if exceptionalism isn’t the best delineation. A natural cause operates the same way every time, whereas a supernatural cause may or may not violate the normal, “natural” rules.

    I’ll keep pondering it, and probably change my mind several times today. I’m not sure what difference it makes in the end, however. My only point to make on this thread was that the cited critique is exceptionally poorly-grounded, and that the author you quoted badly mischaracterized the opinion.

  11. —-”Learned Hand: “Insofar as the topic is the Kitzmiller court, which seems to be the subject of your post, the court took ID proponents at their word when they explicitly tied ID to supernaturalism.”

    ID’s culture or methodology? ID proponents or ID scientists? Narrowing it down, what examples can you site among ID scientists [such as Behe or Dembski] tying their methodology to supernaturalism?

  12. Oops, I mean, what examples can you cite.

  13. See comment number two, or the Kitzmiller opinion generally.

  14. —Learned Hand: “See comment number two, or the Kitzmiller opinion generally.”

    Meaning no disrespect, but the burden for supporting your statement falls on you, not me. Why should I chase it down when, presumably you already have it at your fingertips? Also, I am not interested in what Judge Jones said about it, since I do not find his his characterization of their statements credible. You said “ID proponents” tied ID to supernaturalism, [suggesting ID methdology] and you included the names of Behe and Dembski. So, I am asking you how, when, and where they did it. Fair enough?

  15. Stephen,

    Press the “page up” key on your keyboard a few times, until you get to comment #2. It is brief and to-the-point list of primary sources establishing the point. If you disagree with the use of these citations, please tell us why.

  16. Learned Hand,

    Insofar as the topic is the Kitzmiller court, which seems to be the subject of your post, the court took ID proponents at their word when they explicitly tied ID to supernaturalism.

    Only insofar as they claimed that “natural” and inert “laws of nature” cannot seem to account for things like abiogenesis. If we say that anything other than inert and partially understood “laws of nature” are supernatural, that would include ourselves and any other intelligence. This is what it boils down to, the delineation between natural and supernatural categories. In the piece by Nick Smyth, where he refers to the three criteria of Judge Jone’s decision for what constitutes science, the other two that don’t pertain to the “supernatural” are so obviously flawed as to not even merit discussion. So, the only one left is the philosophy of science that Judge Jones participates in when designating natural and supernatural. This is the crux of the matter. A myriad of phenomena have been considered supernatural before they were considered natural. Much depends on the philosophy one hold in considering the affair as natural or supernatural. This is why I’m interested in getting your philosophical opinion about the two, nature and supernature. There are theoretical and philosophical difficulties in labeling things supernatural just by virtue that we don’t understand them yet. What is more reasonable is to claim that things we can understand, or at least witness, are not adequate to explain the phenomena in question, but this doesn’t mean that the default explanation has to be called supernatural now does it? And secondly, it depends on how you define “detectable” or “observable”. If we say that the supernatural is neither, how do we, then, know this? Have we detected and observed that the supernatural was not detectable or observable? Or is it a default philosophical category for things we don’t know how to explain so we call it undetectable? Really, I’d really like to know the answer to how supernatural is so defined as to be outside the purview of science based on anything other than a philosophical musing.

  17. Sorry, that came across more stridently than I intended. The opinion gives (in more than just that one paragraph) solid support for ID’s explicit rejection of “natural causes.” While there’s some wiggle room around what “natural” means, the statements of ID advocates like Dembski and Behe make it clear that any definition of “science” that includes ID would have to be profoundly different from the definition in common parlance today. I cannot summarize the statements supporting that position more concisely or more accurately than the court did, nor could I cite the primary sources if I tried to do so. (I don’t actually keep such books in my office.)

  18. Learned, again, meaning no disrespect, but my question is simple enough. I will settle for a quote or two from Dembski or Behe which shows them tying ID science to the supernatural. My demands are small.

    If you want to provide me with a link and a time saving reference, I will check it out. Meanwhile, you must surely have some evidence at your disposal.

  19. In the piece by Nick Smyth, where he refers to the three criteria of Judge Jone’s decision for what constitutes science, the other two that don’t pertain to the “supernatural” are so obviously flawed as to not even merit discussion.

    I assume you mean the categories Smyth invented and falsely attributed to the judge. If so, I agree that they are farcical. If, rather, you think Smyth’s statements are an accurate characterization of the court’s writing, I’m afraid you’ve lost me. Nowhere does the court criticize, much less “banish,” “everyone who has either … seriously employed a false argument, or … has had some position refuted.” Mr. Smyth’s description of the ruling is grossly inaccurate.

    Really, I’d really like to know the answer to how supernatural is so defined as to be outside the purview of science based on anything other than a philosophical musing.

    In the context of discussing the ruling, you’d need to ask ID luminaries such as Dr. Dembski. Doesn’t the explanatory filter rely on the exclusion of natural causes, in the guise of “law” and “chance?”

  20. Stephen,

    Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700). Second, Professor Minnich testified that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened so that supernatural forces can be considered. (38:97 (Minnich)). Third, Professor Steven William Fuller testified that it is ID’s project to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural. (Trial Tr. vol. 28, Fuller Test., 20-24, Oct. 24, 2005).

  21. Learned, I appreciate your efforts, I really do, but I asked you for quotes from ID scientists, not quotes from Judge Jones. [I assume that is what you have given me.] Have I not made it clear that I do not accept Judge Jones’ characterizations of what ID scientists say since I do not consider him a trustworthy interpreter? Again, my question is simple: Do you have any evidence that Michael Behe or William Dembski, the two scientists in question, have ever tied ID science to the supernatural?

  22. Stephen,

    The words and numbers in parentheses in that excerpt are citations to the source the court is quoting. Please look to the original sources if you doubt the court’s excerpts and paraphrases.

  23. Learned Hand,

    Both Behe and Minnich testified that ID does not require the supernatural.

    Read the transcripts.

  24. StephenB,

    I know that Dr. Dembski’s position is that the Intelligent Designer can be entirely natural.

  25. I know that Dr. Dembski’s position is that the Intelligent Designer can be entirely natural.

    How, if natural causes are insufficient for abiogenesis?

  26. —Learned Hand: “The words and numbers in parentheses in that excerpt are citations to the source the court is quoting. Please look to the original sources if you doubt the court’s excerpts and paraphrases.”

    I have read the transcript and, as Joseph has said, I find no such quotes. So, I am reduced to asking you to provide them.

  27. Learned Hand,

    I assume you mean the categories Smyth invented and falsely attributed to the judge. If so, I agree that they are farcical. If, rather, you think Smyth’s statements are an accurate characterization of the court’s writing, I’m afraid you’ve lost me. Nowhere does the court criticize, much less “banish,” “everyone who has either … seriously employed a false argument, or … has had some position refuted.” Mr. Smyth’s description of the ruling is grossly inaccurate.

    What Nick Smyth quoted was directly from the Opinion, page 64, where Judge Jones wrote:

    ID [Intelligent Design] fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. (Jones 2005, 64)

    Did you even read it before you claim that Nick Smyth misrepresents the opinion? I mean, really, this seriously makes me question your diligence and all arguments as a result. The characterization by Nick Smyth is not even a characterization, it is a direct quote from page 64 of the opinion.

    Again, what Judge Jones wrote in (2) and (3) is indeed absurd, and therefore not even worthy of discussion. What I’m interested in is what constitutes nature and supernature in (1). We agree that (2) and (3) are ridiculous. What we cannot understand is no. (1), and on this, I’ve yet to see any substantive response. Maybe there is a philosopher of science who can illuminate me to the efficacy of Judge Jones’s philosophy…maybe…but I’ve yet to see it. And do you find his criterion for what constitutes as science based on his philosophy of what constitutes the natural and supernatural compelling? In short, can you answer the questions of my previous comment?

  28. —-Clive: “I know that Dr. Dembski’s position is that the Intelligent Designer can be entirely natural.”

    Yes, indeed.

    —-”How, if natural causes are insufficient for abiogenesis?”

    Are we talking about Dembski’s official position, which is all that should matter, or your perception about its consistency with his other views, which is irrelevant to the issue.

  29. Clive, Dembski’s current position is that design is natural, or could be natural, “provided that nature is understood aright”. Of course, one could also argue that computers are food provided that food is understood aright, and it comes down to the question of who gets to decide what the “right” definition is.

    Note also that in the past, apparently before he understood nature aright, he held that design is not natural. e.g. “Since chance, necessity, and their combination characterize natural causes, it now follows that natural causes are incapable of generating CSI. (NFL, page 159, emphasis in original)

    BTW Clive, in this thread you accused Diffaxial and I of intentionally using vague language. I’ve asked you twice what you were referring to. Did I miss your answer?

  30. Clive,

    You certainly should not be criticizing my reading comprehension. Mr. Smyth quotes the court, then writes the passage I quoted in the second comment:

    Take, for example, the second and third requirement. If we banish everyone who has either (2) seriously employed a false argument, or (3) has had some position refuted, it’s hard to imagine that there will be many scientists left to speak of. These requirements are patently absurd.

    This passage is original to Mr. Smyth. It is not taken from the court’s opinion. It is what is called a “paraphrase,” or a “characterization.” It is a false and misleading characterization, or what is called a “mischaracterization” of the source material. I’ll repeat my request: please cite what language from the court supports the suggestion that it intended to “banish everyone who has either … seriously employed a false argument, or … has had some position refuted.” Mr. Smyth has either not read the opinion, not understood it, or is simply lying about its contents. I was astonished that he expected his readers to take such a silly mischaracterization at face value, and I am honestly disappointed that you have done so.

    (My request is not rhetorical. Please do cite the language in the opinion that militates against “everyone who has either … seriously employed a false argument, or … has had some position refuted.”)

    And do you find his criterion for what constitutes as science based on his philosophy of what constitutes the natural and supernatural compelling? In short, can you answer the questions of my previous comment?

    I do. Bear in mind, however, the context of his comment. Constitutional law bears on the standards he is applying. I will write more later, but for now really must run.

  31. The debate is not “natural vs supernatural”.

    The debate is “undirected vs directed”.

    If the designer existed before nature then the designer is PRE-natural.

    And natural processes only exist in nature therefor cannot account for its origin.

  32. —-Rob: “Clive, Dembski’s current position is that design is natural, or could be natural, “provided that nature is understood aright”. Of course, one could also argue that computers are food provided that food is understood aright, and it comes down to the question of who gets to decide what the “right” definition is.”

    The issue is whether Dembski or Behe said anything that can be reasonably construed as tying ID methodology to the supernatural as Judge Jones understood the supernatural. It was he, after all, who made the declaration that ID is tied to the supernatural and therefore it is he that assumed the burden of defining it. That means that only his definition of supernatural is relevant. It is in that context, that learned hand has declared that ID scientists have conceded that their science is tied to the supernatural. Thus, we are asking him to support that assertion, and thus your comment is a distraction.

  33. Stephen,

    Are we talking about Dembski’s official position, which is all that should matter, or your perception about its consistency with his other views, which is irrelevant to the issue.

    The former. If Dr. Dembski argues that natural causes cannot result in abiogenesis, how can he plausibly deny that ID is rooted in supernaturalism?

    Moreover, what possible benefit is it to overturn methodological naturalism, if your theory is not bound up with supernaturalism?

  34. —”The former. If Dr. Dembski argues that natural causes cannot result in abiogenesis, how can he plausibly deny that ID is rooted in supernaturalism?”

    I asked your for a quote that ties Dembski’s or Behe’s methodology to the “supernatural.” Let’s go ahead and establish that fact that you have nothing to put up, and that all your references were distractions from that fact and then we can move on. [You are free to provide those quotes at any time (NO statute of limitations here]

    With regard to your question, the answer is quite simple: If natural causes, which Dembski defines as law/chance are not responsible, then design is indicated, and, from a scientific perspective, the source of that design need not be supernatural at all.

    —”Moreover, what possible benefit is it to overturn methodological naturalism, if your theory is not bound up with supernaturalism?”

    Are you joking? Methodological naturalism is a rule established by the Darwinist academy which defines ID methodology as non scientific. To overturn this arbitrary rule is to be admitted and welcomed into the wider commumity of researchers and scholars. It has nothing to do with the supernatural.

  35. Stephen,

    I asked your for a quote that ties Dembski’s or Behe’s methodology to the “supernatural.” Let’s go ahead and establish that fact that you have nothing to put up, and that all your references were distractions from that fact and then we can move on.

    I have given you quotations and citations to primary sources. I cannot make you read them.

    If natural causes, which Dembski defines as law/chance are not responsible, then design is indicated, and, from a scientific perspective, the source of that design need not be supernatural at all.

    In other words, if natural causes are not responsible, then design is, but design need not be supernatural? If not A, then B, but B may be A?

    Similarly, I’m baffled that your claim that the refutation of methodological naturalism “has nothing to do with the supernatural.” What does MN exclude, if not the supernatural?

  36. —Learned Hand: “I have given you quotations and citations to primary sources. I cannot make you read them.”

    I have already read them, and there is nothing there. If you can find something, then don’t just tell me it’s there, provide the quote.

    —”In other words, if natural causes are not responsible, then design is, but design need not be supernatural? If not A, then B, but B may be A?”

    It doesn’t work that way. Dembski uses the word “natural causes” in his methodology to refer to law and chance. On the other hand, his adversaries have changed the word “natural” to mean “anti-supernatural” and “supernatural” to mean “anti-natural” without defining either. The purpose of doing that is to reframe the issue and distract from Dembski’s own well-defined scientific constructs. Thus, in order to answer his critics, who refuse to use his own terms as he uses them, he must then use their arbitrary definitions even though they don’t mean anything specific. This is clear enough from the fact that you, yourself, cannot define supernatural or natural, without of course, hearkening back to Dembski’s own construct, which you, neverless, refuse to acknowledge as the official definition.

    —”Similarly, I’m baffled that your claim that the refutation of methodological naturalism “has nothing to do with the supernatural.” What does MN exclude, if not the supernatural?”

    MN doesn’t just exlude the supernatural, it excludes any methodology or thought pattern that could be interpreted by Darwinists as hinting of either supernatural or even superhuman activity, or anything like it. In other words, it forbids the scientist to follow wherever the evidence leads. In effect, it declares that nature must be studied as if “nature is all there is.” That isn’t science; that is ideology. To overturn methodological naturalism is to simply gain the freedom to follow evidence wherever it may lead.

  37. LH,

    Mr. Smyth has either not read the opinion, not understood it, or is simply lying about its contents. I was astonished that he expected his readers to take such a silly mischaracterization at face value, and I am honestly disappointed that you have done so.

    I’m frankly baffled that you cannot see that his “characterization” fits perfectly with what Jones wrote. I am disappointed, it is so obvious that is barely qualifies as a characterization, I would say it’s just saying the same thing in another way for points 2 & 3.

    (My request is not rhetorical. Please do cite the language in the opinion that militates against “everyone who has either … seriously employed a false argument, or … has had some position refuted.”)

    (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. (Jones 2005, 64)

    It’s so obvious, I’m surprised I have to spell it out like this LH. Nick Smyth is right in his critique. Jones’s criteria for what constitutes as science is ridiculous. I’m still waiting on your definition of natural and supernatural, as this is the only real crux of the philosophical position at hand in this opinion, and the only one worth debating.

  38. R0b,

    Thanks, but Dr. Dembski himself claims that the designer can be natural. I don’t off the top of my head remember you using vague language, Diffaxial, however, was a master at saying nothing of substance—not all the time, but sometimes he had to seriously be distilled to discern the point at hand, which was usually nothing grande once the distillation was complete. But you, I can’t remember using vague language. I don’t think I should have included you, maybe I should have, I just don’t remember, and so I retract that statement. What what I’ve seen lately you’re not vague in your comments.

  39. Stephen,

    I’m sorry, but I think our conversation is over. Your complaints about not being able to read material cited by page number and source, and in fact quoted verbatim, are tedious and tendentious.

    Clive,

    I agree that defining “natural” and “supernatural” is critical. In context, we must look primarily to the IDists’ use of the term. Generally IDists are not shy about saying up front that ID permits an appeal to the supernatural. Fuller, for example, testified as follows:

    Q. Now, intelligent design is committed to introducing supernatural causation into the current science paradigm. Is that correct?

    A. That’s not exclusively what it does, but it’s certainly open to that.

    That seems unambiguous. Other statements are more complex; Behe, for example, says that he’s rejecting natural sources for IC, but we can probably read an implicit “unguided” into his words. In other words, he’d accept a natural intelligent designer in theory.

    But it’s not about whether Behe or other IDists would, in theory, accept a natural designer. (In practice I doubt they would, and for those IDists who insist that natural causes can’t result in abiogenesis, I don’t see how they could.) The court didn’t find that ID accepts only supernatural causes. The problem is that ID “invokes and permits supernatural causes.”

    The problems implicit in invoking supernatural causes are well-known, and I doubt you need me to explain them to you. Here especially, however, we must consider context; the court was ruling on a First Amendment challenge. The invocation of supernatural causes, which are clearly religious in character, is not just a philosophical problem, but also a Constitutional one.

    I take your point that natural causes can be called “supernatural” before they are truly understood. I agree. It would be possible to construct a legitimate, scientific study of possible design. It would not look much like the ID movement of Dembski or Behe. It would involve actual research, experiments, and publication of rigorously reviewed results. More fundamentally, it would investigate all the questions posed by the design hypothesis–when did design happen? Is it still happening? What does the design tell us about the designer?–rather than ruling certain questions out of bounds for strategic reasons.

  40. Clive,

    The distinction between “everyone who has either … seriously employed a false argument” and “the argument of irreducible complexity” needs hardly be explained . . . except that apparently it needs to be explained. Smyth contends that the judge’s rationale extends to “everyone who has either … seriously employed a false argument.” That is plainly false; everyone has “seriously employed a false argument.” Science is built on the correction of false arguments; the advocates of those arguments aren’t demonized or excluded. The judge’s point is that ID is still based on a false argument. It is actively promoting the discredited and logically unsound dualism that doomed creation science. Moreover, the court is looking to the idea, not necessarily the advocates of that idea, as Smyth says. The distinction is both in the tense (has employed vs. is employing) and the object (the idea vs. the advocate). Comments to Mr. Smyth’s article pointed out this same logical failure; if he has responded, I haven’t seen it.

    I’m still waiting on your definition of natural and supernatural, as this is the only real crux of the philosophical position at hand in this opinion, and the only one worth debating.

    You’re going to be waiting a long time for my definition, because I’m still thinking about it. I’m now inclined to say that repeatibility is the core criteria; a natural cause works the same way, every time, given the same conditions; a non-natural cause may or may not follow the natural rules, and cannot be truly predicted.

    But my definition is a sideshow. It’s less important than both the consensus approach to science, which is relevant to the court’s Constitutional duty, and IDists’ definitions, which were the rope by which they were hung in the opinion. If you can point us to statements by Dembski, Behe, Fuller, Johnson, etc., setting out their definitions, I’d be obliged. I googled for them and found some relevant material, but nothing really explicit.

  41. —-Learned Hand: “I’m sorry, but I think our conversation is over. Your complaints about not being able to read material cited by page number and source, and in fact quoted verbatim, are tedious and tendentious.”

    Learned, I am trying to cultivate a kindler, gentler persona on this blog, I really am. However, you are making it very difficult with your rather obvious evasions. I will now stop asking you to provide evidence that Dembski and Behe have made remarks tying ID methodology to the supernatural, because I already know for a fact that no such remarks were ever made. So my position could not possibly be any stronger.

    You tried to make the reverse argument, but you have nothing to support it because you cannot change the nature of the facts in question. Indeed, you cannot provide even a single quote that comes close. Again, the reason for that is simple enough: no such quotes are available. So, we have to ask ourselves what that could mean.

    As I told you earlier, Judge Jones is not a trustworthy interpreter, so if you are relying on his decision as a source for your information, you will continue to find yourself in intellectual quicksand. The old me would have made hay out of your attempt to make me and my reading habits the issue. But this is the new, kindler, gentler me, so I will just say this: If our conversation is over, it is only because you have no case.

  42. —-Learned Hand: “The problem is that ID “invokes and permits supernatural causes.”

    Oh, please.

    On the one hand, you have to ask how the ID scientist could “invoke” a supernatural cause. Does Learned mean, that the ID scientist “invokes” a supernatural agent, or did he mean anything at all. The word implies that ID petitions, calls out, or asks favors of what–a cause—a supernatural agent? I know that I am wasting my time asking this question, but can Learned provide an example of Dembski or Behe publically lighting a candle in the lab and praying for an answer to a scientific question in the name of intelligent design.

    On the other hand, it makes perfect sense that ID should “permit” a supernatural cause, for crying out loud. What exactly should the ID scientist do if, as it turns out, he finds the words, “made by yahweh” inscribed in a DNA molecule? Hide the kids and destroy the evidence? Oh, wait, the answer is yes. For Darwinists, the Constitution is defined as a document which protects them from evidence that could potentially offend them. This is the point to which mindless political correctness has brought us.

  43. Learned Hand,

    Your willfull ignorance is duly noted.

    ID doesn’t not require the supernatural and there isn’t anything you can say to change that.

  44. “[D]esign theorists recognize that the nature, moral character and purposes of this intelligence lie beyond the remit of science.”
    - William Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology

    If you can’t use science (or even imagine it being used) to directly investigate something, aren’t you conceding that it is supernatural?

  45. racingiron,

    “[D]esign theorists recognize that the nature, moral character and purposes of this intelligence lie beyond the remit of science.”
    - William Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology

    If you can’t use science (or even imagine it being used) to directly investigate something, aren’t you conceding that it is supernatural?

    Not at all. You can’t use science to determine logic, what morality is, what freedom is, what someone “ought” to do in a crisis, etc. etc. You wouldn’t use science or a lab to determine if your girlfriend wants to marry you, or if you like your momma’s cooking.

  46. OK then, take out “moral character and purposes” from the statement and you’re left with science unable to touch the “nature” of the designer. Why is it presumed that science is unable to do this? Generally, when we find an artifact suspected to have been created by intelligent beings, we use scientific processes to try to determine who made it, how they made it, when they made it, why they made it, etc. Why is it that these questions don’t apply in this case if the intelligence is not necessarily supernatural?

  47. In his book Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology William Dembski wrote:

    “The conceptual soundings of the [intelligent design] theory can in the end only be located in Christ”

    He also wrote in an article for designinterference.com:

    “Not only does intelligent design rid us of this ideology, which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I’ve found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ. Indeed, once materialism is no longer an option, Christianity again becomes an option. True, there are then also other options. But Christianity is more than able to hold its own once it is seen as a live option. The problem with materialism is that it rules out Christianity so completely that it is not even a live option. Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.”

    And he once said:

    “You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC [irreducibly complex] systems that is what ID is discovering.”

  48. ellazimm looking for loopholes in Debmski’s comments:

    —”The conceptual soundings of the [intelligent design] theory can in the end only be located in Christ”

    What is it about the “bridge” between science and THEOLOGY that you do not understand. On the other hand, what is it about ID methodology, as opposed to the former that you do not understand.

    —-“Not only does intelligent design rid us of this ideology, which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I’ve found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ. Indeed, once materialism is no longer an option, Christianity again becomes an option.”

    What is it about the difference between ID methodology as opposed to Christian apologetics that you do not understand. What is it about the difference between ID methodology and the social consequences of ID vs. Darwinism that you do not understand?

    —-“You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC [irreducibly complex] systems that is what ID is discovering.”

    What is it about the fact that ID does not or need not study “mechanisms” that you do not understand?

  49. —Dembski: “[D]esign theorists recognize that the nature, moral character and purposes of this intelligence lie beyond the remit of science.”

    —racingiron: “If you can’t use science (or even imagine it being used) to directly investigate something, aren’t you conceding that it is supernatural?”

    No, you are pointing out that science can only get as far as the “existence” of a designer and no further. You can’t discover the designer’s identity or moral character by detecting patterns in nature any more than you can detect the identity or character of an ancient hunter by detecting patterns in his spear.

  50. Stephen: I wasn’t looking for loopholes or asking for clarification. I was just trying to find verifiable quotes from Dr Dembski that I thought were pertinent. I do find it confusing that evolution proponents are asked for a step-by-step explanation but ID excuses itself from that to be . . . a double standard if both approaches are science but it wasn’t my intention to dredge that up at this time.

    But I do wonder: why doesn’t ID need to consider mechanisms? I mean . . . don’t you want to know? Aren’t you curious? I don’t believe you can just stop and not ask about it!! And what’s the harm in asking? I’ve been told time and time again that ID does not deal with that but . . . WHY NOT?? How can there be anything off limits in science???

  51. And, I have to say, I’ve always found it disingenuous that ID asks evolution proponents to produce an step-by-step explanation when they don’t expect to be held to the same standard. Why? What is the explanation? Just because an intelligent designer intervened doesn’t mean you can’t ask question about that designer’s methods and timing . . . . does it?

    I am so confused!!

  52. No, you are pointing out that science can only get as far as the “existence” of a designer and no further.

    What a strange assertion. How could anyone possibly know the limit of what might be learned about a putative designer?

    And even more curious is the complacency with which you accept such an idea of a limit to what can be learned by science.

    Let the evidence lead where it may, indeed.

  53. 54

    ellazimm,

    “I do find it confusing that evolution proponents are asked for a step-by-step explanation but ID excuses itself from that to be . . . a double standard if both approaches are science but it wasn’t my intention to dredge that up at this time.”

    Why should this be confusing? ID and ToE are suggesting very different processes. Why should you expect that ID should explain the processes in the same way as ID proponents expect from ToE?

    Darwinian ToE makes specific claims about how complex biological organisms adapted and developed through purely natural process, which Darwinists are vague in accounting for. Darwinian ToE furthermore relies largely on a series of fossils, whose collective pattern is highly interpretive, resulting in highly speculative conclusions.

    ID does not make a claim for exactly how complexity arose (although one could argue that we see complexity arise all the time in human designed machines). The claim is simply that the blind natural processes ToE suggests, cannot account for certain features; and furthermore, that such features are best explained by intentional design (as a known process) as opposed to blind purposeless natural processes (which we have really no known example of).

    You are looking for a certain kind of rigor where it does not nor cannot exist for either theory, because they are historical scientific theories. You cannot prove an historical event. You can only rely on what the evidence infers.

    I think your real confusion stems from your apparent belief that ToE is as rigorous a theory as any other non-historical, lab-tested science, and expecting ID to do the same. You need to be a little more realistic.

  54. —-ellazimm, “Stephen: I wasn’t looking for loopholes or asking for clarification. I was just trying to find verifiable quotes from Dr Dembski that I thought were pertinent. I do find it confusing that evolution proponents are asked for a step-by-step explanation but ID excuses itself from that to be . . . a double standard if both approaches are science but it wasn’t my intention to dredge that up at this time.”

    Pertinent to what? The issue is that ID science has nothing to do with the “supernatural.” Your comments were not pertinent to that fact.

    In any case, it’s not a double standard. Darwinists claim to know the process, yet they cannot describe its steps, which means that they do not know the process at all. ID already knows that the process has not yet been established and doesn’t claim otherwise. Besides the present subject matter has to do with a misguided judge who said ID isn’t science because it is “tied to the supernatural.”

    —”Aren’t you curious? [about mechanisms] I don’t believe you can just stop and not ask about it!! And what’s the harm in asking? I’ve been told time and time again that ID does not deal with that but . . . WHY NOT?? How can there be anything off limits in science???”

    I don’t think anything is off limit to scientists. The point is that ID paradigms are designed for a specific purpose and their purpose is not to study mechanisms. Why would ID scientists seek to please Darwinists while they are doing their research? If some new genius comes along and develops a paradigm that captures the creator’s processes, that’s fine with me.

    —-“And, I have to say, I’ve always found it disingenuous that ID asks evolution proponents to produce an step-by-step explanation when they don’t expect to be held to the same standard. Why? What is the explanation? Just because an intelligent designer intervened doesn’t mean you can’t ask question about that designer’s methods and timing . . . . does it?

    Again, ID doesn’t claim to know the process, Darwinists do. So it is they who are obliged to explain the steps involved in the process. ID makes a much more modest claim.

    One the one hand, you want ID to advance from its present agenda and study the supernatural; on the other hand, you no doubt sympathize with Dover devotees who claim ID is already studying the supernatural. Make up your mind.

  55. —Adel: “What a strange assertion. How could anyone possibly know the limit of what might be learned about a putative designer?”

    I speak only of what science can do at the moment. I have no idea about ID’s potential to learn more. All I know is that, at present, ID has no paradigms to study the designers processes. For my part, I think it was quite a task just to come up with SCI and IR.

    —”And even more curious is the complacency with which you accept such an idea of a limit to what can be learned by science.”

    No complacency here. As far as I am concerned, ID should shoot for the moon. On the other hand, some genius will have to come along and develop the right paradigm to learn more about the creator’s methods. I have no idea whether that is possible or not, and neither does anyone else. ID is not like Darwinism. It doesn’t presume to know what it really doesn’t know.

    —-Let the evidence lead where it may, indeed.

    Can I take that to mean that you now disavow the methodological naturalism espoused by your comrades, which was designed specifically to forbid design inferences in the name of science?

  56. “You cannot prove an historical event. You can only rely on what the evidence infers.”

    But . . . . that’s what you all are asking ToE to do!! I am so confused!!

    Okay, if ID currently has no paradigm to study the designers processes is someone working on that? I would!! How about the when question? I would think THAT would be an easier question to examine? Surely someone must have come up with a hypothesis regarding that by now? I’m guessing a lot of ID proponents would say the Cambrian Explosion is a very suspicious time frame. But even that stretches over millions of years. Does the designer work slowly or immediately?

    I’m just trying to get ID!! I understand the fundamental principle: that based on personal experience some things are better explained by the intervention of an intelligent designer. AND . . . then what? What’s next? There has to be something after that!!

    The scientists working on evolution research are trying to find the details of how it all happened. Surely the ID researchers are doing the same. Yeah?

  57. ellazimm [from 57}

    - “You cannot prove an historical event. You can only rely on what the evidence infers.”

    - But . . . . that’s what you all are asking ToE to do!! I am so confused!!

    And in that confusion, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head as to the great flaw in ‘intelligent design’!

    In short, unless proponents of ToE can PROVE evolution (which can never be done) Intelligent Design is always the default answer!

    How ridiculous is that?!

  58. 59

    ellazimm,

    “But . . . . that’s what you all are asking ToE to do!! I am so confused!!”

    I understand your frustration with this, but you need to understand that this predicament has been set up by Darwin defenders, who assert ToE as fact. ID supporters are simply reacting to these types of assertions.

    Now there may be some excellent Darwinists who understand the provisional nature of the theory, but there appear to be a greater numbers of others who placate to popular media, and who desire ToE to answer more than it really can.

    Ritchie,

    “In short, unless proponents of ToE can PROVE evolution (which can never be done) Intelligent Design is always the default answer!”

    Well, not exactly. I think ID proponents are keen on the historical nature of both theories. You should read Meyer’s book ‘Signature in the Cell’ to understand more on this. They know that Darwinian ToE cannot be ‘proven.’ They also know this of ID. However, ID has an observation advantage over Darwinian ToE in that no known Darwinian processes are observed in the here and now, while designed processes are observed all the time, and they are always processes involving purposeful objectives from a conscious mind. So in light of this observational reality, it would appear that many Darwinists are in reality exhibiting an extreme prejudice against the idea of agency.

  59. 60

    edit: Darwinists are in reality exhibiting an extreme prejudice against the idea of agency and for no good reason.

  60. 61

    Learned Hand, (hey, another debate about Dover – how fun!)

    Clive: “I know that Dr. Dembski’s position is that the Intelligent Designer can be entirely natural.”

    You: “How, if natural causes are insufficient for abiogenesis?”

    Natural causes as defined by meth nat are insufficient for abiogenesis. However, we don’t really know if meth nat sufficiently defines the limits of what science can know.

    ID folk have been saying all along that if such a designer is a reality, then ‘supernatural’ as defined by meth nat principles is lacking. Certainly a designer of the type inplied by ID may be supernatural (in a particular sense that the designer is above and beyond nature), but that does not imply that the means by which such a designer designs is necessarily supernatural (in any other sense) however you may want to define it.

    I think the difficulty we are all experiencing here on both sides of the debate, is in a lack of adequate terminology in determining several issues:

    -The limits of obseravational science in dealing with unknown causes.

    -The historical leap from design inferences to blind natural causes, and how this may limit scientific inquiry into origin of life issues.

    -Lack of a truly adequate distinction between supernatural causes vs. supernatural agents.

    -The misguided perception among adherents to meth nat that a supernatural agent implies an origination of causes that cannot be naturally detected. Nobody can dogmatically state that this is the case.

    I’ve stated this before, and I think it warrants repeating – meth nat cannot adequately or logically define the limits between what is natural and what is ‘supernatural.’ As such, meth nat is more philosophical than it is scientific, because it asserts a position that may not be so. It does not permit a scientist to go wherever the evidence may lead.

  61. CannuckianYankee [from 59}

    Ritchie,

    “They know Darwinian ToE cannot be ‘proven’. They also know this of ID. However, ID has an observation advantage over Darwinian ToE in that no known Darwinian processes are observed in the here and now, while designed processes are observed all the time, and they are always processes involving purposeful objectives from a conscious mind.”

    I think that is precisely where is wrong. The reverse is in fact true. ToE has the observational advantage because we can observe evolution in nature directly. It is something we can sit and watch happen.

    Conversely, ‘designed processes’ are NOT observed in nature! The ‘designed processes’ I presume you are talking about are products of human civilization – architecture, manufacture and art? If so, then your point is ridiculous. It is not happening IN NATURE.

    So it is ToE which is always to be preferred since we know for a fact it happens. Perhaps we cannot be certain that it has always been so, but it happens now and that is reason enough for us to presume. ID however, has never been observed or even inferred in any nature.

  62. 63

    Richie,

    “ToE has the observational advantage because we can observe evolution in nature directly. It is something we can sit and watch happen.”

    Sure. We can observe change happen, but we cannot determine by such changes that they are merely the result of blind natural processes with no set purpose or goal for such changes. When I say ToE I don’t mean merely change as in adaptation. I mean the Darwinian idea of change through blind chance and necessity. We can’t observe that. We can observe processes that one might interpret as blind chance and necessity, but such interpretations are mere speculation.

    Failure to distinguish between ‘evolution’ (which nobody really disputes) and Darwinian ToE, which means much more than the evidence suggests is very problematic, Richie.

    Evolution when defined as adaptive change, is not provisional because there is evidence that cannot be disputed. However, Darwinian ToE is what is provisional. The evidence for evolution is interpretive for several competing ideas – Darwin’s theory, Theistic Evolution, Creation Science and ID (there may be more).

    So to claim that Darwinists are the only ones looking at the evidence correctly, which is really what you are suggesting, is merely an opinion, and finds no support with the evidence.

    You assert “‘designed processes’ are NOT observed in nature!” Of course they are. Animals design things – beavers, for example purposefully design dams, birds design nests – nature is full of design – humans are a part of nature, and we certainly design things.

    ID is more observationally valid. What we don’t observe are blind forces without a goal or purpose developing complexity by themselves. To state that nature does this is question begging to the extreme.

  63. CannuckianYankee [from 63]

    “When I say ToE I don’t mean merely change as in adaptation. I mean the Darwinian idea of change through blind chance and necessity.

    By ‘blind chance and necessity’, do you mean mutation and natural selection? Because that it all Darwin meant by it…

    “Failure to distinguish between ‘evolution’ (which nobody really disputes) and Darwinian ToE, which means much more than the evidence suggests is very problematic, Richie.”

    Errrrr, you’re right there! Charles Darwin drew up the theory of evolution. Modern science has built upon it, sure, but in essence it is still the same thoery. If you have a theory which disputes what you call ‘Darwinian evoltuion’, then your theory is not evolution. It is not my failing to distinguish between them, it really is that they are the same thing.

    “Evolution when defined as adaptive change,”

    Who defines it like that, exactly?! Not any biologist I’ve ever read!

    “…is not provisional because there is evidence that cannot be disputed.”

    Agreed.

    “However, Darwinian ToE is what is provisional. The evidence for evolution is interpretive for several competing ideas – Darwin’s theory, Theistic Evolution, Creation Science and ID (there may be more).”

    The last three are not theories of evolution. At least, not in the way that I understand them. Perhaps you understand them differently, since you have such a different definition of ‘evolution’. Can you briefly outline these three theories please? Because from my (admittedly ungenerous) point of view, they all seem like different lines of defence trying to protect what is basically Creationism from being falsified by all that pesky evidence…

    “You assert “‘designed processes’ are NOT observed in nature!” Of course they are. Animals design things – beavers, for example purposefully design dams, birds design nests – nature is full of design – humans are a part of nature, and we certainly design things.”

    I knew you’d say that. Whilst that’s true, that’s not what I meant. There is no evidence for anything ORGANIC being designed in nature. No feature of any specific plant or animal shows signs of being designed. No bone, leg, ear, fur, talon, beak, gill, tail, feather, gut or anything which grows biologically shows any sign of being designed. Unless you know any different…?

    “ID is more observationally valid.”

    On the basis of beavers’ dams and spiders’ webs?

    “What we don’t observe are blind forces without a goal or purpose developing complexity by themselves. To state that nature does this is question begging to the extreme.”

    I heartily disagree. Consider when you were an egg. You were a single cell which divided many times and then went through several processes of growth (gastrulation, neurulation, etc). At every step along the way, we see only seperate cells obeying local rules. Like termites building a colony, they simply do what they are ‘programmed’ to do in their little part of the body/nest. But there is no overall cohesion, no grand plan, no blueprint for the end product. What would you call this if not blind forces without goal or purpose? It’s not as though individual cells can ‘want’ anything, or any foresight…

  64. —-ellazimm: “Okay, if ID currently has no paradigm to study the designers processes is someone working on that? I would!!”

    It requires a genius. We simply have to wait for another one to come along. Let’s hope he/she is better received than the current trailblazers, who are slandered and smeared daily.

    —-”How about the when question? I would think THAT would be an easier question to examine? Surely someone must have come up with a hypothesis regarding that by now? I’m guessing a lot of ID proponents would say the Cambrian Explosion is a very suspicious time frame. But even that stretches over millions of years. Does the designer work slowly or immediately?”

    I, too, am curious about that.

    —-“I’m just trying to get ID!! I understand the fundamental principle: that based on personal experience some things are better explained by the intervention of an intelligent designer. AND . . . then what? What’s next? There has to be something after that!! “

    You forget that ID must also work in a politically charged environment in which asking questions like that will prompt some stupid judge to say that ID is not science because it is “tied to the supernatural.” We should not abandon the theme of this thread, the purpose of which is to remind everyone about a travesty of justice that was visited on the reputations of real thinkers like Dembski and Behe by mental mediocrities like Judge “copycat” Jones, his mommy, Barbara Forrest, and his writer/editor, the ACLU.

    —-“The [evolutionary] scientists working on evolution research are trying to find the details of how it all happened.”

    No, actually they are not. They are working hard to stop ID from finding out what happened, because we now know that the Darwinists almost certainly got it wrong. They work hard at protecting their paradigm. That’s about it. Darwinists have discovered nothing more than that which we already knew without their help—–things change. The theory of evolution has not given us one good thing in 150 years. Most of the real advances come from medical specialists and molecular biologists, neither of which need the ToE to do their work.

    —-“Surely the ID researchers are doing the same. Yeah?”

    Life was designed. That is a big scientific discovery. Why do you not celebrate it? There may be more to come, but maybe not. We may never know about life’s origins from a scientific point of view. If, however, ID does prove how the designer designed life, you may be sure that the Darwinist academy will respond the same way they responded to the news that life was designed. They will persecute the messenger.

  65. StephenB @ 65

    —-ellazimm: “Okay, if ID currently has no paradigm to study the designers processes is someone working on that? I would!!”

    It requires a genius. We simply have to wait for another one to come along. Let’s hope he/she is better received than the current trailblazers, who are slandered and smeared daily.

    The problem is that there is rarely if ever a genius around just when you need one. For the rest, we just have to rely on good, solid, methodical research by the less gifted among us. The problem with ID is that there doesn’t seem to be much blazing of trails going on. Rather, it looks uncomfortably like stagnation.

    —-“The [evolutionary] scientists working on evolution research are trying to find the details of how it all happened.”

    No, actually they are not. They are working hard to stop ID from finding out what happened, because we now know that the Darwinists almost certainly got it wrong. They work hard at protecting their paradigm. That’s about it.

    That sounds suspiciously like a paranoid conspiracy theory being invoked to explain a lack of progress in ID research. It does not seem to be a very effective conspiracy since ID proponents are still able to hold interviews, appear on radio and TV shows, publish books and magazine and newspaper articles and make movies. Unfortunately, much of that output seems to be devoted to criticism of evolution rather than advancing the case for design.

    Darwinists have discovered nothing more than that which we already knew without their help—–things change. The theory of evolution has not given us one good thing in 150 years. Most of the real advances come from medical specialists and molecular biologists, neither of which need the ToE to do their work.

    Strange as it may seem, the theory of evolution was not written primarily to enable us to develop new technologies. Certainly, new technologies can be a measure of how accurate a new theory is but they are not an essential test of it. In fact, like most if not all such theories it was intended as a framework explanation that encompassed the great range of data that had been gathered about life on Earth.

    Life was designed. That is a big scientific discovery. Why do you not celebrate it?

    Because it needs to be demonstrated before it can be celebrated?

    If, however, ID does prove how the designer designed life,…

    I thought you just said that the big, scientific discovery was that life was designed, no “if”about it.

    you may be sure that the Darwinist academy will respond the same way they responded to the news that life was designed. They will persecute the messenger.

    Perhaps they are still waiting for the news. Perhaps they are dismissive of those who make premature claims of discovery.

    “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

  66. StephenB, thank you again for taking the time to reply. No matter what mainstream science and science do there is nothing to stop ID research going forward; it just needs to find its own funding source. I believe the budget for the Discovery Institute is in the millions of dollars; surely there are lots and lots of people out there who would be glad to help fund ID research! Good heavens, if only 40% of the American public accept evolution that’s close to 200 hundred million who don’t!! If they all gave a dollar . . . . :-)

    Seriously, why not ask? Even Oral Roberts can generate millions of dollars a year. If the people of the USA are behind you then . . .

  67. I meant: No matter what mainstream science does and scientists do . . . . sigh. I should go to bed, it’s late in England. :-)

  68. I said,

    Let the evidence lead where it may, indeed.

    My point was, if the evidence tells us something about the nature of the designer, why not investigate further? The lack of curiosity about the nature of the designer on the part of ID proponents is curious. They don’t seem to be a curious bunch, by and large.

    Perhaps because of lack of clarity on my part, StephenB replied, irrelevantly,

    Can I take that to mean that you now disavow the methodological naturalism espoused by your comrades, which was designed specifically to forbid design inferences in the name of science?

    StephenB, the last time I looked, methodological naturalism was the only game in town with respect to addressing empirical questions. That is, questions about the observable universe.

    As a flourish, StephenB helpfully added that methodological naturalism was “designed specifically to forbid design inferences…” Who was the designer of that specific aim? I’d like to see some evidence for that claim.

  69. 70

    Ritchie,

    “There is no evidence for anything ORGANIC being designed in nature.”

    And that’s the whole point of contention between ID theorists and Darwinists.

    There is no evidence from an origin of life perspective that life spontaneously generated from non-life, and the odds are overwhelmingly against it ever being produced. The only response we get from Darwinists on this matter are the immensely circular arguments such as “well, here we are, so something like that must have happened.”

    Does it not spark your curiosity that animals and humans purposefully design things that are very complex? Are you satisfied that Darwinian ToE has sufficiently accounted for this apart from the question-begging and proverbial just-so stories, which permeate the Darwinian intellectual landscape?

  70. 71

    “As a flourish, StephenB helpfully added that methodological naturalism was “designed specifically to forbid design inferences…” Who was the designer of that specific aim? I’d like to see some evidence for that claim.”

    I refer you to an argicle written by Barbara Forrest:

    http://www.infidels.org/librar.....alism.html

    where she concludes:

    “This means that we are saying–again, tentatively rather than categorically–that we do not live in a supernaturally governed cosmos, and every expansion of scientific understanding, especially the understanding of human existence, e.g., of consciousness and the origin of life, solidifies and confirms this denial.

    Science, because of its reliance upon methodological naturalism, lends no support to belief in the supernatural. Consequently, philosophical naturalism, because of its own grounding in methodological naturalism, has no room for it either. While for the supernaturalist, this absence may be the chief complaint against both science and methodological naturalism, for the philosophical naturalist, it is the source of the greatest confidence in both.”

    Forrest is careful to say “tentatively rather than categorically” as if to relieve any suspicion. However, by this very admission one can question the entire premise. If meth nat only tentatively dismisses supernatural causation, then meth nat, by her own admission, is incomplete.

    Furthermore, Forrest makes the unjustifiable claim that meth nat was the method, which got us to where we are in science; completely ignoring the forebears to our current scientific understanding, who did not hold to purely naturalistic assumptions.

    I also refer you to Eugenie C. Scott in her book ‘Evolution Vs. Creationism: An Introduction (Second Edition)’ [2009. University of California Press) where she states:

    “Just as attemtps to explain the natural world through revelation cause friction with scientists, so materialist scientists cause friction with religious people when they make statements about the ultimate nature of reality – when they speak as if they speak for science itself. On reflection it should be recognizable that if science has the limited goal of explaining the natural world using natural causes, it lacks the tools to make justifiable statements about whether there is or is not a reality beyond the familiar one of matter and energy. ….both supporters and deniers of evolution argue erroneously that because science uses methodological naturalism (and quite successfully), science therefore also incorporates philosophical naturalism. Unfortunately, such confusion makes communication about sceince and religion or creationism and evolution more difficult.” (p. 75)

    In both of these statements, and in the entire sources, I cannot find any justifiable distinction between philosophical and methodological naturalism. Both Forrest and Scott claim that there is a distinction, but by their admission that science cannot consider the ‘supernatural,’ they ‘categorically’(to use Forrest’s own term) define science to a particular area, whose limits are artificially etched by them. The latter (phil nat) stems from the former (meth nat). Eugenie Scott denies it, but she can’t really put her finger on the distinction. True, one is used to make bald statements such as: “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.” (George Gaylord Simpson – ‘The Meaning of Evolution’ – 1967), but the fact remains – and is obvious, that Darwinists do not distinguish between the two, except in reflections such as the above quotes from Forrest and Scott.

    It remains quite clear that Darwinists are capable of making the distinctions when they discuss issues of philosophy and science, yet in their claims about evolution, they do not.

    Consider for example, Richard Dawkins:

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” (The Blind Watchmaker – 1986. p. 1)

    For an excellent discussion on meth nat, I refer you to Alvin Plantinga here:

    http://www.arn.org/docs/odesig.....nat181.htm

    Abstract:

    “The philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism holds that, for any study of the world to qualify as “scientific,” it cannot refer to God’s creative activity (or any sort of divine activity). The methods of science, it is claimed, “give us no purchase” on theological propositions–even if the latter are true–and theology therefore cannot influence scientific explanation or theory justification. Thus, science is said to be religiously neutral, if only because science and religion are, by their very natures, epistemically distinct. However, the actual practice and content of science challenge this claim. In many areas, science is anything but religiously neutral; moreover, the standard arguments for methodological naturalism suffer from various grave shortcomings.”

  71. 72

    “Errrrr, you’re right there! Charles Darwin drew up the theory of evolution. Modern science has built upon it, sure, but in essence it is still the same thoery. If you have a theory which disputes what you call ‘Darwinian evoltuion’, then your theory is not evolution. It is not my failing to distinguish between them, it really is that they are the same thing.”

    Darwin did not draw up ‘the’ theory of evolution. He drew up ‘a’ theory of evolution. What we call ToE is essentially Darwin’s theory; however, there were theories of evolution that preceded Darwin – Lamarckism, for example.

    Now when I say that ID supporters and theorists do not dispute evolution, I’m refering to evolution in general as change in the biological features of organisms – the sort of evolution proposed generally by Darwin and his predecessors. In fact, ID theorists in general do not dispute the overall Darwinian theory. They dispute specifically the parts of the theory, which are not observational, but speculative – based on the presumption of methodological naturalism. What would these be?

    Specifically – Random mutation and natural selection acting without purpose or goal. The evidence does not suggest that this is what occurs in nature – rather, it is a combining of evidence with a commitment to meth nat.

    If Darwinists were truly interested in going wherever the evidence may lead, they would not be dogmatically committed to a philosophical assertion – blind forces of nature accounting for the complexity in biological organisms.

    You state: “If you have a theory which disputes what you call ‘Darwinian evoltuion’, then your theory is not evolution.”

    That’s news to me. There are several theories of evolution that are not Darwinian. Furthermore the distinction of ‘Darwinian evolution’ is used by Darwinists themselves. It is a valid distinction from say Lamarckian evolution or theistic evolution, or the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution and others.

    In fact, Darwin’s notion of natural selection was not widely accepted among scientists until the 1930s, while general evolution was accepted long before Darwin. Theories of evolution can be traced as far back as the Ancient Greeks.

    So Darwin is not the father of evolution (which is NOT the same thing as Darwinian evolution as you assert), he is the father of a specific mechanism for evolution – random mutation and natural selection.

  72. 73

    Ritchie,

    “At every step along the way, we see only seperate cells obeying local rules. Like termites building a colony, they simply do what they are ‘programmed’ to do in their little part of the body/nest. But there is no overall cohesion, no grand plan, no blueprint for the end product. What would you call this if not blind forces without goal or purpose? It’s not as though individual cells can ‘want’ anything, or any foresight…”

    Your response curiously demonstrates purpose; termites doing what they are ‘programmed’ to do, cells obeying rules, etc. “Then you state: But there is no overall cohesion, no grand plan, no blueprint for the end product.” How can you know this? By what scientific measure can you assert that there is no overall cohesion, plan or blueprint for the way organisms act in nature? Does the human eye have a purpose? Does it have cohesion? Does it provide a goal of sight for the individual? Again – by what scientific measure can you assert that there is no recognizable purpose in nature? I think the opposite is true. We see purpose all around – it’s only that Darwinists choose to ignore it in favor of a philosophical counterpunctal neglect of the obvious.

  73. CannuckianYankee [from 70]

    “ – There is no evidence for anything ORGANIC being designed in nature.

    – And that’s the whole point of contention between ID theorists and Darwinists.”

    Let me recap, if I may. You think the origin of life is more likely to be a result of design than a result of natural processes because, you claim, there is observable evidence for design. Yet when asked to present some, you only point to the origin of life, (which is not observable) and SUPPOSE it is an example of design?

    And you think ToE is circular?

    “Does it not spark your curiosity that animals and humans purposefully design things that are very complex?”

    I’m not sure if ‘curiosity’ is quite the right word. I appreciate feats on engineering and manufacture in the natural world. But that is not how organisms are made. They are not ‘put together’ or ‘constructed’ like a car, and house or a dam. They grow and form themselves via a process which involves no ‘design’.

    “Are you satisfied that Darwinian ToE has sufficiently accounted for this apart from the question-begging and proverbial just-so stories, which permeate the Darwinian intellectual landscape?”

    Well I accept that maybe there are things which evolution has not accounted for – not that I could cite any off-hand. But even if that is the case, I see no reason to believe there is any design in the development or organisms. For me to do that I would first have to be shown some.

  74. CannuckianYankee [from 72]

    “Darwin did not draw up ‘the’ theory of evolution. He drew up ‘a’ theory of evolution. What we call ToE is essentially Darwin’s theory; however, there were theories of evolution that preceded Darwin – Lamarckism, for example.”

    Alright, I’ll concede the point. After a brief look around on the net, it seems Darwin drew up the theory of natural selection.

    “Random mutation and natural selection acting without purpose or goal. The evidence does not suggest that this is what occurs in nature – rather, it is a combining of evidence with a commitment to meth nat.”

    I’d like to discuss the following case study:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEtnyx0Yo9I

    What do you think is going on here if not random mutation and natural selection acting without purpose or goal?

    “If Darwinists were truly interested in going wherever the evidence may lead, they would not be dogmatically committed to a philosophical assertion – blind forces of nature accounting for the complexity in biological organisms.”

    Why, what evidence would challenge this view? Could you provide links to studies and scientific journal reports of evidence which contradicts it please?

    “You state: “If you have a theory which disputes what you call ‘Darwinian evoltuion’, then your theory is not evolution.”

    That’s news to me.”

    Alright, I’ll give you that one. Suffice to say that for many, ‘evolution’ is synonymous with ‘Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection’ (though not for you, apparently).

  75. CannuckianYankee [from 73]

    “Your response curiously demonstrates purpose; termites doing what they are ‘programmed’ to do, cells obeying rules, etc.”

    I put ‘programmed’ in inverted commas because it is quite a misleading term. Obviously ‘programmed’ implies a programmer but this is not the case. Cells simply act as chemicals must.

    “By what scientific measure can you assert that there is no overall cohesion, plan or blueprint for the way organisms act in nature?”

    What I am saying is that this is not how genes work. They contain only instructions for how cells are to behave in the presence of other chemicals. That is all. A cell does not ‘know’ it is part of a much greater whole. It does not ‘working towards’ an ulimate goal. It simply cannot help doing anything other than what it has to – in much the same way as chemicals cannot help but react in certain ways to the presense of other chemicals.

    “Does the human eye have a purpose? Does it have cohesion? Does it provide a goal of sight for the individual?”

    To be technical, no (well, cohesion yes, but not the other two). It has a function – to see. But to have a purpose it would have to have been purposefully designed, which it does not appear to have been. ‘Providing sight’ is not a goal an eye aspires towards. An eye does not aspire to anything, and nor do the cells which make it up. There is simply no ‘want’ there. No eye, or any part of any eye has ever wanted anything or tried to achieve anything. It simply cannot help doing anything other than what it does – and Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection provides a sufficient explaination of how it came about – an explaination which is rationally to be preferred over ID because it invokes no superatural designer and can be supported by observable evidence.

    “We see purpose all around”

    Do we? What would you say the purpose is of the appendix – an organ which serves no function and might kill us if we get appendacitis? What would you say is the purpose of goosebumps? Most mammals have small muscles on their skin which make their fur stand up when they contract them – when they are cold or frightened. Humans have largely lost their body hair, but retain goosebumps. What is the purpose there?

    I could give many examples of apparent ‘bad design’. We have too many teeth for our mouths. We eat and breathe through the same pipe, leading to many deaths by choking. We have blind spots – totally avoidable if our eyes had been installed the other way around. Our spines are lousy solutions to the problem of upright posture (any engineer will tell you to support an upright structure with four cross-braced columns, not a single column) leading to many back problems.

    Then there are mental problems. What purpose is there in depression, schizophrenia, insomnia, delusions, paranoia, OCD, phobias, mania, autism, and the many other disorders I could name. 1 in 3 suffer from some kind of mental issue at some point in their lives.

    The conclusion seems to be that if we were indeed designed, we were designed rather poorly.

  76. CannuckianYankee [71]

    Thanks for your good efforts to answer my question, which was:

    As a flourish, StephenB helpfully added that methodological naturalism was “designed specifically to forbid design inferences…” Who was the designer of that specific aim? I’d like to see some evidence for that claim.

    In reply, you quoted Barbara Forrest and Eugenie Scott, who discussed the irrelevance of supernatural agencies to scientific investigations. Since neither Forrest nor Scott specifically designed methodological naturalism, I don’t find your reply responsive to my question.

    With regard to your quote of Dawkins, he is entitiled to his hobbies, but he is in the same boat as Forrest and Scott. Not responsible for designing methodological naturalism.

    I think one needs to go back at least as far as Galileo to put one’s finger on the explicit design of methodological naturalism. Of course, the seeds of that methodology go back further in history, through William Ockham and Aristotle to the origins of Greek science

  77. LH,

    ——”The court didn’t find that ID accepts only supernatural causes. The problem is that ID “invokes and permits supernatural causes.”

    For the fifth time, what does supernatural mean? The philosophy of Judge Jones assumes it to mean religious, but his philosophy, and what supernatural/natural paradigm he conceives of, is the real crux, so, again, what is your definition of natural and supernatural that you will posit to defend his philosophy? And don’t say, well, the IDists said supernatural, for what that means to the philosophical presuppositions of those who hear it is what is important and the only point worth debating, becasue Nick Smyth’s defeat of Judge Jones’s second two points of what constitutes as science is obvious.

  78. LH,

    “The judge’s point is that ID is still based on a false argument. It is actively promoting the discredited and logically unsound dualism that doomed creation science.”

    That is, of course, begging the question, for the question of life’s origin is still an open question, isn’t it? And to claim that the question answered that ID is logically unsound is itself logically unsound, for it begs the question, it assumes as it’s conclusion what is in question. ID is not logically unsound. Logically unsound means that within a deductive argument the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises, because the premise is wrong. For ID to be logically unsound, it would have to be a deductive argument, but it is an abductive argument, and so is the position that evolution occurred over deep time without the aid of observation. The argument from Judge Jones as to what constitutes science is so logically unsound I can attack it from multiple angles.

  79. 80

    Adel DiBagno

    “I think one needs to go back at least as far as Galileo to put one’s finger on the explicit design of methodological naturalism. Of course, the seeds of that methodology go back further in history, through William Ockham and Aristotle to the origins of Greek science.”

    The term ‘Methodological Naturalism’ – meaning that science excludes supernatural causes was first used for that purpose around 1983 by Wheaton College Professior of Philosophy, Paul de Vries.

    http://www.asa3.org/archive/asa/200308/0439.html

    http://www.idthefuture.com/200.....dolog.html

    http://psychology.wikia.com/wi.....naturalism

    The specific use of this term, with this particular meaning does not go back to Galileo, or anyone else, but came about very recently, and has been used to keep all discussion or interest in ‘supernatural’ causes out of science – without defining exactly what is meant by ‘supernatural.’

  80. 81

    Ritchie,

    “What I am saying is that this is not how genes work. They contain only instructions for how cells are to behave in the presence of other chemicals. That is all. A cell does not ‘know’ it is part of a much greater whole. It does not ‘working towards’ an ulimate goal. It simply cannot help doing anything other than what it has to – in much the same way as chemicals cannot help but react in certain ways to the presense of other chemicals.”

    Are you saying that because a cell does not ‘know’ its purpose, that it can’t be a part of a purposeful designed system? A circuit inside a computer does not know that it is a part of a greater whole either, but it is part of a system that was designed for a purpose. The circuit too cannot act in any way other than what it does by its nature. This does not prove that a cell is necessarily a part of a designed system, but it destroys the analogy you made.

    I asked: “Does the human eye have a purpose? Does it have cohesion? Does it provide a goal of sight for the individual?”

    You replied: “To be technical, no (well, cohesion yes, but not the other two). It has a function – to see. But to have a purpose it would have to have been purposefully designed, which it does not appear to have been.”

    Well a lot of scientists, including atheists like Richard Dawkins would disagree with you here. In fact, this is the premise of Dawkins’ book ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ – how evolution through cumulative natural selection can account for the ‘apparent design’ in biological systems.

    Furthermore, your statement: “to have a purpose it would have to have been purposefully designed, which it does not appear to have been” only begs the question. You don’t think the purpose for eyes is so that we can see? What other purpose would there be – so we can predict the future? Is there no purpose for the eye? Now I’m confused, because most Darwinists I have talked to would argue that the purpose of the eye is to give us a survival advantage, which I wouldn’t argue against. It clearly does that. So apparently even Darwinism confirms ID.

    Yes, I would agree with you that in order for the eye to have purpose it would have to have been designed, and this is a main point of ID. What we see in nature that has the appearance of design for a purpose, actually was designed for that purpose. This realization is a natural human intuition that is further confirmed by the evidence. The evidences are present in cells, DNA within the cell, and in other biological systems, and ID predicts that more evidences are forthcoming as we discover the immense complexity and internal interactions within biological systems. Question-begging is not going to make that problem go away.

  81. For the fifth time, what does supernatural mean? The philosophy of Judge Jones assumes it to mean religious, but his philosophy, and what supernatural/natural paradigm he conceives of, is the real crux, so, again, what is your definition of natural and supernatural that you will posit to defend his philosophy?

    What is my definition to defend his philosophy? Apples and oranges. My definition only applies to my philosophy, and his to his. I still don’t know what answer to give you for myself; I’m still inclined to say that “supernatural” causes are those that are not reliably predictable or repeatable given identical circumstances. There are holes in that definition, though.

    The court’s definition is probably cognizable along similar lines. If you want to look at it in detail, I think you’d have to go to the testimony. I think the court is using the concepts of natural and supernatural as testified to by the expert witnesses.

    And don’t say, well, the IDists said supernatural, for what that means to the philosophical presuppositions of those who hear it is what is important and the only point worth debating, becasue Nick Smyth’s defeat of Judge Jones’s second two points of what constitutes as science is obvious.

    I don’t understand the first two clauses of this sentence. The third clause makes it a moot point; your assertion that Mr. Smyth’s “defeat” of the opinion “is obvious” is, frankly, silly. Mr. Smyth is simply lying when he extends the court’s reasoning to “everyone who has either (2) seriously employed a false argument, or (3) has had some position refuted.” I note that you’ve failed to show us any language in the opinion that supports this clumsy rewrite. “It’s obvious” is an easy rhetorical trick, but it’s no refutation of my argument that Mr. Smyth’s words are fundamentally different from the court’s.

    That is, of course, begging the question, for the question of life’s origin is still an open question, isn’t it?

    Once again, you’ve confused me, although it may just be that I’m coming back to this thread after some time away. The language of mine that you quoted refers to the court’s point that ID is crippled by the same dualism that doomed creation science; is your argument that creation science isn’t doomed? You’re wrong. From a legal perspective, creation science was doomed by the Supreme Court, and only the Supreme Court can undo that judgment. The Kitzmiller court was bound by that ruling.

    And to claim that the question answered that ID is logically unsound is itself logically unsound, for it begs the question, it assumes as it’s its conclusion what is in question.

    Another baffling sentence; what does “that the question answered that ID is logically unsound” mean? I think that you don’t understanding the point at issue here; you may need to review the cases Kitzmiller cites. The specific argument here is not that ID is inherently logically unsound, but that it relies on an unsound dualism. The courts realized when creation science was in vogue that merely criticizing science is not the same thing as presenting a positive case for creationism; it’s not a binary choice. ID makes the same dualist assumptions—that criticizing science is the same as building a case for ID. It’s not. The dualism that equates “it’s too complicated to have evolved” with “it must have been designed” is logically unsound, because there’s no logical connection between the two.

    I know I say this all the time, but I mean it – read the opinion. The excerpted language re: dualism is even right up there in the post: it’s point two of three.

  82. The term ‘Methodological Naturalism’ – meaning that science excludes supernatural causes was first used for that purpose around 1983 by Wheaton College Professior of Philosophy, Paul de Vries. . . . The specific use of this term, with this particular meaning does not go back to Galileo, or anyone else, but came about very recently, and has been used to keep all discussion or interest in ’supernatural’ causes out of science – without defining exactly what is meant by ’supernatural.’

    Is it your contention that the principal was first applied in 1983, or only that the words were coined then?

  83. 84

    Ritchie,

    me: “We see purpose all around”

    you: “Do we? What would you say the purpose is of the appendix”

    http://www.webmd.com/digestive.....ve-purpose

    I don’t know, but just because we haven’t yet found a purpose for the appendix in no way implies that there is none. There are many organs in human anatomy for which a purpose was not known at one time or another.

    you: “I could give many examples of apparent ‘bad design’. We have too many teeth for our mouths. We eat and breathe through the same pipe, leading to many deaths by choking. We have blind spots – totally avoidable if our eyes had been installed the other way around. Our spines are lousy solutions to the problem of upright posture (any engineer will tell you to support an upright structure with four cross-braced columns, not a single column) leading to many back problems.”

    Such objections have been answered here a kazillion times. In order to have optimal design, you have to eliminate certain other areas of optimal function. What we have in humnans is the best possible design without forfeiting optimal function.

    You state that we have too many teath. By who’s criteria. Is there a tooth Tzar somewhere?

    Deaths by choking because we breathe and eat through the same pipe? Are you kidding? Most deaths by choking can be prevented through propper healthcare and propper eating habits. Avoiding acidic foods, which are known to cause strictures in the esophagus, and other problems with the gastro-esophageal system, can lead to better health, and less danger from choking on food. In nursing homes, patients who have a propensity to choking have their food chopped or puried.

    Perhaps some of our more medically able posters can tell us why having a breathing apparatus through which we also breathe gives us an optimal advantage as opposed to two separate pipes. What do we lose with a ‘two-pipe’ system?

    Blind spots? you know if you remove the roof, front hood, back hood, floor and all doors from your car you also remove most blind spots? Would you want a car like that?

    So because we have back problems we are poorly designed? Back problems can also be avoided. I know for example my own mother had terrible back problems when she was in her 40s, but that was because she was overweight. When she lost the weight, she no longer has the problems. I understand that there are people who have back problems that are not due to weight issues, but there are situations, which contribute to back problems, it’s not simply a matter of a poorly designed system. If that were the real issue, we’d all have back problems – sounds to reason.

  84. 85

    Correction to #84: where it says “….can tell us why having a breathing apparatus through which we also breathe gives…” should be “through which we also eat.”

  85. 86

    Learned Hand,

    “Is it your contention that the principal was first applied in 1983, or only that the words were coined then?”

    Oh I have no doubt that the principle was applied long before it was coined. The principle was applied by Darwin and others. I think the point is that the principle is not applied by all scientists. I.e., you do not have to leave out the possibility of the supernatural – particularly if you don’t define what ‘supernatural’ means. For many scientists the question never enters their minds, simply because they know you really can’t make the distinction.

    No, the term methodolocial naturalim for a Darwinist, means much more than it would mean to a physicist or a chemist, who don’t have to deal with origin of life issues, or apparent design issues.

    And besides that, Darwinists don’t use methodological naturalism in the clear meaning of the term. The term means that you look for natural causes – not merely speculate on them.

    Now let me ask you this. If there is evidence for design from a ‘supernatural’ entity, do you believe that meth nat excludes such evidence or not?

  86. Now let me ask you this. If there is evidence for design from a ’supernatural’ entity, do you believe that meth nat excludes such evidence or not?

    Well, I’m no philosopher of science, but off the top of my head, I’d say methodological naturalism applies to methods, not conclusions. So if the evidence is garnered using scientific observations, then sure. I’ve never seen any such evidence on the part of ID or traditional creationism, though.

  87. CannuckianYankee [from 81]

    “A circuit inside a computer does not know that it is a part of a greater whole either, but it is part of a system that was designed for a purpose. The circuit too cannot act in any way other than what it does by its nature. This does not prove that a cell is necessarily a part of a designed system, but it destroys the analogy you made.”

    It might do if I was saying that this is positive evidence that cells were NOT designed. I wasn’t. I was saying it gives us no reason to suppose cells WERE designed. They behave like chemicals – their behaviour gives us no evidence of design.

    “I said: the eye has no purpose.

    You: Well a lot of scientists, including atheists like Richard Dawkins would disagree with you here. In fact, this is the premise of Dawkins’ book ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ – how evolution through cumulative natural selection can account for the ‘apparent design’ in biological systems.”

    The key word here is ‘apparent’. He is not saying there IS any real design.

    “You don’t think the purpose for eyes is so that we can see? What other purpose would there be – so we can predict the future? Is there no purpose for the eye? Now I’m confused, because most Darwinists I have talked to would argue that the purpose of the eye is to give us a survival advantage, which I wouldn’t argue against. It clearly does that. So apparently even Darwinism confirms ID.”

    I would indeed say the eye has no purpose. It has a FUNCTION – a use, but that is different. It does indeed confer on it’s hosts a survival advantage (and perhaps that is what you mean by the term), but to say it has a purpose actively supposes someone designing and creating an eye with a specific purpose in mind.

    Perhaps an example will help – some otters swim on their backs with a stone balanced on their bellies which they hit nuts against to crack them. All very sweet to watch. But would you say the PURPOSE of the rock was to have rocks smashed against it? It that the defining act of it’s creation? Surely not. It is a function it can and does serve, and does so well, but no-one made those rocks just so otters could use them as anvils.

    “What we see in nature that has the appearance of design for a purpose, actually was designed for that purpose. This realization is a natural human intuition that is further confirmed by the evidence.”

    Confirmed by what evidence, exactly? Could you please provide active evidence which points to design? I would be very interested to read it.

    “The evidences are present in cells, DNA within the cell, and in other biological systems, and ID predicts that more evidences are forthcoming as we discover the immense complexity and internal interactions within biological systems.”

    But what does ID predict this evidence will be? What does ID expect to find? If ID is a legitimate scientific theory, it must made testable predictions and be falsifiable. What specific predictions does it made, and what evidence would falsify it?

  88. Ritchie,

    If you need to compare an eye to a rock to make your point, the cause is lost.
    You clearly believe that random chance is a perfect explanation for anything that exists unless you see it manufactured with your own two functional and yet purposeless eyes.
    This is your default position. Understood.

    The problem is that it is at odds with the entirety of accumulated human knowledge, scientific or otherwise, from A to Z.

    The notion that undirected natural forces design thinks like eyes is so preposterous, so contrary to all we know, that nothing short of observing such unintentional design in action would persuade any who aren’t already ideologically hardwired to accept it without evidence. And you don’t need to convince them.

    There isn’t a reason, not one, to take the premise of undirected evolution seriously. If ID isn’t any better, then we should admit that we just don’t know. Nonsense is nonsense whether you have an alternative or not.

  89. CannuckianYankee [from 84]

    (Interesting link, btw…)

    “I don’t know, but just because we haven’t yet found a purpose for the appendix in no way implies that there is none. There are many organs in human anatomy for which a purpose was not known at one time or another.”

    The fact that many people have their appendix removed every day and go on to lead optimally healthy lives rather implies that the appendix is not necessary for the body to function perfectly well.

    “In order to have optimal design, you have to eliminate certain other areas of optimal function. What we have in humnans is the best possible design without forfeiting optimal function.”

    So whatever this ‘intelligent designer’ was, it was not all powerful then? Or all-knowing? An ‘intelligent Designer’ that was all-knowing and all-powerful would have been able to do heaps better, and it’s not hard to see how.

    “You state that we have too many teath. By who’s criteria. Is there a tooth Tzar somewhere?”

    Not as far as I know. But our teeth are crammed up, people wear braces to straighten them, and many people have their wisdom teeth removed because they hurt so much coming through. Almost as though human beings once had a slightly larger muzzle that that of… I dunno, an ape, say, which has shrunk… funny that.

    “Deaths by choking because we breathe and eat through the same pipe? Are you kidding?”

    Nope.

    “Most deaths by choking can be prevented through propper healthcare and propper eating habits. Avoiding acidic foods, which are known to cause strictures in the esophagus, and other problems with the gastro-esophageal system, can lead to better health, and less danger from choking on food. In nursing homes, patients who have a propensity to choking have their food chopped or puried.”

    These are preventative measures you can take to minimize the danger – a danger which would not be there if we didn’t have to breathe and eat through the same pipe in the first place! Saying ‘we have learned to cope with a problem’ does not mean that it is not a problem in the first place.

    “Blind spots? you know if you remove the roof, front hood, back hood, floor and all doors from your car you also remove most blind spots? Would you want a car like that?”

    A poor reply. The optic nerve, the bundle of nerve fibres that transit electrical signals to the brain, is attached to the eye via the retina. This creates a blind spot. If it had been installed the other way around, we would not have a blind spot. What kind of Intelligent Designer would install it the wrong way round? It is like a decorator who hangs a painting to face the wall.

    “So because we have back problems we are poorly designed?”

    Yes. Our spines are fragile and prone to go wrong specifially because of its shape (‘design’ if you prefer).

    “Back problems can also be avoided.”

    Again, you are telling me how to minimize the effects of a problem. But a problem it still is.

    “…it’s not simply a matter of a poorly designed system. If that were the real issue, we’d all have back problems – sounds to reason.”

    The vast majority of us will in old age (if we are lucky enough to reach it). Visit an old folks home and see how many people DON’T have back problems.

    One final example I couldn’t help throwing in for fun – the giraffe’s neck. The vagus nerve runs from the brain, right down the length of the neck, loops over the aorta, and runs right the way back up to the larynx, making it 15 feet long, when the brain and larynx are only inches apart. It makes sense for the vagus nerve to loop around the arota in neckless fish, but as they gave rise to amphibians and mammals with necks, the detour became bigger and more ridiculous. In the giraffe, you cannot POSSIBLY claim it is ‘necessary’ for this nerve to run the whole 15 feet for no good reason, can you?

  90. ScottAndrews [from 89]

    “If you need to compare an eye to a rock to make your point, the cause is lost.”

    Cheap shot.

    “You clearly believe that random chance is a perfect explanation for anything that exists unless you see it manufactured with your own two functional and yet purposeless eyes.
    This is your default position. Understood.”

    Pretty much. Since we have a theory which explains the presense of organisms and their features such as eyes (‘Darwinian evolution’), I see no reason not to have this as our default answer when faced with a natural mystery.

    “The problem is that it is at odds with the entirety of accumulated human knowledge, scientific or otherwise, from A to Z.”

    So many people have said that to me, and so very very few can point to ANYTHING which backs up a statement like that. How is it at odds with anything we know for a fact to be true?

    “The notion that undirected natural forces design thinks like eyes is so preposterous, so contrary to all we know, that nothing short of observing such unintentional design in action would persuade any who aren’t already ideologically hardwired to accept it without evidence.”

    A ridiculous assertion. See this link, or just google ‘evolution of the eye’ for hundreds of accounts telling you exactly how the eye evolved:

    http://www.scienceagogo.com/ne....._sys.shtml

    “There isn’t a reason, not one, to take the premise of undirected evolution seriously.”

    Apart from the fact that it invokes a supernatural being? A being whose existence is untirely suppositioinal, and phenominally unlikely? A being whose existence is untestable and therefore, any hypothesis proposing it is thoroughly unscientific?

    “Nonsense is nonsense whether you have an alternative or not.”

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  91. 92

    Ritchie,

    So many people have said that to me, and so very very few can point to ANYTHING which backs up a statement like that. How is it at odds with anything we know for a fact to be true?

    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

    This is a part of what we know to be true.

    Read it.

  92. Ritchie,

    So many people have said that to me, and so very very few can point to ANYTHING which backs up a statement like that. How is it at odds with anything we know for a fact to be true?

    No, no, no. It’s up to you to demonstrate that undirected natural forces can produce complexity, biological or otherwise. And you will be the first person ever to do so. Until you do, it’s nonsense.

    Like if I said I could fly to Cleveland by flapping my arms. It’s so absurd that anyone would reject it. No amount of calculations or hypotheses would make a difference. You would have to see it, and even then you’d swear David Copperfield was in on it.
    What you’re proposing is just as absurd, with nothing to back it up. The burden is upon you to show that it isn’t nonsense.

    A ridiculous assertion. See this link, or just google ‘evolution of the eye’ for hundreds of accounts telling you exactly how the eye evolved:

    Do you not even realize that you are citing hypotheses as evidence? Someone imagines what might have happened, you swallow it whole as fact because it pleases you to, and then turn around and criticize someone else’s religion?

  93. One more note: As for my religious beliefs, I stand behind them 100%. They mean incalculably more to me than ID. But I still don’t try to pass them off as science. So it’s one thing if you want to believe whatever you do. But when you try to pass off your faith as science, expect to be called on it every time.

  94. Upright biped [from 92]

    I read the abstract. IS there a particular part you’d like to draw my attention to?

  95. 96

    Richie,

    Yes, the body of the text, followed by the conclusions.

  96. ScottAndrews [from 93]

    “No, no, no. It’s up to you to demonstrate that undirected natural forces can produce complexity, biological or otherwise.”

    I still argue that the onus on you, but as you wish I will do as you ask. Watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEtnyx0Yo9I

    ” And you will be the first person ever to do so.”

    Clearly not.

    “You would have to see it, and even then you’d swear David Copperfield was in on it.
    What you’re proposing is just as absurd, with nothing to back it up. The burden is upon you to show that it isn’t nonsense.”

    There is abundant evidence for Darwin’s theory of evolution! Dawkins has just written a book devoted to just that subject. It is not absurd in the slightest.

    “Do you not even realize that you are citing hypotheses as evidence? Someone imagines what might have happened, you swallow it whole as fact because it pleases you to, and then turn around and criticize someone else’s religion?”

    These are not just hypotheses. At every stage on eye development, we have creatures who possess these ‘proto-eyes’. They exist. This is fact, not hypothesis.

    [from 94]

    “One more note: As for my religious beliefs, I stand behind them 100%. They mean incalculably more to me than ID.”

    Then I charge you that you are letting your religious ideology sway your objectivity on this issue.

    “It’s one thing if you want to believe whatever you do. But when you try to pass off your faith as science, expect to be called on it every time.”

    It is not faith. It really IS science. Darwinian ToE is highly falsifiable, but has not been falsified, and makes accurate predictions which keep turning out to be correct, and it does not involve the existence of any kind of force we do not know for a fact to exist. It is absolutely science.

  97. Upright biped

    Touche.

    Not got time right now, but I will do so, and will also point out that Tbiomed is a journal for ‘innovative’ scientific research. It describes itself as an “…online journal adopting a broad definition of “biology” and focusing on the theoretical ideas and models to which advances in biology and medicine are giving rise. Mathematicians, biologists and clinicians of various specialisms, philosophers and historians of science are all contributing to the emergence of novel concepts in an age of systems biology and bioinformatics. This is the field in which TBioMed operates.”

    I’d be cautious about using its articles as established biological fact.

  98. CannuckianYankee @80:

    The term ‘Methodological Naturalism’ – meaning that science excludes supernatural causes was first used for that purpose around 1983 by Wheaton College Professior of Philosophy, Paul de Vries.

    ——

    The specific use of this term, with this particular meaning does not go back to Galileo, or anyone else, but came about very recently, and has been used to keep all discussion or interest in ’supernatural’ causes out of science – without defining exactly what is meant by ’supernatural.’

    On the contrary, the practice of methodological naturalism goes back at least as far as Galileo, who specifically excluded supernatural “explanations” from science. (You might check with Newton, also.) And that’s been the breakthrough in understanding that has motivated science ever since. Arguments about the coining of the term “methodological naturalism” are a distraction from that incontrovertible historical fact.

  99. 100

    Ritchie,

    The Abel and Trevors paper that Upright BiPed referenced is pure (and mere) speculation. Whether a decent journal would touch its publication is questionable. It keeps getting mentioned in these parts because it argues an ID line.

    Best regards,

    Adel

  100. Thanks Adel. I’ll bear that warning in mind. :)

  101. 102

    Ritchie,

    You show your backside by intimating that there is something “to be cautious about” regarding the publishing journal. You apparently havent a clue what you are talking about. You are well on your way to deriding the scientists themselves, and you haven’t even read the research.

    Why do you suppose this is a clearly demonstrable fact observed in your first response? Actually, you are the third materialist ideologue on this forum in as many days who 1) ignored the research 2) hasn’t the time to read it.

    I thought an adversion to evidence was something materialist liked to accuse others of. Did I get that wrong?

    In any case, if it bothers you so much, try this one instead:

    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf

    It was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Perhaps their journal, its editors, and review process are less likely to draw your concerns. However, you’ll miss the well-written data available by reading the original analysis.

  102. 103

    Adel,

    Which part of ther paper does Abel have wrong. Be specific.

  103. 104

    Ritchie,

    “Pretty much. Since we have a theory which explains the presense of organisms and their features such as eyes (’Darwinian evolution’), I see no reason not to have this as our default answer when faced with a natural mystery.”

    I was going to respond to your posts directed at me, but I thought the above paragraph addressed to scott Andrews sums up your position as I understand it quite well.

    This is exactly the sort of answer Darwinists often accuse ID supporters of positing – this is what I would call ‘Darwin-of-the-gaps’ theology. So for you, Darwinism is provisional because it is a mystery, but you will hold to it anyway despite its provisional nature. That’s fine, however, you must understand that by doing so, you are not thinking scientifically. Your position is more theology than science. In science we don’t have default answers simply because something is a mystery. In science, we allow the mystery to remain such until we have evidence to the contrary. Darwin’s theory is not evidence, it is conjecture.

    It’s fine to accept it on that basis. I accept Christianity on a similar basis. However, I realize that my faith is not science, and I would never try to pass it off as such.

    Another issue that makes your position theology and not science is your assertion that ‘bad design’ implies no design. You don’t know what constitutes ‘bad design,’ and neither does anyone else. You named several issues as examples, but your examples are really not convincing, and are obviously intended to deny a designer, which is precisely theology, not science.

  104. 105

    Adel,

    Well…? No follow up with details?

    Have we actually reached the point in the materialist’s camp that simply making meaningless remarks is all that is necessary to address your opponents? Oh wait…nevermind.

    But wait Adel, think of Ritchie here. What kind of role model are you playing, what kind of friend would you be if you didn’t go ahead and address the actual contents of the analysis on their merits so that he too might know where the flaws are?

    Do it for Ritchie.

  105. 106

    “On the contrary, the practice of methodological naturalism goes back at least as far as Galileo, who specifically excluded supernatural “explanations” from science. (You might check with Newton, also.) And that’s been the breakthrough in understanding that has motivated science ever since. Arguments about the coining of the term “methodological naturalism” are a distraction from that incontrovertible historical fact.”

    You are making assumptions all over the place without understanding the issue. The issue is not whether excluding supernatural causes was done prior to the term. That is irrelelvant. The real issue is in excluding any possible evidence for what people currently call ‘supernatural,’ without actually having a definition that distinguishes supernatural from natural. That’s the real issue. When I quoted Forrest and Scott several posts above, I pointed out that there really is no distinction between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism. In fact, an alternative term for meth nat that has been used recently is ‘provisional atheism.’ As I pointed out, meth nat cannot escape an ideological presupposition of atheism. I believe I have made that case quite well as far as meth nat is applied concerning Darwinian evolution in particular. Certainly meth nat works well for empirically based sciences, such as physics and chemistry. However, Darwinian ToE must deal with issues of origin of life, and historical interpretations of natural evidences. As such, it is problematic to insist on a naturalistic interpretation of such evidences without considering other possibilities. Darwinism in fact fails to explain apparent design. As much as Darwinists have attempted to explain it, they continue to build up a theory towards a lack of parsimony, in order to deal with the apparent inconsistencies of the theory. In other words, Darwinism needs to violate other scientific principles in order to stand firm on methodological naturalism. Physics and chmestistry don’t have this problem.

  106. 107

    UprightBiped,

    It appears we have another example of a Darwinist tactic I call ‘source deflecting,’ where the Darwinists can’t answer a question, and when we present evidence, they attack the source of such evidence. Mr. PaulBurnett is a master of source deflecting, but apparently we have some others here who are attempting the same tactic. Another aspect of source deflecting is when Darwinists insist that any evidence for ID be presented in journals that are controlled by Darwinists themselves.

    Darwinists,

    You control your own journals. So when you insist that ID must be supported by your journals, you are deflecting. Of course your journals are not going to support ID. Does this mean that ID has no validity? Absolutely not. How could it? Meth nat and source deflecting do not allow ID on principle – it doesn’t matter about the little thing called evidence.

  107. —Adel: “On the contrary, the practice of methodological naturalism goes back at least as far as Galileo, who specifically excluded supernatural “explanations” from science. (You might check with Newton, also.) And that’s been the breakthrough in understanding that has motivated science ever since. Arguments about the coining of the term “methodological naturalism” are a distraction from that incontrovertible historical fact.”

    Methodological naturalism is a recently established “rule” that the scientist must study nature as if nature is all there is. It was establish for one purpose and one purpose only–to discredit ID and reduce the design inference to a non-scientific status. The term and the rule that it stands for have the same history. At most, it may have an oral tradition that goes back a few years prior to 1980. Before that, there was no such rule nor did any of the scientists that you mentioned approach science that way.

  108. Upright BiPed [from 102]

    “You show your backside by intimating that there is something “to be cautious about” regarding the publishing journal. You apparently havent a clue what you are talking about. You are well on your way to deriding the scientists themselves, and you haven’t even read the research.”

    Well thanks for that unfounded and unflattering tirade. It seems perfactly rational to me to be cautious about accepting reviews reviews from a journal which apparently prides itself on ‘pushing the poundaries of biology’ as accepted biological fact. You obviously don’t think so. I wonder why.

    “Why do you suppose this is a clearly demonstrable fact observed in your first response? Actually, you are the third materialist ideologue on this forum in as many days who 1) ignored the research 2) hasn’t the time to read it.”

    Well it is long and the language is very dense. Hardly light bedtime reading, is it? And when I asked you if you could point me to any relevant parts you just said ‘all of it’. Nice and helpful.

    “In any case, if it bothers you so much, try this one instead:

    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf

    This one seems easier to skim through.
    And the crux of it for me rests here:

    “’Self-organization’ is logically a nonsense term. Inanimate objects cannot organize themselves into integrated, cooperative, holistic schemes.”

    So they are demanding supporting evidence for a term which they themselves have defined as nonsensical? And they wonder why they don’t get a response?

    Also, I would like very much to discuss this with you. It is short, and totally acccessible:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEtnyx0Yo9I

    Your thoughts, please!

  109. 110

    Ritchie,

    Ten minutes after you pointlessly insinuated that one should use caution regarding peer-reviewed articles from TheoBioMed (yet I can imagine you have no concerns with their articles that support your metaphysics) you then went to another thread and posted a freakin’ Wiki article in support of the rise of complexity. You also posted another article that, by all observation, wasn’t peer-reviewed nor published in a journal of any kind. You then come back to this thread to deride TheoBioMed a little more.

    Give me a break.

  110. 111

    Ritchie,

    What are my thoughts on salamanders?

    It’s beside the point. All organisms on this planet have commonalities. Those could be evidence of common descent or they could be evidence of common design.

    Neither is the point. Surely you can understand this.

    You quote Abel and say:

    “’Self-organization’ is logically a nonsense term. Inanimate objects cannot organize themselves into integrated, cooperative, holistic schemes.”

    So they are demanding supporting evidence for a term which they themselves have defined as nonsensical? And they wonder why they don’t get a response?

    May I ask…you do realize, don’t you, that no person has ever produced even the slightest shred of empirical evidence for inanimate matter organizing a function by means of symbolically-encoded instructions?

    You do also realize, don’t you, that the very concept of inamimate matter coordinating such a system runs directly opposite to mankind’s uniform experience with such systems?

    Further, you must also realize that in every instance within the history of mankind in which we find inanimate matter organized into a function by means of symbolic information, we also find that an agent is the cause behind that result.

    - – - – - –

    Effect A has never been described as the result of Cause X.

    Cause X has never been described as creating Effect A.

    Cause Y has regularly been described as creating Effect A.

    Effect A has regularly been described as a result of Cause Y.

    - – - – - –

    Tell me why should we favor Cause X as being the force behind Effect A when Cause X has absolutely no empirical inferences whatsoever leading to it, while Cause Y has all empirical inferences leading to it?

    Are empirical inferences no longer important in science? I do not ask this question rhetorically. Do empirically-based inferences still serve the primary role for drawing conclusions in science, or not?

    If they do, then why would we prefer Cause X over Cause Y.

    ?

    - – - – - – -

    From the original Abel paper regarding the observable presence of choice contingency within the sequencing of nucleotides in DNA (i.e. FSC Functional Sequence Complexity).

    Testable hypotheses about FSC

    What testable empirical hypotheses can we make about FSC that might allow us to identify when FSC exists? In any of the following null hypotheses [137], demonstrating a single exception would allow falsification. We invite assistance in the falsification of any of the following null hypotheses:

    Null hypothesis #1
    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #2
    Dynamically-ordered sequences of individual physical units (physicality patterned by natural law causation) cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #3
    Statistically weighted means (e.g., increased availability of certain units in the polymerization environment) giving rise to patterned (compressible) sequences of units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #4
    Computationally successful configurable switches cannot be set by chance, necessity, or any combination of the two, even over large periods of time.

    We repeat that a single incident of nontrivial algorithmic programming success achieved without selection for fitness at the decision-node programming level would falsify any of these null hypotheses. This renders each of these hypotheses scientifically testable. We offer the prediction that none of these four hypotheses will be falsified.

    The fundamental contention inherent in our three subsets of sequence complexity proposed in this paper is this: without volitional agency assigning meaning to each configurable-switch-position symbol, algorithmic function and language will not occur. The same would be true in assigning meaning to each combinatorial syntax segment (programming module or word). Source and destination on either end of the channel must agree to these assigned meanings in a shared operational context. Chance and necessity cannot establish such a cybernetic coding/decoding scheme [71].

  111. 112

    Upright BiPed [103]

    Adel,

    Which part of ther paper does Abel have wrong. Be specific.

    They are not even wrong, what they say is irrelevant to biology. Look at the excerpt you quoted:

    The fundamental contention inherent in our three subsets of sequence complexity proposed in this paper is this: without volitional agency assigning meaning to each configurable-switch-position symbol, algorithmic function and language will not occur. The same would be true in assigning meaning to each combinatorial syntax segment (programming module or word). Source and destination on either end of the channel must agree to these assigned meanings in a shared operational context. Chance and necessity cannot establish such a cybernetic coding/decoding scheme.

    As a description of cybernetics, this is may be OK, but it contains no new insights. The problem I have with the paper is that the authors presuppose, as you do, that biological processes mirror human symbolism and language and they’re stretching that analogy at length. The relevance of human-like agency to biology is not something to be assumed: it remains to be proven. Mere repitition of that speculation brings nothing new to the table.

    I repeat:

    The Abel and Trevors paper that Upright BiPed referenced is pure (and mere) speculation.

  112. 113

    StephenB [108]:

    Methodological naturalism is a recently established “rule” that the scientist must study nature as if nature is all there is.

    On the contrary, methodological naturalism is a recently coined term that distinguishes between “philosophical naturalism,” which contends that nature is all there is, from the scientific method, which has for centuries restricted scientists to the study of nature.

    It was establish for one purpose and one purpose only–to discredit ID and reduce the design inference to a non-scientific status.

    I would appreciate seeing some evidence for that claim.

    The term and the rule that it stands for have the same history. At most, it may have an oral tradition that goes back a few years prior to 1980. Before that, there was no such rule nor did any of the scientists that you mentioned approach science that way.

    If you think Galileo or Newton invoked magic, witchcraft, or miracles in their scientific publications, please give examples.

  113. 114

    CannuckianYankee [107]:

    Another aspect of source deflecting is when Darwinists insist that any evidence for ID be presented in journals that are controlled by Darwinists themselves.

    Darwinists,

    You control your own journals. So when you insist that ID must be supported by your journals, you are deflecting. Of course your journals are not going to support ID. Does this mean that ID has no validity? Absolutely not. How could it? Meth nat and source deflecting do not allow ID on principle – it doesn’t matter about the little thing called evidence.

    Two of the most prestigious scientific journals are Science and Nature. Both publish original research and commentary on all aspects of science. The idea that biologists control their editorial policies is ludicrous.

  114. 115

    CannuckianYankee [106]:

    The real issue is in excluding any possible evidence for what people currently call ’supernatural,’ without actually having a definition that distinguishes supernatural from natural.

    My definition of supernatural: caused by magic, witchcraft, or miraculous interventions by imaginary beings, including angels, demons, or deities. (That list is subject to additions.)

    I pointed out that there really is no distinction between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism.

    You made the claim, but it is false. See my post to StephenB @113.

    Certainly meth nat works well for empirically based sciences, such as physics and chemistry.

    Scientists consider all of nature the purview of natural causes.

  115. 116

    Adel,

    Symbol systems are not a product of humanity, they are an product of agents.

    The error is yours.

  116. Upright BiPed [from 110]

    “Ten minutes after you pointlessly insinuated that one should use caution regarding peer-reviewed articles from TheoBioMed (yet I can imagine you have no concerns with their articles that support your metaphysics) you then went to another thread and posted a freakin’ Wiki article in support of the rise of complexity. You also posted another article that, by all observation, wasn’t peer-reviewed nor published in a journal of any kind. You then come back to this thread to deride TheoBioMed a little more.”

    Yup. I’m flattered at you keeping tabs on me like that, but really I did not post those links as scientific proof, I posted them as easy-to-follow explainations of a point I was trying to make. Though it seems I’m being pulled up on there too.

  117. Upright BiPed [from 111]

    “All organisms on this planet have commonalities. Those could be evidence of common descent or they could be evidence of common design.

    Neither is the point. Surely you can understand this.”

    I thought the point of the video is not just that two species of salamanders share commonalities – they actively are related to each other. Natural selection has taken a single species and made it two distinct species. Surely this counts as evidence of Darwinian evolution, and against the idea that individual features – the very defining features which separate us, are the result of design, isn’t it?

    “you do realize, don’t you, that no person has ever produced even the slightest shred of empirical evidence for inanimate matter organizing a function by means of symbolically-encoded instructions?”

    Inanimante matter? Are we talking evolution or abiogenesis here?

    “you must also realize that in every instance within the history of mankind in which we find inanimate matter organized into a function by means of symbolic information, we also find that an agent is the cause behind that result.”

    Ummm, okay. I’ll go along with that. But so what? Just because this is the case (if indeed it is so) with inanimate matter, why should it be the case with living matter?

    As for the null hypothesis, all very impressive I’m sure, but slightly over my head.

    Though, can I ask for evidence of design in nature? Please note I am not asking for criticisms of ‘Darwinian evolution’. It does not support one theory to attack an opposing one. But do you know of any studies which show an organic feature having been actively designed?

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