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So who does set the ground rules for science?

Rob Pennock, as the witness of the hour in the Dover case, is citing me shamelessly. According to the local paper (go here), the quote of the day is:

“So long as methodological naturalism sets the ground rules for how the game of science is to be played, (intelligent design) has no chance (in) Hades.” — William Dembski, senior fellow at the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute.

So who does set the ground rules for science? And why should be trust Darwinists like Pennock? Pennock lost my trust a long time ago (go here).

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14 Responses to So who does set the ground rules for science?

  1. I don’t understand the relevance of most of the testimony.

    Philip Johnson (et al) isn’t on trial. What Philip Johnson or anyone else said outside the classroom in Dover isn’t on trial. Neither would it be relevant to quote Dawkins who said “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”.

    What’s on trial is whether 3 paragraphs read to students that mentions ID and, indeed, the contents of the school library’s edition of “Of Pandas and People” constitutes a violation of the establishment clause. Nothing else is on trial in Dover. Nothing. I trust the presiding judge (a Bush appointee) will be cognizant of the relevant issues and dismiss the extraneous bullshit being introduced by plaintiff’s expert witnesses.

  2. Any port in a storm, Dave.

  3. I’m confused as to why physicists and chemists aren’t excoriated for not trying to explain the existence of computers apart from the effects of intelligent action.

  4. hehe, right on jared. Maybe because it doesn’t pose and philosophical implications that they are uncomfortable with.

  5. and = any

  6. [...] “‘So long as methodological naturalism sets the ground rules for how the game of science is to be played, (intelligent design) has no chance (in) Hades.’ — William Dembski, senior fellow at the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute.” Uncommon Descent [...]

  7. Demski says:
    “So long as methodological naturalism sets the ground rules for how the game of science is to be played…”

    I have a quesiton about terminology. Isn’t a basic premise of ID that all scientists are naturalists in their methodology (ie, they’re not animists, believing that the spirit world must be appeased in order to, for example, heal a sick person or drive off an infestation of insects), but not in their philosophy (the a-priori assumption that God does not exist). And neodarwinism’s miskake is to confuse the two: all scientists (or all “real” scientists) must be philosophical naturalists. Anybody able to clarify this distinction for me?

  8. I don’t know if I can clarify the distinction but it seems to me that atheists are just very insecure in their beliefs. I would be too. Believing in a God that turns out doesn’t exist is a much safer choice than disbelieving in one who turns out to be real. ;-)

    What I don’t understand is why their naturalistic philosophy is threatened. I’m very confident that when we eventually discover the intelligence behind the origin of life on this planet it will turn out to be a natural thing. NeoDarwinian zealots seem hung up on insisting that humans are the first intelligence in the universe. I have no clue why they insist this is true. It’s a classic argument from ignorance. Exquisitely complex living organisms appeared on the earth very quickly after it coalesced. The machinery that supports even the simplest forms of life is mind bloggling. The most reasonable assumption to make is that it didn’t organize itself but was rather designed in the abstract then assembled.

    Good grief! What’s the hubbub all about? Are all these people that darned afraid of admitting that their species *might* not be the first higher intelligence in the whole universe? To me this smacks of geocentrism as bad or worse than any pre-enlightenment thought. Talk about elitism. They aren’t just content to style themselves as intellectual elitists ensconsed in their Ivory Towers, they’re wanting to posture themselves as the intellectual elite of the entire damned universe. Get over yourselves fercrisakes. What a bunch insecure babies.

  9. Steve,

    The purpose of ID is to keep science honest and open. It merely asks the question, “Is ID an empirical phenomenon, and could it be manifested in nature?”. It’s antithesis is methodological naturalism-a rule which necessitates that science must invoke only unguided natural laws to explain natural phenomena. With MN providing the foundation of science, even if intelligent causation is responsible for some natural phenomenon and if it’s possible to detect it (a scenario that is both logically possible and plausible), it never will be detected because the very definition of science rules it out by default. Indeed, in the biological sciences, neodarwinism is rendered scientific by, and only by, the presence of ID. Without ID, it is unfalsifiable and, thus, constitutes a philosophical position, fundamentally incapable of being tested by the scientific method. It’s important to understand that neodarwinsim is not the same thing as philosophical naturalism. The former is a scientific theory and the latter is a position of faith (i.e. atheism). I hope that helps.

    David

  10. One more thing:

    I strongly suggest you read Bill’s book, “The Design Revolution”. It is very lucid and provides a great wealth of answers concerning ID.

  11. crandaddy wrote: “Indeed, in the biological sciences, neodarwinism is rendered scientific by, and only by, the presence of ID. Without ID, it is unfalsifiable and, thus, constitutes a philosophical position, fundamentally incapable of being tested by the scientific method.”

    This is very good. I’ve never seen this argument made, or at least made in this way. I guess this is another way of saying there are only two choices: Evolution did it, or a designer did it.

  12. Russ: “I guess this is another way of saying there are only two choices: Evolution did it, or a designer did it.”

    Yes, sort of. Either random, unguided natural mechanisms did it (In the case of biology, these necessarily fall under the category of some form of evolution.), or an intelligent agent did it. However, it it is plausible that the designing intelligence could have used evolution as a mechanism.

    David

  13. DaveScot,

    You said “I’m very confident that when we eventually discover the intelligence behind the origin of life on this planet it will turn out to be a natural thing.”

    Isn’t that what I said you said, and for which you forced an apology from me? How do you reconcile this view with No Free Lunch?

  14. “How do you reconcile this view with No Free Lunch?”

    By redefining the nature of nature.

    NeoDarwinian chance worshippers contradict themselves by saying that intelligent design is supernatural and in the same breath saying that human intelligence which produces intelligent designs evolved naturally.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either intelligence is natural or supernatural. I’m going with what’s behind door number one – intelligence is natural. The nature of nature includes intelligence. It’s proven in at least one case. The only question is whether there’s more than one case.

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