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ID is not science because…

ID is ineligible for consideration as science because theories that allow for the possibility of forces outside of nature can’t be tested or falsified.

In light of that let’s look at what Ernst Mayr had to say in the introduction that appears in “Origin of Species”, Harvard University Press edition, 1964, p. xii:

In Darwin’s day the prevailing explanation for organic diversity was the story of creation in Genesis. Darwin himself had subscribed to this when he shipped on the ‘Beagle,’ and he was converted to his new ideas only after he had made numerous observations that were to him quite incompatible with creation. He felt strongly that he must establish this point decisively before his readers would be willing to listen to the evolutionary interpretation. Again and again, he describes phenomena that do not fit the creation theory.

Huh. It appears like Darwin was testing scientific creationism and found evidence contrary to it.

So what is it. Is ID science or not science? It seems our opponents want to have their cake and eat it too by saying:

“ID is not science because it cannot be falsified or verified. And by the way, ID has been repeatedly tested and shown to be false.”

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74 Responses to ID is not science because…

  1. Greetings, new here.

    In my humble opinion, your blurb, in stating that “Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted,” is in error. A pristine, uncorrupted, theism-friendly science as practiced by Galileo and Newton never existed. As someone knowledgeable in Greek philosophy and Hellenistic thought, I offer the thesis that science has always been subservient to a philosophy, one that has been inimical to Biblical creationism and intelligent design (in general, including Cicero’s version; I don’t conflate creationism and ID, there’s a lot of overlap but ID can be non-Biblical) from the very start.

    The pagan Greek idea of the cosmos holds, that there is an order (“cosmos”) that arches over everything, and is a closed system with no rule-breaking input possible. Even the Greek gods are subject to the rules of the cosmic order. Insofar as the Greek philosophers believed in the miracles of Zeus and other stories like that, they considered them to be possible within the cosmic order; which also decreed that gods were immortal and humans mortal.

    Proto-science developed in ancient Greece because the idea of the cosmos enabled it to develop. The mantle of science was reassumed in the Renaissance and reworked into what can be called a “restricted Hellenistic model”, where the cosmic order is as absolute as before, but is redefined to exclude the non-material. If there has been a change from Newton’s day to Darwin’s, it was only in the restriction of the definition of “cosmic order”; both Newton and Darwin believed in unbreakable cosmic regularity, even if the former allowed spiritual existence while the latter had no room for such.

    Science is and has always been a servant of a philosophy that assumes there can be no outside input to break the overarching cosmic order. Newton had as much use for “God did it” as does any present-day scientist, which is to say, none at all. The modern aversion to intelligent design (or, as they call it, “poofing,” magic,” and other names of a derogatory nature) has ancient roots, roots going back to the pagan Greek originators of science. Those roots are both anti-Biblical and anti-ID to their core.

    You can’t reform what has always been that which you call “corrupted”. ID can’t be conventional science; it can only be a new kind of science altogether. The basic rules must be changed.

    My 2 cents’ worth.
    Avraham

  2. A few questions:

    What is the agreed upon definition of science?

    What actually is science?

    How does science relate to the scientific method?

    What is the scientific method?

  3. CN,

    There is no agreed upon definition of “science.” Threre is also no agreed upon definitions for

    life
    intelligence
    species

    These four terms which permeate the evolution debate have no agreed upon acceptable definitions and neither does the term evolution, micro evolution and especially macro evolution.

    And we wonder why the debate gets confusing.

  4. Avraham,

    I will disagree a little. Newton thought God interfered in the orbits of the planets in various ways, one possibility being sending comets every now and then to stabilize an orbit.

    LaPlace started the God of the Gaps argument when he showed there was no need for God in his equations that explained why the orbits were stable. Ever since, scientists have been scared to suggest God might be doing it and generally they have been right as science finds the cause for most things.

    Evolution has proved a temporary or maybe a total end to their finding a natural cause for every major naturlal phenomenon.

    Welcome aboard.

  5. —–Jerry:

    —–”There is no agreed upon definition of science.”…………

    ======”And we wonder why the debate gets confusing.”

    Yes, and consider this. It is totally illogical to say [A] “I cannot or will not define science” and [B] “ID is not science.” But that is what our adversaries do every day. Any long winded discussion that follows that is totally extraneous.

  6. Avraham Barda, you are new here and so I won’t be too hard on you. I’ll just say this. Your comment demonstrates beyond the slightest doubt that you have not the slightest idea what ID’s thesis is. ID neither posits nor requires an act of God or an irregularity in the order of the universe. Go do your homework before you post again.

  7. —–Dave: “So what is it. Is ID science or not science? It seems our opponents want to have their cake and eat it too by saying:

    —-“ID is not science because it cannot be falsified or verified. And by the way, ID has been repeatedly tested and shown to be false.”

    That is exactly what our opponents are doing and that is exactly what they are allowed to get away with.

  8. CN,

    The definition of science has been highjacked by a socio-political movement known as material reductionism.

    Materialism is a socio-political necesity because it supports an atheistic worldview (which is the stated and defended preference of those in control of upper academia).

    Richard Lewontin, the eminent author and Professor of Biology at Harvard from 1998 through 2003, is famous for his quotes. He states “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world , but on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes….Moreover, materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” (emphasis mine)

    In making this statement he leaves little doubt about the certainty of the priori, and even less doubt about the establishment’s intent in preserving it.

    However, contrary to the definition that natural materialism is at the core of science, and contrary to the position that science must hold patent obsurdity as a matter of scientific principle, the core of scientific knowledge is instead – rationality.

    ID makes no pretense to turn away from material causes in the explanations of the universe or the living world within it – but only seeks the recognition that the empirical detection of ‘design’ has an explanatory potential that lies well within rationality, and moreover, that modern cosmological and biological evidence strongly infers necessity (design) over contingency (chance).

  9. jerry,

    Actually, a transition from Newton to LaPlace in terms of restricting what can be assumed would tally with my thesis. Let me agree, then, that Newton was almost there (in adhering to materialism) but not quite as LaPlace, who was in today’s position. Thank you for directing me.

    BarryA,

    Let’s be grown-ups here. I don’t assume you’re a Raelian (believer in UFO designers).

    Even if we leave God out, ID by necessity assumes a designer above the cosmic order (unless, again, you are a Raelian, an assumption I highly doubt, according to the homework I’ve done reading thoroughly this site). It is the materialists’ belief that everything, including the Big Bang, has some non-”poofing,” non-magical explanation.

    Please do not attempt to curtail free speech here. Especially when you, rightly, complain that that is what the materialist establishment perpetrates on you.

    Upright BiPed,

    The definition of science has not been hijacked. Science was always like this, even if not down to the last detail. Science has its origins in Greek paganism, and is today a modified form of Greek paganism.

  10. “ID is not science because it cannot be falsified or verified. And by the way, ID has been repeatedly tested and shown to be false.”

    As pointed out many times here, due to human ingenuity in coming up with “just so stories” Darwinism can’t be falsified either, (excluding finding sculls in Cambrian sediments) so it also isn’t science by their own definition.

  11. AB

    Let’s be grown-ups here. I don’t assume you’re a Raelian (believer in UFO designers).

    I don’t “believe” in anything without evidence and I have yet to see any evidence showing that the design of life on the planet earth requires supernatural powers.

    I challenge you to produce some evidence of life needing a designer with supernatual abilities.

  12. ——-The definition of science has not been hijacked. Science was always like this,

    [A] Define science (formally and explicitly)

    [B] Define the scientific method (formally and explicitly)

    [C] Provide evidence that the Greeks characterized both in exactly the same way.

    [D] Explain the meaning of the term “We are thinking God’s thoughts after him,” and tell us why that characterization did not reflect the sentiments of Christendom’s great scientists even though they said that it did.

    [E] Explain why a scientific inference to design based on observation of data requires a prior committment to a designer and is, therefore, in your judgment, a tautology.

  13. DaveScot,

    I’m grateful for your clarification.

    I confess not to understand the mode of design, for I’ve been unable to find it detailed so far.

    I cannot rise to your challenge, because the only model that comes to my mind of unsupernatural ID is the Raelians’ version: extraterrestrial scientists using their (to us) advanced technology to create life.

    I’m sorry to ask you questions instead of answering your challenge, but that is necessary in order to be able to do so:

    Does the posited designer have hands? Test tubes? A whole laboratory at his/her/its disposal? What is the real-world meaning of “not needing supernatural abilities in order to create”?

    I thank you for your patience.

    StephenB,

    Science (as the mainstream definition goes) is the enterprise of building working models of reality, in conformance to the assumption that the laws of nature are constant. The mainstream expectation is for astrophysical constants to always stay the same, just as they expect sodium with chloride to always yield table salt.

    The Greeks did not write out a formal definition, but worked the same way (that is, they too assumed constancy of laws). Their details are not the same as modern-day one, because they allowed for spiritual existence. I did mention this change right in my first post.

    As for point D, I am not versed in Christendom, so I can’t answer. As for point E, I never said it was a tautology, so kindly do not put words in my mouth.

  14. Avraham,

    Let’s be adults here. It’s the year 2008. There has been an explosion of information and access on a global scale that is a game changer. Information is a commodity that is processed, reprocessed, owned, sold, legalized, banned, and controlled.

    Have all the motives to control information existed since antiquity? Yes, but appealing to Greek paganism in an attempt to explain away the ability to control and subjugate scientific information in the modern world is weak (IMO) even if your explanation gives you a sense of intellectual satisfaction.

  15. Upright BiPed,

    I go where the evidence leads. As a researcher of Greek philosophy and its relationship to traditional Jewish theology, I think I am in a good position to determine how much influence, if at all, Greek pagan philosophy has had on science thru the ages. Based on my findings, I’ve concluded that modern science is reworked Hellenistic philosophy. I could be wrong, of course, but the evidence so far tells me I am right.

    On the other hand, your talk of “controlling information” reeks of conspiracy theory. Please supply proof that there has been a conspiracy to subvert science?

  16. Avraham Barda,

    Considering your first claims involved declaring that Newton believed in “unbreakable cosmic regularity” when he clearly and famously did not, my following the evidence where it leads indicates you’re not much of an authority on the question of the philosophy and practicality of science. Particularly when you declare that science has never been friendly to theism, while at the same time admitting you really don’t know all that much about Christendom.

    It’s worth noting that most of the critics of ID only consider science hostile to theism in the most roundabout, social ways. Most readily admit (hell, they insist) that science is powerless when it comes to addressing design-related (theistic or otherwise) questions. That isn’t hostility – at best, it’s neutrality.

  17. Abraham: Where did you get your definition of science and how does is compare to that which rules the academy today?

    —-You wrote: The Greeks did not write out a formal definition, but worked the same way (that is, they too assumed constancy of laws). Their details are not the same as modern-day one, because they allowed for spiritual existence. I did mention this change right in my first post.”

    But that doesn’t solve the problem. Even the early scietists of Christendom, the ones who said “we are thinking God’s thoughts after him,” understood that science was PRIMARILY about natural causes. Modern science, according the academy insists that science must be EXCLUSIVELY about natural causes. It is called “methdological naturalism,” and it is a change. It was not always that way.

  18. AB

    Does the posited designer have hands? Test tubes? A whole laboratory at his/her/its disposal? What is the real-world meaning of “not needing supernatural abilities in order to create”?

    The data don’t give us many clues about methods. We can however make some minimal assumptions regarding the designer(s) of life on earth:

    1) a deep understanding of chemistry and physics

    2) capable of abstract thought

    3) ability to manipulate matter to bring abstract thought into physical reality

    With the exception of item 1 humans have all the requisites and judging by the pace of innovation in genetic engineering it isn’t unreasonable to presume that humans will have that capacity as well if discovery and innovation proceeds apace for some period of time. Even if that period of time is a million years that’s still an eyeblink in geologic timeframes.

    The real world meaning of “supernatural” is “unconstrained by the laws of physics”.

    For a good grounding in of what’s physcially possible and what isn’t in this regard I recommend starting with this book: Engines of Creation by K. Eric Drexler which can be read free of cost online at the link above. I read it in hardcover in 1987 and to this day consider it the single most important tome on the future I’ve ever read.

  19. Avraham,

    I can easily concede that science has, at least some, of its foundational rules in whatever form of antiquity that you care to study. I can make this conclusion for a simple reason – it doesn’t matter.

    If I can find in my imagination a pair of ancient tribal leaders standing on the bank of a river that feeds their people, wondering why the river flows most at the first sign of the warming time of year – to me they are on a search for knowledge. Their success in that search will be tied to how rational they can form their questions and then provide answers that best fit the evidence they observe.

    In any case, their search is not owned by the rules of a, perhaps distant, culture – It’s simply a search for understanding (in its purest form). We may agree that the search can be narrowed or refined by using a set of rules – but that set of rules does not constitute ownership of the information, nor the process by which the information attained.

    My comment was that “the definition of science has been highjacked by a materialist ideology”. My comment is a reflection of the statement (“Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins”) which adorns the header of this website. I stand by it.

    As far as your question of proof of an info-control “conspiracy” (your chosen and loaded term) – I can assure you that if you would need a memo from the Department of Information Control, I won’t be able to produce it. On the other hand, I too have a career to call upon, a career of thirty years in the American media. I have seen plenty of information control.

    More to this particular discussion (dealing with science, and rules by which information may be attained) I believe I covered that in my original post.

  20. Avraham Barda, welcome!

    I strongly suggest that you read John Lennox (Oxford mathematician) “God’s Undertaker. Has science buried God?” He is very well versed in the origins of what we call science, and I don’t think he would be in full agreement with your sentiments.

  21. nullasalus,

    So where are Newton’s “famous” exceptions to his Theory of Gravity? Or earlier, where are Kepler’s exceptions to his Laws? Do they even allow for exceptions? Science ever since the Greeks never allowed for exceptions in the cosmic order; the only change is how much the term “cosmic order” encompasses (less in modern science than it did for the Greeks).

    A theism-friendly science would never have given rise to the demiraculization of the Creation that has slowly but steadily crept in ever since the Renaissance. What little I know of Christendom and its relationship with science is, that it managed to stem the tide of Greek paganism through an uneasy compromise with Aristotle (the medieval cosmology), but ever since Galileo, more and more holes have appeared in the dam, until we arrive at today’s total denial of any deviation from the laws of nature.

    StephenB,

    The change from primary to exclusive cause is not a leap but only a slight logical modification of the Greek pagan rule that the cosmic order can’t ever be broken. The seeds were there; only the Renaissance and Galileo were require in order for them to fully sprout.

    DaveScot,

    If I understand rightly, the Intelligent Designer is like a human in all but knowledge of the basics of existence, which is much greater.

    A materialist has already conceded that a natural creator, bound within the natural universe, can be a valid scientific proposal. The fact that the Raelians have not been accepted as valid scientific theoreticians by the mainstream establishment is, I admit, an argument in favor of this site’s thesis that there is opposition to ID in general and not just to its religious versions.

    I commend your attempts to meld Intelligent Design with the constraints of Greek (or Greek-derived) methodology. I had misjudged this site and been less open-minded than I should have been. Great work. My only reservation is that the success of your enterprise could lead people to construe the Intelligent Design movement as part of the New Age. I admit, however, that that is not a scientific objection.

    Upright BiPed,

    If you say (as you did above) that information flows much more freely and abundantly than in the past, then any talk of “controlling information” becomes very, very suspect. I do not know, perhaps it may be a feeling and no more, but the prospect of “controlling information” has a 1984-ish sound to it; surely not in present-day America you believe in the ability to stop anything from leaking? Or is “control of information” in your eyes the mere fact that the information important to you does not receive the amount of exposure you would like it to receive?

    Either you are right, or perhaps you need the patience of Alfred Wegener, whose theories did not become mainstream overnight. A third option, which is the one that I raised first post, is that the system works fundamentally in such a way that certain type of ideas cannot be accepted even in theory. I know for certain that supernatural (“poofing”) creation as theorized by YEC organizations has not a snowball’s chance in hell of being even considered, because of the Greek, anti-Biblical, anti-supernatural nature of science.

    idnet.com.au,

    If he is versed in Greek philosophy, then I will surely be able to evaluate the merit of his ideas.

  22. 23

    Interesting

  23. Let me just add a note. I have so far detailed the problem posed by Hellenistic thought to the other side of the equation. For me, that other side is not Christendom (the lack of knowledge of which is here a shortcoming, I admit), but Judaism. It is my wish to tell you where I am coming from, in order to facilitate understanding.

    Traditional Jewish thought does not recognize the concept of “laws of nature.” In traditional Jewish thought, “nature” has the following definition: “Miracles to which we have grown accustomed.” The parting of the Red Sea is a miracle, and since it does not happen every day, we call it such. But the setting of the sun is also a miracle, but we call it “nature” only because we’ve gotten used to it.

    The Jewish morning service every sunrise blesses God for causing the sun to rise (or the earth to move on its axis; mere quibbling). The Jewish evening service every nightfall blesses God for causing the sun to set. Traditional Jewish theology believes God to actively cause the sun to rise and set every day. Those are miracles. There is no natural law. God may work through agents (such as a plague on Sennacherib’s troops besieging Jerusalem), but God leaves nothing to natural law. Jewish theology is as far removed from Deism and front-loading as could possibly be conceived.

    Now, as I said, all this is just so that you understand my initial objections. I understand now that those objections are not so relevant to the methodology of the fellows of Uncommon Descent. Thank you for your patience.

  24. Av :

    “ID by necessity assumes a designer above the cosmic order”


    Wrong. ID assumes no such thing. What ID assumes is that we are capable of detecting patterns in nature that require intelligent origins. Like DNA.

    “I cannot rise to your challenge, because the only model that comes to my mind of unsupernatural ID is the Raelians’ version”

    You ought to forget Rael and refer to either Francis Crick or Sir Fred Hoyle. They were both advocates of evolution from space – even going so far as suggesting life was shipped here on rocket ships. Why? In Cricks case he recognized that there is simply not enough time for the highly improbable complexities and nano-machinery found in life systems for it to have been evolved by RM + NS. Hoyle recognized that the probabilities of life forming in a Darwinian fashion were astronomically low. Hoyle’s “Evolution from Space,” … In which he discussed the overwhelming improbability of getting the enzymes needed for even the simplest form of life to function by chance.

    The difference between an intelligent ordering, whether of words, fruit boxes, amino acids, or the Rubik cube, and merely random shufflings can be fantastically large, even as large as a number that would fill the whole volume of Shakespeare’s plays with its zeros. So if one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that bio-materials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as high a possibility of being true. (27-28)

    “Older folk in the know told me that selection didn’t operate to make complicated things out of complicated things, only to make complex things out of simple ones. I couldn’t understand how anything of the sort could be true, because, unlikely as it was, it would surely be less difficult to make a rabbit out of a potato than to make a rabbit out of sludge, which is what people said had happened, people with line after line of letters after their names who should have known what they were talking about, but obviously didn’t.”

    (Hoyle, F., “Mathematics of Evolution,” [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.2)

    As far your ‘Greek’ thing goes you ought to know that valid science existed long before the Greeks.

    The modern western world’s view of science came in part from greco-roman influences of course. However the role of creationists throughout the centuries in establishing, indeed in opening the door to the possibility of modern science, has been crucial. Indeed, it was creationists who founded the scientific method.

    Imo, you simply do not understand ID. And your Raelien references are not pertinent. Materialist education can do that to ya.

  25. Avraham Barda,

    “So where are Newton’s “famous” exceptions to his Theory of Gravity?”

    Now who is putting words in whose mouth?

    It was already pointed out that Newton himself made allowances for divine intervention with regards to the orbit of planets. You then switched gears to mentioning Newton was ‘almost there’. Like it or not, that’s quite a thing to miss when you’re talking with such stern confidence about science and its relation to theism.

    “A theism-friendly science would never have given rise to the demiraculization of the Creation that has slowly but steadily crept in ever since the Renaissance.”

    First of all – of course it would have, if it’s assumed that miracles are outside of science’s proper sphere anyway. Or more than that, that an agent’s (whether it be God or otherwise) efforts can be within and through, rather than contrary to, nature. The very fact that you say..

    “but ever since Galileo, more and more holes have appeared in the dam, until we arrive at today’s total denial of any deviation from the laws of nature.”

    ..illustrates the past friendliness between theism and science. If there was no such cooperation, why did ‘more and more holes’ show up in your words? They would have already been there from the start. As another has recommended, John Lennox (among others) have pointed out the tight history between science and thoughts of design, to put it mildly.

    You’re likely mistaking people of different philosophical motivations above, beyond, and beside science pushing in certain directions with science itself. The fact is that theism, and design-concepts in general, have had a long history with science, and not one of animosity. And the current stage is one where even those against intelligent design (And I’m on record around here as being very skeptical about the ability of science to rule on questions of design) primarily argue not that design is not present in nature, but that science cannot test for it.

    I don’t doubt there are many materialists involved in science (naturally), and that a few of them may be taking cues from some partly-inspired specific greek school of thought. But the idea that science and designers (“theism”) are concepts inherently hostile to each other is bunk.

  26. Biped

    Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins

    Actually I don’t agree with that. I think materialistic ideology itself has been corrupted. That corruption takes the form of axiomatically rejecting any possibility of intelligent agency superior to mankind having played any role whatsoever in the course of organic evolution.

    MET is thus self-contradictory. We have intelligent agents right now (humans) altering the course of evolution through genetic manipulation. According to MET these agents arose via material processes. Obviously then, according to the theory, intelligent agency is a natural part of the material universe. So what prevents an earlier emergence of intelligent agency through natural means? Nothing is what.

    Richard Dawkins is on the record agreeing that life on this planet could have been engineered by an outside agency (in the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed). Does that make Richard Dawkins a Raelian? In a way, certainly. He was simply forced to acknowledge that it is physically possible. If any scientist rejects the possibility he’s either lying or sorely lacking in a solid grounding of basic science.

    Of course that raises the perfectly valid question of who designed the designer. But if we presume that mind is an emergent property of matter (materialist presumption) we must at the same ask where the matter came from which enabled the emergence. Surely matter didn’t create itself. In such infinite regressions both mind and matter run into the same brick wall called “The Big Bang” wherein science tells us that all the matter & energy in the universe suddenly appeared everywhere at once. So does mind predate matter or vice versa? No material answer exists.

    We do have some tantalizing clues though from quantum mechanics which informs us, with experimental confirmation, that matter exists in an etherial state of probability waves which don’t collapse into physical reality until an observer comes along. Strange but true. So there’s some scientific substance to supposing that the Big Bang could not have happened without an observer. “God” is a good, or as poor, an answer as any other to who or what the universal observer is.

    Heck, maybe the observer is composed of so-called “dark energy” which comprises some 70% of the stuff which makes up the universe and is thought to homogenously permeate everything everywhere. We really don’t know. All I know is that we don’t know at all enough about the nature of nature to reject intelligent agency anywhere and at any time. Add to this the so-called “illusion of design” which just keeps getting stronger as we learn more – from the intricacy of life at the molecular scale (biological ID) to the fine tuning of the physical constants of the universe (cosmological ID) – the appearance of design just won’t go away. Yet all this perfectly material evidence, most of it from the hardest of hard sciences (physics) the MET continues to reject it out of hand. Materialist ideology is what has been corrupted.

    On the one hand it claims that intelligent agents capable of genetic engineering (humans) are the natural result of a random dance of atoms then on the other hand claims that genetic engineering predating the emergence of humanity is strictly forbidden because it posits a supernatural designer.

    Say what? Show me what requires a supernatural designer to design life.

  27. Borne,

    Rael’s model, whatever its strengths and weaknesses, is an Intelligent Design model. Crick’s and Hoyle’s model, which assumes evolution of life, just not on earth as Darwinists do, is not an Intelligent Design model at all. Crick and Hoyle are impertinent to the ID/Darwinism debate.

    Creationists did develop modern science, yes. Creationists at the same centuries of Copernicus and Galileo, beginning with Sir Francis Bacon, developed the methodology which was later the downfall of creationism. There is not much to take pride in here.

    As for understanding ID, I understand ID unless expedience forces the change of its definition (which is: once every couple of years). In addition, I would have thought that condescension toward the less knowledgeable was a monopoly of the materialists.

    I am not anti-ID, nor exactly pro-ID (if “ID” is taken in its specific sense, as here); more a third party with a wish to be as objective as possible. ID is fine, I just wish it was more definite on things. There is too much vagueness, a lot of things left undefined.

  28. —-Abramam: “The change from primary to exclusive cause is not a leap but only a slight logical modification of the Greek pagan rule that the cosmic order can’t ever be broken. The seeds were there; only the Renaissance and Galileo were require in order for them to fully sprout.”

    You are missing the point and you are changing your thesis to accomodate objections to your original thesis. Originally, you stated that “corruption” is not possible because there has been no change. Now you acknowledge the change and want to trivialize it. The difference between science being “primarily” about natural causes, and the novelty idea that it must be “exclusively” about natural causes is the difference between ID being legitimate science or illegitimate science. That is nothing less than the whole ball game.

    Evidently, you are unaware that this distinction was arbitrarily conceived solely for the purpose of disfranchising ID from the scientific community. It has a history that can be traced back to the 1980′s. The academy introduced “methodollgical naturalism” as a social tool to persecute ID scientists. In other words, they “corrupted” science by insisting that it is no longer permissible to follow where the evidence leads. Put another way, your thesis is uninformed.

  29. —–Abramam: “ID by necessity assumes a designer above the cosmic order”

    Explain to me why observing “functionally complex specified information” in a DNA molecule ASSUMES a designer. Do you even know of what a scientific inference to design consists?

  30. nullasalus,

    It was pointed out (by “jerry”) that Newton theorized that God would sometimes send comets to stabilize an orbit. That is in no way an exception to the laws of nature, any more than “God guiding evolution” (what theistic evolutionists hold) is an exception to Darwinism.

    The situation in the middle ages was not a harmonic living between science and theism, but an uneasy compromise, a detente. That detente ended with the Renaissance and Galileo, once Greek-derived science had begun to throw away the reins of theological constraint. There was never friendliness. It was either science as handmaiden or science as shrew.

    As we’ve elucidated here, “designers” is not necessarily synonymous with “theism”. Greek-derived science is hostile to the traditional religious concept of design (“God said… and it was so,” or, in the derogatory terminology, “poofing”), but not so (or less so) to naturalistic design (nanotechnological creation as DaveScot brings in the book he linked to, and Raelism).

    DaveScot,

    You ask what requires a supernatural designer to design life. To design life on earth, there is no requirement (you and the Raelians are proof of that). To avoid infinite regress (mind out of matter out of mind out of matter, and so on ad infinitum), a supernatural creator must be assumed.

    StephenB,

    The debate between “primarily natural causes” and “exclusively natural causes” is a religious one, and only a religious one. You know why? Because those who say “primarily” do so only to retain the miracles of which revealed religion speaks. Otherwise, for such occurrences as sunrise, sunset and rainfall, there is no debate. Both sides sweep God aside and make him out to be like Deism’s absentee landlord. Compare to the pagan Greek worldview of a constantly regular cosmos, and contrast to my description of traditional Jewish theology above, which holds that there is no such thing as “laws of nature”, that even the sunset is a miracle performed by God every day.

    The term “methodological naturalism” may date to the 1980′s, but that does not preclude the existence of the concept well before that. Analogy: I can talk of “fascist Sparta” even thought the term “fascism” was only coined in 20th-century Italy.

  31. AB

    Your ignorance of Crick & Orgel’s hypothetical “Directed Panspermia” is showing. Crick made the reasonable determination that biologic materials had no reasonable chance of being transported from one solar system to another without intelligent direction. Blogged it here with a reference several times.

    A member of UD, Rob Sheldon, (who has yet to make a first post) did however suggest an interstellar biologic transport mechanism that could git ‘er done stochastically. Read about it here.

  32. Avraham,

    If you say (as you did above) that information flows much more freely and abundantly than in the past, then any talk of “controlling information” becomes very, very suspect.

    What has become suspect is your ability to understand the world around you. Here’s a clue: Despite anything to the contrary you may believe, scientific information related to origins is distributed at the pleasure of the media, not the practicing scientist.

    In other words, if science uncovers that the Darwinian paradigm (of simple life growing into complex life over time) has become refuted, or likely refuted, by the empirical observation of the genetic data for complex life being conserved within the genome of simple organisms – then that information will be subject to colored presentation, limited availability, and summarily passed over by the mass media.

    When the movie “Expelled” came out I tried to set up a news story to introduce a larger audience to the controversy surrounding the movie. I had made some contacts with (and was in hot pursuit of) commentary from David Berlinski, Mike Gene, and Michael Behe in order to give the story a more substantial grounding. When it finally became clear what the bottom line of the controversy was about, the proverbial plug was pulled on the entire idea. Please, can you give up on the idea that the playing field is level, or that this is somehow personal (I didn’t set the cosmological constants and didn’t discover them, if you get my drift).

    A third option, which is the one that I raised first post, is that the system works fundamentally in such a way that certain type of ideas cannot be accepted even in theory.

    Then I return you to my previous point. An industry that says that we can only follow the information up until it meets our priori is a violation of the true search for knowledge – in that the search for knowledge is based on rationality, not an imposed limitation to rational discourse. Could we agree that among reasonable people, it is almost universally believed that science should be, first and foremost, the search for truth. That particular idea immediately brings up a second idea, one that completely supports the first idea. Wisdom, then, pools around the idea that the search for truth must also follow the evidence wherever it leads. The current practice, as you seem to defend it, excludes this wisdom.

    Oddly enough, the profound problem that this practice creates has been pushed to the surface by nothing less than science itself. The significant discoveries in modern biology (and cosmology) over the past 100 years strongly suggest that there is, in fact, design in the universe. This is exactly the claim that is being made by the scientific critics of materialist Darwinism. It is also the theory that does not tow the party line, and so its proponents have become the target of what amounts to a professional mugging.

    And the mass media is complicit, whether you’d like to acknowledge it or not. You are free to do as you wish.

  33. DaveScot,

    By your own definition, and further confirmed after checking with the link you gave, my argument about Crick and Hoyle stands: this is not a theory of Intelligent Design, this is a theory of, shall we call it, Intelligent Transportation.

    The aliens did not design life here, according to Crick and Hoyle; they merely transported its building blocks to our planet.

    Upright BiPed,

    You have acknowledged another option of mine, namely that the information you seek to publicize does not enjoy the amount of publicity you would like it to. You wish mainstream science to publish your findings, just as everyone would like the Mainstream Media to publish their ideas. Surely you know that these all are privately-owned bodies (mainstream science too, because it needs grants and receives those from private bodies usually). It’s an economic problem. Under the wing of rich enough a patron, you can get yourself a trumpet equal to that of the mainstream establishment. Science has not the slightest thing to do with this issue.

  34. Avraham Barda,

    “It was pointed out (by “jerry”) that Newton theorized that God would sometimes send comets to stabilize an orbit. That is in no way an exception to the laws of nature, any more than “God guiding evolution” (what theistic evolutionists hold) is an exception to Darwinism.”

    Oh really? By all means, tell the physicists that a divine agent interacting with planetary orbits via direct comet strikes is “in no way an exception to the laws of nature”. Indeed, go tell darwinists – tell PZ Myers, tell Richard Dawkins – that God-guided evolution is no exception to Darwinism. You’re backing off considerably from your original claims here. If God intentionally directing and hurling comets is not a violation of the laws of nature, then ID truly is a full-fledged scientific enterprise.

    Point of clarification: I’m pretty much a TE myself, though I have strong admiration for much of the ID project and otherwise. But the very fact that you can bring up TEs and similar highlights my own point – that there is no innate conflict between science and thoughts of (divine or otherwise) agency.

    “The situation in the middle ages was not a harmonic living between science and theism, but an uneasy compromise, a detente. That detente ended with the Renaissance and Galileo, once Greek-derived science had begun to throw away the reins of theological constraint. There was never friendliness. It was either science as handmaiden or science as shrew.”

    First you didn’t know much about Christendom. Now you know exactly what the relationship was between natural philosophy and Christendom? Interesting change – you’re having a lot of those here.

    You claim there was a detente, a ‘theological constraint’. My response is that there was more than even a mere cooperation – there was a strong development of science, above and beyond what the greeks ever achieved, owing to an inherently theistic worldview of nature as being so-ordered by a powerful mind that it could be understandable by lesser minds. Science was directly related to this view of nature as the product of a mind, and that the leaving of miracles outside the purview of science was originally related to two understandings. One, that miracles were irregular, maybe even singular events in an otherwise mechanistic world, and thus were outside the scope of science. Two, that the mind behind nature was so powerful that miracles were deemed unnecessary – not because nature had no need of a mind, but because said mind developed a nature that had no need of miracles.

    “As we’ve elucidated here, “designers” is not necessarily synonymous with “theism”. Greek-derived science is hostile to the traditional religious concept of design”

    “Traditional religious concept of design” is and has been a multifaceted affair for a very long time – something discussed among orthodox theologians, and extremely far from “poof” whatever the case. One could easily argue that computer simulations provide a wonderful and naturalistic model for design on so grand a scale, whether one wants to call it theistic or not. Charles Babbage recognized as much. Nick Bostrom and David Chalmers hesitantly recognize as much as well.

    If you mean to say that there’s a divide between science and theism insofar as theists don’t concern themselves with the particulars science is dedicated to, I’d agree. But that’s no more a hostility between theism and science than there is between theism and cooking, just because cookies can be made without invoking a Grand Designer.

  35. —–Abraham: The debate between “primarily natural causes” and “exclusively natural causes” is a religious one, and only a religious one. You know why? Because those who say “primarily” do so only to retain the miracles of which revealed religion speaks.

    No, it is not. Religion has nothing to do with it. To say that science is “primarily” about natural causes is to say that it is about natural causes most of the time. To say that science is “exclusively” about natural causes is to say that nothing else may be investigated in the name of science. That is a novelty.

    ——Otherwise, for such occurrences as sunrise, sunset and rainfall, there is no debate. Both sides sweep God aside and make him out to be like Deism’s absentee landlord. Compare to the pagan Greek worldview of a constantly regular cosmos, and contrast to my description of traditional Jewish theology above, which holds that there is no such thing as “laws of nature”, that even the sunset is a miracle performed by God every day.

    Your analysis is incomplete. You are considering only [A] There are no laws of nature and [B] The laws of nature are everything. There is yet a third alternative: [C] The laws of nature are not everything. There is also intelligent agency.

    —–Abraham: The term “methodological naturalism” may date to the 1980’s, but that does not preclude the existence of the concept well before that. Analogy: I can talk of “fascist Sparta” even thought the term “fascism” was only coined in 20th-century Italy.

    Methodological naturalism is a RULE established by the academy which holds that anyone who presumes to follow evidence that could lead to design in nature is, by definition, not doing science. No one in history has ever made such a rule. It is inherently anti-science and you do not seem to be aware of its significance.

    Also, you have yet to answer my question about “functionally complex specified information.” Observing it does not require the assumption of a designer. You labor under the misconception that it does.

  36. AB

    What Crick & Orgel said,

    ‘Directed Panspermia’ suggests that life may be distributed by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization Crick and Orgel argued that DNA encapsulated within small grains could be fired in all directions by such a civilization in order to spread life within the universe. Their abstract in the 1973 Icarus paper reads:

    “It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached the earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as living organisms imbedded in a meteorite.”

    “As an alternative to these nineteenth-century mechanisms, we have considered Directed Panspermia, the theory that organisms were deliberately transmitted to the earth by intelligent beings on another planet.”

    “We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic.”

    My emphasis above. This is more than Intelligent Transport. It describes intelligent agents.

    Richard Dawkins then admits that life on earth could have been designed by extraterrestrials.

    Materialists are forced to admit this if they are honest and have a good enough grounding in basic sciences. The question then becomes one of the origin of the upstream intelligent agency, and so on up the line. There is no law of physics demanding that intelligent agency must have a stochastic origin. Furthermore, there is a law of physics stating that closed systems increase in entropy (decrease in order). Therefore, if matter is ordered enough in the modern universe for mind to emerge from that order it must by physical law have contained as much or more of that order since the origin of the universe.

  37. nullasalus,

    You want your point proven by appealing to the most fanatic faction of the Darwinist camp, how typical. You know well what the result would be, and you also know well that their reactions, as always, would teach us only about themselves.

    You have a flair for cheap shots, and arrogance to match it. In fact, I am disappointed (but not surprised) to find here, that many who complain of ill-treatment under the Darwinist establishment are quick to mete out the same to those who challenge their notions.

    It is obvious that my thesis, that science has been evil and corrupt from its very inception and not since recently, is not welcome here. As the Darwinists are wedded to naturalism, not seeing how it impedes the acceptance of revealed religion, so the ID movement is wedded to the same fundamentally Greek-pagan science, only with a little fewer restrictions, but not so fewer as to enable revealed religion to reassert itself. You will win converts to the New Age, to Panspermia, to the Raelian UFO cult, and maybe a few to revealed religion. It is obvious that you haven’t thought of the consequences of your enterprise. “Some designer designed life some time ago using some method.” What a theory! Darwinism, bad as it may be, purports to tell us what happened in the past, just like the Bible. ID is above such nonsense, it seems.

    StephenB,

    Science ever since Greek times has been predicated upon the existence of constant, never-changing laws of nature. Otherwise you can’t do even a simple experiment, because sodium plus chloride might then not always yield table salt.

    I don’t recall ever saying a word about “functionally complex specified information.” As far as I am concerned (and I follow traditional Jewish theology in holding so), the idea of an intelligent designer is evident just from seeing the sun rise and set, and the burden of proof is not on those who assume ID, but rather the burden of disproof is on those who deny ID.

    DaveScot,

    If those intelligent beings did not design that which they transported, then they are not intelligent designers and therefore Panspermia is not a theory of intelligent design. I don’t see what’s so difficult to understand.

    And if those intelligent beings directed the evolution of life, then you might just as well call Theistic Evolution a theory of Intelligent Design. Which I know you don’t. So please be consistent.

  38. I recently did a podcast episode on this very issue, actually (http://www.beretta-online.com/wordpress/?p=200).

    I have absolutely no problem with people like DaveScot in this thread saying that ID is not *true* and who are willing to debate the truth value of ID with its proponents. What I do object to is the pseudo objection of making ID not exactly false, but somehow “against the rules” by failing to measure up to something called “science.”

    Basically, people are swapping their scientist hats (if there are such things) for philosophers’ hats and making papal-like declarations about what counts as science, using rules that (whoops) end up actually excluding things that we already accept as science (e.g. competing theories of time within special relativity). I’ve yet to encounter an opponent of ID actually putting forth one criteria for being science that a) is remotely plausible, b) ID clearly fails to meet, AND c) all other scientific theories clearly do meet.

  39. AB

    you might just as well call Theistic Evolution a theory of Intelligent Design

    Most of us do in fact insist that Theistic Evolution is a theory of intelligent design. The bone of contention is they say design can’t be detected. We say it can.

    I don’t have any particular problem with a clockwork universe set up like dominoes to yield rational man. It fits all the evidence just perfectly and was embraced by many great thinkers including Albert Einstein. Einstein instinctively knew the universe was finely tuned. We now know as well as we know anything that the universe is fine tuned. It’s a huge problem in physics trying to explain it. Here’s a good description of the problem:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/

  40. Avraham,

    With all due respect, your last post displays a level of density that is simply divorced from reality.

    …the information you seek to publicize does not enjoy the amount of publicity you would like it to.

    I would expect that a new scientific discovery would have zero publicity prior to its discovery. I would consider the same about a controversial documentary prior to its release. Is this somehow not clear to you? Prior to releasing a new story, should the media conduct some research to confirm the story is receiving an appropriate level of publicity, and can therefore go on the air?

    Perhaps I am not being generous enough to you. Your move is, once again, to personalize this so that it is dismissible. We understand each other.

    You wish mainstream science to publish your findings, just as everyone would like the Mainstream Media to publish their ideas.

    This comment is, well, juvenile in its attempt. What exactly are my findings, or ideas? Are you speaking of Mike Behe’s ideas? His book “Darwin’s Black Box” is currently #9038 out of 170,000 titles overall on Amazon, and is 10 years old. On what grounds should his ideas be limited on the occasion that a movie premieres that his book is central to? What is the mass media’s responsibility as you see it?

    Perhaps it is Michael Denton’s ideas? Anthony Flew’s? Stuart Kaufmann’s? Bill Dembski’s? Stephen Myer’s? Or, is it David Berlinski’s ideas that should be tested for public acceptability prior to being publicized? Are you in possession of information that the public is not interested in modern scientifically-based data related to origins? What other kinds of stories do you suggest the media practice this policy on?

    Please don’t try to personalize the data; it is unbecoming to your argument (which at this point needs saving).

    Under the wing of rich enough a patron, you can get yourself a trumpet equal to that of the mainstream establishment..

    This is, once again, non-intelligible. When we sit down to produce a newscast, the topic of “patrons” never comes up in the meeting. Perhaps the gulf of knowledge that apparently exists between us about the inner workings of the mass media is a fundamental impediment to continuing this conversation.

    Science has not the slightest thing to do with this issue.

    We finally agree. It’s completely socio-political (my original post).

  41. In post 39 I referred to DaveScot as opposing ID. Not sure why I did that… I must have been thinking of someone else. Sorry DaveScot.

  42. Avraham Barda,

    “You want your point proven by appealing to the most fanatic faction of the Darwinist camp, how typical. You know well what the result would be, and you also know well that their reactions, as always, would teach us only about themselves.”

    How typical? You put off quite a smug and self-assured aura.

    Yes, I’m well aware of the extreme personalities of Myers and Dawkins both. But to be frank, I don’t think most scientists would take the idea of a grand designer purposefully arranging comet strikes to better order planetary orbits as ‘In no way an exception to the laws of nature’. If you’re going by that kind of reasoning, then any kind of proposed agent interaction in the universe, no matter how large or small, is ‘in no way an exception to the laws of nature’. You’ve kicked open the door to miracles writ large, limited only by proposed “technology”.

    “You have a flair for cheap shots, and arrogance to match it. In fact, I am disappointed (but not surprised) to find here, that many who complain of ill-treatment under the Darwinist establishment are quick to mete out the same to those who challenge their notions.”

    Pot and kettle. But you missed something, again: I’m essentially a TE around here. I routinely argue with some of the regulars over the scientific status of ID, even if I have great sympathy for the philosophy, and recognize what frankly are considerable double-standards in their treatment.

    You rolled in with a bold and, as near as I can tell, poorly-considered claim about the compatibility between science and theism – and not without quite a lot of arrogance. If you don’t like the equivalent in response, take on some humility. I have no interest in ego games, from any direction.

    “It is obvious that my thesis, that science has been evil and corrupt from its very inception and not since recently, is not welcome here.”

    You made no judgment about “evil and corrupt” until just now. You argued that ‘science’ has always been incompatible with ‘theism’, which is an inane an empty claim most often repeated by the likes of the two men you brand as extremists.

    Let me offer you an olive branch: I can agree to this, put another way. Namely, I could respect the view that “science” has likely never been a pure intellectual construct, not even in the ideal. It has always had social aspects attached to it, usually grafted onto philosophies, (a)theologies, political aspirations, and otherwise. So no, there’s no ‘recent problem’ with science. It’s been the name of the game for awhile.

    However, that is very different from claiming that science and theism is innately hostile and always has been. That smacks of a completely different argument, one I thought you were making before, but can be convinced of otherwise. There has been plenty of cooperation between scientific enterprises and theistic/design-centric thought. Plenty of fruitful observations and otherwise as well. Conflicts between science and theism are not innate, but are due to side commitments of the practitioners on one or both ends depending on the issue.

    And with that, I’m off for the night anyway.

  43. AB

    the information you seek to publicize does not enjoy the amount of publicity you would like it to

    Google your name. Second hit. :lol:

  44. Upright BiPed,

    I’m going off a tangent here, but there is the famous story of how bestselling writer John Grisham was rejected by 12 publishers before one publisher decided to try him and let his writings see the light of day.

    For whatever reasons they have, those in charge of mass dissemination think it isn’t profitable to publish the ideas you want published so much. You can 1) whine about it, 2) continue banging your head against the brick wall that those middlemen are, or 3) play by different rules. By different rules, I clearly mean bypassing them. And the more affluent your patron is, the better you can approximate the effect of having published at a mainstream agency.

    I have to say, that this ties in nicely with my initial thesis: I said, that you can’t win on conventional scientific grounds, because they will always be against you, by their very nature. Again, you can question those rules and substitute new ones for them.

    You talk about unfairness? The unfairness of all this rankles me on a far more fundamental level than it does you (all of you here). You think that it is just a matter of materialists having hijacked the system. I think the system needed no hijacking, is corrupt enough without any materialist futzing the wires, and can only be redeemed by a complete rewrite.

    nullasalus,

    I came here with a idea I think is not expressed here, or not often expressed here. I’ve tried to present my idea in a non-arrogant way, something in which even people with the best self-control do not always succeed.

    I can well imagine Dawkins scoffing at Newton’s idea of arranged comet strikes, but then I can’t imagine any idea outside the regimen of determinism which Dawkins wouldn’t scoff at.

    You’ll forgive me if I don’t take Theistic Evolution as a serious contender on this whole arena? TE adds nothing to mainstream, naturalistic Darwinism except an undetectable “guiding hand” to evolution. As far as I am concerned, TE and Darwinism are the same position. I do not agree with DaveScot that TE is a theory of Intelligent Design. TE is no more than wholesale theistic capitulation to modern science.

    From what post of mine did you start reading my ideas? My judgment of science as being corrupt from its very inception forms the bulk of my very first post, which is also the first post on this web page. Anyone who’s read from this first post should know that my thesis is, that science, being reworked Greek paganism, is not compatible with the Biblical variant of Intelligent Design (or with revealed Biblical theism at all, for that matter).

    Science accepts design by naturalistic agency: an arrowhead can be assumed to be designed, because (as any atheist will tell you) human beings are known to be able to design such things. Science can also accommodate the design of life here on earth by extraterrestrials, because they too would be part of nature. Science is most certainly hostile to the traditional theistic version of Intelligent Design, better known as creationism (e.g. as in Genesis), merely because of the arbitrary rule that a deity, since it is not a natural being, must be excluded from consideration outright. I have argued, that this view is a derivation, a reworking, a development, of the pagan Greek idea that nothing can be assumed to act from without the cosmic order. The Greeks said “cosmos”, modern scientists say “natural universe”, but in the end they all say the same thing: “We cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    I’ll have to acknowledge that my problem here originates in a great part with me: being a revealed religion buff, I see that this forum, which has no problem with a naturalistic intelligent designer, is a little, um, too ecumenic for my taste.

    DaveScot,

    Heh. ;) But not enough for Avi Barda’s thesis to take over the world. Still some way off…

    ‘Bye, I have to go to work. Thanks.

  45. Stochastic evolution according to the MET can be falsified, according to Darwin, if it can be proved something such as the eye could not have evolved by incremental improvements filtered by natural selection.

    This is an impossible standard to meet. We can never prove that we have exhausted possible incremental pathways. However, many if not all best explanations in science cannot be “proven”. Mathematics have proofs. Physics has laws. Biology has theories.

    Karl Popper addressed this in philosophy of science with the idea of falsification. Any hypothesis, even if it can’t be proven, is still scientific if it can be disproven. He illustrated this with the “black swan” hypothesis which I’ve written about here more times than I can remember. ID can be stated in a manner that can, in principle, be falsified. The falsification depends on being able to demonstrate a stochastic process which could, with some reasonable probability, produce an object which ID claims requires design.

    Thus we come to the point where if the chance & necessity theory of organic evolution is science it must have a scientific means, at least in principle, that can falsify it. If design detection is not possible then it’s impossible to falsify the theory of chance & necessity. Either both chance & necessity and design detection are valid science or both are not.

    Personally I think chance & necessity is falsifiable but am not averse to throwing both of them out as non-science. All I’m opposed to are double standards.

  46. While we’re defining stuff, would someone define “design”, ie: a definition the “true scientists” (like true scotsmen?) would accept. Because whereas Dembski has attempted to do so by setting limits, Dawkins is freely permitted to say things have “apparent” design, but escapes before he is ever forced to give a clear definition of design. So it seems a little weasily to say something’s not designed, when you never have to define the term. (me thinks it’s a weasel)

  47. Abraham,

    I’m going off a tangent here…

    Hardly. You’ve been on a tangent since your first post, which was thoroughly and thoughtfully dismantled by the posters on this site. You are Gish revisited.

    But woe is me; I was the last person on this thread to recognize that I was being suckered by an ideological idiot. Clearly you haven’t a damn clue how the information industry operates in the United States, and when told (by a veteran of 30+ years) you haven’t the mental capacity to recognize the truth.

    Judging by your posts, you seam to think that the print (book) industry is the equal (in market penetration) to the mass media. It is not, and never has been. Only a truly naïve first-timer would conflate the two. Take for example a market, say, a middle US market of rank 30 through 50. These are dominant market areas (DMA) with perhaps one to three million residents. Think of Cleveland, Baltimore, Portland, Atlanta, etc.

    If you add up the total number of people who even visit a bookstore (bricks & mortar or on-line) in such a market and compare that number to the reach of the mass media in the same market – the disparity between the two in rather telling. The numbers are in the order of 100 to 1. A SINGLE mass media outlet will reach somewhere near 70 to 85 percent of the population in one week’s time. Week after week, after week. Are you so dense that you think a bookstore reaches anywhere near 700,000 persons in foot traffic (or on-line) each week in a market of one million residents?

    Tell me again what the hell the “patron” argument is about? I’ve sat in newsroom meetings for 30 years (where fallible humans actually decide what the news is) and I want to learn from your arrogant pontifications about the subject. School me, so that I may understand.

    I have to say, that this ties in nicely with my initial thesis

    What are the f*cking odds of that?

    (Moderators, please feel free to delete this response on the grounds that a dumbass pissed me off on a topic so far above him that simple indignation would be incomplete).

  48. Avraham Barda,

    What you’re getting at, I think, was dealt with sometime back in an article in Azure—sorry but I can’t recall the author, title or date.

    The gist of the article might be summed up something like, “Science is pagan, history is Hebrew.” A Greek philosopher was quoted to the effect that the philosopher was not interested in why it rained on a given day in a given year in a particular place, he was interested why it rains period. The Bible, on the other hand, is more concerned with historic events (“And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month …”).

    So you’re right. The philosopher was interested in regularity, the Hebrew in agency. The Covenant was founded on Ten Commandments (aseret ha-devarim), Aristotle identified ten categories of being. The distinction survived in the Jewish concern with halacha versus the Christian interest in theology.

    And so it has emerged in the secularism of our time. Physics, which speaks of the ultimate regularities, is the science they all envy: “physics envy” we call it. And history—these days history is literally loathed. “It’s not science,” I can hear them say, and therefore that which the historian says has no place in a court of law, or anywhere in the public square.

    It’s technology, really, that gave physics its prestige. The materialists tried to cash in on that prestige—that’s why the big argument over just what is “science”.

    But I think you are making too sharp a distinction. Science once meant simply knowledge, and that included history, this being back when theology was “the queen of the sciences.” And let’s not forget the Hebrew contribution to Western Science. The Hebrews contributed the idea of progress, which was unique in the entire world. Marx and the Communists hung on to that idea—Hitler did not—and neither has our post-Sixties world. The eternal return—all cultures were tied into it—but not the Bible. And let’s not forget the Jewish involvement in modern science—just count up the Nobel prizes in physics that have gone to Jews.

    Here, have a look at this from David Klinghoffer in regard to the Jews and Darwin. Klinghoffer supports ID, and he’s even written a book (How Would God Vote? Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative) where he warns American conservatives that they cannot prevail if their arguments are couched in the language of the materialist Left. They must use the Bible, as formerly, or they lose. I believe he’s right.

  49. Upright BiPed,

    You could make a good Darwinist. Your condescension and your intolerance to those you disagree with are positively Dawkinsesque. Your easiness in resorting to ad-hominem attacks on those whose opinions you don’t accept is worthy of the best (worst) of CSICOP editorial pieces. Truly I can look in wonderment on how those who claim persecution are so easily turned persecutors. If you are a faithful representation of the ID movement, then I shudder to think of an ID takeover; it would be the Stalin to Tsar Nikolai, the Khomeini to Iran’s Shah, a tyranny making the former tyranny pale in comparison.

    Rude,

    If Jewish thought has contributed to the idea of progress, then it was only by misinterpretation. Judaism is not Christianity or Islam or Bahaism, which hold there to be a progress in revelation that nullifies a former revelation. Judaism is the quintessential “revelation once and for all” religion, accepting nothing which comes after it.

    As for Jewish nobel prize winners, you will notice that they invariably consist of wayward Jews. Einstein was a pantheist in belief, not a believer in Judaism; in traditional Jewish eyes, he was a heretic. Klinghoffer notes rightly that most of the signatories of the letter declaring the compatibility of Darwinism and Judaism are liberal clergy, and it figures.

    The Bible must not only be used, it must be exclusive. I hear a lot of traditional theologians express, rightly, indignation at the fact, that Wellhausen’s JEDP hypothesis (Higher Criticism) is allowed to override the clear word of the Bible that it was authored by God, by Him alone; where is the indignation that science is allowed to override the clear word of the Bible regarding the world God has created? The big problem is, that science is absolutely free; it is not reined against raising heretical questions, questions that cast doubt on what God says. To wrap this up: ID’s major flaw is, that it does purport to be a science; that, in doing that, it partakes of the major curse of science, which is its freedom from revelation, its freedom to go ways that are contrary to what God has revealed to us. Science is a freethought movement, only more insidious than those which are explicitly marked as freethought movements, for it surreptitiously slips Greek paganism even into traditional, faith-holding minds. The Bible or science. Truth or lies. God’s word or man’s philosophy. ID is a halting between the two opinions. You must make a choice.

  50. Avraham Barda

    Please excuse the excesses demonstrated in some responses here. We are used to imposters sneaking in who are not really interested in ID, except to make us out to be fools. This is no excuse for rudeness, but it may explain the intensity of emotions expressed. I hope you will not go away.

    By the way, John Lennox is very well versed in Ancient Greek thinking, and he is an exceedingly gracious fellow. You may care to google and listen to his debate with Richard Dawkins or Michael Shermer.

  51. idnet.com.au,

    I couldn’t care less about incivility, but I may be going for a more pertinent reason: I don’t think I fit here. Uncommon Descent is clearly an outfit that wishes to do conventional science, meaning science without regard to where it could lead. Its only difference with the mainstream is its acceptance of design in nature; other than, it is the same.

    Thank you for your recommendation of John Lennox. I will listen to it, if it not now then after the coming [Jewish] holidays.

  52. AB

    If you are a faithful representation of the ID movement, then I shudder to think of an ID takeover; it would be the Stalin to Tsar Nikolai, the Khomeini to Iran’s Shah, a tyranny making the former tyranny pale in comparison.

    Dressing the part of Drama Queen doesn’t become you.

  53. “Rael’s model, whatever its strengths and weaknesses, is an Intelligent Design model.” Of course, but we all know he’s a looney and a fraud out for sex, $$$ and domination. Also Rael is hardly the originator or sole bearer of such views.

    “Crick’s and Hoyle’s model, which assumes evolution of life, just not on earth as Darwinists do, is not an Intelligent Design model at all. Crick and Hoyle are impertinent to the ID/Darwinism debate.” Of course it’s not an intelligent design model, they have merely pushed the fog of Darwinism elsewhere.

    Nevertheless, the “unknown designer” element is clearly there and Hoyle is one the first moderns to actually use the term “intelligent design”.
    I re-quote Hoyle with some bold :

    So if one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that bio-materials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as high a possibility of being true.

    Thus to say they are impertinent to ID is incorrect. SETI is ID methodology under a materialist paradigm. ID methodology does not apply only to origins.

    “…There is not much to take pride in here.” Very wrong. Creationism is still very alive and well for one thing, and being the root of true science (not the blind materialist version) is indeed something to joy over. Just as much so as being a Jew is for being the carriers of the greatest moral law ever written, the covenants and because they are the brothers of the greatest Jew (Yeshua) – and that in spite of the dispersion and the long disappearance of the nation of Israel from the world.

    “…expedience forces the change of its definition (which is: once every couple of years).” Which is about normal for any scientific theory, (but ID’s definition has only been refined).

    “In addition, I would have thought that condescension toward the less knowledgeable was a monopoly of the materialists.” Is this a, ‘poor me someone doesn’t think I know much about ID’, psychological defense?

    “ID is fine, I just wish it was more definite on things. There is too much vagueness, a lot of things left undefined.” Perhaps you could be less vague yourself, more definite or specific on exactly what you mean by this statement? Then we might be able to answer to what you see as vague.

    Peace

  54. Avraham Barda:

    I have been following your posts with great interest. I’d like to begin with a quote of yours relating to Judaism:

    “Traditional Jewish thought does not recognize the concept of ‘laws of nature.’ In traditional Jewish thought, ‘nature’ has the following definition: ‘Miracles to which we have grown accustomed.’ The parting of the Red Sea is a miracle, and since it does not happen every day, we call it such. But the setting of the sun is also a miracle, but we call it ‘nature’ only because we’ve gotten used to it.”

    When I read this, I was struck by the memory of something I had read elsewhere, long ago:

    “When we are asked why eggs turn to birds or fruits fall in autumn, we must answer exactly as the fairy godmother would answer if Cinderella asked her why mice turned to horses or her clothes fell from her at twelve o’clock. We must answer that it is MAGIC. It is not a ‘law,’ for we do not understand its general formula. It is not a necessity, for though we can count on it happening practically, we have no right to say that it must always happen. It is no argument for unalterable law (as Huxley fancied) that we count on the ordinary course of things. We do not count on it; we bet on it. We risk the remote possibility of a miracle as we do that of a poisoned pancake or a world-destroying comet. We leave it out of account, not because it is a miracle, and therefore an impossibility, but because it is a miracle, and therefore an exception. All the terms used in the science books, ‘law,’ ‘necessity,’ ‘order,’ ‘tendency,’ and so on, are really unintellectual, because they assume an inner synthesis, which we do not possess. The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy books, ‘charm,’ ‘spell,’ ‘enchantment.’ They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. A tree grows fruit because it is a MAGIC tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched. The sun shines because it is bewitched.

    “I deny altogether that this is fantastic or even mystical. We may have some mysticism later on; but this fairy-tale language about things is simply rational and agnostic. It is the only way I can express in words my clear and definite perception that one thing is quite distinct from another; that there is no logical connection between flying and laying eggs. It is the man who talks about ‘a law’ that he has never seen who is the mystic.

    “…[P]erhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”

    “Who wrote that?” you may be wondering. G. K. Chesterton in “Orthodoxy” (1908), available online at http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/b.....odoxy.html . The above quote is taken from chapter 4, “The Ethics of Elfland.”

    I respectfully submit that Chesterton’s sentiments are not so far removed from your own.

    I’d also like to hear your thoughts on an online article by Eric Snow, entitled, “Christianity: A Cause of Modern Science?” at http://www.rae.org/jaki.html .

    Snow contends that the Greeks, Chinese, Indians and Muslims were unable to develop the notion of a law of nature, because of pervasive metaphysical beliefs in those cultures which made the notion of a law of nature unthinkable. He approvingly quotes Alfred North Whitehead in support of his claim that the rationality of God was linked to the rise of science in the West:

    “I do not think, however, that I have even yet brought out the greatest contribution of medievalism to the formation of the scientific movement. I mean the inexpungable belief that every detailed occurrence can be correlated with its antecedents in a perfectly definite manner, exemplifying general principles… When we compare this tone of thought in Europe with the attitude of other civilizations when left to themselves, there seems but one source for its origin. It must come from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher. Every detail was supervised and ordered: the search could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality.”

    Snow traces the idea of a clockmaker God back to Europe in the twelfth century. At first glance, this notion might seem to be utterly opposed to Chesterton’s intuition of regularities being MAGICAL, but it is not. What Chesterton wished to insist on was the RADICAL CONTINGENCY of natural law, against those who falsely imagine that there is an inner necessity at the heart of things. The clock metaphor does not in any way remove this contingency; all it does is simplify it. God, as the Divine Mind behind the cosmos, works His magic as simply, lazily and efficiently as possible. Hence Buridan, who anticipated the idea of inertia, could write that “God, when He created the world, moved each of the celestial orbs as He pleased, and in moving them He impressed in them impetuses which moved them without His having to move them any more except by the method of general influence whereby He concurs as a co-agent in all things which take place; ‘for thus on the seventh day He rested from all work…’ [Gen. 2:2]”

    Snow’s article explains why “[t]he cosmologists [of the twelfth century] felt certain that all of nature was fundamentally rational because the all-knowing God had made it so,” but this in no way prevented them from believing that God could intervene in Nature when working special miracles, such as the parting of the Red Sea, or Elijah’s bringing the widow’s son back to life. Laws of nature are indeed miracles to which we have grown accustomed, because God uses the vehicle of mathematics (the language we use to describe these ‘laws’) to accomplish His GENERAL intentions in the world we live in.

    I understand that you have a strong background in Greek philosophy. Do you have any comments you wish to make on Snow’s article, and on the quote from Chesterton?

  55. It is interesting that Avraham has offended our ID sensibilities in several different contexts. Each of us has seized the opportunity to clear things up based on individual perceptions about which of his errors matter most. As a result, multiple paradigms are flying around all over the place. In my judgment, his two most important errors are these:

    [A] He believes that science has not been “corrupted,” because he doesn’t acknowledged that its definitions have been changed. In short, he is ignoring the fact that “methdological naturalism” is a novelty. Never before has there ever been a RULE forbidding this or that methdology. It is easy to prove that the academy has indeed changed the definition of science and corrupted it. In all this confusion, he has not been held accountable for failing acknowledging this. In that sense, the confusion has become his friend.

    [B] He believes that it is impossible to make a design inference without assuming design apriori. Indeed, he does not seem to know of what a design inference consists. All this talk about being offended and “wondering if he fits in here” is helping him evade that issue as well.

  56. Avrahan,

    By all means, please allow me to make it more comfortable for you. I agree we should limit the search for rational conclusions. We should do this because you have told us it has always been so.

    Now, if you do decide to hang around, please feel free to actually address any of the questions I asked. Since you seem keen on media operations, perhaps you could provide your opinion as to what the mass media’s responsibility to public discourse is when scientific discoveries are made that lead trained specialists to conclude that the new evidence refutes, or potentially refutes, prior knowledge.

    I will be happy to provide you a copy of the appropriate Code of Ethics if you think it will help.

    - – - – - – -

    My apologies to the forum.

  57. AB

    Since I was diligent enough to quote Crick & Orgel to support my statement that they hypothesized an advanced civilization which sent biotic material to the earth I’m going to have to go ahead and ask that you provide me with a quote backing up your assertion that Crick assumed the advanced civilization was evolved. This is a bit on the personal side for me as Francis Crick’s son Michael was a business partner of mine for a few years in the 1990′s and it annoys me when someone appears to be putting words in his father’s mouth that he never said.

  58. Av — If by “the idea of progress” you thought I meant the replacement revelations of Esau and Ishmael, you misunderstood.

    You say, “The Bible must not only be used, it must be exclusive.” I agree in regard to the primacy of the Word. But reality can sometimes trump—not the Word—but our understanding of it. Yes, Chazal have halachic authority, but are you saying their interpretions are always completely infallible? Is that the faith of your fathers?

    Intelligent Design is an intellectual movement, not an organization, not a church. I have never believed Darwin’s nonsense, but neither was I ever able to cozy up to the creationists, be it George McCready Price back in the Fifties or Henry Morris or the others in the Seventies, and not Hugh Ross and his “Reasons to Believe” in the Eighties. These were “whole package” organizations—you swallow it all or you’re a heretic. I think I would shy from any narrow, sectarian movement within Judaism too if it presented its interpretations of the texts as infallible.

    ID begins where many should be able to agree—with detecting design—which ought to be kindergarten—but whose fault is it but our own if we as individuals don’t move beyond the kindergarten? Finding God involves more than biology—there’s putting the text to the test, there’s history, archaeology—you want an organization that pronounces on all those things?

    Think how hard it is just to get supposedly intelligent people to agree that it is OK even to attempt to detect design!

    The cell may not have the ineffable name written on it, but it does cry out DESIGN! Is it wrong to put the Tanakh to the test? And why mock those who come out with corroboration?

    Lest those not familiar with Jewish Orthodoxy be left with the wrong impression, let me quote from a little book my son picked up at the Kotel a few years back (Isaac J. Brandstaedter, Evolution, Science and Judaism, Jerusalem: The Kest-Lebovits Jewish-Heritage and Roots Library, 2000, pp. 48-49):

    A remarkable modern defender of the thesis of intelligent design of life is the biochemist Michael J. Behe. In this book “Darwin’s black box” (1996), he argues convincingly that the knowledge gained lately in the domain of his profession invalidates the arguments brought against Paley by his antagonists, both ancient and presently living. At the hand of several examples presented in some detail, he shows that what is already known of the biochemical workings within a living cell constitutes sufficient proof that intelligent design must have been at work (even if knowledge of who was the designer is lacking). And, he adds, there can be no doubt that future research will only augment the weight of his argument.

    In my judgment, the scope for amplifying and extending Behe’s proof is already practically limitless. Examples from cell biology, corroborating the ‘design thesis’, can be multiplied at will (almost ‘ad infinitum’).

    To believe that, notwithstanding, the unfolding of life came about by “blind” stochastic physico-chemical processes, assisted by a principle of “natural selection” (a principle that, as said, is much under controversy nowadays), should indeed be much harder than to believe in “purposeful design” deriving from this “World of Spirit”. In fact, it should be hard to the uttermost.

    You say, “The Bible or science. Truth or lies. God’s word or man’s philosophy. ID is a halting between the two opinions. You must make a choice.” The Baalim of our day are the atheistic secularisms that dominate the academy, the courts, the media—not the seekers who are friends of the Torah. There’s a time to engage the world and not hide from it (Proverbs 26:4-5). You may not care what the Egyptians think, but Moses assumed that God did (Exodus 32:12).

    And yes, I know the tribe is gun shy about agreeing with the goy. But what if once in a while the goy is right—do you disagree with him then?

  59. Borne,

    I do not think there’s a problem with my understanding of ID. I have no difficulty in grasping the idea, that ID is about making the inference of design in living things by means of mainly information theory. In this thread, I never set out to debate ID itself, or its definition. And I did not deny ID its status as a legitimate scientific enterprise either. The question that I raised, from the very first post, is if science is worthy of defense at all. The question, if ID, by being science, even though a rival to the mainstream, is not ending up serving a hostile agena even if it wins.

    Please bear with an analogy here: I see various religions competing in apologetics over the status of women. Their apologists extol them as the best at women’s rights, and downplay others as oppressive. When they do that, they check against modern ideas of what “women’s rights” means. At the end of the day, the winner of that debate is not the religion with the best case, and the losers are not the religions with the worst case, but the winner is the tin god of Political Correctness to which they all defer, and the losers are all the traditional religions. Now back to the subject of the analogy: ID science and materialist science are now in a state of duking it out which of them is the best science. People on either side of this debate think either ID or materialism will be the winner, and the opposite the loser. What I’m trying to say is, that, no matter which wins, science will be the winner, and faith will be the loser. Both sides are deferring to a third party. Unless you believe in science for science’s sake, a lot of time is being wasted no matter what side you are on.

    vjtorley,

    Chesterton’s writing is indeed a very Jewish sentiment. “He [God] renews every day in his goodness the act of Genesis,” says Jewish prayer, in the morning service.

    Snow’s talk of God working “His magic as simply, lazily and efficiently as possible” is disrespectful theology, a prime example of the basic heresy and freethinking inherited from the pagan Greeks. According to the traditional Jewish view, it is not just that there is no inner necessity in God’s workings in “nature”; there is no necessity at all. The compounding of hydrogen and oxygen to form water is something that does not happen by either necessity or law according to Jewish thought, but something done individually for each case of that compounding, every time.

    Judaism did not come to the world to bring rationality (a concept that itself originates in Greek thought). Judaism came to bring God’s truth, that there is only God the Creator and ruler of the universe and that paganism, deism, pantheism, atheism and any other philosophy that denies that is false. It matters little, that atheists today say Jewish belief is as irrational to hold today as paganism was; rationality was never the goal. Judaism doesn’t bring God as an explanation. “What does God explain?” ask the atheists. What do you explain? Why did people have to conjure up the President of the United States in order to explain things? Now these questions are patently ridiculous: you and the president don’t explain anything, nor were you devised as explanations; you just are. And so is God. ID, being part of science, plays along with the heretical assumption that God is an explanation, and here I see the danger in it.

    StephenB,

    I have acknowledged, and you seem to be steadfast in wishing not to respond to me, that methodological naturalism is indeed new but its demise would hardly solve the problem, because methodological naturalism is just a refinement, a restriction, of the Greek-derived dictum methodological determinism, i.e. the doctrine of closed cosmic system allowing no outside input. So suppose you manage to dethrone methodological naturalism. You still are left with a methodology that, while not wedded to naturalism, is anti-miracle.

    I deny, what you assert, that it is impossible to make a design inference without assuming design a priori. I just think design by itself isn’t enough, because it’s indiscriminate in where it leads (yes, I will say “Raelians” again).

    Upright BiPed,

    You’re a freethinker. I have made it clear that freethinkers and I could never see eye to eye (nothing personal, just a difference in methodology). To each his own.

    DaveScot,

    I would have thought, that the term “Drama Queen”, and kindred examples of fashionable internet lingo, would never see the light of day here. I am disappointed. Now as for Crick and Orgel, this is a bit unfair what you’re doing right now: I was working with what you told me. You told me, and gave me links, to a theory of Directed Panspermia with no notion of any intelligence behind design, only intelligence behind transportation. Logic can only decree, that that is therefore not a theory of intelligent design. So now Borne, in his above post, quotes Hoyle saying, “one arrives at the conclusion that bio-materials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design,” and this, this is what I need, what you should have provided me with, in order for me to agree with you that you are talking about a theory of intelligent design.

    Unless I had made a reading error like skipping a line or something (I don’t think so, I read the sources you gave me a few times), then I wish you would not fault me for drawing a conclusion based on partial evidence.

    Rude,

    Chazal are the magisterium of Jewish interpretation. Private interpretation is forbidden in Orthodox Judaism. When you read portions of the Torah, you never read them alone, you read them along with their authoritative interpretation, so that you may not go astray after your own mind. That really is the faith of my fathers.

    The creationists, whatever their flaws, are right about one basic thing: they hold, that God’s word is authoritative on everything it touches, thus using the same standard for Biblical creation (“Science cannot trump the doctrine of six-day creation”) as for Biblical revelation (“The JEDP hypothesis cannot trump the doctrine of the revelation at Sinai”). They realize, that it is inconsistent to apply the doctrine of divine authority in one area but not in the other.

    ID, as I see people put it here, is a science like all science, purporting to go where the evidence leads. But the heart is deceitful, says the prophet, and even idolators can find “evidence” they require in order to justify their way. The a posteriori design inference is strong, I have never denied that (even tho some implicate otherwise), but it is still the subject of debate (“Design or designoid?”). Now, all faith involves taking risks, but ID’s risk seem unbalanced against its reward, which is merely an unspecified designer. Creationism carries a risk, but the reward is the confirmation of the truth of the whole religion, a reward well worth the risk.

    Maimonides talked of “hearing the truth from whoever said it.” (In his time, it meant mainly Aristotle.) The Vilna Gaon in his day prohibited the study of humanities but permitted the study of natural sciences, on the grounds that the former tended to lead to heresy while the latter was safe. I don’t think the Vilna Gaon would say the same today: even the natural sciences tend to lead the believer astray. I doubt Maimonides would think the postmodern philosophers of today have truth worth borrowing from. Things are changed. And you must understand this about Judaism: the Amalek which we are commanded to wipe out is no longer a nation, but doubt. Doubt is the great enemy that heaps scorn on God’s throne. ID doesn’t do enough to dispel doubts. It opens a small opening to belief, but really a small one. It could lead elsewhere than traditional faith.

  60. I’ve gone from the rigidity of Khomeini to a free-thinker in less than a single 24 hour period.

    Odd though…there seems to be a theme repeated throughout this threasd – that being, you tend to resist acknowledging the information that disputes your views.

    By the way, Wegener’s observations were correct, as are Denton’s and Behe’s.

    (…the difference being they do not suffer from a lack of evidence)

  61. —–“Avraham: I have acknowledged, and you seem to be steadfast in wishing not to respond to me, that methodological naturalism is indeed new but its demise would hardly solve the problem, because methodological naturalism is just a refinement, a restriction, of the Greek-derived dictum methodological determinism, i.e. the doctrine of closed cosmic system allowing no outside input. So suppose you manage to dethrone methodological naturalism. You still are left with a methodology that, while not wedded to naturalism, is anti-miracle.

    [A] I have responded to you by pointing out that you are incorrect. By calling “methodological naturalism” a Greek-derived dictum you mischaracterize the argument and obfuscate the issue. “Methdological naturalism” is a new development, not a derivation of an old one. It is a novelty because it is a RULE. No rule like this has ever existed before. No such rule can be a refinement because it is the rule itself that defines its essence. It says, in effect, that no researcher MAY investigate design in nature and continue to be a scientist. And yes, you continue to miss the point. Newton would never have said such a thing. Indeed, Aristotle would never have said such a thing. No one has ever said such a thing, because it is not rational. Science chooses its methodology to fit the challenge it faces, and challenges change through time.

    The fact that earlier scientists emphasized natural causes does not mean that they believed that nothing else can be science, or that there are no other kinds of causes. Their decision to focus on natural causes was based on two things: {a}The information they had at the time suggested that focusing on natural causes was the optimum way to answer the current questions that they were asking. {b}They were intent on avoiding INAPPROPRIATE theological explanations. It would never have occurred to them, indeed they would have rejected the notion, that either there are no other kinds of causes or that they may not be studied in the name of science. If they were living today and witnessing the growth of information theory, they would have adjusted their sights to this change just as they adjusted their sights to the changes of their own time. The last thing that they or any true scientist would do is ignore evidence in the name of tradition or to insist that their approach to science is definitive.

    —–“I deny, what you assert, that it is impossible to make a design inference without assuming design a priori. I just think design by itself isn’t enough, because it’s indiscriminate in where it leads (yes, I will say “Raelians” again).”

    [B] You are not thinking this thing through. Consider the earlier paragraph I just wrote. If you saw it written in the sand on the planet Mars, you would draw a design inference. To be more precise, you would conclude that it did not occur as a result of natural causes, just as you conclude that the paragraph I am writing now did not occur as a result of natural causes. Appeal to “Raelians” all you want, a design inference would not be a design inference if the assumption of design preceded it; it would be a tautology. It would be the same of saying [A] I assume design and therefore [B] I conclude design. That is not what would happen if you found a well-designed paragraph written in the sand on Mars. You would observe a pattern and from that pattern you would infer the presence of an intelligent agent. To assume design from the start would be to defeat the entire intellectual exercise.

  62. Upright BiPed,

    The two are not necessarily in contradiction. Karl Marx, for example, was of both types.

    You seem to have a penchant for holding people to every tiny word they say, and demanding absolute consistency.

    I know Wegener’s observations were correct. But I also know, that unlike you, he did not spend inordinate time whining about the “control of information by the elites.”

    As for resisting acknowledging information that disputes my views, I see that you, like StephenB, tend to continue accusing me of the same thing even after I’ve demonstrated that the accusation is false. Like any normal personal would be, I’m tired of banging my head against stubborn walls. I’m willing to state my positions three times, and clarify it no end to those who wish for clarification; I am unwilling to have to state my position over and over again in parrot fashion, to people who misinterpret my position over and over again in the same fashion, and similarly I am unwilling to issue a clarification if people take that clarification to be a change in my position (“Look, you’ve changed your position AGAIN!”). Respect begins with respect for your fellow debater’s actual words.

    StephenB,

    Good, you finally make an assertion that doesn’t misinterpret me. You say methodological naturalism is novel in being a rule. The ancestor of methodological naturalism, which I dubbed as methodological determinism (the cosmos a closed systen with no input from outside possible), was also a rule. It may not have been formalized, it may not have been written down, but rules never need to be. An unwritten rule can be just as onerous a dead hand as a written, formalized one. The believing creationist scientist shares one common belief with his Darwinist enemy: both, upon losing their keys, would discount outright the idea that some demon took it and hid it. This is the heritage of Greek methodological determinism, and it has been an unwritten but firm rule for science since its inception.

    You say earlier scientists avoided non-natural causes in science in order to maximize, optimize their answering capabilities. Excellent! Exactly this the materialists do, only with more restrictions than the early scientists. But take away the materialists’ system and you still have restrictions. Restrictions which cut the faith to pieces, because they deny God’s absolute sovereignty over His creation.

    I have no problem with the notion that a design inference is an a posteriori conclusion borne out by the forensics. This is not the issue at all. The issue is, that ID speaks of nothing beyond the inference of a designer (not even number, so it could be multiple designers for all we know). Being a big tent means that ID can’t go beyond science. The reason I bring the Raelians is, that there is nothing to prevent someone who infers design from becoming one of them. Or a Deist 18th-century style, or a polytheist ID advocate like Cicero, or… anything. ID might as well be called ABD, for Anything But Darwinism.

    I said, that I have no problem with a post factum design inference. Do you accept that there are other ways to posit design? OK, believing in design because the Bible says so is not an inference, and could be a tautology as you say; but why does that make it illegitimate? In wishing to adhere to Greek-derived science and logic, ID works hand in glove with Darwinism in discounting (or denying altogether) the power of revelation. As I said before: ID is ecumenical to a fault.

  63. AB

    I would have thought, that the term “Drama Queen”, and kindred examples of fashionable internet lingo, would never see the light of day here. I am disappointed.

    Drama Queen is fashionable internet lingo? Huh. I’m pretty sure I was using the term before Al Gore invented the internet. Be that as it may I didn’t expect to see anyone compare UprightBiped to Stalin or Khomeini. I guess we all have our crosses to bear.

    Look, we already knew that ID was ecumenical. That’s why we call it the big tent. It’s not “Anything But Darwinism”. It’s design detection and it’s employed daily by everyone both consciously and unconsciously, formally and informally, to discriminate between the intentional and the unintentional. I think the most insightful thing you said here so far was that you don’t seem to be fitting in. I agree. Goodbye.

  64. AB, writes: “The issue is, that ID speaks of nothing beyond the inference of a designer (not even number, so it could be multiple designers for all we know). Being a big tent means that ID can’t go beyond science. The reason I bring the Raelians is, that there is nothing to prevent someone who infers design from becoming one of them. Or a Deist 18th-century style, or a polytheist ID advocate like Cicero, or… anything.”

    What you say here is exactly correct. To which I respond, “so what”?

    I think I understand you now. It seems that your problem is that ID does not make claims that it cannot make, which, it seems to me, is a very odd problem to have.

    Yes, ID does not specify who/what the designer is. Why? Simple. Plain old ordinary humility. ID is not a theological or philosophical project. It’s sole purpose is to investigate the empirical data and make reasonable inferences from that data. Where people go after the data has spoken is not for ID to say.

    As DaveScot has already demonstrated, the data do not allow us to say much, as an empirical matter, about the nature of the designer other than he/it

    1) has a deep understanding of chemistry and physics

    2) is capable of abstract thought

    3) is ability to manipulate matter to bring abstract thought into physical reality.

    Because ID is at its core an empirical investigation, it must per force stop where the data stops. I don’t know why you find that so difficult to understand.

    This is no to say that the metaphysical/religious implications of ID are unimportant. ID lends strong support to those who believe in a creator God.

    But to criticize ID because it is not something it cannot — by its very nature — be is more than passing strange.

  65. —–Avraham: “Good, you finally make an assertion that doesn’t misinterpret me. You say methodological naturalism is novel in being a rule. The ancestor of methodological naturalism, which I dubbed as methodological determinism (the cosmos a closed systen with no input from outside possible), was also a rule. It may not have been formalized, it may not have been written down, but rules never need to be.”

    Actually, you have things turned around again. It was the enlightenment thinking that culminated with Darwinism and the elimination of teleology from science that was new. Eliminating final and formal causes was part of the change that occurred with modern science. Intelligent design constitutes a return to tradition, a renewal of formal and final causes, considerations, by the way, that Newton had made a part of his repertoire. Indeed, Aristotle included efficient, material, formal, and final causes in his study of natural phenomena. Modern science chose to ignore formal and final causes, a point that clearly refutes your assertion about the sameness of science throughout the ages.

    ——An unwritten rule can be just as onerous a dead hand as a written, formalized one. The believing creationist scientist shares one common belief with his Darwinist enemy: both, upon losing their keys, would discount outright the idea that some demon took it and hid it. This is the heritage of Greek methodological determinism, and it has been an unwritten but firm rule for science since its inception.

    We are speaking now of a rule that can formally single out and disfranchise one group of researchers from the scientific community. An unwritten rule can hardly be as onerous as that one, because unwritten rules aren’t used to persecute scientists, slander them, and ruin their careers. There has never been any such rule until now. There is no historical tradition of disfranchising scientists for not following rules or using the proper methods for reasons that should be obvious: Only the scientist can know which methods he needs to serve his research question.

    —–“You say earlier scientists avoided non-natural causes in science in order to maximize, optimize their answering capabilities. Excellent! Exactly this the materialists do, only with more restrictions than the early scientists.”

    They avoided non-natural causes as a means of solving a problem in context, they did not mean for it to define science once and for all. Again, you ignore the purpose of science which is to answer questions about nature and solve problems. No methodology can answer all questions and solve all problems. The continuity that you hope for is there is not there.

    —-“I have no problem with the notion that a design inference is an a posteriori conclusion borne out by the forensics. This is not the issue at all.”

    You made quite a thing of it for a long as you could.

    —-“The issue is, that ID speaks of nothing beyond the inference of a designer (not even number, so it could be multiple designers for all we know). Being a big tent means that ID can’t go beyond science.The reason I bring the Raelians is, that there is nothing to prevent someone who infers design from becoming one of them. Or a Deist 18th-century style, or a polytheist ID advocate like Cicero, or… anything. ID might as well be called ABD, for Anything But Darwinism.

    Sounds good to me.

    —–“I said, that I have no problem with a post factum design inference.”

    Actually, you did have a problem with it for quite a while.

    —–Do you accept that there are other ways to posit design?

    Of course. One can perceive it through intuition in a non-scientific way. One can also “believe” it as a matter of faith.

    ——“OK, believing in design because the Bible says so is not an inference, and could be a tautology as you say; but why does that make it illegitimate?”

    It doesn’t make it illegitimate; it just makes it something other than ID. One can posit design two ways from the Bible. According to Romans 1: and Psalm 19, God’s handiwork has been made manifest, which means that it can be perceived through the use of unaided reason. One can also simply believe in the teachings of Christianity and take design on faith. The whole point Romans 1: and Psalm 19, however, is that faith is not needed to draw a design inference. This, however, is not the same as a formal ID inference, which is consistent with, but not required by Scripture. So there are three levels of accepting design in nature: [A] (Formal) scientific inference based on empirical science (ID), [B] (Informal) perceived design inference based on reason and observation as taught in the Bible [C] Design based on religious faith, as also taught in Bible.

    —–“In wishing to adhere to Greek-derived science and logic, ID works hand in glove with Darwinism in discounting (or denying altogether) the power of revelation. As I said before: ID is ecumenical to a fault.”

    According to the Bible, God reveals himself in Scripture and in nature; the two revelations are consistent and mutually confirming. That ID “wishes to adhere to Greek-derived science and logic” is a characterization of yours that doesn’t capture the essence of a formal design inference. ID wishes to be reasonable, no more, no less. The Greeks did not invent logic; they simply discovered it. It has always been there for anyone who wants to use it.

  66. Dave, Barry, etal …

    It’s been interesting sitting on the sidelines and reading Barda’s comments. He is another who has come and voiced his thoughts, which we all welcome, but again it shows how many trailerloads of worldview we carry and, at times, dump onto the blogosphere.

    The first issue I’d like to raise is the continung misunderstanding of what ID is and what it isn’t. (Although our beliefs do not always line up on aspects of the mechanisms, etc. we have core understandings of ID as a theory and ID as a movement) Can we have a link at the top that outlines these in a little more detail for the first-timers who don’t seem to ‘get it’.

    Secondly … yes, some will not get it, but it may help those who are interested-enough to research before they start the same conversation.

    Even a broader definition at this site of the parameters in which ID operates would certainly be an interesting work-in-progress.

    The term ‘evolution’ works as does the concepts of the illusionist’s smoke and mirrors. Let’s define ID – as best we can – so that the evobots can continue to try and portray us as they do, but we can rest assured that the definition we apply is more or less consistent and on show … Hopefully this, with time, will provide a more solid foundation for us, here, to work from.

    Hmm?

  67. There’s a tendency to force ID into theological/religious territory (from what I’ve seen on this blog) by two distinct groups:

    1) The religiously sanctimonious: those who insist that because ID has potentially divine implications, that it should be subject to the direction and control of a fundamental elite, a self-appointed religious/intellectual caste/priesthood. Gerry Rzeppa was a perfect example of this — unless ID adherents were practicing Christianity (and Intelligent Design) according to his convoluted notions of religious devotion, they were either compromisers, complacent, heretical, or Laodicean. Theistic Evolutionists are often the other part of this first category. Many of these insist that ID is bad theology and bad science at the same time, because it dares to suggest that God’s actions are detectable in tests and inferences of natural effects. This view imposes a preference for the behavior of God that is based on convenience rather than special revelation.

    2) Chance worshipers: those who insist that only the study of effects with natural causes is “scientific,” and that there can exist only such causes. This group is consciously or unconsciously embarrassed that the chain of natural causes ends at a quantum singularity, for which there can only be a supernatural explanation. They attempt to conflate ID with religious creationism, in order to bully adherents into legal compliance. These must attempt to force ID theories into fully embracing their potential implications — or risk exposing the lie of materialism: that all ‘natural’ effects can be traced to natural causes.

    I’m not entirely sure if Avraham is in one of these two groups, or if he is an exception to the rule; however when you factor the meat out of his arguments, they sure seem (to me) to resemble the tired old stereotype of convenience: ID = religion.

  68. AussieID

    There’s a lot of confusion about what is meant by “materialism”. Classical materialism is deader than a doornail. It was killed by quantum mechanics, particle physics, and theoretical physics. We now know there are particles which don’t take up space, have zero rest mass, and don’t obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle. We have experimental proof of spooky action at a distance, particles which have identical quantum states, particles which sometimes behave as waves and are in more than one place at the same time, and all sorts of other weird stuff like everything being made of vibrating strings that exist in 10 or more dimensions. Adding insult to injury physics is incomplete as we don’t have a theory of quantum gravity. Making matters even worse we now believe that about 70% of the “stuff” that makes up the universe is some form of exotic energy which physics can’t yet describe and is called, for want of any meaningful term, dark energy. This dark energy is only known through its gravitational interaction with normal matter. It’s thought to homogenously permeate everything everywhere. Maybe “God” is made of dark energy and influences the material world through quantum gravity. Who knows. All I know is classical materialism is dead yet there are hoardes of scientists who think it’s still alive and well.

  69. The sad part is that the people who say that ID is NOT scientific are the same people who think that happy accidents/ sheer dumb luck, is scientific- although they will deny that their position is happy accidents/ sheer dumb luck even as it is being demonstrated to them.

    To Avraham Barda,

    Even the anti-ID position relies on something beyond nature as natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for it.

  70. Thank God for AB! UD hasn’t been this much fun in months.

    AB’s line of reasoning is perfectly reasonable if we keep in mind the distinction between natural curiosity and the cosmological ambition of Big Science. There’s nothing corrupt about looking at a cell and seeing what’s in it and speculating about how it works—as long as this enterprise doesn’t cause our “scientist” to become infatuated with himself and his theories.

    That’s not what happens in Big Science, however—and this includes Newton and Galileo. Those who engage in Big Science want their theories to have transcendent significance. They want to be known as “scientists” who have obtained knowledge of the nature of being. This enterprise repeats the first sin and is therefore inherently corrupt, from the perspective articulated by AB.

    Big Science is like the Tower of Babel. Men build themselves up in a futile attempt to diminish the difference between themselves and God. Its own ambition causes it to succumb to a confusion of languages—it is divided just like Plato and Aristotle between theory and observation, and this divide cannot be overcome.

    The Tower principle is operative in this very thread. Some want ID to reflect Yahweh. Some want it to reflect an unspecified designer along the lines of the Greeks. Some don’t want it to reflect a “designer” at all—they have a Gnostic view of design. The more we talk, the less force we have. The Tower melts away at its foundations.

    AB’s provocative stance has made UD readable again. Hopefully he won’t get himself booted off by the Prickly One.

  71. Avraham:

    “That really is the faith of my fathers.”

    Forgive me if I’ve slighted your faith—it was not intentional. Even though we end up agreeing to disagree, you made for some lively commentary here (some 70 posts in quick order). I agree with you that God’s word is the final word—logic alone, natural law alone—none of it alone will save us from the the baby killing, marriage destroying, terrorist appeasing onslaught of modern paganism.

    “Do you accept that there are other ways to posit design?”

    Yes. One can establish the credibility of the Bible by its internal coherence, its lack of false assertions (it doesn’t say, for example, that the planet sits on the back of a turtle), its corroboration by archaeology, and its prophetic accuracy. We can begin, as did Isaac Newton, with the scriptural assertion that there is a Designer. But isn’t it a good thing that modern microbiology supports our faith?

    If we only accept scripture for cultural or emotional reasons then we might as well be multiculturalists, for so also the pagan adheres to his scripture—including the materialist and his Communist Manifesto and Origin of Species.

    Dave Scott:

    “Maybe ‘God’ is made of dark energy and influences the material world through quantum gravity. Who knows.”

    Fascinating! I’ve wondered about that myself. Pure coincidence, I’m sure, but the biblical kabod ‘glory’ really means ‘heavy’.

  72. —-“Maybe ‘God’ is made of dark energy and influences the material world through quantum gravity. Who knows.”

    The design principle cannot reside inside nature. If we think about it for a moment, we will understand why. In fact, all of empirical reality and all the objects of scientific enquiry are undergoing constant change. And yet, the laws that govern them are unchanging. That means that the origin of those laws must transcend nature because, if they did not, they too would be changing with everything else. Since they don’t we can safely assume a transcendent reality that governs them.

  73. As I have understood it, correctly or incorrectly, whatever it is that makes the universe whatever it is, cannot be only in this universe.

    If that were not true, then we return to getting something from nothing.

    Our system is closed, but rational inference tells us another must be open.

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