Intelligent design requires evidence: Ah, but what can be considered evidence?
|October 28, 2006||Posted by O'Leary under Intelligent Design|
Bench science, like book editing, is independent of content under normal circumstances.
But as Thomas Kuhn points out in Structure of Scientific Revolutions, paradigms determine whatÃ‚Â counts as evidence.
Mark what follows:
If materialism is assumed to be true and Darwinism is the creation story of materialism, then Darwinism is the best available explanation for the history of life.
So Darwinism is treated as true.
I am NOT saying that that follows logically.
Materialism could be true but its orthodox creation story could be untrue at the same time. Some other materialist story could better account for the evidence, for example.
However, most people do not think that way. (I am describing a course of mental events here, not a logical argument.)
Because Darwinism is treated as true, questioning it is irrational or malign.
If you are a scientist, it is no defence to say that you have uncovered evidence against Darwinism. That makes you a heretic.
Don’t try claiming that you do science better without Darwinism. If you don’t believe it, you shouldn’t be doing science at all, right?
The purpose of science is to uncover the evidence for materialism, and you may as well deny Genesis in a God-fearing chapel as deny Darwinism at the Smithsonian.
You could outperform all your colleagues in research and accomplish nothing except get yourself denied tenure.
What if a theory that clashes with Darwinism better explains changes over time (and even makes verified predictions)?
Well, here’s where the importance of a materialist paradigm comes in: Any explanation that conforms to Darwinism will be preferred to any explanation that does not conform to it – irrespective of a difference in explanatory power that favours the latter.
In the research for the neuroscience book for which I am Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard’s co-author (The Spiritual Brain, Harper, March 2007), I found that really inane and unsatisfactory explanations for various mental states were preferred if they supported the materialist paradigm, over against better explanations that didn’t particularly support it. Sometimes it was ludicrous. But always it was deadly serious.
Kuhn’s Structure is a very useful book to read, for understanding how paradigms determine what can even be considered as evidence.
Thus, in my humble opinion, evidence that supports an ID perspective will be primarily useful to the ID scientists themselves in understanding their own view of the world.
It will be useless for making any general point against the materialist paradigm. ID-friendly evidence will merely be shelved as a problem to be solved or reinterpreted along materialist lines, no matter how flimsy.
So yes, by all means, ID guys, find evidence -Ã‚Â but mainly to educate yourself and sketch out your own theory. The more evidence you find, the more unwelcome you will be elsewhere.
ID biochemist Mike Behe was compared to Osama bin Laden in Biology and Philosophy (2003), and that wasn’t because he was thought to be a crank. One doesn’t compare a crank to Osama bin Laden.
It seems that Michael Behe has done excellent scientific research. He has been listed in American Men and Women of Science, the century-old biographical dictionary of “leaders” in American science, since the edition published in 1994: for 12 years. He is cited for research in the structure of DNA, among other things, in AMWS. He was first listed at the relatively young age of 42.
Since biologist Jerry Coyne has attacked Behe in The New Republic as somehow a “third-rate biologist,” it seems strange that Coyne has never been listed in AMWS. And Coyne published his Ph.D thesis in 1978, so he can’t be much younger than Behe, who is 54 and published his thesis in the same year.
Perhaps Coyne will get better “reviews” from his “peers” as a scientist if he writes enough articles in nonscientific magazines attacking intelligent design theory? Who knows?
Well, yes, Jim, but if I were a Darwinist just now, I would prefer to attack ID than defend Darwinism. Lots of chuckleheads would applaud me for attacking ID even if I wasn’t making any sense at all, but defending Darwinian evolutionÃ‚Â is currently hard work and slim pickings. You know the sort of thing: BlackÃ‚Â squirrelsÃ‚Â survive in Washington, D.C., just as they do in Toronto.Ã‚Â Galapagos finches fatten their beaks, or else they thin them, depending on the season. The human race is supposedlyÃ‚Â dividingÃ‚Â Ã‚Â into clever gods vs.Ã‚Â moronic dwarfs, though this has never happened before for tens of thousands of years.Ã‚Â
All I ever say about any of this is, no wonder there is an intelligent design controversy and it does not go away!Ã‚Â