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Steve Fuller in ID & Philosophy News

UD regular Gregory asked me to pass this on.

A collection of quotations on ‘intelligent design’ by American-British philosopher and sociologist of science and invited Dover Trial witness Steve Fuller from the past 7 years has not long ago been published here: http://social-epistemology.com/2012/05/06/gregory-sandstrom-in-steve-fullers-words-intelligent-design/ If Uncommon Descent blog would wish to discuss these things I (Gregory) will be available on a limited basis to respond and will contact Dr. Fuller with any specifically poignant, relevant or challenging questions to him. Fuller is one of the founders of ID theory and has written and spoken in recent years on science, philosophy and religion dialogue, in addition to his new work on trans-humanism (Humanity 2.0), which is sympathetic to ID in a way that will invite much thought and discussion for years to come.

Also of interest: Steve Fuller, Ed Feser, and Colin McGinn recent had a kind of three-way shootout in this journal, which is bound to be of interest to certain ID regulars.

I’ve got to say, while I’m far more sympathetic to classical theism and Thomism (and thus Fuller and I wouldn’t see eye to eye), the mere mention of Fuller relating transhumanism and ID is interesting to me, since really, I think that interaction is sorely neglected despite being of-interest. Anyway, read and comment away, folks.

[See also: A brief introduction to Steve Fuller, agnostic sociologist of the ID community ]

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115 Responses to Steve Fuller in ID & Philosophy News

  1. Null/Gregory:

    I find this an interesting exercise.

    Let me clip a few thought-sparker cites from Fuller:

    “The failure of intelligent design theory to specify the intelligent designer constitutes both a rhetorical and an epistemological disadvantage…The epistemological disadvantage is subtler, namely, that intelligent design theory is unnecessarily forced to adopt an instrumentalist philosophy of science, whereby its theory is treated merely as a device for explaining particular phenomena (i.e. as products of intelligent design) without allowing inferences to the best explanation (i.e. the properties of the implied designer).” (171)

    “I believe [it] is necessary [to] return to theology as the source of theoretical guidance on the nature of the intelligent designer (Fuller 2008a).” (171)

    “In short, by studiously avoiding the appeal to theological arguments as part of their scientific explanations, intelligent design theorists only inhibit their own ability to meet the opposition of Neo-Darwinian apologists like Sober. Admittedly, making such appeals would mean not only re-opening old theological debates but also making them part of secular academic debate. A test of our collective intellectual maturity will lie in our ability to tolerate such a newly charged situation. But as it stands, intelligent design theory does itself no intellectual favours by keeping the identity of the intelligent designer as vague as Neo-Darwinians keep the identity of evolution, even if that practice appears justified as politically expedient.” (173) . . . .

    “…[M]y own interest in promoting intelligent design in schools, which is much more positive than Johnson’s original worries about naturalism turning into an established religion. I actually believe that the deep theological roots of intelligent design theory provide a robust basis for perpetuating the radical spirit of inquiry that marks both philosophy and science at their best – not at their worst, as their collective response to intelligent design has put on public display (Fuller 2009b). As a true social constructivist (Fuller 2000b: Preface), I see myself as one of the constructors of intelligent design theory. I am not simply remarking from the sidelines about what others have done or are doing, as a historian or a journalist might. Rather I am making a front-line contribution to defining the theory’s identity.” (177)

    “In terms of pedagogical implications, my support of intelligent design goes beyond merely requiring that students learn the history and philosophy of science alongside their normal studies. It involves reengineering the science curriculum so that its history and philosophy falls within its normal remit.” (180)

    In my initial response, I first think that there is merit in raising the issues of phil of sci and what I guess could be called philosophy of nature, i.e. discourse on the relevant aspects of metaphysics etc. Also, relevant history of science and of ideas is key context. A familiarity with at least the sort of ideas on the nature and limitations of scientific knowledge that Newton discussed in his General Scholium and in Opticks, Query 31, will be a useful first nexus for all of this.

    That said, I would look on the strengths and limitations of knowledge deriving from inductive inquiry (including abduction) and the inherent open-endedness of science as a consequence, as a powerful way to clear the air. There has been a miasma of scientism underwritten by implicit or explicit materialism and a grossly extrapolated and exaggerated view of the capacity of mechanisms of chance variation and differential reproductive success to innovate body plan level structures that has clouded clarity of thought and that has also created a highly polarised, ideology-driven atmosphere on scientific reconstruction of origins.

    That is the sort of reason why some resort to hate sites, personal attacks, smears, outright slander and libel etc. Not to mention censorship, outing tactics, career busting and mafioso-style implied gangsterish threats against family members. All they succeed in doing when they act like that is to expose their want of basic broughtupcy, and to highlight the utter moral bankruptcy of evolutionary materialism, due to its want of a worldview foundation IS adequate to ground OUGHT. Those who act like this, and those who harbour them or indulge in enabling passivity be not correcting them, or — worse — imagine that such misbehaviour is legitimate free comment, show just how bankrupt their thinking has become. From Plato in The Laws, Bk X, this issue of nihilistic factions driven by evolutionary materialist ideology has been a significant concern for the well-being of society.

    It is in that context that the sort of links from history of ideas to history issues raised by Weikart et al, become highly relevant.

    But, as can be seen here, we are looking at phil context of scientific knowledge, and at broad, philosophically and historically informed questions of science in society. Worldviews and cultural agendas and issues.

    By contrast, as we narrow focus to the logic of inductive warrant that makes certain ideas warranted as empirically reliable and useful so far, we can see that — again from Newton et al on — there is reasonable warrant for caution and what can be called, chastened or humbled realism that embraces some degree of instrumentalism in understanding scientific knowledge; especially on origins science matters where in reconstructing a remote and unobservable past we must rely on factual adequacy relating to traces of the past we can observe today and tested signs of adequate dynamics to produce explanations on a best current basis.

    Where, instrumentalism can be set in relevant context with a clip from the Stanford Enc of Phil, article on Scientific Progress:

    The instrumentalists follow Duhem in thinking that theories are merely conceptual tools for classifying, systematizing and predicting observational statements, so that the genuine content of science is not to be found on the level of theories (Duhem 1954). Scientific realists, by contrast, regard theories as attempts to describe reality even beyond the realm of observable things and regularities, so that theories can be regarded as statements having a truth value. Excluding naive realists, most scientists are fallibilists in Peirce’s sense: scientific theories are hypothetical and always corrigible in principle. They may happen to be true, but we cannot know this for certain in any particular case. But even when theories are false, they can be cognitively valuable if they are closer to the truth than their rivals (Popper 1963). Theories should be testable by observational evidence, and success in empirical tests gives inductive confirmation (Hintikka 1968; Niiniluoto and Tuomela 1973; Kuipers 2000) or non-inductive corroboration to the theory (Popper 1959).

    It might seem natural to expect that the main rival accounts of scientific progress would be based upon the positions of instrumentalism and realism. But this is only partly true. To be sure, naive realists as a rule hold the accumulation-of-truths view of progress, and many philosophers combine the realist view of theories with the axiological thesis that truth is an important goal of scientific inquiry. A non-cumulative version of the realist view of progress can be formulated by using the notion of truthlikeness. But there are also philosophers who accept the possibility of a realist treatment of theories, but still deny that truth is a relevant value of science which could have a function in the characterization of scientific progress. Bas van Fraassen’s (1980) constructive empiricism takes the desideratum of science to be empirical adequacy: what a theory says about the observable should be true. The acceptance of a theory involves only the claim that it is empirically adequate, not its truth on the theoretical level. Van Fraassen has not developed an account of scientific progress in terms of his constructive empiricism, but presumably such an account would be close to empiricist notions of reduction and Laudan’s account of problem-solving ability (see Section 3.2).

    An instrumentalist who denies that theories have truth values usually defines scientific progress by referring to other virtues theories may have, such as their increasing empirical success. In 1908 Duhem expressed this idea by a simile: scientific progress is like a mounting tide, where waves rise and withdraw, but under this to-and-fro motion there is a slow and constant progress. However, he gave a realist twist to his view by assuming that theories classify experimental laws, and progress means that the proposed classifications approach a “natural classification” (Duhem 1954).

    Evolutionary epistemology is open to instrumentalist (Toulmin) and realist (Popper) interpretations. A biological approach to human knowledge naturally gives emphasis to the pragmatist view that theories function as instruments of survival. Darwinist evolution in biology is not goal-directed with a fixed forward-looking goal; rather, species adapt themselves to an ever changing environment. In applying this account to the problem of knowledge-seeking, the fitness of a theory can be taken to mean that the theory is accepted by members of the scientific community. But a realist can reinterpret the evolutionary model by taking fitness to mean the truth or truthlikeness of a theory . . .

    There is a lot of room for debates in there, but it should be clear that scientific knowledge is inescapably provisional and that inductive reasoning is only capable of a weak form warrant. Inductive knowledge claims are not certain beyond correction. And, it is fair comment to note that different scientific claims come with differing degrees of corroboration and differing degrees of openness to empirical testing. So, as we are less and less open to testing, and as the degree of warrant decreases, we would be well advised to hold claims with a lesser degree of certitude. In particular, the notion of a general authority of Science that gives an imprimatur of practical certainty to dominant theories is — for good reason — highly suspect.

    In that context, I would hold that the design inference explanatory filter (addressed per aspect of a phenomenon or object etc) — and/or its equivalent in mathematically structured models of complex specified information — is a legitimate approach to inferring cause on a best explanation basis, in contexts where we do not have direct access to observe the causal process in action. It is interesting in this context to see the objections often made, that there is no independent access to the inferred designer so the inference can be dismissed and denigrated. This of course is ideologically loaded and begs the question that the reason why we are inferring is that we need to see what inferred cause is best adequate, given that we did not and often cannot observe the actual causal process at work. In short,t he objection is self-serving and selectively hyperskeptical.

    But to infer cause by design as process or mechanism, is manifestly not to infer the identity or personal characteristics of the designer. One may infer arson as cause of a fire without knowing the culprit. Of course, that inferred deed may suggest a moral characteristic, but that is a question of motives.

    My broader point is that design as process is separable as a matter if inductive investigation, from the identity or characteristics of the candidate designers in question. All that a design inference requires is a sufficiently open mind that is willing to accept the possibility of design — not ruling it out a priori — and a willingness to accept that various causal processes tend to leave characteristic signs that can be tested and warranted as reliable signs of design. With a growing toolbox of relevant techniques and signs in hand, one has a perfect epistemic right to infer the causal process on the observed sign.

    One may then wish to debate characteristics of candidate designers, but that is a further exercise.

    Where prof Fuller is quite right to be concerned, is the point that what is happening is that an institutionally dominant ideological school — we can term it a priori evolutionary materialist scientism — is trying to censor the reasonable process of inference in the interests of their school. So, ironically, they have made the penumbra of issues and concerns above highly relevant to a fair evaluation of scientific practice, science education, and to science, society and good citizenship concerns.

    In particular as we see science professors championing atheism in the name of science — never mind the sophomoric bluster typically involved — and as we see them embracing, using, enabling and harbouring nihilistic, amoral, might/manipulation makes ‘right’ tactics and as we see them championing the ill-considered distortion of foundational societal and cultural institutions, they are the best argument as to why evolutionary materialistic scientism and secular humanism are intellectually and morally bankrupt and a positive danger to the well-being of our civilisation.

    So, we do have to set science in the context of ideas and issues, and in the wider context of impact on society. But, I still think that the inference to design as cause is properly distinct from that wider connexion. Sufficiently so, that we may undertake a technical inquiry as to how well warranted the design inference is. The answer to that is actually blatant: very well warranted indeed, especially as we focus on functionally specific complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I], the relevant form of CSI. Especially where the info is in the form of digitally coded algorithmic or linguistic symbol strings.

    That is why many thoughtful people hold and will continue to hold for the foreseeable future, that C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life that pivots on DNA is designed. The supportive, fine tuned physics of the observed cosmos that supports that also warrants a design inference. So does the information-centric nature of body plans and key features of life forms, like the bird lung or wing and the human vocal apparatus and language ability.

    We are not going away, and we are not perverse or perverted to hold such views. The resort to slander-laced smears, cruel mockery, outing tactics and threats against careers or family simply underscore the moral bankruptcy and ill-will of objectors who resort to such, or passively enable or harbour such.

    We are here, we are qualified to address scientific and linked phil, history of ideas and societal issues. We have good reason to call for reform in science, in the academy, in education, in the media, and in society. We are not going away, and we will stoutly defend our reputations, careers, families and civilisation against such ideologically motivated bully-boy tactics.

    And, at length, we will prevail.

    KF

  2. It should go without saying, I don’t endorse what Gregory (or Fuller, for that matter) is saying necessarily. But I figured it’d be room for discussion around here.

    Gregory, OTOH, can speak for himself.

  3. 3

    Edward Feser has taken the trouble to respond to me, and I to him. You may find the exchange interesting (just one round from me):

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.....uller.html

  4. Steve Fuller, while someone ID sympathizers respect, is not “one of the founders of ID theory.” He is a sociologist who has studied the controversies and controversialists around it. This is a very valuable service, if done for purposes other than politicking (paging Barbara Forrest here), but is not the same as being an ID theorist like, say Michael Behe, Bill Dembski, or Steve Meyer.

  5. By the way, we strongly recommend Fuller’s book Dissent over Descent, from which we have provided brief excerpts in the last couple of years. Will do a post later, linking to same.

  6. “Steve Fuller, while someone ID sympathizers respect, is most certainly not “one of the founders of ID theory.” – News

    Who then does ‘News’ consider to be ‘the founders of ID theory’? Specific names are welcome and requested here.

    Are M. Behe, W. Dembski and S.C. Meyer the *only* ‘founders of ID theory’ or are Phillip Johnson and Charles Thaxton included also, perhaps along with a select few others (e.g. P. Nelson and J. Wells)? Is Nancy Pearcey a ‘founder of ID theory’ or not?

    Iow, how many ‘founders of ID theory’ does News suggest there are, what constitutes News’ short-list, since News is saying that Fuller is not a founder?

    Isn’t one of the main issues here that *there is no single founder of ID,* like A. Einstein was for physical relativity or W. Heisenberg was for the ‘uncertainty principle’ or I. Newton was for gravity or N. Copernicus (then Rheticus) was for heliocentric cosmology? Even Brandon Carter’s more recent coinage of ‘anthropic principle’ has been eclipsed or challenged by a variety of competing claims to the ‘real’ anthropic principle nowadays. Is the pseudonymous internet blogger ‘Mike Gene’ possible to credit as a ‘founder of ID theory’ or is he a derivative hanger-on or something else?

    Why does Fuller who has written and spoken prolifically about ID not count as a ‘founder of ID theory’? Simply because he didn’t attend the 1993 Pajaro Dunes gathering? Is that the necessary landmark to qualify one as an ‘ID founder’?

  7. Your choice of Heisenberg’s name to make your point was a very poor one.

    There was no single founder of quantum mechanics.

    Heisenberg was one of the founders of quantum mechanics, along with Planck, Einstein, Bohr, Schrödinger, Born, Pauli, Dirac, and others.

    So your same “who were the founders” question could be asked in that context. Quantum mechanics. Pretty good company I would say.

  8. For Gregory at 6: Steve Fuller doesn’t work directly with the data from nature, so far as we know, so it isn’t clear how he could be one of the founders of ID theory.

    That said, it is a good thing that a serious sociologist is looking at the conflict between Darwinism and ID.

  9. –”Why does Fuller who has written and spoken prolifically about ID not count as a ‘founder of ID theory’? Simply because he didn’t attend the 1993 Pajaro Dunes gathering? Is that the necessary landmark to qualify one as an ‘ID founder’?”

    News is correct. Fuller is not one of the “founders” of ID theory. He supports ID thinkers in the sense that he thinks they have a right to say what they say– and he does a good job analyzing the cultural and sociological issues involved– but he does not support ID paradigms in their present form. On the contrary, he argues that ID ought to be something other than what it is, presumably a more expansive, theologically-driven enterprise that does NOT begin with an analysis of data or limit its scope by drawing modest conclusions based solely on empirical observations and measurements. One can hardly be the founder of an idea with which he profoundly disagrees.

  10. StephenB (& Gregory):

    1 above gives a case in point.

    KF

  11. What do you folks make then of Fuller’s statement: “I am making a front-line contribution to defining the theory’s identity”? (2011)

    Notice please, cantor, that I didn’t say ‘quantum mechanics’ but rather ‘uncertainty principle’. Then again, Fuller traces ‘intelligent design’ back to Newton, rather than to Paley (or Thaxton).

    “Whereas Newton, fuelled by confidence in the biblical account of humans as creatures in imago dei, concluded that his theory had mapped the divine plan, Darwin, starting out with similar confidence, was ultimately persuaded by the evidence that humans lacked any natural privilege, not least because there was no plan beyond the actual unfolding of natural history. Both worked on their grand projects for twenty years, the result of which reinforced the faith of one scientist and removed the faith of the other.” (2010: 105)

    Fuller works directly with ‘the data from human nature’ (though ‘data’ here is an incomprehensive term). His work thus deals with ‘anthropic principles’ in a way much more specific, detailed and direct than cosmologists, physicists or biologists. So, unless News is suggesting that ID has nothing to do with ‘human nature,’ I see no reason why his contributions cannot or should not influence or even (re-)define the meaning(s) people ascribe to ID theory. It is much more than “the conflict between Darwinism and ID” that is at issue here.

    Perhaps that is also what interests nullasalus regarding the ‘sorely neglected’ relationship between trans-humanism and ID. Why is a connection between these ideas often ‘neglected’ within the IDM? Fuller’s Humanity 2.0 (2011) might be worth checking out by more people in the intelligent design community.

  12. Notice please, cantor, that I didn’t say ‘quantum mechanics’ but rather ‘uncertainty principle’.

    Yes I noticed that, but you seem to have missed the point. The analogy is weak. The topic was “founders of ID” not “founders of one specific principle of ID”.

  13. What do you folks make then of Fuller’s statement: “I am making a front-line contribution to defining the theory’s identity”?

    This: He is not “making a front-line contribution to defining the theory’s identity”.

    If he wants a theory with a theological “identity”, he can call it something else and be the “founder” of that.

  14. Hi everyone,

    I very much enjoyed reading Professor Steve Fuller’s recent article, Defending Theism as if Science Mattered: Against Both McGinn and Feser, as well as Professor Feser’s response. I’ll be putting up a related post in the next few days.

  15. 15
    Chance Ratcliff

    “If he wants a theory with a theological “identity”, he can call it something else and be the “founder” of that.”

    I’m obliged to agree.

  16. “He is not ‘making a front-line contribution to defining the [ID] theory’s identity’. / If he wants a theory with a theological ‘identity’, he can call it something else and be the ‘founder’ of that.” – cantor

    Those are two different things. If it will help, I’m willing to retract the statement I made in the introduction: Steve Fuller is *not* one of the ‘founders’ of ID theory. He was not present at Pajaro Dunes, 1993. However, I stand by the belief that Fuller expressed himself, that he is “making a front-line contribution to defining the theory’s identity”.

    If you believe he is not, then please address this and his works on ID as seen (partially) in the link provided above.

    Btw, a ‘natural-scientific theory with a theological identity’ doesn’t sound so appalling to these ears. That is clearly what ‘intelligent design’ already means to many people.

  17. I stand by the belief that Fuller … is “making a front-line contribution to defining the theory’s identity”.

    If you believe he is not, then please address this

    To say that Fuller “is making a front-line contribution to defining ID’s identity” is like saying that Gary Zukav and Fritjof Capra “made a front-line contribution to define Quantum Mechanics’ identity”.

  18. Gregory,

    Btw, a ‘natural-scientific theory with a theological identity’ doesn’t sound so appalling to these ears. That is clearly what ‘intelligent design’ already means to many people.

    The problem is, the people it already means that to tend to be either ignorant of ID’s claims, or flat-out “harsh critics trying to paint ID in a bad light”.

    A natural-scientific theory with a theological identity – the problem is, I think many ID proponents, even the ones who believe the Designer is God (an identification that all of the usual ‘front-line ID contributors’ say is not part of ID), would balk at that.

    Let me ask you this, Gregory. Do you understand why ID proponents believe ID does not directly comment on theological matters? And I don’t mean, guess their motivations. Could you explain plainly what their rationale would be if they were asked this question?

  19. “Fuller is one of the founders of ID theory…”

    Love that “ID theory”! You couldn’t make it up. A matter of the most banal, everyday observation is a “theory”..! Sure it’s not wild conjecture?

    Yet the wildest materialist conjectures, well.. unambiguously gratuitous fantasies, in fact… abiogensis, multiverse, etc, not accessible at all to observation or reproducible, are apparently comprehensively and universally-received “givens”!!!! i…ndi….sPUTable!

    Science with a capital S! Come back, Adam. All is forgiven. He seems a far more credible candidate for the title of ‘founder’ of ID… THEORY’, in my admittedly not so humble opinion in this matter.

  20. It isn’t easy to conceive and develop a new scientific paradigm. To pull it off, one must be profoundly analytical and profoundly creative. Some possess the analytical capacity but lack the creative component; others possess the creative component but lack the analytical ability. Most of all, the inventor of a groundbreaking idea must be individualistic. It takes a bit of genius to pull it off.

    William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Hugh Ross are all like that. They are, in their own way, leaders and individual thinkers. Each man tries to solve a specific problem; each makes a specific contribution; each man blazes a unique trail. It appears that Dr. Fuller thinks that Dembski and Behe, who prefer to limit their study to nature’s patterns, should be more like Hugh Ross, who seeks to link nature’s patterns to the Biblical God. But we already have a Hugh Ross.

  21. 21

    Could you explain plainly what their rationale would be if they were asked this question?

    Good question. Perhaps an answer is forthcoming. In my limited experience with Gregory, he doesn’t't seem particularly interested in material issues, so it would be interesting to see if he can articulate the rationale in a way that is appropriately tied to those material issues.

  22. The rationales of people who reject calling ID a “natural-scientific theory with a theological identity” are multiple. Imo they want ID to be ‘natural-science-only,’ and ‘not-religion,’ ‘not-natural-theology’ or ‘not-philosophy.’ This is largely because they are not thinking cooperatively about ‘science, philosophy and religion’ but rather competitively, as if ‘science and religion’ or ‘science and philosophy’ or ‘religion and philosophy’ are opposed to one another. Thus, they are NOMA or NOMA-like advocates, where science, philosophy and theology are ‘non-overlapping magisteria.’ So, get rid of the ‘theological identity’ and just ‘compete’ in the ‘other’ world of ‘science-alone’. But that’s just my educated guesswork, not an answer to nullasalus’ question.

    Personally, I do not separate ‘what ID claims’ from the actual people who are claiming it, nor do I think it makes sense or is helpful to do so. Yet, at the same time, I understand why others do try to separate the two. This therefore is my answer to “if they were asked this question”: they would say ‘ID is a [natural] scientific theory’ that has “a demonstrable secular purpose” and that “its motivation, even if religious, is legally irrelevant” (Dembski 2004: 56). Iow, they would claim the focus of ID is biology, information, origins of life, pattern recognition, specifications, ‘eliminating’ chance, etc. and *not* about theology as an objective (impersonal) field of study.

    Since this thread is about Fuller’s approach to ID theory which differs from that answer, let me point to his words: “I actually believe that the deep theological roots of intelligent design theory provide a robust basis for perpetuating the radical spirit of inquiry that marks both philosophy and science at their best – not at their worst.” (2011)

    Why does he speak of “the deep theological roots of ID theory” and why are some people trying so hard to separate ID from theology? Why do people seem to believe ‘intertwining’ theology, philosophy and science would be an ‘at their worst’ scenario, rather than an ‘at their best’ scenario? Some people have told me that ID has *nothing* to do with theology. Yet, if they are not trying to separate them, then in a nutshell, what is the ‘unifying’ or ‘integrating’ strategy of the IDM with respect to the relationship between science, philosophy and religion? Again, there are multiple strategies possible for the IDM, but none of which I believe can claim to have succeeded.

    “That idea of ‘science as a vocation’, as Max Weber called it with a nod to Luther, is essentially religious. The original model was monasticism, but it was updated in the nineteenth century when the word ‘scientist’ was coined to describe someone with credentials in scientific subjects who was thereby authorized to provide deep, rational, unifying explanations of naturally and artificially produced phenomena.” (2010: 55)

    So we see in Fuller’s writing a rationale for unifying the discussion which IDM-ID has thus far refused. Why?

    “It was only once atomism and Epicureanism were embedded in a universalist cosmology subject to intelligent design that they contributed to the organised resistance against nature that has been characteristic of modern science. This cosmology derived from the biblical religions, in which the deity, in whose image humans are uniquely created, is presented as engaging in an ongoing but ultimately successful struggle against nature to realise his intentions.” (2008: 182)

    What this means is a dialogue between science, philosophy and religion is possible rather than impossible. ID cosmology is ‘derived from the biblical religions,’ most specifically, from Christianity which the ‘founders’ of ID almost exclusively belong to.

    Whether Fuller is an ‘agnostic’ or a ‘theist,’ he nevertheless speaks directly to the dialogue he sees as necessary between science, philosophy and religion involving ID. He sees cooperation between these major spheres as a wider focus and as an explanation of background context for IDT.

    “ID needs to adopt a consistently progressive stance towards the pursuit of science, as befits creatures designed in imago dei to master nature…ID theorists have yet to take the full measure of the literal force of our biblical entitlement, which requires embracing, however tentatively, science’s Faustian dimension.” … “On the religious side, ID needs to reassert the specificity of the Abrahamic God as the implied intelligent designer. Without this specificity (which still allows for considerable theological dispute), the concept of an intelligent designer becomes devoid of content, adding to the suspicion that ID is no more than ‘not-evolution’. In this spirit, ID’s critics have proffered a ‘flying spaghetti monster’ and an ‘orbiting teapot’ as alternatives to a more biblically inspired deity. In response, ID defenders should openly confront the relatively recent anti-religious judicial reading of the US Constitution’s separation of Church and state, which now excludes even religiously motivated views from public science education: the issue should not be whether ID is primarily science or religion, but whether it passes scientific muster as an openly religious viewpoint with scientific aspirations – a matter to be decided by actual educational practice.” (2008: 226 & 231)

    Fuller’s interest in ID is thus about much more than ‘the origins of biological information.’ It is also about ways we understand ourselves and our (human) neighbours today. This opens up questions such as the various meanings of science and education, as well as ‘trans-humanism,’ which nullasalus expressed interest in at the top of the thread.

    From about 4 days ago on UD, William Dembski linked to his own words: “Who or what is such an ultimate source of information? From a naturalistic perspective, such a source remains a mystery. But from a theistic perspective, such an information source would presumably have to be God.” Since ‘naturalism’ is one of the targets of IDers and since Dembski is a ‘theist,’ the conclusion is obvious, and shows how religion/theology does have a place at the table. There seems to be no legitimate point in (reflexively) excluding it any longer.

    “Do you understand why ID proponents believe ID does not directly comment on theological matters?” – nullasalus

    ID proponents can and do comment on theological matters, when they deem it is appropriate. To separate their faith from their science might appear to offer one kind of solution, but it also brings with it other kinds of problems.

    My question to nullasalus then is: why don’t more ID proponents embrace the holistic, integrative approach that Fuller is advocating, and call ID “an openly religious viewpoint with scientific aspirations” or a “natural-scientific theory with a theological identity” and promote that in a country that is still one of the ‘most religious’ in the G20? Why not openly involve religion/theology in the ‘cultural renaissance’ that ID leaders’ are seeking by displaying ID as inevitably a triadic – science, philosophy and religion – conversation, instead of just counting on the ‘implications’ of ‘design=mind’ extended from the anthropic to the cosmic scale?

  23. My question to nullasalus then is: why don’t more ID proponents embrace the holistic, integrative approach that Fuller is advocating, and call ID “an openly religious viewpoint with scientific aspirations” or a “natural-scientific theory with a theological identity” and promote that in a country that is still one of the ‘most religious’ in the G20?

    For one thing, because ID isn’t supposed to be some exclusively American, or even Western, phenomenon. Why should it be? It’s a little like asking why anyone would ever bother translating ID materials into Chinese.

    For another, because ID isn’t supposed to be a religious idea, and as most commonly legitimately presented, it is not.

    Finally, though far from the last reason – because it’s not necessary to do so. A Christian or a Jew or yes, even atheist, can talk about their theological speculations about ID openly. They’ll just mention that, as they’re speaking, they’re no longer talking about ID, but a religious viewpoint.

    Why not openly involve religion/theology in the ‘cultural renaissance’ that ID leaders’ are seeking by displaying ID as inevitably a triadic – science, philosophy and religion – conversation, instead of just counting on the ‘implications’ of ‘design=mind’ extended from the anthropic to the cosmic scale?

    They do. They just don’t need to make ID into something else in order to do that.

  24. Is not the reluctance on the part of IDers to allow association of ID with theology, due to the totalitarian imposition and draconian enforcement of the greatest mystery of them all: Unintelligent Design, as the uniquely true paradigm of science. Science is the comprehensive, the ultimate, source of all knowledge and certainty…. You want to play cards or dice with us, you use our cards, our dice.

    Since we are always surrounded by intelligently-designed artefacts, the vast body of mankind – not least, historically, all the greatest paradigm-changers of science without exception – have never even doubted that the natural words was intelligently-designed, should we not therefore accord to the advocates of Unintelligent Design the awestruck reverence due to demi-gods. The ultimate paradigm-changers bar none.

    Here are men and women, who, in the teeth of inexhaustible evidence to the contrary adhere nothing less than heroically, to their religious conviction; faith of a truly epic order. It rather puts the faith of the centurion who asked Jesus to cure his servant, in the shade, doesn’t it?

    ‘The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

    “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”‘

    Nor will the great God, Baal-Bingo, find such faith in him in any other previous or future generation in mankind’s long and, heretofore, faithless history, to compare with it.

  25. 25

    “Baal-Bingo”? lol you are hilarious. I hope you have more material. :D This should become the spaghetti monster for atheists. LOL.

    Anyway I would agree with Gregory that the “founder” of ID were those present at the meeting at Pajaro Dunes. As for Fuller being on the “front-lines,” well, if being on the front-lines means you live in Britain and stand up for ID in academia there, then ok. But intellectually? Not so much. No offense to Mr. Fuller.

  26. Mmm. Unusual to find a poster celebrating his birth via his username, tragic mishap. Good job, the geneticist, Watson wasn’t about, or you might not have been here.

    “This should become the spaghetti monster for atheists. LOL.”

    Gosh, that’s puerile stuff for this board. Did you think it was Richie Dawkins’ site?

    Care to name one of the great paradigm-changers of physics who were not convinced of ID – an individual, not a team? Thought not. Next question?

  27. I know. Don’t tell me. You’re a school-boy!

  28. Gregory:

    Pardon, but I must insist, per 1 above: the pivotal issue is epistemological-logical, not a phil-theology debate.

    Namely, what does the empirical evidence warrant.

    One more time.

    We have a case where factors of mechanical necessity, chance circumstances and intelligence are commonly encountered in our world and have characteristic signs. E.g. necessity yields natural regularities — that is how we spot that lawlike necessities are at work. Chance typically leads to stochastically distributed contingencies. Intelligence leads to choice-based, purposeful contingencies that often leave signs such as functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information.

    Indeed, intelligence is the only empirically observed, analytically — needle in haystack or monkeys at keyboards — warranted, known adequate cause of FSCO/I. We are entitled to infer on the sign-signified relationship.

    It’s that simple, just as we are entitled to infer arson or burglary on reliable signs. Even, when we were not there to see how exactly twerdun, or whodunit.

    We were not there to see and record the remote past of origins. That is a challenge to all accounts of origins.

    But, we are entitled to infer on empirically tested, reliable signs.

    And as for the “life forms replicate” red herring, from the days of Paley’s often overlooked thought exercise, it has been well known that such a facility would credibly be yet another manifestation of FSCO/I, so the origin of self replication in living systems that also have separate functions like metabolism, points to the same signified. And when we see the elaboration of major body plans at 10 mn bits or better apiece, that too points the same way.

    The problem is not the sign, or what it reliably signifies.

    It is the grip of an a priori materialism that has censored scientific reasoning from drawing the otherwise reasonable conclusion.

    So, at this stage, I no longer take the demands for proof that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design, or for separate proof of a “supernatural” designer at the origin of life on earth or of major body plans seriously.

    These objections are put up and insisted on in the teeth of duties of care: design implies intelligent action, not necessarily supernatural intelligent action. As has been pointed out for decades and as has been routinely swarmed down by those wanting to make talking points instead of dealing with issues on their merits.

    Similarly, it is abundantly and easily evident that when sufficiently many well matched, properly arranged and attached parts are needed to do a job, we have isolated islands of function in the space of possible configurations to deal with. Ever tried to make a car work with the wrong part or the wrongly arranged part?

    These things are evident, or should be evident.

    So, the question is not “goddidit” or not, but whether it is reasonable and empirically warranted to see signs of intelligence and to infer on such to intelligent cause.

    Pretences that chance and necessity can do the designs actually don’t pass the basic common sense test.

    Much less, the sort of analysis of blind samples or searches of config spaces that have led to the concept that the gap between what blind search can reasonably do and what is being achieved can be used to estimate the intelligently injected active info.

    And yes, evidence that points to the intelligent origin of the world of life — and this seems to leave too many shuddering — leaves God on the table as a possible creator. Similarly, evidence from the fine tuning of the cosmos also invites such an inference as to the identity of the intelligence involved.

    That builds on the evidence from sign, it does not detract from it.

    So, the pivotal question is: are there empirically credible signs of intelligence at work. Plainly, yes.

    Next, does the world of life show such signs? The observed cosmos? Yes, and yes.

    The reasonable person will go with those signs, regardless of the fulminations and maledictions of the evo mat ideologues.

    KF

  29. 29

    We are entitled to infer on the sign-signified relationship.

    Of course we are. But this only influences those interested in the effective combination of material observation and universal experience. Interestingly, that doesn’t include the vast majority of materialists.

  30. –nullasalus: “Gregory. Do you understand why ID proponents believe ID does not directly comment on theological matters? And I don’t mean, guess their motivations. Could you explain plainly what their rationale would be if they were asked this question?”

    –Gregory: …..”this is largely because they are thinking competitively about ‘science, philosophy and religion’ but rather competitively, as if ‘science and religion’ or ‘science and philosophy’ or ‘religion and philosophy’ are opposed to one another. Thus, they are NOMA or NOMA-like advocates, where science, philosophy and theology are ‘non-overlapping magisteria.’ So, get rid of the ‘theological identity’ and just ‘compete’ in the ‘other’ world of ‘science-alone’. But that’s just my educated guesswork, not an answer to nullasalus’ question.”

    The reason that ID paradigms cannot comment on theology is because they do not have the power to extract religious ideas from empirical data. A scientific methodology cannot be designed to answer every question some critic might dream up in his post-modernist imagination. On the contrary, the function of a scientific paradigm is to address the one problem its originator hopes to solve. The nature of the problem (or question) shapes the texture of the methodology.

    At the same time, ID proponents recognize the compatibility between science and theology, provided that each specialty operates legitimately within its own sphere. Acknowledging the “unity of truth,” ID thinkers, as a rule, reject the notion of “Non-overlapping Magisteria,” which implies one truth for religion and another for science.

    This dubious strategy of dividing truth is reserved for Christian Darwinists who routinely deny Biblical teachings in the name of Darwinian science. Though they would vehemently deny it, the conflict between religion and science is very real for them: In opposition to the clear Biblical references which teach the detectability of design, Christian Darwinists hold that biological design is undetectable. Darwin said it, they believe it, that settles it.

    –Gregory: “Why don’t more ID proponents embrace the holistic, integrative approach that Fuller is advocating, and call ID “an openly religious viewpoint with scientific aspirations” or a “natural-scientific theory with a theological identity” and promote that in a country that is still one of the ‘most religious’ in the G20?”

    One important reason that more ID proponents do not embrace this holistic, integrative approach is because they are busy doing something else.

  31. 31

    “Unusual to find a poster celebrating his birth via his username, tragic mishap.”

    :(

    You leave my mother alone!

  32. If Newton was NOMA, then let’s do no less.

    Newton lived in a time when you didn’t need to spell things out, a la Thomism, because it was assumed that the heavens declare the glory of God,

    In a humorous twist of affairs, by a set of curious chances, ID doesn’t have to spell things out because it is now assumed by the cultural elite that the heavens do NOT declare the glory of God.

    ID is delightfully subversive when it points out the very things most people see and believe, the things that are becoming increasingly self-evident, due to molecular biology.

    It doesn’t have to say anything at all about the designer. To work its magic, all it has to do is plant the seed that our designerless intellectual culture is an emperor with no clothes,

    The fools says there is no God. ID has done more than enough, NOMA or not, if it makes this old wisdom plain.

  33. allanius makes a good point. Newton wasn’t NOMA. But the IDM wants to be in so far as it sticks to a ‘science-only’ strategy.

    Of course, we know this is not actually the case: “Intelligent design’s dual role as a constructive scientific project and as a means for cultural renaissance.” (Dembski 2004)

    It’s the ‘what kind of cultural renaissance could it be if you’re letting it be driven/steered/guided by applied-natural ID science’ question that is not clearly addressed. Like neo-cybernetics on steroids! Wrt identifying ID as delightfully subversive, I’ll agree with the subversive part.

    I’m not sure what could be going through a person’s mind or heart to think that their ‘intellectual culture’ (whatever they mean by that) is ‘designer-less’ when there are designers everywhere in any ‘intellectual culture’ in the world. The main issue here is ‘transcendental’ vs. ‘mundane’ designers, as one of the IDM leaders names it, whereas if we accept human beings as created imago Dei the ‘mundane’ becomes a much more ‘transcendental’ project.

    As far as ‘emperors with no clothes,’ yes, it would be great if an amateur would come along, like the young boy in the story, and show us what is naked about the evolutionistic ideology that has been woven into western culture and linguistics. I suspect that person would have to be a non-biologist, a non-naturalist; maybe a philologist could properly fill the role…

  34. Please read more carefully, nullasalus. I didn’t say “ID is a religious idea.” However, those who made/invented/founded ID and the IDM are religious; there’s an important difference. The actual flesh and blood people who theorise ‘intelligent design’ and their ‘presuppositions’ are significant here and can be studied, which is the point behind my ‘situated (personal) knowledge’ comment, a point which you seem unwilling to encounter or acknowledge.

    Demonstrated by Steve Fuller’s work (which only kairosfocus has briefly commented on, with vjtorley planning a new thread on Fuller-Feser-McGinn), I suggested that the proper home field for ID is ‘science, philosophy and religion’ as a triadic conversation. I had thought you would support such a position, nullasalus. IDM people otoh do not usually or openly support this approach. If you think they do and have evidence of this, please provide references because what I see is the ‘science-only’ approach predominating.

    There are nowadays ‘science and religion’ programs at major universities around the world. I’d like to see philosophy added. In such a case, these interdisciplinary programs would surely benefit from Fuller’s insightful contributions on this topic much more than if ID were considered as a much narrower ‘science-only’ issue. Fuller is asking people to think macroscopically when most are content to play with their microscopes on the topic of ‘intelligent design.’

    In this broader context would you agree that ‘science-only’ is not what ID is ‘supposed to be,’ nullasalus? There are of course others here at UD who are ‘ID-is-science-only’ exclusivists who think ID is ‘just science.’ You have said in the past that you disagree with that approach, but your response to me in #23 doesn’t engage this directly.

    However, are you suggesting, as a non-ID proponent, that ID has not (yet) reached the standards of ‘(biological) science,’ but that it is eventually ‘supposed to be’ the next best biological science, a post-Darwinian miracle of some kind? Or is there something else that you imagine ID is ‘supposed to be,’ rather than ‘what it actually is’ today (by whoever’s relative definition)? Really, I’d be pleased and curious to hear a declaration of your position about ‘what ID is supposed to be.’ I am ready to show you mine.

    The unanswered question of who are considered the ‘founders’ of ID indicates there may be some dispute here at UD about who (single or multiple) founded the science/ideology/philosophy/religious viewpoint that now is called ‘intelligent design.’ Call ID what you prefer, nullasalus, it won’t bother me. But notice please that I leave the door open to various definitions (having asked ID leaders personally) while at the same time taking care to intentionally confront scientism-minded (aka ‘science-only’) ID proponents when they are being scientifically over-zealous. If ID is a ‘science-only’ enterprise, then the ideology of scientism, surely you will admit, nullasalus, has unfortunately been placed on display center stage in the current ID discourse.

    As for atheists having ‘theological speculations’ regarding ID, of course, that is possible as an exercise of objective frivolity or subjective self-doubt. However, only if an atheist thinks aliens (E.T.) were the actual historical ‘designers’ in question (since history is still involved) of (biological) life origins on Earth (i.e. rather than a divine agent) is separation allowed between ID theory and theism. To me, the combination called ‘ID-atheism’ makes as much sense as an ugly beauty-queen/king. In most cases, a direct link between a person’s religious-theism and their perceived commitment to ID is quite easily established, if the IDM-member is forthcoming.

    Fuller’s work simply speaks more clearly about this than most (if not all) others. This view is likely supported by News, who calls him “sociologist of the ID community,” and “one of the very few who grasp the key issues.” Shouldn’t Fuller be in one of the best positions to know what people in the ID community believe and how their ‘religion’ is connected to or disconnected from their ‘science’ if he is their sociologist? (Let me add however, that Fuller holds a PhD in history and philosophy of science, the same field as Stephen C. Meyer, so it is not ‘just sociology’ that interests Fuller in ID and the IDM.)

    What ‘ID is supposed to be’ would lose much credibility in my view if ID-atheism is kept open as a legitimate possibility. But if ID-atheism is refused, then the link between ID and theism is directly established, unless one is saying that ID is agnostic about the ‘designer/Designer’ rather than simply that the ‘designer/Designer’ is not part of (scientific) ID theory. Like the quotation by Dembski I cited above, it doesn’t seem like most people who support or advocate ID personally would call themselves ‘agnostics’ about the ‘designer/Designer.’ How do you address this conundrum, nullasalus?

    Another question: the issue of Fuller noting the connection between ID and ‘trans-humanism,’ which you raised in the Introduction. Why have you not yet expanded on this, nullasalus? It would bolster Fuller’s particular approach to ID, involving insights not present in the IDM. Perhaps people at UD would be interested to hear about what you consider to be a ‘sorely neglected’ area of discussion by IDM-IDers.

    Indeed, if the ‘intelligence’ in ID is not ‘transcendental,’ as Fuller openly acknowledges and suggests the IDM should also endeavour to state, then this discourse is largely an exercise in diversion tactics, rather than one of enlightenment or possible ‘cultural renaissance.’

    Finally, nullsalus, if you don’t think ‘intelligent design’ should be promoted as a ‘science, philosophy, religion’ discourse, but instead only wish to defend the academic freedom of others to advocate ID as ‘science-only,’ even if you do not believe it qualifies as such yourself, at least will you not say why you take this position? My apology if you’ve already stated this at UD or Telic Thoughts or elsewhere, while I just haven’t read it. I’d appreciate if you could send links or educate me as to your curious position on this complicated theme. Fuller champions academic freedom and so do I; but academic freedom is not the only thing required for a ‘conceptual/perceptual revolution’ to take place.

  35. A very brief comment on Allanius-Gregory exchange (as much to do offline at present).

    The transcendental-mundane division of design looks like becoming invreasingly blurred if J Shapiro’s approach has legs. It’s an extension of the beaver-dam example – what if it emerges that organisms themselves have wondrous powers of managing their own evolution?

    Gregory rightly focuses on human design as part of the issue, rather than as a counter-example to design in nature, but we need to account for stuff aoart from the human, but below the divine, too.

    That relates, maybe, to the Thomistic view of secondary causes having their natures separately from God the primary cause, who gave them, which seems to be partly what Fuller and Feser are discussing.

    One needs somehow, then, if those “secondary natures” are more able in the field of design than has hitherto been acknowledged, to think more deeply about the relationship between God the ultimate designer and the design produced by secondary means in nature, lest one is left only with a more bloated naturalistic explanation of evolution.

  36. Gregory,

    Please read more carefully, nullasalus. I didn’t say “ID is a religious idea.”

    You said:

    My question to nullasalus then is: why don’t more ID proponents embrace the holistic, integrative approach that Fuller is advocating, and call ID “an openly religious viewpoint with scientific aspirations”

    Yeah, that offering is ID as a religious idea. What I said was entirely fair, and my replies were on point.

    I had thought you would support such a position, nullasalus.

    It’s a little more complicated than that.

    I think ID asks entirely valid questions. I think, given a proper understanding of science, philosophy and otherwise, ID’s questions and investigations are both A) not science, B) not religious, and C) able to reach compelling, valid conclusions.

    I do not think ID, either as ID proponents view it, or as I view it, is rightly called “a religious idea”. Not without descending into a real complicated and tiring question about what is and isn’t ‘religious’.

    However, are you suggesting, as a non-ID proponent, that ID has not (yet) reached the standards of ‘(biological) science,’ but that it is eventually ‘supposed to be’ the next best biological science, a post-Darwinian miracle of some kind? Or is there something else that you imagine ID is ‘supposed to be,’ rather than ‘what it actually is’ today (by whoever’s relative definition)? Really, I’d be pleased and curious to hear a declaration of your position about ‘what ID is supposed to be.’ I am ready to show you mine.

    My view are complicated, and very often pragmatic and reactionary. The short version is, if no-ID is science, then it’s impossible to responsibly exclude ID as science. (In other words, if we can point and, while entirely within the realm of science, say ‘This natural thing is not, in any way, the product of design’, that presupposes our ability to say ‘This natural thing, in some way, is the product of design’.) On the flipside, if no-ID is excluded as science, ID to me seems rightly excluded as science too.

    The problem comes when people want to have their cake and eat it too. I think consistency is the best solution to that, since the result is forcing unprincipled people to eat digested cake.

    However, only if an atheist thinks aliens (E.T.) were the actual historical ‘designers’ in question (since history is still involved) of (biological) life origins on Earth (i.e. rather than a divine agent) is separation allowed between ID theory and theism.

    And ET, or the possibility of ET, are entirely possible within the ID spectrum – so sayeth Dembski himself. So sayeth Behe, I believe. You say this is ‘ugly’, but so what?

    Shouldn’t Fuller be in one of the best positions to know what people in the ID community believe and how their ‘religion’ is connected to or disconnected from their ‘science’ if he is their sociologist?

    I… would think that the people themselves in the ID community would be in the best positions regarding that. I think anyone who has read and comprehended the ID proponents’ own books and writings are in good positions to do that.

    I have never seen Fuller announce himself as “ID’s sociologist”, or as someone particularly and especially capable of saying what Behe, Dembski, Meyer, etc think. Don’t you think that would be presumptuous?

    What ‘ID is supposed to be’ would lose much credibility in my view if ID-atheism is kept open as a legitimate possibility. But if ID-atheism is refused, then the link between ID and theism is directly established, unless one is saying that ID is agnostic about the ‘designer/Designer’ rather than simply that the ‘designer/Designer’ is not part of (scientific) ID theory. Like the quotation by Dembski I cited above, it doesn’t seem like most people who support or advocate ID personally would call themselves ‘agnostics’ about the ‘designer/Designer.’ How do you address this conundrum, nullasalus?

    Loses credibility? Why? With who? By what standard?

    And, most people who support ID don’t consider themselves agnostics about the designer, no. Because they supplement ID with additional resources, and make connections outside of ID.

    You’re going to have to address the following conundrum, in the form of a quote: ID’s metaphysical openness about the nature of nature entails a parallel openness about the nature of the designer. Is the designer an intelligent alien, a computional simulator (a la THE MATRIX), a Platonic demiurge, a Stoic seminal reason, an impersonal telic process, …, or the infinite personal transcendent creator God of Christianity? The empirical data of nature simply can’t decide.

    That’d be one Bill Dembski.

    Another question: the issue of Fuller noting the connection between ID and ‘trans-humanism,’ which you raised in the Introduction. Why have you not yet expanded on this, nullasalus? It would bolster Fuller’s particular approach to ID, involving insights not present in the IDM. Perhaps people at UD would be interested to hear about what you consider to be a ‘sorely neglected’ area of discussion by IDM-IDers.

    I’ll get to it. I’m pretty busy lately. Besides, I’d like to read what Fuller has to say on this front first.

    Indeed, if the ‘intelligence’ in ID is not ‘transcendental,’ as Fuller openly acknowledges and suggests the IDM should also endeavour to state, then this discourse is largely an exercise in diversion tactics, rather than one of enlightenment or possible ‘cultural renaissance.’

    I disagree on all claims stated. That’s like saying that finding out that intelligent of some kind plays or played a fundamental role in the nature we now know is uninteresting if it’s not automatically known to be God. I find that sort of thinking alien (ha ha) to me.

    Finally, nullsalus, if you don’t think ‘intelligent design’ should be promoted as a ‘science, philosophy, religion’ discourse, but instead only wish to defend the academic freedom of others to advocate ID as ‘science-only,’ even if you do not believe it qualifies as such yourself, at least will you not say why you take this position?

    I believe that’s been explained above. Probably not to your satisfaction – ask what you like.

  37. Gregory:

    I agree with you that the world needs more three-way discourse between science, philosophy, and theology. I also agree with you that Fuller offers an interesting way of doing this, one that should be considered carefully by ID people before being rejected outright.

    However, you make the discussion more difficult than it need be, by saying things that are not true about ID.

    No one in the ID camp is discouraging discussions of a three-way kind. Indeed, ID people themselves often offer comments that are theological and/or philosophical. Bill Dembski writes technical ID books such as No Free Lunch in which theological discussion would be out of place, and therefore is excluded, but he also writes theological books such as The End of Christianity in which theology is the central focus, and he writes other popular works in which intelligent design is described as a bridge between science and theology. Similarly, Michael Denton, in Nature’s Destiny, describes the results of his scientific analysis of molecules-to-man evolution as constituting a revived natural theology. Meyer, Richards and many others have said that while ID does not begin from religious premises (i.e., does not assume the existence of a divine designer in making its arguments for design), it has religious implications (i.e., once the scientific investigation is done, we find that it does indeed look as if there was a divine designer). And you will find references to philosophers and philosophical notions scattered throughout ID writings, whether it be in the references of Denton or Sternberg to Platonic forms, or in Dembski’s discussions of the relationship of omnipotence to evil in the world, etc. And certainly on this website, Vincent Torley has carried out many able philosophical and theological discussions, and nullasalus (who is a sort of cross between ID and TE) has constantly reminded us of the illegitimate philosophical/metaphysical judgments which neo-Darwinian biologists continually make. So an interactive science, philosophy, and theology discussion is hardly foreign to the intellectual life of ID people.

    What ID people have done is to separate scientific arguments proper from theological and philosophical ones. For example, Dawkins says that random mutations plus natural selection can create new body plans; ID proponents doubt that this is the case. And their arguments are not based on Thomas Aquinas or Calvin or the Bible, but on research into proteins and genomics and so on. And that’s entirely appropriate, where the argument is over exactly what nature can and can’t do on its own steam.

    Your notion that because ID proponents separate scientific questions from other questions, they support NOMA, is indefensible. NOMA says that the “magisteria” of science and theology don’t overlap, so there is no possible conflict between the two. That is in fact the typical TE/EC position. ID people don’t subscribe to NOMA. They don’t affirm that there is any built-in guarantee of non-conflict between theology and science. In fact, they know full well that there are some questions — for example, the question “Where do we come from?” or the question “Do we have free will?” — where science and theology bear on the same subject and might conceivably draw opposed conclusions.

    You see the difference in approach between NOMA-supporters and ID people on BioLogos. On BioLogos they will say that according to science, things happen randomly, and that’s absolutely true, and according to theology, everything is under God’s providence, and that’s absolutely true. So things are both planned and non-planned, guided and not-guided. And when pressed to explain the contradiction, the BioLogos folks essentially resort to NOMA (without using the term): questions of guidance or planning concern purpose or meaning, and therefore don’t belong to science; questions of random mutations and natural selection concern efficient causes, and therefore do belong to science. Scientists can’t answer how neo-Darwinian causality fits in with divine guidance or planning, and theologians aren’t competent to discuss natural mechanisms, so the two truths sit side-by-side, unintegrated, with NOMA as the justification. Here on UD, however, you see a consistent rejection of that approach, with columnists and commenters alike assaulting the BioLogos folks for ducking the difficult science-theology interface questions which you say you want to see better explored.

    In other words ID people are more intellectually integrative than TE/EC people — or at least, TE/EC people of the type hitherto represented on BioLogos. BioLogos’s idea of science/theology “dialogue” is “good fences make good neighbors”: the scientists will tell us what really happened in the past (and the theologians will shut up and not contradict them); and the theologians, when they have the podium, will refrain from asserting anything at all about what happened in the past, but will tell us instead the meaning of evolution for our personal faith life, showing how wise and wonderful God is for creating us all by a randomness that might just as well have left us all as snails (and the scientists, if Christian, will nod in pious agreement, before heading back to their lab to do science in the same way that Dawkins and Coyne do). In TE/EC — at least of the BioLogos type — there is no integrating dialogue between science and theology, there are only terms of peace between science and theology, terms that compartmentalize the human mind and soul, with faith and reason locked away from each other. And in TE/EC (at least of the BioLogos type) there is no integration of either science or theology with philosophy, because philosophy is never dealt with and barely ever mentioned. You’ll find more discussions of the philosophical arguments of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Philo, etc. on UD and on Discovery (see Jay Richards’s dialogue with the Thomists) than you will ever find on BioLogos.

    Now let me ask you some questions, Gregory:

    Dawkins says that biological systems look designed, but aren’t. And he says that is something which science can show. He does not acknowledge the authority of theology or philosophy in biological matters. So how would you proceed to show him that biological systems not only *look* designed, but *are* designed? You can’t quote him the Bible or rational arguments from someone like Plato. Your only option is to show he is wrong on his own turf, i.e., in the field of biology. Is that not the case? And if that is the case, then how can you fault ID people for concentrating on design detection in biology?

    If atheists and agnostics were Christian, one would not have to rely on science alone to convince them that nature is designed. Even if they were open to genuine philosophy (as opposed to what passes for philosophy in most modern Western universities), one could show them the folly of neo-Darwinism. But when all they acknowledge is a very narrow form of Cartesian/Baconian reasoning, one is limited in the kinds of responses one can offer.

    So you get people like Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Sternberg, Axe, Gauger, etc. limiting themselves, for the purposes of argument, to the language and conceptual framework that the atheist and agnostic biologists accept. What is wrong with that? What else *could* they do? Do you want Behe to stand up and say: “I don’t need any of these biochemical arguments, because I’m Catholic and my Church teaches me that I am not the product of mere chance”? If he said that, he would immediately be labelled a “creationist” — and this time with some justification. Is that what you want Behe to do, renounce all the arguments in his books as beside the point, and appeal to revelation against science?

    Finally, Gregory, one more question for you: why do you like Fuller so much? He seems to be asking for something very different from what you have commonly supported. In fact, in some ways he is asking for the opposite of what you recommend.

    You have constantly said that “evolution” as scientists define it (i.e., as run by neo-Darwinian and other stochastic mechanisms) is fine in biology, and that the only problem is that an unwarranted philosophy of “evolutionism” has crept into the human and social sciences. In other words, you have accepted that the biologists (even Dawkins and Ayala, insofar as they stick to biology and refrain from theologizing) are essentially right about the origin of species, including man. And what the biologists say is that there is no need to infer design: evolution can achieve the results of design, without any designer, because of the immense creative powers of random mutations and natural selection. (If you don’t accept the biologists’ teaching on this, you have done a very good job of concealing your disapproval.)

    Fuller says something quite different. Rather than giving the biologists complete autonomy on questions of origins, by limiting the notion of “design” to the human world, he says that we *should* impute concepts we know from the human/social realm into the realm of organic life. He says that we *should* back-read human conceptions of design into God, and regard nature as designed, and use Franciscan theology as our justification. He wants to put what you call “designism” into the study of nature. He thinks that regarding nature as designed will produce *better* scientific results than regarding it as the capricious result of randomness and natural selection. He wants to bring down the border you want to erect between the realm of human creativity and the realm of divine creativity. He denies what you have plainly said here and elsewhere, i.e., that concepts of design have no place in the realm of non-human nature. So why do you like him so much? And why do you criticize ID people so harshly for putting design concepts in the “wrong” place, i.e., in the natural realm, while giving Fuller a free pass to do the same?

  38. “most people who support ID don’t consider themselves agnostics about the designer”

    Yes, nullasalus, this is precisely the point I was making and which Steve Fuller shows in his works, demonstrated in the quotes gathered here. I’m encouraged that we are on the same page about it!

    The ‘conundrum’ you present from Dembski, I consider to be a ruse; obviously he personally accepts the explanation already quoted above, or taken from your quote, that the ‘designer/Designer’ is the “personal transcendent creator God of Christianity.” Not acknowledging this as part of Dembskian or Meyerian or Behean or Wellsian or Nelsonian or O’Learyean or nullasalusian-ID is in my view disingenuous; it simply *must* be part of your or their understanding and interpretation of ‘intelligent design’ that this is the ‘designer/Designer’ you or they have in mind. Without this, the explanatory power of the theory plummets, as Fuller has carefully explained.

    The primary reason why ‘intelligent design’ could make any sense at all is only because human beings are made in imago Dei. If that were not true, or at least, if people did not believe that it is true#, there would be and could be no ‘intelligent design’ theory. Check the profiles of the ‘founders’ of ID if you think the belief in imago Dei does not pre-define the movement’s reality.

    (#I’m willing to take seriously all critics to this argument who promote ID, only if they will say up-front that they believe in ID, but not in imago Dei, otherwise their criticism is invalid.)

    Of course, one can be an atheist, agnostic or theist of whatever variety and still reject or challenge neo-Darwinism. But one cannot promote a positive ID theory without belief in intelligible transcendence. There was reportedly one agnostic at Pajaro Dunes (D. Raup), but his personal position could not have offered among the movements new leaders a positive contribution to defining ‘design’ by ‘intelligence’ if he didn’t know or believe if that intelligible transcendence was real.

    This is indeed a major point of impact and influence that Fuller’s work delivers to readers and listeners, though it is not limited to him. The reason ‘science’ makes sense, i.e. that it recognizes order, system, pattern, plan, is because human beings are created by the Logos, in the image of the Logos, which allows us to read/understand the Logos. IDM-ID makes no claim on this terrifically significant point because it (unnecessarily) disallows the ‘religious’ explanation that we are made in imago Dei into its (because it is a) ‘science-only’ theory. Another way to say it: IDM-ID is coming at the topic backwards while Fuller comes at it directly, face first, acknowledging his and our humanity and our reflexive beliefs about the source of intelligence *before* (as priority, not necessarily temporally) considering the science.

    A similar way to say it, in this case, IDM-ID is stating that first we should look at effects and reverse-engineer them to causes while Fuller is saying we recognize ‘intelligently designed’ patterns be-cause we were created with/in a pattern ourselves. Do you recognise the difference in these two approaches to ID, nullasalus?

    “finding out that intelligen[ce] of some kind plays or played a fundamental role in the nature we now know is uninteresting if it’s not automatically known to be God”

    First, it’s not that we know (kataphatically) that the intelligence is God’s, but that people believe it is and that religious tradition(s) support(s) this. Second, yes, because of imago Dei and its roots in the Abrahamic traditions, it is uninteresting (at best) or heterodox (at worst) to claim that the intelligence is not God’s. Surely, nullasalus, you are not claiming that.

    Any good Catholic will tell you, nullasalus, that God created the heavens and the earth with ‘intelligence’ and that human beings were specially planned/made/built/woven/constructed, even if natural history and the natural sciences that study it reveals that this plan took place via (limited or constrained) natural evolutionary processes. Do you have reasons to suggest then that all Catholics therefore must accept IDM-ID? Catholics can accept limited biological evolution, including a large part of Darwin’s contribution to natural sciences, but not universal evolutionism as ideology, this is the key. Do you not agree?

    Wrt the ‘ugly’ metaphor, you missed the meaning which was simply to express contradiction; ugly-beauty queens/kings don’t win/exist and neither can/does ID-atheism (though please note the qualifier for this which I wrote above). Attempts by IDers to allow (even to create space) for ID-atheism are in my view ridiculous. Religiouly agnostic-IDers, well that’s another story, but notice please that an agnostic science isn’t worth much (i.e. it claims not to have knowledge), while IDers who are agnostic about the identity of the designer/Designer are in the vast minority, as you said yourself above. Only by requiring personal beliefs to be checked at the door of the ‘natural science lab’ does IDM-ID’s rule of no-talk-of-designer(s)/Designer(s) or ‘designing-processes’ make sense.

    “people themselves in the ID community would be in the best positions regarding that.”

    This is perhaps because you don’t properly estimate or understand sociology. The one who studies people professionally best understands what those people as a community or movement think, believe, do, etc. not the individual persons themselves. People of course know what they personally think, believe and do themselves better than anyone else. They know (unprofessionally) what others in their community think, believe and do also. But not until and unless they or someone else looks at their/a community ‘as an outsider’ or ‘through the passenger window’ or in some systematic or structured or ‘scientific’ way, can certain ‘unexpected’ or ‘counter-intuitive’ conclusions be drawn that are often not seen (clearly) within the community itself and which do in fact reveal insights into a community’s beliefs, thoughts, views and actions. Many valuable contributions to human knowledge have been made through the years by pulling out one’s macro-scope and looking at people as Fuller is doing, which includes comparative-historical, empirical, and theoretical approaches.

    Because of this, sociologists of science who follow scientists around, observing and recording what they do, or theorizing about the thoughts, beliefs and actions of scientists and proto-scientists, often make scientists themselves uncomfortable. Who wants people observing them and perhaps discovering they are doing things differently than they think or imagine or that their methods are coloured by metaphysical or worldview biases? Or that ideology is actually heavily involved in what they do even though they claim to be entirely ‘neutral,’ ‘detached’ or ‘objective’? If the IDM/DI would allow surveys to be conducted of its major contributors, for example, we could learn a lot more about the inner workings of the movement which many people at UD have tacitly subscribed to.

    Psychologists of science also have a role to play in this discourse and may be even more discomforting (and important) for scientists to face. Nevertheless, it is not my task here to elaborate on why those who study scientists or movements themselves have something important to offer. That Fuller and I are interested in these topics and are applying them to the IDM (and to Darwinists) is in large part why some people have a difficult time confronting our informed views about ID and those who promote it.

    “I think ID asks entirely valid questions…ID’s questions and investigations are both A) not science, B) not religious, and C) able to reach compelling, valid conclusions.”

    That’s fine, nullasalus. I wonder then how you would classify those ‘compelling, valid conclusions,’ if you don’t count them as ‘scientific’ or ‘religious’? E.g. as ‘everyday life understanding,’ as ‘pre-theoretical’ or non-theoretical knowledge? Timaeus counts ID as ‘not science’ and ‘not religious’ also, but notice how he has no effective response nor will to correction when IDers bluntly claim that ID is ‘science-only’ (as they unarguably do), nor any public works of his own to back up his position, though he could easily produce them under his real name, given how scholar-like he writes about IDM-ID here at UD and elsewhere? Fuller is at least courageous enough to publically face the flack that comes from writing about Darwinism and ID, based out of a major university in the U.K., while travelling around the world reaching out to people on related themes (such as science, philosophy, religion discourse and trans-humanism).

    What do you think it would take, nullasalus, for people at UD or in the IDM to take Fuller’s work on ID more seriously? Right now it looks basically like ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ type of treatment. Personally, I view Fuller’s contribution on this topic as much more valuable and far-sighted than that.

  39. Gregory,

    That’s an awful lot of text, but I don’t want to get into it until you focus on a single point. Here it is.

    ID, certainly ID as stated, is compatible with atheism. This is not something I’m divining or pulling out of a hat – I have everyone from Dembski to Behe admitting that nothing in ID requires identifying design as God, much less the God of Christianity. It does not matter a whit that Dembski is Christian or Behe is Catholic, and believe the designer – on grounds separate from ID – to be the God of the Bible. Ken Miller calls himself a Catholic, and defends neo-darwinism. Neo-darwinism does not become a Catholic theory as a result.

    I have a quote from Dembski that couldn’t be clearer. Your response is that’s a ruse. I can pull quote after quote from undisputed ID leaders and major proponents pointing out that the designer need not be God, much less supernatural. You can keep saying “It’s all a ruse! A smokescreen!”, but at that point there’s just nothing to talk about anymore, because you won’t have seriously engaged the ID idea being offered. Really, this objection you are lodging is wildly misplaced, every bit as much as if (say) someone answered the Kalam Cosmological Argument with “That doesn’t prove the God of the Bible! And don’t say it’s not supposed to, because William Lane Craig is clearly a Christian!” To say that is to do worse than misunderstand the argument and its scope – it is to ignore it entirely.

    So let me drive this point home.

    Second, yes, because of imago Dei and its roots in the Abrahamic traditions, it is uninteresting (at best) or heterodox (at worst) to claim that the intelligence is not God’s. Surely, nullasalus, you are not claiming that.

    I am claiming what the limit of ID is, just as Aquinas would say his Five Ways prove/demonstrate the existence of God, but would not say that said Five Ways proved or demonstrated the truth of Christianity specifically. The issue is the limitation of a method and argument.

    I will stress this strongly, Gregory. What I am saying will be backed by Dembski, Behe, Meyer, Axe, Wells, and more in the major ID leadership. I will further bet – gentlemen, please step forward and correct me if I am wrong – that kairosfocus, StephenB, and many other admins on this very site will agree with what I stating with regards to ID’s intellectual limitations. ID is not a project of proving the truth of Christianity, just as Aquinas’ Five Ways is not meant to prove the truth of Catholicism.

    You can argue that this is a poor idea. You can argue the emphasis is wrong. You can argue the project is unsuccessful. But, Gregory, if you argue that the limitation of ID is something (particularly around here) ID proponents are oblivious to, or do not themselves subscribe to, you’re spinning your wheels.

    I will say one more time: to object ‘but Behe believes the designer is God!’ is to miss the point entirely. Behe will himself tell you that the best ID can do is infer intelligence, period. Behe’s belief in God is not based wholly on ID, nor is frankly anyone else’s here that I am aware of. (Lots of Five Ways and Cosmological argument fans on this site.) Until you grapple with this – and grappling entails accepting that this is, as a matter of fact, what ID proponents are maintaining – you’re going to fail to see the problems ID proponents have with your suggestion on how to revise the ID movement. And seeing that is necessary for you to advance your project.

  40. “what I [am] stating with regards to ID’s intellectual limitations. ID is not a project of proving the truth of Christianity” – nullasalus

    Yes, of course it is not. I am well aware of that.

    “Behe’s belief in God is not based wholly on ID”

    Yes, of course it is not. I am well aware of that.

    Pulling out quote after quote (several of which I’ve also read) from ID leaders who say “the designer need not be God” yet who also (in their ‘heart of hearts’) believe that the designer *is* God is not an effective or imo non-ruseful strategy. It completely ignores that personal ‘presuppositions’ influence theoreticians, e.g. in this case, those who coined the phrase ‘intelligent design.’ I don’t accept such pseudo-neutrality as if people are not (fallible) people, but rather (deterministic) robots.

    Please understand, nullasalus, I know that this is difficult. It is a tough pill to swallow, like the red pill vs. the blue pill in The Matrix. Think reflexively!

    You say, nullasalus, “I am claiming what the limit of ID is,” i.e. that it does not prove ‘Christianity.’ Yet some advocates of ID would claim ‘everything is designed,’ or ‘there is nothing that is not intelligently designed,’ including Auschwitz. I am looking for a new way forward from such a unrealistic-universalistic position, and it seems that you are also.

    Let us eventualy explore what my project is, shall we nullasalus, before you conclude what you think is necessary for it to be advanced? Fuller’s work moves forward with ideas that both challenge IDM-ID and also involve new themes such as trans-humanism, a new sociological imagination, media and culture, science and technology, transformations in higher education, etc. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about them as well, since we’re obviously on the same page in concluding that ID is ‘not scientific’ and ‘not religious.’

    I’ve not said ‘ID is a Christian theory’ but rather that without the belief (by those who coined it) that mankind was made in imago Dei there would be no theory of ID. All that you would need to do to prove this suggestion wrong is to show that those/the man that coined ‘intelligent design’ (as it is ‘supposed to be’) didn’t/don’t believe humankind was made in imago Dei. Do you have any evidence or suggestion of this, nullasalus? Would you wish to prove it if you did?

    Have I addressed your single point directly, nullasalus, whether or not you agree with my assessment/interpretation?

    While ID may not (overtly) “begin from religious premises” it most certainly does not (even covertly) begin from “atheistic premises.” ID is *not* compatible with atheism because the core ID belief (and what follows from it, i.e. intelligibility of universe) that human beings are created in imago Dei is not consistent with atheism.

    “ID needs to adopt a consistently progressive stance towards the pursuit of science, as befits creatures designed in imago dei to master nature.” – S. Fuller (2008) (cf. ‘needs to’ with ‘supposed to be’)

    This quotation not only speaks truth regarding the founders of ID theory, but also offers a ‘reverse perspective’ on what accepting ID means for humankind’s relationship with nature and technology, in light of the creativity within/gifted to us. It is much further ahead (reflexively) on the pathway than what IDM-ID has yet reached, nullasalus. Wouldn’t you agree?

  41. Will you be responding to the articulate questions asked of you in a previous post by Timaeus?

  42. Gregory,

    Please understand, nullasalus, I know that this is difficult. It is a tough pill to swallow, like the red pill vs. the blue pill in The Matrix. Think reflexively!

    If you want to condescend to me like this when I’m trying my damndest to be civil, do so. Eventually, I’m going to get tired of it and ditch my civility.

    Yet some advocates of ID would claim ‘everything is designed,’ or ‘there is nothing that is not intelligently designed,’ including Auschwitz. I am looking for a new way forward from such a unrealistic-universalistic position, and it seems that you are also.

    No, I’m really not, because those views are not part of ID anyway. Why are you seemingly incapable of realizing that the guy who believes God is omniscient (and therefore designs everything) is not reaching that conclusion based on ID? Why can’t you accept that such a view is not part of ID? Yes, yes, I know. “Some ID proponents would claim…” Some ID proponents have ideas about things that have nothing to do with ID. God bless them, they’re welcome to that. Their ID-extraneous views don’t determine what ID is.

    Let us eventualy explore what my project is, shall we nullasalus, before you conclude what you think is necessary for it to be advanced?

    How about we clear up what really seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on your part first? Because so far, you don’t seem able to accept that ID is not some kind of hyper-calvinist doctrine, or even a theological doctrine at all. It may be wrong, it may be wrongheaded, but at least show evidence that you know what you’re critiquing.

    I’ve not said ‘ID is a Christian theory’ but rather that without the belief (by those who coined it) that mankind was made in imago Dei there would be no theory of ID. All that you would need to do to prove this suggestion wrong is to show that those/the man that coined ‘intelligent design’ (as it is ‘supposed to be’) didn’t/don’t believe humankind was made in imago Dei.

    You want to turn ID into a Christian theory. You’ve been implying all this time that the big problem with ID is that it’s not explicitly religious, and you do not seem to understand why in the world its’ proponents disagree, or why they would. That is a problem for someone who wants to convince everyone that ID is on some kind of wrong path that you and/or Fuller have the solution for. If someone tells me they have a dynamite critique of ID, and the first thing I hear out of them is something like “ID is the theory that evolution is impossible, and that God had to work miracles to make plants and animals”, they’re dead in the water then and there. They’ve displayed that they don’t even understand what they’re about to let loose a salvo at.

    What’s more, demanding that I produce some evidence that belief in the Imago Dei was not, even in some indirect way, instrumental in the founding of ID is pretty ludicrous. Hey, show me that Darwin wouldn’t have come up with evolution if he didn’t have some bare theistic/deistic belief. Oh, you can’t do that because asking what-if questions of that type are impossible to adequately answer? I guess Darwinism was a theistic evolutionary theory then.

    See how ludicrous that is?

    Have I addressed your single point directly, nullasalus, whether or not you agree with my assessment/interpretation?

    No, you haven’t. You don’t seem to understand where ID begins and ends, and you continually point out “Well, Dembski/Behe believes in God” as if that somehow requires that ID therefore be a theistic, even Christian, view.

    ID is *not* compatible with atheism because the core ID belief (and what follows from it, i.e. intelligibility of universe) that human beings are created in imago Dei is not consistent with atheism.

    The “core ID belief” you’re quoting ain’t a core ID belief. It’s Fuller’s view of what ID should be. Even in your own quote, that’s Fuller talking about what idea ID should adopt, not what idea comprises it currently – and frankly, I wouldn’t count on it becoming a “core ID belief” anytime soon either.

    It is much further ahead (reflexively) on the pathway than what IDM-ID has yet reached, nullasalus. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Considering that Fuller’s view of ‘mastering nature’ is, as near as I can tell, deeply related to his explicit nominalism, and I personally (and I bet a few regulars on this forum) reject nominalism, no, I’m not really onboard with Fuller’s quote. I find his project interesting, but please don’t mistake ‘interesting’ with ‘I agree’ or even ‘I’m on the road to agreeing’. I find mormonism, hinduism, Islam, and the raelians interesting too.

    Until you can appreciate not only that ID, certainly ID as proposed by Behe, Dembski, etc, is compatible with atheism (and certainly non-Christianity), and until you can appreciate why that is considered a feature rather than a bug by those same proponents, I suggest you have a problem on your hands. If you were telling me, “I agree that’s what ID proponents say and believe. I believe that’s what ID is right now, and I think X, Y and Z are the reasons they think this is proper. But here’s why I think they’re wrong”, we’d be moving on. When you’re instead saying “Sure, they say that, but I think it’s a ruse. ID doesn’t actually say that. In spite of everything ID’s main proponents say, in spite of the very limited scope ID is said to have by those proponents and founders, I say it has a different scope.”, you’re getting nowhere.

  43. —-Gregory: “Pulling out quote after quote (several of which I’ve also read) from ID leaders who say “the designer need not be God” yet who also (in their ‘heart of hearts’) believe that the designer *is* God is not an effective or imo non-ruseful strategy. It completely ignores that personal ‘presuppositions’ influence theoreticians, e.g. in this case, those who coined the phrase ‘intelligent design.’ I don’t accept such pseudo-neutrality as if people are not (fallible) people, but rather (deterministic) robots.”

    A person’s apriori religious belief is not the same thing as a “presupposition” in science or in logic. A religious belief may well provide the psychological motivation for doing science (or philosophy) in the first place, but it cannot also represent the first step of the scientific reasoning process. If it were so, then there could be no such thing as an inference to the best explanation (or any inference at all) because the presupposition would have already provided the explanation.

    To avoid this kind of tautological reasoning, the philosopher or the scientist must begin by observing nature (Aquinas in philosophy) or (ID in science). Hence, from a philosophical perspective, certain patterns in nature reveal regularity, which indicates order, which points to an orderer. Or, from a scientific perspective, certain features in nature reveal patterns, which indicate design, which points to a designer. In each case, the only way to avoid smuggling the assumption (presupposition) into the conclusion is to leave out presuppositions and assumptions altogether (except for reason’s rules). In other words, the process begins with empirical observations.

    What you are proposing is illogical because it asks ID, in the name of science, to draw inferences from data after the fact of observation, and, in the name of religion, to draw inferences from assumptions made before the fact.

    –“(#I’m willing to take seriously all critics to this argument who promote ID, only if they will say up-front that they believe in ID, but not in imago Dei, otherwise their criticism is invalid.)”

    ID proponents are always happy to answer your questions. The problem is that you will not answer their questions.

    As an example, here are two more questions that you can ignore:

    [a] How do you maintain the integrity of a scientific inference from data if you clutter the process by integrating it with a statement of religious belief?

    [b] Since you think that all ID paradigms are influenced by religious presuppositions, tell me which religious presuppositions are inherent in the concept of “irreducible complexity” and explain the connection?

  44. Let me send an apology, then, for my part in the misunderstanding, nullasalus. There was no condescension intended in my suggestion that the topic is a challenge to many people (and indeed, that it reminds of the Matrix red vs. blue pill dilemma). I had thought, as someone of a similar generation, you could appreciate the metaphor. As it stands, I’ve witnessed a reverse-perspective blind-spot many times when the topic of evolution, creation and ID is raised.

    You mentioned the following about yourself: “My view[s] are complicated, and very often pragmatic and reactionary.” I’m assuming you meant your views of ID. My views of ID otoh are fairly simple (as theorised, when/if understood by readers/listeners), ideational and progressive (not-reactionary). They have been developed and tested through much independent thought, in on-line forums, as well as in peer-review processes and at high-level academic discourse.

    You do respect this, nullasalus, do you not?

    I’m afraid we’ll make little progress here, nullasalus, if you are intent to speak about ‘what ID is’ whereas I’m more concerned to speak about ‘how people construct and interpret ID.’ There is currently a standoff between ontology and epistemology that perhaps you recognise. Shall we let it rest at that for now? This standoff involves philosophy of science and knowledge, which requires background work that is different from coin-flipping experiments and statistical inferences. Can you possibly come to respect a broader approach to ID as legitimate too?

    “Some ID proponents have ideas about things that have nothing to do with ID. God bless them, they’re welcome to that. Their ID-extraneous views don’t determine what ID is.” – nullasalus

    God bless you too! What then determines ‘what ID is,’ according to you, nullasalus? You spoke boldly about ‘what ID is supposed to be.’ I pressed you on this meaning, but several questions about it remain above. Who defines ID personally for you? Iow, ‘whose ID’ and ‘which ID’ are you claiming to speak for or about? Like I’ve said here at UD in the past, I’ve spent countless hours studying evolution, creation and ID, corresponding with ID leaders and others involved in the wider discourse; far more than wily ‘Timaeus’ has. Your pretensions to knowing ‘what ID is supposed to be’ do not phase or deter me in the least, if you will not back them up.

    For you to say “Gregory doesn’t understand ID” is thus rather fictive wishful-thinking. It may be that UD-ID is hard to understand because the people who post here hold a variety of views, not a single perspective (ID = worldview, science, good at asking questions, not-science, not-religion, ideology, not-philosophy, etc.). As long as you are not supporting peoples’ views of ID that have ‘nothing to do with ID’ then we’re on the same page, nullasalus, but I need to understand more clearly ‘what ID is’ and ‘what ID is supposed to be’ and if those are the same thing in your view.

    You know that I am proposing something beyond what ‘ID’ currently expresses. Fuller in my view is on the cutting-edge re: ID, which is why many rank-and-file IDers don’t (yet) understand him. They’ve yet to catch-up to the new knowledge which his approach provides. cantor needs to recant on his/her whitewash of Fuller.

    “Why are you seemingly incapable of realizing that the guy who believes God is omniscient (and therefore designs everything) is not reaching that conclusion based on ID?”

    This is unnecessary because it is so blatantly obvious. In any case, I already answered it above. There’s 50+ years of work in the human-social sciences and philosophy for you to tread through to realise why my answer is valid to those in-the-know. Are you suggesting ID theory, either ‘what it is’ or ‘what it is supposed to be,’ just fell out of the sky like manna one fine day, that no one was/is personally involved in constructing it, that it is just a ‘neutral theory,’ a kind of ‘pure science’? If so, that myth was busted by 20th century history, philosophy and sociology of science and should not be pretended to here. If not, then why not just come out and agree with me?

    Both Fuller and I are ahead of the front-wave of IDM-ID because we consciously and purposefully take into account (social) epistemology in addition to mere (naturalistic) ontology. To the present day IDM leaders do take Fuller seriously, even if ID ‘enemy of your enemy’ (like cantor) fanatics at UD do not. Fuller has defended ID in enough public places (Dover, Nova, Expelled, etc.) to solidify himself justly as a person to be taken seriously.

    Is the ‘collective’ view of ID leaders the authoritative one regarding ID, nullasalus? Iow, is ‘what ID is supposed to be’ decided by committee? Or do you allow that the ‘construction of ID theory’ is on-going, that new people are still contributing to it and possibly adapting it today? This brings us back to the claim made earlier in this thread that Fuller is a ‘front-line contributor’ with his work on the (social) epistemology of ID. Nobody here has given me any sound reason to believe that he is not.

    What I’ve said is: “one cannot promote a positive ID theory without belief in intelligible transcendence” and that “without the belief (by those who coined it) that mankind was made in imago Dei there would be no theory of ID.” You’ve made no attempt to refute these claims, nullasalus, but instead have altered my intended meaning in your re-interpretation along the way. I am left to wonder: what is so repulsive about the claim that ‘religion actually influences natural sciences’ that so bothers you? Are you suggesting that religion is so impotent and ineffectual that it carries NO influence on natural science or that just in the case of ID it has no cause-effect power on ‘doing science’?

  45. Cantor:

    Gregory has been steeped (brainwashed?) in the sociological tradition of Social Constructivism and can think only through that lens. According to that paradigm, we don’t “apprehend” knowledge, we “create” it through social interaction It’s all about context. Group A creates one kind of knowledge through interaction in one natural setting and Group B creates yet another kind of knowledge in another natural setting.

    Under those circumstances, of course, there would be no rational standard to test the legitimacy of any of those different varieties of contextual knowledge because reason itself, along with its rules, is also perceived to have been socially constructed. Thus, Gregory cannot focus on what ID theory IS; he can only obsess over the cultural factors that he thinks caused it to be. He has not, it seems, been trained in logic and cannot, therefore, recognize the rational gap between what he is saying and what is being discussed, or answer any questions that would require a reasoned response.

  46. Gregory,

    There was no condescension intended in my suggestion

    Alright, no problem then.

    They have been developed and tested through much independent thought, in on-line forums, as well as in peer-review processes and at high-level academic discourse.

    You do respect this, nullasalus, do you not?

    Sorry, Gregory. I respect you, sure, the same way I respect StephenB and the rest. Independent thought? Everyone, myself included, thinks that describes their thoughts. Online forums? C’mon, read what you just said. Academics? You know my feelings on them – they aren’t ones of respect. Peer-review processes? In what, sociology journals?

    No, that all means nothing to me. I need the goods here and now in conversation, not a Peter Venkman paraphrase of ‘Back off, man. I’m a sociologist.’

    I’m afraid we’ll make little progress here, nullasalus, if you are intent to speak about ‘what ID is’ whereas I’m more concerned to speak about ‘how people construct and interpret ID.’

    Go ahead and do that. But speaking about ‘how people construct and interpret ID’ entails speaking about ‘what ID is’ to begin with. I really hope you don’t tell me something like, “Yes, I know what Behe, and Dembski, and all the rest say, I know what the DI says, I know the consistent line. But! I’m a sociologist. I’ve studied them, and I’ve determined ID is actually something else.”

    Can you possibly come to respect a broader approach to ID as legitimate too?

    Approach ID however you like. But you’ve been talking about reshaping and reconstituting ID itself, insisting your/Fuller’s version is better. And when I ask you to at least state why ID proponents see and describe ID the way they do, you come awfully close to denying that they perceive ID the way they do. I’m not a big fan of that kind of psychoanalysis, and you can’t really expect me to just accept it. If you say, “I do expect you to accept it, Nullasalus, because I’m a sociologist.”, it won’t budge me. And you’ll also have to explain why I should accept the judgments of a thousand and one sociologists making their own crazy judgments.

    I mean, you have to admit that sociology isn’t exactly a field rife with ID advocates, or even ID friendly people.

    God bless you too! What then determines ‘what ID is,’ according to you, nullasalus? You spoke boldly about ‘what ID is supposed to be.’ I pressed you on this meaning, but several questions about it remain above. Who defines ID personally for you? Iow, ‘whose ID’ and ‘which ID’ are you claiming to speak for or about? Like I’ve said here at UD in the past, I’ve spent countless hours studying evolution, creation and ID, corresponding with ID leaders and others involved in the wider discourse; far more than wily ‘Timaeus’ has. Your pretensions to knowing ‘what ID is supposed to be’ do not phase or deter me in the least, if you will not back them up.

    I already backed it up, with quotes. You wrote Dembski’s words off as a ruse, and made it clear that you’d do the same with any quotes from Behe, Meyer, or anyone else’s who I would provide.

    I mean, I’m not exactly a new guy around here. I’ve been around for years. I’ve corresponded, if briefly, with Behe and Dembski. I’ve had conversations with philosophers. I’ve interacted with scientists, and called a whole bunch of them names besides! Arguing on the internet and all.

    And frankly, I know Timaeus isn’t exactly new to this either – I can’t be sure you’ve put in more effort than he has. ID has been defined by Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Wells and the DI. Now, I fully appreciate that someone can go off with their own ID or ID inspired project – Mike Gene comes to mind, brilliant guy that he is. If you told me simply that you had a Mike Gene view of ID that you were going your own regarding, I’d be fine with it. Instead you’re coming across as not being content with your own project, but instead think that the Discovery Institute should put you and/or Fuller in charge, change everything they do, change all their arguments and ideas to conform with your view. In other words, it seems like your interest is far less “getting people to consider your idea” and far more establishing yourself and/or Fuller as the de facto ID authority.

    If that’s not your aim, alright. But that’s the impression I’m seeing.

    You know that I am proposing something beyond what ‘ID’ currently expresses. Fuller in my view is on the cutting-edge re: ID, which is why many rank-and-file IDers don’t (yet) understand him. They’ve yet to catch-up to the new knowledge which his approach provides.

    Fuller, nice and smart guy that he is, has shared his ideas re: ID on this site in the past. It didn’t go over well. And frankly, I don’t see where Fuller’s approach provides any ‘new knowledge’, unless you’re counting things like ‘embracing nominalism’ as new knowledge.

    In any case, I already answered it above. There’s 50+ years of work in the human-social sciences and philosophy for you to tread through to realise why my answer is valid to those in-the-know.

    Okay, Gregory. Serious question: those “in the know”. Exactly how many are there? Would counting them exceed the fingers on an average hand?

    More than that, so you’re making a vague reference to the fact that some people agree with you. Alright – and many people agree with me. My statements here are “valid to those in-the-know”. Apparently, 50+ work in the social sciences wasn’t necessary.

    Are you suggesting ID theory, either ‘what it is’ or ‘what it is supposed to be,’ just fell out of the sky like manna one fine day, that no one was/is personally involved in constructing it, that it is just a ‘neutral theory,’ a kind of ‘pure science’?

    No, I didn’t say that at all. But your response is boiled down to “ID is entirely theistic and mandates theism, possibly Christianity specifically, because the guy(s) who defined it believed in the Imago Dei”. That’s just silly.

    Is the ‘collective’ view of ID leaders the authoritative one regarding ID, nullasalus? Iow, is ‘what ID is supposed to be’ decided by committee? Or do you allow that the ‘construction of ID theory’ is on-going, that new people are still contributing to it and possibly adapting it today?

    I’m sure they are – there’s Mike Gene again. But there’s still a view of ID that the DI, Behe, Dembski, etc adhere to, and the version I’m stating is the version they recognize. Yours, isn’t. Why not just say “Well, I think Behe, Dembski, etc’s idea is flawed. Here’s my idea.”? Why play the game of “Ahh, but you see, I’m a sociologist. So I know that ID is actually something entirely different from what they say.”?

    Go forth, adapt the idea, brainstorm it, come up with new ideas. But please don’t tell me that ID as it’s been proposed and described requires belief in the Imago Dei, and all arguments and claims to the contrary is just some kind of front. It’s wrong, and further, it’s pretty obnoxious. “Those in the know” may agree with you, granted. “Those in the know” can get bent.

    You’ve made no attempt to refute these claims, nullasalus, but instead have altered my intended meaning in your re-interpretation along the way.

    No, I’ve pointed out how inane the claim is, and how telling me “Prove to me that ID would have come to be if its founders did not believe in the Imago Dei” is just so much bullcrap. Well gee, Gregory, let me go get my multiverse-travelling starship and pop into universe 89140-a where Phil Johnson is a wiccan, and see what happens. Oops, wait, that machine doesn’t exist.

    I am left to wonder: what is so repulsive about the claim that ‘religion actually influences natural sciences’ that so bothers you? Are you suggesting that religion is so impotent and ineffectual that it carries NO influence on natural science or that just in the case of ID it has no cause-effect power on ‘doing science’?

    Alright, time for me to say something. When you crack out these carefully worded, loaded questions – ‘religion is impotent and ineffectual if it has no influence on natural science’ – I’m willing to bet you think you’re boxing me in a corner or putting pressure on me. Really, you’re just pissing me off. I know how to play cute little language games like this too. Here’s a few examples:

    Is your faith in God so paltry, Gregory, that it must be welded to science in order for you to sustain it?

    Is your view of religion so myopic that, unless it is intimately entrenched with a scientism-inspired view of natural sciences, it has no value?

    Is your disappointment with sociology so grand – do you so regret your recent academic past – that you must construct a fantasy world that makes sociology more important than it already is, by imagining the appropriateness of its use in areas that do not require it?

    See? Three shots of BS, off the cuff. I could do it all day. So please, think twice before you keep at me with this.

    To answer the actual question that’s buried under those flourishes – my metaphysics, philosophy, and theology relate to science just fine, thank you. But I know the difference between the four things, and I know how to distill a question or a point of view such that I can have a conversation with someone who does not share my metaphysics, philosophy and theology. Which, by the way, is part of the point of ID being formulated the way it is. The question of whether there are scientifically detectable signs of intelligence in nature is, believe it or not, interesting and important in and of itself. Now, there are apologetic uses and outcomes if such things can be detected scientifically, and if the search turns up positive – the interest does not end with the science. But from that point on, we’re off into a land beyond ID – which is great and fine.

    You, on the other hand, want ID to be reformed – again, having your own idea is apparently not at all satisfactory to you, but the DI and Behe and Dembski and company must all radically change their views – to be a theistic project.

    And as StephenB pointed out, there’s already a project like that: Hugh Ross’ outfit. And that’s just the most prominent one, since I’m sure there’s more.

  47. Null: See? Three shots of BS, off the cuff. I could do it all day. So please, think twice before you keep at me with this.

    I love you Null. I’m your biggest fan. :)

  48. Bravo, nullasalus – well said! It seems now we might be making some progress.

    This is a long post, after some time to reflect on what has been said, in response both to legitimate points you’ve made and to unfair and inaccurate perceptions expressed about me in this thread.

    First, though, nullasalus, we obviously do have a different approach toward and opinion of academics and academia (meaning university life as scholarship), in that I continue to pay my respects to them and it. You personally may not offer your respect to scientists, but the IDM does in the form of ID leaders seeking respectability from their scholar-peers. To suggest that ID leaders don’t seek academic respectability would undermine the IDM’s project of (eventually) wanting to produce good science.

    Even if ID faithful are waiting decades for the generation of neo-Darwinists to die out before ID emerges ‘revolutionarily victorious,’ the result nonetheless is aimed at convincing scientists and academics, whose views will then ‘trickle-down’ to the general public. You might argue that instead a ‘trickle-up’ effect is needed, and there may be some legitimacy in such an approach (cf. Fuller’s notion of Prot-Science), but alas, that’s not generally-speaking how ‘new knowledge’ is produced. We live in a ‘knowledge society’ and universities are (still) the central home(s) of knowledge production and diffusion. That is why IDers seek validity there.

    “speaking about ‘how people construct and interpret ID’ entails speaking about ‘what ID is’ to begin with.” – nullasalus

    Yes, of course it does. I was and still am referring to how ID was constructed in the first place and what it is/means, according to ID founders. You’ve addressed this finally (thankfully!), to which I’ll return below.

    “I’ve studied them, and I’ve determined ID is actually something else.” – nullasalus (speaking as actor for my voice)

    Not a fair assessment. ID is what they (ID leaders/founders) say it is; it would be denying the truth for me to contend otherwise. But what they say ID is imo is not enough to win gold on the highest academic/scholarly stage they seek. You may argue with this, nullasalus. But *they* (who are ID proponents, i.e. not you) think ID is a ‘revolutionary science,’ as do some (perhaps many?) here at UD. With them, I respectfully disagree and am willing to patiently show them why as well as to offer a new way forward.

    I am suggesting that Fuller’s view of ID is more significant and personally meaningful than IDM-ID (though his also includes many features of IDM-ID). And also I agree with his broad ‘history’ of ID, including ID’s inevitable and easily provable (cf. ‘verifiable’) links to philosophy and theology. ‘Science-only’ ID is easily falsified. If you wish to deny this or IDT’s links to theology in your personal version of what ‘ID is supposed to be,’ nullasalus, that’s of course your prerogative and I would welcome you proving both Fuller and myself to be wrong or incomprehensive. Yet, there are many IDers themselves who say just the same things.

    A case in point from a recent thread: “ID is the claim that science needs religion just as religion needs science. Until science can enlarge itself sufficiently to admit the theological implications instantiated within it, it will be incomplete and impoverished by a priori assumptions that as we have seen are not in themselves scientific.” – Michael Flannery (http://www.uncommondescent.com.....m-the-pew/).

    “you’ve been talking about reshaping and reconstituting ID itself, insisting your/Fuller’s version is better.” – nullasalus

    ID imo doesn’t need to be ‘reshaped and reconstituted,’ at least, not from within. But the contours and limitations of the theory can be more clearly shown, one limit of which you spoke about yourself above wrt religion, so that it doesn’t turn into an ‘ID worldview,’ as some on this list take it to be. For all the rejection of ‘theistic evolutionism’ (ideology + science + religion) at UD, there should likewise be precautions taken not to allow ID to become an ideology too.

    Am I ‘designing’ or ‘planning’ an end to the IDM? No. Am I seeking a coup of the DI? No. This should satisfy your defensive curiosity, nullasalus and other UD faithful.

    Have I envisioned an ‘alternative world of ID’ than what is currently on offer in the IDM? Yes. Are there legitimate ‘design theorists’ that have not (yet) been showcased or even acknowledged by the IDM who nevertheless exist and who have made great contributions to ‘design’ thinking? Yes. Is my view different from Mike Gene-ID, Timaeus-ID or nullasalus-ID? Surely it is. We would each of us have to put our definitions of ID and non-ID on the table for comparison. I am ready to do this. I don’t think either Mike or Timaeus is ready to do the same.

    Yet I am aware that all 4 of us agree to a ‘not-science-only’ meaning of ID. What I have in mind instead (but not about IDM-ID) actually is considered ‘scientific’ in a different way than you 3 because I consider social sciences as ‘scientific,’ while it appears you do not. One of you is a biologist, the other is an historian of ideas, and the third is a ‘jack of all trades’ (who has apparently studied music semi-professionally as well). My being a social scientist offers a potentially innovative way of critique that proceeds directly and securely at your defenses of IDM-ID because I’m interested in people and their ideas, commitments, presuppositions and motivations.

    nullasalus wrote: “The ‘core ID belief’ you’re quoting ain’t a core ID belief. It’s Fuller’s view of what ID should be. Even in your own quote, that’s Fuller talking about what idea ID should adopt, not what idea comprises it currently – and frankly, I wouldn’t count on it becoming a ‘core ID belief’ anytime soon either.”

    The belief that human beings were/are created in imago Dei is a core presupposition of (modern) ‘intelligent design’. Without this presupposition, the ‘founders’ would not have come up with ID theory. In my view, Fuller has got this part exactly right and we both believe it is a non-negotiable difference between Darwinism and ID. In the language used by IDM-ID leaders, this means that the universe is rational, understandable and orderly, that we can study it and discover truths about it … (now in Fuller’s terms) *because* we were (personally) created by the same Creator of the universe.

    This is the ‘nature of nature’ argument based on spiritual truth that is shared by most (if not all) IDM-ID leaders, which is what Fuller makes more explicit than they do. You don’t have to believe this, nullasalus, but Fuller is not merely pulling this claim out of thin air. It’s what the founders of ID theory themselves believe.

    (cont’d)

  49. Gregory,

    You personally may not offer your respect to scientists, but the IDM does in the form of ID leaders seeking respectability from their scholar-peers. To suggest that ID leaders don’t seek academic respectability would undermine the IDM’s project of (eventually) wanting to produce good science.

    I question this. I think ID leaders want to do, and be seen as doing, good science. I do not think they “seek academic respectability” in the appropriate sense. They’re under no delusions that their arguments are going to convince many current academics. What I’d say is more accurate is that ID proponents have the hope of eventually replacing those academics, in the vein of the Max Planck quote: A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

    And, it should go without saying, even as far as that goes I question the degree to which ID leaders are concerned with “the social sciences”, which I think is your aim here. Really, anthropology, sociology and the like is off most people’s radars when it comes to discussing science. They’re closer to the English majors. Harsh, maybe even wrong of them to do so, but I think it’s true.

    Even if ID faithful are waiting decades for the generation of neo-Darwinists to die out before ID emerges ‘revolutionarily victorious,’ the result nonetheless is aimed at convincing scientists and academics, whose views will then ‘trickle-down’ to the general public.

    Again, I doubt this. ID’s strategy seems to be to convince the general public, many of whom may one day be the future scientists and academics. “Academia” is largely seen not as fertile ground, but hostile territory.

    We live in a ‘knowledge society’ and universities are (still) the central home(s) of knowledge production and diffusion. That is why IDers seek validity there.

    Not really. Certainly not the centers of the diffusion – those things pass through a horde of media filters, and the old media is dying. The university system, I’d argue, is also more and more becoming obsolete. It’s still there, of course. It still plays a central role. But more and more, I expect it to be pared down – especially when it comes to topics and disciplines that don’t require major financial investment, as the hard sciences tend to.

    Hooray for the internet.

    ID is what they (ID leaders/founders) say it is; it would be denying the truth for me to contend otherwise. But what they say ID is imo is not enough to win gold on the highest academic/scholarly stage they seek.

    Because, what… the one thing academia love is explicitly mixing religion with science? That’s what’s been missing from the ID movement all this time?

    Who in the world have you been talking to to get this idea?

    If you wish to deny this or IDT’s links to theology in your personal version of what ‘ID is supposed to be,’ nullasalus, that’s of course your prerogative and I would welcome you proving both Fuller and myself to be wrong or incomprehensive. Yet, there are many IDers themselves who say just the same things.

    It’s not my “personal vision”, it’s the vision actually offered of ID. As for “many IDers” who agree with you and Fuller, alright – name them. Because I’ll tell you this: Fuller explicitly embraces philosophical nominalism. That, on the spot, axes any ID proponent who also considers themselves to be Thomists, Scotists, Aristotileans, or any general adherent of scholastic ideas. Do you know how many people that rules out on this site alone?

    The belief that human beings were/are created in imago Dei is a core presupposition of (modern) ‘intelligent design’. Without this presupposition, the ‘founders’ would not have come up with ID theory.

    You can keep saying this, and I’ll just keep pointing out how little it means, and how inaccurate it is. And I’ll point out, once again, that Fuller’s understanding of this involves a commitment to philosophical nominalism that many ID proponents regard as philosophical poison.

    But here, let’s play your game for a moment. So ID requires a belief in the Imago Dei according to you. Fuller, however, is an agnostic according to my understanding. Ergo, Fuller rejects the Imago Dei. Ergo, Fuller is not an ID proponent.

    Sound about right?

  50. (cont’d)

    “you don’t seem able to accept that ID is not some kind of hyper-calvinist doctrine, or even a theological doctrine at all.” – nullasalus

    I accept that ID is “not some kind of hyper-calvinist doctrine” and likewise that it is not a theological doctrine. I won’t write that in CAPITAL letters to emphasise this for you; it is nevertheless what I believe. But ID is not (and cannot be!) *completely independent* from any and all theology (including Calvinism, Wesleyan, Reformed, etc.). That’s a subtle difference, nullasalus that I trust you can appreciate. A sociology of science rule/law of scientific practise: We all bring our presuppositions and pre-commitments to the table when we ‘do science’; the founders of ID were/are no different.

    “as if that somehow requires that ID therefore be a theistic, even Christian, view.” / “You, on the other hand, want ID to be reformed…to be a theistic project.” – nullasalus

    I have stated my views on this multiple times; it’s about time you understood them. ID is *not* a particularly Christian view. Nevertheless, without the existent (and personally demonstrable) theology of ID leaders, ID theory would not have been founded in the first place. Please say otherwise if you believe otherwise, nullasalus, or grant a point in this conversation that is significant. Those who ‘founded’ ID theory as such, *all* personally believed human beings were/are created in imago Dei. Yes or no?

    Thus, ID is really not ‘supposed to be’ a ‘science-only’ theory (Dembski confirms this repeatedly, or see Flannery above). It is the obvious ‘implicationism’ of ID that is responsible for why it is controversial. That’s just the reality of the situation, not Fuller’s or my imposition of it.

    In your view, nullasalus, is IDM-ID ‘supposed to be’ a ‘science-only’ theory or not? Please do not hold back on an answer to this simply stated question unless you’re really not sure of your own understanding of IDM-ID. To me, the answer is a clear ‘No.’

    “You want to turn ID into a Christian theory.” – nullasalus

    Again, ‘No,’ that is not true at all. Please read more carefully what I’ve already written above and stop repeating yourself. Neither Fuller nor I want to ‘turn ID into a Christian theory.’ Is this now clear?

    “ID is not a project of proving the truth of Christianity.” – nullasalus

    Yes, I agree with you about this, nullasalus.

    Let me also state as clearly as possible that ‘evolutionary theory’ is likewise not (necessarily) an ‘atheistic theory.’ There are many religious folks who accept limited meanings of biological and/or natural evolution, up to the point where it is elevated into a worldview. That is when people become held in the grip of evolutionistic ideology (e.g. Kenneth Miller). Surely we can come together in opposing that situation, nullasalus, rather than arguing endlessly about how ‘scientifically revolutionary’ ID actually is or could become? Will you please cut me some slack and concede some of the legitimate knowledge that Fuller and I bring to the table on this topic?

    What this approach shows is what difference it makes to/for ID if/when people start to ‘think reflexively,’ instead of objectivistically (cf. naturalistically or positivistically). The power of positive, empirical science is not the main focus of discussion here. Instead, what is at issue is (natural and social) science that is done by people for the betterment of humanity and not just for its own sake. This one of the main points of ID linked with ‘trans-humanism’ that Fuller makes, nullasalus, and which you expressed interest about at the top.

    As the great media and culture theorist Marshall McLuhan warned us: ‘we’ve got to think things out before we put them out.’ When it comes to the designing power of human beings (e.g. technology and science), we’re facing some pretty serious challenges in the world today. I’d be highly suspicious if you didn’t agree (e.g. bioprospecting, neo-eugenics). The ‘designs’ that we make therefore must be ‘intelligent’ so that they don’t lead us into collective disasters. I see this as part of ID-proper, as does Fuller, which is not true of many in the IDM. We are looking forwards while they are stuck with Darwin and Darwinism looking backwards.

    “Until you can appreciate not only that ID, certainly ID as proposed by Behe, Dembski, etc, is compatible with atheism (and certainly non-Christianity), and until you can appreciate why that is considered a feature rather than a bug by those same proponents, I suggest you have a problem on your hands.” – nullasalus

    Well then we’ll simply have to agree to disagree on the atheism part, nullasalus. You are not an atheist from what I understand. I accept your ‘certainly non-Christianity’ claim because it is obvious that a believer in any of the Abrahamic faiths (including Baha’is) could accept ID as it is currently formulated. People who hold a ‘karmic worldview,’ however, are more likely to accept Darwinism, as Fuller explains. I must stress the point that one cannot believe in ‘transcendental’ design and also be an atheist, that is, unless one is using a secularised definition of ‘transcendental’ or positing the real (though scientifically unproven) existence of aliens as the ‘designers’ of life on Earth.

    “you come awfully close to denying that they perceive ID the way they do. I’m not a big fan of that kind of psychoanalysis, and you can’t really expect me to just accept it.” – nullasalus

    No, I do not come close to that at all. They perceive and conceive of ID the way they do (want to); I am not arguing about that and would be foolish to do so. This thread is about Fuller’s views of ID, which only KF endeavoured to highlight or even to mention directly by quoting his words (although KF’s comments went on a tangent from Fuller’s). What I am suggesting is that reading Fuller would be especially helpful for IDM-ID people to better understand the history and philosophy of ‘intelligent design’ as they currently perceive/conceive it. Again, as News said of Fuller, he is “one of the very few who grasp the key issues.” That was the point of me sending you a link to a brief summary of his works on ID, for posting on UD.

    “ID has been defined by Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Wells and the DI.” – nullasalus

    O.k. we are agreed. I would also add Charles Thaxton, who personally told me (and several others during a 2008 lunch conversation) that he was in fact the first to come up with the phrase ‘intelligent design.’ Paul Nelson is actively involved in working with those you highlight as well as being responsible ‘on common descent,’ from which influenced this blog’s name. Also, of course, Phillip Johnson was instrumental in facilitating the emergence of the IDM. I’d agree with you, though, if you are suggesting (as Dembski does) that IDM-ID has a ‘main focus in biology,’ that Johnson thus does not provide the best definition(s) of ID. Nevertheless, I’d add these 3 figures to the 4 you name as ‘definers of IDM-ID’ above.

    “Now, I fully appreciate that someone can go off with their own ID or ID inspired project.” – nullasalus

    O.k. that’s fine. I’m glad you added this and can appreciate that possibility too.

    “In other words, it seems like your interest is far less ‘getting people to consider your idea’ and far more establishing yourself and/or Fuller as the de facto ID authority.” – nullasalus

    No. At least I can speak for myself by saying I am not interested in becoming a de facto ID authority. And I’m pretty sure Steve Fuller is not interested in adopting such a position either. Neither of us is engaging in an ID-takeover. We are both looking beyond what IDM-ID currently sees as possible and relevant, in part due to their over-focus on natural and applied sciences and consequent deficiency in humanitarian and social thought. This is what gives us a strength they do not possess.

    Now let me go back to the quotation nullasalus gave from Dembski, as a supposed challenge to the ID-theology connection, because there is more involved than just theology here:

    “ID’s metaphysical openness about the nature of nature entails a parallel openness about the nature of the designer. Is the designer an intelligent alien, a computational simulator (a la THE MATRIX), a Platonic demiurge, a Stoic seminal reason, an impersonal telic process, …, or the infinite personal transcendent creator God of Christianity? The empirical data of nature simply can’t decide.” – Dembski

    If all ‘intelligent design theory’ is (‘supposed to be’) meant to do is to study ‘empirical data of nature,’ then it will get no further than the naturalistic theories it opposes (i.e. one side of its mission). But there is a possibility for something more meaningful and personally significant than that (i.e. the other side of its mission). And that is what, after a decade of work on evolution, creation and intelligent design, I am now proposing a KEY for. Are you ready to consider that option, nullasalus and others at UD?

    Gregory

    p.s. I caught the Peter Venkman reference, nice touch! ;)

  51. This conversation is getting too long, after too much time. So I’ll get to the heart of it.

    If all ‘intelligent design theory’ is (‘supposed to be’) meant to do is to study ‘empirical data of nature,’ then it will get no further than the naturalistic theories it opposes (i.e. one side of its mission).

    Who says ID proponents want to ‘get further’ than that, with ID? They want design and intelligence to be considered viable possibilities for scientific inference. They think they’re justified, on scientific grounds, in making these inferences. They aren’t looking for scientific demonstrations of God’s existence in what they argue.

    But there is a possibility for something more meaningful and personally significant than that (i.e. the other side of its mission). And that is what, after a decade of work on evolution, creation and intelligent design, I am now proposing a KEY for. Are you ready to consider that option, nullasalus and others at UD?

    Where is this “meaningful and personally significant” stuff coming from? Who decided this was part of ID’s “mission”?

    Whatever the case, please stop asking if we’re all ready to hear your option, and just spell it out. What is this great, cutting-edge, academic approved, scholar endorsed, wild and amazing and wonderful key?

  52. Gregory,
    I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove here, but you’re barking up the wrong tree if you think you’re going to get an knowledgeable ID proponent like nullasalus to agree that Intelligent Design is inspired by religion. You and Fuller (and I) understand that the modern ID movement wouldn’t exist without the religious motivations of its founders. However neither would it exist without the legal necessity to deny that fact.

  53. lastyearon:

    You and Gregory and Fuller are hardly possessed of some deep insight for knowing that the contemporary group of ID people started out with Christian motivations. I’m sure that nullasalus would grant that freely, as would I. But that’s a trivial observation, merely sociological. It has nothing to do with the validity of the arguments made by ID proponents. And this is the big difference between sociologists and psychologists, on the one hand, and philosophers and scientists, on the other. Sociologists and psychologists think they have explained why people hold the views that they do when they are able to impute a motive; philosophers and scientists assume that people hold the views that they do based on those people’s stated reasons. The one approach is condescending and distrustful; the other is egalitarian and respectful.

    It doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference what the motivations of the ID people are, if the goal is to assess the strength of their arguments. Of course, if one’s goal is to politically undermine ID without caring in the slightest whether what it argues is true or false, then an end-run around the arguments by means of motive-mongering is the way to go.

    The only way of truly assessing the strength of the ID position is to carefully read and assess the arguments the ID people have made in their theoretical books and articles. Whatever personal religious beliefs various ID people may have, those beliefs neither add nor subtract anything from the arguments. The fact that ID is Christian-friendly doesn’t make it any more likely to be true; but neither does it make it any more likely to be false. If people would focus on the arguments rather than on the motivations, the public discussion could be much more constructive.

    But of course, when you are a neo-Darwinian, holding onto a dying theory — and here I’m playing the “motive card” to show you what it feels like to be on the receiving end — it’s in your interest to distract the public’s attention from the lousiness of your arguments by trying to convince the public that ID people are planning a theocratic takeover of the nation.

    Oh, you don’t like me playing the motive card? You think I should not talk about the Darwinians’ hypothetical ulterior motives, and stick only to their scientific arguments? Fine; then you and Gregory do the same in the case of ID. Read the books and counter the arguments. Or read the books and concede that ID people have a point or two. But stop the motive-mongering.

  54. lastyearon,

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove here, but you’re barking up the wrong tree if you think you’re going to get an knowledgeable ID proponent like nullasalus to agree that Intelligent Design is inspired by religion.

    I’m not an ID proponent, what with my view that ID isn’t science. Not unless, at least, “no-ID” is science. And most ID critics are willing to, if under daress, admit that no-ID is not.

    You and Fuller (and I) understand that the modern ID movement wouldn’t exist without the religious motivations of its founders.

    Neither would an extremely large chunk of science throughout history. Yet somehow, we’re able to separate Newton’s theological opinions from his theories, just as we’re able to separate Darwin’s theological opinions from his theories.

    Aren’t we?

    ID as outlined by Behe, Dembski and company is silent on theological questions. “So you’d admit that the designer could be an alien, then?” would normally be the ‘gotcha’. Unfortunately, since Dembski at least, and Behe no doubt, explicitly say “Yes” to this, the gotcha doesn’t work.

  55. Timaeus,
    I agree with you that the motivations of the founders of ID wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference IF there was any scientific validity or substance to ID.

    Maybe you can tell me how to measure CSI, FSCI, or Specified Complexity. Can you give me an example of an irreducibly complex biochemical system? Can you tell me how much Junk DNA we should observe if DNA was intelligently designed. How about if a gene duplication is or is not an increase in information? Can you define for me what the limit of micro-evolution is? Can you explain why evolution violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

  56. Nallasalus,

    I’m not an ID proponent, what with my view that ID isn’t science. Not unless, at least, “no-ID” is science. And most ID critics are willing to, if under daress, admit that no-ID is not.

    Agreed. As long as ID makes no testable predictions, it and its negative are not science.

  57. lastyearon,

    Agreed. As long as ID makes no testable predictions, it and its negative are not science.

    It’s not just about “testable predictions” – you can make plenty of predictions, even testable ones, in these cases. But yes, I think neither ID nor its inverse are science.

    Unfortunately, many ID critics – really, most of them – only criticize one of those two.

    As for your response to Timaeus…

    Maybe you can tell me how to measure CSI, FSCI, or Specified Complexity. Can you give me an example of an irreducibly complex biochemical system?

    Are you kidding? ID proponents always do this.

    Can you tell me how much Junk DNA we should observe if DNA was intelligently designed.

    The general ID rallying cry is that the junk DNA designation was way too fast and way too large, that it wouldn’t have been so under a design perspective, and that we should expect far more usefulness in said ‘junk DNA’. As for specific levels, if any ID proponents have mentioned that, I forget.

    ID critics should answer this too. Last I checked Larry Moran was making the case that standard evolutionists are all over the map on this issue, some thinking next to no junk will be used, others believing a large part will be used, according to some poll he held.

    How about if a gene duplication is or is not an increase in information?

    Meyer gets into this. You may not find his answer satisfactory (or maybe you will), but there’s one ref.

    Can you define for me what the limit of micro-evolution is?

    Trying to find that out was the point of Behe’s Edge of Evolution. This should actually be a question for ID critics as well.

    Can you explain why evolution violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

    That’s not a universal ID claim. See the previous discussion on this site with arguments from two ID proponents in opposition to each other.

  58. Oh, and duress, not daress. Pardon that earlier typo.

    Also, most, not all, ID critics. Some, like Dawkins or Stenger, argue essentially that ID really is science.

  59. lastyearon:

    I’ve never argued that evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and I think it’s an argument that ID people should never use. I agree with scordova on that.

    It may be that certain forms of evolution, in particular the neo-Darwinian, require that information be accumulated in a way that violates some “law of information entropy” that is somewhat analogous to the second law of thermodynamics, but even if that is the case, the term “second law of thermodynamics” is misleading and shouldn’t be used. Thermodynamics, as such, has nothing to do with it. It just makes ID look bad when ID proponents use the term, as if they don’t know basic definitions one learns in high school physics — especially given that the same misuse of terms occurs in the writings of the creationists from whom ID people are trying to distinguish themselves.

    As for the rest, nullasalus has covered it. ID people try to answer all these questions in their writings. Whether they have answered them successfully is another matter, but it is not as if they haven’t addressed them.

    The problem with Gregory is that he is constantly intimating that ID people’s religious views influence their particular scientific conclusions, but has never produced a single example of where this has happened. He never points to, say, page 248 of Signature in the Cell, and says, “Meyer argues X about the RNA world here because his thinking is slanted by his doctrine of creation.”

    But possibly I am misunderstanding Gregory, as he doesn’t always write that clearly. He may mean nothing more than: “Everyone’s thought is influenced by religious presuppositions, so the religious beliefs of ID people, in a general way, shape how they look at nature.” Well, if that’s all he means, I grant it, but then it’s such a vague, general statement that it has no cash value regarding particular points. To make it into usable currency in an argument, it has to be applied to something concrete. And Gregory has never made any concrete application.

    My sense is that the effect of religious belief on the procedure of the ID people is that it makes them open to design explanations in a way that Dawkins, Coyne, etc. are not, but does not dictate particular lines of argument. I’ve seen no theological principles or Biblical passages adduced by Behe in his books, for example. And there’s no point in the argument of No Free Lunch by Dembski where Dembski supplies a missing logical link by appealing to Genesis or St. Augustine. That’s why I just can’t figure out what Gregory is talking about.

    But I don’t suppose I ever will know what he means, as he no longer answers any of my questions. I asked a bunch above, specifically about Steve Fuller, and Gregory won’t respond. That’s his choice, but if he doesn’t, then I think my argument — that his view is quite different from Steve Fuller’s — is vindicated by the very fact that Gregory has declined the opportunity to oppose it.

  60. As for the rest, nullasalus has covered it. ID people try to answer all these questions in their writings. Whether they have answered them successfully is another matter, but it is not as if they haven’t addressed them.

    Just for the sake of argument, Timaeus, what if they haven’t answered them successfully? In fact, what if actual scientists working in the relevant fields have shown them to be profoundly wrong over and over, and yet they continue to make the same false claims? What if, upon closer inspection, all their arguments are nothing more than personal incredulity dressed up in scientific jargon?

    I’m not asking if you agree with all that. But just for the sake of argument, would that be another matter, or would that go straight to the heart of the matter over the religious nature of ID?

  61. 62

    Can you give me an example of an irreducibly complex biochemical system?

    LYO, I can give you one. In fact I think I already have, but I could be wrong.

    In any case, if you want one, I can give it. No problem.

  62. lastyearon:

    First, if the ID people put out bad science, then it’s bad science. But one determines that in the arena of science, not by looking up the church affiliations of ID proponents.

    Second, if ID could be shown to be the lousiest science in existence, it wouldn’t prove a thing about the religious nature of ID. It would prove that ID is lousy science.

    I think you are confusing the religious nature of a theory with a religious motivation for believing that a theory is true. These are two quite different things. Dawkins has a strong religious motivation for believing that neo-Darwinism is true; that doesn’t make neo-Darwinism an essentially religious theory. All that it means is that Dawkins is likely to be less critical of neo-Darwinism than he might otherwise be. Similarly, the ID people might be less critical of their own arguments than they would be if they were atheists. But that doesn’t make ID a religious account of nature, any more than Dawkins’s atheism makes neo-Darwinism a religious account of nature.

    You and Gregory could show me the religious nature of ID by pointing me to passages in the technical writings of ID proponents where the argument depends on a religious premise. If you can’t do this, then you have to reduce your claim to the claim that ID people have religious motivations. That claim is true, but trivial.

  63. @ nullasalus #50 and #52

    “ID proponents have the hope of eventually replacing those academics” – nullasalus

    Yes, this is exactly what I meant in #49 (4th paragraph) speaking about “the generation of neo-Darwinists to die out.” We’re perhaps more on the same page than it may appear on the surface.

    “Really, anthropology, sociology and the like is off most people’s radars when it comes to discussing science. They’re closer to the English majors. Harsh, maybe even wrong of them to do so, but I think it’s true.” – nullasalus

    Like I’ve said before, anthropology and sociology are ‘science’ in my view and in the view of the most significant philosophers of science of the 20th century. Paul de Vries and his followers are partly to thank/blame for the “only-natural-science-counts-as-science” movement that has swept N. American scholarship. It’s a sad state of affairs, which I’m glad you see maybe as ‘harsh’ in its own myopic way.

    Worth noting, it seems, is the recent book by Gauger, Axe and Luskin which does involve anthropology. Of course, their interest is mainly physical anthropology and palaeontology, rather than linguistic or cultural anthropology (according to Anglo-American distinctions) or even philosophical anthropology. The latter imo is the most important feature of the ‘controversy’ we’re engaged in discussing here, but very few people display competency or knowledge from having studied this topic.

    Theological anthropology, well, that’s another iron in the fire, isn’t it? Of course, that could not possibly (!) have anything to do with ‘intelligent design’ according to current IDM-ID conceptualisations, which view ID as predominantly a naturalistic field (i.e. a field for natural sciences to decide and dictate meanings to others).

    “Who says ID proponents want to ‘get further’ than that, with ID?” – nullasalus

    Maybe they don’t wish to ‘get further’ than naturalistic theories of ID. Perhaps you’re right and that’s their main goal; to seek respectability among natural scientists by following tried and tested natural scientific methods. But Stephen Meyer’s claims of a new scientific revolution and changing the definition of (natural) science seem to speak against that. So is there a neo-naturalistic or a post-naturalistic desire involved in focusing ID’s attention ‘mainly on biology,’ but not on ‘design’ which has already been studied rigorously by many decorated scholars?

    Your “hooray for the internet,” nullasalus, is precisely what Steve Fuller is exploring with the concept of Prot-Science, which nobody here has taken up the links to in the OP to constructively or critically discuss. I find his explanation of the freedom to investigate science by non-scientists via the internet a fascinating discussion. Though of course it is not limited to only discussing ID, evolution and creation. I’m quite sure this would be a topic of interest for you, who challenges the legitimacy of scholars and academics on the production, creation and possession of knowledge.

    “They [IDM-IDers] aren’t looking for scientific demonstrations of God’s existence in what they argue.” – nullasalus

    Yes, I confirmed this with you above. They assume God’s existence, it is their ‘presupposition,’ their ‘pre-committment,’ their ‘background context’ for positing ID in the first place. Hopefully you understand this now. But materialists should not try to take away their belief that they are personally made in imago Dei, otherwise there would be a problem. It may not be a ‘natural scientific’ problem, but a problem nevertheless it will be, in the collaborative and integrative discussion of science, philosophy and religion/theology.

    To your game: “ID requires a belief in the Imago Dei according to you. Fuller, however, is an agnostic according to my understanding. Ergo, Fuller rejects the Imago Dei. Ergo, Fuller is not an ID proponent. / Sound about right?”

    Well, nullasalus, in this case “according to your understanding” is not enough. I’ve met Fuller and asked him specifically on this topic. Fuller does not “reject the Imago Dei,” as you (and News) presume he does. Calling him ‘agnostic’ is merely a convenient cover (“my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” but let me try to demean him by saying he is ‘unknowing’ anyway!) for a man whose views of ID, evolution and creation are more sophisticated, well-educated and insightful than pretty much anyone in the IDM. (He’s at Oxford University today, by the way, for a conference on “Design in Nature,” where Stephen C. Meyer will also attend and speak; an event advertised by IDM-ID.)

    This below is copied from the other thread which pejoratively introduced Steve Fuller as “agnostic sociologist of the ID community”. Though this is not meant to be apologetics for a person’s beliefs, here is a link to an article published on the beliefs of several scientists and public figures – titled “I’m a believer” – which may help shed more light on Steve Fuller’s ‘faith’ position among others.

    “I am a product of a Jesuit education (before university), and my formal academic training is in history and philosophy of science, which is the field credited with showing the tight links between science and religion. While I have never been an avid churchgoer, I am strongly moved by the liberatory vision of Jesus promoted by left-wing Christians.

    I take seriously the idea that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and that we may come to exercise the sorts of powers that are associated with divinity. In this regard, I am sympathetic to the dissenting, anticlerical schools of Christianity – especially Unitarianism, deism and transcendentalism, idealism and humanism. I believe that it is this general position that has informed the progressive scientific spirit.”

    Calling him an ‘agnostic sociologist’ thus might not be an accurate claim by News, though it does appear he is not ‘Catholic’. Fuller is certainly not an ‘unknowing’ sociologist, but rather an intriguing (if not also controversial) leader in the field. That he is pushing the limits of ‘intelligent design’ and has investigated the concept’s theological roots should not make him an outlaw among the IDM’s rank-and-file who would promote ID as ‘science-only’ (at least, as it is ‘supposed to be’). Fuller shows why this strategy is outdated and unnecessary in the 21st century.

    In regard the last part of #52, nullasalus, let me come back to that very shortly. Just for now I’d like to add that “you and Gregory” statements attempting to link me with ‘lastyearon’ are futile and wrong, but predictable. As I understand it, lastyearon is neither a theist nor therefore genuinely interested in Fuller’s claims of the “deep theological roots” of ID or even of modern science generally. If lastyearon would engage directly with quotations from Steve Fuller’s work on ID, which is the main topic of this thread, they would be welcome. Otherwise, he and his opponent are just seen as distractions to what this thread is about.

  64. Correction: Steve Fuller is not at Oxford today, but rather at Cambridge University, along with Stephen C. Meyer of the DI, i.e. the latter’s alma mater.

    Information about the event can be found here: http://www.tyndalephilosophy.o.....Nature.pdf

    But surely the poster ‘cantor’ is making a more ‘front-line contribution’ than this, though we’ll likely never know who he/she actually is? It’s a ‘secret,’ just like who the ‘designer/Designer’ in IDM-ID is! ;)

    Let’s add to the repertoire of Steve Fuller’s contribution to ID with this TEDxWarwick talk: Humanity 2.0 – A 21st Century View of ‘The Two Cultures’ Problem

  65. Gregory:

    I know you probably won’t answer me, but I’m addressing this to you anyway, since you issued to me, without naming me — I was clearly referenced obliquely in your side-remark about lastyearon — a challenge; and, since it’s a challenge I have already met, you therefore owe me an answer, whether you acknowledge that conversational obligation or not.

    I quote:

    “If lastyearon would engage directly with quotations from Steve Fuller’s work on ID, which is the main topic of this thread, they would be welcome. Otherwise, he and his opponent are just seen as distractions to what this thread is about.”

    It takes a lot of nerve for a man who refuses to supply quotations from the technical works of ID authors when he makes statements about their thought to demand quotations from others, but be that as it may, here is my comment:

    I did not employ “quotations” from Steve Fuller’s work, but I did discuss directly what Steve Fuller has to say on a couple of points, and I represented his views accurately. If pressed, I could come up with passages from his books and blogs which support my reading, but I shouldn’t need to, as my characterization of his claims is based on things he has said many times.

    My remarks on the misfit between Fuller’s thought and your own were given in 37 above, 12 days ago. In case you possibly missed that post — which I doubt — it was highlighted for you again by cantor in 41 above, 11 days ago. I doubt you missed that one, because you snarled at cantor in 44 above, so obviously you are paying attention to cantor’s posts. So I infer that you read my response, but ducked it. And my response was about Fuller’s thought and your own, and therefore was directly on the topic of this thread, hardly a “distraction.”

    So, Gregory, how about it? How can you claim that Fuller supports your position, when he says things — I’ve specified what they are — which go directly against your position?

    I will take silence on your part as a concession that I am right, i.e., that you and Fuller are in fact in disagreement on the points specified. On the other hand, if I am wrong, if you can show me that I have misinterpreted Fuller’s ideas then I am willing to be corrected. Just point out the passages from Fuller that show where I have gone wrong.

  66. Coming back to your #52 nullasalus…

    You wrote: “Where is this ‘meaningful and personally significant’ stuff coming from? Who decided this was part of ID’s ‘mission’? / Whatever the case, please stop asking if we’re all ready to hear your option, and just spell it out. What is this great, cutting-edge, academic approved, scholar endorsed, wild and amazing and wonderful key?”

    Let me confirm that it is both ready and also not “part of ID’s mission.” It is an alternative. I have just sent the final version to you by e-mail for posting here at UD. This is a response to your request to “just spell it out.” It is also an answer to what Dr. John West could not have imagined when I wrestled with him with ‘one hand behind my back’ in Seattle and when I asked Dr. William Dembski why he refused to include theology along with science and philosophy in a cooperative dialogue about ID.

    If you are willing to post it, nullasalus, after having already privately seen it and given constructive feedback to it, the key that I am proposing since 2001 and have hinted at on ASA, Telic Thoughts, ASA, BioLogos, CiS, The Skeptical Zone, Random Arrow, and UD will finally be revealed.

    I am encouraged that this message is #67 instead of #66.

  67. Gregory (re 67):

    The deliberate slight, and more important, the conscious evasion of my intellectual challenge regarding the thought of Fuller, are duly noted. Readers here will draw their own conclusions, as I’ve drawn mine, about your level of understanding of Fuller’s position.

    Cantor (re 41):

    Thanks for trying. And by the way, I have no idea where Gregory’s off-the-wall remarks against you (44) came from. Perhaps he got you confused with me. If so, I apologize for unintentionally causing heat to come your way.

  68. Hi all

    I just thought I’d interrupt the argument to confirm Gregory’s mention of the Cambridge conference at which both Steves (Fuller and Meyer) were speaking yesterday. I drove back from it late last night and believe there was some very significant comment relating to the discussion here. I’ve posted an article about it on my blog .

    The strapline is really this: “Fuller calls for ID to embrace theology – Steve Meyer agrees.” I feel it was a significant moment, and have outlined it as well as I can – videos of the conference presentations are due to appear on YouTube at some stage, I understand, so you can then check out if I got it right.

  69. Thanks for the news, Jon. Lucky guy to have attended!

    Let me just clip a few portions of text from your blog on the Cambridge event related to this thread, including the reaction of Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, Director of the Centre for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute, ID co-founder and leader to the presentation by Dr. Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology at Warwick University.

    “the scientific enterprise began on the Christian (or Abrahamic-faith) assumption that, because mankind is created in God’s image, we are equipped to “think his thoughts after him” – not only by apprehending the rationality of nature, but by recognising the self-same approach to design that humans exercise, in their limited fashion. We detect design, then, because there is a genuine continuity between the Creator’s design and our own. … And that’s why the assertion that we are created in God’s image is central to ID, re-affirming as it does a foundational principle that once motivated science but has been forgotten.”

    “[Stephen C. Meyer] was…tremedously excited at the prospect [suggested by Fuller] of bringing theology, in these terms, into ID’s research agenda.”

    Note also the term ‘rational theist’ Jon uses to describe Steve Fuller, rather than ‘agnostic’ as used by News and nullasalus here to describe him. Did Fuller use this label himself at Cambridge or is that your own interpretation of his position, Jon?

  70. Hi Gregory…

    First point is the context of the “image of God” idea in Fuller’s presentation – as the foundational principle of science rather than specifically of ID – maybe a less threatening emphasis to IDers. Interestingly one of the few pure theologians present was saying how modern theology has largely ditched “image of God” in terms of rational nature and so on, though he himself still affirms it. My thought would be that one could convey the same idea in terms of Trinitarian Logos theology, but historically “image of God” is the means that was used in science, and Fuller suggested that theologians may have partly changed their views in interaction with (surrender to?) materialist science anyway – that’s certainly the case in TE circles.

    Second – yes, Fuller gave a potted “testimony” starting with his involvement in the Dover trial, which the chairmen mentioned in his introduction. He pointed out that being asked to be expert witness there concentrated his mind on the issues, and confronted with the arguments he has become intellectually convinced of theism. Gist: “I am one of those people persuaded by the rational arguments for God”. He may have actually used the term “rational theist” as well, and if I remember hinted that many believers would consider that insufficient for real faith. So one might regard him, still, as agnostic wrt the Gospel of Christ, but I think he’d say he’s still a work in progress – that, of course, has little bearing on his contribution to ID as his grasp of Christian, carefully corrected to “Abrahamic”) doctrine is good.

    The video will correct my recollection in due course, but Meyer’s enthusiasm was obvious to all.

  71. Fuller/Meyer meeting of minds: a few more thoughts on the Cambridge conference, including Fuller’s contribution, here.

  72. Timaeus,
    I agree that the motivations of the scientists developing a theory are irrelevant. What matters is the evidence.

    However you are drawing an incorrect parallel between the Ricard Dawkins’ of the world & Evolution on the one hand, and the founders of ID on the other. Evolution has scientific content that can be evaluated without regards to the (supposedly atheist) motivations of its founders/proponents. That’s why you have religious people that accept evolution (and even work in the field).

    ID on the other hand has no content other than “certain things were designed by a Designer”. Who/What designer? Which things? When? How? ID can’t say.

    Where’s the content? What other than religious motivations is there to evaluate?

    As far as finding a passage in a technical ID paper. First of all, Behe, Dembski, Meyers etc. wouldn’t be that careless as to make explicit reference to a religious commitment in a technical paper, because they know who they’re talking to. But that’s besides the point. All ID arguments are inherently religious, in that they posit a supernatural ‘designer’ as an alternative to the prevailing natural explanation. Dembski: Things that exhibit a certain level of complexity couldn’t have arisen naturally. Behe: Evolution couldn’t have produced certain systems (i.e. they couldn’t have happened naturally). Meyers: The origin of the gene can’t be explained by chemistry (i.e. must’ve happened supernaturally).

  73. 74

    LYO, you specifically asked for an example of an irreducibly complex system in biology. Did you ask that question as an excercise in rhetoric? Or is it your preference to not be confronted with any “content” that doesn’t fit easily into the narrative?

  74. A simple mistake, of course. But in this case you made it twice, lastyearon. The name is Stephen C. Meyer. Not MeyerS. Please get it straight.

    Again, this is a thread about Steve Fuller’s views of ID.

    You came into the thread in #53, capitalising Intelligent Design and speaking clumsily later of “the religious nature of ID.” You didn’t even know that nullasalus, who posted this thread on my behalf, is not a “proponent of ID.” You just slew away carelessly. Now you speak of ‘motivations’ when ‘presuppositions’ and ‘precommittments’ are more relevant and to the point.

    lastyearon, a ‘theory’ is not a ‘natural’ thing that arises by biological or physiological processes. It is a human-made thing, which is a very different ball game.

    Please stop trying to help or to piggy-back on legitimate points and perspectives already made in this thread about Steve Fuller’s views of ID. You can play-wrestle with ‘Timaeus’ in the sand-box next door if he’ll entertain you. This space is for serious discussion of Fuller’s views, not yours seeking elevation.

    Jon Garvey’s #69 changed the tone of the thread. Notice that cantor, StephenB and other Fuller-doubters have not returned to confess their sins? Stephen C. Meyer is a tough figure for them to contradict, after all, and if “Fuller calls for ID to embrace theology – Steve Meyer agrees,” that’s a tough call to speak against. Jon Garvey’s word is good here and if that’s what Meyer said, it is significant.

    Do people at UD then think Meyer will eventually come around to acknowledge Fuller’s macro-historical view of “the deep theological roots of intelligent design,” as highlighted above and in the link?

  75. 76
    Barry Arrington

    lastyearon, I will, perhaps, begin to take your arguments against ID seriously when you actually address the claims of ID instead a strawman. It really is the case that if one’s opponent feels he must attack a strawman, then he probably has no answer for one’s actual argument. Thank you for demonstrating that you have no answer for ID’s actual arguments.

  76. Jon,

    There is no problem with linking theological arguments with scientific evidence in order to make sense of the big picture. Rationality demands it. Indeed, that’s precisely what Dembski did when he compared ID to the Logos theory of the Gospel. That’s what ID cosmologists did when they associated Big Bang cosmology with God’s command, “Let there be light.” That is what I understand Meyer to be talking about in the context of your report. Truth is unified, which means that scientific truth will confirm Scriptural truth, and vice versa. Why would Meyer not be excited about the prospect of integrating theology with science–we all would. Many of us do.

    The problem comes in when he (or anyone) proposes that ID inject theological assumptions into its scientific methodology. If you begin your analysis with the presupposition of design, then any inference to design is redundant, meaningless, and tautological. What function do facts and data serve if the presupposition has already defined the conclusion? (The only valid assumptions in this process are reason’s rules). Take away the legitimacy of the design inference and ID science (indeed all science) is done for. I know that Gregory does not understand this vital fact and I am beginning to suspect that Steve Fuller is confused by it as well. I do wish someone would press Fuller on this point. I raised the issue when he visited this site, but he did not respond.

  77. Gregory,
    Why would I need to be a theist in order to be “genuinely interested in Fuller’s claims of the ‘deep theological roots’ of ID or even of modern science generally.”

    I read the transcripts or Fuller’s testimony at Kitzmiller. I’ve read sections of his book Disent over Descent. I’ve read his back and forth with Norman Levitt…

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Fuller.cfm

    I think he certainly has an interesting take on the Science Religion debate. But he’s wrong in many ways. He’s wrong about Christianity giving birth to science because Christians think that the world is intelligible. Even if that were true, he’s wrong that it matters anymore.

  78. LYO:

    Read here and the onward linked. You are wrong, and wrong because you ignore both sound history and the impact of worldviews and the milieus they strongly shape. As to the impacts of evolutionary materialism becoming dominant among the avant garde under whatever colours, cf here. Yes, 2350 years ago.

    KF

  79. –Gregory: “Jon Garvey’s #69 changed the tone of the thread. Notice that cantor, StephenB and other Fuller-doubters have not returned to confess their sins? Stephen C.”

    What sins would that be? My main argument against Fuller remains the same and my concerns, revisited in the second paragraph @77, have not been answered. Would you care to have a go at it?

    –”Do people at UD then think Meyer will eventually come around to acknowledge Fuller’s macro-historical view of “the deep theological roots of intelligent design,” as highlighted above and in the link?”

    We already do acknowledge our intellectual roots, both philosophical and theological. A summary can be found in our FAQ, which, of course, you have not read.

  80. Gregory,

    Do people at UD then think Meyer will eventually come around to acknowledge Fuller’s macro-historical view of “the deep theological roots of intelligent design,” as highlighted above and in the link?

    No. Not as long as…
    a) he works for a political organization that aims to get ID taught in biology class, and
    b) the U.S. constitution guarantees freedom of religion

    My initial point was that you (and Fuller) are making the mistake of thinking of ID as an honest enterprise, but it can’t be honest about itself without disappearing in a puff of smoke.

  81. –lastyearon: “He’s wrong about Christianity giving birth to science because Christians think that the world is intelligible. Even if that were true, he’s wrong that it matters anymore.”

    Christianity gave birth to “modern” science. That is a historical fact and a point about which Fuller is as right as he can be. Just start reading the works of Rodney Stark and Thomas Woods and go from there.

  82. The problem comes in when he (Fuller) proposes that ID inject theological assumptions into its scientific methodology. If you begin your analysis with the presupposition of design, then any inference to design is redundant, meaningless, and tautological. What function do facts and data serve if the presupposition has already defined the conclusion? (The only valid assumptions in this process are reason’s rules). Take away the legitimacy of the design inference and ID science (indeed all science) is done for. I know that Gregory does not understand this vital fact and I am beginning to suspect that Steve Fuller is confused by it as well. I do wish someone would press Fuller on this point. I raised the issue when he visited this site, but he did not respond.

  83. What about Greek, Roman and Islamic ideas? Did they have nothing to do with the birth of modern Science?

  84. LYO:

    Re:

    My initial point was that you (and Fuller) are making the mistake of thinking of ID as an honest enterprise, but it can’t be honest about itself without disappearing in a puff of smoke.

    That’s a gratuitous smear, and you just put it before someone who takes such VERY seriously.

    You are being rude, disrespectful and falsely accusatory.

    You owe the blog an apology and a retraction.

    As a first step, I suggest you work your way through the summary on ID here, and the weak argument correctives here. (You have already willfully ignored a correction above, on the material contribution of the Christian milieu to the rise of modern science, having dismissed it in a fit of assertive ignorance.)

    If you cannot substantiate your assertions in the face of these — and I am morally certain that you cannot, as I have done my homework — then you owe an apology, bigtime.

    Otherwise, you are simply being a willful slanderer.

    GEM of TKI

  85. –Gregory: “Stephen C. Meyer is a tough figure for them to contradict, after all, and if “Fuller calls for ID to embrace theology – Steve Meyer agrees,” that’s a tough call to speak against.Jon Garvey’s word is good here and if that’s what Meyer said, it is significant.”

    It is one thing to [a] embrace” theology as mutual partner in the acquisition of knowledge, but it is quite another thing to [b] presuppose theological principles as part of a scientific construct. Meyer, of course, understands the difference and, judging from Jon’s report, is enthusiastic about [a]. I don’t think Fuller gets the distinction, in which case, he has something in common with you.

  86. –lastyearon; “What about Greek, Roman and Islamic ideas? Did they have nothing to do with the birth of modern Science?”

    They provided some intellectual input, but they did not supply the psychological motivation and metaphysical conviction necessary to persist through multiple failures. It was the Christians’ religious faith in a universe made for discovery that sustained them and turned the tide. The Greeks, for all their many virtues, simply did not have that advantage.

  87. Gregory, you wrote:

    “This space is for serious discussion of Fuller’s views”

    Exactly! And I responded very specifically (37) to your interpretation of Fuller’s views, demonstrating that, on at least one point, Fuller did not agree with your own views. You did not respond to that, not even when further prompted by Cantor and myself.

    Just to repeat the argument for the benefit of those who have lost the thread in the midst of lastyearon’s partisan interruptions:

    Fuller affirms that God is a designer, just as man is a designer.

    Fuller therefore infers that regarding nature as designed is the appropriate natural science heuristic.

    Fuller therefore thinks that ID people are justified in looking for design features in natural, including biological, phenomena.

    Gregory has denied, in more than one place, that design thinking belongs in biology.

    Gregory has affirmed, in more than one place, that design thinking belongs in the human/social sciences, and that it it these sciences that ID theorists should be talking about, not biology.

    So Gregory thinks that design theory belongs only in the world of human affairs, not in the world of nature, whereas Fuller thinks that design theory is totally appropriate to the world of nature, and indeed, even *mandated* for the world of nature, by the “Franciscan” understanding of the divine nature and by the Biblical verses about “the image of God.”

    Therefore, Gregory disagrees with Steve Fuller over something that is fundamental to Steve Fuller’s project.

    Therefore, either Gregory or Steve Fuller is wrong.

    I now leave it up to Gregory to tell us which of the two is wrong. It does of course leave him on the horns of a dilemma to have to do so. But it is his own words that have placed him there.

    If Gregory wants to interpret me, as he has done with some interlocutors here in the past, as conducting a personal attack upon him, he can do so, but he will be wrong. I think it’s part of academic duty for people to point out internal contradictions in the public statements of their dialogue partners. I think that, based on his public statements, Gregory is contradicting himself. I have pointed this out in non-polemical terms. I don’t bear any personal grudge against Gregory; I just want him to clarify his position.

    Is design thinking appropriate in biology, or not? If so, will he retract his previous assertions that it isn’t? And if not, will he follow up logically and say that Fuller is wrong?

  88. StephenB,
    “It was the Christians’ religious faith in a universe made for discovery that sustained them and turned the tide.”

    That’s just revisionist history. Christianity stood bitterly opposed to any scientific discovery that cast doubt on the biblical story for a thousand years. The scientific revolution (and the vast increase of knowledge) coincided with the waning of christian hegemony over Europe.

  89. lastyearon:

    Based on your reply to StephenB, I would infer that you have little to no academic training in history, at least, not in European history and the history of science.

    Let me whisper a few words in your ears:

    Jaki. Duhem. Hooykaas. Oakley. Collingwood.

    That should give you a start toward correcting your crude, journalistic “warfare” view of the relations between religion and science — a view which has been held by no serious scholarly historian for about 50 years now.

    I imagine that you also still think that the Middle Ages were “the Dark Ages.” And were you also taught that in Columbus’s day, everyone was afraid that if they sailed too far West, they would fall off the edge of the flat earth?

    Sheesh.

  90. –lastyearon: “That’s just revisionist history. Christianity stood bitterly opposed to any scientific discovery that cast doubt on the biblical story for a thousand years. The scientific revolution (and the vast increase of knowledge) coincided with the waning of christian hegemony over Europe.”

    Obviously, you have not been apprised of the basic facts. The Jesuits were pre-eminent in astronomy and developed a scientific approach to archaeology and, for that matter, seismology. They designed the first laboratories. Where do you think the idea of a University came from? Who do you think preserved the wisdom of the ancient world and drove technological innovation for centuries? Who do you think taught that nature is orderly in contrast to ancient cultures who believed nature was unpredictable and the gods were capricious?

    You can forget about Islam and Allah as the inspiration for modern science. Allah, as described in the Koran and throughout Islamic history was understood as an active God who intervenes in the world whenever he pleases–not as a lawful creator who designed natural laws. Indeed, those who count in Islamic history believed that natural laws were blasphemous because they interfered with God’s ability to act. Earlier Greek thought played a role as I pointed out earlier.

    Among others, I draw my information from Thomas Woods, Rodney Stark, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, Christopher Dawson, and Philip Hughes.

    Please list some of your sources so that I can evaluate their competence.

  91. StephenB, didn’t the scientific revolution in Europe also coincide with the reformation of the Christian church,,, both protestant and internal Catholic reformation?

  92. For instance:

    Kepler: the Heavens Declare God’s Glory
    Excerpt: About the time that the Reformation was proclaiming Christ rather than the pope as the head of the Church, science was announcing that the sun rather than the earth was the center of our planetary system. A leader in this changing scientific perspective was the German scientist Johann Kepler.,,, Throughout his scientific work, Kepler never sought any glory for himself, but always sought to bring glory to God. At the end of his life his prayer was: I give you thanks, Creator and God, that you have given me this joy in thy creation, and I rejoice in the works of your hands. See I have now completed the work to which I was called. In it I have used all the talents you have lent to my spirit.
    http://www.christianity.com/Ch...../11630018/

  93. Bornagain77, Rodney Stark puts it this way:

    “But, from early days, the church fathers taught that reason was the supreme gift from God and the means to progressively increase understanding of Scripture and revelation. Consequently Christianity was oriented to the future, while the other major religions asserted the superiority of the past. At least in principle, if not always in fact, Christian doctrines could always be modified in the name of progress, as demonstrated by reason. Encouraged by the scholastics and embodied in the great medieval universities founded by the church, faith in the power of reason infused Western culture, stimulating the pursuit of science and the evolution of democratic theory and practice. The rise of capitalism also was a victory for church-inspired reason, since capi-talism is, in essence, the systematic and sustained application of reason to com-merce — something that first took place within the great monastic estates.

    During the past century Western intellectuals have been more than willing to trace European imperialism to Christian origins, but they have been entirely un-willing to recognize that Christianity made any contribution (other than intolerance) to the Western capacity to dominate other societies. Rather, the West is said to have surged ahead precisely as it overcame re-ligious barriers to progress, especially those impeding science. Nonsense. The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians. Unfortunately, even many of those historians willing to grant Christianity a role in shaping Western progress have tended to limit themselves to tracing beneficial religious effects of the Protestant Reformation. It is as if the previous 1,500 years of Christianity either were of little matter, or were harmful.

    Such academic anti-Roman Catholicism inspired the most famous book ever written on the origins of capitalism. At the start of the 20th century, the German sociologist Max Weber published what soon became an immensely influential study: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In it Weber proposed that capitalism originated only in Europe because, of all the world’s religions, only Protestantism provided a moral vision that led people to restrain their material consumption while vigorously seeking wealth. Weber argued that, before the Reformation, restraint on consumption was invariably linked to asceticism and, hence, to condemnations of commerce. Conversely, the pursuit of wealth was linked to profligate consumption. Either cultural pattern was inimical to capitalism. According to Weber, the Protestant ethic shattered those traditional linkages, creating a culture of frugal entrepreneurs content to systematically reinvest profits in order to pursue ever greater wealth, and therein lies the key to capitalism and the ascendancy of the West.

    Perhaps because it was such an elegant thesis, it was widely embraced, despite the fact that it was so obviously wrong. Even today The Protestant Ethic enjoys an almost sacred status among sociologists, although economic historians quickly dismissed Weber’s surprisingly undocumented monograph on the irrefutable grounds that the rise of capitalism in Europe preceded the Reformation by centuries. Only a decade after Weber published, the celebrated Belgian scholar Henri Pirenne noted a large literature that “established the fact that all of the essential features of capitalism — individual enterprise, advances in credit, commercial profits, speculation, etc. — are to be found from the 12th century on, in the city republics of Italy — Venice, Genoa, or Florence.” A generation later, the equally celebrated French historian Fernand Braudel complained, “All historians have opposed this tenuous theory, although they have not managed to be rid of it once and for all. Yet it is clearly false. The northern countries took over the place that earlier had so long and brilliantly been occupied by the old capitalist centers of the Mediterranean. They invented nothing, either in technology or business management.” Braudel might have added that, during their critical period of economic development, those northern centers of capitalism were Catholic, not Protestant — the Reformation still lay well into the future. Further, as the Canadian historian John Gilchrist, an authority on the economic activity of the medieval church, pointed out, the first examples of capitalism appeared in the great Christian monasteries.

    Though Weber was wrong, however, he was correct to suppose that religious ideas played a vital role in the rise of capitalism in Europe. The material conditions needed for capitalism existed in many civilizations in various eras, including China, the Islamic world, India, Byzantium, and probably ancient Rome and Greece as well. But none of those societies broke through and developed capitalism, as none evolved ethical visions compatible with that dynamic economic system. Instead, leading religions outside the West called for asceticism and denounced profits, while wealth was exacted from peasants and merchants by rapacious elites dedicated to display and consumption. Why did things turn out differently in Europe? Because of the Christian commitment to rational theology, something that may have played a major role in causing the Reformation, but that surely predated Protestantism by far more than a millennium.”

  94. Because I know you by 4 different on-line names in various locations and because we’ve spoken privately, Timaeus, it is difficult for me to take your position seriously. I know what you’ve said and done professionally, at least in outline, and how and why you hide yourself from defending ID publically. And I know why you attack and feign to challenge me as you do. That said, now I’m willing to answer your silly polemic contention that either Steve Fuller is wrong or I am.

    First, Steve Fuller encourages independent thinking and not dogmatic following of his views. He promotes thinking for one-self, rigourously and thoroughly, using the particular gifts and talents a person has been given. It happens that I was called (prizvaniye) into a similar thematic vocation as Fuller was/is (philosophy of science, science and technology studies, sociology of science), so our views overlap in several ways, though they are of course not identical.

    Second, ‘design thinking’ does not belong (read: is not appropriate) in biology…for those who do not believe in ‘design’ already beyond biology. Read: presuppositions, pre-commitments, background context, etc. There is a situation of forcing concepts into realms in which they don’t belong, not only for ‘design,’ but also for ‘evolution’ and ‘Darwinism.’ That is, people with presuppositions that ‘everything is designed’ will of course conclude that the biosphere is also ‘designed,’ ‘created’ or ‘made’ by God. Thus, TEs, ECs and BioLogos supporters *all* accept that “God created the heavens and the earth,” but reject IDM-ID’s notion that this ‘design’ is scientifically ‘detectable’ (cf. ‘provable’) as a biological theory.

    Likewise, people with presuppositions that ‘everything evolves’ will conclude that the noosphere and/or the sociosphere (cf. socium) also ‘evolves.’ But this is a gross exaggeration, a faulty transference of concepts from one realm into another based on ideological principles. I am in full support of Fuller’s view recognising “the deep theological roots of ID” (as apparently also now interested is Stephen C. Meyer) and also of his view that the ideologies of Darwinism and/or evolutionism have led to a serious and disastrous ‘zoocentric misanthropy’ (2006) in the human-social sciences. See Fuller’s views of the ‘casualisation’ of life and dehumanization for clear examples.

    For more on this, please look more closely at what I wrote above: “IDM-ID is stating that first we should look at effects and reverse-engineer them to causes while Fuller is saying we recognize ‘intelligently designed’ patterns be-cause we were created with/in a pattern ourselves.” Don’t attempt to avoid the priority by pleading objectivity, Timaeus, when you and everyone else reading this is an (unapologetically) embodied, subjective participant in our understanding and experience of the world and whatever ‘intelligent design’ is (or may be) present in it.

    My view that “design thinking belongs in the human/social sciences” is hereby again confirmed. This is a non-IDM-ID position, not least because the DI doesn’t (yet) acknowledge human-social sciences as ‘sciences,’ according to the Anglo-American typology of ‘science’ and ‘non-science.’ In the human-social sciences we see teleology, purpose, plan and goal-orientation (i.e. that which IDM-ID seeks in biology) on a common, regular and inescapable basis. I don’t expect Timaeus to be able to grasp or accept this because 1) he is neither a (practicing) philosopher nor social scientist, and 2) because he has not lived outside of an Anglo-American country for more than 3 months in his life. Thus, the possibility of Timaeus to ‘get it’ (i.e. to properly understand) is highly limited and improbable, statistically speaking. Then again (after having heard him in 2008), I wouldn’t have expected such ‘excitement’ from Meyer (history and philosophy of natural sciences, origins of life) toward Fuller (science and technology studies, social epistemology) either, so perhaps the IDM can indeed change its course, starting with leadership such as Meyer in the DI.

    What you’re sadly over-looking, Timaeus (as one-trick party-men have a tendency to do), is that Steve Fuller-ID does not promote IDM-ID in particular. His vision of ID goes far beyond what the political-cultural-renewal movement of ID in the USA has been advocating for a dozen or more years. He views ID in a macro-historical perspective as a science, philosophy, religion (SPR) project. Should you not join the movement to embrace a broader SPR discourse, such as what Fuller promotes, instead of defending IDM-ID’s narrow insistence on ‘ID-as-science-only?’ You have already told us that you do not count ID-as-science, just as Mike Gene, I and nullasalus have said. Yet you persistently defend IDM-ID, while not being an IDM-IDer; what’s up with that?

    The field of biology is the (unwilling) victim here, not the relationship between Fuller’s version of ID and my own. Indeed, Fuller’s views of ID reflect, nourish and supplement my own in that he identifies “the deep theological roots of ID.” Did you not notice, Timaeus, the angst (or avoidance) displayed here in this thread, even by yourself using twisted and distorted words, of those who support ID and yet who cannot possibly accept “the deep theological roots of ID?”

    Then Jon Garvey came along and turned the tables when he reported on Stephen C. Meyer’s open and public support at Cambridge University of Steve Fuller’s view that theology be included/acknowledged as part of ‘what ID is supposed to be.’ Jon showed that Meyer views Fuller as a ‘front-line contributor,’ regardless of what ‘cantor’ protests to the contrary. Thus, your attempt to antagonistically divorce Fuller’s view from my own is an outright failure, Timaeus. Of course, I don’t expect you to admit this openly or in public; I expect you instead to be stubborn, to protest and to revert hesitantly to your hiding place and to continue not to produce anything scholarly in regard to ‘intelligent design’ that could be viewed outside of your 4-name sock-puppet circus, using various internet blog and forum personas.

    But hey, they warned us to become anonymous for the safety of our careers at the DI’s summer program, so, Timaeus, I understand well and better than most your felt need to run away from being such a public intellectual as Fuller is, instead into anonymity.

    Bottom line: Fuller is not ‘wrong’ about ID, and neither am I. But we are speaking about ID in non-IDM-ID terms, using tools widely available in human-social sciences. And that is something that you folks at UD should perhaps take notice of, in light of new opportunities for non-IDM-ID dialogue soon to come.

    “the assertion that we are created in God’s image is central to ID”

    Yes, thank goodness for Jon Garvey in the U.K., for passing on the reality that Stephen C. Meyer is indeed excited about the views shared by Steve Fuller and for telling us the strap-line from the Cambridge event: “Fuller calls for ID to embrace theology – Steve Meyer agrees.” Perhaps this is a perspective that UDers will eventually come around to enhance and even to amplify in the future. Some people here are doing it already, in their own unhidden way.

  95. StephenB, I was thinking a little more along the lines of this reformation.

    Catholic Reformation
    In 1544 Paul III issued a bull that convoked a General Council to meet in Trent. The Council of Trent was in session, with two lengthy adjournments, between 1545 and 1563. The council had three main objectives—to effect needed reform within the church, to clarify and define disputed doctrine and condemn heresy, and to restore the peace and unity of the church. The council was unable to accomplish this final goal since the split between Protestantism and Catholicism was now too deeply rooted. Thus, the council was confined to the Catholic world and functioned not as an instrument of reconciliation or reunion, but as a body legislating and defining for those who continued to profess the Catholic faith. It undertook this task from the outset, treating questions of doctrine and reform simultaneously.
    http://www.answers.com/topic/catholic-reformation

    I thought it was you that had pointed out that this reformation within the Catholic church during the middle ages had also purged the Catholic church of influences that were counter-productive to modern science.

  96. StephenB @ #83

    As I understand it, Fuller is not arguing that confessing a faith commitment called “image of God” furthers ID. Rather, that “image of God” is the unspoken underpinning of the whole scientific enterprise, and always has been.

    LYO notwithstanding, modern science was pursued on the basis of thinking God’s thoughts after him because, unlike other philosophies, Christianity implied that we could successfully do so. Incidentally, Stephen Clark gave a masterly overview of the development of western thought at Cambridge – a must see when the videos come out.

    So the first need is to hammer home the message that, without this imago dei grounding for the validity of the scientific enterprise, science has a shaky philosphical basis. Or better, that science is not shaky simply because it was grounded on imago dei.

    Secondly, a strong criticism of the design inference is that we have no reason for supposing we would correctly recognise non-human design, if it’s only an analogical argument. Fuller cited geological uniformitarianism: it’s convincing not because the changes in rocks are like those we see today, but because they are the same processes.

    So, if science depends on a conformity between human reason and the rationality of the Universe, the same axiom demonstrates that our recognition of design is a valid inference: human design is the very same process as that seen in nature, in the same way that cause and effect in nature are exactly what is perceived by our matching reason. If the design inference is wrong, then on the same basis so is all science.

    Does that persuade the atheist? No. But as Dembski says, the people to persuade are not the opponents, but the onlookers.

  97. I don’t doubt that the history of the church’s approach to science is complicated. It’s too simplistic to either lay all the blame on Christianity for the long period without much scientific progress, or to commend it for being solely responsible for the subsequent scientific revolution.

  98. So what’s your real problem LYO, are you complaining for (the surrounding environment that has led without your controlable blessing into you) being an agnostic? As intelligent as guy as Fuller overcame ‘secular humanism’ and you can do it to!

  99. LYO: Pardon, you have some serious homework to do. I suggest you do some serious research as a basis for having an informed opinion. And, you have some serious amends to make. KF

  100. Well, Gregory, I did not expect you to reply, so I thank you for making the effort. It is evident that you would not have done me the courtesy had I not repeatedly pressed my objections, but better late than never, so I acknowledge your willingness to finally speak.

    1. Meyer’s reaction to Fuller is brand-new, and is nowhere near fully developed. Exactly what Meyer finds attractive in Fuller’s proposal is still not fully clear, and where Meyer may still disagree with many views of Fuller is still not clear. It is premature to speculate about what the Meyer-Fuller exchange betokens. Let’s wait and hear more from Meyer and Fuller in the coming months, and see what develops. I know you would like to see in the exchange the crack in the dike that will bring down “IDM-ID,” but you are doing the equivalent of seizing upon one Biblical verse, out of context, and basing a new theology upon it. A little more intellectual caution is warranted.

    2. I agree with you that “everything evolves” is an unwarranted extension from biological evolution. I do not know a single ID proponent who would *not* agree with you about that, so I don’t know why you keep harping on it. It is not ID people, but your colleagues in the social sciences, who keep making this unwarranted extension. So why do you harangue ID people for something they are not guilty of? (All you have to do is read the many columns here where Darwinian explanations of art, religion, altruism, etc. are openly mocked and ridiculed, to see that ID people are on your side on this.)

    3. You write:

    “Second, ‘design thinking’ does not belong (read: is not appropriate) in biology…for those who do not believe in ‘design’ already beyond biology.”

    This would seem to mean one of two things:

    a. Human beings derive their experience of design from human/social contexts, before thinking about applying the notion of design to biology.

    b. There is no way of convincing someone that there is design in living systems if that person does not already accept a theistic world view which would lead him to assume design from the outset.

    If you mean (a), I agree, but that point is obvious, and is in fact stressed by all ID proponents, especially Steve Meyer. Why do you think he keeps talking about our uniform experience that X only occurs as a result of the activity of an intelligent agent? No ID proponent claims that human beings first got the idea of design from staring at a flower or an eclipse. So the point, while correct, is trivial.

    If you mean (b), I disagree — with you, with Fuller, or with both. Behe’s first book sold a quarter of a million copies, and persuaded many who do not accept a theistic world view that there is design in living nature. The same could be said of the works of many other ID proponents. It is not only Christians, or even only theists, who suspect that there is something more to the origin of species, or of life, than random mutations filtered by natural selection, or a chemical accident in a primeval soup 4 billion years ago.

    In any case, your previous statements on this subject have not been nuanced in the way that the above statement is nuanced. In the past, I have seen you say that design thinking does not belong in biology — period. Your qualification here changes the situation. Your position is now at least in principle compatible with Fuller’s. So we have cleared one thing up.

    4. I know of no public statement from the DI regarding whether or not “social sciences” count as “sciences.” This is not surprising, as the question is no part of the DI’s concern, any more than the question whether “history” counts as a “science” or whether “literary criticism” counts as a science. The DI is concerned with intelligent design in nature — in the phenomena studied by the natural sciences. It has no need to settle questions not pertaining to that concern. In any case, it is quite obvious that we wouldn’t use the terms “social science” and “natural science” if we weren’t making a distinction between their fields of study. And if you are complaining about the identification of “science” with “natural science,” I agree with you that this is an unfortunate result of the habit we all have of using convenient short forms. “Science” is shorter than “natural science” and so we all tend to use it; but it can unconsciously bias us so that we start to think of “natural science” as the only “science” — the only systematic, reliable knowledge. I agree with you that there are other forms of reliable knowledge besides natural science. So do all ID proponents known to me. In particular, those ID proponents who are Christian think that theology is a reliable form of knowledge that is not natural science. And of course Vincent Torley and others think that philosophy is a reliable form of knowledge, and so on. We are not disagreeing here in principle about the usage of words. But it is silly to ask the DI, or Russell, or anyone else, to spend time talking about fields and and questions that they are not interested in, and not trained in. The status of social science, as such, has nothing to do with the purpose of ID.

    ID is about detecting design in natural systems. If you are interested in that question, you will read the technical works of Behe, Denton, Dembski, Meyer, etc. If you are not interested in that question, you won’t. My sense is that you aren’t terribly interested in that question, because you rarely or never discuss the contents of the ID folks’ technical writings. You seem more interested in the sociology of ID — the real or alleged motives which drive ID people to research what they research. And that’s fine. But ID people aren’t interested in the the sociology of ID. ID people are interested in nature. If you can’t see that, you don’t understand ID.

    5. You want me to embrace some sort of “movement” that to you is represented by Fuller’s work. I don’t embrace “movements.” I embrace good arguments. My interests are philosophical, scientific, historical, etc. I try to discern the true from the false in those areas of inquiry. I couldn’t care less what happens to “movements.” I support ID because I think it has something true to say about nature — that living systems did not arise by Darwinian means. And if I, as a result of believing as I do, support certain means — such as this website, or the Discovery website — which allow discussion of this truth, then, given that the courts and the science educators and the biology departments are trying to squash this truth out of existence, my support of these means is reasonable. But I have no desire to belong to ID as some sort of quasi-religious or quasi-political social agenda. I’m in this fight because I think Behe, Meyer, etc. are right and Dawkins, Coyne, Ken Miller, etc. are dead wrong about biological origins. You will notice that I have distanced myself from many of social causes embraced by some other ID proponents — you won’t hear me defending extreme right-wing capitalism, for example. And you won’t hear me arguing that Darwin must be wrong because his biology leads to unacceptable morality. I’m not in this to join a moral crusade to revivify the soul of America, or anything of that sort. I’m in this to show that neo-Darwinism is bad biological science and that its defense has largely rested on metaphysical assumptions about nature and epistemological assumptions about human knowledge, rather than good empirical research. I’m in this to show that apparent design — which Dawkins grants — is real design. And I’m in this to take arrogant biologists and their arrogant philosopher-allies and their arrogant internet groupies down a peg, and show that their reductionist view of nature is based more on their macho anti-religion than on anything to do with the facts revealed by natural science.

    6. Fuller says that historically, theism contributed immensely to Christianity. I agree with him. But I agree with him not because I want to join his “movement”; I agree with him because there is plenty of evidence that this is true. Fuller says there is a strong Christian tradition (“Franciscan” he characterizes it) which legitimates thinking of God as a designer. I agree with him again. There is historical evidence for that.

    7. I could even agree with Fuller if his position were simply that all versions of design arguments imply a kinship between man and God, even if none of the people employing design arguments have ever thought about the phrase “image of God.” But Fuller’s language is not cautious. He keeps saying “ID *is* …” rather than, “I believe that the project of ID implies a similarity between man and God which is rooted in the Biblical idea of the image of God.” It is the phrasing “ID *is*” that is raising hackles around here, as if Fuller is claiming to be the authority who defines ID, and the definitions of people like Dembski, Behe, etc. are of no account. Fuller is a johnny-come-lately to the party; he doesn’t get to define things in a unilateral way.

    8. Finally, as I said at the very beginning, Fuller is an interesting person to whom ID people should listen. He has some stimulating challenges for ID. A judicious adoption of some of Fuller’s insights might help ID in some contexts.

  101. 102

    Gregory,
    My problem with Fuller is that (from what little sense I can make of his writings) he seems to naively take the ID movement at its word that it is a scientific enterprise, rather than a political one. (Perhaps because he isn’t able, or doesn’t care to understand the science.) And as a result completely misunderstands the dynamics at play.

  102. LYO:

    There you go again.

    The clear impression you give is that you neither understand nor care to understand either the science or the history (including that of ideas) as they get in the way of your favourite smear talking points.

    That’s sad, and sadly telling.

    KF

  103. Jon @97.

    The “unspoken assumption” that Fuller mentions (God’s orderly universe) is, it seems to me, grounded more in reason than in faith. It does not stand on its own. To be more precise, it is derived, in large part, from Aquinas’ reasoned arguments for the existence of God, which, as you probably know, begin with observation, not faith. Notice the direction of the argument: Observation>>> reveals [Regularity]>>>which indicates [Order]>>>which indicates an [Orderer]. In other words, this “assumption” is not so much a starting point or an act of faith as it is a conclusion arrived at through reason.

    This is precisely that same order of things presented in Romans 1:20. “The things that are not seen are made evident by the things that are seen. Notice, once again that this is not a statement of faith, but is rather a philosophical argument informed by observation. The first point of this passage is that we can infer God’s existence based on rational observation and we can attribute Divinity to Christ based on historical evidence. Thus, the Christian faith, unlike all other religions, is grounded in rationality; it asks for a leap of faith only after it has submitted itself to and passed the test of reason. The second point that Romans1:20 is making is that we don’t have to accept God’s existence on faith; we should be able to figure it out. That way we can spend our faith in areas where it matters most– to reach heights that reason simply cannot attain– the Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, God’s omniscience, God’s infinite love, and other sacred teachings.

    Thus, faith and reason are compatible because truth is unified. Moving from God to us, we [a] believe that He created the world, just as it says in the Bible, but, moving from ourselves to God, we [b] conclude the fact of His existence based on His handiwork. The second point does not depend on the first point but is clearly consistent with it. Each approach can confirm the other because each is coming from a different place. If both approaches were both coming from the same place, that is, from faith, then there would be no independent confirmation, only repetition-no grounding of Doctrine in reason, only the total submission of reason to faith

    Still, there is yet a deeper assumption that does, indeed, require apriori faith, deeper in the sense that it precedes, informs, and legitimizes the scieentist’s observations and the interpretation of evidence, a philosophical component that that we must assume–a starting point that cannot be based on observation—namely, the first rules of right reason. These Laws of non-contradiction, identity, excluded middle, and causality that underlie modern science, are not found in the Bible nor can they proved from reason. Indeed, these rules are the means by which we do the proving. Intellectually, Science is on solid metaphysical grounds because reason’s rules are unshakeable and, through them, we can also demonstrate God’s existence. It is the self-evident nature of reason’s rules that underlie modern science more so than any assumption about imago dei.

    So, if Fuller’s unspoken assumption, which is, at least in part, a sound philosophical conclusion, is not an absolute requirement for science, what role does it play? Why was this belief in a designer God necessary to launch the modern scientific enterprise? The answer, I submit, is that it provided the psychological motivation to persist through all the inevitable failures that were sure to come. The early scientists were convinced that they were “thinking God’s thoughts after him,” and I agree that they were doing just that, but the methodological starting point of their research was observation and evidence. Yes, they believed in a law-like regularity of nature, and yes, they believed that God had produced an orderly universe, but that faith inspired them to press on, it was not a requirement for their science. The question on the table not whether imago dei inspired ID research but rather whether it is a requirement for, or can even be reconciled with, ID’s empirical methods. We do know that the first rules of right reason (and perhaps the correspondence theory of truth) are non-negotiable assumptions for any kind of science, ID included. I don’t think we can say the same thing about imago dei.

    If Professor Fuller wants to revive St. Thomas’ five ways, I say great. Let’s go for it. Those arguments do work, after all, and they are not subject to the changeability of science. What everyone needs to know, however, is that these arguments, though valid and compelling, have been rejected by atheists who would prefer not to deal with them. For better or worse, mostly worse, we live in a culture that worships science and disdains reason. I have been making these same reasoned arguments on this site for six years, but I have found that few people like to reason in the abstract, perhaps because it requires training in logic. Most want tangible evidence, not abstract truths. Never mind that the latter category of knowledge is nobler than the former, modern consumers of information just ain’t interested. ID proponents seem bored by philosophical arguments, and atheists attack them with irrational objections.

    So now, Steve Fuller wants us to integrate them with ID methods? Why doesn’t he go celebrate Hugh Ross who reconciles religion with science better than anyone on the planet? The integration between design arguments and religion that Fuller seeks has already been made. Why doesn’t he take advantage of it? Or, why doesn’t he explain to the Thomists that, in spite of their irrational objections, ID methods are consistent with St. Thomas’ arguments. Perhaps he can persuade them to stop their outrageous anti-ID partisanship in the name of their master, who deserves better than them.

    Returning to the subject of ID science, someone needs to explain to me why imago dei is a requirement for science and, in that same sense, how one can, in a single process, assume design and also make an inference to design from data. Why should we even bother to admit scientific data to make an argument for design when the affirmative conclusion of design as already been settled in the form of an assumption. I need an answer to this question. So far, no one has been willing to step up to the plate.

  104. F/N: Re LYO, 81: he [Steve Meyer] works for a political organization [DI is a thinktank] that aims to get ID taught in biology class

    This is false, just for record. Link. (That has been so for the past 10 years on the public record. Cf here also on Dover etc.)

    LYO is again spreading false and agenda-serving, loaded polarising talking points. I do not have time to do fact checks on all he says, just to note consistent failure to be accurate, informed or fair. Even, when corrected.

    KF

  105. Ah, Steve, I hear you. We indeed live in an impoverished age. but I do read what you have to say. Human rationality and ability to accurately observe do underlie science and imago dei is a good ground for confidence, but they can be taken as brute givens supported by experience and consensus. Never mind that evo mat undermines them and is inescapably self refuting so false. KF

  106. T:

    food for thought again.

    I do think DI as a whole does have policy and Soc Sci interests, e.g. in Cascadia as joining US and Canadian Pacific Coast interests. It is only a centre, CSC, that looks at ID.

    FWIW, I think to a different degree of warrant, there are points of reliable knowledge in social sciences. As well as history, are and even Phil. Lest we forget, Logic is a major branch of phil and so also is the study of knowledge.

    Design thinkers on the whole are interested in design thought and the major focus is biology issues that intersect with the signs of design question.

    But cosmological signs of design is a whole other side.

    TRIZ, the study of inventive problem solving is involved.

    Drawing on results from exploring technologies of life points to self replicating technologies, the Global village construction set project and open source industrial Civ 2.0. Thence, via say Bussard fusion tech possibilities, energy, development and solar system colonisation. If we can figure it out, galactic colonisation, too; starting with hollowing out a moon or two from the gas giants and building a multi-generation colony ship or two. And sign me up for the project to build a real R Daneel Olivaw.

    Nossiree, I don’t see the design inference in isolation, and I see synergies across several disciplines with significant potential results and benefits.

    But then, I have always had a soft spot for positive futurism.

    The kind of nasty, ill-informed talking points that too often poison UD threads and other fora, are holding back some real serious futurist discussions inspired by reverse engineering nature’s technologies.

    Ironically, THOSE are the real politics-playing science stoppers.

    KF

  107. –bornagain77: “I thought it was you that had pointed out that this reformation within the Catholic church during the middle ages had also purged the Catholic church of influences that were counter-productive to modern science.”

    Oh, I am with you now. I don’t recall advancing that argument, though I may have. Perhaps I need to revisit my sources. One thing seems evident: If Church members’ collective moral orientation was skewed, as it clearly was, it would follow that their collective orientation to truth would be equally skewed and also in need of reform.

  108. bornagain77,

    Thinking back, I believe I did make the argument that you allude to. I was probably following Thomas Woods, though I have not read him for a while. One reason that I often quote Rodney Stark is that, unlike Woods, he is not Catholic. So, when he says positive things about the Catholic Church, it carries more weight.

  109. Yes StephenB, I believe you had quite a interesting thing you had said about it. Something specifically, if I remember correctly, of false Greek influences being purged from the Catholic church, and how purging those false influences helped usher in a correct ‘Christian’ view of reality that was instrumental in nourishing modern science to a sustained level of maturity. A level of maturity for science (and engineering) that other cultures throughout history had prevented for one reason or another due to the negative influences of the false worldviews prevalent in those cultures..

  110. There’s some unfinished business in this thread, which I need to address before moving to Human Extension as an alternative way to look at ID in the other thread. In this long response (divided in two) I address comments from Timaeus, StephenB, Jon Garvey and lastly, LYO, the latter who is unfortunately not nearly on the same page as the other three.

    “It is premature to speculate about what the Meyer-Fuller exchange betokens. Let’s wait and hear more from Meyer and Fuller in the coming months, and see what develops. I know you would like to see in the exchange the crack in the dike that will bring down “IDM-ID’.” – Timaeus

    You talk like a partisan, Timaeus, like a culture warrior (e.g. “I’m in this fight…”). Since I acknowledged our off-list contact in the message above, this makes at least some sense (although, the choice to war or not to war is still yours) given that you live in North America. But I don’t and I’m not influenced as heavily by the ‘culture war’ mentality there, and thus don’t get so ruffled by the same people you do, who you bring up time and again as ‘critics/opponents’ of ID in what you perceive as a ‘culture war.’

    Meyer’s response to Fuller is not a surprise to me at all. Did you notice how little discussion of it there has been since Jon’s report, since this actually validated Fuller’s position…and people here at UD don’t seem to want to do that? Remember cantor’s disrespect to Fuller, denying that he is a ‘front-line contributor’ to ID? You didn’t defend Fuller in that regard either, Timaeus, though your token appreciation of his work always seems to get a line or two.

    Indeed it seems that most people at UD don’t want ID to embrace theology.

    Jon’s headline: “Fuller calls for ID to embrace theology – Steve Meyer agrees.”

    Again, my position is that ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ should be said to ‘belong’ in a ‘science, philosophy and religion/theology/worldview’ discourse; it is not only a topic of ‘pure science’ or ‘fundamental science,’ as some people at UD, and uncounted other IDers continue to believe. We’ll see if the video from the Cambridge event captures the exchange, after which, if Jon is correct, much re-evaluation by IDM-IDers will be required. J. Wells already supports closer connections stated between ID and theology, which he emphasised to me personally in 2008.

    “So why do you harangue ID people for something they are not guilty of? … ID people are on your side on this” – Timaeus

    One major problem is that imo most IDM-ID people are coming at the most important issues backwards; (objective/positive) nature first, (subjective/reflexive) human second. If they are actually on my side, Timaeus, they will see and understand the logic in my challenge to universal evolutionism. As you have surely read from some comments aimed at me on this site, several people at UD seem to take the approach that if a person is anti-IDM-ID, then they must be opposed at all costs to truth, integrity and justice. It may take time to change minds about this. I’m patient and have already waited over ten years. Basically, I’ve been ‘wrestling’ (a much more competitively sportive word than ‘conflicting’ or ‘warring’) with ID people with one hand behind my back for quite a long time. Now the tides have turned and this situation with Meyer and Fuller appears to be a potent example.

    “I agree with you that ‘everything evolves’ is an unwarranted extension from biological evolution.” – Timaeus

    Otoh, good and thanks. Otoh, you’re perpetuating the myth that evolution ‘begins’ in (i.e. ‘extends from a source’) biological science. That’s not entirely accurate. The Cambridge Platonists used the term ‘evolution’ in the 17th century, speaking of God’s evolving creation. This is why TEs and ECs today speak of evolution as “God’s way of creating.” So, the problem I see with your way of saying ‘unwarranted extension,’ is that it too is unwarranted because it privileges biology as the rightful ‘home-base’ for evolution. Again, otoh, I’m fine with that in the modern meaning of evolution; otoh, it needs to be spelled out that biology got ‘evolution’ from non-biological realms.

    “Human beings derive their experience of design from human/social contexts, before thinking about applying the notion of design to biology.” – Timaeus

    That would seem to be a very important point that is often taken for granted. And it is most certainly *not* “stressed by all ID proponents” as you pretend (and it is even pretentious to speak of and for “all ID proponents,” so please stop your exaggerative language of choice, Timaeus!). This gets at the argument from analogy that Meyer and Dembski have discussed, but not satisfactorily imo. They have a standard answer to this, which has been filtered down to IDM-ID proponents of various levels and positions.

    Meyer writes “the design argument from biological information does not represent an argument from analogy of the sort that Hume criticized.” Yet you are now saying you agree with me and that “before thinking about applying the notion of design to biology,” that “experience of design” is derived from human/social contexts. That’s a significant concession in favour of my and Fuller’s ‘alternative’ views of intelligent design, Timaeus!

    (And it also touches on the series Jon Garvey posted on his blog, listed below.)

    “persuaded many who do not accept a theistic world view that there is design in living nature.” – Timaeus

    Well, now you’re raising a sociological topic, aren’t you, Timaeus, about ‘people having been persuaded by Behe’s book?’ ;) Well, I haven’t seen any surveys of ‘how many’ people have ‘been persuaded’ that ‘design in nature’ can be scientifically detected and it could be that evangelical churches and book stores made significant profits from “Darwin’s Black Box,” given how it was promoted to YECs and their funding channels too. But, I stick by my view that atheists cannot accept ‘design’ by a transcendental Designer because by definition that would mean they are not atheists. One would have to be schizophrenic (divided against oneself) to both accept a transcendental Designer and to reject it at the same time. Btw, I’m not sure what ‘living’ adds to the IDM phrase, since ‘design in dead nature’ is implied too.

    The second part of the ‘persuaded people’ paragraph just reveals the so-called ‘second edge of the wedge,’ i.e. the attack on ‘Darwinian evolution’ as being ‘not enough,’ full of mistakes, etc. but which does not offer any ‘positive proof’ of ‘design in nature’ based on what is commonly called ‘scientific knowledge.’ You say it even more clearly later: “[Edge 1] I support ID because I think it has something true to say about nature — that [Edge 2] living systems did not arise by Darwinian means.”

    “Your position is now at least in principle compatible with Fuller’s.” – Timaeus

    I’m glad we’ve cleared that up and that you’ve retracted your attempted polarisation, Timaeus.

    “The DI is concerned with intelligent design in nature — in the phenomena studied by the natural sciences.” – Timaeus

    I don’t deny that is one of its concerns. But the DI is also the headquarters for what is commonly called “the intelligent design movement.” It issues newsletters, press releases, holds conferences and seminars, actively participates in legal cases, gives interviews, funds fellows and other programs, hosts a summer program for university students in Seattle, etc. To suggest that the DI is *only* concerned with ID in nature would of course be false. So, it seems you’re just dancing around the ‘movement’ issue.

    “’Science’ is shorter than ‘natural science’ and so we all tend to use it; but it can unconsciously bias us so that we start to think of ‘natural science’ as the only ‘science’ — the only systematic, reliable knowledge. I agree with you that there are other forms of reliable knowledge besides natural science. So do all ID proponents known to me.” – Timaeus

    Again, Timaeus, I don’t like your ‘all of us’ language, from a communicative perspective. Do you understand why? It appears as pretentious and self-glorifying to think that you speak on behalf of ‘all of us.’ If you’d been soaked in social scientific and humanitarian thought as I have, you’d surely have corrected your language/communication and would resist speaking in superlatives as much as possible. But you haven’t and you don’t, so I am on offer to point this out.

    People can be and are lazy with shortening names. But in this case it is imo worth the effort to distinguish between ‘natural science’ and ‘science,’ because ‘science’ (in the form of ‘scientists’) can and do(es) study non-natural or extra-natural things too (e.g. culture, politics, technology, etc.). There are those who claim theology is a ‘science,’ thus suggesting that science studies or can study supernatural (meaning divine) things, as you indicate also.

    The point is that to openly acknowledge *other* sciences than natural sciences is a significant, nay, a massive point of concession that will help turn the tables away from naturalism as ideology. Rejecting naturalism as ideology is also part of IDM-ID’s mission. Why then would ID people choose not to embrace this way of communicating and expend that little extra effort of typing ‘natural science’ or speaking of ‘sciences’ (just one letter more!) to clarify this difference?

    “The status of social science, as such, has nothing to do with the purpose of ID.” – Timaeus

    It is not a question of asking IDM-IDers to comment on ‘the status of social science’ as much as it is about realising the importance of the sociology, history, culturology and politics of ID (and evolutionism), which is what social science can study. To suggest that society has no influence on the coinage or reception of ID would be likewise to undermine many of the arguments the IDM makes about ‘Darwinist brown coats,’ a ‘peer review conspiracy,’ the notion of being ‘expelled’ based on not on scientific achievement, but because of extra-scientific reasons, etc. Don’t you think it is about time you acknowledge this, Timaeus, given that the DI already did so 5 years ago in starting an “Intelligent Design in the Social Sciences and Humanities” component of its Summer Program for students? Denying the relevance of Social Sciences and Humanities reveals an unnecessary blind spot in your Timaeus-specific approach to ID and IDM-ID.

    “ID is about detecting design in natural systems. If you are interested in that question, you will read the technical works of Behe, Denton, Dembski, Meyer, etc. If you are not interested in that question, you won’t.” – Timaeus

    Let me admit, I am not terribly interested in that question because in social sciences peoples’ main aim is not to study ‘natural systems’ (which is a debatable claim, as well). But I have taken the time to read some of the ‘technical works’ by the persons you mention. And so has Steve Fuller (he has likely read more of them than I have as he is a voracious reader, which you’ve privately stated about him to me). But this doesn’t negate the fact that you’re right, IDM-ID is primarily interested about (the possibility, if not the presupposition of) detecting ‘design in nature,’ which in my view seriously compromises it as a pseudo-naturalistic undertaking.

    Indeed, the ‘in nature’ part of ID is much less interesting to me than the social, cultural, political, religious movement of ID; why people join it, reject it, empathize with it, etc. What I’m most interested in is not just the sociology of the ID/M, but also the history, philosophy and sociology of ID and the IDM.

    “ID people aren’t interested in the the sociology of ID. ID people are interested in nature.” – Timaeus

    Again, this is untrue, partly because of TImaeus’ tendency to try to speak for ‘all of US,’ in this case, ID people. I’ve personally met many ID people who are interested in the sociology of ID. And of course, I think more people *should* be interested in it and indeed *will* be interested in it, once they see or hear it presented in a cogent way. It absolutely makes a *huge difference* in how ID is received by people, including their preconceptions, attitudes, feelings, etc. when they hear the term ‘ID.’ One could easily argue that Uncommon Descent blog is a feature of the sociology of ID and Darwinian evolution(ism). Here at UD, News posts many stories related to the “ID community”, not all of which have to do with the ‘technical works’ of ID that Timaeus would have us almost exclusively concentrate on.

    If ID people, according to Timaeus, were interested *only* in nature, then IDM-ID would not have generated anywhere near the attention that it has!

    “You want me to embrace some sort of “movement” that to you is represented by Fuller’s work.” – Timaeus

    This is incorrect. Go back and read again for a more accurate interpretation.

    “I could even agree with Fuller if his position were simply that all versions of design arguments imply a kinship between man and God, even if none of the people employing design arguments have ever thought about the phrase ‘image of God’.” – Timaeus

    Well, call Timaeus a partial follower of Fullerian-ID then folks! And again, I raised this challenge above; first a person must tell us that they accept ID, but personally do *not* believe in the imago Dei, before they protest that ID has nothing to do with the imago Dei. Are there any such folks out there?

    *All* (now I will use this term) of the 14 participants at Pajaro Dunes (with the possible exception of David Raup) “have thought about the phrase ‘image of God’.” Now, I’m speaking about the coiners of ID and the founders of the IDM. If Timaeus thinks otherwise, that’s just another indication that he is not part of the IDM, even though he repeatedly plays the tune of the IDM’s music.

    “as if Fuller is claiming to be the authority who defines ID, and the definitions of people like Dembski, Behe, etc. are of no account.” – Timaeus

    Surely, Timaeus, you’ll allow Fuller to hold his own definitions and meanings of ID, which may differ from those held by Dembski, Behe, et al.? Fuller has not said, in anything of his I’ve read, the ‘no account’ mud you sling at him. This may be your personal ‘feeling,’ Timaeus, but I’d ask you to back it up with some evidence rather than putting words in the mouth of a reputable scholar. If anything, Timaeus, imo you speak much more haughtily and possessively about ‘ID’ than Fuller does, and he’s got a lot of other things on the burner than just being focussed on ID. Otoh, your sock-puppet work at UD leaves no indication that you have a life outside of ID.

    “Fuller is an interesting person to whom ID people should listen. He has some stimulating challenges for ID. A judicious adoption of some of Fuller’s insights might help ID in some contexts.” – Timaeus

    So, the tune turns at the end! It might help then for you to list a few of these ‘stimulating challenges,’ Timaeus. Do you dare challenge IDM-ID via Fuller’s insights? A good place to start might be to have a look at and actually discuss some of the quotations of Fuller about ID linked to here. Then again, you’ve told me that you’ve read a bit of Fuller’s work, so might wish to use your own quotations that you’ve collected, instead of those that I chose. But the choice, of course, is yours to actually put up why you think Fuller is an interesting person and contributor to ID, instead of trying to impolitely force me into a polemic against him.

  111. (cont’d)

    “Intellectually, Science is on solid metaphysical grounds because reason’s rules are unshakeable and, through them, we can also demonstrate God’s existence. It is the self-evident nature of reason’s rules that underlie modern science more so than any assumption about imago dei.” – StephenB

    It seems to me that StephenB agrees with Fuller, but calls ‘reason’s rules’ what Fuller calls ‘thinking God’s thoughts after Him.’ One would be going over a chasm to stating that “we can demonstrate God’s existence with reason’s rules.” It sounds hyper-rationalist, rather than seeking an appropriate balance between reason and faith.

    B. Pascal once wrote: “Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are infinite number of things which are beyond it.”

    “the methodological starting point of their research was observation and evidence” – StephenB

    Who says ‘modern science began with methodology,’ rather than with theory? Subsuming theory under methodology is too confusing.

    “whether it [imago Dei] is a requirement for, or can even be reconciled with, ID’s empirical methods.” – StephenB

    Yes, that’s an important question, isn’t it?

    “For better or worse, mostly worse, we live in a culture that worships science and disdains reason.” – StephenB

    That sounds contradictory, given that you have already stated that science depends (heavily or even solely) on reason. I don’t live in the same culture as you do. But I can say that I neither worship science nor disdain reason. We’d likely agree then, StephenB regarding scientism, but perhaps there is more to be said about ‘rationalism’ and the rationalisation (and disenchantment) of the world (M. Weber).

    “Steve Fuller wants us to integrate them [philosophical arguments] with ID methods? … The integration between design arguments and religion that Fuller seeks has already been made.” – StephenB

    No, imo Hugh Ross is not the paragon of reconciliation that you paint him to be (though I must tip my hat to him; we share the same alma mater). Fuller is not a ‘creationist’ and would likely never accept that label. Fuller’s ‘integration’ or position regarding ID involves philosophy of science at a deeper level than Hugh Ross. And personally, I think talk of ‘ID methods’ sounds strange.

    “Returning to the subject of ID science, someone needs to explain to me why imago dei is a requirement for science and, in that same sense, how one can, in a single process, assume design and also make an inference to design from data. Why should we even bother to admit scientific data to make an argument for design when the affirmative conclusion of design as already been settled in the form of an assumption[?] I need an answer to this question. So far, no one has been willing to step up to the plate.” – StephenB

    You’re assuming “the subject of ID science,” but I am not speaking about that and mainly neither is Fuller. So, we continue to speak past each other. I do not accept as an assumption what you are trying to prove, i.e. the scientificity of ID.

    The issue is not that “imago Dei is a requirement for science,” but that belief in it, in the persons of those who invented it in its ‘modern/contemporary’ meaning, is inescapably part of the history of the coining of the phrase ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design.’ This is simply an obvious fact, of course. So, you can suggest that it was just a search for evidence and data in nature that led to some kind of eureka-moment – the coining of the term ID by Charles Thaxton – but that doesn’t fit with how the IDM’s story has thus far been told.

    Nevertheless, I do think you’ve raised a key issue: how can one assume what they are attempting to ‘scientifically’ prove? Jon raised this question on his blog here. Here’s a taste of his argument: “Our inference of design when, say, examining archaeological artifacts is therefore, at root, intuitive, not scientific.” I assume that IDM-IDers here will accept calling ‘archaeology’ a ‘science’ because it is appealed to repeatedly in IDM-ID literature.

    And remember Jonathan Well’s story here at UD a few months ago: he went up a mountain, lived in a cabin, and without doing any experiments or ‘looking at the data scientifically,’ he was nevertheless convinced by wonder in ‘design/Design.’

    “Living in a cabin I built in the mountains of Mendocino County, I was transformed by the beauty, peace and evident design around me. I ceased being an agnostic and a Darwinist.” – J. Wells

    Turning to Jon Garvey:

    “without this imago dei grounding for the validity of the scientific enterprise, science has a shaky philosophical basis. Or better, that science is not shaky simply because it was grounded on imago dei.” – Jon Garvey

    According Michael Novak: “For Jews and Christians, human beings are made in the image of God. For Islam, to conceive of an image of God is to fall very short of, even to falsify, His greatness. To speak of images of God is blasphemy. It marks one as an infidel—one who has not seen the point, and is in denial about the inconceivable greatness of God.”

    So, to say that ‘the scientific enterprise’ is founded upon it would mean to ignore the contribution of Islamic thought to the foundations of European science, the ‘scientific revolution’ and/or the ‘scientific/technological revolution’. Many Christians downplay or discount the contribution of Muslims to scientific development, so that might be something to take into consideration. What intrigues me about Fuller’s work is he speaks of Abrahamic faiths as recognising their ‘divine lineage’ or ‘relationship,’ which contributed to science. Thus, whether or not it is precisely called ‘image of God’ may not be the only language possible.

    “human design is the very same process as that seen in nature, in the same way that cause and effect in nature are exactly what is perceived by our matching reason. If the design inference is wrong, then on the same basis so is all science.” – Jon

    No, I wouldn’t go that far. In fact, StephenB is correct in the sense that it was the attitude of doing science, and thus of contributing to scientific development, that is fueled by the belief in the imago Dei, of “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” Fuller’s book “Science: The Art of Living” (2008) makes this clearer.

    Jon wrote, reporting on what Fuller said, that “the assertion that we are created in God’s image is central to ID.” Then he clarified (or distorted the previous message) by saying: “As I understand it, Fuller is not arguing that confessing a faith commitment called “image of God” furthers ID. Rather, that “image of God” is the unspoken underpinning of the whole scientific enterprise, and always has been.” – Jon

    Are you suggesting that your second statement negates the first statement, Jon, or are they mutually complementary, or…? This seems crucial to clarify in your interpretation of the exchange between Fuller and Meyer.

    LYO wrote: “My problem with Fuller is that (from what little sense I can make of his writings) he seems to naively take the ID movement at its word that it is a scientific enterprise, rather than a political one.”

    Well, as someone who’s met him and makes much sense of his writings, I can assure you he does not “naively take the IDM at its word” re: science and politics. Your language of ‘the science’ reveals you could do with a significant dose of history, philosophy and sociology of science because these (3 separate and over-lapping) fields have considerably changed the discourse involving ‘science demarcation.’ The language you are using is outdated and reading Fuller could help you get updated.

    Bottom line: science, philosophy and theology do not need to be opposed to each other and are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They can work cooperatively together in an integrative or synthetic way.

  112. GS: Kindly follow up on the first principles of right reason, e.g. here on. Notice the context, phil and theol, with application to any context in which we are concerned to reason well. KF

  113. Sorry, KF. Again I’m not biting on your diversionary tactics. The topic here in this thread is Steve Fuller’s view of ID, not yours.

    Just wanted to repeat a question that was asked on Jon Garvey’s blog:

    What has happened lately, in the past year or two tops, that Meyer is suddenly now ‘excited’ to include theology *in* intelligent design, to research theodicy as part of ID, or to build a theology of intelligent design?

    All speculations, references or anecdotes are welcome!

  114. GS: My comments have consistently sought to respond to the actual core issue as to why the design inference is central to the actual design theory movement, rather than what seems to be being proposed to replace it. In particular, there is a reason why theology as such is not directly a part of the actual design theory focal question whether, per empirically tested sign, we may warrant an inference from such signs to design as cause of certain objects or phenomena found in nature. Similarly, while one may argue at theological/ worldview level that imago dei grounds the ability of mind to reason soundly and know credibly, that generally accepted datum is all that is needed to engage in the process of scientific reasoning. So also, I have highlighted some of the actual, natural alliances and associations of the real design theory: TRIZ, progress on self replicating systems, the study of algorithms (and in particular, evolutionary search algors). In addition, I have provided clarification of what the first principles of right reason are in the context of an exchange with SB, which seems to have led up to your attempted dismissal. All of this is directly responsive to both Fuller and yourself and to specific related points in the thread rather than diversionary (disagreement with grounds is responsive, not diversionary); and with all due respect, your attempted rebuke just above is out of line. KF

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